Archive for category: The Tablet

Archive pour catégorie : The Tablet

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Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism

Jacques Dupuis, Toward a Christian Theology of Religious PluralismMore than 25 years ago in Northern India I first met Fr Dupuis. That meeting prefigured my contact with his remarkable book, and was also thoroughly physical. As he gunned his Yugoslavian motorcycle along narrow roads in the foothills of the Himalayas, I clung to him for dear life and prayed not to fall into the cavernous valleys that flanked our route to a high-altitude Buddhist monastery. After visiting the monks Dupuis roared off down another road to a self-help Tibetan refugee camp directed by the Dalai Lama’s sister-in-law and then to a mountaineering school run by the Sherpa Tensing who had conquered Mount Everest in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary. These visits shaped my first impressions of Jacques Dupuis as someone who wanted direct contact with other religious traditions and was certainly not content to learn about them simply by reading texts at his desk.
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Posted: January 24, 1998 • Permanent link:
Categories: The TabletIn this article: dialogue, interfaith, salvation, theology
Transmis : 24 janvier 1998 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : The TabletDans cet article : dialogue, interfaith, salvation, theology

True and false Madonnas

In 1954, four years after the solemn definition of the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, Pope Pius XII declared a Marian Year. With greater or lesser enthusiasm, Catholic Europe responded, and in my home town, on the east coast of Ireland, the response took spectacular form. The women were invited to donate jewellery, the men money, towards the creation of a solid-gold crown for the statue of the Blessed Virgin in our parish church. It was a poor community, yet the response to the appeal for the Virgin’s crown was remarkable, many of the women even donating their wedding rings. The statue, an insipid, life-sized plaster replica of Our Lady of Lourdes, white-robed, blue-sashed, smallbusted, neither a recognisably maternal nor even a very convincingly human image, was duly decorated with a crown which would have paid several times over for any one of the houses in which most of the donors lived.
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Posted: February 6, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: The TabletIn this article: Catholic, doctrine, Mary
Transmis : 6 février 1999 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : The TabletDans cet article : Catholic, doctrine, Mary

When women were deacons

So women deacons in the early Church had no part in the sacramental ministry, according to Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos (The Tablet, 3/10 April, p. 500). His statement must have made the thousands of women deacons who faithfully served the Church in the past turn in their graves. For they were formidable women, if we are to go by the 28 tombstones on which some of them are commemorated. One was Athanasia in Delphi in the fifth century AD, who was ordained by Bishop Pantamianos. The stone carries a curse: May anyone who disturbs the tomb in which this honoured and blameless deaconess lies buried, receive the fate of Judas who betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fifty years ago, church historians and theologians alike routinely dismissed the women’s diaconate as obviously a historical sop to women, a blessing of some sort or just a minor order, for the simple reason that a sacramental ordination of women seemed a priori excluded. But the historical facts are becoming clearer by the day, and this position is now untenable.

From the outset we should realise what is at stake. If, as the records show, women were for many centuries admitted to the full diaconate which is now only imparted to men, then they did receive the sacrament of holy orders. For this sacrament has three levels: episcopacy, priesthood and diaconate. Anyone who receives any of the three is consecrated to the ministerial priesthood, as the Council of Trent defined it.

But were women ordained as real deacons — into a sacramental diaconate tied theologically to the Holy Spirit, to borrow Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos’s words?
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Posted: May 8, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: The Tablet
Transmis : 8 mai 1999 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : The Tablet

My wounded Church

In a very Anglican way, the Church of England sought to solve its internal crisis over women in the priesthood by legislation which made concessions to opponents. These provisions were remarkable — and, some would say, indefensible. One of them, the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993, allowing for alternative episcopal oversight, is now up for review, and under attack from the supporters of women priests, some of whom are campaigning for its repeal by 2002. But opponents, who believe their Catholic doctrine of the Church to be, if anything, more compromised by the concessions than by the ordinations themselves, are also looking for new solutions. Why are they still not satisfied, despite having been given so-called flying bishops and parochial autonomy? What are the issues at stake?

Let us not (for the moment) rake over the embers of the arguments that were carried on before the General Synod voted in 1992. Let women’s ordination be known, not by its roots but by its fruits. And by fruits I do not mean that experience of women’s ministry which it was confidently claimed would win every heart — no one has ever doubted the pastoral skills and sensitivity of women. I mean its theological and doctrinal consequences.
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Posted: July 31, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: The Tablet
Transmis : 31 juillet 1999 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : The Tablet

Bishops between a rock and a hard place

Catholics are permitted to support attempts to limit the evil aspects of an abortion law, says Pope John Paul in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae. In Germany, however, the moral complexities have made the Church draw back, which threatens to reduce its influence in society. A journalist on the weekly Rheinischer Merkur highlights the German bishops’ dilemma.
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Posted: August 21, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: The TabletIn this article: abortion, Catholic, ethics, social policy, theology
Transmis : 21 aoüt 1999 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : The TabletDans cet article : abortion, Catholic, ethics, social policy, theology

The priesthood of Mary

With our short ecclesiastical memories, we have almost forgotten that in the run-up to its dogmatic definition in 1854, Mary’s Immaculate Conception was often justified on the grounds of her being a priest. Tradition frequently applied the words found in Hebrews 7:26 to her: “It is fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” The Benedictine prior Jacques Biroat wrote in 1666 that “Paul’s reasoning” in Hebrews 7:26 “is relevant to Christ’s mother. She shares in the priesthood of her son and is the origin of our reconciliation to God. Therefore, she had to be entirely innocent and separate from sinners. She had to be preserved from original sin.” Mary was immaculately conceived because she had to be a priest without stain. Mary has captured the Catholic imagination more than any other person except Jesus. Generation after generation has seen in her the highest reflection of saintliness and love. Catholics have been fond of Mary because she is Jesus’ own mother. They also respected her as his closest associate in redemption, as his first “priest”.
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Posted: December 4, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: The TabletIn this article: Catholic, Mary, ordination, women
Transmis : 4 décembre 1999 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : The TabletDans cet article : Catholic, Mary, ordination, women

An ecumenist gives thanks

It seems a far cry now from the mid-1950s when Roman Catholic ecumenism was in the main led by the Abbé Paul Couturier and other French pioneers, though a church historian could look further back to the Malines Conversations in Belgium between Catholics and Anglicans, and to the work of the Sword of the Spirit during the Second World War, when Cardinal Hinsley co- operated with William Temple, by then Archbishop of Canterbury. I well remember being involved with Oxford’s Catholics in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in its refashioned form — praying for the unity Christ willed for his Church by the means he chose. With some trepidation some of us ecumenical cognoscenti went to St Aloysius’ in St Giles, where we were invited to take part in Benediction. Well, there was no harm in entering in at the deep end, was there?
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Posted: January 13, 2001 • Permanent link:
Categories: Opinion, The TabletIn this article: exchange of gifts, spiritual ecumenism, WPCU
Transmis : 13 janvier 2001 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Opinion, The TabletDans cet article : exchange of gifts, spiritual ecumenism, WPCU

Ice curtain in the East

On 7 January, Russia’s Orthodox Church celebrated the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ. Thousands attended the Christmas liturgy in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, triumphantly, and, many have averred, tastelessly, restored to the city’s skyline more than 60 years after Stalin ordered its obliteration from it. Live coverage of the event was marred, however, when Patriarch Alexis II arrived more than an hour late, delayed by his participation in the day’s informal meetings between President Putin and the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder.

As the television cameras panned in on the massed faithful awaiting their Patriarch, they picked out the emerald robes of seemingly the most senior cleric in attendance — Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin, head of Russia’s Central Spiritual Directorate of Muslims. For the third year running, the chief representative of Russia’s Roman Catholics, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, had not been invited.
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Posted: January 27, 2001 • Permanent link:
Categories: Opinion, The TabletIn this article: Catholic, Orthodox, Russian, Ukraine
Transmis : 27 janvier 2001 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Opinion, The TabletDans cet article : Catholic, Orthodox, Russian, Ukraine

The Pope steps into a Greek drama

Pope John Paul is to make a brief visit to Athens in May. Many of the Greek Orthodox clergy and the monks of Athos are up in arms. Could this nevertheless turn out to be a breaking of the ice which has lasted since the Western and Eastern Church split in 1054? An Assumptionist priest who was formerly stationed in Athens looks at the tensions.
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Posted: March 24, 2001 • Permanent link:
Categories: The TabletIn this article: Catholic, John Paul II, Orthodox
Transmis : 24 mars 2001 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : The TabletDans cet article : Catholic, John Paul II, Orthodox

It’s time we listened

One of the subtleties of Shakespeare’s As You Like It is the existence of layers of sexual ambiguity implied in its original performance: a boy-actor played the part of a young woman disguised as a young man who at one point is pretending to be a girl. I was put in mind of these layers of meaning when I read The Eucharist: sacrament of unity (ESU), the Church of England’s highly courteous and careful response to the British and Irish bishops’ 1998 teaching document on eucharistic doctrine and sharing entitled One Bread One Body (OBOB). There is of course one vitally important difference: whereas the play’s layers form the stages in a dialectic, i.e. an interactive process, of ambiguity, the theological document offers a dialectic of clarification, which provides a model of what is involved in ecumenical reception.
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Posted: March 31, 2001 • Permanent link:
Categories: Opinion, The TabletIn this article: Christian unity, ecumenism
Transmis : 31 mars 2001 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Opinion, The TabletDans cet article : Christian unity, ecumenism

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