May - June

Notes from Across the Atlantic



Richard John Neuhaus FAITH Magazine May-June 2007

Calling for Catholic Identity

It has been more than sixteen years since Pope John Paul II issued Ex Corde Ecclesiae, underscoring that the Catholic university is born from “the heart of the Church” and should faithfully serve the Church’s faith and mission, meaning the faith and mission of those who are the Church. It is not true that nothing has changed in the...

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The Sacrifice of the Mass and Spiritual Formation Today

The Sacrifice of Christ

The notion of sacrifice is one of the essential keys to Christian doctrine and to Christian living. If it is merely seen as primitive or negative, if it is neglected in...

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Ceremony and Sacrifice in St Thomas Aquinas

Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003) shows that Pope John Paul II sought to restore a due attention to Mass as the renewal of Calvary: ‘At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding...

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Sacramentum Caritatis

From the recent Apostolic Exhortation of
the Holy Father, Benedict XVI

11….. The remembrance of his perfect gift consists not in the mere repetition of the Last Supper, but in the Eucharist...

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The Relationship between the Passover and the Mass: Catholic and Protestant Understandings.

Our Father Who art (really) in heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread .

And forgive us our sins as we forgive each...

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The Novus Ordo: A Timely Emphasis upon Mercy

At Pentecost the Holy Spirit spread the love of God in the Church (Rom 5,5). This means that God, who is love (1Jn 4,8), loves all men as himself, and wishes to give himself to them as the object...

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Jansenism Justice and Mercy

She has made the Gospel shine appealingly in our time; she had the mission of making the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, known and loved; she helped to heal souls of the rigours and fears of...

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A Discovery of Christ's Self-Gift

Donations can be made via the Canadian headquarters of Hope International Development Agency designated to the ‘Love in Action’ program.

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Devotional Development and Liturgical Development

Holy Water/Asperges

Candles

Ashes

Benediction

Incense

Striking breast

Sign of the Cross

Litanies/Triduums

Pilgrimates

Blessings

Palms

Fir4stFridays/Saturdays

Visits to Churches

Medals

 

 

Grace at...

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor



FAITH Magazine May-June 2007

STRADDLING THE DIVIDE OVER INTELLIGENT DESIGN

Dear Father Editor,

 I agree with you that “the totality of interacting things”, as Father Stanley Jaki...

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The Integration of new Movements into the Life of the Church


”Do not extinguish charisms (1Thess) … If the Lord gives us new gifts we must give thanks.... And it is something beautiful that, without an initiative of the hierarchy ... new forms...

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A Pastoral Approach to Responding to the new Sexual Orientation Regulations

The confrontation between the Catholic Church and the Government over ‘gay adoption’ threatens to penalise the practice of the integral Catholic faith with legal sanction. Many...

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The Institution of the Eucharist

Post-Synodal Aspostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of

the Holy Father, Benedict XVI

10. This leads us to reflect on the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. It took place within a...

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Comment on the Comments

Comment on the Comments



William Oddie FAITH Magazine May-June 2007

Unpalatable truths?

What is the particular relevance of Pope Benedict XVI’s first ‘Apostolic exhortation’, Sacramentum Caritatis –...

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A Mother's Diary


Oh joy, Hugh has reached the bug-catching stage. In the past three months we have had conjunctivitis [really quite a messy experience], streaming colds [really, really messy experiences] and tummy...

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Sunday by Sunday

FAITH Magazine May-June 2007
Our regular guide to the Word of God in the Sunday Liturgy

Fr Mike Dolman, Assistant Priest in Redditch parish in the Diocese of Birmingham

5th Sunday of Easter Year C

...

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Book Reviews

Book Reviews

FAITH Magazine May-June 2007

Catholic Christianity Today by Victor E Watton & Michael Elson, Hodder Murray, 166pp, 1997, £11.99

Why does a person believe in God? There are many reasons...

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Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

FAITH Magazine May-June 2007

THE DAWKINS ANTITHESIS

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  • Notes from Across the Atlantic



    Richard John Neuhaus FAITH Magazine May-June 2007

    Calling for Catholic Identity

    It has been more than sixteen years since Pope John Paul II issued Ex Corde Ecclesiae, underscoring that the Catholic university is born from “the heart of the Church” and should faithfully serve the Church’s faith and mission, meaning the faith and mission of those who are the Church. It is not true that nothing has changed in the two-hundred-plus colleges and universities in this country. Many institutions have engaged in an intensive self-examination seeking to strengthen their “Catholic identity”. For most schools, however, it seems that the drift into secular blandness continues, maintaining “Catholic identity” mainly for recruitment and fund-raising purposes. This is strikingly true of Jesuit universities that vaguely, and somewhat nostalgically, describethemselves as being “in the Jesuit tradition” but flee the scandal of particularity that is being Catholic. A man-bites-dog story that gained attention recently has to do with a lawsuit titled Saint Louis University v. The Masonic Temple Association. The Masons claimed SLU is a Catholic institution and SLU denied it. The dispute was over an $8 million tax abatement, with the Masons contending that the state constitution forbids such aid to an institution controlled by a religious body. SLU argued that it is “independent of the Catholic Church”. As it happens, the court ruled on very narrow grounds of governance, noting that, while SLU “maintains a Jesuit heritage”, it is actually “controlled and operated by an independent, lay board of trustees”. (Of the 1,275 faculty and staff of SLU,fewer than 35 are Jesuits.) I expect one would with some difficulty try to explain to Ignatius Loyola how it came about all these years later that the Masons accused one of his universities of being Catholic and the university prevailed in denying it.

    Economic Eugenics

    The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is a very establishmentarian pro-business organization, and it has recently issued a study celebrating the economic benefits of abortion on demand. “Taken together with earlier research results, the authors’ findings suggest that the improved living circumstances experienced by children born after the legalisation of abortion had a lasting impact on their lifelong prospects. Children who were ‘born unwanted’ prior to the legalisation of abortion not only grew up in more disadvantaged households, but also grew up to be more disadvantaged as adults.” The report adds, “This conclusion is in line with a broad literature documenting the intergenerational correlation in income and showing that adverse living circumstances as a childare associated with poor outcomes as an adult.” Thanks to the high-powered research of NBER, it now seems to be established that, in terms of economic outcomes, it is better to be born rich than to be born poor. Who would have thought it? A disproportionate number of the thirty-five million children killed by abortion since 1973 would have been born poor, and it is therefore a net economic gain that they were not born. Of abortion, the report says, “This phenomenon is referred to as ‘selection.’” To which one might add that the claim to know what those dead children might have done with their lives is referred to as soothsaying. And the argument implicitly advanced by NBER is referred to as eugenics. Thought Police on the Prowl The title is unfortunate: “Expelling God from theUniversity”. If by God we mean God, he cannot be expelled from any part of his creation. But the article, by David French of the Alliance Defense Fund, is a useful summary of curious things happening on campus. Appearing in that valuable journal, Academic Questions, published by the National Association of Scholars, the article recounts case after case of students being punished or silenced for expressing religious views that violate academic orthodoxies; and of Christian campus groups, some of which have been around for decades, being put out of business. Not surprisingly, the most common instrument of repression is speech codes forbidding “homophobic discrimination”. Most of what French recounts is drearily familiar by now, but a new twist is the way in which state universities are intheir official statements getting into the business of defining true (gay friendly) and false (gay critical) Christianity. So much for the separation of church and state when state institutions set themselves up as arbiters in theological and moral disputes. In multiple cases, courts have ruled that such discrimination against orthodox persons and organisations is illegal but, as French notes, that doesn’t stop the academic thought patrol from trying again and again.

    When the Argument Never Starts

    “The argument is over”, announced former Vice President Al Gore. The subject was global warming. The television interviewer then asked, “You mean there is no argument about global warming?” Gore solemnly nodded and said again, very much like a judge pronouncing the final verdict, “The argument is over.” When and where, one might well ask, did the argument take place? Who was invited to take part in the argument? There are many very reputable scientists expressing skepticism or disbelief with respect to global warming. Never mind, they’re too late; the argument is over. As the presumed moderator of public discourse, Mr. Gore declares that the argument is over and that his side won. Writing in the Boston Globe, Ellen Goodman goes further, comparingglobal-warming skeptics with Holocaust deniers. They are not only ignorant, they are culpably ignorant. In fact, they are evil. One detects a growing pattern of refusing to engage in argument by declaring that the argument is over. It is not only global warming. Raise a question about the adequacy of Darwinian theory, whether scientifically or philosophically, and be prepared to be informed that the argument is over. Offer the evidence that many who once coped with same-sex desires have turned out, not without difficulty, to be happily married to persons of the opposite sex and you will be told politely—or, more likely, impolitely— that the argument is over.

    Women of Courage

    In the October issue of First Things, I cited a powerful article by Elizabeth Schiltz on the pressures brought by the medical profession to have women abort less-than-perfect babies. It is included in a collection of essays entitled, Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics, edited by Melinda Tankard Reist. (Although published in Australia, the book is available on Amazon.) This invaluable book will be of very particular interest to mothers and fathers who are expecting. “Fewer and fewer pregnancies,” writes Reist, “are allowed to proceed without screening and related interventions. Rarely are women allowed to move through pregnancy without being subjected to some form of genetic surveillance. Some of the drive to ‘over-screen’ is driven by medicalnegligence claims; doctors, and no less insurers, push for routine screening as a means of ensuring that their risk of liability is minimized.” Reist writes: “Defiant Birth is a book about women who have resisted the present day practice of medical eugenics. It is about women who were told they should not have babies because of perceived disabilities – either in the child or themselves. They have confronted a society deeply fearful of disability and all its stigmas. Facing silent disapproval and even open hostility, they have had their babies anyway, believing their children are just as worthy to partake of life as are others. This is a book about women who have resisted the ideology of quality control and the paradigm of perfection. They have dared to challenge the prevailingmedical and social mindset. This book’s contributors have refused to take part in a system of ‘disability deselection’ which classifies certain people as ‘biologically incapacitated’. These women may be among the last who decide to have babies without the genetic stamp of approval. They are, in a sense, genetic outlaws.” The nineteen women who write about their defiance of what is aptly called medical eugenics are also heroines who gave life a chance and who write movingly of their joy in having resisted the “choice” that others tried to impose upon them and their children. Defiant Birth. Somebody you know should read this book.

    Barak Obama

    I agree with those who complain that it is not fair to draw attention to the fact that Senator Barack Obama’s middle name is Hussein, but I cannot do so without drawing attention to it. Perhaps more pertinent to our politics is the name Barack (sometimes spelled Barak), which presumably refers to the warrior who served under the direction of a strong-willed woman executive named Deborah (see Judges 4). This has led practitioners of a peculiar style of biblical prognostication to conclude that the senator will accept the vice-presidential nomination on a ticket headed by a strong-willed woman of our time. I know nothing about that. But, free-associating as I sometimes do, this was brought to mind by a review of The Judge in Democracy by Aharon Barak, until recentlyhead of the Supreme Court of Israel. The review, in Azure magazine, is by Judge Robert Bork, who is not taken with Barak’s distinction between “formal democracy” and “substantive democracy”. Formal democracy is the rule of the people through elected representatives, while substantive democracy, according to Barak, is the rule of “the enlightened members of society”, mainly through the judiciary. “The question is not what the judge wants,” writes Barak, “but what society needs.” To which Bork responds: “It is incorrect to suppose that a society’s ‘needs’ is a fact that can be determined by an objective balancing of interests. In truth, the most important interests are likely to be conflicting value judgments. How, for instance, does a judge know whether a society ‘needs’ freedom ofabortion, some degree of regulation or a prohibition of abortion altogether? How can a judge determine whether his or her society ‘needs’ a constitutional right to homosexual marriage? How does he decide ‘objectively’ whether religious education in state-supported schools should be required, made optional or prohibited? The answer, of course, is that the judge does not, and cannot, ‘know’ any of these things, though he may have strong feelings about them. Because the judge is, by definition, operating without guidance from positive law, it is almost certain that his personal opinions will turn out to be what society ‘needs’.” It seems that Barak believes the judicial authoritarianism is necessary because judges are intellectually and morally superior to other political actors. Borkwrites: “As he explains, ‘a branch of government should not judge itself. It is therefore appropriate that the final decision about the legality of the activities of the legislative and executive branches should be taken by a mechanism external to those branches, that is, the judiciary’. Yet the judicial branch is properly subject to no such external mechanism, ‘because of their [the judges’] education, profession, and role,’ and because they are ‘trained and accustomed to dealing with conflicts of interest.’ Judges may be trusted, moreover, since they are ‘not fighting for their own power’. Surely anyone familiar with Barak’s record will see the irony in that statement.” By advancing and acting upon his understanding of the power of courts, says Bork, “Barak surely establishes a worldrecord for judicial hubris.” Robert Bork is an acknowledged expert on the stiff competition for that accolade, not least by courts in this country.