Archive for September, 2009

Southern Catholic and the Legion

September 19, 2009 Leave a comment

As you all likely know, Southern Catholic College, located in Dawsonville, Georgia, was purchased this summer by the Legion of Christ.  The school had been in grave financial crisis and was incapable of continuing on without some external support.  There were a number of options available, but for their own reasons the Board and the president turned to the Legion, at a time in which the latter is in the midst of its own struggles, strife, and need for reform.  It was perhaps not the best move that could have been made, but what has happened has happened and there is no going back.

What was a good move, or at least appears a good move for the time being, however, was the appointment of Fr. Shawn Aaron, LC, as the new president.  Unlike his predecessor, of whom the students saw little, Fr. Aaron is front and center and visible every day in a dozen ways.  He regularly stays into the evening, meets with students constantly, and genuinely listens to other’s opinions, rather than waiting for his turn to speak.  Despite his lack of experience in this position, he appears to be very intelligent and invested, and is doing his best to discern well the true nature of the Catholic university.  At present he is also effectively functioning as the chaplain, as that role has not yet been filled.  The sacrifice and dedication he is currently making is hard to put into words.

Aside from the constant presence of Fr. Aaron, however, the Legion has not made a gigantic impact.  Through organizations such as ReGAIN, horror stories about the Legion coming into schools with bulldozers and a giant broom are all too familiar; but that has not happened here, and on the whole—despite the need for a little bit of bulldozing and a lot of sweeping—is a good thing, because if an intelligent assessment is made, we will preserve the good while the bad is eradicated.  To a certain extent I had hope, and I know others had hope, that heads would be (figuratively) rolling within a matter of days after the Legion presence was established—an unrealistic expectation.  And while I do still hope that change does not take too long, for those that have eyes to see and a head to think should be able to see it without much difficulty, patience for the sake of thorough consideration is not too much to ask.  In the meanwhile, small changes do provide some satisfaction, and large, immediate changes might seem suffocating.  Legion priests from the Atlanta area have been assisting with Confession and Mass, and one member of Integer works on campus as the head of fundraising; aside from that, things go on much as they have before.

The Legion of Christ has, in many ways and for many years, proceeded in a number of endeavors without prudence.  This has given them a bad reputation: and frankly it has been deserved in a large percentage of the cases.  But there are nonetheless very holy and intelligent priests in the order, who are coming to terms with the flaws in the operative manners of the order, who seem eager for reform.  Southern Catholic College is a great opportunity for that reform, for both the order and the school.


The Daily Logos XVIII

September 11, 2009 2 comments

“Now some people think one becomes good by nature, others think it is by habit, and still others think it is by teaching.  As for what comes from nature, it is clear that it is not up to us that it is present, but by some divine cause it belongs to those who are fortunate in the true sense; and argument and teaching are perhaps not powerful in all people, but it is necessary for the soul of the listener to have been worked on beforehand by means of habits, with a view to enjoying and hating in a beautiful way, like ground that is going to nourish the seed.  For someone who lives by feeling could not hear words that would turn him away, nor could he even understand them; when someone is in that condition, how is it possible to change his mind?  And in general, feeling seems to yield not to reasoned speech but to force.  So it is necessary for a character to be present in advance that is in some way appropriate for virtue. Loving what is beautiful and scorning what is shameful.  But it is difficult to hit upon a right training toward virtue from youth when one has not been brought up under laws of that sort, for living temperately and with endurance is not pleasant to most people, and especially not to the young.”

-Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (X.9)

How is it that man becomes good?  Obviously, there must first be some agreement as to what it means for man to be “good,” but even then, it remains a question as to how it is affected.  In what does human goodness consist?  In Greek, there is a word—arete, areth–which is oftentimes translated as “virtue” but has a broader connotation, including general excellence in the sense of perfection and completion; an internally possessed complementary accident.  Too often in the English-speaking mindset there is a tendency to consider virtue, articulated universally, as a power in the sense of a faculty, and, when articulated specifically, as an isolated part of man’s goodness: e.g., “there is great virtue in his intellect,” or “that man possesses much courage but lacks in the other virtues.”  Such hypostatic division of the virtues lends to a poor conception of virtue itself, and consequently of man’s goodness.  To be virtuous, man must be not merely proficient in so many virtues, but must be continually achieving a higher state of excellence in regards to perfection, from the day he is born until the day he dies—and thus it is only by the graces of Christianity that most men do so.

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Back to Life

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Despite all appearances, I am not dead.  Posts will resume shortly, and hopefully with greater variety.  Stay tuned.

Categories: General