Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sacred Heart: No Baroque Sentimentality

In the distressed years surrounding the Second Vatican Council, a great debate raged among the theologians of the day on how a Conciliar vision of Catholic spirituality ought to look. We are familiar with the debates over Marian devotion between the so-called "Minimalists" and "Maximalists", the former who effectively sought to suppress Marian piety as hyper-sentimentalism and dangerous to ecumenical progress. A similar though less intense dispute arose over the propriety of the Sacred Heart devotions. The progressives essentially argued that this devotion was too bound up with Baroque era piety, meaning it suffered from a kind of sappy sentimentalism that was not fitting for the modern Church. Furthermore, it was argued that it was not fitting for such a devotion to have such a central place in the Church's life, since it sprung from a mere private revelation and was not integral to the Gospel message. In this article, we will endeavor to show that the Sacred Heart devotion is no mere Baroque sentimentalism, and that far from originating in some private revelation, it is a devotion whose origins are found in the deepest Traditions of the Faith.

Pope Pius XII gave us a masterfully concise definition of the devotion in his encyclical Haurietis Aquas:

"Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, by its very nature, is a worship of the love with which God, through Jesus loved us, and at the same time, an exercise of our love by which we are related to God and to other men" [1]

The holy pontiff wrote these words at a time when devotion to the Sacred Heart was being attacked by the progressives as unbiblical, as inappropriate for the modern day, and as constituting an inappropriate exaltation of the human nature of Christ. As we will see, the venerable Pius XII was entirely correct in insisting on the theological and practical fittingness of this devotion for the modern age.
continue at Unam Sanctam Catholicam

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HT Tim

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