Item description for The Mind That Is Catholic: Philosophical & Political Essays by James V. S. J. Schall...
James V. Schall is a treasure of the Catholic intellectual tradition. A prolific author and essayist, Schall readily connects with his readers on sundry topics from war to friendship, philosophy, politics, and to ordinary everyday living. In his newest work, The Mind That Is Catholic, he presents a retrospective collection of his academic and literary essays written in the past fifty years. In each essay, he exemplifies the Catholic mind at its bestseeing the whole, leaving nothing out.
The "Catholic mind" seeks to recognize a consistent and coherent relation between the solid things of reason and the definite facts of revelation. Its thought aims to understand how they belong together in a fruitful manner, each profiting from the other; each being what it is. The Catholic mind is not a confusion of disparate sources. It respects and makes distinctions. It sees where things separate. It is in fact delighted by what is.
This delightful book is not polemical, but cont
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Studio: Catholic University of America Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 1.1" Weight: 1.26 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2008
Publisher Catholic University of America Press
ISBN 0813215412 ISBN13 9780813215419
Reviews - What do customers think about The Mind That Is Catholic: Philosophical & Political Essays?
Very enjoyable philosophical essays Apr 21, 2010
Schall has the great gift of being able to enkindle in the reader a desire to know all things to discover the depth of things and to be exposed to the "radiance of being" and to savour "intellectual delights". I was diagnosed with a terminal disease 18 months ago and the things that have sustained me have been my Catholic faith but also a zest for living but particularly a zest for knowing the truth of things. I consider myself blessed to have across Schall a few years ago in his essays for Ignatius Insight as not only have I read 4 of his books I feel my mind and spirit has expanded by continuously dipping into his reading list. So, one of my one regrets on passing on from this life (likely to be soon enough) is that I did not come across Schall earlier in my life as Schall shows us there is so much to know and there is so much joy to be had in simply knowing things. But, I think what particularly marks this book is a kind of old fashioned gentlemanliness - a kind of spirit that seems to be disappearing from the world - a spirit that the English used to have in abundance but are losing. This is another excellent book by Schall but whatever reason I personally preferred "The Life of the Mind" as it seemed to have more warmth and joy.
But, the key is that Schall directs us to the heart of being and brings to our attention the wisdom of the ancients. Thus, in a time when parents may think that loving their children involves indulging them as much as they can so that the parents feel psychologically fulfilled misses the point because "the very idea that we can actually love someone without willing his good is simply contradictory". In a time where people thing human nature is plastic and we can make of ourselves what we wish, he reminds us that " we have a nature, an inner configuration which we did not give to ourselves". And he points out some of the madness of modern philosophy completing lacking in common sense: "unless we are not quite normal, few of us ever maintained that the world was only there because we put it there, or even worse, maintained that nothing was there but our thoughts about what was there". By contrast, "our mind reaches reality, not just itself or its images. As it is we have a million minds knowing the same world. Contrariwise, if all we knew was our own images, we should have a million minds knowing a million worlds with nothing common in between..." But why does modern philosophy propose such nonsense? Schall provides an answer: "What modern philosophy and ideology primarily are, I think, is an effort to provide an alternate world to the one that is, in order to be exempt from any relationship to or obligation to an order to which man is related. It must aggressively formulate and impose its philosophy. Otherwise, the mind, reflecting on what is, does point thought in the direction of what is found in revelation". He alludes to Pieper and Chesterton who "predicted that finally only believers would also philosophise".
And he notes in modernity "a kind of Gnosticism [that] takes political form to treat the body as containing in itself no principles or structures that need to be respected". Immersing us in the wisdom of Aristotle, he notes that "friendship requires a lifetime" and "the desire for many friends then can indeed be a sign of having no friends or of not knowing what is entailed in friendship". In Christianity, we are offered the highest form of friendship, namely friendship with God Himself.
But why is the Universe not created in necessity? The answer is simply this: the "Trinitarian life" where "Person, in its very essence, then is other orientated. "The inner life of God contains diversity and community" and "For Christians, the God who does not possess otherness within Himself is not their God, since God is love, and love requires equality in diversity". Its curious how modernity exalts diversity and we can see the truth of this in the inner life of the Trinity but of course modernity outs diversity in conflict with community. . And he takes us to a key issue in modern times the tension between faith and reason - a topic which Benedict XVI took up in his Regensberg address, and locates its source: "The famous two truth theory in Arabic and late medieval theory sought to propose a workable solution for any problems between revelation and reason whereby the two could contradict each other; that is, though contradictory both could be true." Whilst the west and Christianity rejected that theory (Aquinas was a big opponent), the Arabs and Islam seem to have embraced it, thus making dialogue founded on reason difficult.
Schall cautions us that we must be aware of what is in the air in our culture including the aberrant ideas. He notes: "If Allah is pure will and piety means submission to Allah, then it is absolutely impossible for there to be any such thing as stable secondary causes or even such a thing as a world itself, since God could make contradictories possible".
But what is the Catholic mind: a mind that has both a "trust in human thought processes and trust that faith is itself addressed to these processes for their own perfection". The Catholic mind is a "mind that is open to all that is, as Aquinas told us"
Anyway, what can one say but that this book is very enjoyable - anyone who enjoys philosophical reflections made known in a gentlemanly and lucid manner will enjoy this wonderful book. If I was asked to choose though, I would say that Schall's other book "The life of the Mind" has the edge - I am not sure why but it exudes a great sense of the joy of knowing - its more infectious.
The Mind That is Catholic Aug 18, 2009
This is an absolutely fantastic book if you are looking for an intelligent discussion of many of the issues facing Catholics today. In many ways a reminder of how things are intended to be and it brought back memories of discussions and revelations which I experienced in the past. It is a great reminder of the richness of the Catholic faith. Fr. Schall has a way of making complex concepts understandable to us mortals. Highly recommend this book.
a thinker's thinker Dec 24, 2008
No wonder Fr. Jim Schall has been voted the students' most favorite professor at Georgetown. He's a thinker's thinker with a rare knack for making complicated concepts enticing -- and thoroughly palatable.