Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A new book from Homeschool Connections called Why I Should Learn This? includes two essays I wrote on Logic and the Trivium, plus one by Alicia Van Hecke, one by Ana Braga-Henebry and one by Jean Rioux, plus some other people I'm sure you've heard of or know, like Joseph Pearce or Nancy Carpentier Brown. Here is the table of contents:

ECONOMICS
 Why Should I Learn Economics?

GEOGRAPHY
 Why Should I Learn Geography?

GOVERNMENT
 Why Should I Learn the Constitution?
 Why Should I Learn Government, Elections, and Politics?

HISTORY
 Why Should I Learn Using Historical Fiction?
 Why Should I Learn Christian Historiography?
 Why Should I Learn Medieval History?

LANGUAGE
 Why Should I Learn American Sign Language?
 Why Should I Learn Latin?
 Why Should I Learn Spanish?

LIFE SKILLS
 Why Should I Learn Computer Skills? 
 Why Should I Learn Critical Reading and Thinking Skills?
 Why Should I Learn Organizational Skills?

LITERATURE
 Why Should I Learn G.K. Chesterton?
 Why Should I Learn Classical Literature?
 Why Should I Learn Modern Literature?
 Why Should I Learn Using Picture Books?
 Why Should I Learn Shakespeare?
 Why Should Christians Learn Tolkien?

MATHEMATICS
 Why Should I Learn Algebra?

ART and MUSIC
 Why Should I Learn Arts and Crafts?
 Why Should I Learn Music History?

PEDAGOGY
 Why Should I Learn Using a Charlotte Mason Education? 
 Why Should I Learn Using Montessori? 
 Why Should Your Child Learn to Read with Phonemics?
 Why Should I Learn using the Trivium?

PHILOSOPHY
 Why Should I Learn Philosophy?
 Why Should I Learn Formal Logic?
 Why Should I Learn Thomistic Philosophy?

SCIENCE
 Why Should I Learn Astronomy?
 Why Should I Learn Environmental Science?
 Why Should I Learn Science and its Relationship to Faith and Reason?
 Why Should I Learn Geology?
 Why Should I Learn Nature Studies?

THEOLOGY
 Why Should I Learn All Theology through Theology of the Body?
 Why Should I Learn Apologetics?
 Why Should I Learn the Early Church Fathers?
 Why Should I Learn Heresies?
 Why Should I Learn the Theology of the Body?

WRITING
 Why Should I Learn Communication?
 Why Should I Learn Fiction Writing?
 Why Should I Learn Punctuation and Grammar?
 Why Should I Learn Rhetoric and Writing?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Going to Confession

I went to confession today.  It occurred to me afterwards that it is an awesome experience to come close to the Living God to receive His Mercy. Why would anyone in the world not want that?  And why would I not want to try to make sure everyone in the world can have it?  I know that God's Mercy is operative outside the sacramental system and that those who can't avail themselves of the Sacrament of Penance through no fault of their own can be forgiven, but it is so great to be able to walk into a little room, say your sins and BE FORGIVEN OF ALL OF THEM NO MATTER HOW AWFUL!

God is so good.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Faith and culture videos

The Aquinas College Center for Faith and Culture, run by Joseph Pearce, has a neat multimedia page. Videos include:

  • Robert Royal on The Threats of Secularism
  • Joseph Pearce on The Evangelizing Power of Beauty: Converting the Culture
  • Fay Renardson: Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Good Government Fresco
  • Dr. Benjamin L. Smith: How the Modern World Lies about Human Dignity
  • Dr. Richard Bulzacchelli: What Did Philosophy Get from the Bible and Why Does It Matter to Me?
  • Phil Keaggy: My Faith through Music
  • Father Brian Mullady, O.P.: Who Is Christ for Today?
  • Marian Devotion in the Age of the Crusades, by Dr. Vince Ryan
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: a Catholic in a Hobbit Hole, by Father Albert Trudel, O.P.
  • Etc.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A renewal of this blog?

The original purpose of this blog was to write about classic Catholic literature. Being a great bookie from way back, I am keenly sensitive to what I perceive to be a wall between contemporary Catholics and the classic sources of our faith. That is why I am so attracted to the ressourcement authors, especially Henri de Lubac. I have even written a blog post for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee about "The Wall."

My intention is to reinvigorate this blog with a renewal of its original focus. I won't limit myself to literature. I will refer to the diversity of cultural expressions, including art, music, architecture, theater, ethnic customs, even movies. I say "even movies' because I'm not an avid movie watcher.

I am going to avoid addressing contemporary "issues," such as how to interpret Pope Francis or how to respond pastorally to homosexuality or divorce, unless something from a classic text sheds some light on the issue.

I acknowledge that my focus is going to make my blog less popular than others.  However, I will occasionally address pop culture, as is my want.

Yeah, I know I've "revived" this blog before. Just pray that I can keep it up.  If you want me to, any way.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Blessing at communion

I would like to add another practical suggestion. In many countries it has become customary for persons who are not able to receive communion (for example, the members of other confessions) to approach the altar with their hands folded over their chests, making it clear that they are not receiving the sacrament but are asking for a blessing, which is given to them as a sign of the love of Christ and of the Church. This form could certainly be chosen also by persons who are living in a second marriage and therefore are not admitted to the Lord’s table. The fact that this would make possible an intense spiritual communion with the Lord, with his whole Body, with the Church, could be a spiritual experience that would strengthen and help them.
From Sandro Magister. HT Jimmy Aikins

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Medieval history and the saints

One of the best books of medieval history I've ever seen is C. Warren Hollister's Medieval Europe: A Short History He strikes a healthy balance between political, cultural, and religious history.  He is very fair in his treatment of the Church. He neither glorifies her or vilifies her.

He is clearly sympathetic with the pious aspirations of the people, and is critical of the hierarchy when they let their political ambitions get in the way of their real duty as spiritual fathers and ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For instance, he praises the genuine religious fervor of the first few of 11th and 12th century reform popes, but is critical of the later ones, especially Innocent III, for putting too much emphasis on temporal, political goals, thereby alienating the people, who hunger for spiritual food, from the clergy.

He does not see piety as a negative trait, although he clearly distinguishes it from holiness. He is especially glowing in his treatment of St. Louis, and his pious mother, Blanche of Castile, emphasizing their earnestness and success at establishing a just, Christian realm.

It is very interesting to compare the Hollister's treatment of medieval saints to that of Hugh Ross Williamson in the wonderful book, The Young People's Book of Saints. There are no real contradictions, but the emphasis is different.  Hildebrand, for instance, is never called a saint by Hollister, although his zeal and high purpose is acknowledged. Williamson, on the other hand, clearly sees St. Gregory VII as the tragic hero-saint in the conflict with Henry.

I highly recommend both books.






Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Wise sayings?" "Yeah, I call'm wise sayings."

I've been slowly reading Proverbs. There is so much richness in them. It even has advice for bloggers:
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion (18:2).
On gossip:
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body (18:8).
On sloth:
He who is slack in his work
is a brother to him who destroys (18:9).
On devotion to the Lord:
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe (18:10).