Islands of Civilisation and Renaissance

August 7, 2009

I am confident we are all aware of the book that changed modern ethical discourse: Alistair Mactintyre’s After Virtue. The whole book is an extraordinary analysis of how ethical thinking became disjointed from the enlightenment onwards up to the intellectual disaster of logical positivism (it has to be said he sees little good ethical thinking after around 400AD!). Having been a Benedictine monk the conclusion of the book is one I still find profoundly moving. He says that the age we live in needs a new St Benedict: someone who will promote a culture of civilization and renaissance. 

St Benedict3

The Christian press often makes the point that we live in a post-Christian Europe. It must be said that this is possibly true but I have to say that I do not think we should be scared by this type of journalism. My formation is largely Christian and of course I can see the centrality of Christ within European civilisation. I also see Christ as the Logos and this enables myself and others to see that the key to the age we live in is to develop a sense of restoring faith in reason. This is one of the things Pope Benedict XVI was attempting to do in his infamous Regensburg address. We can see attempts of this occurring in many other places outside of the Catholic Church, for example the School of Economic Science. There are people who are quick to criticise it and I can see why this would not be for everyone. Yet in my experience their schools are very real places of civilisation and renaissance. We live in a world which needs these qualities.

The simple cave in Subiaco where Benedict lived led to the extraordinary monastery of Monte Cassino. Let us not be afraid to enter the cave of our interior life and ask ourselves what we are doing to build a world of civilisation and renaissance?

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One Response to “Islands of Civilisation and Renaissance”

  1. AC said

    very inspired and inspiring!! pls do keep writing!

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