Notes on the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche, and gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
Father Nicolás said that since his election, he had been reading the newspapers more than usual and has found some of the comments about his election entertaining, some absolutely false and others right on the mark.
He said that a Spanish newspaper had been looking for his report card from a school he attended only one year at the age of 10.
"It's terrible, that year I failed two subjects - geography and another that I don't remember," he said.
Other newspapers, he said, have tried to imply that there is "a theological distance between me and (Pope) Benedict XVI," when, in fact, Father Nicolás' own theological studies included the then-Father Ratzinger's textbooks, which "were highly interesting and had a newness and an inspiration that all of us recognized."
"The distance is a theory in the imagination of those who have written it," the superior general said.
He said he had read several articles comparing him to Father Pedro Arrupe, who led the Jesuits [from] 1965-83, and Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, his immediate predecessor.
"However, no one has yet said I'm 10 percent Elvis Presley, although one could say this and it wouldn't surprise me. But I think this is all false," he added.
This week's issue of The Tablet has a thoughtful article on the long-anticipated beatification of John Henry Newman, which will apparently take place this year. Monsignor Roderick Strange, the rector of the Pontifical Beda College and author of a newly-published book on Newman, believes that the life story of the convert-cardinal confirms the verdict of Pope Benedict XVI that "holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned." However, holiness does consist in faithfully following God in spite of the challenges and setbacks one may encounter. In this sense, as Monsignor Strange writes, Newman provides an inspiration and a model:
In particular there is [Newman's] witness to holiness, his fidelity throughout a long, often difficult, life. As an Anglican, the hopes he had cherished for the Church of England collapsed and his reception into the Catholic Church brought about a terrible parting from many of his dearest friends.For the rest of the article, click here. Much of Monsignor Strange's focus is on Newman's journey from Anglicanism to Catholicism and on the implications that his beatification may have for relations between Catholics and Anglicans today. For my part, I'm delighted that Cardinal Newman's beatification is moving forward at last, and I'm looking forward to celebrating the event. AMDG.
Then during his Catholic years he had to endure persistent hardships: he was tried for libel and found guilty by a prejudiced jury; the university he founded in Dublin faltered because he was denied the support he needed to make the venture succeed; he was asked to become editor of the Catholic periodical The Rambler, but almost immediately, at the first hint of a problem, encouraged to resign; his plans for an Oratory in Oxford were mischeviously frustrated; and there were clashes as well with Manning and other famous converts such as Fr Faber and W.G. Ward.
Newman was not blameless in all these difficulties, but he remained faithful in following what he saw as God's will for him. In his Anglican days, he expressed the matter most simply: "The planting of Christ's Cross in the heart is sharp and trying; but the stately tree rears itself aloft, and has fair branches and rich fruit, and is good to look upon."
When Newman is beatified, we will have much to celebrate.
On this 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Catholics in the United States have been asked by our bishops to pray for an end to abortion. More specifically, the U.S. edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that this date "shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life."
I spotted the following item today in the online edition of the Boston Globe:
Beatrice Mayo practiced law in Maine for more than half a century before retiring in 1994. But she never spent a day in law school.To read the rest of the article, click here. I was genuinely surprised to learn that people who "read law" the old-fashioned way can still be admitted to the bar in some states. My professors in law school gave me the impression that the self-taught lawyer was a vestige of the past, a relic that became obsolete with the growing professionalization of legal practice in the years after World War II. It doesn't take much reflection to realize that law professors would naturally have a strong interest in disabusing their students of the notion that one can practice law without having gone to law school.
After high school, Mayo went to work for an attorney and took an interest in his law books. She took the bar exam in 1940.
"She was a very smart lady, and I think she was well enough prepared that she passed it on her first try," Lloyd Lindholm recalled of his aunt, who died late last year at 92. As for her lack of a law degree, he said: "I don't think she ever felt it was a deterrent."
Self-taught lawyers have all but vanished in recent years, ending a tradition stretching back to frontier days, when prospective attorneys "read the law" under the tutelage of a practicing lawyer. Most states now require law degrees to join the bar.
The best known self-taught attorney was Abraham Lincoln, who began his studies after getting elected to the Illinois Legislature in 1834. He borrowed legal books from a fellow lawmaker.
. . .
States that still allow law-office study include California, Maine, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. The options are even fewer for correspondence study, which is allowed only in California, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia.
The number of self-taught lawyers has dropped, even as a wealth of material about the law has become available on the Internet.
Nationwide, only 44 applicants who did law-office study took the bar exam in 2006, the last year for which figures are available. Of those, 18 passed, a success rate of 41 percent, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
By contrast, 74,215 people with law school degrees took the test, and 71 percent were successful.
As I pray for the members of the 35th General Congregation as they prepare to elect a new superior general, I thought I should spend some time reflecting on the sections of the Jesuit Constitutions dealing with the election of the General. You might appreciate taking a look at these as well, and those of who you are praying for the Society in this time of transition may find the following text particularly helpful. Quoted below are excerpts from the text of Chapter 6 of Part VIII of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, in the English translation issued by the Institute of Jesuit Sources in 1996. The title of Chapter 6 is, appropriately enough, "The Manner of Reaching a Decision in the Election of a General."
. . . and back to blogging, after an unanticipated two-week hiatus. The chief reason that this is the first post of 2008 is that I've been on the go nearly constantly since my last post and haven't spent much time before a computer screen. The Jesuit formation gathering at Milford went well - it was great to catch up with my classmates who are studying in Chicago, and the various presentations on the themes of communication (particularly preaching) were uniformly stimulating. I didn't make it to the Taft Museum, but I did get to see the Krohn Conservatory and had dinner one night with a few other Jesuits at a fine Thai restaurant in Cincinnati's Mount Adams neighborhood. After a brief return home to Massachusetts, I flew to Montreal where I met up with a couple other scholastics from Ciszek for a four-day visit to the community where I made my retreat last year. Undaunted by piles of snow and sub-zero temperatures, I took my companions to familiar sights (like the Oratory) as well as some I'd never seen before (such as the small but well-curated Musée Marguerite Bourgeoys). I also made what will almost certainly be my last visit to the Trappist monastery at Oka, which the monks are leaving behind this summer to take up residence in quieter and smaller premises elsewhere in Quebec. All told, I had an enjoyable break, and if I have the opportunity I may soon post some pictures.