Saturday, June 30, 2012

Did I post a link to this lecture by Fr. Spitzer(?) on God and Modern Physics? I have not yet watched it, but I assume that like many contemporary Catholic apologists, he accepts contemporary cosmology as a premise for his argument.

Magis Center of Reason and Faith
Why Modern Physics Point to God

Dr. Paul L. Gavrilyuk
Associate Professor of Historical Theology
faculty page


Friday, June 29, 2012

The Incredible Human Journey

The BBC series can be found on YT, for now.

Predictions About Fr. Rhonheimer's New Book

The Common Good of Constitutional Democracy
Essays in Political Philosophy and on Catholic Social Teaching

Martin Rhonheimer
Edited by William F. Murphy

1. It presupposes the modern nation-state as the starting point.
2. The definition of common good will be inadequate because he does not address the question of scale.
3. The question of scale in relation to the form of government will not be addressed as well.

I am curious as to what he has to say about multiculturalism.

Another post on forthcoming titles shortly.

Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul

Westminster Abbey Choir
Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thaddeus Kozinski recommends...

Liberty, the God That Failed
Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama
Christopher A. Ferrara

Along with: On the Road to Emmaus by Glenn Olsen

The first seems to be what one might expect for a traditionalist critique of the American political order, explicating the source of its principles being solely the Enlightenment and liberalism.
Zenit: Archbishop Nichols: What Does Human Dignity Really Mean?
London Prelate Considers History, Present Relevance of Key Concept

Archbishop Nichols observed that the idea of human dignity has a long history, going back to Cicero, Augustine and Aquinas. It was further developed by the Salamanca school of Dominicans in Spain at the time of the colonization of America. Subsequently, during the last century or so, it has been the topic of the social encyclicals of the Church.

Human dignity also has great importance outside the Church, he added. The UN Declaration of Human Rights, in Article 1 states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

He also noted that Article 1 (1) of the German Basic law, also drafted in 1948, states that “human dignity is inviolable. To respect it and protect it is the duty of all state power”.

Cicero, Augustine, and Aquinas? Aquinas distinguishes between various sorts of dignity. What of Cicero and Augustine?

An interview with Freeman Dyson

Counterpunch: An Interview With Freeman Dyson on the Origins of Life on Earth by SUZAN MAZUR

His homepage.


Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society
NYT: The Civil Heretic
TED profile

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



More from the Science and Faith Conference

Edward Feser & Jonathan Sanford - Science and Faith Conference

Stephen Barr & Alexander Sich - Science and Faith Conference

Michael Behe & Daniel Kuebler - Science and Faith Conference

Jay Richards & Mark Ryland - Science and Faith Conference

(How is the Institute for the Study of Nature doing?)

More from FUS.

Unfortunately, no video is available for Dr. Carroll's presentation? (There is video of the response.) But I did find the following:

William Carroll: Darwin in the 21st Century: Nature, Humanity, and God

William Carroll: "The Scientific Revolution and Discourse on Science-and-Religion"
Brad Gregory "Against Nostalgia: Catholicism, History, and Modernity."

Brad Gregory "Against Nostalgia: Catholicism, History, and Modernity." from The Lumen Christi Institute on Vimeo.

Alvin Plantinga & John Bergsma - Science and Faith Conference
Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Benedikt XVI. - Katholische Theologie studieren in Heiligenkreuz

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

MOJ: Political Philosophy, by Michael J. White

Ite ad Thomam: Announcing a New Master's Program in Scholastic Philosophy (Institute Catholique de Toulouse)

What's going on with the Society of Scholastics?
Via Dominican Vocations: "The Holy Father has nominated His Excellency, Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., until now Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, to be the Vice President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei.”"

Rorate Caeli: Di Noia to CNS: "Possible to have theological disagreements and be in communion" - "Can't read Vatican II texts from the viewpoint of liberals who were in the Council"

Diary from Vatican II by Father Robert Barron (on Yves Congar's journal)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Psalm - Byzantine Chant no 2 - St John Koukouzelis - 14th Century

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Changes in the Curia

Levada is to resign from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, leaving Müller in pole position to substitute him. Meanwhile, the Vatican library is getting a new librarian and Bertone’s substitution appears imminent

Augustinian Localism?

Augustinian Reflections on Love and Localism by A.J. DeBonis

I still need to read through City of God all the way through...
James Chastek, Morning research trail and Cajetan’s account of the Thomas / Scotus debate on the source of contingency

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Restless Heart

Ignatius Press announces forthcoming release of the film, "Restless Heart"

Another dubbed foreign movie. Accurate with respect to the details and costumes?
Fr. Z: Of Beer, Norcia, Monks, Boars, Cheese, Truffles and the City of God

Birra Nursia! Coming to BevMo? Sarge might go visit Norcia if he has some time. No time for France (or Le Barroux).

The Benedictines of the Immaculate continue to update their blog.
Christopher J. Malloy, Objections to the Summa's Structure
Joseph G. Trabbic, Is the Summa Structurally Flawed?

One may read criticisms of the Summa that it is too rationalistic in its theology; I recall reading this objection from Orthodox apologists as well. The Summa presupposes the Creed; could there be a scientific exposition of the Trinity without a exposition of the unity of God?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Human Rights and Natural Law by Archbishop Rino Fisichella (via Insight Scoop)
Zenit: Holy See on Sustainable Development
"Human beings, in fact, come first. We need to be reminded of this" The journal formerly known as The Modern Schoolman...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flying out tonight to visit Sarge and the Lone Star Republic; be back next week.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lee Faber: Scotus the Voluntarist

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Theological Origin and, Hopefully, End of Modernity by Thaddeus J. Kozinski

Voluntarism, an indifferent will as primary moral agent; nominalism, the rejection of any real reference for universal concepts; disenchantment, the default existential mode of a buffered, self-sufficient “individual”; and desacralization, the “immanent frame” surrounding and conditioning modern social and intellectual life—these were the background assumptions of the Enlightenment, but they seem now foregrounded social, cultural, and political dogmas. The “Regensburg Address” of the Pope, with his account of the three waves of dehellenization, is, I think, a key text for grasping this development. Dehellenized reason closed to intelligible being, a voluntarist God beyond good and evil, a non-participatory cosmos mechanically construed, and a univocal, flattened concept of being supplanting Aquinas’ precarious but precious metaphysics of analogy—these are the metaphysical, epistemological, and theological roots of modernity, and they are deeply planted. As the Pope suggests, these roots have nourished a misshapen cultural tree, nay, a forest; and it cannot be simply cut down and replanted—for it is our home, whether we like our home or not, for, at least for the time being, there is no other domestic domicile into which to move, it would seem.

Now, great fruits came via their heroic attempts: the progress of medicine and human rights; what Taylor calls the “affirmation of ordinary life”; the dignity of persons seen as ends and never means (Casanova); the autonomy of politics, science, and economics from ecclesial control. This represents, as in the words of Maritain, a maturation of the political order and the Gospel seed coming to fruition. This is the true message of Gaudium et spes, when interpreted correctly–that is, not as a replacement of the Syllabus of Errors, but its complement. After Vatican II, no Catholic can interpret the prior social teaching and theology as simply a rejection of modernity, but neither can they reject or dismiss the prior teaching as outdated or simply mistaken.

The question of modernity, again. Kozinski offers a couple of scenarios as to how this all plays out, but I think maybe the analysis starts off on the wrong foot. Was there a rebellion against the authority of the Church? Undoubtedly. Did that rebellion provide the intellectual roots for liberalism? Or merely the occasion for it to develop as a reaction against the wars of religion?

Maybe it is not "modernity" that is the problem, but the power of earthly rulers vying against God; they are the ones who have made of liberalism and a host of other idealogies in order to take power for themselves in the name of liberating the masses.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Will it be possible for a sinner to deny the justice of God's judgment on the Last Day? The damned know that they have sinned and why they are damned. Even if his mind is illuminated or he is convicted by his own conscience, is it possible for him to deny that God's judgment and punishment is just, to lie to himself on these two points, to affirm that their punishment is undeserved? After all, our judgment can be distorted by a bad will.

(Aquinas does not cover this question in his discussion of the will and intellect of the damned.)

It seems that the damned know they have sinned and that they have rejected God in sinning, and that their punishment, being deprived of the beatific vision or union with God, is appropriate, since they do not want this. But what of the poena sensus? "Why doesn't God just leave me alone? Why is He so petty?" And yet the poena sensus is a just punishment for the sins themselves. Is this undeniable?

(Aquinas on the punishment of the damned)

Does God preserve those who sin in the state of ignorance so that their conscience will not convict them? That seems like wishful thinking.

A related question regarding knowledge:
Titus 3:10-11
10 A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid: 11 Knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment.

God gives us the grace to assent to authority? Can there be obstacles to our recognition that someone holds authority within the Church, if we have been baptized and raised in the Church?

When are we justified in rejecting someone who verbally expresses rejection of God and His Church or the Church's teaching authority?

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Hermeneutic of Continuity: Nail-biting SSPX developments
Not Understanding Nothing
A review of A Universe from Nothing
Edward Feser

Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

Litaniae de Sacratissimo Corde Iesu

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lee Faber, Note on Some Translations of Scotus

I relied more on the English translation by Wolter for studying Scotus than on the original Latin.
MOJ: "Much Ado About Subsidiarity" (which links to this post at VN, which notably does not offer a definition of the common good, but one assumes that the one current in CST is implied). Garnett cites Russell Hittinger for an explanation of subsidiarity, and Hittinger adequately presents contemporary teaching on the concept. What is missing, to circumscribe the definition of subsidiarity and the state? A notion of the common good (life in community) that is tied to an understanding of the proper human scale.

If the common goods that exist at different "levels" do not have the same definition, then how can there be an ordered hierarchy of authorities serving them? If common good1 is not a part of common good 2, then how can authority1 be subordinate to authority2? An authority that serves to preserve the peace of many communities cannot have any sort of authority over the communities themselves - this would go beyond its competence.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I was going through old mail and found a solicitation for Spiritual Life: A Journal of Contemporary Spirituality. Apparently the magazine is still in existence. Is the mass media format of the magazine or journal amenable to teaching about the spiritual life? Or shouldn't it deserve more of an extended treatment? (Or even better, a living guide?) Not everything can be disseminated through the mass media well.
Catholic Church Conservation: Dominican Monks Dance Like Lady Gaga

Good-natured fun, or a display of immaturity and the lack of good judgment? Despite discernment to the priesthood or religious life being postponed until much later in life, has the infantilization that plagues mass industrial 'cultures' affected our seminarians and young adults as well? Fortunately there are not more videos of seminarians doing goofy things - the Star Wars video is still up, though. (Those discerning religious life may be more mature, in so far as it is more demanding than the seminary.)

(How much of this might be due to contemporary "psychology," the need to have a personality and such, versus acquiring virtues nad properly fulfilling a function in caritas and community?)

Something from an older Dominican, fr Wojciech Giertych OP:
Papal Theologian on the 'Pange Lingua'

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Rome Reports: Convents and monasteries survive on their online stores

What are they going to do as the price of oil goes up higher? They need to start adjusting now.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Mattias Caro, Is There Such a Thing as Inalienable Rights?. He refers to Rights You Can't Give Away.

Do we need to take Jefferson's rhetoric (or his theory of rights) so seriously?
CNS: Eastern Christianity's appeal

I had posted the video before but it was part of the CNS website so it may not have played properly for some of you. Now it is available on youtube.
Seven most common mistakes about 'Vatileaks'
James Chatek, A thomistic response to William Lane Craig’s denial of divine atemporality
James Chastek, Integral truth

Mr. Chastek compares theological truth with food and relates both to multiple ends. G-L is making a point though about the epistemology of those supporting the development of a new, up-to-date theology. If theology is not true, then how can it benefit or aid modern man and his vexations? Do we know God via things? Or do we know God through our ideas?

We could also ask the question of whether theology is more speculative or practical in nature. Interview with author of new philosophical lexicon - John Carlson

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Perhaps it is time to abandon the blue background and purple text. If I had the time I would try to tinker with the layout...
Zenit: Papal Address to Civil Leaders of Milan, Lombardy
"Freedom is Not a Privilege for Some, but a Right for All"

Some notes:

There is another element that we can find in St. Ambrose’s teaching. Justice is the first quality of those who rule. Justice is the public virtue par excellence, because it has to do with the good of the whole community. [This would correspond to the legal justice of Aristotle and St. Thomas. Is this how it is defined by St. Ambrose?] And yet it is not enough. Ambrose sets another quality alongside it: love of freedom, which he considers a criterion for discerning between good and bad rulers, since, as we read in another of this letters: “the good love freedom, the wicked love servitude” (Epistula 40, 2). [The classical or Roman conception of liberty?] Freedom is not a privilege for some, but a right for all, a precious right that civil authority must guarantee. Nevertheless, freedom does not mean the arbitrary choice of the individual, but implies rather responsibility of everyone. Here we find one of the principal elements of the secularity of the state: assure freedom so that everyone can propose their vision of common life, always, however, with respect for the other and in the context of laws that aim at the good of all. [This is rather bizarre - how many different visions of the common life can there be? There is only the good of community, living together. What may be disputed are the means (or the laws) by which this is to be preserved or enhanced. Or is the Holy Father thinking of the modern nation-state, which is arguably not a community? It would seem so --]

On the other hand, the extent to which the conception of a confessional state is left behind, it appears clear that, in any case, the laws must find their justification and force in natural law, which is order adequate to the dignity of the human person, overcoming a merely positivist conception from which it is not possible to derive precepts that are, in some way, of an ethical character (cf. Speech to the German Parliament, Sept. 22, 2011). The state is at the service of and protects the person and his “well-being” in its multiple aspects, beginning with the right to life, the deliberate suppression of which is never permissible. Everyone can see then how legislation and the work of state institutions must be especially in the service of the family, founded on marriage and open to life, and how there must be a recognition of the primary right of the parents to freely educate and form their children, according to the educational plan that they judge valid and pertinent. The family is not treated justly if the state does not support the freedom of education for the common good of society as a whole. [So is the modern conception of the "state" problematic? How does it expand upon the notions of government and authority? We can say government should serve the common good, the community and its members. Personalist formulations of political science are not irreconcilable with earlier formulations. One must examine what a personalist says about the good of community and whether it is higher than the private good of the individual. While the "modern" notion of the state may have been formulated by certain writers during the 16th and 17th centuries, their definition(s) may not apply to every instance of the word. It depends on the author's intention, which should be made clear in the text or in his corpus of writings at least.]

Zenit: Address by Metropolitan Gennadios to the 3rd Catholic-Orthodox Forum
"The Unity That We All Seek is a Gift From Above"
Zenit: Cardinal Ouellet at International Theology Symposium
The Ecclesiology of Communion, 50 Years after the Opening of Vatican Council II

3. Eucharistic ecclesiology

It is important to stress here that the ecclesiology of communion promoted by the Council takes its inspiration from the Eucharistic ecclesiology of the Orthodox, especially Afanassief, who is cited in the texts. The Council’s ecclesiology is thus of great ecumenical import. The intervention of John Zizioulas, the Metropolitan of Pergamon, at the 2005 Roman Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, testifies to this: “The ecclesiology of communion promoted by Vatican II and deepened further by eminent Roman Catholic theologians can make sense only if it derives from the eucharistic life of the Church. The Eucharist belongs not simply to the beneesse but to theesseof the Church. The whole life, word and structure of the Church iseucharistic in its very essence.”[9] Walter Kasper agrees wholeheartedly and holds that “eucharistic ecclesiology has become one of the most important foundations of the ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches.”
Chiesa: Vatican Diary / Double slap, for Saint Egidio and for the Jesuits

Showing respect for a tradition

Lee Faber has two pertaining to the insertion of Scotus into a genealogical narrative and using of sources (or the lack of proper sources): MacIntyre on Scotus and Alexander Broadie's Gifford Lecture

One should attempt to understand the arguments of a medieval on their own terms instead of relying on secondary sources in intellectual history or even philosophy, making use of followers of that tradition and contemporary scholars. This should not be so hard to understand. Even though I can respect MacIntyre for the philosophical and rhetorical value of some of his arguments pertaining to moral philosophy, it is unfortunate that much of his work is tied to intellectual history. (Alas this is because of his theses concerning moral epistemology and tradition.)

Better to understand one tradition well and argue accordingly -- leave the understanding of history to the Beatific Vision.

AVE MARIA (a 8) - Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548 - 1611)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

New from Catholic Courses

Dr. John Cuddeback of Christendom College has written a book on friendship; now he has a set of lectures on the same topic for Catholic Courses. (A preview of the book.)

An article in The Review of Metaphysics.
Human Nature and the Virtuous Life

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Most Reverend J. Augustine DiNoia,O.P., The Holy Priesthood and the Incarnation

Worth a repost? (via The Chant Cafe)

On Community by Laurel Good

Between us, my husband and I have taught close to a thousand students over the past five years: only a handful of them had grandparents in town. For some reason, people have as much trouble putting down roots here as maple trees do.

I suspect it’s because this isn’t our native earth, because our parents and friends and childhood memories are all settled a thousand miles away. And because no one can truly thrive without the knowledge that they matter in their community.

That’s not to say that no one can matter in Colorado. Out east on the plains you’ll find agricultural towns and small ranching communities that have made their mark on the land, and where people have made their mark on each other. And even in the Springs, there certainly are rare families who settled here several generations ago, and more that might begin to call it home. But my family isn’t one of them.

So we’re leaving now, before Sam spends his whole childhood indoors or on pavement, or before he comes to believe that his grandparents live in a little box called “Skype” on the computer. We’re going back home to the Midwest--Michigan, specifically--to be closer to our families, closer to familiar ground, closer to the grass.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Roger Nutt, Does Thomism Offer a Theory of Doctrinal Development?

Nutt refers the reader to Charles Journet's What is Dogma for a Thomistic explication of doctrinal development.

An excerpt: Dogma and Mystery

Here is my initial shot:
As we are unable to give a real definition of God in this life (as we do not know God as He is in Himself), so His essence has not been captured in a single concept. Hence He reveals Himself to us in a way that we can understand, through His actions and attributes (via analogy). Our understanding of what has been Divinely Revealed can be deepened as we apply our reason to it. (But it seems that our understanding can also be deepened in itself through participation in the Divine Life and the life of the Church? - through both experiential reflection and contemplation?)