This is a decidedly Catholic Institution, and I am decidedly and unapologetically Catholic. ~Justice Thomas
Back in May, during Christendom College's Class of 2018 graduation exercises, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas delivered a commencement address for the ages.
When I first watched it, I was left speechless, moved to tears, in fact. My wife and I are alumni of Christendom College, and for us this speech may just be our proudest Christendom moment.
But there's more to it than that. For those interested in gaining a better understanding of what we Catholics have lost over the past fifty years, this speech by a Catholic gentleman and scholar of the old school, formed in the last days of the old Church, is just the ticket.
The late scholar Mel Bradford once used the wording “remembering who we are” as a title to a book of finely-honed essays about his beloved Southland. It seems to me, as Bradford so artfully and gracefully suggested in his writings, that it is memory, both individual and collective, which is essential not just to the passed-on heritage of any culture, but to the very existence of that culture. We remember the deeds, the sayings, the handed-down lore, the usages, and the faith of our fathers and grandfathers (and mothers and grandmothers). Their lessons, their admonitions, their successes (and failures), their examples, even their everyday customs inform us and our actions, and, indeed, help shape our lives and view of life. Historically, these are in many respects the very same accoutrements that give definition and offer the earliest structure to our existence, that define us, and that also provide an inheritance which we, in turn, impart to our offspring and descendants.
On the lighter side. . .
A debate has been raging for centuries among the Eastern Orthodox over whether Moscow is the “third Rome”. Constantinople, the capital of the eastern wing of the old Roman Empire, was the “second Rome,” the Third Romers argue. To be sure, Constantinople held out long after the “first Rome” fell to invading barbarian hordes. St. Augustine wrote City of God in the early 400s to explain why the sack of the West by the Visigoths was not the Christians’ fault, but by that time it was already too late, Third Romers say. The spirit of Rome had moved on, settling in the East until it, too, fell. When Sultan Mehmed II sacked Constantinople in 1453, there was the same panic as in Rome itself a thousand years before. Where would the third “Rome” be?