Novak (novak) wrote,

Personal/Theological Notebook: Arrival in Jackson; New Cardinals Created; Rowan Williams on Atheism

My journey to Wyoming was about as I had expected: less than three hours of sleep meant that I snoozed as best I could from the Delta hub in Cincinatti to the Delta hub in Salt Lake City. There I felt refreshed as I ran into Kevin himself, who was on his way back to Jackson from Santa Barbara, where he had been working with a client the two days previous. (This was not a surprise -- which in retrospect would have been amazingly funny and shocking -- Kev had given me the heads-up a few days later that we'd be on the same flight into Jackson.) Last night fulfilled my earlier wishes of a night of long talk, with a glass of wine, my goddaughter Sophie full of life and pleasantly taken with me, a warm fire in the wood stove and Kevin strumming along on his wedding-gift mandolin (which I'd helped Frannie pick, back in 2005) to the music quietly playing in the background. And it doesn't look like everything here is going to be lost in snow! They've taken a turn to the colder (Frannie said yesterday she started in short sleeves and sandals, and it was snowing by the time we arrived), but it doesn't look too bad....

I include below the cut two articles: one on the creation of 23 new Cardinals by Benedict XVI, and the other a news article on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams (a friend of Barnes' and an amazingly sharp theologian), which reports in not-very-substantial news story fashion on his critique of Dawkins' The God Delusion, part of that "new crop" of atheist writing that seems to be a last gasp of 18th-century Enlightenment propaganda more than anything else. If contemporary atheism thinks it's going to engage Christianity on a playing field of evidence and reason, Christianity is going to win handily. The Enlightenment critique only works with the presumption of evidence, reason, and the mystically-invoked "science" as being against "religion," which they dogmatically define, against all actual evidience, as being against reason and the use of evidence....

Pope Benedict names 23 new cardinals with a couple surprises

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2007 / 09:31 am (CNA).- As was reported yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI announced the names of the new cardinals following today’s general audience. The Holy Father’s newest selections contain a couple surprises: the first US cardinal from a Texas diocese and a break with the precedent set by Paul VI to keep the number of papal electors limited to 120 cardinals.

Pope Benedict announced the names of 23 prelates who will be made cardinals in a consistory on November 24, the eve of the Feast of Christ the King. Of the 23 new cardinals, 18 will be under the age of 80, thus bringing the total number of electors to 121.

"The new cardinals come from various parts of the world," said the Holy Father. "And the universality of the Church, with the multiplicity of her ministries, is clearly reflected in them. Alongside deserving prelates who work for the Holy See are pastors who dedicate their energies to direct contact with the faithful."

Two Americans are among the cardinals-designate, Archbishops John Foley and Daniel DiNardo. Their selection brings to 17 the number of U.S. cardinals; after the November consistory, 13 of the U.S. group will be possible papal electors.

The Holy Father also mentioned that he wished to honor a Polish bishop who died on Tuesday. "Among these, I had also intended to confer the dignity of cardinal upon the elderly Bishop Ignacy Jez of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, Poland, a worthy prelate who died suddenly yesterday. We offer a prayer for the repose of his soul."

He continued: "There are other persons, very dear to me who, for their dedication to the service of the Church, well deserve promotion to the dignity of cardinal. In the future I hope to have the opportunity to express, also in this way, my esteem and affection to them and to their countries of origin."

Benedict entrusted the future cardinals "to the protection of Mary Most Holy asking her to help each of them in their new tasks, that they may know how to bear courageous witness in all circumstances to their love for Christ and for the Church."

The new cardinal electors are as follows:
- Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
- Archbishop John Patrick Foley, pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
- Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
- Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum."
- Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City and president of the Fabric of St. Peter's.
- Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
- Archbishop Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church.
- Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente of Valencia, Spain.
- Archbishop Sean Baptist Brady of Armagh, Ireland.
- Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain.
- Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, France.
- Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, Italy.
- Archbishop Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal.
- Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India.
- Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega of Monterrey, Mexico.
- Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Odilio Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- Archbishop John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya.

Having pronounced the names of the new cardinal electors, the Pope then indicated that he had also decided to elevate to the dignity of cardinal "three venerable prelates and two worthy priests," all over the age of 80 and hence non-electors, for their "commitment and service to the Church." Their names are:

- His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq.
- Archbishop Giovanni Coppa, apostolic nuncio.
- Archbishop Estanislao Esteban Karlic, emeritus of Parana, Argentina.
- Fr. Urbano Navarrete S.J., former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
- Fr. Umberto Betti O.F.M., former rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.

Rowan Williams hits out at atheist Dawkins
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
Last Updated: 1:37am BST 15/10/2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury launched a fierce attack yesterday on the modern cult of atheism and singled out the eminent scientist Richard Dawkins.

Dr Rowan Williams responded to critics of religion by arguing that atheists had missed the point and failed to understand what Christians really believe in.

In a fierce attack on the Oxford professor and other leading atheists, he said: "There are specific areas of mismatch between what Richard Dawkins may write about and what religious people think they are doing."

He added: "There are few things more annoying than people saying 'I know what you mean'." Dr Williams described Prof Dawkins as a "lively and attractive writer" but said his arguments were not fully engaging with religion.

He suggested that Prof Dawkins, the author of the best-selling The God Delusion and a leading Darwinist, was a good scientist but a poor philosopher.

"Our culture is one that deeply praises science, so we assume because someone is a good scientist, they must be a good philosopher," he said in a lecture at Swansea University.

In a message to the critics, he said: "Don't distract us from the real arguments by assuming that religion is an eccentric survival strategy or irrational form of explanation."

When asked by an audience member "whose fault is Dawkins?", Dr Williams replied that religious believers themselves were partly to blame, adding that in the past God had often been reduced "to the kind of target Dawkins and others too easily fire at".

Dr Williams said many fellow Christians would not recognise their religion as it was described by critics.

advertisementHe said: "When believers pick up Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, we may feel as we turn the pages: 'This is not it. Whatever the religion being attacked here, it's not actually what I believe in'."

He told the audience he wasn't simply interested in defending his beliefs, but also in upholding the principle of intellectual debate.

The first argument against religion he looked at was that of it being explained as an evolutionary survival strategy, passed on through generations. Dr Williams said that Darwinian theory had wrongly been used as a way to interpret culture, not just biology, by Prof Dawkins.

He rejected Prof Dawkins's theory which assumes culture is transmitted in a similar way to biology, through "memes" as opposed to genes, and added: "I find this philosophically crass and undeveloped at best, simply contradictory and empty at worst."

Dr Williams added that to see religion as a survival strategy was to misunderstand it.

More than 1,000 people heard the lecture, both inside the auditorium and in overflow rooms nearby.

Prof Dawkins has been scathing in his assessment of Christian theology, which he has described as vacuous. In a Channel 4 programme, The Enemies of Reason, in August he said: "There are two ways of looking at the world — through faith and superstition, or through the rigours of logic, observation and evidence, through reason.

"Yet today reason has a battle on its hands. Reason and a respect for evidence are the source of our progress, our safeguard against fundamentalists and those who profit from obscuring the truth. We live in dangerous times when superstition is gaining ground and rational science is under attack."
Tags: atheism, barnes, benedict xvi, catholicism, christianity, ecclesiology, faith and reason, friends-notre dame era, hierarchy, personal, philosophical, secularism/modernity, theological notebook, travel, travel-2007 wyoming

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