Who would have suspected that a boy whose heart was set on medical, musical, and football glory could end up a family man and a Catholic philosopher and theologian? Who would have guessed that a life so closed in on itself could be turned inside out by the wild love of Jesus Christ? Who would have believed that the drama of adoption and so many feelings of abandonment could be rescued by a love that never fails? iGod: A Hidden and Fragmentary Autobiography is Act I of the story of Donald Lee Wallenfang. Inside this book, the reader will be met with a narrative full of twists and turns and so many saturating moments of irony and paradox. This story testifies to the power of possibility and the unlimited reaches of divine grace. Beginning with the infancy of Donald Lee, a nonfictional tale is woven together that escorts the reader along the provocative periods of his childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and into the early middle-age years. All in all, this is a story about conversion. It showcases the inversion of "iGod" into a life enraptured by love and responsibility inspired from an elsewhere beyond the immediate capacities of the ego. Readers will find delight in these literary and photographic vignettes that expose the metamorphosis of a life given over to the point of abandonment.
"The rich and insightful text you are holding in your hands is a window into the inner life of virtue. . . . With admirable vulnerability and courage, Wallenfang's book offers us the perilous and troubling invitation to envision ourselves as givers and all of life as gift."
--Andrew Kim, Marquette University
"iGod is a compelling and touching story of how a deeply self-centered life can be handed over completely to God in love. Using short narratives and pictures to great effect, Wallenfang traces the steps by which his passionate boyhood dreams gave way--under grace--to a life surrendered to God and offered for the good of others. Highly recommended."
--Daniel Keating, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
"Reading through the snippets of a life presented in Wallenfang's new memoir, I was reminded of what is best about life in Midwestern America. . . . Confession is defined as both to admit one's vulnerability in the face of struggle and to profess one's beliefs. There are many lessons to be learned throughout this confession that lives up to both senses of the word."
--Colby Dickinson, Loyola University Chicago
"This is a beautiful account of one man's life with all its unique details, but it contains truths and stirs reflections that can help all of us to make more sense out of how we can live our lives with God in the most fulfilling way."
--Boniface Hicks, OSB, Saint Vincent Archabbey
What does Carmelite spirituality have to teach us about living at peace in the frenetic world of ours today? Everything. Guiding the reader through a mystical maze of themes, Shoeless: Carmelite Spirituality in a Disquieted World displays the heart of the Carmelite charism and apostolate as set forth by the religious reform of Saint Teresa of Avila in the latter half of the sixteenth century. The reader will be introduced to the history of the Carmelite Order and its unique features, including its eremitic and monastic roots, attentiveness to the human soul, the virtue of humility, the spousal meaning of the body, the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the art of silent contemplative prayer. In addition, Shoeless features the testimonies of its authors and their mutual vocation to the sacrament of marriage and the Carmelite way of life. Readers will become acquainted intimately with the meaning of Mount Carmel and the peculiarity of its zealous form of missionary contemplation. A preview is given of the spiritual itinerary toward the summit of this secret height that includes reference to the interior castle and the dark night of the soul.
"Beware the power of this book. I was lured by the invitation to walk 'shoeless' in the world, and before I knew it, was treading in the deep waters of Teresa of Avila, Elizabeth of the Trinity, and Edith Stein. This accessible yet substantive introduction to Carmelite spirituality is perfect for any seeker of a more contemplative life."
-Ann M. Garrido, Aquinas Institute of Theology
"This book is a fresh, authentic, and personally committed appraisal of Carmelite spirituality as lived out in the communities of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. The goal is not to produce a historical or doctrinal study, . . . but to offer a motivating and biblically founded contact with the Carmelite charism in its essential lines. It so contributes to concretize Christian discipleship in its fraternal-sororal, spousal, and contemplative dimensions."
-Christof Betschart, Swiss Discalced Carmelite and Dean of the Teresianum, Rome
"Donald and Megan Wallenfang's Shoeless gives an arresting introduction to Carmelite spirituality as it is lived both in the cloister by religious and in the world by lay members of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. The word shoeless in the title wonderfully captures the beauty and challenge of the Carmelite vocation, which is not only contemplative, poor, and penitential, but also joyously missionary. The authors share their own inspirational vocation stories after narrating the rich history of the Carmelite tradition, which continues to renew the church. The story they tell is good news, eloquently announced."
-Ann W. Astell, University of Notre Dame
Emmanuel Levinas (1906–1995) is perhaps one of the best-kept philosophical secrets of recent times. By locating ethics as first philosophy, based on the call of the other, Levinas has revolutionized the Western philosophical tradition. In effect, the perennial priority of the self is displaced by the uncanny urgency of the other. Emmanuel: Levinas and Variations on God with Us gives the reader an introduction to the life and work of this humble philosophical genius. Several applications are made of Levinas’s insights: interreligious dialogue, analytic versus continental philosophy, law and freedom, maternity, childhood, hermeneutics, and ethical contemplation. Most especially, Levinas is brought into lively conversation with Jean-Luc Marion. Levinas’s phenomenology of proclamation is set in confrontation with Marion’s phenomenology of manifestation throughout the book. Erotic love is met with a love filled with responsibilities for the other. Mount Carmel and Mount Zion face one another in a topography of the infinite. Readers will appreciate the variety of themes treated, as well as the dynamic interaction between philosophy and theology. Given the fragmented postmodern milieux of the world today, perhaps the philosophical intuitions of Emmanuel Levinas were prepared “for such a time as this” (Esth 4:14).
"With an intensity, clarity, and scholarship refined, disciplined, and inspired by the profoundly Jewish and Catholic philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, Wallenfang's book offers a challenging and admirable vision of religion and of Roman Catholicism in particular, rededicated to the elevating challenges of ethical responsibility--caring for the other before oneself--as the very height of holiness."
--Richard A. Cohen, author of Out of Control: Confrontations Between Spinoza and Levinas
"Zealous truth seekers never tire of dubbing what refuses expression in words yet whose presence is incontestable. Despite the incommensurability of any search for truth, those who devote their lives to this ineffable experience are drawn to others who share the same vocation. Emmanuel is exactly of this kind. No less than this book is about Emmanuel Levinas, it is about its author. In this respect, the first-name title also implies the life choice of the author, Donald Wallenfang."
--Ronny Miron, author of Hedwig Conrad-Martius: The Phenomenological Gateway to Reality
What is phenomenology? That is precisely the question this book seeks to answer. In an age of information overload, complex topics must be simplified to make them accessible to a wider audience. Phenomenology: A Basic Introduction in the Light of Jesus Christ not only presents the basic building blocks of phenomenology, it also gives body to voice by putting abstract ideas in contact with the Word made flesh, Jesus of Nazareth. In five manageable chapters, Donald Wallenfang introduces major themes such as the natural attitude, givenness, interpretation, paradox, and ethics. Each subject is considered in how it applies to daily life and relates to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Several biblical scenes are tapped to harvest their sweet nectars of meaning through phenomenology. At its limit, philosophy gives way to the revelatory rationality of theology as expressed by Jesus the phenomenologist.
"Donald Wallenfang's book presents key insights from Jean-Luc Marion's phenomenology--givenness, saturated phenomena, the possibility of impossibility, paradox--and, with welcome clarity and many striking and accessible examples, shows us how to use them in the investigation of our human experience. At the same time, in a surprising and yet deeply sensible manner, Wallenfang explores how the practice of this phenomenological method of thinking can open us to the 'impossible possibility' that everyday life experience always and everywhere would become a theater for encounter with Jesus Christ. This is a bold and eloquent witness to nothing less than the complementarity of theology and philosophy in human experience.
--Stephen E. Lewis, Franciscan University of Steubenville
What is metaphysics? Metaphysics: A Basic Introduction in a Christian Key gives a simplified answer to this daunting question. Born under the shadow of the Parthenon by Aristotle and his contemporaries, metaphysics eventually enjoyed its heyday in the medieval era and is finding a resurgence today in modernity. This book explores the perennial question of being and its uptake in the world of Christian theology. Donald Wallenfang leads the reader through five navigable chapters that feature the most basic themes of metaphysics: the question of being, first principles, causality, cosmology, and morality. The abstract tendencies of metaphysics are brought down to earth with reference to the gospel of Jesus and the relevance of metaphysics for daily living. Altogether, the reader will be inspired to think toward the whole by asking questions that penetrate beneath the surface of things. Beauty, truth, and goodness will be unveiled to the degree that we accompany Jesus the metaphysician along his itinerary of being given.
"Surely there aren't many books like this one! In delightful prose, Professor Wallenfang sets forth a metaphysics that is richly and masterfully Aristotelian, while also repeatedly connecting these metaphysical insights with the Word Incarnate Jesus Christ. He concludes with a brief prolegomenon to a future phenomenological companion volume. Simply put, readers of his sparkling book, perhaps much to their surprise, will fall in love with metaphysics."
--Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"Metaphysics is a Greek heritage that was fruitfully taken up by Christianity as it sought to understand itself. This clearly-written book shows how intertwined it has become with Christianity and doesn't hesitate to portray Jesus as the metaphysician par excellence. Those who lack a metaphysics miss it dearly."
--Jean Grondin, Professor at the University of Montreal and President of the Academy of Arts and Humanities of Canada
For centuries, Christian theology has understood the Eucharist in terms of metaphysics or in protest against it. Today an opening has been made to imagine the sacrament through the method of phenomenology, bringing about new theological life and meaning. In Dialectical Anatomy of the Eucharist, Donald Wallenfang conducts a sustained analysis of the Eucharist through the aperture of phenomenology, yet concludes the study with poetic and metaphysical twists. Engaging the work of Jean-Luc Marion, Paul Ricoeur, and Emmanuel Levinas, Wallenfang proposes pioneering ideas for contemporary sacramental theology that have vast implications for interfaith and interreligious dialogue. By tapping into the various currents within the Judeo-Christian tradition--Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant--a radical argument is developed that leverages the tension among them all. Several new frontiers are explored: dialectical theology, a fourth phenomenological reduction, the phenomenology of human personhood, the poetics of the Eucharist, and a reinterpretation of the concept of gift as conversation. On the whole, Wallenfang advances recent debates surrounding the relationship between phenomenology and theology by claiming an uncanny way out of emerging dead ends in philosophical theology: return to the fray.
"In this bold and provocative book, Wallenfang reengages the thought of three contemporary philosophical giants--Marion, Ricoeur, and Levinas--in the work of revivifying Catholic doctrines of the Eucharist. With its innovative approach to thinking the Eucharist as both manifestation and proclamation, and its refashioning of a dialectical process without Aufhebung, readers will ultimately find Dialectical Anatomy of the Eucharist challenging in its use of an erotic eucharistic phenomenology and claim for absolute truth."
--Robyn Horner, Associate Professor, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Theological Foundations for Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity Project, Australian Catholic University
"This book offers a fresh approach to our theological understanding of the Eucharist by providing a new philosophical underpinning. It really is a breathtaking approach that is sure to increase the profundity of our appreciation of the Eucharist, useful for theologians, philosophers, and other interested readers alike."
--John C. Cavadini, McGrath-Cavadini Director, McGrath Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame
Nothing is more dangerous to be misunderstood than the question, "What is the human being?" In an era when this question is not only being misunderstood but even forgotten, wisdom delivered by the great thinkers and mystics of the past must be recovered. Edith Stein (1891-1942), a Jewish Carmelite mystical philosopher, offers great promise to resume asking the question of the human being. In Human and Divine Being, Donald Wallenfang offers a comprehensive summary of the theological anthropology of this heroic martyr to truth. Beginning with the theme of human vocation, Wallenfang leads the reader through a labyrinth of philosophical and theological vignettes: spiritual being, the human soul, material being, empathy, the logic of the cross, and the meaning of suffering. The question of the human being is asked in light of divine being by harnessing the fertile tension between the methods of phenomenology and metaphysics. Stein spurs us on to a rendezvous with the stream of "perennial philosophy" that has watered the landscape of thought since conscious time began. In the end, the meaning of human being is thrown into sharp relief against the darkness of all that is not authentically human.
"Donald Wallenfang has followed up his wonderful book on sacramental theology with an equally wonderful book on the theological anthropology of Edith Stein. . . . Without any disservice to the complexity and profundity of Stein's thought, Wallenfang has repurposed her to speak critically and hopefully to our postmodern situation. Wallenfang continues to show himself to be a deep Catholic thinker worthy of our attention."
--Cyril O'Regan, Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
"Wallenfang's book deals with a central topic in Edith Stein's investigations. Examining the meaning of human being and divine Being, the author pinpoints the main aspect of Stein's research starting from her phenomenological analyses as far as her book on theological anthropology and underscoring the influence of St. Thomas Aquinas on her interpretation of the relationship between man and God. In my opinion, Wallenfang's book will be a contribution to the knowledge of Edith Stein's philosophical and theological thought."
--Angela Ales Bello, Professor Emeritus of History of Contemporary Philosophy and Phenomenology of Religion, Lateran University
Global Perspectives on the New Evangelization Series
Edited by John C. Cavadini and Donald Wallenfang
Youth evangelization is one of the most challenging tasks of the church today, and this book faces that challenge head-on. Roots: Catholic Youth Evangelization in a Post-Pandemic World features essays written by leading scholars in the fields of philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, pastoral ministry, medieval studies, and ecology. In this timely volume, scholars tackle tough issues presented by contemporary culture while engaging the ripe fruits of the 2019 apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, Christus vivit. Readers will be treated to a variety of themes, including beauty, belonging, hope, political theology, cultural analysis, vocational discernment, ecclesial strategies, and the history of Catholic youth ministry in the United States. By approaching the general topic of Catholic youth evangelization from diverse angles, the precise nature and demands of ministry with young people in a postmodern context are illuminated. This volume promises to provide ample insights for church leaders active in the field of pastoral care of youth from an interdisciplinary perspective. Readers can be assured that they never will think the same about youth evangelization after encountering the rich contents of this book.
"As our society has had to endure an unimaginable pandemic, our youth have been exposed to an environment where God is perceived as irrelevant and Christ is not viewed as either fully man or fully God. Cavadini and Wallenfang have masterfully developed and compiled a cadre of Catholic educators whose respective backgrounds address the current state of Catholic youth in the United States and skillfully demonstrate the approaches we can implement to guide our youth toward an active relationship with Jesus Christ."
--Marlon De La Torre, Executive Director of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship, Archdiocese of Detroit
"The evangelization of Catholic youth is one of the most important challenges in the church today. Professors Cavadini and Wallenfang have brought together an amazing collection of essays written by some of the foremost Catholic experts in the evangelization and education of Catholic young adults. Drawing inspiration from Pope Francis's 2019 exhortation to young people, Christus vivit, the authors of this volume explore ways to help young people find their roots in family, school, society, and, most of all, in Christ."
--Robert L. Fastiggi, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
What happens when “the rubber meets the road” for Catholic evangelization? Motown evangelization—an evangelization with wheels, an evangelization on the go, an evangelization with soul! Featuring contributions by several of the leading scholars on Catholic evangelization in the twenty-first century, Motown Evangelization: Sharing the Gospel of Jesus in a Detroit Style invites the reader to contemplate the meaning of the New Evangelization within the disorienting context of the postmodern and post-pandemic world of today. Numerous central themes are treated throughout the book’s potent chapters: the charity of Christ, the urgency of evangelization, redemptive suffering, liturgical sacrifice, the Black Catholic experience, parish life, the communion of saints, contemplative prayer, and practical suggestions for sharing the gospel of Jesus with friends and strangers alike. Tracing the contours of evangelization as at once merciful, urgent, sacrificial, diverse, and sanctifying, this book opens to the world with hope and healing. While oftentimes evangelization can stagnate in wishful thinking with little follow-through, Motown Evangelization encourages the reader to press on toward the finish line of faith wherein the end is the beginning, and the beginning is the end. It is because of the paradoxical twists that flood the life and teachings of Jesus that evangelization is ever old and ever new. Motown Evangelization will help to empower its reader to share the gospel of Jesus with renewed vigor and vitality.
"Evangelization can be confusing, with many obstacles that can get in the way. This book addresses many of those obstacles and provides insights on how to be more confident and capable in your evangelization efforts."
--Vickie Figueroa, Coordinator, Black Catholic Ministry, Archdiocese of Detroit
"A wondrously diverse collection of Catholic scholars. . . . The essays aren't about imparting information; they are instead fueled by a desire to see transformation in the lives of every single man, woman, and child, and they each offer provocative and challenging insights to us."
--John Riccardo, Executive Director, ACTS XXIX
"The task of the New Evangelization is daunting and can seem impossible given the complexity of the modern world. Motown Evangelization presents articles from leading scholars who . . . offer important insights. This book proposes pathways forward that deserve serious consideration. Highly recommended!"
--Timothy Laboe, Dean of Studies, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Few books in theology have faced the twentieth century with all its horrors and yet convincingly revoiced the redemptive Christian antidote that compels us to reawaken to our true identity as beloved children of God. Joseph Ratzinger’s 1968 masterpiece, Introduction to Christianity, is one of those rare books. On the fiftieth anniversary of this classic book’s publication, English-speaking scholars from around the globe gathered at the University of Notre Dame to celebrate Ratzinger’s lasting influence on the world of Christian theology. Bishops, priests, and lay men and women set their hands to “the trowel of tribute,” honoring the theological legacy of Joseph Ratzinger and the pivotal role he has played in the recent history of the Catholic Church, from his early days as a parish priest and university professor, all the way to his election to the Chair of Saint Peter as Pope Benedict XVI. Readers of this collection, Gift to the Church and World, will enjoy the beautiful variety of essays penned by notable scholars that decorate the timeless insights of Ratzinger’s theological genius. Thematic topics include an overview and context of Ratzinger’s work, fundamental theology, philosophical theology, dogmatic theology, spiritual theology, and pedagogy. Altogether, readers will deepen their appreciation and understanding of the theological contributions of Joseph Ratzinger to the mission field of the New Evangelization today.
With contributions from: Catherine R. Cavadini, Leonard J. DeLorenzo, Patrick X. Gardner, Robert P. Imbelli, Jennifer Newsome Martin, Aaron Pidel, Francesca Murphy, Anthony J. Pagliarini, Timothy P. O’Malley, Cyril O’Regan, Tracey Rowland, Richard Schenk, Anthony C. Sciglitano, Jr., Clemens Sedmak, Rudolf Voderholzer, John C. Cavadini, and Donald Wallenfang.
"Joseph Ratzinger's demanding and original Introduction to Christianity deserves a set of interlocutors able to rise to its own high level. It has found them in the studies collected here, ranging as they do from close-up snapshots of the work in its place and time to confrontations with a choice of theologians, culture-critics, filmmakers, and visual artists closer either to now or to home."
--Aidan Nichols, OP, author of The Thought of Pope Benedict XVI: An Introduction to the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger
"This collection provides sixteen precious vignettes into Ratzinger's celebrated classic Introduction to Christianity. These eminently scholarly perspectives celebrate a book that presents in 1968 divine-human relationality as the concrete Vatican II watershed. The authors convincingly argue that this christocentric shift grounds the believer in the life and charity of the Blessed Trinity, which in turn permits genuine interhuman charity to flourish. This volume is indispensable for understanding deeper Ratzinger. Most welcome and highly recommended!"
--Emery de Gaal, Chairperson of Dogmatic Theology at Mundelein Seminary
"This book identifies a classic that has never received the notice it's due. Ratzinger's Introduction is so much more than a book; it's a pedagogy, a way of teaching. This fact shines through every contribution here, but especially in the pages that compare Ratzinger's masterpiece with C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. Ratzinger did not simply introduce people to Christianity; he invited them into communion, where the mysteries lead to a living faith. Gift is the rare book that acknowledges the deeply mystical element in the theological task and a person's intellectual life."
--Scott Hahn, founder and president of the St. Paul Center of Biblical Theology
"Is there a theology worthy of the name that does not introduce its readers to the One who 'introduces' the Father through the Spirit? If in this sense all true theology is an introduction to Christianity, then Joseph Ratzinger's corpus--of which his Introduction to Christianity is an exemplification--focuses always on introducing us to the person of Jesus Christ in the face of the difficulties that threaten to block him from our mind and heart. Thus Ratzinger's Introduction has an enduring place in teaching modern theologians how and why to do theology. With its deft elucidations of Ratzinger's approach, the present volume should lay the foundations not only for the future of Ratzingerian studies but for the future of Catholic theology as a discipline."
--Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
What does Jesus have to do with Buddha? What does Muhammad have to do with Krishna? One of the most important tasks for theology in the twenty-first century is interreligious dialogue. Given the rapid process of globalization and the surge of information via the Internet, travel, and library networking today, interreligious dialogue has become a necessary element within Christian theology that no longer can be avoided. Evangelization as Interreligious Dialogue features eleven essays, plus an extensive introduction, that exercise a live conversation between religious others. Divided into four thematic sections--(1) Catholic approaches to interreligious dialogue, (2) dialogues between Judaism and Christianity, (3) dialogues between Islam and Christianity, and (4) dialogues between Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity--this volume conducts a sustained theological reflection on the current state of interreligious dialogue by signaling its hopeful promises and unrelenting challenges. The reader will be invited to encounter the religious other firsthand and put his or her most cherished theological assumptions to the test. This book aims to provoke an expansion of horizons for theological imagination as it exposes the basic dialectic of identity and difference as played out in the interaction between diverse religious beliefs, practices, and experiences.
"This volume offers compelling arguments for the possible or necessary synergy between proclamation of the truth of one's own religion and dialogue with other religious traditions. It demonstrates that it is only through sincere and open grappling with often conflicting claims to truth that dialogue will lead to mutual edification and genuine theological growth."
--Catherine Cornille, Boston College
"Vatican II is now several generations behind us, but we are still catching up to its new understanding of the church, the world, and the world's many religions. Evangelization as Interreligious Dialogue, perched between actualities of interreligious dialogue and the needed renovation of Catholicism's theology of religions, adds another voice to the needed Catholic conversation that must precede the interreligious learning to follow. Naysayers--Catholic and in other traditions--scoff at the very idea of interreligious learning, but this solid collection shows that it will only gather speed over time, to the benefit of believers in every tradition."
--Francis X. Clooney, SJ, Harvard University
"Evangelization as Interreligious Dialogue is an invitation to take risks--to risk full commitment to our traditions, to risk ourselves and our commitments in authentic dialogue. Not sure it is possible to do both with integrity? Start here."
--Reid B. Locklin, University of Toronto
Since being elected to the Chair of St. Peter on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis has given unique shape to the meaning of the new evangelization. With his emphasis on the concept of encounter, and his stunning expression of pastoral ministry in Evangelii gaudium, the present pontiff has breathed new life into the Christian vocation to evangelize. This book brings together the voices of fifteen American Catholic scholars around the theme of Pope Francis and the Event of Encounter. Inaugurating the new series, Global Perspectives on the New Evangelization, this book incorporates a variety of approaches and questions in order to amplify the theology behind the pontificate of Pope Francis and the most recent developments in the new evangelization. Among the topics treated in the book are mercy, ecology, doctrine, culture, and the life and ministry of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. The reader will be delighted with an array of perspectives that promise to give inspiration for embarking on further frontiers of the new evangelization.
"The Church's emphatic call for a new evangelization began with Pope Paul VI, has journeyed through the pontificates of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now continues with Pope Francis. This commendable volume accentuates, in fifteen thoughtful and innovative essays, Pope Francis's understanding of the new evangelization as a fourfold encounter: merciful encounters, ecological encounters, doctrinal encounters, and cultural and political encounters. Thus, this book admirably provides the needed sociological, philosophical, and theological depth to sustain and foster the Church's renewed endeavor to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations and peoples."
--Thomas G. Weinandy, Capuchin College, Washington DC, Member of the International Theological Commission