Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Reflection on Science and Excuses

The claims and dominions of science and reason are too often wielded as ideological tools today. Modern man has no use for nor knowledge of either but he will praise them as he attempts to escape from morality.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Reflection on Sacrificing Principles

Man's principles are worth no more than his bread.

Reflection on Platitudes

The recitation of platitudes may make a man respectable but hardly useful.

Reflection on Feminism

Feminism has done more to destroy the lives of baby girls than any oppressive system of patriarchy could ever hope to produce.

Reflection on Homosexual Persons

It should be considered far more hate filled to consider it impossible for homosexuals to live chastely and to become holy. Let us not seek to deprive them of the graces God wishes to lavish on them.

Reflection on Big Government

The biggest critics of government appear to be the strongest supporters of big government.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Reflection on the Welfare State

An activist government masquerading as a pioneer in charity may alleviate the consciences of the political class but not the condition of those it is supposed to aid. All too often, the poor have been reduced to clichés and caricatures.

Reflection on Minority Groups

As a member of a minority group, being left handed, I am entirely free to insult who I wish, all in interest of fairness after all.

Reflection on Suffering Offense

Getting offended seems to be a growth industry.

Reflection on Human Rights

It requires a great deal of faith to assert that a random aggregation of matter, unconsciously assembled possesses inalienable human rights.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Reflection on Political Strategy

Ad hominem attacks and shrieks of victimisation combine to form a sound political strategy.

Reflection on Youth and Joy

A great fallacy has been perpetrated against our young people. The claim exists that if they throw off the restraints of Christianity, the youth shall be free to pursue their self-realization. Anyone who has spent any time on social media can easily see the confusion and dejection of so many young people, who take refuge in partying and drink to abandon their struggles.

Reflection on Celibacy

If marriage is to be defined as the union of two involving the exclusion of the rest, celibacy may be defined as the same.

Reflection on Influence

So the clergy, so the people. So the culture, so the soul.

Reflection on the Logical Consequences of Atheism

There is more to the definition of Atheism than the denial of belief in the existence of a God or gods. It requires an entire severing of man's understanding of the universe and his place in it. It will not do to simply continue on with a preverted knowledge of certain principles of Christendom as though nothing had fundamentally changed.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Reflection on Reexamining Dogma

To reexamine and reinterpret the perennial teachings of the Church on relations with other religions and with the Jews in particular in the light of recent historical events is to destroy the divine institution of the Faith.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Reflection on Humility and Luxury

Those who advocate for a simpler liturgy in accordance with humility are attempting to salve their consciences from exuberance in other parts of their lives.

Reflection on Bigotry

Isn't it amazing that in the past few years I have become a hateful, intolerant bigot, all without changing any of my views?

Reflection on Being Good without Religion

One can conceivably be nice without religion, but hardly could be called good.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Reflection on Understanding Jesus

Our Lord must feel so lucky that He has the Guardian and the New York Times to finally understand Him.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Reflection on Silence

It was in silence that He descended to us, it is by silence that we ascend to Him.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Reflection on Democracy

Democracy is only fit for the gods who have no need of it.

Reflection on being Self-Righteous

Is there anything more self-righteous than accusing another of being it?

Reflection on Speaking

Leave the refinery of language to the poets and the blunt truth to the men. 

Reflection on Christmas and Children

Catholics should always rejoice in the presence of children as these little ones manifest to us a ray of the simplicity and purity of the Christ Child.

Reflection on Politeness

Politeness may build a civilisation or destroy it.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Reflection on Atheism

We are no more than aggregations of disparate matter, randomly assorted. There is no good, no right. There only "is".

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Reflection on Orthodoxy

The orthodoxy of a Catholic may be determined by his acceptance or not of the Syllabus of Blessed Pius IX.

Reflection on Politics

Politics is not about doing good but making your opponent look bad.

Reflection on Liberal Logic

If the right were to promote homosexuality, the left would accuse them of misogyny.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Reflection on the Spirit of Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, acknowledging man's reconciliation with God, let us be reconciled with one another. Not in a false understanding of humanity but in repentance together before our common Father.

Reflection on a Personal Relationship with Jesus

If faith is not the assent given by the intellect to truth revealed by the Divine Triad, any personal relationship with Jesus would be mere talking to oneself according to one's fancy.

Reflection on Conscience

We define conscience to be the application of the moral law to a particular situation and act. If we were to be so foolish to assert that man's conscience is his sole and allsufficing guide, what would his knowledge of good and evil be other than the taboos of society and the fear of shame among his peers?

Reflection on Human Rights and God

A proclaimed human right that impugns the sovereignty of God is to be rejected as demonic. No man has the right to error.

The Pope Speaks...

Leo XII on the necessity of the true religion as a basis for civil society.

''As a consequence, the State, constituted as it is, is clearly bound to act up to the manifold and weighty duties linking it to God, by the public profession of religion. Nature and reason, which command every individual devoutly to worship God in holiness, because we belong to Him and must return to Him, since from Him we came, bind also the civil community by a like law. For, men living together in society are under the power of God no less than individuals are, and society, no less than individuals, owes gratitude to God who gave it being and maintains it and whose everbounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings. Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice-not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion -- it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honor the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety. This is the bounden duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule. For one and all are we destined by our birth and adoption to enjoy, when this frail and fleeting life is ended, a supreme and final good in heaven, and to the attainment of this every endeavor should be directed. Since, then, upon this depends the full and perfect happiness of mankind, the securing of this end should be of all imaginable interests the most urgent. Hence, civil society, established for the common welfare, should not only safeguard the wellbeing of the community, but have also at heart the interests of its individual members, in such mode as not in any way to hinder, but in every manner to render as easy as may be, the possession of that highest and unchangeable good for which all should seek. Wherefore, for this purpose, care must especially be taken to preserve unharmed and unimpeded the religion whereof the practice is the link connecting man with God.'' - Immortale Dei, 1885.

Note: As you can see, I have been undertaking the most rewarding task of reading the encyclicals of His Holiness Leo XIII, so willed with perennial Catholic wisdom and certainly would astonish the Neo-Catholics.

Reflection on the Rights of God in Society

To assure the rights of God in society is to uphold the sure liberty of each citizen, granting true peace to the commonwealth.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Reflection on the Duties of a Bishop

The bishop must steadily move between altar, pulpit and confessional in order to be a true pastor of souls. May the devil take the conferences and committees.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Reflection on Choosing God

Despite each stumble, each instance of curiosity, every wayward passion of youth, the desire for respect and security, the will to be free, the Christian must decide when the hour comes whether to choose the standard of Christ or that of Satan. Nothing else matters.

Reflection on the End of the Two Societies

Since God is the Author of nature and of grace, it follows that the temporal and spiritual spheres must run swiftly to His side, proclaiming His rights and our obedience to His moral law.

''Although the civil authority has not the same proximate end as the spiritual, nor proceeds on the same lines, nevertheless in the exercise of their separate powers they must occasionally meet. For their subjects are the same, and not infrequently they deal with the same objects, though in different ways. Whenever this occurs, since a state of conflict is absurd and manifestly repugnant to the most wise ordinance of God, there must necessarily exist some order or mode of procedure to remove the occasions of difference and contention, and to secure harmony in all things. This harmony has been not inaptly compared to that which exists between the body and the soul for the well-being of both one and the other, the separation of which brings irremediable harm to the body, since it extinguishes its very life.'' - Libertas, Pope Leo XIII.

The Pope Speaks...

Pope Leo XIII on a true understanding of equality.

''In like manner, no one doubts that all men are equal one to another, so far as regards their common origin and nature, or the last end which each one has to attain, or the rights and duties which are thence derived. But, as the abilities of all are not equal, as one differs from another in the powers of mind or body, and as there are very many dissimilarities of manner, disposition, and character, it is most repugnant to reason to endeavor to confine all within the same measure, and to extend complete equality to the institutions of civic life. Just as a perfect condition of the body results from the conjunction and composition of its various members, which, though differing in form and purpose, make, by their union and the distribution of each one to its proper place, a combination beautiful to behole, firm in strength, and necessary for use; so, in the commonwealth, there is an almost infinite dissimilarity of men, as parts of the whole. If they are to be all equal, and each is to follow his own will, the State will appear most deformed; but if, with a distinction of degrees of dignity, of pursuits and employments, all aptly conspire for the common good, they will present the image of a State both well constituted and conformable to nature.''

 - Humanum Genus, 1884.

Reflection on Gender Equality

Everyone is for gender equality until the ship starts to sink.

Reflection on Pope Francis and the Liturgy

If we were to embrace Eastern Orthodoxy, the Pope would laud our ancient and reverent liturgy as a treasure to be retained.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Reflection on the Mercy of God

Let us be reminded always of the mercy of The Lord, a mercy leading to sanctification and not to toleration.

"Be conforted, be conforted, O my people: thy Saviour shall come quickly. Why hath grief devoured thee? Why hath sorrow disfigured thee? I will save thee: fear not: for I am The Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer."

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Reflection on the Heresy of Judas

To verbally obsess about the poor, transforming real people into cliches is to succumb to the heresy of Judas.

Reflection on the Personality of the Pope

The Neo-Catholic and the secularist are alike in their obsession with the personality of individual popes.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Definition of a Neo-Catholic and Some Philosophical Foundations

Let us proceed more directly to the heart of this issue in order to critique the fundamental flaws of their reasoning and of their general assumptions. Contrary to what they proclaim, the philosophical or political understanding that they possess, whether they are fully conscious of it or not. does not derive from Catholicism. Neither does it proceed from a source compatible with Catholicism that may be utilised to the glory of God in a new age. Certainly, our age is confronted with its own dilemmas as well as great triumphs, particularly in the realm of the natural sciences and technology which require a sound and faithful response to the challenges that arise. According to Maurice de Wulf of Louvain, Scholasticism encountered difficulties and exposed itself to ridicule when it encountered material advances that its thinkers refused to confront. It was due not to the system itself that Scholasticism declined but it was as a consequence of the mediocrity of those who claimed to be faithful to it. The world had opened up the human mind to new experiences and developments, while these men of ill talent closed their eyes and repeated the same syllogisms and expanded ad nauseam their sub distinctions of negligible value.  In a future article I will attempt to set out what can offer a faithful and coherent response to the fundamental questions of this age, but here I wish to expose the inadequateness of the thought of the Neo-Catholics. They seek to do something new while claiming to be faithful to dogma and good morals.

 The Neo-Catholic may claim to present Christianity is its positivity and joy but on closer inspection one notices a shell of an edifice. I am not opposed to another system of philosophy simply for  it being another system of thought. What troubles me is that it renders Catholicism almost obsolete and is constructed on shaky foundations. The genius of St. Thomas was to take the 'common sense' and moderate realism philosophy of Aristotle and show how it was compatible with our Faith in its fundamental principles. By unifying it with Catholicism, the coherence and the truth within the Stagirite's philosophy could reach new heights, while its errors were being corrected in the light of Revelation. Aristotle did not set out to contradict the principles and assumptions of Catholicism which he could not have known, therefore his understanding of man and the universe may be considered on its own merits. The philosophical underpinnings of the Neo-Catholic, consciously or not, derives from the tenants and beliefs of the Enlightenment. There are certain advances that the Christian may embrace as all that is good and beautiful belongs rightly to God and His worship but caution must be our approach. Out of Egypt, the Israelites brought the gold and silver that had formally been in the service of idols so that they may be converted to the adoration of the one true God. This must be our project, however the principles of the Enlightenment are not to be shared by the faithful Catholic.

 I can understand the concern to be considered moderate and up-to-date, however this desire is most applicable to matters of fashion and not to universal principles. Errors in political philosophy may not mean much if they remain restricted to articles in theoretical academic journals but too often in the Neo-Catholic they encroach on matters theological. I have already mentioned in the first part to this article the importance of the American background of a number of these prominent writers and speakers which must not be ignored. The creation of the United States of America was entirely unique. The rebellion was not simply against a king. That nation was built upon a series of ideas. In the Iberian peninsula, the Catalans may have rebelled against the Castilians but they continued to hold the same religious beliefs and the same understanding of society. They were forced back by Madrid and life went on. On the contrary, the principles that underlay the American Revolution and the framing of the Constitution derive from the Enlightenment, a period entirely hostile to Catholicism and its sure understanding of the world and man's place in it. All was turned upside down. A new world was forged. I am in particular referring to a certain understanding of natural rights, freedom of religion (essentially religious indifferentism), freedom of speech (no matter the content), representative democracy and that the government must reflect the will of the people who in turn grant it legitimacy. The US Constitution is fundamentally agnostic on matters of religion. The Declaration of Independence certainly refers to the 'Creator' but there is no certainty that this goes beyond a Deistic or Masonic understanding of God, rendering Him utterly irrelevant. The first amendment of the Constitution can only be accepted by Catholics as a practicality in a multi-confessional state where Catholics are in the minority. Unfortunately, our Neo-Catholic friends has exalted the value of freedom to idolatrous heights. We on the other hand, praise goodness and truth. The Constitution in its Bill of Rights sets out a particular understanding of the human person and claims that we each possess inalienable rights as human beings and here the Neo-Catholic stumbles into grave error. Human beings created in the image and likeness of God certainly possess a great value, greater than we could know, but we must not stray outside the boundaries. Human beings can only have rights in relation to God. We have not been created and abandoned, set apart to find our own way in this vast universe where self-realisation is fundamental to fulfilling our potential. No Catholic may accept such an erroneous understanding of his vocation and duties toward God. The entire universe was created for Him, because of Him and He is its end. Let this be the root of our understanding of the rights of man and his liberty.

 These false ideas have filtered through to the average man and he accepts them implicitly, believing them to be entirely common sense, without ever having heard of Thomas Paine or his ilk. This is what is most insidious about their reasoning. It is due to this that Catholics and a few other brave Christians have struggled to combat the HHS mandate regarding contraception and abortifacient drugs as part of Obamcare. They have sought to seek exemptions and declarations of unconstitutionality whereas this is entirely the wrong track to take. The Catholic opposes such things as they are evil, intrinsically, not due to them violating constitutional rights. All that they have done is to trade right off against right and have suffered for it. Maybe the Supreme Court which has elected to hear a particular case may grant them their wish but let us not be satisfied with wavers but with goodness. Their claimed right of religious freedom has clashed with another supposed right of reproductive freedom. Furthermore in a society that tends now to condemn religion for forcing itself on another's morality there is only going to be one winner. Let us not seek victory and a safe place from oppression but the total transformation of society under the Kingship of Christ. The US is not entirely a democracy but a constitutional republic but it is clear that laws and fundamental norms can be, and have been, transformed in the light of public opinion. All authority comes from God and the government must seek to uphold the natural law and divine law in society for the true harmony of the nation. The USA has a fundamental flaw as it has not solved sufficiently the question of religion other than that man should be left alone.On the basis of voting, God may be adored or He may be mocked. He has no rights unless we grant them to Him. The Neo-Catholic is utterly unaware of the condemnations of these principles in the wise encyclicals of the pontiffs of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. Apparently their veneration of popes is restricted to a recent handful.

 On such an understanding of rights, naked of orientation, subject to the dictates of whims disguised as reason, the Neo-Catholic is unable to challenge evil in his society. If he has a right to worship God, another has a right to mock Him. Practicality as a minority religion may have to tolerate this but they consider these rights of religious liberty to be God-given. He assumes that this understanding of rights is one that is completely compatible to Catholicism but it appears that he has exalted the American experiment in nation building and placed God second to man.

 Let us now consider how the Neo-Catholic approaches matters of the Faith in the third and final part of this article.

Reflection on Time Person of the Year 2013

May we only rejoice at the praise of the Pope when he is extolled by those who proclaim the Social Kingship of Christ. Otherwise, suspicion should be our restraint.

Reflection on Metaphysics

A coherent and accurate system of metaphysics covers a great multitude of theological errors.

A Definition of a Neo-Catholic and Some other Thoughts 1)

It is a particular term that I have only recently started to adopt. I had previously considered it rather disparaging towards well-intentioned souls who may be overgenerous in their defence of individual popes but who were otherwise orthodox in theology and morals. These types were my first contact with Catholicism, or dare I say it, a particular brand of Catholicism, so I may subconsciously retain elements of their thinking to my detriment. Let my readers correct me in charity.

 The term itself is known from a book by Mr Ferrara and Mr Woods, 'The Great Façade'. I will not go into their arguments in this post for the simple reason that I am utterly ignorant of their work, having not read it. An awareness of the great differences between the self-identified 'Traditionalist Catholic' and those who claim to be Catholic, loudly proclaiming their obedience to the Magisterium, only made a real impression on me in the past few years. I was staying at the Scots College in Salamanca, Spain for a week and I had a few discussions on 'contentious' issues relating to the Council with two seminarians, one of which I had previously known. Likely now he has tried to pretend not to have had that privilege. My understanding of divergences had been entirely superficial, it was ultimately related to the question of personal preference concerning the liturgy. Admittedly I was generally aware of criticisms directed towards 'religious liberty' or ecumenism but it was to my mind, a matter of practicality in lieu of principle. It was through these late night conversations, interspersed with games of pool and soft drinks that I learnt that something more fundamental was the core issue. Their entire philosophy was skewed. I am not here to blast their mental processes as I actually still like them and they did treat this odd convert and two-time Faith conference attendee with courtesy. On the other hand, I now consider the philosophy of the Neo-Catholic to be utterly fatal to Catholicism.

 The Neo-Catholic is fond of quoting the Fathers and it was through their apologetics material, often utilising the great men of the nascent Church, that I finally decided to convert. Yet, I continue to wonder what singular bishops like Father Augustine and the man who baptised him, St. Ambrose would have thought of their social and political philosophy. A number of years ago I read a letter from St. Augustine in reply to a pagan civil official who wrote to the Doctor pleading for his intercession in order to save some riotous pagans from severe punishment. Nectarius, the official, commends the bishop for his love of 'country' in the opening of his plea. In response Augustine responds that Nectarius may love his 'country' too but it is far better to love the 'heavenly city' of God. The rest of the letter is a call for our friend Nectarius to convert to Catholicism which quite amused me when I first read it due to what appeared to me as the sheer cheekiness of the part of my patron saint. Now that I meditate on his words I am astonished by the profundity of them. The 'commonwealth' can only truly be loved and honoured when the one true God is loved and honoured. Society has a higher purpose than the merely practical and economic demands of a societal animal. It is through society, the primary society being the family, that man comes to know God and His moral law. The coexistence of two distinctly thinking peoples can not form a true society.

 It was for this reason that Spain treated heresy so harshly under their Inquisition. No society can be truly whole, existing for a greater good than that which believes the same and cherishes the same moral imperatives. Otherwise, society becomes a aggregation of individuals living in their own self-selected cells. As a result of this, we proclaim the Social Kingship of Christ. All individuals of whatever condition or original confession, groups, institutions, nations, agencies, powers must acknowledge His reign of justice and peace. I do not pray to God that I may be allowed to be left alone to worship with a close group of fellow believers but that the entire nation may join me in adoration. It is perfectly desirably to long for a Catholic confessional state where the rights of God are upheld and His commandments are taught and adhered to in public. Unfortunately, the Neo-Catholic would baulk at such a suggestion. It appears that they are completely wedded to their current form of society and its implicit principles. They are unable to imagine a good society apart from a liberal or social democracy which is inevitably pluralistic. Furthermore, they continue to be bemused that society can adopt such abhorrent mores all the while being ignorant of the fact that such a form of society generates actually it. Traditional Catholics have pointed out the Protestant background of such men, but since the best Catholics are generally converts (I proclaim seriously with a proud grin), it is the significance of their nationality and social formation that I wish to highlight.

To be continued...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Reflection on Labelling

If you object to the description of "Neo-Catholic" as insulting, try being called a "self-absorbed promethean neopelagian".

Reflection on the Immaculate Conception

No man can ever write more beautifully than when he communicates his love for the Blessed Virgin. The affection towards a mother and the devotion towards a beloved most perfectly embrace in his words.

Reflection on Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism: You can have any culture you want as long as it is a liberal, secular democracy. Henry Ford would be proud.

Monday, 9 December 2013

On Neo-Catholics and the Pope

As a traditional Catholic it is often my desire to retreat into my study and imagine myself at the University of Paris in the 13th century. Alas, I must emerge to confront some hysteria that has been unleashed in the past few days regarding some of the Holy Father's comments in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. I will limit myself to some remarks considering certain Neo-Catholics' responses to criticism of Francis' words in that document in lieu of attacking the argument presented by the Pope in his latest writing. The position I have in mind is Francis' comments on 'trick-down economics' which was blasted by the American conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh as 'pure Marxism'. It turns out that, if we assume that the Castilian edition of Evangelii Gaudium is the original language, the English translation suffers from a mistranslation in that section. The substitution of ''inevitably'' for the original ''por sí mismo'' (by itself)  certainly leads to the confusion and has increased the polemics. I have no desire in this article to tackle the issue ''de por sí''  (in itself) but one which is far more worrying and fundamental. 

 It may be considered honourable and loyal to defend the Pope from charges and assaults but it is not always required. On occasion, it is a grave disservice to the Vicar of Christ to bow at every word or action simply as you wish to be obedient sons of the Holy Father. I can understand the concern but as Catholics called to worship the one true God and spread His Gospel of redemption, our priorities should be much greater. The Pope himself is the servant of the Faith, the 'servant of the servants of God'. His is a heavy burden, one which will be his eternal glory or his eternal damnation. Let us shudder at that thought. I would address these staunch defenders of the words of Pope Francis and ask how they would have dealt with the heretical sermons of Pope John XXII in the 14th century? Would they have kept quiet? Would they have attempted to adopt a spurious defence of his theological position? Would they have condemned the theologians who resisted John? Would they then have praised Benedict XII who defined the contrary position? Tossed about on the waves of personal loyalty, they would have made fools of themselves. It was through the protestations of the theologians that John recanted. Maybe they saved his soul.

 At times it is necessary to defend a pontiff's words from being misinterpreted by the media who are so eager to latch on to any scrap that conforms to their agenda. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has not been immune from ambiguity and often quite troubling words. We understand that the Faith is hated by the world and that Catholicism is the last bastion, the last rampart against secularism and a culture of death or aimless license. I understand the devotion that Catholics feel towards the person of the Holy Father and such love should be fostered. As a Scotsman it is appealing to honour the Bishop of Rome in a protestant land. Yet, let us not be fools in this matter. It is our duty to pray for the Pope each day, asking God to grant him prudence and wisdom in his actions and words as well as for health and security. That is the response of a Catholic who truly loves the Pope because he loves the Faith first. Papolatry and the adulation of the crowd will not save a soul and will blind one to many missteps and errors.

 I have often read the apologetical articles written by prominent Neo-Catholics and I have found much of great value. In fact, it was through their works that I studied the Faith before I converted. In approaching historical difficulties concerning papal infallibility, they seem to be in accord with the mind of the Church when they recognise explicitly the restrictions and limits of ''Pastor Aeternus'' of the First Vatican Council. Unfortunately when they are not dealing with issues raised by Popes Liberius, Honorius and Alexander VI, they seem to lose their objectivity and clear understanding. It was my belief that Ultramontanism had died out. However it seems to have resurfaced under the pretext of obedience to the Magisterium. These may be harsh words but it is not the person of the Pope that we are called to proclaim and defend but the Faith handed onto us by God through Jesus Christ. The Pope has the same obligation but one which is must greater and more urgent.  His infallibility does not extend to issues relating to the economy, the natural sciences, medicine or geography. If error that is damaging to the Faith is committed by the Bishop of Rome there is a need to resist him. Have they actually considered his words or have they spontaneously reacted with abhorrence towards the fact that someone has criticised the Pope?

The Faith has an objective content that may be presented and explained without the necessity of the Pope of the hour interpreting it. We are not required to suspend judgement on matters of faith and morals already defined until a future pontiff 're-examines them in the light of the Second Vatican Council'. The fickleness towards the Faith exhibited by these, albeit well-intentioned, individuals makes a mockery of the Apostolic Doctrine. The hysterical reaction of some including the ludicrous headline ''The thing that used to be used conservatism has put out a hit on your pope'' is a grave danger to souls understanding the Catholic Faith. It is almost like we are defending 'policies' of a current pope which would soon be altered, assuring the vociferous support of those who defended the contrary simply as the pope said it. On a side note, I am often amused by the self-identified 'conservatives' in the USA, whereas from my perspective as a European Catholic monarchist, they appear rather left-wing. A radio host like Limbaugh who defends the US constituion can only be called right-wing in relation to the modern day Democrats who espouse all sorts of nonsense. From a European context, at least historically, the US constitution is remarkably liberal. Based on the principles of the Enlightenment and Freemasonry it could in no way be described as conservative. In an American context, I am sure the Neo-Catholics devoted to religious liberty are utterly oblivious to that truth. 

 We must be cautious in ascribing error to the Pope in matters but we must be aware of how authoritative the comments or words are. Off-the-cuff remarks by a careless speaker may be worrying but we must recognise them for what they are. Let us not feel compelled to rise to the defence of the Pope on matters outside of faith and morals because we as Catholics feel somehow obliged.  Yet when the Faith is proclaimed by Francis, let us answer 'amen' and refuse to give up his body to the liberal media. Francis is a plaything for the media who will soon abandon him when they have extracted as much capital out of him as possible. Caution instead of cynicism should be our preferred attitude. I miss the days of Gregory VII and Innocent III but I have not been placed by God in the 11th or  12/13th centuries, I can only work out my salvation in fear and trembling in the here and now. It appears that Francis is open to criticism and that is to be welcomed because our concern is for the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness above all things and then we shall truly honour the Pope.

Until He come,


Reflection on Sacred Scripture

Sacred Scripture without the strengthening of Sacred Tradition will crumble formlessly.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Reflection on the Bishop of Christ and Saint Ambrose

Who could give a Christian in the midst of wickedness greater consolation than a manly bishop clad in the armour of Christ? Who among the episcopate would bar the doors of the Church to unworthy politicians and other enemies? A bishop formed according to the image of Ambrose is rare to be found.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Reflection on Orthodoxy and Morals

The reduction of orthodoxy to morals is deeply dangerous. An atheist could assert the same positions.

Reflection on Appreciating Beauty

If one has no understanding of art, architecture, music, in effect, all that is beautiful, at least let him appreciate it.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Reflection on the Neo-Catholic

Onwards with the Crusade! The Pope wills it. Set up the Inquisition! The Pope approves. Censor books! The Pope demands it. On to Assisi! The Pope encourages it. Attend ecumenical services! The Pope recommends it. Dialogue with unbelievers! The Pope desires it.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Reflection on Freethinking

If you are a liberal secularist in this culture, you are not a free thinker but a conformist.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Definition of Modernism

The essential notes of modernism are: naturalism, rationalism and subjectivism.

Reflection on Modernism

Modernism is the inversion of man's relation to God and ultimately the abolition of it.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Reflection on the Cross and the Christ

Christianity devoid of the Cross devolves into a sentimental socialism.

Reflection on The Guardian

I never feel more dirty than when I catch myself reading an article from the Guardian online. Yet, one must be aware of Satan's tactics presented there.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Reflection on Papal Doubt

Absence of dogmatism is fatal for a Roman Pontiff. He is not to be a seeker of the truth but the faithful guardian and transmitter of it.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Reflection on Humanism

Oh to the days when humanists were devoted to literary and scholarly excellence instead of being petty, self-obsessed bores!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Reflection on Free Speech

Has there ever been another age in which freedom of expression has been so championed but such horror at its actual exercise?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Reflection on Preaching

Preaching not based on a solid understanding of theology is liable to lead the people astray. Pious sounding words can only flatter the preacher. It was for this reason that St. Dominic wanted his brothers to study and know the truth first before they could communicate it to those in need.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Reflection on the Crisis in the Church

The entire crisis in the Church concerns an understanding of the very identity of the Church.

Reflection on the Private Sphere

To relegate religion to the private sphere is to relegate it to irrelevance.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Reflection on Human Rights

Fortuitous aggregations of matter can not possess inalienable rights.

Reflection on Guilt

The man who has never felt guilt will never possess a clear conscience.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Reflection on Catholic Culture

Catholic culture may be likened to a silent sermon, communicating eternal truths in a temporal setting.

Reflection on Exploitation

It is to be wondered who confiscates more of our wealth, the so-called greedy corporations or an activist and compassionate government?

Reflection on Islam

How far astray have those Catholics gone who express admiration for Islam! To leap praise upon a religion that denies the divinity of Christ and His passion and Resurrection is to abandon the Faith entirely.

Reflection on Faith and Morals

It is not incidental that men leave the Church for matters of morals. The call may go out to alter a particular sexual moral teaching but who would clamour for an acceptance of Monothelitism? This shows that the primary objections to the Faith are not intellectual or rational but rather the refusal of man to submit himself to a truth that directly affects him.

Reflection on the Identity of Jesus Christ

Each age may be defined as how it interprets the person and purpose of Christ.

The Importance of a Catholic Culture and on the Spirit of Spain

Doctor Fray Francisco Barbado Viejo O.P entering Salamanca, Spain as he takes possession of his new diocese. Taken in 1942 in the Plaza Mayor. 

Pax Christi in Regno Christi.

The preservation of an authentic Catholic culture is vital for the faithful handing on of the doctrine of the Church. The culture is the environment in which a soul is taught, nourished and grows. It is the sensible vehicle of the transmission of the Faith until our days, handed on once to the saints. It will not do for us to simply consider the Faith as a personal matter, reserved to the inner consciences of a group of believers. It may seem pious to claim that the believer should only shut himself up in his room and pray alone but we must be wary of such deceptive thinking. Our Lord taught us to do that it is true, but the motives of these people are to deny the public acknowledgement of God and His holiness. So the culture, so the soul. I have seen Catholic souls who were zealous for the Faith become polluted by our pagan culture and its allurements. I have waned so often in any devotion as our culture is enticing and it presents an easy façade to each unfortunate soul who pays too much attention to it. It is not surprising that a soul who is bombarded with these false values will end up ignoring the eternal. One is unable to evade one´s environment and how it teaches us. Often I do feel rather alone in adhering to the Faith. I do not see fidelity or purity on the television, on the radio or music channels, in the street, or in the lecture hall. Hardly even in the home. Etsi Deus non daretur. We live with the basic assumption that God does not exist. If for sentimental reasons we recall Him, it goes no further than that. You may consider the flourishing of the martyrs in the nascent Church when men and women, young and old (I am particularly struck the virgin martyrs who also seem an insult to our age) preferred nothing to Christ and His glory. The Faith was transmitted throughout the 300 years of persecution, hostility and paganistic allurements. These souls had to be brave and be confident in the hope that was promised to them through the preaching of the apostles. The faithful are much more numerous nowadays but the fire of divine charity is merely a flicker. Christianity in this post-Christian world is like failed experiment to our common man. Adherence to its doctrines is considered an outrageous assault on Enlightenment principles and the greater 'achievements' that man takes pride in.

 I was only born in 1990 and although the culture was well on its way to death, so many of today's assumptions and demands must have seemed bizarre. How blessed must the faithful of Doctor Fray Francisco Barbado Viejo have felt to see their learned and pious prelate process throughout the streets of that venerable city where God was once worshipped. This was during the days of the beginning of Franco's dictatorship in Spain. Salamanca was then a fiercely nationalistic city, now the bookshops are filled with tomes recounting how terrible El Generalísimo was. Without a doubt, El Caudillo was a deeply unpleasant fellow but I firmly believe his cause for the preservation of a Catholic Spain was entirely just. To be frank, I would have needed to support him as I am sure the Republicans would have happily shot me. Those years, a triumph of the Faith but one in which daily life was particularly difficult, in fact to this day, they are known as los años de hambre (the years of hunger). Spain now has lost the spirit of Catholicism and in turn has lost herself. It is easy to be fooled by the visible manifestations of the Church in Spain. Her churches are glorious, processions during Holy Week are well attended where a great deal of time and money is spent by the brotherhoods that organise them, and the populace are generally baptised into the Catholic Faith. Morally speaking, the nation is bankrupt. Licentiousness, abortion, fornication and drunkenness among the youth abound. The Spaniards are a deeply passionate people, strongly regional, distrustful of certain groups, and often this spirit can be unleashed rather violently, as was seen in the run up to the Civil War and during it.
 Spain was created by Catholicism. It was the Faith that united the disparate groups of the Christian incipient kingdoms that emerged after the Muslim invasion by Tariq in 711. The scandal of the Reconquest of the Iberian peninsula, to recover the ´´unity´´´achieved by the Visigoths, was that it took so long. 700 or so years! With much infighting between the Christian monarchs and often stern warnings from the Roman Pontiffs to sort themselves out for the sake of Christendom. To us today, the fight to restore the Faith seems too radical, obscurantist, intolerant and not worth the effort. Surely, our knowledge of the truth has fled from us. The love of that truth has died in our breast.

The assumptions and the world view that we posses are completely shaky and devoid of the knowledge of God. Man forms moral judgements about what must be done on the basis of what he believes to be important. With an entirely secular understanding of morality and man´s place in the universe, it is nigh impossible to present a defence of traditional values. It appears absurd to the average person, even to the so-called 'good'. I understand how men have the moral law in them and therefore are without excuse on the day of judgement, yet that foundation has been splintered through sinful living and a new edifice of ´progress´and ´reason´ has been erected. Our axioms, world view and end are infused with error and fallacy.

Will we return to an authentic Catholic culture? I honestly do not believe so, unless the world reaches its ultimate depravity and ends up destroying itself. It may then look back fondly on the sweet certainty of the Catholic Faith.

Until He come again, ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
In Domino,


Saturday, 9 November 2013

From La Torre - Francisco de Quevedo

Withdrawn to this solitary place,
With a few but learned books,
I live conversing with the dead,

listening to them with my eyes.

Open always, if not always understood,

they amend, they enrich my affairs:
in rhythms of contrapuntal silence,
awakened, they speak to the dream of life.

O Don José, for those great souls
absconded by death, the learnéd
press avenges time´s slanders.

In irrevocable flight the hour flees:
but it can be counted fortunate

when we better oursevles by reading.
 - Francisco de Quevedo

Reflection on Feminism and the Speculation about the first Female Cardinal

It is to be wondered whether feminists wish to abolish power structures....or simply to join them.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Traditional Latin Mass in Salamanca

While studying in Salamanca, Spain, I had the good fortune to assist at the Holy Sacrifice according to the authentic Roman rite. During the first semester it was offered once a month by a priest of the SSPX, a newly ordained young French man. For the second semester we had a greater blessing as the SSPX came up twice a month to offer Mass for us. I wish to share some pictures here of the church where once again the Mass of saints such as Juan de Avila, Teresa, Juan de la Cruz was offered to the Father Almighty.

As you can see the church was built in the gothic style with the customary ribbed vaults. However, the current structure from the 16th century replaced the building constructed in the 12th in the Romanesque style.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Reflection on Beauty

Let beauty be loved and God shall be known.

Reflection on Dejection

It is particularly difficult nowadays for one not to have the desire to spit towards the west and flee to the desert.

Reflection on the Wickedness of the World

Often I wonder if the whole world is rotten because of silence...or consent

Monday, 4 November 2013

Reflection on Hostility to the Roman Mass

What madman could ever have dreamed that the defenders of the Roman Mass would be labelled as being in rebellion against the Roman Pontiff? Meanwhile, the demons chuckle.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Prayer for All Souls' Day

Regard O most merciful Father, the face of Thy Son our Lord, Jesus Christ and release the souls of the faithful departed from their purgation. In virtue of the Holy Sacrifice which ascends before Thee, cleanse their souls from all defilements and all obstacles to the sight of Thy sacred face. Hear the cries of the Church for the end to their suffering so that they may enter Thy presence without stain. Father, grant us all final perseverance in holy charity so we may all share the inheritance of the saints in light. 

Reflection on All Saints' Day

Do not consider sanctification the privileged luxury of a few. We become either saints or devils, there  exists no other possibility

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Reflection on Voting

A female once asked me whether I believed women should vote and she was astonished at my response. Unfortunately she never thought to ask me whether men should vote either.

Reflection on Bird Nests and Romance

There is a greater romance in bird nests than in our modern day skyscrapers. Both may have been constructed for practicality but the latter was capable of being much more.

Reflection on Beauty and Practicality

If the Renaissance virtually produced an idolatrous cult of literary refinement, our age on the other hand has fabricated an almost blasphemous regime of efficiency and practicality. While the former could appreciate an ideal of beauty, we unhappily, since it has been exiled from our realm, are bemused how to approach it. Consequently it is not a surprise that we dive in with reckless abandon when a mere semblance crosses our vision.

Reflection on Progress

To extol the virtues of progress without settling on a definitive dogmatic direction is to limp around in circles. Exhaustion would be reached before a happy conclusion is obtained.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Reflection on Politicians

Regarding politicians it is rather difficult to decide whether to accuse them of dishonesty or of incompetence is the most charitable.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Reflection on Fatherhood

One of the great tragedies of our time is the loss of understanding of fatherhood with catastrophic consequences for many a isolated young man.

Reflection on Catholic Social Teaching

It is lamentable that certain shallow populists have reduced the riches of Catholic social teaching to a sentimental socialism.

The Contempt for the Simple Believer

In the past few months I have been considering under a new light my ancestors. None of them were famous, learned or particularly significant. They simply existed. As my surname testifies, my paternal family has its origins in Ireland and therefore in Catholicism. I have come to consider my conversion to the Catholic Faith in 2008 as more of a reversion after the previous two generations unhappily abandoned it. My great grandfather, who insisted that I bear the 'traditional' male family name of Charles and soon died after he got his wish, was the last to practise and die in the Faith with a Requiem Mass and burial. Our Irish origins had no real importance to me until I started to consider the lives of my forefathers of many years ago struggling to live. Only a few members of my family are religious, none of them adhere to the Catholic Faith, so often I feel rather odd among them. My decision to convert in 2007 startled them as it seemed a rather strange step for a young man to make in today's world. At least my father now considers me as a renowned expert on matters of religion. On my father's side I am probably the most educated member we have ever had. My mother's side in the past generation has had more academic success with the earning of degrees and a cousin is currently working on her PhD. On that score I feel far more at ease in their company, as they more obviously value the importance of learning and education that my paternal family almost believes to be an aspect of snobbery at times.

 However, my paternal family exerts a certain attraction on me as they lived as Catholics. In the eyes of the world, they were nobodies. Illiterate, peasants, simple. Catholics. The Catholic Faith is the greatest treasure I have and it was given to me. I did not earn it, buy it, deserve it. By divine grace it was given to me. It presents a link to me and my forefathers who practised Catholicism even after leaving Ireland, although I am not sure when that occurred. On the surface we are rather different. I value very strongly the importance of knowledge and learning. Maybe they would have too if they had the opportunity to consider anything more than surviving and working to survive. The most important knowledge that I have has been self-taught. Whether it be my knowledge of history, the perennial philosophy or theology it has come to me by my own desire to learn and improve myself. These ancestors in Ireland were completely illiterate who had to sign their name with a X, and rather curiously our surname changed from Mulligan to Milligan during the lifetime of one man. Being unlearned, he did not even notice.

 I like to think of them performing their devotions, whether they be the rosary, the Angelus, the stations of the cross with a firm faith and a simple joy. The 'Traditional Latin Mass' was to them nothing other than the Mass. It is something I wish I could cultivate. Do not consider what I have written above about learning to be an idle boast. All men desire to know as they possess an intellect whose proper object is the truth. Furthermore, Aristotle, that prodigious mind, believed the first attitude of the philosopher to be wonder. I imagine my fathers possessing a great and firm hope in the promises of Christ as their earthly circumstances would have given them nothing to be glad about in that impoverished land. Although I do not wish to sin through romanticising their past. Here I come however to the point of this rambling post.

 Too many self-professed intellectuals, self-appointed champions of the poor and simple have scorned the honest and decent devotion of those they claim to uphold. They believe their devotions to be childish, superstitious and a relic of an ignorant age. They write books, coining new phrases that if they were honest they would be at pains to explain. They may have the alphabet after their names, but they lack the common sense and wonder that any man could attain to, peasant or cultured. It could be that these simple ancestors had a better understanding of the Faith and creation as they cherished the significance of signs and the 'sacramental' character of the world and God's action in it. They would have possessed a sense of the Faith to a far greater degree than these 'enlightened ones' who attempt to constrain the mind of the Church into a particular system which pleases them.  They trumpet the call for an authenticity in the believer which means to them the abandonment of any externals that raise the mind to God. These 'ritualisms' are a hindrance, they proclaim, to a true Christian life, as though every soul is in the illuminative state within the first instances of entering the age of reason. They do not understand the relevance of matter to the forming of a Christian spirit. It is almost as if they believe us to be angelic spirits that must flee the contamination of the physical. Are they Manicheans or mere fools?

 Let us value the honest prayer of the simple ones of Christ, not disregarding the worth of learning but to recognise that the source of truth is God Himself. It is by Faith, Hope and Charity that we attain to Him.

In Domino,

Charles Stuart

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Reflection on Heresy and Tolerance

If the Church were tolerant of heresy she would be of demonic origin.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Una Voce Mass in Torphichen, Scotland

Mass offered today at the Preceptory of the Knights of St. John in Torphichen according to the Ancient Form of the Roman Liturgy. Celebrant: Fr. Mark Morris. In Choir: Fr. John Emerson FSSP

It is the project of Una Voce Scotland to organise the celebration of the Usus Antiquior in as many pre-Reformation churches in the land as possible. One can imagine the delight of the faithful, monks and priests who used to assist at Masses at places like these to see their churches used once again for their purpose, the worship of God. They are certainly beautiful to look at, but what a joy it is for one to hear Gregorian chant expertly resounding between these ancient walls for the glory of our Lord.

Reflection on Indifference

Indifference may be the greatest wickedness.

Reflection on the Poor and the Church

How arrogant and foolish to deprive the poor man from beauty in his church and liturgy claiming it is for his benefit.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Reflection on the Saints and How we View them

The lives of the saints appear as a reproach to the minds of the wordly. Their devotion is like an insult to what we hold dear, consider fulfilling and believe to be useful to society.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Reflection on Nature

To conceive of nature as anything other than the mirror of God is to go astray.

Reflection on the Root of our Evils

A life according to "etsi Deus non daretur" is the radical principle of all our evils. Abortion, euthanasia, sodomy and promiscuity are all symptoms of the same.

Reflection on Hopelessness

Hopelessness has pervaded the culture and we consider it progress.

Reflection on Atheism and Humanism

Atheism is the abolition of any authentic humanism.

Reflection on Abortion and the Culture

The prevalence of abortion in society is the complete triumph of a culture of despair.

Reflection on Decadence and Heresy

It is far more preferable for a prelate to be decadent than a heretic.

Reflection on Utility

The reduction of all things to practical utility is to drain the human spirit.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Reflection on the Greatest Evil of our Age

The greatest evils of our age can all be reduced to a loss of the sense of God.

Reflection on Geocentrism and the Ego

As the earth has moved away from the centre of the universe, the ego has come closer and closer to it.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Reflection on Nationalisation

No nationalised industry has ever been owned by the people.

Reflection on the Liberal Catholic

The fundamental difficulty the liberal Catholic has is that he denies the social kingship of Christ. For him, the reign of Jesus is merely restricted to the emotions and a self-professed noble sentiment.

The Doctors Speak...

St. Thomas Aquinas

'Hold firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church.''

Comment: The Catholic is intimately aware of the Church's Tradition and glorifies it. He wishes to delve more deeply into the sources of the Faith that he professes. The development of doctrine, the liturgical traditions, the works whether theological or mystical of the great minds God has raised up excite him. He expresses no worry, embarrassment, unease with what has occurred during the two-thousand years of the Faith. His heroes and icons are drawn from the great treasury that is the communion of saints in glory. He himself in the Faith is united with them. He defends the triumphs of the men and women who have honoured God with their whole souls and bodies. He finds no common cause with the enemies of the Church who attack her past to discredit her perennial teachings. Yet he recognises the sins of her members, condemning them as unworthy of the spotless Bride of Christ. He is ultimately grateful for the faith handed on to him. May he live and die in possession of that grace like those so many who walked before him in the shadow of the Cross.  

Reflection on Beauty

Let us banish the thought that beauty distracts us from virtue, for what is good living other than conformity to the divine harmony and splendour?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Reflection on Judgement

Lack of judgement is more in keeping with the nature of dumb beasts than that of rational man.

Reflection on Tolerance

Tolerance by its very definition signifies dislike or disagreement.

Reflection on St. Augustine

In the spirituality and thought of St. Augustine we encounter the profoundly human as they are essentially theocentric.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Reflection on Scholasticism

In Scholasticism we see a profound collaboration between faith and reason. For these doctors it would be inconceivable to posit a rupture between dogma and natural truths, although both had their own spheres of operation. The scholastic recognised the ultimate foundation of all truth as God Himself.

Reflection on Modernism

The tragedy of Modernism is that is has gone beyond the heavy tomes of daring scholars and has entered our homes, schools and churches. It appears to the average Catholic as something entirely natural and self-evident.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Reflection on the Old Rite/Traditional Latin Mass

Do not go on the defensive when they ask you why you are a devotee of the Traditional Latin Mass but ask them why they have abandoned it first.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Reflection on Faith and Reason

The man of faith knows the place of reason.

Reflection on Richard Dawkins and the New Atheism

The atheism propounded by Richard Dawkins could only ever appeal to the self-satisfied bores among us.

Reflection on Condemnation

A condemnation can only come from a prior affirmation.

Convento de San Esteban, Salamanca

I saw the above picture on a Facebook page dedicated to Spanish architecture and I felt that I had to share it. The Convent of St. Stephen run by the Dominicans in Salamanca is a fantastic piece of architecture designed to show the splendour and glory of God. The area outside the church is a wonderful way to spend a warm afternoon, relaxing near this marvel. The statue is of Francisco de Vitoria, the Father of international law, who introduced the Summa Theologica to the faculty of Theology when he headed it up. A who's who of theologians of the 16th century came here to study and debate, such as Domingo de Soto, Domingo Báñez, Martín Azpilcueta, Tomás de Mercado and Francisco Suárez. A great deal of energy was spent on considering new ideas and practices of the contemporary world such as economics and international law, in particular the right of conquest and evangelisation. They combined a deep piety, profound learning and a ardent desire to analyse current issues in the light of Catholic tradition. I first came across the Salmanticenses during my reading of Father Garrigou-Lagrange in my second year of university, so I went to study in that Spanish city the next year with some excitement. I scoured the bookshops to see if I could find copies in the Castilian tongue of their works but I was to be disappointed. If you are looking for Hans Küng you would not be left wanting, yet if you wished to find something of value you would be left empty handed.

It was with some amusement and worry that I heard the response of my fellow classmates in a particular class in Salamanca. The class was about the methodology of the creation of a critical text and we came across a work by St. Vincent Ferrer, I believe it was a collection of his sermons. The lecturer was at pains to describe to the other students that Ferrer was a Dominican of Valencia, 'A Dominican, what is that?' was the reply of a few bemused students. What a great pity that students of the University of Salamanca are perplexed by Dominicans who formed the best students and teachers of the institution in the past! It highlighted to me that so many young people are completely ignorant of the past and see no value in it. That would not be so troubling if they did not attempt to form negative judgements about it.

 May the beauty of this church remind us of the contributions of the men of the past who upheld the glory of God and stretched human reason to its bounds.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Reflection on Hell

To claim that we may have reasonable hope that no one perishes is not to exalt the mercy of God but to destroy His holiness.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Reflection on Pope Francis

It is particularly worrying that when the Supreme Pontiff does enunciate some aspect of Catholic Truth we feel relieved.

Theological Shorts 4 - On the Capacity of Christ's Soul to Suffer

The following article is taken from the Compendium of Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, section under 'Faith', 232.

It was one of the fundamental difficulties of the early Church to deal with who exactly Christ was. After all, our salvation depends on the one who saved us. Various heresies were produced that denied one aspect of Christ's person which ultimately affected the capacity of the Lord to be a competent saviour. Some claimed that He was only human, others only divine, others denied the full humanity, others the full divinity and others still the unity of His person. It is utterly vital for us to proclaim the full humanity, the full divinity (homoousios) and the unity of Christ in one subsistent hypostasis. The following article hinges on this belief and so does our salvation.

 With the Angelic Doctor we acknowledge that the human body and soul form one substance. Men are not spirits trapped in a cruel but temporary prison. We are only fully human when both exist peacefully together. As the body suffers, the soul in some way experiences this harm. We cannot forget that Christ had a created soul and created body which did not exist prior to the Incarnation. So the following reflections on His suffering depend on understanding that due to the creation nature of His human body and soul (however pure) He was capable of feeling pain. Thomas tells us that the soul can experience two kinds of suffering, 1) from the body itself, and 2) from the object. He informs us that the whole soul suffers (due to the unity between them. the soul being the form of the body) because of the suffering of the body. It follows as well that since the powers of the soul are found in the soul's essence, each of its powers suffers when the body does.

However, we must make a vital qualification here when we consider the capacity of Christ's soul to suffer harm. We have to deny that the object of suffering could cause harm to every power of His soul. The reason for this is that Christ experienced the Beatific Vision in the higher part of His soul. It would have been impossible for some object to disturb this state and cause harm. The plenitude of glory was experienced in the higher part of His soul which nothing could have diminished. Thomas continues:

 ''Therefore, the higher reason of Christ's soul, which cleaves to the eternal things that should be contemplated and consulted, had nothing adverse or contrary whereby any suffering or harm would take place.''

 So how is it that Christ could be said to suffer truly in soul if the higher part was incapable of being disturbed? We note that sense powers are vitally linked through their objects to sensible, created things, therefore pain can be transmitted to them.Strikes upon the body are felt through the nerves and the soul perceives these blows as harmful to the continuance of the whole person. As shown in the Garden, Christ was capable of suffering distress, when the knowledge of future things (the Crucifixion) caused Him internal distress and fear. The proximity of harm, and the certainty of it (He knew this in the Beatific vision and the knowledge of the mysteries that His Father infused, as well as being the Wisdom of God Himself) caused Him to sweat blood and shrink before death. The lower reason united with the sense powers perceives the harm being done to the body and proves itself adverse to it. Pain is regarded as contrary to the functioning of the body which wishes to preserve itself in tranquillity. Therefore we must admit that the suffering of the Cross proved 'odious' to His lower soul that wished to avoid the coming pain. It is for this reason that Christ asked the Father to remove the chalice of His passion from Him. Yet, we cannot forget His immediate response, 'Fiat voluntas tua!' We shall move onto an explanation of this shortly.

 There are various kinds of suffering and one such sort involves suffering out of love of someone else. We may experience pain when a loved one commits some evil or goes through their own sickness or discomfort. It is completely nature for a human being to undergo this internal pain or confusion. Christ suffered this pain on the Cross when He considered all those for whom He died. As shown in a previous article on the knowledge of Christ, it was revealed to Him all those God has had created and would create, therefore Christ knew all those souls whose sins lead to His passion and death. He suffered when He regarded their sins and their punishments, however we must make another vital distinction here. The love of neighbour for God's sake belongs to higher reason. As said above, the higher part of His soul possessed the Beatific Vision so that knowledge of the sins of men and their punishments could not have disturbed Him. In the Beatific Vision, He, like all the saints, 'knew' how Divine Wisdom and Providence operates. They are capable of seeing how individual sins and damnations fit into the plan of God thereby they feel no distress. They can reconcile how goodness and justice form one whole in the deity.

 In our case, we are unable to comprehend how the sins of our loved ones and their suffering can be reconciled with a loving God. On this account we feel distress and uncertainty, which did not plague Christ's higher reason which experienced the Beatific Vision. We cannot know of the eternal destinies of our friends and families, so we are told to pray and trust.

 Could the suffering experienced by Christ's soul lead to division? We must answer no. When we wayfarers experience emotions arising from particular unpleasant situations our responses are often immoderate and disordered. We consider how we are inconvenienced and insulted instead of how God is offended. Our anger builds up contrary to right reason and we act badly as a result. However, in the case of Christ, this was not possible. The soul of our Lord was governed with rectitude. His emotions, which could only have come from a full and true humanity, were entirely subject to right reason and did not exceed their set boundaries. Thomas continues:

 ''Rather, the lower appetite, which is subject to emotions, was moved only as much as reason directed that it should be moved''

 We must not admit any sort of disjunction in the soul of Christ was He was in possession of the Beatific Vision and He was free of any form of concupiscence. Although His soul suffered terribly from the pain inflicted on His sacred body and His soul perceived this as harm and His imagination suffered distress due to coming pain, His higher reason recognised why He had to suffer. He therefore in His higher reason willed to suffer pain for the sake of sinners, even while His lower reason linked to the senses and the awful torture inflicted on Him shrank from death. The latter shrank from death as is entirely natural, but the fear did not exceed its bounds.

In essence, the suffering did not destroy His enjoyment of the Beatific Vision nor vice versa, each part acted according to its proper function. 

Reflection on the "Neo-Catholic"

The desire of the "Neo-Catholic" to defend everything a pontiff says or does springs from a purely human loyalty. It may appear commendable but makes him look fickle regarding the Faith.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Reflection on Liberalism

Liberalism may be defined as the art of taking offence.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Reflection on Hierarchy

Men are said nowadays to oppose hierarchy but it would be more precise to claim that they oppose their place in the hierarchy.

Cardinal Ratzinger on Mass Vestments

Cardinal Ratzinger makes clear in his work 'The Spirit of the Liturgy' that liturgical vestments do not express simply the splendour of creation but convey something far more profound about our condition as wayfarers and our hope of incorruptibility. 

''The liturgical attire worn by the priest during the celebration of Holy Mass should, first and foremost, make clear that he is not there as a private person, as this or that man, but stands in place of Another - Christ. What is merely private, merely individual, about him should disappear and make way for Christ. ''It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.'' (Gal. 2:20)...It is not he himself who is important, but Christ. He makes himself the instrument of Christ, acting, not from his own resources, but as the messenger, indeed as the presence, of Another - in persona Christi, as the liturgical tradition says. Liturgical vestments are a direct reminder of those texts in which St. Paul speaks of being clothed with Christ: ''For as many of you were baptised into Christ have put on Christ'' (Gal 3:27). In the epistle to the Romans, the image is connected with the opposition between two ways of living. To those who waste their lives in immoderate eating and drinking, in debauchery and licentiousness, St. Paul shows the Christian way: ''But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires'' (Romans 13:14). In the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, the same idea is interpreted in an even more fundamental way in relation to the anthropology of the new man: ''Put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness'' (Eph 4:24). ''You have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator'' (Col 3:10f)...The goal is the inward renewal, his real assimilation to God...The image of putting on Christ is, therefore, a dynamic image, bearing on the transformation in Christ, and of the new community  that is supposed to arise from it. Vestments are a challenge to the priest to surrender himself to the dynamism of breaking out of the capsule of self and being fashioned anew by Christ and for Christ. They remind those who participate in the Mass of the new way that began with Baptism and continues with the Eucharist, the way that leads to the future world already delineated in our daily lives by the sacraments.
 In his two epistles to the Corinthians, St Paul gives further elaboration to the eschatological orientation of the image of clothing. In the first epistle he says: ''This perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality'' (15:53)...Paul describes the body of this earthly time as an ''earthly tent'', which will be taken down, and looks ahead to the house not made with human hands, ''eternal in the heavens''. He is anxious about the taking down of the tent, anxious about the ''nakedness'' in which he will then find himself. His hope is to be, not ''unclothed'', but ''further clothed'', to receive the ''heavenly house'' - the definitive body - as a new garment. The Apostle does not want to discard his body, he does not want to be bodiless. ..He does not want flight but transformation. He hopes for resurrection. Thus the theology of clothing becomes a theology of the body...The liturgical vestment carries this message in itself. It is a further clothing, not an ''unclothing'', and the liturgy guides us on the way to this ''further clothing'', on the way to the body's salvation in the risen body of Jesus Christ, which is the new ''house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor 5:1)''

Reflection on Salvation

Let the Catholic seek to uphold the divine rights of God with a burning charity in his life and he shall be saved.

Reflection on Hatred for Catholic Tradition

The Catholic who expresses hatred and embarrassment towards the Church's history and traditions has practically lost the Faith.

Theological Shorts 3 - What is Evil?

The following article is taken from St. Thomas Aquinas' Compendium of Theology. I will be focussing on his section under the heading 'Faith', 115-122.

 This Theological Short is more properly philosophical as it follows a process of human reasoning alone which is open to each man whether he knows of, or accepts Christian revelation. As I taught in the previous Theological Short, certain truths available to the enquiring human mind are also revealed to us in order to safeguard us from error. Some of the truths that I will lay out here can be obtained from revelation as they consider the inherent goodness of creation which has been communicated to us from above.

 First of all it is necessary for us to realise that we do not consider evil to be a nature, a reality in its own right. We do not acknowledge a principle of evil or of darkness which exists co-eternally with
goodness, such as the Gnostics taught. We reject the possibility of a Supreme Evil existing as a counterpart to the Supreme Good. This will be shown in the following line of philosophical enquiry. The Angelic Doctor notes that a nature, a thing, a substance is either a potentiality or an actuality, what could be or what currently is. The former seeks to become perfect, that is, to become actual. All things by nature seek good properly understood. We here do not speak of, simply, moral good, but the perfection belonging to a thing as a particular thing. As something shares in actuality it shares in goodness (a perfection), that is, being considered under the aspect of desirability. To mix in a contrary, in this case, 'evil' does not lead a thing to a new perfection but rather it suffers a defect. To understand this point it is vital to realise the significance of the truth outlined above that evil is not a nature. What is produced by this unhappy mixture is not a new positive form (although it does receive a new form) but the devastation, the corruption, the corrosion of a perfection. As things seek their own good and perfection, wishing to remain secure in it, they also wish (by nature, not simply voluntarily) to avoid what destroys it. Existence itself, an actuality in the mode of being, is itself a good which 'all things desire, sharing in good perfects every nature''.

 We define genus as a class of beings, it is 'what something is'. Further we define species as 'what sort of thing it is'. Thomas asserts that the particular species is determined by a thing's form. Therefore, in the case of a moral agent (a man or an angel), the moral species, derived from their form, is obtained from the end sought out by their will.
 In natural objects or beings, the corruption of one form is related to the reception of another form. The Angelic Doctor uses the example of fire and its effect on wood. What occurs when fire touches wood is that the wood itself suffers deformation, it is warped, ultimately it loses a perfection it previously possessed. The agency of fire, a good in itself, when in contact with wood causes the latter to lose its integrity and perfection.

 As regards moral agents, we consider it to be an evil for them to seek out an end which is defective, one that is removed from a necessary perfection. Evil here derives from the privation rather than merely the object sought itself. We are told that good and evil are specific differences which distinguish a class of moral beings. 'What is perfect always belongs to the nature of good, and what is lesser always belongs to the nature of evil'.

We can not state entirely correctly that evil exists. What we truly mean is that we believe (created) good can be corrupted, that its perfection can be destroyed. It is itself in the nature of created things to be liable to such negative change, not because of an inherent defect in their creation but by the very fact of their being brought into existence out of nothing. This possibility arises from its nature's potentiality. They are contingent beings that require an agent in act to bring them into existence and to sustain them in it. This last mention of creatio ex nihilo is properly theological as it cannot be proven by human reason alone that we were created out of nothing.

 A particularly good analogy of how evil is a corruption of a perfection of a good is shown by the example of blindness. The proper object of sight is colour, however due to blindness, the thing is incapable of activating fully this sense. Blindness can occur to various degrees, that is, to a deepening level of damage or diminishing of a perfection. The eye itself, although terribly impeded in its proper function, still remains good in its nature. 'Both form and potentiality for form are good, and a potentiality is the subject of privation, just as it is the subject of a form'. The subject in which it adheres is 'necessarily good, not that is is contrary to evil, but that it is a potentiality regarding evil'.

 We must underline here that not every good, as I have implicitly stated above, can be susceptible to evil. Only those beings which may lose a perfection can. For God we must not admit the presence of evil or even the potentiality of evil as He is said to be pure act, incapable of change as this would imply imperfection, whether this be the capacity to develop perfection or the ability to be deprived of it.

 Thomas goes on to remark that an evil as a privation can not be desired in itself (only per accidens) but only inasmuch as it connected to a certain good. However we may consider this point more fully in a later article.

 Evil must be found in a particular good, it can not exist on its own. It is to be found in good as in its subject. Privation can only be found in a being and as such it must inhere in a good. We say that evil is found in something in the same sense as we say blindness is found in an eye, or more precisely 'in the subject of the power of sight'.

It is now necessary to move on to distinguish the various senses of the term 'evil' that we have been using. Usually in common speak we would define it as some outrageous act such as murder or rape, but we should not be limited to particular instances of moral evil. The key point in this article is that evil is a defect or a privation, a reduction in a subject's perfection or goodness. We may mean this in two ways, 1) its nature or 2) its operation, such as its movement towards its desired end. In the first case we can mean the aforementioned example of blindness and for the second we can speak of limping as an impediment in the operation of walking, an action which suffers from a defect. As regards moral evil, this can only be produced by a conscious and active moral agent who knows what it is doing. Its voluntary nature is essential. A forced act which is imposed from outwith such as rape does not constitute fornication or adultery. Thomas also notes that an action done out of ignorance does not count as a voluntary act as the agent is not aware of the things of which the said action consists. If a defect is done consciously by an active moral agent we speak of sin and the agent deserves punishment. 
Finally we consider evil that has the nature of punishment. The removal of a good can be imposed on a moral agent against their will in order to serve as a remedy for sin and to alter the deficient will for disordered actions. This is in itself actually a good as it hopefully brings the will to a state of justice by making punishment more unpleasant than the desire for illicit action.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Why God Permits Evil - David Bentley Hart

I came across this rather interesting quotation from a Eastern Orthodox theologian while reading a reader's guide of the Summa Theologica by Stephen J. Loughlin. It is taken from David Bentley Hart's work, 'The Doors of the Sea: Where was God in the Tsunami?'

Behold my contribution to ecumenism.

''The entire case is premised upon an inane anthropomorphism - abstracted from any living system of belief - that reduces God to a finite ethical agent, a limited psychological personality, whose purposes are measurable upon the same scale as ours, and whose ultimate ends for his creatures do not transcend the cosmos as we perceive it. This is not to say that it is an argument without considerable emotional and even moral force; but of logical force there is none. Unless one can see the beginning and end of all things, unless one possesses a divine, eternal vantage upon all of time, unless one knows the precise nature of the relation between divine and created freedom, unless one can fathom infinite wisdom, one can draw no conclusions from finite experience regarding the coincidence in God of omnipotence and perfect goodness. One may still hate God for worldly suffering, if one chooses, or deny him, but one cannot in this way ''disprove'' him.'' 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Reflection on Democracy 2

In a democracy the fool and the wise man are treated alike - and we regard ourselves as enlightened for it

Reflection on Democracy

Fear and bribery are given a respectable place in a democracy.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Reflection on Embarrassment

The liberal is terribly embarrassed about his Catholicism. He wishes it could be as gentlemanly and as proper as himself. As Augustine said, he believes not the Gospel, but himself.

Reflection about Me

By birth, a Scotsman.
By conviction, a monarchist
By the grace of God, a Catholic Christian.

Reflection on Liberty

The radical principle of liberty is the intellect. A naked voluntarism devoid of an intellectual foundation is the death of freedom.

Reflection on the Scholar

Scholarship must be united with a certain degree of asceticism as many an intellectual error is derived from a moral vice.

Reflection on Church and State

If we are to have a seamless unification of Church and state it is much more preferable to have a state that has become holy instead of a Church that has become profane.

Reflection on Reason and Sentiment

It is preferable to be crushed by reason than to be puffed up falsely by sentiment.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Reflection on Beauty with Pride

Physical beauty without humility produces a certain revulsion.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Reflection on Turning the Other Cheek

Our Lord commands us to turn the other cheek as often our response to insults and humiliations comes from a wounded pride rather than a concern for justice.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Reflection on Culture

Catholicism is the last defence of a vital and true culture.

Reflection on the Incarnation

What man could have raised himself up to the glory of heaven if heaven had not first reached down to his land to embrace and lift him up? The invisible has become visible, the incorporeal has become corporeal, the Lord has become a servant, God has become a victim, the transcendent has been touched. Verily, as Tertullian of old claimed, the flesh of Christ is the hinge of our salvation.

Et  Verbum caro factum est.

The Struggle of the Believer

''I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: but I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin that is in my members. Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, by Jesus Christ, our Lord'' (Romans, 7:22:25)

Comment: Be comforted friends in the sure grace and assistance given to us constantly by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. What temptation envelops us, disturbs us, accuses us! It is a certain ploy of Satan to remove from our hearts the peace of Christ. We may upon our conversion reject our former paths, but we continue to feel a particular curiosity towards them. 'Oh what I would be allowed to do if I weren't Catholic!' The Faith is not a prison, but the vehicle of our salvation on the account of the sacrifice of Christ. Regard your failings as you own weakness, consider how greater you need the grace of God which He promises us! This struggle, this fight to be free of this law of our members will continue until we breath our last, but do not become discouraged. Do not be afraid!
 To be unsure about the grace given to us by God and the possibility of His forgiveness is the worst thing that a soul could do. The burden of our sins would crush us with no opportunity for improvement. Listen to the words of the Holy Apostle as he recognises his own sins and failings, but marvel at how he extols the most gracious mercy of our Saviour, who will never abandon us in our filth.

 Repent and trust joyful in the salvation offered to us in His Holy Church.