Faith & Reason: February 2009 Archives

RJN2.jpgI am still saddened by the death of Father Richard John Neuhaus. Many are. I pray for him regularly at Mass and while saying the rosary and I find myself wondering what he'd say about this or that today. First Things arrived the other day and I shelved it temporarily because I've got other things to read first (what, I am not going to drop everything to read FT???); I look forward with eagerness to read to First Things as much today as when I first was introduced to the magazine by friend Father Edward Oakes but I have to admit it is still a little awkward seeing RJN's name on the cover.


One of the last gifts he gave to us is the forthcoming book, American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile. It's not a book from the grave as it was in production long before RJN got ill and died. I am looking forward to it as I have looked forward to everything RJN wrote for publication or said in the public forum.


Available from Amazon

A Google preview of American Babylon


Product description


neuhaus_american_babylon.jpgChristians are by their nature a people out of place. Their true home is with God; in civic life, they are alien citizens "in but not of the world." In American Babylon, eminent theologian Richard John Neuhaus examines the particular truth of that ambiguity for Catholics in America today.


Neuhaus addresses the essential quandaries of Catholic life--assessing how Catholics can keep their heads above water in the sea of immorality that confronts them in the world, how they can be patriotic even though their true country is not in this world, and how they might reconcile their duties as citizens with their commitment to God. Deeply learned, frequently combative, and always eloquent, American Babylon is Neuhaus's magnum opus--and will be essential reading for all Christians.


Let me recommend to you the Richard John Neuhaus Online Archive, a well stocked blog of materials by or on Father Richard.

A press conference at the Vatican yesterday, considered the forthcoming conference on Darwin & theology. The presentation can be viewed at the Vatican's YouTube site. Here's the H2O News report.

The March 3-7 conference will take place in Rome on "Biological Evolution, Facts and Theories" and was presented by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of that pontifical council. The conference will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his "Origin of the Species." The University of Notre Dame, the Gregorian University and the Pontifical Council for Culture are co-sponsoring the event on faith and reason (science) to demonstrate that faith and reason are complementary NOT at odds with each other as is commonly thought.

Jesuit Father Marc Leclerc said: "It's not in the least about a celebration in honor of the English scientist; it's simply about analyzing an event that marked for all time the history of science and that has influenced the way of understanding our very humanity."

The organizers said on the website: There will be nine sessions where academics will treat the "idea that science, on the one hand, and theology, on the other, represent different fields of analysis and interpretation, though often they are incorrectly overlapped, causing confusion and ideological controversies."

More information on Biological Evolution, Facts and Theories:


Evangelization & Prayer

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St Paul preaching.jpgEvangelizing is an act of service done out of love, like parents when they teach their children to pray. They are giving their children the best they have. They are giving them the foundations of their faith. This is the reason that should impel the growth of ... the Church: to grow more so as to evangelize more; to grow in holiness so as to be better witnesses of Christ in the world. To grow in holiness, to grow in love, to grow in hope so as to bring others to faith, love, and hope.

What would Saint Paul tell us today if he came to see us? What would he ask of us? What would he pass on to us? Certainly, he would remind us of the words he once wrote to the community in Corinth: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." (1 Cor 9:24)Saint Paul insists very much on prayer. He said: "Pray always." Prayer is conversation with God; it is the nourishment of the apostle, of the evangelizer. Today, in these times when we live in such adverse environments, prayer becomes even more important. Prayer shows us that our commitment to evangelization comes from Christ. To evangelize is to give what we have received; it is to preach the Christ I have met in prayer. Saint Paul began his work of evangelization after three years of solitude and prayer in the deserts of Arabia. Contemplation and apostolate always go hand in hand.

Prayer helps you "to know the love of Christ, which surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled to measure of all the fullness of God"[viii] and makes it so that "Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that you may be rooted and established in love." (eph 3:17)

Cardinal Franc Rodé, CM

December 14, 2008

IYA 2009.jpgNow that we are more than half finished with the Year of Saint Paul, a year dedicated to celebrating the 2000th anniversary of the Apostle to the Gentile's birth by getting to know Saint Paul through intellectual, spiritual and cultural events, let us now turn our gaze onto a rather significant figure of our western intellectual history, Galileo. 2009 has been named the International Year of Astronomy to observe the fact that Galileo made some significant studies of our galaxy. The International Year of Astronomy (IYA) proposes to observe the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first astronomical use of the telescope.

The goals of the IYA 2009 are to:

Increase scientific awareness;

Promote widespread access to new knowledge and observing experiences;

Support and improve formal and informal science education;

Provide a modern image of science and scientists;

Facilitate new networks and strengthen existing ones;

Facilitate the preservation and protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage of dark skies in places such as urban oases, national parks and astronomical sites.

Galileo Presenting Scopel.jpgSome interesting things

The Vatican Observatory

Astronomy 2009

Galileo 2009 sponsored by Euresis, an Association for the Promotion of Scientific Endeavor

100 Hours of Astonomy 2-5 April 2009

The January 6th, 2009 homily of Pope Benedict mentioning the IYA 2009 

Reflections by Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., on the Pope's salute to those participating in the IYA 2009

A. C. Crombie, Augustine to Galileo: The History of Science A.D. 400-1650 (an online book)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Faith & Reason category from February 2009.

Faith & Reason: January 2009 is the previous archive.

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