Friday, June 7, 2019

A clarification on integralism


Talk of integralism is all the rage in recent weeks, given the dispute between David French and Sohrab Ahmari and Matthew Continetti’s analysis of the state of contemporary conservatism, on which I commented in a recent post.  What is integralism?  Rod Dreher quotes the following definition from the blog The Josias:

Catholic Integralism is a tradition of thought that rejects the liberal separation of politics from concern with the end of human life, holding that political rule must order man to his final goal. Since, however, man has both a temporal and an eternal end, integralism holds that there are two powers that rule him: a temporal power and a spiritual power. And since man’s temporal end is subordinated to his eternal end the temporal power must be subordinated to the spiritual power.

End quote.  Now, I wouldn’t say that this definition is wrong, but it does need qualification.  In particular, where talk of “the end of human life” and related terms are concerned, we need to draw some distinctions – distinctions that are usually ignored in modern discussion of these issues, and the neglect of which leads to serious misunderstandings, certainly where the topic of Catholic integralism is concerned.

What I am talking about are the distinctions between a natural end and a supernatural end, and between natural theology and revealed theology.  A natural end of a human being is an end toward which we are aimed or directed by nature, just by virtue of being human beings or rational animals.  For example, by virtue of being a kind of animal, we are naturally aimed or directed toward the realization of ends like acquiring food and shelter.  And by virtue of being rational, we are naturally directed toward the realization of ends like the attainment of truth. 

A supernatural end is one toward which our nature itself does not direct us, even if it is not inconsistent with our nature.  It is one that is above what our nature would by itself allow us to realize (hence supernatural), so that realizing it requires special divine assistance.  The beatific vision – the direct or unmediated knowledge of God’s nature enjoyed by the blessed in heaven – is our supernatural end, impossible to achieve without grace.  (Note that “supernatural” in this sense has nothing to do with ghosts, goblins, and the other usual strawmen.) 

Natural theology has to do with knowledge about God’s existence and nature that is possible for us to acquire simply by virtue of applying our natural powers of reasoning, via purely philosophical arguments.  It requires no appeal to special divine revelation – to scripture, the tradition of the Church, the teachings of a prophet, or the like.  It is the kind of knowledge that pagan philosophers like Aristotle and Plotinus had, even if their views were mixed with various errors.  Revealed theology, by contrast, is knowledge of God’s nature and will of the kind that is available only through some special divine revelation (and thus through scripture, etc.).  The doctrine of the Trinity is a standard example.  And knowing that it is possible for us by grace to attain the beatific vision would be another example.

Now, since there is such a thing as natural theology, acquiring knowledge of God’s existence and nature through the use of pure reason is also among our natural ends.  Indeed, for pagans like Aristotle and Plotinus, no less than for Christians, it is the highest of our natural ends.  And it entails that the highest of our natural obligations – what we most need to pursue in order to flourish as human beings – is, in Aristotle’s words, “the contemplation and service of God.”

This is not the same as the beatific vision, because it involves merely mediated or inferential knowledge of God, rather than the intimacy of a direct knowledge of the divine nature.  Unlike the beatific vision, such mediated knowledge is possible for us by nature rather than only by grace.  And there is much else that we can know by nature or via purely philosophical arguments, such as the immortality of the soul and the natural law conception of ethics – with everything that entails about abortion, sexual morality, and the general obligation on the part of both individuals and societies to recognize and honor God.

The relevance to Catholic integralism is this.  Many people seem to think that the debate over integralism is a debate over whether religion, in general, ought to have an influence in politics, and it seems to me that the definition provided by The Josias might reinforce this impression.  Many people also seem to think that Vatican II’s teaching on religious liberty abandoned the idea that religion should have any influence on politics.  But all of that is incorrect.  From the natural law point of view, and from the point of view of both traditional and post-Vatican II Catholic social doctrine, there is no question that natural theology and natural law must inform politics, whatever one says about specifically Catholic theology. 

That means that even a non-integralist Catholic could and should hold that at least a generic theism should be affirmed by the state and that government policy should be consistent with the principles of natural law.  For these are matters of philosophy, not divine revelation.  They can all be established by rational arguments that make no reference to scripture or the magisterium of the Church.  You could be a purely philosophical theist – a Neoplatonist, say, or an Aristotelian, or a Leibnizian – who completely rejects the very idea of divine revelation, and still hold that the state ought to honor God, that abortion should be outlawed, and so on.  The atheist state is contra naturam, not merely contrary to divine revelation.

It might be objected that arguments for these theses, even if purely philosophical, are obviously controversial, so that no such theses should influence public policy.  But though the premise is true, the argument is a non sequitur.  Every substantive claim about morality and politics is controversial, including those to which liberals are committed.  Liberals had no qualms about pushing for same-sex marriage even when it was far more controversial than it is now.  They had no qualms about imposing the legalization of abortion on the entire country by judicial fiat when the idea was highly controversial, as it still is.  So they cannot consistently hold that philosophical views about natural theology and natural law ethics should not influence public policy, on the grounds that those views are controversial. 

(Liberalism claims to be “neutral” or impartial between competing controversial philosophical, moral, and religious views in a way that other political philosophies are not, but as I have argued in several places, this purported neutrality is completely bogus and delusional.  See e.g. my essay “Self-Ownership, Libertarianism, and Impartiality,” in Neo-Scholastic Essays.)

Rightly understood, the debate over Catholic integralism has to do with whether specifically Catholic doctrines, which concern our supernatural end and are matters of revealed theology, should have an influence on public policy.  The state should favor theism, but must it favor the Church?  That is the sort of question that the debate over how to interpret Vatican II’s teaching on religious liberty has always been about.  No one can justify a complete separation of religion and politics on the basis of Vatican II.  The most one could argue for (whether correctly or incorrectly) is that Vatican II abandoned the ideal of a specifically Catholic state. 

There are two basic schools of thought on the latter question.  On one view, Vatican II reversed the teaching of the pre-Vatican II popes and rejected even in principle the idea that the state should favor the Church.  Call this the “hermeneutics of rupture” interpretation.  Some people who adopt this interpretation approve of the purported rupture in teaching (i.e., progressives and some neo-conservative Catholics), while others deplore it (i.e., some traditionalist Catholics, who argue that the teaching of Vatican II was not infallible anyway and thus can and ought to be reversed in the future).

On another view, Vatican II did not reverse past teaching, but merely made a prudential judgment to the effect that, though the Church retains the right in principle to be favored by the state, it is no longer fitting for her to exercise this right.  Furthermore, on this interpretation, Vatican II’s reference to an individual right to religious liberty can be interpreted in a way consistent with the Church being favored by the state.  Call this the “hermeneutics of continuity” interpretation.  Some who adopt this interpretation think that the prudential judgment in question was sound (i.e., many conservatives and probably at least some traditionalist Catholics), while others think it was unwise (i.e., those traditionalist Catholics who don’t accuse Vatican II of doctrinal error but think the state should, where possible, continue to favor the Church).

Catholic integralists are essentially those who think that, however we interpret Vatican II, it is irreformable Catholic teaching that the ideal situation is for the state to favor the Church.  But integralists in this sense nevertheless can and do disagree over the practical implications of this position.  What we might call soft integralism is the view that, though in theory the state may and ideally should favor the Church, in practice this is extremely unlikely ever to work out very well.  Politics and culture, on this view, are always too messy for the ideal to be anywhere close to realizable.  Hence, for the soft integralist, functionally the Church is better off keeping integralism on the shelf indefinitely as a dead letter (and perhaps should never have tried to implement it even in the past).  It’s a doctrine that is only of theoretical interest and too hazardous to apply in practice.

Hard integralism would be the view that it is always best for the Church to try to implement integralism as far as she can, so that Catholics should strive not only to convert the world to the faith, but also to get the state to favor the Church wherever this is practically feasible.

Moderate integralism, naturally, falls in between these extremes.  Whereas the soft integralist thinks it is never or almost never a good idea to try practically to implement integralism, and the hard integralist thinks it is always or almost always a good idea to do so, the moderate integralist thinks that there is no “one size fits all” solution and that we have to go case by case.  In some historical and cultural contexts, getting the state to favor the Church might be the best policy, in others it might be a very bad policy, and in yet others it might not be clear what the best approach is.  We shouldn’t assume a priori that any of these answers is the right one, but should treat the question as prudential and highly contingent on circumstances.

In my opinion, orthodoxy requires a Catholic to be at least what I am calling a soft integralist, but Catholics may legitimately disagree about whether a moderate or hard sort of integralism is preferable.  I am sympathetic to the views of Thomas Pink, who has given powerful arguments in defense of the claims that pre-Vatican II teaching is irreformable and that the teaching of Vatican II can be reconciled with it.  (Also important are the arguments in defense of a “hermeneutic of continuity” interpretation given by Fr. Brian Harrison and Thomas Storck.)

The situation here is, in my opinion, analogous to the situation vis-à-vis the death penalty.  Catholics can legitimately disagree about whether it is ever advisable in practice to resort to capital punishment.  But they must all affirm, on pain of heterodoxy, that capital punishment can be legitimate at least in theory.  Similarly, Catholics can legitimately disagree about whether it is ever advisable in practice for the state to favor the Church.  But they ought to affirm that it can be legitimate at least in theory for the state to do so.

In any event, “Are you for or against integralism?” is not a very helpful question and needs to be disambiguated in the ways I’ve indicated.

178 comments:

  1. Bonshika JacksonJune 7, 2019 at 7:08 PM

    I think the problem here is not so much the integralist premise -- i.e., that all persons and institutions (made up, as they are, of people) have a moral obligation to embrace the true religion, to favor it, and to act in accordance with it -- but the authoritarian non-sequitors that the integralists draw from it, i.e., that the state may (when it can get away with it) persecute apostate Catholics (including with capital punishment) and impose a kind of dhimmitude on all other non-Catholics besides, and force people to behave in a virtuous manner.

    I myself a libertarian anarchist *and* I believe lawful civil authority should embrace and promote the Catholic religion, but I believe it is sinful and immoral to promote the true faith through violent aggression.

    The problem with our public discourse is that it almost always presupposes the fallacy of the false alternative, i.e., that what we have to choose between is a supposedly religiously neutral libertine liberalism (the kind that requires that state capitol buildings display literal Satanic monuments if they also display Christmas trees) and late medieval/early modern authoritarian throne-and-altar arrangements.

    On classical natural law and theological grounds, I reject both of these alternatives. The principle of self-ownership and non-aggression are both eminently defensible on traditional natural law grounds, and are consistent with the demands of Gospel charity, whereas to the best of my reading no integralist has ever provided an intellectually serious natural law basis for involuntary statism or the use of state violence to force people to act virtuously or to pressure them into becoming Catholics (or outright forcing them to revert if they apostatize). All these things are only ever assumed by traditional writers, and when a justification of them is made, it's only ever by ends-justified-the-means reasoning, a kind of pious Machiavellianism.

    No, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...a libertarian anarchist..."

      That is a pleonasm. Libertarianism is quasi anarchist. Libertarianism means almost the same thing as Anarchism.

      2nd point, "I'm a Catholic"---but am a Liberatarian! Libertarianism is not Western Culture nor Western Civilization. Furthermore, all ideologies of individualism such as Libertarianism and Anarchism are intrinsically genocidal, soft genocide. When one proclaims any ideology of individualism such as Americansim, Libertarianism, Anarchism and the such, one denies the Natural Order, of one's duty to one's Patrida, duty to forefathers and patriarchs. Bascially, these ideologies undercut social cohesion and harm the society.

      Third, "Gospel Charity". Sola Gospel is a heresy. The Gospel is not Political directives. The Gospel is directed to individual responsibility---but is dangerous as politics. Many in the Church claim the Gospel means Open Borders and racial disintegration.

      4th. Bonshika claims to be a libertarian, an anarchist---then has the gall to claim and use the Natural Law. How does "Anarchism" go with "Law"? That is an oxymoron. If there is a Natural Law---it then demands Obedience and conformity to it. Libertarianism, Anarchism have NOTHING to do with the Natural Law!!!!

      Who discovered the Natural Law was the Doric Greeks of Sparta and Crete! Look at their societies---ohh so different from what Bonshika subscribes to. He condemns the "...the late medieval/early modern authoritian throne-altar arrangements" but then EXCLAIMS on the Natural Law!! What a hoot. The ...the late medieval/early modern authoritian throne-altar arrangements" were built on the Natural Law".

      Have you not heard, "Bad company corrupts good morals", St. Paul quoting Menander? Or "One bad apples destroys the bushel". That is Wisdom. That is what guided ...the late medieval/early modern authoritian throne-altar arrangements. Ohh, my stars. Is there any coherency to Bonshika? He advocates anarchism, he advocates libertarianism---and his thought mirrors is inchorent, farrago of a post.

      All Catholics are to be Obedient to the Logos. There is NO room for Libertarianism or Anarchism or both entwined. They are genocidal, and unethical.

      Delete
    2. "[P]ious Machiavellianism. No, thank you."

      Well put.

      Delete
    3. When the neo-traditionalists cannot make logical arguments for their positions, they resort to rhetorical games like equivocation. It should be obvious that what I meant by "anarchism" is the absence of involuntary civil government -- what political scientists call "the state" -- not the complete and utter absence of law and order. It's true that Catholic social documents often refer to "the state," but they do so in a non-technical sense, leaving the term undefined and synonymizing it with "lawful civil authority" and other words to that effect, raising the question (and never answering) just what constitutes lawful civil authority in the first place. Libertarianism is not social atomism. (A libertarian *can* be a social atomist, but very few libertarians are.) It's simply subscription to some form of the non-aggression principle, i.e., applying the same moral law to all human beings, even human beings who arbitrarily call themselves "the state."

      Delete
    4. I am very surprised by W LindsayWheeler's claim: "Who discovered the Natural Law was the Doric Greeks of Sparta and Crete!" Is this documented somewhere - in an accessible text by a historian?

      Delete
    5. Boshinka, you make fine distinctions that don't meet what is actually going on. The Congressional Representative for my district is Justin Amash, Eastern Orthodox, Libertarian. He is absolutely deracinist. "The State" is synonymous with the group! It is like the organs of the body refusing to accept the spinal cord and the brain! What a hoot. "Involuntary civil government". Is another hoot! The Rule of God is Involuntary. St. Paul said, "Be obedient to all authority". Whether you like it or not. How one can have "law-n-order" without the "State" is beyond me. You are actually a gnostic. Automatic hatred toward something that is integral to any nation, its government. I've lived in Switzerland, it is quite the "involuntary" state--it is about as restrictive as any communist state in some/many matters.

      Delete
    6. Michael S. You know you could click on my name which is linked to blogger that has a link to my website which has the articles you are seeking.

      You are surprised by my claim!?! Yes, Colleges and Universities are nothing more than propaganda mills.

      In order to understand that the Spartans had the Natural Law, one must understand their form of government--which was a True Republic, just as Plato said. From the knowledge of their form of government, philosophy and the natural law are apparent, so you must read this paper first that is 61 pages over 200 footnotes and the last fourth of the paper is the discussion of the Philosophy of Mixed government:

      The Classical definition of a republic

      Next is this paper: Doric Crete and Sparta, the home of Greek philosophy

      Next, to understand the connection of republicanism to the Natural Order one must know this concept/system of the Natural Law: Macrocosm Microcosm in Doric Thought

      And finally a free and online PDF book that expands on the previous paper on the home of Greek philosophy; it takes all the circumstantial and ancillary evidence to prove that Doric Crete and Sparta are the most ancient and fertile home of Greek philosophy--just as Socrates said in the Protagoras:

      Part I, The Case of the Barefoot Socrates

      Why do you think that Plato calls out the fact that Socrates went barefoot for?

      Delete
  2. @Edward Feser

    I propose three questions:

    1) Should the State recognize the Christian religion as the true religion and the Catholic Church as the true Church of God?

    2) Should the State recognize the teaching authority of the Catholic Church in moral and religious matters?

    3) Should the State try to cooperate with the Catholic Church in pursuing both temporal and spiritual ends?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From my reading of Feser's essay above all three types of proponants of integralism can say "yes" to those question but what each yes means practically might not be exactly the same.

      Delete
    2. If one values (1) individuals as ends in themselves; (2) the separation of church and state; and (3) the First Amendment to the Constitution, then clearly the answers to your questions are no, no, and no.

      How people arrange their lives into a unity of purposes--if they think of their lives as unitary at all--is a private matter. And individuals can get together with other like minded people in peaceable assembly and try any manner of living arrangements they want--but they can't impose their unitary vision-dreams on me; they can't take my tax money and turn around and use it to force my own conscience, dreams, and unitary purposes to match their own.

      This is not just a matter of "pious Machiavellianism" (Bonshika's phrase)--imposing religion on people wherever you can get away with it--but of philosophy: are individuals sui generis, evolutionary variants, and as such valued as ends in themselves, or not? Are individuals to be lumped abstractly into casts or groups that are not to do anything contrary to their supposed "nature," or not?

      Delete
    3. Why should we value people like ends in themselves exactly? Do you defend some type of natural law aproach?

      If yes, how it works?

      If no, them why should we value the weaklings, these with no political power? If It is only to have a successful society*,them whats the diference between your idea and "pious Machiavellianism"?

      *What even would be one if we have no objective criteria to judge it is a mistery

      Delete
    4. Come on, Santi. Your political philosophy seems to depend on the answers to my questions, you kinda needs to be capable of giving a good response if you want someone to listen to you. Lets train!

      Delete
  3. just to remind that Brazilian Integralism was a very strong fascist, nationalist and catholic political movement in the 1930's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Integralism

    ReplyDelete
  4. The arguments for these theses are obviously controversial, especially within the Catholic Church. Does it really need this on top of what it's already got on its plate?

    "Rightly understood, the debate over Catholic integralism has to do with whether specifically Catholic doctrines, which concern our supernatural end and are matters of revealed theology, should have an influence on public policy."

    For the purposes of this discussion, only one Religion is being spoken of. It might contain doctrines that can't be discovered by reason alone and others that can. However, this religion is not a body of ideas of doctrines; it is the subjection of men to God, and a personal relation to Him.

    This relation is socialised too, as the Papal encyclicals made clear, by society recognising God and his Church. It's not simply social adherence to a body of propositions, or observance of natural law per se.

    There is no "natural religion" option in Papal teaching about these matters. The first people in history received their religion through revelation. In pagan times, men might have done what they could to live well according to their lights, but we all know the result. Even Aristotle did not try to talk to God, nor did he think God could hear him.


    It's just not an option to try to split religion up into a natural one for political purposes, and another one reflecting "theology", for private purposes. What next? Worship at the temple to the Great Architect compulsory for all politicians?

    Of course it's right to use arguments from natural law when debating social issues. But the question of the confessional state and its rejection has nothing to do with this. Religion is to be lived as God wants, through his Church. We are NOT in the condition of ignorance that was Aristotle's, and therefore any talk of promoting natural religion as an alternative (for political purposes), or as a sub-section of the true religion is more than schizophrenic. This is simply NOT the way the question is dealt with in Church teaching.

    Surely achieving what the Popes have always wanted, that all nations venerate Jesus on bended knee is controversial enough. With this new "doctrine", all that will be achieved is more difficulty for the world to recognise religion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " Many people also seem to think that Vatican II’s teaching on religious liberty abandoned the idea that religion should have any influence on politics. But all of that is incorrect... No one can justify a complete separation of religion and politics on the basis of Vatican II. The most one could argue for (whether correctly or incorrectly) is that Vatican II abandoned the ideal of a specifically Catholic state..."

      It would be very problematic if Vat II had abandoned the notion of the state confessing the Catholic Faith, because this is indistinguishable from the confession of religion. From our point of view, there is only one religion to be considered, and it can't be marketed in subsections. A state that likes natural law but not the Religion established by God, is not a religious state (unless we are in some agnostic comparative religion study).

      Popes like Pius XI, when speaking on the Reign of Christ the King, did not have in mind merely the recognition of natural law in society, but that of Christ and His Church. A society which only recognised the first, while deliberately refusing the second, emphatically is not a religious society from a Catholic point of view. Religion is one. Picking out a "bit" of the Faith and using that, is not a case of Religion influencing society.

      Delete
    2. Edward Feser:

      "In my opinion, orthodoxy requires a Catholic to be at least what I am calling a soft integralist."

      This anonymous suggests reading the post again.

      Delete
    3. @Anon,

      This Cervantes individual is a well-known troll with terrible comprehension skills and, for some unexplained reason, a grudge against Dr. Feser. Actually, he might as well be called Don Quixote, seeing as how he sees giants everywhere where there only exist windmills.

      Delete
    4. Has no bearing on the post or the two comments. Read both again I think.

      Delete
    5. William ShakespeareJune 8, 2019 at 4:35 PM

      Be gone, troll.

      Delete
    6. Giants! Giants everywhere!

      Delete
    7. @Miguel Cervantes. First, I'm sorry that you have trolls who are casting ad hominem your way. Your observations are obviously thoughtful.

      As to what you wrote, you said the following: "The first people in history received their religion through revelation." What evidence do you have for this claim?

      You also wrote, "Even Aristotle did not try to talk to God, nor did he think God could hear him." Good point.

      You also wrote, "What next? Worship at the temple to the Great Architect compulsory for all politicians?" Again, good point.

      You also wrote: "Of course it's right to use arguments from natural law when debating social issues." Here I disagree. Natural law is incoherent with evolution, and is an intellectual power play for enforcing conformity on variant individuals.

      You also wrote: "Surely achieving what the Popes have always wanted, that all nations venerate Jesus on bended knee is controversial enough." Great point, as it obviously alludes to the historic tensions between Christians and Jews in Europe--which, just 75 years after the Holocaust, deserves to be part of this discussion.

      As to the Don Quixote slurs sent your way, all humans have dreams or models that they overlay upon reality for navigating the fog of their existence. In this sense, our existential situation is both tragic and comic. To pretend that Thomists have the One True Dream, having cut through the fog to bedrock clarity concerning existence and what God is and wants, is vanity and hubris, and with more than a few tincture droplets of fanaticism. Thomism is, like any other philosophical system, akin to Cervantes's novel, even as it lacks the its humor.

      And One True Religion thinking, historically, has birthed religious wars. It's why church and state were finally separated in places like the United States in the first place.

      So Feser's position simply bears too much confidence on matters for which evidence is lacking. And such talk as his is especially nervy in an age of environmental degradation and nuclear weapons. We simply don't need another round of the wars of religion--and probably couldn't afford it even if we did (due to the impact on the planet, the danger of escalation to nuclear, the power of religion to generate distrust and ill will among people, etc). In a world with 10 billion people in 2050, all I am saying is give peace, diversity, and the separation of church and state a chance.

      Delete
    8. Santi is a trollJune 9, 2019 at 4:40 PM

      Go away, troll.

      Delete
  5. Pater Edmund gave a talk at the Thomistic Institute, that is available online, titled "A Defense Of Political Augustinianism" which clarifies the Integralist position of The Josias.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I guess I live somewhere between Soft and Moderate.

    I am not comfortable with the hard view because well I don't trust the government to not f-word up the Church.

    We can do that ourselves without help from the State thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Especially with such shining examples of Roman Catholic political leading lights such as Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi---With Catholic politicians such as these and many others---the Church couldn't be more discredited as leading anybody into the True Light much less The Good Life.

      Delete
  7. I think one thing that complicates the discussions is that, whatever form of integralism one accepts, its principles will have to be expressed rather differently depending on the form of the state. There are dynastic expressions (e.g., royal family is officially Catholic and engages in Catholic patronage), official expressions (e.g., requirements for office or an officially Catholic status for the legislature), protections for the rights of the Church specifically, protections for the rights of Catholic individuals explicitly, and so forth. And one can have only some of these, or in different proportions, and there will always be exceptional cases. (Dynastic expressions, for instance, are generally not possible in republics, but you have the weird sort-of exception of Italy.) And different people who could be considered integralist will have different views on these questions -- e.g., lots of integralists seem to have the idea that dynastically and officially Catholic status is a high priority, but you can also have the view of Rosmini, that dynastic and official protections are often useless, but history shows that you need explicit constitutional protections for the rights of the Church itself to freedoms like speech, assembly, exercise of sacraments, because if you don't have them, governments inevitably try to encroach on them. So when we're talking integralism, we're not talking a specific form of government but an approach to governing, which does not specify the exact structures of government, and can be implemented in quite a few different ways depending on the actual history of the people (since any shift would need to be organic). If you live in a republic, the choice is not 'integralism or republicanism' but 'integral republic or liberal republic', and that will have its own issues not shared by people for whom the choice is 'integral monarchy or liberal monarchy'.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is difficult to underestimate the importance of Prudence when considering the state and any claim about the state must be held against whether it is prudential or not. I shall attempt to do this in the following.
    With regards to the post, I would also make a further distinction between integralism with respect to the substance of Catholicism: its people and their cultures, and integralism with respect to the power structure of the Church. Prudence becomes clear in the practical for, as Aristotle says in the Nicomachean Ethics “Prudence by contrast is about human concerns.” 1141b 10. It should cause suspicion that the best arguments for excluding the ideas and culture of the church come in the form of compromises about ideals and not about practicalities. For example, many people will say that the reason we should avoid a Catholic state is that we want to avoid Islamic states (no pun intended), when in reality that has little day to day relevance to a ruler whether he be a voter or a monarch.
    Furthermore, when it comes to prudence it is one of the safest bets to follow the rule of thumb for the state of: promoting the good of its citizens both future and present. Thus, fostering a flourishing environment for Catholics is also a safe bet. However, it gets confusing, when an equivocation is made between Catholics and the hierarchy of the church. For it is a much more open prudential question as to whether the hierarchy of the church is aided by political power. Thus, It is my contention that, people are led astray into thinking that the state ought not to favor Catholics.

    ReplyDelete
  9. In practice, is it possible for a state to uphold a generic theism rather than a concrete religion (or ideology)? Most men are not generic theists but belong to particular religions. The truth claims of different religions conflict, and since man is a social creature, sometimes these conflicts will be public and will need to be resolved.

    It seems to me that the state cannot really be 'neutral' on such questions. For these questions not to matter in public life will ultimately require the state making them not matter - an enforced 'neutrality', which is not really neutrality at all - and if they are made not to matter in public life, people will begin to think they don't matter in private life either: man is too complex for the private and public spheres to be completely sealed off from each other. What happens in one will affect the other.

    This doesn't mean that the state necessarily ought to suppress other religions or that there needs to be an officially established church, but it does mean that the state will need to take a stance when such conflicts arise, and that it will ultimately have to favor one religion or ideology over others. It seems to me that such a thing is inevitable: if that is correct, then it ought to favor the true religion.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Catholic Integralism is a tradition of thought that rejects the liberal separation of politics from concern with the end of human life, holding that political rule must order man to his final goal. Since, however, man has both a temporal and an eternal end, integralism holds that there are two powers that rule him: a temporal power and a spiritual power. And since man’s temporal end is subordinated to his eternal end the temporal power must be subordinated to the spiritual power.

    One thing that strikes me about the talk about the Franco-Ahmari War is that statements like the above, except sometimes the last sentence, would have been endorsed by almost all Protestants for the first 150 years after Luther. It wouldn't have been controversial at all. But because Catholics are the only ones who haven't jettisoned this view, nowadays it seems to conjure up Torquemada in many minds.

    Personally, I think this a great development. It has raised a debate which used to be common on the right (I first read NR in the 60s), but has increasingly been avoided. In recent years the only conservatives who have been likely to give any credence to classical thought have been Straussians. (BTW, I'd love to hear Ed on one of Stephen Hayward's Powerline podcasts.)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Don't want to go OT, but I do have to thank Ed for Aristotle's Revenge. I'm getting well into it (just finished the chemistry section.) My wife pointed out that I gave Ed a very high compliment: I named 8 books for my birthday (and got them all). AR was the only one not about ships.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Another problem with a purely natural law approach is that, while it's a great argument when appealing to non-Catholics of all kinds in order to achieve some political goal, at the end of the day, only the Catholic Church can provide a foolproof interpretation of natural law.

    While many agree on a law based on nature not all agree on what it is. While natural law can be established by reason, we can't trust just anyone's reason to do it. The Church has the final say. Impasse. We're back to the confessional state or not.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I appreciate your reference to my writings on religious liberty and the Vatican II declaration Dignitatis Humanae. You link to an early article of mine published in 1989. Since then I have provided a fuller account of my position in a 1997 article from the Homiletic & Pastoral Review, as well as in chapter two of my 1998 book, Foundations of a Catholic Political Order. Here is a link to the HPR article.
    https://78462f86-a-62fa986c-s-sites.googlegroups.com/a/thomasstorck.org/www/files/Religious_Liberty.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7cpIF-YnxGsZ10w-SkqcejJ4KC64PZapZz1Y-BImrSNOMzTC1JaTPm6_sEpGOt-XaKuSRCAiTAzlaf59fielKhhch9R-zgqqDW82mrM0EUuBmo77Y2lbqIJ05EBw7WKg7ASVMfX5UII4lDvGrzcdS1UMusKMh-fKcx0NkQGaK2OdEvVOQnbajruALtywKByzG-RdQ2xGWslFJAAwo40MzkdM_MBqdpjI0c0ICbzJtiNWDcLM620%3D&attredirects=0


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the link, Mr Storck.

      Delete
    2. Welcome, Mr. S, many thanks for that.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Mr. Storck,

      This argument isn't new, but you have articulated it well.

      Objections.

      1. The Vatican interpreted the document in such a way as essentially to prohibit states' confessing Christ. The concordat with every remaining confessional state was re-negotiated to make it fundamentally liberal, in the years after DH was promulgated. So, if your interpretation is correct, it differs with that of the Vatican.

      2. The clergy and faithful interpreted the document as opposing past teaching, and the Vatican never corrected them. The resulting almost universal heterodoxy in the West is a powerful argument against your interpretation.

      3. As Archbishop Lefebvre pointed out, the doctrine itself is impossible to deal with in the sense that it answers the wrong question. The dignity of man is in his perfection, not in his mere nature. Sin makes man undignified, it detracts from his dignity. And it is precisely in virtue of sin that false religion exists. It seems incoherent to speak of a right to act in an objectively disordered manner, by virtue of a "dignity" which is based on disordered nature. The statement of doctrine in DH is therefore not even in the same paradigm as Catholic doctrine - it presupposes at best incoherent, and at worst heterodox, premises.

      Regards,
      John.

      Delete
    4. Dear John,

      Your objections are important, but in the end I don't think decisive. None of the actions you mentioned, the cancelling of concordats, the repeated statements by so many, including John Paul II, as to the meaning of Dignitatis Humanae have such doctrinal character as to (if they even could) overturn doctrine which had been stated with the solemnity and persistence of the traditional doctrine. Moreover, as you'll note from my HPR article, the CCC certainly does not seem to endorse the wide-spread understanding of DH, and the CCC has more doctrinal weight than the statements or acts you mention.

      Delete
    5. Dear Mr. Storck,

      Thank you for replying.

      You didn't respond to my third objection. I would very much like to see an exploration of the issues raised by this neologism, "human dignity." To re-state the problem, the concept of human dignity is not defined in DH or anywhere else. Its implied meaning is that man has a dignity which arises from his nature. What precisely is this "dignity"? Man's nature has a fixed end. His moral (as opposed to physical) liberty consists in being permitted to choose suitable means to that fixed end. If he chooses means which are not suited to the end, he loses his soul, does not attain his end, and has failed. So, his moral liberty is fraught with the direst consequences, and therefore is real and momentous. To give such responsibility to a creature is certainly to give him a dignity of nature, it makes his nature more elevated than that of, say, a non-rational creature. Is this the dignity that supports the religious liberty spoken of in DH?

      I cannot see that it is. Choosing a false religion is an immoral choice, it detracts from man's dignity; it cannot in any sense be said to be something that is a lawful choice, any more than we could say that going to hell is a lawful choice.

      There's more. Rights are correlatives of duties. I have a right to a certain personal liberty precisely because, and insofar as, I have a responsibility to choose well. Or, to put it the other way around, because God permits me to choose among suitable means to my one end, I must be free to make those choices. I have a "right" arising from my responsibility, my duty. I have no "right" to sin, or to err, or even to be imperfect. To speak of rights in any other way is incoherent, it empties the concept of any meaning. But this is precisely what liberalism does, and DH manifestly speaks the language of liberalism in this matter.

      In DH, and in the CCC, religious liberty is declared to be a "right" arising from natural dignity. Both the term "right" and the term "dignity" are therefore being used in an unorthodox manner. I suggest that the doctrine is therefore at best incoherent, and at worst, unorthodox (and I think the latter).

      I add that I also think it is obvious what this doctrine actually is - it is liberalism, not Catholic doctrine. That is its obvious and clear meaning, and the context of its adoption adds to that conviction.

      The ecclesiological implications of the situation are strikingly difficult, of course. What we have is a magisterium which does not teach effectively. People like yourself are required to step in and try and explain how the Church hasn't contradicted herself, technically, whilst the actual effect of the official "teaching activity" and government of the Church is, without doubt, disastrous.

      Regards,
      John.

      Delete
    6. Dear John,

      It appears that you're willing to recognize the existence of human dignity when you write, "To give such responsibility to a creature is certainly to give him a dignity of nature, it makes his nature more elevated than that of, say, a non-rational creature." And I think the concept is implicit in many passages of Scripture, including Matthew 10, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows." and Psalm 8:5, "Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour."

      But what if he abuses this dignity and chooses error or evil? Does this destroy his nature. No.

      I'm not defending DH or the motivations of those who wrote it, and certainly not its effects on Catholic thinking. But I think that if we see what appears to be a contradiction between two documents or series of documents with any kind of official status, our first impulse should be to try to harmonize them instead of immediately saying there is a contradiction. As you're probably aware, it's the method Aquinas generally used, to harmonize apparent conflicts in his authorities.

      Did you see my reply below to "Miguel Cervantes"? It is relevant to our discussion, though there I'm more focused on freedom than human dignity.

      Delete
    7. Also of note, which I forgot to mention yesterday, is this marvelous prayer from the offertory of the traditional Latin Mass which begins, "Deus, qui humánæ substántiæ dignitátem mirabíliter condidísti, et mirabílius reformásti,..."

      Delete
    8. Dear Mr. Storck,

      Leo XIII opens his encyclical on liberty as follows: "Liberty, the highest of natural endowments, being the portion only of intellectual or rational natures, confers on man this dignity - that he is "in the hand of his counsel"(1) and has power over his actions." This what I said above, that the capacity to choose certainly adds a great dignity to nature. But I maintain that it is simply a mistake, an error, to suppose that the capacity to err is thereby rooted in this dignity. Properly understood, the opposite is the case. Leo continues, "there are many who imagine that the Church is hostile to human liberty. Having a false and absurd notion as to what liberty is, either they pervert the very idea of freedom, or they extend it at their pleasure to many things in respect of which man cannot rightly be regarded as free."

      And then, "as the possibility of error, and actual error, are defects of the mind and attest its imperfection, so the pursuit of what has a false appearance of good, though a proof of our freedom, just as a disease is a proof of our vitality, implies defect in human liberty. The will also, simply because of its dependence on the reason, no sooner desires anything contrary thereto than it abuses its freedom of choice and corrupts its very essence. Thus it is that the infinitely perfect God, although supremely free, because of the supremacy of His intellect and of His essential goodness, nevertheless cannot choose evil; neither can the angels and saints, who enjoy the beatific vision. St. Augustine and others urged most admirably against the Pelagians that, if the possibility of deflection from good belonged to the essence or perfection of liberty, then God, Jesus Christ, and the angels and saints, who have not this power, would have no liberty at all, or would have less liberty than man has in his state of pilgrimage and imperfection. This subject is often discussed by the Angelic Doctor in his demonstration that the possibility of sinning is not freedom, but slavery."

      A right, as already pointed out, is only ever a correlative of a duty; the duty is what gives rise to, defines, and justifies any "right." It is therefore absurd to say, as DH does, that there is a natural right to religious liberty.

      Choosing a false religion is slavery. DH speaks of it as if it were freedom.

      Regards,
      John.

      Delete
  14. Vatican II was an ecumenical council so it was as infallible as the previous twenty ecumenical councils.

    The problem with the sedevacantists or sedeprivationists is that in order to affirm that Vatican II was a "mistake" it is necessary to deny episcopal infallibility, which is a de fide doctrine of the church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An ecumenical council is only infallible with respect to certain specific pronouncements. Not everything in a document intends to require the submission of mind and will that goes with an infallible doctrine. Like with papal infallible pronouncements, they require language that expresses the intention of the council fathers to invoke that special charism of protection from error, when teaching on faith and morals, a teaching to the whole church, a doctrine that must definitively be held. It is easy to see that at least 99.9% of the texts in VII's documents did not carry such an express purpose. Like when the pope teaches in his Wednesday audiences, or in a sermon, most of the texts were just "general teaching", not claiming infallibility.

      Delete
    2. One judges a Tree by its fruit.

      What is the fruit of Vatican II?

      The Church was laid waste.

      It was not an ecumenical council, none of the Orthodox participated or voted in it, nor is the council Doctrinal. They even said it was a Pastoral Council.

      The Catholic Church just claims "ecumenical" when it is obviously not. The Roman Catholic Church is abusing its authority and its status.

      An Ecumenical Council is one adopted by the WHOLE Church, Orthodox and Latin. The Latin Church is really quite arrogant and its total convergence with Marxism belies that it has left the unity of the Faith and went into extremism in its abuse of power.

      Delete
    3. @ Eroteme:

      Vatican II was an ecumenical council so it was as infallible as the previous twenty ecumenical councils.

      Vatican II explicitly refused to lay down any anathemas in its documents. So if the Fathers of Vatican II didn't intend to make adherence to the Council documents a test of Catholicity, how can we? Aside from anything else, we'd have to claim that they were mistaken not to claim the charism of infallibility, which would be somewhat inconsistent with the claim that they taught infallibly...

      @ Lindsay:

      An Ecumenical Council is one adopted by the WHOLE Church, Orthodox and Latin.

      The problem with that definition is that it either leads to circularity or makes Ecumenical Councils impossible. Regarding impossibility, the losing side could just say "Well, we refuse to adopt this teaching, therefore the council wasn't an ecumenical one, and we don't have to listen to it." Then what? You could say "But they're heretics, so their view doesn't count," but that just gets us to the issue of circularity: we know the council is genuine because nobody except heretics reject it; we know these people are heretics because they reject the council.

      Delete
  15. I'm somewhere between hard integralism and moderate integralism, but I probably am harder than I am moderate. Read Blessed Pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors where he condemns the belief that it's no longer expedient for Catholicism to be the State religion. Study Pope Leo XIII Libertas Praestantissimum where he teaches that the State is obligated to adopt Catholicism. Then remember that Vatican II treats religious liberty as a civil right when Pius IX condemns the religious indifferentism that the First Amendment implies when it says that there will be no State religion.

    I recommend Fr. Gregory Hesse's YouTube video about why Vatican II was not an ecumenical council. Since you may be too busy to watch that video, I'll sum up Fr. Hesse's argument.

    For a synod of bishops to be an ecumenical council, it needs to use the Church's extraordinary magisterium to define dogma, condemn error, or speak out against current falsehoods. Since Vatican II did none of these things, it was not an ecumenical council.

    Here's a link to Fr. Hesse's detailed video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnEQIq4_AKI

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then remember that Vatican II treats religious liberty as a civil right when Pius IX condemns the religious indifferentism that the First Amendment implies when it says that there will be no State religion.

      First, the First Amendment does NOT say that there will be no State religion, it says (rather, implies) that there will be no FEDERAL religion. Several of the states at the time had a state religion, and nobody ever brought successful claim against the states that the First Amendment precluded such. The several states voluntarily gave up their state religions.

      Secondly, VII did not say that there is to be no state religion, or that the civil right of religious liberty precludes it. It is a mistaken interpretation to get that out of Dignitatis Humanae. The requirement imposed on state religion by DH is that it restrict people's self-determination with regard to religion only on the basis of (the need for) public order: to the extent that a person's non-Catholic religion is not damaging public order, there is no room for the state to interfere. An integralist who has read Pius IX and Leo XIII can rightly conclude that in a state which is 97% Catholic, for the state to NOT confess Catholicism and to support the Catholic faith is detrimental to public order, and thus AT LEAST SOME measures of being a Catholic state are condoned by DH.

      Delete
    2. I thought I answered your note, Tony. If I did answer it, it didn't post. In the encyclicals I've read where popes used the word "State," it stood for both the government and the governed taken together, not for parts of the USA. So I think the First Amendment sill implies religious indifferentism. See errors 15 and 77 in Blessed Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors.

      Delete
    3. The requirement imposed on state religion by DH is that it restrict people's self-determination with regard to religion only on the basis of (the need for) public order: to the extent that a person's non-Catholic religion is not damaging public order, there is no room for the state to interfere.

      I was told once by Fr. Aidan Nichols (he of the Open Letter fame) that in Continental jurisprudence, "public order" can be used to cover things such as the protection of morality rather than simply the prevention of violent disorder (as the phrase tends to be used in Anglophone jurisprudence). I haven't double-checked this, but if it's true it would make V2's statement quite a bit easier to square with traditional teaching.

      Delete
    4. I tried taking it to be, not a term of art, but just what the individual words mean, in conjunction. This does allow for what seems to be implied in the continental jurisprudence.

      Delete
    5. In the encyclicals I've read where popes used the word "State," it stood for both the government and the governed taken together, not for parts of the USA. So I think the First Amendment sill implies religious indifferentism.

      Unknown, unlike virtually all other political entities, "the state", in application to the United States entities, is not a simple direction. In 1783 through 1788, the individual states were true "states" in the sense that they were entire, complete polities, with full plenary authority. In 1789 they elected to give up SOME of the powers, rights, and aspects of sovereignty to a new federal entity, but also to RESERVE some of the powers, rights, and aspects of sovereignty. Indeed, the powers and rights given up were enumerated, whereas the ones retained were "all the rest not enumerated", as it were, meaning that they retained the vast majority of what constitutes plenary authority. This resulted in what is properly understood as shared sovereignty: the federal is sovereign in some matters but not all. Hence this was the first political order which instantiated in the concrete a way of carrying out subsidiarity - before the word or concept was even invented clearly. Now that subsidiarity is recognized by the Catholic Church (including by the pre-VII Church, in the writings of Leo and Pius XI), we can say that "state" is a valid term for BOTH the individual US states and for the federal union, though in different respects.

      If all 50 states had elected to retain (for the original 13) or initiate (for the other 37) a state religion, then it would be obviously odd, if not nonsensical to say of the US that it did not have state religion. Furthermore, if all 50 states had, over time, converted to Catholicism and each (individually) had made Catholicism to be their state religion, I doubt you would be much bothered with an objection that it was ONLY at the "state" level and not at the federal level. (Not to mention that if all 50 states had Catholicism at the state level, there is little doubt that the federal would have many provisions which de facto accommodate Catholicism in ways that it would not bother trying to accommodate any other religion.)

      Delete
  16. Here's a link to Libertas along with a link to the Syllabus of Errors.

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_20061888_libertas.html

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius09/p9syll.htm

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm William J. McEnaney Jr., the one who wrote the previous two posts about Vatican II, the Syllabus of Errors, and Libertas praestantissimum. I'm sorry. I thought those posts would include my name. But they say "Unknown" instead.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What I am talking about are the distinctions between a natural end and a supernatural end, and between natural theology and revealed theology. A natural end of a human being is an end toward which we are aimed or directed by nature, just by virtue of being human beings or rational animals. For example, by virtue of being a kind of animal, we are naturally aimed or directed toward the realization of ends like acquiring food and shelter. And by virtue of being rational, we are naturally directed toward the realization of ends like the attainment of truth.

    A supernatural end is one toward which our nature itself does not direct us, even if it is not inconsistent with our nature. It is one that is above what our nature would by itself allow us to realize (hence supernatural), so that realizing it requires special divine assistance.


    What Professor Ed has done here is carefully glossed over a major dispute between different schools of philosophy / theology. The specific point glossed over is the (seemingly narrow, but important) room for being in between those two: an end that is natural, in that it is not only possible and good for the being, but is natural also in the sense that no lesser end can FULLY satisfy its nature, but such end cannot be achieved by natural powers alone, only by nature aided by supernatural grace.

    St. Thomas says (Ia IIae, Q1, A4): On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Metaph. ii, 2) that "to suppose a thing to be indefinite is to deny that it is good." But the good is that which has the nature of an end. Therefore it is contrary to the nature of an end to proceed indefinitely. Therefore it is necessary to fix one last end.

    He goes on to say (Q2, A8): I answer that, It is impossible for any created good to constitute man's happiness.

    And finally: (Q 3, A6):

    I answer that, Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the Divine Essence. To make this clear, two points must be observed. First, that man is not perfectly happy, so long as something remains for him to desire and seek: secondly, that the perfection of any power is determined by the nature of its object. Now the object of the intellect is "what a thing is," i.e. the essence of a thing, according to De Anima iii, 6. Wherefore the intellect attains perfection, in so far as it knows the essence of a thing. If therefore an intellect knows the essence of some effect, whereby it is not possible to know the essence of the cause, i.e. to know of the cause "what it is"; that intellect cannot be said to reach that cause simply, although it may be able to gather from the effect the knowledge of that the cause is. Consequently, when man knows an effect, and knows that it has a cause, there naturally remains in the man the desire to know about the cause, "what it is." And this desire is one of wonder, and causes inquiry, as is stated in the beginning of the Metaphysics (i, 2). For instance, if a man, knowing the eclipse of the sun, consider that it must be due to some cause, and know not what that cause is, he wonders about it, and from wondering proceeds to inquire. Nor does this inquiry cease until he arrive at a knowledge of the essence of the cause.

    If therefore the human intellect, knowing the essence of some created effect, knows no more of God than "that He is"; the perfection of that intellect does not yet reach simply the First Cause, but there remains in it the natural desire to seek the cause. Wherefore it is not yet perfectly happy. Consequently, for perfect happiness the intellect needs to reach the very Essence of the First Cause. And thus it will have its perfection through union with God as with that object, in which alone man's happiness consists, as stated above (Articles 1 and 7; I-II:2:8).

    ReplyDelete
  19. There is, then (basing on St. Thomas), a defensible argument that in man there is ONLY ONE end properly speaking, the Beatific Vision. Thus, the end that is possible to man with respect to this temporal life is only an "end" in a qualified and imperfect sense.

    While this might seem to be a quibble and merely an ivory-tower type of dispute, it has a bearing on this very discussion. If a state is, per se, ALL about "the natural end" and not about "a distinct supernatural end", then one can plausibly argue that any thought for man's supernatural end by the civil authorities is something of a mere incidental role, beyond their official duty, something over and above what should be expected of them. If, however, there is only one end of man, his end in the next life, then it belongs to the civil authority to both recognize that their role is only with respect to an intermediate goal that is itself ordered to further good, and that this REQUIRES of them to coordinate the civil order to be compatible with the religious order. Note, however, that this does not demand "hard" integralism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the beatific vision is an end for all men by nature, then that's a problem for original sin and an eternal hell

      Delete
    2. Can you expand on that? What, exactly, is the "problem"?

      One might put it that under the view Feser describes above as the "natural end" of man, that of knowing and contemplating God, there is more expected than merely an act of the intellect alone: an act of the will that is condign to that contemplation is also implied.
      That is, an act of love, worship, and alignment of will by man according to God's will is part of that end. Certainly original sin was an action that controverted Adam's end, even under the view that the "natural end" of man is what he is capable of under the natural powers of his soul.

      Delete
  20. Here is the true Catholic ideal:

    The Church is to the state as the Board of Health is to a gourmet restaurant. The former does not tell the latter what it must have on its menu, but if the practices of the latter puts the health of its customers in danger, the former has the authority and the duty to shut that restaurant down. So is the authority of the Church with respect to the state.

    So it's not a question of the state favoring the Church, but of subjecting itself to the authority of God, which it always has the duty to do.

    ReplyDelete
  21. ". . . orthodoxy requires a Catholic to be at least what I am calling a soft integralist, . . .".

    No doubt, if one is to take seriously the words "go and teach all nations".

    The question of integralism is certainly shaped by the social context and the philosophical climate. Is it even really a possibility after drinking deeply of modern errors? Catholic integralism and . . . . Postmodernism . . . bahahaha. The Classical Tradition is a sort of prevenient grace, and the first step to be taken toward making integralism an even valid question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Apostles seem to have known better. They preached to a crowd with all the errors that are around today, and started with: "We have good news. Christ has risen!"

      Delete
    2. Oh, OK. Large scale political orders are just that simple. I'll keep that in mind.

      Delete
  22. Storck's "Catholics and Religious liberty" has focused on religious liberty on an a posteriori basis (its relation to public order). He didn't deal with the new idea or doctrine that religious liberty (for any belief) is rooted in human nature.

    This is hard to reconcile with what previous Popes taught, and appears to be according rights to error.


    It is no consolation to be told that, in principle, a confessional state might be possible (for reasons of social utilitarianism), when the Church appears to have bought into one of the most typical errors of liberalism. Of course, as Catholics, we can expect that one day some Vatican III will attach copious footnotes and interpretations to these declarations. In this way, Vat II will go down in history like the Council of Constance, a chaotic case of reform needing reform. Pity about the mess in the meantime though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right, so now prudence is synonymous with utilitarianism. Please go educate yourself.

      Delete
    2. Could you expand on what you mean here? It is not clear to me, at least. My approach was to see if Dignitatis Humanae could be understood as in harmony with the teaching of Leo XIII and other popes, and I concluded that it could indeed. This effort to reconcile where possible is the technique that St. Thomas Aquinas usually uses. I deplore the ambiguity of Dignitatis Humanae, but I see no reason to write it off as heretical if it's possible to understand it in an orthodox sense.

      Delete
    3. I agree with you on the need to reconcile where possible. Nobody wants to see heretical or even dubious documents adopted at Councils.

      What you have done I think is show that outcomes for Church-state relations could be similar with a Dignitatis Humanae interpreted in the light of prior teaching, and considerations like those of Pius XII which you mentioned. Throughout its history the Church has had to be flexible in living its radical intolerance of error in a world full of it.

      The problem I was referring to in DH was the innovation of a new motive for toleration, a supposed right, based on human nature itself, to profess and propagate religious errors.
      This had never been used in church teaching before Vat II (the opposite in fact). This new principle would tend to make the introductory protestation by DH that it was following traditional teaching more like window dressing to disarm opposition (the Council was very political). The new principle makes it almost impossible in practice to imagine any situation today where the ideal of a confessional state could exist, because of enraged human natures and their contrived rights.

      I think your work and that of others in this regard is very positive all the same because it alerts a wider section of the Church to the fact that there is a problem here. I hope the Church clarifies it sooner rather than later.

      Delete
    4. During the Middle Ages, as you know, the Church's policy was not to compel the conversion of Jews, including not taking away their newborn children and baptizing them. St. Thomas justifies such a policy.
      By extension, Catholic states generally did not interfere with private non-
      Catholic worship in private homes. Before DH, there was a question as to what this policy was based on. Was it justice or simply political prudence, i.e., did the non-Catholics in question have some kind of right to profess their private beliefs or was it merely a prudential decision that it was better for public peace to avoid disturbing them? I think that DH decided this question, that is, it exhibits a small but genuine development of doctrine in that it decided the basis for this toleration, and that it rests in human nature, not on any freedom to err (for that does not exist), but in a freedom from interference for individuals and families in private matters. But this does not extend to a freedom to propagate religious error in a Catholic state, for that would be contrary to the common good. But in a liberal state, where public opinion is hopeless confused and deformed, such propagation of error is not necessarily contrary to the common good, since the Church's own right to preach the Gospel (i.e., her civil legal right) rests upon the same civic freedom as that granted to the most outlandish sect.

      Delete
    5. I should have said, "not on any right to err" instead of "freedom to err."

      Delete
    6. I have to disagree. If we are talking about private profession of error (and bringing up a family is already a semi-public matter), it's impossible to even base that on human nature and the "right to choose" (incredible how liberals regularly mix up the ability with the right to choose). If that were so, then private consumption of drugs would fall into the same category. Not only does error not have rights, but nobody has the intrinsic right to profess them or propagate them. Nobody is judging conscience here.


      This doesn't have to lead to any sort of compulsion, any more than the fact that it is wrong to tell lies should result in the creation of some kind of Truth Police.


      Christians have always managed to maintain, along with their unique intolerance of error, the ability to live in the world alongside others. I agree with Chesterton that it was this intolerance of error (and not their charity) which got so many of them martyred under the Roman Empire.

      The issue of compulsion is always dragged out with a view to ending any discussion of the confessional state. This cleverly gets around the fact that confessional government doesn't have to compel anyone to do anything. Its confession of religion is part of government in fact. What people do is anther matter.

      Delete
    7. If you think that I'm opposed to a Catholic state, you are mistaken. In fact, I've written an entire book on the subject.

      I don't think your comparison with private drug use is entirely apt. In the first place, I imagine most of us would agree that the state has no business going from house to house, say, and searching for illegal drugs and interrogating people as to their drug use. The authorities always allow certain behaviors to fall beneath their radar screens, to so speak. This is in part because of a lack of resources, in part because such efforts would provoke resentment and be counterproductive, but in part because there is a certain sphere of personal and familial life which has a freedom of its own. I don't think this is to give in to liberalism. Liberalism is the idea that the body politic has no concern with anything except this-worldly goods. I entirely repudiate that. But it does not seem to me to follow that because the civil authorities must have a care for religion, and even indirectly for the salvation of souls, that there is no sphere of conduct which they should stay out of.

      Delete
    8. I wasn't inferring that you were opposed to a confessional government. The problem with the invention in NH of a right to profess error based on human nature is that it makes the possibility of a Catholic state outside the Vatican almost impossible in practice.

      Your analogy of leaving things below the radar of police enforcement of drug laws applies quite well to many things. Allowing personal drug use always ends up in the practice enjoying full legal standing in society. The law isn't just meant to stop certain activities; it's also educative and aspirational for society. I'm not advocating government interference in the private religious sphere in a typical modern society; it's just that a Catholic government cannot affirm any right to profess error based on human nature. Indeed, our position should be that no government should affirm such a thing.
      The Church has always walked a fine line in societies like the U.S. for example, between maintaining the Faith entire and becoming like the society around it. The mentality behind DN gave it as much hope of staying on that line as someone would have after drinking four bottles of Rum.

      Liberalism isn't just ignorance of the spiritual; it's also the affirmation that one can believe and act according to one's conscience (most liberals accept limitations based on public order). DH does seem to have bought into this terrible mistake, and needs "re-interpretation" on an official basis, urgently. Vatican II also chose the worst possible moment to start dithering. It was a clear case of the Church being influenced by the world, and disastrous effects were immediate and haven't ceased.

      Aquinian teaching on the treatment of religious minorities never considered any rights for error based on human nature. He was opposed to such a thing.

      Delete
    9. To clarify a point: Letting things lie below the radar as opposed to making them lawful...

      Delete
    10. Well, I think Aquinas' answer is compatible with what I said. Consider his answer in the Summa Theologiae III, 68, 10, to the question of whether children of Jews or other unbelievers should be baptized against the will of their parents. The heart of his answer is as follows: "If, however, they have not yet the use of free-will, according to the natural law they are under the care of their parents as long as they cannot look after themselves. For which reason we say that even the children of the ancients "were saved through the faith of their parents." Wherefore it would be contrary to natural justice [contra iustitiam naturalem esset] if such children were baptized against their parents' will; just as it would be if one having the use of reason were baptized against his will."

      You'll note that St. Thomas says it would be contrary to justice, not merely to political prudence or some other policy, though he does add that it would be unwise on account of the danger of apostasy. Now anything founded upon justice is necessarily a kind of right, since the fundamental meaning of justice is to render to each one what is due, i.e., what is his by right. So it would seem to follow, or at least would seem to be compatible with St. Thomas's thought, that there is this right to be allowed to continue in error. Note that I didn't say a right to error, rather a right to be allowed to continue in error, which is something different.

      Delete
    11. Indeed, nobody should be baptised against their will. This is where the term "religious compulsion" seems equivocal. There is all the difference in the world between trying to compel someone to accept baptism, which must be freely received, and compelling somebody not to promote error. The justice St. Thomas refers to is surely that which corresponds to parents as such, and not to any right based on human nature to profess error.

      Delete
    12. But wait a minute. Didn't I just deny that there was a right to profess error? My last sentence was, "Note that I didn't say a right to error, rather a right to be allowed to continue in error, which is something different." If justice allows the parents to raise their children in error, what is this except what I called it, "a right to be allowed to continue in error"?

      And as to human nature - I think parental right do indeed have something to do with human nature.

      Delete
    13. Dear Mr Storck,

      To clarify, do you agree that St. Thomas here has in view the natural right of parents to decide everything for their (underage) children? If so, there's no hint of any right to "continue in error" at all. What there is can be summarised by saying that children under the age of reason have no capacity to decide for themselves, so parents have that responsibility (and therefore right). Obviously this entails the danger that they will decide badly, but so does their own responsibility (and therefore right) to decide every other moral question.

      Also, note that St. Thomas and other Catholic authorities characterise the possibility of error and sin as a _defect_ in true liberty. This is in contrast with the liberal notion that true liberty is in effect essentially constituted of the possibility of error. This understanding is supported by Our Lord's statement that "the truth will make you free." If the truth makes us free, then freedon itself cannot consist in the capacity to err, or to choose evil.

      Regards,
      John.

      Delete
    14. Thanks for your reply. Yes parental rights are based on nature, and surely that is what St. Thomas referred to, not the right to profess or continue in error?

      Delete
    15. Gentlemen,

      I really have to thank both of you for your continued challenging of my thesis, for you're forcing me to make my thinking more precise and to express it better. No, I'm not being sarcastic either, for I've come to appreciate the opportunity to express myself more clearly on this subject, which until now I hadn't engaged closely with anyone about.

      So I didn't express well what I meant when I spoke of a "a right to be allowed to continue in error." There obviously is no right to error, as such, and I've always made that clear. But what I should have said is a right to a certain sphere of individual and familial freedom which necessarily entails (given our fallen nature) the freedom to err, although I entirely agree that the ability to err is a defect of our freedom.

      But I do maintain that if the children of the unbaptized are not to be taken away and baptized against their parents' desires, this does entail a certain sphere of freedom. If DH is interpreted as I've suggested, then I see no difficulty in harmonizing it either with Leo or St. Thomas.

      Delete
    16. Pius IX rejected this proposition in the Syllabus: Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.

      I know we are repeating ourselves, but toleration does not amount to recognising a freedom to error or a right to toleration founded on human nature. In speaking of baptism of children of unbaptized, St. Thomas Aquinas drew our attention to the fact that free will is necessary in order to embrace the faith. Here the only will that mattered was that of the parents. He had something very different to say of apostates, who could be forced to hold to the promises made at their baptism.

      Religious liberty based upon nature refers only to the true religion.

      Delete
    17. I think I'll restate my position one last time and then bow out of this conversation.

      The common good is the chief regulating principle as regards the toleration of error. In a Catholic state the common good normally would not permit efforts to propagate false religions or to allow for public expression of those false religions, e.g., processions, public meetings, etc.

      But individual non-Catholics would be left free to raise their children in error, and meet privately with other non-Catholics for worship. However, this latter could not be advertised or promoted.

      By what principle are these activities of non-Catholics to be allowed? St. Thomas says that this involves justice, hence it becomes a question of rights. It is true that this is not a right to embrace error, as such, but a right to a certain degree of individual and familial freedom or, if you prefer, privacy.

      If we accept what St. Thomas said, I don't see how we can say such freedom as he ascribes to parents is not founded on human nature. What else could it be founded on?

      Delete
    18. Thanks Mr. Stork for discussing this. It would have been good if you'd responded to the distinction I mentioned, which St. Thomas clearly makes:

      "The children of unbelievers either have the use of reason or they have not. If they have, then they already begin to control their own actions, in things that are of Divine or natural law. And therefore of their own accord, and against the will of their parents, they can receive Baptism, just as they can contract marriage. Consequently such can lawfully be advised and persuaded to be baptized.
      If, however, they have not yet the use of free-will, according to the natural law they are under the care of their parents as long as they cannot look after themselves... Wherefore it would be contrary to natural justice if such children were baptized against their parents' will; just as it would be if one having the use of reason were baptized against his will...


      Man is ordained unto God through his reason, by which he can know God. Wherefore a child, before it has the use of reason, is ordained to God, by a natural order, through the reason of its parents, under whose care it naturally lies, and it is according to their ordering that things pertaining to God are to be done in respect of the child."

      You wrote: "But individual non-Catholics would be left free to raise their children in error, and meet privately with other non-Catholics for worship."

      None of this follows from what St. Thomas asserts in the Summa, where he is emphatically not establishing a right based on natural law to hold error or to bring up children in error, but simply the acknowledgement that Baptism cannot be imposed against human will.

      Far from establishing a right to private worship based on human nature, St. Thomas writes here that, as soon as children have attained the use of reason, they may be persuaded and baptised against the will of their parents - under who tutelage they may still be. St. Thomas does not deal in any shape or form with any positive action based on human nature of holding error here, only the fact that confessing God and receiving baptism before the age of reason is done through the parents, by natural law, and therefore cannot be presumed of infants whose parents are unbelievers. Nothing more than this is asserted by St. Thomas.


      Indeed, we will have to look somewhere very far indeed from St. Thomas for a justification based on human nature for any right to profess error.



      Delete
  23. Well, if there's anything we've learnt from the comment boxes of these last few posts is that fundy protties, radtraddy sedes, and loony libbies are pretty much one and the same thing: illiterate, nominalist fools with a simplified, childish wordview wherein all important distinctions are to be ignored, lest one appear to be making any concessions to their respective polar opposites.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't want to hear it!

      I'm not raising your allowance!

      Go to your room till supper!

      When you turn 18, you can get a job and buy your own car!

      Delete
    2. Tim, do you by any chance happen to be a "fundy protty", a "radtraddy sede" or a "loony libby"?

      Delete
    3. Stop pretending to be me you troll. Begone.

      Delete
  24. In part 21 of Libertas, Pope Leo XIII writes, " Wherefore, civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness-namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engravers upon it. This religion, therefore, the rulers of the State must preserve and protect, if they would provide - as they should do - with prudence and usefulness for the good of the community. For public authority exists for the welfare of those whom it governs; and, although its proximate end is to lead men to the prosperity found in this life, yet, in so doing, it ought not to diminish, but rather to increase, man's capability of attaining to the supreme good in which his everlasting happiness consists: which never can be attained if religion be disregarded."

    ReplyDelete
  25. While some read Pope Leo's paragraph, they might believe that he would settle for a generically Christian State. But I suggest that Protestantism implies religious indifferentism because Lutheranism, Methodism, Presbyterianism, Pentecostalism are different religions. So Protestants can choose the denomination they prefer. If they disagree with what a pastor teaches, they find another denomination. How can the State adopt the true religion if each religion it could choose teaches one or more falsehoods?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How does the United States and the circumstances of it's founding fit in? It fits the description of a generically Christian state, yet it has been "successful" (sort of, I guess). Protestantism, appears to be losing to purer forms of Nominalism (Atheism/Postmodernism). How does it compare with the disintegration of Christendom? Is it just one big 500 year slide (depending how you date it)? Or is that extreme?

      Delete
    2. T.N. America was never a Christian state. It is an Enlightenment state, a Hebrew republic. The population of America were Protestants but most of the ruling elite were Masons. America is a Masonic republic. I point to the Seal of the US. Full of Masonic symbology with two Masonic statements on it "Novus Ordo Saecularum" and "E Pluribus Unum". The star is a Masonic symbol on the US Flag.

      T. N. Modern republicanism which America exemplifies ended Western civilization. And Hegel ended Western Culture.

      So, yes, it has been one big 500 year-0ld slide into death and destruction. Our dystopian future awaits. Please read the comments of the previous Post which Dr. Feser links above in his article.

      Delete
    3. I agree that it is improper to classify America as a "Christian State". Cardinal Ottaviani is closer to the mark, I think, when in 1947 he classified it as a "relatively indifferent" State (Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici, vol. II, n. 275):


      « Those who profess relative indifference and liberty of cults do not thence necessarily deny juridical relations of the State with Churches: for the State is able to treat simultaneously with various societies, to renew juridical relations, and to treat with the religious authorities of any religion whatsoever.[1] But the transition from relative indifferentism to the system of separation is easy; in which case, while civil society professes religious liberty, and in a certain way also fills the public life with religious acts, it yet prescinds from churches qua juridical societies, and does not treat with their religious authorities except in the same manner as with other citizens.[2]
      _____________
      [1] The tolerant State supports only one religion, but tolerates others because of political necessities; the indifferent State places all cults on an equal level. An example of a tolerant State is Italy; an indifferent State is e.g. Germany before the recent war. In this Republic, by force of the constitution of 11 Aug 1919, there was determined no «Church of the State», but there was recognized for various cults the right of association, of possession, and of acquiring the character of a corporation of public right, yet under certain conditions.
      [2] Such is e.g. the state of things in North America. The State is not atheistic, no indeed in a certain way it professes itself belonging publicly to Christianity: for the State every year procures with Christian rites a day on which it gives thanks to God; prayers are poured out in the Committees of legislators, the Protestant and Catholic chaplains of soldiers are taken up, the Lord’s day is sanctified publicly, the Gospel is read in schools, etc. Cf. Badii, Ius canonicum comparatum, Rome, 1925, p. 577. The State therefore is not atheist, as Aichner unjustly asserts, Compendium iuris ecclesiastici, §40, p. 120, but it is indifferent regarding the various Christian cults, and is separated from the churches: hence by force of art. VI, §3 of the Constitution, no one, in attending to public functions, is obliged to profess some particular religion, nor is any official church chosen (1st Amendment of the Constitution), nor can Congress pass a law in favor of, or in detriment to, any cult; but full liberty is left in the exercise of religion. Cf. Badii, loc. cit.; Friedburg-Ruffini, Diritto ecclesiastico, Torino, 1893, §29, p. 153ff, with notes 26 and 27. The taking up of one religion is not prohibited to the individual confederated States, as has happened in Utah. Cf. also Galante, Manuale di diritto ecclesiastico, Milano, 1914, p. 666ff. »

      Delete
    4. @T N, you should give Leo XIII's 1895 encyclical to the American bishops a read. In particular, mark what he says in §6:

      « The main factor, no doubt, in bringing things into this happy state were the ordinances and decrees of your synods, especially of those which in more recent times were convened and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See. But, moreover (a fact which it gives pleasure to acknowledge), thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church, in virtue of which unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority. »
      http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_06011895_longinqua.html

      Delete
  26. I am for hardcore integralism.

    First. It is very clear, no one has an understanding of Virtue. Virtue must be ingrained in the people making up the community. Virtue can only be had in a community for it is done for the community.

    Second, the Community/State/Politiea must itself practice Virtue. If piety is a virtue, commanded in the Virtue of Righteousness---then the State MUST ALSO practice piety. We see this in all the pagan States. Religion is part of community life and is part of the State.

    Integralism was, has been, already practiced in all the pagan states. Look at Sparta and Rome. State officials all participated and conducted religious services. That is what the Law code of Res Divina was in the Roman Republic. The Spartan Republic did nothing until it consulted the auguries and gave sacrifices. The whole state was put on hold to hole the Carnea.

    Integralism was already Western Civilization. Christendom was only a continuation of the Roman Empire. It is a trajectory from Sparta, to Rome, to Christendom. Many of Roman practices and institutions came from Sparta!

    If the person has to be pious---so must the state. One has to create a Feedback loop. The Parts and the Whole both have to practice Virtue in order for a Good State.

    The point is have a Good State. One can't have a Good State without Good people in it. What makes an individual good? Virtue. As the individual is Virtuous, So must the State be Virtuous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thomas Storck quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

      Freedom is exercised in relationships between human beings. Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. ...The right to the excercise of freedom..."

      What is Enlightenment gobbledygook doing in a Catholic Catechism book!

      "Freedom" is nothing more that Anarchism. That is what is preaching here!

      I remember in the Book of Acts--the Jailer converted to Christianity---and made his whole family + slaves---convert to Christianity! Where is that precious freedom?

      I remember the conversion of the Rus Ukraine. The Monarch converted--and ordered all his people to be baptized! Where is that "precious freedom".

      Finally, When Parents baptize their child as an infant----Oh where or where is this the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. ...The right to the excercise of freedom" in infant baptism????? Uh?!

      Methinks that there is just too-much navel gazing in Catholic theology that they have destroyed all commonsense and letting things be. Catholic theology must also practice the Golden Mean. Not too little and Not too much theology and what is going on is toooooo much theologizing about Freedom, freedom. There are three examples that throw all of that out the window.

      Life is NOT about Freedom---but of the survival of the people and their politiea---way of life.

      Delete
    2. When a person came to Lycurgus and asked him why he didn't create a democracy, Lycurgus replied:

      "Begin, my friend, and set it up in your family first."

      What is this saying?

      First, a family is not run as a democracy; it becomes quite apparent that it can't!

      Second, their republic was run as a Family!!!!

      Plato called Sparta "...a true politiea". Politiea means Society, i.e. community. It was a Family writ large!!! What is a Nation/race?

      Families writ large. The Spartan Politiea was Family writ large. It acted together as a Family unit.

      Arius Didymus of Stobaeus uses the word “politeia” for the family; “So just as the household yields for the city the seeds of its formation, thus it yields the constitution (politeia)”.

      “Connected with the house is a pattern of monarchy, of aristocracy and of democracy. The relationship of parents to children is monarchic, of husbands to wives aristocratic, of children to one another democratic”.

      What is the basis of the Spartan Republic? The Family. The Family is formed with the Natural Law. The Natural Law of Righteousness, Syncretism or cosmos, the Tripartite paradigm, distinctions of rank. And what do the parents do? They instill culture in their children. They all pray together, eat together, work together, play together. Community.

      Every Nation is a Family---they are Macro-organism. Living entities. It is not just about the "common good", it is about a living organism.

      And what we see in Sparta was that not only were the citizens all habitualized into Virtue---the State practiced Virtue as well. Where is any of this in Catholic writings?

      All they have Kabbala and Enlightenment gobbledygook. St. Albert the Great, teacher of Aquinas, was a Kabbalist! Many Catholics in the Renaissance were into Kabbala! Half of the screwy stuff in "Catholic theology" is this Kabbala crap. Where do you think this "Human Dignity" crap comes from? Giovanni Pico Della Mirondola who was a Kabbalist!

      Delete
    3. Mr. Wheeler,

      I'm afraid you didn't quote the entire section from the CCC, which I'd quoted. Here's how it runs,
      "1738 Freedom is exercised in relationships between human beings. Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order."

      Human beings do have natural freedom, i.e., freedom of choice. This need not translate into any particular sort of political or religious freedom. My point in quoting the CCC here was to shows that even in her post-conciliar official documents, the Church is still affirming that, in a political sense, our freedom must be constrained "within the limits of the common good and public order."

      We need to distinguish between forced conversions (which are wrong), and conversions of entire tribes or nations or families, where no doubt not every single person understood well what he was doing or grasped the essence of the Gospel, but was willing to trust the chief or the king or the father, as someone who was wiser than he. This kind of conversion can, I think, be justified, whereas a true forced conversion, i.e., truly against someone's will, is wrong, even if on occasion it did occur in the past.

      Delete
    4. Yes, forced conversions are wrong.

      What is destroying the West and our people is this "freedom", "liberty" and "love" talk. These words are dynamite. They have good side but there is a cone of darkness to them. "Freedom" is taken to the extreme. "Liberty" is taken to the extreme.

      i.e. In Classical Antiquity, "libertas" meant the liberty of the people---not the individual. And when Catholic theologians run around with that freedom and liberty talk--people take that as anarchism and create the ideology of Libertarianism. The overpreaching of Love is not only emasculating but is affecting Political decisions and people, like Nancy Pelosi, make decisions based on Sentimentality! We can't deport anybody because of Love! Really. So Genocide by ethnic dilution is sanctioned by the Gospel of Love.

      I see the practical applications of this. What is the practical application of Freedom?

      "You can't tell me what to do".

      What happens in Christian theology---soon ends up in the Political sphere! And what we get is the French Revolution and the Spanish Civil War and America as a failed state. You do write: This need not translate into any particular sort of political or religious freedom.

      But that doesn't happen--it does translate into the political sphere.

      Anti-clericalism of the Protestants---morphed into the Leveling ideology of the American and French Revolutions! St. Paul saying you are free in the New Testament---translated by the Protestants into the political sphere and produced revolutions!!!! From the Anabaptists to the Presbyterians to the Hussites and Taborites!

      Just as Protestant Theology fomented political revolutions--so does Catholic Theology. How many Catholic clergy, bishops and priests--one even sitting in the Papal Office, are translating Catholic Theology into Marxist political ideology!

      Did not Monasticism fuel Communism? Were not the Fransicans dangerously close to spreading revolution in the Medieval times?

      Is not Galatians 3:8 being used to further Marxist agenda? Equality. Is not Galatians 3:8 fueling the rebuilding of the Tower of Babel, Open Borders and Unisexism?

      In the Vatican II document Lumen gentium:

      “Because the human race today is joining more and more into a civic, economic and social unity, it is that much the more necessary that priests, by combined effort and aid, under the leadership of the bishops and the Supreme Pontiff, wipe out every kind of separateness, so that the whole human race may be brought into the unity of the family of God.” Ch. III, #28.

      That is NOT in the Deposit of Faith!

      "Wiping out every separatedness is Gnosticism. Marxism! It is the rebuilding of the Tower of Babel.

      We CAN distinguish---but Liberals do NOT! We CAN distinguish---but the vulgar class can NOT!

      Catholic Theology and the words it uses, is being used to foment revolution! political and social revolution. St. Paul is a misogynist because of Galations 3:8. Putting too much emphasis on Freedom is destroying us.

      Delete
    5. References to the Kabbala in Catholic circles:

      Michael Hoffman, Trad Catholic. Revisionist History, Coeur d'Alene Idaho.

      Issue #52, of April/May 2010
      "Judaizing Protestantism and Neo-Platonic Catholicism in Legend and Reality"

      And his book "The Occult Renaissance, Church of Rome".

      Many Renaissance Catholics, both clergy and laity, read the Kabbala. How much of that has seeped into Catholic theology?

      Delete
    6. In the Laws, Plato describes Atheism as a malady. Already in his time, he saw the destructive forces of atheism in his Athens. He called for the interdiction of Atheists and his proscription asked that they be held for five years in order to convert them. If they did not, they were to be dispatched quietly in the night, disappeared. (This may have been a Spartan practice.)

      If a Nation is a Macro-organism, then it stands to reason, that there are systemic cancers that kill the organism. Atheism is one. Homosexuality is another. Gnosticism/Liberalism is one as well.

      You can't allow these things to rage in a society. We see this in real time in America, right now.

      As in the general population, most generally, atheists are haters; they rail against religion. Religion naturally gets under their skin and it irritates them so much, they purposely go out of their way to destroy religion. We say this in the French Revolutions and with Madam O'Hare (I forgot her real name{somebody set me straight here}), the Commie lady, who brought suit to get rid prayer , or the Bible, in school here in America.

      I think of Liberalism as human rabies; it is an infectious disease. You can't allow any of these to grow or start---for they are entropy; they dissolve the nation. Just Plato called Atheism a malady, so is Liberalism. Think of these mental conditions as contagions of the human spirit.

      When one looks at the Enlightenment and the Renaissance, almost all the people involved were very highly intelligent young men---(and this is the important part)---left to their own devices---growing up without sure guidance and correction. The Enlightenment was basically the ragings of young men full of unbridled intelligence, spewing their wrath upon the world. They got snippets of this-n-that and ran with it.

      Look at how many very intelligent people were atheists or once were atheists, Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert), Dr. Feser here, and Vox Day. Vox Day and Adams were Mensa members. High Intelligence is the precursor of Atheism. You can't let high intelligence young men loose on society.

      I work in the Agrarian field. I'm a farm laborer. On the Christmas tree farm, sassafras saplings have to be eradicated immediately. They grow colonies of themselves and then they are hard to eradicate. It took me five years to clear a field of them. In other farms and ranches, one must eradicate pests and blights with a vengeance.

      Atheism, Liberalism/Gnosticism, and homosexuality is like that. They are cancers on the body politic.

      Is not this wisdom: "An Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

      It is a must that the young be trained into virtue and habitualized into piety and education in righteousness, of manliness in order to prevent the growth of atheism and liberalism.

      Today's events and the failed state of America and of the almost failure of the Catholic Church is total vindication of the Medieval Catholic Church and of Christendom's Catholic authorities.

      Delete
    7. You wrote, "Putting too much emphasis on Freedom is destroying us." I entirely agree with that.

      Delete
  27. To turn the Western world back into a "Christian," medieval-style civilization again, accompanied by the accoutrements of a high tech civilization, would likely bring about something ultimately akin to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." It would also make the planet vulnerable to a revival of the wars of religion.

    Given environmental degradation, the threat of nuclear weapons, and the ill will and distrust that religious debate inspires among people, could we really afford the cost of any of the more extreme of Feser's integralism scenarios?

    In contrast to Lennon's "give peace a chance" liberalism, Feser-style post-liberal integralism in practice would surely amount to the following: philosophically consistent, explicitly medieval--One True God--civilizations in an intractable stand off over matters of religion.

    Is that really the sort of late 21st or 22nd century world that we would want? Is it preferable to the liberal separation of church and state and some version of multicultural tolerance made global?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given environmental degradation, the threat of nuclear weapons, and the ill will and distrust that religious debate inspires among people, could we really afford the cost of any of the more extreme of Feser's integralism scenarios?

      In contrast to Lennon's "give peace a chance" liberalism,


      Lennon's free radical liberalism will lead to wars, too. It will also lead to cultural annihilation, as per the ongoing takeover of Europe by muslims.

      Delete
  28. Santi, would there be religious wars if everyone practiced the same religion? What unites people is what they have in common. When I was a student at the State University of New York at Albany, undergraduates needed to meet the politically correct Human Diversity requirement. So I took Japanese Philosophy and Asian Indian Philosophy. The University's administrators thought that requirement would help people from different societies get to know each other and other cultures. Instead, a professor of mine told me that political correctness had polarized students and prompted them to stay with people like them. In school lunch rooms, students naturally segregate themselves because they want to be with their kind if you will. American progressives talk constantly about racism and there's racism partly because people of different races differ from each other. I'm not advocating forced segregation. I'm suggesting that forced integration can cause conflict. Just as you probably aren't going to see much racial violence in a society where everyone belongs to the same race, you probably won't find many religious wars where everyone practices the same religion. I love peace. But I'm against secular utopianism. So I need utopians to remember that the word "utopia" means "nowhere." I don't mean to be too political. But remember that the American progressive left objected strongly when President Trump offered to send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities that would supposedly welcome them with open arms. Does that mean that those who insist that we welcome illegal aliens don't want them here after all?

    ReplyDelete
  29. To turn the Western world back into a "Christian," medieval-style civilization again, accompanied by the accoutrements of a high tech civilization, would likely bring about something ultimately akin to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." It would also make the planet vulnerable to a revival of the wars of religion.

    This doesn't make sense. Why does technology change the equation? You're making it sound like this would work in a pre-industrial era but in the technology-computing era would create a psychopath society like the superstitious Sub-Saharan Africa.

    It would also make the planet vulnerable to a revival of the wars of religion.

    Most historians do not believe that religion played a significant role--either as a casus bellī or as a mobilization-recruitment device--in the cause of most wars from late antiquity to the renaissance. And the most "religious" of the wars that plagued Western Civilization (the European War of Religions) was largely caused by the rise of the secular mechanical society, just like the Salem Witch Trials.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would secularization cause religious wars? It would be more correct to say that it was because of them that the state began to adopt some principles of secularism, especially in the holy roman empire, that was how they were able in part to curb religious disputes(sorry if my english is bad,I'm not fluent in the language)



      Delete
  30. Here is an excerpt from Libertas quoted above by "Unknown.":

    Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness-namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engravers upon it.

    Can any of this be reconciled with the novus-ordo treatment of the issue? Nope. Leo XIII says that "the profession of one religion is necessary in the State". But the phony novus-ordo church, on the other hand, not only denies this necessity, which by itself would put it in contradiction with true Catholic doctrine, but it even goes so far as to forbid such a profession. According to Leo XIII, justice forbids the state to fail to profess the true faith. But according to the novus ordo abomination, justice forbids the state to do so. No amount of sophistical flapdoodle can square this circle. It's over. If the novus ordo church is the Catholic Church, then the latter is, and always has been, a gigantic lie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. George R, I agree that there are major problems with the new rite of Mass. For example, Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci insist that it breaks away from Sacred Tradition and doesn't intend to present Trent's theology about the Mass. So if that's true, there's a rupture despite Pope Benedict XVI's talk about continuity.

      http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/reformof.htm

      Fr. Gregory Hesse has convinced me that Pope St. Pius V bound his successors when he wrote Quo primum temporae to codify the Tridentine rite of Mass. In that bull, he says that rite is the received and approved rite of Mass for the Roman Rite, the rite of Mass to be used in perpetuity, i.e., always. His only exceptions to that rule were liturgical rites that were already at least 200 years old when he wrote Quo primum. So it seems to me that Bugnini and the Novus Ordo's other inventors were at least materially schismatic when they fabricated it. Priests who celebrate Mass with that rite seem to have the same problem.

      To me, the post-Vatican-II version of Catholicism looks like a new religion. But I don't have the authority to tell whether it it is a new one. No one gave me any Church authority. So I hope everyone will take my thoughts with a pillar of salt.

      It seems to me that the Modernist heresy has returned just as Pope St. Pius X predicted that it would after he drove it underground.

      Sadly, too, it seems that Vatican II's theology is the condemned New Theology you hear from de Lubac, von Balthasar, Danielou, John Paul II, and even Benedict XVI.

      http://www.u.arizona.edu/~aversa/modernism/Thomism%20and%20the%20New%20Theology%20(Greenstock).pdf

      Has the Church defected? Not at all. The Catholic Church is still Christ's Mystical Body and the one we need to be in to get to Heaven. As Pope Pius XII teaches in Humani generis, the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are exactly the same thing. If that's true, it's no wonder that the Devil and his demons are attacking it more viciously than they attack any other religious institution.

      Delete
    2. Unknown,

      The issue of authority has nothing to do with it. For, if the novus ordo church is the true Church, then neither you nor I have any authority to gainsay, or even question, her teachings. We must simply assent to them. However, if it is not the true Church, which it is certainly not, then we are both bound as Catholics to reject it utterly as a demonic imposter.

      Your position, I'm afraid, corresponds to no possible reality, since you apparently neither assent to the novus ordo, nor reject it.

      That said, it's not irrational to proceed in this manner of yours, while you are in a genuine state of doubt. But is the falseness of the novus ordo really at all doubtful?

      Delete
    3. @Unknown, some clarifications: Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci did not write the Intervention (more properly called "A brief critical study of the new Ordo Missæ"), but only signed their names to it; it was actually composed by Archbishop Lefebvre and a group of Roman theologians.

      As for Gregory Hesse, I would be interested in hearing what you find to be so convincing about his arguments regarding Quo primum. It has been my experience, in listening to some of his talks, that he plays very fast and loose with terms, is very lackadaisical in his sources, and makes enormous jumps in interpretation which strain the bounds of charity to the utmost. More concretely, though, he would seem to be violating a well-known juridical axiom, namely that equals cannot bind equals. In matters of faith and morals, certainly, the decisions of the Roman Pontiff are in a certain way limited, but that is on account of the deposit of faith, not the constitutions of the popes themselves. Full and supreme power belongs to the Pope regarding the disposition and law of the liturgy as a public expression and profession of the faith; hence, while the dogmatic content expressed in the liturgy cannot properly speaking be changed in its substance, the manner in which the liturgy itself is disposed and arranged certainly is ever subject to the legislative power of the pope, and cannot bindingly be declared immutable for all time. Hence, as Bouix puts it in his Tractatus de iure liturgico (1873), IIIa pars, c. ix, commenting on the state of liturgical law from Pius V's Quo primum and Quod a Nobis onward:

      « Therefore the Apostolic See, to which belongs the certain full and supreme power of ruling the entire Church, which power, on behalf of this supreme right committed to it by God, would already have been able, from the beginnings of the Church, to recall to itself every legislative faculty over liturgical matters; and while for many centuries it in part permitted to local Ordinaries the regulation of the liturgy, yet from the sixteenth century it has considered it opportune to reserve liturgical law more strictly to itself, and has in fact thus reserved it. »

      It seems to me that the Holy See has, since the time of Pius V, simply reserved exclusively to itself the governance of the liturgy. Hence, Bugnini and his Consilium were duly deputed by the Roman Pontiff to re-form the Roman liturgy, and regardless of whether their reforms were prudent, pious, honest, or what have you, juridically speaking I think they were perfectly licit and could not fall under the censure of Quo primum, acting as they were as the duly deputed agents of the Apostolic See and its supreme authority in matters liturgical.

      What are your thoughts?

      Delete
    4. I've always thought Hesse was a very strange character, and not in any serious way credible. Indeed, it was hard to understand how he appeared overnight, and became popular, with such a chaotic and incoherent message. Strange times breed strange people.

      Delete
    5. Someone brought this up, and I just have to seize this opportunity.

      @Aloysius,

      While I agree that St Pius V's bull was not infallible and forever binding, I don't think it's simply a matter of the power of the Roman Pontiff being exercised differently in two different Popes. For observe the history following 1570 up until 1969: that entire period essentially accepted Pius V at face value, humbly and obediently following his decree. Certainly, modifications of the Missal were made, but no Pope simply disregarded Pius V's bull as non-binding. If we may legitimately infer intention from behaviour, then it seems clear that subsequent generations of Catholics agreed with Pius V and thought his use of authority in regard to the liturgy legitimate and good. In effect, we have a tradition of adherence to his will. Hence while Popes cannot bind each other, in contradicting a predecessor, the Pope concerned certainly owes us explanation as to exactly why his predecessor is mistaken, and/or why circumstances that made the predecessor's juridical action necessary no longer apply. More than that applies in this case, since we have not just one Pope countermanding another, but one Pope countermanding four centuries' worth of them, if what I have said above is true; moreover, the object of the action - the liturgy - is among the most important of the Church's treasures. Anything done to it will fan out to affect the rest of the Church, because it is her highest activity. We had better be sure we alter it to its greater glory.

      More fundamentally, the issue with the Novus Ordo Missae is what its relationship to tradition is. Is it really a new rite? If so, does the Pope have the power to invent a new rite? It seems he does not, for all the rites of the Church are not inventions of any particular individuals, even the Apostles; they are rather the work of generations organically grown throughout the Church's life. (The so-called "Tridentine Rite" is no exception - it is simply the Roman Rite made legally binding on the Latin Church in general. Proof of this is seen in the reaction to Pius V's decree in one of unperturbed obedience, and also in the 1570 Missal itself; a Missal of 1474 is almost identical to it.) They are traditions, gratefully received from the beginning, and modified only so as to make more fitting in their use, which is the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful. The Council of Trent seems specifically concerned with these things in its decrees concerning the Rites of the Sacraments (canon XIII, Session VII) and those about the Rite of Mass in particular. Indeed it would seem contrary to canon XIII for anyone at all to invent a new rite of Mass, including the Pope. For what would such an action mean, but that the old was simply inadequate, or perhaps savoured of heresy? Such thoughts are very far from the Catholic mind, I think. Paul VI certaily did something very strange with the liturgy, if I'm even half right about anything I've said above.

      (cont)

      Delete
    6. (cont)

      More generally I believe we can consider the issue as follows:


      1. Catholicism is inherently a religion of tradition - the passing on of things received from others first.
      2. This tradition is composed of two basic kinds: divine tradition, which is absolutely immutable, and human tradition.(There are further distinctions, but we set them aside for present purposes). For simplicity, divine tradition corresponds to doctrine and human to practice.
      3. These traditions are related as soul to body. Indeed, they must be, because the Church and man himself, her subject, are both such composites.
      4. So both are constitutive of the very nature of Catholicism, forming an inseparable unity.
      5. Tradition is composed of object (that which is passed on) and transmitter (that which passes on).
      6. The transmitter receives the object to be passed on. Thus the transmitter is inferior to the object and subject to it.
      7. The Magisterium is the official transmitter or organ of tradition.
      8. So the Magisterium does not own the tradition but rather is bound to it.
      9. 8. So the Magisterium does not own the tradition but rather is bound to it.
      9. Qua receiver, it can do what is necessary to preserve it, and add to it, or improve it. It cannot invent or block (ie refuse to pass on) tradition.
      10. So the Magisterium is bound to the practices it has received, most importantly the traditional Rites of the sacraments.

      From all of which it is hard not to draw the conclusion, supported by Suarez, that the creation of a new rite in the Novus Ordo of 1969 would be a schismatical, non-binding act. The rite would be illicit (because lacking any authoritative basis) but still valid. Though I hesitate to draw such an conclusion, I hasten to add. These are serious matters not easily settled.

      I welcome any friendly responses.

      Delete
    7. I for one agree with nearly all of this. I would also point you to the facts on the ground, which look more like a schism than nearly anything in history. I mean the fact that the New Mass was not legally established, but rather merely ordered "published" by Paul VI, then the bishops of the West (and only of the West) proceeded brutally to impose it, forcing priests to use the new missal even over troubled consciences, clearly reasoned and expressed objections, and even open resistance. The result was that those who held fast to the traditions they had received were forced to offer mass in hotel rooms, borrowed buildings, etc., and the faithful who insisted on holding fast gathered around those few priests who declined to cooperate in this change of religion, and voila! a schism.

      The schism is generally blamed on the Catholic side of the split (the "traditionalists"), but clearly that's absurd. We did nothing but fail to change. The action was EXCLUSIVELY on the other side.

      The results, among those who went along with the changes, were catastrophic beyond compare. Somewhere north of fifty thousand priests abandoned their vocations in a ten year period. Just unimaginable. And the defenders of the schismatics continue not to notice the obvious causality, and instead blame the zeitgeist, or the lesser clergy, or the weather, or something.

      Regards,
      John.

      PS Lefebvre didn't write the Ottaviani Intervention, the Dominican theologian Fr. Guerard des Lauriers did. But it doesn't matter who wrote it, it's correct and two cardinals took public responsibility for it, making it their own.

      Delete
    8. Yes John,

      you're right about all of this. To implement it, all kinds of pressure and intimidation were used. So many competent older nuns and priests were shamed and bundled off to make way for something few had been asking for.

      While the Novus Ordo still follows the structure of the Roman rite (other rites not based on that of Rome have a very different order) and is therefore a variant of it, what Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci wrote about its representation of doctrine needs to be dealt with.

      It does no good to point to what other rites do (or early Christians, supposedly), as context and the history of the rite give many of these changes a meaning which is not very positive.

      Delete
  31. Unfortunately a major troll infestation has broken out here. Santi, Wheeler, maybe Cervantes are clogging up combox. Stop feeding them everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lindsey. I like your wheel icon, by the way.

      Delete
    2. * It is uncharitable in the extreme to call everyone who disagrees with you or who presents sincerely believed but unsound arguments a troll

      * It is an ad hominem to reason like this: "Wheeler argues for X. Wheeler is a troll. Therefore X is wrong." And ultimately doesn't differ from this: "Wheeler argues for X. Wheeler is a fag. Therefore X is wrong."

      Delete
    3. Yeah, because Christian civilization being compared to 'Iran with surveillance cameras' is perfectly rational and non-degrading.

      Delete
    4. The "wheel" is supposedly the Shield carried by Spartan kings.

      Delete
    5. Eroteme, stop encouraging trolls. Santi has a long history here. As shown in this very thread, though he is acting better than sometimes, he is a complete troll. He is probably the worst of them all. A Santi infestation is very irritating and hard to remove. Wheeler, as shown in this and the last thread, as old-hands here are well aware, is some kind of white supremacist crank. You assume I'm here to argue with them. You don't argue with trolls. The very idea of arguing with Santi is preposterous to any with experience with him. He never pays real attention to his interlocutors, and just uses their comments as points of departure for his self-indulgent, barely coherent, emotivist wind-baggery. What you do to deal with them is stop feeding trolls, or they clog up and ruin good comboxes, as has happened in this instance. If you respect Feser's blog, you will stop feeding the trolls.

      Delete
    6. @t. I love western civilization, but let's have some balance here. Michelangelo is great, but he also lived part of his life navigating his way around a Christian populist: the religious fanatic Girolamo Savonarola. And do you suppose, t, that if you were Jewish in medieval Venice, or homosexual, or an intellectual woman, or an atheist, or a religious dissenter of any kind, that you would feel your position in that society as being markedly different from living in medieval Iran today? If you want a return to medieval premises, and mean to bring those premises into the 21st century accompanied by modern technology, please recall that the Enlightenment occurred for a reason; that Locke occurred for a reason. It was Aquinas who originally suggested that it would be a really good idea to designate Jews with yellow stars.

      Delete
    7. @Santi did you just bring up nazis?

      Delete
    8. Anonymous:

      Look, you'll have no problem getting rid of me. I don't see my interest in these blog posts lasting much longer. I thought my way, personally, through Thomism a few years back, and obviously rejected it, making me a "troll" to embracers like yourself.

      I haven't entered a thread at this blog since 2015, but the experience of interacting with conservative Catholics in that year was certainly informative, to say the least.

      When I came around in 2015, my search was sincere. Did I have a blind spot to religious apologetics because my exposure came primarily via Protestant intellectuals (Plantinga, Swinburne, etc.)? Perhaps Catholic intellectuals do better, and I needed to listen. Feser is very smart, so I listened. I read his book on atheism. I read a couple of other of his books.

      Then I wrote my objections into threads, hoping to learn more, pressing confident enthusiasts for clarification, and took flak for it.

      I only visited recently to see what Thomists have been thinking about lately. I like to read opinions that are different from my own, and to think about them, and so I like Feser's books and was delighted to learn he wrote a new one--on Aristotle. I ordered a copy of it from Amazon a few days back. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm looking forward to reading it next week.

      But as to these two threads I've entered, I'm frankly dismayed. Trumpish flirtations with nationalism tied to religion have clearly become a source of enthusiasm for many of the Thomistic intellectuals here. Gee, do you suppose Christians could have in the United States what Putin has got going in Russia with the Russian Orthodox Church?

      One can dream, I suppose.

      But the past several days of witnessing this intellectual playing of footsie with authoritarian religion and politics has been sobering, to say the least, and frankly depressing. There really are a lot of "conservatives" nowadays who hate Jeffersonian liberal democracy in the way one might expect from European fascists. Carl Schmitt couldn't be more dismissive of the liberal tradition. Only one person in this thread has alluded to the "f" word in these threads, and it wasn't me--and nobody touched it. And I seem to be the only person who wants to talk about what it would mean for Jews to wed Christianity officially to the state--and that subject appears taboo here as well.

      But, Anonymous, worry not. I'll be gone soon. You'll have your echo chamber back. But I must say that I've shaken my head a lot in reading Feser's applications of Thomism to politics--and his embrace of post-liberalism.

      Thus regarding this very politicized form of Thomism that Feser appears so very nonchalant about endorsing, the words from King Lear keep whispering to me: "No, no, this way lies madness."

      Delete
    9. @ErotemeObelus. Yikes. The N-word, not even just the f-word? Okay. So do you think historic Christian antisemitism and the Holocaust should inform the question of the 21st century Catholic's relation to post-liberal, authoritarian nationalism?

      What's the lesson of the Holocaust for Catholics? One of them, it seems to me, ought to be to treat Jews as equal citizens of a shared, secular state. And isn't another one to fight antisemitism--and not support nationalist movements that cast shade on Jews as transnational enemies?

      I don't think Catholics or Protestants should be looking to convert Jews and establish Christian states where Jews reside.

      Do you think supersessionism should survive the Holocaust?

      And why do people in Feser's threads seem insistent on restoring "Christian civilization"? Doesn't this very phrase either co-opt or render invisible the Greco-Roman, liberal, secular, and Jewish contributions to western civilization?

      Delete
    10. @Santi you brought up nazis and that means this thread is over.

      Delete
  32. @Unknown. You wrote the following: "[A]t Albany, undergraduates needed to meet the politically correct Human Diversity requirement. So I took Japanese Philosophy and Asian Indian Philosophy."

    That sounds enjoyable. Perhaps you learned a bit about Nagarjuna and Dogen. Surely this didn't harm you. The Earth is not only diverse, it is round, and its flora and fauna are the products of several billion years of evolution. Surely it is the responsibility of a university not to ignore the facts of human existence--our diversity and shared ancestry, the roundness of our Earth, our evolution--and to offer courses that reflect on these facts.

    You wouldn't dismiss an astronomy course as "politically correct" because it taught that the Earth is round and has evolved. Then why would you treat a diversity course that introduces students to the existence of Dogen and Nagarjuna as part of a politically correct conspiracy?

    I myself teach "world lit. in English translation" courses at my college, and they are included in the college catalog as options for the diversity requirement. I would like to think that reading with students the Gilgamesh Epic, the Bhagavad Gita, and Dante's Inferno is not an exercise in political correctness.

    Please recall that all colleges and universities have curriculum committees that debate and set standards, and then generate course outlines of record from these. Most professors sitting on such committees think that part of understanding the world entails studying human diversity.

    Biology professors think evolution is important, and that is put at front and center of their textbooks and course outlines of record--not Aristotle. Humanities professors think literacy surrounding global diversity is important. Academics across the disciplines think that learning about environmental sustainability is important.

    Perhaps Professor Feser is on such a committee at Pasadena City College--and gets outvoted on a regular basis.

    But so as not to box students in, most colleges have a range of diversity course options. These courses tend to prepare students for global citizenship.

    But if you think such courses generate resentment and alienation among some students, what's the alternative? College curriculum is going to always be set by experts in whatever discipline is in question. It's not going to be decided by administrators, politicians, a vote of the students, or a ballot measure. A curriculum committee is one of those hot spots in the world where you only get a vote if you've gained access to a particular community of scholars.

    In classical politics, Aristotle and Plato recognized three forms of human organization--one man rule (tyranny), aristocratic rule (oligarchy), and democracy. The genius of the American system of checks and balances is to blend these in various combinations: some aspects of our governance is centered on one man or woman (a governor or president); others are left to the determination of appointed judges, experts, or people with money; and still others are left to representative or democratic voting.

    Curriculum committees are always going to smack of elitism--but curriculum decisions are really not appropriately located in the realm of democratic or administrative decision making. Systems thinking, evolution, diversity, and sustainability as parts of a college course's course outline of record are responses to facts on the ground.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What does a Catholic integralism political structure look like in practice?
    From the article that it would involve the government being concerned about our natural ends and Ed even mentions obtaining food (since man is also an animal) would be an end.... does that mean the government would be involved in or responsible for making sure we have food to eat? How close to socialism can Catholic integralism look?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would look like The Handmaid's Tale.

      Delete
    2. If that isn't the most laughable thing I've heard, I don't know what is.

      Delete
    3. . does that mean the government would be involved in or responsible for making sure we have food to eat? How close to socialism can Catholic integralism look?

      Not close at all. One of the central principles of natural law political philosophy and Catholic social teaching is subsidiarity, i.e. that higher level institutions (including centralized government, can intervene in lower level ones (like the family) only where strictly necessary. Where they can function on their own, justice requires that they do so and the state not intervene. Hence the state would be justified in assisting with e.g. the provision of food only in the case of those unable to provide for themselves, and only for so long as they are unable to do so. Subsidiarity entails that there is a presumption against centralized governmental action, even if this presumption can be overridden where the end of a lower level institution cannot otherwise be achieved. Because the presumption can be overridden, the resulting position is not laissez faire. But because there is such a presumption, it is not socialist either.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the reply, Edward. This explanation of subsidiarity that you give fills in a 'missing piece' that was giving me some apprehension. What you're saying makes sense.

      But, is this notion of subsidiarity something that any stripe of integralist would assent to? You mention some variations of the integralist position in your post. Do each of those agree that subsidiarity should be a part?
      Do all integralists agree with that part of Catholic social teaching?

      Thanks again.

      Delete
    5. Santi, if my question looked ignorant the truth is it was because this is a topic I don't have that strong of an understanding on.
      I'm going to assume the 'handmaids' comment was in jest.

      Delete
    6. @alicia. Yes, I was joking. If Feser functioned as Polonius to the king, and the king was a good man and actually listened to him, it would probably not be so bad to live in such a realm. I wouldn't personally want to live in such a realm because I'm with Kant on the value of the Enlightenment--which is in part a liberation from paternal tutelage.

      Delete
    7. Alicia, subsidiarity is universally accepted among Catholic thinkers, as far as I have seen.

      Delete
    8. When the state provides food, is it donuts or arugula?

      In other words, 700,000 people die in the United States every year, not for lack of food, but for lack of eating properly. So how might subsidiarity be applied to a 21st century food problem: the food addiction industry?

      We evolved with food scarcity, but now the problem for communities lies with 24 hr. exposure to junk food pushers available at every corner--and the result is widespread succumbing of people to advertising nudged lives of misery, gluttony, ill health, expensive medical procedures, obesity, and premature death.

      Where does the buck stop in terms of responsibility for weight gain when scientific methods are applied by large corporations--both in the lab and through advertising--to keeping one's family exposed and addicted?

      What role should the state play in regulating the food industry and providing health care to those who are poor and awash in fast food advertising and industrial food production?

      And some live in foods deserts, where food, though available, is low in nutrition and high in addictive salts, animal fats, and sugars.

      And of course fast food and industrial food production is responsible for enormous amounts of environmental damage.

      Does a good Catholic state have any direct role in redirecting a community's exposure to the temptations of animal fats and gluttony, and of providing health care to the poor who have succumbed to avalanches of fast food exposure and become obese?

      Is a Catholic state responsible for pulling whole communities out of the river of fast food addiction once they have been collectively swept in?

      Or is the addressing of such issues by the state socialism?

      Delete
    9. Santi, it looks like most of those concerns you raise fall under subsidiarity.

      Delete
    10. Unknown:

      Do you mean by this that such matters--whether the poor eat fast food or not and whether the poor have medical insurance or not--are left to poor individuals and private charities to privately muddle through and figure out?

      Doesn't this translate into the state leaving large corporations unregulated and free to prey upon and nudge consumers--including the poor and uneducated--in any direction they want, and with the deployment of the most sophisticated and scientific tools for bringing about addiction, not paying for the consequent health care costs (diabetes costs, 700,000 premature deaths annually, etc.)?

      Delete
  34. @ErotemeObelus. As to how a medieval-based society would function, you asked: "why does technology change the equation?" I say: it has to do with the technology of control.

    Think Iran with surveillance cameras. Threats of hell function as one method of authoritarian emotional control. Cameras add a layer.

    There is a better way. It's called multiculturalism. And it's not hypothetical. There really is a place where multicultural tolerance, as an ideology, already reigns supreme.

    It's called Los Angeles County (10 million people). LA is polyglot, multiracial, and has a public "religion" of multiculturalism among its elected officials and public employees--and the city works pretty darn well.

    Philosophically, it doesn't matter whether LA is intellectually consistent down to the last dotted "i" or crossed "t," aligning itself with natural law and the One True God.

    Instead, the city manages pragmatically to keep the peace among diverse groups most of the time. People flourish in LA. They don't fight. And Feser lives there--as do I. Somehow we manage to share the county, despite our differences, without a hitch. Catholics can pursue eccentric Catholic projects, atheists eccentric atheist projects.

    Thomas Aquinas College, for example, is in Santa Paula, probably not more than an hour from Pasadena City College. My father, a practicing Catholic and member of the Knights of Columbus, often visits there.

    Surely Feser does not hate LA and does not regard Thomas Aquinas College as in any way being hindered in its intellectual and practical functioning because of where it's located--in the heart of a multicultural Babylon that is in the grip of a multicultural ideology. The future of Catholicism is no doubt glimpsed at Aquinas College--a religious school on the outskirts of a multicultural, metropolitan area.

    Why this "Benedict option" is a bad fate for a contemplative, intellectual religion like Catholicism is hard to grasp.

    And does Feser seriously think a city that includes 500,000 Jews would be better off with a civic recognition of Christianity in general--or Catholicism in particular? LA has more Jews than Tel Aviv--and nearly as many as Jerusalem.

    And LA County has (according to Gallup) about 460,000 LGBT residents. So about 10% of LA County consists of gays and Jews. And the largest Buddhist community outside of Asia is in California. 15% of California is Asian, by race--and many of those Asians are Angelinos.

    So LA is the human future. We are simply far too integrated via shared global environmental issues, the Internet, and commerce to seriously entertain a return to nationalist religions, closed borders, etc.

    So I'll take, any day, the shallows of pragmatism over Feser's (dubious and untestable) metaphysical consistencies.

    As to your comment on "superstitious Sub-Saharan Africa," what serious differences are there between the superstition of believing in ghosts and the superstition of believing in miracle working angels, devils, or deities? Is the legend of Our Lady of Fatima a product of superstitious belief?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To Santi---And God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

      Your reference to Babylon the Great--the Whore finally destroyed in the Second Coming.

      You praise Multiculturalist LA but God spews it out His mouth. Los Angeles is the Whore of Babylon.

      What does the Our Father state? Thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven. Is LA the product of God's will on earth---Or man's will?

      Sodom means Sodomy and "Gomorrah" is business in Hebrew. San Francisco is Sodom and New York is Gomorrah. We live in the Land of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is interesting that America has resurrected from the dead, the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the evil generations after Adam.

      We are NOT pleasing in the sight of God. You praise LA but God condemns it. All those things that God destroyed in Genesis---have been rebuilt in America.

      Maranatha.

      Delete
    2. If LA were really diverse, then one of two will happen.

      1. A religion with high birth rate (Orthodox Judaism) or high conversion rate (LDS) is going to predominate and displace it.

      2. Everyone is going to tolerate all religions because everyone is going to believe that all religions are equally false. And that's a form of religious homogeneity too: communism.

      So either way you're going to end up with a homogeneous state.

      Multiculturalism is a con. Communists like you know people are not going to accept communism so you're basically trying to con them into being one.

      Delete
    3. @ErotemeObelus:

      Your theory that diversity is unstable and invariably drifts to segregation and monoculture strikes me as too cynical.

      I don't deny that racial communities frequently self segregate within a city, but I think it is dubious to suggest that religious diversity in LA is in danger.

      LA is a concentrated reminder that no group currently on the planet is ever going away. Muslims will be with us always; as will gays, Jews, and Russians; as will Catholic Mexicans and Filipinos. And it's not a problem. We've all simply got to figure out a way to live in environmental peace with one another--and I think we will do that.

      Hair peace. Eco-peace. Green peace. Give John Lennon a chance. 10 billion people will be on the planet in 2050, and the education of girls will be central to keeping a lid on global fertility after that. 90% of all humans at the end of the 21st century will live in cities. I assume the hot political issue by then will be hybridity rights. (Cyborg peace. Centaur peace.)

      Surely the civic religion in virtually every global city in 2100 will be multiculturalism. It will of course be socially unacceptable everywhere for one religion to dominate the others. What could possibly be desirable about it? LA, London, and New York all testify to how large cities naturally evolve toward keeping the peace with a multicultural civic veneer.

      Trade peace. Religion peace. Food peace. The evangelicals can lay down with the Buddhists, and the mountain lions can lay down with the deer--or at least cross the freeways in peace to catch the deer. (LA may soon be in the process of building a mountain lion freeway overpass to help them maintain their genetic diversity.)

      Just this weekend I went to an outdoor food festival held outside a large Buddhist temple off the Hollywood Fwy.

      And I've lived off and on in LA County most of my life. The diversity waters are fine. I live in a mixed race neighborhood (blacks next door to Asians across the street; Hispanic families next door to my family on both sides, etc.). No problemo. Dystopia not.

      And an atheist living in a mixed race neighborhood is, in a small way, doing a bit of the work of the Lord, is he not? Surely Jesus was neither a racist nor a nationalist, so I forgive him for being a monotheist. Two out of three ain't bad.

      My kids are growing up with mixed race friendships and call me "padre" all the time. Down the street from us is an Italian American married to a Korean American.

      Isn't this the sort of amity that humanity has striven for for millennia, and isn't it consistent with the gospels?

      Delete
    4. @Lindsay. You wrote: "Los Angeles is the Whore of Babylon." Okay, but tell me what you really think. : )

      Delete
    5. @Santi Tafarella You have religious diversity because you have only the illusion of religious diversity.

      A dominant number of people in LA (99%) believe that all religion is wrong. The residue (1%) are the people you're groaning about. 99% of the population are atheists or are not assimilated yet.

      Religious diversity in LA is in no danger because religious diversity in LA does not exist. 99% of LA are either atheists or are too foreign to reach self-awareness yet.

      And cut the fat from your future comments. Did you think I bothered to read all of that fat? I don't need no stinkin' Shlubb and Klump English here!

      Delete
    6. @Eroteme:

      LA is a Dream Space. People have eccentric dreams in LA, and they express them openly. So you're factually wrong, and the religious diversity is real. The Buddhist temple off the Hollywood Fwy is larded with safron robed monks and bowing, incense lighting Asian devotee mothers and grandmothers. LA has all sorts of famous mega-church Protestant pastors (John MacArthur in the San Fernando Valley, David Hocking, etc.). People are able to be themselves in LA--and the civic ideology (multiculturalism) of city officials, because it is so obviously innocuous, keeps things rolling along smoothly. Nobody looks to lord it over the others, forcing conscience. There are a few collective taboos (no open expressions of racism, for example), but very few feel like they have to closet themselves. And trading goods and services is something everybody can share in day to day.

      Okay, I'll shut up now. You're right that my comments are too long. Sorry. I'll probably exit these threads soon, in any event. I came here out of curiosity and an update, not to hang around for an extended visit.

      Delete
    7. The Buddhist temple off the Hollywood Fwy is larded with safron robed monks and bowing, incense lighting Asian devotee mothers and grandmothers.

      None of those people reached self-awareness and most probably never will.

      LA has all sorts of famous mega-church Protestant pastors (John MacArthur in the San Fernando Valley, David Hocking, etc.)

      And they are ANGRY.

      Okay, I'll shut up now.

      I didn't command you to shut up. I commanded you to cut the fat out of your comments. If you are completely and utterly incapable of producing fat-free comments only then should you shut up.

      Delete
    8. Santi's comments are pure lard. That's the point. This is why he should be ignored and not fed.

      Delete
    9. ErotemeObelus:

      Oh. You were setting me up for a punchline. What lessons 21st century Catholics might sensibly take from the Holocaust, Franco, the 1930s and 1940s generally, Vichy etc. isn't a serious question for you. Got it.

      Delete
  35. The Three Sentences are a very brief summary of Catholic integralism, but the full and precise nature and import of the doctrine must be more fully drawn out at greater length for it to be grasped properly. I'd recommend reading through the Table of Contents and perusing the primary sources found in the Library there. Some recommended starting points:

    https://thejosias.com/2015/02/03/the-good-the-highest-good-and-the-common-good/

    https://thejosias.com/2016/03/03/integralism-and-gelasian-dyarchy/

    For a full detailed and systematic account of integralism and the relations of Church and State, I would particularly recommend Cardinal Ottaviani's Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici (3r ed., 1947), especially vol. II which is devoted specifically to Church and State. (Vol. 1, however, is also very important, as it is a detailed juridical exposition of general principles, i.e. the nature of the societas perfecta, how the Church is such, and what are her power and authority qua a divinely established societas perfecta.)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Santi, no philosophy course has harmed me. In fact, I suggest that students take courses about societies and cultures besides their own.

    Consider the way some American progressive leftists almost impulsively accuse many conservatives of Islamophobia when the accusers know nothing about Islam. The accusers need to remember that to deal properly with Islamic terrorism, people need to know how the terrorists think.

    During a lecture I watched on YouTube, an ex-Jihadi scholar explained what he thought people should have done about the Charlie Hebdo event. Don't threaten the terrorists with death, since they would love to die for their cause. Instead, tell them that if they continue to misbehave, they'll see other offensive cartoons. Why? Because to deter those people, you need to cause them emotional pain.

    I'm still looking for the video. Meanwhile, this one should help.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0WwEhjAoRg

    Again, I'm happy to let students learn about other societies and about other cultures. What I reject is the idea that politically motivated schools and politically motivated professors should force students to take politically correct courses intended to indoctrinate those students. If multiculturalism is a tool to convince students that all societies are equally good, I reject it.

    I would abolish, say, African American studies, women's studies and gay studies because I think they're meant to be overtly political disciplines designed to spread ideology.

    Since you might think I'm an ideologue, let me explain why I'm studying homosexuality, its causes, and reintegrative therapy. I'm doing that partly because I want to be a reintegrative therapist who'll treat clients who feel unwanted same-sex attractions. Pro-gay activists telecast misinformation about that therapy calling it "conversion therapy." They assure the world that people with unwanted SSA commit suicide because they live in a homophobic society. That's why those reporters need to know that many of those people kill themselves because others convince them that change is impossible.

    Here's a way to indoctrinate people in schools and outside them.

    http://library.gayhomeland.org/0018/EN/EN_Overhauling_Straight.htm

    Truth should trump ideology trumps it instead. So I want everyone to ask how good is any discipline when people die needlessly because of it.

    Schools and teachers should teach truth, not political ideology.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Sorry about the typo. I meant to say that though truth should trump ideology, ideology sometimes trumps it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. @Unknown.

    You wrote: "What I reject is the idea that politically motivated schools and politically motivated professors should force students to take politically correct courses...."

    I'm with you on that--but only to a point. Obviously the best professors teach you not what to think, but how to think. But when I reflect on my own education, and my two decades of college teaching experience, professors with opinions have tended to function as foils for thought. I recall quite vividly a Marxist political science professor I had in my teens. He was passionate, and he stoked my curiosity and reading. I still have one of his assigned books--a short biography of Marx. I also recall a sociology professor assigning The Jungle by Upton Sinclair--and an English professor who dazzled my imagination by assigning Voltaire's Candide to a course. These are politically and religiously loaded books, obviously.

    I also recall a former Catholic priest who smoked cigarettes in his office. I used to sit in there and talk to him while he smoked. He was the first person I recall who tried to teach me a thing or two about Aristotle and Thomism--and he obviously still believed in his priestly training, and shared bits of it with me.

    I also recall an atheist who taught a New Testament as literature course that I took, and a very conservative economics professor. I also recall an English professor who hated the poets Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost, much preferring William Carlos Williams and (to my bewilderment) the fascist Ezra Pound. I've always found Pound mostly unendurable, myself. The professor didn't change my mind about the merits of this poet.

    So I just don't think young adults need to be shielded from opinions or passions--even as I also believe that professors generally need to check themselves and engage in a balancing act, being judicious and alert to objections.

    But I'd also suggest that there is at least some civic formation role for 21st century educators, teaching critical thinking as a virtue, modelling intellectual dialogue, non-racism, non-sexism, and sustainable environmental practices, for instance. I also think that liberal democracy is a civic virtue, and that the college curriculum should be supporting its Constitutional foundations--though this obviously runs counter to Feser's position.

    You also wrote, "If multiculturalism is a tool to convince students that all societies are equally good, I reject it."

    I agree with you on this as well. I see multiculturalism as a tool for simply keeping the peace and communicating respect: "I'm willing to walk in your shoes, and empathize with and sympathetically imagine why you prefer x to y, though I don't wholly understand, and might you explain, etc." I also think of multiculturalism as human recognition. If I'm standing in front of a California classroom that is mostly Hispanic, Asian, and black, the majority of whom might be female, it would seem peculiar to me to never assign female or nonwhite authors.

    You also write: "I would abolish, say, African American studies, women's studies and gay studies because I think they're meant to be overtly political disciplines designed to spread ideology." Here I disagree with you. Everything is grist for the mill. One can learn to read and think critically via all sorts of subjects. There is so much of life and interest and relevance in these subjects. They shouldn't crowd out the rest of the curriculum--and they don't. At my college, I have an African American colleague who teaches the singular African American literature course that we offer--but that's just one course out of many, many English courses on offer each semester. We could do with more sections of it, frankly.

    ReplyDelete
  39. What is the point of this talk of Integralism, when the Catholic Church is fully converged with Marxism?

    If one is going to talk of Integralism, Should not the Catholic Church have its act together?

    Right now, Michael Vorris over there at Church Militant for over two years now have been hammering, what he calls, the HomoHeresy in the Church as a whole. A vast majority of priests and probably a third of Bishops are Homosexual and there are a lot of fellow travellers. And their presence is destroying the Faith. What is being done about it?

    Isn't all this talk about Integralism putting the cart before the Horse? The Horse is true orthodox Catholic Faith free from error, teaching the WHOLE of God's Word.

    We have the homoheresy, what about the Soft Genocide of race-mixing that the Catholic Church IS promoting, advocating and pushing?

    i.e., “Because the human race today is joining more and more into a civic, economic and social unity, it is that much the more necessary that priests, by combined effort and aid, under the leadership of the bishops and the Supreme Pontiff, wipe out every kind of separateness, so that the whole human race may be brought into the unity of the family of God.” Ch. III, #28.

    That is a Vatican II document that is engaged in race-mixing---i.e. Soft Genocide.

    In order to have Integralism---ONE MUST HAVE THE MORAL AUTHORITY to engage in it.

    And what I'm saying right now---Is that the Church as a whole---HAS ABSOLUTELY NO MORAL AUTHORITY right now!

    Even Michael Vorris has come out and stated that the Catholic Church in regards to the Sex abuse scandal within the Church that the Church is a Criminal Organization.

    The Biggest crime right now---is the Soft Genocide that the Church is engaged in Right now! Intregralism means one has the Moral Authority----and the Presence of Leadership to enact. The Sheep won't follow corrupt and genocidal shepherds! The Shepherds of the Church have turned into Judas goats.

    And where is this on anybody's radar? Intregalism presupposes Moral Authority---and Setting the Example which is a plank of Leadership.

    The Church as a whole has NONE of that!!!!

    The Church is infected with Political Correctness, Cultural Marxism, Enlightenment gobbledygook, Kabbala nonsense, and a raging infestation of effeminacy.

    St. Paul in Corinthians sets out "... effeminates shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    The Church is incapable of teaching and preaching Virtue, with the first virtue Manliness. If the Church was doing its job--there would not be any effeminates in the Church.

    This talk of Integralism is a moot point. You do not have the Moral Authority, nor the Righteous Leadership to show that you are capable of leading any body politic. And without the Virtue of Righteousness---which has the Moral Order ensconced within it--and the Church is totally ignorant of---shows that it can not righteously implement Integralism.

    It is funny that not a single Catholic is ready to engage in the fact that the Catholic Church is engaged in Genocide. Soft Genocide includes within it the Act of Treason! That all of these credentialed Catholics and bishops with philosophy and theological and Moral degrees--can't see the Treason going on right now by them and others within the Catholic Faith---no Catholic has the Moral Authority to do or say anything.

    Blasphemy and Treason are the hightest crimes within Mankind. And yet---our religious leaders, our Catholic leaders are engaging in Acts of Treason. How then can any one of them talk of Integralism? If you can NOT protect the racial cohesion of a Nation, of racial solidarity, how can you speak of Integralism?

    All things are constructed with a duality. Truth requires a Fact with Context. A duality. Integralism requires as a basis of action, Moral Authority and Setting the Example. With the homoheresy and the Cultural Marxism, The Catholic Church has Zero Moral Authority and with its politicians Not setting the example of righteous leadership, the Church shows itself Incompetent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Truth of Integralism begins with every Catholic politician now!

      Joe Biden, Roman Catholic, is for gay marriage and just recently said he'd overturn the Hyde Amendment.

      All of these Catholic talk of Integralism, but Joe Biden undercuts your arguments of validation! Joe Biden is required by Faith---to live The Faith. Biden shows his treason. Intregalism begins with Joe Biden and his values show the fallacy of Integralism as of now.

      Moreover, Joe Biden, Roman Catholic, came to his anti-Hyde viewpoint after being confronted by an Actress---An Actress. So Biden changes his mind when he is confronted by an actress---Biden showing is effeminancy---but does any Roman Catholic Bishop confront Biden?

      Who is taking counsel from who?

      Nancy Pelosi is in the same boat as Biden. How many Catholic politicians are for gay marriage, abortion, Open borders?

      Judge Kavaungh, "Mr. Roman Catholic" jurist just recently put on the Supreme Court. ---What does "Mr. Roman Catholic" Kavaungh do when he gets there?

      Hires NOTHING BUT FEMALE LAW CLERKS.

      In 1854? 59?, the US Supreme Court ruled that women MAY NOT BE LAWYERS!!!

      That is the Conservative position! What is happening now? "Conservatives" adopting Liberal policies!

      Not only does Judge Roman Catholic Kavaungh hire women law clerks---he is PANDERING to the Marxist/liberal press and power centers of America!!

      The Fallacy of Catholic Integralism is exhibited in all these and many other actions!

      Judge "Mr. Roman Catholic" Kavaungh shows himself a Gnostic---one who dismisses particularity! Who is engaged in undermining the Natural Order; who is miso-sophrusyne.

      And then this brings me the Kennedy Brothers and the 1965 Immigration Act.

      John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy ALL involved themselves heavily in pushing and sanctioning the 1965 Immigration Act which was about overturning the 1925 Nationalities Act.

      Catholics talk of the "Common Good". Which one was towards the Common Good? the 1925 Nationalities Act or the 1965 Immigration Act?

      Prof. Kevin MacDonald's paper: Jewish Involvement in Shaping American
      Immigration Policy 1881-1965: A Historical Review


      Who were the Kennedys, these Roman Catholics, working for?

      The fallacy today that Catholics can push for Integralism is shown above. You have absolutely NO grounds, no legitimacy to push for Integralism for Catholic politicians can NOT uphold the Faith, nor the Natural Law, or the Natural Order of things.

      The 1965 Immigration Act was a law of Genocide and Treason which was about turning America into the Tower of Babel. The 1965 Immigration Act has been a disaster for America. It is Genocide by ethnic dilution---and Roman Catholics, especially Ted Kennedy, was at the forefront of pushing!

      You have lost all aspects of legitimacy and authority. We have to own that. And today, there is NOT one single bishop that recognizes what the 1965 Immigration Act entails---and you want to talk about Intregalism?

      That a Church and its members engage in genocide? What does that tell you?

      Delete
  40. Again, there's the elephant in the room: "Integralists" widely and strongly supported the Vichy regime during WWII, Francoist Spain, and other right-wing authoritarian regimes of the 20th Century, and has a rather dubious record when something resembling it came to pass (e.g. Magdalene laundries in Ireland). "But that doesn't prove integralism false!" some of you will say. That is true strictly speaking, but it is indicative of how integralists think, I will claim, and nothing more than practical realization of their philosophy, which I hold as abhorrent both intellectually and morally. They don't really give a fig about the rights of man, as long as the rights of the Church are upheld.


    Let's interpret the opening quote
    "Catholic Integralism is a tradition of thought that rejects the liberal separation of politics from concern with the end of human life, holding that political rule must order man to his final goal. Since, however, man has both a temporal and an eternal end, integralism holds that there are two powers that rule him: a temporal power and a spiritual power. And since man’s temporal end is subordinated to his eternal end the temporal power must be subordinated to the spiritual power." in the way that Dr. Feser wants to, in which case he affirms the definition is valid.

    All this assumes that:
    1) Man's final end is and can only be obtained by means of a "power" that "rules him".
    2) Man's final end is distinguished, not merely notionally or conceptually between "temporal" and "eternal" (or "natural and "supernatural" if you prefer), but really and ontologically.
    3) Political power isn't something that exists inside of man, but really and ontologically outside of him.
    4) Political power is precisely that power (as distinguished from other types of power such as CEO) that must lead him to his final temporal goal.
    5) The relation between God and His creation is fundamentally one of authority/obedience, of domination/submission.
    6) Therefore, it is fundamentally a good thing to impose an "integralist" civil government even upon a populace that doesn't want it.


    Diametrically opposed to this is the vision where the civil government should promote peace and a certain level of material well-being as far as possible so that people can achieve their ends on their own. Citing the natural law against this only begs the question as to exactly what the purpose of civil government should be under the natural law, which is the very question at issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vince S, I suggest you read the comments above and at the previous post about conservatism that Dr. Feser links to in the OP above.

      You claim that authoritarianism is right-wing, did you know that Fredrick Engels, co-founder of International Socialism, i.e. Communism, said, "When Fredrick Engels claimed that “Revolution is the most authoritarian thing there is”!

      Are not all Left wing governments authoritarian? Soviet Union, Communist China, Communist Cuba. ---ohhhh--look-see---Communist Venezuela!

      The word "authoritarian" comes from the Latin word 'auctoritas' which was coined in the Roman Republic! Authority was how almost all classical societies were based on.

      Vince, I see that you hold Enlightenment views. Most of the writers of the Enlightenment were atheists. If you are a Catholic--does one learn from Atheists about what The Good is?

      You complain about Authority, but The Good is intrinsically authority--if it is The Good, we must obey its dictates, Right?

      Proof is in the pudding. All the governments based on the Enlightenment have failed. The American civil war of 1860, showed that America is a failed state. America is a failed state.

      So what proof do you have that your Enlightenment ideology is any good?

      Delete
    2. Vince, I see that you hold Enlightenment views. Most of the writers of the Enlightenment were atheists. If you are a Catholic--does one learn from Atheists about what The Good is?

      Are you absolutely 100% sure that no great thinker in Ancient Greece or Persia believed in human rights or relaxation of authority? It's been proffered around here that atheists of the Enlightenment invented human rights...except for the fact that King Cyrus the Great declared human rights thousands of years before the Enlightenment.

      The word "authoritarian" comes from the Latin word 'auctoritas' which was coined in the Roman Republic! Authority was how almost all classical societies were based on.

      The type of people most refer to as "authoritarians" are just as rebellious as psychopaths. Look at people with strong authoritarian views in the United States (as measured by e.g. F-scale). Almost none believe in global warming (rejecting the legitimate authority of scientists). Almost none believe in the Catholic Church (rejecting the legitimate authority of God). Almost none believed in giving democratic institutions of government the respect and obedience they deserved (rejecting the divinely sanctioned authority of the state). Almost all believe in tax protestation (rejecting the Word of God on Romans 13:6-7).

      How is any of that consistent with strongly valuing and loving authority? Absolutely none of those behaviors are authoritarian in any sense of the word. Therefore these "right-wing authoritarians" are just rebellious and reckless as the psychopaths in Sub-Saharan Africa or the MS13 cartel in Mexico.

      Delete
    3. 6) Therefore, it is fundamentally a good thing to impose an "integralist" civil government even upon a populace that doesn't want it.

      Vince S, I am not aware of any integralist that holds this thesis, nor any that would affirm that it follows from their principles. Neither hard or soft integralism insists on forcibly imposing an integralist civil government on a polity that will have none of it. The principles speak to what kind of government is best in the ideal, and do not comprehensively address what alternative kind of government is, in adverse circumstances, second-best, or acceptable, or tolerable for a time. But this is true also of those who promote democracies, or other forms as ideal - they don't also propose that these forms should be imposed by force even in cases where this would mean civil war and/or national annihilation due to a resistant populace.

      Delete
    4. ErotemeObelus. Your post above is incoherent. All of this "Climate Change" is based on models--computer modeling. How is Computer modeling of future weather Science? That is laughable.

      "...giving democratic institutions...respect..."

      Plato and Aristotle both defined democracy as the Worst form of government. It is one of the bad forms. Why should I follow garbage? Athens under democracy suffered many times the Kyklos--but you are so learned ErotemeObelus--that you understand what the Kyklos is? Democracy always, always ends in tyranny. Democracy is anti-Natural Law and is inherently Nihilistic. Why would any wise man adhere to democracy?

      Democracy is the Rule of the vulgar class--the idiot class. Why would anybody with any smarts follow the idiots and the base.

      "Right" was coined for the Monarchists. Right is Monarchy. God is THE Monarch. In the "Our Father" we pray, "Thy kingdom come"..."Not democracy come". And what is God? Authoritarian. So by your analysis God is a rebellious, reckless and psychopathic.

      You know ErotemeObelus, your brilliant. God is so dumb--that He is a Monarch and He has Kingdom. You have proven yourself Unfit for the Kingdom to come.

      Delete
    5. Astronomical objects were discovered by computer modeling of kinematics. So "oh, it came from computer models!" doesn't mean it's poppycock. And climate is an emergency from weather, so even if weather can't be predicted climate can.

      [Democracy is for idiots]

      Emergence. Almost all persons might be stupid but people can be intelligent. Free markets are very intelligent at making decisions even though most of the participants are morons. Individual ants are so mindless they can be trapped in an endless circuit until they die of exhaustion but ant colonies have swarm intelligence.

      Emergencies are the result of emergence. Something breaks in your body and from that failure emerges systems, which is why doctors say "this is a medical emergency!"

      Aquinas points out the strengths and weaknesses of a democracy. Aquinas argued that democracies are often slow, reach gridlock, and fail to effect change... but they have more inertia than autocracy or oligarchy. So democracy is the most conservative form of government. A democracy--not the United States which Aquinas would call an oligarchy and thus speedily effects change one hundred times faster than a democracy could--would give you the most heritage-preserving form of government.

      Lastly, democracy is the form of government most consistent with subsidiarity. Autocracy and oligarchy contradict subsidiarity by overly-centralizing the decision-making process.

      I'm sorry, but I have gaps in my knowledge. And I never claimed to be a wise and learned person.

      And I didn't say all authorities are psychopathic. I said that the people who are labeled as "authoritarians" don't believe in authority but autocracy. Reread my post again.

      Here is an authority. You bring Cicero to your Latin classroom and hear what he says on what makes a good sentence. You cannot argue with Cicero, because he is an authority. Your Latin teacher may or may not be an authority, but she's the autocrat and you have no choice.

      God is the last and ultimate sovereign authority. "Monarch" is being used symbolically to mean "sovereign authority."

      You have proven yourself Unfit for the Kingdom to come.

      I can't argue with you there. Among sinners I am their chief. I rely on the intercession of Holy St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Holy St. Edith Stein every day.

      Delete
    6. Here's what I mean by Cicero versus Mrs. Harpy.

      Cicero doesn't need to enforce his authority on the Latin language. He's Cicero. His spirit and his knowledge are suffice for him to manage everything there is to know about Latin. He doesn't need to touch you by punishing you in order to uphold his authority. Mrs. Harpy, on the other hand, will find that unless she touches you, her class will not be held together. She is no authority, but she is a blueblood (because she was established as the ruler and judge by convention not reason or authority).

      Delete
    7. computer models go by what you put into them. Planets are more or less predictable by Newton's equations. weather has lots more variables. Also because they go by not actually solving the equations but by a method where you brake up the equations into things called Taylor expansions--so they can miss infinities.

      Delete
    8. Vince S wrote: "Diametrically opposed to this [integralism] is the vision where the civil government should promote peace and a certain level of material well-being as far as possible so that people can achieve their ends on their own."

      Yes, yes yes. It's already here! That's Los Angeles!

      LA is the planet in microcosm. So in contrast with how Los Angeles County looks and feels today--a jumble of variant humans freely pursuing eccentric ends and forms of association under the gentle civic religion of the elected officials, which we might call "the religion of multicultural deference and respect"--I keep asking myself how Feser et. al. would imagine Los Angeles County under integralist rule.

      Delete
  41. It is an ad hominem to say "integralists supported X, therefore integralism is wrong." Does integralism teach that some abhorrent law be passed, or is this just something a faction of integralists in some failing state believed?

    But the problem is that it appears that the history of philosophy here is wanting. The idea that "human rights are a brain child of Kant, Locke, and Rousseau (or whomever)" is not correct. King Cyrus the Great independently came up with the concept of human rights thousands of years before the modern era. The thesis that nobody believed human rights existed prior to the Modern Era...is doubtful.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Ayn Rand thought the Catholic Church was going in a kind of communist sort of direction. I was very happy when I saw things change under the previous pope. But now I think events show Ayn Rand was right about the general direction. However the fact that people like Feser show interest in Aristotle and Aquinas and in reviving that basis is again encouraging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Avraham:

      Do you regard liberal democracy as "a kind of communist sort of direction"? Is Los Angeles, for instance, as a city governed under the rubric of the civic religion of multiculturalism, abhorrent to you--and how would Los Angeles look different under integralist rule?

      Delete
    2. Is Los Angeles, for instance, as a city governed under the rubric of the civic religion of multiculturalism

      When you call multiculturalism a "religion," that implies an expectation of salvation. What kind of salvation are you hoping for?

      Delete
    3. @SantiTafarella I'd rather have Ayn Rand's spirit guiding the laws than Obama, Warren, or AOC. :)

      Delete
  43. Los Angeles looked better to me when church and state were a part of society. Even as a Jew i felt more comfortable with Merry Christmas and preforming Christian themes in the orchestra in high school than after radial division of church and state took place. Los Angeles seems to have gone drastically down hill since then.

    I believe Ayn Rand would have been the first to agree with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Avraham:

      Church and state are both "part of society." They function in all sorts of ways. They are just not wed to one another.

      So my perception of LA is different from yours, clearly. LA has improved over the years by many, many objective measures.

      And is this all that conservative Thomists and Orthodox Jews want from a place like Los Angeles, a bit of innocuous civil religion in the public schools?

      And Ayn Rand was an atheist, and so I wonder if she would agree with you. I'm pretty sure she would cut off public schools root and branch as having no legitimate part of the state.

      Delete
  44. “On another view, Vatican II did not reverse past teaching, but merely made a prudential judgment to the effect that, though the Church retains the right in principle to be favored by the state, it is no longer fitting for her to exercise this right. Furthermore, on this interpretation, Vatican II’s reference to an individual right to religious liberty can be interpreted in a way consistent with the Church being favored by the state. Call this the “hermeneutics of continuity” interpretation.”

    Dr. Feser – I am surprised that you call this view “the hermeneutics of continuity.” It seems misleading to me because that term is attached to the doctrinal position of Benedict XVI, as expressed in his 2005 Christmas greetings. However, in the relations of Church and State, he held that Vatican II had returned to the gospel; that the indirect subordination of the State to the Church was the product of special historical circumstances, but not the ideal. The ideal is to afford everyone “an autonomous social space,” since the State is, in principle, incompetent in matters of religion, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The ideal is to afford everyone 'an autonomous social space,' since the State is, in principle, incompetent in matters of religion, etc.".

      Yes, and isn't that already Los Angeles?

      Delete
  45. Eroteme:

    I'm speaking loosely when I use the word religion here. Would ideology, "pragmatic method," or implicit worldview be better? I think most civic leaders in LA lack fundamentalist or Orthodox passions. They're secular lawyers, they're pragmatists, they have private political ambitions, etc. They look out at the landscape and can see that there is no majority consensus on religion in California, and so they look for some sort of way to offer deference and respect to various constituencies. That translates into a weak tea multiculturalism. In some ways, one might argue that LA is a very conservative place to live because one is never at risk of a sweeping, consensus movement toward one worldview over another. Everybody keeps the other in check. Each community has to make its own mini-community within the community, if they want something more. Nobody has the expectation that their views will overtake the whole community. That's why I ask, How does LA look different under Thomism? Why isn't the basic arrangement already in keeping with the Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks Mr. Stork for discussing this. It would have been good if you'd responded to the distinction I mentioned, which St. Thomas clearly makes:

    "The children of unbelievers either have the use of reason or they have not. If they have, then they already begin to control their own actions, in things that are of Divine or natural law. And therefore of their own accord, and against the will of their parents, they can receive Baptism, just as they can contract marriage. Consequently such can lawfully be advised and persuaded to be baptized.
    If, however, they have not yet the use of free-will, according to the natural law they are under the care of their parents as long as they cannot look after themselves... Wherefore it would be contrary to natural justice if such children were baptized against their parents' will; just as it would be if one having the use of reason were baptized against his will...


    Man is ordained unto God through his reason, by which he can know God. Wherefore a child, before it has the use of reason, is ordained to God, by a natural order, through the reason of its parents, under whose care it naturally lies, and it is according to their ordering that things pertaining to God are to be done in respect of the child."

    You wrote: "But individual non-Catholics would be left free to raise their children in error, and meet privately with other non-Catholics for worship."

    None of this follows from what St. Thomas asserts in the Summa, where he is emphatically not establishing a right based on natural law to hold error or to bring up children in error, but simply the acknowledgement that Baptism cannot be imposed against human will.

    Far from establishing a right to private worship based on human nature, St. Thomas writes here that, as soon as children have attained the use of reason, they may be persuaded and baptised against the will of their parents - under who tutelage they may still be. St. Thomas does not deal in any shape or form with any positive action based on human nature of holding error here, only the fact that confessing God and receiving baptism before the age of reason is done through the parents, by natural law, and therefore cannot be presumed of infants whose parents are unbelievers. Nothing more than this is asserted by St. Thomas.


    Indeed, we will have to look somewhere very far indeed from St. Thomas for a justification based on human nature for any right to profess error.

    ReplyDelete
  47. In a democracy, how is it realistically possible to separate our religious values from anything? When people vote, no one can force a person to not use their values in their selections.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Dr. Feser,

    I have to thank you for your clarification on this. Seeing some Catholics arguing for this particular theory , I was beginning to despair. Many people arguing to bring integralism to fruition seem to be arguing a very extreme integralism where burning heretics would be imposed, thought police would be rampant (not stated outright in many places, but must be assumed based on the policies), and protestants and other religions would be smashed under a boot. I think we have to be very careful in advocating for any type of integralism because there are some very zealous traditionalists that are all for letting the good times of the inquisition roll. CS Lewis talks about how he would never want to live under a theocracy, because where an atheist would have some type of remorse for torturing and imprisoning others, a theocrat would be far too zealous to ever allow remorse to enter their thoughts. After all, they'd be murdering and torturing for Jesus Christ, the ends justify the means. There's a lot here to swallow with regards to integralism. I'm not sure I could adhere to it unless I knew with 100% certainty that this is an infallible teaching of the Church. I favor an anarcho-capitalist society, or at least a libertarian society of minimal government (I'm aware many believe these to be irreconcilable, but the arguments don't seem to prove enough to be conclusive to me) as opposed to a massive government that would be necessary to implement integralism. I am all for Church authority coercing me to do certain things that fall within their jurisdiction, but I can't say the same about the state. Lots to think about and unpack here. I will say that we have never been able to keep a government in check that sets out to be intrusive such as what integralism calls for. I think it could work well in the short-term but would be disastrous in the long-term.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Another important question: when Caesar forgets God, will Caesar almost always fill the void, ie, become an integralist secular state?
    I think a fair reading of the Pian magisterium and Leo XIII, and recent experience in the West, especially, in the USA, says yes.

    ReplyDelete