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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Philosophizing in the best possible way

Pope Leo XIII explains why it is important for Christians of an intellectual bent to read The Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas.

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. For, since it is in the very nature of man to follow the guide of reason in his actions, if his intellect sins at all his will soon follows; and thus it happens that false opinions, whose seat is in the understanding, influence human actions and pervert them.

Whereas, on the other hand, if men be of sound mind and take their stand on true and solid principles, there will result a vast amount of benefits for the public and private good. We do not, indeed, attribute such force and authority to philosophy as to esteem it equal to the task of combating and rooting out all errors; for, when the Christian religion was first constituted, it came upon earth to restore it to its primeval dignity by the admirable light of faith, diffused “not by persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the manifestation of spirit and of power,” so also at the present time we look above all things to the powerful help of Almighty God to bring back to a right understanding the minds of man and dispel the darkness of error.

But the natural helps with which the grace of the divine wisdom, strongly and sweetly disposing all things, has supplied the human race are neither to be despised nor neglected, chief among which is evidently the right use of philosophy. For, not in vain did God set the light of reason in the human mind; and so far is the super-added light of faith from extinguishing or lessening the power of the intelligence that it completes it rather, and by adding to its strength renders it capable of greater things.

We know that there are some who, in their overestimate of the human faculties, maintain that as soon as man’s intellect becomes subject to divine authority it falls from its native dignity, and hampered by the yoke of this species of slavery, is much retarded and hindered in its progress toward the supreme truth and excellence. Such an idea is most false and deceptive, and its sole tendency is to induce foolish and ungrateful men wilfully to repudiate the most sublime truths, and reject the divine gift of faith, from which the fountains of all good things flow out upon civil society.

For the human mind, being confined within certain limits, and those narrow enough, is exposed to many errors and is ignorant of many things; whereas the Christian faith, reposing on the authority of God, is the unfailing mistress of truth, whom whoso followeth he will be neither enmeshed in the snares of error nor tossed hither and thither on the waves of fluctuating opinion. Those, therefore, who to the study of philosophy unite obedience to the Christian faith, are philosophizing in the best possible way.

The best way back from the Jesuit Church of Reason that has replaced the traditional Roman Catholic Church is a rejection of its surrender to the world and its prince. And the intellectual foundation for this rejection and subsequent reformation will be found in the Church Fathers.
In La Nuova Chiesa di Karl Rahner, Stefano Fontana soberingly traces the genealogy of Pope Francis’s “open Church” back to Rahner, the towering radical suspected of heterodoxy under Pope Pius XII. As Fontana shows, Rahner negotiated a “surrender to the world” which is being registered in this pontificate’s signature agendas—from Communion for adulterers and the ordination of married men to the enthronement of “conscience” and the rapid abandonment of evangelization.

Historian Roberto de Mattei likewise calls Rahner the Pope’s “grandfather,” arguing that the two Jesuits are linked through a third—Carlo Cardinal Martini, leader of the St. Gallen mafia and Pope Francis’s “father.” “The agenda of Cardinal Martini, which is the same as Rahner’s, offers us the key to understanding the papacy of Pope Francis,” says de Mattei, pointing to the Cardinal’s fiery last interview calling for the autonomy of conscience and Communion for adulterers.

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102 Comments:

Blogger Brick Hardslab September 18, 2019 10:18 AM  

It surprises me that people think there is something new about human nature. Philosophers hundreds of years ago understood more than our moral betters today.

Blogger David Ray Milton September 18, 2019 10:18 AM  

And from a historical perspective, the last few hundred years could be classified as a time of being tossed around the waves of fluctuating opinions. Too much philosophy without the source of truth.

Blogger Solon September 18, 2019 10:26 AM  

Amen to Leo XIII, and may the Catholic church be brought back to the light of God from the darkness currently brought on by the heretics currently defiling it, and I say that as a Protestant.

Blogger Dave Dave September 18, 2019 10:53 AM  

@3 At least there is a way to purge the church using its own history to justify it. I fear that the Baptists and other converged denominations are past the critical point. It's a good thing we can quote Aquinas and dozens of popes to explain why the Catholic church has gone astray. I was browsing through infogalactic about pope Benedict IX, one of the most hated popes ever. He's the only man to have been pope multiple times and the only man to have sold the papacy. Francis is an ant compared to that colossal embarrassment.

Blogger Jab Burrwalky September 18, 2019 11:05 AM  

Leo XIII was an amazing Pope. I pray often that we have another Pope like him soon.

Blogger Wraithburn September 18, 2019 11:12 AM  

A friend of mine and I were discussing something similar over the weekend. We were talking about the most lawyers aren't that great post from a week ago, and he mentioned one thing he learned in law school was "but for X" reasoning.

The idea is that anything we see or interact with in life we can say "but for X reason" it would not be so. There is a chain of causation that leads up to it. Each of which, has another "but for X" and so on.

He pointed out that in the end, everything is a moral judgement on truth. You have to choose, which of the myriad of different potentials is the actual cause of an event.

Your moral judgement is twisted without God, and everything else flows from that. "A wise man, therefore, would not accuse faith and look upon it as opposed to reason and natural truths, but would rather offer heartfelt thanks to God, and sincerely rejoice that, in the density of ignorance and in the flood-tide of error, holy faith, like a friendly star, shines down upon his path and points out to him the fair gate of truth beyond all danger of wandering." Pope Leo XIII is right.

Blogger The Cooler September 18, 2019 11:18 AM  

All is vanity.

Blogger Stilicho September 18, 2019 11:29 AM  

@Wraithburn: faith is the compass that keeps us safe when navigating the rocks and shoals of human reason

Blogger BrentG September 18, 2019 11:45 AM  

@MidnightSun: Why don't you leave and cull dissent among Christians elsewhere.

Blogger dienw September 18, 2019 11:48 AM  

Stilicho wrote:@Wraithburn: faith is the compass that keeps us safe when navigating the rocks and shoals of human reason

Yes.

Blogger Beau September 18, 2019 11:55 AM  

Solon said,

Amen to Leo XIII, and may the Catholic church be brought back to the light of God from the darkness currently brought on by the heretics currently defiling it, and I say that as a Protestant.

MidnightSun replied,

On being a Protestant I would venture to say your descendants were among the first to defile the Catholic Church by outright theft of their property, by destruction of its artifacts and expulsion of the laity from overwhelmingly Catholic nations all due to the fact that the leader of this movement knocked up his maid and had to justify his actions.

Solon offers a heartfelt blessing for the health of the other. MidnightSun returns a curse.

Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ told us,But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Solon certainly has.

Blogger Wraithburn September 18, 2019 11:57 AM  

@9 @12

Very true. My faith doesn't always tell me what the deeper meaning of something is, but as Euler points out God's truths are too great for our reason to understand. We have to be gifted with them and believe even if they superficially contradict things.

The atheists and freethinkers of the world miss out when they try to use evolution or some other science to bash upon God.

Blogger MJ September 18, 2019 11:59 AM  

Stefan Molyneux needs to read this.

Blogger VD September 18, 2019 12:05 PM  

You're banned, Midnight Sun. Do not attempt to comment here again.

Blogger thalios September 18, 2019 12:20 PM  

VD wrote:You're banned, Midnight Sun. Do not attempt to comment here again.

I really need to start searching for VD's comments when I'm not seeing what people have replied to. I'm confused easily. ;-)

BANNED!

Blogger Jason September 18, 2019 12:24 PM  

Went to a Catholic law school, though a Protestant, and was "forced" to read some Aquinas and several encyclicals. Wonderful Christian thought.

Blogger Roberto Masioni September 18, 2019 12:27 PM  

Christianity is faith and reason. Which part is which?

Blogger Beau September 18, 2019 12:32 PM  

Reading Thomas is good exercise for the mind and illustrative to the soul.

Blogger John Regan September 18, 2019 12:32 PM  

A lot of people think Francis is an anti-pope. Actually, a lot of people think we haven't had a real pope since Pius XII died in 1958.

As for reading the summa? Absolutely. The reasoning is sublime, precisely because it observes a proper epistemological hierarchy: Faith governs reason which governs observation.

Note that the "scientistry" often discussed on these pages tries to reverse the positions of observation and reason in the hierarchy. That's a deceptively large problem.

Blogger Crush Limbraw September 18, 2019 12:43 PM  

Augustine wrote: "Faith comes from hearing, understanding comes from knowledge and knowledge comes by sight!"
Furthermore, the bible absolutely confirms that statement.
Empirical evidence currently displayed in most quarters is that we have too much faith without understanding or knowledge and way too much 'knowledge' without faith or understanding.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd September 18, 2019 12:48 PM  

John Regan wrote:Note that the "scientistry" often discussed on these pages tries to reverse the positions of observation and reason in the hierarchy. That's a deceptively large problem.

If faith guides observation and faith and observation guide reason, how far astray could we go?

The problem with scientistry is that it ignores faith entirely. At that point, it really doesn't matter whether reason guides observation or vise versa: it's the blind leading the blind either way.

Blogger VD September 18, 2019 12:54 PM  

What part of "do not attempt to comment here again" was hard to understand?

You're banned, Midnight Sun. Don't bother trying to justify or defend yourself. You're expelled from the community and are no longer welcome. I do not want you here, so go away and stay away.

Blogger luisonmcbiel September 18, 2019 1:08 PM  

This is why I have been convinced by orthodox christianity

Blogger The Pitchfork Rebel September 18, 2019 1:08 PM  

@1

Of course, they had to look ahead and around to see the world as it was, not as it appears (ok, portrayed) in an AMOLED 5 inch screen that displays only the carefully curated. We like to call this "information technology" but it's just data overload.

How can this be the "information age" when we ignore people like the Angelic Doctor?

As a lifelong, "unrepentant" Catholic, (one who was counseled as a teen by a Priest mentioned in the PA grand jury report-who attempted nothing immoral with me and actually helped me secure summer employment in a "less robust" job market-so don't assume I am just naive about this stuff. I do find it vexatious.) I say this. Any Protestant or Orthodox who wants to stand with me against the likes of Jimmy Martin is a brother-in-arms. I'd rather deal with a Protestant of good will any day who openly disagrees with me than that subversive GE washout.

BTW, I'm not the only person whose travels have led me here and to Crisis Magazine.



Blogger Bernard Brandt September 18, 2019 1:12 PM  

I would agree with you, Vox, that a return to Aquinas and the Summa Theologiae would be necessary for the RC Church to escape its 'Babylonian Captivity' under the Jesuits.

But, in order to make the best use of the ST, there would first have to be a reform in the philosophical and theological education of the clergy (and of educated lay people in the Church).

It would require that clergy to understand Holy Scripture, and the languages of Scripture (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek); to understand the Apostolic Tradition, the Church Fathers, and their languages (Aramaic, Greek, and Latin), and the Magisterium, together with its languages (Greek and Latin).

It would also require an understanding of the history and literature of philosophy, starting with Plato and Aristotle, continuing with the Stoics and Epicurians, working through the Schoolmen all the way through to Aquinas, and then a study of modern philosophy, mainly to see how philosophy went off the rails with and after Descartes.

It is an irony of history that the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council recommended such a revision in philosophical and theological education, in the document 'Optatam Totius'.

And it is a testimony against the Modernist clergy that they ignored totally the recommendations in 'Optatam Totius'.

Blogger Doktor Jeep September 18, 2019 1:23 PM  

" a rejection of its surrender to the world and its prince"
Really.
Every day it's grating to observe how people, like moths to a flame, pick the courses of evil: backbiting, lying, cheating, and doing anything they can get away with. No reflection, no asking oneself "what's the best way to do this?".
It's not like everybody has a dying little girl at home and they desperately need to get money together to pay the doctor or something. It's not like they are desperate. Heck they don't even work hard enough like they care about keeping their jobs.
Tiresome

Blogger John Regan September 18, 2019 1:27 PM  

@21 Ominous The position I take, basically, is that observation is governed by reason because observations are random sensory noise without reason to interpret them. But then reason, although it is the means by which we explain everything else, cannot explain itself. So if we can't explain reason even though we rely on it all the time that must be because we have faith in it, which in turn means that faith governs reason, or put another way faith is the higher human faculty.

I wasn't really focusing too much on the latter point, tho. I believe it may be possible for an atheist, for example, to be rational even though he rejects faith so long as he doesn't go further and subordinate reason to observation. But then they will almost always go further. Just the nature of the beast.

Blogger Noah B. September 18, 2019 1:30 PM  

That's beautifully written.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan September 18, 2019 1:47 PM  

Yes that was a thing of beauty.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 18, 2019 2:09 PM  

John Regan wrote:I believe it may be possible for an atheist, for example, to be rational even though he rejects faith so long as he doesn't go further and subordinate reason to observation.
Atheists don't reject faith. I have never met an Atheist that wasn't a man of deep faith.
It's what they have faith in that's the problem. Usually they have a deep faith in an emotional response that hit them at the age of 13.

Blogger Beau September 18, 2019 2:11 PM  

Is there a published Christian summary critique/analysis of historical philosophies?

Blogger Ominous Cowherd September 18, 2019 2:17 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:It's what they have faith in that's the problem. Usually they have a deep faith in an emotional response that hit them at the age of 13.

That emotional response was: ``God's not the boss of me!''

Blogger anne September 18, 2019 2:31 PM  

Thank you so much for posting this. I've been grappling with faith and reason this summer, and this is glad confirmation that I'm on the right track.

Now to read Aquinas!

Blogger allyn71 September 18, 2019 2:37 PM  

Archbishop Vigano is a brave man raising these alarms and objections at great personal expense. He has been living in hiding fearing for his life since his initial disclosures about McCarrick and calling for Francis to resign. Please pray for him and all they Holy people of God.

St. Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis.

Blogger Damelon Brinn September 18, 2019 2:37 PM  

It is an irony of history that the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council recommended such a revision in philosophical and theological education, in the document 'Optatam Totius'.

Vatican II is a study in Modernism. The documents include many true statements, but are written in a way that those were easily ignored or interpreted as their opposite, while vague and confusing language was stressed. Some traditionalists try to interpret them "in the light of tradition" to parse out the good bits, but it's not an accident that those were being discarded in nearly every diocese before the ink was dry. That was the point.

Blogger Gregory the Great September 18, 2019 3:01 PM  

@31 Beau: There is a "Shorter Summa" which I read many years ago. It summarizes the arguments of Aquinas for those who do not have the time or the impetus to read the original.

Blogger Clint September 18, 2019 3:10 PM  

Beau wrote:Is there a published Christian summary critique/analysis of historical philosophies?
Beau, Ed Feser has a some good books in this area. He has an intro to Aquinas, a look at 5 proofs for the existence of God, etc. You might check him out on amazon.

Blogger Gregory the Great September 18, 2019 3:17 PM  

@25 Bernard Brandt wrote: mainly to see how philosophy went off the rails with and after Descartes.
Many people including Bishop Williamson of the "resistance" against the "resistance" of Archbishop Lefèvre think that a certain train of philosophy already went off the rail with Plato.

Blogger John Regan September 18, 2019 4:04 PM  

@38: I dunno. Augustine was a big fan of Plato, as big as Aquinas was of Aristotle.

Plato's ideas get warped by the prevalent political science take on him. Epistemologically, you can't really appreciate what Plato was doing unless you go back to Parmenides. Plato was largely reacting to him.

Blogger bodenlose Schweinerei September 18, 2019 4:06 PM  

the two Jesuits

There's the root of the problem right there.

Blogger Solon September 18, 2019 4:07 PM  

@11 re: MidnightSun's comment

Thank you. Protestants disagree with Catholics and Orthodox Christians on many things, but that doesn't mean we are enemies. Quite the contrary, we are all on the side of God, and there's no reason to be spitting venom at each other when there are FAR more worthy targets.

My wife is Catholic and wants our daughter to be baptized as a Catholic. Perfect! Great! I'm all for it. Why would I ever be opposed to bringing another child unto the faith?

If you're on the side of Christ, you're on my team, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, whatever.

I often despair that The Schism will not be mended in my lifetime, but that's alright, it has already been written that one day it shall be. Let's not be slinging stones at our brothers, eh?

Blogger Gregory the Great September 18, 2019 4:18 PM  

@39 As far as I understand it the most important Christian objection to Platos "ideas" or "forms" is that it throws doubt on the actual existence of God's creation, the created things only becoming meaningful through archetypal ideas in the souls of humans. Correct me if I am wrong, I have not studied this at length.

Blogger freddie_mac September 18, 2019 4:18 PM  

@19 John Reagan
A lot of people think Francis is an anti-pope. Actually, a lot of people think we haven't had a real pope since Pius XII died in 1958.

A number of years ago, I went to Rome with a church group and one of the churches we toured was St. Paul Outside the Walls.
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/basilica-of-saint-paul-outside-the-walls

An interesting bit of trivia is that there is a finite amount of room for the papal portraits in the basilica, and according to legend the Church (institution, not building) will fall when they run out of room. I was there during Benedict's tenure, and there was only room for 5-6 more portraits.

Blogger Alen September 18, 2019 4:36 PM  

Beau wrote:Is there a published Christian summary critique/analysis of historical philosophies?

Not exactly a summary, more like a historical analysis of each philosophy: A History of Philosophy by Father Frederick Copleston in 11 volumes. Probably the most monumental work of its kind. Obviously, the work of some Jesuit scholars is recognized as objective, while that of others is tainted with political agenda.

It’s the main history of philosophy I used as a student, and which has led me directly to reading Aquinas. Copleston admitted his own bias to St Thomas in the introduction.

Blogger David Ray Milton September 18, 2019 4:41 PM  

@Gregory The Great

It’s been a long time since I read Plato and never extensively, but that is correct from what I remember. In seminary a professor made an observation that many Christians tend to look at the physical/spiritual as a binary due to a Platonian influence, and the Biblical authors probably did not share this view.

Blogger The Pitchfork Rebel September 18, 2019 4:43 PM  

@27 @30 @37 (Mostly in agreement with @30)

How is it rational to affirmatively declare that the set DEITY is null, when we know it is impossible to prove a nullity. It has ALWAYS been my experience that as soon as you point this out, the real disposition is evidenced with pronounced affectations of fight or flight. That's when you realize you aren't dealing with an Atheist, but a MISOTHEIST. They may be functionally autistic (see musician Gary Numan), but many just despise the idea of a god or don't want to sort through competing claims.

Even if we accept the idea that there is NO EVIDENCE of (a) god, let alone The God, it's still subject to the question of what is evidence and the question of time. Nobody even thought about quarks until the 1960's and yet most atheists will accept the existence of the charm quark because science and stuff.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 18, 2019 4:50 PM  

The Pitchfork Rebel wrote:

How is it rational to affirmatively declare that the set DEITY is null

There is no such thing as a rational Atheist. Don't bother arguing with them. Just punish them until they go way.

Blogger Titanium Bear September 18, 2019 4:51 PM  

Is Whatever Happened to the Human Race by Francis Schaeffer relevant?

Blogger John Regan September 18, 2019 4:54 PM  

@39 @45 Well, you're not wrong in describing the dangers of putting too much stock into Plato, but we can't forget that Parmenides, through a pretty good argument, had previously made the case to Athenian intellectuals that the world perceived by the senses was entirely unreal and illusory.

I discussed this a bit here

So Plato allows for SOME reality for the visible world, and also allows for multiplicity in the "perfect" world (forms), which seemed a lot saner than the Parmenides outlook where the physical world is totally an illusion and the the whole of reality is one indivisible, unchanging and eternal thing.

As far as why Christianity would look favorably upon these Platonic ideas (as Augustine did) it's because these ideas, although pagan, are kind of analogous to the perfect state of heaven and the lesser fallen world that Christianity teaches. Or at least, that's always been what I thought about it.

Thanks for the challenging comments!

Blogger Sam September 18, 2019 4:59 PM  

Plato also has the advantage of providing an explanation/framework for things we see. Why do seeds grow into trees, why are their similarities between animals of the same kind, what is reason and logic tapping into, etc.

Blogger Haxo Angmark September 18, 2019 5:10 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger C-Speaks September 18, 2019 5:16 PM  

I was listening to someone who identified himself as a Seda Vacantist recently and he mentioned Leo XIII as the last legitimate pope. He may have been onto something.

Blogger ZhukovG September 18, 2019 5:31 PM  

I have seen the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of Protestants, Orthodox, Pre-Vatican II Catholics and even, strange as it may seem, Vatican II Catholics like myself.

Perhaps when Jesus granted the authority of "Binding and Loosing", he intended it for the the entire "Priesthood of Believers", not just some guys in Rome. Perhaps what he was saying was "Low Church, High Church; I don't care. I just want you to save the world in my name."

I think we sometimes throw around the word "heresy" to easily.

Blogger Hammerli 280 September 18, 2019 5:31 PM  

I'll have to get a copy. Is there a recommended translation? I fear I don't read Latin.

Although I do think there is a case for allowing married men whose children have reached adulthood to enter the priesthood. That particular decision of the Council of Trent was always controversial...but Francis is NOT the Pope who will be able to change it. Only Nixon could go to China.

Blogger James Pyrich September 18, 2019 5:41 PM  

Summa Theologica will be in my hands soon.

Blogger Beau September 18, 2019 5:59 PM  

Perhaps when Jesus granted the authority of "Binding and Loosing", he intended it for the the entire "Priesthood of Believers", not just some guys in Rome.

The hungry fed, the naked clothed, the lonely visited, the gospel preached, demons cast forth, miracles of healing, and the dead are raised by those who believe Jesus died and rose again regardless of membership in clergy status within a particular branch of His body.

Perhaps what he was saying was "Low Church, High Church; I don't care. I just want you to save the world in my name."

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

Blogger Bernard Brandt September 18, 2019 6:11 PM  

As regards the ongoing debate here re Platonism and Aristotelianism, the Greek Church Fathers (e.g. Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, Gregory Nazienzen, etc.), as well as a number of the Latin Church Fathers (Augustine, Pope St. Gregory the Great) tended to be Neoplatonists, and the Latin Schoolmen (from Anselm to Aquinas) tended to be Aristotelians. So, it would seem to me that Catholics who reject either Platonism or Aristotelianism might just be sawing off the branch they're sitting on.

I quite agree with Alen @44, that the History of Philosophy of the late Frederick Copleston is a monumental, elegant, and eloquent history of philosophy. I dunno whether the lads at Infogalactic have redeemed Le Wik's piece on that history, but I'm including a link for those who are interested. It would also appear that his publishers may have allowed his excellent works to go out of copyright and into public domain. I will note that all eleven volumes of his History are available in the public domain. I would recommend Copleston for anyone who wanted to do a survey of Western Philosophy up to the 1970s.

Anyhow, here's the link to Le Wik: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_History_of_Philosophy_(Copleston)

And, to Solon @41: It is recounted in Luke 2:14 that the angels, at the birth of Christ sang, "Glory to God in the Highest, and peace to all those of good will"(or something like that). Peace to you, my brother in Christ.

Blogger Beau September 18, 2019 6:13 PM  

Was hülfe es dem Menschen, wenn er die ganze Welt gewönne, und nähme an seiner Seele Schaden? Markus 8:36

Blogger Beau September 18, 2019 6:25 PM  

Peace to you, my brother in Christ.

Et cum spiritu tuo

Blogger weka September 18, 2019 6:29 PM  

Come on. There are more than enough generations of Calvinist Baptist theologians to quote.

The current generation of churchian apostates cannot hide behind title or denomination.

NB. Not Baptist, just well read.

Blogger weka September 18, 2019 6:34 PM  

Start with Francis Schaeffer. Then go back and read the church fathers. Matt Briggs is blogging his way through the Summa of you can't find the original.

And this prot supports his orthodox and papist brothers in reclaiming the church from the spirit of this age.

Blogger Jack (LJCSOGHMOMAS) September 18, 2019 6:37 PM  

I love Leo XIII's prayer to St. Michael, which used to be said at every Catholic mass.

"St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly hosts, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."

Blogger NewTunesForOldLogos September 18, 2019 7:12 PM  

Protestants, orthodox, and catholic are all separate tribes, but we must unite as one in the face of the common Enemy. God bless.

Blogger VFM #7634 September 18, 2019 7:57 PM  

"Thank you. Protestants disagree with Catholics and Orthodox Christians on many things, but that doesn't mean we are enemies."

I typically go easy on Protestants precisely because there are a lot of people out there who aren't Catholic precisely because of the last six anti-Catholic SJW antipopes and clergy putting themselves out there as the Catholic authorities.

After all, I wouldn't want to belong to a church run by those a--holes either. Thankfully, there are legit Catholic services out there organized by the CMRI and SSPV types, along with independent priests.

Only exception I take is when Protestants attack traditional, pre-Vatican II Catholic beliefs, which does happen sometimes.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 18, 2019 8:11 PM  

Jack (LJCSOGHMOMAS) wrote:I love Leo XIII's prayer to St. Michael, which used to be said at every Catholic mass.
The Archbishop of Portland ordered a year ago that it be recited after every public mass in his diocese.

Blogger SixtusVIth September 18, 2019 8:15 PM  

"Beau wrote:Is there a published Christian summary critique/analysis of historical philosophies?

For a one volume (1092 pgs) introduction try Rev. Thonnard's Short History.

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.90411/page/n13

Blogger stevo September 18, 2019 8:29 PM  

Copleston got me through my philosphy degree. I almost never used primary sources. I should have just read his history and skipped university.

Blogger CM September 18, 2019 9:22 PM  

Philosophers hundreds of years ago understood more than our moral betters today.

To believe in evolution, you must believe man is different than he was 2000 years ago.

I was listening to a RZIM podcast and the guy was mentioning that to be shocked by the state of humanity today illustrates a lack of understanding for the the fallen nature if mankind.

Blogger mrpinks September 19, 2019 12:33 AM  

The parts of Summa Theologica are all available for free at gutenberg.org

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz September 19, 2019 2:00 AM  

@freddie_mac
The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls medalions - I know that in the time of JPI there was only 2 left.
What is more important: https://infogalactic.com/info/Prophecy_of_the_Popes
Benedict XV knew the prophecy and he had choosen the Negro into his shield.

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz September 19, 2019 2:02 AM  

@VFM #7634
I always love to point that "the Black Mass" is the devil apping the Latin Mass, not the Novus Orco.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 19, 2019 2:36 AM  

"The problem with scientistry is that it ignores faith entirely. At that point, it really doesn't matter whether reason guides observation or vise versa: it's the blind leading the blind either way."

I agree with Snidely. It's not that atheists and science cargo cultists don't have faith, it's that their faith is baseless at best and idiotically circular at worst, and that they refuse to admit that they have faith because to do so would be to admit that they are liars, or to realize that they are fools.

Blogger Gettimothy September 19, 2019 6:02 AM  

The definition of 'Faith' is fundamental to the presented argument.

I am curious how the commenters here define 'faith'.

Here are a few I have seen.

1. pretense. to ignore reality in the face of incontrovertable evidence.
2. hysteria. snake handling, tony robbins coal walks
3. fear and ignorance. when confronted with other traditions, Campbells hero series for example, you cling to your tradition.

The rationalist is right to reject those manifestations of 'faith'. Before you cry 'straw man' let me point you to CBN



Clearly the Apostles did not have 'faith' in the sense of 1,2 or 3.

Fwiw, I define Faith as knowledge. It is not rational, nor is it irrational. I know that God is here because He has demonstrated to me, not through rational argument, but through His means that He exists. He has demonstrated to me that He is more real than reality, bigger than our minds and its reasoning.

I am curious what other definitions are out there as differences in definitions cause pointless discussions

Blogger Gettimothy September 19, 2019 6:04 AM  

@73 to clarify, those definitions of 'faith' are not present in the comments, and I am not denigrating anybody here. Those are what I have seen in my lifetime

Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 19, 2019 7:25 AM  

"To believe in evolution, you must believe man is different than he was 2000 years ago."

Converse, if man is fallen, degenerating, it would be expected that man is on average weaker, dumber, slower, and more blind than he once was.

Perhaps the only way to think one has gotten one over on the wise among the ancients is to have either lost their wisdom or found something they didn't cover, which isn't going to happen in the main body of the most basic disciplines.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 19, 2019 7:29 AM  

"The rationalist is right to reject those manifestations of 'faith'. Before you cry 'straw man' let me point you to CBN

Clearly the Apostles did not have 'faith' in the sense of 1,2 or 3."


That would make it a straw man to pretend to disdain all faith then, wouldn't it? It's still a straw man.

As for what faith is, it is not knowledge. It is superset to knowledge. You can't have knowledge without faith first. As for what faith does, the faithful and true make manifest the work of their faith. By their fruit you will know them.

Blogger John Regan September 19, 2019 8:05 AM  

@73 Very good point, there's a lot of confusion about what "faith" is.

It is not an exclusively religious thing by any means. Rightly considered it is just as indispensable to life as reason is.

I'd define faith as a reasonable belief in something that cannot be known with certainty. This would encompass religious belief of course. But it would also encompass belief in any future event, future events being unknowable. Since we always act in anticipation of bringing about some future event, rational action itself is impossible without faith.

The example I sometimes use is the sporting contest, say a football game. The two teams take the field both anticipating that they will win the game, even though it is certain that only one will. Without that faith, they'd never play the game at all.

Obviously this is analogous to a lot of things we do, or don't do, in life.

We can have a reasonable belief in this or that outcome and act to bring it about and fail, or have our efforts thwarted. Or we can succeed. If outcomes were always certain our actions would have no meaning at all.

There is a strong component of existentialism in faith, properly understood. The master at explaining and illustrating this was Soren Kierkegaard.

Philosophy again.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 19, 2019 8:08 AM  

Philosophically speaking, faith is how you can reason, because you must believe in several things in order to even think that reasoning is possible. After that, by reasoning you can develop knowledge.

Blogger PJW Gent September 19, 2019 8:09 AM  

A not too off topic thought, but isn't getting a college degree these days a form of indentured servitude?

Blogger John Regan September 19, 2019 8:19 AM  

@78 Yes, the way I've put it before is that reason explains other things but not itself. We can no more figure out where reason comes from, or why the whole universe seems susceptible to understanding through it, than we can figure out why certain combinations of sounds at certain frequencies are pleasing to the ear and make "music". It's not unreasonable to conclude that reason, like music, is something bestowed on us by a far greater but of course unknowable force.

And as Aquinas might say, "And this we call God."

But again, if I have an interlocutor that's an atheist or agnostic, what I usually try to stress about faith - like others who have commented here - is that it's not a strictly religious thing, that the atheist/agnostic acts based upon faith whether he acknowledges that or not.

Blogger Dan Karelian September 19, 2019 8:24 AM  

The foundation of faith is ultimately circular as is the belief in God. That doesn't make it invalid if you accept a theory of knowledge based on coherentism.

But to do so is to reject Aquinas and much of Western philosophy that is based on self-evident maxims. Furthermore the problems of Western philosophy go back far beyond Decartes.

The root problem is the dialectical tension set between Aristotle and Plato. That the One is set against the many on a metaphysical level.

For example Aquinas who professed the Trinity of God and believed that the second person became incarnate in the flesh, also was the first one to fully articulate the Western doctorine on God's simplicity. If he was more consistent with his absolute divine simplicity he would have adopted a modalist (heretical) position.

This is all due to his Hellenic presupposition that distinction in God must mean division or composition. Both Prots and RCs have this underlying pagan belief.

But how can Jesus be divine and God be a Trinity if God is also absolutely simple Aquinas?

Blogger John Regan September 19, 2019 8:40 AM  

@81 Good stuff. But it's not a presupposition, it was the conclusion of a line of reasoning set out by Parmenides, that both Plato and Aristotle were reacting to. More Plato. And the line of reasoning has a lot to recommend it, which as you point out is one reason the Trinity became an important doctrine of Christianity.

Intellectually, Christianity had to maintain both that God was entirely one and absolutely simple yet somehow divisible such that the incarnation was possible. This cannot be explained or justified and so occupies the position of a revealed "mystery".

But there again, Kierkegaard is a big help when he points out that reason encounters a "paradox" as a limit, and that's where faith kicks in, so to speak.

Blogger Dan Karelian September 19, 2019 9:20 AM  

@82 It is a presupposition from which virtually all Hellenic philosophers line their reasoning from. You can examine what foundations are required for both Aristotle and Plato to accept in order to react in that particular way, even if their paths diverged. Of course without divine revelation they really had no chance to think outside of the box metaphysically.

More importantly only the West had to maintain the Absolute divine simplicity of God. Though the East also believes that God is simple (not absolutely so) it is also maintained that there are real ontologically existent distinctions in the energies of God and that the persons are distinct, one of whom entered into a tropos that the other two did not. Yes there is mystery to the Trinity in that God is unlike any created thing and therefore is not bound by our intuitive sense of Aristotelian categories. He is both one and many.

The fundamental difference between the West and the East is the ADS doctorine which led to the filioque and therefore Papal supremacy. Where as the East accepted that the energies of God through which He interacts and operates in creation are distinct from the essence of God, which is absolutely unknowable. Nobody will stare into His essence in the afterlife.

For anyone interested in the subject I would recommend that you read 'Disputations with Pyrrhus' and the debate between Baarlam and St. Gregory of Palamas.

Blogger Richard Rahl September 19, 2019 9:50 AM  

@44 Alen,
In your studies did you cover Saint Gregory Palamas and/or Saint John of Damascus? The reason I ask is because both critique Thomas Aquinas' (John indirectly as he lived before Thomas) Absolute Divine Simplicity and I'd be interested to know what you though about those critiques.
I am currently reading through the Church Fathers writing in Philip Schaff's work. So I will get to that point eventually, but it's a ways off. Cheers.

Blogger Gettimothy September 19, 2019 10:18 AM  

@78 and @80

Thank you for your responses. I cannot argue from Kierkagaard, but it appears you are putting Faith squarely within the realm of the natural.

It is my opinion that direct knowledge of supernatural has diminished since the early Church.

Yes, under one definition of "faith" the materialist must "have faith" that somehow abiogenesis occurred. The materialist has no knowledge of abiogenesis.

When God blinded St. Paul, did St. Paul not gain his Faith? Did he not know God in a way he did not as a Pharisee?

Clearly "Faith" meant something different after his road to Damascus moment. Prior to Damascus, he reasoned from scriptures, after Damascus he knew in a way that was impossible prior to Damascus.
We see the same principle with the stories of Abraham and Noah. They talked to God.

St. Paul defines faith in Hebrews as Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (bold mine)

In this verse we see two senses of the word: "assurance" and "conviction"; where I render "conviction" as "knowledge".

Clearly the sense of "conviction" is lacking in those who cling to the 3 definitions of faith I cited earlier because if they had "conviction" they would not put up with the bullshit they were practicing.

Perhaps I am wrong to render "conviction" as "knowledge", but I do not think so.

I am both convinced and know that within the domain of N that 2 + 2 = 4.

I am convinced that Conservatives will never reduce the scope of fedgov, but I do not know that Conservatives will never reduce the scope of fedgov.

By direct experience/revelation, I know that God exists and that "conviction" does not even enter the conversation; it is knowledge beyond Reason.

Knowledge > conviction.

It is subtle, and I am afraid I am not smart enough to tease out the distinction in any exact sense (Paging J.C. Wright!). However, assuming I am correct in the distinction, the fact that Christendom and its historical achievements exist make a lot more sense. They created Christendom because they knew in a way we do not. Their faith was knowledge, "ours" is pretense.

Sustinet fides absque dolo

thank you for your patience.

grace and peace

Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 19, 2019 11:43 AM  

"The foundation of faith is ultimately circular as is the belief in God. That doesn't make it invalid if you accept a theory of knowledge based on coherentism."

Truth > faith > reason > knowledge. Knowledge is not truth, it is the belief by faith that one understands that part of the truth. Coherency is based in knowledge of logic such as A = A, !A != A.

What you are saying is just as backward as the atheists, because you are still saying that reason justifies faith and that faith is otherwise baseless. Faith is not circularly dependent. Truth is what is. You can call truth circular if you like, but I would hope you can see how meaningless that statement is.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 19, 2019 12:03 PM  

Gettimothy, you are using "knowledge" in the sense that it is revealed truth. I don't know if it's good usage. Too many people use it for what they are convinced of regardless of whether it is true or not. Unsurprisingly, liars pervert nearly everything.

That being said, conviction can be seen in two ways. That he is expressing his conviction, or that his conviction has been impressed on him. It depends on which has greater agency. The original language might be more helpful.

Blogger PJW Gent September 19, 2019 12:12 PM  

John Regan said: "the atheist/agnostic acts based upon faith whether he acknowledges that or not.

I have always thought that all arguments proceed from a fundamental a priori (the center of the logic onion the argument is based on) AND it is a given that all base a prioris are matters of faith. As such, any argument between an atheist and a theist will begin with "NOT GOD" or "GOD" and are both statements of faith upon which both then build their reasonable arguments. However, when push comes to shove, not every a prior can marshal effective arguments of reason and may find that the evidence begins to call their a priori into question, such as the problem of the complexity of creation to the atheist.

Blogger Gettimothy September 19, 2019 12:27 PM  

@87 "you are using "knowledge" in the sense that it is revealed truth."

Yes

" I don't know if it's good usage."

Was it good usage for the Apostles? They literally knew God who revealed Himself to them.

"conviction can be seen in two ways. That he is expressing his conviction, or that his conviction has been impressed on him. It depends on which has greater agency. The original language might be more helpful."

Fair enough. However, the example of the Apostle's knowing God speaks to knowledge gained by conviction impressed on them.

I concede it is a fine point and I further concede that I am not the man to accurately and fairly tuss out the distinctions.

Furthermore, me googling "St. Thomas Aquinas Faith Definition" will not settle the matter any time soon.

thank you for your time.

Blogger Gettimothy September 19, 2019 12:44 PM  

@88 You hit the nail on the head.

'presuppositions' is a good word for your 'fundamental apriori'. Christian presuppositions are far better than materialist presuppositions.

Is Faith, then, the knowledge that those presuppositions are true? And, to use Lewis' quote: "It is not that I see Christianity, rather it is by it through which I see" demonstrate that he knows that Faith > Reason?

Posing the conjecture another way. The meaning of "Faith" depends on whether one has Faith or not.
To the Rationalist, faith is at best a legitimate presupposition, worse, complete lunacy, even worse, a lie.

To the Faithful the even consideration of the presuppositions is just another rational exercise independent of the Source of the Faith.

Anyhoo, I will leave it there.

cheers.











Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 19, 2019 2:32 PM  

"Was it good usage for the Apostles? They literally knew God who revealed Himself to them."

Don't know. It was good enough for the person who translated it as such into English.

Blogger Alen September 19, 2019 5:16 PM  

@84 Thanks for the interesting question!
I know of John of Damascene, as he is a well-known Church Father, and haven’t heard of Palamas. I see he is strictly a theologian, and Copleston never mentions him, probably because he left no significant philosophical contribution. I mostly studied philosophy, and read some theology that I thought was interesting enough.

A critique of Aquinas’ notion of divine simplicity sounds compelling, and I found this interesting sentence in a chapter on Aquinas: ...but the divine substance cannot be necessarily related to creatures, since in that case God would depend in some way on creatures for His very existence, while on the other hand God, as absolutely simple, cannot receive or possess accidents.

And then there’s a whole chapter on ideas in the mind of God that might shed more light on this notion:
"If by idea one refers to the content of the idea, then one must admit
a plurality of ideas in God, since God knows many objects; but if
by idea one means the subjective mental determination, the
species, then one cannot admit a plurality of ideas in God, since
God’s intellect is identical with His undivided essence and cannot
receive determinations or any sort of composition."

Not sure if that settles it, probably not, but I tend to lean toward Aquinas in these abstruse matters, since his notion of simplicity seems to be based on substance and essence, not on plurality of ideas. But I would love to hear the specifics of their critique.

Blogger SirHamster September 19, 2019 6:03 PM  

Gettimothy wrote:St. Paul defines faith in Hebrews as Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (bold mine)

In this verse we see two senses of the word: "assurance" and "conviction"; where I render "conviction" as "knowledge".


Faith deals with what is not seen and what is not yet received.

I liken it to persistence of belief. We don't know what tomorrow brings, but one can have faith that tomorrow will be like today based belief.

With respect to knowledge, faith acts as if it knows what is not known. No one actually knows what tomorrow will be like, but one can act in faith on what tomorrow and eternity will be like, and reap accordingly.

Blogger Gettimothy September 20, 2019 5:00 AM  

@91 They use the word in a stronger sense than your defs in @87.

https://biblehub.com/greek/1650.htm

Cognate: 1650 élegxos (a masculine noun) – inner conviction focuses on God confirming His inbirthing of faith ("the internal persuasion from Him," see 4102 /pístis). See 1651 (elegxō).

This definition aligns with God placing His divine nature in the man. Stated differently, the new Adam literally knows things the old Adam cannot.

That said, this statement undermines my assumption that Faith is knowledge. Oddly, I only aquired Faith by refusing pretense and fakery and insisting on truth both inwardly and outwardly. Unfortunately for the natural man that I was, the truth is sin and slavery to it. Yet, Trust and Hope came by God's "revelation" as the old man rebelled and wrestled against the truth of his own damnation.

God has ways of making Himself known to fallen man in unmistakeable ways. Perhaps faith is the difference between "God exists because.." and "You exist!". The former is the presupposition, the latter is the knowledge...what I have labelled 'Faith'


I will have to wrestle with this for some years to acquire the vocabulary to state the nature of the phenonema.

thanks for your time.

Blogger Dirk Manly September 20, 2019 1:41 PM  

@27

"I believe it may be possible for an atheist, for example, to be rational even though he rejects faith so long as he doesn't go further and subordinate reason to observation."

Wow, are you ever mistaken:

Atheists have no faith?

"There could not possibly be a God" is one of the strongest statements of faith there is. It's a faith that contradicts all logic and reason.

Blogger Dirk Manly September 20, 2019 2:07 PM  

@54

And Only Clinton/Bush/Obama could take a tactical edge against the Soviet Union and turn it into a wholesale sellout of the nation's economic foundation.

Blogger Dirk Manly September 20, 2019 2:31 PM  

@79

"A not too off topic thought, but isn't getting a college degree these days a form of indentured servitude?"

It's worse.

Indentured Servitude was for a specified, pre-agreed-upon period of time.

Student loans have no such limitations, and can literally last a lifetime.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 20, 2019 9:56 PM  

"That said, this statement undermines my assumption that Faith is knowledge."

That would be my point. I know the word knowledge is used in some English translations, but that doesn't have the same gravity as what they said. The conviction was impressed upon him by God. That's in a different weight class than knowledge tangentially acquired from your senses after having faith that your faculties have all served you well.

The Creator would logically have the ability to communicate somewhat more thoroughly and with higher fidelity than the five common senses allow. Pun aside, here is a lesson itself. Fidelity is another common form of the word from which faith is derived. It isn't just believing, nor is it the strongest form of knowing, it also necessarily results in accordant action.

Blogger Richard Rahl September 20, 2019 11:46 PM  

@92 I've only listened to lectures and haven't read the debates or the primary source materials concerning this debate yet. I don't pretend to fully understand the arguments, but it is something that interests me. From what I understand Saint Gregory Palamas' Debate with a Barlaamite (Dialogue Between an Orthodox and a Barlaamite), Saint John Damascene, and Saint Maximos the Confessor (among other church fathers) all argue that there are distinctions between Holy Trinity's essence and energies which opposes Aquinas' ADS. This is one of the main differences between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theologies. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Cheers.

Blogger Gettimothy September 21, 2019 5:58 AM  

"That would be my point. I know the word knowledge is used in some English translations, but that doesn't have the same gravity as what they said. "

Thank you. That is a key I sight.

Blogger John Regan September 21, 2019 9:20 AM  

@95

This is a challenging comment. Thank you.

I was being pretty tentative. Maybe a better phrasing is that an atheist can be rational up to a point. The basic logic of atheism stems from a valid but unsound argument :

Everything real is empirically observable
God is not empirically observable
Therefore God is not real

The conclusion follows from the premises but the major premise is wrong.

I don't know if that makes the point any better. Appreciate the exchange.

Blogger Gettimothy September 21, 2019 1:21 PM  

@azure, I am at my factory job until Monday and am limited in time and keyboard.

Your reply circles back to my first comment about 'definitions' and this back and forth has demonstrated my original suspicion that 'Faith' meant something more then than it does now.

Nailing down, then popularizing a word or phrase that conveys that deeper, Supra(?) 'knowledge/conviction' will be a useful tool in getting beyond the mis definitions of what Faith is.

Think 'disarming' R. Dawkins' definition.

Thx

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