Thursday, July 31, 2008
Apparently His Eminence Cardinal Pell had some involvement in the A.L.P.’s abandonment of its policy unambiguously in favour of a Bill of Rights. This is a most welcome development, and one that invites some reflection on the notion of ‘human rights’.
The Christian acknowledges that everything he has is from God, and recognises that God is entitled, therefore, to impose such duties as might please Him. From these duties we can infer corresponding ‘rights’, e.g., ‘thou shalt not kill’ implies a right to life (with certain qualifications, as I shall examine shortly). But the basis for ‘human rights’ is rather shaky in the secularist world-view. It seems that for the secularist, ‘rights’ are not ‘rights’ as a Christian conceives of them, but that the term in fact has no absolute foundation but is just a convention for referring to some of the agreed implications of the principle that we should all be able to seek pleasure, constrained only by the pain that obtaining our pleasure might inflict on other pleasure-seekers (the harm principle). This, of course, is basically preference utilitarianism, and seems to me to be the only internally coherent (though nonetheless false) atheistic world-view, since humanism, for instance, asserts things like the uniqueness of mankind and ‘man as the end of all things’, which have no basis in the (false) evolutionary world-view, since man is just one species among many, and many of these other species can feel pain too (speaking of pain, that’s why it’s call ‘preference’ utilitarianism, since some people, namely sadists, quite enjoy pain, thankyou very much). Now the harm principle is nonetheless every bit as arbitrary as any humanist principle, but as an ordering principle for society, it has proven quite good (in the U.S.A.) at preventing complete anarchy, by enshrining rights in law. But nonetheless, it is a completely inadequate way to order a Christian society, since some who cannot feel pain enjoy, nonetheless, a right to life (as well as all the rights that the fully sentient enjoy) because of their innate capacity for God—their ontological dignity.
Now for the bad (Cath)news:
We see that Rev. Fr. Frank Brennan S.J. has reiterated his universal, in-principle stand against the death penalty. This goes by the name of the 'seamless garment approach', the idea that abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty and unjust wars are all to be rejected for being anti-life (ignoring the fact that only innocent life has a right to life). It would be regrettable if any readers inferred from this that the Catholic Church has somehow changed Her ancient teaching on the matter, especially if an alleged change were part of a compromise ('we'll oppose the death penalty if you'll oppose abortion') with secularism, meeting it on secularism's terms as so many clerics are keen to do. See Dr. Peter Chojnowski’s essay at the American S.S.P.X. home-page (in the ‘against the sound bites' section, as I recall) for the timeless truth. Now let me be clear that I do not support the death penalty being applied to ‘drug-running’, since it is not in the worst category of crimes and since, as practised in some South-East Asian countries, it treats the destruction of human life as a means to an end, namely deterrence, when it can only ever be taken in this manner as an end in itself, i.e. for justice’s sake.
Now some (many, I suspect) will object that it is not licit to impose the death penalty except when it is impossible for the offender to be prevented from doing more harm. They base this on the relevant section of Evangelium Vitæ. But when one thinks through the situation that His late Holiness John Paul II envisioned, it becomes clear that he made a category mistake. Think about it: we have a criminal who is, purportedly, so psychopathic and violent that it is impossible to restrain him safely, and so he must be executed. So evidence is gathered, the trial is convened, a jury empanelled, witnesses gathered, the jurors have their deliberations and give their verdict, and the judge considers and hands down his sentence. But the criminal was restrained the whole time! All John Paul II was really doing was reiterating the liceity of using lethal force against an unjust aggressor. Capital punishment is not self-defence; it’s a category mistake. The death penalty is to be applied whenever no other combination of imprisonment, corporal punishment and financial penalty can balance the scales of justices. At the very least, then, murderers must receive the death penalty. To deprive a man of his liberty for life (life imprisonment) is an inadequate substitute for depriving him of life itself. To which one might object: that’s an eye for an eye! We’re more civilized than that! But ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ is true in principle, it’s just that if one, say, puts someone else’s eye out intentionally, justice can be satisfied through some combination of imprisonment, corporal punishment and financial penalty; it is not necessary literally to put the offender’s eye out in order to satisfy justice. But no such combination of other non-lethal punishments can ever compensate for the injustice of murder.
One might raise an even more fundamental objection, though: the very conception of justice involved. Many in the legal fraternity will argue that we have ‘outgrown’ retributive justice in favour of the presently-fashionable ‘restorative justice’, in which punishment is only ever a means (and one of a range of means) to one or another of a range of ends (rehabilitation for offenders, closure for victims, deterrence for potential offenders). But the essence of justice is giving to someone what he is owed. If the situation of the ‘scales of justice’ being balanced means a situation where good deeds are properly rewarded and bad deeds are properly punished, then as far as the ‘bad deeds’ side of the ledger is concerned, justice is retribution. Rehabilitation for offenders, closure for victims, deterrence for potential offenders, among others, are all worthy ends, but they are subordinate to justice.
- "Bruce Coleman sees his lessons on a growing fetus and “scientific facts’’ about abortion as fitting very nicely into current school programs"
But according to your print edition the programme make no reference to abortion. Which is it then? And why the scare quotes for ‘scientific facts’? Even if we examine abortion from a purely secularist point-of-view it is a major medical procedure, the artificial termination of a natural process in the human body, even, potentially, at a late (and therefore all the more risky for the mother) stage of that process, with drastic implications for future health and fertility.
- "it was presented as part of the school’s Personal Development, Health and Physical Education lessons on human sexuality to Year 6 children"
Now I have no familiarity at all with the State school milieu, but one presumes that this programme is presented by the teachers, not the designers of the programme. Teachers presumably read their material before class and can vet any glaringly partisan elements. And in any case, although you assert that we need another bureaucracy (“The NSW government needs to urgently set up [sic] a clearing house for all programs presented in public schools by outside organisations and interests”), surely each school would have examined the programme for potentially controversial material and can modify it accordingly. Is permission to present the programme conditional on it being presented verbatim? I doubt it, and in fact you quote someone affiliated with the programme as saying that “[t]he programme is readily adaptable”.
- "The trouble is it appears the public schools running this “free’’ program were doing so not fully aware of the deceitful religious agenda"
I beg your pardon? Not “fully aware” because of ‘deceit’ on the part of the programme’s backers, or because of the inadequacy of the school’s Head of Curriculum and his or her underlings in scrutinising the material in question? Deceit is a fairly serious allegation Ms. Parker, especially in such a sensitive matter. How can you allege deceit when a man who styles himself ‘Reverend’ approaches the school, unsolicited, and offers a programme entitled ‘Choices of Life’ rather than, say, ‘Human Reproduction, Module 3A’? Or, to put it more succinctly, “[h]e told me the Choices of Life program was “upfront” with its Christian pro-life views.” Where, then, is the deceit?
- "The Education Department is totally culpable"
Really? When it had no involvement in the production or reception of this material? Have you any proof that the Department signed off on this?
- "The Greens MLC Dr John Kaye said today…"
One can predict all too easily what Dr. Kaye had to say. What did Her Majesty’s Opposition have to say? It’s a two-party system, Ms. Parker. One might have expected to hear firstly from the alternative government, especially since its policy on these matters would no doubt be unknown to many of your readers, including me. Why jump straight to a radically secularist party? Oh, of course: because it buttresses your own argument, without you having to assert it as an unsubstantiated personal opinion.
Finally, in one of your follow-up comments you say that “[b]ut the Choices of Life program pretends to be a balanced program about human sexuality”. Is that so? Balance, Ms. Parker, or objectivity? ‘Balance’ would mean getting a pro-abortion and an anti-abortion point-of-view in the classroom. But objectively, the newly-fertilised ovum is a living human body (it has its own metabolism, it is male or female, its cells are dividing, &c.). Furthermore, it is an elementary truth of philosophy that the human being is a unity of body and soul (the body is the enfleshment of the soul, the soul is the principle of animation of the body). Objectively, abortion is, therefore, the murder of a human being. And note that I speak of ‘pro-‘ and ‘anti-abortion’, not ‘pro-‘ or ‘anti-choice’, since choice is a mere faculty, and a faculty is oriented towards its operation. One judges a choice by its operation, not merely the possession of the faculty for choice. Perhaps it will only be when you come before Christ the Judge that you will understand how feeble the ‘I’m not pro-abortion, just pro-choice’ line is.
Disgraceful, Ms. Parker. Simply disgraceful. It seems to me that you owe Mr. Barnes, Mr. Coleman and the Education Department an apology. Not to mention your readers.
But of course you won’t even let this comment be published will you? It would remind your readers that, despite the rantings of the occasional ‘religious nut’, logic is on God’s side.
Dr. Sudlow takes for his starting point the notion that, according to Fr. Paul Aulagnier, “on their current course, the SSPX were on, or risked following, a schismatic trajectory”. This seems to me an odd way to begin, since any number of Dioceses in the past forty years have been on such a ‘schismatic trajectory’, and when Traditionalists in those Dioceses have decided to cease their involvement in these Dioceses they can expect accusations of ‘fleeing the fight’ from accomodationists. Why, then, did Dr. Sudlow not remain with the S.S.P.X. and try to reign in any imagined schismatical tendencies?
Dr. Sudlow lists a few of what I think are the more trivial post-Conciliar aberrations as blinding him to this ‘schismatic trajectory’. But these are mere symptoms of the underlying cause of the catastrophic post-Conciliar emergency situation, namely, Vatican II’s overall re-orientation from God towards man, inaugurating a veritable ‘Cult of Man’, a humanism with some Catholic trappings. The key features of this re-orientation are:
- man created as an end in himself
- Christ incarnated to ‘show men how to be truly human’
- re-orientation of the Priesthood from being primarily sacrificial to primarily pastoral
- re-orientation of the Mass from a Holy Sacrifice to a community meal
- re-orientation of marriage from child-bearing to ‘companionship’
The advance of this humanism through the Church is, for me, key to understanding the state of necessity and the clouding of His late Holiness John Paul II’s intellect which rendered him virtually morally inaccessible. We see this in his all-too-frequent basing of his teachings on ‘human dignity’ (in line with Vatican II) rather than the glory of God. (Especially odd, given that most Westerners still do believe in God, and his first duty is to ‘feed his sheep’, the Catholic faithful, anyway.) As this Cult of Man marches through the Church we can only expect the probability of invalid Sacraments to increase over time, especially as Priests start to tinker with the very form of the Sacraments (more on this later).
It is in the nature and exercise of the Church’s Magisterium that Dr. Sudlow’s reasoning seems to me most dubious. He quotes the Rev. Canon Berthod, but ignores two of Berthod’s key points as regards the reception of that Magisterium: namely, the importance of the Sense of the Faith and the objectivity of tradition. Now to speak of the Sense of the Faith is not to fall into the error of universal assent as a requirement for Magisterial status rather than assent as a characteristic of those who have the gift of Faith, nor is it to set up a ‘rival Magisterium’, as the S.S.P.X.’s interlocuters are so keen to allege. (And surely one’s Sense of the Faith is to be trusted all the more when the teacher in question confesses that his primary aim is something extraneous to the Faith, such as appealing to non-Catholics or trying to incorporate into Tradition things that are alien to it?) As for the objectivity of Tradition, this hardly need be elaborated on, especially when some of the propositions that we see advanced during and after the Council contradict, in the manner of polar opposites, earlier teachings.
In particular, I take issue with Dr. Sudlow’s highly dubious dichotomy between the ‘Magisterium of the Teachers’ and the ‘Magisterium of the Pastors’, and an asserted priority of the latter. The Holy Ghost was sent to ‘lead us into all truth’, not to guarantee the pastoral re-orientations that are necessary with the passing of the generations. Theological dissent from Humanæ Vitæ is a bad example, since its opponents were immersed in the contraceptive mentality associated with marriage being valued primarily for the companionship involved, and was really an assertion of truth rather than caving in with what could have been (falsely) rationalised as a ‘pastoral’ concession.
Now of course, a variant on this dichotomy can be found from some opponents of the Council’s teachings in invoking a dichotomy between the pastoral and the dogmatic. But Bl. John XXIII’s description of the Council as pastoral in character is merely to forestall any doubt as to whether the fullness of his Apostolic authority was to be committed behind these teachings, reinforced by his rationale that the Council should study doctrine “thoroughly and [explain it] in the way for which our times are calling” (http://www.ad2000.com.au/articles/2008/jun2008p15_2827.html). One could well argue that these ‘new explanations’ were outdated within five years of the Council’s close.
It was inevitable that we would see the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ invoked here. But we can hardly be expected to try to cram a blatant discontinuity into such a ‘lens’ for interpretation. The proper way to read Magisterial documents is this: with a respectful presumption that their contents belong to the ordinary and universal Magisterium. If it is unclear, then the Pope or Bishops enjoy the benefit of the doubt. But if it is clearly an innovation, then this hardly need provoke a crisis of faith. In asserting that “I see no reason why a confessional State and religious liberty, not in the Enlightenment sense but as understood by Dignitatis Humanae, cannot be reconciled”, Dr. Sudlow demonstrates just how unhelpful an ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ can be. One can only react with bewilderment when one hears of scholars working on a harmonisation of Dignitatis Humanæ and the Syllabus of Errors, or when people speak of awaiting another interpretation—the documents are supposed to be the interpretation! When the terms are known, the meaning is supposed to be clear!
Dr. Sudlow argues, based on Lumen Gentium, that
“the promulgation of teachings by the Magisterium, even if they are only part of
the authentic Magisterium, requires us to give religious assent of mind and will
to their contents. Their promulgation makes them become a kind of theological
datum which can no longer be treated as a mere theological opinion.”
Now we need firstly to be clear about what is meant by the term ‘authentic Magisterium’. If this is taken to mean, very broadly, a hierarch’s public teaching on faith and morals, then this is fairly unobjectionable. But we need to specify that this public teaching is always a matter of handing on what has been received in an unbroken line from the Apostles. And clearly, this was not the case in sizeable portions of the Vatican II documents. The then-Cardinal Ratzinger acknowledges this in ‘The Ratzinger Report’ and as quoted in Berthod’s essay. And what of statements like
“Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an
inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry.
They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through
ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and
(Nostra Ætate, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html)? How can this possibly make any claim on our religious assent? And we can add to this a number of other ambiguities and inconsistencies.
As for liturgical matters, we hear the thesis that the New Mass “had to be considered as integrally Catholic in their original Latin versions.” But the Ottaviani Intervention and comparisons of the Old and New Rites, such as Fr. Franz Schmidberger’s, demonstrate amply that this is not so. The New Mass has a strong humanist/Protestant subtext, unsurprising since His late Holiness Paul VI intended thereby to reduce the ‘stumbling blocks’ to the ‘separated brethren’ that might be associated with the Old Mass. The notion that the Church’s indefectibility in sanctifying her children would guarantee the New Mass books might have had merit if the Old Mass and associated ceremonies had indeed been truly abrogated, but now H.H. The Pope in Summorum Pontificum acknowledges that this was not so! (Just as the S.S.P.X. had been arguing all along!) Surely we can infer from this that the Old Rites were suppressed unjustly, rather than the Holy Ghost abandoning us in our need for sanctification, as one might have inferred otherwise? Might we not detect the Holy Ghost’s assistance, rather, in the surprising resilience and vitality of the ‘indult communities’ and the S.S.P.X.?
Furthermore, is not the spirit of innovation (through inorganic evolution rather than true development) and improvision (numerous Eucharistic Prayers, &c.) at the core of the New Mass, and therefore we must admit that the experimentation that has been observed over the years is a natural consequence of the liturgical revolution, rather than an aberration? And we have seen this kind of experimentation not only in the Sunday Mass, but even in the rite of Baptism (quite recently, as the C.D.F. reminded us), imperilling the souls of babies.
So it is rightly then that the S.S.P.X. continues to hold out against the long march of modernism. Far from ‘privatising ecclesial thought’, they simply look to the unchanging, objective, clear teachings of the Church. And it is hard to see how an acceptance of the New Missal would not imply the potential to have to offer Mass according to it. As for their autonomous governance, clearly this need last only as long as the emergency that necessitated it.
Monday, July 28, 2008
No, the word ‘deaconess’ was not used (not even once!) but we did hear the classic “trying to learn new ways to be church”! This week’s installment of Compass was, perhaps unsurprisingly, even worse than last week’s drivel, since it was even weaker and less substantial. Again we had a group of interviewees who all either dissented from or failed adequately to stand up for the impossibility of women’s ordination. With this week’s interviewees it became all the clearer to me how unprofessional and open to abuse this ‘documentary’ format (as opposed to the traditional, formal question-and-answer interview) is. Although the tone was not as stridently tendentious as last week’s episode, it was clear that the producers wanted to portray the invalidity of women ‘Orders’ as a matter of injustice, and the style of interview facilitated this nicely; it seemed that it drew the interviewees into either agreeing with or at least not dissenting from the editorial position. What exactly were the questions put to them?
But the producers of this tripe are not fools; they know that there is no theological basis for women’s Orders, as one can tell by their failure to involve any expert commentators, such as theologians or canon lawyers, like in last week’s episode. But this only weakened the story further, since the thoughts of the interviewees were wishy-washy at best, a grab-bag of the usual talk of ‘exclusion’ and vague feelings of injustice. Also absent from this programme was a failure to involve any women who were both perfectly happy with their state in life and able eloquently to stand up for women’s contributions to the Church (our Holy Mother) in marriage and family or the religious life. But we have come to expect this kind of bias.
Interestingly, Cathnews indicates that next week’s Compass will be another Catholic story, reporting on an Irish Priest who, among others things, conducted an affair with his housekeeper. Presumably this is meant to reinforce last week’s attempt to portray celibacy as unrealistic. It seems that the A.B.C. is perfectly prepared to prosecute its anti-Catholic campaign as a war of attrition. And we here at this virtual Lambeth Palace are prepared to man the trenches for as long as it takes.
- Proportionalism’s proponents “attempted to stress personal freedom and creative responsibility and to develop a more realistic approach to the place and meaning of moral rules in Christian ethics”
- “Proportionalism shifts the focus of moral judgment of right and wrong squarely onto consequences and other attendant circumstances of an action.”
- “For [proportionalists] there are no intrinsically evil acts if by acts is meant physical actions considered in the abstract … The reason for this is that the context enters in the very object or meaning of the act.”
- “Acts are not good or bad in themselves, according to proportionalists. The other side of the coin is that, in order to act rightly, it is necessary to weigh up the good that will be achieved and the evil that may result.”
- “Because of the central importance of proportionate reason in this theory, it is referred to as Proportionalism”
And perhaps most importantly:
- “For proportionalists a good intention certainly does not justify a morally wrong action. For them it is necessary to look at all the morally relevant circumstances before one can know exactly what the action is and whether it is to be judged as morally wrong.”
Now it is not clear to me exactly what Dr. Lewis thinks of this school of thought. I detect in him a certain sympathy for it, with the proviso that “the dignity of the human person and the place of human rights” must be “the centrepiece of moral decision making.” But this is completely the wrong angle from which to approach the question (not least because it is unclear whether Dr. Lewis means ontological dignity or operative dignity). The right ‘angle’, I contend, is the Will of God. Some of God’s laws are, if you will, descriptive (Divine natural law) and others are prescriptive (Divine positive law). Some actions are morally wrong simply because He has revealed them to be so—He has revealed this to be His Will—regardless of what their respective consequences might be. Proportionalism makes a mockery of the Divine positive law. But then, God hardly enters into Dr. Lewis’ analysis at all.
There is also a tension, to which Dr. Lewis appears oblivious, between stressing “personal freedom and creative responsibility” and developing “a more realistic approach to the place and meaning of moral rules in Christian ethics”. What approach could be more realistic than the traditional Catholic understanding of fallen man, with his weakened will, clouded intellect and base appetites, all of which constrain, in a sense, his freedom? This is in contrast to the pervasive evolutionary humanist understanding of man as a ‘work in progress’, progressing ‘onwards and upwards’ through evolution towards an ever-higher consciousness, perhaps towards some ultimate ‘Omega Point’. I denounce this all as nothing more than an updated utilitarianism and an attempt to sideline God in moral reasoning.
But in the interests of trying to work out whether there could possibly be some logic beneath what appears on the surface to be a perfectly absurd statement, let's think it through a bit. How might compulsory paid maternity leave be justified?
1) The State ought to support families: yes, but it does not follow from this that paid leave is a basic right (indeed, if done through the tax system it only means a transfer of welfare among families, not an increase in overall welfare)
2) Since child-bearing is done by women, no paid leave would mean relative discrimination against them: but the husband does share in the burden of lost wages, and in any case, paid paternity leave would probably be the next step.
I see no conceivable basis for paid maternity leave as a human right. And what is truly sinister about this is that, since one infers from a right a corresponding duty, it implies that mothers have a duty to be in the paid work-force. And this is a cruel lie. What we see here, and have seen over the last forty or so years, is feminists like Ms. Broderick serving as tools in the hands of the economic rationalists, for whom work-force participation is a key variable in the frenzied pursuit for economic growth.
Monday, July 21, 2008
On the night that World Youth Day festivities came to a close, the A.B.C. launched its counter-offensive against the Church with an episode of Compass entitled “Catholic Dilemma: Part 1: - Sex or celibacy”. Presumably one is supposed to categorise it as a documentary, but it was so totally biased that it is no exaggeration to describe it as a piece of advocacy, advocacy for the insidious agenda of the ‘Catholics for Ministry’ set. This ‘documentary’ failed to explain in a remotely adequate way the meaning of the Mass as a True Sacrifice and the importance of celibacy for the Priest in associating himself with Christ, i.e. the importance of celibacy for theological reasons rather than practical reasons; is it really too hard to convey that the Priesthood is primarily sacrificial rather than pastoral (contrary to Vatican II’s re-orientations as enshrined in the 1983 C.I.C., see here for more on this: http://christianorder.com/features/features_2001/features_nov01.html) and that whoever will not renounce marriage and family (the second biggest sacrifice that one can make, next after the sacrifice of life and limb) is not worthy of being the one through whom Christ offers Himself to the Father?
Now, this is to be expected from a secular humanist programme (since the humanist can only ever understand celibacy as a means to the end of ‘greater availability’; for him man is the end of all things, so that even if he tries to understand things with God in the picture he can only ever see the value of celibacy in utilitarian terms rather than as a sacrifice offered directly to God—see here http://news.stjamescatholic.org/2006/week51/index.html for H.H. The Pope’s thoughts on the matter, under the title “Benedict XVI Meets Roman Curia For Christmas Greetings”) but what was inexcusable was the biased selection of interviewees, who were all either opposed or seemingly neutral to the question of celibacy; none offered (or was allowed to offer) an articulate, cogent justification for celibacy, though one did offer a timid, materialistic argument based on the cost of supporting a married Priest’s family. What I found most remarkable of all, though, was that by a brilliant rhetorical sleight-of-hand, Mr. Paul Collins was able to position himself and, by association, his fellow-travellers in ‘Catholics for Ministry’ as the defenders of the Catholic understanding of Mass against creeping Protestantism! Listen to this (from Mr. Collins himself):
We’re talking about the unavailability of Mass and the Sacraments. We’re talking
about replacing the celebration of Mass with readings from Scripture and a
communion service. Now with respect, I mean I have a fairly good record
ecumenically, but with respect that’s a more Protestant approach and I don’t
belong to a Protestant Church nor do I intend to join one. I belong to the
Catholic Church. And at the core of Catholic belief is the Mass. And if we don’t
have the Mass then it seems to me we are taking away from the essence of being
No mention of sacrifice or anything, of course; the word only appears once during the course of the show, and not in a strictly theological sense.
Surely the producers could have found, somewhere in this wide brown land, a forthright defender of the gift of celibacy? Just a single apologist for this venerable norm? Instead the producers took care to portray the requirement for celibacy as a mere matter of positive law (achieved by the use of a non-cassock-wearing Jesuit canon lawyer), with the possibility of a theological dimension rejected through Mr. Collins.
Add to these shortcomings the usual stereotypes of Rome and the Australian hierarchy as out-of-touch and unresponsive, in contrast to the two former priests, the married convert from Anglicanism and a ‘pastoral leader’ nun, hard at work (over-worked, even) at the “front line” and you have a piece of journalism that gives only one side of the argument. It was truly dreadful. One can hardly wait to see what rubbish they’ll offer next week (I expect the word ‘deaconess’ will get a good showing).
- the separation of Church and State
- the freedom of citizens to disseminate heresy and foment schism
- liberal democracy
I fail to see how any of these principles is compatible with the Social Reign of Christ; in fact, they constitute what one might call the Social Reign of Pontius Pilate, with the State purporting to be neutral at the same time as it promotes grave injustice, permitting all manner of sociopaths and degenerates to prosper. Those who think that secular, liberal democracy can be 'redeemed' in some sense merely by tinkering around the edges (e.g., anti-abortion and anti-'gay marriage' laws or constitutional reform, getting more Catholics into Parliament, lobbying) are seriously deluded; they have succumbed to the great Catholic double-think of our day, in which secularism (once called 'Americanism' but now globalised) is simultaneously denounced and accomodated.
It goes without saying that the other ideologies of the twentieth century (Nazism, Communism, the Social Reign of Barabbas, if you will) are likewise incompatible with Christ's Social Kingship. The alternative to all this madness is nothing new; it was practised and taught for some fifteen hundred years before that ignoble document Dignitatis Humanæ repudiated it. I am speaking, of course, of the Confessional State, in which:
- The State confesses Christ, i.e., Christianity (viz. Catholicism) is the State Religion
- The Church of Christ (viz., the Catholic Church) is the Established Church
- The State authorities co-operate with the national hierarchy, at a minimum by majority membership of the Ordinaries in Parliament's house of review
Now this is not to identify the Social Reign of Christ with the Confessional State, any more than secular humanism can, strictly speaking, be identified with secular, liberal democracy, but it is to recognise that the Confessional State provides the best conditions for the Social Reign of Christ to flourish. Of course, the Confessional State will not be restored overnight, so in the meantime I hope to offer trenchant observations on the ills of a society, indeed a world, sick with relativism, positivism and utilitarianism, and to raise the alarm when malefactors try to smuggle these twisted values aboard the Barque of Peter.
This blog welcomes Catholics, whether Traditional or not, as well as heretics, schismatics, apostates and infidels; in a word, everyone. Just as the U.S. Army defends democracy without practising it, so to do I defend censorship without practising it, except in the case of blasphemy or foul language. Please try to keep your comments on-topic, though if you have another topic that you would like me to blog on, then let me know. And unlike at certain other blogs, which have degenerated into mutual admiration societies, I want vigorous discussion, not obsequious flatterers.