Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

30 March 2008

Elizabeth Anscombe

As I was reading through the New York Times magazine this morning I happened upon an article about a pro-chastity at Harvard. (Chastity in the sense of abstaining from sexual activity before marriage, not in the priestly sense though the two senses are related.) It is one of an increasing number of pro-chastity groups popping up at Ivy League Universities. Several of these groups take as their 'patron' Dr. Elizabeth Anscombe, an Oxford Philosopher and disciple of Wittgenstein most noted for her work on human intention.

The chastity movement finds inspiration in Anscombe's 1977 essay "Contraception and Chastity." It's only 16 pages and well worth a read. Anscombe as the NYT article rightly points out is difficult to summarize. The essay is a hybrid of the theological and the philosophical with a little history mixed in for good measure. Better just to read what she has to say than for me to try and explain it. I don't think I can really do it justice.

Incidentally, I'm going to attempt to teach some Anscombe to my senior philosophy students in the form of her essay, "Modern Moral Philosophies." I'm not planning on having the students read it just utilizing a few arguments. This essay was landmark in the development of virtue ethics. The class is currently studying Kant, and we'll be on to Mill shortly. I'm hoping to use it as a means to work backwards to Aristotle. We'll see how well that works.

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!

28 March 2008


All good things come to an end, including spring break. Since Wednesday afternoon of Holy Week I've been enjoying some time off in Youngstown and Philadelphia.

This year I once again had the good fortune to assist with the Easter Triduum liturgies at my home parish of St. Charles. Things went off mostly without a hitch, thanks in large part to the excellent servers. Good servers make an MC's job much easier.

The Tuesday after Easter my parents and I headed to Philadelphia to visit my mother's side of the family. The picture is of Logan Circle in downtown Philadelphia near where we stayed. It was a packed but wonderful couple of days reconnecting with family.

We also had an opportunity to visit a special exhibition of Frida Kahlo's art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (home of the Rocky steps). Frida is known both as the wife of the famed muralist Diego Rivera and as an accomplished and provocative artist in her own rite. I was particularly drawn into her themes of identity and generativity which appear in many of her works.

Tomorrow it's back to Detroit.

The Immanent Frame

Interesting blog find for those interested in "Secularism, religion, and the public sphere"

The Immanent Frame

23 March 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!!!

22 March 2008

Stations of the Cross

Each year the Holy Father leads the Good Friday Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum in Rome. The celebration focused on Asia this year with Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong writing the mediations and the various depictions of the passion portrayed in a Chinese style. Full Text.

Jesus truly dies, because he is truly man. He hands over his last breath to the Father. O, how precious is that breath! The breath of life was given to the first man, and it is given to us once more, in a new way, after the resurrection of Jesus, so that we are able to offer every breath to him who gave us breath. What fear we have of death and how enslaved we are by this fear! The meaning and value of a life are determined by the manner in which it is given away. Even for the unbeliever it is not acceptable to cling to life, losing all sense of its meaning. And for Jesus, there is no greater love than that which leads us to lay down our life for our friends. Those who are attached to life will lose it. Those who are ready to sacrifice it will keep it. The martyrs give the supreme testimony of their love. They are not ashamed of their Master before men. The Master will be proud of them before all humanity on the last day.
-Cardinal Zen, Mediation on the Thirteenth Station

16 March 2008

An End and a begining

Tonight was the final performance of Grease. I was delighted with how well everything went. The cast and crew put on a terrific show. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have played a small part in it.

Today also marks the begining of Holy Week with the celebration of Palm Sunday. This is a week set apart from all others to remember and celebrate Christ's victory over death. The event that changed everything.

Gloria, laus, et honor
tibi sit, Rex Christi, Redemptor.
-Theodulph of Orleans, circa 820

14 March 2008

Closing Homily

This is an excerpt from Father General Nicolas in his closing homily of General Congration 35:

The logic of the Christian experience is very clear. God is love, and so we too love. God is mercy, and so we too show mercy. God is good, and so we too desire to be good. If we do not love, we really do not have anything to say.

13 March 2008

Templton Prize

"Science gives us Knowledge, and religion gives us Meaning. Both are prerequisites of the decent existence. The paradox is that these two great values seem often to be in conflict. I am frequently asked how I could reconcile them with each other. When such a question is posed by a scientist or a philosopher, I invariably wonder how educated people could be so blind not to see that science does nothing else but explores God’s creation." -Michael Heller

This year's Templeton Prize will be awarded to Fr. Michael Heller, a physicist and Catholic priest whose scholarship has included work on the ever intriguing question: "Does the universe need to have a cause?" Fr. Heller ministered in Poland during the communist period and was persecuted both for his work as a scientist and a priest. More on this year's winner can be found on the Templeton site.

In other news, Grease opens tonight!

05 March 2008


I woke up with morning and to my delight was greeted with a snow day. After promptly celebrating the news with a two and a half hour nap, I'm awake, caffineinated and ready to go. My goal today is to catch up on all the things I haven't had time for in the past two weeks; it's a long list.

Much of my life has been taken up with U of D Jesuit's musical, Grease. I never realized how much work goes into putting on a good show, last night the stage crew worked until 9:15 pm. That's about par for the course the next two weeks. Working on the musical has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know the students on a less formal level than the classroom but it does take up a lot of time. All things considered, I'm very happy to be working with the 90 or so students, faculty and volunteers who are trying to pull this thing together. Even more important than putting on the show is the wonderful community built around this common effort and for that I am most thankful.

Opening night is a week from tomorrow! By way of shameless plug: Anyone in the Metro Detroit area should consider coming. The Saturday show is almost sold out but there are still tickets for the other three performances.