November - December

Notes from Across the Atlantic

Genuine Dialogue

Here’s an interesting exercise in political science. It’s by Jon Shields of the University of Colorado, writing in the academic journal Critical Review. The article is “Christian Citizens: The Promise and Limits of Deliberation”. The usual media presentation of pro-life activists as religiously inspired fanatics is simply contrary to fact, writes Shields. It gives rise to books such as Laurence...

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Sunday By Sunday

FAITH Magazine November-December 2008

Our Regular Guide to the Word Of God in the Sunday Liturgy

31ST IN ORDINARY TIME: A

3.11.02, Mt 23, 1-12

1.Matthew writes for a convert Jewish audience who wish...

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Mysterium Fidei – Towards a New Liturgical Synthesis

“Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matt.: 13:52

By issuing Summorum...

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Maximus on the Incarnation as Key to Hierarchy in Church and Creation

With help of the 6th century Saint Maximus the Confessor, Fr John Gavin S.J. draws out how, in the light of Christ’s incarnation and redemption, ecclesial hierarchy fulfils humanity. Fr...

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A Short History of Science and Christianity

It is becoming increasingly recognised, at least within the Church, that science has developed only in the context of a Christian civilisation, and has deep Christian roots.
If we consider the...

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The Incarnation and Priestly Loving in the Thought of Edward Holloway

Fr William Massie, the parish priest of three parishes in Hull, and Reviews editor of this magazine, recalls some of Fr Edward Holloway’s insights into priest’s ministering of...

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The Sinful Priest: Minister of the Church’s Faithfulness

With the help of St Augustine of Hippo and The Ratzinger Report (1985) Fr Carola proposes a timely recovery of a traditional insight into Holy Mass. The efficacy of the Eucharist fows from the...

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Holy Mass at Christmas Time

From the Esher Parish newsletter for December 22nd, 1985

A teenager far from this area complained to me recently that he was being taught about the Mass in a way which was an awful rigmarole, and...

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The Quality of Mercy

Fr Tolhurst is the General Editor of the Newman Millennium Edition (Gracewing and Notre Dame).

Rembrandt’s portrait of The Prodigal Son reminds us not so much of the son, as of the...

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Withholding Absolution. A Pastoral Option?

Fr Mark Vickers is Parish Priest of Hatfield South and chaplain to Hertfordshire University

For those passing through seminary in recent years there often seemed only two absolute rules of...

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Comment on the Comments

Comment on the Comments

This column generally takes its starting-point in topical questions which have arisen in the press, Catholic or secular. This time, I am going to concentrate on one piece, an attack on G.K....

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Book Reviews

Book Reviews
FAITH Magazine November-December 2008 

Born of a Virgin: Proving the Miracle from the Gospels
by John Redford, St Paul’s Publishing, 218pp, £9.95

Despite its cramped narrowness the...

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
FAITH Magazine November-December 2008 

 

CATHOLIC IGNORANCE OF SCIENCE

Dear Father Editor

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The Road From Regensburg

FAITH Magazine November-December 2008

Papal Fostering of Dialogue in the Search for a Modern Apologetic

SECULAR SCIENCES AND SAVING SECULARISM

On the second anniversary of the Pope’s Regensburg...

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Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge
FAITH Magazine November-December 2008 

 

Science and Religion News.

CHURCH OF ENGLAND’S HELPFUL VISION OF DARWIN’S THOUGHT

On the 14th September last, the Church of England...

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  • Notes from Across the Atlantic

    Richard John Neuhaus FAITH Magazine November-December 2008s

     

    Genuine Dialogue

    Here’s an interesting exercise in political science. It’s by Jon Shields of the University of Colorado, writing in the academic journal Critical Review. The article is “Christian Citizens: The Promise and Limits of Deliberation”. The usual media presentation of pro-life activists as religiously inspired fanatics is simply contrary to fact, writes Shields. It gives rise to books such as Laurence Tribe’s Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes. A clash of absolutes makes rational place. This is called neutrality in the face of an irresolvable confect. In fact, Shields points out, pro-life activists are concerned to engage their pro-choice opponents in discussion that is based on public and rational arguments that invoke no specifically religious warrants. He cites two evangelicalgroups, Stand to Reason and Justice for All, that assiduously train activists for such engagement. In sum, says Shields, pro-life activists are more open and eager for genuine dialogue than are their pro-choice counterparts. So you can put the refusal of pro-lifers to engage in democratic deliberation on that long list of things that everybody knows that aren’t so. But you probably had it there already.

    Common Conundrums

    Michael Novak has a new book out from Doubleday, No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers. He addresses many of the questions agitated by the “new atheists”, but with the twist that believers, too, don’t have a neat and satisfying answer to the intellectual problems that atheists exploit. For instance, the perennial question: If God is God and God is good, how can there be evil? Atheists and Christians can agree on the conundrums that drive them to opposite conclusions. Along the way, he cites a response offered by physicist Stephen Barr, a frequent FIRST THINGS contributor, to the question of chance. Barr writes: “To be responsible agents means being able to impose our own ordering upon events. This requires that some apparent ‘disorder’ be present in thesituations that confront us as the raw material upon which we can act. A world without disorder, without ‘chance’ and ‘random’ events, would be a world in which everything unfolded according to a single, simple, and predictable pattern. But a world in which many wills are acting cannot have a single, simple pattern. It must of necessity be a multifarious world, a world with many patterns, and plots and chains of causation existing side-by-side, occasionally impinging on each other and intersecting each other and throwing each other off course. That is precisely what ‘chance’ amounts to. A world without chance would be a world with a single overarching and controlling pattern, one plot without sub-plots, one storyline rather than a tangled web of storylines. Everything marching inlockstep. Such a world would have no scope for freedom. It would also have no scope for courage, or hope, or vigilance, or daring or human providence.” As I say in my blurb for No One Sees God, “The word dialogical might have been invented to describe Michael Novak.” At some points I would make the argument differently, but Michael is generous to a fault and indefatigably patient in engaging those who disagree.

    Feeling the Pinch

    It’s no news that newspaper circulation is declining. In the second quarter of this year the profits of the New York Times fell by 82 percent. I was, however, somewhat surprised by the reason given. According to this story in the Washington Post, “Chief Executive Janet Robinson says business was hurt by the ‘U.S. economic slowdown and secular forces playing out across the media industry.’” Perhaps Ms. Robinson should have a word with the editorial-page editor.

    Planned Parenthood Flourishes

    With all the news about economic woes, you will not be glad to learn that Planned Parenthood is doing just fine. The organisation is “flush with cash”, reports the Wall Street Journal, having topped one billion dollars in 2007 revenues, including $336 million in taxpayer funding. Its Action Fund is putting $10 million into electing pro-abortion candidates, which ensures continuing government handouts, and it is doing a makeover of its 882 clinics with a “contemporary, fun and lively look”. Said a Planned Parenthood official, the change makes their work “so much more mainstream”. Planned Parenthood perpetrates one out of every four abortions committed in the United States.

    On the Catholic Vote

    The title is strangely defensive. “Yes You Can: Why Catholics Don’t Have to Vote Republican.” It’s written by Gerald J. Beyer, a professor of theology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and published in Commonweal. Beyer allows that Senator Obama’s position fatly contradicts Catholic teaching on the protection of unborn human beings. Yes, but then there are those other “grave moral reasons” Catholics should take into account. On the Iraq war, Obama is right and McCain wrong. Ditto on the relations between military power and diplomacy and between race and a just economic system. In sum, Obama is a liberal, and McCain is a conservative, and Catholics should be liberals. Prof. Beyer doesn’t do nuance. But then we come to the clincher: “Perhaps the most important commonalitybetween Catholic teaching and Obama’s proposals is one of philosophical orientation. Both stress the necessity of nurturing the virtue of hope.” Well, there you have it. As a matter of fact, Obama has also said some fine things about faith and charity, and it is well known that McCain is opposed to all three.