Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 16, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Revelation helps us share in God's life
Re: "Love comes before truth, says Newman prof" (WCR, March
From the stream of letters to the WCR (April 9) it is clear that many
readers misunderstood Therese Jelinski's report on my Vita Nova lecture
to the people of Prince Albert.
Make no mistake about it, truth cannot be separated from love. What
happened between the Enlightenment and Vatican II's Dogmatic
Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) is that truth had been
stressed to the detriment of love.
One need but give a cursory glance at the Dogmatic Constitution on
the Catholic Faith of 1870 to see that the main concern of the Church
fathers was to counter those who claimed that it was impossible to have
knowledge of God.
Chapter two insists that supernatural revelation (the Incarnation of
God in Jesus) is knowable. In chapter three we are told that we believe
this to be true "not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by the
natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself,
who makes the revelation and can never deceive or be deceived."
Not until Dei Verbum did the Church shift the emphasis from the
possibility of knowing God's revelation to its content and goal. The
first sentence of Dei Verbum trumpets the change - "This most
sacred synod takes its direction from these words of St. John: 'We
announce to you the eternal life which was with the Father and has
appeared to us. What we have seen and have heard we announce to you, in
order that you also may have fellowship with us, and that our fellowship
may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ' (1 John
There is no mention of truth. The accent is not on whether one can
know the supernatural revelation of God; it is on the Incarnate Son who
has appeared. This is what Christian revelation is all about.
The second conclusion we can draw from the passage from 1 John is
that the Son has been seen. And if he has been seen, it is so that those
who have seen him may have fellowship with him and with the Father.
What Jesus does is reestablish our relationship with God. In chapter
one we are told that God willed this renewed fellowship. The Father
wanted us to have access to the love that the Father and Son experience
in the Holy Spirit.
In other words, the whole purpose of revelation, the goal of God's
plan of salvation, is that we be given a share in the Godhead, that
through the Incarnate Son we become one with the Father and the Holy
Spirit. This is the deepest truth about Jesus and his mission.
And the way we come to know it is through his self-sacrificing love,
his death on the cross and his resurrection into glory. We can and we
must proclaim the truth of God's love.
But that truth will never sink home unless love accompanies our
preaching and teaching. There is no one who knows the truth about love
who has not first received love.
Yes, love comes before truth and we have the full revelation of God's
love in Jesus to thank for it. On the cross, the Incarnate One loved the
world; the world's response was to reject the truth of that love. Only
after the resurrection could Jesus ignite the flame of love that would
lead to true fellowship.
David Norman, ofm
Eucharist perpetuates real presence
I am responding to Father Ron Rolheiser's article March 26, "The
sacrificial role of the Eucharist."
He writes "What the Eucharist makes present is not an iconic
Christ to be adored or even consumed, but the reality of Christ's dying
and rising as an event to be participated."
The Eucharist is exactly what he says it is not. Now let's examine
his stories: "One day his pupil wanted God's presence so he
searched for the place in the woods but couldn't find it. And he did not
know how to light the fire and say the prayers or do the dance. All he
knew was how to tell the story.
"But it worked. He discovered that whenever he told the story of
how the others had found God, God would appear."
The fact is that Christ instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper.
He told this not to any disciple or pupil but to his Apostles, his
priests and their successors, and gave only them the power to bring down
the Christ on the altar, not any disciple or pupil who wishes God's
The Catholic Church was established and organized as an institution
right from the beginning. They changed the Sabbath to Sunday.
The purpose of the Eucharist is to perpetuate Christ's presence and
salvific powers among us till the end of time. Protestants believe in
the symbolic presence of Christ in the Eucharist; Catholics believe in
the real presence.
WCR should provide light of truth
At a time when the North American Catholic Church is in decline and it's
members are lost I would hope that the Western Catholic Reporter would
be a strong light of truth. Reading your article: "God bigger than
the Church" (WCR, April 9), I feel sad.
The Catholic Church and only the Catholic Church is the Body of
Christ on earth. It teaches the whole truth, the "fullness" of
that truth. It is not helpful to cloud the issue with such articles.
Although it may help the other faiths feel less alienated we miss the
opportunity to tell them here, here is the way!
Please be faithful to Peter, the vicar of Christ, Pope John Paul.
Your humility is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Pope John Paul has more Holy
Spirit than you or I will probably ever have. That's scriptural!
Mother Teresa taught her nuns "Obedience is holier than
sacrifice." Please I beg of you as a fellow Catholic and follower
of Christ please support the truth. Please don't scandalize the Church
with cloudy ideas from "theologians" that may or may not be in
My wish is that you quote John Paul more and far-out theologians
less. Thank you.
I will pray for you, as well as for the North American and German
Catholic Church which greatly need our prayers, as they have little
faith and have strayed far.
Disabled children bring blessings
In response to Philip Little who condemned Bishop Fred Henry for his
stance on abortion and who supported Jean Chretien and Joe Clark, as
well as Pierre Trudeau who instigated the slippery slope to the Supreme
Court's decision on abortion (WCR, April 2).
Like many others Mr. Little is either uninformed or is in denial
about who is having abortions. A recent study done in the U.S. indicates
it is not teenagers, rape victims or women who have been diagnosed with
an unhealthy fetus. Over 30 per cent of women having abortions are
healthy, affluent career women, some are married and many are repeaters.
Taxpayers resent being forced to finance irresponsible women's
behaviour. The rest of us planned our families according to our income
and commitment, with some sacrifices.
The sad story of the mother who had a handicapped baby now says had
she known before birth, she would have considered an abortion.
If the same mother had the good fortune to have a perfect baby who
later met with an accident leaving the child permanently disabled, would
she agree to terminate the child's life?
Many parents of disabled children remark on the blessing of these
children that have enhanced their lives. We all have crosses to bear,
usually no more than we and God can handle.