Tag Archives: Europe

Christianity and Europe

I offer for you the following article by the ever prescient Fr. James V. Schall on Europe and its basis in Christianity:

 

http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2011/bellocs-infamous-phrase.html

 

 

The first element of the article that I found intriguing was his almost passing comment about Luther and Aristotle.  If, indeed, Europe is the result of the amalgamation of Judeo-Christianity with Roman and Greek culture, then the quip about Luther’s issue with Aristotle is quite enlightening.  An attack on Aristotle is not so much an attack on the past philosopher, that is not the significance of Luther’s objection.  Rather, the significance lies in the fact that Aristotle = Greek Culture.  Luther was claiming to be at issue with the very foundation of Europe.  What we are seeing today is the natural progression of Luther’s initial quip with Aristotle: to deny any element of the fourfold basis of Europe is to destroy the integrity of the European project itself.  Ultimately, Luther’s critique failed.  An attack on the Hellenism of Europe is an attack on reason itself, and the Church would have no part in the denial of reason, no matter how much trashy scholarship attempts to convince us otherwise.  Reason would prevail, both in the Church and in Europe.  Unfortunately, the Church focused so much on Protestantism for such a long time that it forgot to dialogue with the remainder of the world.  What the Church used to be in terms of her ability to engage the world she lives in is only beginning to come to life again, and thank God for that!

And that leads me to my second point.  The end of the article deals with the concept of reason, citing Pope Benedict’s increasingly important “Regensburg Speech” (Link is in the article).  The Church has never denied the importance and centrality of reason.  She has, in fact, exalted it and it is because of the exaltation of rationality that things like modern science were able to birth forth from it.  But, at the same time, she realizes that the Logos of God, the Reason of God, is deeper and a greater mystery (in the ineffable sense: there are always richer depths to go into).  Thus what is in man must be – due to the fact that sin so readily exists in the world – purified by the love of God so that the rationality of man becomes like the Creator in Whose image he is made.  In short, the rationality of man becomes love and is purified by the encounter with the God Who is Love.  Thus, when the Church enters missionary territory, she affirms what is good, but she also challenges what is false because it does not hold up to the reality of Love, it does not hold up to the reality of God and therefore denigrates the dignity and beauty of man.

As a last note, if you wish to read an excellent book on the clash between Christianity and Secularism in Europe, I can recommend to you George Weigel’s “The Cube and the Cathedral”.  It is a fantastic read and gives one great insight into the challenges we as a Western society are facing against the growing claims of secularism.

in Christ

-Harrison

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Day #2 in Europe

Hi to all who are checking out the blog to see how my trip in Europe is going.  I must apologize for not posting for a while.  Life has been busy and more internet free which, in truth, has been a great blessing in life.

I went home to Vancouver for a couple of days.  After that, I went to the Vancouver Airport on July 20th.  As I was waiting for my plan, I looked over as I was charging my phone and saw a young Asian man in a Roman Collar.  His name was Fr. Matthew from the Archdiocese of Vancouver and was on his way to Rome to do studies in Bio-Ethics.  We had a pleasant conversation, and it was neat to see a priest on the plane.

I got on the plane and we took off.  I couldn’t really sleep on the plane, unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried.  The food wasn’t the best and the entertainment system wasn’t working so well.  I had books, but when people were sleeping, I felt bad putting on the overhead lamp as I didn’t want to wake my neighbour.

I landed in Frankfurt and then made my way down to my next spot, which was to take off to London.  It was an uneventful flight, and I dozed off a bit during it.  I landed, made my way through security (the Immigration Agent had never heard of a Seminarian before) and then made my way to the bus station.  I bought a ticket to Cambridge and waited for the bus.

Unfortunately, the bus was late, and then once on my way, we ran into road construction.  What was to be a 2 hour and 45 minute ride ended up being a 4 hour ride to Cambridge.  I finally got into town, grabbed a taxi, and made my way to Leanna and David’s place.

We had a lovely dinner and visit for the evening, though by this point I hadn’t really slept in 30 hours and so finally got to bed at around 10:30pm.  I slept like a baby.  I woke up and checked the time on my phone and it said “12:30”.  Then I realized that the time hadn’t changed, and that it was actually 8:30am, and so had a very good night’s sleep, though was still very tired when I woke up.

David and I visited for a bit and had some discussions and then decided to make our way into central Cambridge.  We stopped at some bookstores – fear not, I only bought 4 books on the day, a small number for me – and then to The Eagle Pub, where DNA was discovered!

After that we made our way around his college – Clare College – and then King’s Chapel – which is GORGEOUS! – and around various other parts of Cambridge (including more bookstores).  He brought me into the Cambridge library, showed me where C.S. Lewis used to teach, and we eventually made our way back home in time for Leanna to get home (since I had her key).

We chatted for a while and then made our way to St George’s Pub.  Are you noticing a trend yet?  We visited for a while, made our way back, and are now preparing for a late supper.

So far, so good.  I am looking forward to a very full day with David and Leanna tomorrow and then make my way to Milan on Sunday.

God bless!

in Christ

-Harrison

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