November 29th, 2006

I See You!

Personal/Theological Notebook: More Rumour; AP Story on First Day of Benedict XVI's Trip to Turkey

Running back out to the library. Quick notes:

1) As best as I've been able to determine at this point, it seems that the story of my death might have started with Chicago thespian and former student Caitlin Costello who read about a Mike Novak – presumably in Milwaukee? – who had broken his back in an accident. That seems a natural-enough mistake, although it certainly gave me a bizarre day here in going around making sure the Graduate School and Financial Aid, much less the Department of Theology were reassured about my continued presence.

2) One of the cashiers in the Walgreens downstairs started a loud to-do with customers and co-workers about which movie star I resembled. It's all been about Adrian Brody since he came to the fore, so I assumed it was more of that, but this was denied. When Jules and Sara were over the other night, they both opined that I had "a Luke Wilson thing going," which I don't see at all: when I tried to use the fact that they both dig Luke Wilson to try to pick the both of them up right there on the spot, I discovered I didn't have that much of a Luke Wilson thing going. I tossed out his name to the cashier, too, since it was recently in my mind, but that was shot down, too. Turns out that it was back to the old stand-by of Nicholas Cage, which I hadn't heard since Brody did The Pianist. The whole thing was loud, bizarrely enthusiastic, and slightly mortifying.

3) First main news story from the much-anticipated and commmented-upon papal trip to Turkey:

Pope Urges Leaders to Renounce Violence
Nov 28, 4:32 PM (ET)

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI urged leaders of all religions Tuesday to "utterly refuse" to support any form of violence in the name of faith, while Turkey's top Muslim cleric complained to the pontiff of growing "Islamophobia" in the world.

As he began his first visit to a Muslim country - a trip that drew extraordinary security but few onlookers - Benedict sought a careful balance as he extended friendship and brotherhood to Muslims, hoping to end the outcry from many Muslims over his remarks linking Islam to violence.

He expressed support for Turkey's efforts to join the European Union, moving away from opposition he voiced when he was a cardinal.

But the German pope also hammered away at key points of his 18-month papacy, telling diplomats that leaders of all religions must "utterly refuse to sanction recourse to violence as a legitimate expression of faith."

He avoided mention of any specific religion, even as he decried terrorism and the "disturbing conflicts across the Middle East."

Benedict also said guarantees of religious freedom are essential for a just society, and the Vatican said he raised specific issues such as property rights of Turkey's tiny 32,000-member Catholic community during talks with Turkish officials.

His comments could be reinforced later during the four-day visit when the pope meets in Istanbul with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians.

The pope is expected to call for greater rights and protections for Christian minorities in the Muslim world, including the small Greek Orthodox community in Turkey.

Collapse )
Modernity: Yearning For The Infinite

Theological Notebook: Getting Ready for the "Modernity: Yearning for the Infinite" Conference

Well, I'm packing and still plugging away at my presentation for the annual Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture conference, this year's topic being Modernity: Yearning for the Infinite, and my paper topic being called either "The Idea of Modernity in Gaudium et Spes" or "Vatican II: Gaudium et Spes and the Idea of Modernity," depending on where you look for the title.

The opener tomorrow, being the annual Josef Pieper Keynote Lecture, will likely be a high-energy event with the famed philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, of the University of Notre Dame, speaking on the topic of "Islam, Modernity and Us," which could hardly hope to be more timely. What other adjectives might be applied to it will remain to be seen. Given the self-confessed MacIntyre fans that were making a bit of noise on this page a week or two ago, I might try to make a digital recording of the lecture for you lot.

So is anyone going to be there? Last year, it was practically a LiveJournal meet-and-greet, which was great fun, with even the oddity of having lost_romanov attending my paper, before we "met" on LiveJournal. This year, it sounds like a lot of people who wanted to be there just can't be, for one reason or another. Myself, I am fascinated by the historiographical and cultural questions involved in identifying and contrasting Modernity and Post-Modernity, so I'm guaranteed oodles of academic fun. But it would have also been fun to see people, too. I might get a chance to see some of my former high school students, but as far as I know that's it. In fact, one of my former students – the best guy we ever had in Theology at Saint Joe – is the moderator for my session, being some kind of budding philosopher/intern for the Center. He also got married last summer, which boggles my mind....