Saturday, January 21, 2012

Zenit: Pope Clarifies True Nature of Justice and Peace
Remembers Christians Paying for Fidelity With Their Lives

Justice," the Holy Father explained, "is not a mere human convention. When, in the name of supposed justice, the criteria of utility, profit and material possession come to dominate, the value and dignity of human beings can be trampled underfoot. Justice is a virtue which guides the human will, prompting us to give others what is due to them by reason of their existence and their actions. Likewise, peace is not the mere absence of war, or the result of man's actions to avoid conflict; it is, above all, a gift of God which must be implored with faith, and which has the way to its fulfillment in Jesus. True peace must be constructed day after day with compassion, solidarity, fraternity and collaboration on everyone's part.

A novel understanding of the virtue of justice? One that is harmony with contemporary theories of justice rooted in human dignity and rights. A more classical or Thomistic definition would not emphasize or include this, only the latter (action or the lack of action) as giving the ratio explaining why we make a return.
Rorate Caeli: Who is a Traditionalist?

But we can still do very much to live the Faith in our families and our communities. In doing so, we must resist the temptation to make traditionalism into an ideology, a reaction, or a negation of what other people do. Traditionalism is what we are, what we know, and what we do. Here, then, I will catalogue some of the things traditionalists affirm, or ought to affirm:

We affirm the Catholic Credo in all its integrity.

We affirm that the Catholic Church is the one bride of Christ, and that its Faith and its religion are the only divinely revealed ways to believe in and serve the living God. Consequently, the Catholic Church is the only path to salvation.

We affirm that divine truth is assailed by enemies of God’s Church, and that the faithful must “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

We affirm the supernatural constitution of the Church, the natural hierarchy of the family, and the rule of Christ the King in society. To what degree we can, we will work to preserve or restore these things in our own families and communities; for the the world, the flesh, and the devil are undermining this order established by God.

We affirm that the Church’s public worship of God, her liturgy, has been handed down to us with great care by our fathers in the Faith. This has been done in a beautiful variety of rites. It is wrong to cast off these treasures of centuries of careful development under the protection of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, we will practice them, honor them, love them, and teach them to our children.

The authentic response to evil is a life of Christian virtue and holiness, which is none other than the faithful response to one’s primary vocation (the baptismal call to sanctity), lived according to the mode of his “secondary vocation” (i.e., priesthood, religious life, marriage, the single state in the world).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rorate Caeli: A second response from the SSPX?
WDTPRS: SSPX sends the CDF a more precise response to the Doctrinal Preamble
Pertinacious Papist: For the record: preamble update

Innovation in the name of plurality?

Rorate Caeli: Neocatechumenal Rite approved?
Let us call it the New Liturgical Way

"How can we prevent the work of the Holy Spirit?"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zenit: Benedict XVI's Address to US Bishops on 'Ad Limina' Visit
"The Legitimate Separation of Church and State Cannot Be Taken to Mean That the Church Must Be Silent"

"At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God."

A certain view of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. But not the only conservative understanding of those documents.

"The Church’s witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation."

What is the basis for the legitimate separation of Church and State? Is the Holy Father speaking from a Catholic point of view or is he adopting an American point of view? I take the Catholic view to be this: the supernatural common good that resides in being a part of the Church is not the same as the temporal common good, and the authority of the Church is not the same as the authority of the secular government.

"Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level."

I think this is a failed strategy and will continue to be a failed strategy if it is understood to be directed primarily at the national level.
Zenit: On the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
"The Unity for Which We Pray Requires Interior Conversion, Both Communal and Personal"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Imaginative Conservative: The High Achievement of Christopher Dqawson
Insight Scoop, New: "Christianity and Democracy" (2nd edition) by Jacques Maritain

Will IP be reprinting anything else by Maritain? They have been reprinting some of Gilson's works; I suppose there isn't a young Thomist who writes for a popular audience IP could publish as well, Edward Feser, Perhaps? Mike Augros or another TAC alum? Martain's political writings may be of interest for the Catholic politicla theorist, but I doubt they are of any practical value today, at least here in the U.S.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Robert P. Kraynak, Justice Without Foundations (via ML)

What is so strange about our age is that demands for respecting human rights and human dignity are increasing even as the foundations for those demands are disappearing. In particular, beliefs in man as a creature made in the image of God, or an animal with a rational soul, are being replaced by a scientific materialism that undermines what is noble and special about man, and by doctrines of relativism that deny the objective morality required to undergird human dignity. How do we account for the widening gap between metaphysics and morals today? How do we explain “justice without foundations” — a virtue that seems to exist like a table without legs, suspended in mid-air? What is holding up the central moral beliefs of our times?

Monday, January 16, 2012

t seems difficult for laymen to have a deep friendship with priests, even those with whom you have a shared history. Who can relate to their daily problems, except other priests? Those priests who cultivate an intellectual life or other [masculine] pursuits can have non-priest friends to share those activities, but for an intimate friendship that understands the daily experiences and trials of being a priest, it seems only priests are qualified.

Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today I was thinking about certain teachers of moral theology at a certain NE college. Should we surprised that when rationalism has affected theology, that dissenters within and without academia now judge the moral precepts given in Sacred Tradition in accordance with their own moral "reasonings," rejecting those that don't comply? Hello, the Syllabus of Errors? The Rule of Faith? What? What "prudential reasons" can our bishops give for failing to deal with the problem in the College colleges and universities within their jurisdictions?

The Language of Politics

Alasdair MacIntyre uses an allegory to explain the state of contemporary moral discourse, claiming that our language of morality has been retained from the past, but it has lost its meaning because we no longer subscribe to the theoretical basis (i.e. teleology) that informed it. Although he does not make a similar assertion with respect to political language (community, friendship, and the common good) I am thinking that this may be the case, at least with respect to the United States and modern nation-states. The use of such language reinforces the illusion that we live in a real community, rather than living in an area inhabited by other individuals and with whom we have very little shared social life, and disinclining us from questioning our judgments of our fundamental political reality.

As I've mentioned before, Fr. Cessario made the apt observation that we talk about community so much because we don't have it, while the medievals didn't discuss it in such detail in their treatises because they did. While only some American philosophers realize that it is missing or present only weakly, it seems to be that the majority of us continue to debate or "deliberate" in public as if we do live in a community. (Even communitarians may start off with the wrong beginnings when it comes to the discussion of practical matters.) If we realized that we don't, would we be willing to question our assumptions about economics and the "free market" in looking for what prevents the development of communal life?

We may say we believe in the common good but how many of us weigh the outcome of possible legislation based on how it affects us personally and vote accordingly? How can we make appeals to solidarity when such fellowship exists only in our imaginations?