"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

July 23, 2017

Vatican II: Continuity and Discontinuity

In December 2005, Pope Benedict XVI devoted part of his Christmas talk to the Roman Curia to the interpretation, or hermeneutics, of the Second Vatican Council. His remarks, and especially his counter-posing of a “hermeneutics of rupture or discontinuity” to a “hermeneutics of reform,” were widely seen as a criticism of the so-called Bologna School and the five-volume History of Vatican II prepared by a team led by Giuseppe Alberigo. As a member of that international team, a contributor to two of the volumes, and editor of the English-language edition of the work, I took a special interest in the Pope’s remarks. Close analysis of the talk and in particular of his use of the Council’s teaching on religious freedom to illustrate the “hermeneutics of reform” convinced me that the Pope’s principal interest was not in rejecting the mythical Scuola bolognese, but in making an appeal to the followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre for whom the Council’s text on religious freedom represented an unacceptable departure from the Church’s teaching on the matter. Here is the article in which I made this case:

JAK on Benedict XVI on VC2

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Vatican II as an “Event”

Filed under: Vatican II — Tags: , , — komonchak @ 2:18 pm

In the continuing debate about the interpretation and evaluation of the Second Vatican Council, whether and, if so, in what sense, it can be said to have been an “event.” The debate often is a dialogue of the deaf because people often mean different things by “event” and differ also as to whether it should be understood in a theological or an historical sense. Here are two essays in which I explore the historiographical implications of seeing the Council as an “event” and argue against purely or even primarily theological notions of the matter.

JAK Vatican II as Event

Interpreting Vatican II Leuven 2010

 

May 22, 2017

Sixth Sunday in Eastertide – 2017

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 3:52 pm

Sixth Sunday in Eastertide – May 21, 2017 -St. John’s, Goshen

This year our second reading during Eastertide has been taken from the First Epistle of St. Peter, which is a writing that from beginning to end basks in the light and warmth of Easter. Last week we heard the recipients of the letter, who, of course, include us today, described as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people God claims for his own to proclaim the glorious works of the One who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people.”

Between that exalted announcement and the passage we heard today, St. Peter set out the consequences for the lives of this new people of God as he described what their relationships should be like both within their community, in the larger civil society, and in their homes. (more…)

March 19, 2017

Third Sunday in Lent – 2017

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: , , — komonchak @ 11:41 am

Third Sunday of Lent – March 19, 2017 – St. John’s, Goshen

True, integral Christianity has two dimensions, one inner, one outer, and they are both represented in our New Testament readings today.

Our second reading was taken from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, a letter that is almost entirely devoted to the question of how we human beings can be in a right relationship to God. His premise is that all of us–whether Jews or Gentiles–have fallen short of what we should be as creatures and children of God, and that the recovery of a right relationship with God is impossible by our own efforts. This right-making was initiated by God and was accomplished by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it must be appropriated by each of us by an acknowledgment of our need, a confession of our sins, a surrender of ourselves in faith and obedience, all of it the gift of God’s Spirit transforming our minds and hearts.

This is what St. Paul has been describing: (more…)

April 10, 2016

The Ordination of Women

Filed under: Essays, Uncategorized — Tags: — komonchak @ 1:38 pm

In November 1975, a conference in Detroit on the ordination of women attracted over a thousand participants. One of the results was the determination to hold similar conferences around the country. In the Spring of 1976, an all-day meeting on the topic was held in the Borough of Queens, in New York City, and I was invited to speak at it.

I constructed my talk as a commentary on a document issued in 1973 by the Committee on Pastoral Research and Planning of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops that gave various arguments against ordaining women to the priesthood. I rapidly reviewed seven of those arguments and offered my opinion about them.

Meanwhile, the acts of the Detroit Conference were being prepared for publication. Someone alerted the editor, Sr. Anne Marie Gardiner, to my paper and she expressed a desire to include my talk in the volume, but because it was so late in the editorial process, it could appear only as an appendix to that book, Women and Catholic Priesthood: An Expanded Vision (New York: Paulist Press, 1976). My essay also appeared in The Catholic Mind, 75 (1977) 13-28.

It was to such movements, of course, that subsequent magisterial statements were to respond.

You will find the essay here: JAK – Ordination of Women

Third Sunday in Eastertide

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: , , , — komonchak @ 12:15 pm

Third Sunday of Easter – April 22, 2007 – Blessed Sacrament

During the fifty days of Eastertide, which ought to have at least the same place in the awareness of Christians as the forty days of Lent, the Church tries to appropriate, make its own, realize, make real to itself the great blessings of the day which, as John Henry Newman said, “has made us greater than we know.” Easter is not the feast of the resuscitation of a corpse. It is the feast that marks the turning of the ages, that sets the great “Before-and-After” of human history, the end of the reign of sin and death, the triumph of love and life.
As usual we have an account of a resurrection-appearance of Christ. This one anticipates the life of the Church that will unfold in the future. (more…)

March 27, 2016

This is the Day the Lord has made!

Filed under: Homilies, Newman — Tags: , , , — komonchak @ 5:53 am

Easter Alleluia

          And now, to conclude, for it is hardly befitting on this Day to speak much, when God has done His greatest work. Let us think of it and of Him. Let us rejoice in the Day which He has made, and let us be “willing in the Day of His Power.” This is Easter Day. Let us say this again and again to ourselves with fear and great joy. As children say to themselves, “This is the spring,” or “This is the sea,” trying to grasp the thought, and not let it go; as travellers in a foreign land say, “This is that great city,” or “This is that famous building,” knowing it has a long history through centuries, and vexed with themselves that they know so little about it; so let us say, This is the Day of Days, the Royal Day, the Lord’s Day. This is the Day on which Christ arose from the dead; the Day which brought us salvation. It is a Day which has made us greater than we know. It is our Day of rest, the true Sabbath. Christ entered into His rest, and so do we. It brings us, in figure, through the grave and gate of death to our season of refreshment in Abraham’s bosom. We have had enough of weariness, and dreariness, and listlessness, and sorrow, and remorse. We have had enough of this troublesome world. We have had enough of its noise and din. Noise is its best music. But now there is stillness; and it is a stillness that speaks. We know how strange the feeling is of perfect silence after continued sound. Such is our blessedness now. Calm and serene days have begun; and Christ is heard in them, and His still small voice, because the world speaks not. Let us only put off the world, and we put on Christ. The receding from one is an approach to the other. We have now for some weeks been trying, through His grace, to unclothe ourselves of earthly wants and desires. May that unclothing be unto us a clothing upon of things invisible and imperishable! May we grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, season after season, year after year, till He takes to Himself, first one, then another, in the order He thinks fit, to be separated from each other for a little while, to be united together for ever, in the kingdom of His Father and our Father, His God and our God.

John Henry Newman: “Difficulty of Realizing Sacred Privileges,”
Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 6, sermon 8)

       Let him easter in us,
be a dayspring to the dimness of us,
be a crimson-cresseted east.

G. M. Hopkins, “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” 35

February 16, 2016

Celibacy and Tradition

Filed under: Essays, Uncategorized — Tags: , — komonchak @ 3:51 pm

As the note on the page facing my page indicates, this essay originated as a study of the recent scholarly literature on the history of the discipline of sacerdotal celibacy.

JAK – Celibacy and Tradition

The Example of Henri de Lubac

Filed under: Essays — Tags: , — komonchak @ 12:04 pm

Here is an essay on the early theological work of the French Jesuit Henri de Lubac, S.J. I place it in the context of Church-world relations in mid-twentieth century theology.

JAK on de Lubac

April 24, 2015

Diversity and Disagreement

In 2003 I was honored to be invited to deliver the Fifth Annual Lecture of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, which was then published as a pamphlet which you can find here, along with the response of Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk.

JAK Diversity and Disagreement

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