An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.
- Are you a liberal? Conservative? Neoconservative? — David at Cosmos, Liturgy, Sex discusses the problem with labels, one of the consequences being “it exacerbates the problem that both conservatives and liberals can unthinkingly presume that their _________ (political, economic, fill in the blank) philosophy is foundational and that the Church must some how fit into it. This leads to an over self-identification with their respective ideologies and the tendency to view Church teaching through these ideological lenses.” I wholeheartedly agree. Back in May 2005, Fr. James Schall noted the merits of being neither liberal nor conservative:
There is, in the end, something beyond liberal and conservative. That is the truth of things according to which we have a criterion that is not constantly changing between liberal and conservative and, in the meantime, one that means nothing but what we want it to mean. Thus if we claim we are “neither liberal nor conservative,” we announce that there are criteria that exist outside of our narrow way of thinking, categories that better define for us what we are and ought to be.
Back in 2003 a host of St. Blog’s Parish members, including Amy Welborn, Fr. Jim Tucker, Peter Nixon and Gregory Popcack had a interesting conversation about this very issue, with good comments pro/con. See “Qualifying Labels and a Hermeneutic of Suspicion (Against The Grain July 14, 2003).
- At the CL (Communion & Liberation) group blog Cahiers Peguy, Jack asks Is Democracy Compatible With The Gospel?; Santiago responds in the affirmative, with a subsequent post on defending the American Revolution.
- Taking his cue from a posting on relativism and programming languages by the parody-blog Musum Pontificalis (the fictional musings of Pope Benedict XVI), Jeff Miller offers his own witty reflections on The Moral Code. (I admit when I first came across Musum Pontificalis I figured it was another creative writing project from the Curt Jester, the brains behind Thoroughly Modern Mary and Moloch Now. Apparently the credit belongs to Rick Lugari @ Unam Sanctum.
- A Catholic View of Eastern Orthodoxy, by Fr. Aidan Nichols:
First, I shall discuss why Catholics should not only show some ecumenical concern for Orthodoxy but also treat the Orthodox as their privileged or primary ecumenical partner.
Secondly, I shall ask why the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches occurred, focussing as it finally did on four historic ‘dividing issues’.
Thirdly, I shall evaluate the present state of Catholic-Orthodox relations, with particular reference to the problem of the ‘Uniate’ or Eastern Catholic churches.
Fourthly and finally, having been highly sympathetic and complimentary to the Orthodox throughout, I shall end by saying what, in my judgment, is wrong with the Orthodox Church and why it needs Catholicism for (humanly speaking) its own salvation. . . .
(Via Seraphim @ Blogodoxy).
- On Stocking Groceries . . . The Catholic Way, by Jamie Blosser @ Ad Limina Apostolorum, responding to an inquiry at Disputations.
- On Children’s Literature and Pope Benedict XVI — Stephen Riddle has a good reflection on child-rearing and children’s literature that touches briefly on last month’s Harry Potter Controversy.
- From LewRockwell.com, an interesting interview with Dr. Thomas Woods, Jr., “paleoconservative”, (radical?) traditionalist, contributing editor of the American Conservative and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Dec. 2004), The Church and the Market : A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy (Mar. 2005 — containing “the only chapter-length critique of distributism of which I am aware
“), and most recently How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.
Woods is a fascinating personality and certainly goes against the grain: vehemently critical of neo-Catholics, neo-conservatives, the “politically leftist” Houston Catholic Worker AND the Claremont Review (“Lincoln nationalists with a vengeance”) . . . he’s also younger than the Gen X Revert. =)
- Carl Olson @ Insight Scoop asks: What Gospel is Joel Osteen preaching??
Osteen is a talented motivational speaker who happens to have started out as a pastor but was never comfortable with the more demanding elements of Christian faith, theology, and practice. Which is why, in large part, he has been so successful: there are a lot of people out there who want to be motivated, be told nice things, and hear inspiring stories, but without much fuss about discipleship, death to self, taking up the Cross, suffering for Christ, and so forth.
I’ve come across this guy channel-surfing sometimes. He’s quite the character.
- The Pattern of Christian Truth, by Timothy George (First Things 154 (June/July 2005): 21-25). A powerful address by the Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, executive editor of Christianity Today, and part of First Things‘ editorial board — on how to achieve an “integration of faith and learning” at a Christian institution.
- Tom @ Disputations asks a pertinent question:
Since bloggers choose what to write about, we are basically free to choose our own antagonists. Which means we’re also free to choose not to have antagonists. So why do we choose to have antagonists?
I think there’s something in the “free exchange of ideas” and the variety of opinions, judgements and positions that abound within the Catholic faith that a certain amount of friction or conflict is unavoidable. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to go out “spoiling for a fight” — even where ideas collide, I’ve always been of the firm belief that civility and simple respect should prevail. (Unapologetic Catholic seems to agree):My down to earth response is that it is good to exchange ideas and identify disagreements when it’s done in a “disputations” style. I can always learn a lot from different viewpoints. That’s why I read blogs whose point of view is different from my own. In that sense, “antagonism” can be a virtue.
However, “antagonism” can be carried to extremes by judgmentalism, name calling and unjustified righteousness.
- Enbrethiliel @ Sancta Sanctis compiles a list of Greatest Catholic Quotes of All Time (Almost).
- John Stamps of the Orthodox Conciliar Press Blog has a long post on suggested summer reading and his experiences reading the short stories of Flannery O’Connor.
- Is “Word Alone” an Evangelical possibility?, by Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina. (This address was given as the Banquet Address to the Ninth Annual Aquinas/Luther Conference At Lenior-Rhyne College; Hickory, North Carolina 26 October 2001 — my alma mater).
- In Great Deeds Something Abides – Loy Mershimer blogs on Divine Intervention at the Battle of Gettysburg: “Divine intervention, not only in the battle, but in the exact preparation of persons and events for the battle. Phenomenal and amazing. I now have a list of over 14 specific things, that, if any single one of them would have been different, the outcome of the battle would have been different” — one of which is the story of Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain and the 20th Maine . . .
- The Grand Old Story, by Fr. Al Kimel @ Pontifications:
With all the recent debates that have been occuring on Pontifications about the filioque, absolute divine simplicity, and Augustine versus Maximus the Confessor, it’s easy to forget the purpose of the Trinitarian dogma. The dogma was not intended to provide a philosophical explanation of the inner life of God, as if we Christians had nothing better to do than to speculate endlessly upon matters that are infinitely beyond us. . . .
- The New Liturgical Movement — a group blog “dedicated to promoting the New Liturgical Movement called for by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI in all the sacred arts and in the unity of legitimate liturgical diversity” — featuring Shawn Tribe (CIEL Canada, Writer), Fr. Peter Stravinskas (Author, editor of The Catholic Response), Fr. Thomas Kocik (Author of Reform of the Reform?), Sandra Miesel (Medievalist, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax), Brian MacMichael (Graduate Student in Liturgical Studies, UND), Matt Alderman (Architecture Student, UND), Joel Pidel (Architecture Student) AND Paul C.K. Lew (Dominican Novice, UK). Now THAT’s what I’d call collective blogging!
On a lighter note . . .
- Arthur Chrenkoff on President Bush’s unusual ability to bring balding techno DJ’s and misogynistic rappers together. Heh — Dubya always did claim to be “a uniter, not a divider”.
- Jimmy Akin is interrogated by a caffeine-amped college student with “the attention span of a ferret on cocaine” over his views on the war in Iraq and the Catholic just war tradition.
- Logres gives us a Crash Course in Scottish traditional music: “Q: Is Enya a Celtic musician? No. Next question. . . .”
- I’m all for academics getting out of the classroom and engaging popular culture but this is just a little too much:
editor of Seinfeld and Philosophy , The Simpsons and Philosophy, The Matrix and Philosophy, and More Matrix and Philosophy seeks abstracts for a new volume on METALLICA. Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader. Potential contributors should examine other volumes in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series for style and content. Contributors of accepted essays will receive a significant honorarium.
Via (Crooked Timber).
- I. Shawn McElhinney (Rerum Novarum discusses a subject near and dear to my heart and, I agree with him, lamentably under-discussed by Catholic bloggers:
Is there a theological argument for beer??? There is for wine of course (see the Lord’s use of wine throughout the Gospels and Paul’s exhortation in i Tim v,23-25). Wine has the support of Holy Writ whereas beer applies as a logical extension if you will. . . .