Church History

Be sure to visit specific areas dedicated to topics and times in “Church History” like

Mike Aquilina – Roots of the Faith, Resilient Church and more
Dr. Matthew Bunson – Church History and Doctors of the Church
Archbishop George Lucas touches area of Church History in his series

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CA-3 Christian Apologetics with Dr. R. R. Reno episode 3 – St. Thomas Aquinas

Episode 3- Whether sacred doctrine (theology) is nobler than other sciences?

Question 1 Article 5 Whether sacred doctrine is nobler than other sciences?

Objection 1: It seems that sacred doctrine is not nobler than other sciences; for the nobility of a science depends on the certitude it establishes. But other sciences, the principles of which cannot be doubted, seem to be more certain than sacred doctrine; for its principles—namely, articles of faith—can be doubted. Therefore other sciences seem to be nobler.

Objection 2: Further, it is the sign of a lower science to depend upon a higher; as music depends on arithmetic. But sacred doctrine does in a sense depend upon philosophical sciences; for Jerome observes, in his Epistle to Magnus, that “the ancient doctors so enriched their books with the ideas and phrases of the philosophers, that thou knowest not what more to admire in them, their profane erudition or their scriptural learning.” Therefore sacred doctrine is inferior to other sciences.

On the contrary, Other sciences are called the handmaidens of this one: “Wisdom sent her maids to invite to the tower” (Prov. 9:3).

I answer that, Since this science is partly speculative and partly practical, it transcends all others speculative and practical. Now one speculative science is said to be nobler than another, either by reason of its greater certitude, or by reason of the higher worth of its subject-matter. In both these respects this science surpasses other speculative sciences; in point of greater certitude, because other sciences derive their certitude from the natural light of human reason, which can err; whereas this derives its certitude from the light of divine knowledge, which cannot be misled: in point of the higher worth of its subject-matter because this science treats chiefly of those things which by their sublimity transcend human reason; while other sciences consider only those things which are within reason’s grasp. Of the practical sciences, that one is nobler which is ordained to a further purpose, as political science is nobler than military science; for the good of the army is directed to the good of the State. But the purpose of this science, in so far as it is practical, is eternal bliss; to which as to an ultimate end the purposes of every practical science are directed. Hence it is clear that from every standpoint, it is nobler than other sciences.

Reply to Objection 1: It may well happen that what is in itself the more certain may seem to us the less certain on account of the weakness of our intelligence, “which is dazzled by the clearest objects of nature; as the owl is dazzled by the light of the sun” (Metaph. ii, lect. i). Hence the fact that some happen to doubt about articles of faith is not due to the uncertain nature of the truths, but to the weakness of human intelligence; yet the slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things, as is said in de Animalibus xi.

Reply to Objection 2: This science can in a sense depend upon the philosophical sciences, not as though it stood in need of them, but only in order to make its teaching clearer. For it accepts its principles not from other sciences, but immediately from God, by revelation. Therefore it does not depend upon other sciences as upon the higher, but makes use of them as of the lesser, and as handmaidens: even so the master sciences make use of the sciences that supply their materials, as political of military science. That it thus uses them is not due to its own defect or insufficiency, but to the defect of our intelligence, which is more easily led by what is known through natural reason (from which proceed the other sciences) to that which is above reason, such as are the teachings of this science.

For an online version of St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa” click here

“Christian Apologetics with Dr. R. R. Reno” explores numerous facets of faith and reason in the life of the Church and the world. Grounded on the work of giants, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, Blessed John Newman, soon-to-be Blessed John Paul II, G. K. Chesterton, Blaise Pascal and Stephen Barr, Dr. Reno helps us to open our minds to make the journey to our hearts.

R. R. Reno is the editor at First Things: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, and Professor of Theology, currently on leave from Creighton University. His theological work has been published in many academic journals. Essays and opinion pieces on religion, public life, contemporary culture, and current events have appeared in Commentary, and the Washington Post. In Fighting the Noonday Devil Reno suggests that putting ourselves at the disposal of what is real is what trains us for true piety. His other recent books include Genesis: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible and Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible.

GWML#11 William Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice and King Lear) – Great Works in Western Literature with Joseph Pearce – Discerning Hearts


Episode 11 – Great Works in Western Literature with Joseph Pearce – William GWML#11 William Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice and King Lear) - Great Works in Western Literature with Joseph Pearce - Discerning Hearts 2Shakespeare part 2

The Merchant of Venice is probably the most controversial of all Shakespeare’s plays. It is also one of the least understood. Is it a comedy or a tragedy? What is the meaning behind the test of the caskets? Who is the real villain of the trial scene? Is Shylock simply vicious and venomous, or is he more sinned against than sinning?

William_Shakespeare_portrai-258x300One of the most popular of Shakespeare’s plays, King Lear is also one of the most thought-provoking. The play turns on the practical ramifications of the words of Christ that we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s. When confronted with the demand that she should render unto Caesar that which is God’s, Cordelia chooses to “love and be silent”. As the play unfolds each of the principal characters learns wisdom through suffering.

 

Based on the Ignatius Critical Edition, this series examines, from the Judeo-Christian perspective, the life, the times, and influence of authors of great works in literature .

Joseph Pearce is currently the Writer-in-Residence and Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire. He is also Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, New Hampshire. He is also Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, New Hampshire. He is  co-editor of the Saint Austin Review (or StAR), an international review of Christian culture, literature, and ideas published in England (Family Publications) and the United States (Sapientia Press). He is also the author of many books, including literary biographies of Solzhenitsyn, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Oscar Wilde.

To learn more about the authors and titles available in the Ignatius Critical Editions

RN-9 – Regnum Novum: Bringing forth the New Evangelization through Catholic Social Teaching with Omar Gutierrez Episode 9

Episode 9- Regnum Novum: Bringing forth the New Evangelization through Catholic Social Teaching with Omar Guiterrez – Value 5 The Common Good, Universal Destination of Goods, Subsidiarity, Participation, Solidarity part 3

These are the five principles laid out in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. If we understand these principles, then the work of the Revolution can begin. We are made now for a New Kingdom with Christ as our King in all things. Let us discover this place together, and make the devil cringe and know the suffering of defeat. “Love”

Discerning Hearts is blessed to present Omar F. A. Guiterrez, M.A. , Special Assistant to Archbishop George Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha, in a groundbreaking series which breaks open the heart of Catholic Social Doctrine.

We encourage you to visit “Regnum Novum – A New Kingdom: A Revolution” Omar Guiterrez’s blog site

We live at a very special time. The confluence of many things has brought forth the clear need to be able to articulate the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church in a way that is accessible and applicable. This is not to be an effort where high-minded theories are to be bandied about. Rather, this is a time of opportunity wherein we can apply the Social Doctrine to the concrete so as to bring about a New Kingdom, a Revolution. – Omar G. from Regnum Novum

From episode 9… Point 5: The Common Good, Universal Destination of Goods, Subsidiarity, Participation, Solidarity

These are the five principles laid out in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. If we understand these principles, then the work of the Revolution can begin. We are made now for a New Kingdom with Christ as our King in all things. Let us discover this place together, and make the devil cringe and know the suffering of defeat.

In this episode we focus on “Subsidiarity”.

Also visit Omar’s “Discerning Hearts” page Catholic Social Teaching 101

Pope Benedict on Prayer 2 – “Prayer is part of the universal human experience”

From Vatican.va (the extended version translated into English from the Italian)

GENERAL AUDIENCE
(the fuller catechesis translated into English from the Italian text)

Piazza San Pietro
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I wish to continue my reflection on how prayer and the sense of religion have been part of man throughout his history.

We live in an age in which the signs of secularism are glaringly obvious. God seems to have disappeared from the horizon of some people or to have become a reality that meets with indifference. Yet at the same time we see many signs of a reawakening of the religious sense, a rediscovery of the importance of God to the human being’s life, a need for spirituality, for going beyond a purely horizontal and materialistic vision of human life.

A look at recent history reveals the failure of the predictions of those who, in the age of the Enlightenment, foretold the disappearance of religions and who exalted absolute reason, detached from faith, a reason that was to dispel the shadows of religious dogmatism and was to dissolve the “world of the sacred”, restoring to the human being freedom, dignity and autonomy from God. The experience of the past century, with the tragedy of the two World Wars, disrupted the progress that autonomous reason, man without God, seemed to have been able to guarantee.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence…. Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to man’s essential search for God” (n. 2566). We could say — as I explained in my last Catecheses — that there has been no great civilization, from the most distant epoch to our day, which has not been religious.

Man is religious by nature, he is homo religiosus just as he is homo sapiens and homo faber: “The desire for God” the Catechism says further, “is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God” (n. 27). The image of the Creator is impressed on his being and he feels the need to find light to give a response to the questions that concern the deep sense of reality; a response that he cannot find in himself, in progress, in empirical science.

The homo religiosus does not only appear in the sphere of antiquity, he passes through the whole of human history. In this regard, the rich terrain of human experience has seen the religious sense develop in various forms, in the attempt to respond to the desire for fullness and happiness. The “digital” man, like the cave man, seeks in the religious experience ways to overcome his finiteness and to guarantee his precarious adventure on earth. Moreover, life without a transcendent horizon would not have its full meaning and happiness, for which we all seek, is spontaneously projected towards the future in a tomorrow that has yet to come.

In the Declaration Nostra Aetatethe Second Vatican Council stressed in summary form: “Men look to their different religions for an answer to the unsolved riddles of human existence. The problems that weigh heavily on the hearts of men are the same today as in the ages past. What is man? — [who am I?] — What is the meaning and purpose of life? What is upright behaviour, and what is sinful? Where does suffering originate, and what end does it serve? How can genuine happiness be found? What happens at death? What is judgement? What reward follows death? And finally, what is the ultimate mystery, beyond human explanation, which embraces our entire existence, from which we take our origin and towards which we tend?” (n. 1).

Man knows that, by himself, he cannot respond to his own fundamental need to understand. However much he is deluded and still deludes himself that he is self-sufficient, he experiences his own insufficiency. He needs to open himself to something more, to something or to someone that can give him what he lacks, he must come out of himself towards the One who is able to fill the breadth and depth of his desire.

Man bears within him a thirst for the infinite, a longing for eternity, a quest for beauty, a desire for love, a need for light and for truth which impel him towards the Absolute; man bears within him the desire for God. And man knows, in a certain way, that he can turn to God, he knows he can pray to him.

St Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians of history, defines prayer as “an expression of man’s desire for God”. This attraction to God, which God himself has placed in man, is the soul of prayer, that then takes on a great many forms, in accordance with the history, the time, the moment, the grace and even the sin of every person praying. Man’s history has in fact known various forms of prayer, because he has developed different kinds of openness to the “Other” and to the Beyond, so that we may recognize prayer as an experience present in every religion and culture.

Indeed, dear brothers and sisters, as we saw last Wednesday, prayer is not linked to a specific context, but is written on the heart of every person and of every civilization. Of course, when we speak of prayer as an experience of the human being as such, of the homo orans, it is necessary to bear in mind that it is an inner attitude before being a series of practices and formulas, a manner of being in God’s presence before performing acts of worship or speaking words.

Prayer is centred and rooted in the inmost depths of the person; it is therefore not easily decipherable and, for the same reason, can be subject to misunderstanding and mystification. In this sense too we can understand the expression: prayer is difficult. In fact, prayer is the place par excellence of free giving, of striving for the Invisible, the Unexpected and the Ineffable. Therefore, the experience of prayer is a challenge to everyone, a “grace” to invoke, a gift of the One to whom we turn.

In prayer, in every period of history, man considers himself and his situation before God, from God and in relation to God, and experiences being a creature in need of help, incapable of obtaining on his own the fulfilment of his life and his hope. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein mentioned that “prayer means feeling that the world’s meaning is outside the world”.

In the dynamic of this relationship with the one who gives meaning to existence, with God, prayer has one of its typical expressions in the gesture of kneeling. It is a gesture that has in itself a radical ambivalence. In fact, I can be forced to kneel — a condition of indigence and slavery — but I can also kneel spontaneously, declaring my limitations and therefore my being in need of Another. To him I declare I am weak, needy, “a sinner”.

In the experience of prayer, the human creature expresses all his self-awareness, all that he succeeds in grasping of his own existence and, at the same time, he turns with his whole being to the One before whom he stands, directs his soul to that Mystery from which he expects the fulfilment of his deepest desires and help to overcome the neediness of his own life. In this turning to “Another”, in directing himself “beyond” lies the essence of prayer, as an experience of a reality that overcomes the tangible and the contingent.

Yet only in God who reveals himself does man’s seeking find complete fulfilment. The prayer that is openness and elevation of the heart to God, thus becomes a personal relationship with him. And even if man forgets his Creator, the living, true God does not cease to call man first to the mysterious encounter of prayer

As the Catechism says: “in prayer, the faithful God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation” (n. 2567).

Dear brothers and sisters, we learn to stay more in front of God, God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, we learn to recognize in the silence, deep within ourselves, the voice that calls us and leads us to the depths of our existence , the source of life, the source of salvation for us to go beyond the limit of our lives and open ourselves to the extent of God, our relationship with Him who is Infinite Love. Thanks.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us learn to pause longer before God, who revealed himself in Jesus Christ, let us learn to recognize in silence, in our own hearts, his voice that calls us and leads us back to the depths of our existence, to the source of life, to the source of salvation, to enable us to go beyond the limitations of our life and to open ourselves to God’s dimension, to the relationship with him, which is Infinite Love. Many thanks.

LFT-1 Listening For Truth – Praying Our Way to Virtue episode 1

Episode 1 -Listening For Truth Introduction.  Making moral judgments.  What are the boundaries?  Giving God time to reach us.  Knowing how we are being guided properly.

Deacon James Keating, PhD, the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha, is making available to ”Discerning Hearts” and all who listen, his series of programs entitled “Listening For Truth”.

Listening for Truth leads men and women in a search for a fuller experience of God that begins in prayer, grows in the rediscovery of our spiritual being, and grounds itself in the truth of Jesus Christ. A presentation of the Christian life as an engagement of the whole person — body, mind, and soul — in the challenge of daily living.

 

 

IPF logo small WOM#1 Deacon James Keating – Way of Mystery episode 1 from Resting On the Heart of Christ

For more information on the “Institute of Priestly Formation” and for other material available by Deacon Keating, just click here

Communion with Christ WOM#1 Deacon James Keating – Way of Mystery episode 1 from Resting On the Heart of Christ

Don’t forget to pickup a copy of “Communion with Christ” , it is one of the best audio sets on prayer…ever!

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

IJCY5-Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing episode 5

Is Jesus Calling? A Spiritual Guide to Discerning Your Vocational Call with Fr. Paul Hoesing – episode 5: The Sixth Spiritual Lesson: Your fear is from the spirit against Christ. “God does not reveal himself through fear, pressure or confusion.  This where the spirit against Christ reveals himself.”

Questions: What are your ideas and images of god the Father and how do they differ from what Jesus teaches us about the Father?  Do you see the Father as someone who pressures you to do things?  Where does fear drive your relationship with the Father?  Recall your latest experience of peace, stillness, clarity and gratitude in God and believe that that is how the Father draws you?

The Seventh Spiritual Lesson: God’s will is found in your will when you are in Christ. “God’s will, His desire for you, is not out there somwhere!  It is found in your own desire when you are in Christ!  That is the will of God for you!”

Questions: Does the thought of the priesthood come into your thoughts, feelings and desires when you are experiencing the peaceful presence of God?

 

Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.

Fr. Paul Hoesing serves as the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE.
Check out “F
or Your Vocation.org

IP#95 Monsignor Paul Tighe – The Pontifical Council for Social Communications on Inside the Pages

While in Rome, I had the opportunity to speak with a very busy, but extraordinarily gracious,  Mons. Paul Tighe who serves as the Secretary for The Pontifical Council for Social Communication. The Council was hosting a gathering of bloggers from around the world in order to begin a dialogue concerning the varied aspects of the new media, and in particular the role of the blogger in the new evangelization.  This meeting was held on May 2 in Rome, the day after the beatification of Blessed John Paul II, the herald of this “New Evangelization”.  What will this “New Evagnelization” look like  in the light of technological advancements?  How will the various forms of “traditional” media converge to effectively communicate the message?  Who is the “Catholic blogger” and what is the hoped for behavior of the new evanglizer?  How can those seeking find Truth on the internet?  What (or better yet Who) is Truth?  These questions and so many more are discussed with Mons Tighe in this special edition of “Inside the Pages”.

 

Learn more about the work of the Ponitfical Council for Social Communication at www.pccs.va

IP#96 Julie Davis – Happy Catholic on Inside the Pages

What a joy to talk with Julie Davis, not just “a” happy Catholic, but “the” Happy Catholic! Julie is the creator of one of the most interesting sites in the blogosphere.  Her insights, musings and all around thought-filled ponderings on everything from Alice Cooper to St. John Vianney make her must reading for anyone living in today’s culture…pop or otherwise.  Julie has taken some of the best from her blog, along with a little more, and complied it in “Happy Catholic: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life”.

 

Check out Julie’s book here

Be sure to visit Julie’s blog  “Happy Catholic”

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