‹ speculatio pauperis in deserto


Fiducia supplicans presents itself as “an innovative contribution to the pastoral meaning of blessings, permitting a broadening & enrichment of the classical understanding of blessings” (emphasis original). I have already said something about how this “innovation” might fit into a Catholic theological project, particularly where doctrinal development is concerned. I’d like now to comment more broadly on the document itself & what it has to say about blessings of couples. My main takeaway from Fiducia supplicans is that all persons & couples, including but not only those couples whose relationships do not conform to the church’s expectations, stand in need of God’s love & mercy, & so spontaneous, frequent, & abundant blessing of all persons & couples ought to be a regular feature of the church’s life as “sacrament of God’s infinite love” (§43).
Clarkson University announces plan to phase out majors in humanities, communications. [Kelly] Chezum [Clarkson’s vice president for external relations] said the university has always been focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The nine majors being phased out — social documentation, history, literature, sociology, film, political science, digital arts and sciences, communications and media, and interdisciplinary liberal studies and humanities — represent less than 2% of students. Very often when programs in the humanities are cut, the cuts are justified—explicitly or not—by pointing out how few students will be affected by these cuts.
Dec 27, 2023
When I started micro blogging in 2021, I never planned to do anything but that: micro blog. I’d tried to blog before—my first website was a static site generated by Jekyll—but it had never stuck. I liked the idea of instead having a fairly low-effort, ephemeral site: a blog populated with posts about what I’m reading, quotations I’m mulling over, even some pictures, etc. For a while that’s all I did with micro.
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.
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