Friday, February 13, 2015

The Reality of Things...

In a the modern era of theology and philosophy the formation of thought tends toward Kantian idealism and Protestantism, especially in matters of first principles and our final end. It was not always so, up until approximately 300 years ago, most people lived in the realm of reality. They embraced the epistemological realism of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. Truth, rather than finding it's origin in my small mind, was discovered written into the nature of things. I discovered it with the use of my small mind. It was not something that I created or shape shifted, it was something that I ordered my life to. It demanded that I change. It still does. Dr. Peter Kreeft says of epistemological realism:

"..the object of human reason, when reason is working naturally and rightly, is objective reality as it really is; that human reason can know objective reality, and can sometimes know it with certainty..."

It was precisely this realism that when united to the sacred deposit of faith brought about Christendom. Kant, Hume, and Protestantism led the rebellion against this realism. Hume believed that the object of our knowledge began in the mind, in our ideas rather than in reality. Kant accepted Hume's work and took it a bit further. He believed that those ideas or thoughts that are the object of our knowledge actually construct or form reality. Those thoughts give a thing it's nature, a thing has no form until my small mind gives it one. The one who knows, determines the known object rather than vice versa. In other words, a thing does not have an essence or essential nature, rather it is given one by the knower. In short, this was the end of universals and the rational understanding and belief in an ordered and knowable universe governed by a natural law and ordered to truth, goodness, and beauty.

Kantian idealism is applied to nearly everything today. Marriage for example. The essence of marriage is now denied by most of the modern world. It is whatever I wish it to be in my small mind. Kantian idealism is applied with great fervor to the liturgy. Like marriage, the marriage supper of the lamb is simply a construct of the mind which can be manipulated to suit time, place or person. There is no longer a belief that the thing we call call Catholic liturgy has an essential nature a reality that is to be discovered and accepted as it is. Both of which are the product of a Kantian idealism replacing epistemological reality.

 Most of the modern world, even good Catholics have accepted Kantian idealism and Protestantism is one of the primary signs of this rejection of truth. Protestantism allows us to see the outcome of rejecting objective truth. Division, disunity, discord, they all reasonably follow the acceptance of Kantian idealism. Every individual is the arbiter of truth, it clearly will not take long before, ecclesial community after ecclesial community, like Luther, will reject their "supreme pastor" in favor the truth discovered in their own mind. The Catholic hierarchy is not immune to Kantian idealism. In fact, it seems the hierarchy of the Church is in complete chaos, other than the occasional word from the always rational and faithful Cardinal Burke. The ability of the Church to teach the faith is generally schizophrenic, even at the highest level. Why? The epistemological idealism of Kant has become the philosophy that governs their theology. This is not simply a problem of the council or even some time just prior to the council. Rather, it is the result of a long slow process of Kantian principles causing the deterioration of Catholic Theology and liturgy. After all, Kant was a Protestant who revolted against both true philosophy and true religion. In 1879 Pope Leo XIII wrote dropped a big fat truth hammer, clearly identifying the problem:

"Whoso turns his attention to the bitter strifes of these days and seeks a reason for the troubles that vex public and private life must come to the conclusion that a fruitful cause of the evils which now afflict, as well as those which threaten, us lies in this: that false conclusions concerning divine and human things, which originated in the schools of philosophy, have now crept into all the orders of the State, and have been accepted by the common consent of the masses.   Aeterni Patris

Pope Leo XIII believes that there is an objective reality. One which can be known and up until this point it was generally accepted. Even at the moment that Pope Leo XIII wrote Aterni Patris, the signs of the times were clear. Objective truth as it can be known both philosophically (Natural theology) and Theologically (Supernatural Theology) was becoming the the soothing ointment of the itching ears of humanity.  Too much of this ointment as Dietrich Von Hildebrand witnessed first hand in Germany, leads to the rejection of the dignity of the human person, tyranny, and eventually genocide. Von Hildebrand frequently said that accepting the objective truth was essential to a truly human life. He says that it's "dethronement" leads to a "decomposition of man's very life." He goes on to say in his book the New Tower of Babel:

"Disrespect for truth - when not merely a theoretical thesis, but a lived attitude - patently destroys all morality, even all reasonability and all community life. All objective norms are dissolved by this attitude of indifference toward truth; so also is the possibility of resolving any discussion or controversy objectively . Peace among individuals or nations and all trust in other persons are impossible as well.  The very basis of a really human life is subverted."

The quote from Von Hildebrand was written almost 100 years later. But as you can see we were still fighting the same battle. The denial of objective truth is the first principle of our culture. Most people believe that a thing is true if they simply say that it is. They believe that it is possible for the principle of non-contradiction to be the first principle of truth. If Christendom was marked by a unity of thought and belief in universal truth, the post Christian era is marked by a unity of belief in moral relativism. While we can see the effects of the denial of universals and the natural law in our conversations, the moral law, and the cultural life quite plainly, we are left to ask the question, does reason effect faith? Does it in fact effect what I believe about my origin, my purpose, and my supernatural end? The answer should be obvious. But for many moderns it is not. It is as if faith has retained a restraining order from reason and the two can no longer be within a 1000 ft. of each other. In order to restore the dignity of the human person and ultimately renew the culture we must recover what has been lost. We must recover the epistemological realism of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. A remedy given by Pope Leo XIII:

"philosophy, if rightly made use of by the wise, in a certain way tends to smooth and fortify the road to true faith, and to prepare the souls of its disciples for the fit reception of revelation"

Cajetan said of St. Thomas Aquinas:

(Because) "He most venerated the ancient doctors of the Church, in a certain way seems to have inherited the intellect of all" 

The teaching of Aquinas has been generally rejected within the Church. If the Church intends to recover, to restore her sacred liturgy, and to evangelize successfully, She must as Pope Leo XIII says restore epistemological realism and in the process the teaching of St. Thomas. Even heretics know the danger of a Church formed by the wisdom of St. Thomas's realism:

"For it has come to light that there were not lacking among the leaders of heretical sects some who openly declared that, if the teaching of Thomas Aquinas were only taken away, they could easily battle with all Catholic teachers, gain the victory, and abolish the Church. " Aeterni Patris

Faith and reason belong together. When they are united to each other reality becomes more clear. What we believe becomes more clear and our ability to articulate it becomes more clear. The enemies of the Church have no doubt brought Kantian idealism to bare on Catholic theology. It is time that the restraining order were lifted and the realism of Aquinas was brought to bare on Catholic Theology. As the Heretics well knew then, and will soon discover again, when St. Thomas is in the fight, there is no easy victory.

Pray the Rosary Daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus Have Mercy On Us!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nominalism and the Liturgy

Nominalism and the Liturgy. Great article from the guys at OnePeterFive.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cardinal Burke On Manly Virtue

Cardinal Burke says, Be Manly! Which means be Virtuous.

"Worsening this sad confusion of men in the culture, there has also been a terrible loss of home life. The culture has become very materialistic and consumer-focused, the pursuit of which has led father, and often the mother, to work long hours. The consumer mentality has also led to the idea that children’s lives had to be filled with activity: school, sports and music and all kinds of activities every night of the week.

All those things are good in themselves, but there has been a loss of balance. The home life in which children spend adequate time with parents has been lost for many families. Families have stopped enjoying meals together. I remember how my father gave us lessons and taught us manners at the dinner table. To spend time talking with my parents was very important to my growing up. When I was a young priest, I was saddened that parents and children told me that fathers and children rarely talked and, when they did, it was only briefly.

Families should have at least one meal together each week where the whole family is together. A boy or young man is unlikely to build proper manly identity and the manly virtues unless he lives with a father and mother, where he can witness that unique and complementary interaction between the male and the female in a home life in which human life can be welcomed, nurtured and developed." Cardinal Burke

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cardinal Burke says...

Another fantastic interview with Cardinal Burke. As usual his eminence is extremely candid. "The difference between the two forms is very stark." Pray for him!

"I understand that they are the same rite, and I believe that, when the so-called New Rite or the Ordinary Form is celebrated with great care and with a strong sense that the Holy Liturgy is the action of God, one can see more clearly the unity of the two forms of the same rite. On the other hand, I do hope that - with time - some of the elements which unwisely were removed from the rite of the Mass, which has now become the Ordinary Form, could be restored, because the difference between the two forms is very stark." Cd. Burke

Pray the Rosary daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus Have mercy on us!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cd. Napier On The Synod

Great interview. Check it out. Cd. Napier on the Synod

"When I spoke at the media briefing and criticized elements of the synod proceedings, I was by and large reflecting the views of our circulus minor [small working group of synod bishops]. To a lesser extent, I was expressing the concerns of the Church in Africa; and, third, I was raising my own disquiet, because I knew from experience how media distortions could and would spread confusion and even damage the Church’s clear teaching and practice as a long-standing exponent of what Jesus, the apostles, the [Church] Fathers and the magisterium had taught and lived down the ages.

Of particular concern was the dressing up in overly positive terms the irregular situations, such as cohabitation, divorce and remarriage, single-parent families by choice and same-sex relationships. When you are holding up the bar of moral uprightness, you cannot at the same time sing the praise of the contrary." Cd. Napier

Saturday, January 3, 2015

10 Popular Heresies

Heresies lead to the destruction of your faith. In order for one to have divine faith, which is the faith that saves, one must believe all that God through Christ in the Holy Spirit has revealed for salvation. An error, no matter how small regarding divine revelation, could be mean the eternal death of the soul. Of course, this is a good reason to stop acting like theologian when you are not. The pride of the modern mind, however, prefers to be the author of revelation. Thinking about God occasionally has become the measuring stick for whether someone is ought publicly announce the "truth" that they have discovered in their occasional thoughts. Most moderns in their rejection of objective truth, have relegated revelation to their own creation. In other words they believe that truth is discovered within themselves, not as something corresponding to the reality of things, rather, as a construct of their own particular thoughts. Truth is not something to discover, accept, and order human life to,  rather, it is theirs to create and manipulate.  These are philosophical errors regarding truth. However they are held by many as if they correspond to the very essence of truth. For this reason it is not unusual to hear the modern mouth speak so confidently in regards to error. While at the same time maintaining an obstinate unwillingness to consider any other position. They modern mind tends to believe that there is no objective truth, and therefore, that which they have concocted in their small shallow minds, that which makes them feel good, provides them comfort, and excuses them from change or conversion, is as good and true, as the truth itself. While all the while it is diametrically opposed.

One error, no matter how small, if it is obstinately held when the truth can be known, is the death of divine faith. No one can have true faith, who does not hold as true all of those things that God has revealed for our salvation. Let us be clear about something: IN order to hold an error we often have to be aware of the truth. Not always but often. Think about it, if I suggest that Jesus was not actually God but merely a man, it is likely that I will encounter someone who suggests otherwise. Someone who is adamant that Jesus is fully human and fully God. That moment of conflict is an actual grace. It is the movement of the Holy Spirit through an agent who is open to Him. The person in error is given the opportunity to reject his error and embrace the truth. There will never be a point in that person's life after that actual grace is given that he does not know the truth. It was given to his intellect and he had the opportunity with his will to accept or reject it. If he chooses to reject it in favor of the error, he has indeed rejected not the person explaining the truth, rather, the grace given to him by the Holy Spirit to be converted. While he may accept it later, until he does, he remains outside of a state of grace, and without the virtue of divine faith. As a result of his own free choice. If he dies in that state, barring a miracle, hell is the most logical option.

There are a number of different ways that the Holy Spirit conveys truth to us when we obstinately hold error. He uses his agents (other human beings who believe and have divine faith), Though He may even use an agent that does not believe. He may use things that we read or watch, so that, truth may be made clearer. Through holy scripture and the writings of the saints truth is conveyed. But make no mistake the will of God and subsequently of the Holy Spirit, is that your mind is ordered to the truth that God has revealed for your salvation. Not the truth that you like the most or that feels the best or that makes you the most comfortable. The Holy Spirit does not inspire us to comfort and good feelings. He inspires us to union with Christ, a union that requires an acceptance of pierced hands and feet. The Holy Spirit does not inspire us to hold error, it is not a part of the job description of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, as He is the Spirit of Truth.

That same Spirit of Truth overshadowed Mary. At the annunciation the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would "conceive of the Holy Spirit." Mary was free to say no thank you. It was as if the entire universe was holding it's breath momentarily waiting for her to say "be it done unto me according to your will." Her will was free, her mind was free, and God did not force her to say "be it done." Mary prepared herself for that moment her whole life. From the time of conception God prepared Mary, she was without original sin. She was sanctified by a particular and special grace in the womb, which prepared her to become the new tent of meeting, the dwelling place of Christ, and the doorway to grace and salvation. She said yes to all that God had revealed to her for her salvation and for ours. Mary ordered her life and her yes, not to her own good feelings, or the constructs of God she had created in her mind, rather, she emptied herself in humility to that which God had revealed for her salvation.

Error is deadly. Some things are good but when they are filled with an admixture of error, the absence of that good becomes evident. No amount of calling error good can rectify the error and the damage that error can do. Truth is not beholden to philosophical or theological spin. In other words, error does not become good because we found a small grain of truth in the midst of it.  A great deal of time is spent today, therapeutically affirming anything and everything. We call evil good. We call Abortion, healthcare, same sex disorders,  marriage and on and on. These errors separate us from the love of God, they drain souls of divine faith, and they make the human person's final destiny uncertain at best.

Seek the intercession of Mary, do not act like a theologian when you are not. Pray for docility and humility to discover God's immutable truth. Consecrate yourself to Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And trust the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church.

Pray the Rosary Daily! Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy On Us.