Fr. White talks about his new book on Catholicism and the challenges and promise of Catholicism in the 21st century, followed by comments and conversation with Mary Eberstadt and Robert Royal.
The Light of Christ provides an accessible presentation of Catholicism that is grounded in traditional theology, but engaged with a host of contemporary questions or objections. Inspired by the theologies of Irenaeus, Thomas Aquinas and John Henry Newman, and rooted in a post-Vatican II context, Fr. Thomas Joseph White presents major doctrines of the Christian religion in a way that is comprehensible for non-specialists: knowledge of God, the mystery of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the atonement, the sacraments and the moral life, eschatology and prayer.
At the same time, The Light of Christ also addresses topics such as evolution, the modern historical study of Jesus and the Bible, and objections to Catholic moral teaching. Touching on the concerns of contemporary readers, Fr. White examines questions such as whether Christianity is compatible with the findings of the modern sciences, do historical Jesus studies disrupt or confirm the teaching of the faith, and does history confirm the antiquity of Catholic claims.
This book serves as an excellent introduction for young professionals with no specialized background in theology who are interested in learning more about Catholicism, or as an introduction to Catholic theology. It will also serve as a helpful text for theology courses in a university context.
As Fr. White states in the book’s introduction: “This is a book that offers itself as a companion. I do not presume to argue the reader into the truths of the Catholic faith, though I will make arguments. My goal is to make explicit in a few broad strokes the shape of Catholicism. I hope to outline its inherent intelligibility or form as a mystery that is at once visible and invisible, ancient and contemporary, mystical and reasonable.”
About the Speakers:
Fr. Thomas Joseph White is the author of Wisdom in the Face of Modernity: A Study in Thomistic Natural Theology (Sapientia Press, 2009), The Incarnate Lord: A Thomistic Study in Christology (The Catholic University of America Press, 2015), and Exodus (Brazos Press, 2016). He has edited several books, and is co-editor of the theological journal Nova et Vetera (English edition). In 2011 he was appointed an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Fr. White is currently a participating scholar in the project Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.
More information about Fr. White’s publications can be found on his academia.edu profile.
Mary Eberstadt is an essayist and author of several influential works of non-fiction, including How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization; Adam and Eve after the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution; and Home-Alone America. Her novel The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death, and Atheism, has been adapted for stage and will premiere in fall 2016. She is also editor of the anthology Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys.
A frequent contributor to magazines and journals including TIME, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and First Things, Mrs. Eberstadt (nee Tedeschi) has also served as an editor at Policy Review, The Public Interest, and The National Interest. Previous affiliations include the Hoover Institution and the Ethics and Public Policy Center. In 2011, she founded a literary organization called the Kirkpatrick Society that mentored hundreds of women writers.
During the Reagan administration, Mrs. Eberstadt spent two years as a speechwriter to Secretary of State George Shultz. In 2014, Seton Hall University awarded Mrs. Eberstadt an honorary doctorate in humane letters. She lives in the Washington, DC area.
Robert Royal is the founder and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. and editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org) His books include: 1492 And All That: Political Manipulations of History (1992), Reinventing the American People: Unity and Diversity Today (1995), The Virgin and the Dynamo: The Use and Abuse of Religion in the Environment Debate(1999, Eerdmans), Dante Alighieri in the Spiritual Legacy Series (1999, Crossroad), and The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century: A Comprehensive Global History (2000, Crossroad), The Pope’s Army (2006, Crossroad), and The God That Did Not Fail (2006, Encounter). Dr. Royal holds a B.A. and M.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Catholic University of America. He has taught at Brown University, Rhode Island College, and The Catholic University of America. He received fellowships to study in Italy from the Renaissance Society of America (1977) and as a Fulbright scholar (1978). From 1980 to 1982, he served as editor-in-chief of Prospect magazine in Princeton, New Jersey.