Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book: The Search for the Historical Francis, A Penitent from Assisi

I haven’t written much for a while, but that is not to say that I haven’t been busy!

This last weekend I traveled to California, for the 40th reunion of my high school class of 1971. Because I graduated a year early in 1970 I did not receive an invitation, but I went at the suggestion of a childhood friend whom I’d lost track of for nearly 30 years, who invited me to rejoin my original class. The event was very interesting. I spent over 5 hours on my feet talking to people I hadn’t seen in over 40 years. Oh, old creaky memories!

I had planned to stay at St Albert Priory in Oakland, and it just so happened that the Corpus Christi lay Dominican chapter was holding a retreat this weekend, and they graciously allowed me to join them. I must say it was a wonderful retreat, and it made the trip much more fulfilling. I have to say it was quite a contrast, the worldly and the other-worldly.

The retreat featured two presentations by Fr Augustine Thompson O.P. Father gave two presentations. The first was based on his book “Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325.” I’d heard a version of this presentation last year at the Lay Provincial Council meeting, but it has grown since then and it was really delightful. I will definitely have to buy the book!

However, it was the second presentation that really got my attention. It built on the first, and included a bit of an advance on Father’s next book (due out March, 2012, in honor of the conversion of St Clare). The presentation title was “The Search for the Historical Francis, A Penitent from Assisi.” A bit of a humorous play on “the search for the historical Jesus” in the title notwithstanding, it was a fascinating presentation which brought to light some of the current research. In the last ten years, there have been 220 biographies of St Francis published, all of which dress up and present the same standard version of Francis, which, it turns out, is a bit of a Santa Claus to St Nicholas! Well, not quite that bad, but pretty bad. This book will knock a few socks off, and instead of the standard initial printing of 2,000 copies, the publisher is planning a first edition run of 10,000 copies! I will get one, you may want to too!

What was so delightful about Fr Thompson’s presentation is that he comes across as a historian who is like a kid in a candy store, reveling in the rich flavors of nuggets of history mined from the various new sources unearthed in the last decade.

I'm looking forward to a fascinating read next March!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Holy Father Benedict and the removal of Bishop Morris of Toowoomba

There is a petition to support Benedict XVI's action in the resignation of Bishop Morris of Toowoomba, Australia. Click image below to add your support!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Blessed St Dominic Day!

Please remember that today, Monday, August 8, 2011, is the Solemnity of St. Dominic, the day we celebrate his death and entrance into Heaven. At 7PM we will gather at the day Chapel at Holy Apostles at the corner of Meridian Road and Chinden Blvd in Meridian for prayer. We will be praying the Evening Prayer and the Office of the Dead for those who have gone before us in the friendship of God. We will gather briefly thereafter for coffee or other refreshments. Thank you.

John Keenan, O.P.(Lay)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Utopia of Usurers?

From the Social Credit list, the following comment:

I think it is fairly easy for most people to understand that all credit money comes into existence as a debt to some operator within the financial system. This is true, by definition, and some 97% of monies in the system is credit money. The crux of the matter is that the debt system, controlled by private financiers, is simply a tool for controlling the population at large by putting most everybody in a position of dependence on the financiers by way of debt.

The fundamental understanding that needs to dawn upon people is that this is a form of abuse because people are made to borrow, at interest, what they already own.

How long has it been since the Church last addressed the question of Usury? (ON USURY AND OTHER DISHONEST PROFIT. Vix Pervenit. Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on November 1, 1745)

In the intervening centuries, that which we borrow has changed. It is now credit instead of the capital which was the subject of Vix Prevenit; which that that the collection of reasonable interest on capital borrowing was deemed to not be usury. Does this hold for credit, though? When I, or a nation, borrows and what transacts is not transfer of capital but entries into legers, a very useful legal fiction, but a fiction none the less, is it not usury to demand more of the fiction in return? Especially if the fiction is backed by the "full good faith of the nation" which is the common stock of us all, as the quote above states?

This is not a question I can answer, but I wish the Church would offer guidance in this.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

800 years young

The Dominican Order is approaching its 800th anniversary, which is only 5 years from now. What has been a key to this life in the spirit? certainly one aspect has been adapting to the times without being absorbed by the thinking of the times. Br Corwin Low has made an exquisite commentary in the picture below, which is from his blog Cantate Domino. read it here