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This means that we are "pulled" into the God of Christ: it is this union with his "I" that is realized in the words of consecration. Also in the "I absolve you" — because none of us can absolve from sins — it is the "I" of Christ, of God, who alone can absolve. This unification of his "I" with our own implies that we are also "pulled" into his reality as the Risen One, we advance toward the full life of the resurrection, of which Jesus speaks to the Sadducees in Matthew, Chapter it is a "new" life, in which we are already beyond marriage cf.

It is important that we always let ourselves be penetrated again by this identification of the "I" of Christ with us, by this being "pulled out" toward the world of the resurrection.

Clerical celibacy

In this sense, celibacy is an anticipation. We transcend this time and go forward, and so we "pull" ourselves and our time toward the world of the resurrection, toward the newness of Christ, toward the new and true life. So celibacy is an anticipation made possible by the grace of the Lord who "pulls" us to himself, toward the world of the resurrection; he invites us always anew to transcend ourselves, this present, toward the true present of the future, which becomes present today. And here we are at a very important point. One big problem of Christianity in today's world is that God's future is no longer considered, and the now of this world alone seems sufficient.

We want to have only this world, to live only in this world. So we close the doors to the true greatness of our existence. The meaning of celibacy as an anticipation of the future is precisely to open these doors, to make the world bigger, to show the reality of the future that must be lived by us as already present. To live, therefore, in a testimony of faith: we really believe that God exists, that God is part of my life, that I can base my life on Christ, on the future life. And we know now the worldly criticisms of which you spoke.

It is true that for the agnostic world, the world in which God has no place, celibacy is a great scandal, because it shows precisely that God is considered and lived as a reality. With the eschatological life of celibacy, the future world of God enters into the realities of our time.

And this is supposed to disappear! In a certain sense, this permanent criticism of celibacy can be surprising, at a time in which not getting married is becoming increasingly fashionable. But this not getting married is something totally, fundamentally different from celibacy, because not getting married is based on the desire to live only for oneself, not to accept any definitive bond, to have life at every moment in full autonomy, to decide at every moment what to do, what to take from life; and therefore a "no" to commitment, a "no" to definitiveness, a having life only for oneself.

While celibacy is precisely the opposite: it is a definitive "yes," it is allowing ourselves to be taken in hand by God, giving ourselves into the hands of the Lord, into his "I," and therefore it is an act of fidelity and trust, an act that the fidelity of marriage also supposes; it is the exact opposite of this "no," of this autonomy that does not want to be obligated, that does not want to enter into a bond; it is precisely the definitive "yes" that supposes, that confirms the definitive "yes" of marriage.

And this marriage is the biblical form, the natural form of being man and woman, the foundation of the great Christian culture, of the great cultures of the world. And if this disappears, the root of our culture will be destroyed. For this reason, celibacy confirms the "yes" of marriage with its "yes" to the future world, and so we want to move forward and make present this scandal of a faith that bases all of existence upon God.

We know that next to this great scandal, which the world does not want to see, there are also the secondary scandals of our insufficiencies, of our sins, which obscure the true and great scandal, and make people think: "But they don't really live on the foundation of God. Celibacy, as the criticisms themselves show, is a great sign of faith, of the presence of God in the world. Let us pray to the Lord that he help us to free ourselves from the secondary scandals, that he make present the great scandal of our faith: the trust, the power of our lives, founded on God and on Christ Jesus!

The following are two of these questions and answers: the first on the study of theology, the second on the decline of vocations. You are a pope theologian, while we, when we are able, read only a few books of theology for formation. It seems to us, nonetheless, that a fracture has been created between theology and doctrine, and, even more, between theology and spirituality.

The need is felt for study not to be entirely academic, but to nourish our spirituality. We feel the need for this in pastoral ministry itself.

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Sometimes theology does not seem to have God at the center and Jesus Christ as the first "theological locus," but instead has scattered tastes and tendencies; and the result is the proliferation of subjective opinions that permit the introduction, even in the Church, of non —Catholic thought.

How can we keep from becoming disoriented in our lives and our ministry, when it is the world that judges faith and not the other way around? We feel "off center! There really is a theology that wants above all to be academic, to appear scientific and forgets the vital reality, the presence of God, his presence among us, his speaking today, not only in the past. Saint Bonaventure distinguished two forms of theology in his time; he said: "There is a theology that comes from the arrogance of reason, that wants to dominate everything, to turn God from a subject into an object that we study, while he should be the subject who speaks to us and guides us.

Then there is a theology that wants to know more out of love for the beloved, is stimulated by love and guided by love, and wants to know more about the beloved. This is true theology, which comes from love of God, of Christ, and wants to enter more deeply into communion with Christ. In reality, the temptations today are great; above all, the so-called "modern vision of the world" Bultmann: "modernes Weltbild" is imposed, which becomes the criterion of what is claimed to be possible or impossible. And so, precisely with this criterion that everything is as it always has been, that all historical events are of the same kind, the very novelty of the Gospel is excluded, the intervention of God is excluded, the true novelty that is the joy of our faith.

What should be done? I would say first of all to the theologians: have courage. And I would also like to express great thanks to the many theologians who are doing good work. There are abuses, we know that, but in all parts of the world there are many theologians who truly live by the Word of God, nourish themselves on meditation, live the faith of the Church and want to help make faith present in our day.

And I would say to theologians in general: "Do not be afraid of this phantasm of the scientific! Many of them appear almost ridiculous. So have the courage to resist what is apparently scientific, not to submit to all the hypotheses of the moment, but really to think on the basis of the great faith of the Church, which is present in all times and gives us access to the truth.

Above all, also, do not think that positivistic reason, which excludes the transcendent — which cannot be accessible — is true reason! This weak form of reason, which presents only things that can be experienced, is really an insufficient reason. We theologians must use the greater form of reason, which is open to the greatness of God. We must have the courage to go beyond positivism to the question of the roots of being.

This seems of great importance to me. So, it is necessary to have the courage for grand, broad reason, to have the humility not to submit to all the hypotheses of the moment, to live by the great faith of the Church of all times. There is no majority versus the majority of the saints: the true majority is the saints in the Church, and we must orient ourselves by the saints!

Then, to the seminarians and the priests I say the same thing: consider that the Sacred Scripture is not an isolated book: it is living in the living community of the Church, which is the same subject in all centuries and guarantees the presence of the Word of God. Emily Auerbach: Uncle Fulbert, what was his reaction then in terms of the consequences for Abelard, this man he has hired as his tutor? Schulenburg: Well, needless to say, Fulbert was furious when he learned that Heloise was pregnant. Abelard then returns to Paris, and he takes up his teaching again.

He attempts to make amends to Uncle Fulbert. He promises Uncle Fulbert that a secret marriage will take place, and this was to be secret, again, so that Abelard's reputation as a scholar, as a teacher, as a celibate would not suffer. It was going to be a marriage that would take place, but then he would pretend that no marriage had taken place.

Schulenburg: Well, Heloise will argue against this. It really does not satisfy what Abelard thought it would, but Fulbert agreed.


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Fulbert thought this was a fine idea, and at this point then Abelard returns to Brittany to get Heloise. It is at this point then that Heloise reveals her strong convictions and her strong personality against the secret marriage.

Emily Auerbach: Why did Heloise argue against marriage? Was it just that it was going to be hidden, or did she have objections to marriage itself? Schulenburg: She could see things, I think, that Abelard was blind to at that moment because she saw that the marriage would not solve the problem. A secret marriage wouldn't solve the problem because it would not appease Fulbert. It would not form public reparation. It would also, she thought, pose a risk to Abelard, and most important it would be a disgrace for them both. This would be in the mindset of the time of the twelfth-century Renaissance, the ideas of Abelard and Heloise in this tradition of the classics that philosophers were celibate.

If you were going to be a great philosopher marriage would be very detrimental. And she argues from the classical viewpoints against the marriage relationship. Norman Gilliland: This is Abelard quoting Heloise: "But apart from the hindrances to such philosophic study, consider, "she said, "the true conditions for a dignified way of life. Jul 13, All rights reserved. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice. Sign In. TIME Health. TIME Labs.


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