I have a personal policy to at least try to read all books that people give me to read. Reading a book not of my choice,  I reckon, is God’s way of teaching me new things. 

As a result I have just finished The Ottaviani Intervention which was given me by a traditionalist Catholic. It’s a tiresome book, I’m afraid, which critiques the Novus Ordo Mass quite severely. It has more than a whiff of conspiracy theory about it, and at places becomes so obsessed with it’s theory that it becomes ludicrous. It would be much stronger if it actually took the time to praise the Novus Ordo for the good things it accomplishes. We always listen to negative criticism better if the positive comments come first. As it is, The Ottaviani Intervention sounds like a person who has been given a spanking new Toyota, but prefers his Model T. “But this car has electric windows! They will only break down you know. The old crank down ones never broke down. This new fangled Toyota has cruise control. How stupid and irrelevant is that??!! You never needed that on the Model T because I always cruised along at thirty miles an hour.” You get my drift.
The other book is Skeptics and True Believers by a scientist with the cool name of Chet Raymo. (Sounds like a science fiction hero) Anyway, Chet (who was brought up as a Catholic) takes easy pot shots at superstition and New Age wackos and of course, lumps all religious believers into the same mass grave. Believers are all superstitious, credible, emotionally immature babies who need a comfort blanket in the face of the immense, cold universe and the vast amount of time it has taken the world to evolve.
What always mystifies me about Raymo, Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins etc. etc. is how they rightly criticize non-scientific souls like myself for not knowing or caring about ‘real science’ and yet they launch into the attack on religion without taking the time to study ‘real religion’. Nevertheless there are good things in the book. He quotes a rabbi who says there are ‘two Adams’ linked to Genesis 1 and 2. These represent two types of man. The first is the Adam who is steward of creation and called to name all things. The second is the man of meaning. The man who walks with God and struggles through sin and redemption. The first Adam is the scientific man. The second is the mystic. They forever struggle, but they forever need one another.
The clash between religion and science is, perhaps, simply a natural part of being human. It’s a constant battle, and always has been. The battle between the mystic and the scientist, between the poet and the man of facts. Each deals with the world he lives in with a totally different language, and although they will always clash, they are two sides of the same coin.

  • Augustine

    Of course, one can only shed doubt on the NO Mass if VII was not guarded by the Holy Spirit, as though Jesus suspended His promise to Peter about the forces of evil never prevailing against His Church. Which would necessarily lead to the conclusion that the see of Peter is actually vacant. But if it’s vacant, then, pray explain, where’s Peter and the Holy Spirit guarding his teaching? Not even SSPX claims to be the see of Peter or to have led ecumenical councils, as Peter is sight-unseen. Which begs the conclusion that Jesus lied and the forces of evil have conquered the Church.The wonders of a false premise… O, Aristotle, why don’t people read you anymore?

  • kkollwitz

    It would be interesting to be able to experience the pre-Galilean worldview of science and faith, when they were part of the same continuum of knowledge, rather than two separate, and supposedly opposed, camps.

  • Irenaeus

    Try this old review of Dawkins’ God Delusion, by Terry Eagleton, a brilliant, acerbic Marxist literary critic and theorist at Oxford. The opening:Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. Card-carrying rationalists like Dawkins, who is the nearest thing to a professional atheist we have had since Bertrand Russell, are in one sense the least well-equipped to understand what they castigate, since they don’t believe there is anything there to be understood, or at least anything worth understanding. This is why they invariably come up with vulgar caricatures of religious faith that would make a first-year theology student wince. The more they detest religion, the more ill-informed their criticisms of it tend to be.

  • NIckName

    I just read ‘God is no Delusion’ by Dominican Thomas Crean who tears that hack Dawkens to shreds. Check it out!;=books&qid;=1215295508&sr;=1-1

  • niggle

    I would venture to say religion is like the forms and lines and structures, while science is merely the colouring: it informs, but it isn’t what it only observes and speculates and concludes about.While I think there should certainly be books that rebutt Dawkin’s book, I would actually recommend people simply read Dawkin’s book first (from the library). It’s not going to make any converts. Kick back and relax and read it without constantly forming rebutts to what you are reading. It is a good excercise in seeing how absurd it is not to believe in God, how much you constantly have to ‘self-make’ things (which is of course part of their vanity in being atheists), but it all ends as, well, self-refutation. You end up contradicting the very primal use of words in the first place. Dawkin’s constantly does it. He enters into the realm that begs questions, like, “Well, what is imgination? Why do we imagine such things as we do?”, but proceeds to use those very unconsidered words, against themselves, to try and deconstruct what he says is just imaginary. It’s a big bloody joke.

  • niggle

    At one point Dawkins tries to deconstruct the efficacy of theology, asking the question: “What the hell on earth is the Why question?”I can almost picture him being careful not to write, “Why the hell on earth do we ask the Why question?”Apparently, to him, the What question is unequivocally more conrete and efficacious than the Why question. Of course he doesn’t need to supply evidence that it is so.This is but a small example among a constant array of them (as in sentence after sentence) to point out what I was trying to get at in the above post.They engage in, what G.K.C. would call, ‘Using thought to destroy thought.’”How to Make Yourself Retarded — By Richard Dawkins”

  • fried chicken strips

    Father, you made a good point about science in your homily. The idea of angels is that they are immaterial so how then can material science measure them if they are by nature immeasurable.I had a therapist tell me a story about a school of fish. They sought to measure this thing called air to see if it was much like their water. So they assembled their stone wheels and iron rods and captured the air and brought it below surface, but before they could make any conclusions they realized their tools were wet. In the same way this science when it hopes to measure the weight of an idea or the circumference of theology.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    Crean is well worth a read. He demolishes Dawkins and ties so many difficult issues up into one tidy little book. All the tough issues of the OT, like Jephatheh’s daughter, ancient genocides in Judges, et cetera. Crean’s book does not get the press it deserves.

  • StBasil

    I’m sorry to read your thoughts on The Ottvaiani Intervention. Maybe it is true that he does not speak of the good of the New Mass but why should he? Card. Ottviani saw dangers in it and the point of the study was to detail any and all dangers of it. Why must one speak good in order to be heard? I think to do it justice you’d have to look at the criticisms and ask, “Are these valid criticisms?” Regardless of whether or not you think there is some aire of conspiracy, regardless of whether you think he is too harsh, you have to ask if the criticisms are justified. I say they are and that the study makes many very good points – for example the fact that the New Mass hardly ever refers to sacrifice but instead relies almost extensively on language of “supper” or “meal.” Pax Christi tecum.