Volume 10, Number 2 (Spring, 2015)
At the heart of the Church's faith in the real presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is a grateful acknowledgment that Christ has communicated the very substance of his life to the Church. The consecrated host and the chalice of blood contain in truth the totality of Christ's life, death, and Resurrection and the drama of our salvation. This article presents Hans Urs von Balthasar's theology of the Eucharist, with a particular focus on the ecclesial and eschatological dimensions of the Sacrament. The unifying theme is an understanding of love as a total-gift-of-self whose innermost form and fruit is reciprocal communion. The mid-point and heart of von Balthasar's eucharistic theology is the idea of a personal and free exchange of life-a Holy Communion or covenant constituted by Christ giving himself to the Father and to the Church. Through the mediation of the Holy Spirit, the Church participates inwardly in this sacrificial communion by receiving this gift and offering herself and all of creation back to the Father in thanksgiving and adoration.
In his homilies and letters, Leo the Great displays an understanding of the Eucharist that is organically connected to his views on the church and, more importantly, to his Christological doctrine. Leo's remarks on the Eucharist demonstrate how for him the Eucharistic presence of Christ, conceived in very realistic terms, is at the heart of the Christian life, both individual and ecclesial. Within the context of the many other ways in which the incarnate Christ, after his ascension, remains connected and present to his Church, the Eucharist constitutes the highpoint of how he stays with his disciples until he will come again as judge, bringing to completion his mission as the one savior and mediator. Comparing Leo's statements with Balthasar's more elaborate reflections of the Eucharist shows how profoundly similar their views are, especially with regard to the deep connection between Christology, Ecclesiology, and Eucharistic theology, but also how Balthasar was more influenced by the Greek Fathers he studied than by the post-Augustinian, Latin tradition, for which Leo stands, with its strong Christological focus and its way of preserving a distinct sense of how the church, while strengthened by Christ's sacramental presence, is waiting for his eschatological return.
Healy's fine treatment of Balthasar on the Eucharist might be enhanced by incorporating something more of the Theodramatic context in which Balthasar sets forth his teaching: the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is ritual theater surpassing and releasing all ordinary theater to be what it is: a fragment with the Grand Story. This dramatic nature of the Eucharist is underscored by Balthasar's teaching on the dramatic nature not only of salvation history and the paschal events but of the Godhead itself in which the "opposition" of the persons of the Father and the Son encompasses all worldly opposition.
This paper explores the nature and basis of religious liberty as a human right. The author argues that a right to hold, express, and act on one's beliefs about ultimate things follows from the moral duty to ask the great existential questions of human nature, dignity, and destiny, and to live with authenticity and integrity in line with one's honest answers. The duty, in turn, is grounded in the fulfillments on offer in asking and answering these questions and ordering one's life in with one's conscientious beliefs, fulfillments that are aspects of the integral flourishing of human beings as agents-free and rational creatures. The paper also offers some reflections on the scope and limits of the right to religious liberty.
Abstract: Many of the Swiss Cantons have regulated the relations between church and state by establishing, in their public law, corporations at the levels of the municipality and of the canton. The role and the rights of these corporations, especially obligatory membership in them, is the object of ongoing political and legal debate. Both on the side of the courts and of the church, the present system has come under scrutiny, while the corporation representatives and also a majority of the population seem intent on maintaining it. This paper explains and examines the presently valid church-state relations, focusing on the Canton of Zurich, and looks at the suggestions for reform elaborated by an experts' commission instituted by the Conference of Swiss Bishops. In conclusion, it presents some more general reflections on the challenges to individual and corporative religious freedom today, in Switzerland and beyond.
Upon his election to the see of Canterbury in 1162, one of Thomas Becket's first acts as archbishop was to seek a papal canonization for his predecessor Anselm from Alexander III. Responding to Becket's request, Alexander ordered Becket to convene a council of English prelates to decide the issue. Whatever this council determined, the pope would confirm. Shortly thereafter, however, Becket was forced to tend to more pressing concerns. The archbishop's relationship with King Henry II of England had quickly deteriorated, and he was forced to flee into exile. Contemporary accounts speak no more about Becket's council, and it has been presumed that it was never even called. Through an examination of the surviving twelfth-century copies of Anselm's hagiography, this paper will argue that Becket had indeed begun to take steps to call a council in accordance with the pope's command, behavior which not only sheds new light on Becket's relationship to Anselm, but also provides a case study for the political dimension of the developing process of papal canonization.
Although the contemporary Italian political philosopher Giorgio Agamben is not a religious thinker, there is a remarkable affinity between aspects of his thought and that of St. Augustine of Hippo. This paper attempts to show that, like Agamben, Augustine locates the origin of sovereignty in the sovereign's decision to place some person(s) outside the protection of law. Moreover, both thinkers are alert to the fact that, given the structure of sovereignty, sovereign authority's decision to deprive persons of legal protection is not subject to oversight, even when the sovereign acts unjustly. In other words, Augustine and Agamben agree that sovereigns murder with impunity. To prove this thesis, the paper first outlines Agamben's account of how sovereignty constitutes itself, namely, through the exclusion of "bare life." Next, it examines several texts from The City of God to show that Augustine holds a similar theory regarding the historical origins and character of political authority. Finally, the paper considers how Augustine's Regula ad servos Dei anticipates Agamben's call to found political communities outside the purview of law.