Sunday, February 26, 2023

Open thread combox

Here’s the latest open thread, by popular demand.  Actually, it was one guy, but I’ll bet there at least twice as many as that who are interested.  From quantum logic to Quantumania, MacArthur at Inchon to Thomas Pynchon, Muay Thai to Jamiroquai, everything’s on topic.  Just keep it civil and classy.  Earlier open threads archived here.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Catholicism, CRT, and the spirit of the age

Recently I was interviewed by the Catholic Herald’s Katherine Bennett about Critical Race Theory and the need for Catholics not to let themselves be intimidated by the progressive spirit of the age.  You can watch the interview at YouTube.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Pope Francis contra life imprisonment

The white supremacist Buffalo shooter who murdered ten people has been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  According to scripture, natural law theory, and traditional Catholic moral theology alike, he is worthy of death.  It follows that this lesser penalty can hardly be unjust.  However, it seems that Pope Francis would disapprove of it.  For he has on many occasions condemned this sort of punishment as on a par with the death penalty, which he has also famously condemned.  I discussed this neglected but problematic aspect of the pope’s teaching in a Catholic World Report article originally published in 2019, and he has since then made further statements along the same lines.  Current events make the topic worth revisiting.

Friday, February 10, 2023

The Faith Once for All Delivered

Coming soon, the important new anthology The Faith Once for All Delivered: Doctrinal Authority in Catholic Theology, edited by Fr. Kevin Flannery.  Contributors include Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke (Foreword and Introduction), C. C. Pecknold, Christopher J. Malloy, Thomas Heinrich Stark, Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., John M. Rist, Edward Feser, Eduardo Echeverria, Kevin L. Flannery, SJ, Robert Dodaro, OSA, John Finnis, Guy Mansini, OSB, and Robert Cardinal Sarah (Afterword).  My essay for the volume is on the topic “Magisterium: The Teaching Authority of the Church.”

Talking about All One in Christ

The latest on my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory:  Recently I was interviewed for the EDIFY Podcast on the topic “The Truth about Critical Race Theory.”  You can listen to the interview here.  I was also interviewed about the book by Deal Hudson for the Church and Culture radio show.  You can listen to the episode here.  Other reviews of and interviews about All One in Christ can be found herehereherehere, and here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

An anonymous saint?

When we think of saints, we often associate them with mighty spiritual feats – dramatic martyrdoms, the production of works of great theological learning or spiritual insight, the founding of religious orders or vast charitable enterprises, and so on.  But saintliness, like the still small voice heard by Elijah, can manifest itself in subtler ways.  An illustration is provided by the life of Fr. Ed Dowling, SJ, the subject of Dawn Eden Goldstein’s fine new book Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.’s Spiritual Sponsor

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Avicenna on non-contradiction

We’ve been talking about the law of non-contradiction (LNC), which says that the statements p and not-p cannot both be true.  (In symbolic notation: ~ (p • ~p) )  We briefly noted Aristotle’s view that skepticism about LNC cannot be made a coherent position.  Let’s now consider a famous remark on the subject by the Islamic philosopher Avicenna or Ibn Sina (c. 970-1037).  In The Metaphysics of the Healing, he says of such a skeptic:

As for the obstinate, he must be plunged into fire, since fire and non-fire are identical.  Let him be beaten, since suffering and not suffering are the same.  Let him be deprived of food and drink, since eating and drinking are identical to abstaining. (Quoted in the SEP article “Contradiction”)