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Reaching Out to the Secular World
New blog offers commentary on modern culture in the spirit of theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar.

loving the church blogspot
Commentary on life, culture, and religion, with Hans Urs von Balthasar as a guide.

October 26, 2010. Rome, Italy. Fr Patrick Murphy, LC, has created a new blogspot with the goal of helping bring together two realities that sometimes seem to repel each other like oil and water: the timeless wisdom of the Church and the modern secularized world. The blogspot, entitled “Loving the Church with von Balthasar,” is also on Facebook under the same name.

In the following brief interview, Fr Murphy explains what the blog intends to achieve and how Balthasar’s approach can build a bridge between the Church and modern seekers. A link to the latest blog entry is also included below.

Q: What is the central goal of your new blog, Loving the Church with von Balthasar?
Fr Murphy: My goal is to provide in-depth commentary on issues of life, culture and religion. I am studying for my Licentiate in Theology here in Rome (Pontifical Athenaeum, Regina Apostolorum). In my studies I have been delving into the great minds of our Christian heritage. So many answers to the problems of our day are here, squirreled away in the dusty books of the Fathers of the Church and other great men and women saints and scholars from across the centuries. So many answers to today’s problems are bottlenecked here in Rome (and in other inconspicuous libraries of the globe). I wanted to share some of the vintage wine of truth that I have been tasting.
Q: If you had to single out von Balthasar’s most important contribution to the dialogue between the Church and modern culture, what would it be?
Fr Murphy: Choosing just one is tough. Perhaps it would be his effort (with others like DeLubac) to stress Mystery in theology over fossilized concepts in our way of thinking about God and truth.

Balthasar´s understanding of
patrick murphy
Fr Patrick Murphy, LC
mystery is different from the way “high scholasticism” viewed it. For the scholastics, mystery was simply something we can’t know. Balthasar believed we can know Mystery, because we can know God. But when we know God there is always infinitely more that we don’t know than we do. He eludes us as an inexhaustible Divine Person.  Our relationship with him must be dynamic, personal, like a lover in search of a deeper knowledge of the Beloved. The more we know him, the more inexhaustible we realize he is. His splendor and glory are the goal of our lives. As Balthasar put it, "Man is the creature with a mystery in his heart that is bigger than himself. He is built like a tabernacle around a most sacred mystery."

There is more: for Balthasar, God cannot be reduced to concepts and petrified ideas. Concepts and definitions are very important in theology, as he fully realizes, and as the gospels clearly show us. But they are servants, called to help us to know and experience the Blessed Trinity, and to live our obedience to him more authentically. Revelation, after all, is Christ revealing himself to the Church, and thus revealing the Father and the Holy Spirit. All truth points to the communion of persons in God.

Q: What do you think is a common mistake that Catholics can make in their relationship to the modern world?

Fr Murphy: We can adopt an easy fortress mentality and merely hoard the graces we have received from Christ and the Church for ourselves and for our families, keeping the world at bay and left to fend for itself. We can preach only to the choir and in Catholic-speak, in such a way that we don’t reach other people, cultures and society at large. I am thinking of the subcultures that teenagers create (just visit the mall) because they have not been challenged to embrace the exciting adventure of the Gospel or show how passionate and fulfilling it is to follow our Lord Jesus Christ and spread his awesome love and message to the world.

We must protect and strengthen our families, for sure, but with the apostolic thrust to reach others in the mission that each one of us has been called to by the Lord. 
Read Fr Murphy´s latest blog entry: The Disgraced Catholic Church



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