Friday, October 09, 2009

Sungenis Responds to Hahn

Here is the latest segment in an unfolding saga. Last time, Dr. Scott Hahn made a thorough and charitable response to me regarding his opinion concerning understanding the Holy Spirit in a feminine sense. I was mostly satisfied with his explanation and no longer intend to question him on the matter or cast doubt on his orthodoxy - I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is meant to be interpreted in the most orthodox manner possible (i.e., as a metaphor). But I still don't necessarily think it is a useful or prudent metaphor. Remember, even if the thesis is entirely orthodox, that does not mean it merits being promoted or applauded. There are propositions called suspecta de hæresi, errore (suspected of heresy or error) which the Catholic Encyclopedia defines as follows:

"Propositions thus noted may be correct in themselves, but owing to various circumstances of time, place, and persons are prudently taken to present a signification which is either heretical or erroneous."

One could therefore say that even if everything Hahn says is entirely valid, there is still a prudential reason for perhaps not going forward with this theory anymore, due not to any internal error with the propositions but with regards to "circumstances of time, place and persons"; i.e., what people at large will think Hahn is saying. Though Hahn has the best of intentions (and because of his over 20 year record of distinguished service to the Church, we ought to assume the best of intentions), his theory would be subject to immediate misinterpretation by many people less well informed and with less pure motives. The Gospel is always subject to misinterpretation, but a proposition that is suspecta de haeresi, errore is a propisition that invites misinterpretation by its very nature.

Furthermore, the encyclical of Pope Paul VI Mysterium Fidei said the following regarding safeguarding theological language:

"Once the integrity of the faith has been safeguarded, then it is time to guard the proper way of expressing it, lest our careless use of words give rise, God forbid, to false opinions regarding faith in the most sublime things" (MF 23).

This is an important point that is seldom brought up in the discussion. Not only is it important to maintain the truths of the Faith, but even the traditional language of the faith that expresses those truths ought to be guarded.

Please understand that this is not about Scott Hahn the man - I am trying to be very charitable and reasoned here, so as to avoid being accused of blasting or criticizing Dr. Hahn. All this is about his thesis, not Scott Hahn the man. I respect Scott Hahn greatly and admire the work he has done for the Church and for how his work has affected my own personal faith.

Another man I greatly respect, Dr. Robert Sungenis, has made a lengthy reply to Dr. Hahn's response, posted on my blog last week. As you read this, please note that it was originally given in a private email and wasn't submitted as an article or post, so please give Dr. Sungenis some leeway before criticizing him - (how would your email conversations fare if subject to critique?) That being said, this is a pretty good response for an email - it was sent to me by a reader, and I'm taking the liberty of assuming that Dr. Sungenis will not mind me posting it [UPDATE: Dr. Sungenis has since given his explicit permission to post the following response].

Dr. Sungenis' response to Dr. Hahn will be in blue (my comments in red):

I think Hahn defended himself about as good as he could, but there still remains some problems, as you will see below. Perhaps it was all a big misunderstanding [Which I think is probably the source of most of the controversy on this topic]. Only Hahn knows for sure, because only he knows what he really believes about this issue. I had always found it difficult to gauge just how much Hahn was attributing by means of metaphors to the Holy Spirit as opposed to how much he was singling out the Holy Spirit as the only person of the Trinity to have these feminine characteristics. In fact, in reading his explanation, I’m still somewhat unclear as to the where he stands.

I think it is easy to grant to Hahn that he is not saying the Holy Spirit is feminine in the sense of having a feminine gender [Right - which is the most important point and what everybody is agreed upon]. I think that goes without saying. But I think he is saying, of all the persons of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the one to whom we can attribute feminine characteristics. The problem lies, however, in just how Hahn attributes these feminine characteristics. Is Hahn saying that they are ontologically based in the substance of the Holy Spirit? If so, then it seems that feminine characteristics are part and parcel with the being of the Holy Spirit, even if one claims that the same Holy Spirit is not feminine in regards to gender.

On the other hand, is Hahn merely saying that if we were to see feminine characteristics somewhere in the Trinity then the Holy Spirit would be the best candidate to exhibit them (even though the Father and the Son are sometimes seen in light of feminine characteristics as well)? Again, I’m not sure what he is saying at this point. In what way is the Holy Spirit, in Hahn’s view, distinct from the Father and the Son with regard to feminine characteristics?

If Hahn’s whole thesis is merely saying that the Holy Spirit is preponderantly pictured as having what we normally understand as “feminine” or “motherly” actions toward human beings or toward the other two persons of the Trinity, perhaps there is not much cause for much alarm [I think personally that this is closest to the truth]. But if in some way these feminine aspects of the Holy Spirit that Hahn wants to emphasize are ontologically based wherein the Holy Spirit is now distinguished from the Father and Son because of them, then I believe we have a serious problem, for we are out of the realm of mere metaphors and into the substance of the Godhead.

Hahn’s quote of Cardinal Ratzinger, which states: "Because of the teaching about the Spirit, one can as it were practically have a presentiment of the primordial type of the feminine, in a mysterious, veiled manner, within God himself,” is troublesome for me. First, I don’t know precisely what the cardinal is trying to say, for the language is very obtuse, at least not without some more context to flesh it out.

The use of “as it were” seems to make Ratzinger’s imagery merely a hypothetical suggestion rather than a confirmed teaching. Also, I have a hard time wrapping myself around the clause “a presentiment of the primordial type of the feminine.” A presentiment is a foreboding of something bad, so how that fits with promoting the idea of a “primordial type of the feminine” I don’t know. Perhaps the English translation is bad.

Lastly, when we speak of “primordial” we are commonly talking about the beginning, and more specifically, the prototype to whatever is subsequent. But here again is where one might see a slippage into the ontological, since a “primordial” feminine would have to mean that it came before anything subsequent, existing as such for all eternity [That would present a problem...]. Again, I see a confusion here between ontology and metaphors. All in all, the clause “a presentiment of the primordial type of the feminine…within God himself” is much too vague and ambiguous a sentence to use as support for Hahn’s theory [suspecta de haeresi, errore?]. Hahn needs to first unwrap what Ratzinger is really saying before it can be commandeered as a support.

As for the Catechism at para. 370, I don’t think this offers Hahn much help for the simple fact that it is not singling out the Holy Spirit but is speaking of the Godhead in toto.

The quote from St. Aphrahat is certainly interesting, but not any real support, since Aphrahat is merely expressing in poetical style his affection for the Holy Spirit as his “mother.” Obviously, Aphrahat is not saying the Holy Spirit IS a mother, so it must be metaphorical. If Hahn is going to use Aphrahat as a support for his thesis (whatever that thesis is), he would have to show Aphrahat having a fully thought-out theology of the Holy Spirit in which the “motherly” aspects he writes in devotion can be transferred into a theological understanding of the Holy Spirit as distinguished from the Father and Son. From what I know and have read of Aphrahat, there is no such thought-out theology. Logically, if there is no other statement from Aphrahat that speaks of the Holy Spirit in feminine or motherly characteristics, we may be doing him a disservice by appealing to him as a progenitor of Hahn’s thesis. This is especially true in light of the fact that the Eastern Fathers had a tendency to use rich and flowery language in their theological descriptions, much more than the Western Fathers did. (There is actually a specific word for this type of Eastern writing, but I can’t remember what it is) [Hymnography?]

Hence, it is no surprise to me that all of the ancient witnesses that Hahn can garner to his aid (however minimal they may be), are all Easterners, and all use the same type of ornate imagery common among Easterners. As regards to doctrine, the Easterners wouldn’t be bothered by this ornate language, since, from what I can see, they confined these rich descriptions to their hymns and prayers, not their doctrinal stances. Granted, our motto is lex orendi, lex credendi, but still, prayers have much more of a poetical license than strict doctrinal formulations.

Kolbe’s use of the phrase “uncreated Immaculate Conception” and “quasi-incarnation of the Holy Spirit” in reference to the Blessed Virgin is also troublesome. First, Kolbe was sainted not for his theological knowledge but because of his impeccable life, so he really shouldn’t be esteemed as a “theologian of unimpeachable orthodoxy,” in the sense that whatever Kolbe said in the theological realm is “unimpeachable.” [This is a point that deserves to be weighted carefully - just because someone is a saint, even of unimpeachable orthodoxy, does not mean their teachings are authoritative, especially if we consider why they were sainted. When we consider martyrs like St. Thomas Becket, St. Isaac Jogues or St. Thomas More, we can see their sanctity bound up with their witness for the Faith, but no one goes around citing their writings as the basis for doctrinal claims. Is Kolbe in this category as well?]

Second, the Church has never used such vague and ambiguous language of the Holy Spirit, not even close [Remember Paul VI on guarding traditional language?]. What is a “quasi-incarnation”? Either one is incarnated or one is not. There is no in-between state. This kind of terminology only creates confusion; it doesn’t clear up anything. Likewise, “uncreated Immaculate Conception” is Kolbe’s invention, since it certainly wasn’t used by anyone in Catholic history. If we don’t draw these solid lines around how we describe the Holy Spirit, the whole enterprise becomes a shell game of word meanings and implications [This has been the problem with this whole debate since the beginning - figuring out exactly what is being implied]. This ought not to be. When we speak of the Holy Spirit we must be as precise as humanly possible. Metaphors about feminine and motherly characteristic may be good in prayers and homilies, but certainly not in doctrinal formulations.

For the same reason, the quote from Edith Stein is also troubling. Here we have use of what seems to be an ontological categorization of the Holy Spirit (in distinction to the Father and Son) by her use of “prototype.” She says “Thus we can see the prototype of the feminine being in the Spirit of God.” Once again, if Edith Stein were a noted and decorated pneumatologist for the Catholic Church, we might take pause and give her words some weight, even if they seemed to run counter to traditional descriptions of the Holy Spirit. But Edith Stein, saint or not, was not recognized for her insights on pneumatology, but for her impeccable life in service to God. Thus, she is not an authority on this subject, and certainly not one to support a major thesis such as the one Hahn is promoting. Edith Stein simply had no thought-out theology of the Holy Spirit to even be considered a support for Hahn’s thesis. Proof-texting from Stein, or anyone else for that matter, is simply not enough.

As for Scheeben, he is merely using an analogy when he says "As the mother is the bond of love between father and child, so in God the Holy Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and the Son." Whether Scheeben would want to be categorized as supporting Hahn’s thesis (and again, I’m not sure what that thesis really is), remains to be seen. Hahn is certainly not going to prove that Scheeben is on his side by extracting a mere analogy from his writings.

I also have problem with the use of the quote: "As Eve can, in a figurative sense, be called simply the rib of Adam... St. Methodius goes so far as to assert that the Holy Spirit is the rib of the Word (costa Verbi)." Once again, we have another Easterner (Methodius) using ornate language. Westerners did not use this language, and even many Easterners were cautious about using it, especially those who were the articulators of Catholic doctrine on the Trinity (Athanasius). Moreover, Hahn gives us no context for Methodius’ assertion (e.g., was this a prayer or a doctrinal formulation?), nor does he explain what precisely Methodius means by such a strange mixed metaphor as “rib of the Word.” In a way, Methodius’ phrase is non-sensical, and it certainly has no support from any other patristic writer.

As for “R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP; L. Bouyer; J. Kentenich; B. Ashley, OP; Cardinal Y. Congar (Tradition & Traditions, pp. 372-75); F.X. Durrwell; A. Feuillet; H.M. Manteau-Bonamy, OP” supporting “this notion,” I don’t know what “notion” Hahn is referring to. If these eminent theologians are supporting Hahn’s thesis, then he would do himself a service, and us as well, to show specifically what they are saying as support. At this point, I don’t know anything in their writings that is supportive. I think it is safe to say that, if there was supporting argumentation that was clear and concise, Hahn would have excerpted quotes from their books just as he did with, say, Kolbe or Methodius [Good point]. At this point in the controversy, Hahn cannot hold up mere source citations as support. He must dig deep into these theologians and draw out the specific evidence. This is his thesis. It behooves him to do the homework.

As for Catherine LaCugna’s objections to accepting feminine traits attached to the Holy Spirit for fear of further subordination of women, Hahn needs to show that this lone opinion is the consensus among Catholic feminists. I haven’t done any research on this particular angle of the argument myself, but I can imagine that there are a significant portion of Catholic feminists who applaud the idea that the Holy Spirit is considered feminine, in distinction to the Father and Son. What more basis can one have for Catholic feminism than the fact that God, in some sense, is feminine? This would make Eve much more than a rib appendage from Adam, for she would be an appendage from the Holy Spirit which only used Adam as the vehicle!


I think these are all fair critiques from Sungenis. Any comment on them? Regardless of what you may think of Sungenis or geocentrism, this seems to be a pretty balanced critique. Basically he seems to be saying that Hahn's explanations still give room for ambiguity and that, even if everything is on the up-and-up, this idea is simply too novel and subject to misinterpretation; i.e., it could be technically true but still confusing and very imprudent to promulgate. Any thoughts?

20 comments:

Ben said...

Dr. Sungenis is right that Hahn needs to clarify whether it's (1) a metaphor or not, and (2) whether it's unique to the Holy Ghost or is in the ontological being of the Trinity. He’s entirely right there. Amen.

However, I disagree with his attempts to sever the doctrine/teaching of the saints from their holy lives. Many saints have made theological errors, true, but to dismiss what they have to say because they were canonised mainly for being martyrs is incorrect. I would say that all saints’ theological teaching is to some degree authoritative (even St. Thomas More) since the decree of canonisation includes a decree of orthodoxy (with some leeway for occasional mistakes, “to err is human” and all that). Of course, no one will go around citing “Utopia” as Catholic dogma, but in theological areas their teaching is to some extent authoritative inasmuch as it witnesses to the deposit of the faith, and inasmuch as they are saints and therefore specially enlightened by the Spirit of God. On a fairly side-show issue like this which is not at all dogma or even doctrine, just private opinion, Hahn is fine to quote all these saints and doctors who teach this same private opinion, and I disagree with Sungenis’ rejecting Hahn’s opinion just because these saints weren’t formal theologians.

By "uncreated Immaculate Conception” St. Maximilian was referring to the Holy Spirit as the joint product of the love of the Father, i.e. the conception of the two. Neither Father nor Son can be called "conception" in this sense. And St. Maximilian says that all created/natural conceptions are in a sense a parallel image of the conception in love which occurred in God in eternity. The conception of the Blessed Virgin was the highest of these natural conceptions, since it was "by a sanctifying action" (Theognostes) unlike all others. It was supernatural, whereas all others were either natural (animals) or sinful (humans). As the bride of the Holy Ghost, he says, she partakes in His name (“Immaculate Conception”) just as when Mr. Jones marries Sally, she becomes Mrs. Jones. It's obvious that the Holy Ghost's eternal conception is sinless. At the same time, I don't see how Hahn can use this quote to indicate motherly aspects of the Holy Ghost. Sure, Mary is like Him in some senses, but the “Uncreated Immaculate Conception” image has nothing to do with these motherly images. A man is as much a conception as a woman.

The phrase “quasi-Incarnation” is admittedly a very, very weird one. But the point the great martyr was getting at was that Mary is the most perfect image of the Holy Ghost, as the one who partook most of His grace. In other words, if we were to imagine that the Holy Spirit became man just like the Son did, He would be just like Mary is. “What is a ‘quasi-incarnation’? Either one is incarnated or one is not.” Obviously the Holy Ghost never actually became incarnate. “Quasi” here means “having a likeness to”, i.e. Mary has a likeness to what the Holy Spirit would be if he were incarnate.

I think Sungenis’ statement “This is his thesis. It behooves him to do the homework” is unfair. Hahn was only making a couple of points on a blog, not writing a doctoral thesis.

Ben said...

By the way, I was reading Julian of Norwich's "Revelations of Divine Love". I was surprised by how often she says that Jesus is Mother. Is this maybe why she wasn't canonised, i.e. she was suspected of heterodoxy? Or was there another reason?

BONIFACE said...

Ben-

I don't think Sungenis is saying that we can just dismiss what the saint/martyrs say, but I do think he is right in saying that if the primary reason for their sainthood is their martyrdom, their writings may possess less authority than those saints who are, say, doctors of the Church. I don't think this is an unfair point, as long as we understand he is not implying we can just throw out whatever Kolbe says. I think he's just saying we shouldn't assume every saint is a theologian just because they are canonized.

Rosemarie said...

+J.M.J+

IIRC, part of the modern canonization process involves reading everything the candidate wrote during life to make sure it is doctrinally sound. Heterodox beliefs would be a serious obstacle to canonization.

St. Maximilian Kolbe's "quasi-incarnation" statement is not heterodox when understood in the full context of his thought. Here's more of the original quote in context:

Our heavenly Father is the source of all that is; everything comes from the Blessed Trinity. We cannot see God, and so Jesus came to this earth, to make him known to us. The Most Blessed Virgin is the one in whom we venerate the Holy Spirit, for she is his spouse . The third Person of the Blessed Trinity never took flesh; still, our human word "spouse" is far too weak to express the reality of the relationship between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit. We can affirm that she is, in a certain sense, the "incarnation" of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that we love in her; and through her we love the Son. The Holy Spirit is far too little known .... (Conference, Feb. 5, 1941)

Note that this translation is a little different, rendering the phrase as, "in a certain sense, the 'incarnation' of the Holy Spirit" rather than "quasi-incarnation." The context, though, shows that Kolbe doesn't mean to say that the Holy Spirit became incarnate as Christ did, but that He fills Blessed Mother in a very profound and intimate way that it is almost as though He were "enfleshed" in her (though not quite).

BTW, the above quote is reproduced in the book The Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, by Fr. H. M. Manteau-Bonamy, which expounds further on St. Maximilian Kolbe’s views regarding the relationship between the Holy Ghost and Our Lady. If anyone wishes to understand where Scott Hahn is coming from, I strongly suggest that he read that book, since Hahn's theory is, at least in part, based on the book. It will clear up some questions.

In Jesu et Maria,
Rosemarie

Rosemarie said...

+J.M.J+

I found a page online with more extensive quotes from St. Maximilian (excerpted from Fr. Manteau-Bonamy's book). Here is the direct link:

http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/conception.htm#2

It goes further into the saint's thoughts about the Holy Spirit as the "Uncreated Immaculate Conception." Before questioning his orthodoxy, we should really look at exactly what St. Maximilian himself said about this matter, don't you think?

In Jesu et Maria,
Rosemarie

Mr S said...

Comments seem to be fair and balanced. But following the blog is not as easy as it might be..... the red, the blue, etc, on a black background are okay for short stuff.... like what I write. But the longer the post, or blog, the more difficult.

One can stick to white.... and indent or italicize comments. Color change is not my favorite option with other than a white background.

Other than that rant, I am pleased with what I can find in this blog. So pleased, I might have a BBQ. ( :) )

Ben said...

Boniface,

Do you, by any chance, know why Julian of Norwich wasn't canonised?

BONIFACE said...

Ben-

I am going to take a wild guess and say that it is because her identity is not 100% certain. There are about two or three different Julian's in Eng;land during the 15th century that scholars think might be Julian - she is known only through her writings and we know almost nothing about her personal life. In this respect she seems similar to another mystic, Thomas a Kempis, who is known only for his writings and was also not canonized. That's just a wild guess.

BONIFACE said...

Rosemarie-

By the way, nobody is "questioning" Saint Maximilian's orthodoxy. That is a bit extreme. In the original sentence of Hahn, "theologian of unimpeachable orthodoxy", the question is not on the term orthodoxy but on the term theologian.

Rosemarie said...

+J.M.J+

>>>By the way, nobody is "questioning" Saint Maximilian's orthodoxy. That is a bit extreme. In the original sentence of Hahn, "theologian of unimpeachable orthodoxy", the question is not on the term orthodoxy but on the term theologian.

But note that the adjective "unimpeachable" in that phrase modifies the noun "orthodoxy," not "theologian." The following quote says that St. Maximilian is not necessarily "unimpeachable":

>>>First, Kolbe was sainted not for his theological knowledge but because of his impeccable life, so he really shouldn’t be esteemed as a “theologian of unimpeachable orthodoxy,” in the sense that whatever Kolbe said in the theological realm is “unimpeachable.”

Since it is precisely his *orthodoxy* that Hahn says is unimpeachable, this does tend to cast doubt on whether the saint was orthodox. Perhaps that was not the intention, but that's how it comes across.

A little googling reveals that St. Maximilian Kolbe received his Doctor of Theology on 22 July 1922. He apparently had extensive theological training. The quotes I provided above reveal that his theological thinking was more precise than a few out-of-context "sound bites" might make it seem.

In Jesu et Maria,

BONIFACE said...

Rosemarie-

So in other words, even if Kolbe had never been martyred, he might still have gone down in history as an erudite and excellent theologian.

Mr S-

Sorry - I did not realize you were tired by too much color. I'll try to remember that in the future...

Rosemarie said...

+J.M.J+

Where did I say that? I agree that he was canonized because of his holy life and martyrdom, yet that doesn't mean that he wasn't also a "theologian of unimpeachable orthodoxy.” Why should it be either/or?

I'm sure the Congregation for Causes of Saints read his writings and judged them orthodox, since that's what they typically do. The causes for a number of possible candidates for sainthood have been delayed because of questions about things they wrote (Luisa Piccarreta comes to mind).

In Jesu et Maria,
Rosemarie

Rosemarie said...

+J.M.J+

BTW, I just wanted to state, for the record, that I am not in favor of "women priests." I know some people fear that Hahn's theory could legitimize the "ordination" of women, but it shouldn't because a priest is an alter Christus, not an "alter Spiritus."

The priest represents Christ the Bridegroom to the Church, His Bride. Therefore he must be male, because Our Lord "was and remains a man" (as Inter Insigniores says). The Blessed Virgin herself is not a priest, even though she is filled with the Holy Spirit, because she is not a man. She cannot represent the Bridegroom to the Bride.

Even if the Holy Spirit has some kind of "maternal" role in Mary and through the Church, that doesn't mean women can be priests because a priest is a father, not a mother! Women can become brides of Christ like the Church, if they become nuns or consecrated virgins, but they cannot receive Holy Orders.

In Jesu et Maria,
Rosemarie

Kneeling Catholic said...

KC>>>I also cannot accept that Mary is solely identified with the Holy Spirit. In her role as Co-redemptrix it seems to me she is very closely identified and united with our Lord.>>

Rosemarie>>>She isn't "solely" identified with the Holy Ghost. The role of the Spirit is to bring us to Christ (which is Mary's role as well, of course). It isn't possible for someone to be associated with the Spirit and not with Christ; the two aren't mutually exclusive.>>>

Rosemarie, if Dr. Hahn is not trying to identify the Blessed Virgin 'solely' with the Holy Spirit, then good! We can dispense with this 'quasi-incarnation' nonsense.

I disagree with your 'mutually exclusive' statement in that the Person of the Holy Spirit is *not* our Redeemer!
Therefore if Mary is truly Co-redemptrix then she is not in any way fulfilling a role analogous to that of the Holy Spirit. Agreed?

So it appears to me Dr. Hahn's speculation being true would do away with Mary's role as Co=redemptrix as well as her being the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

K.C.

Rosemarie said...

+J.M.J+

>>>We can dispense with this 'quasi-incarnation' nonsense.

*Sigh* Please scroll up to what I posted above on "October 10, 2009 3:58 PM." It gives what St. Maximilian Kolbe said in full context and so shows just what he meant when he said that the Blessed Virgin is "in a certain sense, the 'incarnation' of the Holy Spirit."

>>>I disagree with your 'mutually exclusive' statement in that the Person of the Holy Spirit is *not* our Redeemer!

I never said that the Holy Spirit is the Redeemer. What I said is that the Holy Spirit worked *with* our Redeemer throughout His earthly life and continues to do so in the Church. While they are certainly distinct Divine Persons, they are not totally separate from each other since they share one Divine Nature (along with God the Father).

Traditional Catholic theology teaches that the Three Persons of the Trinity act together in regard to creatures. So while some distinctions may be made, we can't make a full exclusion of the Spirit from Our Lord's work.

>>>Therefore if Mary is truly Co-redemptrix then she is not in any way fulfilling a role analogous to that of the Holy Spirit. Agreed?

St. Maximilian wrote the following: "As Mother of Jesus our Savior, Mary was the Co-redemptrix of the human race; as the spouse of the Holy Spirit, she shares in the distribution of all graces." (Kolbe, Sketch 1940)

So he seems to have made a distinction between her roles as Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix, attributing one to her relationship with Christ and the other to her union with the Spirit. But the saint clearly believed in both, even though he emphasized the union between the Holy Ghost and Mary.

>>>So it appears to me Dr. Hahn's speculation being true would do away with Mary's role as Co=redemptrix as well as her being the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

I don't see how. Dr. Hahn is on record as a supporter of the "Fifth Dogma" of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. Here is something he wrote:

"While I am not naïve, I am hopeful, but only because of the Father’s desire to pour out his supernatural power to unite all of his children around his Son and “our common mother” (Redemptoris Mater 25). That is why I would welcome a new Marian dogma, if the vicar of my Lord should choose to define one. As we approach the Jubilee celebration of the Incarnation, how fitting indeed would a dogma celebrating the role and full identity of the Woman who made the Incarnation possible."

From: http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/marian/5thdogma/hahn.htm

And St. Maximilian still believed that Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, he just understood it differently than you seem to.

Why the either/or mentality, KC? How does the bond between Our Lady and the Holy Ghost as expounded upon by St. Maximilian somehow negate the fact that she is the Mother of God the Son according to the flesh? Why can't Blessed Mother have relationships to both Jesus and the Holy Spirit - and to God the Father, for that matter? Mariologists traditionally expounded on her relationships to all Three Persons. I don't get why you see these as mutually exclusive; St. Maximilian didn't, Dr. Hahn doesn't, lots of Mariologists people don't. What am I missing here?

In Jesu et Maria,
Rosemarie

Kneeling Catholic said...

Hey
Rosemarie!

I plainly see that Maximillian Kolbe accepted the teaching that Mary is spouse of the Holy Spirit.
I don't see that Dr. Hahn is on the same page as Kolbe since he never quotes Kolbe on that point. I also don't see quotes from Kolbe affirming the Holy Spirit's maternal nature, or femininity. Therefore I think Dr. Hahn is using Kolbe selectively. On the other hand Dr. Hahn did made that 'Holy Bachelor' snipe when discussing Mary's matrimony with the Holy Spirit.... that's all I have to go on. I. Give me something more from Dr. Hahn!!....


>>>How does the bond between Our Lady and the Holy Ghost as expounded upon by St. Maximilian somehow negate the fact that she is the Mother of God the Son according to the flesh? Why can't Blessed Mother have relationships to both Jesus and the Holy Spirit - and to God the Father, for that matter? <<<<

I won't repeat, since I apparently was too confusing. How should I put it? You seemed to be saying that Mary, in your belief, is spouse to all three Persons of the Holy Trinity. I was disagreeing. I believe she is only spouse to the Holy Spirit, and not the spouse of her Divine Son or Heavenly Father.

Regarding 'Co-redemptrix' I think a little water has passed under the bridge since Dr. Hahn made his affirmation of that doctrine. At the time, I don't think, he was yet convinced that Mary is the quasi-incarnation of the Holy Spirit. I still don't see how, if Mary is the human analog or icon or quasi-incarnation to the Holy Spirit, that her co-redeeming fits that role...... and if Dr. Hahn is only saying that Mary sometimes is and sometimes isn't an 'earthly type for the Holy Spirit' then he's not saying much.

Pray for me!

K.C.

Rosemarie said...

+J.M.J+

>>>I don't see that Dr. Hahn is on the same page as Kolbe since he never quotes Kolbe on that point. I also don't see quotes from Kolbe affirming the Holy Spirit's maternal nature, or femininity.

I don't know of St. Maximilian ever teaching that, either.

>>>Therefore I think Dr. Hahn is using Kolbe selectively.

He's also basing his argument partly on a book called _Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit: The Marian Teachings of St. Maximilian Kolbe_, by Fr. H.M. Manteau-Bonamy, O.P.. It expands upon the saint's insights, and Fr. Manteau-Bonamy does discuss maternal images of the Holy Spirit, on roughly pages 18-23 of that book. Though that particular section doesn't quote from St. Maximilian very much, so it's probably mostly the author's input.

Note that Dr Hahn mentions "H.M. Manteau-Bonamy, OP" in that list of theologians that he says supports "this notion." Since Sungenis says about these theologians, "At this point, I don’t know anything in their writings that is supportive," perhaps he hasn't read the book _Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit_. I would recommend anyone read that book, especially if one wants some background as to Scott Hahn's thinking on this matter.

>>>You seemed to be saying that Mary, in your belief, is spouse to all three Persons of the Holy Trinity. I was disagreeing. I believe she is only spouse to the Holy Spirit, and not the spouse of her Divine Son or Heavenly Father.

At one point or another throughout Church history, Our Lady has been called the spouse, bride or even wife of all of the Three Divine Persons and even of God Himself without distinction. Mariology is not always as cut-and-dried as it may seem.

>>>Regarding 'Co-redemptrix' I think a little water has passed under the bridge since Dr. Hahn made his affirmation of that doctrine. At the time, I don't think, he was yet convinced that Mary is the quasi-incarnation of the Holy Spirit.

I have reason to believe that he knew of Fr. Manteau-Bonamy's book at the time (it was first published in 1977) and agreed with St. Maximilian's insights into the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary even back then. I say this based on something he said on an early audiotape called "Like Father Like Son: the Priest A Celibate Father" (from the early 90's, I think) and an offhand comment he made on EWTN also during the 1990's.

I haven't paid much attention to Hahn during the past decade, though. Since I can't read his mind, I can't say 100% for sure that he still believes Mary is Co-redemptrix, though I don't see why he wouldn't, and in all likelihood he does. However, if you want to know I suggest you get in touch with him. He can speak for himself better than anyone else.

The rest of your post requires an entailed answer, so I will put it in a separate post.

In Jesu et Maria,
Rosemarie

Rosemarie said...

+J.M.J+

>>>I still don't see how, if Mary is the human analog or icon or quasi-incarnation to the Holy Spirit, that her co-redeeming fits that role.

To answer this, I’d like to begin by quoting a Mariologist, Fr. Rene Laurentin. While I don’t always agree with him on everything, he does make some good points on this topic that I’d like us to consider. In his _ A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary_, Fr. Laurentin writes:

Here again, therefore, Mary is seen entirely in relation to Christ. Less recognition has been given to the complementary truth that she is also entirely relative to the Holy Spirit. She acts in dependence on him. The title of “coredemptrix” which was coined for her and widely attributed to her by Mariologists, though not retained by the papal magisterium or by Vatican II, would fit the Holy Spirit in the primary and strictest sense of the term; for he is the Spirit of Christ, and by his anointing and breath the whole saving work of the Redeemer is animated. The title “co-Redeemer” would aptly describe him, according to a divine equality that would give full force to the prefix “co-“. Mary owes the fact that she was able to communicate in this sacrifice to the Holy Spirit, who not only cooperated in the essential work by his anointing, but also divinely stirred up the cooperation of the first of the redeemed. With him who is “co-Redeemer” she contracts this new bond at the time of the essential sacrifice. The Spirit had urged her on to Calvary so that she might stand there as the first fruits of the cooperating Church, at the very hour when the sign of the Church was to appear from the pierced side of the Savior (Jn. 19:34). (pp. 242-243.)

Now, while it’s true that the Holy Spirit is not the Redeemer, neither is Mary, strictly speaking. "Co-redemptrix" doesn't mean "coredeemer," but "Woman with the Redeemer." Mary works with Jesus, playing a subordinate role in the redemption of the world. The Holy Ghost also works “with the Redeemer,” so that ties into Fr. Laurentin’s assertion that He could be called “co-Redeemer” (although he is not our Redeemer).

Mariologists say that the Blessed Virgin’s role as Co-redemptrix is threefold. First, she gave Jesus the Body and Blood that He offered up to the Father for our salvation. This was, of course, effectively accomplished in her by the Holy Spirit, as we say in the Creed that Christ was “conceived by the Holy Ghost.” Second, she united her sufferings to His on Calvary. Fr. Laurentin says above that the Spirit “stirred” her to do this. Third, she participates in the distribution of the grace of salvation that her Son gained on Calvary. Recall that St. Maximilian wrote, “as the spouse of the Holy Spirit, she shares in the distribution of all graces.” So here, too, we see the action of the Third Person of the Trinity in and through Mary.

This is why I don’t see how her Co-redemptrix role contradicts her close union with the Holy Ghost. On the contrary, the two are very much intertwined. Mary is the ‘Woman with the Redeemer” precisely because the Spirit of God, Who worked with Christ throughout His earthly life and continues to work with Him in the Church, has associated the Blessed Virgin with His work and works through her in a special way. The Spirit works with Christ through Mary, she works with Christ by the power of the Spirit.

I hope that helps clarify what I’ve been saying all along. Feel free to ask more questions.

>>>Pray for me!

Please pray for me as well!

In Jesu et Maria,
Rosemarie

Ben said...

Dear Kneeling Catholic,

You write: "I believe [Mary] is only spouse to the Holy Spirit, and not the spouse of her Divine Son or Heavenly Father."

I'm sure we can agree that Mary is the prototype or personal symbol of the Church. If that's true, then she's also Spouse of Christ, since St. Paul says: "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body." So if Christ is Bridegroom of the Church, He is also Bridegroom of the embodiment of the Church.

Saint Germanus calls Mary "God-wed" (indiscriminately, to the whole Godhead).

Mary is married spiritually to the Father, according to St. John of Damascus, who says: "It was fitting that the spouse whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine Mansions".

Further, if Mary is the New Eve, then she is married to the New Adam (the Son). St. Ephraim and St. Peter Chrysologus both refer to her as Bride of Christ.

Obviously, the "Bride of God" image is a metaphor. What it signifies is unitive love: "The union brought about by married love is the most intimate of all." (St. Maximilian). If this is true, then Mary is Spouse of the whole Godhead, since she is united to all the Persons in a unitive love.

Kneeling Catholic said...

Ben and Rosemarie!

We're the only ones still interested in this topic.

I posted your responses and a little commentary on them at the link below



http://kneelingcatholic.blogspot.com/2009/10/rosemarie-and-ben-from-unam-sanctam.html

pray for me. I don't have as much time for Mariological studies as Rosemarie thinks I do!

K.C.