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 »

Upward and Onward

I had not known that Edward Upward was still alive until I read that he had died”a tad too late to compliment the man on his longevity, perhaps, but not too late to marvel at it. “He must have been ancient!” I exclaimed to my wife, who”with her customary Anglo-Saxon phlegm”ignored me entirely (which was for the best, of course, as she had no idea who I was talking about and wouldn’t have cared if she had). But I was quite right … . Continue Reading »

Loving Herodias

“Why do men chase women? Because they want to live forever,” said Rose Castorini in Moonstruck. Falling in love”really falling in love as opposed to going through the motions”means finding immortality through the mediation of the beloved. No clearer example of this can be found than Dante’s love of Beatrice, the Florentine girl he claimed to have met twice… . Continue Reading »

Searching for the Soul of Shakespeare

After three years of tests”tree-ring dating (to determine the age of the wood frame), x-ray examination at Cambridge University, and infrared reflectography”Stanley Wells of the Shakespeare Institute unveiled earlier this year a new painting of Shakespeare, the Cobbe portrait (1610). Scholars and non-scholars alike eagerly gathered around computer screens and televisions to see for the first time what might well be the dark-eyed, youthful, intelligent, and finely featured face of William Shakespeare, age forty-six. When it comes to Shakespeare, new evidence is hard to find, and everyone is interested… . Continue Reading »

Winning the War on The War on Terror

Does it matter that the Obama administration is now involved in “overseas contingency operations” rather than “fighting terror”? Is it important that our Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, refers to man-caused disasters rather than terrorism? And how about the news made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, when she was asked about the elimination of the phrase war on terror: “The administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself,” Clinton said… . Continue Reading »

The Blessings of Betrayal

Dante reserved for the traitors the lowest circle of hell, the frozen river of Cocytus, where the divine justice submerges forever those who betrayed the people who trusted and loved them. As Dante tells us in the Epistle to Cangrande, however, the subject of his poem is not just the fate of the soul after death but, when “taken allegorically, the poem’s subject is man, either gaining or losing merit through his freedom of will.” Dante also wants to tell us, therefore, about the effect of betrayal on the soul of the betrayer in this life. In approaching that question, Dante says something astounding… Continue Reading »