A Godly Humanism

A Godly Humanism: Clarifying the Hope That Lies Within

Francis Cardinal George
Copyright Date: 2015
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt15zc91j
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  • Book Info
    A Godly Humanism
    Book Description:

    For Francis Cardinal George, the Catholic Church is not a movement, built around ideas, but a communion, built around relationships. In A Godly Humanism, he shares his understanding of the Church in lively, compelling prose, presenting a way to understand and appreciate the relationships of God to human beings and of human beings to one another. These loving relationships are continually made present to us in and through the Church, from the time of Jesus' first disciples down to our own day. We are introduced to how the spiritual and intellectual life of Christians, aided in every generation by the Holy Spirit working through the Apostles and their successors, resist the danger of splitting apart from one another. Though they take different outward forms at different times, both wisdom and holiness are made possible for every Christian of every station of life. Sign-posting his conversation by the milestones of his own spiritual and intellectual journey, Cardinal George invites us to view the Church and her history in ways that go beyond the categories of politics - through which we find merely human initiative, contrivance, and adjustment - and rather to see the initiative as God's first and foremost. God is the non-stop giver, we are non-stop recipients of his gifts, and the recent popes, no less than the Father of the Church, have made every effort to make us aware of the graces - that is, of the unearned benefits - that God confers on us as Catholics, as Christians, as believers, and simply as human persons. Pope Francis, he reminds us, contrasts human planning with God's providence, and this book is at once an exposition of that providence and a personal response of gratitude for the way it has operated in one man's life.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2778-8
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface and Retrospective
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Francis Cardinal George
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Saints in Catholic Intellectual Life
    (pp. 1-17)

    The full body of reflection on the truths of the Catholic faith represents the collected wisdom of intelligent and holy men and women from every part of the world over two millennia. Its tributaries include thousands of years of ancient Jewish experience as well as the cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt; it draws on the entire heritage of classical Greece and Rome, the civilizations of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the scientific revolution, romanticism, modernism, and our globalized postmodern culture. Briefly put, there is nothing quite like it.

    The Catholic intellectual tradition is universal in scope and synthetic...

  6. CHAPTER 2 An Integrated Life
    (pp. 18-44)

    The catholic intellectual tradition begins with Catholics who become intellectuals or intellectuals who become disciples of Christ in his body the Church. But because both discipleship and the intellectual life are universal in scope, the life and worth of Catholic intellectuals is lived in the Church and in society at large. The institutionalization of that conversation between the human intellect and the faith that comes to us from the apostles began with the conversion of philosophers in ancient Rome and moved, over the centuries, from their schools and their coteries of disciples to the monastic schools during feudal times, then,...

  7. CHAPTER 3 How God Thinks
    (pp. 45-75)

    Thesaeculum, the area where the distinction between the profane and the sacred is played out, is the theater for two conversations. The first, between faith and culture, is important because both are ethically normative systems and, if the norms of the culture diverge too greatly from the norms of the faith, then believers live in great tension and the culture is imperfectly open to realities beyond itself. The second dialogue that takes place in thesaeculumis that between faith and reason, because faith gives us revealed truths and reason helps us to find what is true.

    If there...

  8. CHAPTER 4 A Christian Intellectual in a Post-Christian Society
    (pp. 76-100)

    Our sense of what it means to be free in public life in modern times was set forth in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. In the German city of Cologne, there’s a small church right next to the famous cathedral. The church’s chapel is dedicated to St. Stephen and is under the pastoral care of the Dominican friars. It houses the tomb of St. Albert the Great. Albert was not originally buried there, and when they moved his body from its former grave, they opened his casket and found still-very-well-preserved vestments, most of his crozier, and his bones. Being...

  9. CHAPTER 5 A Christian Intellectual and the Moral Life
    (pp. 101-128)

    It is commonplace to note that, since the years of the Second Vatican Council, our world has changed culturally, morally, politically, ecclesiastically. At the close of the Council, there was not a single country outside the totalitarian world in which abortion on demand was licit. The great ideological battles of the time took place between the still vigorous Communist world and the Western democracies. Soviet premier Khrushchev threatened in 1956 that the economic machine of the Soviet Union would “bury” the West—and many Western intellectuals continued to believe that the Marxist-Leninist organization of the state offered the best hope...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Education That Integrates Culture and Religion
    (pp. 129-144)

    In the united states, at the mention of “religion,” what people often think of first is a moral code. We’re a pragmatic people; we’re practical people; we’re concerned about how to do things and how to act. In fact, pragmatism as a philosophy argues that theorizing follows action. Whereas classical Western wisdom stresses the thinking first and only thereupon the action that follows, Americans are very strong on action, and when it comes to defining religion, we tend to divide religions according to how they influence people’s behavior. Is it a “strict” religion? Is it an “easy” religion? What does...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Integrating the Second Vatican Council
    (pp. 145-164)

    Words both report and create realities. Taking the Second Vatican Council at its word, it was called to change the world by changing the Church so that she could talk to everyone. The pastoral and intellectual challenge is to be effectively engaged in shaping the world without being simply co-opted or caught up in the perspective of the age itself. Believers cannot be a closed cell of votaries talking only to themselves, but neither are they to be chaplains to the status quo. The Church’s pastoral and intellectual challenge, along with offering personal direction to believers, is to have a...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Recent Popes and the Renewal of Catholic Intellectual Life
    (pp. 165-192)

    If the second vatican council’s contribution to the dialogue between faith and reason in our day has to be understood as a word of continuity in principle, with recognition of discontinuity in situations, then it is equally important to recognize how the situation has been redefined by the Magisterium and ministry of Pope St. John Paul II. Seldom has a papacy been so grounded in guiding the conversation between faith and reason and in showing how, in the life of the pope himself, intellectual and spiritual lives are intertwined.

    In the American scheme of things, the pope is often regarded...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 193-198)
  14. Index
    (pp. 199-207)