February 1980 talk, Serial No. 00904

00:00
00:00
Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

Serial: 
NC-00904

Keywords:

Suggested Keywords:

Photos: 
Notes: 

#item-set-172

Transcript: 

about these three elements in our theme of the monk, the religious dimensions of humanity, and the context of the modern world. And it started to play a little with what is the relation of these three, seeing that the monk is somehow a special sign of and witness to and expression of the religious dimension of all of humanity, and that the monk who lives today is perhaps called to work through the challenges of today also as one way of being more religious, more monk. Then we had started reflecting, what do we mean by religion, the religious dimensions of humanity? We'd seen some quite negative approaches in people like the early Barth, at least. Religion is the moment of man's obstinacy against God. Religion seemed in a very particular way. Bonhoeffer, that we've moved out of a religious age,

[01:03]

series of ages, the ancient and the medieval, and we've come into a religionless age. So we must rethink our gospel and our faith in non-religious terms. And then seen some answers to these challenges in some ways of understanding them. Done a little with what St. Thomas says about religion, and Rahner carrying on the attempt to do a kind of a contemporary Thomism in reflecting upon this openness of every human being to the transcendent. This would be what we would mean here by the religious dimension. And as man sort of ratifies and confirms this openness with his own acts and his own prayer and practices, et cetera, this would be a religious virtue that St. Thomas is talking about. St. Thomas also talks about this intrinsic tension towards God in humanity. Indeed, in all creation, he says, he

[02:05]

has this amazing position of the natural desire to see God, that it is in man and women, and the natural tendency towards God of all creatures, simply because they are creatures, in desiring its own perfection, St. Thomas says in the Summa Theologica. In desiring its own perfection, everything desires God himself. Since, as we have noted, the perfections of all things somehow image the divine existence and perfection. So all things have this tendency to realize themselves. And this human person becomes conscious, becomes knowing, becomes willing. And my own perfection is realized in knowledge of, love of, vision of God. And so within me, insofar as I'm a human being, there is this thrust upward to God. So any human being has this. This is the basic Thomist optimism in Neo-Thomas.

[03:09]

And I think it's in Augustine also, that famous phrase, oh, God, you have made us for yourself. And we are restless until we rest in you. This is built into us, into our very fabric, into our very sort of nerves and bones and things. So there's this inner thrust, quite apart from the whole question of supernatural grace, et cetera. That gets very complicated questions. But right also on the natural level, insofar as we're just human beings, before the questions of faith, et cetera, there is this tendency. And this is religion. Are there questions about this? So we might go into some, when we're now in this series of conversations, going to be talking about the religious dimension there. What do we mean? I've worked out a little. You've got to have a definition if you're going to be Thomist. What I'll mean is everything in human life having directly to do with human persons' relationships

[04:14]

with the divine. So everything in human life, not just cult, not just formerly religious practices, but as the letter of St. James says, visiting the orphans. This can be religious if the intention is to directly express one's relationship with the divine. We say directly here, because indirectly, we believe in faith that everything has to do with our relationship with the divine. But we're talking about this intrinsic openness to the absolute, to the transcendent. And at certain points, the human person wants more directly to give this expression, to give this sort of concretization and outward body, et cetera. And this is the religious moment. So we might just glance a little in the council documents that have quite a bit to say about non-Christian religions,

[05:15]

about this religious dimension in humanity. One could quote all sorts of texts. But for instance, in the document on the church, paragraph 16 on, the council fathers are proposing the thesis that we are only saved in Christ. He is the one Savior. Now, what does this mean? That all these other people are damned? Then they start reflecting on this. Nor is God himself far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God. For it is he who gives to all men life and breath and every other gift. And here's the citation from Acts 17, the sermon of Paul at the Areopagus that we saw yesterday. And who as Savior wills that all men be saved? First Timothy 2.4. This is decisive. God wills the salvation of all men, not just Roman Catholics who are baptized, but all men.

[06:18]

Now, he has willed that only through Christ are men saved. But he wills the salvation of all. So does that mean that his universal will of salvation is absolutely frustrated since we Christians are such a small minority? So they go on. Those also can attain to everlasting salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the gospel of Christ or his church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by his grace strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Here's the whole Christian Catholic position of an implicit desire for baptism, an implicit desire to enter into the church. Not a conscious desire, but implicitly there because a person is loyal to his own conscience, to his own lights. So if you've got a Hindu who very sincerely wants to respond to his duty, remember that religion has to do with duty,

[07:21]

to the transcendent and thus the descendant of the Ganges, et cetera. That person is in Christ saved. And this then is the expression of religious dimension that's fulfilled in Christian grace. Nor does divine providence deny the help necessary for salvation to those who without blame on their part have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God. We're talking here about even those people who might consider themselves atheists or agnostics. Also to them, salvation is not denied. Remember those, what is it? 800 million Chinese, for instance. What are we gonna do with them? There's only 500 million Roman Catholics in the whole world and there's 800 million Chinese. Great majority of them are not that explicitly Christian medicine. What are we gonna do with them? Well, here we're saying not even they can we assure with confidence. Whatever goodness or truth is found among them

[08:23]

is looked upon by the church as a preparation for the gospel. She regards such qualities as given by him who enlightens all men so they may have eternal life. Then one could read all sorts of things from various texts, but then there's a whole declaration on the relationship of the church to non-Christian religions. One could go through the whole ecumenism thing. We've done a little of that. Remember that they are also, were baptized members of Christ's body. They're authentically Christian. We share many things, et cetera. Now we widen this circle. Remember the general talked about all those circles. So the center is Christ and the first circle is the Roman Catholic Church, which we believe has the fullness of the truth, the salvific truth of the church. Then there are the non-Roman Catholic churches, various that share various things, also tied into Christ in a mysterious way,

[09:26]

ensuring some aspects of the Roman Catholic, and we saw in the document also. We might say that they have certain things that we don't emphasize quite as much as we might, et cetera. Then you go from the Christian to the non-Christian religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, et cetera. Then a final circle is all men and women of goodwill. And implicitly, all men and women who are not of goodwill, that we're praying for their conversion, et cetera, who are potentially saved. These are the various circles we're interested in. So we don't want to simply close ourselves up in here, and I think the monk also doesn't want to close himself up in there. And so this gives a wider horizon to our Catholicity, which simply means universality. Questions? We talked a lot about apostasy. What, New Camaldoli or California?

[10:31]

I was trying to make this point, what the main objection to apostasy is. Why do we have this strong belief in this? If we could define this in a few terms, because now that we're talking to these people, it's kind of hit the nail on the head. Well, as I understand it, the whole thing is very disgusting, it's very profound, et cetera. But the basic Gnostic tent proposal is that through some secret esoteric knowledge, we can be saved. And I'm going to share it with some of you. I'm the master, I'm the illumined one. And because I've got this knowledge, and it's this knowledge that saves. So then I share it with some of you, and then through this knowledge, you also are saved. Now, the Christian reaction, it's already in scriptures,

[11:35]

is there's one savior, Jesus Christ. And he saves not only the Gnostically illumined, but the most simple, the person who can't even read, the person who's, you know, the peasant, et cetera. For me, one of the real dangers of Gnosticism is a certain elitism. And the other danger is the old pharisaical thing. We save ourselves through something we've got a hold of, whether it be our religious works, or whether it be some system I've got in my head sort of thing. And it's very diffused today. Up at Berkeley, they pass out these free papers every week that have lists of schools, and you can get into any sort of school about enlightenment through massage, and enlightenment through acupuncture, through all sorts of hypnotism. It's everywhere, you know. There's some, if I could only get my hand on that book that has the secret knowledge that's salvific, then I'm in.

[12:35]

Christiane says it's not there. It's in the living person of Christ who has saved us, and through the cross and the resurrection. Then you get into a father's, some of the, St. Paul's, and we have a true, we have the true wisdom. This is our polemic against them. Who is Jesus Christ, the living God, not some sort of thing written down in some way? But that's the polemical side. The more ironic ecumenical side would be they also are seeking like crazy. They also very well might be following their own conscience. So we don't want to, on the other hand, say you're certainly damned, et cetera, and you're certainly cut off. We want to debate with them to get them out of this sort of self-saving trip. The Catholic position, also the Christian, is very dialectical.

[13:36]

It always has to insist on the uniqueness of salvation only through Christ. So there's this unicity to what we're saying. But on the other hand, it doesn't want to say, therefore, all the rest are, it doesn't want to get, therefore, narrow and closed and bigoted. But it wants to be truly Catholic, truly universal. Because, as we'll see now, Christ also is present to the Gnostic and to the Hindu and to all these people. Is that something? It would be the understanding of people who have heard the gospel of the Egyptian. That's a rough one. Because, for example, it's preached to the people in China and they don't accept it. Hmm? St. John. Yes. Now, here again,

[14:38]

this is the new, one new aspect of where we're in in the modern age. Some have called it the post-Christian age. You don't just have to go to China. The whole of Europe and the whole of America is filled with people who have been to church and at a certain point say no and vote no with their feet and they walk out, et cetera. Now, society as such, according to a very pessimistic reading, is post-Christian. It's decided no longer to be explicitly Christian like a kind of explicit Catholic culture that was around in the Middle Ages, et cetera. So what do we do about this? What? Can they, people who hear the word and refuse it because they didn't hear the word, because of the people who were going to go to church or the way it was put back to them, they didn't really hear the word, et cetera. Yeah, I think that's it. It's a real mystery when people really hear the word.

[15:40]

I remember just this woman evangelist who got on the bus once, one of these Protestant fundamentals, and she just started by memory reciting things from scripture and she sat down at a loud voice saying, and et cetera, et cetera, long texts from Romans, et cetera. And people were just sort of amused. Now, you could say she was announcing the word of God and people were not converting. This was sort of her position. This is it, I'm giving it. And you see it also in some of the Eastern cities. They go out in the parks and they just stand there and they start reciting with a fairly wild look in their eye. People come by and listen a bit and go. So we believe it's not the mechanical repetition of the word of God. It might not even be the mechanical repetition of the Roman Catholic catechism, for instance. So, ooh. Right. And this is, I think, where the whole monastic thing

[16:43]

might very well come in. You know, there's proclaiming it not just by going down in the park or getting on the bus, presumably, and shouting it out, but there's proclaiming it in silence and contemplation, et cetera, with sort of one's whole existence trying to get involved through death and resurrection. Yes. Go ahead. Well, I was just wondering about the same guiding journey of the final outcome. That is, it's not about anybody, it's about everybody. I think you still have to go somewhere based on the fact that the word of God is not only not heard, but is in fact rejected somewhere. But I think that the thing is that, I don't know. But I think, well, in the scriptures, those examples of people who reject the word of God, the Old Testament, the prophets spoke.

[17:47]

I mean, you might have met one person. You can have someone who just moved from a brothel to a monastery. They run off to a brothel, but they just can't stay there. So what, who did they say this to? I'm not sure. Some of the prophets, certainly. I remember during the high point of the Temple announcing that the cities would give up, you know, surrender. It's not like a man. It's just people getting rejected. I mean, the word of God that we reject was back in the temple. I'll say, when you find out that there is a false prophet, there is a fact that a lot of times it's not a part of it. It's in the community. It kind of happens. Contempt is a part of it. Well, there is this, and it goes along again with that. We insist always on the objective truth. Centered in Christ, expressed in the church,

[18:48]

and there in the scripture in a way that it's not in other books, et cetera. So we insist on this objectivity, and it has been proclaimed, and societies have said no in an objective way. And we judge this, and so we'll enter into debate and polemics with the other positions. But then there's the whole business of subjective guilt or non-guilt, and that's just a mystery. The church is very, very cautious there on judging and condemning anyone. We're not held, theologians say, we're not held by faith to believe that even one person is in hell. We're held to believe that there is a hell, that is simply the possibility in human freedom of giving a definitive no to God. Humankind is not just kind of puppets, so there is this possibility. God hasn't automatically programmed us to say yes to him, but one could conceivably say a definitive no to God. But some have, we're not obliged by faith to believe.

[19:51]

Certainly Judas is in hell. We're not obliged to believe that. It's possible at the last moment when he was dangling there, he converted sort of thing. So it's a great mystery. And so even less trying to point the finger at this person or that, and saying you're certainly damned sort of thing. I was talking to a Roman Catholic who does catechetical work. He's a seminarian. He went into one group of young kids. I forget how old they were. And he just wanted to see where they were at and what they had learned from their catechism. They said, what is the one thing that God desires most? One person said, suffering. He said, oh, and what's the second thing that God desires most after suffering? One person said, to be neat and tidy. So these were the two basic insights into the will of God that this little kid had. Now, things can happen later in that little kid's life regarding this sort of ferocious God.

[20:52]

We'll see later some things that Freud has to say about this sort of image of God. Now, the priest will be able to see if that kid finally does, at a certain point, doesn't show up. This is a basic sort of sociological phenomenon and absolutely predictable in Italy, for instance. Little boys and little girls will be there in church and the boys will be up there until about the age of 12 and a half. And then they don't go anymore to church. Now, one can say, and objectively, they are saying no to God and Christ, et cetera, et cetera. But subjectively, you don't know. And sometimes it's interesting to dialogue, but sometimes they have images of God and images of the church that are really quite incredible. And it's very interesting that it's at the very beginning of adolescence and all that that's tied in with, et cetera.

[21:56]

And therefore, he rejects and says he cannot see up to God, how Christ could be both of them. Then he's not rejected again for not accepting that, because the truth seems to him incompatible with what the gospel teaches. According to his own left mind, again. Now, if it starts sinking to a point, maybe there's a mystery that he better follow up. That's something else again. But if he honestly cannot figure out how to work together somehow, the truth of Christ, then there's a saving out there, et cetera. And that's it. I wanted to, just two little things popped in my head about Gnosticism. I remember our prof of the history of the early church, a delightful monk who knew all these fathers, et cetera, and had seen the church through his studies go through all these challenges and heresies, et cetera,

[23:08]

said the most dangerous moment in the life of the church was its confrontation with Gnosticism. And it's just a miracle that it survived. The biggest miracle in the life of the church, according to this, I think, very wise monk, was surviving Gnosticism, because it's extremely intoxicating. You know, you're a good Christian, but you haven't gotten quite all, because I've read this latest book that has something that you haven't got yet. This sort of, there's always this, you know, wanting to get on the inside in a way that I am not and do this through some Gnostic, some secret wisdom sort of thing. And they had various satiric fascinating things of this sort. And the very early fathers had to start fighting at Irenaeus, et cetera. So, and it's around again. You can also see these impossible, in positive light,

[24:10]

often they are the road of young people to get back into the church and Christianity. Often from a secular sort of pragmatistic, positivistic world, they get interested in the esoteric, and sometimes journeying through there. When I was out on the road with Father Berger on the way back here, and he likes to pick up hitchhikers. And it was this young guy, about 23. And he knew everything about the Oriental religions and Hinduism, et cetera. And I kept dialoguing with him. Pardon me? It turned out that he was a born Roman Catholic. He'd gone through the whole parochial school system, and the whole bit, he insisted, about repressive sisterism, all this sort of thing. And then he'd just gone out, absolutely atheist, and then gotten back interested in mysticism through Hinduism, et cetera. And I said, well, you know, there's a whole area of Christian mysticism. He says, yes, he's starting to read

[25:12]

St. John of the Cross, et cetera. And now he has a much more serene attitude towards the church than before. So sometimes, this is also kind of a pastoral counsel, sometimes the best thing to do is not a kind of a direct attack when someone proposes something that's not fully Roman Catholic, you know, insisting, ah, you're wrong here and here and here. But a dialogue, what do they have that's positive that might be an intertension towards the life of the church? For instance, in this document on non-Christians, it says, extremely ironical document, and the basic theological grounds for this is that all peoples comprise a single community, this is the very first paragraph, and have a single origin, since God made the whole race of men

[26:14]

dwell over the entire face of the earth, Acts 17.26. So just build into us, sort of ontologically, we are one community, we have one God. One also is their final goal, this is what St. Thomas is talking about and Rahner and Augustine, this tension that everyone has to the one God. If you're basically a polytheist, and most idolaters are, you see you've got people just going in different directions and they'll probably never get together. You've got the Marxists going in this direction, the Christians here, the Jews here, and materialists here, and that's it, we're just atoms that have exploded, and we'll never, the Christian vision is much more optimistic, and that we've been made by one God and we're called the one God, and this is inside of us all. And one can't say no to this, there's no doubt, self-destruct and whole movements might,

[27:16]

but to the extent that these people in these movements are sincerely plugged in to their deepest lights and conscience, they're going inward. His providence, God's providence, His manifestations of goodness and His savings designs extend to all men, and here's all this text from scripture about universal salvation. Against the day when the elect will be united in that holy city ablaze with the splendor of God, where the nations will walk in His light, this universal vision that I think is important for monks, men look to the various religions for answers to those profound mysteries of the human condition, which today, even as in olden times, deeply stir the human heart. Here I think we've got something about this, man is naturally religious, there's a human heart that's stirred by these basic questions, and religions try to give the answers to these, what is a man, what is the meaning and purpose of our life,

[28:18]

what is goodness, what is sin, et cetera, et cetera. From ancient times down to the present, there has existed among diverse peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human life. So quite before Christianity, there's a certain intuition and at times, indeed, recognition can be found of a supreme divinity and of supreme father, too. Such a perception and such a recognition instill the lives of these peoples with a profound religious sense. We're talking here about the non-Christian religions who had this intuition of God and had this profound religious sense, this is paragraph two. Religions bound up with cultural advancement have struggled to reply to these same questions with more refined concepts and more highly developed language. Then there's quite a positive paragraph about Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an unspent fruitfulness of myths

[29:20]

and through searching philosophical inquiry, esigulis, et cetera. Buddhism in its multiple forms acknowledges the radical insufficiency of this shifting world, et cetera. Likewise, other religions, to be found everywhere, strive variously to answer the restless searchings of the human heart by proposing ways which consist of teachings, rules of life, and sacred ceremonies. So you've got all these religions all over the world, everywhere, that are proposing answers to questions that we're not saying are absolutely perfect answers, but that are helping these people get closer to God when they're good religions and not bad. And here there's footnotes saying, this business about these queries of the human heart that all men feel. The reader of Christian classics will discern here an echo of the famous sentence of St. Augustine's confessions, our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.

[30:21]

And the other bit about all these religions help. The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions. Here there's a reference to a just and martyr. Do you remember that? Very early father, who had this theology of the logos spermaticos. Have you done anything with the logos spermaticos? Remember that Christ is the word, the logos. The logos is the second person of the trinity in good Trinitarian theology. Logos means word. Father expresses himself with such fullness that this is another co-substantial person, the logos, the word. Now this word is Christ. The word was made flesh and dwelt among us in Jesus Christ. Now just and martyr has this theory

[31:22]

that there's these seeds of the logos that precede the fullness of the incarnation of Christ. Seeds that can be found, for instance, he says, in Socrates and in Plato. These are preparations for the gospel just as the Old Testament is a preparation. Not on the same level because not directly revelation and inspiration isn't there. But there are these little seeds of the divine word who is always speaking to humanity in Socrates and in Plato. And contemporary Catholic theologians refer much to this. And if in Socrates and Plato, why not in Buddha? Why not in mystics, et cetera, et cetera? So this footnote refers here that you can hear this echo of just and martyr here. So these are some texts that suggest this quite new approach to these other religions.

[32:23]

Through the centuries, missionaries often adopted the attitude that non-Christian religions were simply the work of Satan. And the missionaries' task was to convert from error to knowledge of the one truth. This declaration marks an authoritative change in approach. Now, for the first time, there is recognition of other religions as entities with which the church can and should enter into dialogue. And indeed, this paragraph too concludes. The church, therefore, has this exhortation for her sons. Prudently and lovingly, through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions and witness of Christian faith in life. Here's his dialectic. Acknowledge, preserve, and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these men, not just in Christianity, but promote the good that's already there in these other religions, as well as the values in their society and culture. Karl Rahner has an article

[33:31]

that Father Bruno pointed out to me. He was to come to the United States and give one talk on the significance of Vatican II, trying to sum it up in one conference. He says, to speak in kind of global terms, you can see, up till now, two key moments in the history of the Christian community. One was the death and resurrection of Christ, and the second was St. Paul, who opens this to all the Gentiles, and thus inserting the Christian gospel into the Greek-Roman culture. And we've been living, I hope not leaving, these two key moments ever since. Now, he says Vatican II is a kind of third decisive moment in the whole history of the church, when we're now opening up, not just to Greek-Roman culture, we've been working with that through Aristotle

[34:34]

and scholasticism and neo-scholasticism and Platonic Christianity, et cetera, but now opening up to every religion and every culture on the face of the world, saying we're prepared to die along with you. We are not saying you've got to convert to a Judo or Greek or Roman culture to enter into the gospel. But what you've got as Buddhists, what you've got as Hindus, what you've got, et cetera, right from within there, you can hear the word of God and live Christ, et cetera. Clearly becoming Christian, but from within that, not simply becoming Christian and adopting a whole series of Greco-Roman cultural and historical ways. Is this true? It seems like a big response to it. Huh? It seems like a big response to it. Latin, I don't know, Syriac, I guess. That's precisely it.

[35:38]

I've seen pictures of, I don't know if it's a Roman Catholic cathedral or just one of the big churches built by the Roman Catholic missionaries in China, and it's very lacy Gothic, something out of Southern Italy or France, right there in the middle of China. And you can see this in India also. Now, what these other people are proposing is that there's an Indian architecture and a Chinese architecture, and all that that architecture also means of language and culture and way of dress and holy texts, et cetera. And it might be from within there. St. Thomas, for instance, uses brilliantly Aristotle and Augustine uses Plato, et cetera. Now, is there a way of using the sacred Hindu texts or Rudra or et cetera? That's the challenge that we're playing with now. It's not that it just began 10 years ago. Well, there were Jesuit missionaries in China, how many centuries ago,

[36:41]

that wanted to do this, but were not permitted. They were required to continue to say the Eucharist in Latin, et cetera, et cetera. But there were these prophets preparing the way as it were, I think, for where we're at now. But here again, you don't want to go astray because it's very subtle distinguishing peripheral cultural elements from the heart of the gospel. So it's not easy, that's for sure. You go into Africa and you announce the gospel in African culture. But what do you do in a culture, an African culture, that from time, from the beginning of time that they remembered, for instance, is, let me call it where a man has many women. What do you do with that sort of thing? Now, monogamy, but what's the opposite of monogamy?

[37:42]

Not monogamy, monogamy is seen by some African Christian theologians as a Western imposition. You get into this sort of problem, just to sketch. What do you do in cultures that simply have no wine, for instance? Wine is the basic drink in the Holy Land and certainly in Greece and in Rome, so no problems. But what about in China, where it might be tea or where wine might be nonexistent? Is the essential thing there the wine or the symbols, basic symbols of nourishment? So you get into this sort of problem, what kind of bread, et cetera, et cetera. So, this sort of thing. What do you do in cultures, in China, which we have a national geography, in China, in the city where there's about 6,000 Catholics still today, and the mass is still being said,

[38:43]

and it's the mass that's being said, and it's all in one place. Say it again. What, sure, no, they're very, yeah. You see, one of the problems, if you go the other direction, is just cultural assimilation. For instance, the Hindu culture can assimilate religions as great, just as a Roman could. And so you accept them and they accept you and you're just another holy card. I've seen some pictures of little sort of shrines of gurus, and they've got Jesus here and the Buddha there and Gandhi there, and it's fine, and you tell them you're, and they say fine, and they put that up there, too. There is this. There's this very syncretistic approach. Ancient Romans had this, where their pantheon, they went into a new nation with new gods, and they said, fine, we'll just accept them all.

[39:45]

So you've got to avoid just a total assimilation into another culture, also in its decadent elements. So it's very, you've gotta really have the eye of the prophet to discern those qualities in a totally new culture that might be pregnant with these seeds of the divine logos, and those elements that are rather expressions of fallen man that are everywhere, also in Greek and Roman culture, on the other hand. So, okay, are there questions coming? So this is sort of where we're at, this religious dimension in every human person. This is our thesis, and now we can just briefly go over some of the qualities of this religious dimension to help us dialogue with it, and then go on to our first famous challenge to this, which is quite a radical, well, we've already seen the first in Barth and Bonhoeffer, but the first non-Christian, which might go away.

[40:51]

So we're saying in every human person, insofar as a human person, therefore created by God and for God, there is this opening to the transcendent, and this dimension, and this kind of interior dynamic going up towards the transcendent. Now, what are some qualities of this, then? According, this is now a classical one-way theology. One is that this religious dimension, thus, is a precondition for being human, to use a very fancy language. That is, it's not a result of a choice that I make afterwards. First, I'm born and established as a human person by God and grow. Then I decide, well, maybe I'll be religious, or I decide maybe I won't be, like I decide maybe I'll be a monk, or maybe I'll be a lawyer, or maybe I'll put on this color clothes, or maybe I'll watch this program, et cetera. It's not like that.

[41:53]

It's not on the level of choice. It is on the level of choice, but that's not where it begins. It's deeper than that. I am religious, just like I'm physical and also spiritual. I need religion. This is, I need food and drink. I can decide not to eat and to starve myself, even quite to death. That is a second choice. It comes in a second moment, sort of against me and self-destructing. So, a choice not to be religious, according to this analysis, which I think is based in scripture, et cetera, and just let me see if it, um, so, it's inside of us, and it's right in our being human, and so it's not, as we might sometimes think, the result of a second moment's choice. I think sometimes we have this sort of a general impression,

[42:54]

well, he's chosen to be religious, he's chosen not to be religious, but they're two fully human beings as such, that is, you can be fully human and be religious or not. That would be the opposite of this thesis, and we're saying no. If you're fully human, you're going to be as fully human, religious, before even any question of divine, supernatural grace, et cetera. Another consequence of this is it pertains to the whole of the human person. Here you can get into some interesting debates with people and some interesting presuppositions that we sometimes have. For instance, what do we mean by religion? Schleiermacher, a great Protestant theologian of the last century said, what is religion? It's that profound feeling in every human person of dependency, of being contingent. It's that feeling that opens me up to the absolute,

[43:55]

to the he who created me sustains me. So in every person, there's this feeling of contingency. Now, this might seem good, and it might be thus a way to get this universal religious dimension in all of humanity, et cetera, and sort of identify it on a kind of an experiential level, et cetera. And lots of theologians are neo-Schleiermacherian, and lots of Christians are too. She's profoundly religious. She's got all these beautiful religious sentiments in her sort of thing. That is, they tend to locate religion at a profound level of sentiment. Now, Barthes is ferocious against this. He says this has nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ, who was talking not to deep feelings of dependency, but was announcing the gospel to a human heart, et cetera. The problem with this is, if it's taken wrong,

[44:58]

and there are people who defend Schleiermacher and say don't understand it in too superficial a way, et cetera, but if understood too superficially, religion is confined to the more emotional level and becomes a kind of sort of irrational emotionalism. You know, I'm religious to the extent that I'm sort of flakey, as you see, a little freaked out. So this is, it's also the feelings, according to our Thomist-Romerian position, but not just there. Kant says religion is what we would call pure will, and there's lots of neo-Kantians around, also in the Catholic circles, and also perhaps in monastic circles. I can't prove that God exists. I can't prove that the gospel is true. I can't prove that the monastic life is right for me, but I'll make this act of will,

[45:59]

I'll leap into the darkness, and with a strong, keep my will fiercely saying yes always, in faith, I'll live my religion. This is what is often called voluntarism. Sometimes you can see it, because sisters, voluntarism, and seminaries, et cetera, kind of a fierce, tense look on their face, and they go ahead, they move day by day, just by a fierce, quite heroic act of will, and you have to admire it. And of course, the will is also very much in religion, and it requires an act of the will, et cetera. But for Kant, it's pure will. It's not reason, because you can't prove it, and it's not feeling, because it's quite beyond that, et cetera. So it's pure will, and there are voluntarists sent around, also again. Now, what's the problem with that one here? Not that we can't believe it.

[47:03]

I don't think so, yeah. It's not our will that saves us, it's Christ. And basically, just opening ourselves serenely to the grace that comes in, insofar as possible, sort of thing. There are moments for heroism, and you've got to screw your will to the sticky post, et cetera. But the Christian and religious and monastic life is continually based upon a heroic act of the will. It should be based on Christ, you see. And religion should be not just the will. Right? So it's also this, it's also this. Some of the mystics, it's interesting, locate the highest mystical experience in the will. Others locate it in the knowing. So there's different temperaments, and this comes out in different styles, so to speak, also of quite profound contemplative prayer.

[48:05]

And one might find this much more helpful than what we'll see coming up now. Mrs. Penoza locates religion in pure reason. But... Yeah. One point I'd like to make. It seems like I'm in a will, but I'm not in the will. I'm not given a baptism. Only to the extent that I really bring my will to an important cause in the will. So in other words, there has to be an act of the will. Now, if, for example, the whole thing of John the Apostle, and, for example, John, I mean, the Spirit, what if you have no, or the psychology behind this, for example, we react, our will, according to various stimulus responses, like the mystical thought.

[49:05]

And if someone says, you're a nice guy, you know, well, you know, I will, I will substitute it on a response, a pleasant response, but what if he says, well, you're not such a nice guy, you know, that, this, and that. Now, John the Apostle would say, you still will, a loving response. Jesus says that, too, you know, you know, the whole thing behind the, you know, it's sort of like a box, you know, going beyond the law, going beyond what comes to you. You see what I'm getting at? You see, so in other words, the point is, you're gonna, at a certain point, you're gonna have to dig deep into yourself like that, and make it, as it were, you're gonna have to, you will have to make this point that,

[50:07]

even though you don't, you have no input, you're just a nice guy, you're a nice guy. Well, sometimes it occurs, I mean, you come to a certain wall, you know, like a real building, and the only thing that's gonna get you through there is an act of will, in a sense, because you're definitely not a shred of evidence of that you're really doing the right thing, you're perhaps wasting your time, and all that kind of stuff. Somewhere, you say, you know, I'm gonna let it take you. Right. So we say our position is that religion, and also faith, getting there, is integral to the whole of the human. So we'll take, it's certainly in the will, and there might be some key moments in the spiritual life where it's almost exclusively pure will. And faith is involved in a very special way with the will, as it is also with the reason,

[51:12]

according to Thomas' theology. But all I'm saying is, if you understand it as just my act of the will, obviously that's not it, even on the simply human level, because it's too partial, but that it also must be the will, and then in some key moments, it's in a very privileged way, the will. And I think in some mystics, it's also very privileged way. The will also is where love is, for instance. Not so much my willing it, but my will is this movement towards something else. And so again, some mystics put the highest moment in the apex of the will, others put it in the apex of the reason, et cetera. Does Kant himself believe in God, or that there's this pure-willing subjectivism? No, no, he believes in God. But he says you can't prove it. All I know is that without God, everything collapses. Morality, for instance, this is his,

[52:14]

without a God, there's no reason whatever to do good. Everyone should think for himself and steal and rob and lie, et cetera. It's only if there's a God, a final judge, et cetera. Now, I can't prove that there's this God, so I'll make an act of pure will that there is this God who holds everything together. Otherwise, it's absolute irrational chaos. This is Kant, and he's Christian and all the rest. A very kind of Luther type Christian. This is very Lutheran, that the reason is it doesn't help us at all, because everything is basically absurd. It's also very Kierkegaardian. Robert, I think you called him a neo-Kantanist, because he had, I'm sorry, what was it? I think he's been called one some days. He considers himself a kind of a neo-Thomas, and he's working through Heidegger, but it's hard to avoid Kant. He's a giant of, for many things. Now, the other one, Spinoza, he locates religion in pure reason,

[53:17]

quite different from Kant, quite a, if you know Spinoza, quite a serene mystic who puts it all together as this immense, huge system where he sees everything plugged into everything else through his pure reason and his syllogisms, et cetera. This is a more kind of Thomist temptation, at least. You know, I can argue myself into any doctrine. I can argue myself into every aspect of Christian and Catholic faith, and so if I'll just be clear-headed enough and lucid enough and rational enough, that's where I live my religion. You've got to be sort of intellectual Thomist-type to get into this kind of trip, but there are Catholics also in here. I remember one of the great neo-Thomas at St. Anselmo, they used to joke that when he would preach Sundays, it would just be a series of Thomist syllogisms. It didn't really convert too many people, but it was always interesting. But you can get into a kind of a style

[54:21]

that assumes that if we're gonna talk about religion, let's start laying down our rational analyses of things, and so on. Now, if we take seriously this Augustinian-Thomastranerian thing, all of these things are true, but partially true. For instance, if you do away with this, you're in real danger because you've got religion as basically irrational, and this is what many, many people in the modern world think. Many people were into science, for instance, physicists and mathematicians, et cetera. We'll see some of that later. But don't say, it's not even that Christianity is right or wrong, it's just meaningless. Like saying booga-booga is booga-booga. We'll see some of this later, but a thing is true or false if I can verify it's true or false. If you tell me that water at a certain temperature starts to boil, that's a meaningful statement. If you tell me that it boils at 70 degrees Fahrenheit,

[55:24]

that's meaningful. It might be true or false, but it's at least meaningful. And I make my little experiment and I say, aha, it's not boiling precisely at that temperature, so it's meaningful but false. Or if you say there's a cat out there in the next room, that's meaningful. We can all go out and verify whether it's true or not. But again, if you tell me booga-booga is booga-booga, I don't know what to say because I have no tools to verify whether it's true or false. So some people say religion is just like that. It's just emotionalism, it's just et cetera. We'll see more about that. So those are some qualities. Thus, it's a precondition of human nature and it's integral, every aspect. It's not irrational and it's not against the human will and it's not against human feeling either at their deepest level. But it's not just one of those things. It's extremely personal.

[56:27]

This is very important. Jesus who calls us by name, this sort of thing. Mary. This is very important in dialoguing with people. God and Christ are there in them, really in them, in their world that they've experienced, in their history, et cetera. So everyone who announces the gospel and who shares the gospel has to have a bit of a gift of Pentecost, of understanding other languages, getting into whole different worldviews, et cetera. And sort of setting aside a kind of a tyrannical, despotic approach that, well, if we're gonna talk about religion, you're gonna get to where I'm at in my categories, my experiences, et cetera. It's extremely personal. So it's in me and it's in all my categories, but it's also in maybe categories that are quite different from me. And so that's personal. It's also communitarian. And this is interesting, where you have these millions

[57:28]

and millions of people who are following the Hindu religion or the Buddhist religion. The contemporary Catholic theology is saying God and Christ are at work salvifically, not just in the individual Buddhist and Hindu, but in the great pilgrimages to Mecca and in the great pilgrimages to the Ganges, et cetera, and in the great mass liturgies, et cetera, when they're in their more positive moments. So just not in a kind of individualistic, intimistic way, but also in the social and communitarian. So those are some aspects of, and now we might rush into Freud, but there's not really time, so we might rush into a five-minute break and then discuss what we've got and start to think about Freud, which will take up about a month from now and right before Holy Week, I hope. So there's that, and we'll see the same thing

[58:30]

with the Freudian challenge. We can just say anything about psychoanalysis or psychology is just a kind of anti-religion, anti-faith and against our own monastic vocation, so don't stay away from it, this sort of thing. But then you can see going through it and then getting into people like Jung and Assaggioli, et cetera, and they precisely through psychological categories open up dimensions, again, of interiority and profundity and religion then comes out extremely important for man's psychic health. So there's these paradoxes that sometimes if you zigzag through, you get there in a way that you wouldn't if you just avoided these very torturous paths. So that's right. We'll see something about that. The real superficiality of certain not so-called scientific syllogisms against Christianity and against God. Yeah, there's a physicist who was just up at Berkeley

[59:35]

who's a good Anglican and profound churchman, and he does this right through the physics, this business of... I'm looking at the library and I'm doubting the physicist. I don't think he's a physicist. I don't think he's a physicist. He presents one particular problem of a philosopher who's in the business of a job and he's a physicist who's, again, appointed to work in the criteria of physics and physics and he's doing this, and that's the question. But would he be able to sum this together And it seems to indicate that at the frontiers of physics, there's a huge amount of reality that seems to verify Buddhist metaphysics. You know, it's like this whole thing, the Bible is a theory. I mean, it's a great theologian. It's way beyond the materialistic determinism

[60:38]

about the science of reality and reality. But it presents a challenge for the Christian to another standard. It's very interesting, very interesting. Yeah, when you get these new positions that are much more sympathetic to us, so to speak, it's not as if they're immediately fully Catholic. Sometimes they're even more challenging than the original. For instance, Jung, there are some Christians who claim that he's more of a threat in a certain way to profound, authentic Christian experience than Freud. You get this sort of debate. Then you get other Christians who are convinced that through Jung, they enrich their whole Christian, their whole religious experience. So then you get into this sort of more complicated debate. But it's at least very interesting. And if you ever meet a young man who's on one of these first or second, at least you can dialogue with him. And also you can dialogue with yourself,

[61:38]

because these things are inside of us, sometimes in a very implicit and formulated way. But all these things are in us, because all of us have heard something about physics and Freud and all this sort of thing. There's another book. What is it called? Dance of the Wooling Masters or something. Father Lewis is another physicist who's doing this sort of thing, that if you go far enough, right down to the particle and sub-particle, that is the ultimate building blocks of matter. You just get into mystery and the unforeseeable. Yeah, quantum physics. These people are saying, for the first time, we as scientists cannot prophesy, cannot predict. That's the word we're coping for. We cannot predict what's going to happen, knowing all the details. There's a so-called Heisenbergian motion.

[62:42]

But it's just, it might do this. So you get into statistical probabilities. But it might do something quite different. You can know everything about it you possibly can. And it's still unforeseeable. You're in the realm of mystery and unforeseen, et cetera, that you get into. But this is this sort of thing. Other comments, questions, problems? Just one kind of reactor as much as we have to work with. For example, people may have a part of a capitalism that won't accept this kind of stuff. I can't step beyond the category. It's just like, in the old days, you didn't have to go all the way through the Jews. They didn't accept the Gentiles to put in stuff. They just called them dogs and everything else. Who called them dogs? Well, he said, you know, if they're going to make a circumcise and stuff, you know, it's going to make them go all the way through. He was going down on the Jews and trying to get rid of them.

[63:44]

Oh, right, yeah. This is always a delicate pastoral question. I don't think you have to hit, if they're serenely Catholic and living their life in advance, I don't think you have to hit them over the head with esoteric, far-out ideas. If it's delicate, I think one can at least try to suggest that Vatican II is a door through which, as Catholics, we should all pass in a certain way. This is the problem with Monsignor Lefebvre, that it's not clear that he's passed that door yet. And if he isn't, then it is difficult to get our act together, because that is a decisive moment in recent Catholic experience, living experience. If they can get through the door, then you've got a whole common ground there that you can start dialoguing about. And there's a stricter way of understanding the documents and a freer way. You start dialoguing and debating that. But if they're not willing to accept this,

[64:45]

this is, then it becomes very difficult indeed. I think you have to deal with every person. One of our monks in Italy, he comes from a very simple worker's family. And the mother is delightful. She's a profound believer and profoundly wise, but in a very simple, sort of peasant way. She doesn't know anything about theology or anything else. And so they sometimes just like to sort of give her a bad time. And she just reacts and gives them a bad time. And it's fun. So there's a type of culture that's quite different from someone who's into the latest that I think is very healthy and very necessary. But if you get a position that's rigidly against Vatican II, for instance, then you're in trouble, explicitly, and sometimes it's implicitly. Any other ideas on that?

[65:51]

I'll follow up with this one. OK. I'm just curious. You said you were a man. You said you were quite a private individual. You said you were a man. You had a society. Do you recall part of your consciousness that you had when you said you were a citizen of Italy? I think it was kind of based on his interpretation of the Vatican. And he was kind of doubtful. I mean, he said the same thing about a lot of men and I was like, who are you talking about? Who's expression was the kind of individual that you were talking about? You know, explicitly, there was a sense that you were some type of individual. But then when you, about 10 years later, you found yourself confronted by a very common kind

[66:55]

of under-composition. You know, there's a religious dimension of man. And sometimes the color of skin, or maybe a person, or whatever it was, it's kind of, well, you were perhaps a boy. I think it's kind of my concern that you were Marxist. So you had a sort of pseudo-expression that you were that person. And I think it's very interesting. And I think it's really interesting that you read, in such a debate, a serial that seemed like more spiritual, because there's a lot of anti-fascism. Yeah. When Cox came out with his thing,

[67:57]

there was a whole explosion of secular theology, et cetera. One of the people to contest him right at the very beginning, it was a very interesting debate, it was Greely, the famous Catholic sociologist, theologian, every month is publishing another book. But his area is the sort of tie-in between sociology and theology. And he's very strong here. And he said, what are you people doing, like Bonhoeffer and Cox, et cetera? You're using sociological categories, and you're using them in a theological context, like secular or religious. He says, you can do this. Like Thomas. And Thomas, what does he do? He uses philosophical Aristotelian categories. Or one can use all sorts of categories in doing theology. But he says, if you do it, you've got to do it seriously. You've got to know your sociology. And this is what I learned, that these are people who are not qualified sociologists, who

[68:59]

are battering about and are kind of a superficial. So then he went into a big thing. But rigorously speaking, sociologically speaking, modern man is not at all less religious than medieval or ancient. Then he went through all sorts of these. He says that the Cardinal of Chicago has no less influence, also politically, also socially, than the Cardinal of Paris 200 years ago, or 500 years ago, or 900 years ago, this sort of thing. And the analysis of the proportion who go to church. And he's used any sort of verifiable category you want. And you can't come up with a claim that modern man is less religious than ancient. So he says, you're just talking sloppily, that's all. So it's interesting. I don't know if we have the book here. I meant to look it up, but I didn't. But Greely, something about the non-secular modern man,

[70:02]

something that's very interesting. And Greely loves polemics. So it was a lovely debate. And as you say, Cox really stepped down from that one. He had sort of romanticized this secular city. In the end, he had to acknowledge that it came to be a nightmare, et cetera, and that the religious, which comes out in play and ceremony, the feast of fools sort of thing, is an essential. I think there's some truth to the whole secular thing. Something has changed since the Middle Ages. But Greely's thesis is it's more subtle. It's more specialized. The church now is no longer pretending to try to have to do everything. The medieval church has the sacred drama and the entertainments and handles the hospital and handles the social services and even the police force and everything else, if you're in one of the religious states. And we're no longer having to do that. But we're concentrating on religion and the faith and the gospel, et cetera. And that's a positive point.

[71:03]

And that the church and churches are not less present in contemporary society, even in France or Germany or the US or South America than they were, again, 100 or 500 years ago. It's an interesting thesis. We might end with that. And as I say, the next time, we'll take up this gentleman, C.E. Freud.

[71:27]