Peace, Love, Faith, Happiness, are together the subjects of most of this issue of Antonianum, and how delightful it is to be able to say that! "Peace" is surely a much abused word, mostly because of the pervasiveness in public discourse today of Orwell's grim prophecy of the oncoming tsunami of Newspeak. Do we not repeatedly make war for there to be peace? And do we not repeatedly seek to justify treading underfoot some people's just aspirations for the sake of social, or national, or international peace? Is not thereby violence repeatedly committed sub specie pads? And, on the other hand, is not legitimate defence, and timely intervention to ward off evil, sometimes deprecated and decried, "for the sake of peace"? "Peace, peace, and there is no peace," is not just a quaint biblical quote, but a fairly accurate description of the goings-on in much of the world, then and now. Some of us, moreover, are old enough to remember (it was not that long ago) how the Soviet Union and its satellite regimes used to try to subvert the will of the free peoples to defend their liberty, and to advance that of others, through myriads of fellow-travelling organisations, conferences and so on, ostensibly dedicated simply to "peace"... their peace, of course, one might add. And for so many, wearied by the incessant talk of "peace" - in its absence - wishing for "world peace" has become the emptiest of cliches. For Christians, of course, peace is not a cliche or a mantra or whatever, not a pious (or impious) "weak wishing," but a Person, Christ, Who alone IS "our Peace," in Whom alone the "wall of enmity" is broken down, in Whom alone humanity is made whole. Somewhere along the way though, in the midst of all these conflicting uses and abuses of "peace," a place must be found for a serene, scholarly investigation into the word itself, as it appears in the Hebrew Scriptures, to which the discourse of believers must necessarily refer. Massimo Pazzini ofm is a dynamic young-ish expert on the Hebrew of the Scriptures, researching and teaching at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (SBF) of Jerusalem, which is now the Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology of our own Pontifical University "Antonianum" (PUA). His article, born amidst lively discussions with fellow faculty members (we are reliably told), supplies this issue of our review with a vigorous, dynamic opening. We are particulary proud of having been able to "snag" the article from the SBF, whose world-class scholars mostly publish their work in their own prestigious Liber Annuus, which we are happy to take this occasion to recommend as a leading publication in the fields it covers.
Sister Mary Melone, who teaches at our own Theology Faculty at PUA's Rome campus, deals instead with Love. She undertakes to help us relate the reigning Pontiffs universally acclaimed Encyclical Letter on love to the theologians of love in the "Age of Faith", while her young colleague on the faculty, Fr. Maksym Adam Kopiec ofm, an assiduous writer for Antonianum contributes precisely to the ongoing discussion on the reasonableness of Faith. At a time when the danger of slipping into fideism, both outwith the Church and within her, is ever present, any evocation of the Church's firm commitment to the reasonableness of faith is surely welcome, the more so at the hands of a dedicated and enthusiastic theologian. Claudio Papale follows with a sombre and necessary reminder that, not all is peace, love and reasonable faith, in the life of the community, and that penal laws and their enforcement have an unreounceable part to play in defence of the community's values and the rights of its members. "All you need is love," we used to sing in my youth, but love in "the time of the Church", before Christ's return in glory, needs in turn to be safeguarded, defended from its opposite.
Our still rather new section, Relationes academicae, comprises next two reports, as it were, of particular weight, interest and topicality: Vittorina Marini's summing up of aspects of contemporary spirituality, and Alberto Peratoner's illumating discussion of the philosophical foundations for a consideration of the human person in its pursuit of Happiness, or rather "felicity". Indeed we would have preferred the latter to be much more current in contemporary English usage than the etymologically ambiguous "happiness". Relationes bibliographicae is a section we originally instituted for a discussion of the state of a given field or discipline as reflected in a certain number of more-or-less recently published works. This time, however, it is the space for Fr. Lluis Oviedo ofm to discuss a subject as reflected in the work of single author, which is yet of extraordinary weight and worthy of closest attention. Fr. Oviedo, a member of the Faculty of Theology at PUA, who regularly follows trends in the wider world of thought and scholarship on our behalf, discusses here, in his familiar thoroughgoing manner, the ever urgent matter of our presence, as Christian believers, in a secularised world, with reference to the perspective articulated by Charles Taylor.
Book reviews and academic "chronicles", all of them of interest to this reader at least, and we trust to all of you too (we carry out a rigorous selection among the many items proposed to us), together with a list of "books received," bring this issue of Antonianum to a close.