Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Remnant - A Study in Blind Spots

Surely, we all have blind spots. The caution of Scottish poet - Robert Burns, is always applicable. O that the gift of God would give us, to see ourselves as others see us!

That said, with the appropriate Mea Culpas, please allow me to point out TWO areas where blind spots abound.

The June 20th of 2013 issue of THE REMNANT, reports the suicide of 78 year old French historian Dominique Venner on May 22, 2013. Intended to be a public event, Dr. Venner placed a long suicide note on the Altar in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and then shot himself with a small handgun. It is not clear to me whether the suicide note and the blog post are the same. In any case, THE REMNANT gives us "the final words of Dominique Venner." It is the last paragraph that is most significant, because this reveals the mind of a man who might have once been Catholic, but due to the fatal influence of French existentialism, condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, (1950), he was no longer Catholic. He had lost his Catholic Faith. His suicide should be much more a statement of the evil of this direful deformation of Thomism than a statement against "gay marriage", and all the rest. What editor Michael Matt appears to be blind to is the very close connection between Dr. Venner's suicide and the list of fragments, as seven questions, in the article by Dr. Joseph Romanoski entitled "SOCIAL MEDIA AUTOTHEISM, AND THE CULT OF SELF"

During the pontificate of Leo XIII, Cardinal Mercier of Louvain University in Belgium, persuaded the Pope to mandate the accomodation of Scholasticism to the methods and data of modern science. This movement is well documented by Thomist scholar Anton Pegis in his book on this subject. (See this writer's paper, A GREAT BETRAYAL.")

The list of questions that Dr. Romanoski presents is the result of this re-doing. In other words, the magnificent synthesis constructed by St. Thomas Aquinas, and held by the Church as Her Crown Jewel, is here displayed in all of its shabby imitation-jeweled disintegration. The glorious certitudes of Faith and of Reason - certitudes which Dr. Venner so obviously LOST - are here in the REMNANT - presented as seven questions! No wonder, then, that Dr. Venner despaired!

Please let me try to spell it out for you. First of all, Dr. Romanoski's questions are not questions at all, but the certitudes of Reason - the normal human reason - and of divine Catholic Faith, deformed into questions.

Number 1. Logic is not a science, but an art, used by all the sciences as the indispensable TOOL of right reasoning, in proper grammatical forms known as propositions and forming syllogisms that reveal the reasoning process. Traditionally, logic formed part of the educational Trivium: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric. We need to revive these educational categories.

Number 2. Criteriology is the new name given, by Modernists, to the science of Epistemology. This science of how and what we know is an integral part or branch of the highest science of Metaphysics - because both concern the First Principles of all knowledge. Dr. Romanoski briefly mentions two of the First Principles as dogmas. These should be related to the Greek concept of episteme - from whence epistemology. The importance of this science resides in the fact that it demonstrates, by experience, that the human mind, when it knows and judges - based on the data of the senses, accurately and infallibly (as Dr. R. shows) reflects reality, giving the human person a true picture of what is real. (See this writer's COGNITIVE LOOP, for this writer's summation of Epistemology.) But better still, of course, consult real Thomists such as Dominican Fr. Garigou-Lagrange and lay Thomist par excellence - Etienne Gilson. The works of both are readily available.

Number 3. This is the science of Cosmology. When guided by the higher sciences of Metaphysics and Theology - this science gives us a true picture of the geocentric cosmos. Uncertainties arise only on debatable interpretations of Holy Scripture and in this case, certitudes, at least as to the basic dogmas, can be attained by consulting the sources to be found in Tradition and the Magisterium. This trio: Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium - constitute what Dr. R. refers to as the Rule of Faith, and rightly so, since the ultimate certitude is that of Faith.

It should be noted here - also - that a Catholic Cosmology will make proper use of the Thomistic concepts of Substance and accidents. It is imperative that the physicist and the chemist be clear as to the nature of their formal object. The chaos in physics and chemistry today, as well as the disastrous effects of the evolutionary world view, have prevented real progress in these sciences, especially with respect to the environment. (More on this later.) What these physical sciences need to know is that the formal objects of their sciences are the accidental forms of some larger Substance, - namely the atomic structures of the Body of the Universe.

Number 4. The science that studies the soul is theology, and theology studies all created beings as they relate to God and primarily, theology studies God Himself - since the soul relates directly to God, the study of the soul belongs to theology. And the WORST thing about this list is that it relegates theology to Number 5 - the ultimate insult. And Number 6 is Metaphysics - whereas Number 7 is moral theology - a branch of Number 1 - which should be theology. Nor is it possible, especially since the Incarnation - but actually since the Sixth Day of Creation - to separate the Natural order from the Supernatural order of Divine Grace - where the human soul is concerned.

Here is my - admittedly - amateur attempt to show in graphic form - the real Hierarchy of the sciences, according to the Traditional and Magisterial sources rooted in Holy Scripture.

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