Tuesday, August 15, 2006
A point is made in Dominus Iesus, the CDF document that stirred up such a fuss exactly six years ago, that the Exorcist has pondered long and hard. One of the principal obstacles to belief in our times - not belief in this or that doctrine, but the very act of belief itself - is the refusal to accept the possibility that something could happen only once in the course of human history.
Everything we know is fruit of repetition. If it happens again and again, if we observe it multiple times we can analyze it, study it, wrap our scientific minds around it and intellectually own it. The universe is full of sameness and whatever 'novelty' we encounter is evolved novelty: a series of small changes, a recognizable chain of events, known causes, forseeable effects.
What Dominus Iesus(4) says, exactly is,
"The roots of (the problem) are to be found in certain presuppositions of both a philosophical and theological nature, which hinder the understanding and acceptance of the revealed truth... (Among other things) the difficulty in understanding and accepting the presence of definitive and eschatological events in history..."
Christian belief is predicated on the premise that something truly new happened. 'New' meaning absolutely without precedent, unforseen and unforseeable, radically and permanently surprising. No external point of reference. Unrepeatable and, therefore, outside the scope of our science.
Jesus Christ is the event by which all other events are to be measured and understood. A one time happening whose uniqueness gives it a trancendence and a revelance claimed by no other day in history.
The marian dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption are a proclamation of the unbridled novelty of the Christian event. The dogma seeks to conserve the mystery of it all in the shameless face of science and skepticism. The dogma guarantees that, as long as one true believer still walks the earth, newness will be within reach.
This is where the Exorcist plans to go in tonight's homily.
Wish me luck.