Archive for Intellectual Formation

It’s A Fallen World (Scientifically, That Is)

Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions.  The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself.  C.S. Lewis I understand the fascination with all things scientific; as a young man I particularly loved the hard sciences.  I subscribed to Scientific American and even took a post-graduate class in advanced Thermodynamics, just because it was pretty cool stuff (back when partial differential equations didn’t look like Sanskrit to me).  Even today I have a book about special relativity on my Kindle.  But the greatness of  science lies in its

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Solid Intellectual Food In a Meta World

As my Junto brothers know, our eldest has been in the process of choosing a college. I have a 15-year history in higher education, as a student and marketing/communication professional, so it’s been interesting to see how different universities pitch themselves to prospective students. I’ve also been asked countless times where we want our teen to go: BigU? Ivy League? Catholic college (and if so, “Catholic” or, like, Newman Guide Catholic)? I have been decidedly unimpressed with most of the materials and approaches we’ve seen, but it wasn’t until this morning that I put my finger on exactly why. As providence would

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A Reflection on Evangelization

One of my readings during this season of Lent has been Magnificat Year for Priests Companion, produced for the 2009 Year for Priests.  The small pamphlet offers many good meditations on the role and dignity of the Catholic priesthood.  This particular reflection caught my attention for a couple different reasons. We the laity have a heart that is hungry for God.  O priest of God, give us that knowledge of God which came to you when you were alone with him in his immense silence… Make it short.  Make it simple.  Talk to us about our hunger and your hunger…  We

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Abortionomics: Shibboleth of Death

In a recent CSPAN “After Words” interview, criminologist Dr. Barry Latzer discussed his book, The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America, in which he examines trends between the 1960s and 1990s.  Dr. Latzer was asked about two theories regarding the drop in violent crime starting in 1994:  removal of lead from gasoline starting in the mid-70s, and the federal legalization of abortion in the infamous Roe v Wade decision in 1973. The latter theory, offered by John Donohue and Steven Levitt in the May 2001 edition of The Quarterly Journal of Economics, purports to show that children who were

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Chump Change

Is it finally official?  That short of divine intervention, this grand old republic is a goner?  It seems so.  Oh, we may continue our slow fade from world power into relative obscurity (may we join you, Great Britain?), or we may suffer a more catastrophic collapse (move over, Ceausescu), but the political rhetoric about restoring America’s greatness is more than ever form without substance.  Exhibit #1 (the only one we need, as it turns out), is Donald Trump’s candidacy.  It doesn’t matter whether he wins the Republican nomination or not, his status as Republican frontrunner this far down the pike

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The (Catholic?) Blair Doctrine

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair entered the Catholic Church in 2007, several months after leaving office and apparently many years after beginning a serious journey toward Her.  In reading accounts of his conversion I came across an interesting event during his tenure as PM that might have indicated, even back in 1999, that his Catholic formation regarding use of force was well underway. In April 1999 Blair had been invited to speak at the Economic Club of Chicago’s annual meeting, where he presented what became known as the “Blair Doctrine” of international community building including guidelines for warranted military

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Crusades and Reconquista Lectures Recommended

I commend to my Junto friends a series of lectures from Dr. Brendan McGuire of Christendom College, on the topics of the Crusades (three hourly lectures) and the Reconquista of Iberia (two hourly lectures), respectively.  These can be found by going to the Institute of Catholic Culture’s Media Library and locating these lectures; or by utilizing the Apple’s iTunes U app for PC or devices and searching for the author. In such a relatively brief time the material is obviously a very encapsulated form of this history.  Nonetheless Dr. McGuire wastes no time with a telling of the high points

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Freedom, Law and Mercy

“Mercy is an important word for me, but in one way or another it is still somewhat condescending. I like to take words like respect and esteem for man as my starting point.”  Archbishop Elect of Brussels Jozef De Kesel. In last week’s post Timshel encouraged us to “resist the urge to focus on the pope’s shortcomings during this time and stay focused on our own.”  In that spirit, I fully disclose that as a younger man I made a habit of ignoring both dogma and discipline to feed my appetites.  “Late have I loved thee, beauty so ancient and

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Modern Love

Fly-On-The-Wall media presents an advance look at a certain European Cardinal’s upcoming talk at the Synod on the Family! Brothers, I realize that we are given only three minutes to address the synod.  However, if the winners of  the People’s Choice Awards can ignore their time limits, surely a Prince of the Church can do what he wants (check my track record; I have).  Besides, I don’t intend to follow rules that aren’t pastorally sensitive to my desires, and you guys can’t exactly cut to a commercial to get me off stage.  If I haven’t been fired by now with

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Political Astuteness of a Frenchman

I am currently reading Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.  At hefty 700+ pages in length, I am only at page 140, so it may take me another year to get through it at my current pace. De Tocqueville was a youthful 26 when he journeyed to America in 1831 but he was already a political veteran and had fallen out of favor in post-Revolutionary France.  During his study of the American republic over a 9 month period, he searched for clues into how and why the American experiment was so successful, and as importantly, whether this new type of

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