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Christopher West & Theology of the Body (day 1)

090625-0820_IPF-Christopher-West-Theology-of-the-BodyToday was the highly anticipated lecture by Christopher West, titled “Priestly Celibacy and the Redemption of Sexuality.”  It was a presentation of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” directed for us seminarians in our journey toward priesthood.  It was very rich in theological language, yet applied to our immediate lives, especially in the area of our personal sexuality.  It was very well received … and this was only day #1.

He used a lot of song references from the 80’s to highlight points.  I wrote some points for my reflection as I was trying to keep up:

  • 80’s song “Blinded by Science” –> science has blinded us;  our bodies are theological, not only biological
  • U2 song “Desire
  • Peter Gabriel’s song “In Your Eyes” lyrics demonstrate a “twisted mystic” that hints at “Song of Songs”
  • In seminary, we learn to “inseminate” the “bride” (Church)
  • Bruce Springstein’s song “Everybody has a Hungry Heart
  • Bookends of the Bible begins with Adam & Eve and ends with the NEW Adam (Jesus) & the NEW Eve (Church).  This is a great analogy of how “God wants to marry us”
  • Are we eating from “fast food” or a “starvation diet”
  • “Idolatry of body” verses “Iconography (window to heaven) of body”
  • Devil is the “enemy” of human nature (body & soul union).  He wants to separate.  Horror movies show this with ghosts or corpses.
  • On the Cross, the giving “flow of blood & water” is the giving of “His seminal flow” (from St Augustine)
  • Eve “takes” the apple (gift) denying the trust of “receiving” the gift
  • Lust “extorts the gift”
  • Even my will is “grace.”  “All is grace.”

Weblinks to Theology of the Body resources:

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semester begins + Aquinas + Contemporary Philosophy + Medieval + Ministry + Amber Spyglass

January 7, 2008 1 comment

MASS – (Fr Michael) — God is the same yesterday as today, on vacation, on retreat, back in the daily routine.  Do you believe in Jesus?  How is your life different because of your belief?

AQUINAS in the 20th CENTURY – (Fr Vallee) — this is a senior level course that focuses on the rediscovery of St Thomas Aquinas thought in the 19th & 20th centuries, in the areas of epistemology, metaphysics and anthropology.  Readings will be from Gilson, Maritain, Marechal, Rousselot and John Paul II’s Fides et ratio.  No term paper.  Tests are open notes & open book — (translation: It’s hard!).  Large class.

CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — started reviewing Modern Philosophy era.  LOTS of readingMartin BuberI and ThouHans-Georg GadamerTruth and MethodMartin Heidegger Introduction to MetaphysicsEdmund Husserl – Phenomenology and the Crisis of PhilosophySoren Kierkegaard Either/Or (our first reading assignment) … Karl Marx Communist Manifesto Friedrich Nietzsche The Anti-ChristPaul RicoeurOneself as AnotherJohn Robinson Honest to GodAdam Smith The Wealth of NationsAlfred North Whitehead Religion in the Making.  — I should probably be reading right now! 

MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Vallee) — reviewed a timeline of philosphy periods.  This class will focus on Augustine (Confessions), Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica, On Being and Essence, The Thought of Thomas Aquinas).  Our main test is Frederick Copleston’s A History of Philosophy, vol II.  2 papers.  — finally some Augustine & Aquinas!

MINISTERIAL PRACTICUM – (Fr Michael) — reviewed the basic about ministry (from last semester).  This course will be about the practical skills need for ministry.  Next year, we’ll be assigned Monday night “Apostalic Work” in the areas of CCD catechesis or Homebound Visitation.  We’ll be going out to visit other seminarians in their work assignments throughout the semester.  Today, we also learned “How to Create a Lesson Plan” for CCD class.  — finally some hands-on!

DOTS — “Kr” Lauds blessing — listened to first half of The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials trilogy) on audio

The Subtle Knife

December 21, 2007 Leave a comment

The Subtle KnightWith all this talk about how the new movie The Golden Compass is an “atheist” Chronicles of Narnia, I listened to the second book in Philip Pullman‘s literary trilogy His Dark Materials series, The Subtle Knife.  — I need to finish the whole series before making any judgement (so far, it doesn’t look good)

Spanish 2 – Intro to OT

Vistas (Spanish textbook)SPANISH 2 – (Dr Jimenez) — from the moment he walked in, the professor spoke Spanish to us for nearly 45 minutes straight, asking question and having us each answer.  I looked around and everyone seemed calm, while I was clicking my heals to “There’s no place like Spanish 1.”  When he finally spoke English and assured us we’d review over the next few classes, my heartrate dropped.  — I need to start reviewing TODAY.

Reading the Old TestamentINTRO to OLD TESTAMENT – (Fr Michael) — our class size is so big (30+) that we meet in the library.  We covered “Questioning Skills” (Bloom’s Taxonomy), “What is the Bible?”, “Senses of Scripture” and Letio Divina.  It’s all of stuff because it’s a 2.5 hour class only once a week.  Thank goodness the PowerPoint presentation will be available for us, ‘cuz I can’t write very fast.  I asked a question about using paraphrase Bibles, like “The Message” (that Protestants like a lot) and, as I expected, we shouldn’t use them for Scripture study nor Lectio Divina — since it seriously compromises the “literal sense” of Scripture.  — how ironic that Protestants (who claim “sola scriptura“) would use a “paraphrase” Bible as their point of reference.

Categories: book, Old Testament, Spanish 2

Harry Potter is harmless?

July 21, 2007 6 comments

I’m not a big book reader, but I’ve always had reservations about the Harry Potter series.  With the last Harry Potter book coming out today, I found an article that would be interesting to debate, especially against a recent Florida Catholic article about the good in Harry Potter.

Deathly Hollows bookVatican’s Chief Exorcist Repeats Condemnation of Harry Potter Novels

By John-Henry Westen

ROME, March 1, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican’s chief exorcist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, is reported to have repeated his condemnations of the Harry Potter novels yesterday.  According to press reports, Fr. Amorth, said of the books, “You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil. There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books.”

“By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil,” he said.

The news will come as no surprise to LifeSiteNews.com readers who recall that Fr. Amorth made very similar remarks in 2002 which went misreported in the North American media, until LifeSiteNews.com clarified the matter. 

In a 2002 interview with the Italian ANSA news agency, Rev. Amorth said “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil.” The exorcist, with his decades of experience in directly combating evil, explained that J.K. Rowling’s books contain innumerable positive references to magic, “the satanic art”. He noted that the books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact, the distinction “does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil.” (coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/jan/02010202.html )

At the time, however, North American coverage of Rev. Amorth’s warnings about Potter significantly downplayed the warnings. The New York Times coverage by Melinda Henneberger, which was carried in Canada’s National Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and on Yahoo Daily News left out most of the information in the European coverage, only quoting Rev. Amorth as saying that “If children can see the movie with their parents, it’s not all bad.”

North America’s most prominent Harry Potter critic, Michael O’Brien, has told LifeSiteNews.com that the movie version has significantly cleaned up Harry’s image, making it far less troublesome than the books.

Another condemnation of Harry Potter coming from Rome was not widely reported until LifeSiteNews.com’s intervention.  When in 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger allowed his comments against the novels to be aired publicly, the news was reported in Europe, but not in America.  However, when in 2005 LifeSiteNews.com published Ratzinger’s letter concerning Potter online, the international media exploded with the news that the new Pope opposed Harry Potter. (coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jul/05071301.html )

Writing to Germany’s best known Potter critic Gabriele Kuby, the man who was to become Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.”

The original article can be found at http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/mar/06030104.html while a great forum discussion is at PhatMass at http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=70460

military prayers

military Catholic prayerbookIn the July edition of the Knights of Columbus monthy Columbia magazine, I found a 64-page Catholic prayer booklet called, “Armed with the Faith: A Catholic Handbook for Military Personnel.”  It features traditional prayers, devotions, hymns, catechism and more.  The military version is a 5×7-inch waterproof and tearproof booklet.  The civilian version is on paper and can be downloaded here in Acrobat pdf format (333 KB).  It’s available directly from the Knights.  I also found it available for only $1 at an online Catholic store called GodSpace.biz.  I might just have to get these for our Confirmation kids next year.  — but I want one first!

“holiness” in Rise … by John Paul II

With a bad rainstorm (drought-relief) today, I started re-reading John Paul II‘s book, Rise, Let Us be on Our Way.” Although it mainly reflects on his journey to and through becoming a bishop, it is written for everyone.  It’s a simple read with great personal insight and advice for all Christians.  Here are some points I highlighted from the Ordination Liturgy parts of  “Vocation” (section 1):

At a priestly ordination, the hands area anointed; at an episcopal [bishop] ordination the head is anointed.  This signifies the call to new responsibilities: the bishop will have the task of guiding the Church, which will palce great demands on him. … The ring on the bishop’s finger signifies that he is married to the Church, the sign of fidelity … to protect the holy Church, bride of Christ. … The Book of Gospels is given to remind of a bishop’s calling, to not only serve, but he must be a teacher. … The miter is a reminder of his commitment to let the “light of holiness shine in him” like a “city on a hill” (Mt 5:14) to be “a living example to the flock” (1 Pet 5:3). … The crosier is a sign of the authority that enables the bishop to fulfill his duty to care for his flock.

Outside of the cool symbols, what really struck me was the personal call to holiness that ALL need to find.

The essential meaning of holiness is that it is always personal, and that each and every man is called to it.  All members of the people of God are called, but each is called in a unique and unrepeatable manner.  … A shepherd must watch, protect and lead every sheep to discover that holiness is not “some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few ‘uncommon heroes’ of holiness.  The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual.”  What a great potential of grace lies dormant in the vast numbers of the baptized!

I can say no more.