Monthly Archives: February 2015


Various Gentlemen at the Italian Oven, Mt. Pleasant


Eric Lionel Mascall (1905-1993)

Eric Lionel Mascall


By Mascall:

About Mascall

On Dispensing with Q

E. L. Mascall

Here lies poor Streeter, stiff and stark, Whose corpse foul Farrer slew, For, though in life he made his Mark, In death he’s lost his Q.
Let exorcists from far and wide Placate his troubled spook, Which else will range the Broad beside The shade of Proto-Luke.
O base and disrespectful hand! O thrice unhallowed rites! To break such mossy coffins and To quench such ancient lights!

Pi in the High (London: The Faith Press; New York: Morehouse-Barlow Co., 1959), p. 48:


Ash Wednesday


The philosophy of “tiny islands”….

 Institute For Theological Encounter With Science and Technology
Volume 46 – # 1 Winter 2015 Bulletin

Overcoming Indifference

In his Lenten message for 2015, Pope Francis addressed the problem of “the globalization of indifference.” It’s an easy fault to fall into, because the news every day is filled with stories of human suffering, which seem impossible to do anything about, so a common response is to just tune the whole thing out. The term for this is “compassion fatigue.”

Pope Francis writes, “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians” and goes on to suggest that Lent is a time to re-focus and overcome our indifference.

Fortunately, there are times and places where people overcome the temptation to indifference. Perhaps the best example of all is the huge crowd who gathered in Washington DC on January 22 to protest abortion. While most of America goes about daily life, participants in the March for Life are making the statement that we are not indifferent to the sufferings of unborn babies. Now in its 42nd year, the annual March for Life has grown to a half-million people.

The major national media are beyond indifferent, blocking out any coverage. Advertisers know that showing even 2 seconds of a moving throng will cause the viewer to change the channel; the networks conform to the safest path to profitability: indifference.

The most striking thing about actually being there was seeing how young the crowd was. Everywhere you looked was a sea of “millennials.” For decades the marching chant has been “Roe V Wade has got to go!” but this year the loudest repeated chant was “We … Are … The Pro-Life Generation.” Signs read “One third of my generation has been killed by abortion.” Many of our young Christians understand how the plague of abortion is destroying us, and they are not about to be indifferent. Because of them, the tide is gradually turning against abortion.

Pope Francis urges parishes and communities to be “A body which acknowledges and cares for its weakest, poorest and most insignificant members” He says “How greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!”

Those islands of mercy are springing up everywhere: crisis-pregnancy centers, in both big cities and rural communities; sidewalk-counselors who invite women approaching abortion clinics to turn away and accept real help; maternity homes sponsored by churches; groups praying the rosary at abortion clinics, providing the only funeral that some children ever get.

Many tiny islands remain unseen, slightly below the surface: the high school girl who convinces her pregnant friend that it is workable to choose life; the parents whose example of Christian marriage convinces their children that abstinence and fidelity lead to the best life. Every instance begins when someone makes the decision “I will not be indifferent.” In Pope Francis’ phrase, they have acquired “…a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”


Thomas P. Sheahan
Director, ITEST
Winter 2015

Nothing Like Father Pacwa’s Hats



January friends in Alma!

January friends in Alma.

Dawn Eden “The Thrill of the Chaste” CWR Blog — 4 February 2015

    Dawn Eden’s explication of chastity is both traditional and contemporary

A new, Catholic edition of “The Thrill of the Chaste” follows in a venerable tradition that includes works by Fr. Gerald Kelly, William E. May, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel

An older generation in the United States was brought up on Modern Youth and Chastity by Gerald Kelly, S.J. and his collaborators. The work was originally entitled Chastity and Catholic Youth and published by The Queen’s Work, Inc. of St. Louis. The first copyright was 1941 and by 1947 it was in its seventh printing. In 1970 there was Charity and Sex and the Young Man by Herbert Raterman.

Later a small book reflecting morals and read widely by young people was John Powell’s 1972 Why Am I Afraid to Love? For those focusing on orthodox Catholic morals after the publication of Humanae vitae in 1968, there was William E. May’s 1982 Sex, Marriage, and Chastity: Reflections of a Catholic Layman, Spouse, and Parent followed in 1985 by Benedict Groeschel’s The Courage to be Chaste. In an age of dissent perhaps Groeschel’s writing did not get the attention it deserved.

“The Thrill of the Chaste (Catholic Edition): Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On”, by Dawn Eden (Ave Maria Press, 2015)

Chastity fell out of fashion culturally in Western Europe and North America during the secularizing of morals in the Nineteen Sixties. Seeking competent popularizing in the Catholic tradition became more difficult than in 1933 when Vincent McNabb, OP published his commentary on Casti Connubii: Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Pius XI. On Christian Marriage: In View of the Present Conditions, Needs, Errors and Vices that Affect the Family and Society (Sheed and Ward). Casti Connubii had been promulgated in 1930. The generation born since Father Groeschel’s writing now has Dawn Eden, a doctoral student at the University of St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein Seminary) in Chicago. She has attracted public attention “fighting for orthodoxy” against competitors in this field, one of whom was the subject of her master’s thesis. Her work in chastity-education is self-consciously conformed to the most venerable of Church tradition and it fills a need. The 2015 edition of The Thrill of the Chaste (Catholic Edition): Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On is accessible to the average reader. Since it does not target academics, there is no mention of the classical notion of spiritual marriage (see Dyan Elliott’s Spiritual Marriage, 1995 reissue) nor any reference to those who practiced perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom (Jacques and Raïssa Maritain; Robert and Mary Rosera Joyce – see their New Dynamics in Sexual Love: A Revolutionary Approach to Marriage and Celibacy, 1970). Dawn Eden’s doctrinal orthodoxy is beyond reproach, but her writing technique of “self disclosure” may hinder her from appealing to the older generation who require “the theology of the veil.” Younger readers influenced by secularism and the therapeutic culture (well described in 1966 by Philip Rieff’s The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud), can connect. Criticisms from various quarters may stimulate Dawn Eden to produce for us yet a third edition in the future. Perhaps her doctoral studies will figure into that production. Meanwhile we hope the lost or misguided out there in the readership will discover “the thrill of the chaste,” responding both to Dawn Eden and to God’s grace.