Thursday, November 21, 2002

"JunkYard BLOG" Dept.


Senate Minority Leader (soon to be...) has finally lost it. Today, he compared Rush Limbaugh and other righties to Islamic terrorists...Click here for more

On the combatting terrorist front:


The Pentagon is looking into the feasibility of tracking consumer purchases, ostensibly to look for tell-tale signs of terrrorist activity.

Edward Aldridge, undersecretary of Acquisitions and Technology, told reporters that the Pentagon is developing a prototype database to seek "patterns indicative of terrorist activity." Aldridge said the database would collect and use software to analyze consumer purchases in hopes of catching terrorists before it's too late. Click here for more

On the above subject I am not as divided as Bryan is. For as much as I abhor the degenerative nature of conspiracy theory, this is one area that would frankly give too much credence to that realm. (Though not as much as something I recently heard about which falls into the "it would be evil if if fell into the wrong hands" category. I may write on this subject soon if time affords.) Nonetheless, that is nearly enough reading for this entry. One more on this subject to complete the "triple spin":


Woo-hoo! We've nabbed al Qaeda's top guy in the Persian Gulf region...Click here for more

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"ACME Industrial Powered Catholic Refutometer" Dept.

As readers of my web essays are aware, I have been rather critical of Reformed "theologian", "historian", and "philosopher" Eric Svendsen for having an amazing degree of obtuseness in some of the most fundamental elements of theology, history, and philosophy. (I demonstrate this in two essays at my writings link in the margin: the first on a garden variety number of subjects and the second on his ignorance of Church history and the Christological heresy of Nestorianism which Svendsen is unquestionably an adherent of - along with many elements of a Manichaean outlook.) Before posting another example of his egregious mistakes, permit me for a moment this small observation.

Eric kinda chases after the Catholic Church and her evangelists like Wil E.Coyote chasing after the Roadrunner. And like Wil E. Coyote (who self dubs himself "Superrr Genius") he crashes and burns continually. Well this time The Curmudgeon plays the part of the Roadrunner and yet again Eric is exposed for an ignoramus. Here is the link: Bambi vs. Godzilla.

Maybe the "E" in Wil E. Coyote's name stands for "Eric". After a few years of watching him crash and burn I think this is a very viable theory.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Note to Michael (Pax): My response to you is finished and I hope to email it tomorrow evening or so. I apologize for the delay but I am rather behind on responses over the past week plus.


More on Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus:

A continuation of the thread started HERE.

Dear Shawn,
Thanks for 10 point summary of your position on EENS.

No problem. I was unaware that you had the Welborn protocol going on with your list but that is okay :)

We are basically in agreement.

I am glad about that.

I differ only with your means to our shared conclusion, i.e., I object to points 5 through 9.

I had a hunch you would disagree with those points. The reason: I used Council documents and a reference to Pope Paul in making them.

For if I had not included references to Pope Paul and the Council documents my guess is that you would have no disagreements with them at all. Nonetheless, I decided to include them anyway in order to test my hypothesis and you took the bait as I thought you would :)

For I could have referenced Lumen Gentium for point ten and a couple of other points too and originally did but I removed the references in those examples sensing that if I did that you would concur with them. And my instincts were correct as usual.

You are still operating under a hermeneutic of suspicion about Vatican II or anything remotely connected to what you preceive of it. I trust that in time that tendency will be breached though.

It seems metaphysically silly to divide the truth up, as if the Mystical Body of Christ really had arms and legs, a heart and a thyroid gland, bigger and lesser parts. As if the Protestants merely comprise its left foot, while the Pentecostals have no more of the truth than its baby toe.

Again, non-Catholics are joined to the Soul of the Church (aka the "animating principle of the Body" but cannot be accounted as actual members of the Body itself. As far as "metaphysical silliness" goes, well you need not address that to me but instead take it up with St. Paul:

1 Corinthians 12

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.
16 And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.
19 If they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now there are many members, but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;
23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable,
24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked,
25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are Christ's body, and 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?
30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?
31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

The distinction between the body and the soul is how Catholics and non-Catholics are distinguished for we cannot account as actual members those who are either (i) unbaptized (ii) baptized but failing to profess the right faith or (iii) baptized, professing the right faith, but failing to submit to the discipline and authority of the Church. Anyone with these defects can only be joined to the Church through the soul if at all.

Now while 1 Corinthians 12 gives a description of the body and its members in explaining the diversity of gifts within the Church, the most significant manifestation of the mystical body in the Scriptures is in the fourth chapter of Ephesians:

Ephesians 4

1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love...

Ephesians 5:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are members of His body.
32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

And the classic epistle text for the Nuptual Mass in the Tridentine Missal uses the text above from Ephesians in explaining the relationship of Christ and the Church. As in the Corinthians text and the text from Ephesians 4, the imagery is not conveyed that way without purpose.

This theme of the Mystical Body in literal terms was also reiterated in Colossians which some believe was written concurrently with Ephesians and borrowed some of its thought:

Colossians 2

4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.
5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead...

18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

So I reject the VCII notion you seem to be pushing of “the hierarchy of truth” (as if the Mystical Body were a totem pole of higher and lower truths), the “axis of convergence” around which all truth is found (as if there really was a skeleton the various churches hang their pound of flesh upon), and “the fullness of truth” subsisting in the Catholic Church (as if the blood flowing from her wounds in the form of Protestantism could give life to the red dirt).

Then you disagree fundamentally with St. Paul. I doubt there was many subjects where he was clearer on than the very real imagery of the relation of the members of the Body of Christ and the Head of the Body as Christ being joined together as literally as are ligaments, joints, fingers, toes, and other organs joined to a body. This imagery is the very heart and soul of our worship which is a partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion.

For "[i]s not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread" (i Cor. x, 16-17).

Protestants think our belief in the Real Presence is "metaphysically silly". I suggest you think about the manner whereby they abandon the literal text of John vi because of its "metaphysical silliness" and instead consider that perhaps St. Paul's reiteration of the relationship of the Mystical Body to Christ in literal terms is done with a similar "silly" reason.

I also suggest that in light of what I have pointed out above (and will point to below) that you set aside your constant suspicions on these matters as solemnly proclaimed by Mother Church in the last Ecumenical Council as the manner whereby people are saved through the Church who are saved at all. Oh lest I forget the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium in explaining the mystery of the Church used over 300 Scriptural references including:

1 Cor 12 - 7 references
Ephesians 4:1-16 - 7 references
Ephesians 5:22ff - 6 references
Col 2:4-12; 18-19 - 3 references

There was a reason I suggested reading that open letter concurrently with St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. Hopefully my reason for that is now evident.

"Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology" - St. Thomas Aquinas

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Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus - A Brief Synopsis:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

To understand the gist of the response I will be blogging next, I will put up part of an email I wrote which outlined this subject.

My position in a nutshell is this:

1) All salvation comes through Christ.

2) The Church is the sacrament of salvation through which all graces flow.

3) Outside the Church there is no salvation.

4) The Church as the Mystical Body of Christ has both visible and invisible components. Members properly so-called are incorporated by baptism and maintain their membership in the Mystical Body by both profession of faith and submission to the Church's authority. Any one of these elements lacking and the person cannot be accounted as a member of the Church and has no part of the ecclesiastical body.

5) The fullness of truth subsists in the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church (cf. Lumen Gentium §8) which is "the axis of convergence" around which all truth is found (cf. Pope Paul VI).

6) Subsistance in Scholastic terminology is a unique quality which denotes existence in itself. Thus God subsists and we merely exist. Existence involves dependance whereas subsistance does not. This is the relationship of all other churches, ecclesial communities, and faiths to the Catholic Church.

7) Any and all Churches, ecclesial communities, or other belief systems to the extent that they proclaim truth proclaim a portion of what the Church possesses and professes.

8) Thus any salvific efficacy from the elements they possess are derived from the Church and without such elements, salvation is impossible.

9) These elements deriving as they do from Christ thus "lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ" (cf. Unitatis redintegratio §3).

10) Those who for reasons beyond their control do not understand the necessity of unity of the ecclesiastical body can through desire to fulfill the will of the Creator and the practice of charity be joined to the Soul of the Church which is the animating element of life of the Mystical Body. (Much as the human soul is the animating element of life for the human body.) In this manner they may achieve eternal salvation.

That in essence outlines my position in brief. It allows for the possibility of salvation for many people not formally within the Church's ecclesiastical body. I am inclined to think that more people are saved then damned if only for the fact that salvation is by grace alone, God is infinitely loving, and I cannot see how the Kingdom of Heaven having less people than the Kingdom of Satan would not give the Evil One cause to boast.

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Monday, November 18, 2002

Summary of the Weekend, Current Troubling Thoughts, and Also a Treatise Revision Update:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Over the weekend I attended the wedding of a good friend's daughter. It was at my old SSPX church so I had to be rather diplomatic and bite my tongue. There was much feasting, dancing, and good red wine among other amenities. I met some new people and I even allowed myself to drink on this occasion - a treat as I have been dieting for the past few weeks and had lower caloric intake than what is normal for me.{1} I also had some good conversations with the father of the bride who reminds me in so many ways of my father. On the whole I would give the evening an 8 on the scale of 1 to 10. What prevented it from being a 9 or 10 was one gnawing element that I could not bring up which I mention now:

How after all do you explain to someone that they were simulating but not actually receiving the sacrament of Matrimony and not cause a ruckus??? And is it better in this situation to bring it up later on or should I have mentioned it when they posted the banns???

Of course technically since I do not go to church there, I guess I am not sure if the banns issue would apply to me anyway. And there is of course the element of being very good friends with the father of the bride as well as the entire family. Many old parishioners were in from out of town and many acquaintances were remade. That they are some of the most genuine people I know and have the best of intentions is not to my mind disputable. But then I can say the same thing about many non-Catholics I know as well.

It is not as if religion is not discussed as much as I try in these circumstances to pick my moments and keep the conversations focused on only a few points at most at a time to keep them controlled. But then admittedly the circumstances for these kinds of discussions rarely crop up in the mainstream of discussions had.

The thing that is most paradoxical is that as much of a splash as my treatise made in the web community, there has not yet been an effect at my old church for one very good reason: virtually none of them either have computers or (if they do) it is usually for checking of email, etc. The pastor at my old church (who is not my former pastor btw) found out about my work indirectly and was rather testy about it - not that he has read it as I know he has not. Simply the very *idea* that such a work exists is what annoys him about it.{2}

I made a cardinal mistake with the revision of the work in retrospect by putting it on three urls. The reason??? It makes printing it a very arduous task as each url is over a hundred pages. Even on double-sided paper no public library would want someone taking up fifty sheets a crack with printing and of course single sided it is a hundred pages per url. And in light of some friends who plan to attend Society convents/seminaries/monastaries next year - as well as the contact that I have had with many of my friends in that sphere as of late - I am getting the fire under me stoked to start anew the revisions I started in March of 2002 before losing the harddrive in May.{3}

There is also the fact that I frankly do not like reading my own stuff because so much of that happens when drafting, writing, revising, and reshaping a work that when it is published I am almost always sick of looking at the stuff. (One may not get that impression from how I quote it when doing evangelization but that is because I see no reason to reinvent the wheel and for convenience sake.)

If I had to do all the writings all over again I cannot say I would change what happened in that realm{4} because often making revisions to one work gave me ideas for other projects. (Including some which are still being pondered over for 2003.) In that sense they go together like a patchwork quilt.

The treatise went through a few minor touchups and one major revision the latter happening in the three days following Christmas in 2000. And unlike touchups I did a lot of editing of material out of the work to shorten it and a lot of tightening up what was left so that it was a crisper work with a more systematical flow than the original version.{5}

I also removed a lot of the polemic from that version though I intend to expunge what traces remain when I get to this new revision which will be more of a retouching and restructuring than the previous one was. I am toying with adding five new pages of material. These would be either developing points in the original text that I passed over at the time - mainly because I was sick of the work admittedly - or adding some fresh segues on the psychology element that I deliberately left out of previous versions. I also plan to put this work on 10 urls averaging 30 pages per so that friends with computer access can more readily print the work up for reading - as I tire of people asking when the work is going to be published: frankly I am not sure if it will or not at this time. But I digress.

Getting back to the conundrum above, I freely admit that they were so gracious to me with the tragedies of my father, grandmother, two uncles, two paterna step grandparents, and others who passed in the span of a shade over two years (March 2000-June 2002 with most deaths happening in 2001) that part of me has held back and not wanted to push this issue. All they know is that:

1) I see significant problems with the SSPX and "traditionalism" as a whole.

2) I have written on it though the works are mainly on the Internet domain.

3) I have tended to handle discussions in this vein very diplomatically and done my part to prevent any fissures if you will.

The principle being followed here is that a criticism prudently deferred can be applied later on whereas one imprudently is out there and cannot be retracted. (Yes I *do* take the spiritual instructions I post to this weblog seriously - or at least I try to.)

Unlike most of the deliberately myopic "trads" who make waves on the web, the majority of people are not willfully blind and are willing to consider a point on its merits. Therefore although the response to the treatise was overwhelmingly positive - and I received more heartfelt emails than I can recall - I still may have detracted a little from the force of the arguments by the use of triumphalist tone.{5} I intend to remove as much of this as I can detect in the next version which I hope to start on this coming Saturday night. Friday night Koko Taylor is in town so I cannot start it until Saturday evening.

In short, I guess I am wondering if I am taking the right approach with the marriage thing above. Any comments on the matter are welcome - even if they are critical. As long as my readers consider the spiritual instruction on zeal which I have in the margin of this weblog and consider that I am trying to follow that as a template, then it is okay to be critical with me as far as I am concerned.

These are after all judgment calls we all must make and I lay no claim to infallibility so I may be mistaken to shy away from this subject until I can better accommodate those with printers to print the treatise for reading.{6}

Anyway, that is all I am in the mood to discuss tomight so I will forego anymore posting until probably tomorrow evening or Wednesday. And I hope in that span to catch up on my email stack which is rather large: it should be easier since I have tightened the spam controls at both angelfire to only accept emails from either those in my address book, those I have emailed, or those I have accepted emails from in the past. All others send to lycos. In fact, it is best to send to lycos period as I check that account twice as much as I do angelfire if not more so.


{1} Let us just say that some corks were tossed in the old McElhinney family tradition and we will leave it at that.

{2} At least that is the impression I receive from those I heard this from.

{3} When that happened I freely admit to my motivation for doing that sort of thing was shot.

{4} Except for the family members passing on of course who were unexpected and who were too young in my mind. (Three who were in their sixties including my dad come to mind here.)

{5} Some of the stuff edited out was made into essays in 2001 including sketches that resulted in the essay on Christian Unity and Authority which was written in November of 2000 after I decided to revise the treatise before sending it to the censor - a task that got derailed in 2001 when my family started dying left and right.

{6} Yes to those who wrote with this one point of criticism over the months I *do* take email constructive criticism to mind and have weighed this one for some time.

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