maandag, november 18, 2019

Leo J. Elders (1926-2019): Requiescat in pace

Between 2008 and 2018 we have written on this post a series of updates on the life and work of Father Leo Elders s.v.d.

On October 14, 2019 at 14.15h Father Elders passed away quietly and peacefully at this residence at the Mission House of the Societas Verbi Divini in Teteringen (Netherlands). The funeral was celebrated on October 19 in the chapel by Mgr. E. De Jong, his former pupil and auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Roermond and concelebrated by the provincial and by the rector of the Mission House, after which he was buried at the cemetery of the Mission House.

Until October 1 he was working on several book projects.
- The English edition of his Aristote et Thomas d’Aquin (Les Presses universitaires de l’IPC, Paris, 2018, 650 p. ISBN 979-10-93043-23-4) which is forthcoming.
- His Les Noms Divins de Denys le Pseudo-Aréopagite selon Saint Thomas d’Aquin (Les Presses universitaires de l’IPC, Paris 2019, forthcoming). An English translation is in preparation.
- An unfinished commentary on Aquinas’ De substantiis separatis.

As such, Divine providence arranged it that in the final months of his earthly life, he put into practice the words written by St. Thomas in his preface to De substantiis separatis:
“Quia sacris Angelorum solemniis interesse non possumus, non debet nobis devotionis tempus transire in vacuum; sed quod psallendi officio subtrahitur, scribendi studio compensetur.”

The passing away marks the end of an era within Thomism. He was deeply steeped into the commentatorial and manualist tradition during his formation years (because “Leo Elders can easily manage his studies” as one of his teachers Father Grevelhörster would say, Leo Elders was given extra study assignments, apart from the usual manuals by Gredt, Diekamp and Prümmer, by way of the study of the works of Norberto Del Prado, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Cajetan and John of St. Thomas), a tradition which, contrary to most of his contemporaries, he always held in high regard. His academic studies under the direction of Cornelia de Vogel, Vianney Décarie and Werner Jaeger taught him the love and appreciation for the original texts and the world of classical culture so that he could fully immerse himself in the historical method of contemporary Thomism.

Emphasizing the crucial importance of Aristotle for both the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas, Father Elders often compared the transposition of Aristotle brought about by St. Thomas to the systematic rebuilding of an historical monument: the old bricks, slates, and beams are still used, but a more coherent whole is produced; some new windows are added; there is now much more light in the building, which becomes more livable; a new clarity envelops the whole monument. A useful summary of this position can be found in his ‘Saint Thomas d’Aquin et Aristote,’ Revue Thomiste 96 (1988): 357-376).

In turning his scholarly attention to Aquinas’s biblical exegesis and reading of the Church Fathers, he was instrumental in what is now called ‘biblical Thomism’ or ‘ressourcement Thomism’. Many of these studies are collected in Sur les traces de saint Thomas d’Aquin : Étude de ses commentaires bibliques. Thèmes théologiques (Paris : Parole et Silence/Presses Universitaires de l’IPC, 2009), pp. 590. In addition there are ‘La présence de saint Grégoire le Grand dans les œuvres de saint Thomas d’Aquin,’ in Nova & Vetera (Fribourg) 86 (2011/2) : 155-180 ; ‘The Presence of the Church Fathers in Aquinas’ Commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of John,’, in: Roszak, P. & Vijgen, J. (Eds.), Reading Sacred Scriptures with Thomas Aquinas. Hermeneutical Tools, Theological Questions and New Perspectives, Turnhout, Brepols 2015, pp. 257-286; ‘La présence de Saint Ambroise dans les écrits de Thomas d’Aquin’, in: Nova & Vetera (Fribourg) 94 (2019), 77-102 and ‘The Presence of the Alexandrian and Cappadocian Fathers of the Church in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas’, in Espíritu (Barcelona) 2019 (forthcoming).

On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood in 2003 he was honored by a Festschrift, prefaced by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  The future Pope Benedict XVI wrote:
„Er kennt Thomas durch und durch; wer Thomas kennt und gründlich studiert, kennt aber nicht nur Thomas, sondern die vielfältigen Flüsse philosophischen und theologischen Denkens, die er zum Strom zusammengeführt und denen er die Richtung in die Zukunft – die Richtung zu ihrem Ziel hin gewiesen hat: zur ewigen Weisheit, die zu suchen Sinn alles philosophischen Fragens ist. Pater Elders kennt Thomas und die große philosophische Überlieferung und findet darin den Horizont seines Denkens. Er kennt die leitenden Fragen und Einsichten, die im Ringen der Jahrhunderte gewachsen sind, aber er findet auch den Mut, sich den Herausforderungen von heute zu stellen, und gerade das war ja das Große des Aquinaten, das er von seinen Schülern immer wieder fordert.“ (J. Ratzinger, “Grußwort”, in: J. Vijgen (Red.), «Indubitanter ad veritatem», Studies offered to Leo Elders SVD in Honor of the Golden Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood, Damon, Budel 2003, p. 11.)

Several instances of an In memoriam in various languages are currently in preparation.

May St. Thomas greet him with the same words once spoken by Christ himself: “You have written well of me” (bene scripsisti de me) and accompany him towards his eternal reward, the beatitude given us in Jesus Christ whom Father Elders so devotedly served.

woensdag, oktober 02, 2019

Moedige denkers!

Das Strafrecht ernst nehmen
Hinter der Diskussion über die Priesterweihe von Frauen steckt eine Infragestellung einer definitiven, unfehlbaren und unveränderlichen Glaubenslehre der Kirche. Die nicht enden wollende Diskussion erfüllt einen Straftatbestand. Der Apostolische Stuhl müsste die Mehrheit der DBK und Mitglieder des ZdK nun verwarnen und, falls kein Widerruf erfolgt, mit einer Strafe sanktionieren. Von Dr. iur. can. Gero P. Weishaupt.

vrijdag, september 06, 2019

Gender ideology in action!

Those who talk about ‘gender ideology’ are often accused of being paranoid. Here is an example which illustrates that even an area such as Church history has succumbed to this ideology. Note the inability to read sources correctly and the flawed argumentation!

§ 1 “Hence we, the seasoned knights of the imperial Lord, do not turn cowardly; the noble followers of our respected leader, we take courage and are not unhappy to suffer. For if there were no other advantage or good thing in suffering except that we become much more like Christ, our fair shining model, it would be well worth it. One thing seems true to me: if after this life God wanted to reward equally those who had suffered and those who had not, then certainly we should still choose suffering just because it makes us like Christ.” (Source: Frank Tobin, transl., Henry Suso: The Exemplar, with two German Sermons, New York: Paulist Press, 1989, p. 128)

§ 2 “No one can reach the heights of the divinity or unusual sweetness without first being drawn through the bitterness I experienced as a man. […] My humanity is the path one takes; my suffering is the gate through which one must pass who will come to what you are seeking. And so, away with the faint‐heartedness and enter with me the lists of knightly steadfastness. Indulgence is not fitting for the servant when the lord is practicing warlike boldness. I shall clothe you with my armour because all my suffering has to be endured by you as far as you are able.” (Source: Büchlein 2, p. 205 “Es mag nieman komen ze go̊tlicher hocheit noch ze ungewonlicher sůzikkeit, er werde denn vor gezogen dur daz bilde miner menschlichen bitterkeit […] Min menscheit ist der weg, den man gat, min liden ist daz tor, durch daz man gan můz, der zů dem wil komen, daz du da sůchest. Dar umbe tů hin dines herzen klleinheit und tritte zů mir in den ring ritterlicher vestekeit, wan dem kneht gezimt nit wol zartheit, da der herre stat in stritberlicher kůnheit. Ich wil dir minú wafenkleit an legen, wan alles min liden můz von dir nah dinem vermugenne werden gelitten.”

The paragraphs above are extracts from “Paupertatem voluntariam possidete: ‘Possessing Poverty’ and the Development of Devotional Narratives in the Medieval Dominican Order, 1221‐1363”, a dissertation by Anna Milne-Tavendale (Department of History, University of Canterbury, 2018) and available here

What would a common sense reading of these passages be? One thing is for sure, it will not be the reading Milne-Tavendale gives.

She introduces § 1 as follows: “Suso employs increasingly masculine language and
imagery to construct ascetic suffering as singularly masculine enterprise:” and concludes paragraph 1 with: “By appropriating ascetic performances usually employed by women in their imitatio Christi and by using masculine images of knighthood and the normative language of political power, Suso effectively attempts to exclude women from an active participation in the imitation of Christ.”

This is followed by § 2, after which she writes: “Thus Suso’s attempts to exclude women is not only with regard to the performance of ascetic acts as a way and a means of conformity and union with Christ, but his use masculinising language encroaches on the spiritual authority required to reach contemplative experience.”

Note the very basic mistake: “through the bitterness I experienced as a man” in § 2 is an incorrect or at least misleading translation of “dur daz bilde miner menschlichen bitterkeit”. Suso is clearly talking about Christ’s humanity and not about Christ’s sex.

Nor is there anything in these passages – and those are meant to corroborate her comments – which indicates that” Suso effectively attempts to exclude women from an active participation in the imitation of Christ.”

Gender ideology is real!

dinsdag, juni 04, 2019

Cornelia de Vogel (1905-1986)

“Ik heb niet nagelaten tegenover de pater een zekere neiging tot de Liberaal-Katholieke Kerk kenbaar te maken, of wellicht zijn mening daarover te vragen. Het antwoord was dat hij die kerk niet als katholiek erkende. Want ‘het meest essentiële ontbreekt daar: de aanwezigheid van Christus op het altaar’. Er kan geen eenheid van geloof zijn: ieder mag er binnenkomen. In de Katholieke Kerk moet ieder geloven dat de Kerk leert, alles. Daar is geen geven en nemen, geen schipperen, geen transigeren; maar alles of niets: nemen, alles – of erbuiten blijven.” Cornelia de Vogel, Getuigenis van Gods genade. Autobiografie 1905-1929 (Hilversum:Verloren, 2002), p. 125.