Biskop Erik Vardens nye bok «Chastity – Reconciliation of the senses» omtales av den kjente Sandro Magister; omtalen begynner slik:
At the Vatican the synod is heading into its final phase, which then again is not final, given that it will be reconvened in a year and only afterward will the pope, on his own, decide what conclusions to draw from it, at the tail end of a debate about which little or nothing is known, protected as it is by secrecy.
But meanwhile there is also a synod “outside the walls,” of which the book above is a voice, on a topic, chastity, that has almost become a taboo for those in the Church who are calling for a “paradigm shift” in the Catholic doctrine on sexuality, led by that cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich whom Francis has put at the helm of the synod.
The author of “Chastity. Reconciliation of the Senses,” released on October 12 by Bloomsbury and soon to be in bookstores in Spanish as well, published by Encuentro, with the title “Castidad. La reconciliación de los sentidos,” is Erik Varden, 49, Norwegian, a Cistercian monk of the strict observance, Trappist, the former abbot in England of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire, and since 2020 the bishop of Trondheim.
Varden, who is not at the synod, was among the signatories, together with all the bishops of Scandinavia including Stockholm cardinal Anders Arborelius, of that “Pastoral letter on human sexuality,” released last Lent, which Settimo Cielo published back then in full, due to its extraordinary originality of language and content, capable of speaking to modern man of all the richness of the Christian vision of sexuality in unbroken fidelity to the age-old magisterium of the Church and at the same time in clear opposition to “gender” ideology.
There is a kinship of style between that pastoral letter and Varden’s book. But there is also an important difference. “Chastity” does not get mixed up in the disputes, the “dubia,” over the blessing of homosexual couples or communion for the divorced and remarried. On these questions the author states that he does not sway one iota from what the 1992 Catechism of Catholic doctrine teaches, and refers to it as “a great treasure.”
But precisely as a bishop, Varden wants to do something else with his book. He wants to “build bridges,” to span the gap that has been created between the thinking of modern secular society and the immense richness of the Christian tradition, let spill today by a widespread amnesia.
That is, he writes, he wants to present again to the world the Christian faith in its entirety, without compromise. But at the same time to express it in forms that are understandable even for those to whom it is entirely foreign: “by appealing to universal experience, then trying to read such experience in the light of the revelation.” …