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Preface Few readers of this journal would dispute that modernWestern culture stands urgently in need of renewed contact with its spiritual foundation to attain the depth and rectitude that correspond to our true human needs. The renewal of modern culture is a longstanding theme, and the theme of the "crisis" of modern culture has been explored from numerous perspectives for many years now. Can such renewal be achieved without repudiating the many benefits of modern liberty, scientific knowledge, technological proficiency, and economic productivity? In this issue of Logos we examine accounts drawn from historical, cultural, literary, theological, and spiritual perspectives showing the many paths of renewal that are open to us. Three key modern figures emerge from these pages, each discussed (as it happens) in at least two articles in this issue.Those figures are (in chronological order) St. Thérèse of Lisieux, recently proclaimed a Doctor of the Church; Christopher Dawson; and Pope John Paul II. That no direct line of influence need be drawn among these three indicates merely the rich expansiveness of the Catholic intellectual and spiritual tradition. Each figure exemplifies in both thought and lived experience a deeply Catholic encounter with modernity that opens vast channels of spiritual depth to irrigate the thirsty soil of modern culture.The explorations offered in this issue expand beyond these three key figures to include also Mariology, the possible "crypto-Catholicism" of Shakespeare, and the gift of LOGOS 3:3 SUMMER 200O LOGOS Benedictine spirituality that can be practiced within the daily routine of modern life. Our "Reconsiderations" feature in this issue brings us a lecture first published forty years ago by Christopher Dawson discussing "America and the Secularization of Modern Culture." Dawson claims that the technological order developed in the West is the basis of secular culture, and in America the technological order has achieved its greatest triumph. But, he goes on to say, the ends of that culture are disproportionate to the technological means we have developed because the ends are meager. I believe it was Leo Strauss who once commented that theWest in its modern phase aimed low in its goals but achieved them as we sought mastery over nature to increase human comfort, and Dawson shows how the technological power we have produced threatens to blind us to the spiritual principles that alone can guide and control technology. Dawson's words take on added urgency today as we ponder the success of the Human Genome Project and wonder how our society will find the moral knowledge and resolve that will be needed in the face of the awesome technological power accumulated in this research. Gerald J. Russello provides some reflections on Dawson's lecture and shows how Dawson throughout his work points to the spiritual foundation of culture and argues that societies that forget their spiritual foundation are doomed to collapse. Russello shows that Dawson's comments in this lecture look ahead to a period in which Catholics inAmerica can play a leading role inAmerican society and "reclaim the public aspects of their faith as a counterbalance to the technological order." We turn to another dimension of historical study as Michael Alexander offers a concise account of the religious sociology in Shakespeare's time that clarifies well what it would mean to regard Shakespeare as a"crypto-Catholic."In"Shakespeare's Catholicism? or 'You would pluck out the heart of my mystery,'" Alexander argues that there is some historical probability that Shakespeare was PREFACE indeed a crypto-Catholic and he suggests ways in which the Catholic ethos that resides just beneath the surface of many of the plays can be brought to light in a manner that illuminates our understanding of the works. Understanding Shakespeare's Catholicism is a contribution to recovering the spiritual foundation that reverberates throughout our culture. GlennW. Olsen points out one path to the recovery of our spiritual foundation, and that is "through the study of ages very different from our own." In "Why and How to Study the 'Middle Ages,'" he argues that the MiddleAges provide a fuller understanding ofways of being human in the world than are commonly available from contemporary life and culture. Olsen goes on to show...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-791X
Print ISSN
1091-6687
Pages
pp. 5-10
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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