Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Catholicism and the American Founding

NCR - Catholicism and the American Founding by Benjamin Wiker
There are two ways to look at Catholicism and the founding of the United States of America. The first, and most obvious, would be to inquire about the actual participation of Catholics in the founding. The second, which is the focus of this article, is to view the gifts the Catholic Church gave to the American founding long before there was a U.S.A...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"It's Just War" - Should Christians Fight? Debate

On March 28, 2014, Anchor-Cross Publishing and Followers of the Way sponsored a debate on the subject of just war. We sought to bring leading thinkers together to discuss the issue in historic Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. Speaking of behalf of just war were Dr. Peter Kreeft (professor of philosophy at Boston College) and Dr. J. Daryl Charles (Berry College). Speaking against just war and for biblical nonresistance were David Bercot and Dean Taylor.

Monday, October 06, 2014

The Benedict or Domincan "Options” for Cultural Engagement

The Dominican Option by C. C. Pecknold
There’s been a long conversation in America about the degree to which Catholic Christianity is compatible with liberalism. From the beginning of the American founding, bishops and theologians claimed that for all the flaws of liberal political philosophy, the American founders “built better than they knew.” And yet Pope Leo XIII could warn Cardinal Gibbons to avoid the errors of an “Americanism,” which would distort the teaching of the Church on the proper relationship between politics and the church.  
First Things’s default position derives from this “built better” argument. Yet the incompatibility side has always been there as well, and now is coming to the fore. The cultural and political landscape has changed. If the “built-better” argument made sense for nearly two centuries, it has become clear that evidence in its favor is currently in short supply. Without necessarily saying that the “built-better” argument is always wrong, we need to face up to the growing discord between Catholic Christianity and the new world liberalism that is building in America.  
What is to be done about this discord? I have always been drawn to Alasdair MacIntyre’s prediction that we need “a new, doubtless very different Saint Benedict” that enables the great Christian tradition to be passed on, preserving the seeds for a new civilization to emerge after the moral poverty of today’s liberalism leads us into dark, chaotic valleys. Rod Dreher has popularized MacIntyre by formulating this hope as the Benedict Option. It refers to our need for small communities of virtue, a new localist movement, and a return to the land or the place of one’s birth. The Benedict Option means cultivating a new counterculture that can resist the barbarian onslaught.
On one level, the Benedict Option is deeply attractive. Its greatest strength is that it sees that Christians need to attend to their communal formation as a whole. It is not enough to simply go to church on Sundays, for the religion of lifestyle liberalism is working on us the rest of the week. Rather, we need an all-embracing form of life coordinated and ordered to the love of God and neighbor. We can look to the very real Christian witness of cloistered, vowed religious life and say, “see, it can be done.” That should give all of us enormous hope.  
On another level, however, “the Benedict Option” has a serious flaw. It can be summed up in one word withdrawal. Neither MacIntyre nor Dreher have intended anything like withdrawal from the common good, or even from a commitment to political institutions. But I must confess that the image of withdrawal is powerfully associated with the Benedictine monastery, and so appeals to the Benedict Option miss something. 
Better, therefore, to speak of the Dominican Option...
“Options” for Cultural Engagement by Dale M. Coulter

Related Posts:
The Real Catholic Debate

Patrick Deneen on The Neo-Conservative Imagination

Jeremy Beer on David L. Schindler

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Real Catholic Debate

A recent seminar at First Things magazine focused on the future of social and religious conservatism in what seems to be an increasingly hostile America. What stood out for Delahunty was the discussion of the future of American Catholicism.  
According to Delahunty, the real debate within American Catholicism is the one between what he calls “accommodationists” and “radicals.” Accommodationists think that the Church is ultimately compatible with American liberalism; they look to the golden age of the 1940s and 1950s, and argue that true American liberalism has gone off track and must be restored. Radicals, by contrast, think American liberalism and Catholicism have been incompatible from the start, and that the friendly cooperation of the Forties and Fifties was an aberration.
FT - The Real Catholic Debate by Mark Movsesian

TAC - Ghosts of Colson and Neuhaus by Rod Dreher

Center for Law and Religion Forum - The Real Catholic Debate by Robert J. Delahunty

Related Post - Patrick Deneen on The Neo-Conservative Imagination

Friday, August 29, 2014

Love can exist only when people are free

"Prayer, as I learned, is a relationship between two persons, God and man, who move towards each other. Thus, the swiftness or slowness with which a person advances in prayer depends on both the human and divine wills. Neither the freedom of God in His sovereignty nor the freedom of man in his free choice are violated. For his part, man offers his good intentions, his labors, and his desires to draw near to God. God, in turn, offers His grace.

No matter how great a man's ascetic labors may appear before the eyes of men, his offerings are infinitesimal in contrast with what God offers. Man takes one step, and God responds with a thousand in order to bridge the gap. Nevertheless, man's small and significant step in God's direction is absolutely crucial, because it reveals man's intentions and good disposition, giving God the 'right' to approach him, without infringing his spiritual freedom. Unlike the hate-filled, tyrannical devil, God deeply respects human freedom and never violates it, because He loves man. He desires a relationship of love with man, and love can exist only when people are free." - Dionysios Farasiotis in The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios, pgs 276-77

The Chicago Debate on Calvinism - with a Soldier's Review of Zahnd's (nonviolent) 'victory'

Clarion - Journal of Spirituality and The Justice: Chicago Debate on Calvinism - with a Soldier's Review of Zahnd's (nonviolent) 'victory'

Review by Lt. Col. David L Jones - a soldier's analysis of Brian Zahnd's [nonviolent] 'victory'

Christ is in our midst!

Brian Zahnd is a poet. Brian is a song-writer. I am proud to call Brian my friend. A few nights ago Brian participated in a team debate against two Calvinist pastors.

Strategically he owned the ground of the discussion. Tactically Brian held the higher ground as you will see. His arguments were clearly the most reasonable to follow and believe.

Brian and his partner kept the heat to the Calvinists' feet about predestination of the damned/reprobate. The essence or center of the target is not that the God predestines some for glory (or for grace which is another topic) but that He predestines most to Hell. That view is actually a formally declared heresy of the Early Church called Predestinarianism... TO READ MORE CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jim Forest's new book - Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment

Here is the first chapter of Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment by Jim Forest.

Be Still and Know God

Glory to God for All Things - Be Still and Know God by Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Barron on four “pivotal players" - St. Irenaeus, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Ignatius of Loyola

Patrick Deneen on The Neo-Conservative Imagination

The Neo-Conservative Imagination: An Interview with Patrick Deneen

The Neo-Conservative Imagination: An Interview with Patrick Deneen, Part II

Related Post - A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching - Whig Thomists vs. Augustinian Thomists UPDATED

Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Catholic Online - Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly by Deacon Keith Fournier
We must insist on the recognition of human rights for all human persons, no matter what stage of life's development continuum. Human embryonic stem cell research kills embryonic human persons...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

“Ressourcement,” “Aggiornamento,” and Vatican II in Ecumenical Perspective

HPR - “Ressourcement,” “Aggiornamento,” and Vatican II in Ecumenical Perspective by Eduardo Echeverria
(S)ome interpreters of Vatican II took renewal to be merely a matter of the Church’s adaptation or accommodation to the standards of the modern world … they took aggiornamento as an “isolated motive for renewal” … simply adapting to the culture of modernity.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Balthasar on Soloviev

Soloviev's skill in the technique of integrating all partial truths in one vision makes him perhaps second only to Thomas Aquinas as the greatest artist of order and organization in the history of thought. - Balthasar's The Glory of the Lord, A Theological Aesthetics, III: Studies in Theological Style: Lay Styles
1. Vision and Form of Work... 279
2. Logic and Metaphyics... 300
3. Ethics and Ecclesiology... 325
4. Aethestics and Apocalyptic... 338

Pope Francis and Henri de Lubac S.J., Part Two

Highly Centralizing and Hardly Collegial.
That's How the Bishops See Him

In spite of the promises to strengthen their role, for the episcopal conferences these are difficult times. Francis decides by his own lights. The Jesuit De Lubac is his instructor of ecclesiology

by Sandro Magister

Related Post  - Pope Francis and Henri de Lubac, SJ

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fr. Robert Barron on C.S. Lewis

Michael Voris is Just Wrong...

First, to equate Schillebeeckx to Balthasar is pure comedy.

Second, I am surprised he didn't mention Rahner or Kung as well. He fails to understand the Concilium vs. Communio divide post-Council. Wojtyła, Ratzinger, Balthasar, Giussani, and others in the Communio camp battled these folks in the Concilium camp and won.

Third, to throw Phenomenology under the bus as he did but then dodge the facts that both St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and Blessed (soon-to-be St.) JPII were world-class phenomenolgists. Notice how he fails to engage their thought. JPII's thought, his life work/his corpus, shows how Thomism and Phenemeology complement each other. The leading Thomists today are doing good work in that regard.

Fourth, Karl Barth was one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th Century and really of all time. To discount his thought as he does without even seriously engaging it (as Balthasar did) shows how clueless Voris is.

Fifth, mark my words - Michael Voris is going to get spanked liked Christopher West but I doubt he will listen. He appears to be quite arrogant who isn't as smart as he thinks he is. He lacks the humility that West did by taking a leave of absence to learn about what folks much smarter than he is was telling him. Micheal Voris has a S.T.B., which is ONLY an undergraduate degree in theology. He knows just enough to sound smart but in reality he is really, really shallow to those who really know the topics on which he is pontificating about.

Related Posts - Voris vs. Barron on Hell

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Russians are coming

The Moynihan Letters - Letter #94: “The Russians are coming” by Robert Moynihan, PhD.

We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
—Russian President Vladimir Putin, open letter to the American people, September 11

In the countries of the former Soviet Union, in particular in Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia and Moldavia, an unprecedented religious revival is underway. In the Russian Orthodox Church over the past 25 years there have been built or restored from ruins more than 25,000 churches. This means that a thousand churches a year have been opened, i.e., three churches a day.
—Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, October 30

Pope Francis has said before that he likes Dostoevsky, and we would like to think that he might also like the spiritual tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church.
—Dimitry Sizonenko, Secretary of the Department of Inter-Christian Relations in the Russian Orthodox Church, March 22, 2013, just after the election of Pope Francis

In the Orthodox Churches they have kept that pristine liturgy, so beautiful. We have lost a bit the sense of adoration. They keep, they praise God, they adore God, they sing, time doesn’t count. God is the center, and this is a richness that I would like to say on this occasion in which you ask me this question. Once, speaking of the Western Church, of Western Europe, especially the Church that has grown most, they said this phrase to me: “Lux ex oriente, ex occidente luxus.” Consumerism, wellbeing, have done us so much harm. Instead you keep this beauty of God at the center, the reference. When one reads Dostoyevsky – I believe that for us all he must be an author to read and reread, because he has wisdom – one perceives what the Russian spirit is, the Eastern spirit. It’s something that will do us so much good. We are in need of this renewal, of this fresh air of the East, of this light of the East.
—Pope Francis, July 28, interview with press on flight back from Brazil

When it was the heart of the Soviet Union, Russia embraced a communist ideology that denied the existence of God and the eternity of the human soul, calling such beliefs socially harmful mystifications. Today, in 2013, Russia is quite dramatically preaching traditional Christian faith and values — to the consternation of many secular thinkers in the once-Christian West... TO READ MORE CLICK HERE.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Danielou's Prayer as a Political Problem

Br. Bonaventure Chapman, O.P. states that Jean Cardinal Danielou S.J. is not calling for some reactionary model of politics and prayer, a neo-Constantinianism, especially in the context of a post written by a man wearing a medieval habit. This would be a nostalgic impossibility. There is no hope for a "Benedictine escapism" from the world; rather, in an Augustinian register Danielou declares:
The reader might be surprised by the title given to this chapter and this book. Public policy and prayer are two realities not usually brought together in this way. I have chosen the heading deliberately, because it seems to me essential to make it clear—perhaps somewhat provocatively—that there can be no radical division between civilization and what belongs to the interior being of man; that there must be a dialogue between prayer and the pursuit and realization of public policy; that both the one and the other are necessary and in a sense complementary... In other words, there can be no civilization where prayer is not its representative expression. Correlatively, prayer depends on civilization.

A city which does not possess churches as well as factories is not fit for men. It is inhuman. The task of politics is to assure to men a city in which it will be possible for them to fulfill themselves completely, to have a full material, fraternal, and spiritual life...

We ought never to forget that the Church is the Church of Everyman. The salvation which Jesus Christ comes to offer, the life which he comes to give, are salvation and life offered to the poor—to all—and what is offered to all must be within the reach of all. Yet today, for most men, given the circumstances in which they find themselves, the realization of a life of prayer is practically impossible… A world which had built up its culture without reference to God, a humanism from which adoration was completely absent, would make the maintenance of a positive religious point of view impossible for the great majority of men...

I have no liking for Christians who will not touch the facts of human existence for fear of soiling their hands… I love that Church which plunges into the thickets of human history and is not afraid of compromising itself by getting mixed up with men’s affairs, with their political conflicts and their cultural disputes.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

There Were No Priests - Catherine Doherty

Sts. Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf, North American Martyrs

There Were No Priests
I remember the day when there were no priests in St. Petersburg. It was in the early days of the Russian Revolution, when things were so unsettled and priests were shot on sight, as were many other people. The Jewish rabbis, the Protestant ministers, the Orthodox priests, all were shot or “disposed of” in some way.  
A little Roman Catholic parish was still surviving, and those of us who knew about it participated in the middle of the night in the Mass. It was a very short Mass, but still a Mass. One night when the priest had just consecrated the Host, the door opened, a rifle was thrust through; a shot was fired, and the priest fell dead. The consecrated Host rolled off the altar onto the floor. Two soldiers came up then, ground the Host under their heels, and turning to us said, “Where is your God? Under our heel!”  
An old man answered, “Lord, forgive them, even if they know what they do.” Shamed or embarrassed, the two soldiers left the church. The old man gave us Communion with the remnants of the Host. He washed the desecrated floor with holy water, and we buried the priest.  
And then there were no priests! No one to hear confession. No one to give us Viaticum and the last rites (as they were called then). No one to offer Mass. Anyone who has gone through such a tragedy knows what it means to be without a priest. - Servant of God Catherine Doherty in Grace in Every Season: Through the Year With Catherine Doherty

Dr. Peter Flint on The Works of the Law

Listen to what Dr. Peter Flint has to say about the Works of the Law. Dr. Flint is one of foremost experts in the world on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Specifically watch Exploring the Dead Sea Scrolls - Dr. Peter Flint - 2/2 where he directly addresses this topic.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Archbishop Chaput - Fire Upon the Earth

Fire Upon the Earth by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
My goal tonight is to speak about personal conversion and the new evangelization, through the lens of the Year of Faith. And I’d like to do that in three steps. First, I’ll revisit what a “year of faith” is, and why Pope Benedict felt we needed one. Second, I’ll talk about Pope Francis and the new spirit he brings to witnessing our faith as a Church. And third and most important, I’ll speak about what we need to do, and how we need to live, going forward–in other words, how we might share our faith so fully and joyfully that we truly become God’s lumen gentium, God’s “light to the nations”... TO READ MORE CLICK ABOVE.