Saint Bonaventure, Saints, Theology

The Seraphic Doctor

Saint Bonaventure PrayingThe Seraphic Doctor

The title by which St. Bonaventure is most readily known was given him while he was still alive. And it is apt for several reasons. His thought is entwined with love; it quickly springs to seraphic or angelic heights. As a teacher, he gives intellectual expression to the life of the Seraphic Saint, St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis pursued a way of life that kept reaching out to God with the fullness of an ardent nature, the sternness and intensity of a logic that looked at things reduced to ultimate simplicity, and the color of a rich emotion. Everything spoke to St. Francis of God because its very nature is made by Him. Everything pointed to the Sacred Humanity of Christ, and in return the Sacred Humanity shed its glow on everything.

St. Bonaventure saw all created things as flowing in a necessary way from God: not that creation is or was necessary, but creation, once decided upon, had to mirror the perfections of God. Each part of creation according to its dignity is either a shadow, a trace, an image or a similitude of God.

Since in Christ all the stages of creation are contained as in a perfect exemplar, there is no true knowledge, understanding or wisdom if He is left out. “In Christ are contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge of the hidden God, and He is the medium for all knowledge.”

To St. Bonaventure Christ is therefore necessary for any full philosophy. There is no such thing as a philosophy based completely on reason. Faith has to enter in and present Christ as the Supreme Exemplar of all creation. If you leave out this centerpiece of creation, then not only would theology be empty, but philosophy would be weakest where it should be strongest. St. Bonaventure’s philosophy rests squarely on faith and on reason.

St. Bonaventure was by no means opposed to the arts. He has, however, said that you cannot judge them rightly unless you look at them in the light of higher values. St. Bonaventure therefore turns to the Incarnate Word “as the touchstone at which to measure the human enterprise.”

The great value of this system is that learning can proceed in the spirit of devotion. In this way, there is less chance for reason to drop into the pitfalls of rationalism, to run to the extremes of empty intellectualism. The proud spirit of man is kept more humble as it learns by tasting “in the darkness of faith” as well as by seeing in the light of reason.

“Taste and see that the Lord is sweet.” This is the invitation of St. Bonaventure to all who would delve into the secrets of the universe. You can taste “in the darkness of faith” and come to a surer knowledge than by seeing in the light of reason. When it comes to ultimate, important truths, you cannot judge by reason any more surely than you can tell whether an object is sweet or bitter by looking at it. You must taste it.

St. Bonaventure “made every truth a prayer to God and a praise of God.” He has been called “the totally religious soul.” “Multifarious, infinitely diverse and subtly shaded, his thought is but an ever-active charity, whose whole movement strives toward objects which escape our view or toward unknown aspects of those things we do in part perceive.”

Sometimes we read in the lives of holy people that they had a knowledge of natural science and of human nature that amazed learned men. The usual assumption is that this knowledge was preternaturally infused. Perhaps this knowledge was not so much infused as naturally developed from using the system of St. Bonaventure, letting faith and reason work together.

It has been said that St. Bonaventure rejected Aristotelianism. It may be more true to say that he used it as part of his eclectic system. He used it as far as he could, and then passed beyond it. He could see no sense in riding in the buggy of pure philosophy when he had the strong chariot of Christian wisdom to carry him faster and further forward – a wisdom already refined through centuries of thought. To St. Bonaventure, philosophy is a good as far as it goes, but it is too obscure on the most important questions.

St. Bonaventure has been placed on an equal footing with St. Thomas Aquinas by two different Popes. Yet he has not found general acceptance even among Catholic philosophers. Compared to St. Thomas, he remains practically unknown as a philosopher. In the future this may be different.

“What the Seraphic Doctor’s ultimate ranking as a Christian philosopher is to be, must be left to a generation which will again experience the speculative and pragmatic necessity of Christ as the center of philosophy.”

“The oft-repeated phrase is well-known: ‘Thomas is the Christian Aristotle; Bonaventure, the second Augustine.’ But this difference must not be stressed, for the two complement each other in an admirable way: Thomas is the angel of the schools, Bonaventure the master of the practical life; Thomas enlightens the intellect, Bonaventure elevates the heart. Sixtus V justly places both side by side, and grants Bonaventure the same ecclesiastical honors as Pius V granted Thomas. ‘They are,’ he says, ‘the two olive trees and the two shining lights in the house of God, who by the plenitude of their love and the light of their erudition illumine the entire Church. By the special providence of God, they are similar to two stars appearing at the same time. During their earthly pilgrimage they were intimately united by the bond of a true friendship and by the intercourse of holy labors. With equal step did both hasten toward their heavenly fatherland, that both might at the same time enter the joys of Heaven.”

– The 35 Doctors of the Church – 


 

– Lucas G. Westman

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Catechism, Saint Robert Bellarmine, Saints, Theology

Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine: Chapter III – Part II

Saint Robert Bellarmine & CrucifixExplanation of the Creed, that is, the twelve articles 

Explanation of the Second Article 

S. Tell me now about the second article, namely, “And in Jesus Christ, His Son, Our Lord.”

T. God Almighty, about Whom the first article treats, has a true and natural Son, Whom we call Jesus Christ. So that you might understand how God begot this Son, take the similitude of a mirror. When someone gazes into a mirror, an image is immediately produced that is so like him that he cannot discover any difference, in as much as it not only reflects his countenance, but even represents individual movements, so that the image moves exactly in the way the man does. Such an image is so like the man without any labor, without time, without instrument yet it is formed suddenly and in a moment in the flash of an eye. Consider in the same arrangement that when God gazes upon the mirror of the God head with the eye of the intellect, immediately He forms an image similar to Himself, and because God directs His whole essence and nature to this image (which we cannot do by gazing), therefore this image is the true Son of God, even if our own image which we behold in the mirror is not our son. For that reason you have to gather how the Son of God is God, in the same way as the Father is God and the same God with God, because He is/has the same substance with the Father. Next, the Son is not younger than the Father, but was always just as the Father always was. Accordingly, He advanced from the only vision of God, and God always saw and regarded Himself at length, the Son of God was not begotten in time from the cooperation of a woman, nor from the vicious lust, or from other related imperfections, but only by God, only, as was said, from his vision and by the most pure eye of the Divine Intellect.

S. Why is the Son of God called Jesus Christ?

T. The name of Jesus means Savior, while Christ, because it is the last name, means High Priest and King of Kings, as we touched upon the explanation of the sign of the Cross, that the Son of God became man to redeem us in His blood and to restore us to eternal salvation. Therefore, after He became man, He took this name of Savior to himself, to show that He came to save man. He was also given the title of High Priest and Supreme King by the Father, all of which this name Christ designates, and by such a name we are called Christians.

S. Why do we remove our hat or genuflect whenever the name of Jesus is said, but we do not do this after we hear the name “God”?

T. The reason is because this name is proper to the Son of God, since all the rest are common; likewise, we are taught by this name how God, by becoming man for our sake, humbled Himself. Furthermore, we genuflect in an Act of Thanksgiving when we hear this name. Not only do we men genuflect, but even the angels of God in heaven, and the demons in hell, on account of this name the former from voluntary love, the latter are compelled by fear. God also willed that all rational creatures should genuflect in the presence of His Son, seeing that He Himself so bent Himself and humbled Himself even to death of the Cross.

S. Why is Jesus Christ called Our Lord?

T. Because He, together with the Father, created us, therefore He is our Patron and Lord just as the Father. More to the point, He freed us from the power and Captivity of the devil by bitter torments and His Passion, which we will speak of in a little while.

The Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine: Chapter I

The Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine: Chapter II

The Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine: Chapter III – Part I

 

– Lucas G. Westman

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Natural Theology, Philosophy, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saints, Scholasticism, Theology, Thomism

Natural Theology & the Thomistic Synthesis

RGL on Thomism

Natural Theology

That which is, is more than that which can be, more than that which is on the road to be. This principle led Aristotle and Aquinas to find, at the summit of all reality, pure act, understanding of understanding, sovereign and good. But Aquinas rises above Aristotle and Leibnitz, for whom the world is a necessary consequence of God. St. Thomas shows, on the contrary, the reason why we must say with revelation that God is sovereignly free, to create or not to create, to create in time rather than from eternity. The reason lies in God’s infinite plenitude of being, truth, and goodness, which creatures can do noting to increase. After creation, there are more beings, it is true, but not more being, not more perfection, wisdom, or love. “God is none the greater for having created the universe.” God alone, He who is, can say, not merely “I have being, truth, and life,” but rather “I am being itself, truth itself, life itself.”

Hence the supreme truth of Christian philosophy is this: In God alone is essence identified with existence. The creature is only a capability to exist, it is created and preserved by Him who is. Further, the creature, not being its own existence, is not its own action, and cannot pass from potency to act, either in the order of nature or in that of grace, except by divine causality.

We have thus shown how Thomism is an elevated synthesis, which, while it rejects unfounded denials, assimilates the positive tendencies of current philosophical and theological conceptions. This synthesis recognizes that reality itself is incomparably more rich than our ideas of that reality. In a word, Thomism is characterized by a sense of mystery, which is the source of contemplation. God’s truth, beauty, and holiness are continually recognized as transcending all philosophy, theology, and mysticism, as uncreated richness to be attained only by the beatific vision, and even under that vision, however clearly understood, as something which only God Himself can comprehend in all its infinite fullness. Thomism thus keeps ever awake our natural, conditional, and inefficacious desire to see God as He is. Thus we grow in appreciation of the gifts of grace and charity, which move us, efficaciously, to desire and to merit the divine vision.

This power of assimilation is therefore a genuine criterion whereby to appraise the validity and scope of Thomism, from the lowest material elements up to God’s own inner life. Economy demands that any system have one mother-idea, as radiating center. The mother-idea of Thomism is that of God as pure act, in whom alone is essence identified with existence. This principle, the keystone of Christian philosophy, enables us to explain, as far as can be done here below, what revelation teaches of the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation, the unity of existence in the three divine persons, the unity of existence in Christ. It explains likewise the mystery of grace. All that is good in our free acts comes from God as first cause, just as it comes from us as second causes. And when we freely obey, when we accept rather than resist grace, all that is good in that act comes from the source of all good. Nothing escapes that divine and universal cause, who without violence actualizes human freedom, just as connaturally as He actualizes the tree to bloom and bear fruit.

Let Thomism then be judged by its principles, necessary and universal, all subordinated to one keystone principle, not a restricted principle as is that of human freedom, but by the uncreated principle of Him who is, on whom everything depends, in the order of being and activity, in the order of grace and nature. This is the system which, in the judgment of the Church, most nearly approaches the ideal of theology, the supreme branch of knowledge.

– Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought


 

– Lucas G. Westman

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Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saints, Scholasticism, Theology, Thomism

Catholic Theology & Philosophical Foundations

Saint Thomas Aquinas the Angelic Doctor Background“As we will see, Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Fides et ratio strenuously upholds the tradition of giving priority to faith in the question of the relationship between faith and reason. To do otherwise, of course, would be to flirt with rationalism. Faith, however, must be understood; it is always, to borrow from St. Anselm, “seeking understanding,” What rational tools will one use to understand one’s Christian faith? Of the many philosophies that human culture knows and has known, which one ought to be chosen to aid in the comprehension of faith? Is every philosophy equal to this task?

As is well-known, St. Thomas chose the philosophy of Aristotle for this task. He found that Aristotle’s thought served the faith well; he found, most precisely, that the metaphysics of Aristotle provided a strong foundation upon with to “think the faith.” In light of this, and in light of Pope Leo XIII’s Thomistic revival, theologians began to ask if Catholic theology must be forever wedded to the philosophy of Aristotle. Many said no and attempted to change the philosophical foundations of Catholic theology – none with great success.

The University of Fribourg’s eminent philosopher, I.M. Bochenski, sets the stage for an answer as to why this was so. He explains that modern philosophy, that is, philosophy during the time between 1600 and 1900,

“came into being with the decline of scholastic philosophy. Characteristic of scholasticism is its pluralism (assuming the plurality of really different beings and levels of being), personalism (acknowledging the preeminent value of the human person), its organic conception of reality, as well as its theocentric attitude – God the Creator as its center of vision. Detailed logical analysis of individual problems is characteristic of scholastic method. Modern philosophy opposes every one of these tenets. Its fundamental principles are mechanism, which eliminates the conception of being as integral and hierarchical, and subjectivism, which diverts man from his previous concentration of God and substitutes the subject as the center. In point of method modern philosophy turned its back on formal logic. With some notable exceptions, it was characterized by the development of great systems and by the neglect of analysis.”

The mechanistic and subjectivist a prioris of modern philosophy, along with a whole set of reductionisms in contemporary philosophy, simply do not provide a solid enough grounding for Christian faith.”

 

– Lucas G. Westman


*Taken From The Sacred Monster of Thomism

 

 

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Philosophy, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Scholasticism, Theology, Thomism, Traditionalism

The Sacred Monster of Strict-Observance Thomism

RGL PhotoStrict-Observance Thomism

The first chapter of Helen James John’s The Thomist Spectrum is entitled “Garrigou-Lagrange and Strict-Observance Thomism.” She notes that the qualifier “strict-observance” was coined in “a half-joking fashion many years ago, but has now become a standard way of speaking about the Thomism taught in the Roman universities up to the Second Vatican Council”; it is a double-entendre – playing on the strict-observance faction present in many religious orders. In her judgment, St. Pius X’s condemnation of Modernism in Pascendi was the single-most important factor to highlight for the explanation of this type of Thomism because, in its wake, “the reaction against Modernism became the leit-motif for a total interpretation of the thought of St. Thomas.” Garrigou-Lagrange would become the leading proponent of Strict-Observance Thomism; and with the Sacred Congregation for Studies’ publication of its “Decree of Approval of Some Theses Contained in the Doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas and Proposed to the Teachers of Philosophy” on 27 July 1914, this version of Thomism “found a quasi-official formulation.”

To simply a host of issues, Strict-Observance Thomism is at great pains to protect the metaphysical foundations of Catholic theology; part and parcel of this ‘protection’ is a demonstration that the Aristotelian heritage in metaphysics has neither been transcended nor shown to be seriously wanting. In this section, we will examine the philosophical underpinnings of Strict-Observance Thomism; we will see that many of the issues that we explored in reference to Garrigou’s disputes with the philosophes of Henri Bergson and Maurice Blondel will come into clearer focus. Since Strict-Observance Thomism is most interested in combatting Modernism, the following insight is helpful in setting the stage for understanding Garrigou’s passionate engagement with the question:

“The philosophical aspect of Modernism lay in the position that the doctrines of faith must be regarded not as stable truths of the speculative order, but as ‘symbolic’ expressions of man’s religious needs, whose content required radical reformulation to adapt it to the changed circumstances of successive eras of Christianity. The import of this position, which retained the traditional expressions of faith while denying their truth, has been aptly, if flippantly, summed up in the proposition that ‘There is no God and the Blessed Virgin is His Mother.’”

Of utmost importance is that Strict-Observance Thomism holds that the truths of Christian faith are expressions of realities that transcend the religious longings of the human person. These truths are held to have been revealed by God: they are not accounted for by a mere inspection of the workings of the human heart. This point must be insisted upon: Strict-Observance Thomism, while employing what might today strike many as obscure philosophical concepts, places its priority squarely on revelation. There is no equivocation in its doctrine that God has revealed certain truths and that these truths cannot be known apart from the gratuity of divine revelation. While it is true that these truths can be rationally analyzed and can be shown to be ‘reasonable’ and can even be shown to respond to the deepest needs of the human person, they cannot be accounted for without reference to the God who has deigned to reveal them.”

 

– Lucas G. Westman


*Taken from The Sacred Monster of Thomism, Pg. 119 – 121

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Apologetics, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saints, Theology, Thomism

Pope Leo XIII on Saint Thomas Aquinas – Aeterni Patris

Taken From the Encyclical – Aeterni Patris:

St Thomas Aquinas Framed and Labeled TSC17. Among the Scholastic Doctors, the chief and master of all towers Thomas Aquinas, who, as Cajetan observes, because “he most venerated the ancient Doctors of the Church, in a certain way seems to have inherited the intellect of all.”[34] The doctrines of those illustrious men, like the scattered members of a body, Thomas collected together and cemented, distributed in wonderful order, and so increased with important additions that he is rightly and deservedly esteemed the special bulwark and glory of the Catholic faith. With his spirit at once humble and swift, his memory ready and tenacious, his life spotless throughout, a lover of truth for its own sake, richly endowed with human and divine science, like the sun he heated the world with the warmth of his virtues and filled it with the splendor of his teaching. Philosophy has no part which he did not touch finely at once and thoroughly; on the laws of reasoning, on God and incorporeal substances, on man and other sensible things, on human actions and their principles, he reasoned in such a manner that in him there is wanting neither a full array of questions, nor an apt disposal of the various parts, nor the best method of proceeding, nor soundness of principles or strength of argument, nor clearness and elegance of style, nor a facility for explaining what is abstruse.

18. Moreover, the Angelic Doctor pushed his philosophic inquiry into the reasons and principles of things, which because they are most comprehensive and contain in their bosom, so to say, the seeds of almost infinite truths, were to be unfolded in good time by later masters and with a goodly yield. And as he also used this philosophic method in the refutation of error, he won this title to distinction for himself: that, single-handed, he victoriously combated the errors of former times, and supplied invincible arms to put those to rout which might in after-times spring up. Again, clearly distinguishing, as is fitting, reason from faith, while happily associating the one with the other, he both preserved the rights and had regard for the dignity of each; so much so, indeed, that reason borne on the wings of Thomas to its human height, can scarcely rise higher, while faith could scarcely expect more or stronger aids from reason than those which she has already obtained through Thomas.

19. For these reasons most learned men, in former ages especially, of the highest repute in theology and philosophy, after mastering with infinite pains the immortal works of Thomas, gave themselves up not so much to be instructed in his angelic wisdom as to be nourished upon it. It is known that nearly all the founders and lawgivers of the religious orders commanded their members to study and religiously adhere to the teachings of St. Thomas, fearful least any of them should swerve even in the slightest degree from the footsteps of so great a man. To say nothing of the family of St. Dominic, which rightly claims this great teacher for its own glory, the statutes of the Benedictines, the Carmelites, the Augustinians, the Society of Jesus, and many others all testify that they are bound by this law.

 

– Lucas G. Westman

 

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Apologetics, Philosophy, Theology

Christ & Existential Angst

Christ's CrucifixionConfronted with the existential questions of life the atheist will tell you that there is no meaning in the world, existence is a chaotic accident of materially reduced processes, and human action is intrinsically void of purpose. When confronted by this interpretation of reality the atheist will then argue that the only way to overcome the existential angst of a meaningless existence is to collapse back into the self (which doesn’t exist) and create your own value and meaning in your life.

But this solves nothing, for the reality of meaninglessness is the source and cause of the panic, and therefore collapsing back into the emptiness of the self can only perpetuate the crisis of existence. Claiming that one must rise above it and create their own values and meaning is, quite literally, an exercise in self-delusion since that which would be created by attempting to climb out of the pit is just as futile as the abyss one thinks they have escaped. Indeed, to even think for an instant that meaning can be subjectively created out of a courageous act of the will should only create a heightened awareness of the metaphysical void. The darkness of this reality is an all-consuming fog from which no one can escape. To pursue a delusion isn’t courage it is insanity.

This only helps to demonstrate the total absurdity of the atheistic worldview and how they deal with the existential crisis of existence. If they are interested in being honest with themselves, they must first recognize that “honesty” and the “self” indeed exists within a consciously intentional grasp toward something that transcends the inner subjectivity of the intellect and will. A realization then occurs where the hierarchic transcendent otherness of existence is recognized – in a world that is intrinsically meaningless there should be no discovery of its meaninglessness, for to discover such a thing requires our human faculties to elevate the self beyond the purely material reality which allegedly imparts existential emptiness. If we are participants in a reality that is stripped of any and all telos, why are we such magnificently intentional beings? Why do we search for meaning when the waves of meaninglessness are crashing upon us?

The atheistic perspective can offer nothing of value when confronted by the existential angst of life existing within the confines of a fallen world. Indeed, it is by definition that atheism provides no answers because the entire edifice collapses into a nihilistic void of metaphysical nothingness. Atheism creates the very problem it is looking to overcome. Trapped within an infinite perpetuation of active delusions manifested by the fictional “courageous” will leads to the self-created prison of desolation.

This is the satanic inversion of Christ emptying himself on the cross. The deception of the atheistic worldview convinces people made in the Imago Christi to empty themselves of their defining Christo-centric image so that death rather than life becomes the ultimate reality. Christ emptied himself on the cross so that death might be defeated. Union with Christ’s victory over death brings forth an abundance of life.

Only Christianity can resolve the existential angst of our existence, because it is only in Christ that all things are made new. We will feel pain and the weight of suffering, but the mystery of the cross elevates these experiences to union with the Incarnate Christ, and it is only union with the resurrected Christ that fulfills our entire being in the world. It is the reason why we exist at all. Saint Augustine perfectly articulated this when he said our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.

The choices are clear – the truth of Christ or the deceptive lies of a satanic nihilism.


Romans 8 (Douay-Rheims)

There is now therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh.

For the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath delivered me from the law of sin and of death.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh; God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and of sin, hath condemned sin in the flesh;

That the justification of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.

For they that are according to the flesh, mind the things that are of the flesh; but they that are according to the spirit, mind the things that are of the spirit.

For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace.

 Because the wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be.

And they who are in the flesh, cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead, because of sin; but the spirit liveth, because of justification.

And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.

For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).

For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.

And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.

For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God.

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope:

Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.

And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.

For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for?

But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.

And he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth; because he asketh for the saints according to God.

And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.

For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren.

And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who is against us?

He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things?

Who shall accuse against the elect of God? God that justifieth.

Who is he that shall condemn? Christ Jesus that died, yea that is risen also again; who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? or distress? or famine? or nakedness? or danger? or persecution? or the sword?

(As it is written: For thy sake we are put to death all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.)

But in all these things we overcome, because of him that hath loved us.

For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


 

– Lucas G. Westman

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A Catechism of Modernism, Catechism, Theology, Traditionalism

A Catechism of Modernism: Part I – The Modernist Errors

Pope St. Pius X Writing & StudyingA Catechism of Modernism

Part I

The Modernist Errors

Prelude

Q. To proceed in an orderly manner in the exposition of the errors of Modernism, how many personalities must we consider in the Modernist?

A. To proceed in an orderly manner in this recondite subject, it must first of all be noted that every Modernist sustains and comprises within himself many personalities; he is a philosopher, a believer, a theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer. These roles must be clearly distinguished from one another by all who would accurately know their system and thoroughly comprehend the principles and the consequences of their doctrines.

Chapter I.

The Religious Philosophy of the Modernists.

1. Agnosticism. 

Q. We begin, then, with the philosopher. What doctrine do the Modernists use as the foundation for their religious philosophy?

A. Modernists place the foundation of religious philosophy in that doctrine which is usually called Agnosticism.

 

Q. Give the teaching of Agnosticism?

A. According to this teaching, human reason is confined entirely within the field of phenomena, that is to say, to things that are perceptible to the senses, and in the manner in which they are perceptible: it has no right and no power to transgress these limits. Hence it is incapable of lifting itself up to God, and of recognizing His existence, even by means of visible things.

 

Q. What conclusions do Modernists draw from this doctrine?

A. From this it is inferred that God can never be the direct object of science, and that, as regards history, He must not be considered as an historical subject.

 

Q. What according to these premises, will become of natural theology, the motives of credibility, and of external revelation?

A. Given these premises, all will readily perceive what becomes of natural theology, of the motives of credibility, of external revelation. The Modernists simply make away with them altogether; they include them in Intellectualism, which they call a ridiculous and long ago defunct system.

 

Q. Do the condemnations of the Church exercise any restraint on the Modernists?

A. Nor does the fact that the Church has formally condemned these portentous errors exercise the slightest restraint upon them.

 

Q. What definition of the Vatican Council may be cited against the Modernists?

A. The Vatican Council has defined: If any one says that the one true God, Our Creator and Lord, can not be known with certainty by the natural light of human reason by means of the things that are made, let them be anathema (De Revel., can. 1); and also: If any one says that it is not possible or not expedient that man be taught, through the medium of divine revelation, about God and the worship to be paid Him, let them be anathema (Ibid., can. 2); and finally: If any one says that divine revelation can not be made credible by external signs, and that therefore men should be drawn to the faith only by their personal internal experience or by private inspiration, let them be anathema (De Fide, can. 3)

 

Q. But how can the Modernists make the transition from Agnosticism, which is a state of pure nescience, to scientific and historic Atheism, which is a doctrine of positive denial; and consequently, by what legitimate process of reasoning, starting from ignorance as to whether God has in fact intervened in the history of the human race or not, do they proceed, in their explanation of this history, to ignore God altogether, as if He really had not intervened?

A. The matter may be understood from this: It is a fixed and established principle among them that both science and history must be atheistic: and within their boundaries there is room for nothing but phenomena; God and all that is divine are utterly excluded.

 

Q. According to this absurd teaching, what must be held regarding the sacred Person of Christ, what concerning the mysteries of His life and death, of His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven?

A. All this we shall soon see.

A Catechism of Modernism: Preamble

 

– Lucas G. Westman

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Baltimore Catechism, Catechism, Theology

Baltimore Catechism One: Lesson Second

Moses and the Burning BushBaltimore Catechism One: Lesson Second

On God and His Perfections

 

Q. What is God?

A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.

Q. Had God a beginning?

A. God had no beginning; He always was and He always will be.

Q. Where is God?

A. God is everywhere.

Q. If God is everywhere, why do we not see Him?

A. We do not see God, because He is pure spirit and cannot be seen with bodily eyes.

Q. Does God see us?

A. God sees us and watches over us.

Q. Does God know all things?

A. God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.

Q. Can God do all things?

A. God can do all things, and nothing is hard or impossible to Him.

Q. Is God just, holy, and merciful?

A. God is all just, all holy, all merciful, as He is infinitely perfect.

Baltimore Catechism One: Lesson First

 

– Lucas G. Westman

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