War, Progress, and Caritas

The recent encyclical on social doctrine, Caritas in Veritatae, has raised interesting questions about international cooperation and development. I’ve certainly had some good conversations. But I’ve been struck by a fairly widespread lack of acquaintance with War, Progress, and the End of History: Three Conversations Including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ by Vladimir Solovyov (1853“1900). It’s a book that is worth knowing, not the least because it bears directly on a central theme of Caritas in Veritatae: “humanity’s journey towards unity.” … Continue Reading »

Did God Really Evolve?

Historians of God most often gather to bury, rather than praise, their Creator; Karen Armstrong, Pascal Boyer, and Daniel Dennett being recent examples. Robert Wright offers an interesting break in the pattern with The Evolution of God. Wright, in his own way, is solidly in the materialist camp. In an earlier book he told how, like E.O. Wilson, he abandoned his Southern Baptist roots when he discovered evolution and recognized its power to tell the story of life… Continue Reading »

Flannery Without the Faith

At best, Brad Gooch’s Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor delivers a mixed cargo of goods. Gooch’s portrait of this major American writer, with its entertaining wealth of “Flannery” anecdotes from people who knew her in various capacities”family, neighbors, literary associates, spiritual advisors, admirers”depicts the kind of character for whom the phrase “an interesting person in her own right” was coined. And yet it’s a fragmented portrait, with a sour aftertaste… Continue Reading »

Benedict XVI, Economist

Benedict XVI recently issued his third and greatly anticipated encyclical Caritas in Veritate and it was immediately parsed by political analysts and operatives for partisan evidence of their Catholic bona fides. Liberals were generally pleased that the pope criticized the excesses of capitalism and globalization, extolled the virtues or property redistribution, and defended the claims of labor unions. Even better, they were dizzy with enthusiasm regarding his call for the creation of a “true world political authority” to protect the disenfranchised from systemic poverty… Continue Reading »

This essay is the sixth entry in a week-long symposium on the popes recent encyclical.

Is Benedict in Favor of World Government?

This essay is the fifth entry in a week-long symposium on the pope’s recent encyclical.

As observers continue to decipher the meaning of Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, all appear to agree that the passage of note, the passage that may prove historic in its implications, is the one that is already becoming known as the “world political authority” paragraph … Continue Reading »

A Return to Augustinian Economics

This is the fourth essay in a week-long symposium on the pope’s recent encyclical. Despite belonging to an organization that recently celebrated its founder’s two thousandth birthday, some American Catholics exhibit the attention span of fruit flies when their faith impinges on their politics. Recent responses to Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Vertitate (“Charity in Truth”) closely parallel those that greeted the last economic encyclicals: John Paul II’s Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (“The Church’s Social Concern”) and Centesimus Annus (“On the Hundredth Anniversary” of Leo XIII’ Rerum Novarum)… Continue Reading »

Confirmed in Centesimus Annus; Perplexed by Caritas in Veritate

This is the third essay in a week-long symposium on the pope’s recent encyclical. Evangelical Catholics, supporters of the constructive working of the marketplace that we are, took well to the teaching of Centesimus Annus for it provided a vision of how to see both the accomplishments of free markets in the growth of all economies-and, most specially”the rise of millions of individuals from abject poverty in a short span of years. It was stronger than this, for it suggested a religious understanding of how the market has worked, how it has failed, and how it needed correction… Continue Reading »

Doing The Truth In Love: An Evangelical Call for Response to Caritas In Veritate

This is the second essay in a week-long symposium on the pope’s recent encyclical. Recent global events awaken us to the importance of sustained Christian reflection on the nature and goal of economic life, both within our own societies and in other parts of the world. Accordingly, as evangelical Protestants we applaud the release of Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) by Pope Benedict XVI. We call on Christians everywhere, but especially our fellow evangelicals in the global North, to read, wrestle with, and respond to Caritas in Veritate and its identification of the twin call of love and truth upon our lives as citizens, entrepreneurs, workers and, most fundamentally, as followers of Christ… . Continue Reading »

Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas

This is the first essay in a week-long symposium on the pope’s recent encyclical. It is no secret that in U.S. Catholicism these last twenty or so years there has been an increasingly bitter split between two large factions on matters of political economy. Some tilt left, some right. Some favor a Reaganomic approach to political economy and rejoiced in the boom that lasted thirty-some years. Others favor Clintonomics (which in practice looked a lot like Reaganomics), while others favor something more robustly state-run and state-centered on the order of Obamanomics… . Continue Reading »

Bologna Revisited

What is the mission of a Catholic law school, and how do we achieve it? Fr. Michael Buckley’s book The Catholic University as Promise and Project sets out”very artfully, to my mind”the ecclesial context in which lawyers in Catholic universities should think about the religious dimensions of the institutions they are, willy-nilly, building up, tearing down, or neglecting, as the case may be. The title of the book also helpfully suggests the proper method in exploring this vital issue. “Promise and Project”: The promise must be specified before the project can have a chance of succeeding… . Continue Reading »