Monday, October 26, 2009

Last Sunday in October: The Feast of Christ the King (from Vespers)

Share/Bookmark Source:

Te sæculórum Príncipem,
Te, Christe, Regem Géntium,
Te méntium te córdium
Unum fatémur árbitrum.

Scelésta turba clámitat :
Regnáre Christum nólumus :
Te nos ovántes ómnium
Regem suprémum dícimus.

O Christe, Princeps Pácifer,
Mentes rebélles súbjice:
Tuóque amóre dévios,
Ovíle in unum cóngrega.

Ad hoc cruénta ab árbore
Pendes apértis bráchiis,
Diráque fossum cúspide
Cor igne flagrans éxhibes.

Ad hoc in aris ábderis
Vini dapísque imágine,
Fundens salútem fíliis
Transverberáto péctore.

Te natiónum Præsides
Honóre tollant público,
Colant magístri, júdices,
Leges et artes éxprimant.

Submíssa regum fúlgeant
Tibi dicáta insígnia:
Mitíque sceptro pátriam
Domósque subde cívium.

Jesu tibi sit glória,
Qui sceptra mundi témperas,
Cum Patre, et almo Spíritu,
In sempitérna sæcula.  Amen.
The Hymn
Lord of the ages evermore,
Each nation's King, the wide world o'er,
O Christ, our only Judge thou art,
And Searcher of the mind and heart.

Through Sin with rebel voice maintain,
We will not have this Christ to reign,
Far other, Lord, shall be our cry,
Who hail thee King of kings most High.

O thou eternal Prince of peace,
Subdue man's pride, bid error cease,
Permit not sin to wax o'er-bold,
The strayed bring home within the fold.

For this thou hangedst on the Tree
With arms outstretched in loving plea;
For this thou shewedst forth thy Heart,
On fire with love, pierced by the dart.

And yet that wounded side sheds grace
Forth from the altar's holy place,
Where, veiled 'neath humblest bread and wine,
Abides for man the life divine.

Earth's noblest rulers to thee raise
Their homage due of public praise;
Teachers and judges thee confess;
Art, science, law, thy truth express.

Let kings be fain to dedicate
To thee the emblems of their state;
Rule thou each nation from above,
Rule o'er the people's homes in love.

Proper Doxology
All praise, King Jesu, be to thee,
The Lord of all in majesty;
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost for evermore.  Amen.

V.  Multiplicábitur ejus impérium.
R.  Et pacis non erit finis.
V.  His empire shall be multiplied.
R.  And there shall be peace without end.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

All Individuals and Governments Have the Obligation to Submit to the Kingship of Christ and to His Revelation

From Pope Pius XI's Encyclical Quas Primas:

16. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices?

17. It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.[27]

18. Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: "His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ."[28] Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved."[29] He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. "For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?"[30] If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. What We said at the beginning of Our Pontificate concerning the decline of public authority, and the lack of respect for the same, is equally true at the present day. "With God and Jesus Christ," we said, "excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation."[31]

19. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. "You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men."[32] If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.

27. Hymn for the Epiphany.
28. Enc. Annum Sacrum, May 25, 1899.
29. Acts iv, 12.
30. S. Aug. Ep. ad Macedonium, c. iii.
31. Enc. Ubi Arcano.
32. I Cor.vii,23.

Last Sunday in October: The Feast of Christ the King (from Matins)

Share/Bookmark Source:

Lesson iv
Ex lítteris Encyclicis Pii Papæ undécimi
The Lesson is taken from the
Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI
Litt. Encycl. Quas primas, diei 11 Decembris 1925

Cum Annus sacer non unam ad illustrándum Christi regnum habúerit opportunitátem, vidémur rem factúri Apostólico múneri in primis consentáneam, si, plurimórum Patrum Cardinálium, Episcopórum fideliúmque précibus, ad Nos aut singillátim aut commúniter delátis, concedéntes, hunc ipsum Annum peculiári festo Dómini Nostri Jesu Christi Regis in ecclesiásticam liturgíam inducéndo clausérimus.  Ut transláta verbi significatióne Rex appellarétur Christus ob summum excelléntiæ gradum, quo inter omnes res creátas præstat atque éminet, jam diu communitérque usu venit.  Ita enim fit, ut regnáre is « in méntibus hóminum » dicátur non tam ob mentis áciem scientiæque suæ amplitúdinem, quam quod ipse est Véritas, et veritátem ab eo mortáles hauríre atque obediénter accípere necésse est ; « in voluntátibus » item « hóminum », quia non modo sanctitáti in eo voluntátis divínæ perfécta prorsus respóndet humánæ intégritas atque obtemperátio, sed étiam líberæ voluntáti nostræ id permotióne instinctúque suo súbjicit, unde ad nobilíssima quæque exardescámus.  « Córdium » dénique « Rex » Christus agnóscitur ob ejus « supereminéntem sciéntiæ caritátem » et mansuetúdinem benignitatémque ánimos alliciéntem : nec enim quemquam usque ádeo ab universitáte géntium, ut Christum Jesum, aut amári aliquándo cóntigit aut amátum iri in pósterum contínget.  Verum, ut rem préssius ingrediámur, nemo non videt, nomen potestatémque regis, própria quidem verbi significatióne, Christo hómini vindicári oportére ; nam, nisi quátenus homo est, a Patre « potestátem et honórem et regnum » accepísse dici nequit, quandóquidem Dei Verbum, cui éadem est cum Patre substántia, non potest ómnia cum Patre non habére commúnia, proptereáque ipsum in res creátas univérsas summum atque absolutíssimum impérium.
Since the Holy Year hath provided more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it to be in the highest degree in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the prayers of many Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to us both individually and collectively, by closing this very Year with the insertion into the ecclesiastical liturgy of a special feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.  It is a long-standing and common custom to apply, in a symbolic sense, the title of King to Christ.  That is to say, to refer to him as King because he hath surpassed and excelled every created being by virtue of his sublime perfection in all things.  In this sense he is said to reign in the minds of men.  By which is meant, not only that the keenness of his mind and the extent of his knowledge surpasseth the rest of mankind, but that he is himself the Truth ; and hence that from him the truth is to be discovered, and also obédiently received, by all mankind.  Likewise he is said to reign in the wills of men.  For in him not only is the human will in exact and precise accord with the holiness of the divine will, but also from him doth come to us the grace and inspiration to conform our own preferences to the divine will, whereby we are moved to the noblest kind of actions.  Again, Christ is acknowledged to be the King of human hearts, on account of his love which passeth human understanding, and of his mercy and kindness, whereby he draweth all men unto him.  For never hath anyone been loved so much at any time as Jesus Christ is loved, and that by so many different races.  Neither will it happen in time to come that anyone shall be so loved.  But although all this is true, Christ is also King in the proper and strict sense of the word.  For if we ponder this matter more deeply we cannot but see that this title, as well as true kingly power, is rightly claimed for Christ as Man.  As the Word of God he is of the same substance as the Father, and hath all things in common with the Father, and therefore in his divine nature he hath the highest and most absolute dominion over all created things.  Hence it is only as Man that he can be said to have received from the Father the kingdom and the power and the glory.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.
R.  Exsúlta satis, fília Sion ; júbila, fília Jerúsalem : ecce Rex tuus véniet tibi justus et Salvátor : * Et loquétur pacem Géntibus.
V.  Potéstas ejus a mari usque ad mare : et a flumínibus usque ad fines terræ.
R.  Et loquétur pacem Géntibus.
R.  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion ; shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem ; behold, thy King cometh unto thee, just and having salvation, *  And he shall speak peace unto the nations.
V.  His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R.  And he shall speak peace unto the nations.

V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 5: Christus perpétuæ det nobis gáudia vitæ.
R.  Amen.

Benediction 5: May Christ bestow upon us the joys of life eternal.
R.  Amen.

Lesson v

Quo autem hæc Dómini nostri dígnitas et potéstas fundaménto consístat, apte Cyríllus Alexandrínus animadvértit : « Omnium, ut verbo dicam, creatúram dominátum óbtinet, non per vim extórtum, nec aliúnde invéctum, sed esséntia sua ei natúra » ; scílicet ejus principátus illa nítitur unióne mirábili, quam hypostáticam appéllant.  Unde conséquitur, non modo ut Christus ab ángelis et homínibus Deus sit adorándus, sed étiam ut ejus império Hóminis, Angeli et hómines páreant et subjécti sint : nempe ut vel solo hypostáticæ uniónis nómine Christus potestátem in univérsas creatúras obtíneat.  Jamvéro, ut hujus vim et natúram principátus paucis declarémus, dícere vix áttinet tríplici eum potestáte continéri, qua si carúerit, principátus vix intellígitur.  Id ipsum deprómpta atque alláta ex sacris Lítteris de universáli Redemptóris nostri império testimónia plus quam satis signíficant, atque est cathólica fide credéndum, Christum Jesum homínibus datum esse útique Redemptórem cui fidant, at una simul legislatórem cui obédiant.  Ipsum autem evangélia non tam leges condidísse narrant, quam leges condéntem indúcunt : quæ quidem præcépta quicúmque servárint, iídem a divíno Magístro, álias áliis verbis, et suam in eum caritátem probatúri et in dilectióne ejus mansúri dicúntur.  Judiciáriam vero potestátem sibi a Patre attribútam ipse Jesus Judæis, de Sábbati requiéte per mirábilem débilis hóminis sanatiónem violáta criminántibus, denúntiat : « Neque enim Pater júdicat quemquam, sed omne judícium dedit Fílio ».  In quo id étiam comprehénditur (quóniam res a judício disjúngi nequit) ut præmia et pœnas homínibus adhuc vivéntibus jure suo déferat.  At prætérea potéstas illa, quam exsecutiónis vocant, Christo adjudicánda est, útpote cujus império parére omnes necésse sit, et ea quidem denuntiáta contumácibus irrogatióne suppliciórum, quæ nemo possit effúgere.
As to the source of our Lord's kingly dignity, it is fittingly indicated by Cyril of Alexandria who saith : He doth possess dominion, if I may use the word, over all creatures ; a dominion not seized by violence, nor usurped from anyone, but possessed by virtue of his very being and nature.  In him there is a marvellous union of the divine and human natures which is known as the hypostatic union, and this very union is a glorious manifestation of his dominion.  That is to say, as a consequence of this hypostatic union, Angels and men do not only adore Christ as God, but are subject to his dominion as Man, and do obey him as such.  For by reason of this hypostatic union, if for no other reason, Christ hath power over all created beings.  And now, to explain the import and nature of this headship of his, let us say briefly that it consisteth in a three-fold power, namely, that of Law-giver, Judge, and Ruler.  For if this power were lacking, we could scarcely discern wherein he hath any such headship.  And, moreover the witness to our Redeemer's universal dominion, which same is not only implied but announced by Holy Scripture, is more than clear, so that it is an article of the Catholic Faith, proceeding from the truth that Christ Jesus was given to mankind as the Saviour of all those who put their faith in him.  But this being so, it is clear that he is also to be the Law-giver for those who obey him.  Thus, the Gospels not only relate that he made laws, but they also shew him in the act of promulgating them.  In several different passages the divine Master is described as announcing in various ways that whosoever keepeth his commandments, doth thereby shew love for him, and the desire to persevere in loving him.  As to his júdiciary power, Jesus himself hath told us that the Father hath conferred this upon him ; for at the time when the Jews accused him of having broken the law of Sabbath-rest by his miraculous cure of a sick man, he said : The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.  Thus he hath authority to confer rewards or punishment upon the living, for authority so to do cannot be separated from his authority as Judge.  From all this, his executive power (that is, his right to govern) is made clear, since all men must needs obey his rule, and those who disobey are subject to penalties from which there is no escape.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.
R.  Opórtet illum regnáre, quóniam ómnia subjécit Deus sub pédibus ejus : * Ut sit Deus ómnia in ómnibus.
V.  Cum subjécta fúerint illi ómnia, tunc et ipse Fílius subjéctus erit Patri.
R.  Ut sit Deus ómnia in ómnibus.
R.  He must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet, * That God may be all in all.
V.  And when all things shall thus be subdued unto him, then shall he as Son also himself be subject unto the Father.
R.  That God may be all in all.

V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 6: Ignem sui amóris accéndat Deus in córdibus nostris.
R.  Amen.

Benediction 6: May God enkindle in our hearts the fire of his holy love.
R.  Amen.

Lesson vi

Verúmtamen ejúsmodi regnum præcípuo quodam modo et spirituále esse et ad spirituália pertinére, cum ea, quæ ex Bíbliis supra protúlimus, verba planíssime osténdant, tum Christus Dóminus sua agéndi ratióne confírmat.  Síquidem, non una data occasióne, cum Judæi, immo vel ipsi Apóstoli, per errórem censérent, fore ut Messías pópulum in libertátem vindicáret regnúmque Israël restitúeret, vanam ipse opiniónem ac spem adímere et convéllere ; rex a circumfúsa admirántium multitúdine renuntiándus, et nomen et honórem fugiéndo latendóque detrectáre ; coram Præside románo edícere, regnum suum « de hoc mundo » non esse.  Quod quidem regnum tale in evangéliis propónitur, in quod hómines pœniténtiam agéndo íngredi vero néqueant nisi per fidem et baptísmum, qui etsi est ritus extérnus, interiórem tamen regeneratiónem signíficat atque éfficit ; oppónitur únice regno Sátanæ et potestáti tenebrárum, et ab ásseclis póstulat, non solum ut, abalienáto a divítiis rebúsque terrénis ánimo, morum præferant lenitátem et esúriant sitiántque justítiam, sed étiam ut semet ipsos ábnegent et crucem suam tollant.  Cum autem Christus et Ecclésiam Redémptor sánguine suo acquisíverit et Sacérdos se ipse pro peccátis hóstiam obtúlerit perpetuóque ófferat, cui non videátur régium ipsum munus utriúsque illíus natúram múneris indúere ac participáre?  Túrpiter, ceteróquin, erret, qui a Christo hómine rerum civílium quarúmlibet impérium abjúdicet, cum is a Patre jus in res creátas absolutíssimum sic obtíneat, ut ómnia in suo arbítrio sint pósita.  Itaque auctoritáte Nostra apostólica, festum Dómini Nostri Jesu Christi Regis institúimus, quotánnis, postrémo mensis Octóbris domínico die, qui scílicet Omnium Sanctórum celebritátem próxime antecédit, ubíque terrárum agéndum.  Item præcípimus, ut eo ipso die géneris humáni Sacratíssimo Cordi Jesu dedicátio quotánnis renovétur.
But, nevertheless, a kingdom such as this hath a special character, namely, that it is a spiritual kingdom, for it hath spiritual ends and purposes.  The words quoted above from the Bible clearly indicate this, and the Lord Christ hath confirmed the same by his actions.  On more than one occasion when the Jews―yea, when even the Apostles themselves―falsely imagined that the Messiah would presently free his people from Roman domination, and restore the Kingdom of Israel, he both dispelled and destroyed that fond hope.  For he disclaimed the title of King when it was pressed upon him by the admiring multitude which thronged him ; he refused both the name and the honour by fleeing from them and concealing himself ; and he declared in the presence of the Roman Governour : My kingdom is not of this world.  According to the Gospels it is a kingdom whose citizenship is prepared for by repentance, and bestowed by Baptism through faith.  Although the latter is an outward rite, it doth both signify and produce an inward regeneration.  Furthermore, this kingdom hath been raised up in direct opposition to the kingdom of Satan and the powers of darkness.  Citizenship therein demandeth detachment from riches and worldly affairs, discipline of character, and hunger and thirst after righteousness ; and even more than this, that every citizen thereof is to deny himself, and take up his Cross.  But since Christ as Redeemer hath purchased the Church with his own blood, and as Priest hath offered himself as a sacrifice for sin, which offering abideth forever, is it not evident that as King he is both our Redeemer and Priest?  On the other hand, it is a wicked error to deny to Christ as Man the authority over civil affairs, since he hath from the Father such complete jurisdiction over created things that he could say : All power is given unto me in heaven and earth.  Therefore, by our apostolic authority, we appoint the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, which same is to be observed annually throughout the entire world, on the last Lord's day in the month of October, that is to say, on the Sunday next before All Saints Day ; and likewise we enjoin, that the dedication of the human race to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be annually renewed upon that selfsame day.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.

R.  Fecit nos regnum et sacerdótes Deo et Patri suo : * Ipsi glória et impérium, in sæcula sæculórum.
V.  Ipse est primogénitus mortuórum, et princeps regum terræ.
R.  Ipsi glória et impérium, in sæcula sæculórum.
V.  Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R.  Ipsi glória et impérium, in sæcula sæculórum.
R.  He hath made us kings and priests unto God who is his Father : * To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
V.  He is the First-Begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
R.  To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R.  To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.

Garrigou-Lagrange on the Infused Moral Virtues


From The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Ch. 3:


Are the acquired moral virtues we have just spoken of sufficient, under the influence of charity, to constitute the spiritual organism of the virtues in a Christian? Must we receive infused moral virtues?

In conformity with tradition and with a decision of Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne,(5) the Catechism of the Council of Trent (Part II, On baptism and its effects), answers: "The grace (sanctifying), which baptism confers, is accompanied by the glorious cortege of all the virtues, which, by a special gift of God, penetrate the soul simultaneously with it." This gift is an admirable effect of the Savior's passion which is applied to us by the sacrament of regeneration.

Moreover, in this bestowal of the infused moral virtues, there is a lofty fitness that has been well set forth by St. Thomas.(6) The means, he observes, must be proportioned to the end. By the infused theological virtues we are raised and directed toward the supernatural last end. Hence it is highly fitting that we should be raised and directed by the infused moral virtues in regard to supernatural means capable of leading us to our supernatural end.

God provides for our needs not less in the order of grace than in that of nature. Therefore, since in the order of nature He has given us the capacity to succeed in practicing the acquired moral virtues, it is highly fitting that in the order of grace He should give us infused moral virtues.

The acquired moral virtues do not suffice in a Christian to make him will, as he ought, the supernatural means ordained to eternal life. St. Thomas says, in fact, that there is an essential difference between the acquired temperance described by pagan moralists, and the Christian temperance spoken of in the Gospel. (7) The difference is analogous to that of an octave between two musical notes of the same name, separated by a complete scale. We often distinguish between philosophical temperance and Christian temperance, or again between the philosophical poverty of Crates' and the evangelical poverty of the disciples of Christ.

As St. Thomas remarks,(8) acquired temperance has a rule and formal object different from those of infused temperance. Acquired temperance keeps a just medium in the matter of food in order that we may live reasonably, that we may not injure our health or the exercise of our reason. Infused temperance, on the contrary, keeps a superior happy mean in the use of food in order that we may live in a Christian manner, as children of God, en route to the wholly supernatural life of eternity. Infused temperance thus implies a more severe mortification than is implied by acquired temperance; it requires, as St. Paul says, that man chastise his body and bring it into subjection,(9) that he may become not only a virtuous citizen of society on earth, but one of the "fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God." (10)

The same difference exists between the acquired virtue of religion, which ought to render to God, the Author of nature, the worship due Him, and the infused virtue of religion, which offers to God, the Author of grace, the essentially supernatural sacrifice of the Mass, which perpetuates in substance that of the cross. Between these two virtues of the same name, there is even more than the difference of an octave; there is a difference of orders, so that the acquired virtue of religion or that of temperance could grow forever by the repetition of acts without ever attaining the dignity of the slightest degree of the infused virtue of the same name. The tonality is entirely different; the spirit animating the word is no longer the same. In the case of the acquired virtue, the spirit is simply that of right reason; in the infused virtue, the spirit is that of faith which comes from God through grace.

These two formal objects and two motives of action differ greatly. Acquired prudence is ignorant of the supernatural motives of action; infused prudence knows them. Proceeding not from reason alone, but from reason illumined by infused faith, it knows the infinite elevation of our supernatural last end, God seen face to face. It knows, consequently, the gravity of mortal sin, the value of sanctifying grace and of the actual graces we must ask for every day in order to persevere, and the value of the sacraments that are to be received. Acquired prudence is ignorant of all of this, because this matter belongs to an essentially supernatural order.

What a difference there is between the philosophical modesty described by Aristotle and Christian humility! The latter presupposes the knowledge of two dogmas: that of creation ex nihilo, and that of the necessity of actual grace for taking the slightest step forward in the way of salvation. What a distance there is also between the virginity of the vestal virgin, whose duty it was to keep up the sacred fire, and that of the Christian virgin who consecrates her body and heart to God that she may follow our Lord Jesus Christ more perfectly!

These infused moral virtues are Christian prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, and those which accompany them, such as meekness and humility. They are connected with charity in this sense, that charity, which sets us aright in regard to our supernatural last end, cannot exist without them, without this multiple rectification in regard to the supernatural means of salvation.(11) Moreover, he who loses charity by a mortal sin, loses the infused moral virtues; because, by turning away from the supernatural end, he loses infused rectification in regard to the means proportioned to this end. But it does not follow that he loses faith and hope, or that he loses the acquired virtues; the latter, however, cease to be stable and connected in him. In fact, a man who is in the state of mortal sin loves himself more than he does God and tends through egoism to fail in his duties even in the natural order.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"The Thomistic Tradition" by Edward Fesser

Share/Bookmark A quick, informative survey of the different contemporary Thomistic schools: Part 1 & Part 2.

A Reader Asks: Are There Sensate Plants?


A Reader Asks: You claim that the difference between the genus 'animals' and that of 'plants' is that animals are sensate (i.e., they can sense) whereas plants are non-sensate. But I believe modern botany can prove you wrong, insofar as it gives evidence of sensate plants. Here is a quote from a recent article on the matter.

Plants can't see or hear, but they can recognize their siblings, and now researchers have found out how: They use chemical signals secreted from their roots, according to a new study. The study in question results below. Bais and doctoral student Meredith Biedrzycki set up a study with wild populations of arabidopsis thaliana, a small flowering plant that is often used as a model organismin plant research. They wanted to use wild populations instead of laboratory-bred species, because the latter "always has cousins floating around in the lab," Bais said. In a series of experiments, young seedlings were exposed to liquid containing the root secretions, called "exudates," from siblings, from strangers (non-siblings), or only their own exudates. The length of the longest lateral root and of the hypocotyl, the first leaf-like structure that forms on the plant, was measured. A lateral root is a root that extends horizontally outward from the primary root, which grows downward. Plants exposed to strangers had greater lateral root formation than the plants that were exposed to siblings. Further, when sibling plants grow next to each other, their leaves will often touch and intertwine, while stranger plants near each other grow rigidly upright and avoid touching, the authors say.
This disproves your statement that plants have no senses.

Ite ad Thomam Responds:

This whole issue is all a matter of difference in terminology between scientists and philosophers. Once this terminology is clarified, the whole issue becomes a moot point.

The venus flytrap, perhaps an even better example of a plant that has a so-called 'sensory system', operates on the basis of purely chemical responses; a chemical stimulus (the fly's touching the trap) causes a chemical reaction in the plant that unleashes the mechanism of the closing of the leaves (and there is much scientific literature on this). Scientists call it this type of mechanism a 'sensory mechanism' because, through it, some plants interact with stimuli from their environment. But none of this involves sensory awareness. The plant does not "feel" anything. There is no subjectivity in the plant. The plant is not conscious of it or of its environment. It just is. It sits there and reacts chemically to stimuli. But botanists, of course, are not psychologists, and have no interest in the issue of plant 'awareness' or plant 'consciousness'; they cannot measure it or detect it in any way. They are practical naturalists: they do not acknowledge, qua scientists, the existence of anything subjective, mental, spiritual, or immaterial. That is why they have no interest in making a distinction between sensation properly speaking (with subjective awareness, as in animals) and sensation in the looser sense (reacting to chemical stimuli).

In the case of sensate beings, however, the action potential (the electric sensory signal as it travels through the neurons) is interpreted by the brain or whatever is the central nervous system of the species in question as a subjective experience. Animals do "feel." So whereas it makes sense to ask, for instance, the question of "what it would feel like to be a bat," nonetheless it does not make sense to ask the question of "what it would feel like to be a plant," because being a plant does not 'feel' like anything, anymore than being a rock 'feels' like anything.

But, ultimately, the main point is this: "plant" in botany and "plant" in philosophy have different definitions. In botany, "plant" refers to the clade (taxonomic group) plantae, a rather narrow monophyletic (closely-related) group of taxa that includes only the land plants and green algae (but excludes other things that are commonly considered 'plants' both by philosophers and the common people, such as red algae and fungi). The synapomorphies (the scientific term for what in philosophy we call propria, or essential properties) of plantae are the following:

(a) their cells have the photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll-a and chlorophyll-b,
(b) the accessory pigment beta-carotene, and
(c) membrane-bound sacks called thylakoids.

That's it: only such beings count as plantae. If something doesn't have these synapomorphies, it does not belong to the clade plantae. So the mushrooms that you eat in your salad, and the algae that gets tangled in your toes when you go swimming at the beach are not 'plants' (under the scientific definition).

In philosophy, however, "plant" means something altogether different, something much broader. "Plant" just means "non-sensate living being": a such, it includes a vast paraphyletic kingdom of taxa, many of which are unrelated (e.g., fungi, plantae, bacteria, archaea). This includes not only the plantae, but everything else that does not have sensation properly speaking (reaction to stimuli with awareness).

Hence, nothing prevents something that belongs to the clade plantae (understood in the scientific sense) from being outside of the genus "plant" (understood in the traditional philosophical sense), or vice versa. As my botany professor once told me: if a taxon of plants evolved a nervous system and grew a brain and eyes and ears and a mouth and ate people, it would still belong to the clade plantae. But, of course, we know that, philosophically speaking, that living being would be sensate, so it could not belong to the genus "plant" (understood philosophically).

So the bottom line is this: all plants are by definition non-sensate (and only animals are sensate living beings, by definition), such that if there were a member of the clade plantae that could really sense (with awareness) it would actually be an animal. My reasoning is quite simple and can be expressed through this syllogism.

Major: If a living being has sensory awareness, then it is an 'animal' (understood philosophically).
Minor: For the sake of argument, suppose there is a certain member of the clade plantae that has sensory awareness.
Conclusion: That member of the clade plantae is an 'animal' (understood philosophically).

Proof of the Major: It follows from the definition of 'animal' (understood philosophically).
Proof of the Minor: For the sake of argument, we are supposing an animal that can actually sense in the strict sense (with awareness).
The conclusion follows.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fr. Emmanuel Doronzo, O.M.I., S.T.D., Ph.D.


They all seem to have left us before the chaos errupted. The great Garrigou-Lagrange died in 1964. Ramirez died in 1967. How much would you give to be able to resurrect one of these traditional Scholastics and learn from him how to deal with post-Vatican II theology? Well, we don't need to do that. One of the most eminent traditional Scholastic theologians of the 20th century lived well into the 70's...

I once said that Santiago Ramirez was "the last to write manuals and commentaries in Latin." I double-checked, and it is true that he was the last to write commentaries (on the Summa) in Latin. However, it is not true that he was the last last to write manuals in Latin. Ramirez wrote a work on the episcopate as a Sacrament (De Episcopatu ut Sacramento deque Episcoporum Collegio) in 1966, a year before he died, but this could hardly be called a Scholastic Latin "manual." A theological "manual" is a compendium or summary of a whole field or treatise of theology. Although this work is certainly Scholastic and it was written in Latin, it is, more properly, a full-lenght theological disputation on a single issue in sacramental theology. It is not a 'manual'. All the other Latin works by Ramirez that appeared after this were, of course, published post-humously (the latest being De caritate, which appeared in 1999).

The honor of writing the last Latin manual of Scholastic theology truly belongs to Emmanuel Doronzo (1903-1976), the eminent sacramental theologian of Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.) in the mid-to-late 20th Century.  He wrote a complete, traditional Scholastic, dogmatic manual in 1966, a year after the closing of Vatican II: Theologia Dogmatica (2 vols.).

Doronzo is perhaps most famous for his extensive, multi-volume manuals (if they can be called that) on the Sacraments that came out in the 1940's:

- Tractatus dogmaticus de Sacramentis in genere.*
- Tractatus dogmaticus de Baptismo et Confirmatione.*
- Tractatus dogmaticus de Eucharistia (2 vols.).*
- Tractatus dogmaticus de Poenitentia (3 vols.).*
- Tractatus dogmaticus de Ordine (3 vols.).*
- Tractatus dogmaticus de Extremaunctione.*

These are by far the best and most thorough works on the Sacraments ever written, and excel over all others in the detail with which the positive sources (the loci theologici, Sacred Scripture and Tradition) are discussed within every issue.  Doronzo is truly an incontestable refutation to the neo-modernist claim that the traditional manuals fail to do justice to the positive sources.  No author of the "Nouvelle Theologie" has ever been able to surpass Doronzo in his knowledge and meticulous treatment of the positive sources.

But that's not all.  Writing for a American Catholic public, he also had the motive to write in English.  Doronzo translated and published (Bruce: Milwaukee, 1951) a great reference work on dogma: Parente's Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology.

He also continued to write traditional Scholastic theology in English (not in Latin) after the Council, so as to accommodate to anti-traditional post-conciliar theological world. As late as 1976, Doronzo was working on the publication of four very readable, small booklets in English containing a basic synopsis of traditional Thomistic fundamental theology, under the series title of The Science of Sacred Theology for Teachers. The titles of the four booklets are:

Introduction to Theology(1973),
Revelation* (1974),
The Channels of Revelation* (1974), and
The Church* (1976).

In these booklets, written well after--but not according to the 'spirit' of--Vatican II, Doronzo seems willing to accept a very conservative (traditional Thomistic) interpretation of Vatican II, in particular of the constitution Dei Verbum on Divine Revelation (cf. his language, the "channels" of revelation, rather than the pre-conciliar language, "sources" of revelation). However, he reacts very strongly against the "theological irenicism and relativism, which began to creep among Catholic writers several years ago under the fallacious name of 'The New Theology', and which seems to make progress these days," (p. iv) a theology which, he says, represents "the kind of neo-modernism which is creeping into some theological circles after Vatican Council II" (p. 43). Thus, the books are clearly the work of a traditional Catholic Thomist who wants to be faithful to the letter of Dei Verbum yet is vehemently opposed to the neo-modernism of the nouvelle théologie that inspired the so-called 'spirit' of the document.

These four small volumes combine to form a substantial manual of traditional scholastic fundamental theology.  If Vatican II in general, and Dei Verbum in particular, are to be interpreted in a way that is consonant with the Thomistic tradition, Doronzo's four-volume set could be of much value.

*PDF's of these works are available through the Ite ad Thomam Out-of-Print Library.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Little-Known Recent Gem of Traditional Theology

Share/Bookmark From Emmanuel Doronzo, OMI - Introduction to Theology (1973), pp. iv-vi:

Get Doronzo's Works on PDF through:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Upcoming Doctrinal Talks between SSPX & Holy See

Share/Bookmark Link to post.

Conference: “Aquinas and the Arabs" (Marquette)

October 17, 2009, 1:30-7:00 pm 
October 18, 2009, 12:00 - 5:00 pm

   “Aquinas and the Arabs / Thomas d’Aquin et ses sources arabes”
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Organized by 
the Aquinas and the Arabs International Working Group, Marquette University,
and sponsored by 
the Commissio Leonina, Paris,  France, and
the Departments of Philosophy and Theology at Marquette University, 
and the Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
with funding from the Mellon Fund and the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences

Location: Marquette University Raynor Memorial Library
Beaumier Conference Center

Presenters & Presiders

Fr. Timothy Bellamah, O.P., Commissio Leonina, Paris & Washington, D.C.
Mr Nathan Blackerby, Marquette University
Rev. Fabio Gibiino, O.P., Commissio Leonina, Paris, 
Prof. R. E. Houser, University of St Thomas, Houston, 
Prof. Mark Johnson, Marquette University,
Prof. Luis Xavier López-Farjeat, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City,
Prof. Richard C. Taylor, Marquette University, 
Prof. David B. Twetten, Marquette University,
Ms Rosa Vargas Della Casa, Marquette University


Friday October 16, 2009
Evening (7:30 pm): Welcoming Reception at the Home of 
Prof. David B. Twetten
1895 Pilgrim W  Brookfield WI
(for directions use Googlemaps or Mapquest)

Saturday October 17, 2009, 1:30 - 7:00 pm

1:30-2:45 Session Chair: Prof. David Twetten, Marquette University
Presenter: Prof. Rollen E. Houser, University of St Thomas, Houston, 
“Avicenna on Truth”

2:50-4:05 Session Chair: Prof. Richard C. Taylor, Marquette University
Presenter: Luis Xavier López-Farjeat, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, 
“Maimonides on Religious Beliefs”

4:10-6:10 Session Chair: Prof. R. E. Houser, University of St. Thomas, Houston
Presenter: Prof. Richard C. Taylor, Marquette University, 
“Intellect and Intelligibles in the Commentary on the Sentences: Avicenna, Averroes and Aquinas.”

6:15-7:00 Roundtable session: Presentation of the Aquinas and the Arabs Project on Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on the Sentences
Presenters: Profs. Houser, Taylor and López Farjeat

7:30 pm Reception with buffet dinner at the home of Prof. Taylor.
14360 Indian Ridge Drive, Brookfield, WI 53005
(for directions use Mapquest or Googlemaps)

Sunday October 18, 2008, 12:00-5:00 pm
Advanced Graduate Student Presentations

12:00-1:15  Session Chair: Fr. Timothy Bellamah, O.P., Commissio Leonina, Paris & Washington, D.C.
Presenter: Rev. Fabio Gibiino, O.P., Commissio Leonina, Paris, 
“Saint Thomas et la science divine.”

1:20-2:35 Session Chair: Prof. David Twetten, Marquette University 
Presenter:  Ms. Rosa Vargas Della Casa, Marquette Univesity, 
“Thomas Aquinas on the Possibility or Impossibility of a Conceptual Apprehension of Esse.”

2:40-3:55 Session Chair: Prof. Mark Johnson, Marquette University
Presenter: Mr Nathan Blackerby, Marquette University, 
“On the Origins of Aquinas’s Dualism. An Exposition of Aquinas’s Metaphysics of Soul and a Comparison with His Sources.”

4:00: Concluding Open Discussion

5:30: dinner at a local restaurant.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Reader Asks: Does an Erring Conscience Bind?

A Reader Asks: I have a dilemma. On the one hand, it seems that we are obliged to follow the natural law, the commandments, and to accept the truth of the Faith, whether or not we think we are. These things are binding on all men, regardless of whether they accept it or not.

But, on the other hand, it would seems that one must obey conscience, whether or not it is formed in accordance with the natural law and the truths of our Faith. In other words, it seems that disobeying conscience (whether doing something conscience says is permissible or not doing something it says you should do) requires choosing something that seems evil to you, which is fundamentally wrong (subjectively speaking).

Let me explain. First, if conscience tells you that something is immoral, even though in reality it is permissible, it would seem that you are obliged to abstain from doing it. For, instance, a Muslim is raised to think that having a dog as a pet is not permissible and offends God. It would seem that to go buy a dog as a pet would be immoral for him, as that would represent (at least in his mind) an act of rebellion against God.

Conversely, if conscience tells you that a certain action is to be done, even though it is in reality immoral, it would seem that one is obliged to do it. For instance, that same Muslim man was also raised to think that he has an obligation to observe the practices of Islam. It would seem that not observing the practices of Islam would be immoral for him, as that also would represent (at least in his mind) an act of rebellion against God. Therefore, it would seem even an erring conscience is binding. What are your thoughts on this?

-Ite ad Thomam Replies: Excellent question!  There are two issues: whether an erring conscience binds and whether an erring conscience excuses.  Aquinas dealt directly with both.  So let's go to Thomas!

Here is Aquinas' answer to the question of whether an erring conscience binds:

Summa Theologiae I-II.19.5:

Whether the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason?
I answer that, Since conscience is a kind of dictate of the reason (for it is an application of knowledge to action, as was stated in the I, 19, 13), to inquire whether the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason, is the same as to inquire "whether an erring conscience binds." On this matter, some distinguished three kinds of actions: for some are good generically; some are indifferent; some are evil generically. And they say that if reason or conscience tell us to do something which is good generically, there is no error: and in like manner if it tell us not to do something which is evil generically; since it is the same reason that prescribes what is good and forbids what is evil. On the other hand if a man's reason or conscience tells him that he is bound by precept to do what is evil in itself; or that what is good in itself, is forbidden, then his reason or conscience errs. In like manner if a man's reason or conscience tell him, that what is indifferent in itself, for instance to raise a straw from the ground, is forbidden or commanded, his reason or conscience errs. They say, therefore, that reason or conscience when erring in matters of indifference, either by commanding or by forbidding them, binds: so that the will which is at variance with that erring reason is evil and sinful. But they say that when reason or conscience errs in commanding what is evil in itself, or in forbidding what is good in itself and necessary for salvation, it does not bind; wherefore in such cases the will which is at variance with erring reason or conscience is not evil.
But this is unreasonable. For in matters of indifference, the will that is at variance with erring reason or conscience, is evil in some way on account of the object, on which the goodness or malice of the will depends; not indeed on account of the object according as it is in its own nature; but according as it is accidentally apprehended by reason as something evil to do or to avoid. And since the object of the will is that which is proposed by the reason, as stated above (3), from the very fact that a thing is proposed by the reason as being evil, the will by tending thereto becomes evil. And this is the case not only in indifferent matters, but also in those that are good or evil in themselves. For not only indifferent matters can received the character of goodness or malice accidentally; but also that which is good, can receive the character of evil, or that which is evil, can receive the character of goodness, on account of the reason apprehending it as such. For instance, to refrain from fornication is good: yet the will does not tend to this good except in so far as it is proposed by the reason. If, therefore, the erring reason propose it as an evil, the will tends to it as to something evil. Consequently the will is evil, because it wills evil, not indeed that which is evil in itself, but that which is evil accidentally, through being apprehended as such by the reason. In like manner, to believe in Christ is good in itself, and necessary for salvation: but the will does not tend thereto, except inasmuch as it is proposed by the reason. Consequently if it be proposed by the reason as something evil, the will tends to it as to something evil: not as if it were evil in itself, but because it is evil accidentally, through the apprehension of the reason. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 9) that "properly speaking the incontinent man is one who does not follow right reason; but accidentally, he is also one who does not follow false reason." We must therefore conclude that, absolutely speaking, every will at variance with reason, whether right or erring, is always evil.

Here is Aquinas' answer to the general question of whether an erring conscience excuses:

Summa Theologiae I-II.19.6:

Whether the will is good when it abides by erring reason?
I answer that, Whereas the previous question is the same as inquiring "whether an erring conscience binds"; so this question is the same as inquiring "whether an erring conscience excuses." Now this question depends on what has been said above about ignorance. For it was said (6, 8) that ignorance sometimes causes an act to be involuntary, and sometimes not. And since moral good and evil consist in action in so far as it is voluntary, as was stated above (2); it is evident that when ignorance causes an act to be involuntary, it takes away the character of moral good and evil; but not, when it does not cause the act to be involuntary. Again, it has been stated above (6, 8) that when ignorance is in any way willed, either directly or indirectly, it does not cause the act to be involuntary. And I call that ignorance "directly" voluntary, to which the act of the will tends: and that, "indirectly" voluntary, which is due to negligence, by reason of a man not wishing to know what he ought to know, as stated above (6, 8).
If then reason or conscience err with an error that is voluntary, either directly, or through negligence, so that one errs about what one ought to know; then such an error of reason or conscience does not excuse the will, that abides by that erring reason or conscience, from being evil. But if the error arise from ignorance of some circumstance, and without any negligence, so that it cause the act to be involuntary, then that error of reason or conscience excuses the will, that abides by that erring reason, from being evil. For instance, if erring reason tell a man that he should go to another man's wife, the will that abides by that erring reason is evil; since this error arises from ignorance of the Divine Law, which he is bound to know. But if a man's reason, errs in mistaking another for his wife, and if he wish to give her her right when she asks for it, his will is excused from being evil: because this error arises from ignorance of a circumstance, which ignorance excuses, and causes the act to be involuntary.

So, in the case of the Muslim man, you mentioned four possible scenarios.  He buys a dog; he does not buy a dog.  He practices Islam; he does not practice Islam.

First, he would not sin if he did not buy the dog, obviously, since not buying a dog is neither evil in itself nor is being apprehended as evil by the agent.  But he would sin if he bought the dog.  This is a matter of indifference in its own nature, but it is being willed by an agent who apprehends it as an evil--as the first text above explains.

Now, he does sin whether or not he practices Islam.  He sins if he does not practice it, because he apprehends not practicing Islam as an evil, it is evil to will something that is apprehended as evil, even if in reality it is not evil--as the first text above explains.  But he sins if he practices it, because this is objectively evil, even though he apprehends it as a good: but in this case, his error arises from ignorance of the Divine Law, which he is bound to know--as the second text above explains.  So, with a malformed conscience, "damned if you do it, damned if you don't."