Today’s Aquinas: Can God Play Chess?

Chess Tournament

In a comment on last week's Aquinas post, a reader objected to my characterization of God as pure act, with no mixture of potentiality.  He said,As a human I live totally within the domain of potentiality. The idea that God is totally outside of potentiality is totally alien. He cannot be my God.I asked what he meant by living “totally within the domain of potentiality”, and he replied,I don't live in the past. The present becomes the past as soon as I'm aware of it. The future is u … [Read more...]

Louis Prima: Pennies from Heaven

I'm not sure that Louis Prima was capable of singing a song without getting goofy with it, but that's especially true of his recording of "Pennies from Heaven". I especially like the mid-section where he gets into a kind of contest with his bandleader, Sam Butera. Prima scats a phrase, and Butera echoes it on trumpet, back and forth, until finally Butera flubs it and Prima crows, "I knew I'd get ya, I knew I'd get ya" as they move into the finale. Lots of fun, even if Keely Smith is missing. … [Read more...]

Leslie Charteris on Getting Your Goat

Underwood Typewriter

A tinge of old beetroot suffused Mr Teal’s rubicund complexion. To say that his goat was completely and omnipotently got conveys nothing at all. In the last ten minutes his goat had been utterly annihilated, and the remains spirited away to the exact point in space where (so Einstein says) eternity changes its socks and starts back on the return journey. He was as comprehensively de-goated as a man can be.— Leslie Charteris, The Saint versus Scotland Yard."Mr. Teal" is one C.E. Teal, ak … [Read more...]

Third Orders Aren’t First Orders

St. Teresa in Ecstasy

Clare Short recently began formation as a Secular Carmelite, and has been blogging about it. She's the mother of young children, and the other day she received a message about her vocation from a priest who should know better: I was recently sent a rather snooty message by a diocesan priest who used to be a Trappist monk. He was telling me that it was basically impossible for me to live a contemplative life in the context of a family home. He told me my children would not find my ‘requirement’ f … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis: The Space Trilogy


A couple of weeks ago, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry posted about his first encounter with C.S. Lewis’ “Space Trilogy”: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.  He devoured them, and I’ll take the liberty of abbreviating his comments thusly:Out of the Silent Planet is excellent science fiction, and his favorite of the three.Perelandra is a poorly disguised bit of religious propaganda.That Hideous Strength is really weird, and really good, but it isn’t science fictio … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Does God Think The Way We Do?


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Thomas has shown that God is intelligent, that is, He has an intellect.  Is that intellect like our own, or does it differ in particular ways?  Unsurprisingly, it differs: God understands everything perfectly, so He doesn't reason as we do:Since in God nothing is in potency but all is in act, as has been shown. God cannot be intelligent either potentially or h … [Read more...]

Stan Rogers: The Flowers of Bermuda

Just because it was going through my head last night, here's a sprightly upbeat tune about heroic sacrifice and death at sea.He was the captain of the Nightingale Twenty-one days from Clyde in coal He could smell the flowers of Bermuda in the gale As he died in the North Rock ShoalBut on the other hand, the other eighteen members of the crew survived due to his heroic actions, so there's that.It's sprightly and upbeat. (Really! I'm not being sarcastic.) … [Read more...]

Leslie Charteris on What the Well Dressed Man is Wearing

Typewriter mechanism

Golter’s head snapped round as though it had been jerked by an invisible wire. He had heard nothing of the arrival of the man who now stood over him, whose gentle, drawling voice had broken into his meditations far more shatteringly than any explosion could have done. He saw a tall, trim, lean figure in a grey fresco suit of incredible perfection, with a soft grey felt hat whose wide brim shaded pleasant blue eyes. This man might have posed for any illustration of the latest and smartest effort o … [Read more...]

Conversion, or Rearranging Your Inner Furniture

This is what we're trying to avoid

Everybody's familiar with what I'll call "Big-C" Conversion, as in, Mr. So-and-so just converted to Catholicism, or Miss Such-and-Such converted to Christianity. Tonight, though, I need to speak to our RCIA group about "Conversion"; and for Catholics there's a lot more to it than simply "I converted to Catholicism". Big-C Conversion is a real and important thing; but then comes little-c "conversion of life", an on-going process that ideally lasts the rest of one's life.The problem with … [Read more...]