Sunday, August 27, 2006

Aristotle and the Mysteries of Mary: What! "That's Impossible!"

With the news of Fr. Philippe's passing, I decided to spend parts of today listening to Bach's Mass in B-minor and Mozart's Requiem. Both powerful pieces. The Requiem still being one of my favorite pieces to get lost in and fall into a spiritual dimension of play.

Well, I also decided to read some from Fr. Philippe. There is so much to choose from. You can see some of his works translated into English here.

The Community's site has a link to an anecdote that I heard some time ago while visiting them and is still one of my favorite stories about Fr. Philippe. Here it is:

Jean Guitton used to like to go to Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, a small village in the department of the Drôme, southern France, to see Marthe Robin, a mystic who suffered the stigmata and who was foundress of the Foyers de charité (Houses of Charity). A Dominican priest also used to go regularly to Châteauneuf-de-Galaure to give retreats and to meet with Marthe Robin. On one particular occasion someone mentioned to Jean Guitton that Father Marie-Dominique Philippe had just arrived. “Which one?” asked Guitton, “The author of The Mystery of Mary or the author of An Introduction to the Philosophy of Aristotle? Guitton’s friend replied that these authors were one and the same person. Amazed, Jean Guitton exclaimed, “But that’s impossible!”

This brief anecdote points to the unusual and little-known journey of a man who has often gone against the current, pursuing an intense philosophical research in an age when philosophy is no longer studied, and who, in an age when the religious life has fallen upon hard times in many ecclesiastical circles, has founded a new religious community that has spread throughout the world. Father Philippe, both as a thinker and as a religious, is not someone whom it is easy to classify. He closely follows developments in modern philosophical thought and for over forty years has maintained a fruitful dialogue with scientists, psychoanalysts and other intellectuals whose fields of research are quite different from his own. He has published books on mathematics, art and medicine, at the same time as preaching retreats to Carmelites on The Song of Songs and St. John’s Apocalypse. His undying loyalty to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church has often earned him the label “traditionalist”.

Many misunderstandings, in fact, arise from his attachment to St. Thomas Aquinas and to Aristotle. As a result of what seems to us a superficial reading of Father Philippe, many view his philosophical and theological thought as Scholastic Thomism. Some are delighted at this revival of the “good old Thomistic tradition” which has been beaten into the corner by the contemporary philosophies that have produced modern day atheism. Others deplore this out-of-date, obscure thought - which seems to confuse the radically different perspectives of the philosopher and the theologian - as totally ineffective in the modern world.

To our mind, a more attentive study of Father Marie-Dominique Philippe’s thought (of which this book offers the possibility) reveals that his personal reflections are consciously developed with the intention of distinguishing clearly the starting point of the philosopher’s work (i.e. experience) and the starting point of the theologian’s work (i.e. faith) - something which Scholastic Thomism has never done. It also seems that Father Philippe’s thought is characterised by a constant concern to return to the source, both to the source of western philosophy - in order to take up once more and continue the diligent search for truth begun by the ancient Greeks - and to the source of Faith, that is, the Gospels, seeking to develop a mystical theology based upon the writings of St. John.

Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP
Requiescat in pace

The Passing of a Saintly Priest: Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP

Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP, was the founder of one of the Church's strongest and rapidly growing religious communities: the Community of Saint John.

Yes, was.

He passed from this life yesterday, August 26:

Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, o.p., founder of the Community of Saint John, died peacefully on Saturday morning August 26, 2006, at the priory of Saint Jodard (France). He was being taken care of there since his stroke on July 20. He was going to be 94 years old on September 8.

Until the funeral day, the brothers and sisters keep vigil around him in the brother's chapel in Saint Jodard. The vigil is opened to all who wish to participate.

The funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday September 2 at 10:30 am at the Cathedral of Lyons. It will be presided by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyons.

In the afternoon, Father Marie-Dominique will be buried in the cimetery of Rimont, in the intimacy of the Family of Saint John (brothers, sisters and oblates).

In thanksgiving for all they have received through him, the memebrs of the Family of Saint John entrust him to the prayer of all.

As it says, he will be buried at Rimont, which is the mother house, the main house, for the Community. Some years ago, I was blessed to spend some time there and to meet and speak with Fr. Philippe. A very holy and wise man, and with that a great vivacity and jovial dynamic to him. He will be dearly missed ... and not just by those in France. His impact has been felt around the world.

Here is the front gate to the house at Rimont.

The Community of Saint John is known for many things, many apostolates. This postcard captures the many ways they follow the Lamb ... wherever He goes:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Back To School and Some Blogging

Life has been busy lately, which is why I haven't been posting that much. However, I am glad it has not been busy in the wrong way in Israel, regardless of how disappointed I and many others are that Israel did not do what we had hoped.

Like I said, at least and gladly so we are not talking about other types of news this week.

The busy part is being back to school ... right now teaching high school English and history.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Iran August 22

I am getting all sorts of inquiries about August 22 and Iran. I guess today's Wall Street Journal column by Bernard Lewis has sparked renewed curiosity in the Islamic significance of August 22. Well, here is the link to the post on the matter: "Welcoming the 12th Imam? Iran and August 22."
That should have all you need to know. If not, recall what Iran's president said recently:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel. In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate halt to fighting in Lebanon between Israel and the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah.

More need now to be and to stay standing with Israel.

I will rewrite a new post and update it with the latest as soon as I have a break from the busy schedule at Witherspoon, which by the way is going very well. I even met up with a fellow blogger: Trent at X-Catholics.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Studying Finnis, Rawls, Natural Law, and Political Liberalism

For the next week and a half or so, I will be at the Witherspoon Institute's First Principles Seminar: “Natural Law Theory and Political Liberalism: John Finnis and John Rawls." It should be a good, intellectually stimulating, and fun time. With the great good of wireless networking in the dorms, I will be posting throughout about the seminar and whatever else strikes my fancy ... like finishing my research project (which this seminar should help me do), FC Barcelona playing in the States, and the ever-approaching August 22.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Iran Says Destroy Israel ... as August 22 Approaches

As August 22 approaches,

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel. In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate halt to fighting in Lebanon between Israel and the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah.

"Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented," he said.

Ahmadinejad [...] said the Middle East would be better off "without the existence of the Zionist regime."

Israel "is an illegitimate regime, there is no legal basis for its existence," he said.

Read the whole AP article, "Ahmadinejad: Destroy Israel, End Crisis." (Emphases added above.)

Like I said ... all this as August 22 approaches. Read "Welcoming the 12th Imam? Iran and August 22."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Quit Trying To Help. You Only Hurt. The Gov't and Minimum Wage

Here is just one reason why I don't support government intervention to set a(n artificial) minimum wage: "The ‘Moral’ Minimum Wage Increase Hurts Teens and Minorities" by Anthony B. Bradley.

Forced government wage increases are supported when people forget that the money used to cover the increase does not magically materialize. It must come from somewhere. Since Americans love the best products for the lowest prices, businesses will not likely pass the cost of the wage increase on to consumers in the form of higher prices. They will, instead, reduce their costs by laying off workers with the lowest skills, relocating the jobs (or the entire business) to another country, or skirting the law altogether by paying employees “under the table” or by hiring illegal immigrants.
Those in favor of the increase believe that they stand on the moral high ground. Rev. Suzanne Meyer, president of All God’s People, a multi-faith social advocacy group located in St. Louis, calls the current $5.15 rate “a moral outrage. It effectively sentences millions of workers and their families to live in abject poverty.” Why is it not, instead, a moral outrage to increase teen unemployment, increase minority unemployment, and encourage the circumvention of the law by employing illegal immigrants and paying under the table?

Employees who become more productive by gaining experience and improving their education earn larger raises and salaries in the long term. A minimum wage set by agreement between employer and employee establishes the best entry point for people with few skills to gain experience and develop the abilities needed to advance. It is in keeping with both human dignity and economic reality to give employers and employees freedom to negotiate employment on terms set by themselves, not by politicians.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Yoni the Blogger

During this time of war for Israel, aside from Truth Laid Bear, check out Yoni the Blogger. He seems to have news/updates before anyone else. I guess it helps to have served 20 years in the Israeli military and to have many friends over there ... in the middle of the fight. Here is a bit about him.