The Open Door with Dr. Jim Hanink and Friends
Some history of the show: The Open Door, the longest running of the WCAT Radio shows, was established in October, 2016, by Lt. Colonel Albert E. Hughes (USAF Retired) holds an MS in Systems Management (with distinction) from the Air Force Institute of Technology, an MM in Pastoral Ministry from Seattle University (Jesuit). He is certified in Spiritual Direction by the Monastery of the Risen Christ in San Luis Obispo, CA. He is an accomplished retreat master and Catholic evangelist. A convert at mid-life from agnostic rationalism, he has taught scripture and conducted period retreats in parishes in Seattle, WA, Santa Maria, CA, and Corpus Christi, TX, for 25 years. Following Al's departure from the program, Jim Hanink and Matthew Bartko became the show hosts and continue the dialogue.
Episode 241: Frank Calneggia, author of Assertions and Refutations (August 10, 2022)
Welcome to The Open Door! This week (Aug. 10) we move, virtually, to Australia. We’re heading to Perth, the capital of West Australia. We’ll discuss theology and philosophy in the context of Catholic life there. Our welcome guest is Frank Calneggia. He’s the author of Assertion and Refutation (En Route Books and Media, 2022). In it he challenges another Australian thinker, the theologian Tracey Rowland. On what grounds? Her understanding of natural law, a subject dear to our Thomist hearts. Among the questions we will ask are the following. Please feel free to suggest your own.
1. Frank, if we may, could you first tell us a bit about yourself?
2. How fares the Church in Australia today? What kind of leader is Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Cardinal George Pell's successor?
3. What’s the philosophical climate in Catholic educational institutions? Can you give us more background on John Finnis and Peter Singer, two well known Australian philosophers.
4. How did you come to lock horns, as it were, with Tracey Rowland? What are some of the chief claims in her influential essay “Natural Law: From Neo Thomism to Nuptial Mysticism” (Communio: Fall, 2008)?
5. Can we understand natural law apart from Catholic theology?
6. Does St. Paul appeal to natural law in his Epistle to the Romans?
7. Just what is natural theology?
8. Following St. Thomas Aquinas, the guiding principle of your book is “The study of philosophy does not consist in knowing what others have thought but to know the truth of things.” Why is this principle controversial in our “interesting times”?
9. Pilate asks Jesus “What is truth”? How would St. Thomas answer this question?
10. You are a keen student of papal encyclicals. The American Solidarity Party is sometimes called “the party that reads the encyclicals.” If there were such a party in Australia how might it challenge status quo politics in your country?
Episode 240: Patrick Harris, outgoing Chair of the National Committee of the American Solidarity Party (July 27, 2022)
Welcome to The Open Door! This week (Wednesday, July 27th) we return to a discussion of the American Solidarity Party, our political home. We’ve been called “the Party that reads the encyclicals.” We surely strive to read the signs of the times. Already the 2022 elections are close at hand. Can 2024 be far behind? Joining us will be Patrick Harris. He’s just finished his term as the Chair of our National Committee. Among the questions we’ll ask are the following.
1. Patrick, if we may, could you begin by telling us a bit about your background and your young family?
2. Some say that the Party is top-heavy with academics. Is it a fair charge?
3. Reviewing your experiences as Chair, what successes do you see? What challenges?
4. How can the Party make new friends and influence elections?
5. What do you make of the conundrum that the Party will never succeed unless it uses the methods of the major parties but if, by doing so, it succeeds then it will lose its soul?
6. The Party is in the great tradition of Christian Democracy. Does it also have links with contemporary third parties abroad? What about England’s Social Democrat Party?
7. The Party is resolutely pro-life for the whole of life. But how can it make its distinctive economic policies better known and understood?
8. What distinctive family friendly policies do you advocate?
9. Do politics and theology mix?
10. What books are you reading?
Episode 239: Dr. Peter Kwasniewski on Catholic liberal arts education, contemporary Thomism, and the role of the papacy (July 13, 2022)
In this episode of "The Open Door," panelists Jim Hanink and Mario Ramos-Reyes discuss Catholic liberal arts education, contemporary Thomism, and the role of the papacy. Our welcome guest is Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, a prolific author who has written widely about each. He holds degrees from Thomas Aquinas College and The Catholic University of America. In addition, he served as Admissions Director at Wyoming Catholic College and taught there for several years. Now he is a major presence in traditional Catholic circles as a speaker, essayist, and blogger at OnePeterFive. Here are some questions we’ll ask him. Feel free to suggest your own!
1. Dr. Kwasniewski, as an undergraduate you spent a year at Georgetown and then left for Thomas Aquinas College in California. Why? What did you find at TAC? Is it staying true to its course?
2. New and smaller Catholic colleges are increasingly appreciated. What’s happening at Wyoming Catholic?
3. You’ve brought anew the message of liberal arts education to Poland. How can that kind of education serve a nation that has suffered so much?
4. People don’t associate Thomism with the primacy of love and the experience of ecstasy. But your scholarly work links St. Thomas to both. What is their significance for the Common Doctor?
5. Many people have heard of Notre Dame’s Ralph McInerny. Even the New York Times gave him a fulsome obituary. But far too few know about the legacy of Fr. Lawrence Dewan, OP. What was he like as a teacher and scholar?
6. Development is not distortion. John Henry Newman deeply appreciated the lessons of history. How did they lead him to his view of the development of doctrine?
7. Your latest book, in two volumes, is The Road from Hyperpapalism to Catholicism. What is “hyperpapalism,” and how is it related to ultramontanism? It is widely known that the pope is a Catholic. Is he also a hyperpapalist?
8. Has Francis overstepped his office in his rejection of capital punishment? Is incorporating his position in the Catechism of the Catholic Church an example of hyperpapalism?
9. What is it to stand in loyal opposition to elements of Francis’s exercise of the Petrine ministry?
10. Last question: can politics and theology converge? Consider the new American Solidarity Party!
Episode 238: Thomas Storck talks about his book Foundations of a Catholic Political Order (June 29, 2022)
Welcome to The Open Door! This Wednesday (June 29) we discuss Catholicism and politics. In doing so, we’ll also explore the current debate about integralism and post-liberalism. It’s a tall order, but we have a welcome and returning guest, Thomas Storck, to help us. He’s the author of several books, including a new edition of his Foundations of a Catholic Political Order (Arouca Press, 2022). In addition, he recently translated and wrote a new forward for Louis Cardinal Billot’s Liberalism: A Critique of Its Basic Principles and Various Forms (Arouca Press, 2019). Storck is also a prolific writer and reviewer. And, to top it off, he’s an authority on distributism, as befits a member of the American Solidarity Party. We’ll be asking the following questions. Please feel free to suggest your own!
1. We’d best get started with some working definitions. Could you tell us just what “liberalism” is? And how about post-liberalism and integralism?
2. Do our governmental leaders have a duty to help make us better people? Is such a duty possible in a society that is sharply at odds about the nature of the good?
3. Do they have a duty to put society under the reign of Jesus Christ? What does the feast of Christ the King celebrate?
4. How can there be such a duty in a post-Christian society?5. Is it enough for the State to recognize the instrumental value of religion? Is this what George Washington advocated in the famous passage from his Farewell Address where he speaks of the necessity of religion and morality for public welfare?
6. The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board informs us that
“Freedom is our core value,” and adds that “We reject overreaching moves by public authorities to control the culture or private mores. Citizens’ right to privacy, to decide for themselves how best to lead their lives, is fundamental. It is in keeping with our Western roots to champion individual autonomy and the freedom of conscience.”
Is this true for both American conservatives and American liberals?
What is your response?
7. How are we to understand civil society? Does individualism undermine it?
8. Just what is distributism and how does it relate to Catholic Social Teaching?
9. Does Catholic Social Teaching provide us with the resources to move beyond both capitalism and socialism?
10. What projects are you working on now? What books are you reading?
Episode 237: Dr. Andrew Cummings of Mount Angel Seminary (June 15, 2022)
This week on The Open Door, Catholic panelists Jim Hanink, Mario Ramos-Reyes, and Christopher Zehnder discuss with Dr. Andrew Cummings teaching philosophy at the oldest seminary in the West, Mt. Angel Seminary, Oregon. And, of course, we’ll explore what’s being taught, from the classics to the contemporary. Our special guest is Prof. Andrew Cummings. He received his PhD from the University of Leuven, Belgium. His research centers on topics in philosophical theology, metaphysics, and the history of ideas. It comes alive in articles like “Don Quixote Meets Mr. Gradgrind: A Neglected Proof for Immortality” (Logos), and it brings us into the quest for dialogue with our cultured (or not) critics. Among the questions we’ll ask are the following. Please feel free to add your own!
Prof. Cummings, Andrew if we may, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
How did you come to teach and Mt. Angel Seminary? And how does the Benedictine Tradition shape your institution?
You wrote a book (Thinking God) with your father. What was that like? Were there “philosophical differences” between the authors?
Joe Friday, of Dragnet fame, was fond of saying “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
But aren’t facts value laden? And aren’t some values themselves facts?
Are we metaphysical animals?
Metaphysical or not, animals die. What do you make of Karol Wojtyla’s observation, in his Person and Community, that the immanent good of our actions endure? He writes that “Not only do the traces of it that have remained in human culture themselves defy death, for they live on and re-enliven ever new men and women, but they also seem to call for the immortality—and perhaps even testify to the personal immortality—of the human being.”
The American Solidarity Party, increasingly known in Catholic circles, presents itself as in the tradition of Christian Democracy. Its leaders make use of natural law arguments that emphasize the common good. Is such an enterprise quixotic or prophetic? Or is it simply “right reason in acting”?
Was Martin Luther King, Jr., ill-advised to appeal to natural law reasoning in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail”? Was Dorothy Day ill-advised to speak about sacrificial love in the public square?
What is at stake in the virtue of civic friendship?
Can you tell us about some of your current projects?
Episode 236: Stephen Alexander Beach on his book The Drama of Metaphysics (June 8, 2022)
Western Philosophy has been a 2500-year conversation attempting to understand the reality which lies beyond the changing physical appearances of the world. This perennial metaphysical discussion provided the West with a framework for its beliefs, politics, morality, and common values. In the 20th century, this conversation was rejected in favor of new Materialist ideologies like Methodological Naturalism, Nazism, Nihilism, Communism, and Transhumanism. The success of these experiments in ideology hinge, though, on one central problem: Can man really be shaped into the image of his own making, or will his metaphysical identity always make a return?
This week (June 8th) on The Open Door we’ll join a 2500-year young conversation. Its participants want to better understand that which is. Are material things the whole of reality? And, if so, can we get past how they appear to us? Or are there minds as well as matter? And what are we to make of ourselves? At the end of the day, and sometimes at its beginning, our politics, art, and ethics converge in what we take reality to be. Our special guest is Stephen Alexander Beach, the author of The Drama of Metaphysics: An Exploration into the Psychological Power of Worldviews (En Route Books and Media, 2022). Among the questions we will ask are the following. Please feel free to ask your own!
1. Stephen, if we may, could you begin by telling us a bit about yourself and your background?
2. What drew you into the drama of metaphysics?
3. Just what is a worldview? Does everyone have a worldview?
4. How does metaphysics give rise to a worldview?
5. Could you explain methodological naturalism? Who are some of its proponents?
6. Is nihilism more of an attitude than a systematic philosophy?
7. What is transhumanism? Who proposes it and why?
8. In focusing on the psychological power of worldviews, do we move away from metaphysics and into experimental psychology?
9. St. John Paul II saw a constructive interplay between metaphysics and theology. How is this at work with respect to the Biblical teaching that we are made in God’s image and likeness?
10. What new projects are you pursuing?