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Showing posts from November 19, 2017

Faith Comes From What Is Heard, Feingold (III)

The second chapter in this section is called, "The Virtue of Divine Faith." As we have already seen, the starting point of sacred theology is the fact of God's revelation of himself. If there is to be a relationship between God and man, then man needs a power by which he assents to what has been revealed. At the supernatural level, Feingold says, this power of assent is called divine faith. We are reminded that in Catholic theology, grace builds upon nature, so that the supernatural definition of faith is not wholly unlike that for human faith. Feingold defines faith in general as a “firm assent of the mind to things unseen." He points out that a thing can be seen in two ways: by the senses, and by the mind. First principles are self-evident, says Feingold. These are immediately grasped by the mind as true. Things which can be empirically observed are “seen” by the senses. Thirdly, truths can be seen by the mind that are deduced from a sound process of reaso

Personal Reflections On Perspicuity, Or The Lack Thereof, With Respect To Sacred Scripture

It's been insisted to me many times that I in particular, and those of us at Called To Communion, denigrate Sacred Scripture, or must make it seem opaque, in order to make a case for the Catholic Church and her Magisterium. This is false. The Church herself makes no such case , and as her loyal son, I have no interest in discouraging the reading of the Bible  by anyone. How far back do you want to go? As many people have said before, critiquing Sola Scriptura is critiquing a methodology, not the source of the method. We Catholics understand that Sola Scriptura as a method and a rallying cry is an attempt (even unwittingly) to read the Scriptures against the Church, instead of within the Church. It is beyond my purpose to explain exactly how clear (or not) the Scriptures are, not to mention beyond my ability. I want to reiterate and agree with what Bryan Cross and Neal Judisch have written , echoing also the contribution  of my friend Fred Noltie. I have yet to successfully lobby

We Need A Bigger Black Elite

Just out of curiosity, I looked up the enrollment numbers of the most well-known historically black colleges and universities, because I was trying to explain to a friend what an HBCU was. Not that I really know. Truthfully, it was distressing. If there is any truth to the idea that any society is only as good as its elites, we all are in trouble. In a more general sense, we are imperiled by the fact that the American elite believes the wrong things about humanity and our purpose. More specific to this point, if the black experience is marred by a power imbalance with the wider white monoculture, then a contest between the elites--or at least a dialogue--needs to occur. If this black elite is too small, then it can't get enough power to make a difference in black life more generally. I honestly thought these centers of black expertise were bigger than they are. Please remind me not to take any notions of "reverse racism" seriously for the rest of my life. On the other

I Wasn't Going Back To Pop Music

But I mentioned to Johnny Irish the other week that I didn't think I'd actually heard Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys all the way through. Well, we know what's going to happen. I listened to it at least 4 times yesterday. [Bet I know which song is your favorite. Besides "God Only Knows". That doesn't count.--ed.] Alright, what's my favorite song? ["Caroline, No".--ed.] Dangit, right! [You're so utterly predictable.--ed.] Can't argue with that. Maybe George Capps is right: You can't be a huge pop star and not be a ruin. I don't know how much responsibility we can take for the whole thing, but I'm sure we have some. This Cranberries album I have on is amazing. I hope everyone in the band is happy, healthy, and going to Mass regularly. I am pretty sure I could listen to this woman sing for a year straight, and not tire of it. It's actually too bad I was 13 when this was big. It's hard to appreciate anything when you are

A Great Desire

Following up on my post from the other day , it reminded me of something a very holy priest said about the virtue of chastity. If you find yourself enmeshed in the opposite vice, it means that your desire for God is great. This may mean we have committed a kind of idolatry, either of sexual pleasure, or even marriage, but it's encouraging in its own way. It means that our desires are disordered. If our desires are disordered, it means that with God's help and friendship, our desires can be properly ordered. Truly, all we must do is open ourselves to God's love and power, and refuse to give up on ourselves. When I mentioned prayer in the last post on this, I had a thought as a former Protestant that as Catholics we'd find a way to botch this up. Have you ever known or been the guy who prays the Rosary--maybe lots of them--but if you're honest, it doesn't make a big difference in your life? Maybe there is a metaphorical checklist, and the Rosary is on it. Mayb