Saturday, June 28, 2003

On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Connection (Part V):
(Aka "The Appendix to Part II")

The previous installment in this series can be read HERE. To start from the beginning of this thread, go HERE.

The original paragraph heavily footnoted from part II of this thread read as follows:

Well, some of the Feeneyites - in defending their rigorous and untraditional interpretation of EENS - are willing to villify not only the last four popes and Vatican II but also Cardinal Gasparri,{1} Pope Pius XII,{2} Pope Benedict XV,{3} Pope Pius XI,{4} and even Pius IX.{5} Pius X escapes their vilification only because they whitewash the record.{6} But yes, generally "trads" only take the cudgel to the past four popes. But of course they have to whitewash in varying degrees the records of every post Gregory XVI pope to do this. (I would argue that even Gregory and his predecessors need whitewashing but not to the extent that their successors do.)

Attempts to expand the footnotes triggered a bug in the new Blogger format about "big post errors"; hence the need for this Appendix to the thread. Here were the footnotes that would not post for the reason already specified:

Notes:

{1} Cardinal Gasparri was considered the greatest ecclesiastical legal mind since Gratian. He was also (i) chosen by Cardinal Rampolla as his assistant (ii) chosen by Pope Pius X to codify the Canon Law (iii) was made a Cardinal in 1907 by Pius X. Also (iv) Pope Benedict XV made Cardinal Gasparri Secretary of State in 1914 and (v) Pope Pius XI retained him as Secretary of State. (Cardinal Gasparri was the one who worked out the Lateran Treaty of 1929 on behalf of Pope Pius XI.) He retired from the Secretariat in 1930 and was succeeded by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli for whom he was a mentor.

{2} Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII) when very young was placed under the supervision of Cardinal Rampolla by Pope Leo XIII. Cardinal Rampolla recommended him to his friend Pietro Gasparri and Eugenio studied Canon Law under him. Pacelli also assisted Gasparri in the codification of the canon law. Gasparri retained Pacelli as his assistant upon appointment to the Secretariat of State in 1914 - a position Pacelli succeeded to upon Gasparri' retirement in 1930.

{3} It was Benedict XV (Giachomo Della Chiesa) who, as he had done with Achille Ratti (Pius XI) and Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII), put the foot of Angelo Roncalli, whom we now know as John XXIII, on the first rung of the ladder that led to the Chair of Peter. [Osservatore Romano celebrating the election of Pope John XXIII (c. 1958)]

{4} Pope Pius XI was the one who took Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini (Paul VI) under his wing early on - assigning him to the position of Pro-Secretary in the Curia with Monsignor Dominico Tardini. The Montini-Tardini "Dream Team" functioned like a well-oiled machine for nearly thirty years until Fr. Montini was appointed to be Archbishop of Milan in 1954. Tardini was later made Secretary of State by Pope John XXIII - a post he held until his death in 1961.

{5} Some of them accuse Pius IX of entering the Lodge in 1837. (This "explains" his leniency towards the Carbonari.) Though most "trads" would not take this approach with Pius IX, there is no hesitancy to do so with any pope or ecclesiastical authority that they do not like. Thus, the modus opperendi of the so-called "traditionalist" when you get down to brass tacks is essentially Protestant.

{6} Cardinal Rampolla's supposed "masonic" membership - which was th excuse of the Austrian Emperor's veto in 1903 - gives one reason to wonder why Pope Pius X appointed him as Holy Office Prefect in 1908. No appointments made by the last four popes remotely approaches the tactical blunder this would be if the accusations against Rampolla had any merit to them.

It seems since Pope Pius X was canonized that the masonic rumours would have to be false. After all, any Promoter of the Faith worth their salt would have had a field day with the assertion that Pius appointed a man under legitimate suspicion of masonic ties to the Curial position where "preservation of the faith" was central to the job description.

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"Us and Them" Dept.
(Part II of II)

Part I of this thread can be read HERE.

Abortion is the most egregious example: children die at their mother's whim. But there are a thousand other examples:

Sad but true.

Remember the horror with which the suggestion of an AIDS quarantine was received? God be praised, it turned out to be unnecessary, but what if AIDS had spread like the common cold? (nobody really knew at the time.) Millions could have died before a quarantine became socially acceptable.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Hence, the right of society to be protected from a scourge like AIDS outweighs the "rights" of individuals exercising irresponsible behaviour and spreading the disease.

On a more mundane level, consider motorcycle-helmet laws. It would seem to be a win-win kind of law; people survive otherwise fatal accidents, brain injuries are reduced & medical costs are kept down. How could these laws be resented -- and yet they are. I'm sure that you and our fellow blogites could cite hundreds of examples.

The first rule to advancing an agenda is to do so with elements that virtually no one objects to. Motorcycle helmets and speed limits though are simply bricks towards getting bigger pieces of the puzzle put into place. Now in 2003 it is supposedly a "constitutional right" to sodomy.

Admittedly, I am no Constitutional scholar. However, I do have a reasonable amount of horse sense. And I cannot see how the Constitution can grant a "right" that it never mentions or infers. But of course somehow "right to privacy" entails a "right" to murder children an abortion. As I noted earlier, there are three justices seeking to preserve the Constitution. Alongside them there are three who are seeking to undermine it from within: these are the "court termites." And between this chasm are three whose vote depends on whose favour they are trying to curry: these are the "court whores."

Now, here we come to the homework -- the debate. Consider and discuss the following.

1) Am I correct in asserting that there is a tension between the rights of the individual and the rights of society, and that the pendulum has swung too far in the individual's direction?

In the principles: yes. In some of your examples of illustration: no.

1A) Does it even make sense to assert that society has rights? What might they be?

Aah, but the laws of the individual and society should mirror one another. To quote Claude Frederic Bastiat, Law is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. So the rights of society and the rights of the individual mirror one another. And what is immoral for the individual to do himself cannot be moral for the government to do.

2) Given an affirmative on 1 & 1A; does the answer really consist of finding some happy middle ground on the scale between the ant-hill and the forest full of tigers. Can there be some kind of both/and answer to this? I suspect that there may be, and that the answer lies in the greatest commandments.

This is the essence of it, yes.

But how do we implement that in America?

See my series on Claude Frederic Bastiat where this is explained in a logical and systematical fashion.

2A) If implementing the greatest commandments is not to be expected -- if we can't have what Mark calls the Big Laws, then what little laws or guidelines could we put into place that would move the pendulum back to a happy position?

Again, I reference Mr. Bastiat:

If every person has the right to defend -- even by force -- his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -- its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right

And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason --cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

The failure of our society for the past eighty odd years to follow this principle has been what has been gradually undermining us.

I look forward to seeing what St Blog's has to say on this issue.

Hopefully others will weigh in on this issue. In the meantime, those of Us at Rerum Novarum have done our part. It is up to the rest of Them now to do theirs.

Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces? [Claude Frederic Bastiat The Law (c. 1850)]

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Friday, June 27, 2003

"Us and Them" Dept.
(Part I of II)

Pardon Us at Rerum Novarum while We borrow this post from the blog of St. Blog's own Kahuna Gigante Mark Shea. This was sent to him by a reader. As the Great Haloscan Conspiracy against my browser continues, responding at Mark's blog will not work. And as the current Blogger software has rather stingy space limits (at least for the moment), this may take more than one blog to complete. If so, please bear with Us. The reader's words will be in black font.

What I really want to talk about -- and what I hope to hear you and the rest of St Blog's discuss -- is the issue of "Me versus We." You see, I've noticed this tension in society -- indeed, you can see it in just about any society in any era -- between the individual and the herd.

Correct.

You've got free speech, but you can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. Criminals go free after serving their sentences even if it's darn-near certain that they'll re-offend. It's as if we're groping for a balance between the ant-hill -- where "individual" means nothing --and the forest full of tigers -- who can't stand the sight of each other most of the time.

Man is by nature a social animal. But at the same time, each individual is created in the image and likeness of God. So there are issues of individual freedom and certain curtailments necessary for the preservation of the public order and the common good of society.

The funny thing is: nobody in the public forum seems to notice this tension.

I think it is noticed but those who have agendas that involve promotion of one particular element of the equation blow theirs all out of proportion and downplay or ignore the complementary element that is required to keep the scales balanced.

Indeed, the political parties are all over the map when viewed through this particular lens. The Liberals champion abortion (very, very, Me) and the Great Society (strongly We.)

Actually, these are closer than it may appear. For in essence you have the killing of a life and a concept that though not killing life nonetheless dehumanizes it. The first step in being able to dispose of life without conscience is if the life itself is stripped of its basic dignity. And once life is dehumanized, that sets the table for ways of supposedly finding ways to "alleviate" the stresses and troubles of life.

In a utilitarian ethic, the basis is not the dignity of human life made in the image of God but instead it is production.{1} Hence, an unexpected pregnancy or an elderly person suffering discomforts: the results are older people not "producing" and likewise an infant which cannot "produce." Lack of "utility" in this system means lack of intrinsic worth. This is why economics without morality is a "thinly veiled totalitarianism" as Pope John Paul II noted in his Encyclical Letter Centissimus Annus.

Republicans idolize both the rugged individual AND the Armed Services; they also call for safe streets, yet abominate any form of gun control.

Actually, without a strong national defense, there is no nation. Hence, all rights as we know them depend on a strong defense of our nation. As far as safe streets go, there is no state that I am aware of that is actually safer because of gun control. This is a myth that transfers responsibility for the commission of crimes onto an inanimate object and away from individuals who commit crimes. As trite as the statement "guns do not commit the crimes, people do" it is worth reflecting upon.

For example, I possess guns and never once have I been tempted to open up the ammunition supply, load the guns, and storm my street in committing crimes. Hence, the entire gun control movement is based on a fraudulent foundation. Interestingly enough, it is the *same* foundation tht justifies abortion and programs like the Great Society.

Both sides of the aisle seem to be full of contradictions.

Well, the Republicans are not not in the areas you point to -though there are other areas that we could nail them on.

Now, it could be that both parties are full of contradictions because the "issue" isn't an issue. Both parties are all over the place on the subject of pizza toppings. So what? But I don't think that that's the case. I suspect that nobody's coherent on the subject because nobody's stopped to really think about it.

I would argue that the examples you give of the Republicans are not incoherent ones. That is not to let them off the hook of course since there are plenty of areas to nail the Republicans on.{2} But as far as people not stopping to consider the coherency of their positions, there are always going to be some degree of difficulty in any outlook professed. The only time difficulties are fully overcome is when some element of fundamental truth is ignored or to some degree trampled on.

Throughout most of the history I'm familiar with the individual has had to cede most of his rights to society.

Yes. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. (Mr. Spock was right.)

The Athenians owned slaves, and Athens was a better place for it.

Better in what sense???

The subjects of the pre-reformation (and quite a few post-reformation) kings were expected to worship in unity with their ruler lest civil war break out.

A bit overly simplistic but I think I see what you are getting at.

It's only been in the past few hundred years that anybody has thought about or attempted to catalogue the rights of the individual.

I think it is more adequate to say that "only in recent centuries has there been any attempt to formally set out in a systematic fashion the rights of the individual in a society."

The "rights" of the herd on the other hand, have never been (in my very limited education) formally thought about by anybody.

Well, there has always been a recognition that certain parties of a society had rights that others did not have. These were not always uniform historically but the basic concept of a citizen and a non-citizen was an example of this kind of delineation.

They were there at the beginning -- likely as a species-survival mechanism -- and they have been slowly yielding to the individual ever since. But now, I think, the pendulum is in grave danger of swinging too far. Individual freedom and individual rights are being so strongly asserted these days that the good of the herd -- and the good of many individuals -- is in danger.

True. This stems from an unwillingness to define properly what is and is not a "right." As long as this remains unclarified, anyone and their brother can assert that anything is a "right." Hence the problems we have had with six decades of an unconstitutional activist Supreme Court.

To be Continued...

Notes:

{1} As my old micro-economics professor in college would say "maximizing your utility."

{2} For example, they are remarkably soft on protecting our borders despite their calls for increased defense spending for "national defense."

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On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Connection (Part IV):

The previous installment in this series can be read HERE. To start from the beginning of this thread, go HERE.

The thread of the story of integralism will be resumed in the chapter outlining the first encyclical of Benedict XV, in which he expressed his mind on integralism with resolute firmness bit without vindictiveness.

On the chapter on Benedicts XV's first encyclical, the author quotes the following from the encyclical (I copied the quotes from papalencyclicals.net. I did not want to write out the whole thing myself):

Understandable. (I do that myself whenever possible.) I will underline parts I find particularly indicting to the pseudo-trads:

22. The success of every society of men, for whatever purpose it is formed, is bound up with the harmony of the members in the interests of the common cause. Hence We must devote Our earnest endeavours to appease dissension and strife, of whatever character, amongst Catholics, and to prevent new dissensions arising, so that there may be unity of ideas and of action amongst all. The enemies of God and of the Church are perfectly well aware that any internal quarrel amongst Catholics is a real victory for them. Hence it is their usual practice when they see Catholics strongly united, to endeavour by cleverly sowing the seeds of discord, to break up that union. And would that the result had not frequently justified their hopes, to the great detriment of the interests of religion! Hence, therefore, whenever legitimate authority has once given a clear command, let no one transgress that command, because it does not happen to commend itself to him; but let each one subject his own opinion to the authority of him who is his superior, and obey him as a matter of conscience. Again, let no private individual, whether in books or in the press, or in public speeches, take upon himself the position of an authoritative teacher in the Church. All know to whom the teaching authority of the Church has been given by God: he, then, possesses a perfect right to speak as he wishes and when he thinks it opportune. The duty of others is to hearken to him reverently when he speaks and to carry out what he says.

Amazing!!! And all We do at this weblog and at the Lidless Eye Inquisition is take on and refute those who do not do what Benedict XV notes above.

23. As regards matters in which without harm to faith or discipline -in the absence of any authoritative intervention of the Apostolic See- there is room for divergent opinions, it is clearly the right of everyone to express and defend his own opinion. But in such discussions no expressions should be used which might constitute serious breaches of charity; let each one freely defend his own opinion, but let it be done with due moderation, so that no one should consider himself entitled to affix on those who merely do not agree with his ideas the stigma of disloyalty to faith or to discipline.

Amen!!! We at Rerum Novarum in all of our essays, weblog posts, and contributions to Lidless Eye take this approach to the letter. We only take issue with those who are either (i) opposing lawful authority or (ii) breach the foundational requirement of charity - or affiliate themselves with or support those who do this.

24. It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as "profane novelties of words," out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: "This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved" (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim "Christian is my name and Catholic my surname," only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.

Amen!!! I refer to "self-styled 'traditionalists'" and those who are Traditional Catholics. The latter of course is just that: those who practice traditional obedience and conduct themselves as a faithful Catholic is supposed to. To quote from my treatise:

[A]uthentic Traditionalism does not depend on what rite of Mass you attend, what devotional prayers you use, what theological positions you espouse, or what disciplines you follow. Authentic 'Traditionalism' is much more integral then that and it applies to a frame of mind and a certain attitude. It is not and cannot be found in externals - even those which may have the hallowed sanction of time. [A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' - Disclaimer (c. 2003, 2000)]

But as His Holiness is not through, let us get back to Ad Beatissimi:

25. Besides, the Church demands from those who have devoted themselves to furthering her interests, something very different from the dwelling upon profitless questions; she demands that they should devote the whole of their energy to preserve the faith intact and unsullied by any breath of error, and follow most closely him whom Christ has appointed to be the guardian and interpreter of the truth.

All of which We at Rerum Novarum and The Lidless Eye Inquisition do. (And which those we are critical of generally do not.)

The books makes the following comment on that papal statement:

The whole section just quoted refers, of course, to the integralists or integral Catholics.

And it applies in spades to the self-styled "traditionalists" also. (I recall quoting this encyclical in one of this weblog Points to Ponder sectiona after an exchange of emails with my friend Albert Cipriani.)

Well, I will bring this email to an end now. I just thought, since I had some information on this issue, it would be a good idea to give it to you. Use whatever parts of this email you want when dealing with trads.

I used about 90% of it actually.

I feel ultra-traditionalism is a dangerous position; providing information or arguments that may help apologists expose trad-ism is a pleasure.

Well Gregory, you definitely have done just that in this email. It took some time for me to format it but in light of what you supplied, I can say that formatting information or arguments sent from my readers that help expose trad-ism is a pleasure :)

To go to the appendix section of this thread, click HERE.

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On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Connection (Part III):

The previous installment in this series can be read HERE. To start from the beginning of this thread, go HERE.


So how I understand it is that these Integralists took "conservative orthodoxy" to the extreme of withdrawing obedience to their leaders and not being cautious in their writings against fellow Catholics. Sounds like modern trads.

Indeed.

On page 52 of the same chapter it says:

While a criticism of integralism is easier today when the movement can be viewed in calm retrospect, contemporary criticism from orthodox sources was not lacking. For example, an address by Archbishop Csernoch of Gran, primate of Hungary, was quite outspoken. In the last year of Pius X's pontificate, Archbishop Csernoch addressed the General Assembly of the Society of Saint Stephen. After stressing the necessity of Catholic leaders in the intellectual fields, the Archbishop continued: "In the ardour of their work they may make mistakes, they may even have need of the friendly remonstrances of the competent ecclesiastical authorities, but they do not deserve to be treated with a pitiless criticism, and least of all a malvolent interpretation of their intentions from their brethren.

I hope today's so-called "traditionalists" are paying close attention. There is a reason why I treat so-called "traditionalists" as I do. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say that the very reason I crush "trad" arguments in such meticulous detail (and without mercy) is for these very reasons. That has always been and always will be my modus opperandi and it applies to all philosophical persuasions not just "traditionalists" (falsely so-called).

But to those who boast of being "adherers to Tradition", there is of course a higher standard which they must be held to. And when they fall short of it - and they all do - then they must be dealt with. How I do this is in accordance with how they deal with others. And those who act like untraditional schismatics bereft of charity are to either be ignored or - when responded to - will not be responded to kindly. For what measure they measure it shall be measured to them (cf. Mark iv,24).

The Apostle James likewise teaches the necessity of mercy in stating that "judgment is without mercy for him that has not shown mercy" (James ii, 13). Thus, those uncharitable pseudo-trads are not shown mercy by me. But at the same time, those who are authentically Traditional as I have defined this term (see further down this post) are not subjected to this approach at all.

Indeed, when someone is charitable and - even though there is disagreement - does not manifest the presumption of the worst in others, it is not only a duty to respond in kind. (It is in fact a pleasure to do so.) For the Apostle James adds a clarification to the above statement that "mercy triumphs over judgment" (James ii,13). It therefore must do so in like manner in the discourses of anyone who claims Christian for their name. (And particularly for those who take "Catholic" as their surname.)

They will have the strength to obey maternal exhortations of the Church, and even in the observations that she will make to them they will see that their work is appreciated. By the hateful and quarrelsome criticism of their brethren, they may easily be driven away from the field of their labours, and this the Church is deprived of men of merit.

In these latter times, especially abroad, we have seen with the utmost pain the ravages made by criticism aimed directly against the most active Catholics and coming from persons who claim to be not only Catholics but Integral-Catholics.

I should be profoundly distressed if I were obliged to conclude, from certain indications that have appeared, that this Integral-Catholics criticism is about to begin its negatives action in our country also. I must seriously admonish the Catholics of our country that they should hold in high esteem those workers, already so numerous, who are labouring for the Catholic cause and that they should enthusiastically help them.

If faults are committed we must settle matters among ourselves. But let us, instead of seizing on an ill-chosen word or an unhappy phrase remember the true lines of conduct of Catholic action and the intense work of Catholic life of these workers, and especially the good, the excellent fruits that have been derived from their work.

The Integral-Catholics do not stand for that- irresponsible as they are, from under cover they spy out the workers to wound them in a moment of distraction with the shafts of criticism. And yet these same workers are good, unwearying, noble men who have been impelled to action by the love of Christ and who are fighting against Christ's enemies.

A man is not showing himself Catholic, still less integrally Catholic, by displaying the zeal of a conspirator and arrogantly distinguishing himself in judging others and casting suspicion on them...... Let us be on our guard, then, against any such action, and let us all be Catholics, children of the Church, affectionate brothers full of life and enthusiasm in action."

Again, I hope today's so-called "traditionalists" are paying close attention because this indicts them.

With that admirable ability of the French mind for clarity of statement, Adrien Dansette has summarized the content of the critics of integralism by showing that the program involved a two-fold danger, intellectual and tactical. The first danger is intellectual because (a) the impression is given that routines constitutes tradition; (b) the progress of science and of Catholic thought is impeded; (c) there is a refusal to separate pure doctrine from the commentaries of a bygone age which impose upong that doctrine conformity with the thought of a past epoch.

All of which I cover in detail in my treatise. (See the section Tradition and the Living Magisterium.)

The second danger is tactical because there is the tendency to keep the faithful enclosed in a state of impasse so that they are forced to give up their intellectual pursuits, or what is worse, it presents the temptations of leaving the Church.

And as I have explained many times in detail, sedevacantism is the outgrowth of so-called "traditionalism" carried to its logical conclusion. If they do not become Fundamentalist-minded, they will eventually either abandon "traditionalism" for the sham that it is or they will functionally separate themselves from the Church - possibly remaining within the body but not remaining within the heart of the Church.{1} Thus, there really is no middle ground here.

To be Continued...

Note:

{1} Vatican II in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium made the distinction between "body" and "heart" taking as its reference St. Augustine's distinction as noted in his books on baptism contra the Donatist schismatics.

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On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Connection (Part II):

The previous installment in this series can be read HERE.

It’s only the past four Popes who have been "modernists", they say . Before VII everything was sunny.

Well, some of the Feeneyites - in defending their rigorous and untraditional interpretation of EENS - are willing to villify not only the last four popes and Vatican II but also Cardinal Gasparri, Pope Pius XII, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, and even Pius IX.{1} Pius X escapes their vilification only because they whitewash the record.{2} But yes, generally "trads" only take the cudgel to the past four popes. But of course they have to whitewash in varying degrees the records of every post Gregory XVI pope to do this. (I would argue that even Gregory and his predecessors need whitewashing but not to the extent that their successors do.)

But only now, with this shocking new modernist hierarchy, we can with hold our obedience. Contradictions, contradictions.............

There is no shortage of contradiction in the "traditionalist" weltanschauung.

I would like to now quote that the several sections that speak about integralism from the book The Life of Benedict XV; the book provides interest quotes (one of which is Cardinal Rampolla’s statement) and information on this rigorist position. The book was written before VII, so in any discussions with trads you might want to refer to it.

Certainly. (Not that I need any more ammunition to refute "trad" nonsense of course but one never knows what might help some in seeing the light.)

To aid the Holy See in carrying out the principles of Lamentabilis and Pascendi, certain ecclesiastics wrote their exposition of Catholic truth in the framework of very conservative orthodoxy. In itself this was most laudable. They called themselves "integral Catholics" or "Integralists." In other words, they were "wholly" Catholic.

Much as self-styled "traditionalists" are supposedly "Traditional" which is a euphemism for the same thing. (We are real Catholics because we adhere to "tradition".) Stephen Hand is right to use the term Integrist but maybe we need to consider Neo-Integralist instead.

In the field of politics in France "integral" Catholicism took the form of "action francaise" which Pius XI condemned sharply.

See this link for some information on Action Francaise.

The common denominator present in the many forms of integralism was the tendency to defend the past against the present, to be on the side of unbending authority against even legitimate liberty. Politically the movement showed dread of democracy. Commenting on the way certain French political writers deviated from the well-meant intention of the original integralists, Monsignor Joseph C. Fenton aptly says, "Since some of these specifically political views were unfortunate, the men who supported them brought a certain amount of discredit upon their doctrinal attitudes, and caused the name of integralism to be stretched to cover fields quite distinct from that which it originally served to designate."

Because of his prestige, Cardinaly Rampolla alone dared to raise his voice in protest against this excessive rigorism. "Words can not describe the sad impressions that have been made on me by the agitation continually growing among Catholics, by these intolerable polemics, by this confusion of ideas, and above all by this lack of respect and of obedience to the Holy Father. I regard this as the worst of all the damage, and I offer most earnest prayers for this to come to an end. For us Catholics the name of the Pope is sacred and untouchable. The confusion which dominates minds, the doubts which arise from it, the judgment of the press, sometimes so unjust, and finally, the outbursts of emotions constitute a state of affairs which is deplorable. It behooves all of us to pray to God that some remedy be found." Needless to say, Monsignor Della Chiesa likewise was made very unhappy by this state of affairs. A number of times he advised caution and charitable deliberation. Not only was he not listened to, but he was also suspected on liberal tendencies. His unswerving loyalty to Cardinal Rampolla contributed not a little to this reputation. (pg. 48, ch. "Modernists and Integralists")

The Monsignor Della Chiesa mentioned in the quote is Benedict XV before he became pope

Indeed. And the Pope St. Pius X quote in the margin of the weblog Lidless Eye Inquisition - taken from my treatise and included as an appendix to my recent spiritual instruction on traditional obedience was also directed against the Integralists. (And it applies in spades as well to today's self-styled "traditionalists.")

To be Continued...

Notes:

{1} Due to space constraints of blogger, the originally detailed notes section needed to be expunged. It will be reposted in a subsequent Appendix to this series.

{2} See footnote one.

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On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Connection (Part I):

I have rarely discussed the connection between today's so-called "traditionalists" and the Integralists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Indeed among the few times I have - such as in this example - it has usually been brief and not too detailed on the subject. The reason of course is because I tend to prefer posting and deflating their arguments as I receive them by email - if I notice that a particular argument has either (i) been sent on more than a few occasions or (ii) is likely to be one that is or will become a stock "trad" response.

Nonetheless, when readers of mine deign to send me material on an intriguing subject, I see little reason to not post it if (i) it is a subject that I have not touched much on and (ii) if it is from sources which were probably handtyped.{1} My source for this quote is a reader named Gregory - incidentally the same individual who sent me the Cardinal Rampolla quote which eventually was made into a prologue for the series on Traditional Obedience which can be read HERE. This entry can be considered a supplement to that as (i) that series covers Traditional obedience and how self-styled "traditionalists" in most cases are bereft of this virtue (ii) it covers the attitude of the Integralists and shows where the "trads" got many of their tactics from and (iii) it shows the view on the matter as expressed in papal teaching prior to the Second Vatican Council on this kind of partitioning. Gregory's words will be in black font and his sources in darkgreen. My sources will be in blue font if I use any at all.

Dear Shawn,

I would like to comment on the claims people have made about Mariano Cardinal Rampolla (since I provided you with that quote from him, I thought I should give you all the other information I have on Rampolla, and also on the integrists of those days).

I hope other readers are taking notes :)

[W]ith regard to claims that Cardinal Rampolla was "liberal", his ideas (with regard to the French monarchists and Masons) were right in line with what Pope Leo XIII said in his encyclicals Sapientiae Christianae and Au milieu des sollicitudes.

Both of which are accessible for reading at the Vatican's own website. But if we must get to the nuts and bolts of it, many self-styled "traditionalists" are more concerned with their own opinions and do not mind playing the "conspiracy card" if it helps them retain their opinions.

So Pope Leo must also be "liberal".

I am sure that there is some way of preserving Leo while tainting Rampolla in the process. I am also sure that it is as bereft of consistency as "trad" theories so often are. It is really easy for the "trads" to posit crackpot theories when one does not have to worry about the dogmatic implications of them. (Among other problematical areas.)

Further, the book The Life of Benedict XV by Fr. Walter H. Peters says that Cardinal Rampolla was Benedict’s "patron and model".

Cardinal Rampolla was also placed in charge of the young Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII) by Leo XIII.

Indeed, Benedict was the Cardinals’ secretary at one. "This association with Rampolla was to have a lasting influence on the future Pope" (CEHS). So the designation of "liberal" must also extend to Benedict XV.

Certainly.

Also, as you pointed out, Pope Pius X appointed Cardinal Rampolla as Prefect of the Holy Office in 1908. These traditionalists scream at Pope John Paul II for appointing some bishops that supposedly have not turned out good, but why not attack Pius X for appointing "liberal" Rampolla to Prefect of the Holy Office?

Because the "trads" like to whitewash the pontificates of the popes they like from these kinds of facts which undermine the simplistic "trad" theories about boogeyman "modernists" and other sinister characters. When you are constitutionally incapable of presuming the best in those whom you disagree with - and with the overwhelming majority of so-called "traditionalists" this is a continual deficiency in their spiritual maturity - you become in essence a living embodiment of the worst caricature of anti-Catholic polemicists.

Now, I would like to also, at this point, quote the CEHS on the political movement that "resisted" Pope Leo’s decision with regard to the Catholic monarchists in France. I thought it was very interesting.

Ok.

So strong did the feeling become that some rightists believed the rumor that Leo had been kidnapped by the Freemasons and that an imposter installed in the Vatican was responsible for the proposals which they found so offensive. (pg. 145, volume 9)

That is EXACTLY what some trads have claimed happened to Paul VI (or at least they say he was drugged)! It's no wonder traditionalists think Cardinal Rampolla was liberal; it's no wonder the Remnant has attack Pope Leo's decisions on the French government. Integralists of today share a lot of the SAME opinions of the rightist/integralists of the past.

Not to mention the same spiritual immaturity.

So traditionalism rejects more than only the preconciliar teachings. But that is something trads never seem to say outright.

I point out in my treatise A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' that so-called "traditionalists" reject not only Vatican II/post Vatican II but the pre-Vatican II teachings they do not like. In other words, they are not even properly understood as orthodox by the very "pre-Vatican II standards" they claim to be trying to preserve.

To be Continued...

Note:

{1} Not being a pinball keyboard wizard myself, I have an appreciation for others who may be similarly impaired.

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Thursday, June 26, 2003

"Give Me Libertarian and Give Me Electoral Defeat" Dept.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

This was originally intended to be part of the last Volokh update but it seemed to need its own post. So here it is. Though I have not picked on the Libertarians for a while, this is actually a post intended to help them out.

For I have expressed both criticism as well as admiration for the Libertarians over the years - even on this weblog though you will have to search the archives for the ones I have put on this blog. (I cannot do all the work for you after all.) And while indeed the concepts of "Libertarian" and "electoral defeat" in presidential elections - and losing by huge margins in virtually all other elections - are synonymous, I would be remiss if I did not point out a potential silver lining in this very black cloud. Indeed, if the Libertarians ever had an opportunity to get somewhere significantly in the political arena, the opportunity will present itself in spades in California.

As Russell Korobkin of The Volokh Conspiracy noted in discussing the possibility of an Independent for California Governor (his words in purple font):

Here are an interesting collection of facts about the movement to recall California Governor Gray Davis:

-It looks like the recall petition will qualify for the ballot.

{in my best Mr. Burns voice} "Excellent!!!"

Voters must vote whether or not to recall Davis and vote for a replacement (contingent on the recall passing) on the very same ballot.

Prediction: they will recall him.

If Davis is recalled, the replacement candidate who garners the most votes will be governor. No majority needed; no runoffs. (If I understand the rules correctly). Depending on how many candidates run -- and it only costs $3500 to get on the ballot -- it is conceivable that the winner could receive fewer than 20% of the votes cast. Maybe even far fewer.

This may be the best chance for the Libertarians that they have had for...well...ever. I mean, no majority needed, no run off, Californians pissed off at both major parties, fiscal mismanagement issues, etc. Let us unpack this rare jewel for a moment and look at its many facets.

For one thing, I cannot imagine that if Gray Davis is recalled that the people would elect someone who was philosophically too close to that of Mr. Davis. (Otherwise, why would they have voted for a recall to begin with???)

This is a huge opportunity for the Libertarians to stand up and say "hey, we have no political power in California; ergo, we are above blame here. And as we get our candidates on ballots in all fifty states at election time, we are not a kook "flavour of the month" group.

They would have to pass over of course any inquiries as to what the average voting percentage average has traditionally been for them. But I have a hunch that would not be too hard to do at this stage. Keep the focus on Gray Davis and let the rage of the electorate do the talking.

If the Libertarians squander this, they might as well order the cemetery plot for their party because in thirty years, they have achieved nothing to speak of.{1} Have they ever had more than 2% of Congressional seats in any of the houses??? I cannot recall a time where they did. Any major governorships - indeed any at all??? Nada.

California alone has the seventh largest economy in the world. If a Libertarian could become elected and turn things around there, it would be a major stimulus for their political party. And they would only attain more publicity, members, money, government seats at the next election, etc.

These are the sorts of opportunities that could set the stage for them to be a major contender in about ten years time or less - particularly if the Democratic party implodes in that time which I believe it will. There are lifelong conservative Democrats who would never consider becoming a Republican even if Jesus Christ or Moses was on the ticket. But they would consider perhaps the Libertarians.

All of the Democrats who are well-known statewide have announced they will not be a candidate to succeed Davis

Because whomever did would be a sacrificial lamb. The Democrats may be dumb but they are not stupid.

Few Republican politicians have significant statewide name recognition.

Well, there is always Arnold Schwartzeneggar. This would be a very good opportunity for someone who would (i) be a shoe-in in an unconventional election such as this one would be (ii) has no political background which can hurt him and (iii) would not be interested in a career in politics by his own admission. He does not need the money and this could allow him to see if he really would consider running for a full term - if this is an election to fulfill the balance of Davis' term and not a fresh tenure of course.

The odds of Arnold taking this opportunity are about 20:1 in favour of him not taking it. (He has hinted at a possible 2006 run but this would be too soon it seems.)

Most voters are furious at all California politicians of both parties for the electricity debacle, the enormous deficit, and the failure to enact a budget.

Basically the issues are around regulation/deregulation and budgetary problems. In other words, this plays right into the strength of the Libertarian platform.

All of these factors suggest to me that it just might be the right time to elect a governor not affiliated with either major party -- a "Jesse Ventura moment."

Well, Arnold is a good friend of Jesse Ventura - and the latter would probably stump for him. But I have already explained why Arnold will not be the one this time. But worry not "he'll be back!!!"

The beneficiary of such a moment might well be a celebrity (perhaps an actor/bodybuilder-type like Ventura himself?).

Or perhaps a wrestler like Ventura was??? As weird as that may sound, this is California we are talking about here. And if they were to elect a wrestler, it makes sense that it would have to be a fella that Ventura always came up short against in he ring. (As California cannot play second fiddle to Minnesota here right???) So if (i) the Libertarians do not get on the ball seizing this opportunity and (ii) Arnold is not interested in the governorship at this point, then (iii) all hail...potential California governor Terry Bollea (aka "Hulk Hogan").

Note:

{1} Except of course for the reliable CATO Institute - which everyone and their brother references for reliable information without revealing that it is a Libertarian think tank.

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"Rerum Novarum 'In the Flesh'" Dept.

So ya...thought ya....might like to....go to the show
To feel the warm thrill of confusion that.....space cadet glow
I got some bad news for you sunshine
Rerum Novarum was not well...they stayed back at the hotel
And sent View From the Core...as a surrogate band
And we're gonna find out where you fans really staaaand...


Yes we were out of commission for much of yesterday as Blogger updated the software. (To what appears thus far to be a superior setup than they previously had.) In that interim there were two posts which I was not able to blog - one of which was IMHO pretty important as it was a "breaking story".{1}

As it was a significant entry, I sent that one to Lane who graciously posted it - so please go to this link at Lane's blog to read what I intended to post to Rerum Novarum yesterday. The only adjustment I would make in retrospect would be to say "representatives from the ADL", "representatives from the USCCB, and the media" and not appear to be saying that the entire groups themselves are at fault.

It might sound minor but I would not want to criticize the entire ADL or USCCB for the screwups of a few of their adherents.

Note:

{1} Though I noted HERE that We at Rerum Novarum do not generally try to break stories, there are of course exceptions to the rule.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003

"None Dare Call it a Volokh Conspiracy" Dept.
(A Rerum Novarum Quadruple Slam)

The following is Eugene Volokh's op-ed piece in today's National Review Online about club codes. Here is an appetizer:

"Watch what you say, or be ready to pay," a newspaper headline said about workplace harassment law some years ago. Well, now you should watch what you say in private clubs, as well as workplaces. Clubs are the new stop for the campaign to legally eradicate speech that offends based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and so on.

The Franklin Lodge of Elks in New Hampshire faced a controversy about whether women should be allowed to be members. During the controversy, some of the male members made offensive statements about the women who were trying to get in.

The statements (which I don't endorse as a matter of ethics and morals) included some sexual slurs and face-to-face insults, but also the expression of sexist viewpoints: For instance, as the New Hampshire Commission on Human Rights said in its opinion, some male members were berated for their female family members' actions (e.g., a member "asked [an applicant's] husband why he couldn't control his 'little woman'"), and "the Elks' secretary wrote in the Elks' newsletter that the 'women's actions might destroy the lodge.'"...For more go here...

If I was President of the United States, I would have Eugene Volokh in my short list of potential Supreme Court Nominees. Here is more from Eugene Volokh - this time on Democrat presidential hopeful Richard "ET" Gephardt:

"WE'LL DO EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO OVERCOME ANY WRONG THING THE SUPREME COURT DOES": Daniel Levine points to this remarkable quote from Rep. Dick Gephardt, one of the Democratic presidential candidates...yes, you read correctly. For more go here...

I have long thought that a piece on how liberal Democrats and so-called "traditionalists" are similar in their attitudes is in order. Maybe I will get to it someday but in the interim, here is a live example of Gephardt's office attempting to explain away his statements which is amazingly similar to some of the "trad" approaches.{1}

GEPHARDT'S OFFICE RESPONDS: ABC's The Note writes:

Some of the more reputable libertarian/law professor blogs are questioning a statement by Congressman Gephardt during Sunday's Rainbow Coalition forum in Chicago. "When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day," is what he said.

Here's what Prof. Glenn Reynolds, a.k.a instapundit.com, said in response: "Either (1) Gephardt, despite all his years in Congress, has still failed to learn that you can't overturn a Constitutional decision by the Supreme Court with an executive order; or (2) Gephardt was in Full Pander Mode and hoped his audience wouldn't know better. Neither speaks very well for him."

The ball was nudged by UCLA's Eugene Volokh: LINK "Do we really want a President who thinks that the president has the power to overcome 'any wrong thing the Supreme Court does' using an Executive order? I know lots of people think various actions of the Bush Administration are unconstitutional; I too disagree with some of the administration's positions, for instance on the alleged power to detain all unlawful combatants (including U.S. citizens captured on U.S. soil) with no judicial review. I hope the Supreme Court agrees, and decides against the administration. But I'm pretty confident that if the Supreme Court does so decide, this Administration will comply with the Supreme Court's order." "Gephardt and Kucinich are promising that they'll flout those orders. Seems to me that they should be taken to task for this, and severely."

We asked the Gephardt campaign
for a response.


"The fact that this question comes from libertarian law professors should speak for itself," spokesman Erik Smith wrote in an e-mail.

Brief interjection: though not a Libertarian, I do sympathize with them on many fronts and will address a shortcut way to help them overcome the preceived credibility problem in the next blog entry.

"Dick Gephardt knows the law. The president can not overturn a Supreme Court decision. That's not what he said. He was simply expressing his commitment to diversity and his willingness to use the tools of his office to promote affirmative action programs to the fullest extent possible. It's important to remember that Harry Truman used an executive order to integrate the military."

I'm flattered, but I don't think I'm quite persuaded. Harry Truman's executive order was very important -- but it had nothing to do with an attempt to overcome a contrary Supreme Court decision....For more go here

And finally, in other Conspiracy news, Orin Kerr recently posted the following information on the "income tax is voluntary" front:

THE TAX PROTESTER DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH: From the New York Times:

After years of not enforcing the law against business owners who openly boast that they do not pay taxes, the Justice Department has obtained an indictment of one of thousands who refuse to pay taxes because they claim they are voluntary. A federal grand jury in Fort Worth handed up a 27-count indictment on Friday against Richard Michael Simkanin of Euless, Tex., the owner of Arrow Custom Plastics, an injection molding business in Bedford, Tex. Mr. Simkanin quit the tax system in January 2000. ...

In interviews with the news media, Mr. Simkanin and other business owners bragged about not paying taxes for as long as 22 years. They cited the lack of action against them as proof that the tax laws are a hoax. ...

This sounds like a version of the Abbe de Nantes Defense. (In essence, because the Vatican and no reputable Catholics pay too much attention to his claims, the Abbe and his supporters think that their positions are thus "irrefutable.") {2}

At one of Mr. Simkanin's Web sites, www.arrowplastics.net, he has posted a warning that "public officials can and often do make the fatal mistake of attempting to harm the servants of God (Exodus 14:9) and inasmuch as the servants of God are required by Ezekiel 3:18-19 to warn the wicked, I, a Christian, do hereby issue this proclamation." He has warned that any government officials who move against him will be consumed by fire.

I wonder if he remembers that Our Lord rebuked two of His most zealous of Apostles for asking Him to call down fire upon the Samaritans (cf. Luke ix,54-55).

Note:

{1} A classic example of this is certain so-called "traditionalists" writing a manifesto like We Resist You to the Face and claiming a suspension of obedience to the post Pius XII magisterium. Then, when the reality of their own words is pointed out to them, they respond to critics of this untraditional action by claiming that their withdrawal of submission from the Pope does not actually constitute schism. (Despite this being a precise textbook definition of how the Church has long understood this term to signify -and how it is defined by the Church in her Codes of Canon Law.)

{2} I remember a few years ago after almost completing a detailed refutation of one of his pieces where he claimed there were eight heresies in Pope Bl. John XXIII's opening allocution to the Second Vatican Council. (The claims were ludicrously easy to refute.) A friend of mine asked (in essence) "why give him any credibility by responding" and at that - since I did not have a good answer to the question - I dropped the piece and did not finish it.

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Points to Ponder:

"Lord Jesus, the one whom Thou lovest is sick" (Jn 11:3).
The one whom Thou lovest is strayed.
I have lost Thee.
I cannot find Thee.
Find me.
Seek me.
I cannot find Thee.
I have lost my way.
Thou art the Way.
Find me, or I am utterly lost.
Thou lovest me.
I do not know if I love Thee;
but I know Thou lovest me.
I do not plead my love, but Thine.
I do not plead my strength, but Thine.
I do not plead my deed, but Thine.
The one whom Thou lovest is sick.
I dare not say:
The one who loves Thee is sick.
My sickness is that I do not love Thee.
That is the source of my sickness which is approaching death.
I am sinking.
Raise me.
Come to me upon the waters.
Lord Jesus, "the one whom Thou lovest is sick."
[Vincent McNabb OP (Thanks Gerard)]

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Minor Rerum Novarum Revisions:

I added the new Volokh Conspiracy link to the list, reclassified the old blog link to the "inactive" list, and reclassified Fr. Rob Johansen's blog back to the list of the active.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I need to update my blog link to The Volokh Conspiracy soon. (They have moved servers as of June 3rd.) I got this link from Sasha Volokh on the mathematical computation of Supreme Court decisions. We basically have 4.68 ideal justices with a voting pattern of two dimensions for its descriptions. (My friend Albert Cipriani oughta love this subject.)

As far as I am personally concerned, there are three justices on the court who understand the Constitution. The other six are roughly divided in half with three who think the Constitution is a plaything for reshaping as they see fit, and three who are politicians. To clarify further, consider the following statement from President Reagan.

Our former president - who appointed two of the politicians and one of the Constitutionalists{1} - noted once "politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." Hence the division of the court between those who preserve the Constitution, those who undermine the Constitution (the "court termites"), and those who sell out to whichever constituency has the most for them (the "court whores.") Does anyone care to guess which three fit each category???

Note:

{1} In Reagan's defense, one of the "politicians" was a replacement for the Democrat Senate's rejection of a Constitutionalist. (And it was thought at the time that the one appointed was a Constitutionalist.) It was also thought that the other "politician" was much more conservative than they have shown subsequent to the appointment to have been.

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Points to Ponder:

There is unrest in the Forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the Maples want more sunlight
And the Oaks ignore their pleas.


The trouble with the Maples,
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the Oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the Oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the Maples
Can't be happy in their shade.


There is trouble in the Forest
And the creatures have all fled
As the Maples scream "Oppression"
And the Oaks just shake their heads.


So the Maples formed a Union
And demanded equal rights.
They say "these Oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light."
Now there's no more Oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet,
axe,
and saw.
[Rush: From the Album Hemispheres (c. 1978)]

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In light of yesterday's Supreme Court Decision affirming a "constitutional right" for affirmative action and blatant racial profiling - if the party being screened out is the white male,{1} it seems that the points to ponder installment planned for today will be scrapped. For whatever is posted would need to focus on these issues and yet at the same time do so indirectly - lest some legal eagle decide that me speaking my mind about this abomination be constituted as a "hate crime." Hence, we will do so lyrically with a song by the Canadian group Rush called The Trees in the next installment - with thanks to The Dyspeptic One for indirectly influencing this idea.

Note:

{1} This is the latest installment of the six decade trackrecord of an activist court promoting extra-constitutional policies. (Not to mention several of a clearly unconstitutional nature.)

[Nope my friends, it has gotten even worse in the very short time since this entry was blogged. MUCH worse... - ISM 6/30/03]

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Postscript to Previous Note:

Of course it should stand to reason that with certain Catholics the principle is the same as the one with the Jesuits in antiCatholic circles. (Though they prefer to replace "Jesuits" with "the Zionists", "the Modernists", "the Masons", or other popular boogeymen.)

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"None Dare Call it a Conspiracy" Dept.
(Aka "A Very Convenient Response to Certain Mentally Unsanitary Sorts courtesy of Mark Shea")

I found the following from John da Fiesole of Disputations to be a very serviceable response. For those who do not want to click on two links in one post, here is the above link in full:

Endeavouring to give satisfaction

Last week, I admitted that, as a Roman Catholic, I do not feel a close spiritual kinship with Christians who deny that Catholics are Christians. Since then, a few Protestants have, in different ways, invited me to join a debate on the resolution, "That Catholicism is idol-worshipping paganism."

So far, I have resisted. I try not to debate people who believe that Catholicism is idol-worshipping paganism, for many of the same reasons I try not to debate people who believe that the stars determine our destinies, or that the moon landings were faked. There are levels of fatuity faced with which the only charitable response I can manage is silence.

Today, though, it occurs to me that Disputations has the means at hand to participate in the debate, in the manner and to the extent I think worth the nature of the question. The next post -- which, of course, is the post above this one -- is my contribution to the public conversation on this subject.

The Disputations Response

The words "Catholicism is idol-worshipping paganism" in the response can be replaced as far as I am concerned with terms such as "in sedevacantism", "in a flat earth", "in geocentrism", "that the holocaust never happened", "that the Jesuits ________________",{1} "that the moonlanding was a hoax", or other such things (in short: conspiracy theorists who are similarly unstable). As far as I am concerned, to all of them the same principles apply.

Note:

{1} In the blank can go "assassinated Lincoln", "assassinated Kennedy", "created Freemasonry", "founded the Inquisition that killed millions of Bible believing Christians", "created Communism", "started the Civil War", "created false forms of eschatological theory including 'post millennialism', 'a millennialism', and 'preterism' to deceive people into thinking that the Pope was not AntiChrist in Revelation", or any assortment of these and numerous others common in anti-Catholic conspiracy theory.

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Monday, June 23, 2003

Discussions With Christopher Blosser:
(On Reflections on Covenant and Mission)

I recently added Christopher Blosser's website The Ratzinger Fan Club and his site's weblog to the links here at Rerum Novarum. It was ironic that a few hours after I had read an essay he recently wrote on the Reflections on Covenant and Mission theme that in an email, he asked for my input on the content of the piece. (His email arrived around 7am whereas I read his essay at 3am after I awoke to grab a snack and could not get back to sleep.) The essay is located HERE. The following was one of the emails I sent to him with some personal stuff excised for the sake of confidentiality. (And a few points slightly restated.) Chris' words will be in black font. My words in previous email correspondence will be in darkblue.

As this response was written in two parts, the structure may be confusing so I will briefly explain it. The section in brackets clarifies what was written initially. (I started drafting the email at 3am after I read the essay initially and saved the draft to lycos. The letter had a postscript added to it later which contained some notes that came to mind after I reread the essay a few hours later after I went back to sleep and then awoke in the morning and had a chance to reread the piece when fully awake.) The part that starts with "I want to close with a few notes" was the second part of the email written after I had reread Christopher's piece again and jotted down some notes to send to him.

Would I be correct that you are related to Philip Blosser - author of the best chapter of the Not by Scripture Alone book???

Phil's my father . . . not to mention one of the most prolific member of The Ratzinger Fan Club, having written several previous essay for the forum - including The Kasper-Ratzinger Debate and the State of the Church.

I remember reading that piece. It got me wondering about Cardinal Kasper actually. After reflection on the matter and out of charity, I have come to the conclusion that - while there are some theological differences between Cardinal Kasper and Cardinal Ratzinger - that Kasper's biggest problem is that he is theologically sloppy. (By contrast, Ratzinger is very precise.)

Kasper ISTM is too quick to rely on the new more ecumenical jargon and does not take adequately into account that many people are not familiar with it. Many terms have taken on new meanings since the Church launched her committment to ecumenism at the Second Vatican Council. Some of the terms which are no longer understood in exactly the same manner are "convert" and "proseltyse". There is also the term "mission" which is often misunderstood. I will try to cover these in brief.

Kasper is too quick to say things like "the Church does not want us to proseltyze amongst the Orthodox" (for example) and does not point out that what he means by this term is not what that term used to have a connotation of. (It used to be a term for evangelizing but in the modern vernacular is acquainted with a shady or coercive means of trying to get people to "become Catholic": a euphemism for "Latin rite" oftentimes.)

Another one is claiming that "we have disavowed conversion of the Jews." What he does not tell people is that he is using the term "conversion" in the sense of coercion (ala the forced baptisms of days past) and other such means. In essence to tell a Jew you want to "convert" him is to say you want to assimilate him. For when the Jews hear of "conversion" this is what they think about.{1} Hence, to try and assuage their fears, we make it clear that we do not intend to "convert" them. But we do of course intend to "evangelize" them. Even the RCM statement says this.

And of course the big one of "we have no mission amongst the Jews" is ignoring of the fact that many people interpret that as meaning they are not to be evangelized. The term "mission" is commonly thought of as applicable to all non-Catholics. That is not how it has been used but most people do not know that. (As this gets into technical stuff that the vast majority of Catholics are not aware of.)

Cardinal Kasper knows that we do not refer to other Christians or Jews when speaking of "missionary outreaches" because "mission" is understood to be a term referring to the evangelization of those who do not profess the God of Abraham. But by not making this clear, some take it to mean that the Church believes that Jews never have to accept Christ but instead can stay where they are. That is of course not true. I explain what I believe Cardinal Kasper was trying to get at with the "theory of substitution" quote in this essay written in September of 2001.

The ecclesiology of communion is also something that Kasper takes for granted that his audience will understand. I go over this subject at the following link in responding to some of Mr. Sungenis' profound misunderstandings on the matter:

On Communion Ecclesiology

In short, I believe Kasper - while more "liberal" than some prelates - such as Ratzinger or JP II - predominantly suffers from presuming too much from his audiences. (That they are making the kinds of distinctions and understanding certain key terms as they are commonly used now.) Your giving of a very generous amount of leeway to him in your paper is a very appropriate thing to do with a Prince of the Church. Admittedly I may be misinterpreting Cardinal Kasper but I think there is more accuracy in my view of him then there is inaccuracy - if there is any of the latter.


In light of some feedback I've received already, I did make one revision -- (besides correcting some grammatical errors and typos, having finished it in the early hours of the morning)

[The above material was mostly written last night before bedtime. I was able to reread your paper again with a more critical eye. My view that it is a very well-balanced and deferential treatment on the matter remains intact. (Indeed I would argue that your paper definitely fills a web void on this issue.) But I did feel the need to make a few notes that you can do with whatever you want to. See further down in this note for details.]

-- I changed the label from 'traditionalist' to 'radical traditionalist', because someone objected that to describe Ferrara, Sungenis and Vennari as 'traditional' Catholics legitimizes them and suggests they are what they claim, when in reality their dismissive attitude about Vatican II and blatant hostility towards and disobedience to the Pope actually them borderline schismatic.

I use terms like "self-styled 'traditionalists", "pseudo-'traditionalists'", and "so-called 'traditionalism" myself. (While referring to people who have an authentically Catholic outlook as Traditionalist without quotations and with a large T.) Stephen Hand refers to them as Integrists (a take off of the early twentieth century Integralists) and Mark Shea refers to them as Lidless Eyes. (From which I got the name for my Inquisition weblog.)

I'm inclined to agree . . . I thought about this last night, since 'traditionalist' covers a pretty broad range of people, including those whom I deeply respect (like Peter Vere).

Pete is a good friend of mine and simply a great person all around. And we both consider ourselves Traditionalists in the proper sense of that term. (Indeed I would put you in that category as well from what I have thus far discerned.)

I also agree with a lot of the points traditionalists are raising. Ralph MacInerney and Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press also register opinions on Vatican II that are 'traditionalist' in tone.

Yes they do. There is room for diversity of viewpoints provided that the essentials are maintained. And Dr. McInerney and Fr. Fessio do this. I do take some issue with them on some points (i.e. with Fr. Fessio on the liturgy) but it is in my view fellow Catholics agreeing to disagree. But with those who are not authentically Catholic in attitude...well... see my last five entries to the Lidless Eye Inquisition :)

Thanks for the link to my site/blog,

My pleasure. Thanks for doing your part in the New Evangelization. I want to close with a few notes that came to mind after rereading the paper.

First, when Cardinal Kasper noted that DI "was not concerned with proseltyzing the Jews", he is technically correct. Dominus Iesus was not written with the Jews explicitly in mind. (Though there are definitely implied connections of course.)

Indeed, I cannot recall any of the documents of the recent magisterium (past fifty odd years) on the subject of the missions mentioning the Jews as a people to be proseltyzed (or of proseltysm as something to be commended). The Church has distanced herself from the usage of that term in light of the negative connotations that it had accrued over time. (And the negative view of it that existed amongst the Jews as well as other non-Christians.)

DI follows the pattern of the recent magisterial pronouncements which pertain to mission by relegating mention of the Jews to a single offhand comment. The difference I would argue is that DI was concerned with ratifying the salvific universality of the faith - a subject that indirectly impacts evangelization efforts - not discoursing on evangelization and its manifold complexities.

Secondly, I would tie into your paper at least to some degree the Decree Ad Gentes (on the missions) from Vatican II and Pope Paul VI's seminal Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi. The latter was referenced nearly two dozen times in Pope John Paul II's Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio.

EN builds on Ad Gentes and - if the two are taken together - it helps in understanding what the drafters of the Reflections document were trying, albeit clumsily, to get at. Granted there is no explicit mention of the Jews in the document but the model of evangelization is clearly aimed at all peoples. JP II has referred many times to the importance of EN and I would argue that the documents has done for evangelization what Rerum Novarum did for Catholic social teaching.

Thirdly, you may find this link to be of assistance as well. It is a Jewish perspective on Dominus Iesus:

In closing, I like the way you hyperlinked your sources and also the preponderance of web sources that you linked to. I have tended to do the same thing when writing papers for the web and it is a very helpful approach to take for the reader.

Note:

{1} The following are from my Rerum Novarum archive circa September 1-7, 2002:

Dr. Art Sippo's Commentary on RCM

My commentary on Art's commentary

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Sunday, June 22, 2003

A Monitum on Harry Potter Books:
(Courtesy of Encore's Pat Madrid)

It was put out in January of 2002 but I was taking a break from active involvement in evangelization and was thus not monitoring Church news in the winter-early spring of 2002. The one issing the monitum: the Chief Exorcist of Rome. For More Go Here...

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Area 51 is one of the staple subjects amongst the conspiracy theorists. And events such as this (obtained via Drudge) will only provide more fuel for the paranoid. But it does raise a good question: why are there sensory devices outside the twenty-five mile buffer which surrounds Area 51??? One does not have to be a crackpot conspiracy theorist to realize that there is something not right about federal agents raiding the house and seizing the assets of a man who is not even charged with a crime.

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"From the Mail Bag" Dept.

[Prefatory Note: I have updated this post three times now since originally posting it Saturday night because (frankly) I felt that I could have responded better in some points to Gregory than I initially did. Thus, for those who read this post before each update, there is stuff that you did not see. - ISM 6/23/03 6:05pm]

The Instapundit-like posting day continues with this response written several days ago and just finished formatted for posting about five minutes ago. I think I will unwind with my rosary and a double carona. This will be the last posting for today - and possibly for the weekend. Nonetheless, without further ado, let us get to it.

Hello Mr. McElhinney!

Hello Gregory. My friends call me Shawn :)

Thank you for your answer to my previous email. You had some awesome points. The evidence against "traditionalism" is so great! I get more and more shocked, the more I read, at their foolishness. How can someone believe what they believe?

I wish this was an easy question to answer but it is not. In light of your other questions, I will pass over this one at the present time. (If you want to go over it another time by itself, that would be fine.)

Anyway, I've written some more questions for you if you don't mind. But I do want to clarify that I have not read your revision of your piece "Vatican II and its Authority" yet; I printed the old version and read it about 7 months ago.

The new one is much better in my opinion. I added a couple new sources, refined some of the previous arguments a little, added a couple of new sections, deleted areas that were unnecessarily repetitious. It is also cast into two parts now with the first being an examination and debunking of "traditionalist" misconceptions and the second building on the first with a proposed counter-thesis.

The material is in many respects predominently the same but the two threads wove together too closely before to be as effective as they could have been. (Plus, these divisions which I utilized in my treatise in all the sections make reading the piece a lot easier.)

So if any of my questions are clearly answered in the revision, you don't have to answer it now. Just say that you explicitly talk about it in your piece. I will get around to reading the revised article soon anyway.

Oh that all emailers were as easy to please as you are Gregory :)


So here are my questions.

1) What exactly is the difference between Ordinary and Universal Magisterium and merely Ordinary Magisterium? I have never seen a distinction made between those two levels of authoriy in what little I've read from theological works or papal documents.

These are technical terms used to specify when the magisterium is clearly speaking definitively and where it may not be. You may recognize this definition from the paper you refer to in this email:

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. [Catholic Encyclop?dic Dictionary Twenty-Fifth Edition pg. 319; Donald Attwater — General Editor, New York, The Macmillan Company, (c. 1941)]

In essence, when the episcopate teaches in concurrence on a matter of faith and morals, it is definitive. And of course, if the pope makes it clear that he intends to settle an issue, it is definitive. And at that point, since judgment has been passed, the universal episcopate is expected to uphold it. While the term "ordinary and universal magisterium" is relatively new - having been first used in Pope Pius IX's 1863 Apostolic Letter Tuas Libenter - the concept is ancient. After Pope Pius IX pioneered the term, it was subsequently used in Vatican I's Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius.

Interestingly enough, the context of the Apostolic Letter Tuas Libenter actually was to rebut the very kind of dismissals of the ordinary teaching authority that were common amongst the more "enlightened" sorts of the nineteenth century, the Modernists of the early twentieth century (not to mention the Integralists), and numerous self-styled "progressivists" and self-styled "traditionalists" today. It goes to show that old errors do not die but instead they reclothe themselves in later ages to again afflict the Mystical Body. Though these are technical terms, they do have a meaning though the exact understanding of the application of them is a matter of debate. While this should be a matter of debate amongst theologians, there are unfortunately lay people who try to opine that certain teachings they like are definitive by virtue of the "ordinary and universal magisterium". And if they dislike certain teachings, then they are relegated to the "ordinary magisterium" - as if the latter means that they can be either dissented from or publicly disputed. Of course since (i) the ordinary magisterium can be infallible and (ii) it is controvertible if the ordinary magisterium has ever actually contained a doctrinal or moral error that was taught, this kind of speculation should never be entered into lightly, if it is to be at all. Yet pundits pushing certain agendas do not cease to do this. And in light of some of the dynamics involved, it should give such people - if they had a truly Traditional Catholic bone in their bodies - some serious cause for pause.

For from the moment the delineation of "ordinary magisterium" and "ordinary universal magisterium" entered the lexicon, there were those who tried to find ways of minimizing obedience owed to the ecclesial magisterium. And the popes were not silent in condemning this erroneous approach - even before this delineation was made. For the ordinary magisterium partakes of the infallibility of the Church to some degree - a fact made clear not only by Pope Pius IX but also in the proposed (but unpromulgated) schema on the Church from Vatican I.

Dei Filius the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith made it clear that certain teachings were to be held of faith which were handed down in the ordinary and universal magisterium. But the ordinary and universal magisterium was not limited solely to those things that were divinely revealed. Instead the Second Constitution (which was intended to supplement the first) declared that "the object of infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of faith and as far as the office of guarding it demands. And so we teach that the prerogative of infallibility, with which Christ's Church is endowed embraces not only the whole revealed word of God, but also everything that, although in itself not revealed, is necessary for safeguarding the revealed word, for certainly and definitively proposing and explaining it for belief, and for legitimately asserting and defending it against the errors of men and the contrary oppositions of so-called knowledge" (Schema on the Second Constitution from Vatican I).

This though not promulgated did nonetheless represent the consensus of theological opinion and remained as such until 1964 when Vatican II completed the work of Vatican I and issued two Dogmatic Constitutions - one on the Church and one on Divine Revelation. In the former, the secondary truths were confirmed and the definition of papal infallibility was restated in the sense it was defined - though this was often not understood in the post Vatican I period (even by many theologians). Vatican II also explained how this infallibility applies to the pope and also to the teaching of the united episcopate.

A few years later, when the secondary truths were still being questioned by some dissidents - despite the definitive teaching of Lumen Gentium on the matter, the CDF issued a Declaration solemnly approved by Pope Paul VI where the infallibility of the secondary truths was again defended. The Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae both referenced the teaching of Lumen Gentium §25 and also used almost the exact same wording as the unpromulgated schema from Vatican I. To quote from the Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae: According to Catholic doctrine, the infallibility of the Church's Magisterium extends not only to the deposit of faith but also to those matters without which that deposit cannot be rightly preserved and expounded. This is why infallibility extends beyond solemn definitions of dogma.

This is also why anyone who has tried to explicitly or implicitly dismiss the authority of the Church in matters of secondary truths (i.e. Jansenists, Modernists, Integralists, so-called "traditionalists", so-called "progressivists", etc) need to be opposed without compromise because they undermine the Faith like a termite undermines the stability of a tree from within. But enough on that point and on to the terms "ordinary magisterium" and "ordinary and universal magisterium."

The term "ordinary magisterium" applies to the Church's day to day teaching and practices and is a mosaic of doctrines and disciplines. (The latter are reformable, the former I would argue are not except in their application.) The universal element of the ordinary magisterium embodies the teaching Church taken as a unit if you will - the consensus of the Church teaching on a point of doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.

Some like to say that the ordinary universal magisterium is simply the bishops teaching in unison with the pope whereas the pope speaking alone does not possess the same authority. These are usually the ones who claim that the pope cannot speak infallibly except by solemn definition whereas the episcopal college in union with the pope can do this. (Meaning teach infallibly in non-solemn ways.) I find these kinds of arguments both ridiculously legalistic and also patently untraditional for many reasons.

We cannot separate the pope from the consent of the church because he is the source of communion with the universal church. For this reason, the consent of the church cannot be lacking to him. This point was made explicitly clear by Bishop Gasser in his authoritative Relatio when discussing the fourth chapter of the proposed schema pastor aeternus. When explaining the proper sense of the various parts of that chapter, Bishop Gasser noted to the Council Fathers that "[the pope] is no more able to be separated from the universal Church than the foundation from the building it is destined to support" (Relatio of Bishop Gasser).

His Grace also noted that "we do not separate the Pope, even minimally, from the consent of the Church, as long as that consent is not laid down as a condition which is either antecedent or consequent. We are not able to separate the Pope from the consent of the Church because this consent is never able to be lacking to him" (Relatio of Bishop Gasser).

And as the Fathers voted in accordance with the understanding of the Relatio, I have a problem with theologians who try to modify the sense that a doctrine is defined in. Vatican I in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius taught that this was never permissible to do. Yet self-styled "traditionalists" and self-styled "progressivists" do it all the time. They also try to claim that anything that is not solemnly defined can be openly disputed. Yet even by their own favourite sources - such as Quanta Cura §5 and the Syllabus of Errors in proposition 22 referencing Tuas Libenter - they stand refuted. Now I know that the "progressivists" (falsely so-called) will write these off as irrelevant but the "trads" who by implying that they are "Traditional" are hypocritical for doing this. They either are very ignorant or they are practicing selective adherence to magisterial teachings that they like and disregarding those that they do not like. I believe most of the time it is the former because as a "trad" I relied on those who prooftexted magisterial documents as they so often do. And as the old saying goes, if you tell a lie enough times, eventually people can come to believe it. But enough on that and back to the subject of the revised piece you refer to.

I quote the Relatio (whch sets out the proper sense of the dogma defined) a bit more in the revised piece. I also added a new Appendix to my treatise which references huge chunks of this essential allocution. It is without question (i) the most authoritative commentary on the proper sense of the defined dogma and (ii) one of the most unknown of sources. It should be unnecessary to even bring such things into the picture if not for the utter lack of traditional obedience to the magisterium on so many fronts today. But since this does not appear to be diminishing in some quarters, it becomes necessary to do. (I also quoted parts of the Relatio which mitigate against sedevacantist theories of papal heresy in that Appendix section.)

2) You said in your article "Vatican II and its Authority":

[I]t is logically impossible for the Church to teach error via the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium since that would be tantamount to undermining the indefectibility of the Church.

That was in the first version yes. It is not present in the second version because (if memory serves) I was reiterating the point in that excerpt. In the revision, I primarily chose to use the expression "ordinary magisterium" to express the same point. The reason was because in the new format, I divided the previous url into two and used the first part to refute the 'trad' misunderstandings on the matter and the second part to construct a counter-thesis. As the text the thesis was based on referred to the ordinary magisterium, I wanted my terms to match up and not cause confusion.

Well, what about when Vatican II is merely elaborating on the doctrine of religious liberty. Of course, when it says something like (i'm paraphrasing it) "this holy synod declares that religious liberty is a man's right" that is infallible.

Correct. But it is not a matter of dogma. Remember, with most 'trads' saying something is infallible is a way of saying that it is a dogma. They do not tend to make the proper distinctions on the subject. This is why they parade around the "pastoral council" canard as they do. If they understood theology very well they would know that pastoral theology presupposes dogmatic theology as well as moral theology and canon law. I go over this in a new section written for the revised piece.

But I can't see how it can be infallible when it is presenting arguments for religious liberty (even if they require religious assent).

The teaching is what is definitive, not the arguments. I did not address religious liberty in that part of the treatise (from which the article was a spinoff of) admittedly. The reason was that I wanted to stick to the two Dogmatic Constitutions as they are the most authoritative of the Council's pronouncements.

With regards to the ordinary magisterium, remember that the Council also does not have to be so explicit in teaching definitively. (This is a point I emphasized a bit more in the revision.) For teachings of the supreme ordinary magisterium do not require any technical form of words to be definitive. If the tenor of the words and/or their context indicate a teaching that pertains to the deposit of faith (and thus must be held), that suffices for definitive status. Here are some examples that come to mind:

"[T]he council intends to develop the doctrine of recent popes on the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society." [DH §1]

Thus the doctrinal teaching on these two subjects as they involve a manifested development should be presumed as definitive a priori. And as the intention was to develop the teaching of recent popes, such teachings would have an intrinsically diachronic element to them and thus not be mere novelties.

"This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others within due limits.

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.{ Cf. John XXIII, encycl. "Pacem in Terris," April 11, 1963: AAS 55 (1963), pp. 260-261; Pius XII, radio message, Dec. 24, 1942: AAS 35 (1943) p. 19; Pius XI, encycl. "Mit Brennender Sorge," March 14, 193i: AAS 29 (1937), p. 160- Leo XIII, encycl. "Libertas Praestantissimum," June 20, 1888: Acts of Leo XIII 8 (1888), pp. 237-238.} This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right. [DH §2]

The basic elaboration of what something means would of course be definitive though the arguments used to support it would not necessarily be. Obviously the statement itself is definitive when the Council explains what it means by a statement that we agree is definitive. Further evidence of the definitive nature of this teaching is in the reiteration by the Council of the above referenced point previously either enunciated or at least implied by the magisterium.

It would seem absurd to be developing a doctrine so manifestly and yet not be intending for its application in society to be definitive. Nonetheless, the part about the right being enshrined in constitutional law is at a minimum authoritative and thus requiring of filial obedience.

"It is in accordance with their dignity as persons--that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility--that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth. However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. Therefore, the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature." [DH §2]

The points which speak of what people are "bound" to do by nature and also moral obligation - as well as the notation of the right itself would be properly understood as definitive. Other points could be noted here but I want to skip down to a very important development of doctrine in DH: the definition of the term "public order" and its role in society's regulation of religious expression:

The right to religious freedom is exercised in human society: hence its exercise is subject to certain regulatory norms. In the use of all freedoms the moral principle of personal and social responsibility is to be observed. In the exercise of their rights, individual men and social groups are bound by the moral law to have respect both for the rights of others and for their own duties toward others and for the common welfare of all. Men are to deal with their fellows in justice and civility.

Furthermore, society has the right to defend itself against possible abuses committed on the pretext of freedom of religion. It is the special duty of government to provide this protection. However, government is not to act in an arbitrary fashion or in an unfair spirit of partisanship. Its action is to be controlled by juridical norms which are in conformity with the objective moral order. These norms arise out of the need for the effective safeguard of the rights of all citizens and for the peaceful settlement of conflicts of rights, also out of the need for an adequate care of genuine public peace, which comes about when men live together in good order and in true justice, and finally out of the need for a proper guardianship of public morality.

These matters constitute the basic component of the common welfare: they are what is meant by public order.[DH §7]

In DH §7, the definition of "public order" as a criteria for the civil regulation of religious expression would almost certainly be a definitive teaching. Obviously the norms would not be concrete in their application in each instance; hence the pastoral slant of the document which intended to provide functional criteria for regulating religious profession that would safeguard the rights of the Church in the civil sphere without being self-contradictory.

Like "just war theory" we have a situation here where the norms are one thing and how they are applied in certain circumstances are another. But since the Church by her very nature promotes the strengthening of the moral order and obedience to civil leaders in most parameters, she cannot be charged with violations of what was defined as "public order."

By contrast, under the old criteria of "common good", a non-Catholic government could turn that principle around and claim that repressing the Catholic profession was for "the common good." Clearly in light of the manner whereby governmental forms had changed - along with the status of the Catholic Church as it was recognized in many countries - a new criteria was needed that safeguarded Catholic faith profession without being able to be turned around and used against the Church.

The rationale of His Eminence Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani - whose view represented one of the schools of thought on this issue before the Council- that "religious liberty was something that the Church stressed when she was in the minority but did not have to concede when she was in the majority" needed to be given the axe. (As no non-Catholic nation would buy such blatantly inconsistent rationale and no one would take the Catholic Church seriously if she actually promulgated such an opinion as binding teaching.)

What is more, this doctrine of freedom has roots in divine revelation." [DH §9]

With regards to the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae (on religious liberty), the arguments themselves would not be strictly speaking definitive. But at the same time, what is an exposition on teaching and what is an argument in support of a teaching is to some degree a mixed bag.

But since the criteria of obedience to a teaching is not whether or not it is definitive, what is of primary importance is that the teaching is handed on authoritatively and adhered to with at least a religious submission of mind and will.

3) If the Council was using extraordinary Magisterium, like Trent, EVERYTHING in the decree's would therefore be infallible I believe. But would EVERYTHING (every sentence) require the assent of faith under pain of heresy?

Strictly speaking, the only parts of Trent which could be properly classified as extraordinary magisterium would be the manifested intention to define in the capitula of the decrees and the canons applicable to particular decrees. The rest would be on the order of the ordinary magisterium - some of which would be definitive and some of which would not be.

4) You said in the article "Vatican II and its Authority" that the word "defines" in the Vatican I decree on infallibility did not merely mean solemn definitions. But are solemn definitions the same thing as ex cathedra? It would seem so because John Paul II says in his Encyclical Ut Unum Sint:

He has the duty to admonish, to caution and to declare at times that this or that opinion being circulated is irreconcilable with the unity of faith. When circumstances require it, he speaks in the name of all the Pastors in communion with him. He can also-under very specific conditions clearly laid down by the First Vatican Council-declare ex cathedra that a certain doctrine belongs to the deposit of faith. By thus bearing witness to the truth, he serves unity.

I believe the term intended is "pertains" to the deposit of faith. Pope John Paul II himself refers to defining a "doctrine" which of course means a wider spectrum than matters of dogma. It is also worth noting that Cardinal Ratzinger noted when asked about the CDF Responsum on the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that what was translated as "founded on the Word of God" was supposed to say "pertains to the Word of God." (Or "belongs".) My guess is that the same situation is present here.

The very definition itself from Vatican I states we teach and define...that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks 'ex cathedra,' i.e., when exercising his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by his supreme apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals which must be held by the universal Church." Both terms "doctrine" and "to be held" go beyond what is delineated as "extraordinary magisterium." The latter strictly speaking applies to dogmas which are not merely "held" but are also "believed."

Our Pope seems to be saying that ex cathedra statements are NO DIFFERENT from a solemn definition.

It is like heresy and schism. A heretic is also a schismatic but a schismatic is not necessarly a heretic. Likewise, a solemn definition of faith is ex cathedra but ex cathedra pronouncements are not limited merely to matters of heresy or what is strictly speaking "de fide."

But I can name a whole lot of statements from Catholic books that say that Vatican I's decree was speaking about ex cathedra statements ; even Dr. Ludwig Ott's book on Catholic dogman says on the last page of the introduction that infallibility of the pope pertains only to ex cathedra definitions. This all contradicts statements you've made in your article.

Three points:

1) Dr. Ott's treatment of infallibility is not complete. (It is a comprehensive book on Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma but not an exhaustive treatment.)

2) Vatican I only defined what was to be believed "de fide." This did not include what was to be held as "certain."

3) Even Dr. Ott recognized that the indirect scope of infallibility applied to matters intimately connected with upholding the deposit which were not themselves revealed. (See what he says on page 299 about canonization of saints, dogmatic facts, and theological conclusions for example. He also notes this in the beginning of the book too prior to page 10.)

Cardinal Manning actually erred in ascribing the definition of Vatican I to not only doctrines pertaining to faith and morals but also "dogmatic facts, censures less than heresy, canonizations of saints, approbations of religious orders." While he was wrong to do this, he was not incorrect to note that these areas were all covered under the charism of infallibility. These were indeed covered but it was not to be held de fide that they were.

Bishop Gasser made it clear that the definition did not touch on these areas which remained in the same state they were in prior to the Council. And that state was one of theological certainty.{1} In short, there are definitive teachings which are "of divine faith" and those teachings or other related elements which are "of ecclesiastical faith." Canonization of saints is not de fide; however it is a matter of ecclesiastical faith. Others could be mentioned but I think the idea is reasonably made.

5) The traditionalist Chris Ferrara has stated that VII can't be infallible because it was merely an "orientation". How can an orientation be infallible, he asks. But what he actually attacks in his writings is far more than merely an orientaion. He believes that decree on religious liberty was in error, WHICH HAS TO DO WITH DOCTRINE.

He is erroneous. DH taught the right to *civil* religious liberty, not religious liberty under the divine law. Previous popes (Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII) condemned religious liberty as it pertained to the divine law. DH upheld these teachings explicitly in section1 when it stated that:

Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore [The Council] leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.

Over and above all this, the council intends to develop the doctrine of recent popes on the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society." [DH §1]

In short, the Declaration was leaving "untouched" the teachings of the Church previously enunciated on the requirements under the divine law. (Which requires people and societies to recognize the Catholic Church as the one true faith.) That is a matter of divine law and is not changeable. And DH did not do so or even manifest the intention to do so. Instead, the Declaration intended to complement the requirements of the divine law by developing the teaching of some of the more recent popes (Leo XIII, Pius XI, Pius XII, and John XXIII were specifically in mind) on the right to the human person as they pertained to the constitutional order of civil society. The one condemned was religious liberty under the divine law, the one approved was religious liberty within due limits in civil society. In short, the two notions of religious liberty are not the same.

But he does seem to have a point with regard to the general attitude of the Church since VII with regard to non-Catholics.

The Second Vatican Council embraced the very traditional understanding of ecclesiology of communion. Prior to the schism of west and east - and the subsequent build up of the papal monarchy - there was a much more fully orbed understanding of the Church as mystery and as communion more so than in its visible and juridical elements. This is too detailed to go into now but if you check the Rerum Novarum weblog for the week of 6/01-07, you will find a few responses to the follies of Mr. Ferrara. (The Lidless Eye weblog entry from March 21 goes into the subject of communion ecclesiology also.

That is, I don't see how those things can be binding (either by being infallible or merely requiring religious assent).

Mr. Ferrara is amazingly messed up theologically. I would suggest that if these are areas troubling for you to stay clear of anything he has to say.

For all of his attempts to instruct the magisterium on doctrinal matters, this individual (i) has no formal training (ii) shows a constant inability to understand finer theological nuances. Further still, he (iii) possesses an overly juridical mentality which is more befitting a Fundamentalist than a Catholic. He also, (iv) possesses a remarkable lacuna of authentic charity by demonstrating a serial suspicion complex and presuming the worst possible interpretations he can of anyone who disagrees with him. In short, the demons of pride infest him. The Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary defines "pride" as follows:

Pride, a capital vice opposed to humility (q.v.) consisting in excessive love of one's own excellence, exhibited in three ways: (a) Contempt for lawful authority - a mortal sin; (b) Contempt for equals or inferiors - mortal or venial according to the depth of contempt; (c) Desire to surpass one's equals - a venial sin. St. Thomas and many other spiritual writers put pride in a class by itself as the most deadly and devastating of all vices, which has its part in every sin, of whatever sort that is committed; for every sin is in its degree a contempt of God and often our superior and our neighbour as well. Pride feeds and thrives itself, continually stirring up the mind and will of man to rebellion against the moral law and against his lawful and qualified teachers, whether religious or civil. Ambition, presumption, and vainglory (qqv) are among the most immediate handmaids of pride". [Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary: Donald Attwater General Editor, tenth edition, pg. 422 (c. 1941)]

"Suspicion" is defined by the same dictionary as follows:

Suspicion - St. Thomas distinguishes three degrees of suspicion: when one begins to question anothers goodness on slight grounds, usually a venial fault; when one thinks on slight ground that another is certainly wicked, and this is a mortal sin in the case of grave matter; and when one condemns another outright merely on suspicion, and this is a sin against justice. "If we cannot avoid suspicion, because we are men, we should at least avoid judgments, that is, definite and positive opinions" (St. Augustine)". [Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary: Donald Attwater General Editor, tenth edition, pg. 510 (c. 1941)]

I dare anyone to tell me that these are not applicable to Mr. Ferrara. One thing is certain: he does not fit the mould of how a real Traditional Catholic approaches the subject of obedience. And that will be his downfall, indeed that is always the downfall of those who pride themselves on being "not like other men" (cf. Luke xviii,9-14). The true Traditionalist can say with the Angelic Doctor that [w]e must abide rather by the Pope's judgment than by the opinion of any of the theologians, however well versed he may be in the divine Scriptures." (Quodlibetum IX, Q.8, Quaest. Quodlibetales) The same principle applies with those who claim to be versed in the Great Tradition as all self-styled "traditionalists" by logical inference do.

I don't want to seem imposing by asking a huge number, so I will end it there.

Because of the delay in responding on my part, I took some extra time on this response to you.

Thanks so much for your time and may God love you always, always..

Thankyou Gregory. In closing, I borrow some of the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians:

"May the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always" (2 Cor. xiii,13).

Note:

{1} Vatican II in Lumen Gentium §25 not only confirmed the definitive nature of secondary truths - a point I covered in the paper you referred to. The Council also when reiterating anew the definition of Vatican I on papal infallibility replaced the word "defines" with the expression "proclaims by a definitive act."

The source referenced for the above phrasing adjustment: the aforementioned Relatio of Bishop Gasser which explained the sense of "defines" exactly as I did in my treatise. (And the essay you read which was a spinoff of one of the sections of that writing.)

[Updates: Some material from DH was added to the original post to flesh out the response a little and clarify a couple of points previously overlooked. There was also some material from an unpromulgated schema from Vatican I and the CDF's 1973 Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae subsequently added to the above post to flesh out the subject of secondary truths and church infallibility.

Finally, the definition of magisterium from the previous (and current) version of the treatise piece Vatican II and its Authority was added and incorporated into an expanded explanation on the ordinary magisterium and also on the ordinary and universal magisterium. In short, this entry reads in some areas significantly differently than it did when it was initially posted - ISM 6/26/03 8:45 pm]

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