Tag Archives: James Schall

Daily Roundup – November 29, 2011

Here’s your daily round-up.

The picture to the left is of Taya Kennedy, a Down Syndrome baby who is taking the child modeling world by storm.  There is a great bit on her over at The Anchoress and there you will find a link to the full story along with more beautiful and radiant photos of this beautiful child of God.

I have long argued, since the release of Summorum Pontificum, that the purpose is to create a sort of liturgical dialogue between the two forms of the Roman Rite.  It seems that this is the view of Cardinal Burke as well.  Please give it a read here.

Over at the ever-interesting First Things, there is an article which briefly discusses two atheist philosophers of science and their defense of the possibility of Intelligent Design and their offering of a critique of neo-Darwinism.  What I found interesting is that in regards to a law case cited in the article, the judge ruled against presenting ID as an option because “any notion of the supernatural is a religious opinion.”  This is interesting because Blondel, in his book L’Action, argues that science is limited by the very fact of reality, that what is positive knowledge is limited and, in the end, does not give an answer to life, but that it encounters the supernatural and cannot account for it because it is not quantifiable.  In short, science necessarily must point to the religious question if it is going to be science at all.  I am discovering, more and more, how brilliant Blondel is and how neglected he is in the English speaking world (mostly because, I believe, most of his works are still in French).

There is an intriguing post at Shirt of Flame about Catholics in the literary world and the connection to the Mass.  While I agree that there is a certain formulation from the Mass for Catholics, I don’t know if I agree that the extraordinary form is the only means of creating enrichment for Catholics and forming their literary worldview.  I think the advent of the new translation will begin to re-form that imagination of the Catholics again.  What is intriguing about the article is the absence in our world of Catholic artists and the attraction of artists and intellectuals to the Catholic Church: when they think about Christianity, it is Catholicism and not any other form of Christianity that is considered.

George Weigel has an interesting article over at the National Review about America and Catholicism, about the contributions of the Church to American civil society and the impeding conflict between the Church and the government over conscience.

The always engaging Fr. James Schall, SJ, has an excellent article over at The Catholic Thing.  He speaks about how people are only attempting to bring unity by destroying distinction.  The beautiful thing about the Catholic perspective is that unity and diversity co-exist: they are not antagonistic towards each other.  Only a Catholic ethos and worldview can allow for these two realities to co-exist equally, and our human nature seems to demand it.  Yet without the synthesis of Jesus Christ, we see them as competitive.  In Jesus Christ, they exist in perfect harmony.

Finally, if you have never encountered it, I highly recommend the following: C.S. Lewis’ Introduction to Athanasius’ ‘On the Incarnation’.  In it, he recommends the old books as a means for constantly correcting our perspective in the here and now.  It is a defense of a classical education.  I must say that I can’t help but agree with Lewis.  One can get tired of reading academics who talk about so and so in conversation with some obscure academic who no one has ever heard of, but is apparently useful (though if he is useful, why have we not heard of him?).  What makes Lewis a great academic is that he is, in the end, an academic against the academy.  One only needs to read The Abolition of Man and That Hideous Strength to encounter his contempt for the modern university!  Please give it a read, you will not be disappointed.

in Christ

-Harrison

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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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