A study in differences: The state of the Catholic Church – and the world – before Vatican II – and after.

Before Vatican II:

Faith, reason, and grace-giving sacraments … in addition to almost 2,000 years of Catholic tradition, philosophy and scholarship … served to assist Catholics in making rational and morally upright life decisions … for their own sake, for the glory of God, for the good of the Catholic Church, and for the common good of all mankind.

After Vatican II:

Change has come to the Catholic Church. Virtually all that came before is now irrelevant.

Personal conscience … enlightened by modern secular thought … is king.

A disoriented/disordered Magisterium fails to provide a suitable and practical replacement for that which they permitted to be summarily discarded.

Many Catholics no longer have a sound basis for making rational and morally upright life decisions. Ditto for the rest of the world. Corruption abounds … in the Church … and at every level of society. The earth rapidly descends into chaos.

Welcome to the Brave New World!   

Editor’s note: There are some signs of a turn-around. Where there is grace … there is hope!

Iowa homosexuals go too far, Bishop says “no”.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Overruling school officials, a Catholic bishop in Iowa said Monday he would not let a group that promotes equal rights for gays and lesbians present a college scholarship to an openly gay student during an upcoming award ceremony.

Bishop Martin Amos in Davenport said the Eychaner Foundation would not be allowed to present the Matthew Shepard Scholarship to Keaton Fuller during the May 20 ceremony at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, saying the group’s support for gay rights conflicts with church doctrine.

Link

Editor’s note: Thank God for good bishops! The school officials ought to be fired. Maybe VP Joe Biden can set up something special for the sodomites and their charitable foundation.

The poverty problem in America is not about jobs and it is not about racism.

Oseola McCarty is a 75-year-old African-American cleaning woman from Mississippi. From working all her life she accumulated enough savings to donate $150,000 to a student scholarship program at the University of Southern Mississippi. In short, a black woman, living in the most racist and poorest state in the union (almost half her life under segregation), can earn enough money washing other people’s clothes to save $150,000 and give it away. If Oseola McCarty can do that, what American cannot?

Oseola McCarty’s example tells us that the poverty problem in America is not about jobs and it is not about racism. Poverty is about individual failure. It is about family dysfunction, character disorder and self-destructive behavior. That is what Oseola McCarty’s achievement means. It is no surprise that, while most self-appointed spokesmen get tongue-tied when asked if African-Americans have gained anything from the civil rights revolution of the last 30 years, Oseola McCarty had no hesitation.

She said the world is a “much much better place” than when she was a child. So it can be for anyone liberated from the philosophy of liberalism. The new mantra would be this: Spare us from the kindness of those who would cripple us with excuses for attitudes and behaviors that can only destroy us. Keep us from the charity of those who would chain us to their benevolence with lifetime handouts. Spare us the compassion of these saviors who secretly despise us, who think that we cannot compete on our merits, or live up to the moral standards they expect of themselves. This is the creed of true equality. It just has taken me a long time to understand.

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Writer explains why liberal Bible studies can be hazardous to your Catholic faith


1889 marked the opening of the Catholic University of America, designed in the hopes that it would be the intellectual center for the American church. It was decided as early as 1885 that the professor of Scripture for the university be a German, with no other concerns in regard to his training. George Mivart was chosen as the professor of science, although he was never officially offered a post. His work in biblical theology was listed on the Index of Forbidden Books before he had a chance to be offered a position, and he was excommunicated a few years later.

Bishop John Keane was the first rector of the Catholic University, and was counseled by such people as Archbishop John Ireland of St. Paul, who encouraged Keane to pursue “good sound liberalism”, believing that confidence and the support of the American people would make his efforts successful. Bishop John Ireland and Fr. Issac Hecker, founder in 1858 of the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (The Paulists – Paulist Press) are primarily responsible for pushing the liberal agenda in the United States.

By this time, American bishops and professors involved in the university started to rely heavily on the liberal ideas in Europe (especially Germany), for guiding and directing their own biblical studies.

Catholic scholars, also continuing to enlist the aid of protestant theology, had already begun to relax the rule of traditional interpretation, which festered into a false view of inspiration, allowing that the Bible contained errors in matters of history and natural science.

These errors were the motivation for Pope Leo XIII’s 1893 encyclical Providentissimus Deus. “The chief purpose of this encyclical is to set forth and defend the Church’s doctrine on the absolute truth of the inspired Scriptures. There may be scribal errors in manuscripts, the meaning of a passage may be doubtful, a translator may be at fault; but in an original Scripture, as it left the hand of the hagiographer, there can be no lapse from truth. The ancient and constant faith of the Church peremptorily disallows any restriction of inspiration to certain parts of the Bible, such, for instance, as doctrinal parts only, and equally forbids the concesion that in some points – even a minor point or an obiter dictum – the sacred writer may have erred. The formula is that every Scripture is as necessarily inerrant as it is ecessarily impossible that God should be the Author of error.”

“After laying down the principles guiding the solution of the main difficulties Pope Leo went on to insist not only on close adherence to the Catholic tradition of interpretation, but also on the use of all modern helps, and especially on the utility of up-to-date introduction, of a knowledge of biblical and other oriental languages, of the critical establishment of the true text, of the rigorous application of sound hermeneutical rules, and of the external illustration of the Bible by apposite crudition – with the proviso that the doctrinal contents of the Bible be not swamped in a flood of philology, history, archaeology and the like.”

Like the Syllabus of Errors, many liberal theologians tried to ignore or explain away Providentissimus Deus. Adhering to the “Catholic tradition of interpretation” was something they were far from interested in. Two were forced to resign from their university positions – one from the Catholic Institute in Paris – the other, Bishop John Keane, rector of the Catholic University in America. He was dismissed in 1896.

But the battle wasn’t over. There had also begun a new over-reliance on the holy spirit as a “personal guide” in biblical studies. Somehow, the same liberal professors in Europe and America who had originally taught the Bible was scientifically inacurate suddenly became mystical theologians more graced and gifted than the whole of the Teaching Church, as this reliance on “holy spirit as personal guide” was believed by these theologians to even outweigh the authority of the teaching Church.

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Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

Ontology: The philosophical inquiry into the nature of being. A branch of metaphysics.

The ontological argument was devised by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), who wanted to produce a single, simple demonstration which would show that God is and what God is. Single it may be, but far from simple. It is, perhaps, the most controversial proof for the existence of God. Most people who first hear it are tempted to dismiss it immediately as an interesting riddle, but distinguished thinkers of every age, including our own, have risen to defend it. For this very reason it is the most intensely philosophical proof for God’s existence; its place of honor is not within popular piety, but rather textbooks and professional journals. We include it, with a minimum of discussion, not because we think it conclusive or irrefutable, but for the sake of completeness.

Anselm’s Version

1) It is greater for a thing to exist in the mind and in reality than in the mind alone.

2) “God” means “that than which a greater cannot be thought.”

3) Suppose that God exists in the mind but not in reality.

4) Then a greater than God could be thought (namely, a being that has all the qualities our thought of God has plus real existence).

5) But this is impossible, for God is “that than which a greater cannot be thought.”

6) Therefore God exists in the mind and in reality.

Question 1: Suppose I deny that God exists in the mind?

Reply: In that case the argument could not conclude that God exists in the mind and in reality. But note: the denial commits you to the view that there is no concept of God. And very few would wish to go that far.

Question 2: Is it really greater for something to exist in the mind and in reality than in the mind alone?

Reply: The first premise of this argument is often misunderstood. People sometimes say: “Isn’t an imaginary disease better than a real one?” Well it certainly is better—and so a greater thing—for you that the disease is not real. But that strengthens Anselm’s side of the argument. Real bacteria are greater than imaginary ones, just because they have something that imaginary ones lack: real being. They have an independence, and therefore an ability to harm, that nothing can have whose existence is wholly dependent on your thought. It is this greater level of independence that makes them greater as beings. And that line of thinking does not seem elusive or farfetched.

Question 3: But is real being just another “thought” or “concept”? Is “real being” just one more concept or characteristic (like “omniscience” or “omnipotence”) that could make a difference to the kind of being God is?

Reply: Real being does make a real difference. The question is: Does it make a conceptual difference? Critics of the argument say that it does not. They say that just because real being makes all the difference it cannot be one more quality among others. Rather it is the condition of there being something there to have any qualities at all. When the proof says that God is the greatest being that can be “thought,” it means that there are various perfections or qualities that God has to a degree no creature possibly could, qualities that are supremely admirable. But to say that such a being exists is to say that there really is something which is supremely admirable. And that is not one more admirable quality among others.

Is it greater to exist in reality as well as in the mind? Of course, incomparably greater. But the difference is not a conceptual one. And yet the argument seems to treat it as if it were—as if the believer and the nonbeliever could not share the same concept of God. Clearly they do. They disagree not about the content of this concept, but about whether the kind of being it describes really exists. And that seems beyond the power of merely conceptual analysis, as used in this argument, to answer. So question 3, we think, really does invalidate this form of the ontological argument.

Modal Version

Charles Hartshorne and Norman Malcolm developed this version of the ontological argument. Both find it implicitly contained in the third chapter of Anselm’s Proslogion.

1) The expression “that being than which a greater cannot be thought” (GCB, for short) expresses a consistent concept.

2) GCB cannot be thought of as: a. necessarily nonexistent; or as b. contingently existing but only as c. necessarily existing.

3) So GCB can only be thought of as the kind of being that cannot not exist, that must exist.

4) But what must be so is so.

5) Therefore, GCB (i.e., God) exists.

Question: Just because GCB must be thought of as existing, does that mean that GCB really exists?

Reply: If you must think of something as existing, you cannot think of it as not existing. But then you cannot deny that GCB exists; for then you are thinking what you say cannot be thought—namely, that GCB does not exist.

Possible Worlds Version

This variation on the modal version has been worked out in great detail by Alvin Plantinga. We have done our best to simplify it.

Definitions:

Maximal excellence: To have omnipotence, omniscience and moral perfection in some world.

Maximal greatness: To have maximal excellence in every possible world.

1) There is a possible world (W) in which there is a being (X) with maximal greatness.

2) But X is maximally great only if X has maximal excellence in every possible world.

3) Therefore X is maximally great only if X has omnipotence, omniscience and moral perfection in every possible world.

4) In W, the proposition “There is no omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being” would be impossible—that is, necessarily false.

5) But what is impossible does not vary from world to world.

6) Therefore, the proposition, “There is no omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being” is necessarily false in this actual world, too.

7) Therefore, there actually exists in this world, and must exist in every possible world, an omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being.

See nineteen more proofs for the existence of God

Apart from what the Bible states, is there actually any historical evidence for the existence of Jesus?

Q: Apart from what the Bible states, is there actually any historical evidence for the existence of Jesus?

A: The Catholic Church has been THE witness for Jesus Christ since the beginning, long before the Bible even existed.

The Catholic Church also maintains a huge library of the world’s finest theological scholarship, from every generation, in order to explain and document the reasons for that witness.

My website provides links to all of it. If you haven’t studied Catholic theology, you haven’t even scratched the surface of authentic Christianity.

Catholics: What do you learn or do at church or home?

Q: Catholics: What do you learn or do at church or home?

I’m wondering, because I noticed that Catholics have a particular kind of spirit about them… and I like it.

A: Glad you noticed!

Catholics have a very rich and ancient Tradition based on Jesus, the apostles, and on the ultimate practicality of the authentic Christian faith, which never ceases to glorify God in spirit, and at the very same time, never fails to help perfect each faithful Catholic man and woman … body and soul … according to God’s abundant grace.

Whether practiced from infancy, or adopted later in life, it begins with Baptism, and it is fostered by a lifetime of full, faithful, and charitable participation in all of the work, worship, sacraments, and devotions of the Church.

The Catholic Church has always been known for superb theological scholarship and philosophy, available freely to all, which is easily translated into the types of cultural “norms” that ultimately define what every Catholic is called to be, by God.

The Catholic Church has also always been known for the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, which provides every Catholic with the motive, the means, and the opportunity to come to know and love God, in the most intimate possible way.

The bottom line is this: The Catholic faith is the most authentic, consistent, truthful, and practical faith that ever was, or ever will be … courtesy of Jesus Christ, who founded, authorized, empowered, and personally guaranteed his Church until the end of time, for the purpose of our salvation.

It doesn’t get any better than that, this side of Heaven … until Jesus comes again.