Friday, September 10, 2010

Pope's Address to Brazil's Bishops
"Division ... Is In Opposition to the Will of the Lord"

The search for Christian unity has not a few obstacles before it. In the first place, to be rejected is an erroneous view of ecumenism, which induces to a certain doctrinal indifference that attempts to level, in an a-critical Ireneism, all "opinions" in a sort of ecclesiological relativism. Together with this is the challenge of the incessant multiplication of new Christian groups, some of them using an aggressive proselytism, which shows how the landscape of ecumenism continues to be very differentiated and confused. In that context -- as I affirmed in 2007 in the Sé Cathedral in São Paulo, in the unforgettable meeting that I had with you, Brazilian bishops -- "indispensable is a good historical and doctrinal formation, which will allow the necessary discernment and help to understand the specific identity of each one of the communities, the elements that divide and those that help in the path of the construction of unity. The great common realm of collaboration should be the defense of the fundamental moral values, transmitted by biblical tradition, against their destruction in a relativist and consumerist culture; more than that, faith in God the Creator and in Jesus Christ, his incarnate Son" (No. 6).

For that reason, I encourage you to continue taking positive steps in this direction, as is the case of the dialogue with the ecclesial Churches and communities belonging to the National Council of Christian Churches, which, with initiatives such as the Campaign of Ecumenical Fraternity, help to promote the values of the Gospel in Brazilian society.

Esteemed brothers, the dialogue between Christians is an imperative of the present time and an irreversible option of the Church. However, as Vatican Council II reminds, at the heart of all efforts for unity must be prayer, conversion and sanctification of life (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," No. 8). It is the Lord who gives unity, this is not a creation of men, it is up to pastors to obey the Lord's will, promoting concrete initiatives, free of any conformist reductionism, but carried out with sincerity and realism, with patience and perseverance which spring from faith in the providential action of the Holy Spirit.


Today DPST posted the following in its update:
"Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder." St. Thomas Aquinas
I have heard something like this expressed before by Dr. Duane Berquist and by others associated with TAC and Laval. I can't say that I feel any sort of emotion when pursuing some line of inquiry these days. "Doing" philosophy can seem cold and analytical, though the intial spark of motivation might not be. But actual wonder? When I see the word I imagine something akin to what the contemplative experiences. I may feel awe when confronted with the beauty of nature. But with abstractions? The desire to understand, that I know I have. Wonder?

"Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder." Big with wonder. Is this entire quote really something from St. Thomas?

Met. Hilarion on the impact of female bishops on Orthodox-Anglican relations

Byzantine, Texas: Met. Hilarion asks, "What makes you so sure?"

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A question about the Church and Universal Suffrage

Has the Church ever endorsed universal suffrage?

The Church does not endorse any particular form of government (in particular, the forms of government enumerated by the ancients and considered by the medievals -- monarchy, aristocracy, or polity). It only requires that government serve the common good (rather than the private good of those who are ruling).
A quick search reminded me of this post at Ite ad Thomam. Talking about who is qualified to participate in ruling and who is not is implicitly tied to claims about distributive justice. I don't see the Magisterium coming out with a statement supporting [absolute] universal suffrage (which ignores the question of whether one is morally qualified to rule or not) when this would be contrary to distributive justice. (Individual bishops and priests may do so, but I would claim that they do not have adequate support from Tradition or reason. Praise of liberal democracy exists, even at the highest levels, but it is, as far as I remember, limited and conditional.)

Still, even if the Church hasn't endorsed universal suffrage, it may maintain that that in communities where it exists, Catholic citizens have a duty to exercise citizenship (to participate in elections and so on). Power should be used if it is given to one, even if he does not deserve it, for not using would be failing to prevent others from misusing it? However, what if he cannot exercise it well? What if Catholic citizens perceive that they are not qualified to vote, because they are not well informed of the issues or candidates? Not only can they opt out of voting, but would it be morally necessary for them to do so?

What of the apparent paradox that the knowledge that one is not qualified is founded upon the knowledge of what is necessary to be qualified, and those who have this fundamental knowledge are thereby qualified? We would have to break this down and look at what is actually known and to see if it is the same in all three cases. In the first, one may have opinion or moral science of who should be a citizen, but the most important qualification of a citizen is his virtue: the moral virtues including prudence or practical wisdom, which are not identical with opinion and moral science.
Carl Olson, Benedict XVI's biblical theology summarized in 10 theses
Some posts at American Creation remind me that I have to re-examine Brian Tierney... Charles J. Reid on Brian Tierney and Charles J. Reid on Brian Tierney II.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A review by E. Jennifer Ashworth of Joshua Hochschild's The Semantics of Analogy: Rereading Cajetan's De Nominum Analogia.

The review ends thusly:

To sum up, this book should certainly be read by Thomists, and by anyone who wants a readable account of what Cajetan actually said. On the other hand, it will be disappointing for those who want to set Cajetan in a wider context, whether of the development of post-medieval scholasticism or of the history of logic in the later Middle Ages. Nor does it have anything to offer those working in contemporary philosophy of language who are not ready to accept a medieval Aristotelian framework for their discussion. It will be interesting to see whether Hochschild can use this book, which grew out of his doctoral dissertation, as a basis for further exploration of the issues it raises.
To put Cajetan in a wider historical context would probably require at least a lifetime of scholarship. As Hochschild is rather young, this might be expecting too much from a book that was originally his dissertation (the fact of which the reviewer is aware). How difficult would it be to find Cajetan's sources and to determine who his opponents are?

The reviewer notes:
It should be noted here that although Hochschild frequently speaks as if signification is the same as meaning, this is not the case: the two notions cannot be precisely mapped onto each other, although there are obvious relations between them.
If this is an actual error on the part of Hochschild, it would raise concerns about the quality of Hochschild's presentation of Cajetan's doctrine of analogy and its place in logic.

New releases from UND Press

The Call to Read: Reginald Pecock’s Books and Textual Communities by Kirsty Campbell
Why Choose the Liberal Arts? by Mark William Roche
Unearthed: The Economic Roots of our Environmental Crisis by Kenneth M. Sayre
The Andean Hybrid Baroque: Convergent Cultures in the Churches of Colonial Peru by
Gauvin Alexander Bailey
Creating Catholics: Catechism and Primary Education in Early Modern France by Karen E. Carter
The Theology of Thomas Aquinas edited by Rik Van Nieuwenhove and Joseph Wawrykow
Two Essays on Biblical and on Ecclesiastical Miracles by John Henry Cardinal Newman

St. Jerome's Commentaries on Galatians, Titus, and Philemon by Thomas P. Schenck (see also Origen and the History of Justification)

Praying the Psalms in Christ, by Laurence Kriegshauer, OSB
Ascetics, Authority, and the Church in the Age of Jerome and Cassian, Second Edition by Philip Rousseau

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Evagrius recommended this over at Eirenikon: Common Patterns of Eastern and Western Scholasticism
by Raimundo Panikkar. Still useful today?

Fr. William A. Wallace, OP

Something from 2008, at Dominican History: Fr. William A. Wallace, O.P., Ad Multos Annos

"Discrete" and "Continuious": Abstractions of the Mind?

"Bruce" writes over at WWWTW:
There's also no such thing as discrete colors since the visible spectrum is a continuum bounded by ultra violet and short wave infrared. I mean, is blue 488 nanometers or 495 nanometers? Who can say? And the existence of green shows there's no such thing as blue or yellow.

There's no such thing as hot and cold because temperature is a continuum of molecular motion and there exist temperatures described as tepid. Who can say if 95 degrees is hot or if 60 degrees is cold. I'll remember that next time I'm cooking and put my hand in the pot of hot water.

If you ran around day-to-day arguing against categorization of things you encounter in life people would look at you like you're crazy. People categorize things unless they're some sort of radical nominalists. Denying the categorization of people by race has an ideological source/purpose. It ain't a conservative one.

When we talk about the spectrum of light (or EM waves in general), are we not dealing with an abstraction of the mind, the results of quantification? There may be different shades of "blue" and "green," but is it possible for there to be an "infinite" number of wavelengths between 488 nanometers and 489 nanometers?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Books about Dom Lambert Beauduin and Chevetogne

Fr Antoine Lambrechts recommends the following:
For those who read French and want to read something thoroughly on the history of Chevetogne, I can warmly advise You to read the most recent biography of Lambert Beauduin :

LOONBEEK, Raymond & MORTIAU, Jacques : Un pionnier : Dom Lambert Beauduin (1873-1960). Liturgie et Unité des chrétiens. 2 Volumes (1600 pages !), Louvain & Chevetogne, 2001.

And a strongly abbriged version (but not less interesting) by the same authors:

LOONBEEK, Raymond & MORTIAU, Jacques : Dom Lambert Beauduin visionnaire et précurseur (1873-1960). Un moine au coeur libre. Préface d’Enzo Bianchi. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 2005 (280 p.).

Unfortunately, there is not yet an english translation, only a Dutch translation of the last one. A German translation is in preparation.

fr Antoine