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?"
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.
“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation.”
The quotation comprises the first sentences of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby Dick, a vast, sprawling work that is about, among other things, whaling.
Dr. Elizabeth Reyes, a faculty member at Thomas Aquinas College in California was our guest lecturer here at Wyoming Catholic college in March. Her dissertation was titled: “Ishmael’s Cetological Quest: A Progression of Imagination in Melville’s Moby-Dick.” Dr. Reyes was kind enough to join us for this podcast.
To hear Dr. Reyes lecture, "A Gentle Joyfulness," visit the Wyoming Catholic College website.
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 ancient Greek historian, Thucydides tells us that as the Peloponnesian War broke out, “The Athenians thus long lived scattered over Attica in independent townships. Even after the centralization of Theseus, old habit still prevailed; and from the early times down to the present war most Athenians still lived in the country with their families and households, and were consequently not at all inclined to move now, especially as they had only just restored their establishments after the Median invasion. Deep was their trouble and discontent at abandoning their houses and the hereditary temples of the ancient constitution, and at having to change their habits of life and to bid farewell to what each regarded as his native city.”
The Peloponnesian War, in fact, changed life not only in Athens, but in Sparta and the rest of Greece forever. Strong and vibrant after defeating the Medes in the early fifth century BC, their conflict with one another—431-405 BC—brought weakness and eventually conquest by Philip of Macedonia and later the Romans.
It's not just a fascinating story, but one that may well speak to us today. Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos has been teaching Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War.
In addition to Euclidian geometry, Thomistic theology, Enlightenment philosophy, rhetoric, poetry, epics, novels, and essays, an important part of a Wyoming Catholic College liberal arts education is leadership. After two weeks of the three-week backpacking expedition that serves as their initiation to the college, our freshmen are on their own. The upperclassmen leaders keep watch, but are no longer part of the freshman groups as they travel, set up camp, cook, pray, discuss, and sleep. We expect—and we get—solid leadership.
Yes, but what does that have to do with the liberal arts? As Dr. Travis Dziad, an alumnus of the college, teaches leadership, and outdoor education at the college as well as theology he is well equipped to offer some insights.
Once each semester at Wyoming Catholic College we hold All-School Seminar. Our entire community reads the same work and the student body and faculty are divided into seminar groups led by our seniors. Last week the whole college discussed Robert Bolt’s play about St. Thomas More, “A Man for All Seasons.”
More, who along with King Henry VII was a staunch defender of the Catholic faith and a favorite of the king who eventually made him Lord Chancellor. Then Henry, wanting to divorce Catherine of Aragorn, declared himself the head of the Church in England. More quit his high post hoping to avoid conflict with the king. It didn’t work.
This week, Prof. Kyle Washut discusses about All-School Seminars and “A Man for All Seasons.”
Regarding freedom, First Things editor Dr. R. R. Reno writes, “It’s a very American word. But do we understand freedom’s promise? To what end does God liberate the Israelites? What is the freedom for which Christ has set us free? Is an unhindered man a free man? Can I remain free even when held in captivity?”
For most people today, freedom means the ability to do as I wish, when I wish, as I wish, and with whomever I wish. Freedom is the sovereign self doing as it pleases. The ancient Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus sounding extremely contemporary asked, “Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish?” Then, answering his own questions, he responded, “Nothing else.”
This coming March 25 and 26 in Phoenix, Arizona First Things is sponsoring an intellectual retreat on the topic of freedom. Members of the Wyoming Catholic College faculty including Dr. Virginia Arbery will serve as seminar leaders. Dr. Arbery is our guest this week.
For more information on the First Things Intellectual Retreat on Freedom, follow this link.
Since at least 1891 when Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Rerum Novarum, the Catholic Church has debated the relationship between capital and labor. It has been and continues to be a complex and somewhat contentious one.
Not at all deterred by that, Wyoming Catholic College senior, Mr. Thomas Sponseller delivered a fine senior oration two weeks ago on the topic “Catholics in a Capitalist World: Understanding Capitalism with Catholic Social Teaching.”
One of the highlights of the academic year here at Wyoming Catholic College is Senior Oration Week. During the fall semester, each senior prepares a thesis, a major research paper on a topic of his or her choosing. Then early in the spring semester, each senior presents the thesis as a half-hour oration with an additional half hour for questions—first from a faculty panel and then from the audience.
Last week was Oration Week 2022 and our seniors did not disappoint.
Miss MaryAnne Speiss used her thesis and oration to explore a question that had been on her mind throughout her four years at Wyoming Catholic College. Her title was, “Ancient ‘Goodness’—Does God Hate It, Tolerate It, or Demand It?: Nietzsche and Lewis on Good, Evil, and Spirited Christianity.”