Recent Posts

Monday 23 March 2015

Lesson from St. Ignatius

New Bishop for Malta

No surprises here...

Not exactly new news, but I have been very busy...

Should have been a Catholic Mass planned

This King was not Anglican, of course...he would not have recognized the present monarch as queen, or as head of the national "church".

I am actually one of those doubters who thinks the story of the killing of the two princes in the Tower was made up by those who hated King Richard III and wanted to discredit him.

An interesting person, to say the least.

One has to chose between the White and the Red Rose. As much as I love the actual Rose of Provins, I fall on the side of the White Rose, an ancient symbol of Mary, recognizing her purity and and innocence and the fact that she brought Light into the world.

New readers might like my long poem on the white rose and more.

I repost it today in honor of a Catholic King of England, Richard III.

White Roses on the Shore: a Long Poem by Supertradmum

White Roses on the Shore: Sea, ships and the bend of the coast

Part One: Ancona-"A star rises in midwinter"

Here, at this Ancona
I am beginning to forget you,
like we forget the histories of towns,
or the names of beautiful harbours.

But, memory, say the ancient holy ones,
can either aid us or be great rocks
in the heart and the mind-who recalls
the Valley of the Brambles, or

the Broken Bridge, or the Land
of the Grand Master. The henge is wrapped
in bureaucracy and Glastonbury’s martyrs
forgotten in silly action and false colours.

“But love, when perfect, is so powerful,
that we forget our own pleasure
in order to please God, whom we love”
wrote the Great Teresa—but what should

we keep in memory and what forget, as
I am forgotten in these walls?  The sea and
the ships bring my heart back in waves to you,
in greys, whites, reflecting my Clairvaux moods.

How can I grieve, like Odysseus on Circe’s isle,
waking out of drugged slumber from the depths
of the Middle Sea? “They say the sea is cold, but
the sea contains the hottest blood of all.”  This sea

holds mine and if I could send Love like ripples
to your shore, like tides to all whom I love, these
would be small white roses, riding on the dark sea,
small tokens lapping up on the far shores….

moving through time and memory, tossed over
the largest heart of all with a memory as old
as the song it sings, but it cannot sing the songs
of purged memory, the nocturnes of this day.

No white prayers come up from the deep, only
the praise of being warm in the cold, cold sea,
under the sail boats, under the rain and mist, the songs
vary outside my door—do those creatures on board

praise Him with persistent longing as the whales
below? What do they remember and what forget?
We have the missa and Word Incarnate, to remind
us of who we are and what we should remember.

Part Two: Telemachus- "They took a terrible vengeance"

Persistent love cannot be false, purified in the
gem polisher, made into some perfect stone
not born of passion, but compassion and pity;
not lust, but a reaching of the heart for completeness.

The young prince’s beard made mater’s decision
strong in pain and promise, being queen true to
her word, watching, weaving, weeping in the night
weary of those burning in envy and hatred.

Greed pitted itself against her age of fast happiness,
she wanted peace;  but, cannot the past be washed away,
the blood purified cleansed by the Blood of Him
Who showed Himself to a tribe unknown to

Telemachus? “Love is as strong as death” could
have been mater’s song as well as the desert groom,
coming up from the sheepfold, coming into the tent
looking for her who was dark and comely. Remembering.

Youth’s ascendency tossed him into the sea of Mnemosyne,
into Menelaus’ grand company, but no wisdom there.
Sailors brought the son back to miracles and a goddess
he did not know.  He became a man, true, unlike others.

Wrapped in the courage of Pallas Athena, he did not see
like another youth of the sheepfold, He, Who broke the Seal of Death,
Ever-Young in the dawn of a foreign day. Did the bearded youth
look south, as I do today, towards the hot lands for courage,

missing the purple sea, far from this cold land of grey mist
this land rimmed by sunsets of orange and duck-egg blue?
Telemachus’ sun set quickly, like yours, fame for a thousand
years without a twilight, but there is no other way

than to be taught by one’s father the ways of war and wooing.
The Hyperborei knew this and blessed their bards, placing them
in the front lines of battle for fame and fortune. Such is the play
of poetry and war, youth and death, marriage and separation.

Part Three: Penelope- "How can I cherish my man?"

Orion’s Belt melts the clouds in this night’s brightness,
but Penelope’s constellation seemed smaller than mine,
this one who strides across the Bay and meets the hot
cliffs of the other lands of deeper waters and older tribes.

Memory and reflection were her gifts of love, she
affectionate emblem of faithfulness, like me, always
monogamous, notoriously faithful beyond waiting days.
A woman’s face grows old while the heart is purified.

She undid her weary work until minds of lust and greed
jackals, predators, circling her and showing themselves
not to be real men of the Middle Sea, but boys . While
she mourned the lion, the whelps played war.

Searching the shore in the grey mist of morning, she
with spring-love in her heart gave in for a moment, but
what we have is greater, stronger, divine Love holding
all in His Heart, Humanity reaching down to earth

like Orion capturing the sea. Penelope’s god was her
husband, but now God becomes the Husband, and even such
a man as her’s striving with Neptune to get home, could
not compare with the Crucified One.

Odysseus of collective memory regained his bride through
suffering, a man purified in water and wind, Poseidon’s
plaything, until humility was learned and earned.
Some of us, like the Poet, are “rememberers”,

the bards with bow and arrow in the line of honour,
passing on the muir Desunt caetera, repetition, memory,
love in names and titles never to be forgotten unless
carved in foreign lands. We forget to our own peril.

The missing have forgotten who they are and were and
what they were supposed to be. Like Adam, thrust out
of the green home, reflecting in nine-hundred years of
remorse, waiting for death, and then the harrowing.

Profane love, like coal, becomes a diamond heart over time
and heat and pressure. The God of History changed all,
for Penelope, for me, renewing hope in the heart
making one young in vision and mastery.

Without memory, there would be no people,
no poem, no bard in the front line of fire;
no children to carry on the reflections of the
mater and pater; nothing but death.

Part 4: Ithaca- "The soul of man"

I would sit quietly in the southern sunlight
and bring you tea, sitting not too close in
the heat of the day, in silence, where the
geraniums bloom under the low sierras

which hid the pain crying out for healing
and completeness. So much has been lost
in this generation lost to the confusion of
each Child of Our Time, like the sailors

stopping up their stubborn ears in order to reach
the wineskin of wind, of curiosity, destroying
years of peace and Odysseus’ domesticity, pushing
out again into the Ionian Sea; none returned but one.

Love and will were separated. We threw away chances,
for completeness, renewable, yes, but not the same, like
the queen’s lost years of childbearing.  But, there is
a greater mercy than Athena’ magic.  The shore is in view.

Ithaca’s rocky coast rises out of the sea a long way
from my cove, but love rides the white waves, regardless
of the temperature of the sea and shore. Odysseus’ soul
was healed before he found Penelope again.  So, climb

up and see the small raft and like the man of the Middle Sea
come home to who you are.  The New God is not Poseidon,
ruler of horses, but the One Who walked on the waves,
proving a new King of the blue sea not far from you.

The ships sail away. My heart stays with the Babe in the Womb
silent in waiting for the fullness of time, and here we have
our being, if we look in the same place for this healing God.
Find the raft hidden beneath the cliff and come home.

Part 5: The Unknown God-"I would know my shadow and my light"

The sons of Telemachus may have seen the sons
of the red-haired man,  in the market place of Athens,
speaking the words of Epimenides for we are indeed,
people of memory; “Men of Athens, I perceive that

in every way you are very religious,” or a varied translation.
Damaris and Dionysius  heard with the blood of Odysseus
calling them home to a different Love, choosing a Known
God faithful to time and memory, the One Who entered history

again and again and again, changing the darkness into dawn.
in a Resurrection some derided. The long song of Homer
created a space for a new mimesis, heart, home, memory, will,
understanding, for new descendants of the wandering man.

The Blood washed away the obstacles, the encumbrances,
the imperfections of the tribe, purging our own hearts so
that we could decide to do something somewhere, somehow.
The Vulnerable God gave us His courage.

Spousal love so praised by Homer and Solomon becomes
the norm for you, for me, for those who care to listen
to the song. Love is now my occupation-let it be yours.
Let the heart follow us home….

Per lumen gloriae fit creatura rationalis  Deiformis
Cum enim aligius intellectus creatus vidit
Deum per essentiam—ipsa essentia Dei fit intelligibilis

The waters by the dry sands will not let my voyage
be delayed—for we are humans, semper idem,
semper paratus waiting for God. And, “seven times
a day, I praise Thee for Thy righteous ordinances.”

Benedict took up the heart and home of the Known God.
“Let me live, that I may praise Thee.” And the God of
time and memory redeemed the grass, redeemed the springs,
redeemed the Middle Sea and this near sea, redeemed place.

Small waves like white roses on the sea gather on the sand.
I would send them out again, in wind and sun to the south,
to lap up on another shore, like small prayers in the dark.
Yield, bend,  gather the signs of memory at your feet in the waters.

copyright, 2013

I am for the abolishing of the IRS and Obamacare...

I have not decided who to support, yet, among several (not Bush).

Comments welcome if they are rational.

So much for democratic ideals

I wonder if the Pope would address this...

Anyone for coffee?

Thanks to Brother Augustine

Св. Мојсеј Мурин од Мариово.jpg (on Wikimedia Commons)

A saying about St. Moses the Black/Ethiopian/Nubian

On one occasion Abba Moses of Patara was engaged in a war against fornication, and he could not endure being in ‎his cell, and he went and informed Abba Isidore of it; and the elder entreated him to return to his cell, but he would ‎not agree to this. And having said, "Fr., I cannot bear it," the elder took him up to the roof of his cell, and said ‎unto him, "Look to the west," and when he looked he saw multitudes of devils with troubled and terrified aspects, ‎and they showed themselves in the forms of phantoms which were in fighting attitudes. Abba Isidore said unto him, ‎‎"Look to the east," and when he looked he saw innumerable holy angels standing there, and they were in a state of ‎great glory. Then Abba Isidore said unto him, "Behold, those who are in the west are those who are fighting with the ‎holy ones, and those whom you have seen in the east are they who are sent by God to the help of the saints, for those ‎who are with us are many." And having seen this Abba Moses took courage and returned to his cell without fear.‎

Hey--direct result of lax border security

Truth Hurts

I have lost a fifth of my readers since I started the Knowledge of Divine Things series. I am not surprised.

Again, many people believe that politics and Church politics are the way to change the world.

No. Without Catholics learning to think like Catholics, we have lost the political battles.

Knowing one's self, God, one's faith, and acting out of reason must be the real "new evangelism". We need aggressively reason-based courses for adult Catholics to stop the hemorrhaging of people from the Church into Protestantism and charismatic cults.

Jansenism, Neo-Pelagianism, Pelagianism, Modernism and most of the other heresies have crept into sermons, catechetical groups and bible studies. I have witnessed this since the 1970s. The proliferaton of people at the top choosing teachers and catechetical leaders, who think in prostestant ways and choose those who do as well, is one reason I do not work in the Church. I am, simply, too Catholic.  I think like a Catholic.

Without a philosophical approach, theology crumbles into personal opinion without an understanding of who Christ is, who Mary is, what the Church is, who we are....and so on.

Last week, a young man moving towards ordination told me that the Church needs "aggressive, sophisticated adult education". That is what I am trying to do on this blog.

Obviously, I am failing in my attempt to make the connection between the chaos in the Church and heresies--which are faulty thinking on the nature of Christ, usually, and the nature of man, as well as the nature of society.

I shall plunge ahead, speaking to the remnant, who understand that without a framework of thinking, conversion inside and outside of the Church will not happen, and the Church will end up a small, persecuted group of people who have prayed, reflected, obeyed. Very small....a very small remnant...

Of course, the huge problem is that in seminaries and Catholic universities alike, St. John Paul II's apostolic constitution, EX CORDE ECCLESIAE in the second level of infallibility has systematically been ignored by rectors, bishops, cardinals especially in the United States...a sign of gross disobedience.

I thank those faithful readers who continue to follow this blog for their readiness to learn.

I hope those who have jumped ship in the past week will join us again. Time is short for having the freedom to speak out on religious teaching. from this little heart in the Church.

Sad Days in England

Link to a popular post of the past

Alter Christus

As an older, traditional Catholic, I cannot bear the calling of priests by their first names. First of all, I must know twenty Father Toms, and ten Father Bobs. Someone will say, "Oh, I saw Father Bob "today." Useless comment, as then I have to ask, "Which one?"

The custom seems to me to be totally disrespectful.

Also, it betrays a misunderstanding of the laity's relationship with a priest.

We are not equal to a priest. Sorry. Each priest is an Alter Christus, another Christ. We are not. Their office is superior to us in all ways. They are superior to us in a mystical, spiritual, even physical manner.

To make matters worse, recently online, I have seen priests referred to by their first name only, without "Father".

Even a wife of a priest in public should call the husband priest, "Father".

Someone also referred to another priest as a "lovely guy" online recently.

My goodness, what happened to propriety?

Would someone call Christ a "lovely guy"? Can we move away from this, please?

I cannot understand this lack of respect for the office of the priesthood. But, the priesthood is not merely an office.

Here is the Pope Emeritus from his homily from the Mass concluding the Year of the Priest, June 11, 2010.

The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation – words which make Christ himself present, the Risen One, his Body and Blood – words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite it to him. The priesthood, then, is not simply “office” but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word “priesthood”.

Readers might one to re-read this.

Knowledge of Divine Things Twenty-Two--Fides et Ratio Fourteen

This post may help readers understand most succinctly the entire purpose of this series.

St. John Paul IL neatly explains the three types of theology he wants to emphasize.

In the last post, he referred to dogmatic theology as needing a basis of rational discourse. This is obvious.

In fundamental and moral theology, the same basis must be the basis of learning and application. This section of the encyclical must be some of the most beautiful words in the entire text.

Fundamental theology is that which examines God in Revelation to the Catholic Church, specifically as the keeper of the truth as set down by Christ. Fundamental theology deals with the very foundations of the faith, such as the call of Peter to be the first Pope, and so on.

Dogmatic theology, referred to in the last post, has to do with the formal teachings of the Church, the dogmas, It is a science of the interpretation of dogma.

Moral theology, (and we have a dire lack of superb moral theologians at this time), deals with ethics of all types: sexual, social, medical and so on.

67. With its specific character as a discipline charged with giving an account of faith (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), the concern of fundamental theology will be to justify and expound the relationship between faith and philosophical thought. Recalling the teaching of Saint Paul (cf.Rom 1:19-20), the First Vatican Council pointed to the existence of truths which are naturally, and thus philosophically, knowable; and an acceptance of God's Revelation necessarily presupposes knowledge of these truths. In studying Revelation and its credibility, as well as the corresponding act of faith, fundamental theology should show how, in the light of the knowledge conferred by faith, there emerge certain truths which reason, from its own independent enquiry, already perceives. Revelation endows these truths with their fullest meaning, directing them towards the richness of the revealed mystery in which they find their ultimate purpose. Consider, for example, the natural knowledge of God, the possibility of distinguishing divine Revelation from other phenomena or the recognition of its credibility, the capacity of human language to speak in a true and meaningful way even of things which transcend all human experience. From all these truths, the mind is led to acknowledge the existence of a truly propaedeutic path to faith, one which can lead to the acceptance of Revelation without in any way compromising the principles and autonomy of the mind itself.90

Similarly, fundamental theology should demonstrate the profound compatibility that exists between faith and its need to find expression by way of human reason fully free to give its assent. Faith will thus be able “to show fully the path to reason in a sincere search for the truth. Although faith, a gift of God, is not based on reason, it can certainly not dispense with it. At the same time, it becomes apparent that reason needs to be reinforced by faith, in order to discover horizons it cannot reach on its own”.91

Moral theology has perhaps an even greater need of philosophy's contribution. 

Hence the problems in the synod....

In the New Testament, human life is much less governed by prescriptions than in the Old Testament. Life in the Spirit leads believers to a freedom and responsibility which surpass the Law. Yet the Gospel and the Apostolic writings still set forth both general principles of Christian conduct and specific teachings and precepts. In order to apply these to the particular circumstances of individual and communal life, Christians must be able fully to engage their conscience and the power of their reason. In other words, moral theology requires a sound philosophical vision of human nature and society, as well as of the general principles of ethical decision-making.

I state that all the misconceptions of the relationship between men and women in marriage and the lack of understanding regarding sin in homosexual relations which was expressed last October in Rome stem from this very problem of the lack of a sound philosophical vison of human nature and society, as well as of the general principles of ethical decision-making.

to be continued...

On Alexandras Times Three

Last week, I missed the feast day of the Defender of Humanity, St. Alexandra, wife of Diocletian, who attempted to spare the lives of the Christians. but failed. Her own husband demanded her death in 303. (See my series on February 24th in the list). Some have her feast day as April 23rd or the 24th, and some on March 20th.

A text written on the martyrdom of St. George mentions her as Empress and defender of George.

Another Alexandra, a single woman, whose feast day is September 15th, was a hermit who spun flax, prayed and meditated all day, being fed by an unknown woman. She lived a life of reparation and penance.

A third is Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar, Portugal, a real victim soul. Here is a bit from St. John Paul II's homily from her beatification Mass on April 25, 2004.

"Do you love me?", Jesus asks Simon Peter, who replies: "Yes Lord, you know that I love you". The life of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa can be summarized in this dialogue of love. Permeated and burning with this anxiety of love, she wished to deny nothing to her Saviour. With a strong will, she accepted everything to demonstrate her love for him. A "spouse of blood", she relived mystically Christ's passion and offered herself as a victim for sinners, receiving strength from the Eucharist: this became her only source of nourishment for the final 13 years of her life.
With the example of Blessed Alexandrina, expressed in the trilogy "suffer, love, make reparation", Christians are able to discover the stimulus and motivation to make "noble" all that is painful and sad in life through the greatest evidence of love: sacrificing one's life for the beloved. 

Her feast day is October 13th.

Knowledge of Divine Things Twenty-Two--Fides et Ratio Thirteen

This next section applies to all of us to a certain extent, although not all are called to be theologians. We are, by our baptism, called to come to an understanding of the basics, not only for the appropriation of our own faith, but for evangelizing. This section proves to be one of the most important in the entre work. Objectvity and rationality must alway be part of the study of the structure of knowledge about sacred things, sacred words, sacred texts.

65. Theology is structured as an understanding of faith in the light of a twofold methodological principle: the auditus fidei and the intellectus fidei. With the first, theology makes its own the content of Revelation as this has been gradually expounded in Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Church's living Magisterium.88 With the second, theology seeks to respond through speculative enquiry to the specific demands of disciplined thought.
Philosophy contributes specifically to theology in preparing for a correct auditus fidei with its study of the structure of knowledge and personal communication, especially the various forms and functions of language. No less important is philosophy's contribution to a more coherent understanding of Church Tradition, the pronouncements of the Magisterium and the teaching of the great masters of theology, who often adopt concepts and thought-forms drawn from a particular philosophical tradition. In this case, the theologian is summoned not only to explain the concepts and terms used by the Church in her thinking and the development of her teaching, but also to know in depth the philosophical systems which may have influenced those concepts and terms, in order to formulate correct and consistent interpretations of them.

These skills are woefully missing in so many priests, bishops and cardinals. Theology based on philosophy will be intelligible, logically consistent, clear and not contradictory to Tradition or the Scriptures.

66. With regard to the intellectus fidei, a prime consideration must be that divine Truth “proposed to us in the Sacred Scriptures and rightly interpreted by the Church's teaching” 89enjoys an innate intelligibility, so logically consistent that it stands as an authentic body of knowledge. The intellectus fidei expounds this truth, not only in grasping the logical and conceptual structure of the propositions in which the Church's teaching is framed, but also, indeed primarily, in bringing to light the salvific meaning of these propositions for the individual and for humanity. From the sum of these propositions, the believer comes to know the history of salvation, which culminates in the person of Jesus Christ and in his Paschal Mystery. 

If a lay person, for whatever reason, cannot appropriate some truths, that person must be obedient in order to be saved. This assent of faith is a humble recognition of limitations of all sorts.

Believers then share in this mystery by their assent of faith.

Now, one of the main purposes of this entire series comes to the fore in St. John Paul II's text.

Meaning must be articulated in the form of argument, as well as in narrative. 

Going to Mass in such desert, this can be woefully not the case in too many parishes.

For its part, dogmatic theology must be able to articulate the universal meaning of the mystery of the One and Triune God and of the economy of salvation, both as a narrative and, above all, in the form of argument. It must do so, in other words, through concepts formulated in a critical and universally communicable way. Without philosophy's contribution, it would in fact be impossible to discuss theological issues such as, for example, the use of language to speak about God, the personal relations within the Trinity, God's creative activity in the world, the relationship between God and man, or Christ's identity as true God and true man. 

How beautiful it is to want to know Christ through the gifts of faith and reason. This drive is a true sign of the saint, the one who loves.

This is no less true of the different themes of moral theology, which employ concepts such as the moral law, conscience, freedom, personal responsibility and guilt, which are in part defined by philosophical ethics.

It is necessary therefore that the mind of the believer acquire a natural, consistent and true knowledge of created realities—the world and man himself—which are also the object of divine Revelation. Still more, reason must be able to articulate this knowledge in concept and argument. Speculative dogmatic theology thus presupposes and implies a philosophy of the human being, the world and, more radically, of being, which has objective truth as its foundation.

What an indictment these last two paragraphs are for so many clerics today, who merely think from the emotions, in the passions, and not from conceptual reflections, rational discourse, argument.

The meaning of what it means to be human ultimately gets lost in the chaos resulting from the lack of thinking.

Such is the Protestant heritage and the charismatic empahsis on the emotions......

to be continued....

Knowledge of Divine Things Twenty-One--Fides et Ratio Twelve

Continuing with the encyclical, one finds another one of those lines which grab one's attention, and I go backwards into the text to share this one, and some of the thoughts below.

It is this conviction which I stressed in my Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor: “There is no morality without freedom... Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known”.25

The moral obligation is twofold. One obligation belongs to the individual, and the other to the society, to allow this search for truth.

Moving on and picking up where I left off on Saturday, St. John Paul II reminds us of the danger of a highly technological culture which has given up asking the basic questions on the nature of man and the goal of man.

In my first Encyclical Letter I stressed the danger of absolutizing such an approach when I wrote: “The man of today seems ever to be under threat from what he produces, that is to say from the result of the work of his hands and, even more so, of the work of his intellect and the tendencies of his will. All too soon, and often in an unforeseeable way, what this manifold activity of man yields is not only subject to 'alienation', in the sense that it is simply taken away from the person who produces it, but rather it turns against man himself, at least in part, through the indirect consequences of its effects returning on himself. It is or can be directed against him. This seems to make up the main chapter of the drama of present-day human existence in its broadest and universal dimension. Man therefore lives increasingly in fear. He is afraid of what he produces—not all of it, of course, or even most of it, but part of it and precisely that part that contains a special share of his genius and initiative—can radically turn against himself”.53

Fear underlies the sexual revolution, in my opinion. as people seek comfort in sex rather than the harsh reality of facing one's self in the Dark Night. Fear causes people to stop growing, to get caught up in seeking comfort of all kind. Lust and greed, as well as gluttony, can come from a fear of being alone in an increasingly man-made environment. 

In the wake of these cultural shifts, some philosophers have abandoned the search for truth in itself and made their sole aim the attainment of a subjective certainty or a pragmatic sense of utility. This in turn has obscured the true dignity of reason, which is no longer equipped to know the truth and to seek the absolute.

Both the search and desire for a subjective certainty and utilitarianism, distort a view of man and society to the point of destroying the very dignity of humans, and the need for the individual, independent relationship with God.

We have seen how the Church must intervene and contradict false philosophies, which too often become ideologies. Some of these ideas are repetition, but worthy of reconsidering.

In our own century too the Magisterium has revisited the theme on a number of occasions, warning against the lure of rationalism. Here the pronouncements of Pope Saint Pius X are pertinent, stressing as they did that at the basis of Modernism were philosophical claims which were phenomenist, agnostic and immanentist.66 Nor can the importance of the Catholic rejection of Marxist philosophy and atheistic Communism be forgotten.67
Later, in his Encyclical Letter Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII warned against mistaken interpretations linked to evolutionism, existentialism and historicism. He made it clear that these theories had not been proposed and developed by theologians, but had their origins “outside the sheepfold of Christ”.68 He added, however, that errors of this kind should not simply be rejected but should be examined critically: “Catholic theologians and philosophers, whose grave duty it is to defend natural and supernatural truth and instill it in human hearts, cannot afford to ignore these more or less erroneous opinions. Rather they must come to understand these theories well, not only because diseases are properly treated only if rightly diagnosed and because even in these false theories some truth is found at times, but because in the end these theories provoke a more discriminating discussion and evaluation of philosophical and theological truths”.69

And, some of the clerics at the synod are caught up in the various errors of thinking, which St. John Paul II neatly describes below.

An example of this is the deep-seated distrust of reason which has surfaced in the most recent developments of much of philosophical research, to the point where there is talk at times of “the end of metaphysics”. Philosophy is expected to rest content with more modest tasks such as the simple interpretation of facts or an enquiry into restricted fields of human knowing or its structures.
In theology too the temptations of other times have reappeared. In some contemporary theologies, for instance, a certain rationalism is gaining ground, especially when opinions thought to be philosophically well founded are taken as normative for theological research. This happens particularly when theologians, through lack of philosophical competence, allow themselves to be swayed uncritically by assertions which have become part of current parlance and culture but which are poorly grounded in reason.72

It is painfully obvious that so many bishops and even cardinals lack philosophical competence, and are swayed for popular ideas....Have we not seen that in America last week?

There are also signs of a resurgence of fideism, which fails to recognize the importance of rational knowledge and philosophical discourse for the understanding of faith, indeed for the very possibility of belief in God. One currently widespread symptom of this fideistic tendency is a “biblicism” which tends to make the reading and exegesis of Sacred Scripture the sole criterion of truth. In consequence, the word of God is identified with Sacred Scripture alone, thus eliminating the doctrine of the Church which the Second Vatican Council stressed quite specifically. Having recalled that the word of God is present in both Scripture and Tradition,73 the Constitution Dei Verbum continues emphatically: “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture comprise a single sacred deposit of the word of God entrusted to the Church

Embracing this deposit and united with their pastors, the People of God remain always faithful to the teaching of the Apostles”.74 Scripture, therefore, is not the Church's sole point of reference. The “supreme rule of her faith” 75 derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others.76
Moreover, one should not underestimate the danger inherent in seeking to derive the truth of Sacred Scripture from the use of one method alone, ignoring the need for a more comprehensive exegesis which enables the exegete, together with the whole Church, to arrive at the full sense of the texts. Those who devote themselves to the study of Sacred Scripture should always remember that the various hermeneutical approaches have their own philosophical underpinnings, which need to be carefully evaluated before they are applied to the sacred texts.

Fideism is one of the many heresies found in the majority of charismatics.

Reason helps us all sort out the dangers of faulty thinking, coming to trust in the sacred absolutes of the Church.

Other modes of latent fideism appear in the scant consideration accorded to speculative theology, and in disdain for the classical philosophy from which the terms of both the understanding of faith and the actual formulation of dogma have been drawn. My revered Predecessor Pope Pius XII warned against such neglect of the philosophical tradition and against abandonment of the traditional terminology.77
56. In brief, there are signs of a widespread distrust of universal and absolute statements, especially among those who think that truth is born of consensus and not of a consonance between intellect and objective reality. In a world subdivided into so many specialized fields, it is not hard to see how difficult it can be to acknowledge the full and ultimate meaning of life which has traditionally been the goal of philosophy. Nonetheless, in the light of faith which finds in Jesus Christ this ultimate meaning, I cannot but encourage philosophers—be they Christian or not—to trust in the power of human reason and not to set themselves goals that are too modest in their philosophizing. The lesson of history in this millennium now drawing to a close shows that this is the path to follow: it is necessary not to abandon the passion for ultimate truth, the eagerness to search for it or the audacity to forge new paths in the search. It is faith which stirs reason to move beyond all isolation and willingly to run risks so that it may attain whatever is beautiful, good and true. Faith thus becomes the convinced and convincing advocate of reason.

One can only say again and again, that reason and faith go together and are not mutually exclusive.

The next section I already reviewed, on St. Thomas Aquinas. In the next post on this encyclical, I shall continue with the saint's review of the overlap of philosophy and theology.

To be continued...