How do we relate to God? What do we know about God? The revisitation of the biblical per- spectives, and the recovery of the different theological understandings of faith, prepares the terrain to present a contemporary synthesis. The second chapter will offer the status quaestionis of human sciences. Unfortunately, there are no other researches dealing with the same object of this project. But we will try to do a survey of the correlative topics with some relevance. In this second chapter, we will distribute previous research in four levels, according to their scope: The ideological and cultural level will be centred in the Portuguese reality but will face a certain poverty of empirical data and analysis.
The societal level will deal with a different scenario: In the last decades, this approach has consolidated its reputation within the theological field catholic and evangelical and has also been recognized by the human sciences. This will lead us to build some analysis of the available data, in order to find some meaning in it. In the interpersonal and intrapersonal lev- els we do not have data generated in Portugal but the amount of international literature is enormous. This second chapter will not stop in the presentation of the available investigation but will discuss the merits of its epistemological and anthropological presuppositions.
The third chapter will present the social representations theory SRT , its rationale, epistemological legitimation, and methodologies of choice. A preliminary comparison between the Christian understanding of faith in God and social representations might show the existence of a high degree of isomorphism between the two. And this can make social representa- tions theory a good candidate to frame our empirical research.
The second part will report the empirical procedures used to collect the data and will present them and analyse them. After the three chapters of part I, more concerned with the theoretical dimension, it will be time to be challenged by empirical reality and by the data. The fourth chapter will describe and justify the research design. Triangu- lation is a quality-enhancer option and it will be one of our key-options.
Our research design will use mainly data and analysis triangulation. To get a better understanding of the ecosystem where the adolescents live their faith, we will collect data from three different levels: Fifth chapter will describe the analytical procedures used and the results of the analysis. Our main tool of analysis will be the Alceste method. Alceste has a solid theoretical support and allows for a rapid quantitative analysis of unstructured data.
Similitude analysis is a complementary method that can help making sense of the raw data. Both methods have a solid tradition in the field of social representation research. In the third part, the results of the empirical study will be related back to the initial questions and aims. Here, we will read, interpret and evaluate the empirical data presented in the second part.
The sixth chapter will determine what social representations were pro- duced by the respondents about each of the three divine persons, what Trini- tarian representation can be derived and what configurations were activated to the objectivation and anchorage processes. We will follow a separate approach to the dogmatic interpretation and evaluation and to the practical-theological. In the first moment, the dogmatic interpretation, we will revisit and discuss theologi- cally the social representations identified to each of the divine persons. We will also evaluate the explicit and implicit faith theologies present in the sample.
In the second moment we will interpret the faith praxis of the respondents. We will comment on the most relevant experiences contributing to faith, on the partners that adolescents have found in their faith path and will end comment- ing on the faith outputs, the personal and ecclesial consequences of the faith experience. Thesis extract This volume fulfils the academic requirements demanding the publication of a thesis extract.
The committee suggested the publication of chapter 7. In the previous chapters, left behind of this extract, the procedures that led to the identification of the social representations of God, Jesus, and the Spirit, were presented. Now each of the representations is theologically evaluated. Dog- matically and practically.
This volume includes also the introductions, the conclusions formally, chapter 8 and bibliography. In the Conclusions it is possible to find a summa- ry of the contents proposed in chapters 1 through 6. This can be useful for a better framing of the contents found in chapter 7. Having col- lected the data emerging from reality, and envisaging it within a clear human sciences theory, it is now time to try and understand what the data is telling us. It is time to answer the initial question of this research: It will be a theological interpretation with two distinct approaches: In the first section, we will analyse the way the respondents see and position themselves in front of each Person of the Trinity, and how they perceive the Trinity.
In the second part, we will see what practical consequences faith has to the respondents lives and what ecclesial and communicative processes are involved. A Dogmatic-Theological appraisal When attempting a theological comprehension or evaluating an author or document, it is tempting to assess them by comparison to other authors or documents presenting what is, supposedly, a more normative synthesis of faith.
If that does not happen, we fall, easily, in the injustice of reading and interpreting the document with the uncritical look of the analyst that identifies, perhaps unconsciously, his own context with the normative version of faith. These epistemological precautions must be underlined, especially when we are studying documents produced outside the theological academia, docu- ments made by a population with serious difficulties in producing texts with a modicum of articulation. The religious and spiritual lives of american teenagers, p.
More demanding, more honest and more useful is to try an interpretation that ensures a true dialogue between the ado- lescents synthesis of faith with all its inarticulacy and fragmentation and the ecclesial synthesis of faith. Only that will give us an understanding of both the merits and limits of adolescents faith, coupled with the context and the causes of the situation, and enable the identification of valid alternatives to current ecclesiastical praxis. Believing in God One of the most surprising information supplied by the sociology of reli- gion is the large percentage of the Portuguese population claiming to believe in God.
However, in chapter 2 we have already seen how ambiguous that claim is. It is clear that behind such apparent consensus, many different images of, and stances towards God, exist. Below, we will theologically inter- pret each of the social representations identified in cluster 1. These words have a more ontological connota- tion than a relational one. The combination of terms used only makes sense when applied to some-One with the characteristics that the Church attributes to God. A good understanding of the characteristics of both elements avoids such problems.
These terms suggest the existence of a good, rel- evant and positive relationship with God: These two lexical descriptions show the existence, in this SR, of a certain continuity and balance between the fides qua and the fides quae, between the allocation of characteristics suitable to the divinity and the explicit nature of a quality relationship with Him. However, the most typical characteristic of this SR is the simultaneous presence of both faith and doubt.
Faith and doubt about the existence of God, but also faith and doubt as a relational stance towards God. SRT describes this coexistence of contradictory positions as cognitive polyphasia. However, this is a non-surprising result from respondents that were exposed to an intense Christian education which, at the same time, was overlapped by pressure from the dominant culture that tries to silence God, and particularly, the specific characteristics of the Christian God.
Usually, the answer from theology to those who challenge the existence of God is more philosophical and cultural than strictly theological. More so, since the critical climate created by the enlightenment, after which the greatest effort has been devoted to defending the epistemological legitimacy of the very question of God. Philosophical-theological extrin- secism has been overcome in favour of a dialogic vision of a God that reveals Himself to mankind, which in turn must answer Him. But it is not common or easy to leave the normative biblical horizon and build a bridge to real people, in the context of their personal and social pathways.
In this SR, faith appears as individual adhesion to a truth of supernatural origin. There is an objective content, hidden from normal cognitive processes, which only through faith can be accessed and doubt is evidence of the hesita- tion, insecurity and difficulty in dealing with this form of alternative knowl- edge. Somehow, the doubt referred by these adolescents can be described with the words of CCC when it talks of involuntary doubt: Doubt is not only an ontological or epistemological question.
It is also a practical question: But also as a deterrent against apathy; when doubt is present, when the contours of what is real be- come blurred, the very possibility of action seems blocked. Faith merely consists in recognizing the constant presence of God, and doubt is incidental to this recognition. When we think and communicate faith from within our own experience of faith, in line with the normative documents produced by Scripture, Mag- isterium and theological reflection, this ideal model, especially when enriched by the dialogical perspective, seems quite appropriate.
However, it tends to be less effective for those who are just beginning to believe. This objectivist stance can induce an easy identification between uncritical religious socialization and true faith. Faith and uncertainty in contemporary societies, London - New York, I. Tauris, , , p. The author defends that in the CCC a truly personal and Christological vi- sion is present. Youth ministry as practical theology. The dogmatic and pastoral aware- ness of such a demand unites authors from very different sensibilities: But where are these places?
A place where God is believed however tentatively and fraught with doubts must be where the per- sonality, the praxis, the word, and the death and resurrection of Jesus intersect the experiences of life and death for the adolescents. It also allows a theological ap- preciation of doubt. Doubt ceases to be an epistemological limitation and can be seen as part of the personal effort of the believer in finding the place where his lack of salvation intersects the offer of abundant life made by Jesus of Naz- areth, the revealer of the Father.
God is seen as someone whom we can trust, as a solid support, as a source of a quality relationship. Tratado de teologia fundamental, p. Narrazione e pastorale giovanile, Leumann, ElleDiCi, , p. This experience remains equally valid in the Old and New Testament as in the existence of an adolescent in the early 21st century.
There is a consistent theological trend defending a strong continuity be- tween existential trust, religious faith and the faith in Jesus Christ.
Autres titres intéressants
However, it is a continuity differentiated from identification. Such continuity is defended because the faith in the God of Jesus finds an anthropological category able to sustain it. Sequeri defends an urgent recovery of the anthropological dignity of trust. If our capacity to trust each other is not recognized as a defining part of our identity, any kind of human knowledge not only religious knowledge is ruined.
In this representation, the experience of trust in God is associated with a strong relational quality. To believe, to trust in God, brings a better quality to the personal existence, which, traditionally, theology describes as salvation. The adolescents thematize such salvation using the category of relational qual- ity and anchor it in the vulgata of positive psychology. This reference to Lutheran fideism should be understood as a reference to popu- 15 lar piety. Concepts of belief, faith and rationality, Farnham - Burl- ington, Ashgate, , for a less enthusiast view on the relation between faith and trust.
To be saved is to be rewarded, individ- ually, in the afterlife for faithfulness demonstrated through the years, and the fact that the respondents are trying to find a way around this distorted notion of salvation is positive. In the texts of the Old Testament such experience could be expressed with the word shalom and thought of in very materialistic terms. This certainty that faith is profoundly liberating is a constant of the Christian existence, both in the personal and social fields. The contact with God in Jesus Christ is an intensely rewarding experience for the existence: There is certainly some de- gree of tension between the actual quality of Christian existence and its escha- tological resolution, but this tension should not be seen as a dichotomy.
And, at the same time, knowing that a life lived in the fullness of God is immeasurably superior. Another important feature of Christian salvation is the fact that it is of- fered. The Promethean or narcissistic notion that we can save ourselves, so pervasive in the dominant culture of today, clashes with the reality of the facts. Besides all this, salvation is always double-sided: On the positive side, salvation is growth, in a new and unexpected way of life.
Salvation occurs as a healing of evil and forgive- ness of sin, but also as an entry into the life of grace, as a communion with maternalization hypothesis finds, with the data from our research, ample confirma- tory clues. These two aspects are not mutually exclusive, however; they are just two sides of the same coin. But it is essential to retain the notion that salvation offers the believer a profound transformation.
And whether or not we priv- ilege the positive or the negative perspective of salvation, it offers a process of deep transformation for the believer. This salvation must not be understood as a mere acquisition of goods material or spiritual , external to the subject, as salvation transforms the believer internally. And from this comes the link between faith, salvation and conversion.
Conversion, in this context, is more than a moral choice. Conversion is more than the abandonment of a more or less immoral life; it is an internal change of the subject, made possible by God, that opens the door to a new life and new options. As Terra puts it: The connection between salvation and faith is not automated.
When a positive answer to the Gift of God is given, the transformation process still happens within the specificities and constraints of our humanity. This salvation includes a social dimension. The salvific will of God does trans- form not only the individual but also societies and their underlying structures. This description of the articulation between faith and salvation was based on the biblical information, in a western context, and to be read in an aca- demic environment.
So how can such salvation, brought about by faith, be ex- pressed in different existential and cultural horizons? Commenting on the panorama of the New Testament, van der Watt says: The documents address different issues, employing different linguistic styles, thereby creating different foci.
However, this plurality of imag- es is functional to the expression of a common soteriological reality. This elemental narrative that would be behind the plurality of imaginary departs from a blocked anthropology. Blocked towards humanity and God. People are divided among themselves and separated from God. But God allows real possi- bilities to restore such relationships. How this happens is described in various ways. But all of them happen through Christ.
And His Cross and Resurrec- tion have a decisive role. Mankind must welcome this restored relationship through the attitudes of faith, obedience and renewed praxis. The embracing of this narrative in such disparate texts demonstrates how the message, and not the image, is the priority.
To the NT authors, this means that the expression of the idea the image they choose to use must be distin- guished from the content the message. This process, which we, today, call inculturation, has always happened throughout Church history, and it is not a specificity of mission territories. It is born from the very nature of culture and the nature of the Gospel.
Edited by , Salvation in the New Testa- ment. Perspectives on Soteriology, Leiden - Boston, Brill, , , p. Un rapporto cruciale e conflit- tuale, Cinisello Balsamo, San Paolo, , pp. Positive psychology outweighs the common idea that happiness is associ- ated with the possession of material goods. Toward an empirical-theological theory of in- culturizing faith, Roma, LAS, , pp.
Once again, it is important to distinguish the different meanings that positive psy- 24 chology can assume. But a more enriched understanding of PP is possible, where it becomes prescriptive with all the scientific findings it has produced. And when this enriched vision of PP falls in the public domain and is popularized by the mainstream media, becomes an ideological narrative. And this is in tune with the Gospel vision relativizing material goods. A second point of convergence is the importance of thanks- giving either as a therapeutic exercise or as prayerful practice.
The importance given to forgiveness is another point of convergence. However, their motivational system is quite different. And, with time, also are the forms of action generated by each one. The use of an innovative mental framework to express Christian salvation has its risks. However, like the au- thors of the NT, it should be attempted, without prejudices about the images that are used to express the mystery. However, the normative narrative of Christian identity must be respected. There are four main theological objections to the use of Positive Psychol- ogy.
First is the uncritical reproduction of the success models and notions of quality of life dominant in contemporary western consumer culture. Although it is true that it is possible to trace the genealogy of many contemporary values to the Gospel, many others have nothing to do with Christianity. And this lack of critical sense becomes an epistemological problem within the Positive Psychology field.
Many proponents of Positive Psychology limit themselves to declare some attitudes as more positive than others without conducting an anthropological and philosophical foundation for those choices. However, we can acknowledge that such a foundation would always be difficult in the frag- mented context of any postmodern axiology. A second critique has connections to the first and comes from individu- alism. We have seen in chapter six 4. In a European context of Christian education, 29 Philanthropy is, in a Christian perspective, a very ambiguous concept.
Kevin, Ignatian spirituality and positive psychology, in The way, 45 4, , for another possible comparison. Kevin, Patterns of conversations between catholicism and psy- chology in the United States, in The Catholic Social Science Review, 12 , , p. However, it is also a sustained ideology. And it collides with the biblical God, who is relational and reveals Himself as a Trinity.
A God whose salvific project is, necessarily, social. A third objection arises from the underlying Pelagian tendency. In the Christian notion of salvation, there is always a clear and dramatic awareness that self-salvation is not viable. Often, this Pelagian tendency is more the result of the individualistic tendency than a conscious decision. The fourth critique, theologically more damaging, comes from the irrel- evance of Christ. If, as we have seen in the previous critique, the subject can save himself or, at least, try , Christ becomes useless.
The abil- ity of the critical dialogue developed by Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas helped to overcome the so-called incompatibilities between Christian faith and Aristotelism. Similarly, we can aspire to dialogue and interpenetration whereby Christian faith is expressed using the purified ideas of Positive Psychology in a new narrative, compati- ble with Christian soteriology. We return now to the question of the theological quality of the anchorage made in the Positive Psychology narrative.
And we have detected some po- tential ambiguities. In a North American context, they can emerge as, using the expression proposed by Smith, moralistic therapeutic deism. But the way they articulate their faith is entirely different. Implications of the national survey of youth and religion for christian religious education, in Religious ed- ucation, 2, , p. After the last pages discussing specific details of this representation, it is time to take stock of what has been said.
The way respondents categorise faith and salvation contains some positive elements and some ambiguous ones. In the positive list, we have the asymmetry in the relationship between God and the believer. Using a vocabulary inspired by interpersonal relations the respondents are able to drop the ideas of reciprocity and symmetry and as- sume that, in the relation between God and the believers, God has the priority. The tension between personal and social salvation is less well resolved. The words chosen suggests a more individualistic perspective. It is possible to think in a way in which interpersonal attitudes are used to express the way God relates to us, and from this we have the inspiration to imagine how our relations with others should be.
In chapter 5, 1.
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This individ- ualistic bias derives from the anchorages used and is one of the theological limitations of this representation. Another problem is the loss of tension between salvation offered today and in the eschatological horizon. God is presented as establishing a high qual- ity relationship with believers, and this relation happens in the now. The possi- bility that this relation could become greater in eschatology is absent. The creative tension between gift and task is also absent.
That becomes clear in the selective schematization chapter 6, 3. Where the responsibility to answer with commitment and generosity is missing. The tension between positive and negative is also absent and the rejection of a hamartiocentric theology is very present. The God that appears relevant in suffering and evil is not referred to.
But it can be demonstrated that such references come from personal representations and not from the identified social rep- resentations. However, this is not only additional content. Probably, the awareness of the importance of the liturgy and prayer, acts as a qualifier of the contents associated with relationship quality. We have used that expres- sion as a common term for all prayer and celebratory practices the respondents report associated with their faith in God. It is an anthropological category with a scope larger than just the reli- gious. But it frames quite adequately what Christians catalogue as prayer and liturgy.
Recent decades have produced a dense and fruitful scientific reflection on the role of ritual in contemporary human societies. A deep understanding of ritual allows us to overcome the split between belief and action and allows for the Trinitarian understanding of the liturgy36 to emerge enabling the believers to have access, in our times, to the dialogue with the God that reveals Himself and that asks acceptance. Formally, distinctions between liturgy and prayer persist.
But, in the order of faith, both practices are deeply intertwined. God takes the lead, communicates Himself to man and man welcomes Him in faith. This revelation from God is no mere transmission of ideas; it happens through words and deeds, through symbols and matters. Such a task demands an imagina- tive performance of ritual which encourages worshippers to see the self and the world in a new Christological way, entailing the enactment of a drama of beauty which enthrals and attracts.
It is much more than harmony between dogma and cult; it is a circular process that leads the believer to delve more deeply into the mystery of the God who reveals Himself. Referring to the sacraments, the Catechism says: Faith believed is expressed through rites and is reinforced.
Liturgy and prayer have a strong effect on reinforcing faith because it is here the community expresses and sets its ultimate identity before God. The symbolic strength of the ritual, the communitarian framework,40 acts as a blocking force against the Promethean and narcissistic temptations of making God in the image and likeness of the believing subject. One of the challenges of contemporary sensitivity is the reduction of experience to con- sumption: The coexistence of micro, meso and macro levels respects the experience and appropriation made by the subjects. Another place, Al- dershot - Burlington, Ashgate, , p.
It opens life to the normativity of revelation: The presence of this ritual sensibility in the process of building the image of God brings the added advantage of reducing the tension between credo and credimus. Liturgical action cannot be reduced to the particular purposes of in- dividual subjects. Liturgy is always an ecclesial experience. In this perspective, personal prayer is more prone to subjectivism. But it is possible to underline the social weight, the learned aspect, of personal prayer practices contents, materials, procedures, conformation with a social representation of prayer.
But stands on its own the notion that lex orandi carries with it a strong centrifugal component, that promotes the openness to the real God, freeing Him from subjectivism. Sfide, prospettive ed esperienze, Leumann, ElleDiCi, , , p. But is also possible to do the opposite interpretation: This phenomenon of ritual crisis has been detected many years ago.
What can be new it the adolescents option and it is always an option and not some kind of social automatism to recover the bridges between belonging, ritual practice and faith. And this option should be hailed and recognized as relevant. The ecclesial dimension of ritual is larger than the individual-collective distinction. DeJong invites to understand actuosa par- ticipatio as an action performed by all, which could not be performed by any of the participants individually. Prayer and liturgy are always bearers of con- tents.
And by the nature of ritual, those contents cannot be reduced to cogni- tion; the believing subject forms a relation with the ritualized God. The otherness of God We can only think about God using human languages, experiences and images. However, the task of thinking and saying God with radically inad- equate communicative instruments faces the risk of being radically distorted.
God is different from us. This statement can seem banal, obvious, and tautological. However, in our cultural context, hostage to expressive individ- ualism, to state the otherness of God, that there is a substantial difference between God and man, is a fact worth noting. Be it a remnant of a decadent social system or being the result of an option alternative to the mainstream, this SR must be carefully studied. The primacy of authenticity, the growing support of expressive individu- alism, had a deep impact upon the way people and groups, in western culture, frame the question of God.
Applied to the image of God, this leads to inversions of the Genesis narrative: But this attention of the subject about himself and his own quality of life, tends to reject all tradi- tions and structures capable, even remotely, of controlling the autonomy. This relativism of individualistic matrix is added to all the other prob- lems, or difficulties, the 20th century had with formulating a discourse about God. The critiques of the multiple atheisms forced a retraction of the discourse about God. Critical reflections on con- temporary culture, 8 , , p.
Edited by , A sociol- ogy of spirituality, Surrey, Ashgate, , It was no longer possible to propose an image of God subject to the criticism of being socially alienating Marx , of being an authoritarian and paternalistic projection Freud , or of being a God that restrains the better part of our human condition Nietzsche. These critiques were accepted by the Church and theology, not as merely tac- tical management but as an appeal to the purification of faith and to a return to revelation sources.
The sharp conflicts between theism and atheism, so typical of the cultur- al climate of modernity, have led, in this postmodern context, to the desire to talk about negative theology. This interest in apophatic theology helps us overcome a double parasitism. Some forms of atheism are obsessed in deny- ing certain caricatures of God, and a theodicy has developed to counter those forms of atheism.
However, both attitudes bring little of use to the debate and quest for truth. Beyond the classical references to Pseudo-Dionysius or Eckhart, we find that even Thomas Aquinas has a more humble and modest discourse than we could imagine possible. We cannot say what God is, but merely what He is not. However, this does not condemn us to aphasia. Thomas defends that we can talk about God in a non-contra- dictory way, even when we do not grasp the full extent of the words we are using about Him and assume all language used to describe Him as provisional.
It is the Word of God that makes it rightfully possible, to know and say something meaningful about God. Recognizing that revelation happens through human words, categories and contexts, theological reflection states its truth. The fourth SR of God assumes this, recognizing that the Word of God is capable of offering access to the truth of God. Inspired by a biblical back- ground or by the catechetical language, respondents sharing this representa- 52 Cf.
The God that reveals Himself is more relevant than the task of building an image of God by the recipient. God is described with some attributes specific to the divinity. He is omnip- otent, powerful, infinite, glorious, mysterious, and invisible. He is the creator. These notions have a biblical origin but are quite widely known as possible attri- butes of an abstract idea of divine not necessarily associated with Judaeo-Chris- tian theology.
But God is also the saviour, kind, patient, compassionate, faith- ful… And these characteristics are much more connected to a biblical idea of God. These two groups of attributes point to a convergence of fides qua and fides quae: This apparent contradiction finds in Jesus of Nazareth a solution. Even if respondents do not make explicit refer- ence to Jesus in this representation, a legit hypothesis can be put forward: The life of Jesus of Nazareth emerges as the normative source from which respon- dents inspired themselves in order to build their own image of God.
The phrase became popular in the climate of crisis and was supported by the ideas of counter-culture. Independently of its theological merits few , it eventual- ly became a sociological failure. High percentages of the population still believe in God. However, Christ, who had such approval, seems to be in a serious crisis.
The idea that someone even Jesus can become a normative instance of faith and humanity is not capable of oppose radical individualism. But, beyond these ironies, how and in what Jesus Christ do the respondents believe? In this representation, Jesus is described by who He is and by what He does. Or, at least, of certain aspects of Jesus biography.
Remembering who Jesus was and what He did is the strategy used by most of the NT writers. All these titles have an OT origin. When the first Christian com- munities applied them to Jesus, they went through a radical reinterpretation. Moreover, Jesus Himself was the one to begin using OT categories.
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How should we interpret the titles of Jesus in the NT? There is an evolu- tionary interpretation that presents Christological developments as a logically backward process. And according to this line of thought, the most primitive Christology was centred in the parousia and, as needs arose, Christology shift- ed its centre. It defends that dif- ferent communities different because of geography and cultural background developed, independently, different Christological perspectives.
Recently, another perspective has gained some notoriety. It connects Christological development to the prayer and salvation experiences of the first communities. Starting with the Pascal event of Jesus, the first Christians had an intense salvific experience. It is in function of the communicative use ad intra and ad extra of the reflection made in that context that the first com- munities elaborate, with the available theological and cultural categories, their Christological synthesis.
Larry Hurtado is one of the main proponents of this line of thought: A commentary on the in- fancy narratives in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, New York, Doubleday, , pp. Neither is a question of accepting or rejecting the use of Hellenist cultural categories. First Christian communities had an intense experience of Jesus, which they felt as deeply transformative. From there, they used the available categories, chang- ing their original meanings and recombining different narrative, in order to create a discourse coherent with the soteriological core that defined their iden- tity.
This debate of ideas helps to understand the history of Christological ideas that only in the fourth and fifth centuries councils found some stability. How- ever, this does not mean that when respondents use the same terms that Chris- tian tradition has used and consolidated, they are assuming the same Christol- ogy. What is the meaning attributed by the respondents to those expressions of biblical origin? The answer is not easy because often the respondents do not explicitly explain the meaning given to the words. They just use the words. To assume, without added caution, that they are using the biblical vocabulary with the same meaning as biblical theology, would be naive.
All those titles have a strong theological connotation and in the context in which we are working, they are not applicable to anybody else but Jesus. And if they are applied to Jesus, it means that Jesus belongs to the divine sphere. The use of this kind of technical vocabulary, so attached to official Church discourse, would correspond to a vision where Jesus is in fact the only-begotten Son of God, the redeemer of mankind, pre-existing since before creation.
However, a more vague interpretation is also possible, where the use of these words is just a device useful to give Jesus a religious connotation, to place Him in relation with God. But in a relation very undetermined in its contours. Jesus is brother, friend, compassionate, present and available. That makes Him a nice figure, admired, ethically attractive. And a doubt about the proper William B. A review of the work of Larry W. Hurtado, in Tyndale Bulletin, 60 , And other essays on early christian christology, Leiden - Boston, Brill, , p.
Mainly related to the Easter mysteries and, in a lesser degree, His birth. These narra- tives give substance to the idea of Jesus as saviour. It is tempting to apply this data to the radical questions of every Chris- tology: How does Christ activate His salvation in favour of mankind? It is not easy to give a precise answer. Not only because of the difficulties in interpreting the data, but possibly, because of an ambiguity sought by the respondents.
Carefully reading the answers they gave, we get the feeling that they are familiar with classic Christological formulations, and that there is a certain acceptance of the central role of Christ in salvation history. But, at the same time, there is a lot of hesitations and indecisions about the role of Christ.
I like Jesus This second representation is made of positive feelings and attitudes to- wards Jesus. We can apply here all that we have seen previously in the use of the relational quality narrative. But, in this case, the object of the relation is Jesus. Faith in Jesus is expressed with a very rich set of affectionate expressions. We have here a real relationship and not only a state of mind. Some of these expressions are feelings residents in the subject but another part is made of manifestations of interpersonal relationships.
This representation of Jesus is more oriented towards faith as a relation- ship, and the idea of faith as content is almost absent. This disbalance can be interpreted in two different ways. The first interpretation is more critical and underlines the risk of individualism: It is important to not identify high and low Christologies with Christologies from above and from below. A biblical, historical and systematic study of Jesus, p.
The absence or, at least, the lack of explicit presence of contents can give rise to a kind of faith held hostage by personal emotions. A faith that becomes a psychological projection and not a theologal experience. A second interpretation, more benign, underlines the necessary link be- tween fides qua and fides quae. Even if the manifestations of fides qua are more visible, this interpretation anticipates that the contents of faith are in- trinsically associated.
An example of this more optimistic interpretation can be found in EG To make the theological interpretation of this representation even more difficult, some theologians note that the deeply individualistic context in which we live shifts the debate about the articulation between fides qua and fides quae towards the debate credo-credimus. The accentuation placed in fides qua becomes equivalent to a rejection of credimus, of the ecclesial dimension of faith experience.
Contemporary theological synthesis has insisted, on the con- trary, in the inseparability of the personal and ecclesial aspects of faith. The believed faith fides quae is the ecclesial faith; but also the relation between the believing subject and God fides qua is personal and ecclesial. But Jesus can only be found in the subjective experience of the believer.
Meaningly, this description is applied, originally, to popular religiosity, to 59 non-literary appropriation of faith. A context similar to the one we are investigating. How, then, can we interpret this lack of equilibrium between fides qua and fides quae, the explicit absence of content in this representation?
It is highly unlikely that the respondents are professing a radically subjec- tive faith, devoid of content. In this representation, we have a strong affective and relational tension towards Jesus. The produced texts are not explicit about the Jesus they are talking about, but that Jesus must have a face; otherwise he would not be so attractive. The wisest option would be to consider that the respondents use a narra- tive that strongly values the well-being and relational quality as the foundation of their faith, and they express their relation towards Jesus according to those categories.
But Jesus emerges without competition as the recipient of those words. This makes Jesus unique. And this would be another situation where Christology is sequential to soteriology. Jesus attitudes A third representation of Jesus is focused on His actions and attitudes. More than with isolated acts or a collection of mysteries, respondents represent Jesus with His attitudes. All of the attitudes have in common being in favour of the others. There are some terms with a strong theological connotation sacrifice, salvation, passion… , but the majority uses more contemporary language.
CCC proposes an integrative synthesis. This representation resumes the image of the historical Jesus. These atti- tudes are a summary of the canonical narratives, even if they are interpreted and filtered according to the contemporary sensibility. The relation between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith has generated, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, heated debates. The first is the rejection of the idea of myth; Christ and His history are not a mythical narrative, located in a cycle of eternal return.
Jesus existed in very precise spatial and temporal coordinates, and Jesus introduced in the course of human history a turning point. The second is the rejection of Docetism. The revelation of the Word and His salvation happen in the flesh, in the concrete of the human condition and this leads to a strong identification between the pre-existing and exalted Christ and the humble carpenter from Nazareth.
The third is the fact that the constant reference to the historical Christ offers a filter against the enthusiastic projections of the believers. A faith which refers only to the kerygma, becomes, in the end, faith in the Church as bearer of the kerygma. There are no vestiges of the debate on the historicity of the gospel narratives, or of demythologizing the scriptures or any of the other strong tensions affecting theology.
Should we conclude, hastily, that this rep- resentation is rooted in the canonical narratives? Is it not possible that there is a projection in Jesus of contemporary ethical ideals? This saving action of Jesus is structured in order to counter the specific configuration that evil assumes. It can take the form of death, or of denial of the pos- sibility and the quality of a truly human life. It can take the form of the loss of meaning and truth. His salvation takes the shape of love offered in the name of God, which returns us value and identity.
It is a victo- ry against the strength of death acting in the world. It is a full truth and full meaning, offered as a credible alternative to an absurd existence. It is important to underline the notion that the salvation offered by Jesus in the name of God is totalizing. It is a project that must be activated right now in the history even if its resolution has an eschatological horizon.
It is personal but also social and affects the most intimate and spiritual dimensions of persons and groups, but also the economy, politics, power and wealth dis- 66 DUNN James D. It is, in Jesus and in those that welcome Him, a line of continuity between the love received from the Father and the human experiences further removed from the creative and redemptive projects of God. Jesus is seen as a source of quality of life in His public ministry and His passion.
The attitudes assumed by Jesus are compatible with the existential and personal sensibility. But the social and political dimensions are missing; the economy, youth culture and abuse cases, have no references. The explicit continuity that Jesus affirms between His filial relation to the Father and His service to his brothers is also absent.
Spirit representations In theology and also in the discourse of the church, it has become a com- monplace to talk about the neglect substantive or relative of the Holy Spirit in the Western Church. Obviously the magisterium has not abandoned the dogmatic formulations elaborated during the first four councils. But in spir- itual life, the Spirit has been effectively sidelined. He has become, for many believers, a personification of grace and is no longer a divine person. The serious problem we are facing is not the mathemati- cal decrease of references to the Holy Spirit. The issue is the integrity of the theological vision.
A theological text or a faith existence can have a superabundance of references to the Spirit and still have a serious pneumatogical deficit because the Spirit is not fully or properly integrated with the theological vision. Lyle Edited by , Advents of the Spirit. An introduction to the current study of pneumatology, Milwaukee, Marquette University Press, , , pp. An introduction to the current study of pneumatology, Milwaukee, Marquette University Press, , , p. Who is the Holy Spirit? What does He do? Some of this difficulty in coping with the Holy Spirit is born from the Scripture.
In both Testaments, the Spirit is represented with objective meta- phors: All this makes it difficult to see the Spirit as a real person. A second difficulty is born from the unpredictability of charismatic ex- periences. Throughout history, there has been a constant risk of legitimizing intuitions and experiences outside of faith by invoking the Holy Spirit. The difficulties in placing the Father and the Son at the same level subordinationism also extends to the Spirit: The teachings of the first councils tried to extend to the Spirit the homoousious and to maintain the 70 Cf.
Some basic questions for pneumatology, Milwaukee, Marquette University Press, , 7. An introduction to the current study of pneumatology, Milwaukee, Marquette University Press, , In Patristics, there is a strong continuity defending that the Spirit is a divine person, closely associated with the Father and the Son and not just a divine gift or manifestation of His power. There are quantitative indicators that prove it: To the point of making problematic, to those that rarely attended catechesis cluster 3 , the identification of consistent social representations.
But we also have qualitative indicators: However, it is also true that the last decades have witnessed a recovery of the Holy Spirit. Three things can explain this recovery. The first is the growth of Christian projects that strongly underline the role of pneumatology. The author defends also the role of the early creeds. Both in the East and in the West, they had a three part structure and suggested a Trinitarian confession. And it is important to remember David Martin and the attention to the Pentecostal sensibility in the global South. God might be dead, but the demand for a spiritual source of meaning and healing is very present.
It is not possible to confirm if the respondents of this research are ex- periencing this because we have no point of reference to the past. However, the low quality of the collected data suggests that such recovery has not yet occurred. It is a collec- tion of terms quite similar to the paradigm of positive psychology.
Is the fact that these terms occur in connection with the Spirit mere chance or has it some sort of theological merit? The Spirit appears as the personification of the love between the Father and the Son and it is this Spirit, love personified, that is sent to man, to enable us to enter into communion with God, for our salvation.
He is not only a gift from God; he is the giver of such gift. There is no split or discontinuity in the El misterio de la Trinidad, Sal- amanca, Secretariado Trinitario, , pp. He performs in a personal way what God is in His essence. In cre- ation, redemption or eschatology, the Spirit is always gift.
The category of self-transcendence is adequate to describe the Trinity who reveals itself in the Father who freely created the world, in the Son who gives himself for the salvation of the world and in the Spirit who gives space to creation to breathe freely. It is the self-transcendence of the Spir- it creator that makes possible the self-transcendence of the human being. The human self-transcendence is not a mere evolution strategy for survival; in the light of faith, is an aspiration made possible by the Spirit.
And the fact that we are, by virtue of creation, called self-transcendent does not prevent us from be- ing inconsistent, disloyal, and self-centred. The self-transcendence of the Spirit in creation is not diminished by human freedom. Our experiences of service, mutual trust and care for the others must not be seen as a mere psychological attitude.
These things have the hand of the Creator Spirit in their beginnings, and they are very dense, in a theological sense. The Spirit is present and active throughout the history of salvation, renewing mankind and enabling us to be beings of communion and fellowship, leaving behind selfish narcissism.
The prophets who announced the sending of the Spirit Ez 39, 29; Jl 3, are not interested in ecstatic experiences, but instead in a profound trans- formation of the human heart. In the New Testament, Paul and John, although using different vocabularies, converge on the idea that the self-transcendence of God in His Spirit makes possible, whether for the subject or the community, to transcend oneself and attain the fullness of life. This text is admittedly influenced 82 by von Balthasar and Congar.
The tension between the life of the flesh and life of the Spirit consists in remaining in a self-centred life, one of sin, or in opening your life to the gift and the love, made possible by the presence of the Spirit, who is the gift that empowers all gift. More than commonplaces or the search for individual well-being, the idea of associating a harmonious life, peace, and quality relationships with the Spirit could be quite sensible. These respondents seem aware that the Spirit of God challenges to self-transcendence in order to overcome the selfish behaviours that deny our condition of creatures made through love and towards love.
And it is the Spirit that is the possibility for this new lifestyle. It is important to underline the fact that this representation does not con- tain a consciousness of the role of the Spirit in relation to self-transcendence. The respondents limited themselves to merely describing a set of attitudes. This inarticulation of ideas can always be interpreted as a pneumatological weakness, or a depersonalization of the Spirit in favour of a spiritual force, or ethical values. It made a step in the right direction in order to overcome the associa- tion between the Spirit and intra-individual religious experience.
However, the absence of a social, economic, ecological and political impact, that an intense awareness of the Spirit could have, remains absent. Does the repetition of these attributes indicate that we are close to a modalist inter- pretation? In the Scriptures and in theological reflection, the action of the Son and the action of the Spirit are intimately linked in the creation, eschatology or in redemption,86 although this closeness does not nullify their distinction CCC However, once again due to the low level of theological ar- ticulation used by the respondents, it is not easy to arrive at a definite inter- pretation.
The most pessimistic interpretation tends to say that the presence of representations containing similarities between the three persons of the Trinity indicates a modalist monotheism which does not respect the otherness of the Holy Spirit; a more benign interpretation would say that despite the fragility of their theological and cognitive faculties, the respondents are anticipating the communicatio idiomatum and intuitions underlying the doctrine of the trinitarian perichoresis.
It is where we find the most explicit references to the doctrine of the Trinity. We know that, in the Scripture, the doctrine of the Trinity is not system- atically elaborated. The first movement encompasses the formulation of human rights and bioethical guidelines for research on and with human beings. The moral principles and values that rule human conduct are continually questioned.
To Giorgio Agamben 8 8. O poder soberano e a vida nua. The 20th century witnessed the large-scale development of technology directed at life, through new resources. Different deliberations have become possible through use of this equipment. New categories and concepts brain death, life with dignity, donation and transplant of body tissues and organs have led to the creation of new laws and regulations in each context 5 5.
Among the Americans, the concept and diagnosis of brain death are accepted by society in general, while for the Japanese there has been broad social rejection of the possibility of removing organs for donation and transplant. Different meanings are attributed to the term dignity, especially with respect to the end of life and the dying process. According to the preeminent value in each context, it is possible to classify a dignified or non-dignified condition. We are here presupposing that the demarcation of the frontiers between life and death involves cultural, social, religious and political factors relative to person management.
Every social group creates its definition of a person as a social agent 10 Ensaios sobre o individualismo: Every culture demarks when a person is recognized socially. Historically, in the West, life and death have been the objects of religious definitions guided by Judeo-Christian tradition 12 With the processes of secularization 13 Generalized belief in reason as an objective reading of nature has become prevalent in the West 15 From the second half of the 20th century the theme of rights has acquired preeminence and centrality.
Two positions stand out: The debate about the embryo statute 18 As novas tecnologias reprodutivas: Mana; ; 3 1: Anthropological studies on the limits of life point to differences and similarities in the personhood statute for the embryo and the terminal patient, especially when brain death is diagnosed. The fetus and the terminal patient possess the same characteristic: The anthropology of the beginnings and ends of life. In a survey about the theme, we found biomedical articles, presented below, which tackle dilemmas and positionings regarding the possible decisions and their consequences.
The survey was carried out on the internet via the Google search engine to find media articles on the theme after , up to April , and scientific articles, based on the following words: Media articles relative to twelve cases of pregnant women with brain death were found.
Résultats de la recherche
From these cases, we selected three for analysis, as the positionings of the family members and medical staff and the judicial decision were different in each case, which allowed deeper reflection on the decision-making process. It is worth mentioning that the articles published in biomedical journals and from the justice and law fields were all found using Google, as we did not search scientific bases. The search was carried out in and In an article was published about the brain death of a woman in the 13th week of pregnancy 21 ICM J; ; 30 7: The fetal heartbeats stopped on the eighth day after maternal brain death.
The authors consider mother and fetus to be two distinct organisms. Although there is no minimum limit for pregnancy time, the maintenance of maternal somatic functions depends on time to reach fetal viability, with the ideal being 32 weeks. The article cites the maximum prolongation of days, after which birth occurred. In this case days would be needed to reach viability. The authors believe prolongation to be ethical only when there is hope of success.
The authors point out three perspectives: In legal terms, European legislation varies as to the concession of rights to the fetus 20 In Ireland, the fetus has the right to life from conception, but in other countries a week fetus has no legal rights. In Ireland, even with legal support to the fetus, the imperative of maintaining maternal somatic support is fulfilled when birth is probable. The prolongation of somatic support in a pregnant woman with brain-death: The text presents a case in Brazil: Having been diagnosed with brain death, the patient began to receive respiratory and nutritional support and vasoactive drugs, hormones, temperature control and interventions to prolong pregnancy.
The decisions were made in consensus with family members. The boy was placed in the neonatal intensive care unit and was discharged with no after-effects after 40 days. The article by Anita Catlin and Deborah Volat 23 Catlin AJ, Volat D. When the fetus is alive but the mother is not: Crit Care Nurs Clin Am. The question is whether to maintain or not life support for the pregnant woman for another 5 months for the sake of fetal development. The text reflects on the decision-making process. Using examples, the authors analyze ethical dilemmas concerning the woman, the fetus, the family members and the nursing staff.
It is necessary to define what life and death is in order to assess the mother. The text questions whether the completion of an organ donation form means acceptance of life-sustaining measures. Questions are raised, such as who should decide and what are the deliberations when there is a conflict of interest. As for ethical dilemmas, it is asked whether the fetus can be considered alive when the mother has suffered brain death. The article presents a concern with leading the fetus to a condition of viability for birth, as if it were an individual with a right to treatment.
These questions are posed: Would this care be an experimental treatment, without the consent of the woman or the fetus? Finally, the authors state that the cases reflect the religious environment of the country in which the study was conducted. Majid Esmaeilzadeh et al.
One life ends, another begins: Management of a brain-dead pregnant mother. As explained above, this article was found with an internet search. Thirty cases were found from to The average time of pregnancy at brain death diagnosis was 22 weeks, and the time of pregnancy to birth, Twelve viable children were born and survived. The authors stated that it is possible to sustain the somatic functions of the brain dead pregnant woman for a long period. No limit is defined for the minimum time of pregnancy after which medical efforts can lead a fetus to development. The decision must be for each case, according to maternal stability and fetal growth.
The article lists the medical support procedures and presents obstetric, fetal and neonatal considerations, as well as those concerning organ donation. The opposing position is to consider the woman as a cadaverous incubator with no autonomous rights, attributing preeminence to fetal rights.
Other authors compare the prolongation of maternal life to an organ transplant in which the fetus would be the recipient. The possibility of extending life in brain death cases presents a specific problem when the subject is a pregnant woman. In the Pontifical Academies for Life page on the Vatican portal 25 In the Key to Bioethics 26 Keys to bioethics — JMJ Rio The debate on death with dignity emerges in the discussion of euthanasia and organ donation.
Despite mention of the brain death concept, there is no reference to maternal brain death and pregnancy continuation. The manual condemns any form of abortion and embryo manipulation except to extend its life. It is categorical with respect to informed consent for organ donation, opposing end-of-life directives such as contracts for life support interruption in case of irreversible coma. Our hypothesis is that the Vatican assumes the last interpretation, based on the example of an anencephalic fetus, where the magisterium advocates that pregnancy be maintained until the end in order to give an unviable being the right to life.
The fetus and the brain-dead pregnant woman are considered individuals: The autonomy ideal imposes itself on the model of the person as individual: From the cases reported in the media, we have chosen three: We have described abortion legislation in their countries so as to reveal the contexts of the situations.
Ireland is a country with restrictive abortion legislation. Travelling abroad to terminate pregnancy and to obtain information about the intervention is permitted 28 Abortion law in Ireland [Internet]. The case in question did not contemplate abortion. A week-pregnant woman was diagnosed with brain death. Her parents expressed the wish for the life support equipment to be switched off.