Thursday, July 01, 2010

Dominicans and the Challenge of Thomism

official website

There are recordings for some of the delivered papers:

(via Fr. Augustine Thompson)

A Dominican personalist?

From Fr. Michael Sweeney's first post for his blog, Re-visioning Society -- A modest proposal:

I would like, therefore, to make a modest proposal: that we insist upon civil conversation concerning what our public figures actually say, and refuse judgment based upon hearsay, or, what amounts to the same thing, partisan politics.

So, for example, anyone, no matter how staunchly Republican, ought to take issue with a remark of President George W. Bush in his Memorial Day speech (May 26, 2008): "In a world where freedom is constantly under attack and in a world where our security is challenged, the joys of liberty are often purchased by the sacrifices of those who serve a cause greater than themselves." There is no cause greater than the human person; no one can serve a cause greater than himself. What the President said is not true.

Final causes greater than the private good of the individual human person? Yes, there is God, for one, and then there is the common good of the political community. So on what side of the debate between De Koninck and the personalists is Fr. Sweeney? (According to his public FB profile, he likes Catholics for the Common Good.) Both God and the political common good are goods of the individual, that is true, but they are common goods, not private goods. What George Bush means may be worded poorly for Fr. Sweeney's tastes, but I think we know what the former President is getting at.

Catherine of Siena Institute

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

James Chastek, Regulation and its cognates as political problems

No word captures this tension between ideology and practice better than regulation and its various cognates (regular, regulated, etc). At present, the term leans towards belonging to the first extreme, that is, political “regulation” is seen as something imposed on a multitude who have no principle of order in themselves. Thus, the need for “regulation” is seen (by those of both ideologies) as an implicit belief that the thing one is regulating, of itself, tends to chaos. Interestingly, we don’t always use the cognates of “regulate” in this way: the regularity of the digestive tract is simply its health, that is, its acting correctly from an interior principle. A well-regulated digestive tract is not one that is ruled from the outside, but simply one that is healthy. Even when we take, say, Metamucil, the “regularity” we seek is something that primarily arises from within. Similarly, the regulations of a game aren’t extrinsic to the game, but more simply descriptions of the game as such. It’s not that a ball outside the foul line is really a hit, but we impose “regulations” to deny this- the regulation is simply an articulation of what in fact counts as a hit. We don’t have regulations in football or baseball because the sports are intrinsically disordered, but precisely because they have an order in themselves which is recognized in the regulation. Nevertheless, regulation always involves a certain qualified chaos on the side of the thing that is regulated: we take Metamucil so far as our bowels have some chaos to them; and regulations do limit behavior in one way or another, even if the game isn’t sheer chaos. Thus regulation and its cognates, understood as we use them in common speech, are particularly good at illuminating the central idea of political practice. It’s a pity that “regulation” is taken as belonging to ideology, since when we take a closer look at the word we see that it is ideally suited, even in its preset use, to describe political practice as opposed to ideology: for regularity seems to recognize a real interior principle of things even while it recognizes that this principle is not always entirely capable of producing regularity.
Ignatius Insight Scoop: Pope reflects on St. Joseph Cafasso, model for spiritual directors