Saturday, July 09, 2005

More on Church Models:

This post contains material from a message board discussion circa early June 2005. It has been edited slightly for posting here and will revisit a subject which was discussed on this weblog in late 2003. My interlocuters words will be in slate font.

Here's a handy summary of Avery Cardinal Dulles's book, Models of the Church. I just read this book and find it quite helpful in understanding certain frustrating conflicts where people talk past each other.

Yes, Cardinal Dulles work is very helpful in that area.

Cristoph Cardinal Schoenborn criticized the harsh tone of the book in representing the Institutional model as well as the proliferation of tentative models in theology textbooks.

If we only talked about established stuff, nothing would ever be established. At some point, an idea has to be set forward and discussed before it reaches the point of being generally accepted as one way of viewing the evidences.

Furthermore, there is no mention whatsoever of Cardinal Dulles in that article. Cardinal Schoenborn speaks of various theologians who use "models" in their theology but his main intention in the article is to oppose such persons to ressourcement methodology. However, this cannot be an indictment of Dulles because Dulles is himself a ressourcement theologian!!! So because of that fact, Schoenborn must be referring to others who utilize models methodology in ecclesiology. For example, Hans Kung was mentioned and he was never a ressourcement theologian. I explain the fundamental divisions between the theologians of the Vatican II era HERE and as you can see, there is quite a distinction to be made.{1}

Robert Royal also gives a critical overview of Dulles, including Models of the Church, which is pretty balanced.

Dulles is and always has been a very deep and nuanced thinker. That is important to remember whenever one reads any of his material. And nuanced thinkers are not often easy to discuss.

Frankly, Dulles statements about the institutional church needed to be said because they were true.{2} Royal's argument seems to be that Dulles' work gave "red meat to dissenters" but that is a poor argument for one reason: dissenters by their very nature will tend to appropriate any source they think can support their views -and often misrepresent those sources in the process.

Look at what so-called "progressivists" do with Vatican II and what so-called "traditionalists" do with various sources from Unam Sanctum and Cantante Domino to Pascendi, Mortalium Animos, and Humani Generis. It is the very nature of dissenters to misuse in an unorthodox fashion sources that in and of themselves are quite orthodox. To argue against anything because of potential abuses is a very poor way of arguing.

Dulles argues that the models should overlap and correct each other, and to this end, he is both supportive and critical of each model, though not equally so. For example, he suggests that the Sacramental model is best able to embrace the positive features of other models. In this, he echoes the Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium, chapter 1 of which, defines the Church as mystery.

Indeed. I happen to agree that the best model is the sacramental model of the Church. It is also the most thoroughly traditional in many respects because the earliest Fathers did not focus on the kinds of externals common to the Counter-reformation polemics but instead on the Church as first and foremost a mystery. However, the sacramental model at the same time -though emphasizing mystery- does require some externals as well much as the sacraments themselves do. (For example, water for baptism, oils for confirmation, etc.)

And also with Lumen Gentium, Dulles puts the Institutional model of the Church as a "perfect society" as less central than the models of Sacrament and Mystical Communion (this last includes People of God, Body of Christ, and what Dulles calls a "Community of Disciples").

The Institutional model was one of the late bloomers of the bunch.{3} For that reason, it does not deserve the same emphasis as earlier and more traditional ones such as the church as sacrament and the church as mystical body. Likewise, church as herald and church as servant are still too new to be given the same emphasis as the church as institution.

In the Herald model, the Church is only important insofar as it proclaims the word of God. When it is not preaching the Great Commission, it should be discarded as an idol. Aherents to ths model tend to identify Catholics exclusively with the Institutional model.


Much online apologetics reenact the old reformation/ counter-reformation dance: a Herald shows up to criticize those who worship the Institutional Church. Some Catholic responses are to highlight the institutional evidence or respond in paradoxes. To point out the sin present in all Christian communities only confirms the Herald in his or her approach.

Yup. That is why I as a rule am tired of the apologetical dance and have been for quite a while. That is not to say that I do not do it still on occasion of course but I get tired of seeing people talk past one another and generally evincing no interest in actually listening to what their perceived "adversaries" actually say.

Dulles is very critical of the Servant model (Richard P. McBrien, New Wine program, your friendly neighborhood liturgist, but also would seem to include Catholic Worker and l'Arche), and also presents a more balanced example of this Servant model (Doubleday 1987 "Expanded Edition," pp196-198). Certain disciples of this model tend to regard those who disagree with them as defenders of the exclusively Institutional model.

What do you think?

You have latched onto a subject which underscores the undeniable fact that different views are often the result of different foundational presuppositions.{4} As far as the models subject goes, I have written a bit on this subject actually -particularly in this thread. You will note I am sure that my primary source material for that thread was Dulles' work.


{1} I did not mention Dulles but he was part of the group of those listed in footnote nine of that post.

{2} And anyone familiar with the abuses of power of the Curia in the early to mid twentieth century knows this.

{3} Though ironically those who call themselves "traditionalists" in almost all cases react from this paradigm; ergo revealing how untraditional they really are but I digress.

{4} This is one key reason I want to dialogue with Tim Enloe on this subject at some point. My last public notations on this intention can be read HERE and HERE.

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Points to Ponder:
(On Traitors and Other Fifth Column Seditionists)

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

For the traitor appears not as a traitor, he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, he appeals to the baseness that lies asleep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. [Marcus Tullius Cicero (c. 42 BC)]


Fr. James Schall recognizes the enemy we are facing

Too bad there are not a few who call themselves "catholic progressives" who do not.

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Friday, July 08, 2005

More on Marxists, Their Many Masks and Other Theories:

The following is a response to an emailer who wrote on a "points to ponder" installment on the many masks of modern marxism. Their words will be in black font.

I have evolved two theories which track yours well. The first I call the 'sector' theory. Pick any Leftist cause or organization: NAACP,N.O.W.,A.C.L.U.,NEA, tort lawyers,AMA,ALA(librarians),APA(psychologists),evironmentalists,animal rights,AARP,MADD,AFL-CIO,tenured professors,etc.

Ok. So far it sounds congruent to what I wrote.

First, 'infect' the organization. That is, get managerial control, forcing dissenters out. Then, control the money. The rest of the story is easily discerned.

Indeed. While there was always a degree of this in these kinds of groups (particularly big labour), it was not until the past thirty odd years when things really began escalading. The Democratic party apparatus being hijacked after 1968 probably played a significant role in it...the Supreme Court's increasing activism prior to that particularly from 1954 on --though Everson vs. Board of Education in 1947 was a kind of "nose in the camel's tent-- and played a key role as well in retrospect.

An adjunct theory again tracks what you say. I call it the 'left head fake'. It is the ostensible charter or raison d'etre of the organization. In true Orwellian fashion, the purpose is almost always exactly the opposite in the result. These guys are too smart to give points for 'good intentions'. As you say projecting their evil onto their opposition such as nazification is common altho they more and more are going in for Stalinification as well.

Most people do not grasp technical explanations very well; however analogies or parallels can be used create a picture of sorts and that is often easier to comprehend. That is why I went with the shape-shifter analogy: it explains it well to those who follow science fiction stuff and does not get technical in doing so.

Finally, I have a theory I call the 'chaos' theory. If the Left can't win, make others unhappy or ill-at-ease at the way things are going. Supporting criminals, eliminating the death penalty,gun control,undermining property rights(how timely!),undermining marriage,premature sex ed,etc all create a sense of declining security and/or culture.

You could reconsitute this as the "create chaos to inculcate in the populace a desire for more government control for their 'security'" theory. I am not sure that the marxists are actually out to make people's lives miserable -except those who are perceived to be "enemies" of course. The problem is, their policies inexorably result in misery for others...they simply do not see this because they are blinded by their ideology.

Another way of saying it perhaps is that they simply move to have their ideology implemented and the defacto result is the chaos you refer to. But to go into that subject here would be to spill a lot of type and I do not have time to do it right now. Nonetheless, I wrote an email to a friend recently which I may blog in a few days which explains this dynamic a bit better than I can do in brief here.

I predicted that neither the fall of the USSR nor the fall of 4 other Stalinist regimes(Romania,Yugoslavia, Iraq, or Afganistan) would deter Leftists in this country for long.

You were not the only one who thought that...

Only two other blogs come close to yours for getting
this issue correct: Dissecting Leftism and The Right Scale.

I do not read a heap of other blogs so I cannot comment one way or the other on that. Nonetheless, thankyou for the complement.

By the way have you encountered any resistance in bringing
up neo-marxism to conservatives?

Not really. As a rule they seem to shrug it off much as they do when I pontificate on the three fundamental rights of man which precede all human legislation (ala Claude Frederic Bastiat) and my developments of his classical theory for reconstituting the proper role of law in a just society. Generally speaking, people do not seem too interested -perhaps because this approach slays too many of their sacred cows and not just the looney lib heifers if you know what I mean.

I did when I brought it up to Jonah Goldberg over at the Corner.

Hmmmmm, what did Goldberg say??? He may be one of those who call themselves conservative but instead is halfway there at best. As one who has written on the subject of authentic (versus inauthentic) conservatism on many occasions, I am reasonably attuned to certain traits of inauthentic conservatives but I have not read enough of Goldberg's stuff to know if he fits the profile or not.{1}

I got the impression that only you, I, and Ann Coulter dare to resurrect the ghost of Joseph McCarthy,methaphorically.

Well XXXXX, there are some of us out there; albeit not many.{2} Hopefully, if we plant enough seeds, some additional ones will come to fruition in the coming years.


{1} Plus, I do not as a rule start looking for that when I read someone's work unless there is an obvious red flag or other incongruence that I happen to notice.

{2} I personally find Ann Coulter a bit shrill in her tonality but that does not mean that there is a problem with the substance of what she says --particularly her stuff on Joseph McCarthy which is pretty spot on accurate actually. Just ask Carl Bernstein's father Al who was recorded by his son as admitting to this when the latter approached his father about a book he planned to write (and eventually did):

"You're going to prove McCarthy was right because all he was saying is that the system was loaded with Communists. And he was right…. I'm worried about the kind of book you're going to write and about cleaning up McCarthy. The problem is that everybody said he was a liar; you're saying he was right…."

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On the Upcoming Supreme Court Retirements/Nominations:
(Plus a little nominating strategery from your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

My interlocutors words will be in dark green font.

Rumors are already swirling about a possible third retirement after November. The most likely would be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who according to former Supreme Court clerks may be in poorer health than Justice Rehnquist.

"That's the seat for [Albert] Gonzales, that third seat if it opens up," says Department of Justice staffer. "All of this depends on how the first nomination goes, but the assumption here is that this is not the time for Gonzales."

At no time will it be right for Gonzales. He is not a constructionist and we need constructionists on the court -along with about two dozen unconstitutional cases from the past fifty odd years overturned on everything from separation of church and state{1} to forced federal integration of schools{2} Griswold vs. Connecticu circa 1965{3}, Miranda vs. Arizona (1966), Lemon vs. Kurtzman (1971), Roe vs. Wade (1973), Hawaii Housing Authority vs. Midkiff circa 1984{4}, and numerous others that I cannot recall offhand from the 1970's-2000 and beyond.{5}

As of this writing federal Judge Emilio Garza is the frontrunner to replace O'Conner. There are several indicators, which may all be red herrings, but that is half the fun.

Garza would be fine based on what I know of him (which is not much admittedly). Frankly, if three justices are to be replaced, I think Garza, Janice Rogers Brown, and Miguel Estrada would be the way to go -but that is assuming that Estrada would go along with it of course.

To start with, President Bush should recess appoint John Bolton to be UN ambassador as I noted previously. Then, if that does not scare the dems from their summer snoozing, he should publicly opine about a recess appointment of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court if any of the justices have to step down for medical reasons (read: Rhenquist). At that point, the dems should be sufficiently scared to reconvene and the real strategery can begin. My suggestion as to how to proceed is as follows:

---Depending on how hostile the dems will be, perhaps Estrada can be used to sneak in Garza to replace O'Conner.{6} Basically, Bush would start with Estrada (if the latter is willing) and seek to get him confirmed. If that did not work, then he should turn to Garza.

---Janice Rogers Brown needs to be used for two reasons (i) they already agreed that she would not be filibustered at the apellate level and they would look bad to filibuster her at the higher court level and (ii) after two battles in trying to put a hispanic on the court preceding it, the dems going after a black woman nominee would seal the casket on just how racist they really are.{7}

Nonetheless, it looks as if more musings on court "constructionists, whores, and termites" will be part of the fare for my readers in the coming months: a theme which will have real life examples in the retiring Rhenquist (constructionist), O'Conner (whore), and Ginsburg (termite) respectively. If Bush botches these nominations up by not appointing constructionists to the court, the Republicans will destroy themselves and (by implication) reinvigorate the sad sack Democrats to clean their clocks in the 2006 midterms. You heard it here first!!!


{1} Everson vs. Board of Education (circa 1947) created the manner whereby the establishment clause is so egregiously misrepresented today).

{2} I refer here to Brown vs. Board of Education (circa 1954), a subject I briefly touched on last year.

{3} To my knowledge, Griswold vs. Connecticut was the one that started that absurd "right to privacy" constitutional interpolation which was later used in subsequent cases such as RvW.

{4} The latter was a decision on eminent domain that opened to the door to the recent court travesty on eminent domain.

{5} Oh yes, the Texas sodomy one from 2003, the Michigan quota case from 2003, and Planned Parenthood vx. Casey from 1990. The latter was case that would have overturned RvW if the prolifers were not so monumentally stupid during the 1986 elections. (Those who wonder why I do not jump on many prolife causes now have your answer since they seldom show that they have learned from shooting themselves in the head repeatedly lo these many years.)

{6} How racist would it appear if the Dems sought to keep off the court two Hispanic justices in a row???

{7} For those who still have any doubts on this matter.

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Bloody London attacks point to al-Qaida (At least 37 killed, 700 hurt in coordinated rush-hour blasts)

[Update: I wrote most of this post yesterday in a few spare moments but had problems in trying to post it. Since that time, they have confirmed 49 deaths in the blasts from yesterday morning -ISM 7/08/05 12:57pm]

Those who wonder why I have emphasized the importance of crushing Al-Qaida and of treating those who cater to the latter explicitly or implicitly as seditionists have --in light of what happened today yesterday-- another reason why.

I do not have the time to write on this most recent event but readers can assess my views adequately by consulting the archives of this weblog. For easier referencing, I point you to this recapitulation thread where sixty-two of the roughly eighty threads posted between August 22, 2002 and March 14, 2005 related to the war subject can be found.

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Points to Ponder:
(On the Many Masks of Modern Marxism)

There is a parallel not often recognized in the modern attempts to manufacture (i) racial strife, (ii) class envy (iii) a war between the genders, (iv) so-called "multiculturalism", (v) certain forms of so-called "sexual orientation" elevated to a so-called "civil right", (vi) so-called "environmentalism", (vii) the attempts to abolish God from the public square under the rubric of a perverted understanding of the first amendment, and (viii) not a few varieties of so-called "social justice" and so-called "peacemaking." The aforementioned parallel is that these are all movements where post-communists have sought to find ways of continuing the marxist weltanschauung under different banners to hide their true intentions. And frankly, anyone who does not realize these facts remains blind to reality.

The marxist in reality does not concern themselves with such "causes" and their feigned "compassion" only fools those who are naive. The only purpose that those "causes" have for the marxist is as tools to subvert the social order of society without concern for just public order or the true common good of society. Indeed, if you strip down any of the above advocacy movements beyond the surface self-platitudes and the incendiary rhetoric of so-called "activists", you will find the beating heart of marxism.

Now there are those who think that marxism went out of vogue with the defeat of Soviet communism. This is not true actually. While the defeat of Soviet communism did wake up many of its advocates from their ideological slumber, the more deluded of its disciples refused to resign themselves to facing up to the utter and obvious failure of their views to achieve in reality what they claimed in their activist rhetoric would occur.

For to the convinced marxist, realities do not matter and facts and arguments which confute their stated positions are of no concern either. This is why the activist marxist is like the shape-shifter in science fiction tales: they take on different external appearances but retain internally the same essence. This approach mirrors that of their former Soviet masters who constantly rewrote their own history to remove from it anything (or anyone) who in any way shows their cause for the shallow messianism that it actually is.

Now such a movement is bound to incur critics much as any movement espousing ideals (however suspect) does. However, what needs to be looked at is not the existence of critics but instead, how those who are part of this movement react to said critics. For the true measure of the lack of integrity of marxists in their various forms is how they deal with criticisms of either (i) their positions, (ii) said position's underlying presuppositions, or (iii) the actual reality of what said positions and presuppositions have created when the rubber of abstractionist rhetoric meets the road of reality. The patterns of said marxists for dealing with constructive criticism are predictable and they go along the lines of silence/silencing, dead-agenting, and (when the most hardcore of marxists attain political power) death respectively -starting with silence/silencing.

Silence is the best way for the marxist to deal with trenchant critiques of the weaknesses of their weltanschauung. When this approach is not viewed as a feasible approach in certain circumstances, then the tactics of prevarication become part and parcel to their modus opperandi with grand rhetorical criticisms being employed which do not address the arguments of the critics themselves but instead seek to deadagent the critics.

This approach also involves the marxist projecting the worst traits and tendencies of their own weltanschauung onto the critic who has the temerity to criticize the logical implications (or the actual results) of marxist methodology. (Rather than ignore said results and focus instead on the supposed "good intentions" that said marxist supposedly have.) If for some reason deadagenting fails, there is always the physical death option: though admittedly this is seldom advocated anymore.

Nonetheless, there is no shortage of danger in the marxist views and the stridency they have in trying to promulgate them needs to be met with equal stridency. America is already quite a socialist nation in many respects and this needs to be dealt with soon if we are to stem the tide. For socialism is nothing less than communism in a lessor-developed stage of growth. And those who advocate increased socialism are advocates of marxist communism whether they realize it or not. [I. Shawn McElhinney: Musings circa July 2-3 2005]

Hopefully, as we celebrate the independence of the United States of America this weekend, more people will recognize that authentic freedom is in greater jeopardy in America -with almost every passing year- and has been ever since we started dabbling in socialism in the early twentieth century. Hopefully, this holiday will give readers not only reasons for celebration but also for reflection as so much needs to be done to restore to this great nation so many of the freedoms which have been lost as a result of the corrupting influence of an increasingly intrusive federal government and activist judiciary.

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Most everyone in America who is not living in a cave knows the first verse of America the Beautiful. It seems appropriate with Independence Day taking place tomorrow that we reflect for a moment on some of the lessor-known verses of that great anthem. With that in mind, I give you verses two, three, and four:

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

And with the "mend our every flaw" and "thy gold refine" phrases in mind, let us consider before departing for the rest of the weekend some "flaws" which need "mend[ing]" and some "gold" which needs "refin[ing]"...