When Does The Person Begin?




Home Page Articles Links Contact Us




Can the Relationship between Fact and Moral Norm, as indicated in Humanae Vitae be Further Explained?

Part II:  A literature survey of factors in the relationship between a bodily fact and a moral norm

CHAPTER 3:  The fact-norm distinction and the nature of man

In Chapter 2 we have examined in some detail Hume's Naturalistic Fallacy.  This has allowed us to see something of the general impact on our understanding of the fact-norm distinction.  This impact has been far from negative and has indeed begun to question the very terms of the difference between a bodily-personal fact and a moral norm: as if a polarization of these 'entities' is more a reflection of a philosophical presupposition or assertion of their difference, than a close examination of these things would actually allow158.  Scripture has assisted in offering a challenge to this fact-norm distinction.  We now see the possibility of the distinction and the relationship between a normative fact and a moral norm, precisely when the one is not reduced to the other159.  The normative fact is that man is made male and female and the moral norm, integral to the spousal marital act, is that each marital act is to be open to the possibility of the gift of life160.  This development was also precipitated by a philosophical perception that a value is integral to a fact.  These things indicate a basis to an integral vision of the 'whole man'161.  It also shows the necessity of philosophical assistance to a theological project of particular relevance to Christian moral anthropology: recognizing the significance of the relationship of the design of human being to the Creator of it162.

The theme of this Chapter is the consideration that the fact-norm distinction 'links up' with a latent dualism in some formulations of Christian moral anthropology. The very duality of the terms 'fact' and 'moral norm', while not the terms original to Hume's version of the Naturalistic Fallacy, may well appeal to the modern mind precisely because it articulates an almost perennial difficulty in philosophical163 and Christian anthropology: how to balance the two-in-one relationship characteristic of the person, one in body and soul164.

(i) The fact-norm distinction as a type of dualism

Josef Fuchs is a proponent of the view that an absolute moral norm exists in so far as a moral norm165 is objectively true to a concrete moment in the relationship of being to action166, but not in so far as that implicates us in a universally valid norm: a norm valid for all time, all places and all peoples167.  We will first of all consider his reasons for this position and then examine its implications for the relationship of the fact-norm distinction to human nature.

According to Fuchs, while there are a number of constants in the nature of man, in particular a 'body-soul unity,' the relationship of one constant to another is not itself constant168.  The only relationship that is invariable, is the relationship of being to action.  If the relationship of being to action is invariable, then a moral norm is objectively true to the extent that it applies to a particular, historical 'moment' in an otherwise constant process of change.  If there is no internal constancy to the body-soul unity (other than the constancy of these two elements169), then it is impossible to formulate a universally valid moral norm170.  This is because a universally valid moral norm presupposes not only a constancy of the presence of these two elements, but an actual constancy of the relationship between these two elements.  The inconstancy of the fundamental relationship between the elements of human being, render the data of this 'moment' in the body-soul relationship, of use only with respect to the historical moment in which it occurs171.  If a particular moment in the relationship of body to soul is not a manifestation of permanence, then no permanence can be found in a particular psycho-physical structure of human being.  Human sexuality, on this view, provides data valid for a historical moment in the evolution of human being.  This account of things is fundamentally determined by the presupposition of the theory of evolution172; except there is no indication that this is treated as a theory.

The doctrine of creation is said to give us many things173, including reason; however, the link between creation as a gift and the gift as determining our use of it, is expressed in terms of a 'commission'174.  The idea of man as commissioned to continue the 'work of creation precisely in the sense of being God's partner' is not necessearily objectionable175; indeed, it is based on the biblical datum of man made in the image of God176.  A problem arises because on this view the human body does not significantly participate in the being of a person; indeed, person is defined in relation to gift and commission: 'Man, experienced as gift and as commission, is a person'177.  Whereas the fact that 'he is his body and his sexual being' is a personal reality; and 'man, as person, must control, at least to some extent, the personal realities which, as such, do not solely constitute the person'178.  The data of creation-evolution179 stands as 'information' to reason180.  This understanding of fact as information is to be taken in the sense of a uniformly, statistical type of thing, even if it can also be part of a 'personal reality.'  There is a complex notion of fact in so far as it can become a part of an '"artifact" that is in line with the given nature as human nature'181; indeed: 'Culture is possible only if man takes into account both his given nature, distinct from reason itself, as an element of measure, and human reason itself, which likewise is a given of nature as an element of measure'182.  Fuchs certainly insists on this: 'Reason ... absolutely must listen to the word of nature'; but then he states again: 'The word of nature speaks to us always and only about facts'183.

In conclusion, there is a general distinction between norm and fact, which is modified by three things.  The fact is a given and the given includes the gift of reason.  An acceptable cultural fact is an artifact in line 'with the given nature as human nature.'  Thirdly, both reason and the given nature as distinct from human reason, contribute their diverse and complementary 'element of measure.'  This relationship of fact and norm, as we have seen, also exists in the context of an evolutionary theory.  Fuchs' datum, obtained from listening to nature, is the datum of the presupposition of an evolutionary instability to the actual relationship of body to soul.  What emerges is that man is made in the image of God in such a way that while he perdures as 'person-gift' with the commission to be God's partner, there is no stable expression of man as bodily-person.  If there is no stable expression of man as bodily-person, then there is no stable expression of the manifestation of the person as sexual.  If there is no stable expression of the person as sexual, then the person as sexual does not communicate an 'idea' of God as embodied in it.  If there is no 'idea' of God as embodied in man as a sexual person, then, on this account of things, there is no bodily-personal data on the design of God.  The data that this leaves is the data of the passing historical moment of the relationship of being to action.  This understanding of data, understandably, does not contribute to determining a moral norm.  The fact-norm distinction, on this account of things, typifies a distinction in the very nature of man between the person as an indeterminate gift-commission and the body as an indeterminate 'object' of this commission.  In the following section we will take up a sample of those who hold the presupposition of a theory of evolution.

(ii) Dualism and finality: two problems with theories of evolution184

In one theory of evolution the design of a person is fundamentally separated out into two stages: 'the development, from other living matter already in existence, of the human body'185 ., and the act of ensoulment which is what, by definition, makes it a living human body.  In other words, there is the hypothesis of a stage of 'development' from other living matter, prior to ensoulment, of something186 that ensoulment will make into a living human body.  This origin of what will become the body, is not just that this animal type of being will share the substance of the earth (Gn 1: 7), but that it will proceed, through a 'problematic'187 process of change or development, to a point at which it is ripe for ensoulmemt and thus it will become, finally, the body of a man.

The point of adverting to this is twofold.  Firstly, any theory of a "living precursor" to what will become, on ensoulment, a living body entails a theory of design that is fundamentally dualistic.  In other words, it is not self-evident that there is any theory of design which can justify the separate 'development' of at least one of the very "ingredients" which constitute, in their unity, what it is to be a person.  Secondly, even if we could find such a theory of design and the evidence to support it, there is still the requirement that such a theory entail a finality.  For once a body and a soul are what they are, united as "one" in the constitution of a person, then there cannot be an indefinite indeterminancy188 to the development of the body: as if the very being of a person can be the "subject" of an evolutionaary process.  This is because reason reflects on the unconscious bodily expression of the eternal law, in order to assist it in the development of a moral norm; and if that bodily expression of the eternal law is unstable, then the moral norm it determines is unstable.  If the underlying nature of the person can so change189, then what was once morally wrong can now become morally right.  This seems to be the position of many who advocate contraception.  Consciously or not, they hold an unwarranted presupposition of the instability of natural law and human nature: an instability which is rather called dynamic as opposed to static190 and which invariably leads to a complete abolition of traditional Christian morality or to a qualification of it to the point that contraception is in principle acceptable.  Consciously or unconsciously, there seems to be a logical relationship between the kind of evolutionary premise191 that man is a process of change192, and the conclusion to which it invariably leads that contraception is acceptable.  For this reason, and as a marked exception to the more common practice of one or two references per footnote, there is a sample of these correlations across several works and authors.

Some authors cite a conciliar text in support of a dynamic concept of human development193.  Suffice it to say that the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council do say: 'mankind substitutes a dynamic and more evolutionary concept194 of nature for a static one, and the result is an immense series of new problems calling for a new endeavour of analysis and synthesis'195.  But this text does not necessarily imply anything beyond the observation that 'mankind' has substituted a 'more evolutionary concept of nature for a static one.'  There is a development in our understanding of reality as dynamic, just as the development of a person is a dynamic process, but without the person ceasing to be the subject of the process from start to finish.  So it is possible to accept an 'evolutionary concept' of culture, the environment196 and the development of social institutions within a parameter of the eternal law197, while at the same time stating that the aforementioned hypotheses of the evolution of man are both unproven and problematic.

This question, although indicated by this study, requires further study and, as such, takes one beyond the remit of this dissertation198.  Nevertheless we see that finality is directly relevant to the fact-norm relationship: no stability to the human fact, no stability to the moral norm.  This issue shows the negative relationship of fact to norm: an erroneous evolutionary theory of a 'fact' can lead to a false 'contraceptive' norm.

(iii) Other traces of a body-soul dualism

A dualism in the sense of two constituents, body and soul, is not without some evidence, especially the evidence of death199.  Death pertains to the visibility of the person: to the body manifesting the life of the person. It follows that the act of existence of the body is not separate from the act of existence of the soul200.  It is difficult for us to understand the fact that the person is no longer visible in their body.  Death is an admission that life is not manifest in the body and to that extent presents an appearance of a radical distinction between the soul and the body.  This radical distinction, however, is also confounded by the fact of death.  The normal dissolution of the body is an outward sign of the soul's integration of the body.  It is precisely as a dead body that the body is seen to possess life in and through the existence of the soul.  Conversely, it is precisely as a living body that the body manifests the life of the soul201.  Christian anthropology then, not only does not abandon the problem of the philosophers but in a sense intensifies it according to the development of Christian doctrine.  So we see more sharply a similar problem to that presented by death, present at the beginning of life: there are the sexual gametes, the moment of fertilization, and the action of God in both the creation of the soul202 and the creation of a soul, one with the body.  We now proceed to raise particular instances of this trace of dualism, not now as the problem unresolved, but as the problem resolved erroneously.

The idea that 'The biological reality is only the material that receives its form (causa formalis) by love'203 is the result of an analysis that does not integrate the diverse elements of the human person in the image of God established in the act of human existence.  Haring argues that the body is implicated in the very mystery of man made in the image of God and as such bears a word of particular relevance to the marital act204, but this is not seen as providing a datum specifically determinative, through reason, of the morality of the conjugal act.  In a general way an author can recognize that there is an attitude that informs an action incompatible with love, yet be unrealistic with respect to what constitutes the converse good of marital tenderness205.  The marital tenderness, the tenderness of a couple during a period of abstinence, is clearly different from behaviour that is sexually exciting.  If marital tenderness is sexually exciting it cannot of itself conform to the period of abstinence.  For sexual excitement is by definition the beginning of a movement, the conclusion of which is the marital act; and to do things which by definition express the beginning of this movement, while proposing to abstain from its consummation, is a confusion between two different ends of two different actions206.  This confusion arises out of the premise: the biological reality is only the material that receives its form (causa formalis) by love.  For even as 'material' the biological reality contributes a constitutive element to an action.  If there is no reflection on what the 'biological reality' contributes to an action then love is implicitly defined as imposing a form on things as distinct from realizing their potential to perfection.  In this case a bodily fact is denied its full reality; indeed the reality it does possess is implied to be defective by the very idea that it requires a 'form.'

A similar problem arises with saying that pleasure does not participate in the morality of an act: 'the pleasure of an immoral sexual act is not itself bad'207.  It is not at all obvious that pleasure is 'an accompanying experience' of an action208: as if pleasure is some kind of uniform thing, invariant as to whether the action is moral or immoral.  These same authors, however, indicate that there is a relationship between an act which is bad in itself, 'and the willingness to yield to a disordered desire for gratification ... '209.  The 'disordered desire for gratification,' which is intimately related to the immoral act, is by definition not a desire for gratification which is ordered to the right moral act.  The very nature of the gratification in question is fundamentally determined, and determining, of the kind of pleasure in an act.  Pleasure as a component of an action clearly participates in the moral quality of that action: it is disordered to the extent it is the direct moral object of the marital act and it is perfected to the extent it participates in the morally right object of the marital act: being open to the possibility of the gift of life210.  The fact of pleasure, in this instance, has not been sufficiently integrated into an anthropology in which the body participates in the 'good' or the 'evil' of human action211.

Another type of dualism is evident in St. Thomas Aquinas.  This concerns the origin of human being.  He advances a theory of delayed animation for the normal generation of human beings: first there is a vegetative soul, then an animal and finally a rational soul212.  This type of dualism is similar to that espoused by an evolution of a 'living precursor' to the body of the person: it is a dualism of design; however, it should be noted that St. Thomas held that 'Adam's body was formed by God immediately, there being no preceding human body that could generate a body of like species to itself'213.  So we can conclude that even if St. Thomas holds to delayed animation and a living precursor to the human body, because he says: 'foetuses are animal before they are human ... [but] nature, in producing the animal foetus, is aiming at producing a man'214 ., he views nature itself as aiming at producing a man.  In other words, it seems possible to regard the animal that nature aims to produce, and the animal that nature produces in the course of aiming at man, as two different kinds of animal: not different in that both are animated by an animal type of soul, but different in the reality that the former type of animal is aimed at as an end and the latter type of animal is aimed at in view of a higher end.  This being the case, and in view of St. Thomas' argument a human body is required to 'generate a body of like species to itself', it follows that when nature produces an animal in the course of aiming at man, that this is an intention of nature unique to human procreation.  In other words, if we are justified in observing a degree of dualism in St. Thomas' understanding of the transmission of human life, it is a dualism within the context of a unitary purpose of nature that is rooted in the principle that like reproduces like.  Similarly we can argue that even the 'vegetitative' stage of human development would be what nature produces while aiming at an animal and, ultimately, the rational man215.

In contrast to this quasi-dualistic conception to the stages through which human life is transmitted, St. Thomas Aquinas also argues that God became man, one in body and soul, from conception216.  This poses the question: why this difference between the conception of Christ and the conception of Adam's children, especially in view of the vocation of Christ to recapitulate the history of man?217.  Did not the Fathers of the Church say that what is not assumed is not redeemed218?  In other words, notwithstanding the difference in the manner of our conception219, Christ sanctified every true stage and fact of our human development.

This discussion elucidates the specific requirement of this dissertation to show how the interrelationship of 'sense and spirit' is a part of the very design of the person and the action of procreation220.  An elucidation which will take us to the very foundation of the person in the act of conception, 'imitating' as we hope to show, the coming to be of the humanity of Christ, one in body and soul from conception.

A Reflection in the light of the dissertation as a whole

The problems of unresolved dualism, whatever their precise form, bring to the fore the view that in the act of creation, God brought into existence a finality of end, inseparable from a 'moment' of beginning.  No other account would appear to offer the possibility of integrating into the humanity of man such diverse things as biological process and psychological attitude, pleasure as ordered to pleasure in the person of the spouse, our imitation of Christ from His conception or His imitation of us from the point of our divine-human conception.  If there is not such an integration of these bodily facts into an anthropological vision then, as we have seen, in their isolation from the whole, these facts distort our perception of the whole.  This again confirms, albeit negatively, the relationship of bodily facts to the norm of the integral person, one in body and soul.




References
158 The interesting question of the relationship of a statistical type fact to a moral norm, is not a simple one; but it is beyond the immediate purpose of this dissertation.    Back
159 Cf. George Woodall, author of Part II: Themes in Christian Anthropology, p. 21 of Christian Anthropology: The Human Condition in the light of the Gospel, A Course Book for the B. A. Divinity Programme, co-authored by Kevin Preston, author of Part I: Historical Debates, (Birmingham: Maryvale Institute, 1997).    Back
160 HV nos. 11 and 14.    Back
161 HV no. 7.    Back
162 HV no. 13.    Back
163 Kevin Preston, author of Part I: Historical Debates, pp. 5-7: Aristotle, in Christian Anthropology: The Human Condition in the light of the Gospel.    Back
164 Woodall, author of Part I: Themes in Christian Anthropology, p. 32 of Christian Anthropology: The Human Condition in the light of the Gospel.    Back
165 J. Fuchs, "The Absoluteness of Behavioral Moral Norms", p. 127 of Personal Responsibility and Christian Morality, translated by W. Cleves and others (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, first published 1983).    Back
166 Ibid. p. 133.    Back
167 Ibid. p. 140.    Back
168 Ibid. p. 126.    Back
169 This relationship is taken as a 'typical' instance of what he says.    Back
170 Cf. Fuchs, "The Absoluteness of Behavioral Moral Norms", p. 141 of Personal Responsibility and Christian Morality.    Back
171 A question arises: what determines the length of any given historical moment; and the duration, therefore, of any particular particular conclusion?    Back
172 Fuchs, "Conciliar Orientations for a Christian Morality", p. 42-3 of Personal Responsibility and Christian Morality.    Back
173 Fuchs, Christian Ethics in a Secular Arena p. 92.    Back
174 Ibid. p. 93.    Back
175 But 'man as God's partner could well be objectionable if taken in a Pelagian way, as I suspect many modern people do take it'., R. Conrad (4/07/01).    Back
176 Fuchs, Christian Ethics in a Secular Arena p. 92.    Back
177 Ibid. p. 93.    Back
178 Ibid.    Back
179 This links one assertion with another.    Back
180 Fuchs, Christian Ethics in a Secular Arena p. 95    Back
181 Ibid. p. 94.    Back
182 Ibid. p. 95.    Back
183 Ibid.    Back
184 It is not obvious that 'sudden evolution' R. Conrad (4/07/01) is a theory of evolution at all.  For if there is no gradual change of a species, then there is no evolution; and if there is a 'sudden' change, then there is not an evolution but a change that requires a proximate cause.  Other comments made by R. Conrad (4/07/01) cannot be further pursued.    Back
185 Pius XII, Humani Generis, (London: CTS [Do 265] 1961) no. 36.    Back
186 Re-written in response to R. Conrad's point: 'there is no human body without a human soul' (4/07/01), emphasis added.    Back
187 It is not possible to review the practical problems of this type of evolutionary theory.    Back
188 B. Haring, Free and Faithful in Christ: Vol. 3: Light to the World Salt for the Earth. (Slough: St. Paul Publications, 1981) pp. 177-78.    Back
189 Cf. Josef Fuchs, "The Absoluteness of Behavioral Moral Norms", pp. 125-28 of Personal Responsibility and Christian Morality.    Back
190 Curran, Contemporary Problems in Moral Theology pp. 116-136.
Fuchs, "Conciliar Orientations for a Christian Morality" p. 42 of Personal Responsibility and Christian Morality.
B. Haring, Free and Faithful in Christ: Vol. 1: General Moral Theology. (Slough: St. Paul Publications, 1978) pp. 23-4, 308, 315, 319, 323, 325, 343, 345-46, 359, 363, 365-67.
B. Haring, Faith and Morality in a Secular Age. (Slough: St. Paul Publications 1973) pp 135-36 and 161.
B. Haring, Faith and Morality in a Secular Age. (Slough: St. Paul Publications 1973) pp 135-36 and 161.
Anthony Kosnik, Chairperson, William Carroll, Agnes Cunningham, Ronald Modras, James Schulte, Human Sexuality: New Directions in American Catholic Thought: A Study Commissioned by the Catholic Theological Society of America, (New York: Paulist Press, 1977) pp. 79, 87 and 124.
J. Mahoney, Bio-ethics and Belief: Religion and Medicine in Dialogue (London: Sheed and Ward, reprinted 1986) p. 16.
K. Rahner, "On the Encyclical 'Humanae Vitae'", translated by D. Bourke. Theological Investigations: Vol. 11:
Confrontations. (London: Darton, Longman and Todd) p. 277.    Back
191 Curran, Contemporary Problems in Moral Theology pp. 118 and 124.
Fuchs, "Conciliar Orientations for a Christian Morality" pp. 42-43 of Personal Responsibility and Christian Morality.
Haring, "The Inseparability of the Unitive-Procreative Functions of The Marital Act", C. E. Curran (ed.), Contraception: Authority and Dissent. p. 181.
Haring, Free and Faithful in Christ: Vol. 1: General Moral Theology p. 320.
Haring, Free and Faithful in Christ: Vol. 3: Light to the World Salt for the Earth pp. 5 and 9.
Haring, Faith and Morality in a Secular Age pp. 119 and 149.
Kosnik et al, Human Sexuality: New Directions in American Catholic Thought: A Study Commissioned by the Catholic Theological Society of America pp. 62-4.
Mahoney, Bio-ethics and Belief: Religion and Medicine in Dialogue p. 16 and 82.
K. Rahner, Hominisation: The Evolutionary Origin of Man as a Theological Problem: No. 13 of Quaestiones Disputate, translated by W. T. O'Hara. (London: Burns and Oates, 1965) pp. 61, 66, 92-4, and 99.
J. L. Russell, "Contraception and the Natural Law", Heythrop Journal 10 (1969) p. 126.
R. McCormick's review of work by R. S. Pendergast, "Notes on Moral Theology" Theological Studies 27 (Editor's note: The present survey covers the period from January-June, 1966) pp. 649-50.    Back
192 Cf. Fuchs, "The Absoluteness of Behavioral Moral Norms" pp. 126-27 of Personal Responsibility and Christian Morality.    Back
193 Cf. Haring, Free and Faithful in Christ: Vol. 1: General Moral Theology p. 372 and cf.
Fuchs, "Conciliar Orientations for a Christian Morality" p. 42 of Personal Responsibility and Christian Morality.    Back
194 Given that the definition or theory to which this term refers keeps changing, what did the Council Fathers mean by an 'evolutionary' concept of nature?    Back
195 Gaudium et Spes no. 5; cf. also no. 12.    Back
196 P. T. de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, translated by B. Wall. (London: Collins-Fontan Books, 1965) p. 163.    Back
197 Cf. ST I-II. 93. 1.    Back
198 Cf. R. McCormick, "Current Theology: Notes on Moral Theology: 1978", Theological Studies 40 (March 1979) pp. 89-90;
Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man pp. 162-69;
Rahner, Hominisation: The Evolutionary Origin of Man as a Theological Problem p. 92;
K. Rahner SJ, Theological Investigations: Vol. 11: Confrontations, translated by D. Bourke. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd) pp. 247-62.    Back
199 Woodall, author of Part II: Themes In Christian Anthropology, p. 32 of Christian Anthropology: The Human Condition in the light of the Gospel.    Back
200 The question of the evidence of this in the exceptional instances of the non-corruption of the dead body of a saint is beyond the scope of this dissertation.    Back
201 R. Conrad says: 'You seem to have fallen into dualism, here.... for Thomas the dead body is not a body at all' (4/07/01).  Reply: If the person's act of existence is one act for both body and soul, then death is not the destruction of that common act of existence.  Death pertains to a change in the relationship of soul to body, not to the negation of that relationship.  This is implied in the doctrine of the resurrection.  Further discussion is beyond the task in hand.    Back
202 HV no. 13.    Back
203 B. Haring, Free and Faithful in Christ: Vol. 2: The Truth will set you free, (Slough: St. Paul Publications, 1979) p. 505.    Back
204 Ibid. p. 495.    Back
205 B. Haring, What does Christ want?, translated by A. Wimmer, (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1968) p. 148.    Back
206 Cf. M. R. E. Masterman, "Finis Operis", p. 923, Vol. 5 the New Catholic Encyclopedia (London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967).    Back
207 R. Lawler, J. Boyle and W. May, Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation, and Defense, (Huntingdon, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Inc., second edition 1998) p. 78.    Back
208 Ibid. p. 78.    Back
209 Ibid. p. 78.    Back
210 HV nos. 11 and 14.    Back
211 VS no. 49.    Back
212 ST, III, 6, 4.  Even if the theory of delayed animation is Aristotelian (comment, G. Woodall, 5/3/01), at this point it does seem as if St. Thomas has an inclination towards it, although he is aware of other possibilities: ST, I, 118, 1-2.    Back
213 ST, I, 91, 2; indeed, St. Thomas saw a 'perfection of the production of things' in the creation of Adam (I, 91, 4, Reply Obj. 3).    Back
214 ST, I, 85, 4.    Back
215 This paragraph was completely revised in view of R. Conrad's comments, in particular: 'To be rational is one of the many ways of being animal; to be animal means that the kind of intellectuality we possess is different from the kind the angels possess.  See De Ente et Essentia chapter 2' (4/07/01).    Back
216 ST, III, 6, 4.    Back
217 Gaudium et Spes no. 38.    Back
218 This is a summary rendering of what a number of Fathers have said.  Two are cited here and others are given in an Appendix I to this footnote.
St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies (2, 22, 4): 'He passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants ...'.  As in The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1, passages selected and translated by William A. Jurgens, (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1970).
St. Gregory of Nazianz, Letter of Gregory to Cledonius the Priest, Against Apollinaris (101): 'That which was not assumed has not been healed; but that which is united to God, the same is saved'.  As in The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 2, passages selected and translated by William A. Jurgens, (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1979) p. 41.
In brief, even if our understanding of things is naturally different from theirs, provided a stage or fact of human growth can be demonstrated to be a fact or stage integral to human development (cf. Part III, Chapter 4, sections ii - iii of this dissertation), then what follows is what they understood, namely that Christ recapitulated the whole of human life and, therefore, sanctified each integral stage and fact of it.    Back
219 Re-written in response to R. Conrad: 'But our conception is different from Christ's!!!  No male seed.  Is the male role in sexual intercourse therefore not redeemed' (4/07/01).  Reply: If Christ had to actually do everything that human beings do in order for the totality of our humanity to be redeemed, then clearly many talents and activities would be excluded from what He did redeem.  Redemption, therefore, is of such a kind as to entail our completely actual humanity: 'the fruits of our nature and our enterprise' ... (Gaudium et Spes no. 39).  Further disscussion of this is beyond the present work.    Back
220 Cf. Gaudium et Spes no. 51.    Back

Home Articles Top Next




Copyright © 2010 - All articles written by Francis Etheredge
Copyright © 2010-2015 - Website designed, written and maintained by Grace Mason
All rights reserved