Thursday, September 30, 2010

Archbishop Chaput’s Denver 2010 Theology on Tap: additional highlights

Various selections from the Sept. 10 Theology on Tap featuring the Archbishop of Denver, which was monitored by activist media:

“Anyone here who hasn’t noticed the despair in the world should go back to sleep, because you’ve been asleep until now,” Chaput commented.

“The Church in the United States has done a poor job, a genuinely bad job, of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years. And that responsibility begins with the bishops.”

The clergy can be just as comfortable, self-satisfied, and lukewarm as anyone, he continued.

“I think that’s true about your bishop,” he told his Denver flock.

“Archbishop Chaput proclaims self comfortable, self-satisfied and lukewarm” is one of those headlines you should see at The Colorado Independent, but won’t.

Near the 35:00 mark of the archdiocese’s recording, Archbishop Chaput converses with a young man who thinks the Church-State arrangement of pre-revolutionary France was pretty cool. The archbishop, a reputed descendant of St. Louis IX, disagrees. Saying he’s never met anyone else who thinks so. Another Colorado Independent headline we’ll never see: “Archbishop disagrees with theocrat”

Near the 43:00 mark, he and an intelligent young woman discuss whether Nietzsche, St. John Chrysostom or Jesus said we should hate our friends. (Answer: All of the above!)


SCWJR said...

I think you are completely misrepresenting what occurred at the 35min mark. The young man began by suggesting that the Establishment clause of the 1st Amendment was inherently anti-catholic, because it presupposes a protestant conception of the relationship between God and man, namely that it is between the two of them alone.

The archbishop asked him to clarify his postion because it seemed that the young man had an opinion about this already. So the young man explained himself to the effect that he thought it would be a good idea to establish aspects of the Catholic faith in the law of this country, and that he thought the establishment clause didn't make any sense. The Archbishop suggested that perhaps the young man had neglected to account for the existence of natural law and then preceded to align the young man's position with the readiness of Islamicists to establish Islam. In order to counter this last ad hominem argument the young man countered by asking the Arcbishop if he would condemn the government of the Catholic kings of France. Chaput said he did not want to condemn anybody, this is because if he had condemned the governments of the Catholic kings of france, he would have appeared to condemn the government of St. Louis IX. The dialouge between the two of them ended shortly thereafter.

Also, I, being the young man in question, know for a fact that he does not think the arrangement of pre-Revolutionary France was "pretty cool". You should alter your post so as to not make the young man appear ridiculous.

Kevin Jones said...

Fair enough, sorry you felt misrepresented.

This was written in haste, and I'm surprised it's gotten so much attention.

Cheers for thinking outside of the box.

adrian yanez said...

There is that felt word again. the young man in question did not tell you are the Archbishop what he felt. He siad what he thought, not what he felt. Feelings are imaterial.

Time to mine up and start thinking more an counting on feelings less. Jesus didn't go to the cross becuase of a feeling.

adrian yanez said...

There is that "felt" word again. The young man in question did not tell you or the Archbishop what he felt. He said what he thought, not what he felt. Feelings are immaterial.

Time to man up and start thinking more an counting on feelings less. Jesus didn't go to the cross because of a feeling.

SCWJR said...

I perused some of your writings on this blog, and was led to an interesting discovery. Though you label me a "theocrat" (a pejorative in this day and age), and paint me ridiculous, you yourself might actually be of the same opinion as me.

Compare your post,

"On The Non-Existence of Religions"

with the text of the 1st Amendments
religion clauses:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

Think about the juxtaposition here, what sense can be garnered from the latter given the former?

Now reflect for a moment, "a law is an institutionalized moral principle".

We can then bounce into a defense of the first amendment via the idea of natural law, but I contend we will bounce right out of it after considering how anti-secular the Catholic understanding of natural law and God centered properly developed reason is.

Should we shrug off the provincialism the American legal establishment in regards to antiquated and false enlightenment ideas about the category term "religion" together? Or, should we condemn the idea that religion has no essence because "it tends to incite the young to contemn the established constitution, rendering them violent and headstrong."

Are you an anonymous "theocrat"?

Kevin Jones said...

I may very well be an anonymous "theocrat," in the superficial use of the term. There is a deep tension in American life when the regime declares the right to religious freedom, but then reserves to itself the right to define what religion is.

As I recall, your questions at ToT touched upon this.

Note that I was speaking in terms the hack paper the Colorado Independent would use. While it normally would condemn the Archbishop as a theocrat, that evening he defended the American system against your comments, which I perhaps hastily summarized as pro- pre-revolutionary France. (Ha, just realized I forgot about the phenomenon of Gallicanism!)

I hope to provide a more substantive reply, clarification, and possibly some retractions later this evening after listening to your remarks again.

Kevin J Jones said...

Upon re-listening, you're right that my notes here misrepresented your position. In retrospect it's clear the archbishop's characterization of your remarks influenced me to think you were engaged in advocacy rather than academic inquiry.

Also, I think I assumed you were speaking from a certain traditionalist Catholic position which sometimes glorifies pre-Revolutionary France, ignoring many of its problems (like Gallicanism).

As for your last comment, I think the supposed original nature of the United States as an Enlightment regime is overstated by our own legal and academic establishment. Any response to the present situation would have to recover an understanding of the non-sectarian Christian Protestant tradition of public religion, and how it was ultimately trumped by the present establishment. Your questions for the archbishop help in this task.

Thank you for citing Xenophon, I hadn't read him in some time. May I ask who has influenced you to ask your questions? I've got William T. Cavanaugh's _Myth of Relgious Violence_ on my "to-read" list, which also touches on the hard-to-grasp nature of religion.

Sorry our first exchanges were adversarial. Good luck with your blog!

SCWJR said...

I read a book by Ibn Taymiyyah, a muslim scholar who died in the early 14th century, entitled "Against the Greek Logicians", and enjoyed his arguments against the syllogism and definition of categories.

Later, I took a class on writing your senior thesis paper for religious studies. I sat there week after week and listened to my peers complain about how fundamentalist Christians were ruining this country by imposing their beliefs upon others and how they were writing a paper which proved that they in doing so were transgressing the Establishment clause.

They all struck me as hypocrites, for they were just as willing to impose their fundamental beliefs on others. So I wrote a paper in which I argued that the first amendment's religion clauses were irrational and illogical, because there cannot be a definition of religion in general that doesn't establish a faith, and that moreover, all laws are establishments of a faith. I did so by tinkering and improving Ibn Taymiyyah's arguments (which were fallacious as they existed in the book by the way. My paper was a call to honesty over our political motivations. I was practically chased out of the religious studies department for writing and standing by this paper.

I am also sorry about any hard feelings you might have had. Good luck with your endeavors as well.

Kevin Jones said...

Kenneth Craycraft's _The American Myth of Religious Freedom_ also zeroed in on the problems of having the regime define "religion" and "freedom." I haven't re-read it, but in retrospect it reminds me of a mush of Stanley Fish and Leo Strauss.

Don't know if I've heard of Ibn Taymiyyah before. He sounds a bit like Al-Ghazali. Does he show up in Etienne Gilson's The Unity of Philosophical Experience? (There's another book I have to re-read.)