January 16, 2018
Forty-five years ago, on January 22, 1973, the U. S. Supreme Court decided the case Roe v. Wade thereby overturning all state laws and legalizing abortion on demand across the United States. Beginning the following January, a small group began what they called The National March for Life. Since then, the March has grown into a vast gathering on the Mall in Washington, DC and in cities across the country protesting the legalized murder of the innocents in their mothers’ wombs.
Rather than viewing abortion as an isolated issue, it’s important to remember that the desire for sex without the consequence of children is part of a much larger cultural crisis, a cultural crisis Pope Paul VI outlined in Humanae Vitae.
While Humanae Vitae is known as that encyclical about birth control, the issues it raises apply directly to abortion as well. Wyoming Catholic College theologian, Dr. Jeremy Holmes joins us this week to talk about the encyclical and its relationship to abortion.
January 9, 2018
The story of Tobit takes place during the exile in Assyria. When Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army took the people of Judah and Jerusalem into captivity, the people went with God’s promise of return. Two hundred years earlier, when the Assyrians captured Israel, that is, the Northern Kingdom, the people went into exile with no such promise or hope of returning. The so-called “ten lost tribes,” already thoroughly paganized in their religion, simply assimilated into Assyrian society.
But not Tobit. Though exiled, living in Nineveh, and working for the king, he had not apostatized like his fellow Israelites. He followed the Lord wholeheartedly and kept His commands carefully. Like Job he was brought low and like Job he finally saw his vindication.
Dr. Kent Lasnoski taught Tobit to Wyoming Catholic College freshmen during the fall semester.
January 2, 2018
“The answers to the errors of modern times need to be given in philosophy and theology,” wrote Dr. Benjamin Lockerd, “but it is essential that our students also experience the truth imaginatively.”
This is the third and final installment in our podcast series on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the Wyoming Catholic College 2017-18 Book of the Year. It’s a book that highlights the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts and one we especially recommend that you read and study.
Our guest on this third podcast is Dr. Benjamin Lockerd, Professor of English at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Lockerd is a member of the Wyoming Catholic College Catholic Scholars Advisory Board.
December 26, 2017
Wandering lost in a wild land on Christmas Eve, Sir Gawain prayed, “I beg of you, O Lord, and Mary, that most merciful of mothers, and most dear, find me safe lodgings in some house, devoutly to hear Mass, and then your matins tomorrow morning. I meekly ask you, and to this purpose I promptly pray my Pater and my Ave, and Creed.”
Last week we looked at the fourteenth century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from a literary point of view. Our college president Dr. Glenn Arbery helped us understand the story, its structure, and its context.
But the anonymous author of the tale about Sir Gawain was interested in more than telling a good story. He had a clear theological and spiritual purpose as well. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an intensely Christian poem. To help us understand how that’s the case, our guest this week is theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski.
December 19, 2017
It was Christmas time, and King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table gathered to celebrate the courted Camelot. Amid the merriment and mirth of New Year's Eve, a huge knight rode into the festive hall. He was clad in green armor that perfectly matched his green hair, green skin, and green horse. With him, he brought a holly branch, a huge battle ax, and a strange game.
Beginning this year, Wyoming Catholic College will select a book of the year, some work that highlights the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts. This year's book of the year is the anonymous 14th century masterpiece, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, wrote JRR Tolkien, “Is a romance, a fairy tale for adults, full of life and color.” In this, the first of three podcasts on the poem, Dr. Glenn Arbery, president of Wyoming Catholic College introduces us to this strange tale.
December 12, 2017
December 15 is Bill of Rights Day and when we asked political philosopher, Dr. Virginia Arbery if she’d be willing to talk with us about the Bill of Rights, she said she’d be happy to talk about rights, but rather than the Bill of Rights, she suggested we discuss Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Twain’s story about the friendship and travels of Huck, a runaway boy and Jim a runaway slave explores right and wrong, freedom and bondage, conscience rightly formed and conscience poorly formed, rights and responsibilities.
Dr. Arbery is Associate Professor of Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College.
December 5, 2017
St. Athanasius was born in Alexandria, Egypt to Christian parents in about AD 298. From the time he was five until he was fourteen, he lived through the great and final persecution of Christians by Imperial Rome. As one scholar puts it, “All through the most impressionable years of his childhood he had not only learnt the Christian faith, he had seen it in action [in the lives of martyrs]. He had faced the possible of martyrdom himself; and he had made his own the faith for and by which the martyrs died….”
Athanasius, insofar as he is known at all, is remembered most for being the great polemicist who defended the Trinity and the deity of Christ against the wildly popular Arian heresy that denied both. Athanasius contra mundum, Athanasius against the world. Yet when he was a young man, before the advent of the theological controversy with the Arians, Athanasius wrote a delightful little catechetical book for his friend Macarius, On the Incarnation.
During this the first week of Advent, theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes joins us to discuss that delightful and accessible book.
November 28, 2017
In his poem “Invictus” (Latin for “Unconquered”) William Earnest Henley famously proclaimed, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
Henley sentiment expresses well the spirit of the age we live in more than one hundred twenty-five years after he penned those words. Our culture feeds our desire for autonomy and individualism. The rugged individual who blazes his or her own trail needing and depending only on but what Henley called, “my unconquerable soul” is today’s heroic cultural icon.
In his book Dependent Rational Animal: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre takes aim at that kind of wishful human autonomy expressed in Henley’s poem. Wyoming Catholic College Academic Dean, Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski has been reading MacIntyre with our juniors and is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.
November 21, 2017
Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit, was born in 1844 in Essex, England and died in 1889 in Dublin, Ireland. And while none of his poems were published during his lifetime, when they were published beginning in 1918, he was immediately heralded as one of the greatest poets of the Victorian Era.
Each year Wyoming Catholic College freshmen memorize, among other poems, Hopkin’s “Pied Beauty” and with him give thanks to God “for dappled things.”
Their enthusiastic, poetry-reciting professor is Dr. Jason Baxter who is our guest for this Thanksgiving edition of The After Dinner Scholar.
Wyoming Catholic College Poetry Anthology:
- “To an Athlete Dying Young,” A. E. Housman
- “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” John Keats
- “God’s Grandeur,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
- “The world is too much with us,” William Wordsworth
- “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Robert Frost
- “What a piece of work is a man,” William Shakespeare
- Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare
- “Spring and Fall,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
- “Pied Beauty,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
- “Ozymandias,” Percy Shelly
- “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars,” Richard Lovelace
- Holy Sonnet XIV (“Batter my heart”), John Donne
- “Love III,” George Herbert
- General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
- “The quality of mercy is not strained,” William Shakespeare
- “Sonnet 94,” William Shakespeare
- “For once then, Something,” Robert Frost
- “The Tyger,” William Blake
- “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” William Butler Yeats
- “When you are old,” William Butler Yeats
- “Because I could not stop for death,” Emily Dickinson
- “Fire and Ice,” Robert Frost
- “The Second Coming,” William Butler Yeats
November 14, 2017
What does it mean to be alive? How does the life of a pine tree differ from the life of a puppy differ from the life of a person? What is it that we possess through life, but lose in death? Is it a soul? And if so, what exactly is a soul?
In De Anima, On the Soul, Aristotle explored these questions, questions that while seemingly abstract remain critical to many of our current debates. The definition of “to be alive” is central to questions of abortion and euthanasia and the way we understand the human body and the human soul inform what we think about sexuality and marriage.
Our guest this week, Wyoming Catholic College philosophy professor Dr. Michael Bolin, specializes in the work of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. He is currently teaching De Anima to Wyoming Catholic College sophomores.