Saturday, February 1, 2014

"The freedom of each American citizen to make doctrinal claims has always greatly exceeded that of any pope."

     Brad S. Gregory, The unintended Reformation:  how a religious revolution secularized society (Cambridge and London:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012), 175-176.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pope Francis: the Catholic university must do more than bear "witness . . . to the Church's moral teaching"; she must defend the Church's right to wield her in "defense of her freedom . . . to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium". (Or, at least, so, it would appear, the English.)

"The vision which guided Father Edward Sorin and the first religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross in establishing the University of Notre Dame du Lac remains, in the changed circumstances of the twenty-first century, central to the University’s distinctive identity and its service to the Church and American society. In my Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions. This commitment to 'missionary discipleship' ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life. Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!"

     "Pope [Francis] to Notre Dame delegation," 30 January 2014, as translated from the Italian by Vatican Radio.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"no freedom of silence, either."

"We know, of course, that there is no freedom of speech.  But few people realize that there is no freedom of silence, either.  Residents of a communist state are required to make positive statements of belief and loyalty."

     "the eminent philosopher Hu Shi" on "China under Mao", as quoted by Ian Buruma in "China:  reeducation through horror," a review of The tragedy of liberation:  a history of the Chinese revolution, 1945-1957 (New York:  Bloomsbury Press, 2013), The New York review of books 61, no. 1 (January 9, 2014):  40 (39-41).  Baruma continues:
     There was no chance in China, or indeed the Soviet Union under Stalin, of what Germans during the Third Reich called "inner emigration."  Everyone had to take part in the revolutionary theater.
And what you had to convince the authorities of was your positive enthusiasm.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A polar bear in the Thames

Parker Library, Corpus Christ College, Cambridge
     "Quotations range from accounts to zoology, though rarely do the two coincide as vividly as in a quotation from the 1252 Liberate roll from the National Archives, in which we see a record of an instruction to the keeper of the 'white [i.e. polar] bear' in the menagerie at the Tower of London, which had recently been sent to the King from Norway, to have a muzzle made together with 'a long and strong rope to hold the bear while it fished in the Thames'."

     Richard Ashdowne, "Ab to zythum:  heroes of medieval Latin," on the compilation of the Dictionary of medieval Latin from British sources, of which he was the closing (and remains the current) editor, Times literary supplement, January 3, 2014, 13 (12-13).  The fish were in addition to the "4d a day for food" imposed by Henry III on the sheriffs of London.  Three leopards anchored the little zoo, and an elephant was added in 1255 (The London encyclop√¶dia, ed. Weinreb & Hibbert (Bethesda, MD:  Adler & Adler, 1986 [1983]), s.v. Tower of London, p. 872a).  Cf. also http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerofLondon/Stories/Palacehighlights/RoyalBeasts/RoyalMenagerie.
     The image of the elephant is one of the two contemporary renditions by Matthew Paris.