Book Critique of Return to ROME by Dr. Francis J. Beckwith
Return to ROME
By Francis J. Beckwith
2 – Viva Las Vegas
Page 29: But when one’s character has been shaped by a Vegas culture of
unbridled indulgence, combined with parents living disordered lives, it
is only with great difficulty that one can reorient oneself away from
such deeply embedded influences. Looking back at what has been wrought
in this branch of my family has helped make me more confident in the
teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage, family, and the common
Note: Christians will refer to Scripture for sound advice on marriage, family, and the common good.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children,
obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Page 30: My parents supported the Civil Rights Movement and were
diligent in making sure that my brother and I knew of Dr. King and the
tragedy of his death.
Note: Martin Luther King, Jr. should not be viewed as a Christian role model.
In his 1986 book Bearing the Cross, David Garrow wrote about a number
of extramarital affairs, including one woman King saw almost daily.
According to Garrow, "that relationship ... increasingly became the
emotional centerpiece of King's life, but it did not eliminate the
incidental couplings ... of King's travels." He alleged that King
explained his extramarital affairs as "a form of anxiety reduction".
Pages 30-31: Although I was too young to remember the presidency of
John F. Kennedy, my father made sure we listened to the late
president’s 1961 inaugural address, one of the great political speeches
in American history.
Note: John F. Kennedy should not be viewed as a Christian role model.
According to Michael O'Brien of the Washington Monthly, on February 7,
1960, Frank Sinatra and Campbell were in Las Vegas, where Sinatra
introduced her to John F. Kennedy, then a senator and presidential
candidate. In her 1977 memoir, she said that she became one of JFK's
mistresses for a period of about two years, frequently visiting him in
the White House after he was elected president. Her account was
supported by phone records and other documentation, although Kennedy
staff and supporters attacked her veracity when she published her
memoir. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Pages 34-35: Because I was born in 1960, I was part of the first
generation of American Catholics who would have no memory of the Church
prior to Vatican II. This also meant that I grew up, and attended
Catholic schools, during a time in which well-meaning Catholic leaders
were testing all sorts of innovations in the church, many of which were
deleterious to the proper formation of young people. Vatican II itself
was not the problem. The problem was the implementation of its reforms
and the way in which some Catholics misinterpreted its documents due to
the influence of widely held cultural views that were in some ways
antithetical to a mature Christian faith.
Note: Not hearing Scripture in your language would be antithetical to your faith.
The most palpable changes which followed the council include the
widespread use of vernacular language in Holy Mass instead of the Latin
language, the subtle disuse of ornate clerical regalia, the revision of
Eucharistic prayers, the abbreviation of the liturgical calendar, along
with various indirect changes such as the celebration of the Mass with
the officiant facing the congregation (versus populum), instead of
facing east toward the Lord (ad orientem); the displacement of the
Church tabernacle from the central aisle, and for modern aesthetic
changes encompassing contemporary Catholic liturgical music and
artwork, many of which remain divisive and polemic among the Catholic
faithful as of 2015. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Page 44: This interest in Mormon theology never waned. After earning my
PhD at Fordham University in 1989, I published two books and several
academic articles on LDS beliefs. What was especially gratifying about
my second book on Mormonism was that it was taken seriously by LDS
scholars, two of which wrote book jacket endorsements: Brigham Young
University Professor Daniel Peterson and LDS philosopher Blake Ostler.
I say all this because one of the lessons that I learned from the
examples set by both my parents and Dan Green is that when you disagree
with another person you must not forget that that individual is still
entitled to both your respect as well as your Christian charity. This
is why I have always tried my best to offer my criticisms of LDS
thought in measured tones rather than with inflammatory rhetoric,
which, sadly, is not atypical in some quarters of Christianity.
Note: Would Francis J. Beckwith disapprove of the conduct of Jesus Christ?
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and
sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as
much a son of hell as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the
gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For
which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And,
‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the
gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For
which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on
it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in
it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him
who sits on it. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you
pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the
weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you
ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides,
who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish,
but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind
Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the
outside of them may be clean also. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear
beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all
uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but
inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:15-28.
Page 44: Danny Green has since become a strong Calvinist, having come
under the influence of the writings of Michael Scott Horton and R.C.
Sproul. This, however, does not surprise me. For my experience has been
that most very intelligent Christians who had come to a deeper walk
with Christ in independent Evangelical and/or non-liturgical churches
often gravitate toward a theological and/or ecclesiastical tradition
that has strong historical roots, such as Calvinism, Lutheranism,
Catholicism, or East Orthodoxy.
Note: Are “intelligent” Christians missing the work of God in new movements?
Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and
make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and
drink?” And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the
bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will
come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will
fast in those days.” Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a
piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear,
and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the
old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine
will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be
ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are
preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new;
for he says, ‘The old is better.’” Luke 5:33-39.
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