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Devra Torres

Joined: Feb. 26, 2012

Bio:

Roman Catholic of Jewish background; Master of Philosophy turned homeschooling mother of eight. Freelance writer, editor, and translator.  Studied at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and later at the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein. Happily married to Max Torres; happily settled, God willing, in unexotic Ann Arbor, Michigan after stints in Israel, Rome, Liechtenstein, and Barcelona. Beginning to emerge from intellectual semi-hibernation with the impending maturity of my littlest boy, who has now attained the ripe old age of six.


Most recent posts by Devra Torres:     (See all of them)


The Trouble with Hagiography

Sep. 20 at 12:49pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: Sep. 20 at 1:57pm

The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God is a book that was on my meaning-to-read list for months. I’m only partway through the introduction, but already there's a lot to like. The book is a collection of letters from Ruth Pakaluk, a woman I knew slightly when we lived in New England. In fact, we were sent to visit Ruth and her husband right after our marriage by a priest friend who thought it would be good...

“Soft Addictions”

Sep. 13 at 2:02pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: Sep. 15 at 9:07am

Browsing through the library one day, I happened on a book about “soft addictions.” It belonged to the self-help genre, and I don’t remember what kind of treatment the author recommended, but it was an interesting idea: the causes and effects, not of physiologically addictive substances, but of relatively innocuous habits like overeating and nail-biting. (This was a long time ago, so electronics were not on the list, but I have no doubt they would be...

Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

Sep. 6 at 7:33pm | Comments: 0

Lots of people are haunted by the sense that they’re not doing enough, not becoming what they were meant to be, not doing what they were put on earth to do. Their efforts seem pointless. For some, this worry amounts to an ever-present low-grade despair, lurking in the background. There are plenty of possible reasons for this, but rooting out one particular misunderstanding has been especially helpful for me. Faced with a crisis, a tragedy, or just a...

Becoming Who You Are, Even If You’re Not Sure Who That Is

Aug. 27 at 11:23pm | Comments: 7 | Most recent comment: Sep. 7 at 1:08pm

                          “Become who you are!” St. John Paul II used to encourage us.  I loved that.  But I ran into a problem: how to figure out what, or who, that was? People have different ideas on how to go about this. One popular approach is to strip away all your roles. Once you’ve shed all that extraneous stuff, you’ll be...

Please Don’t Be a Human Ping Pong Ball!

Aug. 20 at 12:20am | Comments: 0

St. Paul warns the Ephesians against letting themselves be “blown around by every wind of doctrine.” Another danger these days is letting yourself be blown around by every false headline. Or every true headline. It hardly matters. Whether the journalists are lying or not, the game is to get you to imagine yourself an informed consumer of information, a connoisseur, not a human ping pong ball, bounced forever back and forth by the force of your own predictable...


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Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is

Sep. 7 at 1:08pm | see this comment in context

Katie, I was thinking more of people who value relationships but want to claim absolute authority over how much they encroach on the self--like people who marry "as long as we both shall love" or a man who fathers a baby but reserves the right to ignore it from then on. They value relationships, but they don't grant that once you (validly) marry, from then on you are that person's spouse, or once you've procreated, you are a mother or father. It changes you ontologically. Who you are is not separate from who certain relationships have constituted you to be. Does that make sense?

Of course this is not to say that mothers may not work outside the home, or that annulmnets or separation or civil divorce may not be necessary. It's not to reduce the person to a certain, narrow understanding of what a wife or mother or father is supposed to be. It's not to deny the person's legitimate autonomy.

Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is

Aug. 29 at 10:54am | see this comment in context

No, just about everyone knows we need relationships.  I will be thinking about how to express what I'm trying to say more clearly as I take care of some urgent things around here, because I want to do this discussion more justice than I can right now. Bis bald!

Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is

Aug. 29 at 10:19am | see this comment in context

Kate, yes, I was always struck by Karol Wojtyla's distinction between humanl acts and "acts of man": acts that emerge from your free center, and things that you do but that are just physiological or instinctive or reactive--acts that are "automatic" in some way, and don't fully involve your freedom.

The feminist ideas that Maggie Gallagher was writing against did have a large grain of truth.  As we've been talking about here lately from many angles, for a long time, there definitely are people and relationships and cultures and mentalities that you do have to separate yourself from to find out who you even are, and to initiate action that really comes from your own free center. 

Where many people go wrong, it seems, is in seeing the core of each person as totally unrelated to relations with other subjects.  It's as if they think: if it's a relationship, it's not a reality, but just something that's "in your head" or something that belongs to the realm of feelings, understood in the most superficial and reductive sense.

Re: Juan Antonio and the Personalist Manager

Jul. 27 at 9:13pm | see this comment in context

I should be done with the editing by the end of August, so I hope it will be out (as an e-book) soon after that.

Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation

Jul. 25 at 2:12pm | see this comment in context

Rhett, I have read the Tolstoy story--it's a good one.  My husband actually used to use it on his business ethics class!  It's about how a good man, given the opportunity to own as much land as he can walk around in a day, finds himself "needing" more and more, and...it doesn't end well.  I urge everyone to read Tolstoy, who of course tells it better.

The government is so unwieldy and corrupt and beholden to special interests that it will never act like Joseph in Egypt, I don't think.  I don't know that it's capable of handling wealth well enough to stockpile for those in need, or for our own future necessities.  When it does help those in need, it does so with fictional money, or money borrowed from our great grandchildren, as far as I understand.

What we as individuals can do is also an important question.  There are two aspects: being detached from what we do have, and realizing that giving to those in need is an obligation, not something beyond the call of duty. Pope Francis has been "convicting" me (as the Protestants say) on these two points lately.

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