Archive for the ‘Religious Freedom’ Category

Podcast of 2/10/15 Lecture and Discussion of Pius XI’s Great Encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno: On Reconstruction of the Social Order

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Here is posted the podcast of the just-completed edit of the 2/10/15 talk entitled, Pius XI & Quadragesimo Anno: On Reconstruction of the Social Order, which was presented as part of the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center in Chicago.

© Copyright 2015, 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


Time Well Spent: Karl Richter’s 1971 Bach St. Matthew Passion video

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

In the middle of every crazy thing that’s going on, take some time to ponder what the suffering and death of Jesus of Nazareth meant. Want to go deeper? Got about 3 hours, the traditional span of the Crucifixion? Search out the Karl Richter-conducted Bach St. Matthew Passion from 1971 (with subtitles) on YouTube, library, or for purchase. This piece was the JC Superstar of the 1700s. The Richter-led performance was controversial Big Bach (easier to take for Bach rookies), with great singers like Julia Hamari –

The complete recording:

Here is the reference for library use or purchase.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

The views posted at are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.


Dietrich von Hildebrand’s 1930s Anti-Nazi Essays

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

The 20th century philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977), best known in the English-speaking world for his writings on human intimacy and personality, aesthetics, ethics, and the liturgy, was also an active and determined opponent of the National Socialist or Nazi movement from its early days in the 1920s.

When Hitler took power in Germany in 1933, von Hildebrand, who had a decade earlier been condemned to death by the first Nazi thugs, left the country, and eventually settled in Vienna, where he led, through his journal Der Christliche Ständestaat (the Christian Corporative State, a concept that drew its inspiration from Pius XI’s 1931 encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno) and his partnership the soon-to-be-assassinated Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, an intellectual resistance to Nazism and especially to anti-Semitism, until von Hildebrand was again forced to flee Austria as Hitler’s Anschluss absorbed that country in 1938.

The recent publication in English of selections from von Hildebrand’s handwritten memoir as My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich has brought von Hildebrand again into the intellectual and cultural mainstream.

While reviews of My Battle Against Hitler have focused on von Hildebrand’s adventurous fight with and narrow escapes from Nazism, I urge readers to study his 1930s essays collected as a group in this memoir. While it is fun to learn how von Hildebrand and his friends tricked the Nazis into allowing his furniture to be shipped from Munich to Vienna after his flight from Germany, and sobering to read how many were taken in by the Nazis, it is better to read the focused, insightful, and passionate words of von Hildebrand written at the time against the steady advance of anti-Semitism and Nazism.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), once the teenage student paramour of philosopher and later sometime Nazi Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), achieved fame in 1963 with her coining of the phrase “banality of evil” in her Eichmann in Jerusalem. Yet von Hildebrand’s November 10, 1935 Der Christliche Ständestaat essay, translated as “The Danger of Becoming Morally Blunted,” contemporaneously described this blunting process as it was happening decades before Arendt. This essay alone is worth the price of My Battle Against Hitler, since it describes how moral compromise can weaken us all. The power of anti-Semitism as a moral anesthetic that deadens resistance to violent extremism is very much still at work today, whether in the Middle East, in Russia, or in First World cultural elites.

My compliments to John Henry Crosby, Alice von Hildebrand, John F. Crosby, and all those from the Hildebrand Project who spent the decade necessary to bring this book to English-language readers.

I understand that the Hildebrand Project intends to eventually post all the writings of Dietrich von Hildebrand online. I especially look forward to more Der Christliche Ständestaat essays, and especially to an English translation of his Metaphysik der Gemeinschaft: Untersuchungen über Wesen und Wert der Gemeinschaft, or The Metaphysics of Community.

The Hildebrand Project is worthy of our support!

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Talk on Thursday, 11/6/14, at St. John Paul II Newman Center on Leo XIII and his On the Rights & Duties of Capital & Labor (Rerum Novarum)

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

I’ll be presenting a free talk entitled “Leo XIII and his On the Working Classes (Rerum Novarum),” for the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Newman Center at 6PM Thursday, November 6, 2014, after evening Mass at the St. John Paul II Newman Center Library, 700 S. Morgan St. Chicago,, 312-226-1880. Here’s the announcement in PDF format.

Here’s a png version —


A podcast of the now completed talk is posted here. Here’s the link for Rerum Novarum, the great 1891 encyclical of Leo XIII.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


In Hac Lacrimarum Valle: The Enduring Dark Age Revealed

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

The notion of the “Dark Age,” after its coinage by Petrarch at the dawn of the Renaissance, may well have been propelled by later Reformation retrojectors–those projecting their own current views into the past–to blow at the candles illuminating Medieval culture so that the Reformation might better shine.

Modernity, post-modernity, and other contemporary cultural forces have especially resisted the words of the Medieval hymn to Mary, the Salve Regina, “gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle,” translated “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” which is thought to have its origins in St. Jerome’s rendering of Psalm 83:7 (84:7)–

6 Beatus vir cujus est auxilium abs te:
ascensiones in corde suo disposuit,
7 in valle lacrimarum, in loco quem posuit.

Vulgate Psalms, Chapter 83, accessed from on 8/10/14.

–and which is now in many contemporary translations rendered as the “valley of Baca” instead of the valley of tears.

Contemporary Christians and agnostics likewise often reject the term, “valley of tears.” Garry Wills omitted the Salve Regina ending from his book on the Rosary (Catholics normally end their praying of the Rosary with the Salve Regina). The “valley of tears,” like St. John Paul II’s term “culture of death” from Evangelium Vitae, appears to make the progressive mind uncomfortable.

But I challenge contemporary thinkers to find a better expression to describe the terrible circumstances of those suffering from war, persecution, or poverty, than the “valley of tears.”

Scripture scholars have puzzled over the meaning of the Hebrew word Baca for centuries. Is it a place in Palestine, or a figurative state of sorrow?

In Arabic, Bakkah has a more precise meaning, the place of the sacred Kaaba in Mecca.

So those who suffer around the world today are indeed cast into the valley of tears, and into the collision of words and cultures–Baca, Bakkah–between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim interpretations.

Slavery has returned: it never left, but now is visible to the contemporary eye.

Yet can the contemporary eye fathom the meaning of the Enduring Dark Age that has exploded in our faces? What difference do progressivism, modernity, atheism, theory, narrative, etc., matter to Isis and their ilk? Atheists preaching their advantages to such a world merely sow into the wind. Can these violent fanatical forces be defeated by armies shaped today more to generate social change at home than the proper protective mission of a military force?

Fueled by almost a century of first Nazi and then Soviet anti-Semitic propaganda, a militant Islam is at war with the United States and Israel. Russia, Iran, and China are ready to pounce on their first geopolitical opportunities, and have an interest in prolonging the conflict. This general situation may not change for centuries.

Welcome, therefore, to the Enduring Dark Age, or if you prefer, the uncovering of a Dark Age that never really ended, but in which “enlightened” technological society collides with genocide, forced conversion, summary execution, and slavery–now made painfully visible by global communications, and catalyzed by the global proliferation of weapons down to the mad and genocidal local bully.

As long as hearts are darkened by hatred and fear despite our sophistication, and as long as the guns are not silenced, our age will darken still.

Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae. . .

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. . .

Perhaps we can find hope and consolation in the words of the Psalmist beginning with–

How lovely your dwelling, O Lord of Hosts! (Psalm 84:1)

–and hear in the confluence of the contested words Baca and Bakkah the ending of tears and the presence of God.

O Clemens, O Pia, O Dulcis Virgo Maria!

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Aphorism LXXXIII

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

A gaggle of public intellectuals, who make the well-trod rounds of op-ed pages and of ho-hum college campuses, propose a solution for an efficient, peaceful society based upon science and rationalism alone.

But science in practice is but another imperfect human endeavor, subject both to arrogant hubris like the Tuskeegee and Guatemala experiments, and to rushed, sloppy ethics as documented regularly by government agencies. Science is extremely useful, but from science mostly comes: more science.

Rationalism in practice can either lead to a French Revolution and a Reign of Terror, or to an American Revolution with an unfulfilled promise of Liberty and Justice for All.

Catholicism recognizes the reality of sin, and the reality of forgiveness. One cannot understand human history without acknowledging sin, and one cannot change history for the better without practicing forgiveness. Science can cure disease, but it cannot cure the human heart.

The metaphor of the human heart is indeed irrational and unscientific. But the human heart nevertheless drives human history. Human history cannot be healed without the healing of the human heart.

A scientific rationalist could not say, as Lincoln did, “with malice toward none, with charity for all,” unless Jesus Christ spoke words of forgiveness almost two millennia before, embedding forgiveness into human history.

The young ISIS fanatic says from behind his mask to the Christian, “There is nothing between us but the sword.” But some day, an old ISIS fanatic will take off his mask, and put his heart where his sword used to be. This change will take place not because of science or rationalism, but because God speaks forgiveness.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


More on Religious Cleansing in Mosul; Comments by Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart, Iraqi Nun

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

The situation is desperate for the Christian refugees being driven from their homes by ISIS fanatics. Here is the EWTN World Over Live segment of 7/24/14 on Mosul

–featuring comments by Mother Olga Yaqob of the Sacred Heart, an Iraqi nun from the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth who began her ministry as a teen recovering the bodies of the war dead in Iraq, and Nina Shea of the Center for Religious Freedom.

Refugee families with small children are reportedly being stripped of their possessions and driven out of the cities into the 120 degree heat.

Please appeal to your government representatives to take action on behalf of these refugees!

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


In Memory of Just Man: Professor Mahmoud Al ‘Asali

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Christian news sources are reporting the courageous death of Professor Mahmoud Al ‘Asali, a Muslim lawyer and professor, who apparently died in Mosul recently at the hands of ISIS extremists for defending the rights of Christians who were being driven from the city.

Civilized society depends on just men like Professor Al ‘Asali. May he be remembered whenever history considers the just.

Nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake
(Leviticus 19:15).

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Podcast of the Sixth Class Session, Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church Course

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Here is the audio podcast of the sixth class session of the course The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church held on the evening of 4/8/14 at the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Chicago as part of the School of Catholic Thought.

Here is the Page for the course, containing links for previous session podcasts, along with notes.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


Talk on Margaret More Roper at 6PM on 6/24/14 at St. John Paul II Center in Chicago

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

I’ll be presenting a free talk entitled “Margaret More Roper: translator of Erasmus, bridge to More, homeschooler,” for the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Newman Center at 6PM Tuesday, June 24, 2014, after evening Mass at the St. John Paul II Newman Center Library, 700 S. Morgan St. Chicago,, 312-226-1880. Here’s the flyer in PDF format.

Here’s a png version —


Here’s the podcast of the talk.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved