Thursday, December 27, 2018

Motu Proprio to Suppress Ecclesia Dei Commision

Marco Tosatti, Stilum curiae (Plinthos amended Google translation)

The Motu Proprio which sets the end of Ecclesia Dei as an independent Commission, and its integration as an Office in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is ready, signed by the Pontiff, and should have been published last Thursday. We are unaware of the reasons that the document has not yet been published.

It is a rather short legal text, in which it is said that since the pastoral emergency linked to the celebration of the Vetus Ordo, and which led to the creation of the Ecclesia Dei Commission thirty years ago, has come to an end, consequently the Commission in its current form no longer has any reason to exist.

We recall that the Motu Proprio of John Paul II, dated 2 July 1988, was born in reaction to the consecration of four bishops by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre. Some of its powers and functions were modified by Benedict XVI in 2009. The document of John Paul II gave the Commission the right to "grant to anyone who asks for it the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition in force in 1962, and this according to the rules already proposed by the commission of cardinals 'established for that purpose' during December 1986 after having informed the diocesan bishop ".

The Commission was the point of arrival of those who appealed to it to obtain a review of the denials of bishops opposed to the celebration of the Mass according to the Vetus Ordo.

Moreover, following the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI (2007), the commission supervises the application of the Motu Proprio, studies the possible updates which the liturgical texts of 1962 might need: for example the presence of new saints in the calendar. Moreover, the Commission was the last resort for the faithful who asked for the celebration of Mass according to the extraordinary form and did not have a positive answer either from their parish priest or from their bishop.

It is now necessary to see how many, and which of these powers, can continue to be carried out by what will be the new "Office" Ecclesia Dei within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and whose last referent, evidently, will no longer be the responsible secretary, as before, but the prefect at the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The initial statement, according to which the pastoral emergency would have ended, gives rise to some more than legitimate doubts. At a time which in the Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference voices of bishops and specialists are raised to deny legal validity to the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" of Benedict XVI, and at a time which there are bishops who are directly or subtly hindering the celebration of Mass according to the Vetus Ordo, to say that there is no pastoral emergency appears perhaps a bit rash.

Plinthos: It seems to me that the Holy Father is among the vast majority of the bishops of the world who have secretly decided to oppose the traditional Mass by at least not promoting it among the secular clergy or in their parishes or their cathedrals. Their policy is to destroy it by isolating it. The message to all of their subjects is clearly: "stay away from tradition" They relegate it to the peripheries. Their attitude is that only those who are exclusively dedicated to it should do it, the rest of us should stay away. That is the present atmosphere, contrary to Summorum Pontificum. The traditional form of the Mass and those (especially clergy and seminarians) attached to it are treated as something bad for the world, an evil that we must still tolerate. But, I ask, together with Pope Benedict XVI, why should ordinary Catholics, Pope's included, need to neglect or reject their Catholic tradition in order to be Catholic?

A Pact Between Pope Francis and the Society of Saint Pius X for the Isolation of Tradition?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Beata viscera --Palestrina Merry Christmas!

Beata viscera Mariae Virginis,
quae portaverunt aeterni Patris Filium; Alleluia.

Someone please inform Google Doodle that it is Christmas!

Bishop Barron on Ben Shapiro

Here is a nice treat for this Christmas.
Merry Christmas as we usher in The Year of the Lord MMXIX!

N.B. 46.00 minute on "The rejudaizing of Catholicism is the key to evangelism."

However, Bishop Barron's position on the hypothetical salvation of those who do not believe in Christ, contradicts the Gospel and the constant teaching of the Catholic Church. Without faith in Jesus Christ there is no salvation. Here is the dogma:

"Souls who depart this life in the state of original sin are excluded from the Beatific Vision of God. (De fide.)" Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Rockford: Tan, 1976, 112.

"The 2nd General Council of Lyons (1274) and the Council of Florence (1438-45) declared: illorum animas, qui in actuali mortali peccato vel solo originali decedunt, mox in infernum descendere, poenis tamen disparibus puniendas (the souls of those who die in original sin as well as those who die in actual mortal sin go immediately into hell, but their punishment is very different). D 464, 693." Ibid.

"Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned." Mark 16:16.

The Longest Unbroken Dynasty in the World Today!

I just learned from German Radio (Cologne) yesterday that there is a Japanese Emperor. I had no idea! According to legend, his dynasty goes back to the years of the birth of Christ, 6 BC (Christ was born in 4 BC, BC meaning Before Christ and AD meaning anno Domini [the Year of the Lord], for the Gregorian calendar which is today recognized as the official calendar of the entire world has Christ the King as the reference point). The historical record of the Japanese dynasty can only be traced to the 5th century AD.

Upon reflection, I have to say that common opinion and Wikipedia are wrong regarding the claim that the Japanese monarchy is the oldest continual dynasty in the world. That of Christ is older for two reasons. It is older because the historical records of Christ's reign are indisputable from the time of his reign on the earth. That reign begins upon his conception in the year 4 BC, reestablishing the kingdom of David his father from David's city of Bethlehem and of the tribe of Judah whence he was born into the world. The Davidic dynasty, which is that of Christ, is traced historically to Saul in 1030 BC and interrupted with the death of Zedekiah in 587. But the second reason is more important because Christ is the Person of the Son of God and His kingdom is from heaven, His reign is eternal, "My kingdom is not of this world;" (John 18:36) the King of the Jews is the King of heaven and earth, the longest standing monarch, from His eternal throne in heaven. His Church also begins with His Incarnation in 4 BC and that dynastic institution of His, with the Vicar of Christ, the Roman Pontiff as His official delegate, has been carrying on the Kingdom of Christ on earth for two thousand years, "...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matt. 16:18

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Pope Francis Ignores Homosexualism Problem in Hierarchy

The Holy Father, in his end of the year address, addressing the "abuse" crisis of 2018, not once mentions homosexuality, homosexualism, homosexualism in the Church hierarchy (at the highest levels, implicating even the Pope Himself).

To focus on abuse of minors is simply a distraction and is to ignore the great scandal of 2018, the iconic and notorious McCarrick homosexualism and the homosexualism in the Church at every level: the consenting to and condoning and promoting of homosexuality in the Church and, by the Church, in the world itself.

Viganò is not divisive. He is speaking for all of the Catholic faithful who insist that our Pastors " outstanding in sound doctrine and uprightness of character." Canon 521. Any person in authority in the Church must vocally oppose homosexualism in all its forms and in no way consent to, condone or promote it.

The problem which came to light in 2018 is that the Church has pitched a tent in Sodom! Homophilia is alive and well in the Catholic Church, and all of "Uncle Teddy's" friends, including the Vicar of Christ Himself, are its chief promoters.

A homo-friendly church does not belong to Jesus Christ, but to the devil, and very often indeed "for thirty pieces of silver." It is the clergymen who sell their souls to political correctness in the fear of being labelled homophobe in Sodom that are the problem. Gaydom must be called out! The Holy Father's uncertain message regarding Sodom will not work. He promotes "LGBT" on the one hand, but then kinda sort of quietly regrets the fact of homosexual clergy, rarely even admitting that. You cannot serve two masters.

The great "scandal" of 2018 is the exposure of the real scandal in the episcopal college of loving the fleshpots of Egypt, episcopal gaydom, friends of Sodom, the McCarrick type and all who liked him as long as he was "legal.," including popes and other cardinals and many bishops and pastors. As I have said here repeatedly, watch out for what they don't say, the errors the enemies of the faith, within the Church leadership, are slow to correct. That is the prevalent heresy of our day, the hesitancy to condemn what needs to be condemned when and where and in whom it needs to be exposed and gotten out! Too much "tenerezza!" Cf. Luke 12:51.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Rorate Cæli, Palestrina

Advent Polyphony

Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum.
Aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem:
Ostende nobis Domine misericordiam tuam
Et salutare tuum da nobis:
Veni Domine et noli tardare.

Let the heavens drop dew from above,
and the clouds rain down justice.
May the earth open and generate a Savior:
Reveal to us, Lord, Your mercy,
and give Your salvation to us:
Come, Lord, and do not delay.

"I Need to Wake People Up!"

Inspirational short video on the vocation of the priest today.

How Choosing Evil is a Lack of Freedom

Archangel Gabriel, La Madeleine, Paris

Free will is perfect when it is ordered towards its proper end, which is the good. As long as the person with free will chooses the good he becomes more free. It is union with the good which makes him free. "If you abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32). Freedom comes from knowledge of the truth and knowledge of the truth comes from living in the word of Jesus Christ, living in relationship, in a personal relationship, with the truth, living in discipleship with Him. The Truth is a Person. "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." (John 14:16). Communion of Persons is the source of freedom. Love is the source of freedom. Divine union, in the Person of Christ, is the source of freedom.

When man uses his freedom to do what is wrong he harms his own freedom. He makes himself less free with every sin which he commits. There are three ways that freedom is harmed by evil: by willing it, by being capable of it, and by actually doing it. (Cf. Boethius, de consolatione, IV, 4a, 15, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Loeb Classical Library Harvard University Press, 1978, 340). That is why God, Jesus Christ, the Immaculate Conception, and all the Angels and the Saints in heaven, incapable as they are of doing evil, enjoy the greatest freedom. (Cf. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol. Ia, q. 62, a. 8, ad. 3). Their freedom is commensurate with the fullness of being of each in his perfect exercise of union with his proper end which is God, union in the Most Blessed Trinity. Each person lives and moves and has his being in perfect harmony with the love of his life, which is God, in union with God. And that is why those who are wicked are said to be dead.

All men, endowed as they are with free will, are ordered toward the good by nature. Therefore, the good man achieves his natural end and the wicked man does not, which means that the good man is powerful and the evil man is weak. The evil man, knowing what is good, is led by inordinate desire to do what is evil, being weak to will and to do the good. He is thus less a man than the good man. The more evil he wills, can do, and actually does, the less of a man he is, the less he truly lives and the less he shares in his own existence, because he thereby abandons his proper destiny, his proper nature, which is directed toward the good: "for those who leave aside the common end of all things that are, at the same time also leave off being." (de consolatione, IV, 2a, 100-101, Ibid., 325-326).

Cf. María Esther Gómez de Pedro, Libertad en Ratzinger: riesgo y tarea, Madrid: Encuentro, 2014, 101-102. Also James 1:14-15 on how concupiscence kills man.

P.S. "Amen, amen I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. But the slave does not abide in the house forever; the son abides there forever. If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:34-36                                             

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Truth, Moral Truth, Church Authority

"By holding on to the Creator, faith's praxis protects the creation against...a total manipulation of reality. ...Faith's praxis depends on faith's truth, in which man's truth is made visible and lifted up to a new level by God's truth. Hence, it is fundamentally opposed to a praxis that first wants to produce facts and so establish truth."
Joseph Ratzinger, "The Church's Teaching: Authority--Faith--Morals" (1974) in Principles of Christian Morality, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1986, 70.

"...[A] faulty concept of God leads to faulty moral behavior..." Ibid., 65.

"Contrary to appearances, the flight into pure orthopraxy, as well as the attempt to banish substantive morals from the realm of faith (with the teaching authority that is an integral part of the realm of faith), turn reason into a heresy... The first obligation of the teaching office is to continue the apostolic exhortation and to protect these fundamental decisions against reason's capitulation to the age, as well as against reason's capitulation in the face of almighty praxis. There must be a correspondence with basic insights of human reason, albeit these insights have been purified, deepened and broadened through contact with the way of faith...

"The whole Church:...the life and suffering of Christians, living out their faith in the midst of the times,...the reflections and questionings of the scholars,...[and] the watchful attention, listening and deciding undertaken by the teaching involved in the process of assimilating what is genuinely rational and rejecting what is only superficially reasonable." Ibid., 71-72.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christian/Christmas Hallelujah

Here is a Christian rendition of the very popular but ambiguous "Hallelujah" song.

Cloverton Lyrics

"A Hallelujah Christmas"
(originally by Leonard Cohen)

I've heard about this baby boy
Who's come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I'm singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God's only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You'll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Truth, Maturity, and Holiness: Response in Crisis

"Many capsizings in the faith and in consecrated life
are due to a crisis in philosophy." --John Paul II

"Our age...seems to be an age of great spiritual crisis: crisis of ideas, crisis of religious faith and, consequently, crisis of moral life."

It is an age which requires, 1) before all else, deep philosophical and theological convictions, 2) mature and well-balanced characters, and 3) a serious commitment to personal sanctification.

¿Cuál es la característica general del tiempo en que nos ha llamado a vivir la Providencia? Parece que se puede responder que es una gran crisis espiritual: de ideas, de la fe religiosa y, en consecuencia, de la vida moral.

Nosotros estamos llamados a vivir en esta época nuestra y a amarla para salvarla. ¿Cuáles son, pues, las exigencias que nos presenta?

1. Nuestro tiempo exige ante todo profundas convicciones filosóficas y teológicas.

Muchos naufragios en la fe y en la vida consagrada, pasados y recientes, y muchas situaciones actuales de angustia y perplejidad, tienen en su origen una crisis de naturaleza filosófica. Es necesario cuidar con extrema seriedad la propia formación cultural. El Concilio Vaticano II ha insistido en la necesidad de tener siempre a Santo Tomás de Aquino como maestro y doctor, porque sólo a la luz y sobre la base de la "filosofía perenne", se puede construir el edificio tan lógico y exigente de la doctrina cristiana, León XIII, de venerada memoria, en su célebre y siempre actual Encíclica Aeterni Patris, cuyo centenario celebramos este año, reafirmó e ilustró maravillosamente la validez del fundamento racional para la fe cristiana.

Por esto, nuestra primera preocupación hoy debe ser la de la verdad, tanto por necesidad interior nuestra, como para nuestro ministerio. ¡No podemos sembrar el error o dejar en la sombra de la duda! La fe cristiana de tipo hereditario y sociológico, se hace cada vez más personal, interior, exigente, y esto ciertamente es un bien, ¡pero nosotros debemos tener para poder dar! ¡Recordemos lo que San Pablo escribía a su discípulo Timoteo: "Guarda el depósito a ti confiado, evitando las vanidades impías y las contradicciones de la falsa ciencia que algunos profesan, extraviándose de la fe"! (1 Tim 6, 20).

Es una exhortación especialmente válida para nuestra época tan sedienta de certeza y claridad y tan íntimamente acechada y atormentada.

2. Nuestro tiempo exige personalidades maduras y equilibradas.

La confusión ideológica da origen a personalidades sicológicamente inmaduras y pobres; la misma pedagogía resulta incierta y a veces desviada. Precisamente por este motivo el mundo moderno anda en busca afanosa de modelos, y la mayoría de las veces queda desilusionado, confundido, humillado. Por esto, nosotros debemos ser personalidades maduras, que saben controlar la propia sensibilidad, que asumen las propias tareas de responsabilidad y guía, que tratan de realizarse en el lugar y en el trabajo donde se encuentran.

Nuestro tiempo exige serenidad y valentía para aceptar la realidad como es, sin críticas depresivas y sin utopías, para amarla y salvarla.

Esforzaos todos, por lo tanto, para alcanzar estos ideales de "madurez", mediante el amor al propio deber, la meditación, la lectura espiritual, el examen de conciencia, la recepción metódica del sacramento de la penitencia, la dirección espiritual. La Iglesia y la sociedad moderna necesitan personalidades maduras: ¡Debemos serlo con la ayuda de Dios!

3. Finalmente, nuestro tiempo exige un compromiso serio en la propia santificación.

¡Las necesidades espirituales del mundo actual son inmensas! Si miramos las selvas sin límites de los bloques de casas en las modernas metrópolis, invadidas por multitudes sin número, es para asustarse. ¿Cómo podremos llegar a todas estas personas y llevarles a Cristo?

Viene en nuestra ayuda la certeza de ser sólo instrumentos de la gracia: quien actúa en cada una de las almas es Dios mismo. con su amor y su misericordia.

Nuestro compromiso verdadero y constante debe ser el de la santificación personal, para convertirnos en instrumentos aptos y eficaces de la gracia. El deseo más verdadero y más sincero que puedo expresares es sólo éste: ¡Haceos santos y pronto santos!, mientras os repito las palabras de San Pablo a los Tesalonicenses: "El Dios de la paz os santifique cumplidamente, y que se conserve entero vuestro espíritu, vuestra alma y vuestro cuerpo sin mancha para la venid, de nuestro Señor Jesucristo" (1 Tes 5, 23).

Visita a la Parroquia Romana de San Pio V, Alocucion del Santo Padre Juan Pablo II a los Sacerdotes, Religiosos y Religiosas, Domingo 28 de octubre de 1979

Sunday, December 9, 2018

"McCarrick cronies either get promoted or remain protected."

The American Spectator
Sunday Report
November 25, 2018

The winds of scandal whipping around the Church’s gay pederasty problem are not dissipating but picking up speed. This is foiling the devious plans of Pope Francis, who deliberately scheduled his “abuse summit” six months out in the hopes that few would care about it by then. News of that quickie gathering of bishops scheduled for next February commanded little respect from the laity before this week, but even less now that its primary American organizer has been announced — Blase Cupich, who owes his elevation in large part, according to Archbishop Carlo Viganò, to the very molester, Theodore McCarrick, whose scandal the summit will supposedly address.

It was McCarrick who whispered in the pope’s ear about appointing the relatively obscure Cupich to the immensely important archdiocese of Chicago. Overnight this appointment turned the nebbishy Cupich into the most powerful cardinal in America. In Baltimore at the fall bishops’ conference, Cupich was reveling in this status, playing with his cufflinks as he held court before awed staffers.

Cupich is of course the least credible American figure to address the abuse crisis. His resolve to purge the mini-McCarricks who populate the priesthood and hierarchy from the Church is nil. To the critical question — Should the Church continue to ordain homosexuals? — Cupich’s answer is a resounding yes. This, along with his left-wing politics, has turned him into a media darling. Notice that all of the media’s recent take-downs of derelict leadership steer clear of Chicago.

Cupich has famously vowed not to follow Viganò down his “rabbit hole” and says he will focus instead on the promotion of the pope’s enviro-socialist political program. At the Baltimore conference, Cupich was running interference for double-living prelates, urging his colleagues to see such misconduct as “consensual” and thus not worthy of strict regulation.

Cardinal Oswald Garcia of Mumbai, by the way, is also on the abuse summit’s organizing committee. He is the Cupich of India, so brainwashed by the pope’s moral relativism that he has taken to telling socially conservative Indians that they need to lighten up about LGBT rights. Garcia has also been known to censor out of his priests’ homilies any “offensive” references to the sinfulness of homosexual behavior.

Not a single McCarrick crony has been demoted under Pope Francis. Some of them, such as Paterson (New Jersey) Bishop Arthur Serratelli, preside over openly corrupt dioceses. A wispy protégé of McCarrick’s, Serratelli is known for, among other acts of astonishing corruption, making Fr. Hernan Arias, a credibly accused gay predator, his vocations director. Arias no longer holds that post, but he remains pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland despite the fact that he is under Vatican investigation for an allegation of sexual assault against a college student who was thinking about becoming a priest. Serratelli knew about this charge before he made Arias vocations director, according to a source close to the Paterson chancery.

Arias is so close to Serratelli that people in the know in the diocese refer to him as “Mrs. Serratelli” or the “First Lady,” said this source. “Serratelli, Arias, and Edgar Rivera (the current vocations director) go on vacation every year together to the Dominican Republic,” added this source.

The whereabouts of Arias are not known, even though on paper he remains St. Margaret’s pastor. Another corrupt Paterson priest on the run is Fr. Patrick Ryan, who (I’m told by well-placed Paterson sources) is under state investigation for embezzling money from St. James of the Marches parish to finance his gay lifestyle. “He has been ripping off the second collection for years, and with some of that money bought a house for his gay lover,” according to a chancery-connected source.

When I saw Serratelli in Baltimore, I asked him about the status of Ryan. Is he under investigation for embezzlement? Serratelli refused to answer. When I asked him about Ryan’s checkered background — sexual misconduct charges dogged him during a previous posting in Albany — Serratelli visibly winced and started babbling about how “lawyers had checked everything out.”

Why did Ryan leave Albany for Paterson? Speculation abounds. “He used to cruise parks up there,” says one priest. Another source suspects that Ryan got to Paterson on a “prisoner exchange” — a trade of deviant priests undertaken by former bishops of Paterson and Albany designed to keep inquiring cops at bay.

Staffers at Ryan’s parish decline to answer any questions about him. Parishioners have been told that he is on leave for “health reasons.” It is the same template Serratelli used to explain Arias’s disappearance from his post: “Due to the stress he has been experiencing, Father Arias has requested and received time away from his parish, St. Margaret of Scotland in Morristown, for health reasons.”

“Health reasons” is becoming as hackneyed a departing explanation for the Church’s nabbed deviants as “the need to spend more time with family” is for vanishing pols. Cupich claims that the upcoming abuse summit will put such a culture of evasion behind the Church. It is far more likely to cement official lies in place. High among those lies is that the abuse scandal revolves around “children,” Cupich’s carefully chosen word, even as case after almost every case involves male teenagers. The scandal is one of homosexual abuse, precisely the McCarrick problem that the beneficiaries of his sinister influence and dirty money have no interest in solving.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

"Our tainted nature's solitary boast"

The Virgin, William Wordsworth

Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied.
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature's solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven's blue coast;
Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in thee
Of mother's love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Survivors of the Contraception/Abortion Open War on Babies

There is a Abortion Survivor's Network which features the story of a few of the millions of abortions which survived. But everyone who was born after Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and after Roe v. Wade (1973) was born during the open attack on babies. We are all contraception/abortion survivors!


Editor's introduction.

For perfectly understandable, if regrettable, reasons, the depiction of the participants in the abortion debate in the popular press rarely moves beyond a set drama whose featured players are freedom-loving defenders of choice versus those Neanderthal right to lifers. How can it be otherwise when they don't know us, understand us, or empathize with us (or the unborn)?

But that doesn't excuse the rest of us from probing beyond the platitudes, from investigating abortion's incredible complexity. One area that can never be looked at carefully enough is what's called the "abortion survivor."

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life produces any number of wonderful resources, including a very useful web page and a thoughtful newsletter. In a recent edition, the Priests for Life newsletter dealt with the issue of abortion survivors to an extent and in a depth that I had not seen for a long, long time. In my judgment, this is must reading.

If you take the time to read the following lengthy excerpt, you will be richly rewarded. Following that, I will add just a few words in conclusion:


Priestly ministry in our day, especially to those born since Roe v. Wade, cannot ignore the phenomenon of "abortion survivors." What does growing up in a society that tells you, by law and by dominant cultural thinking, that your life was disposable and your birth was subject to the "choice" of someone else, do to one's psychological landscape?

How do the young view themselves and their peers in the light of the fact that "the word person... does not include the unborn"? (Roe v. Wade, at 158). Moreover, how does being an abortion survivor affect the way today's children and young adults hear the Gospel message of God's unconditional love?

Drs. Philip Ney and Marie Peeters Ney have done groundbreaking research in this area and have written specifically about the challenges of evangelizing abortion survivors.

They have identified 10 different types of abortion survivors:

1. Statistical survivors. These are people who survived in countries or cities where there is a statistically high probability that they would have been aborted. They come to know that the odds were definitely stacked against them. In some parts of Eastern Europe, the chances of being aborted are as high as 80%.

2. Wanted survivors. These are people whose parents carefully deliberated about whether or not to abort them. They may have calculated, consulted, and discussed the possibility.

3. Sibling survivors. These are people born into families where one or more of their siblings were aborted.

4. Threatened survivors. These are children whose parents have used abortion as a threat, even if they never considered it during the pregnancy: "You wretched, ungrateful child...I should have aborted you!"

5. Disabled survivors. These are people who, because of developmental defects or other circumstances, would usually be aborted. In fact, they often wonder whether their parents would have aborted them had they known about the defects.

6. Chance survivors. These are children who would have been aborted if the mother had been able to obtain the abortion. The abortion was prevented by a lack of money, time, permission, availability, etc.

7. Ambivalent survivors. These are children of parents who could not make up their minds about the abortion and delayed until it was too late. They are often caught up in their parents' continuing ambivalence, and can wonder whether they can still be terminated.

8. Twin survivors. These are people whose twin was aborted. Twins communicate, touch, and even caress each other in the womb. The loss of the twin by abortion is deeply felt and often causes the survivor to be suicidal.

9. Attempted murder survivors. These are people who survived an actual abortion attempt. Besides the physical harm that is often done, they suffer intense psychological struggles, nightmares, confused identities, and a fear of doctors.

10. Murdered survivors. These are children who survived an abortion for just a short period of time, and were subsequently killed by the abortion staff or left to die.

Abortion survivors, to put it simply, live on shaky ground. "If my mother could have aborted me, what is my life worth?" These individuals live with a sense of worthlessness and a feeling of impending doom. They suffer existential anxiety and survivor guilt.

They are "wanted" rather than "welcomed." When one is "wanted," he or she meets the needs or demands of another. When one is welcomed, on the other hand, his or her value is acknowledged despite others' reactions or attitudes. One abortion survivor wrote, "My parents always said they had wanted me. I often wonder what would have happened if they had not wanted me? I feel I must stay wanted. Being wanted means existing."

Another wrote, "I had no right to exist. I am still a child trying to find a place in this world...wandering around, carrying the weight of something on my shoulders. I had so many unanswered questions which I could not ask because nobody would answer and besides which I could not even formulate them. All my life I have been running, running away from death, no, from something worse than death."


"Something worse than death." Now those are sobering, soul-chilling words. Of all the forests felled and vats of ink emptied to chronicle the battle over abortion, only a few saplings and a couple of pints worth of ink have been expended to help us understand the reach of abortion. This omission is a tragedy of untold proportions: Abortion is not, and never has been, exclusively about a woman and her unborn child.

There are husbands and grandparents and siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles. Whether she likes it or not, a pregnant woman is enmeshed in a web of relationships, and there is a tremor felt throughout it when the life of a grandchild, brother or sister, cousin, niece or nephew is taken.

I did a Today's News & Views ( ) last month about some marvelously intricate surgery performed on an unborn child. The baby would otherwise have been born with an anomaly so severe that his chances of living long were very slim. But even as I--a pro-life veteran--wrote the story I was astonished how much more real, more personal, more human that child was to me just because I continually used the name the parents gave him even before he (and his mother) underwent the surgery: "Jack."

Likewise, when we put the child's fate in the larger context--especially its gigantic effect on surviving siblings--we see the loss of that baby through new eyes. It's impossible to ever again think about abortion in the same way. Thank you, Drs. Ney, and thank you, Fr. Pavone for this marvelous article.

Nature includes Metaphysical Nature, Moral Compass

Nature includes both biological reality and the reality of essence, what the thing is of its own weight and how it should behave according to its own way of being: its nature. The nature of a thing identifies the type of being it is, its specific way of being, with its given and necessary qualities which make it what it is.

The concept of physis as metaphysically understood is "...applied concretely in Romans 1:26, which speaks about φυσικὴ χρῇσις and παρά φύσιν χρῇσις, about 'natural' and 'unnatural' sexual relations, meaning here the normal sexual intercourse between a man and a woman as opposed to homosexual behavior. It is clear that here the 'nature' of man and the behavior prescribed by it is understood as genuine guidance for man. ...[T]his concept is found in a much weaker and very generalized form in I Corinthians 11:14 also, where again a "natural" matter--the difference between a man's head of hair and woman's--is taken as guidance concerning right ('natural') behavior.

"It is striking that in these two specific instances, Romans 1:26 and I Corinthians 11:14, the biological relevance to the metaphysical concept is very strong: a concrete biological fact offers guidance. In this regard there is clearly semantic unity with the first usage of the word [the biological referring to race of Romans 2:27 and Romans 11:21].

"...The text of Romans 2:14 reads: οταν γαρ εθνη τα μη νομον εχοντα φυσει τα του νομου ποιωσιν. [= "When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires"]. Physis suggests the law to the Gentiles. Those who according to their biological 'physis' are non-Jews and hence do not have the law by that title, are nevertheless inspired by physis, metaphysically understood, to follow the law. Nature is for them a law."

Joseph Ratzinger, "Gratia Praesupponit Naturam" (1962 essay) in Dogma and Preaching (1973), San Francisco: Ignatius, 2011, 156.

The Creator and his creation must be defended against "the theological denial of nature[;]...eschatological Marxism, which knows no 'nature' but only facts that must be changed in order to bring a disastrous world to salvation[;] ...[and] Sartre's existentialist nihilism [teaching that] man has no essence, only existence [and that] each individual creates his essence anew for himself[:] [w]hat he is, is decided only by what he makes... [They must also be defended against] naturalism that regards the distinction between nature and grace as the building up of a totally meaningless supernatural world that must be dismantled as an 'ideology' in favor of what alone is real... Under the pretext of dispensing with ideologies, man is left uncritically to himself and to the powers that be, which can suggest to him that they are reality and life. In the end, the naturalism that melts grace down into nature leads to the same result as the supranaturalism that disputes the existence of nature and, be denying creation, makes grace meaningless as well. The fanaticism of those homilists who mock nature, presumably for the sake of grace, is always frighteningly close to the cynicism of the atheists who mock God for the sake of his creation." Ibid., 144.

Ratzinger also points out that with the coming of Christianity "...the biological concept of nature becomes a theological concept in a new sense: nature is understood, not in terms of biology or rational metaphysics, but rather in terms of the concrete history that has taken and is taking place between God and man." Ibid. 156-157. All men have inherited the fallen nature of sin and death and need to be saved by the gift of God's grace in Christ and by faith. "'Christian humanism is a converted humanism.' ...It is essential to the spirit not to be self-satisfied, to bear within itself the arrow pointing beyond itself. ...[T]he Cross is not the 'crucifixion of man' at all, as Nietzsche thought, but rather his true healing, which saves him from the deceptive self-sufficiency in which he can only lose himself and miss out on the endless promise that lies within him for the sake of the bourgeois mush of his supposed naturalness. ...The humanity of God--this is indeed the true humanity of man, the grace that fulfills nature." Ibid., 160-161

Arabic Christmas Songs

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christ Called Himself the Truth, not the Custom

Ravenna, Archepiscopal Chapel

Dominus noster Christus veritatem se, non consuetudinem cognominavit.

Tertullian in Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity (1970), 97 n16.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

"Sensitivity Training" = Homosexualist Brainwashing

"Sensitivity Training is designed to make individuals aware of their behavior toward others, who are different in race, color, gender, religion, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other categories protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act." Traliant

To include "sexual orientation" as a protected category of discrimination is unjust because public proclamation of sexual immorality is not a right but a wrong. The public exposure of one's deviant sexual preferences is itself obscene and vulgar, an offense against basic decency. Intolerable! To coerce bosses and employees to tolerate it amounts to tyranny. It would be like telling people it is wrong to object to public nudity.

It can never be a civil right to offend basic decency, because some things are shameful even to discuss. "Sensitivity training" of this type violates the civil right of every citizen to basic decency.

As a society we still censure public pornography. "Sexual orientation" disclosures should be treated the same as any other form of indecency. Hide your shameful immorality and perverse tendencies, and change your life! Convert and believe the Gospel.

You say you have a right to proclaim your homosexuality. Well, I have a duty to shut you up, because I have a right not to be affronted by your perversion and a duty to protect those under my care against such offensive propaganda and indecency.

In other words, what began as a moral claim (the decriminalization of every manner of fornication) has now become coercive force in all of the schools and all of the work places, everyone is forced to approve of every manner of fornication, except, of course, in the Catholic Church.

"Sensitivity training" is insensitive to basic modesty and chastity and the protection and defense of innocence, virginity.

On the contrary, God, Jesus Christ, and the Catholic faith, requires us to censure every form of sexual immorality in defense of purity. We cannot, we will not be silent in Sodom. Silence in Sodom makes you a Sodomite.

Homosexual Bishops and Sex Education in Parochial Schools

Friday, November 30, 2018

"Thomist" Defined

Joseph Ratzinger recommends the study of Saint Thomas Aquinas as a necessary corrective to the present intellectual crisis. "Since Thomas can no longer be presupposed, he should now be discussed especially as a contrast to Bonaventure."
Joseph Ratzinger, Dogma and Preaching (first German ed., 1973), San Francisco: Ignatius, 2005, 143.

A philosopher who holds all of the theses listed below is called a Thomist.


A number of popes and church law direct that the method, doctrines, and principles of St. Thomas Aquinas be taught in schools and especially in seminaries. After a special statement on this matter by Pope Pius X (Motu Proprio Doctoris Angelici June 29, 1914) a number of philosophy professors met, drew up a list of the principles and major tenets of St. Thomas, and submitted the list to the Sacred Congregation of Studies. On July 27, 1914, this Congregation declared that in their judgment this list contained the principles and major tenets of St. Thomas' philosophy, especially in metaphysics.

The Congregation itself, in 1916, declared that these were safe, directive norms. Though the list often does not give the exact wording of St. Thomas, it is sure that the ideas are St. Thomas'. Hence, if St. Thomas is the safe, approved teacher of philosophy for Catholics, his ideas must be safe and approved norms. A philosopher who intellectually accepts all of these theses is named a Thomist; and this meaning of the term Thomist is about the only definite meaning that can be assigned to it. The theses are given here for convenient reference.

"We admonish professors to bear well in mind that they cannot set aside St. Thomas, especially in metaphysical questions, without grave disadvantage". --Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914), Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907

These 24 propositions are a concise guide of the whole philosophy and can be divided as follows:

Ontology (Th. 1 – 7) ; Cosmology (Th. 8 – 12) ; Psychology (Th. 13 – 21) ; Theodicy (Th. 22 – 24)


1 . Potency and Act divide being in such a way that whatever is, is either pure act, or of necessity it is composed of potency and act as primary and intrinsic principles.[1]

2. Since act is perfection, it is not limited except through a potency which itself is a capacity for perfection. Hence in any order in which an act is pure act, it will only exist, in that order, as a unique and unlimited act. But whenever it is finite and manifold, it has entered into a true composition with potency.[2]

3. Consequently, the one God, unique and simple, alone subsists in absolute being. All other things that participate in being have a nature whereby their being is restricted; they are constituted of essence and being, as really distinct principles.[3]

4. A thing is called a being because of being ("esse"). God and creature are not called beings univocally, nor wholly equivocally, but analogically, by an analogy both of attribution and of proportionality.[4]

5. In every creature there is also a real composition of the subsisting subject and of added secondary forms, i.e. accidental forms. Such composition cannot be understood unless being is really received in an essence distinct from it.[5]

6. Besides the absolute accidents there is also the relative accident, relation. Although by reason of its own character relation does not signify anything inhering in another, it nevertheless often has a cause in things, and hence a real entity distinct from the subject.[6]

7. A spiritual creature is wholly simple in its essence. Yet there is still a twofold composition in the spiritual creature, namely, that of the essence with being, and that of the substance with accidents.[7]

8. However, the corporeal creature is composed of act and potency even in its very essence. These act and potency in the order of essence are designated by the names form and matter respectively.[8]


9. Neither the matter nor the form have being of themselves, nor are they produced or corrupted of themselves, nor are they included in any category otherwise than reductively, as substantial principles.[9]

10. Although extension in quantitative parts follows upon a corporeal nature, nevertheless it is not the same for a body to be a substance and for it to be quantified. For of itself substance is indivisible, not indeed as a point is indivisible, but as that which falls outside the order of dimensions is indivisible. But quantity, which gives the substance extension, really differs from the substance and is truly an accident.[10]

11. The principle of individuation, i.e., of numerical distinction of one individual from another with the same specific nature, is matter designated by quantity. Thus in pure spirits there cannot be more than individual in the same specific nature.[11]

12. By virtue of a body's quantity itself, the body is circumscriptively in a place, and in one place alone circumscriptively, no matter what power might be brought to bear.[12]

13. Bodies are divided into two groups; for some are living and others are devoid of life. In the case of the living things, in order that there be in the same subject an essentially moving part and an essentially moved part, the substantial form, which is designated by the name soul, requires an organic disposition, i.e. heterogeneous parts.[13]


14. Souls in the vegetative and sensitive orders cannot subsist of themselves, nor are they produced of themselves. Rather, they are no more than principles whereby the living thing exists and lives; and since they are wholly dependent upon matter, they are incidentally corrupted through the corruption of the composite.[14]

15. On the other hand, the human soul subsists of itself. When it can be infused into a sufficiently disposed subject, it is created by God. By its very nature, it is incorruptible and immortal.[15]

16. This rational soul is united to the body in such a manner that it is the only substantial form of the body. By virtue of his soul a man is a man, an animal, a living thing, a body, a substance and a being. Therefore the soul gives man every essential degree of perfection; moreover, it gives the body a share in the act of being whereby it itself exists.[16]

17. From the human soul there naturally issue forth powers pertaining to two orders, the organic and the non-organic. The organic powers, among which are the senses, have the composite as their subject. The non-organic powers have the soul alone as their subject. Hence, the intellect is a power intrinsically independent of any bodily organ.[17]

18. Intellectuality necessarily follows upon immateriality, and furthermore, in such manner that the father the distance from matter, the higher the degree of intellectuality. Any being is the adequate object of understanding in general. But in the present state of union of soul and body, quiddities abstracted from the material conditions of individuality are the proper object of the human intellect.[18]

19. Therefore, we receive knowledge from sensible things. But since sensible things are not actually intelligible, in addition to the intellect, which formally understands, an active power must be acknowledged in the soul, which power abstracts intelligible likeness or species from sense images in the imagination.[19]

20. Through these intelligible likenesses or species we directly know universals, i.e. the natures of things. We attain to singulars by our senses, and also by our intellect, when it beholds the sense images. But we ascend to knowledge of spiritual things by analogy.[20]

21. The will does not precede the intellect but follows upon it. The will necessarily desires that which is presented to it as a good in every respect satisfying the appetite. But it freely chooses among the many goods that are presented to it as desirable according to a changeable judgment or evaluation. Consequently, the choice follows the final practical judgment. But the will is the cause of it being the final one.[21]


22. We do not perceive by an immediate intuition that God exists, nor do we prove it a priori. But we do prove it a posteriori, i.e., from the things that have been created, following an argument from the effects to the cause: namely, from things which are moved and cannot be the adequate source of their motion, to a first unmoved mover; from the production of the things in this world by causes subordinated to one another, to a first uncaused cause; from corruptible things which equally might be or not be, to an absolutely necessary being; from things which more or less are, live, and understand, according to degrees of being, living and understanding, to that which is maximally understanding, maximally living and maximally a being; finally, from the order of all things, to a separated intellect which has ordered and organized things, and directs them to their end.[22]

23. The metaphysical motion of the Divine Essence is correctly expressed by saying that it is identified with the exercised actuality of its won being, or that it is subsistent being itself. And this is the reason for its infinite and unlimited perfection.[23]

24. By reason of the very purity of His being, God is distinguished from all finite beings. Hence it follows, in the first place, that the world could only have come from God by creation; secondly, that not even by way of a miracle can any finite nature be given creative power, which of itself directly attains the very being of any being; and finally, that no created agent can in any way influence the being of any effect unless it has itself been moved by the first Cause.[24]

In 1917, publishing the Canon Law, Pope Benedict XV ordered the method, doctrines and principles of St Thomas to be followed (Code, can. 1366, § 2) and gave as reference the decree of the Sacred Congregation approving the 24 Thesis.

Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vl (1914), 383­86, is the source of the list of theses. It evaluates them as a good statement of the principles and major views of St. Thomas' philosophy. The same Acta, VII (1916), 157­58, refers to them as safe, directive norms.

[1] St Th. Ia. Q.77, a.1 ; Metaph. VII, 1 and IX, 1 and 9
[2] St Th. Ia. Q.7, a.1-2 ; Cont. Gent. I, c.43 ; I Sent. Dist.43, Q.2
[3] St Th. Ia. Q.50, a.2, ad 3 ; Cont. Gent. I, c.38,52,53,54 ; I Sent. Dist.19, Q.2, a.2 ; De Ent. et Ess. c.5 ; De Spir. Creat. a.1 ; De Verit. Q.27, a.1, ad 8
[4] St Th. Ia. Q.13, a.5 ; Cont. Gent. I, c.32,33,34 ; De Pot. Q.7, a.7
[5] St Th. Ia. Q.3, a.6 ; Cont. Gent. I, c.23 ; Cont. Gent. II, c.52 ; De Ent. et Ess. c.5
[6] St Th. Ia. Q.28, mainly a.1
[7] St Th. Ia. Q.50 and ff ; De Spirit. Creat. a.1
[8] St Th. De Spirit. Creat. a.1
[9] St Th. Ia. Q.45, a.4 ; De Pot. Q.3, a.5, ad 3 ;
[10] St Th. Cont. Gent. IV, c.65 ; I Sent. Dist. 37, Q.2, a.1, ad 3 ; II Sent. Dist. 30, Q.2, a.1
[11] St Th. Cont. Gent. II, c.92-93 ; Ia. Q.50, a.4 ; De Ent. et Ess. c.2
[12] St Th. IIIa. Q.75 ; IV Sent. Dist. 10, a.3
[13] St Th. Ia. Q.18, a.1-2 and Q.75, a.1 ; Cont. Gent. I, c.97 ; De Anima everywhere
[14] St Th. Ia. Q.75, a.3 and Q.90, a.2 ; Cont. Gent. II, c.80 and 82
[15] St Th. Ia. Q.75, a.2 and Q.90 and 118 ; Cont. Gent. II, c.83 and ff. ; De Pot. Q.3, a.2 ; De Anim. a.14
[16] St Th. Ia. Q.76 ; Cont. Gent. II, c.56, 68-71 ; De Anim. a.1 ; De Spirit. Creat. a.3
[17] St Th. Ia. Q.77-79 ; Cont. Gent. II, c.72 ; De Anim. a.12 and ff. ; De Spirit. Creat. a.11
[18] St Th. Ia. Q.14, a.1 and Q.74, a.7 and Q.89, a.1-2 ; Cont. Gent. I, c.59 and 72, and IV, c.2
[19] St Th. Ia. Q.79, a.3-4 and Q.85, a.6-7 ; Cont. Gent. II, c.76 and ff. ; De Spirit. Creat. a.10
[20] St Th. Ia. Q.85-88
[21] St Th. Ia. Q.82-83 ; Cont. Gent. II, c.72 and ff. ; De Verit. Q.22, a.5 ; De Malo Q.11
[22] St Th. Ia. Q.2 ; Cont. Gent. I, c.12 and 31 and III c.10-11 ; De Verit. Q.1 and 10 ; De Pot. Q.4 and 7
[23] St Th. Ia. Q.4 , a.2 and Q.13, a.11 ; I Sent. Dist. 8, Q.1
[24] St Th. Ia. Q.44-45 and 105 ; Cont. Gent. II, c.6-15 and III c.66-69 and IV c.44 ; De Pot. mainly Q.3, a.7

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Culture and Civilization

"A culture is a common way of life--a particular adjustment of man to his natural surroundings and his economic needs..." xiii

There are four main influences which form and modify human culture, the first three of which are the same as in the case of the formation of animal species, the forth is specific to man which gives him freedom.

1. Race: the genetic factor
2. Environment: the geographical factor
3. Function or occupation: the economic factor
4. Thought: the psychological factor: intellectual knowledge and the religious outlook

"The great stages of world-culture are linked with changes in man's vision of Reality." xx

"The dawn of true civilization came only with the discovery of natural laws, or rather of the possibility of man's fruitful co-operation with the powers of Nature": first Elam, Babylonia and Egypt; then the age of the Hebrew Prophets and the Greek Philosophers, and of Buddha and Confucius. Ibid.

Christopher Dawson, The Age of the Gods, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1934.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Homo-sex is Disordered Lust, Distortion of Creation, and Irresponsibility --Cardinal Müller

Sexual contacts between persons of the same sex completely and directly contradict the sense and purpose of sexuality as grounded in creation. They are the expression of a disordered desire and instinct, just as it is a sign of the broken relationship between man and his Creator since the Fall of Man.

The celibate priest, and the married priest in the Eastern Rite, have to be models for the flock and also have to give an example that the redemption also encompasses the body and the bodily passions. Not the wild lust for fulfillment, but the bodily and spiritual self-giving, in agape, to a person of the other sex, is the sense and purpose of sexuality. This leads to responsibility for the family and for the children that God has given...

On Amoris Laetitia and Papal Magisterium

The Magisterium of the bishops and of the Pope stand under the Word of God in Holy Scripture and Tradition and serves Him. It is not at all Catholic to say that the Pope as an individual person receives directly from the Holy Spirit the Revelation and that he may now interpret it according to his own whims while all the rest are to follow him blindly and mutely. Amoris Laetitia has to be absolutely in accordance with Revelation, and it is not we who have to be in accord with Amoris Laetitia, at least not in the interpretation which contradicts, in a heretical manner, the Word of God. And it would be an abuse of power to discipline those who insist upon an orthodox interpretation of this encyclical and of all the papal magisterial documents. Only he who is in the state of Grace can also fruitfully receive Holy Communion. This revealed truth cannot be toppled by any power in the world, and no Catholic may ever believe the opposite or be forced to accept the opposite.

His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Müller in November 21, 2018 Lifesite interview.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Crisis of Fatherhood Heart of Present Crisis --Ratzinger

Wherever human fatherhood has disappeared, God can no longer be expressed or thought of. God has not died, but in human beings something has totally died that is a necessary condition for God's existence in the world. The crisis of fatherhood which we are living through today constitutes the heart of the human crisis that is threatening us. Where fatherhood no longer appears as anything other than a biological accident without human recourse, or where it appears as a tyranny to be rejected, we find a wound deep in the very fiber of human existence. To be fully human we need a father in the true sense of the word, the way the father has appeared through faith. Being a father means to have responsibility toward another person. It does not mean that the father should dominate the other person but should convey to him or to her true freedom. A father's love should not seek to take possession of another, and yet should not confirm the other person's remaining just as he or she was "on arrival," pretending that this is being done for the sake of liberty. This love wants the other to find his or her most personal truth, which is in his or her creator. This manner of being a father is possible, of course, only on condition that we accept the idea of ourselves as children. To consent to Jesus' statement that " is your Father, who is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9) is an internal condition needed for men to be capable of being fathers in a good sense--not in dominion over others but in a spirit of responsibility toward the truth, a responsibility freely devoted to God and which can thus give unselfishly to another his liberty for God in whom we find our being.

Joseph Ratzinger, The God of Jesus Christ, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1970, 22.

"The worship of human power is about ninety per cent of the religion of about ninety percent of the present generation of mankind. Shall we succeed in shaking it off? And if we remain enslaved to it, whither will it lead us?"
From the Arnold Toynbee introduction in Christopher Dawson, The God's of Revolution, London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1972, xi.

"The greatest among you is the one who serves the rest." Cf. Matthew 23:11; 18:520:27Mark 9:34.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fides ex auditu --Saint John of the Cross

 "And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near, and join thyself to this chariot."
Acts 8:29

I just came across this line in Saint John of the Cross in which he is comparing faith to understanding and says that faith does not come through the senses.

Faith knowledge is to the soul what the knowledge of colors is to a man born blind (who has never seen colors). "That is how faith is for the soul, which tells us things which we never saw nor understood in themselves nor in their likenesses, for they have none; and so, of it we have no light of natural knowledge (ciencia) since what it tells us is not proportioned (proporcionado) to any sense, but we know it from the hearing (el oido), believing what it teaches us, subjecting and blinding our natural light; because, as Saint Paul says, Fides ex auditu (Rom 10:17), as if to say: Faith is not knowledge (ciencia) which enters through any sense, but rather merely the consent of the soul to that which enters through the hearing (el oido)."

Saint John of the Cross, The Active Night of the Spirit, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Bk. 2, Chapt. 3, 3.

"The theologians say that faith is a habit of the soul, certain and dark." It is dark because of the excessive light which it gives for which man does not have an adequate natural faculty. Ibid, Bk. 2, Chapt. 3, 1.

Faith is man's assent to the revelation of God, and it is transmitted through the word of truth as taught and lived by the Church, by the power and working of the Holy Spirit. It is transmitted and received through the testimony of faith of believers, in the same Holy Spirit.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Veritatis caritas

Veritas caritas est.

That is one of the continual keys in the thought of Joseph Ratzinger: the charity of the truth, what he calls "intellectual charity" (intellektuelle Nächstenliebe, intellectual love of neighbor).

Ratzinger speaks of charity of the truth and charity in the truth. I would simply say that truth is charity. Because any "truth which is not for the good, that of our neighbor included, is not true. What is true it is also good in every respect.

Another way Ratzinger expresses this same idea of the unity between the truth and the good is in speaking of orthodoxy and orthopraxis or of the dual "informative" and "performative" aspects of evangelization. These are two essential sides of every human reality. There is no orthopraxis without orthodoxy. Actually, "orthodoxy" itself includes orthopraxis because the word doxa means worship and praise. Orthodoxy therefore means right worship, the right action of giving God His due, which is itself a moral action, not just intellectual. To do the good one must know the good. And that knowledge of the good is what we call truth.
Cf. Joseph Ratzinger, 2002 Benevento lecture in On the Way to Jesus Christ, San Francisco, Ignatius, 2005, 107-109.

N.B. A good resource for "intellectual charity" is Pope Benedict XVI, A Reason Open to God: On Universities, Education & Culture, Washington, DC: CUA, 2013, xxii, 48, 58-59, 83, 109, 145, 239.

The expression "intellectual charity" was already used in 1930 by Giovanni Battista Montini when he was chaplain to the FUCI. Ibid. 145.

Intellectual Charity: An expression of probable Augustinian origin that occurs in the writings of Giovanni Battista Montini
And in a text of 1931 there is almost a monastic rule for the time of secularization, L'osservatore romano, March 1, 2013

The 2007 papal appointment of Gianfranco Ravasi, prefect for almost twenty years of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, to head the Holy See's institute for culture and, in the following years, the influence that, as president, he has exercised the area of cultural in the Church of Rome call to mind the dynamic of "intellectual charity". The expression is probably of Augustinian origin and is found in Rosmini and Fogazzaro, but it is, above all, Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI who reflects on it, he who in more than one respect can be compared to one of the last four cardinals he created in 1977, the theologian Joseph Ratzinger, from 2005 his successor with the name of Benedict XVI.

In 1930 "intellectual charity" was chosen by Montini - at that time an official of the Secretariat of State and at the same time a national chaplain of the FUCI, the Italian Catholic University Federation - as the title of a short article written for the student magazine "Azione fucina." Based on a text by Pierre de Nolhac, the scholar who had discovered the autograph of the Canzoniere di Petrarca in the Vatican Library, Montini reflects on "one of the most moving documents that reconcile us with the modern world," that is, two texts by Erasmus and of Pascal. "Even science can be charity," writes the young prelate from Brescia, stating immediately after that "anyone who with the activity of thought and of the pen tries to spread the truth does service to charity." "Intellectual activity - continues Montini - which does not accept the limits, the demands, the implementations, the attitudes, the zeal, all of the external elements that do not prejudice the honesty of his work, of lived life, of the experiential human reality, where pain, feeling, morality and social needs continuously meet, remains sterile."

Precisely the need to communicate the truth appears as Montini's main concern: "We need to know how to be ancient and modern, to speak according to tradition but also according to our sensitivity. What is the point of saying what is true if the men of our time do not understand us?" He said that in 1950, after over thirteen years as chief of staff of the Secretariat of State of Pius XII, during his first meeting with Jean Guitton. Consistent with this sentiment, in 1965 Pope Montini established a Secretariat for non-believers. His successor John Paul II founded along side it in 1982 the Pontifical Council for Culture and in 1993 uniting to it the Paul VI organization. Precisely this structure gives way to one of the most evocative initiatives of Benedict XVI, the Courtyard of the Gentiles. In 1957 the "mission of Milan" is announced in the largest diocese of the world, which Montini, archbishop of the Lombard metropolis for three years, presents to the "distant" with words of unusual and frank self-criticism: "When you approach one who is distant, you cannot but feel a certain remorse. Why is this brother far away? Because he was not loved enough. He was not sufficiently cared for, instructed, introduced into the joy of faith. Because he has judged the faith based on our persons, those who preach it and represent it; and from our faults he may have learned to be bored by, to despise, to hate religion. Because he has heard more reproaches, than warnings and invitations. Because he saw, perhaps, some inferior interest in our ministry, and he suffered scandal."

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God"

Luke 14:15 (Gospel of Tuesday of 31st Week of Ordinary Time)

The Primacy of God

The temptation of Christ (Matt. 4:1-11) summarizes the entire struggle of Jesus: it is about the nature of his mission, but at the same time it is also, in general, about the right ordering of human life, about the way to be human, about the way of history. Finally, it is about what is really important in the life of man. This ultimate thing, this decisive thing, is the primacy of God. The germ of all temptation is setting God aside, so that he seems to be a secondary concern when compared with all the urgent priorities of our lives. To consider ourselves, the needs and desires of the moment to be more important than he is--that is the temptation that always besets us. For in doing so we deny God his divinity, and we make ourselves, or rather, the powers that threaten us, into our god. 86-87

...Where God is viewed as something secondary, which can be set aside temporarily or altogether for the sake of more important things, then precisely these supposedly more important things fail. The negative results of the Marxist experiment are not the only proof of this. Western aid to developing countries--assistance that is based solely upon technological and materialistic principles--not only has left God out of the picture, but also has driven people away from God by proudly claiming to 'know better' and is responsible for turning the third world into the Third World, as that is understood today. It has put aside the indigenous, religious, moral, and social structures and puts its own technological mentality into the empty space. The West believed that it could turn stones into bread, but it has given stones instead of bread. We must acknowledge once more the primacy of God and of his Word--that was the point of celebrating the year 2000, and that is still the point. Naturally, one can ask why God did not make a world in which his presence would be more evident; why Christ did not leave behind another sign of his presence that would impress everyone irresistibly with its splendor. We live in this world where God is not so manifest as tangible things are but can only be sought and found through a fundamental change of heart, through the "Exodus" from "Egypt". In this world we must oppose the deceptions of false philosophies and recognize that we do not live on bread alone but, first and foremost, on obedience to God's Word. And only when this obedience is put into practice does the attitude develop that is also capable of providing bread for all. 90-91

Joseph Ratzinger, On the Way to Jesus Christ, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2005.

Coitus, But Not Other Kinds of Sexual Activity, Promotes Health


The empirical evidence suggests that coitus is associated with significant psychological and physical benefits and that non-coital sexual activity is associated with significant psychological and physical harms.

One might think that all kinds of sexual activity are alike in terms of sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, mental health, and physiological effects. An orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm. It turns out that this view is not supported by scientific research. Numerous studies have pointed to significant differences between, on the one hand, coitus (i.e. penile-vaginal intercourse) and, on the other hand, non-coital sexual activity such as oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation with or without a partner. Given that this research is relatively unknown among non-experts, it may be helpful to make this information more widely known.

In his Journal of Sex Medicine article, “The Relative Health Benefits of Different Sexual Activities,” Dr. Stuart Brody summarizes a number of studies stating that “[a] wide range of better psychological and physiological health indices are associated specifically with penile–vaginal intercourse. Other sexual activities have weaker, no, or (in the cases of masturbation and anal intercourse) inverse associations with health indices.” Multimethod evidence points to better psychological and physiological health benefits associated with coitus but not with other sexual behaviors.

Researchers also found differences in mental health satisfaction when comparing coitus with non-coital activities. Brody writes:

In a large representative sample of the Swedish population, PVI [penile-vaginal intercourse] frequency was a significant predictor of both men’s and women’s greater satisfaction with their mental health. In contrast, masturbation was inversely associated with mental health satisfaction in the multivariate analyses that controlled for other sexual behavior frequencies, and partnered sexual behaviors other than PVI [penile-vaginal intercourse] were uncorrelated with mental health satisfaction.

Differences also existed regarding intimate relationship quality: “noncoital sex frequency was associated with less global relationship satisfaction, and noncoital partnered orgasm frequency was associated with less love.”

Likewise, researchers found differences with respect to rates of depression. In Brody’s words:

The association of masturbation with depression is unlikely to be a result of simply a lack of PVI, because more masturbation and less PVI make independent contributions to less satisfaction with relationships, sex life, life in general, and one’s mental health (the multivariate analyses also examined some partnered sexual activities other than PVI, and revealed that anal and oral sex frequency also have independent inverse associations with some of the satisfaction indices). It is likely that only unfettered, real PVI has important mood-enhancing benefits.

In the words of another study:

The findings demonstrate that sexual satisfaction is strongly related to PVI but not to other sexual behaviors (some of which are significantly inversely related to sexual satisfaction). A similar pattern applies to satisfaction with relationships, life in general, and one’s mental health. This evidence contrasts with assertions that masturbation and other sexual activities are as satisfying as PVI.

The difference may be due to greater release of prolactin which is associated with sexual satiety: “the prolactin rise after PVI orgasm is 400% greater than following masturbation orgasm.” Coitus and other kinds of sexual activity are not equivalent. “[S]atisfaction with sex life, life in general, sexual partnership, and mental health correlates directly with frequency of penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) and inversely with frequency of both masturbation and partnered sexual activity excluding PVI (noncoital sex).”

One might be tempted to account for these psychological differences in satisfaction in terms of underlying differences in attitude among those who do them. People with more strict moral codes might feel guilty in doing non-coital sexual behaviors, and so might not experience the same psychological benefits that persons with less strict moral codes would experience. However, in a study entitled, yes, this is the real full title, “Satisfaction (Sexual, Life, Relationship, and Mental Health) Is Associated Directly with Penile-Vaginal Intercourse, but Inversely with Other Sexual Behavior Frequencies,” Brody and Rui Miguel Costa point out, “The exploratory finding that a rigid attitude toward variety in sexual activities was completely unrelated to the satisfaction indices suggests that it is indeed sexual behaviors (and the underlying psychosexual motives that guide them) that are related to satisfaction, rather than inflexible attitudes.”

In other words, it was not guilt about perceived failure to adhere to moral norms that undermined satisfaction. Those without so-called “rigid attitudes” had similar experiences as those with more traditional attitudes. Brody and Rui found that “[t]he results are consistent with evidence that specifically PVI frequency, rather than other sexual activities, is associated with sexual satisfaction, health, and well-being. Inverse associations between satisfaction and masturbation are not due simply to insufficient PVI.”

In addition to psychological benefits, physiological benefits are also associated with coitus but not other kinds of sexual behavior. Researchers found that, “specifically PVI but not other sexual behavior was associated with an important measure of better homeostasis, better parasympathetic tone, lower mortality risk, and better psychological function (including better relatedness).” The researchsuggests “not only that it is specifically PVI (rather than other sexual behaviors) that is associated with optimal cardiovascular ‘protection’ from stress, but also that the benefits are not simply due to having a partner.” Similarly, Brody cites studies showing the benefits of coitus but not other sexual activities in reducing the likelihood of prostatecancer, breast cancer, hot flash symptoms, pre-eclampsia, low sperm count, and high blood pressure.

Might all these associations be mere associations? Dying in motorcycle accidents is merely associated with and is not caused by wearing leather jackets. Or is it that the case that non-coital sexual activity actually causes the adverse effects found in the research? It may be impossible ever to know with certainty without control groups and placebos of various kinds of sexual actions. Nevertheless, as Randall Munroe once said, “correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there.’” What we know about addiction is learned not through controlled laboratory experiments but through the extensive empirical evidence of associations and the ruling out of possible confounding variables. We can, presumably, learn about the empirical effects of various kinds of sexual activities in a similar way.

Indeed, the evidence suggests that coitus produces health benefits: “It is specifically PVI, competently performed and sensitively experienced, that is associated with . . . and produces . . . aspects of better mental and physical health. This is not the case for other sexual behaviors (masturbation and anal intercourse are associated with poorer health indices, effects not attributable simply to lack of PVI).”

What might account for these differences? A number of mechanisms might account for the differences between coitus and non-coital sexual behavior. For example, Brody writes:

Evolutionary pressures strongly reward behaviors and mutations even slightly associated with increased likelihood of gene propagation. The difference between PVI and other sexual behaviors is not slight. The mechanisms by which such evolutionarily mandated rewards might operate range from direct physiological mechanisms (responding favorably to PVI but neutrally or unfavorably to other sexual activities) to mechanisms secondary to the evolutionary behavioral ‘success’ of specifically PVI being rewarded by better physical and mental health (and perhaps the evolutionary behavioral failure of other sexual activities such as masturbation being punished by poorer physical and mental health).

To conclude, here’s what the science suggests:

Based upon a broad range of methods, samples, and measures, the research findings are remarkably consistent in demonstrating that one sexual activity (PVI and the orgasmic response to it) is associated with, and in some cases, causes processes associated with better psychological and physical functioning. Other sexual behaviors (including when PVI is impaired, as with condoms or distraction away from the penile–vaginal sensations) are unassociated, or in some cases (such as masturbation and anal intercourse) inversely associated with better psychological and physical functioning.

A number of other studies point to similar conclusions.

Both the natural law and the Catholic Church teach that sexual activity should be of a kind that is “of itself suited to procreating human life.” The empirical evidence suggests that following this teaching is associated with significant psychological and physical benefits and that violating this teaching is associated with significant psychological and physical harms.

CHRISTOPHER KACZOR Christopher Kaczor is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University and the author of The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church, among other books.

Homosexuality is Bad For Your Health: Mortal Sin Means Mortal Danger

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