On FaceBook recently someone asked what St. Thomas Aquinas would say about the refugee situation. Opinion among the respondents seemed divided between those who insisted that every country must take in as many refugees as could present themselves for entry, and those who said that no country should be forced to take anyone in.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Friday, November 27, 2015
The pace of outreach seems to be picking up for CESJ and the Just Third Way. That’s unusual, with people’s focus on the holidays at this time of year, but we’ve had a virtual repeat of last week’s “banner week” for outreach and contacts.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
In 1908, G.K. Chesterton published what many people consider one of his four (or five) greatest books. This was Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith, written soon after his conversion to Christianity. He had previously flirted with socialism and theosophy, both of which were integrated into the program of the Fabian Society.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Yesterday, we looked at how efforts to avoid the consequences of assuming that the only source of financing for new capital formation is past savings, combined with the lack of understanding of the act of social justice, virtually ensured that the “orthodox,” reason-based, Aristotelian-Thomist concept of the natural law would — temporarily, we believe — go down before the forces of irrational faith, personal opinion, and the triumph of the will. This is an example of Msgr. Ronald Knox called “enthusiasm” or “ultrasupernaturalism.”
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
In the previous posting in this series, we noted that Fabian socialism — a combination of an expanded georgist agrarian socialism and the tenets of Madame Blavatsky’s theosophy — received a fresh impetus in mid-twentieth century. This came from the ease with which modernist elements were able to seize control of the situation following the Second Vatican Council and expand their previous hijacking of Catholic social teaching to all teachings of the Church. To a lesser degree this was also the case with Marxist communism and certain aspects of “Liberation Theology.”
Monday, November 23, 2015
It’s common today among many individuals and groups to disparage “the corporation” (meaning business corporations) as inherently evil. Corporations consistently make the “Top Ten List’ of the things people love to hate. Other things on the list, of course, are “the rich” (considered non-persons and thus things without rights), “the government” (a social tool, and therefore a thing), “the banks” (including central banks, especially the Federal Reserve), anybody who ticks you off or disagrees with you (and who therefore loses all rights, becoming a thing), and so on.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Most immediate (but far from the most important — for that you’ll have to go to the actual news items, below), is that we want everyone to know if you’re doing any shopping on Amazon at this or any other time of the year, you can put a little money in CESJ’s pocket without taking any (more) out of your own. CESJ participates in the “Amazon Smile” program, so 0.5% (that’s one-half of one percent) of your net purchase goes to CESJ without increasing the cost to you. We have the link and instructions for you, below.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
In the previous posting in this series we noted that books like E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful and Guide for the Perplexed appeared to be in conformity with the “new” openness in the Catholic Church, especially anything labeled a “social concern” or that promoters believed had the potential to bring the Church up to date.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Back in 1982, Dr. James Hitchcock of St. Louis University published The New Enthusiasts and What They Are Doing to the Catholic Church. Intended as an updating of Msgr. Ronald Knox’s Enthusiasm from 1950, it has two serious flaws from our point of view, neither of which diminish its value.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
In the previous posting in this series we asked how, in the Catholic Church, an institution that declares its claims are based on both faith and reason, and that it has never changed a single fundamental teaching, the rejection of reason and change for the sake of change apparently became the first principle of faith for so many people?
Monday, November 16, 2015
Last Monday we posted a (much edited) response of ours to a student asking for help on an economics question. That is, we posted our response to the student’s first question. There was another, which we will proceed to post (and answer) today:
Friday, November 13, 2015
Has anyone noticed that every time the Federal Reserve says it might consider considering raising interest rates, the stock market goes down? And then goes up whenever the Federal Reserve retracts its statement . . . causing Fed officials to make another announcement about the possibility of raising rates, resulting in another downturn . . . .
Thursday, November 12, 2015
As we’ve seen in this series, one of the most striking characteristics of the shift in the basis of the natural law from the Intellect to the Will is the necessity of rejecting reason itself — even among individuals and groups who claim to base their respective positions on reason and common sense. The “inner light” Chesterton disparaged is their only guide and lamp unto their feet. As Knox explained,
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
In 1998 the late Dr. Ralph McInerny of the University of Notre Dame published What Went Wrong With Vatican II: The Catholic Crisis Explained. This was an analysis of what, in his opinion, caused theologians and others to misinterpret and misapply the Council so egregiously: dissension over the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
One of the things that Pope Leo XIII stressed from the beginning of his pontificate was the importance of understanding Catholic teaching — all Catholic teaching — in light of the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, “the Angelic Doctor.” One of Leo’s earliest encyclicals, in fact, was Æterni Patris, “On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy” (1879) — which might as easily have been titled, “On Saint Thomas Aquinas.”
Monday, November 9, 2015
Recently a student in a local Catholic school asked us for help on a question in economics class: “Present three (3) economic costs and three (3) economic benefits that would be associated with the short-medium term solution to the crisis of people fleeing violence and poverty from countries in Africa and Asia.” From the Just Third Way perspective, this appeared pretty straightforward.
Friday, November 6, 2015
We had a telephone conversation earlier today with Father Edward Krause, C.S.C., Ph.D., a member of CESJ’s Board of Counselors in residence at the University of Notre Dame in northern Indiana. Despite being isolated in the wilds of academia, he has been able to insert ideas of the Just Third Way into some discussions.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
In Enthusiasm, as we saw in the previous posting in this series, Ronald Knox claimed that the enthusiastic, anti-intellectual phase of the history of religion appeared to be a “closed chapter.” There was still a need for constant vigilance, of course. There were also the usual American aberrations on which to keep an eye. All things considered, though, a certain calm optimism appeared to be in order.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
We come now to the second book in our series on common sense: Monsignor Ronald Knox’s Enthusiasm (1950). Chronologically, of course, Enthusiasm was the third one written; Fulton Sheen’s God and Intelligence was published in 1925, and G.K. Chesterton’s St. Thomas Aquinas: The “Dumb Ox” was published in 1933. Our goal being getting people to understand the point, however, we think that Enthusiasm should come second instead of third.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
One thing became evident when researching what we might call the Decline and Fall of Common Sense in the modern world. That is, at some point a shift occurred not only in what people think, but in how or even if they think. As we noted in the first posting in this series, this was a change from a reason-based worldview, to what Richard Feynman called “Cargo Cult Science,” i.e., faith-based, meaning one’s own opinion about what one wants to believe projected on to the world.
Monday, November 2, 2015
G.K. Chesterton may one day be recognized as possibly the most genial man of the twentieth century. While he hinted on occasion that this might be due to indolence or similar flaws, it could probably better be attributed to an inherent good nature that, while something for which all human beings have an inborn capacity, some manage to develop to a higher degree of completion.