Jaeger David-M. A. ,
Antonianum, 86/3 (2011) p. 415-418
Is it only my impression, or is it objectively verifiable that, in a number of Catholic scholarly journals, the proportion of articles dedicated to the Christian Mystery has for a good while been declining somewhat, in relation to those dealing with peripheral or contingent issues? To be sure, such an inverted order of priorities is at any rate present in much of the rest of the periodical publishing world that concerns itself with the Catholic religion and Church. “Christ‑less” (and perhaps even worse, generically theistic) moralising, on one hand, and studies about Christianity ‑ rather than of Christianity ‑ on the other hand, sometimes appear to be rampant everywhere, together with the latest delicious gossip, gravely reported and solemnly analysed scandal, periodic uprisings of groups of “indignados,” clerical or lay, claiming to have the answers to all the Church’s ills (essentially, “bleeding” her of well established doctrines, rules and laws). All this gives rise to concern as to what might be our contemporaries’ perception of the Church and her message, which is in truth, the “Good News of Jesus Christ the Son of God’ (Mk 1,1). Antonianum has done its own share of the contingent and even the utterly esoteric, but we have always tried, or at least, meant, to keep the focus on that which truly matters. And it is, of course, our authors who actually do it for us, as do in this issue specifically our two contributors to the precisely infinite journey into the absolute Mystery of the Blessed Trinity. Fr. Salvador Villota Herrero, O. Carm., a welcome newcomer to these pages, is a member of the ancient Carmelite Order, himself a credit to the Pontifical Biblical Institute, now teaches at the Theology Faculty “San Vicente Ferrer” of Valencia (Spain). He takes us with him into the Mystery revealed in the New Testament, with the third in the series of articles, in this year of Antonianum, on God the Father. In it he considers one of the truly most mysterious statements of Jesus reported in St. Mark’s Gospel, which reserves to the Father the knowledge of the eschatological “day or hour” (Mk 13,32). We at Antonianum are particularly proud of having the privilege of publishing this particular series of articles, which enquire into the Mystery of the Triune God, as revealed in the New Testament, from an angle that occupies relatively little space on the contemporary scholarly book-shelf (if it is still licit to use such an expression in the days of the mighty tide of the e-book, and to mix metaphors too, in the process). With our own Fr. Pietro Kaswalder, ofm, professor at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem, which is the Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology of the Pontifical University “Antonianum”, we are led back into the Hebrew Scriptures, to explore the meaning, in context, of the recurring references to all that which significantly takes place “at the city gate.” Then, with Sister Mary Melone, sfa, in the second part of her article (the first part was published in the previous issue of Antonianum), we soar once more into the heights of the absolute Mystery of the Blessed Trinity. Having delved into the Mystery of God the Father, we are now being introduced ever more fully into that of God the Holy Spirit and His saving activity, as studied in one of the most fruitful and most profound phases of “faith’s search for understading.” In between publication of the first part of her article and that of the second part, Professor Melone was elected Dean of the Theology Faculty of the Pontifical University “Antonianum”, and as we are going to press is taking her first steps in this office. The universal approbation that has accompanied her appointment and her taking this office, “quo maius [in terms of deanships, that is] cogitari nequit” – at least at our Rome campus (the Dean of Biblical Sciences is based, most appropriately, in Jerusalem) – could only be equaled by that which earlier accompanied her appointment as the first woman Professor stabilis of the same Faculty. Appropriately, the articles rooted in the Mystery revealed in Holy Writ are followed by the second part of Dr. Paolo Pieraccini’s study in the field of Church history, specifically here on the foundation of the Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, as related to the independently towering figure of Fr. Girolamo Golubovich, ofm (the first part was published in our previous issue). This recurrent phenomenon of publishing major articles in two parts might admittedly lend Antonianum the appearance of a serialised Victorian novel, but we believe that our readers will agree with our choice not to forego the opportunity to share with them articles of considerable intrinsic value, and not to “coerce” their authors into reducing them in length to the point of significantly impoverishing their contents. You may rest assured that, over the years, we have not hesitated in applying such pressure whenever we have felt that an article submitted, while eminently worthy of publication, was too prolix for its own good! Our University frequently promotes conferences and “study days” of various kinds, and not infrequently the papers read on those occasions have been published in various learned journals, sometimes fittingly on the pages of Antonianum – though not necessarily all together, in the same issue. This time we are particularly blessed to be able to publish the entire Acta of a particular Dies Academicus, that organised earlier this year by our Canon Law Faculty in cooperation with the Embassy of Brazil to the Holy See, and on which we have already reported, in the Chronica section of this year’s first issue. Its central subject is the still rather recent Agreement between the Holy See and Brazil, essentially a path-breaker in relations between the Sovereign Authority of the Catholic Church and the great democracy with the world’s largest Catholic population. The Parties to this Agreement had to meet the several challenges of crafting the norms needed to ensure the proper relationship of Church and State within a context defined by Brazil’s non-confessional democratic constitution and its guarantee of religious freedom for all. It was and is a somewhat unique enterprise, in that it was not a matter of the (“cut and paste”) adapting to new times of a previously made Concordat, as was notably the case with Italy (1984) and with certain other countries that traditionally defined themselves as Catholic, but of creating a wholly new Agreement, entirely within the present doctrinal and constitutional frames of reference, respectively, though not simply in the abstract, but necessarily bearing in mind the history that certainly there had been of Church-State relations in the same Nation. Five highly qualified speakers presented the papers in the course of this Dies, and all of them, mirabile dictu, let us have their texts in due time! Since we introduced the speakers in our Chronica item mentioned above, two have moved on to other posts: The then Ambassador of Brazil to the Holy See, H.E. Luis Felipe de Seixas Correa (whose initiative and committed support were so crucial to the success of the “Study Day”) now represents his country in New York, while our own then colleague in the Canon Law Faculty, Fr. Moacyr Malaquias Junior, ofm, has elected to return to serve the Church in Brazil as the fine canonist he is. Our loss is their gain. There is one notable addition to the papers themselves, by permission from His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Seal (the Signatura), we are now able to publish the full Circular Letter of that Court – relating to the application of the truly innovative Art. 12 of the Agreement – as an appendix to the communication by Fr. Mario Rui de Oliveira on this same subject. As always, fresh Chronica, book reviews and a list of books received round off this issue of Antonianum. And if one may be permitted to say this just once more: What better demonstration of the enduring singular value of multidisciplinary scholarly journals than this issue of Antonianum – and of course, Antonianum generally – with its rich and varied menu of the most substantial and satisfying dishes, so to speak, or else its thrilling roller-coaster drive, from the Old to the New Testament, and back again, and then once more (!), before settling down to taking a good peek at a chapter of history in the Church and being entertained to, and enlightened by, several differently-angled treatments of a new chapter-in-the-making of the unending quest for harmony in the intrinsically dialectical relationship between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms of the world, as it were. All in all, I hope you all enjoy reading this issue of Antonianum – and benefit from it – as much as I have!