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Friday 12 September 2014

The Fifth And Last Art Rant

Well, I think I am almost finished with the subject of true, objective, religious art. But, let me add this. Just because someone can paint a religious subject does not mean that artist has capture the essence of holiness, of virtue.

If I were in the classroom, I would give myriad examples of "religious art" which moves the soul not only into an aesthetic experience, but an experience of God. Excellent art can help the soul, be a tool for the soul to transcend into the spiritual realm. I have experienced this and in the good old days of graduate school, this is a subject we would sit around with coffees and discuss.

Excellent art is meant to be transcendent. It is not meant to draw attention to itself but to lead one on to a higher plane of reality.

I have experienced this in the face of true beauty. This has happened to me through art and music, more so when I was younger than now, as I no longer go to galleries nor do I listen to music. I mostly live in simplicity and silence.

But, the true artist does not want to draw attention to himself or his artwork. He wants the artwork to bring joy, yes, but always move the mind and the soul.

Excellent art is rational.

That is why Bach is superior to Rap. (DUH!)

If a piece of art disturbs the soul and the mind, it has been painted in pure sensuality, in the senses only and not in the spirit. That is why I am objecting to some of the work on EWTN. I have not listed all the paintings which disturb me. Three which are particularly sensual and not spiritual depict Christ in the Garden, in a facial piece stuck in somewhere, and in the Ascension. The artists missed the point and just show a man, not a God-Man. Can it be done? Approximately, yes.

Some of the greatest have done this. But, sadly the appetites have been fed for too many years not to effect even Christian artists. Perhaps, the artists have never met a Godly, righteous man. Perhaps, they do not know what the face of a saint who is a man can look like. Innocence is the first trait, followed by purity and a deep inner peace.

An opportunity for witnessing the Truth has been lost.

I shall not even begin on the music, which is almost totally sensual and not rational and, as the Pope Emeritus would point out, therefore defective for worship. Gregorian Chant would have been the logical choice for the entire series.

Again, the day for true discernment in art may be gone.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Parents from legal outcasts to outlaws: Dr Tom Ward's address to Moscow family conference

Yesterday Dr Thomas Ward, founder and former President of the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF), addressed the major pro-family conference which was held this week in the Kremlin, Moscow. SPUC staff, as well as many colleagues from other pro-life/pro-family, are in Moscow, made a major contribution to the conference. Here is the text of Dr Ward's address on "Parents the Primary Educators of their Children; Parents from legal outcasts to outlaws"
"Madame Chairman,

Christian families of Russia thank you for your call to the generosity and joy of large families. It is a counter-revolutionary call to build a new Civilisation of Love and Life. It is a call to our families to replace today's dying Culture of Death with all its attacks on normality: on life, love, sexuality, marriage, family and Christianity itself. A culture of contraception, abortion, homosexualism and their indoctrination subtly enforced on our families at home and brutally imposed upon poor families abroad. A culture of planned demographic collapse. A culture in which the only protectors of children are their parents, their Primary Educators who may have little moral alternative to civil disobedience and imprisonment. But parental rights are the Achilles heel of the Culture of Death. It is here we must attack.

Having worked over forty years defending families I am convinced that the root of the Culture of Death is the artificial separation in sexual intercourse of love from life in contraception. Contraception is associated with a rise not a fall in the abortion rate. Hormonal contraceptives have been known to have an intrinsic abortifacient pharmacological action since 1926!

This separation of life from love has spread from contraception, to in vitro fertilisation and now logically, even theologically to homosexual "marriage ".

Ladies and gentlemen, contraception is the gateway to the culture of death and it is of itself wrong.

Contraception alienates life from love in a second unrecognised way. Secret contraceptive indoctrination and provision to children without parental knowledge or consent, by governments, separate our children from our protective love.

But if we parents contracept, how can we convincingly protect our children from contraception?

Revealingly both separations are promoted by one of the largest multi-nationals in the world, the birth control lobby.

Who removed our parental rights?

In 1922 Lenin initiated what was to become the Frankfurt School of Western cultural Marxism. His intention - to destroy the obstacle of Western Christian culture. The methods - the use of sexual instinct and overwhelming negative destructive cultural criticism. They targeted our families against the background of growing liberalism in church and state.

The same message different messengers:
  • “Communist society will take upon itself all the duties involved in the education of a child.” Alexandra Kollontai, the first Soviet People's Commissar for Social Welfare, 1920
  • "Children have to be freed from… religious and other cultural “prejudices” forced upon them by parents, civil and religious authorities […] sex education should be introduced in the 4th grade, (i.e. 9 to10) eliminating “the ways of elders” by force if necessary.” Brock Chisholm, who became the first director of the World Health Organisation in 1948
  • "It is now the privilege of the Parental State to take major decisions - objective, unemotional, the State weighs up what is best for the child....” Lady Helen Brook, who started the “secret” provision of contraceptives to the young - the very first step in the usurping of parental rights on education and medication.
  • “Parents – the most dangerous people of all.” A Family Planning Association spokeswoman
In 1974 the British Government prohibited doctors from contacting "parents of a child of whatever age" when she requested contraceptives.Parents legally challenged this in the courts. Law Lords ruled that when a doctor decided a child fully understood what was proposed the child could consent to all treatments and parents' rights stopped. This now covers abortion.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has instructed nations to ensure the right to sexual education, to contraception and abortion for girls and adolescents without parental knowledge or consent.

IPPF, based in London, is the nerve-centre of the world reproductive law reform. London is the centre of Common Law jurisdiction which covers one-third of humanity, the former British Empire. It operates in 189 countries including Russia.

Parents.. from legal outcasts to outlaws

Because of same-sex "marriage" legislation, Catholic adoption agencies ...caring in loco parentis for our most vulnerable Catholic children, have been outlawed.

The Education Act 1996 imposes a duty on state schools, including religious schools, to teach about marriage in the National Curriculum. With the legalising of same-sex "marriage", parents who object to this being taught in general classes have no right to withdraw their children. The school, because of its legal obligation to promote equality, is itself obliged to refuse permission. Because of same-sex "marriage" legislation, the exercising of the parental primary right to educate has been outlawed.

And on the teaching of Christian sexual morality in schools, the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights has said:
"a curriculum which teaches a particular religion’s doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true… is likely to lead to unjustifiable discrimination”
Because of same-sex marriage legislation, the the right to teach Christian sexual morality as objective truth in educational institutions has been outlawed.

Never before in the history of free men has our human right to be the primary educators of our children been removed. It is enshrined in Genesis, in the New Testament, in the doctrine of the Orthodox and of the Catholic Church, in Aristotle and the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights.

Ladies and gentlemen, the demographic recovery of your great country will depend disproportionately on generous large families. They will depend upon legally-enforceable guarantees of their God-given, inalienable human right as Primary Educators.

Through these families Russia will, please God, become a Christian beacon of hope to all humanity.

A new civilisation of Love and Life will begin.
Начнется новой цивилизации любви и жизни.

It will be our civilisation.
Она будет нашей цивилизации

It will be God's civilisation.
Это будет цивилизации Бога

Christian Families of Russia, thank you.
Христианские семьи России, спасибо"
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One of The Record Blog Days

Many requests for line now...have a great rest of the day.

Why Not Mass Time for Workers?


UK High Court judges Sabbath observance is not an important Christian belief

The UK High Court has judged that Christians have no right to refuse to work on Sunday, adding Sabbath observance to marriage and the display of Christian symbols to the list of beliefs that UK judges have declared are not important Christian beliefs. The UK legal system is applying its own ‘test of faith’ to determine if Christian beliefs have legal protection.
The Daily Telegraph reports:
The judgment was issued by Mr Justice Langstaff as he ruled on an appeal brought by a Christian woman who was sacked after she refused to work on Sundays at a care home.
Celestina Mba claimed the council she worked for pressured her to work on Sundays and threatened her with disciplinary measures – even though other workers were willing to take the shifts.
The 57 year-old, from Streatham Vale, south London, worships every Sunday at her Baptist church, where she is also part of the ministry team offering pastoral care and support to the congregation.
She said that when she took the position in 2007 providing respite care for children with severe learning difficulties at the Brightwell children’s home in Morden, south-west London managers initially agreed to accommodate the requirements of her faith.
But within a few months of starting the job, Miss Mba said managers began pressuring her to work on Sundays.
She found herself repeatedly allocated Sunday shifts and threatened with disciplinary measures unless she agreed to compromise her church commitments, meaning she had no alternative but to resign from the job she loved, she said.
The care worker launched an unsuccessful legal claim in February this year and this month lost her appeal in the High Court.
Mr Justice Langstaff, who as president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal is the most senior judge in England and Wales in this type of case, upheld the lower tribunal’s ruling which said it was relevant that other Christians did not ask for Sundays off.
The fact that some Christians were prepared to work on Sundays meant it was not protected, the court said.
The senior judge said that a rule imposed by an employer which affected nearly every Christian would have a greater discriminatory impact than one which only affected a few.
There was evidence that many Christians work on Sundays and this was relevant in “weighing” the impact of the employers’ rule, and the earlier decision did not involve an error of law, he added.
Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern, said of the latest ruling: “The court in this case created an unrealistic test which means that people like Celestina who wish to respect the Sabbath will be forced out of the workplace.
“The court seems to be requiring a significant number of adherents of the Christian faith to observe a particular practice before the court is willing to accept and protect the practice.
“In the past year we have seen mandatory tests of faith in relation to the wearing of crosses by Christians, belief about marriage between a man and a woman and now observing the Sabbath when in all cases reasonable accommodation could have been made.
“Such tests do not appear to be similarly applied to Muslims who are permitted to wear the hijab and observe prayers and Sikhs with the kara bracelet.”
Protect the Pope comment: This latest ruling means that the Catholic obligation to participate in the celebration of the Mass on Sunday is no longer protected by law. Employers can now insist that Catholic employees work Saturday and Sunday, if they so wish. The freedom of Catholics to fulfill their religious obligation is now totally at the discretion of their employer. Another fundamental religious freedom has been removed from us. Yet again UK law is presuming to overturn the law of the Church. What will be the response of our bishops to this unjust legal ruling?
“Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church” (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (CIC, can. 1247).
The Catechism states:
The Sunday obligation
2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.”117 “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.”118
2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

Why is it that priests cannot have Masses at times when working people can get to Mass? When my dad was working, he could get Mass at 6:30 a.m. before work. Now, most daily Masses in England and America are at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. Why? Only about 20 elderly retired people go here.

And, more and more, some people in retailing and factories, cannot get to Mass at all in the week, and even on Sunday if times are not in consideration of the working class.

Catholic priests should also state from the pulpit that Sunday obligation must be the priority over work.

And, why do not Catholics rebel and demand, like Hindus and Muslims the right to have time off for religious observance. It is a mortal sin not to go to Church on Sunday. And, daily Mass strengthens one's faith absolutely.

This blog is the result of a conversation with an Englishman who told me the courts there have not upheld Sunday observance as a right for Christians.

Can someone send me that link? I cannot find it. Time for Catholics to stand up for their own Faith.

Who Gets Hurt?

Earlier this year, I discovered that my son could not get money from me anymore as American banks were stopping money exchanges. He has no financial support in England from family. Now, EU banks are doing the same, but American banks started this. Bank to bank transfers for ordinary people have ended.

What Americans do not understand is that America is becoming a financial prison while letting in people who have no money. Normal people and the wealthier, many who are good people, (I am not into the sin of envying the rich), are having restrictions on finances for the first time in history.

If readers do not understand what all this means, I can tell you. As two of my smart female friends and one of my male friends told me, America is becoming a prison state. If you are in America, your freedoms are being limited daily, and if you are out, living as an ex-pat, your freedoms are limited.

Great Britain did something similar years ago, not that long ago, btw, by changing immigration rules regarding Commonwealth members. Commonwealth citizens, long having excellent freedoms of residency based on history, had their rules changed as GB became more EU friendly and less Commonwealth friendly. Many people I know from New Zealand, Australia and Canada lost rights and had to follow EU regulations as GB changed "loyalties".

Why should you care, you may ask? As nation-states give up power to banks, the EU, and the UN, less and less movement and freedoms are allowed to individuals. People in Medieval times had more freedom of movement than we do now, and Renaissance financiers had more freedom than monied people now.

Americans have been too insular, not caring about relationships with Europe, as seen by our leaders in Washington, who have lost respect in Europe almost on purpose.

America is creating a prison. I am convinced that those in power do not want people to have freedom of movement or freedom of finances.

Think about this. You may not realize how this will affect your children, your grandchildren.

And, what is the most universal institution in the entire world? The one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

A friend of mine in Australia told me that missionaries, like the Missionaries of Charity, are having a hard time getting in to set up ministries. The same thing has been happening in GB over the last three years. Ask those orders who have had to send priests, monks and nuns back to America without any chance of renewal of visas. St. Augustine of Canterbury would not get into GB unless Italy was in the EU.

Get it?

Who gets hurt?

worth reading....

Repost of Reposts on Predominant Fault

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Thoughts from The Dark Night-Reviewing the Predominant Fault Posts

Everyone has a predominant fault. Some have more than one. I have been thinking of how some vices come in pairs or even triplets.

The knowledge of self and one's sins is one of the reasons for purification. If one is attempting to cooperate with grace regarding the destruction of the predominant faults, one may find that the fault is connected to another and another.

For example, pride can morph into vainglory and presumption. Sloth may be easily attached to Gluttony and Greed. Envy, Anger and Lust sometimes "work together". One sees a pattern.

Now, because of concupiscence, we shall be tempted all our lived until the moment of death. Even the greatest of saints experienced trials in the last months of their lives. St. Therese the Little Flower is only one example.

One must learn to avoid temptations as these occur immediately. Here is a reminder from Garrigou-Lagrange on the predominant fault. I have already written on the predominant fault, but this truth bears repeating. My highlights....

The predominant fault is the defect in us that tends to prevail over the others, and thereby over our manner of feeling, judging, sympathizing, willing, and acting. It is a defect that has in each of us an intimate relation to our individual temperament.(1) There are temperaments inclined to effeminacy, indolence, sloth, gluttony, and sensuality. Others are inclined especially to anger and pride. We do not all climb the same slope toward the summit of perfection: those who are effeminate by temperament must by prayer, grace, and virtue become strong; and those who are naturally strong, to the point of easily becoming severe, must, by working at themselves and by grace, become gentle.
Before this progressive transformation of our temperament, the predominant defect in the soul often makes itself felt. It is our domestic enemy, dwelling in our interior; for, if it develops, it may succeed in completely ruining the work of grace or the interior life. At times it is like a crack in a wall that seems to be solid but is not so; like a crevice, imperceptible at times but deep, in the beautiful facade of a building, which a vigorous jolt may shake to the foundations. For example, an antipathy, an instinctive aversion to someone, may, if it is not watched over and corrected by right reason, the spirit of faith, and charity, produce disasters in the soul and lead it to grave injustice. By yielding to such an antipathy, it does itself far more harm than it does its neighbor, for it is much more harmful to commit injustice than to be the object of it.
The predominant fault is so much the more dangerous as it often compromises our principal good point, which is a happy inclination of our nature that ought to develop and to be increased by grace. For example, a man is naturally inclined to gentleness; but if by reason of his predominant fault, which may be effeminacy, his gentleness degenerates into weakness, into excessive indulgence, he may even reach the complete loss of energy. Another, on the contrary, is naturally inclined to fortitude, but if he gives free rein to his irascible temperament, fortitude in him degenerates into unreasonable violence, the cause of every type of disorder.
In every man there is a mixture of good and bad inclinations; there is a predominant fault and also a natural quality. If we are in the state of grace, we have a special attraction of grace, which generally perfects first of all what is best in our nature, and then radiates over that which is less good. Some are thus more inclined toward contemplation, others toward action. Particular care must be taken that the predominant fault does not snuff out our principal natural quality or our special attraction of grace. Otherwise our soul would resemble a field of wheat invaded by tares or cockle, of which the Gospel speaks. And we have an adversary, the devil, who seeks to foster the growth of our predominant fault that he may place us in conflict with those who work with us in the Lord's field. Christ Himself tells us: "The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way." (2)
Christ explains that the enemy is the devil,(3) who seeks to destroy the work of God by creating disunion among those who, in a holy manner, ought to collaborate in the same work for eternity. He is skillful in exaggerating in our eyes the defects of our neighbor, in transforming a grain of sand into a mountain, in setting up, as it were, a magnifying glass in our imagination, that we may become irritated at our brethren instead of working with them. Considering all this, we can see what evil may spring up in each of us from our principal fault if we are not most attentive to it. At times it is like a devouring worm in a beautiful fruit.

When one is attempting to live in community, the devil attacks by putting the predominant faults of others "in one's face" constantly. If one is aware of what is happening, one can avoid this deception and turn to prayer and compassion for the other.

to be continued...

08 Apr 2014
Firstly, St. Alphonsus reveals that anyone who gets upset with sin in one's own life is not humble, but proud, and may be exhibiting the predominant fault of anger. Anger is not merely focused on other or events, but one can ...
07 Apr 2014
Use the tags and labels to read the posts on one's predominant fault, if you have not done so already. Hard stuff, but necessary for the road to perfection. There are 45 posts dealing with that topic directly. And, speaking of ...
27 Nov 2013
But later the predominant fault is less apparent, for it tries to hide itself and to put on the appearances of a virtue: pride clothes itself in the outward appearances of magnanimity, and pusillanimity seeks to cover itself with those ...
18 Sep 2013
The predominant fault is the defect in us that tends to prevail over the others, and thereby over our manner of feeling, judging, sympathizing, willing, and acting. It is a defect that has in each of us an intimate relation to our ...

21 Jul 2012
Garrigou-Lagrange states that "it is of primary importance that we recognize our predominant fault and have no illusions about it. This is is so much the more necessary as our adversary, the enemy of our soul, knows it quite ...
23 Jul 2012
Perfection Series continued-the predominant fault--four. Posted by Supertradmum. St. Augustine tells us, using Garrigou-Lagrange, that God never asks us to do the impossible. If God desires us to be one with Him and He ...
25 Sep 2013
Youth can spot a hypocrite a mile away and the bad priests and neglectful husbands and fathers will have to face God as to why they did not work on their predominant fault. Being a Catholic man, like being a Catholic woman, ...
20 May 2014
In Chapter 22, the great Dominican writes of "The Predominant Fault".The holy priest lists most of the obvious sins, but I want to highlight one, but in a different manner. We know that Pride is most likely the worst of all sins and .

18 Sep 2013
The greatest fault is pride. Thinking that one knows better than a bishop or that one can judge a liberal bishop as unauthorized to make a statement on a visionary is pride. Period. But, those with a predominant fault of sloth or ...
18 Sep 2013
Garrigou-Lagrange helps us on our way. The graph at the very end of this post indicates how to break the sins of the predominant fault. This is hard work. This takes time and reflection. One must be ruthless with one's self to a ...
18 Sep 2013
For without dealing with our predominant fault, there is no moving on into the Dark Night, Illumnative and Unitive states. Later on, I can show how the predominant fault, unless dealt with in this life, is the reason we go to ...
26 Sep 2013
The Predominant Fault of Some Women. Posted by Supertradmum. Just to be fair, I have been talking with lovely, good Catholic women who want to become saints. They would be in the category of the really beautiful women ...
26 Sep 2013
The second most common predominant fault of women could be pride. This is the primordial sin and one easy to fall into. But, if this is the main, underlining fault of all faults, it must be rooted out through serious attention, ...
21 Jul 2012
Predominant Fault Three-perfection series. Posted by Supertradmum. Promptness of will and intolerance of our faults are part of the battle against our predominant faults. This is a battle from which we cannot escape if we ...
05 Dec 2013
For those interested in most of the postings on the predominant fault, I have tried to find most of the links on this subject, which is a Catholic idea, btw, and not a protestant one. As one who is being dragged into looking at my ...
08 Apr 2014
St. Francis de Sales on His Predominant Faults-Two. Posted by Supertradmum. After being greatly insulted by a Knight of Malta for not giving a benefice to one of his servants, “the bishop‟s brother …asked him how it was he ...
03 Aug 2014
As we have already spoken of the predominant fault, we here insist on precipitation to be avoided or, as the expression goes, on impulsiveness, which inclines one to act without sufficient reflection. With rash haste many ...
13 Jul 2014
It is very good to find a devotion which specifically leads to the removal of our predominant fault. We all need to crack the deep sin, deep weakness which keeps us from God, stops virtue, hinders grace. I now belong to a third ...
28 Jul 2014
However, some physical and mental pain is given by God for our purification, for the removal of the predominant fault. Too often I hear people say, "Oh, she is a suffering soul, or a victim soul" when in reality, the person is ...
29 Sep 2013
one can have more than one predominant fault. A good priest and I were discussing this today. He said that if the faults are close in nature, it is easy to have two. This makes it much harder to cooperate with grace and burn the ...
27 Sep 2013
Obviously, a mother may have the same predominant fault as her girls or girls. When the Bible states that a woman is saved by child-bearing, one of the meanings of that pregnant (pun intended) phrase is that one sees one's ...
06 Feb 2014
The Dark Night is the time of purgation of the predominant fault or faults. I have written about these here and one can follow the tags. The call is to cooperate with grace so that one can move into the Illuminative State, which is ...
05 Nov 2013
Unless one has had spiritual director for years, one who can tell one the predominant fault, one needs to do this on one's own. A sign of the movement towards the Dark Night is the movement into regular meditation, ...
30 Jan 2013
More than fear as a great evil, the state of living in a hidden sin, allowing one to keep on sinning and not dealing with the predominant fault, keeps people from the Truth, Who is a Person. Garrigou-Lagrange makes it clear in ...
31 Jan 2014
But, sloth is the great sin which is hidden in our society. It is "too ok" to have a lot of down time these days. . For my friend who is working to get rid of this predominant fault, God bless you. Remember, a lukewarm Catholic is ...
02 Sep 2013
Want to overcome the predominant fault and be brutally honest with one's self. Want to become love for the sake of Love, not for one's own sake, but for God's alone, Want all who one meets to experience not the "me" but the ...
20 Jul 2012
In Chapter 22, the great Dominican writes of "The Predominant Fault".The holy priest lists most of the obvious sins, but I want to highlight one, but in a different manner. We know that Pride is most likely the worst of all sins and ...
17 Sep 2013
Subtle temptations are connected to our predominant fault, about which I have written many times. If we know what are main fault is, we can catch the temptations and stop the process which leads to sin. Satan, as St. Ignatius ...
25 May 2014
This could be a predominant fault for some. The old phrase, "Let go and let God" applies to the egoist, if he wants to attain heaven. Egoism is like a cancer of the will, which ravages it more and more, whereas sanctifying grace ...
12 Apr 2014
beg God to reveal your predominant fault beg God to take the suffering for repararton of your sins offer the suffering for the sins of others, especially family members be patient be calm be resigned read the lives of the saints
10 Feb 2014
The predominant fault is discussed at length on my blog, when I did an unpacking of Garrigou-Lagrange and other writers on perfection and in the Doctors of the Church series on perfection. Over 600, more than 10% of my ...
21 Mar 2014
Eight, the predominant fault has been utterly destroyed. Nine, the person walks in light, and is no longer affected by the dark, but transcends the darkness with the awareness that God is always with him. Ten, good works, great ...

On Natural Law And The Predominant Fault

Most of these posts today have been by request of a friend. Now, the discussion of natural law can lead one to ask this question, "Is there a connection between natural law, written on the hearts of man, and people's predominant fault?"

Let me backtrack a bit.  Here is Garrigou-Lagrange's definition of the predominant fault.

The predominant fault is the defect in us that tends to prevail over the others, and thereby over our manner of feeling, judging, sympathizing, willing, and acting. It is a defect that has in each of us an intimate relation to our individual temperament.(1) There are temperaments inclined to effeminacy, indolence, sloth, gluttony, and sensuality. Others are inclined especially to anger and pride. We do not all climb the same slope toward the summit of perfection: those who are effeminate by temperament must by prayer, grace, and virtue become strong; and those who are naturally strong, to the point of easily becoming severe, must, by working at themselves and by grace, become gentle.

Before this progressive transformation of our temperament, the predominant defect in the soul often makes itself felt. It is our domestic enemy, dwelling in our interior; for, if it develops, it may succeed in completely ruining the work of grace or the interior life. At times it is like a crack in a wall that seems to be solid but is not so; like a crevice, imperceptible at times but deep, in the beautiful facade of a building, which a vigorous jolt may shake to the foundations. For example, an antipathy, an instinctive aversion to someone, may, if it is not watched over and corrected by right reason, the spirit of faith, and charity, produce disasters in the soul and lead it to grave injustice. By yielding to such an antipathy, it does itself far more harm than it does its neighbor, for it is much more harmful to commit injustice than to be the object of it.
Now Fr. Ripperger does write about the four temperaments. He writes that "Temperament is principally hereditary or natural endowment insofar as we inherit our bodily dispositions from our parents, although environmental factors can also affect disposition or temperament." 

So, as Ripperger notes, one's temperament leads one to certain, different vices and virtues. But, a temperament is changeable, and the more holy one becomes, one may find that one changes in temperament.

But, usually, each person has a predominant temperament lending itself to a predominant fault. So, if a person is of a phlegmatic temperament, one has good and bad aspects. Here is Father Aumann quoted by Ripperger.

"The good characteristics of the phlegmatic persons are that they work slowly but assiduously; they are not easily insulted by insults, misfortunes or sickness they usually remain tranquil, discreet, sober; they have a great deal of common sense and mental balance."

Of course, the downside of these patient, hardworking and amiable people is that they "tend to be inclined toward ease and comfort and they tend to be unambitious, procrastinators and disinterested. The predominant faults of phlegmatics are dullness and sloth, " writes Ripperger.

Now, the one thing which temperaments and predominant faults have in common with natural law is that all are "natural".  But, is there a connection?

In so far as natural law is given by God to all persons by the fact that they are human, so too, temperaments can be from nature. But, dispositions to both virtue and the predominant faults are proper to the person himself and not to a group, a race or all humans. Herein is a major difference between natural law, which is the same for a persons and temperament, along with the predominant faults, which are unique to a person.

Humans develop their personalities according to their temperaments, and sadly, until purgation, according to the predominant faults.

But, natural law is common to all personalities, underlining the fact that we are all human. The only connection would be that if one is going against natural law by sinning, one is being influenced by the predominant faults in one's person. But, natural law is not affected per se. It is universal, as the Ten Commandments are universal. However, one's predominant faults may turn one against natural law, against revealed law, against grace.

As noted in the perfection series, one must attack one's predominant fault and allow God to purge it from one's temperament, one's personality. Only then can one follow natural law and supernatural law freely.

I hope this answers my friend's question on this subject.

Aquinas on The Abolition of Natural Law Two

Now, I want to move into Fr. Chad Ripperger's book which I have been reading and sharing bits on for this post. Fr. Ripperger's use of Aquinas is beyond the scope of this blog, but I want to write two posts connected to Aquinas and the abolition of natural law, directing attention to insanity as a result of sin, and finishing up with a post on the natural law and one's predominant fault.

"We can say that every vice has the ability to take one out of contract with reality. Every vice, therefore, is accompanied by a concomitant defect in the cognitative power. It appears that when the vice wanes, so does the habituation of the cognitative power. Hence, with each  vice in the sensitive appetites, there is a concomitant per accidens mental illness in the passive intellect.  But, that does not mean that the person has a concomitant per se mental illness since judgment and volition, if not completely compromised, are able to overrule the operations of the cogitative power and reformulate the image properly."

In other words, repeated sin denies natural law in the person and if one goes against nature over and over, one can lose the sense of reality.

Regarding a mentally ill person, Ripperger notes that, "The more he overcomes the vice, the more the bad habits of the cogitative power will be corrupted and the more he will see reality clearly."

One can see this in those who are narcissists. These people have chosen over and over to put themselves at the center of their worlds, a mindset which is completely out of touch with reality. No human being can be the selfish center of an ego-centric world and be sane, as that is not natural to man, who is made to love and serve God.

I do not want to get into the discussion of the unconscious and consciousness of human being, but Ripperger does, referring to Aquinas regarding actions done by men without the attention of the intellect. Unconscious acts do exist in the Thomistic perspective, states Ripperger, but not in the same way Freud and others define or describe these.

Grace can also give unconscious inclinations and activities. But, for the person who refuses to think, reflect upon and use grace, and consistently choose evil, reality begins to slip away, as the person's end, the person's being are being violated by sin.

The faculties of the soul as defined in Aquinas help one understand human actions on the subconscious and conscious levels more than modern psychology, which denies the soul.

Natural law, therefore, can be abolished by habits which are repeated choices of evil. As a person goes against himself, he becomes warped in his sense of reality. Indeed, gross sin causes insanity.

Without grace, anyone can fall into repeated sin, and with grace one can break the habits of sin. Suffering brings sin to the fore and allows a person time and reasons for examination of lifestyles.

Sadly, we now live in a world where sin is so prevalent that insanity reigns.

to be continued....

Aquinas on The Abolition of Natural Law Part One

Some people have met others who act as though they have no natural law in their hearts, and who act contrary to reason. Let me start with Aquinas again.

Article 6. Whether the law of nature can be abolished from the heart of man?

Objection 1. It would seem that the natural law can be abolished from the heart of man. Because on Romans 2:14, "When the Gentiles who have not the law," etc. a gloss says that "the law of righteousness, which sin had blotted out, is graven on the heart of man when he is restored by grace." But the law of righteousness is the law of nature. Therefore the law of nature can be blotted out.
Objection 2. Further, the law of grace is more efficacious than the law of nature. But the law of grace is blotted out by sin. Much more therefore can the law of nature be blotted out.
Objection 3. Further, that which is established by law is made just. But many things are enacted by men, which are contrary to the law of nature. Therefore the law of nature can be abolished from the heart of man.
On the contrary, Augustine says (Confess. ii): "Thy law is written in the hearts of men, which iniquity itself effaces not." But the law which is written in men's hearts is the natural law. Therefore the natural law cannot be blotted out.
I answer that, As stated above (4,5), there belong to the natural law, first, certain most general precepts, that are known to all; and secondly, certain secondary and more detailed precepts, which are, as it were, conclusions following closely from first principles. As to those general principles, the natural law, in the abstract, can nowise be blotted out from men's hearts. But it is blotted out in the case of a particular action, in so far as reason is hindered from applying the general principle to a particular point of practice, on account of concupiscence or some other passion, as stated above (Question 77, Article 2). But as to the other, i.e. the secondary precepts, the natural law can be blotted out from the human heart, either by evil persuasions, just as in speculative matters errors occur in respect of necessary conclusions; or by vicious customs and corrupt habits, as among some men, theft, and even unnatural vices, as the Apostle states (Romans 1), were not esteemed sinful.
Reply to Objection 1. Sin blots out the law of nature in particular cases, not universally, except perchance in regard to the secondary precepts of the natural law, in the way stated above.
Reply to Objection 2. Although grace is more efficacious than nature, yet nature is more essential to man, and therefore more enduring.
Reply to Objection 3. This argument is true of the secondary precepts of the natural law, against which some legislators have framed certain enactments which are unjust. 

Therefore, we see that natural law cannot be abolished in men unless a person sins. In this case, natural law is blocked, blotted out, by the consistent choosing of evil.

These sections from Aquinas as from Summa Theologica  First Part of the Second Part  Question 94

Next, I shall return to Father Chad Ripperger on the nature of insanity...

Back to Aquinas and Natural Law

It would be nice is the Net did not interrupt my work by not saving things...but here goes...St. Thomas Aquinas clearly states that natural law is connected to rectitude of the will and to knowledge.

Passion or evil habits or an evil disposition,(see next posts on temperaments and predominant faults), can corrupt or block natural law.

Consequently we must say that the natural law, as to general principles, is the same for all, both as to rectitude and as to knowledge. But as to certain matters of detail, which are conclusions, as it were, of those general principles, it is the same for all in the majority of cases, both as to rectitude and as to knowledge; and yet in some few cases it may fail, both as to rectitude, by reason of certain obstacles (just as natures subject to generation and corruption fail in some few cases on account of some obstacle), and as to knowledge, since in some the reason is perverted by passion, or evil habit, or an evil disposition of nature; thus formerly, theft, although it is expressly contrary to the natural law, was not considered wrong among the Germans, as Julius Caesar relates (De Bello Gall. vi).
Reply to Objection 1. The meaning of the sentence quoted is not that whatever is contained in the Law and the Gospel belongs to the natural law, since they contain many things that are above nature; but that whatever belongs to the natural law is fully contained in them. Wherefore Gratian, after saying that "the natural law is what is contained in the Law and the Gospel," adds at once, by way of example, "by which everyone is commanded to do to others as he would be done by."
Reply to Objection 2. The saying of the Philosopher is to be understood of things that are naturally just, not as general principles, but as conclusions drawn from them, having rectitude in the majority of cases, but failing in a few.
Reply to Objection 3. As, in man, reason rules and commands the other powers, so all the natural inclinations belonging to the other powers must needs be directed according to reason. Wherefore it is universally right for all men, that all their inclinations should be directed according to reason. 

To summarize so far: all men by the fact that they are human have natural law as part of their being.

All men are given reason, the rational ability to be human, to chose God and to chose grace.

No one is not given grace. 

All inclinations come from reason. If reason is following its true end, that is God, men will choose God

Supernatural law, such as the Beatitudes, is based on natural law and informed by grace.

The Church dispenses grace through the sacraments.

But, what if one meets people who not only deny natural law, or do not think of it, but are living against reason?

to be continued...

More Reposts on Free Will, Virtues, Rectitude of the Will

19 Feb 2014
... is those mysteries that are non-evident and unseen (fides est de non visis) for we are certain beforehand that Providence is directing all things infallibly to a good purpose, and we are more convinced of the rectitude of His designs than ... The principle is, that obviously self-abandonment does not dispense us from doing everything in our power to fulfil God's will as made known in the commandments and counsels, and in the events of life; but so long as we have the ...
02 Sep 2013
All things that the child does is for the creation of the man he will become. The parent guides that process. Let me start with language skills, such as ... And I add; virtues of love, honesty, wisdom, peace, diligence, patience, zeal, perseverance. prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope, rectitude, obedience, reverence, humility. The problems occur when the parents do not cooperate with the sensitive ...... St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas Aquinas Pray for us ...
25 Jan 2013
307 "Pure in heart" refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity;308 chastity or sexual rectitude;309 love of truth and orthodoxy of faith.310 There is a connection ... by purity of intention which consists in seeking the true end of man: with simplicity of vision, the baptized person seeks to find and to fulfill God's will in everything;313 ...... St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas Aquinas Pray for us ...
03 Sep 2013
3) Self-discipline. After concentration will come perseverance . ... And I add; virtues of perseverance, honesty, diligence, temperance, justice, prudence, obedience, purity, courage (bravery), self-control, rectitude, integrity, love.

More older posts on formation of the will, rectitude, etc.

08 Jul 2014
The author notes, “This general judgment is evidently expedient, because man is not merely a private person, but is a social being, and this judgment will reveal to all men the rectitude of Providence and its ways, the reason ...
25 May 2014
The principal defect of the will is the lack of rectitude, called self-love or inordinate love of self, which forgets the love due to God and that which we should have for our neighbor. Self-love or egoism is manifestly the source of ...
31 Aug 2013
1834 The human virtues are stable dispositions of the intellect and the will that govern our acts, order our passions, and guide our conduct in accordance with reason and faith. They can be grouped around .... And I add; virtues of love, honesty, wisdom, peace, diligence, patience, zeal, perseverance. prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope, rectitude, obedience, reverence, humility. (2) Concentration ...... St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas Aquinas Pray for us ...
27 Jul 2012
It thus loses rectitude of practical judgment and of voluntary election or choice, by reason of fear, anger, or concupiscence. Thus, during the Passion, Peter yielded through fear and denied our Lord three times. When, by reason of a lively emotion or of a passion, we are inclined toward an object, the intellect is induced to judge that it is suitable for us, and the will to give its consent contrary to the divine law.(18) ...... St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas Aquinas Pray for us ...

Repost on Justification

Monday, 29 July 2013

On Conversion and Justification

 In Santa Maria del Popolo The Conversion on the Way to Damascus by Caravaggio 

In the perfection series, I placed a graph of Garrigou-Lagrange, on the steps of the spiritual life in a post towards the end of the series. As I repeated before, none of these steps can be skipped. But, the first stage merits revisiting.

This is the stage of the First Conversion. St. Thomas Aquinas describes this as an overwhelming moment of grace when one's life is changed. St. Paul is one of our greatest examples. He was murdering Catholics and then became one of the greatest of saints, an apostle to the Gentiles.

This First Conversion is pure gift from God. The CCC is clear on this grace of justification.

1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39
1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.
1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.
1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:40

Grace heals us in ways which God chooses. We do not choose the way in which God desires to purify us. Most of the time, healing comes in and through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Paul was a harsh and fanatic man before his conversion. But, after he was knocked from his horse, he humbly had to asked for healing from a stranger. After that, he writes that for some time, he went into the desert to pray and let God work in him. This would have been Paul's time of purification and entering into the Illuminative Stage, and then, the Unitive Stage, about which he also writes.

But, the First Conversion following the immediate gift of grace, involved a giving up, a denying of self, as Paul lost all his worldly status and standing with the Jewish Sanhedrin. He had to change and become a new person in Christ.

Without the First Conversion, there is no relationship with Christ in a personal way. For many, this happens in the home, even in the grace of Baptism as an infant. For some, this happens as an adult.

To be continued....

More on Natural Law

That some people cannot see goodness is others may be because they have been subjected to so much evil that they no longer believe in rectitude of the will. One of the greatest heresies is the denial of free will. Another, which follows on is the denial of grace.

Here are two more reposts hinging on these subjects. More later today....


Saturday, 22 September 2012

SS. Bernard, Thomas Aquinas, and Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

I wrote of St. Bernard's reference to Rectitude of Intention, or the Will a while ago. Here is the link.

Aquinas as well as Bernard knew what this meant. We need to come to perfect rectitude of the will, otherwise we shall not go to heaven, and not straight to heaven.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen also wrote on this

Rectitude of Intention

By Bishop Fulton J. Sheen


I might begin by telling you younger people about the way bishops dress. This [pointing to himself] is what is known as 'choir dress.' It is used formally in churches. Then we have another dress, which is really for social purposes, the black cassock, and a long, long scarlet purple garment called the 'feriola' that reaches all the way to the knees. 

I was once giving a lecture in Cleveland. I arrived just a short time before the lecture, and I had nothing to eat so I asked the members of the committee if they would go with me to the dining room while I had a glass of milk and some graham crackers. I was dressed in this black cassock and long feriola. The waitress in the early 'flirties' took the orders of the men that were with me and then she looked at me and said:

"Well, Cock Robin, what will you have?"

Now, this is not the cock robin dress. But let me tell you about this. This is called a 'rochet.' It is, you see, linen down to the waist and then lace to the knees.

I was in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, a short time ago, and I went up to my room at night and I found my pajamas on one bed and the rochet on the other.

I know, it takes a little time to get that, but you do.

Now, a word to you, younger people, it is very hard for you to realize that your parents lived in a day when no bicycle needed to be locked, when doors were left unlocked at night, when anyone could walk the streets of a large city without being mugged or attacked. Those were the days of peace. You have never seen them. It probably is hard for you to realize that that is the way America once was.

Now, how did this change come about in America? Why suddenly have we had so much dishonesty?

Let me tell you this story about dishonesty. I was in one of the big hotels of this country. The manager told me that he found a cashier stealing money. This woman had a very wide pocket in her skirt and she would reach in the drawer, take bills, and stick them in.

They saw her and one day they caught her in the act and discharged her. The union said to the hotel, "You may not discharge her. If you discharge her, we will call a strike on the hotel and call everyone out of the hotel."

The litigation went on for about three months. The union won. They had to take the girl back. Do you know what their argument was? The union said the hotel manager never told the girl it was wrong to steal.

The hotel agreed that they never told the girl it was wrong to steal. Then [laughing], how would she know?

See how much the world has changed. How? What made it change? It changed because we want no one limiting us.

You people have heard the popular song, "I've got to be me?" You have sung it yourselves, most of you. "I gotta be free." You want no restraint, no boundaries, no limits. "I have to do what I want to do."

Let us analyze that for a moment. Is that happiness? "I gotta be me? I got to have my own identity?" Are you on a basketball or football team? You cannot be yourself; you have got to live for the team.

The coach of the Oakland Raiders, Coach John Madden, asked me one day:

"What's happening to our Catholic schools? I have boys from Catholic colleges coming to my football team and they say 'I've got to do my thing.' How am I ever going to have a football team if everybody has got to do his own thing?"

A team means doing the other person's thing. But, we want no limits, no boundaries.

Just suppose, now, to get very practical, just suppose your parents never gave you potty training. Think it out. You gotta do your thing. Two things would happen. Today, you would hate your parents for never having trained you and second, you would hate yourself. So, you are what you are today simply because your parents laid hold of you and said, "We're going to train you to use the potty." They did not allow you to do your own thing.

Now, if I've made myself clear up to this point, you're living in an age where freedom is described as license, the right to do whatever your please. But that's chaos.

If everyone did what he pleased, drove a car as he pleased, we'd have disorder in the streets. Certainly you can do whatever you please, you can stuff your Aunt Maise's mattress with old razor blades. You can turn a machine gun on your neighbor's chickens. The, freedom becomes just a physical power. And the one who is most free is the one who is most strong.

So, the world has changed. We used to have laws. We had obedience. We have disciplines. Today, no boundaries, no limits. And, you're not happy that way.


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Rectitude of the Will Two

Perfect Rectitude of the Will from the Master, St. Thomas Aquinas. If God allows me to do so, I just want to study St. Thomas for the rest of my life. There is so much in his work to ponder..............

Whether rectitude of the will is necessary for happiness?

Objection 1: It would seem that rectitude of the will is not necessary for Happiness. For Happiness consists essentially in an operation of the intellect, as stated above (Q[3], A[4]). But rectitude of the will, by reason of which men are said to be clean of heart, is not necessary for the perfect operation of the intellect: for Augustine says (Retract. i, 4) "I do not approve of what I said in a prayer: O God, Who didst will none but the clean of heart to know the truth. For it can be answered that many who are not clean of heart, know many truths." Therefore rectitude of the will is not necessary for Happiness.
Objection 2: Further, what precedes does not depend on what follows. But the operation of the intellect precedes the operation of the will. Therefore Happiness, which is the perfect operation of the intellect, does not depend on rectitude of the will.
Objection 3: Further, that which is ordained to another as its end, is not necessary, when the end is already gained; as a ship, for instance, after arrival in port. But rectitude of will, which is by reason of virtue, is ordained to Happiness as to its end. Therefore, Happiness once obtained, rectitude of the will is no longer necessary.
On the contrary, It is written (Mat. 5:8): "Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God": and (Heb. 12:14): "Follow peace with all men, and holiness; without which no man shall see God."
I answer that, Rectitude of will is necessary for Happiness both antecedently and concomitantly. Antecedently, because rectitude of the will consists in being duly ordered to the last end. Now the end in comparison to what is ordained to the end is as form compared to matter. Wherefore, just as matter cannot receive a form, unless it be duly disposed thereto, so nothing gains an end, except it be duly ordained thereto. And therefore none can obtain Happiness, without rectitude of the will. Concomitantly, because as stated above (Q[3], A[8]), final Happiness consists in the vision of the Divine Essence, Which is the very essence of goodness. So that the will of him who sees the Essence of God, of necessity, loves, whatever he loves, in subordination to God; just as the will of him who sees not God's Essence, of necessity, loves whatever he loves, under the common notion of good which he knows. And this is precisely what makes the will right. Wherefore it is evident that Happiness cannot be without a right will.
Reply to Objection 2: Every act of the will is preceded by an act of the intellect: but a certain act of the will precedes a certain act of the intellect. For the will tends to the final act of the intellect which is happiness. And consequently right inclination of the will is required antecedently for happiness, just as the arrow must take a right course in order to strike the target.
Reply to Objection 3: Not everything that is ordained to the end, ceases with the getting of the end: but only that which involves imperfection, such as movement. Hence the instruments of movement are no longer necessary when the end has been gained: but the due order to the end is necessary.