Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Identity of Jesus Christ

Below you will find the Council of Chalcedon's (451) proclamation of the Identity of Jesus Christ. Finally, after all that time, the Church found the precise words to judge, protect, and proclaim the experience of John and Andrew at 4pm.

Definition of Chalcedon (451 AD)

Following, then, the holy fathers, we unite in teaching all men to confess the one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This selfsame one is perfect both in deity and in humanness; this selfsame one is also actually God and actually man, with a rational soul [meaning human soul] and a body. He is of the same reality as God as far as his deity is concerned and of the same reality as we ourselves as far as his humanness is concerned; thus like us in all respects, sin only excepted. Before time began he was begotten of the Father, in respect of his deity, and now in these "last days," for us and behalf of our salvation, this selfsame one was born of Mary the virgin, who is God-bearer in respect of his humanness.

We also teach that we apprehend this one and only Christ—Son, Lord, only-begotten—in two natures; and we do this without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other, without dividing them into two separate categories, without contrasting them according to area or function. The distinctiveness of each nature is not nullified by the union. Instead, the "properties" of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one "person" and in one reality [hypostasis]. They are not divided or cut into two persons, but are together the one and only and only-begotten Word [Logos] of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus have the prophets of old testified; thus the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us; thus the Symbol of Fathers [the Nicene Creed] has handed down to us.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Life within a Living Tradition

Dear Monsignor, we've been discussing pages 169 and 170 of Why the Church, where Don Gius talks about the ordinary magisterium of the Church. He likens it to the phenomenon of osmosis, saying that by remaining in the ecclesial community, we absorb the truths we need to face life. We take this to mean that we absorb these truths not only from priests, bishops, and other teachers of the faith, but also from other Catholics we interact with every day--our in-laws, our coworkers, our friends in the Movement, etc. Is this what he means?

And is this "osmosis" the same thing as more direct methods of learning, like homilies, books, or one-on-one advice from a confessor or friend? Or is it more subtle than that, something that happens without our recognizing it consciously?

Posted by Jim Cork, Atlanta, GA

Monsignor Albacete:
Yes, the process through which the "ordinary magisterium" is exercised is indeed close to what you describe. It is life within a living tradition, a way of looking and living that is verified by correspondence to the desires of a heart created for fulfillment through divine life. According to Fr. Giussani, the "heart" is the first authority we encounter along this path. The second one is the Liturgy, which expresses through words and gestures precisely what we are taught by the experience of belonging to the Church. Still, all of this has to become ultimately incarnate in a concrete, identifiable human reality or encounter, and this is the authority of the bishops in communion with the Holy Father. The "ordinary magisterium" becomes concrete in their teaching.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dictatorship of Desires

Monsignor, I was quite moved by many things in Boston [Ed.: the writer is referring to the CL national diaconia, an annual meeting of people who serve as responsibles for CL]. One thing that stood out was the question asked of Fr. Pino and his response: what about "good and bad desires?" He responded, to summarize, that there is no such thing as bad desire, but rather that desire sometimes gets held up or stuck, rather than moving onward towards it's aim. This conception, of desires as the moving force God uses to guide us toward him resonates strongly with me. Yet it does raise difficulties. How should we understand the phrase of Benedict, "the dictatorship of desires"? How do some of the dark perversions and hatreds that we know exist in the world fit into such a thesis?
Posted by Patrick, Stockton, CA

Monsignor Albacete:
The dictatorship of desire refers to what happens when our desires are not lived as an invitation to look further to what alone satisfies our heart. When that happens we "divinize" the particular desires, believing them to be able to satisfy totally our thirst for happiness.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Asking Questions

i noticed on a video in the beginning of a school of community, after reading the text, the "leader" asked the question: (paraphrasing) "what are your questions?" i like that. it strikes me that maybe we should begin with questions, rather than trying to "explain what we got out of it" or "what it means to me" --or, maybe i'm in left field! would you have any guidance in terms of preparing for and also, the 'structure' of a School of Community discussion? thanks.
Posted by Michael Fields, Stockton, CA

Monsignor Albacete:
Yes, in order to see if what is proposed corresponds to my experience, I need to know what is proposed, so it makes sense to ask questions first. The point is though that the purpose of the SoC is not an intellectual understanding of theoretical propositions, but the personal verification of an existential proposal.

Monday, April 17, 2006


"I have not come to convince you of what I believe, but to teach you the method that will allow you to understand what I say."
- Monsignor Luigi Giussani
Founder of Communion and Liberation

Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete interviewed for Slate

Welcome to The New Berchet Blog, where Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, Responsible for the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation for the US and Canada, will respond to questions regarding School of Community.

To submit a question, click the “Comment” link under any posting and enter your text. All submissions are reviewed prior to being posted. The Monsignor will respond to your questions as soon as possible.

Please see the links to the right for more information about Communion and Liberation.

Awareness and the Immutable

Last night in SoC we had questions about p40-41 in the Religious Sense: "I find that the content of my consciousness now is absolutely identical to that of my infancy... it is immutable." Does Fr. Giussani mean this literally? How can the content of one's consciousness as an adult be "absolutely identical" to that of infancy? What is he saying? How does it fit into the overall argument he is developing re the Double Reality?
Posted by Jerry Brungardt, Wichita, KS

Monsignor Albacete:
Fr. Giussani acnowledges that changes in our consciousness occur as we grow up. There are those coming from external factors, as well as as a "deepened" consciousness as we grow up. What remains the same is the experience of what I mean by certain words, such as "good" or "just," etc. A child sees a piece of candy and says: This is good. What does he mean by "good"? What experience is he talking about that he calls "good"? That same child may grow up and have a deepened, different view of what particular thing is good or not, but the experience of something "being good" doesn't change. Someone might say: "Flying is good." Another might say "Flying is not good." These are different judgments, but "being good" is the same for both, meaning, something that corresponds to the desires of the heart. In this section, Fr. Giussani is trying to show (appealing to our experience) that the "I" has a capacity to grasp realities that are immutable, such as "the good" or "the true," etc.!
These cannot be reduced to realities that are measurable or changeable. The idea is to discover the ability to relate to what cannot be broken into measurable components.


We have known about the Communion and Liberation movement for several years, first learning of it from an article in "Inside the Vatican" on new movements in the Church.
During Lent we found a brochure at St. Joseph's Cathedral in San Diego announcing that the "Way of the Cross 2006" would take place after the Good Friday liturgy so we joined the group and were very moved by the experience.
The booklet gave the internet site which I explored today. There I learned about School off Community as well as your blog. When I clicked on the blog, you had just made your first post a few hours earllier. Also, my husband recalled' New Notes" recently carried an article on Communion and Liberation. I then found and read about the meeting at Saint Brigid's in Pacific Beach the evening of Februay 2, 2006 and our interview by Anna Krestyn.
This is my question: We are both seniors. Do you think that we would fit in?

Posted by Barbara

Monsignor Albacete:
Of course! I am not exactly a Junior myself. Get in touch with our local responsible ( and he will tell you where and when you can join us. Then, if you find something attractive, you come again. In my own case, at the beginning what attracted me the most was the pizza that usually followed the meetings. Things sounded a bit strange, but something stirred in my heart. The thrill is discovering what was evoking that stirring...or Who!

The Method

what is the actual method? step 1? step 2? etc.
Posted by Michael Fields, Stockton, CA

Monsignor Albacete:
The method is experience as judgment. The proposed claim is compared to the "fundamental needs" that define the human heart. Those are inscribed in us by the Creator. We need to be educated to read them properly.