The After Dinner Scholar
Stay a While: Holy Week and Good Friday with Dr. Jim Tonkowich

Stay a While: Holy Week and Good Friday with Dr. Jim Tonkowich

April 12, 2022

There was a time, remarked twentieth century theologian Karl Rahner, when people were “full of life’s joy, satisfied and carefree, and they celebrated Mardi Gras in the streets and laughed the laughter that still came from the heart.  Therefore, they could presumably experience a brief period of recollection, of contemplative seriousness, and of ascetic restraint from life’s luxuries as a beneficial change from everyday life and for the good of the soul.” In such a world, Lent and Holy Week made sense. Dr. Jim Tonkowich asks, "Do they still make sense?"

Sacred Signs and Spiritual Life with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

Sacred Signs and Spiritual Life with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

April 5, 2022

This is spring Outdoor Week at Wyoming Catholic College and as a result our campus is a bit of a ghost town. Students are spending the week canyoneering, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, learning to hunt, and producing Shakespeare’s “Richard III.”

As a college, we take educating the bodies of our students as seriously as we take educating their minds and spirits. That’s why, as we approach Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we are rebroadcasting an interview with Dr. Kent Lasnoski about Romano Guardini's book Sacred Signs and the importance of the physical in our spiritual lives.

On the Annunciation with Msgr. Daniel Seiker

On the Annunciation with Msgr. Daniel Seiker

March 22, 2022

 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:26-28)

The 2022 Solemnity of the Annunciation falls on this coming Friday, March 25. That day we remember Gabriel’s visit to Mary, his message, and her response: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And so Mary became the Mother of God and, as she sang in the Magnificat, “all generations will call me blessed.”

Monsignor Daniel Seiker is our Latin rite chaplain here a Wyoming Catholic College tells us about this great holy day for us.

The Angelic Doctor: An Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas with Dr. Michael Bolin

The Angelic Doctor: An Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas with Dr. Michael Bolin

January 25, 2022

The story goes that the church sacristan overheard Thomas Aquinas speaking in prayer before the crucifix. Thomas was asking whether all he had written about the Christian faith was correct. “You have spoken well of me, Thomas,” came the audible answer, “What is your reward to be.” Thomas replied, “Non nisi te, Domini. Nothing but You, Lord.”

On January 28 we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas and while most Catholics know that he has a special place in the Church, we may not appreciate how great a place he occupies.

Dr. Michael Bolin has been studying Thomas Aquinas at least a far back as his undergraduate days at Thomas Aquinas College. This week, he'll give us a kind of crash course in the life and teaching of The Angelic Doctor.

Magi, Baptism, and Marriage: Celebrating Epiphany with Fr. James Schumacher

Magi, Baptism, and Marriage: Celebrating Epiphany with Fr. James Schumacher

January 4, 2022

“What are you doing, O Magi?” asked St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “Do you adore a little Babe, in a wretched hovel, wrapped in miserable rags? Can this Child be truly God? … Are you become foolish, O Wise Men … Yes, these Wise Men have become fools that they may be wise!”

With the presents snug in their new homes, the wrapping paper recycled, the New Year’s Eve noisemakers silent, the so-called “holiday season” spent, we can breath a sigh of relief and look forward to celebrating Epiphany.

Epiphany, a solemnity, means “showing” and the Church draws our attention to the Three Magi, to John the Baptist, to Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine. “Can this Child be truly God?” Epiphany a firm and reliable, “Yes!”

Wyoming Catholic College faculty, staff, and in-town alumni attend Holy Rosary parish here in Lander. This week, our pastor, Fr. James Schumacher gives us some insights on the celebration of Epiphany.

”Cur Deus Verba”: Reflections on the Incarnation with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

”Cur Deus Verba”: Reflections on the Incarnation with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

December 21, 2021

The third century theologian Origen wrote concerning God becoming man, “The human understanding with its narrow limits is baffled, and struck with amazement at so mighty a wonder knows not which way to turn, what to hold to, or whither to betake itself… To utter these things in human ears and to explain them by words far exceeds the powers we possess either in our moral worth or in mind and speech.”

Wyoming Catholic College theologian and Bible scholar, Dr. Jeremy Holmes quotes Origen in his book Cur Deus Verba: Why the Word became Words. On the one hand, what can we say as we contemplate the mystery of God, the Creator of all things, as a swaddled new-born lying in a bed of straw?

On the other hand, while words are not fully sufficient, if we are to obey the commandment to love God with our minds, we can surely—we must surely—say something.

Creation and Preservation in St. Thomas Aquinas with Dr. Travis Dziad

Creation and Preservation in St. Thomas Aquinas with Dr. Travis Dziad

October 12, 2021

While Genesis 2 tells us that on the seventh day God rested, Thomas Aquinas noted, “It would seem that God did not rest on the seventh day from all His work. For it is said (John 5:17), ‘My Father worketh until now, and I work.’ God indeed ‘worketh until now’ by preserving and providing for the creatures He has made, but not by the making of new ones.”

Perhaps taking a cue from Aquinas, the hymnist wrote, “What God’s almighty power hath made His gracious mercy keepeth.” God made all things and preserves all things whatever “preserves all things” means.

Wyoming Catholic College theologian, Dr. Travis Dziad has been considering this question for some time now taking St. Thomas as his guide.

Knowing God Through Reason and Revelation with Prof. Kyle Washut

Knowing God Through Reason and Revelation with Prof. Kyle Washut

September 21, 2021

In the first chapter of his letter to the Christians in Rome, St. Paul wrote, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

History bears out the truth of St. Paul’s statement. You don’t need a Bible to know that God exists and that he is eternal, powerful, intelligent, just, and creative. We all live on the same planet, see the same nature, and are able to come to the same obvious conclusions—even if some people refuse.

Nonetheless, Christianity is not a nature religion. It is a revealed religion. God has spoken through the words of the inspired writers of Scripture and through the Church.

So where are the boundaries between what any human can understand about God through reason and what requires revelation?

Prof. Kyle Washut has been discussing just that with our Wyoming Catholic College sophomores as they read St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae together.

Understanding the Trinity with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

Understanding the Trinity with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

August 10, 2021

Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner wrote, “Christians are, in their practical life, almost mere ‘monotheists.’ We would never know they believed in the Trinity, because nothing about their lives reflects trinitarian engagement.”

While Christians are monotheists—that is we believe in only one God—we are not what Rahner called mere monotheists. We believe there is one God who exists eternally as a Trinity of Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity,” as the hymnist put it.

On May 4, our podcast featured this week's guest, Dr. Jeremy Holmes, talking about his new book Cur Deus Verba: Why the WORD Became Words. The book is a theology of Scripture, but it begins with a chapter entitled “Why God Created: The Trinity.” 

Faith and Reason in Benedict XVI’s The Regensburg Address with Dr. Michael Bolin

Faith and Reason in Benedict XVI’s The Regensburg Address with Dr. Michael Bolin

May 25, 2021

When he delivered his “Regensburg Address” in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI set off a firestorm of anger. Not only had he criticized Islam and modern scientism, he had the temerity to suggest that what the world really needs is Catholicism. Nearly fifteen years later, sound far less profligate and far more prophetic.

Of course, the Regensburg Address was not primarily about Islam or about scientism. Pope Benedict argued for the place of reason in human life. Without it, we either end up with subjective religiosity ungoverned by reason and leading toward fanaticism or we limit reason to mathematics and physics leading to a cold, calculated science that erases religion and morality and with them our humanity.

Dr. Michael Bolin read Pope Benedict’s Regensburg Address with our Wyoming Catholic College seniors in the weeks before graduation.

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