Monday, April 18, 2022

Tales from the Coffin

In my recent post criticizing Benevacantism, I deliberately avoided naming specific individuals, in the hope of preventing the debate from degenerating into a clash of personalities.  I also said: “I make no judgment here about the culpability of those drawn to this error, many of whom are well-meaning people understandably troubled by the state of the Church and the world.”  Unfortunately, not everyone is keen on keeping the discussion civil or focused on arguments and evidence.

Patrick Coffin, the longtime Catholic apologist, has in recent months been promoting Benevacantism.  I’ve known Patrick for years and have counted him a friend.  He has kindly had me on his show a few times.  Despite all that, he has decided to take the low road in responding to my arguments.  After Catholic World Report reprinted my article, he posted the following remark on Twitter:

Evidence-aphobia. @IgnatiusPress which runs @cworldreport, also owns the rights to Benedict/Ratzinger's English translations (which are great, btw). Must. Protect. The ca$h cow.

End quote.  When I objected to this unjust, uncharitable, and utterly gratuitous resort to the fallacy of Appeal to Motive, Patrick doubled down:

Calm down, Ed. It's not mysterious but *obvious* that you'd want to defend those who publish your books (which are excellent, btw), & understandable that they'd want to repost your criticism. Boy howdy, does pointing out financial conflicts of interest get people mad.

End quote.  So, in Patrick’s view, sincere disagreement with the arguments for Benevacantism and grave concerns about its schismatic implications are not enough to explain why I and the people at CWR are opposed to it.  It must, deep down, really be about money.  And if I object to such an accusation, it can’t be because I regard the accusation as grossly unfair.  It must be because he’s struck a nerve.

Needless to say, this is unhinged, and reminiscent of that other Catholic apologist to have gone off the rails, Mark Shea.  I pointed this out to Patrick, who responded:

Taking refuge in insults and condescension when you run out of arguments is sad from a professional philosopher. I'm glad you haven't gone ad hominem or anything. I'll let readers decide what's what and where the fallacies lie. Peace.

End quote.  Thus did this exchange lead us at last to Bizarro world, where to object to a condescending, insulting ad hominem attack itself somehow amounts to a condescending, insulting ad hominem attack against the guilty party.

I note also that, though in some of his Twitter comments on my article, Patrick once again calls his readers’ attention to the considerations that he thinks support Benevacantism, he has not responded to the specific objections I raised in the article.

All of this pretty much speaks for itself.  I will simply emphasize that if the arguments for Benevacantism are as strong as Patrick supposes, he should be able to defend them without gratuitously insulting a friend who has approached the issue in a civil manner.

76 comments:

  1. This is very simple. The Church Teaches Pope Francis is Pope. I believe everything the Church teaches. Therefore I believe Pope Francis is Pope.

    A lot of people, imo, like to qualify the second leg of the syllogism to read "I believe everything the Church teaches as long as I can independently verify it". My ability to verify it does not have any bearing on whether what the Church teaches is true. It is an act of Obedience to the Church.

    Anyone who professes Benevacantism has to explain which part of the syllogism is not true, or why they know better than the Church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Catholic Church teaches that the Catholic Church can err. The Church only teaches infallibly under certain conditions. Antipopes have existed before, whose legitimacy was evidently endorsed by large sectors of "the Church," including the episcopacy.

      That said, Benevacantism is stupid, and knowably stupid on its merits.

      Delete
    2. @ Don Fanucci,

      " [...] the Catholic Church can err"

      OK, but an election is not a teaching, nor is choosing an endorsement of the choice (sometimes you have to choose between bad choices). "The Church" can err in this choice by choosing a pope who turns out to be bad, but that is irrelevant to benevacantism, which is wrong in its own right.

      So you are right, benevacantism is wrong (and stupid). Ha ha.

      Tom Cohoe

      Delete
    3. In the past Saints have been on the opposite sides of debates over who the real pope was. What makes this church teaching? Where is such a church teaching saying who is pope in 2022?

      Delete
    4. No one is a saint before death so how could you know which "side" a saint is on?

      Tom Cohoe

      Delete
  2. The biggest mistake of internationalism was the failure of the Geneva Convention to ban "psychologizing your intelocutor" as a war crime.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't argue on Twitter. It makes people go nuts. I've seen it happen even to people who I thought had their heads screwed on very tightly.

    Avoid. Down that way madness, stupidity and ruined friendships lie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fifth circle of hell indeed.

      Delete
    2. I've had civil discussions on Twitter, but you have to carefully watch your own conduct to maintain it. And I'm certainly not perfect in that regard.

      Delete
    3. Also, I find maintaining a comic tone with comments more profitable. Twitter can be excellent for jokes.

      Delete
  4. I followed Coffer on GAB till he got into this nonsense. I think Church Militant has bagged on this nonsense as well. Benedict is no longer the Pope. He resigned he has the honorary title of Pope Emeritus. That is it. Unless Francis dies (God forbid) or resigns himself and somebody elects Benedict again HE WILL NOT BE POPE.

    Accept it. Pray for Francis and Pray to St. Peter for Pope Francis and have a little faith and Trust in God.

    It is nor hard people.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Having seen this go down on Twitter, (I'm @VirtueApplied, btw), it appears that he seems to think that, since he made arguments for Benevacantism elsewhere on Twitter, he doesn't have to make arguments for it then and there. Why didn't he just link to those arguments? That's what I'd have done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed is suggesting that more than give his own arguments, if he is going to criticize Ed he needs to argue against Ed's points specifically.

      Delete
  6. Hi Ed, I like to read your blog because of the way you write, like an adult .
    I often also like to read it because of what your write. Sometimes I don't read because the topic doesn't interest me.

    But I noticed a pattern. Months ago you wrote about what makes Twitter a bad experience. Weeks ago you wrote why were joining. Today you wrote about one of your experiences there.

    You don't need Twitter. As a friend, leave it and keep your sanity. Remember what you wrote the first time: people will write anything for to farm likes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I have to agree. When I first saw that Ed posted he was joining Twitter, I was a little disappointed because he seemed like he was above it. We need people who are above Twitter.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, PH, and point taken, though in this particular case I don't think Twitter was essential to the situation, or at least not my side of it. I would have written the Benevacantism article, and CWR would have reprinted it, whether or not I'd signed on to Twitter. And Patrick would have said what he said about it on Twitter too even if I hadn't been on it. True, I would not have replied on Twitter in that case, but I probably would have replied here.

      I don't think Twitter has been good for him, and I've seen it destroy others. The medium has its benefits and for the moment I'll stick around. But all things considered, I still firmly believe it would be better if it didn't exist.

      Delete
    3. To quote one guy I follow on Twitter: "I don't know who needs to hear this, but Twitter is a made-up place and when you close or delete the app all this vapid bullshit goes away."

      Delete
    4. PH is right. Twitter is only a poisoned chalice to a fair-minded person such as Prof Feser is. By "publishing" every thought (and calumny), without sufficient context, argumentation or evidence (only 230 characters!) Twitter both undeservedly and parasitically elevates the Tweeter to the reputable status of his target by virtue merely of the engagement on a shared platform, and easily scandalises each party where, in pre-Twitter times, one would simply ignore the other, resolve the matter privately, or require the opponent to publish a thorough counter-essay to a disputed position.

      Delete
    5. Tbh,
      The whole idea of both right wing trolls and left wing trolls was always going to be toxic.
      Snark should always be backed up with genuine and well reasoned arguments that are meant to be taken seriously. But these days one just sees snark by the most popular political personalities on both sides. Everyone just seems to be looking for that elusive one-liner to own the libs or cons. It isn't healthy for human discourse because in the process of one tends to see all those on the other side as nothing more then abstractions of their most hated ideas. And tend to see all those on your side as nothing more then your personal cheer leaders. Anyone on the other side is all the more deserving of your scorn and ridicule. And God forbid anyone on your side cross your path, for they shall face the wrath of you and your followers.
      In short if not kept in check, it leads to one tending to see the world in a very dehumanised manner because people barring the odd exceptions wouldn't behave in such a condescending manner with other people in person. It's the safety of being behind the keyboard which is very emboldening.

      Delete
    6. Well, duly noted, guys. But as I pointed out to PH, this particular episode actually has nothing essentially to do with Twitter. So while there are independent reasons to criticize its use, it's a red herring in the current context.

      Delete
    7. Understood. I think we just love your work too much to see it potentially diluted with Twitter distractions (at least, that's my worry). But perhaps you'll find a way to use the platform without its pitfalls.

      Delete
    8. That's my concern as well, John.

      Delete
    9. Thanks, guys. Twitter is the tail and everything else (the blog, books, articles, etc.) is the dog. The former shall not wag the latter, lest it be snipped off.

      Delete
    10. Wow, I feel like I need to put my hip boots to wade through the intellectual snobbery on this thread. Criticizing twitter on a blog comment thread is like the guy who brags about not owning a TV but spends 10 hours a day watching Netflix on his computer.

      Delete
    11. @ Luke S,

      Quite a few false assumptions would have to be true for your equivalence to be valid. Apparently, the rule from which all these falsities spring is "Thou-Shalt-Not-Criticize-Twitter".

      You have got to be kidding.

      Tom Cohoe

      Delete
  7. I am suprised that Prof Feser is still trying to attribute genuine motives to Coffin.
    Especially after the "financial gain" attack.
    That didn't even make sense.
    Prof Feser is a professional Feser who has always put his philosophical work first, with the public media life being secondary.
    Coffin on the other hand is a professional media person who primarily relies on the whole attention-hype cycle.
    It's ironic that Coffin doesn't realise that his attacks on Feser with regards to financial gain are more applicable to him then Prof.Feser. Coffin probably shouldn't have gone there.
    Or maybe he does and is actually trying to capitalise.
    It isn't everyday that a famous philosopher who is especially well known with your target audience decides to respond to your arguments.
    Might as well make the most of it.
    $$$
    Hope Coffins comes to see the light.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've actually been watching the whole thing play out on Twitter and frankly it's been quite nauseating.

    I suppose the first thing that stuck out was how Patrick said that he'd "already replied" to the "charge" that people who don't buy Benevacantism could have reasons for doing so other than money (the actual tweet Patrick was replying to was a rhetorical question, so what he means here is really unclear), but doesn't then go on to either explain how this is the case or even link to article or video defending his case afterwards.

    In fact his responses came across as incredibly self-referential to the point where it seemed he was more interested in slinging accusations than engaging with the arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  9. He’s doubling down. He has an audience. He enjoys a certain following and perception of authority. To have views that he has been maintaining and promoting for some time characterized as foolish and shown to be preposterously poorly thought out through a simple exercise in reasoning is a contradiction of his brand. If he admits now that his views were poorly thought out, he loses many of his pitchfork rattling followers who need it to be the case that Francis is an antipope. So he reacts defensively by projecting his own guilt onto the party that has pointed out the plank in his eye. He thinks this will save his brand, and it might in a way, but all this will accomplish is a further radicalization of his listeners. This reminds me of how Hannity reacted to Fr. Euteneuer when the latter accused Hannity of causing scandal. What an embarrassing disgrace that was, not that Hannity ever enjoyed any respect from me to begin with.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you, Professor, for enlightening me - it's confusing having two men in Rome dressed in white giving Apostolic Blessings. Let's hope Father Joe soon finds his black cassock.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This just confirms me in my choice not to formally become a Twit. (Which is the name for someone who Tweets on Twitter.) Ugh.

    Frankly, while I can understand Prof. Feser responding to Coffin's tweets in the same medium, I am not sure he should have expanded to matter to his blog. That's giving Coffin more space than he deserves on this matter. C'mon, Professor, you're bigger than that: let Coffin say what he wants to say, and ignore his folly. Maybe Coffin's cronies will laugh for a while, but they won't get the last laugh, because it'll all be water under the bridge when Benedict and Francis are both dead and someone else has been elected pope.

    That's the thing about Benevacantism: there is no plausible pathway by which they can DO anything about their theory. They could only EVER hope to do something with Benedict's express, public change of tune, and (a) he clearly isn't going to do so while he has all his marbles, and (b) it wouldn't even get to the starting gate if he becomes non compos mentis. So it's a theory that lacks any way to become an effective plan of action.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect Benevacantism is more about undermining Francis's authority than it is about restoring Benedict to the See of Peter. "Francis isn't the real Pope so we don't have to listen to what he says or be scandalized by his flirtations with heresy." The idea is to kneecap Francis to limit the damage he does while on Earth.

      Delete
    2. Hi Tony,

      You wrote:

      I am not sure he should have expanded to matter to his blog. That's giving Coffin more space than he deserves on this matter. C'mon, Professor, you're bigger than that:

      That's not to the point. Many Catholics who do not understand the theological issues involved are nevertheless drawn to ideas like Benevacantism simply because some well-known person endorses them. It's an argument from authority, which presupposes that the person is credible. Hence it is worthwhile, and indeed important, to call attention to considerations that are relevant to evaluating such a person's credibility.

      Delete
    3. What makes is worst is if one thinks Pope Francis needs to get his act together advocating fringe views such as the illegitimacy of his papacy all but guarantees one's legitimate criticisms will be overlooked.

      Let us take you Proff Feser hypothetically. You have written some brilliant criticisms of the Pope's teachings on the Death Penalty.

      Some of yer more extreme counter critics would have a field day if you, like Coffin, ran around saying Francis was not the real Pope and wee Benedict was still Pope..

      Mark Shea would be like "See I told you so!"...

      We cannae have that!:D

      With that in mind I dinny understand Coffin' malfuction?

      Cheers boss. You rock guy.

      Delete
  12. I would say that Francis is Pope in roughly the same manner and to the same degree that Joe Biden is President.

    Whether one wishes to then further apply such terms as "virtual apostate", "subversive", "vindictive enemy of that with which he is formally entrusted", "mentally shallow tool of the enemy", "vainglorious and conceited idiot" and so forth, is another matter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apples and Oranges...

      Christ by his promise protects the Church so we faithful Catholics can be confident Francis is the Pope. Christ has made no such promise to the United States. So it is plausible to suspect the legitimacy of Biden's(or even Trump's to be Bi-partisan) office but not Francis.

      Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's....

      Delete
    2. "Son of Ya'KovApril 19, 2022 at 10:37 AM

      Apples and Oranges...

      Christ by his promise protects the Church so we faithful Catholics can be confident Francis is the Pope. Christ has made no such promise to the United States. So it is plausible to suspect the legitimacy of Biden's(or even Trump's to be Bi-partisan) office but not Francis.
      "

      I do not suspect the formal, procedural, fait accompli institutional status of either one. For all that that is - or is not - worth; in terms of substantive fidelity to the purposes, aims, and good of either the institution itself or of its members.

      Biden, sworn into office, cannot legally be removed other than through an impeachment process. Whether he actually was voted into office through a new and marginally significant corruption of the process, or whether he got in through the time honored ways Democrats have historically both worked and cheated their ways to victory through local ballot stuffing, buying votes, ballot bundling and other means, I leave as an open question. One way or another, the senile and corrupt S.O.B. holds the office.

      With Bergoglio, I am even less interested than most here with the potential for splitting hairs. It is clear that his election was irregular by the testimony of his own campaign managers ... such a campaign being illicit.

      But they counted the ballots and he was made pope, and so, as bitter, snide, and smirking as he is, and apostate or not, he nonetheless sits on the chair of Peter ... for once again, whatever that is worth to the Church of Christ.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for that clarification. I think I agree with you?

      I have no judgement on charges of wither or not Francis' election was regular or irregular. All I know is the required majority of Cardinals choose him so He is Pope. In the past some bad Popes have bribed Cardinals or threatened them or others have threatened them and they elected certain notorious individuals as Pope.

      Thought irregular (& likely immoral) they have always been taken to be valid Pope's.

      Unless Francis formally and explicitly and clearly spouts a heresy or resigns or dies he is nor going anywhere. He is Pope.


      Biden is nor going anywhere either unless impeached and deposed or he resigns etc...

      I see yer point an upon reflection and due to yer clarification I now say that is an apt analogy.

      Cheers.

      Delete
  13. Dr. Feser when will you respond to David Bentley Hart's objections to your review of his book You Are Gods? He made good objections, and will be very interesting if you comment about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He just posted it yesterday! I'll get to it soon. (In the meantime, I did reply to Seth Hart -- no relation -- whose objections overlap with DB Hart's, in a post a couple of weeks ago.)

      Delete
  14. I must compliment your restraint in choosing the title of this post, Dr. Feser. It must not have been easy, but I think you nailed it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The golden rule of the Twitter-verse
    "Do NOT love your neighbor as yourself"

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would also point to Robert Sungenis as a comparison. Whichever one you pick, it's helpful to remember that the edge of the rabbit hole may be closer than it appears.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is more than just one rabbit hole too. Often, it is in the process of moving away from one that you stumble in to another.

      Delete
  17. I don't even understand the accusation. If Benedict were still pope, surely that would make his books' royalties *more* valuable?

    ReplyDelete
  18. While is many cases I would little credit any evidence free blustering that, "Of course they'd say that, that's where they get their $$$," in this one case, Ignatius Press has publicly proclaimed the protection of their authors from criticism as part of the "mission" of CWR.

    Back in 2013, CWR posted a positive review of Ralph Martin's book "Shall Many be Saved?" which is a book which is highly critical of von Balthasar (published by Ignatius Pres).

    That was enough that the CEO of Ignatius Press stepped in and had the review pulled from the website. He was very plain about why:

    "This is blatant censorship by me, Mark Brumley, President of Ignatius Press. Except, of course, that Catholic World Report is published by Ignatius Press to further the mission of Ignatius Press. I think that gives me some leeway in deciding whether a particular article furthers the mission or perhaps in some ways undercuts that mission."

    You can research the matter yourself for the whole story, but there was no objection made to the review/article on any grounds _except_ that it spoke positively about a book, published by another company, that was critical of Balthasar, who is one of Ignatius' authors.

    This censorship (and the reasons for it) caused some bad press of its own, and they tried to walk it back a bit (unsuccessfully in my view) by restoring the review only after obtaining several other articles positive about Balthasar to provide a supposed balance.

    So, even though CWR does publish some good things (eg, by Olson and Feser) I have always treated them with skepticism after that episode, as it is pretty clear their Ignatius Press has a finger on the scales, and isn't even shy to admit it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      This is the first I have heard of this matter and thus cannot comment on it, other than to say that it is only fair to link to the article from which I see you pulled that quote so that readers can see it in context:

      https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2013/04/01/vatican-ii-and-the-bad-news-of-the-gospel/

      In any event, it is quite absurd to suggest that it lends any plausibility to Patrick's allegation, for a couple of reasons. First, discussion of someone’s financial motives as an explanation of their actions is only reasonable when there is no other adequate explanation of them. And that is obviously not the case in the present controversy. Given that Benevacantism (a) risks the grave sin of schism while (b) being supported by arguments which are, shall we say, highly speculative and half-baked even on a charitable reading, it is hardly surprising that faithful Catholics would be very wary of it. Positing some financial motive is utterly gratuitous and contrary to justice and charity.

      Second, as SMack points out in the comment above yours, Patrick’s allegation is odd even apart from that. How exactly would the fact that Ignatius publishes Benedict’s books give them an incentive to deny that Benedict is still the pope, if he really were?

      Oh, I should add that Patrick has recently indicated on Twitter that he disapproves of people who post anonymously online (even questioning their masculinity!), so I imagine he would be terribly distressed that you have done so here while defending him. Maybe you could reveal your name so as to mollify him?

      Delete
    2. Dr Feser,

      I agree for the most part. Even if Ignatius leans on CWR now and again (and it seems they do) the financial interest here is far from clear. It is even less clear how that interest would extend to you, and of course last of all, doesn't actually deal with the arguments you laid out.

      (I think the best argument against your article, was made by Tony which is a criticism of the "Francis as viceroy" position as you lay it out.)

      I probably shouldn't have even introduced the Balthasar/Martin episode, but I admit it rankled me that they did it.

      The short version is that I don't credit Benevacantism and seldom listen to Patrick Coffin, but I also think the attitude of Ignatius Press toward CWR has seriously wounded its journalistic credibility on topics which touch its own authors, which is a shame.

      PS, I think my masculinity can bear up either the good or bad opinion of Mr Coffin with equanimity. :)

      Delete
    3. In all fairness to Brumley/Ignatius, even then I doubt their intervention was financially motivated in a direct sense. My understanding is that Brumley is a big proponent of Balthasar, so it would almost certainly have been motivated by defense of his reputation rather than for any gain per se.

      Still, not good for CWR, as it institutes an explicit bias as a matter of policy.

      Delete
    4. Coffin pretending Dr. Feser is criticizing Benevacantism just to "protect" Ignatius Press still ignores the Arguments Feser has made against that view.

      Let us pretend (for the sake of argument) Ignatius Press has wee Feser's wife and kids locked in a basement somewhere with a gun to their heids.

      How does that render any particular argument he made against Benevacantism invalid?

      If somebody from the Round Earth Liberation Front captured Feser's wee wife and kids from Ignatius Press' basement and sent him an ultimatum saying "Ok Eddy! Make a case against Flat-Earhter-ism or we will make yer kids & wife watch THE LAST JEDI on a continuous loop till ye do!"(I hope that doesn't sound too Dark? THE LAST JEDI....YIKES!!! the poor Fesers...).

      How would the devastating argument he would unleash be made wrong just because he did it merely to shill?

      Anyway humor aside Patrick stop dodging the argument yer boring me man.

      Cheers. I am here all week. :D LOL!

      Delete
  19. Perhaps a live debate is in order between you two?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'd like to offer my two cents' worth here. The whole discussion so far rests on the unexamined assumption that there is some set of procedures that needs to be followed, in order for a pope to be validly elected. That assumption is totally ahistorical. In practice, many of the individuals whom we now call popes are so called only because in retrospect, the Church came to accept them as popes, and not because they ticked the right boxes for being validly elected.

    Take Pope St. Damasus I (366-384). How was he elected? By hiring a gang of thugs to massacre clerics who backed a rival claimant (Ursinus), and probably also bribing Roman officials to have the rival claimant exiled. Or take Pope Vigilius (537-555), who is credibly accused of promising Empress Theodora to restore the Monophysite Patriarch of Constantinople to office if he ever became Pope, and who was promoted to the papacy after the Byzantine general Belisarius deposed his predecessor Pope Silverius on a trumped-up charge of selling Rome out to the Goths. Or take Pope John XII (955-964), who was elected only after his dying father Alberic II of Spoleto, the self-styled "prince of Rome," administered an oath to the Roman nobles in St. Peter's providing that the next vacancy for the papal chair would be filled by his son (Octavian). Or what about Pope Julius II (1503-1513), who bribed his way into the papacy? Can we speak of a legitimate procedure being followed in all these cases?

    The only sensible thing to say here is that vox populi, which is often retrospective, is what determines who is a true Pope. Using this criterion, one would have to say that Francis is truly Pope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. VJ

      You left out this bit " Thomas Shahan says details of this scandalous conflict are related in the highly prejudiced "Libellus precum ad Imperatores" (P.L., XIII, 83–107), a petition to the civil authority on the part of Faustinus and Marcellinus [ru], two anti-Damasan presbyters.[14]"

      Why are you citing Arian Propaganda?

      Damasus faced accusations of murder and adultery[20] in his early years as pope. Edward Gibbon writes, "The enemies of Damasus styled him Auriscalpius Matronarum, the ladies' ear-scratcher."[17] The neutrality of these claims has come into question with some suggesting that the accusations were motivated by the schismatic conflict with the supporters of Arianism.

      Damasus I was active in defending the Catholic Church against the threat of schisms. In two Roman synods (368 and 369) he condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism, and sent legates to the First Council of Constantinople that was convoked in 381 to address these heresies.[21]

      Delete
    2. @ Vincent Torley,

      "hiring a gang of thugs"

      You repeat these charges against a Catholic saint, made by supporters of an antipope whom the Church, present then as you are not, blamed for the violence. It is a common tactic of the perpetrators of violence to blame their victims.

      Why do you think the Church would canonize a thug?

      Tom Cohoe

      Delete
    3. @Tom,

      It canonized St. Cyril. If he wasn't a thug, it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. Sometimes saintliness in other dimensions can apparently make up for thugliness.

      Delete
    4. @ SMack,

      1. You didn't answer my question.

      2. You just repeated a false accusation, of which the Church cleared him.

      3. You were not there (should I have to repeat this?), so you are just smearing the Church.

      Tom Cohoe

      Delete
  21. I really liked the cartoon for this post. Particularly apt for the second day of the Octave of Easter, but also well selected in view of the subject matter! Nicely done!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Regarding Twitter. I don't use or follow it or care anything about it. But a great many people did, and still do.

    The potential for cutting out the self anointed institution dwelling media curators and gate keepers is there; as Trump showed so well before he was booted off.

    There is no reason Ed should not take advantage of the forum for the purposes of widening his audience, making general research and publucation accouncements, sociopolitical observations from the perspective of a published professional philosopher, and so forth.

    Eventually, naturally, he will become a target: his past writings on ethics and morals will be discovered by the morally deconstructed organisms of the left, and they will start attacking him as unsafe and harmful and yada yafa yada.

    What happens then is anyone's guess.

    But until such time, the forum is available to him. And it should provide him with an opportunity to comment on issues from the perspective of some of his earlier work on subjects of the philosophy of mind, of nature, and moderate realism.

    I know that his present blog readership rends toward an interest in theology, but he made his mark on other topics as well.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Two Patricks left Catholic Answers (Coffin and Madrid) to some out on their own. Both had a slight tendency toward snarkiness. While Madrid has kept his humor on a good leash and become a solid Catholic beacon, Coffin appears to have let that streak get the better of him. A little sarcasm can go a long way, and it eventually spills over into recklessness. It's as if he has been taking lessons from Richard Dawkins.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Vincent, there is a theological opinion that the universal recognition of the Church would legitimise an illegitimate papal election. It's not so much vox populi, as the decision was never up to the "people" as such.

    ReplyDelete
  25. With regard to the encouragement Ed Feser is being given in these threads, to engage immediately with David Bentley Hart:

    I have not read Hart's latest rejoinder. But I did take another glance at Edward Feser's "David Bentley Hart's Post-Christian Pantheism."

    And, as I began to go through the introduction agsin it occurred to me that not only is the broad strokes approach the best way to view the matter, but it will ultimately be the only way to get the picture.

    The question as to whether man's impulse toward the beatific vision comes by way of nature or grace, somewhat parallels legal framings asking whether some citizen's power or activity is exercised by privilege, or by right.

    The moment, when having that distintion in mind, you ask with regard to the beatific vision, it becomes clear how nature vs supernature, and questions of divine sovereignty enter in.

    I don't know, nor all that much care apart from an intellectual understanding what Plotinus or one of the Greek Father's of the Church thought. But I care quite a bit what Jesus said; and what He said, apart from all the comforting and inclusive talk, was some very definite matter about a precondition of being born again of the Spirit, and the ultimate terms under which, and by what name alone, (all other questions aside) men might hope to enter the Kingdom.

    A matter of conceptual realms and sovereignty, right and privilege, once again.

    Now, despite the Protestant sounding terms of the last sentence ending with "Kingdom", as far as I know that is Roman Catholic teaching, and all genuine Christian teaching.

    I think it should be obvious on reflection, that an equally important part of Feser's characterization of Hart's position then, is the "post-Christian" element.

    And unless one can stand back a bit, and slightly disengage emotionally as Feser does, that all important point, can be easy to forget in the excitement and draw and fun of the clash.

    Feser is right and responsible in giving time to let the details settle into overall focus before responding to anything that Hart writes.

    Because from a strictly Christian perspective, as opposed to that of a philospher, I'm not sure Hart is actually all that relevant to someone who is interested in what Jesus said; rather than what "The Christ" means for our 21st Century political and economic projects, and our own supposed godhood ... or whatever other theosophical or pantheist mumbo jumbo Hart has had in mind.


    ReplyDelete
  26. Hmm I find it quite intriguing that people from different spheres of the catholic universe with varying styles and demeanors respect Prof.Feser. Be it the gentle and philosophically solid types like Dr Kaczor to the radical traditionalist types like Timothy Gordon. All of them are fond of Prof Feser. Is it the good Professor's philosophy or his charity or is he just likable. Thoughts ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norm
      Dr. Feser is a one of the world's leading Thomistic philosophers. He is also a best-selling author because his books are scholarly but very readable. And yes, he is very likable. He tolerates a diversity of opinions on this blog. If you have ever seen him on Youtube, he is very congenial. His college students rate him highly. Besides, he is a comic book fan. That says it all!

      Delete
    2. Well said Anon.I agree :).

      Delete
  27. I think for clarity's sake, I would note that what is discredited in the previous post is the tacit Benevacantist hope that if only Francis were shown to be an antipope, all would be well in the Church and all of these confusions and might-be-heterodoxies would go away. It doesn't show that he isn't an antipope in a deductively airtight manner. I agree that the Benevacantist hope is foolish, as Ed has nicely shown. Undermining the validity of Francis' papacy would be a cure far greater than the disease, so to speak. However, it still makes sense to distinguish this line of attack from a demonstration of the validity of Francis' papacy.

    I suppose the skeptical anxiety and excessive concern for validity is also a demonstration of a lack of faith. That is, God is not bound by the sacraments or stifled by human failure. It seems that as with the presumption that a marriage is valid until shown to be otherwise, we are to presume Francis is pope until shown otherwise and rely on God's mercy to provide in the absence of whatever follows from a valid papacy. I would draw attention to the use of invalid baptismal formulas as an example. Until discovered, one should assume validity lest one fall prey to a lack of faith and scrupulosity. You need reason to navigate the via media between presumption and scrupulosity to reach authentic faith.

    ReplyDelete
  28. For what it is worth, I have just waded through David Bentley Hart's "Edward Feser’s Sub-Christian Dualism", and frankly don't see much in it that is worthy of a professional philosopher's or a competent logician's attention.

    It might better be treated by a rhetorician who is willing to spend his time highlighting the diversions, ploys, and posturing that is going on there.

    In the main, he admits that you nailed him fairly. His strategy is to dispense a little abuse larded with his tiresome archness; complain over narrow mindedness when he thinks he can; divert here and there to a supposed implication he insists one should have picked up on; shield behind those who he sees as like-minded and who he imagines you should or must respect; and finally, when caught flat-footed, express incredulity that anyone should imagine that he is the least bit embarrassed. He is not! Nor is he on a trajectory to heterodoxy. He's always been a monist! Thirty years and counting. All the best people are. Didn't you know? And they are not heterodox, you are. You and all those Jesus spouting literalists.

    How anyone can muster the patience to watch his learned corpulence pirouette before a mirror in his treasured, almost authentic, velveteen smoking jacket, is beyond me.

    The real versions of the character claims he aspires to be, and for whom there may once have been some excuse, died out over a century ago.

    Let him be what he wants to be, and go where he is going. Might not be charitable, but you have plenty better or more important to do, I would estimate, than to chase a self-inflating Neoplationist balloon down the street.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Ed,
    Speaking of Benedict, are you going to address Bill Vallicella's piece that shows that Benedict denies the resurrection of the body?

    https://williamfvallicella.substack.com/p/ratzinger-on-the-resurrection-of?s=r

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vallicella has a lot of virtues. Understanding Catholicism, the Trinity and the orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation isn't any of them. He does have a few "anti-Catholic" tendencies which are unfortunate.

      His only virtue is a he is a good Classic Theist and an opponent of Theistic personalism.

      He is also somewhat politically conservative which is pleasant to some of us.

      Delete
  30. in his treasured, almost authentic, velveteen smoking jacket,

    Not gonna lie. That made me laugh!

    ReplyDelete
  31. www.patrickcoffin.media/reply-to-edward-feser/

    ReplyDelete
  32. See here for a critical review of Patrick Coffin's evidence. It is pretty weak.

    https://romalocutaest.com/2022/03/31/benepapism-and-mr-coffins-seven-pieces-of-information-francis-is-an-anti-pope/

    ReplyDelete
  33. The "Plan B" theory is absurd on its face.

    See rebuttals, here:

    https://romalocutaest.com/2021/04/12/benedicts-plan-b-from-outer-space/

    https://romalocutaest.com/2021/08/03/benedicts-plan-b-from-outer-space-the-sequel/

    https://romalocutaest.com/2022/04/28/regarding-the-ratzinger-code/

    Regards.




    ReplyDelete
  34. Does anyone else remember that credit cards were suddenly not working at the Vatican -- until right after the resignation was announced? Almost as if a color revolution were in progress.
    I would like to hear the "sedes impedita" and the "F├╝rstenrecht" arguments of Andrea Cionci addressed dispassionately.

    Canon 412: An episcopal see is understood to be impeded if by reason of captivity, banishment, exile, or incapacity a diocesan bishop is clearly prevented from fulfilling his pastoral function in the diocese, so that he is not able to communicate with those in his diocese even by letter.
    https://sfero.me/article/ratzinger-was-inspired-by-the-law-of-the-german-princes-for-the-munus-ministerium-anti-usurpation-system


    ReplyDelete
  35. The BVM said in 1846 at La Salette, France to the two children that "...Rome would lose the faith and become the seat of the anti-Christ"
    Before that, in Quito, Ecuador, 1590s - 1630s She said "shortly after the middle of the 20th century, Satan would rule primarily through the Masonic sects." (an obvious reference to Vatican II and the work of the Freemasons). So, to the point, I don't doubt that Francis and his masonic cardinals are the anti-Christ Our Blessed Mother is referring to. I haven't read Dr. Faser's reasoning for Francis being the true Pope and not an anti-Pope so I may change my mind, but one thing for sure; we are seeing the message of Fatima being played out before our eyes.

    ReplyDelete