Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday, July 17

Hello Everyone yet again.

Only 3 days left of reflections on the day.

I would also like to welcome the sudden surge of Ontario readers. I heard from Anna, the fellow Canadian in the course, that there have been some of her family reading the blog, welcome.

I also know that there are other new readers who are coming constantly and I have no clue who they are, but welcome too!

A brief sidenote, I will say that this is a blog that I usually use for social commentary, as well as philosophical and theological writings. I do wish to continue this once the course is over (so those who come here for those things, that will continue after I return). All the newcomers are more then welcome to continue to read this after the seminar is over.

This morning begain with a talk by Fr. Neuhaus on Jewish-Christian relations. He gave a historical overview of the relations and the Church's theological positions of Jews. Essentially what he said was that Christians are "grafted into" Israel and that the Church is the fulfillment of Isreal and where the fullness of God's promise is revealed, but that Jews are a part of this.

After that we had Fr. Williams on the nature of the Dignity of the Human Person. I found this discussion particularly interesting. What I appreciated most was the distinctions he made, particularly in the nature of dignity. What he said was that some ideas of dignity are received from various sorts of societies and relationships, what he called "moral dignity". There is, however, a deeper sort of dignity, what he calls "ontological dignity", that is, dignity that is inharent in man's very nature, in his very being (for those who don't know, ontology is the study of being). I found this interesting as it sparked a discussion in class as well as on the bus later today about Retributive Justice and Just War. To me, it seems that if the Church takes the position of Ontological Dignity, then the only time the death penalty is justified is in the nature of defense, based on a good grounding in philosophical anthropology. Anyways, this started off a discussion in class between Fr. Williams and George Weigel; and George, as many know, takes a position of retributive justice in that some times it is justifiable in the nature of the death penalty to satisfy justice, which I disagree with in regards to Fr. Williams' position of Ontological Dignity. Mr. Weigel thinks that by commiting certain acts man "removes his dignity", but I think this is in a moral sense and not an ontological sense. Anyways, Mr. Weigel will be discussing this tomorrow in an extra lecture about Just War and the Death Penalty (it is optional but I will definitely be there).

After that I went for lunch with some friends and Fr. Williams and we discussed a review of Pope Benedict's book in First Things. Both Fr. Williams and I are in complete agreement that this review misses the point. I know Fr. Williams is writing a response and I am going to attempt a response as well.

After lunch it was off to the Divine Mercy Shrine. It was a bit rushed again unfortunately so it was rather tough for the experience to be prayerful. Thankfully for me I had been there before, but it is another reason to go again. We had a Sister of Mercy give us a brief talk on Saint Faustina and Divine Mercy and it was quite good and, again, it was great to see the joy in her. Very inspiring.

After that we came back and we went to dinner and had a great dinner. I sat with a wonderful couple here at the seminar and Fr. Maciej and he is so approachable and great to have discussions with. It was a very enjoyable evening.

Now I am ending the evening with reading and am hoping to write my letter to the Editor for First Things later.

God bless you all!


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