Monday, August 31, 2020
I very much enjoyed and appreciated George Weigel's recent-ish book, The Irony of Modern Catholic History. I realize that my liking the work was probably over-determined, given its themes and plot-lines and characters. My sense is that Weigel wrote it as an ecclesiological work -- and it is -- but I also think it (i.e., its helpful presentation of the Catholic engagement with, and proposals to, "modernity") should be incorporated into political-theory courses.
On John Paul II and freedom: "A truly human freedom is one in which we freely choose what can rationally be known to be good, and do so as a matter of habit. Freedom as willfulness is like a child banging on a piano; the freedom that makes for mature individuals and coherent societies is like an artist who has mastered the disciplines that allow him or her to make real music on the piano[.]"
Benedict XVI at Westminster: "Religion . . . is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation."
Benedict XVI again, at the Bundestag: "[T]here is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself."
Weigel on the two: "[They] constantly called the late modern world to [the] freedom for excellence. . . . Freedom for excellence, they argued, was humanism in full."