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Abstracts Fall 2016

Volume 11, Number 2 (Spring, 2016)

The Contemporaneity of the Cur Deus homo
By Guy Mansini
The theologies of the cross of Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar have been most influential in the last forty years. For Rahner, the cross announces a transcendentally available grace and forgiveness and in that way makes it available, but does not otherwise change anything. For Balthasar, the cross is no mere announcement but changes the largest things. In fact, it changes God, since before the foundation of the world God has so had to modify the Trinitarian relations that the work of the cross can destroy sin by way of actualizing the Son's eternal and immanent obedience to his Father. The path between these extreme positions is that of Saint Anselm. The cross is indeed an event; it changes things. However, it does not change God, but changes the created moral world. The charity of Christ in his obedience to his Father, a charity than which no greater can be conceived, outweighs all the evil of all human sin. According as we are in Christ, God sees in us what he sees and loves in his Son. That is the core of Anselmian "satisfaction."

Arriving at a Notion of "True Christian Art": Father Raphael Pfisterer, Father Bonaventure Ostendarp, and the Studio of Christian Art at Saint Anselm College
By Maggie Dimock
This paper presents an historical overview of the European and Benedictine precedents that informed the foundation of the Studio of Christian Art at Saint Anselm College. Founded by Fr. Bonaventure Ostendarp O.S.B. (1856-1912) in 1893, and continued under the leadership of his successor, Fr. Raphael Pfisterer, O.S.B. (1877-1942), the Studio was an artist's workshop responsible for producing monumental religious paintings and murals for use in the decoration of Catholic Churches across the United States. In working according to a set of codified aesthetic and ideological criteria for what could be considered "True Christian Art," these artist-monks drew from Benedictine German tradition and set the tone for Catholic Church decoration in the United States, especially among the growing body of German Catholic immigrants.

Man, Music, and Catholic Culture 
By Thomas R. Larson
The topic of this paper is the place of music within the Catholic intellectual tradition. The paper discusses the dignity of music, its relationship to man, and its place in education. The paper begins with the pagan classical treatment of music. The classical account of music is bound up with certain claims about human psychology, education, and culture, as well as certain claims about the universe. Allan Bloom's discussion of music in the Greek philosophic tradition is examined as a foil to the Catholic vision discussed in the second part of the paper. The second part presents Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI's understanding of music's place in Catholic culture. Music, along with laws of beauty and order, has its source in God; it contributes to the re-integration of Man and directs him toward union with God in prayer; it has an intimate relationship with the human longing for transcendence; as a universal language, it has a role in evangelization and facilitating inter-cultural dialogue; in its beauty we are enabled to experience the presence of Ultimate Beauty; and in its own and very powerful way, the beauty of the music that has grown out of Christian culture serves as a kind of verification of the Christian faith.

Can There Be a Catholic Theory of Beauty?
By Johann Moser
In this presentation I attempt to address, in rather informal and anecdotal way, the question of whether or not is it possible, or desirable, to formulate a theory of beauty in distinctly Catholic terms. My view is negative. Although the issues are made rather complicated by the current state of the question, the difficulty of terminology, and the many traditions of speaking about beauty, I conclude that a Catholic theory of beauty would fail in two respects: first, it would not be a genuine "theoria" in the classical sense because it would not be truly universal and not grounded in the universal experience of beautiful things; second, that it could only be formulated at the expense of fusing discrete values, a fusion that would do little but impair each of the values involved. The need for distinguishing values is the central thesis of this paper. The presentation as a whole discusses art, rhetoric, beauty, faith, value, philosophical method, and other matters relevant to the analysis of the problem. In a turn at the end, I do affirm that the conclusions I arrive at do have some connection to a Catholic worldview, and this connection needs to be respected and developed.

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