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Monthly Archive for July, 2010

From  wonderful book…more on that later…Christopher Pramuk…Sophia, The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton: “If historical-critical scholarship determines with reasonable confidence that certain textual memories or narratives from the tradition (e.g. the birth stories of Jesus) are not true in a strictly literal, empirical, or historical sense, do such texts nevertheless still ring true or resonate […]


I am posting in thevirtualoratory.com some of the notes found in Fr. David Valtierra’s books from the 1960s when he was a honors students in philosophy at Catholic University. It was the highest level scholarship of its day for diocesan seminarians who got an MA in three years following extra courses in seminars, taking on […]

Damian Thompson, religion blogger for the London Telegraph, is a salty and well respected youngish Roman conservative Catholic. Mel Gibson is the not so youngish and not well respected what? Certainly MG was a darling of a certain set of a more traditionalistic Roman set. Not so now. Thompson insists that he is a sedevacantist…you think […]

Book Reports

Here are books by my chair and bed. These are the kind of book reports you wish that you could submit in school…short. But I have read them! I recommend them for a variety of reasons which you will note. First of all, there is a book I left behind in Idaho with the Benedictine […]

Original Sin

Peter Cromwell’s new book on John Henry Newman, The Unquiet Grave, happens to be a very engaging introduction to the Oratorian English genius who is going to be beatified this September when the Pope comes to England. His chapter on Newman’s autobiography, Apologia Pro Vita, is especially helpful. (Apologia you know means a defense, not […]

The title comes from an addage in the Oratory of St Philip Neri. Started accidentally around the figure of Philip Neri, a Florentine in 16th century Rome, the Oratory got its name from a place of prayer and was mostly a lay movement. When it formalized and included a congregation of brothers and priests, Philip […]

When Newman republished his lectures on the teaching office of the Church as Via Media I, he was a Roman Catholic in his 70s. The preface was meant to answer his own Anglican charges against corruptions in the Roman Church. He did not refute the charges and publications like the Dublin Review were shocked though […]

Before becoming a Catholic, John Henry Newman had to resolve two problems he had with Rome. First, was Rome a factory for new doctrines? Second, were official Roman practices really abuses? He answered the first with his Essay on Development. The second he took decades to think through and develop and then publish as a […]

The Realism of Newman

What good is the Church? Not much says Newman who had a way of granting the opposition validity without accepting all the conclusions. Here is an Anglican sermon: Still on the whole the great multitude of men have to all appearance remained, in a spiritual point of view, no better than before. The state of […]

I was reading Extension Magazine, a publication of the society that raises funds for “home” missions. There were a few brief interviews with vocation directors. One of them said we should not promote priest recruitment by talking about the needs, the closings of parishes, and such. He said nobody wants to join a sinking ship […]

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