Saturday, May 26, 2007


I know my blog is a little hosed right now, but I can't complain: My uncle's business is hosting my images for free at the moment. It may not be until I get back to seminary that I can see what's up (unless he fixes it before then). I really don't want to setup CuteFTP here at the parish and try to dig up my connection info again.

Josiah, ora pro nobis

My friend Amy's first son died in miscarriage. Please pray for her and her husband Duston. They named him Josiah.

I'm not sure if they named him after the Biblical Josiah or not, but I liked this little article on him.

Josiah, requiescat in pace, ora pro nobis.

Friday, May 25, 2007

well, wonders never cease

Atheist Gives $22.5 Million to Catholic Education

NEW YORK, MAY 25, 2007 ( The Archdiocese of New York received a record-breaking gift of $22.5 million from self-styled atheist Robert Wilson to provide educational scholarships for inner-city children.

Wilson, a philanthropist and former Wall Street investor, gave the money to the Cardinal's Scholarship Program, started in 2005, to aid disadvantaged students.

Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, has expressed his gratitude for the "historic and far-sighted support from Mr. Wilson for the education and future well-being of our neediest children in the archdiocese."

Wilson, 80, told Bloomberg News, that, although an atheist, he has no problem giving money to fund Catholic schools.

"Let's face it, without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no Western civilization," Wilson said. "Shunning religious organizations would be abhorrent."

Wilson added, "It was a chance for a very modest amount of money to get kids out of a lousy school system and into a good school system."

Another anonymous donor, after learning of Wilson's gift, gave an additional $4.5 million to the program.

new Rector at St. Mary's

Well, I guess we finally heard from the Congregation for Catholic Education! After a wait that seemed to last forever, the new Rector of St. Mary's has been named. Outgoing Rector, Fr. Leavitt, announced his departure early so that there would be plenty of time to prepare for (and for Rome to approve) the new Rector. But, that whole process took longer than ususal and caused a little bit of anxiety in the house. I myself just wanted the new guy to be named so we could be done with the whole thing. We were all expecting that to happen at the end of February! But, no matter, today the new Rector was officially announced and the Press Release sent to all the seminarians. On a personal note, it will be sad (and odd) to not have Fr. Leavitt around as Rector. He was like a great-uncle to all of us. I'll remember most his encouragement to "be priestly" now, in preparation for the priesthood to come. And his insistence that we be real men, St. Mary's men, men of strength, courage, perseverence, virtue, and prayer; gentlemanly and upstanding; men of integrity. It's too bad I hadn't had a chance to take a class with him yet.

For Immediate Release
May 24, 2007

Rev. Thomas R. Hurst, S.S. Named President-Rector
of St. Mary’s Seminary & University

Baltimore, MD – The Provincial Council of the U.S. Province of the Society of St. Sulpice has appointed Sulpician Father Thomas R. Hurst, S.T.L., Ph.D., as President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland, effective July 1, 2007. This appointment has been made by the Sulpician Fathers with the approval of His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and Chancellor of St. Mary’s.

The Sulpician Provincial Father Ronald D. Witherup praised the appointment, saying, “Father Hurst brings a wealth of experience in priestly formation to his new position. He is a dedicated and loyal priest of the Church who is an excellent role model for seminarians.”

Father Hurst has been Rector of Theological College, the national seminary of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC since 2001. An alumnus of St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Father Hurst was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Albany in 1973. He has been a Sulpician since 1976.

Father Hurst holds a doctorate in Semitic languages from The Catholic University of America and has taught New Testament and biblical languages for many years. Prior to his current position at Theological College, he was regional superior of the Sulpicians in Zambia, Central Africa, and academic dean of St. Dominic’s Seminary in Lusaka, Zambia. From 1980-1992, he was on the faculty of St. Mary’s in Baltimore, serving as vice rector from 1986-1992.

Father Hurst will replace the Reverend Robert F. Leavitt, S.S., S.T.D., who has been President- Rector for 27 years. “Among the many accomplishments during his tenure at St. Mary’s, Father Leavitt was responsible for significantly strengthening the priestly formation program of the Seminary, for the construction of the Center for Continuing Formation and for the expansion of the Knott Library, which serves many diverse patrons. We are very grateful for his extraordinarily long and fruitful service,” said Father Witherup.

St. Mary’s Seminary & University was founded by Sulpician Fathers from France in 1791 and is the oldest Catholic seminary in the United States. In addition to the Seminary, St. Mary’s also sponsors a continuing formation program for priests and the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, a graduate evening division.

For more information, contact the Office of the Sulpician Provincial at 410-323-5070 or

- End -

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

just aspirations

Vatican Official: Pope Has Plans for Latin Mass
Says Benedict XVI Wants to Offer This "Treasure" to All

APARECIDA, Brazil, MAY 21, 2007 ( The president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" has confirmed that Benedict XVI hopes to increase the availability of the Latin Mass.

Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos said this Wednesday when he addressed the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, meeting in Brazil through the end of May.

The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" was formed by Pope John Paul II in 1988 following the schismatic gesture of the illegal episcopal ordinations carried out by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The cardinal first explained that the commission was established when "a notable group of priests, religious and faithful who had shown their discontent with the conciliar liturgical reform and had congregated around the leadership of the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, separated themselves from him because they were not in agreement with the schismatic act of the ordination of bishops without due pontifical mandate."

"Today," Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos continued, "the commission is not limited to the service of those faithful who wished to stay in full communion on that occasion, nor to the efforts aiming to end the painful schismatic situation and achieve the return to full communion of these brothers from the Society of St. Pius X."

He said: "It is the Holy Father's wish that this dicastery additionally offers its services to satisfy the just aspirations of those who, due to a particular sensitivity -- without being linked to either of the two groups I've mentioned -- desire to keep alive the former Latin liturgy in the celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments."

Ending schism

However, the cardinal confirmed that "without a doubt, the most important task, which concerns the entire Church, is looking to put an end to the schismatic act and reconstruct, without ambiguousness, full communion."

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos recalled that before being elected Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger served on the commission.

"[The Holy Father] wishes that the commission become an organization of the Holy See with the particular and distinct aim of conserving and maintaining the value of the traditional Latin liturgy," Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos said. "But it should be clearly affirmed that this does not mean a going back, a return to the times before the reform of 1970.

"Instead, it means a generous offer of the Vicar of Christ, who, as an expression of his pastoral will, wants to put the treasures of the Latin liturgy that nourished the spiritual life of so many generation of faithful Catholics for so many centuries at the disposal of the entire Church.

"The recovery of this richness is united to the not-less-precious current liturgy of the Church."

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos explained that the Pope intends to extend to the entire Church the possibility of celebrating Mass and the sacraments according to the liturgical books promulgated by Pope John XXIII in 1962.

He thus seemed to confirm rumors from earlier in the year that Benedict XVI intended to make the Latin Mass more available.


The 77-year-old cardinal mentioned the "good experiences had by communities of religious and apostolic life" that celebrate "this liturgy in peace and serenity." And he recalled that in Brazil, the Diocese of Campos, formerly followers of Lefebvre "and now, after five years, showing good fruits" after their return to full communion.

"The project of the Holy Father has already been partially tested in de Campos where the peaceful cohabitation of the two forms of the only Roman rite in the Church is a beautiful reality," he said. "We have the hopes that this model will produce good fruits, also in other places in the Church where faithful Catholics with distinct liturgical sensitivities live together."

Cardinal Hoyos said that "Ecclesia Dei" oversees some 300 priests and 200 seminarians as well as hundreds of thousands of faithful. He said the Society of St. Pius X has four bishops, ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, 500 priests and about 600,000 faithful.

He asked "that we pray to the Lord so that the Holy Father's project can soon become a reality for the unity of the Church."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

remain in the school of mary

Ok... the real reason I got on blogger a couple hours ago (!) was to post the following, but I got carried away.

My birthday was cool (May 14, feast of St. Matthias). I got a new watch which was good because I was carrying around the timepiece of my old one in my pocket because the strap broke! I also got Our Holy Father's new book which, to my elation, came in the mail today: Jesus of Nazareth. It came out on the 15th and is now #14 on's bestseller list. I hope to read it this summer and post any thoughts here. My younger brother Drew also got me a Job's Tears rosary. The beads become shiny as you "polish" them with your fingers from much use. Let's hope it's shinier at the end of the summer than it is now.

B16 is back from his trip to Brazil. I like this little snippet from the address he gave at the Shrine of Our Lady of Conceição Aparecida, after praying the rosary with priests, religious, seminarians and deacons of Brazil and the delegates of the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean (bold emphasis mine: apparently he likes my blog ;)

My Venerable Brothers in the College of Cardinals, in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Beloved Religious and all of you who have lovingly followed Christ in response to sound of his voice,
Dear Seminarians, preparing for the priestly ministry,
Dear Members of Ecclesial Movements and all you lay people who bring the power of the Gospel into the world of work and culture, in the heart of your families and your parishes!

1. Just as the Apostles, together with Mary, "went up to the upper room" and there, "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer" (Acts 1:13-14), so too we are gathered here today at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, which at this time is our "upper room" where Mary, Mother of the Lord, is in our midst. Today it is she who leads our meditation; it is she who teaches us to pray. It is she who shows us the way to open our minds and hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit, who comes to fill the whole world.

We have just prayed the rosary. Through these sequences of meditations, the divine Comforter seeks to initiate us in the knowledge of Christ that issues forth from the clear source of the Gospel text. For her part, the Church of the third millennium proposes to offer Christians the capacity for "knowledge -- according to the words of Saint Paul -- of God's mystery, of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:2-3). Mary Most Holy, the pure and immaculate Virgin, is for us a school of faith destined to guide us and give us strength on the path that leads us to the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The Pope has come to Aparecida with great joy so as to say to you first of all: "Remain in the school of Mary." Take inspiration from her teachings, seek to welcome and to preserve in your hearts the enlightenment that she, by divine mandate, sends you from on high.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

more on owensboro bbq

Well the Owensboro International BBQ Festival (I just love saying that... International) was awesome. I think Blessed Mother took second place in Mutton and second place in Burgoo.

Speaking of Owensboro delicacies... I was delighted to find that Mutton has a rather interesting Wikipedia entry for all of you out there who have no idea what it is. mmmm... Muttonnnn (my best Homer Simpson impersonation). Amongst all the details about sheep and types of sheep meat and where its found and yadda yadda yadda there is this wonderful note: "Barbecued mutton is also a speciality in some areas of the United States"... you got that right!

My delight escalated when I saw the following little note at the end of the article under "See also": "The city of Owensboro, Kentucky, which hosts a barbecue competition annually." Sweeeet.

Of course this led me to click on Wikipedia's link for Owensboro upon which the following note was found: "Owensboro considers itself the 'BBQ Capital of the world'; it holds its International BBQ festival and competition every second weekend in May."

Duh... on both counts.
uh... I mean... Cool! The BBQ Festival has its own link too!

Finally, Wikipedia has an entry for Burgoo as well, but I'm not very pleased. Exhibit A: "A good burgoo is said to be able to have a spoon stand up in it. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and other savory spices dominate much like in Cincinnati chili; however, nowadays it is typical to have a vinegar hot sauce or dry chili powder available for people to spice up their own bowl."

Uh...what? Just to keep the record straight it is in no way, by any stretch of the imagination, like anything resembling anything "like Cincinnati chili." What? You mean that crap from Skyline? Yukk!

But, do not despair. The entry provides a much more helpful link at the end. There you will find the following wonderful information, after a brief definition and history:

The center of the burgoo universe is Owensboro, Kentucky. Owensboro is about
mid-way between Cincinnati, OH and St. Louis, MO on the Ohio River. The largest
city in western Kentucky, Owensboro is known as "The Bar-B-Q Capital of the
World" This is due, in part, to the world renowned International Bar-B-Q
Festival held on the Riverfront each May on the Friday and Saturday before
Mother's Day. As part of the festival teams from charitable organizations,
churches or businesses compete to be named the best. During the festival over
1,500 GALLONS of burgoo will be served up, by the cup (with a slice of white
bread) or by the gallon (wide-mouth glass or plastic jar). You will also find
live entertainment, a midway with rides and games, arts and crafts as well as
other foods.

*NOTE* with "a slice of bread"? no way man

Many area Catholic churches have annual picnics during the summer months. People travel for miles to their favorite picnics. My family's favorite is held in Rome, KY. Church volunteers will spend HOURS cooking and setting up. Most picnics sell burgoo by the cup, gallon or you can get full meals. Other events at these picnics include Cake Wheels, Ring Tosses, Bingo, Rummage / bake Sales and lots of socializing. There are plenty of Bar-B-Q restaurants to choose from in the Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois (TriState) area. Naturally most of them are located in Owensboro.
*NOTE* This is so true. The best place to find the best Burgoo is at a church picnic. Here also the author lists a few restaurants, but the two most notable are Moonlite and Old Hickory.
Moonlite is the most famous one and attracts any famous people in the area who have gotten a whif of Owensboro's BBQ fame. But, as is always the case, the locals know better. Don't get me wrong, Moonlite is awesome (order online here!), but no one beats Old Hickory. Period. Early last weak I walked into Old Hickory with Amy (my brother Nick's girlfriend) to pick up some Mutton and potato salad for lunch with the family. I could smell it before I even walked in... ask Amy... I was jumping up and down with excitement!

A final helpful note:

What do you eat with burgoo?
Most often you would have mutton (barbecued sheep/lamb). Western Kentucky has a large number of sheep farms which keep the supply and price relatively reasonable. The mutton is often in the form of a sandwich, either sliced or finely chopped. Mutton sandwiches are best topped with dill pickle and onion slices. Usually they are served on hamburger buns or white bread. Cole slaw and potato salad are also in high demand. Not the bland, boring and beige potato served in the Northern sections of the US, but spicy potato salad with relish, boiled eggs and mustard
There ya have it folks. A little leg work by yours truly to spead the gospel on Owensboro BBQ. I'm going home in a couple weeks for my younger brother's Bachelor's Party and I will certainly be bringing a pound of chopped mutton, a pound of sliced mutton, pickles and onions, and a quart of burgoo back to the parish. The small staff at St. Jerome in Fairdale and St. Mary in Hillview wait with bated breath... as do I.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

more pics of the owensboro bbq festival

feast your eyes on this!

Ahhh.... yes.... finally, the Owensboro International BBQ Festival is here! And man have I been fiending for some mutton! It's been so long! And this year I can go! Last year I missed it because of a summer program I had to attend at seminary. I'm leaving eaaarly tomorrow morning to drive the 12 hours home so I should be in Owensboro by 7pm-ish. Then off to the BBQ Festival for 2 or 6 mutton sandwiches!
Feast your eyes:

Yes, that's BBQ chicken and Yes they're applying the sauce with a mop! Let's say a special prayer to our Blessed Mother that Blessed Mother parish, my home home parish beats every other parish in town in the Cook-Off!

The Trinitarian Heresy of Monarchianism and Our Recourse against It

Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Everlasting God, Who together with Thine Only-begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit, are one God, one Lord; not in the singleness of one Person, but in the Trinity of One Substance. For what we believe, by Thy revelation, of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Spirit without difference or distinction. So that, in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored.
- The Sunday Preface of the Most Holy Trinity for the “Tridentine Mass”

In the Mass, Catholics participate in the Divine Life of the Most Holy Trinity. But it is likely that few of us are aware of this privilege. We say the Our Father and we certainly celebrate the Son in the Eucharist. But where in our popular conception of the Mass is the Holy Spirit? Where are the Three? Where is the One?

The problem of God – referred to as “the One and the Many” – has long been a paradox that has troubled theologians. Some try to delve too deeply into finding its “solution,” to “nailing it to the wall.” They look too hard and prove too much. They explain it away and thereby strip this “mystery of mysteries” of all its majesty. Others simply write it off as one of those ideas about which we are simply not meant to know. Fr. William K. McDonough, a humble priest and profound theologian, concedes that “True, we profess our faith in one God in three Divine Persons. But is there not a sort of silent implication, sometimes even expressed, that this is really something too deep to penetrate; something outside the pale of practical or personal; to be kept at a reverent distance?”[1]

In the infancy of the Church, theologians struggled to make sense of this Mystery and their work and orthodoxy have been priceless in informing our current understanding. And we have even – maybe especially – learned much from their heresies. Some, in their zeal to defend the One, sacrificed the Many and others erred vice versa. But the widespread influence of these heresies on theologians as well as common laymen prompted the heroic and brilliant response of early Church Fathers such as St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen as well as St. Athanasius, the Cappadocian fathers and ultimately the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople. But as important as these responses were to a restoration of orthodoxy, early Trinitarian heresies persist in both modern theology and scholarship and in the common understanding, conscious or not, of the faithful. Here we will limit our scope to a look at one heresy in particular, Monarchianism, how it echoes into our present day, and the recourse Catholics have, aside from the obvious witness and statements of the early Church Fathers and the Magisterium, for an authentic understanding of the Trinity.

First, a brief look at the problem of the One and the Many. The Dutch theologian, Fr. J. P. Arendzen is helpful in guiding us into this Mystery. At the start, there is God who is one in nature, but three in Persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit and these Three are really distinct. They are not merely three “aspects of the Divinity” that actually coincide and only appear to be three. They are likewise not just “modes or attitudes” or “merely names.” No, “They are distinct among themselves by a distinction as deep as their infinite nature… the Three subsist in one, numerically one, divine nature and Godhead, for there is only one God.”[2]

On the contrary, three human persons share the same human nature, but this is “only a sameness of kind, not an identity of number.” Divinity, on the other hand, cannot be numerically multiplied. “There is but one, single, undivided God, and this one infinite Reality, which is essentially alone, self-contained, and has no partner, this God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”[3] Furthermore, Arendzen explains, “the divine nature, although it is one single being, one individual substance and infinite intelligence, utterly complete in itself and unshared, it is yet not a person, for it is identified with three Persons, who are utterly distinct among themselves.”[4]

Finally, Arendzen concludes that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – all Three – “are equal in what they are, that is in their nature, but that does not prove that the Three are identical in who they are.”[5] Here, the problem of the One and the Many seems to be an absurdity only if we approach the two terms “One” and “Many” the same way, as if to say “There are three Gods, yet there is one God.” This would indeed be a contradiction but there is no contradiction in God. Instead we must hold fast to what we have always believed: “The nature is one; the personality is threefold.”[6]

While we are grateful for Arendzen’s helpful explanation, McDonough is clearer in his presentation of the distinction of the three Divine Persons and so it is also helpful to add his contribution here. McDonough describes the problem of the One and the Many as the mystery of “multiplicity in unity.” He explains that “The only distinctions within the Godhead are fatherhood, sonship, spiration… All Three equally possess the inexhaustible wealth of divinity. What one is, the others are; what one has, the others have. Everything (save fatherhood, sonship, spiration) They hold in common.”[7]

Now keeping Arendzen’s and McDonough’s explanations in mind we can better understand Monarchianism. But, we must also keep in mind the time in which we find it. While the seeds of this heresy can be found in the second and third century it was not until the fourth century that it became fully developed. Abbe Felix Klein, professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris, describes this time as one of intense and violent controversy in which heretics “in one way or another, sacrificed in their notion of God sometimes the unity of His Nature, sometimes the distinction, the equality, even the existence of the Persons.”[8] And the Jesuit Fr. Gerald O’Collins adds: “Where tritheism sacrificed the vital identity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to their multiplicity, the opposite heresy of modalism took monotheism so rigidly that it sacrificed the multiplicity of the divine persons to their unity.”[9] Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, explains that their motivations were pure at first, but as Tertullian exclaims, took a surprising turn:

That debate gave expression as it were to the primordial philosophical concern to trace everything back to a single supreme principle, as in the prophetic message regarding Yahweh as the sole God. The monarchy of God was therefore an essential part of early Christian catechesis. It is all the more surprising, therefore, that the concept of monarchy, originally so basic and venerable, should soon have lost its importance as applied to God. The reason for this development is that at an early date heresies made their appearance which adopted as their slogan: “Monarchiam tenemus (We hold fast to the monarchy).”[10]

Now let us define Monarchianism. William J. Hill describes it as “the strict and somewhat conservative monotheism that held tenaciously to an understanding of God’s utter transcendence as Monarchia.”[11] Klein describes its adherents as those “who admitted only one God, but who saw in the Son only a manifestation of the Father Himself”.[12] O’Collins describes: “Those who stressed the one principle (mone arche) in God, sometimes to the point of denying any personal distinctions within the divinity… they aimed to defend at all costs the unique ‘mon-archy’ of God (the Father).” Finally, William G. Rusch explains:

During the third century a backlash against the Logos [Word] doctrine occurred in the Western church. It was a movement based largely on a fear that the Logos theology endangered the unity of God… this reaction wished to accentuate that God was an absolute monad without distinctions within the unity.[13]

Given these, it may be better to think of Monarchianism as a category of heresies rather than one complete heresy. In that case, the above definitions are helpful in understanding the category as a whole as well its diverse but similar members. Under Monarchianism we find Modalists who were referred to as “Patripassians” in the West and “Sabellians” in the East. O’Collins describes the Patripassians as those who held that “the divine persons were united to the point that all three were incarnated in Christ. This logically meant [for example] that Jesus was praying to himself when he prayed to ‘Abba’ and… that the Father died on the cross [hence their name, ‘the Father sufferers’].”[14] And Hill describes the “a-trinitarianism” of the Sabellians thus: “God remaining One appears to men under different aspects. Father, Son, and Spirit are successive manifestations of God; ultimately the difference is of name only. This is Modalism in its purest form.”[15]

We also find groups referred to as “Dynamists” or “Adoptionists” but perhaps more properly as “Theodotians” after the Byzantine, Theodotus.[16] Even though they are commonly associated with Monarchianism, their error did not concern the unity of God as such; it was essentially Christological. John Chapman, contributing to the Catholic Encyclopedia, explains, concerning Theodotus:

He taught that Jesus was a man born of a virgin according to the counsel of the Father, that He lived like other men, and was most pious; that at His baptism in the Jordan the Christ came down upon Him in the likeness of a dove, and therefore wonders were not wrought in Him until the Spirit (which Theodotus called Christ) came down and was manifested in Him. They did not admit that this made Him God; but some of them said He was God after His resurrection.[17]

Thus they denied the divinity of Christ and the eternity of the Son (or the Logos) altogether or at least conceded them only as if Christ was made God or became God at a certain point. For the most part, Christ was merely a “celestial power” and advocate for men on earth. O’Collins agrees in his description of the so-called “adoptionists,” describing them as those who “excluded Christ’s divinity and held that he was a mere creature adopted by God (at his baptism or resurrection).”[18]

Finally, Kasper reduces Monarchianism to just two forms: Modalism which we have already seen and Subordinationism (which is usually covered as a separate and distinct heresy).[19] The “Subordinationist Monarchians” (a simpler form of Theodocianism) “endeavored to preserve the monarchy of God by subordinating the Son and the Spirit to the one God.”[20] Arianism, a later heresy, was essentially Subordinationism taken to its extreme. It “started with a radical separation of God and the world and was therefore compelled to join the two by means of the Logos as an intermediary being.”[21] Eventually, it ended up “in a polytheism in which the one divinity expressed itself in the world in and through all sorts of subordinate divine beings.” O’Collins defines Arianism as “asserting that God’s Son did not always exist and hence was not divine by nature but only the first among creatures.”[22]

Kasper also helps us see how Monarchianism, twisted from its original concern into the two forms above, persists and has an “abiding relevance”:

“these two errors, subordinationist and modalist Monarchianism, are not solely of historical interest but have an abiding relevance. They represent two possible – or impossible – ways of thinking about the relationship between God and the world; they crop up ever anew in theology, and in response to them the Christian understanding of God and the resultant Christian relation between God and the world must likewise be expounded ever anew.[23]

In the efforts of the Church Fathers and the Magisterium to take up this challenge throughout the centuries, the original concern of Monarchianism to protect the unity of God has been anything but discarded. “The doctrine of the three-in-oneness of God… means… not a removal or even a mere querying, but rather the final and decisive confirmation, of the insight that God is One.”[24] Kasper concludes that:

The modern age has to a great extent abandoned this concrete Christian monotheism in favor of the abstract theism of a unipersonal God who stands over against man as the perfect Thou or over man as imperial ruler and judge. In the final analysis this conception is the popular form of a Christianity half under the influence of the Enlightenment, or else the religious remnant of Christianity in a secularized society.[25]

What recourse then do modern Catholics – living in a secularized society still heavily influenced by the so-called “Enlightenment” – have for an authentic understanding of the Trinity? Of course, we have the obvious witness and statements of the early Church Fathers and the Magisterium throughout the centuries but these are beyond the scope we have established. Given that, we must first remember, that in principle, “The church does not hold on to the unity of God despite the doctrine of the Trinity. Rather, in the doctrine of the Trinity it is precisely holding fast to Christian monotheism.”[26] Ultimately “God is love. Love is that which reconciles unity and multiplicity; it is the uniting unity in the threeness.”[27] Keeping this in mind can help us come a long way in avoiding the modern tendency to abandon “this concrete Christian monotheism.”

Second, and above all, we have the Mass in which, as we stated in the beginning, Catholics participate in the divine life of the Most Holy Trinity. Fr. McDonough explains that maybe we are “scarecely conscious of this privilege” because of the very frequency with which we call on the Three Divine Persons together.[28] He then proceeds to walk us through the “Tridentine Mass,” showing the many ways in which we confess and adore the Trinity.[29] Let us do likewise with the Novus Ordo Missae. “Surely such a privileged intimacy should arouse us from the area of the unconscious.”[30]

First we begin the Mass “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Then we sing “Glory to God in the highest… almighty God and Father… Lord Jesus Christ , only Son of the Father… with the Holy Spirit.” At the end of the Opening Prayer to the Father we hear the formula: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.” Then at the end of the Liturgy of the Word we profess our Trinitarian faith in the Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty… We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father… We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.”

In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in the various Prefaces available, we “set to prayer even more precise theology of the Trinity.”[31] After the Eucharistic Prayer, in a most profound way, the priest elevates our Lord sacramentally present in the consecrated host and proclaims that it is “Through him (the very “him” he holds!), with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.” In Eucharistic Prayer II, after proclaiming God’s glory in the Sanctus the priest prays “Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness. Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” And Eucharistic Prayer III begins: “Father, you are holy indeed, and all creation rightly gives you praise. All life, all holiness comes from you through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, by the working of the Holy Spirit.” Finally, in Eucharistic Prayer IV the priest joyfully recounts how God sent his “only Son” conceived “through the power of the Holy Spirit.” And so “that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him, he sent the Holy Spirit from you, Father, as his first gift to those who believe.”

At the beginning of the Communion Rite we pray the Lord’s Prayer, exchange the Sign of Peace, and then altogether plead for mercy before so great a Mystery as the Agnus Dei. Then in the priest’s own private preparation he prays: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit your death brought life to the world…” In the prayer after communion we again use the same formula mentioned above with the opening prayer. But the last prayer of the Tridentine Mass, the Placeat, also deserves mention here:

May the tribute of my worship be pleasing to Thee, most holy Trinity, and grant that the sacrifice which I, all unworthy, have offered in the presence of Thy Majesty, may be acceptable to Thee, and may, through Thy mercy, obtain forgiveness for me and all for whom I have offered it. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”[32]

Finally the Mass ends as it began: “May almighty God bless you: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

So far, we have looked at the problem of God, of the One and the Many. We have also looked at the early Trinitarian heresy of Monarchianism, its history, its many types and forms, and their persistence into modern times. After that we offered the insistence on Christian monotheism as recourse for modern Catholics to claim an authentic understanding of the Trinity. Finally, we looked at the many occasions of the Mass in which we confess and adore the Trinity in order to arouse our consciousness to its Reality. But we still have yet to answer: How does the Mass also provide recourse for an authentic understanding of the Trinity? The Eucharist is the answer. As we hinted above, through the Mass and the Eucharist, we participate in knowledge and in love in the very Divine Life of the Most Holy Trinity. This is our recourse; it always has been. McDonough beautifully explains:

The Eucharist is the sacrament, par excellence, that keeps alive the extended Incarnation of the Son; His personal Incarnation together with His additional ‘humanities.’ As we thus become more thoroughly Christlike by sacramental union, we become more deeply immersed in the bosom of the Father – with Christ, ‘knowing’ the Father more intimately; with Christ and the Holy Spirit, ‘loving’ the Father more intensely.”[33]

[1] William K. McDonough, The Divine Family: The Trinity and Our Life in God (Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2005), xiii.
[2] John P. Arendzen, Understanding the Trinity (Manchester: Sophia Institute Press, 2004), 15-16.
[3] Ibid., 16.
[4] Ibid., 18.
[5] Ibid., 23.
[6] Ibid., 24.
[7] McDonough, The Divine Family, 72.
[8] Abbe Felix Klein, The Doctrine of the Trinity (New York: P.J. Kennedy & Sons, 1940), 97-98.
[9] Gerald O’Collins, The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity (New York: Paulist Press, 1999), 86.
[10] Walter Kasper, The God of Jesus Christ (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1984), 291-292.
[11] William J. Hill, The Three-Personed God: The Trinity as a Mystery of Salvation (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1982), 34
[12] Klein, The Doctrine of the Trinity, 97.
[13] William G. Rusch, ed., The Trinitarian Controversy, trans. William G. Rusch, Sources of Early Christian Thought, ed. William G. Rusch (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), 8. Emphasis mine.
[14] O’Collins, The Tripersonal God, 86.
[15] Hill, The Three-Personed God, 34.
[16] John Chapman, “Monarchians,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 ed. Emphasis mine. Also online at Note this is not from Wikipedia (!) but a bona fide scholarly article in an encyclopedia.
[17] John Chapman, “Monarchians,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia
[18] O’Collins, The Tripersonal God, 109
[19] Hill treats Subordinationism separately from Monarchianism (The Three-Personed God, 37). Kasper himself treats it separately (The God of Jesus Christ, 180, 212, 250ff) but converges this discussion with Monarchianism on 291ff. And O’Collins (Tripersonal God, 85-113) treats it separately as he discusses “The Trinity before Nicaea” by treating St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and Arius one at a time.
[20] Kasper, The God of Jesus Christ, 292.
[21] Ibid.
[22] O’Collins, The Tripersonal God, 204.
[23] Kasper, The God of Jesus Christ, 292. Kasper notes that this has been shown by J.A. Mohler, F. Schleiermacher, and J. Moltmann. Also, this challenge has been masterfully taken up by Msgr. Robert Sokolowski. Cf. The God of Faith & Reason: Foundations of Christian Theology (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1995).
[24] Kasper, The God of Jesus Christ, 294.
[25] Ibid.
[26] Ibid., 295.
[27] Ibid., 296.
[28] McDonough, The Divine Family, 184.
[29] Ibid., 184-186.
[30] Ibid., 184.
[31] Ibid., 185.
[32] Ibid., 185-186.
[33] Ibid., 189-190.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Hello again, it's been a while since I've posted so here is a brief update:

I had an awesome retreat before Easter, got the chance to read Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich's The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Awesome.
Easter was great too and my first one away from my family. I wanted to see how the Triduum works in a parish though and it was a good experience. I m.c.'d the Triduum at my parish in Louisville. It was exhausting but very rewarding.
Finally, I finished papers and most of my finals and am getting ready to go home for the summer. I have one final left in my Doctrine of God class. It's tomorrow at 9am.
This summer I'll have the same assignment I had last year (Fr. Bob Ray - St. Jerome in Fairdale and St. Mary in Hillview) which isn't usually the case. But it will allow me to get to know the parish and the faithful there even better. They were all very supportive and I'm looking forward to seeing some of the families I got to know last summer. I'll also be spending one day a week at Catholic Charities doing hands-on work with the poor, but I'm not sure what that will be yet. I didn't get that opportunity last summer. Pray for me that this summer is prayerful and productive and that I grow as the Holy Spirit desires.

...I'm thinking... should I try to pull out all the stops for the Assumption like I did last year? ;)