Friday 29 July 2011

Paul Kennedy on Lonergan

Certainly, Lonergan's vocation was intellectual, but seemed more apt to writing than to teaching. he was seen to be extremely intelligent and perspicacious, but with some degree of vanity about it. Yet there was a timidity or shyness about him, a difficulty of access in conversation, but also somthing of a harsh sense of humour and a bluntness that could hurt. He did not suffer fools gladly. Yet he also showed a lack of confidence in his reaction to being questioned or opposed in his opinions. A strange mixture, then, of brilliance, bluntness and inaccessibility.
William Mathews, Lonergan's Quest 88. Cited by P. Lambert in Lambert and McShane, Bernard Lonergan: His Life and Leading Ideas 36.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Mothers and God

Had to speak to the school assembly this morning, and I spoke on Mother's Day. After racking my brains for a story, I finally settled on something I hoped the students would find interesting: Peter Berger's 'pointer' to the existence of God from the familiar gesture of a mother who says to her child that gets up with a fright in the middle of the night: "Go to sleep. Everything is fine." That gesture presupposes that all is well. It presupposes the existence of God. If God were not, then all would not be well.

Mother gives life. She gives love. Above all, she gives faith and trust in life. I thought of children who grow up without fathers, I thought of Don Bosco and his mother, Mamma Margaret. It was said of Don Bosco that he never doubted himself. What a wonderful thing to say. His mother was able to be mother and father, she was able to bring him up with a tremendous confidence in himself, because there was her unshakeable faith in the providence of God.  

Thursday 21 July 2011

Don Bosco's place in the church

What does Don Bosco have to say to the diocesan clergy? Or: what is Don Bosco's place in the church?

1. He is a model of what a simple diocesan priest is capable of doing, if he has faith and the energy that comes from faith.

2. He is an icon of the church's concern for youth, and among these most especially those on the margins.

3. He also reminds the church of its concern for the simple faithful: the need to reach out to them and strengthen their faith through good literature (today, the means of communication), devotions, the sacraments.

4. He is a great example of faith. 

Tuesday 19 July 2011

New Managing Committee of Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr (TSKK)

On 16th July 2011 the general Body meeting of Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr (TSKK) was held at TSKK premises at Alto Porvorim to vitalize the works of TSKK with greater efficiency and professionalism.  In this background, Fr. Apolinario Cardozo, SJ, the ex-headmaster of St. Britto High School, Mapuça has been appointed as the new Executive Director/Secretary of TSKK. As a headmaster he has good experience of administration and he will take care of the entire administration of TSKK. He will be assisted by Fr. Efraim Gracias, SJ.  Dr. Chandralekha D’Souza, the ex-head of Konknni Department of Goa University will be the Director of Academic and Research of TSKK. She will plan and coordinate the entire academic and research work of TSKK in collaboration with Dr. Pratapananda Naik, SJ, Joint Director of Academic and Research. The other members of the TSKK Managing committee are Dr. Anthony da Silva, SJ the Provincial Superior of Goa Province Jesuits; Fr. Vasco do Rego, SJ (the Editor of Konknni monthly Dor Mhoineachi Rotti); Dr. Savio Abreu, SJ (the Executive Director of Xavier Centre of Historical Research);  Fr. Colman de Souza, SJ (the treasurer of Goa Jesuit Province).

TSKK has served Konknni in Roman, Devanagari and Kannada scripts for the past 25 years in various fields related to Konknni and given the leadership. To name a few it TSKK initiated the process to start a department of Konknni at the Goa University when Dr. Sheikh Ali was the Vice-Chancellor. TSKK requested and helped Nirmala Institute of Education to introduce Konknni as a special subject for the B.Ed. Course. When TSKK realized that the vast numbers of minority community members were greatly displeased for not giving any official place in Official language act 1987 of Goa, TSKK took the initiative to propose to establish Dalgado Konknni Akdemi to preserve and promote Konknni in Roman script and prepared the master plan for its activities and drafted the constitution. In 1991 when the Diocesan Board and Archdiocesan Board decided to run Konknni medium primary schools, TSKK prepared audio visual teaching material for KG and trained primary teachers from 1991 to 2010. TSKK has standardized Konknni orthography in Devanagari, Kannada and Roman scripts. TSKK has published Konknni language course books and it regularly conducts Konknni language courses irrespective of its scripts.  TSKK has developed a mini botanical garden of local fruits and flowers. Pratapananda Naik who has been labeled as “A priest with green fingers” is responsible for this garden and continues to maintain it. Over the years TSKK has built up an excellent library of Konknni, in fact it is the best library for Konknni research works. Since the future of Konknni is in Roman script, TSKK has taken initiative to prepare Konknni textbooks in Roman scripts. TSKK has joined hands with Mandd Sobhann, Mangalore to officially establish Jagotik Konknni Songhton (Global Konknni Association) on 20 August 2011 to work for Konknni with the principle “Unity in diversity”.  TSKK is recognized by Goa University as a postgraduate Konknni research centre.

The new managing committee has plans to continue, develop and extend the works of TSKK in order to serve the Konknni language and people. It needs the support of Konknni lovers.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Faulkner, 'The Sound and the Fury'

William Faulkner. The Sound and the Fury.

The first part is impossible to understand, till you realize that it is written from the point of view of a 33 year old idiot for whom temporal sequences do not matter, who jumps from time to time, who moves only by association, who has a fierce animal devotion to his sister Caddy.

The later parts switch to the viewpoint of one of the characters who appears in the first part, and then we slowly begin to understand.

The lives of black people in the American South. The novel has been described as the greatest since Huckleberry Finn.


Jung on the Assumption

C.G. Jung. Answer to Job. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1955. Orig. 1952.
Chapter 19 is about the dogma of the Assumption. It seems to be an echo of what Lonergan says about Marian dogmas and feeling in Method in Theology.
“The promulgation of the new dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary could, in itself, have been sufficient reason for examining the psychological background. It was interesting to note that, among the many articles published in the Catholic and protestant press on the declaration of the dogma, there was not one, so far as I could see, which laid anything like the proper emphasis on what was undoubtedly the most powerful motive: namely, the popular movement and the psychological need behind it. Essentially, the writers of the articles were satisfied with learned considerations, dogmatic and historical, which have no bearing on the living religious process. But anyone who has followed with attention the visions of Mary which have been increasing in number over the last few decades, and has taken their psychological significance into account, might have known what was brewing. The fact, especially, that it was largely children who had the visions might have given pause for thought, for in such cases the collective unconscious is always at work. Incidentally, the Pope himself is rumoured to have had several visions of the Mother / of God on the occasion of the declaration.” 165-66.

From Edward Carpenter's 'Cantuar'

From an old jotting:

Last night, [Wednesday, 7 June 2006, Dorney Common] reading Edward Carpenter, Cantuar: The Archbishops in their Office. First published Cassel 1971. Second edition, Oxford: Mowbray, 1988. [Edward’s wife Lillian is a good friend of Phyllis’. Edward was Dean of Westminster.]

“Warham was not of the calibre of More or Fisher, both of whom were exceptional men and suffered death rather than play false to deep convictions. Certainly, he too had his scruples of conscience, but an accommodating temper made him give way little by little to a stronger will whether it was that of Wolsey or Henry. Warham’s tragedy was to be called to serve the Kingdom ‘at such a time as this’. Probably it would have made little difference if he had stood resolute behind his principles. Henry had the power and knew how to use it to strike down, without mercy, those who stood in his way. So it happened that Warham left behind him a primacy reduced in influence and effective power.” [132. William Warham, Archbishop 1503, d. 1532. Last Archbishop if we exclude Pole, to have died within the Roman allegiance.]

“Cranmer’s trial and execution have left an indelible impression on English Protestant history. Not many will, I suspect, be anxious to sit in judgement upon one who, partly from fear of physical pain, partly because of a life-long allegiance to an ecclesiastical supremacy vested in the Crown, forswore his Protestant faith. More and Fisher, Latimer and Ridley were made of sterner stuff, although, maybe, they were not such merciful men. Yet Cranmer’s recantation in St. Mary’s and his behaviour at the stake were heroic. There was ambiguity in Cranmer, and something of this has remained in the Church of England ever since. The Ecclesia Anglicana breeds kindly, understanding men, more prone to conciliation than to combat.” [142. Thomas Cranmer 1532.]

Thursday 14 July 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

i was surprised to find 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' on TV last night. In Swedish, of all things, with nglish subtitles. following the book frame by frame. was good to see a concretization of Hedestad island (larger than I thought, with bigger house), the bridge connecting to the mainland, Kalle Blomquist and Erika (both older than I had imagined them to be), and of course Lisbeth Salander (so many rings in nos and ears, but with the lather jacket and black jeans and tight mouth). Didn't watch the whole thing. might have been interesting, but....

The Sabbath rest

"Come to me all you who labour and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Lovely, gentle words from this morning's gospel. but when they were first uttered, as Ratzinger tells us, they were not taken so peacefully. For only God is Lord of the Sabbath and of the Sabbath rest. And here is a man says: Come to me and I will give you rest. No one talks like this in the Bible, except God. No one talks like this man, as the soldiers reported to the authorities. Ratzinger likes to point out that the proper translation is not "the people were astonished at his teaching" but rather "the people were alarmed at his teaching." Thy knew what it implied. Jesus was putting himself in the place of God. He is Lord of the Sabbath and of the Sabbath rest.

RIP: Giovanni Sala, SJ

Just found this news item on the Lonergan Studies Newsletter 32/2 (Jun 2011) 11:
Giovanni Sala SJ. On Tuesday, March 15, 2011, Professor Giovanni Sala, S.J., died after a severe illness. After his entrance into the Society of Jesus, Father Sala studied theology in Rome and philosophy at the Philosophischen Fakultät Aloisianum in Gallarate, Italy. He was awarded a D.Phil at the University of Bonn in 1970 with his study on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Lonergan’s Insight.  Since 1971 he has taught as a professor at Hochschule für Philosophie München, and has been one of its the most productive professors.  The chief emphasis of his work was the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. A requiem took place for him on Monday, March 21, in the chapel of Berchmanskollegs, Kaulbachstraße 31a.
Fr Sala: a good friend. I went to see him in Munich during my doctoral years. He was extremely helpful and gracious. Over the years he kept sending me offprints of his articles and books. I am sorry to have heard so late about his passing. RIP.

Father Natalino Spaccapelo on Giovanni Battista Sala, SJ

I have the honor of commemorating the death of Professor Giovanni Battista Sala, SJ, which occurred on the 15th of March of this year.

Far from being unkown to the students and promoters of our celebrated Bernard Lonergan, from the time of the first of our meetings in Florida in 1970, Professor Sala has been an assiduous participant at our meetings and Workshops.

Professor Sala studied philosophy, attaining his doctorate at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University at Bonn. From 1958-1962 he studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he followed Father Lonergan’s courses.

For most of his career, Professor Sala taught philosophy in the Jesuit faculty in Munich, especially sounding ever more deeply the relationships between Kant’s thought and that of Lonergan.

Among his students who have pursued the line of Lonergan studies are Professors Saturnino Muratore of Naples and I, Professor Natalino Spaccapelo, Director of the Center for Lonergan Studies in Rome.

Thanks too to the pioneering labors of Professor Sala and his students, seven centers for the study of the thought and works of Bernard Lonergan have been established in Italy. Of special significance is the work of translating and publishing into Italian the Opera Omnia or Collected Works of Lonergan by the Citta Nuova Editrice.

With a sense of vibrant participation, I wish you all a good work.

Natalino Spaccapelo, SJ  

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Waldi, come!

Lovely story of a young man trying to teach the northern bald ibis, extinct in Europe for more than 400 years, its old migratory path. See John Dyson, "Fly me home," Reader's Digest 52/7 (July 2011) 107-113. The birds are known in Austria as waldrapp, or waldi for short.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Drawn from water, Moses

We have begun reading / hearing the Moses story this morning. And what a wonderful story it is.

Moses, drawn out of the water by a strangely compassionate Egyptian princess, a princess who knows well that her father has decreed the death of all infants of the threatening Hebrew race. The child, fortunate to be nursed by its own mother, thanks to a clever bit of planning by mother and sister, and above all thanks to the provident intervention of God, because cor regis in manu Dei, and quocumque voluerit, vertet illud. And so the future great leader of the Hebrew people is raised Hebrew: the first 3, if not 6, crucial years of his life - the 0-6 phase that Montessori called the Absorbent Mind, the phase when a child becomes a Hebrew or an Egyptian or an Indian - these years were passed in the bosom of a Hebrew family, indeed, in his own natural family. And so God prepared the man.

And when it was time, his mother handed him back to the princess. And so it was that Moss received the best education possible in the ancient world: an Egyptian education. Egypt that was the pinnacle of power and civilization. Egypt that was in the process of building the great pyramids, at the expense of the Hebrew and perhaps other slaves.

Northern Bald Ibis or Waldrapp

Just read an interesting article in Reader's Digest, about how an enterprising young man in Austria induced the northern bald ibis, called waldrapp, to re-learn long forgotten migratory routes from Austria south to Italy. Wonderful experiment, and intriguing.

The waldrapp seemed to me very similar to our own black ibis here in Nashik. From what I learned from the net, they probably belong to the same family. Ours are called Indian black ibis or red-naped ibis. Raucous birds, and quite safe, thankfully, not in any danger of extinction, unlike their bald northern waldi cousins.

Rome and Jerusalem

It suddenly struck me this morning: how fortunate I am, to have spent almost 4 years in Rome, and now to have the opportunity to spend time in Jerusalem.

From Rome, one / once a centre of the world, to Jerusalem, once again one / once a centre of the world.

A journey in apostolic reverse: from India, to Rome, to Jerusalem.

What might all of this mean.

"I will be propitious to you in Rome," once Ignatius heard. And so it was.

Monday 11 July 2011

Upamanyu Chatterjee's 'The Last Burden'

I was delighted to find Upamanyu Chatterjee's The Last Burden in a second-hand bookstore a couple of weeks ago in King's Circle that is now Maheswari Udyan.

Chatterjee is not breezy like his Bengali compatriot Amitav Ghosh, but he is compelling, and manages to capture the underside of life in India like no one else I know. In The Last Burden his subject is the lower middle class Indian family, and he spares no one. Not for him the endless and ultimately unbearable sickly sweet idealizations of Indian motherhood. Delightfully honest. Even scatological. Wonder if he has been into Joyce. (The sister-in-law in this Bengali family is, interestingly, a Christian called Joyce.)

Saturday 9 July 2011

Humour and humility

Lovely reflection by Panikkar on humour. Another word for humour is humility, he says, and he is right. In the Anglo-Saxon tradition, a speaker usually begins with a joke. This is like saying: don't take me too seriously, you know; i just might be right, but then I may also be wrong.

Humour thus is a witness to the fragility of the human attainment of truth. it is therefore linked to humility, to finitude.

The Rhythm of Being, 13-16.

No wonder my sense of dissatisfaction or disquiet when I have spoken far too seriously. And when an audience laughs with me, I know tht thy are with me. 

Friday 8 July 2011

What is and what should be

"Because you lie about that which is, you do not catch the thirst for that which should be."

"Weil ihr ueber das, was ist, luegt, darum entsteht
euch nicht der Durst nach dem was werden soll."

Nietzsche, Grossoktavausgabe XII: 279, cited in Panikkar, The Rhythm of Being (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2010) 4.

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Rupnik, “E se l’evangelizzazione chiedesse una novità nella vita consacrata?” English summary