Friday, April 20, 2012

Rome Reports: Society of St. Pius X is one step closer to reconciling with the Vatican

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2 from 30 Days

What we need most of all is prayer
Witness of Cardinal Roger Etchegaray
by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray

It is prayer that is the keystone of the Christian life
“We need much humility, we need to recite the Rosary and the simplest prayers, like those of popular devotion; one understands there that it is very often the people who hand on the faith to the learned”.
An Interview with Prosper Grech, the Augustinian created cardinal by Benedict XVI in the recent Consistory


James Chastek: Don’t always distinguish

In the (corrupted?) Scholastic tradition, “distinguish” has become a fraternity password or cheerleader-slogan. All problems and paradoxes are seen as mechanically calling forth the need to “distinguish!” The irony is that what is most loveable in the great Scholastics is not their distinctions but their syntheses and unifications. Distinction itself is purely ad hoc, arbitrary and hateful unless it can reduce to some evident principle that allows for the distinction itself.
As a beginner, I'm not understanding the critique so much. Distinguishing may be a necessary step to clarity when definitions have not been stated and one does not to presume that an interlocutor or opponent is using a specific one. It seems necessary when the discussion is taking place through the written word rather than through speech; it is useful too for preserving a measure of humility and politeness in discourse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

DSPT: The 22nd Annual Aquinas Lecture - vimeo

The Evidence of the Precepts of Natural Law

Is the Natural Law Persuasive? by R.J. Snell

The theory of natural law, not the precepts of natural law.

One can try to persuade not through demonstration of the principles (i.e. human goods), but through dialectic.

The first-person aspect of natural law explains also the appeals to the self-evident. As John Finnis articulates in Fundamentals of Ethics, “ethics is not deduced or inferred from metaphysics or anthropology,” and principles are self-evident precisely in that they are not deduced from previous principles, but in no way is ethics merely intuited or asserted or mystically known. Rather, by adverting to the object(ive)s of human action—the for-the-sake-of-which rendering action intelligible—we can attend “to precisely those aspects of our experience . . . in which human good(s) became or can now become intelligible to us.” In other words, we can understand human goods rather than deduce human goods, but while understanding is not an inference it nonetheless involves insight into our experience, and without the experience and insight we would not understand. Basic goods are not deduced or derived, for they are self-evident, but there are conditions for our understanding of the goods.

The condition of coming to understand basic human goods, which serve as grounds for reasonable action, is a first-person understanding of our own reasons for acting. That is, we have to understand why we act and what we seek when we act. If an action is intelligible, that action will have some grounds which are understood as worth seeking in themselves, not requiring justification or demonstration on the basis of some other good(s). Understanding this entails self-understanding, adverting to the reasons for acting always operative in our knowing and choosing. Such self-understanding, Finnis explains, is not simply “opening one’s eyes” to take a look at oneself, nor is it an “intuition”; it is an “insight” gained by “reflecting on one’s own wanting, deciding and acting,” which occurs not by “peer[ing] inside oneself” but by noticing and understanding one’s own reasons for acting.

While these goods are assumed in ethics, they can be shown to be such in metaphysics? What about the precepts dealing with the means to these goods? Can they be demonstrated (through moral science)? Even so, would such demonstrations be persuasive to the man of vice(s)? Probably not.

[We have a natural inclination to know truth. But moral truth is not the same "truth" as speculative truth.]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lefebvriani, la risposta positiva è arrivata (via Fr. Z) - Rorate Caeli

A different take: St. Pius X Society gives mixed response to Vatican
The Interior Life by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J (ia Insight Scoop)
Logos Bringing Aquinas’ Other Works into English
James Chastek, Two answers to “why do we form political associations?”

Plato says that the city arises from an individual’s inability to meet his own physical needs; Aristotle says that it arises because men are political by nature. At first glace, it seems like Aristotle’s account is facile, or even that it is no explanation at all: “men are naturally political because they are political by nature! What an insight!” But Aristotle’s explanation is the better one. In effect, he is insisting that political life is irreducible. It is not the result of a more fundamental drive or desire – political life itself is the fundamental desire, and it would remain so even if it was not as good at meeting physical needs. This is why his Politics doesn’t begin by considering the individual (and his needs) as the principle of a society, but takes communal life as irreducible.
How many modern political theories start with the good of the individual and the myth that society originates in the need of individuals to cooperate for survival?

But if political life is a basic and irreducible need, then just regimes must at least strive to make the regime a place in which the citizens can be truly politically active. Again, where political order reduces to physical need, the Leviathan-state is possible and perhaps even desirable; but where an individual’s political life is an irreducible reality, the Leviathan-state is in flagrant contradiction with the first principle of politics, since no one can lead a political life in the Leviathan state. The Leviathan might meet all the individual’s physical needs, but it does not allow his political actions to make anything beyond a negligible difference.

Political friendship, by the nature of friendship, is ordered to some measure of equality? (Or that constitution known as republic/polity?)
St. Thomas and the Keeping of Pets

Might some pets (e.g. dogs) be more suited to be companions for man than others?

Monday, April 16, 2012

OP: Initial formation: between postmodernity and new evangelisation
PASCHA "As Smoke Vanishes...let them vanish" St. Elias Church
Rome Reports: Benedict XVI: Celebrating his birthday and election as Pope

My Brother the Pope by Georg Ratzinger and Michael Hesemann