Wednesday 22nd February 2017

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The Politics Of Higher Education

February 11, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on The Politics Of Higher Education

By JUDE DOUGHERTY In an opinion piece that The Wall Street Journal published at the opening of the last academic year (August 27, 2016), Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago, had this to say: “A university should not be a sanctuary for comfort but rather a crucible for confronting ideas….What is the value of an education without encountering or debating ideas that differ from the ones that students bring with them to college? The purpose of a university education is to provide a critical pathway by which students can change the trajectory of their families, and can build healthier and more inclusive societies.” For Zimmer, liberal politics seems to trump wisdom. “Change the trajectory of their families.”…Continue Reading

A New Pseudo-Argument For Atheism

February 10, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on A New Pseudo-Argument For Atheism

By DONALD DeMARCO An amateur theologian and an amateur plumber have something in common. They know a few things, but should enlist the services of a professional when their problems are more than they can handle. I have a friend who is a self-styled theologian. He has never had a theological problem with suffering. He contends that suffering can strengthen character, elicit loving care from others, and serve a redemptive purpose. Christ is the ultimate role model for all who suffer because He showed how Good Friday can lead to Easter. So far, so good. But my friend feels that he still has a strong argument for atheism. Although he believes that “all this suffering in the world” does not…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . The Shadow Of Constantine

February 9, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on A Book Review . . . The Shadow Of Constantine

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Demacopoulos, George E. and Aristotle Papanikolaou, editors. Christianity, Democracy, and the Shadow of Constantine. New York: Fordham University Press, 2017. viii + 290 pp. This is a collection of 14 studies by distinguished scholars who participated in a conference that took place under the sponsorship of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University in 2013. Its focus is the relation of religion to state, to society, and to culture, particularly in Eastern Europe, where Orthodox Christianity prevails in a variety of national identities. Essays address the relation of religion to human rights, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the forced secularization of society under Communism, the secularization of Western Europe, the European Court of Human…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Is There A Right To A Child?”

February 8, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Is There A Right To A Child?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 15 of The Facts of Life, “Assisted Reproductive Technologies,” e-mail him at + + + “The goal to be a father, to be a mother, is a human right. An absolute human right” — Italian infertility specialist Severino Antinori. + + + God bestowed men and women with an innate desire to procreate and to nurture their children. This is one of the most fundamental instincts of all, shared by all of God’s creatures. But sometimes God’s plan for our lives differs from our own, and couples find that they cannot have their…Continue Reading

Real Candles And The Celebration Of Candlemas

February 7, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on Real Candles And The Celebration Of Candlemas

By JAMES MONTI In His loving plan for mankind God has willed to endow us not merely with one means of physically perceiving what He has created, but rather with an array of five different senses, five different ways to experience the beauty of His handiwork — five different invitations to love Him all the more. So too, the Church, in summoning her children to the worship of God in the sacred liturgy, has not contented herself with employing only one or two of the senses, but rather has found the means of engaging all five of these “portals” in raising the heart and mind to God. Of course the sacraments are the prime examples of this, but the various…Continue Reading

Rising Influence Of Women’s Religious Orders . . . New Benedictine Order Promotes Devotion To The Holy Face

February 6, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on Rising Influence Of Women’s Religious Orders . . . New Benedictine Order Promotes Devotion To The Holy Face

By ALBERTO CAROSA The now-defunct Catholic journal 30 Giorni (number 12, 1999) once quoted former Danish Ambassador Henrik Ree Iversen as saying that Mother Tekla Famiglietti, the abbess of the Bridgettine nuns, “is the most powerful woman in the Catholic Church today.” Since late October 2016, Mother Tekla is no longer at the head of her congregation, which nevertheless has retained and possibly even increased its prestige and influence thanks to the canonization in July 2016 of Mother Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad, who re-established the Bridgettine Order in 1911 in the footsteps of its original foundress, St. Bridget of Sweden. But, interestingly, there is another female religious congregation, albeit much younger, that is gaining increasing prominence in the Catholic Church today:…Continue Reading

Archbishop Hebda At Red Mass . . . Catholic Legal Professionals Need To Help End “Culture Of Death”

February 5, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on Archbishop Hebda At Red Mass . . . Catholic Legal Professionals Need To Help End “Culture Of Death”

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “Your fellow Catholics are counting on you” during “this crisis of civilization,” a Minnesota prelate told the Diocese of Phoenix’s annual Red Mass for attorneys and other legal officials. Only then can “a culture of death” based on legal relativism be superseded, St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop Bernard Hebda, who formerly worked as a lawyer, told the January 24 Mass here at St. Mary’s Basilica. The Red Mass, which lasted nearly an hour and a half, marks the beginning of the Arizona legislative year. Principal celebrant was Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted. Earlier in his homily, Hebda said that as Catholics in the law, “we have a unique opportunity for evangelizing. . . . You work…Continue Reading

Study Truth, Not Bias

February 4, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on Study Truth, Not Bias

By DEACON JAMES TONER In considering whether to pursue the opportunity of being a candidate for a visiting professorial position in interdisciplinary work, I had to explore the nature of both the position itself and of the ostensibly Catholic college in question. The new one-year position is a pioneering and, in some respects, praiseworthy endeavor. This interdisciplinary position is concerned, in its inaugural year, with the study of the nature of bias, which means, ordinarily, bigotry, intolerance, or prejudice. Bias is invariably a negative noun; its use implies admonition or reproof. Bias, we think, is an ugly word for an ugly reality. Bias, we think, merits analysis; the more we study it, the more likely it is that we will…Continue Reading

Providence Defined

February 3, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on Providence Defined

By DONALD DeMARCO The motto of Colorado is Nil Nisi Numine, which is translated as “Nothing without Providence.” One might think that such a motto is more suitable for Rhode Island, for, without its state capital, it is, in terms of land mass, virtually nothing. Nonetheless, the city of Providence, R.I., is not without a connection with divine Providence. Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, named the area in honor of “God’s merciful Providence.” He believed God had led him to discover such a fine haven for him and his followers to settle. Today, the city of Providence is home to eight hospitals and seven institutions of higher learning. Roger Williams may have had a point.…Continue Reading

Genderless Language And The Left

February 2, 2017 Featured Today Comments Off on Genderless Language And The Left

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK We received a letter on the question (discussed in the November 24, 2016 edition of First Teachers) of whether the time has come to go along with the American Dialectic Society’s recommendation that we accept the use of “their” as a single pronoun, such as in the sentence: “Everyone in the school brought their lunch to the field day.” The correct usage, of course, would be to write, “Everyone in the school brought his lunch to the field day,” since “everyone,” the antecedent, is a single pronoun. One of the objections to the use of the single pronoun “his” in this manner comes from feminist groups who see it as a vestige from the days of…Continue Reading