Emeriti Faculty

Yves Congar and Vatican II - Picking Up Lost Conversations

A Great Theologian at the Great Council Picking up Lost Conversations

Fr. Hilary Martin, OP, DSPT Professor Emeritus

Vatican II CouncilI - The work of a Council is, of course, the work of the bishops. All of the documents run through their hands and they vote on all measures either to approve or disapprove them. The interaction between the bishops is important, as they learn from each other. At the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) there was a great deal of hustle and bustle as the bishops from various continents got to know each other better, listened to each other and heard first hand about the needs of the church, of non-Christians and of the secular world. The work of the Council was supervised by the primary bishopric of all of Christendom – the Holy See – the Pope and the members of the Curia whom he has appointed, its commissions and committees. Bishops were present at these meetings, of course, but the lion’s share of the advising and preparing of the council document was done by a corps of theologians and periti who stood behind them. The theologians and periti edit and produce trial texts for the bishops to review. They attend to the various modi (suggested amendments) as the texts flow in from different interested parties. They are revised, amended by the bishops, reviewed again (often more than once) in committees and commissions before being presented for a final vote on the Council floor. The invited theologians and periti, are part of the standard apparatus of a General Council. (It has been suggested that as well as a magisterium of the bishops there is a magisterium of theologians – although this idea has been bruited about humorously from time to time it has never been accepted.) At Vatican II, as in all Councils, theologians played an important role in shaping and forming the work of the Council, which was crystallized by the bishops and the Pope. The work by the theologians is anonymous and hidden, but its influence is present none-the-less. The long review and amending process is one of the reasons why most votes when finally taken on the Council floor usually run 2,200 or more in favour and only a handful of votes against. Opposing views have been accommodated in the process of revision and negative votes avoided.

Yves CongarOne of the important theologians at Vatican II was the Dominican, Yves Congar. This past June (2012) a Conference was held in Sydney, Australia, to celebrate the publication by the Australian Theological Forum of the English translation of Congar’s My Journal of the Council, his daybook of the Second Vatican Council. The Council, which opened 50 years ago on October 11,1962, was not so much an event as an experience, the most important experience shaping Catholic life in the last half century. The Sydney Conference provided a good opportunity to revisit the work of the Council and Congar’s role in it. My Journal of the Council records Congar’s reactions as they occurred day-by-day and is a wonderful window into the actual workings of the Council. He was a great journal keeper (he had written four others at different times in his life) and this particular journal records the activities that took place on and off the Council floor against the backdrop of Pope John XXIII’s desire, as he called it, to open windows and air out the church. Congar wrote his journal with insightful haste each day and with very little editing afterwards. He was frank and wrote before he could possibly know how things were going to turn out. Congar seemed to know everyone, certainly all the major figures at the Council, bishops and non-bishops, the Protestant observers, lay-folk and the members of the media. He confides to his journal (and us) about how drained and tired he felt after a long day. Sometimes he was barely able to walk to his room after hours of being polite to people at tense meetings, of having to stand for long periods and of listening closely and giving impromptu interviews. He found the liturgies in the aula to be entirely too long and too princely (Journal p. 657.) A colleague who worked closely with him, Mgr. Philips, had a heart attack during the Council. Others had to withdraw from the Council because of fatigue (Journal p. 826). Congar felt their loss. During the last months of the Council the pressure on him grew more intense as deadlines approached. Throughout his journal, Congar remains objective, but his biases are revealed. His anger is revealed as he bcomes aware of sly manipulations attempted by his enemies to thwart his efforts. There are sixteen official Documents of Vatican II that were approved by the bishops and signed by the Pope. Congar had some hand in almost all of them, intervening at various stages of the debates, attending endless committee and commission meetings, designing strategies (i.e., politicking) to get items presented and editing, reviewing, writing the final texts of many of them. It was a busy and multitasking operation.

His theological interests included: ecumenism, (i.e., Catholic relations with other Christian communities); interreligious dialogue (i.e., the Church’s outreach to non-Christians); the dignity and freedom of the human person; the final goal and ultimate purpose of a human life in a commercialized industrial world; and finally the dialogue of the Church with the modern world. Congar’s journal reveals the work he put into many texts specifically, Lumen Gentium, Ad Gentes, Presbyterorum Ordinis, Dignitatis Humanae, and the substantial part he played in the drawn-out evolution of Gaudium et Spes, i.e., The Church in the Modern World.

Speakers at the Sydney Conference confirmed that for Congar, all good theology is pastoral, i.e., it must affect people in a practical way and also that all good theology is theoretical because it must flow from an intellectual understanding of the Scripture. (As confirmed by Antony Mahr in his paper given at the Conference) As we sat down to business at the Conference, we anticipated looking into an exciting past that is still very much with us and we were not disappointed. On the whole, the papers were quite good and over the course of the long weekend we witnessed Congar’s pastoral and intellectual influence on us through My Journal of the Council. Major papers were given by Joseph Komonchak, who has done so much work on the history of Vatican II, Gilles Masson, O.P. of the Edition du Cerf, Janette Grey, RSM and Fr. Andrew Kania, a married Maronite priest (who gave a timely reminder - with a certain sting attached- about the abrasive relations that continue between Latin Catholics and Eastern Catholics in Sydney 50 years after Vatican II.). The Conference enlightened us about Congar, his ecclesiology and the ongoing influence Vatican II has had on the life of the Church, an influence we often take for granted. Over twenty papers were presented and while it is not the purpose of this article to review them all, it is valuable to keep their words and spirit in mind by borrowing ideas from them so as to communicate the richness of the interaction between the audience and speakers.

The purpose of this article is to give readers a brief overview of the theological credentials Congar brought to the Council and then to mine his Journal for the contributions he made to the Council’s work. The Sydney Conference papers will be published by the Australian Theological Forum (AFT), the publisher of My Journal of the Council, Yves Congar, OP.

Yves Congar and Joseph RatzingerII - Congar was well prepared for the roles he played at Vatican II. His experience with ecumenism, for example, began early in his life. He was born in 1904 in the Sedan sector of northern France near the German border and was acquainted with German Protestants during the First World War and between the Wars. He remembered that when his parish church was rendered unusable during WWI the local Protestant parish opened their church to the Catholics. When he entered the Dominican Novitiate he brought with him a desire to work with non-Catholic Christians and continued this as a personal goal when he began his studies in 1931, although at the time it was not thought to be a good career move by his mentor and Regent, Marie-Dominique Chenu. The Dominican house of studies (i.e., the studium) was at La Sarte near Liege in Belgium where Dominicans had been exiled during the time of the anticlerical French Third Republic. He wrote Chretiens disunis. This expressed his life long passion for unity which transcended bureaucratic procedures. By 1950 he had published, True and False Reform. This influential article made clear the reasons for his profound dislike of the style and content of current seminary training. His opinions were not received well in Rome or at home. With this kind of initiative comes suspicion and it often means trouble both for and from bureaucracies. Administrators who have spent hours and sleepless nights finally getting everything under control and clearing matters with higher authorities do not want their “apple carts” upset and plans disturbed. Congar’s dislike, however, went much deeper than anything that could be corrected by adjusting bureaucratic procedures or by making a few cosmetic reforms in a curriculum.

He called his approach, which went back to the Fathers, ressourcement. (A succinct explanation can be found in one of Fr. Joseph Komonchak’s keynote papers from the Conference). Ressourcement generated acute annoyance because it asked for a rethinking of a whole academic program. It rattled what he called "the system". A system that was well entrenched in Rome and in the Catholic Universities and seminaries of the Latin speaking world. He wanted what came to be called a return – not so much a return to the Fathers, but a return to the intellectual and pastoral problems the Fathers had to face.

Even in the 1930’s Congar was not an isolated figure – not simply a sort of local prophet. He was part of a community which included Marie-Dominique Chenu and Joseph Foret. They backed and supported each other all through their lives. The ressourcement they proposed meant going back behind the issues that had generated the 19th century theological synthesis. With ressourcement you do not necessarily want to destroy the whole of a system, abandon the great philosophical thinkers of the past (like Plato and Aristotle and the Stoics) or religious thinkers of the past like Augustine and other Fathers too numerous to mention, but rather to remember them and to find out what was happening to them and in their world when they wrote their theologies and after that consider what advances might be made that would fit better to the problems facing our present situation. Congar’s concern was for reform. Looking back from the present to recover the past will indeed generate reform in the sense of reconstructing a past that had now fallen into disuse and disrepair. Reform of that sort is designed to recover a past, even a Golden past, is a good thing, but it is ultimately superficial. A truly deep reform is Janus like-it has two faces- it looks not solely to recovering a past, but looks forward for the better, to a reformatio ad melius. This type of deep reform would result in the construction of something new, something that had never been seen before. This was Congar’s hope for the Second Vatican Council, or perhaps a series of ecumenical councils that would reposition the Gospel in a secular world. It would re-establish a conversation about the faith, about what was the goal of human life in the modern, or better in our contemporary world.

Congar had a great mind and was capable of entering into many areas of study, ecumenism, systematics, ecclesiology etc., but whatever he studied he studied against the backdrop of the contemporary situation in the world. It was a world in which he saw no real theological synthesis, but a state of intellectual fragmentation that was surviving on the remembrances of many past systems. (Not unlike the present situation of post-modernism where pluralism has generated so many dissident voices that none can be clearly heard.) The contemporary scene does not have a crisis of faith as much as it has a crisis of culture, a remark Lonergan would agree with. The Christian dogmas were intact, at least in the minds of theologians, but they could not be heard very well in the world community any longer because the cultural and philosophic framework from which they sprang was not present anymore. There was a need for a new theology (a Theologie Novelle) which would express traditional beliefs and values in such a way that could be understood and be attractive to people in the current situation. Hence he was opposed to the notion of the Little Church composed of specialists and sectarian lay people carrying forward nowadays the obsolescent theology that their great-grandfathers had devised to fit with their great-grandfather’s times. Congar fostered the elements preparing for a new synthesis that had come forward cautiously in a number of Council Documents, significantly those that were hotly contested, as for example, the Constitution on the Liturgy with its call for the vernacular and for congregational participation; the Decree on Ecumenism with its desire to reunify, to reintegrate the churches; the Declaration of Religious Liberty with its insistence on human freedom from all forms of oppression because oppression was inimical to human dignity and to try to resolve problems by dialogue rather than by expressions of arbitrary authority; the Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity, that looked outside of Europe to the Third World; the Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People with its awareness of the need to find a balance between the lay and clerical in the Church; and the Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes wanting to involve the church in a conversation with world, a world beset by fears of deadly wars, by threats of hunger and poverty in an economy producing vast riches, in a world desiring sexual experiences free from any unwanted consequences and worrying about the advances generated by new technology while still craving them.

III - Congar’s influence at Vatican II was enormous. Enthusiasts for Congar often claim that he wrote most of the Documents, that the Council depended on him. This is clearly an exaggeration, there were other theologians working at Vatican II. In a letter of October 17, 1971 Congar explicitly claims that, Ad Gentes was entirely my work, of Lumen Gentium, ch 2 and the numbers 9, 13, 16, 17 are mine also 21, and I was the editor of Presbyterium Ordinis along with Lecuyer. While he claims that he did not work with Gaudium et Spes in this close way, he says that the Document transmits his thoughts. This assessment is perhaps too modest because his Journal reveals his presence at many, many conferences and committees and other Documents show a continuous concern for the themes found in Gaudium et Spes. To give a sampling of the broad range of Congar’s influence at Vatican II while at the same time keeping to the sense of the Sydney Conference it seems best to restrict ourselves to Congar’s work on three Documents, on Ad Gentes (the Foreign Missions), on Presbyterium Ordinis (the Ministry and Life of Priests) and to Gaudium et Spes (the Church in the Modern World.)

Ad Gentes, the Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity, was one of the last texts finished before the close of the Council in December, 1965 and Congar was working on its final redaction on October 19, 1965. Ad Gentes [Being sent to the nations] takes up a familiar work of the Church, her foreign missions. It was no secret that the presentation of the faith was brought to large parts of Asia, Africa and Oceania by Catholic and Protestant missionaries who traditionally had large financial resources and even government support from Europe and North America behind them. The very use of the term foreign missions made it obvious that mission was to foreigners, peoples whose culture was non-Western, non-European. Toward the end of WWII as Western domination in Africa and Asia was giving way to movements for national independence and self determination it became obvious that there would be a time of transition for the missions. There were many predictions that Christianity would recede and Christian enclaves would collapse without their old colonial support mechanisms. That this did not happen was a sign that Christianity had taken deeper root than supposed by outside observers. Survival did not mean, however, that the missions so much dominated by Euro-centric cultural norms could continue on in the same old way. The crisis lay not in mission, but how to make it, Ad Gentes made no apology for that fact that the church is and should be missionary and enter into every culture. This was right because the inspiration for mission flows from the love of God who wishes all peoples to be gathered together to share the Divine life –i.e., to be saved. The Incarnate Christ was the one true mediator between God and humanity and so his Name and work should be made known everywhere. This was important because the members of all the scattered races of humanity needed to be healed and to learn that the destiny of the whole human race was not earthly prosperity but an eternal life in union with God. To accomplish this Christ had established a Church, a new people of God with a leadership (a hierarchy) under the continuing guidance of the Pope, the apostles and their successors who were charged with this task. While all humanity should be reached through the mission given to the Church, Ad Gentes makes the point, then somewhat novel idea, that not all peoples need to be reached in the same way. Congar stressed that effective means and proper lines of action could and should be adopted for different circumstances and at different times. Implanting the Gospel did not require the implanting of an alien culture at the seme time. It was by Baptism that people were incorporated into Christ and into the Church, not by inculturation into Western norms. The members of the Church should be able enjoy the customs, language culture and traditions of ones own people. Moreover, whatever is found of goodness in particular cultures are far from being lost with the coming of the Gospel, but rather are raised, purified and brought to a higher level and reach perfection (9). No one can be freed from sin by their own efforts and so the Gospel must be preached, but even the secular history of the Gospel has been a leaven leading to freedom, unity, brotherhood and peace. The principles as outlined in Ad Gentes would certainly transform the conduct of the missions, but this did not imply a decline in missionary effort or endeavour. Ad Gentes signalled that the whole Church was now to be recognized as missionary in pressing forward the Good News including Baptized lay persons and not only the clerical members of the churches. In a reversal of the old missionary approach, which mostly involved giving forth Church teachings, mission could be undertaken by members of newly founded Christian communities who should be encouraged to share their cultural particular vision of the Gospel to established European communities. Congar spent a great deal of time on the preparation of another document the Decree Presbyterorum, Ordinis (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests,) which he usually referred to a De Presbyteris in his Journal. The decree on priests has been called the orphan of Vatican II and with reason.

After the recovery of the theology for the ministry of bishops and after discussions over the place of laity in the people of God there was little time or energy left to deal deeply with the role of the priest in a changing world. Although diocesan priests were to be in close contact with their bishop, would be in the front lines, so to speak, to explain and preach changes in church practice and theology to their parishioners and others they had to reach out to, the inevitable changes in priestly life and ministry were not thought through in the early stages of the Council. In fact early drafts of a text on the priesthood drawn from the preparatory commission were soundly rejected by the Council Fathers (October 1994). In the last months of the Council racing against the time of closure, December 7, Congar with Lecuyer shaped and formed the final draft of the text we now have and presented what might be called a mixed vision of the role of the priest. There are standard points about gift of celibacy, the importance of prayer and of saying the Breviary although these were now undertaken for the needs of the whole world. The celebration of the Eucharist was his most important role. The ancient institution of incardination and exclaustration to a diocese which tied a priest to his diocese were to be kept in tact, but the rules about it might be modified to meet the pastoral needs of the present time. But Presbyterorum Ordinis also reminded priests that their ministry was directed to all people and they are not confined by the bonds of blood, race or age since they share in the ministry of Christ who was for all peoples. They are to work locally in conjunction with their particular bishop and yet they share in the solicitude for all the churches. They are to be zealous to draw others into their priestly number. What is said in Presbyterorum Ordinis is perfectly correct, but the text of the document could stand further work and looks forward to another. Congar seems to have recognized its unfinished character. In the last days of the Council when time was precious he attended at least one meeting at the committee dealing Presbyterorum Ordinis when he would have preferred to attend a meeting of the committee dealing with Gaudium et Spes, the Church in the Modern World.

IV - As we read the final pages of the Journal, where Congar is working on Gaudium et Spes and time was truly becoming precious with the Council closure date approaching, we become aware again of the complexity of Council procedures, its care for bureaucratic detail and the rapidity with which all work had to be accomplished. Everything had to be completed, absolutely finished by the final date set by Paul VI - December 7th the last working day and the 8th the last day for closing formalities. In the final weeks, Committee meetings multiplied, conversations with important people, like Cardinals, became necessary, Congar’s old seminarian friends, dropped by requiring a minute or two for charity’s sake, warding off impetuous individuals who try to “reach the Pope” so the Holy Father might intervene on a particular issue. In his Journal Congar grumbles to himself and worries about his health in a short line or two, regrets his passivity during the early days of the Council. (Journal ) Gaudium et Spes was finally promulgated on Dec. 7, 1965, the last day of the Council. The text began life at the Council in 1963 as Schema XVII. It was in some way a response to Cardinal Suenins’s call in 1962 for an inner and outer reform of the ecclesia (Journal, p. 233). The Schema was not given a name and was last on the agenda, leaving it easily forgotten and perhaps that was intentional. The Schema included items from several disciplines: a) the moral order, b) the social order c) the community of nations and d) the apostolate of the laity. There was logic, therefore, in entrusting Schema XVII to a mixed commission composed of the Doctrinal Commission and the Commission for the Lay Apostolate. Such Commissions do not meet often and the Schema made little progress until September, 1963 when a major attempt was made to put it into shape at a conference in Malines (Journal, p 313-4). Congar made several valuable recommendations then and in the coming weeks although he was not in charge of this conference. (He was also wary of, the Mariological Zelanti who want to add new flowers to Mary’s crown… this maximising of theology was not healthy, he thought, it would be much better to be nothing, Journal, pp. 313-5). A few days later on March 12, the Belgians present said the text was not ready. It was necessary to say something interesting, for example, something about birth control or peace, or The Schema would not be of interest to anyone in the world. It was thought better to proceed slowly. (Journal, p. 505) The spirit of putting thing off, of waiting for a papal encyclical, was gaining ground. If that happened it would be an absolute disaster suggesting that the church was incapable of showing leadership. The need for a Council statement expressing the concerns of The Schema XVII was given a push forward by John XXIII’s encyclical, Pacem in Terris, April 11. (Mgr Pavan was its sole editor, Journal p. 291)

After a careful reworking of The Schema that took place over the course of many meetings, working with many hands during April and May of 1963, it was thought ready to present to the mixed commission (Journal, p. 293). Important outside voices like Rahner thought otherwise. The text had missed key points, he thought. Congar was not present at the meeting, but was asked later by telephone to give advice on the Proemium and on Chapter 1. He agreed to sit down and “improve the text”. (Once texts had been given approval they were not rejected later, but were improved although after the improvements the text may have hardly resembled its original. This method avoided hurting the feeling and reputations of those who worked on earlier stages of a document.)

In Schema XVII Congar saw the role of the church as the handmaid of the lord among men of good will, the denunciation of injustices showed the influence of Chenu on Congar. Although involved somewhat in the early preparation of the Malines statement, Congar himself had many general criticisms of it. He insisted on the need to begin with biblical statements –not just from natural law- and to develop a Christian anthropology using the theology of image and likeness applied to a human nature complete its social and historical dimensions (Journal p. 291). In late September, the final version of the Malines text was ready, but for a number of reasons, some deaths and uncertainties between German, French and Belgian theologians and so the Schema languished. In the meantime, a group in Zurich with sociological interests had been working on the Schema and presented the text in February, 1964. At the Zurich meeting, that famous first sentence, “The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the men of our time are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well”, was present. The mixed commission now met to look over the text carefully through September, but it could not integrate the theological and sociological aspects and left it as is. A fuzzy meeting of the mixed commission held on March 4, 1964 left Congar very disappointed. It met again on June 5th and felt ready to pass the Schema on to the Coordinating Commission. On June 26, 1964 this Commission changed the numbering from XVII to XIII on the Council’s agenda giving it a higher profile.

By late August (1964) attention returned to the Schema since there was a growing concern that there would be world wide scandal if the Vatican Council failed to make any statement about the Church and her relation to the modern world beyond a repeating a few polite generalities. Behind this fear lay the weight of the new Pope, Paul VI who wanted something said. The notion of the Church in dialogue with the world, in a conversation with the world, now surfaced as a way of proceeding. Congar was again invited to revise the text now titled Schema XIII. This revision, too, did not meet Congar’s own high standards of the type of statement needed from the Council. He felt an absence of a direction in the Schema as a whole, that it should be more Christological and biblical, that some of its ideas bordered on demagoguery (too much Catholic Workers’ Action stuff), and there was a naïveté about the economy. Moreover there was too much on the level of formula, of programs and not enough underlying spirituality (Journal 772) – and it was too long! Throughout the evolution of Schema XVII/XIII there had been discussions about what value - what theological weight should be given to the final text. Many wanted any statement to be at the level of an allocution or a sermon given by the bishops to the modern world, i.e., below the level of a binding church statement, indeed that was the note which many at the Council Fathers had wanted to give to the longest of its Documents. After long discussions the note actually given was a Pastoral Constitution which has proved to be a better reading of the ultimate intention of the Council Fathers. The first part of the Schema was doctrine, the second part a pastoral application. This fit in well with Congar’s belief that all theology should be pastoral and should affect the lives of the people it addresses Catholics, believers and non believers alike. The influence that the Schema has had on the church since its promulgation as Gaudium et Spes shows that it was not based on a passing sentiment but had Biblical roots and intellectual strength. The work of the Council was now beginning to slow down with an end in sight. Congar was himself now busy writing texts for a number of other Documents including; the Priesthood, the Proemium for the Declaration of Religious Liberty (the Document which dying Fr. John Courtney Murray had fathered and now entrusted to him, p. 803). Schema XIII was left waiting for the French and German Bishops to agree so that work could resume on making the so-called improvements on the final text.

On October 11, Congar was informed by Cardinal Felici that the text of the Schema would have to be handed in to the Joint Commission by November 10 if it was to meet the Council’s schedule. Because of the scheduling of the Joint Commission the work on the Schema would have to be finished by October 19th – there were only eight day left! (Journal, p. 806). The task seemed hardly doable, but it was done. After the review by the Commission a final edition of the Schema XIII would be edited and this would be handed over to a small group in order to get the work done. Congar was disappointed not to be included in that group since so many subtle changes can be made by the hands of secretaries, (Journal, p. 843). He did, however, get a chance to correct the final proofs later. Right up until the end there were attacks and hesitations on about this or that number of the Schema XIII which appear in various modi sent in by bishops who wanted to insert this or that into the text and which would cause a change of sense. Many of the last minute modi were about birth control or the bomb. For Congar, there was a need to be vigilant and to fight for it to the end. (Journal, p. 862).

The Schema was voted in the Council and set in stone on the last day of the Council, December 7, 1965, promulgated under the name The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, popularly known as Gaudium et Spes. Tired as he was, Congar went to the Council floor on its last session on December 7 because he wanted to take part in the ceremony quashing the mutual excommunication of Rome and Constantinople (1044). For him it was a happy moment. After 900 years it was time to begin a conversation which the Christian churches, which all Christians needed. A few hours later along with other Documents, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, would be promulgated. It too, was an invitation to pick up a conversation, the conversation between the Church and the citizens of a modern world. It might be said that all 16 Documents of Vatican II were designed to do that, but Gaudium et Spes more than the others. The modern world of the Council, of 1962-5, has already passed away and changed into what we now call the contemporary world. Gaudium et Spes became an invitation to a dialogue and perhaps that it why it went through so many revisions and was so hard to write. Both must know what they are saying or the dialogue will run off the track. Partners in a genuine dialogue do not throw away their principles, but rather help each other recognize and accept the eternal truth that lies within each of them and the truth that always lies before them in the future. Not quite a dialogue with the deaf, but a dialogue between the hard of hearing.

Notes:

Congar Conference Congar conference. Fr.Gerard Kelly President of Sydney Catho Instit. Fr. Paul Babi President of the Board of AFT, a Catholic Maronite married priest. Sr. ? Kiney op worked in the Solomon Islands, now working in Sydney June 20, 2012 The article in the DTC on theology was written in 1939 by Congar, John Lamont author of this review does not think it has been replaced even today. It begins with a history of theology and continues with an account of theology now (1930's). Giving a definition of itself we find three definitions for theology, which are incompatible, and hence we now have a crisis (1965). This turned out to be a disjointed and weak talk. Wait for the papers.

NB. Hilary Putnam gives a blanket definition of philosophy as it was in use in the 14th century Ockamist School

Gerard Kelly, ACR editor on Lumen Gentium "The Church from Abel the Just until the end of time." a 1962 article. Philips May 1963 article clearly depends on Congar. The use of Abel as the beginning of the church starts with Augustine. The OT is holy. The ancient fathers have the same faith as we do. The sacraments have changed but the faith has not. [Aquinas the father of the OT father is substantially the same] Adam is the father of the two cities, Cain the city of this world, Abel the type of the justified, the city of God. cf, Augustine's sermon 341. The fathers thought of Christ as becoming the sacrament of the body of Christ. Thomas says so also, the synagogue is the bride of Christ. In the 13th and developed afterward in the 14th century with Banez, "the church as the universal church of the just,” and baptism narrows this to the visible church. But in 1566 the church is plus visible, plus the vicar of Christ. The definition is a shift from the church as the assembly of to the faithful to each of the heavenly powers. For Congar the new definition was needed but came at a cost, from sacrament as a res to sacrament of salvation.

[To objective thing [res] from instrument of salvation]. A move from the church equals catholic. The "church subsists in" is a rediscovery of the church as a sacrament. Marie Farrell, (Pere Jeffrey was Congar’s secretary) The truth about the laity, the priesthood of the laity. found in Lumen Gentium 1931 in structure in the world, a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. The modes of service which the faithful are supposed to do. The true face of the church in the world. This is truly the faith of the church. The theology of the Holy Spirit is needed for faith. The relation to the source is now possible with transition. Ecumenism. The church of Chalcedon celebrated when Monophysites was still a danger.

Mary is a member of the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit in her.

Conclusion: "Yves Congar and Ecumenism" K., gave a brief, but authoritative review. Congar was born in the Sedan area of France near the German border and knew Germans from the wars. His interest in ecumenism began early in his Dominican life. It was a somewhat personal goal when he began initially and was not thought to be a good career move by his mentor and Regent, Chenu. [They were still at La Sarte in Belgium where Dominicans had been exiled during the 3 Republic. [cf e-mail #4]] He wrote "Chretiens disunis," He had a passion for unity which transcended bureaucratic procedures. By 1950 he had written "True and False Reform." This article was not received happily in Rome or at home. With initiative comes suspicion. Initiative often means trouble both for and from bureaucracies of all sorts. Administrators who have finally gotten everything formally under control and have put all the loose pieces into boxes, who have spent hours and sleepless nights sorting things out, do not want the apple cart upset and things disturbed. Congars's ressourcement approach would obviously generate annoyance although his initiatives were well organized in themselves. The initiative which Chenu and Congar wanted was a rethinking of the whole theological program, something better than the program which was in place. Congar's initiative rattled which he called "the system." That “system” was well entrenched in Rome and in the Catholic Universities and seminaries of the "Latin speaking world."

 

Congar, however, was not an isolated figure -simply a sort of local prophet. He was part of a community which include Chenu and Foret. They backed and supported each other all through their lives. By going back to the sources of a synthesis you do not necessarily want to destroy the whole of the system, abandon the great philosophical thinkers of the past (like Plato and Aristotle and the Stoics) or religious thinkers of the past like Augustine and others too numerous to mention, but to remember them and find out what had happened before they wrote and then to consider what advances might fit better with the present world situation. Going back from a present place generates reform in the sense of reconstructing a previous past that had now fallen into disuse and disrepair. Reform to recover was a good thing, but a reform can also be Janus like, to look ahead and to reformio ad melius - a construction of something that had never been seen before.

Congar had a great mind and was capable of entering into many areas of study, ecumenism, ecclesiology etc., but whatever he studied was against the backdrop of the contemporary situation in the world. (And in a world in which there was no synthesis, but was in a state of fragmentation, living on the remembrances of many past systems.) For two days in this long weekend we happily examined what Congar and Vatican II were doing. He was a man of the Council. If the truth be told he had written much of it. He had a hand in 8/9 of its 16 document and had written much of Gaudium et Spes.

NOTES

cf. Aquinas, Summa, q. 84 a 7. M 4574628 11 Oct. 11 2010 and P 1057310 24 Aug. 2011 [Personal notes taken on an envelop during the Congar conference] Cultures are amalgams of ideals, values and biases. Those living in a culture share rights and responsibilities under a general law, or better the customs of a people. Ideals include things like loyalty. Loyalty broadly taken which could include loyalty to either a governing ruler as in the sovereign in the UK or loyalty to leaders elected according to a democratic principle as in the US and other republics. The ideals held by a culture are not always carried out in practice, of course, but they inform a culture’s vision of itself and last as long as the culture endures. Values are less cerebral and give direction for modes of action, e.g., a culture may direct that the community will take care of its weaker members because that it what we have accustomed ourselves to do, or it may impose that custom an obligation on everyone’s mode of behaviour as in a caste system. Biases also direct action, but usually negatively without any basis beyond irrational cultural choice. Culture embraces the whole range of a society’s experience including the abstract as well as the concrete, the general and the individual part of that experience. Cultures do change and they can be modified either by internal growth and development and/or by external force such as that generated as by a physical disaster (a prolonged series of droughts) or by a foreign invasion. Some cultures are successful in the face of disasters and survive, others simply die out. Although culture cover the whole of a society’s experience which may regard itself as internally consistent and self contained, no culture is exempt from external judgment. Those outside a culture can ask, was a particular amalgam of life experiences worth continuing, were key parts of it even worth pursuing? No culture is entirely independent. All must follow the dictates of the land on which they stand. A desert culture will not long survive in a monsoon swamp. The law of nature is a force, much disparaged, but foolishly so. There are at least three levels of natural law and cultures are dependent on all three of them. There is first the physical level.

A waterfall will over time will erode the rocks it flows over, over time erosion will always occur. There are, secondly, the patterns of growth found in living things They require something to feed on, without some form of nourishment they will eventually die. Life forms that are social must generate numbers within the parameters of their genetic code. They require progeny which are also able in turn to propagate or else their society will disappear. For them, it is a law of nature that they find ways to generate offspring. The human animal is a social animal which cannot survive in splendid isolation. To survive human beings must form some amalgam of ideals and values, and even some biases as well in order to form their culture. (Robinson Caruso shipwrecked on his island did not start from scratch, he was, after all, a cultured English gentleman all the time.) The amalgam that is human culture must follow the law of nature at all three levels in order to prosper and survive. Religion is a social institution which enters into the amalgam. It recognizes the ideals, values biases of a culture but it makes its own judgment about a culture either from a generally received tradition or from a divine revelation. It reflects on them and judges them in the light of its understandings religion are separate from culture and can correct culture

Scattered Observations 2012 Paul Babi, Director of the Congrar Conference, a Maronite married priest. The illusion is to assume that we are in possession of the principles and therefore have the right to impose them. This is the current error the principles must re-emerge form below and o become accepted by the whole of a society. Principles are not to change, but to change others. Their notion of the develop of the church was something like the development of the English Constitution .

A few basic hidden premises which surfaced in a new form every few generations. The ressourcement movement begun by Yves Congar Anything based on competition will weed out the weakest and will work out what is successful and will produce a better product. Universal unchanging values will be cast into the shade and will be regarded as fit for the dust bin. Try to get the whole of Tonto-Philipini's address on the same-sex marriage debate where he discusses marriage from a biological point of view. Children loose their rights and the right of being brought up by two biological parents. Such children are always adopted. and with adoption is a poorer start in life. June 26, 2012. I missed the debate because I had to leave the TV and go elsewhere. There are deep biases against the natural law A computer cannot tell the truth. It organizes information and does this very well which is its purpose. It does not, however, make a judgment on the material it sorts out and so does not tell the truth which is an act of judgment and of the intellect. What do we mean by event? The nest of a rupture or of reform. The speaker preferred to use experience instead. Steven Pulchen father Miriam Perdjert Margaret Mary born June 2012 @ DRH Gadparents,,Tim .... Christie ... Leo phone cell phone: o439802131 Judith Long, Principal of Nugalinyia college 89207527 Dawn Casey -aboriginal woman good talk before the Press Club in Canberra, July 4 2012. She talked about Iba and Ilt as if they were household names which they were, I presume, before the Press Club. Sr. mary Beatrice Anne Thurdrin Kilingkiling Demkardath written by Alanga, Jan. 1999 Peppimenarti many ceremonies there this week July 1, 2012 July 5, 2012, on morning ABC radio. "Having it all" the new feminism is reassessing this as a good thing. Beginning to realizing that the work schedule of men and women are different. Men designed (1800's) a work program for business and arranged it for men. Travel away from home, a wage paid that they distributed. Women having babies have to rearrange their time somewhat away from business concerns for some hours of each day. This whole discussion was for upper middle class women in high powered jobs. Little said about the 40 hours drudges. Abs talk Thursday July 5 2012 Universal values come up against progress where old universal arrangements In a letter Oct 17 1971 Congar explicitly says that Ad Gents was entirely my work, of Lumen Pentium chi 2 and numbers 9, 13, 16, 17 are mine also # 21and the editor of Presbyterian Ordains along with Lecturer. While he says that he did not work with Gaudier ET Spas in this way, he admits that it transmits his thoughts and notations in his Journal show his constant attention. Arlberg, Giuseppe, History of Vatican I, I, Mary knoll, Orbits, 5 v. I II 1997, III IV , V 2006 Scattered Observations 2012 Paul Babi, Director of the Congrar Conference, a Maronite married priest. Their notion of the develop of the church was something like the development of the English Constitution . A few basic hidden premises which surfaced in a new form every few generations. The resourcement movement begun by Ivres Concgar Anything based on competition will weed out the weakest and will work out what is successful and will produce a better product. Universal n=unchanging values will be cast into the shade and will be regarded as fit for the dust bin. Try to get the whole of Tonto-Philipini's address on the same-sex marriage debate where he discusses marriage form a biological point of view. Children loose their rights and the right of being brought up by two biological parents. Such children are always adopted. and with adoption is a poorer start in life. Jine June 26, 2012. I missed the debate because I had to leave the tV and go elsewhere. There are deep biases against the natural law A computer cannot tell the truth. It organizes information and does this very well which is its purpose. It does not, however, make a judgment on the material it sorts out and so does not tell the truth which is an act of judgment and of the intellect. What do we mean by event. The nest of a rupture or of reform. The speaker preferred to use experience instead. Steven Pulchen father Miriam Perdjert Margaret Mary born June 2012 @ DRH Gadparents,,Tim .... Christie ... Leo phone cell phone: o439802131 Judith Long, Principal of Nugalinyia college 89207527 Dawn Casey -aboriginal woman good talk before the Press Club in Canberra, July 4 2012. She talked about Iba and Ilt as if they were household names which they were, I presume, before the Press Club. Sr. mary Beatrice Anne Thurdrin Kilingkiling Demkardath written by Alanga, Jan. 1999 Peppimenarti many ceremonies there this week July 1, 2012 July 5, 2012, on morning ABC radio. "Having it all" the new feminism is reassessing this as a good thing. Beginning to realizing that the work schedule of men and women are different. Men designed (1800's) a work program for business and arranged it for men. travel away from home, a wage paid that they disributed. Women having babies have to rearrange their time somewhat away from business concerns for some hours of each day. This whole discussion was for uppermiddle class women in high powered jobs. Little said about the 40 hours drudges. abc talk thursday july 5 2012 Universal values come up against progress where old universal arrangements are seen as something for the dust bin. Congar Conference Congar conference. Fr.Gerard Kelly President of Sydney Catho Instit. Fr. Paul Babi President of the Board of AFT, a Catholic Maronite married priest. Sr. ? Kiney op worked in the Solomon Islands, now working in Sydney June 20, 2012 The article in the DTC on theology was written in 1939 by Congar. John Lamont, author of this review does not think it has been replaced even today. It begins with a history of theology and continues with an account of theology now (1930's). We find three definitions for theology, which are incompatible, and hence we now have a crisis (1965). This turned out to be a disjointed and weak talk. Wait for the papers. NB. Hilary Putnam gives a blanket definition of philosophy as it was in use in the 14th century Ockamist school Gerard Kelly, ACR editor on Lumen Gentium "The Church from Abel the Just until the end of time." a 1962 article. Philips May 1963 article clearly depends on Congar. The use of Abel as the beginning of the church starts with Augustine. The OT is holy. The ancient fathers has the same faith as we do. The sacraments have changed but the faith has not. [Aquinas the father of the OT father is substantially the same] Adam is the father of the two cities, Cain the city of this world, Abel the type of the justified, the city of God. cf, Augustine's sermon 341. The fathers thought of Christ as becoming the sacrament of the body of Christ. Thomas says so also, the synagogue is the bride of Christ. In the 13th and developed afterward in the 14th century with Banez, "the church as the universal church of the just,” and baptism narrows this to the visible church. But in 1566 the church is plus visible, plus the vicar of Christ. The definition is a shift from the church as the assembly of to the faithful to each of the heavenly powers. For Congar the new definition was needed but came at a cost, from sacrament as a res to sacrament of salvation. [To objective thing [res] from instrument of salvation]. A move from the church equals catholic. The "church subsists in" is a rediscovery of the church as a sacrament. Marie Farrell, (Pere Jeffrey was Congar’s secretary) The truth about the laity, the priesthood of the laity. found in Lumen Gentium 1931 in structure in the world, a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. The modes of service which the faithful are supposed to do. The true face of the church in the world. This is truly the faith of the church. The theology of the Holy Spirit is needed for faith. The relation to the source is now possible with transition. Ecumenism. The church of Chalcedon celebrated when monophysitism was still a danger. Mary is a member of the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit in her. Conclusion: "Yres Congar and Ecumenism" K., gave a brief, but authoritative review. Congar was born in the Sedan area of France near the German border and knew Germans from the wars. His interest in ecumenism began early in his Dominican life. It was a somewhat personal goal when he began initially and was not thought to be a good career move by his mentor and Regent, Chenu. [They were still at La Sarte in Belgium where Dominicans had been exiled during the 3 Republic. [cf e-mail #4]] He wrote "Chretiens disunis," He had a passion for unity which transcended bureaucratic procedures. By 1950 he had written "True and False Reform." This article was not received happily in Rome, nor at home either. With initiative comes suspicion. Initiative often means trouble both for and from bureaucracies of all sorts. Administrators who have finally gotten everything formally under control and have put all the loose pieces into boxes, who have spent hours and sleepless nights sorting things out, do not want the apple cart upset and things disturbed. Congars's resourcement approach would obviously generate annoyance although his initiatives were well organized in themselves. The initiative which Chenu and Congar wanted was a rethinking of the whole theological program, something better than the program which was in place. Congar's initiative rattled which he called "the system." That “system” was well entrenched in Rome and in the Catholic Universities and seminaries of the "Latin speaking world." Congar, however, was not an isolated figure -simply a sort of local prophet. He was part of a community which include Chenu and Foret. They backed and supported each other all through their lives. By going back to the sources of a synthesis you do not necessarily want to destroy the whole of the system, abandon the great philosophical thinkers of the past (like Plato and Aristotle and the Stoics) or religious thinkers of the past like Augustine and others too numerous to mention, but to remember them and find out what had happened before they wrote and then to consider what advances might fit better with the present world situation. Going back from a present place generates reform in the sense of reconstructing a previous past that had now fallen into disuse and disrepair. Reform to recover was a good thing, but a reform can also be Janus like, to look ahead and to reformio ad melius. A construction of something that had never been seen before. Congar had a great mind and was capable of entering into many areas of study, ecumenism, ecclesiology etc., but whatever he studied was against the backdrop of the contemporary situation in the world. (And in a world in which there was no synthesis, but was in a state of fragmentation, living on the remembrances of many past systems.) For two days in this long weekend we happily examined what Congar and Vatican II were doing. He was a man of the Council. If the truth be told he had written much of it. He had a hand in 8/9 of its 16 document and had written much of Gaudium et Spes. NOTES cf. Aquinas, Summa, q. 84 a 7. [His day book?] M 4574628 11 Oct. 11 2010 and P 1057310 24 Aug. 2011 [Personal notes taken on an envelop during the Congar conference] Cultures are amalgams of ideals, values and biases. Those living in a culture share rights and responsibilities under a general law, or better the customs of a people. Ideals include things like loyalty. Loyalty broadly taken which could include loyalty to either a governing ruler as in the sovereign in the UK or loyalty to leaders elected according to a democratic principle as in the US and other republics. The ideals held by a culture are not always carried out in practice, of course, but they inform a culture’s vision of itself and last as long as the culture endures. Values are less cerebral and give direction for modes of action, e.g., a culture may direct that the community will take care of its weaker members because that it what we have accustomed ourselves to do, or it may impose that custom an obligation on everyone’s mode of behaviour as in a caste system. Biases also direct action, but usually negatively without any basis beyond irrational cultural choice. Culture embraces the whole range of a society’s experience including the abstract as well as the concrete, the general and the individual part of that experience. Cultures do change and they can be modified either by internal growth and development and/or by external force such as that generated as by a physical disaster (a prolonged series of droughts) or by a foreign invasion. Some cultures are successful in the face of disasters and survive, others simply die out. Although culture cover the whole of a society’s experience which may regard itself as internally consistent and self contained, no culture is exempt from external judgment. Those outside a culture can ask, was a particular amalgam of life experiences worth continuing, were key parts of it even worth pursuing? No culture is entirely independent. All must follow the dictates of the land on which they stand. A desert culture will not long survive in a monsoon swamp. The law of nature is a force, much disparaged, but foolishly so. There are at least three levels of natural law and cultures are dependent on all three of them. There is first the physical level. A waterfall will over time will erode the rocks it flows over, over time erosion will always occur.

There are, secondly, the patterns of growth found in living things They require something to feed on, without some form of nourishment they will eventually die. Life forms that are social must generate numbers within the parameters of their genetic code. They require progeny which are also able in turn to propagate or else their society will disappear. For them, it is a law of nature that they find ways to generate offspring. The human animal is a social animal which cannot survive in splendid isolation. To survive human beings must form some amalgam of ideals and values, and even some biases as well in order to form their culture. (Robinson Caruso shipwrecked on his island did not start from scratch, he was, after all, a cultured English gentleman all the time.) The amalgam that is human culture must follow the law of nature at all three levels in order to prosper and survive. Religion is a social institution which enters into the amalgam. It recognizes the ideals, values biases of a culture but it makes its own judgment about a culture either from a generally received tradition or from a divine revelation. It reflects on them and judges them in the light of its understandings religion are separate from culture and can correct culture.