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The Invisible Schism: Part II The Heterodox Majority

The Invisible Schism: Part II The Heterodox Majority

In the first installment in this series, I presented the idea that self-identifying and even practicing Catholics may well espouse radically different understandings of what Catholicism is.  I suggested that we can pray side-by-side with someone at Mass, externally saying all the same words and performing all the same outward gestures, professing the same written Creed, but that we could do all this without a shared understanding of what these words and gestures mean.  Externally

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The Keys to Effective Writing: Purpose and Concision

The Keys to Effective Writing: Purpose and Concision

Originally posted June 25, 2019 UPDATED Dec. 12, 2020 You do not need to struggle with writing. In fact, effective writing should be as natural as talking. Unless you are writing for artistic or rhetorical purposes, the best way to improve your writing is to use the method of “effective writing.” This approach has one simple rule: say what you have to say as efficiently as possible. To this end, effective writing is purpose-driven and

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The Myth of Self, Part 3: Objections and Resolutions

The Myth of Self, Part 3: Objections and Resolutions

In previous posts (part 1 and part 2) I have described the modern notion of the “self” and tried to explain its appeal. Modern belief in the self consists in the conviction that the human person is bare consciousness without additional definition — an irreducible consciousness that floats free of determination or definition by anything exterior to itself. In other words, the modern “self” is autonomous (self-defining) consciousness. In our current milieu, this sense of

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The Invisible Schism: Part I – Can there be two “Catholicisms” side-by-side?

The Invisible Schism: Part I – Can there be two “Catholicisms” side-by-side?

What if you could get into the minds of a hundred different people to see what they think Catholicism is?  I think, if you could, you’d find that few of them really understand the religion the same way. You probably expected me to say that “you’d get a hundred different answers,” because so many of today’s Catholic voices actually think “diversity” is a mark of the Church, and they want to imagine that Catholicism is

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The Myth of Self, Part II

The Myth of Self, Part II

In a previous post I sketched the meaning and uses of the modern idea of the self. One important source of this idea is Rene Descartes. For Descartes, the ideas of the self emerges from his application of critical, methodical doubt to his own experience. The upshot of this method is the conviction, that the fundamental, indubitable reality of each human person is the self, expressed in Descartes’ famous assertion, “I think therefore I am.”

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The Myth of Self

The Myth of Self

In a previous post I discussed the importance of Rene Descartes in shaping modern philosophy and much of the modern world. This is evident from two of his most important ideas: (a) the endorsement of radical doubt and (b) the conception of the self. I have already critiqued Descartes’ endorsement of radical doubt. In this post I want to analyze the Cartesian idea of the “self” or inner ego — one of the most prevalent

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