Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Models … and Socratic Dialogue …

St. Mathew and the Angel

St. Mathew and the Angel

Failed and failing models have been with us for most of history. In the Catholic world, today is the Feast of St. Mathew. Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and he was likely born in Galilee.

He worked as a Roman tax collector, a profession which was a hated during the time of Christ. According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and asked, “Follow me.” With this simple call, Matthew became a disciple of Christ.

From Matthew we know of the many doings of Christ and the message Christ spread of salvation for all people who come to God through Him. The Gospel account of Matthew tells the same story as that found in the other three Gospels, so scholars are certain of its authenticity. His book is the first of the four Gospels in the New Testament, Mathew, Mark, Like, and John

Many years following the death of Christ, around 41 to 50 AD, Matthew wrote his gospel account. He wrote the book in Aramaic in the hope that his account would convince his fellow Jews that Jesus was the Messiah and that His kingdom had been fulfilled in a spiritual way.

Destruction of Jewish Temple, AD 70 by Roman Legions.

Destruction of Jewish Temple, AD 70 by Roman Legions.

It was an important message at a time when almost everyone was still expecting the return of a militant messiah brandishing a sword, and restoring dominance to the Kingdom of Israel. That was the “Model” generally accepted by the majority of Jews in Palestine at that time.

The foundational failure of that archetypal Model was worked out in agony and suffering when Roman Legions destroyed Jerusalem in 70 ADSome reports put the death toll of the conquest of Jerusalem at over 600,000 from both the actions of the Roman conquerors and the fratricidal combat between various disagreeing factions amongst the Jewish defenders.

Even when facing death the factions of believers of conflicting sub-models couldn’t let their models go. So folks really get attached to their model being right and will not accept anything else even on pain of death. Not testing our models can be, and often is, deadly. So, how to test our models?

Father Hunwicke presents a nice little Socratic Dialogue on his site today.

Now Catholics have a model regarding Jesus Christ being the only Child of the Virgin Mary. One of the interesting things about Models (previous post here) is that the elements of a Model or a “Worldview” can be identified and considered in a logical and rational manner, devoid of subjective emotionalism and moral relativism. Design and construction of a worldview can be analyzed without having a physical creation present to hammer on.

We can employ and enjoy “Gedankenexperiments” which rely on generally accepted rules of conduct and logic to maintain the focus on truth, the subject of the discussion, and give direction of the discussion. The name of this particular experiment is “Socratic Dialogue”, named after Socrates, of course, one of the early practitioners of such logical discussion.

Perhaps the biggest flag regarding the validity or failure of any model is the willingness or unwillingness of the developers and adherents of the model to engage in these sorts of discussions. Father Hunwicke’s short piece perfectly illustrates the fruitless pursuit of discussing most “soft” models with the developers and adherents of same.

The statement “all right minded people know this to be true” no more imparts truth, than the man in a dark room yelling that “there is no sun” blots out the sun. Still it shines … and here is the dialogue … with pretty typical results …

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Haereticus: The Gospels make it quite clear that Jesus had brothers.
Catholicus: They don’t. “Adelphoi” can mean kinsmen. It doesn’t have to mean uterine (that is, born-of-the-same-womb) brothers.
Haereticus: So you say. But that’s the obvious meaning if anyone talks about “Jesus’ brothers” in any language, isn’t it?
Catholicus: Not at all. Mark’s and Matthew’s Gospels, in their accounts of the Crucifixion, both talk about “Mary the mother of James and Joses [or Joseph]”. If this Mary had been the same as Christ’s own mother, it would have been very odd for them not to refer to her as the Mother of Jesus. The “obvious” and natural inference is that the “Mother of James and Joses” was a different Mary from “Mary the Mother of Jesus”.
Haereticus: So what?
Catholicus: Well, in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55, the places where those “brothers of Jesus” are mentioned, the full text reads: ” Jesus the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses [or Joseph] and Judas and Simon”. We’ve just seen that this James and this Joses are apparently the sons of some Mary who was not the same as Mary the Mother of Jesus. And they’re the first two on the list here. The list is thus clearly not itemizing individuals who were uterine brothers of Jesus.
Haereticus: Well, I still think it’s obvious that …
Catholicus: If it’s so “obvious”, you’ve got some explaining to do. Throughout the second century the Gospels were increasingly regarded as ‘canonical’ and authoritative. If it is so “obvious” that James and the rest of those listed in the Gospels were uterine brothers of Jesus, then the tradition that Jesus was Mary’s only child must have arisen well before those Gospels came to be regarded as authorities. Otherwise, when somebody started saying “she never had any more children”, somebody who had read the Gospels would have said “Aha, you’re wrong: here’s a list of his brothers”. So, if you’re right about it being so “obvious”, you’re going to have to admit that Mary’s perpetual virginity is so early a tradition as to predate the acquisition of authority by our Four Gospels; which modern scholarship dates to the beginning of the second century at the latest. I’ve got you either way.
Haereticus: That’s all gobbledygook. It’s obvious …
Catholicus: That’s the problem with you Prods and you Liberals. You’re impervious to evidence and to reason.
Haereticus: Of course we are. “Reason is the Devil’s Whore”. Martin Luther said so. It’s obvious.

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A New Paradigm … Final … the horse is dead … we wait and pray.

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Pope Francis has again received Eugenio Scalfari

Pope Francis has again received Eugenio Scalfari, the 93 year old atheist philosopher. Pope Allegedly Says Hell Doesn’t Exist in Latest Scalfari ‘Interview’ Nonagenarian atheist philosopher also claims Pope is honoured to be called a revolutionary.

Pope Francis has again received Eugenio Scalfari, the 93 year old atheist philosopher, leading to more controversial comments that the Vatican has had to insist are not “faithful” to the Pope’s words.

In his fifth meeting with the atheist philosopher, Scalfari — who neither records interviews nor takes notes — said the Pope allegedly told him again that hell does not exist and that he is honored to be called a “revolutionary.”

The Pope’s purported comments were published Thursday in La Repubblica, the left-leaning Italian newspaper Scalfari co-founded and which the Pope has said is his favorite newspaper.

Hell does not exist – what exists is the disappearance of sinful souls,” the Pope allegedly said. “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and go among the ranks of the souls who contemplate him. But those who do not repent, and therefore cannot be forgiven, disappear.” (Wasn’t disappearing what happened to those who disagreed with the government in Argentina under Peron?)

Headlines were quick to spread around the world saying Pope Francis believes hell does not exist, a belief which would break with 2,000 years of Church teaching.

Saint Vincent of Lerins

Saint Vincent of Lerins, who died c. 445, was a Gallic monk and author of early Christian writings.

Vatican statements intended to clarify things smell very strongly of damage control and cover up … quick, scrape the poop off the rug before anyone notices … I have seen this first hand back in the day as a government hack when I wrote briefing notes to spin the latest cluster for my departmental masters. I have a strong feeling that the ducks are taking over the Vatican. My personal bias here is that Scalfari probably got it right, or close enough. But even if he did not,  the damage is done. Again. And again. And again.

*****

Seriously. I borrow from David Warren here:I know at first hand how the media work, (David also knows) and I know that Bergoglio came to Rome (from Argentina of all places) with a reputation as an adept media manipulator, fond of playing the crowd. He is no babe in the woods. He must know as I do that if a journalist seriously misrepresents what you say, you don’t give him another opportunity. Moreover, you publicly correct him in a way not only unambiguous, but sharp enough to get everyone’s attention — at speed, I should think, if you have millions of Catholics hanging on your words. Instead he lets the outrage stand.”

*****

This is going on and on … this is not an accident … and I cannot see a good end for my following this. I think that this will be my last post on this topic and these sorts of things. Let things go, into God’s hands, according to God’s plan, for me, prayer and fasting and penitence. It is Lent after all.

Fr. Hunwicke, over at his blog  quotes from an address by Pope Francis last year, a line which Pope Francis quoted from Saint Vincent of Lerins, writing in the 5th century – a contemporary of Pope St. Leo The Great.

The phrase referred to in Pope Francis’ address …  is the Latin eodem sensu eademque sententia“.

While my Latin has declined precipitously in the decades since I was a Tridentine rite alter boy, we are now graced, courtesy of Google Translate, with the ability to whip off translations willy-nilly as required by circumstances. To paraphrase an old joke from 60 years ago, Latin may well have killed the Romans but it failed to kill Google Translate.

 Pope St. Leo The Great

Pope St. Leo The Great was Pope from 29 September 440 to his death in 461

So we learn that  this Latin snippet, in English, expresses the belief that, or understanding that, something, or some teaching, or some doctrine, is used in the same sense and the same meaning”To quote Father Hunwicke over at his blog  (above):

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Eodem sensu eademque sententia: because the teaching of the Church cannot and does not change. Derived by St. Vincent of Lerins from the text of Saint Paul, it was used by Blessed Pius IX, incorporated in the decree on the papal ministry at Vatican I, and contained in the anti-modernist oath.

Very significantly, it was used by Pope Saint John XXIII in the programmatic speech he gave at the start of the Council … What the Council taught, so he laid down, was to be in the same sense, the same meaning, as the teaching of the preceding Magisterium.

Pope Saint John Paul the Great

Pope Saint John Paul the Great

Pope Saint John Paul the Great in Veritatis Splendor made clear that it applied to questions of morality as much as to those of dogma. used this same sanctified phrase in his 2005 Christmas address to the Roman Curia about the Hermeneutic of Continuity. I have recently repeated a series of mine on this phrase which you could find via the search engine on this blog.

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Eodem sensu eademque sententia”.  If this phrase means anything at all, it must mean that the teaching of Familiaris consortio (1981; paragraph 84) and of Caritatis sacramentum (2007; paragraph 29), that divorced people who, having gone through a civil form of marriage, are in an unrepented sexual relationship with a new “spouse”, should not approach the Sacraments, cannot already … in less than a decade! … have metamorphosed or “developed” into its exact and polar opposite“.

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So, what else is in play here? Where do all these tooings and froings leave the authority of the Chair of Peter? I have some more to add but I will first quote from a commenter over at Father Hunwicke’s blog namely:

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Thank you. Well, Father, I’ve referenced it a bit differently to the same end in that in Catholicism today we have far too many who look at a cow and then turn, look you straight in the face, pull a Bible from their pocket, place their right hand on it and swear it is a motorcycle.  With handlebars.  But then that is why we mortals have only maybe a half a dozen original stories ever told, one of them being the Emperor’s New Clothes.

You have nailed it here.  Jesus either said something or He didn’t.

He (Jesus) made life a lot easier in many ways. He softened many unnecessarily hardened teachings. But when He took on the issue of marriage I think His eyes narrowed, he scanned left and right like we are told in our self-defense pistol classes, He tightened His gut and He tensed every muscle for a fight.

And He ENDED the “Mosaic Compromise” right there and then.  Fact is, even Mercy has a limit, and that limit is found on the Original Intent of God Himself. The Pope can’t have more “mercy” than the Son of the Living God.

One Man. One Woman. One Time.

“For I hate divorce” says the Lord.  As that’s the case, I really don’t give a Rat’s Backside for what the Pope thinks about it.  {Says the man who got in a raucous fight this very eve with his precious and wonderful wife of 30 years.}

*****

Well said, Brother … to paraphrase Shakespeare,Something is rotten in the state of Vatican City

That apostolic primacy which the Roman pontiff possesses as successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, includes also the supreme power of teaching. This holy see has always maintained this, …

So the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith:

“The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [55] , cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the apostolic see the catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honour. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the apostolic see preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the christian religion [56] .

What is more, with the approval of the second council of Lyons, the Greeks made the following profession: “The holy Roman church possesses the supreme and full primacy and principality over the whole catholic church. She truly and humbly acknowledges that she received this from the Lord himself in blessed Peter, the prince and chief of the apostles, whose successor the Roman pontiff is, together with the fullness of power. And since before all others she has the duty of defending the truth of the faith, so if any questions arise concerning the faith, it is by her judgment that they must be settled.” [57]

Then there is the definition of the council of Florence: “The Roman pontiff is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to him was committed in blessed Peter, by our lord Jesus Christ, the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole church.” [58] To satisfy this pastoral office, our predecessors strove unwearyingly that the saving teaching of Christ should be spread among all the peoples of the world; and with equal care they made sure that it should be kept pure and uncontaminated wherever it was received. …

BUT

… For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter NOT so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.

This would seem to overrule any notions of a “New Paradigm”, regardless of the perambulations of the Vatican Secretary of State in his “dialogue” with the secular media and other interested parties. So on the face of it, we seem to find in 21st century Rome two old heresies, the Heresy of Arianism, regarding the nature of Jesus Christ, and the Heresy of Pelagius, regarding the nature of man. With respect to amending doctrine, if  Jesus Christ were not God, but only a prophet, then indeed his “prophecies” might reasonably be amended in light of “new evidence”.

With respect to a “New Paradigm” and the perfection of man, given a perfect man, then a “New Paradigm” might not be an unreasonable possibility upon reconsidering past thought. Two old heresies flowering again amongst the night soil of the Roman Curia, like mushrooms in a dark sewer.

Now, Pelagius was a monk from Britain, whose reputation and theology came into prominence after he went to Rome sometime in the 380’s A.D. The historic Pelagian theological controversy involved the nature of man and the doctrine of original sin.

Pelagianism views humanity as basically good and morally unaffected by the Fall. It denies the imputation of Adam’s sin, original sin, total depravity, and substitutionary atonement. It simultaneously views man as fundamentally good and in possession of libertarian free will. With regards to salvation, it teaches that man has the ability in and of himself (apart from divine aid) to obey God and earn eternal salvation.

Pelagianism is overwhelmingly incompatible with the Bible and was historically opposed by Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, leading to its condemnation as a heresy at Council of Carthage in 418 A.D. These condemnations were summarily ratified at the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431). Pelagianism is not Catholic, nor is it even Christian.

Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc by Emil Otto (‘E.O.’) HoppÈ, vintage bromide print, 1915

In addition, there appears to be a second heresy operational amongst the curia in Rome. The second heresy is that of Arianism. From the book “The Great Heresies” by Hilaire Belloc, :

“Arianism was the first of the great heresies. There had been from the foundation of the Church at Pentecost A.D. 29[1] to 33 a mass of heretical movements filling the first three centuries.

They had turned, nearly all of them, upon the nature of Christ. The effect of our Lord’s predication, and Personality, and miracles, but most of all His resurrection, had been to move every one who had any faith at all in the wonder presented, to a conception of divine power running through the whole affair.

Now the central tradition of the Church here, as in every other case of disputed doctrine, was strong and clear from the beginning. Our Lord was undoubtedly a man. He had been born as men are born, He died as men die. He lived as a man and had been known as a man by a group of close companions and a very large number of men and women who had followed Him, and heard Him and witnessed His actions.

But — said the Church — He was also God. God had come down to earth and become Incarnate as a Man. He was not merely a man influenced by the Divinity, nor was He a manifestation of the Divinity under the appearance of a man. He was at the same time fully God and fully Man.

On that the central tradition of the Church never wavered. It is taken for granted from the beginning by those who have authority to speak. But a mystery is necessarily, because it is a mystery, incomprehensible; therefore man, being a reasonable being, is perpetually attempting to rationalize it.

So it was with this mystery. One set would say Christ was only a man, though a man endowed with special powers. Another set, at the opposite extreme, would say He was a manifestation of the Divine. His human nature was a thing of illusion. They played the changes between those two extremes indefinitely. Well, the Arian heresy was, as it were, the summing up and conclusion of all these movements on the unorthodox side_that is, of all those movements which did not accept the full mystery of two natures.

Since it is very difficult to rationalize the union of the Infinite with the finite, since there is an apparent contradiction between the two terms, this final form into which the confusion of heresies settled down was a declaration that our Lord was as much of the Divine Essence as it was possible for a creature to be, but that He was none the less a creature. He was not the Infinite and Omnipotent God who must be of His nature one and indivisible, and could not (so they said) be at the same time a limited human moving and having his being in the temporal sphere.

Arianism was willing to grant our Lord every kind of honour and majesty short of the full nature of the Godhead. He was created (or, if people did not like the word “created” then “he came forth”) from the Godhead before all other effects thereof. Through Him the world was created. He was granted (one might say paradoxically) all the divine attributes — except divinity.”

Essentially this movement sprang from exactly the same source as any other rationalistic movement from the beginning to our own time. It sprang from the desire to visualize clearly and simply something which is beyond the grasp of human vision and comprehension.

Therefore, although it began by giving to our Lord every possible honour and glory short of the actual Godhead, it would inevitably have led in the long run into mere Unitarianism and the treating of our Lord at last as a prophet and, however exalted, no more than a prophet (as does Islam) .

Arianism is not Christian by definition since absent the divinity of Christ there is no such thing as Christianity. It is impossible to have it both ways. On the one hand, you have  Bishops and Priests who disagree with the “New Paradigm” theory of doctrinal changes, and there are numerous examples, or on the other hand you have Bishops and Priests who do subscribe to the “New Paradigm” theory of changes to established magisterial teachings.

Those who espouse the “New Paradigm” theory are neither Catholic nor Christian by any reasonable definition of the terms and concepts. They are heretics.

quod erat demonstrandum

So, end of the subject, perhaps forever – we will let things unfold and draw our own conclusions. Let those with an IQ higher than room temperature also draw their own conclusions?

Cheers

Joe

Ad Aeternitatem …

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Second Thoughts on A New Paradigm? (part 6)

“Brothers In Arms”, Dire Straits, from the album “Brothers In Arms”, 1985

Continued from the last post and the one before that and so on … can’t believe I am already doing part 6 … and I thank gentle reader for their patience and understanding as I try to chart a course through the reefs from scandal to peace.

It seems, on the face of it, that the logic of the Winnipeg Statement rises again in Amoris Laetitia, like the monster from the slab.

And, I continually discover that I am not alone, not the only one having these visions, these flashbacks and hallucinations concerning ducks. I read over on Father Hunwicke’s blog:

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“(1) Bergoglians urge upon us “Amoris Laetitia” under the pretext that, with a culinary dash of Newman’s “Development” stirred into the pot and with a large dollop of subjective guilt reduced from “Mortal” to “Venial” (‘Here’s some I did earlier’), we can cook Communion for “Adulterers? NO!” until it is nicely tenderised into Communion for “Adulterers? YES!”.

Kardinal Christoph Schönborn bei der Neu-Einweihung des Papstkreuzes (Donaupark, Wien) am 16. Juni 2012

Kardinal Christoph Schönborn bei der Neu-Einweihung des Papstkreuzes (Donaupark, Wien) am 16. Juni 2012

And, of course, this lays the way open for homosexuals, polygamists, paedophiles, polyamorists, therogamists, batrachophiles, and all the other categories that the Graf von Schoenborn and Fr Rosica may or may not have on their lists. … I’ve got a little list …

OK, Ko-ko (is there a Cardinal Ko-ko? in today’s Gilbert-and-Sullivan Vatican, there jolly well should be).  Splendid.  And all the basic work, all the heavy lifting, has already been done by Tucho in between ‘supermystic’ kisses (is there a Tucho in Gilbert and Sullivan?). What more could …

But this particular sleight of hand will not avail (as far a I can see) when these same Magisterial Minds turn their attention to the next nut that needs to be cracked: the priestly Ordination of Women.

Can anybody suggest how (again with appropriate assistance from Development and with their usual claims about the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit) they will chart their journey from “Womenpriests? NO!” to “Womenpriests? YES!?”

Father Thomas Rosica C.S.B

Father Thomas Rosica C.S.B. photographed by Chris Adamczyk, Manager, Marketing and Communications, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation

In other words, what conjuring tricks, accompanied by the Graf’s sad but winning smile and Rosica’s air of patient condescension, will enable the Bergoglians to argue that the Ordination of Women is merely a natural and inevitable development springing fully-formed from the head of Ordinatio sacerdotalis?

(2) When Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman was faced by the protoBergoglian campaign at Vatican I to formulate the Petrine Primacy in a superhyperueberpapalist way, he characterized his contemporary Ultras as “An aggressive and insolent Faction”.

Perhaps we should resurrect this beautifully expressive phrase to describe our own dear and much-loved Ultras. And, ‘for short’, we could refer to them simply as “the Faction”.

One should never stray too far from Dr Newman.”

*****

And sin entered into the world … the first humans believed the lie that they would become like god … and the knowledge of good and evil gave birth to an endless iteration of rationalization of how evil was not actually evil.

Evil is simply a difference of opinion, a misunderstanding; that whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience. Now that sure sounds like a “Final Solution” moment to me.

Gerhard Cardinal Müller’s explanation, in the spirit of charity, urges caution and restraint. The Roman Catholic Church has come a long, long way, in human terms, all the  human folly and antics notwithstanding.

Again I repeat the mantra “the Roman Catholic Church is not and never has been a product of the Roman Curia.”  This becomes almost a prayer, a repeated prayer, a reassurance, an incantation  against demons.

Pentecost

Pentecost

So, in the spirit of fraternal charity, I try to remember what I have been taught about the history of the Real Church, the Church founded by Jesus Christ … that “Paradisaical Church”.

I’m trying to remember, and to keep in mind, what I have been taught about the orthodox, paradisaical view of the origin, unity, and primal perfection of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church as it began, before Satan, and the original sin of Clerical Pride and secular politics poisoned the well with the offal of human desires. I think I read the story of the next few paragraphs somewhere but I can’t remember where now. It reads with a lyrical simplicity which my writing often lacks.

Nothing in the history of mankind was smaller and more humble in its beginnings than the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s founder was born in a stable, in abject poverty. He grew up in poverty, and worked as a humble carpenter for the first  30 years of his life, unrecognized and completely unknown.

He completed his mission, the mission for which he came into the world, in only 3 years of preaching to poor people. His doctrine was so simple that even the unlearned peasants could understand it. His public life ended in his murder by the religious and civil authorities of his day.

When Jesus died the Church was established by a mere dozen ordinary men gathered about a humble peasant woman, Mary.

Roman Empire

Roman Empire

But this tiny core grew with such vitality that in only a few years it spread into all the countries of the vast Roman Empire, and so on into the whole world … even to the  ends of the earth.

This was and is the Church of Jesus Christ … handed to the Apostles, the first bishops, to preach the gospel and spread the Catholic Church to the very ends of the earth.

And to conserve the truths received at the hand of Christ and pass them on “unadulterated” by fashion or opinion.

So, I have got a lot more thinking ahead of me, a lot more self examination. More thinking about “Obedience”. Obedience is the voluntary submission of my God given free will to the demands and commands of my superiors. More thinking about my failures and mistakes, my faults.

With respect to these failures, mistakes and faults, my daily errors, I instinctively try to excuse myself. My pride is unwilling to admit its mistakes and schemes. My pride wants to hide my mistakes under false pretexts, always trying to find some way to blame them on others, on the conduct of others, or on the circumstances of my life.

I believe that we find the will of God in the every day minutia and duties of our station in life, the daily duties which we are called to perform to the best of our ability and will. I believe that I give glory to God both by performance of these duties and by obedience to the commands of my superiors.

Calm day North Atlantic, 1976

Calm day North Atlantic, 1976

In my military days I had no difficulties identifying my superiors, and for the most part no trouble obeying them, having internalized the familial hierarchy and the code of military conduct of my chosen tribe to the level of unthinking habit.

I had voluntarily brainwashed myself such that I rarely put a foot wrong.  The habit of my daily life rarely fell out of line and then only in minor social matters, worthy of Captains Defaulters at times but never of anything serious requiring Court Martial.

But now, decades later, as my own boss, in my own business, I have no superiors says my ego. Where am I now required to give obedience to the commands of my superiors. When I think my own ideas and opinions are “superior” who reins me in? Where is the abnegation of self now?

When now do I struggle to obey without resistance or resentment, when do I struggle for a voluntary abnegation of self and of self determination? I am answerable to God and Jesus Christ and to no man (well, maybe to my wife sometimes but that’s another story).

I believe this, but I have great difficulty putting this into practice because without a human superior riding herd I acknowledge that I am very attached to my own opinion and my own understanding of my observations, my own judgement, the quality of my self, my self love.

I am not a religious, belong to no order, have taken no vows of obedience or otherwise. If my wife doesn’t object then who is my superior?  And yet, in honesty, I have to recognize a “nominal” superior. As a self identified member of the Body of Christ, by baptism, and by active membership in the Roman Catholic Church my Superior is Jesus Christ, the head of the Body of Christ.

And his appointed representative on earth, his steward, if you will (with a nod and a wink to Gondor), is my superior by proxy, whether I like it or not. So Pope Francis is my superior, for now, until he passes on, or Christ comes again.

Hilaire Belloc,

Hilaire Belloc, by Emil Otto (‘E.O.’) HoppÈ, vintage bromide print, 1915

And what exactly has Pope Francis commanded and what does he command with respect to we the faithful? Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps on this petty pace … I have to keep it ever before me … the Roman Catholic Church is not and never has been a product of the Roman Curia.

As Hilaire Belloc famously said: “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine—but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.” -Hilaire Belloc.  Oh me of little faith.

A prayer … O Jesus Christ, Son of the eternal Father, our Lord, true King of all things! “What didst Thou leave in the world for Thy descendants to inherit from Thee? What didst Thou ever have, my Lord, save trials, pains, and insults?

Indeed You had only a beam of wood to rest upon while drinking Your bitter cup of horror. Those of us, then, who desire to be Your true children, and not to renounce their inheritance, must never flee from suffering.

Abraham

Abraham

Your banner is five wounds! So too that must be our badge, our crest, our banner, if we would inherit Your kingdom!

Nothing but trials, pains, and insults … when Abraham sincerely offered to sacrifice his only son God promised him that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars.

And God promised those descendants life IF those descendants followed His commandments, the Manufacturers instructions.

And, two thousand years on, Abraham’s descendants murdered God’s Son. So much for keeping the covenant. A couple of thousand years more and schoolyard bullying in the Vatican seems pretty small potatoes compared to murdering God’s Son.

Christ Crucified

Christ Crucified

So what about our trials, pains, and insults? What about our Fear Uncertainty and Doubt? What about our doctrinal controversies?

These trials and pains seem, at times, to be tailored to exactly those aspects of our life which we are most attached to, like our opinions, of others, and ourselves,

Among other things, “Amoris Laetitia” created controversy following its publication regarding whether or not Chapter 8 of the exhortation had changed 2000 years of the Catholic Church‘s sacramental discipline concerning access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist for divorced couples who have civilly remarried.

This controversy has focused especially on Catholic Church teachings on marriage, and divorce,  but also has led later to confusion regarding the church’s position on homosexuality, mercy, interdenominational communion, and much, much more.

All the “traditional” sins of the 60’s, sexuality, license, gender issues, married clergy, female priests, so on and so forth, really all the little peccadilloes which the “West Wing” of the (Liberal) Catholic Curia have been striving to “sanctify” since at least Vatican II in the 60’s.

It, the mess, or “lio” as Pope Francis is fond of excusing, is sort of like washing a pair of new paradigm jeans with your traditional whites … everything starts looking blue, and it sure looks intentional from here.

So what? So, I guess that is what Canon 212 is about …

I find myself wishing with Frodo: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. ”  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. (Gandalf, “Lord of The Rings”)

Cheers

Joe

Medieval Times

Medieval times, no web, no tweets, no 24 hour news, no social media, no problem.

Am I a throwback, an avatar from an earlier time, a man out of time, a 13th century man …

 

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The Inner Struggle

Go And Sin No More … coattails again …

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

Fr. Hunwicke

Fr. Hunwicke

Back a couple of years ago I wrote and quoted from other sources to the effect that “Liberalism is a sin“.  The following quote is from a post on Fr Hunwicke’s blog , about the dangers of Liberalism, which I stumbled upon while studying the modern corruption of the Latin phrase “argumentum ad hominem”. On that front, just in passing, I touch on a big boo-boo in modern discourse, at least in some circles.

The notion that “argumentum ad hominem” somehow equates in English to  “A personal attack”, as found commonly in current usage across a spectrum of pseudo-intellectual pontifications by players indulging in personal and maliciously slanderous attacks on those who disagree with them, all dressed up as if they were a legitimate logical argument.

The current notion is that “ad hominum” is not a legitimate debating technique because it is “just a personal attack” and in our current moral quagmire we are expected to accept that morality or even the notion of right and wrong are nothing more than personal opinions and views and all such views are equivalent.

I have always abominated bullies and especially those of any stripe or occupation who attack the innocent from their respective podiums and pulpits whilst hectoring their captive audiences. It does not follow that the individual with the loudest bully pulpit defines what is truth and what is good or even that they are automatically on the side of the angels. (see “Useful Idiots” in a previous post)

“Argumentum ad hominem” is defined by Locke as “Pressing a man with the Consequences of his own Principles or Concessions.” … that is to say pointing out to or otherwise leading the man (or woman) with whom one is debating into understanding the logical fallacy of the mutually exclusive principles which they may have just enunciated in the debate, in consequence of which they must either change one or the other or both principles or simply surrender the point in order to retain any debating credibility going forward.

At least, that is what I understand it to mean, however, gentle reader might favor the modern corruption, or as I have said before, your mileage may vary. After all, “I don’t care about your damned facts, Joe, I just want to have a pleasant conversation with my friends”.

Anyway, here is the quoted material, a quote from Fr. Hunwicke  containing a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman, on Liberalism …

Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman

“When (Blessed John Henry) Newman received the biglietto signifying his elevation to the rank of Cardinal, he made a speech which has often been quoted; and I am going to quote it yet again and not least because it beautifully enunciates the essential continuity of his life as a Catholic with his years as an Anglican.

But, at the end, I wish to draw attention to a very important realisation of Newman’s which is not so often quoted or appreciated. So here he goes:

For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. … the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily.

It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are a matter of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. …

As to Religion, it is a private luxury which a man may have if he will; but which of course he must pay for, and which he must not intrude upon others, or indulge in to their annoyance.”

[Note the deft, almost imperceptible skill – so characteristic – with which Newman points to us the paradox that this ‘liberalism’ is itself a doctrine, an imposed and inexorable dogma. But it is his next observation which, I feel, gives us tremendous material for thought; when he adds that:]

There is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true … justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence ….’

Cardinal Farrell

Cardinal Farrell

[Ah, we incautiously surmise, Liberalism isn’t too bad after all; he admits that Liberalism has its Good Side. But no. Newman has tricked us. He is playing exactly the opposite game. In the spirit of the argumentum ad hominem, he is about to pounce. Let us watch carefully, and analyse, how the cat jumps.

Remember that in his earlier years Newman had been preoccupied with the concept of Antichrist. At the heart of this biblical notion, there is a realisation that the greater an evil and the closer it comes to Ultimate Evil, the more sumptuously the Enemy adorns it with rags and tatters of the good and the true and the noble. An error will be so much more dangerous precisely because it has been made to look so beautiful. So … Blessed John Henry goes on:]

“There never was a device of the Enemy, so cleverly framed, and with such promise of success.”

Snap! Gotcha!

“Despite its superficial charms, indeed, because of its apparent beauties, Liberalism is diabolical, a trick of Satan.”

Cardinal Kasper

Cardinal Kasper

There is a great warning for us as we, more than a century later, face the devices of the Enemy in our own time.

Just one modern example of this will be enough for today: our blessed Lord did not say to the woman in the Johannine pericope de adulteraGo; and sin some more“.

Whenever, whoever, decks out encouragement or tolerance of adultery in nobly coloured biblical garments, whether ‘Mercy’ or any other scriptural tags, we know that the Spirit of the Antichrist is abroad.”

Cheers

Joe

with patience and charity for all …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Of Trolls and False Believers …

“Àki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

Even as thou seekest the truth, the truth that thou seekest thou shalt find.  So finding a relevant post while considering the mocking commentary of the trolls whenever I include some portion of “Divine Intimacy” in my posts I herewith re-post from Fr. Hunwicke’s site:

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Continuing to consider Archbishop Lefebvre’s book, from my own background in Catholic Anglicanism, I discern in it more than a whiff of that admirable Anglican Ulsterman, C S Lewis. Not that Archbishop Lefebvre, I am sure, will have read him; but because first-rate Christian thinkers so often, laudably, converge.

Take a particular tricky theological problem: explaining how souls rooted in a false religion may find their way to God, without asserting – or leading others to think you mean – that all religions are more or less as good as each other: ‘syncretism’ or ‘indifferentism’.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Mgr Lefebvre writes ” … in the false religions, certain souls can be oriented towards God; but this is because they do not attach themselves to the errors of their religion! It is not through their religion that these souls turn towards God, but in spite of it! Therefore, the respect that is owed to these souls would not imply that respect is owed to their religion”.

And: ” … these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.

But none of these values belongs in its own right to these false religions … The wholesome elements that can subsist still belong by right to the sole true religion, that of the Catholic Church; and it is this one alone that can act through them”*.

I think this is admirably expressed, and it reminds me strongly of the penultimate chapter in Lewis’s The Last Battle. A young Calormene, brought up in the worship of the false god Tash, meets the Lion Aslan, the Christ-figure in Lewis‘s rich narrative. “Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days, and not him. …

But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.

He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true … that thou and Tash art one?

The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. … Dost thou understand, Child?

I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I also said (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek”.

*****

Note: “…these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.”

Truth-teller:

Truth-teller: At a time when intellectual fashion was on the Left, historian Robert Conquest had the guts to lay out, in devastating detail, the truth about the blood-soaked Soviet experiment

But what is one to find in the worship of self and the corollary deprecation of all others of all religions which might kindle a “flame of dawning faith”? What can one find in Atheism, the ultimate worship of self, which might kindle the “flame of faith” in the Divine?

Back in the day, there was a term in use in some quarters which precisely described those who sincerely believed a ideology or philosophy which was empirically provably wrong. That term was “useful idiots.

Robert Conquest was the principle proponent of of this “Useful Idiot” terminology to describe the “Brights” of his day.

“In 1968, when Worcestershire-born Conquest first published his ground-breaking account of Stalin’s atrocities, the world was a very different place.

Back then, the Soviet Union appeared in rude health and the old men in Moscow ruled an empire based on fear. It is easy now to forget just how terrifying the Cold War (WW III) seemed. Across the Western world, many (including most in the military) doubted Communism could be defeated without unleashing nuclear Armageddon.

The Trudeaus and Castro

The Trudeaus and Castro

What is more, many Western intellectuals — from Marxists such as Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm and his friend Ralph Miliband (a political theorist at the London School of Economics, a devout follower of Marx and an unswerving believer in revolutionary socialism) (and coincidentally one of Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s professors during PET’s time at the London School) to woolly, well-meaning Lefties in universities across the country — were quick to defend the (Soviet) regime whenever it was criticised.

Lenin and Stalin, these ‘useful idiots’ claimed, had been much misunderstood. It was Conquest, more than any other writer of his generation, who did most to expose this deceitful drivel.”

*****

So too in the spiritual realm, the “Useful Idiots” uphold the narcissistic adoration of self as the “ultimate good” and consider man as the pinnacle of all things.

These poor benighted souls are the useful idiots of the spiritual world, those unknowing followers of the dark one, the “Father of Lies”, who has existed for all of man’s history and never ceases to strive to drag all souls down to his realm of darkness.

Perhaps one of the best  portrayals of how this process works in the spiritual realm is C.S.Lewis’s book: The Screwtape Letters” .

The principle tenant of the doctrines of communism, socialism, fascism, secularism, and all the currently fashionable “isms” of the progressives is that man is the measure and pinnacle of all things, in other words “self worship”.

This is THE fundamental plank of the platform, the defining characteristic of all secular progressives and a defining characteristic of all those who mock believers of every stripe, lumping all who do not share their religion of self worship into the single pot of “those superstitious fools”, not the enlightened elite like “We Brights” who have put aside the “crutch” of religion.

This “crutch” is in reality a “life-ring” in a sea of desolation, and this action by the worshipers of self is a blessing for traditional religious believers, namely all those who believe in a Supreme Being above man, because:

“… The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride. …

This mockery of the “Brights” strikes directly to the roots of pride in ourselves, our attachment to esteem and the respect of others, hence the blessing in such mockery. Our attachment to the things of this world must be ripped up root and branch and replaced with attachment to God.

Cheers

Joe

patience and charity in all things …

 

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