Letters to the Editor
FAITH Magazine July-August 2009
THE PRIMACY OF CHRIST AND THE FIFTH MARIAN DOGMA
Dear Father Editor,
Thank you for the powerful March-April editorial linking the attacks on the pope with a rejection of the 'language' of creation. This was followed by a wonderful meditation on Our Lady's role; she is, to put it rather clumsily, the icon of creation's co-operation with God. She sums up in herself the full purpose of the majestic design of the cosmos.
As we continue to see signs of the relentless breakdown of faith (symbolised by ructions even within the Vatican mouthpiece of L'Osservatore Romano), I think it is fair to say that we all yearn for a clear and simple remedy - a succinct way to restore health to an ailing Church. We seek for a means of returning people's hearing to the language of God's plan.
Already there is a strong movement for a final definition of Our Lady's role (a fifth Marian dogma). I can't help thinking that this will greatly assist the Faith movement's mission. By a bold refocusing on the Icon of the Unity-Law we would be recognising most concisely the whole sweep of the wisdom of God's economy in creation and salvation. We would also, of course, be exercising our co-operative role with God by calling on Mary's mediation in an unprecedented manner.
Surely it is Our Lady who will provide the opening for the proper acceptance of a new synthetic framework of faith for the new millennium. Pope John Paul II once said in Crossing the Threshold of Hope: "Christ will conquer through her, because He wants the Church's victories now and in the future to be linked to her". Indeed, it is the Unity-Law which explains to us why God should want to work in this way.
Fr Chris Findlay-Wilson
Parish of Our Lady of All Nations
Dear Father Editor,
The short meditation on Our Lady in the March/April issue did not go far enough in explaining the crucial role that Mary plays in our Salvation. Any coherent Catholic theory of Redemption must rest on the mystery of the incarnation in which there is an inseparable Marian coefficient. The theology behind Mary as Mediatrix needs to be made more familiar to all Catholics. Neither is this idea new as Mgr. G. D. Smith wrote about it in 1938.
Perhaps I might develop this in a possible offering for a future issue.
NEANDERTHAL AND THE FAITH VISION
Dear Father Editor, Your editorial comments on the distinctions between monogenism, polygenism, and polyphyletism were enlightening (Letters, March '09). Where would you put the Neanderthals in this scheme? There is anthropological evidence that they buried their dead with articles that might be of use in the afterlife. Does knowledge of an afterlife constitute humanity?
Dr Robert J. Kurland
Mount Zion Road
Awareness of and desire for life continuing beyond death would indeed be a characteristic of being human, for it could only be given to and would only be meaningful and relevant to a creature with a spiritual soul. Any creature with organic body and spiritual soul is human, no matter what their physical appearance, and all human beings on this earth are of one family and origin under God. These are theological truths which we can and should hold with certainty.
Whether the ancient remains found throughout Europe and the Middle East and grouped together as "Neanderthals" (named from the valley in Germany where the type was first found) fit into this family cannot currently be determined with any certainty. The genetic and archaeological evidence is tantalising but open to differing interpretations. Certainly Neanderthals would not have been the squat, grunting brutes of popular myth. Actually we would expect pre-human hominids to be highly sophisticated animals indeed. But it would also be very easy to see
Neanderthals as a lost race of human beings specially adapted to ice age conditions. They do seem to be genetically quite distinctive in many ways, on the other hand there is compelling if disputed evidence of interbreeding between them and the ancestors of modern populations in Europe. These are scientific questions which must rely on further investigation. It may never be possible to say whether someone had a soul or not simply from their physical remains and the circumstantial traces of their lives many millennia later.
FINDING SPACE FOR GOD?
Dear Father Editor,
As one of the aims of Faith magazine is to give examples of how nature reflects God, I am sending the following.
Let any body A at any point P, move away. It can only be at P or distant from P, therefore its motion from P is, first, its being at a particular amount of distance from P (this insight is prior to the assumption that A traces a continuous line from P - and disproves it!)
I asked a physicist, Dr P E Hodgson, staunch Catholic as well as a physicist, whether the claim that a moving body is constantly in and out of existence (which claim the above understanding of motion implies) was acceptable to science and he replied "there are speculations about this, but no experimental evidence".
The particular amount of distance between any point visited by a moving body and the next one visited must be in accordance with some or other law of nature and must be decreased by a mathematical Mind.
The above understanding of motion as a non-continuous event accords neatly with Brian Greene's claim that "it" (i.e. what he has just written) "forcefully challenges" the notion that the fabric of space and time is continuous. And, Professor Nancy Cartwright writes "discontinuity is exciting in many areas of physics".
It seems sure that one cannot have discontinuity without God,
Isle of Wight
We don't think that a 'point' is an intelligible reality outside of its context. The relationship of anything with its environment is fundamental to its very being and intelligibility. Lest we risk falling into Nominalism we need to affirm that to be 'at P' is to be already in dynamic movement away. Movement then is profoundly natural to anything physical, it is the development of its being of which space and time are the measure not the static stage. Moreover the ultimate level of being of anything created is its dynamic, relational, immediate dependency upon the Mind of God.
The popular argument to God through discontinuity is, we think, a version of the God-of-the-gaps argument the pitfalls of which, and its attendant serious cultural fall-out, have been delineated numerous times in this magazine.