2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Evangelii Gaudium

By Popular Demand, we have decided to discuss Evangelii Gaudium next (after a brief break).

So get reading: the English text may be found here.

I suggest we read the Introduction and Chapter One, then make some interim comments, then proceed etc.

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Gravissimum educationis

After a bit of a break, let us resume with Gravissimum educationis: Vatican ll’s text on religious education.  I am suggesting this as there has been a lot of discussion (cf Mark Lambert’s, Ttony’s and my blogs, inter alia) and I thought this might be relevant.  I haven’t read it yet, so don’t know what to expect.

The English text can be found here, and the Latin here.

If anyone would like to suggest questions or themes to discuss, feel free!

It looks rather shorter than some of the other texts we have read, which I find comforting…

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Next text

Having looked back at our poll, I would like to propose that we read Veritatis Splendor. The English text can be found here, and the Latin, here.

However, based on the discussions following our reading of Gaudiem et Spes, I also propose that we read it one section at a time, have a discussion on each section, and then, when we get to the end, see if we can pull the threads together.

Therefore I propose we read the Introduction and Chapter One (say by next weekend?); then the rather longer Chapter 2 (over the following fortnight – to allow some time for discussion of Ch 1) and so on. We should be able to read the whole letter in this way in 3 chunks, over, say 6 weeks, and (maybe) not be too overwhelmed.

If anyone wants to post a few questions to start the discussion, either now or as they read it, that would help. I shall try to remember to do so.

If anyone thinks this a bad idea, feel free to say so – but you will need a counter-suggestion!

Ben T.

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Gaudium et Spes

1. Fundamental Moral Theology.

The Second Vatican Council called for moral theology to be renewed by “a more vivid contact with the mystery of Christ” (Optatum totius, n. 16). The last of the Council documents, Gaudium et Spes, so important for moral theology, has a structure in part 1 which is Christocentric.

Looking at the human person, human society, man in relation to the world the Council examines the moral questions about each which people see as central and offers to people of good will throughout the world an answer which in every case is centred on Jesus Christ.

Thus, “it is only in the light of the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear” (GS. 22), the communitarian dimension of man “is perfected and fulfilled in the work of Jesus Christ” (GS. 32), the transformation of the world will enter its perfection “when the Lord comes” (GS. 32), since the Church proclaims that “the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of human history is to be found in its Lord and Master” (GS. 10). We will never adequately understand any of the critical issues of our time except “in the light of revelation” (GS. 33), “in the light of the Gospel” (GS. 43) of Christ.
Question 1. Read Gaudium et Spes, nn. 11-22 or 22-32 or 33-39. How is the Council open to all people of good will and yet truly Christocentric?
Question 2. Read Gaudium et Spes nn. 13, 27, 37, 39. List the ways in which sin affects us as persons, in society and in our work, both internally and externally.
Question 3. Read Gaudium et Spes, nn. 14, 35 with a view to understanding of ‘nature’ and ‘natural law’. What comprises ‘human nature’ according to these passages of Gaudium et Spes? How does this compare to Sollicitudo rei socialis, nn.15, 30, and Humanae Vitae, n. 14? How can revelation give us a deeper and clearer understanding of the moral demand: How is our social dimension as human beings deepened by considering us as “the only creatures God wanted for His own sake” (GS. 24)? Does this affect the view of man as being “by his innermost nature a social being” (GS. 28)? How does it affect our view of the role of work (GS. 34)? How are our efforts on this earth related to the realisation of the Kingdom of God in its fullness (GS. 38-39)?

Question 4. What specific moral absolutes are given in Gaudium et Spes n. 27?

Question 5. Read Gaudium et Spes, nn. 16-17, 51 (if you want, you can cross reference Dignitatis humanae, nn. 2-3). When does acting wrongly through ignorance or error excuse and when does it not? On what basis is this? When someone acts contrary to God’s will through invincible ignorance, does he commit sin? Does his conscience lose its dignity? Does he have a right to follow an invincibly erroneous conscience? If so, are there any limits to that right?

(Introduction and questions courtesy of Mark Lambert @sitsio)

Gaudium et spes in English can be found here  The Latin text may be found here.

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Next text… by popular demand!

It seems clear from the poll that Gaudium et Spes should be our next text. So I propose that we read this over the next week or so, and that someone (ideally not me) should undertake to post some discussion questions towards the end of that period. Gaudium et Spes may be found here. The Latin text is here

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Poll – what shall we read next?

Since I posted what next?, we have had a number of suggestions.  I have added to these thing that were mentioned earlier on the blog, to create this entertaining and useful poll…

What should we read next?

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What next?

Thanks for all the comments in response to the Review and Reflection post.

What come through clearly is that people would like to continue with this reading group, but nobody has a strong sense of what we should read next.

I liked Lazarus’ suggestion of listing a few things to read over the coming months, as well as Hugh’s that we could look at earlier Church documents and other genres.

I think in many reading groups, people take it in turns to suggest a book to read, which is good as it leads one to read things one might otherwise not have read.  So I would like to suggest that as a Modus Operandi.

So I propose we all suggest one thing we’d like to get everyone to read and discuss, and then we agree a sequence for them (it may be when all the suggestions are in that there is some logical sequence which suggests itself).

To set the ball rolling, I am going to suggest Gaudium et Spes, simply because I am sure I’ve read it, but really can’t remember any of it, so think it would repay further attention.

Please pitch in with your suggestions – ideally before Thursday when I’m off to Chartres, so we can agree where we are going next before I leave.

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Review and Reflection

Ttony recently tweeted asking when we would close the discussion on Sacrosanctum Concilium. I think he is right that now is the time to ask that and some other questions, including reviewing how it’s going so far.

Since the SC post was posted on 4 May, we have had 36 comments from 8 contributors. The 8 contributors are:

  • Idle Rambler
  • Part Time Pilgrim
  • Ben Trovato
  • Ttony
  • Marc Puckett
  • Lazarus
  • Mark Lambert
  • Patti Fordyce

We have had 556 visits to the site overall.

Some of the questions that present themselves:

1 Has this been a useful and/or interesting discussion?

2 Have we learned anything about having this kind of online reading group which might help us do it better next time (if there is a next time – see 3 below)?

3 Do we want to continue with another text?

4 If the answer to 3 is yes, what text? And who would like to write an introductory post (and take on joint moderator status to approve posts etc)?

5 Do we declare discussion on SC closed, or allow people to continue to contribute indefinitely?

I am sure there are other questions we would usefully consider, so please add them in the Comms Box.

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