David Jones: The Greatest War Poet From the Greatest War

11/11/2015 Comments (2)

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), "Gassed"

Last year publishers put out an unprecedented number of new books on World War I, in observance of the centenary of the outbreak of hostilities. My personal favorite was The Great And Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade by Philip Jenkins (HarperOne), whose basic premise is that all sides fought this “war to end all wars” invoking God-Is-On-OUR-side.

So why, one-hundred-and-ONE years later, should we remark on this war? Two reasons: 2015 marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of the great Catholic Welsh-English poet, David Jones. Second: 2015 marks one hundred years since Jones was sent to fight in World War I with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

When we think of the great...READ MORE

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“I Will Not Avoid the Toil”: The Motto of Veterans and St. Martin Alike

11/11/2015 Comments (4)

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), "St. Martin Dividing His Cloak"

Each November 11, the United States observes Veterans Day to honor all the military men and women who have put aside their own lives to protect our freedom. But the real name for this observance day is Armistice Day.

World War I, or "The Great War," as it was known at the time, officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919 in the Palace of Versailles outside of Versailles, France.

In actuality, fighting had ceased seven months before that - on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - November 11, 1918. An armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on that day, and for that reason November 11 came to be known as...READ MORE

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René Girard, Church Father

11/10/2015 Comments (31)
René Girard, one of the most influential Catholic philosophers in the world, died last week at the age of 91. Born in Avignon and a member of the illustrious Academie Francaise, Girard nevertheless made his academic reputation in the United States, as a professor at Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University.
There are some thinkers that offer intriguing ideas and proposals, and there is a tiny handful of thinkers that manage to shake your world. Girard was in this second camp. In a series of books and articles, written across several decades, he proposed a social theory of extraordinary explanatory power. Drawing inspiration from some of the greatest literary...READ MORE

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New Website Provides “Guide” to a Catholic Education at Notre Dame

11/10/2015 Comments (17)

(By Know1one1, CC BY-SA 3.0)

A recent reflection from a Notre Dame senior presented some tips on “how to leave college a Catholic.” With three-plus years of experience navigating the nuanced and confusing bundle of hope and consternation that is the nation’s flagship Catholic university, the author issues a pretty comprehensive list of “do’s” that includes making use of on-campus offerings of the sacraments and forming social relationships that reinforce the faith.

But Alexandra DeSanctis saves her most adamant advice for an integral—even primary—part of the college experience that we often neglect when talking about a university’s Catholic identity: its academics.

Forming young minds in the truths of the faith is,...READ MORE

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Watching Tonight's Debate from Rome

11/10/2015 Comments (21)

I have always enjoyed following presidential debates. They open a window onto the mind and moral conscience of the candidates who participate in them. Since moving to Rome, Italy, I have continued to follow the presidential debates back home.

As luck should have it, my home city of Milwaukee will be hosting tonight’s debate. Unfortunately, I won’t be in one of the seats inside the auditorium, but I do hope to follow tonight’s prime time event from afar.

An issue I’d like to hear the candidates discuss tonight is abortion. That issue is currently experiencing something of a rebirth as a much controverted political subject, especially as the on-going drama over Planned Parenthood's...READ MORE

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Should We Smile, Smile, Smile?

11/10/2015 Comments (14)

Many Catholics will tell you that we must smile for the sake of the kingdom. We are all evangelists of one kind or another. If we want to sell the Good News to other people, we need to present it in an attractive package -- and so smiling and looking happy is the best way to show that our Faith is something worth having.

Is this so? What if we're not actually happy, because of temperament or circumstance? What if the person we're dealing with is repulsive? Isn't it a form of deception to smile when we don't feel it?

At The Personalist Project, Marie Meaney says

I’ve been re-reading Brian Kolodiejchuk’s book on Mother Teresa and noticed how much this “saint of darkness”, as she called...READ MORE

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The Medieval Mind and the Modernist Error

11/10/2015 Comments (28)

A meeting of doctors at the university of Paris. From the "Chants royaux" manuscript, 1537. (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.)

I spend much of my of time reading the words and trying understand the thought processes of the medieval mind. Christendom between the years 500 and 1500 was a time and place with a view of the world profoundly different from ours, and within those 1000 years that view itself change profoundly. (The idea of the Renaissance as some great opening of the human mind, which had been shuttered since the fall of Rome, is radically, demonstrably false.) The pre-modern world was imbued with a natural wonder that sang with the presence of God and was the battlefield where invisible hosts of angels and demons fought over each soul. The work of the intellectual was to unfold the majesty and mystery of...READ MORE

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Pope Francis on Keys to Authentic Christian Humanism

Also shares his vision for Church reform in meeting with Italian faithful in Florence.

11/10/2015 Comments (271)

Pope Francis addressing the Fifth National Ecclesial Convention in Florence Cathedral today.

Pope Francis has said it is “useless” to seek solutions to ills and problems in the Church through “conservatism and fundamentalism” and warned against a faith that is “locked in subjectivism” in a lengthy address to the Italian church in Florence today.

Addressing participants at the Fifth National Ecclesial Convention meeting to discuss the theme "In Jesus Christ the New Humanism",  Francis said both Pelagianism, a heresy that denies original sin, and Gnosticism, which denies Christ’s divinity, are temptations that “defeat” a true Christian humanism.

Pelagianism, the Pope told faithful gathered in Florence's Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, “prompts the Church not to be humble,...READ MORE

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