Okay, yes, Aristotle was a pagan — but you can't blame the guy for living centuries before the birth of Christ. You can, however, give him credit for laying out the basics of a good speech. Basics, Father Damian Ference argues, that every good priest ought to keep in mind — and in practice.
Aristotle was a pagan. He died more than three hundred years before the Incarnation, and so Dante put him in the first circle of hell along with his great teacher, Plato. Yet St. Thomas Aquinas consistently referred to Aristotle as “The Philosopher,” and the Catholic intellectual tradition is steeped in Aristotelian thought. Although Aristotle never once heard a homily, he offers an excellent study of public speaking in his treatise titled Rhetoric, which can tell us a lot about what makes a homily good, or not so good.
According to Aristotle, a good speech – and in our case, a good homily – is built on three pillars:ethos, pathos and logos. So let’s examine each pillar to see what Aristotle is up to.
ETHOS: This first pillar deals with the credibility and the character of the preacher. Do you believe what the preacher is saying? Is he trustworthy? Is he worth listening to? Does he practice what he preaches? Does he have integrity and virtuous character? In other words, is he holy?...
The Summer Olympics are here. Jack Thornton reflects on the sportsmanship and patriotism, and wonders what we have to do to get Vatican City represented at the next games.
You recognize that tune don’t you? No? Ok, let me hum it for you again.
Did you get it? Still no?
Le sigh. No one ever gets it when I write music out like that.
It’s the theme for the Olympics and it’s been in my head all week because it’s just that time.
Ah, the Olympics. It’s a time for both strong patriotism and appreciation of other cultures and nations. It’s a time for thrilling victories and crushing defeats; a time for heartwarming stories of athletes who give their all in pursuit of a dream, and a time for less heartwarming stories of badminton players who throw matches so they can play lesser opponents in the losers bracket.
It’s a time for citizens all over the world to suddenly discover interest in sports that they only think about every four years. Yes, once every four years gymnastics, swimming and track rise to the level of football, baseball and basketball and we all obsess over athletes whose names we didn’t know two weeks ago and who we will forget as soon as the NFL pre-season starts. But we watch them and read about them because that’s what we do and that’s the way we like it...