Blog Template Theology of the Body: Considering Radner- and the alternative

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Considering Radner- and the alternative

In considering Radner, we consider one of the most formidable Protestant ecclesiologists of our day; and his proposal that the Church be understood on the model of a broken, dispersed Israel has its compelling features. One alternative, as emphasized by significant contemporary Catholic theologians, is to understood the Church in and by the young Israelite in whom the Church finds Israel's Holy of Holies- Mary of Nazareth, called from among the nations and from among her own to be God's chosen one and bear Him to the Gentiles, as though she were the most radical form of her nation Israel.

Protestant ecclesiologies who would converse with Catholic doctrines of the Church need to recall Charles Journet's emphasis in The Church of the Word Incarnate that the Church enjoys a present consummation with Christ, with regard to the present fecundity and maternity which is already realized in Mary, such that the Church need not be called "broken," but rather, "abundant" in the grace and presence of the Savior:

When (we) speak of fecundity (we) recall that the Holy Spirit…by the mediation and free acquiescence of our Lady, formed Christ to Him to the world… on the day of the Annunciation the Holy Spirit gave a mysterious fecundity to our Lady, making her the mother of Christ and consequently, the mother of all men. This fecundity He now communicates, in a different and analogical manner, to the power of order… so that it may bring the Eucharistic Christ into the world, and generate the Church which is His body.

Accordingly, Journet continues:

The collective grace of the whole Church is condense and intensified in the Blessed Virgin… this is the very mystery of the relations between Christ, on the one hand, and the Virgin and the Church on the other, of which St. Thomas speaks when he says at the moment of the Annunciation, the Virgin’s consent was sought in the name of all human nature…all the maternal and virginal dignity of the universal Church, all the joys and sorrows of her childbearing through the ages, are collected and brought to a supreme point in that precise moment of her pilgrimage when she, by the blessed Virgin, gives birth to a Son…(and) at the moment when Christ dies on His cross, it is coredemptive compassion of the entire Church… that is condensed and carried to a supreme point of intensity in the heart of the Blessed Virgin.

In this way, Journet continues that in Mary’s unique “nuptial” relationship to the Godhead, the Church finds the pattern of her espousals, such that the Church need not be called "estranged" from her full vocation nor even "scattered" with regards to her integrity; rather, viewed in a Marian key, she has been and is "gathered," in the fullest sense:

Mary is the supreme realization of the Church… more Bride (even) than the Church… she is Mother, Bride and Virgin prior to the Church and for the Church; ... it is in her, above all, and by her that the Church is Mother, Bride and Virgin. It is by a mysterious excellence that is diffused from Mary that the Church can truly be, in her turn, Mother, Bride, and Virgin.