Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Atheist Pro-Lifer : Hentoff on Obama

From Nat Hentoff's recent column:

I am a nonreligious pro-lifer, my only religion being the Constitution.
But on abortion, Mr. Obama is an extremist. He has opposed the Supreme Court decision that finally upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act against that form of infanticide. Most startlingly, for a professed humanist, Mr. Obama in the Illinois Senate also voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. I have reported on several of those cases, when, before the abortion was completed, an alive infant was suddenly in the room. It was disposed of as a horrified nurse who was not necessarily pro-life followed the doctors' orders to put the baby in a pail or otherwise get rid of the child.

(H/t: FirstThings)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cabotte and Ciacci

We have been enjoying La Cabotte (a tasty Rhone) lately:
And for an even better choice (though it requires a few more $), I suggest this Rosso di Montalcino from Ciacci:

Here is one review on the Rosso:

It's such a beauty, this Rosso di Montalcino from the old and respected Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona estate, which holds some of the best vineyards in the Brunello di Montalcino appellation. A baby Brunello, 100% Sangiovese Grosso, it's a gorgeous ruby red, laced with flavors of dark cherries, sweet spices and a light touch of oak. It's racy and full of life, let loose on the world a year or so after the vintage while its more restrained elder brother, Brunello di Montalcino, has to wait a full 50 months. This is the wine to drink with bistecca alla Fiorentina (a char-grilled, 2-inch-thick T-bone), or a bowl of earthy pasta fagioli. It would be terrific with sausages or a mixed grill, and with heartier pasta dishes too.

Both have been very tasty ... or I should say were tasty.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Intellectual Charity and a Memory

Today I heard some words that reminded me of my undergrad professors:

How might Christian educators respond? [...]

[With] what we might call "intellectual charity". This aspect of charity calls the educator to recognize that the profound responsibility to lead the young to truth is nothing less than an act of love. Indeed, the dignity of education lies in fostering the true perfection and happiness of those to be educ ated. In practice "intellectual charity" upholds the essential unity of knowledge against the fragmentation which ensues when reason is detached from the pursuit of truth. It guides the young towards the deep satisfaction of exercising freedom in relation to truth, and it strives to articulate the relationship between faith and all aspects of family and civic life. Once their passion for the fullness and unity of truth has been awakened, young people will surely relish the discovery that the question of what they can know opens up the vast adventure of what they ought to do. Here they will experience "in what" and "in whom" it is possible to hope, and be inspired to contribute to society in a way that engenders hope in others.

Seeing as how one of my professors was a student of Pope Benedict's, another was one of the translators of his works, and a few others--along with our curriculum--reflected aspects of his thought and works, I should not be surprised that his words recalled their influence.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Music, Mozart, and Awaiting Another Thing

In music, in the panorama of nature, in dreams at night, it is something else that man pays homage to, from which he expects something; he awaits it. His enthusiasm is for something that music, or everything that is beautiful in this world, has awakened within him. When a person begins to feel this, his soul immediately harkens to await the other thing, even in the presence of what he can grasp, but he awaits another thing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Latest ... and the Wounds of Beauty

Busy these days ... as usual.
Currently working on teaching Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Recently finished reading Lagerkvist's Barabbas, a very good and thought-provoking read. At one point, Barabbas is listening to some Christians explain the significance of Christ's death when one of them says, "Christ died for us." Barabbas responds to the likes of, "For them? No, Christ died for me. I was freed when he took my place." Not exactly those words, but something to that effect. Well worth the brief time it takes to read this short book. Recalls something of the existential angst many others have written about.

With the Pope visiting the US, there is a lot of good info at American Papist and Benedict in America blogs.

Emily Rielly has published a good interview with David Schindler, a man who knows Pope Benedict XVI well: "Benedict XVI's theological viewpoint: interview."

An interesting read: "A Catholic Wind in the White House." Hmmm.

Lastly, I read somewhere that Pope Benedict's favorite pieces of music are Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and the Clarinet Quintet. I had the Concerto and just got the Quintet. Now I understand why. They are both beautiful, or in the words of then-Cardinal Ratzinger:

The encounter with the beautiful can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the heart and in this way opens our eyes, so that later, from this experience, we take the criteria for judgment and can correctly evaluate the arguments.

Wounded, indeed.