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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Bishop Is Very Concerned, of course...

A Strange Request from STM

Thanks for your names. I have many now. No more, please. Will do my best..STM

Need Info from Readers

Some people in this area have asked me if there is a pamphlet on the teachings of the Church regarding secret societies, such as the Masons, Elks, Grangers, etc. Of course, I have all this info from different sources, but not in a pamphlet form.

If anyone knows of such a publication, please let me know so I can pass on this info.

Chaos and Responsibility

Continuing on from the questions in the last post, the answers follow the questions. I start with the last first.

But, what if someone is not facing his suffering? What if one is in denial of chaos in the soul? Can an entire culture, an entire society be blinded to suffering and disorder?

Many, if not most, people in Western societies may be described as T. S. Eliot did in The Wasteland.

Unreal City,                                                            60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying "Stetson!
"You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!                            70
"That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
"Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
"Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?

The curse of modern society has been the acceptance of the dulling of the pain of sin. Living death is a result of mortal sin, of sin which denies natural law and the consequences. One of the points of Fr. Ripperger's book is that mental illness can be a result of mortal sin. Why? Because sin denies the end to which all humans were made. We deny our own happiness in eternal life with God when we sin. Therefore, when we choose deliberately to go against why we were created and who we are, that is creatures of a Loving God, a sort of spiritual division occurs in our souls, minds, bodies. Such denial causes chaos in the soul, which is ignored by so many psychologists.

Eliot's cry that death had undone so many is the cry of the modern prophet, who see the sadness, the false happiness, "each man fixed his eyes before his feet", an image of modern isolation.

Mylae was the decisive battle of the Romans over the Carthaginian fleet. Carthage was a horrible society of human sacrifice and war, a society even the Romans hated for its barbarity and violence.  Stetson, the name of the famous cowboy hat, means more than a hat, the "Boss of the Plains". This name is supposed to remind us of false utopias, like those expected in the Gold Rush or through Manifest Destiny.

The buried corpse is the dead soul. Will it bloom in the new year, or will the frost of modern sins keep it dead and buried? No resurrection here.

Yes, an entire society can have false ideals, consumerism, materialism, greed, hatred for the poor, hatred for the rich, and so on. Acceptance of all types of sexual sins is now part of our culture in the West, except for those in the remnant, who still cling to natural law philosophy, Revelation, and the Good New of the Bible.

A person or a people can drug themselves with entertainment, things, sex and so on to curb the niggling doubt that something is not right. And, if the wills are bent towards evil from a lack of religious belief and practice, yes, an entire society can be bent. This is what we are now seeing, not only in America and Europe, but in other countries which have departed, even for centuries, from the only spirituality which can help man become and stay human-Catholicism.

Such were the Five Cities. Can an entire culture, an entire society be blinded to suffering and disorder?

Genesis 19 Douay-Rheims

1And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of the city. And seeing them, he rose up and went to meet them: and worshipped prostrate to the ground,

And said: I beseech you, my lords, turn in to the house of your servant, and lodge there: wash your feet, and in the morning you shall go on your way. And they said: No, but we will abide in the street.

He pressed them very much to turn in unto him: and when they were come into his house, he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread and they ate:

But before they went to bed, the men of the city beset the house both young and old, all the people together.

And they called Lot, and said to him: Where are the men that came in to thee at night? bring them out hither that we may know them:

Lot went out to them, and shut the door after him, and said:

Do not so, I beseech you, my brethren, do not commit this evil.

I have two daughters who as yet have not known man: I will bring them out to you, and abuse you them as it shall please you, so that you do no evil to these men, because they are come in under the shadow of my roof.

But they said: Get thee back thither. And again: Thou camest in, said they, as a, stranger, was it to be a judge? therefore we will afflict thee more than them. And they pressed very violently upon Lot: and they were even at the point of breaking open the doors.

10 And behold the men put out their hand, and drew in Lot unto them, and shut the door:

11 And them that were without, they struck with blindness from the least to the greatest, so that they could not find the door.

12 And they said to Lot: Hast thou here any of thine? son in law, or sons, or daughters, all that are thine bring them out of this city:

13 For we will destroy this place, because their cry is grown loud before the Lord, who hath sent us to destroy them.

14 So Lot went out, and spoke to his sons in law that were to have his daughters, and said: Arise: get you out of this place, because the Lord will destroy this city. And he seemed to them to speak as it were in jest.

15 And when it was morning, the angels pressed him, saying: Arise, take thy wife, and the two daughters which thou hast: lest thou also perish in the wickedness of the city.

16 And as he lingered, they took his hand, and the hand of his wife, and of his two daughters, because the Lord spared him.

17 And they brought him forth, and set him without the city: and there they spoke to him, saying: Save thy life: look not back, neither stay thou in all the country about: but save thyself in the mountain, lest thou be also consumed.

18 And Lot said to them: I beseech thee my Lord,

19 Because thy servant hath found grace before thee, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewn to me, in saving my life, and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil seize me, and I die:

20 There is this city here at hand, to which I may flee, it is a little one, and I shall be saved in it: is it not a little one, and my soul shall live?

21 And he said to him: Behold also in this, I have heard thy prayers, not to destroy the city for which thou hast spoken.

22 Make haste and be saved there, because I cannot do any thing till thou go in thither. Therefore the name of that city was called Segor.

23 The sun was risen upon the earth, and Lot entered into Segor.

24 And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.

25 And he destroyed these cities, and all the country about, all the inhabitants of the cities, and all things that spring from the earth.

26 And his wife looking behind her, was turned into a statue of salt.

27 And Abraham got up early in the morning and in the place where he had stood before with the Lord,

28 He looked towards Sodom and Gomorrha, and the whole land of that country: and he saw the ashes rise up from the earth as the smoke of a furnace.

29 Now when God destroyed the cities of that country, remembering Abraham, he delivered Lot out of the destruction of the cities wherein he had dwelt.

to be continued...

Virtue and Suffering

Reason is shown to be so much the more perfect, according as it is able to overcome or endure more easily the weakness of the body and of the lower powers. And therefore human virtue, which is attributed to reason, is said to be "made perfect in infirmity," not of the reason indeed, but of the body and of the lower powers.

Thomas Aquinas.... First Part of the Second Part; Question 55 (same source as previous post).

Why it is necessary to suffer in order to be holy? If one is not convinced by the long perfection series, one may ponder on Aquinas' reflection here and on St. Paul.

Disorder comes from the darkened heart (or intellect-see previous posts on this distinction). Foolishness indicates disorder, as do actions against nature, against natural law

If virtue is order, one can easily see how the opposite, vice, is disorder. St. Paul clearly states this in Romans 1: with Challoner's notes in blue.

[16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek. [17] For the justice of God is revealed therein, from faith unto faith, as it is written: The just man liveth by faith. [18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: [19] Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.
[21] Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. [23] And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things. [24] Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
[26] For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. [27] And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. [28] And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; [29] Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, [30] Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 

[26] God delivered them up: Not by being author of their sins, but by withdrawing his grace, and so permitting them, in punishment of their pride, to fall into those shameful sins.
[31] Foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. [32] Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them. 

Now, the underlines bits have to do with suffering in Challoner's notes here in blue. Once sin and, therefore, disorder are chosen, God lets a person literally "go his own way". The Bridegroom stops wooing the bride, that is, the soul.

His grace is withdrawn, which is the meaning of the phrase the "death of the soul" with regard to "mortal sin". Those in mortal sin, those in disorder, have no sanctifying grace.

How does suffering pull one out of disorder? Disorder and suffering are described in Chapter Three, but why is suffering necessary?

Here is Paul in Chapter Six:

[6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer. [7] For he that is dead is justified from sin. [8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ: [9] Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him. [10] For in that he died to sin, he died once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God: 

We must be joined to the suffering of Christ in order to break away from the habits of sin, from the predominant faults. Yes, Christ died for us, but in our bodies we must work out that salvation.

Herein is a huge difference between us and our Protestant brethren, who have destroyed sacramental life in their churches. The sacraments restore us to grace--there is no other way.

And, suffering humble us to seek out the sacraments. Only the proud do not want the sacraments.

Grace frees us to obey, to see justice, to want discipline. As "servants of justice" we also seek mercy, knowing through our suffering that God is Just.

The realization of justice and mercy come only through facing one's sins, in suffering, in humility.

[16] Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto justice. [17] But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed from the heart, unto that form of doctrine, into which you have been delivered. [18] Being then freed from sin, we have been made servants of justice. [19] I speak an human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh. For as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity, unto iniquity; so now yield your members to serve justice, unto sanctification. [20] For when you were the servants of sin, you were free men to justice. 

Disorder brings pain, brings chaos into one's soul. mind, body, but, as St. Paul states, thanks be to God for His gift of salvation and for the Church's sacramental life of grace.

But, what if someone is not facing his suffering? What if one is in denial of chaos in the soul? Can an entire culture, an entire society be blinded to suffering and disorder?

to be continued...



Where Virtue Begins

In this day and age, in these troubled times, we see clearly religions which teach and promote virtues and those which do not. I use Thomas Aquinas here.

Here is a reminder of what the virtues actually are: virtues are good use of free will.

"When we say that virtue is the order or ordering of love, we refer to the end to which virtue is ordered: because in us love is set in order by virtue"

Now, read this again from Aquinas. 

Virtue, from the very nature of the word, implies some perfection of power, as we have said above (Article 1). Wherefore, since power [The one Latin word 'potentia' is rendered 'potentiality' in the first case, and 'power' in the second] is of two kinds, namely, power in reference to being, and power in reference to act; the perfection of each of these is called virtue. But power in reference to being is on the part of matter, which is potential being, whereas power in reference to act, is on the part of the form, which is the principle of action, since everything acts in so far as it is in act.
Now man is so constituted that the body holds the place of matter, the soul that of form. The body, indeed, man has in common with other animals; and the same is to be said of the forces which are common to the soul and body: and only those forces which are proper to the soul, namely, the rational forces, belong to man alone. And therefore, human virtue, of which we are speaking now, cannot belong to the body, but belongs only to that which is proper to the soul. Wherefore human virtue does not imply reference to being, but rather to act. Consequently it is essential to human virtue to be an operative habit.
Reply to Objection 1. Mode of action follows on the disposition of the agent: for such as a thing is, such is its act. And therefore, since virtue is the principle of some kind of operation, there must needs pre-exist in the operator in respect of virtue some corresponding disposition. Now virtue causes an ordered operation. Therefore virtue itself is an ordered disposition of the soul, in so far as, to wit, the powers of the soul are in some way ordered to one another, and to that which is outside. Hence virtue, inasmuch as it is a suitable disposition of the soul, is like health and beauty, which are suitable dispositions of the body. But this does not hinder virtue from being a principle of operation.
Reply to Objection 2. Virtue which is referred to being is not proper to man; but only that virtue which is referred to works of reason, which are proper to man.
Reply to Objection 3. As God's substance is His act, the highest likeness of man to God is in respect of some operation. Wherefore, as we have said above (Question 3, Article 2), happiness or bliss by which man is made most perfectly conformed to God, and which is the end of human life, consists in an operation. 

The fact that virtues are habits means these can be trained, as I have noted in my long series from last summer on virtue training.

A virtue, as Aquinas notes in the above passage, "is an ordered disposition of the soul, in so far as, to wit, the powers of the soul are in some way ordered to one another, and to that which is outside."

Action follows disposition. Without virtue active in the soul, action cannot be "good" or even "neutral".  And reason is needed for the practice of virtues.

We daily choose what we think is the good, the true, the beautiful, but these choices are rooted in our disposition. If our minds, souls, hearts are conformed to God, then we shall exhibit virtue.

So, when people compare religions, one question they may ask is this, "Which religion leads to the formation of a correct disposition which will choose the good, the good which involves love of self, love of neighbor, as coming from love of God?"

To be continued...

More from Fr. Chad Ripperger

One of the great blessings given to the world through the ages has been education. One thinks of the many Benedictine schools beginning in the so-called Dark Ages, the universities, the copying of classical texts, and so on.

One of the reasons why real Catholics have valued education has to do with the formation of the will. Without being over-simplistic, I want to parse out a few ideas from Fr. Ripperger's book from his long section on the will. One of the reasons in our day and age we see people floundering with either the idea of free will, or using the will is that they have not had formation in thinking, in the intellect, which informs the will.

Here is a snippet and then a comment:

The "possible intellect is the only immaterial knowing power in the soul, it is that which moves the will, i. e. the will is moved by the apprehension of reason or the possible intellect. Since the will is moved by the intellect, the good as grasped by the intellect, i.e. the understood good, moves the will. Since the will is moved by a universal power, i.e. the possible intellect grasps universals, the object it presents to the will is the end or good in general."

The greatest problem youth in our Western culture experiences is that of the lack of knowledge to use when making decisions. How many times have I heard parents say that, for example, they will let their children decide on what religion these children want when they are old enough to decide.

This approach and another approach, which is not to give any rational training to the intellect, allow the will to be weakened because the very power which could inform the will is missing.

Many discussions I have had in the past with young people revolve around a denial of free will. The decadence of the education systems in the West, with the downgrading of true liberal education, which taught youth how to think, has led to the lack of discipline of the passions, which can no longer be ruled by the will, which is missing the intellectual necessaries to choose between good and evil.

"If it feels good, it is right", is, of course the relativist's claim.

I honestly believe that the only people who are training the will at this time in the West are parents who home school in the Catholic tradition, or those teachers who are teaching in classical education, schools such as NAPCIS schools.

The training of the intellect forms the soul, and creates sanity, that is, a mind which can apprehend reality, the reality of sin and virtue.

I have picked out this bit for today as so many people blame circumstances, environment, nurture and nature for weak wills, when the main cause is rather simple--the loss of liberal education, which teaches humans how to think.

One may also comment on the idea of  "universals", but that is another post.

to be continued...

Hello to Readers in Greece

Churchs of New York

St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Syracuse.


Would someone like to order this for a seminarian and a deacon? Let me know, please.