Tag Archives: faith and reason

Not doctrine, but power: recent tensions in the Church

We need perspective, we need a good review of what’s happening in the press regarding the state of Catholicism. At least I do. The ever-well spoken George Weigel takes on us on a brief journey….

The American mainstream media, reflecting deeper currents in American culture, typically treats “religion” as a private lifestyle choice: a personal option one may exercise to make sense out of life (and death) through certain rituals embodied in communities. That the “choice” in question has anything to do with adherence to the truth, as one is grasped and transformed by that truth; that those rituals embody religious truth in a unique way that links the believer to the very life of God; that those communities are formed by, and accountable to, truths that can be rationally explicated in a body of knowledge called “theology” — say what? To treat religion as a lifestyle choice leaves little room for the very concept of “truth,” unless it be the anorexic postmodern notion of “your truth” and “my truth” (which means that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad’s “truth” is just as much “truth” as Pope Benedict XVI’s). In the sandbox of self-absorption that is so much of postmodern culture, there is little or no room for the truth.

Perhaps we should take a hint from a recent Church Council on this matter: 

“Theology relies on the written Word of God, taken together with sacred Tradition, as on a permanent foundation. By this Word it is most firmly strengthened and constantly rejuvenated, as it searches out, under the light of faith, the full truth stored up in the mystery of Christ.” (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation)

Read the whole article here.

Georeg Weigel

“Don’t Know Much about Theology …”

National Review online

June 12, 2012

Modern Science, Ancient Faith: Portsmouth Institute set

pi-2011-logo.jpgThe Portsmouth Institute is set to begin its third year of work from June 22-24, 2012, with the theme of “Modern Science, Ancient Faith.” The Institute is located at Portsmouth Abbey and School (Portsmouth, RI).

The speakers include Rt. Rev. Dom James Wiseman (St. Anselm’s Abbey, Washington, DC), R. Dom Paschal Scotti (Portsmouth Abbey), William Dembski, John Haught, Kenneth Miller, B. Joseph Semmes, Michael Ruse, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, OP.
Prayer, fraternity and time to think are hallmarks of the Portsmouth Institute. Situated at the beautiful Portsmouth Abbey on the Narrangansett Bay, who could not love expanding one’s thinking on faith and science.
Visit the website noted above for more information of the conference, the Abbey and School.
Previous Institutes:
2009 The Catholic William F. Buckley, Jr.
2010 Newman & the Intellectual Tradition
2011 The Catholic Shakespeare?
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“Building a New World”: exploring human and spiritual issues through film


“Building a New World” is new initiative Interdisciplinary Centre  for Social Communications of the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome, Italy) beginning today, Friday, 2 March.

This project is focused on film and the power film has in our lives. The premise is: a good film liberates, forms and calls us to a new way of seeing and engaging in reality. Therefore, the good people at the Gregorian are exploring how a good movie or documentary can invite people to greatness through the imagination and research how a poorly written movie with mediocre images can severely handicap one’s openness to the true, the beautiful and the good. Just think of the good Father Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” project is doing for those learning the Catholic faith for the first time or those renewing their faith; or how damaging “The Deputy” was to to the person of Pope Pius XII and the rest of the Church.

Jesuit Father Lloyd Baugh, a professor of film,  told Vatican Radio that the initiative honors the 30th anniversary of the University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Study. It is popular these days to get at human, theological and philosphical issues by the use of film. Friends of mine do it regularly in the schools in which they instruct young minds: Benedictine Father Bede Price teaches a theology and film course at his abbey’s Priory School (St Louis, MO) and Jesuit Father Edward Oakes does so at Mundelein Seminary (outside Chicago, IL). Father Baugh he teaches theology using film as the text for class: Christology through the “Jesus films,” moral issues through the “The Decalogue” of Kieslowski, interreligious dialogue through a whole series of films from different religious traditions and so on.

The current cycle of films starting today will be inaugurated by the Gregorian University Rector Jesuit Father Dumortier, Archbishop Claudio Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, of Jesuit Father Savarimuthu, director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at the Gregorian University, and Father Baugh.

The first film is “Welcome.” which focuses on a young Kurdish boy who attempts to illegally enter England, and in doing so encounters other people changing their vision of the world, and ultimately their lives. “Welcome” is a award 2009 winning film directed by Philippe Loiret.

Other films include

March 23: “Water” (2005 Deepa Mehta film) focuses on Asia and on “the right to Freedom” drawing attention to the tragic reality of millions of young girls in India who are promised in marriage to elderly men and widowed shortly thereafter, leaving them destitute for the rest of their lives.

April 20: “La Zona” (2007 Roderigo Pla film) dedicated to the “Americas” and to the “right to Justice”, highlighting the persistent and ever-growing disparity between rich and poor particualrly in Latin America.

May 4: “Son of Man” (2006 Mark Dornford May) looks at the plight of the African continent and its “right to Hope”. May directs a narrative of the Gospel and situating the contemporaneous of the biblical reality of a township outside of Cape Town. The desire for peace is continuously punctuated by violence. It is a look at how Jesus would respond to the human reality before his eyes and what he does to change people’s hearts.

Screenings are free and everyone is welcome. For more information visit: www.unigre.it

Wisdom … our life … in Christ

It was brought to my attention that we need to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. We need help. So ask for it. Let’s look at what the Church said at the Second Vatican Council about our own times in Gaudium et Spes:

To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics. Some of the main features of the modern world can be sketched as follows.

Today, the human race is involved in a new stage of history. Profound and rapid changes are spreading by degrees around the whole world. Triggered by the intelligence and creative energies of man, these changes recoil upon him, upon his decisions and desires, both individual and collective, and upon his manner of thinking and acting with respect to things and to people. Hence we can already speak of a true cultural and social transformation, one which has repercussions on man’s religious life as well.

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It’s Christianity. Simple.

We seem to be asking the same question: What is Christianity? A perplexing question for believers, I suspect. Test everything, Saint Paul tells us. Indeed, probe the question and don’t be afraid of doubt and the questions. The certainty of faith is known in the experience and the investigation of the reasonableness of the faith.

Antonio Quaglio in article published today on ilsussidiario.net, “It’s Christianity. Simple.” reflects on what Father Julián Carrón spoke on at the New Encounter 2012 this past weekend: that Christianity, in its true sense, need to be lived without reservation and without excuses and justifications.

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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]yahoo.com.
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