Monday, June 11, 2018

If natural and human history is "historically contingent", then faith is "the behavior that is, in the last analysis, alone appropriate to reality."

     Wolfhart Pannenberg, "Contingency and natural law" (1970), trans. William C. Linss, in Toward a theology of nature:  essays on science and faith, ed. Ted Peters (Louisville, KY:  Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993), 76 and 116n11 (72-122).  An important additional "if" has been left out of this one sentence in particular:  and if there is this claim that the Judeo-Christian God is "the lord of the world" (112-113n5).

Sunday, June 10, 2018

He had the right perspective on everything else, just not MY cause du jour

"If [Simon] Leys [(Pierre Ryckmans)] had an Achilles heel, it was his deep-seated Catholicism which in 1995 led him to defend the traditional family, 'the most successful experiment in the entire cultural history of mankind', against the prospect of same-sex marriages."

     David Coward, "The man who did for Mao:  an academic polemicist who was 'a mixture of Don Quixote, George Orwell, Mother Teresa and Confucius'," the Times literary supplement no. 6003 (20 April 2018):  4 (3-4).  According to Coward, Leys was the bane of "people dazzled by propaganda, fake news, and their own agendas", just not (apparently) Coward's own.  As, indeed, two correspondents later pointed out on p. 6 of issue no. 6005, dated 4 May 2018.  Tom Dilworth:
it would have been fair if the reviewer had also credited Catholicism a little with abetting or at least enabling Leys's political criticism, if only because having a real religion, Christian (which Catholicism, beneath all its encrustations, contains), probably helped keep Leys from falling for the false religion of Maoism.
And Christopher Abbott:
this condescension towards Catholicism - not at all rare in print these days - echoes Coward's own observation of the liberal Left's long resistance to any voices that threatened their pro-Soviet or pro-Mao orthodoxies.
The rest of Coward's article is full of only praise for Ryckmans' clear-sightedness. 

"nothing ages a theological contribution so fast as fashionable 'relevance'."

University of Oxford
     James Orr, "Morality of love:  the common sense of Christian communication," a review of Oliver O'Donovan's Entering into rest, vol. 3 of Ethics as theology (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2018), in the Times literary supplement no. 6003 (20 April 2017):  26 (26-27).

Saturday, June 2, 2018

"a sort of fundamental implausibility"

Adrian Scarborough (The BBC)
     "It would be a travesty to say that Guy suspected Apthorpe of lying.  His claims to distinction—porpoise-skin boots, a High Church aunt in Tunbridge Wells, a friend who was on good terms with gorillas—were not what an imposter would invent in order to impress.  Yet there was about Apthorpe a sort of fundamental implausibility."
Adam Godley (The IMDB)

     Evelyn Waugh, Men at arms 1.8; The Sword of honour trilogy, Everyman's Library 173 (New York:  Everyman's Library, Alfred A. Knopf, 1994 [1952]), 100.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

"Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything."

"So, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world.  That is, rejoice in the truth, not in wickedness; rejoice in the hope of eternity, not in the fading flower of vanity.  That is the way to rejoice.  Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything."

"Ita gaudete:  et ubicumque, et quamdiucumque hic fueritis, Dominus in proximo est, nihil solliciti fueritis."

     St. Augustine, Sermo 171.5 =PL 38, col. 935 (933-935), as translated in the Office of Readings for St. Philip Neri.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

"if theology does lay special claim to gaps, i.e., to exceptions to an explanation in terms of law, then regulated events cannot be seen as direct and living acts of God in the way that miracles are."

     Wolfhart Pannenberg, paraphrasing Paul Althaus, Systematic theology, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994 [1991]), 71n174.  There are some very nice statements on this page in the body, too.  Pannenberg continues as follows:
     The only safeguard against the argument that theology is here again claiming a gap in what is normal as the basis of its description of God's action in natural occurrences is to show first that [1] contingency is constitutive for the very concept of laws in nature, and then to claim that [2] contingency thus applies not merely to events that are not regulated by law but to all events in general.  We can do this if we show that [3] the contingency of each event is the result of the irreversibility of time.  If this argument holds good, only a contesting of the irreversibility of time can weaken the thesis that all events are contingent [(italics mine)].

Deus et familia

"Only God and Guy knew the massive and singular quality of Mr Crouchback's family pride."  Yet "all his pride of family was a schoolboy hobby compared with his religious faith."

     Evelyn Waugh, Men at arms, Prologue ("Sword of honour"); The Sword of honour trilogy, Everyman's Library 173 (New York:  Everyman's Library, Alfred A. Knopf, 1994 [1952]), 31, 32.