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The Signs of the Times: And the Blindness of Traditional Catholics

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Note: Please also read our article The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple, which is a powerful complement to the following article: 

The Signs of the Times:

And the Blindness of Traditional Catholics

 

“When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times?” (Mt. 16:3).

“The men of Nineve shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas is here.” (Mt. 12:41, Luke 11: 32).

“And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark. And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall be coming of the Son of man be.” (Mt. 24: 37-39).

 

An extraordinary blindness and superficiality now reigns in the world of traditional Catholic media, and thus presumably, in the minds and hearts of virtually all of those who wish to be considered traditional Catholics. This superficiality reigns in regard to four  areas: 1) understanding the depths and threat of the current crisis within the Church; 2) a virtual total absence of the question as to why God is allowing this chastisement upon us; 3) an equally extensive failure by those who consider themselves orthodox and traditional Catholics to look to their own adulteries with this world as also being responsible for this chastisement; 4) the virtual universal failure to understand the “one thing necessary” for deliverance from the apocalyptic evil that is descending upon us.

 

The Depths of the Crisis

Having witnessed the words and actions of Pope Francis and his many collaborators and apologists in recent years, it was not difficult for the traditional Catholic media to predict that the Amazonian Synod was being prepared to overturn, or at least severely compromise, many traditional Catholic beliefs and praxis. Much was written in the weeks and months preceding the Synod about agendas for such things as a married priesthood, female deacons and priests, inculteration of pagan belief and practices (including worship), liberation theology, etc.

Since the closing of the Synod, most of this media attention has focused on the pagan events in regard to the Pachamama statues, venerated (and worshipped) in the Vatican Gardens (with the personal blessing of Pope Francis) and other places in Rome. The primary focus of the traditional Catholic media has thus come to focus on the horror of inclusion within the Church (especially with the blessing and justifications rendered by Pope Francis and other members of the hierarchy) of pagan worship and idolatry, especially associated with the secular agenda of an “integral ecology” which is to be identified with a worship of “Mother Earth”. All of this, in conjunction with Pope Francis’ embrace of the statement of the Abu Dhabi Declaration that “the diversity of religions is willed by God”, has of course also added fuel to belief that the ultimate goal of these efforts is the Masonic dream of one-world government and one-world religion.

The question, however, presents itself: What is the ultimate object of this idolatry and blasphemous unity? We would certainly be naïve to believe that, in justifying and blessing the Pachamama statues and the accompanying worship of it as some sort of Mother-Earth goddess, Pope Francis and his supporters are identifying such pagan worship as the end-point of their agenda. Nor do we reach the depths of this agenda by seeing it only as the Church surrendering to one-world Masonic ideals. Something much more perverse and occult has established itself deep within what Pope Pius X called the vital energy of the Church in order to explain this prostitution.

As explored in a number of our articles (individually linked below in our Course of Study), this something is the establishment of the Cosmic Evolutionary Theology of Teilhard de Chardin as the new theology within the Church.

It should have been obvious, especially as analyzed in our recently published article, A Love That Maketh A Lie: Amoris Laetitia and the Teilhardian Agenda, that the immediate target of all the horrific errors promoted by Pope Francis and his supporters is the well-defined Catholic doctrine concerning charity as applying to that state of the soul which is established in the friendship of God (sanctifying grace). It is of course totally illogical and self-contradictory to believe that there are conditions which would allow divorced and remarried persons to receive Holy Communion (thus committing the objective sin of sacrilege) if one believes in such a concept of the soul and its necessary possession of charity (sanctifying grace) for the reception of Holy Communion. The same is also true of such grave sins as homosexuality, so-called gay marriage, any inclusion of pagan idolatry and practices into the Catholic Church, the promotion of any objectively grave errors in regard to Catholic dogma, or of any objectively grave moral sins. Any pastoral policies promoting inclusiveness towards individual persons or religions living in such grave errors and mortal sin could only be embraced if the possession of charity has ceased to be viewed as a state of the soul, and instead has become identified with a universal unmerited and unconditional mercy considered as being necessary for inclusion of all human beings in an evolutionary ascent towards the Omega Point of Godhead. This is the fundamental heresy expressed in Amoris Laetitia. And it is the necessary conclusion of Teilhardian Cosmic Evolutionary Theology: a theology through which all Catholic philosophy, theology, and praxis must be transformed into evolutionary becoming at the total expense of the concepts of real being and fixed nature. In other words, while the immediate target for destruction is the concept of the human soul possessing a fixed nature which requires the possession of sanctifying grace in order for it to be in the friendship of God, the ultimate target is the immutable nature of God and His immutable Revelation. As Teilhard de Chardin wrote:

“What, on the other hand, do we find if our minds can embrace simultaneously both contemporary neo-Christianity and contemporary neo-Humanism, and so first suspect and then accept as proved that the Christ of Revelation is none other than the Omega of Evolution?”

It is Christ, in very truth, who saves, – but should we not immediately add that at the same time it is Christ who is saved by Evolution?” (The Heart of Matter, p. 92)

Such is the dynamic of what now descends upon us. It is the only possible explanation for the inversion of the Catholic Faith which now is being promoted at the highest levels of the Church. In being blind to this depth, traditional Catholic media, and members of the hierarchy and the Catholic intelligentsia whom they go to for wisdom on this crisis, are wading in the shallows while a tsunami is on the horizon.

But we have not yet penetrated to the depths of the present blindness, simply because we have yet to understand its causes.

 

Why Has God Done This?

If we truly believe that God loves the Church as His own Bride, and that Christ truly loves the Church as his own Mystical Body; if we truly believe that Christ is still being faithful to His promise “”Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt. 28: 20); and, especially, if we also truly believe in Christ’s words to Peter (and by necessary inference, to his successors in the Papacy) “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”, then we are faced with what should be the totally obvious question: “Why has God done this to us?”

Any serious study of the Church’s history reveals that the Church has traveled a road in constant tension between blessing and curse, renewal and decay, strength and weakness. God’s extraordinary gifts are received at certain periods of this history through saints, great Popes, Church Councils, grace-filled movements among the laity, etc. For a short while a renewal of the Church seems to be accomplished, and then decay rapidly sets in. Corruption of belief and morals set their teeth into the Church’s life, and God no longer seems to answer our prayers. St. James offers a very succinct explanation for this phenomenon: “You seek and receive not; because you ask amiss: that you may consume it on your concupiscences.” (James 4: 3). We tend to think of this as being true of worldly goods and blessings. But it must be even more true of spiritual blessings, all of which are gifts of God – the Church, and all that it teaches and practices, including the particular forms of the Mass and the other sacraments. And, of course, probably the most effective means which God has of either blessing or chastising us through the Church is the Papacy. As St. Gregory the Great is reputed to have said, “Divine justice provides shepherds according to the just deserts of the faithful.” If we take such a statement at all seriously, then there should be no point in the entire history of the Church, as does the present moment and Papacy, when even those who wish to consider themselves faithful Catholics should feel the call of the Holy Spirit to profound self-examination. Such self-examination among those who now consider themselves to be the most faithful of Catholics seems astonishingly absent.

In the Gospel of St. John, Our Lord makes the following promise in regard to the Holy Spirit:

“But when he, the spirit of Truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come he shall shew you.” (John 16:13).

It should be clear that it is the will of Our Lord that the Holy Spirit should always be with His Church, guiding and protecting it from invasion by the spirit of Antichrist. The very fact that these graces now seem to be so impotently received and lived in the face of this spirit of Antichrist, emanating from both within and without the Church and bent upon destroying her, should automatically turn us inward seeking the source of the blockage which is producing this impotency. The very fact that the question “Why is God doing this to us?” is not seriously being asked and examined within traditional Catholic circles is in itself the most powerful evidence of a blindness which is now almost universal.*

 

The “Languor of Nature”

“No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Mt. 6: 24)

Recently, in discussing the lukewarmness which has largely characterized the lack of response to the effort Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church, a close friend offered the following profound observation: “I think that the heart of lukewarmness is the cozy dwelling in double- thinking, generated from avoiding the drive to the end of a thought.”

We have already explored this “avoiding the drive to the end of a thought” in relation to both understanding the depths of our present crisis, and also the failure to ask the absolutely vital and obvious question as to why God is doing this to us. This in turn leads to a final question: “Wherein lies that “double-thinking” which immerses us in that fog of lukewarmness which prevents us from possessing the intellectual light necessary to achieve this understanding or ask this question?”

The effort which we have entitled Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is entirely devoted towards eliciting a united cry from all of us for whatever it takes for Our Lady’s Victory to be accomplished for the Purification of the Church, and in order that the Light of Christ might once again become visible and radiant within His Church. It is in the very nature of such a “single-minded” cry, however, that it must proceed from the depths of personal self-knowledge of our own sinfulness and helplessness.

It is the lack of such self-knowledge, and the hypocrisy which is its natural fruit, which prevents such a cry from arising in our hearts because it establishes us in the luxury of being comfortable in saying “They have sinned”, rather than “We have sinned”.

This double-thinking in the intellectual realm is rooted in all the violations of the living of the Beatitudes (especially as manifested in possession of, and attachment to, the goods of this world), which is nourished, sustained, and has now entered into an exponential state of growth through the power of money, science and technology. As we have pointed out in our article St. Francis of Assisi: They Pretended to Love You So That They Might Leave You, the betrayal of the great gift of St. Francis and his ideal of poverty (not only as applied very literally to his own Order, but also in its less-strict, but very real, application to Christian civilization as a whole) preceded the betrayal of the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas, and its absolute necessity for confronting the intellectual and scientific errors of the modern world. The profoundly vitiated collective heart of a still apparently Christian civilization, immersed in the world and poisoned in its depths by the betrayal of the Beatitudes of Christ, was the soil in which the darkness of man’s “scientific” ascent to Godhead was cultured, and which now finds its completed formulation in Teilhardian Cosmic Evolutionary Theology.

Everything is now saturated and being kept afloat on a sea of money. Even among Traditional and Conservative Catholics, their “work” is almost completely dependent upon the flow of money, and the connections and power which are gained through money – the realms of commercialism, influential contacts, Benefits, Galas, diplomacy, building efforts, and of course right down to that level of power in this world which now seems the most powerful vehicle and weapon upon which Mammon now depends: the Media. And, ironically, we are total amateurs at all this worldly business in comparison to Satan and his minions. We should be able to hear him laughing at such things as “Cruise-Ship Retreats”, all the much-touted Catholic Conferences, an unending array of petitions, “”Open Letters”, and all the efforts of “traditional media giants” to stop this plunge into darkness.

All of this comes down to the term which both St. Augustine and St. Thomas used to characterize the primary effect of original sin: the languor of nature. Adam’s Original Sin itself was not such a languor, because the very word itself speaks of a state of disordered nature which was not present in the state of integrity which existed before the Fall. The act of original sin in itself had to therefore consist in a very deliberate act of intellectual pride (the intellectual will) seeking an excellence above man’s nature which detracted from God (“you shall be as Gods, knowing Good and evil”).

But it is the “fallen nature” (and its threefold concupiscence), established in man as a consequence of this sin, which constitutes such languor of nature, and which down through history has created the web of material acquisitions, science, technology, and all the complexities of modern civilization which continually, and ever more deeply, lower the minds and hearts of even the “faithful” into this world, and consequently into duplicity, hypocrisy, and their ultimate fruit: lukewarmness and the eventual denial of God. It is this languor of nature, which has produced the pharisaical hypocrisy of traditional Catholics, and which leaves us relatively cozy in identifying the sources of the present crisis in the Church with the beliefs and actions of anyone other than ourselves.

It is precisely here where the necessary “end of the thought” is aborted, where duplicity roots us in the comfort of self-righteousness, and we fail to unite as did the Ninevites in a cry to Our Lady for that self-purification which is a pre-requisite for the purification of the whole Church.

Lately, our thoughts keep returning to that marvelous scripture in Deut. 6: 4-8:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising. And thou shalt bind them as a sign on thy hand, and they shall be and shall move between thy eyes.”

The extraordinary thing is that this instruction was given by God long before Christ’s Sacrifice, and the restoration of man to the possibility of sanctifying grace and friendship with God. This speaks to the fact that such purifying fire of desire (the very opposite of double-mindedness and lukewarmness) is something which should be fully natural, and especially present and natural to the human heart in the midst of its fallen state. In other words, just the fact that man (the very light of whose mind and consciousness is a created participation in the Life of Christ) lives in this fallen world should generate the cry which God requires for healing us. And if we look at all the various facets of human intelligence, we should be able to see this naturalness.

For instance, we desire perfect happiness, and experience endless sorrows. We conceive of the Infinite, and are fettered in finitude. We conceive of Eternity, and are ravaged by time, which culminates in our subjection to death. We long for Peace, both interior and exterior, and are immersed in conflict and war both within and without. All of this, and much more, should naturally and fully generate that cry to God which purges all lukewarmness and hypocrisy. But we abort our thought, divide the heart, and make God an appendage of a lukewarm or dead faith which, because of self-deceit and the attempt to serve two masters, is not accompanied by the passion of an undivided heart.

In other words, the human heart and mind are natural wellsprings of concepts, ideas, and passions which in any person who possesses a “heart of flesh ”should break forth in cries to God for knowledge and deliverance – “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

As we have pointed out, There is nothing more clearly evidential of the “half-way”, duplicitous thinking of traditional and conservative Catholics than the apparent total absence of the question “Why is this happening to us?” – “Why is God chastising us like this?” This question should be the totally logical “end-thought” in all the discussions and analysis concerning the present crisis, and yet it is absent. In other words, the traditional Catholic world, while possessing much knowledge of what is wrong “out there”, displays profound deficiency in that interior intelligence necessary for any solution to the present crisis: “For the heart of this people is grown gross, and with their ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes they have shut: lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” (Mt. 13:15)

It has been said that, “The death of martyrs is the seed of Christians”. It can equally be said that “The duplicity of Christians is the seed of heresy, and ultimately of the coming of Antichrist.” It is theoretically possible that everyone in the world could possess the Faith, and yet be dead in charity. Similarly, it is equally possible that we could possess all understanding of the machinations of those both within and without the Church who are bent upon her destruction, and yet be dead in that understanding with the heart which fully acknowledges that these evils have grown and been nourished in our own friendship with this world. And, as insulting and horrific as this may sound to many, it is also theoretically possible that everyone in the whole world could possess and attend the Traditional Latin Mass, and yet be numbered among those whom Our Lord would “vomit out of His mouth” (Apoc. 3;16).  After all, Latin Rite Catholics universally possessed this Mass before Vatican II, and this did not prevent the vast majority of Catholics from passively surrendering to all the banalities and explicit or implicit heresies imposed upon them in the “New-Church”, and the eventual massive slide into Catholic apostasy which we now have with us.

We who are directly involved with the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church do not consider ourselves as some sort of Remnant, secure in our faith and the promise of eternal salvation. We fear the depths of our own duplicity in trying to live the Catholic Faith in this world. And although we may indeed be free from the gross and mortal sins which now seem common fare, we cannot claim freedom from immersion in the same world that now spins its threefold web of concupiscence at an exponentially increasing rate around all of our hearts and minds.

It is the lesson of original sin and its dire consequences that we are all in this together. It is the lesson of Christ’s Redemptive Sacrifice, and His founding of the Church to be the mediator of the graces won through the Cross, that the salvation of each one is intimately connected to all. This is why a united effort in penance and prayer is absolutely central for deliverance from the disaster that is now upon us. And first and foremost, it requires that we begin with “We have sinned”, rather than “They have sinned”.

As explained in our Original Proposal , we believe that it is the will of God that this collective purification can only be accomplished in the depths of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and through her Rosary. And we believe that the Feast of the Purification and Presentation on February 2, 2020 is singularly appropriate for this united Cry for Deliverance. It is necessary that in the depths of Our Lady’s merciful Heart each one of us seek our own personal light of purification in order that the Light of Christ might once again radiate forth from His Temple the Church for the conversion of the world.

This year the Feast of the Purification and Presentation providentially occurs on a Sunday. All Churches will be open. We ask everyone who sincerely seeks this purification both in their own lives and the life of the Church to approach other Catholics for a united effort in implementing what is in our Proposal. We then ask them to approach their pastors and bishops with the request to implement what is in this Proposal – after Mass, or whenever possible during the day. If this request is refused, and permission is refused to use the Church, we ask that it be done at the entrance to the Church.  If ordered to leave, then we ask that it be done in the public domain (a public sidewalk for instance) as near to the Church as possible. Wherever it can be done, we fully believe that the sincere and united cry of the faithful for deliverance will be blessed by God. No one has the right to suppress such a Cry from the depths of the human soul.

We also believe that in order to achieve that integrity of heart and mind necessary in order to passionately desire to participate in such a Nineve-like cry, each one of us must personally be plunged more deeply into the purifying grace and light of understanding which is to be found through an increasingly attentive and non-duplicitous praying of the Rosary, and especially the Hail Mary. This is why, in terms of our own personal purification, and for achieving that singleness of intention towards God which is the source of all true growth in both Catholic intelligence and holiness, we believe our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection to be the most important of all the articles on this website. We ask that each reader give it very serious attention and consideration.

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*We fully realize that in asserting that what is now happening within the Church is a Divine chastisement, we are risking accusations of having committed multiple heresies – all the way from claiming that every Pope is directly chosen by God, to denying human freedom and responsibility, and to claiming that God positively wills evil. We flatly deny any such accusations, but do not intend to enter into polemics with anyone. We leave it to the readers to search into the depths of their own minds, hearts, and lives to determine if what has been written above is true.

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Newman and the Pope

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Newman and the Pope

 

“But we must hope, for one is obliged to hope it, that the Pope will be driven from Rome, and will not continue the Council, or that there will be another Pope. It is sad he should force us to such wishes.”           

(Newman’s Letter to Fr. Ambrose St. John, 22 August, 1870)

 

The above words, written approximately one month after the promulgation of the Dogma of Papal Infallibility on July 18, 1870, succinctly summarize Newman’s attitude towards the Definition, and towards the Papacy of Pope Pius IX. This quote should astound us, and elicit an enquiry as to how such sentiments are possible from a man who has just been canonized, and who is being held up as a model of obedience to Church authority. It needs also to be stated that the reader should not conclude that Newman’s view expressed above merely reflects a momentary indiscretion. His letters during this period are replete with such sentiments. Two months after the above letter to Fr. Ambrose, and one month after the official suspension of Vatican Council I (dashing any of his expressed hopes that the Council Fathers could reverse themselves on the Definition), he wrote the following to Lady Simeon on Nov 18, 1870:

We have come to a climax of tyranny. It is not good for a Pope to live 20 years. It is anomaly and bears no good fruit; he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, and does cruel things without meaning it.” (Quotations from Newman’s letters are taken from Charles Stephen Dessain’s The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, v. XXVI).

The reader who wishes to somehow deny the significance of the above quotes is, of course, able to offer words from Newman’s writings which, in their general tenor and expression of belief, run directly contrary to such sentiments in regard to the Papacy. Thus, in his Discourse on University Education (1852), he writes:

“Deeply do I feel, ever will I protest, for I can appeal to the ample testimony of history to bear me out, that, in questions of right and wrong, there is nothing really strong in the whole world, nothing decisive and operative, but the voice of him, to whom have been committed the keys of the kingdom and the oversight of Christ’s flock. That voice is now, as ever it has been, a real authority, infallible when it teaches, prosperous when it commands, ever taking the lead wisely and distinctly in its own province, adding certainty to what is probable and persuasion to what is certain. Before he speaks, the most saintly may mistake; and after it has spoken, the most gifted must obey….” (Dessain, vol. XXVI, p. 167)

This duplicity of Newman in regard to the Papacy is, of course, paralleled by a corresponding duplicity in regard to the Dogmatic Definition of Papal Infallibility itself. It is the proclamation of the Dogma itself which is the act of cruelty of which Newman speaks, and it is for having promulgated this Dogma that Newman “hopes” for the death of the Pope Pius IX, or that he be driven from Rome. On the other hand, Newman claims to have personally believed in Papal Infallibility before the Vatican Council, and he also submitted to and embraced (after an agonizing struggle) the actual Definition after the Council.

This enigma of Newman’s duplicity in regard to both Dogma and the Papacy is usually lightly passed over as part of the complexity and depth of the man, and the profundity of his intellect. It is our belief that such is not the case. Rather, what might seem enigmatically complex, is simple contradiction; and what has been considered profound, is really the shallow fruit of his rejection of Thomistic philosophy, and especially of that branch of philosophy called epistemology – the science of how we know, and therefore also of that science which establishes the reliability and power of our knowledge.

Newman, in his rejection of Thomism (and all the passages from the Gospel of St. John which speak of the power of the light of God’s Truth over all human souls of good will), rejected the radiance and power of the vertical dimensions of our faith, and instead insisted that a vital faith could only be produced through the illative sense of lived experience and imagination, rooted in sense experience. To therefore impose dogma from above upon vast numbers of human beings whose illative senses were not prepared to accept such dogma, was an act of tyranny. We see this same “missionary approach” now completely incarnated in the Papacy of Pope Francis who, while claiming to accept the entirety of the Catholic Faith, yet exercises a profound disdain for any attempt to convert others to the Catholic Faith, or to in any way emphasize such dogma and doctrine at the expense of a universal mercy and inclusiveness. The chickens of Newman’s epistemology have now, in other words, come home to completely “rest” in the Papacy of Francis. The canonization of John Henry Newman in the midst of the Amazonian Synod is therefore (in the same breath) also a symbolic canonization of the denial of the power of the Truth and Light of Christ and His Gospel over the human soul, which is the very essence of this Synod, and which has vomited forth the call to inculteration of pagan belief and practices at the expense of the Gospel-inspired demand for conversion.

This subject has been covered in depth in our previous article Does God Love Us: An Examination of the Epistemology of John Henry Newman, and we refer the reader to it for an in-depth understanding of what is really wrong with Newman’s approach to Catholic Faith, Dogma, and Papal Authority.

In this article, we intend to analyze the fruits of this duplicity. We have already explored Newman’s astounding words concerning the Definition of Papal Infallibility and his sentiments towards the Pope responsible for its promulgation. We would now like to turn to his equally disturbing treatment of Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors.

 

The Syllabus

It is important to first place things in context.

The Syllabus of Errors of Blessed Pope Pius IX, sent to all the bishops of the world along with  the encyclical Quanta Cura (Dec 8, 1864), amounted to a declaration of war against the revolutionary world of the 19th Century – revolutions being waged in every sphere of human thought, life, and activity against Christ and His Church. The vast scope of the errors condemned is reflected in its division into 10 sections, each section representing a different area of human thought or activity. These are labeled as follows: 1)Pantheism, Naturalism, and Absolute Rationalism; 2) Moderate Rationalism; 3) Indifferentism and Latitudinarianism; 4) Socialism, Communism, Secret Societies, Bible Societies, and Liberal Clerical societies; 5) Errors concerning the Church and Her Rights 6) Errors About Civil Society, Considered Both in Itself and in Its Relation to the Church; 7) Errors Concerning Natural and Christian Ethics; 8) Errors Concerning Christian Marriage; 9) Errors Regarding the Civil Power of the Sovereign Pontiff; 10) Errors Having Reference to Modern Liberalism.

In considering the Syllabus in its larger context, it is also important to realize that the Pontificate of Pope Pius IX’s successor, Pope Leo XIII, was largely focused upon fleshing out these condemnations through an amazing array of profound social encyclicals covering all these areas of thought and activity. Further, Pope Pius X, Leo’s successor, brought this analysis and condemnation of modern errors to fruition in both his encyclical Pascendi, and in his own Syllabus Against the Errors of Modernism.

It is therefore impossible to overestimate the importance of Pius IX’s Syllabus for our understanding of the ideas, techniques, and activities of the forces of evil in the modern world, and also, therefore, for our being able to acquire those intellectual and moral weapons necessary for the Church’s defense and offense against these immensely destructive errors.

On the other hand, to undermine the authority and importance of the Syllabus in any way can only serve the purpose of aiding and abetting these same forces of evil. As we shall see, John Henry Newman used virtually every subterfuge conceivable to accomplish just such a task.

One of the things characteristic of the Modernist mind is that, to a large extent, such persons are able to leave the “bigger” mysteries of our faith alone. The doctrines of the Trinity, or of the Incarnation, for instance, do not demand “essentialization” with the same intensity as do many other magisterial teachings. These “major” doctrines usually play a very small role in that “illative sense” (experiential) which is “immediate” to man’s perception and experience,  and they therefore do not usually demand alteration in order for modern man to adapt to historical and cultural conditions, growth in secular and scientific knowledge, etc. Such doctrines are not confronted with the evolving ideas of human liberty, religious pluralism, political movements, new economic realities, and secularism. They do not, therefore, get “in the face” of the world.

It is otherwise with the truths which are affirmed as contraries to the 80 propositions condemned by the Syllabus, Here, the “illative sense” of the dominant worldview, with which the ecumenist wishes to enter into dialogue and dialectical progress, is directly confronted and condemned. A person could hardly find himself in a position of being more of a sign of contradiction to the world and modern culture than by fully assenting to and embracing the Syllabus. And this is why the Syllabus is such a nemesis to the Liberal and Modernist mind. It lays bare precisely those principles and ideas which are on the cutting edge of the “vitality” of the modern world, and effectively burns them at the stake. It puts the ecumenist out of a job, It puts the non-Thomist out of a job, and it would have put Newman out of a job if the Catholics around him had taken it with the substantial seriousness which it deserved. Few did. Cardinal Manning was one of them. Newman eventually won the battle, and Manning lost. Interestingly, Cardinal Manning was at Pius IX’s bedside when he passed from this world, a death for which Newman had been hoping

Newman’s “definitive” response to the Syllabus of Pope Pius IX is to be found in Section 7 of the Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1875), usually considered his last major work. It is with an analysis of this work that we will be concerned here

First, Newman does everything possible to undermine the physical and moral connection of the Syllabus to the Pope. He says such things as

“viewed in itself, it is nothing more than a digest of certain Errors made by an anonymous writer.”

“There is not a word in it of the Pope’s own writing.”

”There would be nothing on the face of it, to show that the Pope had ever seen it, page by page, unless the ‘imprimatur’ implied in the Cardinal’s letter had been an evidence of this.”

“but the Syllabus makes no claim to be acknowledged as the word of the Pope.”

“the Syllabus cannot even be called an echo of the Apostolic Voice.”

Now, of course, none of the above statements are quoted in context. In point of fact, the context makes them appear even worse. This “context” is constituted by the fact that the Syllabus was long in preparation, and a project very close to the heart and mind of Blessed Pope Pius IX (and also Cardinal Pecci, the future Pope Leo XIII). Below is taken from the 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia. We quote it in its entirety because it clearly “puts the lie” to Newman’s contention that the Syllabus was not the “Voice” of Pope Pius IX:

The first impulse towards the drawing up of the Syllabus of Pius IX came from the Provincial Council of Spoleto in 1849. Probably on the motion of the Cardinal Archbishop of Perugia, Pecci (later on Leo XIII), a petition was laid before Pius IX to bring together under the form of a Constitution the chief errors of the time and to condemn them. The preparation began in 1852. At first Pius IX entrusted it to Cardinal Fornari, but in 1854 the Commission which had prepared the Bull on the Immaculate Conception took matters in hand. It is not known how far the preparation had advanced when Gerbet, Bishop of Perpignan, issued, in July, 1860, a “Pastoral Instruction on various errors of the present” to his clergy. With Gerbet’s “Instruction” begins the second phase of the introductory history of the Syllabus. The “Instruction” had grouped the errors in eighty-five theses, and it pleased the pope so much, that he set it down as the groundwork upon which a fresh commission, under the presidency of Cardinal Caterini, was to labour. The result of their work was a specification, or cataloging, of sixty-one errors with the theological qualifications. In 1862 the whole was laid for examination before three hundred bishops who, on the occasion of the canonization of the Japanese Martyrs, had assembled in Rome. They appear to have approved the list of theses in its essentials. Unfortunately, a weekly paper of Turin, “Il Mediatore”, hostile to the Church, published the wording and qualifications of the theses, and thereby gave rise to a far-reaching agitation against the Church. The pope allowed the storm to subside; he withheld the promulgation of these theses, but kept to his plan in what was essential.

The third phase of the introductory history of the Syllabus begins with the appointment of a new commission by Pius IX; its most prominent member was the Barnabite (afterwards Cardinal) Bilio. The commission took the wording of the errors to be condemned from the official declarations of Pius IX and appended to each of the eighty theses a reference indicating its content, so as to determine the true meaning and the theological value of the subjects treated. With that the preparation for the Syllabus, having occupied twelve years, was brought to an end. Of the twenty-eight points which Cardinal Fornari had drawn up in 1852, twenty-two retained their place in the Syllabus; of the sixty-one theses which had been laid before the episcopate for examination in 1862, thirty were selected. The promulgation, according to the original plan, was to have taken place simultaneously with the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; in the event it was ten years later (8 December 1864) that Pius IX published the Encyclical “Quanta Cura”, and on the same day, by commission of the pope, the secretary of State, Cardinal Antonelli, sent, together with an official communication, to all the bishops the list of theses condemned by the Holy See. The title of the document was: “A Syllabus containing the most important errors of our time, which have been condemned by our Holy Father Pius IX in Allocutions, at Consistories, in Encyclicals, and other Apostolic Letters”.

This effort to deny the connection of the Syllabus to the mind and will of Pope Pius IX is part of the larger scheme to deny any dogmatic force to its condemnations. Newman simply and emphatically states:

“the Syllabus then has no dogmatic force.”

His efforts towards establishing this fallacy are threefold:

1) As already analyzed, he makes every effort, and uses every subtlety to separate it from the Pope.

2) He exercises similar subterfuge to separate the Syllabus from the encyclical Quanta Cura (Condemning Current Errors). He writes:

“The Syllabus does not exist as far as the language of the Encyclical is concerned.”

This, of course, is pathetic. The Pope ordered Cardinal Antonelli to send Quanta Cura to all the bishops, accompanied by the Syllabus. Cardinal Antonelli’s letter of introduction read as follows

“Our Holy Father, Pius IX, Sovereign Pontiff, being profoundly anxious for the salvation of souls and of sound doctrine, has never ceased from the commencement of his pontificate to prescribe and condemn the chief errors and false doctrine of our most unhappy age, by his published Encyclicals, and Consistorial Allocutions and Apostolic Letters. But as it may happen that all the Pontifical acts do not reach each one of the ordinaries, the same Sovereign Pontiff has willed that a Syllabus of the same errors should be compiled, to be sent to all the Bishops of the Catholic world, in order that these Bishops may have before their eyes all the errors and pernicious doctrines which he has reprobated and condemned.

He has consequently charged me to take care that this Syllabus, having been printed, should be sent to your [Eminence] on this occasion….”

The Syllabus was obviously meant to augment the encyclical with greater detail by documenting individual errors. Both documents dealt with modern errors, and complimented one another. In Quanta Cura, the Pope, in speaking of past actions says, “We raised Our voice, and in many published Encyclical Letters and Allocutions delivered in Consistory, and other Apostolic Letters, we condemned the chief errors of this most unhappy age…we condemned the monstrous portents of opinion which prevail especially in this age, bringing with them the greatest loss of souls and detriment of civil society itself, which are grievously opposed also, not only to the Catholic Church and her salutary doctrine and venerable rights, but also to the eternal natural law engraven by God in all men’s hearts, and to right reason; and from which almost all other errors have their origin.” It is these “chief errors” spoken of by the Pope in Quanta Cura which are detailed and documented in the Syllabus. The two documents are clearly bound to one another.

3) Newman does everything he can to undermine the “universal application” of these condemnations. After flatly stating that “the Syllabus then has no dogmatic force,” he further writes:

“…[the Syllabus] is to be received from the Pope by an act of obedience, not of faith, that obedience being shown by having recourse to the original and authoritative documents.”

In other words, Newman here attempts to relieve all Catholics of all responsibility to obey any universality in the truths expressed in the propositions themselves. It is Newman’s position that the individual propositions have no universal verity, no dogmatic force, and that their meaning and applicability are to be reduced to the particular historical situations, etc. which surrounded their original statement in the individual Papal documents of Pius IX. Five times, in fact, he refers to the Syllabus as being merely an “index” to these previous documents, and he says, “But we can no more accept it as de fide, as a dogmatic document, than any other index or table of contents.” This is proved manifestly false by the very title of the document:”A Syllabus containing the most important errors of our time, which have been condemned by our Holy Father Pius IX in Allocutions, at Consistories, in Encyclicals, and other Apostolic Letters”.  The Syllabus is intended by the Pope to condemn “the most important errors of our time.” The “most important errors of our time” are not limited to a particular country, to an individual literary work, etc.

It is certainly good to have reference to the particular Allocution, Encyclical, etc. in order to obtain depth and accuracy of understanding of these propositions, but this “recourse” to these original contexts should in no way be used to undermine the universal application of these condemnations.

In order to perceive the depths or subterfuge involved here, let us look at Newman’s handling of one single condemned proposition

(#77)  “It is no longer expedient that the Catholic Religion should be established to the exclusion of all others.”

Here is Newman’s “reduction” of this particular proposition:

“When we turn to the Allocution, which is the ground of its being put into the Syllabus, what do we find there? First, that the Pope was speaking, not of States universally, but of one particular State, Spain, definitely Spain; secondly, that he was not noting the erroneous proposition directly, or categorically, but was protesting against the breach in many ways of the Concordat on the part of the Spanish government; further, that he was not referring to any work containing the said proposition, nor contemplating any proposition at all; nor, on the other hand, using any word of condemnation whatever, nor using any harsher terms of the Government in question than an expression of “his wonder and distress.” And again, taking the Pope’s remonstrance as it stands, is it any great cause of complaint to Englishmen, who so lately were severe in their legislation upon Unitarians, Catholics, unbelievers, and others, that the Pope merely does not think it expedient for every state from this time forth to tolerate every sort of religion on its territory, and to disestablish the Church at once? for this is all that he denies. As in the instance in the foregoing section, he does but deny a universal, which the “erroneous proposition” asserts without any explanation.”

Newman here clearly uses every means possible to minimize the meaning and extent of this proposition’s condemnation. According to Newman, the condemnation only has application to Spain. It only applies to breaches of the Concordant by that government. It is really not a condemnation at all, but only an expression of “wonder and distress.”  And it is reducible to the position “that the Pope merely does not think it expedient for every state from this time forth to tolerate every sort of religion on its territory, and to disestablish the Church at once”

To perceive the falsity involved in all of this subterfuge, one need only look to Quanta Cura for a true explication of this condemned proposition. Here, the Pope writes:

For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of “naturalism,” as they call it, dare to teach that “the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.” And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that “that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.”

In other words, Proposition 77 says just exactly what it appears to say; it condemns precisely what it appears to condemn, and this in its obvious and universal sense. And, it affirms its opposite – that it is expedient that the Catholic Religion should be established to the exclusion of all others.

The Syllabus really came to fruition in the social encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII. There, we can find the full development and universal applicability of the condemnation of Proposition 77. Interestingly enough, in Pope Leo’s Encyclical Immortale Dei (Christian Constitution of States), we find a passage which seems very applicable to Newman and his relationship to the Syllabus of Pius IX:

On the question of the separation of the Church and State the same pontiff [Leo is here speaking of Gregory XVI] writes as follows: ‘Nor can we hope for happier results, either for religion or for the civil government, from the wishes of those who desire that the Church be separated from the State, and the concord between the secular and ecclesiastical authority be dissolved. It is clear that these men, who yearn for a shameless liberty, live in dread of an agreement which has always been fraught with good, and advantageous alike to sacred and civil interest.’ To like effect, also, as occasion presented itself, did Pius IX brand publicly many false opinions which were gaining ground, and afterwards ordered them to be condensed in summary [the Syllabus] in order that in this sea of error Catholics might have a light which they might safely follow.”

It is this light which Newman dimmed with his obfuscations.

We have seen what great distaste Newman held for Pius IX. Recent Popes would, of course, have been much more to his liking. This is especially true of Pope Benedict XVI who, in his book Principles of Catholic Theology, went out of his way to destroy any relevance of Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus for our lives as Catholics in the modern world. This book contains an Epilogue titled On the Status of Church and Theology Today. Part B is titled Church and World: An Inquiry into the Reception of Vatican Council II. The text focuses primarily on the Vatican II document the “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” (Gaudium et Spes), which the then Cardinal Ratzinger calls “a kind of summa of Christian anthropology.” The following is of immediate interest to our subject:

“If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text (Gaudium et Spes) as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of countersyllabus. Harnack, as we know, interpreted the Syllabus of Pius IX as nothing less than a declaration of war against his generation. This is correct insofar as the Syllabus established a line of demarcation against the determining forces of the nineteenth century: against the scientific and political world view of liberalism. In the struggle against modernism this twofold delimitation was ratified and strengthened. Since then many things have changed. The new ecclesiastical policy of Pius XI produced a certain openness toward a liberal understanding of the state. In a quiet but persistent struggle, exegesis and Church history adopted more and more the postulates of liberal science, and liberalism, too, was obliged to undergo many significant changes in the great political upheavals of the twentieth century. As a result, the one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Pius IX and Pius X in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution was, to a large extent, corrected via facti, especially in Central Europe, but there was still no basic statement of the relationship that should exist between the Church and the world that had come into existence after 1789. In fact, an attitude that was largely pre-Revolutionary continued to exist in countries with strong Catholic majorities. Hardly anyone today will deny that the Spanish and Italian Concordats strove to preserve too much of a view of the world that no longer corresponded to the facts. Hardly anyone today will deny that, in the field of education and with respect to the historico-critical method in modern science, anachronisms existed that corresponded closely to this adherence to an obsolete Church-state relationship…..

Let us be content to say here that the text serves as a countersyllabus and, as such, represents, on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789.”

Cardinal Newman hoped for the death of Pope Pius IX, and the election of a successor more to his liking. The above words of Joseph Ratzinger were written in 1982. Twenty-three years later, Cardinal Newman would have his Pope in the person of Benedict XVI. Some might protest that this had already been the case in respect to all the Popes since Vatican II. But none of these Popes carved this reversal in stone as did the above words of Joseph Ratzinger.

One might well wonder what Newman would have thought of Pope Francis, whose words and actions have now brought his own epistemology to their logical fruition. After all, Newman was a 19th century Englishman who certainly had a penchant for order in his life and in his Church, and who believed that doctrine and dogma, despite their inability to provide real vitality to our faith, did indeed serve a purpose in providing what he called a “stay” to our spiritual life and belief. In other words, it provided precisely that structure and order necessary for the non-chaotic evolution of the “illative sense”, which was for him the real source of vitality in our faith. And, of course, something similar may be said of the role of doctrine in the thought of Benedict XVI.

With the Papacy of Francis, this “stay” has largely been torn asunder, and we now have the chaos which was the inevitable result of Newman’s denying the radiance and power of Christ’s Truth (as expressed in Catholic doctrine) over the human mind and heart (please see our previous article on Newman). Also, as we have pointed out in other articles, the “make-a-mess” agendas of Pope Francis are the spiritual children of the theology of Pope Benedict XVI, his rejection of Thomistic metaphysics, and his consequent denial of the “substantiality” of our perception of both created realities and the Nature and Truths of God. All of this, in turn, can be seen as the evil fruits of those seeds which were planted in the epistemology pioneered and exemplified by John Henry Newman, and which were eventually bound to come to term in the chaos and madness within the Church as exemplified by the Amazonian Synod, and which is now our present chastisement.

We must also realize that the reversal of Catholic spirituality constituted by the denial of the vitality of the vertical dimension of our faith (as contained in defined dogma and doctrine), and its replacement by the illative sense (or the religious sense spoken of by Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi), necessarily demands that everything concerning both God and man becomes subject to evolution. After all, as claimed by Newman himself, every man “is his own centre” in regard to his own particular growth of the illative sense, and this demands that the concept of universal evolution, and a non-judgmental inclusiveness concerning this evolution, become the ruling principles of this new theology. Thus, Pope Pius X declared: “In this way they pass to their principal doctrine, namely, evolution. “To the laws of evolution everything is subject under penalty of death – dogma, Church, worship, The Books we revere as sacred, even faith itself.” It is therefore absolutely mandatory if we are to perceive the profound depths of the crisis that is now upon us that we understand that the real agenda behind the Papacy of Francis and the Amazonian synod is not just Paganism, or such things as married priests or women’s ordination, but the entire reversal of the Catholic Faith through Teilhardian Cosmic Evolutionary Theology.

It could certainly be imagined that John Henry Newman, if he was suddenly transported in time to the reign of Pope Francis, would have been horrified and disgusted by the ultimate fruits of his labors. We might well question, however, if he would ever admit to any responsibility. Revealingly, in the case of Pope Benedict XVI, we have seen no real sign of either horror, or admission of responsibility. Once the radiance and power of the light of Christ’s Truth is denied, then the darkness which descends upon the interior of man destroys any real capacity for true self-knowledge and repentance of errors. Such a man is to be “compared to a man beholding himself in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was”. (James 1: 23-24).

This complete reversal and inversion of the Catholic Faith may well be considered the ultimate “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”, which Our Lord declared to be the one sin for which there is no forgiveness (Mt. 12: 31), and which constitutes that “operation of error” which increases towards the end of time, and eventually ushers in the reign of Antichrist. The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier, and therefore the Giver of all Light and Grace within the human soul. He descends from Above – from Christ Who is the Word of Truth defined in God’s Revelation. The ultimate Sin against the Holy Ghost is therefore constituted by that alteration in the minds and hearts of men by which they choose to believe that He comes from below through the evolutionary ascent of man.

We must realize, however, that this “operation of error” (Thess. 2: 10) is not just something that has engulfed intellectuals and those wielding power and authority within the Church. Nor is it something which is the fruit only of reductive evolutionary science. It is also embedded in the ascent of man to prosperity and acquisition in regard to all the things of this world, thereby living in profound contradiction in his daily life to that spirit of poverty and simplicity which is the life of the Beatitudes, the denial of which inevitably lead him to that interior darkness and preoccupation with the things of this world which can no longer find the time or motivation to look up. It is, in other words, a “seduction of iniquity” (Ibid.) which has increased at an accelerating pace over the centuries, and poisoned us all.

There is a “place” which has been prepared for all of us in these times of accelerating deceits and errors which now threaten to ascend and obtain dominion within our own  hearts and minds – a refuge where we may be firmly rooted in the certain faith that “Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration” (James 1: 17) It is the Immaculate Heart, and Spiritual Womb, of Our Blessed Mother, in whom all such perfect gifts dwell. She is the refuge wherein awaits all the fullness of the power and grace of the Holy Spirit for our own purification and preservation from all these evils. This is why we have chosen the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord on February 2nd as the perfect time for the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. It is the premier Feast of the Light of Christ’s Truth (commonly called Candlemas) bathing and purifying the Temple of Our Lord’s Church, a purification which can only be accomplished through the individual purification of each one of us through the mission entrusted by God to His Mother: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:35).

We therefore ask everyone to read our Original Proposal, and to beseech their parish priests and bishops to implement this event on the Feast of the Purification and Presentation on February 2, 2020. This year it falls on Sunday – Our Lord’s day, and the perfect day for surrendering to that interior state of mind and heart which completely acknowledges that He, and He alone, is the source of every perfect Gift “in Whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration”.

 

Please spread the word about the Rosary!
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Does God Love Us: An Examination of the Epistemology of John Henry Newman

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Does God Love Us?

An examination of the Epistemology of John Henry Newman

Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. (James 1: 17).

After all, man is not a reasoning animal; he is a seeing, feeling, contemplating, acting animal (Newman, Grammar of Assent, p. 90).

 

Epistemology is the philosophical science of how we know, and of what we can know. It deals with the depths of the human mind and its relationship to reality, both natural and supernatural. In other words, it is concerned, in the most profound sense, with mental health. Therefore, when things go wrong here, they go wrong everywhere. It is here where the razor edge of truth cuts between intellectual sanity and insanity, where man’s true relationship to God is either nourished and sustained, or poisoned and aborted. It is also here where Liberalism and Modernism are born and nourished.

It is certainly the belief of many traditional and conservative Catholics that John Henry Newman is an example of the quintessential orthodox Catholic thinker. It might seem strange to such persons therefore that Pope Francis, whom they now view as the antithesis of such orthodoxy, has chosen to canonize him. What follows, we hope, will serve to unravel this apparent contradiction.

It is the thesis of this article that the epistemology of Cardinal John Henry Newman is profoundly skewed, and constitutes a proto-type of that Modernist mentality which now ravages the Roman Catholic Church. Newman wrote his book titled An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent expressly to explain his epistemology. Before entering into an analysis, however, we need to do some preparatory analysis of classical Catholic and Thomistic epistemology.

At the heart of Christianity is a resounding “yes”” to the question posed in the title of this article: Does God love us? Foundational to this question concerning God’s love for us is another. Does this love of God for man entail that He endowed man with the ability and faculties to know Him, and through this knowledge to come to Him? Did God create us in such a way as to make knowledge of Him and His truth something that is fully natural to the human mind and heart? If not, then it would seem that man has some justification for not knowing and loving God, and that any judgment of God upon us for not knowing and worshipping Him in spirit and truth would be the act of a capricious and unjust tyrant. Implicitly responding to this question, St. Paul writes:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.” (Rom 1:18-20).

St. Thomas writes, “all knowers know God implicitly in all they know.” (De Veritate, Q. 22, a.2). Thomas rightly teaches, of course, that all of our knowledge, barring a direct infusion from God, comes through the senses. We come into this world with no innate ideas or knowledge, and this includes no knowledge of God. The “natural” knowledge of God of which Thomas speaks is therefore acquired through the encounter of man’s mind with the world, and through sense experience. It is, in other words, natural, but not innate.

But there is a very important truth involved here which I think is often missed. The human mind, in order to posses such “natural knowledge” of God, must be in possession of an innate, intellectual light which is structured in such a manner as to know in a finite and analogical manner, through its encounter with created realities, as God knows. St. Thomas writes:

And thus we must needs say that the human soul knows all things in the eternal types, since by participation of these types we know all things. For the intellectual light itself which is in us, is nothing else than a participated likeness of the uncreated light, in which are contained the eternal types.” (I, 84, 5).

This created participation by the human intellect in the uncreated intellectual light of God operates in response to both areas of human knowledge – natural and supernatural. The passage from St. Thomas quoted immediately above speaks of this light as specifically related to our knowledge of created things. Simply put, God sees the substance known as man and man sees likewise; God sees a tree, man sees a tree. Man, in other words, does not just know the “units” of individual sense data, but his intellect is so constituted by God as to immediately abstract from this sense data to the knowledge of the substantial nature of things. Man naturally knows “universals,” which are the “eternal types” (the “kinds” of Genesis) of God’s creation. The very foundation of all intellectual sanity, therefore, is man’s knowledge of “abstractions” which the modern-day empiricist dismisses as mere human “notions” or fabrications. On the contrary, such “abstractions” actually constitute our real knowledge of the substantial nature of all the things that we perceive in this created world.

But what about God and the supernatural truths which constitute His very Being? Does the created nature of the intellectual light within us also possess a structure which “naturally” responds to supernatural truths? Did God so constitute a relationship between Himself and our own minds as to make it a fully natural thing for us to “hear” the voice of Revelation, even though the truths involved may be quite abstract and even appear to involve things that are contradictory to previous experience and thought?

A remarkable explanation of this relationship is available to us in the writings of Newman’s contemporary and alleged arch-rival, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning. His work, The Glories of the Sacred Heart, contains a chapter titled “Dogma the Source of Devotion.” After quoting Our Lord’s words, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” Cardinal Manning offers the following analysis (selected quotes):

He (Jesus) declared that all truth was contained in Himself; and when the Apostle said that he judged himself to ‘know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” he meant the same thing, namely, that he who knows Jesus Christ aright knows the whole Revelation of God, the radiance which flows from the Person of Jesus Christ.”

“Now our Divine Lord, speaking to the woman of Samaria, said, ‘You adore that which you know not,’ because they were an idolatrous people, of mixed race…and they had a sort of fragmentary knowledge of the old revelation; but they did not rightly know the True God; and so much as they did know of the True God, they did not know truly. Therefore they could not worship Him ‘in spirit and in truth.’”

From these words I draw one conclusion, namely, that knowledge is the first and vital condition of all true worship.”

My purpose, then, will be to trace out the connection between what the world scornfully calls dogma and devotion, or the worship of God ‘in spirit and in truth.’”

Now, first of all, let us see what is dogma….It means the precise enunciation of a divine truth, of a divine fact, or of a divine reality fully known, so far as it is the will of God to reveal it, adequately defined in words chosen and sanctioned by a divine authority.”

“Every divine truth or reality, so far as God has been pleased to reveal it to us, casts its perfect outline and image upon the human intelligence. His own mind, in which dwells all truth in all fullness and in all perfection, so far as He has revealed of His truth, is cast upon the surface of our mind, in the same way as the sun casts its own image upon the surface of the water, and the disc of the sun is perfectly reflected from its surface.”

Dogmas or doctrines, in other words, are not in any way to be regarded as weak and humanly fabricated “notions” (the word used by Cardinal Newman for such intellectual formulations), but rather as a powerful divine radiance cast upon our intellectual light, a radiance which finds a natural response in the soul of one who sincerely seeks the truth. This is why, in Cardinal Manning’s words: “If when a divine truth is declared to us, our hearts do not turn to it, as the eye turns to the light; if there be not is us an instinctive yearning, which makes us promptly turn to the sound of the divine voice, the fault is in our hearts; for just in proportion as we know the truth we shall be drawn towards it.”

We cannot resist offering one more marvelous passage taken from Manning’s work, The Four Great Evils of Our Day:

“God, who is the perfect and infinite intelligence – that is, the infinite and perfect reason – created man to His own likeness, and gave him a reasonable intelligence, like His own. As the face in the mirror answers to the face of the beholder, so the intelligence of man answers to the intelligence of God. It is His own likeness.”

Cardinal Manning’s words constitute a beautiful elaboration of Our Lord’s simple declaration, “Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.” (John 18:37). It should be added that the Gospel of John is replete with teachings concerning the nature of Christ as the light of truth, and of man’s response, or lack of response to this light and truth: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:4).” We would highly recommend to all readers that they reread the entire Gospel of St. John with the specific intent of noting all of this imagery concerning the power of the light and truth of Christ which finds a fully natural, and immensely vital response in the created intellectual light of man, and a corresponding rejection in those who have of their own free will obscured this light: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” And further:

“For everyone that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.” (John 3:20-21).

It is no wonder, therefore, that the Gospel of John is a premier object for deconstruction by Modernists. It firmly establishes the vertical dimension of revealed Dogma and the Divine Deposit of Faith (the “radiance” emanating from Christ) as the absolute and vital foundation of our entire Faith, as being the light of truth which is the very life of the soul, and to which the human soul naturally responds. God’s love is thus fully justified. All the blame for man’s turning away from the light of God’s truth lies within the will of each individual man who does so. As Cardinal Manning said, “the fault is within our hearts.”

It must also be added that Christ’s words are for all men at all times. The light of Christ’s truth is not something that must wait upon the growth and maturation of man’s experience and intellectual and religious evolution. Christ’s life which is “the light of man” (John 1:4) is therefore the source of all truth and liberating joy, begging to be received and assented to by any human heart, and at any time and in any individual persons and cultures which have not betrayed their own inherent God-given light.

Dogmas, in other words, are not simply abstract formulations which comprise a “notional” faith. They are not merely confessions of Faith designed to bind us together in a unity of belief and worship. They are the very vitality of the entire spiritual life. St. Thomas saw fit to treat of the “Nature of Sacred Doctrine” in the very first Question of his Summa. There, he writes:

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. Xiv, 1), to this science [Sacred Doctrine] alone belongs that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected and strengthened.

This begetting, nourishing, protecting, and strengthening of our faith is, of course, intimately incarnated into all our other faculties. Sensations, life experiences, and the imagining and memory faculties all play very important parts. But it is the intellectual light in man which is created with the structure – this structure involving abstraction at its most sublime level – to transform all these experiences into true knowledge of God and of His revealed truth. Here lies the real vitality of man, even of the most simple and unlearned of men, and here is where man “hears” the voice of God

Such is true Catholic epistemology. To undermine it in any way is to enter upon a course of decay involving all things human. This was the path taken by Cardinal John Henry Newman.

 

Newman: The Grammar of Assent

The epistemology of John Henry Newman is established upon a rejection of the abstractions and “universals” of the intellect as constituting “real” knowledge. It is also, therefore, constructed upon the rejection of abstract, dogmatic truth as the foundation of our spiritual vitality. It is, in other words, both the Gospel and Thomistic epistemology turned upside down.

The core distinction which Newman establishes is between “real” apprehension and “notional” apprehension of propositions or statements. This, in turn, gives rise to a corresponding distinction between “real” assent and “notional” assent to any given statement or proposition.

We should immediately note that whatever Newman places under the category of “real” apprehension and assent is bound to receive an aura of respectability, solidity, genuineness, truth, and “vitality.” On the other hand, anything categorized as “notional” will automatically carry the connotation of being unsubstantial and superficial (despite the fact that the word “notion” had a very respectable use and meaning in scholastic philosophy – a philosophy which Newman thoroughly rejects). In their current usage and connotations, the words “notion” or “notional” in fact carry definitions which, at least when applied to truth and our perception of reality, are immensely demeaning: superficial, whim, fancy, knickknack. In other words, the deck has been stacked from the beginning.

The philosophical (metaphysical) reasons for this “stacking” become evident very early in Chapter I of the Grammar of Assent. Newman writes:

“All things in the exterior world are unit and individual, and are nothing else [they thus constitute, in Newman’s schema, the objects of “real” apprehension and assent]; but the mind not only contemplates those unit realities as they exist, but has the gift, by an act of creation, of bringing before it abstractions and generalizations [which Newman fully equates with “notions”], which have no existence, no counterpart, out of it. (p. 29).[All page references to the Grammar of Assent refer to the 1979 University of Notre Dame edition, with an introduction by Nicholas Lash).

The above paragraph constitutes a very direct and specific rejection of Thomistic epistemology, and a very succinct embrace of the philosophical-epistemological position known as empiricism. It is the reigning philosophical position of our day. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) is often considered the founding Father of empiricism (along with John Locke). In Grammar of Assent, Newman designates Bacon as “our own English philosopher” (p. 275), approves his “separating the physical system of the world from the theological” (p. 282), and describes his “genius” in having firmly separated the concept of causation from the concept of “final cause” and “design” (p. 290). Empiricism is in fact the root philosophical system from which is derived the scientific reductionism which we have explored in other articles. It is the prime cause of the retreat of modern Catholic philosophers and theologians from the metaphysics of St. Thomas, and it is the mother of all philosophical subjectivism in opposition to philosophical realism. It is also therefore the precursor of full-blown Modernism.

It must also be noted that in the realm of Catholic philosophy, the above paragraph from Newman also constitutes a clear embrace of the philosophical position of Nominalism. If the reality of all things in the exterior world is only unit and individual, and if universals (dog, man, tree, etc) are not “real” in themselves, but rather only human fabrications or creations, then they are only “names,” totally lacking in real content. They are simply arbitrary mental generalizations and categorizations. They do not correspond to the “eternal types” to be found in the “intellectual light” of God for all eternity. All this, of course, flies directly in the face of Thomistic metaphysics and natural philosophy.

The entirety of the Grammar of Assent is therefore devoted to elaborating an allegedly valid grounds for assenting to the Catholic Faith, established not upon the vertical dimension of Faith as so aptly delineated by Cardinal Manning (the light of the human intellect responding to the radiance of Divinely Revealed Truth), but rather upon an experiential foundation which is a dimension within the interior of man that corresponds to the empirical foundations of man’s outer perceptions. This dimension – this empiricism of the soul – is called by Newman the “illative sense.” It is equivalent to what Pope Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrine of the Modernists) termed the “religious sense”, and which he pinpointed as that fundamental concept by which the Modernist replaces the absolute objective reality and truth of the “God above” with a God and His Truth who are evolving within man.

However, before immersing us in what he has to say about the alleged “real” world of the “illative sense,” Newman spends a great deal of effort in attempting to totally strip the “notional sense” of any real vitality in our spiritual lives. It is astounding, and extraordinarily tedious, the extent to which Newman repeats his conviction that abstract “notions” or ideas, which include all theological and doctrinal formulations, have no “real” power, strength, or effect on our belief or conduct. We understand that this might be hard for the reader to accept, and so we feel it necessary to offer the following sampling from the pages of Grammar of Assent:

“Of these two modes of apprehending propositions, notional and real, real is the stronger; I mean by stronger the more vivid and forcible. It is so to be accounted for the very reason that it is concerned with what is either real or is taken for real; for intellectual ideas cannot compete in effectiveness with the experience of concrete facts.” (p. 31).

“I have said that our apprehension of a proposition varies in strength, and that it is stronger when it is concerned with a proposition expressive to us of things than when concerned with a proposition expressive of notions; and I have given this reason for it, viz. that what is concrete exerts a force and makes an impression on the mind which nothing abstract can rival.” (p. 47).

“Real apprehension, then, may be pronounced stronger than notional, because things, which are it objects, are confessedly more impressive and affective than notions, which are the objects of notional. Experiences and their images strike and occupy the mind, as abstractions and their combinations do not.” (p. 50).

“A mystery [such as the Trinity] is a proposition conveying incompatible notions, or is a statement of the inconceivable….It is equally plain, that the assent which we give to mysteries, as such, is notional assent; for, by the supposition, it is assent to propositions which we cannot conceive, whereas, if we had had experience of them, we should be able to conceive them, and without experience assent is not real.” (p. 55) [We must add that the logical conclusion to this statement made by Newman is that Christian belief in the Trinity cannot be “real“]..

“But, if all this be so, much more does it apply to our speculations concerning the Supreme Being, whom it may be unmeaning, not only to number with other beings, but to subject to number in regard to His own intrinsic characteristics. That is, to apply arithmetical notions to Him may be as unphilosophical as it is profane. Though He is at once Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the word ‘Trinity’ belongs to those notions of Him which are forced on us by the necessity of our finite conception, the real and immutable distinction which exists between Person and Person implying in itself no infringement of His real and numerical Unity [Note: while Newman is right in saying that the distinction between Persons does not infringe on God’s Unity, it is indeed heretical to label the numerical distinctions in the Trinity as unmeaning and profane.]

Theology, as such, always is notional, as being scientific; religion, as being personal should be real.” (p. 62). [Note: In other words, just as Newman credited Bacon with having separated science from theology in the empirical realm, so now Newman separates theology from religion in the realm of the vitality of Faith.]

”In its notional assents as well as in its inferences, the mind contemplates its own creations [All Dogmas are therefore to be considered human creations] instead of things; in real, it is directed towards things, represented by the impressions which they have left on the imagination. These images, when assented to, have an influence both on the individual and on society, which mere notions cannot exert.” (p. 76).

We must not here be simplistic. It would be tempting at this point to assert that Newman does not believe that dogmas have a role to play in our faith. This would be wrong. He flatly states, “It stands to reason that all of us, learned and unlearned, are bound to believe the whole revealed doctrine in all its parts and in all that it implies according as portion after portion is brought home to our consciousness as belonging to it.” (p. 130). Nor does he deny that the Church is the infallible guardian of this revelation: “The word of the Church is the word of the revelation. That the Church is the infallible oracle of truth is the fundamental dogma of the Catholic religion.”(P. 131).

We come here to the heart of the question concerning the Epistemology of Newman. The question we need to ask is not whether he teaches that assent to all Catholic doctrine is necessary for Catholics – this, as we have just seen, he answers in the affirmative. At the same time, however, we have also established that he believes that these doctrines are abstractions, and therefore not “real”, and that despite the fact that they are to be considered revelations from God, they are at the same time abstract creations of the human intellect, which have little power or strength in themselves to elicit a vital response of faith and religious belief in the mind and heart of man. In other words, we are not considering here whether Newman believes that dogma is revealed by God, but whether these dogmas as abstract truths possess real vitality in themselves for the faith of the believer. In point of fact, he does not. The vitality of the vertical dimension of our faith, as elucidated above by St. Thomas and Cardinal Manning, is herewith eliminated or severely diminished. Unlike Thomas and Manning, Newman simply does not believe that dogma and sacred doctrine are “that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected and strengthened.

It remains, therefore, to examine what Newman proposes to us as being the wellspring of a vital faith. In order to do so, we must take our eyes off heaven and heavenly doctrine, and lower them to the interior experiences of individual man. In so doing, we will be entering the same domain which the Modernist proposes as the source of all “real” and “vital” religious faith. We enter the realm of evolving consciousness and experience.

 

The Illative Sense

The word “illative” (from the Latin illatus –“brought in”) is a synonym for “inferential”. In the Finno-Ugric language group (Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian), there is an actual case called the “illative case.” In these languages, a suffix is added to a noun which denotes “in to,” such as “in to the house.” In other words, for Newman, the illative sense is that inferential “sense,” derived from experience and various degrees of reflection upon that experience, which brings us “in to” assent, and even “in to” what Newman alleges to be certitude, in regard to truth. As we have pointed out, it is equivalent to the “religious sense” of Modernism

In  writing the Grammar of Assent, Newman invested 20 years (by his own admission) and almost 400 pages of dense ruminations attempting to do two things: 1) deprive the abstract formulations of dogma and the speculative and logical findings of theology (especially St. Thomas) of any real vitality in religious certitude and belief and, 2) to prove that the illative sense (inferential conclusions derived from experience, and the images which they produce in our minds) is the real and vital source of not only faith, but also our certitude in the possession of truth.

I have already extensively documented Newman’s words in regard to the first of these efforts. It remains for us to examine the second.

Possibly the most effective approach to understanding the illative sense is to examine Newman’s teaching concerning the only way in which dogma can become real to us. Very simply, according to Newman, dogmas only become “vital” and “real” if they are somehow lowered into the world of imagination. Thus, for instance, Newman describes such a process in regard to “Belief in One God.” He roots our certainty and assent to this belief in our own intuitive conscience, and the imaginative projections consequent upon a child’s experienced relationships to his father and mother. From these experiences the child forms the illative sense of a Person behind all of creation to whom he is responsible and subject to judgment. In other words, the only means by which dogma can become real for man, woman, or child is if it is transformed into images attractive to the illative sense.

As I have said earlier, this does not mean that doctrine and dogma in themselves do not play a role in Newman’s epistemology. They play a role of “check,” but not of vitality. He flatly refers to them as “broad but shallow.” Newman states that the imagination, and the affections which accompany it, must always be under the control of reason, that religion “cannot maintain its ground at all without theology, and that religious vitality and sentiment must always fall back upon dogma for its “stay.” (p. 109). But the true Catholic position – that the Sacred Deposit of Faith is that by which Faith is “begotten, nourished, protected, and strengthened,” and that such doctrine is a “radiance” emanating from Christ which draws forth assent and certitude from the intellectual light within man – is something profoundly foreign to Newman’s thought.

It should also be obvious that, although there is obviously some commonality to man’s experience in this world, the illative sense of one man is profoundly different from another. To therefore found assertion and certitude in Faith upon such “illation” is therefore to make each man’s faith an island unto himself. In his chapter on The Illative Sense, Newman writes:

“Certitude is a mental state, certainty is a quality of propositions. Those propositions I call certain, which are such that I am certain of them….And reason never bids us be certain except on an absolute proof; and such a proof can never be furnished to us by the logic of words, for as certitude is of the mind, so is the act of inference which leads to it. Every one who reasons, is his own centre; and no expedient for attaining a common measure of minds can reverse this truth.”

 

Faith: Catholic Assent and Certitude

The traditional Catholic view on Faith and certitude is radically different.

 Following is the marvelous definition of Faith to be found in Chapter III of The Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith of the First Vatican Council:

“Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will. And the Catholic Church teaches that this faith, which is the beginning of man’s salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because the intrinsic truth of the things is plainly perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive. For faith, as the Apostle testifies, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.”

If faith “is the substance of things hoped for,” then the Sacred Doctrines which comprise the objects of Revelation are the primary source of the hope and vitality of that faith. Further, if faith is a supernatural virtue which requires inspiration and the assistance of divine grace, then our certainty in matters of faith is ever dependent upon this supernatural assistance. It is therefore quite astounding that in a work, allegedly Catholic, which is totally occupied with establishing the grounds for assent and certainty in matters of faith, Cardinal Newman never acknowledges this vitality, and only once treats of the role and necessity of God’s grace in assent and certainty. And he does so only to say that such grace and supernatural assent have no place in the Grammar of Assent, and therefore no real vitality in the act of the assent of Faith:

“Nor, lastly, does this doctrine of the intrinsic integrity and indivisibility (if I may so speak) of assent interfere with the teaching of Catholic theology as to the pre-eminence of strength in divine faith, which has a supernatural origin, when compared with all belief which is merely human and natural. For first, that pre-eminence consists, not in its differing from human faith, merely in degree of assent, but in its being superior in nature and kind , so that the one does not {187} admit of a comparison with the other; and next, its intrinsic superiority is not a matter of experience, but is above experience . Assent is ever assent; but in the assent which follows on a divine announcement, and is vivified by a divine grace, there is, from the nature of the case, a transcendent adhesion of mind, intellectual and moral, and a special self-protection, beyond the operation of those ordinary laws of thought, which alone have a place in my discussion.” (p. 155-56).

The above passage, despite the fact that it might elicit an initial favorable impression, precisely exposes that epistemological error which has been the subject of our analysis. If divine faith, made possible through divine grace, and flowing from the Sacred Doctrine which is the object of that Faith, possesses a “pre-eminence of strength,” which “has a supernatural origin when compared with all belief which is merely human and natural,” is “superior in nature and kind,” and involves a “transcendent adhesion of mind,” then why in a work totally dedicated to assent and certainty in matters of faith does it not occupy an absolutely pre-eminent place in the discussion?  What is more, if such divine faith and the grace which vivifies it involves a “pre-eminence” of strength in terms of the vitality of our faith, then why do we not encounter any serious consideration of the fact that this strength and vitality must involve a “radiant” relationship between divine dogma and the “light” which constitutes the human intellect?

The fact is that the “illative sense” is the most ragged of beggars when it comes to “the evidence of things unseen.” What, for instance can it do with the Trinity? It can certainly carry some “life-experiences” and “imaginings” concerning the words designating the Three Persons of the Trinity up to the door of this Mystery, but can it really understand anything about Father, Son, or Holy Spirit as Divine Persons from such images? The fact is, however, that the abstract ideas of doctrine do indeed vitalize our faith concerning these Divine Persons.

For instance, the illative sense can tell us nothing about the hypostatic union – of the mystery of Jesus Christ as being the union of both human and divine natures in the one Divine Person of the Second Person of the Trinity. And yet this abstract mystery possessed the vitality to inspire many martyrs in its defense. Many books have been written about the effects which this doctrine alone has had upon Western civilization – especially in regard to the concept of the innate dignity of all human beings, a truth of immense vitality and consequences which is derived from the abstract concept that God has united human nature to Himself.

And what has the illative sense to do with the Holy Spirit? Are we to limit our image and knowledge of the Third Person of the Trinity to a Dove or something ghostly-like moving over the waters?

And as to the Trinity itself – the actual unity of Three-in-One – the illative sense is absolutely silent. But the intellect can be very active and fruitful in regard to the truths here involved, even to the point of providing further substance for the imagination. It is simply foolish to believe that the intellectual concept that the Son is “One-in-Being” with the Father and that therefore Truth is identical with Being – or that the Holy Spirit must always proceed from the Son just as Love must always proceed from Truth – do not possess the vitality to produce imaginings, passions, and actions in human life.

Nor does such vitality in doctrine only penetrate to the most unfathomable of Mysteries. We may possess, for instance, a fairly strong “illative sense” in regard to the reality and human virtue of purity. But none of this “experience” can make the leap to the declaration of the truth of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. But once this dogma, with all its abstractions, fully casts its light upon human intelligence, it then possesses tremendous vitality to affect our daily living and worship.

In this regard, we remember a story once told by a Mexican missionary. He rode in taxis which would be ringed with semi-pornographic pictures, and in the midst of these would be an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This abomination was made possible not because the vitality of the illative sense was weak in relation to the image of Our Lady – there is nothing stronger in the religious vitality of the illative sense of the Mexican people than devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Rather, it was the vitality of the doctrine that was weak in such men’s lives. It quite literally failed to protect Our Lady from blasphemous associations, and to defend these men themselves from the sin of impurity. Further, it would be inane to suggest that this lack of doctrinal vitality is inherent in the “notional” (doctrinal) belief in itself. There have now, for instance, been many tens of thousands of home-schooled Catholic children who have vitally imbibed this doctrine concerning Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception and Divine Motherhood (with the help of images, but not with these images comprising the primary vitality in regard to assent to this truth), and whose young lives have been integrated into the living concept of purity which is its fruit. In other words, the reason that the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in their homes was not ringed with pornography was precisely because of the vitality of doctrine in their lives.

 

Further Consequences

The elevation of the “illative sense” to centrality in epistemology has immense consequences for all areas of Catholic life and worship – consequences which are now endemic in the Church. Underneath all the subtleties and obfuscations, Newman’s epistemology enshrines “lived-experience” as the most vital principle in our assent of faith. As said previously, this amounts to an “empiricism of the soul,” and is a fundamental tenet of Modernism. It is no wonder, therefore, that both George Tyrrell and Alfred Loisy, generally seen to be founders of Modernism, considered Newman to be their precursor. Tyrrell in fact declared himself to be a “devout follower of Newman”. Newman has been often called the “Father of Vatican Council II. He is also a “Father” of Modernism. In understanding this fact, we should no longer in any way be bewildered by his canonization by Pope Francis.

The “illative sense” is by its very nature evolutionary. The experience of man grows and evolves, as does the illative sense, and it almost inevitably reflects the fluctuating and tremendously varying ambiences and beliefs of the dominant and historically determined culture. Even more obvious, as we have already pointed out, it varies extremely from one man to another, and from one culture to another. Newman’s fundamental truth governing religious assent and certitude for any particular individual is that “Every man is his own centre; and no expedient for attaining a common measure of minds can reverse this truth.” Therefore, it logically leads to that non-judgmental inclusiveness which is a prerequisite for mankind’s common evolutionary growth to a unity of consciousness which can only come to fruition in some future Omega Point. In other words, the epistemology of John Henry Newman is a natural precursor to the Cosmic Evolutionary Theology of Teilhard de Chardin.

We might therefore also suspect that Newman’s canonization, along with the Amazonian Synod, will have so “softened” the universal “Catholic consciousness” as to prepare the path for the lifting of the monitum (warning) against the writings of Teilhard de Chardin, and make it possible for some bishop somewhere (very likely with the encouragement of Pope Francis) to heed the clamor for the opening of the process for his canonization. After all it was Bishop Fulton J. Sheen who declared that in 50 years it would be very likely that Teilhard “will appear like John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, as the spiritual genius of the twentieth century.” (Footprints in a Darkened Forest, Meredith Press, 1967, p. 73). It has now been 52 years since this declaration. Bishop Sheen’s cause for canonization was officially opened in the year 2002 in the diocese of Peoria, Illinois, and ten years later, on June 28, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints had recognized Archbishop Sheen’s life as one of “heroic virtue,” and proclaimed him “Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen.” Birds of a Feather are now flocking together at an accelerating pace.

A primary consequence of placing this evolutionary and relativistic principle of growth at the center of what it means to assent to and possess certainty in regard to the Catholic Faith is the dominance of Modernist ecumenical theories at the heart of the current apostolic posture and activities of the Church. If the illative sense is ever growing and evolving, and if it alone is the primary sources of “real” assent and belief; and if each man is at a different stage in this evolutionary process, and therefore in possession of whatever mixture of errors and truths are peculiar to his own state of “illative” evolution, then the attainment of truth itself must be considered an evolutionary process. Theoretically therefore, no man can be judged for his present rejection of the truth, or for not coming to the fullness of truth. This is why any militant condemnations (such as Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus) of such things as indifferentism, religious pluralism and separation of Church from State, Paganism, Islam, or Protestantism are virtually impossible to the “illative sense” of a Catholic Church now dominated by the epistemological orientation of which Newman is a primary architect. St. Paul’s following depiction of the Christian mission, as exemplified in the following passage, is absolutely taboo in a Church now dominated by Newman’s epistemology:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to God unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels [false illative senses?], and every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor 10:4-5).

The ecumenical orientation and “inclusiveness” now dominant in the Church leads us to another extremely important point concerning the consequences of Newman’s epistemology. We have seen that he denied the “realness” of our assent to dogmatic formulations, but at the same time professed submission to them. Thus we see that he vehemently opposed the Definition of Papal Infallibility as “inopportune”, but personally submitted to it when it was promulgated. He aggressively used every means to undermine the doctrinal status of the Syllabus (both of these subjects we shall be examining in a coming article), and yet professed personal submission to its condemnations. In other words the ecumenism inherent in Newman’s epistemology also leads to a profound duplicity.

All of this should ring a bell in tradition-minded Catholics. Such apparent duplicity reflects the roller-coaster ride which we have endured over the past 55 years since Vatican II. On the one hand a Pope, Vatican Congregation, Cardinal, or Bishop will issue a document truly stating a Catholic doctrine. However, several weeks, months, or years later, we find this same doctrine being somehow profoundly contradicted by the decisions, lack of decisions, actions, or words of the same individual or office. For instance, on Wednesday, Oct 22, 1986, Pope John Paul II emphatically taught the Catholic truth that “It is only in Christ that all mankind can be saved.” Five days later his presence offered moral sanction to Paganism as He prayed beside these false religions at Assisi. In similar duplicity and contradiction did Benedict XVI stand praying alongside the Imam while facing Mecca in a Mosque in Turkey. And in a glaring example of such duplicity, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, former President of the Pontifical Council of Life, professed belief in the Church’s condemnation of all abortion as intrinsically evil, while at the same time writing an article in L’Osservatore Romano in which he condemned the “hastiness” of Bishop Sobrinho’s excommunication of the doctors who performed an abortion on a nine year old Brazilian girl pregnant with twins, stating that the doctors’ decision was a “difficult” one not deserving of condemnation. And, of course, it is this same duplicity which justifies the alleged Catholic politician who personally professes to be pro-life, while at the same time voting to fund abortion.

In other words the epistemology exemplified in John Henry Newman, and now incarnate in the Church, enshrines not only empiricism as the fundamental principle of knowledge in the human soul, but also establishes a schizophrenic and self-contradictory relationship between “notional” belief and “real” belief, and therefore between dogma and practice. It is now endemic in the Church with Pope Francis claiming to accept the entirety of the Catholic Faith, while proposing statements and pastoral practices which are in direct contradiction to this Faith.

Such is the madness of our times. It literally “blesses” a man hearing and believing one thing and doing its opposite. In words from St. James, which we have quoted before:

For if a man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he shall be  compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.”

It is our sacred duty to revive the memory of who we once were. The only means available for such a mission are the same two weapons prescribed for us by St. Paul – the destruction of false philosophy (“counsels”) and the “capturing of every intelligence unto the obedience of Christ.” It would appear that there now is now strong momentum to make John Henry Newman a kind of patron for the “New Evangelization,” and even to have him declared a Doctor of the Church. Such honors would constitute an incalculable harm to the memory of the Church. His erroneous counsels, as examined in this article, must therefore be engaged in battle, and destroyed.

Finally, we must come to the realization that pious words and sentiments expressed towards Our Lord and Our Lady, and all things Catholic, is no assurance that they are not accompanied by enormously destructive errors and heresies. In this respect, we need consider that the 2007 meeting of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America (CELAM) produced the Aparecida Document (a precursor to what will come out of he Amazonian Synod) which recognized that the two primary sources of unity among Latin American Catholics were devotion to Our Lady and to Christ Crucified. We may therefore fully expect that it will be these two devotions which are being viewed a the most powerful illative means to draw down both the peoples of Latin America and the universal Church into the sewage of Teilhardian Evolutionary Theology.

Such people as Cardinal Newman and Bishop Sheen expressed many beautiful sentiments in regard to Our Lady and our Our Crucified Lord; Joseph Ratzinger wrote many things which appear orthodox; Pope Francis has offered beautiful sentiments in regard to the poor and those “living on the peripheries”. The word heresy literally means “to select”. The entire foundation of the Catholic Faith can be destroyed in the midst of such beautiful and lovely sentiments through “selecting” one single doctrine to deny. In the case of all these men, it comes down to one:

“Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.” (James 1: 17).

The Epistemology of John Henry Newman, the Cosmic Evolutionary Theology of Teilhard de Chardin, the acceptance of this theology by Joseph Ratzinger and Bishop Sheen, and the Pastoral Agenda of Pope Francis as being promoted at the Amazonian Synod – All of these demand not just individual and particular changes and alterations to the Catholic Faith, but rather its complete inversion.

We must wage war, but it is a war which must be fought with very different weapons than those offered by the world.

Our lady weeps, and calls us not just to conversion of our hearts, but also to purification of our intelligence in order that we might see the extent of the iniquity that is upon us. Only in the radiance of this light will we be stirred in the depths of our hearts to do the one thing necessary. The grace and intelligence which are the only effective weapons of this war are to be found in the depths of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, which is the one place designated by God for us to encounter the fullness of the radiance of the Truths of Her Son. Please read our:

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Exorcising the Filth of Evolution

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Exorcising the Filth of Evolution

 

We wish to state without qualification that it is in no way possible to believe in the truth of God’s Revelation while at the same time believing that man, in any way – either body or soul, is the result of an evolutionary process. This truth is established upon what is contained in both written Revelation and the Church’s infallible Magisterium.

From the perspective of Biblical Revelation, we have explored this subject in our article Receiving the Kingdom of God as a Little Child. It is impossible to consistently believe (in a non-contradictory way) in the infallibility of God’s Word in the Old Testament, and especially in the Book of Genesis, while believing in any sort of human evolution. In order for the reader to be convinced of this fact, we believe that this article deserves very careful study

From the perspective of the Church’s infallible Magisterium, we possess the doctrine taught by the Council of Vienne: “whoever shall hereafter dare to assert, maintain, or pertinaciously hold that the rational or intellectual soul is not per se and essentially the form of the human body, is to be regarded as a heretic“. As pointed out by Ludwig Ott in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, this dogma is de Fide (of the Faith) and therefore a truth of Revelation necessary to be believed by all Catholics, either explicitly or implicitly, for the retention of Catholic Faith. A human being is one essence, resulting from the substantial union of soul and body. Since the soul constitutes per se (in itself) the form of the human body, the human body cannot be said to exist previous to its reception of a human soul. To assert that any kind of body can exist without its specific form is nonsense. To believe therefore, as do many so-called “Theistic Evolutionists”, that God used an evolutionary process to first form an appropriate human body for the reception of a human soul is an impossibility. We repeat: the soul is in itself the form of a human body.

And if we should try to assert that God actually took a non-human, ape-like body (already possessing an animal “soul”), and somehow substituted a human soul for the existing animal soul, we are asserting the kind of stuff that makes for slapstick comedy. We might well imagine a newspaper cartoon depicting a Michelangelo-like image of God sticking a large hypodermic needle labeled “human soul” into the rear-end of an ape, while at the same time using a rather large foot to kick out an “ape-soul”.  It is no wonder, therefore, that someone like Joseph Ratzinger dismissed any such comedic attempts at reconciling human evolution with Catholic doctrine as being “intolerable” (Credo For Today, p. 38). This is why, of course, he was forced into acceptance of Teilhardian Evolution: namely, that “matter is the prehistory of spirit” (Ibid., p. 45), and that the advent of a spiritual soul, and therefore a human being, in the history of evolution was the result of a process of material “complexification”. Thus , he writes:

“This would then lead to the insight that spirit does not enter the picture as something foreign, as a second substance, in addition to matter: the appearance of spirit, according to the previous discussion, means rather that an advancing movement arrives at the goal that has been set for it….The clay became man at that moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought ‘God.’ The first ‘thou’ that – however stammeringly – was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed. (Ibid. p. 46-47).

As we have pointed out in previous articles, such a dimly-conscious and “stammering” soul is in complete contradiction to the Catholic doctrine that man was created in a state of original justice, possessing sanctifying grace and the full rationality and integrity of will to be responsible for his upright relationship to God. As a consequence of denial of this truth, out the window goes all the doctrines concerning the Fall, the necessity of Christ’s sacrificial restoration of man to friendship with God (the possession of sanctifying grace and charity), the sacrificial nature of the Mass, and the entire sacramental system. And much more. We must come to the full realization that although it is certainly true that such things as legitimizing a married priesthood, female deacons and priests, contraception, divorce and remarriage, the inclusion of pagan theology and worship, and liberation theology are all particular agendas for the upcoming Amazonian Synod, all of this is only the beginning for the planned victory of Teilhardian Cosmic Evolutionary Theology within the Universal Church.

This Teilhardian-inspired evolutionary destruction of all that is Catholic is implicit in any sort of capitulation to evolutionary theory. We believe that at least some sort of nebulous belief in evolution is extraordinarily widespread among not only the Catholic laity, but also among seminarians, priests and the Catholic hierarchy. We might tend to downplay this presence because such belief is most often not well thought out, and therefore does not represent a fully conscious rejection of Catholic truth. But it is in fact the very “nebulosity” of such a belief which constitutes its destructiveness. It reflects and embodies a spiritual state of soul which amounts to an ongoing prostitution to the findings of bogus, reductive science, and therefore a profound vitiation of that gift of the Holy Spirit which is called fortitude, and which is entirely necessary for any Catholic in his or her combat with the spirit of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

We must add that this “fuzziness” is especially tragic in the case of young seminarians and newly ordained priests who have a deep desire to be orthodox Catholics, and who possess a strong passion for the restoration of all things Catholic. Such “nebulous” lack of clarity and prostitution to the “science” of this world is bound to exert a corrosive effect upon the work of the Holy Spirit in their future ministry. Most important, it immerses them in a poisonous doubt and confusion concerning the “goodness” of man as originally created by God, and as described in the Genesis account. In so doing, it necessarily poisons their confidence in the purity of God’s goodness Himself. And in the face of the geometrically accelerating effects of such scientifically reductive thinking upon virtually all of contemporary mankind, it is almost certainly bound to immerse them increasingly in that poison which produces the bitterness and torpor of old men with old and disillusioned hearts. In other words, it almost inevitably produces that loss of spiritual childhood necessary for the inheritance of the Kingdom of God.

As a remedy, we propose that such persons enter more deeply into the heart of Mary. Such impurity and filth still existing in the minds and hearts of those who truly wish to be immersed in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, cannot long continue to exist for those truly immersed in the purifying fire of her Immaculate Heart.

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A Course of Study: The Amazonian Synod and Teilhardian Evolutionary Theology, and What is Necessary for Our Lady’s Triumph.

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A Course of Study:

The Amazonian Synod and Teilhardian Evolutionary Theology,

And What is Necessary for Our Lady’s Triumph

 

Note: The following article is divided into three parts. The first part deals with the profound “operation of error” (2 Thess. 2: 10) which has been orchestrated by means of the Amazonian Synod to wash over the universal Church and the minds and hearts of all believers through Teilhardian evolutionary theology. The second part proposes the only remedy in the intellectual realm as contained in the theology and metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas. The third part examines the only complete remedy: a united recourse to Mary and her Rosary, as the means by which each one of us, including the hierarchy, may be purified of our sins, infidelities, and prostitutions to the errors of this world. Over half of the voting-age Cardinals have now been appointed by Francis. And even among those appointed previous to Francis, virtually none possess either the understanding or fortitude which would enable them to resist what is now descending upon us. Our salvation is now completely dependent upon divine intervention.

We ask the reader to systematically and carefully read all that is recommended and linked below – just as one would for a college course. We believe it contains all that is required for understanding the depths of evil that are now upon us, and what is necessary for victory over both the enemy within and without.

 

The Depths of the Crisis

Much criticism has now issued forth from conservative and traditionalist Catholic circles concerning the upcoming Amazon Synod. These criticisms have focused on particular agendas: a married priesthood; ordination of women to the diaconate and priesthood; inculteration of indigenous pagan beliefs and practices into Catholic theology, moral praxis, and worship; and most especially, the fulfillment of Marxist-inspired Liberation Theology.

All of these agendas will of course play their part in this organized attempt to undermine and negate all that is truly of Christ and His Church. But we fail to understand the depths of the crisis which is now upon us if we fail to perceive that the ultimate program behind this Synod is not any of these partial agendas, but rather the subjection of all Catholic belief and praxis to Teilhardian evolutionary theology.

We must realize that the ultimate goal of Satan is not to make man into an atheist, a Marxist, a pagan, or even a Modernist. Rather, it is to convince him that he is destined under his own power to ascend to equality with God. The temptation of the Serpent to Adam and Eve was that “you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil”. (Gen. 3: 5). Man thus fell through an intellectual pride that sought to ascend to “Godhood” by becoming the sole source and determiner of what is true and false, what is good and what is evil. Man’s Fall, in other words, was constituted by an act which was the supreme rejection of what St. James meant when he wrote: “Every best gift, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.” (James 1: 17).

On the other hand, this fundamental pride (“the beginning of all sin”) on the part of man represented a prostitution to, and imaging of, the mind and heart of Lucifer who, in the Book of the Prophet Isaias, was addressed by God in the following words: “And thou saidst in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most high. (Isaias 14: 13-14). It is precisely this desire to ascend to a “likeness with the most high” which is the penultimate sin which will be consummated in the final embrace of the Father of Lies, and which will usher in the Antichrist.

It is Teilhardian cosmic evolutionary ascent, disguised as integral theology and ecology, which is now being promoted for adaption by the universal Church through the upcoming Amazonian Synod. We therefore offer below a series of articles (previously published on our website) which represent a course of Study in regard to this agenda.

Article I. The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns. This article contains our most detailed examination of the cosmic evolutionary theology of Teilhard de Chardin. It should be read first in order to understand the gravity of the present crisis. It also documents the embrace of this theology by Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI in his writings and public statements. Finally, it also reveals the Teilhardian agenda proposed in Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si, which is clearly the foundational document for what is planned for the Amazonian Synod.

Article II. Article II: A Love That Maketh a Lie:  Amoris Laetitia and the Teilhardian Agenda. Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia contains a very specific heresy which is the foundation for all the rest of its errors: the denial of the well defined doctrine (Council of Trent) concerning Charity, and what it means to be living in sanctifying grace and the friendship of God. And at the core of this heresy is the denial of the substantial natures of both God and man, the denial of the entire vertical nature of our Faith and Salvation, and their replacement by Teilhardian Cosmic Evolutionary Theology.

Article III. The War Against the Human Soul: Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod. Teilhardian evolution is constituted not only as a war against God, but also as a total war against the substantial dignity and sacredness of the individual human soul. It conceives of the human person in terms of evolutionary becoming, as opposed to the Catholic doctrine which defines the individual soul in terms of possessing a fixed substantial nature, created in the image of God, and possessing a present and immediate call to perfection of that nature in the truth and love of Christ. This is why, in his writings, Teilhard clearly embraced eugenics, and the necessity to “try everything” in the effort to produce the “super-human”. Such eugenics constitutes the dark underbelly of the false mercy underlying both secular “integral ecology” and Teilhardian theology.

Article IV: The Amazonian Synod and Teilhardian Evolution: A Journey into the Heart of Antichrist. This article explores Teilhardian evolution and the Amazonian Synod in reference to the final confrontation between the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, and between Christ and Antichrist.

Article V. Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod: The Nest of the Antichrist. Teilhardian evolution is the culmination of 2,000 years of infiltration of Gnostic thinking into the minds and hearts of Catholics. Gnosticism can be seen as the nest which has long been nurturing that Beast which is now taking flight on the wings of Cosmic Teilhardian Evolution, and will culminate in the Antichrist. This article traces its extraordinary, and often unexpected and little-known, history within the Church and Christian civilization.

Article VI. Exorcising the Filth of Evolution. We believe this article to be extremely important to anyone susceptible to belief in evolutionary theory in any form.

 

The Philosophical and Theological Remedy

The coming Amazonian Synod (October 6 – 27, 2019), titled Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology, is constituted as an agenda which has been long in preparation for a total inversion of the Catholic Faith. As the Synod’s Relator General Cardinal Emeritus Claudio Hummes (personally appointed by Pope Francis) said in an interview in La Civilita Catholica (May 13, 2019), “there is a need to rewrite Christology”. And further: “All theology and Christology, as well as the theology of the sacraments, are to be reread starting from this great light for which ‘all is interconnected, interrelated’.” As Nicaraguan Cardinal Madariaga, Coordinator of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinal Advisors, said in a January 20, 2015 talk at Santa Clara University, “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible”.

It is clear that what is being planned for the Amazon Synod is an agenda which seeks eventual implementation in the Universal Church. It is centered upon belief in a false universal inclusiveness and mercy, which is in turn grounded in a belief in Cosmic Teilhardian Evolution. As such, it demands the rejection of the vertical dimension of our Faith which is founded upon the Absolute nature of objective Truth and God’s Revelation

In several articles we have offered analysis of what is at the root of this complete inversion of the Catholic Faith: the surrender to reductive science, from which has ensued the rejection of Thomistic theology and the metaphysics of Being, and its replacement by Teilhardian Evolutionary theology.

Immediately below, we publish the link to a new article which represents a kind of primer on Thomistic Theology and Metaphysics. We believe it contains all that is necessary to establish the mind and heart firmly in the supremacy and immutability which is God’s Supreme Being and Truth, and also in the truly Catholic understanding of man created in His image and possessing a nature which must be defined in terms of substantial being rather than evolutionary becoming. As such, it contains all that is intellectually necessary to protect us from the flood of Teilhardian cosmic evolutionary thinking which now threatens to wash over Christ’s Church in the wake of the Amazonian Synod.

New Article (Posted August 25, 2019):The Antidote to Teilhardian Theology: The Restoration of the Supernatural: In Accord with the Teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

 

The Supernatural Solution

Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity. (1 Thess. 2: 20-11).

The above passage from Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians speaks of an operation of error sent by God as a chastisement for our iniquities and infidelities. We must presume that we are now in the midst of such a chastisement. It is not only they who have sinned, but also we who have sinned and are deserving of our heavenly-inflicted impotency before the present onslaught of this world upon the Church.

Most important, we must realize that virtually all the major institutions and organs of power in this world – financial, economic, political, educational, and media – are now in the hands of the enemies of Christ and His Church who promote the agenda of Antichrist. The solution to the present crisis – by far the worst in the history of the Church – has been entrusted to Our Lady and her Rosary alone.

It is a clear lesson of the history of God’s dealings with man, and the terrible chastisements that have befallen peoples and nations because of their betrayal of Christ and His Truth, that any sort of restoration and triumph of the Gospel over the forces of evil requires a united effort. Just as a supernatural unity was established between all men in their creation, such that the effects of the sin of one man descended to all, so any sort of restoration can only be accomplished through a united effort in imploring God’s grace and power over all the evil that is upon us. It should be obvious, therefore, that any notion that our own personal salvation, and the salvation and protection of our families and friends, is now to be secured by retreating into a “hiddeness”, or spiritual isolation, is a destructive delusion.

The unity necessary for deliverance is of course never even close to universal. Nor does it necessarily require the involvement of a majority of those who might nominally call themselves “Catholic”. But God certainly does demand a unity at least among those who truly desire to be faithful to Christ and His Gospel – a unity not only of belief, but of intense prayer for deliverance. That this unity is now profoundly lacking even among those who would consider themselves “conservative”, “orthodox”, or “traditional” Catholics is profoundly evident. Because of this division, we are being relegated to the status of impotency in the face of Antichrist.

The entire purpose of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is not just to convince faithful Catholics of the extraordinary gravity of our present crisis, but to effect this unity of prayer within the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and through the Rosary, for deliverance. It is also true, however, that we do not believe that such prayer will merit Our Lady’s supernatural Triumph unless it is established in honesty and free from duplicity. And this entails that it issue forth from hearts that first cry out, as did the Prophet Daniel in the Old Testament, “We have sinned”. The chastisement is upon Us, and we should not expect deliverance from without unless there is first purification within. In this respect we recommend reading the article: Our Chastisement, Our Blessing, and also our article St. Francis of Assisi: They Pretended to Love You so that They Might Leave You.

We therefore implore all readers to implement what is contained in our Original Proposal. If your pastors or bishops will not agree to this effort and event, then we ask that you gather at the doors of your Churches, at Shrines, or even in homes. Our victory can only come from above, and this only through that unity and purification established within the Immaculate Heart of Mary through her Rosary. It is only in the depths of such purification and unity that our prayers for the conversion, or defeat, of the enemy will be graced through Our Lady, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

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The Antidote to Teilhardian Evolution: The Restoration of the Supernatural in Accord with the Teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas

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Note:

The coming Amazonian Synod (October 6 – 27, 2019), titled Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology, is constituted as an agenda which has been long in preparation for a total inversion of the Catholic Faith. As the Synod’s Relator General, Brazilian Cardinal Emeritus Claudio Hummes (personally appointed by Pope Francis), said in an interview in La Civilita Catholica (May 13, 2019), “there is a need to rewrite Christology”. And further: “All theology and Christology, as well as the theology of the sacraments, are to be reread starting from this great light for which ‘all is interconnected, interrelated’.” And as Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Coordinator of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinal Advisors, said in a January 20, 2015 talk at Santa Clara University, “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible”.

It is clear that what is being planned for the Amazon Synod is an agenda which seeks universal implementation in the Church. It is centered upon belief in a universal inclusiveness and mercy (the ultimate “ecumenism”), which is in turn grounded in a belief in Cosmic Teilhardian Evolution. As such, it demands the rejection of the vertical dimension of our Faith which is founded upon objective, absolute Truth and God’s Revelation

In several articles we have offered analysis of what is at the root of this complete inversion of the Catholic Faith: the surrender to reductive science, from which has ensued the rejection of Thomistic theology and the metaphysics of Being, and its replacement by Teilhardian Evolutionary theology.

What follows represents a kind of primer in Thomistic Theology and Metaphysics. We believe it contains all that is necessary to establish our minds and hearts firmly in the supremacy and immutability of God’s Supreme Being and Truth, and also in the truly Catholic understanding of man as being created in His image, and possessing a nature which must be defined in terms of substantial being rather than evolutionary becoming. As such, it contains all that is necessary to protect us from the flood of Teilhardian cosmic evolutionary thinking which is now set to wash over Christ’s Church in the wake of the Amazonian Synod.

 

 

Introduction

            A great spiritual miasma has now descended upon the civilized world – a kind of poisonous ambience of culture and thought which has made it virtually impossible to perceive spiritual realities. Apart from an extraordinary grace from God, the only human weapon capable of dispersing this poisonous fog is the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. The great tragedy of our age is that for several decades this weapon has been largely placed under lock and key by those within the Catholic Church who have been assigned as its custodians and champions.

Since Vatican Council II, it has been the overwhelmingly prevalent view, especially among the Catholic hierarchy, that the Church must seek a new philosophical and theological basis for its teaching – an approach which will somehow bypass what is alleged to be the “intellectualism” of St. Thomas Aquinas. It has been repeated ad nauseum that St. Thomas’ approach to the faith is static, rigid, rationalistic, and even Pelagian, and that a new approach (usually leading back to St. Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bonaventure, John Duns Scotus) is necessary in order to restore some sort of original, gospel-centered “heart” to Catholic thinking and spirituality.

This criticism of Thomism extends especially to the question concerning man’s “deification.” It is the contention of these same people that the “rigid” categories of thought, which they claim are inherent to Thomistic thinking, allow absolutely no room for any possible communication between God and man, that they destroy the basis for mystical prayer and contemplation, and thus ultimately negate any possibility for final union between God and man.

This long article is being written expressly to refute this position. It aims to prove that just the opposite is indeed the case – that it is the rejection of Thomism which is largely responsible for the loss of the sense of the supernatural among Catholics. Largely, this loss of the transcendent dimension to human life has been due to the effect of reductive scientific analysis, and the rationalistic philosophy which is its constant companion, upon the thought processes of modern man. Only Thomistic philosophy can provide the intellectual orientation capable of shattering this reductiveness, of opening up our perceptions of created realities to the presence of God, and of re-establishing communion between God and man. Finally, only the metaphysics of St. Thomas can provide the proper foundation for understanding contemplative and mystical prayer, and the epistemological and psychological understanding of how the Beatific Vision of God’s Essence can be made possible for a creature like man who is infinitely beneath this Divine Essence.

This does not in any way imply a “rationalistic” approach to prayer. The various stages of union with God are all due to His gratuitous grace. Man can accomplish nothing supernaturally without this grace. But it is also true that God requires man’s cooperation, and that this cooperation intimately involves a true mental orientation towards both supernatural faith and created realities. Man’s mind and heart are doors through which God’s grace enters, and these can be seen as wonderfully open towards His action, or as tragically closed through intellectual orientations which make reception of these graces impossible or unfruitful.

This should not be construed to mean that every Catholic has to be a trained philosopher and theologian in order to pray properly. It does demand, however, that if modern man has deeply absorbed philosophical and theological attitudes and thought processes which have effectively accomplished the “closure” of which we have spoken above, then proper philosophical and theological re-formation are necessary in order to once again open his mind and heart to these truths in both the natural and supernatural orders.

It is also important to emphasize here that this negation of the transcendental dimension of human life has been effected not only by theological errors which affect one’s supernatural faith, but also through philosophical errors concerning the nature of created realities. In his Motu proprio on St. Thomas titled Doctoris Angelici, Pope Saint Pius X writes the following:

For just as the opinion of certain ancients is to be rejected which maintains that it makes no difference to the truth of the Faith what any man thinks about the nature of creation, provided his opinions on the nature of God be sound, because error with regard to the nature of creation begets a false knowledge of God; so the principles of philosophy laid down by St. Thomas Aquinas are to be religiously and inviolably observed, because they are the means of acquiring such a knowledge of creation as is most congruent with the Faith; of refuting all the errors of all the ages, and of enabling man to distinguish clearly what things are to be attributed to God and to God alone.”

This truth – that it is false philosophy which is at the root of modern man’s estranged relationship to God (and from himself, and his fellow man) – is a teaching which has been reiterated by many Popes over the past 250 years. In the year 1775, only 14 years before the French Revolution, Pope Pius VI, in his encyclical Inscrutabile, wrote:

Who would not be shocked when considering that We have undertaken the task of guarding and protecting the Church at a time when many plots are laid against orthodox religion, when the safe guidance of the sacred canons is rashly despised, and when confusion is spread wide by men maddened by a monstrous desire of innovation, who attack the very bases of rational nature and attempt to overthrow them? …yourselves, established as scouts in the house of Israel, see clearly the many victories claimed by a philosophy full of deceit. You see the ease with which it attracts to itself a great host of peoples, concealing its impiety with the honorable name of philosophy….While they pursue a remarkable knowledge, they open their eyes to behold a false light which is worse than very darkness. Naturally our enemy, desirous of harming us and skilled in doing so, just as he made use of the serpent to deceive the first human beings, has armed the tongues of those men with the poison of his deceitfulness in order to lead astray the minds of the faithful….In this way these men by their speech ‘enter in lowliness, capture mildly, softly bind and kill in secret (St. Leo the Great)’….”

The fact that Pope Pius VI states that these false philosophies have captured, blinded, and killed “a great host of peoples” clearly indicates that he is here speaking of specific ideas and mental orientations which have invaded entire cultures and made it impossible for man to be open to the supernatural dimension of human life. These murderous ideas are not therefore confined only to the world of professional philosophers and theologians, but rather are the cultural inheritance of the entirety of what was once Christian civilization. We will be dedicated here, therefore, to exploring those principles of Thomistic teaching necessary for the liberation of the minds and hearts of “modern man” per se. It is true that, within the Church especially, the re-embrace of these truths and principles must largely begin with the hierarchy, and with theologians and philosophers. It is only then that these liberating truths can be gradually, but systematically, “incarnated” in the minds and hearts of the faithful through all the various aspects of the Church’s life – evangelization, catechetics, sacramental life, worship, and prayer.

 

The Primacy of Truth

Pope Pius VI’s assertion that false philosophy “attacks the very bases of rational nature” is equivalent to stating that it denies both the existence of objective Truth and therefore man’s ability to know this truth.

The single greatest victim of post-Vatican II life in the Church is the perennial Catholic teaching concerning the primacy of the concept of Truth. Belief that God’s Being is primarily to be identified with Truth is largely no longer operative in the modern Catholic mind. The average contemporary Catholic would rather believe that God is Love, and leave it at that. The corollary of this error is a denial of the human mind’s aptitude and capacity for knowing this Truth, and the consequent denial that man’s ultimate happiness and fulfillment consist in the direct vision and knowledge of the Essence of God Who is Truth. This heresy finds its ultimate expression in agnosticism and atheism. But it also comes to fruition among believers in a form of what might be called Caritasism, which elevates love over truth, and reduces man’s ultimate union with God to a love that is not derived from an intellectual vision of the Divine Essence.

This denial of the primacy of truth necessarily distorts belief in the Triune God.

All traditional catechisms teach that man is created in the image of God, and that this “image” primarily resides in the fact that he possesses intellect and free will. But the analogous relationship of man to the Trinity does not end there. St. Thomas teaches that the Father is the source of all proceedings within the One Being of the Godhead. The Father, in knowing His own Being, for all eternity generates His only begotten Son as the Word which is the Infinite Knowledge of His own Being, and therefore is Infinite Truth. The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of Love, proceeds from both the Father and the Son as the Spirit of Love between Them. Thus is the circle and communion of relationships within the Trinity.

For our purpose the important point to be made here is that the Holy Spirit must be seen as proceeding not only from the Father, but also from the Word as the Spirit of Truth. In other words, Love must proceed from Truth. This is why the Filioque (the Catholic doctrine that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son – Filoque) is absolutely essential to the Catholic understanding, not only of the nature of the Trinity, but also of the working of the Holy Spirit within the Church and in individual men.

The primacy of Truth over all of men’s other concepts and operations is, as it were, the main entrance door to the human soul which must remain wide open if it is to remain alive to God and to the spiritual life. This means, of course, that man must submit his mind and heart to God’s revealed truth, but it also has much more extensive ramifications. Most fundamentally, this primacy entails that there is an affinity – what Thomism speaks of as the “analogy of being” – between the mind and heart of man and the infinite Mind and Will of God.

This belief in the knowable, analogous relationship between man and the very essence of God is a defining characteristic of Catholicism. No other religion in the world is in possession of this belief. It does not exist in Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any type of Gnosticism; nor does it really exist in Eastern Orthodoxy or Protestantism.

This may seem an astounding claim, and it therefore deserves some explanation. Any religion which posits an Infinite God, or even an Infinite Abstract Absolute (such as in philosophical Hinduism), is faced with the problem of how to connect a finite creation to this Infinite Being. By definition, an Infinite Being cannot tolerate the existence of any “other” which would limit its infinitude. Nothing therefore more clearly reveals the poverty of other religions than an examination of their attempts to come to terms with this dilemma.

Hinduism, for instance, “solves” this problem by claiming that all which is perceived as being outside of the Infinite is an illusion or “maya.” Its ultimate formulation of belief is “Thou art That” – what is perceived as the individual soul (Atman) is really Brahman (the Absolute).The apparent difference, distinction, or separation between the two is an illusion. The consequences of such a belief should be fairly obvious. Any values associated with personal and individual lives must ultimately also be considered an illusion. The devaluation of all things human is a logical consequence.

Islam does not really try to solve the problem, simply because it is considered blasphemy to assign any nature whatsoever to God. Here, all that can be known is Allah’s will. This is the heresy of “voluntarism.” In Islam, it is even blasphemy to try to apply the primary principle of non-contradiction to God. The Koran is in fact redolent with the contradictions of Allah’s alleged will.

Gnosticism (in all its varieties) posits a monistic first principle, or God, which is also Infinite. The finite world comes into existence through some sort of decay (often through a very complex sequence of “births”, “emanations”, or “manifestations”), which is totally inexplicable when applied to an Infinite Being. Human attainment of perfection then becomes a process of “gnosis” – of knowledge or remembering – attained by asceticism and esoteric spiritual practices which negate the created world and accomplish a reunion with the Divine within.

The dominant form of Eastern Orthodox theology (Palamism) posits that the Essence of God is totally unknowable, unnamable, and therefore beyond all conceptualization. The only thing that man can ever know about the divine is exclusively associated with what are called the “Divine Energies” (which, since the Essence of God is completely unnamable, must logically include the three hypostasis or persons of the Trinity), which according to Palamite theology are, uncreated and eternal, and yet, inexplicably, an infinity of infinities beneath the Essence of God, and are in no way to be identified with the Essence of God. These Energies are in the world, and within man, and require a process akin to Gnostic asceticism and apophatism (negation of all positive attributions to the Essence of God) in order to lift the veils preventing a union with the Divine. This Divine is identified with the Holy Spirit, Who does not proceed from Christ (denial of the Filioque is an absolute dogma for all Eastern Orthodox), and is considered by some Orthodox writers to be the very Soul of the World. In other words, Eastern Orthodoxy is constituted as a syncretism of Gnosticism and Christianity.

As for Protestantism, Luther, for one, considered the human mind to be irretrievably fallen and corrupt, and totally incapable of any solution to such a question. The Word of God (the Bible) thus tends to become something akin to what the Koran is for the Muslim – an expression of God’s Will and Truth, with no basis in rationality or intellectual vision.

Something absolutely distinct, different and liberating is present in Thomistic Catholicism. Thomas teaches, for instance, that there are names or attributes which we apply to God – names such as One, Good, Truth, and Love – which are substantially applied to God. Here are his words, by which the analogical relationship between the human and the Divine is wonderfully expressed:

Therefore we must hold a different doctrine – viz., these names signify the divine substance, and are predicated substantially of God, although they fall short of a full representation of Him….So when we say, God is good, the meaning is not, God is the cause of goodness, or, God is not evil; but the meaning is, Whatever good we attribute to creatures, pre-exists in God, and in a more excellent and higher way.” (I, Q.3, A.2)

Our comprehension of the depth of meaning contained in these names and attributes is certainly profoundly limited by our own finitude as contrasted with the Infinitude of God, but the names and the analogies are real. In direct opposition to Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic theology asserts that these names are not something which must eventually be shed in favor of an apophatic (negative) spirituality which denies all conceptualization of God. In other words, there is an affinity between the nature of God and the nature of man’s soul that is profoundly real. This reality comes to its ultimate fulfillment in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and it is fulfilled in the human soul through that final union with Christ accomplished in the Beatific Vision.

 

Creation Ex Nihilo

The entire structure of Catholic teaching concerning the affinity which exists between the human soul and the nature of God – an affinity which enables man in this life to know substantive things about the Essence of God, and to actually possess direct knowledge and vision of the Divine Essence in Heaven – is erected upon a proper understanding of the Catholic doctrine creation ex nihilo (creation from nothing).

The doctrine creation ex nihilo is absolutely unique to the Judaeo-Christian tradition. No other religion has postulated anything even remotely similar. It can be known only through Divine Revelation. But it is also true that, although it has been historically accepted by virtually all those who consider themselves Christians, it is little understood, and even less integrated into a consistent theology and metaphysics.

The doctrine of creation ex nihilo simply states that God, through an Act of His infinite Intellect and Will, created everything which exists outside of His Divine Being from nothing. It also demands that we affirm that every created thing possesses no independent being of its own apart from the continuing sustaining-creative Act of God. St. Thomas in fact teaches that, apart from the aspect of initial creation, God’s sustaining Act is of the same nature as His creative Act. When this is properly understood, it has immense consequences for our understanding of many other Catholic doctrines: the metaphysical and physical constitution of created things, the nature of free will, the doctrines concerning Divine Providence and predestination, and the doctrine concerning the Beatific Vision. These topics we will be exploring in subsequent sections of this article.

For the present, we need only to grasp the extent to which the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, when properly understood, makes knowledge of and communication with God possible, without this knowledge compromising the Infinitude of God, and without it in any way confusing or mixing the Being of God with the created being of creatures. The key to this understanding is the Thomistic concept of participation, which acknowledges that God is able to create spiritual beings in His own image who, with the aid of God’s created graces, possess the aptitude for intellectual knowledge and love of God – a knowledge and love which elevates the soul to union with God without there being any necessity of identifying the being of man with the Supreme Being of God. We will be exploring this subject in more depth when treating of St. Thomas’ teaching on man’s glorification in the Beatific Vision. However, in order to establish the proper foundation for our understanding of man’s final destiny, we must now turn our attention to St. Thomas’ Metaphysics.

 

Thomistic Metaphysics

We so heartily approve the magnificent tribute of praise bestowed upon this most divine genius that We consider that Thomas should be called not only the Angelic, but also the Common or Universal Doctor of the Church; for the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own.” ( Pius XI, Studiorum Ducem)

“We therefore desired that all teachers of philosophy and sacred theology should be warned that if they deviate so much as a step, in metaphysics especially, from Aquinas, they exposed themselves to grave risk.” (Pius X, Doctoris Angelici)

          “Metaphysics” can tend to be an intimidating word to most Catholics. It is usually defined as the science of “being, considered simply as being,” a definition which itself can seem imposing. Since metaphysics is considered the basis of all other philosophical inquiry and disciplines, it is therefore imperative that we begin by eliminating much of the unnecessary “scariness” concerning this subject.

The word itself is a composition derived from two Greek roots: meta, meaning “beyond” or “after”; and physika, meaning “physical.” But its actual meaning is derived from Aristotle’s philosophical works. After treating of “Physics” – the analyzable and quantifiable nature of physical things – Aristotle went on to treat of the deeper realities of things (including physical things) which take us beyond quantification, and beyond all the analytical tools which we would now consider to be the methods of the various analytical empirical sciences. The word “metaphysics” literally means, therefore, “beyond physics.” However, we must be very clear from the beginning of our inquiry that this does not at all mean that metaphysics deals exclusively with things that are beyond the “physical.” In fact we shall begin by stating this primary principle: without understanding the metaphysical being of created things, one is incapable of understanding the substantial nature of any created substance whatsoever.

The first thing we need to know about metaphysics, therefore, is that the word itself is dedicated to a science which establishes the truth that no physical substance is reducible to analysis by any physical science. In other words, there is something “beyond” analytical physics, chemistry, etc. in the very composition of every physical substance itself.

Such a notion should be immediately thrilling to any Catholic, and an immediate incentive to look into this subject further. The very idea that there is something “transcendent” (in the sense of “transcending” physical analysis and quantification) as the defining essence of every created substance shatters all scientific reductionism and opens up our entire world to the presence of the supernatural. It restores divine poetry (and every other true form of beauty and goodness) to the world. Metaphysics is, in other words, the gateway to the supernatural. It is the gateway to the good, the beautiful, and the true. We therefore ask some patience from the reader while we explore the various steps in this metaphysical journey.

 

The Two Fundamental Kinds of Being

We have already spoken of the “analogy of being” in our application of certain human concepts to the substantial nature of God. These concepts and names are “analogical” rather than “univocal” (terms or concepts that apply equally and exactly in the same way) simply because there are two fundamental kinds of being which can never be mixed or confused “in themselves.” These two types of being are Infinite Being and finite being. The former is possessed by God alone; the latter is possessed by everything else that exists.

There are certain metaphysical concepts (concepts regarding being) which can only be applied to Infinite Being – to God. In understanding these concepts, we open up a vast field for understanding the being of created things, and especially of man.

The absolutely primary metaphysical concept in regard to God is what is called His Absolute Divine Simplicity. There can be no composition in God – God cannot have “parts.” As human beings who are by our very nature “compositions,” and limited in intelligence, we necessarily apply a variety of very valid concepts and names to God: Intellect, Will, Truth, Love, Beauty, Goodness, Justice, etc. In God, however, these attributes are all one in the Unity of His Absolute Divine Simplicity. St. Thomas writes:

The perfect unity of God requires that what are manifold and divided in others should exist in Him simply and unitedly. Thus it comes about that He is one in reality, and yet multiple in idea, because our intellect, apprehends Him in a manifold manner, as things represent Him.” (I, Q.13, A. 4).

God therefore is His Intellect, is His Will, is His Truth, Is His Love, etc., and all these are absolutely united in His Divine Simplicity. In human beings, on the other hand, these faculties and concepts are manifold, because human beings are themselves composites. They possess the distinct faculties that we know as Intellect and Will. Further, such things as Truth, Love, Goodness, and Beauty truly are distinct values and concepts.

The second concept which we must be very clear about in regard to the Infinite Being of God is that He is Pure Act. We must understand, however, that when we use this concept in regard to God, we must be careful not to confuse its scholastic usage with many of its connotations in English. Scholastic metaphysics distinguishes between “Act” and “Potency.” When we use the phrase “Pure Act” as a scholastic concept, we are saying that in God there is no “potency” or potential to become something different or attain to something different (such as knowledge, love, etc) which has not been integral to God’s Essence for all eternity. In other words, when we say that God is Pure Act, we are saying that God for all eternity is fully and totally actualized. There is, in other words, no potency whatsoever in God. Very simply put, God does not change.

Something very different is the case with creatures. Every created being possesses both act and potency. The fact that it possesses “act” is attested to by the simple fact that it exists. The equally obvious truth that it possesses “potency” is attested to by the fact that it is always subject to future change. A tree, for instance, can undergo many “accidental” changes (such as size and quantity, ) which still leave it a tree; or it can also undergo a substantial change by which it dies and ceases to exist as the substance “tree.” Similarly, a human being undergoes all sorts of changes during his life, even to the point of the death of his body. What is more, he is always in potency towards his final destiny – whether it be union with God, or eternal condemnation.

This brings us to a third concept, closely related to the distinction between Act and Potency: the distinction between Essence and Existence. Every created substance is created with an essential form which determines what it is as a substance (we will be looking into the concepts of “form” and “substance” shortly). There may, however, be a very great difference between the essence of the thing and its actual present existence. For instance, the essence or substantial form of a human being is a rational soul. If a person has suffered an injury to the head and is presently in a coma, his present existence is not rational, but that does not at all deny his humanity or the fact of his still possessing a rational soul as his essence. But it is not necessary that we look only to the exceptional in order to discover this distinction between essence and existence in our lives. Something similar happens to each one of us when we fall into a deep sleep at night. Therefore, with all created things, we must always maintain the distinction in them between essence and existence, just as we must hold firmly to the distinction between act and potency. As we shall see shortly, the failure to acknowledge or retain these distinctions between act and potency, and between essence and existence, totally destroys our ability to explain substantial stability in the midst of change. Without these distinctions a tree becomes something substantially different every time it grows a new leaf, a person becomes a new substance every time he takes a nap.

We have carefully noted that there is no potency in God – He is Pure Act. This can be explained only by the fact that His Existence is His Essence. When Moses asked God what he should say to the Israelites when they asked of him the Name of God, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO AM. God, in other words, is the One Being Whose Essence is identical with His Existence. His Essence is purely actualized in His Existence. He is Pure and Supreme Being.

Having made these fundamental distinctions in regard to the Infinite Being of God and the finite being of man, we are now prepared to examine the mystery of creation itself.

 

Cosmology

The philosophical discipline devoted to the study of created being is called “Cosmology” or “The Philosophy of Nature.” As, we shall see it is a study intimately related to metaphysics, and profoundly dependent upon metaphysics for its fundamental analysis of the concept of being. It is here, especially in our study of the constitution of physical things, that we will see the power of Thomism to shatter scientific reduction, and the means to restore the transcendental dimension to human life and thinking.

Both Aristotle and St. Thomas establish that there exist ten fundamental categories of being: one category of substantial being, and nine categories of accidental being. Again, we must caution from the beginning of our study not to confuse the common use of the English word “accidental” with its use in scholastic philosophy.

Substance is a reality which is “suited to exist as itself, and not as the mark, determinant, or characteristic of some other thing.” We can immediately perceive that there is only one category of substance since all those things which we consider as substance fit under this definition.

Accidents, on the other hand, are realities “which are not suited to exist as themselves, but exist as the mark, determinant, modification, or characteristic of some other thing, and ultimately of a substance.” There are nine categories of accidents: quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, place, time, posture, habit. We can now see why we must be very careful to distinguish scholastic usage of this word from its English connotations. Accidents are real being, and are not something to be considered “accidental,” unimportant, or non-essential to our understanding of created things. Accidents are said to inhere in substance. Substance is said to “stand under” the accidents of which it is the subject.

If this seems to be getting too complicated, then we should realize that what Aristotle and St. Thomas have put into philosophical terminology is simply common sense. We know that somehow the mature tree possesses identity with the seed or seedling, despite the fact that there have been innumerable “accidental” but very real changes in its being. The only way of explaining this “substantial” identity in the midst of all this change is to philosophically and scientifically posit this distinction between substantial and accidental being. Without this distinction the whole concept of substantial reality is lost, not only to science, but also to simple human experience and values. All notion of substantial reality becomes lost in the ever present reality of change.

At the same time, this real distinction between accidental and substantial being is equally important for us to explain change in the midst of permanence. This is a philosophical problem which paralyzed much of Greek Philosophical thinking up to Aristotle. Such philosophers as Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Zeno taught that all change was an illusion (only immutable Being was real – shades of philosophical Hinduism)), while the philosopher Heraclitus taught the equally absurd doctrine that only change was real – there is no stability or substantiality to anything.

This problem with explaining the relationship between substantial permanence and real change does not, however, reach to the depths of the folly of pre-Aristotelian Greek philosophy. What this philosophy effected was a profound intellectual and spiritual disorder within the soul of Western man, a disorder which has plagued Christianity throughout its 2,000 year history, and which now appears to be virtually fully triumphant. Therefore, it will be much to our advantage to spend some time in examination of this disorder in order to facilitate understanding of its Thomistic remedy.

 

The Greek Perversion

It is part of the intellectual accoutrement of every American school boy and girl that much of what constitutes the modern values which we hold most dear – freedom, democracy, the primacy of respect due to the individual rather than the collective, and the real beginnings of what we recognize as rational thought and philosophy – began with the Greeks. Somehow, according to this popular perspective, it all boils down to the idea that what we owe to the Greeks is some deep internal change within the mind and heart of man by which science began its long march of triumph over superstition.

All serious historians of science and its affects upon modern thought conclude that it all began with the “Greek miracle” over 2500 years ago, specifically with the philosopher Thales and the MIlesian School . It is quite wrong to place these early Greek philosophers in a category which only perceives their errors and naivety. What began with them was something radically new and different. It consisted in a proposal to the human spirit that truth was to be found only in that which human reason could discover and confirm. Daniel-Rops put it this way:

Athens and Jerusalem are the epitome of two contradictory attitudes of the spirit: one calls only on the intellect for an explanation of the world, of life, and of man, while the other relies exclusively on faith to reach the same ultimate goal. In the fifth century B.C., these two paths are pursued independently, totally oblivious to each other. They will eventually collide…; the ultimate showdown was to build up through a lengthy journey across history.”

Much of this is true enough. Yet, this explanation does not truly penetrate to the real depths of what its admirerers call the “Greek Miracle,” but which, as we shall see, is much more appropriately called the “Greek Inversion” (which is at the same time a profound perversion).

Virtually all of the early Greek philosophers practiced one form or another of a very strange scientific reductionism. Imagine, for instance, gazing at two very different things standing next to one another – let us say, the extraordinary thing that is a fully flowering peach tree and a very large boulder – and concluding that the substantial natures of both of these things are reducible to water. You would then have the “science” of the Greek philosopher Thales. Or, picture a large substantial thing called an elephant, and imagine that its substance is entirely reducible to air, and you would have the science of Anaximenes. Finally, but certainly not exhausting the list, imagine that all things, including water and ice, are reducible to fire, and you have the Greek Perversion as practiced by Heraclitus.

Now, we should realize that something truly extraordinary and perverted has happened to the intellectual soul of man in order for him to do such a thing – something on the scale of that original perversion and inversion by which Adam and Eve attempted to become “like gods” in replacing God as the source of the knowledge of good and evil. The one thing which we should notice that all of these “sciences” have in common is their philosophical monism – the reduction of everything in the universe to a unity of one material substance. The interesting thing is that each of these gentlemen also considered their “One” divine. Heraclitus even identified his “fire” with “logos” – the divine principle of reason in the universe. All of this would indeed seem to be the ultimate form of that idolatry described by St. Paul in Romans 1, in which man “changed the glory of the incorruptible God” into the likeness of created things. The significant difference, however, is that these new objects of man’s “glorification” are not the idols of birds, beasts, and snakes which we associate with the Old Testament concept of idolatry, but rather idols concocted of his own ideas, conceptualizations, and quantifications. Idolatry, in other words, has been fully internalized, and in this process the entire cosmos has been inverted.

The roots of this fundament inversion – this turning of everything upside down – lie in what might be called a fundamental “philosophical idolatry”: the identification of accidental reality with substance. This might at first be a little difficult to see. Water, for instance, is not an accident, but rather a real substance. But science (or the reductive philosophy that accompanies it) never knows water as water, just as it never knows man as man or atom as atom. If Thales had really known water as water he would never have tried to make it into a peach tree or a boulder. Science can only know the quantification (and the other 9 categories of accidental being) of a thing. Pythagoras, because of this inbuilt reality of the scientific method, even went so far as making “number” the substantial essence of all things. But in identifying the accidents of the things with their substantial nature – whether those accidents are of water, air, fire, number, or atoms – and in identifying the accidents of any one of these substances as the unitary substance behind all created reality, reality is perfectly inverted. Such “science” makes accidents into substance, and makes substance into an accidental appearance for which we have no explanation except the subjectivity of our own minds. Thus we end up in that philosophical idealism which will plague Western man from Plato through all the nightmare of relatively modern Western Philosophy – from the Nominalism of Ockham to contemporary Phenomenalism.

This whole tradition of reductive analytical science can be viewed as sort of a “diabolical transubstantiation.” After engaging in such analysis, accidents remain as the real substance, and our normal perception of substantial reality is reduced to “appearances.” Analytical science then becomes the perfect anagram of reality, in which the “word” or “logos” of God’s creation is perfectly inverted, turned upside down, and read backward. I fully believe that the same force which draws a Man to say the Mass backward or invert a Crucifix is the same as that which was at the source of the “Greek Miracle.”

In other words, what is effected by the Greek Perversion is not, as postulated by Daniel-Rops, merely a substitution of rational knowledge for faith. Rather, what occurs is the most profound perversion of the inner consciousness and intellect [and thus “rationality” itself) of man at a level which is bound eventually to destroy any possibility of faith in God. This, of course, is Satan’s Master Plan. He desires not only the destruction of myriads of individual souls, but also that final alteration of human consciousness which makes it impossible not only to believe in God, but even to desire Him.

In the ancient Greek world, this reductionism reached its pinnacle in the Atomism of Leucippus, Democritus and, most of all, Epicurus, who formulated a logical structure to the theory of Atomism which would remain practically unchanged for the next 2,000 years. With Atomism, philosophical Idealism is in a very real sense completed. Substance becomes totally invisible and unrelated to normal human perception, objective reality ceases to exist as something graspable by the human intellect, subjectivity and idealism triumph, and, matter replaces God as being eternal and infinite.

With some notable exceptions, Atomism was suppressed in the West by Christian realism and the power of the Church from the 1st century AD until the time of the Renaissance. Since the Renaissance consisted largely of the “reawakening” of Greek and Roman culture and thought, the reemergence of Atomism was bound to happen. It exploded upon the scene at the very beginning of the Renaissance in the person of William of Ockham. The great significance of Ockham is that his Atomism was united to his Nominalism, and thus constituted a specific attack upon the metaphysics of St. Thomas. From that point we can gaze upon an ever-increasing tide of Atomism engulfing the West – people like Bruno, Bacon, Galileo, Gassendi, Descartes, and onward through all the empiricists, phenomenologists, etc. We must also include Luther among the Nominalists – he was educated at the University of Erfurt, which was under the control of professors who were Nominalists. Luther himself detested Thomism and opted for the Nominalism of Ockham, which denied the minds ability to grasp universals and the substantial forms of real things.

The immediate victim of the Greek Inversion is the epistemological (epistemology is the branch of philosophy which deals with how we know things, and with the validity of our knowledge) health of man’s mind itself. To convince a man that what he ordinarily perceives as substantive is only subjective, and that what is truly substantive are the reductive formulations, particles, or waves of scientific analysis is to destroy the reliability and objectivity of all of man’s perception and knowledge. The ultimate victim, however, of this intellectual nightmare is faith and trust in God Himself. If God created man to see delusions, then the ultimate delusion must be the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Revelation.

What began as ambrosia for wooly-headed philosophers 2500 years ago is now the daily bread of our children. Every child in the public educational system of this country is taught a reductive scientism which produces in them a state of epistemological schizophrenia. And since one can only will on the basis of what one knows, this also results in increasingly widespread moral inversion and perversion.

If we wish to know why we have with us the wholesale destruction of what was once Christian civilization; if we wish to know why we now have the murders of millions of the unborn every year, wholesale pornography, child-abuse (and yes, priestly pedophilia), rampant homosexuality, children murdering their fellow students and teachers in school shootings, the drug problem, increased suicide rates, a vast loss of civil courtesy and honesty, the virtual total loss of all public morality, and an endless list of other evils, we need only to look at the common link that connects all these evils. Human beings and societies have simply lost that basic spirituality and rationality founded upon belief in the substantial reality of man’s natural perception, which in turn has profoundly undermined man’s ability to believe in any notion of objective, absolute Truth. Consequently, they have also lost the moral will capable of following through upon what the mind perceives to be absolutely true. This loss of mind and will is the absolutely logical fruit of a worldwide scientific “ambience” which reduces all of creation and all human beings and their activities to blind material forces. Nothing is absolute, nothing is substantial, and the human heart and mind react with confusion, despair, irrationality, perversion, and violence.

 

The Thomistic Remedy

The Greek perversion has as its root cause one fundamental metaphysical error: belief that the nature of substance is quantifiable by the human mind. It was the genius of Aristotle and St. Thomas to see that this is not the case. But such a conclusion should not have taken genius. It is really a matter of common sense. The notion, for instance, that the marvelous substance which we call water could in any way be equated with, or reduced to, a particular atomic structure is absolutely absurd. There is simply no reasonable way that the human mind can equate electrons, spinning at comparatively immense distances around protons and neutrons, with what it knows as the substance water.

But there remains one more level to be explored in our attempt to understand the metaphysical constitution of created, material substances. The proper distinction between substantial and accidental being, while freeing us from the absurdity of trying to equate substance with any sort of quantification or measurement, does not yet reveal to us what substance is in itself. It does not reach to the depths of the reality constituted by physical things. It therefore remains for us to look more deeply into the reality of substance itself.

The Thomistic-Aristotelian term which explains the nature of substance is hylemorphism, this word being composed of two Greek words (hyle and morphe), meaning matter and form respectively. In scholastic terminology, we would say that any physical substance is the union of primal matter with substantial form. The philosopher Paul Glenn offers an explanation of these two principles of any physical substance:

Now all bodies – solid, liquid, gaseous, living, non-living – are at one in this point: they are bodies. There is something, therefore, in all bodies, some substratum, some substantial principle, which is common to them: it makes bodies. There is also in bodies something substantial which distinguishes them into different species or essential kinds of bodies. By reason of the first substantial principle each body is a body; by reason of the second substantial principle each body is this essential kind of body. The first substantial principle is called Prime Matter; the second is called Substantial Form.”                                                          (The History of Philosophy, p. 90-91).

There is a point to be made here which is absolutely crucial to our discussion concerning the nature of all created things. The reader will remember that in the Aristotelian-Thomistic scheme of things there are only ten categories of being – one of substance and nine of accidents. We are now at the point of analyzing physical substance itself. We are therefore ontologically “below” or “previous” to any category of being. Substantial Form and Prime Matter are not to be considered as in any way independent being, or as in any way “existents” previous to their union in some particular substance. Substantial Form and Primary Matter, while being totally real and necessary to our understanding of the nature of any physical thing, and of God’s creative action, are not in themselves to be considered any sort of being. They are, in the terminology of St. Thomas, principles of being.

And yet we know that these principles of being are absolutely necessary to our understanding any physical thing. It is our everyday experience that when we encounter any substantial thing, we are face to face with something that must have a form which makes it what it is and not something else. A cow is a cow, and not a man or molecule of water, or a banana. Yet this form is not identifiable with anything (including atomic structure) that we can quantify or with any of the other accidental categories of being. At the same time, we also encounter the fact that this thing is “material”, and that the form itself would not exist without being informed in matter. It is therefore integral to all our knowledge of created, physical things that these two principles of being are real. And since these principles cannot be categorized as any sort of existent being, it is at this point that any created substance devolves upon God’s creation of all things from nothing. It is here that the human intellect hovers over what scripture refers to as the glorious, mysterious, hidden, and secret work of God. We must be clear, however, that these two principles of created being are not in any way to be identified with God’s Being. They are the first principles of being encountered by the human intellect within creation itself.

With these two principles, we also stand at the source of all integrity and truth in philosophical knowledge. We are at that point where the human mind assents to two truths which are absolutely essential to both human and divine integrity. These two truths are:1) that every created substance is what it is simply because God willed its creation, as such, out of nothing and, 2) that God is absolutely distinct from all created reality. These two truths are encapsulated in one absolutely defined dogma of the Catholic Faith: Creation ex nihilo. And it is here where, I think, all heresy begins.

It is this wondrous, mysterious, and hidden point that human hubris finds so difficult to leave alone. There can be no creation ex nihilo if this point is violated, and yet it is astounding the extent to which Christian philosophers of all sorts of stamps and denominations, who would never have admitted to denying the doctrine of God’s creation from nothing, have violated this point in their metaphysics.

Reductive science is the most destructive heresy of our times. But it is more than a heresy. It is, as we have already pointed out, an ambience, a poisoned atmosphere, which modern man takes in with virtually every breath. This poison convinces modern man not only that material realities are reducible to accidental and quantifiable being, but it also creates that intellectual ambience which convinces him that he himself is reducible to accidental properties – that his love is reducible to hormonal reactions; his aspirations for truth reducible to conditioned responses; his belief in God a neurological reaction to fear and uncertainty.

But its most destructive effect is that it eliminates that fundamental mysteriousness about life and creation which leads a person to think about and hunger after God. This is why there is now so much indifference towards God. And this is also why, despite all the scientific and technological advance of our time, man becomes more and more confused not only as to his own nature, but also as to the nature of the smallest substance. It is not that analytical science is intrinsically evil, but rather that it is intrinsically superficial simply because quantitative analysis can never touch or understand the nature of any substance created by God out of nothing.

That modern, reductive analytical science has generated superficiality, confusion, and despair is not our conclusion alone. Anyone interested in this subject would do well to read John Horgan’s best-selling book The End of Science (Broadway Books, 1996). Mr. Horgan, former senior writer at Scientific American, interviewed several dozen of the most famous and prize-winning scientists in the world as to their views regarding the “meaning of science”, the “end of science”, etc. He discovered and chronicles what he calls a world of “ironic” science: a world in which virtually no one is sure of any reality, or that there even is such a thing; there is total confusion in regard to the science of epistemology – whether there is or can be any true correspondence between the human mind and objective reality (or whether this is even a valid distinction or question); there appears to be a radical discontinuum between the world of ordinary human experience and perception and the “scientific” apprehension of things; and yet most, including Mr. Horgan, still continue to believe in the supremacy of analytical science as an “unfolder” of the depths of reality, while at the same time holding to a contemptuous view of religious faith (and certainly Thomistic philosophy).

This is the world that science has built, and it is the world which now faces a decay and dissolution which will make any previous holocaust appear miniscule. The “scientific” experiments of Communism and Nazism are only mild precursors and foreshadowers of what is yet to come unless the hold is broken upon this “Brave New Scientific World,” and we return to a truly Christian civilization, which achieved perfection of intellectual expression in the great synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas.

 

In Him We live, and Move, and Are

At the very center of the magnificent Thomistic philosophical understanding of man and his analogical relationship to God is the beautiful passage from the book of Acts in which St. Paul, while addressing the Athenians, proclaims:

That they should seek God, if happily they may feel after him or find him, although he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and are.” (Acts 17:27)

The only philosophical approach, the only metaphysics, which makes possible this intimacy with God, without this in any way involving a false pantheistic identification of human nature with the Divine, is that understanding of creation which sees the substantial nature of all created substances as being the action of God creating and sustaining them out of nothing every moment of their existence. St. Thomas writes:

I answer that, God is in all things; not, indeed, as part of their essence, nor as an accident; but as an agent is present to that upon which it works…Now since God causes this effect in things not only when they first begin to be, but as long as they are preserved in being; as light is caused in the air by the sun as long as the air remains illuminated…. Therefore as long as a thing has being, God must be present to it, according to its mode of being Hence it must be that God is in all things, and innermostly.” (Q. 8, A.1).

Again, Thomas writes: “He is in all things as giving them being, power, and operation,” this is in accord with the passage from the Book of Isaiah: “Lord…Thou hast wrought all our works in us.” (Isaias 26: 12).

Again, all of this makes sense. The Infinitude and Perfection of God require that absolutely nothing in the universe exist independent of Him. In the Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul writes:

For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by him and in him.” (Col 1:16).

This intimacy between man and the creative-sustaining power and presence of God has immense consequences for the integrity and reliability of the human mind. St. Thomas writes:

And thus we must needs say that the human soul knows all things in the eternal types, since by participation of these types we know all things. For the intellectual light itself which is in us, is nothing else than a participated likeness of the uncreated light, in which are contained the eternal types. (I, 84, 5).

In other words, the reason we possess a true knowledge of substances is because God created the intellectual light that is within us in such a way that, despite the fact that our minds possess no innate knowledge at birth, they are created and structured in such a way as to perceive the substantial nature of things whose types or substantial forms exist eternally in the mind of God. In other words, with the metaphysics and epistemology of St. Thomas, the whole world becomes real once again. At the same time, the world of epistemological skepticism which began with the Greeks, blossomed in the philosophy of Descartes, flowered into subjective madness with Kant, and invaded the Church in the form of Phenomenalism – all this subjectivism, and the mental confusion and relativism which are its fruit, are put to route. In other words, sanity is restored to the human race.

But much more is given to us through Thomistic philosophy than mere natural sanity. Man has once against been connected, in the deepest faculty of his soul – his intellect – to God. Man’s knowledge is reliable because it is rooted in a participated likeness in the light of God’s intellect. And because we can now truly believe that man sees creation as God sees it, we can now also believe in the possibility of man seeing God even as man is seen by God.

 

Man’s Deification

God, Whose intimacy to us is such that He sustains us in our natural being every moment of our lives, has yet willed for us a union with Him which infinitely surpasses our natural being and power. He has willed our deification – the vision of, and communion with, His Divine Essence.

In order to philosophically and theologically penetrate into how this can be possible we must once again emphasize the extent to which the concept of “being” and “analogy of being” is absolutely central to our understanding of both God and man.

God is the One Supreme Being and, as we have seen, this “Being” possesses a specific Nature. God created man in His own image and, therefore, the fundamental principle of man’s existence, as it is in God, is the principle of being – a being with a specific nature. Who man is, is determined by God creating his substantial form or essence out of nothing. Like God, man’s essence we find expressed in his nature. And so we say that man is created in the image of God because he possesses a spiritual soul with the faculties of intellect and Will. The proper object of the intellect is truth; the highest expression of the will is love. Therein we have what Catholic theologians term “the Analogy of Being, in that man is created with the faculties and the destiny to image his God Who is Truth and Love.

This truth is immensely important for understanding man’s relationship to God, and the possibility of his deification. The essence of God is not totally incomprehensible to man. The essence of God is transcendent, but not remote. As we have seen, the Analogy of Being provides us with a way of understanding that there is an intimate relationship between our highest values and Who God is in His Essence. It also provides us, as we shall see, with the ability to understand that there is a certain proportion (St. Thomas’ word) between God and man which is the basis upon which God’s Grace can enable us to see and be united with His very Essence in the Beatific Vision.

This vision of the Essence of God is made possible, first of all, because God is not unknowable, but, on the contrary, is infinitely knowable. St. Thomas writes:

Since everything is knowable according as it is actual, God, Who is pure act without any admixture of potentiality, is in Himself supremely knowable.” (I, 12, A.1).

As we have seen, this concept concerning the infinite “knowability” of God is in direct opposition to the rest of the world’s major religions.

Second, this vision of the Essence of God is possible because there is true proportion between the intellect of man and the Essence of God. This “proportion” extends to the possibility of the Vision of the Divine Essence. St. Thomas, in Summa Contra Gentiles, LIV, writes:

There is indeed proportion between the created intellect and understanding God, a proportion not of measure, but of aptitude, such as of matter for form, or cause for effect. In this way there is no reason against there being in the creature a proportion to God, consisting in the aptitude of an intelligent being for an intelligible object, as well as of effect in respect of its cause.”

This proportion (a proportion of aptitude in accordance with the analogy of being) is also why, as St. Thomas says, and as we have already discussed, the positive Names of God such as Essence, Being, Love, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty apply to God substantially. In other words, the highest values of which the human intellect can conceive bear an actual proportion to Who God Is. And this is also the reason why the Light of Glory is able to raise the created intellect to the direct Vision of God’s Essence. St. Thomas further writes:

Moreover, this light raises the created intellect to the vision of God, not on account of its affinity to the divine substance, but on account of the power which it receives from God to produce such an effect: although in its being it is infinitely distant from God, as the second argument stated. For this light unites the created intellect to God, not in being but only in understanding.” (Ibid).

The human intellect, in other words, created in the image of God and bearing a proportion of aptitude to the vision of God, also bears the aptitude to receive the Grace of Glory from God which will enable it to see God’s Essence. Again, in Article 5 of Question 12, St. Thomas writes:

On the contrary, It is written: In thy light we shall see light (Ps. xxxv. 10. I answer that, Everything which is raised up to what exceeds its nature, must be prepared by some disposition above its nature; as, for example, if air is to receive the form of fire, it must be prepared by some disposition for such a form. But when any created intellect sees the essence of God, the essence of God itself becomes the intelligible form of the intellect. …And this is the light spoken of in the Apocalypse (xxi. 23). The glory of God hath enlightened it – vis. the society of the blessed who see God. By this light the blessed are made deiform – that is, like to God, according to the saying: When He shall appear we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is (1 John, ii. 2).”

St. Thomas gives us the following description of the blessed in Heaven:

But the blessed possess these three things in God; because they see Him, and in seeing Him, possess Him as present, having the power to see Him always; and possessing Him, they enjoy Him as the ultimate fulfillment of desire.” (Ibid).

This Vision of the Divine Essence is not to be confused with “comprehending” God in all His Fullness. Again, St. Thomas:

God, whose being is infinite, as was shown above, is infinitely knowable. Now no created intellect can know God infinitely. For the created intellect knows the divine essence more or less perfectly in proportion as it receives a greater or lesser light of glory. Since therefore the created light of glory received into any created intellect cannot be infinite, it is clearly impossible for any created intellect to know God in an infinite degree. Hence it is impossible that it should comprehend God.” (Ibid, A.7).

In other words, because we are granted the eternal vision of God’s Essence does not at all mean that we will ever totally comprehend Him. This, again, is a beautiful affirmation of our humanity which will not be destroyed, but only perfected, in Heaven. Even in terms of human relationships we speak of really coming to know a person, of somehow having seen to the very core of who he or she is, and of being united in love, without this in any way meaning that we possess total comprehension of all that is in that person’s mind and heart. In other words, man does not comprehend God, not because His Essence in unknowable, but because He is infinitely knowable and therefore never subject to full comprehension from a finite being.

We thus have the perfect Catholic solution as to how the human person can come to full union with God in the Beatific Vision, and be in complete and Eternal possession of the Vision of the Divine Essence, without this union or vision in any way involving a pantheistic confusion of the human and Divine.

 

God’s Will, Man’s Free Will, and Predestination

            We have spent a good deal of time and space establishing the primacy of the intellect, and the consequent primacy of truth over all other human values. This does not at all devalue the other great faculty of the human soul – the will; nor does it undermine the immense importance of its primary operation, which is love. Love is humble. It does not seek a primacy, but only union with the Beloved in all Truth.

Our study up to this point has revealed the tremendous intellectual disorientation common to the thought processes of modern man. Since, according to St. Thomas (and simple common sense), man can only will or choose what he knows, and as he knows, then we might fully expect that man’s will has suffered a corresponding corruption; and that his loves, which depend upon these choices, should, to a very great extent also be perverted.

It is not, however, only his individual choices in regard to particular acts which suffer from this corruption. Rather, this disorientation reaches down into the deepest recesses of modern man’s understanding of the nature of the will itself, and to the nature of man’s freedom as embodied in the concept of “free will.”

To orientate ourselves properly in regard to this subject, we must begin by realizing that in considering the faculty of human will, and love, we have entered once again into the domain of “analogy of being” with the very Being of God. It is necessary, therefore, that we make the necessary distinctions involved in this analogy by beginning with the will of God

The first thing that we must understand about God’s will is that it has no cause. St. Thomas simply declares: In no wise has the will of God a cause.” (ST, I , Q.19, A.6).

It is therefore theologically wrong for us to apply a cause or an “in order to” to any of God’s actions. St. Thomas further writes:

Now as God by one act understands all things in His essence, so by one act, He wills all things in His goodness. Hence, as in God to understand the cause is not the cause of His understanding the effect, for He understands the effect in the cause, so, in Him, to will an end is not the cause of His willing the means, yet He wills the ordering of the means to the end. Therefore, He wills this to be as means to that; but does not will this on account of that.” (Ibid, A.5).

Absolutely integral to God’s Infinitude and Omnipotence is the phrase which I have rendered in bold print in the above passage: “by one act, He wills all things.” Just as God’s Act is not subject to causation (determination by any source outside himself), so it is also not subject to time. God, and His act by which He wills all things, is eternal. It is wrong therefore to conceive of God as “waiting to see” what we will do before He acts. God did not wait to see what Adam and Eve would do in the Garden of Eden before He willed either their punishment, or the subsequent Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity which would accomplish man’s redemption. All this was known and willed with one act from eternity.

St. Thomas is also therefore clear as to the fact that God’s eternal Will does not depend on His foreknowledge of what His creatures will do. What He does, for instance, is in no way dependent upon our prayers. Such dependence would make God’s will “conditioned” and thus limited in some way by something outside Himself. Rather, our prayers, which are very much our own free acts and very necessary for our salvation, are eternally willed by God. We rightly speak of God hearing and answering our prayers, but He has heard and answered our prayers for all eternity in the depths and mystery of His eternal Will.

We realize that at this point the hackles of some readers may be rising. The question naturally arises, “Where, in all of this, is there room for human freedom?” We will address that question in a moment. First, however, we would like the reader to be convinced that what St. Thomas has written about God’s Will must be true if God is to be God. His Will must be free from all determination from without, and it must be universal and always fulfilled. In another passage, St. Thomas simply writes, “The will of God must needs always be fulfilled” (Ibid, A.6). Nothing can be made to happen “outside” God’s Will. This should be a “simple” truth which any Christian, understanding the Infinitude of God, should acknowledge readily. This must be the first truth which we keep in mind, and we must keep it there all through our examination of all other theological and philosophical truths which are somehow related to the question of God’s Will.

How, then, does human freedom fit into all this? Here, again, St. Thomas is faithful to common sense: man definitely possesses free will. In order to make this clear, Thomas offers the following explanation:

In order to make this evident [that man has free will], we must observe that some things act without judgment; as a stone moves downwards; and in like manner all things which lack knowledge. And some act from judgment, but not a free judgment; as brute animals. For the sheep, seeing the wolf, judges it a thing to be shunned, from a natural and not a free judgment, because it judges, not from reason, but from natural instinct. And the same thing is to be said of any judgment of brute animals. But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power he judges that something should be avoided or sought. But because this judgment, in the case of some particular act, is not from a natural instinct, but from some act of comparison in the reason, therefore he acts from free judgment and retains the power of being inclined to various things.” (Ibid, Q.83, A. 1).

In other words, free will does not operate in a vacuum, or as being something free from all causation. It proceeds “from some act of comparison in the reason.” There are therefore all sorts of causes involved in our free choice of a course of action: the knowledge we possess, habits we have developed, environmental influences, rewards or punishments perceived as a consequence, etc. Even when something that we do “makes no sense” to the rest of the world, it should, if it is to be a truly human act, make sense to us. And this phrase makes sense indicates that there is a reason for what we do, which in turn simply indicates a cause for our decision and action. In fact, a choice which is merely random or truly “makes no sense” is not at all associated with the common-sense notion of a free human act. Rather, it is something either brutish and non-human, or an act of pure rebellion; and there is no act that is less free than the autonomous act of rebellion for its own sake.

This is why the Catholic concept of free will requires so much more than the ideas of independence, autonomy, or self-directedness which most often constitute its secular definition. The Martyr-Saint whose death “makes no sense” to the world because he gives up everything that the world considers of value, including life itself, is the supreme embodiment of human freedom. And yet this act which seems so senseless and causeless to the world is, in fact, supremely contingent upon the saints understanding of Who God is. It is, in other words, supremely caused, while at the same time, being the most truly free act that a human being can make.

Now, if we can thus see that free will is so intricately dependent upon various contingencies and causations in this world, then we should have no problem believing that the exercise of this freedom falls totally within the ambit of God’s Will and eternal Providence. Thus, St. Thomas writes:

Free-will is the cause of its own movement, because by his free-will man moves himself to act. But it does not of necessity belong to liberty that what is free should be the first cause of itself, as neither for one thing to be cause of another need it be the first cause. God, therefore, is the first cause, Who moves causes both natural and voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes He does not prevent their acts being natural, so by moving voluntary causes [acts of free choice] He does not deprive their actions of being voluntary: but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them; for He operates in each thing according to its own nature.” (Ibid, Q.83, A.1).

St. Thomas, in other words, saw no contradiction in holding to the following two truths: that we produce acts which are truly from a free will and, that God is the primary cause of these acts. St. Thomas states:

Now there is no distinction between what flows from free will, and what is of predestination; as there is no distinction between what flows from a secondary cause [which is what we are in our acts of free will] and from a first cause [which is what God is]. For the providence of God produces effects through the operation of secondary causes, as was above shown (Q.22, A.3). Wherefore, that which flows from free-will is also of predestination. (Ibid, Q.23, A.5).

Further, St. Thomas explains that this universal causation of God does not impose a necessity on human will which would violate its freedom:

“The divine will imposes necessity on some things willed but not on all….Since then the divine will is perfectly efficacious, it follows not only that things are done which God wills to be done, but also that they are done in the way that He wills. Now God wills some things to be done necessarily, some contingently [as through our free wills], to the right ordering of things, for the building up of the universe. Therefore to some effects He has attached necessary causes, that cannot fail; but to others defectable and contingent causes, from which arise contingent effects. Hence it is not because the proximate causes [such as our free will] are contingent, but because God has prepared contingent causes for them, it being His will that they should happen contingently.” (Ibid, Q. 19, A.8).

In other words, because of the cultural inheritance of the past 500 years – dominated by such events as the Protestant, French, American, and innumerable other Revolutions, we have inherited ideas concerning human freedom which make it virtually impossible to understand the true relationship of human free will to God’s Will. As Christians, we are willing to accept that God created everything out of nothing. Further, we can accept that He now sustains us by a continuing act which is like unto this initial act of creation ex nihilo, and that without this continuing act of creative causation we would immediately fall back into nothingness. We are, in other words, willing to submit everything that exists to the act of God’s primary causation and determination. Everything, that is, except one thing: the exercise of our free will.

 

Evil

The other barrier which prevents the acceptance of the truth that “God wills all things” is the presence of evil in the universe. We need, therefore, to examine the existence of evil and its relationship to God’s Will.

It is integral to the eternal Will of God that we be free, and it is also integral to the Infinity of God that for all eternity our acts of free will, even though they might be defective or evil, do not escape His universal causation or predestination. We may never say that God directly wills evil, but we may certainly say that God wills the good of the existence and freedom of human beings, to whom evil is accidentally attached as a defect.

This is not really as complicated as we might at first think. Again, common sense can lead us to some understanding.

Let us imagine an Old Testament patriarch who has the power of life and death over his son. This son has committed many grave sins, and shows no signs of immanent repentance. Because the father chooses not to kill him, but rather wills that he should continue to live, does that mean that he wills the evil that his son continues to do? Let us be quite honest about this. It certainly cannot be said that the father is himself willing evil. On the other hand it can, in a certain sense, be said that he is willing that what is evil should actually happen, simply because he chooses the continued existence of his son.

Transferring this same scenario to God, the first type of will (“will no evil”) is called by St. Thomas, God’s “antecedent will”. The second type of will (“will the continuance of a good to which evil is attached as an accident”) St. Thomas calls, “God’s consequent will.” We can rightly say therefore that God (or our patriarch) does not in any sense will evil, but at the same time we can say that even the sins which this son commits do not escape God’s causation, will, and predestination. Of course in saying all this we must be careful to keep in mind the absolute Unity of God. From a human standpoint we distinguish between antecedent and consequent wills, but we must maintain their eternal Unity in God. This should not be hard for us to do – we can recognize this unity among apparent complexity even in the will and action of our fictional patriarch; and we can further understand that it compromises neither the unity of his will, nor the goodness of his being.

Above all, we must understand that nothing in our freedom escapes from God. Adding somewhat to the words of St. Paul, we may say, “In Him we live and move and are, and exercise our free will.” As long as we are in accord with His Being and Life we thrive. To detract in any way, to exert our independence in any way from His light and truth is, is to initiate a spiraling movement into darkness and decay. The irony, of course, is that those Promethean-like figures such as Marx, Nietzsche, Lenin, or even a Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine, who imagined themselves to be “free” in proclaiming their rebellion or indifference to God and His ordered plan for this world, were every moment of their lives subject to God’s causation and predestination.

It is an immense perversion, therefore, to in any way assert the independence of man from God. I think that scripture offers the perfect litmus test for our spiritual health in regard to this absolutely fundamental truth of our Faith:

And whom he predestinated them he also called. And whom he called them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom 8:30)

If we inwardly rejoice at this infallible link of causation that links our acts of free will to God’s eternal causation and predestination, then we truly are in spiritual accord with what it means to say that “God is all in all” and, consequently, with that truth absolutely central to the spiritual life that our freedom “lives and moves and has its being” only in God. If, on the other hand, we in any way draw back from the import of these words, then somehow we are severely compromising the foundation of our entire Faith.

There is a flip-side to this perversion by which we somehow assert that man exercises his free will independent of God’s will. It consists in our attempts to reverse this dependency by placing a “necessity” in God in His relation to His creation. In other words, in one way or another, we attempt to bind God’s will to His creature.

The argument goes something like this: “Unquestionably, God willed to create. If God’s Will is identical with His Essence, and His Essence is had by Him necessarily (‘I am Who I am’), then it follows that the act of will to create is also one of necessity.” Such an argument amounts to an attempt to invert the whole order of creation by profoundly violating the Freedom of God, and the gratuitousness of His relationship to creatures.

It certainly is true that God’s essence “is had by him necessarily.” St. Thomas writes:

Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being [God] having of itself its own necessity.” (I, Q.II, A.3).

But we must not confuse the necessity which is integral to “Who God is” with His relationship to His creation.

All arguments which claim that Absolute Divine Simplicity and Unity require identifying God’s “will to create” with Divine necessity, fail to understand how necessity and freedom are One in God. And this, in turn, is rooted in the failure to understand that necessity and freedom do not function in God the same as they do in man.

In man, exterior determinacy operates. Man’s nature is determined by God. His life is largely determined by forces outside of himself. And yet man possesses a free will to make choices, especially those between good and evil.

In God, however, necessity operates from within. As Thomas says in the above-quoted passage, God is the only being “having of itself its own necessity.” It is very difficult for us to conceive of such a thing. From a human standpoint we are used to opposing freedom and necessity. But God has his necessity “of Himself.” Therefore, all that constitutes His own “necessity” is freely willed and chosen by Him. God’s freedom and His necessity are therefore one in His Absolute Divine Simplicity.

If Divine necessity in regard to “Who God is” (His Divine Nature) in no way compromises this being a totally free willing, then so much the more (in a manner of speaking) is there total freedom in God’s exterior acts. St. Thomas writes:

As the divine existence is necessary of itself, so is the divine will and divine knowledge; but the divine knowledge has a necessary relation to the thing known; not the divine will to the thing willed. The reason for this is that knowledge is of things as they exist in the knower; but the will is directed to things as they exist in themselves. Since then all other things have necessary existence inasmuch as they exist in God; but no absolute necessity so as to be necessary in themselves, in so far as they exist in themselves; it follows that God knows necessarily whatever He knows, but does not will necessarily what ever He wills.” (I, Q. 19, A. 3).

God therefore possesses total freedom in regard to all things willed outside Himself.

 

Prayer

Finally, we would imagine that there still exist in the minds of many readers questions concerning the meaning and efficacy of prayer. Simply stated, if God’s eternal will is immutable and infallible, then why do we pray?

St. Thomas’ answer runs as follows:

I answer that, Among the ancients there was a threefold error concerning prayer. Some held that human affairs are not ruled by Divine providence; whence it would follow that it is useless to pray and to worship God at all: of these it is written (Malachi 3:14): You have said: He laboreth in vain that serveth God. Another opinion held that all things, even in human affairs, happen of necessity, whether by reason of the unchangeableness of Divine providence, or through the compelling influence of the stars, or on account of the connection of causes: and this opinion also excluded the utility of prayer. There was a third opinion of those who held that human affairs are indeed ruled by Divine providence, and that they do not happen of necessity; yet they deemed the disposition of Divine providence to be changeable, and that it is changed by prayers and other things pertaining to the worship of God….

“In order to throw light on this question we must consider that Divine providence disposes not only what effects shall take place, but also from what causes and in what order these effects shall proceed. Now among other causes human acts are the causes of certain effects. Wherefore it must be that men do certain actions, not that thereby they may change the Divine disposition, but that by those actions they may achieve certain effects according to the order of the Divine disposition: and the same is to be said of natural causes. And so is it with regard to prayer. For we pray not that we may change the Divine disposition, but that we may impetrate [beseech] that which God has disposed to be fulfilled by our prayers in other words that by asking, men may deserve to receive what Almighty God from eternity has disposed to give, as Gregory says (Dial. 1. 8).”

In other words, prayer is not a means of changing God’s will, but of entering into full unity and communion with God’s eternal will for us. It is the premier act by which we immerse our freedom in God by seeking all things from Him and through Him. The truly extraordinary thing is that such prayer, as part of that process by which our free wills are brought into total accord with God’s election and predestination, culminates not in the loss of anything truly human, but rather in the very possession of God through the Beatific Vision.

 

The Way of Love

The primacy of Truth over Love in no way amounts to a denigration of love. Love must submit to Truth, or it becomes false love. On the other hand, it would be totally inappropriate to say that Truth must submit to love, simply because there are many false loves. It is, however, proper to say that the possession of truth without love is dead.

When speaking of love, we enter once more into a subject concerning which there is also an analogous relationship between God and man. It is therefore again necessary for us to explore the likenesses and distinctions involved.

There is possibly no Catholic concept more subject to confusion than is Love. The reason for this is that it is a word applied to two very different human faculties – the will (which St. Thomas calls the intellective appetite, because it stems from a free choice of that which the intellect perceives as good) and the passions. At least in English usage, we virtually never distinguish adequately between the two. We say “I love my wife,” “I would love a cup of coffee,” “I love the music of Bach,” “I have a special love for St.Teresa,” and “I love God,” all with equal aplomb. We can even say that “we love” things that are sinful (although we must be careful to make the Thomistic distinction that it is impossible to directly will or love evil in itself).

Let us first consider God’s Love. In God there are no passions. St. Thomas simply says, “He [God] loves without passion.” Now, this can be very hard for us as human beings to accept. But it must be so. The very word “passion” means to undergo or suffer something. It demands limitation and finitude in the subject who experiences such passion. God cannot be subject to such things. In other words, God’s love can only be of the will (the intellective appetency), and in no way subject to passion.

Human beings, of course, possess both that love which is properly considered a function of the will, and also those “loves” which are connected with passions and the feelings. We can, for instance, love God in the midst of total spiritual aridity, with no accompanying passion or feeling of love at all. Such love would be considered an act totally ascribable to the will (the intellectual appetite). This sort of love is, for instance, very evident in the recently published letters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It is the highest and most meritorious form of love simply because it continues to choose and will good towards the Beloved with no reward or consolations.

At the other end of the spectrum are those “loves” which are entirely the function of “undergoing” passions of the sensitive appetites. At this level we are at the stage of almost pure animality.

Most human acts of love are, of course, combined acts of both will and passion. This is one of the things which makes human life seem so complicated, and also makes the spiritual life so subject to deceptions. All of this complexity is simplified for us, however, when we come to an understanding of the Thomistic concept of appetency, in which all the various forms of love come to be seen as a movement within the human being towards what is perceived as good. Scripturally speaking, these various “loves” can all be seen as movements of the “heart.” Spiritual integrity then becomes primarily a matter of where we choose to place our heart, and of bringing all of our loves into a unified pursuit of this goal.

This is why the intellectual vision of reality offered to us by St. Thomas is such a delight to the human heart that is able to perceive it, and therefore such a powerful means to accomplish this integrity. It draws all the scattered forces of our being, and the multiplicity of our loves, into the simple intention of desiring to see and love the God Who is revealed to us through this vision.

Finally, we must also yield to Love its own form of primacy. Having, as it were, put Love “in its place” – not by reducing its profound importance, but rather by subjecting it to Truth – we are now in a position to explore a “primacy” which is very much love’s own domain.

St. Thomas says that considered absolutely, the intellect must be seen as a higher faculty than the will. The Beatific Vision consists in the intellectual vision of the Divine Essence. The Beatific Vision is the supreme goal of all our faculties

But it is also true that, this side of death and the Beatific Vision, love possesses a kind of superiority that is very essential to our spiritual lives and growth. Basically, St. Thomas’ argument runs as follows. In this life we do not possess direct knowledge or vision of the Divine Essence. In other words, we do not here possess intellectual vision of God as He exists in Himself, but only a vision of faith, through the ideas and truths of which our minds are in possession. The will, however, “is inclined to the thing itself, as existing in itself.” (I, 82, A.3). It is able therefore to effect a much deeper union with God in this life. It is able to give itself in complete union to God. This “love” may or may not be accompanied by feeling, passions, ecstasy, etc. Most fundamentally, however, it must be seen as a choice of the will (the intellectual appetency), and not these passions. We must know through faith, and always chose to believe and act upon this knowledge, no matter what be our feelings, etc. to the contrary. This is the depths of love, and here again we see the primacy of the intellect and its perception of truth as the foundation of this love.

The story is told of St. Thomas, that kneeling before the Crucifix, after having written his great passages on the Eucharist, Our Lord appeared to him, told him that he had written well, and offered him the reward of anything he might ask. Thomas’s reply: “I will have only Thyself.” This statement and prayer is a perfect image of the coming together of all man’s appetitive faculties in Christ. It is not at all surprising, therefore, that St. Thomas came to that point in his life where he announced that he had seen such things as to make all his writings appear to be as straw, or that on his deathbed he asked for the entirety of the Canticle of Canticles to be read aloud to him. The soul that comes this close to God in the grace of His love can no longer be happy with any discursive thought (despite its immense and necessary value on the way), but only with that divine poetry of love which hovers close to the direct vision of God. This is the divine fruit we must seek in all our intellectual efforts, and all our understandings of the Faith. We may think this love to be extraordinary. Yet such a love is the necessary state for all those who attain to salvation. Therefore, such intimacy with God has to be the primary desire of our lives, the constant object of our prayer, and the spiritual passion which motivates all our intellectual efforts towards seeing the Face of God. Such is the Heart of Catholicism.

In Christ, God became man, and therefore shares all our passions which are not subject to sin and ignorance. We will never again be alone in our physical weaknesses, pain, suffering, and tears. Yet it is also true that in the depth of His human “abandonment” – “God, God, why hast thou forsaken me” – the human nature of Christ made the same act of love which we must all make: the fundamental choice of God, independent of all passion and consolation, and despite any doubts and confusion which may assail us. This is the way of true love. It is the way of Mary at the Foot of the Cross. This is why in these times of almost universal deception, God has established Her Immaculate Heart as a place of refuge wherein we may be secure in the grace and power to remain faithful to His Truth and Love, no matter how great the darkness which may descend upon us. And the unbreakable chain guarding this refuge of  love and truth is Our Lady’s Rosary.

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Our Chastisement, Our Blessing

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Please read our Original Proposal

Our Chastisement, Our Blessing

 

Woe to you who build the monuments of the prophets: and your fathers killed them….That the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation. (Luke 11: 47-50)

 

While reading the Gospels, it might often appear that the Pharisees present themselves to us as proverbial “deer in the headlights”. Much of the time, their subterranean betrayal and malice were hidden behind real incomprehension. Theirs was the “What have we done wrong? – we have only been faithful to God’s tradition” look. Their unconscious betrayal was the result of building centuries of “monuments” (both physical and spiritual) that appeared God-like, but which in reality dulled, obscured, and finally profoundly falsified the Spirit of God’s Truth and Life. In so doing – in not having kept careful “watch” over their own spiritual integrity – their failure to understand was truly culpable, and therefore the blood of all the Old Testament prophets was upon their generation.

We are now experiencing a chastisement, come to fruition in the Papacy of Francis, which might leave us in a similar “what have we done to deserve this” bewilderment and confusion. We stand on thin ice if we attempt to claim that this is not a deserved punishment from God. The necessary question therefore is: Is it conceivable that we have been so whittled down through a long historical betrayal of the Gospel that we now stand, uncomprehending, in the face of a severe chastisement which we deserve, and which is a necessary blessing inflicted for our return?

Jesus’ words condemning the “monument-building” Jews occurred at a dinner to which he was invited by a Pharisee, who had earlier heard the following words spoken by Jesus:

“The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome. Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee, be not darkness. If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness; the whole shall be lightsome; and as a bright lamp, shall enlighten thee.”

This passage speaks of a unity of spirit and flesh, each dependent upon one another for integrity, which is single in intention. The nature of this singleness of intention is more fully elaborated in a parallel passage in Matthew 6:

Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures of heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. But if thy eye be evil thy whole body shall be darksome. If then the light that is in thee, be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be! No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

After these words of Jesus comes the “Lilies of the Field” passage, which ends with the equally famous: “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

In the light of the above scriptures, we would like to pose, and attempt to answer, three questions: First, was there a “single eye” present in the first Christians (and not excluding other individuals and groups down through the centuries), but which has now been almost universally abandoned, and which has become virtually incomprehensible to the modern Catholic consciousness? Second, as the fruits of this betrayal, have we built monuments to Christianity at the expense of living it? And, finally, is it the Blood of Jesus that may be required of this generation because of this betrayal?

If we seek an absolutely reliable account of how the first Christians lived, we inevitably are pointed to the Book of Acts, and to the two passages which are brief, but most telling, in this regard:

“They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem, and there was great fear in all. And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as every one had need. And continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart; praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.” (2: 42-47).

“And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul: neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but all things were common unto them. And with great power did the apostles give testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord; and great grace was in them all. For neither was there any one needy among them. For as many as were owners of lands or houses, sold them, and brought the price of the things they sold, and laid it down before the feet of the apostles. And distribution was made to every one, according as he had need. (Acts 4: 32-35).

We ask the reader to consider whether he has ever heard or read any contemporary preacher or writer offer an analysis of these passages, or take them seriously in any way. It is as though they are incomprehensible – a conclusion which must certainly be false, given the specificities offered in St. Luke’s description.

In the first place, these first Christians were baptized into the Faith, and were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles. There can be here no de-emphasis of doctrine at the price of a false mercy. Twice, in fact, it is said that holy Fear was upon them all. To culpably transgress the faith which they had received was impossible as long as this fear of the Lord was operative in their hearts.

Second, there was a bond of unity, founded upon true poverty and the rejection of worldly possessions, which St. Luke describes as “having all things in common” – they sold their possessions, and laid the money which they received at the feet of the apostles, so that distribution could be made where needed. It is this particular “specificity”, of course, which is the primary reason these two passages of scripture are virtually totally ignored. As St. John Chrysostom pointed out in his commentary on Acts, it is this “having all things in common” that we fear above all, and avoid taking seriously. We must therefore look more closely.

These passages have been employed as an argument for Communism. This is ludicrous. Communism totally rejects God, and any communal living involved in its system is founded upon the elevation of collective man, and the state, over God, the rejection of individual dignity and freedom, and the rejection of the right to private property itself. Any communal living proposed by the Gospel or the Church, on the other hand, involves voluntary giving of the members of the Mystical Body of Christ. It is not in any way a tyranny.

It is equally false to exaggerate the degree to which this “having all things in common” was external. There could be endless, useless speculation in this regard. It is clear, however, that these first Christians broke bread “from house to house”, and therefore probably possessed their own homes. We in fact need speculate no further in this regard than did the writer of the Epistle to Diognetes, writing almost 100 years later (130 A.D.): “They have a common table, but not a common bed.” It was the spirit that mattered – the externals obviously had their limits. As the passage from Acts 4 states, “Neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed was his own”. Their physical poverty was real, but not absolute. Their “spirit of poverty”, on the other hand, was quite absolute indeed. This Christian heart in which this spirit was operative was aptly described in the following passage from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (7: 29-31):

This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away.”

And what makes this spirit possible?

In our article on St. Francis (St. Francis of Assisi: They Pretended to Love You So That They Might Leave You), we quoted the above passages from Acts in order to exemplify the simplicity and poverty which was the core charism of St. Francis. But these passages also expose to our vision something deeper within the human heart, which makes such simplicity and poverty both possible and necessary. There would seem to be one word which best expresses this “something”: Immediacy. It is immediacy – defined as “the quality of bringing one into direct and instant involvement with something, giving rise to a sense of urgency or excitement” – which most characterizes the heart of these first Christians, and their relationship to Christ and the Gospel. And this immediacy is at the same time always present – it penetrated into all that these first Christians did, and every moment and part of their existence.

Interestingly, God’s demand that man recognize the immediacy of His presence, and be constantly preoccupied with his presence, is not something which only became possible after the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Possibly the greatest passage in all of scripture depicting this “spirit” is to be found in Deuteronomy:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength.

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: and thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising. And thou shalt bind them as a sign on thy hand, and they shall be and shall move between the eyes.” Deut 6:4-8).

This image of the constant presence of God “moving between the eyes” is possibly the greatest mystical image in all of Christian literature. We are dealing here with human hearts and minds possessed by God in all their thoughts and activities.

It is this immediacy of the human heart among these first Christians which made possible the “single eye” which directed everything towards Christ. Further, this immediacy made possible not only this singular relationship with Christ, but with others who were members of His Body, and it also enabled true charity towards all other human beings (both friends and enemies) simply because they were all created “by Him, and in Him” (Colossians 1:16).

This profoundly “common” union of hearts with Christ and one another merited the grace that “the Lord increased daily such as should be saved”. This is why we see so many miracles among the early Christians, why we see the fulfillment of Our Lord’s words that “you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7), why 3,000 would be converted one day, and 5,000 another, and that there could be such astonishingly rapid conversions of whole people and nations to Christ.

It is not at all necessary to be utopian in order to understand the unique spirit of these first Christians. Where there is human nature, there is always sin. We see these sins in the story of Ananias and Saphira, who sold land, gave part while hypocritically pretending to give all, and were punished by God. We see it present in the various churches as revealed in the letters of St. Paul, especially those to the Corinthians, in regard to the unseemly behavior indulged in at Agape Feasts, the adulterous behavior of a son with his Father’s wife, the competition of various factions who claimed to be followers of one teacher in opposition to others, etc. We explore the lives of these early Christians not because the perfection of human beings was across-the board accomplished, but because it was indeed present and visible in a way which it is not now – present to such an extent as to merit all sorts of extraordinary graces from God, and in a way which can clearly be contrasted with our present nakedness in this regard.

And so, we are compelled to ask the inevitable question: What happened within the depths of the souls of Catholics during the early decades and centuries of the Christian era which compromised this immediacy of Christ presence within the followers of Christ, and profoundly diminished the visible evidence of the power of God’s grace operative through them? Again, the answer is to be found in scripture – this time most aptly expressed in the Letter of St. James:

You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss: that you may consume it on your concupiscences.” (4:3).

Everything we have is a gift from God. To see the life of Christ which is “the light of men” (John 1: 4), and to follow this life and light with an upright heart is to remain in the immediacy and presence of God’s Truth and Life. Sin, both original and personal, is the turning aside the gifts of God in order to possess and use them as our own possessions: “All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way….” (Isaiah 53: 6). We all tend to do it. The extent to which we do it, corresponds to the degree to which God’s immediacy and presence is lost to us, and we become immersed in hypocrisy and duplicity. At a certain point such hypocrisy almost inevitably leads to spiritual death through mortal sin. But even short of mortal sin, it has the effect of depriving both individual Catholics and the Church as a whole of the power of the Holy Spirit necessary, not only for the conversion of the world, but also for the protection of the Church itself from invasion by the spirit of Antichrist.

The “turning aside into their own way” of the truth and light which God had given through the prophets is therefore perfectly expressed in the reality of the Pharisees having built their “monuments”, but denying the spirit of God present in their teachings: “This people honoureth me with their lips but their heart is far from me.” (Mat. 15: 8).The word “monument” is also properly translated as “tomb” or “sepulchre”. The Pharisees themselves were therefore described by Jesus as being “whited sepulchres”, appearing just to men, but inwardly full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Mat. 23-27-28). The “building of monuments” is therefore the pre-eminent metaphor employed by Jesus for the falsification of the true spirit of religion while retaining its appearance – beauty on the surface, spiritual death within.

This is the deepest tendency within fallen human nature – that point where “turning aside” begins. We must not conceive of it as always being fully developed, or accompanied by intense malice as exhibited by the Pharisees. It is most often an evolutionary progression with small but deadly beginnings initiating a process of growing compromise and falsification. Many events and persons – sinners and saints – contribute to this process. Because persons may have contributed in some way to this decay does not mean that they are in Hell, does not entail that they were evil men, and does not contradict the fact that they may even be canonized saints. All men fall short in certain areas, Satan is able to add all these failures to his conspiratorial mix, the world waxes old and more deceitful in the web which it spins, and Christianity decays. What we have now is the product of a long historical process, with many twists and turns, progressions and regressions, but with an overall trend of deepening falsification and obscuration of God’s immanence to the human heart.

In our article on St. Francis, we discussed the Portiuncula of St. Francis as an “icon of betrayal”. It seems appropriate to mention it again here.

Four kilometers from Assisi is the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the seventh largest church in Christendom, built over and around the original home of the Franciscan Order. Within this magnificent and massive structure, and directly under the cupola, stands a tiny church (only 22’ X 13’6”) called the Portiuncula (the word translates as “little portion of land” – it is also called “Mary of the Angels”). The Portiuncula is the singular place on this earth most beloved to St. Francis; it is where he founded his Order, and where he passionately desired the most perfect preservation of his ideal.

Because St. Francis considered the Portiuncula to be “holy, beloved, and chosen before all others by Christ and the glorious Virgin” (Mirror of Perfection, 55), and because he intensely desired that the Portiuncula be the example and model for all the rest of the order, he gave minute instructions before his death for the preservation of this ideal. These instructions applied first of all to all those practices which cultivate the interior life of holiness – silence, prayer, holy conversation, physical labor, fasting and other forms of physical mortification. Especially, he sought to keep this place free from worldly conversation and news, and free from all that is not edifying. He gave specific instructions as to the qualities needed in the clergy and friars who were to reside and serve here, and he stated, “I do not wish anyone else, whether layfolk or friars, to enter this place, except the Minister General and the lay-brothers who serve them.” (Ibid.).

The Portiuncula is now entombed within the grandiosity of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, and is a prominent tourist site with all the noise, commotion, irreverence, etc. which this entails.

Many Popes have born witness to the fact that St. Francis was an extraordinary gift of God sent in order to turn mankind away from a long immersion in the concupiscenses of this world, and back towards Christ and the living of His Gospel. He has been called by at least two Popes “the Second Christ”. And yet it was a canonized Saint, Pope Pius V, who ordered that the Portiuncula, and all that it meant to Francis and his ideal, be entombed within the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. The Basilica, as beautiful as it is, therefore represents a monument to the killing of the spirit of St. Francis – the culmination, as it were, of many betrayals of Francis’ ideal of Gospel poverty by saints (including St. Bonaventure) and sinners alike (all of this is discussed extensively in our article on Francis). Again, this does not make Saint Pius V (or Bonaventure) into evil men. It makes them out to have been human, with certain actions, unbeknownst to them, playing into the hands of all that wages against Christ’s presence and immanence in the heart of man.

Little escapes from such decay. Even the development of the forms in which the Mass is offered may be mentioned in this regard.

The early Christians, whose intimacy with Christ we have examined, “broke bread from house to house”. It is almost certain that there was no incensing, ornate vestments, elaborate altars, statuary, developed chant, magnificent architectural monuments, etc. There certainly was a distinct order, comprised by scripture readings, sermon, prayers for the people, kiss of peace, offering of bread and wine and thanksgiving, consecration of the bread and wine, intercessions, etc., all very much reflected in our Mass. But as Adrian Fortescue (highly respected in Traditionalist circles) states in his article on the Liturgy in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910), even as late as the fourth century the Roman Rite “had practically no ritual beyond the most necessary actions”.

And yet it was the “breaking of bread…in simplicity of heart”, and the “great grace” which was received in the hearts of these first Christians, which produced the charity, massive conversions, and miracles which confront our own poverty in this regard. The question needs to be asked as to what extent the evolution of the form of the Mass into “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven” masked an historical process in which the collective Christian heart (with many exceptions) drew further and further away from the immediacy and simplicity of Christ, and in so doing violated the deepest reality of Christ’s Sacrifice. The deep divisions which now exist in the Traditionalist movement would seem ample evidence of this decay, to say nothing of all the banalities, irreverence, and extraordinary lack of unity in truth which exists under the reign of the New Mass.

We realize that in writing about the spirituality of the early Church, and casting it in a light more favorable than those later developments in Christian spirituality which built the monuments of Christendom, we might be accused of Modernist leanings. Anyone who has read the rest of our writings should be able to understand the unfairness of such an accusation. It is certainly true that Modernism is often accompanied by a resourcement theology which rejects scholasticism (especially St. Thomas), undermines the development of dogma, and promotes a return to the early Fathers and a “simpler”, much less-developed and confrontational intellectual tradition. We, on the other hand, believe in the absolute necessity of both Thomism and defined dogma in order to counter Modernist errors in the Church and in the world. The simplicity and immediacy of which we speak in this article is a return of the heart to living the immediacy of God, and is in no way constituted by retreat of the mind away from the Deposit of Faith or the grace of Thomism.

Another icon of our times comes to mind. At the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Francis a prominent, traditional Catholic website offered two photographs in opposition to one another. The one was of Francis in his simple white vestments, the other of Cardinal Burke processing down the aisle in his red cappa magna vestment with its forty-foot train. The message, of course was that we had a choice – either the “phony” simplicity of Pope Francis or the magnificence of the traditional characterized by Cardinal Burke in his cappa magna. However, irrespective of whether Francis’ motivations were phony or not, there is much to be said for a beauty and nobility in worship which is reflected by simplicity rather than such opulence and grandiosity Further, and again irrespective of Francis’ sincerity or lack of it, there is much to be said for the idea that we need a poor Church, and a Church of the poor, which journeys out to the peripheries and seeks out souls who are “outside the camp”. That we tend to view almsgiving and the other temporal and spiritual works of mercy as a sort of minimalist duty which accompanies our pursuit of the “good life”, rather than a real passion, might be a pre-eminent sign of the loss of the immediacy of Christ’s Truth and Mercy in our own hearts.

In other words, the Papacy of Francis might just be a message, and chastisement, from God. The fact that he uses these concepts to undermine doctrine, deny the Church’s mission to convert all these peoples, and to promote pastoral practices which represent a false mercy and charity, and which at least implicitly violate dogma and encourage sacrilege, does not mean that we should entrench ourselves in a kind of pharisaism embodied in a “monumental” traditionalism which masks the loss of the simplicity and urgency of the Gospel. We might well consider that something like the cappa magna is a very worldly effort (the garb of kings) to imitate an unworldly majesty. God’s majesty on this earth is most adequately mirrored and represented by the union of human hearts with His Truth, Love, and Mercy. Beautiful things are of course appropriate to the worship of God, but they too should reflect the sanctity and majesty of Christ through a holy modesty and simplicity, rather than through a Renaissance-inspired, or even pagan, garishness.

Again, we find it necessary to repeat that all of this criticism of “Traditionalism” does not mean that we do not recognize the horror of things which Pope Francis says and does. The whole point of this analysis is that “the center will not hold”; falsification and duplicity seem to reign “on all sides”; and the temptation towards taking refuge in one or more extremes seems almost overwhelming.

The conversion of Emperor Constantine and embrace of Christianity by the Roman Empire in the fourth century was accompanied by a vast expansion in the building of the monuments of Christian civilization – the building of Churches, spinning of a complex legal system, ritualization of the Liturgy, creation of a complex organization within the Church itself with all the various gradations of rights and privileges of various Sees, the establishment of the Church as a political, diplomatic, and economic power, etc. All of this tends to speak of a Christ Who, while not having abandoned us, is yet no longer the object of a single-minded immediacy and presence to the human mind and heart.

Running parallel to these developments within the Church, all Christians were now free to engage fully with the world in all aspects of its evolutionary progression towards what we now have with us. And what we now have with us is an extraordinarily complex web of both intellectual and physical structures which seem almost perfectly designed to sap any consciousness of Christ’s presence out of our lives. As recent polls indicate, at least in this country, Catholics appear to be just as immersed in these structures and their pagan roots as is the general public.

We would like to propose three qualities of human life that must be present in order for the mind and heart of man to adequately respond to the immediate presence of Christ to his soul: mystery, simplicity, and insecurity.

We have written much in other articles about what is necessary in order that the quality of mystery be present to our consciousness, and we have also analyzed the scientific reductionism which has made the perception of such mystery virtually impossible for modern man. Suffice to say here that once we understand that science is totally impotent to penetrate to the substantial nature or essence of any created thing, and that the substantial reality of any created thing is simply what it is because God has created it out of nothing and sustains it in being every instant of its existence, then we become intellectually capable of understanding the presence of this mystery. But this does not mean that the apprehension of the mystery of all of creation is fully restored to our daily lives. Almost inevitably, our perception has been so blunted by the effect of scientific thinking that we have been largely sapped of the ability to fully experience this mystery. God has effectively and affectively been billeted outside of creation.

In regard to simplicity, this quality of life has virtually been destroyed for the vast majority of human beings, especially those living in developed countries. God, in a sense, “incarnated” all sorts of values and truths in nature and in the simple life of toil and craftsmanship. Much of this has been obliterated in a world of concrete, factories and offices, contrived recreation, passive entertainment through all the various forms of media, and a host of other things which constitute the unnatural pulsations of modern life (especially of city life). It has been said that there are a great many people in cities that have never seen a cow. It is even more likely that they have never seen anyone born or die.

Finally, in order that God be effectively present to the human heart, there must be a great insecurity present in our lives. After all, there can be no Christian spirituality where there is not prayer; and the most fundamental form of prayer is asking. If we feel secure in this world, there is little motivation for asking of God. And since insecurity in regard to the things of this world is considered a deficiency, it is almost inevitable that any prayer that we do offer for such things will be directed towards “consuming them in our concupiscences”.

It is astounding the degree to which we have surrounded ourselves with institutions which generate a false sense of security in regard to the things of this world. We only need to consider, as an example, the omnipresence of insurance policies in all the areas of our lives: life, liability, damage, health, car, home, business, etc. There is no area or activity of our lives that cannot be, and often must be, insured. There is even an Alien Abduction Insurance. One company in England alone has sold 30,000 of these policies. Why should we ask of God if we are already “covered” by man?

There is no escape from all of this except in spiritual childhood: “Unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 18: 3). Herein lies the “foolishness” that overcomes the world.

There is one great advantage which the present generation possesses over all previous generations. All the monuments of man are now being rent asunder, and the rottenness within revealed. The chaos which the world now experiences reaches more deeply into souls than anything previously experienced by mankind. It is not primarily the brutality of war, the terror of plague or other sicknesses, or the agonies of torture (although all these things certainly exist). Rather, it is an overwhelming insecurity as to whether life has any meaning at all. It is in the depth of this total insecurity – this nakedness – that the cry of a child may still come forth. With such a cry, God can work: “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to sorrow. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4: 9-10).

For those who weep and cry already, their nakedness is a blessing and a way that can lead them to God. A path has been prepared: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge, and the way that will lead you to God.” We must, however, treat this prophesy not as something we own because we are Catholics and “possess” the Faith, but as a passion to be lived in the simplicity of a child’s cry. Our Lady has in fact given us the words and grace of this cry in the Hail Mary and the Rosary. It must be prayed with the immediacy of a child’s heart, and not the automated rapidity and rhythms of hearts grown cold and remote.

Please read our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection.

Please also read our article The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit. We consider it a companion-piece to the above article in understanding why the power of the Holy Spirit seems to be so inoperative in the contemporary Church. It is especially necessary for those who in any way might be tempted to feel that Christ has abandoned His Church.

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Receiving the Kingdom of God as a Little Child

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Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it. (Mk 10:15)

A simple, humble faith in the truth of my apparitions to you, my favored child, will be reserved for humble and fervent souls who are docile to the inspirations of grace, for our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they do not or infatuated with empty science.

                             (Our Lady of Good Success, in her Apparition of Feb 2, 1610)

 

The words spoken by Our Lady above – that, “our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they do not or infatuated with empty science” – apply not only to the apparitions of the Mother of God, but especially to all that is contained within God’s inspired and infallible Word in Holy Scripture and Tradition.

In our most recent article, Science: Original and Final Sin, we examined the extraordinary effect which reductive physical science and evolutionary theory has had upon the thinking and basic perception of reality among Catholics, and especially among members of the hierarchy (and notably among recent Popes). It has reduced their faith to a mush of various forms of subjectivism, which completely undermine and negate the absolute objectivity and immutability of Catholic doctrine. This is especially true of the Teilhardian evolutionary theology which is the agenda for the upcoming Amazonian Synod, and is the means by which Pope Francis and others in the hierarchy are seeking to completely change the theology and sacramental practice of the universal Church (see our articles: Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod: The Nest of the Antichrist. and The Amazonian Synod and Teilhardian Evolution: A Journey into the Heart of Antichrist, and also Pope Francis and Teilhardian Evolution: Program for the Amazonian Synod.

But the betrayal of Christ which has led to the subjection of the Faith to such reductive science – this betrayal having been pin-pointed by Pope Pius X as the fundamental act of cowardice behind all of Modernism – has not confined itself to the realms of philosophy, theology, and Catholic doctrine. It also could not help but concoct a false “science” which it then applied to Sacred Scripture. Dating from the 17th century, this “science” came to be called “Historical Criticism” (with many sub-categories such as “source-criticism”, “form-criticism”, “redaction criticism”, “tradition-criticism” etc). It was at first largely a Protestant endeavor (completely understandable since Protestants lacked a source of unity, in either the Papacy or the Magisterium, for the interpretation of scripture). But by the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, this bogus science had penetrated deeply within the Catholic Church in the form of the Modernist Heresy.

It has been our contention in a number of articles that the primary and most extensive victims of the mental and spiritual disintegration, produced by reductive modern science, are children. It is here, for the most part, that the loss of faith begins. Most parents who have tried to raise their children to be faithful Catholics, and then find out that these same children abandon or compromise their faith later on, would probably take the position that this has occurred despite what they were taught when they were younger. We propose here, however, that even what is considered the best early education offered to our children, including home-schooling, usually contains powerful seeds of accommodation to the errors of this world which provide powerful inclination towards this loss of faith. It is unfortunately very true that most parents are very motivated by the desire not to feel backward in this modern world, and therefore seek to excel in all that this world deems most important. It is here where, very often, they make a fatal mistake. This is especially true in relation to the study of science.

Within almost any educational system in the civilized world, children, at an early age (usually grades 4-5), are taught that all physical things in the universe are reducible to atoms, and their actions equally reducible to the interplay of these atomic realities. This produces a state of mind, heart, and spirit in our children which, at least implicitly, is a denial of the reality and goodness of God’s creation. They now learn that what is experienced as substantial to them with their senses and minds, is merely an illusional, or a semi-illusional effect of the interplay of atomic realities upon one another and their senses. And since these atoms are constantly subject to change, there is no permanent “nature” to anything. In other words, such children have become epistemological schizophrenics – living in, believing in, and loving a world which is fundamentally a chimera. In such a world, all absoluteness in regard to either Truth or Morality is destroyed.

Consequent upon this basic atomic reductionism, all aspects of human nature and personality are reduced to material causation. Such children discover that their minds and thoughts are reducible to neurological causation, their emotions to hormonal determination, and their moral and spiritual values to a causation which is determined from both within and without (environmental causation) by what must be seen as universal material determination. They are pawns in an endless chain of chemical interactions and unfolding evolutionary processes.

It is our belief that the only way that children can be protected from such reductionism, and its resultant state of spiritual schizophrenia, is through teaching them the basic principles of Thomistic metaphysics, and that this can indeed be done as early as fourth or fifth grade. It is not difficult, for instance, to lay out to any child the model of an atom with its essential construction of electrons spinning at relatively astronomic distance from the nucleus – the entire thing being comprised of 99.999999999% void (yes, this is a literal and accurate assessment), to show them the absurdity of scientific reduction. There is no way that any human mind, whether it be that of a child or that of a Nobel Prize Physicist, can make the connection between the world of atomic physics (or Quantum Theory) and what it fully perceives as being real in its daily experience. It then becomes easy to introduce them to the reality that what anything is as a substance is not reducible to any sort of physical analysis or measurement, but simply is what it is because God has created it so out of nothing. Here, the human mind is restored not only to intellectual sanity, but also spiritual childhood. Here it rests in God. And here, at this very early stage, a child is also introduced to the truth that he or she is called upon to stand up against a world which is at war with God and His Truth, and that each one is therefore called upon to be a soldier for Christ. After all, this is precisely the grace and truth that they will receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

But there is another problem. The mistress of reductive, atomic science is evolution. What is deprived of substantive “nature” by the analysis of reductive physics, then only becomes meaningful in terms of endless becoming. Evolution allegedly supplies this meaning through an all-inclusive mental construct in which life is now to be viewed as a grand, almost endless, march towards aTeilhardian evolutionary perfection. It is evolution, in other words, which has proved to be the most powerful tool for seducing the vast majority of peoples into what must be viewed as a “New-Age” Religion. Evolution replaces the descent of God (the Incarnation) with the ascent of man. It is the religion of Antichrist, despite the fact that it often attempts to co-opt Christ as being on the cutting edge of this ascent.

Recently, in conversation with my daughter-in-law who home-schools her children, I mentioned a plan I have long nourished to write a series of small books for children at different grade levels in order to counter the effects of reductive science at the various stages of their intellectual development. I mentioned to her that I thought fourth or fifth grade would be an appropriate point to start, since this is usually when they begin to learn about such things as molecules and atoms.

Her response to me was that this was not early enough. The threat comes much earlier. It comes in the form of evolutionary concepts, and it begins in what might first seem to be a very odd place – the concept of Time. In our modern world of invasive mass media, the child is, from the earliest years, assaulted by the concept that the material universe is virtually eternal, that our world is billions of years old, that simple life on earth is also billions of years old, and that human beings can trace their ancestry back through millions of years. Largely, this induces in the minds and hearts of these children the mental construct and ambience which says that they are inconsequential specks in an endless and impersonal process. As such, it makes a mockery of a personal and loving God.

Parents might at first think that it is an exaggeration to say that their five or six year old child is exposed to such things or, even less, understands them. In response, we would simply ask them if their children at such an age have ever been exposed to the modern culture of “dinosaur worship” through such things as TV, cartoons, videos, DVD’s, books, or even a comic book picked up at the dentist’s office. In popular conception, the existence of dinosaurs is inseparable from the concept of “millions of years ago.” (the earliest dinosaur fossil is now dated at 231.4 million years ago). And, of course, this is only one example. How many mothers, for instance, rely on the TV to babysit their children, and often surrender them to such things as the Discovery or National Geographic Channels (all those cute and interesting animals), which are incredibly effective sources of infusion of evolutionary concepts into modern minds. And even if a child is shielded from these media sources, they are almost certainly exposed in many other ways to such spiritual poison, especially through their not-so-carefully guarded peers for whom such things are daily bread.

Creation scientists have done an admirable job in refuting evolutionary concepts. But such arguments require extensive knowledge in all sorts of fields: geology, paleontology, sedimentary formation, radiometric dating, etc, much of which is not fully comprehensible even for the average college graduate. Even an educated person is never quite sure whether the arguments of creation scientists really quite destroy those of the enemy. Science is always changing, always coming up with new “evidence”, which is always around the corner waiting to open up new arguments, doubts, and defensiveness. And, of course, much of this science is not comprehensible to parents, and none of it to a young child.

It is therefore not sufficient for parents to just defend their children from being subject to such errors. What is most needed is an offense which will instill in the minds and hearts of their children something which will not allow such destructive ideas effective access to their spiritual, mental, and emotional lives.

There is an “Achilles heel” present within all evolutionary theory. It is the concept of “Time” mentioned above. There can be no evolution without vast amounts of seemingly interminable and “impersonal” time being postulated for the mutational processes and natural selection integral for such radical changes. Correspondingly, there can be no egress into the hearts of children of evolutionary theory if everything to do with “time” is made deeply personal and finite.

Catholic parents have always possessed an enormously effective tool for infusion of this reality into the depths of their children’s souls. It is the Bible. There can be no endless Time, no evolutionary theology, if the Bible is truly believed to be the inspired and infallible Word of God. The problem is that most Catholic parents have largely surrendered the Bible to Modernism. They have done so because a myriad of “experts”, including recent Popes, have insistently identified belief in the truth of the historical accounts of the Bible, and especially of the Old Testament, with what has become a derogatory name or position with which no Catholic wishes to be labeled: Fundamentalism.

What is not realized, or fully taken into account, is that the Old Testament is a tremendous wellspring of historical facts establishing the extreme finitude of creation, and the history of Man. There have been many attempts to determine the precise number of years from the creation of Adam to the birth of Christ. All these attempts, at least by Roman Catholics and Protestants, closely converge on a period of 4,000 years. It is really quite an enlightening study to follow the descent from Adam to Jesus through the genealogies presented in the books of the Old Testament. The descent from Adam to Abraham, for instance, is quite precise (1948 years) and can be traced in three chapters of Genesis: Genesis 5: 3 – 29), Genesis 7:6 (covering the period of the Flood), and Genesis 11: 10-26. We must realize, of course, that this “precision” is somewhat modified by the obvious fact that the period of time between generations is measured by how old a certain person was when a son was born, and this is always given in years. Absolute precision would require the addition of the months, weeks, and days beyond this particular person’s birthday. Such additions would obviously amount to a very small variance in our calculations.

The effect of all this precise genealogy and history, if it is taken seriously as part of the inspired word of God, is to absolutely destroy any contentions concerning human evolution. The Bible literally saturates the time period between Adam and Christ with the stories of persons who are as we are, who possess the same nature, created in the image of God as do we: subject to the effects of original sin, and yet possessing a nobility created in the image of God; fully human persons who are born, mature, love, sin, form friendships and enmities, grow in knowledge and wisdom or sink deeper into evil and tyranny, repent of their sins or harden their hearts, and who God ultimately looks upon with eyes towards salvation or judgment unto perdition. This history involves a fairly long time (approximately 4,000 years) by human estimation, but it is in no way a Time for evolution. A child who is gradually immersed in reading about this sacred history, and studying the lives of these very real people, is receiving the food that will preserve and protect him or her as a child of God from seemingly endless Time and Meaninglessness.

Much of this, and certainly the entire creation account, has been dismissed by Modernist Biblical scholars as myth or “popular history”. The problem is that it is impossible to do such a thing while at the same time believing in the reliability or Truth of God’s Revelation. In order to understand fully why this is so, we can do no better than quote passages from Pope Leo XIII’s magnificent encyclical Providentissimus Deus – On the Study of Sacred Scripture:

“But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred.

For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit; and so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.

“Hence, because the Holy Spirit employed men as his instruments, we cannot, therefore, say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write – He so assisted them when writing – that the things which he ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth.

“It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration or make God the author of such error.” (the above quotes are all taken from section 3a).

It follows that anything that is presented in Scripture as simple historical fact necessarily has God, Who cannot error, as its author. In 1909, the Pontifical Biblical Commission, under Pope St. Pius X, published the following decree concerning the historicity of the first three chapters of Genesis (certainly the most contested chapters in the entire Bible as regards their containing genuine history):

“Notwithstanding the historical character and form of Genesis, the special connection of the first three chapters with one another and with the following chapters, the manifold testimonies of the Scriptures both of the Old and of the New Testaments, the almost unanimous opinion of the holy Fathers and the traditional view which the people of Israel also has handed on and the Church has always held, may it be taught that: the aforesaid three chapters of Genesis contain not accounts of actual events, accounts, that is, which correspond to objective reality and historical truth, but, either fables derived from the mythologies and cosmogonies of ancient peoples and accommodated by the sacred writer to monotheistic doctrine after the expurgation of any polytheistic error; or allegories and symbols without any foundation in objective reality proposed under the form of history to inculcate religious and philosophical truths; or finally legends in part historical and in part fictitious freely composed with a view to instruction and edification?

Answer: In the negative to both parts.”

In other words, it was the decision of the 1909 Biblical Commission, in complete continuity with almost 2,000 years of Church teaching, that the historical facts, persons, events and times related in Genesis correspond to objective historical truth, and fall under the infallible truth of Divine Revelation. And, further, that to claim otherwise is tantamount to asserting that God is a liar.

The true, historical character of all the rest of Old Testament (and of course all of the New Testament) necessarily follows as a logical consequence.There is no way that what is presented as thousands of historical facts in the Old Testament can be some sort of “figure”, allegory, or myth. It is certainly true that scripture often speaks in different forms of figurative language, and this has been thoroughly explored and explained by Doctors and Fathers of the Church. But all of these Doctors and Fathers accepted matter-of-factly that in all this data, we are simply encountering what are historically true facts.

It is also important for us to realize that when Scripture does use figurative language, it is done for very serious and necessary reasons – to impart truths in the moral or spiritual order. There are in fact several distinctions to be made as to the type of these “figures”. The best summary of these distinctions is to be found in the very beginning of the First Part of St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica.

For instance, Thomas writes, “It is befitting Holy Writ to put forward divine and spiritual truths by means of comparisons with material things [metaphors – analogies]. For God provides for everything according to the capacity of its nature. Now it is natural to man to attain to intellectual truths through sensible objects, because all our knowledge originates through the senses. Hence in Holy Writ spiritual truths are fittingly taught under the likeness of material things.” Thus when scripture speaks of “God’s arm”, it simply denotes his operative power. When it speaks of His “wrath”, it signifies such things as chastisement, punishment, and judgment. In other words, we need such “figures” in order to gain a real, but imperfect, knowledge of God.

St. Thomas delineates two basic senses of Holy Scripture – the historical/literal, and the spiritual (“which is based on the literal, and presupposes it”). The historical/literal is simply what it is – revealed, literal facts and truths, with God as their author. The spiritual sense has a threefold division: allegorical, tropological, and anagogical. Something is written allegorically in so far as “the things of the Old Law signify the things of the New Law” [think of the entire Song of Songs in this regard]. The tropological, or moral sense, indicates “that things done in Christ, or so far as the things which signify Christ, are types of what we ought to do”. And the third spiritual sense (anagogical) indicates things “in so far as they relate to eternal glory”. All these “senses” are involved in Biblical interpretation.

In other words, to try to demean someone as believing in “the literal meaning of scripture”, and then to oppose them to those persons (supposedly much more mature and sophisticated) who believe in the “spiritual meaning of scripture” is a cheap trick of the Modernist. There is a great deal of both literal and figurative meaning in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. However, while there certainly is no sin in not being able to understand all the metaphorical, figurative, and otherwise hidden depths of scripture, there is a great deal of malice towards both God and man in undermining or denying what is simply presented as literal and historical facts which are revealed truths, and have God as their author..

There is simply no way in which all the vast amount of genealogical, chronological, and historical facts present in the Old Testament can be reduced to some spiritual, metaphorical, figurative meaning, or to a “popular myth”, without either denying God’s authorship of the entirety of Holy Scripture, or subjecting Him to error or deception. Historical facts are not metaphors or allegories; they are either simply true or false. If any one of these facts is false, then God has simply erred, thus violating the most sacred truth about God, as laid down by Pope Leo XIII: “it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true”.

The “modern” Catholic is made to feel that the Catholic Church has never taken these facts literally, and that such foolishness and naivety is only to be found in fundamentalist sects. But the fact is that all faithful Catholics took them literally for almost 2,000 years. The Douay-Rheims Bible was in almost universal use by English-speaking Catholics for approximately 450 years, until the middle of the Twentieth Century. The 1899 Challoner edition of the Douay–Rheims, for instance, contains a detailed “Historical and Chronological Index” [actually a Table] to the Old Testament. It begins with Adam and the “Creation of heaven and earth, and all things therein, in six days” at the beginning of year One. It then proceeds through a chronology listing very specific persons and dates, and ends with the birth of Joseph, foster-father of Jesus, during the High Priesthood of Hyrcanus (which succeed that of Alexander who became High Priest 3,934 years after the creation of Adam).

In other words, modern Catholics have largely been hoodwinked into denying, and being embarrassed by, what is obviously a huge part of God’s Divine Revelation. They have been overrun by a spiritual timidity and cowardice towards bogus science which places them in a continual posture of prostitution towards the modern world, and ever ready to take the next step backward as Satan whittles them down to little more than stumps of what was once considered integral and necessary to being a Christian.

We must turn this around if we are to preserve our children for Christ.

To ascent to the Truths revealed by God in the genealogies and history of the Old Testament utterly destroys any possibility of human evolution. This of course throws into chaos all of evolutionary theory. Evolutionists date fossils possessing fully- human anatomic characteristics to 200,000 years ago, and Homo species itself to 2.5 million years ago. These numbers are based on both the depth of geological strata in which these fossils are found, and radiometric dating of these strata. If this data is erroneous, the reliability of all such dating based on geological stratification or radiometric testing is profoundly undermined. Belief in Divine Revelation as present in the history of the Old Testament necessarily does just that.

 

The Flood

It is the Flood, however, which administers the coup de grace to all such dating methods. It is admitted by both Creationists and Evolutionists alike that dating of fossils by both of the methods mentioned above is dependent upon the theory of geological “uniformatism”, which states that in order for such dating methods to be reliable, the geological processes which now appear to be happening on the earth must have ruled also in the past. A “catastrophic” Universal Flood destroys the reliability of these methods.

A critical question for any Catholic, therefore, is whether we are required by Faith to accept the Genesis account of the Flood as being literally true. As we have seen in relation to the rest of the Old Testament, the determining factor in answering this question is whether God, the author of all of Scripture, simply presents us with “literal” facts which must be judged as either true or false.

The history of the Flood and its aftermath is to be found in Genesis 6-10. It is quite detailed with historical facts.

We must first take into account that Noah, along with his son Sem, are in the line that leads from Adam directly to David, and consequently to Christ. They are listed at the very end of the complete chronology from Adam to Noah offered in Genesis 5. These are real, historical personalities. We must take all of the following seriously:

God, “seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times”, resolved to destroy all living things on the earth except Noah and his wife, his sons and their wives, one pair each of all the unclean beasts, seven pairs of the clean beasts and seven pairs of all fowls. God gives very detailed instructions for the building of the Ark in order to preserve them from the Flood which He is about to bring upon all the earth.

The details of the flood are also specific – it took 7 days to cover the whole earth, the rain fell for forty days and forty nights. The precise height of the water is given – fifteen feet above the highest mountain – and the number of days the waters “prevailed over the earth” – one hundred and fifty days.

The Flood came not only from above in the form of rain, but also from below – “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the flood gates of heaven were opened”. It seems that both earth and the “heavens” were constituted differently before the Flood. Many creation scientists have speculated that there was a vapor canopy around the earth which created a greenhouse effect, and consequent temperate climate over all the earth. This disappeared when the “flood gates of heaven were opened”. This would account for such phenomena as mammoths being found in Siberia, apparently rapidly frozen, with green vegetation in their stomachs. The destruction of such a canopy, and the consequent elimination of this greenhouse effect, would account for rapid freezing and preservation of these mammoths. It might also account, at least partially, for the fact that people lived much longer before the flood – such a vapor canopy would have blocked harmful cosmic radiation from space.

It is also speculated that such a vapor canopy would have increased gas pressures on the earth, causing a 50% higher concentration of oxygen. In 1987, Time Magazine reported that amber crystals (formed from the fossilization of tree sap) had been discovered with trapped air bubbles containing50% more oxygen than the current atmosphere (32% vs. 21%). Reduction of the oxygen content of the atmosphere after the Flood could very well account for the inability of dinosaurs to survive. The higher oxygen rates before the Flood could also account for longer life spans, healthier lives, larger fossils of all sorts found in the fossil record. We mention all this, not to presume to give any sort of extensive or exhaustive scientific arguments, but only to give the reader some small indication of the great number of possible ramifications, even beyond geological and radiometric dating, of Noah’s Flood.

To continue with the specifics facts concerning the Flood:

After the hundred and fifty days, God “brought a wind upon the earth, and the waters were abated”, and “the fountains also of the deep, and the flood gates of heaven were shut up, and the rain from heaven was restrained, and the waters returned from off the earth going and coming: and they began to be abated after a hundred and fifty days. And the ark rested in the seventh month, the seven and twentieth day of the month, upon the mountains of Armenia.” Further, “in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared”. The scripture then tells us that after forty more days, Noah opened the window of the ark, and sent forth a raven, which did not return. He then sent forth a dove which, “not finding where her foot might rest”, returned to the ark. Finally, after waiting another seven days, Noah sent forth the same dove, which returned to him in the evening carrying “a bough of an olive tree, with green leaves, in her mouth”. Noah stayed in the ark yet another seven days, sent forth the dove again, which did not return.

The scripture continues: “Therefore in the six hundredth and first year [Noah was 600 years old at the beginning of the Flood – Genesis 7:6], the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were lessened upon the earth, and Noah, opening the covering of the ark, looked, and saw that the face of the earth was dried. In the second month, the seven and twentieth day of the month, the earth was dried. And God spoke to Noah, saying: Go out of the ark, thou and thy wife, thy sons, and the wives of thy sons with thee. All living things that are with thee of all flesh, as well in fowls as in beasts, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, bring out with thee, and go ye upon the earth; increase and multiply upon it.” And, finally, Noah built an “altar unto the Lord”, “offered holocausts upon the altar”, and God established His “rainbow covenant” with man by which He promised never again to destroy all life on earth with water.

What is often overlooked in the account of the Flood and its aftermath is Chapter 10 of Genesis, which in its entirety is devoted to enumerating the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons of Noah (all 71 of them), and the specific nations and areas of the world which they and their descendents re-populated. The final two sentences of this chapter read: “These are the families of Noe, according to their peoples and nations. By these were the nations divided on the earth after the flood.”

One of the more interesting facts revealed in all of this chronology is that Abraham was 58 years old when Noah (who lived for 950 years) died. It is tempting to consider the possibility that, in God’s providence, these two men of God might have exchanged a glass of wine and discussed what God might do next in order to try and straighten out sinful man (Abraham would not receive God’s calling for another 17 years, when he was 75). Such might be the stuff of imagination, but the very fact that it is conceivable illustrates the profound finitude and “personality” of time in God’s dealings with man and all of creation.

Let us address a young child:

Grandpa (or Great Grandpa) is 80 years old. That may seem a long time to you, but it is not really a very long time for Grandpa. Your life will seem much shorter as you grow older. There are 25 (we might lay out 25 eggs as illustration) of Grandpa’s lives going back to the time when Christ walked this earth. If we then use an apple to show the time of Christ until you were born, there are less than two apples, before Christ, back to the creation of Adam and the world.

I quote Pope Leo again: “It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration or make God the author of such error.”To claim that God would provide all this erroneous data in order to create some sort of metaphor or allegory is preposterous. This is either historical truth, or God has erred.

If God has not erred, then man has not evolved. The choice is simple for any Catholic. Any attempt to escape this truth simply speaks of a very unnatural hunger to be prostituted to the world, while yet claiming to be a follower of Christ. It simply does not work.

 

 The Genesis Creation Account

We are now left with the Old Testament account of Creation itself. It is presented to us as occurring over a period of six days; the seventh day, God “rested” (the notion that God “rested”, obviously being a classic use of metaphor in Holy Scripture).

In his excellent work, The Doctrine of Genesis 1-11, Fr. Victor Warkulwiz, M.S.S., offers the following conclusions regarding the teaching of the Fathers of the Church in regard to the Six Day Creation account: “None of them professed belief that God took eons of time to create the world”, and “The great majority of the Fathers of the Church believed that God created the world in six natural days.” (p. 164). He offers the following examples of their thought on this matter:

From St. Ephrem the Syrian, he quotes the following passages:

“So, let no one think that there is anything allegorical in the works of the six days. No one can rightly say that the things pertaining to these days were symbolic, nor can anyone say that they were meaningless names or that things were symbolized for us by their names.

“Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and night of the First Day continued for twelve hours each.

Although the grasses were only a moment old at their creation, they appeared as if they were months old. Likewise, the trees, although only a day old when they sprouted forth, were nevertheless like trees years old as they were fully grown and fruits were already budding on their branches. The grass that would be required as food for the animals two days later was thus made ready. And the new corn that would be food for Adam and his descendants, who would be thrown out of paradise four days later, was thus prepared.”

St. Basil:

”There was evening and morning.” This means the space of a day and a night….”And there was evening and morning, one day.” Why did he say “one” and not “first”? [note: this use of the word “first” is how it is erroneously translated in the New American Bible, which contains many such Modernist distortions of Holy Scripture]….He said “one” because he was defining the measure of a day and night and combining the time of a night and a day, since the twenty-four hours fill up the interval of one day, if, of course, night is understood with day.”

St. Ambrose:

“In notable fashion has Scripture spoken of a “day”, not the “first day”. Because a second, then a third, day, and finally the remaining days were to follow, a “first day” could have been mentioned, following in this way the natural order. But scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent.”

Fr. Warkulwiz then proceeds to state that St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great also believed that God created the world successively in six natural days.

The one exception to this almost universal view held by the Church Fathers that the world was created in six simultaneous days was St. Augustine. St. Augustine believed that all things were created “simultaneously” on the first day, but that plants and animals were created in “seed” form (what he called rationes seminales – “rational seeds”), to be distinguished later. St. Thomas held a similar view, but was very careful to note that both his and St. Augustine’s view on this matter differed from the rest of the Church Fathers, and that it was only his personal opinion. It should also be carefully noted that the rationes seminales of Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas have nothing to do with evolution, and are diametrically opposed to it. Whatever “rational seeds” may be, they already are in possession of the substantial form of a particular “kind” of thing. In the teaching of St. Thomas, there can be no change of one “kind” of substance into another. The appearance of a new “kind” requires the corruption of the substantial form or essence of the former “kind” (in the case of living thing this entails its death). This absolutely negates the “evolution” of one substance into another, and entails that no living species could undergo any sort of mutation which would generate a different “kind”. There is, in other words, no way in which Thomas can be used to endorse evolutionary theory. The “rational seeds” of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, if they could be said to exist, are just that – “rational”. They speak of the fact that all the “kinds” of both living and non-living thing are intelligently created, and have a created, intelligible “form” that makes them what they are. There is no intelligence in material causation itself, and there can therefore be no creation of new kinds through such material causation in itself. It is interesting that in Chapter One of Genesis the word, “kind” or “kinds” is used nine times in order to emphasize this fact. God’s Ways are not indefinite, interminable, or evolutionary. All the Church Fathers, being wise, and at the same time being the spiritual children of a Personal God, understood this.

As we have pointed out, it is in the very nature of evolutionary theory that in order for it to win over the human mind, interminable lengths of Time, with its consequent principle of Endless Becoming, must claim victory in our minds over substantial being, essence, and nature. In Thomistic metaphysics, time is one of the nine accidens of being. It exists only as a reality by inhering in substance. To “free” time from this inhering in something substantial – something with an inviolable nature – to make it interminable, vast beyond human comprehension, and something to which substantial being is subject for its very essence and fulfillment, amounts to a destruction of being. In regard to human substantiality – the nature of a human being – this entails the disintegration of human integrity and personality. The human mind and heart become “lost in time”, like an astronaut whose tether- line to his ship has been cut, and who now floats further and further away from any contact with what is real.

 

Pope Francis and Time

Those who have read Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium may have been puzzled by the following paragraph #222, under the rather strange sub-heading, Time is Greater than Space:

“A constant tension exists between fullness and limitation. Fullness evokes the desire for complete possession, while limitation is a wall set before us. Broadly speaking, “time” has to do with fullness as an expression of the horizon which constantly opens before us, while each individual moment has to do with limitation as an expression of enclosure. People live poised between each individual moment and the greater, brighter horizon of the utopian future as the final cause which draws us to itself. Here we see a first principle for progress in building a people: time is greater than space.”

On the contrary, the Catholic Faith is not established upon a “horizon which constantly opens before us”, but upon what is within us now:

“Neither shall they say: Behold here, or behold there. For lo, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21).

It has nothing to do with a utopian future, but with the “now” of our response to God’s grace and truth:

“And we helping do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain….Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:1-2).

It is this now which has been the crucial and saving moment for each individual soul from the creation of Adam down to the last man. It is this now which has been the source of all that is good in human history; for it is here that God’s Rule is either accepted or rejected, this in turn determining whether true love, peace, justice, compassion, and mercy are either accepted or rejected in societies and nations.

Pope Francis indeed seems to make “time” the very source of revelation and salvation. In his interview with Anthony Spadaro, he said the following:

“God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history. Time initiates processes, and space crystallizes them. God is in history, in the processes. We must initiate processes, rather than occupy spaces.”

 Space, for Pope Francis, is simply a euphemism for what we are in possession of now – in other words, what we traditional Catholics believe to be the fullness of God’s Immutable Revelation, Rules, Dogma, the Infallible Magisterium, and the reality that we each possess a substantial human nature and soul, requiring the same fundamental choice now as was true of the first man. Time is proposed as being greater than Space because “becoming” is more real than God’s Supreme Being, and takes precedence over the Revealed Truths which are the fullness of that Being. It is therefore quite easy to see why, in the mind of Pope Francis, a bogus mercy trumps immutable dogma – why the divorced and remarried may receive Holy Communion, why we must be “inclusive” towards practicing homosexuals (who must certainly also be admitted to Sacramental Communion if such a “mercy” holds true), and why, in fact, we must be inclusive towards everyone (except the Mafia, and possibly Traditionalists). It is the Journey into the future which is everything. There can be no Now which demands conversion to any Absolutes, and such conversion cannot be a requisite for being included within the sacramental and supernatural life of Christ’s Mystical Body.

If Time triumphs over what we possess Now then we float, untethered, until the life of God’s Revelation is left behind. The world has for some time rejected all Absolutes, and prostrated itself before the goddesses of scientific change and progress. This world, of which Satan is the Prince, now has a friend within the Church in the person of Pope Francis.

 

That Which Overcomes Science

Possibly the most debilitating error of our time is the belief that, in the face of all the assaults of modern science and technology, we must prove our faith (very often to ourselves) by using science itself.

The past 50-100 years have seen a great many such efforts, mostly unsuccessful. We see this reality in the tragic struggle to end abortion – all those baby-models, employment of the science of genetics, ultra-sounds, etc. Despite all of this effective use of science, we plummet more deeply every day into the culture of death.

We see it in the attempts to use every form of the media to counteract the secularist agenda of those who were, in reality, the creators of Modern Media. Pope Pius XII, who was called the “Science Pope”, had great hopes for us in this contest (see his encyclical Miranda Prorsus –On the Communication Fields: Movies, Television, and Radio). His writings on this subject now seem redolent with naivety. The Mass Media is almost entirely in the hands of the Enemy.

And, of course, we see it in “Creation Science” – the effort to overcome the grip of evolutionary thinking upon the minds and hearts of modern men by using science itself. There are certainly some who have made some progress in this direction, but any sort of optimism in relation to final victory is delusional. All statistics reveal a rapidly growing secularism – the rejection of God’s Rule – which runs on the rails of evolutionary thinking.

Everything in our cultures gives testimony to the fact that Modern Science and technology are much more effective weapons in the hands of Satan than they are, or ever will be, in ours.

The question then becomes: do we possess some other weapon which is more powerful than Science?

St. John provides a very definite answer to this question:

For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.” (1 John 5:4).

The problem is that, for centuries now, our faith has not been overcoming the world, but rather the opposite: the world, and especially the world of science, has been overcoming and destroying the faith of Catholics. We are therefore faced with drawing one of two conclusions: either God and His Word are wrong, and faith is really just a powder-puff in the face of the weapons of science; or, somehow an awful lot of people who claim to possess the faith, are in reality profoundly depreciated in their faith, or at least the full virility of that faith. Something therefore must be awfully wrong in their understanding and living of the grace of faith itself.

Vatican I defines faith as follows:

“Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will. And the Catholic Church teaches that this faith, which is the beginning of man’s salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because the intrinsic truth of the things is plainly perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive. For faith, as the Apostle testifies, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.” (Heb 11: 1).

Faith is a grace by which and through which we believe in things that “appear not”. It is, through God’s grace, and in itself, the “substance” and “evidence” for these things. The direct object of this faith is God’s Revelation. The immediate effect of our receiving and accepting this gift is the movement of our wills which causes our mind to surrender to these truths, not on basis of any evidence provided by our use of “the natural light of reason”, but on the authority of God Who is our Father. Faith, in other words, is the supreme expression of spiritual childhood.

Faith is weakened through a myriad of subtle devices by which we subject our child-like faith in God’s Revelation to conditional verification by the world and ourselves. It is certainly legitimate to fully assent to God’s Revelation, and then use every natural means at our disposal to support Revealed Truth. Such, for instance, is the role of philosophy (and especially the philosophy and metaphysics of St. Thomas) as the “handmaid of theology”. But it is also true that it is very easy for us to begin to weaken and detract from this supernatural grace of faith by subtly beginning to make it conditional upon verification by “the natural light of reason” in one form or another, and especially in relation to science. Here, faith is profoundly weakened. Thus begins that slippery slope which eventually slides down into the darkness of disbelief.

We have spoken much in previous articles of the decay of Faith which has occurred because of the almost total surrender of Catholic hearts and minds to the world, especially in two realms: the abandonment of the life of poverty and simplicity demanded by Our Lord’s teaching of the Beatitudes, and which is absolutely necessary that our hearts be not divided between the world and God; and the subjection of our minds to reductive “atomic” science and evolutionary theory. We must also realize, however, that the means by which this spiritual blindness has penetrated most effectively into the minds and hearts of most Catholics is through that gradual process of erosion of their belief in the reliability and inspired infallibility of Holy Scripture. It is Scripture, after all, that is the “daily bread” which either nourishes or dilutes the faith of the vast majority of “faithful” Catholics. If the Bible itself is compromised, either by Modernist-inspired translation and evolutionary-inspired footnotes (as is the New American Bible), or by both theological and popular literature saturated with such “dilutions” and outright contradictions in regard to its divinely inspired infallibility, then the faith of the vast majority of Catholics becomes like a vastly compromised immune system subject to every new disease of the mind and heart.

This process – by which Catholic faith “gently slides into disbelief” – is most evident in regard to the rejection of the Book of Genesis as God’s infallible Revelation, especially by members of the Catholic hierarchy. It reaches its apex in the theology of Joseph Ratzinger.

 

Joseph Ratzinger: The Man Who Destroyed Genesis

“Being is time; it does not merely have time. Only in becoming does it exist and unfold into itself.”

The above quote is from the chapter titled “Creation” in Joseph Ratzinger’s book Credo For Today. The reader will note that it expresses the same, profoundly evolutionary metaphysical-theological orientation as that of Pope Francis. It is one thing to recognize that human life involves potentiality and change. It is altogether another thing to equate being with time, and to declare that being itself is identifiable with becoming and “unfolding into itself” (this latter phrase is redolent with Teilhardian pantheism).

We have never read anything in which Pope Francis directly addresses the subject of evolution – his thinking is simply saturated with its implications: his belief in evolution would seem fully “natural” to him and therefore not in need of justification or explanation. But in order for victory of evolutionary thinking to have triumphed over the Catholic hierarchy, the theological and metaphysical field” of battle had first to be won to its service. The primary architect of this intellectual victory was Joseph Ratzinger.

We have dealt with Joseph Ratzinger’s evolutionary views in a number of articles (most noteworthy in The Quintessential Evolutionist), but it is necessary here to draw together all these strains of his evolutionary thought as they relate to the first three chapters of Genesis. If docility in receiving God’s Revelation in its entirety is reserved to the faith of God’s “little children”, we need a clear and complete understanding of what is entailed by becoming “old” in the faith to the point where we become like the man in St. James’ Epistle who after having once truly seen himself in a mirror, “went his own way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.” And even if this man is a Pope, we need to pray for him not just as one who suffers persecution from without, but as one who suffers and is deluded from within. And, most significantly, we need to expose and do battle with those forces, ideas, philosophies, theologies, and sciences which have imprisoned him in this delusion. If we dare not to do this, we will never reach down to the root of what is wrong with the Church in order to effect the necessary cure. Nor will we be exercising charity towards the souls of such men as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI or Pope Francis.

It is first necessary to understand that Joseph Ratzinger places himself in direct opposition to the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission under Pope Pius X. In his presentation of the CDF document on The Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian (1990), Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:

“The text also presents the various forms of binding authority which correspond to the grades of the Magisterium. It states – perhaps for the first time with such candor – that there are magisterial decisions which cannot be the final word on a given matter as such but, despite the permanent value of their principles, are chiefly also a signal for pastoral prudence, a sort of provisional policy. Their kernel remains valid, but the particulars determined by circumstances can stand in need of correction. In this connection, one will probably call to mind both the pontifical statements of the last century regarding freedom of religion and the anti-Modernist decisions of the beginning of this century, especially the decisions of the then Biblical Commission….with respect to particular aspects of their content, they were superseded after having fulfilled their pastoral function in the situation of the time.” (The Nature and Mission of Theology, p.106).

This reduction of the decisions of the PBC under Pius X to being “provisional” would of course include Pius X’s condemnation of any efforts to detract from the true historicity of Genesis, and it would therefore also extend to Pope Leo XIII’s teaching on this subject. It would indeed seem an extraordinary act of hubris on Cardinal Ratzinger’s part to make such teachings regarding the very truth of scripture to be “provisional”. However, such would appear to be the necessary foundation for justifying what Joseph Ratzinger had been doing all of his priestly life – destroying the historical veracity of Genesis. This was perceived as a necessity in the face of what he saw as the absolute certainty of the reality of man’s evolution. Thus, the following from his essay Creation: Belief in Creation and the Theory of Evolution (published in his 2006 work Credo for Today: What Christians Believe, and taken from his 1972 work Dogma and Verkündung:

“…the pre-Darwinian idea of the invariability of the species had been justified in terms of the idea of creation [and, of course, by taking the Bible seriously as Revelation]; it regarded every individual species as a datum of creation that had existed since the beginning of the world through God’s creative work as something unique and different alongside the other species. It is clear that this form of belief in creation contradicts the idea of evolution and that this expression of the faith has become untenable today.”(p. 34)

And, further:

“We have established that the first aspect, that is, the concrete form which the idea of creation had taken in practice, has been abolished by the idea of evolution; here the believer must allow himself to be taught by science that the way in which he had imagined creation was part of a pre-scientific world view that has become untenable.”(p.36).

We see here, as stated succinctly by Joseph Ratzinger, the necessity of submitting Revelation to the judgment of science. Pope Pius X, in Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrine of the Modernists) makes such subjection of the Faith to science as being a primary tenet of Modernism, and then draws the following conclusion concerning this Modernist perversion:

“The Modernists completely invert the parts, and of them may be applied the words which another of Our predecessors Gregory IX, addressed to some theologians of his time: “Some among you, puffed up like bladders with the spirit of vanity strive by profane novelties to cross the boundaries fixed by the Fathers, twisting the meaning of the sacred text…to the philosophical teaching of the rationalists, not for the profit of their hearer but to make a show of science…these men, led away by various and strange doctrines, turn the head into the tail and force the queen to serve the handmaid.” (#17

Joseph Ratzinger’s surrender to evolutionary theory not only necessitated the inversion of the proper relationship between faith and science, but also, as a necessary consequence, totally perverted his understanding of the nature of man as he was created by God. The following is taken from his 1970 work, Faith and the Future:

“The difficulty begins with the very first page of the Bible. The concept presented there of how the world came to be, is in direct contradiction of all that we know today about the origins of the universe….And the problem continues, almost page by page….in the very next chapter new problems emerge with the story of the Fall. How can one bring this into harmony with the knowledge that – on the evidence of natural science – man starts not from above, but from below, does not fall, but slowly rises, even now having only just accomplished the metamorphosis from animal to human being? And what of paradise? Long before man existed, pain and death were in the world. Thistles and thorns grew long before any man had set eyes on them. And another thing: the first man was scarcely self-conscious, knew only privation and the wearisome struggle to survive. He was far from possessing the full endowment of reason, which the old doctrine of paradise attributes to him. But once the picture of paradise and the Fall has been broken in pieces, the notion of original sin goes with it, to be followed logically, it would seem, by the notion of redemption as well.” (p. 5-7).

Once it is granted that man’s appearance in this world was a work of “gradual ascent” (and this is absolutely the position of Joseph Ratzinger), then it necessarily follows that at whatever stage we decide to designate man as man, he is indeed a primitive thing. This is perfectly expressed in the following passage from Credo for Today (p. 46-47):

“This would then lead to the insight that spirit does not enter the picture as something foreign, as a second substance, in addition to matter: the appearance of spirit, according to the previous discussion, means rather that an advancing movement arrives at the goal that has been set for it….The clay became man at that moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought ‘God.’ The first ‘thou’ that – however stammeringly – was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed.”

It should be obvious that the intellect and will of such a “stammering” Adam are not capable of morally responsible actions, and that such an “Adam” is not in possession of original justice and sanctifying grace. Original Sin and the Fall then also become mythological. Thus, in his 1995 book In the Beginning…A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, we encounter the following from Cardinal Ratzinger:

“In the story that we are considering [Ch. 3 of Genesis], still a further characteristic of sin is described. Sin is not spoken of in general as an abstract possibility but as a deed, as the sin of a particular person, Adam, who stands at the origin of humankind and with whom the history of sin begins. The account tells us that sin begets sin, and that therefore all the sins of history are interlinked. Theology refers to this state of affairs by the certainly misleading and imprecise term ‘original sin’. What does this mean? Nothing seems to us today to be stranger or, indeed, more absurd than to insist upon original sin, since, according to our way of thinking, guilt can only be something very personal, and since God does not run a concentration camp, in which one’s relatives are imprisoned because he is a liberating God of love, who calls each one by name. What does original sin mean, then, when we interpret it correctly?

 “Finding an answer to this requires nothing less than trying to understand the human person better. It must once again be stressed that no human being is closed in upon himself or herself and that no one can live of or for himself or herself alone. We receive our life not only at the moment of birth but every day from without – from others who are not ourselves but who nonetheless somehow pertain to us. Human beings have their selves not only in themselves but also outside of themselves: they live in those whom they love and in those who love them and to whom they are ‘present.’ Human beings are relational, and they possess their lives – themselves – only by way of relationship. I alone am not myself, but only in and with you am I myself. To be truly a human being means to be related in love, to be of and for. But sin means the damaging or the destruction of   relationality. Sin is a rejection of relationality because it wants to make the human being a god. Sin is loss of relationship, disturbance of relationship, and therefore it is not restricted to the individual. When I destroy a relationship, then this event – sin – touches the other person involved in the relationship. Consequently sin is always an offense that touches others, that          alters the world and damages it. To the extent that this is true, when the network of human relationships is damaged from the very beginning, then every human being enters into a world that is marked by relational damage. At the very moment that a person begins human existence, which is a good, he or she is confronted by a sin-damaged world. Each of us enters into a situation in which relationality has been hurt. Consequently each person is, from the very start, damaged in relationships and does not engage in them as he or she ought. Sin pursues the human being, and he or she capitulates to it.” (P. 71-73).

 What Joseph Ratzinger denies here, of course, is the Catholic concept of Original Sin as something which resulted in the Fall of man’s nature away from God’s grace, and the transmission of this fallen nature through generation. He in fact ridicules this concept by comparing it to a God Who is the Commandant of a concentration camp punishing people for the deeds of their relatives. This is an extraordinary act of hubris on his part in the face not only of the manifold witness of God’s Revelation in Holy Scripture, but also defined Catholic Dogma.

The long paragraph, quoted above, which follows Joseph Ratzinger’s rejection of the traditional explanation of original sin, is simply a way of “essentalizing” this doctrine in order to make it accord with man’s evolutionary beginnings, and the progression of his original primitive nature down through time.

The other-half of this subject is, of course, Joseph Ratzinger’s view of ultimate redemption. This we have covered in detail in our article The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns. It involves the virtual total submission of the mind of Joseph Ratzinger to the bogus evolutionary-cosmological mysticism of Teilhard de Chardin. It begins with matter as the “pre-history of spirit”, sees spirit evolving through the “complexification” of matter, and this complexification further evolving towards a unity which reaches the Omega point of perfection which is Christ. We strongly recommend reading of the above-mentioned article for a proper understanding of the depths of Joseph Ratzinger’s evolutionary thinking.

 

Little Children and the Holy Father

One of the most difficult tasks for any parent is the task of teaching their children about the reality of sin and evil. We naturally want to shelter them, and thus we also tend to delay, or even omit, this teaching, especially when it concerns anything that has to do with the Church and its history. This is especially true in regard to our Popes. When such overly-protected children, formed in a “sanitized” education concerning the Church, mature, they are bound to encounter truths concerning Church history, the Popes, and even lives of the Saints which may cause deep crises in their faith. This is not at all necessary. Nor is it productive of true Catholic charity.

Just as children, rightly taught and formed, quite quickly become aware of their own sinfulness and limitations, so they can be taught that all the members of the Church are like themselves – a mixture of light and darkness, goodness and sinfulness, and always in need of conversion and prayer from others. Such also is the entire history of the Church, which is both profoundly divine and deeply human – the latter sometimes even to the point of great wickedness. What is needed to prevent such crises in the lives of our children is that, on the one hand, they be deeply formed from the beginning about all the Beauty, Goodness, and Truth of God and His Church, but also quite early become gradually admitted to knowledge of the reality of sin and ignorance within the Body of Christ. They must be awakened to the fact that they are involved in a great contest in which, by the grace of God, they have been called to wage spiritual warfare in both love and truth.

We have the extraordinary example of Fatima. During the Apparition of July 13, 1917, Our Lady showed the three Fatima children a vision of Hell. The following is Lucia’s description of that vision:

We could see a vast sea of fire. Plunged in the flames were demons and lost souls, as if they were red-hot coals, transparent and black or bronze-coloured, in human form, which floated about in the conflagration, borne by the flames which issued from them, with clouds of smoke falling on all sides as sparks fall in a great conflagration without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of sorrow and despair that horrified us and caused us to tremble with fear. The devils could be distinguished by horrible and loathsome forms of animals, frightful and unknown, but transparent like black coals that have turned red-hot.”

Little Jacinta was only six years old when she received this vision. This does not at all mean that other children of her age should be fed such graphic images and details, but it certainly does indicate the fact that children must be taught something about sin and evil at an early age in order to pray and love rightly. Equally important, they must quickly come to understand that they have a very important role to play in overcoming sin and error in both the Church and the world.

It is during this same Apparition that the children were also told that “the Holy Father will have much to suffer”. Interestingly enough, it was little Jacinta who then appeared to become obsessed with praying for the Holy Father and his sufferings. It has been our contention for quite some time that the sufferings of the Pope prophesied by Our Lady, while certainly involving persecutions from without, primarily refer to sufferings stemming from within – to a “diabolical disorientation’” which has deeply affected the minds and hearts of recent Popes.

It is not necessary that we be overly specific with our young children as to why they must pray for the Pope, any more than we are specific in our admonitions to them that they must practice purity in their own lives. We might begin with the youngest by simply explaining that, like all men, the Holy Father is subject to confusion and to not thinking and acting as Christ would want him to think and act. Like Jacinta, they must therefore pray a great deal for him. A time will come later when more specific details become appropriate and beneficial.

It is most important to realize, however, that the present chastisement which we are experiencing in relation to both the Church and the world is not without meaning and purpose in regard to God’s providential love and care for us. Pope St. Gregory the Great is reputed to have said that “Divine Justice provides shepherds according to the just deserts of the faithful”. If we are now suffering a severe crisis within the Church in terms of error and confusion in regard to the theology and pastoral policies of Pope and other members of the hierarchy, it almost certainly must be considered a divine chastisement of God for our prostitutions to the world, and for the purpose of the deeper conversion of each one of us to believing and living the Gospel. This is why all that we offer here is with the single intention of fulfilling what is contained in our Original Proposal, and the purification of the minds and hearts of each one of us which is necessary that the Light of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit may come to fruition once again in the Church, and the preaching of the Gospel to all nations.

Let us not shelter our children from that battle for souls which is the substance of our love for one another in Christ. Let us not deprive ourselves of the merits of their faith, for of such is the Kingdom of God, and the hope of the world.

To think, desire, and act as true Children of God, especially in these times of almost universal false adulthood, requires the extraordinary graces which can only be found in a complete and total spiritual childhood to the Mother of God and Her Immaculate Heart. And the path to this childhood, and these graces, winds through the depths of the Mysteries of Her Rosary. We therefore also ask all readers to also read the article which is linked here: The Rosary: The Way of Perfection.

Please spread the word about the Rosary!
error

Science: Original and Final Sin

Image result for Our Lady of Sorrows

 

 

In considering what might be called the “collective thinking” of the entire Western world (and beyond), there is no position one can take which elicits more universal disdain than that of being “anti-science.” It immediately calls forth stereotyped images of backwardness, anti-progress, rigidity, and just plain stupidity.

There are of course other epithets that are accompanied by much more vehement condemnations: terms as such anti-semite, racist, etc. But we are not here concerned with such individual prejudices and passions, but rather with the scientific weltanschauung (world-view) which now dominates our thinking, and the rejection of which is almost unthinkable to modern man.

Integral to this world-view is the belief that there is a world of “Science” containing all knowledge of the depths of the physical world, that the human mind has the potential to fully encompass this knowledge, and that it is only in the use of this knowledge that man sins.

It is our contention here, on the other hand, that the scientific weltanschauung is integrally constituted by a dominant hubris, which has profoundly altered human consciousness, and constitutes a war against both God and man.

Such an “anti-science” position is bound to elicit the following protest: “But the Popes have said that there is no conflict between true science and Faith – between the natural laws that govern the physical universe and Divine Revelation!” Yes, this is certainly true. But what has never been fully explored by these same Popes is that “Science”, as a human endeavor, is never just about objective truth, and that its pursuit inherently involves perversions of the intellect and will which alter not only man’s relationship with God, but also human psychology and spirituality itself.

We will explore this subject from three perspectives: 1) in the light of what Scripture has to say in regard to the nature of God’s creation, and the inevitable consequences of man’s attempts to penetrate the nature of God’s “works”; 2) the consequences of original sin upon man’s intellect and will; 3) the overwhelming existential and historical facts concerning the immensely destructive fruits of the scientific enterprise itself.

Before proceeding with this analysis, however, we wish to acknowledge that we may have already alienated some readers. Let us begin, therefore, by offering some very down-to-earth statistics in order to convince the reader of the possibility that there may indeed be a raging fire from which proceeds the following smoke.

In the United States, the members of the National Academy of Sciences represent the elite of those on the cutting edge of their corresponding scientific disciplines. Membership is by election only (no applications please), and such membership is considered one of “the highest honors that a scientist can receive.” The total current membership is approximately 2,350, with 485 foreign associates. Approximately 500 have received Nobel Prizes.

In the 23 July, 1998 issue of Nature, authors Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham presented the results of a survey of NAS scientists in an article titled Leading Scientists Still Reject God. Their questionnaire duplicated that used by researcher James H. Leuba in his surveys of “leading scientists” in the years 1914 and 1933. The results show in fact that the title of the Nature article understates the significance of their findings – leading scientists do not merely still reject God, but increasingly reject God in what appears to be geometric proportions.

In 1914, “leading scientists” responded with statistics showing that 27.7% believed in a Personal God (“a God in intellectual and affective communication with humankind”). In 1933, this percentage was down to 15%. And, in Larson and Witham’s 1998 study, this belief in a personal God had reached a low of 7.0% (approximately one-fourth of the number found in 1914).

In the words of Larson and Watham, “Disbelief in God [not only a Personal God, but God in any form] and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers.” The first sentence of this quote adds another dimension. Obviously, the closer one gets to being the type of scientist (especially physicists) whose pretention is to penetrate to the absolute foundations of physical reality, the less likelihood there is of a belief in God.

We can contrast the above statistics with a Pew Forum survey in 2007 which found 78.4% of Americans professing to be Christians, 4.7% “Other Religions”, and 5.8% identifying themselves as “Unaffiliated Believers” – a total of 88.9% who believe in God.

The contrast revealed here is absolutely stark. Unquestioningly, these statistics (even if we are somewhat skeptical about such polls) reveal that there is something within the scientific enterprise itself which is destructive of faith in God. As we shall see, its destructiveness extends equally to human life and dignity.

 

Holy Scripture and the Scientific Enterprise

We begin with the first perspective which mentioned above: the inevitable consequences, from a Biblical perspective, of the scientific enterprise itself.

It is a kind of dogma of modern life that man has the inalienable right, and even responsibility, to the pursuit of unending growth in all the spheres of his secular activity: economic, political (New World Order), scientific knowledge, technological development, etc. Such “unending quest for knowledge and growth” would almost seem to constitute modern man’s definition of his most fundamental dignity. This is fully in accord with the dominant forms of modern philosophy which define him in terms of evolutionary becoming rather than created being.

Such is not the Biblical view, which rather sees such pursuits as wreaking disaster to both individual and society, and to man’s relationship to Truth and to God. The Biblical perspective begins with Original Sin which, according to St. Thomas, was constituted as an intellectual pride by which Adam and Eve sought an intellectual excellence of knowledge independently of God. In the situation of Original Sin, this is described in terms of “knowledge of good and evil.” It is obvious in the light of further Old Testament scriptures, however, that this disorder also extends to the “seeking after an excellence” which would presume to penetrate to the depth of the nature of created things. Thus, we have the following scriptures:

Nothing may be taken away, nor added, neither is it possible to find out the glorious works of God: When a man hath done, then shall he begin: And when he leaveth off, he shall be at a loss.” (Ecclus 28:5-6).

And I understood that man can find no reason of all those works of God that are done under the sun: and the more he shall labor to seek, so much the less shall he find: yea, though the wise man shall say, that he knoweth it, he shall not be able to find it.” (Eccl 8:17).

For the works of the Highest only are wonderful, and his works are glorious, secret, and hidden.” (Ecclus 11:4).

For great is the power of God alone, and he is honoured by the humble. Seek not the things that are too high for thee, and search not into things above thy ability: but the things that God hath commanded thee, think on them always, and in many of his works be not curious. For it is not necessary for thee to see with thy eyes those things that are hid. In unnecessary matters be not over curious, and in many of his works thou shalt not be inquisitive.                                                             

For many things are shewn to thee above the understanding of men. And the suspicion of them hath deceived many, and hath detained their minds in vanity.” (Ecclus 3:21-26).

These scripture passages proscribe any effort by man which attempts to penetrate (or even be inquisitive and curious about) the hidden depths of God’s “works.” It is evident that in these scriptures the word “works” refers to the physical world itself – to all those “works of God that are done under the sun.” There is no allegorical interpretation possible here. We are simply faced with a choice between considering these teachings as divinely revealed truth, or merely the product of primitive and ignorant Old Testament human minds,

 

The Destruction of Human Intelligence

The last sentence in the final quote offered above is possibly the most revealing. It speaks both of the disordered motivation (“suspicion”) for such a quest, and it also pegs its consequent fruit (vanity).

The “suspicion” which scripture designates as the source for this “seeking” to understand the depths of God’s works must relate not only to God’s works themselves (their substantial reality, and man’s ability to objectively know them with his ordinary perception), but to the trustworthiness of God Himself as revealed through the substantial reality of His creation. Most revealing in this regard was a book written in 1996 by John Horgan, former senior writer at Scientific American, titled The End of Science. Mr. Horgan interviewed over 40 of the top scientists in the world (many of them physicists, and Nobel Prize winners) on the subject of “the end of science,” the ultimate meaning of reality, etc. What is revealed through these interviews is that none of these men is, in even the remotest fashion, a Christian, or a believer in a Personal God. Possibly even more revealing is that they have no epistemology (the philosophy of how we know things) whatsoever. In other words, none have the slightest notion of how it is even remotely possible to equate the findings of their “science” with reality as we perceive it. As the first scriptural passage quoted above states; “When a man hath done, then shall he begin: And when he leaveth off, he shall be at a loss.”

None of these scientists, for instance, have any idea as to how to connect the “scientific” understanding of water – of two atoms of Hydrogen compounded with one of Oxygen, constituted by electrons spinning at comparatively enormous distances around nuclei, with the whole thing being comprised of 99.999999999 % void – to the marvelous substance we know as water. They are, in other worlds, and in the most profound sense, “lost” in a world of suspicion in regard to the substantial reality of God’s creation, and therefore also of God Himself. This is why we often see such scientists flirting with Eastern forms of religion which deny the reality of our perceived world.

Further, the fruit of this “suspicion” is described by the scripture as having their minds “detained in “vanity.” Vanity is, of course, the same as St. Thomas’ “vainglory.” It is an inordinate desire to manifest one’s own excellence, very similar to that original sin of intellectual pride by which Adam and Eve sought an excellence above their nature, with the only significance difference here being its communitarian nature. The scientist becomes, in other words, a kind of Magi, guardian of an esoteric knowledge obtainable only to the elite, and before whom the multitudes must bow in reverence. The scientist, in other words, becomes the ultimate Gnostic.

The Old Testament proscriptions against such Gnostic-inspired “scientific” pursuits come to fruition in the most profound violations of the Beatitudes of the Gospel. We will not attempt to explore that teaching here. Suffice to say that the Beatitudes demand a simplicity of life, founded upon humility and poverty of spirit, in regard to the exercise of all of man’s faculties, and in all realms of human endeavor. There is no way in which we can imagine the living of the simplicity and poverty of spirit described in the Beatitudes as being in any way compatible with the development of the modern consumeristic, scientific, technological, economic, and political cultures in which we now are immersed and spiritually poisoned.

All of this leads to the second perspective mentioned above: the consequences of original sin upon man’s intellect and will.

The “vanity” which is the moral inversion involved in the Gnostic-scientific enterprise seeking to reach to the depths of created realities, produces a parallel inversion in man’s intellectual perception of reality. The entirety of the scientific quest is immersed (involved) in accidental being. The scientific method, although it indirectly deals with substantial being, is directly concerned only with accidental (quantifiable) realities. As such, it involves a continuous series of reductionisms through accidental analysis. Thus, a living substance is reduced to cells, cells to chromosomes and other structures, chromosomes to DNA molecular arrangements, molecules to atoms, atoms to sub-atomic particles, quanta, etc. In this ever-descending process, each reduction somehow becomes the substantial “reality” behind the previous “appearance,” accompanied by a total epistemological disconnect between the present reduction and what came before. The whole process entails a recurring and deepening process of dissolving what appears to our senses and minds as truly substantial, and replacing it with greater obscurity and unsubstantiality. Suspicion replaces substantiality, Gnostic-becoming replaces God, vanity replaces humility, and man becomes in the most profound sense “lost.” The whole interior order of human psychology and spirituality, in other words, becomes inverted.

It is therefore profoundly naïve to believe that such “scientists,” immersed in this deadly, poisoned, and inverted interior world, can be turned around through better or deeper knowledge concerning their own particular discipline, or through education in “natural law.” Their fundamental spiritual and intellectual perceptions are too perverted in order to make sense of such an enterprise. They must first be turned completely around, and that is possible only through a profound conversion of their whole being to God and His Church, and to the substantial natures of both God and man. And, if they are scientists, this must also involve a conversion of their entire intellectual orientation to a Thomistic metaphysical view of created realities.

One of the great, collective delusions of both the so-called “Conservative” and “Traditional” Catholic worlds is the prevalent view that the accomplishments of the West in regard to science, technology, etc. are the glorious fruits of Catholicism, and its embrace of rationality as the handmaid of Faith and Revelation. Few seem to even consider the possibility that true Catholic rationality demands a profound poverty of spirit in relation to any scientific endeavor, a devotion to both material and intellectual humility, and a commitment to material and technological asceticism, etc. No one seems to consider, in other words, that the “Goddess of Reason” which Western Culture has embraced, with its scientific and technological revolutions, represents a profound decay in Catholic civilization. It is not a true reflection of the Holy Spirit of Wisdom, but rather the offspring of that original sin which also sought a knowledge which was prostitute to the temptation of Satan to be “like Gods.”

The absurdities in the thinking of conservative and traditional Catholics which flow from this are startling. Just to offer one example: Any attempt to seriously consider the possibility of global warming (and we here make no judgment about its objective truth or falsity) is absolutely dismissed as a liberal agenda. This, despite the fact that the profound violations of the Sermon on the Mount, and its prescriptions for living a life of simplicity and poverty towards all the goods of this world, are morally bound to have their consequences upon the physical world in which we live. The same, of course, may be said of all the other hubris’ of modern science and technology: industrialization, urbanization, massive pollution, chemically-based industrial agriculture, genetic-modification, etc.

 

War Against God and Man

All this brings us to the third point mentioned above: that the scientific enterprise has predominantly been employed for destruction– in war against both man and God.

There are several good books which delineate the unholy marriage between scientists and mass slaughter of human beings down through history. The one I now have in my possession is titled Science Goes to War: The Search for the Ultimate Weapon, from Greek Fire to Star Wars, by Ernest Volkman. It represents a fascinating and terrifying exploration of the degree to which science and scientists, over thousands of years of human history, have been the concubines of the god of War. The Twentieth Century represented, of course, the great zenith of this holocaust conducted by science and “scientific materialism” (which, appropriately, was an oft-used name for Communism) against human dignity. The list of such scientific achievements in the torture and murder of human beings during the last century is almost endless.

But it has been so, to varying extents, from the beginning. Let us take, for instance, the example of Alexander the Great, considered by many to be the greatest conqueror of all time. Alexander the Great is famous for establishing the great Library in Alexandria, Egypt. But what is little known is that this Library was actually part of the Museion which, in the words of Volkman, was centered upon the creation of “the penultimate scientific research institute that would join Western and Eastern science in an effort to solve all practical problems of running the Greek Empire and ensuring that it remained supreme over all possible competitors. Its mandate included engineering, navigation, astronomy, geography, road-building, determining land boundaries – and the machines of war….All living expenses of the scientists working at the Museion were underwritten by the state. They learned that they could hardly think of a line of research that would not be funded if it had anything to do with benefitting the state [and especially improving the engines of war], there was a certain guarantee that the state would throw money at it.”

And, it has been the same ever since. Scientific research and the development of its technology always demands an immense amount of money and resources, and the State supplies. Political Power- Money- Science-War – the Four Horses of the War against Man and Human Dignity. As Heraclitus said, “War is the Father of all things.”

Inevitably, and even right from the beginning, this war against man evolved into a War Against God. Scientific reductionism, as we have seen, immerses the human mind in accidental analysis, which inevitably creates the poisoned world-view which identifies substantial reality with the fruits of such reductive analysis. And since accidental being is the basis of all change, then Being becomes identified with Becoming, and God as an Immutable Being must die. Man thus loses his moorings in both the substantial being of created things, and in his relationship to the Absolute Being and Immutable Truth of God. He becomes lost in phenomena. As a philosopher in the modern world he is forced into Nominalism, Empiricism, Kantianism, Phenomenalism, Personalism, Modernism, or any of a host of idealistic and subjectivist philosophies by which man is forced to retreat into himself, and away from objective, absolute truth. And this spiritual retreat also necessarily devolves into rejection of any belief in an immutable Natural Law.

All of this came home to roost in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Virtually no “serious” philosopher or scientist could hold to Thomistic metaphysics. And if they stayed in the Catholic Church during the 16th or 17th centuries it was usually more from fear of being burned at the stake than because of any faith they still possessed.

This war between scientific reductionism (atomism) and Thomistic metaphysics always comes down to the Catholic dogma of Transubstantiation. This is something little understood by Catholics, but fully comprehended by many of their enemies. Dr. Bernard Pullman, late Professor of Quantum Chemistry at the Sorbonne, wrote the following in his 1998 book The History of the Atom in Human Thought:

There remains a very specific and quite important disagreement – the most important one in the view of many – dividing Christians and the atomists. It centers on the problem of the Eucharist….As we have seen, the only reality is this theory [Atomic theory, which is the foundation of all modern science] is atoms (and void), and the perception of sense qualities derives solely from the movements of particles, which bring them in contact with our sensory organs and stimulate them. Sense qualities have no independent existence per se. When a substance (bread or wine) disappears, all that is left of these qualities are names. Borrowing the language of Democritus, we might say that they exist only ‘by convention.’ Under these conditions, while sensory effects are produced by atoms, the persistence of these effects in the consecrated wafer implies, of necessity, the persistence of the atoms of the bread. The substance remains, therefore, bread, squarely in contradiction with Church dogma.” (p. 93-95).

The almost universal rejection of Catholicism by “eminent” scientists is therefore not the product of some sort of undefined indifferentism, but rather a necessity of their “science,” which requires rejection of the intellectual contents of Catholic Dogma. And, of course, this rejection is not restricted to the Dogma of Transubstantiation. The Theory of Evolution, for instance, leaves no room for such doctrines as those which posit an original state of Justification for Adam and Eve, the fall of that “Nature” through Original Sin, restoration through Sanctifying Grace, and all the rest of Catholic doctrine which so profoundly relies on the concepts of substantial being and nature as being distinct from accidental being.

 

The Myth of “Religious” Scientists

Let us briefly look at four famous scientists who, it is often claimed, were “deeply religious men.” We will begin with Galileo.

Scientists will often attempt to dismiss Catholicism using what we might call a “polemical shortcut” – arguing that they cannot have anything to do with a Church that once condemned Galileo and his heliocentrism. As a consequence, an immense volume of Catholic literature and apologetics has issued forth from Catholic pens attempting to either justify the Church’s condemnation or make excuses for it. Such authors fail to comprehend the much deeper issues at stake here in regard to science and faith. Nor do they comprehend the depths of Galileo’s own infidelity.

Recent research in the Vatican archives, resulted in discovery of a document that clearly showed Galileo’s rejection of Transubstantiation. Under the power of his own reductive atomic science, there could no longer exist a real distinction between substance and accidents. It was the contention of Pietro Redondi, in his 1998 book Galileo Heretic, that the real motive for the Holy See’s condemnation of Galileo was his heretical views regarding the Eucharistic Presence, and his rejection of Transubstantiation. Whatever merits one might ascribe to this theory, we cannot deny the almost infinitely greater consequences of such a heresy to the Catholic Faith. Such reductionism in the microcosmic realm, dealing as it does with the very nature of substantial reality itself, is vastly more destructive to Catholic faith than any errors or misunderstandings which might ensue upon rejection of geocentrism. Any honors that the Church now bestows upon Galileo can therefore only be viewed as a self-inflicted wound to her own integrity, and a prostitution to the world of reductive science.

The delusion endemic among Catholics in regard to the alleged “compatibility of Faith and Science,” is inevitably associated with attempts to offer us instances of “Good Catholic Scientists.” For instance, in the pre-Vatican II Catholic textbooks for children, Pasteur is often extolled as the premier example of the really great “Catholic” scientist. A serious study of his life, however, reveals that he came to be a modern type of Siger of Brabant, embracing a two-truth epistemological position – one truth for religion and one for science. Towards the end of his life he quit frequenting the sacraments.

Newton is our third example of a scientist whom Catholic sycophancy has often embraced as a “scientist who believed in God.” Yes, he did believe in God, but it was not our God. Newton was an Arian who totally rejected Christ as God, and considered worship of Christ to be idolatry. For a Catholic to therefore consider him as some sort of spiritual fellow-traveler is simply self-deception.

Finally, we cannot leave this subject without examining the case of Einstein who, in one of his most famous quips, stated, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” He is also credited with quotes about the mysteriousness of the universe requiring intelligence in its origins. But this “intelligence” has nothing to do with a personal God. The following two quotes are from his letters:

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

I believe in Spinoza’s God [Spinoza was a pure Pantheist] who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”

This dissolution of Einstein’s intellectual world extended to his moral life, which included divorce and remarriage, abandonment of two of his children (the first, which was conceived illegitimately before his first marriage, to adoption; the second to a sanatorium), and “serial” sexual affairs and adulteries. In The World As I See It, Einstein wrote: “There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair.” He apparently reaped the benefit of such affairs: it was the conclusion of his personal physician that he died of syphilis. (see Robert Sungenis’ Galileo Was Wrong, The Church Was Right, Vol. II, p. 40-48 for a more extensive treatment of this subject – also available from many other sources on the internet).

It also should be noted that Einstein’s position in regard to Catholicism proved to be a prophetic anticipation of the current effort to force Catholic institutions to provide health insurance to cover contraception Thus, the following from a 1954 letter:

I am convinced that some political and social activities and practices of the Catholic organizations are detrimental and even dangerous for the community as a whole, here and everywhere. I mention here only the fight against birth control at a time when overpopulation in various countries has become a serious threat to the health of people and a grave obstacle to any attempt to organize peace on this planet.”

It is time that we stopped being “useful idiots” in the hands of our enemies. Catholics, for centuries, have been like frogs in the slowly warming water of this universal scientific ambience. It is now virtually impossible for them to perceive the obvious historical truth: that virtually no one could be in any sense on the cutting edge of the scientific endeavor, and remain a faithful Catholic. The practice of science is a vortex which almost inevitably drowns the Catholic intellect. Nor is this effect exclusive to only the grand poobahs of science. The world hangs on every word and attitude of the Magi of science, and it reflexively (even if more slowly) absorbs the rejection of the Christian Faith which is the necessary consequence of their Gnosticism. And if some particular scientist does attempt to hold to both science and faith, science almost inevitably ends by being the victor in an even more diabolical manner: through subtle or not-so-subtle distortions and infections of his faith. Such constitutes the history of the relationship between science and Christianity over the past several-hundred years.

In other words, the War against God which is integral to scientific reductionism goes much deeper than the seemingly inevitable loss of faith of individuals. As I have said, in rejecting Thomistic metaphysics and embracing the fruits of accidental analysis, scientists and philosophers become immersed in a world which replaces the concept of being with that of becoming. They consequently become the Magi and inculcators of gnostic- evolutionism in every sphere of human thought and belief. And in so doing, they become the declared enemy of all that is Absolute – Revelation, Dogma, the very idea of a fixed human nature, and God Himself. Such Gnosticism is thus the true spiritual descendant of the Museion of Alexander the Great, and the inevitable fruit of the scientific enterprise itself.

The scientific quest which was initiated by original Sin finds its ultimate expression today in the efforts of genetic engineering (and Eugenics) to totally transform human nature itself. Under an umbrella of associated names and movements – which are, I think, best designated by the popular term Transhumanism (or Teilhard de Chardin’s term “Ultra-human”)it promotes goals such as the following: the overcoming of human disease and even mortality, the uploading of human intelligence and moral consciousness into machines and robots, total access to “rewriting” any part of the human genetic code, the synthetic “writing” of an entirely new genetic code, etc. In other words, the “scientific enterprise” believes that it is now on the threshold of gaining full control over what is conceived as the evolutionary process itself, and of enabling man to become “like Gods,” – even to the point of creating “post-humans.” This point of radical transformation in human history and evolution has even been given a name: “Singularity.” The term “singularity” was in fact coined by Teilhard de Chardin. It is no accident, therefore, that he is considered a “father” to both the New Age movement and to the secular effort which is called “Transhumanism”. He is also integral to the one-world “spirituality” of the United Nations. On the UNESCO website, one finds the following:

In 1981, UNESCO convened an international symposium and exhibition to mark the birth centenary of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French theologian, philosopher and paleontologist. A medal was also issued. Designed by the French artist Paul Belmondo and struck at the Paris Mint, the obverse side shows a portrait of Teilhard de Chardin. The reverse features a map of the world, in its centre, the Greek letter ‘omega’, the philosopher’s term for the convergence point of the earth’s evolution.”

We must not make the mistake of believing that all of this resides only in the world of science fiction. The Museion of Alexander the Great finds its logical fruition in Singularity University, named precisely in honor of, and belief in, this radical evolution and transformation into the Ultra-human. The founding of Singularity University was hosted by NASA in 2007. Its facilities are at NASA’s Research Park in the Silicon Valley, CA. Raymond Kurzweil, co-founder of Singularity University was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Bill Clinton. This is now a main-stream, government-associated agenda.

In looking at the website of Singularity University, one discovers that their oft-repeated mantra is exponential technology, which is, of course, the evolutionary engine by which they expect to transcend the present limitations of humanity.

It is clear, even from a purely biographical and historical study of science and scientists, as we have sketched above, that exponential technology effects a corresponding exponential loss of the ability not only to understand the revealed Truths of God, but also Natural Law itself. This makes it to be a Draconian threat to man’s future.

For instance, it was, for many centuries of Christian civilization, a matter of basic moral synderesis concerning the conduct of warfare, embraced by virtually all, that direct killing of innocent civilians was morally unacceptable. In World War I, the civilian casualty rate was 10 %. In World War II, conducted with an exponential growth in science and weaponry, it was 60 %. And lest we are tempted to attribute this loss of basic moral fiber exclusively to Hitler and Nazism, we need only remember Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the fire-storm, phosphorous bombing of such cities as Tokyo (80,000), Dresden (130,000), Hamburg (80,000), and other German cities, – all this perpetrated by “civilized” western democracies. The civilian casualty rate in all wars conducted since 1980 is now reputed to be 80%. This is just one area which demonstrates that any real, active sense of the natural law diminishes with the growth of science and technology.

In order to provide even more clarity, let us look at the issue of pro-life, specifically from the perspective of the concept of “exponential growth” of human knowledge. In recent decades there has occurred an exponential growth in science and technology in relation to contraception, abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, etc. – everything involved in the destruction of unborn human life. At the same time, however, there has also been an exponential growth in revelation (we won’t say “understanding,” because the “revelation” has been largely rejected) to scientists concerning the facts of embryonic development (think of the models of embryonic development popular with Pro-Life groups or the famous images and genetic information involved in the Carnegie Stages of Human Development). It is abundantly clear from this latter “scientific” knowledge that at all stages of embryonic development the “substantial form” (soul) of a human person is present. Despite this objective knowledge which is rudimentary education for any student of genetics, we know which “exponential” has won – it was not even a real contest. Natural Law, and even obvious scientific “fact,” did not possess a ghost of a chance against the intellectual and moral disintegration which has been accomplished by the engines of science.

We now find ourselves thoroughly ensnared in a world constructed upon the foundation of scientific hubris. Every field of human endeavor – economics, politics, education, communications, recreation, and yes, religion (especially in regards to Teilhardian evolutionary theory), is enslaved and perverted by the scientific Weltanschauung. There may be little hope for the world – it would seem impossible to conceive a reversal, without total political and economic chaos. The world waxes old, enmeshed in its own sins.

But there is indeed hope for the Church and every individual who will look, see, and be converted. We believe that the definitive solution to our present crisis was given to us, in all its clarity, purity, and grace, through Saint Francis and St. Thomas in the Thirteenth Century. This twofold grace offered a vision of the integrated life of intellect and will (truth and charity) which was to be man’s only solid defense against the rising tide of Renaissance humanism and science that was about to break upon Christian civilization. This twofold grace of God was almost immediately compromised and distorted by Catholics, and simply denied by the world. We are now bearing the full weight of our betrayal. It is not too late, however, for the Church to revisit and embrace this Gift.

But this twofold Gift can only be embraced through the deepest prayer and conversion. As we have pointed out, what has occurred over the centuries is a profound alteration of human consciousness and heart. Man’s becoming has replaced substantial being as the fundamental principle of man’s approach to reality, evolution has replaced Revelation, and unending scientific, technological, economic, and political progress have replaced humility and poverty as our fundamental orientation to this world. All this is encapsulated in Pope Francis’ oft-repeated mantra “Time is greater than space, which is integral to the Teilhardian evolutionary theology so on display in his environmental encyclical Laudato Si, and therefore at the heart of the agenda being promoted for the upcoming Amazonian Synod (see our recent articles on this subject)

In the midst of this march towards Antichrist our souls are threatened, especially within the interior of our own minds and hearts, with an immensity of evil which surrounds and threatens to drown us. St. Paul writes: “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.” (Rom. 12: 21). From all eternity, God has willed that the space, wherein resides this reservoir of infinite goodness, be available to us (especially in these times of terrible emergency) within the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And all of these graces to overcome evil are available through Her Rosary. As Sister Lucia said in an interview with Father Fuentes in December 26, 1957:

“Look, Father, the Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given new efficacy in the recitation of the Holy Rosary. She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families in the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary, we will save ourselves.”

Let us take this not merely as a pious sentiment, but as reality. We beg you to read, and act upon, our Original Proposal.

Please spread the word about the Rosary!
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Pope Francis and Teilhardian Evolution: Program for the Amazonian Synod

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In our article The Amazonian Synod and Teilhardian Evolution: A Journey into the Heart of Antichrist, we analyzed the Teilhardian evolutionary theology (including Teilhard de Chardin’s nightmare embrace of eugenics as integral to this theology) which is the agenda for the upcoming Amazonian Synod. We have been asked to provide more evidence that such Teilhardian evolutionary theology is really the agenda behind Pope Francis program of Integral Ecology for this Synod. Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si was certainly written in preparation, and as the alleged “theological” foundation, for this event. The following analysis, largely employing what is contained within this encyclical, is offered as additional irrefutable testimony that this is the case.

In prophetic anticipation of the crisis which we now have with us, Teilhard de Chardin wrote just one month before he died in 1955:

On the other hand, I cannot fail to feel around me – if only from the way in which ‘my ideas’ are becoming more widely accepted – the pulsation of countless people who are all – ranging from the border-line of belief to the depths of the cloister – thinking and feeling, or at least beginning vaguely to feel, just as I do. It is indeed heartening to know that I am not a lone discoverer, but that I am, quite simply, responding to the vibration that (given a particular condition of Christianity of the world) is necessarily active in all the souls around me…..Everywhere on Earth, at this moment, in the new spiritual atmosphere created by the appearance of the idea of evolution, there float, in a state of extreme mutual sensitivity, love of God and faith in the world: the two essential components of the Ultra-human. These two components are everywhere ‘in the air’; generally, however, they are not strong enough, both at the same time, to combine with one another in one and the same subject. In me, it happens by pure chance (temperament, upbringing, background) that the proportion of the one to the other is correct, and the fusion of the two has been effected spontaneously – not as yet with sufficient force to spread explosively — but strong enough nevertheless to make it clear that the process is possible — and that sooner or later there will be a chain-reaction“. (The Christic, p. 101-102).

The chain-reaction” of which Teilhard de Chardin spoke in the above passage has taken sixty years to materialize.  His work was censured by various Church officials for decades, culminating in the 1962 Monitum of the Holy Office exhorting “all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers”. As late as 1981, the Holy See issued a communiqué reaffirming this warning.

Teilhard’s Evolutionary Gnosticism has now been blessed with both the voice and the vehicles empowering it to be mainstreamed. The voice is that of Pope Francis, and the vehicles which he has employed are his encyclical Laudato Si, and his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Just as uniting the concept of evolution to Christology provided the theological key to Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of all matter evolving towards the Omega Point of the “Christic” (this constituting his concept of a “Cosmic Liturgy”), so the ecological movement is now providing the necessary chemistry for the “explosion” of this poisoned theology and spirituality within the minds and hearts of millions of Catholics. Laudato Si is rightly seen as the manifesto of this revolution. Following are passages from this encyclical which speak of the universal transfiguration of all created things upon the evolutionary “altar of the world”.

83. The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things.[53] Here we can add yet another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.

236. It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation…. The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter. He comes not from above, but from within, he comes that we might find him in this world of ours….Indeed the Eucharist is in itself an act of cosmic love: ‘Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world’.[166]” (the quote at the end of this passage is from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia).

If we are tempted to deny the Teilhardian theology and cosmology in these passages, we need only to look at footnote #53 in the above quote. It contains the following comment: “Against this horizon we can set the contribution of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin”.

Three more examples:

237. On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, whose first fruits are the Lord’s risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality.

243. Jesus says: ‘I make all things new’ (Rev 21:5). Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all.

244. In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast.

In order to see the grievous error represented in these passages from Laudato Si, we need only consult Holy Scripture, and the many passages from both Old and New Testaments which clearly reveal that the earth will totally perish and cease to be, that the world is not our lasting home, and that Christ’s assurance that He will “make all things new” in no way signifies a final transfiguration of any created thing, living or dead, which does not have a spiritual soul:

With desolation shall the earth be laid waste, and it shall be utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. (Isaiah 24:3)

For behold, I create new heaven, and a new earth: and the former things shall not be in remembrance, and they shall not come upon the heart. (Isaiah 65:1.)

Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass. (Matthew 24:35).

But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of the ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:7)

But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat, and the earth and the works which are in it, shall be burnt up. Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of people ought you to be in holy conversation and godliness? Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat? But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to his promises, in which justice dwelleth. (2 Peter 3:10-13).

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more. (Apoc. 21: 1).

The Teilhardian spiritualism implicit in Pope Francis’ concept of the altar of the world, and his concept of the final transfiguration of all created things, demands that the above scriptures be considered false. If “matter is the prehistory of spirit” (Joseph Ratzinger’s phrase), and if, as Pope Francis teaches, all creatures are to be “resplendently transfigured” and be present at the “heavenly feast”, then all creatures possess a dignity and sacredness that demands an imperishability which parallels that of human beings. We need add that the Pope Francis’ concept of the “altar of the world'” comes straight from the pen of Teilhard, who in his work The Mass on the World wrote:

“Since once again, Lord – though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the stepes of Asia – I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself [Note: there is no way that Teilhard could use these words, and make this juxtaposition if he believed in the substantial, Real Presence of Christ after the Consecration]; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.” (The Heart of Matter, p. 119).

And, a little further on, he elaborates:

This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the immensity of which terrifies us; this ocean of humanity whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble the hearts even of those whose faith is most firm: it is to this deep that I thus desire all the fibres of my being should respond. All the things in the world to which this day will bring increase; all those that will diminish; all those too that will die: all of them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms, so as to hold them out to you in offering. This is the material of my sacrifice; the only material you desire.

Once upon a time men took into your temple the first fruits of their harvests, the flower of their flocks. But the offering you really want, the offering you mysteriously need every day to appease your hunger, to slake your thirst is nothing less than the growth of the world borne ever onwards in the stream of universal becoming.

Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing host which your whole creation, moved by your magnetism, offers you at this dawn of a new day. (p. 121)  

The “ecological spiritualism” proposed throughout Pope Francis’ Laudato Si therefore represents not just a lengthy and inappropriate descent of the Church into the science of this world, but is preeminently constituted as a manifesto for a totally radical change in Catholic theology and spirituality.

In the City of God, St. Augustine spoke of two Cities in combat for the souls of men: “These two Cities are made by two loves: the earthly City by love of oneself even to the contempt of God; the heavenly City by love of God even to the contempt of self.” (City of God, 14:2). Seventeen hundred years later, these two loves are now represented by two altars: the traditional Catholic altar which receives the Gift of Christ from above, and the Teilhardian altar of the world upon which man worships his own becoming, and the evolutionary ascent of all of creation.

There is, of course, a legitimate use of the expression “altar of the world”. Fatima has long been called the ‘Altar of the World” because pilgrims come from all over the world to worship at this place of Our Lady’s visitation. It is also true that the Mass itself might be considered the Altar of the World – wherever it is offered on this earth, God becomes present. But this is a far cry from the Teilhardian-inspired use of such terms as “altar of the world”, “Mass on the World”, or “altar of the earth” to connote a process of universal becoming by which the earth itself is to be seen as a “living host” being transfigured by an evolutionary processes which will culminate with all its creatures “resplendently transfigured” and “taken up into the heavenly feast”. Rightly we may view such a liturgy as being offered on the pantheistic altar of Satan.

The encyclical Laudato Si was promulgated on May 24, 2015. One year later, on March 19, 2016, the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia was published. What might be called the “theological agenda” of Amoris Laetitia is succinctly formulated very early in this document. In paragraph 3, we encounter the following:

Since ‘time is greater than space,’ [bold emphasis mine, quotation marks are Francis’], I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral, or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle…needs to be inculterated, if it is to be respected and applied.”

Now, any honest assessment of this paragraph should produce profound bewilderment. The subjects we are dealing with in Amoris Laetitia– marriage, family, the impossibility of divorce and remarriage, the intrinsic evil of homosexuality, and the prescription against those living in adultery receiving the Eucharist – all these subjects are doctrinal “places” which are not subject to evolution, change, growth, or inculteration. The notion that doctrinal truths can be “inculturated” with different “solutions” in various cultures is simply a prescription for relativism. Further, there can be no unity of teaching and practice where these doctrines are violated. And finally, if questions regarding such doctrines need not now to be “settled by intervention of the magisterium”, it is only because they have been settled by the magisterium and by the Gospel from its inception. In other words, every sentence in paragraph 3 is redolent with error and deception.

We do indeed have not only the right, but also the obligation, to reject this concept that “time is greater than space” in regard to anything to do with Catholic truth. And we should be left with a very disturbing question as to exactly what Francis is trying to do with this strange notion that “time is greater than space”.

Amoris Laetitia is not the first time that Francis has used this phrase or concept. Those who read Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium may have been puzzled that in fact an entire subsection of this document was titled “Time is Greater than Space”. There we read:

A constant tension exists between fullness and limitation. Fullness evokes the desire for complete possession, while limitation is a wall set before us. Broadly speaking, “time” has to do with fullness as an expression of the horizon which constantly opens before us, while each individual moment has to do with limitation as an expression of enclosure. People live poised between each individual moment and the greater, brighter horizon of the utopian future as the final cause which draws us to itself. Here we see a first principle for progress in building a people: time is greater than space.”

On the contrary, the Catholic Faith is not established upon a “horizon which constantly opens before us”, but upon what is within us now:

Neither shall they say: Behold here, or behold there. For lo, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)

It has nothing to do with a utopian future, but with the “now” of our response to God’s grace and truth:

And we helping do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain….Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:1-2).

It is this now which has been the crucial and saving moment for each individual soul from the creation of Adam down to the last man. It is this now which has been the source of all that is good in human history; for it is here that God’s Rule is either accepted or rejected, this in turn determining whether true love, peace, justice, compassion, and mercy are either accepted or rejected in societies and nations.

Pope Francis indeed seems to make “time” the very source of revelation and salvation. In his interview with Anthony Spadaro, he said the following:

God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history. Time initiates processes, and space crystallizes them. God is in history, in the processes. We must initiate processes, rather than occupy spaces.”

This, of course, is all very reminiscent of Joseph Ratzinger’s statement concerning the temporality of the universe, “which knows being only in the form of becoming”. This is absolutely contrary to Catholic doctrine and Thomistic metaphysics which rightly sees each created thing as possessing a substantial form determining a specific substantial being in itself. Such “beings” or “kinds” of being do certainly experience accidental change, but they cannot cease to be “what they are” without total corruption (in the case of living things this entails their death) of their substantial form. This of course eliminates all possibility of one thing evolving into another. The notion, therefore, that created things “know being only in the form of becoming” is the great philosophical lie of our age. It is the lie which gives credence to all forms of evolutionary theory. Nor is it a lie which affects only temporal realities. The human soul can only find God in the” now” of God’s immutable Life and Truth, which is the source of his own being, and which is constant in the midst of all the changing vicissitudes of his or her life.

Space, therefore, for Pope Francis, is simply a euphemism for what we are in possession of now – in other words, what we traditional Catholics believe to be the fullness of God’s Immutable Revelation, Rules, Dogma, the Infallible Magisterium, and the reality that we each possess a substantial human nature and soul, requiring the same fundamental choice now as was true of the first man.

Time is proposed by Pope Francis as being greater than Space because “becoming” is more real than God’s Supreme Being, and takes precedence over the Revealed Truths which are the fullness of that Being. It is therefore quite easy to see why, in the mind of Pope Francis, an apparent universal mercy trumps immutable dogma – why the divorced and remarried may receive Holy Communion, why we must be “inclusive” towards practicing homosexuals (who must certainly also be admitted to Sacramental Communion if such a “mercy” holds true), and why, in fact, we must be inclusive towards everyone (except, apparently, rich capitalists, the Mafia, and possibly Traditionalists). It is the Journey into the future which is everything. There can be no Now which demands conversion to any Absolutes, and such conversion cannot be a requisite for being included within the sacramental and supernatural life of Christ’s Mystical Body.

If Time triumphs over the “space” of God’s Immutable Truth, then we float, untethered, until the life of God’s Revelation is left behind. The world, of which Satan is the Prince, has for some time rejected all Absolutes, and prostrated itself before the goddesses of evolutionary progress. This world now has a friend within the Church in the person of Pope Francis. And all of this is being done in the name of a universal mercy which is the ultimate mockery of Christ and the Truth for which He suffered and died.

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