Friday, February 12, 2010

What are those homeschoolers up to anyway kooked up in their homes isolated from everyone

You know, all they ever do is sit at home and read about creationsism. Like in this article about the Campion Players' production of Twelfth NIght. You can tell by the picture how unsocialized they are.

I am, of course, a proud papa among other things.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Edith Stein Project

In doing work on the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae recently I have divided the evidences for the "Catholicity" of the university into three categories: policy, programming, and culture. Policy would include such factors as mission statement, hiring practices, regulations on student government, criteria for choosing honorees of various kinds, what health services does, etc. Programming might include institutes, majors, publications (press, journals), special collections, scholarships, etc. Finally, culture would not only include the visual culture of the place, but also the spontaneous expressions of Catholic intellectual and cultural life by faculty and students. For instance, student organizations and faculty research. One might look at not only lively devotional life (very important evidence for robust Catholicism, no matter what people say about "pietism."), but also what the faculty are doing on their own initiative (such as the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, which is not a program of the University, but a faculty initiative that ND has approved of and allowed on campus without initial University funding).

Whatever one can say about Notre Dame's Catholicity in the area of policy and programming, there is certainly a lively Catholic culture among many of the students and faculty on Campus. Even if it is a minority, it is a loud and highly visible minority. Other "Catholic" colleges and universities consider such initiatives to be tolerable, but not worthy of encouragement. If such initiatives become too popular or are perceived as too powerful on campus or in the broader society, some administrative means is devised to reign it in. Many Catholic faculty on many Catholic campuses feel isolated and thwarted in their efforts to make the Catholic intellectual tradition a force in the everyday life of their department, college, and university.

Just one example of what is possible on a campus that actually believes in the diverse expressions of Catholicity they claim to encourage, the students at Notre Dame are holding this weekend their annual "Edith Stein Project" conference. The topic for this year is "No Man is an Island: Creature, Culture, and Community." The Project, sponsored by a student organization called The Identity Project of Notre Dame, began five years ago as a Catholic response to the V-Monologues. If you are going to be in the South Bend area on Friday and Saturday, or if you can figure out a way to get there, you should consider taking in one of these talks. Attending the talks is free. Registration is not necessary, although you can register and get meals, name tags, a folder, etc.

Here is a list of the talks. As you can see my old teacher, Dr. David Schindler will be there.
  • Keynote Address – “Edith Stein: A Woman of Wisdom Whose Time Has Come,” Dr. Keith Egan
  • “The Counter Cultural Comeback of Large Families: Picture the Possibilities,” Jenn Giroux and Fr. Tom Euteneuer
  • “How to Be a Father in a Fatherless World” (followed by Fatherless signing), Brian J. Gail
  • “On Spiritual Maternity: Edith Stein’s Search for the Soul of Woman in European Literature, ” Dr. Jane Rodeheffer
  • “Empathy, Femininity, and Attention: The Writings of Stein and Weil,” 'Empathizing with God’s Point of View’: Edith Stein’s Ethical Empathy and Robert Gordon’s Hierarchy of Empathic Forms," Sr. Ann Astell
  • "Simone Weil on Attention," Adam Sims
  • “Feminist and Feminine: Edith Stein's Teachings on the Nature of Women, ” Lisa Folkerth
  • NFP vs. Contraception: What’s the Big Deal?,” Lisa Everett
  • “Women and the Shaping of American Culture: From Abigail Adams to Laura Ingalls Wilder,” Dr. Susan Hanssen
  • “Giving Yourself without Squandering Yourself,” Dr. Jules Van Schaijik
  • Mass, celebrated by Bishop John D’Arcy
  • Pizza Dinner and Discussion with Bishop D’Arcy On Human Relationships and Pastoral Care
  • Film – “Almost Evening”
  • “Masculine and Feminine Virtue” Student Essay Contest Winners Matthew Holbreich, Andrew Prevot, Carly O’Connor
  • “Power of Community – The Fr. Jim Karaffa Business Academy for Women,” Michael Bohnert
  • “When Push Comes to Shove: Victimization and Vulnerability in Abusive Relationships,” Natassia Kwan
  • “Let’s Get Physical, Metaphysical: An Integrated Understanding of the Pill, Jello Shots, and Eating Disorders, ” Caitlin Shaughnessy Dwyer, Caroline Lashutka, and Anamaría Scaperlanda-Ruiz
  • “The Middle Point Between iPods and Facebook: Lessons in Community and Value from Edith Stein,” Gloria L. E. Zúñiga y Postigo
  • "The Economy Needs Ethics: A Brief History of Christian Economics,” Dr. Kevin Schmiesing
  • “Stretched yet Unbroken: The Journey of Married Motherhood,” Lisa Everett
  • “Burning yet Unconsumed: The Paradox of Virginal Motherhood,” Sr. Margaret Mary Mitchel and Sr. M. Benedicta Duna
  • “From Movies to the Monastery: Vocation as Expansion of the Heart,” Mother Dolores Hart
  • “Homosexuality and Identity,” Melinda Selmys
  • “Universal Call to Holiness: Homosexual Persons in the Church,” Panel Discussion
  • “Life, Family, and ‘Integral Human Development’: The Anthropological Unity of Caritas in Veritate,” Dr. David Schindler
  • “John Paul II: Love and the Body, ” Dr. Adrian Reimers
  • “Catholic Courtship: A school for true communion,” Katie van Schaijik
  • “The Woodstock Monologues: Lessons Learned about Life, Relationships, and the Real Meaning of Love,” Eileen Love

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

De Latina

This morning I finally found my Liturgia Horarum, vol. III, which has been missing since the beginning of Ordinary Time. Boy, was it a pleasure to finally be able to pray in Latin again!

Latin is a singing language. It can make the most prosaic thought sound like a song. It is also the key to the western heritage of Catholic thought. Even those who wrote in the vernacular, such as Shakespeare, reflected their knowledge of Latin. It also teaches us to think more clearly and understand language better.

Although, as Sr. Miriam Joseph points out, other inflected languages, such as Greek or Russian, can help us see grammar more easily than can English, Latin is the one that is most accessible of the heavily inflected languages. The main advantage Greek would have is that the New Testament is written it it (no small advantage). On the other hand, it is a harder language to learn, and less influential on Western Civilization. On the other hand, all nineteenth century intellectuals knew both Latin and Greek. A friend was telling me a story about Jesuit formation in the 1940s. Apparently the Eastern Province of the Jesuits in the United States required competency in Greek before entering the novitiate. They turned many potential candidates away, which were picked up by other provinces that had somewhat less stringent requirements.

I am not one of those who thinks that Latin is a divine language, therefore if the Church does not use it, it is betraying the Lord. On the other hand, I do think that God has providentially given the Roman Church (and therefore the entire Church) this beautiful treasure and that we need to cherish it. The only way to adequately cherish it is to study it, learn it, and use it. I do believe that as many Catholics as can ought to learn as much Latin as they can. Seminarians especially ought to have as good of knowledge of it as they can reasonably acquire in 4-6 years. I also think that Latin is one of the treasures and Western Civilization and therefore ought to be preserved and used even by non-Catholics

I note that there has been a surge in the number of students who study Latin in the past few years. The Wisconsin Junior Classical League exploded in size over the years so much this year they had to limit the number of delegates from each school! My son is a classics major, and some of the other home schooled kids I know are seriously considering it. Here is a link to our home school group's Latin Club, the Dead Language Latin Club. HomeschoolConnections will be offering it next fall.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Juggler of Our Lady

Speaking of the Juggler of Our Lady, here is a neat animated video from the 1950s.


We are finally getting a fresh, new snow after what seems like months of the old snow getting dingier and dirtier. It is supposed to snow all day. I'll also get some much needed exercises. Fortunately it is a very light, fluffy snow, so won't be one of those challenging, heavy, wet snows that requires you to rest every five minutes to catch your breath.

St.Scholastica and Tomie de Paola

Tomie de Paola may be best known for Strega Nona and Big Anthony, but he also has written several wonderful picture books about saints. One of our favorites is The Holy Twins, about Ss. Benedict and Scholastica. St. Scholastica has a prominence in the retelling that she doesn't often get. It is a wonderful story of the natural and supernatural love of a brother and a sister.

Our four year old loves the book. After we read it a few times he started adding Ss. Benedict and Scholastica to the little litany of the saints we pray at the beginning of each meal.

De Paola also has a nice book about St. Francis. And his retelling of the medieval legend, the Juggler of Our Lady, called The Clown of God, is quite moving. de Paola is able to make the rural Italian village come to life.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Frisbee is invented

By Ogier the Dane at the Battle of Ethandune:
And Ogier, leaping up alive,
Hurled his huge shield away
Flying, as when a juggler flings
A whizzing plate in play.

--G.K. Chesterton, "The Ballad of the White Horse," Bk. VI.