Saturday, March 31, 2007

Exciting New Additions to the Quincy House Website

We at the Quincy House are very pleased to announce the addition of two new sections to the Quincy House website: Quincy Recipes and Quincy Dating Central.

In the new Quincy Recipes section you'll find a number of culinary gems. Perhaps you've had the good fortune of experiencing Aaron's "English Apple Pie" and have wished you could recreate the delicious dessert yourself? Or maybe you've been floored by the complexity and sweetness of John's "Canadian Bars (Grandma Losier's Infamous Chocolate Chip-It Squares)" and have longed to know just how he does it? Recipes for these and other great dishes are now available, so be sure to check it out.

And for the special woman who finds herself single and interested in dating a Quincy House man, we’ve created Quincy Dating Central. It’s simple and easy to use. You can pick one of several classy dates and the Quincy House member who strikes your fancy, and apply online in a matter minutes. So what are you waiting for?

Friday, March 30, 2007

JP2--One Miracle Closer to Sainthood: French Nun Healed of Parkinson's

Lately I have been being confronted more and more with recognition of the division between "conservative" vs. "liberal" Catholics. I personally don't care for this type of labeling, but I must admit that I'm becoming more weary of people that claim that they are liberals. One such person was recently telling me what a wonderful job the Paulist do in evangelizing to young people. She referred to their website What scares me is that these people actually think that they are Catholic, but they're just liberal Catholics. Some of the ideas being promoted on the front page of their website are gay's for life, a nun promoting the vagina monologues, and an article demonstrating how Benedict 16 is out of touch with contemporary culture. Even if you don't agree with what the pope says why do they feel the need to cast a shadow of doubt over Christ's vicar here on earth.

One of the things that I believe makes the legacy of John Paul 2 so rich is for the fact that it would be absurd to try to label him as either a conservative or a liberal. I'm so proud to be a part of the JP2 generation. I think that there is hope for the future of humanity because of the impact that he has had on millions of people our age. It seems to me safe to say that our generation loves the Church, and it has everything to do with our trust and love for our Papa. As hard as it is for me not to hate people that would promote such ideas that are being promoted at busted halo; a lesson that I've learned from JP2 is that love is the most powerful force in the universe and the only way to make sense of everything is to see it throught the eyes of love.
John Paul II--Pray for us.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Funny Because It's True

For some reason the picture won't import into Blogger very well, so just check out this comic at its own website.

Deperate graduate students out there, don't pretend the thought hasn't crossed your mind too...


Monday, March 26, 2007

Reflected Glory

Last night as I was crawling into bed I noticed a spot of light on the mattress next to me. Twisting and turning, I saw that it was coming through my window. Was that…? I had to put on my glasses to make sure. Yes, it was in fact a full moon, shining down on me. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bedroom that got direct moonlight before, so I was definitely excited. So excited I pulled up my blinds to get more of it. Falling asleep in a pool of moonlight is quite an enjoyable experience. Last night and again this morning I was trying to put my finger on a word or phrase to describe it. (Romantic? No, not when you’re by yourself and living in a men’s house.) Was there no larger vision or lesson that could be drawn from lying in the moon’s glory?

This morning my roommate and I went to mass, where we celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The gospel antiphon came from St. John’s gospel: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory.” That nailed it for me. Last night’s lunar experience may have only been a reflection, but it was of that same glory.

How A Propos

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

***This post does not necessarily represent the opinions of all Quincy residents.***

Global Warming Swindle

By Thomas Sowell

Britain's Channel 4 has produced a devastating documentary titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle." It has apparently not been broadcast by any of the networks in the United States. But, fortunately, it is available on the Internet.

Distinguished scientists specializing in climate and climate-related fields talk in plain English and present readily understood graphs showing what a crock the current global warming hysteria is.

These include scientists from MIT and top-tier universities in a number of countries. Some of these are scientists whose names were paraded on some of the global warming publications that are being promoted in the media -- but who state plainly that they neither wrote those publications nor approved them.

Read more here.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Big Numbers, Small Numbers

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ok, for the masses who have been clamoring for a completion of the "Top Ten Gateway Movies" list here it goes...

TO refresh you memory if you don't read the blog regularly, back a few weeks ago I posted a list of the top ten movies that I think can aid the beginning of an appreciation of cinema as an art form (and that are on our shelf at Quincy).

The list was:
10. Napoleon Dynamite
9. Little Miss Sunshine
8. The Station Agent
7. Garden State
6. In America
5. Amelie
4. Rushmore
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. American Splendor
1. La Strada

Last time I wrote up some short thoughts on numbers ten through eight. I have decided that I won't write up all of these movies for two reasons. First, some of the movies you should have heard of, and second, while I appreciate them all, not all of these movies are ones that I personally own, and I don't know of them well enough to really write intelligently on. So, I will be focusing in on the movies that I am most closely acquainted with, and may be a little more obscure.

6. In America

A story of an immigrant family in New York, In America, is really able to take the genera of family drama, and come to a resolution that is both satisfying and lacks the syrupy cheap warm fuzzy feelings that Hollywood can't live without. There are really lots of fascinating aspects that the movie deals with. It addresses questions of grief, nationality, relationship and identity in manner that both makes one think and respond emotionally.

2. American Splendor

One of the most interesting aspects of American Splendor is the way in which it is able to stretch one's conception of techniques that can be used in film to convey a story. The movie is a hybrid between a comic strip, a documentary, and a narrative film. Anyone could just throw different movie styles into a blender and see what comes out, but the genius of this movie is that all of the different techniques are in the service of telling a solid story. The movie is about a real life man, Harvey Pekar, who has a very cynical outlook on his everyday life. He turns to comics as an outlet, or as a way to make sense of it all. However, his comics are deal with his life simply as he sees it. Several aspects of the movie hearken back to the Neorealism movement in Europe in the 1950's, where cinema, and literature were taking a turn to look back at the ordinary circumstances of life, and how to cope with ordinary everydayness.


I will save the best for last, both because of time constraints, and because La Strada really deserves its own treatment.

Nathan C.


Archbishop Foley on Media

Foley brought a friend of mine into the Catholic Church, confirmed several others and figured prominently in another friend's thesis. And I hear he really knows good places to eat. Here's what he's got to say about the media.

Archbishop Foley: Truth Is a Right
Encourages Youth to Participate in the Media

MESSINA, Sicily, MARCH 20, 2007 ( Youth have a right to demand truth and respect from the media, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Archbishop John Foley made these comments Monday in an address to a youth gathering at the Church of the Annunciation in Messina. The event was convoked by the Sicilian Press Association and the Italian Catholic Union of the Press.

"It is never too early to become involved in media, not only as consumers but also as participants," he said. Archbishop Foley continued: "You have the right to the truth. The media have an obligation to report the truth and only the truth; you have the right to demand it of them. You have the right to your dignity. The media have an obligation to treat you with respect, and you have a right to demand it. They should never seek to exploit you, to offer you temptation instead of sound intellectual and spiritual nourishment." The prelate added: "You have a right to demand from the media which serve you the protection of the common good -- the right to demand justice, to oppose violence, to condemn corruption."

Quoting Benedict XVI, Archbishop Foley asked "communicators and young people to be positive -- not to be paralyzed by complaining -- but to contribute to the transformation of society by making known the good news of Jesus Christ and of so many people and institutions in the world that do wonderful work in his name."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Just Another Reason Not to Trust the PRC

Chinese Gang Hires Former PLA Troops as 'Muscle' in Sydney Heroin Trade War

Thursday, August 16, 2001
Agence France-Presse

A Chinese crime syndicate in Sydney is using former Peoples' Liberation Army troops as hired muscle in a bid to win a gang war for control of Australia's heroin trade, a report said Thursday.
According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, the trained soldiers are use to invoke fear in the local Chinese community and rival drug importing gangs.

The paper claimed the ex-soldiers entered Australia after receiving business visas applied for overseas.

Their true past is either never discovered and they gain citizenship through a complex web of estranged or phony relatives living in Australia or they are found to have lied about their pasts but have worked in Australia for up to two years allowing them to then apply for citizenship.
New South Wales Police Commissioner Peter Ryan refused to confirm the claims but said he was not surprised.

"You've got to remember, in China most young men are conscripted to the army, therefore most have military experience," he told reporters. "They then become immigrants to other countries, so we've got to view it in that way as well."

NSW Premier Bob Carr said he did not want to compromise police operations. However, he accused immigration officials of not being tough enough on people applying for entry into Australia.

"We should be a whole lot more critical of those people who apply for immigration whose only experience seems to be training in private militias back in their own countries," he told reporters. "More attention should be given to people who say they are applying to come here under business migration -- what is their business experience."


Wisdom for Our Nation's Capital

Kabbalah Mind Trick

I recently received this from a friend:

"Here is a Kabbalah mind trick for you to practice. Go to your quiet place. Get comfortable and then let your mind wander. Do not attempt to discipline nor direct it. Your task is to act as a passive observer. Watch the assortment of thoughts and emotions pass through. Don’t react or interact. The purpose of this exercise is to understand that you exist apart from the thoughts and emotions that crowd your head. When you reach the point of detachment, you then realize that you have the ability to choose or reject each thought and each emotion. You will gain the will power to order your thoughts and subjugate your emotions to a higher purpose… the Lord’s purpose. It’s a beautiful thing."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

On the Value of a Liberal Education

Friday, March 16, 2007

The iRack

All the News That's Fit to Print

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Say Hello...


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A story my father sent to me...

Mother of the Year

"A Boston woman who gave birth after a failed abortion has filed a lawsuit against two doctors and Planned Parenthood seeking the costs of raising her child," the Associated Press reports:

The complaint was filed by Jennifer Raper, 45, last week in Suffolk Superior Court and still must be screened by a special panel before it can proceed to trial.

Dr. Allison Bryant, a physician working for Planned Parenthood at the time, performed the procedure on April 9, 2004, but it "was not done properly, causing the plaintiff to remain pregnant," according to the complaint.

Raper then went to see Dr. Benjamin Eleonu at Boston Medical Center in July 2004, and he failed to detect the pregnancy even though she was 20 weeks pregnant at the time, the lawsuit alleges. . . .

She gave birth to a daughter on Dec. 7, 2004.

One day Jennifer Raper's daughter will punch her mother's name into Google and discover that she was the result of "a failed abortion."

Monday, March 12, 2007


I've heard some Catholics self-describing themselves as 'convinced Catholics' as opposed to those one might call unconvinced—the less-than-serious, the faithless nominal Catholics who can safely be regarding as not even 'real' Catholics. You know the kind—they go, or don't go, to Mass without appreciating the weight of the obligation. They dare to disagree with magisterial teachings on this or that. They often have personal doubts about the reality of God in their life. And, worse still, they may even vote Democrat. It's very important that someone who's superior in nature have a good way to distinguish oneself from their kind.

Could it be that simple?

The verb 'to convince' comes from the Latin convincere, to prove something true or false; but it also means to conquer, to overcome, or to expose. There's something of violence in the word. You might convince one by force, or in our case, allow oneself to be convinced by the dominating arguments for Catholic orthodoxy. And, if one attributes his conviction to the power of another, what is there then but humility in the notion of having been convinced? Even being convinced of Truth is unpresumptuous. Or is it precisely this appearance of humility that allows the term to be a tool of pride. All those unconvinced Catholics haven't been conquered, haven't been defeated. Does that mean they're not chosen?

So, suddenly the language of conviction sounds Calvinist. I know, no rather, I feel myself convinced, and so my place in the flock as one of the faithful sheep is assured. I have the awareness of a kind of certainty, intellectual or otherwise, such that I can identify myself as part of that illustrious company of true Christians. And since ultimately it must have been God who conquered my will and convinced me of himself, I can count myself among his elect. Thank God I'm not like all those unconvinced who just go through the motions, or worse do nothing good at all. Thank God I'm convinced.

But I must confess: I'm not convinced. There's too much in my experience that fails to resonate tidily. My intellect has its doubts. My will has its weaknesses and fails in even basic practices of the faith. And perhaps more importantly, I don't feel convinced.

Now this is not a cause for despair. I know that God is good, even when I undergo doubt. I know and I cling to the hope that such 'knowledge' is not in vain. I look around and see so many kinds of people, all kinds of Catholics and non-Catholics, Christians and non-Christians, and I see a common tie to all of them. There's a universality to our struggles, and I can't distinguish myself from the common human lot. I sin as everyone does, and I doubt as well.

But there is something about being Catholic, something about being in this Church and not some other. It's personal, but it's more than personal. It's practical, but it's more than practical. I know that Jesus is the heart of the Catholic Church, but he does not limit the giving of himself to Catholics only. Can I say that the primary avenues for divine grace are the Sacraments which the Church has in her keeping? What does it even mean to speak of a primary expression of something fundamentally infinite and beyond human comprehension? Can I say that an infinite gift is more if given here than if given there?

At some point, I stand embarrassed before a night sky, before the stars and the clouds. I stand without the slightest bit of knowledge, knowing that even that is folly. At some point the vanity of my reflection collapses back upon itself, a saturated gaze doubled over in contradiction. At some point the pride of daring to speak is deafening. The only resolution to this dreadful irony must be death. And if I might have the nerve to hazard a prayer in the face of it, may it be for my undoing, for release from this struggle. And yet may it be simply that God be glorified, regardless.

I'm not convinced that I should want to be convinced. If life is really found through death, if losing oneself is the requisite of being found, what are we to make of those who are already 'living', already 'found'? Is it not a mistake to don the finality of conviction? Ah, but that's too easy. Neither can one avoid it. One must decide, and one must remain open. One must be convinced of something, even while remaining unconvinced.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Great News!

In case you hadn't heard, a major win for the Constitution has taken place. In DC of all cities. A federal appeals court has recognized the constitutional right of law abiding citizens to bear arms (on another note the weather today has allowed me to exercize my God-given right to bare arms).

So if this decision is upheld, perhaps a shooting gallery in the basement of Quincy? We'll see...

(read the article here)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

On the subject of films, I found this interesting

Neatorama » Blog Archive » 9 Laws of Physics That Don’t Apply in Hollywood

Monday, March 05, 2007

Celebrity Sighting

Nathan Castellanos, out among the common people to hear a talk about YouTube.

Censored in China!

Oh the injustice! To all the billions of Chinese people that will never be able to read this, I am deeply sorry and I pray for your government.

How do we know that the Chinese people are being denied the freedom to experience Quincy? A new web service The Great Firewall of China tests websites by running them through a Chinese server to see if they are censored.

We Passed! Check your blog and see if you are dangerous enough to be censored.


How the RIAA views its customers: completely untrustworthy

How the RIAA views its customers: completely untrustworthy:
A well argued article about how bad the RIAA really is.

"The RIAA is like the Prohibitionists of old. In their view, the law cannot allow for something completely reasonable such as legal circumvention because it could be abused. Millions of people are thereby punished."

Remember the RIAA boycot is still on.

Top Ten Gateway Movies

Most people don't experience cinema as an art form. However in the 20th century cinema steeped in as a major literary genera which shapes and moves culture. However talking with a cinophile can be intimidating. It is not easy to approach some of the masterworks of film. Analogously if the only books that you are accustomed to reading are trashy romance novels, picking up the Brothers Karmaotzov can be intimidating. It occurred to me at the suggestion of some friends that perhaps a list of "gateway" movies would be useful.

These are all movies from my house library that are a great place to start in film appreciation. It is not an attempt at a canonical list, but a simply a good place to start thinking differently about film and it's possibilities. I have not ranked them in order of worst to best, but rather most accessible to most abstruse.

The Movies:

10. Napoleon Dynamite
9. Little Miss Sunshine
8. The Station Agent
7. Garden State
6. In America
5. Amelie
4. Rushmore
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. American Splendor
1. La Strada

Some Explanation:

10. Napoleon Dynamite

If you haven't heard of Napoleon Dynamite, then shame on you. It's a light comedy which some may argue simply stays on the level of a purely pedestrian movie. However, one of the really valuable things to note here is that the movie defies so many conventions of what is necessary for a film to work. No multi-million dollar budget, no obligatory sexual encounter, no parading of the "beautiful people", just a simple and very funny movie.

9. Little Miss Sunshine

The darling movie of 2006, Little Miss Sunshine deservedly won the Oscar for best screen play. This movie is also a comedy that earns its laughs. The characters interactions and smart but real in a way that few Hollywood studios dare to risk these days. It is a great combination of a family drama and comedy.

8. The Station Agent

Another low budget movie that simply relies on great story telling to get its point across. The Station Agent is the first movie I have seen staring a person with dwarfism that treats its protagonist as a complex human being. It is a quiet movie that really earns its laughs. A comedy that deals with issues of friendship, trust, loss and trains, this movie is really original.

(It's getting late out here on the east coast. More to come...)


Sunday, March 04, 2007

The DNA of Jesus

Special thanks to Larry for a sweet post on the DNA of Jesus.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Brief History of the Kakure Kirishitan

The other day I was reading about the Shimabara Rebellion (1637-1638) in Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate. Christians played a major role in the rebellion, possibly even forming a majority of its membership, so when the rebellion was crushed, Christianity was suppressed. However, many of the Japanese Roman Catholics went underground and became known as the kakure kirishitan, the “hidden Christians.” These Christians worshipped in secret rooms in their homes; because of the expulsion of the clergy the kakure kirishitan depended upon lay leadership. To remain hidden, their statues of the saints and the Virgin Mary were transformed to look like the traditional statues of the Buddha and Shinto dieties. Likewise, prayers were adapted to sound like Buddhist and Shinto prayers, though they retained many untranslated words from Latin, Portuguese and Spanish. The Bible was passed down orally, since printing it was considered too dangerous. When religious freedom was reestablished two hundred years later many of the kakure kirishitan came out of hiding, renounced any unorthodox and syncretic practices that had grown up and rejoined the Roman Catholic Church. Isn’t that wild?

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Virtues of Playfulness

I find myself coming back to this lecture so often that I decided it's time to share it with the blogosphere.

The 2006 Convocation Address by Dr. Greg Roper

On the Virtues of Playfulness

Dr. Lazarus, Dean Eaker, Dean Burk, Dean Whittington,Colleagues, and Especially the Class of 2006:

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to address you, which I consider the greatest honor a UD class can bestow upon a professor. I am overwhelmed—and humbled--by your regard for me. I have heard some of the most inspiring talks of my life in this room, on this occasion, and I fear—I know—I shall not live up to them today.

When I returned to the University in the Fall of 2000, I was talking to Dr. Sommerfeldt about my own class, about the interesting qualities of the students in my classes. He said, "Oh, about every two or three years I go to the Admissions Office and say, 'Would you send me some more of those odd students?'" Well, I don't know what was going on in the Admissions Office about five years ago, but apparently someone was listening.

Because you people are strange. Silly. Goofy. Playful. But not merely playful; you possess the virtue of playfulness.

You play Euchre, a Wisconsin grandpa game, until all hours of the morning, then leap over Greek walls to pick pomegranates. You get excited about patches on your jeans in the shape of the Tau, and wear Superman shirts to your exams. You find, or construct, a Slip-n-Slide from questionable resources. You portage a canoe and have it blessed. You write essays coming to grips in the second half with Lear's suffering only because the first half had detailed how five young women, first seriously, then desperately, then madly, scoured Rome for a bathroom. (Holy Fools indeed!) You take what could have been a distressing, even dangerous Notte Bianca when the lights went out across Italy and turn it into a lark; you take twenty-some visits to the Albano emergency room and turn it into a T-shirt reminding us that the Roman numerals for 2004 are MM with IV attached to it. You sing Irish songs in rather questionable parts of the Trinity River bottoms, and end quite seriously in prayer.

And it's not just you, though this class seems particularly replete with oddballs, playful types. It is something about UD itself where, after all, we pursue serious academic work in the great texts of the Western Tradition and yet we celebrate the most obscure and silliest of February holidays; we spend a week each fall practicing the greatest of Christian virtues by, among other things, well, tackling Father Maguire. When I came to the university in the fall of 1980, I was, I don't mind telling you, a pretty tightly-wound, achievement-oriented, grade-grubbing little pain in the neck. It was my fellow students, the curriculum, my professors, something in the UD air that taught me again to play.

Now, I have taught at three other institutions of higher learning, and I was struck at each how little of this virtue the students possessed. Their free time was often raucous and rowdy, but strangely serious, even at times a little desperate. They were trying so hard to play! So I find myself wondering: is it nature, or nurture? Does the Admissions Office find you oddballs, or do we make you once you are here? What is it that enables this serious playfulness, and playful seriousness, at UD? What is the nature of play?

Well, as Aristotle says in the Poetics, man is the imitative animal, and by that I believe he means not just that we put on plays, but that play is essential to the human. We imitate, we pretend, from our earliest days; children play-act, becoming in their games Rescue Heroes and Soccer stars, firemen and presidents (though rarely professors, which is probably fitting). We imitate; we become others; we goof around as Puck; we imaginatively become Ahab. And in our play, we broaden our experience of what it means to be human.

And our imitations take many forms.

A metaphor is play, essentially unserious to a certain type of person. "My love is a red, red rose." Well, then, says the serious literalist, she has a thin green torso and a heavy red head that leans over after a couple of days . "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" Not an August one in Dallas, thank you! our literalist says, but this dissuades Shakespeare not a jot, for he pursues the comparison for another eleven lines, even if only to reject it. A scientific model is play, searching for an imitation of nature that will not just suffice but delight, be beautiful. Surely one of the most playful minds of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein, began the road to his great discoveries by imagining what it would be like to travel alongside a beam of light, and one can detect more than a Therese Bart sparkle and wink in Schroedinger's eye when he uses his cat to improve our understanding of the physical world. Play is child-like: it issues forth in wonder. It is not childish, for child ish behavior, in a child or an adult—"I want to wash hands first!" happens when the person loses that sense of wonder and only wants for his selfish little ego's possession. It is the adolescent, so worried that someone is watching him and will think him foolish, who finds it difficult to be self-forgettingly playful. I think that is what infected the students at other schools, who even in the fraternity parties and massive keggers seemed to be saying "Look at us! We're having fun!" Their play was not grown up enough to be childlike.

But all of this merely tells us how our learning can be play, perhaps at its best is play, and would suggest that every university should be filled with such oddballs as the class of 2006 possesses. My question was different: why are playful oddballs so prevalent at UD? What accounts for this glorious lightness in the face of the Ultimate questions, the Permanent Things?

Well, in all things paradoxical, and therefore deeply true, it is best to turn to the expert. In Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton describes the situation of children left, as he writes, "on the flat grassy top of some tall island in the sea. So long as there was a wall round the cliff's edge they could fling themselves into every frantic game and make the place the noisiest of nurseries. But the walls were knocked down, leaving the naked peril of the precipice. They did not fall over; but when their friends returned to them they were all huddled in terror in the center of the island; and their song had ceased"(145).

We can play at UD, then, because we know that Truth exists, that we are made to know it, and that we have a curriculum to lead us to begin loving it and following it. Truth is that fence around the island, always there, securing us to romp and discover and take risks, to try ideas and suggest metaphors, to try models and play with concepts. Secure in this knowledge, we are not afraid of pursuing it wherever it may lead us. UD students learn so much, I am convinced, because they have the security, and thus the courage, the confidence, to play—with ideas, texts, with clay and pigment and metaphors and models. So we read the pagan Plato against Aquinas, steady Aristotle against nimble Nietzsche, bouncing them off of one another to see what we can learn, unafraid of tangling with any of them.

I suspect students at another kind of school do not have this security, for their schools, their curricula, their classes may often tell them what Gorgias thinks, that truth does not exist, or if it does is unknowable, or if knowable is incommunicable. They are not as free to play, for they might fall off the edge at any moment, into the pit of meaninglessness or the chasm of their own egos. They end up huddling together in a few timid, workable ideas, unable to run in the wide fields of truth, unable to achieve the freedom of great-souledness. At yet a different kind of school, students seem to be taught that the Truth is so fragile, or their own intellects so tender, that they must be protected in a small corner of truth; they are so afraid of losing what truth they have that they will not let the students read chancy, dangerous thinkers who might raise unpleasant questions. These schools, if you ask me, commit the mistake of being afraid of Creation, of not seeing the cosmos as redeemed into comedy, and so they, too, huddle together, frightened of losing what little they have.

But here at UD we are taught that Truth is robust, great, powerful, and most importantly, bigger than any of us, that we will never master it, grapple it to the ground, possess it. But we can sally forth, Chestertonian knights, ready to try any adventure that comes our way. And we cannot really harm Truth, though we can lose our way in seeking it. We can, however, submit to truth, and because of that, we can play in it. Playfulness, then, issues from humility, and is the greatest sign of freedom. Homo ludens is the result, and perhaps the apex, of rational man, political man, and imitative man. It was UD that taught me to play again, to become as free as I had been as a child, because it shaped me into something more fully human, more fully free. Remember Chesterton: "Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him" (Orthodoxy, 159).

If you want to find a patron saint of playfulness, you probably should turn to St. Philip Neri, who might be the subject of another talk, but you could look much closer to home to the life of John Paul II. Here was a man who had seen up close every horror to which Western Civilization could descend. He considered things deeply, seriously, as a philosopher, playwright, theologian, and poet; he looked at evil and had the courage to face it down with truth and charity. And in his own long final suffering, he taught us how to die with grace and dignity. I do not want to diminish those qualities at all. And yet, of all recent popes, world leaders, and thinkers, who was more playful? Who can forget his mugging for the cameras with his fingers over his eyes, his "Woo Woo Woo" in front of thousands of teenagers, his smile, his silliness? He drew people to Rome because they could sense, even if at first only darkly, that he had gotten hold of a secret, the secret that, as once again Chesterton says, "Joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live" (159). I never could understand those who called him a strict lover of negative restrictions; John Paul played because of authority, an authority anchored in Truth and Love much larger than his own small person. He never forgot that joy is the Easter emotion of an Easter people; he never lost the image Dante creates, that the blessed souls are dancing in their circles of light.

If you'll indulge me, I will tell you my favorite John Paul story, one that speaks to his playfulness and which, not coincidentally, involves soccer. When Italy's champions came for a ceremonial visit to the Vatican in the early 1990s, --similar to the Super Bowl champions coming to the White House—the Pope paused when he shook the hand of the great striker Roberto Baggio. He looked at the tiny, pony-tailed goal-scorer and said, "Ah, Roberto Baggio. My worst nightmare." Now Baggio, the hero of all Italy, had a few years before this made a very public conversion to Buddhism. The press was all over this, often highly critical of him, in nominally Catholic Italy. Baggio, a quiet, gentlemanly, serious sort, responded, "If ever my most personal decision has ever caused you pain, Your Holiness, I ask your deepest forgiveness." "Ah, Baggio Baggio," the Pope replied, "you are forgetting that in my youth I was a goalkeeper." To John Paul, no mere soccer stud, no matter how popular, could be a worrisome challenge to Truth and Life; no Buddhist, not even Scott Crider, could threaten a man, a Church, a university, with its eyes and heart directed to the Permanent Things. It's a wonderful story of the greatness of Truth, the Pope's warm humility and humanity, and two men's mutual love for what after all is a child's game.

My wish for you, as you depart from us at UD, is first that you will leave some of your spirit behind, for we will always need it here; that you will go out into a life that is far often too busy, too technical, too reductive of the human person, and irradiate it with the spirit of truth, of humility, and of childlike wonder you have both gained and displayed here. (My son Benjamin, by the way, currently recommends roly polys as an object of study and wonder. You could do worse work in graduate school.) You will do this by keeping and deepening what the Core, the great texts, and their great teachers began for you here: by cleaving with all your reason to the truth, by humbly seeing it as larger than yourself rather than something to pin down and master, by acting with justice in the political sphere, by imitating the charity of the saints. In the midst of serious work, of the suffering that will inevitably come your way—when you must fight injustice, when a parent is dying slowly and painfully-I hope that you will continue to be fully human and dance in the freedom of play, until we are together again, nel "l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle", in the Love that moves the sun and the other stars. Until then, I shall miss you all, in all your goofy glory.

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