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Religion » Catholicism » Today 10:30 am

Greg
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Brian wrote:

Could someone either elaborate on, or point to a source that elaborates on the different types of mass? I take it that all masses have at their "core" Communion, or I suppose it is more accurately called the Eucharist. But are there are a bunch of different types?

Briefly, there are various rites. Each type of mass is the mass. It is celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist, the making-present of the sacrifice on Calvary. But the different rites have different forms.

In Roman Catholicism, priests are permitted to celebrate both the Old Rite (the "Traditional Latin Mass,"  or the "Tridentine Mass") and the New Rite (the Novus Ordo). (Pope Benedict's 2008 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum gave permission to priests to celebrate either mass. That is, the local bishop could not prevent you from celebrating the Latin Mass.) But there are also various other rites which are still part of the Catholic Church... Ukrainian Rite, Byzantine Rite, Eastern Rite etc. Those  have their own masses as well. In many respects, their liturgy bears a greater resemblance to Orthodox liturgy than to Roman Catholic liturgy; and in many respects, their liturgy bears a greater resemblance to the Old Rite than to the Novus Ordo.

I would still say that each of these is structured the same, though. You still have a Liturgy of the Word (during which the priest approaches the altar and which culminates in the reading of the Gospel) and a Liturgy of the Eucharist (which begins with the Offertory and culminates in the reception of the Eucharist). (There are some exceptions. The Good Friday service is not a mass, because the sacrament is not consecrated. And there are Ash Wednesday services which are not masses also, though it can also be part of a mass.)

I would say, indeed, that Catholicism is very liturgical. The liturgy is extremely important, the Eucharist being the source and summit of Christian life. Accordingly, masses ce

Chit-Chat » What do you think about priestly celibacy? » Today 10:09 am

Greg
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Yes I think it should continue. A priest's parish is the family of which he is the father. It is good for his attention to be undivided toward that family. When you have children, your life is tied up in ways that you cannot entirely anticipate for two decades.

Resources » Resources for Thomistic Response to Contemporary Philosophy » Yesterday 11:09 am

Greg
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There is a decent amount of work by Thomists that responds to more recent philosophy.

One book that comes to mind is John O'Callaghan's Thomist Realism and the Linguistic Turn, which develops Aquinas's theory of language against the background of modern and contemporary philosophy of language. Basically, after Wittgenstein, the early modern empiricist (Locke, Berkeley, Hume) treatments of language are viewed as incredibly naive. But it's also thought that they are basically Aristotelian, since Aristotle seems to say similar things and Locke draws from him. So there's a question of whether Aristotle and Aquinas are incredibly naive too. O'Callaghan's book argues that they aren't. The book explicitly treats Hilary Putnam's "The Meaning of 'Meaning'" as well as Jerry Fodor's work--and also is framed broadly as a reply to, or at least as intigated by, an early collection of essays edited by Richard Rorty, The Linguistic Turn. (It would be useful to read some of Frege's seminal papers, like "On Sense and Reference" and "Concept and Object" and "Function and Concept," as well as Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, perhaps even Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity, before these authors.) So that's a nice project if you're interested in the philosophy of language. If you wanted more Aquinas literature than O'Callaghan, you could perhaps take a look at John Peterson's books. I have not read him, but he seems to be responsive to philosophy of language and early analytic philosophy.

You could do a survey of the revival of virtue ethics, starting with Elizabeth Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy" and drawing from other authors such as Philippa Foot (her early essay "Virtues and Vices," and perhaps "Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives," as well as later papers like "Rationality and Virtue," "Does Moral Subjectivism Rest on a Mistake?" and her culminating book Natural Goodness), Rosalind Hursthouse (her book [i]On V

Religion » Catholicism » 1/18/2018 9:51 pm

Greg
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Brian wrote:

Greg,

Thanks for all the recommendations.

You're welcome!

Brian wrote:

Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is a low mass? Is that the post Vatican-II mass In the local language? I live in rural Wyoming and the only Catholic church that offers Latin mass is like 2 hours away, and they exclusively offer the traditional mass.

No, both low and high masses are the pre-Vatican II liturgy. The difference is that a high mass is sung and is generally more solemn. Those parishes that celebrate the Extraordinary Form may have high masses for special feasts, or they might have them on a regular basis. For someone who isn't familiar with mass in general, it is certainly more of a spectacle. (You can probably find better descriptions than I am giving here. Besides a few occasions, I wasn't attending mass in the Extraordinary Form until a few months ago, and I have only been to one high mass.)

But if the only parish that offers it is two hours away, that might force your hand.

Brian wrote:

I have read Tolkien, but it was many years ago. Although honestly, I think if I'm going to take on a book that large I will probably attempt Dante's Divine Comedy.

Also a good idea. People speak highly of Anthony Esolen's translations, which I read pretty recently. I can't really speak to its quality as a translation, and I think I'm a bit dense for poetry, but it was enjoyable.

Brian wrote:

Any particular works by those authors stand out?

I read Father Thomas Joseph White's The Light of Christ, which is a very good introduction to Catholic theology, eminently accessible yet thorough.

It is sort of a modern day Introduction to Christianity (written by then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 1969). That book is often recommended as an introduction to Catholicism, though I was not a huge fan. I find mid-century theology a bit obscure.

Religion » Catholicism » 1/17/2018 5:52 pm

Greg
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DanielCC wrote:

Pearce is also responsible for a number of entertaining biographies of various British Catholic figures like Belloc and Tolkien.

Speaking of whom, certainly go ahead and read Lord of the Rings if you haven't already.

Religion » Catholicism » 1/17/2018 1:21 pm

Greg
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I mentioned Cardinal Newman in the other thread, and he is a good place to start to understand the impulse of Catholicism. His Apologia Pro Vita Sua and The Development of Christian Doctrine are both suited to your aim. It's usually worth perusing his sermons as well. Many of his writings are available online.

If you want to become acquainted with Catholic literature, then Flannery O'Connor and Evelyn Waugh are good authors to start with. Everything by O'Connor is great; her short stories in particular are very entertaining and reasonably short, but her novels are also great. Waugh's Brideshead Revisited is popular, and there's a very good and faithful 10-episode BBC series. I think his satire is even better, though, and I'd particularly recommend A Handful of Dust and Helena.

As regards philosophy, it is worth dabbling in Anscombe. Her recently released collection of papers Faith in a Hard Ground would be suitable to your end.

Pope John Paul II's Veritatis splendor is a good summary and restatement of the Church's moral theology.

The Latin Mass is indeed beautiful. I found it helpful to go to a low Mass on a weekday. Large parts of the Latin Mass are said silently, and the congregation is not meant to hear them. But even the parts that are said audibly can be hard to hear in a larger Church, especially if you are not sitting up front. That can make it harder to follow along in a Missal, if you're not familiar with what's going on.

Churches which offer the Latin Mass almost inevitably lay out Missal booklets with the ordinary prayers of the Mass, but it's best if you can get your hands on a full 1962 Daily Missal, as that will contain the commons and the propers for the day. Some Churches lay those out as well.

On the other hand, it's hard to get used to using a Missal anyway, and perhaps you just want to find a high Mass, as that is certainly the most beautiful.

Religion » Catholicism » 1/17/2018 12:55 pm

Greg
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lacktone wrote:

Forgive my irreverence but religions just make no sense to me. I see them as idol worship whereas the commandment "thou shalt have no other gods before me" gets totally blown out of the water by their existence. Religions are exactly that. Case in point, if you have a genuine sense of your god and truly believe you can worship it without channeling that worship through a religion or other agent, then why employ such a device? The sense of (spiritual) community it provides?

Catholics, at least, don't think that God is equally accessible within and without religion. The Church serves a teaching and evangelizing function.

Moreover God is Love, and some of our acquaintance with him is through loving others. Community itself isn't accidental.

Theoretical Philosophy » The Principle of Parsimony » 1/14/2018 12:34 pm

Greg
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surroundx wrote:

Simpler explanations often aren't true because they're too attenuated. In virtue of the fact that the simplest explanations could be said to be epistemic rather than ontic (e.g. "there is nothing to explain"). If you agree that there is something to explain then the simplest explanation is false. That doesn't negatively affect the PoP.

I mean: Hold constant what needs to be explained, and suppose that you have two candidate explanations such that, if either one were true, it would adequately explain what is to be explained. There's simply no guarantee, though, that the simpler explanation is the true one. It may be wise to assume that until we know more--which is, I think, the substance of the principle of parsimony--but that isn't how the universe is.

Religion » How do I choose a denomination? » 1/13/2018 3:28 pm

Greg
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I was an atheist until I was 18, but Catholicism always presented itself as the only live option for me among the Christianities: or, at least, as Evelyn Waugh put it, it just was Christianity. My reasons were more or less those of Cardinal Newman, though I hadn't read him at the time. In brief, without a certain kind of divinely guided tradition, you can't get creedal Christianity out of the Gospels. The principles other denominations would like to apply to secure their own doctrines are either over- or under-inclusive; they either don't suffice to yield the denomination's doctrines, or yield some of Catholicism's doctrines when they are applied consistently.

I couldn't, of course, put the argument very sharply, and I couldn't now. I'm not an expert in early Church history.

Theoretical Philosophy » The Principle of Parsimony » 1/13/2018 3:11 pm

Greg
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surroundx wrote:

How much stock do forum members put in the Principle of Parsimony?

It seems to me that, even if you somehow accepted it as a metaphysical first principle, it's application would still be contingent to some degree upon one's current (meta-)ontology.

I think that the principle of parsimony is a good principle, but it's an epistemic rather than a metaphysical principle. It's not that the universe is, and surely not that it must be, such that simpler explanations are true. Often they aren't.

surroundx wrote:

Take Fred, who is trying to decide which of two competing hypothesis is the best explanation of some phenomenon. Call them H5 and H10 respectively, alluding to the number of assumptions/commitments that each requires. Let us further say that there is no overlap of the assumptions/commitments that constitute H5 and H10. Assuming that all other things are equal (cf. ceteris paribus), then clearly Fred should choose H5. However, if Fred already accepts 6 of H10's assumptions/commitments and none of H5's, then clearly (or so it seems to me) Fred should really choose H10 since that only burdens him with 4 extra assumptions/commitments. Thoughts?

So far the situation is insufficiently described. Fred may have no reason, or bad reasons, for accepting the 6 of H10's assumptions which he already accepts. Then the fact that already accepts them has no significance for his choosing between H5 and H10.

The dogma of reductionism survives in the supposition that each statement, taken in isolation from its fellows, can admit of confirmation or infirmation at all. My countersuggestion ... is that our statements about the external world face the tribunal of sense experience not individually but only as a corporate body. H5 and H10 are competing explanations of some phenomenon B. B is not the only phenomenon. Fred, say, accepts 6 of H10's assumptions because he is also trying to explain some other phenomenon, A. And strictly, F

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