Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Blog Network: Dinner With a dotCommonweal Blogger

Despite the indult, it was fish and chips last night as I enjoyed dinner with Fr. John Connelly and Fr. Robert Imbelli at Sacred Heart parish in Newton Center, MA. Fr. Connelly is taking an interest in the Catholic blogosphere, latching on to Fr. Imbelli's enthusiasm. You'll find Imbelli blogging over at dotCommonweal. He teaches Theology at Boston College and has a fine piece on Deus Caritas Est in a recent issue of America (the one with the Pope on the cover). The conversation ran the gamut from blogging to the Weston-BC reaffiliation to even a bit about movies (of course!). We also spoke some of Fr. Imbelli's good work as a participant in the Catholic Common Ground project. Fr. Imbelli and I first got in touch when I caught a few people's attention with a little piece I wrote in response to Father Neuhaus a couple of months ago. Father Imbelli's latest contribution to the blogosphere appears today at dotCommonweal. In honor of Saint Patrick, we had a little bit of blueberry pie for dessert. I'm hoping to host Fr. Imbelli for dinner here in Cambridge some time soon. Anyone else want to come?

From Imbelli's America article, "The Pope and the Poet":

"The vision to which the pope refers is the one at the culmination of the entire journey of the Divine Comedy. Dante achieves the full satisfaction of his spiritual quest in an ecstatic contemplation of the triune God in the form of three radiant circles of diversely colored light. But this achievement is not Dante’s doing. It is the gift of God’s condescension. Dante’s loving desire, eros, is subsumed and transformed in God’s self-giving love, agape. And what enables and undergirds this consummated union is the appearance of a human form within one of the circles of the Trinitarian mystery. Jesus Christ himself is the union of the two: God and humanity, agape and eros, eternity and time."


Blogger DilexitPrior said...

Is that article on Deus Caritas Est available online? I'm writing a paper right now for Philosophy of the Human Person comparing Aquinas and Pope Benedict XVI on caritas and I'm looking for resources...

5:06 PM  
Blogger GRT said...

Doesn't "God's condescension" bother anyone? Isn't condescension a bit too much of a human trait?

Doesn't so much anthropomorphizing the deity play into the hands of unscrupulous charlatans?

Aren't fringe fundamentalists of any relgion empowered by the use of these metaphors?

8:56 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

I think "condescension" has taken on a negative connotation, as in "Don't be condescending." But in this case I don't think it means anything more than "lowering oneself." As in Jesus Christ, God who is greater than us condescends to become human. In that context, this is good news!

10:30 PM  
Blogger GRT said...

Our language is unable to help sustain your discussion. The good nuns in St. Anthony's Parochial School in Beaumont, Texas, told me that God is perfection. Pettiness cannot be part of perfection. "Lowering oneself" cannot be construed in any other way than lessening perfection.

The message is important, not the metaphor. Focusing on the metaphor only gets us into trouble.

Your vocation is a worthy vocation.


10:07 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

"He CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN and became man."


Mark is right--the perjorative connotation is an exponent of late American-style deomocracy.

It is a perfectly sound use of the word and it is not metaphoric, but, if you believe our creed, actual.

8:04 AM  
Blogger GRT said...

OED lists a 15th century usage of condescend in the sense of "stoop down...deign..." as well as "to come down."

9:03 AM  

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