Welcome to the Reading Room

Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Where Is the Virtue?

by Anthony Esolen

A sentinel watches upon the battlements. The air is raw and cold, and it seems to have penetrated to his knees and ankles and the shoulder upon which he rests his rifle. But he paces his rounds, hour after long hour. He peers into the little glooming light showing in the east. He turns again and faces the west, where the clouds are just beginning to reflect the slightest tinge of purple. He listens. All the sounds of the darkness are familiar to him, and bespeak the order of the early dawn. A thrush trills from the copse beside the river. The swallows have left their roosts and are beginning to twitter as they fly. A cock from a nearby farm crows. Yet if he hears a single sound made by man—a footstep, the roll of a wheel—he turns, his eyes narrow, he shifts his hands along the rifle, and he listens. He is a good sentinel.

The Thomistic understanding of virtue is straightforward enough. A virtue is a habit, what Aristotle calls a second nature. It is difficult to attain—hence, its association with manhood, which is what the Latin virtus literally means. It involves the perfection of a faculty, like the deep knowledge in the hands of a master craftsman. Therefore its definition cannot be arbitrary; it is bound up with the faculty in question, and the work to be done.

[Read the whole article at the link]

Foreign Policy: From Bad to None

Barack Obama had a foreign policy for about five years, and now he has none.

The first-term foreign policy’s assumptions went something like this. Obama was to assure the world that he was not George W. Bush. Whatever the latter was for, Obama was mostly against. Given that Bush had left office with polls similar to Harry Truman’s final numbers, this seemed to Obama a wise political approach.

If Bush wanted garrison troops left in Iraq to secure the victory of the surge, Obama would pull them out. If Bush had opened Guantanamo, used drones, relied on renditions, reestablished military tribunals, and approved preventive detention, Obama would profess to dismantle that war on terror — even to the point where the Bush-era use of the word “terrorism” and any associations between it and radical Islam would disappear... [Read the whole article at the link]


About Me

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.