Summer Theology Program in Italy

Several relatives, acquaintances, and former students of mine (with master's degrees in theology) are organizing and running a two week program of theology in Norcia, Italy, which is located in the mountains not far from Rome and Assisi. The prior of the Benedictine Monastery in Norcia, Fr. Cassian Folsom, who taught many years at St. Anselmo in Rome, served as president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, and was recently appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as an official consulter for the Congregation of Divine Worship, will also contribute to the program. Knowing the outstanding intellectual ability of many of those involved in it, and looking at the proposal, I must say that it looks to be an excellent event for those who have the time and resources.

The topic of the program is sacramental theology, with particular emphasis on the Eucharist, but also covering baptism, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. From the Mission Statement:

The St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies is an organization dedicated to the revival of higher studies in theology undertaken according to the mind and method of the great scholastics.

This purpose is realized principally through the regular hosting of two-week long Summer programs, in which participants are invited to an intensive course of studies in Catholic theology presented in the form of the great Catholic universities of the high Middle Ages. Unique to these programs is the combination of scholastic form and content, namely the study of St. Thomas Aquinas in the way that St. Thomas himself would have studied. Hence the dedication of the Center to his own teacher, St. Albert the Great.

Elements of the program include lectures, seminar-style discussions, and the highlight, the scholastic disputation, in which teachers and participants address a particular question of theology, posing various arguments for and against a particular answer to the question, after which one of the masters of theology organizes and orders the arguments, gives an ordered answer to the question, and responds to or clarifies the arguments raised in objection or in support of the answer.

The program runs from June 20th to July 1st, 2011. In addition to the studies, daily Mass and Offices with the Benedictine Monks of Norcia are offered, and several optional outings are planned, including a trip to Rome on the Feast of Corpus Christi for the Eucharistic procession and adoration with the Holy Father.

The cost of the program is $975, which includes room and board (breakfast and one other full meal) in Norcia, and tuition for the two week period.

Read more about the 2011 Summer Program.

Natural Law and Universal Ethics – Update

I've now translated the footnotes in the International Theological Commission's document The Search for Universal Ethics: A New Look at the Natural Law, including the Latin notes (mostly from the Summa Theologiae) that were left untranslated in the original document. The footnote references have also been hyperlinked to the text of the notes, for easier navigation in a web browser.

Natural Law and Universal Ethics

The International Theological Commission recently published a document on the natural law as the foundation for universal ethics. The document is available on the Vatican website in French and Italian. I've made a translation into English (the body of the text is complete, notes will be coming) and posted it here on this website. The document is fairly long, but worth reading, especially for those interested in Thomistic ethics, interreligious dialog, politics, or similar fields where the concept of natural law is particularly important.

The Search for Universal Ethics: A New Look at the Natural Law

Commentary on the Song of Songs

The first half (sermons 1-43) of the Commentary on the Song of Songs by St. Bernard of Clairvaux is now available on this website. Thanks to the Internet Archive and Br. Sean (a monk) for the text–the text of the Song of Songs Commentary here is identical to that on the Internet Archive, except for the correction of a few typographical errors and some formatting changes. Each sermon is given as a unit.