Monthly Archives: June 2009

Are there Two Catholic Churches?

My latest encounter with the “post Vatican II”  Catholics over at Vox Nova, in conjunctoin with watching a film on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, has me wondering of , in the end, Averroes was right.

Averroes, whose Arabic name was Abū ‘l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rushd, was one ot the great est Muslim philosophers in history. He is known in the West because of his commentaries on Aristotle. 

Now, what’s interesting is that Aristotle’s science contradicts the Bible: far more than modern science  does.  Aristotle, for example, said the Universe was eternal.   The ancient Christians just threw Aristotle by the wayside, and one wonders, given the history of the West since the 12th Century, if that wasn’t the better way to go.

Anyway, Averroes developed a solution to the faith/science debate that has been adopted by many over the years.  And while Averroes is regarded as an Aristotelian, his explanation of how to reconcile science and religion is straight out of Plato–and Aldous Huxley.

Plato, in the Republic, teaches an idea called the “noble lie.”  He says that government creates religion as a way to keep the people mollified, and that while the “philosopheer kings” should know the truth of how the universe works, the Noble Lie of religion is a way to keep the masses in check.

So, Averroes says there is a truth of Philosophy and a truth of Religion, and that Religion is just a way of teaching Philosophy to the people.  The scholars can know the truth, because they have the knowledge to handle it, but it’s OK for the people to believe the religious version of truth.

It is also the basic idea taught by Gnosticism.  It’s what “Gnosticism” means: that there is hidden knowledge reserved to the Elite.

There is a persistent attittude among the liberals who graduate from modern Catholic universities which mirrors this.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been told in my life that I need to get a theology degree to overcome my overly simplistic view of Catholicism.

I have always taken solace in the saints, especially the mystics and mendicants.  They have a simple, Gospel-based faith, and try to live it.  They try to live radical poverty, and embrace sufferinng, and adore the Eucharist, and practice spiritual growth.

And in return they get rejected by the authoriities of the Church, who tell them they’re not practicing “prudence” and they’re being unrealistic and not acknowledging how the world really works.

And then you read someone saying that the Church”permits certian pious language” among the laity but generally thinks completely differently.

And it’s all very confusing.  One wonders if there are really two “Churches,” and whether that has always been the case.  I mean, it’s obvious that there are and always have been many sinners in the hierarchy, but that’s not what I mean.

I mean that, when traditionalists speak of cabals of Freemasons at the Vatican, manipulating the Holy Father and tthe Curia, that’s not just true now, or a hundred years ago, but since before the “Freemasons” existed in name.

I mean whether the Vatican really is like the  World Controllers in Brave New World, or like Plato’s philosopher-kings, telling all of us a “noble lie.”

I used to think that claim made no sense because there was no profit motive in it.  Now, knowing the lies that  have been perpetrated by the likes of Fr. Maciel, Cardinal Bernardin and Archbishop Weakland, knowing the vast extent of the Scandal, wondering how many “false accusations” in the history of the Church have been genuine, I’m quite troubled.

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Pro-lifer attacked by Pro-abort in SUV; CNN silent

From LifeSiteNews:

James Canfield, a regular pro-life protester of a Planned Parenthood and Women’s Health Center in Chico, California, was almost run down during a protest last Wednesday, according to the Chico Enterprise Record.  His alleged attacker, Matthew Haver, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Where is CNN?  MSNBC?  FOX?  ABC?  CBS? NBC?  NYT?  
Where are the calls for NOW to change their rhetoric?
Where are the cries that public schools are responsible for this incident for not teaching kids basic human development?
You’d think this would at least make it into SUV news.

St. Teresa of Avila on Spiritual Warfare

“I will now explain what mental prayer is, as some of you will not understand this. God grant that we may practise it as we should! I am afraid, however, that, if we do not achieve the virtues, this can only be done with great labor, although the virtues are not necessary here in such a high degree as they are for contemplation. I mean that the King of glory will not come to our souls — that is, so as to be united with them — unless we strive to gain the greatest virtues.[47] I will explain this, for if you once catch me out in something which is not the truth, you will believe nothing I say — and if I were to say something untrue intentionally, from which may God preserve me, you would be right; but, if I did, it would be because I knew no better or did not understand what I said. I will tell you, then, that God is sometimes pleased to show great favor to persons who are in an evil state [and to raise them to perfect contemplation], so that by this means He may snatch them out of the hands of the devil. It must be understood, I think, that such persons will not be in mortal sin at the time. They may be in an evil state, and yet the Lord will allow them to see a vision, even a very good one, in order to draw them back to Himself. But I cannot believe that He would grant them contemplation. For that is a Divine union, in which the Lord takes His delight in the soul and the soul takes its delight in Him; and there is no way in which the Purity of the Heavens can take pleasure in a soul that is unclean, nor can the Delight of the angels have delight in that which is not His own. And we know that, by committing mortal sin, a soul becomes the property of the devil, and must take its delight in him, since it has given him pleasure; and, as we know, his delights, even in this life, are continuous torture. My Lord will have no lack of children of His own in whom He may rejoice without going and taking the children of others. Yet His Majesty will do what He often does — namely, snatch them out of the devil’s hands.[48]

Oh, my Lord! How often do we cause Thee to wrestle with the devil! Was it not enough that Thou shouldst have allowed him to bear Thee in his arms when he took Thee to the pinnacle of the Temple in order to teach us how to vanquish him? What a sight it would have been, daughters, to see this Sun by the side of the darkness, and what fear that wretched creature must have felt, though he would not have known why, since God did not allow Him to understand!

Blessed be such great pity and mercy; we Christians ought to feel great shame at making Him wrestle daily, in the way I have described, with such an unclean beast. Indeed, Lord, Thine arms had need to be strong, but how was it that they were not weakened by the many [trials and] tortures which Thou didst endure upon the Cross? Oh, how quickly all that is borne for love’s sake heals again! I really believe that, if Thou hadst lived longer, the very love which Thou hast for us would have healed Thy wounds again and Thou wouldst have needed no other medicine. Oh, my God, who will give me such medicine for all the things which grieve and try me? How eagerly should I desire them if it were certain that I could be cured by such a health-giving ointment!”

(Way of Perfection, Ch. 16, paras. 7-8).

Minnesota Program encourages people to help, not crit

Great idea.

Corporal = Physical

Since His Holiness Pope Paul VI clarified in Mysterium Fidei that the Eucharist is the “corporal” presence of Christ, I thought I’d look up “corporal” on http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/corporal.  Sure enough, it defines “corporal” as “physical.”

Article: “Revolt begins against Obama’s Fascist Agenda”

That’s what the headline says.  While it starts off by accusing Obama of a eugenicitst agenda in “health care reform”, it goes on to complain that Obama is actually *cutting* federal programs or calling on funding of those programs by putting higher taxes on poor Americans.

In other words, this article claims that Left, at least the traditional Left (e.g., FDR/JFK types) are getting mad at some of Obama’s policies.

This is also supported by Phyllis Schlafly, who reports that the Senate budget committee is unhappy with the terms of the Obama/Kennedy “health care reform” plan, saying that it will a) cost too much, b) leave too many people out and c) hurt those who already have private insurance.

The shoe drops

Speculating regarding the idea of “minimum standard of Catholicism” advocated by the Catholic Left, a month or so ago, I argued that such a minimal standard should include attitudes towards the Eucharist and towards contraception.

Now, a blogger at Vox Nova, who says his research specialty is “ecumenism” (note: clear difference between a specialty of “ecumenism” and a specialty of “apologetics”), has written a piece claiming it’s heresy to say Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist.  He uses the testimony of an unnamed female theology professor and a bunch of Rahnerian doublespeak according to which “substance” is not something physical but something spiritual.

In the process, he claimed that anyone who believes the Eucharist has miraculous properties is actually a materialist(!) or a fideist. He said that those who believe the Eucharist is truly the Body of Christ are guilty of “Caphernism” (is that even a word?), saying that faithful Catholics who think Jesus is physically present in the Host are like the people at Capernaum who turned away at the Bread of Life Discourse.

I mean, that’s the epitome of poor logic: if you think the Eucharist is miraculous and cannot cause disease, you’re a materialist; if you think the Eucharist is the Body of Christ, you’re the equivalent of those who denied it.

All of this twisted logic to avoid giving offense to the Lutheran heretics, whose insults to the Eucharist caused so much sorrow for St. Teresa of Avila.

Philosophy 101: substance is that which makes something what-it-is.  Substance is what remains when a thing has lost all accidental properties.

I offered an immediate rebuttal, but here is one with citations.

First, excerpts from an EWTN article called “Modern Misconceptions of the Eucharist”, by Fr. Regis Scanlon (I think it’s the same one I quoted to “Anonymous” last month):

St. Thomas also gave a very good reason why bread and wine cannot remain after the consecration: “Because it would be opposed to the veneration of this sacrament, if any substance were there, which could not be adored with adoration of “<latria>”.”[9] If bread and wine remained, Catholics would be committing the sin of idolatry by adoring it. So, physical bread and wine do not remain!

Jesus is corporally, that is, physically, present:

Finally, in 196:S, Pope Paul VI taught most clearly that, after the consecration at Mass, “nothing remains of the bread and wine except for the <species> (smell, taste, etc.)” and that Christ is (bodily) present whole and entire in his lt;physical> ‘reality,’ corporeallypresent, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.”[11] So, the “<physical” thing> that remains after the consecration is Jesus Christ and not bread and wine.

On Rahner:

In 1966 the late Fr. Karl Rahner stated that “one can no longer maintain today that bread is a substance, as St. Thomas and the Fathers of the Council (of Trent) obviously thought it was”.[12] For Rahner, the “substance” of a thing did not include its <material and physical> reality, but the “meaning and purpose” of the thing. [13] So, according to Karl Rahner, transubstantiation meant that, after the consecration of the Mass, the physical bread remained physical bread but it now had a new “meaning” of spiritual food because it was now a “symbol” of Jesus Christ.[14]

I was speaking with a theologian friend of mine, a former department head at Duquesne, and he said that, in part, Rahner was right: we cannot identify Aristotelian substance with modern ideas of matter, but that does not mean it is not physical, since modern physics knows that the universe is composed of far more than just energy and matter.

But Rahner reduces the Eucharist to symbol by saying its “significance” changes.  The problem is a definitition of physicality which is limited to matter–in other words, materialism.