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Friday 20 March 2015

The Lie of Faith-Based Government

The State in America and the United Kingdom have supported a lie that these governments are faith-based. These are not.

This lie makes Catholics believe that they will be protected by the State. With a national church in the United Kingdom, people are lulled into thinking that the Queen and Parliament follow God's Will.

This, of course, is obviously not so. The Queen signed the ssm bill, for example, and Parliament approved women bishops.

The American Supreme Court "legalized" abortion and will legalize ssm.

These governments are worse than the pagan governments of old, worse, as those nations did not have legal standings for either abortion or ssm.

For Catholics to pretend these governments will protect religion must be the biggest deception on the part of so many in the pew.

Neither government is faith-based. In fact, as there is no middle ground for morality, one must say these governments have chosen to follow satan, not God.

There is no neutral in morality.

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Fifteen

If you give people the knowledge of who they are and who God is then they will choose God. This is what I mean by getting back to metaphysics in the Church.  That is why I am doing this series. If the laity do not know the "whys", they must be obedient.

The Ordinary Magisterium of the Church must come to the realization that they have to know the faith, not just leave it to the hierarchy.

This will change the Church. We need a very high standard of adult education.

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Fourteen Fides et Ratio Part Seven

The thirst for truth is so rooted in the human heart that to be obliged to ignore it would cast our existence into jeopardy. 

Again, here is a one-liner which sticks...Our existence as a Church is in jeopardy because too many of the shepherds no longer thirst for truth.

Yes, the Church will last until Christ comes, as He promised, but it could be very, very small.

St. John Paul II continues on the overlap of human perfection and charity. How wonderful that the saint tells us that there is a trust which makes us give ourselves individually over to the truth and the seeking of the truth.

Where this is missing, the Church is weak.

Human perfection, then, consists not simply in acquiring an abstract knowledge of the truth, but in a dynamic relationship of faithful self-giving with others. It is in this faithful self-giving that a person finds a fullness of certainty and security. At the same time, however, knowledge through belief, grounded as it is on trust between persons, is linked to truth: in the act of believing, men and women entrust themselves to the truth which the other declares to them.


It is the nature of the human being to seek the truth. This search looks not only to the attainment of truths which are partial, empirical or scientific; nor is it only in individual acts of decision-making that people seek the true good. Their search looks towards an ulterior truth which would explain the meaning of life. And it is therefore a search which can reach its end only in reaching the absolute.28 Thanks to the inherent capacities of thought, man is able to encounter and recognize a truth of this kind. Such a truth—vital and necessary as it is for life—is attained not only by way of reason but also through trusting acquiescence to other persons who can guarantee the authenticity and certainty of the truth itself. There is no doubt that the capacity to entrust oneself and one's life to another person and the decision to do so are among the most significant and expressive human acts.

Sadly, most of us are not in a community of truth-seekers. Most Catholics find themselves in groups, parishes, dioceses, where the truth is avoided for political or personal reasons.

The searching for truth can be a lonely journey.

John Paul II expresses in this document a hope that friendships in the Lord can help one find the truth and sustain that journey.

But, ultimately, we must turn to our personal relationship with Christ and His Church. Only in Christ can we find truth, as He is Truth.

This truth, which God reveals to us in Jesus Christ, is not opposed to the truths which philosophy perceives. On the contrary, the two modes of knowledge lead to truth in all its fullness. The unity of truth is a fundamental premise of human reasoning, as the principle of non-contradiction makes clear. Revelation renders this unity certain, showing that the God of creation is also the God of salvation history. It is the one and the same God who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things upon which scientists confidently depend,29 and who reveals himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This unity of truth, natural and revealed, is embodied in a living and personal way in Christ, as the Apostle reminds us: “Truth is in Jesus” (cf. Eph 4:21; Col 1:15-20). He is the eternal Word in whom all things were created, and he is the incarnate Word who in his entire person 30 reveals the Father (cf. Jn 1:14, 18). What human reason seeks “without knowing it” (cf. Acts 17:23) can be found only through Christ: what is revealed in him is “the full truth” (cf. Jn 1:14-16) of everything which was created in him and through him and which therefore in him finds its fulfilment (cf. Col 1:17).

There is a false revisionist history from the 19th century which makes those members of the Early Church look like hicks from the backwoods, coming together out of fear of persecution, or being only a group of "simple" people. This view became popular with the progressives and the Protestants, who want to continue pushing an anti-intellectual religious stance.

Note this from John Paul II:

36. The Acts of the Apostles provides evidence that Christian proclamation was engaged from the very first with the philosophical currents of the time. In Athens, we read, Saint Paul entered into discussion with “certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers” (17:18); and exegetical analysis of his speech at the Areopagus has revealed frequent allusions to popular beliefs deriving for the most part from Stoicism. This is by no means accidental. If pagans were to understand them, the first Christians could not refer only to “Moses and the prophets” when they spoke. They had to point as well to natural knowledge of God and to the voice of conscience in every human being (cf. Rom 1:19-21; 2:14-15; Acts 14:16-17). Since in pagan religion this natural knowledge had lapsed into idolatry (cf. Rom 1:21-32), the Apostle judged it wiser in his speech to make the link with the thinking of the philosophers, who had always set in opposition to the myths and mystery cults notions more respectful of divine transcendence.
One of the major concerns of classical philosophy was to purify human notions of God of mythological elements. We know that Greek religion, like most cosmic religions, was polytheistic, even to the point of divinizing natural things and phenomena. Human attempts to understand the origin of the gods and hence the origin of the universe find their earliest expression in poetry; and the theogonies remain the first evidence of this human search. But it was the task of the fathers of philosophy to bring to light the link between reason and religion. As they broadened their view to include universal principles, they no longer rested content with the ancient myths, but wanted to provide a rational foundation for their belief in the divinity. This opened a path which took its rise from ancient traditions but allowed a development satisfying the demands of universal reason. This development sought to acquire a critical awareness of what they believed in, and the concept of divinity was the prime beneficiary of this. Superstitions were recognized for what they were and religion was, at least in part, purified by rational analysis. It was on this basis that the Fathers of the Church entered into fruitful dialogue with ancient philosophy, which offered new ways of proclaiming and understanding the God of Jesus Christ.

Jesus was born in "the fullness of time", planned from all ages, as the perfect meeting of Greek philosophy and Jewish revelation. The good of rational discourse, such as the ethics and logic of Aristotle, became the basis for explaining what was given in Revelation. 

Of course, as John Paul II points out and as we know from Church history, the pitfalls of false philosophical thinking, such as that of the Gnostics, impeded some Christians in their search for truth.

But, as the grace of God in the Church prevailed over this and other heresies, one could see the development of sound principles of thinking emerging early on in the Early Fathers of the Church and the Doctors of the Church.

From the encyclical again: That is why the criticism of Celsus—that Christians were “illiterate and uncouth”31—is unfounded and untrue. Their initial disinterest is to be explained on other grounds. The encounter with the Gospel offered such a satisfying answer to the hitherto unresolved question of life's meaning that delving into the philosophers seemed to them something remote and in some ways outmoded.
That seems still more evident today, if we think of Christianity's contribution to the affirmation of the right of everyone to have access to the truth. In dismantling barriers of race, social status and gender, Christianity proclaimed from the first the equality of all men and women before God. One prime implication of this touched the theme of truth. The elitism which had characterized the ancients' search for truth was clearly abandoned. Since access to the truth enables access to God, it must be denied to none. There are many paths which lead to truth, but since Christian truth has a salvific value, any one of these paths may be taken, as long as it leads to the final goal, that is to the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

So, why is philosophy important and my entire emphasis on the lack of metaphysics in the documents of  the synod?

Because, as John Paul II stated, philosophy could defend the faith. Another word for this is apologetics....

A pioneer of positive engagement with philosophical thinking—albeit with cautious discernment—was Saint Justin. Although he continued to hold Greek philosophy in high esteem after his conversion, Justin claimed with power and clarity that he had found in Christianity “the only sure and profitable philosophy”.32 Similarly, Clement of Alexandria called the Gospel “the true philosophy”,33 and he understood philosophy, like the Mosaic Law, as instruction which prepared for Christian faith 34 and paved the way for the Gospel.35 Since “philosophy yearns for the wisdom which consists in rightness of soul and speech and in purity of life, it is well disposed towards wisdom and does all it can to acquire it. We call philosophers those who love the wisdom that is creator and mistress of all things, that is knowledge of the Son of God”.36 For Clement, Greek philosophy is not meant in the first place to bolster and complete Christian truth. Its task is rather the defence of the faith: “The teaching of the Saviour is perfect in itself and has no need of support, because it is the strength and the wisdom of God. Greek philosophy, with its contribution, does not strengthen truth; but, in rendering the attack of sophistry impotent and in disarming those who betray truth and wage war upon it, Greek philosophy is rightly called the hedge and the protective wall around the vineyard”.37

Amen and what is missing in the Church right now is this hedge.

To be continued....

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Thirteen Fides et Ratio Six

Sometimes in an encyclical, a line "jumps out" at a person. Here is one from Fides et Ratio, the focus of this half of the series, now no longer "mini". I backtrack a bit in this post....

If human beings with their intelligence fail to recognize God as Creator of all, it is not because they lack the means to do so, but because their free will and their sinfulness place an impediment in the way.

I hear so many people, especially in the UK, speaking of the ignorance of people as if humans beings were cattle. St. John Paul II and many others have made it clear to us that our natural, as well as supernatural intellegence can lead us to God. The intellect will be illumined by grace if one is open to metanoia, to change. (See my previous posts on metanoia). The free will can be closed to God by a continual life of sin which causes one's discernment to darken. (See the series on discernment).

True ignorance must be rare in this era of communications. The vast majority of young people have more knowlege, more information, (not necessarily knowledge,) literally at their fingertips. God nudges people to see Him. He wants to "be found".  What is missing is fear of the Lord. Here is John Paul II again.

For the Old Testament, then, faith liberates reason in so far as it allows reason to attain correctly what it seeks to know and to place it within the ultimate order of things, in which everything acquires true meaning. In brief, human beings attain truth by way of reason because, enlightened by faith, they discover the deeper meaning of all things and most especially of their own existence. Rightly, therefore, the sacred author identifies the fear of God as the beginning of true knowledge: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov 1:7; cf. Sir 1:14).

One may ask the question as to why a certain person would no longer "fear the Lord" or what true knowledge? I have asked myself this question after speaking with many women and men who are following false seers, even those condemned. Why do they not fear the Lord, who speaks through the Church? Why do they not want true knowledge and are closed when presented with alternative explanations to what they are believing? Why do sodomites not fear the Lord, or the arrogant who oppress the poor?

Why do those in power in the Church not fear the Lord and, instead, follow their own counsels?

 Remember my post on Thomas Merton stating that television was intruding into the space created by God for contemplation of Him and His mysteries? But, television is not the only power which clogs the special ability of humans to reflect reasonably on God and His ways. Power, status, sex, money...the list is endless. Some one I know and respect told me on Tuesday that poverty was a great gift to him, as it made him detached from such things. Here is the saint again:

In the first chapter of his Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul helps us to appreciate better the depth of insight of the Wisdom literature's reflection. Developing a philosophical argument in popular language, the Apostle declares a profound truth: through all that is created the “eyes of the mind” can come to know God. Through the medium of creatures, God stirs in reason an intuition of his “power” and his “divinity” (cf. Rom 1:20). This is to concede to human reason a capacity which seems almost to surpass its natural limitations. Not only is it not restricted to sensory knowledge, from the moment that it can reflect critically upon the data of the senses, but, by discoursing on the data provided by the senses, reason can reach the cause which lies at the origin of all perceptible reality. In philosophical terms, we could say that this important Pauline text affirms the human capacity for metaphysical enquiry.

Now, John Paul II is getting to the meat of the encyclical. We are all capable of metaphysical enquiry, what is missing in Catholic newspaper editorials and commentaries, Catholic magazines, Catholic television shows, Catholic blogs. The framework for discussion is not there.

Few are reasoning out the basic questions.


Why have they turned away from the capacity which is given to all?

As I noted, all the heresies, ALL, are now attacking the Church. The list is long and embodied in particular people, cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, the laity.

And where are, I repeat, the Augustines, the Athanasius, the Bellarmines, to respond to these attacks within the Church?

If all have the capacity, then those who are steeped in heresy have purposefully turned away from truth, as God will allow Himself to be found by the just man.

If all have the capacity, why are the laity putting at the brush fires and ignoring the firestorm creeping over the edge of the mountain? Comments on blogs, letters to editors, petitions, will not change the heresies in the Church. Actions must be preceded by contemplation, meditation, mortification.
The blindness of pride, states John Paul II, removes one from the knowledge which God wants to give. Disobedience, whether in not keeping marriage vows, or following condemned seers, darkens the intellect in a turning away owing to pride.

But, Praise be to Jesus Christ, He came and freed our reason. So, why do so many people go back and choose the shackles?

The blindness of pride deceived our first parents into thinking themselves sovereign and autonomous, and into thinking that they could ignore the knowledge which comes from God. All men and women were caught up in this primal disobedience, which so wounded reason that from then on its path to full truth would be strewn with obstacles. From that time onwards the human capacity to know the truth was impaired by an aversion to the One who is the source and origin of truth. It is again the Apostle who reveals just how far human thinking, because of sin, became “empty”, and human reasoning became distorted and inclined to falsehood (cf. Rom 1:21-22). The eyes of the mind were no longer able to see clearly: reason became more and more a prisoner to itself. The coming of Christ was the saving event which redeemed reason from its weakness, setting it free from the shackles in which it had imprisoned itself.

23. This is why the Christian's relationship to philosophy requires thorough-going discernment. In the New Testament, especially in the Letters of Saint Paul, one thing emerges with great clarity: the opposition between “the wisdom of this world” and the wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ. The depth of revealed wisdom disrupts the cycle of our habitual patterns of thought, which are in no way able to express that wisdom in its fullness.

John Paul II knows it is the Cross which brings one back to the basic questions of philosophical thinking, to the metaphysics of all teaching which is good, beautiful and true in the Church.

The wisdom of the Cross, therefore, breaks free of all cultural limitations which seek to contain it and insists upon an openness to the universality of the truth which it bears. What a challenge this is to our reason, and how great the gain for reason if it yields to this wisdom! Of itself, philosophy is able to recognize the human being's ceaselessly self-transcendent orientation towards the truth; and, with the assistance of faith, it is capable of accepting the “foolishness” of the Cross as the authentic critique of those who delude themselves that they possess the truth, when in fact they run it aground on the shoals of a system of their own devising. The preaching of Christ crucified and risen is the reef upon which the link between faith and philosophy can break up, but it is also the reef beyond which the two can set forth upon the boundless ocean of truth. Here we see not only the border between reason and faith, but also the space where the two may meet.

So one reason why so many refuse to think is that they refuse to do the hard thing-follow the Cross. 

The acceptance of suffering clears the mind and allows for the grace of God to illuminate the intellect. Running away from the Cross deadens this process.

What we have seen in recent days are examples of those running away from the Cross, and instead, choosing those "cultural limitations" which attempt to put truth into a box.

Here is the truth:  The search for truth, of course, is not always so transparent nor does it always produce such results. The natural limitation of reason and the inconstancy of the heart often obscure and distort a person's search. Truth can also drown in a welter of other concerns. People can even run from the truth as soon as they glimpse it because they are afraid of its demands. Yet, for all that they may evade it, the truth still influences life. Life in fact can never be grounded upon doubt, uncertainty or deceit; such an existence would be threatened constantly by fear and anxiety. One may define the human being, therefore, asthe one who seeks the truth.

St. John Paul II sheds light on the running away from truth by some...

to be continued...and is it not strange that a prominent Jewish commentator used this passage, referring to the knowledge of the Lord in relation to the eclipse on Friday? Interesting.

Isaiah 11:9: “None will harm or destroy another on My entire holy mountain, for the land will be as 

full of the knowledge of the Lord as the sea is filled with water.”

Read more: Solar eclipse Friday has some looking for signs from God | The Times of Israel
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Knowledge of Divine Things Part Twelve Fides et Ratio Five

In yesterday's Benedictine Divine Office, which I use, and is called the Monastic Diurnal, at None, the reading from Wisdom 10:10 was this: She conducted the just, when he fled from his brother' s wrath, through the right ways, and shewed him the kingdom of God, and gave him the knowledge of the holy things, made him honourable in his labours, and accomplished his labours.

A reference to Solomon, this passage uses the phrase I chose for this series-the knowledge of holy things, or the knowledge of diving things.

Solomon desired wisdom. 

All people desire truth and desire God, although they may not know this. St. John Paul II reminds us that we all seek knowledge of some kind in order to be fulfilled.

The Apostle (Paul) accentuates a truth which the Church has always treasured: in the far reaches of the human heart there is a seed of desire and nostalgia for God. The Liturgy of Good Friday recalls this powerfully when, in praying for those who do not believe, we say: “Almighty and eternal God, you created mankind so that all might long to find you and have peace when you are found”.22 There is therefore a path which the human being may choose to take, a path which begins with reason's capacity to rise beyond what is contingent and set out towards the infinite.

The saint notes, quoting St. Augustine, that people do not want deceit, and reject it when it is discovered, although they may want to deceive.

Now, at this juncture, John Paul II comes to the main point of humans needing and desiring the answers to basic questions. Have so many priests, bishops, and cardinals forgotten this desire for truth and, instead, settle for compromise and u

The truth comes initially to the human being as a question: Does life have a meaning? Where is it going? At first sight, personal existence may seem completely meaningless. It is not necessary to turn to the philosophers of the absurd or to the provocative questioning found in the Book of Job in order to have doubts about life's meaning. The daily experience of suffering—in one's own life and in the lives of others—and the array of facts which seem inexplicable to reason are enough to ensure that a question as dramatic as the question of meaning cannot be evaded.26 Moreover, the first absolutely certain truth of our life, beyond the fact that we exist, is the inevitability of our death. Given this unsettling fact, the search for a full answer is inescapable. Each of us has both the desire and the duty to know the truth of our own destiny. We want to know if death will be the definitive end of our life or if there is something beyond—if it is possible to hope for an after-life or not. It is not insignificant that the death of Socrates gave philosophy one of its decisive orientations, no less decisive now than it was more than two thousand years ago. It is not by chance, then, that faced with the fact of death philosophers have again and again posed this question, together with the question of the meaning of life and immortality.

John Paul II, perhaps, saw the lack of asking the basic questions among some of his own confreres. Perhaps, he wanted to remind them of death, and the need to find out the truth of "our own destiny". 

Socrates, who asked all the right questions, was killed by the authorities for corrupting youth. This corruption was the simple asking of questions. The bureaucrats of Athens saw questions which led to thinking skills as dangerous to the polis. Of course, comformity and undivided loyality without thought is always demanded of tyrannies.

Catholics who learn how to think, to ask the basic questions and find the answers in our faith, will challenge the powers that be.

John Paul II knew this only too well growing up under both Nazism and Communism.

to be continued...

The Úlfhéðnar

The word berserker comes from the ancient connection to the Viking raiders, called the Úlfhéðnar. The word is berserkr.

His (Odin's) men rushed forwards without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild oxen, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon them. This was called Berserkergang.[12]

One of my old comrads at Notre Dame was an expert in Old Norse, as was J. R. R. Tolkein. My friend taught me to look at Norse words carefully. Berserkers could have been drugged when they went into battle. They wore either bear skins or wolf skins in order to terrorize their enemies.

Berserkers could have been caught up in the sin of bloodlust, a real sin, where people desire and have a severely disordered passion for seeing blood shed and even drinking blood. Of course, this is satanic.

I myself studied many of the ancient and Medieval lays and sagas. I love Old English and Middle English, but do not know Old Norse.

Here is a selection from a poem on the berserkers.

 I'll ask of the berserks, you tasters of blood,
Those intrepid heroes, how are they treated,
Those who wade out into battle?
Wolf-skinned they are called. In battle
They bear bloody shields.
Red with blood are their spears when they come to fight.
They form a closed group.
The prince in his wisdom puts trust in such men
Who hack through enemy shields.[11] see link above
Do these people not remind you of some others we see today? Think about this.

“US + Australia, how does it feel that all 5 of us were born n raised in your lands, & now here thirsty for ur blood?”

An Australian jihadist widow has shared a series of propaganda pictures she says shows her 'five star jihad' lifestyle - and says she and other female jihadists are 'thirsty' for the blood of her former countrymen.

This is important

And goes with today's readings.

Those bloggers, who are seeing fault in Voris for some odd reason, need to watch this.

Hey, this is the real world of the Church Militant. And, pray for Cardinal Dolan's soul and those of his staff. One may ask why Cardinal Dolan paid so much negative attention to Mr. Voris, and why he went to the lengths he did to get him removed from the press area.

Readings of the Day

This could be called the lament of the remnant. Those who have stood up for the Pope, the Church, Christ in the world have met with the attitudes of the unbelievers who hate the very truth spoken.

Are you hated? Good. This means you are living the Gospel life according to the precepts of God and His Church. Are you criticized? Good. This means the pagans hate what you stand for in the market place. Too many Catholics want to "go with the flow". Today's readings show us the opposite is true.

Those who hate God will hate those who call themselves sons and daughters of God, but through baptism, this is who we are.

Those who cooperate with malice end up malicious and choosing hell, where those who hate regret their hate forever.

On this first day of spring, let us rejoice in all types of persecution. It means we are doing what we have been called to do.

Wisdom 2:12-22Douay-Rheims 

12 Let us therefore lie in wait for the just, because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and divulgeth against us the sins of our way of life.
13 He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, and calleth himself the son of God.
14 He is become a censurer of our thoughts.
15 He is grievous unto us, even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, and his ways are very different.
16 We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and he preferreth the latter end of the just, and glorieth that he hath God for his father.
17 Let us see then if his words be true, and let us prove what shall happen to him, and we shall know what his end shall be.
18 For if he be the true son of God, he will defend him, and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies.
19 Let us examine him by outrages and tortures, that we may know his meekness and try his patience.
20 Let us condemn him to a most shameful death: for there shall be respect had unto him by his words.
21 These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them.
22 And they knew not the secrets of God, nor hoped for the wages of justice, nor esteemed the honour of holy souls.

Part of the Gospel shows us that Christ was completely in control of His own passion and death.

He preached the Good News under a cloud, as we do, telling the truth of the Gospel without fear.

Those who fear compromise. Compromise leads to death of the soul.

John 7:25-30Douay-Rheims 

25 Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this he whom they seek to kill?
26 And behold, he speaketh openly, and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth, that this is the Christ?
27 But we know this man, whence he is: but when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
28 Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching, and saying: You both know me, and you know whence I am: and I am not come of myself; but he that sent me, is true, whom you know not.
29 I know him, because I am from him, and he hath sent me.

30 They sought therefore to apprehend him: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Eleven Fides et Ratio Four

The great tragedy of so many Catholics, a theme on this blog for years, is anti-intellectualism. This tendency to see reason as not necessary and even a threat to faith came out of the Protestant Revolt, with the emphasis on the solas.

A St. John Paul II states, there is no competition between faith and reason. If one cooperates with grace, reason comes into a new capacity for understanding faith. Referrring to Scripture, the saint states this:

For the inspired writer, as we see, the desire for knowledge is characteristic of all people. Intelligence enables everyone, believer and non-believer, to reach “the deep waters” of knowledge (cf. Prov 20:5). It is true that ancient Israel did not come to knowledge of the world and its phenomena by way of abstraction, as did the Greek philosopher or the Egyptian sage. Still less did the good Israelite understand knowledge in the way of the modern world which tends more to distinguish different kinds of knowing. Nonetheless, the biblical world has made its own distinctive contribution to the theory of knowledge.
What is distinctive in the biblical text is the conviction that there is a profound and indissoluble unity between the knowledge of reason and the knowledge of faith. The world and all that happens within it, including history and the fate of peoples, are realities to be observed, analysed and assessed with all the resources of reason, but without faith ever being foreign to the process. Faith intervenes not to abolish reason's autonomy nor to reduce its scope for action, but solely to bring the human being to understand that in these events it is the God of Israel who acts. Thus the world and the events of history cannot be understood in depth without professing faith in the God who is at work in them. Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the workings of Providence. Here the words of the Book of Proverbs are pertinent: “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (16:9). This is to say that with the light of reason human beings can know which path to take, but they can follow that path to its end, quickly and unhindered, only if with a rightly tuned spirit they search for it within the horizon of faith. Therefore, reason and faith cannot be separated without diminishing the capacity of men and women to know themselves, the world and God in an appropriate way.

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Ten Fides et Ratio Part Three

One begins, always, with Scripture, and the conviction that there is a knowledge "peculiar to faith" which enlightens the mind.

Restating almost to the letter the teaching of the First Vatican Council's Constitution Dei Filius, and taking into account the principles set out by the Council of Trent, the Second Vatican Council's Constitution Dei Verbum pursued the age-old journey of understanding faith, reflecting on Revelation in the light of the teaching of Scripture and of the entire Patristic tradition. At the First Vatican Council, the Fathers had stressed the supernatural character of God's Revelation. On the basis of mistaken and very widespread assertions, the rationalist critique of the time attacked faith and denied the possibility of any knowledge which was not the fruit of reason's natural capacities. This obliged the Council to reaffirm emphatically that there exists a knowledge which is peculiar to faith, surpassing the knowledge proper to human reason, which nevertheless by its nature can discover the Creator. This knowledge expresses a truth based upon the very fact of God who reveals himself, a truth which is most certain, since God neither deceives nor wishes to deceive.6

Some things we can know from natural reason and some from the Holy Spirit, remembering that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is knowledge. Also, to some, God gives infused knowledge, especially with regard to understanding Scripture. One is given insights in prayer and meditation.

9. The First Vatican Council teaches, then, that the truth attained by philosophy and the truth of Revelation are neither identical nor mutually exclusive: “There exists a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards their source, but also as regards their object. With regard to the source, because we know in one by natural reason, in the other by divine faith. With regard to the object, because besides those things which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, cannot be known”.7 Based upon God's testimony and enjoying the supernatural assistance of grace, faith is of an order other than philosophical knowledge which depends upon sense perception and experience and which advances by the light of the intellect alone. Philosophy and the sciences function within the order of natural reason; while faith, enlightened and guided by the Spirit, recognizes in the message of salvation the “fullness of grace and truth” (cf. Jn 1:14) which God has willed to reveal in history and definitively through his Son, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Jn 5:9; Jn 5:31-32).

The purpose of all grace consitutes uniting us with Christ. The study of Scripture, an act of reason as well as faith, brings us to deeper understandings of Christ, ourselves and history.

 By this Revelation, then, the deepest truth about God and human salvation is made clear to us in Christ, who is the mediator and at the same time the fullness of all Revelation”.8
11. God's Revelation is therefore immersed in time and history. Jesus Christ took flesh in the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4); and two thousand years later, I feel bound to restate forcefully that “in Christianity time has a fundamental importance”.9 It is within time that the whole work of creation and salvation comes to light; and it emerges clearly above all that, with the Incarnation of the Son of God, our life is even now a foretaste of the fulfilment of time which is to come (cf. Heb 1:2).

Catholics must see themselves in context, in the context of salvation history. Without context, we cannot discover who we are and the goal of our lives, our cultures, our societies.

For the People of God, therefore, history becomes a path to be followed to the end, so that by the unceasing action of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13) the contents of revealed truth may find their full expression. This is the teaching of the Constitution Dei Verbum when it states that “as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly progresses towards the fullness of divine truth, until the words of God reach their complete fulfilment in her”.11
12. History therefore becomes the arena where we see what God does for humanity. God comes to us in the things we know best and can verify most easily, the things of our everyday life, apart from which we cannot understand ourselves.
In the Incarnation of the Son of God we see forged the enduring and definitive synthesis which the human mind of itself could not even have imagined: the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, God takes on a human face.

To study salvation history is to learn about the relationship between individual men and God and the People of God and God.

Without context, one stumbles about looking for other identities. See my posts on identity. We assent to Revelation and thereby, open ourselves to the Holy Spirit to inform our intellect, as the Scriptures are full of mystery. For some of us, this becomes habit over the years.

The Council teaches that “the obedience of faith must be given to God who reveals himself”.14 This brief but dense statement points to a fundamental truth of Christianity. Faith is said first to be an obedient response to God. This implies that God be acknowledged in his divinity, transcendence and supreme freedom. By the authority of his absolute transcendence, God who makes himself known is also the source of the credibility of what he reveals. By faith, men and women give their assent to this divine testimony. This means that they acknowledge fully and integrally the truth of what is revealed because it is God himself who is the guarantor of that truth.

Once we acknowledge truth to the extent we can, God meets us more than half-way to enlighten our minds through His grace.

This is a great mystery, that reason is enlightened by faith, and faith is enlightened by reason. One actually becomes more intelligent the more one studies the faith and Scripture. The more one knows, the more one is aware of the immense mystery of God.

In short, the knowledge proper to faith does not destroy the mystery; it only reveals it the more, showing how necessary it is for people's lives: Christ the Lord “in revealing the mystery of the Father and his love fully reveals man to himself and makes clear his supreme calling”,18 which is to share in the divine mystery of the life of the Trinity.19

As some of my ex-students would know, I am a great fan of St. Anselm, who renewed the studies in the seminaries by bringing back the Trivium and Quadrivium into the formation of priests.

Here is St. John Paul II on Anselm:

Revelation therefore introduces into our history a universal and ultimate truth which stirs the human mind to ceaseless effort; indeed, it impels reason continually to extend the range of its knowledge until it senses that it has done all in its power, leaving no stone unturned. To assist our reflection on this point we have one of the most fruitful and important minds in human history, a point of reference for both philosophy and theology: Saint Anselm. In hisProslogion, the Archbishop of Canterbury puts it this way: “Thinking of this problem frequently and intently, at times it seemed I was ready to grasp what I was seeking; at other times it eluded my thought completely, until finally, despairing of being able to find it, I wanted to abandon the search for something which was impossible to find. I wanted to rid myself of that thought because, by filling my mind, it distracted me from other problems from which I could gain some profit; but it would then present itself with ever greater insistence... Woe is me, one of the poor children of Eve, far from God, what did I set out to do and what have I accomplished? What was I aiming for and how far have I got? What did I aspire to and what did I long for?... O Lord, you are not only that than which nothing greater can be conceived (non solum es quo maius cogitari nequit), but you are greater than all that can be conceived (quiddam maius quam cogitari possit)... If you were not such, something greater than you could be thought, but this is impossible”.20

But, John Paul II states this.

Christian Revelation is the true lodestar of men and women as they strive to make their way amid the pressures of an immanentist habit of mind and the constrictions of a technocratic logic. 

This line is one of the most important in the entire encyclical. Immanentism denies the transcendence of God (a problem at the synod, imho) and Dr, McInerny writes this from an article here.  

Father John Hardon, in writing on the subject of immanentist apologetics, refers to it as “A method of establishing the credibility of the Christian faith by appealing to the subjective satisfaction that the faith gives to the believer.” Coupled with this emphasis on the subjective, there is a downplaying of the objective criteria of our faith, even to the point of rejecting miracles and prophecies. Purely personal motives for faith, motives that have mainly to do with feelings, are given primary of place. “Religion, therefore, would consist,” Father Bouyer remarks, “entirely in the religious feeling itself.” Reason is marginalized, and the idea of belief, as being essentially the assent of the intellect, loses its currency.

Does this not describe some of the thinking behind the idea that people cannot do the hard things, and that compromise is the only answer?

I believe that this Modernist heresy is one of the many attacking the Church in Rome at this time.
Indeed, all the main heresies, as I noted earlier, are attacking the Church through the great, and perhaps, last war of Satan against the one, true, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

Here is McInerney again:

St. Pius X identified two major parts of Modernism; one was agnosticism, the other was immanentism. By agnosticism Modernism denies that man is capable of gaining a reasoned knowledge of God. Thus, with a stroke, it effectively does away with natural theology, that philosophic discipline whose principal task is to show that we can arrive at a knowledge of the existence of God through natural reason. Now, that such is possible is actually a matter of faith for Catholics, as was taught by the First Vatican Council.
Having disposed of natural theology, Modernism then proposes immanentism to explain what religious experience is supposedly all about. Human beings, the Modernists argue, are invested with a “religious sense” which wells up out of the unconscious and creates in us a need for the divine. 
May I comment that I think von Balthasar falls into this category.
It is in response to this need that we positively respond to ideas about the reality and nature of God which, as it happens, are comfortably conformable to our feelings. What this comes down to, in practical terms, is that the “God” to which one gives one’s allegiance is but a fiction of one’s own devising, a pseudo-being having its source nowhere else but in the demands of deep-set emotions. Here Modernism can be said to be reflecting the thought of the nineteenth century atheistic philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, who argued that what we call God is no more than the imagined product of human longings and wishes.
The Modernist heresies contradict Catholic teaching regarding knowledge, so clearly seen here in the encyclical, through the words of St. John Paul II.

...the words of the Book of Deuteronomy are pertinent: “This commandment which I command you is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven that you should say, 'Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear and do it?' But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that you can do it” (30:11-14). This text finds an echo in the famous dictum of the holy philosopher and theologian Augustine: “Do not wander far and wide but return into yourself. Deep within man there dwells the truth” (Noli foras ire, in te ipsum redi. In interiore homine habitat veritas).21

God wants to share Himself and the mysteries of the world, as well as ourselves to us.

He desires this for each person.

To be continued.....

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Nine Fides et Ratio Two

....the whole universe of knowledge has been involved in one way or another. Yet the positive results achieved must not obscure the fact that reason, in its one-sided concern to investigate human subjectivity, seems to have forgotten that men and women are always called to direct their steps towards a truth which transcends them. Sundered from that truth, individuals are at the mercy of caprice, and their state as person ends up being judged by pragmatic criteria based essentially upon experimental data, in the mistaken belief that technology must dominate all. It has happened therefore that reason, rather than voicing the human orientation towards truth, has wilted under the weight of so much knowledge and little by little has lost the capacity to lift its gaze to the heights, not daring to rise to the truth of being. Abandoning the investigation of being, modern philosophical research has concentrated instead upon human knowing. Rather than make use of the human capacity to know the truth, modern philosophy has preferred to accentuate the ways in which this capacity is limited and conditioned.

Obviously, the neglect of seeing philosophy and reason as bringing us to understand what it means to be a human and a human in relationship to God, interferes with many other aspects of one's life. Again, St. John Paul II's words are in italics.

The saint points out that relativism, agnosticism and the distrust of reason have led people to set aside the asking of the really important questions of life, The denial of objective truth leads to this lack of thinking.

It is the duty of bishops to call all to the truth through study: here is an eloquent plea.

Sure of her competence as the bearer of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Church reaffirms the need to reflect upon truth. This is why I have decided to address you, my venerable Brother Bishops, with whom I share the mission of “proclaiming the truth openly” (2 Cor 4:2), as also theologians and philosophers whose duty it is to explore the different aspects of truth, and all those who are searching; and I do so in order to offer some reflections on the path which leads to true wisdom, so that those who love truth may take the sure path leading to it and so find rest from their labours and joy for their spirit.

The love of truth leads to God.

I feel impelled to undertake this task above all because of the Second Vatican Council's insistence that the Bishops are “witnesses of divine and catholic truth”.3 To bear witness to the truth is therefore a task entrusted to us Bishops; we cannot renounce this task without failing in the ministry which we have received. In reaffirming the truth of faith, we can both restore to our contemporaries a genuine trust in their capacity to know and challenge philosophy to recover and develop its own full dignity.

That truth lies in the deposit of faith has been forgotten by so many bishops, and cardinals, as we have seen in recent days, indeed, in this week.

Here is the crunch statement, which I have called the missing framework of the two generations below me. Sadly not only the young, but some of those in authority in the Church, including moral theologians and canon lawyers have lost this persepective.

For it is undeniable that this time of rapid and complex change can leave especially the younger generation, to whom the future belongs and on whom it depends, with a sense that they have no valid points of reference.

Today, a friend told me that people do not want to take time to study or reflect, especially in America. They want "quick fixes" and want to DO things, like sign petitions and put out brush fires rather than get to the meaning behind the fires.

I said in this discussion that nothing will change in the Church unless the basics are re-discovered.

Here is John Paul II:  At times, this happens because those whose vocation it is to give cultural expression to their thinking no longer look to truth, preferring quick success to the toil of patient enquiry into what makes life worth living. With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation. This is why I have felt both the need and the duty to address this theme so that, on the threshold of the third millennium of the Christian era, humanity may come to a clearer sense of the great resources with which it has been endowed and may commit itself with renewed courage to implement the plan of salvation of which its history is part.

So, this was written in 1998, a long time ago in the life of generations. What did people do to change this lack of enquiry? Nothng, except for the few involved in renewing classical education.

The seminaries where forced by Benedict to increase philosophical studies, but I still see priests under forty with great darkness in the area of rational discourse. Not all have learned how to think, how to reflect. how to study.

to be continued...and postscript..this is not going to be a mini-series but a maxi-series!