"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Friday, July 08, 2005

The project, or part of it anyway

The distinctive theme of Catholic thought is what has often been called "the sacramental principle": the invisible reality of grace, which is really God's self-communication to us, is embodied by visible things in such wise that the reality is constituted partly by its expression. That principle has its origin in how the one God is constituted by the Father's eternal self-manifestation in the Trinity. The triune God is thus necessarily constituted by a perfect intercommunion of mutually self-donating Persons. As the present pope has made plain, human sexuality is meant to image that—in sacramental marriage or in sacrificial lives characterized as much by love as sacramental marriage. The use of the sexual faculty must embody that divine purpose to be authentic and healthy. Such is the mystical way to see why contraception is wrong: contraceptive sex says one thing with human bodies and another with human artifice. It translates the language of divine love, which superintends a trialogue between the couple and God, into a dialogue that starts out as mutually regarding but tends to degenerate into mutual use. It thus de-sacramentalizes sexual intercourse.I am certain that the sacramental principle, properly analogized and extended, can be used to re-synthesize and re-energize Catholic theology today, not only in the moral arena but across the board. I see it as my task to make that clear to those who could appreciate it. In line with the Vatican's theme of human life and its sacrality, I am beginning work on a book to be called Sacramentum Vitae. I intend to publish conventionally an article that will serve as a template for the book, and I shall use this blog partly to garner feedback on the ideas as they develop.
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