Archive for May, 2016

The Loss of Self-Knowledge in Modernity

In the classical world the ancient Greeks identified man by distinguishing him from the gods and from animals. The inscription at the oracle at Delphi reads “Know thyself” and “Nothing in excess.” Man is below the gods and above the animals. The sin of pride (hubris) presumes that man is equal to or above the gods, and the sin of excess defies the Greek moral precept of the Golden Mean, the idea that all...

Restless Hearts: Satisfied by Eros and Agape

In the opening lines of his Confessions, St. Augustine famously writes, addressing our Lord, “For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee” (trans. F.J. Sheed). In one sentence, Augustine summarizes the longings of the human heart and the purpose of life: man is not made for this world, because he is destined for union with God and to experience the Beatific Vision for all eternity. Indeed,...

Marriage: an Imperfect Image of Christ and His Church

By Fr. Basil Cole, O.P.

If I were a pastor of a parish, I would put in highlighted print on my parish bulletin each week the following from St. Thomas Aquinas, following St. Augustine and also cited by the Council of Trent:

God does not command the impossible and if it seems so, we do what we can and pray for his help (Council of Trent, DH 1536 & 1568; see St. Thomas, On Truth 24, 13).

When...

3 Principles for Pro-Faith Education in the Modern Age

As the social environment becomes more polarized, a need develops for education grounded firmly in the truths about life, its goodness and the human person. Catholic schools go a long way to meeting this need, but the foundations of learning are still worth considering as parents, the first educators of children and also for the sake of continual growth and reform in existing schools.

As I contemplate the pros and cons of Catholic school, public school,...

Fanaticism: Another Name for Evil

A fanatic is obsessed with one idea, a person often called a monomaniac like Captain Ahab in Melville’s Moby Dick fixated on killing the white whale that attacked his whaling vessel and severed his leg. While ostensibly commanding a whaling ship in a business venture to hunt whales for oil, Ahab gradually reveals his real agenda—revenge against Moby Dick. Soon diverted from the commerce of the whaling expedition, Ahab risks the lives of all...

St. Maximilian Kolbe: Patron for Pro-Life Journalists, Editors and Essayists

In 1972, Mr. Franciszek Gajowniczek proclaimed his thanks to the recently beatified Maximilian Kolbe for saving his life in Auschwitz. “I want to express my thanks, for the gift of life,” he said to 150,000 attendees. Kolbe’s courageous action spoke volumes about how he cherished human life, made in the image and likeness of God. But furthermore, this courageous and selfless act shows how he directly interceded on the behalf of Mr. Gajowniczeck to...

The Old Man and the New Man

Modern ideologies do not like the Old Man—the human nature that all women and women inherit at birth, the handiwork of Mother Nature and God’s design in creation. They have invented the New Man who does not have to conform to his God-given sex, nature, or destiny. The New Man can remodel himself in any number of ways and force himself to be bisexual, transgendered, neutered, or infertile. These ideologies reject the “givenness” of...

The Life-giving Love of a Mother

Adoption is a central theme in salvation history. Through Baptism, all Christians have become adopted sons and daughters of God in Jesus Christ. Saint Paul maintains, “All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God; for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you have received the spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Romans 8:14-15). Jesus Himself experienced the...