Rules of Engagement

A neighbor-friend recently passed along the 2008-09-12 issue of Commonweal. It's a fascinating Catholic "review of literature, politics and culture" that I rarely see. A blockquote in one article caught my eye: it cites Carolyn Porco, a fellow Caltech grad student whom I knew, distantly, a few decades ago. She's now a somewhat famous researcher at the Space Science Institute.

The article, "Rules of Engagement: Communion in a Scientific Age", makes an unfortunately muddy attack on Carolyn for her comments (cf. [1]) that the author, Robert N. Bellah, interprets as anti-religion. His criticism is in stark contrast to the glowing praise he gives to the book A Secular Age by Charles Taylor:

... It would be hard to find a book on this subject with so little polemic, with so generous an understanding of all the possible positions—including those farthest from his own—and so little need to show that any side in this multisided process of change is more virtuous than any other. ...

What a marvelous image of the ideal! It reminds me of the Cardinal Newman description of a true "gentleman": tolerant and thoughtful, polite and profound.

(cf. Underappreciated Ideas (1999-07-06), Ethical Fitness (2000-12-05), Tolerance and Pacifism (2001-10-08), Liberal Education (20005-11-02), Rose Is Rose on Tolerance (2006-06-25), ...) - ^z - 2008-09-25

(correlates: CloserToFine, Kenosis, AllCaughtUpNow, ...)