Friday, November 15, 2002

Spiritual Instruction on Prayer (Part II):

Part I can be read HERE. For continuity sake I will reiterate the last paragraph of part I in part II using dark green font.

The very fact that we derive less gratification from such prayer, makes it all the more pleasing to God, because we are thus suffering for love of Him. Let us call to mind at such times that Our Lord prayed without consolation throughout His bitter agony.

"All this trouble comes from self-love and from the good opinion we have of ourselves. If our hearts do not melt with tenderness, if we have no relish or sensible feeling in prayer, if we do not enjoy great internal sweetness during meditation, we are at once overwhelmed with sadness: if we find difficulty in doing good, if some obstacle is opposed to our pious designs, we give way to disquietude and are eager to conquer all this and to be free from it. Why? Undoubtedly because we love consolations, our own comfort, our own convenience. We wish to pray immersed in sweetness, and to be virtuous that we may eat sugar; and we do not contemplate Our Saviour Jesus Christ, who, prone upon the ground, is covered with a sweat of blood caused by the intense conflict He feels interiorly between the repugnances of the inferior portions of His soul and the resolutions of the superior." - St. Francis de Sales.

This same teaching is given by another master of the spiritual life:

"We frequently seek the gratification and consolation of self-love in the testimony we desire to render to ourselves. Thus we are disturbed by our lack of sensible fervor, whereas in reality we never pray so hard as when we are tempted to think we are not praying at all. We fear to pray badly then, but we should fear rather to give way to the vexation of our cowardly nature, to a philosophical infidelity, which ever wishes to demonstrate to itself its own operations - in fine, to an impatient desire to see and feel in order to console ourselves.

There is no penance more bitter than this state of pure faith without sensible support. Hence I conclude that it is freer than any other from illusion. Strange temptation! to seek impatiently for sensible consolation through fear of not being sufficiently penitent! Ah! why not rather accept as a penance the deprivation of that consolation we are so tempted to seek?" - Fenelon.

3. You wll sometimes imagine that at prayer your soul is not in the presence of God and that only your body is in the church, like the statues and candelabras that adorn the altars. Think then, that you share with those inanimate objects the honour of serving as ornaments for the house of God, and that in the presence of your Creator even this humble role should seem glorious to you.

"You tell me that you cannot pray well. But what better prayer could there be than to represent to God again and again, as you are doing, your nothingness and misery? The most touching appeal that beggers can make is to merely expose to us their deformities and necessities. But there are times when you cannot even do this much, you say, and that you remain there like a statue. Well even that is better than nothing. Kings and princes have statues in their palaces for no other purpose than they may take pleasure in looking at them: be satisfied then to fulfill the same office in the presence of God, and when it so pleases Him He will animate the statue". - St. Francis de Sales.

4. When you have not consciously or voluntarily yielded to distractions, do not stop and to find out what may have been their cause, or to discover if you have in any way given occasion to them. This would be simply to weary and disquiet yourself unprofitably. From wherever direction they come, you can convert them into a source of merit by casting yourself into the arms of the Divine Mercy. St. Francis de Sales when asked how he prayed, replied: "I cannot say it too often - I receive peacefully whatever the Lord sends me. If He consoles me, I kiss the right hand of his mercy; if I am dry and distracted, I kiss the left hand of His justice". This method is the only good one for as the same Saint says: "He who truly loves prayer, loves it for the love of God: and he who loves it for the love of God, wishes to experience in it naught but what God is pleased to send him."Now, whatever you experience in prayer is precisely what God wills. [Fr. R. P. Quadrupini: excerpts from his spiritual instruction "Light and Peace - Instructions for Devout Souls" pgs. 20-22 (c. 1795)]

To be continued...


Thursday, November 14, 2002

"There Goes Sun-ge-niiiiis....There Goes Sun-ge-nis...(And Its Clear) That He's Wrong Agaaaaaaaaaaaain" Dept.

Little darlin'...CAI's had a long fall from grace this yearrrrr
Little darlin' it seems like years since Bob has been saaaane
There goes Sun-ge-niiiiis, there goes Sun-ge-nis
And I say he's all wrong agaaaaaaaaaaaain...

Veritas takes aim at Robert Sungenis and yet another example of Bob's mania for revisionist theology. Bob's apparent motto is "when you cannot beat them, selectively edit their statements and build a strawman to set fire to". I thought false witness was a sin against the eighth commandment. But what do I know right??? Anyway, here is the link:

"Bob E. Sungenis: Superrrrr Genius"

Little darlin' there's in-co-her-ence in his wri-ting...
Little darlin' has it been years since he made any sense....
There goes Sun-ge-niiiiis, there goes Sun-ge-nis
And its clear, he's all wrong agaaaaaaaaaaaain...

Frankly my friends, someone who is so ignorant of the Gospel, Church History, Theology, and the Writings of Augustine, Aquinas, Trent, and Pius X ...well... my sense of fair play feels violated even responding to them. (And yes I actually *do* have a sense of fair play that works itself into the equation.)

It feels to me like any aim I take at his theological/historical stuff is taking aim at a fish in a barrel with a shotgun. Not that I have any personal interest in repeatedly subjecting the guy to thrashings but as long as he continues to lie, distort reality, and pass himself off as a Catholic, then the Gospel is made a mockery of. Thus in that light if my friends want to lay the smack down on Bob's candy ass, I may not involve myself directly but when I feel it is warranted, I *will* give them the publicity. Error after all has no rights right???

Little darlin' I see his ice of san-i-ty melt-in'
Little darlin' has it been years since he was Cath-olic....
There goes Sun-ge-niiiiis, there goes Sun-ge-nis
And I say he's all wrong agaaaaaaaaaaaain...

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"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."
You are Augustine!
You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them. Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?
A creation of Henderson


Addendum to the "Groundhog Day" Entry:

A brief notation on the entry on authority located HERE.

I made a few references to "at least six definitions of papal primacy". I mention this here because I did not mention Pope Boniface VIII's definition in the Apostolic letter Unam Sanctum. I mention this for the "trads" who think I am not aware of this text.

(Yes believe it or not I *do* get emails on occasion from those who seemingly know no other text and who think because I do not habitually refer to it with every cup of tea that either I do not know about it or I do know about it and am "subverting" the faith by not mentioning it with every breath I take as they do.) Remember people "at least six definitions" means there is more than six, not simply "six".

And why are those so hell bent on parroting Unam Sanctum virtually always the very same people who without fail both apply an unRoman extremist hermeneutic to the text along with egregiously violating the very definition in the sense it was defined in??? (I wonder if King Phillip IV responded to Boniface VIII with the claim "sorry chap, I follow 'Eternal Rome' not your 'Hildebrandian novelty' which is contrary to 1300 years of Catholic Tradition".) Inquiring minds wanna know...

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"Bastiat's Corner"

Just because the election is over does not mean we stop the instruction. This is an area that Republicans are almost as guilty in as Democrats. The last section of this series can be read HERE.

I suggest that anyone who has not yet started this series to go HERE and start from the beginning. For I assure you it will be more than worth your while to do this - conservatives to fortify and systemize a lot of what they instinctually know already (as well as provide consistency to the conservative rationale which is not common today). For liberals...well...I challenge you to take this thesis on honestly and wrestle with it. Without further ado, Mr. Bastiat has our next lesson on the Law and its proper use vs. improper use.

Plunder Violates Ownership

I do not, as is often done, use the word in any vague, uncertain, approximate, or metaphorical sense. I use it in its scientific acceptance -- as expressing the idea opposite to that of property [wages, land, money, or whatever]. When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it -- without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud -- to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed.

I say that this act is exactly what the law is supposed to suppress, always and everywhere. When the law itself commits this act that it is supposed to suppress, I say that plunder is still committed, and I add that from the point of view of society and welfare, this aggression against rights is even worse. In this case of legal plunder, however, the person who receives the benefits is not responsible for the act of plundering. The responsibility for this legal plunder rests with the law, the legislator, and society itself. Therein lies the political danger.

It is to be regretted that the word plunder is offensive. I have tried in vain to find an inoffensive word, for I would not at any time -- especially now -- wish to add an irritating word to our dissentions. Thus, whether I am believed or not, I declare that I do not mean to attack the intentions or the morality of anyone. Rather, I am attacking an idea which I believe to be false; a system which appears to me to be unjust; an injustice so independent of personal intentions that each of us profits from it without wishing to do so, and suffers from it without knowing the cause of the suffering.

Three Systems of Plunder

The sincerity of those who advocate protectionism, socialism, and communism is not here questioned. Any writer who would do that must be influenced by a political spirit or a political fear. It is to be pointed out, however, that protectionism, socialism, and communism are basically the same plant in three different stages of its growth. All that can be said is that legal plunder is more visible in communism because it is complete plunder; and in protectionism because the plunder is limited to specific groups and industries.* Thus it follows that, of the three systems, socialism is the vaguest, the most indecisive, and, consequently, the most sincere stage of development.

*If the special privilege of government protection against competition -- a monopoly -- were granted only to one group in France, the iron workers, for instance, this act would so obviously be legal plunder that it could not last for long. It is for this reason that we see all the protected trades combined into a common cause. They even organize themselves in such a manner as to appear to represent all persons who labor. Instinctively, they feel that legal plunder is concealed by generalizing it.

But sincere or insincere, the intentions of persons are not here under question. In fact, I have already said that legal plunder is based partially on philanthropy, even though it is a false philanthropy.

With this explanation, let us examine the value -- the origin and the tendency -- of this popular aspiration which claims to accomplish the general welfare by general plunder.

Law Is Force

Since the law organizes justice, the socialists ask why the law should not also organize labor, education, and religion.

Why should not law be used for these purposes? Because it could not organize labor, education, and religion without destroying justice. We must remember that law is force, and that, consequently, the proper functions of the law cannot lawfully extend beyond the proper functions of force.

When law and force keep a person within the bounds of justice, they impose nothing but a mere negation. They oblige him only to abstain from harming others. They violate neither his personality, his liberty, nor his property. They safeguard all of these. They are defensive; they defend equally the rights of all.

Law Is a Negative Concept

The harmlessness of the mission performed by law and lawful defense is self-evident; the usefulness is obvious; and the legitimacy cannot be disputed.

As a friend of mine once remarked, this negative concept of law is so true that the statement, the purpose of the law is to cause justice to reign, is not a rigorously accurate statement. It ought to be stated that the purpose of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is injustice, instead of justice, that has an existence of its own. Justice is achieved only when injustice is absent.

But when the law, by means of its necessary agent, force, imposes upon men a regulation of labor, a method or a subject of education, a religious faith or creed -- then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own wills; the initiative of the legislator for their own initiatives. When this happens, the people no longer need to discuss, to compare, to plan ahead; the law does all this for them. Intelligence becomes a useless prop for the people; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property.

Try to imagine a regulation of labor imposed by force that is not a violation of liberty; a transfer of wealth imposed by force that is not a violation of property. If you cannot reconcile these contradictions, then you must conclude that the law cannot organize labor and industry without organizing injustice.

The Political Approach

When a politician views society from the seclusion of his office, he is struck by the spectacle of the inequality that he sees. He deplores the deprivations which are the lot of so many of our brothers, deprivations which appear to be even sadder when contrasted with luxury and wealth.

Perhaps the politician should ask himself whether this state of affairs has not been caused by old conquests and lootings, and by more recent legal plunder. Perhaps he should consider this proposition: Since all persons seek well-being and perfection, would not a condition of justice be sufficient to cause the greatest efforts toward progress, and the greatest possible equality that is compatible with individual responsibility? Would not this be in accord with the concept of individual responsibility which God has willed in order that mankind may have the choice between vice and virtue, and the resulting punishment and reward?

But the politician never gives this a thought. His mind turns to organizations, combinations, and arrangements -- legal or apparently legal. He attempts to remedy the evil by increasing and perpetuating the very thing that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder. We have seen that justice is a negative concept. Is there even one of these positive legal actions that does not contain the principle of plunder?

The Law and Charity

You say: "There are persons who have no money," and you turn to the law. But the law is not a breast that fills itself with milk. Nor are the lacteal veins of the law supplied with milk from a source outside the society. Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in. If every person draws from the treasury the amount that he has put in it, it is true that the law then plunders nobody. But this procedure does nothing for the persons who have no money. It does not promote equality of income. The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder.

With this in mind, examine the protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits, guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works. You will find that they are always based on legal plunder, organized injustice.

The Law and Education

You say: "There are persons who lack education," and you turn to the law. But the law is not, in itself, a torch of learning which shines its light abroad. The law extends over a society where some persons have knowledge and others do not; where some citizens need to learn, and others can teach. In this matter of education, the law has only two alternatives: It can permit this transaction of teaching - and - learning to operate freely and without the use of force, or it can force human wills in this matter by taking from some of them enough to pay the teachers who are appointed by government to instruct others, without charge. But in this second case, the law commits legal plunder by violating liberty and property.

The Law and Morals

You say: "Here are persons who are lacking in morality or religion," and you turn to the law. But law is force. And need I point out what a violent and futile effort it is to use force in the matters of morality and religion?

It would seem that socialists, however self-complacent, could not avoid seeing this monstrous legal plunder that results from such systems and such efforts. But what do the socialists do? They cleverly disguise this legal plunder from others -- and even from themselves -- under the seductive names of fraternity, unity, organization, and association. Because we ask so little from the law -- only justice -- the socialists thereby assume that we reject fraternity, unity, organization, and association. The socialists brand us with the name individualist.

But we assure the socialists that we repudiate only forced organization, not natural organization. We repudiate the forms of association that are forced upon us, not free association. We repudiate forced fraternity, not true fraternity. We repudiate the artificial unity that does nothing more than deprive persons of individual responsibility. We do not repudiate the natural unity of mankind under Providence.

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Authority and Infallibility Yet Again Ad Infinitum:
(aka "Groundhog Day" Dept.)

Dear Shawn,

You wrote, “Theologians are given some leeway whereas they can suspend internal assent but laity can virtually never use this means because they almost always react in an egotistical manner whereby they place the teaching of the Church at their own disposal to pick and choose.”

Not even the eternally indelible transformation of our souls wrought by the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, or holy orders induces in us one iota of moral “leeway.” Yet I am to believe that a mere academic degree in theology does what sacraments cannot do?

The Church has a venerable tradition of suspension of assent as a means whereby difficulties can be worked through. The idea stems from the presupposition that the magisterium expects assent to all of its teachings.

I do not like to discuss this element very often because those who object and gripe at every little thing that does not make them happy do not have the proper frame of mind to be able to utilize this principle in the very judicious manner whereby it is intended.{1} This principle is for that very rare point or two that the individual truly struggles with. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with dissent from teaching which is never permissible.

How can you assume that all us non-theologians “always react in an egotistical manner”?

I said "almost always" and my experience in dialogue on message boards, discussion lists, email correspondence, etc. proves this out. Very rarely do I run across people who are cautious and deferential in the manner whereby they discuss issues pertaining to doctrine or its implementation.

How can you presume that theologians, by virtue of being theologians, are somehow preserved from egotism.

It has nothing to do with being preserved from egotism. What it has to do with is the fact that theologians are almost always far more studied than lay people. (Even someone such as myself who could be classified as an "amateur theologian".) They therefore when they have a problem are usually putting forth a position which has undergone some intense studying on the matter, have approached it in the proper way utilizing norms of theological interpretation, and are thus not reacting flippently.

By contrast I run across lay people who fly off the handle or overreact to issues that - upon a bit of inquiry - it becomes clear that they have a superficial grasp of the factors involved at best. Ergo, such people - particularly since they have no professional training in theology - should be far more circumspect than they quite often are.

A cursory view of the life of Teilhard de Chardin should disabuse you of this.

Actually Teilhard acted appropriately. Church authority told him to shut up and he did. The works of his which were published were virtually all done posthumously - and he published nothing after he was told to shut up. Compared to someone like Lefebvre who did not shut up and who did not bear the sentence imposed upon him with the proper dispositions, I have more esteem for Teilhard than I do for Lefebvre. (To pick one example of several I could list.)

You ask, “Why is it that people cannot seem to get it through their thick skulls that when discussing Catholic teaching and obedience that the issue is not one of infallibility but instead it is a matter of authority???”

Because, authority is fallible but infallible authority is not.

The Church's authority is not made binding or non-binding on the basis of the theological qualification of a give teaching. You may recall in my open letter to you that I quoted eight pre-Vatican II popes (Pius VI, Pius VII, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII) on the necessity of obedience to the bishop because he rules with divine authority. Well as I noted last week somehow I overlooked Benedict XV who taught as follows:

There remains one matter which must not be passed over in silence, and that is, to remind the priests of the whole world, as Our most dear sons, how absolutely necessary it is, for their own salvation, and for the fruitfulness of their sacred ministry, that they should be most closely united with their Bishop and most loyal to him. The spirit of insubordination and independence, so characteristic of our times, has, as We deplored above, not entirely spared the ministers of the Sanctuary.

It is not rare for pastors of the Church to find sorrow and contradiction where they had a right to look for comfort and help. Let those who have so unfortunately failed in their duty, recall to their minds again and again, that the authority of those whom "the Holy Spirit hath placed as Bishops to rule the Church of God" (Acts 20:28) is a divine authority. Let them remember that if, as we have seen, those who resist any legitimate authority, resist God, much more impiously do they act who refuse to obey the Bishop, whom God has consecrated with a special character by the exercise of His power.

"Since charity," wrote St. Ignatius Martyr, "doth not suffer me to be silent concerning you, therefore was I forward to exhort you, that you run in harmony with the mind of God: for Jesus Christ also, our inseparable life, is the mind of the Father, even as the bishops that are settled in the farthest parts of the earth are in the mind of Jesus Christ. So then it becometh you to run in harmony with the mind of the bishop" (Ep. ad Ephes. 3.). These words of the illustrious Martyr are re-echoed throughout the ages by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. [His Holiness Pope Benedict XV: Encyclical Letter Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum §28 (November 1, 1914)]

There are fewer teachings that have more of a legitimate claim to the oft-wrongly-thrown-around "2000 years of Tradition" speal then this one does. Obedience based not on infallibility but divinely vested authority.

The Church would not have bothered to go through all the trouble of defining the dogma of the pope’s infallible authority if we were under just as strict an obligation to obey his fallible authority.

Two points:

1) The definition of papal infallibility only covers what is to be believed de fide. It does not cover a whole host of other area where the pope is also infallible which are too be held by ecclesiastical faith and not divine faith.

2) Prior to defining papal infallibility the Church had already defined the supreme primacy of the pope. She did this at Lyons II and again in the all-important sixth session of Florence:

"We also define that the holy apostolic see and the Roman pontiff holds the primacy over the whole world and the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter prince of the apostles, and that he is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole church and the father and teacher of all Christians, and to him was committed in blessed Peter the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole church, as is contained also in the acts of ecumenical councils and in the sacred canons." [Florence Session VI (c. 1439)]

You may remember this quote from my open letter to you:

"Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, BOTH SINGULARLY AND COLLECTIVELY, ARE BOUND TO SUBMIT TO THIS POWER BY THE DUTY OF HIERARCHICAL SUBORDINATION AND TRUE OBEDIENCE, and this *not* only in matters concerning faith and morals, BUT ALSO IN THOSE WHICH REGARD THE DISCIPLINE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH THROUGHOUT THE WORLD...[Vatican I: Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus §3,2 (c. 1870)]

Paragraph one of chapter 3 I did not include for the sake of economy. It reads as follows:

"Chapter 3. On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman pontiff

And so, supported by the clear witness of holy scripture, and adhering to the manifest and explicit decrees both of our predecessors the Roman pontiffs and of general councils, we promulgate anew the definition of the ecumenical council of Florence..., which must be believed by all faithful Christians, namely that the apostolic see and the Roman pontiff hold a world-wide primacy, and that the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole church and father and teacher of all christian people. To him, in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to tend, rule and govern the universal church. All this is to be found in the acts of the ecumenical councils and the sacred canons."

In short Vatican I before it defined papal infallibility reiterated and defined anew the dogma of supreme papal primacy and authority. And need I remind you of the sanction attached to this teaching. (I quote again from the open letter):

"So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this NOT ONLY IN MATTERS OF FAITH AND MORALS, BUT ALSO IN THOSE WHICH CONCERN THE DISCIPLINE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH DISPERSED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE WORLD; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: LET HIM BE ANATHEMA".

The definition of papal infallibility was preceded by a solid reaffirmation and solemn recapitulation under anathema of the dogma of papal supreme primacy. And within that constitution as I noted in the open letter the full supreme authority of the diocesan bishop was reaffirmed though this area would not be fully treated and completed until Vatican II. Nonetheless Vatican I made it clear that papal primacy did not detract from episcopal authority.

So your assertion that "The Church would not have bothered to go through all the trouble of defining the dogma of the pope’s infallible authority if we were under just as strict an obligation to obey his fallible authority" does not stand up. If we really want to get technical about it, there are two definitions of papal infallibility: Vatican I and the reiteration of the teaching at Vatican II. By contrast there are at least six definitions of papal primacy. I will detail them here starting with the Formula of Hormisdas of 519 AD which was the first and the blueprint for all that followed. (Even Vatican I quoted from the Formula of Hormisdas.) For this I quote from the most authoritative commentary on Pastor Aeternus - that issued from the architect of the conciliar definition of papal infallibility Bishop Vincent Gasser of Brixen:

Now I come to the arguments of tradition which are set forth in the proposed chapter itself, come, that is, to the documents adduced from three councils. As far as these arguments are concerned, they are drawn, as you know, from the ecumenical councils in which - after there had, unfortunately, been schisms between the Eastern and Western Church - the East and West came together to remove this schism. Since many objections have been brought forward in the general congregations with the purpose of weakening the probative force which is contained in these testimonies, it is necessary to review a few things.

As far as the Council of Constantinople IV is concerned, the words adduced in the proposed chapter are almost identical with the formula of Pope Hormisdas, by which the Acacian schism was resolved, and which was approved not only by the Church of the West but also by a very large part of the Eastern Church. It was said that this formula contains nothing more than the confidence that there would never happen to the Chair of Peter what had already regretfully happened to so many other Apostolic Sees, and that the successors of the Prince of the Apostles would function until the end of the world in the task of protecting the Faith and of confirming their brothers.

But this interpretation does not agree with either the literal or the historical meaning of the document in question. It does not agree with the letter because the words of this formula of Pope Hormisdas, which were received almost verbatim by the Council of Constantinople IV, say, as you know, the following: "The first thing required for salvation is to keep the norm of correct faith and to deviate in no way from what the Fathers have established, because it is not possible to lay aside the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, `You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.' These words are proved true by their effects because, in the Apostolic See, the Catholic religion has always been preserved immaculate. Desiring in no way to be separated from this hope and faith and following in all things what has been established by the Fathers, we anathematize all heretics, etc." And at the end it is said: "Therefore, as we have said before, following the Apostolic See in all things and preaching all things determined by it, I hope that I may merit to be in one communion with you (i.e., with Pope Hormisdas) and with what the Apostolic See preaches, in which See [resides] the integral and true solidity of the Christian religion." These are the words of Hormisdas' formula.

So we have Hormisdas' formulary of 519 which was reiterated at Constantinople IV (869) in their Profession of Faith. This formulary was not allowed to be discussed by Pope Clement IV at Lyons II because the teaching has already been set forth by Constantinople IV and he would not allow it therefore to appear to be called into question. Lyons II followed suit by defining the primacy of the Pope in 1274 for what would be the third definition of papal primacy.

Florence followed suit and defined it as I noted above. Vatican I reaffirmed Florence anew, reiterated the Greek profession from Lyons II, and referred to Constantinople IV and redefined the dogma of papal primacy anew affixing it solemnly with an anathema *before* defining the part of papal infallibility that was to be held de fide. That was the fifth reiteration of the dogma. And of course there is this definition from Vatican II:

This teaching concerning the institution, the permanence, the nature and import of the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his infallible teaching office, the sacred synod proposes anew to be firmly believed by all the faithful.

That is at least the sixth definition of papal primacy. And papal primacy involves teachings of the ordinary magisterium which are either not recognizably definitive or which are not being set forth either expressly or tacitly in a definitive manner.

Distinctions without a difference are not made. Once made, they ought not be treated indifferently.

The difference Albert is that infallibility flows from the authority of the Church, it is not the criterion for obedience to the Church's authority. In the same way, you to the extent that you reiterate the teaching of the Church to your children faithfully are in this matter materially infallible. But your children are not allowed to presume that when Dad is not reiterating Church teaching that his authority is not to be heeded. There is a natural authority that you possess over your family that is supplemented by the teaching of the Church but is not contingent upon it. This is also how Church authority is properly understood.

So if there’s a distinction between fallible and infallible authority, you must allow for a difference in our response to said distinction.

I do. If the teaching is manifestly definitive then assent is definitive and full. If the status of the teaching is uncertain then religious submission of mind and will is required. The difference between the two is that definitive teaching requires definitive assent period whereas teaching where the definitive character is either uncertain or lacking{2} requires religious submission which entails full but not necessarily definitive assent. In this area there is room for questioning in a spirit of fraternal charity to better understand the teaching being proposed. Difficulties can thus be dealt with and overcome.

Furthermore, not all teachings of this distinction have the same degree of authority. Thus to the extent this is possible the individual needs to strive to conform to the manifest mind of the teacher when we are talking about areas where they have authority to teach. As Pope Benedict XV noted above "[T]hose who resist any legitimate authority, resist God, much more impiously do they act who refuse to obey the Bishop, whom God has consecrated with a special character by the exercise of His power". This is why the issue that is the very root and matrix of all areas of dispute is the issue of authority.


{1} And also because most people's problems are resolved through further study and prayer if they have the proper disposition anyway.

{2} A teaching is usually handed on definitively through repetition or a series of teachings none of which individually would constitute an actual exercise of magisterial infallibility. This is one of the major reasons why religious submission to ALL magisterial teaching is and always has been required.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2002

On my "harsh" treatment of those who dissent from magisterial teaching Bill Bannon issued the following response: whence the percentages??...feelings???

Here is my response: I *feel* your pain!!!


"JunkYard Blog" Dept.
(aka "A Rerum Novarum Double Spin")

Some commentary on the Iraqi Parlament and Saddam's attempt to pull a Clinton are available at The JunkYard BLOG. Also available if you scroll down to the article on Nancy Pelosi is my comments on why we as conservatives should feign discomfort about Nancy so that the Democrats think she is a "threat" to us and elect her. Counter-espionage in essence my friends. Which reminds me...

The following short essay by Bryan Preston (aka Lord High Executioner of the aforementioned The JunkYard BLOG) highlights what I have been saying for years about how conservatives need to approach their exercise of power:

Help President Bush Help Us

I tried to find my comments on this from Kevin Miller's De Virtutibus weblog but they appear to have disappeared. (I doubt Kevin deleted them.) Anyway that makes up this edition of the "double spin" but before I forget: Kevin reformatted his weblog and it looks good. Give his site a visit and you will see what I mean.

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"Trad" Internal Inconsistency -Part II:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

This is a continuation of the thread started HERE. Please read it before reading this one for proper context.

It is a clear and irrefutable (not to mention damning) fact that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, and the Abbe de Nantes were all on the side of the Vichy government.{1} There is a LOT more dirt here that I could print that I will not get into and cannot ever recall mentioning publicly in any of my refutations of pseudo-tradism: stuff that corroborates the above assertions and which all the more crystallizes to the discredit of the SSPX and their allies. (As if supporting the Nazis was not bad enough.)

I remember one message board post from last year where I touched on the subject but I stopped short of going into detail on it. By sharp contrast the theologians and philosophers later persecuted (referring to the theologian/philosophers Blondel, de Lubac, Conger, Danielou, and Maritain among some others) were all affiliated with the Resistance which was opposed to the Nazi regime. Note the clean division made above.

There are many elements to this equation that are not often recognized but it is interesting to note that those who supported the stagnant neo-scholastic manual theology methods - and the duplex ordo view of nature and grace relationship - were by my reckoning always on the side of the Nazis in Germany, Franco on Spain, and Mussolini in Italy. If you are aware that the French movement "Action Francaise" factors heavily into the equation it helps to see the root and matrix of all the Lefebvrist positions.

Action Francaise was founded by Charles Maurras (1868-1952) who was an atheist. He saw the Catholic Church as a force of tradition, authority, and order. Viewed in this prism, he saw the Catholic Church as a counter to the revolutionaries of the mid nineteenth century who propounded a radical form of democracy that was condemned by the popes.{2}

Action Francaise saw as a necessary part of their program a restoration of the Catholic monarchy. (Garrigou-Lagrange's declaring to Jacques Maritain that his support of the Free French against the Nazi occupied Vichy government was a mortal sin demonstrates the degree to which Integrisme was a core philosophy of its adherents.)

Now when you consider the teachings of Vatican I which were never completed,{3} the apparent imbalance in Church teaching made the papacy come across as very monarchial indeed. And though collegiality is eminently traditional, Lefebvre and company saw collegiality as akin to the radicals of the nineteenth century who were pushing for dangerous forms of democracy. The idea that collegiality presupposes the papacy and is not properly exercised apart from it never permeated Lefebvre's weltanschauung. (Much as the idea that there could be democratic forms of government that were not akin to the mob rule of the French revolutionaries.)

In the realm of religious liberty the original schema which was defended by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani actually stated that religious liberty was something that the Church claimed when she was in the minority but that she never had to concede when in the majority. How this rationale would have persuaded the overwhelmingly secularist governments - not to mention the atheist totalitarian dictatorships such as the USSR - is of course a mystery since the rationale here is so ridiculously inconsistent.

The integralists never understood (and still do not) that there was a distinction to be made between the divine law which the Catholic Church taught recognized the right of one religion and one religion alone to exist and the individuals rights in civil society to religious liberty and being able to worship in accordance with their conscience without coercion by government provided that certain limits were respected.{4} This is a subject that I have written essays on and books have been written on by others. Hence it cannot be done justice in a brief weblog blurb.

And of course that the ecumenism as espoused by the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council was diametrically different from the ecumenical efforts of the 1920's which Pope Pius XI condemned in Mortalium Animos. This is something that anyone who actually *reads* the relevant documents can see. The substance of the errors condemned in Mortalium Animos were also condemned in Unitatis Redintegratio. What differs is the usage of certain terms and the rejection by UR of certain policies that MA put into place to deal with specific contingencies of its time. But this is another area where essays and books can be written and I will not do it full justice here in this brief summation by my own admission.

In summary, those who opposed the duplex ordo were almost always opposed to the Nazis, opposed to Franco, and opposed to Mussolini. (Not to mention the strong anti-semitic streak that permeated the adherents to duplex ordo outlooks viz nature and grace.) I believe that the paralysis of duplex ordo theology is what causes the "trads" to act in the very inconsistent manner that you have noted Patrick. Hence Lefebvre (as I noted in my essay on the Syllabus of Errors) could endorse forceful suppression of Muslim worshippers and claim that it was "contrary to charity" but at the same time "you would not be doing them an injustice".

When something can be by implication both opposed to charity and at the same time be just, you have a SERIOUS internal inconsistency because what is uncharitable cannot be just anymore than what is intrinsically evil can be good. But when you espouse duplex ordo theology, that is the kind of twisted rationale you inexorably get.


{1} The war criminal Paul Touvier was not the only one who was given amnesty at Lefebvrist monasteries and seminaries I assure you.

{2} And still is I might add.

{3} As the Second Dogmatic Constitution on the Church intended to deal with the episcopate was never issued. Only with Vatican II would these teachings be completed.

{4} Limits I might add to which the Catholic religion is Constitutionally incapable of breaching if properly exercised.

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Why is it that people cannot seem to get it through their thick skulls that when discussing Catholic teaching and obedience that the issue is not one of infallibility but instead it is a matter of authority??? I wonder at times if this kind of obtuseness is not deliberate.

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Here is an interesting comment from a recent addition to the blogosphere:

I'm only linking to women. Or mostly women. They're the only ones I trust anymore. There won't be any women getting accused of sex abuse, for obvious reasons.

Would one of the "obvious reasons" be that what would be construed by most women as harrassment would be construed by most men as a compliment???

Heck, Amy Welborn, Eve Tushnet, Karen Marie Knapp, these women are our St. Catherine of Sienas, and St. Joan of Arcs. God bless them, and all that they do. Thank God for them.

What about Emily Stimpson??? Frankly the more of her stuff I read the more I am tempted towards endorsing cloning - though intellectually those arguments do not hold water with me admittedly. To some extent it applies to the others you mentioned too...which proves a thesis I have advanced for sometime that old traditional virtues really are at bottom very sensual because of the mystery involved that so often today is dispensed with...

Non Omnis Moriar


Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Another Visit to Steve's Message Board


Clarifications about a previous post to Rerum Novarum


Before I prepare to catch some evening news before bedtime, I thought sharing the latest quiz results would be in order. The subject is Which Beatles Album Are You? Here are my results:

#1 equals your best match

Default order is alphabetical

#1 Abbey Road
#2 Let It Be
#3 Magical Mystery Tour
#4 Sgt. Pepper's
#5 The White Album
#6 Yellow Submarine
#7 Revolver
#8 Rubber Soul
#9 Beatles For Sale
#10 A Hard Day's Night
#11 Help!
#12 Please Please Me
#13 With The Beatles


"Mea Culpa" Dept.

I plan to do some thorough cleaning tomorrow so hopefully my book of spiritual instructions will turn up so I can do part II of the series on prayer. I apologize for the fact that the book got misplaced and thus the prayer series was derailed.

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"A Whiiite...Tight Coat" Dept.

Look who else they have affiliated themselves with over at CAItanic.

Abbe de Nantes is a fruitcake fellas. Seldom have I run across someone who knows less about theology than he does ...though I suppose compared to the staff at CAItanic de Nantes actually comes out looking like another Bellarmine. Ed Hara, if you are reading this, it may be time to add a section to your second "Fruitcake" essay about CAItanic.

For those who do not know to what I refer, I edited two essays by my good friend Edward A. Hara where he details the kinds of kookery that The Curmudgeon refers to. Here are those essays for your edification:

Private Interpretation and Fruitcake

Fruitcake II- Too Many Nuts

I see another Epilogue Ed only this time for Part II. Because Mencken's words in the Epilogue of Part I so describe CAItanic and its fall from a respectable apostolate to the crackhouse of weirdos it has now become. Just a suggestion so mull it around a bit okay???

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Monday, November 11, 2002

Note to Edwin:

I apologize for not getting back to you on the Florence discussion. (I have been literally swamped.) I hope to in the next day or so put the ball back in your court...


"Trad" Internal Inconsistency -Part I:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Patrick Madrid of Envoy made the following comments about the SSPX at the Envoy Encore weblog:

The official website of the Society of St. Pius X contains this odd assertion: “The Society of Saint Pius X professes filial devotion an loyalty to Pope John Paul II, the Successor of Saint Peter and the Vicar of Christ. The priests of the Society pray for His Holiness and the local Ordinary at every Mass they celebrate.” It’s odd because it clashes so dramatically with their actions and rhetoric.

While it’s good to know that the pope and the bishops in communion with him are being prayed for at SSPX Masses, it’s disturbing to see the strange disconnect that exists in the minds of the SSPX adherents. On one hand they profess “filial devotion and loyalty” to the pope. On the other, they flatly refuse to obey him.

One of the subjects I am toying with adding in a revision of my treatise contra integrism is the subject of the "dual order" of nature and grace. This outlook is prevalent among the so-called "traditionalists" and originated from Cardinal Cajetan's interpretation of St. Thomas' theology on nature and grace. Such a distinction which in essence postulates a dichotomization of the two realms as extrinsically and externally related to one another rather than having an integral connexion of sorts.{1}

Of course that St. Thomas never postulated such a "dual order" was a point forcefully made by the late Jesuit theologian Fr. Henri de Lubac who meticulously destroyed the credibility of the "dual order" position and the "trads" have hated him for it ever since. That is the ultra brief take on the subject as I have no time to flesh it out in any detail.

Oh and to my "trad" readers who want to bring Humani Generis into the picture, there are *no* condemnations of Fr. de Lubac's theology in HG and only a very superficial reading of the encyclical could posit such a condemnation as your so-called "theologians" presume there is.{2}

In short Patrick, this "dual order" (duplex ordo) in my opinion coupled with a very shoddy understanding of the Mystical Body of Christ allows for the kind of dichotomies you note above to be made. There is also the political angle too and this should not be underestimated. But I will deal with that in a followup post to this one hopefully sometime tomorrow.


{1} That is a profoundly simplistic summary but it will have to do for the moment.

{2} Sadly though, superficial analysis is not in short supply in the "trad" camp.

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Sunday, November 10, 2002

Rerum Novarum Has Been Updated!!!

Basically I added fifteen links, adjusted the template appearance, and moved some of the links around on the list. All additions are made motu proprio all things to the contrary notwithstanding.


"Cleaning Out My Notebook" Dept.

Though I alluded to it here Pete's mothballing of CLOG after mysteriously jumping ship to Catholic Light and Envoy - conveniently both are group weblogs - sorta ruined my "present" for him of a Bull of Excommunication.{1} In cleaning out my notebook today, I ran across that very "Bull of Excommunication" prepared back around the 17th of October which I dated for October 21st and planned to issue around the 24th or so. But Pete turning up at Catholic Light kinda soiled that idea.

The group at Catholic Light much as Pete does puts up stuff I enjoy reading. (Same with the Envoy crowd.) Certainly neither of the group weblogs should receive repercussions for Pete's "crime" of disagreeing with me right??? ;-) Nonetheless, in a wonderful case of hair-splitting{2} I thought that I could change it slightly to an excommunication of Pete when he is posting at CLOG and thereby play the self-styled "traditionalist" card of excommunicating and denouncing anyone who disagrees with them.

So after careful consultation We at Rerum Novarum have decided to proceed in this fashion and solemnly excommunicate Peter Vere's weblog CLOG and any posts he puts there until he "recants" of his "crime". The colour purple in this case intends to indicate our "sorrow" at having to take this "drastic action".


Pursuant to the warning issued by this weblog on October 6, 2002, and published that same day, because the canonist Peter Vere, a resident of Nokomis, Florida (USA), did not within the period that ended on October 20, 2002, give any indication of amendment or repentance for the most serious offense he had committed, this Dicastery, in keeping with this warning, declares that [his weblog Canon Lawyers Obliterating Ghosts] has incurred excommunication reserved to the Sovereign Thane and Lord High Executioner of Rerum Novarum.

In having to take the aforementioned action, We at this humble weblog trust that, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the above-mentioned person may [on their weblog CLOG] rediscover the path of conversion in order to return to the unity of the faith and to communion with the blogosphere, which he has wounded by his actions.

Seattle, from the Offices of Rerum Novarum's Sequestered Inquisition Tribunal, October 21, 2002.

Ivan Dunn, Notary

This of course does not apply to Peter Vere personally except in his role as Vicar of CLOG and its contents thereof.


{1} All done up in legal jargon for his enjoyment.

{2} For a real life example consider the SSPX's claim of "we do not associate with anyone who is openly sedevacantist".


One From the Vault:

After discovering that I could access Gerard's site again, I was thinking about one of my first entries to this weblog when scrolling the archives for entries to include in an upcoming weblog update. (I try to update this thing about every two weeks or so excluding minor stuff like adding a week of archives to my list, etc.)

Anyway, here is an entry where (courtesy of Gerard's weblog) I quote from possibly the twentieth century's greatest theologian: Cardinal Henri de Lubac. The subject is The Mystery of the Moon. Enjoy!!!

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"If You Want To Look Thin, Hang Out With Fat People" Dept.
(aka "My Kingdom for a Viable Third Party")

To any Democrat who is depressed either over getting the smack laid down on them on Tuesday and the thought that Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader means almost certainly plenty of upcoming time in majority party exile take heart. You could after all be Libertarian and be stuck in single digit electoral purgatory ad infinitum.

I vote for Libertarians at times and a long time ago thought they were potentially viable. I explain my admiration for their Jehovah's Witness determination among other things HERE so I will not repeat them at this time. Nonetheless Dems, you could be Libertarians. And for my Libertarian readers, I suggest considering what term is used to describe doing the exact same thing time and again and each time expecting a different result.

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