Saturday, May 4, 2024

Dignitas Infinita at The Catholic Thing

At The Catholic Thing, Diane Montagna interviews me about the Vatican’s recent Declaration Dignitas Infinita.


  1. inasmuch as I am not Catholic and have only rudimental knowledge of Latin, I will look this up. if it means what it looks like it means, I'll have no further remarks because I am more scientist than theologian. thanks, Professor!

  2. 1. If something is loved, it has dignity relative to the one who loves it.
    2. Therefore, if something is loved infinitely, it has infinite dignity to the one who loves it infinitely.
    3. God loves all humans infinitely.
    4. Therefore, from 2, all humans have infinite dignity before God.

    2. Is a very plausible induction from 1.
    3. Is clear because its denial is absurd: “God has a finite love for Robert”.

    1. God also loves rocks.

    2. 3. God loves all humans infinitely.

      On the Contrary: Unlike humans, which love a thing because it is good, it is because God freely wills to love a thing that he makes it to be in act, which is good. God has loved it and willed to make it in act as a being with a certain nature. Thus each things has being insofar as God has loved it and given it its nature and given that nature being.

      No created being is infinite in its nature. Every created nature receives its nature and being, which is, as such, limitation.

      Therefore, God has not loved any creature infinitely insofar as its nature is given natural being.

    3. This is the kind of meaningless word salad that makes modern theology absolutely unreadable. Words are being used to evoke associations and not to specify meaning.

      What does it mean to love something "infinitely"? In particular what does it mean to love a finite thing infinitely? Is the infiniteness of the loving a property of the one who loves or of the love itself or of something else? What does dignity even mean? What is the practical difference in our ethical life between believing that humans have "infinite dignity" vs. just "lots of" dignity, vs. dismissing the notion entirely and expressing our moral notions in other ways ("humans have inalienable rights", "humans have goods we owe to each other", or a million other options).

      What even does it mean for God to love us? Frankly, I've never understood.

      If someone loves their spouse or children, they would be bereaved by their absence, but God is perfect and complete in himself even if all of humanity chose to reject him and thus was damned. God wouldn't have "lost anything" by our rejection of him.

      If you love someone, usually you will their private good to a great degree. For instance, the mother or father of, say a traitor might hope their child escapes execution even though in light of their crime they may merit it from the standpoint of the public good.

      But God does not will our private good above other things he has created, but rather orders the entire universe, and so people may be at times crushed by rocks or mauled by lions or what have you.

      In short, humans seem to have a unique existence in the cosmic order as a rational being that can come to know and reflect, however imperfectly on the rest of the universe, but it seems that God only loves us insofar as we are a part of the entire cosmos and insofar as we participate in his plan. Not quite "infinite" dignity, I think, whatever that means.

  3. No one really cares about what the Vatican says. We live in a different time now.

    1. Yes now we listen to celebrities. This is real progress!

    2. @Anonymous

      1. Celebrities are emotionally intelligent men.
      2. Emotions (not feelings) belong to a thinking type.
      3. Therefore you should listen to what celebrities have to say.

  4. written like a true agnostic!! a good friend and I have discussed word salad at some length. we agree that straight talk is mostly comatose right now, and, no, God has no need for any of us.

  5. An off topic but tangentially relevant and extremely important question [ or complex of them] which I have asked rhetorically in the past of the woke simps who've infested all our institutions but most detrimentally, the Catholic Church.

    By what theory do weak and useless pseudo-males not only demand of stronger men that the stronger defend the institutional structures the weak safely inhabit, but also do it according to their directives?

    What for example, is the advantge to a normal man in maintaining a social safe space for those who are continually trying to subvert and undermine his efforts?

    "Frankie" for example, says the death penalty is unjust. Has Frankie the capacity to arrest malefactors, and punish them according to his sensibilities? What if the strong simply said to hell with the project of trying to maintain general law and order, instead of trying to follow those absurd and ultimately purpose defeating constructions which the petulant and pouty simps place upon the old rule sets?

    Why not just stand back and let the developing rat fights burn themselves out?

    Well the answer to the latter is because it may [ and is now designed to ] ruin the whole neighborhood, and your own inheritance in the process. Why let them destroy grandma's legacy to you, just for the satisfaction of standing over their freakish corpses and muttering "I told you so you dumb bastards".

    But the first question remains standing. How are the rule of law polities which Frankie relies upon and demans act, supposed to remain viable refuges if they actually follow the undermining directives of the Frankie type?

    Maybe Frankie should test his theory's workability by transporting himself to Sudan, and throwing his moral weight around there, and see just how much good it does


  6. Sorry.

    Anonymous May 7, 2024 at 6:51 AM, was my comment, as was probably obvious by the repeated theme.

    Another case I think of the rotation of the tablet and a disappearing entry window. I had however in-process copied the increasingly lengthy comment for security's sake. Apparently on reentering it, I forgot to enter the ID.

    Well, at least I learned to "select all" and copy, when more that halfway through a long entry.

  7. So there’s a few points to be made here re: God’s love for us and any imputed dignity therein, and I recommend reviewing I-I, Q. 20 of the Summa. There is a basic sense in which Thomas argues God loves all things proportionate to their nature in willing their good- in the same way we can actually speak of any will unimpeded by sin. In this way, God necessarily loves angels more than human beings in that they are- prima facie- more perfect creatures.

    But there are two other ways God loves us that are no less important. In assuming human nature by the incarnation, God is shown to love human nature far greater than even the angels in the way He loves it by union with the Godhead. So also to the extent a human participates in that divine nature by grace.

    God further loves humans to a higher extent in that he wills to raise them to a greater share of the good than they can achieve on their own. Thomas isnt the only one to make this latter argument, and it is- as far as I know- the basis for tradition speaking about the fall of the angels in holding something of jealousy toward man.