Saturday, May 05, 2012

Some thoughts on CL

One of my former professors was a follower of CL and introduced me to the writings of Msgr. Giussani, its founder. The group and its founder have received praise from the current and previous popes. I think GodSpy, which has not been updated in more than three years, was also associated with CL in some way? (Or maybe it just published essays by Msgr. Alcabete.)

I have some of Msgr. Giussani's books, but I must admit that I have not really read through most of them. I tried to read through one but stopped, as it was too dense for me at the time. Having grown a little, maybe I would comprehend it better now and thus profit from it. Or maybe I'm too simple-minded to appreciate it. My first impression was that its literary style of presenting the Faith was not for me. (Or the style of the English translation, at least.)

I also know that study groups are very popular with CL; they read the writings of Msgr. Giusanni plus other texts. This reminds me of the study groups of Jacques Maritain. (How many conversions did Maritain facilitate?) I've been invited to a CL study group, but never attended. It may have a better reputation than some of the other ecclesial movements. I think its apostolate is more directed towards university faculty and students and professionals? The key to understanding it better for me would be to see how they define culture and education (and how this relates to community, both the local Church and the political community). How is it different from John Senior's IHP at the U. Kansas? Its sort of ecumenical outreach reminds me of Sant'Egidio, but their apostolates are different? For the big cities I tend to favor something more radically simple like the Catholic Worker movement, which was not anti-intellectual, far from it. (iirc, Dorothy Day had her own study groups.)

What are the philosophical/literary sources upon which CL texts rely? Maybe I'm not steeped enough in recent European intellectual culture to fully appreciate the texts, but is there a danger of over-intellectualizing the Gospel?

There is actually a CL group at the local parish. If things ever settle down, maybe I'll check it out.

The Risk of Education
The "Right Way" of Fr. Luigi Giussani
International Institute of Culture
Crossroads Cultural Center

New York Encounter
A Festival of Faith and Reason

More with Msgr. Alcabete:
Frontline interview
Younger than Sin
Some appearances on Charlie Rose.

Msgr. Alcabete on the salvation of non-Christians - he is correct that salvation is not works-righteousness; it is your stand to the Other. But it seems rather muddled. Maybe it's my preference for "scholastic distinctions." Truth and Love can be names for God, yes. And we must know and love Him to be happy.
Adam DeVille interviews Tim Kelleher: Tim Kelleher on the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed

First Things

The World Over

Friday, May 04, 2012

Domenic D’Ettore Earns Doctorate in Philosophy
Domenic D’Ettore, a doctoral candidate in the University of St. Thomas Center for Thomistic Studies program, publicly defended his dissertation on April 23 before the University community and his dissertation board.

D’Ettore’s dissertation was accepted by the Center for Thomistic Studies and in May he will be the 21st recipient of a doctorate in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas.

The purpose of D’Ettore’s dissertation, titled “Early Thomists on Demonstration with Analogous Terms,” is to defend the demonstration through analogical terms given by early Thomists, such as Thomas of Sutton (1250-1315/20) and John Capreolus (1380-1444), in the face of objections that such demonstration is fallacious from John Duns Scotus (c.1265-1308) and those influenced by Scotus, such as Henry of Harclay (ca. 1270-1317) and Peter of Auriol (ca. 1280-1322).

The virtue of the Scotist position is its preservation of the apparent integrity of arguments from perfections in creatures to those same perfections in God. The weakness of this position is that it blurs the distinction between God and creatures. The strength of the Thomist position is the preservation of the distinction of God from creatures.

D’Ettore’s dissertation considers whether or not the early Thomist tradition provides the contemporary Thomist with an adequate answer as to how Thomas’s doctrine of analogy avoids the problems Scotus and his early successors find in it and what aspects these Thomists left for future Thomists to develop.

D’Ettore’s dissertation committee included Dr. Jeremy Wilkins, associate professor in the School of Theology; Dr. Thomas Osborne, Jr., associate professor of philosophy; Dr. John F.X. Knasas, professor and Bishop Nold Chair in graduate philosophy; Dr. Mirela Oliva, assistant professor of philosophy; Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Thomistic Studies; and external reader Dr. Joshua Hochschild, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Mount St. Mary’s University.

Hochschild stated in the summary of his examination of the dissertation that he felt “confident that Mr. D’Ettore’s dissertation represents a genuine contribution to the field.”

Father Julián Carrón to receive honorary doctorate from CUA
Dominicana: De Veritate

There has been much attention given to the recently published doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women’s Religious (LCWR). The document, produced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), identifies several problems, including dissent from Church teaching (e.g., concerning the reservation of priestly orders to men), the inviting of speakers who ignore or contradict the teaching of the Church, and the justification, by some speakers, of dissent against the Magisterium as a “prophetic office.”

There are two common responses to this document, both of which focus on authority. Some who oppose the assessment see it as an oppressive action by a male hierarchy, a reactionary effort to deal with the perceived threat of progressive women religious. Some who support it, on the other hand, cheer it on, thinking that the Vatican has finally dropped the hammer on these wayward sisters. Both of these responses are unsatisfactory.

Que dire du mal

Que dire du mal ? by college-des-bernardins
Conférence du jeudi 22 mars 2012
Par le père Antoine Guggenheim

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tradition-Constituted Theological Rationality and the Possibility of the Non-Theocratic Regime by Thaddeus Kozinski

Now, the liberal state never explicitly affirms “we are God,” for in its official agnosticism, it does not even explicitly deny or affirm the possible or actual existence of a transcendent being. Moreover, it insists that it leaves open the possibility of some such being’s revealing or having revealed himself and his will to man. Secular liberalism, that is, the purportedly non-theocratic state, simply does not deem it necessary to recognize any such being and revelation for the purposes of either political philosophy or political practice. It claims public ignorance about, but does not deny outright the possibility of, an authoritative revelation demanding personal recognition.

Yet, the believer in a being who has clearly and publicly revealed to man his will for the political order could argue that a studied ignorance regarding the existence of such a publicly accessible divine revelation is intellectually unjustified and politically unjust. For a Roman Catholic, for example, the Church exists as a public institution claiming to be the embodiment and spokesman of a publicly authoritative divine revelation bearing directly on morality and politics. Therefore, the Church is at least a possible candidate for a publicly authoritative social institution. Even if one prescinds from the question of the truth of this revelation, the Church’s claim about itself to be the authoritative spokesman for this truth is still an objective, intelligible fact within societies, and while a political philosopher can deny the truth of this claim, it cannot plead ignorance to the fact of the claim itself. Thus, in articulating any ideal political order, the political philosopher must deal in some way with the Church’s claim to have the authority to define the ultimate meaning of goodness and politics, by either recognizing or denying the Church’s public authority to do so. Practical agnosticism to the very possibility of such an authority is, in effect, an implicit moral judgment of the injustice of its ever becoming an actual, living authority, and therefore an implicit theological denial of the authority it indeed has (from the Catholic perspective).
Blackboard Rumble: Why Are Physicists Hating On Philosophy (and Philosophers)? ny Adam Frank
Varieties of atheism by Jacques Maritain
Benedict XVI's Reform: The Liturgy Between Innovation and Tradition

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Presuming God's approval

If God doesn't will it, then wouldn't he stop it from happening? "I asked for His aid, and it was successful; why shouldn't I give Him the creidt." Could this line of reasoning be twisted in those who seek to uphold the status quo, rather than questioning their basic assumptions about the political economy (e.g. perpetual growth)? How counter-cultural do we have to be as Christians? Will the Holy Spirit aid us in being critical of our assumptions about what the good life requires? Or is this only for a few, while the rest He leaves in ignorance? If we do not struggle for community, is its absence not a fitting punishment?

Only He can judge who is guilty of pride and blindness and who was only muddling by in a fallen world.

Matthew 7: 21-23
Non omnis, qui dicit mihi: “Domine, Domine”, intrabit in regnum caelorum, sed qui facit voluntatem Patris mei, qui in caelis est.
Multi dicent mihi in illa die: “Domine, Domine, nonne in tuo nomine prophetavimus, et in tuo nomine daemonia eiecimus, et in tuo nomine virtutes multas fecimus?”. Et tunc confitebor illis: Numquam novi vos; discedite a me, qui operamini iniquitatem.
Over at Mount St. Mary College: Midsummer Conference on Aquinas and the Mind/Body Problem

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ambrosian chant - Tecum principium in die virtutis tue

Tradition and the future

Francis of Assisi: A New Biography by Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, O.P

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Family Life in an Orthodox Rhythm
James Chastek, Two truths in theology and history

Per impossibile, what if there were rock-solid evidence that Christ didn't rise from the dead? I just find the hypothetical question posed rather baffling. "Assume we have, say, rock solid evidence that Pilate was a no-nonsense judge, with no scruples about killing anyone for the sake of order (I’ve heard historians modify or contest this, but assume that it is firmly established)."

What what the rock solid evidence be? Some record, some testimony, plus some reasoning on the part of the historian. Can a historian ever capture the full character or personality of a historical person? It is questionable whether we can even do that with respect to the people we "know."

Mr. Chastek writes at the end:

The Christian can point to the fact that it is possible that the accounts are true, but is it necessary that he be able to transmute possibility into a historically reasonable claim? So do we have some sort of “two truths” doctrine here? In fact, if historical truth is what the theologian calls a probable opinion, and the theologian can admit that some historical facts need not be the ones that are most probable given the historical evidence we have, is there even a tension between the two truths? Why can’t something that is in fact false be what is most probable given the historical evidence that we have?

Any evidence we have is some sort of testimony and subjected to criteria pertaining to trustworthiness/credibility. If history cannot attain the level of certitude necessary for a science, then this isn't really a problem of "two truths, " is it? Can we say that the history given within Sacred Scripture is more reliable than anything constructed by human historians working without the aid of the Holy Spirit? Why not? In addition, isn't the testimony of the authors of Sacred Scripture one more historical source that must be taken into consideration by the secular historian? On what a priori basis can he exclude it as being unreliable?