The Transcendent Mystery in Man: A Global Approach to Ecumenism


Woznicki, Andrew


PhD; University of Lublin: late Fleishacker Professor of Philosophy, University of San Francisco; STD- Toronto

Our new release by Professor Andrew N. Woznicki, The Transcendent Mystery in Man: A Global Approach to Ecumenism (Academica Press,2007,ISBN 193314615X) explores man as a being who is endowed not only with immanent but also with transcendent virtual power as well, and through both of them man is capax Dei. The author states that the twofold virtual power enables man to participate in divinity either in a form of an act of believing in the factually existing God, and/or in a form of self discovering of one’s own being as divine. In the former, we are dealing with the phenomenon of religion sensu stricte, and in the latter with the phenomenon of spirituality.

Rainer Maria Rilke recognizes the presence of the divine in human nature, but according to him the divinity is experienced in its intensity—in its immediacy—as it is found in the “inward reality” of man alone. Although the presence of the divine reveals itself in nature, divinity is most of the time disguised by human preoccupation(s) with the finitude of his existence.

On the other hand, Czeslaw Milosz calls man—“a transcendent everyman,” and says: “Where I am, and whatever place on earth, I hide from people the conviction that I’m not from here. It’s as if I’d been sent, to extract as many colors, tastes, sounds, smells, to experience everything that is a man’s share, to transpose what was felt into a magical register and carry it there, from whence I came.” However, this divine transcendent Entity as it is experienced by human beings, Thomas Mann describes as being:

"Conditioned by feeling for the transcendental mystery of man, by the proud consciousness that he is no mere biological being, but with a decisive part of him belongs to an intellectual and spiritual world, that to him the Absolute is given, the ideas of truth, of freedom, of justice; that upon him the duty is laid to approach the consummate. In this pathos, this obligation, this reverence of man for himself, is God; in a
hundred milliards of Milky Ways I cannot find him."

However, in this theantropic pathos of “purification, refinement, metamorphosis, transubstantiation, into a higher state” of God’s involvement with the created world, there is a need to postulate both an immanent presence of God in the world and man, but without restraining God’s transcending self-sufficiency, for He is thought of as an Absolute Being. In other words, theantropic res bina of immanent/transcendent reality of the human and the divine in man of Thomas Mann, changes into the res ultima of St. Thomas Aquinas in the order of goal and purpose.

In this work the author states that the Catholic church has to deal with constant cultural changes, and that there are two conflicting tendencies, and radically opposing views on the nature of the Church of Christ on Earth, that is, the absolutist view and the relativistic one. Theological absolutism contemplates the reality of God’s Kingdom on earth from the perspective of supernatural life exclusively, and considers the Church primarily as a community, unchangeable and everlasting, that is, as a sui generis reality, which is independent from the actual situation of the world. Theological relativism, on the other hand, attempts to consider the reality of God’s kingdom on Earth from the perspective of temporary life. Such absolutistic view has been presented by Cardinal Ratzinger in the document Dominus Jesus (2000), and by Cardinal William J. Levada in the recent document issued on July 10, 2007, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith: Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church. However, according to the author the conflict between the absolutist view and the relativistic one, could be resolved by the teaching on the doctrines of virtual reality as it was presented in the works of Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus.

Contemporary scientists are also wondering about “the transcendental mystery of man,” but the focal point of their investigation into “the proud consciousness” of man, is limited “to pinpoint which regions [of the brain] turn on, and which turn off, during experiences that seem to exist outside time and space.” In other words, in the ordinary life of each and every human being, the investigation into “the proud consciousness” of man in his/her brain, can be detected and recognized as the basic ground and foundation for emotions and feelings, perceptions and cognition, in contrast to the way of noticing of inner experiences of an individual human being. The neuroscientists, while studying the phenomena of religion and spirituality, are unable to locate and to determine the Transcendent Reality itself, and as such they have to limit their scope of investigations to the human existential happenings.

In this work the author elaborates on the human spiritual and religious feelings as they are really found in the theantropic experiencing of the Divine, and as they unfold the most common and universal religious experiences of man. He evaluates the theantropic experiences of the human and the divine in man—not so much on “how we get to God,” but “how God comes to us.”

“Woznicki’s book …comes with my highest recommendation.”
Archbishop S.Wesoly, Member of the Curia, Vatican City, Rome

Catholic Philosophy, Theology, Empirical Studies, Christian Ecumenism, Anthropology of Religion
Release Date: 
Cloth: 1-933146-15-X
Trim Size: 
6 x 9

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