“Those who advocate Utopia presume that they can become fathers of the future without having been children of the past.”

– Hans Urs von Balthasar

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The best is yet to come.






The Best Is Yet To Come, by Martin Nowak,

DSPT Fellow and Professor at Harvard University
2015 DSPT Commencement Address

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“It is easy to give way to the dominant tendency to surrender to the spirit of the age and the spirit of the world by shutting our eyes to the errors of public opinion and the evils and injustice of popular action … But it is also easy, and it is a more insidious temptation, to adopt an attitude of negative hostility to the spirit of the age and to take refuge in a narrow and exclusive fanaticism which is essentially the attitude of the heretic and the sectarian and which does more to discredit Christianity and render it ineffective than even worldliness and time-serving. For the latter are, so to speak, external to the Church’s life, whereas the former poisons the sources of its spiritual action and causes it to appear hateful in the eyes of men of good will.”

– Christopher Dawson (1939)

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It can be done.

“They had been men of little faith, with their continual questioning and their childish egotism; but now they went out into the civilized world full of the spirit of self-sacrifice and strong in soul. And they carried the new fire to the hovels of slaves and into the palaces of emperors. Twelve simple, uneducated fishermen revolutionized the world, and that with no other instrument than their new faith and their readiness to die for that faith.”

– Karl Adam

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Meet the Anne Franks of Today


“It is unconscionable to remain willfully ignorant and silent while these Yazidi and Nigerian girls suffer. Not only are they victims of the authentic war on women, but they are also victims of a war on innocence and humanity itself.”

“Our study of history is invaluable for understanding the present. While genocides of the last century are the subject of countless books, documentaries, and lectures, we must and cannot ignore the history being made in front of our eyes.”

– Peter LaFave

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Concerning the “Ecological” Path to Salvation

By their fruits you shall know them. A lot of people who get paid to think logically, rationally, and lucidly are overpaid. One who has performed these essential tasks above and beyond his pay-grade is Fr. James Schall, S.J. For the digital age, this piece (link below) is longer than most, but it repays the time it takes to read it many times over. A faithful Catholic philosopher, tested by a long stint at Georgetown University, Fr. Schall has learned how to elude capture by fashionable intellectual trends. Hear him out.

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Thank Goodness Encyclicals Aren’t Binding On Catholics


The Church exists to make us aware that Christ has profoundly altered mankind’s existential and eschatological circumstances and to help us adjust our lives accordingly. Secondarily, she may use her powers of persuasion to urge the adoption of moral standards and social arrangements most congenial to man’s Christ-altered condition. As for the Church’s primary duty, there will always be scandals, for our sin-ridden impulse is to insist on having our own way. When it comes to the Church’s ancillary task of giving prudential counsel on how best to use material resources or on what political or economic arrangements are most conducive to human flourishing, her admonitions might receive a more attentive hearing if accompanied by her awareness that these are matters beyond her inherent competence. She cannot avoid certain scandals related to her primary duty. When it comes to more worldly matters, however, her advice will more likely receive a proper hearing if given in an avuncular and not a hectoring tone.

For example, this from someone who seems otherwise favorably predisposed to the teachings of the Church:

“While rightly speaking against a culture of ‘practical relativism,’ [Pope Francis] states that the same ‘thinking that leads to sexual exploitation of children…is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage.’

“Perhaps I misunderstand the Holy Father’s point. Does he mean to say that anyone who trusts the billions of individual decisions which constitute ‘the market’ is no better than one who sells children into sex slavery? Or is it only those who also dismiss the ‘collateral damage’ that are, for all intents and purposes, members of ISIS? Was this meant as a challenge, or an insult? I know how I took it.”

Neal Dewing

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An historical perspective…


(Islam] very nearly destroyed us. It kept up the battle against Christendom actively for a thousand years, and the story is by no means over; the power of Islam may at any moment re-arise.”

– Hilaire Belloc, 1938


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“The Church is the place where the process of conforming humanity to the person and event of Christ is begun, the place where men dedicate themselves, in a faith that listens and obeys, to this event that is a person, are formed by him (sacramentally) and seek through their existence to make him effective in the world.”

– Hans Urs von Balthasar

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Pope Francis goes off the rails…


Pope Pius IX’s 1854 Syllabus of Errors condemned modernity and was only finally brought into balance by the Second Vatican Council. This is the background to R. R. Reno’s assessment that Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment amounts to the reissuing of the 19th century condemnation.

“The Syllabus of Errors is exquisitely succinct,” writes Reno. “Laudato Si is verbose. But in a roundabout way Francis makes his own case against the modern world.”

I have reviewed the encyclical and, even though there are some very important passages in the encyclical, on the sweeping prudential judgments made in the encyclical on scientific, economic, and political matters I don’t think Reno is very far off the mark. But I am linking to another similar assessment by Rich Lowry, which speaks for itself.

Speaking for myself, I have linked Lowry’s article with a photo of the altar of the Chair of Peter at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is important because it depicts the chair — with no one sitting in it. Catholics have managed to maintain the unity that is indispensable to their catholic witness by seeing that unity personified in the man who sits in the chair of Peter and following him when he exercises his custodial role as the preserver of core Catholic teaching on doctrine and morals. Whatever his personal competence, Catholics owe him the courtesy of giving serious attention to his opinions on more worldly matters. The faithful are obliged to defer to papal statements on the doctrine of the Trinity or the sanctity of life or the obligation to care for the poor and the weak. His opinions on how best to care for the poor or to organize society or fulfill sundry other worldly obligations cannot be dismissed, but neither need they be accorded the respect due to statements more directly concerning faith and morals. Especially given the Church’s history, a pope’s statements on scientific matters are even more subject to the scrutiny of the faithful and others, for — familiar declarations to the contrary notwithstanding — science is very rarely settled, however enthusiastically a scientific hypothesis might be popularly embraced. My main disappointment with regard to this encyclical is that it appears at a moment when quite obviously the most pressing problem facing the Church and the world is the reawakening of Islamic supremacy and the violence that accompanies it. The encyclical’s concern for the poor notwithstanding, the real emergency facing so many people today is hardly the existence of too many air conditioners. The pope has laid himself and our Church open to mockery, and no Catholic can be sanguine about that.

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