Review: The Citadel of God, by Louis de Wohl

The Citadel of God, by Louis de Wohl

Louis de Wohl spent a considerable time in the middle of the 20th century writing historical novels about the great saints of the Catholic Church. I've read a number of them, and have found them to be uniformly well-written, entertaining, and informative. I wouldn't call them truly top-notch—they are a little lightweight compared to the historical novels I'm seeing these days, and they are certainly romanticized—but as a first look at one of the great saints, they aren't bad.One thing they … [Read more...]

CT 10.1: Identity of God with His Essence


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Now that Thomas has established that God exists, is eternal and everlasting, and is utterly simple (in the sense of not being composed of distinct, separable parts) he begins to get seriously metaphysical.  That is, he's going to look at the metaphysical notions we apply to the objects of daily experience, and determine the extent to which those notions apply to G … [Read more...]

Pope Francis on Fellow Travelers and True Believers

He's got the key to the whole thing.

Historically, the phrase "fellow travelers" was used of those who sympathized with the aims and goals of the Communist Party but chose not to join it. Though not members, they were traveling in the same direction. That doesn't mean they precisely shared the beliefs of the Communist Party—presuming that the members of the Party themselves had a precisely unified set of beliefs beyond that week's party line.We see something similar in every area where people band together to do something: t … [Read more...]

Trimming the Quill: Some Development Notes

I've been continuing to put a lot of time into Quill, a build system for Tcl software projects (and so not into my Clojure project).I've gotten two significant pieces of feedback about Quill so far. One fellow mentioned that he'd like to try it, but Quill requires that you be using TCL v8.6, and he's still using TCL v8.5 (which is not at all unreasonable). Consequently, my focus for Quill 0.2.0 is making Quill work with whatever version of TCL you happen to have installed.Second, I do … [Read more...]

Byker Hill: Collier Lads For Ever More (Now with Trombones!)


"Byker Hill" is an English folk song about coal miners in Newcastle; and not coincidentally, my eldest came to me a couple of days ago and asked if I'd buy a particular recording of it for him. That recording is by a group called the Cottars, of which I know nothing except that they do a really good "Byker Hill":It's sung to several tunes, the but the one I first encountered is a rather frenetic folk-rock version with klezmer influences by Boiled in Lead, which alas doesn't appear to be … [Read more...]

On Tyranny

Being an absolute ruler today was not as simple as people thought. At least, it was not simple if your ambitions included being an absolute ruler tomorrow.— Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (On Lord Vetinari's philosophy of government.) … [Read more...]

Jack McDevitt: Antiques in Space!!!

A Talent for War

Recently I re-read Jack McDevitt's "Alex Benedict" series, which begins with A Talent For War and continues through four more volumes to Firebird, with Coming Home due this fall.Alex Benedict is an antiques dealer on the planet Rimway about 9,000 years in our future. 9,000 years is a long time, ample opportunity to accrue just oodles of lost civilizations, abandoned space stations, derelict space ships, and similar archaeological treasures, and they are all out there just waiting for an … [Read more...]

Praying for the Islamic State


One of my friends at Patheos, Rebecca Hamilton, recently wrote a post about the monstrous actions of the Islamic State in the Middle East, and noted that she prayed for the conversion of the Muslims.Someone commented on this, to another Patheos blogger,I could barely get past "I prayed for the conversion of the Muslims", a statement as oppressive as anything Isis has done.The comment stuck in my head. I wonder what the commenter thinks "the conversion of the Muslims" entails? … [Read more...]

CT 9: Simplicity of God

salt shaker

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Now Thomas moves on to one of the fundamental notions of classic theism: the divine simplicity.A similar course of reasoning clearly shows that the first mover must be simple. For any composite being must contain two factors that are related to each other as potency to act. But in the first mover, which is altogether immobile, all combination of potency and a … [Read more...]