Brendan McAnerney, O.P.
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Graduate Theological Union

"Holy Icons - Holy Churches"

 Minor Hall / University of Virginia
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMEBER 30, 2009, 7:00-8:30pm 

"In the study of revealed truth East and West have used different methods and approaches in understanding and confessing divine things.  It is hardly surprising, then, if sometimes one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed them better.  In such cases, these various theological formulations are often to be considered complementary rather than conflicting" (Second Vatican Ecumencal Council)*.

Fr. Brendan McAnerney, O.P.--a Dominican priest with additional priestly faculties in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church --visited the University of Virginia on September 30-October 1, 2009.  Trained as an artist and art historian in the Byzantine tradition, with a deep reservoir of experiences as  a Dominican, former gallery employee and director, and in his present position leading DominICON Ministry in Sacramento,  Fr. Brendan exposed his UVA audiences to the theology, history, grammar and techniques that comprise the holy art of icons, from its origins in the Eastern Roman Empire through its development in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

    Icons, Fr. Brendan made clear, are not created by artists as immediate forms of self-expression or commodities for self-promotion.

“In Search of the Historical Francis of Assisi”

October 8, 2008 5:30 pm
Minor Hall Auditorium / University of Virginia

Directions To Lecture
Our 2008-09 Public Lecture series at the University of Virginia began on October 8.  Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., Professor of Religious Studies and History and a faculty member of the UVA Medieval Studies Program, treated the large audience in attendance to the most luminous fruits of his sabbatical research on the historical Francis of Assisi, which he completed in Italy this past year.

Stephen Barr
"Modern Physics, Ancient Faith"

Minor Hall / University of Virginia
Wednesday, February 18, 2009, 7:00-8:30pm

Why is it widely believed that religious faith has something to fear from or is somehow contradicted by modern science?  Professor Stephen A. Barr, a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute, author of Modern Science, Ancient Faith (University of Notre Dame Press) and a regular First Things essayist on the philosophy of science and religion, debunked this "science against religion" storyline by systematically explaining how there really isn't a conflict between science and Biblical religious traditions.  Instead the origin of this conflict can be traced to its source: a set of ideas he broadly identified as "scientific materialism."

According to Barr, "scientific materialism" draws most of its desciptive and explanatory symbols from 19th century scientific views of a mechanistic world.  From the perspective of 21st century science--or even early 20th century science--this materialist-mechanistic belief system is unrelated to the major theoretical and empirical achievements that define modern science.  Scientific materialism, thus, masquerades as science when, at bottom, it is a simple often totalizing ideology--vigorously promoted by some, unwittingly accepted by others.  This set of ideas contends that all of reality (including humanity) can and must ultimately be understood in terms of matter.  Like other modernist ideologies, proponents claim it to have a salvific and truth-seeking aspiration, which at some future point will ultimately enable us to possess a complete, deterministic, and predictive knowledge of the physical world, including all of humanity.

Bernard McGinn
"The Imitation of Christ and the
 Catholic Mystical Tradition"

Minor Hall Auditorium / University of Virginia
Thursday, February 12, 2009, 5:30PM

The St. Anselm Institute welcomed Bernard McGinn, Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.  Professor McGinn, a leading and still active scholar on the history of Christianity, Christian mysticism, the Doctors of the Church, and apocalyptic thought, did not disappoint his audience.
Bernard McGinn continues to research and write for  the next addition to his multi-volume work on the history of mysticism.  His latest focus is on the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471).  This thin, thought-filled book--an exemplar of the medieval devotional and among the most popular works of Christianity spirituality ever--arose out of the devotio moderna reform movement at the end of the fourteenth century.  This devotional and orthodox reform movement of the Catholic Church--led by clerics but with lay members-- 

W. David Solomon
University of Notre Dame
"The Assault on Human Dignity: Can Bioethics Do Without it?"

Thursday / April 16, 2009 / 5:30-7:00pm
McKim Auditorium / Univ. of Virginia Medical School

David Solomon is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame.  His principal areas of research include contemporary moral philosophy and medical ethics.  His numerous scholarly works center on topics of moral realism and moral dilemmas, but he is equally adept at engaging, enlightening, and elevating contemporary, public discussions that cut to the core of how we understand ourselves as individuals, as workers, as societies, and as thoughtful persons who aim to achieve both happiness and what is good.

The University of Notre Dame Alumni Club, and it local chapter, cosponsored this public talk.

2001-02 Lecture Series #1 of 4
 Hon John T. Noonan, Jr.
"Religion, Freedom, and Catholicism"
October 4, 2001: Newcomb Hall Ballroom
2003-04 Public Lecture Series #1 of 6
“Catholicism and Public Life"
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Editor, First Things
"After Nihilism"
September 30, 2003
2002-03 Public Lecture Series #1 of 6
Catholicism and the Arts
Dana Gioia, poet
“The Catholic Writer Today”
October 2, 2002
2004-05 Public Lecture Series #1 of 6
“Life, Suffering, Healing, Death”
Robert P. George, Princeton University
“The Embryo Question: Justice and Nascent Human Life”
October 5, 2004

"Dante: The Prison of Autonomy,
the Freedom of Obedience"

Our 2008-09 Distinguished Public Speaker Lecture series at the University of Virginia  continued on November 5, when Anthony Esolen, Professor of classical, medieval, and Renaissance literature in the Department of English at Providence College, visited Minor Hall. 
Like Virgil, Esolen skillfully--and with a good bit of humor, animation, poetry,and Italian erudition -- led the audience through a rich philosophical theological  treatise on human autonomy and the nature of freedom.But the journey traveled  was not framed by an arid logic; rather, it began with consideration of something close to all of us --a great tree on Jefferson's Lawn--before turning to  the classic literary terrain Esolen knows quite well, if not by heart: Dante's Divine Comedy.  Plunging quickly into -- as he put it -- the "sludge hole," Esolen directed his audience towards the most treacherous, icy and speechless scenes of Dante's Inferno, then past the condemned though admirable guardian Cato, across (with song and hope) to the Island-Mountain of the Purgatorio, where we met several individuals, including the great Italian poet Sordello who warmly welcomes Dante, a fellow compatriot from Mantua.  Ultimately, like all great guides, Esolen ended the journey at its promised ascent, a deeper admiration and gratitude for  the Beatific Vision of the Paradiso.

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