Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday, July 9th

Hey everyone.

So today was another awesome day (would any day be NOT an awesome day here?).

The morning started off slow. I was really tired. It seemed a lot of walking tires you out and so, even after 8 hours of sleep, I was exhausted when I woke up and REALLY didn't want to get out of bed. But I got up anyways (yes, FJ, be surprised).

Anyways, I skipped breakfast this morning and went straight to class. Today was Prof. Hittinger's last lecture which was really sad because his lectures are outstanding, though, to say the least, quite dense (in a good way, there is a LOT of content). He talked about JP II and Social Doctrine. Essentially what he was arguing was that JP II saw the shift in the world's point of view. Before the war there was a false understanding of the State and Society, and the Church responded to that with her Social Doctrine, hence why every Pope since Leo XIII and onwards have started their pontificate with a Social Encyclical. But JP II didn't do that, he broke the trend. He started off his Pontificate with "Redemptor Hominis" - Redeemer of Man. What JP II saw was a shift in the modern problem. The biggest danger was no longer the State and societies (what Hittinger calls N+1 unities, oh, and by the way, societies are persons).

Anyways, the modern problem was now anthropological, that there was a false understanding of man that came from the enlightenment. He made a great point (one that I know I have held as well as most here) that JP II was a Pope who understood the implications of ideas. They seem abstract but they really do effect things. The Englightenment took up the Creation story from Genesis and stated that what man did to distinguish himself was not something that was given to him a priori, but was something he willed for himself. He willed to be different from the animals, it was not something universal that God gave him and this trickled all the way down to our modern times and so JP II answered that with his definition of man. This is why you can't read JP II without understanding in its fullness the Theology of the Body.

Quick sidenote, Hittinger argued that Humanae Vitae is not first and foremost about contraception, but about whether or not man has dominion over his own body. Really interesting stuff. Anyways, I talked to Hittinger after class and we were discussing a few things and he told me he had a zip drive with a couple of .PDFs on it. One is his book that is being published in September, the other is an article he published. I am still going to buy the book when it is released, but he said these 2 .PDFs have EVERYTHING he said in class and more so I am really looking forward to looking them over.

The second lecture was by George Weigel on the 2 notions of freedom and it was excellent. He got to the root, and it was an affirmation of what I was reading into when I was reading the Free Society Reader in preparation that, essentially, the modern struggle about who man is is rooted in the Ockhamist Thomistic debate of the 13th and 14th century. Thomas had a "freedom for excellence" ideal in which reason/truth are the root of God and man, while Ockham had a "freedom for indifference" idea in which will and powerful assertion of the will is primary in God and man. Again, fascinating, though I noticed traces of stuff he had to say in Victoria.

After that it was lunch and I had it by myself today. After that I came back to the priory and hung out with some of my friends for a while. We then had discussion groups which were OUTSTANDING today. We went over time and the discussion was really excellent and I really enjoyed it. I noticed most of the problems the Pope is pointing out in Centissimus Annus are really apparent in Canada and that if we want Canada to survive in is in desperate need of change.

After that was Mass in which Fr. Maciej gave a great homily about how we ought to be joyful everytime we hear the words "the Word became flesh", just like the women who touched the cloak of Christ and was in fear and trembling, we should have the fear of God in us, and that if we don't jump for joy everytime we hear this, we have something wrong and really need to change.

Dinner was good. To be honest, I didn't enjoy the food that much and so ate very little. But the discussions were great. Steve White, George Weigel's assistant, myself, Ryan, and Brian were have a great discussion about the nature of vocations in which Steve told us how he finally came to discern marriage. Excellent discussion. Then we went into the next room to see everyone singing and we stuck around for about an hour singing a bunch of songs and having just an outstanding and amazing time. Everyone had huge smiles on their faces and enjoyed the company a lot. I have some video to show upon my return.

And now I've returned from yet another excellent day to prepare for tomorrow. Tomorrow is the trip to Auschwitz in the afternoon after the 2 morning classes and a quick lunch. To be honest, not looking too forward to it, it's a pretty depressing place, but the group is going and so I will go again.

God bless you all!


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