Benedict XVI’s Theology of Beauty and the New Evangelization

“I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth…are the saints and the beauty that the faith has generated.” Throughout his career, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has, time and again, emphasized that the via pulchritudinis, the way of beauty, constitutes a privileged path by which to advance the New Evangelization. In a de-Christianized society that is often hostile to the Church’s truth claims and moral norms, Benedict believes that recourse to the universal language of beauty is indispensable if today’s evangelist is to compellingly present the Gospel to would-be believers.

This week I published a reflection exploring the concept of beauty in Benedict’s theology, suggesting areas in which it might be fruitfully applied by the Church today in her ministry of evangelization. You can read the piece here at Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

A Reflection on Eastern Catholicism on the Feast of St. Thomas

Fr. Matthew, vicar-general of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, showing us the local St. Thomas cross with lotus flower underneath signifying that the Cross reaches out to the whole worldSyro-Malabar. Syro-Malankara. Syro-what? It would be a safe bet to say that most U.S. Catholics have never heard of these terms, let alone understand what it means to say that they are liturgical rites of the Catholic Church. Yet for the twenty million Catholics living in India, they point to the very heart of what it means to be a follower of Christ in the world today.

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India Pictures

Meeting with His Beatitude George Cardinal Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic ChurchSome of us took upwards of 1,000 pictures, and here I’ve posted just “a few” so as to tell our India story in a little more detail. Later I’ll collect some of the best taken from others in our group and get them up as well. UPDATE: For other pictures of the BC 2013 India odyssey, click here and here.  My travelogue can be found here and here.

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India Travelogue, Part II

Mother's Teresa's tomb is decorated with a different quote every dayWell, I woke up at 3:30 and never fell back asleep, so it turns out I was able to finish the broad strokes of my India chronicle a couple days earlier than expected. Since I have all kinds of time today and tomorrow, I should get pictures up soon as well!  UPDATE: For pictures of the BC 2013 India odyssey, click here and here and here.  My travelogue can be found here and here.

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India Travelogue, Part I

Monkey about to attack RobertThanks be to God, we are back from India and home in the U.S.A. with family, friends, hamburgers, and the rest. As India is a third-world country, I had limited access to a computer over the past few weeks, so what I’m now posting a brief chronicle of our journey in two posts.  I have my camera equipment back in my possession after my bag was returned to from Chicago yesterday. The same bag, incidentally, was lost by the airline  on the way to India and on the way back!

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