Saturday, October 12, 2002

I want to reiterate to my readers in the other Washington (referring to DC) that I am interested in posting an editorial on the shootings written by someone living in the vicinity. See this post for more details.

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We Have Our First D'artagnan!!!
(May many more follow)

I Athos was recently informed by Aramis that he, Porthos, and I have an ally now in Alan Phipps. Forsooth, he is the first D'artagnan. May the tribe increase.

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"And Now, A Public Service Announcement From Rerum Novarum" Dept.

What would a "campaign" be without some "ads" right??? ;-)

As Pete Vere noted recently on his weblog Canon Lawyers Oppressing Gnomes:

I need to raise some quick cash. Therefore, since I often get emails from single young Catholic ladies looking for a good Catholic guy, I've decided to auction off my bestest internet buddy Shawn.

To recap, I met Shawn during the tail-end of our integrist days. We were having serious second doubts, and ended of up discussing them together. Despite my having an Italian last name, and he Irish, we became quick friends on the Internet. Through the grace of God, we ended up leaving hard-line traddydom together for a more ecclesiologically orthodox Catholicism -- namely one faithful to the Roman Pontiff and the Diocesan Bishop in communion with him. We would both now describe ourselves as Catholics with a deep attachment to our Latin liturgical Tradition, although we also feel called to explore Eastern Catholic theology as well. But getting back to the West, Shawn and I have even co-authored an article advancing a moderate approach to the Ecclesia Dei movement together.

Now if this isn't good enough, here's the real good news ladies: Coincidentally, there are two Shawns who fit this description! So please go here to bid on Shawn Tribe, and here to bid on Shawn McElhinney...

A well intentioned gesture to be sure but two implies that there is a choice to be made. Now there appear to be similarities here but they are merely surface ones be assured of that. We ask that you consider the following sober facts:

With regards to liturgical issues, where do the candidates stand??? Shawn McElhinney has endorsed organizations such as Adoremus, Opus Dei, Ecclesia Dei, Institute of Christ the King, the Society of St. John, the Saint Athanasius Society, and the Fraternal Society of St. Peter. He has also endorsed groups such as the Anawim society (which is more charismatic) and Second Exodus which is affiliated with the Association of Hebrew Catholics. In short, Shawn McElhinney has manifested this traditional "unity-in-diversity" explicitly; not only in his writings - both essays and also message boards - but also many of the links at his weblog. Where does Shawn Tribe stand on these issues???

Well there is no links to St. Peter's Fraternity, Opus Dei, The St. Athanasius Society, or the Institute of Christ the King at his webblog. There is also no mention of the Anawim community, Second Exodus or the Association of Hebrew Catholics. Indeed has Shawn Tribe ever mentioned that he supports these organizations??? We are unaware that he ever has. Thus we can safely say with a good degree of certitude that Shawn McElhinney is *the* choice for true Catholic unity-in-diversity.

(Paid for by "The Committee in Support of Shawn McElhinney")

There will be more "ads" if you will. (At least two more.) The ladies after all have a right to know the "truth" ;-)

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A Possible "D'artagnan"???

Hopefully we will find out soon as The Mighty Barrister has given tacit acknowledgment and support to the Profession of Faith. However, to be a Musketeer you must post the text at your weblog. Here is where you can locate the text for that. And let no one think we want to limit our number, all who make the profession on their weblogs or web-sites are our brothers and sisters and stand in solidarity with us. (Yes, this is not a "male only" club.)

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"And Now, A Public Service Announcement From Rerum Novarum" Dept.
(aka "Campaign Commercial Corner")

If Pete Vere's auctioning off of Shawn Tribe and myself was handled as a political election, how might Rerum Novarum's "campaign ads" run??? Well, stay tuned for the "Public Service Announcement" Department where such "ads" will be run...

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"Some-times I Won-derrr...Would a Match-box Hold My Clooothes???" Dept:

The source I am quoting can be read here.

Not only does I. Shawn

Shawn please, my friends call me Shawn :)

enjoy the occasional fine double corona, he's also a fan of the blues.

"If you do not dig the blues.......you've got a hole in your soul." - Albert King

If this guy also likes single malt scotch, well, then, I think I've found my long lost twin. :-)

My preference is kahlua or a red wine with double caronas - or water as I am currently restricting myself to. I do not drink much anymore - particularly when I am in weight loss mode as I am now - but yes, I do like scotch too. (When back to my fighting weight I will ease up on that restriction a tad.)

I also enjoyed catching up with the G-Man's post on Papal infallibility. Understanding the basis for infallibility necessarily entails a history lesson on primacy, and Mr. McElhinney comes through again with a nice primer on the issue of Papal primacy. Worth your time.

Thankyou. That is part of a larger essay written in late 2000 and published in early 2001. My intention was to start from the wider parameters of Christian disunity and then move slowly in the direction of unity. And before one can get to infallibility (and to avoid infinite regress) they have to tackle the issue of authority. For if you recognize a visible Church then that Church has to have authority. And further still, that authority must be able to command assent to teaching even when it is not speaking infallibly or appearing to manifest that intention - presupposing for a moment that the Church is gifted with such a charism.

There are about three or four discourses on the subject on my weblog alone. Not that I am "eager" to discuss it but it seems there is no shortage of artificial restrictions placed on the principle based on a falsely legalistic presupposition. There are no "magic words" for infallibility - no required solemn expressions, no incense, no peppermints, etc. Until that understanding is better grasped, there will continue to be misunderstandings by the score on this theme. If traditional obedience was practiced it would not be as problematical as it is but alas the number who can honestly call themselves Traditionalists today is a minority of professed Catholics. (And most who do call themselves "traditionalists" are counterfeit coins if you will: Caveat Emptor/Lector if you will.)

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Well I suppose it would seem rather incongruous for me to not acknowledge that Pete Vere has me and Shawn Tribe being "auctioned off" to the ladies at St. Blogs. As this is election time, I will play along and aid interested parties by publishing three "political commercials" to "highlight" the differences between two guys who would appear by Pete's description to be carbon copies of one another. No ladies, there are distinct differences and we will point them out to you for easier selection in the bidding as a "public service" for the good ladies at St. Blog's parish.

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Friday, October 11, 2002

"Des-pite All the Comp-u-ta-tions, You Can Just Dance to a Rock and Roll Staaaaatiooooon" Dept.

A very good article on "rock and roll conservatism" can be read here. I am wondering if the author of the piece realizes just how Thomistic this approach really is.

Oh and btw, those who doubt me on the matter be assured, I can back up this assertion :) Indeed anyone who looks carefully at the methods and principles of the Angelic Doctor - which are and always will be viable - should see precisely what I refer to.

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The following is a quote which was appended to an email sent to me from a friend this morning:

"Ships in port are safe, but that's not what ships are for. Be good ships. Go out to sea, and learn new things".

Not sure why but I felt like blogging it :)

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Oh, before I forget...

If anyone from Washington D.C. would be interested in doing a Guest Editorial on the shootings and the impact they are having on the community of DC, please email me at ismac@lycos.com with suggested pieces. I want to hear from someone in the area who is at the community level if you will; not simply the stories from the big "establishment" papers who often seem to like to glorify violence to sell newsprint. To get an idea of the format I use, here are the last two guest editorials run at Rerum Novarum on non-ecclesial subjects. (We have run 4 total editorials thus far.)

Bipolar Disorder is No Laughing Matter - by Lisa Graas

September 11, 2001: A New Yorker's Ruminations on the Event and its Aftermath - by Bill Bannon

Those are the sort of approaches we are looking for.

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Courtesy of The JunkYard Blog

AND NOW, A WORD FROM some idiots.

The Transform Columbus Day Alliance actively rejects the celebration of Christopher Columbus and his legacy of domination, oppression, and colonialism.

By saying NO to Columbus we are saying YES to a new future in the Americas. A future of mutual respect, collaboration and equality.

A future that respects:

the rights of indigenous peoples
the natural environment democratic & economic justice over corporate globalization gender equity over global patriarchy free and equal speech over hate speech


What the #$%% is "equal speech?"

Answer: anything other than what these people do not like. Maybe if these kinds of people were more familiar with Bastiat they would know that there are three rights that precede all legislation. Yet these people would want to legislate against those fundamental rights of man. This is part of the law perverted my friends, I will add a section to the series probably tonight before bedtime or tomorrow morning. But in the meantime, those who have not read the installments thus far please do so. You will see that we have already identified enemies of liberty such as the above - enemies who think socialism is the solution to problems (or preceived "problems").

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Fingers rattling keys
While my cerebral tube amps
Gradually warm up

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In honour of the 157th anniversary of Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman's reception into full communion with the Catholic Church, I offer this poem written by him twelve years earlier when he was lost at sea - shortly before he co-founded the Tractarian movement. The actual day was yesterday and I kinda am kicking myself for needing a reminder by Lane Core Jr about it. (Like Lane I owe a lot to this saintly man.) The poem is called "THE PILLAR OF THE CLOUD":


Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom -
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home -
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene - one step enough for me.


I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will; remember not past years.


So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
- John Henry Newman

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Revisiting "Authority and Infallibility" in Brief:

The following was an email response to this post.

You said that I need “to make it much clearer that the issue is AUTHORITY and not INFALLIBILITY. The authority of the teacher teaching in the Name of and with the Authority of God Incarnate is what binds, not the subjective opinion of individuals on whether or not a given teaching is infallible or not.”

1) If what constitutes infallibility is “the subjective opinion of individuals,” then the Church’s infallibility is her shell game, not her charism.

My point was that obedience to a teaching handed on by the Supreme Authority is by that fact alone what is determines its binding nature. Infallibility is a corollary if you will. It denotes a degree of certitude and a specific theological qualification. It is not the criterion for the truth or irreformability of a teaching. Too many people object to a teaching of the Church because "it is not infallible". Despite the fact that there are many more infallible teachings than most people are aware of, there is also the element of repetition which hands on a teaching definitively even if some of the teachings individually are not infallible.

The reason I referred to "subjective opinion of theologians" is because those who predicate obedience on infallibility do not understand the principle of obedience as a virtue at all. They also do not understand the principle of an authority that teaches in God's name and with His authority. There is a reason that Jesus told his followers to obey "whatsoever [the Scribes and Pharisees] tell you" and it was not because they were sterling characters to be personally emulated. No, it was *solely* because they "sit on Moshe's seat". Meaning: they teach with authority and are to be heeded. Our Lord even went on to outline areas where they abused their authority but He did not give His followers any excuses to not be obedient: not one. If this principle was to be adhered to in the imperfect precursor to the Lord, then it applies with even greater stress in the perfected covenant. In short, there is no excuse for disobedience in ecclesiastical matters. PERIOD.

2) If the dog of infallibility is wagged by its tail of authority, then the Church is all bark and no bite, an authoritarian organization based upon power and not a rational organization based upon truth.

Well first of all the Church is *not* a "rational organization" though she is not opposed to reason of course.

2) If the dog of infallibility is wagged by its tail of authority, then the Church is all bark and no bite, an authoritarian organization based upon power and not a rational organization based upon truth.

To state that authority has "no bite" without infallibility is ludicrous. By this "logic" we have no need to obey any authority that is not "infallible". Unless you believe God is the Author of chaos, you should banish such a thought from your mind and conform your speculations within the realm of what the Church has specified is acceptable.

I could go on but perhaps reiterating part of the teaching that a Catholic is supposed to hold and profess is in order here. I will refrain from listing the canons as my focus here is on the teaching of the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church which at the First Vatican Council taught the following on faith and reason. (Areas underlined are those where you tend to go askew not infrequently.)

Chapter 4. On faith and reason

1.The perpetual agreement of the catholic church has maintained and maintains this too: that there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards its source, but also as regards its objects object.

2.With regard to the source, we know at the one level by natural reason, at the other level by divine faith.

3.With regard to the object, besides those things to which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, are incapable of being known. Wherefore, when the Apostle, who witnesses that God was known to the gentiles from created things [29] , comes to treat of the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ [30], he declares: We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this. God has revealed it to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God [31]. And the Only-begotten himself, in his confession to the Father, acknowledges that the Father has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to the little ones [32]

4.Now reason, does indeed when it seeks persistently, piously and soberly, achieve by God's gift some understanding, and that most profitable, of the mysteries, whether by analogy from what it knows naturally, or from the connexion of these mysteries with one another and with the final end of humanity; but reason is never rendered capable of penetrating these mysteries in the way in which it penetrates those truths which form its proper object.

Forthe divine mysteries, by their very nature, so far surpass the created understanding that, even when a revelation has been given and accepted by faith, they remain covered by the veil of that same faith and wrapped, as it were, in a certain obscurity, as long as in this mortal life we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, and not by sight [33].

5.Even though faith is above reason, there can never be any real disagreement between faith and reason, since it is the same God who reveals the mysteries and infuses faith, and who has endowed the human mind with the light of reason.

6.God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever be in opposition to truth. The appearance of this kind of specious contradiction is chiefly due to the fact that either the dogmas of faith are not understood and explained in accordance with the mind of the church, or unsound views are mistaken for the conclusions of reason.

7.Therefore we define that every assertion contrary to the truth of enlightened faith is totally false [34] .

8.Furthermore the church which, together with its apostolic office of teaching, has received the charge of preserving the deposit of faith, has by divine appointment the right and duty of condemning what wrongly passes for knowledge, lest anyone be led astray by philosophy and empty deceit [35] .

9.Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.

10.Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.

11.Hence, so far is the church from hindering the development of human arts and studies, that in fact she assists and promotes them in many ways. For she is neither ignorant nor contemptuous of the advantages which derive from this source for human life, rather she acknowledges that those things flow from God, the lord of sciences, and, if they are properly used, lead to God by the help of his grace.

12.Nor does the church forbid these studies to employ, each within its own area, its own proper principles and method: but while she admits this just freedom, she takes particular care that they do not become infected with errors by conflicting with divine teaching, or, by going beyond their proper limits, intrude upon what belongs to faith and engender confusion.

13.For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.

14. Hence, too,that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.

May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding [36].

[29] Rm 1, 20 [30] Jn 1, 17 [31] i Cor 2, 7-8, 10 [32] Mt 11, 25
[33] 2 Cor 5, 6-7 [34] See Lateran council V, session 8 (see above p. 605). [35] See Col 2, 8 [36] Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium (Notebook), 28 (PL 50, 668).


Those are the areas where you need to reflect long and hard upon. I recommend also a letter written to a friend of mine which should also be of assistance. I will finish with some canons from the same Dogmatic Constitution - my commentary interspersed.

5. If anyone says that the assent to christian faith is not free, but is necessarily produced by arguments of human reason; or that the grace of God is necessary only for living faith which works by charity: let him be anathema.

Implication: the grace of God is necessary for proper utilization of reason.

1. If anyone says that in divine revelation there are contained no true mysteries properly so-called, but that all the dogmas of the faith can be understood and demonstrated by properly trained reason from natural principles: let him be anathema.

Implication: philosophy without theology is inadequate. One can through reason demonstrate the existence of God but beyond that one either chases their tail endlessly or they tap into the divine sciences and actually grow in their understanding of the abstract tenants of the faith. But abstract concepts are useless without pastoral application. Unless you think you can show your faith without works that is. If so the Apostle James disagrees with you (cf. James ii,14ff).

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Thursday, October 10, 2002

"Athos, Porthos, and Aramis Seeking D'artagnan[s]" Dept.

Other than Bill Cork and myself we have another who has has made the Professio Fidei. (Referring to Lane Core, Jr.) He did so on the anniversary of his reception into full communion with the Catholic Church which was October 9th. I had not visited his site for about six days so I only became aware of this today.

So we have in essence a "blogosphere Athos, Porthos, and Aramis" now. Is there a "D'artagnan" (or many perhaps) to be found??? The more the better as "all for one, and one for all" is a very Catholic concept when you really get down to brass tacks :)

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Rerum Novarum Thoroughly Uproots and Destroys Another Perfidious Pseudo-Catholic Apostate and Causes Them To Retract, Humbly Confess Their Errors Under Fear Of Excommunication, Submit To Our Sovereign Authority, and Beg Our Forgiveness On Both Knees In Three Feet of Snow!!!*

Boy life would sure be easy if every disagreement with me was cause to be defrocked and excommunicated, keel-hauled and hung from a yardarm. But of course life is not that easy and I would not want it to be. Simplistic solutions almost never work as well in reality as they do in the abstract. But I digress...

Unlike some so-called "apologists" who think any theological disagreements in areas of free speculation is tantmount to heterodoxy, your blog host is Traditional in the truest sense of the word; this is not in the sense of the so-called "traditionalists". (Who are basically the Catholic Church's version of the Reformed confession's "Truly Reformed".) And apparently upon reading my intention to do lyric analysis of Red Ragtop, The Mighty Barrister went back and looked at the song and has recanted his original position. Thanks Eric as you saved me the time analyzing the lyrics as I had planned to do out of a sense of necessity.

However, I may still do it now as a side project as there are subtle undertones in them that I found very interesting; inferences if you will to a lot of what is wrong with "conventional wisdom" today in the area of male and female intimate relationships. It has been a while since I delved into that subject - quite a long while actually. (That was one realm I used to discuss a lot contemporary to when I was just starting to get involved with religious apologetics and after I had moved away from political-science issues and sports-talk issues.)

In short, from a lyrical standpoint, I can see why there has been so much controversy. My gut instinct told me initially that it had to be a pro-life inference or else the media would not make a big deal about it. Upon examining it closer that intuition was correct. (Shawn's law of inverse application at work in spades.) But there is more to it than just the abortion subject. This will be noted later on if I decide to go into the subject. (Agenda-wise it has moved back to "Defcom 5".)

Nonetheless, The Mighty Barrister in making a mea culpa has increased his stock in my book and not only because he now agrees with me. (Though the latter of course is not primary amongst my "stock market indicators".) Humility is an often lacking virtue amongst apologist sorts - and the lacuna is greater in proportion to two elements (i) the individual's personal insecurities and (ii) the individual's lack of knowledge in certain areas which contributes to the first one. But then those who do not delude themselves into thinking that they know everything do not put themselves into a position where they are insecure. But lest I digress, time to wrap this entry up.

Eric, thankyou for validating my instincts about you which prompted my including your blog in my list back on the September 30th major blog update. Keep up the good work :)

* Not a reference to Petrus Verus to whom a monitum is still out on ;-)

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Updates to Rerum Novarum:

The links and blogs that are being moved from "limbo" to the site today and receiving my magisterial approval motu proprio include:

Websites:

Second Exodus
Opus Dei


Weblogs:

Kevin Miller's "De Virtutibus" BLOG
Lisa Graas "Gen X" BLOG


Shawn's "Eastern Catholic Corner":

Pope Leo XIII's encyclical letter Orientalum Dignitas (On the Churches of the East).

Several others have moved into "limbo" now and those beneath these move up if you will. (With the exception of magisterial documents which do not need my approval of their content of course.) With regards to Opus Dei, I have commented on them very rarely over the years. However, as I noted here the value of the apostolate and the sanctity of its founder are not areas where I can dispute any longer in good conscience. I add the link to the apostolate on this weblog and submit mind and will to the Church as these issues are no longer subject to debate. St. Jose Maria Escriva, ora pro nobis!!!

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"Losing My Religion" Dept.

I was having flashbacks to my discussions with the Internet Infidels when I read Dale Price's post on Richard Dawkins. Well...not all the infidels, just the ones that tried to diss theism and elevate the "superiority" of that myth called "free thought". Most of the time the Infidels were reasonably amiable though they had the operative presupposition that any theist - especially a Christian - was defacto dumber than a sack of hammers until the individual demonstrated otherwise. At least that was my experience. (Usually this was with former Christians - particularly former fundys. The truth that nature abhors a vacuum was seldom more vividly illustrated but I digress...)

In a way I cannot blame some of them who on a daily basis had to deal with radical fundys and those who came in and threw around Pascal's Wager smugly as if they had "refuted" the infidel's thinking. It was BRUTAL the way they would rip into such people and decimate their arguments. But those of us who made up the small remnant of five thinking theists versus about a seventy-five infidels and about twenty odd fundys (yeah we did dress down the fundys too at times) we held our own. Considering that later fundy boards either banned us or discontinued the sections whereby they would let us "unwashed" go into (or they started deleting our posts: that was one reason I started saving posts on Word first) the infidels were in a sense more "Christian" than some so-called "Christians" who took extreme positions and acted like little "Ivan the Terribles" when we would point out the inconsistencies in their stated positions. But anyway, here is Dale's post on the subject. Enjoy!!!

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Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Forget the analysis being done tonight. I got on a roll and had it finished much quicker than I thought and then messed up and lost the text. So look for the analysis of the lyrics of the song tomorrow evening or so. (I am not in the mood to redo it right now and may not even be tomorrow evening either: partly because I actually thought it was really good on the first take and am not sure if the retake will be as good.)

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"X Files" Dept.

Have you ever blogged on a subject and then went back to find the entry and it was not to be found??? I was over at the Mighty Barrister and read Eric's take on Tim McGraw's hit song and my view was 180 degrees from his. I can remember writing the entry. I can remember linking to Kevin Miller's weblog, I even posted a link to the song lyrics too. But I cannot find the piece. It was blogged right after the dissertation on the blues so it is not as if I had to dig in my archives for it...Strange...

Nonetheless, I do not like disagreeing with Eric on an issue such as this since it touches on an important subject (abortion). So for my readers, I will try to dig up the lyrics to the controversial song and go over them with commentary before I turn in tonight hopefully. (If not then I will put it on the schedule for first thing tomorrow after my morning chai.)

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Though I have not referred to them on this blog yet - except by linking to them - I do read Samisdata.net on occasion (and have for some time) because I incline at times towards libertarianism. If not for the fact that the philosophy has certain problems inherent within it I would probably be with them in the trenches. But for the memories...

I remember toying with a libertarian senatorial candidate back in high school when he visited my government in action class. If I recall it was me and about five other "conservatives" in the 110 person class - and admittedly at the time I was only calling myself "conservative" to be a rebel - as were the others I presume. After getting the guy to contradict himself several times I discarded libertarianism as a viable option but I still over the years have thought that the libertarians for the most part had good intentions.

Ironically I seem to recall that the one issue where this guy was not libertarian was pro life issues and we really had a field day there wielding the moniker "pro-choice". Stupid kid, I have often thought that if I had a wayback machine I would go back and thump some sense into the younger me. Anyway, Samisdata has the following on the New Jersey senatorial heist a subject I mentioned at the following link.

But reading their stuff got me to thinking again about the terms used to describe people. One reason I refer to false traditionalists in lowercase T is because I will not concede to their lies that they are actually Traditional. (Most of my friends call them "Integrists" for the same reason - as do I sometimes when I do not want to bother explaining my distinctive use of terms.) But maybe in criticizing the so-called "liberals" from a political standpoint - though not a religious one - I have allowed myself to make them sound better than they are. I used to refer to liberals as "socialists". In light of what has happened in New Jersey, I think going back to the term "socialists" may be in order.

Gotta admire the Libertarians for if nothing else the fact that in thirty years they have yet to get double digit tallies in very many of the races where they run a candidate (they usually get crushed) but they still think they are viable...still think they are "one hill away from the shining city" if you will. My Kingdom for a viable third party...

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I hope also to address an email inquiry with regards to Reformed theology and the Catholic Faith though probably not until the weekend.

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A "Grandmaster of the Obvious" Moment:

[As this has been sitting at my "research and development" blog for a couple of days (and I promised to discuss it on Monday) here it is. - ISM]

I just looked through my bulletin from church on Sunday and remembered a "Grandmaster of the Obvious" moment I had back on Sunday. And lest some think that I never have these kinds of moments...well...I am not the mainstream newspaper who cowardly buries mistakes or errors made on A1 somewhere back on Q7. Generally to the same extent I make a mistake I acknowledge it so A1 means A1 correction; Z4 means Z4 correction, etc. This is really not an A1 situation but in retrospect it is kinda funny so I share it with you here.

I have started going to the noon mass at Blessed Sacrament parish in the University District of Seattle. (The same church as fellow Seattle dweller Mark Shea.)

I found out some time ago that Mark went to daily mass at St. Pius X in Mountlake Terrace (not the same as the SSPX) and to Sunday mass at Blessed Sacrament. Well, I had since my sojourn out of "tradville" been attending St. Pius X in Mountlake Terrace on most Sundays - though I had done a bit of hoboing in this area and attended a number of liturgies including the Maronites mission.{1} They had gotten noticeably better in the intervening years since my previous time there but time at SSPX kinda spoiled me with the music.{2}

While I am more tolerant in this area now because of a greater understanding of what is and is not permissible, at the same time my mind hearkened back to Sacrosanctum Concilium and the call for Latin in the common prayers such as the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei.

While still with SSPX I started petitioning my ordinary to get an Indult in my dioceses - at times rather forcefully.{3} I ended up leaving them but still kept the petitioning for my family and friends at my old church

Anyway, the Indult arrived finally in August of 2001 but I have yet to attend it. Mainly for reasons I note in my open letter to a friend but there is also the conscious factor that change can only be wrought through the right channels.{4} Anyway, despite the reasons I note in that letter there was still the desire to hear at least *some* Latin and the use of the incense. (I love the stuff and some of my favourite times as a server were when I handled the thiruble.) But I am digressing so back on track we go...

I attended Blessed Sacrament one week by accident because they were the only church with a late Sunday liturgy and I was rather lazy that day. What impressed me was the preaching and this track record would sustain itself at every subsequent mass I attended. (Here is a sample from a homily of three weeks ago that I particularly enjoyed.) I attended the 5:45 for a few weeks and then by accident discovered something more.

I happened to stop off at Blessed Sacrament after the noon mass to grab a bulletin and visit the facilities and my nostrils caught the faint smell of incense!!! So at the 5:45 I asked the priest Fr. Reginald Martin after the mass if they used incense very often and he said "yes, we use it at every noon mass!!!" So I immediately knew that my chances of Latin hymns of the common parts of the liturgy was at least a field bet and attended the noon mass the following week. And they had incense and Latin for several parts of the mass - including the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.{5}

Basically it is EWTN at the noon mass with the exception of the Kiss of Peace, some vernacular singing, and a few extraordinary ministers.{6} Nonetheless, I think I have found my "base" mass if you will. I will still attend other liturgies but this mass will be the one I attend primarily on Sundays. Now having explained that, here is the "Grandmaster" moment.

In commenting to people about how excellent these priest were as preachers - unlike Pius X and other churches where there was a variation of sorts here they were solid all around. After a few weeks of thinking about this, I was reading the bulletin carefully and saw that all the priests and friars were Dominicans!!! Double checking I saw that ... yep OP after every name. The meaning of which of course is "Order of Preachers". The penny dropped and immediately I was hammering my forehead with the palm of my hand going "duh, duh, duh".

The preceding was brought to you by Rerum Novarum. Rerum Novarum: where on occasion we *do* get caught looking at a called third strike ;-)

Notes:

{1} Incidentally, St. Pius X is the same church where I received my First Communion many years ago - and the last church I attended before a period of unchurched and then becoming involved with the SSPX.

{2} In light of my rather eclectic music taste this did not transfer to liturgical settings I must admit.

{3} In one letter from mid 1999 I quoted almost all of the Apostolic letter Ecclesia Dei.

{4} Rumour has it that they may add two more Indult masses to the dioceses based on how well that is working out.

{5} So rare did they use Latin at Pius X -except for Lent- that when they did I was taken aback. (Pleasantly so though.)

{6} They so far are picking good hymns too - even at the 5:45 which is more contemporary styling.

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And More Again From the "Drudgeford Files"...

Apparently the Jewish population is shrinking. As I know of a few so-called "Catholics" who will probably celebrate this fact (such as perhaps the fellow I dealt with yesterday) I will simply give them the gentle reminder that barbecue sauce tends to stain white so you might want to remove your hoods before eating...

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More From the "Drudgeford Files" Dept.

Also from the aforementioned source is the following from Harry Belafonte. I have to say I am disappointed in "Mr. Talleyman" but I am used to musicians whose music I like going off in various crackpot directions - sadly enough it is par for the course.

"There's something wrong with men who think the way Ashcroft does and who manipulate the justice system the way he does."

Where was he during the electorial joke back in 2000??? Why did he not stand up and berate the STUPIDITY of the Florida Supreme Court as its own Chief Justice did??? Probably for the same reason the Devilcrats have spread lies about grandma having to eat dogfood and being kicked into the street over decreases in budget increases. (Paul Shanklin's parody "Werewolves of Congress" was and is an accurate portrayal of Congressional Democrats.) With such manifest illogic is it any wonder we have a nearly six trillion dollar deficit??? (The enemy is "base-line budgeting" my friends.) Aah but there is more.

Belafonte, appearing on San Diego's 760 KFMB, told host Ted Leitner that Powell was like a plantation slave who moves into the slave owner's house and only says what his master wants him to say.

This path was so predictable that I decided against putting it in the "NostraShawmus" department. Too much like shooting fish in a barrel...

"There's an old saying," Belafonte began. "In the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master... exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him.

Of course this would NOT apply to Reverend Jackson and several congressional Democrats have high ranking positions in the Democratic party. When ninety percent of blacks vote for the pro-slavery party (first physical slavery and now economic slavery) tell me who is at the "beck and call of the master" Mr. Belafonte???

"Colin Powell's committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture."

It seems to me that this accurately describes Mr. Belafonte and the liberal left. Is this an example of "say something outrageous and we will give you publicity" Mr. Belafonte???

Belafonte also sang the praises of the United Nations as a pillar of global democracy

Obviously Harry is not up to speed on these matters. The United Nations is an unfortunate institution that is at best tolerated and at worst avoided. The reason this humble blog has a department where Frederic Bastiat holds court is precisely because of the kind of thievery that socialist organizations like the UN seek to get away with.

"There were tens of thousands of peoples and leaders from all over the world gathered to discuss the issue of race. It was an honorable arena...

I am frankly sick of the issue. Is it too difficult to say simply "what you would not have others do to you/say to you/think of you, do not do to them/say to them/think of them"??? That is Torah, the rest is commentary.

But by not showing up, by sticking it to the government of Nelson Mandela... It was a dark page on our foreign policy."

Well considering the way many in the African National Congress (including Nelsons ex Wynnie) used to like to deal with those who oppose them (they would "tire" them with Goodyears filled with gasoline and add a match) I cannot say I am impressed with Harry's politics or those he chooses to be his bedfellows.

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"Drudgeford Files" Dept.

I normally do not pay attention to the Miss America pageant stuff but the current Miss America is causing quite a stir. Read about it here in a link I picked up at the Drudge Report.

There may be more after I have had a chance to do some reading but in brief: go get 'em Miss America :)

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Okay, so far in the polling the themes of charity and prayer are ahead. There is still time to register your vote. See the information HERE for more details.

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"There are many flowers in my Father's garden" said G K Chesterton once. The same is true of weblogs. I hope that Gerard Serafin can fix his weblog so I can access it again. He fills a gap if you will much as the lady whose blog I am about to mention does. Karen Knapp's blog is of the same mould as Gerard's - I read the following while getting ready to take an evening walk before turning in. It is a very touching story and from the Desert Fathers. (A source which is ever-instructive and I hope Karen blogs more of their stuff.) Without further ado, here is the link I refer to: A Way to Life for the weak and little ones in this world, from the Desert.

Until tomorrow
I bid to thee all adieu
Parting's sweet sorrow...

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Response to a Self-styled "Traditionalist" (Part III):

One of those who wanted me to put comments boxes on my blog has started a blog of his own. I have responded to him in the last two threads located at the two links below (please read them in order before proceeding to read this one):

Response to a self-styled "traditionalist" (Part I)

Response to a self-styled "traditionalist" (Part II)

This last one will be the final knockdown to meet the three knockdown rule but in reality this was akin to Dempsey-Willard since the individual I am toying with cannot answer the challenge I outlined in part I without admitting defeat. (Thus he will probably ignore it as "trads" usually do when their challenges are forcefully rebuffed.)

Nonetheless, as I see no need to give him any advertising, I will not reveal his name but instead will continue to call him "Yechiel Levine". Apparently "Yechiel" takes issue with my request to my friends and collegues to make public the following Profession of Faith. And as he goes out of his way to denigrate a person whom I have not the slightest shred of doubt is a faithful Catholic, it is now time to take off the gloves and play some hardball.

Bill Cork writes a statement of faith

Bill Cork wrote nothing of the sort. What Bill Cork did was make a Profession of Faith in accordance with the prescriptions of the Apostolic see.

that includes the following:

What is more, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.

This is going to be a classic example of "kids do not try this at home" I can tell.

A statement like this is why I believe, to paraphrase Newman, that to be deep in history is to cease to be neo-catholic.

If "Yechiel" knew his history very well (not to mention his dogmatic theology) he would not make such a bone-headed statement. Watch closely now gentle reader while this so-called "trad" hangs himself...I will merely supply the rope ;-)

Has Bill heard of Pope John XXII?

Yes I am sure he has. (As a convert I am sure the John XXII incident came up when Bill was struggling with the issue of papal infallibility.)

This is the pope who in the 14th century taught from the pulpit that souls would not attain the beatific vision until after the final judgment.

Correct.

Did all the Catholics of that time just accept this teaching with religious submission of will and intellect ?

No nor should they have as it was not magisterial.

Of course not.

Religious submission of mind and will is for teaching of the ordinary magisterium. The teaching was in a sermon which not only was not magisterial but the pope insisted that it was a private opinion he wanted to debate.

They rose up in opposition with Cardinal Orsini even calling for a council to declare him a heretic.

Cardinal Orsini was out of line. The teaching was not defined as a matter of faith and therefore it was still viable. (Though virtually all theologians were against the position at the time.) Only with the issuance by Pope Benedict XII of a Dogmatic Constitution in 1336 where the matter was defined would this issue be imposed on the faith.

With all the pressure he faced, the Pope appointed a commission to study the issue and he eventually recanted of his error on his deathbed.

Tell the WHOLE story Yechiel. I will once again fill in for the educational shortcomings of so-called "Catholics" who have the temerity to criticize others when they do not bother to do their own homework:

In the last years of John's pontificate there arose a dogmatic conflict about the Beatific Vision, which was brought on by himself, and which his enemies made use of to discredit him. Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question, in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on the matter (November, 1333), and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter. In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question. In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. [Catholic Encyclopedia: article on Pope John XXII (c. 1913)]

Pope John XXII was also near ninety years of age at the time. Some have speculated that he was losing his faculties at the time. But that is neither here nor there. Charity would compel a real Catholic to presume that he erred in good faith; particularly since he later abjured the error. What is YOUR excuse???

I shudder to think of what would have happened if the men of that day had the erroneous view of the papacy that so many neo-catholics have today.

Well considering how poorly you know your history not to mention what is and is not magisterial, I am not surprised. If you had any real understanding of theology you would know that Professions of Faith promulgated by a Pope or Ecumenical Council are infallible to an extraordinary degree. (Meaning: under pain of heresy.)

If you knew anything about what constituted a magisterial exercise you would know that a couple of homilies of the pope do not qualify in and of themselves. They can contribute to the pope's magisterium in conjunction with other teachings in the same subject of course. But when the pope specifically denies that he is teaching and is proposing a subject for debate - as John XXII happened to do - how on earth this action can be even REMOTELY magisterial at any level is something you have to explain. But first I expect you to point to me where at any time in Church History a Profession of Faith set forth by a Pope or an Ecumenical Council confirmed by the Pope has not been seen as infallible and irrevocable. Once you do that, you have reason to criticize Bill Cork for doing what all true Traditionalists do: subscribe to the professio of the Apostolic see. Until then, there is no reason to believe that you are even a Catholic at all.

And since no coffin would be complete without a few nails driven into the lid, I quote from my Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary tenth edition (c. 1941):

Magisterium (Lat. magister, a master).

The Church's divinely appointed authority to teach the truths of religion, "Going therefore, teach ye all nations... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. xxviii, 19-20). This teaching is infallible: "And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" (ibid.) The solemn magisterium is that which is exercised only rarely by formal and authentic definitions of councils or popes. Its matter comprises dogmatic definitions of ecumenical councils or of the popes teaching ex cathedra, or of particular councils, if their decrees are universally accepted or approved in solemn form by the pope; also creeds and professions of faith put forward or solemnly approved by pope or ecumenical council. The ordinary magisterium is continually exercised by the Church especially in her universal practices connected with faith and morals, in the unanimous consent of the Fathers (q.v.) and theologians, in the decisions of Roman Congregations concerning faith and morals, in the common sense (q.v.) of the faithful, and various historical documents in which the faith is declared. All these are founts of a teaching, which as a whole is infallible. They have to be studied separately to determine how far and in what conditions each of them is an infallible source of truth. [pg. 319]

Oh, lest I forget:

Nihil Obstat - Rev. Arthur J. Scanlan, D.D. Censor Liborium

Imprimatur - Patrick Cardinal Hayes Archbishop, New York December 13, 1930

Now then, as I have decimated your paltry arguments three times, the real question is this: Do you have the guts to email Bill and apologize to him for your insults since it is you who is the obvious ignorant fool here??? I doubt it. As usual with "trads" they move onto the next whining argument and do not bother apologizing for their errors and their public scandals. I know you read this blog so are you going to apologize to him or are you a yellow-bellied poltroon Mr. Levine??? Here is what you will do.

I will expect to see in my email box an email sent to Mr. Cork and cc'ed to me where you apologize to him for your slander. Whether you choose to note this on your blog or not is your business. (God is watching and I trust Him to handle you accordingly.) But if you do not do this, I will let my readers know what a slanderous yellow poltroon you are: that you accuse people of heterodoxy without proper evidence and further still: that you not only have no integrity to admit when you bite off more than you can chew but you are incapable of making the Profession of Faith as prescribed by the Apostolic see and thus bear false witness when you claim to be a Catholic.

"I got no more use for this guy" [Joe Peschi's character Vincent Gambini after dispatching of his first witness in "My Cousin Vinny"]

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Response to a Self-styled "Traditionalist" (Part II):

This is the second part of a three part series. (The first part can be accessed here.)

As "Yechiel Levine" has commented on Basle and thinks it is his foil for defending anti-semitic drivel, the following should more than suffice for another knockdown:

On Basle

Two down, one to go...

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Response to a Self-styled "Traditionalist" (Part I):

Before I respond to a certain individual in three consecutive posts I want to let my readers know that the three knockdown rule is in effect.

The person I am responding to here is referring to a certain individual and Rerum Novarum prefers to deal in issues and not personalities. So to protect the guilty individual identities the person in the reference below has had their name changed. (The latter I will refer to simply as "Todd Rundgrens". The person I am responding to I will refer to as "Yechiel Levine".)

I still haven't heard from the opponents of Mr. [Rundgrens] how they can charge him with anti-semitism WITHOUT implicating our own popes and saints.

The same way we can refer to someone who denies the Trinity as at least a material heretic and not be implicating the ante-Nicene saints. The same way we can refer to someone who denies that Mary was the Mother of God as at least a material heretic and not be implicating the ante-Ephesus saints. Need we continue???

For example, Pope Saint Pius V ordered the jews expelled from the papal states.

Yes he did. Pope St. Pius V did several things which were not to his credit. Unless you think he was impeccable I fail to see what the problem is here.

I went over the subject of zeal in a spiritual instructional on this humble blog recently. If you recall, the first part of the two part reflection read as follows:

Zeal for the salvation of souls is a sublime virtue, and yet how many errors and sins are committed daily in its name! Evil is never done more effectually and with greater security, says St. Francis de Sales, than when one does it believing he is working for the glory of God...The saints themselves can be mistaken in this delicate matter.

I rest my case. Pope St. Pius V in his handling of the Jews committed sins in the name of zeal. As this is par for the course for humanity I do not dwell on his failings in this area as we all have our own failings. But then again, the magisterium had not set forth any doctrine on this matter in Pius V's time so holding him to today's standard would be akin to calling St. Cyprian (who is mentioned by name in the Roman Canon) a heretic for not professing infallibility, St. Ignatius for not professing the Trinity, St. Augustine for not professing what was defined at the Council of Trent on Original Sin, or St. Thomas on the Immaculate Conception. Before I forget, here is the entire series on zeal again:

Spiritual Instruction on Zeal (Part I)

Spiritual Instruction on Zeal (Part II)

And lest I forget, though this work I reference has gone through over twenty-five editions since 1795, I give you the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur information now:

Nihil Obstat - Sti. Ludovici, die ii Junii, 1904. F. G. Holweck Censor Liborium

Imprimatur - Sti. Ludovici, die ii Junii, 1904. Joannes J. Glennon, Archiepiscopus, Sti. Ludovici

I'd like an honest answer from Todd's critics. Was Pius V, one of only two popes to be canonized in the last 500 years, an anti-semite?

It would be more accurate to say he was anti-Judaism. His actions were a result of zeal for the salvation of souls - of this I do not doubt. But even saints can have imprudent zeal. Tell you what, if you want to refer to all the saints I listed above as heretics, I will classify St. Pius V as an anti-semite. Fair enough???

It'll be interesting to see how many of you will have the guts to answer [my challenge] truthfully.

I just did. Ball is in your court now Yechiel. Are Sts Ignatius, Cyprian, Augustine, and Thomas all heretics??? I am waiting...

To be continued...

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Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Update on the Covenantal Salvation Thread:

I finished the first part of it the other day and finally got the bugs ironed out. As there is about three different ways I can take the thread at the moment I want to establish a definite direction before I start posting sections. So those I mentioned doing this thread to, rest assured: I am working on it.

In the meantime let us have a bit of fun with a "challenge" sent to my email box today. I am not sure why but those who are the most smug tend to be the ones I enjoy dismantling. But to make this interesting I intend to raise the stakes. For more details stay tuned...

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Bryan Preston at the JunkYard Blog has some good observations about the shootings that are taking place in Washington DC: LINK. I have to agree that if citizens in Washington were allowed to arm themselves whomever this is would be far less likely to get away with this kind of thing for long. (And to end this days blogging on a nice note, I will observe reverent silence with regards to what I think should be done to people such as this.)

Sleepy are my eyes
Tonights last written entry
I bid thee adieu...

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"Bastiat's Corner" Dept.

For those who are behind, the previous installments can be read through this link. Without further ado, Mr. Bastiat:

The Complete Perversion of the Law

But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.

How has this perversion of the law been accomplished? And what have been the results?

The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy. Let us speak of the first.

A Fatal Tendency of Mankind

Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.

But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others. This is no rash accusation. Nor does it come from a gloomy and uncharitable spirit. The annals of history bear witness to the truth of it: the incessant wars, mass migrations, religious persecutions, universal slavery, dishonesty in commerce, and monopolies. This fatal desire has its origin in the very nature of man -- in that primitive, universal, and insuppressible instinct that impels him to satisfy his desires with the least possible pain.

Property and Plunder

Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain -- and since labor is pain in itself -- it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

But, generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men. And since law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws.

This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.

The next installment will include "Victims of Lawful Plunder", "The Result of Legal Plunder", and "The Fate of Non-Conformists". This is must read Blog TV folks - as we have elections coming up and the kind of thievery that most candidates run on has become quite normal. Our Founding Fathers would be horrified by what we tolerate today. But we can deal more with that in the next and subsequent installments.

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Monday, October 07, 2002

Speaking of John Carlson...He currently has journalist/diva Michelle Malkin on the radio. (She used to write for the Times and was one of the few voices of sanity in that paper.) She has written a book on immigration and the borders and is discoursing on the subject very impressively. And what a very pleasing voice...again, Mr. Malkin is a *very* fortunate fellow :) It is times like this that I almost want to reconsider my stance against cloning...

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From "The Body" to "The Brain" to "The Mat" Dept.

I am curious to know what Mark D. Mouth has to say about the latest from Jesse Ventura. For all of his ranting about low voter turnout, it appears that Ventura did not even vote in the 2000 Presidential race!!! I just heard that from John Carlson on the radio and John is usually quite reliable. (Maybe we should now call him Jesse "the Body-Slammed" Ventura.)

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Okay readers, here is your chance to put in your input. I have decided to allow a vote on which subject will be covered in the spiritual reflections series. The candidates for this round include (1) Temptations (2) Spiritual Reading (3) Charity (4) Prayer. The polls are open until Friday evening and you vote by emailing me at ismac@lycos.com

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"I'll Play the Blues for You" Dept.

If your down and out
And you feel real hurt
Come on oooover....
To the place where I work
And allll your loneliness
I'll try to soothe...
I'll play the blues for you..


Those who wonder why I am such a fan of the blues can get the notion from what is mentioned on the blog earlier in the week. But as that would only indicate one side of the story, I want to tell the other side here.

Now of course true fans know that blues is human emotion. They can be happy, sad, funny, seductive, or any other emotion though it is the feeling down element that is most commonly known. When this element is in effect it serves as a catharsis if you will - particularly the soulful wailing of a vocal-like instrument such as the electric guitar. I did not plan on discussing this but I read on a blog where the subject was being discussed and decided to inject my buck and change on this subject. (For the record the blog hostess herself seems to have a very balanced view of this subject matter.) It need not be only blues since I have over the years collected albums of almost every genre in existence except disco and rap. (The list of divergent stylings would probably shock people.) That does not mean that I dislike all disco of course or even all rap - though in the case of the latter there is admittedly very little that I happen to care for.) But lest I digress further, here goes...

[T]he blues is not about despair. It's about melancholy and resignation. The latter is the opposite of despair, in a way. Despair wrecks (objects, others, and finally the self); resignation accepts. If it didn't, surely black Americans would have died of grief long before they found their freedom?

One side of the story only.

Do you know the John Lee Hooker song called "The Fog"?

If this person thinks that John Lee Hooker only sang melancholy songs then he does not know much about the late Mr. Hooker (RIP).

Can't resist pointing out that my SERIOUS musical friends all tell me that the complex rhythms of American popular music are actually too simple and repetitive for them. But I can never quite agree with this; think they're missing some subtlety.

Well, I have not been much of a fan of Top 40 radio fan since the late 1980's for much the same reason. But with forms of music such as jazz and blues, these "serious" people (whoever they are) are correct. The dynamic range in both jazz and blues transcends pop music. It also (I would argue) transcends classical music. Nonetheless, there is such a thing as deceptive simplicity. Christianity is a classic example of this when you really get down to nuts and bolts. But I digress...

I once found a critic's comment (perhaps banal to those more knowledgeable than I am) saying that the European musical tradition aimed to make the voice as pure and accurate as a musical instrument; the American tradition (under its African influence) aimed to make instruments as supple and expressive as the human voice.

That is accurate. The utilization of dynamics is key to a good musician. It took me some time to learn how to bend, slide, and trill single note. (I started there since my hands were not made for speed so compensation is called for if you will.) In the blues there is one method of singing called the "call and response" where the singer and his guitar interact with one another.

One point you may never have noticed: Canadian popular music differs from that of the US in that it never had a significant African influence until the 1950s (with the exception of jazz). Our dominant tradition in popular music is Celtic. What we have is what American music would be, minus the influence of African rhythms and vocal styles.

I hope this is not one of those attempts to sound elitist. (Out of charity I will presume that it is not.) I like Celtic music too (being part Irish I almost have to) but this sounds to me almost as if the person is dismissing American music or downgrading it because of African elements. Need I remind this person that many Canadian musicians and groups were influenced by American music forms. (Three that come to mind immediately are Neil Young, Rush, and The Band: all three of which are in my collection and the latter in particular is among my favourites.)

A Thomist worthy of the label looks for the Truth wherever it can be found. This does not mean that they have to like all kinds of music but it does mean that even many of those that do not sound appealing at first should not be immediately dismissed. Many good things are after all an acquired taste. And music much as art often has many rays of truth in them. (And at times it is truth that most people want to ignore.)

But as we started with the blues, let us end there as well with perhaps the greatest influence on modern guitar players - a man whose influence transcended the blues genre. Or (if we really want to annoy the snobs) a former sharecropper/bulldozer operator who was illiterate most of his life and had to teach himself to play guitar in a very unorthodox manner (upside down and backwards because he was left-handed; pickless because he could not grip a pick as his hands were too big). And yet today no guitar instructional is complete IMHO without discussing his contributions to how the instrument is played. (To say nothing of the countless players influenced by him.) From the one man whom Jimi Hendrix was (by his own admission) intimidated by and John Lee Hooker's favourite player: the late great Albert King (RIP).

I ain't got no big name
Ooooo Lord and I ain't no big star
But I'll play the bluuues for you
On my gui-tar
Allll your lone-li-ness
I'll try to soothe
I'll play the blues for you




(Scuse me)

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Authority or Infallibility - Which Approach Is Most Effective???:

That is the theme of this response to an email inquiry.

I don't want to misstep in this area that you are more expert in. So please review the following explaination of what constitutes infallible Church teaching. I'm presenting this as an answer to XXXXX, a XX-year-old Sikh, who doubts Church infallibility. Thus my attempt to keep this as simple as I can. But I fear I may have made it too simple. So please tell me what you think. Thanks for you quick review of this.

The simplest formula possible is that the Church is infallible in all that pertains to the central mysteries of the faith both explicitly and implicitly. This is the simplest and the correct understanding. Dr. Adolph Tanquerey in his Three Volume Manual of Dogmatic Theology series stated it in the following manner:

The direct object of infallibility of the Church includes all the religious truths and each individual truth which are formally contained in the sources of revelation; the indirect object embraces all those things which are required in order that the deposit of faith may be preserved entire. [Vol. I pg. 144]

Most people acknowledge the first part and ignore the second part. The latter may not be "de fide" but it was still widely held to be theologically certain prior to 1964. By explicitly taking a magisterial stand in favour of the infallibility of the secondary truths, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council settled this issue definitively.

There are in essence two theological qualifications for truths taught definitively by the Magisterium of the Church: those which are known to be revealed and those which are known to be certain but where there is doubt as to whether or not they are revealed. You undoubtedly know that truths that are divinely revealed require adherence by divine and Catholic faith - as they are dogmas credenda. But the latter category of secondary truths is often ignored by dissenters from both the liberal and also "traditionalist" camps. Tanquerey in speaking of the latter noted that "When infallible power is exercised in respect to truths connected with revelation, truths of this kind are the object of ecclesiastical faith only". [pg. 145] Dr. Ludwig Ott in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma referred to these truths as follows:

"Catholic truths or Church doctrines, on which the infallible Teaching Authority of the Church has finally decided, are to be accepted with a faith that is based on the sole authority of the Church (fides ecclesiastica). These truths are as infallibly certain as dogmas proper". [pg. 9]

In essence you have truths that are revealed and truths that are not known to be. I phrase it this way because sometimes upon greater reflection a truth that was not known to be divinely revealed previously is proclaimed de fide.

For a teaching of the Church to be an official teaching of the Church, that is, for it to be infallibly true

Teachings that are official teachings can be either infallible or not. Infallibility pertains only as a theological qualification. It is not the criterion for the truth or irreformability of a teaching.

This also does not cover practices which are associated with dogmas:

Among the customs and practices which have been closely joined to dogma we mention especially the public rites used in the solemn celebration of the sacrifice, or in the administration of the sacraments; also the formulas of prayers and various feasts or offices instituted by the Church; or sacred practices which have been associated with doctrine.

For a practice of the Church to become a criterion of faith there are two requirements:

a. the the practice be necessarily connected with the dogmatic truth; for in imposing a practice or custom, the Church by that very fact orders that dogmas connected with this practice must be adhered to;

b. that a custom of this kind be universal or approved at least tacitly by infallible authority; for only the universal Church enjoys infallibility. Therefore a custom or practice of one particular Church produces only a probable argument for revealed truth. [pg. 177]

Section B above explains the rationale behind why canonization of saints is infallible whereas beatifications are not. Beatifications involve only a particular Church, group, or dioceses and therefore produce only a probable argument for truth. By contrast canonization imposes on the faith if you will the mandate for veneration of a saint by the universal church, a day can be put in the feast calendar, and all other rights and privileges are made applicable. It in short involves the universal church and thus infallibility is assured.

Likewise in secondary truths include promulgation of a Missal or regulations for sacramental administration, promulgating a Calendar of Saints for the universal church, canonization of saints, or other areas that are directly joined to dogmas or their facilitation and thereby fall under the protection of the Holy Spirit. Dogmatic facts also apply such as "Paul VI was a valid Supreme Pontiff" and "Vatican II was a valid ecumenical council". These are facts that are required to be protected from error because they touch directly on matters of dogma. A longer list could be made but if you want a simple formula it is this:

"The Church is infallible in all things that are by logical extension universal and pertain to preserving and expounding upon the Deposit of Faith either explicitly or implicitly".

Or if you think this person is a bit more sophisticated you can try this formulary courtesy of Tanquerey:

"The direct object of infallibility of the Church includes all the religious truths and each individual truth which are formally contained in the sources of revelation; the indirect object embraces all those things which are required in order that the deposit of faith may be preserved entire. The first part of this thesis is de fide; the second part is certain".

I prefer simply saying "infallibility extends to far more than most people are aware and religious submission of mind and will are required of all magisterial teaching whether or not it is infallible". That is after all what Traditional Catholic teaching is and it encapsulates the truth that Our Lord noted that the faith was hidden from the "wise and prudent" and given to the "little ones". The reason: the "wise and prudent" look for various ways to evade the responsibilities that the Faith demands of them whereas the "little ones" obeying with religious submission those who possess the authority to teach in the Lord's name and with His authority do His will on earth as it is in heaven.

it must:
1) define a matter of faith or morals
2) be universally proposed to all of the faithful everywhere


To "define" a teaching is properly understood as taking a position on an issue where the manifested mind of the Teaching Authority is known. If the Teaching Authority pronounces judgment on a matter that makes it clear that a given doctrinal proposition is either (a) heretical (b) proximate to heresy (c) certain (d) erroneous - that suffices for a teaching to be "defined" as that term is properly understood.

Furthermore, there are three criteria that are used for ascertaining the manifest mind of the Teaching Authority. They are (1) Types of documents used (2) The repetition of a given teaching depending on the circumstances involved (3) The words used in the formulation. ANY *ONE* OF THESE CAN MANIFEST THE INTENTION TO TEACH DEFINITIVELY. It is not a case of verifying one point or another or seeing them as instances where a certain "checklist" is needed. Any one of the above criteria suffices.

Thus if a teaching is issued in a magisterial statement of great weight such as a papal/conciliar Dogmatic Constitution, a papal Apostolic Letter, or a papal Encyclical (or a conciliar Declaration or Decree) that in and of itself means that the teaching may be definitively rendered. This is particularly the case if there is reiteration of a teaching or certain verbal formularies are used.

For there are official teaching of the popes and of ecumenical councils which are magisterial. But there is also teaching of a lower authority which still commands assent but is not definitive. An example of this would be a teaching for that was handed on in a papal dicastery such as the Holy Office - even if it is given explicit approbation of the Holy Father - has no claim to being infallible in and of itself. (However such a teaching could through reiteration hand on a teaching infallibly in an act that is not itself formally infallible.)

Thus a teaching such as Humanae vitae on forbidding artificial contraception would by both inclusion in an encyclical letter and reiteration of teaching previously taught in the ordinary magisterium would be properly understood as infallibly rendered.

Thus a teaching such as Ordinatio sacerdotalis on the reservation of priestly ordination to men alone would by inclusion in an apostolic letter and reiteration of a teaching previously taught in the ordinary magisterium (not to mention the additional verbal formulation) be properly understood as infallibly rendered.

These are not the only examples I could mention here but they suffice to make my point.

The court transcripts of Galileo’s trial (and of St. Joan of Arc’s, for that matter) fail to qualify as official on both counts.

Neither would qualify. Galileo's comes the closest but as his was handled by the Holy Office and that is a dicastery of the Holy See, what it teaches commands assent but has no claim to being infallible. Thus the Holy Office decree of 1616 would be a disciplinary decree that was magisterial (and thus binding) but Galileo's court papers would not be. (Infallibility cannot apply to individuals: it is a universal charism not a personal one.)

You need to make it much clearer that the issue is AUTHORITY and not INFALLIBILITY. The authority of the teacher teaching in the Name of and with the Authority of God Incarnate is what binds, not the subjective opinion of individuals on whether or not a given teaching is infallible or not.

Official Church teachings are derived from a trinity of sources, two extraordinary:

* popes speaking ex cathedra (i.e., in his official capacity as pope, not as just a bishop)

Yes.

* ecumenical councils

Ecumenical councils can also teach infallibly by virtue of the ordinary magisterium.

and one ordinary source:

* the pope, in union with all his bishops everywhere, teaching anything as being certainly and unquestionably true (tamquam definitive tenenda).

The above also applies to an ecumenical council teaching a truth to be held. If the bishops scattered throughout the world can teach in the ordinary magisterium then they also can at an ecumenical council. In fact, there is no greater way to verify a concurrence of the united episcopate than at an ecumenical council. Such councils are not bound only to extraordinary formularies to teach definitively. If they *were* then you can ignore most of the Decrees of Trent and Vatican I not to mention all of Vatican II. And as neither of these options is acceptable (indeed the very notion is proximate to heresy), the approach taken needs to be more correctly tempered.

It is correct to state that with regards to formal teaching of doctrine, whenever you have a situation where (1) the bishops in communion with one another and with the pope (2) teach authoritatively and in consensus on a matter of faith or morals to be held then (3) that teaching is rendered infallibly. Church infallibility is much more organic and much less legalistic than is commonly presumed.

Since the inception of the Church 2000 years ago, approximately 2,300 teachings of the Church have been codified as qualifying for infallible status.

I have no idea how many there are. One thing is certain: there are a lot more of them than most people would presume.

The sourcebook that lists them is called Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum.

Well I presume you are operating from the last edition of the Enchridion Symbolorum in English which would be (I believe) the 1957 edition. There are entries in later editions of Denzinger which would add to this total you list.

Those are the rules of engagement. The field of battle are the pages of Denzinger’s source book.

Hmmmmmm...placing your case in the infallibility of the editor of Denzinger??? (In 1957 that was Karl Rahner in case you were unaware.)

The terms of my surrender are any contradictions you can find.

You have just met your Alamo then if those is your "terms". For Denzinger contains both definitions and declarations which are infallible but also contains document which are not infallible - such as decrees from the Holy Office which are authoritative but are not infallible in and of themselves. (Though they may contribute to handing on a given teaching infallibly of course.)

As long as you stake your claims on Denzinger and not on the Living Magisterum which teaches with the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, all of your attempts to retain consistency will fail. I only hope for your sake that your adversary does not read this blog or he will have you right where he wants you.

The *only* way you can cogently and consistently argue your case for the Catholic Church and avoid the fallible-infallible regression is to focus on authority and not infallibility. Infallibility depends on authority but authority does not depend on infallibility. Start your arguments with the fact that Our Lord founded a Church to teach in His name and with His authority and go from there. Otherwise you will be snared in the inevitable infinite regress and that is quicksand that is best avoided.

[It must not] be thought that what is expounded in [papal] letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who hears you, hears me"; [Luke 10:16] and generally what is expounded and inculcated in [papal] letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion..."(Pope Pius XII: encyclical letter Humani generis §20 circa 1950).

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"Bastiat's Corner" Dept.

The previous installment of this series can be read HERE. And in light of this installment (which is taken for granted in this installment) it would be highly recommended to read it and the others first before reading this one.

This installment will be shorter and the next one will be longer to keep the thoughts of the text as intact as possible. Without further ado, here is Mr. Bastiat:

A Just and Enduring Government

If a nation were founded on this basis,[referring to the basis covered in the last installment - ISM] it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable -- whatever its political form might be.

Under such an administration, everyone would understand that he possessed all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of his existence. No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost. The state would be felt only by the invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government.

It can be further stated that, thanks to the non- intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and population that are caused by legislative decisions.

The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities.

Next time on Bastiat's Corner: The complete perversion of the Law, property and plunder, and more...

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Sunday, October 06, 2002

Recapitulation of Previously Stated Intention to Reflect Upon the Issue of Covenantal Salvation:
(For the benefit of certain canonists)

The threads can be followed HERE and HERE. In light of this I profess amazement that certain apparently very obstinate canonists are not towing the line here.

You see my friends, in reading the latest over at "Canon Lawyers Obliterating GeoMetros" I see that resident canonist Petrus Verus has stated that on an issue where I have taken a position that he is inclined against my position. I suppose I could give him fourteen days to "recant" before issuing an "excommunication". Consider this your monitum Peter... ;-)

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"And Now...Deep Thoughts" Dept.

What will critics of Opus Dei say now that Bl. Jose Maria Escriva been solemnly canonized a saint??? Will they finally submit their opinions to the judgment of the Church or not??? Or will they instead continue to wave incense at the idol of their own private opinions??? Your humble servant had his doubts about this man mainly because of a lack of knowledge. But Rome has spoken and the issue is settled...well...settled for those who have real faith in the Church that is...

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Reflections on Critics and Some Hypothetical Scenarios:

I am not sure what annoys me more:

Those who do not know what the hell they are talking about on more complex subjects (such as theological terminology and the separating of doxis from praxis) pontificating on an issue as if their opinions are somehow worthy of consideration


or

Those who do not know what the hell they are talking about when it comes to the foundations of the faith yet they feel that they can pontificate on complex issues (such as theological terminology and the separating of doxis from praxis) as if their opinions are somehow worthy of consideration.


Now this is not aimed at faithful Catholics who discuss issues of course. It applies instead to the unfaithful ones - the ones who feign faithfulness in order to gain the trust of others that they seek to betray. And in that sense it matters not which of these categories a particular neophyte falls into, there is still no shortage of arrogant "know-it-all" presumption. These can apply in numerous discernable ways which I will choose three which can serve as a template if you will on this subject: the apologist, the philosopher, and the neophyte apologist. Let us consider them briefly and in order. Since they are all wolves in sheeps clothing, lyrics from the Roger Waters penned song "Dogs" will be interspersed (as in many such cases they are very apropo).

After a while
You can work on points for style
Like the club tie
And the firm handshake
A certain look in the eye, and an easy smile
You have to be trusted
By the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You'll get the chance to put the knife in...


Let us suppose that we have for one hypothetical case study an apologist once respected widely by his peers whose proper understanding of the Catholic faith (suspect for sometime) has revealed itself to being "weighed in the scales and found lacking" (Dan v,27). If this hypothetical "apologist" were to have not a shred of demonstrated humility in their trackrecord going back many years (and such a lacuna does not bode well for an actual coming to grips with the commission of errors) such a situation would be even more tragic. The reason: it would almost be a certainty that many who were concerned about him would have sounded an alarm at various points along the way to no avail.

But because this person - despite perhaps having admirable talents in some areas - was never properly formed spiritually, their entire experience as an apologist was in discussing abstract concepts. As a result, no degree of knowledge of the reality of how those concepts applied when the rubber meets the road was put in place; no reality of coming to grips with the fact that it is one thing to say that the Catholic Church has an authority that commands assent in areas pertaining to ecclesiastical matters. It is another to actually have to apply this teaching when it is really a cross to bear: when said authority takes a position clearly against theirs on not a few issues.

So from defending the abstract notion of obedience to magisterial authority - not to mention beating non-Catholic opponents over the head with this obligation in debate over the years - the hypocrisy of abandoning this notion when it TRULY becomes a struggle would be a sad sight indeed. However this situation can be equally problematical though in a slightly different way.

And when you lose control
You'll reap the harvest you have sown
And as the fear grows
The bad blood slows and turns to stone
And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around
So have a good drown
As you go down, all alone
Dragged down by the stone...


Let us suppose as we delve into hypotheticals that we have a cradle Catholic who went through agnosticism and atheism and reverted to Catholicism without properly understanding what being a Catholic actually means. (This kind of person would definitely be in category two above.) The kind of person who saw many thing that disturbed him over a span of, say twenty years, that he sought to have addressed but in many cases was to no avail. (Maybe he even did some things which seemed inappropriate and therefore has a sense of shame he is trying to cover up.) And as they came into the faith through the intellect, they figure that they solve their problems that way relying on natural solutions alone instead of seeing that in areas of faith there is also the realm of the supernatural to take into account as well.

Because this person was never properly formed spiritually, they have no substance to fall back on. As a result they are easy prey for dogs in sheeps clothing who pose as "traditionalists" with all the exterior trappings to appear convincing. As this person has no understanding of what Tradition actually is, they are easy pickings for those who can supply even a half-baked argument for their false notions because there are intangibles involved which placate this person and fill an inner void that went for so long unfulfilled. Nature abhorring a vacuum the course taken here is sadly predictable.

And equally predictable is that this person so zealous to preserve their newfound "Shangrala" does not bother to ask themselves if they are drinking from a real fountain or instead if it is a mirage. For they approach all of their arguments not from the supernatural aided by the natural but the natural sans the supernatural. This is the root and matrix of their fatal error because the idea that Catholicism is some kind of philosophical discovery is a position that is a tacit form of defacto heresy. (It is also condemned by the First Vatican Council.)

Philosophy according to the Angelic Doctor is "the handmaiden of theology". Ergo, if one does not understand theology, they have no business dabbling in philosophy if they want to avoid making shipwreck of their faith. But when an individual has either weak or no faith and they have not the theological reinforcements to sustain their positions taken, all they are left with is their own ego and an exaggerated notion of their own mental acuity. They will posit all kinds of arguments that appear sound to them but this is an illusion my friends.

For to have a rational discussion and to be a true "Traditionalist" one must use terminology as it has been traditionally used. One cannot invent their own meanings for words and expect to have a conversation and retain any credibility in the process. Oh sure, those who are fooled by such individuals may think that they are a fountain of information. But to those who know better they will be seen for the fountain of misinformation that they are.

To use terminology correctly would be to undermine their own arguments - as would subjecting philosophy to theology and to a living authority over them. They have no interest in this because they have no interest in Truth - no matter what they say to the contrary. (For if they *DID* then they would do the bare minimum required for having an intelligent conversation which means canning the Nominalist treatment of traditional terms.)

In reality, as their mind is darkened by the sin of pride, as their hunger for wanting to be "as gods knowing good from evil" (a holdover from their days as an atheist perhaps???) becomes the lust to which the Lord leaves them to. But irrationality is not uncommon to people in this predicament while the entire time they not only think they are being rational, but they criticize others for not "thinking" much as they do not think - yet at the same time they believe that they do. Their arguments when held up to Truth vanish: like holding a mirror up to a vampire and seeing no reflection if you will. Philosophy untethered from theology - when philosophy is in short not beholden to theology - guarantees shipwreck of the faith.

Then moving in silently, down wind and out-of-sight
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking...


You see, there are others who cannot even claim a certain time onboard the ship before falling over the side; indeed there are those who fell off the gangplank getting on board the ship in a manner of speaking. These are the neophytes who are still dripping wet from the water of their baptism or the oil of their confirmation chrism and yet they feel they can pontificate on theological issues which are not lacking in complexity. (And where their knowledge is so pathetically anemic that it would give any moderately informed individual a hearty belly laugh.) Do not even bother refuting these kinds of people my friends as they are either (a) too ignorant of theology to understand what you are saying or (b) they too have found their little Shangrala and are not about to listen to you tell them that their "oasis" is in reality an illusion. No what they need more than anything is prayer for as long as their egos are their idols, no amount of reasoning with them will be fruitful.

I gotta admit...that I am a little bit confused
Sometimes it seems to me
As if I am just being used
Gotta stay awake gotta try and shake off
This creeping malaise
If I don't stand my own ground
How can I find my way out of this maze?


Indeed my friends it was not in reality so sad and pitiful as to require prayers being said for these, it would be quite tempting to laugh at them. But this temptation - along with the temptation to kick them when they are down must be avoided. These kinds of people - whatever their intentions are - are not to be taken lightly. They are dangerous because they are loose cannons and are untethered by any form of restraint whatsoever except what they arbitrarily choose to apply to themselves. And yet they pose as defensors fidei when the very notion of what authentic faith is they do not REMOTELY comprehend.

Indeed they act as they do because of a misunderstanding of what constitutes authentic zeal. (Part of the reason we went over zeal in a two part series here at Rerum Novarum.) In that series if you recall, Fr. Quadrupani noted that "Zeal for the salvation of souls is a sublime virtue, and yet how many errors and sins are committed daily in its name! Evil is never done more effectually and with greater security, says St. Francis de Sales, than when one does it believing he is working for the glory of God. It also does not help when these people speak as if they alone represent "the True Faith" when they have no conception of what true faith actually is. See this link for more details where the profound inadequacies of these kinds of people are dealt with in reasonable detail.

These kinds of hypothetical examples are legion but the following ones were outlined to serve as warnings for us all. For there are a million ways to fall but only one to stand (cf. G K Chesterton). And in a few ways they are not merely hypothetical examples. Part of the reason for the series on spiritual instruction is because of these kinds of pseudo-Catholics. They are everywhere and a good hermeneutical key if you will is judging them by the quality of their zeal - the series your blog host has covered is very helpful there. To quote that series in brief: [T]rue zeal is the offspring of charity; it should then, resemble its mother and show itself like to her in all things. "Charity", says St. Paul, "is patient, is kind, is not ambitious, and seeks not her own." (1 Cor. XIII, 4-5.)

Caveat Emptor/Lector!!!

Who was born in a house full of pain
Who was trained not to spit in the fan
Who was told what to do by the man
Who was broken by trained personnel
Who was fitted with collar and chain
Who was given a pat on the back
Who was breaking away from the pack
Who was only a stranger at home
Who was ground down in the end...
Who was dragged down by the stone...

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