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January 26, 2004


Michael Tinkler

But in Maritain's case he practiced marriage that way, too -- it wasn't just irony. He and Raissa had a marriage blanche, without sex. Sorry I can't offer a reference, but I went through a big Maritain phase and read it in one of the biographies.

Grant Gallicho

Please let me know what you think of Commonweal's new Web site. Suggestions are welcome.

Michael Tinkler

Grant -- nice, clean interface. How long will stories from the "current issue" stay up?


In his biography of Merton, "The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton", Michael Mott states that like Ghandhi, Maritain "practiced celibacy in marriage."

Grant Gallicho

Indefinitely. They are shifted into the archive after the next issue is posted.

Jimmy Mac

Yes, Garvey is Orthodox ... I think he "de-poped" a few years back. it also sticks in my mind that he might be a priest or deacon, but don't quote me on that.

Grant Gallicho

John Garvey is an Orthodox priest.


A big problem for the average person is the perceived fuzziness of tradition. Which is Sacred Traditon and which is just human tradition? What do we have to believe and what is optional? My understanding is that as a Catholic I must believe what is Sacred Tradition but exactly what that constitutes beyond the Nicean Creed and in modern times papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, and the Assumption I don't know. Am I going to be told before I die that something else which is a to me an unknown part of Sacred Tradition is something I must believe? I wonder about saints who did not believe in the Immaculate Conception, who died long before it was declared as dogma. Were they supposed to have believed it anyway because it was part of Sacred Tradition? Were they wrong not to have believed in it? Are any of us wrong not to believe today in moral teachings which we are told are tradition but which are not defined as Sacred Tradition? So back to my original question--which traditons are binding and which are optional? Can binding doctrine develop out of presently optional traditions?

Rod Dreher

Interesting about Cdl. George having struggled with polio as a child. So did Cdl. Egan, I believe.

Eric Forrest

Caroline, as Catholics we are to believe in Sacred Tradition. The only authentic interpreter of Sacred Tradition is the teaching office of the Catholic Church, the Magisterium. The catechism clearly states, and early church fathers agree that Christ bestowed the charism of infallibility upon the Magesterium of the Church. Now, there are two kinds of beliefs: Doctrine and Dogma. Dogma is simply doctrine that has been defined. It is part od the Extraordinary Magisterium of the Church. Yet, even doctrine that hasn't been defined is still part of the Magisterium; it is called the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church --which, as part of the Magisterium, is still infallible. In other words, truth doesn't change. If the Catholic Church presents a teaching as true, it had been true from the past into eternity. It may not be formally defined as a dogma, but it is still true nonetheless. Some things, for example, that you might take for granted are Catholic dogmas are not. Take the crucifixion and resurrection--even the trinity: None of these have been defined as dogmas. Now obviously, if we didn't believe these things we couldn't call ourselves Christians, much less Catholic.

Eric Forrest

In regards to the above post, I should mention that I am just beginning to research the Magisterium of the Church, and that I could be mistaken. That is my understanding, as of right now, however.

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