John Senior

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John Senior (1923 - 1999) was an American Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Classics, teaching at Bard and Hofstra Colleges, the Universities of Wyoming and Kansas, and Cornell. He co-founded the Integrated Humanities Program (IHP) at Kansas.


The Death of Christian Culture (1977)[edit]

  • There is no such thing as victimless crime any more than a free lunch. There is no such thing as a Christianity in which the commandments of God are accommodated to the Rights of Man. (Ch. 1)
  • Peace at the price of one's reason can only be that "evil peace" St. Augustine speaks of as the violent enforcement of injustice. (Ch. 1)
  • Unless the mind achieves its perfection in the making of conceptual judgments, religion and philosophy cannot be understood; and with religion and philosophy gone, all human activity is rudderless. (Ch. 1)
  • Taking all that was best in the Greco-Roman world into itself, Western tradition has given us the thousand good books as a preparation for the great ones—and for all studies in the arts and sciences. Without them all studies are inhumane. The brutal athlete and foppish aesthete suffer vices opposed to the virtue of Newman's "gentleman." Anyone working at college, whether in the pure arts and sciences or the practical ones, will discover he has made a quantum leap when he gets even a small amount of cultural ground under him: he will grow up like an undernourished plant suddenly fertilized and watered. (Appendix)
  • It is commonly agreed also that both "great" and "good" can be judged only from a certain distance. Contemporary works can be appreciated and enjoyed but not very properly judged. (Appendix)

The Restoration of Christian Culture (1983)[edit]

  • Like many Catholics, I have been troubled and confused in the years since this Dark Night of the Church set in. "I sleep and my heart watcheth." (Ch. 1)
  • The restoration of reason presupposes the restoration of love, and we can only love what we know because we have first touched, tasted, smelled, heard and seen. From that encounter with exterior reality, interior responses naturally arise, movements motivating, urging, releasing energies, infinitely greater than atoms, of intelligence and will. Without these motives, thought and action are aimless, sometimes random, more frequently mechanical, having an order but a tyrannical order, that is, an order imposed from without. (Ch. 1)
  • I believe it is imprudent to document the disaster quite so much as some of us have. By publishing his achievements you give the Devil more than his due. The question is what can be done—what can and what must be done, because there isn't any choice. (Ch. 1)
  • What is Christian Culture? It is essentially the Mass. That is not my or anyone's opinion or theory or wish but the central fact of two thousand years of history. (Ch. 1)
  • It is not enough to keep the Commandments, though we must; it is not enough to love one another as ourselves, though we must. The one thing needful, the unum necessarium of the Kingdom, is to love as He loves us, which is the love of joy in suffering and sacrifice, like Roland and Olivier charging into battle to their death defending those they love as they cry "Mon joie"; that is the music of Christian Culture. (Ch. 1)