Video – The Theologian of Auschwitz: Title, Intent, Structure – KBGF 4
In this fourth lesson in our seminar, Dr. Goff address the title, the intent, and the structure of The Theologian of Auschwitz by Fr. Peter Fehlner.
Buy the book here: https://www.lectiopublishing.com/books.php?b=16
At the beginning of the lesson, we touch again on typology in Scripture with circulation and recirculation as the historical manifestation of capitulation and recapitulation. This means that as history rolls, it rhymes, and each time this rhyme rolls around, there is summing up of everything that went before under a new heading. Thus, there is no contradiction between a meaningful and metaphysical hierarchy and history, but it is through history that hierarchy, or sacred order, is built up and established. This hierarchy at the same times gives history its meaning: neither endless cycles nor unending progression, but a spiral that builds up towards towards the decisive moment when this world ends and eternity with or without God begins.
Maximilian Kolbe: Who is he?
This Polish Franciscan as a boy had Mary appear to him and offer him two crowns, purity or martyrdom. He choose both. As a seminarian in Rome, he founds an organization called the Militia of the Immaculate, and then started to work in the press and missionary work in a Marian key. He sealed his teaching with testimony in the death camp of Auschwitz where he volunteered to take another man's place in a starvation bunker, and lead the other men perishing with him in prayer and praise until he himself, the last alive, was killed by the Nazi's.
Theologian, Saint, Martyr
To say who is a theologian, we need to ask what theology is.
Bonaventure says there are three types of theology:
Symbolic: this is the together of things believed in faith by all
Proper: this is the academic discipline of thinking about what is believed
Mystical: this is the fruition of belief and study into union with the persons believed in and studies.
Saint Maximilian is all three. As a saint canonized by Church, we know he held to the true faith, he was capable as a theologian, but he is also someone who lived what he taught all the way to the end. Saints are the true theologians, and true theologians are saints.
Intent of the book
Saint Maximilian mentioned the need to write a book on Our Lady as early as 1919, but mostly works on this book from 1939-1941, up until the day of his arrest. He left behind the first sketches of this book, and in the present volume, Fr. Peter Fehlner puts together what Koble had started, having started on this work in 2007 and working on it until his recent death.
Kolbe shows us the way forwards to true renewal, but why renewal? Fehlner says because charity is being profaned by twin forms of materialism:
--One is unlimited indulgence in the sensuality of the body and of the emotions.
--The other are furious political ideologies, puritanical and prosecutorial, which redirect good initiatives to evil purposes.
These two point have only become all the more serious even before the book reaches its first birthday, and so we need to know what is charity and how it works out through time.
The critics of Kolbe, whether they accuse him of being a bad theologian or an obsolete one, that Saint Maximilian was canonized and praised both by Paul VI and John Paul II. Fr Peter points out the link between the sanctify and theologians, and how only a theology that ends in sanctity is a good theology.
Finally, we look at the structure of the book.
It is in 5 parts: The first gives the foundations for St Maximilian's theology, the second follows as it was put into practice. The third argues for a development in the Franciscan Order as centered around the Cause of the Immaculate Conception, first its definition and then its incorporation in the Church, called by Kolbe the Two Pages. If Kolbe can be shown to be in continuity with Scotus, then there is a basis for his reading of history and so part four examines the metaphysics of the will and charity in Scotus and Kolbe both to show the continuity but also to respond to the contemporary profanation of Charity. Finally, in part five we move into the question of putting this all into practice by a Marian and Pnuematological renewal of the Church, a renew Fr Peter maintains is the one called for by Vatican II. where we ask "Who is Mary?" and "What does she ask of us today?"