Friday, April 17, 2009

ND Center for Ethics and Culture call for papers

The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture have announced the theme for their fall conference in November: "The Summons of Freedom: Virtue, Sacrifice, and the Common Good." The focus seems to be on the importance of virtue in the fulfilmment of our humanity in freedom. Here is a link to their call for papers.

We welcome the submission of abstracts drawing on a wide range of moral and religious perspectives and academic specialties. Special consideration will be given to submissions of ideas for panel discussions that would bring together several people to discuss a focused theme. Possible issues to be explored are:

  • the natural law and American democratic government
  • analogous senses of the common good
  • special demands on courage in contemporary culture
  • the multiple threats of individualism
  • philosophical and theological inquiries into the virtues
  • the riches of Catholic social teaching
  • the global economic crisis and the situation of late modern capitalism
  • the secularization of contemporary culture
  • imagining the common good: what the arts contribute
  • the fate of Europe
  • stewardship over nature: what does it entail?
  • Catholic approaches to the common good: Maritain, McInerny, and
  • “Whose common good?”: the unborn, the barely born, the disabled,
    and the elderly
  • freedom and its relation to truth
  • Pope Benedict on charity and hope
  • the Christian Democratic movement in 20th Century politics
  • Elizabeth Anscombe and the virtue revolution in ethics
  • the sacrifices of family life

Classic Liberal Arts Academy

The Classical Liberal Arts Academy, run by William Michael, of North Carolina, looks like a very robust and useful program in Catholic liberal education for all grades. It is especially useful for those parents who can't spend a lot of time or don't have the skill to teach well the types of subjects that make a good, classic Catholic liberal education. Hat tip goes to Dr. Nathan Schiedicke.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Terrrible News!

President Thomas Dillon of Thomas Aquinas College was killed this morning in an auto accident. His wife, Terri, was seriously injured. Please pray!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Classics of Catholic Spirituality

As part of a course I am teaching to deacon aspirants for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, I am using the book called The Classics of Catholic Spirituality, by Peter John Cameron, O.P. (New York: Alba House, 1996). The book consists of fourteen brief chapters on the great spiritual classics of the past 1600 years, beginning with St. Augustine's Confessions, and ending with Story of a Soul, by St. Therese of Lisieux. Among the works covered are The Cloud of Unknowing, The Little Flowers of St. Francis, The Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich, Dialogues, by St. Catherine of Siena, The Imitation of Christ, Spiritual Exercises, by St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Interior Castle, Introduction to the Devout Life, The Practice of the Presence of God, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Abandonment to Divine Providence.

Each of the chapters, though brief, is insightful about the distinctive contribution of these works has made to western Catholic spirituality. I am particularly impressed by the Conclusion, which lists the seven common characteristics of Catholic Spirituality and goes into some detail about what each one means. Here they are
  • Belief in God's Love
  • God's mercy, sin, and the mode of the Soul [The is about the role that knowledge of our own sinfulness and knowledge of the mercy of God plays in the transformation and purification of our souls].
  • The instrumentality of the the Church and the Communion of Saints
  • The Importance of prayer and the struggle with aridity
  • The dynamic of detachment and holy indifference
  • The redemptive role of suffering
  • Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Fr. Cameron emphasizes among other things the role of submission of the intellect to the guidance of the Church, and the value of what many "sophisticated" Catholics condescendingly dismiss as "piety."

I wonder if a similar book were written about eastern authors, what the list would consist of?