1. Fellow Thomist Dennis Polis has published his book!

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    August 15, 2012 by judechua

    Triumph of St Thomas Aquinas

    GOD, SCIENCE AND MIND: THE IRRATIONALITY OF NATURALISM He gave a presentation on the book  at ICSA VII: “Brave New World? …
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  2. latest Fellow Thomist: Chris Albrecht

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    July 29, 2012 by judechua

    yes, that’s right.  We have a now yet another Thomist added to our list.  Congrats, Chris.  Delighted you are included.

  3. Paper on Human Rights, Religious Liberty and Child Cicumcision

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    July 27, 2012 by judechua

    I give this address yesterday at the Future Problem Solving Seminar, and students asked intelligent questions, and left me rather …
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  4. London Colloquium

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    May 25, 2012 by judechua

    Hello Everyone We’ve got a one day colloquium with colleagues from the IOE London on the 11th June 2012.  Let …
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  5. Check Out the Inquisitor’s Manual.

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    March 1, 2012 by judechua

    Jude_Leica1

    The Inquisitor’s Manual is growing. Check it out at http://www.inquisitorsmanual.wordpress.com

  6. Book Review

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    March 1, 2012 by judechua

    Here’s a book review I sent out of a friend’s book. Enjoy. My review has an RO slant. 29Feb2012_ReviewEducationTextMooneyMark Jude

  7. SEMIOTICA

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    February 21, 2012 by judechua

    Breaking news: I’ve gotten a piece accepted in Semiotica! This is for a very interesting new topic called “Significs”.

st. thomas aquinas

Eutrapelia

I answer that, Just as man needs bodily rest for the body's refreshment, because he cannot always be at work, since his power is finite and equal to a certain fixed amount of labor, so too is it with his soul, whose power is also finite and equal to a fixed amount of work. Consequently when he goes beyond his measure in a certain work, he is oppressed and becomes weary, and all the more since when the soul works, the body is at work likewise, in so far as the intellective soul employs forces that operate through bodily organs. Now sensible goods are connatural to man, and therefore, when the soul arises above sensibles, through being intent on the operations of reason, there results in consequence a certain weariness of soul, whether the operations with which it is occupied be those of the practical or of the speculative reason. Yet this weariness is greater if the soul be occupied with the work of contemplation, since thereby it is raised higher above sensible things; although perhaps certain outward works of the practical reason entail a greater bodily labor. On either case, however, one man is more soul-wearied than another, according as he is more intensely occupied with works of reason. Now just as weariness of the body is dispelled by resting the body, so weariness of the soul must needs be remedied by resting the soul: and the soul's rest is pleasure, as stated above (I-II, 25, 2; I-II, 31, 1, ad 2). Consequently, the remedy for weariness of soul must needs consist in the application of some pleasure, by slackening the tension of the reason's study. Thus in the Conferences of the Fathers xxiv, 21, it is related of Blessed John the Evangelist, that when some people were scandalized on finding him playing together with his disciples, he is said to have told one of them who carried a bow to shoot an arrow. And when the latter had done this several times, he asked him whether he could do it indefinitely, and the man answered that if he continued doing it, the bow would break. Whence the Blessed John drew the inference that in like manner man's mind would break if its tension were never relaxed.

Now such like words or deeds wherein nothing further is sought than the soul's delight, are called playful or humorous. Hence it is necessary at times to make use of them, in order to give rest, as it were, to the soul. This is in agreement with the statement of the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 8) that "in the intercourse of this life there is a kind of rest that is associated with games": and consequently it is sometimes necessary to make use of such things.

Nevertheless it would seem that in this matter there are three points which require especial caution. The first and chief is that the pleasure in question should not be sought in indecent or injurious deeds or words. Wherefore Tully says (De Offic. i, 29) that "one kind of joke is discourteous, insolent, scandalous, obscene." Another thing to be observed is that one lose not the balance of one's mind altogether. Hence Ambrose says (De Offic. i, 20): "We should beware lest, when we seek relaxation of mind, we destroy all that harmony which is the concord of good works": and Tully says (De Offic. i, 29), that, "just as we do not allow children to enjoy absolute freedom in their games, but only that which is consistent with good behavior, so our very fun should reflect something of an upright mind." Thirdly, we must be careful, as in all other human actions, to conform ourselves to persons, time, and place, and take due account of other circumstances, so that our fun "befit the hour and the man," as Tully says (De Offic. i, 29).

Now these things are directed according to the rule of reason: and a habit that operates according to reason is virtue. Therefore there can be a virtue about games. The Philosopher gives it the name of wittiness (eutrapelia), and a man is said to be pleasant through having a happy turn* of mind, whereby he gives his words and deeds a cheerful turn: and inasmuch as this virtue restrains a man from immoderate fun, it is comprised under modesty. [Eutrapelia is derived from trepein = 'to turn'].

St Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II, Q 168, Art 2, Corpus