At this point, I have the feeling that at least some readers’ interest in why I am Catholic might be aroused by these more personal reminiscences of my religious upbringing and awakening. But, at least one underlying point to this my exercise in giving an apologia from a cradle Catholic is to provide an intellectual and reasoned account of my Catholic perdurance (fidelity is too strong a word to describe one so prone to moral failure).
I return now to my ongoing project of giving an apologia, or a reasoned defense of why I am Catholic and why I believe as I do, provoked, as I was, to provide one as by a certain religiously skeptical college student. . . . This is what I consider to be a cogent and compelling argument for the existence of God distilled from Aquinas’s Third Way.
After All Saints Day and its spooky (though thoroughly Catholic) vigil, Halloween, we come to the third of the fall Triduum of the Afterlife: All Souls Day (or in its Mexican (and thoroughly (or at least mostly) Catholic) manifestation, Dia de los Muertos).
Amid the annual fall questions and confusion about the alleged pagan origins of Halloween on October 31, and the role of purgatory in the celebration of All Souls Day (November 2), Catholics pay less attention to the celebration of All Saints Day (November 1) than they should.
It is a question that still arises in Catholic circles and among other Christians more generally, so I thought I would repost the answer as I had done on other venues in years past.
In my ongoing quest to finish a series of explanations and analyses on the Five Ways of proving the existence of God from Saint Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae I, q. 2, a. 3, I updated the translation of the Third Way which “is taken from the possible and the necessary” along with a graphical depiction of the argument as a flowchart.
A few weeks ago, Bishop Robert Barron wrote an op/ed piece for the New York Post bemoaning the singing of John Lennon’s utopian manifesto pop song “Imagine” at the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics.
I have posted a new explanation and analysis of the Second Way for proving the existence of God from Summa Theologiae Ia, q. 2, a. 3, which Saint Thomas Aquinas rather cryptically says is based on the nature (ratio) of efficient causality.
Every Good Friday, the question is raised again, “Why did Jesus have to die?” A common answer, though not really the Catholic answer, says that Jesus is a substitute victim, an innocent, and infinitely holy person, the Son of God, who suffers the punishment which sinners deserve in their place, and thereby frees them from this just punishment they deserve.
Today, November 15, is the Feast of Saint Albert the Great, or Saint Albert of Regensburg. He was a towering figure in medieval philosophy and theology and had such encyclopedic knowledge and an incisive mind that, even in his lifetime, he was called “the Great.”
I previously quoted approvingly Walker Percy when he posed to himself the option of holding to some worldview besides the Catholic faith, and queried himself the answer “what else is there?” Though himself a convert, I as a Cradle Catholic felt he summed up my experience of considering the various alternatives of worldviews, religions and philosophies against the one in which I was raised, and finding them all wanting.
There is an amusing story told about St. Thomas Aquinas I have always liked. Once, friar Thomas was invited to dine at the table of the King of France, Louis IX, who would eventually be canonized a saint, too. Brother Thomas, fell silent as the meal and conversation continued around him, lost in thought.
In my previous post I related that when I began to investigate how I might explain and defend the Catholic faith, I found that sometimes I agreed with skeptical critiques of distinctively Protestant beliefs, yet I was very convinced of the inadequacy of physicalist explanations of nature in general and of the human mind and rational behavior in particular.
If it is true, as I have claimed, that a compelling case can be made that you (or anyone) can find ultimate fulfillment in knowing and loving God, who is all good and deserving of all your love, by living your life as a committed Catholic, it may seem perplexing that anyone is not Catholic (at least of those who have heard about the Church and been able to join it).
Explanations and defenses of the truth of the Catholic faith tend to be written by converts. Perhaps this is natural and to be expected.
Saint Thomas Aquinas had a particular devotion to Jesus Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. He was serving in the papal court when it was in residence in Orvieto, Italy, when a remarkable Eucharistic miracle occurred.
The study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is. — Saint Thomas Aquinas