Bookmark and Share
My Photo

FROM the EDITORS:

  • IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.

NEW & UPCOMING, available from IGNATIUS PRESS







































































« "Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?" | Main | Summorum Pontificum for Dummies? »

Friday, January 04, 2008

Comments

Mark Brumley

This book is for those who want to have some understanding of De Lubac but who haven't had time to read him at length or to follow the debate regarding his place in modern Catholic theology. The problem with treating this book as if it were a Cliff Notes version of De Lubac's work is that unlike Cliff Notes, this book makes you want actually to read De Lubac and not just read about him or about what someone else says he said.

John Michael Keba

But what if someone *has* read, at length, the neo-gnostic gibberish (bad science, bad logic, bad theology, bad philosophy, masquarading as profundity under a cloak of neologisms) of Teilhard de Chardin, and acknowledges that the Church's repeated monitum against him is well-founded and to be perilously ignored?

If Cardinal de Lubac "devoted three books on a grand scale to the defense of his confrere and friend Teilhard de Chardin," isn't that enough to warn against him as well?

It is rather like being told that "the principle motive" behind the academic work of a staunch defender of Nietzsche was "to put in the proper light the truth of the faith and the beauty and splendor of Tradition." The disconnection between the data immediately engenders deep suspicion.

Just askin'

Brian Schuettler

If Cardinal de Lubac "devoted three books on a grand scale to the defense of his confrere and friend Teilhard de Chardin," isn't that enough to warn against him as well?
Cardinal de Lubac wrote the defense of de Chardin as a Jesuit theologian defending a fellow Jesuit theologian within the context of theological debate. He never departed from obedience to the Magisterium or Church teaching, but was rather, it's defender. The writings of de Chardin were controversial but one should remember that he was entitled and indeed received a valid hearing by his peers prior to the final decision to essentially renounce his teaching.

John Michael Keba

Of course de Chardin was entitled to and received a valid hearing - that is why the monitum against him must be heeded. But one takes sides in a debate. How could he pull of defending both de Chardin and Church teaching?

Or more simply, after the debate was over, and the original monitum was issued, did Cardinal de Lubac continue to defend Teilhardism? Was the Cardinal the reason the monitum had to be repeated in 1981?

joe

A very convincing treatment of Chardin--with helpful references to DeLubac and von Balthasar--can be found in Philip Trower's most recent book, 'The Church and the Counter-Faith', a follow-up to his 'Truth and Turmoil.' It is quite difficult to find, however. I am hoping Ignatius will see fit to publish to two volumes as one at some point.

Mark Brumley

You know, sometime maybe we can talk about Teilhard. But the whole of De Lubac's work does not consist of his effort to defend his friend against what de Lubac thought was a misunderstanding of Teilhard.

But what if someone *has* read, at length, the neo-gnostic gibberish (bad science, bad logic, bad theology, bad philosophy, masquarading as profundity under a cloak of neologisms) of Teilhard de Chardin, and acknowledges that the Church's repeated monitum against him is well-founded and to be perilously ignored?

I guess I would say, "Well, that's not the same as reading De Lubac." If you want to see where De Lubac's treatment of Teilhard fits into things, you should read de Lubac and not jump to conclusions.

If Cardinal de Lubac "devoted three books on a grand scale to the defense of his confrere and friend Teilhard de Chardin," isn't that enough to warn against him as well?

And why, exactly, should it be?

I suppose I could reply: Isn't the fact that John Paul II held De Lubac in such high regard and named him a Cardinal enough to warn against leaping to conclusions about De Lubac based on what he wrote about Teilhard?

Or more simply, after the debate was over, and the original monitum was issued, did Cardinal de Lubac continue to defend Teilhardism? Was the Cardinal the reason the monitum had to be repeated in 1981?

Your question implies ignorance of the whole story behind the monitum and about the De Lubac's role in explaining Teilhard. For example, you say nothing about the fact that De Lubac was assigned by the Jesuits in 1962 to write a book in defense of Teilhard. You say nothing about Paul VI ordering Father Charles Boyer, a staunch critic of Teilhard, to have De Lubac give an sympathetic address on Teilhard to the Thomistic Congress meeting in Rome, in 1965. There is a lot more to the story.

This is not a defense of Teilhard but an argument that the circumstances around De Lubac's defense of Teilhard are far more complicated than your statements imply and that in any case one should not be altogether dismissive of De Lubac because of his writing about Teilhard.

Mark Brumley

Was the Cardinal the reason the monitum had to be repeated in 1981?

You mean, was De Lubac the reason Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Casaroli sent (then) Msgr. Poupard a letter on behalf of John Paul II marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Teilhard in 1981 and honoring Teilhard, and the reason the Vatican Press office stated that reservations regarding some of Teilhard's views had not been reversed by Casaroli's letter of praise?

I don't know.

W.

It is worth remembering that de Lubac said over and over that the understanding many Chardin critics had was not his. In his book of memoirs, At the Service of the Church, he takes pains to show that even his close theological friends had a different understanding of Chardin than de Lubac had. Perhaps de Lubac was wrong in how he understood Chardin on some key points, but he was often defending or clarifying an understanding that the Chardin critics were not arguing against. de Lubac seemed to think they were arguing against or for different things.

At one point (111), he names Maritain, Charles Journet, and Dietrich von Hildebrand as critics who were arguing against a different Chardin than de Lubac was putting forth, what he called "the real Chardin." These critics had "launched ... impassioned attacks stemming from misinterpretations or, more simply, from a lack or reading." Regardless of who was right, de Lubac makes it clear that he is not defending what they are arguing against. I recommend reading the whole section on Teilhard de Chardin in his memoirs and the appendix too.

Justin

Finally. Wasn't this book supposed to be released many months ago?

Justin

John Michael Keba -

"We must ... recognize that his [Teilhard's] problems, thanks in part to him, are already no longer our own. In order to understand certain orientations and emphases of his thought, in order to do justice to what was both most daring and most timely in it, a work of historical reconstruction has becom necessary. We must bring to mind again the situation of the religious and conservative worls in France around 1900, the interior exhile of Catholic society, the theology current at that time, as well as the positivist, determinist and antireligious mentality then dominant. Neither the denigrators nor the admirers of Teilhard ordinarily precieved the historical importance of his effort to establish, in the face of obstacles coming from two antagonistic poles, a spiritual interpretation of universal evolution that included the transcendence of man, the value of the personal being, freedom, openness to God, consummation in Christ" (Henri de Lubac, "At the Service of the Church - Henri de Lubac Reflects ont eh Circumstances that Occasioned His Writings", Ignatius Press, 1993).

John, I have never had much of a taste for de Chardin. That said, I think people are often unjust towards "dead theologians" (well, even ones that are still alive) without appreciating the difficulties, culture, etc. of the time in which 'such and such' a person was writing.

De Lubac found the general impetus of what de Chardin had tried and was trying to do worthy enough to "write three books" about him. However, de Lubac also said that there were problems in his work.

Should we write off every theologian who attemps to do something novel, controversial, and should we write them off if we find out later that there were blatant errors in their work, even things against Church teaching?

Great. Lets Start:

1. Origen
2. Turtillian
3. (Start listing most of the Church fathers)

50. Augustine

100. Thomas Aquinas

300. von Balthasar

360. Joseph Ratzinger (also known as 'the pope'). Provided your principles, we should write off Joseph Ratzinger because he has often and publically applauded the work of von Balthasar who 'dared to hope' that all men be saved. Heresy.

--

One's intentions go a long way in determining how to deal with their though. De Chardin, like Augustine, like Origen, like Aquinas, like von Balthsar (not to equate all of them) were well intended people, only wishing to deal with difficult questions and advance our understanding of the world and All Things Divine.

Constrast that with people like Hans Kung whose work is virtually a slap in the face of the Church that he says he is a part of.

Don't completely write off de Chardin. Like I said above, I have never really liked his work. That said, he did have good intentions.

Don't write off de Lubac. He was a great historical theologian.

And I won't write off Thomas Aquinas due to the fact that he denied the Immaculate Conception. ;)

John Michael Keba

Sorry for the delay in my replay - I unexpectedly lost Saturday.

"Your question implies ignorance of the whole story behind the monitum and about the De Lubac's role in explaining Teilhard."

"Question" - a request for information or for a reply, which usually ends with a question mark"

Please re-read my two posts, Mark - everything referenced to the Cardinal is a question, and questions do indeed imply ignorance. Unless you are proposing a new understanding of the interrogative, by which questions may only be asked by those not in ignorance, by definition, a person who asks questions is not "leaping to conclusions" about anything. I will say, though, that your knee-jerk reply, your leaping to conclusions about my "leaping to conclusions" suggests a rather unhealthy devotion to the Cardinal's writings on your part. It is positively cultish.

As for actually mentioning his elevation to cardinal, and the Vatican Press release (with emphasis, no less!), argumentum ad verecundiam is a fallacy. But given that, between the two of us, I am the one who refers to the Cardinal properly, with his title, and not rudely and vulgarly without it, I'd say that it is I who actually respect our previous Holy Father's elevation of the man to that rank, and not you.

W and Justin, thank you for your thoughtful replies. I do not "write off" the Cardinal's work, Justin, though I do write off de Chardin's (I am sorry, but I ultimately regard de Chardin's writings to be as pernicious as Kung's, whatever his *intentions*); I simply found it hard to reconcile the Cardinal's "grand scale" defense of de Chardin over three books (one book, under obedience to the Jesuits is understandable) hard to reconcile with the article's claim for his defense of Tradition. Which, of course, prompted my questions. As I wrote above, I found the disconnection between the two jarring.

Mark Brumley

"Your question implies ignorance of the whole story behind the monitum and about the De Lubac's role in explaining Teilhard."

"Question" - a request for information or for a reply, which usually ends with a question mark"

Please re-read my two posts, Mark - everything referenced to the Cardinal is a question, and questions do indeed imply ignorance. Unless you are proposing a new understanding of the interrogative, by which questions may only be asked by those not in ignorance, by definition, a person who asks questions is not "leaping to conclusions" about anything. I will say, though, that your knee-jerk reply, your leaping to conclusions about my "leaping to conclusions" suggests a rather unhealthy devotion to the Cardinal's writings on your part. It is positively cultish.

If you want to have a real discussion and not just a smart aleck exchange, I would be happy to do so. But I don't have time to trade cutesie remarks on the nature of questions and ignorance or to deal with ad hominem characterizations of my argument as "knee-jerk" and my support for De Lubac as "positively cultish" or my not using the title Cardinal as being "rude" and "vulgar". If you can't engage in constructive discussion, then please don't post here.

John Michael Keba

"If you can't engage in constructive discussion..."

Like my reply to Justin?

LOL. Can you engage in a constructive discussion about Cardinal de Lubac or Teilhard de Chardin? The evidence suggests not.

John Michael Keba

"If you want to have a real discussion and not just a smart aleck exchange..."

It's funny, I was actually expecting a recognition on your part of your own "smart aleck" replies. Silly me.

Mark Brumley

John, I am sorry you don't see the problem with your manner of discussing De Lubac.

John Michael Keba

Mark, I will take one more stab at this.

I read an article about the Cardinal that was genuinely interesting, and made me want to read more of his thought (just as you suggested); however, one part of it gave me pause.

I posted some questions, and received replies from 4 people - three of which genuinely sought to answer my questions as questions. You wrote sentences like this:

"Your question implies ignorance of the whole story behind the monitum and about the De Lubac's role in explaining Teilhard. For example, you say nothing about the fact that De Lubac was assigned by the Jesuits in 1962 to write a book in defense of Teilhard."

Genuine questions always imply ignorance, and should never engender hostility in those who answer them. You decided, though, to treat my questions as rhetorical (as evidenced in the quote above, where you assume that I knew of, but failed to mention, then Fr. de Lubac's assigment). You chose to reply to my questions sarcastically.

Now, the editorial tone of this blog is almost always one of sarcasm when it deals with people with whom it disagrees. Fine. That is its style. But don't "p--s on my shoes and tell me its raining." If you employ sarcasm, expect it in return. Carl Olson, to his credit, understands this. Yours, however, is the position of the playground bully who cries foul when he is pushed back.

But you are ultimately right - there is no point continuing this.

John Michael Keba

Again, and then no more, it is you, Mark, who apparently cannot see the problems with your original replies:

"you say nothing about the fact that De Lubac was assigned by the Jesuits in 1962..."

In effect, you state here that I was guilty of willful deceit concerning the Cardinal. You dismissed my questions as questions, and chose, on no evidence whatsoever (I never wrote a word about the Cardinal before Saturday), to regard them as rhetorically malicious.

I am sorry that you cannot see that yours is not the high ground here.

Mark Brumley

John, I think you need to re-read your questions and the manner in which you presented them.

The fact that I used the word ignorance in connection with your question does not oblige you to make the smark aleck comments that that's what questions involve or imply that I am giving a new meaning to the term question or that I'm cultish about De Lubac, or was rude or vulgar in connection with my references to him, etc. These are over the topic remarks.

Of course, assuming a question is sincerely posed and not posed to provoke or for some other dubious reason, the one seeking the answer to the question is ignorant of the answer. My response to you wasn't aimed at that fact but at the fact that your question implied a greater ignorance of the subject matter than that and that your other comments implied insufficient awareness of the facts of the case to justify the stance your questions and comments implied about Cardinal De Lubac's status in relation to the Church.

If you will go back and carefully read my initial response to you, I think you will see that it is not belittling as you suppose, even if it doesn't concede anything to the manner in which you posed your questions or made your comments. If you are genuinely as ignorant of the subject as your last posts suggest, then I would recommend that you read up on the subject before you post provocative questions about it in public. If you don't realize that they were provocative, then that only underscores the fact of your lack of knowledge regarding the subject matter.

What's more, ignorance is not justification to ask any question whatesoever or to frame a question in public in any way you like, as the cliche about whether one has ceased beating one's wife makes clear.

Now, the editorial tone of this blog is almost always one of sarcasm when it deals with people with whom it disagrees. Fine. That is its style. But don't "p--s on my shoes and tell me its raining." If you employ sarcasm, expect it in return. Carl Olson, to his credit, understands this. Yours, however, is the position of the playground bully who cries foul when he is pushed back.

I try to avoid sarcasm. Occasionally, it can be helpful. Usually, it isn't. To the extent there was rhetorical sarcasm in my comments above, I think it was mild and maieutic. Generally, I allow Carl a range of editorial judgment on this blog with respect to sarcasm. Occasionally, I think, I have said a thing or two about it. At times, there is more here than I would be inclined to tolerate myself, but probably not more than is reasonable for me to allow Carl to tolerate. At least I don't think so.

That, then, is why others may be willing to tolerate the kind of tone that I believe characterizes your comments to me but why I am not. You may call it the response of a bully who is pushed back but my replies are substantive, not bullying, and I am not willing to tolerate what I regard as ill-manneredness in reply to substantive rebuttals, regardless of what others are willing to put up with.

Since I regard my comments above as hardly sarcastic at all or only mildly and appropriately so, it follows, if I accept your premise that you are setting out to give as good as you get, then your comments in reply should be only mildly sarcastic. I do not think that would be a fair characterization of your remarks in reply to mine.

Your last post--which characterizes my intent as accusing you of deceit (not simply incompetence or inadvertence or poor judgment in argument but deceit) makes me ill-disposed to continue talking to you or to allow you to continue to post here. You are a guest here. If you cannot behave like one, then I am not going to allow you to continue to be here.

However, if you are willing to change the tone of your contribution to the discussion, I am happy to permit you to continue to post.

David Quackenbush

Has the Church ever issued a public statement identifying the difficulties with Chardin's work? Is the original monitum as specific an official or public characterization as there is?

David Quackenbush

Has the Church ever issued a public statement identifying the difficulties with Chardin's work? Is the original monitum as specific an official or public characterization as there is?

D. R.

"If Cardinal de Lubac "devoted three books on a grand scale to the defense of his confrere and friend Teilhard de Chardin," isn't that enough to warn against him as well?"

It is as clear as a clear blue sky that De Lubac respected his friend Teilhard. De Lubac's works defended his friend well from really simplistic attacks. De Lubac's books, I read 2, "The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin" and "The Faith of Teilhard de Chardin" praise Teilhard extensively. The Church can warn against Teilhard all it wants but De Lubac never did anything but give Teilhard the high praise he deserved. If anyone talks about De Lubac and Teilhard then I suggest they pick up the books and read them. Otherwise their comments will really sound ignorant.

D. R.

"If Cardinal de Lubac "devoted three books on a grand scale to the defense of his confrere and friend Teilhard de Chardin," isn't that enough to warn against him as well?"

It is as clear as a clear blue sky that De Lubac respected his friend Teilhard. De Lubac's works defended his friend well from really simplistic attacks. De Lubac's books, I read 2, "The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin" and "The Faith of Teilhard de Chardin" praise Teilhard extensively. The Church can warn against Teilhard all it wants but De Lubac never did anything but give Teilhard the high praise he deserved. If anyone talks about De Lubac and Teilhard then I suggest they pick up the books and read them. Otherwise their comments will really sound ignorant.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight

Twitter


Ignatius Press


Catholic World Report


WORTHY OF ATTENTION:




















Blogs & Sites We Like

June 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad