Author Archives: David

No New Thing

“To say that the present is a time of change and upheaval, social, political and religious, is to state a truism so obvious as to invite ironic contradiction. The cataclysm through which we are passing is at once so vast in its dimensions and so profound in its penetration of individual life, that we may well shrink from looking to history for guidance on circumstances to which history itself affords no parallel. Yet it is no new thing for the established manners, customs and beliefs of men to be upset. In all such times of violent transition the same great problem of the reconciliation between old and new forces itself upon the judgement of mankind, and it should not be impossible to find in the lesser crises of the past principles of thought and action which may help us to deal with the gigantic perplexities of today.” — Oliver Chase Quick, Essays in Orthodoxy 1916

Political Ideals

“Political ideals will vary according to men’s views on human destiny. Those who are persuaded that the purpose of life is pleasure, or power, or honour, will reckon that State best arranged in which they can live comfortably, or acquire great wealth, or achieve great power and lord it over many. Others who think that the crowning good of virtue is the purpose of our present life will want an arrangement under which men can live virtuously and peaceably together. In short, political judgment will be settled by the sort of life a man expects and proposes to lead by living in a community.” — St. Thomas Aquinas: Commentary on Aristotle’s ‘Politics,’ Book II, lect. 1.

In Which Case…

“You can spend your own money on yourself in which case quality and price are paramount. You can spend your money on others in which case price is paramount and quality less so. You can spend others’ money on you in which case you will have a fine lunch. Or you can spend other peoples money on other people in which case you have government.” — Milton Friedman

The Pagan Ideal

“My objection to Mr. Lowes Dickinson and the reassertors of the pagan ideal is, then, this. I accuse them of ignoring definite human discoveries in the moral world, discoveries as definite, though not as material, as the discovery of the circulation of the blood. We cannot go back to an ideal of reason and sanity. For mankind has discovered that reason does not lead to sanity. We cannot go back to an ideal of pride and enjoyment. For mankind has discovered that pride does not lead to enjoyment. I do not know by what extraordinary mental accident modern writers so constantly connect the idea of progress with the idea of independent thinking. Progress is obviously the antithesis of independent thinking. For under independent or individualistic thinking, every man starts at the beginning, and goes, in all probability, just as far as his father before him. But if there really be anything of the nature of progress, it must mean, above all things, the careful study and assumption of the whole of the past. I accuse Mr. Lowes Dickinson and his school of reaction in the only real sense. If he likes, let him ignore these great historic mysteries — the mystery of charity, the mystery of chivalry, the mystery of faith. If he likes, let him ignore the plough or the printing-press. But if we do revive and pursue the pagan ideal of a simple and rational self-completion we shall end — where Paganism ended. I do not mean that we shall end in destruction. I mean that we shall end in Christianity.” — G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

Respect and Fidelity

“Today, certainly it is important for us to show that same respect and fidelity to the Word of God, so as not to manipulate it to fit historical, political, or ideological circumstances, for the purpose of pleasing men and acquiring a reputation as a scholar or avant-garde theologian. . . . As Saint Paul says, ‘We are not like so many [who] practice cunning or. . . tamper with God’s word’ (cf. 2 Cor 2:17; 4:2).” — Cardinal Robert Sarah, God or Nothing

Fantasies

“We say that it is in believing ages that you get men living in the open and dancing and telling tales by the fire. We say that it is in ages of unbelief, that you get emperors dressing up as women, and gladiators, or minor poets wearing green carnations and praising unnameable things. We say that, taking ages as a whole, the wildest fantasies of superstition are nothing to the fantasies of rationalism.” — G. K. Chesterton, God and my Neighbour

Belief

“I have heard it confidently stated, for instance, that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution. One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.” — George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism

Contagion

“There is nothing so contagious as holiness, nothing more pervasive than Prayer. This is precisely what the traditional Church means by evangelism and what distinguishes it from recruitment.” — Fr. Martin Thornton, Pastoral Theology: A Reorientation

In Your Philosophy, Horatio

“There can be no doubt that there is an essential relation between Christian revelation and certain fundamental natural truths. The existence of objective truth, the spiritual reality of the person, the difference between soul and body, the objectivity of moral good and evil, the freedom of the will, the immortality of the soul, the existence of a personal God — all are implied by Christian revelation. Every word in the New Testament clearly presupposes these elementary truths. And any philosophy that denies them can never be accepted or tolerated by the Church.” — Deitrich von Hildebrand, Trojan Horse in the City of God (p. 62)