Saturday, 12 April 2014

Telling It Like It Is

There has been an awful hoo-har in the last couple of weeks in the United States, where not one but TWO Catholic speakers have been invited to nominally Catholic schools and have delivered fairly straightforward talks on the basics of the Catholic moral life.

This has so offended, horrified and shocked their audiences that both speakers - Sr Jane Laurel from the Nashville Dominicans, and Fr Francis Hoffman from Opus Dei, have been 'apologised for' by local small-c 'catholic' 'authorities'.

More details are on Fr Z's excellent blog, but I also found this excellent summary of the whole problem in the Catholic education system in the comments section, from OrthodoxChick:

Many are openly gay or have parents who are gay. Many describe themselves not as Catholic, but as atheists. They go to Catholic school because the education is better than in the public schools. They don’t go there to be Catholic. Who does that anymore?  
Heck, I have a close relative who is a cradle Catholic. She was married in a Catholic parish in RI. She also rarely goes to Mass (usually just weddings, funerals, Sacraments of relatives’ kids), contracepts, and just became an ordained minister. But she sends her son to a Diocesan Catholic school and weekly CCD classes because that’s what Catholics do.  
They live how they want to live, and as long as they self-identify as Catholic, then they’re Catholic. That’s the rationale that people like Fr. Hoffman and Sr. Jane are confronting, and when they explain the Church’s teaching to people such as I’ve just described, well yeah, all hell’s gonna break loose in a hurry.

Metaphysics and Metamucil

I think you'll enjoy this lecture from Dr Edward Feser. It's called 'What We Owe The New Atheists'.

Here's a snippet from the introduction:

The theme of my talk is “What We Owe the New Atheists.” It might seem an odd one for the author of a decidedly non-irenic, highly polemical book like The Last Superstition.  
In that book I described Richard Dawkins as a man who “wouldn’t know metaphysics from Metamucil.” I proposed, accordingly, that the book Philosophy for Dummies might be reissued in a simplified version under the title Philosophy for Dawkins.  
I said that Christopher Hitchens’ synthesis of boozy self-confidence and theological incompetence made of him “a riddle, inside an enigma, wrapped in a cocktail napkin.”  
I wrote that Sam Harris’s work makes that of Madalyn Murray O’Hair look profound, and suggested that we might be forgiven for suspecting Harris’s entire literary career of being an elaborate hoax, a Sacha Baron Cohen-style publicity stunt. (Sam Harris as a philosophical Borat or Ali G.)  
Then, with Daniel Dennett, I got a little mean.
Seriously, though, Feser goes on to more high-minded stuff later on. I especially enjoyed his exegesis of that little-known spiritual classic, Rocky III.