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Some of Historical Themes in Deus Caritas Est or Who was Julian the Apostate and Why Should You Care?. Ann T. Orlando 17 September 2006. Limiting the Scope of this Talk. Other approaches that could be taken in discussing Deus Caritas Est

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Some of Historical Themes in Deus Caritas Est orWho was Julian the Apostate and Why Should You Care?

Ann T. Orlando

17 September 2006

DCE and History

limiting the scope of this talk
Limiting the Scope of this Talk
  • Other approaches that could be taken in discussing Deus Caritas Est
    • Biblical themes (John’s Gospel and Letters; Song of Songs, Deuteronomy)
    • Linguistic themes (eros and agape, caritas, dioconia)
    • Philosophical themes (Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Gassendi, Marx, Nietzsche)
    • Theological themes (Christology, Trinity)
    • Spirituality (Christianity as a personal relationship with Jesus, monasticism, spiritual ascent, Jacob’s Ladder)
  • My approach
    • Talk about historical themes;
    • Then questions and discussion that may lead us into some of these other areas

DCE and History

outline
Outline
  • Summary of Deus Caritas Est (DCE)
  • Very Broad Historical Periods and Terminology
  • Julian the Apostate
  • Karl Marx and Modernity
  • What this means for us and our practice of charity

DCE and History

structure of dce
Structure of DCE
  • Introduction [1]
    • Major theme
    • Purpose in writing this as the first encyclical
  • Part I Unity of Love [2-18]
    • Differences and unity of true eros and agape [4]
    • Path of ascent as renunciation, purification, healing [6]
    • Jesus Christ as personification of divine love [12]
  • Part II Caritas Practice of Love [19-39]
    • Caritas has always been part of the Church’s ministry, as much as the Word, and liturgy, since both flow from the Trinity [22]
    • Relationship between justice and charity [26]
    • Relationship between Church and State [28]
    • The distinctiveness of Christian charity [31]
    • Proper attitude of Christian engaged in charity: humility [35]
  • Conclusion [40-42]
    • Importance of saints and Mary
    • As both examples of true charity and intercessors for us

DCE and History

some surprising aspects of dce
Some ‘Surprising’ Aspects of DCE
  • For a Pope who is popularly portrayed as being ‘opposed’ to Vatican II, the Encyclical quotes VII, and does so very positively [DCE 28, 30]
  • On the other hand, the Encyclical recognizes that the Church’s leadership in the 19th C did not respond well to challenges of Enlightenment [DCE27]
  • For a Pope who is popularly believed to be ‘the enforcer’ of orthodox Catholicism as the only valid religion, the Encyclical goes out of its way to eschew any type of coercion or charity as a tool for proselytism [31]. Indeed the Pope suggests that as the occasion warrants, silence about specifics of faith may be the best course
  • For a Pope who is popularly believed to be antagonistic to American and Western European governments, the Encyclical goes out of its way to recognize the important work for justice that belongs primarily to the State
  • This Encyclical seems designed to open a fruitful dialog with Governments on justice and charity
    • Example of culture of death is Church-State cooperation in volunteer organizations working to reduce drug use among young people [DCE 30]

DCE and History

but i think the main point of dce is
But I think the main point of DCE is
  • Not about Church-State relations, but how we as individual Christians are to practice charity
  • Justice is all about common good; charity is all about the individual giving and receiving works of Christian love [DCE 34]
  • But charity should be practiced in humility; we cannot ‘fix the world’ or even one person; only God can do that [DCE 35]
  • All these points are presented with examples from history; and the points cannot be fully appreciated without some understanding of history

DCE and History

three very broad historical periods
Three Very Broad Historical Periods
  • Early Christianity, Patristics (1- 604)
  • Middle Period (604-1600)
  • Enlightenment and Modernity (1600- Present)

DCE and History

early christianity patristics
Early ChristianityPatristics
  • Jesus Christ and Writing New Testament ( 1 – 90 AD)
    • Among the last to be completed John’s Gospel
  • Time of Martyrs (64 – 312 AD)
    • Ignatius of Antioch (d 110)
    • Justin Martyr (d. 166)
    • Tertullian (d 220)
  • Time of Christian Roman Empire in West (312 – 604)
    • Constantine the Great converts to Christianity
    • Establishment of monasteries in Egyptian Desert
    • Julian the Apostate (r 361-363) attempted to return Empire to paganism as official religion
    • St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan
    • Martin of Tours (397)
    • Augustine (d. 431)
    • Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604)

DCE and History

middle ages
‘Middle Ages’
  • Usually divided into early, high, late
    • Rise of Islam (622 Hajij)
    • Charlemagne (Crowned by Leo III 800)
    • Crusades (First one preached by Urban II in 1095)
    • The great 13th C: Dominic and Francis, Aquinas and Bonaventure, countless others
    • Avignon Papacy 14th C
    • Plague
  • Renaissance and Reformation
    • Turks capture Constantinople, rename it Istanbul
    • Rebuilding St. Peter’s: Michelangelo, Raphael, Bramante, Bromine, Bernini
    • Expulsion of Moors from Spain
    • Columbus (1492)
    • Martin Luther (95 Theses 1517)
    • Founding of Jesuits, Teresa of Avila, Council of Trent
    • Great age of missionary activity in South America and Asia
    • Religious wars in Europe
  • Great Historical Void in DCE; virtually no mention of any historical event or saint from this period (1000 years)
    • Half the period of Christianity;
    • Not a single reference to Thomas Aquinas!!
    • Arguable this was the time of Catholic Europe

DCE and History

enlightenment and modernity
Enlightenment and Modernity
  • New philosophical developments
    • Descartes (1650)
    • Gassendi (1658)
  • Rise of Science and Technology; Globalization
  • New Political Structures
    • Separation of Church and State
  • Social problems resulting from marriage of economics and technology
    • Marx (d. 1883)
    • Labor movements of 19th C
    • Rerum Novarum (1891)
    • Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1997)

DCE and History

why emphasize patristics and modernity but a great void in the middle
Why Emphasize Patristics and Modernity … but a great Void in the Middle
  • Benedict XVI is deeply concerned that the Church has not yet fully responded to challenges posed by the Enlightenment
    • Agnosticism
    • Ethical Relativism
    • Materialism
    • Only valid knowledge comes from scientific method
    • Belief in mankind’s ability that through science we can ‘fix’ anything
  • Unlike the ‘Middle Ages’ the Enlightenment is NOT a Christian era [DCE 3]
    • In this it is like earlier Patristic Period in the Roman Empire

DCE and History

key historical example in dce fourth century
Key Historical Example in DCE: Fourth Century
  • Fourth Century was perhaps the most important century in Christianity other than the First
  • Opens with Great Persecution under Emperor Diocletian
  • Major turning point: Constantine the Great
    • Constantine the Great has a vision (dream) before Battle of Milvian Bridge to put sign of Christ on shields of his army; wins battle; succeeds in uniting the Roman Empire under himself,
    • Shows great favoritism toward Christianity; edict of toleration, 313
    • Council of Nicea, 325
    • Leaves Rome under protection of papacy, establishes new eastern capitol in Constantinople (Istanbul)
  • Attitude of Church theologians during time of Constantine:
    • God had established a Christian Roman Empire to rule the world, and so..
    • The Kingdom of God led by the Church must be close at hand
    • To call it ‘triumphalist’ is putting it mildly; Constantine as another apostle
  • What happened to burst this bubble? Julian the Apostate

DCE and History

so who was julian the apostate
So Who Was Julian the Apostate?
  • Nephew of Constantine the Great
  • Constantine was succeeded by his sons Constans, Constantius and Constantine (Julian’s cousins)
  • Constantius consolidated power through intrigue and murder, including the murder of Julian’s father and older brothers [DCE 24]
  • Julian as a boy sent to study in Athens (may have known St. Basil Great and Gregory Nazianzus there); pretended to be a Christian
  • After his studies, he commanded Roman troops in Gaul
  • When Constantius died (363), Julian was named Emperor by Army
    • Tried to reestablish paganism and other non-Christian forms of religion in Empire
    • Tried to mimic Church’s charitable structures in the State
    • Died on campaign in Persia
  • Julian was succeed by a Christian Emperor, Jovinian

DCE and History

julian the apostate in dce
Julian the Apostate in DCE
  • A paragraph devoted to Julian, 24; and another mention in 31; and the Encyclical even quotes from one of his letters!!??
  • The only historical figure who gets more ‘air time’ than Julian the Apostate, is Karl Marx!!??
  • Why??

DCE and History

julian as a metaphor for contemporary church state relations
Julian as a Metaphor for Contemporary Church-State Relations
  • First consider that Julian was an apostate,
    • that is someone who abandoned Christianity;
    • Just as much of the contemporary Western world
  • He abandoned it because of the hurtful things that those calling themselves Christians had done to him and his family “Emperor Constantius who passed himself off as an outstanding Christian” [DCE 24]
  • What remained in Julian was a recognition of the importance of the Church's charitable activities
  • But with Julian, these activities, because they no longer had Christ at their center, became a vehicle to ensure his own political popularity and social stability
  • General restructuring of society and social welfare systems to ensure political stability was part of the political theories of Karl Marx

DCE and History

karl marx and problems of modernity
Karl Marx and Problems of Modernity
  • Industrial revolution created new economic opportunities and power structures; also created vast social dislocations and urban poverty [DCE 26]
    • Railroads as primary example of an industry that abused workers and their families
    • Rise of labor movements
  • Marxism tried to collectivize all industries and dispense all material goods to members of society by the State [DCE 27]
    • Charity would be unnecessary; an anachronism
  • Rerum Novarum [27] and subsequent Church teaching argued against both Marx and unfair labor practices

DCE and History

key examples of theology and practice augustine and teresa of calcutta
Key Examples of Theology and Practice:Augustine and Teresa of Calcutta
  • Augustine (d. 431) Theology of Christian Charity
    • “If you see Charity you see the Trinity” [DCE transition from Part I to II, 19]
    • Great Christian political theorist [DCE 28, 36]
    • God governs the universe, and we cannot fully understand this [DCE 17, 38]
    • Recognize historical moment: Immediately after Julian the Apostate; after Fall of Rome; Against Pelagian Heresy
  • Teresa of Calcutta (d 1997) Great Modern Practitioner of Charity
    • Love of neighbor renewed in Eucharist [DCE 18]
    • Prayer and devotion to God are drivers for Christian charity [DCE 36]
    • Recognize historical moment: working in charity, not as a social worker in late 20th C

DCE and History

what are some of the aspects of a christian working in charity dce 31
What are some of the aspects of a Christian Working in Charity? DCE 31
  • “Following the example given in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christian charity is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations” [DCE 31 a]
  • “Christian charitable activity … is a way of making present here and now the love which man always needs” [DCE 31 b]
  • “Love is free; it is not practiced as a way of achieving other ends.” [DCE 31 c]

DCE and History

how does this practice of christian charity affect the christian
How Does this Practice of Christian Charity Affect the Christian?
  • “I must give to others not only something that is my own, but my very self; I must be personally present in my gift.” [DCE 34]
  • “This proper way of serving others also leads to humility. The one who serves does not consider himself superior to the one served, however miserable his situation at the moment may be. Christ took the lowest place in the world—the Cross—and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid” [DCE 35]
  • “It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work. Clearly, the Christian who prays does not claim to be able to change God's plans or correct what he has foreseen. Rather, he seeks an encounter with the Father of Jesus Christ, asking God to be present with the consolation of the Spirit to him and his work.” [DCE 37]
  • “Hope is practised through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness” [DCE 39]
  • “Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working”. [DCE 39]

DCE and History

dce 40 the saints and a subtle reference to julian the apostate
DCE 40: The Saints and A Subtle Reference to Julian the Apostate
  • “Finally, let us consider the saints, who exercised charity in an exemplary way. Our thoughts turn especially to Martin of Tours († 397)” [DCE 40]
  • When the story of meeting the beggar and sharing his cloak occurred, Martin was in the army of Julian the Apostate!!
  • Julian had Martin imprisoned for refusing to fight; “I am a soldier for Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight”
  • After Julian’s death, Martin was released and became famous for his practice of Charity as monk and bishop

DCE and History