April 25, 2017
Wyoming Catholic’s founding document, our “Philosophical Vision Statement,” talks a great deal about the imagination. “The College will,” it states, “seek to educate the whole person—the mind, heart, and imagination.”
Imagination is vital because it is the way we see the world around us, the way we image reality before we even think about it. As American humorist Mark Twain observed, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Fortunately our imaginations are not fixed, but can be properly focused for the good through worship, through study and community, and through encountering the beauty and power of Creation.
To talk about imagination and how we form Catholic imaginations in ourselves, in our students, and in our children, we have with us Dr. Glenn Arbery, President of Wyoming Catholic College.
Click here for information on "The Splendor of Imagination," Wyoming Catholic's June 11-15 conference for adult learners.
April 18, 2017
Twentieth century philosopher of history, R. G. Collingwood said that the study of history was in essence “an attempt to understand the present by reconstructing its determining conditions.” And thus it has been since the beginning of the writing of history with the author often called “The Father of History,” the ancient Greek historian Herodotus.
At Wyoming Catholic College, student's read Herodotus' sprawling account of the war between the Greeks and the Persians with Dr. Virginia Arbery, Associate Professor of Humanities. Dr. Arbery is this week's podcast guest.
N. B.: The transcript of Niall Ferguson's speech "The Decline and Fall of History" is available here.
April 11, 2017
“What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds?” asks a student as he considers murder as a road to justice. If one death could mean liberation for many, why not kill? For him it's just a hypothetical question, but at a nearby table Radion Raskolnikov listens, takes in the argument, and later kills.
In Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky considers what happens after the blood is shed: the confusion, the remorse, the justifications, the anguish, and finally in Raskolnikov's case redemption. Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski, Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Humanities here at Wyoming Catholic College has been reading Crime and Punishment with our senior class. Inthis podcast, he shares his and their insights into this exploration of the human heart.
April 4, 2017
Gothic cathedrals are certainly wonders of architectural imagination and engineering ingenuity. But, according to Dr. Jason Baxter, Wyoming Catholic College’s Assistant Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities they are far more than that.
"The Gothic Cathedral," says Dr. Baxter, "is architecture of contemplation. Born in the great age of the masters of the interior life, the cathedral gave physical shape to contemplation, but it also invited it, incited it, evoked it, performed it within. In a word, it created silence, a richness of experience that is wordless only because it is too deep for words."
March 28, 2017
“The liturgy,” wrote Fr. Romano Guardini, “is not a matter of ideas, but of actual things, and of actual things as they now are, not as they were in the past.” In order to understand the liturgy, he went on, we need to “discern in the living liturgy what underlies the visible sign, to discover the soul from the body, the hidden and spiritual from the external and material.”
Guardini was one of the towering Catholic intellectuals of the twentieth century and a major influence on the thinking of Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, and philosopher Josef Pieper. Yet in 1911, Guardini, for all his erudition, wrote a little book entitled Sacred Signs in which he gently and simply explained this connection between the material stuff of the Mass and the inner world of the spirit.
Dr. Kent Lasnoski, Assistant Professor of Theology at Wyoming Catholic College, received his Ph.D. from Marquette University, where he studied the theology of marriage and sexual ethics, that is, things both spiritual and physical. He has been teaching Guardini’s Sacred Signs to our freshmen and shares both his own and his students insights on the physical side of spirituality.
March 21, 2017
It’s a terribly misinformed, but common anti-Catholic trope: “Catholics,” it is said, “have to believe everything the pope says.”
Catholics do not have to believe “everything the pope says.” But, on the other hand, the Church teaches in Lumen Gentium, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, “In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent.” So while we don’t have to believe “everything the pope says,” when he teaches us as pope, Catholics are conscience bound, to accept his teaching and adhere to it with “a religious assent.”
What does that mean on a practical level as we hear or read papal sermons, encyclicals, exhortations, and other writings? What if we sincerely disagree with him? How do we sort it out?
March 14, 2017
John Milton’s Paradise Lost spans all of history from the fall of Satan and his angels to the creation of Adam and Eve, to the fall of man, to the cross of Christ, to the Second Coming. In A Preface to Paradise Lost, Milton scholar C. S. Lewis wrote, “Paradise Lost records a real, irreversible, unrepeatable process of the history of the universe; and even for those who do not believe this, it embodies…the great change in every individual soul from happy dependence to miserable self-assertion and thence either, as in Satan, to final isolation, or, as in Adam, to reconcilement and a different happiness.”
This week's guest, Wyoming Catholic College president Dr. Glenn Arbery, has taught Paradise Lost for many years and is currently working through the poem with our juniors.
March 7, 2017
Everything in this world changes and yet at the same time, everything seems to remain the same. That observation is hardly new. In fact, between about 625 BC and 450 BC the question of the nature of reality and the nature of motion and change were the primary focuses of the great thinkers of the era, thinkers we call the pre-Socratic philosophers.
This week, Dr. Michael Bolin, Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy who has been teaching the pre-Socratics to our freshmen here at Wyoming Catholic discusses these earliest philosophers and the ways in which they can help us understand our world and culture today.
February 28, 2017
We live, as many have commented, in a noisy world. Yet the great saints are unanimous about the need for silence if we are going to love God and our neighbors. St. Teresa of Calcutta, for example, said, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
On March 10-11, Wyoming Catholic College will host “Silence And Sacred Space: A symposium on silence in the modern world” at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago. The speakers will be college president Dr. Glenn Arbery, Associate Professor of Humanities Dr. Virginia Arbery, and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities Dr. Jason Baxter.
In anticipation of the event, Dr. Virginia Arbery was interviewed by Patrick McCormick on Relevant Radio in Chicago. Relevant Radio (relevantradio.com) was kind enough to give us permission to rebroadcast that interview in this podcast.
February 21, 2017
From the time he was a child, C. S. Lewis was steeped in what we today call “The Great Books” including Chaucer, Spencer, John Milton, and—the subject of our conversation today—Dante.
Lewis read Dante’s Inferno in Italian as a teenager. He read Purgatorio in the hospital during World War I as he recovered from wounds he received in the trenches. Then some fifteen years later—once he gave up his atheism, but before he embrace Christianity—Lewis finally read Paradiso.
This past February 3rd, Dr. Jason Baxter, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College delivered a lecture entitled “Evil Enchantment and The Weight of Glory: What Dante Taught C.S. Lewis about Poetry.” Dr. Baxter’s expertise includes not only Dante and C. S. Lewis, but all of the philosophers, poets, and writers Lewis studied and loved.