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Thursday 19 March 2015

Not surprised...get ready

Ok, I usually do not follow this guy as he has a lot of disinformation, but this is not one of those cases.

Technology outstripping morality....and we know why--see series on reason.

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Seven

 Two graphs from Garrigou-Lagrange help us understand the workings of grace and the role of the intellect.

One more reference to Thomas seems appropriate, however. Where the will interacts with grace includes that first movement to repentance and the acceptance of justification.

Before one is baptized, if one is an adult, one is given grace to convert, to repent, to change.

After mortal sin, when one has removed one's self from the life of grace, the will is then turned away from God. Grace moves the intellect to choose repentance and to accept grace.

St. Thomas had also said, Ia IIae, q.55, a.4 ad 6: “Infused virtue is caused in us by God, without our action, not however without our consent”; and further, Ia IIae, q.113, a.3: “By infusing grace God at once moves the free will to accept the gift of grace, in those who are capable of this movement.” As Del Prado rightly observes,op. cit., I, 213: The will cannot strictly move itself to this first act of charity, for as a supernatural conclusion is not contained in a natural principle, neither is a supernatural choice contained in man’s primary natural intention. In fact, before the gift of justifying grace, the will of man is turned away from God on account of mortal sin. Hence it is God who must begin to move the free will of man determinately by grace toward the initial volition of supernatural good, as stated in the famous reply to the third objection, Ia IIae, 9.9, a.6. Similarly, Soto, De nat. et gratia, chap. 16. This is the true interpretation of St. Thomas given by Cajetan, Soto, Lemos, etc.; also by the Salmanticenses, disp. V, dub. VII, no. 165.

God moves the will but does not take over the will. This distinction must be made clearly.

Here is G-L on this point, as clarifying the position of Molina.

For Molina holds (Concordia, disp. 42, p. 242) that according to St. Augustine (De gratia et libero arbitrio, chap. 17) “whatever God effects in us that is supernatural, until the moment when He leads us to the gift of justification, whether we cooperate in it by our free will or not, is called ‘operative grace’; that, however, by which He henceforth assists us to fulfill the whole law and persevere . . . is called ‘cooperative grace.’. . . And this is plainly the sense and intention of Augustine in this place when he draws a distinction between operative and cooperative grace, which will be obvious in the clearest light to anyone examining that chapter, notwithstanding the fact that St. Thomas understands Augustine otherwise in the two articles quoted (Ia IIae, q. III, a. 2 and 3), as well as Soto (De natura et gratia, Bk. I, chap. 16) and some others.”
However, Molina is obliged to explain on the following page (p. 243) the words of St. Paul to the Philippians (2:13): “It is God who works in you, both to will and accomplish,” with regard to which Augustine had said: “Therefore, that we will is brought about by God, without us; but when we will, and so will as to act, He cooperates with us.” With regard to this text, Molina says: “But neither does Augustine mean to assert that we do not cooperate toward willing, by which we are justified, or that it is not effected by us, but by God alone. That certainly would be both contrary to faith and opposed to the teaching of Augustine himself in many other places.”

Referring to these last words of Molina, Father Del Prado (op. cit.  I, 226) declares: “Does St. Thomas teach something contrary to faith in drawing the distinction between operative and cooperative grace? . . . From the lofty and profound teaching of St. Thomas propounded in this article, wherein all is truth and brilliance, does something follow which is contrary to the Catholic faith and the teaching of Augustine himself? . . . Molina departs from the ways of St. Thomas (since he will not admit that God applies and moves the will beforehand, but). . . . He holds that, while God, drawing the soul morally, stands at the gate and knocks, it is man who begins to open, and man alone who actually does open.” In the Apocalypse (3:20) we read: “I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear My voice, and open to Me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” But man does not open it alone; he opens in fact according as God knocks efficaciously. Otherwise how would the words of St. Paul be verified: “What hast thou that thou hast not received?” In the business of salvation, not everything would then be from God.

So, although the will is moved by the intellect to choose good or evil, God gives the grace both to the intellect, as illumination and then moves the will to choose good. We do not choose good on our own.

This may seem like a subtle distinction from those who insist that God will overcomes our will, or that we are somehow so taken over by the Holy Spirit that we cannot but choose good.  We determine the true good and the apparent good, in a cooperative motion in nature, states Thomas.

We desire happiness in general and in nature, and that is the operative motion.

In the supernatural order, operative grace is the inspiration we receive with "docility" in accordance with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  (These words are from G-L's section and graph, page 170 of Grace.

Cooperative grace determines the actual exercise of the virtues in the supernatural order.

And in the supernatural order, one finds operative grace in a person moving towards the final supernatural end. Thomas states, "Through the movement of free will, when we are justified, we consent to the justice of God."

In the supernatural order, also, is found the operative motion of special inspiration, such as poetic, philosophic and strategic inspiration. 

We will charity as an action. We will the final end of our existence which is charity. We will cooperating with God's grace, freely consenting to the grace of God. God opens up our heart to accept Him, and gives us the grace to accept Him. This is operative grace. All the gifrs of the Holy Spirit become operative, in humility and docility, given to us and this is operative grace.

G-L's example is piety. The gift of piety in the will can become operative through grace, but through DELIBERATION, that is, through the workings of the intellect.

Natural instincts impel us, but not grace. There is a movement of the will and free choice, St. Paul's famous phrase from Philippians 2:13 is quoted by Thomas and G-L: "For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish."

St. Thomas’ opinion. St. Thomas rightly interprets St. Augustine (cf. Del Prado,op. cit. I, 224 and 202); for Augustine declares:7 “God, cooperating with us, perfects what He began by operating in us; because in beginning He works in us that we may have the will, and cooperates to perfect the work with us once we are willing. For this reason the Apostles say (Phil. 1:6): ‘Being confident of this very thing, that He, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.’ That we should will is, therefore, accomplished without us; but once we are willing, and willing to such an extent that we act, He cooperates with us; however, without either His operation or His cooperation once we will, we are incapable of any good works of piety. With regard to His bringing it about that we will, it is said in Philippians (2:13): ‘For it is God who worketh in you,  . . . to will.’ But of His cooperation, when we already are willing and willingly act, it is said: ‘We know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good’ (Rom. 8:28).” St. Augustine reiterates this opinion in chapters 5 and 14 of the same book. 
Again, writing to Boniface (Bk. II, chap. 9): “God accomplishes many good things in man which man does not accomplish (operative grace); but man does nothing good which God does not enable him to do (cooperative grace).” This is observed by the Council of Orange (c. 20, Denz., no. 193).
Moreover, according to Augustine, operative grace is not simply grace urging equally him who is converted and him who is not, for Augustine repeats in several places, with reference to predestination: “Why does He draw this man and not that? Do not judge if you do not wish to err” (Super Joan., tr. 26; cf. Ia, q. 23, a. 5). This teaching of Augustine is mentioned by St. Gregory (Moral., Bk. XVI, chap. 10) and by St. Bernard (De gratia et libero arbitrio, chap. 14); both are quoted by Del Prado (op. cit., I, 203).


This is well explained by St. Thomas in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (8:14, lect. 3), a beautiful commentary on the present article. Regarding the words: “Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” he writes as follows: “They are said to be led who are moved by some superior instinct: thus we say of brutes, not that they act, but that they are led or impelled to act, since they are moved by natural instinct, and not by personal movement, to perform their actions.  Likewise the spiritual man is inclined to perform some act, not, as it were, mainly by the movement of his own will, but by an instinct of the Holy Ghost.” This does not, however, prevent spiritual men from using their will and free choice, since what the Holy Ghost causes in them is precisely the movement of their will and free choice, according to Phil. 2:13: “For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish.”

And regarding cooperative grace, G-L notes,

It is this cooperative grace that is referred to in Sacred Scripture; indeed there is even a comparison made with operative grace; for example, in Ezech. 36:27: “And I will put My spirit in the midst of you [operative grace]: and I will cause you to walk in My commandments, and to keep My judgments, and do them [cooperative grace].” Again in I Cor. 15:10: “But by the grace of God, I am what I am [operative grace]; and His grace in me hath not been void, but I have labored more abundantly than all they: yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” This latter is cooperative grace.

And for the sake of clarity, I repeat:

Conclusion of Father Del Prado (op. cit., I, 21 I ): By operative grace God operates in us without our acting or moving ourselves, but not without our consent. Cf. a. 2: Thus in the instant of justification and in the operation of the seven gifts. In fact, certain operative grace is even antecedent in time to our consent, such, for instance, as vocation and admonition when God stands at the gate and knocks before it is opened. Here, however, the free consent may, broadly speaking, be called cooperation on our part; but not in the strict and formal sense in which the term is used by St. Thomas in this article. On the contrary, by cooperative grace, God works in us, not only with our consent, but with our action or motion. This is the Thomistic interpretation of St. Augustine’s teaching; it is eminently profound and in full conformity with faith.

We must consent. 

Referring back to another post of mine in which I quoted the Pope Emeritus, who said that the Holy Spirit does not elect popes, men do.

Men can be moved by the instincts of the Holy Spirit or not be so moved.

The same is true with any person who is living in sin. 

One more excellent quotation to help the understanding of operative grace before getting into more detail:

I reply in the affirmative, together with John of St. Thomas and Father Del Prado; for operative grace first enlightens the intellect, then touches the will and causes a sudden desire for the object proposed through the representation of the intellect; and this is the in-spiration that opens the heart, as the heart of Lydia was “opened to attend to those things which were said by Paul” (Acts 16:14). Hence operative grace not only excites by moral movement, but also operates physically, so that by it the heart of man is opened and led not only to indeliberate acts but sometimes to consent as well, for example, in justification or in acts of the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Now, What does operative grace do in us? What are the effects?

Let me use G-L's own words.

What are the effects of operative grace in us? There are three. (Cf. Father Del Prado, op. cit., I, 234.)

1. The enlightenment of the intellect and the objective pulsation of the heart: this is a moral movement prior to any consent; thereupon the acts are indeliberate, and with respect to this stage operative grace is nothing but a grace which urges.

2. The application of the free will to the holy affection or action, that it may be converted to God; this application is the complement in the secondary cause of the power to operate.

3. The very act of willing, applied to the action, namely, the very act of believing, hoping, and loving: in these acts the will does not remain passive, but elicits the acts freely. However, the will does not properly move itself to such an act as a result of a preceding act, since this act is first in the order of grace and relates to the final end. Hence, contrary to the opinion of Molina, operative grace determinately moving toward these acts is more than a mere urging, and yet liberty is safeguarded, according to St. Thomas.

What about cooperative grace?

Whether cooperative grace produces in us three similar effects. Undoubtedly, for cooperative grace is also a previous movement according to a priority not of time but of causality. But these three effects are in another way, since with cooperative grace the will moves itself on account of some preceding act; thus it wills, presupposing the end already intended. On the contrary, with operative grace the will wills by tending toward the end, and the act of the will resembles that first act of the angels discussed in Ia, q. 63, a. 5, or that first act of the soul of Christ which is considered in IIIa, q. 34, a. 3. In the first instant of His conception, Christ merited not incarnation but the glory of immortality, just as an adult at the instant of justification acquires not the grace of justification but the subsequent grace.

This is an extremely important paragraph. We get all the graces we need for salvation and to avoid sin in baptism. We have to choose the end which is God's Will, and in doing so, cooperate with the grace He has already conferred. 

What is significant is that one can choose otherwise. If one is in sanctifying grace, one will most likely choose to continue in sanctifying grace. If one is not in sanctifying grace, that is, in mortal darkness of serious sin, one can still choose by willing the correct end which God has revealed to us through many sources.

Cooperative grace is a deliberate act. 

We may now read again the well-known reply to the third objection of Ia IIae, q. 9, a. 6, and easily grasp its meaning: “Occasionally God moves some men especially toward willing something determinate which is good, as in those whom He moves by grace, as stated below,” that is, in our article 2. This is operative grace moving determinately, but with which liberty still remains.

I already covered the entire confusion on grace of the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians in that series written a while ago, referring to prevenient and subsequent grace. I shall skip that section of Garrigou-Lagrange and go on to the two encyclicals, with this last reminder that the intellect moves the will, in cooperation with grace. And the will responds, in cooperation with grace. But, none of us are automatons, doomed to act or react in one way of the other, living with the great sacredness of free will.

to be continued...tomorrow with Fides et Ratio.

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Six

Before looking at the encyclicals, one must look at certain definitions. Garrigou-Lagrange defines the types of grace in excellent terms. One of the fallacies of the Synod discussions, is that God is asking the impossible by insisting on true marriage. In other words, the teaching of the Church that God does NOT ask the impossible is purposefully overlooked. Here is some of the great Dominican's explanations of Thomas Aquinas for us. A italics are from Garrigou-Lagrange:

Habitual grace is a supernatural gift of God inhering in the soul.

1. Proof from Scripture. “I will pour upon you clean water” (Ezech. 36:25). (Grace is thus referred to metaphorically, in the New Testament as well: cf. John 4:13.) The following verse continues: “And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you” (Ezech.  36:26). “He hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4). “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rom. 5:3). “Neglect not the grace that is in thee” (I Tim. 4:14). “I admonish thee, that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee” (II Tim. 1:6). “Whosoever is born of God, committeth not sin: for His seed abideth in him” (I John 3:9). “Who also hath sealed us, and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts” (II Cor. 1:22). “Whosoever drinketh of this water, . . . the water . . . shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting” (John 4:13 f.).
As for the teaching of the Fathers, Rouet de Journel (Enchiridion patristicurn, theological index, nos. 354-65) sums up their testimony according to the writings of each of them: the abiding, supernatural gift of habitual grace is infused in justification; sins are really removed; man is interiorly renewed; the Holy Ghost dwells in him; he is made a partaker of the divine nature, an adopted son of God, an heir to the kingdom of heaven, a friend of God; habitual grace ejects mortal sin. Man can never be certain of being just or in the state of grace. The just can merit eternal life.
Hence the Council of Trent declares (Sess. VI, can. 11, Denz., no.  821): “If anyone should say that men are justified either by the imputation of Christ’s justice alone or by the remission of sins alone, exclusive of grace and charity, which are diffused in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and that it inheres in them, or even that grace, by which we are justified, is only a favor from God: let him be anathema.” Cf.  also Council of Trent (Denz., nos. 799 ff ., 809).1

Immediately, we see that habitual grace, faith, hope and charity are given in baptism to those justified through that sacrament. All Catholics, therefore, have what they need to get to heaven, and not to sin mortally.

Grace alone makes us pleasing to God. Some of this is a repetition of what is in my series on this blog on grace.

What makes us pleasing to God is that which is really produced in us by the uncreated love of God for us. But grace is what makes us pleasing to God as children and heirs.  Therefore grace is that which is really produced in us by the uncreated love of God for us.

... it follows that grace is in us a supernatural gift of God inhering in the soul, by which we are truly children of God, born of God, and participators in the divine nature. Thus the love of God is effective in the supernatural as it is in the natural order. And grace generally signifies this gift habitually abiding in the soul, as often referred to by St. Paul. 

Nevertheless, as St. Thomas observes in concluding the body of the article, grace sometimes denotes that very eternal, uncreated love of God, so that accordingly even predestination is called grace, “in that God predestined or elected some gratuitously and not because of merit, for it is said to the Ephesians (1:5): [He] ‘hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children . . . unto the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son’”; that is, unto the manifestation of the diffusion and splendor of His uncreated grace, by which we are made pleasing to God in His Son.

If one is participating in the uncreated love of God, and if this love is effective in both the supernatural and natural order, the baptized can avoid serious sin and make the "right choices" for life.

Actual grace is created. Here is Garrigou-Lagrange again.

Therefore actual grace is something created, as an effect of God, according to St. Thomas (he does not say that actual grace is our action, our vital operation), and it is in us as a motion-passion received in the will, by which the will is moved to elicit its operation.

Grace moves the intellect which moves the will. Motion-passion by which the will is moved, or is made to pass from the potency of willing into the act of willing, is the completion of causality, referred to by St. Thomas (Contra Gentes, Bk. III, chap. 66).

Now, actual grace is not habitual. Habitual grace, unless removed by mortal sin, is permanent. Actual grace is not.

Sanctifying grace is "a permanent quality, as has been shown; moreover it is difficult to dislodge, as far as itself and its principles are concerned, supported as it is by the divine infusion, and indeed being in the spiritual soul the very seed of glory, or life eternal already begun; it is therefore difficult to dislodge, although accidentally, by reason of the subject and of the aberrations and caprices of its free will, it can be lost. “For we carry this treasure in fragile vessels.” (Cf. De veritate, q. 27, a. 1-9.)3 Finally it disposes the subject in a good, or favorable, state toward God and for avoidance of sin. But in the following article, where habitual grace is distinguished from charity, we shall see that the former is an entitative (as he says earlier, health beauty) and not an operative habit, except radically."

Sanctifying grace is the principle of the sanctification of the just, whether men or angels, so is the sacramental grace of baptism the principle of Christian sanctification, and the sacramental grace of holy orders the principle of sanctification of priests who re the ministers of Christ.

Why these definitions are important today is that many people are denying these categorically.

More here: sanctifying grace is more that the virtues given at baptism.

St. Thomas’ conclusion is that sanctifying grace is something beyond the infused virtues which are derived from it, just as the natural light of reason is something beyond the acquired virtues derived from that light.
1 . Scriptural proof. Holy Scripture speaks of grace and of charity as of two separate things. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God” (II Cor. 13:13). “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rom. 5:5); but He is given to us through grace, by reason of which He dwells in us. “The grace of our Lord hath abounded exceedingly with faith and love” (I Tim.1:14).
Likewise the Council of Vienne (Denz., no. 483) speaks of the baptized as those to whom “grace and the virtues” were imparted.  The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, can. 7, Denz., no. 799) declares that “the renewal of the inner man is brought about by the voluntary acceptance of grace and the gifts”; canon II (Denz., 821) defines “man as not justified without grace and charity.” Moreover, in this sense the mind of the Council is interpreted by the Catechism of the Council (part 2, “Baptism,” chap. 38) wherein sanctifying grace is described, while not yet speaking of charity, and then (chap. 39) it is declared: “To this is added the most noble train of all the virtues, which are infused in the soul together with grace.
St. Augustine speaks in the same strain as quoted in the argument Sed contra (De dono persever., chap. 16): “Grace precedes charity.” But no reason can be adduced to explain why Holy Scripture, the Councils, and the Fathers, referring to a matter of dogma, should always understand one and the same thing under diverse names; it would be, at least, useless repetition; and since it occurs frequently, we may draw from these authorities, at least as more probable, the opinion that grace and charity are really distinct.

But and here is the key point for those who are in irregular marriages, charity, which is true love, only comes from and through grace. Those without grace, who because they are in mortal sin cannot receive sanctifying grace, do not have what is needed for the marriage contract.

As Aristotle notes, a virtue is a disposition of perfection and the Church tells us that the virtues flow from sanctifying grace.

Here is G-L again, Grace is a participation in the divine nature; charity is a participation in the divine will.

Now, if I had time, like a semester of teaching, I could add several "classes" on what the divine nature is that one in grace is participating in. But, to simplify, one can emphasize "charity is the participation in the divine will". Without the virtue of charity, one is not uniting one's will with God's will. 

Habitual grace, states Thomas, is enough to keep us from sinning. That Christ has merited all the grace for us, He gives these to us in order for us to become divine (divinization).

But, sanctifying grace is "over and above" in addition to habitual grace. I shall come back to this later.

G-L notes: The soul is the subject of grace, since it resides in a species of intellectual nature, or in the intelligent soul, although the infused virtue of chastity is in the sensitive appetite. 

If one is in grace, one does not have to sin, and sin is a choice. It is interesting that the point on the infused virtue of chastity is in the sensitive appetite. Thus, God is not asking the impossible.

Back to sacramental grace, also called sanctifying grace:

According to IIIa, q.62, a.2: “Sacramental grace adds, over and above [habitual] grace generally so called and above the virtues and gifts, a certain divine help toward the attainment of the end of the sacrament.” In the reply to the first objection of the same article St. Thomas maintains that “the grace of the virtues and gifts perfects the essence and powers of the soul sufficiently with respect to the general ordering of the acts of the soul (so it was in Adam before the Fall and in the angels in whom did not reside Christian grace strictly speaking, which was conferred upon men by Christ the Redeemer). But with respect to certain special effects which are demanded by a Christian life, sacramental grace is required.” Thus it may also be said that in the angels and in Adam before the Fall there resided supernatural grace, as a participation of the divine nature, but not however as Christian grace proceeding from Christ the Redeemer and forming souls in the image of Christ crucified. 

Sacramental grace is not a new infused habit really distinct from habitual grace, but it adds over and above ordinary grace a certain right to actual graces to be received at the appropriate time and corresponding to the special end of the sacraments; for example, the grace of holy orders confers the right to the actual graces necessary to celebrate Mass. And this moral right is a relationship which requires a real basis; the real basis is sacramental grace, properly speaking, inasmuch as it is really permanent in the soul. And the more probable opinion, as Thomists assert, is that it is a special mode and a special force of sanctifying grace, which overflow into the acts of the virtue. (Cf. St. Thomas, De veritate, q. 27, a. 5 ad 12.) Thus we speak of priestly charity, of priestly prudence. John of St. Thomas, the Salmanticenses, Contenson, Hugon, Merkelbach, and several other Thomists accept this explanation.

Can we not see how some of the Synod fathers either do not know these definitions of grace, or chose to ignore them for reasons unknown?

The grace of a sacrament is fitting for that state-and graces are given in the sacrament of matrimony. 

May I add that, of course, as noted by G-L, animals do not have grace, nor do they have the intellective faculties to chose. To compare human activities or relationships with those of the other, lower animals constitues a fallacy.

By the way, as noted in the series on grace, all grace is gift, and especially the "first sanctifying grace" and the last grace "final perseverance" are not merited at all by humans.

Grace to persevere in good actions all of one's life is not merited, either. But, that will be further discussed in the section on the division of grace later.

Needless to say, the denial of grace is actually the heresy of Jansenism. This is key for readers to know when trying to understand what is going on at the Synod.

Jansenism denies that free will cooperates with grace.

This notion is mentioned in a post here yesterday. In other words, this fallacy that the will is taken over by grace and the Holy Spirit without the assent of free will, seems to be an operative heresy in some of the bishops in the Synod. We refuse or assent to grace.

Thus, the giving of Communion to those is irregular marriage denies that they have been given grace to repent. Or, this stand denies that people have free will and are merely slaves to their passions.

G-L notes: St. Thomas says (De verit., q.27, a.I ad 9): “Although by one act of mortal sin grace may be expelled, grace is not, however, expelled easily; for it is not easy for one who possesses grace to perform such an act, on account of the inclination in a contrary direction; thus the Philosopher says in his Ethics, Bk. V, chap. 6, that it is difficult for the just man to commit an injustice.”

Of course, when one is in mortal sin, it is much more difficult to turn back to God, but not impossible. One cannot receive the grace of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist if one is in mortal sin. I shall return to this topic.


God does not ask the impossible.

to be I am moving on to the intellect's role, and then to the encyclicals.

Homeschoolers--for the home classroom

CTS has produced a Catholic Knowledge Network series of posters. There are eight in the series.

Find them here. These come laminated.

Elton John should read this...first article

Over 2 million IVF embryos killed since 1990


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Over 2 million IVF embryos killed since 1990

frozen embryos at risk
Over 2 million IVF embryos killed since 1990
The number of embryos killed in the UK has increased almost every year since records began, now amounting to 170,000 a year, according to new figures. The same figures also show that 2,053,656 embryos have been killed since 1990. The figures are held by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and were released in a parliamentary answer to Lord Alton. [Catholic Herald, 11 Mar]

France considers "deep sleep" bill 
A bill to allow patients to halt treatment and be given general anaesthesia until death will be debated in the French parliament tomorrow. Jean Leonetti of the UMP party said: "The patient has to be at the end of their life and suffering despite the treatment given...When these elements are present, I (the doctor) am obliged to start sedation that is deep and continues until death". Representatives of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities in France have opposed the legislation. [France 24, 10 Mar]

Dublin rally challenges media's pro-abortion bias
A rally in Dublin against the media's basis against the pro-life cause was attended by 300 demonstrators in Dublin last week. The rally, entitled "33 to 1: Challenging Media Bias" was organised by the Pro-life Campaign. Wendy Grace of the Pro-Life Campaign told The Irish Timesthat the title of the rally was chosen because 33 pro-abortion articles had been published in the Irish media compared to just one pro-life article within a period of two weeks. [Irish Times, 11 Mar]

Pro-abortion buffer-zone campaign is money-driven and anti-women
The abortion industry's "Back-Off" campaign is a money-driven exercise designed to stop women receiving help to avoid abortions. Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, said: "The campaign against these pro-life counsellors is being supported and run by private abortion clinics and others with financial interests in abortion. They do not want women getting help to avoid abortions." [SPUC, 4 Mar]

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Knowledge of Divine Things Part Five

A brief comment on the humility of philosophers and theologians regarding definitions must be added to this mini-series. We ask for clarification, for grace knowing that God will not ignore our please. We are each to become what God intended us to be. The word "deify" involves not only us grasping God as much as He wills by our intelligence, but also by His bringing us into "the essential intimate reason of Deity."

Grace implies more than relationship, however, it implies the way we come to know God, and there are various levels of knowledge, to which I shall return in this series later. Intuition is one way.

Let me quote Garrigou-Lagrange again:

Sanctifying grace, which is far superior to the angelic nature, is an analogical likeness to God inasmuch as He is God, or to His Deity, to His intimate life, which is not naturally knowable in a positive way. This is why, above the kingdoms of nature (mineral, vegetable, animal, human, angelic), there is the kingdom of God: the intimate life of God and its formal participation by the angels and the souls of the just.

Therefore to know perfectly the essence or quiddity of grace, one would have to know the light of glory of which it is the seed, just as one must know what an oak is to know the essence of the germ contained in an acorn. But it is impossible to know perfectly the essence of the light of glory, essentially ordered to the vision of God, without knowing the divine essence immediately by intuition.  Hence St. Thomas declares, in demonstrating that only God can produce grace, Ia IIae, q. 112, a. 2: “It must be that God alone should deify, communicating a fellowship in the divine nature by a certain participated likeness, just as it is impossible for anything but fire to ignite.” The word “deify” shows that grace is a participation in the divine nature, not according to the reason of being or intelligence merely, but by the essential, intimate reason of Deity.

Knowledge of Divine Things Four

Interesting, I just got into my email box the text of the sermon of Cardinal Burke at Ramsgate last week. The link is here.

However, I did not read the text until now and find that the Cardinal, also, refers to Satan trying to destroy the Church as I wrote yesterday. I am encouraged by his references, as I can say I am on the right track with my assessment of the problem.

Here is part of his talk:

Surely, too, we are conscious of the great challenges in living the apostolic faith in our time. Truly, Satan, “a murderer from the beginning” and “the father of lies”(7), cannot stand the truth and love of Christ shining forth in His holy Church. He never takes repose from his deceitful and hateful labors. He is always trying to corrupt the truth, the beauty and the goodness which Christ never ceases to pour forth into our Christian souls from His glorious pierced Heart. The pervasive confusion and grave error about the most fundamental truths, the most beautiful realities, and the lasting goods of human life and its cradle, the human family, as they come to us from the hand of God, are the tragic signs of Satan’s presence in our midst. When we see how he has succeeded in corrupting a culture which was once Christian and in sowing the seeds of confusion and error even within the Church herself, we can easily become frightened and discouraged.

The corruption in the Church is of the intellect, which is why I am writing this series. We have handed Satan our schools and parishes on a platter by ignoring how he is attacking us-in the very basic truths of the Church which must be explained through reason.

An emotional church would not be a Catholic Church, but something much less.

I watched a video of a supposed discussion with Muslims concerning the death of apostates. Some of the Muslims involved began accusing people of racism and attack because they did not want to answer the questions rationally, because they did not want to reveal the truths of their faith. Truth must prevail in all discussions, not purposeful obfuscation.

We cannot fall into this position of avoiding the tough questions. That is how Satan wins the battle-by undermining the creed, code and cult--beliefs, laws and liturgy. Unless we understand the whys, the whats, the whos, the whens and the wheres, we are living like prostestants, and falling into anti-intellectual ideologies.

Reason will always lead to truth and truth leads one to Christ and the Catholic Church.

Knowledge of Divine Things Three

Part of my review of the basics will be examining Fides et Ratio. As the Pope Emeritus noted, reason incompatible with faith is not reason, and faith opposed to rationality is not faith. I shall also look at Caritas in Veritate. 

We have been given for years all we need to combat the evils which now are so obvious in the Church. But, too many lay people and priests have allowed themselves to be distracted from what they should be studying and contemplating. Apparition and false seer chasers have set aside reason, and therefore, their faith suffers to the point where they not only rely on the comforts of the emotions, but move themselves out of the Church.

A quotation from Benedict, via TAC website, and another repost to get going.

“In his encyclical Fides et Ratio, my venerated predecessor, Pope John Paul II recalled that ‘the Church has been justified in consistently proposing St. Thomas a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology’ (No. 43).
“It is not surprising that, after St. Augustine, among the writers mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas is quoted more than any other — some 61 times! He was also called the Doctor Angelicus, perhaps because of his virtues, in particular the loftiness of his thought and purity of life.
“In short, Thomas Aquinas showed there is a natural harmony between Christian faith and reason. And this was the great work of Thomas, who in that moment of encounter between two cultures — that moment in which it seemed that faith should surrender before reason — showed that they go together, that what seemed to be reason incompatible with faith was not reason, and what seemed to be faith was not faith, in so far as it was opposed to true rationality; thus he created a new synthesis, which shaped the culture of the following centuries.”

and from another blog 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Rethinking The New Evangelization

The call to new evangelization cannot be a static one. As 

Catholics, we have a duty to know our audience, our target 
groupings. And, I am convinced we are not addressing the 
youth of today in the mode which they need.

Too often, evangelization either is too banal, that is, 
watered down to the lowest common denominator; or it is 
an attempt to bring people out of serious sin by attacking 
the sins; or it is the speaking of Jesus as Saviour again 
outside of context of the larger perspective of what is 
means to be human and what it means to know a particular 

I have been thinking about St. Augustine and his 
importance to our Catholic world today. He wrote in a 
similar time-the great destruction of a civilization which had 
endured for hundreds of years. He also bought a 
philosophical approach to all that chaos.

The Hebrews experienced much the same situation over 
and over and over. Either they were destroying old 
civilizations, or their own was being destroyed by 
whatever conqueror was the most powerful.

The reason for my ruminations is that we need, desperately, Catholic minds which can stop 

addressing the moral questions, stop addressing the ethical questions, and go back further to the 
basic questions of the existence of God and the nature of what it is to be human.
Now, obviously, we need the ethical discussion, 
so prominent among good Thomists, as Aquinas, 
like Aristotle, who dealt with vice, virtue, law and so on, 
but the world we are dealing with now is one of agnosticism 
and atheism. Those people deserve better discussions than what we have been able to give. 
Starting with morals is not the way to converse with 
atheists or agnostics, who lack a moral structure and may not even believe in one, except relativism. 

There are few great Catholic minds which can address the basic questions youth ask today. 

Here are a few of those questions. 

Is there a God?

What would be the meaning of being human?

What is the relationship between men and God?

Why are we here?

Do you ever doubt?

Why do you want to be a Catholic?

Augustine wrote his City of God in direct response to pagans, agnostics, and even atheists who were 

blaming Catholics for the fall of Rome. Hey, folks, this will happen again and I do not see the 
bright spark, a new Augustine, who can address the entire question of the nature of man, 
the City of God and the secular city in terms of basic principles. Phenomenology is too 
personalistic for this discussion. We need to revisit the Greeks,the Romans, all part of our heritage. 
We need to go back to the basics, or we shall continue to lose yet another generation and the Church
in the places where we live.

Apologetics has been so slanted towards ethics, towards morality, that it has set aside the first 

principles. As humans and as Catholics, we must be able to discuss metaphysics at this level. 
Aristotle, Aquinas, the neo-Thomists, even educators, such as Montessori, all of whom are part 
of my mindset, my history, used the scientific method of rational discourse.

This is no longer accepted by many, and we cannot meet physicists, politicians, academics of any 

kind with language they no longer accept.

We must go back further. And, I do not mean Duns Scotus, who was more popular than Aquinas 

for a very long time. Nominalism is limited as well. We must go back and ask the basic questions of 
believing, of the supernatural, of God Himself. We must evangelize at this level, and not merely 
the moral or ethical one. But the moral comes out of rational discourse.Those Millennials who 
ask the basic questions have no framework for morality because they have no philosophical 

Benedict, the Pope Emeritus, was the man of the time, reminding us that Augustine 
was not only a theologian, but a philosopher. We need to look at 
him again in that light, and at those Doctors of the Church who 
helped the Church develop doctrine from the basic principles.

The reason we must think in different terms is that we are 
witnessing the chaos of the death of Western Civilization and to 
speak in any terms purely from moral or ethical viewpoints will 
not speak to the hearts of those completely at a loss, at sea in 

That is what the Moslems do - speak only in ideological, so-called
moral terms. This type of approach does not speak to the very 
essence of who a person is and who God is. Imposing law without 
the reasons for such begs the question of religion.

I read and hear too many high-ranking priests, bishops, 
theologians, especially moral theologians, who do not have the 
proper perspective of the problem of basic principles, because 
their own training was so limited. Try and find excellent 
philosophers in seminaries who are orthodox and can engage 
at this level of thinking.

When one answers the questions of who man is and Who God is, then the moral and ethical 

questions fall into place

I hope God raises up some great metaphysical minds in this era. I hope and pray that both clergy and 

laity can learn to evangelize from basic principles. 


St. Joseph, Pray for Us

St. Joseph's title of Patron of the Universal Church is my favorite title for him.

As the Church is in so much danger, here is a good prayer to him for today, his feast.

My sister, who died a long time ago, would have been sixty today. She is in heaven, with the little ones who die after baptism, and at the age of innocence.

She stands with the little virgins before the throne of God. May she, little St. Elizabeth Ann, bring this prayer to Joseph today, as she was born on his feast day in 1955 and died almost exactly one year later.

O most poweful patriarch, Saint Joseph, patron of that universal Church which has always invoked thee in anxieties and tribulations; from the lofty seat of thy glory lovingly regard the Catholic world. Let it move thy paternal heart to see the mystical spouse of Christ and His vicar weakened by sorrow and persecuted by powerful enemies. We beseech thee, by the most bitter suffering thou didst experience on earth, to wipe away in mercy the tears of the revered pontiff, to defend and liberate him, and to intercede with the Giver of peace and charity, that every hostile power being overcome and every error being destroyed, the whole Church may serve the God of all blessings in perfect liberty.