Happy New Year’s Eve!! (What, you were expecting something more on a day when nobody is going to read this thing, anyway?)
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 53
Last week we had a retrospective on the news items from January through June of 2015. Today we present the big news items from July through December 2015. As you can see, the year got off to a slow start, but a large number of projects came to fruition (or at least started to bud) in the second half of the year:
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
The American Chesterton, VII: Socialism and the New Religion
As we saw in previous postings in this series, Fulton Sheen’s “obsession” with socialism was founded solidly on his commitment to the principles of reason found in Aristotelian-Thomism, the philosophy of common sense. Socialism, as Pope Pius XI explained, “is based . . . on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms. (Quadragesimo Anno, § 120.)
Monday, December 28, 2015
What Would Aquinas Do? — The Abraham Federation
Two weeks ago (we had to reschedule this conclusion to our short refugee crisis series) we mentioned that there is a specific program that could be adapted and implemented to resolve the refugee crisis, once the global community has dealt with the immediate situation. Rather than rewrite the original description, we present it here, with links to the full proposal:
Friday, December 25, 2015
Christmas Day, 2015
What? Back again? What are you doing here? Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Er, have you no family to be with or charitable works to occupy you? Well, then . . .
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Christmas Eve, 2015
Purely in the interests of maintaining a regular series of blog postings on weekdays, we’ve put up this little reminder that if you are reading this, you probably should be out doing something else:
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 52
Since this was a very short week (and this is a Wednesday instead of the usual Friday), we’ve put together a short “news roundup” for the first half of the year as a retrospective. Leading off, of course, is CESJ’s participation in the Amazon Smile program, since it’s an all-year thing:
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
The American Chesterton, VI: The Logic of Christian Socialism
As we saw in the previous posting in this series, despite “Branch Theory” — the idea that the Anglo-Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches are all part of the larger Catholic Church — there was more dividing the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church than a matter of mere politics. From its founding by Henry VIII Tudor, the man-centered Church of England was necessarily in direct conflict with the God-centered Catholic Church, and (at least in the eyes of G.K. Chesterton, Msgr. Ronald Knox, and Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson) this orientation was leading the Anglican Church away from Christianity altogether.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Chicken Little Economics
The financial world is in an absolute panic, the economic mavens are freaking out, politicians are starting to wonder if they should start looking for honest work . . . until they remember that their financial and economic policies have ensured that there won’t be any jobs waiting for them. What to do, what to do? And (for us normal people) what the heck is going on, anyway? What is causing all the fuss?
Friday, December 18, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 51
This is the last full work week of the year, so this will be the last full “News from the Network” for 2015 — we’ll content ourselves with a retrospective of the important events for the Just Third Way for our next two “issues.” Unusually for this time of year we have quite a bit to report:
Thursday, December 17, 2015
The American Chesterton, V: Socialism as Social Justice
In the previous posting in this series we saw that, just as modern theology and philosophy separate religion from God, socialism and capitalism separate creation from the Creator. This results in putting man before God.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
The American Chesterton, IV: Sheen’s Obsession
One of the more unusual things (one might almost say “odd”) about the veneration accorded to Fulton Sheen is the fact that his tremendous intellectual achievements and social insights are almost always marginalized or ignored. John A. Hardon’s entry on Sheen in The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan (1989) makes no mention of that aspect of Sheen’s work — something that is also missing from the entries on G.K. Chesterton and Ronald Knox. Adherents of all three seem to focus primarily on the admittedly great faith, spirituality, and mysticism of the three — those things that, with a few twists and adjustments, can easily be fitted into New Age thought.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The American Chesterton, III: The Esoteric Twenties
As we noted in the previous posting in this series, Academia was in terrible shape in the 1920s — at least when it came to upholding orthodox Jewish, Christian, and Islamic belief systems and philosophies in a world that seemed to have completely lost its mind, or at any rate its sense of identity. As Fulton Sheen commented in the Preface to Religion Without God, published in 1928, “Present-day religion is not in evolution, but in revolution.” As he continued,
Monday, December 14, 2015
Saving the Middle Class
According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, “The American Middle Class is Losing Ground,” the number of “middle class” households is now less than those in the “upper class” and “lower class” combined. We put “name of class” in quotes, because we just have a gut reaction to being described as belonging to a class in a legally classless society. We’ll try not to do it again, at least today. We’ve made our point.
Friday, December 11, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 50
The stock market has been up and down this week like a rubber ball. This is bad, because people think that the fluctuations actually mean something, and are taking the stock market as a leading economic indicator. News flash, folks, it’s not. It’s not a real economic indicator at all.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
The American Chesterton, II: The World of Fulton Sheen
One of the things that strikes the reader of Fulton Sheen’s God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy — assuming that Chesterton’s The “Dumb Ox” and Knox’s Enthusiasm were read first and the reader has a little knowledge of what was really going on in the world of the 1920s — is the pervasiveness of certain ideas that Sheen found in both civil and religious life. Understanding these ideas and becoming somewhat familiar with the environment and culture within which Sheen wrote go a long way toward helping us understand what Sheen was doing. By that we mean the world in which he lived and that provided the environment within which he formed his thought when he began writing, and against which, in large measure, he was reacting.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The American Chesterton, I: The Triumph of the Will
We come now to the third and final book in our series on “Three Key Books on Common Sense.” Paradoxically (but consistent with the thought of Chesterton, Knox, and Sheen), Fulton J. Sheen’s God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy was the first written (in 1925), but would make little sense to the reader unless it is read last. This is because, unlike many books, God and Intelligence is easier to understand by reading it in light of what came after publication, rather than before.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Enthusiasm, XV: Remaining Characteristics of Enthusiasm
In today’s posting we conclude our brief overview of the characteristics of enthusiasm — at least, those that we selected. Not by coincidence, we also conclude that portion of the blog series dealing with Msgr. Ronald Knox’s Enthusiasm and his take on the development of a new concept of religion. So, today we look at 10) Antinomianism, 11) Lust for Martyrdom, 12) Invisible Church, 13) Desire for Results, and 14) Experimentalism (Novelty).
Monday, December 7, 2015
What Would Aquinas Do? — The Refugee Solution
Last week on this blog we decided that trying to solve the refugee problem strictly as a refugee problem was not a solution — viable or otherwise. Nor is military action, while it may be necessary, a solution to a refugee problem. What is needed, frankly, is a two-pronged approach. The first prong would be to take care of the immediate situation. The second prong is to implement an actual solution.
Friday, December 4, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 49
Oddly enough for a week so close to the end of the year when things usually slow down substantially, we’ve had a significant number of happenings this week. Mostly this has been due to the large number of outreach efforts we’ve been making, and the door-opening that has resulted. Of course, there are other things going on, too:
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Enthusiasm, XIV: Further Characteristics of Enthusiasm
In the previous posting in this series, we looked at two of Msgr. Ronald Knox’s fourteen characteristics of enthusiasm as identified and summarized by Dr. James Hitchcock in his book, The New Enthusiasts, 1) Excessive Piety and 2) Schism.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Enthusiasm, XIII: The Laws and Characteristics of Enthusiasm
In the previous posting in this series we had a graphic illustration of the dangers of abandoning Aristotelian-Thomism and the intellect as the basis of the natural law. This was Dr. John D. Mueller who, by going outside the Aristotelian-Thomist framework for his analysis of a system based on Aristotelian-Thomism, invalidated his own theories.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Enthusiasm, XII: Damning Economics
In the previous posting in this series we noted that G.K. Chesterton, Ronald Knox, and Fulton Sheen (in common with Mortimer Adler), traced many — if not all — of today’s “philosophical mistakes” and the failure of common sense in academia and elsewhere to the abandonment of Aristotelian-Thomism. In its place there has been an almost universal reliance on a distorted Platonism. This is achieved by exaggerating and twisting the thought of Augustine of Hippo. By this means the principles of reason are jettisoned and a reliance on personal will substituted as the basis of the natural law and the principles of a just social order. This is usually in the form of a personal interpretation of something accepted on faith as God’s Will.
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