Sunday, March 31, 2013

The day I met Edith Schaeffer (1914-2013), and the note she penned to me.

On March 30, 2013, Edith Schaeffer died at the age of 98. Born on November 3, 1914, she was the widow of Francis A. Schaeffer.  (November 3 is my birthday as well).  In my book, Return to Rome: Confession of An Evangelical Catholic (Brazos Press, 2009), I tell of my encounter with Mrs. Schaeffer at a bookstore in New York City on April 29, 1986, when I was 25 years old:

During my second year in New York City I had the opportunity to meet Edith Schaeffer, the widow of the Presbyterian theologian, Francis A. Schaeffer (1912–1984), whose published works were influential in my decision to pursue graduate work in philosophy. Mrs. Schaeffer was in New York for a book-signing event at the massive Christian Book Distributors retail outlet in Midtown Manhattan. When I arrived there in the mid-afternoon, the crowds had dissipated and Mrs. Schaeffer was sitting alone at a table. I introduced myself to her and told her about her late husband’s influence on me. She seemed sincerely interested in my story. She then kindly asked if I wanted her to sign one of her books. I said “yes,” and handed her a
Edith and Francis Schaeffer

copy of Common Sense Christian Living. She then opened up the book to the first blank page and proceeded to draw a sketch of the Swiss Alps, with birds flying between the mountains and a small flower at the base. (For years, her and her husband lived in Switzerland where they founded the ministry, L’Abri). She then wrote in large letters [photograph of the inscription is below]:

April 29, 1986

To Francis with love, Edith Schaeffer. I’ve written many notes to another Francis—-I do pray your life may be as significant in History.

It was only when I reread Mrs. Schaeffer’s inscription while writing this book that I realized that the day of her written prayer for me is the same day that in 2007 I was publicly received back into the Catholic Church, April 29. This is one of those “coincidences” that really spooks me, but in a good way.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sic 'em Francis: Baylor Student's Papal Translation Project

One of our most gifted students at Baylor University, Emily Edmondson, has created a new blog, "The Papal Translation Project."  Emily, who is bilingual, has taken it upon herself to publish some of Pope Francis' works, including some of his homilies as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Monsignor Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J. Emily translated four of the six she has published so far.  You can find them all here.

Emily also helps direct the RCIA class at St. Peter's Catholic Student Center at Baylor University.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Alexander Pruss' One Body: An Essay on Christian Sexual Ethics - 30% off

My esteemed colleague, Alexander Pruss, late last year published the book, One Body: An Essay on Christian Sexual Ethics (University of Notre Dame Press, 2012). I selected it as one of the best books I read in 2012.  If you have been looking for a philosophically sophisticated, though clearly written, presentation of Christian sexual ethics by a leading scholar in the field, one that has distinguished himself in the wider academic world, this is the book for you.

Thus, I am delighted to draw your attention to a recent blog post of Alex's:
I got an email from Notre Dame University Press, that my One Body: An Essay in Christian Sexual Ethics book is available at 30% off and with free shipping from the Press's order page to get the price down to $31.50 from the list price of $45 (I don't set the prices!). You will need the sale promo code NDEME13 to be entered at the shopping cart stage. Other books in their Ethics and Culture and their Medical Ethics series are also on sale with the same code.

I don't know if the discount code applies to their PDF version or only to their paper version.


Friday, March 15, 2013

On Confirmation: A Letter to Darby Beckwith

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. This is how it is introduced:
What follows is a letter from the author to his 16-year-old niece Darby Beckwith. She recently asked him to be her Confirmation sponsor. In his book, Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic, he tells the story of when 8-year-old Darby called him in 2005 and asked why he and his wife, Frankie, were not Catholic. Two years later Darby’s aunt and uncle were received into the Catholic Church

Here's how it begins:
It was nearly eight years ago, on a late spring evening in May, when you called me at my home in Woodway, Texas and asked why your Aunt Frankie and I were not Catholic.  I remember that evening as if it were just yesterday. This little 8-year-old girl, as articulate as she was precocious, began interrogating me about what undoubtedly appeared to her to be my inadequate theological beliefs. Looking back, it is clear to me now that that little girl—with her very innocent, yet probing query—played an important role in helping guide her uncle back into the Church in which he had been baptized and from which he had wandered. So, when you asked me to be your Confirmation sponsor, whether you knew or not, you were offering me an opportunity to return the favor you had imparted to me eight years ago.

Confirmation, as you know, is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is, more specifically, one of the three sacraments of initiation. (The others are Baptism and Holy Communion). Because, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, they “lay the foundations of every Christian life” (CCC, 1212), both Eastern Rite Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox administer the three sacraments to infants. It is also why we Latin Rite Catholics ask Confirmation candidates to renew the baptismal promises that their godparents had recited on their behalf when the candidates were babies.

>>>continue reading

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Habemus Papam Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (Pope Pius XII)


Habemus Papam Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (Pope John XXIII)


Habemus Papam Albino Luciani (Pope John Paul I)


Habemus Papam Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)


Habemus Papam Carol Wojtyla (John Paul II)


Monday, March 11, 2013

Conclave: The making of a pope


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Daily Conclave Report

Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, the online magazine to which I contribute every two weeks, is publishing a Daily Conclave Report from Rome over at The Catholic Thing. Bob will also be offering commentary on EWTN.