Intellectual Swindlers

Eric Voegelin’s Science, Politics, and Gnosticism presents a diagnosis of the mental illnesses plaguing modern political societies, and a remedy to boot. With ingenious simplicity, Voegelin outlines the differences between the pursuit of genuine science (Greek: episteme) and its counterfeit (so-called gnosis). The first, exemplified in Socratic philosophy and Christian theology, “is concerned with theContinue reading “Intellectual Swindlers”

Praying With the Whole Soul

Jean-Baptiste Chautard’s The Soul of the Apostolate is justly regarded as a modern spiritual classic. It began with a 1907 pamphlet presenting a model for the reconstruction of the French Church after a period of persecution, and gradually expanded into an essential guide for anyone doing apostolic work in the modern world. The argument ofContinue reading “Praying With the Whole Soul”

Two Yawns for (the Spirit of) Vatican II

The documents of the Second Vatican Council, promulgated as they were by men entrusted with the governance of Christ’s Church, are worthy of a respectful hearing, and faithful submission where appropriate. Thus my (quasi-heroic) effort above to suppress a third yawn. Nonetheless, as Dom Alcuin Reid advises in his incisive essay (link below), the practicalContinue reading “Two Yawns for (the Spirit of) Vatican II”

Asking God and Intellect to Rule

“One who asks law to rule,” Aristotle observes, “seems to be asking god and intellect alone to rule, while one who asks man adds the beast.” By god, Aristotle means the supreme intellect, whose superiority consists partly in not relying on a limited supply of brain cells, and partly in being free of the passionsContinue reading “Asking God and Intellect to Rule”

One Last Hurrah!

As Aristotle observes, the weakness of human nature renders even the most fulfilling of activities tiresome. If, as Josef Pieper reminds us, the greatest thing we can do is to celebrate the greatness and goodness of our Creator and Redeemer, it nonetheless remains a sad necessity that any particular celebration (or cycle thereof) come toContinue reading “One Last Hurrah!”

Sufficient Virtue for Self-Government?

In these days of increasing acrimony and mutual mistrust, how does one apply a prudent realism to politics without succumbing to a poisonous cynicism? Some have taken comfort in James Madison’s reassurance that, though “there is a degree of depravity in mankind, which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: so there are otherContinue reading “Sufficient Virtue for Self-Government?”

Disambiguating Christmas

Irrepressibly joyful as the season is, Christmas remains an occasion of recurring conflict for contemporary Christians. One challenge is to “keep Christ” in what often passes as “X-Mas” or “the Holidays.” Yet even those intrepid souls resolved not to banish the Babe of Bethlehem (once again) to the outskirts of civilization face a further, andContinue reading “Disambiguating Christmas”