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Examining the underlying errors of modern(ist) philosophy August 20, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, disaster, error, General Catholic, reading, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, Tradition.
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I’ve been reading a very good book on philosophy by Edward Feser called The Last Superstition.  This book is a defense of Aristotle, Aquinas, and the gloriously whole and valid philosophy/theology known as Scholasticism, against the rank errors of modern philosophy (“modern,” in this sense, being anything since about 1500).  Like Christopher Ferrara’s Liberty: The God That Failed, Feser’s book demonstrates not only the massive errors of modernist, and especially endarkenment, philosophy, he also shows that modern philosophy and all its various antecedents; conceptualism, nominalism, rationalism, etc., were all devised with one primary intent in mind: to free man from the “tyranny” of being a creation of the living God, and to  put religion in its right place – that is, somewhere between an annoying hobby and a impolitic set of beliefs  forbidden in “polite” society.  The excerpt is long, I may have to break it into two parts, but here goes, from Chapter 5, Descent of the Modernists, from The Last Superstition:

But it is not only contemporary secularist progressives who regard this traditional [Catholic] worldview with horror; many early modern thinkers did too.  Consider that by the time Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes., et. al., were writing, Luther had already greatly extended Ockham’s individualist tendencies in religion and politics, replacing not only ecclesiastical authority  but also  (what he regarded as) the stifling and unbibilical system of Aristotelian Scholasticism with the primacy of individual conscience.  In his defense of divorce, he had (together with Henry VIII) inaugurated a revolution in social mores, undermining one of the traditional bulwarks of the stability of the family. [And we see, by the same inexorable illogic Luther and Henry VIII used, the continuing unraveling of marriage and advance of horrific immorality all around us today. It is a straight line from Luther’s politically convenient (and motivated) embrace of divorce, and today’s neo-Sodom]  John Calvin’s brand of protestantism had replaced the traditional emphasis on the spiritual dangers of wealth and benefits of poverty with a new affirmation of industry, thrift, and acquisition as Christian “virtues.”  Intentionally of not, the Reformation thus ushered in a new worldliness the practical results of which – increased wealth and an new sense of individual freedom – led to a desire for more of the same.  At the same time, its fragmentation of Christianity into hostile camps and the bloody conflicts that resulted made religion come to be seen as a dangerous source of social unrest; and its pitting of faith and the Bible against reason and philosophy increasingly made religion come to seem rationally unfounded as well.  So, while the ancients pursued wisdom and virtue for their own sakes, and the medievals applied ancient learning to shoring u p the claims of religion and directing man towards his destiny in the hereafter, the moderns, naturally enough given the new cultural climate that shaped their values and perceptions, sought to reorient intellectual endeavor to improving man’s lot in this life, and to defusing post-Reformation religious tensions by sowing a general skepticism about the possibility of attaining much in the way of religious knowledge, so that there’d be little left to fight over.  Hence Bacon’s conception of a new science that would give us mastery over nature, the promise of new technologies, and hope for making this world a fitting habitation for man.  Hence Locke’s aim of drawing definite limits to what was strictly knowable where religion was concerned, so as to put all conflicting creedal claims on an equally low epistemic footing and thereby to lay the predicate for his doctrine of religious toleration. [Which was really nothing but the promotion of indifference, and with his idea of the secular (or officially agnostic) state, the use of state force to help curtail deep religious belief, especially as acted in the public sphere.  From Locke’s original and deliberate knee-capping of religion, we have advanced today, inexorably, to mass atheism and the rise of neo-paganism, as surely, and as predictably, as the rising of the sun.  And yet Locke is the paramour for the modern republican secular state, including our very own United States]

“And what is wrong with all that?” many readers will ask.  Well, there might be nothing at all wrong with it; and then again, there might be something very deeply wrong with it.  But the point for now is not to determine whether this project was good or bad, [It has been an unmitigated disaster from which Western Civilization, and possibly all of mankind, may never recover] but rather to emphasize that to a very great extent it was a desire to further the project, and not an actual refutation of Aristotle on particular merits, that moved modern thinkers away from his metaphysics.  The agenda determined the arguments rather than the other way around.  In particular, it determined an new conception of what science could and should be: not a search for the ultimate causes and meaning of things (as Aristotle and the Scholastics understood it) but rather a means of increasing “human utility and power” through the “mechanical arts” or technology (Bacon), and of making us “masters and possessors of nature” (Descartes).  Usefulness would replace wisdom, and pampering the body in this life would push aside preparing the soul for the next.  Hence modern science, far from refuting Aristotle’s metaphysics, was simply defined in such a way that nothing that smacked of Aristotelian formal and final causes and the like would be allowed to count as truly “scientific.”  There was no “discovery” here; there was only stipulation, naked assertion, and insistence on forcing every object of scientific investigation into a non-Aristotelian Procrustean bed, and – if necessary – simply denying the existence of anything that couldn’t be wedged in.  For the Aristotelian Scholastic categories led, in the view of thinkers like Locke, to a dangerous “dogmatism” in religious and philosophical matters.  (In other words, if we accept these categories, we’ll have to admit that the entire Scholastic system is more or less rationally unavoidable).  And in the Baconian view, they distract us from the one thing needful.  (In other words, if Aristotle is right, then we’ll end up spending more time contemplating first principles and the state of our souls and less time thinking up new gadgets and further ways to gorge and sex ourselves).  While the early modern philosophers and their contemporary successors quibble over this or that argument of Aristotle, Aquinas, etc., then, what they really don’t like are the conclusions.  Admit formal and final causes into the world, and at once you are stuck – rationally stuck – with God, the soul, and the natural law.  The modern, liberal, secular project becomes a non-starter.  So, “reason” must be redefined in a way that makes these conclusions impossible, or at elast severly weakened. The classical metaphysical categories, espeically Aritotelian and Thomistic ones, must be banished from science and philosophy altogether, by fiat.  The game must be rigged so that Aristotle and St. Thomas cannot even get onto the field……

You don’t have to take my word for it.  As philosopher Pierre Manent has put it, for the early modern philsophers, “in order to escape decisively from the power of the singular religious institution of the Church, one had to renounce thinking of human life in terms of its good or end” and the “pagan (classical Greek) idea that nature is naturally legislative.”  Hence it is the teaching of Aristotle, which was essentially adopted by Catholic Doctrine, that Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, and Locke will implacably destroy.”  [And even more, they deliberately set out to do so]

———–End Quote————-

I am very much out of time, but I hope the quote makes sense.  What it means, and there are numerous other quotes from contemporary philosophers and thinkers of other stripes which confirm the existence of the “project,” the project being to deliberately “escape” from the tyranny of God by rejecting the underlying philosophy – Scholasticism – which so finally and unavoidably proves His existence.  There is a reason the 12th and 13th centuries were a period of high flower for the Church and millions of souls, and that is because the people of that time accepted Scholasticism and understood that God, most certainly exists.  It must also be restated that Aristotelian Scholasticism has never, in any fundamental way, been “refuted” or shown to be false.  There are minor quibbles around the periphery, but the main arguments, the ideas of formal and final causes, have never been refuted.  They have been ignored and shoved aside in pursuit of the great, humanist project of liberalism (and note how, even 500 years ago, liberals used the same dirty rhetorical and argumentative tricks they are so fond of today).

The goal of modern philosophy and “science,” then, has been to prevent the Divine Foot from ever having a chance to enter the door of men’s minds.  And that goal has been thoroughly achieved.

Maybe more tomorrow.  The takeaway is, the entire liberal/modernist/rationalist/indifferentist project is one founded in error and in deliberate rejection of the greatest philosophical truth ever divined by man.  And that is why liberalism is generally so opposed to the good of souls.  It is also why modern man feels so profoundly lost and detached, that so many people feel their existence is random and devoid of meaning, because they have accepted too many of the claims of modernist liberalism.  It is a very straight line from Luther and the other early modern promoters of error, and the dire straights in which the culture staggers along today.  It is a very straight line, conceptually, from rejection of Scholasticism and Catholic Truth to “gay marriage” and freezing eggs to be grown in plastic decanters.

Priests in Name Only and Not in Deed August 20, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, priests, scandals, secularism, sexual depravity, Tradition, Virtue.
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A very good sermon from a priest I’m sure some will recognize by voice.  It’s not very long, it is only 9 minutes.

This sermon was given in 2004 in the wake of the priest boy rape scandal.  I call it that, because over 80% of the victims were pubescent boys.  The priest alludes to Pope Pius XII and his instruction that men found to have problems of unchastity should be removed from the priesthood.  How much great suffering would have been avoided had that dictate been upheld!  From an official Vatican document of 1961: “Among the priests and signs of a divine vocation the virtue of chastity is regarded as absolutely necessary.  Should superiors find a student unequal to the task of keeping ecclesiastical celibacy and practicing priestly chastity, then completely ignoring any other outstanding qualities they must bar him from the religious life and the priesthood.  Advance ment ot religious vows and ordination should be barred to those afflicted with evil tendencies [towards sodomy] since doing so would constitute serious dangers”

It is actually a great work of charity by the Church to bar such men from the priesthood, because admitting them to that holy and august office would expose them both to much greater temptation, and would also mean that they would be judged so much more severely by God for having taken on such an vital role in the Church.

See what you make of the rest.  I think it’s very, very good, and still timely 10 years later.  I fear the problem, so to speak, has only gone further to ground:

FW Bishop Olson announces he is moving to put in place TLM parish August 20, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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A document was released by the Diocese of Fort Worth several days ago that had to do with the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei’s “ruling” regarding Bishop Olson’s abrogating Fisher-More College’s ability to offer the Traditional Latin Mass.  That matter certainly caused enormous sturm and drang early this year, but since the college no longer exists as a place where students would physically go to live and matriculate, and thus desire regular access to the Mass, PCED considered the matter now moot and resolved of its own accord.  The entire sad affair played out exactly as many of us locals predicted it would.

But that’s not the interesting part.  The interesting part, to me, is that Bishop Olson has confirmed something that has been rumored for a while, which is that he is considering standing up a TLM parish in the Diocese of Fort Worth, one that will probably be administered by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter:

On July 24, 2014 I received a letter dated July 17, 2014 from Archbishop Pozzo informing me that the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei considers the matter involving the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at Fisher More College to be closed.  It is my sincere hope hat all of us in the Diocese of Fort Worth might now be able to move past this recent unpleasantness for the sake of the mission of the Church.  With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Diocese of Fort Worth is considering, as part of the development of an overall pastoral plan, the establishment of an independent parish devoted to the Extraordinary From and entrusted to capable priests.

I think that’s great and something very much in our prayers.  The FSSP monthly newsletter for August covered Bishop Olson’s presiding at Mass last month in great detail.  I believe, and have been told, Bishop Olson was very impressed with the Mass, the priests, and the laity.  From what I understand (possibly mixed in with a bit of pious hope), whether to have a regular TLM parish in Fort Worth is less a matter of will or desire, and more one of logistics at this point.  The Fraternity has more requests for parishes than it can meet, so it may be some time before the request could be met.

As I said, that last bit is perhaps exaggerated, all we know for certain is that Bishop Olson enjoyed the Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption last month and is “considering” the establishment of a TLM parish.

Here is one Catholic praying this consideration becomes reality, and soon!

Please Pray for Father Michael Rodriguez! August 20, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, General Catholic, Latin Mass, manhood, martyrdom, mortification, persecution, priests, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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A little birdie has communicated to me that Father Michael Rodriguez’ situation in the Diocese of El Paso may be increasing in difficulty.  There is nothing certain or public, of course, but due to his steadfast proclamation of the Truth and his firm attachment to all Holy Mother Church believes, he has become a veritable pariah among his brother priests in that Diocese.  There is a new bishop in El Paso, Mark Seitz, and Bishop Seitz has done a good thing or two in his short time there, but Father Rodriguez’ position remains quite awkward.  He is still serving in the furthest possible extremity of the Diocese in Presidio, Candelaria, and his “home” in Shafter.

Probably many readers have a list of priests they pray for. Or perhaps you pray for all priests.  And I’m also confident many of my good readers already maintain Fr. Rodriguez in your prayers, but on the off chance you don’t, please pray for this good and holy priest who has done so much to bring the great Tradition of the Church to many starving souls.  I cannot go into detail, but some of the things I’m being told are quite dark, quite worrisome.  So please keep him in your prayers!

Thank you and God bless you!

Dominus vobiscum!

Below, a few videos from Father Rodriguez.  He hasn’t been making any lately, and there is, of course, a reason for that.

I do miss hearing from good Father Rodriguez!  Maybe he could join the Fraternity (but I won’t hold my breath):

By the way, you can help Father Rodriguez, JMJHF productions, and many other good Catholic resources by supporting the Saint Vincent Ferrer Foundation.  They provide a great deal of assistance to Father Rodriguez, some Carmelite monks associated with his apostolate, and other good works.  This is a tax deductible foundation.