Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Benedict XVI Warns of the Destruction of the Legal Concept



Benedict XVI. warns of a "proliferation of rights"

(Rome) Benedict XVI. Warns against a dubious understanding of law and asks to speak about the "problem of 'proliferation of laws' and the dangers of 'destroying the legal concept'.”

"It is a topical and fundamental question to protect the basis of the coexistence of the human family." Thus, it deserves a deep and systematic reflection, said Benedict XVI. in a message to Father Federico Lombardi SJ, the former Vatican spokesman and today's President of the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger Benedict XVI.

The message was transmitted by Benedict XVI. on the occasion of the international conference "Fundamental Rights and Conflicts Among Rights" held today and tomorrow at the Roman University LUMSA.

Following the meeting, this year's Ratzinger Prize will be awarded by Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican on 17 November.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: LUMSA / Ratzinger Foundation (screenshot)
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com

Edit: winner of the Benedict Prize is an architectural genius. Here is his work





AMDG

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ugly as sin.

Lita Canaman said...

Is this a Catholic Church? Worst than Cardinal Mohoney Cathedral, Lord have Mercy.

Peter W said...

One person's poisson is another person's poison. De gustibus non disputandum. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and whatever you're having yourself....

Tancred said...

Nobody who thinks like this can be remotely Catholic.

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

That's an award well deserved and bestowed. The Grand Adept Bergoglio recognizes truly great artifice when he sees it. That building pictured is a very utilitarian design. It's a classic example of form fitting function. What we're looking at is the docking port for the Cathar spacecraft when they finally return to initiate the Apocalypse. That's when our lizard overlords of the Prophet Zoroaster's high priesthood will shed their skins and begin their demonic liturgical chant welcoming the Demi-Urge, and the Anti-Christ will ascend to his throne at the Great Dragon's left hand. Brother Frankie truly knows great artifice. Can I get a "so mote it be?"

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

And when I say "ascend" we are all aware that descent is ascendance and that one must descend to achieve transcendence? That's a novice lesson for sure, but one that bears repeating. Brother Frankie reminds us of this constantly, just as he ought..

Peter W said...

"Nobody' is an ambit claim that would need to be substantiated. Where, to use the positive expression, is your evidence that 'everybody' thinks the way you claim?

Peter W said...

Yes, the patronymic connection is quite clear from the Arabic. The translation of 'ibn hammar' would be 'son of a donkey' It suits. Hee haw.

Athelstane said...

To be clear, the building pictured is a restaurant and conference center, not a church.

But you can find plenty of evidence online of what churches Mario Botta designs look like, such as San Giovanni Battista in Switzerland - which are every bit as iconoclastic and alienating as his secular designs.

Peter W said...

Another expression of personal taste. What is clearly one thing to you is not the same for another. Some for example might say that St Peter's Basilica in Rome resembles an enormous marble barn more than a very large church.

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

Peter. My moniker here is a patronymic tautology, as well as a type of dual language pun, all relevant in multiple ways to personal history that you are unlikely to ever know anything about. It has nothing to do with donkeys.

Peter W said...

Thanks for the disclosure about your personal need for narcissistic exhibitionism, Patronymic Tautology. Very touching and by the way, the Pope's chosen name is Francis not Frankie. That's the give away that it really is a donkey hee hawing on the other side of your moniker.

Tancred said...


Why the uncharacteristic expectation of reverence all of a sudden?

His personal taste for addressing the pope so familiarly isn’t even out of touch with Bergoglio’s down home papal approach, and who are you to object to that?

Peter W said...

Apparently the customary courtesy of noblesse oblige is an option for you Tancred. And I thought you were devoted to all that courtly stuff.
Why the sudden interest in decency when your usual medium is vilification, denigration and demonization? The hubris is piling up higher than elephant poo.

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

Narcissistic exhibitionism? I suffer from several other neuroses, this is the first time I've ever been diagnosed with narcissism. Dang, I seem to get crazier every passing day.. As for exhibitionism, you're right: I am gratuitously shooting my mouth of in a blog com box about the pope. I enjoy it - it releases neurotic energy, and I hope I edify and entertain other people.. Probably a vain hope, that.

I was *trying* to be funny, Pete. Jesting seriously: I actually do think the pope is a Gnostic heretic, like the majority of our clergy and fellow Catholics these days. It's all about the will to power for most of us, and what knowledge (science, gnosis) allows us to do. The will of God no longer figures very highly in our discernment..

I wouldn't be surprised if he is revealed an outright, full blown satanist. He just has that vibe, that's what my gut is telling me. Coke off rent boy's naked posteriors,
sacrilegious rites on the high altar by moonlit, that sort of thing.. I hope I'm wrong.

Not to annoy you, but when I'm not calling il Papa "Frankie," I call him "Papa Gizmo" because he looks like a gremlin, and it makes me laugh.

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

Ach. Edit: "Coke off rent boys' naked posteriors,sacrilegious rites on the high altar by moonligt, that sort of thing.."

You get the point, I'm sure.

Peter W said...

Cracked as Bubu the Dog boy.

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

Venerunt dies visitationis, venerunt dies retributionis. Scitote, Israel, stultum prophetam, insanum virum spiritualem, propter multitudinem iniquitatis tuae, et multitudinem amentiae.

Peter W said...

….the gods first lead them into insanity...….

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

There is only one God.

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

Not to be didactic, but "the gods" are insanity.

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

I need also confess that in so far as I am neurotic (insane) it is due to my own sin and lack of faith, hope and love, due to my lack of gratitude and humility, my refusal of grace. That, I hope, is obvious.

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

If I have any claim to prophethood (which I do not make for myself) it is only because I claim my sinfulness, my tendency to idolatry. If what I say happens to be true, to be prophetic, then I am glad. I desperately desire to be true. I seek to be a prophet, but do not claim to be one.

Gerald May said...

Nor is it beautiful!

Gerald May said...

Nevertheless less it's still objectively ugly as sin.

Gerald May said...

Beauty is objective. And an essence can be poorly grasped and not understood. Thus judgments, if one were to claim that this building is sublime, can be wrong.

Peter W said...

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." "Don't judge a book by its cover."

Gerald May, one can only know the 'objective' when it passes through and is understood by the subjective mind. 'Id quod recipitur, recipitur per modum recipientis.' Remember that?
And who is to judge that something is poorly grasped or not properly understood by a subject but another subject whose judgment can be contested too.
What we have here is a building that you and some other commenters don't like. Just leave it at that.

Gerald May said...

"Who is to judge?" Do you ask that question in an algebra class? An equation is written, but several students have different answers as to what X is. Who is to judge, the essence of beauty like numbers stands transcendent to the mind and judges our subjectivity. Otherwise, the judges on American Idol can not say one musical rendition is better than another, or Olympic ice skating judges can give a flawless back spin a 10 and a fall and flop a 1. By your logic the flop is equal to the flawless spin.

Peter W said...

You're elevating your personal tastes to the level of global benchmark and your analogies limp. This is not a question of measurability in mathematics or physics but architecture. I suggest you find other ways of extracting yourself from a flaw syllogism. Try a quantum shift in imagination.

Gerald May said...

Ostensibly, beauty is a much richer aspect of a mind independent reality than numbers, and beauty like truth and goodness there are many who for a myriad of reasons do not recognize them - are blind to them. As Socrates noted in Anology of the cave, when the escaped prisoner returned to tell them of the fantastic world outside the cave, the chained prisoners preferred the shadows on the cave wall. However, that did not mean that the world outside the cave did not exist. Nor does a depressed person who sees a mountain or sunset and declares, "well I don't see any beauty, doesn't prove beauty is subjective. It only demonstrates their own value blindness.

Peter W said...

It's 'analogy' in English and the philosopher you probably meant was Plato not Socrates. I note now that you have come to a logical standstill after the previous response I made to you that you have defaulted to aimless rabbiting and shallow moralizing.
Read a book.

Athelstane said...

"Another expression of personal taste."

My objection to his church architecture is that his architecture is not identifiable as a Catholic church. Or, for that matter, *any* church.

It is iconoclastic, and iconoclasm is, in fact, a condemned heresy - by the Second Council of Nicaea. You could look it up, as they say.

Sacred architecture, properly understood, worked in a remarkable number of idioms, from classical to Byzantine, to Gothic to Baroque to even Art Nouveau. But they all retained essential aspects to Catholic sacred architecture. Unfortunately, Botta, like many modern architects, designs churches intended to subvert those aspects. They are iconoclastic, by design: designed for a faith with no content. And, having no content, inevitably end up emptied of followers, too.

Peter W said...

At the end of it all, taste in architecture is personal and subjective. The building in the photo clearly does not identify as a Catholic Church according to the criteria you and probably many others consider to be 'objective.' For others those standards of judgment are not the ones they consider to be applicable in judging what is beautiful. To judge church architecture you disapprove of to be iconoclastic are only so because they assault your personal tastes. More importantly, what is being touched upon here is how the mystery of the Incarnation can take on different, sometimes disturbingly unfamiliar, faces and shapes throughout history. Vatican II highlights this point particularly in those teachings that have become lightening rods of hot debate, disagreement even deep division.

Athelstane said...

Hello Peter,

But you're wrong. It is not all subjective.

The faith has a distinct and discernible content.

Sacred art, to work in service that faith, *must* have such content as well. Botta's work not only lacks such content; it is alienating and inhumane, like so many other modernist edifices. The future they produce is the one Pope John XXIII feared: "poor mortal creatures may well become like the machines they build — cold, hard, and devoid of love.”

And in the end, we know what works of sacred art will endure, and which ones will not.

And Mario Botta's churches will not endure, any more than Corbusier's crumbling concrete piles will. They are cold, hard, and devoid of love.

Gerald May said...

If we could put aside our pedantically puffed up intellectual pride, maybe we could have a decent debate, however, you keep piling on the ad hominems but fail to prove that beauty is founded in the psychology of the human mind. Psychologism is self refuting. It asserts that aesthetic judgments are subjective but objectively so. Your premise isn't an argument but only a descriptive sociological observation that people disagree on the nature of beauty or whether or not an object carries the phenomenon, then, from this social fact, you move to the conclusion that it's subjective but there is no such logical necessity. I think that a great point that was made by Athelstane in which we can intimate is that one cannot separate art or archetecture from the prevailing metaphysics, epistemology and ethics of its particular times. An epochs dominating philosophical trends inform and influences it's arts and in turn the arts reflect the ages philosophy. Art incarnate thought. If the philosophy is transcendent, eternal i.e. Platonic, Aristotlelian, Scholastic or Thomasistic the art and churches will be spiritual and lofty. If the philosophy is based on naturalism, materialism, Hegelianism, pragmatism, positivism, and agnosticism then art and archetecture will be base, spiritually vapid and temperal, which we can grasp from modern and post modern churches. So, the classical and perennial scholastic philosophy that has supported the Christian faith- both matter in the presentation of the Logos Incarnate to the world. As Pope Benedict remarked, "Beauty will save the world." Post -enlightenment philosophies that inform art and archetecture and it's effects on Catholic life can also be observed. But, what do I know, I'm just a lowly philosophy professor who has only read Plato's dialogues and Republic twenty times in which Socrates, at least in the early and middle period of Plato's writing, present the Athenian Gadfly as the main interlocutor.

Peter W said...

Athelstane,
You are again exhibiting a major flaw in thinking that the 'Faith' and its many expressions in various theologies, aesthetics, architectures etc are the same. There are a very few core teachings that constitute the sine qua non of Faith. Most of these are encapsulated in the Creeds. The rest is theological speculation on what these core elements mean and how they should be expressed in ecclesial life.
You say, "And in the end, we know what works of sacred art will endure, and which ones will not." Who is 'we'? That's the giveaway. Appreciation of art/architecture etc and how it/they might best express theological realities is essentially subjective. 'Good, beauty, and truth' belong to the abstract, idealized sphere while how they are expressed existentially varies according to a whole range of factors. You should know that.

Gerald May said...

But according to the logic of your own theory, just an subjective opinion among and equal to all the others. Thus, your theory has no objectivity or truth.

Peter W said...

Read my response to Athelstane and revise your major premise.

Gerald May said...

Again, according to your logic of subjectivity, one cannot see any form of a theological expression that could not be accepted vis an altar constructed with detritis from a city junk-yard signifying the humanizing of intercultural interreligious interaction and integration between different groups coexisting in a symbiosis, Subject to subject in a horizontal relationship. Moreover, the trash deserves more theological reflection denoting the theme of Bergogolion insight vis components, which highlights the spirit of Vatican II's commitment to the poor- demonstrating a transcendence of the Tridentne in model of ecclesiastical stagnation. However, the untutorred albeit under- educated newly arrived central american migrant stopping in to make a novena replies to the padre, "what is that pile of caca doing on God's altar in this holy place

Peter W said...

So Gerald, having trumpeted your credentials in logic, epistemology and polymath-in-everything, it all collapses in a heap of your own subjective rubble.
You should know the logical riskiness of promoting your own subjectivity aa some kind of benchmark of objectivity while all along it is contaminated with low graded ideological spin, projection and ludicrous, highly delusional nostalgia.
Get help. You're just another old brainless Trad tart whose hair wouldn't part if your brain exploded.

Tancred said...

What credentials do you have?

Peter W said...

I am not in schism from Pope Francis, from his Magisterium or from the Catholic Church.

Tancred said...

So? I thought he abolished Hell.

Peter W said...

No, that was JP II and von Balthasar.

Gerald May said...

Peter W. "contaminated with low graded ideological spin, projection and ludicrous, highly delusional nostalgia" (of George Tyrrell, von Hugel and their Tubingen friends). Thank you perspicaciosly recognizing and acurately describing contemporary Catholic theology aka neo-modernism for what it is. That was my point, Pope Francis' thelogical musings of encounter, liberation, and accompaniment is animated by a failed Post-Enlightenment philosophy that makes the autonomous self supreme and God unknowable.

Gerald May said...

I am in schism...with neo-modernism and liberal Catholic theologians.

Peter W said...

No, Gerald, you are in schism from Catholicism and from its magisterium contained in the teachings of Vatican II. The rest of your bleats, a mixture of bogus, corrupt Roman school neo-scholastic doggerel and scraps of idiotic baseless assertions amount to little more than pompous, self-justifying mental gymnastics. You wouldn't survive ten minutes in the Academy if you dared set foot inside it.

Tancred said...


You’re a relativist in aesthetics and morality. I don’t understand why you champion doctrinal obedience. Balthazar’s whole schtick was non-compliance with the authorities. Now look who’s in charge. The people who don’t believe in rules, Justice, truth or beauty, God help us.

Barnum said...

The "we" Athelstane is talking about is Christians Catholic in time and place, not to be confused with this Johnny - come - lately claque of gay older boomer socialists who are in adverse possession of the Church bureaucracy.

Tancred said...

Another fly-by-night Theologian.

Peter W said...

Tancred, the people are guided by an informed, highly educated conscience which is the basis of their morality and understanding of the hierarchy of doctrine. 98% of Catholic people reject the ban on artificial birth control taught in Paul VI's Humanae Vitae. They reject the document as not only not an expression of the authentic magisterium but also its binding authority on their consciences. This is a powerful example of the Sensus Fidei Fidelium distinguishing what is of the Faith and what is not. HV is not of either Faith or Catholic morality but the politically motivated indoctrination cooked up by Ottaviani, Grizez, Ford and Finnis. Until the hierarchy admit this they will continue to see what pathetic remnants of the moral authority evaporate. It's your problem too Tancred. When you talk about doctrine you really mean indoctrination and blind compliance.


Athelstane doesn't need you Barnum to speak for him so put up or shut up. The fact that you continue to trot out the tired old bullshit about gay socialists simply demonstrate that you are just another Mundabor with a predeliction for steak and Burbon not spaghetti and vino. Go to confession and say your prayers.

Gerald May said...

Lol, I attend a diocean TLM, and at times a Latin Novus Ordo in the tradional form, ad orientem, believe that the Pope is the Pope, in the Creed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but because I am a neo-scholastic (that I am and to the core), Pope Peter W. has deemed it necessary to excommunicated me.

Barnum said...

QED. QEDs all around, in fact. Gabriel just hit peak tantrum.

Athelstane said...

There are a very few core teachings that constitute the sine qua non of Faith.

If I had nickle for every time I've heard this line of thought from a Rahnerian, I'd almost have enough cash to pay off the sex abuse settlements for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Athelstane said...

98% of Catholic people reject the ban on artificial birth control taught in Paul VI's Humanae Vitae.

Just out of curiosity, what is the percentage necessary for a sensus fidelium repudiation of Amoris Laetitia? Will a simple majority do? Or do we need two thirds?

You *do* understand that every hammer blow you take to the authority of Paul VI, John Paul II, or the 19th century popes is also a hammer blow to Francis's authority? If the well-informed conscience is a dependable fulcrum to shift prophylactics into my dresser drawer, it is surely more than adequate to bat away the hands of wealthy divorcees at the communion rail at my Traditional Latin Mass parish, or to crank my thermostat down to 62 this coming summer.

Gerald May said...

Well stated! It reflects an erroneous minimalism in order to rationalize objectively immorality acts, such as birth control. The real sina qua non of the faith is best reflected in the Catechism of Trent.

Athelstane said...

Hi Gerald,

The real sina qua non of the faith is best reflected in the Catechism of Trent.

Which raises a related point. If indeed "there are a very few core teachings that constitute the sine qua non of Faith," one wonders what need there is for a catechism in the first place. Doesn't the Creed suffice? And if it does, isn't anything else superfluous?

And if *that* is the case, I fear it accomplishes far more than our friend Peter might like. It would surely reduce 20 centuries of Church approval of the death penalty (and a thousand other uncomfortable or even embarrassing Church teachings) to the historical dustbin, but also cuts the ground from under any edits to that same catechism the present Holy Father has undertaken. Perhaps we should feel free, as empowered laity (cf. Apostolicam actuositatem 1), to fire up Old Sparky after consulting our well-informed consciences after all. Remember: we have it on reliable authority that "there are a very few core teachings that constitute the sine qua non of Faith."

Peter W said...

The section of Amoris Laetita that the Alt conservatives led by people like Burke, Schneider & Co is founded on the constant Tradition of the primacy of conscience articulated so clearly by Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham that is standard teaching in the Catholic Church. It was the group of German speaking bishop theologians including Mueller, Kasper and Schoenborn who reaffirmed this traditional teaching at the 2016 World Synod of Bishops. The Trads and AltConservatives have never been able to accept that because it scuttles their irrational agenda to oust Pope Francis when their unspoken resentful rage is actually against JP II and Benedict who failed to 'finish off' the 'libs' during the forty years following Vatican II.

As for your swipe at wealthy divorcees at the communion rail, that is emblematic of the cultural contempt, self-righteousness and rash judgment that anaesthetize the conscience of the Trad/conservatives. It is precisely this type of cult Catholicism that has been rejected by the majority of Catholics.

Athelstane said...

Hello peter,

1. The section of Amoris Laetita ... is founded on the constant Tradition of the primacy of conscience articulated so clearly by Thomas Aquinas

You fling these assertions out so casually, without any support, because even you know full well that you can't possibly support them with anything that that could possibly resemble Thomistic analysis. And because St. Thomas is no longer alive to throw 40 lb codexes at you.

2. their unspoken resentful rage is actually against JP II and Benedict who failed to 'finish off' the 'libs' during the forty years following Vatican II.

Whatever else is true of traditionalists, I don't think any of us are under any illusions about the hard fact that neither John Paul II or Benedict XVI were traditionalists. We know who wrote important sections of Gaudium et Spes. We know who wrote Cardinal Frings' big speech. We know who unleashed the animist skull-ticklers at Assisi. But it also remains true that even they, in their pontifical garb, could never have written those sections of Amoris Laetitia, which even you cannot deny.

3. As for the divorcees: It is not *my* righteousness they need fear, but the Lord's: the same Lord who is recorded condemning divorce in such stringent terms in all three synoptic gospels, to the apparent shock of his disciples, who under the guidance of the Holy Spirit felt compelled to record it for us. The same Lord, who, when asked, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” said to them, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." (Luke 13:23-24)

But I'm afraid there are an awful lot of anaesthetized consciences in our opulent societies. Not just among traditionalists.

Peter W said...

Mueller, Schoenborn and Kasper are all profession Thomists who appealed to St Thomas's writings on the primacy of conscience to support the provision in Amoris Laetitia that is similar to the Orthodox principle of 'Oikonomia'. In Catholic Sacramental theology it is known as the 'Internal Forum' or Sanatio in radice' solution to intractable situations that are not readily resolved in Canon Law. You are obviously ignorant of all this or, if you do know, you dismiss it because if subverts your securities and bias.
As for JP II and Benedict, neither of them supported Gaudium et Spes and both of them set about in their own ways to push back on Vat II reforms especially in the area of collegiality and sacramental renewal. All of the World Synods of bishops from the beginning of JP's papacy to the end of Benedict's time, were comprehensively rigged. Since Francis's papacy began, this Curial tampering has been shut down completely. The methodology now is to get the bishops to take responsibility for their own consultations and the final document they present instead of sitting back and witnessing the publication of Apostolic Exhortations by JP and Benedict that reflected little or nothing of what transpired at the Synods. JP was nominally in support of Vatican II. By the half way mark in his time as Prefect of the CDF, Ratzinger - Benedict had reverted to restorationism and nostalgia.


Your shallow contemptuous dismissal of ecumenism as 'animist skull ticking' betrays the mind of a weak, lazy, sloppy thinker whose mind has been distorted by resentment and become ossified. Wake up to yourself.


Finally, it is noteworthy that you and others on this site when rationality escapes them, default to vacuous pietism and apocalyptic fundamentalism. Read Sirach on 'dullards'!

Gerald May said...

True, if it was the case that the faith could be reduced to the Creed, then 99.9 percent of the pastoral ideology of Vatican II can be rejected under well formed consciences, and as you highlighted non-capital punishment for capital offences.

Peter W said...

The teaching of Vatican II is directly related magisterially to the core teaching of the Creed on 'I believe in one, holy and Catholic Church...' You clearly don't which makes you a cherry picking, selective, cafeteria catholic and schismatic.

Gerald May said...

You seemed to confirm St.Thomas' contention that one cannot achieve complete happiness in this life as you are a most contentious and contrarian Englishman; must be the weather-try traveling to a more southern climate and gets some sunshine. St.Thomas was not an ethical voluntarist like Ockham or a postmodern subjectivist but rather an Aristotlelian and Natural law theorist. Thomistic ethics is both teleological- oriented toward perfection and Deontological grounded in the eternal law. Thus there are some acts that are intrinsically good and others that are evil. I would agree with you that we naturally strive for perfection and desire the good, each in our own subjective conditional circumstanes of an imperfect life. However, it is lived under the shadow of a defective or wounded intellect that requires purification in order to overcome, as Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. said "spiritual pride and blindness. Thus some acts are intrinsically evil, and even if we are ignorant to the degree of evil due to pride and moral blindness - when we commit such an intrinsically evil action we have committed a mortal sin for we also sin, twice, by turning voluntarily away from divine truth available through the natural law and Revelation in favor of that which satisfies our pride and passions. Giving in to excessive passions corrupts our understanding of the true nature of our human-ness but the acts themselves, such as contraception, and a whole host of other grave sins willing to be non-judgmentally excused by PF are still in the final analysis, intrinsically evil.

Gerald May said...

And according to the logic of Vatican Ii's Unitas Redintegratio principle, even if it were true that Trad Catholics were schismatic, which in no way do I admit, but if it was the case then according to UR Trad Catholics are part of the Catholic Church, use her liturgical actions which " give access to the community of salvation," and therefore "are not deprived of the mystery of salvation." Even, the despised SSPX must be regarded as having "the Spirit of Christ using them as a means of salvation deriving their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church." Thus, based on your own adherence to Vatican II even the SSPX whom you so passionately detest must be...get ready for it, "correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church." (UR, 3)

Gerald May said...

For clarification all of my rebuttals are responses to Peter W. Cheers mate

Athelstane said...

The teaching of Vatican II is directly related magisterially to the core teaching of the Creed on 'I believe in one, holy and Catholic Church...'

And of course the teaching of the previous nineteen ecumenical councils of the Church, and everything in Quanta Cura was *not*.

That was a breathtaking tour de force, Peter. I stand in awe.

Athelstane said...

Mueller, Schoenborn and Kasper are all profession Thomists who appealed to St Thomas's writings on the primacy of conscience to support the provision in Amoris Laetitia that is similar to the Orthodox principle of 'Oikonomia'.

Mueller, Schoenborn, and Kasper don't even agree with each other on how to interpret Amoris Laetitia on this point.

Your shallow contemptuous dismissal of ecumenism as 'animist skull ticking' betrays the mind of a weak, lazy, sloppy thinker whose mind has been distorted by resentment and become ossified.

Undoubtedly.

But at least I am in ample ossified, resentful company among Popes and Doctors of the Church. Perhaps that is some small consolation for my plight.

Gerald May said...

Athelstane, Peter W. Keeps using that word "ecumenism" I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

Peter W said...

Gerald, William of Ockham was every bit an Aristotelan as Thomas Aquinas but with a very distinct and important difference. While both acknowledged the importance of 'universals' and 'first principles' Thomas's theology maintained a very strict rationalist interpretation of them. Ockham, on the other hand, insisted that rationalism needed to be informed and tempered by Christian humanism. St Thomas More and Erasmus are examples of this approach.
An important example of the difference between Aquinas and Ockham is the question of Natural Law. While Thomas applied the principles of Natural Law in a strictly rationalist way (Reg Garrigou Lagrange and his fellow manualists of the 'Roman School' are classic disciples), Ockham insisted on natural rights and human liberty as determinants in how the Natural Law is to be interpreted and applied. In recent times, this tension between the strict rationalism of Thomas (hugely distorted by the vested interests of the 'Roman School') and the 'equal liberty' theology of Ockham, spiked in the Humanae Vitae controversy.

One of the key arguments for the prohibition of artificial birth control put forward by the Ottaviani minority group (manualists Grisez, Ford, Finnis) was that it is written in the Natural Law. The majority group including far more distinguished moral theologians argued that it had nothing to do with Natural Law and more to do with protecting the bogus 'Onanism' arguments in Casti Conubii. The most telling and enduring judgment on Humanae Vitae was its subsequent rejection by around 98% of Catholic couples. This is a clear example of the Sensus Fidei Fidelium at work. People rejected both the theology and the Natural Law arguments of the Encyclical which claimed that the Natural Law is written into the hearts of all people and is known to them by reason alone. The Catholic people judged what is genuinely of the Natural Law and what is not. The Humanae Vitae prohibition was not written into their hearts and psyches. Following this rejection, the Vatican tacticians changed tack. From the beginning of his papacy, John Paul II now claimed that the Natural Law is not readily known by reason alone but that it needs to be 'interpreted' and taught by the Pope alone!

Even years before Humanae Vitae, Garrigou Lagrange was lashing out at what he dismissed as the Nouvelle Theologie precisely because the giants of ressourcement had exposed the distorted and ideologically manipulated Thomism of the 'Roman School' and the manualists that he and his like minded were teaching. You, I suspect, are still teaching the now discredited highly rationalist narrow Thomism peddled by Reg and his colleagues.


I suggest you spend a little more time attempting to appreciate the contribution of William of Ockham instead of arrogantly dismissing him as a 'voluntarist'. William added a baptized Christian humanism dimension to the interpretation of abstract law and principles.

Gerald May said...

Peter W. I think you are a formidable interlocutor, and my apologies for my many uncharitable remarks.

This is my take.

True, Ockham does not out right reject the existence of universals and I respect Ockham for some contributions of his logic, but in terms other areas such as epistemology and metaphysics he was on the periphery of scholasticism and actually moves beyond them. I'm not sure what specifically in his writings leads you from his epistemology of conceptualism to a "well formed humanism as exemplified by Erasmus. Erasmus in "Praise of Folly" actually vehemently criticizes Ockham for his use of hyper-rationalizing of the Faith, for example, Ockham's speculation that the Logos could have incarnated himself as a donkey in order to bring salvation to mankind - an absurd notion that is not very Aristotelian as it is contra the nested hierarchy of psychology - humans- animals- plants. But, this is consistent with his psychologism and epistemic conceptualism. Ockham acknowledges that a universal tied to a denotation of an object does exist outside the mind but our understanding, comprehension, and connotation, in his own words "is not aught that is of the being of the things," it is "one idea in the mind," in which I think is an error and why he is a conceptualist and not a strict nominalist. Edward Feser in his book "The Last Superstition" thinks that he is, and John Seely a semiotic Thomist (and who was my metaphysics teacher) in his intriguing magnus opus "The Four Ages of Understanding" argues how under Ockham's influence of conceptualism and minimalistic rationalism and his 15th century followers the Terminists (conceptualists really) led to modernity and the cultural dominance of an anti-realist post-modernism. So, yes, I'm well aware of the myriad interpretive schools of Thomism - Neo-Scholastic, Existential, Transcendental, Semiotic, Analytic, and now, lol, some even calling themselves post-modern Thomistic, but I digress. The error of conceptualism vis a vis the moderate realism of St. Thomas and Dun Scotus is that Ockham converts all of our epistemic predication's- philosophy - sciences -theology to into imposing our own ideas and subjectivity upon the objects of reality. If taken to its terminus point Reason becomes the supreme arbiter over and above faith. In many of your posts on this blog you seem to take this tack also. I would say that Garrigou Lagrange is also worthy of respect since he was a major influence on St. Pope JJII's notable work "Fides et Ratio" Lagrange stays clear of the attitude of feeling that one has to harmonize Scholasticism with Descartes and Kant et al. He just present St. Thomas in a straight forward way as he himself taught - yes - in a manual. Manuals are not by necessity pejorative, which I'm sure you consult when your car doesn't start. Lastly, in the non-Catholic very secular educational milieus in which I teach - I consider it a success if I even get a young person to give St. Thomas "that old churchy guy" as some of them say a cursory introductory reading.

Happy Advent my friend!

Gerald May said...

Sorry for the typos, one does not have an edit option for this blog.

Peter W said...

Gerald,
Thanks for a stimulating and informative discussion. Clearly, I think, we will continue to disagree on the relative importance of Ockham in the formation of particularly Catholic teachings on the use of reason, liberty, free will and the 'affective' in the make up of Christian consciousness as well as intellectual and moral education. However, I must renew the challenge I made to you about Garrigou Lagrange's influence on the Roman school the philosophical and theological presuppositions/premises were vigorously challenged by Newman and later on, from a different perspective, by the ressourcement systematic and moral theologians. You mentioned the positive influence of Reg on JP II in "Fides et Ratio" A foundational premise of JP II's thinking on Humanae Vitae was the intrinsic interdependence of reason and faith in supporting formal Catholic teaching. I argued above that this argument was not only seriously challenged by the 98% of Catholics who rejected the Natural Law (Reason) argument used to support HV, they rejected it as a central moral precept claiming binding obedience of mind and will. The overwhelming majority of Catholics, including I would think, bishops and other clergy, also rejected any claim that HV's ban on artificial contraception constituted central moral teaching and certainly not anything remotely approaching infallibility. It is precisely here that Ockham's theology of equal liberty which involved the intellect/reason being informed not only by rational concepts but the full range of Christian experience, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual etc.

I would suggest that if and when you have another look at JP II's theology of the body, that you pay close attention to two things: he is interested in 'the person' only in a generic sense and not the actual, living, distinct other in a live relationship with all its complexity; secondly, following from the previous thought, JP II's theology of sexuality is abstract, idealized, remote from existential reality and his theology of the moral act is reduced largely to his own variation of Augustinian voluntarism.

Happy Advent to you too.

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