Monday, May 30, 2011

The Loss of Tom Roeser -Chicago's 18th Century Man.

This great photo captures the essence of Tom Roeser and I believe that it was taken by his friend and colleague Cal Skinner.

The 18th Century was the age of Teach the Pirate, Jack Ketch the Executioner,Samuel Mason the Highwayman, Edmund Burke the Statesman, Alexander Pope the Poet, Joseph Priestly the Scientist, Locke the Philosopher, Handel, Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi.

It was a conservative age that ended in republican revolutions -only one succeeded. The American Revolution balanced Jefferson's wild-eyed republicanism with Adams, Hamilton, and Madison's principled Federalism.

It was the age of Giambattista Vico whose Scienza Nuova was the script for conservatism. Vico help that truth gets around - to employ my south side vernacular.

Man begins history as a vulgar brute grunting, hitting, and killing as a form of expression. As man signs and grunts with greater clarity, human understanding begins - stay away from my meat, or get clubbed and eaten. Gotcha! This is where Man employs tropes and metaphors in a less than aesthetic poetry, but truth will be communicated.

Eventually Man achieves what Vico called ragione tutta spiegata fulfilled reason in which reason and right combine to provide not only political, economic and religious stability, but fulfillment and reverence for beauty, majesty, and purity. Then along comes our age - Who's to Say, I was Born This Way, Deal With It.

This is the advent of what Vico called the human Ricurso, or the return to grunts (MSNBC, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Glen Beck) and signs ( Global Warming, Lean Forward, Lock and Load and You Betcha). The Ricurso is the recurrence of the Savage's trope -Listen to me, or I'LL KILL YOU!

The true conservative reminds us of the joys and liberties of the Republic, in order to avoid the savagery of anarchy and despots. It is an 18th Century concept.

Tom Roeser was a true conservative -politically and theologically. His life warned against the Roads Most Travelled -group think.

Tom Roeser was an original thinker who stood upon the texts and traditions that best preserved what is best in our politics and in our Faith. Though Catholic, Tom Roeser was a catholic (universal theologian).

Tom Roeser was God's watchdog and fearless intellectual combatant. Tom never once said that he had all the answers. Rather, he pointed all of us in the direction of where the right answers were to be found.

Tom Roeser disagreed, but always welcomed debate; even with singularly disagreeable people, all were invited to Tom's feast.

A giant has exited and pygmies have taken the stage.

Chicago has lost an 18th Century Man. God help us. Thanks for for your stewardship, Tom. See you in Church!


Kenny Ciesla said...

Thank you for posting this. Mr. Roeser's blog has been a favorite of mine in recent years. Tom Roeser had true grit. My family will pray for the repose of his soul and for solace for his family.

Max Weismann said...

A great man is one who leaves others at a loss after he is gone.

JB Powers said...

Thanks for posting Pat.

Tom may have been Chicago's 18th Century Man, but I don't know if one century could contain him.

RIP Tom.