Monday, March 12, 2007

Physics and History

From Sunday's New York Times Magazine (3/11/07): an article on developments in astronomy. It looks like our physicists are saying that in addition to black matter, there is something called black energy. It is not observable through any of the five senses, and yet we know it through its effects. It looks like physics is finally catching up with the principles of aether, as laid out by Plato,... to Aquinas. How Medieval! Maybe now we can celebrate things that are medieval rather than always decrying them. Physics, like history, can be a matter of using concepts to explain facts, sometimes knowing that the concepts, like gravity, might have many problems to their use.

Also, a book review by Tony Judt on the history of the 20th century. This particular book tried to incorporate the Church into history. In Judt's eyes, the particular historian comes off as snide, and perhaps hiding some of the facts. For example, Judt points out that some German Bishops might have been more complicit than others in Germany. Of course, Judt himself does not mention the Archbishop of Muenster, who spoke out openly and against the Nazis before, during, and after the war. My point, instead of hiding facts or being snide, we should attempt to state the facts as they were. So, at least as far as the spirit of the issue, Judt is right. If a Bishop capitulated with the Nazis or the Commies, it is a fact that we should establish or not. At the same time, one Bishop or group of Bishops acting one way or another is not necessarily an indictment on all religion.

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Blogger Tortoise(notHare) said...

I need to attend a meeting right now, so briefly, wasn't the Archbishop of Muenster (and I forget his name right now) the one who responded to the Nazi's Order at Kristalnacht (I could have spelled that incorrectly) that all Jews must wear yellow badges with the Star of David on them by having a small version of that yellow armband placed on every statue (or Crucifix) of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in every Church of his Archdiocese? I know that one of the Bishops in Germany did that in about 1938. Whichever Bishop did that was cut from the same cloth as JPII...he told the Truth unflinchingly.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Tortoise(notHare) said...

It was Bishop von Galen.
He was called The Lion of Munster and he was the first Bishop consecrated in Germany during the reign of Hitler. He took as his Episcopal motto: Nec laudibus, nec timme. (Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God.) That was right to the point!
Among many, many brave things that he did (he had often given his staff instructions on what to do when he was arrested, but he never was), was an Easter Homily in which he described the situation in Germany under the Nazis, "Hell itself is let loose with all its deceits..." Again, right to the point.
I would say that Americans are less familiar with him because he died in 1946 and, therefore, did not play a real part in post-war Germany.

2:19 PM  

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