Marks of personhoodeach person is unrepeatably and incommunicably himself or herself…each is not only an objective but also a subjective being…each lives out of his or her interiority…each is a being of surpassing, indeed infinite worth and dignity…eachcan live and thrive only by existing with and for other persons.
John F. Crosby
Sep. 27, 2012, at 11:10pm
judg[ing] people by our own reactions, fears and desires. We do not see them as separate people who possess their own souls and live their own lives, but as part of ourselves and our lives….we attribute to them motives which we would have in the same circumstances.
People who walk around imagining they’re privy to the inmost depths of other people’s souls are hard to live with, and conflicts with them are difficult to resolve.
Sep. 25, 2012, at 11:38am
I do think that in this on-going conversation we should try to imagine our way into the truth implied in both Eph. 5: 21 (be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ) and Eph. 5: 22 (wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord). We all agree that this does not involve literally giving orders and simply expecting obedience, which would quite evidently violate Casti Connubii as well as the teaching of JPII. Thus, whatever “headship” means—the man as the head of the family, the woman as the heart, each with their own responsibilities and priorities—it must be within the mutual subjection to Christ. Still, if man and woman are truly complementary and thus not merely the …continue reading
Sep. 24, 2012, at 11:03am
A chance to quibble with Roger Kimball doesn't come along every day of the week, so I'm going to grab it while I can. I found it on p.7 of his new book, The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in the Age of Amnesia. This paragraph:
What a relativist really believes (or believes he believes) is that 1) there is no such thing as value (as distinct from mere preference) and 2) there is no such thing as truth. The word "absolute" is merely an emollient, a verbal sedative intended to forestall unhappiness. What after all is the difference between saying "There is no such thing as absolute truth" and saying "There is no such thing as truth"? Take your time.
I get what he means and I …continue reading
Sep. 22, 2012, at 1:42pm
I've been preoccupied for the last couple of days with a lively discussion over at Ricochet about a talk by Fr. Barron that a member there linked. I clicked and listened, expecting to like it. I don't know very much about Fr. Barron, but practically everyone I know admires him, so I was ready to too. I'd seen a few of his You Tube clips, which I found mostly sound and engaging, if not particularly deep. He's plainly a thoughtful, sincere, orthodox Catholic priest with a gift for apologetics and a sympathetic openness to contemporary culture—which is ideal for the New Evangelization. I was happy when I heard he'd been named Rector of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.
But I thought this …continue reading
Sep. 18, 2012, at 9:52pm
The other day, my husband and I were taking a walk. We looked up and saw this:
Here are some questions we didn’t ask:
No, we ruled coincidence out. In fact, there were three separate things the letters told us.
Sep. 18, 2012, at 9:41am
Newsweek is featuring an article by the admirable Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose books Infidel and The Caged Virgin impressed me deeply. Since reading them, I've been hoping to do an in-depth study comparing and contrasting Islamic and Christian sexual morality.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was raised as a devout, fundamentalist Muslim in Somalia, Saudia Arabia, Ethiopia,and Kenya. When she was a teenager she came across western books, including Jane Austen and Danielle Steel, that awakened in her heart a desire for love. When her father arranged for her to marry a man she didn't know and didn't care for, she gathered the courage to flee to Holland. While there, she began working as a translator among …continue reading
Sep. 14, 2012, at 9:36pm
God be with him. And God bless him for his fearlessness!
I have come to Lebanon as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of men. ... Looking beyond your country, I also come symbolically to all the countries of the Middle East as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of all the inhabitants of all the countries of the region, whatever their origins and beliefs. ... Your joys and sorrows are constantly present in the Pope's prayers and I ask God to accompany you and to comfort you. Let me assure you that I pray especially for the many people who suffer in this region. The statue of St. Maron reminds me of what you live and endure.
Sep. 14, 2012, at 8:24pm
My copy came in the mail today. As Anthony knows, I tend to be a rather severe critic of other people's dating theories, so I picked this up with some trepidation. I'd so hate not to be able to endorse something by a friend!
So I'm very happy to be able to report: so far so good. The Forward, by Lino Rulli, is warm and funny and teasing. Proof positive that Anthony can't possibly be guilty of taking himself too seriously (a common failing of authors of advice books).
Then, on page 2, he neatly explains a core feature of …continue reading
Sep. 11, 2012, at 12:43pm
A friend alerted me to this NPR story about our alma mater, Franciscan University. A facebook group of gay alumni complained to the university about the official description for a sociology course on deviant behavior.
Here's the description:
The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use.
According to fellow alum, Greg Gronbacher, he and another alum contacted the school and asked them to change the description.
The university's attorney responded instead with an email warning them not to use the university's name or logo in their activities.
A few thoughts.
I think NPR and Greg are being needlessly …continue reading
Sep. 10, 2012, at 12:25pm
Today's Magnificat meditation, which comes from John Janaro (whose name is not familiar to me) is beautifully personalistic.
My trials have opened my eyes, my ears, and my heart to something I never noticed in my youth. Maybe it is because I have finally started listening to people. The fact is that many people are suffering, many of them more than I. Indeed, suffering is deeper than the immediate external struggles that engage most of us. Everyone has something missing in life, something that has disappointed, something that does not measure up to a once-cherished hope, something that inhibits freedom, some burden that tires, some hunger that is never satisfied.
People usually …
Sep. 8, 2012, at 12:35pm
Preparing for his Newman class—it begins Tuesday!—Jules bought a new book: Newman and His Contemporaries. I picked it up this morning. The essential personalism of the opening lines of the introduction jumped out at me:
The literary critic and biographer Mona Wilson once began an introduction to a selection of Samuel Johnson's prose and poetry with a memorable disclaimer, "I shall say nothing of Johnson's life. No one should read even a selection from his writings who is not aleady familiar with the man. Boswell must come first. This is not to say that he is greater than his writings, or that they are only interesting because he wrote them, but they are the utterances of the whole …
Sep. 7, 2012, at 8:58pm
I saw something Thursday night that surprised me, and it might surprise you, too.
Cardinal Dolan, along with God and Jerusalem, was originally persona non grata at the Democratic National Convention. No surprise there. I’m not sure anyone claimed that his original non-invite was a “technical oversight”—though that’s how Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (with an impressively straight face) explained the exclusion of Jerusalem and God.
The invitation was reluctantly extended in the end, and he took them up on it.
What surprised me was not that he dared mention unborn babies, or religious freedom, or marriage. I expected that, though I was struck by how gracefully and confidently he managed …continue reading
Sep. 6, 2012, at 1:07pm
Just a week or two ago we heard at Sunday Mass the stirring exhortation from Joshua 24:25
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Personalist that I am, this set me reflecting on a mysterious fact of our being: Service is an ineradicable exigency of our contingent nature. We cannot decide whether we will serve, only whom we will serve. We are not God. We have no way of explaining our existence, nor any power to set its terms. We are "handed …continue reading
Sep. 5, 2012, at 1:56pm
On a business trip to India some time in the early 80s, my parents were with a small group of fellow travelers who got to meet Mother Teresa. This is how my mother tells the story:
"She came in the room and spoke with a radiant face about how wonderful God is. As she turned to leave, she stopped, looked at me, walked over to me, took my hands in hers and said, 'I'm praying for your children.'"
Of course, it's a good bet that a forty-something woman with a wedding band probably has children. But to me the story felt like a special grace. A very personal grace.
I hope she's praying for me still, from heaven.
Sep. 4, 2012, at 4:46pm
Like practically everyone I know, I'm an admirer of Fr. Barron. His clear, incisive and mild-mannered way of defending the faith is a gift for the Church in our day. But in a recent column about the social teachings of the Church, I think he misses the mark by trying too hard to be even-handed.
He begins by laying out two "extremes", as if they're equal and opposite errors.
For many on the left, Paul Ryan is a menace, the very embodiment of cold, indifferent Republicanism, and for many on the right, he is a knight in shining armor, a God-fearing advocate of a principled conservatism.
Mitt Romney's choice of Ryan as running mate has already triggered the worst kind of exaggerated hoo-hah …
Aug. 31, 2012, at 12:09pm
This quote was brought to my attention by my friend Jennifer, for whom I have enormous respect. We don’t agree much on politics,
but we do concur on the more important things. (Yes, there are more important things!).
I clicked on “like,” but something about the quote bothered me. It was hard to put my finger on.
It reminded me of St. Francis’ saying, “Preach always! When necessary, use words.”
Oh, wait. Turns out he never seems to have said that. But we all see the point: practice what you preach. If you don’t, then
So, sure, we can all agree: practice what …continue reading
Aug. 31, 2012, at 1:36am
So, exactly how are we to regard the personalist insights and interpretations of John Paul II in relation to the traditional Church teachings about marriage, man and woman, equality and leadership, headship and submission? Evidently, he offers us a tremendous development of the tradition on equality between the marriage partners. How does this relate to the notion of authority in marriage? Is JPII's teaching simply a rejection, not only of scripture (as deeply erroneous?) but also of hundreds of years of tradition (no longer indefectible, much less infallible?)? What would this do to our notions of inerrancy in Scripture and of guidance of the Church by the Holy Spirit in fundamental …continue reading
Aug. 29, 2012, at 4:39pm
Here are three things we all agree on about marriage:
1) Men and women are different, and importantly so. The sexes are not interchangeable. The "genius" of masculiinity and feminity shape the roles of husband and wife. Wives want their husbands to be men; men want their wives to be women.
2) Authority is not bad. It does not imply metaphysical or moral superiority. (The modernist rejection of all authority is the cause of much misery and moral confusion in the world.)
3) It's never okay to "Lord it over" another person, or to be domineering. Whatever authority a person has should be exercised in a virtuous, Christilke way, viz., in service of others.
Here is what is in dispute: …continue reading
Aug. 29, 2012, at 7:57am
“Remember! Inside every silver lining is a dark cloud of despair!”
(Many thanks to Richard West for this photo. For more of his very striking and varied artistry, please see more of his work here.)
I knew a wonderful grandmother whose take on life could be captured in those words. I couldn’t figure it out—until I became a mother. Part of being responsible for someone you love is being on continual alert for anything that could possibly go wrong. The world is suddenly full of death traps. A grape on the floor—choking hazard! A hitherto harmless pet—smothering hazard!
And later: your daughter’s boyfriend—lifelong-misery hazard!
But it’s not only panicky mothers who tend to look on …continue reading