CT 1: Thomas’ Plan of Attack

St. Augustine

This post is part of a series. In Chapter 1 of the Compendium Theologiae, Thomas lays out his plan of attack. He always begins in this logical way, explaining just what it is that he is about: To restore man, who had been laid low by sin, to the heights of divine glory, the Word of the eternal Father, though containing all things within His immensity, willed to become small. This He did, not by putting aside His greatness, but by taking to Himself our littleness. No one can say that he is … [Read more...]

The Desolation of the Draggin’

Dragon Statue

The Anchoress wrote last week about her experience of desolation in Penn Station. She was people-watching, a favorite activity, and then everything changed: I wouldn’t presume to say that anything was being communicated to me, but I nevertheless had a glimpse — or an overwhelming “sense” — of something. In that brief flash I knew that hovering over us, near us, within us, all about us, was an awful, unstoppable ache of love and sadness; a sense of “Oh, my people! How often I have … [Read more...]

Happy Triduum!

Crucifix

It's Holy Thursday, and Holy Thursday mass is just a few hours off; tomorrow is Good Friday; then comes Holy Saturday and the Great Vigil of Easter; and then the sunrise mass if I've got the stamina for it. It's time for contemplation rather than blogging, so I'm going to sign off and do that thing. Barking will resume on Easter Monday. … [Read more...]

The Peril of First Principles

Rodin's Thinker

It was in college that I first learned the peril of reasoning from first principles. Rene Descartes, frustrated with the decadent tradition of scholastic philosophy (which admittedly was in serious straits in his day) decided to reboot philosophy altogether. Spurning that which went before, he started over; and he decided to proceed by trying to identify that first principle or principles about which he could not help but be absolutely certain. About every proposition he said, in effect, … [Read more...]

Fr. Robert Barron on Bart Ehrman

A couple of weeks ago, on my post "Why Catholicism", a commenter said that I clearly hadn't read Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, or I'd know better. I replied that I didn't regard Ehrman as a reliable authority, and after another exchange or two dropped it. I'm not a biblical scholar, I'm simply a layman who's been doing some reading, and I don't have all of the relevant facts at my fingertips. Fr. Robert Barron, on the other hand, does; and just recently he wrote a piece about Ehrman's … [Read more...]

Riding the Rigatoni Cycle

Brewery

Not much to report on the Watchman for Daybreak front, though I'm proceeding along the lines I indicated last week, and it's working for me. John St. Cloude is going to be a much more interesting character this way. In the meantime, my first novel has been available on my personal website for the last ten years. It's called Through Darkest Zymurgia; it's a fantasy novel about a scientific expedition in a rather odd world. I make no great claims for it, but I enjoyed writing it, and I … [Read more...]

A Compendium of Simplicity—Wait, What?

That's poor Averroes at his feet.

Towards the end of his life, Thomas Aquinas began his third summary of the theology of the Catholic Faith. The first, and the most detailed, was his Summa Contra Gentiles, which he wrote to refute the "gentiles"—which is to say, Averroes and Avicenna, who were smart cookies but held erroneous views about Aristotle (at least from a Catholic point of view) and were unintentionally poisoning the well for Thomas and other Catholic Aristotelians. I've tried reading parts of the SCG, and it is not … [Read more...]

Blogging Aquinas

Aquinas Statue

I've been finding myself wanting to write more about philosophy recently, partially because of my extended discussion with Alex Symczak, partially because it's interesting, and partially because I want to spend more time with my patron, St. Thomas Aquinas, which means spending more time with his writings, which means taking time to reflect, which means writing about it because that's how I reflect. This would include covering at least one of Thomas' proofs of the existence of God, along … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: Foundations, Creaky and Solid

Plain

I'm writing these Lumen Fidei posts mostly for the Catholics in the crowd, but the atheists and agnostics among my readers might find this one interesting to look at. As I've noted elsewhere, Christian faith isn't simply an assent to particular doctrines; rather, it is a deep and abiding trust in Christ and His Father, and as such is an essential part of the Christian life. But equally, this trust is not apart from belief or knowledge. In paragraph 24 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis … [Read more...]


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