The Dispatch: More from CWR...

On translating Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, Divine Liturgy, and cocktails

An interview with Dr. Matthew K. Minerd, Byzantine Catholic theologian, translator of Thomism, and mixologist.

Matthew K. Minerd, Ph.D., author and translator. (Image: Screenshot from ascensionpress.com)

When we first met, Dr. Matthew K. Minerd greeted us with his favorite cocktail and a warm smile in his home where the smell of books and good food invited every newcomer to a cozy day of feasting and camaraderie. The more our families got to know each other, the more we benefited from Matthew’s knowledge on theology as well as his culinary adventures.

Little did I know, in addition to his writing—his book titled Made by God, Made for God: Catholic Morality Explained was recently published by Ascension Press—and his many other scholarly accomplishment, he is a consummate translator—a profession that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Most recently, his translations of Thomistic Common Sense and The Order of Things of Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (1877-1964) were published by Emmaus Academic.

We recently spoke about some rather eclectic topics: translating, Eastern Catholicism, Thomism, and “liturgical drinking”.

CWR: Your latest work is a translation of volume, Thomistic Common Sense , written by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange. What in your academic life and faith journey led you to the works of this Dominican?

Dr. Matthew Minerd: I am something of an accidental Thomist and “student” of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange. Once upon a time, while still a Roman Catholic and in seminary as a Benedictine in simple vows, I was presented Thomism as something passé, really useless and sclerotic today. The caricature is so common that I need not describe it in detail. However, the implicit tone from many, both among the seminary faculty (with a few exceptions, whose status as exceptions enforced the general rule), as well as my confreres in the monastery, was ringing: what a waste of time it would be to bother with Thomism—especially “neo-Thomism.” (If I had more space, I would get on my soapbox about why I find this expression, “neo-Thomism,” to be a unacceptably vague, something I would like to bury, at least as applying to Garrigou-Lagrange and the great tradition in which he figures importantly.)

But, the truth has a way of insinuating itself into the crevices of our intellect looking for light. Due to a schedule conflict, two of us from the monastery needed to take our epistemology course as an independent study with our former novice master, Fr. Sebastian Samay, O.S.B., a brilliant old Hungarian who was at that time an emeritus professor of philosophy at the college run by the monastery. In addition to our primary text for the course, Fr. Sebastian assigned each of us a separate book to discuss in our seminar-style meetings. I was assigned Jacques Maritain’s The Degrees of Knowledge. The book was way above my head, but I was transfixed by its breadth, both philosophically and theologically.

The end of my monastic experience was somewhat sudden, due to the unhealthy state of politics at the abbey under the former Archabbot. Upon leaving the monastery, I was like many ex-religious: a lost soul. Maritain’s works and a rather lonely life of prayer were my only concrete connections to my past life as a monk. Reading Maritain, Yves Simon, Charles Journet, and John Deely made me realize something very important: Thomism was incredibly fruitful. Near the end of grad school, I finally began reading Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s works and making them a regular point of contact in my thought, and gradually his spirituality works had become dear to me as well. Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s philosophical thought is, yes, of great aid in the confused world of our present moment. But, it is his spiritual theology that transfixes me.

Properly speaking, I don’t come from a purely “blue collar” background; however, my general upbringing was basically blue collar. There is something, how to say, down to earth in Garrigou which hits my heart-strings in this regard. I feel that, in some sense, I deserve just as much as the very well-educated, urbane, and well-traveled Dominicans of DC the title “Hillbilly Thomist.” I believe you can attest to the fact that where we both live the billies are in the hills. I personally am more comfortable in such a setting. Strange it is that the erudite Roman professor resonates precisely with this part of my soul! (But, if one reads much supposed “erudition” in academia, one will then see the earthy wisdom hidden just one remove behind his scholastic vocabulary.)

CWR: Reading in a different language is a completely different experience than translating the same work into another language. Why did you become a translator?

Dr. Matthew Minerd: It was such an accident, actually. As you likely recall from your own graduate studies, languages are just a normal part of the skill set we need in order to do our research (and to pass all the needed exams….). Unlike you, I don’t come by bilinguality by the force of life’s pressures. We Americans are stubbornly monoglot, and truth be told, nothing in my upbringing would lead one to think I would ever have become a translator. Nonetheless, various fortuitous events led me down the path.

When I was in high school, I was transfixed by Tolkien as a linguist. I had some training in French and Latin at the time. I loved it, actually, and in particular, my experience with Latin opened my eyes to thoughts of studying linguistics. But, I was quickly deflected by family pressures: “Choose a real major.” (I was a Computer Science major as an undergrad. Sometimes I actually miss it!) Prior to graduate school, I did some brushing up in Latin at Notre Dame, but most of my exercise came from grad school itself. With Dr. Timothy Noone, you just had to be ready for him to look at you, in front of everyone in a class, and say, in response to some cryptic snake of a sentence written by Bl. Duns Scotus: “Mr. Minerd, translate.” I remember one time when I was looking at something really weird. Timothy laughed and said, “No, no! It’s that miserable. Let me help here.”

Reading a language is difficult enough, but you often get by just fine reading it. However, when you realize that you need to express this same text in clear English, you then see a formidable foe rise up before you! Sometimes, as a translator even, you sometimes miss the native, source-language constructions that find their way into your translated text. Thus you can end up with a very French-sounding English passage, which, no doubt, is problematic for your reader. (I have been told that my own English prose has been affected by all my translating… One colleague says that I write in too French a style.) The great and difficult task is figuring out how to rework the text into a flowing English idiom that remains textually faithful. Truth be told, it’s difficult to do, and perhaps is impossible for technical texts.

So, how did I start all this work? By accident. I had to do a lot of French and Latin reading and translating for my PhL thesis and my dissertation. After I moved back to Pennsylvania, I was somewhat bored, waiting for feedback on my dissertation. Thus, I basically translated the whole Sens du mystère by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, during a period when I was growing in appreciation for the depth and balance of his thought. The folks at Emmaus Academic took a chance on me, and their excellent review process really helped me learn along the way. I then reached out to them about the Order of Things, Thomistic Common Sense, and De Revelatione. The rest was history….. Then other projects found their way onto my desk.

CWR: Translating Garrigou-Lagrange is a formidable undertaking. What does the process of translation of a volume like this look like?

Dr. Minerd: That it is – and having come to the end of the process for De revelatione, I can say so doubly.

For French, the tools have gotten much better even these past five years. For all translations any more, I make PDF scans for my own use, running them through a text scanner so that I can pull the text out quickly. Luckily, this kind of scanning is something I can do, for example, when I have the kids while my wife is at work. Thus, efficiency is helped along….

Anymore, I run each paragraph through DeepL’s tools online. I’ve learned very well how to look side to side at the French and English. This first draft is surprisingly good – things really changed a few years ago as the AI got better. Some translators might lament this, but I actually rejoice at it. It lets me do the really fun (though difficult) part of translating, eliminating a lot of boiler plate work. Sometimes, it spits out some oddballs. But very often, it’s almost frightening how good it is, reordering things just the way that a human would. There are a number of excellent dictionary tools online, as well, and when things become very French, I then turn to French-only dictionaries to check on things.

For Latin texts, it’s a different beast. Here, things are much less developed. I have my physical grammar texts, and William Whittaker’s Words is an immensely useful online tool. However, Google Translate is quite behind here. Blessedly, scholastic texts are relatively easy to read once you have the basic bones of vocabulary. (Fr. Sebastian would say: “It’s kitchen table Latin.”) Still, Latin is slower going.

Then, in either case, the French (especially from Garrigou’s era) are much sloppier with their citations. I’ve become an expert in filling out footnotes, finding names that are puzzling, and finding official ecclesiastical translations.

Then, also…. For both languages, I have my little black book of people whom I bug on occasion, asking: “What in the world would you do with this construction….???!”

A very important thing to do is to let the translation sit. Revisit the text with fresh eyes—WITHOUT looking at the original except where needed. I focus on the English sound during this stage, often just flagging things to be checked later. Then, I go through and address the flagged issues. Often, too, during this process, which involves several iterations, I have at least one time when I read the whole text out loud. This really helps you hear if it sounds “too French” or “too Latin”. (If I had more time, I would do this several times, but time is limited in this sublunary world.)

Finally, once everything has settled, I actually have my computer read the English to me, with the original before my eyes, just to check everything once more.

CWR: I had the opportunity of doing some simple translation into Turkish, a language so different from English that often concepts and meanings got lost in translation. What is the hardest part of translating into English?

Dr. Minerd: Striking the right balance between technicality and readability is very difficult sometimes. If you end up with very important points stuck in an intricate, but very French-sounding, subordination structure, you want to rip out your hair, trying to figure out just how much you should massage your text.

In such technical works, you have to be very careful not to lose the concepts in the transition. Sometimes, you just have to accept a slightly clunky sentence because otherwise you’ll adulterate the text’s meaning. Not to put the texts on anywhere close to the same level, but think of scriptural translations or the old Summa theologiae translation. The RSV is a very good translation, but at times, it just has to be clunky.

CWR: What would you like to share with those who are capable of translating?

Dr. Minerd: Do this work, even if it is just one book. If you are capable of translating, you’ve read something that you feel that others should read. It’s a real blessing to be able to read multiple languages, and if you can do some small work (even a little article) that would benefit those who do not have expertise in the given language. I think it is a very noble thing to try to bring already-existing authors into another language, instead of always trying to reinvent the wheel.

In point of fact, there are a lot of works that really should be brought into English precisely because much knowledge has been lost merely in the Catholic world. I feel that the wheel is reinvented way too many times in academia. Merely to cite one example, imagine the great light that would be shed on sacramental theology if the massive tomes by Fr. Emmanuel Doronzo were in English. His work risks being lost, or merely being the province of a VERY small group of experts. This is quite problematic, and it is a tale that can be recounted over and over during our current, forgetful age.

Importantly: scrape your knees a bit in the process. Of course, make sure that you have a good translation reviewer along the way. But by all means, you must first give it a go before you know what translating is really like.

Of course, there is the inglorious fact that many don’t really take translation all that seriously. Granted, I have been shown much kindness by people who have thanked me for my work. However, there is a bias that would say that this sort of thing isn’t “real” academic work. If I were in a tenure track institution, it is almost certainly the case that this would not be counted as “scholarship” by my peers. Alas, too, the money is not good. Rare is the donor who likes to recognize this sort of work. Despite this fact, we have been blessed by tireless translators without whom we would all be much impoverished as English-speaking Catholics. (I am thinking, in particular, of the great Michael J. Miller, to whom we all owe a great debt of gratitude for his many translations over the years. I’m sure we could think of others too!)

CWR: While your academic concentration is on Western theologians, you teach at Byzantine Catholic Seminary and attend Divine Liturgy. What can you tell us about this transition?

Dr. Minerd: The Byzantine world is quite “bread and butter” in its spirituality. One senses the centrality of liturgy and scripture more clearly in the basic warp and woof of our outlook. The West had many pressures that led to internal divisions of spirituality, above all the various political-social-cultural differentiations that gave birth to the modern period. I think that my life as a Benedictine primed me for Byzantium in part too. The West was very much liturgical-scriptural in spirituality for her first twelve-hundred years. Internal differentiation and development began to accelerate with the passage of time, whereas in the East various factors muted this same process. No doubt this is a simplification, but I think that on some level it explains part of my basic attraction.

I grew up in a Roman Catholic environment that was nonetheless very ethnic, particularly Slavic and Polish. This basic environment primed me to love the Ruthenian Church, I believe. There is something very “blue collar” about our particular jurisdiction, and it immediately hit my heartstrings. In fact, I credit the first stirring of my change of ritual Church to the very chant in the Ruthenian Church. The simple peasant-Slavic music immediately echoed something in my soul. Thus, although I have a love for the melisma of the Traditional Roman Rite, and find Bach’s organ fugues to be transfixingly sublime in their Baroque meshwork, nonetheless, liturgically, I here found myself immediately at home.

Then, the rest just felt at home. Even our utterly repetitive prayer forms, so different from Latin terseness, just hit right at home. Really, the change was much more a matter of the “heart.” I had for some time solely attended the Traditional Latin Mass, but I never felt spiritually at home. Whether chanting in the schola or merely “assisting” at Mass, I always felt somewhat outside the liturgy. For different reasons did I feel the same at the “Ordinary Form” of the Roman Rite. But in both cases, I had not felt at home for a long, long while.

I suppose that my background, from a family of “blue-collar hunkies” on my mother’s and step-father’s side—and, in their own way, dutiful and hardworking mountain-top loggers and farmers on my father’s side, which did have a great influence upon me growing up, through the mediation of my dearly departed Minerd grandparents—primed my spirituality for feeling at home in such an environment.

Also, I must say, as a sui iuris Church (especially one that is poor and small), it is much easier to feel just a bit detached from the controversies of the American Roman Church, which become quite vociferous. I’m not indifferent to them, but I’ve noticed, over the passage of years that they matter less to me. It reminds me somewhat of the Arab proverb that Fr. Sebastian liked to quote to us as novices in the monastery: “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.” The Church faces many problems today, and they can feel overwhelming, but I must admit that the ecclesiastical and liturgical independence of our Eastern Churches helps to give one enough distance to avoid being swamped under the massive flood that is the Roman Church. God bless folks like yourself who remain in the midst of them, with a stronger spine than my own!

CWR: On your website, there is a section for cocktails that pair with certain feast days. Do you think there is such a thing as “liturgical drinking”?

Dr. Minerd: Well, the cocktails sometimes pair with feast days. Sometimes, they are just in parallel with some of my online interviews. Without being too loose with words, we can say that our life is broadly a kind of liturgy. If I might steal something from Fr. Gardeil: grace should stamp our character with the visage of Christ, from the top of our brow (the spiritual heights of the soul) down to—if such crude metaphors may be permitted—the very tips of our toenails (the little details of life, through the mediation of the activity of infused moral virtues, often using the acquired moral virtues as their instruments). Although one should not unqualifiedly wax poetic about drinking alcohol, the virtue of temperance enables us to Christianize even this lowly domain. By a constellation of effects (most particularly, my brother-in-law), I’ve picked up some skills in mixing drinks. It’s a wonderful thing, on a holiday, to be able to treat people to things that they never would have otherwise. And what is more, this little special detail bears witness to the fact that the day is being recognized in a unique way. It is one way in which to incarnate the details of a liturgical feast. It is also a way to extend hospitality in a special manner.

Of course, the very liturgy of life requires us to forego such expenditure on regular occasion, lest through overindulgence we slip into vice and, in point of fact, render it impossible to have such things for our guests. But then, on a feast day, or on a special visit, how nice it is to greet one’s guests with a full table and a specially chosen drink to match the occasion, season, and tastes of the guests in question.


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About Derya M. Little 17 Articles
Derya M. Little has a PhD in politics from Durham University, England and an MA in history from Bilkent University, Turkey. She is the author of several books, including From Islam to Christ: One Woman's Path through the Riddles of God (Ignatius Press, 2017) and A Beginner's Guide to the Latin Mass (2019). She can be visited online at DeryaLittle.com.

17 Comments

  1. Refinement, a forgotten word in a world transfixed on egalitarianism shows itself in Minerd’s quote of Fr Gardell’s the stamp of grace from brow to toenail. In our moral composure and enjoying a drink. Derya Little’s ability to draw this from the scholar requires similar. Temperance is that when it shows we’re more interested in people than drinks.
    Translation of ancient texts Aquinas among them was essential to a thesis on his doctrine of moral apprehension, or [the core] his ethical doctrine spread not in a singular treatise rather throughout his works. English translations of the critical Leonine addition weren’t available which required me to painstakingly translate the texts. A nuance can change our entire understanding, for example, that the phantasm [often translated image] is not a picture interrupting apprehension from object to mind, rather the immaterial means of conveyance what is perceived, a quasi reflexion that grounds moral apprehension in the perceived object, an inner sense of the intellect.
    Moral refinement may be said to teach that the less we consider ourselves the greater the awareness.

    • Glory to Jesus Christ!
      Dear Fr. Morello,
      A man who speaks—though with such indirect grace—of the phantasmata of the cogitative power and their role in moral perception. What a wonderful thing to see in a comment!

      Thank you for the kind remark and for your service to Holy Mother Church. I pray that your Advent is prayerful and a time of a grace marked by the peace of this liturgical season which we in the Byzantine East have an affection for, even though we do not ourselves celebrate it on our calendar. (Though, my bi-ritual home—my wife remains Roman canonically—keeps various aspects of the turning of the Advent calendar.)

      Waiting ever for the grace and mercy of Christ,
      Peace,
      Matthew

  2. Thank you for this article. It may open eyes not only to Garrigou-LaGrange’s crystal-clarity of blessed wisdom and love for St. Thomas but also to Minerd’s superb gifts of understanding, translation and annotation. “The Sense of Mystery” wondered me at Christmas two years back; I look forward to more wonders of Thomism at the skilled mind and hands of Minerd. What’s next?

    Let’s drink to God’s creating the billy sort of hills (in and around Pittsburgh) and the polyglot intellect that is Minerd. Blessed Advent.

    • Glory to Jesus Christ!
      Dear Meiron,
      A Slavic name indeed! May God bless you for your kind words. This translation work, into which I have bumbled, is a kind of providential joy, even though it is also frustrating at times…. As are all things here under the moon!

      I _highly_ recommend the forthcoming _The True Christian Life_ by Fr. Gardeil to come out from CUA Press this coming February. One of the great joys of being a translator is the fact that you don’t feel so bad promoting your work, for you you are promoting someone else! Fr. Gardeil’s book is, by far, the project I am most excited to bring to print—even more than the massive De Revelation that will becoming out around the same time. _The True Christian Life_ is a _powerful_ spiritual book. Even though it is a little bit harder than my _Made by God, Made for God_, pound for pound it pays back in droves. (You’ll also see that I cite the work time and again in the footnotes of MbG. I was editing Gardeil as I was writing MbG.)

      May God bless your Advent / Philip’s Fast!

      Peace,
      Matthew

  3. Dear Dr. Minerd, I am sorry that you feel that you need some distance “avoid being swamped under the massive flood that is the Roman Church.” Unlike you, I do not let “heart” determine the basis for my relationship with God. No matter what the environment, when I pray at home, in a Church or wherever, I remind myself that I am intimately in His presence at that time. I am sure this is how the publican felt at the Temple, and it is what pleased Jesus.
    May God bless you.
    Mal

    • The fuller quote by Dr. Minerd is helpful here:

      Also, I must say, as a sui iuris Church (especially one that is poor and small), it is much easier to feel just a bit detached from the controversies of the American Roman Church, which become quite vociferous. I’m not indifferent to them, but I’ve noticed, over the passage of years that they matter less to me. It reminds me somewhat of the Arab proverb that Fr. Sebastian liked to quote to us as novices in the monastery: “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.” The Church faces many problems today, and they can feel overwhelming, but I must admit that the ecclesiastical and liturgical independence of our Eastern Churches helps to give one enough distance to avoid being swamped under the massive flood that is the Roman Church.

      As someone who has been attending a Byzantine parish since 1999, I understand exactly what he means; perhaps even more so (at least in some ways) because I’ve worked for Catholic parishes (2000-2002) and apostolates (2002-present) for over 20 years, with many of those years spent in Catholic journalism. There is indeed some solace and helpful distance to be found in attending an Eastern parish, which tend not to get so caught up in the sort of controversies and conflicts that seem to afflict a fair number of Roman parishes.

      Unlike you, I do not let “heart” determine the basis for my relationship with God.

      I almost don’t have the heart to remind you that Scripture refers to the “heart” about 700 times, and understands the heart as the core of one’s quiddity, knowledge, conscience, and understanding; it is not typically associated with emotions or passions as we so often think of it.

      • Clearly, I was not referring to heart as it is done in scripture but as it refers to superficial feelings.
        Sure, there are controversies and conflicts that do afflict some “Roman parishes”, as you call them, but they are our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and these afflictions need Christ-like attention. The Pharisee distanced himself from the publican to do his stuff that made him happy.
        I can understand why this group hates Pope Francis who, by the way, was “excommunicated by the Patriarch Elijah on the grounds that our faithful Pope, a true disciple of Jesus, is trying to dechristianize Europe, and approves and promotes homosexualism and other gender deviations. I wonder if this group knows what Christian love really is!

        • Glory to Jesus Christ!
          “Patriarch” Elijah is not someone recognized as a patriarch by any legitimate Eastern Catholic Church.

          Just thought it best to clarify that.

      • Glory to Jesus Christ!
        Dear Carl,
        Thank you very kindly for this understanding note concerning the point I was making. (And to the original author: I, of course, do understand how my wording might have been interpreted in the vein that you took it.)

        Obviously, neither aesthetic nor merely emotional motives moved me to the Ruthenian Church. The Slavic stuff was merely dispositive (though that is not wholly unimportant either, as some über-rational converts would sometimes have one believe). What was of most importance was the immediate sense of being at home liturgically. I was not looking for an “out” from the Roman Church—though, I was never at home liturgically in either of the Roman Rite’s forms, though I couldn’t formulate it quite clearly. (Nor was I ever quite at home in the various paraliturgical spiritualities of the modern West. I _am not_, of course, demeaning them! Even as a layman, my main extra-sacramental spiritual home was in the liturgy of the hours—almost instantly when I was introduced to it as a freshman in college.) Very quickly, I knew, however: this is home. I knew, quite well, the particular cross I would carry as a Thomist. I receive, on sad occasion, reminders of the dislike felt by certain Eastern brethren for my existence as a Byzantine. That is just the cross I have received as a Byzantine Catholic. It is fine. (The fact that I remain a Thomist also bears witness to the fact that I’m not like some folks who change ritual Churches or even become Orthodox and then basically hate the West and are immensely unfair toward Latin Catholics and Latin Theology. Very often, this is due to some deep spiritual / liturgical wound or “lack” experienced as a Roman Catholic or as a Protestant, so we should be very pastorally and personally sensitive to the fact.)

        I did not, I assure you, however, change ritual Churches to avoid things in the Roman Church. (I keep translating Roman authors and publishing in Roman circles…. I cannot avoid being involved.) However, in my day to day life, as you note as well, some of the day-by-day drama of “did-you-see-what-happened-in-this-or-that-diocese?” just does not affect me. Even some of the less than felicitous remarks made by the Pope in interviews are filtered through a different lens, for in the Byzantine Churches, we are quite desirous for increased recognition of subsidiary rights over our own jurisdiction and life. Obviously, we recognize the universal authority of the Pope, but our high walls against treating him like uncritically as “pastor of the world” or “bishop of the world” lead us merely to say: the real problem here is that we shouldn’t be treating everything said by him as though it had a bearing on the _universal_ Church. (A good example of this, to my eyes, is also the way that some treat his daily homilies. It makes little sense to me that we would get much worked up at all regarding a homily which, in point of fact, we have little right to be paying attention to. A homily is addressed to a given group. Merely because it was the pope’s homily, this does not mean that it always deserves universal proclamation or notice. Obviously, however, on major feast days, the pope will preach in a way that is marked by his universal rule. So do hear me aright here. I’m not denying papal power and pastoral authority. I’m just noting that it is utter foolishness to act as though the whole of the Church’s life is concentrated in Rome. Though nobody _says_ that, there is an ethos that very understandably leads Latin Catholics to focus heavily on the Pope like this. It is understandable… Heavens, think merely of the centralized authority he has over the appointing of bishops. It makes one always want to know, “What does Rome think about this or that?” (In the more independent Eastern Churches, there is a greater deal of independence in this regard and in many other points of governance as well.) The experience of episcopal collegiality in the West is connected with some of the sad developments in, for example, German-speaking nations. However, there is a sound notion of synodality… If only certain conversations today had less German and more Greek, Arabic, and Slavonic in them…..

        In any case, I merely—in a light-hearted fashion—was noting that one benefit (but not a motive) of my change of ritual churches was the fact that the grind of Roman drama is not my daily fare. (Think merely of the fallout regarding _Traditionis custodes_, which is just another installment in the “liturgy wars.” I have my opinions concerning what happened to the Roman Rite during its reform. However, by way of God’s mercy, this debate / issue has been taken out of my own personal “dossier”.)

        The day-to-day drama of the Church today is passing. Not unimportant, but also not as all-consuming as our own Catholic media would like us to think. Alas, it is easier to write a story in response to the most recent controversy… It is, however, thin gruel.

        Also, it is important for readers to bear in mind that when I refer to the “Roman Church”, I am merely designating the Church of Rome as one particular Church which, however, having the pope at its head also has, in her patriarch, the head of the universal Church. It is very important to remember that the Byzantine Churches are true Churches within the One Church; we are not merely “rites” of the “Roman Catholic Church”. In fact, several _Churches_ share the same basic Byzantine rite (with localized differences) while being different Churches: Melkite, Ruthenian, Ukranian, Romanian, Russian, etc. Because I’m quite insistent upon this language, I have been sometimes misunderstood. Many still refer to our Churches solely as “rites”. It doesn’t, however, get me worked up. Such is the drift of language. Our vocation is to remind Latin Catholics that we are not merely a rite in their _sui iuris_ Church.

        Excuse a technical parenthesis.
        (And, yes, as a Thomist, I will quite gladly reiterate the very important point that the will, supernaturalized by grace, plays an immensely important role in constituting the very object of faith. There is a kind of supernaturalized love that traverses the whole of the theological virtues, from faith, through hope, into its full blossoming in Charity. “Rational credibility” has its role to play on the level of reason. Moreover, the data of faith is, in the end, a kind of obscure but true knowledge that anticipates the vision of God in the hereafter; it is not mere _faith-trust_ and affect, of course! But, nonetheless, in this domain, the will has an important role to play—not merely as a kind of imperious mover commanding us to believe with a cold assent but as the supernaturalized inclination of our whole person to believe the truths revealed by our loving God! Hence, too, Scripture so often speaks of the whole person turning in conversion to God. The will (which, of course, is structurally dependent upon the intellect) is, as the scholastics would say, “appetitus totius naturae”, the appetitive faculty of our whole nature (and in the order of grace, “the supernaturalized appetite of our supernaturalized nature). Still…. To respect the commenter, there are many who speak of the “heart” too loosely.)

        May God bless both of you abundantly this Advent / Philip’s Fast!

        Peace,
        Matthew

    • We surely wonder whether prayer and spiritual works of mercy ever reach the reason of one’s heart. Judging our own relationship with God is often fraught with uncertainty, illusion, delusion. We have beams in our vision, according to scripture.

      We may be graced to recall what the Second Vatican Council says about eastern Catholic Churches which are in full communion with Rome and with the pope:

      “The Catholic Church holds in high esteem the institutions, liturgical rites, ecclesiastical traditions and the established standards of the Christian life of the Eastern Churches, for in them, distinguished as they are for their venerable antiquity, there remains conspicuous the tradition that has been handed down from the Apostles through the Fathers and that forms part of the divinely revealed and undivided heritage of the universal Church.” ~ Orientalium Ecclesiarum

      Do you seriously argue against VCII or against Scripture in order to deracinate another’s heart, the love in which you share not one glimmer?

      • Glory to Jesus Christ!
        Dear Meiron,
        It is not clear to which you send this, but I assure you my own response was meant merely to be a very lengthy explanation so as to make myself somewhat clear! My own remarks should be wholly read in line with Orientalium Ecclesiarum, and indeed, as for my own soul, I dare not do much more than surmise it’s state and cast the rest on to Christ: be merciful to me a sinner!

        Many blessings on your Advent / Philip’s fast!

        Peace,
        Matthew

        • Many blessings on your Advent/Philip’s fast, Dr. Minerd.

          The CWR Reply indentations could be more visually precise. Then the delay in publicizing submissions makes for added difficulty. Your reply to Carl was not published when I posted, replying to Mal. I likely would have replied to her in any event; we have a history; I am sorry if my post, striking notes both blunt and obscure, confused. I hope Mal reads and ‘takes to heart’ all posts. The inclusion of the eastern Catholic Churches within the Universal [Roman] Church confuses many, but none (Ultramontanists and Gallicans of all stripes included) deserves tarring with a brush from Fr. Elijah’s ‘movement,’ and a lumping of prejudice, error, and rashness needs to improve along with Reply indents. I am guilty as well, as you clearly may tell.

          Again, thank you for your good work and your kind and explanatory words to all. I look forward to reading more of you and the chiaroscuro you help make

          • meiron, I would like you to know that tarring with a brush is not my intention, but I did not see any condemnation of the Patriarch’s stupid action. Although I am aware of the Byzantines but I do not see it as a Church within the Church. Jesus did not create a “us” and “them” in his Church. Having said that, I must add that I do consider its members as brothers and sisters in Christ.

        • Glory to Jesus Christ!
          Dear Meiron,

          I saw your note on my phone, so the indent was teeny-tiny. No need to worry at all! Let us pray for peace in the Church and the world. I have a great dislike of polemics—clarity is necessary, yes, but not polemic tone—so I think that you and I are on the same page!

          Thank you again for your kindness regarding my little corner of labor in service of the Church! And let us pray for one another too!

          Peace,
          Matthew

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