Archive for the ‘Saints’ Category

Podcast on St. Thomas Aquinas from 1/28/15, From Herring to Prudence

Monday, September 7th, 2015

I presented free talk entitled “St. Thomas Aquinas: From Herring to Prudence,” at the St. John Paul II Newman Center on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, after evening Mass at the St. John Paul II Newman Center Library, 700 S. Morgan St. Chicago, info@schoolofcatholicthought.org, 312-226-1880.

Here’s the link for the podcast.

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Podcast on St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, on Her Feast, 4/29

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Here’s a podcast on St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast is 4/29, from the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center in Chicago.

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Free Talk: St. Katharine Drexel, Friend of the Oppressed

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

I’ll be presenting a free talk entitled St. Katharine Drexel, Friend of the Oppressed for the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Newman Center at 6PM Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after evening Mass at the St. John Paul II Newman Center Library, 700 S. Morgan St. Chicago, info@schoolofcatholicthought.org, 312-226-1880. Here’s the announcement in PDF format.

Here’s a png version —
Announcement_StKatharineDrexelFriendoftheOppressed_030315

A podcast of the completed talk will be posted here. For more about St. Katharine Drexel, please visit the website of the order she founded, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

I chose the subtitle “Friend of the Oppressed,” because it recalls the book on St. Katharine Drexel by African American Catholic author Ellen Tarry, 1906-2008, one of the founding co-directors of Friendship House, Chicago in 1942.

© Copyright 2015, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Podcast on St. Thomas Aquinas: From Herring to Prudence

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

I presented free talk entitled “St. Thomas Aquinas: From Herring to Prudence,” at the St. John Paul II Newman Center on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, after evening Mass at the St. John Paul II Newman Center Library, 700 S. Morgan St. Chicago, info@schoolofcatholicthought.org, 312-226-1880. Here’s the flyer for the talk in PDF format.

Here’s a png version —

Announcement_StThomasAquinas_FromHerringtoPrudence_012815

Here’s the link for the podcast.

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

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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
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Podcast of 10/07/14 Talk on St. John XXIII and his Pacem in Terris

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Just in time for today’s 10/11/14 first feast of the newly canonized St. John XXIII, I’ve posted the podcast of the just-completed 10/07/14 talk entitled, St. John XXIII and his Pacem in Terris, which was presented as part of the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center in Chicago.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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St. Maximilian Kolbe Ministered Both at Nagasaki and at Auschwitz

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

A number of social media postings memorialize St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941), who accepted execution in place of another prisoner, but few mention a most amazing fact about him: that his ministry took him both to Nagasaki (1930-36) and to his death at Auschwitz (1941), two among the most iconic places of dolor of the 20th Century.

The monastery founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe survived the August 9, 1945 atomic blast at Nagasaki, as did the Catholic community, in no small part due to St. Maximilian’s earlier witness. St. Maximilian’s feast day of August 14 follows shortly after the anniversary of the Nagasaki conflagration.

So let St. Maximilian Kolbe be remembered as the saint of both Nagasaki and of Auschwitz! His ministry at these two locations, among his many other works, presents to our suffering world a sign of hope in God’s mercy and love.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church: A Noncredit Course

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

At the Blessed John Paul II Newman Center at UIC, I’ll be offering a free noncredit course on The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, as part of the work of the School of Catholic Thought, which was scheduled to begin today, 1/28/14.

However, due to the cold in Chicago, the JPII Center will be closed on 1/28/14, so the first class will be at 6PM next Tuesday, 2/4/14. I’ll post my first lecture here in a few days.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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On Reading the “Treatise on Law” of St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

It would be difficult to consider the question of social justice without considering the notion of the common good and its relationship to law.

The following terse statement written sometime from the 1260s to the 1270s irrevocably linked the notion of the common good to the definition of law:


Et sic ex quatuor praedictis potest colligi definitio legis, quae nihil est aliud quam quaedam rationis ordinatio ad bonum commune, ab eo qui curam communitatis habet, promulgata.

And so from the four traits that have been mentioned, we can put together a definition of law: Law is (a) an ordinance (ordinatio) of reason, (b) for the common good, (c) made by one who is in charge of the community, and (d) promulgated.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, First Part of the Second Part (I-II), Question 90, Article 4, Translated by Alfred J. Freddoso.

http://www.thomasinternational.org/projects/step/treatiseonlaw/delege090_4.htm, accessed 9/22/13.

Drawing in this case from St. Isidore of Seville, as well as from Classical, early Christian, Scriptural, and throughout his writings from a wide variety of his own contemporary sources, including Jewish and Islamic, St. Thomas Aquinas summarized, synthesized, and structured a moral, rational, practical, and communal basis for law that extends beyond what a mere summary of his presentation might reveal.

That is why I highly recommend that those interested in deepening their understanding simply “step into the water” and read into the thomasinternational.org presentation of the “Treatise on Law,” very nicely presented in several languages at that website.

What can be learned from a document on law that is hundreds of years old?

One is a deeper understanding of the relationship between human reason, both practical and what we would today call “theoretical” (and what translators of Aquinas call “speculative”), and the common good as a product of human action.

A second is the series of linkages that Aquinas establishes between human practical reason and the common good. These linkages involve natural law, which informs human-made law.

When the law appeals to “common sense” by any measure, despite popular modern rejection of any natural law, the law is appealing to natural law as Aquinas defined it.

Human-made law devoid of common sense toward the common good, and thus a linkage of practical reason with the common good–Aquinas’ natural law–is practically useless.

A third is the role of the Divine Law, both the Old Law (based, in St. Augustine’s memorable turn of phrase, upon “timor” or fear) and the New Law (based upon “amor” or love) in informing human action toward the common good.

The Divine Law and natural law inform human-made law. Both Divine Law and natural law lead us to direct human-made law toward the common good.

A law that is not made for the common good is unjust.

Few writers clarify and stimulate the mind as does Aquinas. I invite my readers to jump in!

I’ll have more on this topic after several more readings. But I will say this: those who try to merely boil down Aquinas to a catechism or a series of lists without wrestling with his dynamic and insightful mind miss being taught by him to live the Christian and intellectual life more fully and dynamically. Each time I turn to St. Thomas Aquinas, he wakes me up to something I never saw or never understood.

For more resources on reading and studying the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, try this link.

And just how does one measure whether a law or government action benefits the common good? A much longer answer is in the works. . .

© Copyright 2013, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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