Friday, November 12, 2010

Verbum Domini The Pope's new document on the Word of God

Pope Benedict has just come out with his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, on the Word of God.
Pauline Books & Media will be publishing it in a booklet form as with other church documents.

In the meantime it's available at the Vatican website.

It looks like a great read. Pope Benedict is a marvelous teacher.


Kevin said...

While haven't read it yet, I was pleasantly surprised that Benedict has turned out to be an effective teacher.

Many of his earlier books came across, in my view, as professorial. I viewed it as finding one page of gold, and 10 pages of boredom.

Yet since becoming Pope Benedict XVI, I've been a large fan of his first 2 two encyclicals (was indifferent on the third) and was a huge fan of "Jesus of Nazareth."

Almost as if the grace of the Spirit made him a far more accessible guy. :)

Anonymous said...

I have been following the discussions here on TOB and CW and have to admit that I don't know much about TOB before this. Curiosity caused me to follow the TOB threads of discussion elsewhere.
I am reading Verbum Domini and I have noticed that Pope Benedict carries the teachings of JP II on TOB in his writings. In Deus Cartias Est he said God's love for us is both eros and agape. That the eros that we experience in our life needs to be purified. In Verbum Domini, after explaining the analogy of the "word of God," the Pope wrote: "there is a need for further study of how the different meanings of this expression are interrelated, so that the unity of God’s plan and, within it, the centrality of the person of Christ, may shine forth more clearly." (The various ways the word of God is revealed to us. Breathtaking!) And then: "' God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them ” (Gen 1:27). This enables us to acknowledge fully the precious gifts received from the Creator: the value of our body, the gift of reason, freedom and conscience."
The reason I quoted the above texts is because I read somewhere in the discussions someone was saying TOB is the teaching of one Pope.... I think we have to be careful in saying that. Karol Wojtyla taught TOB as Pope in continuity with the teachings of the Church. Pope Benedict is incorporating the teachings of JP II into his writings. A proof of the continuity of the teachings of TOB with the teachings of the Church.

Lauretta said...

Have been reading his works for about thirty years now. Some of what he said I found so heartening because he explained some of the teachings in ways that seemed more sensible to me(an adult convert) than the way that some cradle Catholics explained things to me. I almost felt as though I knew him when he was proclaimed Pope because I had probably read at least 20 books by him! We are blessed with wonderful "Papas"!

I am interested in the upcoming events next week, Sister. Are these events of interest to all of us?!

Sr. Lorraine said...

Lauretta, this week I'm going to NY to speak at our bookcenter there on my new book on the angels. It's great that you've been reading Benedict for so long. I haven't read as much of him as I would like.

Anonymous, that's a good point about Verbum Domini. I'm still reading part one, and have also noticed a couple places where he speaks of TOB themes. For example, in the section "Our Response to the God Who Speaks," he refers to "the nuptial mystery of the love between Christ and the Church." Right before that he says the Old and New Covenant is "a pure gift of God." The theme of "gift" is a big one in TOB. Also in the section on the Holy Spirit he compares the Spirit's overshadowing of Mary to bring for the Word Incarnate, with the Spirit's overshadowing of the Church to bring forth the Word of God in the Scriptures.
Very beautiful!

Kevin said...

Well, if nothing else, I guess it's more evidence on the little pet research we did about "overshadow" and whether or not that denotes impregnation, eh sister? :)

Anon makes a very solid point, of which I think everyone on all sides can agree with.

I would also say that then Cardinal Ratzinger contributed development to TOB when he talked about the "theology of clothing" in The Spirit of the Liturgy.

In short, he states a "theology of clothing is a theology of the body" and then analyzes what this means for the liturgy. He points out that the saints are clothed in white robes, as a symbolism of their purity. Likewise, the externals are always meant to represent the internals, from the clothing we wear in our modesty, to the way we adorn our priests in their vestments, to the very building of our Churches.

It is a very "incarnational" way to look at things, and I submit the true "key" to understanding JPII's thought, as he was a Pope of the Incarnation.

The "crude" things of this world, pressed into the service of God, taking upon a higher meaning.

Next post will have the quote.

Kevin said...

"The liturgical vestment carries this message in itself. It is a “further clothing,” not an “unclothing,” and the liturgy guides us on the way to this “further clothing,” on the way to the body’s salvation in the risen body of Jesus Christ, which is the
new “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1). The Body of Christ, which we receive in the Eucharist, to which we are united in the Eucharist (“one Body with him,” cf. 1 Cor. 6:12-20), saves us from “nakedness,” from the bareness in which we cannot stand before him."

Brian Killian said...

There are other places that Ratzinger drew on TOB in official documents from the CDF. So some of it has trickled into the magisterium of Pope John Paul.

It's always seemed odd to me that people want to teach TOB as something belonging uniquely to JPII. These ideas are ultimately rooted in the Bible. JPII's audiences were reflections on the Bible. But instead of imitating him in reflecting on the Scriptures, we teach this body of work as being from a pope. This opens it up to attack and rejection.

It makes it easy to dismiss if it's just a philosophy of a man, even if he was a pope. And by seeing it as a personal doctrine rather than a biblical one, people dismiss it as not being authoritative or universal.

It's all a bit strange. The spotlight should be on the Scriptures, not JPII.

Imagine trying to present the Chuch's doctrine of the Trinity to a mass audience by popularizing St. Augustine's De Trinitate. It's not exactly the most intuitive pedagogical move is it?

Wade St. Onge said...

Brian, I don't think anyone was saying this was merely "the teaching of one Pope" until people who were scandalized and turned off by the misinterpretations and misunderstandings, and erroneous applications of its most ardent advocates began turning against the whole Theology of the Body itself as they swung the pendulum in the opposite direction.

I must admit that the more I hear about TOB being a "revolution", the Church "reaching maturity" after centuries of an "adolescent" understanding of sexuality and marriage, etc., and the more I see articles advocating Christian naturism and the like, the more I react to it as well.

I am not trying to begin another debate, but before this post, it seemed like we were already heading down that path (i.e. criticizing those who are giving too little "weight" to TOB without giving an explanation as to "why" that might have happened).

Sr. Lorraine said...

I've finished reading the document now and noticed some more TOB themes. It's true that it's not something restricted to Pope John Paul. He did use a lot of Scripture.

The new document also has quite a few parts that mention Mary. That would be a good study as well.

Wade St. Onge said...

Okay, I'm behind.

I have to write that piece on the Easter Candle (that I promised Sr. Lorraine at least a week ago!). Then it's on to this excellent document ...

Sr. Lorraine said...

I'm looking forward to reading that, Wade. Thanks. There's no rush though. Next week is thanksgiving here and I'll be away a few days.