Sunday, January 8, 2006

Ken Masugi's Advent Interviews with Fr. James V. Schall

Fr. James V. Schall on Faith, Reason, and Politics, a continuation of Advent interviews with Ken Masugi of the Claremont Review of Books. See also their 2003 interview, Fr. James V. Schall on Political Philosophy, and 2002's two-part interview "which covered, among other topics, natural law, natural rights, Thucydides, Islam, and the scandals in the Catholic Church."

In this interview, Fr. Schall converses on natural disasters and theodicy in the wake of Katrina

The virtues of courage and charity were present. Not a few died in these disasters in serving and saving others . . . the bravest and the best often die serving others who are weaker"
The importance of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
. . . the most 'counter-cultural' books that we could imagine. They stand for life, for honor, for dignity, for wonder, but within a world in which real enemies exist, in which it is possible that things go wrong, very wrong, in which, indeed, it is possible to lose our souls by our own choices.
Theology in liberal education
No theologian was educated who did not know the classics in other fields. Theology concerned everyone, faculty and student, even the townspeople, no matter what else they were interested in. This centrality should still be the case, if we would understand a "university" in terms of its own very name, something that addresses itself to all knowledge, no matter from what source it might arise, even a divine one.
The notable absence of hell from contemporary theology:
A theology that neglects hell is not particularly serious . . . if a subject is good enough to be discussed by Socrates and by Christ, I figure it is worth a look
The question of modern warfare:
Failure to fight wars in time or appropriately has caused as much chaos, degradation of the human spirit, and slaughter as wars that were in fact fought. Wars are a question of justice. When justice is an obvious and paramount question, it is not a virtue to avoid them. It is the mistake of always framing the issue in terms of peace and not in terms of justice. Logically, the former cannot be had without the latter. Peace without justice is the definition of extreme tyranny. And it is not just a question of justice, but of generosity and self-sacrifice. If there are no causes worth fighting and dying for, we might as well give up pretending that we are civilized.
and, as expected, the war in Iraq:
The plan of the President and Mr. Blair is one step at a time. Set up a government in Iraq that is not in the hands of those subject to their own or to fanatic Muslim leaders. Show to Islam itself that another way is possible than the constant round of quasi military dictatorships that leave the cultural control to the religion. The current elections in Iraq are surprisingly encouraging by these standards. Not a few want to see such initiatives fail.

More interviews and articles by Fr. Schall on Ignatius Press' author page.

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