Psalm 137: Is God Pro-Life or Pro-Death?

Read Psalm 137.  Read it all the way through, including its final few lines:

O daughter of Babylon, you devastator!
Happy shall he be who requites you
with what you have done to us!
Happy shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!”

Now ask yourself, “How can that be in the Bible?”

Then try to explain that to atheists.

The following is a link to my attempt at doing just this.  It is published on Strange Notions, a popular website devoted to promoting dialogue between Catholics and atheists. The site bills itself as a “digital Areopagus,” echoing the famous dialogue of St. Paul with the Athenian philosophers in Acts 17.  I recommend bookmarking it and perusing the resources blogger Brandon Vogt has made available which are geared toward helping us Catholics better defend the faith in the modern, digital world.

BC Summer Theology in Rome!

For those of you whom I’ve directed to this post, here you’ll find the most important info about the upcoming trip-course abroad.  The application packet may be downloaded here.

A final informational meeting will be held on 1/27 at 4 PM in 207 FAC.  You can also always contact me at mramage@benedictine.edu or visit my office in 312 FAC.

Dates: May 22-June 3

Course Description: This 3-credit course-trip offers participants the privileged opportunity to discover the foundations of Catholic faith and culture and reflect upon their significance while living in the heart of the Church for two weeks.  Participants will have a wide range of encounters with the Church’s art, music, architecture, saints, and liturgy spanning more than two millennia.  In these encounters students will find expressed in nuce the history and theology of the Catholic Church which is still professed today.  The curriculum will combine pre-departure assignments and meetings with classroom lectures in Rome and guided excursions to sites of interest both within and outside the city.

Credit: This 3-hour course counts an elective for students majoring or minoring in Theology, or alternatively as a Faith Foundation course within the college’s general education curriculum.

Program cost:

For those enrolling for credit: $2590 + airfare

For those not enrolling for credit: $2200 + airfare

Price includes tuition, tours, guides, program fees, room (based on double occupancy), select meals, and travel on faculty-led day and overnight excursions.  As is common with trips of this nature, international airfare, most meals, and incidentals are at the participants’ own expense.   If the program has a significant number enrolled and thus a budget surplus, excess funds will go towards paying for more meals.

The price is subject to some change to adjust for factors such as exchange rate, taxes, and fuel costs.  Also, the price could decrease if a significant number of participants sign up for the trip.  Trip dates may likewise change by one or two days depending on hotel and flight pricing.

Non-students who wish to participate in the program may be admitted.  However, in the event that all spots are filled, preference will be given to students enrolling for credit.

Participants book their own international travel before and after the program.  You are free to travel anywhere else in Europe after the program ends at your own expense.  Dr. Ramage is available to assist all who would like assistance in arranging flights, including those who wish to fly together as a group.  All participants must arrive in Rome no later than the evening immediately preceding the program’s first official morning excursion.

Tentative Itinerary 

The following schedule does not mean that each site will be seen on the particular day listed below.  We will adjust to account for variations in ticket pricing, museum closures, events that only occur on one specific day, etc.

Day 1 — Wed, May 21

Depart USA

Day 2

Arrival in Rome

Optional excursions depending on time of arrival

Day 3

First full day in Rome

St. Peter’s Basilica

  • The most impressive church in the world
  • Tombs of Saints John Paul II and John XXIII

Vatican museums

  • Sistine Chapel
  • Masterpieces from Michelangelo, Raffaello, and countless others

Santo Spirito

  • St. Faustina’s heart

Day 4

Santa Prassede

  • Relics of the scourging pillar

Santa Maria Maggiore

  • History and theology of the Immaculate Conception, Nativity, St. Luke, etc.

San Clemente

  • Archaeological digs of a 3-tiered church
  • Tombs of Saints Cyril and Methodius

Saint John in Lateran

  • The pope’s official church
  • Lateran Baptistery
  • Holy Stairs
  • Roman gate and St. Francis statue outside Lateran

Santa Croce Basilica

  • Relics of the True Cross

Day 5 — Sunday

Santa Maria della Vittoria

  • Spiritual theology of St. Teresa of Avila
  • Bernini’s Teresa in Ecstasy

Baths of Diocletian

  • Now Santa Maria degli Angeli

Church of the Twelve Apostles

  • Tombs of the Apostles James the less and Philip

Santa Maria della Concezione

  • Cappuchin “bone crypt”
  • Caravaggio’s St. Francis

Piazza del Popolo & Santa Maria del Popolo

  • Caravaggio’s Death of St. Paul and Crucifixion of St. Peter

Milvian Bridge

  • Constantine and the legalization of Christianity

Villa Borghese & Pincio Terrace

Borghese Gallery

Spanish Steps

Day 6

Trip to St. Benedict’s monasteries at Subiaco & Monte Cassino

Day 7

Saint Peter in Chains

  • Relics of Peter’s chains
  • Michelangelo’s Moses

Santa Maria in Aracoeli

Colosseum

Roman Forum

  • Arch of Constantine
  • Arch of Titus
  • Caesar’s Ara
  • Mamertine Prison where Peter and Paul were jailed
  • History of the Roman republic and empire

Circus Maximus & Baths of Caracalla

Day 8

Wednesday Audience with Pope Francis

Scavi archeological tour

  • St. Peter’s tomb

Day 9

Trip to Orvieto

  • Orvieto cathedral: façade, Eucharistic miracle, Last Judgment frescos, etc.
  • Eucharistic miracle
  • Eucharistic theology of St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Theology and history of Corpus Christi
  • Sant’Andrea crypt
  • History of church in its various levels: Etruscan, Roman, Medieval, etc

Day 10

Castel Sant’Angelo

Piazza Navona

San Luigi dei Francesi

  • Caravaggio’s St. Matthew paintings

Gesù Church

  • St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier
  • History and theology of the Jesuit order

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

  • History and theology of St. Catherine

Pantheon

  • Pre-Christian and Christian history of the site

Sant’Ignazio

Trevi Fountain

Days 11-12

Overnight trip to Assisi

Day 13

Santa Maria in Trastevere

  • Early Christian mosaics / icons

Jewish ghetto and synagogue

  • History of the Jewish community in Rome
  • WWII and the Holocaust in relation to Rome
  • Jewish-Christian relations
  • Jewish vs. Christian theology

Saint Paul Outside the Walls

  • Tomb of St. Paul
  • Tre Fontane

Catacombs of St. Callixtus

San Benedetto in Piscinula

  • St. Benedict who stayed in this church

Good-bye dinner

Day 14

Departure