Friday, October 6, 2006

Some of my best friends are...

1 comment(s)
YOU TELL ME.

The title of this post is one of my ever-ready jokes. I hear people talking about something unsavory or controversial, or even just innocuous, (say lazy overweight police officers), and I suddenly interject, "Hey some of my best friends are fat lazy cops!" Without fail the joke gets people's attention, if not their laughter, especially when I add an indignant edge to my voice. Imagine two people are complaining about "some freakin' idiot" they know. Then in I come, with a "Hey, watch it, some of my best friends are freakin' idiots!" Depending how incautious I am with my interjections, the looks I can get can be pretty extreme. For example, if someone is griping about dogfeces on his shoe, I'll say, "Hey some of my best friends are dogfeces!" And so forth. It's a patently absurd act on my part, because I'm simultaneously stepping to the plate for people and things non grata and defending them under their more degrading titles.

In any case, the humor of this joke collided into a real life concern of mine recently. I gravitate towards the grittier, darker areas of the world, always sniffing about for injustice and corruption. One of my pet themes in the shadows of news is the sex trafficking and human slavery (STHS) industries (or I should say industry, since the two activities frequently commingle). I keep a file of news about STHS, including Peter Landesman's NYT article, a National Geographic article, Taiwan news, etc. Maybe knowing such barbarism is still "out there" keeps my conscience awake; maybe it just gives me shocking ammo to fuel conversations. (I had a friend who once claimed the world was objectively better because "we don't have slavery anymore," at which point I pounced on him to explain just how real it still is!) And I've certainly never been cowed by the canard that "the Bible approves of slavery," since a) slavery then was radically different from what it meant in the mercantile-/ early-modern West, and b) the Bible explicitly denounces slavery as "lawless and disobedient,... ungodly and [of] sinners, for the unholy and profane,... [and] contrary to sound doctrine" (1 Timothy 1:9-10).

1:10 pornoiV arsenokoitaiV andrapodistaiV [andrapodistais] yeustaiV epiorkoiV kai ei ti eteron th ugiainoush didaskalia antikeitai

1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers [andrapodistaiV], for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;


Well, I just caught wind of a four-part series by the SF Chronicle on sex trafficking and I intend to follow it here at FCA. STHS may be "fair game" on neo-Darwinian, naturalistic lines, but I expose it and oppose it as an enemy of the pure teaching (th ugiainoush didaskalia antikeitai) of God.

Even so, I don't know all my motives for following this kind of news. But at some basic level it is to be Christlike. Jesus Christ dwelt among the crooks, the wasted, the stupid of his day -- and among the whores. And he expects me to follow him. As a Christian, I literally can't refuse to befriend crooks, wastes, idiots and whores. Truly, I should feel no compunction saying, "Hey, some of my best friends are whores!" For the truth is, these people (mostly young and denationalized), need someone to call them friend. They someone to say, "Hey, some of my best friends are sex slaves!"

Ah, Taiwan, how do I love thee?

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Let me count the ways.

There was that time as the Five-Corner Tree restaurant when a hefty but nimble rat fell right on head, hopped off my shoulder and scrambled behind me and a lady on the same bench. "Rat, rat!" people screamed. An employee raised her head like an ox from a watering hole, but then went right back to sweeping. A few seconds later, everyone was eating serenely, and the rat was nowhere in sight. Probably bathing itself in the in-ground fish pool under our feet.

Then there was the time I ordered a grapefruit green tea, only to find a large crack ion the glass. I returned it for a new one and went on to enjoy my beverage. As the cup was getting empty, I took a big sip from the straw to savor the settled grapefruit pulp. But for some reason the pulp had a crunchy bit in it. Oh, I see: a rice sized shard of glass was down there too. How quaint! Waiter, might I trouble you to scratch this time off my bill, or should I just sue your boss instead?

Oh, yes, then there was the time, only a week or two ago in fact, when I was dining at one of my favorite restaurants near my house. I ordered a bento, three-cup chicken I believe it was. The meal was tasty, the drink delightfully shard-free and the atmosphere chic and relaxing. My gullet was getting full, so I decided to rinse it down with the little bowl of soup I'd let stand the whole meal. These stout little plastic bowls, black on the outside, maroon on the inside, are a common sight in Taiwan, so I wasn't in a rush to finish it. When I lifted the lid off, a strange thought flitted through my mind, "Why is there so little soup in here?" -- a thought so strange I just ignored it. "Of course there's only a little soup in a little bowl!) Then, as I lifted the bowl to my lips for that first warm sip, another thought blurred through my mind, "Why is this bowl not so very warm? Did I really let it sit so long?" -- a thought so petty I just ignored it. (Of course, there's little warmth in a little bowl!) But then, as the soup sluiced its way down my throat, and I glanced at the bottom of the bowl, a question roared into my mind, refusing to be ignored. "Why is there rice and bits of meat in this half-empty, nearly cool bowl of soup?"

Egads! I'd been treated to the house's Second-Hand Delight!

My stomach turned, my neck and face went clammy, and I fought the urge to refill the bowl with my own concoction from within. Deciding a lawsuit was too much to swallow, I still felt one sip of soup was more than enough, that night.

Ah, Taiwan, how could I sue thee! Let me count the ways! One two three!

Thus spake Fakespeare!

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The optimist accuses the realist of too much pessimism, while the pessimist accuses him of too much optimism.

Meanwhile, the realist accuses the other two of being right.

(Not quite a koan, but you should ponder it a second or two.) Imagine yourself as a realist being so accused.

Essentially gay?

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A major basis for "queer" studies is the de-essentialization of human nature, or the denaturing of nature. Once the entire Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysic is scrapped, typically in favor of "de-ontic" existentialism, the concept of "essence" disappears too. And without "essences", or pure, objective modes of being, there is no essential human nature. Human nature is, instead, a plastic historical and biological construct. Since there is no "human nature," but only persons behaving under the banner of humanity, homosexuality cannot be a violation of human nature. Once the concept of real, essential nature disappears, natural law (as an expression of absolute truth embedded in human consciousness) loses its standing in the public much less private square.

The problem for me is that precisely by de-absolutizing human nature, queerists (if I may) as a rule, of not indeed as a necessity, absolutize queer nature. The reigning argument of the past couple decades in defense of homosexuality is basically that it is a legitimate, indeed naturally legitimate, expression of human sexuality. But by claiming a natural basis for queerness, queerists just swap saddles and continue riding the same essentialist horse. By arguing for autonomous queer studies, queerists just reinforce the older essentialist paradigm. By claiming homosexuality is authentically human, queerists imply something really is authentically human. Their critical metaphysical (existentialist) method undermines their own ideological goals.

If queerists however take the more radical, denatured line of thought, they eo ipso renege on rights to claiming "queer" is (also) "authentically human," since on radical existentialist lines nothing is authentically, essentially human. The problem, the risk of radical queerism, is that once queerism disqualifies itself from the realm of the "truly human," it opens itself to the danger of an absolutizing fascism in its opposition. "You say you are not 'essentially human'," asks the queer's opponent, "because nothing is essentially anything? Very well, then. We will simply take up the gauntlet and vanquish you, our non-human opponents, without the milk of human kindness."

A crucial point is that this fascist reaction need not be religious in nature but could just as easily be humanistic. In fact, the fascism reaction could indeed more easily be humanistic, since theists' essentialist commitments require them in principle to treat all what-they-recognize-as-humans humanely. A radically existentialist humanism, by contrast, could simply tack into a new sociocultural wind and decide those who renege on their rights as true humans (i.e., radical queerists), have ipso facto lost their place in the human community. And then -- off with their non-human heads! The major (and I would say saving) difference is that while essentialist theists (or theistic essentialists) may oppose homosexuality as a free perversion of human nature, they never deny the humanity of their opponents. Humans can be wrong, essentialists argue, but they can't have their humanity simply revoked by public will.

The basic (and I believe lethal) flaw in queerism is that by legitimizing homosexuality on the grounds of human dignity and autonomy ( i.e., "I'm a human too, so you must respect my way of being human!"), it eo ipso posits an essential anthropological substratum (of what should be universally protected human nature). This essential human substratum -- let's call it "essential anthro-autonomy " -- in turn destroys the ethical "space" created for homosexuality on the grounds that it's not "against human nature," since there is no human nature! But the question stands: Which is it? An essentially queer human nature, rooted in an unwittingly essentialist ontology? Or a radically existential monad rooted in personal autonomy? As long as queerism insists it is an essentially human category of being and thought, it never owns up to its most basic existential, anti-essentialist commitments. How queer indeed.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

A note from Elliam I. Fakespeare…

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ON BEHALF OF THE FCA RESEARCH DIVISION (FCARD):

Long-time readers here, and occasional mind readers anywhere, know Elliot has a mild obsession for neologism (unlike Derrida's penchant for deologism). Usually, however, after some research, we discover his attempts to neologize are at best cases of "reologism" (i.e., unwittingly copying others' neologisms). Previous examples of his reologisms include "internetorati" and "gengineering" (though, to his credit, he does seem to have something unique in the singular "internetoratus"). His decrepit middle school Latin pays off sometimes, he tells us.

Elliot may for the most part be a better reologizer than a neologizer, but in this case, FCARD is happy to announce Elliot seems to have really done it. Hence, FCARD is officially making the claim here and now on his behalf: current findings indicate Elliot actually coined a couple words in his most recent post ("Pop culchure at large")! Admittedly, using Google as our primary research tool is not so very rigorous, but it suffices for our purposes. (Besides, combing through books, all those heavy books, is so passé.)

The only instance of "sarcasmophilia" FCARD found was here; but this instance hardly seems to count, since the writer completely reversed the concepts (since when does "philia" mean "fear"?) We have found no instances of "sarcasmophobia," so FCA lays claim to it.

Also, while FCARD did find several instances of "culchure," they all seem to represent either genuine spelling errors (no applause), or crude attempts at sounding stupid to sound clever (e.g., "You so stoopid har har har."). Elliot, on the other hand, seems to have actually given the term an intentionally sharper, cultural-critical edge by highlighting the slimy, inert-but-restless, cyclical almost viral-clone nature of pop culture. Culchure in effect pinpoints the double entendre of "culture" being both a matrix of shared lifeways AND as a bacterial habitat (a culch box).

Just a moment... just a moment... FCARD has just picked up an extra neologism in the A&E-06 unit. Current data indicate FCARD itself may have just neologized! This accessory post contains two strong cases: deologism (esp. as postmodern, Derridan method) and reologism (as an all too common fault of Elliot's). Claims hereby thereto lain.

sarcasmophobia, sacrasmophobe, sarcasmophobic
sarcasmophilia, sarcasmophilie, sarcasmophilic
pop culchure
reologism, reologize, reologizer
deologism, deologize, deologizer

Pop culchure at large

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A major pandemic of the internet is "sarcasmophobia" (on the receiving end, or "sarcasmophilia" on the dishing end), so I want to be clear: I genuinely thank the reader below for noting FCA's recent layout "idiosyncracy" (i.e., hyperlinks are invisible because they color-blend into the text background). I realize this is technically a "problem." Even so, the fact is, I intentionally changed my HTML template to "disappear" the links. Why? Because, well... there is a bizarre appeal in having a madlibs blog.

Imagine: for the breakdancing post below, you have the freedom to read it as, "I just love dis guy... when he EXPLODES. And CHESTER COPPERPOT ain't no schlub either. Lastly, of course, my NEPHEW'S BIRTHMARK is why I used to watch BIRDS DIE." Once you touch the link, the boring uncreative truth peeks out in maroon (and remains visible in blue after you click on it). But until then -- until that fateful tempting nudge of the mouse cursor -- the sky's the limit!

But that's not all. A germinal but until this moment unconscious motive is my interest in the CIA. Take for example two books I own: Robert Baer's See No Evil and Marchetti & Marks's The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. Throughout their pages, both books have way cool blacked-out lines and phrases where the CIA censored them. So now reading FCA is like reading a de-classified document (hurry, minimize the document, Agent Boss is coming!).

Folks, where else but FCA -- where we aim for accuracy by volume! -- where else could you enjoy arcane social commentary, random pop-culchure links, Fakespearian brilliance, sporadic theological and philosophical mutterings, AND a choose-your-own-hyperlink adventure? Where else but your dreams!

Paradoxically, if nothing else this "distraction" gets you to notice the links even more, for reading a post now is like watching a person without a shadow. You sense something is wrong, something unseen yet blatant, and you simply can't look away. Mwahahaha!

NOTE TO ALL READERS: I'm curious to see readers' thoughts on this camouflage tactic. It is an experiment. Survey says...

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I just love dis guy...

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when he dances. And this guy ain't no schlub either.

Lastly, of course, this is why I used to watch TV.

FCA's Jesuit Honor Roll

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This list was originally taken from Credo's "In Good Company". I have added names and will continue to update the JHR as I find the time and resources. I would also like to highlight a cool blog I just discovered: A Little Battalion, which claims to be, "An eclectic assortment of mild-to-moderately obsessive Jesuit lovers, striving to turn worry into prayer. Or at least into an entertaining and informative blog. A.M.D.G." A Little Battalion has its own "A-list" of what it calls "Good Old-Fashioned St. Ignatius Jesuits". I have integrated their "A-list" into my own.

Thumbing my nose at the widespread anti-Jesuitry in St. Blog's parish, and the Catholicism-I-Know generally, I I decided to add this list to FCA for two reasons. First, Credo said, yes, I could steal the idea!

Second, I attended a Mass 5 November 2005 at Fu Ren University in Xin Zhuang (near Taipei); November 5th is the feast of All Saints and Blesseds of the Society of Jesus. The day was really something for me. It was not a fruit-loopy Mass (which, I admit, I slightly worried about having with "those darn Jesuits"). The worship was strangely simultaneously Gregorian and modern (i.e., male chanting harmony plus overhead songs and a subdued electric guitar). The fathers there, most of them, were old (very old), but nearly to a man they exuded such jolly fraternal joy! Before Mass, I made confession with a young Jesuit, which, I was stunned and delighted to realize, was one of the best confessions I've ever experienced. I smiled despite myself as the priest counseled me about "movements" and "sensations" of the soul. "This is Jesuit theology!" I said to myself, "as if straight from St. Ignatius to me!" "Right before my eyes!" All in all, it was a real pleasure to enjoy such nice "company" (not to mention the plush free meal afterward!).

The criteria for making the list are: 1) be a Jesuit, 2) persevere as a Jesuit, 3) at the very least not actively promulgate grave doubts, heresies, or scandals as a Jesuit, 4) work, preach, teach or write in a Christ-honoring, Ignatian way (and about issues I find interesting and/or commendable), and 5) reach my blogging radar. Fr. Walling, for example, whom I met last November at Fu Ren, has been serving in China/Taiwan for decades, and directs retreats at the Manresa Center in Jing Shan; so not only do I respect his work as a Jesuit, but also know him personally -- in fact, he might lead me through the Exercises next summer! Of course, what's the bottom line criterion for making the Jesuit honor roll? What else but: "Ad majorem Dei gloriam!"

  • Fr. John Hardon, S.J. (R.I.P.) [more]


  • Fr. Greg Jordan, S.J. [more 1, 2]


  • Fr. James Schall, S.J. [more 1, 2]


  • Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. [more]


  • Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. [more]


  • Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. [more]


  • Fr. Joe Koterski, S.J.


  • Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. [more]


  • Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, S.J.


  • Fr. John Kavanaugh, S.J.


  • Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.


  • Fr. Jim Kubicki, S.J.


  • Fr. Ron Tacelli, S.J. [more]


  • Fr. Richard Hermes, S.J.


  • Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J.


  • Fr. John Conley, S.J.


  • Fr. Edwin F. Healy, S.J.


  • Fr. Tom King, S.J.


  • Fr. Ray Gawronski, S.J.


  • Fr. Bill Kurz, S.J.


  • Fr. David Meconi, S.J.


  • Fr. Dick Tomasek, S.J.


  • Fr. Al Winshman, S.J.


  • Paul Cardinal Shan Kuo-hsi, S.J. [more 1, 2]


  • Fr. James Chevedden, S.J. (R.I.P.)


  • Fr. Norman Walling, S.J. [MORE]


  • Ignatius Cardinal Pin-Mei Kung, S.J. (R.I.P.)


  • Archbishop Tang Yee-Ming, S.J. (R.I.P.)


  • Fr. Martin McDermott, S.J.


  • Fr. Edward T. Oakes, S.J.


  • Fr. Brian E. Daley, S.J.


  • Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.


  • Fr. Louis Aldrich, S.J.


  • Fr. Christopher Steck, S.J.


  • Fr. Paul McNellis, S.J. [more]


  • Fr. Robert I. Bradley, S.J.


  • Fr. Thomas M. King, S.J.


  • Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, S.J. [more 1, 2]
  • FCA's Patrons and Heroes

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    FCA's Patron Saint


    -- St. Francis de Sales (AD 1567-1622), "the Gentleman Saint," was born of a wealthy family in Savoy, but turned from a promising career in law to become a priest and then a bishop. As the bishop of Geneva, one of his chief accomplishments was the courageous (and very successful) evangelization in the heart of Calvinist France. Because I highly admire his tenderness, devotion to holiness in every area of life, and his saintly patronage of (January 24) writers, journalists and teachers, I have found him as my patron saint upon my chrismation into the Catholic Church -- and as my companion on the Way. (Learn more from CCEL and check out his works at Amazon.com.)



    Other of FCA's Patrons and Heroes



    -- St. Innocent (Veniaminov) of Irkutsk (AD 1797-1879), co-patron saint of FCA. Veniaminov, canonized as the Apostle to America, is a hero of foreign missions (esp. in Aleut Alaska and North America) fueled by grace, sheer human strength and skill, courage, sacrifice and a masterful immersion in foreign languages and cultures.




    -- Guadalupe is, strictly speaking, the name of a picture, but the name was extended to the church containing the picture and to the town that grew up around the church. The image, originally emblazoned on a coarse tilma (Mexican cloak), is taken as representing the Immaculate Conception, being the lone figure of the woman with the sun, moon, and star accompaniments of the great apocalyptic sign with a supporting angel under the crescent (cf. Rev. 12:1ff.). Its tradition is long-standing and constant, and in sources both oral and written, Indian and Spanish, the account is unwavering. The Blessed Virgin appeared on Saturday 9 December 1531 to a 55-year-old neophyte named Juan Diego, who was hurrying down Tepeyac hill to hear Mass in Mexico City. Our Lady is the patron of the Americas and South America in particular, and her feast day is December 12. The grace of her visitation was and is critical to the Faith spreading in Mexico and neighboring areas. She is also the patron and icon of my local Taichung parish.
    [sources: Wikipedia, Patron Saints Index, Catholic Online]




    -- Sts. Cyril & Methodius (AD 827-869 & 826-885), "the Apostles of the Slavs," were born in Thessalonika into a senatorial family, but they renounced their prestigious political inheritance to become monastic priests on the Bosphorus. In 863, after successful mission service among the Khazars, the brothers served among the Moravians as translators and pastors for more than four years, although they were criticized by the earlier German missionaries there for their use of the vernacular in the liturgy. Happily, when they sought papal support in Rome, the brothers were received warmly by Pope Adrian II, who not only returned them to the Moravians, but also sanctioned their Slavonic liturgy (based on Cyril's now-standard alphabetization of the Slavonic language). Unhappily, however, Cyril died in Rome and Methodius returned alone to Moravia. Adrian II created a Moravian archdiocese and appointed Methodius as its archbishop. In 870 he was deposed and imprisoned for three years by King Louis and the ever-antagonistic Germans -- until Pope John VIII exonerated him and reinstated him as archbishop. Methodius received constant support from Pope John VIII against his relentless opponent, Wiching, a German priest. These brothers, hose Latin feast day is February 14, are the patrons of missions, of Europe, and of the (re)union of the East and the West in the Church -- all things which are deep in my heart.




    -- St. Ignatius of Loyola (AD 1491-1556), a former Basque nobleman and soldier, then founder of the Jesuits (AD 1540). Ignatius is the patron saint (31 July) of discernment, retreats, spirtual excercises, soldiers, Jesuits. After a severe battle injury and a mystical encounter with Christ, Ignatius became an ardent supporter of Christian reform through education and faithful sacramental worship. He also emphasized unflinching missionary service and, as one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation, the suppression of heresy. His motto, and the motto of the Jesuit order, is "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam" ("To the greater glory of God"), which calls us to do anything, or everything, as long as we do it well and for God. In this icon (by Robert Lentz) Ignatius calls us to silence so we may hear both God in our hearts and our neighbor in the world.




    -- St. Leopoldo Mandic (AD 1866-1942) was born the twelfth child of a noble family in Dalmatia (now-western Bosnia) and was ordained a friar of the strict Capuchin order in 1890. Despite his intense desire for missions in eastern Europe, Leopoldo's physical frailty and poor speech led his superiors to keep him in Padua, Italy, where stayed the rest of his life. Undaunted by confinement to one city, St. Leopoldo became a "martyr of the confessional", welcoming, counseling, healing and absolving countless penitents. Because of his intense desire for Eastern-Western Church reunion and his radical apostolate of Penance, Leopoldo is known as the Apostle of Unity and Reconciliation. His feast day is July 30.




    -- St. Francis Xavier (AD 1506-1552), a former Basque nobleman, like his mentor Ignatius of Loyola, who became one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus, Xavier was a Basque nobleman. He wanted to be a professor but Ignatius enjoined him to be a missionary. So, Francis, who had the gift of tongues and healing, entered a life of untiring and truly miraculous missionary work, mainly in India, Japan and China, where he died of a fever. As the patron saint (3 December) of missions, especially Asian missions, he has a special place in my heart.




    -- Matteo Ricci (AD 1552-1610), missionary to China and master scientist. Against the wishes of his very anti-religious father, Ricci entered the Society of Jesus in 1571. In 1583 he was sent to China, where he remained for the next 27 years, serving as a highly respected scientific, theological and linguistic scholar. His vast learning, humble nature and almost flawless adaptation to Chinese culture won him the ability to evangelize China's ruling elite. Though not a saint, Ricci typifies for me the Jesuit willingness to "become all things to all people," as well as the Jesuit courage of faith to embrace God's truth both in science and revelation.




    -- St. Peter Claver (AD 1580/1-1654), "slave of the Slaves," was a Jesuit priest in Cartegena, Colombia. He closely ministered to the endless stream of African slaves arriving in South America, saying, "We must speak to them [i.e., the slaves and all people -- EBB] with our hands by giving, before we try to speak to them with our lips." Because he both worked for humane regulations in the slave colonies and administered the sacraments to "subhuman" slaves, Claver was opposed both by slaveholders and various fellow believers. Nevertheless, his perseverance and faith have made him the patron saint (9 September) of African missions, African-Americans, racial justice, and Colombia, among other things.




    -- Bishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero (AD 1917-1980), a Jesuit, was the Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador until his assassination in 1980 while he was celebrating the Mass. Romero bridged a gap between the Marxist revoultionaries inciting poor Salvadorians and the wealthy aristocrats oppressing them, Romero's flock, with the national army.
    (Icon by Robert Lentz)




    -- Johnny Cash (AD 1932-2003), the Man in Black. Cash stood his whole life for two things close to my heart: good music and justice for all people. He had the grit to reach "the least of these" as well as the faith, after some years of wrestling with God, to speak and play for the Lord Jesus. He wasn't a Jesuit, but as the Man in Black, he would have fit very well in that "long black line" of truth, faith, justice, and excellence.




    -- Fr. Stanley L. Jaki, OSB (AD 1924--), holds doctorates in both theology and physics. The Hungarian-born priest moved to the USA in the 1950s where he then completed a PhD in theoretical physics at Fordham University. Since then, he has been a prolific lecturer and writer, particularly concerning the history of science and its surprisingly intimate connections to the Catholic worldview. Unquestionably on the pugnacious side, Jaki's witness, like that of most prophets, "hurts so good": his writings are historically dense and tightly argued and his staunch commitment to the Catholic Church of Christ is leaves no quarter for vapid secularism, much less for vapid theism. Unfortunately, many of his works are usually very hard to find and most popular science authors, to their shame, simply seem to have no idea about Jaki's significant contributions (which is odd, considering his many prestigious accolades and lengthy CV). If ever there were a thinker who's time has not yet come, it is Jaki. Also an astute ecclesiologist and a leading Newmanist, Fr. Jaki is a hero of sorts for me, not only because he models academic and spiritual excellence in the examination of science, history and faith, but also because his book, The Savior of Science, played no small role in my entry into the Church.




    -- Philip Yancey (AD 19??-?), leading evangelical author of more than a dozen books and numerous articles. Yancey says he feels "called to speak to those living in the borderlands of faith," as well as to redeem language from its abuses by Christians and non-Christians. His elegant style, his wide range of reading and his unflinching courage to reach "the literate lost" with God's sometimes confusing but always unshakable love is a model for my own life. Yancey was pivotal in my desire to be a Christian author -- and a more humble Christian.

    To my coworkers at APPC...

    1 comment(s)
    this song is dedicated to you (depending how things play out today and in the next few days).

    Sunday, October 1, 2006

    Virtus cum Scientia

    3 comment(s)
    Dear Reader, I welcome your constructive criticism. This passage belongs in an important assignment I´m working on, so I hope it can be as good as possible. You can help! Fire away!

    "Virtus cum Scientia" -- literally, Virtue with Knowledge. Virtue (from the Latin word for "power") is the inner capacity to do the good (the good being understood here as justice and love). Knowledge is an inner endowment to know the good (the good being understood here as truth). On the one hand, students should not simply gain more "raw data" to increase their worldly influence, but must use their powers and privileges for promoting the truth of human dignity and divine justice. On the other hand, students must grow in knowledge so they understand how to apply truth in human life. Virtue without knowledge is pitiful, like an expert hiker lost without a map; knowledge without virtue is dangerous, like a speeding train without brakes. These two gifts must always flourish in harmony, since they reinforce each other for the sake of truth, justice, and love. Providence University´s motto captures what we call wisdom (here defined as "truth lived superbly"), simply because the University always aims to capture wisdom.