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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Sat. 05/28/05 02:10:29 PM

Readworthies XI

A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.

News, editorials, columns, essays, et al.

The Inconvenient Conscience by George Cardinal Pell @ First Things (ht):

Part of the pleasure in reading John Henry Newman is the huge range of topics he covered and the variety of styles he brought to them. As well as the great philosophical and theological treatises, he left us sermons, essays, poems, letters — a vast treasury that makes anything like systematic exposition difficult.
Still, among the topics that regularly caught Newman’s attention through the years, conscience ranks high. Nearly every theologian would agree with Newman that conscience is “a connecting principle between the creature and his Creator.” But while some see conscience as God’s invitation to embrace His law as free subjects, others see it as a radical call to personal freedom. Indeed, for many people today, the word “conscience” suggests not law at all, but the freedom to judge by our own personal resources and the right to act as we each think best — a rejection, in other words, of the need for morality and creed; a claim that I should be allowed to live as I choose.
Of course, this view is often dressed up with the claim that conscience is a special faculty that speaks to us, rather like an oracle, and it may even be elevated to the status of a doctrine: the “primacy of conscience.” But however it is presented, it stands in contrast to the view that conscience is instead simply the mind thinking practically and morally. We think well when we understand moral principles and apply them in clear and reasonable ways; we think badly when we ignore or reinvent moral principles, or apply them in ambiguous and unreasonable ways. “Good conscience,” in this way of understanding, means a good grasp and a good application of moral truth — for it is the truth that remains primary, the truth that is grasped and applied by the practical mind....

Catholic Universities and Truth in Advertising by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. @ Human Events Online (ht):

.... Last week, the Archdiocese of New York finally withdrew the Catholic designation from Marymount Manhattan College, which refused to rescind its invitation to New York Senator Hillary Clinton to deliver its Commencement address and receive an honorary degree. It was Senator Clinton’s support for abortion that brought down the archdiocese’s ire, though of course her entire ideology renders her completely unfit to address a Catholic institution.
The Catholic left is consistently apologetic in its interaction with the secular world, and eager to show that they share that world’s impatience and disgust with some of the Church’s teachings. Far from attracting non-Catholics to the Church, these genuflections to the world only make them wonder what the point is in belonging to a Church whose entire tradition is evidently so worthy of contempt. As one writer puts it, “I would rather belong to a Church that is 500 years behind the times and sublimely indifferent to change, than I would to a Church that is five minutes behind the times, huffing and puffing to catch up.”
What, after all, is there to be so ashamed of in being a Catholic? Why the timid deference to a secular world whose culture delights in vulgarity for its own sake, that considers itself bold and cheeky for reality television that ridicules the marital bond, and that has given us, in place of the Gothic cathedral and the Pietà, a bunch of insufferable nobodies passing off piles of junk as “art”?...

The Riots of the Faithful by Orson Scott Card @ Rhino Times (ht):

.... The press isn’t running for office. To say that the media culture is unpatriotic isn’t a political ploy, it’s an obvious observation. Oh, if my words actually mattered to them, they’d howl and scream about my illegitimate attack. But in private, they are perfectly happy to mock patriotism in all its forms. They’re only patriotic when somebody says they aren’t.
They are loyal to a community – but it’s not America.
It’s Smartland. The nation of the newsmedia people. That’s where they live. Not in America. These newspeople generally don’t even know anybody, apart from “sources,” who serves America in the military. Smartland consists of a very different crowd.
I know that crowd. I’ve heard them jeer at all the values that most Americans still care about, laughing at religious people, at the middle class, at suburbanites, at the poor ignorant saps who don’t think correct thoughts all the time. You know – the citizens of Heartland. Those poor sentimental fools who stood in line to see The Passion and who like Adam Sandler movies and who get tears in their eyes when they see the American flag and whose hearts break a little when it burns.
And yet the irony is that the reason the radical Islamists hate the West so much is primarily because of the unchecked and uncheckable excesses of the Smartish. From Hollywood to newspeople to the soft-subject professors in our universities, the culture that makes people like Osama bin Laden want to blow us up or crush us into dust is the culture of the R-rated movie, the anti-religion intellectual, the glorified abortionist, the babies-without-marriage crowd, and the what-me-worry media elite....

The Long Conversion of Oscar Wilde by Andrew McCracken @ Catholic Educator's Resource Center (ht):

"I am not a Catholic," said Oscar Wilde. "I am simply a violent Papist." This statement, like so many of Wilde's outrageous paradoxes, conceals a sober truth beneath its blithe wit. Another example would be his jest that, of all religions, Catholicism is the only one worth dying in. Looking back over his life more than a hundred years later, we can be forgiven for seeing the irony in such statements, for Wilde's fascination with Catholicism, its mysteries and rituals, did set the stage for his death-bed conversion. And we can certainly perceive justice in the fact that the man who cracked such jokes also believed that life imitated art: ultimately, then, the joke was on him....

Competing in Explanation Space by David Warsh @ Economic Principals (ht):

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are on a collision course. Many readers are accustomed to thinking of the New-York-based newspapers as being quite different sorts of publications — tea and coffee for the reading classes.
But clearly the executives who run them are competing for the same space — dominance of the lofty region where short-term causal explanations of events are forged. They may operate rival explanatory standards at the moment. But it is in the nature of standards that one inevitably gains the upper hand....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sat. 05/28/05 02:10:29 PM
Categorized as Readworthies.


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