A Spirituality Of Obedience: Equal in God’s Eyes Only?


Obedience has always been a central feature of most religions. It is usually understood as being compliant to an external authority or set of norms. In this brief article obedience is presented as a compliant characteristic with the structure of human consciousness. The question of women’s ordination will be briefly explored revealing both the norms of obedience as well as the unintelligence of conformity without exercising the acts of intelligence.

Obedience is a proposed form of relationship that most of us experience perhaps first as  children. The manner in which that form of relationship is mediated can range from a violent aggressive  imposition to that of loving concern. The range of mediation can provide(or  not) for the possibility of a cultivation of trust, of openness, of freedom to become an adult- to decide what one will make of one’s life. Different facets of societies allow for different manners of mediation-different degrees of freedom. Those facets of society are institutions that develop over time, assimilating and disseminating their view of freedom. The family, the marital relationship, the education system, the polity, the marketplace, religions, all assimilate a view of freedom and disseminate that view through the bias inherent in the mediator(s). All views have a bias.[1] And all views are held in the mind of the mediator(s). To have a view is to suffer the knowledge that there is, and always will be, something more to the story. The view and the bias become incarnated eventually in the character and activity of the institution, the culture, history.

This particular form of obedience(often referred to as blind) to authority may be resurfacing with a renewed enthusiasm in the catholic hierarchy. The form of obedience that is requested of the catholic laity and religious by the hierarchy may be a stumbling block to both the cultivation and ongoing development of the freedom of believers to either become adults or be adults[2]. This traditional style of obedience is gradually being imposed through authority.[3] Questions about policy change, or resistance to change, are being asked but the silent responses eventually leave one feeling-why bother? Religious consciousness is undergoing an evolution. Classical consciousness has dissipated. To attempt to impose blind obedience is to initiate division in a community. In doing so, the vision is gone, the community divided, the spirit eclipsed and blind obedience becomes the principle of progress, the sign of faith and the way to spiritual adulthood. This form of obedience is manifested in the resistance to openly discuss such issues as: the role of women in the world and the church, the ordination of women, the inadequacy involved in the  formation of moral precepts,[4] and the assimilation and dissemination of a deprived masculinity through the structures of patriarchy.

I have discussed this matter of obedience with  priests, religious and laity over the past few year. The overall response is: ‘What can you do?’ The lack of courage and creativity is not surprising but somewhat unsettling. When obedience perpetuates what many have come to recognize as unintelligent, are we ‘church’, are we being adults, are we being faithful to the gospel when we say: ‘What can you do?’  A brief analysis of ‘in persona Christi’ will not only challenge the current position on women’s ordination but also reveal the structure of obedience.      

In Persona Christi

The question of women’s ordination has been debated extensively over the past century.[5] The Roman Catholic tradition has resisted not only the practice, but more recently, the debate. In fact it has issued a statement to its theologians that the question is closed.[6] There has been more than sufficient research completed to respond intelligently to the reasons  the Vatican has published in resisting the requests to entertain the question of women’s ordination.[7]   This research has had little effect on the position of the teaching office of the church to date. It would appear that intelligent and reasonable research  is not considered sufficient  enough in challenging the magisterium to discover just what is meant by “equal in God’s eyes.”[8]

 There are biological differences between male and female, and less so psychological differences. Differences that occur in our biology and psychology can be integrated by human understanding-through insight; however, this assimilation is a potentiality. If the understanding, or insights, are lacking, differences that are biological or psychological become barriers to acceptance and appreciation of equality. Our equality is found and met in common human meaning-understanding. Such common meaning is created by the structure of consciousness.[9] Meaning can become common because the structure of consciousness is common in all people.[10]

 Properly speaking,  ‘In persona Christi’ can only pertain to the ‘consciousness’ of Christ and to the ‘consciousness’ of others. How is this so? Notwithstanding the obvious biological and psychological differences between male and female, there are also numerous differences between males. An observation of a random group of males reveals the differences that are intrinsic to the human male community. The psychological development of Christ would also be different from other males due to culture, historical period, parenting, education, the entire social and environmental milieu. The experiences that Christ had in life, the manner in which he understood those experiences, the decisions he made and the actions he performed would not be identical to what other males would, might do, and perhaps have done. So what is identical about Christ and other males? The identity is not the content of one’s consciousness, but the structure of one’s consciousness.[11] This structure makes it possible to experience and transform the content and to assimilate differences. This structure is not only identical in all males but is also identical with the structure of female consciousness. Since this structure of consciousness is identical in both males and females and is the only aspect of humanity that can be identical, both male and female are ‘in persona Christi’.[12] By virtue of this identity, we are all identical images of Christ.

The dynamic structure of consciousness also manifests an identity with the christian understanding of the Trinity. Consciousness desires to express its inner meaning, that once spoken, is heard. So we speak(speaker)a word and we hear(listener). The relations of the Trinity reveal  a similar pattern of operations-in traditional language- Father, Son and Spirit, or Speaker, Word, Listener. Just as there is an outgoing of our subjectivity, our personality, so there is an outgoing, or outflowing of God’s personality. There is not only an identity between genders but now we have an identity between the human and  Trinitarian dynamics.[13]

There is yet a further identity. The dynamics of consciousness manifest  each human person as an unrestricted desire for love and understanding.[14] God is an unrestricted act of love and understanding.[15] The identity resides in the fact that the unrestrictedness of our desire can be identified with a reach for  God’s essence.[16]   This identity is a perfect compatibility existing between our unrestricted desire to be loved and understood completely and God’s unrestricted love and understanding of us. This identity holds for both male and female of the human species. In this identity both male and female are identical images of God.

I have identified three different areas of similarity between Christ’s human nature, the divine nature, and male and female human consciousness. To restrict ‘in persona Christi’ to male is to confine expression, policy, and practice to a mythical understanding of creation and a naïve(biological) ‘sense’ of reality. Both genders are ‘in persona Christi’[17] and identical images of the Divine essence.    Furthermore, these acts of consciousness are a structure of obedience. If we ignore the precepts of intelligence and reason, we will create a tension in our psyche. The incompatibility will create a tension in our existence. Obedience is conformity to the intelligence and reasonableness of our consciousness.[18] Any incompatibility also extends to the intelligibility of creation and God’s consciousness.[19] When the acts of consciousness are affirmed as the structure of obedience, the foundations of self-creation initiate the adult “becoming.”[20] In outline form the acts of consciousness are that of attending, questioning, understanding, judging and deciding. To disobey these precepts is to violate the spiritual ‘substance’ of our humanity.[21]

Church teaching, in defense of a male priesthood,  focused traditionally on  Christ’s practice, but more recently on it’s own authority. The popular literature fails to explain what is meant by equality or humanity in theoretical terms.[22] I have attempted here to express the foundations of that equality in descriptive terms.[23]  Women’s ordination would be a further self-creation for those individuals who intelligently, reasonably, responsibly and lovingly decide that they are called. It would  be a visible expression of “equal in God’s eyes.” It would also open up the possibility of a series of transformations of the inadequacies of patriarchy.[24]  Within the confines of the above discussion might it not be a violation of one’s self-creation to be refused ordination? And furthermore might it not be a violation of Creation to deny self-creation? Is patriarchy  restricting the collaboration of divine providence and humanity in the structuring of history?[25]

 The exclusion of women to priestly ordination would, on this analysis, manifest an abuse of authority and power rooted in a complex integration of ignorance and neurosis.[26] In both cases obedience without questioning is expected. It is interesting to note that not only are those who obey denying their own self-creation, but also those who demand such a form of obedience are denying their self-creation. They administrate without questioning.

The Problem

The question for each individual might be: Does obedience to a policy or action emerging out of a deprived masculinity[27] increase the probabilities of goodness, of spiritual formation, of the cultivation of freedom, the becoming of an adult? If not, what good can come from enabling the bias of patriarchy? In terms of a view of history we still believe we can “muddle through the crises of history.”[28] “No solution that remains ignorant of the dynamics of history will be adequate to the problem. For the problem consists in the fact that evil and decline become “concretized in the historic flow” in ways and at levels almost past understanding and so almost past remedying.”[29]

I once attended a retreat where the facilitator posed the following question: “What would you do if you were not afraid?” The question provided an interesting experience of reflection.  Fear is the opposite of love and when fear grows it can  turn to anger and often violence. If anger and fear are forced to be repressed by obedience to a distortion of the  christian message, these feelings and emotions will often manifest themselves in a  turn to control and manipulation, and/or a loss of self- worth and self-love. The church structure presently maintains its existence, superficially through  authority or power, but  more so through the fear of those who can see no other way-who fear the adult ‘becoming’. The message of the gospel is lost in the neurotic interplay. If you love, you may be psychologically outside the institutional church. If you obey blindly-why? “Pre-human nature functions perfectly in blind obedience to intelligible law.”[30] Is the human species in a pre-human state?  “History is the making of man(persons) by man(persons).[31](Italics my own) Is the resignation of acceptance displayed in blind obedience a creating of the self by the self? What is the making of a person?  Should we obey blindly or listen to advice from those people we deem worthy to give it and then  decide whether or not the advice is intelligent? Should we divide our sources of advice between those we will deliberate about and those we will accept without question? In the year 1240, the Zen Master Dogen wrote: “You must cease to concern yourself with the dialectics of Buddhism and instead learn how to look into your own mind in seclusion.”[32] We might substitute for Buddhism the words blind obedience or hierarchical authority.  Aquinas knew that authority was not a sign of wisdom. But let us not accept his word, or any of the above, on that matter-What do you think?

The Structure of Obedience

What does it mean to create ourselves? The question ‘What do you think?’ initiates our self-creation. Questions initiate a conscious direction of attention toward understanding, decisions, and eventually deeds. Decisions are made on our own understanding[33] of our experiences be they words, sounds, pictures, touch, smell, or the interior acts of consciousness. These decisions set us on a course of action. Decisions may also be influenced by feelings, repressed or otherwise. Regardless of the influences or the degree of objectivity attained in a decision, we are creating ourselves by each decision. The structure of consciousness moves through transformations from experiencing to questioning, to understanding, to decisions, and finally action.[34]  This process is one of self-creation. It is the spiritual self in action. Its autonomy is a freedom of the subject that, when in the context of love cultivates the freedom of the other . What follows is a diagram listing the names and order of occurrence of the  acts of consciousness- the structure of obedience.

(1) DATA(Experience) (2) What(question)is it? (3) Insight(understanding) (4) Definition

(5) Is it so? (6) Insight (7) Judgment (8)What to do? (9) Insight (10) Options

(11) Is it to be done? (12) Insight (13) Decision and finally Action [35]

There are in fact 13 elements, or acts of consciousness, that occur in each and every one of us every day, all day.   Naming these acts or elements and becoming familiar with them can be a difficult task in our culture which is dedicated more  towards neglecting consciousness  . Familiarity is a beginning. Over time one slowly and gradually begins to recognize these elements as the self, as one operating and experiencing  the structure of consciousness, the structure of obedience-our God given spirituality.

Are we afraid of trusting the self-creative process?  The fact that humanity has long deliberated creatively over religious experience, initiating the development of doctrine, provides a historical example of such creativity.[36] Are we afraid we will misinterpret God? Our inadequacy is our hope. Mystery and love are born from our concrete inadequacy, our potentiality.  That fact reveals that we are called to be set free to cultivate our natural God-given self, our inadequacy, our potentiality toward adulthood. The form of obedience that is promoted in catholicism, other religions and other aspects of global society is an impediment to adulthood, to personal growth, to the freedom of people to  express more deeply  the love that we are all potentially able to offer each other. The only true ‘miracle’ in human existence may be the emergence of love.[37] In religious matters we too often tolerate our own degradation. In the fullness of our darkness moments we are responsible for our decisions, or lack thereof.  Personal responsibility for our decisions is possible only if we, in fact, made those decisions. Is the decision of blind obedience a responsible one? Does that approach offer hope? Is there a spirituality of obedience when one’s  liberty to question, to grow, to become an adult believer, to reflect, not only on the possible mediated wisdom of others, but also on the mediated wisdom of God, is restricted?

The Nature of Christ's Obedience

If we claim as doctrinal teaching that Christ’s humanity is identical to all humanity but sin, there are certain extrapolations that can be made.[38] The magesterium’s understanding expressed in teaching has remained consistent on the issue of Christ’s obedience to the Father. Christ gave his will over to the Father. Is this relationship to the Father in the order of mystery? The acts and will of human consciousness are within our human experience. Is the relationship of those acts to God within our experience? Could we have known about this relationship if Christ had not revealed it to us? It would seem not and that being so it is appropriate then to reflect on the experience of Christ and that relationship in order to determine our own relationship with God. Within the context of our exposition of obedience it is now only proper to examine Christ’s experience of obedience as expressed in scripture and tradition. This line of questioning begins with two questions: 1) What is the nature of Christ’s obedience? and 2) What are the implications of that nature for the faith community?  

Is Christ’s experience of obedience different from what I have outlined above? In the first place, one has to affirm or deny in one’s own experience what I have laid out above. Did Christ utilize his 13 elements? Did Christ reflect on his experience? What was different about Christ’s experience? It is understood that Christ experienced the beatific vision, the Creator’s plan for the universe by his very nature of being a divine person with a divine and human nature. Is this human nature free to think? If Christ was like us in all ways except sin, then he exercised the 13 elements in his living. This is perhaps best manifested in the Garden of Gethsemane when Christ raises the question: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by.”[39] It is a form of question and he wants an answer. What does Christ know? He knows the Creator’s plan for creation, but not in detail and furthermore, he is aware of no other plan. The Creator has offered him only one plan and it is a good plan. Christ knows this is a good plan but his sensibility, his humanity, naturally abhors pain and suffering. Hence, the question. Aquinas tells us that the motivation was love,[40] not only for the Creator, but also for humanity and for the plan. One loves a good plan. In some way Jesus is asking; ‘Is there any other plan?’ ‘Is there any other way to reveal who the Father is?’  Christ realizes perhaps two things at this moment: 1) It is the only way to reveal the Creator’s plan. And 2) It is a good plan. We might imagine Jesus watching his companions sleeping through his agony and realizing they will never know the plan unless he does this, they sleep through his agony. Their state and his love for them may have been an encouragement-“Your will be done.”

The point of this discussion is that Christ did not simply say; ‘Oh the cross, sure, no problem. Whatever you want Dad.’ There is the human experience of fear, of doubt, of loving, of discernment and finally of acceptance. Christ did not obey blindly, nor did he let fear control him, he supported the best plan available to him motivated by love. A key term in that last statement is “supported”. What does it mean to support anything? To support a plan is to understand its intelligibility, its goodness, and finally to decide for that plan.[41] Christ does not have to know the details, or of any other plans, to decide on the plan’s goodness or intelligibility. The point being he functioned as a human being, he trusted the source and he made a decision on his own.[42] Is that blind obedience?  I outlined earlier that blind obedience would be the absence of questioning. Christ asked questions, not as a manner of doubting the plan, but to overcome his humanity, his sensibility’s abhorrence of pain, suffering and fear. If Christ exercised his humanity in this manner, is not his example the foundation of christian life? Would we not be remiss if we were to refuse to follow his example? Is the magesterium true to Christ’s teaching by advocating a style of teaching that requests of the faith-community a non-thinking response to religious doctrine, policy, procedure? If faith is to mature and as Aquinas says, seek understanding, it can only do so by asking questions. If there is a fear of asking questions, it is fear that is the block to mature faith, not the questions or the understanding. If questions and understanding destroy faith or cause a faith crisis, then the faith was not of or in God but of some human institution, some construct of this world and not of God. Institutions come and go, God remains.  

This reflection on Christ’s experience of his human nature provides further evidence of the identity of His nature and ours, male and female. It also provides explicit evidence for the possibility of a teaching, by the magesterium, not only on the method of cultivating faith, but also on the freedom that God enjoys in our self-creation.   If an exegesis of scripture is explicit on this issue, and implicit in tradition, there is sufficient evidence to promote further reflection on, not only Christ’s experience of obedience, but also on the nature of obedience that is proposed  by the magesterium.[43]  Tradition has always held that Christ obeyed the will of the Father but to date the teaching office has made little effort to define what it has meant by that statement. Practice has revealed an unspoken understanding and that particular method of teaching would appear to mitigate against the exegetical account I have offered. This is not a denial of any revelation but moreso, an acknowledgment of the need for further understanding on the matter. The tension and ongoing discussion presently active in the church and world regarding the role of catholic lay consciousness in the church is, after so many centuries, an implicit manifestation of what Christ revealed in the garden-a structure of obedience that I propose is a spiritual reaching of the human subject, that without it, humanity would not be a spiritual being, but pre-human.


Blind obedience is not a sign of faith, it is survival in a culture, in a period of history, that has yet to acknowledge that it does not know itself[44] and fears the journey into its own abyss. A spirituality of obedience is living out of the dictates of consciousness in mystery, knowing we live always in the aura of a friendly unknown. We live within a complex series of  relationships of mysteries- you and I and everyone going forth appreciating our own and everyone else’s inadequate reaching into the darkness for light- our God-created desire to create ourselves correctly and lovingly. Does that final image excite you or frighten you?  Are we afraid of God’s image of God? In otherwords: Are we afraid of ourselves?

Challenges to traditional beliefs, teachings, and  institutions can frighten the human spirit. Confronting  such challenges can, over time, convert or revise traditional perspectives. If I may be somewhat personal, permit me to relate a story that may aid in the reader’s understanding of my expression. My daughter, at the age of eight, came to me in the month of August and said to me; “Dad, I don’t know about this Santa Claus thing, but I’m not going to think about it anymore until after Christmas.” What was going on in that child’s mind? At the age of 20, my daughter finally told me the origin of her statement. It dawned on her that Mommy and Daddy were Santa. (My apologies to some readers!) That statement expressed an inner struggle of growth. She eventually moved from a mythic view of life to a more concrete manner of living out her life-an appreciation and acceptance of understanding. Take note of her reluctant acceptance of her understanding expressed in her statement. But she did eventually make the break, the conversion to adulthood-to understanding. She obeyed her structure of consciousness because she “knew” her insight was true. But the mystery was not emptied out by her growth. “What is primary in history, even without sin, is silent darkness. Even late in life, or in history, there cannot be more than illusory twilight, and the foundational search is an endless asking for greater depth in the same questions.”[45]

What occurs in every child is called for in every adult, and in every institution at some point if there is to be growth. That possibility of growth in understanding is always present to creation because God has given all of us a glimpse of the divine essence in the structure of human consciousness, in our potentiality, our desire for understanding.  As long as that image of God’s essence, the structure of consciousness, the desire for understanding, prevails through God’s providence in the cosmos, there is the hope and promise of our slow enrichment and growth.[46] 

This article has been a brief exploration of what I believe to be a major problem in the creation of persons, culture, and the making of history.  The beginning of a child’s self-creation is in the form of questions.[47] Is such a beginning too formidable for the individual, the group, the culture, a world religion? Questions do not disappear. Their hibernation becomes a dialectic of psychic tension.[48] They are an authentic expression of the human spirit. Questions cannot be judged until they have been answered. Answers cannot destroy the mystery or the ‘miracle’. How is it that the ‘miracle’ has been replaced by fear and authority? [49]There will be no answers to the many questions I have raised until there is the freedom in history to create them. In that freedom and trust resides the possibility of our self-creation,  adult growth, the dissolution of patriarchy and a spirituality of obedience.[50]

[1].Lonergan, Bernard; Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, University of Toronto Press, 1992, Ch. 7, sections 6, 7 & 8.

[2].Ibid., pp. 636-644.

[3].The form of obedience referred to here is one without questioning.

[4].The reasoning supporting the mistaken position of Humane Vitae challenges the integrity of the magisterium. The circumstances surrounding this particular teaching appear to stand out as  exceptional in the history of the magisterium’s moral teachings. The encyclical expressed a reliance on credibility as grounded in consistency rather than intelligence.  

[5].The issue of women’s ordination is a major stumbling block to the evolution of Catholicism and male psychic development. The refusal to permit discussion of the question challenges the integrity of the catholic hierarchy.

[6].The teaching office of the church has stated that it now lacks the authority to revise the present practice implying that it did not initiate the practice. Historical studies have revealed otherwise.

[7].Van der Meer, Haye, S.J.; Women Priests in the Catholic Church?, Temple University Press, 1973. Contemporary authors such as Elizabeth Johnson, Sr. Francis O’Connor, Mary Grey, Joan Chittister and many others have explored the spirituality and ministry of the feminine and its possible contribution to the church and  healing of  patriarchy. 

[8].We must appreciate that proper theory cannot persuade neurosis or psychosis. That is the task of the analyst and when the patient is in denial even the analyst cannot assist.

[9].See page 9 for list of the 13 elements.

[10].Lonergan, Bernard; Method in Theology; Darton, Longman & Todd, Gr. Br., 1972, Chapter 3.

[11].See page 9 for list of the 13 elements that make up the structure of consciousness.

[12].To continue to dispute this fact is, eventually, to commit theological as well as intellectual suicide. Such a burdening of the credibility of the church’s teaching office, at all odds, contributes to the gradual erosion of the church’s credibility in a period of history when people can read.  Restricting identity to biological appearance is to manifest a naive realism and a denial of the spirit.

[13].McShane, Philip; Music That is Soundless, University Press of America, 1977, p. 60.

[14].Lonergan’s works make this point continually but it is only in one’s own affirmation of this experience that the point grounds the human subject.

[15].See chapter 19 of Insight on the attributes of God’s consciousness.

[16]. Ibid.: p. 691, The 26th place: God is personal.  Music That is Soundless, ch.2. Phenomenology and Logic: The Boston College Lectures on Mathematical Logic and Existentialism, University of Toronto Press, CWL 18, 2001, ed. By Philip McShane, p. 242 on exigence.


[17].Other reasons to exclude the identity pertain to psychological bias, and sexual and emotional underdevelopment.

[18].Insight;, p. 644.

[19].Phenomenology and Logic: The Boston College Lectures on Mathematical Logic and Existentialism, University of Toronto Press, CWL 18, 2001, ed. by Philip McShane, p. 243: “The order of the universe and interpersonal relations are two notions that slightly tend to cover one another when the order of the universe is conceived concretely.” 

[20].Ibid.,  pp. 237-240. Lonergan brings out the profound existentiality of decisions and their role in maturation and self-creation.  “Becoming” is the act of self-creation-of deciding what one will make of oneself.

[21].Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wordsworth Classics, UK, 1996, p. 18, “Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him.....He becomes an echo of someone else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly-that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self.” Wilde wrote this sometime prior to 1890 and 115 years later in our streets, in our institutions, in our homes, in our schools, in our religions, we struggle to give life to just this meaning, most of the time unknowingly. 

[22].Method in Theology, pp. 258-259. See footnote 11.

[23].The footnotes point beyond the descriptive  towards an explanatory account of “equal in God’s eyes.”

[24].It would challenge patriarchy to face its psychology leading to transformations in the use of  authority and power. It would also challenge the intersubjectivity of the genders.

[25].Shute, Michael; “Emergent Probability and the Ecofeminist Critique of Hierarchy”, Lonergan and Feminism, ed. Cynthia Crysdale, Univ. of Toronto Press, 1994.

[26].There are implications in this paper that call for a revisiting of the meaning of the doctrine of Infallibility in its dogmatic definition. See Lonergan, Method in Theology, Chapter 12, Section 9 on “The Permanence of Dogmas.” for a discussion on historical context and meaning.

[27].McShane, Philip; “Towards A Future Spirituality”, Lectures(unpub.)given at St. Beuno’s College. Wales, 1970. p. 4. 


[28].Lonergan, Bernard, “Analytic Concept of History, in Blurred Outline”,  unpub., 1937-38 p. 14.

[29].Ibid., p. 23

[30].Brown, Patrick, System and History in Lonergan’s Early Historical and Economic Manuscripts, Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis, 1(2001):p.66. Website www.mun.ca/jmda/.

[31].Lonergan, op. Cit., p. 8.

[32].R. Philip Kapleau, The Three Pillars of Zen, Anchor Doubleday, N.Y., 1989, p. 308-9.

[33].We cannot experience someone else’s understanding. Their expression of their understanding is an experience for us. Our experience is then one to be understood. We can create experience for others. We cannot create understanding for them. And as receivers of experience, the element of attention is of course a factor.

[34].Insight, p. 299.

[35].Philip McShane, Wealth of Self and Wealth of Nations, Exposition Press, 1975, N.Y., pp. 15 & 48. See also Insight, p. 299.

[36].Lonergan, Bernard; Method in Theology, Darton, Longman & Todd, Gr. Br., 1973, pp. 312-313.

[37].The Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday & Co. N.Y., 1968, Matthew 22:34-40. The greatest commandment. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.”  A study on the interior meaning of how Jesus may have understood the term ‘commandment’ would be beneficial within the confines of Lonergan’s intentionalty analysis. Christ, I believe, is referring to that inner state of the self, that foundational self that is the ground of a spirituality of obedience and from which the acts of consciousness flow and mate with. Two further questions challenging humanity to a deeper sense of self are: Why is love the greatest commandment? And  Has Christianity institutionalized that commandment?    

[38].Lonergan, Bernard;  The Ontological and Psychological Constitution of Christ, CWL 7, University of Toronto Press, 2002. Parts 4, 5 and 6 are technical expressions of the relationship of Christ’s human and divine nature and the divine person. See page 209 on Christ’s knowing of himself. 

[39].The Jerusalem Bible, Reader’s Edition, Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd., 1968. Matthew, 26:39.


[40].The Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, Part III Q. 48, article 3.pp. 314-316. Washbourne Ltd, 1914.

[41].I am indebted here to Dr. Philip McShane and his reflections on the consciousness of Christ.

[42] Note that the trust is in his experience of the Creator’s love, not in an institution’s interpretation of God’s plan.

[43].For those readers unfamiliar with doctrinal procedure evidence for doctrinal teachings requires that it be established both in scripture and tradition. Two categories of evidence are sought as explicit or implicit.  I have attempted to make a case for such evidence in a brief manner. It is interesting to review the evidence for the teaching on the Assumption of Mary. The evidence is implicit in tradition and less so in scripture. That implication was proposed and became an article of faith in the Catholic Church. See Bernard Lonergan’s reflection on “The Assumption and Theology” in Collection CWL 4, Univ. of Toronto Press, 1988. Chapter 4. 

[44].Lonergan, The Subject, The Aquinas Lecture 1968, Marquette Univ. Press, 1968. 

[45]. McShane, Philip; “Metaphysics THEN”, Cantower V, August 1st, 2002, http://www.Philipmcshane.ca p. 20.     

[46].Method in Theology, p. 88, footnote 34 and pages 136 to 144. These pointers relate to the manifestation and objectification of human consciousness through the intelligent collaboration of what Lonergan called “Functional Specialization”. This collaboration is not only with the human community but also with the ultimate ground of the universe-God.

[47].Henman, Robert; The Child as Quest, Univ. Press of America, 1984, ch. 2. See also Insight, Ch. 1, sections 2.4 and 2.5.

[48].Method in Theology, p. 32.

[49].The answer relates to a perspective on history and divine patience.

[50].Obviously self-creation pertains to the entire human community. It is the challenge of parenting, education and society in general. If we are to come of age and heal the brokenness of this planet we will have to eventually face the challenge of our self-creating process.

Robert Henman has been lecturing in Philosophy, Ethics and Teology for over 20 years both in public and university settings. He is a Pastoral Associate with the Archdiocese of Halifax. He also operates a private counselling practice and has published The Child as Quest, University Press of America, 1984, a text on the Philosophy of Education and articles in psychotherapy and ethics respectively in HEC Forum and Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies.

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