‹ speculatio pauperis in deserto


I’ve seen a fair amount of hand wringing over Fiducia supplicans where the consistency of church teaching & papal authority are concerned. The concern goes something like this: Fiducia supplicans, signed by Pope Francis, reaffirms the Catholic church’s historical teaching on marriage (as possible only between a woman & a man) while allowing for blessings of couples who do not conform to that teaching of marriage. This means the Catholic church will have to either forge ahead, perhaps revising its understanding of marriage to include partnerships between persons of the same gender, or pull back from Fiducia supplicans to reaffirm its historical understanding of marriage.
It was winter in Italy, eight hundred years ago, & Assisi’s poverello had an idea.1 Francis of Assisi had become obsessed with the words & deeds of Jesus Christ, his rustic parables & simple gestures that, despite (or perhaps because of) their lowliness, communicated divine majesty & awe. According to an early biographer,2 “so thoroughly did the humility of the incarnation & the charity of the passion occupy his memory that he scarcely wanted to think of anything else.
In which I watched Killers of the Flower Moon, The Blair Witch Project, & The Killing of a Sacred Deer; & read Questioning God, Ways of Seeing, Revelations of Divine Love, & Julian of Norwich, Theologian. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023). What an amazing film. I don’t even want to say much about it here, because I know I can’t do it justice in the space of a short paragraph.
I thought it might be fun at the end of each month to list the movies I’d seen that month & some thoughts about each. Rope (Alfred Hitchcock, 1948). Jacqueline & I decided to watch some Hitchcock in honor of Halloween at the end of the month. We’ve seen a few Hitchcock already, but not Rope. I enjoyed it, though it’s not my favorite of his (that remains Psycho). I love good, long scenes, & Hitchcock’s clever camera work to make the entire film seem like a single take really ratchets up the tension.
(Well, not quite Theology 101; rather, Theology & Franciscan Studies 101, which isn’t exactly an intro to theology.) I’m finally getting close to a “final form” for my sections of “The Way of Francis & Clare.” The course schedule, including reading assignments, is mostly set, but what’s really tied together the entire course is the integration of a service learning project throughout the semester. Throughout the semester, students take what they learn about Franciscan values to design, plan, & implement a service project that does some good for the local community.
Jul 24, 2023
I really enjoyed both Barbie & Oppenheimer; I plan to see both again soon, but some initial thoughts: Barbie is just so fun to watch, start to finish. The production design is stunningly detailed, the writing is weird & funny, & Ryan Gosling & Margot Robbie both deliver wonderful performances—Gosling’s wonderfully funny, & Robbie’s wonderfully subtle. Greta Gerwig adds another film to her already impressive body of work in this sensitive & delightful reflection on the human project of making meaning in the face of uncertainty & death.
How to teach a course on Francis & Clare of Assisi?1 The 101 class offered by the Department of Theology & Franciscan Studies at St. Bonaventure University is titled “The Way of Francis & Clare.” This course aims to introduce students to the Franciscan roots that underlie the mission & values of SBU by a semester-long study of the lives & writings of Francis & Clare. Teaching such a course is not without its challenges.
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