Conservative Index

Human Events Online gives a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries:

HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help us compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Each panelist nominated a number of titles and then voted on a ballot including all books nominated. A title received a score of 10 points for being listed No. 1 by one of our panelists, 9 points for being listed No. 2, etc. Appropriately, The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, earned the highest aggregate score and the No. 1 listing.

Each book is accompanied by a short ‘graph of rationale. But here’s just the straight list.

  1. Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
  2. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
  3. Mao Zedong, Quotations from Chairman Mao
  4. Alfred Kinsey, The Kinsey Report
  5. John Dewey, Democracy and Education
  6. Karl Marx, Das Kapital
  7. Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
  8. Auguste Comte, The Course of Positive Philosophy
  9. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
  10. John Maynard Keynes, General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

The list of scholars follows the (longer) list of honorable mentions.

Pope Pledges to End Orthodox Rift

CNN reports Pope pledges to end Orthodox rift:

“I want to repeat my willingness to assume as a fundamental commitment working to reconstitute the full and visible unity of all the followers of Christ, with all my energy,” he said to applause from the estimated 200,000 people at the Mass.

Words aren’t enough, he said, adding that “concrete gestures” were needed even from ordinary Catholics to reach out toward the Orthodox.

“I also ask all of you to decisively take the path of spiritual ecumenism, which in prayer will open the door to the Holy Spirit who alone can create unity,” he said.

Benedict has said previously that reaching out to the Orthodox and other Christians would be a priority of his papacy, and his call to ordinary Catholics to take the charge as well built on that agenda. . . .

In his greetings at the start of the Mass, Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari referred to the city’s Orthodox ties, saying the arrival of St. Nicholas’ bones in 1057 “built a bridge between the East and West that neither time nor divisions have ever demolished.”

“Even in these days, many brothers of the eastern churches have been united with us, encouraging us to continue with renewed commitment and enthusiasm on the path of prayer and ecumenical dialogue,” the archbishop said.

In a bid to improve relations, the Vatican’s top ecumenical official, Cardinal Walter Kasper, proposed this week at the Bari conference to hold a synod, or meeting of Catholic and Orthodox bishops, news reports said.

Father Vladimir Kuciumov, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church in Bari, said Benedict had already made a good start toward improving relations with the Orthodox in some of his inaugural homilies and speeches.

“We hope for the best,” he said in a telephone interview Sunday. “We still have to see, but there is a hope to improve our relations.”

Personhood Backwards and Forwards and Monergism’s Essence

Kevin replies to my “Till . . . We Have Faces” in his “Masks and Modes.” As his reply unfolds along two lines of thought, so, too, will my reply.

1. Personhood Backwards and Forwards

Kevin goes to some lengths to defend himself from my charges of modalism. Unfortunately, the way he does so leaves my charges unanswered. Instead of showing how it is that his position does not radically identify person with nature, and thus logically entails modalism, he utilizes the terms I introduced into the issue but reads into them both more and less than I intended. This is, perhaps, not unjustified since the terms hypostasis and prosopos do have a range of meanings that differ somewhat between philosophical and theological contexts. I’ll take on the responsibility for not more carefully clarifying the terminology.

That being said, however, the substance of my charges against Kevin’s position remain and should be clear: he identifies person with nature. To do so in (strictly speaking) theological terms is to propose modalism. While Kevin is right to draw some distinctions between human and divine persons, what is true of both, as I have argued, is that a person is not strictly identifiable with his nature.

While Kevin has asserted that he thinks the same thing–i.e., that persons are not radically identifiable with their natures–nothing in his own arguments provides a basis for that assertion. Indeed, this has been my point. It is the substance of his argument itself that substantiates my charges. He has had ample opportunity to show, by way of argument instead of by mere assertion, how it is that his belief in monergism does not entail such a radical identification of person and nature. But he has yet to do so. Or, if he has, he has been too subtle for my poor thickheaded mind.

But so as to be clear about the mapping of personhood, backwards and forwards, onto God: I take as the fundmental starting point for talk of human personhood, the divine personhood of the Trinity and Christological personhood. In other words the Trinity and Christology are revelational facts that are not derivable from human experience and reason. Apart from revelation we would not know there is a Trinity or Christ is the incarnate God. We cannot argue from human personhood to Trinity or the Incarnation. But if the Trinity and the Incarnation are facts–and Christians take them to be so–then they are the fundamental realities that define human personhood. From these points only is it helpful to derive our concepts of human personhood as made in the image and likeness of this God who is Three-in-One and incarnate as two natures and two wills in one Person.

However, in that human personhood is intimately and inescapably connected to Trinitarian and Christological Personhood, what you say of one you say of the other. Any deviation from the Church’s understanding of the Trinity will affect one’s Christology and this will deform one’s understanding of personhood. Similarly, if one has a deficient understanding of human personhood, this will inescapably affect one’s Christological and Trinitarian understandings. So, it is not per se illegitimate for me to “backwards map” what I take to be Kevin’s understanding of human personhood on to Christological and Trinitarian dogma, because there is a related and necessary consistency that must be upheld among all three. What remains, then, is for Kevin to prove how his understanding of human personhood does not violate the Church’s understanding of Trinitarian and Christological realities.

This has consistently been my point. I believe that monergism is a heresy not because it emphasizes that humans cannot save themselves, not because it emphasizes the priority and sufficiency of God’s grace, but because its understanding of human personhood necessarily results in a deficient Trinitarianism and Christology. Kevin has yet to disprove my contentions.
Continue reading “Personhood Backwards and Forwards and Monergism’s Essence”

Top Ten Conservative Colleges

Young America’s Foundation recently (last fall) compiled their list of the Top Ten Conservative Colleges. Unlike the MSN Encarta lists, this one is serious-for-real. These colleges embody, so thinks YAF, real conservative princples (and not just political ones). A description accmpanies each. From the YAF page:

In the market of American colleges and universities, a wide variety of rankings exist. Each year, U.S. News & World Report releases its “America’s Best Colleges” edition. The magazine grades each institution based on factors such as peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, and student selectivity. Yet, it does not rank the overall experience that colleges offer. That is why Young America’s Foundation presents the following list of ten institutions that offer a holistic conservative experience for students.

Although there are more than ten colleges and universities that could make the list, Young America’s Foundation deemed these ten institutions the best, but not in a particular order. Each year, we intend to re-evaluate these rankings.

Many conservative students seek ‘conservative’ alternatives in higher education, but they may not know that many institutions nationwide fit these criteria. The 2004-2005 “Top Ten Conservative College” list features ten institutions that proclaim, through their mission and programs, a dedication to discovering, maintaining and strengthening the conservative values of their students. The listed colleges offer an alternative to the liberal status quo, because they allow and encourage conservative students to explore conservative ideas and authors. Most offer coursework and scholarship in conservative thought and emphasize principles of smaller government, strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values. Many have a religious affiliation, but some do not.

This is not an exhaustive list of conservative institutions and should not be taken as such. Nor should it be the only source consulted in a college search. Young America’s Foundation recommends that this list serve as a starting point. Parents and students should read several sources and admissions materials, consult with friends and counselors, and make visits.

His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP: On the Hope for Orthodox Unity in America

From the OCF’s most recent issue of The Basil Leaf:

After thirty-nine years in the Episcopacy, I have become convinced that Orthodox unity in America must begin on the grass roots level. You, the laity, and in particular the young adult laity, are the conscience of the Church and the defenders of the faith. Consequently, I would like to see a
strong Pan-Orthodox lay movement, totally dedicated to the cause of
Orthodox unity. Insist that the unity of our Faith must transcend all other
interests. Insist that we silence those forces that would divide us. Insist that
we witness our Faith to North America without boundaries. Without the laity,
our churches would be empty and our liturgical and sacramental services
would be in vain. The clergy and laity, working together, are the “LAOS TOU
THEOU,” the “People of God” and together we constitute the Holy Orthodox Church.

We bring to mind the visionary words of the late Fr. Alexander Schmemann. One can almost visualize the glorious and blessed day when all Orthodox bishops of America will open their first Synod in New York, or Chicago or Pittsburgh with the hymn, ‘Today the grace of the Holy Spirit assembled us together,’ and will appear to us not as ‘representatives’ of Greek, Russian or any other jurisdictions,’ and interests but as the very icon, the very ‘Epiphany’ of our unity within the Body of Christ; when each of them and all together will think and deliberate only in terms of the whole, putting aside all particular and national problems, real and important as they may be. On that day, we shall ‘taste and see’ the oneness of the North American Orthodox Church.”

Finally, let us always remember to ask our Lord for His guidance and strength: “Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy Holy Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Church; confirm and strengthen it, increase it and keep it in peace, and preserve it unconquerable forever.” (from Morning Prayers)

The Fatherhood Chronicles LXVI

Baby Healy Number 2 Update

Well, Anna saw the midwife last Friday. Things are looking great so far. We’ve got about five weeks to go and the baby is already in position. Head down low, back toward Anna’s right. It’s kinda freaky to be able to feel around Anna’s tummy and recognize, “Oh, that’s his back. And there’s his shoulders. And there’s his head.”

Now, I’ve used the English generic “his” here. My readers should not assume that we know the sex of the baby. We don’t. I may have my husbandly man’s intuition. And there may be some proverbial indications (the way the wind blows my wife’s hair at the quarter-moon on a Tuesday, for instance). But we’ll have it confirmed for us when the baby’s born. It’s just I’m lazy and don’t want to keep typing “his/her” and I just have an aversion to “its.”

The thing though is, we only have five weeks to go. I’ve been thinking, “Five weeks, heck that’s plenty of time.” But truth to tell, with the baby in position like he is (remember: generic “he”), the birth could happen any day. In fact, last week Anna was really feeling some pressure, though that has since subsided somewhat. But if the baby comes early, I’d really like it if he (generic) could wait till I’ve finished my last Loyola paper and turned in the first draft of my thesis. Let’s say: after 1 June. Hey, the baby’s not due till 28 June, so I don’t think that’s asking too much.

Still and all . . . wow. I’m about to be a father all over again. Wow.

Please pray for us–Anna, Sofie and me–and the baby. For health and safety of Anna and the baby. For me as a father and husband. This is the way God is saving me. May he make me worthy of these great and precious gifts.