By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Now Get a Kindle for $79

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...Cover via AmazonYes, that is now the lowest priced Kindle available--see this link. At this rate, they will become as common as cell phones and will continue to revolutionize the publishing industry.

The big news this week was the new Kindle tablet, but this new low-priced version of the traditional Kindle e-reader is also big news.
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Blog's "Dynamic Views" Options for You

You will notice a new look to the blog and new options on how to view the blog. You can experiment to find which view you like by hovering over the arrow next to the far left column labeled "Classic."

You will then see a drop-down menu with various options such as "Flipcard," "Magazine," "Mosaic," etc. You can then click which type of "dynamic view" you wish to try.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Here We Go Again: More Muslim Persecution of Christians

Portrait of KhomeiniImage by travfotos via FlickrI guess religious freedom is a one-way street for the benefit of Muslims living in the West but not for the benefit of non-Muslim citizens and residents of some Muslim countries. 

See the story of Iran thinking of executing a Christian who refuses to become Muslim at this link.
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Kindle Fire Tablet at $199

fireImage by matthewvenn via FlickrThat's about $300 less than the Apple IPad tablet and about $50 less than the Nook tablet. Here is the link.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

To the Virgin

STEINBACH, GERMANY - AUGUST 21:  Pilgrims look...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
[Emphasis added by blogger]

VATICAN CITY, 23 SEP 2011 (VIS) - This afternoon Benedict XVI travelled by helicopter fromErfurt to Etzelsbach where he arrived at 5.30 p.m. He then went to the nearby Wallfahrtskapelle to celebrate Marian Vespers and the Liturgy of the Hours with thousands of faithful gathered there.

  In his address the Pope recalled the role that this Marian shrine has had in German history. "During two godless dictatorships, which sought to deprive the people of their ancestral faith, the inhabitants of Eichsfeld were in no doubt that here in this shrine at Etzelsbach an open door and a place of inner peace was to be found", he said.

  The Holy Father then turned to consider the Pieta conserved in the chapel. "A particular feature of that holy image", he said, "is the position of Our Lord's body. The wounded side of the crucified Lord ... is concealed, because the body is facing the other way. It seems to me that a deep meaning lies hidden in this representation, that only becomes apparent through silent contemplation: in the Etzelsbach image, the hearts of Jesus and His mother are turned to one another; they come close to each other. They exchange their love. ... In Mary's heart there is room for the love that her divine Son wants to bestow upon the world".

  "It is not self-fulfilment that truly enables people to flourish, according to the model that modern life so often proposes to us, which can easily turn into a sophisticated form of selfishness. Rather it is an attitude of self-giving directed towards the heart of Mary and hence also towards the heart of the Redeemer", the Holy Father explained.

  "With Mary, God has worked for good in everything, and He does not cease, through Mary, to cause good to spread further in the world. Looking down from the Cross, from the throne of grace and salvation, Jesus gave us His mother Mary to be our mother. ... At the foot of the Cross, Mary becomes our fellow traveller and protector on life's journey. ... In life we pass through high-points and low-points, but Mary intercedes for us with her Son and conveys to us the strength of divine love".

  When the Blessed Virgin rescues us from plight, "with a mother's tenderness, she wants to make us understand that our whole life should be a response to the love of our God, Who is so rich in mercy. 'Understand,' she seems to say to us, 'that God, Who is the source of all that is good and Who never desires anything other than your true happiness, has the right to demand of you a life that yields unreservedly and joyfully to His will, striving at the same time that others may do likewise'. Where God is, there is a future. Indeed, when we allow God's love to influence the whole of our lives, then heaven stands open. ... Then the little things of everyday life acquire meaning, and great problems find solutions".

  The celebration was followed by the adoration of the Eucharist, the final blessing and the praying of the 'Salve Regina'. Before leaving the chapel to return to Erfurt, the Holy Father left a golden rosary at the feet of the Virgin in sign of profound veneration.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Burning Babe" by Robert Southwell, S.J.

The famous poem by Robert Southwell, S.J., a martyred Jesuit priest from the 16th century, is adapted to music in this fine video by Sting. Poetry and music are a natural combination.
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Ethical Buffoonery--40 Years On

Sixties / Seventies Era Floral Print Wallpaper...Image by Dominic's pics via FlickrIt's worth reading David Brooks'  NY Times column on the latest findings on moral illiteracy in which all ethics comes down to this magnificent, profoundly civilized insight that is the end result of centuries of human struggle: if it feels right, do it.

The column is based on a recent survey of young adults. But not too fast. I know and know of people in their fifties and sixties who practiced the same--what shall I say decorously-- "baloney" back when they were young adults.

Now graying, wrinkled, and looking worn-out in every sense of the term, some of them still believe the same baloney and have not yet figured out what fools and foolishness they have made of themselves and of their lives and are passing on that foolishness to the next generations. The baby boomers and, in some cases, their antecedents even of the World War II generation (not all of that generation were great in spite of the hype) created the moral illiteracy crisis--which can also be aptly called the epidemic of buffoonery, plain and simple. Here is an excerpt from the column in which Brooks, I think, catches this intergenerational reality:

When asked about wrong or evil, they [the young adults surveyed] could generally agree that rape and murder are wrong. But, aside from these extreme cases, moral thinking didn’t enter the picture, even when considering things like drunken driving, cheating in school or cheating on a partner. “I don’t really deal with right and wrong that often,” is how one interviewee put it.
. . . .
Smith [the academic researcher] and company found an atmosphere of extreme moral individualism — of relativism and nonjudgmentalism. Again, this doesn’t mean that America’s young people are immoral. Far from it. But, Smith and company emphasize, they have not been given the resources — by schools, institutions and families — to cultivate their moral intuitions, to think more broadly about moral obligations, to check behaviors that may be degradingIn this way, the study says more about adult America than youthful America.

Source link (emphasis added).

Back in the seventies, a young minor begins to thumb through the best-selling and highly misleading Joy of Sex, free-and-groovy love manual left around the house by a dysfunctional parent. The rest is a continuing history of multiplying stupidity--40 years on.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall Lecture Outlines Available

Dead Sea Scroll - part of Isaiah Scroll (Isa 57:17 - 59:9), 1QIsab
Dead Sea Scroll: Isaiah
Image via WikiMedia
For those interested, my Fall 2011 lecture outlines are beginning to be posted online. See the link to my undergraduate Introduction to Scripture course. The textbooks referenced in the lectures by author (Collins for Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; Johnson for New Testament) are listed at this link.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Eugene Nida: The Great Translator

Source link
He was a pioneer in the task of translating the Bible into as many languages as possible, however obscure. Here is the link to a fine N.Y. Times obituary--which, by the way, confirms his eminent good taste: he chose to live in Madrid, Spain, in retirement; and his second wife was Spanish.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

College Quotes Series Completed

Loyola University, New Orleans 02Image by Larry Miller via FlickrFrom August 18, 2011, to today, September 3, 2011, I published, with some minor editing, 15 sets of quotes that I had collected many years ago as a young college student. They were quotes from thinkers and historical figures that I had found striking at that period of my life. The truth is that I still find the same quotes striking and, in fact, more useful, pertinent, and full of wisdom today than I had anticipated those many years ago. Experience has a way of improving your appreciation of the taste and value of good wine.

To read the entire series, just click the category "College Quotes" here or in the blog's sidebar listing of labels as you scroll further down.
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College Quotes Part 15

(in the Spanish of the founder: "Compañia de Jesús")

Don Pedro (1907-1991)

The mission of the Society of Jesus today is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement.

32nd General Congregation, Decree 4, No. 2, 1975

What kind of man is needed today by the Church, by the world? A man who is a "man-for-others" . . . . The man who lives only for his own interests . . . tends to accumulate in exclusive fashion more and more knowledge, more and more power, more and more wealth; thus denying, inevitably to those weaker than himself their proper share of the God-given means of human development.

Fr. Pedro Arrupe, 1975 (Superior General of the Society of Jesus, 1965-1983; considered by some the second founder of the Society of Jesus)

[Bold emphases above added by blogger.]

Comment: The above quotes are, in my view, merely restatements of the Gospel for today and sure guides for living for all of us.
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Friday, September 2, 2011

College Quotes Part 14

The question of Being aims therefore at ascertaining the a priori conditions not only for the possibility of the sciences which examine entities as entities of such and such a type, and, in so doing, already operate with an understanding of Being, but also for the possibility of ontologies themselves which are prior to the ontical sciences and which provide their foundations.  Basically, all ontology, no matter how rich and firmly compacted a system of categories it has at its disposal, remains blind and perverted from its ownmost  aim, if it has not first adequately clarified the meaning of Being, and conceived this clarification as its fundamental task. 

Being and Time, Introduction, 1927

Ortega (left) and Heidegger (right) in Germany, 1951
(source link)
Comment: Although a former Jesuit, Heidegger stumbled badly in the Hitler era by becoming a Nazi supporter. Yet, his philosophical work has some value when detached from that hideous political path. In college, I took a semester-long course in Heidegger. Now, I know that Ortega y Gasset raised the same philosophical issues as Heidegger without the biographical political baggage. Frankly, I prefer the insights of Ortega which also aimed at a fundamental revision of the Western philosophical concept of Being. Unlike Heidegger, Ortega eschewed jargon and strove for clarity in his writing. All in all, I recommend Ortega over Heidegger and hope to finish in the near future an introductory book on Ortega's philosophy.

As to the issue of who was first in raising the need to revise the traditional concept of Being in a revolutionary, existentialist manner, see this Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article (beginning with the third paragraph in part 6 of the article). Regardless of who published what first, the reality is that these two contemporaries raised very similar issues at about the same time. Which one did a better job of philosophical analysis is a judgment left to the musings of the philosophical reader. (You know my judgment.) What is key here is that both Heidegger and Ortega very explicitly and self-consciously wrestled with the great Western philosophical tradition in order to explore further and revise the traditional concept of Being. The lesson here is to enter that great philosophical tradition and to take it seriously and to surpass it.
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College Quotes Part 13

Oldest Baptist meetinghouse
in the U.S. (Providence, R.I) (see link)

God alone is Lord of the conscience . . . . Church and state should be separate . . . . A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
Baptist Faith and Message, 1925

Comment: This quote echoes the constant pleas of Benedict XVI for religious freedom throughout the world, whether that freedom is besieged by secularist or Islamic or other extremists.

The Baptist tradition has a fine record of calling for religious freedom for all. Roger Williams of Rhode Island embraced that tradition in early American history.
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World Youth Day Madrid Summary (VIS)

CibelesImage by IsReal_Lemus via FlickrVia the Vatican Information Service (bold added by blogger):

  Between 18 and 21 August the Holy Father made an apostolic trip to Madrid, Spain, where he presided at the twenty-sixth World Youth Day. Arriving at theairport of Barajas, he was greeted by the king and queen of Spain as well as by Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and by other ecclesiastical and civil authorities.

  In his remarks during the welcome ceremony, Benedict XVI said that he had come to Madrid "to motivate the commitment to build up the Kingdom of God in the world among us. ... The discovery of the living God inspires young people and opens their eyes to the challenges of the world in which they live. ... They know that, without God, it would be hard to confront these challenges and to be truly happy. ... World Youth Day brings us a message of hope like a pure and youthful breeze, with rejuvenating scents which fill us with confidence before the future of the Church and the world".

  At 7.30 p.m. he went to Plaza de Cibeles where youth from all over the world were gathered. He greeted them in a number of languages, inviting them above all "to seek the Truth, which is not an idea or an ideology or a slogan, but a person: Christ".

  On Friday 19 August, after celebrating Mass privately in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature, Benedict XVI paid a courtesy visit to the monarchs in the Palacio de la Zarzuela. He then went on to the basilica of San Lorenzo de El Escorial where he met with thousands of religious from various congregations, including contemplative orders. "Your lives", he told them, "must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter. This is all the more important today when we see a certain 'eclipse of God' taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith".

  At the basilica of San Lorenzo de El Escorial the Pope also had occasion to meet young academics who were participating in WYD. "The university has always been, and is always called to be, the 'house' where one seeks the truth proper to the human person", he told them. "Consequently it was not by accident that the Church promoted the universities. ... The university thus embodies an ideal which must not be attenuated or compromised, whether by ideologies closed to reasoned dialogue or by truckling to a purely utilitarian and economic conception". Catholic university professors must be "committed to teaching the faith and making it credible to human reason. And we do this not simply by our teaching, but by the way we live our faith and embody it. ... Young people need authentic teachers: persons open to the fullness of truth".

  That evening, having met with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Pope returned to Plaza de Cibeles where he presided at the Way of the Cross. After the ceremony he addressed the young people present, encouraging them to help the less fortunate. "You are open to the idea of sharing your lives with others, so be sure not to pass by on the other side in the face of human suffering, for it is here that God expects you to give of your very best: your capacity for love and compassion".

  Benedict XVI began Saturday 20 August by hearing confession from a number of pilgrims in Madrid's Jardines del Buen Retiro. The Jardines were hosting the Festival of Forgiveness with more than 200 mobile confessionals in which priests from all over the world were hearing confession from young people.

  At 10 a.m. that day the Holy Father presided at a Mass for seminarians in the cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena. The years of preparation for the priesthood, said the Pope in his homily, "should be years of interior silence, of unceasing prayer, of constant study and of gradual insertion into the pastoral activity and structures of the Church. A Church which is community and institution, family and mission, the creation of Christ, ... as well as the result of those of us who shape it through our holiness and our sins. God, Who does not hesitate to make of the poor and of sinners His friends and instruments for the redemption of the human race, willed it so. ... We have to be saints so as not to create a contradiction between the sign that we are and the reality that we wish to signify".

  That afternoon the Pope met with the WYD organising committees at the apostolic nunciature before going on to visit the Fundacion Instituto San Jose which serves people with physical and mental disabilities. "These witnesses", he said in his remarks, "speak to us, first and foremost, of the dignity of all human life, created in the image of God. No suffering can efface this divine image imprinted in the depths of our humanity".

  At 8.30 p.m. Benedict XVI presided at a prayer vigil with young people at theairport of Cuatro Vientos. "Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness", he told them. "The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, His name will continue to resound throughout the world".

  On Sunday 21 August, the Holy Father presided at the closing Mass for World Youth Day. He invited young people to consolidate their faith and to place Christ at the centre of their lives, bearing witness to Him in all times and places.

  Following an afternoon meeting with WYD volunteers, whom he thanked for their services, the Pope left Spain calling on young people to spread throughout the world the profound and joyful experience of faith they had had in Madrid.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

College Quotes Part 12

Immanuel KantImage via Wikipedia

If then there is a supreme practical principle or, in respect of the human will, a categorical imperative, it must be one which, being drawn from the conception of that which is necessarily an end for everyone because it is an end in itself, constitutes an objective principle of will, and can therefore serve as a universal practical law. The foundation of this principle is: rational nature exists as an end in itself . . the practical imperative  will be as follows: So act as to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end withal, never as means only.

Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, 1785

Comment: To treat someone as an end is to love them, to bestow agape or caritas on them, all of which is of the essence of friendship. You know where Kant got this notion.

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College Quotes Part 11

Title page of A Letter Concerning TolerationImage via Wikipedia

No way whatsoever that I shall walk in against the dictates of my conscience will ever bring me to the mansions of the blessed.

. . . if the law indeed be concerning things that lie not within the verge of the magistrate's authority . . . . men are not in these cases obliged by that law, against their consciences.

Comment: Locke sounds very biblical, very Augustinian, very Thomist. See College Quotes Part 8 .

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