Time, Natural and Social

“To date,” writes Norbert Elias in his Essay on Time, “enquiries into the sociology of time are almost non-existent” (38). This deficit, he suggests, is due to a dichotomy of the natural and human worlds, a dichotomy reflected in academic specializations (71). He blames the “conventional tendency to explore ‘nature’ and ‘society’ and, therefore, the physical and sociological problems of ‘time’ as if they were completely independent of each other” (38). Natural and human sciences have different languages, methods, goals, “as… Read more

Two Kingdoms, Two Christs?

David VanDrunen, has worked out an understanding of natural law and the “two kingdoms” Christologically. He writes, “The Son of God rules the temporal kingdom as an eternal member of the Divine Trinity but does not rule it in his capacity as the incarnate mediator/redeemer” (Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms, 182). More fully: “To distinguish between the Son as creator and the Son as redeemer entails that the title of ‘Christ’ belongs only to the latter. . . in his… Read more

Political Constutitionalism

Robert Bellamy states the thrust of his “republican defense of constitutional democracy” up front (Political Constitutionalism, viii). He rejects the common assumption that “a written, justiciable constitution, incorporating a bill of rights” is a “necessary safeguard against the abuse of power by democratic governments.” Written constitutions often have precisely the opposite results: “Far from guarding against a largely mythical tyranny of the majority, the checks imposed by judicial review on majoritarian decision-making risk undermining political equality, distorting the agenda away from the public… Read more

Dove-Tailed World

Adam Kirsch can’t bring himself to say that poet Richard Wilbur, who died last weekend, was a Christian. In a 2004 New Yorker review, he comes close – recognizing religious themes and describing him as a “Transcendentalist.” Kirsch recognizes that Wilbur’s religious vision infused his poetry: “the clean laundry of ‘Love Calls Us,’ in which the sight of sheets and smocks calls forth a secular prayer: ‘Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry, / Nothing but rosy hands… Read more

Anti-Liturgies of Pop Music

In Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed (33-4), Tracey Rowland takes note of the Pope’s sharp critique of popular music, including contemporary Christian music. Benedict “quotes Adorno’s judgement that ‘the fundamental characteristic of popular music is standardization’ and describes this as ‘incompatible with the culture of the Gospels, which seek to take us out of the dictatorship of money, of making, of mediocrity, and brings us to the discipline of truth, which is precisely what pop music eschews.'” He… Read more

Evolution – A Theory of Everything?

Evolutionary theorists want to present evolution as a theory of everything. Read more

Augustine v. Augustinians

In his book on sacral Kingship (90-1), Francis Oakley points to the disjunction between Augustine himself and the medieval writers to claimed his mantle. Augustine’s political theology in the City of God has been read through the lends of his anti-Donatist writings. A more theocratic Augustine results: “the Augustine whom one usually encounters in the Latin Middle Ages is the Augustine of the City of God only insofar as that work was reinterpreted in light of the tracts he wrote during… Read more

Re-Christianizing France?

Gaul is still divided into three parts, according to Stefan McDaniel in a 2016 essay in First Things. Three parties are vying to determine the future of France – deconstructionists, children of 1968; reconstructionists, in search for new values to guide the country, including consideration of Islam; and classicists, who insist that France is fundamentally defined by its cultural inheritance. Among the classicists is a group of young, visible Catholics that “expresses a vocal, public orthodoxy. Around this religious core… Read more

Reconciling Reason and Faith

In Truth and Tolerance, Benedict XVI argues that the Western world is in a crisis that can only be solved if “reason and religion . . . come together again, without merging into each other” (144). He insists this isn’t a matter of protecting the interests of religion, Rather, “it is for the sake of man and the world. And neither of them, it is clear, can be saved unless God reappears in a convincing fashion. No one can claim… Read more

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