Saturday, November 28, 2015

Items of Interest: Week of Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Regis

Mission abandoned: did we betray John XXIII’s vision for Vatican II?
by George Weigel (Catholic Herald). «[As] John XXIII understood it, the purpose of Vatican II was to renew the Church’s understanding of the patrimony of truth it bore as a gift from Christ himself. Why? So that the Church might become a more effective witness to the truth about humanity...Vatican II was intended as a call to unity and evangelism, but its legacy has been an escalation of intra-Catholic wars. It is time to embrace John XXIII’s original vision.»

Sartre and the Christmas of Jesus
by Massimo Borghesi (30 Days). «Christmas 1940: Sartre, interned in a German prison camp, composed a story to be recited in a hut. It was the play text Bariona, ou le Fils du tonnerre. From it emerges an unfamiliar Sartre who seems touched for a moment by the stunned affection of Mary, Josephs’s gaze and the hopes of the Magi and the shepherds in front of the God child. ‹They have joined their hands and are thinking: something has begun. And they are wrong…›»

Abortion in/as a Consumer Structure
by Matthew Tan (Solidarity). « is article argues that the contemporary acceptability of abortion is not solely due to the Liberal imperative to exercise individual choice. Rather, abortion's acceptability needs to be explained with reference to the techniques of consumer culture. is article will begin by explaining how practices in general predispose one to gravitate towards one form of practices rather than another. It will then look at how consumer practices generate a biopolitics of economic e ciency and corporeal commodi cation which culminates in a politics of visibility. Under such conditions, even basic categories like mere existence is dependent on its ability to be displayed for public view. is article will conclude by re ecting on the necessity of forging the Church not as a subsection of a public framed by consumerism, but as an alternative public in its own right.»

Laudato si’ Invites You: An Economy Beyond Capitalism
by Keith Michael Estrada (Proper Nomenclature). «It is crucial to understand the encyclical as it is written. Reading commentaries or quick news bits that include a few quotes and mesh it together either with an ideological attack or an ideological defense, whether left or right, typically seems to reinforce and rationalize a comfortable embrace of various brands of cafeteria Catholicism, for some, and à la carte reasoning, for others. In other words, Laudato points out and rebukes various brands of the same relativism in today’s society.»

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Items of Interest: Week of Dominica XXV Post Pentecosten

The Plot to Kill Hitler and the Vindication of Pius XII
by Fr. George W. Rutler (Crisis Magazine). «The relative passivity of people in the West in the face of genocide of Christians by Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere is neither edifying nor encouraging. As for espionage, when representatives of Live Action, and the Center for Medical Progress more recently, filmed undercover interviews with Planned Parenthood functionaries, there were academics, even pro-life ones, who called these “sting operations” unethical for lying about the investigators’ identities. What would they say about Pius XII and his undercover agents? For that matter, what would those who absolutely oppose capital punishment with no mitigating circumstances say about the urgent appeal of Pius XII to hang those found guilty at Nuremburg? When a systematic moral calculus rooted in natural law gives way to the vagaries of sentiment, the antinomianism that results often becomes enmeshed in its own contradictions.»

Habetis Papam
By David Bentley Hart (First Things). «Far be it from me — not being a Roman Catholic — to tell Catholics what they should think of their pontiff. But, just as a brief amicus curiae (so to speak), I want to note that I feel a wholly unqualified admiration for Francis; and nothing he has done, said, or written since assuming office has had any effect on me but to deepen that esteem. I have to say also that I am utterly baffled by the anxiety, disappointment, or hostility he clearly inspires in certain American Catholics of a conservative bent (using “conservative” in its distinctly American acceptation). And frankly I find it no more inexplicable in its most extreme expressions—which at their worst verge on sheer ­hysteria—than in its mildest—an almost morbid oversensitivity to every faint hint of hidden meanings in every word, however innocuous, that escapes the pope’s lips or pen.»

Pope Halts Canonization Process in Move «Without Historical Precedent»
by Deacon Greg Kandra (Aleteia). «The Pope has halted the canonization process for Aloysius Stepinac, the Croation Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 until his death in 1960. Pope John Paul II had beatified the fiercely anti-communist archbishop, who spent many years in prison and under house arrest in Communist Yugoslavia, in 1998. The archbishop’s actions during World War II, however, especially his ties to the Nazi-aligned, murderous Ustaše regime, have raised criticism not only from the Serbian Orthodox Church but also from other victim groups.»

The Apophatic Quality of Speaking About God
by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon (Preachers Institute). «It is always a good thing, surely, to examine the meanings of the words we speak, but when we speak about God critical reflection is downright imperative.»

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Items of Interest: Week of Dominica XXIV Post Pentecosten

The Errors of the Militant Atheist
by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry (National Review). «[W]e have arrived at a peculiar moment when our elite institutions and discourse seem to be utterly ignorant of their own philosophical and cultural legacy. The institutions we live in and through, whether the scientific revolution or liberal democracy or the concept of human rights, were built and explored by great thinkers, who in turn were grounded in great traditions of rational speculation (that is to say, of philosophy), and it is mystifying and, frankly, very scary that we have arrived at this moment of what can only be called cultural amnesia — an amnesia so profound that we have not only forgotten, we’ve forgotten that we’ve forgotten.»

The Medieval Mind and the Modernist Error
By Thomas McDonald (National Catholic Register). «The great modernist error is that these people were less intelligent than we are today. That is, their minds were simply weaker than ours, or mired in superstition, or shackled by a dictatorial Church. None of that has any roots in actual history. It's simply the bias of modern man--and the progressive in particular--who believes his forebears were dumber than he.»

Patriarchal villains? It’s time to re-think St Paul and St Augustine
by Rowan Williams (The New Statesman). «Paul and Augustine are blamed for any number of historical outrages. But on questions like slavery and empire, they were more progressive than many credit.»

Bridging a False Divide: Systematic Theology & Scriptural Exegesis Belong Together
by Bishop Robert Barron (First Things). «Thoroughly understandable is N. T. Wright’s dry remark that most of the Christology of the last two hundred years, both Protestant and Catholic, has been Marcionite in form, that is, developed in almost complete abstraction from the Old Testament. Thus it appeared to me that there was indeed a gulf between the Bible and theology, and that I had placed myself squarely on one side of it.»

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Items of Interest: Week of Omnium Sanctorum

The Unexamined Assumptions of the Skeptic: Alison Gopnik’s Trade of Hard Atheism for Soft Atheism
by Fr. Patrick Irish (American Orthodox Institute). «Gopnik, and by extension every post-Russell skeptic has done (logically), is an attempt to shift away human consideration of any unprovable It (God, Self, a Purple Dragon or Russell’s Teapot) to an unexamined acceptance of unprovable metaphysical notions like numina. She sets forth an irrational analogical propaganda of human skepticism versus Aristotelian metaphysics, one that she does not test, honestly as a skeptic.»

Recovering Lincoln’s Teaching on the Limits to the Courts--and Giving the News to David Blankenhorn
By Hadley Arkes (Public Discourse). «History clearly demonstrates that the legislative branch can legitimately act to counter the rulings of the judicial branch. This is as true for marriage as it was for slavery.»

The Synod’s Fundamental Issue: The Legacy of St. John Paul II
by Fr. Raymond J. de Souza (National Catholic Register). «How much of John Paul’s vast teaching and witness will remain of guiding importance and what aspects, if any, will be left aside?»