Current Issue 2/2023

In the new issue Verba Theologica (2/2023) can you find these studies:

Atheism, Modernism, and Integral Catholicism: On Some Aspects of the Excommunication of Alfred Loisy

This study deals with some aspects in the process of personal development of French biblical scholar and priest Alfred Loisy (1857–1940), especially from the entry of his books into the Index of Forbidden Books to his excommunication in 1908. It focuses on the dynamics and character of the conflict between Loisy and the church representatives and on the theme of his religious faith or infidelity (atheism). It discusses the main motives for the dispute between Loisy and the conservative ecclesiastical circles in France and at the Roman Curia, which was mainly related to the image of the Church and the way in which power was exercised in it.

Joy in First Thessalonians
Patrik Peter VNUČKO

Joy is an important element in all of Paul’s letters. This article analyzes the theme of joy in First Thessalonians and the contribution it makes to the theme of joy in Christian life. The terminology of joy (the noun χαρά and the verb χαίρω) occurs six times in this letter. The article exegetes each of these instances and in their immediate context. The exegesis shows the following inherent characteristics of
joy as found in this epistle: joy originates from the Holy Spirit and it has a complex shape – it is the joy of the word of God together with its reception and action; it is the joy of faith, conversion, and a new way of life. It is also joy in spite of many tribulations and suffering. Last but not least, this joy is a part of God´s will, and on that account Paul encourages his readers to perserve in joy.

„Covenant“ as a Challenge to Care for Creation

The purpose of this article is to reflect on the biblical concept of covenant in the context of a care for planet earth. The paper first introduces briefly the content of the Old Testament berít, discusses Adam’s task of cultivating and guarding the Garden of Eden, emphasizes the importance of viewing the environment as a “gift”, and reflects on the implications of this perspective for each of us. Referring
to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’, the study stresses the need for ecological conversion. It mentions St. Francis of Assisi and his profound perception of the world as a common home in which all living creatures have a place and in which the Holy Trinity is mysteriously present. The New Covenant is given over to reflections on the relationship between ecology and the Eucharist, as once
presented by Ioannis Zizioulas. We believe that Orthodoxy is a precious source of inspiration for the issue of environmental protection, not only for the Orthodox and the Catholics, but also for all people of good will who are open to Christian values.

The Mystical Narrative as a Way of Revealing the Truth of Faith

The biblical understanding of faith shows that it is a phenomenon inherently connected with the perception and experience of God‘s presence and action in human history. Revelation is considered the foundation of faith, as recorded by both testaments: from the words or personal stories of the patriarchs and the prophets to the stories of the Gospel and the witness of Christ‘s followers. The act of faith expects that the individual or the nation will fully embrace Revelation, doing so in devotion and trust. Reflecting on the relationship between religion and faith, this study will primarily draw from the paradigm of Christian knowledge and, especially, – utilizing the method of literary interpretation with interdisciplinary overlaps – from the mystical experiences of selected medieval authors (such as Margherita de Cortona, Angela da Foligno, and Chiara da Montefalco). This is because the mystical experience mirrors a multitude of attributes that accompany the act of faith. And even though the mystical experience is due to its mysterious character fundamentally inexpressible, it remains an original source of revealing the processes of the human being‘s spiritual maturation.

Theological-Pastoral Reasons for Works of Charity in Cyprian of Carthage

The aim of this paper is to present the theological-pastoral thinking of Cyprian of Carthage, especially in the field of charitable work. The focus here is his main work De opere et eleemosynis, as well as other works that touch on the subject at hand (Epistulae, Vita Cypriani, etc.). Heeding his historical context, the aim is to point out Cyprian‘s attitude, motives, and reasons for the necessity of carrying out acts of mercy – primarily in the form of almsgiving. This study will follow his theological justifications and their subsequent incorporation into pastoral practice with a clear vision of reward in this earthly life, but above all for the acquisition of eternal life. In his main work, Cyprian does not offer speculative theology, but rather writes as a bishop who is immersed in pastoral activity in Carthage, where he perceives very carefully, among other things, also the social aspect in the social and religious situation of the third century.

The Drama of Politics and the Question of the Common Good according to Gaston Fessard

Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in the category of common good. This has led many scholars to reappropriate the paradigmatic conceptualizations of common good in the long history of this concept. This paper deals with a sophisticated analysis of common good proposed by the French theologian Gaston Fessard, whose ideas strongly influenced not only the French debates  about this concept, but also Jorge Maria Bergoglio´s thought. These two authors share an emphasis on the dynamic character of common good, which can only be ultimately achieved by relating it to the Infinite. Their vision of (political) reality is dialectical; they emphasize antinomies and tensions omnipresent in human life. In the first part of my article, I focus on Fessard’s thematization of the dramatic character of political life and the dynamics of the emergence of political authority, whose main aim is to mediate the common good. The second part is dedicated to a thorough analysis of Fessard’s distinction between the content and form of the common good. Particularly, I pay attention to his understanding of liberalism and human rights. In the end, I show the uniqueness as well as the relevance of his philosophical analysis to contemporary issues.