There’s tons of good stories in this interview with Ernest Borgnine over at AICN. There’s even some soundfile excerpts from the interview so you can listen to that unmistakable voice.
Daily Archives: October 18, 2010
From his recent letter to all Catholic seminarians:
I can only plead with you, “Be committed to your studies! Take advantage of your years of study! You will not regret it.”
Certainly, the subjects which you are studying can often seem far removed from the practice of the Christian life and the pastoral ministry. Yet it is completely mistaken to start questioning their practical value by asking, “Will this be helpful to me in the future? Will it be practically or pastorally useful?”
The point is not simply to learn evidently useful things, but to understand and appreciate the internal structure of the faith as a whole; so that it can become a response to people’s questions, which on the surface change from one generation to another, yet ultimately remain the same. For this reason it is important to move beyond the changing questions of the moment in order to grasp the real questions, and so to understand how the answers are real answers.
It is important to have a thorough knowledge of sacred Scripture as a whole, in its unity as the Old and the New Testaments: the shaping of texts, their literary characteristics, the process by which they came to form the canon of sacred books, their dynamic inner unity, a unity which may not be immediately apparent but which in fact gives the individual texts their full meaning.
It is important to be familiar with the Fathers and the great Councils in which the Church appropriated, through faith-filled reflection, the essential statements of Scripture. I could easily go on.
What we call dogmatic theology is the understanding of the individual contents of the faith in their unity, indeed, in their ultimate simplicity: each single element is, in the end, only an unfolding of our faith in the one God who has revealed himself to us and continues to do so. I do not need to point out the importance of knowing the essential issues of moral theology and Catholic social teaching. The importance nowadays of ecumenical theology, and of a knowledge of the different Christian communities, is obvious; as is the need for a basic introduction to the great religions, to say nothing of philosophy: the understanding of that human process of questioning and searching to which faith seeks to respond.
But you should also learn to understand and – dare I say it – to love canon law, appreciating how necessary it is and valuing its practical applications. A society without law would be a society without rights. Law is the condition of love.
I will not go on with this list, but I simply say once more: love the study of theology, and carry it out in the clear realization that theology is anchored in the living community of the Church, which, with her authority, is not the antithesis of theological science but its presupposition. Cut off from the believing Church, theology would cease to be itself and instead it would become a medley of different disciplines lacking inner unity.
Your years in the seminary should also be a time of growth in human maturity. It is important for the priest, who is called to accompany others through the journey of life up to the threshold of death, to have the right balance of heart and mind, reason and feeling, body and soul….
Only from the mind of Joseph Ratzinger — looking to the future as much as the present, absolutely sure of his life plans despite living in the Third Reich in the middle of brutal war, and not at all concerned at the social fallout of telling them to others. 🙂
From his recent letter to all seminarians:
When in December 1944 I was drafted for military service, the company commander asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: “Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed.” I knew that this “new Germany” was already coming to an end, and that, after the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever.
Paternoster Row lady’s blog had an old post about this. But this summer, she added some better links, as the zooming technology employed by Europe’s great museums has improved.
At the Prado, around the neck of Federico Gonzaga, duke of Mantua and kinsman of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
Necklaces that may or may not be Rosaries or chaplets for prayer.