Wednesday, April 11, 2018
This Commonweal article about Augusto Del Noce is one of the most insightful I've read in a while. Tolle et lege! (HT: Richard Reinsch @Reinsch84). A snippet:
By insisting that the true fault line of contemporary history ran between those who affirmed man’s religious dimension and those who denied it, Del Noce offered an unusual perspective on Catholic participation in the public arena. He thought its focus should be neither on protecting the power of the institutional church, nor on some list of religiously neutral ethical concerns, but rather on a conception of human flourishing that reflects the religious dimension. This would include an idea of education that is not just utilitarian but respects the deeper human need for beauty and knowledge as ends in themselves; respect for work as an expression of the human desire to build and to serve, not just a tool at the service of profit and economic growth; love for what Simone Weil called “rootedness”—namely “the real, active, and natural participation in the life of the community which preserves in living shape certain particular treasures of the past and certain particular expectations for the future”; a passion for freedom, not as empty self-determination, but as protection of the most specifically human sphere, which is precisely the religious dimension, the search for meaning. A Catholic political orientation based on the awareness of the religious dimension would also allow—and indeed require—us to struggle for justice, but the justice we struggled for would not be our invention, much less a convenient fiction. It would be a moral reality that we recognize inside and outside of ourselves and to which we must ascend.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Pope Francis has a new "Apostolic Exhortation" (for more on what that is, especially if you are a religion-beat journalist writing about the matter, go here) called "Rejoice and Be Glad" (Gaudete et exsultate). It is discursive, and covers a lot of ground. Among other things, the Pope talks about the challenges posed to joyfulness and "holiness" by some of our social-media and information-gathering technologies. A bit:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”
87. This Beatitude makes us think of the many endless situations of war in our world. Yet we ourselves are often a cause of conflict or at least of misunderstanding. For example, I may hear something about someone and I go off and repeat it. I may even embellish it the second time around and keep spreading it… And the more harm it does, the more satisfaction I seem to derive from it. The world of gossip, inhabited by negative and destructive people, does not bring peace. Such people are really the enemies of peace; in no way are they “blessed”.
 Detraction and calumny are acts of terrorism: a bomb is thrown, it explodes and the attacker walks away calm and contented. This is completely different from the nobility of those who speak to others face to face, serenely and frankly, out of genuine concern for their good.
115. [We] can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. [L]imits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned. The result is a dangerous dichotomy, since things can be said there that would be unacceptable in public discourse, and people look to compensate for their own discontent by lashing out at others. . . .
116. Inner strength, as the work of grace, prevents us from becoming carried away by the violence that is so much a part of life today, because grace defuses vanity and makes possible meekness of heart. The saints do not waste energy complaining about the failings of others; they can hold their tongue before the faults of their brothers and sisters, and avoid the verbal violence that demeans and mistreats others. Saints hesitate to treat others harshly; they consider others better than themselves (cf. Phil 2:3).
I particularly liked this passage, which seems relevant both to parenting tweens and teenagers and teaching in today's colleges and universities:
167. The gift of discernment has become all the more necessary today, since contemporary life offers immense possibilities for action and distraction, and the world presents all of them as valid and good. All of us, but especially the young, are immersed in a culture of zapping. We can navigate simultaneously on two or more screens and interact at the same time with two or three virtual scenarios. Without the wisdom of discernment, we can easily become prey to every passing trend.
"A culture of zapping." Is the Pope sub-tweeting David Lodge?
Monday, April 9, 2018
Here's Michael O'Loughlin's take, at America, on the new apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate. Here's a bit:
Reflecting on the beatitudes, Francis says that when Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers,” Christians often think of “many endless situations of war in our world.” But, he asks, what are the more personal situations that could benefit from a peacemaker?
“I may hear something about someone and I go off and repeat it,” he writes as an example. “I may even embellish it the second time around and keep spreading it.”
Though Francis does not point to social media specifically, he writes that people who gossip seek to harm the target, which leads to the gossiper taking even “more satisfaction” in the slander.
“The world of gossip, inhabited by negative and destructive people, does not bring peace,” he says. “Such people are really the enemies of peace; in no way are they ‘peacemakers.’”
Certainly, there's a lot of nastiness in "St. Blog's" and "Catholic Twitter." Those of us who participate in these "spaces" need to do better. And, of course -- as with calls for "civility" or "bipartisanship" in politics -- it's human to find it easier to see others' missteps than to confront one's own.
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Past: East German Soldiers at the Berlin Wall, Circa 1961
Future: American Soldiers at the Trump Wall, Circa 2018?
April 5, 2018 | Permalink
I neglected to mention, a few weeks ago, the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the launching of Mirror of Justice. Tempus fugit, and all that. It's fun to read the old posts . . . and also to note how the multiplication of social-media platforms and conversation-vehicles (and argument vehicles) has affected the way we blog here (and the frequency of our posts!). By my count, we have -- among all the MOJers -- put up about 15,800 posts. (I'm sure you've read every one, dear reader!) Have we "moved the ball" in terms of the "development of Catholic legal theory"?
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Building on Villanova's astonishing basketball success and national championship victory, the McCullen Center for Law, Religion, and Public Policy at Villanova will be hosting two events over the next few weeks of interest to MOJ readers in the Philadelphia area (both events are free and open to the public):
Then on Tuesday, April 24 at 3:00pm, Anthony Kronman, Sterling Professor of Law and former Dean at Yale Law School, will deliver the annual Giannella Lecture on "Nicholas of Cusa: Prophet of Modernity." Details here.
Monday, April 2, 2018
It's been 13 years. I remember the moment, sitting in a classroom at the Indiana University during a conference about the jurisprudence of William Rehnquist, when I learned that the man whose work, thought, writing, and life I admire more than pretty much anyone had gone to his reward. Here is a link to a link to a whole bunch of "John Paul II and jurisprudence" posts at MOJ.
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Because the country's greatest NCAA men's basketball program is not competing in the Final Four, and notwithstanding my beloved spouse's attachments to the great state of Kansas, I'm cheering for Loyola and Villanova tonight. (Catholic opposition to Michigan is, of course, overdetermined. Sorry, Prof. Moreland.) This NYT article -- despite a cringe-inducing, clunky line about "dogma-tinged" charisms -- is a good read about the many reasons why urban Catholic schools have excelled at basketball. And, of course, how about the Irish?