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Spirit of Vatican II
Interests: Literature, philosophy, theology, Buddhism, opera, classical music, film, travel.
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BOOKS 1. Questioning Back: The Overcoming of Metaphysics in Christian Tradition. Minneapolis: Winston-Seabury. Repr. Wipf & Stock, 2016. Extract: ‘Overcoming the Nicene Creed.’ Cross Currents 34 (1984):405-13. 2. La Vérité chrétienne à l’âge du pluralisme religieux. Paris: Éditions... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2021 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Terence MacSwiney (1879-1920) is no doubt the most iconic and “exemplary” of all hunger strikers, and back in the 1950s and 60s he was certainly an icon for us in the North Monastery, where both he and his murdered predecessor... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2021 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Shelley’s ‘To a Sky-Lark’ is one of the best known English poems, about which, one imagines, there is nothing new to be said. Long a staple of anthologies and school textbooks, the poem remains in many memories as a pretty... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2021 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
This was published in Archivio di Filosofia 84 (2016):225-32(Castelli colloquium on the Common Good), and also in Scripture in Church 47, no. 187 (2017):110-21 and Japan Mission Journal 71 (2017):157-66.
Among the four canonical Evangelists, Luke is the one most concerned with economic issues. Whether his reflections amount to a coherent, consistent money ethics, or whether they are a loose set of prophetic admonitions from which no systematic view can... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2021 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
In this masterful and fascinating study, Francisco Gonzalez tracks the ups and downs of Heidegger’s lifelong engagement with Plato and gives an illuminating explanation of the ambivalences and contradictions that dogged it. Gonzalez argues that Heidegger could have had a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2021 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Christina Light is Henry James’s first major heroine. In both Roderick Hudson (1875) and The Princess Casamassima (1887) her appearance is delayed for dramatic effect. She appears first, very briefly, in the fifth chapter of the earlier novel (RH [Library... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2021 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
The chain of Fate is forged with strong links. Wilde’s life was shaped with all the rigour of a Greek tragedy, and though he had ample opportunities to elude his doom, he stood his ground, as if obedient to a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2020 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Thanks to Cyril O’Regan for his detailed and perceptive review article on my book Conventional and Ultimate Truth (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015) in Modern Theology 35 (2019):382-92. I’ll cite the whole review here and insert replies here and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2019 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
1. Night after night on the cold hillside he watched over the sheep, wakeful while they slept, and among those misty green valleys his thoughts took on a serious cast. Son of a deacon and grandson of a priest, he... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2019 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
[This letter makes uncanny reading in light of the exposure of what lay behind the Vatican regime upheld and reinforced by St John Paul II, basking in the adulation of millions while the clerical and theological caste remained spineless. This... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2019 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
    'It is quite difficult to invent a tale; even a new creation will inevitably merge with the stream of tales heard before, and thus become a variant of what has already been around' (Burkert, 70). To see a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2018 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Things have moved very quickly, taking the Church by surprise. The movement for the recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions has been astonishingly successful. While the Catholic hierarchy rejects all legal acceptance of same-sex couples, its arguments are unsatisfying,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2018 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
This is an earlier version of the opening chapter in the following book: Chapter One: Reality Itself as Criterion of Religious Truth Romano Guardini surmised that the Buddha is “the last one whom Christianity will have to confront. What... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2018 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Thirteen years or so after writing the text below, I just discovered several interviews and talks by Micheál Ledwith, who does not seem to have greatly changed since 50 years ago. The Indian and Egyptian lore is somewhat wacky New... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
I hope to get around to pursuing this mode of communication -- Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2018 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Christian or Buddhist? “We perhaps do not yet know what Hegel’s dialectical sublation really is, or what negativity is: to learn it one must plunge into one’s heart, and that heart is likely to be, if I dare say so,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2018 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Doubting Thomas 1. What is the resurrection? Can we believe it? I think these remain nagging questions for most of us, which is why we can identify so easily with “Doubting Thomas.” We have heard of the Resurrection, but we... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2018 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Some of James’s short stories or ‘tales’ can seem hollow and strained, their characters thinly sketched and their plot stretched to the limits of plausibility, though of course the novella as a genre is expected to be a striking sketch... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Impermanence is a fundamental theme of English poetry, which easily slips into the elegiac mode. Think of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, of Keats’s Odes, of the Elegies of Milton, Gray, Shelley, Tennyson, Arnold. This was a mode in which Yeats was fully... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2017 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage Since Vatican II, as Charles Kannengiesser remarked in a lecture on 3.12.1986, the Church has changed so much that a new theological foundation must be found for it. We find ourselves in a no man's land. A similar post-Vatican... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2016 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Bernard Pouderon: Review of Joseph S. O’Leary, Christianisme et philosophie chez Origène, Éditions du Cerf, 2011. Joseph O’Leary, Irish by birth, but teaching at Tokyo’s prestigious Sophia University, is one of the too rare foreign scholars writing in French. He... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2016 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage
Motival Saturation Joyce admired Wagner, alongside Ibsen and Hauptmann, as a fearless modern artist. His own writing ‘aspired to the condition of music’ (Walter Pater) long before and long beyond the ‘Sirens’ chapter of Ulysses, which like the ‘Oxen of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2016 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2016 at Joseph S. O'Leary homepage