Month: December 2013

Here and There

  • Disputations on “Modern Prometheuses” (of Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium):

    The modern Prometheus claims to be able to define his own nature and to create his own good, and in doing so he creates a monster. He doesn’t just fail to do God’s will, he fails to do his own will, because man isn’t able to define his own nature and create his own good. …

    The neopelagianism comes in, I suppose, in the de facto reliance on human actions — the right prayers, said on the right day in the right language — for salvation, rather than on Divine mercy. This reliance on human actions may perhaps be more clearly be seen in attitudes towards those who don’t follow their prescribed orthopraxis. (As an extreme example, I once came across a condemnation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet as a ruse of the devil to trick Catholics into not praying the Rosary.)

    I’ll go so far as to suggest the possibility of a neopelagian orthodoxy — placing one’s hope for salvation in believing the right doctrines, according to the right formulas, rather than in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit promised to those who live according to those doctrines, and Whose presence is a guarantee of salvific grace.

  • “The End of Protestantism” turns out to be … Protestant – Michael Liccione responds to Peter Leithart’s “The End of Protestantism” (First Things “On the Square” 11/8/13): “What Leithart is advocating, which he calls “reformational Catholicism,” has been around since the 16th century.”
  • Balthasar’s Interpretation of Aquinas

    A few years ago I translated Angelo Campodonico’s essay “Il pensiero filosofico di Tommaso d’Aquino nell’interpretazione di H.U. Von Balthasar” for the English edition of Nova et Vetera. It was published as “Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Interpretation of the Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas” in vol. 8 of Nova et Vetera on pp. 33-53. I recently uploaded it to my page. You can find it here.

    Since Thomists and Balthasarians often find themselves at odds, this makes Campodonico’s essay all the more interesting, or so it seems to me. In fact, Campodonico argues that Aquinas had a profound influence on Balthasar’s thought. He even makes the (in my view) provocative claim that…

    [t]he influence of Thomas Aquinas on the formulation of Balthasar’s theology and philosophy is clear and shows that Balthasar regarded him with perhaps more esteem than any other theologian in history (33-34).

  • Texts on natura pura A compilation from Mark Johnson. Thomistica 11/02/13.
  • Catholicism and the problem of modernity, by James Chastek. Just Thomism 12/19/13.
  • Remembering Jim Morrison, by Paul Beston. The American Conservative. The Doors frontman and his admiral father lived a generation’s turmoil.

  • I had the privilege to attend part of the “Thomas Aquinas and Philosophical Realism” Symposium in NYC in November. Among the presenters was Ed Feser (“An Aristotelian Argument for the Existence of God”) and John Haldane (“Aquinas and Realism”). Unfortunately no texts of the presentations have surfaced yet online, although William Briggs gives a detailed account of the conference on his blog. (Feser’s much anticipated Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction will be published next year).

Sunrise and Waterfalls.

One benefit of being home on vacation is that it affords a little more time to draw. Here are two recent efforts — published to my ongoing “art blog”, Christopher Doodles.

Hand-drawn on 9.75×7.5 composition paper. Colored with Crayola marker and crayons. (Click the thumbnails above for close-ups). For those interested, postcard(s) available.

Edward T. Oakes, S.J. – R.I.P.

[Via David Mills @ First Things]:

Father Edward Oakes, S.J., distinguished theologian, gifted writer and teacher, generous ecumenist, and our friend, has died, of pancreatic cancer, at 8:00 this morning. The announcement from the Academy of Catholic Theology, of which Father Oakes was president, reports:

Father Oakes entered the Society of Jesus in 1966, and was ordained a priest in 1979. He received his doctorate in theology from Union Theological Seminary in 1987. He taught at New York University, Regis University, and Mundelein Seminary, where he was deeply loved and valued by his colleagues, students, and indeed everyone on the staff as well.

He was a major contributor to the ecumenical magazine First Things on theological and scientific topics, and a longtime close friend of Father Richard John Neuhaus. For close to two decades he was an influential member of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He was a founding member of the Academy of Catholic Theology and was elected president of the Academy in May 2013.

A deeply cultured man, Father Oakes enlivened everything of which he was a part by his penetrating intelligence and warm, friendly spirit. He was an esteemed translator of the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar and others. He was the author and editor of important works such as Infinity Dwindled to Infancy: A Catholic and Evangelical Christology, Pattern of Redemption: The Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, and The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs von Balthasar.

To say that Father Oakes will be sorely missed is a profound understatement. Let us pray for his soul as he enters into the infinitely loving communion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as an adopted son in Jesus Christ!

Goodbyes and Remembrances


Articles and Book Reviews