Saturday, May 07, 2011

Rorate Coeli: A "renewed anthropological foundation to religious freedom" 

I have to agree with those commenting who see no change in the Holy Father's understanding of Dignitatis Humanae. The anthropology is the basis for the freedom and for the right.

Zenit: Mexican Christian Leaders on Religious Freedom [2011-05-06]
"Not a Benevolent Concession of the State But a Fundamental Human Right"
Zenit: Papal Address to Liturgical Institute
"Not Infrequently Tradition and Progress Are Clumsily Opposed"

Pope's Message to Biblical Commission
"Inspiration and Truth as Two Key Concepts"

Pope's Address to Delegation From the "Papal Foundation"
"The Church Is Missionary by Her Very Nature"

Friday, May 06, 2011

Called to Communion: Lawrence Feingold on Freedom of the Will (via ML)

Thursday, May 05, 2011


Discovered this blog today while doing a search for information regarding the conference dedicated to John Finnis. One of the blog authors, Kevin Feiser, has written a series on the "action theory"/moral psychology of Martin Rhonheimer:

Regarding Rhonheimer…
On Rhonheimer, Part II: Moral Action Theory
On Rhonheimer, Part III: Virtue Ethics

6th Scarpa Conference on Law, Politics, and Culture

Patrick Brennan: More on John Finnis and others at Villanova Law

See also Fr. Rhonheimer is coming to Villanova Law and The Scarpa Conference at Villanova Law: Eskridge, Ferejohn, Finnis, and many others

OUP: The Collected Essays of John Finnis (5 volumes!)

Fr. Tomas Tyn, O.P.

Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli, O.P. recommends these two websites for more information about the Servant of God Tomas Tyn, O.P. in his Response to the traditionalists of "The Remnant," in defense of Arzillo: Studio Filosofico Domenicano and Arpato.

SD's Youtube Channel

Other links:
Padre Tomas Tyn: un domenicano senza compromessi
Totus Tuus Tools
Servo di Dio Tomas Tyn
a forum thread
another homily on Fr. Tyn

P.Tomas Tyn, OP: La temperanza (Matilde has audio files of Fr. Tyn and videos of Fr. Cavalcoli)
P.Tomas Tyn: Omelia di P.Pilastro, OP (1.1.1991)
P. Tomas Tyn OP (1950-1990) mostra fotografica a Cremona

Now a short comment on Fr. Cavalcoli's response. He writes:

By comparing Descartes with Aristotle, Aristotle did not intend to refer to the dualism of Descartes, of whom he does not speak, but to the Cartesian way of thinking, too attached to clarity and distinction, something that can be acceptable in mathematical thinking, but not in theological, which is a form of thought based more on analogy than on univocality. Now, it is precisely the method of analogy that is characteristic of Aristotle, and not of Descartes.

Analogical thought makes it possible to understand how a concept, while still remaining identical to itself, can however at the same time develop, progress, explicate and clarify itself. This is typical of all vital phenomena, from the biological level to the spiritual. Because of this, Blessed John Henry Newman compared dogmatic or theological progress to the development of a plant, which grows and develops while still remaining itself. A five-foot oak tree is still itself even when it has reached one hundred feet.

Thus the doctrines of Vatican II must not be viewed as a disowning or rupture with the previous magisterium, but as a confirmation and explication of them. In other words, with Vatican II we know better those same truths of faith that we knew before.

The science of] Theology may be characterized by analogical thinking.But is it too much to ask for clarity in a dogmatic statement or formula. We would expect it in a dogmatic definition; otherwise imprecision would render it useless as a tool for teaching the Faith and opposing error. Conciliar documents are not meant for theological speculation; rather, they are there to explicate Sacred Tradition for the sake of the Christian faithful. (I think there is a difference between explication as (re-)defining the truths of the Faith, as opposed to shedding light or giving insight to the principles (supplied by Faith) through reasoning.) It would seem to me that this is a straw man argument.

Roberto de Mattei responds to critics

Sandro Magister, The Church Is Infallible, But Not Vatican II

And it made mistakes, maintains traditionalist historian Roberto de Mattei. The dispute continues for and against the popes who guided the Council and put its innovations into practice

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Ryan T. Anderson reviews John D. Mueller's Redeeming Economics: Dismal Science Redeemed: What’s Gone Wrong.

I'm puzzled by this account given by Mueller:
Thus the theory Aquinas outlined—known as “Scholastic” economics—had four key elements: the theory of production, which explains which goods (and how many of them) we produce; the theory of justice in exchange, which accounts for how we are compensated through the sale of goods for our contributing to their production; the theory of final distribution, which determines who will consume our goods; and finally, the theory of consumption (or utility), which explains which goods people prefer to consume.

I think I have the book, but if I do, it's in storage. What he writes here about distributive justice does need to be checked, since distributive justice pertains to common goods. It could be argued that whatever we produce from natural resources, which are clearly "common goods," is also common, but I haven't come across a persuasive argument that this is so.

Vocations Vid for the Eastern Province

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Various popes, bishops and theologians have written about what constitutes a good regime (one that governs in accordance with the common good), and they have accepted the classification of regimes taken from the ancient Greeks. Political theorists from Aristotle to Leopold Kohr have talked about the limits to the size of a polity, and how good governance is not possible if a polity exceeds this limit. I would consider this to fall under "Natural Law reasoning" (that is to say, a precept concerning the limit to a size to a polity would be of the Natural Law, touching upon both the common good and good government). But is it something that the Church could ever endorse?
John Allen, Laicizing bishops, a movie flap, Ireland and America, and Vatican II

More often than not, people like to see their own convictions as a middle position between two extremes. We all feel better, I suppose, thinking of ourselves as rational moderates, standing against ideologues on either side.

When it comes to interpretations of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), some progressive Catholics are tempted to see Pope Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of reform,” which stresses continuity with the pre-Vatican II church, as the opposite end of the spectrum from more liberal views. That’s not, however, how most people in the Vatican size things up, where the “hermeneutic of reform” is instead understood as a balanced position between thinking that church history began with Vatican II, and thinking that the council was just plain wrong.

For that taxonomy to work, there have to be credible exponents of the “just plain wrong” position. That’s where Italian historian Roberto de Mattei and Monsignor Brunero Gherardini, a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, enter the picture.

Both have published provocative books about Vatican II. Last year, de Mattei offered Il Concilio Vaticano II: Una storia mai scritta (“The Second Vatican Council: A Story Never Told”), styling Vatican II as a rupture with tradition comparable to the French Revolution, and faulting every pope since Pius X for allowing it to happen. Gherardini produced Concilio Vaticano II: Il discorso mancato (“The Second Vatican Council: The Missing Discussion”), in which he said some council fathers believed “the church was to be a kind of research laboratory rather than a dispenser of truths from on high.”

Both books were recently reviewed in L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, and in both cases the verdict was fairly negative. The commentary on de Mattei came from Italian Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, author of a study of the council openly critical of the more liberal “Bologna school” associated with Italian scholars Giuseppe Alberigo and Alberto Melloni. Marchetto wrote that de Mattei’s work is “ideological” and suffers from “extremist tendencies.” Likewise, Inos Biffi, a medieval expert and a frequent writer for L’Osservatore, charged that Gherardini doesn’t so much “discuss” Vatican II as “denigrate” it.

The dividing line is this: If the post-Vatican II period brought some confusion and excess, is that the fault of the council itself? Benedict XVI, and figures in sync with his views such as Marchetto and Biffi, say no; traditionalist critics such as de Mattei and Gherardini say yes.

All this illustrates a core insight about the Catholic Church: Deciding who the moderates are depends on the range of views one takes into consideration. When you see the whole picture, it’s often tougher to conclude that the Vatican, or the pope, represents an extreme.

Again, Allen talks about "moderates" -- this is a unhelpful term, when it comes to evaluating the second Vatican Council or its documents. I think those who are critical are critical primarily of the documents approved by the Council Fathers and of certain ambiguities. As for explaining how the documents came about, that is the job of a historian, not of a theologian or bishop, even if it is up to the theologian or bishop to interpret the documents in light of Tradition and to present them in that manner.

This is also separate from the question of whether the second Vatican Council is the cause of all the problems in the Church from the late '60s through the '70s. Again, I don't think that this is what Gherardini would claim.

The hermeneutic of continuity might be mandated by charity (and fidelity?), but does it not presuppose that the Church must reconcile the documents of the Council with tradition because of their authoritative weight? Are not syllabi and anathemas better?