“Legend has it that in an argument with a cardinal, Napoleon pointed out that he had the power to destroy the church. ‘Your majesty,’ the cardinal replied, ‘we, the clergy, have done our best to destroy the church for the last eighteen hundred years. We have not succeeded, and neither will you.'”– from Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option, 49.
“If Eros, put most generally, is longing, then the philosopher who pursues the knowledge he does not have could be considered erotic. He longs for knowledge. If the need to know is what is most characteristically human, then such philosophical Eros is connected with pleasure, a very powerful pleasure, and this would account for the philosopher’s continuing his uncompleted quest, which might appear to be very bleak without such accompanying pleasure.” — Allan Bloom, “The Ladder of Love,” in Seth Bernadete, _Plato’s Symposium_, 56.
“… the suggestion that our concepts could somehow be enlarged somehow to capture the unconditioned was an illusion, and it was an illusion which was most dangerous in that it obscured from us the actual commerce with the unconditioned which we continually enjoy.” – Donald McKinnon, quoted in Fergus Kerr, _After Aquinas_, 22-23.
“The good of the city appears to be something greater and more complete [than that of the individual]: the good of the individual is certainly desirable enough, but that of a nation and of cities is nobler and more divine.” – Aristotle, NE, I.3 (1094b5).
“Omega revolvit ad alpha.” – Jerome, quoted in Ratzinger’s _Theology of History_, 113.
“The beast that bears you fastest to perfection is suffering.” – Meister Eckhart.
“Whenever the strength of a belief strongly steps into the foreground, we must infer a certain weakness of demonstrability and the improbability of that belief.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Toward the Genealogy of Morals: a Polemic, III, 24, 1887.
“I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.” – Chesterton.
“I beseech you, therefore, be transformed. Resolve to know that in you there is a capacity to be transformed.” – Origen, in Peter Brown, The Body & Society, 162.
“The usefulness of incomplete representations of ancient things is, so far as I can see, the only reason for feeding scholars.” – Mark D. Jordan, The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology, 2.
“For no one is in any way disposed for divine contemplation that leads to mystical ecstasy unless like Daniel he is a man of desires.” – St. Bonaventure.
“One possible definition of modernity is: the social order in which religion is no longer fully integrated into and identified with a particular cultural life-form, but acquires autonomy, so that it can survive in different cultures. This extraction enables religion to globalize itself (there are Christians, Muslims, and Budhists everywhere today); on the other hand, the price to be paid is that religion is reduced to a secondary phenomenon with regard to the secular functioning of the social totality. In this new global order, religion has two possible roles: therapeutic or critical. It either helps individuals to function better in the social order, or it tries to assert itself as a critical agency articulating what is wrong with this order as such, a space for the voices of discontent–in this second case, religion as such tends toward assuming the role of a heresy.” Slavoj Zizek, The Puppet and the Dwarf, 3.
“There is no more dreary or more repulsive creature than the man who has evaded his genius.” – Friedrich Nietzsche (quoted in James Miller, _The Passion of Michel Foucault_, 71).
“The lord whose oracle is at Delphi neither conceals nor reveals, but gives a sign.” [Ho anax hou to manteion esti to en delphois oute legei oute kruptei alla sêmainei.] – Heraclitus (DK22B93).
“Socrates, as one who in engaged in unlimited questioning, is compelled to carry this questioning so far that finally he must question the questioning itself, must ask, ‘What about the what?’ ‘Why the why?’ And even if he should resist this radicalization of his questioning, it is forced upon him when the men of Athens bring him to trial precisely because of what his incessant questioning has provoked. What is crucial is that Socrates ‘answers’ the second-order question, the question about questioning, by setting his practice back upon a mythos. He confronts this most dangerous question–the question which amounts to a calling of questioning, of his practice, into question–by explicitly attaching his practice to a mythos, that is, to a basis that is not immediately dissolved by the reiterated recoil of questioning upon itself.” – John Sallis, Being and Logos, 27.
“To think that you are not following a rule is to follow a rule.” – Wittgenstein
“We are working for the Communitarian revolution to oppose both the rugged individualism of the capitalist era, and the collectivism of the Communist revolution. We are working for the Personalist revolution because we believe in the dignity of man, the temple of the Holy Ghost, so beloved by God that He sent his Son to take upon Himself our sins and die an ignominious and disgraceful death for us. We are Personalists because we believe that man, a person, a creature of body and soul, is greater than the State, of which as an individual he is part. We are Personalists because we oppose the vesting of all authority in the hands of the State instead of in the hands of Christ the King. We are Personalists because we believe in free will, and not in … economic determination.” – Dorothy Day (quoted in Stratford Caldecott, “Beyond Left and Right”
“At every moment, step by step, one must confront what one is thinking and saying with what one is doing, what one is.” – Michel Foucault, in James Miller, _The Passion of Michel Foucault_, 9.
“… [M]an is not simply and entirely man, and therefore is not substance after all. For what he is he owes to other things which are not man.” – Boethius, De Trinitiate
“In the mid-second century Papias of Hierapolis felt nearer to the authentic tradition when speaking with those who could recall the oral teaching of the apostolic and sub-apostolic age, than when reading books.” – Henry Chadwick, “Tradition, Fathers, and Councils” in _The Study of Anglicanism_.
“Individualism is a denial that life has any meaning except the gratification of the ego; in politics it must end in anarchy. It is not possible for one man to be both Christian and Individualist.” Russell Kirk, “Academic Freedom.”
“People who think they have no belief quite often say they want to pray but they do not know who or what they could be praying to. Aquinas would not say to such people, ‘Ah, but you see, if you became a believer, a Christian, we would change all that. You would come to understand to whom you are praying.’ Not at all. He would say to such people, ‘If you became a Christian you would stop being surprised or ashamed of your condition. You would be happy with it. For faith would assure you that you could not know what God is until he reveals himself to us openly.'” Herbert McCabe, “A Very Short Introduction ot Aquinas,” 94-111. In Faith Within Reason. New York, Continuum, 2007.
“The ears of the common people are holier than the hearts of the priests.” – John Henry Newman.
“Language … is not an abstract construction of the learn’d, or of dictionary-makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground. Its final decisions are made by the masses, people nearest the concrete, having most to do with actual land and sea. It impermeates all, the Past as well as the Present, and is the grandest triumph of the human intellect. ” [Whitman, “Slang in America;” H/T Kris Lundgaard]
“The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.” – Chesterton.
“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” – Chesterton.
“God has brought me to Kentucky…the precise place he has chosen for my sanctification.” – Thomas Merton [H/T David Cassidy]
“Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void.” – Chesterton on Santa Claus.
“‘I heard your voice behind me,’ (Ezek 3:12) calling me to return. And I could hardly hear because of the hubbub of people who know no peace. Now, see, I am returning hot and panting to your spring. Let no one stand in my path. Let me drink this and live by it. May I not be my own life. On my own resources I lived evilly. To myself I was death. In you I am recovering life. Speak to me, instruct me, I have put faith in your books. And their words are mysteries indeed.” Augustine, Confessions XII.x(10).
“A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves out to achieve instead – often not recognizing fully what they were doing – was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming age of barbarism and darkness.” – Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue.
“For Dante and Aquinas, then, the universe meant something; it made sense; it had order. And the order was a Christian order. This order God Himself had revealed. But how was one to fit into this ordered scheme, based on revelation, the findings of natural reason, as arrived at by the great pagan philosophies? Obviously, something had to be done about it. Either one must say, with Turtullian, that all human reason, and consequently all philosophy, art, and literature not supernaturally revealed, was nothing and worse than nothing – which was the position taken up later by the Calvinists and the modern Barthians…. Or one must find a means of reconciliation, which would fit all these human activities into the revealed order of things, and permit Christianity to follow the way of Affirmation along with (though not necessarily instead of) the way of Negation. This was the second great crisis at which the Church had been faced with this choice, and for the second time she decided against Turtullian. She decided to include rather than to exclude. She made it possible to sanctify the reason and the arts. For the second time in her history she set free and blessed all the images.” – Dorothy Sayers, “The Divine Poet and the Angelic Doctor,” in Further Papers on Dante (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1957), 43.
“The world will be saved through beauty.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky
“… once one has realized, following the great English literary visionaries William Shakespeare and Thomas Nashe, that sexual puritanism, political disciplinarianism, and abuse of the poor are the result of the refusal of true Christianity … one is led to articulate a more incarnate, more participatory, more aesthetic, more erotic, more socialized, even a more ‘Platonic’ Christianity.” – John Milbank
“Christian theology is a hair’s breadth away from nihilism.” – John Milbank
“Man is what he eats.” – Alexander Schmemann
“Academic theology is false.” – Alexander Schmemann
“It takes the whole church to know the whole truth.” – Rowan Williams
“We imagine the past, and remember the future.” – Carlos Fuentes
“The mind, unless it is pure and holy, cannot see God.” – Seneca
“The glory of God is the human being, fully alive.” – St. Ireneaus
“In the post-Christian world, all Christians will be mystics.” – Karl Rahner (loosely attributed)
“The depths of the self are the heights of God.” – James Finley
“Our social program begins with the dogma of the Holy Trinity.” – Nikolai Fyodorov
“The whole story of creation, incarnation, and our incorporation into the fellowship of Christ’s body tells us that God desires us, as if we were God, as if we were that unconditional response to God’s giving that God’s self makes in the life of the Trinity. We are created so that we may be caught up in this, so that we may grow into the wholehearted love of God by learning that God loves us as God loves God.” – Rowan Williams
“Traditions, when vital, embody continuities of conflict. Indeed when a tradition becomes Burkean, it is always dying or dead.” Alisdair MacIntyre (After Virtue, 3rd ed., 222).
“Experiences of the first order, of the first rank, are not realized through the eye.” – Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.” – Martin Luther
“[Knowledge is governed not by] a theory of knowledge, but by a theory of discursive practice.” – Michel Foucault (quoted in Graham Ward, Cities of God, 17)
“Desire within the postmodern city can never come to an end – or the market would cease.” – Graham Ward
“The Bible gives no hint that a Christian “belief system” might be isolated from the life of the Church, subjected to scientific analysis, and have its truth compared with competing “belief systems.” – Peter Leithart
“Live as though you were dying every day….” St. Antony, according to Athanansius in his Life of St. Antony.
“In conformity with the philosophy of Christ, let us make of our life a training for death.” – Maximus the Confessor.
“Beyond the desert of criticism, we wish to be called again.” – Paul Ricoeur (in The Symbolism of Evil).
“Our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves, and of our visible, sensible world.” – TS Eliot
“Like all the best radical positions, then, mine is a thoroughly traditionalist one.” Terry Eagleton, _Literary Theory_ (2nd ed.) 179.
“The true way to worship the saints is to imitate their virtues, and they care more for this than for a hundred candles…. You venerate the bones of Paul laid away in a shrine, but not the mind of Paul, enshrined in his writings.” Erasmus, quoted in Charles Taylor, A Secular Age, 72.
“He who fears hell runs toward it.” Luther, quoted in Charles Taylor, A Secular Age, 75.
“… if one denies all hierarchy, all that remains is the hierarchy of money and brute force.” Unknown, quoted here: http://elizaphanian.blogspot.com/2007/07/radical-orthodoxy-official-twenty-four.html
“… facts, like telescopes and wigs for gentlemen, were a seventeenth century invention.” – Alasdair MacIntyre, Whose Justice, Whose Rationality? (4th ed) 357.
“We no longer know, it is said, how to restore certain colors in the stained-glass windows of the cathedral at Chartres.” Josef Pieper.
“Man is emphatically self-made.” – Cardinal John Henry Newman, Grammar of Ascent (1979), 274.
“Our own self-awareness arises not in the Cartesian cogito, but in our finding ourselves in relation to other beings in whom we both actively recognize and do not recognize our own subjectivity, in an inexhaustible dialectic.” – John Milbank, The Word Made Strange, 125.
“Poetry is language trying to become bodily experience.” – Herbert McCabe.
“Neither for Augustine himself nor for any thinker in the Augustinian tradition is a true philosophy, distinct and separate from theology, even possible.” – A.H. Hilary.
“Morality which is no particular socity’s morality is to be found nowhere.” – Alasdair MacIntyre, postscript to 2nd ed. of After Virtue, p 266.
“What we call “nature” is merely one mode of the disclosure of the “supernatural,” and natural reason merely one mode of revelation, and philosophy merely one (feeble) mode of reason’s ascent into the light of God. Nowhere, not even in the sciences, does there exist a “purely natural” realm of knowledge. To encounter the world is to encounter its being, which is gratuitously imparted to it from beyond the sphere of natural causes, known within the medium of an intentional consciousness, irreducible to immanent processes, that grasps finite reality only by being oriented toward a horizon of transcendental ends (or, better, “divine names”). There is a seamless continuity between the sight of a rose and the mystic’s vision of God; the latter is in fact implicit in the former, and saturates it, and but for this supernatural surfeit nothing natural could come into thought.” – David Bentley Hart.
“Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, ‘Abba, as far as I can a say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace, and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ The old man stood up and stretched his hands toward heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you will, you can become all flame.'” – Joseph of Panephysis, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
“Without the cross the Discipline of Confession would be merely therapeutic. But it is so much more. It involves an objective [a better word would have been “metaphysical”] change in our relationship with God and a subjective change in us. It is a means of healing and transforming the inner spirit.” – Richard Foster, _Celebration_, 144.
“It is the absolute primacy of possibility over actuality that constitutes the mark of modern metaphysics.” – Adrian Pabst.
“… Suarez, both in his preoccupations and in his methods, was already a distinctively modern thinker, perhaps more authentically than Descartes the founder of modern philosophy.” – Alasdair MacIntyre, Three Rival Versions, p. 73.