Upcoming Catholic Events to Consider Personal, Philosophical Aspects of Atheism

Gentle Reader, here are a couple of upcoming events which may tickle your fancy.  The first deals with the personal experience of a popular Catholic media personality, who didn’t start out as a Catholic, let alone a theist.  The second deals with an in-depth consideration of the Church’s philosophical engagement with Atheism, examined through both common sense and the teachings of one of Christianity’s greatest thinkers.

Blogger, author, and now radio host Jennifer Fulwiler will be at the Catholic Information Center here in D.C. on Monday, September 29th at 6:00 pm, which I’m very much looking forward to attending.  She’s be discussing her book, “Something Other Than God”, which charts her journey from materially successful atheist to spiritually joyful Catholic.  If you’re not already familiar with her story, check out her appearance on The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi on EWTN. On her blog, you can see other dates for her book tour, which this week brings her to the greater DC area.

2.  Continuing somewhat along with the theme of the preceding event, here’s an advance-planning conference, which you philosophers out there may be particularly interested in.  The second World Congress of Aquinas Leadership International will be held at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, Long Island, New York, from June 25 – June 29, 2015. The topic for the Congress will be something rather pertinent to the societal conversation we’re having at the moment: “Atheism, Religion, and Common Sense”

The reason for letting my readers know about this early, is because the organizers are putting together their list of speakers and presenters with plenty of advance time.  So those of you who might be interested in being a panelist, presenting a paper, or chairing one of the break-out sessions at the conference, should get in touch with Dr. Peter A. Redpath of the Adler-Aquinas Institute, at redpathp@gmail.com.  And if you’re already certain you’d like to attend just as a regular conference participant, please contact Dr. Redpath as well and he will be glad to get you details. I understand from Dr. Redpath that they already have a number of people registered for next summer’s conference, as there was such a positive reaction to the previous one.

Lecture Hall

Thomism Goes Online

For those of you interested in philosophy, theology, and/or St. Thomas Aquinas, a friend from the Adler-Aquinas Institute is kicking off a program on the work of the Angelic Doctor which you may be interested in: an online graduate Thomistic studies concentration.

Dr. Peter Redpath, Rector of the Adler-Aquinas Institute and Chair of the new philosophy graduate concentration in Christian Wisdom.at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut, will initiate this concentration by offering a course on Aquinas’ teaching about “The One and the Many” for the Fall semester, starting the last week in August.  Students will be exploring the metaphysical teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas concerning the nature of the metaphysical principles of unity and multiplicity, and the essential role that these principles play in the existence of things and all other principles of being, becoming, and knowing, including those of experience, art, philosophy, science.

The course will be held entirely online, but there will be optional live, synchronous meetings on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm Eastern Time for those who can make them. The meetings will be recorded and made available later for those who wish to hear them. To register for this class online, you can visit the Holy Apostles web site linked to above, or email Prof. Heather Voccola (hvoccola@holyapostles.edu) in the online learning office at Holy Apostles College.

One of the great things of modern technology as a pedagogic tool, which I’m sure Aquinas himself would have appreciated, is its ability to bring experts like Dr. Redpath into contact with students who, for reasons such as distance, might not otherwise ever be able to study under him.  The number of students who crowded into the lecture halls of the University of Paris to hear Aquinas speak on metaphysics was far fewer in number than the number of those around Europe who would have loved the opportunity even to hear him lecture just once.  So if you are out of school and looking to continue learning and studying, take advantage of this and similar opportunities for your intellectual growth.  All you need is an internet connection.

Thomas Aquinas Teaching

St. Thomas Aquinas teaching a group of Dominicans Medieval Manuscript, 14th Century


This Summer: Common Sense Ethics and Leadership Conference

Gentle Reader, I pass along the following from Professor Peter A. Redpath, Ph.D., of the Adler-Aquinas Institute.  The conference he is helping to organize this summer sounds as though it will appeal to those in leadership positions who want to think more deeply about the subject of ethics in their work, irrespective of their particular denomination.  The eagle-eyed among my readers may recall that I reviewed Dr. Redpath’s most recent book on Christian metaphysics exploding many of the theories of progressivism previously in these pages.

If you are interested in attending the conference, Dr. Redpath asks that you contact him directly at redpathp@gmail.com.  And please do feel free to share this post with anyone whom you think might like to participate.

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[S]ome colleagues of mine, including some from Holy Apostles College and Seminary (HACS), and I are planning to organize a July 17 to 20, 2014 conference at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, The conference topic will be on “Common Sense Ethics and Leadership.” Arrival on the 16th is also OK.

Part of the plan is to center the conference around Mortimer J. Adler’s book, The Time of Our Lives, and to tape the sessions for a (HACS) MOOC course and a textbook on the conference theme.

While at the meeting on Common Sense Ethics and Leadership, we would like to start 2 informal consulting organizations, somewhat like Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, one involving establishing an Aquinas Leadership Circle to help begin an Aquinas School of Leadership, Management, and Organizational Development. Both would start as consulting groups that would grow out of conferences, books, MOOCs. People interested only in joining the first group might eventually want to join the second.

We have 5 large initial markets: 1) corporate trainers who would like to get a better understanding of precisely why what they do is successful (that is, leaders engaged in successful leadership who do not fully comprehend why it is successful); 2) Catholic and Evangelical organizational leaders; 3) organizational leaders interested in understanding the nature of ethics and it relation to organizational leadership, management, and organizational development; 4) Catholic administrators whose bishops are interested in such training for them as administrators; 5) graduate students interested in Thomism and leadership.

I think evangelical leaders would be especially interested in the notion of a more personalistic, “Born-Again Thomism” (as our colleague Bill McVey calls it), rooted in St. Thomas’s faculty psychology (a philosophy of systems of sorts, not a systematic philosophy), and how it could be of help to them, including as an apologetics tool.

TOTAL cost for the conference room, 9 meals for a 3-night stay, and use of facilities will be around $300.00 per person.

I hope you can join us, and please pass this note along to anyone you think might find it of interest.

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Detail of "Plato and Aristotle" by Luca della Robbia (c. 1437-1439) Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence

Detail of “Plato and Aristotle” by Luca della Robbia (c. 1437-1439)
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence