Category Archives: Philosophy

Truths & Duties: A Catholic Political Catechism, Part II

 

What is said in the video, above, in Italian, I repeat here in English.

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As I explained in the Introduction to this Catechism on Catholic Politics, Catholics have a duty to participate in politics. In this second part, I want to  list the truths of our holy Faith and the truths of natural political philosophy, which motivate and guide and explain the duty of Catholics to take an active and leading role in the political life of their nations.

Principles of our Holy Faith

  1. God has created the world. But not just any god. Our God. Our God has created everything, for His honor and glory.  Since God has created everything, His is the sovereignty over everything. Since He is our God, it is our responsibility to care for and rule over all creation and lead it back unto His honor and glory.
  2. God has created man.  And not just any god. Our God has created mankind. Our God has created us. He has created each man for His honor and glory.  And hence it is the responsibility of every man to seek Him and live in this world in accord with His will. Thus, our responsibility for creation means also a responsibility to care for all men, believers or not.
  3. Our God made man to His own likeness and similitude. Each man. This means that the dignity of the individual human being is greater than the dignity of any other earthly creature and thus greater than anything man can make with his own hands, whether that be the State or a robot or any thing. It also means that the individual, being made in the likeness of the One God Who is unique, represents and embodies his dignity as an individual, and not just as a member of any collective or as a mere human being. This means that he is the fundamental context of all duty and right. It also means that in politics, we Catholics must respect individuals as individuals, and not just as creatures or humans, but as persons made in the image and likeness of God. This also means that each of us has been made to share in a community of truth, justice and life, both in this world and in the world to come. Hence all politics must aim at the preservation, defense and service of truth, justice and life.
  4. Our God created the human family. Thus Catholic politics must serve and benefit the family as the fundamental institution of human existence and human society, and as the fundamental unit of political life.
  5. God created man and woman that they might accomplish His will which is to be fruitful and fill the earth and rule over all the living things of the land, sea and air. Thus, the family is prior and takes precedence to all of the environment and creation. And it must be protected, preserved, defended and supported, for the future of the nation, culture, society and economy.
  6. However, our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned and fell. And hence it is that now without God we cannot attain our end or fulfill the duties He has given us in the way He wants us to. For this reason, in politics, we Catholics must recognize that the State cannot save mankind, that there are problems which no law can solve perfectly or completely, and that there are many problems which no law can solve in any way, as the root of the problem transcends the physical and material and human world.
  7. But the Son of God, Jesus Christ, became man and died on the Cross to redeem us. Hence, the Divine Plan that all come to know God through Jesus Christ is the preeminent solution to all human problems which transcend nature and mankind. Hence it is that Catholics in politics need to protect the mission of the Church and the freedom of Catholics to live their faith in all parts of society, for their liberty to do so is the very hope and salvation of the whole body politic.
  8. Only Catholics who have passed from death to life, from sin to salvation in Baptism and by the practice of their faith can have the spiritual requisites and capacities to act in politics in a way which is free from sin and which can liberate the whole of society from the sins and vices which sprout up out of the sin of Adam and Even. By grace and faith, Catholics alone can fulfill the Divine plan for mankind, and hence the Divine Plan for man in society and politics.
  9. Hence, it is a solemn and grave duty for every Catholic who is faithful to bring this world and the family back to God and into the right order with all things.
  10. And this is what it means to be a faithful Catholic in politics. This is also what Catholic politics means.

Principles of Christian Political Philosophy

  1. The word politics comes from the Greek for city, “polis”. And this is not just a truth of etymology, this is a truth of human society. Because the first public society is the city in which the human family lives and exists and works and worships and buys and sells etc.. Thus there is no true politics which does not benefit the city. And every political ideology which subordinates the good of the local community to some other purpose, is fundamentally politically exploitive.
  2. God alone is God. The State cannot be God, nor has it the rights of God. Therefore the State cannot demand of individuals as much or more than what God asks of them.
  3. The corrollary is that law cannot save mankind and hence cannot save society. For that reason there has to be a limit to legislation, norms, decrees, regulations, and there always has to be recognized as more important individual human responsibility and initiative.
  4. God alone is sovereign, and since He has made each man in His image and likeness, His sovereignty is served by individual responsibility. And thus it is that the State cannot claim an authority above God, nor an authority which represses individual human dignity or responsibility.
  5. Since society needs law and order, and since only by the Christian dispensation can each individual have in himself the spiritual means of keeping law and observing order, the Christian by his religion is bound gravely to come to the assistance of the public order, since no one else can do so fully or perfectly as he can.
  6. Our God is Truth. Thus truth itself must be at the center and focus of all Catholic political thought and action.
  7. Every truth directs man to God Who is Truth, just as every window opens up to show the view of a portion of heaven.
  8. Every truth is the foundation or point of reference for every just law, and there can be no justice or law apart from truth. Hence Catholics must militate for laws founded upon truth and oppose all errors and misconceptions as principles of law.
  9. Since the French Revolution the Catholic Order has been shattered. Now every secularist seeks some portion of that order, fixing his gaze on some partial truth. The politics which arise in a secular mindset therefore are incomplete and are incapable of being compatible with one another, because they reject the whole vision of the truth which is contained only in the Catholic approach to politics.
  10. Hence, Catholics in politics need to support and promote every just cause founded on the truth, reintegrating them as friends of one another and opposing the instrumentalization of partial truth against integral truth.
  11. A Catholic Political party by its very nature must oppose therefore every political ideology, since political ideologies are created in the minds of men with limited visions of reality, of humanity, of life, and are aimed and the special interests of one group and not that of the whole of society.

Catholic Politics must put into practice and define itself by these truths of the Faith and of political philosophy, and by doing so, can easily win back its nation for sanity, humanity, life, prosperity and above all Jesus Christ.

 

The Heresy of Pantheism at the root of Modernism & the present Church crisis

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Pantheism is the false belief that everything is God, or more precisely, that God is incarnate in everything.

As an error, it is an absurdity. It arises in the East in the Indus Valley in the ages before Christ and it is the core principle of Hinduism.

But it is also the consequential philosophical position of German nominalism.

Nominalism is an error introduced into Europe in the high middle ages by the Arabic philosopher Averroes. It spread rapidly at the University of Paris and thence to all of Europe, especially to the faculty of Tubingen. It was popular among secular logicians who, following Peter Abelard, thought they could carve out a place in Catholic society where they were not obliged by the faith to live moral lives.

Nominalism was condemned by both Saint Thomas of Aquinas, whose feast is celebrated today, at Aquinas and Priverno, Italy, and by Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio.

Nominalism ends up in pantheism, because nominalists deny that any particular word names anything particular or idea in a definitive way. For the nominalist, another word can just as easily name what is named.

Infecting Germany for centuries before the rise of Modernism, Nominalism became the favorite position of Modernists, who believe that there is not God and thus that religious sentiments are the true reality behind all religions. All religions are equal and are willed by religious sentiment. Modernists still speak of God, but they mean religious sentiment when they say God.

As one permanent Deacon explained to me, here in Italy, most of the clergy do not think there is anything named by the word, God. For them, God is a word.

You can see, therefore, the difficulty a Modernist will have when confronting the fact that Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministerium and the Code of Canon Law says a pope must renounce the munus, if he wants to un-pope himself.

To them words have no fixed meaning, so whatever word you want to use, out of religious sentiment, is just as good and just as approved by God — which for them is the code word for religious sentiment.

You can see that the Bishops are modernists in that they are responding to the Corona Virus as if God is not in the Eucharist and that the waters of Lourdes have no miraculous connection to the God of all Healing and Grace.

This is why they wont even give you a response or audience when you ask to speak about the Renunciation. Questions and problems of this kind never enter into their heads.

This is why, just as the Lord punished the Jews of old for apostasy, with plague, so now the Lord sends the Corona Virus to punish the wicked clergy for their atheism.

For just as God incarnated once, and can incarnate not again, so every specific word has a specific meaning. This is the error also behind the subsistit in, in the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church”, passed at Vatican II, on Sept. 17, 1964.

The Church of Christ susbsists as the Catholic Church, She doe snot subsist in the Catholic Church. The latter means She can subsist in several Churches. That is false. It is denied by the Incarnation of the Son of God. But it is affirmed by pantheism and modernism.

That is why all those who insist that Bergoglio is the pope are not Trad Inc. or traditional Catholics, they are Modernist Inc. and modernists, even if they say the Old Mass with all the rubrical perfection that has ever or could ever be achieved, in all possible universes.

_________

CREDITS:  The Featured Image is a screen shot of the search results of Google Image search for pantheism, and is used here in accord with fair use standards for editorial commentary. While the results have many interesting graphics, many of them are from occult sources and contain various errors or unseemly images, which are not recommended.

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Evolution is an error, a myth and a heresy

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As a graduate of the University of Florida, at Gainesville, with a Baccalaurate in Cultural Anthropology, I perhaps know more than the common man about the theory of human evolution. But you won’t see me talk about it much, because I recognize that the theory of evolution is an absurd philosophical error, a unscientific myth, and a heresy regarding the truths revealed by God concerning Creation. — I use, “Creation”, here as the proper name for all which God has brought into being out of nothing.

Evolution: the philosophical error

Evolutionism is in the first place, and historically, not a scientific theory about biology, but a philosophical position of the insane. Its founder or author is Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903), a philosopher who followed in the footsteps of John Locke, the British philosopher, who in his work, An Essay concerning human understanding, in 1689, insisted that all human knowledge was a posteriori, that is had after the fact of observing things. He therefore denied that there as in the real world an order of causality which not only explained how A caused B to produce C, but by which every A which caused B to produce C does not even exist.

The absurdity or madness of the position is self-evident: you throw a jar at a stone wall and it breaks. It breaks because it hits the wall, and it hits the wall because you threw it. Even if John does not see these things happen, they still happen. Locke denied all of this.

This philosophical error is called Empiricism, and in its application to living things, Herbert Spencer denied that there is purpose in biology. He set forth his ideas initially in an essay entitled, Progress: Its Law and Cause, published in the Westminster Review in 1857.

Thus, according to Spencer animals do not eat because they are hungry, and hunger as a feeling does not exist to make you eat, and the stomach does not have the function of digesting, that is just what happens when you put food into it.  The eye does not exist to enable an animal see, nor the ear to enable it to hear, nor the foot to enable it to walk. That is just what all of these things do, without any purpose whatsoever.

That such a theory as Spencer’s would ever gain traction is the consequence of a lot of bad will. Because such a theory is on the level of what a drunk might tell you on a city bus, but no sane man would embrace it as it denies the very rationality of the world.

That everything has a purpose, or telos, is a fundamental truth of being. Because for anything to be it has to be of a certain origin, be of a certain form, be by a certain thing and be for a certain end or purpose. These are the four causes of a created being. The first is called the material cause, the second the formal cause, the third the efficient cause and the fourth the final cause, or telos. These philosophical truths were first enunciated coherently by Aristotle, in his work De Anima, and embraced by Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Bonaventure all all the subsequent Catholic philosophers and theologians, because they form the very architecture of reality.

If one denied that things have a purpose, then there would be no explanation why they were of a certain form, made out of a certain matter, or why they were made by a certain cause. The whole rationality and reason for everyone would crumble.

It should be obvious that the human mind which embraces Evolutionism or Empiricism has renounced reason itself. Because Reason is the faculty of the human intellect where by we give an explanation, a ratio, an account, for that of which we speak. It is the second highest degree of intellectual act possible, and those who cannot exercise such an act are either imbeciles or too young yet to think, or are so old that their brains have weakened to no longer allow their intellects to express themselves.

Evolution, the biologic myth

Evolution as a theory of development for the species of living things was proposed by Charles Darwin, who wanting to remove God from Biology (his words), took a trip to the Galapogos Islands in the Pacific and having returned to England wrote a book called, The Origin of Species, in which he proposed that the cause of the speciation of living things is natural selection. He published it on Nov. 24, 1859.

Like the philosophical error there are fundamental problems with Darwin’s theory. First of all, he attributed the differences in several species of birds he observed in his voyage to natural selection. But the birds he observed were not of the same species as he thought, so he radically misinterpreted the evidence he gathered. Second, his theory of natural selection presupposes by its very name that something is doing the selecting. He appeals to the concept of “the survival of the fittest”, but never says fit for what.

Moreover, he founds his theory on the very unscientific concept of what a species is, in biology. The concept of species in biology is a population of organisms which are able to interbreed and produce offspring of the same kind. But if that is the case, how can it ever come to pass that some of their descendants cannot breed with others of their descendants — a thing which is most necessary if one is to theorize the origin of new species from previous species. It is a self contradiction.

When you attempt to define species with the modern science of genetics, you do not solve the problem. Because according to the science of genetics, every species shares the same genetic code to about 99.99999999% as each of its members. The variations in the code which arise out of mistakes caused in the replication of DNA in the cells are errors which cause malfunctions nearly 99.99999999999999% time — I am using numbers illustratively here, that is not the precise percentage.

So, if it happens that a replication of the genetic code actually is beneficial, what is the cause of it being beneficial? Various answers can be given, depending on whether those responding want to be rational or not. But the rational explanation is that there is a conformity between the new characteristic and the whole ensemble of characteristics of the biosphere in which the living thing lives. And such a conformity implies a correspondence, which in turn implies a rational cause. Because if a created intellect attempted to ideate or think of such a solution, it would take intelligences far beyond what humans are capable of, thinking for eons of ages, because you would have to know every possible cause and agent in the biosphere to know what exact new characteristic would be advantageous. And that would take near infinite information and the processing speed of a near infinite computer to simply manage let alone comprehend.

On top of this problem is an even more fundamental error, namely, that the so-called theory of evolution is not scientific. Because to be a scientific theory it has to be able to be tested and it has to be able to predict in specific circumstances a future outcome, which can be observed. So far no one has ever observed the origin of a species. There is no evidence that any single species had its origin in the population of another. And every species ever discovered is found it its perfect form right from the beginning.

As one can see, when reflecting on Darwin’s theory,  it cannot be tested nor can it be used to make a testable prediction of a future outcome.  It is not scientific at all. It is rather a presupposition of what happens and why it happens, attributing to Nature a quasi infinite intelligence produced out of a casual occurence for which it gives no explanation but a mistake.  This is not scientific, it is mythologizing. It is a creed which holds things are true without any proof, and which demands you believe it without any reason. — Those who believe in Evolution — they even use the word, “believe” — hold it because it absolves them from admitting there is purpose in biology and an Intelligence  of infinite power behind all which exists, on account of which our human intellects can observe things, explain them and make rational predictions of future outcomes in the observable world and in things biological.

Evolution, the heresy

It should be obvious, by now, that Evolution, inasmuch as it says all the species of life which exist today, are the product of natural causes and not of a Divine intervention, is a heresy. It is a heresy, because, as Saint Thomas Aquinas says, every denial of the literal meaning of any passage in Sacred Scripture is a heresy. And in Scripture, in the Book of Genesis, first of all, it says God is the author of every species of living thing, including mankind.

Here Saint Thomas is using, “heresy” in the theological sense. The Church has the authority to condemn all heresy, because She has the duty to uphold the truth of everything which God has revealed, and because She teaches that of every book of Scripture, God the Holy Spirit is the author, and there is no error of any kind contained, therein.

Not every such heresy, however, is subject to a canonical penalty, because the Church would need more canons than there are sentences in the Bible to penalize them all explicitly, and the purpose of Holy Mother Church is to tolerate ignorance, be patient with passion, and to forgive sin, since She seeks the salvation of all, more than the punishment of every sin — God will take care of that.

But the heresy of Evolution is a very dangerous and noxious heresy, because those who accept it deny the truth of Scripture and thus begin to destroy their own adhesion to the Deposit of Faith.  Also, as Saint Alphonsus says, every denial of a truth which one knows God has revealed, causes the one denying it to lose the supernatural habit of Faith, after which it becomes impossible for that person to ever repent and return to the state of grace, unless they confront that sin directly, because without Faith it is impossible to please God or arrive at the salvation he has promised.

I have seen the same thing in my work of apologetics over the decades. Every Catholic who has accepted the error of Evolution finds it impossible to repent of sin, because for them they do not really believe we have immortal souls, which shall be judged by our Creator according to our moral choices. They are imprisoned in the flesh and cannot conceive a world of the spirit. They look no further than death, because they believe life itself cannot transcend it. And they doubt the truth of the Resurrection as a divine action.

From these observations, I hope you can see, that Evolution is the refuge of the mad, the embraced of the immoral and the superstition of fools, who say, there is no God (Psalm 13:1 in the Clementine Vulgate, 14:1 in other versions)

_________

CREDITS: The Featured Image is a photograph of Charles Darwin in 1854, and is in the public domain. For more information about it, see here.

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Siscoe’s Triple shell game

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Recently at One Peter Five, a website which is subtitled, “Rebuilding Catholic Culture. Restoring Catholic Tradition”, Robert Siscoe has published an article to quell the raging doubts Catholics have about the legitimacy of Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy: the first part of which is entitled: “Dogmatic Fact, the One Doctrine which proves Francis is Pope“, and the second part of which is entitled, “For Each Objection, an answer why Francis is Pope“.

There is nothing much to be said for his article other than it’s a lawyer-esque attempt to convince his audience using 3 different shell games.  As you may know, a shell game is where you put a ball under one shell and then quickly shuffle the shells on a table top so that the onlooker loses track of which of the shells contains the ball, and then you ask the onlooker to guess under which shell the ball is.  In American popular discourse, a shell game, therefore, is a trick whereby you pretend that something is one thing at one time, when it really is not.

Here are Siscoe’s 3 Shell games:

The Church

In Siscoe’s mouth the verbal expression “The Church” has two distinct meanings: the Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, AND the mass of those who uncritically accept that the resignation of Benedict XVI is valid because they never examined its conformity to Canon 332 §2.

The Shell Game that Siscoe plays with these 2 senses can be reduced to a simple Sophistic argument (i.e. invalid syllogism), thus:

Major: The Chuch (founded by Jesus Christ) cannot be deceived about who is the Pope.

Minor: The Church (of all those who have not examined the resignation of Benedict) accept Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

Conclusion: Therefore, The Church (founded by Jesus Christ) accepts Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

This kind of argumentation is a false illation, because the term “The Church” has not the same signification in both the major and minor premises of the syllogism.  Aristotle calls this the Sophism of the undistributed middle term, or the equivocation.

Fallible Private Opinion

In Siscoe’s mouth, the phrase “Fallible Private Opinion” has two senses:  in one sense its a judgement about something wherein the judgement may or may not be correct, because its not based on objective reality but on an interpretation of reality.  In the other sense, its any fact of objective reality which he wants to ignore for the sake of his argument.

The Shell Game that Siscoe plays with these 2 senses can be reduced to a simple Sophistic argument (i.e. invalid syllogism), thus:

Major: No merely infallible private opinion about dogmatic facts can assert itself as more authoritative than the judgement of the majority of men and women in the Church, since the Church’s sensus fidelium and Her indefectibility protects Her from error.

Minor: That Benedict’s act of renunciation regards the ministerium and not the munus, is a fallible private opinion.

Conclusion: Therefore, no one has the right to sustain that Benedict’s resignation is invalid against the vast majority of the members of the Church.

The error of this illation is found chiefly in the Minor. Because, that Benedict said ministerio not muneri in his act of renunciation is NOT a private opinion, but a fact of history.

Siscoe may not know it, but the Science of Logic teaches that the verity of premises flows down to their conclusions in valid illations.  Thus:

Major: That Benedict renounced his ministerium, is a fact of history.

Minor: That canon 332 §2 requires the renunciation of munus, is not a fallible private opinion, but a fact of law, being the very text of the Law.

Conclusion: That Benedict’s act of resignation is not in conformity with canon 332 is a fact of history.

Siscoe might want to ignore canon 38, which says that any Motu Proprio which runs counter to the terms of the law, EVEN IN THE CASE IN WHICH the one positing the act is IGNORANT of the law, is invalid UNLESS there is an express derogation from the law by the competent authority (in this case by the Pope), but Canon 38 is there and Catholics cannot ignore to apply it to this case.  Thus the conclusion infallibly follows, since the act of resignation contained no derogation from canon 38 or 332, that:

Benedict did not validly resign.

Peaceful and Universal Acceptance

These words mean two things in the mouth of Siscoe: in one sense they mean universal and peaceful and CANONICAL acceptance by the Church (see last quotation in part II). In the other sense they mean peaceful and universal acceptance CANONICAL OR NOT by the Church (see the citation of Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori).

So Siscoe’s usage of both terms can be reduced to this syllogism:

Major: The acceptance (Canonical) by the Church of of a man as Pope requires that all accept him as validly elected.

Minor: Bergoglio has been accepted (even if it be unCanonically).

Conclusion: Bergoglio must be accepted by all the Church as validly elected.

Siscoe’s illation is false because he is using 2 different senses of accepted. If he used the ancient reflex principle in its proper context, as he cites it in the final citation of that article, and did so AT THE BEGINNING of his article it would be obvious that he is beating against the air, because since the controversy regards whether Benedict canonically resigned, the key quality to be examined in the resignation is its conformity to canon law.

In Conclusion

Siscoe misunderstands the notion of infallibility.  Infallibility as a quality is the natural property of God alone as Infinite Truth. Infallibility as a charism of grace is vouchsafed to only a validly elected successor of Saint Peter. But infallibility is a quality of every true proposition, on account of truth being per se infallible, even if the thing asserted be asserted by a non infallible created person without any gift of grace.

Siscoe also seems to not know the distinction between an opinion and a fact. One can have an opinion about whether there is life on Mars, because we yet do not know if there is or is not. But one cannot have an opinion of whether there is life on Earth, since that is a fact.  An opinion can be had when both sides, pro and con, are possibles. But when there can be no truth on one side of the judgement, an opinion is impossible.

NOTE WELL: In this controversy, there is a fallible private opinion which is being asserted by some as superior to truth, reality and law, and it is this: that the renunciation of ministerium effects a renunciation of munus. Those who hold this opinion have yet to prove it, and the only valid proof must be in accord with the norm of Canon 17.

Responding to a juridical positivist

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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Recently, the Most Rev. Henry Gracida, on his blog published a long critique, entitled, “Some Thoughts about the status of Cardinals etc.”, of a post, here at the From Rome Blog, entitled, “How usurpation of the Papacy leads to the excommunication of the participating Cardinal Electors and Bishops“.

Since, I intend to respond to the charges brought against my position, I recommend that all readers first read both articles, in chronological order. — Since the commentator is anonymous, I will refer to him by the initials of his nome du plume: CC.

The argument marshaled against my position contains a list of ridiculous errors.  The first of which is derived from juridical positivism, which holds that nothing is certain in reality unless it be judged by a competent court of law, holding constitutional authority to judge the matter. This is the kind of error no one but a Canonist or Lawyer would fall into, because it reduces the realm of epistemological truth to that of what a court recognizes as facts. Now, its quite understandable that someone exercising the profession of a lawyer or canonist, who must prove everything to the level of certitude had in the courts before whom he appears, to have such a habit of mind, but is quite a grand moral and philosophical error to hold that such a criterion is validly applied to the whole of reality.

On the contrary, the human mind can know truth with certitude. This is a fundamental presupposition of all human endeavor, because if it be denied, then there could be no faith given by one man to another on the basis of human judgements. Now just as the human mind can exist outside the mind of a lawyer before a court, so the human mind can know truth with certitude outside of the court of law. To say otherwise, would be psychotic, that is divorced from reality.

I say this to preface the notion of latae sententiae excommunication as a canonical penalty in the new code of Canon law. Many canonists, proceeding from the mindset of juridical positivism hold that whereas such penalties are published in the Code, they are either never incurred or that they can never with certainty be known to be incurred, until, in both cases, a competent authority declares them.

The fundamental error of this position, is that the very Latin of the penalty contradicts their position:  “latae sententiae” in Latin means, without the necessity of a juridical sentence being handed down. This means, that the one who violates the law which bears this penalty for violation, is penalized BEFORE and WITHOUT any public declaration of the penalty being inferred.  This being the case, a human mind can know of it with certitude. The certitude I speak of here is the certitude of natural reason which from facts which are in the external forum and known by documented evidence or eye-witness testimony, can be with seen as fulfilling the conditions for the excommunication to be incurred.

What CC attempts in criticizing me is a sophistic error:  For first he argues that such excommunications cannot be known with certitude, and then asserts that such certitude can only be had in a court of law, from which he infers that I am wrong in saying that Cardinals are excommunicated. — As an aside, no where in my article do I say that any Cardinal is excommunicated;  I merely said that Cardinals and Bishops are subject to the penalty.

While it it true, that in the Catholic Church, the incurring of any ecclesiastical penalty, whether declared or not, should be made known by ecclesiastical authority for the sake of the unity of the Church, it is not true, that all of them are NOT incurred if ecclesiastical authority through corruption, fear, sloth or some other vice, fails to declare that they are incurred.  For excommunications latae sententiae are incurred by the law itself. Those who say otherwise are simply ignorant of Latin.  To say this idea of excommunication as “automatic” is merely a canard, since as is clear it depends not upon the private individual or merely the act of violation, BUT by the imposition before the fact by the Supreme Legislator, the Pope, of a penalty which applies to all future violations ipso facto.

He extends this error of juridical positivism in the most clericalist manner by denying that a Catholic can know with certitude if a Conclave be valid or not, when a Conclave is called to elect another pope, while the first pope is still alive! — This is pure insanity! That is like saying a layman cannot know the Moon is eclipsing the Sun, just because he saw the Moon blot out the Sun! — You have to be totally psychotic to even say such a thing.

The truth is, the certitude that a Conclave is invalid is had from the certitude of the facts according to which it would not be licit to convene the Conclave. In the case in question, this certitude derives from the certitude that Pope Benedict XVI never resigned the petrine munus.  Which certitude is objective, real, verifiable, documented and testified to by 2 things: the document Non solum propter, which only renounces the ministerium, and canon 332 §2 which says a Pope resigns when he resigns the munus.  Since every Latinist knows that ministerium and munus are not only different words, but which do not share the same significations in ecclesiastical usage, the certitude that Pope Benedict XVI never resigned the Papal Office is both prima facie and a necessary consequent of the law (especially since canon 38 required that if Benedict wanted to signify munus by ministerium, he would have had to explicitly derogate the obligation of canon 332 §2 in its fundamental conditional clause).

Those who have studied and understood philosophy know that both in logic and in moral and legal affairs, the certitude of principles and causes extends and flows down through to conclusions and effects.  A Canonist who is expert in the procedural rules of declared and imposed penalties which are not latae sententiae, might think differently, since he moves in a world of courts, but that is not the whole of reality. Thus to discount canon 359, the canon which forbids Cardinals to convene a conclave when there is no sede vacante, is not only absurd but should make anyone who knows Canon Law doubt whether CC has ever read the law.

Next, in regard to his attempt to fault me for misreading 1382, he seems never to have read the Code of Canon Law of 1983, which specifically obrogates the old code and makes recourse to its terms unauthentic when the new code establishes a greater penalty, which is true in the case of episcopal consecrations. And no, contrary to CC’s assertion, when I said, “ordain” I mean “consecrate” because the consecration of Bishops is a species of the power of ordination, a thing everyone who knows his theology of the Sacraments knows well enough. CC furthermore goes off into the fog, by saying in effect that an AntiPope consecrating Bishops or nominating Bishops is only guilty if he is feigning to have the authority of the Pope to confer jurisdiction. What kind of argument he is trying to make by moving this against the case in question, I do not know, because that is what an Anti-Pope objectively does!!!

The appeal to canon 1405 §1, 2°, namely, that the Pope alone judges the Cardinals, is praeter rem, because in legislating canonical penalties which apply to everyone in the Church, without exception, Pope John Paul II did judge the Cardinals  beforehand.  Those who have studied Canon Law and understand its nature know this well.

Finally, all CC’s other assertions saying things cannot be known or known with certitude, by anyone but the Canonist or Judge in a court of Canon Law, or by the Pope alone, is merely an extension of juridical positivism, an absurd professional error of snobbery among poorly schooled lawyers. Canonists who know the Faith understand well that Canon Law’s fundamental context is the Catholic Faith and that it must be understood in a manner which does not conflict with objective reality and epistemology. Like the Catholic Faith, it is not a gnostic science in which the truth is only known by the initiates who study at Pontifical Universities.

I invite all those who have not yet done so, to read my original article on the Excommunication of Cardinals and Bishops who participate in the usurpation of the Papal Office more carefully, and they will see how I speak of moral causes and the terms of the law, and how I never said anyone was excommunicated, only that if they know what they did, they merit to have incurred the penalty. This is perfectly Catholic.

As a Postscript, I add, that I am not in the least offended by the publication of CC’s critique. I appreciate the occasion to manifest the truth better through the clash of mental swords. — I would also note that, what really irks Canonists and Bishops about my article is that I have put them on notice that their offices and privileges be derived from a true Pope, not a fake pope; in other words, I am reminding the malicious ones that their entire project is null and void, and that they are risking losing communion with Christ, canonically speaking, if they have not already done so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scruton: The Law on “homophobia”? — It’s like the show trials under Mao Tse Tung

Roger Scruton, one of the leading Philosophers in the United Kingdom, spoke today to Giulio Meotti of Il Foglio, on of the leading Italian Dailys.  What follows is an unofficial English translation of that article.

They’re creating a whole new language, like the Communists did during the time of the Cold War.  A wooden language.”

Roger Scruton, renowned English philosopher« George Orwell already spoke of this in his famous ‘two minutes of hatred’ in the novel, 1984, said Roger Scruton, the English Philosopher and Commentator, during his interview with Il Foglio.  « The problem of homosexuality is a complicated and difficult one, but we cannot imprison thought itself with laws against the so-called “homophobia”, like that being contemplated by the Italian Parliament, which is nothing other than the criminalization of the right to free intellectual discourse on the question of “gay-marriage”.  They are creating a new intellectual crime, a crime against their own ideology, like the Communists did during the Cold War.

The seventy-year old professor of Philosophy at St. Andrew’s University, Scotland, author of thirty books which have made him the most famous conservative English philosopher (or as the Sunday Times: put  it: “the brightest intellect of our time”), Scruton was commenting on the proposed law before the Italian Parliament which would criminalize “homophobia”.  Even Amnesty International is in favor of the law.  « To me, this law on “homophobia” brings back memories of the farcical trials held at Moscow, or those of Maoist China, in which the victims were forced to confess with enthusiasm their own crimes, before being condemned.  In all those show trials, the enthusiastic prosecutors accused the victims of “hatred” and “hate speech”, you see what the philosopher Michale Polanyi, in 1963, defined as a “moral inversion”:  if you deplored the welfare system ,you were lacking in compassion; if you are opposed to the normalization of homosexuality, you are a “homophobe”; if you believe in western culture, you are an “elitist”.  The accusation of “homophobia” means the end of your career, especially for those who work at a University.

Scruton sustains that the manipulation of truth is being conducted under the cover of the distortions of language, just like in Orwell’s novel, under the name of “the New Language”.  « The New Language intervenes every time the principal proposition of a language, which is descriptive of reality, is replaced by the intended opposite:  and this is nothing other than the raw affirmation of political power over language itself.  Here, the fundamental linguistic act coincides only superficially with the assertive grammar.  The phrases in the New Language sound like affirmations in which the only logic underlying them is that of a magic formula:  they are designed to show the triumph of words over things, the futility of rational argumentation against the politically correct ideology and the danger of resisting the intended enchantment.  As a consequence, the New Language has developed its own special syntax which, though strictly connect to that which is normally used in ordinary descriptions, evades it precisely so as to deflower reality or to oppose rational argumentation itself.  This is what François Thom tried to illustrate in his essay, “La Langue de bois” (The wooden language).  Some of the syntactical peculiarities were pointed out by Thom:  the use of the noun in place of a transitive verb; the preference of passive forms and impersonal constructions; the use of comparatives in place of predicates, the omnipresence of the imperative mood ».

With the law on “homophobia”, says Scruton, “they are trying to instill in the mind of the public the same malign idea which is pervading all of Europe, taking up residence in the hearts and heads of the masses which are ignorant of their machinations, diverting, in this way, along the path of sin even the most innocent affairs of men.  The New Language freezes and hardens the mind.  Common parlance itself generates, with its own native resources, the concepts which the New Language prohibits:  correct / incorrect; just / unjust; honest / dishonest; your / mine.

A Form of Re-education

Scruton says that the fear of heresy is a foot in the country of Europe.  « A considerable system of semiofficial etiquette is emerging for the prohibition of free speech on points of reality which are seen as “dangerous”.  The threats are spreading so rapidly in society that there is no way to avoid them in daily life.  When words become crimes, and thoughts are judged as advocacy, a sort of malign prudence invades intellectual life.  They are controlling language, sacrificing style for a more “inclusive” syntax, they avoid speaking of sex, race, and religion.  Every phrase or idiom which contains a judgement on any category or class of persons can become, from one day to another, the object of reproach.  This political correctness is a soft form of condemnation with the same violence of a Salem witch trial ».  Like they did in Massachusetts in colonials times, as narrated in the Scarlet Letter.  « Whoevery is worried about all of those and wants to make some protest, has to battle against powerful forms of censure.  Whoever dissents from what is becoming the Neo-Orthodoxy of “gay-rights” is regularly accused of “homophobia”.  In the United States of America there are political action committees which examine the candidacy of politicians to determined whether they are “homophobes”, so to liquidate their candidacies from the get go, by means of the mere accusation.  Even in the selection of juries, one hears, “We will never accept the possibility that such a person can be part of the jury:  she is a Christian and a homophobe!”

According to Scruton, all this is reminiscent of the ideological warfare which prevailed at the time of the Cold War:  « In those years it was considered necessary by some to create definitions to stigmatize the opposition with a visceral hatred so as to justify his expulsion from society:  there was “revisionist”, “deviazionist”, “teenage lefty”, “utopian socialist”, “social fascist”.  The success of these labels to marginalize and condemn the opposition reinforced the error spread by the Communists that by means of language you could change reality:  for example, you could invent the culture of a proletariat by using the word “prolekult”; you could unchain yourself from the failure of a free economy simply by shouting “the crisis of capitalism” every time the topic came up; you could combine the absolute power of the Communist Party with the free consent of the people by calling the Communist Government, a “centralized democracy”.  How easy it became to murder millions of innocents, considering that nothing bad was resulting, no, it was only the “liquidation of prisoners”!  How simple it was to shut people up for years in work camps until they got sick or died, when one only had to redefine them as “re-education camps”.  Now, there is a new secular bigotry which wants to criminalize the liberty of expression when it regards the topic of “homosexuality”.

Finally, Scruton says, it’s a battle between the “pragmatist” and the “rationalist”.  For the former, « there is no utility in the old ideologies of objectivity and universal truth, the only thing which matters is that “we” are in agreement.  Who is this “we”?  And upon what do we find ourselves in agreement?  “We” are for feminism, “we” are liberals, supporters of the movement for the “liberation of gays” and for an “open curriculum”; “we” do not believe in God or in any handed-down religion, and the old ideas of authority, order and self-discipline are for “us” immaterial.  “We” are the ones to decide the meaning of texts, by creating with our own words the consent which with they are weighed.  “We” have no bonds, except for those of the community to which we have chosen to belong, and since there is no objective truth, but only a self-generated consent, “our “position is unattackable from any point of view outside of “our” own.  The pragmatist can not only decide what to think, he can also protect against anyone thinking in a different way ».