Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Matthew Wise '06This Friday, November 30, will mark the first anniversary of the death of Matthew Wise (’06). To pray for the repose of his soul, an alumni priest, Rev. John Tom Mellein, O.P. (’99), will offer a private Mass at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. All who are in the area are invited. The Mass will be held at 8:00 a.m. in Caldwell Chapel.

Please continue to keep Matthew, his family, and his loved ones in prayer throughout the week.

 


Rose (Teichert) and Dan Grimm (both ’76) have sent along a hopeful report about the health of their daughter Rosie (’10):

Rosie had scans yesterday which showed that one of the tumors in her lungs is gone, the other three have shrunk, and the bad one in her neck seems to be being attacked (as shown by inflammation) in the way we have hoped. We are so grateful, to God and to all of you who are praying. Please keep it up, and we are praying for all of you.


Isabel Cacho ('11)Isabel Cacho (’11) has taken her love of learning and the Western intellectual tradition to Slovakia, where she is teaching at the Collegium of Anton Neuwirth. The Collegium, which organizes various educational activities for university students and young professionals, offers a year-long, residential formation program for undergraduates, focusing on the influence of Christianity on Western civilization. In addition to conducting seminars and teaching English, Miss Cacho is also involved in several facets of the school’s administration and outreach.

In a profile of Miss Cacho in the Collegium’s website, she notes, “It was at Thomas Aquinas College that I learned that education is about freedom. It is about freeing your mind to dwell on the higher things, which is what separates us from other creatures.”

The beneficiary of a liberal education, she now seeks to share that gift, saying, “I hope I will inspire the same love of truth that my professors motivated in me.”

 


Rev. Sebastian Walsge, O.Praem. ('94)Lost in the ongoing political debate over marriage is a more fundamental question, namely, where does marriage come from? Does the state have the power to define what marriage is, or does the definition precede and transcend the state — something government cannot alter?

Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94), a regular guest on the Catholic Answers Live radio program, takes on this question and others in a recent episode titled, The Nature of Marriage.

Marriage, Fr. Sebastian says, “comes about as a result of nature,” and as such is not subject to human redefinition. “The state doesn’t have the right to define triangles. The state doesn’t have the right to define dogs and cats. They are what they are. So the state doesn’t have the right to define marriage,” he explains. Moreover, for government to claim authority in this instance is to assert for itself “absolute power” over marriage “and, as a consequence, family life, because the foundational relationship in any family is the relationship of marriage.”

The show is available both in streaming and downloadable form on the Catholic Answers website, as are these other episodes featuring Fr. Sebastian:

 


November
09, 2012

Fr. Higgins with Cardinal Dolan

His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, greeting Rev. John Higgins (’90) last year with a popsicle and a soda at the completion of Fr. Higgins’ 50-mile walk to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

One year ago, Rev. John Higgins (’90), pastor of the Church of the Assumption in Peekskill, N.Y., walked 50 miles from his church to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midtown Manhattan to raise money for his parish elementary school. This weekend, he will undertake that same journey.

Fr. Higgins’ 2011 pilgrimage raised $77,000 for the 225 students of Assumption School, many of whom live under the poverty level. This year he hopes to top that total. “It’s about 110,000 steps to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and we hope to get a dollar for every step that we walk, making our goal $110,000,” he writes. “I think we can do it!”

Help sponsor Fr. Higgins’ walk for Assumption School either online via PayPal, or by sending a check to:

Assumption School
920 First Street
Peekskill, NY 10566
ATTN: Walk 2012

Godspeed, Fr. Higgins!

 


Plato and AristotleNumerous Thomas Aquinas College alumni — including several who have are now members of the teaching faculty — led sessions and presented papers at the annual meeting of American Catholic Philosophical Association last weekend. The gathering, held in Los Angeles under the theme “Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions,” drew more than 100 scholars from across the United States.

At the ACPA’s request, Thomas Aquinas College hosted two of the Conference’s satellite sessions, both on the subject of Aristotelian Natural Philosophy.  The first was chaired by Dean Brian T. Kelly (’88) and the second by Senior Tutor Glen Coughlin (’81). Dr. Coughlin also hosted a third session in his capacity as president of the Society for Aristotelian Studies, a national organization.

Several other alumni also spoke and/or presented papers at the conference:

  • Dr. Thomas Cavanaugh (’85)
    Professor of Philosophy, University of San Francisco
    “Socrates’ Burial? The Question of an Individual’s Immortality”
  • Dr. Anthony Andres (’87)
    Tutor, Thomas Aquinas College
    “Charles De Koninck on Contingency”
  • Dr. Anthony Crifasi (’92)
    Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Benedictine College
    “Aquinas on the Passions’ Contribution to Moral Reasoning” (commentator)
  • Dr. David Arias, (’02)
    Tutor, Thomas Aquinas College
    “Hylomorphism and Organ Transplants”
  • Dr. Daniel Shields (’05)
    Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Xavier University
    “Aquinas on the Moral Life of the Non-Believer”
  • Mr. David Grothoff (’07)
    Graduate Student, Catholic University of America
    “Geometrical Proportion and Continuity in Aristotle's Physics”
  • Mr. John Brungardt (’08)
    Graduate Student, Catholic University of America
    “The Existence of the Primum Mobile in Medieval and Modern Science”
  • Mr. Ryan Shea (’08)
    Graduate Student, Catholic University of America
    “The Figure Analogy in De Anima II.3 and the Methodology of Aristotelian Natural Philosophy” 

 Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) Yesterday we noted that Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) had penned an op-ed keyed to election day, and today we note that she has written a thoughtful, post-election analysis of what comes next for faithful American Catholics:

As Catholics, we have just begun the Year of Faith. If anything, this election tells me that we need to proclaim the truth that our faith teaches, particularly as it concerns the dignity of the human person. Let’s not try to sanitize the values issues with talk of the economy. It hasn’t worked. At the same time, there are a lot of Catholics voting who don’t understand or accept the Catholic Church’s consistent teaching on social values. That’s a great place to start our Year of Faith. As a church, we need to teach. As citizens, we need to voice our opinions, even when we fear that they might be unpopular.

Election Day has come and gone, but the Year of Faith has only just begun!


Among the issues at stake in today’s election is the future of marriage in four states, including Washington. There, a group of dissenting Catholics recently published an open letter that defied Church teaching on the subject. In response, Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) and two other prominent Catholics have published a rebuttal in the Seattle Times titled, We Are Catholics and We oppose Referendum 74 to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage.

The article defends both the Church’s position and marriage itself, stressing the institution’s importance to families, society, and religious freedom:

The state does not involve itself in marriage in an effort to regulate its citizens’ sexual activities. It does so because marriage generally involves children by the very nature in which the spouses express intimacy and union. As such, the family becomes the basic unit of society and thus deserves special protection.…

As Catholics, we believe that marriage is the unique bond of love and life between a woman and a man, which is the source of the family. In union with our church and our bishops, we are voting to reject Referendum 74. We urge other Catholics and people of goodwill to join us.

Go read the whole article — and be sure to vote!
 


The late Charles De Koninck, one of the great philosophers of the 20th century, had a profound influence on the establishment of Thomas Aquinas College.

Charles De Koninck Dr. De Koninck was the teacher of three of the College’s founders, Mr. Mark Berquist, Dr. John W. Neumayr, and Dr. Ronald McArthur. In addition, his most famous student, Dr. Ralph McInerny, educated 11 of the College’s tutors, including late president Thomas E. Dillon, President Michael F. McLean , and Dean Brian Kelly at the University of Notre Dame.

Suffice it to say, the College owes a great debt to Dr. De Koninck’s legacy, a debt that two of its alumni have sought to repay by way of a newly launched website, The Charles De Koninck Project.

“In the 47 years since his death, De Koninck’s writings have unfortunately faded from view even as their relevance to contemporary intellectual life has intensified,” notes the site’s introductory page. The Charles De Koninck Project, it continues, “exists to put the entirety of his writings online and foster discussion about them.”

Under the direction Executive Director David J. Quackenbush (’88) and Managing Director Matthew J. Peterson (’01), The Charles De Koninck Project seeks to “collect, translate and make all of his writings freely available online,” so that they will be widely available and read, and so that others may “take up the letter and spirit of his writings, spurring discussion in pursuit of truth.”

Mr. Quackenbush — who began the project of collecting, transcribing and translating De Koninck’s texts nearly two decades ago when he studied under Dr. McInerny at Notre Dame — is a member of the teaching faculty at Thomas Aquinas College. Mr. Peterson is a doctoral candidate in political philosophy and American government at Claremont Graduate University.

“We expect to have the bulk of De Koninck’s previously published writings available fairly soon, along with a substantial portion of previously unpublished and newly translated texts,” says Mr. Quackenbush. “We hope to press on until all relevant material is available.”

The Charles De Koninck Project invites outside contributions. “We welcome essays, lectures, blogs, and such for posting and linking at the site, and hope to host an active discussion of agreement, disagreement, and development of De Koninck’s thought,” says Mr. Quackenbush. “The project is intended to be a cooperative effort by all those interested.”


A Little Way of HomeschoolingSome 18 months after its publication, A Little Way of Homeschooling continues to elicit great interest. The second work of alumna author Suzie (Zeiter ’87) Andres, the book profiles 12 Catholic homeschooling families and their use of the “unschooling” educational method, while drawing upon the works of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. John Bosco, and ancient philosophers.

On Friday morning Mrs. Andres appeared on the Mothers at Home radio program with Judy Dudich on BlogTalkRadio. You can listen to the broadcast in the player below.