Saturday, September 21, 2002

"Mayday...Mayday...the SS Mariner is Sinking" Dept.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

I almost forgot to mention that the Seattle Mariners' "tragic number" is now down to one. If they lose one more game, they are finished and will not make the offseason. (And they will too unfortunately.) But cheer up M's fans, 2003 will be a good year because management the past couple of years is *finally* willing to field a contender. And this team is about 2 offensive bats away from the World Series. Before being critical, let us look at the strengths we have to build upon.

Joel Piniero and Ryan Franklin have emerged as bonafide starting pitchers alongside ageless Jamie Moyer (gonna be 40 next year), Freddy Garcia the current future number one pitcher (will be 26 next year: and he is quite a "horse" if you will), Ismael Valdez (30 next year). Considering that Ryan and Joel are about 24 and 23 respectively (and that is *young* for a major league pitcher to display such good stuff consistently) the pitching core is solid 1-5. (And that does not count 24 year old Gil Meche who will rejoin the team next year after he finishes rehab. I believe will be one of the all time greats in this game if he can stay healthy.)

Basically, since starting pitching, the bullpen, and defense will be solid next year, here is Dr. Shawn's Prescription for the problems:

1) Get a consistent left fielder who hits right handed and with power.

2) Move McLemore to the bench and sub him for the 4 infield positions and left and right field as needed to rest players. (Mac is too old to play center IMO.) He and Sierra should come off the bench as that was an area of weakness this year and their presence there as all around player and big bat off the bench respectively would be an asset.)

3) Whip Jeff Cirillo into shape. He had a bad year but these things happen. Talk at the sports stations is to get rid of him if possible but that is premature. We are talking about a guy who averaged .311 for the five years before we got him. (And only two of those years were with the Rockies so I will not buy the altitude excuse.) Despite struggling he had stellar defense and showed clutch abilities and that is important to have on a team.

4) Consider getting another center fielder who can hit with more consistency than Cameron. I cringed everytime I saw (or heard) him blow it in the clutch this year - and that was a lot.

The number of times he struck out with men in scoring position in a tight game was abominable. I know he is young but when there are men in scoring position you do not try to be Babe Ruth and hit the homer. Instead you try to be Lou Gerig and drive them in with base hits. (Yes I know Ruth did this too - I am using an analogy to make a point since Ruth was known more for the HR than the RBI though he had a lot of both.) The important statistics in baseball are not batting average and home runs. They are instead on base percentage and runs batted in. Give me a guy who goes 0-3 with a walk and 1-2 RBI's over a guy that goes 4-4 with no walks and no RBI's any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

5) Ben Davis needs more time as catcher. He and Dan should at least 50-50 it instead of 70-30 with Dan getting the edge. (Ben has power and Dan does not and this team needs power on offense.)

6) Guillen needs to go. His RBI totals were anemic and there are other shortstops who hit for more power whose defense is comperable to his. (See if we can con the A's out of Miguel Tejada somehow. They will have problems signing him after next year and may want to trade him to avoid getting nothing in return should he leave via free agency,)

7) Mariner management. Please do not let the window of opportunity close for getting a ring.

Do those things and we will make the World Series and probably win it. I cannot see any team with the pitching depth 1-5 as we will have next year or the bullpen. This team is two pieces away and they are both on offense.

Let Gillick get what is needed as he is the best architect of a team there is. Translation: open the wallets a bit more please and do what is needed to put this team over the top. Trust me, you will make it all back and then some with a deep run into the playoffs and (God-willing) a World Series.

So let it be let it be done!!!

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A Point to Ponder from Newman Dept.

"If we would not be beguiled by dreams, if we would ascertain facts as they are, then granting Theology is a real science, we cannot exclude it, and still call ourselves philosophers” (Idea of a University, Dis. iii., sec. 4).

For the benefit of those in Palm Beach County, FL, Thurston County, WA, or Rio Linda, CA this is *not* Paul Newman, Randy Newman, or Newman from Seinfeld.

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Okay it is spiritual meditation time. If you have not read the first part go HERE and do that first and read this section tomorrow.

That is right, if you read the other one first, please do not read this one until tomorrow. This is not a marathon after all and being a day behind on reflections is not a bad thing. It is in fact, a good thing if it means you are not rushing into things hastily. (Again I reiterate, skip over this post and read it tomorrow of you have not read yesterday's reflection which was originally put up last week.) I will then take a day off so "catching up" can occur.

Now without further ado, here is tonights reflection sans the numbers on the paragraphs. The topic: Interior Peace. (In light of some recent turmoils this is a most apropo subject to cover methinks.)

Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled by many things. (St. Luke, c. x, v. 41.)

Always active, always at rest. (St. Augustine.)

Be on your guard lest your zeal degenerate into anxiety and eagerness. St. Francis de Sales was a most pronounced enemy of these two defects. They cause us to lose sight of God in our actions and make us very prone to impatience if the slightest obstacle should interfere with our designs. It is only by acting peacefully that we can serve the God of peace in an acceptable manner.

"Do not suffer our peace to be disturbed by precipitation in our exterior actions. When our bodies or our minds are engaged in any work, we should perform it peacefully and with composure, not prescribing for ourselves a definite time to finish it, nor being too anxious to see it completed." - Scrupoli

Martha was engaged in a good work when she prepared a respite for our divine Lord, nevertheless He reproved her because she performed it with anxiety and agitation. This goes to show, says St. Francis de Sales, that it is not enough to do good, the good must moreover be done well, that is to say, with love and tranquility. If one turns the spinning-wheel too rapidly it falls and the thread breaks.

Whenever we are doing well we are always doing enough and doing it sufficiently fast. Those persons who are restless and impetuous do not accomplish any more and what they do is done badly.

St. Francis de Sales was never seen in a hurry no matter how varied or numerous might be the demands on his time. When on a certain occasion some surprise was expressed at this he said: "You ask me how it is that although others are agitated and flurried I am not likewise uneasy and in haste. What would you? I was not put in this world to cause fresh disturbance: is there not enough of it already without my adding to it by my exciteability?"

However, do not on the other hand succumb to sloth and indifference. All extremes are to be avoided. Cultivate a tranquil activity and an active tranquillity.

In order to acquire tranquillity in action it is necessary to consider carefully what we are able to accomplish and never to undertake more then that. It is self-love, ever more anxious to do much than is to do well, which urges us on to burden ourselves with great undertakings and to impose upon ourselves numerous obligations. It maintains and nourishes itself on this tension of mind, this restless anxiety which it takes for infallible signs of a superior capacity. Thus St. Francis de Sales was wont to say: "Our self-love is a great braggart, that wishes to undertake everything and accomplishes nothing".

"It appears to me that you are over eager and anxious in the pursuit of perfection...Now I tell you truthfully, as it is said in the Book of Kings [III Kings, C. XIX], that God is not in the great and strong wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the gentle movement of an almost imperceptable breeze.....Anxiety and agitation contribute nothing towards success. The desire of success is good, but only if it be accompanied by solicitude. I expressly forbid you to give way to inquietude, for it is the mother of all imperfections.....Peace is necessary in all things and everywhere. If any trouble come to us, either of an interior or exterior nature, we should receive it peacefully: if joy be ours, it should be received peacefully: have we to flee from evil, we should do it peacefully, otherwise we may fall in our flight and thus give our enemy a chance to kill us. Is there a good work to be done? We must do it peacefully, or else we shall commit many faults by our hastiness: and even regards penance, - that too must be done peacefully: Behold, said the prophet, in peace is my bitterness most bitter. (Isaiah.) [Fr. R.P. Quadrupani: Light and Peace - Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears pgs. 112-115 (c. 1795)]


Okay, your humble servant after a nice lengthy phone conversation with his good friend Dr. Art Sippo is in a better mood than he was earlier this morning. So to "celebrate" that he will start that series of spiritual reflections anew tonight. The text is finished except for minor tweaking and it will be the last thing to go up at Rerum Novarum tonight. (I note that here in case I decide in the interim to add additional stuff.) Stay tuned for details...


Friday, September 20, 2002

You know, I was going to have some kahlua on ice before turning in but I think I am going to actually need more than just kahlua to calm down now. I just read that the bishop's conference is going to try to bury the plenary council proposal in a bunch of bureaucratic paperwork. According to Greg Popcak from the HMS blog (apparently *not* the place to go to before turning in for bed):

On Heart Mind and Strength Radio, Deal Hudson urged listeners to email, call, and write to Bishop Wilton Gregory in support of the Plenary Council. It has been tabled by the Bishop's conference. Instead of bringing it to a vote, they will simply debate the issue on the floor and attempt to bury it in committee.

We cannot let this happen. The plenary council has the force of law. Every bishop would be required to enact it's policies. In this way it is totally unlike the conference, which can only suggest policy that may or may be acted upon by individual dioceses. Likewise, the Plenary Council is specifically intended to address the underlying causes of the present crisis in the Church. Namely, homosexuality and dissent. The bishops don't want to touch these questions with a ten foot crozier. They won't unless we demand it.

Write Bishop Gregory today.
[Note: here is the web url: - ISM] Tell him that you support the plenary council. Tell him that you believe the future of the American Church and the credibility of the bishops depend on their positive action on the plenary council initiative.

Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Diocese of Belleville
222 South Third Street
Belleville, IL 62220
(618) 277-8181

I wonder sometimes if these bishops realize that their silly advisory conferences are so ridiculously incompetent that they make the UN look competent by comparison. (And that is saying a lot.) But I digress...

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Before pouring some kahlua over rocks, I checked a few of my "semi-regular" blogs if you will to catch up on the reading. I also dabbled in the comments boxes at two of them and found two new bloggers. One of them I want to link to a commentary on (but cannot because there is something funky with their archives - I emailed them about it.) The other mentioned me on their blog with regards to a subject with the words "I am particularly interested in what I. Shawn McElhinney has to say". I will look over James Kabala's comments tomorrow if time affords. (Gotta put a link to your entries so they can be linked to individually James.) All I will say at the moment about the subject (that the decline in mass attendance over the past thirty years is because of the Pauline Missal) James is that it comes across to me as an egregiously fallacious argument of the post hoc ergo proper hoc variety.

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Thursday, September 19, 2002

I mentioned earlier that Bill Cork had a very good piece on his site. The points thread together well, the piece builds up to a very convincing position. However, I admit that I did not find the final part of it to be as good as the rest of the piece. It reads to me almost as overcompensation if you will in light of the case study he outlines in the rest of the piece. Here is the part I refer to:

And the solution?

There are several things that we need. We need to make sure that converts -- especially clergy -- really get exposed to the fullness of Catholic teaching, and that they have to reflect on all areas of their life and thought.


We need to thoroughly instruct people in the Catholic approach to Scripture.

Agreed again.

We must stop this business of putting clergy converts on the lecture circuit before the oil is dry.

A time of acclimation is certainly called for, I have no problem with that at all.

They need to learn philosophy and theology and live the hard knocks and sweet joys of every day Catholic life for a good many years.

I disagree with Bill here in general. Time is not the essence of the problem here. I have no problem with some converts after a brief time of acclimation becoming involved in evangelization. But with one caveat: that they think with the Church.

Now Bill outlines a case where this does not happen and I am not denying that there are people who jump into the pool too soon after eating in a manner of speaking. But a person with the right temperament is an asset to evangelization and should be encouraged in their endeavours. As long as they are:

a) A team player and

b) They work well with others and

c) They do not involve themselves too deeply in issues where they are not well informed and

d) They do not presume that even on issues where they are reasonably well informed that they are above further instruction and

e) They are open to fraternal correction by their peers and

f) They cultivate the spiritual side along with the theological side and

g) They are obedient to their ecclesiastical superiors - particularly the Holy Father and their diocesan bishop and (in this light) they make any criticisms carefully and with humility and

h) They do not present their opinions on theological positions - either explicitly or tacitly - as binding teaching and

i) They approach the sacred science with humility recognizing that it is far bigger than they are and

j) They are obedient to all teachings of the magisterium on matters pertaining to doctrine and discipline.

Those who can do these things should be involved in evangelization. Does this mean that I think they need to be done perfectly in order to evangelize??? No of course not but one should strive to follow them nonetheless as best as they can. In actuality there is a common thread running through all of them that - if tended to - will kinda set the person defacto in the proper frame of mind to evangelize in a manner that will bear good fruit. Those that can get to that core thread quickly can jump into the fray quicker, those who cannot should hold back. Anyway, that is MHO for what it is worth...

And if they do feel called to teach or preach, they shouldn't do it without approval.

Well, approval should not be shunned of course but if my guidelines are followed the worry about this issue is greatly reduced.

We need greater oversight of ministries that bear the name "Catholic." We need a system of certification of lay preachers--including the modern circuit riders. Even Martin Luther saw that "No one should preach or teach or administer the sacraments without a regular call."

I do not believe it has to be that elitist Bill. I agree with you that there are loose canons out there and people who cannot think with the Church are problematical. But there are a lot of people who *can* and they can learn as they go as many of us did. What is important is their manifested disposition.

The Church is speaking now about norms and procedures for "lay ecclesial ministry." Anyone who would preach or teach the Catholic faith as an apologist or public speaker must be held to those norms.

Frankly I would like to see the bigger issues dealt with first. The problem with making laws is that it is the last vestige for the unruly oftentimes. Spiritual instruction is more important than theological knowledge when you get down to brass tacks. The latter can be learned the way a toddler learns to walk or a child learns to ride a bike: there will be stumbling and falling until they get it right. By contrast you can have someone who is theologically rounded but has the wrong mentality. But this note has gone on long enough and I await Bill's comments in response if he is inclined to. I sympathize with his diagnosis but disagree in part to the proposed "remedy" if you will.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2002

"Dogmatic Theology 5 cents, the Doctor is in" Dept.
(in honour of Charles M. Schulz R.I.P.)

you wrote, "No in order to accept the teaching you simply accept it. The Catholic faith is not something to be discovered by theological reasoning. Instead theological reasoning is used to explain what has been handed down to us. Theological reasoning is not infallible; therefore you cannot use it as the basis for accepting a definition without falling into the fallible rendering of infallible teaching infinite regress mode. This is why I have and always will emphasize that what is important is *authority* and not infallibility."

I say, actually, what I meant isn't that we accept it because of the theological reason. what I meant is that because a definition is made in connection with the theological reason, the theological reason is defined as well. here's the example:

Vatican I first states that both the OT and NT are true because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit, not simply because they contain truth, nor because human scholarship has brought them about. and then it defines that they are inerrant.


is it safe to say that the definition implies that the OT and NT are inspired by the Holy Spirit?


another example:

Trent declares anathema those who do not accept the sacredness and canonicity of the Books defined as the Canon. does "sacredness" imply inspiration by the Holy Spirit?

Yes. If I recall correctly Trent in Session IV actually mentioned the Holy Ghost dictating the Scriptures before the part you mention. So if I am correct here then norms of theological interpretation would involve reading the heretical censure against those denying the sacredness and canonicity of the books in the light of the Holy Ghost dictating the contents of said book.

finally, is it safe to say that "the OT and NT are inspired by the Holy Spirit" because it is mentioned, with the prefix, "we profess," more than once in ecumenical councils? what theological qualifications should we give the "we profess" statements?

At a minimum definitive assent based on faith in the Church to inerrantly teach on matters of faith and morals (fides ecclesiastica).

You are in the secondary area of truths there. It is de fide that the Church is infallible when pronouncing on matters which fall under the primary object of truth (basically the immediately revealed truths and facts from Divine Revelation). However, it was long held to be theologically certain that this power extends also to secondary truths which are either a consequence of the teachings of Divine Revelation or which are presupposed from it. Vatican II declared this sententia definitive tenenda (basically that it is a definitive teaching to be held) in a Dogmatic Constitution thus removing the issue definitively from any future debate (cf. LG §25). However, it was widely held to be true by logical inference prior to Vatican II.

Dr. Ludwig Ott in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (circa 1952) noted that amongst the areas which are proposed for belief in virtue of the infallibility of the Church in teaching matters of faith and morals (fides ecclesiastica) include:

Theological Conclusions...

By these are understood religious truths, which are derived from two premises, of which one is an immediately revealed truth and the other a truth of natural reason...

Dogmatic facts...

By these are understood historical facts, which are not revealed, but which are intrinsically connected with revealed truth, for example, the legality of a Pope or of a General Council, or the fact of the Roman episcopate of St. Peter. The fact that a defined text does or does not agree with the doctrine of the Catholic Faith is also, in a narrower sense, a "dogmatic fact". In deciding the meaning of the text the Church does not pronounce sentence on the subjective intention of the author but on the objective sense of the text...

Truths of reason, which have not been revealed but are intrinsically associated with revealed truth, e.g. those philosophic truths which are presuppositions of the acts of Faith (knowledge of the supersensual, possibility of proofs of God, the spirituality of the soul, the freedom of the will)...[L. Ott: Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma pgs. 8-9 (c. 1952)]

Hopefully this is of some assistance in sorting out your inquiries.

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Time to Broaden the Application of the Ecclesia Dei Indult:

Guest editorial written by my friend Stephen Hand.

I made only minor modifications to the text and will present it between two sets of ### strips. Stephen uses the word "traditionalist" differently in this editorial than your humble blog host does. He uses it more to represent those who have certain attachments to older forms of the Latin liturgical tradition regardless of allegiences to Rome. (By contrast your host uses Traditionalist for those few who truly merit the term and "traditionalist" with a small t for those who do not.) This distinction is noted here so that Stephen's editorial can be posted substantially as he wrote it and not appear to controvert the terminology used by your humble servant at Rerum Novarum. Anyway, without further ado, here is the editorial...

####### joins Pope John Paul II in affirming, per [the Apostolic letter] Ecclesia Dei issed motu proprio, that:

" is necessary that all the Pastors and the other faithful have a new awareness, not only of the lawfulness but also of the richness for the Church of a diversity of charisms, traditions of spirituality and apostolate, which also constitutes the beauty of unity in variety: of that blended "harmony" which the earthly Church raises up to Heaven under the impulse of the Holy Spirit.

With that end in view we are reminded of the Holy Father's admonition regarding the

"respect [which] must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See..."

Like many other Catholics, we found ourselves again disappointed last summer when negotiations between the Church and the Society of St. Pius X failed to secure a full reconciliation. In no way do we blame the Holy See, which acted in good faith and offered the SSPX much more than what was contained in the 1988 Protocol Agreement between the Church and Archbishop Lefebvre. Nevertheless the SSPX chose to remain in schism rather than reconcile with Pope John Paul II and the Roman Catholic Church. That is tragic.

Yet we hope that this setback will not translate into a similar series of setbacks with other traditional organizations and priests operating outside of the Church, apart from Peter, the principle of Catholic unity, but who may wish in their hearts to reconcile in the near future, knowing that:

"especially contradictory is a notion of Tradition which opposes the universal Magisterium of the Church possessed by the Bishops of Rome and the Body of Bishops. It is impossible to remain faithful to the Tradition while breaking the ecclesial bond with him to whom, in the person of the Apostle Peter, Christ Himself entrusted the ministry of unity in His Church". [JPII: Ecclesia Dei (c.1988)]

Inspired by Rome's spirit of generosity towards traditionalists, we hope more of our separated traditionalist brethren who follow the pre-conciliar liturgy will consider coming home to Holy Mother Church to assist in the battle against unbelief, against dissent, whether from the theological left or the right, and against other forms of rebellion which have so ravaged the Church in our time and to join in the Church's joyous proclamation of the Gospel of salvation toward all.

In short, we feel the time has come and is indeed propitious for the Holy See to broaden the Ecclesia Dei indult so that any Catholic priest who wishes may, without fear of penalties at the local level, and as an expression of the Church's legitimate liturgical pluralism, celebrate Mass according to the Roman Missal typical edition of 1962, (whether in Latin, the vernacular, or, better, parts of each) in any local church for "all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition". In this way would be fulfilled that "wide and generous application" of the Indult the Holy Father has already urged but which has not been evenly accepted by all bishops.

This action, of course, would be utterly without prejudice to the normative 1970 Roman Missal of Paul VI which, when performed according to norms of that missal, has been tranquilly accepted by most of the People of God, and which also expresses that liturgical "richness...which also constitutes the beauty of unity in variety..." which is so compelling.

This generous action would facilitate the potential reconciliation of traditional-minded Catholics as is the Holy Father's wish as expressed in the following passage from [the Apostolic letter] Ecclesia Dei:

"To all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition, I wish to manifest my will to facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of the necessary measures to guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations."

In turn, traditional-minded Catholics would more easily abide by the teachings of the living magisterium of the Church as expressed so well in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and separate from those irresponsible leaders who have strayed from this magisterium and who used the Tridentine Mass as a banner for all manner of wrong doctrine.

In short, the Ecclesia Dei indult must be applied according to the mind of Pope John Paul II, and the Holy Father desires the reconciliation of traditionalists who have broken communion with the Church. We believe this is the proptitious moment, the Catholic moment, for full and complete reconciliation and that this may be accomplished by showing even more dramatically our desire as the People of God to facilitate that reunion which, we believe, can happen all over the world.

Integrism---that form of error, and sometimes outright rebellion, which confuses the accidents and the substance of the Faith and judges them both to be "integral" to that Faith--- which exists in doctrinal opposition to the living magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, has, alas, derailed the Latin Mass movement which must once again find its place in the Church. As the Council of Trent said:

"The Holy Council declares moreover: The Church has always had, in the dispensation of the sacraments, their substance being saved, the power to decide or to modify what she judges better to suit the spiritual utility of those who receive them or with respect to the sacraments themselves, according to the variety of circumstances, times and places. [The Council of Trent, Dz 1728; also Dz Herder ed, 1955, #931, p. 256]

It is time to return the Latin Mass movement to the tracks of doctrinal faithfulness in accordance with the aims of the Second Vatican Council which is a gift to our time. It will certainly take time, but the time to begin the process is, we think, now.



I would be remiss if I did not before winding down Rerum Novarum for the night note here the labours of my friend John Betts who has been like a watchman sounding the alarm about the sword of semitic degradation coming on the land (cf. Ez. 33:1-20). I raise my glass of kahlua to you brother. Which reminds me...

In light of recent discussions I have had with some friends, I thought it would be prudent to rerun the instructional on spiritual direction before moving onto other subjects. Here is the link of that entry which ran a week ago: Spiritual Instruction

I will start another topic tomorrow at evensong or so if time affords it...

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Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Responsum ad Catholicam Dubiosum Part III:

(aka. "More Furious Madness from the Massed Gadgets of Integrisme")

The last installment of this series can be found at the following link (which should be read before this installment):

Another Brick in the Responsum Catholicam Dubiosum (Part II)

I found the third part rather serendipitously in my notepad file. As it was finished last month (albeit I forgot about it) I thought since since the person I am addressing here has resumed challenges to lawful authority in correspondence that we could go for another refutation and thus "strike out the side". (As well as provide some definitions of terms that may be of general assistance anyway.) Here goes...

6) Any verbal denial of any divine and catholic dogma constitutes a verbal admission of being guilty of heresy.

Sure but there is one problem: WHO judges when there has been a denial of a divine and catholic dogma??? Barring the most explicit denunciations this is not an easy thing to judge nor should it be - precisely because this charge is so serious.

7) The pope has not verbally denied a single divine and catholic dogma.

The pope has denied no dogmas PERIOD, verbally or otherwise.

8) Ergo, we cannot judge the pope to be a heretic.

Wrong again (in charity I will recognize this as a "half truth"). Yes we cannot judge the pope to be a heretic but not because of a theological inquiry or any other presumption. Without the *magisterium* passing judgment, heresy cannot be legitimately asserted by anyone. PERIOD. Also, heresy involves not only denial of dogma but willful doubt of dogma. Doubts are not restricted to the verbal domain by any means. Nor are denials - though as I noted one should be *very* careful in this matter.

It is one thing to say that someone's position is proximate to heresy - such as someone who refuses to obey the pope in matters of discipline and government of the Church: this is a denial of dogma by example. ("We proclaim, we pronounce, we define that it is *absolutely necessary for salvation* for all creatures to be in submission to the Roman pontiff - Apostolic letter Unam sanctum.) But without the Church passing judgment on them, that is as close as one can get. And even THAT assertion should never be made hastily as to do so damages a person's good name and that is a gravely serious sin.

What the pope has dished up is plenty of symbolic, impious, and circumstantial evidence of his material heresies.

This appears to be an engaging in suspicion with regards to a grave matter without adequate foundation for doing so. In short, this assertion is an objectively mortal sin. To quote from the Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary pg 510 (c. 1931) "suspicion" is defined as follows - all emphasis is mine:

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).

Hand in hand with suspicion is the element of pride - another of which the self-styled "traditionalist" has in spades. From the same dictionary on page 422 I give you the definition of "pride":

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 devistating 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 itelf, 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".

But there is still hope for this person for in the same email they note the following:

In contrast to the Protestant notion of merely a fiducial faith, a personal relationship with God as being all that is necessary for salvation (sola fides), Catholicism insists upon a confessional Faith (D 822, D819). That is, our Faith must be exteriorly and objectively expressed though word and deed.


The standard for salvation ought to reflect the standard for damnation.

For those who are judged on the basis of proper adherence to the Law sure. But salvation is by grace alone. And grace covers over a lot of imperfections that the Law condemns.

Well then, if by faith alone we are saved, NOT! if we are only saved by the actualization of that Faith in deed and in word, it would seem that symmetry would demand the converse for damnation.


That is, merely harboring a material heresy (sort of like having a “personal relationship” with the devil!) ought to be insufficient for damnation. Rather, the damnable offense of formal heresy must needs be actualized not just in deed but in word as well.

As an *excommunicable offense* this is true but there are a lot of heretics that have not been excommunicated who hide well their inner state from others through the clever use of words. This analogy presumes that liars would be honest and forthright about their outlooks. In a Disney movie perhaps but in reality that is not always the case. Hence Our Lord issued to us a warning about how to detect agents of evil:

"Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit and every bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits shall you know them" (Matt. vii,15-20).

Hence when a movement breeds schism, lying, slander, suspicion, its agents puffing themselves up as judges of other people up to and including lawful authority - whom they selectively choose when to be obedient in areas where submission is *required* de fide, and other maladies, what are we dealing with my readers??? We are dealing with an intrinsically bad tree. Such a tree is Protestantism. And likewise such a tree is "traditionalism" falsely so-called.

Caveat Emptor!!!

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Credit goes to Bill Cork who successfully tied together in logical sequence several separate thoughts I have had privately about Bob Sungenis' situation. (Lest it appear that I am stealing Bill's thunder here, we had never "met" in the email sense at the time I read his piece.) Here is the link to it as it is a very good systematic explanation of the manifold elements in this current equation: Bob'n Cork

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Monday, September 16, 2002

More interesting tidbits courtesy of the JunkYard Blog:

Link #1
Link #2
Link #3
Link #4

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To respond in brief to an email I received this morning:

would the doctrine of the Divine inspiration of Scriptures be a part of ordinary Magisterium, if more than one ecumenical councils employ words like, we, the holy synod, profess that Scriptures is inspired by the Holy Spirit?


since Vatican I defined with a decree that Scriptures is infallible, and previously stated that Scriptures is inspired by God, would it be safe to say that the Church defines that Scriptures is infallible BECAUSE it is inspired by God,

The word infallible would need to be quantified. There is material infallibility and formal infallibility. Material infallibility would be any utterance of a statement already handed on as definitive. Thus if I tell you that the Holy Father has supreme authority not only in matters of faith and morals but also in the areas of Church discipline and government, I have made a materially infallible statement because the Church already defined it. Formal infallibility implies an active element in the here and now if you will.

It is better to refer to the Scriptures as inerrant than infallible. I for one think any usage of the word "infallible" should be tempered. The reason is the common fallacy that infallibility is the criterion for the truth or the irreformability of a teaching - and is thus the criterion for obedience. Such a position is poisonous and needs to be dispatched whenever it crops its head up because it is the death knell of the very notion of obedience to a superior of any kind. But to answer in brief, the Scriptures are inerrant because they are inspired of God (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17). So with a minor adjustment (replacing "infallible" with "inerrant") your statement works yes.

and hence "Scriptures is inspired by God" is included as part of the definition (or at least closely related to it, that in order to accept the definition, we must accept the theological reason for the definition?)

No in order to accept the teaching you simply accept it. The Catholic faith is not something to be discovered by theological reasoning. Instead theological reasoning is used to explain what has been handed down to us. Theological reasoning is not infallible; therefore you cannot use it as the basis for accepting a definition without falling into the fallible rendering of infallible teaching infinite regress mode. This is why I have and always will emphasize that what is important is *authority* and not infallibility.

The Church's infallibility stretches much further than most people presume it does. But different channels in which teaching is handed on have different circumstances whereby they can hand on a teaching in a definitive manner. This is why the root and matrix of the entire question must be focused on the authority of the Church to teach in Our Lord's name. Because infallible or not, magisterial teaching still requires at least a religious submission of mind and will. So what should be the question is not as much "is it infallible" as "is it magisterial". And if the latter answer is yes, then it is to be professed. Beyond that point one can seek a further assessment of precise theological qualification of a teaching but only when they are already professing the teaching. Otherwise they make an idol out of "infallibility" and their own private judgment of what is and is not infallible. And that is a malady that is not uncommon today unfortunately.

how do we know that something is a part of Tradition if the Church has not defined it?

This is I am afraid a very broad question and would need to be narrowed a bit. A lot of people think that something is part of Tradition simply because it is old or has been around for a while. These are facile criteria in and of themselves.

With regards to matters of faith and morals, if a principle pertaining to either of these spheres has been reiterated by the magisterium it is in many if not most cases definitive. If the teaching is handed on whereas the judgment itself presupposes certain elements that are not fixed variables then if the variables do change the teaching may have to be reasserted in a new medium where the alterations are taken into account. There is a complexity to these issues that can at times transcend the understanding of even the most learned of theologians. So bearing in mind that the Faith is not for the wise and prudent but for the little ones, the principle of religious submission of mind and will to all magisterial teachings pertaining to faith or morals is necessary. This keeps the true faithful from anxiety even in situations where they may not understand the rationale for a given teaching or pastoral directive. And it is a good damper against making an idol of one's own opinions.

In short, a lot of people put things in the Tradition that do not belong there. I cannot postulate on a blank slate so if you send me some examples I will work from them. Otherwise the statement is akin to the phrase "wherever you go, there you are" as I see it.

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I planned on starting that meditation on zeal tonight but I seem to have misplaced the notes. So look for tomorrow evening to start the series. I never know when I want to do these things but if I start it it will run in sequence until done. The zeal one will be in two sections. Then in honour of the uberapologist we may touch on a few subjects he is woefully lacking in. But you will have to tune in for details... :)

In the meantime, I have Kitaro's song Silk Road playing from "Enchanted Evening" and a bottle of liquor and my shotglass nearby. As soon as I finish my bottle of water I will take them outside to the hammock with a double carona hecho a mano for some relaxation and reflection. See you all tomorrow or so...same Bat time...same Bat channel...

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"He's Blinded To Real Science...[And He] Failed [In Cosmology]" Dept.
(with apologies to Thomas Dolby)

At my request my comrade SecretAgentMan has reposted a critique he did of a certain "challenge" posted by uberapologist Robert Sungenis. I think Bob took his cue from a certain amateur Reformed apologist - who is no svend of his - who put out a similarly bogus challenge back in 1999. At least the Reformed apologist had a $100,000 offer in his "challenge".

Something tells your humble blog host that the Flat Earth Society guy who has had a $5,000 challenge of his own for thirty odd years and has yet to pay up would pony the cash faster than the aforementioned uberapologist. For it appears that Bob fancies himself not only as a scientist but he is now apparently a Talmudic scholar too. (Did I also mention he was a canonist???) More could be said here but out of charity I will refrain.

Anyway here is SAM's commentary and some parting words from G K Chesterton about what your humble servant thinks is the problem with the uberapologist:

SAM vs. Sungenis

Nothing more strangely indicates an enormous and silent evil of modern society than the extraordinary use which is made nowadays of the word "orthodox." In former days the heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox. He had no pride in having rebelled against them; they had rebelled against him. The armies with their cruel security, the kings with their cold faces, the decorous processes of State, the reasonable processes of law--all these like sheep had gone astray. The man was proud of being orthodox, was proud of being right. If he stood alone in a howling wilderness he was more than a man; he was a church. He was the centre of the universe; it was round him that the stars swung. All the tortures torn out of forgotten hells could not make him admit that he was heretical. [Heretics Ch. 1 (c. 1905)]

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Mr. Sungenis is NOT a heretic. (Emphasized to avoid giving the wrong impression.) But the *mentality* outlined by Chesterton above certainly applies and has with increasing frequency in the past couple of years viz our uberapologist.

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Sunday, September 15, 2002

Reflections on Interfaith Outreach -Part II:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

The following is from a correspondence I had on the subject of interfaith and ecumenism. The reader is advised to read Part I of this series first before reading this entry. The first part explains theological ramifications while this one addresses the practical aspects if you will.

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In trying to explain the dynamics of interfaith outreach - which differs from ecumenism in some respects - I am reminded of a MASH episode where Charles Winchester III debuted on the TV series (sometime in 1977 or so - six years into the run) and he made his first foray into the operating room. Unlike the surgeon he replaced, Charles was not barely competent. In fact, he was the only surgeon who was quite possibly a technically more proficient than the camps leading surgeons Hawkeye and Honeycut. But he was mortified by the damage done to the patients that came into the operating room - as he was used to sanitary operating conditions in Tokyo General.

You see, he was used to taking his time to get the operation done right and having all of his ducks in a row if you will. But there he was in 4077 operating on a patient barely able to believe what he was seeing and further still: he was told to "hurry it up we have more incoming wounded" as the sounds of choppers in the distance could be heard lightly echoing.

A near breakdown occurred by Charles when he heard the helicopters coming and he was nowhere near done working on the patient he was working on. You see, despite Charles' proficiency as a world-class surgeon, he had no experience in battlefield procedures - operating with substandard conditions, operating as quickly and efficiently as possible, trying to bandage up the wounded before more arrived. After his first day, he felt like an incompetent and Hawkeye told him straight up (I paraphrase) "it is not that I am necessarily a better surgeon Charles, I am simply used to the conditions. Over here we have meatball surgery unlike what you were accustomed to at Tokyo General and you have to learn shortcuts to keep up". In a nutshell that is interfaith outreach such as Assisi I and II: meatball surgery.

Most people who are critical of these kinds of meetings have never read the transcripts of the speeches. Yes interfaith is not "nice and neat" as it is when we deal with Christians. This is unfortunate and also discomforting to many people. But it is reality and reality is seldom nice, neat, and tidy. It was long overdue for the Church to come to this realization and address the matter appropriately. To those of us who see the *true* scandal of possibly millions of souls lost over the centuries because of bone headed legalist western attempts to (in essence) "speak Latin to those who speak Chinese and refusing to learn Chinese in order to speak to them", that my friend is the reality. This is not to denigrate our predecessors in the faith but to learn from their mistakes the way future generations hopefully will learn from ours.

It would be an even bigger scandal to continue the insanity of what did *not* work for hundreds of years when it did not work before - particularly since the Church has chosen to go another path in her evangelization. (And before you point to St. Francis Xavier, a lot of his actions fit nicely into the concept of modern interfaith outreach properly conducted. His successors attempts to carry on the legacy were squashed by Rome because there were too many "Cardinal Humbert's" involved if you will.)

Interfaith outreach is "meatball surgery" compared to the nice clean (by comparison) religious debates the west has conducted with the Orthodox and Protestants over the centuries. It is not "clean and neat", it is not in any sense "ideal". But it is necessary and long overdue because what is important is reaching souls with the saving power of Christ - even if implicit initially - and cultivating the religious impulse. This means reaching them in a manner that *they* can comprehend not simply what makes US feel "more comfortable" or "less scandalized".

* * *

More on this subject will be forthcoming when I have the mood to resume it again...

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