Sunday, November 12, 2006

Some Random Thoughts:

Today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time and hebdomada IV psalterii. That is not so much a thought as a fact. It’s just that I was thinking about it. The Antiphon to the Magnificat is: Vidua illa pauper de penuria sua omnia, quae habuit, misit, totum victum suum.

The widow’s mite is more easily admired than imitated.

On praying the Liturgy of the Hours: Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers) require a total of 12 minutes out of each day. Hora Media requires maybe 5 minutes. Most of us can spare that kind of time at least a couple of times per week. I’m just saying.

Just very briefly, and with the promise of more fulsome reflections: There is an important sense in which the Regensburg Manifesto is all about Islam, or rather, the relation of Islam to the West. It was the influence of Islamic thinkers that led to Scotus (and Okham). The pseudo-plausibility of a rejection of analogy begins with the influx of Islamic thought into the Western intellectual milieu.

A brief note to erstwhile critics of the “opportunity” of Pope Benedict’s remarks: if you say that Pope Benedict ought not address remarks in a pointed way to intellectuals, because the words of the Pope are sought by billions who are not trained in the disciplines of the academy, then you are wrong in judgment due to coarseness of analysis. The fact that the Pope’s words are sought and read by billions means only that they must be, on some level, accessible to the person of slightly-below-average intelligence. Good writing often works on several levels of interpretation, and service to truth requires only that the message conveyed through each interpretative level be reconcilable to the messages contained on the others.

Pope Benedict told a story of an Emperor who, during the decade-long siege of his capital city, bravely sallied from the city gates are rode into the enemy camp, only to… have a talk with one of the enemy who was esteemed for his wisdom. When the emperor, in the midst of the enemy camp, entertained very bluntly challenging language regarding the religion of the enemy, his interlocutor did not cut off his head, did not rip out his entrails, did not do anything of the sort. In other words, Pope Benedict told a story in which political leaders freely seek dialogue in the middle of the most trying conditions, and do not allow the difficulty or perceived uncouth-ness of their interlocutors to justify acts of violence. A five-year-old could get that. If, as it seems, much of the world has become so barbarous as to be incapable of elementary reading comprehension, the Pope cannot certainly be blamed.

No comments: