Friday, April 11, 2008

Concerning the Holy Father's Visit To America...

From The Black Biretta and Fr. Z whose comments appear in red.
10 April 2008
Fr. Trigilio on a tear! And he may be right!
I found a pretty good blast over at The Black Biretta where my esteemed colleague Fr. John Trigilio has something to say about what we might expect during upcoming media coverage of Benedict XVI’s apostolic visit to the Land of the Free. My emphases and comments.
Just when you thought it was safe to change the channel from EWTN …Get ready, the mainstream liberal media will be bombarding the airwaves, internet and blogosphere with the rantings and ravings of the heterodox spin doctors and dissident pundits once B16 lands on US soil.Dan Rather may be retired, but CBS, ABC, NBC, and of course CNN will go to their usual pool of Catholic malcontents, miscreants and recalcitrants to offer their ‘balanced’ view lest anyone suspect for a moment the secular media would give Pope Benedict or the Catholic Church a free ride. The shrinking minority of the so-called ‘loyal opposition’ (a true oxymoron) [well said] will be given free air time during the papal visit as has been done in the past during the reign of JP2.
Sister Joan Chittester, OSB, who opined that the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI was the equivalent of a ‘spiritual tsunami’ will be the most conspicuous ‘expert’ consulted by the social progressive, secular humanist media elite. Then of course, Father Thomas Reese (everyone’s favorit Jesuit) and Fr. Richard McBrien (who will mysteriously find and wear his clerical attire while on camera, [Bet he won’t.] but just on papal visits, mind you) will be given a chance to spew their ‘side’ of the story. American media thinks it is being ‘fair’ when they give equal time to theological dissenters just as if this were the Democratic response to the Republican President’s State of the Union Address. [The thing is it isn’t equal time. It is nearly all slanted in that direction. And often, if they do get a more loyal Catholic person to comment, they either curtail his camera time, or have him out numbered, or find someone not terribly engaging.]There is no such thing as ‘loyal opposition’ when it comes to TRUTH, be it doctrinal or moral. Science does not tolerate contradiction. Either 2 + 2 = 4 is true or it is false. It CANNOT be both. Either the Pope and Magisterium are correct or they are false. Since the dissenters contradict the authentic teaching authority of the Church, they oppose God, the source of Revelation. They oppose the Son of God Who founded the Church on Peter and the Apostles (and their successors the pope and bishops in union with him)Voice of the Faithful and We Are Church and every Tom, Dick and Harry lapsed Catholic will find a microphone and camera, just wait and see. You won’t find many reporters interviewing Mother Angelica, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, or Karl Keating (Catholic Answers). We will see ex-priests, ex-nuns and ex-Catholics complaining about no women priests; no married clergy; no abortion; no contraception; no gay marriages; etc. Will the cameras, however, show you the YOUNG and HAPPY women in large numbers who wear traditional habits like the Poor Clares at EWTN or the Nashville Dominicans? Will we see the growing numbers of seminarians in dioceses where the bishop is orthodox and where the sacraments are celebrated reverently and correctly? No, they will show you the decaying and dying vestiges of the infamous ‘spirit of Vatican II’ church. Priests and nuns in street attire, not wearing ecclesiastical garb; and usually old, grumpy and obnoxious throw-backs to the 1960’s besides.Pollsters will tell us that a ‘majority’ of Catholics disagree with the Pope and Magisterium. Even if it were true, SO WHAT? [Tell it, brother!] Does the vox populi determine reality? When everyone thought the world flat, did it make it so? But I question the veracity of those figures. Who pays these bean counters to crunch the numbers? If the majority of Catholics renounce Catholic doctrine and discipline, why do they stay Catholic? Why is Catholicism still the largest religion on earth with over one BILLION members? Why are converts still coming into full communion with the Catholic Church every Easter Vigil around the globe? When 3 MILLION young people came to Rome for WYD towards the end of Pope John Paul’s pontificate, the news media barely covered the event. Had three of those youth got drunk and turned over a Fiat, it would have been a breaking news flash.Buckle your seat belts, boys and girls, it is going to be a bumpy ride, at least from the perspective of the secular media. On the other hand, watch the coverage on EWTN and you WILL see and hear what is really out there; a Catholic RENAISSANCE, begun by JP2 and continuing with B16.
A couple points. I remember during Papal April 2005 I was heading home from a long day doing press coverage and live hits with FoxNews for whom I was a contributor at the time. Armed with my press pass I was making my way through the barriers which were channelling the rivers hundreds of thousands of people, mostly young people, coming from various directions into the Via della Conciliazione to the glimpse the body of John Paul II. At the end of the Via there were dozens of media trucks and light set ups, network people doing their live hits. All the biggies were around. I stopped with the CNN folks to chat for a bit and watch Christiane Amanpour do her thing. She was saying something like "After the death of John Paul II the Catholic Church is faced with its most pressing question: Is it still relevant today?" It was one of those surreal moments. I gazed over the unending surge of people waiting for dozens of hours, most of them young, from everywhere in the world. Though I knew it before, this really drove home the fact that many of these media folks do not have the slightest clue how even to think about the Church.That said, I have been called by quite a few media types in the last few days, a couple of whom will be "inside the bubble" as we say, looking for my wonky view on some of the issues leading up to the visit. Some of them, at least, are doing their homework. While I share Fr. Trigilio’s somewhat pessimistic prediction, I cannot help but hope that we will be pleasantly surprised as well.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Acton Institute: Some Salient Problems- Part III

By Thomas Storck
Next a passage from Pope Pius XII:
And, while the State in the nineteenth century, through excessive exaltation of liberty, considered as its exclusive scope the safe-guarding of liberty by the law, Leo XIII admonished it that it had also the duty to interest itself in social welfare, taking care of the entire people and of all its members, especially the weak and the dispossessed, through a generous social programme and the creation of a labor code. (Address to Italian workers on the Feast of Pentecost, June 1, 1941)
Then a quotation from Pope Paul VI:
On another side, we are witnessing a renewal of the liberal ideology. This current asserts itself both in the name of economic efficiency, and for the defence of the individual against the increasingly overwhelming hold of organizations, and as a reaction against the totalitarian tendencies of political powers. Certainly, personal initiative must be maintained and developed. But do not Christians who take this path tend to idealize liberalism in their turn, making it a proclamation in favor of freedom? They would like a new model, more adapted to present-day conditions, while easily forgetting that at the very root of philosophical liberalism is an erroneous affirmation of the autonomy of the individual in his activity, his motivation and the exercise of his liberty. Hence, the liberal ideology likewise calls for careful discernment on their part. (Octogesima Adveniens, no. 35, May 14, 1971)
These statements alone ought to convince any Catholic who cares to think with the Church, that the Church has always opposed liberalism and its restricted notion of the role of government. But now I will take certain specific statements made by the Acton Institute, statements which reveal its application of liberalism to the economy, and contrast them with the teaching of the Church, including that of Centesimus Annus.
First let us look at a quote from Lord Acton, printed on the cover of a leaflet distributed by the Institute. "Liberty is the highest political end of man..."! This assertion is hardly congruent with the teaching of the Catholic tradition. St. Thomas, for example, says that the end of society is "to live according to virtue" (De Regimine Principum, I, 14). And this truth, that both individual man and man in society are both ordered, not toward freedom, but toward virtue as the ultimate end, is the truth upon which the entire liberal tradition founders. Liberty the highest political end of man? Not justice, not virtue, not the common good? All else flows from this fundamental error, the error, in fact, of Lucifer, who desired liberty above all else. The society that values liberty as its highest political goal, that refuses to safeguard the common good (except by pious exhortations), that allows for complete freedom of contract - this will be the domain of the Devil and his adherents and apologists.
The next statement of Fr. Sirico's that we will look at is this: "So long as individuals avoid forceful or fradulent actions in their dealings with one another, government is to stay out of their business" (Acton Notes, January 1998). Anyone at all acquainted with the tradition of Catholic social thought knows that this can hardly be squared with the teaching of the Magisterium. To take but a few examples, we have Leo XIII's teaching in Rerum Novarum,
The richer population have many ways of protecting themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; those who are badly off have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly rely upon the assistance of the State. And it is for this reason that wage-earners, who are, undoubtedly, among the weak and necessitous should be specially cared for and protected by the commonwealth. (no. 29)
And, in a statement that utterly contradicts what Fr. Sirico says, Leo rejects the theory that free agreement between employer and employee should be the rule in economic affairs when he notes, in connection with the question of a just wage, that
there is a dictate of nature more imperious and more ancient than any bargain between man and man, that the remuneration must be enough to support the wage-earner in reasonable and frugal comfort. (Rerum Novarum, 34)
It is simply false to say that, absent force or fraud, the government should stay out of people's business.
We have already seen how in Quadragesimo Anno Pius XI says that Leo XIII "boldly passed beyond the restrictions imposed by liberalism, and fearlessly proclaimed the doctrine that the civil power is more than the mere guardian of law and order..." (no. 25). In other words, Pius XI explicitly denies the conception of government which Fr. Sirico champions, and like Leo, sees a strong, though not unlimited, role for the state. It is true that the popes have been careful not to call for a statist solution to socio-economic problems, but it should be clear that they definitely see an activist role for government, but within limits. However, these limits are not the limits that Fr. Sirico would like to impose on the state.
John Paul II in Centesimus makes clear that the state has a wider role than merely enforcing laws against force or fraud, but that it must be concerned with the
preservation of common goods such as the natural and human environments, which cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces. Just as in the time of primitive capitalism the State had the duty of defending the basic rights of workers, so now, with the new capitalism, the State and all of society have the duty of defending those collective goods which, among others, constitute the essential framework for the legitimate pursuit of personal goals on the part of each individual. (no. 40)
And immediately he states: "Here we find a new limit on the market: there are collective and qualitative needs which cannot be satisfied by market mechanisms. There are important human needs which escape its logic."
Other statements that John Paul makes in the same encyclical are equally damning to Fr. Sirico's position. First here is a statement from Centesimus, one of the handful that Fr. Sirico and those of like mind often quote:
It would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. (no. 34)
But the Pontiff immediately goes on to say,
But this is true only for those needs which are "solvent," insofar as they are endowed with purchasing power, and for those resources which are "marketable," insofar as they are capable of obtaining a satisfactory price. But there are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied, and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish.... Even prior to the logic of a fair exchange of goods and the forms of justice appropriate to it, there exists something which is due to the person because he is a person, by reason of his lofty dignity.
A similar caution on the market may be found in the following statement of John Paul, speaking of the kind of society that we should desire and work toward:
Such a society is not directed against the market, but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the State, so as to guarantee that the basic needs of the whole of society are satisfied. (no. 35)
These statements are enough for anyone to see that Fr. Sirico and Catholic teaching are not in agreement, for Fr. Sirico would never admit that the market needed to be "controlled," least of all by the state.
The apparent plausibility of Fr. Sirico's position comes from the fact that he contrasts the free market only with the evils of statism, socialism and communism. Most people think that either capitalism or some form of socialism are the only "live options" in economics. They are hardly aware that the economic arrangements advocated by the popes are neither those of socialism nor of free-market capitalism, and if someone were to tell them about distributism or solidarism, they would likely reply that since they do not presently exist, or perhaps never existed, they need not be taken seriously. This makes as much sense as to say that since there never has been a society in which chastity was entirely observed, we should not bother to promote chastity in our own society. Nor can we ignore the statement of Pope John Paul II in Centesimus that "it is unacceptable to say that the defeat of so-called `Real Socialism' leaves capitalism as the only model of economic organization" (no. 35). ("Real Socialism" means, of course, Marxist socialism or communism.)
I should also raise the issue of how far Fr. Sirico and his colleagues are misrepresenting others' opinions in their effort to promote classical liberalism. For example, on their website they have a section called "In the Liberal Tradition," in which they feature various thinkers whom they assert to be fellow liberals. Let us look at just two of them. First, St. Thomas Aquinas. They represent him as a liberal by quoting some of his words in favor of private ownership of property. By this preposterous method they might as well feature Chesteron and Belloc, both bitter critics of capitalism, but strong defenders of private property. In any case, I think Fr. Sirico knows that to defend private property (as I myself do) by no means places one in the camp of classical liberalism, but simply indicates that one is not a Communist.
Equally ludicrous is C.S. Lewis, whom they claim as one of their own, apparantly on the strength of favorable comments that he made about democracy and against unlimited government. They rather ignore the following words of Lewis from Mere Christianity:
All the same, the New Testament, without going into details, gives us a pretty clear hint of what a fully Christian society would be like. Perhaps it gives us more than we can take. It tells us that there are to be no passengers or parasites: if man does not work, he ought not to eat. Every one is to work with his own hands, and what is more, every one's work is to produce something good: there will be no manufacture of silly luxuries and then of sillier advertisements to persuade us to buy them. And there is to be no "swank" or "side," no putting on airs. To that extent a Christian society would be what we now call Leftist.
And in the next paragraph he says that we "should feel that its economic life was very socialistic...." This part of Lewis's beliefs seems to have been conveniently overlooked.
It is far from clear how Fr. Sirico and other Catholic libertarians can justify their attempt to reconcile Catholic tradition with classical liberalism. Do they really believe that the Church's social teaching and traditon can change so easily as to make obsolete centuries of the papal magisterium? Are they really unaware that such notable Catholic thinkers of the twentieth century who turned their attention to economics, as G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Christopher Dawson and many others, were critics of capitalism? I cannot answer these questions. But what we can know is that the Acton Institute's promotion of liberalism is not something that can be embraced by an orthodox Catholic. Sirico, like Acton and Döllinger, is not a safe guide but rather a dissenter from the fullness of the Faith, a blind guide who will only lead his followers into a pit. Please God, it will not be into the bottomless pit.
Originally Published in Social Justice Review, vol. 93, no. 5-6, May-June 2002©Thomas Storck

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Liberty, Fraternity and Equality: A Philosophical, Moral and Political Study of Liberalism- Part II

By John W. Heitzenrater II
Until the beginning of the eighteenth century, liberalism often signified those things “worthy only of a free man.” For example: the Liberal Arts, liberal occupations, and the actions of generous and kind men. As the term became more common, it came to signify “intellectual independence, frank, open, and genial actions and free will.”[1] It was also used to signify any type of political system which was opposed to absolutism and centralization of power. None of these, however, were at variance with Catholic doctrine, and in fact were “supported in Catholic legislation and policy until the end of the seventeenth and early part of the eighteenth centuries.”[2] Hereafter, liberalism took on a new form which signified a swing in society and culture. As language began to change, relativistic and subjective nuances were given to words, thereby mutating them into meaninglessness. He who controls the language controls the civilization.
As liberalism intensified, it was applied more readily to tendencies in the intellectual, religious, political and economic life which “implied a partial or total emancipation of man from the supernatural, moral and Divine Order. The French Revolution is the “Magna Charta” of this new liberalism”[3], and its creed is “Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite.” Guided by principles of “absolute and unrestrained freedom of thought, religion, conscience, creed, speech, press, politics,”[4] it had an incessant focus on the universal “rights of man.” With the abolition of the rights of God in favor of the rights of man, every authority on earth became subjective. Once liberalism succeeded in purging religion from the “public life” and put it into the sphere of the “individual conscience,”[5] Christianity and the authority of the Church lost all ability to rule. Hence, the ability of the Church to teach, rule and sanctify her flock was crippled in the public, legal, and social institutions. Every man was "given" unrestricted “autonomy” from oppression of both earthly and heavenly authority and with this autonomy, authority became vested not in one sovereign but in the sovereign of the people. Hence, a politics of interest, not of good will, controlled society and as it flowered, it progressed rapidly from a system of the blind leading the blind to one of the dumb leading the dumb.
Modern liberalism’s fundamental principle states that “it is contrary to the natural, innate, and inalienable right and liberty and dignity of man to subject himself to an authority, the root, rule, measure and summation of which is not in himself.”[6] The word “authority” necessarily presupposes a power outside and above the man which binds him morally. In rejecting authority, liberalism was able to kill not only the social/political order, but undermine the whole moral order by denigrating morality and ethics to the realm of values. In this respect, liberalism’s roots in Humanism, the Reformation and the Enlightenment can be gleaned. It is Luther’s, Locke’s, Hume’s, Rousseau’s, Lessing’s and Kant’s philosophies all bottled up into one gigantic feast of liberty. I am my own authority, and no Pope, king or emperor can say otherwise. It all begins, is fulfilled and ends in me.
Liberalism’s greatest error, or perhaps the greatest error of its exponents, was its misunderstanding of true human liberty. Theologically, human liberty is identical with free-will. One’s ability to be free rests in his ability to choose the good. St. Augustine says that choosing an earthly or temporal good over an eternal good, or choosing an evil over a good is not a prerogative of freedom or free will per se. To be free, one must not only have the ability to choose the good, but also, in fact choose the good. If one chooses something evil over an eternal good, he is not prohibited by free will from doing so. He does so, however, either because he does not see that the thing is a lesser good or is evil, or is in fact so distorted that he is prohibited from choosing the good because of his own doing. Free-will or human liberty is not a license to do what one wants; it is not a free-for-all. The majority of men on earth today, however, understand free-will as “do what thou wilt”, hence its equation with license. Here, again, one can see the disastrous effects of the Enlightenment upon language and the meaning of words. It is precisely in this ambiguity that liberalism was able to gain steam.
There are various degrees or types of liberalism, just as there are various meanings of liberalism. Each degree corresponds to a social, political, moral or religious sphere. Some are a combination of these and all share a common theme- the separation of the individual from the divine order. The following is not exhaustive, yet it should give the reader a good foundation from which to build a better understanding of liberalism.
Anti-Ecclesiastical Liberalism, Bourgeois Liberalism, Political Liberalism primarily found in the “Parties of Progress”, and Ecclesiastical Liberalism are various types which evolved in the philosophical, religious, and political order. Their cause is a rejection of the “old order” in favor of more progressive “new order”.
Anti-Ecclesiastical liberalism was first advocated by Rousseau and Madame de Stael and is sometimes called the “drawing-room liberalism of the free educated classes.”[7] From the drawing-room liberalism developed the liberalisme doctrinaire which first originated in the lecture halls of Royer Collard and culminated in the “salon de Duc de Broglie”. The latter produced the “practical statesman” giving modern man a constitutional form of government based on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the principles of 1789.
Bourgeois liberalism arose out of the propertied money classes of rich industrialists and found its biggest supporter in the citizen-king, Louis Phillipe. In Germany it was called National liberalism; in Austria, the Political liberalism in General; and in France, the liberalism of the Gambetlas Opportunist Party.”[8] The chief characteristics of Bourgeois liberalism are “materialism, egoism in exploiting the economically weak, a disordered enjoyment of life, a systematic persecution of Christianity especially Roman Catholicism, a mocking of the Divine Order, and the use of slander, corruption and fraud in politics to gain a mastery and control over one’s opponents.”[9]
The Parties of Progress can be divided into three classes or categories. Liberal Radicals like the Spanish Jacobins annihilated the rights of the Catholic Church in Spain and France through political corruption and self interest. Liberal Democrats want to make the masses of the commoners the “deciding factor” in public policy and government. They have a false regard for their brothers often using ignorance and manipulation to push liberal policies and agendas. Socialists are the most notorious and most destructive of the social order. Their liberalism is one of self interest “espoused in the proletariat”.[10] Within Socialism, there is Communism which abolished private ownership; Radical Social Democracy as espoused by Karl Marx in Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto; Moderate Socialism found today in England and Canada (and for a time in Germany, Spain and Italy before the rise of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco); and finally, Socialistic Anarchy founded by Barkin, Most, and Kropthem which is undoubtedly the most radical. The last form (Socialistic Anarchy) is founded upon the principles of Nietzsche and finds its followers today in an underground subculture of youth who desire the abolition of all forms of government and rule.
As liberalism strangled society, it crept slowly into the Church through Ecclesiastical liberalism. Ecclesiastical liberalism comes in two forms. The first is a political form which seeks a regulation of relations between Church and State according to liberal propositions. Benjamin Constant, Lamenais, Lacodaire, Montelambert, Parisis, and Dupanloup are the most vigorous supporters of this liberalism. Lacodaire “combined political liberalism with ultramontane theology.”[11] Lamenais began life “as an extreme defender of ultramontanism and the desire for papal theocracy and ended life after calling for the complete separation of Church and State.”[12] Montelambert (1810-1870) “was a strong supporter of liberal concepts of freedom and separation of Church and State.”[13] Felix Dupanloup (1813-1883) “was a defender of constitutional liberties, a defender of the temporal power, a “moderate” interpreter of the Syllabus of Errors and an in-opportunist on infallibility.”[14] During the nineteenth century, it especially became difficult because of the relationship which existed between the Papal States and the rest of the world. Ecclesiastical liberalism finds its biggest supporters today in Atheists, liberal Catholics, Politicians, and the ACLU.
The other form of Ecclesiastical liberalism is a religious form. Rooted in Calvinism and espoused by Jansenism and Josephinism, “it aims at certain reforms in ecclesiastical doctrine and discipline in accordance with the liberal Protestant Theology and ending in Atheistic Relativism and Positivism.”[15] This is the type of liberalism Pius X called Modernism in the encyclical Pascendi. Four main propositions[16] were condemned by the Pontiff. They were:
1) The “Latitude in interpreting dogma.”
2) The “disregard for disciplinary and doctrinal decrees of the Roman Congregations.
3) Sympathy with the State when its enactments go against the liberty of the Church.
4) The disposition to regard as clericalism the efforts of the Church to protect the dignity of the family and of individuals to the free exercise of religion.
Pius X’s condemnation was not the Church’s first response to Ecclesiastical liberalism. She first addressed the error shortly after the French Revolution with the publication of Mirari Vos in 1832. It was followed by Quanta Cura and the Syllabus of Errors in 1864. Rationalism and Naturalism were condemned by the Apostolic Constitution De Fide of Vatican I. It is interesting to note that the definition of Papal Infallibility is also seen as a move against liberalism. John Cardinal Newman laments the fact that the dogma was defined at “an inopportune time.” Yet, in the face of the liberalism of the day it was not only “unavoidable but most especially pertinent”. With the authority of every monarchy, duchy and principality in the world crumbling, the Church’s definition stood as a testament to the Catholic position that the faith and doctrine of the Church were out of the hands of the secular authority.
Perhaps no other Pope, however, did as much to address liberalism than Leo XIII. There are approximately fourteen encyclical letters, letters to heads of state, and letters addressed to the people of God warning of the dangers of liberalism It is not just Ecclesiastical liberalism but every form of liberalism that Leo is addressing. Most important among these documents are the encyclical letters addressing Christian Philosophy, Christian Marriage, Freemasonry, On the Condition of the Working Classes, Democracy, and Monarchy. The scope this study, unfortunately, is not to discuss Leo’s encyclicals, although a thorough study of them may be forth-coming. Instead let it suffice, that while the world was descending into chaos through the “liberty” of self interest, the Church always said the same thing: liberalism is a pitch which defiles the mind, strangles the heart, and leaves one an orphan of society. She still stands as the only remaining institution whose structure and government has not succumbed to the principles of 1789.
Traditional Catholics are certainly to be applauded in their response to liberalism, especially in identifying those currents which make up this most vile of all philosophies. Yet as has been seen, laying blame solely on the French Revolution does not give one a complete picture. The French Revolution was simply the culmination of a world view which had been simmering for many centuries. As time goes on, liberalism will continue to change meanings, but the fundamental principle will always remain the same- it will always view man independently of God. Man, however, is born into an order which is not able to be rejected simply because he wills it. The very foundation of the world rests in this relationship of man to the Divine. While it is true that men will continue to avoid this claim, their rejection is in vain. Man will eventually have to face God and be judged by Him. If he continues to run away from God in this life, he will only find himself tired and out of breath when he stands before his Creator in the next. To close Part II, a quote from John Cardinal Newman sums up nicely what has been said thus far regarding Liberalism.
“Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternize together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrine in common, or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society.”[17]
[1] The Catholic Encyclopedia Volume IX, Liberalism, Edited by C.G. Herleemann, E. Pace, C. Pallen, T.J. Shakan, J.J. Wynne, (Robert Appleton Company, New York 1903) p. 212.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid. p. 213.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid. p. 213.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] James Patrick, Newman and Liberalism, Handout
[12] Ibid. p. 2
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid. p. 214.
[16] Pope Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, (Liberia Editrice Vaticana 1907)
[17] John Henry Cardinal Newman, Biglietto Speech

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness...

Editor's Note:
The following column was on Rorate Caeli this morning. If the more radical in the Jewish community aren't complaining about the rants of a drunkard they are complaining about the "proselytising" of a Pope. When, pray tell, did it become illegal to pray for the conversion of one's neighbor? I am convinced that organizations like the ADL will go out of business if they are not constantly complaining about something. What do you say to men who embrace a religion still waiting for a deliverer after six thousand (probably longer) years? How can we expect these men to be honest with us when they haven't been honest with themselves? I'll tell you what, Rabbi Winer, we Catholics will stop praying that Christ lift the veil from your eyes if you stop telling the world you are Jews. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and David would be horrified and ashamed that the religion you today call Judaism is the same one they believed so long ago. All comments are from Rorate Caeli.
From The Jewish Chronicle:
The Pope’s British envoy is to visit West London Reform Synagogue on Shabbat amid what its rabbi calls the “most acute crisis” in Jewish-Catholic relations in the past 20 years.Rabbi Mark Winer will publicly bring up the controversy sparked by the Pope’s endorsement of a Good Friday prayer which openly calls for the conversion of the Jews....In the draft of an address to be delivered tomorrow [yesterday, April 5], Rabbi Winer says that “expressions of Jewish anger” over the prayer “have reached a level I do not recall in my lifetime of dialogue, as a rabbi, with the Catholic Church. Rabbinical bodies in some countries have forbidden their rabbis from participating in dialogue with representatives of the Holy See. Antisemitic riots and incidents have occurred in more than a few places.”
Really? "Antisemitic riots and incidents"? Where? When? There have been many Antisemitic (and Anti-Christian) "riots" in the past few months - but all related to another Monotheistic faith...
Isn't Rabbi Winer ashamed of lying so openly? Rabbi Winer: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob can see you!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Restoration in Progress: "Priests Don't Need Bishop's Permission To Celebrate the Latin Mass"

Editor's Note:
This is great news from the Catholic Herald. I wonder what Bishop Trautperson thinks about this? Thanks to
Fr. Z who first published this. All comments are his.

While I wrote of this a few days ago, this is very much worth looking in the Catholic Herald (which you should subscribe to, especially if you are in the UK) with my emphases and comments:

Priests don’t need bishop’s permission for traditional Mass, says cardinal.
By Ed West
4 April 2008

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos has reaffirmed that priests do not need their bishop’s permission [Repetita iuvant!] to use the extraordinary form of the Mass.
The cardinal, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which coordinates care for estranged traditionalist groups, also said that because of the Pope’s actions on the Latin Mass, "not a few have asked to return to full communion, and some already have returned".
In an interview in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, 78-year-old Cardinal Castrillon said that the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum grants any priest the right to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass, and that the faithful have the right to this form "when the conditions specified in the Motu Proprio exist". Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio of July last year liberalised the use of the Tridentine Mass, stating that priests who wished to celebrate the extraordinary form did not need their bishop’s permission. In his letter the Pope said that the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass, while celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the extraordinary form.
Some British bishops have asserted their right to be consulted about traditional Masses in their diocese. In November Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor issued a letter to the clergy of the diocese of Westminster, stating that priests still needed permission from their bishops.
The Colombian cardinal also said that the Motu Proprio was having positive results already. He said that the Oasis of Jesus the Priest monastery of 30 cloistered nuns in Spain "has already been recognised and regularised" by his office and "there are cases of American, German and French groups" which have begun the process.
The cardinal insisted that the only traditionalists excommunicated were the four bishops of the Society St Pius X ordained by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 without Vatican permission, including the controversial Richard Williamson.
The priests who have followed those bishops, he said, "are only suspended", and so the Masses they celebrate "are without a doubt valid, but not licit". The religious who have followed the schismatic bishops need to have their congregations or monasteries recognised by the Vatican, he said.
In addition, "there are individual priests and many lay people who contact us, write to us and call us for a reconciliation and, on the other side, there are many other faithful who demonstrate their gratitude to the Pope" for his July letter authorising widespread use of the liturgy according to the 1962 Roman Missal.
Cardinal Castrillon said that wider use of the pre-Second Vatican Council Mass "is not a matter of returning to the past, but is a matter of progress" because it gives Catholics the richness of two liturgical forms instead of one. He also said that he celebrated the ordinary form every day.
Asked whether he was worried that bringing back into the Church "men and women who do not recognise the Second Vatican Council" would alienate some of the faithful who see the Council’s teaching as a compass for the Church, Cardinal Castrillon said he did not think the problem "is as serious as it could seem". The Eucharistic celebration is a sign and source of the unity of the Church, he said, and Pope Benedict’s decision to keep alive the older form of the Mass is an effort to preserve a rich tradition while promoting unity.
John Medlin of the Latin Mass Society welcomed the comments. "When apparent change comes along the first reaction of many people is to be wary. It’s ironic that those on the more liberal wing of the Church are now digging in their heels, when the Holy Father has asked them to widen their boundaries."