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

Monday, November 5, 2018

Hierarchical Sodomy of 11th - 12th Century Proportions --Cardinal Brandmüller

Gomorrah in the 21st Century. The Appeal of a Cardinal and Church Historian

Settimo Cielo, Sandro Magister, Nov. 5

“The situation is comparable to that of the Church in the 11th and 12th century.” As an authoritative Church historian and as president of the pontifical committee of historical sciences from 1998 to 2009, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, 89, has no doubt when he sees the present-day Church “shaken to its foundations” on account of the spread of sexual abuse and homosexuality “in an almost epidemic manner among the clergy and even in the hierarchy.”

“How could it have come to this point?” the cardinal wonders. And his answer is found in an extensive and detailed article published in recent days in the German monthly “Vatican Magazin” directed by Guido Horst:

Homosexualität und Missbrauch - Der Krise begegnen: Lehren aus der Geschichte

In its complete Italian version:

Omosessualità e abusi - Affrontare la crisi: le lezioni della storia

Brandmüller refers to the centuries in which the bishoprics and the papacy itself had become such a source of wealth that there was “fighting and haggling over them,” with temporal rulers claiming that they themselves could apportion these offices in the Church.

The effect was that the place of pastors was taken by morally dissolute persons who were attached to the endowment rather than to the care of souls, by no means inclined to lead a chaste and virtuous life.

Not only concubinage, but homosexuality too was increasingly widespread among the clergy, to such an extent that Saint Peter Damian in 1049 delivered to the newly elected pope Leo IX, known as a zealous reformer, his “Liber Antigomorrhianus,” composed in the form of a letter, which in essence was an appeal to save the Church from the “sodomitic filth that insinuates itself like a cancer in the ecclesiastical order, or rather like a bloodthirsty beast rampaging through the flock of Christ.” Sodom and Gomorrah, in the book of Genesis, are the two cities that God destroyed with fire on account of their sins.

But the thing more worthy of note, Brandmüller writes, was that “almost simultaneously a lay movement arose that was aimed not only against the immorality of the clergy but also against the appropriation of ecclesiastical offices by secular powers.”

“What rose up was the vast popular movement called ‘pataria,’ led by members of the Milanese nobility and by some members of the clergy, but supported by the people. In close collaboration with the reformers associated with Saint Peter Damian, and then with Gregory VII, with the bishop Anselm of Lucca, an important canonist who later became Pope Alexander II, and with others still, the ‘patarini’ demanded, even resorting to violence, the implementation of the reform that after Gregory VII took the name ‘Gregorian’: for a celibacy of the clergy lived out faithfully and against the occupation of dioceses by secular powers.”

Subsequently, of course, it disperesed into pauperist and anti-hierarchical movements, on the verge of heresy, and was only partially reintegrated with the Church “thanks to the farseeing pastoral action of Innocence III.” But the “interesting aspect” on which Brandmüller insists is that “that reforming movement broke out almost simultaneously in the uppermost hierarchical circles in Rome and among the vast lay population of Lombardy, in response to a situation considered unbearable.”

So then, what is similar and different in the Church today, with respect to back then?

What is similar, Brandmüller notes, is that then as now the ones expressing the protest and demanding a purification of the Church are above all segments of the Catholic laity, especially in North America, in the footsteps of the “marvelous homage to the important role of the witness of the faithful in matters of doctrine” brought to light in the 19th century by Blessed John Henry Newman.

As then, so now these faithful find beside them a few zealous pastors. But it must be recognized - Brandmüller writes - that the impassioned appeal to the upper hierarchy of the Church and ultimately to the pope to join them in combating the scourge of homosexuality among the clergy and the bishops is not meeting with correspondingly adequate responses, unlike in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Also in the Christological battles of the 4th century - Brandmüller points out - “the episcopacy remained inactive for long stretches.” And if it remains so today, with respect to the spread of homosexuality among sacred ministers, “this could be based on the fact that personal initiative and the awareness of their responsibility as pastors on the part of the individual bishops are made more difficult by the structures and apparatus of the episcopal conferences, with the pretext of collegiality or synodality.”

As for the pope, Brandmüller attributes not only to the current one but also to his predecessors the weakness of not opposing the currents of moral theology according to which “what was forbidden yesterday can be allowed today,” homosexual acts included.

It is true - Brandmüller acknowledges - that the 1993 encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” of John Paul II - “in which the contribution of Joseph Ratzinger has not yet been duly recognized” - reconfirmed “with great clarity the foundations of the Church’s moral teaching.” But this “ran up against widespread rejection from theologians, perhaps because it had been published only when the theological-moral decay was already too far advanced.”

It is also true that “some books on sexual morality were condemned” and “two professors had their teaching licenses revoked, in 1972 and 1986.” “But,” Brandmüller continues, “the truly important heretics, like the Jesuit Josef Fuchs, who from 1954 to 1982 was a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Bernhard Häring, who taught at the Redemptorist Institute in Rome, as well as the highly influential moral theologian from Bonn, Franz Böckle, or from Tübingen, Alfons Auer, were able to spread without interference, right in front of Rome and the bishops, the seed of error. The attitude of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in these cases is, in retrospect, simply incomprehensible. It saw the wolf come and stood looking on while it ravaged the fold.”

The risk is that on account of this lack of initiative on the part of the upper hierarchy even the most committed Catholic laity, left on its own, might “no longer recognize the nature of the Church founded on the sacred order and slip, in protesting against the ineptitude of the hierarchy, into an Evangelical-style communitarian Christianity.”

And instead, the more the hierarchy, from the pope down, feel supported by the effective resolve of tthe faithful to renew and revive the Church, the more a true housecleaning can be performed.

Brandmüller concludes:

“It is in the collaboration of the bishops, priests, and faithful, in the power of the Holy Spirit, that the current crisis can and must become the point of departure for the spiritual renewal - and therefore also for the new evangelization - of a post-Christian society.”

Brandmüller is one of the four cardinals who in 2016 submitted to Pope Francis their “dubia” on the changes being made in the doctrine of the Church, without ever receiving a response.

This time will the pope listen and take him seriously into consideration, as Leo IX did with Saint Peter Damian?

(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

"A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" Producer, Arcadia Films

The greatest discovery was "the depth of deception, in ideological terms, and the abuse of the Church, in the process,...offensive, sad..." Stephen Payne

Il 4 novembre 1958 Giovanni XXIII fu incoronato Sommo Pontefice della Santa Chiesa cattolica

60° Anniversario dell'Incoronazione di Giovanni XXIII e alcune riflessioni


Trentamila persone dentro la Basilica, centomila fuori sulla piazza. La cerimonia più bella, fastosa e lunga che abbia mai visto. Un lungo banchetto di colori, di sete, di ermellini, di merletti, di perle, di gemme, di ori, d'argento, di piume, di incenso, di croci, di turiboli, di pastorali, di ricami, di drappi, di musica, di canti. Cinque ore di preghiere, e baci, e benedizioni, e adorazioni. Roncalli compie ogni atto a puntino. Sale sul trono, scende dal trono, va in processione, s'inginocchia; intona, torna indietro, sale su un nuovo trono, si lascia vestire, si lascia svestire, mette la mitria, la toglie, altra processione, altro trono, altre invocazioni, altre prosternazioni, su dalla sedia gestatoria, giù dalla sedia gestatoria. In mezzo, tra una processione e l'altra, la solenne messa cantata. Poi finalmente, al cospetto della piazza, sulla loggia delle Benedizioni, l'imposizione del triregno: la corona fatta a elmo, composta di tre balze, tanto sfolgorante di gemme e di metalli preziosi quanto pesante, da dare il capogiro.

Roncalli sta dentro alla funzione con una faccia serena da cherubino. Non accusa stanchezza, né insofferenza. Quando non è immerso nella preghiera sembra piacevomente interessato alla buona riuscita della cerimonia. Sotto il triregno e avvolto tutto d'oro rassomiglia a un'icona. Gli manca solo lo sguardo mesto. A Roncalli gli occhi ridono sempre (Benny Lai, <>, Longanesi & C., 1968, pagg. 21 – 22).
Brevi considerazioni.

Il 4 novembre 1958 Giovanni XXIII fu incoronato Sommo Pontefice della Santa Chiesa cattolica; la Chiesa ha sempre ricordato gli anniversari delle Incoronazioni papali, mai quella delle elezioni, come avviene oggi. Quindi, oggi 4 novembre 2018 ricordiamo il sessantesimo anniversario dell'Incoronazione di San Giovanni XXIII.

Le due fotografie: nella prima, l'espressione ammirata e riconoscente di Benedetto XVI, che quasi contempla il triregno dognatogli nel 2011 da un facoltoso cittadino tedesco; nella seconda lo sguardo mesto di Francesco, una sostanziale smorfia di fronte all'analogo dono fattogli dal Presidente del Parlamento della Repubblica di Macedonia Trajko Veljanoski nel 2016.

Che dire? Confrontando le due foto si capisce il Protestantesimo: c'è una sola Chiesa, quella cattolica fondata da Gesù, qualsiasi discostamento da quell'unica Chiesa è già Protestantesimo, ipotizzare una Chiesa diversa, una Chiesa nuova, una Chiesa aggiornata, una Chiesa moderna è veleno protestantico, quale che sia il suo ambito: liturgico, dottrinale, morale.

Luca G.

Friday, November 2, 2018

“To people who hate the truth, the truth looks like hate.”

Australia Defense of Marriage 2017

Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?

An interview with sociologist Father Paul Sullins, whose new study documents a strong linkage between the incidence of abuse and homosexuality in the priesthood and in seminaries.

National Catholic Register
Matthew E. Bunson
November 2, 2018

On Nov. 2, the Ruth Institute published a new report that dares to ask a question many researchers — and Catholics — have been afraid to ask: What has been the role of active homosexuality and homosexual subcultures in the priesthood and in seminaries on the sex-abuse crisis?

The report — which indicates a very strong correlation between homosexual priests and homosexual subcultures and the incidence of clergy sexual abuse — is in part a response to the two important studies commissioned by the U.S. Bishops in the face of the sex-abuse crisis that were conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The 2004 study was entitled, “The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States,” and the 2011 report was called, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.”

The 2011 report was heavily criticized at the time of its release for its assertion that it found no evidence that homosexual priests were to blame for the abuse crisis, despite the fact that more than 80% of the victims were male and that 78% were postpubescent. Critics claimed that the report bowed to political correctness and fear of a backlash in academia.

Seven years on, the Ruth Institute has weighed into the research of the sex-abuse crisis, specifically addressing the issue of homosexuality. A global nonprofit organization, the Ruth Institute was founded by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., to help study and find solutions to the toxic impact of the sexual revolution. The new report was the work of Father D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., a senior research associate of the Ruth Institute. Father Sullins recently retired as professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C., and has focused on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development, the trauma that women suffer following abortion, and the impact of clergy sex abuse. A former Episcopalian, Father Sullins is a married Catholic priest.

The central thrust of the report is that the share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s, a trend that was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse. At the same time, a quarter of priests ordained in the late 1960s report the existence of a homosexual subculture in their seminaries, rising to over half of priests ordained in the 1980s, a second trend that was also strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.

Father Sullins spoke to the Register about the report on Oct. 31. Aware of the controversy that will surround any effort to research the possible role of homosexual priests in the clergy sex-abuse crisis, including the likelihood he will be demonized and called a homophobe, he said bluntly, “To people who hate the truth, the truth looks like hate.”

Q. It is probably safe to say that your report is going to spark some controversy. Why do you feel that this type of study is so long overdue?

There is a widespread denial of any possible negative effects of homosexual activity or any findings that might not be benign for homosexual persons in the scholarly realm. And I think that, to some extent, that’s true for the scholarly work that’s been done on Catholic clergy sex abuse. There’s not been a willingness to confront the evidence on this topic, and I don’t know if I want to speculate further than that.

Q. Do we have clerics who just don’t want to see or don’t want to know that we may have embedded homosexual activity among priests that’s wreaking harm in some ways to the Church? That may be the case. We have found in the last six months that there’s a possibility that bishops have not pursued a wide knowledge on this topic.

Some have called it a cover-up. There’s evidence that there’s a lack of energy or interest in finding out the relation of homosexuality to this activity. I don’t know if I would call it a cover-up. I may have used the word “cover-up” in the paper just to go along with the common term, but it may be if there’s a cover-up that it’s also extended to releasing data about the sex abuse and in authorizing folks to look at it. For example, in the data release to the John Jay Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice — which, by the way, did two wonderful reports on abuse with a lot of very helpful information — the data that the bishops released to them, the diocese was de-identified. They were not able to tell in what diocese the instances of abuse occurred.

Q. Why do you think that was?

Well, I don’t know why that was. Typically, you will de-identify individuals because you don’t want to impugn the reputation of individuals. That makes a lot of sense. But if you have an institution where you have a widespread problem, whether it’s abuse or embezzlement or theft or whatever, you’d like to know in what sectors of that institution that occurred more frequently than others. Typically, you would like to say, “Well, over here in this division, they had a great record. Let’s try to see what we can do to make the whole institution more like this division, so as to reduce this unwanted behavior.” That did not occur here. Could it be that the bishops, some bishops, did not want to know, did not want to have people know what dioceses were better and what dioceses were worse? I don’t know.

We know from what John Jay College did report that there were a number of dioceses who had no or very few instances of sex abuse over the last 50 years. We don’t know what those are. That might be a kind of a cover-up, or not letting us know everything that we would like to know in order to address the abuse.

Now, by contrast, the recent grand jury report from Pennsylvania put everything out there. We know exactly where and when each instance of abuse occurred. I do look at that data to some extent in this report, and it’s very helpful, but we have a possibility to do much more investigation and report on data like that, which will begin to let us know: Were there dirty dioceses and clean dioceses? We’d like to know that about seminaries. Were there dirty seminaries and clean seminaries? We have these reports of homosexual subcultures and seminaries that have been affected by abuse. We don’t know what seminaries those are. Wouldn’t it be helpful to us if there was a handful of seminaries that were really spawning this kind of behavior and lots of clean seminaries that weren’t? It would really help us a lot to be able to know that in order to address this problem and to eliminate it as best we can and for the safety and security of our children, particularly our young boys.

Q. When you read the John Jay Report when it first came out, what was your initial reaction to it?

Well, actually, I didn’t read it when it first came out. Like everybody else, I kind of glanced at it, but I have read both John Jay Reports recently. We should say [John Jay] came out with a report in 2004 on the nature and scope of the abuse and followed that up in 2011 with a great study on the causes and context to the abuse. And in between those two, they had gathered more data; they had surveyed some of the offenders and so had access to some clinical data that really was very helpful and reported very well.

My analysis focuses mostly on that second report, and what I take issue with is the conclusion that the abuse was unrelated to the presence of homosexual men in the priesthood over the period of abuse.

The John Jay Report in 2011 denied that that was the case because they said that the trend of abuse did not correspond with the trend of homosexual men in the priesthood. So that abuse was highest in the mid-1970s. But the reports of homosexual activity in the seminaries did not increase until the 1980s. So they argued that since by the time we were aware that they had these kinds of lurid homosexual cultures and homosocial activities in the Catholic seminaries, the abuse was already declining so it couldn’t have had anything to do with that activity or with the presence of homosexuals. And so I critically examine that thesis. I really don’t have a general criticism of the John Jay study at all. In fact, I have a lot of appreciation and admiration for that study.

But for that particular point, I point out that the percent of homosexual men who are ordained in any year or the presence of homosexual activity in seminaries can’t relate very strongly to the percent of homosexual priest in priesthood. Because each year we ordain a relatively small proportion of new priests. It’s about 1%. So even if all of that 1% were homosexual, it doesn’t affect the percent of homosexual men and the priesthood very much at all. What we have to do is to look at what percentage of men were of a homosexual orientation in the entire presbyterate in any given year in order to see if that is correlated with the incidents of abuse — and even more importantly to see if that’s correlated with the percent of victims who were male in any year. And so that’s what I do in this report.

I use data from a survey that was done in 2002 that measured the sexual orientation of Catholic priests and used a modified Kinsey scale, which in this case was a five-point scale, measuring from a completely homosexual orientation to completely heterosexual orientation and then categories in between; and also ask about year of ordination and the year of birth. And so from that, I’m able to compute what percentage of priests reported a homosexual orientation in any given year, going back to the 1950s. And when I overlay that trend with the trend and abuse, it’s almost a perfect correlation. The correlation is 0.98. A perfect correlation is 1.0. So it’s as close an association as you can get.

In the 1950s, about 3% of priests were of a homosexual orientation, by their own reports. By the 1980s, that had risen to over 16%. So we have sort of a fivefold increase in the percentage of priests who are homosexual, in a pretty straight line from the 1950s through the 1980s. And we have a very similar increase in abuse incidents over that same period, and we don’t know the sexual orientation of any particular abuser. So we’re inferring from the association of those two correlations that there’s some influence of one on the other. So my conclusion has to be the opposite of that of the John Jay Report.

Q. It’s almost axiomatic among a number of very prominent figures in the Church that there is no correlation, and they cite the John Jay Report. And then we can add to that anyone who tries to investigate that type of a correlation is often accused of either scapegoating homosexual priests or of outright homophobia. What is your response to that?

I’ve been called homophobic and hateful before for studying these kinds of things. I would say that if it’s a choice between being called homophobic and allowing more young boys to be abused, I would choose to be at risk for being called homophobic.

The question is: Are we on the side of abusers? Are we on the side of victims? I think that the words of Our Lord about the importance of young children and the horribleness of those who would lead such young children astray in my mind outweigh anything that someone could call me. I’m not hateful toward anyone, to my knowledge. … I don’t think that these results in any way imply that homosexual persons are natively inclined or internally inclined to commit abuse at a greater rate than heterosexual persons.

In fact, we know that that’s not the case. Most child abuse that happens in most settings is perpetrated by heterosexual males. It usually in families, and so I don’t think that in any way we can infer these results to something that generally happens with homosexual persons.

I do look at the influence of these homosexual subcultures in seminaries, in encouraging and promoting abuse. And I find that it explains about half of the high correlation of the abuse with the percentage of homosexual priests. So something was going on beyond just mere sexual orientation to encourage this horrible immoral activity that has wrought such harm to so many victims.

My experience in studying homosexuals has been this: that to people who hate the truth, the truth looks like hate.

Q. You mentioned in your research that there is this presence of a homosexual subculture in a lot of U.S. seminaries. And as you’ve also noted, that the John Jay Report was unable to identify specifically which seminaries were particular problem areas for that, what needs to be done in your view with respect to seminaries in order to address this problem, especially given the high likelihood — as we are seeing globally in places like Honduras and elsewhere — that this is an ongoing problem that has yet to be resolved?

Well, the first thing that needs to be done is to stop the denial. We need to recognize that there’s a problem. And the idea that we want to keep from acknowledging that homosexual activity in seminaries or in the priesthood might be related to these kind of harms is really an important first step. The impulse that we don’t want to say anything that might stigmatize homosexual persons is an understandable one. But it has to be weighed against the potential for greater harm for these victims. How many times do we want to go around this block again and keep denying what is becoming increasingly obvious, and taking steps to address it?

I do not know exactly what steps should be taken in seminaries. I’m sure there are people that have much better ideas than I would about that, but the first step I would recommend is to investigate thoroughly what seminaries, what professors, what persons, were complicit in promoting this kind of activity, because we don’t know.

The John Jay Report let us know what diocese each offender was in, but did not let us know what seminary each offender had attended. Now, if we need just that piece of information, we could correlate abuse in the seminaries and find out which seminaries graduated priests that were engaged in less abuse; it seems to me that would be an important piece of information to know. And then we can begin to look at what the characteristics of those seminaries were; we might find that it’s related to particular professors and particular groups of persons, many of whom are still in the priesthood and still with us. It’d be great to know what the continuing effects of that activity are, but also to be able to identify places where it may still be going on.

Q. This report is being released just ahead of the U.S. bishops’ fall assembly, where they will be discussing issues related to the McCarrick scandal and other aspects of clergy sexual abuse. Is it your hope that the report’s findings will assist the bishops in better understanding the factors in play regarding clergy sexual abuse and in drafting new policies that can deal with them more effectively?

I certainly hope that that will be the case. But not just the bishops. Any actor of goodwill that works to relieve the Church of this crime that is so harmful to our children, to our young people, is someone that I would like to help. And I hope that the information in this report is helpful to them from any point of view. If the bishops have a will and a mind to seriously address this issue, then I hope it’s helpful to them. But what we’re finding out is that if the bishops aren’t going to clean house, others are. We now have a federal investigation into some Catholic dioceses, and we’re likely to have many more. And I have to say that I welcome that.

Like most Catholics today, the credibility of our bishops, to me, is in question on this issue. I hate to say that. I love the Church. I love my bishops. I think my own bishop, Cardinal [Donald] Wuerl, has been maliciously and unfairly characterized, and he’s done a lot better job on this issue than is generally known. But I think that, generally speaking, the bishops, as a group, cannot be trusted to solve this problem at this point, and that other folks, I think, might be more reliable and more clear about what to do.

"Grace and Call Unrevoked" --Pope Emeritus Benedict

Benedict XVI writes about Christian-Jewish dialogue

The emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has taken up the pen once more and published a contribution "Irrevocable Grace Unrevoked" (Gnade und Berufung ohne Reue) to the Christian-Jewish dialogue in the July 12, 2018 issue of the journal Communio. The German Pope writes of the need to refine important paradigms of the Jewish-Christian dialogue.

[From Vatican News. Unofficial translation.]

The purpose of Benedict’s text was initially only a private reflection on the post-conciliar rejection of the so-called "substitution theory" and of the phrase “the covenant never revoked,” Cardinal Kurt Koch explained in his foreword. However, he was able to convince the emeritus Pope to publish the essay composed in October 2017. Benedict has always been very concerned about the Jewish-Christian dialogue.

A double need for more refinement

In fact, the text signed "Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI" and dated October 26, 2017, offers a thoroughly critical reflection of previous "standards" in the Jewish-Christian dialogue or post-conciliar theological reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Specifically, Benedict XVI sees a need to refine two key words "substitution theory" and "the unrevoked covenant”: "both theses – that Israel is not superseded by the Church, and that the Covenant has never been terminated - are basically correct, but "are in many ways inaccurate and must be given further critical reconsideration,” Benedict writes.

Thus, the "theory of supersessionism" – the idea that the Church has taken the place of Israel – "is not presented as such," clarifies the emeritus Pope, with reference to pertinent encyclopedias. Moreover, Judaism always has a special status from a Christian point of view, since Judaism is "not one religion among others," but "has a special standing and therefore must be recognized as such by the Church." In consequence, he explains his thesis on the basis of the lasting differences between Judaism and Christianity, specifically with regard to the temple cult, the cult laws, the status of the Torah, the question of the Messiah, and the land promise.
The question of the Messiah is "the real issue between Jews and Christians”

The “question of the Messiah” especially represents "the real issue of dispute between Jews and Christians," Benedict XVI firmly observes: If Jewish messianic expectation is focused on a – too politically understood – peacemaker, one would have to point out from a Christian point of view that Jesus "did not want to bring immediately the perfect new world of peace (...), but also wanted to show God to the Gentiles.”

So there remains a certain surplus of promise, inasmuch as the time of Jesus "is not a time of a cosmic transformation in which the final verdicts between God and man have already been made, but a time of freedom," said Benedict XVI.
Rejection of "political messianism"

As a result, the Church rejects every "political Messianism," which, for example, in a theological interpretation of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, sees it as a fulfillment of the biblical promise of the land. Therefore, the Vatican recognition of the State of Israel is not rooted in theological reflection, but in the recognition of the Jews’ "natural right" to their own land, according to Benedict XVI. "In this sense, the Vatican has recognized the State of Israel as a modern constitutional state, whose foundation cannot be derived directly from Scripture, but in a broader sense, on the faithfulness of God to the people of Israel."
[The "Covenant never revoked"]

The question of the "never-revoked covenant" between God and the Jews – a phrase that goes back to John Paul II and belongs to the now obvious interpretive horizon of Judaism from a Christian perspective – needs, according to Benedict XVI, for some distinctions to be made.

Although the phrase is in principle "considered to be correct, but in detail, nevertheless, many clarifications and greater precision are still needed" in the sense that there was not only one covenant between God and his people, but many covenants. Also, the notice of the dismissal of a covenant does not belong to the theological conceptual world of the Old Testament. Also the idea accompanying it of ​​an agreement between equals does not correspond to biblical theology.

"The formula of the “covenant never revoked” may have been of help in a first phase of the new dialogue between Jews and Christians, but it is not suitable in the long run to adequately express the magnitude of reality," Benedict concludes.
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