St. Thomas Aquinas’ “On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life” with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

February 20, 2018

St. Thomas Aquinas is known primarily as a great thinker. And indeed his works still under gird a Catholic understanding of God and the world. But for St. Thomas, thinking, teaching and writing about Sacred Scripture, theology, and philosophy were never ends in themselves. His academic work—and indeed from his point of view all his work and rest—served a higher purpose.

That higher purpose animates St. Thomas' short work, “On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life.”

“Since certain persons, knowing nothing about perfection,” he began, “have presumed to speak follies concerning the state of perfection, our purpose is to treat of perfection: what it is to be perfect; how perfection is acquired; what is the state of perfection; and what befits those who take up this state.”

Theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski has been working through “On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life with our Wyoming Catholic College seniors. Dr. Lasnoski is this week’s guest on The After Dinner Scholar.

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Lecture: Is Reading Plato Necessary for Salvation? by Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski

February 13, 2018

Each year Wyoming Catholic College sponsors our Lecture Series for all students (attendance is required), faculty, staff, and our neighbors in Lander and beyond.

On February 2, The Feast of the Presentation, Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski, our Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Humanities and Philosophy delivered a lecture entitled, “Is Reading Plato Necessary for Salvation?” and we’re delighted to offer it to you in its entirety as an After Dinner Scholar podcast.

 

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To the Ends of the Earth: The Acts of the Apostles with Prof. Kyle Washut

February 6, 2018

“To many persons,” preached St. John Chrysostom, “this Book is so little known, both it and its author, that they are not even aware that there is such a book in existence. For this reason especially I have taken this narrative for my subject, that I may draw to it such as do not know it, and not let such a treasure as this remain hidden out of sight.”

The book to which St. John Chrysostom referred was the Acts of the Apostles, the second volume in St. Luke’s telling of the story of Jesus. “In the first book, O Theophilus,” Luke wrote, “I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach.” In this second book, the Acts of the Apostles, Luke would deal with all Jesus through the Holy Spirit continued to do and teach.

Wyoming Catholic College Professor Kyle Washut has been teaching Acts to our freshmen this winter, sharing his insights and theirs with us on this installment of the After Dinner Scholar.

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Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, and the March for Life with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

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.

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Angels and Demons, Blessing and Blindness, Hope and Exile: The Book of Tobit with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

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.

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The Word Became Flesh: St. Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation” with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

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.

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What is the Soul?: Aristotle’s de Anima with Dr. Michael Bolin

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.

 

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Lumen Gentium for All Saints’ Day with Professor Kyle Washut

October 31, 2017

“The saints have no need of honour from us,” preached St. Bernard, “neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.”

Each year on November 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, remembering those brothers and sisters in Christ who lives demonstrated heroic virtue and faith. Perhaps by happy providence, perhaps by professorial cunning, Wyoming Catholic College professor Kyle Washut is teaching the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium to our seniors coming to chapter seven, “The Eschatological Nature of the Pilgrim Church and Its Union with the Church in Heaven” just in time for All Saints Day. Professor Washut is our guest this week to share what he and his students have been discussing.

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The Philosophical Side of Theology: St. Thomas’s Compendium with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

October 24, 2017

When Wyoming Catholic College sophomores take Theology 201: The Mystery of the Trinity, they’re typically surprised that before diving into the theology of the Trinity, they’re up to their ears in philosophy. God exists. God is unmovable. God is eternal. God is necessary. God is everlasting. God is simple.

Such considerations need to come first since without them, theology can lose the moorings it needs in the intellect and in the world as it is.

To help us understand the place of philosophy in our theology, our guest this week is the professor who teaches Theology 201: The Mystery of the Trinity, theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes.

Books Recommended by Dr. Holmes

  • Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas (Aquinas Institute Edition)
  • Who Designed the Designer?: A Rediscovered Path to God's Existence by Michael Augros
  • Aquinas: An Introduction to the Life and Work of the Great Medieval Thinker by F. C. Copleston
  • Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide) by Edward Feser
  • A Summa of the Summa by Thomas Aquinas and Peter Kreeft
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Religious Liberty in America with Dr. James Tonkowich

August 29, 2017

The great American experiment in religious liberty expressed in the words of the First Amendment to the Constitution was unprecedented in the eighteenth century, remains rare in the world today, and is under attack even in spite of the Constitution and the Western intellectual tradition that informed the Constitution.

Dr. James Tonkowich discusses religious liberty and introduces the free Wyoming Catholic College distance learning course "Religious Liberty in America."

To request your copy of the lectures, study guide, and Dr. Tonkowich's book The Liberty Threat, fill in your name and mailing address here.

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