Friday, January 24, 2014

A Note About EWTN

I find Marcus Grodi and his program on EWTN - JOURNEY HOME - intolerably boring. In fact, I find all of EWTN programming awfully boring, which is to say, lacking in real interest, which is further to say, irrelevant. It seems to be a case of the absolute lack-lustre of the visible church, which must include the Traditionalists, of which I count myself one. I think what makes Marcus Grodi's program particularly dull is the fact that it is so obviously a fun little ego-trip for every one of his guests. And each one is also pretty much the same. I may well have missed some spectacular stories of conversion, but, it seems to me, that a really interesting conversion story would not be at all focused on the person of the one converted, but on some great truth of faith, or of reason, that caused the conversion and dominated the life thereafter of the converted one. Take St. Paul. He was first and foremost, the Apostle to the Gentiles. The fact that he was a prominent teacher of the law, and even persecuted the Christians, was important only insofar as it prepared and lead up to his great mission as Apostle to the Gentiles.

Marcus Grodi's guests drip with sentiment, and this is exactly the element absent in the life of St. Paul, model of converts, if I may so call him. Now, I am sure I will be seen as a monster, though a little one, of PRIDE, if I compare my own conversion to that of the great St. Paul. Well, so be it. But I find my own story singularly lacking in anything akin to sentimentality or religious emotions and experiences. What there was of this... concerned other people. I could relate some very edifying stories of the holy people God placed in my pathway to strengthen my own weak faith. But I want to get to the main point and it is this: Our Lord said to Pilate in John 18:37 - "For this was I born, for this came I into the world, to give testimony of the Truth." I think that ought to be the "mission statement" of every Catholic, and especially of converts to the Catholic faith. I believe I was brought into this world to give testimony to the Truths about Creation, the First Principles of natural reason, and certain truths about literary theory and art in general. Aside from the these truths, my life is as boring as anybody else's. This may be because we live in a time when Creation, natural knowledge, and the entire truth-hierarchy of the natural order have taken a beating unlike any in the history of the world. That alone makes a witness to the Truths about Creation, not only interesting, but a case for martyrdom of one kind or another.

The 19th century was known for its polemical literature. It was scintillating with relevance and interest, because it directly dealt with the evils of the day - then termed rationalism - but really signified evolutionism. There was also a tremendous literature on the subject of Protestants and the eternal consequences of their failure to become Catholics. But today, all these very thorny issues have been defanged - (pardon the mixed metaphor). All acidic tonics have been neutralized. Thus, the intolerable boredom of all issues most relevant to our eternal salvation:

I must add that I am especially grateful to EWTN for providing the Chaplet of Saint Michael, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the Rosary- so that those of us who are alone (in more ways than one) - may be able to recite these precious prayers in the company of other Catholics.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Areas of Research

If and when Catholic scientists renounce the heresy of Evolutionary Modernism, and the errors it produces in the Natural Sciences, - those below metaphysics - there are at least two very fertile areas of research awaiting them. The boundary limits between the plant or "vegetative" soul - or vital principle - and those of the animal or sensitive "soul". Both of these kinds of being are material in their ultimate principles, and I submit that they are electrical in nature. It seems they must be so - of necessity - because the criterion of the physical, is that it can be measured. It is a quantity. All the other eight categories of accidents are based on some quantity. A second, most fertile area of research awaiting Catholic scientists, is the principle or principles of order governing the inanimate realm of the elements. Another name for these principles of order is physical laws. Many of these have been - and are - still in progress of being discovered. Such are the types of electron spin.

But there is needed... more general laws - that will unify the science of physics, along with chemistry. For this, the scientist must rise to a knowledge of Metaphysics. He might well begin, since the 2013 hurricane-tornado season is upon us, with a study of Blessed Hildegarde of Bingen's - 12 Cosmic Winds, in her Geocentric Universe. (See Robert Sungenis and Robert Bennett, - GALILEO WAS WRONG - THE CHURCH WAS RIGHT - in Volume Two. These ultimate principles must also be, I submit, electrical in nature, because electricity is the least material of all physical-material causes. In all of the areas mentioned above, we are searching for the material-formal causes of the created beings, from the Universe itself - down to the virus, the bacteria, the fungus, the marine plankton - in all of their marvelous geometric variety!

Monday, January 20, 2014

To The Editor of the National Catholic Register

I submit some remarks about the article by David DeCosse (National Catholic Register October 25 through November 7, 2013 - page 19-25), entitled "IMBALANCE UNDERMINES BISHOPS CAMPAIGN." What first alerted me to the key issue of "imbalance", was DeCosse's use of the term function when describing the first of the three "oddities" in the homily given by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. Instead of speaking as Mr. DeCosse thinks he should, Archbishop Chaput says that "freedom of conscience is a function of freedom of religion: the truly valuable conscience is fired with the spirit of discipleship." The word function, I submit, is entirely out of place here. It is a term very familiar to those working in the natural sciences, especially mathematics, where function is very narrowly and precisely used to refer to a specific "designated task." In fact, my QPB Science Encyclopedia, gives only the term function as used in computer science and mathematics. Is DeCosse and/or Archbishop Chaput happy with reducing essentially moral human actions to the function of an algebraic equation? Well, yes, they are speaking analogically. Okay, but I suggest that we can also use this term analogically, in metaphysics, where function is a process, necessarily performed under the direction of the Substantial Form of the being, in which that function operates as an accidental categorical form.

In this sense, the function must, of necessity, be one either of the natural order or the supernatural order of Divine Grace. In any case, this function is the act of a human being endowed by his or her Creator with the gift of freedom to choose, or "free will"." This freedom may be designated, as Mr. DeCosse does so designate it, as a moral prerogative. Now, unfortunately, I do not have a Webster's dictionary at hand here in my 1/2 nursing home room, though I do have my QPB Science Encyclopedia, as you have seen from the above. (My priorities are slightly skewed, I admit), however, I think of prerogatives as privileges. For example, and as the primary example, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as the second Eve, (with our Lord Jesus Christ the second Adam), was in a direct - corrective opposition to the punishments inflicted upon the first Eve for her sin of disobedience: her conceptions were multiplied with their sorrows - her birthings would be accompanied by pain and blood, as they are today, and her subjection to her husband was to be of an excessive kind, (Genesis 3:16). But of a moral and physical necessity - Mary's prerogatives were a miraculous, divine, single conception of the God-Man; His birth, also miraculously without any labor or shedding of the Virginal Blood and totally joyful.

Finally, Mary's relationship with St. Joseph and his with Her, were full of supernatural charity and respect - a model of spousal union. I do not see how DeCosse's use of this term, moral prerogative, can designate anything but the power we all have to choose, by the use of our free will, to do good and avoid evil. It is in this intellectual vision of what is good and what is evil, that the moral prerogative is seen in all of its privileged splendor. I submit that this hierarchical relationship of intellect and will when it comes to human actions involving contraception and all that may involve in the way of drugs - devices or elaborate keeping accounts etc., for planning - the intellect plainly shows that such actions are radical interferences in the totally natural processes of fertilization and normal gestation. So, the will chooses either to respect the natural order as God created it and mandated the natural processes when He said: "Increase and Multiply"... or the will can choose to interfere with this natural, normal process of conception and gestation and to prevent its normal operation. This latter choice is obviously a choice made against nature and a choice that the Church - as Guardian and Preserver of all natural processes known as the Natural Law, inscribed in our humanity and seen operating even in the animals below us in nature - the Church rightly warns us that when we misuse and abuse this moral prerogative, we sin gravely.

The Church, therefore, attaches penalties to sins against the natural, moral laws and also against Her own Supernatural laws and precepts, as is Her right as the Guardian and Preserver of the created goods of the Order of Creation given in Genesis One, as well as of all those Supernatural Goods stemming from the New Creation of the Order of Grace that came with the Incarnation and Redemption. In this sense, too, Mr. DeCosee, the dogmatic statement that "error has no rights", is simply one of those timeless - unchanging truths, that will always be here to remind us that, while yes, we have this freedom to commit sin and to offend God, it cannot reasonably be said that we have a right to do so. Don't you agree? I understand that you do not think you are offending God. But look at it this way - the Order of Nature is God's creation. You would be offended if someone attacked and destroyed something you had made or owned. God is very much offended by attacks upon His Creation, especially something so exquisitely designed as the process of reproduction.

Please think about this.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Transforming Union

I am hearing on EWTN, only now and then, and from persons I cannot name, what I submit may be a rather serious heresy. It concerns not only the summit of mystical theology, the transforming union, but also the effect of our reception of Holy Communion. The reality of substance is crucial. What happens when we receive our Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in Holy Communion is entirely a qualitative - which is to say - accidental union and not of the substance of the soul. The same is true of the mystical-spiritual transforming union. This is in no way to minimize the degree of perfection such a union signifies. It is seen only in the canonized Saints,(generally speaking). It requires, and or presupposes, heroic virtue. The sisters of St. Therese, clearly witnessed such heroism, in the last months especially, of Therese's life.

Read the published LAST CONVERSATIONS, for very obvious examples of the heroic virtue manifest in the transforming union. But the point I wish to emphasize - and I submit all to the judgment of Holy Mother Church, is that there is no substantial change in the human soul, in this transforming union, nor in the greatest effect possible of Holy Communion. Our souls remain substantially human. We are "divinized", only accidentally, not substantially. This is not to derogate the union, but only to point out that we do not become God, which would be heresy to believe. We do become God-like, in a degree that grows with our cooperation with Divine Grace. Transforming union is the summit of the spiritual life and is open to all who are called to a life of prayer. According to many spiritual authorities, this means everyone who is baptized! Another common error, and one not unrelated to that just discussed, is what happens to the food we eat. Food is of two kinds and they are quite different! Many plants transmit the vital principle or substantial form of their being - in seeds that we eat. The cereal grains such as wheat and nuts, like walnuts pecans etc. When these seeds enter our digestive tract - they do not sprout and begin to grow - as into a bean plant or stalk of wheat

Rather, they begin to disintegrate and reduce to the nutritive elements, such as amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, sugars and minerals, that our bodies utilize as vital nourishment. The point is - that the only substantial change that takes place is in the individual plant or tree, that - (eventually with the nut tree) - dies. We can say that the seed or grain as carrier of the plant's vital principle, dies in our digestive process. There is no substantial change in our bodies as a result of eating anything - even God Himself in Holy Communion. Where ordinary food is concerned, the individual plant and/or animal dies, and that is a substantial change for the individual - but not for the species, which continues to be transmitted by reproduction. Even in human reproduction, there is no substantial change. The ovum and the sperm are both cells of the male and female bodies. They are, therefore, accidental forms - not substantial forms. If they were substantial forms, they would refuse to unite. They do unite in reproduction, which is not a substantial change, but simply or complexly - the pro-creation of a new substantial form. The human being as conceptus - when God infuses the rational human and immortal soul into that tiny conceptus.

Incidentally, all virtues of the supernatural order, because they are entirely spiritual and thus unlike those human virtues of the natural order, have no basis in quantity. They are entirely qualitative and spiritual. This is why St. Bernard could say - that the only measure of our love for God is to love Him without measure. Of course, only in God, is every attribute infinite. Many saints tell us, that our own feeble virtue is potentially infinite - in that it strives to be without measure... especially when it comes to that greatest of all virtues, charity. All physical objects are measured by the electro-magnetic spectrum and the frequency they measure - according to it. Scripture tells us that God has ordered all things in measure, number and weight. (Wisdom 11:21). That is the physical and therefore quantitative. This same book of Wisdom (8:1) - tells us that Wisdom, which is the highest of the gifts of the Holy Spirit,... reacheth.. from end to end mightily,and ordereth all things sweetly. Might and sweetness are qualities, and if supernatural, that is, of Divine Grace, they cannot be measured. The Master assures us - that His yoke is sweet and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). All the sourness and all the heaviness that irks us, comes entirely from our self-love and self-centeredness.

So there is only one kind of substantial change in the natural order, and that is the death of the individual plant, animal or man. Our individual death does effect the substantial change of separation of soul from body. Soul and body, in man, form one substantial form, - one substance. Death is an awesome change, but take comfort from the Preface for the Mass for the Dead ....that those whom the certainty of death afflicts - may be consoled by the promise of future immortality. For thy faithful, O Lord... life is changed, - not taken away. The abode of this earthly dwelling being dissolved - an eternal dwelling is prepared in heaven. All other changes are accidental - involving the actions of those wonderfully versatile elements, whose obedient operations are beyond any human imagining for marvelous design. And yet, these accidental changes are all of the natural order.

The great miracle of Transubstantiation, is entirely supernatural, for the elements are mute. For the first and only instance - of all their wondrous arrangements - with reports therof, they must remain silent, and obediently cover the most stupendous event in all of creation, as they stand guard, as it were, over the transformation of lowly bread and wine - grain of the field and fruit of the vine - into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. This is truly a change of substance - a transubstantiation that does not issue in death, but in divine and eternal Life. For by dying, He overcame our death, and by rising again - hath restored our life. (Preface for Easter). But the wise virgins took oil in their vessels - with the lamps. (Matthew 25:4.) This singular parable is specific for the Last Days - for it begins,"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins - who taking their lamps, went forth to meet the Bridegroom and the Bride." (Matthew 25:1)

It is obviously full of symbols - which it is necessary for us to know and to practice - if we are to be among the wise virgins, who were ready when the Bridegroom came and went in with Him to the Marriage. And the door was shut. Our salvation is at stake - for those foolish virgins - who had no oil for their lamps and had run off to buy oil when the Bridegroom came - so that when they finally did arrive - they found the door shut to them. Not only that the Bridegroom Himself refused to open the door to them, because He did not know them. Knowing, in Scripture, always means the deepest and most intimate knowledge... spiritual as well as carnal. For virgins, this knowledge is entirely spiritual and even abhors the merely carnal. What are the lamps... what are the vessels and what is the oil? These are most important symbols of spiritual realities and signify things necessary for salvation.

Now, please check me on the following, because I do not have access to my reference books. I think it is the consensus of Catholic commentators that the lamp, with its shape, its wick and the flame of its fire is Supernatural, that is, Baptismal - Theological Faith, Hope and Charity. These three virtues are necessary for salvation. Since it is the oil that burns.. the oil is charity. Hope is the wick- and the lamp is Faith. The three theological virtues are so closely related, as almost to be one instead of three. And yet, St. Thomas is clear that an abstract kind of Faith, yet fastened to the will, also can exist without Hope and Charity. But it is certainly a precarious kind of Faith. Some, especially men, are said to cling with a persistent Faith, to the intercessory power of our Blessed Mother Mary - and not without good reason. What are the vessels that apparently only the wise virgins carried with the lamps? The lamps of the foolish virgins went out for lack of this extra oil carried in vessels with the lamps.... that is, in addition to the lamps.

In these Last Days of Darkness, everyone will need lamps just to survive spiritually - but only the wise ones carry extra oil in vessels with the lamps. Why only 10? And why virgins? What worse fate can one imagine than to hear those awful words of our Divine Lord: " I know ye not!" Jesus, Mary, Joseph, save us for Thy Glory.

Kyrie, Eleison!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Secondary Causes

The most important thing to know about Secondary Causes, is that they cannot cause anything that was not first caused and created, ex nihilo, and in toto by the Primary Efficient and Final cause of all things during the first Six Days of the World, when God established His Order of Creation to be preserved throughout time in the Order of Generation.

It is in this Order of Generation that Secondary Causes perpetuate by physical transmission or reproduction - the Substantial Forms that God created -- as only He can, so create the original and immutable forms of all corporeal beings. Secondary causes have received the power of agency in order to transmit the Substantial Form - which Form determines all the processes or functions of that form.

Dr. Stephen M. Barr, in his 2011 pamphlet, SCIENCE AND RELIGION: THE MYTH OF CONFLICT, - page 39 quotes eminent Catholic scientist Peter E. Hodgson on the view of John Henry Newman:

... Newman believed that the Creator lets His work develop through secondary causes - which have imparted certain laws to matter... millions of ages ago, which have surely and precisely worked out.... in the course of those long ages, those effects which He, from the first, proposed... Thus, Mr. Darwin's theory need not be atheistical, be it true or not.... it may simply be suggesting a large idea of Divine Prescience and Skill. (Ignatius Press, 2011.)

The phrase "be it true or not", saves Newman from total commitment to Darwinism, but not Dr. Hodgson nor Dr. Barr, both of whom are, to all appearances from their published works, committed theistic evolutionists. But it all hinges upon a colossal error in the life sciences, leading to a very false idea, even heretical, about the nature of God. The error in the natural sciences is that functions and processes operate in search of form, as it were. But the opposite is true. It is absolutely necessary, biologically, physically, metaphysically and theologically that Form come before process and function. It is a case of Dr. Michael Behe's mouse trap. All the parts are necessary if it is to catch a mouse. Now Dr.Barr says several very good and true things in this little pamphlet - as when he defines miracles as "extraordinary events.... (that presupposes that there is a natural order that determines what is naturally possible and what is not..." (pp.10-11)

Now it is just as certain that secondary causes presuppose a first, Primary Efficient and Final Cause, as it is -- that miracles presuppose a natural order.... that a miracle temporarily suspends. Because the natural order, and its in-built laws, are but the Order of Creation described as established in the First Six Days of the World and preserved, with accidental variations, throughout time in the Order of Generation. But Dr. Barr commits a colossal error - and he certainly cannot document it when he says:

For the Catholic Church, the physical processes by which plants and animals formed, like those by which stars and planets formed, are a matter of natural "secondary causes" and for the natural sciences, not theology, to concern themselves with. (page 40.) I underlined these words because this is the crucial error: science can only see the processes that take place by and in the Forms of created beings, that is, processes that only began once the Forms had been created in toto by God, during the First Six Days of the World and then transmitted by reproduction in the Order of Generation. These original forms, the created kinds of Genesis One are immutable creations, as history proves, except for minor variations. Some variations, such as those within the canine and feline kinds, may seem more than minor...- from lion to domestic cat or from Jack London's "White Fang" - to my pet Fido - but they can interbreed, and it is for the taxonomist to discover these boundaries of the Genesis kind. But Saint Thomas is very emphatic - that while it may not be for theology to oversee the ordinary work of the scientists, it is for theology to judge of the scientists conclusions - in the light of Divine Revelation. (See question 1 of the Summa - where the sciences are all discussed in relation to Theology.)

And I must add that it is most certainly - not - "the Catholic Church" - that teaches anything remotely resembling Darwinian evolution by secondary causes. St.Thomas is equally clear and emphatic that in creation - God used no instrumental or secondary causes - because creation of all the first substantial forms was a work done by Acts of God alone. No processes at all were involved in God's Creative Acts. He spoke and they were. He commanded and they came into existence.(Psalm 32.) This evolutionism propagated by prominent men of science - like Dr.Steven Barr and Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer, is the major error of the synthesis of all heresies that Pope St. Pius X condemned as Modernism in 1907 - in his encyclical Pascendi and his syllabus Lamentabili. What scientists - like Dr.Barr observe through their high-powered telescopes is not the formation of anything -- but rather the motions of disintegration - things coming apart - not coming together to form intelligible objects. God did that in the beginning, just as Genesis One narrates. God created all things ex nihilo and in toto. The in toto means that all things issued from His Creative Word - instantaneously, fully formed, mature and ready to begin to function according to their created Forms - Substances - Natures and Kinds.

Genesis 1-3 is full of all the real, scientific knowledge - any professional scientist could possibly wish for. But he must have eyes to see and ears to hear, as Our Divine Lord so often admonishes.

(For the places in the Summa of St. Thomas, please see this writer's, THIRTY THESES AGAINST THEISTIC EVOLUTION.)