01: The creation of the Ave Maria School of Law to open in the year 2000 is an attempt to integrate Catholic teachings with a conventional law school curriculum.
Funded by the founder, and now retired head, of Domino’s Pizza, Tom Monaghn, the Ann Arbor-based school will be the centerpiece for conservative Catholic teachings applied to the full range of legal scholarship and practice. Already the well known jurist, Robert Bork has joined several others on the faculty. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court is on the school’s board of advisors. Admission will be open to all, Catholics and non-Catholics.
Monaghan says the school will become the “West Point of leadership for Catholic laity in the years to come.” Some two dozen law schools affiliated with the Catholic church are now in existence, though supporters of Ave Maria say they take a secularized approach to legal issues.
(Source: USA Today, April 9; Credo, April 19)
— By Erling Jorstad
02: As Jon Bloch states in his new book, New Spirituality, Self and Belonging: How New Agers and Neopagans Talk About Themselves (Greenwood Publishing Group/Prager, $55), those adhering to New Age and Neopagan teachings believe “The self is considered the final authority as to what to practice or believe.”
They hold that dogma is an unreliable source of truth; truth can only be determined through one’s personal experience. Although those involved in countercultural spiritual movements generally exhibit a wide range of beliefs, one can detect commonalties and, indeed, an underlying sense of community that binds disparate believers together.
Bloch’s research sought to analyze this diverse community, using interviews with 22 persons whose core beliefs tended to be rooted in varying forms of Neopagan and Native American religion. Most (77 percent) had been raised Christian; the remainder had been raised with little or no religious training.
Bloch’s respondents exhibited considerable overlap in beliefs, although no two were exactly alike. All appeared to practice an evolving spirituality, in which they were continually open to new experiences and beliefs. Bloch implies that his subjects’ beliefs were thus not the product of aimless searching for just anything to believe in, but the result of an active quest for the “right” faith.
While Bloch provides useful and often insightful commentary on his subjects’ beliefs, he often neglects to closely challenge respondents’ statements and seems to accept their stories at face value.
— Reviewed by Lin Collette