Project Canterbury


Metacosmesis Mundi Per Incarnationem





The Rationale of a Catholic Democracy




Superior of the Society of the Catholic Commonwealth






Louisville     Kentucky 


Reproduced with permission, 2006.




Chapter I. Some Basic Philosophical Concepts

The centrality of the Sacrament of the Altar--Two opposing views of the material world--The non-Christian analysis: world as essentially evil--The Christian analysis: world as essentially good--The source of evil traced to man--Christian idea of salvation--Non-Christian confusion in Christian thinking.

Chapter II. The Problem of the Redemption of the World: First Stage

Problem from the point of view of man: the obstacle of disorder in history--A practical illustration of the time problem--A philosophical illustration of the time problem--Problem from the point of view of God: obstacle of man's free reason--The Incarnation as the solution of both problems--Method of the Incarnation: its individual organism--Method of the Incarnation: its social organism--Summary: solution of the problems of time and of the conservation of human freedom--Our Lady as the prototype of redeemed and free humanity--Incarnational definition of redemption.

Chapter III. The Problem of the Redemption of the World: Second Stage

The redemption of man carries beyond the natural world--The limitations of perfection attainable in the natural world--Redeemed perfection in this world always contingent--Human salvation requires an absolute perfection--Mediation of the contingent into the absolute: the two natures of Our Lord.

Chapter IV. Mediation as Sacrifice

Failure of pre-Christian sacrifices--Our Lord's sacrifice: the full attainment of its end--The effects of mediating sacrifice--Contingent perfection as the necessary basis of absolute perfection

Chapter V. Metacosmesis

Remarkable qualities of Our Lord's earthly humanity--Our Lord's humanity a true humanity--Source of the remarkable qualities of Our Lord's humanity--Definition of Metacosmesis--Social extension of Metacosmesis during Our Lord's earthly life--Social Metacosmesis rendered incomplete by human sin.

Chapter VI. Metacosmesis after the Ascension

Problem of the continuation of Our Lord's social humanity after His individual ascension--What happened at Pentecost--Evidence of Metacosmesis in the life of the early Church--The means of the Church's access to the metacosmic process--Our Lord's historical life made eternally accessible--Historical and eternal aspects of Our Lord's life and work--The eternal Lord Incarnate present in His Memorial--The natural bread and wine of Our Lord's social humanity--Natural bread and wine as structures of creative social growth--Our Lord's Memorial as a two-fold movement--Contingencies found in the offered natural bread and wine--The absolute perfection of the bread and wine in their Consecration--The Memorial as a sacrifice--Completion of the cycle of Metacosmesis in the Holy Communion

Chapter VII. The Liturgy of the Memorial of Our Lord's Body and Blood

Its threefold structure--The Offertory--Misconceptions concerning the Offertory--The Offertory and the Immaculate Conception of Our Lord's Mother--The Offertory and the Baptized Community--The Offertory and symbolic Liturgical emphasis--The Consecration: Thanksgiving and Remembrance--The meaning of Thanksgiving--The meaning of Remembrance--Consecration as sacrifice--Priest and Victim within the Consecration--Representative character of the Church's ministers--The Holy Communion--Our Lord's Memorial as the Heart of His social humanity.

Chapter VIII. The Liturgy and the Atonement

Sins and contingencies--Defects with the Offertory: Penance and Absolution--Contingencies: their classification and the conditions for their Consecration--The contingencies of the first group--The attempted reduction of these contingencies by severing relationships with the world--The Incarnational method of dealing with contingencies--Conditions for the application of the Atonement to contingencies of the first group--Scientific economic understanding a modern development--The possession of a material basis for rational social planning also a modern phenomenon--Present meaning of reconciliation with our brother--Contingencies of the second group--Contingencies of the third group.

Chapter IX. Character of the Secular Order Now Demanded by the Liturgy

No answer in Christian dogma; a problem for enlightened human reason--Possibility and means of agreement among Christians upon secular problems--Some practical considerations--Problem of secular violence: relation of means and ends--Evolution and revolution in social change--Present social revolution moving in a Christian direction--Christian Offertory rooted in the world's material arrangements.

Chapter X. Material Basis of Metacosmesis

The material basis of spiritual relationships in the Offertory--Dangers of parallelism in thinking of spiritual and material things--The material basis of the Consecration--Metacosmic cycle borne upon a movement within the material level--Urgency of the Memorial.

Chapter XI. Characteristics of a Sacramental Metacosmic Humanity

The Apostolic Church--The Church in later ages--The natural and the supernatural virtues--The tension between personal freedom and corporate social allegiance--Human resolutions of this tension always sought in compromise--Full resolution found in the Incarnation-Sources of defects in the metacosmic humanity of the contemporary Church.

Chapter XII. A Metacosmic World Order

A redeemed social order must be Sacramental--The medieval vision and the source of its practical failure-Contributions of Karl Marx to scientific social understanding--Function of the political state--Marx's view of the function of religion--The Marxian social objective: "withering away" of the political state and the disappearance of religion--The Marxian view of the disappearance of religion--The necessary Christian witness--A Christian analogue of the Marxian error--Agreement of Christians and Marxists upon immediate goals--A brief recapitulation--The withering away of the state and the establishment of the Church--The Church's Offertory in a socialist order: the Christian duty to work for this end.

Appendix I. Christian Over-Pessimism versus Humanist Over-Optimism

Appendix II. Excursus on the Meaning of Concomitance

Appendix III. Practical Suggestions for a Liturgical Offertory

Appendix IV. Ecclesiastical Vestments and Catholic Democracy

Appendix V. The Liturgical Confession and Absolution

Appendix VI. Free Enterprise and War

Appendix VII. An Instance of Neo-Thomist Misunderstanding

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