An Open Letter to Fellow Artists Michael D. O’Brien Dear Friends I receive a very large number of letters from young Christian painters, writers, and musicians, and ask those of you who have written to me to forgive the lack … Continue reading
Available from Justin Press, Ottawa, October, 2012 http://www.justinpress.ca/A collection of Michael D. O’Brien’s essays, reviews, and interviews examining the integral role of culture in the new evangelization: where we are gaining ground and where we are losing—and why.
“liberal” and “conservative” reactions to Caritas in Veritate
Pope Benedict’s encyclical cuts across all ideological lines, calling all mankind to an examination of conscience regarding our fundamental approach to the meaning of the human person. He does not speak about mankind in the abstract, not as “the masses”, not as geopolitical statistics or economic utilities, but as the entire community of human beings in this world, each possessing inherent rights and duties. We are, he says, “the Family of Man.” Thus, the encyclical challenges human enterprises of every sort to see farther and deeper than we have until now, to understand that the development of a truly human world can only be based in solidarity with all members of the community: “The truth of development consists in its completeness: if it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development.” (C in V, n. 18) The Pope warns that globalization’s principle new feature, the “explosion of worldwide interdependence,” presents colossal risks, for “without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family.” (C in V, n. 33).
Adapted from an article published in the Summer, 1991, issue of Communio, a journal of theology and culture.
As power extends its grasp into wider and wider rings of human life it becomes more hostile to everything outside of itself. As it becomes near absolute it grows increasingly negative, because by its very nature it must oppose what cannot be extinguished in men’s beings. Totalitarian power does not rest content with obedience and a passive populace. It must seek at some point to destroy the inner impulse to creativity which depends for its well-being on freedom from manipulation. It must find and erase all resistance, all spiritual autonomy, all dignity in its subjects.
The following article was published by the international news service Lifesite News, 27 October, 2011
Father at Night is a collection of my personal stories and reflections on the vocation of fatherhood, its challenges, triumphs, defeats, consolations, humour, sorrows and joys lived in circumstances ranging from difficult to impossible. “… the family seems at times … Continue reading
Subsidiarity is the principle which states that freedoms and their inherent responsibilities are best managed by the smallest competent authority at the level most appropriate to the nature of the persons involved. For example, the family, not the state, is the “first teacher” of the family’s children. Governments may assist the family if parents are unable to exercise their subsidiarity, but the state should do so only as a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or personal level. In other words, the government and its administrative organs, such as a department of Education, must serve the family, and not the other way around.