instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres dii, sed unus est Deus.

Fr. Matt Malone, editor-in-chief of America, was asked on Newshour about the most controversial part of Pope Francis's interview. He answered in part:
What [Pope Francis] is reminding the Church is that the fundamental and most important teaching of the Church is that we have a God of love Who has created us and has redeemed us, and only in the context of our relationship with Him does the rest of what the Church teaches make sense.
Well, amen to that.

One of the comments on the Newshour page, though, points out a significant difference between Francis's interview and Fr. Malone's:
In Pope Francis' actual interview (which I suggest you read in its entirety!), he mentions "Jesus", "Christ", and "Jesus Christ" twenty-one times, not counting the many times he refers to the "Society of Jesus".

Yet in Fr. Malone's summary of the Pope's message, he never mentions Jesus once. He refers only to "this God of love who has created and redeemed us"... never mentioning the price that Jesus paid for this redemption.

This comment produced a remarkable response:
How can you say that Fr. Malone never mentions Jesus once. Is not Jesus the one who redeemed us? Jesus is fully human AND fully divine (the hypostatic union). Therefore, Fr. Malone presents a very orthodox and completely accurate reference to Jesus as the second person of the triune God who redeemed us.
I think we have here a microcosm of a much broader phenomenon. A priest preaches the Gospel to the world using grammatically unitarian language, which is understood as trinitiarian by a catechized Catholic who hears him.

But what do non-{catechized Catholics} understand by "a God of love Who has created us and has redeemed us"?

It wasn't the time or the place for Fr. Malone to explain the hypostatic union, but I do think the first commenter has a point. I think Fr. Malone fit Pope Francis's words to a pattern he -- well, all of us already had, of using orthodox but vague language to describe something the Pope was more precise about.

This touches on one of my own recent posts, in which I advise, "Don't let Jesus go without saying."