Saturday 19th August 2017

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Jacques Maritain . . . On The Person Of The Church And Her Personnel

March 20, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

By JUDE DOUGHERTY

At a time of when strong ecclesiastical leadership is warranted as the West drifts further from its historical anchorage, the voice of Church seems to be muted or confused. With reason, Pope Francis has been accused of deliberate ambiguity, given that he has not responded to repeated calls for clarification of his teaching in Amoris Laetitia, and now as reported in the pages of this newspaper [see story by LifeSiteNews, The Wanderer, March 2, 2017, p. 1], the new head of the Jesuit Order, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, seems to call into question the literal meaning of Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage (Matt. 19:3-6).
“The words of Jesus must be contextualized,” he has said in an interview. “Over the last century in the Church there has been a great blossoming of studies that seek to understand what Jesus meant to say.”
If doctrine must be replaced in favor of the “discernment” of the true meaning of the words of Sacred Scripture, what are we to make of Christ’s words at the Last Supper?
Given that the Church seems to be unsure of itself under its present leadership, Jacques Maritain’s treatise on the Church and her personnel is worth revisiting. “To speak of the ‘person’ of the Church,” Maritain says, “is to recognize a certain transcendence in time of a body that remains essentially the same. Just as a human being is not to be identified with the personality it manifests on a given day or at a given period in life, the visible Church cannot be identified with one council or one papacy.”
Maritain’s reflections on the subject are to be found in his last complete book, On the Church of Christ: The Person of the Church and Her Personnel. Published in English translation from the French in the year of his death (1973), it was ignored by the secular media and given scant attention in the Catholic press.
It followed by seven years the publication of Le Paysan de la Garonne, which had earned Maritain the enmity of the Catholic left for its critique of some of the theology developing in the wake of Vatican II. John Courtney Murray in We Hold These Truths (1960) noted happily that the Church in North America was not divided between left and right as it was with destructive consequences in Europe.
By the close of Vatican II, the European virus had spread to North America. Maritain, who had been the darling of the liberal Catholic intelligentsia because of his social philosophy, was suddenly ostracized, his later work ignored. For Maritain, a liberal social policy did not presuppose a liberal Catholic theology, certainly not one at war with the intellectual heritage of the Church. Many American scholars, otherwise cognizant of Maritain’s vast oeuvre, remain unaware of the publication of De l’Église du Christ.
In On the Church of Christ, Maritain speaks of the “profoundly troubled moment” at which he was writing. He calls himself “an old Christian philosopher who has thought about the mystery of the Church for sixty years.”
He is appalled by the appreciable number of Catholic intellectuals who in his judgment employ themselves to destroy the treasure of truth which is the Church’s responsibility to transmit. He would “have done with the tempest of widely diffused foolish ideas that have caused confusion among the faithful.” He would “have done with the demythization of doctrine and the secularization or profanization of a Christianity which our new doctors and spiritual guides would like to entrust to the hands of the sociologist, of the psychoanalysts, of the structuralists, of the Marcusists, of the phenomenologists, and of the pioneers of technocracy.”
The subtitle of On the Church of Christ is indicative of a distinction that is crucial to an understanding of the Church. “Churchmen will never be the Church,” writes Maritain. “One can take a detached view, making positive and negative assessments of the activity of Churchmen throughout the centuries while remaining confident of the holiness of the Church itself.”
This distinction runs through the work, that is, the difference between the “person of the Church” and “her personnel,” the difference between the Church visible to the intellect and the Church as visible, one can say, in the eyes of the public who know it only through the media.
“The Church visible to the intellect” is seen in the writings of Catholic scholars, laymen and laywomen, both on the Continent and throughout the English-speaking world, who have joined Raymond Cardinal Burke and other members of the hierarchy in calling for clarification from the Vatican. Many of these lay scholars, professors, for the most part, may be counted as disciples of Maritain.
Almost as if he were writing today, Maritain acknowledges that inexactness of language often leads some to attribute to the Church an act or decision of her directing personnel without distinguishing whether the act belongs properly to the perpetrator as its sole cause or as an instrument of the Church herself.
He reminds his reader that “it is only the solemn Magisterium of the Pope speaking alone (and not through a Roman Congregation) or when he speaks conjointly with the bishops assembled in General Council (the ordinary Magisterium) that it is the Church speaking and acting, the Church one, holy, and infallible.”
The person of the Church is then, before our very eyes, manifestly at work, and teaching infallibly. Maritain is convinced that even when one of its personnel uses badly his judicial or his moral authority, the person of the Church remains intact, although in a certain indirect manner, which does not render her responsible for the maverick who betrays her spirit.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Calls for prayer amid ‘abhorrent’ violence in Charlottesville

Washington D.C., Aug 12, 2017 / 03:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The head of the U.S. bishops conference called for prayers after one person was killed and over a dozen injured during a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. “The abhorrent…Continue Reading

Knights of Columbus ‘modernize’ Fourth Degree uniforms

St. Louis, Mo., Aug 3, 2017 / 02:56 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The classic ceremonial hats and capes of Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus that you may have seen at Mass or at parish events will now be…Continue Reading

Priest stabbed during Mass at Mexico City cathedral dies in hospital

Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 3, 2017 / 04:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Father José Miguel Machorro, who was stabbed in the neck and torso mid-May at the conclusion of Mass at the cathedral of Mexico City, died while at hospital on…Continue Reading

Abortionist praised by Pope speaks at Catholic church, pro-life protesters kicked out

BIELLA, Italy, July 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite vocal opposition, a notorious Italian abortionist was allowed to speak at a Catholic parish on Wednesday, while pro-life critics were locked out, silenced or kicked out. Despite her abortion advocacy, Emma Bonino was praised by Pope Francis in…Continue Reading

Gard family announces that Charlie has died

London, England, Jul 28, 2017 / 11:51 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A spokesperson for the parents of terminally ill British infant Charlie Gard has reported that their “beautiful little boy” has died. He had been taken into hospice care on July…Continue Reading

John McCain Burns Mitch McConnell Sides with Democrats

In a move that’s no surprise to anyone, John McCain voted against the embarrassingly named “Skinny Repeal”, voted against his party (or is it his party?) and voted to keep Obamacare going as is. Smarter people than me say that…Continue Reading

Catholic men’s conference in crosshairs of left-wing activists

Christine Niles, a Vietnamese immigrant who helps run a parachurch organization in Michigan that promotes Roman Catholic teaching, expected to spend this week preparing theological materials and getting ready for the group’s annual conference for men. Instead, Niles, who is…Continue Reading

Bishops to Trump: Don’t abandon young people to deportation

Washington D.C., Jul 20, 2017 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Undocumented young people brought to the U.S. by their parents contribute to American society and deserve continued protections from the Trump administration, said the U.S. Catholic bishops this week. “These…Continue Reading

Facing outrage – Facebook unblocks Catholic pages

Dozens of Catholic Facebook pages have been blocked, according to several Catholic news organizations. UPDATE: Facebook has unblocked more than 20 Catholic-interest pages – blaming the issue on a technical glitch. “All Pages have now been restored,” a Facebook spokesperson…Continue Reading

Bishops stress hospitality for Camino de Santiago hosts

Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Jul 14, 2017 / 04:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The bishops of Spain and France have published a new letter emphasizing the importance of hospitality for people who host pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, offering guidelines…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah wants ‘liturgical reconciliation’ between old and new forms of Mass

Sarah says phrase ‘reform of the reform’ should no longer be used but wants ordinary version of Mass to be more like the extraordinary form The Cardinal leading the Vatican’s divine worship office has called for a truce in the…Continue Reading

Video game store promotes graphic animated porn to 35 million child users

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2017 (NCOSE) – A mainstream online video game store, with an estimated 35 million users under the age of 18, is facilitating gamified sexual coercion and animated pornography featuring genitalia, ejaculation, to users of all ages. This…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Today . . .

Cardinal Sarah: ‘We are called today to witness, which means martyrdom’

August 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — This evening, we offer the sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of the souls of all of the volunteers of the Puy-du-Fou who have died since the beginnings of this beautiful work, 40 years ago. Every night, all of you who are gathered here, awaken the memory of this place through your work. The castle of the Puy-du-Fou, with its hurting ruins, abandoned by man, seems to rise like a cry…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood CEO Claims President Trump Has “Both Barrels Aimed at Women” on Abortion

The CEO of America’s largest abortion business slammed President Donald Trump again this week for his pro-life policies. Cecile Richards, who makes nearly $1 million a year running the “non-profit” Planned Parenthood, claimed Trump is out to get women because he supports cutting off taxpayer funding to abortion groups. “The actions we’re seeing and what we’ve seen out of this administration from day one have had both barrels aimed at women,” Richards told Politico.

Australian bishops oppose forcing priests to reveal details of confession

Vatican City, Aug 14, 2017 / 07:20 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The bishops of Australia have indicated that they will resist the Royal Commission’s proposal that priests be legally obligated to disclose details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional, facing criminal charges if they don’t. “Confession in the Catholic Church is a spiritual encounter with God through the priest,” Archbishop Denis J Hart of Melbourne said in an Aug. 14 statement.

A bishop’s plea: Don’t forget victims of war and cholera in Yemen

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug 11, 2017 / 04:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A deadly cholera outbreak in Yemen could continue indefinitely without an end to the civil war, says a bishop in the region who has pleaded for the faithful to pray and for an end to arms sales to the parties. “As I believe in the power of prayer, I can only ask the faithful around the world, to keep in mind the…Continue Reading

President Donald Trump Cuts Planned Parenthood-Run Sex-Ed Programs, May Prepare for Abstinence Funding

President Donald Trump recently cut funding to a questionable teen pregnancy prevention program that has given millions of dollars to the abortion business Planned Parenthood. The Hill reports pro-abortion President Barack Obama created the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in 2010 to teach vulnerable populations of students about preventing pregnancy. Participants in the program recently learned that their grant funding will end next year, two years sooner than expected, according to the report. Trump’s administration notified…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Dissonance, The New Normal

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON Almost daily, the media report on instances of radical dissension in America. People are split on numerous political, social, and religious issues, show no inclination to compromise, and increasingly rely on obstruction to pursue their positions. The result is discord, confusion, outrage, greater polarization, and violence. In the absence of national…Continue Reading

Religion Is Not Simple

By JOHN YOUNG Some people claim that true religion is very simple, and that if we delve into difficult theological questions we will lose that simplicity. Jesus said we must become as little children if we are to enter God’s Kingdom; He didn’t say we must become theologians. Frank Sheed’s response to the claim that…Continue Reading

Rose Of Lima, A First For The Americas

By RAY CAVANAUGH The first saint born in the Americas, Rose of Lima practiced both charity and asceticism with extreme intensity until her death at age 31. She is now the patroness of South America, and churches across the world bear her name. This August 24 marks the 400th anniversary of her death. The future…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Wonder And Joy At The Great Goodness Of God

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, by Kevin Vost (Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH, 2016), 207 pp.; paperback, $18.95. Available from www.SophiaInstitute.com or 1-800-888-9344. While Christians live a moral life founded on the natural law, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the love of neighbor and the love of God, the imitation…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Retelling The Story Of Fatima

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Fatima, the First Hundred Years: The Complete Story from Visionaries to Saints, by Barry R. Pearlman (Angelico Press, 2017); 278 pages, $14.95 paperback. Available from Amazon.com. Fatima, the First Hundred Years: The Complete Story from Visionaries to Saints, is an updated version of the author’s previous work, Fatima: A Heart for…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Celebration Of The Sacrament Of Penance

By DON FIER The doctrine of indulgences, as we have seen over the past two weeks, is an important part of the life of the Church. Although the Catholic understanding of indulgences has been clouded by abuses, most notably in the 16th century when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses, its roots go back to the beginning of the Church…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. You have expressed your disagreement in the past with the practice of omitting “hard sayings” from the Mass readings or giving the option of using the “shorter version” of a reading, which usually means leaving out a strong passage. I noticed that this happened with the Gospel for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Is this what you had…Continue Reading

God’s Inscrutable And Unsearchable Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 22:19-23 Romans 11:33-36 Matt. 16:13-20 In the second reading today, St. Paul marvels at the depth of the riches, the wisdom, and the knowledge of God. He proclaims that God’s judgments are inscrutable and His ways are unsearchable. Of course, in our humanness, we often seem to…Continue Reading

Canon Lawyer… Notes Clergy Confusion About Preaching On Contraception, Related Issues

By DEXTER DUGGAN Part 1 PHOENIX — A member of the leadership team of the Diocese of Phoenix explored contraception and related issues in an interview with The Wanderer after he preached on the topics during July 22-23 weekend Masses at one of the large diocesan parishes, St. Thomas the Apostle, in a residential area of Phoenix. Fr. Chris Fraser,…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Marian Pilgrimage Leads To The Eucharistic Lord

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK I share with you this week the extraordinary journey I took to two places I have visited before, but which number among the very few that one can visit again and again without fear of exhausting their spiritual riches. Can you name a rock star who draws a crowd every night of the week without…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Karl Leisner

By CAROLE BRESLIN There was a priest, Blessed Karl Leisner, who heard his call to the priesthood during a Schoenstatt Retreat. The Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt is an apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church, a Marian movement founded in Germany in 1914 by a Pallottine priest, Fr. Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968). Members of the Schoenstatt were formed for a renewal in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Alphonsa Of The Immaculate Conception

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many different churches that are in full communion with Rome. One of these is in India: the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, India — once called the St. Thomas (the Apostle) Christians. From this tiny group of Catholics have come a growing number of holy men and women recognized by Rome. So far, there are…Continue Reading