CASC Lumen Magazine_Winter 2021

JOHN BOYLE In 1936, a crew of American students from the University of Washington beat all the elite rowing teams in the U.S. and went on to win the gold medal at the Olympics in Berlin in a race rigged against them by the Nazis. Daniel James Brown tells the story in his The Boys in the Boat . I didn’t know anything about crew when I started. The personal stories as well as the competitions are riveting. The story is as inspiring a story of determination and challenge in the face of hardship and obstacles as one could want. I couldn’t put it down. FATHER MARTIN SCHLAG In early fall, my interest was focused on the notions of freedom and liberty. I started off with a classic: St. Augustine, De libero arbitrio . Written long before the Pelagian controversy, Augustine is refreshingly positive about human nature in this early book of his. … Another book that has made a great impression on me is James Chappel, Catholic Modern: The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church . It is an analysis of Catholic social thought among Catholic intellectuals in France, Germany and Austria between 1920 to 1970. Up to the 1930s, Catholics generally rejected the modern state and fought for a return to a “Christian state” of the Middle Ages. With the onset of authoritarian governments, the tide shifted, and two branches formed, which the author calls “Catholic paternal modernism” and “Catholic fraternal modernism.” This book is eye-opening for contemporary developments. … If you want me to recommend a movie, I don’t hesitate: “News of the World” with Tom Hanks. A great piece that

I have seen three times and will definitely watch again. MICHAEL NAUGHTON I recently read two books, one spiritual and the other philosophical. The spiritual book is from a good friend of St. Thomas Catholic Studies, Father David Meconi, titled Christ Alive in Me: Living as a Member of the Mystical Body (Emmaus Road Publishing). It is a very accessible and deeply profound book on the presence of Christ’s life in our life. The other book is by Jeffrey Nicholas titled Reason, Tradition and the Good: MacIntyre’s Tradition-Constituted Reason and Frankfurt School Critical Theory . The book puts into dialogue Critical Theory – which is having a significant impact on education, government, religion and other sectors of society – and the Catholic Thomistic philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre.

begins to draw inferences from this, and she soon starts to reverence the sun, and even develops a pretty intense prayer life. That all reminded me of Shakespeare’s character Caliban, who likewise makes some striking theological inferences based on his experience, and that was all the hint I needed: I decided to spend as much of the rest of my summer as I could with Shakespeare, and reread some plays I never get the chance to teach: first “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” then “Cymbeline,” then “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” and then “Troilus and Cressida.” Reading great works with no schedule, no reason to rush, no goal in mind beyond enjoying them: what an idea!



I recently read a number of the essays of Father James Schall, the late Jesuit political philosopher. His best collection is probably The Politics of Heaven and Hell . I also read Andrew Roberts’ biography of Churchill, one of the most dynamic and curious lives of the 20th century. The film, “Darkest Hour,” about the critical first weeks Churchill served as prime minister, while a bit loose with facts here and there, is eminently worth watching as an example of determined leadership under stress.

My reading this past summer started with Kazuo Ishiguro’s understated, beautifully written Klara and the Sun , a very moving fable about artificial intelligence, what it is that defines the human as opposed to the machine, and, surprisingly, what used to be called “natural religion.” Klara is an AI creature who is solar-powered; she

St. Thomas Lumen Fall/Winter 2021 Page 21

Powered by