Waldstein on Integralism

b5d968115bd99222b5e78b7297b9e281.jpgFor those interested in a deeper, theological and metaphysical defense of integralism, consider Pater Edmund Waldstein’s recent essay at Church Life Journal, “Integralism and the Logic of the Cross.” It is in response to an earlier CLJ essay by Timothy Troutner, “The Integralist Mirroring of Liberal Ideals.” Troutner himself cites an earlier essay by Pater Edmund at CLJ, “What Is Integralism Today?”

Most especially helpful was the use that Pater Edmund makes of the centrality of St. Benedict’s Rule as an exemplar cause of even secular order in the Middle Ages—no surprise there, coming from a Cistercian. A sampling of the newest essay:

Troutner accuses integralists of uncritically accepting everything about Christendom that liberals reject, thus blinding their eyes to the errors of Christendom. But integralists have always distinguished abuses of power in Christendom and its proper uses. It is Troutner who uncritically accepts liberal rejections of the use of temporal power for spiritual ends an sich. Troutner manifests here a view of temporal power as so deformed by libido dominandi that it can never be used for good ends. On Troutner’s view, grace does not heal, elevate, and perfect man’s political nature, rather it replaces it with an inclination to a vague and inconsistent anarchism. Moreover, Troutner’s contention that integralists promote a worldly understanding of power not formed by Christ’s kenotic love, misunderstands both the form of power in Christendom and (more importantly) Christ’s love. Christ self-emptying in the Incarnation and the Crucifixion is meant to restore and elevate the hierarchy of creation wounded by sin, not to replace it with egalitarianism. Nor was the Church’s juridical understanding of herself in Christendom an imitation of worldly power, unaffected by Christ’s kenosis. In fact, the very opposite is the case: the form of temporal politics in Christendom was a conscious imitation of the hierarchy of the Church and the rules of the monastic orders. And the ruler was always understood as an image of Christ, bound to give himself for the common good of his commonwealth just as Christ offered himself for the Church.


Ah, to Live in a Cosmos Again!


The folks over at Church Life Journal at the University of Notre Dame are publishing a special series during September on the relationship between science and religion. The series especially focuses on “the demise of the conflictual model of science and religion.” All of the posts in the series can be found through this link, and my own contribution to the series can be found here. An excerpt, from the essay’s introduction, is below:

Anaxagoras takes the stage early in Aristotle’s Metaphysics as that sober man among drunks who rightly claims that reason is the cause behind all of nature and its beauty. This same Anaxagoras, we are told, “answered a man … asking why one should choose rather to be born than not by saying ‘for the sake of viewing the heavens and the whole order of the universe.’” Reason is needed to cause the beauty of the whole; only mind can make the world a cosmos. Mind is also needed to recognize that we live in a cosmos, as Seth Benardete remarks: “We see heaven and earth, but we do not see their unity, which we call cosmos. ‘Cosmos’ puts a label on an insight about the structure of the whole that is simply not available to sight.” This label, “cosmos,” is rooted in the Greek verb kosmein, meaning both “to arrange” and “to order, rule” as well as “to adorn” (as in “cosmetics”). The aggregate of all that exists is a cosmos because of its adorned order, both arranged and recognized by mind: “And God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good” (Gen 1:31).

Review of a new edition of a work by John of St. Thomas

JofStThomas_COVERCluny Media has recently reprinted the 1951 Sheed & Ward edition of John of St. Thomas’ The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, translated by Fr. Walter Farrell, O.P., with a new introduction by Fr. Cajetan Cuddy, O.P., written especially for this reprint. The editor-in-chief, John Clarke, provided me with a copy of the book, and what follows is my long-overdue review of the edition. Clarke has noted to me, rightly, that this wonderful text has been difficult or even impossible to obtain for much too long, and through it one hopes that as many people as possible can encounter the wisdom of St. Thomas and the Commentorial Tradition. This reprinted English translation will be of great interest to academic theologians, philosophers studying virtue ethics, those interested in the relationship between grace and nature, as well as modern man’s notion of revealed truth over and against rational strictures on evidence. Continue reading Review of a new edition of a work by John of St. Thomas