Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Partridge Family, the Natural Law, and Happiness

"By mid-19th century, so anxious were Catholics in the U.S. to show themselves as Americans before they were Catholic, that even the greatest apologist the Faith has ever produced in this country, Orestes Brownson, felt obliged three years before his death to write: I willingly admit that I made mistakes, but I regard as the greatest of all the mistakes into which I fell...of holding back the stronger points of the Catholic faith...of laboring to present Catholicity in a form as little repulsive to my non-Catholic countrymen as possible; and of insisting on only the minimum of Catholicity" (Potter, p.29). ~After the Boston Heresy Case~

I know a guy. He was baptized Catholic. His family was nominally Catholic. By the time he was in his teens alcohol had control over him and he loved fornication as long as there were no babies involved. He was a nice guy, he always thought he would find the right girl and settle down and get married. But until he did, he needed to "date" all of them. He wasn't mean to them, would simply date them for a bit, fornicate, discover she was not the "right" girl, and move on. This guy didn't think that there was anything wrong with either of those things. He had convinced himself, that he was looking for the right girl, and this was the proper and most effective search method. The drinking, well, that was all in the name of happiness. Those habits lasted well into this 20's and early 30's. 

But, here is the thing. As a result, of his personal refusal to live out the natural law which is articulated in the 6th commandment and his unwillingness to accept Christ's revelation about what marriage is, he ended up rejecting nearly every teaching of the 6th commandment. He defended the "right" of homosexuals to marry, often publicly. He would say things like "what they do is their business." It doesn't affect me." He defended contraception and the sexual enslavement of women that went along with it. Never before, could you simply move in with a woman take everything from her as if she were your wife, and walk away whenever you wanted to. Contraception was a great invention. Did he think that way at the time? Maybe not that clearly, after all, he wasn't really a clear thinker, but, intuitively he knew that if you could eliminate the commitment of children from sex, why commit to marriage. So, he defended cohabitation and he defended divorce, because after all, if you could have sex without commitment, and live together without commitment, was the commitment really necessary? permanent? As long as you were "happy" you should stay married he thought. When you were unhappy, you ought to be free to "uncommit." Everything revolved around happiness. Whose happiness, why his of course! And really, why commit to something a woman or children until you were absolutely sure she could make  you happy. And all of it stemmed from a contraceptive mentality which refused commitment and the natural end of marital love, the life of a child.

Nature and The Law
We will get back to that guy later. It is a funny thing modern man's rejection of natural law. He frequently says that there is no such thing. He demands that he be beholden only to his own mental constructs. But, I ask, when was the last time the law of gravity changed? If we all ran around acting as if there was no unchanging law of nature governing gravity, would not things get ugly in a hurry. Birds are ordered to flight by their nature. Human beings, not so much. The modern "intellectual" crowd, loves to reject the laws of nature, but you rarely see them leaping out of a plane with no parachute. The only reality that can indeed make man free, is accepting that he is a part of the universe, not it's center. Man is not the mind that ordered and gave purpose to things, he is simply subject to them and as a result must operate within the parameters of the laws that govern nature. If he refuses to, there will be consequences. Scientists did not bring the law of gravity into being. It was always there, we were always governed by it and every thrillseeker throughout history, who lept off some tall building hoping he would conquer it has paid some price (to a greater or lesser degree). The reality is that scientist's merely discovered that the universe, our planet is governed by an unchangeable law of gravity. They did not create it. It is an objective truth of nature.

These laws are not like the laws of government. Cooperating with them does not make men less free. Rather, recognizing that they exist and choosing our actions within them, are the definition of true human freedom. Leaping from a plane without a parachute does not enable me to freely sustain my life. The plane however, is a product of man's understanding of the universal law that governs his inability to fly as does the parachute. As Frank Sheed once said:

"The utmost freedom for man lies in co-operation, obedience, harmony with the universe and it's laws." Society and Sanity

The law of nature however, is not the product of a mindless chaos. This is the rub for our modern intellectual friends and likely the reason they reject it. They cannot stand the idea that order comes from an ordered mind.  Imagine human life without gravity. Imagine plants growing if there were no sun. Consider this. When was the last time you witnessed an explosion that did not cause damage, chaos, and destruction. Ask yourself whether it is even plausible that two material things always existed from all eternity. Without anyone causing them to exist. These mystery particles that were caused by nothing, suddenly collided, exploded, and brought order and harmony. Nothing was destroyed or damaged. My mind cannot comprehend the irrationality behind the theory. It hurts. In fact, if the reality is that my human mind is taking orders from hyrodgen and oxygen than I am merely a slave. But, that is not reality. If we reject the idea that God is the author of nature, that He has ordered it and given it purpose we live in a quandry. We have to accept that we are the product of mindlesness. We have no other option but to see ourselves as a player on a team without a head coach. There is no game plan, no play calling, no substitutions. If there is no mind behind the universe the alternative is that we are slaves to the mindless. Which inevitably leads to the rejection of man's dignity as he forces himself to seek his likeness in lower things. The modern "intellectual" movement suffers from this enslavement due to their flight from God and the natural law.

"There can be no enslavement so total as that of minds to the mindless. And if there be no Mind behind the universe, then mindlessness says the last word as it said the first. But the mind of God is there, and it is with Him that we are to be in tune, in obedience to His laws that we are to find freedom." Frank Sheed ~Society and Sanity~

The rejection of a divine mind in favor of the philosophy of mindless disorder takes me back to my youth. In light of recent events it seems to me that modern philosophy has gone the way of the partridge family...

"Happiness"
Men of the West in various degrees and with a variety of different words seem to have embraced this philosophy. Do you hear any of the modern "intellectuals" even attempting to address the great minds of Western Culture? Who needs Aristotle or Plato, Augustine or Aquinas. "C'mon get happy!" But is it really that simple? Can we simply impose upon reality a view of happiness conceived of in the mind of the individual. St. Thomas says of happiness that it is not a feeling. Your pets do not experience happiness. There are three primary ways that we possess happiness, essentially, antecedently, and consequently. Unlike the feeling of being together and singing a song, our consequent and antecedent happiness, depend on our essential happiness. Which is rooted in our acceptance of or our rejection of the order of things and their reality and the divine mind, who does the ordering.

"Man's happiness consists essentially in his being united to the Uncreated Good, which is his last end..to which man cannot be united by an operation of his senses." St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theolgica

God is pure knowledge, pure intellect, and pure free will. In order for us to be united to Him, we have to accept that the universe is His. He ordered it and gave it purpose. The natural law is a part of His design, a product of His mind. The universe is not mindless and we are not subject's of  this mindlessness, rather, we are son's and daughters of the divine mind. Made in His image and likeness, with the intellectual capacity to overcome the mess that has become collapsing Western Culture and the will to reject the C'mon get happy crowd, in favor of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Can two men marrying each other actually lead to true happiness? If you are a reality sceptic like Decartes and Kant, you might be willing to accept that happiness can result from rejecting the laws of nature. Nevertheless, it only works in a mindless world. In that world, happiness can be whatever we want it to be as the world has no order. If God is dead as Nieztche once said, all things are permissible. Because, there is literally nothing governing reality. Under what authority do they even impose a definition of marriage? The government? It would seem that the only recourse of the mindless, is the power to govern. If there is no natural law, the government must be used as a tool to impose ideologies. The flight from God, throughout the course of history has been the impetus for the greatest tyrannies, of which the mind can conceive.

That man in the beginning, was me. Twelve years ago, If I were to take time away from my disorders to write (which I would not have), I would have written exactly the opposite of that which I write today. There are those who are obstinate, I know, I was for a very long time. Those people need you to be courageous and aggressive when you encounter them. Remember, people change, minds and hearts can change. They are free. Be courageous, fear nothing, and fight relentlessly! Remain close to the sacraments and prayer, Jesus Christ will supply the grace. Do Not Let Your Continence Fall! Do not let the Partridge Family Philosophers of the day get you down. In the end they lose. Yes, because Christ! But also, because their relationships of choice are STERILE! They do not have children, and they despise the natural law and God's revelation. In rejecting it, they destroy themselves and their future. Do not insist on the minimum of Catholic faith, fear not that you will repulse anyone with the stronger points of Catholicism! Those are not mistakes that you want to regret on your deathbed, I know I don't.

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




Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lesbians, Vatican Websites, And the Unchecked Violation of Canon Law


Check out the link Lesbians and Vatican Websites.

The Church has one fundamental problem today. One which is at the core of all of the others. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi, is no longer the first principle of of all of her work. Now in reality, it cannot change. The Law of prayer (rightly ordered worship of Christ the King) will always inform the law of belief. If worship ceases to be fitting, if it ceases to be rightly ordered, if the mass, say was to look more like what you might find in a protestant ecclesial community, if in principle it were to break from Apostolic tradition, and the true theology of the Church, well, then the law of belief would very likely be thrown into a state of chaos and flux. Which would likely lead to a crisis of faith and of course the practical manner in which the faith was lived out would cease to be Catholic in nature. That is exactly where we find ourselves today. The vatican is overrun not just by modernists, but by homoheretics. They are clearly everywhere in the heirarchy and the priesthood. Which is why we find a Catholic priest saying things like:

"Church Sexual Morality Is in Motion."


"increasingly perceived in its personal and holistic dimension."

"There has been a move away from a traditional understanding of the sexual act as procreative towards a more personalistic view, Lintner continues, and it's this mediation between the two different views of sex that is "difficult" with regard to homosexual acts. He claims the Synod on the Family has evidenced a "rethinking" of the Church's approach toward homosexuals."



Philosophically
Fr. Lintner is indeed either a modernist or a homoheretic. There can be no other explanation. We can pretend that he is innocently incorrect in his understanding of the Church's teaching on marriage and the moral law, however, that would be to reject his humanity. He has an intellect and a will. To my knowledge neither are defective. To make arguments against the "traditional understanding" one must at least banally know what that understanding is. Those are what we used call in police work, clues.  When a priest presents solemn nonsense and he says that the "traditional" things are changing, it tends to mean that he knows at least basically what they are, he does not prefer them (that is in the will), and he is going to present you with an alternative.

The natural moral law, or what Fr. Lintner calls "Church sexual morality" is not in "motion." The Church's teaching on human sexuality derives from her understanding of the human person. An understanding rooted first in the natural moral law and the reality of things.

"Now some people think everything just is MERELY LEGAL. For the NATURAL IS UNCHANGABLE AND EQUALLY VALID EVERYWHERE-fire, for instance burns both here and in Persia." Aristotle ~Nicomachean Ethics

The great pagan philosopher Aristotle understood that any law that men made had to first correspond with the natural law. The law of things as they are written into the universe. If a government or anybody for that matter were to make a law that rejected what could be known from reason, which did not correspond with the "unchangeable" natural law, which is legally valid and binding on every human being everywhere, that law would be indeed unjust. Reality has order. You and I would be dead if the Sun did not help plants to grow. Because plants produce oxygen and food for other animals. As a result, we are able not only to breathe, but to forage for food, whether it be plants or other animals. And of course, thanks to the Sun, the earth is warm enough to support life. You could reject all of that order, but you would have to make yourself stupid.

Philosophically, morality is not in motion. Men and women who are a part of the created order are biologically designed in a specific manner. By nature their bodies are ordered to each other as an end. And the end for which they are ordered is unitive, procreative and the education of those little procreations. If nature had intended for two men or two women to have babies, it seems to me, 1% of the population would not be struggling with the disorder of same sex attraction, rather, 1% of the population would be struggling with the disorder of opposite sex attraction. Quite simply, same sex attraction is an imperfection, but one that can be overcome, once it is accepted as a disorder. Every sin is a disorder. Fornication is a disorder, adultry is a disorder. To overcome them, we have to take the first step, which is honestly evaluating ourselves and our actions and giving them their proper name.

 If the act of two men or two women pleasuring each other was natural it would be for the good of the species, not for personal pleasure alone. If it were natural, human beings by nature would be drawn to it. Long before Aristotle, humanity would have drawn to a close, as a result of the lack of human beings to populate the world. We can choose to pleasure ourselves by any means we want. However, that does not make the means a good, nor does it make it natural. For something to be good it must correspond with the dignity of the human person, we cannot call something good that obviously rejects the natural biological order of the human body. This is akin to saying that though my car is not ordered to flight, I am going to drive it off of this cliff. The expectation that there would be no damage done to your car, or your body for that matter (Since you are not ordered to flight either) would be utterly irrational. The only motion of sexual morality, is a movement away from what is natural, true, good, and beautiful.

When Fr. Lintner says that it will be increasingly "PERCEIVED in it's personal and holistic dimension." Perceived is an enlightenment buzzword. When a Catholic uses this word as a synonym for truth. You can be certain, of one thing, he is anything but a Catholic in thought and he is not about to tell you the truth. This word is a Descartes buzzword. Descartes, did not believe that our external senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing) could be trusted to discover the reality of things around us. He believed that they brought only uncertainty. He frequently spoke of what we perceive, rather than what is. Truth then is relegated to the perception of individual human persons. It is a mental construct of the individual. Two problems with that little bit of philosophical nonsense. These folks never live that way. They generally proclaim their perceptions as truth. Has Fr. Lintner not done this? His perception that sexual morality is in motion is juxtaposed against the traditional understanding. He presents one as if it were more true or more good than the other. He wants to teach us that there is no unchanging natural moral law which we can know and as a result are bound to. In his world everything is in flux. But if we cannot trust our senses, one wonders, why should anyone trust his?

Problem number two with his little perception is truth spiel. It professes a truth, while denying that truth is universal. These poor stupid ideologues, have to live with this contradiction everyday. Sidebar: Point it out to them when you can. Ask them if they believe in universal truth. I do it all the time. They generally say no. When they do, ask them to give you a good reason for why you should pay them any attention, if there is no universal truth, what need have you of their perceptions? You have your own. Continuing, if his perception is true, why isn't the traditional perception equally true? Why can't we both be right? The ideologues, will have no part of it. They deny truth exists, while attempting to force you to accept their personal mental constructs as if they were universally true according to the laws of nature. It is asinine fatuity. And you ought reject it on it's face!

Theology and the Law
Fr. Lintner ought to know (if he doesn't he is at fault) that the law of the Church regarding marriage is unchangeable. Not because the Church hates anyone, but because, the Church calls all men and women of good will to live a fully human life in union with and subordinate to the witness of Her King, Jesus Christ. A life rooted in the truth of the natural moral law and the divine revelation of Jesus Christ. If Fr. Lintner is not aware of this, we can only attribute it to a faulty will. He is after all a priest of Jesus Christ and he has clearly assumed a position of teaching authority. In doing so, he is speaking on behalf of Christ and the Church. His obligation is to speak the truth in charity. He clearly knows that there is a traditional teaching on marriage and he is choosing to put forward something entirely different.

To summarize. The Old Testament begins with begetting. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, bring everything into existence from nothing. In unity and divine love, they freely bring forth the entire order of created things, including a man and a woman, and they bind themselves through a covenant to Adam and Eve. They were created to image God. They were given a mind to know the truth about reality and a will to choose the good. But, they are also an image of the love of the Holy Trinity. The union of man and woman, and their procreative power are a participation in God's free creation of the universe and right ordering of it. Men and women, are free to bring forth life and then to rightly educate those children so, that they may grow in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and charity in the Lord. Scripture begins with the creation of and subsequent marriage of a man and woman. Not two men, not two women. A man and a woman, there is not fornicating, no adultry. Sounds a bit like the natural law. They are able to bring forth children from this union. God later reveals the natural law to Moses in the 10 commandments. These are things that we can know from reason alone. Children need a mother and a father to raise and educate them. And children ought to honor their mother and father (male and female). Men and women ought to be faithful to each other in marriage. Infidelity, adultry, fornication, same sex unions are not faithful to the marriage bond. And of course there is Sodom and Gmorrah.

Jesus fulfills the work of the Father. In creation, the Father wrote into reality both the biological unity of man and woman, and the supernatural unity of man and woman in marriage. Jesus elevates the bond of a man and a woman in marriage to a sacrament or a holy covenant, through which His grace will flow. He says:

"Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder." Mt. 19: 4-6

Jesus in union with the Father, clearly defines marriage. As I always say when we have a good definition, we know exactly what a thing is not. It is not divorce, fornication, or sodomy. St. Paul who fully understood this definition and encountered during his time in Rome, not some "progressive" manner of living, but rather, a disorder, which was contrary to the natural law and to the law of Christ given by his lips in the gospel said:

"Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about god for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen! For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. their women exchanged NATURAL relations for UNNATURAL, and the men likewise gave up NATURAL relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their ERROR." Rom. 1: 24-27

So, Christ says in accord with the manner in which things were created the manner in which you will most fully achieve human freedom is to act in accord with your nature. St. Paul seems to concur. The result of rejecting your nature in favor of "unnatural" relations, is a life of misery bound to pleasure. Your destiny is to live like a heroin addict seeking it's next fix. A life turned in on itself seeking only your own "personal" pleasure. If it feels good do it. Nothing in the gospel about that commandment, nor in the history or tradition of the Church. It would seem that the moral teaching of the Church is unchangeable like the natural law. The Code of Canon Law defines Marriage in this way:

Can. 1055 1. "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized."

Can. 1056 "The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility, which in Christian marriage obtain a special firmness by reason of the sacrament."

I am beginning to believe that Fr. Lintner along with Cardinal Kasper may not be very honest men. At the very least they are incompetent to hold their positions as teachers of the Catholic Faith. The code goes on to give specific instruction about the pastoral care that a Pastor is to give the faithful:

"Can. 1063 Pastors of souls are obliged to take care that their ecclesiastical community offers the Christian faithful the assistance by which the matrimonial state is preserved in a Christian spirit and advances in perfection. This assistance must be offered especially by: 
1. Preaching, catechesis adapted to minors, your, and adults, and even the use of instruments of social communication, by which the Christian faithful are instructed about the meaning of Christian marriage and about the function of Christian spouses and parents."

In other words, when the homoheretics preach a gospel contrary to that of the Church they violate the code of canon law. Where are the swift hammers that were swung to drive the FFI's out of existence? Mercy demands that they be swiftly and justly dealt with they are rejecting their canonical duties for the care of souls. They teach what is contrary and they even use the Church's instruments of social communication. The canon demands that Pastors teach the "meaning of Christian marriage and about the function of Christian spouses and parents." But men like Fr. Lintner (as we know there are many in the Church today) utterly reject it in favor of the archaic views of sinful men. There is nothing new and progressive about man's inability to control his sexual desires. Moses talked about divorce, Abraham slept with Haagar, and Solomon had a handful of concubines. None of this is "progressive" morality. It is the failure of man to know himself, and to seek a life of discipline, self control, and most importantly virtue. Fr. Lintner is preaching a gospel of vice. The gospel of pleasure seeking. Not a single word in the gospel from Jesus or anyone else about making sure you are pleasured above all things. They preach a gospel that says divorce is ok, marriage without babies is fine by us, and men can trade the natural relationship for the unnatural all in the name of "perception" as the highest good. They preach pleasure, without the use of reason. They preach a human nature that is banal and divorced from it's true dignity and high calling.

First and foremost pray for these men. Pray fervently. But be bold. When you run into one of them, have no fear of confronting him. Ask for St. Anthony's intercession, he is after all the Hammer of Heretics. Prayer is necessary, action is to. Confrontation is not evil, it is necessary. Christ's teaching on marriage was confrontational. His encounter with the woman at the well was confrontational, his confrontation with Peter when he rejected the cross was necessary, His encounter with the rich man was confrontational, and of course he once fashioned a whip. He did go out into the world, he did dine with sinners, he did love everyone and desire their salvation. He did not force a soul to convert. Not a single soul. He confronted the culture, he lived counter to it. Everyone could see he was different. The apostles followed Jesus in "fear and awe" the gospel of Mark tells us. He was not of the world. He did not come to dish out soup and give blankets. He came to free us from our sinful rejection of truth and our desire to bind ourselves like the lower animals to the pleasures of the flesh. He confronted the nonsense and he did it in charity. Be bold, live in reality, and be holy!

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

Monday, June 29, 2015

Imago Dei and Cultural Collapse II


    
 The internal senses are powers of man’s rational soul, they are located in no particular place within the body. That is because the rational soul is immaterial in nature as a result the powers themselves are immaterial, they cannot be measured empirically. These powers work in harmony with the external senses. The four internal senses are a product of cause and effect. The existence of a effect can lead us to seek it’s effect. We discover the nature of a cause “by studying the effects that proceed from it.” The four internal senses are the common sense, the common sense, the imagination, sense memory, and the cogitative sense. The internal senses require a bit more fleshing out.

     The common sense is that sense which receives all of the sights, smells, and sounds and any other information from the external senses, brings them together and makes a coherent picture of the object being sensed. It knows the difference between sound and color. The mental image that I am sensing whether it be an airplane or a statue, is temporary and lasts only as long as the image is being sensed.

     The imagination is also an image making power, it comes from the latin word, imaginari, which 
means to picture oneself. The imagination unlike the common sense stores an image permanently. What we observe with the common sense can later be stored in the imagination. Another important difference is that quite obviously, the image in the imagination is not as vivid as the image when it is present. St. Thomas Aquinas considered the imagination to be an invaluable aid to the intellect in the discovery of truth. It aids the intellect in abstracting the essential nature of things in the visible world. 

     Sense memory is the internal sense that helps us to recall certain things or events of the past. It differs from imagination in that it always deals with past experience. They tend to be more factual and relative to our past experiences. Without the aid of this sense, every encounter with a thing would seem an entirely novel and new experience. Memory is invaluable when it comes to education. “To learn means to take permanent possession of an object of knowledge,” permanent possession is held in the memory. Without it, learning would not be possible. 

     The final internal sense is the cogitative sense. This sense is akin to the instinct in an animal. It is the sense that enables us to make an instantaneous judgement as to “helpfulness or harmfulness of something with we come in contact.” It provides a nearly immediate response to a stimuli. St. Thomas believed that it was difficult to draw a strict line between the “judgements of the cogitative sense and judgments of reason.” The judgements tend to be closely related to a rational deliberative judgement. 

     The highest powers of the soul are the intellectual powers. It is a necessity that the external and interior senses be understood, so that man can take his rightful place among the creatures. As St. Thomas says, “in God alone His action of understanding is His very being.” In the human person the intellectual powers of the soul, while they are the primary way in which we image God, they are simply powers. In God, however, “His intellect is His essence.”God gave man the intellectual capacity to know the truth and to choose the good, however, the process for man is more arduous and at times quite difficult. It requires the use of his body and his interior external and internal senses. With respect to man and who he is, if he begins to think to much of his ability to think and do, he may squander his freedom on choices that do not promote the common good of the culture. Though created with an intellect and a free will, Adam found himself in precisely this predicament.

     The intellect and the will are two insoluble powers. The will never operates apart from the intellect. Therefore, it is always in possession of a greater or lesser degree of knowledge. The will is ordered to action or doing the good that we know. It is dependent on the intellect. Man’s intellect is capable of taking things apart, so that he can come to a more profound understanding of what they are and how they fit together. The proper object then of the intellect is being or as St. Thomas reminds us, “being as revealed in the essential nature of things.” Another way to state it, is truth. The intellect is concerned with the discovery of the truth about things and their nature. The universe was created by God, therefore, while there are many moving parts, they amount to an integrated whole. This is not to say that the will cannot move the intellect. The will can cease any particular intellectual operation, guide it’s direction, encourage a lazy intellect, and assist the intellect in overcoming distractions. At times it is difficult to determine where when begins it’s work and where the other ends. Nevertheless, the work of the external senses in union with the internal senses give the intellectual powers the information they need to discover the truth about the created order and to act on that truth.

     In the loving providence of the Father, he forged us with the ability to know the and choose to love Him. He revealed His plan for our salvation over time, culminating in the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ. John uses describes the incarnate son as the Word, in an effort to clearly define His participation with the Father in creation. All of the powers of the human soul are ordered to this revelation and to the restoration, through grace of the life of God which was lost in the free choice of Adam in the garden. God the Father, through the Son, gives us His grace through His Son and the sacraments that he instituted, particularly the Eucharist. Jesus says in the gospel, “unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise Him on the last day.” (Jn. 6: 53-54) Jesus asserts implies that since the garden and until now, the divine life has been absent from the soul. His express desire is to elevate the nature of the human person to a participation in the divine life. This desire requires, the that the human person, recognize his dignity, accept Christ’s words, and receive his flesh with faith. This is new faith is a return to the harmony with God that was lost in the garden. God the source of eternal life through His Son restores the culture by making His dwelling within the human soul, which He has designed precisely for this communion.

     The nature of man is such that he is ordered toward truth and goodness. God has given him a share in His very own capacities in order that he might be a living representation of His attributes in the world. The loving communion of the Holy Trinity, is the image which man is made to aspire to and Jesus Christ gives us a share in that life so that the culture itself may be imbued with God’s holiness. However, in order for man to become the true living image of God, he must first accept who he is and reject any notion that he is the center of the universe, or that he is the source of all truth and goodness. The Kantian notion, sometimes referred to as Kantian idealism is that truth can be determined within our own minds and imposed on the world. This it seems is an extension of Adam’s philosophy, things are not actually what they appear to be. Adam’s moral relativism destroyed his culture, much the same way that it is destroying the current culture. However, God made man for more. His image of God and union with Christ are the key to the restoration of the culture. Man was created to know, love, and serve. As such he can be force for great good or the source of his own self destruction. If man is to flourish in harmony with Christ and one another, these fundamental first principles must once again be commonly accepted.

Those items in quotes if they are not expressly noted are taken from two books. The first is "Holy People, Holy Land" by Michael Dauphanais and Matthew Levering. The other is a book called Philosophical psychology by D.Q. Mcinerny. Brilliant men.

Keep Praying for me. I pray for each of you daily!
Pray the Rosary Daily!

Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Imago Dei and Cultural Collapse

     

What does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God? Scripture and tradition tell us one thing and a culture in flight from God want us to believe another. What we believe about man, who he is, his capabilities, and his destiny, inevitably shape the culture. If man is simply a product of randomly shifting organisms and gases, could we reasonably expect from him a well ordered society? Could he even definitively know who he was? The answer it would seem is a resounding no. He would be a slave to those mechanisms of the body which he has no control over. Man’s fundamental misunderstanding of himself and his destiny, in every epoch has meant the collapse of the culture. When man discovers that he is made in the image and likeness of God and orders himself to that transcendent truth it is the first principle of a flourishing culture. 

     God builds the first culture as we are told, when he creates the universe and everything in it. However, He has no reason to do so. He freely chooses to bring forth the universe from nothing. (CCC 296). By His free life giving choice, he gave man a share in his divine life, though nothing in the universe, not even man will make Him more perfect, more holy, or loving. (CCC: 295) God simply is the perfect fulfillment of those attributes. The universe is the product of a well ordered mind free to choose. The design of the universe has written into it’s nature order and purpose. (CCC 283) All of which can be discovered by the Human person, whom is a part of the universe and was designed to definitively know his place in it and order his life to that placement.

     God brings forth as a part of creation the human person. It is at that moment that God himself tells us who man is: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said be fruitful and multiply.” (Gn. 1:28).  Fr. John Hardon  defines image as, “a representation or likeness of something…and implies that one thing (the image) is both a reflection and pattern of something else.” When we say that man is in the image and likeness of God, we mean that he really and truly represents God’s truth, goodness, and beauty in the world. 

     In the recounting of creation we discover the first culture. It was a culture that was and is governed by a moral law and the arbiter of that moral law is God. Adam and Eve knew that and initially chose to abide in God and His word. They were given the freedom to eat of any tree in the garden but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of that tree, not even contact is allowed. In other words “the tree of knowledge of good and evil, indicates that God’s wisdom, not the decision of human beings, ultimately defines what is good and evil for human beings.” As long as they understood who they were and lived in accord with that truth, they reflected God’s love for them in the world. The result of their fidelity to what could be known by reason and what was revealed by God, was a profound holiness that sprang from union with God. This holiness was measured by a fourfold harmony, “between themselves and nature, between body and soul (no shame), between each other (one flesh), and between themselves and God.” As long as man freely chooses to abide by this design, they live “in the interior presence of God, a spiritual condition that elevates and perfects our bodily nature as well.”  When they lost sight of who they were, the culture of harmony was destroyed.

    In order to rebuild a harmonious culture there are certain facts about who man is that must be recovered. Man is a composite of body and soul. Hence his powers are below God and the angels and above the plants and the animals. Man is unique in that he has a body or matter like all of the lower forms of life, and yet his soul, his spiritual component is ordered to his eternal end, namely God. No other creature was created for God and for the high call of holiness, like man. Therefore, in His wisdom, God, formed man with a number of powers that correspond to his task of knowing and loving. St. Thomas Aquinas says of these powers, “the human soul abounds  in a variety of powers; -because it is on the confines of spiritual and corporeal creatures; and therefore the powers of both meet together in the soul.” The unique combination of a human body and a rational or spiritual soul require certain power if man is to attain union with God and complete the work set out before him as a result of that union. 

     Man is one. He is not a body and a soul glued together. He has a corporeal nature and a spiritual nature that are bound together and make him who he is. These two natures make “man a perfectly unified creature.” This does not mean that there isn’t a hierarchy of being involved. The soul is far more important than the body, we say that “the soul is subsistent.” Which is to that the soul enjoys the freedom of being able to exist on it’s own. The body on the other hand loses it’s essential nature when it loses the soul. It ceases to be a body and becomes a decaying corpse, while the soul maintains it’s essential nature and it’s rationality. 

     Within this unity is a complex set of powers that aid man in his pursuit of truth and goodness. St. Thomas Aquinas says that “there are five genera of powers of the soul.” Consideration will be given to three, his five exterior senses, the internal senses and the intellectual powers. 

     It is important to address the external senses because since about the time of the 17th century and Rene DesCartes, skepticism has been cast upon their reliability. The five exterior senses of man are sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. Descartes thought it fitting to call into question whether the human ability of these highly specialized organs could be trusted. They were designed to put the human person “in contact with a particular aspect of the physical world in which we live.” As previously stated the world is ordered and knowable. The rejection of the universal human ability to trust the exterior senses is devastating to any culture. Yet, this epistemological view is widely hailed as a triumph in today’s culture, most notably, for example in the widespread acceptance of the theory that we cannot know for sure what a particular person's gender is or what marriage is. 


     Each one of these senses has a corresponding organ. The sense of sight is conducted by the eyes and is perhaps the most important to all of the other senses. It puts us in contact with actually existing things an aid to the other senses. Our ability to hear sound resides in the ear. Sound is also integral to the rational soul, as it is one of “the principal means by which meaning is conveyed.” The third exterior sense is the sense of smell, as conducted by the organ the nose. While not as meaningful for determining the meaning of things, for example smoke in a building. “Aristotle considered the sense of taste to be something of an extension of the sense of touch,” in order for us to taste something contact with that thing is required. Touch on the other hand tends to be acquainted with pleasure or pain. We know if something is to hot or to cold the moment that we handle it. One thing is for certain we know. On those few rare occasions we are uncertain, we can turn to our internal senses for aid. 

Those items in quotes if they are not expressly noted are taken from two books. The first is "Holy People, Holy Land" by Michael Dauphanais and Matthew Levering. The other is a book called Philosophical psychology by D.Q. Mcinerny. Brilliant men. Stay tuned for part two, the internal senses and the intellectual powers.

Keep Praying for me. I pray for each of you daily!
Pray the Rosary Daily!
Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Natural Justice..

     
The virtue of justice plays a central role in understanding the philosophical principles of Aristotle. He understood justice as a virtue that was imbedded so deeply in the existence of things, that he asserted it was of itself natural. Aristotle’s view that the universe is ordered and knowable lends itself to the idea that there are universal principles that apply to all. As such he believed that there were two types of justice. Natural justice and legal justice.
     
Aristotle used the word natural to describe the type of justice that is written into nature itself. It is a type of justice or law, that can be known by reason and does not require a written law. In 1134b20 he says, “The natural has the same validity everywhere alike, independent of its seeming so or not.” In other words, there is a law that it is written directly into the fabric of creation, which is universal. All human beings are bound to this law, whether they accept it’s existence or not. 
    
In 1134b25, Aristotle says “the natural is unchangeable and equally valid everywhere-fire, for instance burns both here and in Persia.” Another example that would manifest the truth of this statement is that the murder of an innocent human being is always and everywhere wrong. Our ability to know that is written into our ability to know things and to know ourselves. For example, as a reasonable man, I am capable of assessing my life. I can ask the question, “is my life valuable?” or “do I want to die?” The honest answer to the first question is yes and to the second, no. I value my life to the point that I do not wish for anyone to harm me or try to take it from me. It is therefore, reasonable to believe that ,if I, a human being, value my life, Dr. Shaw, a human being values her life as well. It does not take long to discover that human beings generally value their lives, and do not wish have it violently taken from them against their will. This natural law is universal. It is the same from every culture in every age. 
    
On the other hand, legal justice is that justice which is imposed upon a society or culture by means of those in authority. This is to say that a governing body has determined that some act  is wrong and in the process of this deliberation, they have enacted a law. Governing bodies often decide what is right or wrong in a society or a culture and enact laws. The problem that we face today is that “…everything just is merely legal.” (1134b25). This can bring about a great deal of confusion within society. 
     
To hold this position is to hold that everything just is subject to those who are in authority. There is no higher authority than those who hold power over society or culture. If this were the case, it would be possible at some point to deny that life is a universal good and right. For example a society might begin to ask the question when does life begin? Thinking that the answer depends not on nature or reason, rather, on the power of men to decide. The universal law governing the taking of innocent life may be called into question. When two zebras procreate, we do not wonder whether or not the thing growing in momma zebra’s womb is a human being or a platypus. When and eagle lays eggs, we do not wonder whether or not the contents of the eggs are human beings or elephants. We know that the thing contained therein is a zebra or an eagle. In the latter, case there is in fact a federal law prohibiting the destruction of the life within the egg at any stage. Nevertheless, we know that when a man and a woman procreate and the woman is with child. The thing in the womb is a human being. It has human DNA, it’s own. It is growing. A sign that the thing is alive. And therefore, in order to abort the continued growth of the human life, in other words to stop it’s growth, we have to end it’s life. This is contrary to the natural law that all life is valuable and no one has the right to take an innocent life. 

   
  It is important that the natural law be known and understood by all who are in authority to enact laws upon the governed. If natural law is rejected or held in contempt, those who make the laws, will begin the slow decent into tyranny. Tyranny, begins with the rejection of universal truth. Accepting that the only binding laws that exist are those who are enacted by those in rightful authority, is the acceptance of a reality that is relative to those who are in power at the moment. We can see this error in the one child policy in China or the killing of innocent Christians in the middle east. Does the fact that ISIS holds power, justify their elimination of Christians for simply being Christian? Even though laws may very from culture to culture, disagreement does not prove that there is no natural law. Disunity and disagreement exist. They are however, a sign that perhaps someone is right or wrong. If they are not than it seems to me that we are willing to accept that power determines truth. That truth itself is relative. If that is the case, one is left to ask simply what was wrong with Hitler, he had the legitimate power to make and enforce the laws?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Four Causes


In Aristotle’s work “Physics,” he asserts that the things of the universe are ordered and knowable.  Aristotle gives us insight into how these things ought to be understood  if we are to discover the truth which is written into it. Aristotle approaches things in a very systematic manner. He begins by discussing nature and the nature of things, which leads to his discussion on change or movement. This of course helps us to understand what things are. 
     
“Of the things that exist, some exist by nature, others through other causes. Those that exist by nature include animals and their parts, plants, and simple bodies like earth, fire, air, and water-for of these and such like things we do say that they exist by nature….”
     
     To begin with Aristotle claims that there are those things that exist by nature. Things that have a particular form. All things however, have an intelligible form, in other words, we are able to discover the essence of the thing. In this sense Aristotle believes that we can discover not only what a thing is, to know its form, but, why a thing is what it is. When we know what and why a thing is, we are more easily able to discover the purpose of the thing. We are able to discuss with greater clarity the true nature of the thing.
     
Can the nature of a thing change? Change in Aristotelean terms does not refer to the essence or nature of the thing necessarily changing. 

“…for each of them has in itself a source of movement and rest. This movement is in come cases movement from place to place, in other it takes the form of growth and decay, in still others of qualitative change.” 

The first example he gives of movement is really the only example he gives that involves moment as we tend to think of movement. Some things have local motion or move from place to place. The other two however, are not movement or change in location, rather, an actual change in the the thing itself. The second manner of movement is what he calls growth and decay and the third is an actual change in the qualities of the thing.
     
So, for example, if I had a bed frame made of solid oak. The frame itself would not have local motion, it would move only if I and my large friends decided to move it. Nor would the bed frame likely grow. Though, the wood, prior to being cultivated for the purpose of a bed frame, had the quality of growth, as it was an oak tree. The bed frame would not likely decay, rather, the wood, which the bed frame is made of would decay. When wood is used to make a bed frame it does not suddenly become something other than wood, nor does it cease being wood, when it begins to decay. But wood tends to decay when it is in the forest and not when has been cured and stained and made into a bed frame. It’s qualities changed during the process of being chopped down and used for a bed frame. They may change again, if I decide to paint the bed frame. But a bed frame is not a natural thing. By contrast, a human being is born, moves about from place to place of it’s own free will, matures, grows, acquires wisdom, and dies, because this is the nature of a human being. Aristotle believes that nature begets change and that if we observe it closely enough, as a result of it’s order and purpose we can come to a deeper understanding of what it is. 
     
As previously mentioned the what or form is important to Aristotle. However, a wise man knows not only what things are, but why things are. In order to discover reason or why of a thing, we can think of them in terms of four different causes, material cause, formal cause, efficient cause, and final cause. 
     
A material cause is easy enough, it is the stuff or substance of a thing. This is an important consideration. It goes directly to the form of the thing. Why is a statue what it is? Because it is made of bronze or gold. This directs us to the matter or material of the thing. It is relevant and helpful, but it does not get us entirely to the why.
    
Next we can look at the formal cause of a thing. In each thing there is something about that thing, which makes it this thing and not that thing. It’s form is what it is. Forms differ. In the case of the oak bed frame. It was prior, an oak tree. As a bed frame it still has the quality of oak, but, has the shape and form of a bed frame. We say that a zebra is a zebra in light of it’s stripes, four legs, long face, and short mane. We do not confuse it with a fish, which has no legs, rather, fins and survives primarily in water. In this sense the form of a thing is also determined by it’s shape, structure and ability to perform certain tasks. 
     
Once again, this is helpful, but perhaps a third cause will enlighten us further in regards to why a thing is what it is. Here we look at how the bed frame became a bed frame, when it was previously an oak tree. We call this the efficient cause. Perhaps there was a lumberjack, and a carpenter, and a designer involved in the oak tree’s transformation from tree to bed frame. In the case of the zebra, it certainly did not generate itself. Nothing brings itself into being. It was likely the product of a male and female zebra, we call them parents.
     
And the last of the these we will call a final cause. The final cause tells us the purpose of the thing. What does it do? In the case of the bed frame, it supports a comfortable mattress and elevates it from the floor. In the case of our friend the zebra, it runs from lions and begets baby zebras.

    
 In all of this Aristotle is trying to tell us that nature has order. The idea that natural substances are ordered to a certain end is called teleology. Aristotle’s view of the universe is that there is order written into it and we can discover it if we are willing to look closely enough at things and honestly observe not only what they are, but why they are, what they are.