Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Passing of Cardinal Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic (RIP)

Aloysius M. Cardinal Ambrozic
(January 27, 1930-August 26, 2011)

It is Jesus to whom we look.
It is Jesus whom we imitate.
It is Jesus whom we follow.
It is Jesus who is with us so we can be with him.
Yes, we work with others.
Yes, we learn from others.
But in Jesus we find our ultimate identity and purpose. He is the Alpha and the Omega for each one of us and for every human being.  (Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic)

* * *

Yesterday, the Lord called home to himself a dear friend, teacher and mentor as teacher and bishop.

When Aloysius Ambrozic returned from doctoral studies in Germany in the fall of 1971, I was in one of his seminars and was captivated by his teaching style. 

The next year, he agreed to direct my doctoral studies and so the one who would become auxiliary bishop, then Archbishop of Toronto and a Cardinal became my Doktorvater

I shall always treasure his encouragement of my ministry of reading, praying, studying, preaching and teaching God’s Word.

May the Lord grant him a merciful judgment and the reward of his labours, and give consolation and peace to his family and to all who were touched by his life and ministry.

* * *

From the Archdiocese of Toronto's web site ( tribute to His Eminence:

On the importance of Scripture to the life of the Catholic

A professor of mine decided not to teach Scripture any more and they were looking around for someone to replace him. They knew I had studied Greek. In the seminary I had studied (Greek) on my own and I had studied Hebrew for the simple reason that I felt that every priest should have at least a smattering of the ancient languages.

So they asked me to study Scripture.

Really my first love is history, but Scripture is very much like history so I had no complaints. A lot of my reading is history related. It's like knowing yourself because you discover things about yourself. I think history is basically an extension of the human personality. Ultimately, we're all very much the same. Realistic history has a way of flattening personalities. You get to know the real greatness. Take, for instance, John A. Macdonald. He had trouble all the time; there was really no period when he could enjoy his greatness. And the same with Winston Churchill.

The Bible is the book, though the longer I live the more I realize how much you need a living authority. You can always play around with a book. You can always make it say things it doesn't say and keep quiet about things it does say. That's why you need a living authority (i.e. the magisterium).

The Bible is our book. Studying Scripture obviously gets you in touch with the real people who created the Bible. Of course I know Mark (ed. - the cardinal did his doctoral thesis on the Gospel of Mark), for me the most interesting thing about Mark is that he had no absolutely no intention of being original. He was not doing his own thing, but it was the church's thing. And yet he is at the same time the most original of the evangelists. He probably wrote the first Gospel; I really do believe that. Precisely because he had no intention of being original, he was probably the most original of them all. His intent was to preach. He was a catechist or a leader of the community, probably a Roman community, so what he was doing every day, or at least every Sunday, he then put down in writing. As far as he was concerned, his writing was simply an extension of his work.

What I find in the Old Testament, and also in the New Testament, but particularly in the Old Testament, is a continual tug of war between divine revelation and the human temptation to domesticate it. We want to domesticate that and God is continually resisting us. We want to make God a nice guy. He is much more than that.

I read the psalms every day and every so often I discover something I never saw before. I know I have read that psalm before a thousand times, and yet all of a sudden I discover something new. I think that if people read the Bible intelligently, they'll find most of it is quite clear. I don't encourage them to take courses, but I just take it for granted that they have a certain understanding and a certain curiosity for truth.


  1. May the Lord have mercy on the Cardinal in his last hour, that in His Justice He may admit him into His Kingdom, where, through his prayer, He may rain down Mercy on all those he loved and knew, especially on those who were his enemies.

  2. Yipes, man, what the heck was your predecessor doing running a diocese while his faith was going down the drain? I would think that would be a total failure of discernment.

  3. @MissKaren, where in this post do you get the idea that Card. Ambrosic's faith was going down the drain?