Catholic Philosophy Responds to the Modernist Assault on Faith and Reason - A Detailed Blueprint for Catholic Action

 

A Paper in

Philosophy

 

By

Gary L. Morella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the genesis of the crisis of modern civilization by looking at its root cause, the confusion of authentic freedom to do what we ought with license to do what we want with the former being the work of God, and the latter being the work of the devil.  What the ancients taught as classical political philosophy, laying the foundation for the concept of the “common good,” will be examined in light of its aberrations as a result of modern philosophy’s assault on faith and reason.  Some contemporary examples of this assault will be presented to include academic freedom as a license to lie, perversity masquerading as diversity, the contraceptive mentality of the age, the reinvention of religion, and euthanasia replacing medicine.  A rebuttal is given to the contemporary spin-doctor sophists using arguments rooted in medieval philosophy, as developed by Catholic philosophers answering the errors of modern philosophy.  Finally, what distinguishes Catholic philosophy from the secular version will be addressed using the Catholic giants, Saints Augustine and Aquinas, with the emphasis on showing the marriage, not divorce, between reason and faith.  The conclusion will be inescapable.  Only through a philosophical response in light of the fullness of the Catholic Faith can the crisis of our time, the unprecedented assault on faith and reason, be met head on with the necessary tools for its destruction.  In particular, the emphasis will be on the necessity of a Catholic philosophical response showing the marriage between reason and faith, which is true to the traditional teachings of Holy Mother Church standing in contradiction, not accommodation, to the world.  It is shown that only through such a response is error not equated with truth due to a false sense of religious freedom that has needlessly confused the issue.  Moreover, the imperative of Catholic influence in world affairs is emphasized in accord with traditional Church teachings, especially Catholic philosophy’s role in making that truth known to the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Abstract - 2

 

Acknowledgements - 7

 

Chapter 1.  INTRODUCTION – CRISIS OF OUR TIME 9

 

           1.1   Freedom cannot be divorced from the truth – 10

 

       1.1.1  The suspension of reason - 10

 

           1.2   Plan of attack on the assault on faith and reason showing

                 the necessity for a Catholic philosophical voice in a world

                 gone mad - 14

 

Chapter 2.  THE BLURRING OF AUTHENTIC FREEDOM 16

 

         2.1 What the ancients taught as classical political philosophy – 16

 

        2.1.1  Aristotle’s distinction between good and bad regimes as a function

                   of tending toward societal common good or the good of the polis 16

 

         2.1.2  The concept of a mixed regime devoted to the common good - 24  

 

         2.1.3  The primary function of a political regime is to seek the common

                   good - 31

 

         2.1.4  The worth of Aristotle’s arguments concerning man’s social/political

                   nature 33

 

         2.1.5  The Sophist legacy of Protagoras has a mean steak thanks to political

                   Correctness at all costs – especially the truth 37

 

         2.1.6  Every human act is done for the sake of the ultimate end 41

 

            2.2  Modern philosophy’s assault on faith and reason 45

 

        2.2.1  Descartes had no further need of God other than to set the world in

                    motion 45

 

         2.2.2  Passion and the structure of society according to Hobbes - 48

 

         2.2.3  The influence of Machiavelli and Bacon - 52

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

       2.2.4  Locke’s vagueness about the “common good” has consequences - 59        

       

        2.2.5  Hume’s free floating impressions confuse the issue 67

 

        2.2.6  The consequences of Kant’s no to metaphysics 71

 

        2.2.7  Kant’s false basis for ethics – the preeminence of the autonomous

                   self 74

 

        2.2.8  The legacy of the moderns –  Gramsci is alive and well 79

 

           2.3   Some contemporary examples of freedom confused with

                license - 82

 

        2.3.1   Is academic freedom a license to lie? 82

 

        2.3.2   Confusing diversity with perversity 82

 

        2.3.3   Clearly, logic, common sense, and reason are not qualifications for the

                   Supreme Court - 89       

 

        2.3.4   Reinventing religion 90

 

        2.3.5   Euthanasia is not just replacing medicine; it is changing medicine 93

 

        2.3.6   Welcome to Philosophy 101 where the students leave defending the

                    Filth of the Vagina Monologues 93

 

 Chapter 3.  THE REBUTTAL TO THE CONTEMPORARY

               SOPHISTS, THE MODERN SPIN DOCTORS,

               ROOTED IN MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY 95

 

         3.1  Pascal’s way back to God – an answer to the errors of

                 Modern philosophers - 95  

 

         3.1.1   No right exists to aberrant behavior arising from developmental

                    disorders - 103  

 

         3.1.2   Homosexuality is biologically and metaphysically against the

                    natural law - 105       

 

            3.2   What kind of message do we send to our children - 107

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

3.3   Historical roots of the natural law - 109

 

         3.3.1   Natural law answers to modernist confusion 113

 

         3.3.2   The natural law in the role of the family in the modern world 122

 

 Chapter 4.  CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHY MAKES A FINAL

               STATEMENT REINFORCING AQUINAS’S

               PREAMBLES OF THE FAITH 124

 

         4.1  No apologies necessary for showing the relationship

                 between faith and reason - 124

           

       4.1.1  An evaluation of Simon’s Argument that authority is an essential

                    Function of government 124

 

         4.1.2   The obsession with rights talk forgets that rights without duties are no

                    rights at all 128

 

         4.1.3   Humanae Vitae, a teaching of natural law for mankind - 136

 

         4.1.4   The forgotten teaching of Casti Connubii - 140

 

         4.1.5   Metaphysics is a divine science - 144

 

         4.1.6   The relationship between faith and reason - 146

 

         4.1.7   The end of Machiavellianism is conditioned on an authentic witness to

                    the Gospel - 151

 

         4.1.8   The folly of modern attempts to base the life of civilization on mere reason

                    totally separated from the Gospel 153

 

         4.1.9   Unlimited freedom as license must give way to societal common good; else,

                    anarchy exists – an axiom for civilization - 154

 

        4.1.10   The necessity for the Church’s influence in temporal affairs for the

                    metaphysical perfection of man for eternity’s sake - 155

 

        4.1.11   The warnings in Saint Augustine’s City of God - 161

 

        4.1.12   The roots of the tension between faith and reason - 166

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

Chapter 5.  CONCLUSION - 167

 

References - 179

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

I want to give special thanks to my wife Margaret for her loving support and encouragement over the years, especially the prayers, which were much needed.

 

I want to thank my father, Louis Morella (1915-1957), and mother, Regina Morella (1914-1993), for letting me know what it means to be a Catholic through their example of teaching me the Faith of an altar boy at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Pittsburg, Kansas (1952-1964) - a Faith that I never forgot.  

 

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord.  And may perpetual light shine upon them.  And may their souls, and all of the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace, Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

For my sons, Craig Andrew, Kevin Mark, and Colin Matthew, and granddaughters, Paige Marie, and Cailey Ann, that they may know that Dad and Grandpa tried his best to defend the Faith for the sake of their eternity.  God bless you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1.

INTRODUCTION - CRISIS OF OUR TIME

The crisis of modern civilization, which is the unprecedented assault on faith and reason resulting in the total eclipse of reason, and subsequent loss of faith, due to God’s eternal marriage of faith and reason being divorced by man, has one underlying current. Its genesis is rooted in the confusion of “genuine authentic freedom,” the freedom to do what we ought, with “license,” the freedom to do what we want. This confusion is absolutely necessary for the protagonists of “radical everything” if they are to succeed in seducing the masses into believing the atheistic gospel that true happiness is found only in the “here-and-now” as opposed to the “here-after” - masses that have been primed expressly for this purpose via indoctrination masking as education. Regardless of whether we are talking about radical sexuality, feminism, literary criticism also known as deconstructionism, or any of the other “radicals” as characterized by the worst excesses of political correctness, this seminal truth that freedom is license for the disciples of The Enlightenment, which in reality is better titled The Endarkenment, becomes their “first principle” in ushering in a new world order where the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is replaced with the “god in the mirror.” This explains the animus of liberal ideologues towards Holy Mother Church who makes them uncomfortable with their vices by holding them to a higher Truth, Who is a Someone, not a something.


The resulting culture wars for our souls have orthodox Catholics being assailed on all fronts because they dare to remind man of the end to which he was created. They are isolated and marginalized not only by the secularists but also, in many cases, by their very own dioceses which are more concerned with self-esteem than salvation thereby allying themselves with the “father-of-lies” who demands rendering more to Caesar than what Caesar is owed. The clever deception is that “c”atholicism with a small “c” is tolerated because it is reduced to being indistinguishable from any other member of a national council of churches or inter-faith alliances by bishops who have forgotten the reason for their vocation, to uncompromisingly preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to get souls to Heaven instead of hell. As a result, the Church due to religious indifferentism becomes nothing more than a narcotic to mollify the masses into believing the atheistic philosophy that unrestricted freedom for the autonomous unencumbered self is the panacea for the “disease that is orthodox Christianity,” a phrase rearing its ugly head as acceptable in the modern world. It is worth noting that many of these indistinguishable churches holding membership in the aforementioned councils or alliances have now called for the teaching of unrestricted sex-ed, the teaching that homosexuality is perfectly normal, and the acceptability of contraception and abortion for grades K-12. They have done this with the blessings of SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States which has dedicated itself over the past 35 years to providing sex education to school systems, promoting “family planning” clinics, and attempting to influence policy makers to echo their efforts under the guise of “sexuality education” and “sexual health.”

 

1.1 Freedom cannot be divorced from the truth

 

Freedom separated from truth becomes license with anarchy the inevitable result. Consider just what happens when A’s rights conflict with B’s in the absence of universal, immutable, absolute truths. Just how is this situation resolved?


It is not because: 1) it ignores the existence of the natural law written on the hearts of mankind; 2) it ignores the fact that authentic freedom is a function of informed consciences which subordinate man and his activity to God Who is Perfect Truth; 3) it exalts freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute which would then be the source of values as opposed to the Creator; 4) it promotes doctrines that have lost the sense of the transcendent, which are explicitly atheist; 5) it recognizes the rights of these doctrines to grant to individuals or social groups the ability to determine what is good or evil in a purely moral relativistic sense; 6) it is a denial of the fact that the natural moral law has God as its author, and that man, by the use of reason, participates in the eternal law, which is not for him to establish; 7) it embraces a false concept of the autonomy of earthly realities, one which would maintain that created things are independent of God with man using them without reference to his Creator - a bogus concept of autonomy producing baneful effects leading to atheism; 8) it ignores that human freedom and God’s law meet and are called to intersect, in the sense of man’s free obedience to God and of God’s completely gratuitous benevolence towards man; 9) it prevents man from having the ability to distinguish between good and evil, as students today are taught that there is no such thing as right and wrong with freedom made self-defining, a phenomenon creative of itself with its values taking nature away from man who becomes his own personal life-project defined as nothing more than his own freedom.


The practical judgment of conscience imposes on the person the obligation to perform a given act making the link between freedom and truth clear. Conscience expresses itself in acts of judgment, which reflect the truth and the good, and not in arbitrary decisions of a situational ethics nature that make truth relative. One needs to be guided by an insistent search for truth in regard to actions performed, not on an alleged autonomy in personal decisions where man is reduced to freedom with no soul.


1.1.1 The suspension of reason

The command to suspend reason has not come from Sacred Scripture or the Tradition of the Church but rather from the liberal disciples of The Endarkenment.  They tell us that truth is relative not absolute.  Their philosophy is “I’m OK, you’re OK” with license confused with authentic freedom.  They want us to follow the example of the recently impeached former “adolescent-in-chief” of America by acting like barn animals in heat in our private lives just as long as we smile in front of the cameras.  This is necessary so that we can all be part of “one politically correct happy hedonist family.” Do people honestly believe that individuals with so little regard for their human dignity and self-respect will treat others differently with society benefiting? History speaks to the contrary.

The highest levels of violence of all types that the world has ever seen, with the killing of the unborn, euthanasia, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), suicide - in particular teen suicide, divorce, teen pregnancies resulting in single parent families (SIECUS, sex-ed being an abysmal failure per their own statistics as reported in the October 1994 Atlantic Monthly), the exportation of the “culture of death” by the west to a third world that does not want it in the absence of definitive evidence anywhere that contraception leads to fewer abortions (in fact, the contrary is always true with nations dying out unable to reproduce themselves), speak to the consequences of ignoring a faith enabled reason. 

Excerpts from the 1994 Atlantic Monthly Online article refuting SIECUS claims are given below.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/family/failure.htm

October 1994

The Failure of Sex Education

"Comprehensive sex education," mandated in seventeen states, is the educational fad of the hour, yet there is little evidence that it "works"--prevents teenage pregnancy and stanches the spread of sexually transmitted disease. Defended by its professional-class originators as "getting real" about teenage sex, it fails to speak to the grim reality of what the author calls "the new sexual revolution" among the young

by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

 

Few states have worked harder or longer than New Jersey to bring sexual enlightenment to schoolchildren. In 1980 the state adopted one of the nation's first mandates for comprehensive sex education--or family-life education, as it is called there--and it was the very first state to require sex education for children in the primary grades. Its pioneering efforts have earned New Jersey the equivalent of a five-star rating from the Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), a national advocacy organization that promotes comprehensive sex education.

If comprehensive sex education has had a significant impact on teenage sexual behavior in New Jersey, there is little evidence to show it. The advocates cannot point to any evaluative studies of comprehensive sex education in the state. Absent such specific measures, one can only fall back on gross measures like the glum statistics on unwed teenage childbearing in the state. In 1980, 67.6 percent of teenage births were to unmarried mothers; eleven years later the figure had increased to 84 percent. Arguably, the percentage might be even higher if comprehensive sex education did not exist. Nevertheless, it is hard for advocates to claim that the state with the nation's fourth highest percentage of unwed teenage births is a showcase for their approach.

The unifying core of comprehensive sex education is not intellectual but ideological. Its mission is to defend and extend the freedoms of the sexual revolution, and its architects are called forth from a variety of pursuits to advance this cause. At least in New Jersey, the sex-education leaders are not researchers or policy analysts or child development experts but public-sector entrepreneurs: advocates, independent consultants, family planners, freelance curriculum writers, specialty publishers, and diversity educators. However dedicated and high-minded they may be, their principal task is not to serve the public or schoolchildren but to promote their ideology.

Under the guise of “diversity” we find emphasis on “discrimination” used to automatically refer to negative or unequal treatment of persons. The concept makes no mention of the fact that a civilized society, while not downgrading individual people, must “discriminate” in favor of health over disease, right over wrong, moral over immoral, discriminate use of sexuality (monogamous marriage) over indiscriminate sexual expression.

The answer to the crisis of our time, and every other time, for that matter, is found where it has always been, in the Word of God. 

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. (1 Corinthians 13:11) {[22] pg 1516}

It is time to put away the suspension of reason, as evidenced by the chaos in the world around us, and to look to the aforementioned Truth spelled with a capital “T.” It is time to profess unashamedly that reason and faith are married, not divorced.  If we do not, then the fate of a Catholic philosophy professor in Ohio will befall all of us, as reported from an Internet news site NewsMax.com, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004.

http://www.newsmax.com/cgibin/printer_friendly.pl?page=http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/2/5/123922.shtml

Reprinted from NewsMax.com

Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004 12:36 p.m. EST

Professor Removed for Saying He's Catholic

Lakeland Community College near Cleveland, Ohio, has removed a professor of moral philosophy from his classes as punishment for refusing to hide his religious identity from students.

The college threatened Dr. James Tuttle, who espouses traditional Catholic beliefs, with dismissal because he made statements on his syllabi and in class that disclosed his religious faith and how that shaped his personal philosophy.

"Asking a philosophy professor to divorce his deepest philosophic views from his teaching is both outrageous and absurd," said Greg Lukianoff, director of legal and public advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

"To say that a philosophy professor cannot discuss religious ideas is to render him incapable of meaningful discussion of some of the greatest minds in the history of his field. Feminists are not forced to veil their feminism, and Catholic philosophers should be free to be Catholic philosophers."

Dr. Tuttle's problems began in March 2003 when he received a copy of a student complaint forwarded to him by Dean James L. Brown of the Arts and Humanities Division at Lakeland.

The student complained that Dr. Tuttle mentioned his Catholic beliefs too often for the student's taste and suggested that he be given "counseling for tolerance."

In an effort to address this issue, Dr. Tuttle decided to add "disclaimers" to the syllabi of two of his classes informing students that the professor was "a committed Catholic Christian philosopher and theologian," so that students would know in advance about his perspective.

The statement also encouraged any students who felt uncomfortable with Dr. Tuttle's views or methods to feel free to talk to him outside class.

On April 21, 2003, Dr. Tuttle received a letter from Dean Brown saying that he was "more bothered by [Tuttle's] disclaimer than by anything I read in [the student]'s complaint." Dean Brown went on to suggest that Dr. Tuttle "would be happier in a sectarian classroom."

In punishing Dr. Tuttle for including the disclaimer, Dean Brown stated that he would reduce Dr. Tuttle's course load for the next semester to only one class (thereby reducing his pay) and would subject him to classroom monitoring by a fellow professor before reaching a final decision on whether to actually fire him.

Dr. Tuttle contacted FIRE for help, and in December FIRE wrote to Lakeland Community College President Morris W. Beverage to protest the college's punishment of Dr. Tuttle.

FIRE reminded Lakeland that Dr. Tuttle's disclosure and discussion of his religious beliefs in a philosophy class were directly relevant to the topic of the class and that "such candor from an instructor should be welcomed rather than condemned."

FIRE also pointed out that Lakeland's demand that Dr. Tuttle avoid commenting on his own religious beliefs ignores the pervasive historic, intellectual and cultural ties between the worlds of religion and philosophy.

Reminding President Beverage that philosophers including Plato, Lao Tzu, Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas espoused theories that regarded religion and philosophy as integrated parts of one whole, FIRE asked, "Which of these thinkers would Dean Brown punish for intellectual honesty at Lakeland Community College?"

Lakeland failed to respond to FIRE's request that the college cease its unfair persecution of Dr. Tuttle and that it restore him to his full class load.

Instead, Dr. Tuttle was informed in December that he was being given the last pick of classes – with a selection of courses that administrators knew he did not wish to teach – despite the fact that Lakeland's traditional seniority system should have given him preference over six other instructors.

Dr. Tuttle refused to accept the loss of his seniority and declined to accept Lakeland's shameful offer.

FIRE is calling for Lakeland Community College to reinstate Dr. Tuttle as a philosophy instructor and will put information about Dr. Tuttle's situation in the hands of the media, the public, and local and national advocacy groups.

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, civic leaders, scholars, journalists and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and due process on our nation's campuses.

Thus, an Ohio College removed a professor of moral philosophy from his classes for refusing to hide his religious identity from his students.  The college threatened the professor, who espouses traditional Catholic beliefs, with dismissal because he made statements on his syllabi and in class that disclosed his religious faith and how that shaped his personal philosophy, which begs the following questions: Why should a philosophy professor be expected to divorce his deepest philosophic views from his teaching, which is a demand that is pure lunacy?  Why cannot Catholic philosophers be free to be Catholic philosophers and not have to work under the restriction that religious ideas are taboo, making them incapable of a meaningful discussion of some of the greatest minds in the history of philosophy?  The radical feminists and Marxists, who populate the Academy today, work under no such constraints, as guaranteed by their legal arm – their American Civil Liberties Union facilitators whose goal is to erase God completely from the public square. 

Unfortunately the professor in question performed the unforgivable secular sin of adding  “disclaimers” to the syllabi of two of his classes informing students that he was “a committed Catholic Christian philosopher and theologian” so that his students would know in advance about his perspective, which brought down the wrath of his “politically correct” superiors after a “student” determined that he needed counseling for “tolerance,” no matter that his disclosure and discussion of his religious beliefs in a philosophy class directly pertained to the topic of the class.  When did students become automatically qualified, no questions asked, to be teaching the classes in which they were enrolled? Is this not letting the inmates run the asylum, which is more than a metaphor these days given the disrespect shown professors by an undisciplined “me generation” causing chaos in the classroom?  Such academic honesty should be welcomed rather than condemned.  Why should any philosophy professor worth his salt ignore the relationship between the worlds of religion and philosophy? Would this school have problems with the majority of the liberalism-run-amok professors in academia who are not as forthcoming as this Catholic professor, letting their students learn to their dismay that what they enrolled in was in reality nothing more than Marxist Socialism 101?

 

1.2  Plan of attack on the assault on faith and reason showing the necessity for a Catholic philosophical voice in a world gone mad

 

We propose to show the importance, contrary to the modus operandi of the academy today, as evidenced by the previous Ohio example to include many universities claiming to be “Catholic” but which are in reality indistinguishable from their secular counterparts, of needing more, not less, Catholic philosophers to respond to the crisis of our time.  This will be accomplished by looking at the historical roots of the blurring of authentic freedom by examining three main topics to set the table.

 

The first topic is what the ancients taught as classical political philosophy via: 1) Aristotle’s distinction between good and bad regimes as a function of tending toward societal common good or the good of the polis, 2) Aristotle’s concept of a “mixed regime” devoted to the common good, 3) the common good as the primary goal of a political regime, 4) the worth of Aristotle’s arguments concerning man’s political and social nature, 5) the sophist legacy of Protagoras having a mean streak thanks to political correctness at all costs – especially the truth, and 6) the contention that every human act is done for the sake of man’s ultimate end.  This will give us the seminal foundation for reasonably describing an authentic freedom beneficial to society rooted in a necessary marriage to faith.

 

The second topic is modern philosophy’s assault on faith and reason by examining: 1) Descartes having no further need of God other than to set the world in motion, 2) the passion and structure of society according to Hobbes, 3) the influence of Machiavelli and Bacon, 4) Locke’s vagueness about the common good and its consequences, 5) Hume’s free floating impressions confusing the issue, 6) the consequences of Kant’s no to metaphysics, 7) Kant’s false basis for ethics – the preeminence of the autonomous unencumbered self, and 8) the legacy of the moderns with Gramsci being alive and well in the Academy and the Fourth Estate.

 

The third topic is the observation of some brief contemporary examples of authentic freedom confused with license to include: 1) academic freedom as a license to lie, 2) perversity masquerading as diversity, 3) logic, common sense, and reason not being qualifications for the Supreme Court, 4) the reinvention of religion, 5) euthanasia replacing medicine – the inevitable consequences of allowing man to be the sole arbiter of when life begins, and 6) the defense of the Vagina Monologues as a result of enrolling in Philosophy 101.

 

Next will be a rebuttal to the contemporary sophists, the modern spin-doctors, using arguments rooted in medieval philosophy as developed by Catholic philosophers answering the errors of modern philosophy. These will include: 1) Pascal’s way back to God, 2) no rights to objectively disordered behavior, 3) homosexuality is biologically and metaphysically against the natural law, 4) the message we send to our children by ignoring the importance of the natural law in seeking the common good when considering the “hot button” issues of the age, 5) the historical roots of the natural law, 6) the reasonableness of the natural law in answering modernist confusion, and 7) the natural law’s role for the family in the modern world.

 

Finally, we will examine what distinguishes Catholic philosophy from the secular version by seeing the need for reinforcing Aquinas’s preambles of the faith with the emphasis that no apologies are required for showing the relationship between faith and reason, a concept held to be in anathema by an “enlightenment” that is anything but in that the only thing enlightened is the eclipse of right reason completely divorced from a faith that enables it.  This will be accomplished via: 1) an evaluation of Simon’s argument that authority is an essential function of government, 2) the realization that the obsession with rights talk forgets that rights without duties are no rights at all, 3) thinking of Humanae Vitae, a teaching of the natural law for mankind, 4) the forgotten teaching of Casti Connubii, 5) an examination of the metaphysical bridge, as metaphysics is the highest philosophy, from the natural to the supernatural with metaphysics as a unified divine science via a Thomistic approach to the sciences and moral virtues with particular emphasis on the relationship between reason and virtue, 6) knowing that faith enables reason while reason reinforces faith, revisiting the preambles of Aquinas as applied to contemporary issues, 7) the realization that the end of Machiavellianism is conditioned on an authentic witness to the Gospel, 8) the folly of modern attempts to base the life of civilization on mere reason totally separated from the Gospel, 9) the realization that unlimited freedom as license must give way to societal common good; else, anarchy results, 10) the necessity of the Church’s influence in temporal affairs for the common good leading to the metaphysical perfection of man for the sake of his eternity, 11) the warnings in Saint Augustine’s City of God, and 12) the roots of the tension between faith and reason.

 

The conclusion will be inescapable.  Only through a philosophical response rooted in the fullness of the Catholic Faith can the crisis of our time, the unprecedented assault on faith and reason, be met head on with the necessary tools for its destruction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2.

 

THE BLURRING OF AUTHENTIC FREEDOM

 

We initially consider what the ancients taught as classical political philosophy using Aristotle’s Politics as our guide. We do this in the light of Catholic philosophical commentary to particularly include Saint Thomas Aquinas. We then proceed to modern philosophy’s assault on faith and reason by examining the work of the main protagonists.  Their legacy is subsequently examined via some contemporary examples of freedom confused with license.

 

2.1 What the ancients taught as classical political philosophy

 

2.1.1 Aristotle’s distinction between good and bad regimes as a function of tending toward societal common good or the good of the polis

 

What did the ancients teach in regard to what the state should hold to be of primary importance for its citizens?  Specifically we ask the questions, “Who should be the active citizen, and what is their purpose according to Aristotle?”  These questions can be combined into one by asking, “Who should rule, the few or the many?”  The answer to this question will be examined in the light of what Aristotle considers to be “good rule” and “bad rule” respectively by taking into account the various claims for who should rule always as a function of tending toward societal common good, a precept that has been forgotten in the modern world.  We look to Aristotle’s Politics for the answers.

 

The importance of the common good related to political virtue in distinguishing between good and bad regimes

 

We focus on Book Three of the Politics {[11] pp 92-153} where Aristotle divides political regimes into six types as a function of whether they work toward a common good or a partial or private good.  Accordingly, the concept of “political virtue” is introduced whereby we are referring to those willing to prefer the common interest or good to their private interest, the objects of their passions.  These are the people who discern what is noble and right in a given situation and do it for that reason.  Those who do not fall into this category are examples of practicing “political vice” in that they put considerations of self before those of society as a whole.

 

Envision a matrix where the first column is titled “who should rule” with the following three subtitles: “rule by one,” “rule by few,” and “rule by many.”  Now across the top title the first row “purpose of rule” with the following two subtitles: “for the common good,” and “for a partial or private good.”  We have constructed a 3-row x 2-column matrix with the entries identifying the six types of political regimes that Aristotle considers.  These are respectively: monarchy (row 1, column 1, which is rule by one for the common good), aristocracy (row 2, column 1, which is rule by the few or best for the common good), polity (row 3, column 1, which is rule by the many for the common good) that in essence is a “mixed” regime, tyranny/despotism (row 1, column 2, which is rule by one for a partial/private good), oligarchy (row 2, column 2, which is rule by few for a partial/private good), and democracy (row 3, column 2, which is rule by many for a partial/private good).

 

 

 

 

         Purpose of rule              For the common good              For the partial/private good

 

 

Who should rule                    

 

 


Rule by one                              monarchy                            tyranny/despotism

 

 

 


Rule by few                              aristocracy                         oligarchy

 

 

 


Rule by many                            polity                                     democracy

 

 

 

 

 

Aristotle’s definition of good and bad regimes with a contemporary example

 

For Aristotle all of the entries in column one represent good regimes while those in column two represent bad regimes.  Interestingly enough, Aristotle considers “democracy” to be a bad regime.  It is to be noted that his definition of democracy is far different than that practiced in America with a very important caveat, “if democracy in America works as it should.”  Aristotle was concerned about democracy (demos – people) evolving into an extreme, which would be purely “mob rule.”  This would be a rule that would destroy other classes, property owners or those with perceived greater virtue, at the whim of the mob.  The Marxist dictatorship of the proletariat could be considered as an example here.  The democracy practiced in America tends more to Aristotle’s polity.  The aforementioned caveat, however, is not to be taken lightly, given those office holders who de facto rule by polls with no concern for the common good whatsoever.  America has witnessed this first hand most recently in the Administration of the Clintons whose sole purpose seemed to be acquiring and staying in power at the expense of the welfare of those entrusted to their care by skewing political polls to suit their means.  Their kind knows that there is no guarantee that polls will ensure the best interest of society as remaining popular at all costs is paramount.  The very fact that their reported popularity in the polls to the point of ensuring their reelection speaks to the problems with polls not being reliable for the good of society. One could not so arguably ask, given what President Clinton’s liberal supportive press considered as only his well known foibles,  “What polls can be believed that give their blessings to a draft dodging, dope smoking, lying, fornicating, philandering, adulterer enjoying the full support of his spouse as if these qualities were his ‘good points?’” The “bad” points, of course, are highlighted with an uncompromising support of the culture-of-death to the extreme of vetoing legislation that bans the most barbaric type of infanticide, and promoting sexual hedonism to the extent of actually insisting that unnatural sexual acts are civil rights in an affirmative action sense, thereby nonsensically equating proven changeable aberrant behavior with the immutable characteristics of skin color and ethnicity.  It appears that Aristotle’s “political virtue” was unknown to the Clintons. 

 

It would seem that Aristotle knew quite well the reservations with democracy easily carried to an extreme dictating his placement of it in the “bad” category of his matrix.  What we will see upon examination of all the claims to rule is that this tendency to the extremes is a red flag for caution on the part of society in its search for the correct political regime with a “mixed” regime on the order of a polity being the best alternative.  And the modernists have the unmitigated gall to tell us that we can no longer learn anything from the ancients!

 

A Catholic philosopher defines the common good

 

Maritain in Man and the State gives a definition for the “common good” of society.

 

The common good is not only the collection of public commodities and services which the organization of common life presupposes: a sound fiscal condition, a strong military force; the body of just laws, good customs, and wise institutions which provides the political society with its structure; the heritage of its great historical remembrances, its symbols and its glories, its living traditions and cultural treasures.  The common good also includes the sociological integration of all the civic conscience, political virtues and sense of law and freedom, of all the activity, material prosperity and spiritual riches, of unconsciously operating hereditary wisdom, or moral rectitude, justice, friendship, happiness, virtue and heroism in the individual lives of the members of the body politic.  To the extent to which all these things are, in a certain measure, communicable and revert to each member, helping him to perfect his life and liberty as a person, they all constitute the good human life of the multitude. {[33] pp 11-12}

 

It is noteworthy that in this detailed definition of the “common good” there is a brief reference made to the importance of “spiritual riches.”  One could reasonably ask, “How is every other part of this definition attainable without “spiritual riches” being a priority?  This question will be subsequently addressed when we consider whether a religiously neutral state can successfully tend toward the common good.   For now, it is enough to say that the “good human life of the multitude” becomes Maritain’s natural political telos.

 

Aristotle’s regime

 

A regime is the form or scheme that organizes political society with respect to its offices, especially the sovereign.  It is about “who” deliberates and judges and in light of “what” purpose, which includes the idea of the good life, i.e., an ethics, the individual good, and an idea of justice, the political good determining who should rule.  There are various claims to rule for the end of political society, the three basic of which are “virtue” that may be categorized as the excellence of achievement, “wealth,” in particular, the production of wealth in a healthy (for the good of the whole) as opposed to an unhealthy (for the good of the individual only) context, and “numbers” where a majority have a claim to rule.  Each claim gives rise to a different type of regime in Aristotle’s matrix.  But the key point to remember is that each is a “limited” claim for Aristotle in that he is not a pure partisan for each claim taken on its own.  He recognized that any of the claims taken to an extreme leads to a destruction of politics with the “heart of politics” proving to be the prudential statesman who can mix the claims to get a proper balance to achieve excellence, to have the proper means to wealth for existence, and to involve as many people as possible in the process.

 

A good monarchy contrasted with a bad democracy showing the necessity for virtuous leaders

 

The relationship between what Aristotle ranks as being good political regimes in column one of his matrix and those being bad in column two are various degrees of adherence to the proper mix of the aforementioned three claims to rule.  For example, one would be hard pressed to find difficulties with “rule by one” (monarchy) if that one happened to be Saint Louis IX of France who recognized that a political telos was but a stepping to the most important metaphysical telos for mankind by adherence to the law of God first and foremost, a law knowable through reason, not just Divine revelation since God is the author of nature.  However, one observes that the virtue unique to Saint Louis is contained in a minority, not a majority, so that the odds of always having a Louis on the throne are very slim.  More often than not you will have a tyrant or despot who will have no qualms whatsoever about enslaving his subjects to ensure obedience to his decrees.  The historical examples are numerous.  Interestingly enough, such modern tyrants and despots exist under the guise of democratic processes, i.e., reference the previous example of the Clintons whose use of executive orders was unprecedented in furthering their perverse social engineering agenda bypassing any semblance of a democratic process completely.  In their first day in office this incredible duo made the culture-of-death the chief export of America by officially embracing baby killing as a cause celebre by rescinding the “Mexico City Policy” of President Reagan via executive order.

 

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38935

When Reagan was told how the abortion industry had infiltrated the U.S. Agency of International Development program and was using federal taxpayer funds to promote and perform abortions against unborn babies, he demanded in 1984 – in the now famous "Mexico City Policy" – that no federal funds in the program could be used to perform or promote abortion. No longer could Planned Parenthood International use taxpayer funds for killing little babies in foreign countries. No longer could it export child murder disguised as an American gift. That policy was enforced until Bill Clinton rescinded it on his first day in the presidency.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=21768

However, revoking Mexico City was only one of five moves Mr. Clinton made to advance abortion on Jan 22, 1993. Our 42nd president also used the anniversary of Roe to:

·         Lift Title X restrictions inside the U.S. that had prevented groups from using tax dollars, set aside for family planning, to hustle for their abortion businesses.

·         Lift the ban on the use of federal tax dollars for fetal tissue research (reversed by Congress).

·         Lift the import alert on the abortion drug RU486.

·         Lift the ban on abortions at military hospitals overseas (reversed by Congress).

Next for the Clintons came the destruction of the military by putting out the welcome mat for sodomites.

 

http://www.afa.org/magazine/1993/03edit93_print.html

Three days before his inauguration, Bill Clinton met with his aides to approve a strategy to allow declared homosexuals in the armed forces. The blow the Administration felt most was from Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee. In a ringing speech to the Senate, he recited a long list of unanswered questions about the effect on military readiness, morale, discipline, recruiting, and retention. Military leaders have told the President that they believe removing the ban will do enormous damage to troop morale and unit integrity. Veterans groups, representing millions of people who have served in the military, have cautioned Mr. Clinton that he is building a disaster.

Mr. Clinton insists that homosexual rights are fundamental and undeniable. If so, on what basis will he abridge them? If the right is that fundamental, then what precludes gay pride parades? How could homosexuals be prohibited from public displays of affection of the kind allowed for heterosexuals? If homosexual partnerships have legal standing-and in some jurisdictions they do-is there an entitlement to family housing?

Gay rights activists sneer at questions like these, but a mainstream objective of the gay rights movement in society at large is the securing of precisely such rights. Furthermore, the real reason why many activists are attacking the military ban is to advance that broader gay movement, not to establish their right to bear arms in the nation's defense. A January 14 Congressional Research Service report noted the "argument" that "recognition by a major federal institution, i.e., the military, would enhance and provide support for greater recognition of homosexuals' rights."

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPrint.asp?Page=%5CPolitics%5Carchive%5C199912%5CPOL19991214a.html

In 1993, the nation was outraged by President Clinton's plans to unilaterally repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military. In response, Clinton established a working group to come up with a compromise acceptable to him and to homosexual campaign contributors and activists who participated in the process. The compromise, which would have allowed homosexuals to serve in the military only if they did not reveal their homosexuality, was dubbed "don't ask, don't tell."

Ultimately, Congress rejected "don't ask, don't tell" -- and decided to codify the Defense Department's homosexual exclusion regulations that were in effect prior to Clinton's election. Those regulations and the subsequent law were based on the principle that homosexuality is "incompatible" with military service. Congress decided that since the pre-Clinton regulations had already withstood several constitutional challenges, the courts would be more likely to uphold the statute as well. The only compromise in the exclusion law was elimination of the question regarding homosexuality, but the option to reinstate the question is still authorized in the law.

Studies show the military community does not support allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the nation's armed forces. A recent survey sponsored by the Triangle Institute for Security Studies Project on the Gap Between Military and Civilian Society at Duke University said 76 percent of elite upwardly mobile officers were opposed to allowing homosexuals to serve openly.

The importance of the claim of virtue

 

The claim of virtue is most justified.  The point of the polis is the good life, not just mere life.  Virtue most contributes to the good life and well-being.  Who would ask for rule by the frivolous, the vicious, the insane, the inexperienced or child-like? 

 

Simon in Philosophy of Democratic Government reflects on the dearth of virtue for the many. 

 

Good government is the work of excellent wisdom; it demands unusual virtue, intelligence, some education, a great deal of experience, and many other qualifications which cannot be expected to be possessed by any great number of men.        {[50] pg 78}

 

Simon further argues against the weak points of aristocracy.

 

They have taught us a great deal about the weak points of the upper class; their lack of realism, their hedonistic isolation from common suffering and common anxiety, their lack of a sense of history and the meaning of the present, their frivolity and conceit, their readiness to make alliances with the worst elements of the rabble.  Germany was delivered to Hitler by Franz von Pappen – this will not be effaced from the pages of history.  Most shocking of all was the realization that men describable as virtuous could become accomplices of atrocious crimes in such a cloud of confusion that nobody knew – not even those involved – whether they were victims of monstrous illusions or had actually surrendered to evil. {[50] pg 93}

 

The statistical argument comes into play in regards to the rule of the few by the claim of virtue because virtue is possessed by a few relatively.  More common is to find people ruled by passion and self-interest, or at least not fully developed in the requisite virtue.  Second is the sociological argument.  Virtue requires training and education in order to become habitual to the good.  Education in turn requires leisure and a certain freedom from necessity, which in turn demand a certain kind of wealth not common usually to the ordinary man.  Here we have the claim of virtue translated into political aristocracy that Simon cautions against, a distinct social class, which allows virtue to be bred and developed.  However, it is a compelling idea but often obscured by a romanticism that is devastated by Simon, i.e., the facts prove otherwise.

                       

The difficulty with the claim of virtue

 

The basic problem with the claim of virtue is that it cannot be made absolute in that it cannot be identified with the claims of the virtuous.  The core of political justice is equality, political rule over equals and peers.  Politics does have a democratic bent in this context according to Aristotle insofar as we have civil rights.  If the claim of virtue is made absolute then why not rule by a king, or an outstanding man?  Then political rule properly disappears in these cases.  There is also the danger that power breeds arrogance and an isolation from the people as a whole as addressed by Simon.  What is the alternative?

 

The difficulty with the claim of numbers

 

Is there an argument for virtue in numbers more so than in the few?  This would appear to be a specious argument at best given the aforementioned polls which gave the despots Clinton huge popularity ratings and ensured their reelection.  Education would seem to be the key, but who will do the educating, those with agendas to further, or those whose concerns are virtuous for the common good of society?  The answer to that question must be clear before making blanket statements about the virtues of the many.  It is not just education, but the “right” kind of education, a difficult proposition in today’s world where there is no such thing as “right” and “wrong,” or so they tell our children in school.   Aristotle’s “pot luck dinner” may be fine but it can also be very bad.  There are extremes involved here just as there were in considering monarchies, the most obvious being Marxism where the vices of the many are masked as virtues dictating their rule by any ruthless means possible to include the political correctness overcoming America by the followers of the Italian Communist Revolutionary Gramsci, whose tolerance for all conveniently excludes those who would disagree with them for reasons of faith to name one example.  Grigg gives a good introduction to Gramsci in an article entitled “Capture the culture!”

Behind the many maddening attacks on America's popular culture is Italian Communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci's strategy for achieving the total state.

Zinovyev, who was persecuted as a dissident under the Brezhnev regime, has a clear understanding of the way in which those intent on total power work to undermine the cultural institutions of a free society. Often, power cannot be seized through the sudden imposition of a total dictatorship; instead, it must be obtained through the process of patient gradualism -- the persistent subversion of vital institutions and the incremental consolidation of power.

These efforts draw upon a blueprint composed by Italian Communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci, who understood that the creation of the total state requires the seizure of the "mediating institutions" that insulate the individual from the power of the government -- the family, organized religion, and so forth -- and a systematic redefinition of the culture in order to sustain the new political order. The battle cry of Gramsci's disciples is: "Capture the culture!"

In his study The Two Revolutions: Gramsci and the Dilemmas of Western Marxism, Marxist theoretician Carl Boggs emphasizes that "the transition to socialism must occur on two distinct but interwoven terrains -- the state and the economy." Those seeking the triumph of socialist revolution will not prevail by simply overthrowing "the existing state machinery, or [destroying] the old institutions, or even [bringing] into power leaders calling themselves 'communists.' Beneath the level of insurrection and statecraft there must be a gradual conquest of social power, initiated by popular subversive forces emerging from within the very heart of capitalist society." Rudi Dutschke described this process as "the long march through the institutions" - the Marxist conquest of universities, schools, the news media, entertainment, churches and other religious bodies, tax-exempt foundations, and other key institutions.

The success of the Gramscian cultural assault upon America was attested to by Michael Walzer in the Winter 1996 issue of the Marxist journal Dissent. As evidence that the revolutionary left is winning the "Gramscian 'war of position,' " Walzer approvingly cited, among other developments: "The visible impact of feminism." "The effects of affirmative action." "The emergence of gay rights politics, and ... the attention paid to it in the media." "The acceptance of cultural pluralism." "The transformation of family life," including "rising divorce rates, changing sexual mores, new household arrangements -- and, again, the portrayal of all this in the media." "The progress of secularization; the fading of religion in general and Christianity in particular from the public sphere -- classrooms, textbooks, legal codes, holidays, and so on." "The virtual abolition of capital punishment." "The legalization of abortion." "The first successes in the effort to regulate and limit the private ownership of guns."

All of these developments, Walzer admitted, were imposed upon our society by "liberal elites," rather than being driven "by the pressure of a mass movement or a majoritarian party." These changes, Walzer observed, "reflect the leftism or liberalism of lawyers, judges, federal bureaucrats, professors, school teachers, social workers, journalists, television and screen writers -- not the population at large." (The New American, Vol. 16, No. 22) {[20] pp10-14}

The success of Gramsci in America is documented by Kors in The Shadow University where free speech for the liberal elite means that they can say anything that they want while their critics must be hypocritically silenced. 

The university has been given over to the self-appointed progressives to do with what they will.  The result has been an emerging tyranny over all aspects of student life – a tyranny that is far more dangerous than the relatively innocuous parietal rules of the past.   It is a tyranny that seeks to assert absolute control over the souls, the consciences, and the individuality of our students – in short, a tyranny over the essence of liberty itself.

The real threat to liberty comes from this “shadow university,” the structures built, almost without debate or examination, to “educate,” or, more precisely, to reeducate, far from the accountability of the classroom.  The shadow university, with its shadow curriculum dominates freshman orientation, residential programming, extracurricular student life, the promulgation of codes and regulations, and the administration of what passes, on our campuses, for justice.  The shadow university hands students a moral agenda upon arrival, subjects them to mandatory political reeducation, sends them to sensitivity training.

In the shadow university the precondition of informed change – free and unfettered debate among free individuals – is precisely what has been replaced by censorship, indoctrination, intimidation, official group identity, and groupthink.  Speech codes, prohibiting speech that “offends,” protect ideologically or politically favored groups, and, what is more important, insulate these groups’ self-appointed spokesmen and spokeswomen from criticism and even from the need to participate in debate.  Double standards destroy legal equality and all meaningful accountability, teaching the worst imaginable lessons about the appropriate uses of power.  {[26] pp 4-5}

The Catholic input to this free speech debate is an axiom for civilization – Unlimited freedom as license must give way to societal common good; else, anarchy exists.  A required corollary is that societal common good leads ultimately to the reason for our creation, an eternity with our Creator.  Free speech is something to be cherished but there are limits as recognized by law for the common good of society. You do not have the right, for example, to yell out fire in a crowded theater when there is none, thereby causing a stampede which could lead to the trampling deaths of your fellowmen.  One thing that should be very clear now, thanks to Gramsciism in the Academy, is the liberal definition of free speech. "Liberals can say and do anything they want with little or no regard for societal common good while their critics must be silenced, demonized, and have their reputations destroyed."  When you stifle dissent, you destroy democracy. You destroy the very reason for the existence of universities - the search for the truth. Universities that pride themselves on being tolerant of all with, apparently, one exception - people of faith, create an unhealthy atmosphere where intimidation by a radical minority becomes possible making truth unrecognizable.

The United States of America is rapidly evolving into the Socialist States of America (some would argue that it has long since reached the status of an SSA) because of the state imposed religion of secular humanism being forced upon the citizenry by the liberal encouragement of an activist judiciary. Do the deaths of all of the people who fought in America's wars still mean something? Will our children and grandchildren still recognize our country as being founded under God? The answer will be a resounding no if we continue to be paralyzed by an apathy that puts a priority on the natural over the supernatural, and let radical extremists intimidate us into silence instead of speaking out for the Truth that is a Someone, not a something. The decision is ours. Eternity is at stake, which is a truth that Catholic philosophy must underscore. 

Aristotle’s cautions regarding the claim of wealth

In regard to the claim of wealth it is observed that the wealthy make a fundamental and major contribution to the existence of society – providing for necessities, jobs, taxes begging the question, “Could a state be composed of men without means?”  The wealthy have something at stake and may therefore be more prudent, less susceptible to the emotive reactions.  Money is a condition for other achievements such as education and leisure.  One would be hard pressed to provide for the means of higher education of his children if he was not concerned about prudential decisions regarding the investing of his money.  Therefore, it is not unreasonable to talk about the economic necessities of life and those best suited to provide for them as entrepreneurs or captains of industry.  The key is their justifiable application for the sake of the common good, which leads to the claims of the wealthy being very divisive because of a distrust that the goal of the common good is paramount in their decisions.  Justice is not base on a notion of private gain.  Wealth is a private interest and should not overtake public, common good.  Can the wealthy really show prudence and discern the true justice and common good?  Can they judge impartially?  These are the reasonable cautions about the extreme of aristocracy turned oligarchy for Aristotle. 

 

What we are left with in regard to the various claims to rule

 

When the wash is wrung out what we are left with in regard to the various claims to rule are incommensurables.  A balancing act is required in the form of a mixed regime, a polity, to produce the rule lending itself to societal common good.  No simple formula can be given, only the observation of what happens in the limiting case, the extremes, which for Aristotle form the entries for column two of his regime matrix, the “bad regimes.”  Politics, of necessity, must mix quantity related to the claims of wealth and numbers with quality related to the most important claim of virtue.  Virtue must be the priority because if it is not, the political scales will not be balanced in regards to the integration of those making the claims of wealth and numbers, an integration that is required for political survival. 

 

2.1.2 The concept of a mixed regime devoted to the common good

 

We examine Aristotle’s concept of a “polity” or “mixed regime,” which is devoted to the common good by learning ways to balance the ruling claims of the many and the few.  Aristotle does this by undertaking a study as to what is the best regime given certain conditions, recognizing that political stability comes through the moderation of claims to rule as opposed to extremism.  We will see that it is Aristotle’s concept of polity that most closely resembles democracy in America as opposed to what democracy was for Aristotle in his Politics, a demos or rule of the people that could easily devolve into the extremism of “mob rule,” given that the demos is prone to the interest of the poorer classes, the largest in number, thereby becoming a perversion of a polity in the same manner that tyranny and oligarchy are the respective perversions of monarchy and aristocracy.  [See Book III, Chapter 7, Politics {[11] pp 113-115}.]  Recall that for Aristotle, monarchy (kingship), aristocracy, and polity were good while their perversions - tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy were bad.  Aristotle goes through, what some might consider, a tortured examination of the claims to rule under each of these constitutions giving the advantages and disadvantages of each with the important observation that none of the constitutions taken individually is directed to the advantage of the whole body of citizens, which should be its ultimate goal in a political common good sense.  We shall see that Aristotle’s solution to this dilemma is the “polity” or mixed regime, which incorporates the best of the aforementioned regimes in order to mitigate the chances of reverting to their extreme perversions.

 

The bad side of Aristotle’s political ledger

 

We first consider why most regimes are oligarchies or democracies – the bad or extreme side of Aristotle’s political ledger.  We note a political axiom; “One cannot be rich and poor at the same time.”  It is well known that wealth is an important factor in politics, as it is one of the major causes of faction and revolution.  This split of rich and poor with their mutual natural antagonism places them at opposite ends of the political spectrum, giving rise to the two most common regimes – oligarchy, rule by the rich for the rich, and democracy, rule by the poor for the poor.  This selfishness manifests itself by oligarchs living a life of wealth or luxury as a result of their avarice, and democrats taking liberty to mean license, doing what you want for your individual good, a bastardization of authentic liberty or freedom, which is doing what you ought for the common good.  In this respect Aristotle’s democrats are indistinguishable from his oligarchs as their “I’ll do what I want – damn anyone who would tell me otherwise” attitude equally encourages an intemperate life of the body by making the soul the slave of the body’s passions, ultimately leading to physical (political or social), and especially metaphysical (spiritual) ruin – the latter being an argument for consideration of why Christianity is a good basis for a polity as a function of the connection between societal or political common good,  and the summum bonum and telos, which is the highest good associated with our final metaphysical end that Aquinas addressed in the Summa Theologica by answering Aristotle’s questions posed in his De Anima.

 

Among the things Christians believe is that we have an eternal destiny beyond this life, that death is not the end.  Can philosophy supply support to this belief in the immortality of the human soul?  Here we have the basis for the theologian’s interest in the De Anima. “The theologian emphasizes soul in his consideration of human nature, not body, save in the relation that body has to soul.”  It is particularly unwise to expect the discussion of soul in the Summa to serve as an introduction to Thomas’s views on the matter.  The theological discussion presupposes the philosophical and cannot substitute for it.  {[1] pp xix-xx}

 

[Text of Aristotle 402a47;7] Indeed an acquaintance with the soul would seem to help much in acquiring all truth, especially about the natural world; for it is, as it were, the principle of living things. Some knowledge of the soul, he says, would seem to be very useful in all the other sciences.  It can be of considerable service to philosophy in general.  In First Philosophy it is impossible to attain knowledge of the divine and highest causes except through what we can acquire by actualizing our intellectual power; and if we knew nothing about the nature of this power we should know nothing about the immaterial substances, as the Commentator remarks a propos of Book XI of the Metaphysics.  We cannot master the science of morals unless we know the powers of the soul; thus in the [Nicomachean] Ethics (I, 13, 1102a5 ff.) the Philosopher assigns virtues to different powers.  So, too, it is useful for the Natural Scientist, because many of the things he studies are animate things, all of whose movements originate in the soul: “for it is,” says Aristotle, “as it were, the principle of living things:” the phrase “as it were” does not express a comparison; it is descriptive. {[1] pp 1, 3-4}

 

We are referring, of course, to the relationship between obedience of the natural law leading not only to our physical well-being in a finite sense, but also our spiritual well-being in an eternal sense.  We will address the notion that Christianity is the deeper source for the inspiration of democracy through the eyes of Aquinas and Maritain later in this paper.

 

The necessity for a mixed regime

 

The foundational necessity for a “mixed regime” can be seen by Aristotle’s observation that the diversity of regimes is based on the diversity of parts within a regime, i.e., we are not only talking about that what distinguishes regimes, but also that which distinguishes the very parts of regimes.  At this point we are considering all of what Aristotle considers good and bad regimes in that regimes vary as much as one can vary the form or arrangement of rule among their parts.  What, in fact, categorizes a regime is which part predominates and rules.  Aristotle says

 

There must therefore be as many constitutions as there are modes of arranging the distribution of office according to the superiorities and the differences of the parts of the state.  {[11] pg 161}

 

By referring to “superiorities” and “differences” Aristotle recognizes that a combination of the best of “all worlds” is the answer to the question of “What is the best regime?” 

 

We now look at some of the parts that Aristotle is referring to.  These parts include as “superiorities” – wealth, good birth, and merit.  The “differences” include the common folk’s makeup as farmers, traders, mechanics and artisans.  One could include warriors in this latter group although, from the necessity of a military presence for defense, they might also be included as “superiorities.”  In addition, we see lawyers and rulers.  These parts can be combined in many different ways.  Some people can be more than one, e.g., farmer-warrior, trader-rich, etc.  The variation will greatly show a variation in the regime as a way of life, e.g., a democracy of farmers or mechanics, or oligarchs of money, birth, or merit.  This “mix of parts” lends itself to a “mix of regimes” in order to accommodate the concerns of every member of the polis for political survival.  The art of mixing the parts is for the practical wisdom of the statesman with Aristotle taking it upon himself to help the statesman mix and weave the parts most justly.

 

A mean between two political extremes is Aristotle’s answer

 

Aristotle recommends a middle class, those with a moderate and adequate amount of property, which will serve as a mean between two extremes resulting in what he previously categorized as bad regimes, and serving as a natural basis for a polity or mixed regime.  Extremes become unreasonable, while the mean is reasonable.  Aristotle says that the middle class is more virtuous because excessive power, and money leads to crime, which is the tyrannical and oligarchical extreme respectively of his monarchy and aristocracy regimes.  One might further observe that Aristotelian democracy-run-amok is the extreme of “mob rule” where the absence of power and wealth leads to an anarchistic situation as a function of succumbing to the greed of those heretofore deemed the “greediest” or “oppressive” with the end result being  “We have become like them.”  In order to counteract this greed Aristotle argues that the middle class is more open to political virtue, the ability to rule and be ruled wisely.  This is in contradistinction to the excesses of wealth and power leading one to act as a spoiled and undisciplined brat, always wanting to rule and never following the lead of another who is more qualified to rule.  This defect leads to an attitude that is mean spirited.  Aristotle believes the middle class can encourage friendship and cooperation with graduations of “haves” and “have- nots” lending itself to more similarities as opposed to differences between rich and poor.  This friendship as a result of moderation compared to extremism makes for stable political regimes.   Hence, Aristotle gives us a rule-of-thumb, good politics must strive for moderation and the mean between two extremes, which is a polity or a mixed regime.  History has shown that the dynamic of politics is that oligarchy and democracy in the extreme tend towards tyranny and the destruction of stability and freedom, often resulting in factional violence or civil war, giving credence to Aristotle’s categorization of them as bad regimes.  The solution is the elevation of these regimes to a moderation based on mixture, which begs the question “How is this moderation or mixture achieved.”  Moreover, who is capable of this achievement?

 

Enter the prudential statesman

 

For Aristotle the answer to the “who” is the prudential statesman.  The answer to the “how” is by combination or proportion, balancing the claims of all parties to rule, moving toward a polity or mixed regime in the process.  For stability, the stronger element should be for regime but as many elements as possible should be incorporated in proportion, which is not set in a formula.  Quantity (numbers) and quality (free birth, good birth, wealth, virtue or excellence) need to be combined.  If the strength of the superiority (quality) balances out lack of numbers, then oligarchy should be the basis for the regime.  If it does not, then democracy should be the basis.  One must always strive for the best, i.e., incorporating the best political principles in the same manner that one chooses the best political rulers in an aristocratic sense.  Once the political center is found, then one must strive to show respect for others who are associated with the opposed principle.   If things are working correctly the polity fuses oligarchy and democracy to the point that it will look like both and neither.  Democrats should spare the rich with oligarchs helping the poor. 

 

An evaluation of whether democracy can tolerate the operation of non-democratic principles

 

Simon, in Philosophy of Democratic Government, examines the problem of whether democracy can tolerate the operation of non-democratic principles and possibly benefit by it.  He answers in the affirmative insofar as it applies to modern democratic monarchies using the example of protecting democracies against the destructive effects of domestic conflicts.  In particular, he observes that a hereditary monarch in many instances may best procure such protection.   The key point made by Simon is that

 

Any regime, in order to work well or merely to survive, needs or may need the operation of principles distinct from, and opposed to, its own idea.  Ancient monarchies were kept in existence through extensive concessions to the aristocratic principle, and, in modern times, association with rather radical democracy is the only thing which proved capable of assuring the survival of monarchy. {[50] pp 106-107}

 

We see the example of this “opposition to its own idea” in the version of a mixed regime found in the United States through the well-known checks and balances of the three branches of government, the executive, legislative, and the judicial.  The executive incorporates Aristotle’s idea of a just and prudential monarch.   At least, in its purest form, that was the intent of the founding fathers, notwithstanding the inevitability of a perversion of the executive by office holders such as the Clintons, to name a modern example.  The senate and the house forming the legislative branch are examples of differences within a regime that has both aristocratic and democratic principles.  The former is manifested in the senate whose officers hold office for six years, and traditionally held to be the part of the legislative branch less prone to the whims of the polls as evidenced by its decorum in comparison to the house where officers hold office for a much shorter time, two years, and as such, are more beholding to the “will of the people” in a more timely sense.  The senate tends toward an aristocracy, while the house tends toward a democracy.  The judicial branch of government is the most undemocratic of all, tending toward a monarchy or an aristocracy with its members holding office for life by appointment in recognition of their being the best possible candidates for this prestigious office.  Clearly, the effects of the influence of a mixed regime can be seen in the workings of our government.  It is in this mix that tyranny is avoided by not allocating sole power to any one branch.  The people elect their executive and legislative representatives who, in turn, appoint their judicial representatives with each serving as a check on the other via the powers given solely to one branch in the form of executive veto power, legislative override of executive veto power, and the prudential use of impeachment of the executive, legislative, and judicial when power is usurped.  This ensures the interpretation of constitutional law in accordance with the intent of the founding fathers of our constitutional republic, a republic to ensure that the threat of the extreme of Aristotle’s democratic mob rule is mitigated.  Today, impeachment is a forgotten necessity, given an activist judiciary that is out of control. Witness Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Lawrence v. Texas where Constitutional privacy penumbras, which did not exist, were found to make baby killing, defining one’s own universe, and sodomy, respectively, civil rights in an affirmative action sense in total ignorance of the common good of society, which would have been anathema to Aristotle’s Politics.

 

The regime is said to be a republic not a democracy precisely because representation acknowledges the principle of excellence in our executive and legislative officers, and in the judges that they appoint.  Most recently we saw this work in terms of the Electoral College.  In a very close election that some would have stolen by taking away the equal right of every portion of the country to influence of outcome of the election in favor of those parts having populous cities that would dictate to the country as a whole a slate of candidates that were not acceptable to the country as a whole, an idea furthered by the junior senator from New York when she was disappointed that the country’s laws worked as intended, the Electoral College ensured that such grand theft would not occur.  In short, Americans in the 2000 election were not voting for the President of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, but rather the President of all the United States. 

 

Simon concludes:

 

The best regime cannot be any simple regime, such as a monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy; it is a regime in which several forms are combined in a way as to promote the various aspects of the common good, to each of which each political form is related in a special fashion.  Modern democracies can be described as mixed regimes with a predominance of the democratic element (at least according to constitutional law; for, so far as actual practice is concerned, the oligarchic element predominates in some of them). 

 

To sum up:  the association of democracy with non-democratic principles may be expedient or necessary in two senses:  (a) from the standpoint of the entirety of the common good, which in most cases is served better by a balanced combination of forms than by the exclusive reign of one form, and (b) from the standpoint of democracy itself, which may be well served by a non-democratic principle acting as a check on its enemies.  {[50] pp 107-108}

 

Aristotle offers some common sense cautions for the mixed regime later refined by Aquinas showing Christianity as a consistently good basis for polity

 

Aristotle recognizes the importance of law and decency in that law makes for moderation and fairness, in particular, the time honored concept of equal justice under the law in this country, which is in danger of being trashed by those who would have us believe that there exist hate crimes demanding more punishment for some than for others.  This totally ignores the fact that hate of some sort is involved in all crimes.  If a member of your family was murdered, would the killer face a lesser penalty because your family member was not one of the privileged protected few?  Aristotle gives some common sense cautions in the goal of moderating regimes by mixture.  He tells us to be careful about honor and money, avoid deceits and rivalries, consider term limits to prevent the occurrence of tyranny, adjust for inflation/deflation of sizes of populations and representations leading to the modern concept of reapportionment as required, watch for social customs that contradict the regime principle, keep private gain away from office, spare the opposing group, and be careful about oaths.  He tells us that we need men who have the qualities of good statesman for a stable and free regime, in particular, loyalty to the just laws of the regime, a natural capacity for leadership, and, above all, good character.  Aristotle elaborates on many practical devices.  But the most practical and important of all for maintaining political stability is education, i.e., the citizens need good habits and good teaching, and at least a citizen virtue whereby the regime is perpetuated.  This citizen virtue cannot be encouraged if the aforementioned education is replaced by indoctrination where social engineering agendas take prominence in encouraging vice as opposed to virtue.  This does not further the common good of society, a political good, but rather leads to political ruin, something not evident to many members of the academy today who lead our “institutions of higher learning,” which is an increasingly problematic concept. 

 

Finally, we discuss the theory of the mixed regime worked out by Aquinas in the Summa Theologica leading to the inference that Christianity has consistently been a good basis for polity.  Aquinas also argues that the mixed regime is the best form of government overall.  He combines Aristotle and the Bible to make his case.

 

Two points are to be observed concerning the right ordering of rulers in a political community or nation.  One is that all should take some share in the government, for this form of constitution ensures peace among the people, and all love and defend it, as stated in the Politics II.  The other point to be observed is in respect of the kinds of governments or the different ways in which the constitutions are established.  For, whereas, these differ in kind, as the Philosopher states, nevertheless, the first place is held by the kingdom, where the power of government is vested in one according to his virtue, and aristocracy, which signifies government by the best, where government is vested in a few according to their virtue.  Accordingly, the best form of government is in a political community or kingdom wherein one is given the power to preside over all according to his virtue, while under him are others having governing powers according to their virtue, and yet a government of this kind is shared by all, both because all are eligible to govern, and because the rulers are chosen by all.  For this is the best form of polity, being partly kingdom since there is one at the head of all, partly aristocracy insofar as a number of persons are set in authority, partly democracy, i.e., government by the people, insofar as the rulers can be chosen from the people, and the people have the right to choose their rulers.

 

Such was the form of government established by the divine law.  For Moses and his successor governed the people in such a way that each of them was ruler over all, so that there was a kind of kingdom, Moreover, seventy-two men were chosen who were elders in virtue; for it is written: “I took out of your tribes men wise and honorable and appointed them rulers,” so that there was an element of aristocracy.  But it was a democratic government insofar as the rulers were chosen from all the people; for it is written: “Provide out of all the people wise men.” etc.; and, again, insofar as they were chosen by the people, wherefore it is written: “Let me have from among you wise men,” etc.  Consequently, it is evident that the ordering of the rulers which the Law provided was the best. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 105, Art. 1) {[4] pp 1091-1092}

 

Rendering to Caesar has its foundation in the law of God

 

Although Aquinas favors monarchy, he acknowledges in this passage the need to balance its claim with that of the few and the many.  Here we see Aquinas using an Old Testament reference in letting us know that yes, there are things that are to be rendered to Caesar in the secular order.  That is something that we must not forget.  But he also lets us know, through our Judeo-Christian tradition, that the basis for rendering to Caesar in the secular order most properly has its foundation in the law of God, i.e., we work toward the secular goal of achieving the common good using the principles fostered by the Law of God. 

 

Maritain underscores the effect of Christianity in positively influencing the body politic.  It is to be emphasized that we are talking about “Rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s” by seeing the importance of “Rendering to God what is God’s.”  The latter ensures the proper function of the former by default given any concept of working toward a societal common good which is a stepping stone leading toward a heavenly one.  It supposedly occurs automatically.  All one has to do is recognize the truth of the natural law, knowable through reason exclusive of any connotations of revelation.  The problem, of course, is that the disciples of The Endarkenment are working full time to wipe Christianity off the face of the earth, thereby making any suggestions of Christian influence on the secular order moot.  The difficulty with Maritain’s philosophy is that he essentially held that democratic principles could be a function of a secular creed independent of the direct influence of the Church.  Alas, such is not the case, per the considerable evidence occurring in the daily news worldwide.  Kozinski in “Jacques Maritain’s ‘Democratic Faith’ Sound Catholic Philosophy?” raises some flags as to the expectation of religiously neutral state to seek the common good.

 

Alasdair MacIntyre, a noted critic of Maritain, sums up the main problem with the attempt to build a practical consensus in abstraction from philosophical theory:

 

“What Maritain wished to affirm was a modern version of Aquinas’ thesis that every human being has within him or herself a natural knowledge of divine law and hence of what every human being owes to every other human being.  The plain prephilosophical person is always a person of sufficient moral capacities.  But what Maritain failed to reckon with adequately was the fact that in many cultures and notably in that of modernity plain persons are misled into giving moral expression to those capacities through assent to false philosophical theories.”

 

According to MacIntyre, Maritain’s democratic charter does not sufficiently account for the fact that, while men may assent to practical goods without conscious deference to abstract philosophical theories, they nevertheless possess philosophical commitments that influence and condition the nature and interpretation of that assent, thereby determining the style of behavior that flows from that assent. 

 

The possibility of the sort of consensus Maritain envisioned, one requiring angelic dispositions without the public worship of the King of Angels, was extremely improbable in his day – and impossible in our now thoroughly de-Christianized culture of death.

 

For MacIntyre, then, the post-World War II consensus on the goods constituting the democratic charter was not really a consensus at all, even though the consenters evinced a common lexicon of “human rights” and “democratic values,” for it was built on sand, on entirely disparate understandings of that lexicon in virtue of their disparate traditions of rationality: Thomist, Humean, Kantian, Rousseauian, Nietzschean, Deweyan, and so on.

 

The problem with the attempt to ground politics on nothing but a practical, secular consensus is the tendency for that consensus to undermine the priority, both in public and then in private life, of supernatural or spiritual reality, and even to invert the proper subordination of the mundane to the spiritual.

 

It is not possible, without a heroic amount of grace and vigilance, to hold both the “theologically neutral” theological premise of the democratic charter and the theologically charged premises of a Christian political theology. 

 

If we judge the question in light of the near collapse of the Catholic Church in America after more than forty years of religiously neutral politics, it would suggest that the democratic charter, insofar as its basic principles (and not its Christian spirit, which Maritain would have retained at all costs) have now become enshrined in America, has indeed served to injure Catholicism and the overall social good.

 

The democratic faith cannot defeat the spirit of the world, the flesh and the Devil.  Under the democratic faith, the murder of unborn babies has become a secular sacrament, homosexuality a New Age spiritual counsel, and the prayer “they shall be created, and thou shall renew the face of the earth,” co-opted in a new Pentecost of human cloning.  (Kozinski, The Latin Mass – A Journal of Catholic Culture, Vol. 13, No. 1, Winter 2004) {[27] pp 10-16}

 

When Jesus returns, will He find faith?  Only if His disciples start acting like prophets instead of passive “sheeple” by witnessing to it for the common good of the secular order, in particular for the conversion of the world in recognition of its needed guidance by the Church founded upon the Rock who is Peter.  No apologies are necessary for exhorting conversion to the Faith of One Who is Perfect Truth, per Jesus’s charge to His disciples in the last part of the Gospel of Matthew.

 

And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  And seeing Him, they adored: but some doubted.  And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in Heaven and in earth.  Going, therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matthew 28:16-20) {[22] pg 1317}

 

These last six lines of St. Matthew’s Gospel, says, the bright luminary of France, Bossuet, most clearly demonstrate the infallibility and indefectibility of the one, holy, Catholic Church, which all are commanded to hear and obey.                 {[22] pg 1317 ff.}

 

 

2.1.3 The primary function of a political regime is to seek the common good

 

Aristotle defined politics in terms of the opportunities afforded by the polis, the city, or “city state,” with the citizen, a member of the polis or city, the body politic or citizen body, made up of those citizens, the constitution or regime, the ordering of the city, and the statesman or politician, the leader of the city. 

 

Aristotle approaches the question of the distinctiveness of politics through the following question.  Who is responsible for the act of a city – the leader, the people, the citizens?  He answers via considerations of each aspect of his question initially defining what a citizen is in a classical sense, which serves as a reference for all time. Simply put, for Aristotle, the citizen is a participant in the affairs of the city.  Thus, the citizen shares in the deliberative and judicial functions of the city.  He helps in rule, holds office, which makes him determined by the constitution. The citizen, for example, would participate in the assemblies and courts.  He helps and participates in rule as a function of reason and prudence.  He holds office, with citizenship itself being an office in an Aristotelian sense.  In our society we can be called to jury duty.  During elections we are citizens in the Aristotelian sense in that we help deliberate in matters of common concern via our vote and participation in the electoral process.

 

The question of the citizen takes us to the more fundamental question of the regime.  Who should be a citizen or who should rule?  The answer is given in the constitution or regime, which is the formal arrangement by which citizenship or rule is determined.  In Book IV of The Politics, a constitution is defined.

 

A constitution may be defined as ‘an organization of offices in a state, by which the method of their distribution is fixed, the sovereign authority is determined, and the nature of the end to be pursued by the association and all its members is prescribed.’ {[11] pg 156}

 

Thus, the organization of offices (the judges, legislators), their distribution (the idea or concept of justice), their authority (for the common good in selecting who ought to rule and why rule is necessary), and the end to be pursued (the good life), are all characteristic of a regime providing an identity for the polis.  The key distinction here is formal order (factor) provided by the constitution, an absolute necessity if anarchy is to be prevented, contrasted with the well known historical perverted excesses of the material factor carried to the extreme by Nazism as THE specifying rule of justice where land acquisition was paramount in making the state a god to be worshipped.

 

Reinforcement of the importance of seeking the common good from Aquinas

 

Simon in Philosophy of Democratic Government references Aquinas in reinforcing the importance of seeking the common good.

 

But a man’s will is not right in willing a particular good, unless he refers it to the common good as an end, since even the natural appetite of each part is ordained to the common good of the whole. [Sum. Theo. I-II.19.10.] {[50] pg 37 ff.}

 

The volition of common good requires authority or sovereignty as Aristotle calls it.  While virtue entails a respect for volition to the common good, Simon makes the aforementioned distinction between the formal and material willing of the common good.  Virtue must will some aspect of the common good, but not necessarily the whole of the common good.  For that authority is needed for the care of the good of the city as a whole.  Authority is necessary to direct homesteads or private persons materially to the common good; and to direct functions or special goods to the whole of the common good.  The proper unity of the body politic requires that there be multiplicity of persons and associations, each of which intend the common good formally, but who must materially intend the good of their association or enterprise materially.  This is the proper concept of the material order as opposed to a perverted one via the Nazi example.  Thus, the common good goes beyond a sum of private goods as it involves a communion in desire and action where community stems from collective causality, communion in immanent actions, and communion causing communications, with political rule especially attending to the latter.

 

The question remains, “Can this common good be a function solely of a ‘democratic creed,’ as envisioned by Maritain, where man will come to see the necessity for working toward it independent of any guidance from a Faith Whose Founder is Perfect Truth?”  History would seem to answer otherwise.  

 

Who should rule and for what purpose

 

This brings us to the contentious question of who should rule and for what purpose.  The order of society reflects, in some way, the order of the soul.  A warrior society will be more spirited as opposed to a moneymaking oligarchy.  In recent history Britain determined that Winston Churchill’s leadership was necessary to survive and win the war with Nazi Germany, yet once the war was over, he was turned out of office in favor of Clement Attlee when the electorate determined that someone with extensive war experience was no longer needed.  The common good under Churchill was the very survival of Britain as a nation during a World War.  The common good under Attlee was the reconstruction of a war-ravaged Britain under the leadership of a man that British society deemed better suited to the task at hand.  Here, the dictates of a perceived change in the common good led to a change in who should rule and for what purpose. 

 

For Aristotle the good man simply is universal and absolute; but the good citizen is relative to a regime.  This is so because each association has a different purpose – a good oligarch will not be a good citizen in a democracy, nor would the common man be a good citizen in an aristocracy.  It would be unfortunate to absolutize the democratic citizen and the democratic regime.  We would lose a more exacting and full notion of goodness.  So the good citizen is relative to the regime, while the good man stands above and beyond partisan determination. Thus, it is possible to be a good citizen of a regime, yet not be a good man, as politics alone will not determine the final perfection of man.  We see this every day in contemporary politics where right reason is forgotten in that political parties will back incumbents who are not good men merely to stay in power.  Most recently this happened in a Pennsylvania Senate primary where the party in power backed a long-time incumbent whose political views on the important moral issues of the day are indistinguishable from the opposition party in that his modus operandi is the support of the entirety of the “culture-of-death” to include contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia.  His primary opponent was more than a good politician.  He was a good man, a “culture-of-life” candidate who lost the election for lack of support by his party’s leadership, which sadly included a prominent Catholic.

 

What better example than the United States of America where to be a good citizen means obedience to unjust laws that mock God in that they are not rooted in the natural law of God, which is absolutely essential for man’s well being physically, and especially spiritually.  Of course we are referring to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey where the killing of innocents is made “legal” in a place where they should be most secure, their mothers’ wombs.  Certainly, it is not being a “good man” to obey such heinous laws, while it might technically be considered being a “good citizen.”  Of late, we see at the state level and in the higher echelons of our government the introduction of “laws” that promote sexual perversion in an affirmative action civil rights sense as an alternative to heterosexuality and the traditional family.  To give acquiescence to such notions of law is about as far from being a “good man” as one can get.  Moreover, it horribly skews any notions of “common good” in that the following question demands an answer.  How can any political society tend toward a common good when it makes laws that “legally” kill millions of its children and legitimize lifestyles that are doing the same to mankind worldwide?  Judge Robert Bork had his book title wrong.  America is not Slouching towards Gomorrah.  America has become Gomorrah. 

 

2.1.4 The worth of Aristotle’s arguments concerning man’s social/political nature

 

Aristotle envisioned political philosophy to be the culmination of the study of ethics in that while securing the good for an individual is a worthy achievement, securing the good for the city or polis is “divine,” understood in a teleological sense.  Thus, in the same manner that man seeks the summum bonum in distinguishing between real and apparent goods along with considering questions involving the morality of human life, the good for man, ultimate end and moral principles, the structure of the human act, good and evil action, character and decision, prudence and conscience, and religion and morality, so also must the polis if its ultimate good is “divine” – the distinction being that singular good for man becomes the common good for the polis.


At the end of the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle talks about the need for legislation to bring about the education of character in a marriage of ethics and politics as a unified account of human affairs, i.e., the human good.  Aristotle seems to give an apologetic for the merits of homeschooling in doing so when he talks about individual education having an advantage over education in common. 

 

But it is difficult to get from youth up a right training for excellence if one has not been brought up under right laws; for to live temperately and hardily is not pleasant to most people, especially when they are young.  For this reason their nurture and occupations should be fixed by law; for they will not be painful when they have become customary. But it is surely not enough that when they are young they should get the right nurture and attention; since they must, even when they are grown up, practise and be habituated to them, we shall need laws for this as well, and generally speaking to cover the whole of life; for most people obey necessity rather than argument, and punishments rather than what is noble. 

 

If the man who is to be good must be well trained and habituated, and go on to spend his time in worthy occupations and neither willingly nor unwillingly do bad actions, and if this can be brought about if men live in accordance with a sort of intellect and right order, provided this has force, - if this be so, the paternal command indeed has not the required force or compulsive power (nor in general has the command of one man, unless he be a king or something similar), but the law has compulsive power, while it is at the same time an account proceeding from a sort of practical wisdom and intellect.  And while people hate men who oppose their impulses, even if they oppose them rightly, the law in its ordaining of what is good is not burdensome.

 

It would seem from what has been said that he can do this better if he makes himself capable of legislating.  For public care is plainly effected by laws, and good care by good laws; whether written or unwritten would seem to make no difference, nor whether they are laws providing for the education of individuals or of groups … For as in cities laws and character have force, so in households do the injunctions and the habits of the father, and these have even more because of the tie of blood and the benefits he confers; for the children start with a natural affection and disposition to obey.  Further, individual education has an advantage over education in common, as individual medical treatment has; for while in general rest and abstinence from food are good for a man in a fever, for a particular man they may not be; and a boxer presumably does not prescribe the same style of fighting to all his pupils.  It would seem, then, that the detail is worked out with more precision if the care is particular to individuals; for each person is more likely to get what suits his case. 

 

And surely he who wants to make men, whether many or few, better by his care must try to become capable of legislating, if it is through laws that we can become good.  For to get anyone whatever – anyone who is put before us – into the right condition is not for the first chance comer; if anyone can do it, it is the man who knows, just as in medicine and all other matters which give scope for care and practical wisdom.

 

Now our predecessors have left the subject of legislation to us unexamined; it is perhaps best, therefore, that we should ourselves study it, and in general study the question of the constitution, in order to complete to the best of our ability the philosophy of human nature.  First, then, if anything has been said well in detail by earlier thinkers, let us try to review it; then in the light of the constitutions we have collected let us study what sorts of influence preserve and destroy states, and what sorts preserve or destroy the particular kinds of constitution, and to what causes it is due that some are well and others ill administered.  When these have been studied we shall perhaps be more likely to see which constitution is best, and how each must be ordered, and what laws and customs it must use. Let us make a beginning of our discussion.  {[12] pp 1864-1867}

 

Aquinas later developed some of the great themes of Aristotelian political philosophy, such as the social and political nature of man, the importance of the common good, and the role of virtue.  He did this within a framework of the formulation of a natural law philosophy that human reason could appeal to as a standard higher than positive human law. 

 

Aristotle’s contention that man is social and political by nature will be briefly examined.  Some terminology must be discussed before this examination is undertaken.  In Book I, Chapter 1 of The Politics Aristotle defines the polis, or political society.  It is to be emphasized that Aristotle was not talking about “the state” but rather literally the city that is often translated “city state,” “body politic,” or “political association.”  The polis for Aristotle is an association that is instituted for some good since this is the function of all associations.  The polis is particularly distinctive because it aims at the highest or most inclusive good for humans in community.  The polis is the most sovereign and inclusive association because it aims at the most sovereign and inclusive good.  (Note “sovereign” in this context primarily means highest or best, and not the most powerful.)  The polis becomes the completion of the other associations, and this is why it is best in that it perfects them as a final cause in the same manner that man seeks to perfect himself throughout the entirety of his life for the summum bonum.

 

At the outset of his Politics Aristotle wants to correct any misconceptions about reducing a political association to some other type of association, which would miss the good intrinsic to the political.  The polis becomes an irreducible human association and good, being neither the association of the family, business partners, or master and servant.  This is done in an effort to protect the integrity of the political good, and at the same time, the pre-political (family and economics, for example) from the political.  Here Aristotle seems to recognize that while there is a genuine need for political associations, with it comes the risk of unwarranted usurpation of family authority – a very real threat to the basic institution of the family that is a fundamental building block for the polis. 

 

Aristotle’s three arguments for man being social and political by nature

 

Aristotle presents three arguments for man being social and political by nature.

 

Argument 1:  The polis completes and fulfills natural associations as the final cause, as a natural cause, the most natural, and the “cause of causes.”  Family and villages are not enough.  They are incomplete for human flourishing.  Only in the polis do we find self-sufficiency, meeting the needs of the family and village that are thought of as subordinate in a needs context, i.e., the family needs the village, which in turn needs the polis.  Families need food to survive; villages need direction in order to acquire the means to provide food with the polis supplying the direction for the common good of the whole.  The example of education comes to mind as the question can be asked, “How many families are capable of providing an adequate education for their children on their own, with no help from the polis?  The observation is made that unless one’s parents are poet, artist, public speaker, physicists, and philosopher, the family cannot serve that need.  Aristotle was working under the technological restriction of his time.  That example is no longer a good argument for many reasons, not the least of which is that the current state of the polis leaves families no choice but to home-school their children if any ethical relationship to politics has a hope for survival.  Recall that this was the pre-eminent condition of Aristotle’s thought, the necessary relationship between ethics and politics.  With the advent of many excellent home-schooling programs, e.g., Seton, in all subject areas to include the technological means of support available to the teaching parents, and the numerous social support groups for the children involved, the qualification example hold no longer holds water.  More importantly, the absolute necessity for home-schooling to keep the minds of our children from being putrefied by the liberal elite of the world who confuse education with indoctrination leaves responsible parents no choice in the matter if salvation carries any priority.

 

A better example is that the preservation of life requires greater social and economic complexity such as the division of labor, and commerce, which raises the possibility of trade and war.  These activities raise political issues, i.e., what is justice and how can we achieve a just arrangement for labor and distribution of burdens and benefits.  This cannot be done on the level of the family or the village because the bigger picture cannot be seen for the common good of society as a whole.  The needs of the family or village may not be fully producible by them.  Political society serves this function.

 

Argument 2:  Human nature is political when understood for what human beings are, i.e., human beings could not exist without a political society.  Man is neither a beast nor a god.  Without the polis man is either higher or lower than man.  Usually he is a bad man with a predilection for war.  The village is no longer enough.  It is an association of households, which aims at more than daily needs and wants.  However, the question may be asked, “Who gives the law to the village?”  Are we at the mercy of tribal tendencies, as man without a polis becomes lawless, i.e., where does the concept of justice come into play for the common good?  The tribe can easily ignore political justice, essential to which is the concept of impersonal and impartial law, especially equal justice under such laws.  One only has to recall the tragedy of Jonestown in Africa. 

 

Our own Declaration of Independence uses this classic argument with the claim that all men are created equal is a self-evident truth that is affirmed upon understanding the meaning of the terms.  To be human is to be neither beast nor god.  Thus, to be equal, in a classical sense, means that we are equally below the gods and above the beast.  We cannot be treated as property like cattle.  Nor can we allow any man to claim the wisdom and power attributable only to the supernatural, to God.  This truth is especially relevant today given the utilitarian fashion that man at his most vulnerable stage, his earliest stage of life at conception, is cavalierly referred to as nothing more than a utility for a pseudo-common good by a political society blinded to what the real common good should be.  We are, of course, referring to the need for a debate on stem cell research, the truth of which, from a bona fide common good societal standpoint should be self-evident to all, “the end does not justify the means.”

 

Moreover, we have the capacity for speech, not the guttural utterances of animals. We are rational and, through the use of speech, are able to convey our rational thoughts to others, which by nature is political.  The ability to articulate via speech what is advantageous and good as opposed to what is disadvantageous and bad, coupled with the ability to signify what is just and unjust, makes a human political association via an arrangement by which goods and work are distributed for the sake of the political common good.  In other words, human speech de facto leads to political participation in this process. 

 

Argument 3 brings together the first two.  The polis is prior to the individual and the pre-political associations in the order of final causality, the most basic cause of nature.  They are related as a part to the whole.  The part cannot function without the whole.  Man cannot fully function as man without the polis in that he cannot practice full virtue without the polis.  He needs the steadying and stabilizing effect of the polis to perfect himself.  In perfecting himself, he perfects the family, the village, and ultimately the polis.  It seems that this is a two-way street.  If man cannot practice full virtue without the polis, how is the polis going to know what full virtue is without the example of man, in particular, virtuous men?  Rutler calls this a “crisis of saints,” which he discusses in his book by the same title.

 

For a reference chiseled even more deeply in the foundations of the Church’s thought, the Angelic Doctor writes of the legitimate use of authority: “Men who are well disposed are led to virtue by being admonished better than by coercion, but men who are evilly disposed are not led to virtue unless they are coerced. (S. Th. III, q. 94, a. 1).  The Gospel message is a matter of life and death, in orders spiritual and social, but its persuasiveness is hindered by the scandal of disorder within the local churches and curias.  “For if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God’s Church?” (1 Tim 3:5).  It may be argued that our problems have their match in past moments.  It may be more cogently argued that our experience of crises is harsher because of the manifest unwillingness to confront them at the expense of the idol of the day, public image and the rapidity with which the contagion of error spreads by global communications.      {[47] pg 25}

 

Saint Thomas More was martyr to the meanness of the human spirit and appealed with holy exasperation to the bishops of his moment.  From the Tower he wrote in his De Tristitia Christi (Of the Sadness of Christ): “[The bishop] hides away cowering in some cranny, and abandons the ship to the waves.  If a bishop does this, I would not hesitate to juxtapose and compare his sadness with the sadness that leads … to hell.” The one bishop of that time who made Christ happy with his bravery, Saint John Fisher, warned his fellow apostles: “The fort is betrayed by them that should have defended it.” Looking about him as the scaffold loomed, he mourned on behalf of the others who would not mourn: “Everything is turned upside down, the beautiful order of virtue was overthrown, the bright light of life quenched, and scarce anything left in the church but open iniquity and feigned sanctity … innumerable souls are falling into destruction.” {[47] pp 27-28}

 

Of late, the counter examples politically have been too numerous to count, i.e., politicians without virtue promoting their hedonistic agendas with, sadly, many of these politicians calling themselves Catholic.

 

The family and village, growing naturally, lack justice, the greatest of human goods. Aristotle considers the political founder to be the “greatest of benefactors” because justice is the highest good. Justice helps us to be our best with the polis saving us from savagery, which is the fate of an isolated man or the result of arbitrary rule.  Justice is an ordering of the political society.  We are asked to recall the observation that we are neither a beast nor a god. 

 

2.1.5 The sophist legacy of Protagoras has a mean streak thanks to political correctness at all costs – especially the truth

 

What we are seeing today is the eclipse of reason done in the name of reason, courtesy of the modern sophists that populate the “politically-correct-villes” surfacing on the planet.  We are reminded of Protagoras, one of the original “I’m OK, you’re OKers.”  His argument was that anyone’s opinion was equally valid, presumably to include that of someone who would disagree with him. 

 

The resulting nonsense from ignoring the fact that something cannot “be” and “not be” at the same time in the same respect escaped him, i.e., he had no problem violating a fundamental philosophical principle.   That “nonsense” did not escape Plato in his Dialogues nor Aristotle in his Metaphysics, Rhetoric, and Sophistical Refutations, both of whom saw sophists for what they are. 

The fourth century BC if often referred to as “the golden age of ancient philosophy.”  This is the century of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.  Plato and Aristotle shared a concern with a kind of false philosophizing exemplified by those they call sophists with sophistry being the “dark twin of philosophy.” The sophist pretended to see the truth, using modes of argumentation not to arrive at knowledge of the way things are but rather for argument’s sake, i.e., as a skill that could be put to a practical purpose, gaining power over others.  Aristotle in Book IV of the Metaphysics held this view of sophists.

…Sophists assume the same guise as the philosopher, for Sophistic is philosophy which exists only in semblance…Sophistic is what appears to be philosophy but is not.   {[12] pg 1586}

For both Plato and Aristotle, the first and preeminent sophist was Protagoras.

One of Plato’s dialogues takes its title from this man, and his teaching shows up in other dialogues, for example, the Theaetetus. Plato summarizes Protagoras’s doctrine in this way: What seems to be so to me is true for me and what seems to be so to you is true for you. In short, all thinking is relativized to a particular thinker. If Protagoras were right, then it would make no sense to claim to know how things truly are, that is, independently of the way they seem to me. The adoption of this view would be the death of philosophy understood as the search for the truth about things.

The undesirable result when sophistry is unanswered

We might ask, “Why did Plato and Aristotle devote so much time to a view they found disruptive?” They could have easily left the sophist to practice his craft and teach it to others while they went on about the business of seeking the truth. But Plato and Aristotle realized a seminal truth. Unless it could be shown that the assumption of Protagoras was not right, that it was incoherent, sophistry would be equated with philosophy. If the philosopher did not refute Protagoras, his own activity would be seen as being diminished - nothing more than an idiosyncrasy. Thus, the very nature and future of philosophy depended on confronting the sophist and refuting him.

Plato did this succinctly in the Theaetetus. Simply put, if the dictum of Protagoras is practically applied to the doctrine of Protagoras, it loses any significance. If Protagoras holds that what seems to be true for him is true, and similarly, what seems to be true for anyone else, is true, Protagoras must allow for a rather embarrassing position, i.e., that someone to whom Protagoras’s dictum seems false is as right as Protagoras claims that he is. Hence, Protagoras’s dictum becomes both true and false, which is nonsensical.

In the Theaetetus Socrates attacks the dictum of Protagoras that all thinking is relative to a particular thinker in a dialog dealing with sense perception being real in the context of man being the measure of all things.  The problem is one of dreams, which pose a threat to the infallibility of sensation or perception and awareness, since in dreams, one is aware of things which are said to be not as they appeared.  This difficulty is handed by a thorough-going relativism: dreams are real only to the dreamer in the same manner that food which tastes bad to someone who is sick is bad, no matter that it tastes delicious to someone who is healthy.  Thus, things are as they seem to be only insofar as we are careful to let the one sensing them be the judge of what they are. 

We pick up the dialog with Socrates offering an observation on the consequences of relativistic thinking.  His main point is that, if the individual is the only judge of what he perceives, Protagoras might just as well say that the baboon is the measure of all things since the baboon too has sensations of which he is the only adequate judge.

In general, I am delighted with his (Protagoras) statement that what seems to anyone also is, but I am surprised that he did not begin his Truth with the words, The measure of all things is the pig, or the baboon, or some sentient creature still more uncouth.  There would have been something magnificent in so disdainful an opening, telling us that all the time, while we were admiring him for a wisdom more than mortal, he was in fact no wiser than a tadpole, to say nothing of any other human being. If what every man believes as a result of perception is indeed to be true for him; if, just as no one is to be a better judge of what another experiences, so no one is better entitled to consider whether what another thinks is true or false, and, as we have said more than once, every man is to have his own beliefs for himself alone and they are all right and true – then, my friend, where is the wisdom of Protagoras, to justify his setting up to teach others and to be handsomely paid for it, and where is our comparative ignorance or the need for us to go and sit at his feet, when each of us is himself the measure of his own wisdom?  {[21] pp 866-867} 

Aristotle in Book IV of the Metaphysics said the following in reference to the dictum of Protagoras.

Again, if all contradictories are true of the same subject at the same time, evidently all things will be one.  For the same thing will be a trireme, a wall, and a man, if it is equally possible to affirm and to deny anything of anything, - and this premise must be accepted by those who share the views of Protagoras.  For if anyone thinks that the man is not a trireme, evidently he is not a trireme; so that he also is a trireme, if, as they say, the contradictory is true…For if it is true that a thing is man and not-man, evidently also it will be neither man nor not-man.  For to the two assertions there answer two negations.  And if the former is treated as a single proposition compounded out of two, the latter is a single proposition opposite to the former…Further, it follows that all would be right and all would be in error, and our opponent confesses himself to be in error. – And at the same time our discussion with him is evidently about nothing at all; for he says nothing.  For he says neither “yes” nor “no,” but both “yes” and “no”; and again he denies both of these and says “neither yes nor no”; for otherwise there would already be something definite. – Again, if when the assertion is true, the negation is false, and when this is true, the affirmation is false, it will not be possible to assert and deny the same thing truly at the same time. 

But if all are alike both right and wrong, one who believes this can neither speak nor say anything intelligible; for he says at the same time both “yes” and “no.”  And if he makes no judgment but thinks and does not think, indifferently, what difference will there be between him and the plants?

For on the one hand, if all opinions and appearances are true, all statements must be at the same time true and false.  For many men hold beliefs in which they conflict with one another, and all think those mistaken who have not the same opinions as themselves; so that the same thing must be and not be.  And on the other hand, if this is so, all opinions must be true: for those who are mistaken and those who are right are opposed to one another in their opinions; if, then, reality is such as the view in question supposes, all will be right in their beliefs.

But the same method of discussion must not be used with all opponents; for some need persuasion, and others compulsion.  Those who have been driven to this position by difficulties in their thinking can easily be cured of their ignorance; for it is not their expressed argument but their thought that one has to meet.  But those who argue for the sake of argument can be convinced only by emending the argument expressed in words.  {[12] pp 1591-1593}

Aristotle continues his critique in Book XI of the Metaphysics recognizing a source of Protagoras’s dictum.

The saying of Protagoras is like the views we have mentioned; he said that man is the measure of all things, meaning simply that that which seems to each man assuredly is.  If this is so, it follows that the same thing both is and is not, and is bad and good, and that the contents of all other opposite statements are true, because often a particular thing appears beautiful to some and ugly to others, and that which appears to each man is the measure.  This difficulty may be solved by considering the source of the opinion.  It seems to have arisen in some cases from the doctrine of the natural philosophers, and in others from the fact that all men have not the same views about the same things, but a particular thing appears pleasant to some and the contrary of pleasant to others.

That nothing comes to be out of that which is not, but everything out of that which is, is a doctrine common to nearly all the natural philosophers.  Since, then, a thing can become not-white, having been perfectly white and in no respect not-white, that which becomes white must come from that which is not-white; so that a thing must come to be out of that which is not (so they argue), unless the same thing was at the beginning both not-white and white.  But it is not hard to solve this difficulty; for we have said in the Physics I 8 in what sense things that come to be come to be from that which is not, and in what sense from that which is. {[12] pp 1678-1679}

The punch line for Aristotle follows.

But to lend oneself equally to the opinions and the fancies of disputing parties is foolish; for clearly one of them must be mistaken.  {[12] pg 1679}

Aristotle’s strongest disdain for sophistry is found in Book II of his Rhetoric where he comments on the legacy of Protagoras. 

This sort of argument illustrates what is meant by making the worse argument seem the better.  Hence people were right in objecting to the training Protagoras undertook to give them.  It was a fraud; the probability it handled was not genuine but spurious, and has a place in no art except Rhetoric and Eristic.  {[12] pg 2235}

Commenting on the language of dialog, Aristotle made these observations in Book III of the Rhetoric.

Language is composed of nouns and verbs.  Nouns are of the various kinds considered in the treatise on poetry.  Strange words, compound words, and invented words must be used sparingly and on few occasions. The reason for this restriction has been already indicated: they depart from what is suitable, in the direction of excess.  In the language of prose, besides the regular and proper terms for things, metaphorical terms only can be used with advantage.  This we gather from the fact that these two classes of terms, the proper or regular and the metaphorical – these and not others – are used by everybody in conversation.  We can now see that a good writer can produce a style that is distinguished without being obtrusive, and is at the same time clear, thus satisfying our definition of good oratorical prose.  Words of ambiguous meaning are chiefly useful to enable the Sophist to mislead his hearers.  {[12] pg 2240}

Aristotle in his Sophistical Refutations summarizes what the “art” of the sophist is.

For the art of the Sophist is the semblance of wisdom without the reality, and the Sophist is one who makes money from an apparent but unreal wisdom; for them, then, it is clearly necessary to seem to accomplish the task of a wise man rather than to accomplish it without seeming to do so.  {[12] pg 279}         

Plato and Aristotle did not mince words when it came to dealing with someone who would poison the very wells of discourse and knowledge, the correct procedure being to show that such a position is incoherent, i.e., if it is true it is false. Therefore, it is not a possible option to doing philosophy. Sophistry is anti-philosophy because it is anti-reason and it is anti-reason because it is nonsense.

The legacy of the sophists in contemporary society

People need to be continually reminded, especially our youth, what sophistry is, in particular, its current manifestation in the bastardization of reason as a function of the worship of the god of political correctness.  Recall that said bastardization was never a concern of the sophists. They are more interested in debating points as opposed to finding the Truth that is a Someone, not a something.  That is why their intellectual plasticity must be exposed for all to see, else more Clintons will appear on the horizon, eagerly waiting to take advantage of the stupidity of the masses.

 

It should come as no surprise to Christians that faith enables reason, and reason reinforces faith.  Faith and reason are married, not divorced as the modern sophists contend.  The God Who gave us faith also gave us reason.  Since God is All-Good, He cannot contradict Himself.  Therefore, faith and reason are incapable of contradicting each other. 

 

Deconstruction of language as the primary tool of the modern sophists

 

A primary tool of the modern sophists is the manipulation of words so that their commonly understood meanings are skewed beyond recognition.  “Family” now becomes a “union” of same-sex individuals with no regard whatsoever for the biological plumbing problems involved.  Thus, a primary reason for marriage, the procreation of the species – necessary to the survival of the human race is trashed for “childless pleasure only” purposes where the sex act itself is perverted to unnatural forms.  A characteristic of these sophistic families is that no consideration whatsoever is given to the consequences of violating the natural law.  Homosexual behavior itself has been politicized by referring to it as “gay,” a bastardization of what was formerly an adjective that described a condition indicative of being “happily excited, merry, or something brilliant in color, but now carries the lurid connotations of licentiousness related to homosexuality.  And those who oppose this revisionist definition of “gay” have another word invented by the sophists expressly for them – “homophobia,” which denotes a supposed condition of being afraid of homosexuals, which is an absurdity in the Christian sense since loving the sinner while hating the sin is the Gospel message. It is to be noted, however, that mankind must have a fear of sin if civilization is to survive, else anarchy reigns supreme.  It is also noteworthy to observe that “just” discrimination, as opposed to “invidious” discrimination is an absolute requirement for civilization’s survival, which is something that the “homophobic” labelers conveniently ignore in their efforts to brand as hate mongers and bigots all who dare oppose their agenda – the enforced acceptance of grave mortal sin as an acceptable lifestyle.  Thus, we have just witnessed more word obfuscation by the modern sophists in the blurring of the distinction between two very different forms of discrimination, the former, “just,” being a common sense necessity for any responsible human being, especially parents in the upbringing of their children, the latter, “invidious,” being something to be abhorred.   When all of the above lies are continuously repeated, society begins to become anesthetized as to what the truth is, giving credence to the old axiom, “If you tell a lie loudly and often enough, it will eventually be believed” even to the point of redefining the verb “is,” a word whose clear, concise definition in any dictionary is unmistakable, by a former shameless president of the United States in order to make the country more comfortable with his vices.    

 

We would be remiss if we did not mention what is considered to be the preeminent example of modern sophistry carried to the extreme – The Planned Parenthood v. Casey Supreme Court decision where a supposedly “Catholic” justice authored the opinion that every man is free to create his own universe of beliefs in the name of unlimited freedom for the autonomous unencumbered self, recognizing their absolute truth, regardless of the inevitable collision of these individual universes leading ultimately to anarchy because of the ridiculous premise upon which they were founded – the aforementioned dictum of Protagoras.

 

2.1.6 Every human act is done for the sake of the ultimate end

 

Aquinas says that every human act is undertaken for some purpose with an end which has the character of the good. He echoes Aristotle who held that each human act has a particular goal (end) but there also exists an overriding ultimate end for which each human act is undertaken.


What does Aristotle mean by “end” and “ultimate end?” We go to Book One of the Nicomachean Ethics for the answers which begins with the statement that

 

Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that which all things aim. {[12] pg 1729}

 
All human acts are teleological, done for a purpose with an end in mind. The good is the aim or end of an action where we are talking about the good for man. A problem arises in that if every human action is toward an end and if this end and good are the same, then every action as human action is good. Aristotle needed to distinguish between real and apparent goods. If he did not, the door is wide open for the moral relativists to say that they are the final arbiters of what is good in a situational ethics context. For example, the militant homosexual lobby tells us that videos like It’s Elementary where the youngest of children work from a premise that “there is no such thing as right or wrong,” are good for society as a whole. Really? Let us look more into the difference between real and apparent goods. The key here is that Aristotle proceeds on the assumption that knowledge of the kind of agent we are will provide a criterion for distinguishing among the things we seek those that are truly perfective of us from those that are not. It does not take a Ph.D. in moral philosophy to see that we could legitimately ask, given the type of agent a homosexual activist is, “Is what he seeks truly perfective of mankind?” The destructive nature of homosexual acts from a physical (natural) standpoint, let alone any supernatural connotations, clearly gives no for an answer.


Aristotle says that if there were such an ultimate end, knowledge of it would be of the greatest usefulness. We would aim toward it with concern for it a political consideration. Lawmakers must have some end in mind when they take into account the entirety of human activity. All other ends would be subordinate to this. Aristotle says this end has a name - happiness.

 

Aquinas’s expansion of Aristotle’s ultimate end

 

McInerny in Ethica Thomistica describes Aquinas’s expansion of Aristotle’s ultimate “happy” end by reminding us that the ultimate end is not recognized by many people but improves life when clarity about it is attained through something called the ratio boni.

 

The concept of an ultimate end of human action must both accommodate the fact that the vast majority of men do not seem to be aware of what it is and suggest how the creative variety in the ways men live is fostered rather than stifled when clarity about the ultimate end is had.

 

St. Thomas’s Approach to the notion of ultimate end is through the meaning of ‘good,’ what he calls the ratio boni, the character of goodness.  The formal note under which one chooses whatever he chooses, or pursues whatever he pursues, is goodness, but the good is what is perfective, fulfilling, satisfying.  {[34] pg 26}

           

Formerly, Aquinas states

Man must, of necessity, desire all, whatsoever he desires, for the last end.  This is evident for two reasons.  First, because whatever man desires, he desires it under the aspect of good.  And if he desire it, not as his perfect good, which is the last end, he must, of necessity, desire it as tending to the perfect good, because the beginning of anything is always ordained to its completion; as is clearly the case in effects both of nature and of art.  Wherefore every beginning of perfection is ordained to complete perfection which is achieved through the last end.  Secondly, because the last end stands in the same relation in moving the appetite, as the first mover in other movements. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 1, Art. 6)    {[4] pg 587}

We can speak of the last end in two ways: first, considering only the aspect of last end; secondly considering the thing in which the aspect of last end is realized.  So, then, as to the aspect of last end, all agree in desiring the last end: since all desire the fulfillment of their perfection, and it is precisely this fulfillment in which the last end consists.  But as to the thing in which this aspect is realized, all men are not agreed as to their last end: since some desire riches, as their consummate good; some, pleasure; others, something else … that good is most complete which the man with well-disposed affections desires for his last end.  Those who sin turn away from that in which their last end really consists: but they do not turn away form the intention of the last end, which intention they mistakenly seek in other things.  (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 1, Art. 7)  {[4] pg 588}

Thus, it is necessary that a man seek whatever he does as a function of the ratio boni. If it is not sought as the perfect good, which is the ultimate end, it must be sought as tending toward it.  Aquinas cautions that all share in the desire for the ultimate end but not all men agree about it. Thus, it is not something that could enable us to discriminate between good or bad human agents. Sinners turn away from that in which the notion of the ultimate end is truly found but not from its intention which they falsely seek in other things. In the example of the militant homosexual activists, these other things are the “virtues” of sexual perversion.


The formal basis upon which to say that all men agree on the ultimate end

 

McInerny next considers the ends of actions as being perfective of the agent.

 

The ends of particular actions, though always sought as perfective of the agent, sometimes are such that they truly perfect the agent and sometimes are such that they are falsely thought to perfect the agent.  Thomas’s way of introducing the concept of ultimate end provides him with a formal basis on which to say that all men are in agreement on it.  He also accepts Aristotle’s suggestion that ‘happiness’ may be taken as synonymous with ‘ultimate end.’ It is because he holds that the formal notion of ultimate end, while it cannot be exhausted by an particular goal or kind of goal, nonetheless is truly saved in a set of things perfective of us that, having identified the ultimate end as the ratio boni, he then goes on to examine a series of candidates for the role of happiness materially considered.  In a way reminiscent of classical moral writers, he examines and dismisses wealth, honor, fame, bodily goods, and pleasure as the ultimate aims of human action, that is, as things that could exhaust the conception of that which is perfective or completive of the human agent.  A distinctive note is struck when he argues that no created good can be man’s ultimate end.  {[34] pp 29-30}

 

Thus, Aquinas, after considering whether man’s happiness consists in wealth, honors, fame or glory, power, any bodily good, and pleasure – rejecting them all, comes to the following conclusion. 

It is impossible for any created good to constitute man’s happiness.  For happiness is the perfect good, which lulls the appetite altogether; else it would not be the last end, if something yet remained to be desired.  Now the object of the will, i.e., of man’s appetite, is the universal good; just as the object of the intellect is the universal true.  Hence it is evident that naught can lull man’s will, save the universal good.  This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone; because every creature has goodness by participation.  Wherefore God alone can satisfy the will of man, according to the words of Ps, cii. 5: Who satisfieth thy desire with good things. Therefore God alone constitutes man’s happiness.  (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 2, Art. 8)    {[4] pg 595}

God who is goodness itself, the ultimate in perfection, perfection itself, perfect in all things, Truth, Mercy, Justice, et al., God is the only Being that can meet the criteria for ultimate end, i.e., that can exhaust the formality under which we desire and act. Perfect happiness for man is found only in loving union with Goodness Itself, God. As such, it is not attainable in this world.

 
Aquinas is concerned with a higher supernatural good, which Aristotle was not acquainted with. He used Aristotelian building blocks to show how man is called to a supernatural life on both sides of paradise.

 

The Ancients set the table while the Moderns mess it up

 

We see that seeking the common good was the classic goal of any preferred regime as defined by Aristotle.    Moreover, we are told that any concept of tending toward societal common good without, per Aristotle, political virtue coming into play is a hopeless endeavor.  It is absolutely necessary that the passions of the one be subordinated to the good for all, which is what Aristotle meant by political virtue.  Aristotle’s natural concerns led him to believe that a gauge of attainment of the common good was the measure of a citizen’s happiness.  The claim of virtue is the most justified for Aristotle because it contributes to the good life, the well being of the polis.  Catholic philosophers insisted that the social integration of the civic conscience with a sense of law and freedom, which is a derivative of Aristotle’s political virtue, must come into play in regard to the common good with each member perfecting his life and liberty as person securing for the whole, thereby achieving a natural political telos.  This cannot occur without virtuous leaders with the basic problem being that the claim of virtue cannot be made absolute in that it cannot be identified with the claims of the virtuous.  Since various claims to rule all have their problems, a mixed regime devoted to the common good is the answer with virtue as the stabilizing priority via the prudential statesman.  Catholic philosophy tells us that the best regime cannot be any simple regime, such as a monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy; it is a regime in which several forms are combined in a way as to promote the various aspects of the common good, to each of which each political form is related in a special fashion.  Aquinas shows us how Christianity has consistently been a good basis for polity by arguing that the mixed regime is the best form of government overall with virtue being the overriding function determining who should preside, and who should govern under the presider with all having a say commensurate with their virtuous inclinations.  Aquinas reminds us rendering to Caesar in the secular order has its foundation in the law of God, i.e., we work toward the secular goal of achieving the common good using the principles fostered by the Law of God, from Whom the state derives its authority, and for Whom the state is subject, in particular, in reference to God’s natural law which is a participation in His divine eternal law. 

 

Aquinas developed some of the great themes of Aristotelian political philosophy, such as the social and political nature of man, the importance of the common good, and the role of virtue.  His framework was the formulation of a natural law philosophy that human reason could appeal to as a standard higher than positive human law, something that the modern philosophers summarily dismissed.  And the world is still living with the consequences of that dismissal.  It might be more correct to say that the world is barely living being on life support with the sophist legacy of Protagoras, the irrational rants of the modern spin-doctors, pawned off as truth by a sympathetic media. 

 

Aquinas echoes the political natural common good of Aristotle in that each human act has a particular goal (end) but there also exists an overriding ultimate end for which each human act is undertaken, an ultimate end that is not some special good among others but rather is characterized by a plurality of virtuous actions.  The ultimate reason for seeking anything at all, per Aquinas, is a character of goodness, which is shared by all human agents and, as such, there is an ultimate end that all men pursue.  This end is closely related to the common good of Aristotle’s polis in that the natural law can be simply defined as doing what is good, what makes one happy, and not doing what is evil, what makes one sad.  We are given a glimpse of the only thing that can make man ultimately happy, converging to the Will of God, contrary to what the world would have us believe where the only gods deserving of authority are the reflections in our mirrors.

 

Which brings us to The Enlightenment view, which, as previously stated, could be better characterized as The Endarkenment, given its refusal to recognize that all man-made law is subordinate to God’s.  How the light of the reason turned to dark will be examined as we next consider modern philosophy’s assault on faith and reason.

 

2.2 Modern philosophy’s assault on faith and reason

 

2.2.1 Descartes had no further need of God other than to set the world in motion

We will concentrate on Descartes’s concept of God with an initial examination of the effect of Descartes’s thought on modern philosophy.

The impetus for the great 17th century systems came largely from the effort of Descartes to counter-balance skepticism with a positive theory of nature and man. The question becomes “How does man fare in the mechanically ordered universe?” Descartes held that man can fare well enough in the mechanically constituted universe, but only on the condition that the mechanical conception of nature be integrated with an adequate theory of method, of knowing, and of being. Accordingly, he sought to combine mechanism with a reflective metaphysics of the self and God in a firmly grounded closely knit system that skepticism would be eliminated and the Christian Faith would be liberated from an outmoded philosophy of nature. His starting point in The Meditations {[8] pp 22-55} was a methodical hyperbolic doubt that led him to assert the clear and distinct idea as the criterion of truth, and to invoke God’s existence so as to extend the universality of this criterion beyond his starting principle, cogito ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”). From man’s clear and distinct ideas of soul and body he further deduced a dualism of mind and matter, regarding both as substances, but never satisfactorily explaining how they can and do unite. An irony needs to be identified, which is obvious. This ambiguity of unity was supposed to be an improvement over Thomism that had no problems whatsoever explaining the relationship between the soul and body.

The consequences of never getting out of the mind

Descartes’s fundamental principle regarding knowledge, which came to be accepted by nearly all philosophers, was the view that when we know, what we directly know is what is in the mind, that is, the ideas in which the objects of knowledge are represented. Descartes and many of those who followed him put forward arguments to prove that God exists. But if one accepts Descartes’s view that knowledge is the contemplation of ideas in the mind, one cannot prove the God exists. And in due course a philosopher came on the scene that pointed this out. This was Hume. Starting with Descartes’s conception of knowledge, he drew the skeptical conclusion that the human mind cannot have certainty about any reality outside the mind, least of all about God.

Kant, reacting against the skepticism of Hume, endeavored to save the validity of scientific knowledge. But he also accepted Descartes’s theory of knowledge and came to the conclusion that reality, as it exists outside the mind, the noumenon as he called it, cannot be known by the speculative reason. God, he maintained, can be attained only by the practical reason, as the guarantor of the moral order, in particular, the concept of God, regardless of whether He exists or not.

Man, Kant argues, is aware of a “categorical imperative” – a command to do his duty; he is aware also that his happiness depends on his submission to this categorical imperative. But since in this life happiness does not always result from this submission, there must be a future life in which happiness is attainable; and since a future life is inconceivable unless God exists, God must exist.

Kant rejected as invalid the traditional arguments from contingency and purposiveness – the “cosmological” and “teleological” arguments, and his criticism of these arguments has been accepted by great numbers of educated men as definitive, absolving them from any further consideration of these arguments. But since his rejection of these arguments is, in the last analysis, only a corollary to his theory of knowledge, if this theory is erroneous, his criticism of the traditional argument fails. And such is the case for Kant.

Beginning with the assumption that Descartes’s theory of knowledge is correct ends, logically enough, with the conclusion that atheism and nihilism are irrefutable. If one accepts that God exists one chooses to believe in God because the alternative is the complete annihilation of nihilism.

What Descartes absolutely knew

The only thing that Descartes was sure of was that he was a doubting thing, i.e., a thinking substance, a mind. But there might be more knowledge involved in the act of doubting than the bare certitude of mind and of its existence. He who doubts knows that he does not know as perfectly as he would like to know. He must therefore have in mind at least some confused feeling of what perfect knowledge should be – the idea of perfection. By observing this notion, he becomes aware that there is, present to his mind, the idea of a “perfect being,” a being in which all conceivable perfections are to be found. Such is God, Whom we conceive as a Supreme Being, eternal, infinite, immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, and Creator of all things which are outside of Himself.

Our mind is eliminated, for a doubting and imperfect mind cannot be the model from which it draws its own idea of perfection. It cannot be any of the material things existing outside the mind because Descartes will not let us venture into that hinterland. We are not allowed to accept any of the recommended proofs of God’s existence that prove Him to be the necessary cause of the physical order because all we know, so far, is the existence of our own mind, and since we are not sure yet that there is an external world, we cannot use it to prove the existence of God.

But everything has a cause. So there should be a cause of our idea of God. In fact, it should be such a cause as contains within itself at least as much perfection as there is to be found in its effect; in other words, the model from which our idea of perfection is copied should be at least as perfect as the copy itself. It must therefore be a perfect being, endowed with all the perfections that are found in our idea of its nature. In short, it must necessarily be that which we call God. The cogito has become “I doubt, hence God is.”

We are now in a better position to understand in what sense Descartes could say in the Fifth Meditation

Clearly the idea of God, that is, the idea of a supremely perfect being, is one I discover to be no less within me than the idea of any figure or number.  And that it belongs to God’s nature that he always exists is something I understand no less clearly and distinctly than is the case when I demonstrate in regard to some figure or number that something also belongs to the nature of that figure or number.  Thus, even if not everything that I have meditated upon during these last few days were true, still the existence of God ought to have for me at least the same degree of certainty that truths of mathematics had until now.  {[8] pg 46}

It is even more certain than any mathematical truth, for as long as we did not know God as a perfect being, we could not be sure that our Creator was not systematically deceiving us in mathematics as in everything else. We are left with a God, albeit existing only in our mind, but no external world as Descartes is forbidden by his own principles to take it as established fact. Better prove it so that it can be known and not believed, the task of the philosopher, the mind first, than God, with the external world the only thing left.

Descartes has some problems

The problem for Descartes was that the first attempt to prove it turned out to be the first step towards the denial of its existence. Descartes had tried to prove something that could not be proved, not because it is not true, but on the contrary, because it is evident to a soul, not to a mind. Since Descartes was nothing but a mind, he could no longer accept as evidence that which is such only to a soul, to a spiritual principle substantially united to a body; nor could he hope to find in mind, that is in a thinking substance distinct from, and exclusive of, the body, ground for the demonstration of its existence.

If sensations belong to the mind itself, nothing but the mind should be needed to account for their existence, but then there would be no reason to suppose that there is a material world. If, on the contrary, sensations are in us as coming not from the mind, but entering it from without, the so-called mind is not a true mind but a soul apprehending universals from singulars, which immediately perceives the existence of bodies, as a certainty that neither can be proved, nor needs proof. Descartes had tried to find some possible position between the two horns of the dilemma; but there was none. He wanted a mind, at once so radically distinct from matter that the existence of matter would have to be proved, and so intimately conjoined with matter, through feeling, that the existence of matter could be proved.  

Let us go back to the medieval world that Descartes was trying to replace. According to Aquinas, the physical order was essentially made up of “natures,” i.e., of active principles, which were the cause of motions and various operations of their respective matters. Each nature, or form, was essentially an energy, an act. This world did not lend itself to a purely mechanical interpretation of physical change; dimensions, positions and distances by themselves are clear things in an analytic geometric sense; they can be measured and numbered. But those energies ascribed to bodies by Aristotle and Aquinas could not be submitted to any kind of calculation. Descartes’s main point was that they should not be allowed to stay in such a state since there would remain in nature something confused and obscure, and in science itself a standing element of unintelligibility. Descartes was of no mind to tolerate such foolishness as he wanted physics to become a department of his universal mathematics. Forms, natures and energies had to go from the physical world, so that there should be nothing left but allowable extension and an always equal amount of motion caused by God.

No longer a need for the Cartesian God Who is replaced by science

As a result, Descartes’s God was thoughtful and accommodating. He had just created the kind of world which Cartesian philosophy could explain. He was preserving things with so conscientious a regularity that Descartes could explain his (Descartes’s) world without bothering any more about Him other than to set the world in motion. 

The Cartesian God does not do much in the world since science can freely develop itself as though there was no God. Contrast this with the God of Aquinas Who was a continuous Creator of all things. The things He created, and which He was keeping in existence were “natures,” i.e., active or true causes. Indebted to Him for their actual existence, their operative powers and even the very efficacy of their operations, they nevertheless were efficient causes, and such operations can be said to be their own. Thus, what God has to keep in existence, in a Thomistic world, is a set of enduring, active natures, each of which is an original power with a sufficient capacity to do its own work. This is not the case in the world of Descartes. Once all individual sources of energy had been expelled from it, nothing was left but extension and its laws; not natures, but nature, i.e., those changes that happen in the various parts of matter. As to the “laws of nature,” they were nothing more than the divinely and freely created rules, in accordance with which these changes occur; the divine activity, which does not itself change, remained, in fact, the only active cause still to be found in such a world.

2.2.2 Passion and the structure of society according to Hobbes

How is a society structured? What part do passions play in this structure? These questions will be examined by comparing society as structured by a modernist philosopher, Hobbes, with its impact today in terms of the crisis of western civilization, and society necessary to the fundamental framework of a Christian state with its Aristotelian and Thomistic roots.

The Leviathan of Hobbes politicizes and socializes virtues

Let us now look at society according to Hobbes as described in his seminal work, in reference to its impact on modern philosophy, Leviathan.

Hobbes rejected the old moral philosophers who saw in virtue the utmost aim of human life. He politicized and socialized virtues, reducing them to instruments thereby degrading them. He maintained that rights are not derived from the principles of nature but rather from the practice of the commonwealths of the ancients. He saw the causes of disorders that affect “Christian Commonwealths” in the writings of Greek and Roman politicians and Christian scripture. His edifice, his Leviathan, the blueprint for his society is founded on only one element: the human individual’s entitlement to rights. The fundamental rights are found in the individual’s commanding need for survival. This pressure is felt when there is no state or the state lacks force in an absolute sense, i.e., when the state of nature prevails. It appears that “rights talk” for Hobbes is true only up to a point as the subordination of individual rights to the absolute power of the state is the final requirement - the final arbiter.

For Hobbes the moral virtues are not ends to be sought in themselves but means to self-preservation. A general inclination of mankind is a perpetual and restless desire for power that ceases only in death.

Modern philosophy’s attack on Aristotle

Modern philosophy takes shape in the seventeenth century in an attack on the philosophy of Aristotle and, more precisely, his doctrine of “substance” concerning nature in general or human nature in particular. Whether a substance, “substantial form,” placed in a hierarchy of substances or forms; or a nature at once animal and rational within a hierarchy of natures; or the human soul as the “form” of the human body, it is the teaching of Aristotle, which was essentially adopted by Catholic doctrine through the theological refinements of Aquinas that Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza and Locke implacably attempt to destroy. Man is a “substance” and “one” substance is the credo for the new philosophy.

Power rules for Hobbes

In Chapters 3-5 of the Leviathan {[23] pp 28-46}, according to Hobbes, men are naturally distinguishable from beasts only by the faculty of science, which is knowledge of the possible consequences of effects. Since together with desire men have the idea of power, and since their desires for power in some way neutralize and nullify one another in the war of every man against every man, man will erect the greatest power over themselves that they can conceive of, the sovereign power characterizing the modern state. It works under the fear principle as each man is held in check by his power being subordinate to the state - no matter that the state may be capable of the most ruthless acts in a totalitarian sense. If it is absolute sovereign, it is OK for Hobbes. What is subtly lost in Hobbes is that the aggressive role of human nature begins to disappear or is lowered. The homogenization of the diverse human faculties and passions, transformed into as many different versions of the same desire for power, presupposes a denaturation.

In Chapter 8 of the Leviathan Hobbes reduces human complexity to the desire for power.

The passions that most of all cause the difference of wit, are principally, the more or less desire of power, of riches, of knowledge, and of honor. All which may be reduced to the first, that is, desire of power. For riches, knowledge, and honor, are but several sorts of power. {[23] pg 62}

Hobbes skewed version of politics and morality

According to Hobbes, political and moral laws are binding only by virtue of the order of the sovereign, the only legitimate legislator. Laws are made as a function of the one who promulgates them as opposed to the truth of their foundations. Moral notions are arbitrary for Hobbes. In short, “might makes right.”

A problem arises. If what is engaging in man’s humanity is contained in the desire for power, in which his nature is in some way concentrated, then his moral “ideas” or “thoughts” as Hobbes calls them, can surely be said to be artificial or conventional and to have no other validity than that conferred on them by the legislator. They have so little intrinsic weight that their flimsiness becomes worrisome. If they have no roots in nature and need the external support of the legislator to have value and thus to be, then what are they and whence do they come? With no support in being, they could only have their origin in that man whose whole nature is to be found elsewhere, in the desire for power.

No summum bonum or striving for the attainment of a highest good for Hobbes

Hobbes emphatic concentration of man’s nature in the desire for power liberated the world of ideas from every natural attachment and ontological bond. Hobbes affirms that there is no summum bonum and that good and evil only have meaning with reference to the person involved.

For Hobbes, man no longer has any end inscribed in his nature, but he still has a future. He goes beyond the present by his desire for power, which is anxiety and desire for what is to come, desire to master the future, “to assure forever, the way of his future desire.” “Forever” stops at death for Hobbes. Man has in him the somber weight of Christian concupiscence, lifted up by a glimmer of ancient magnanimity. Forever sinning mightily because he cannot avoid sinning, he is always superior to circumstances. Neither Christian nor Greek, he is that third man full of force who despairs of the good but not of himself. Whether servant of the king or republican, he will construct the modern state which, like him, has given up seeking the good.

Aristotle contrasted with Hobbes

Aristotle was concerned with politic. He speaks of human groups and their goods and deals with “spiritual masses” and “contents of life.” Hobbes, in contrast, treats politic with derision as an expression of individual vanity. Hobbes individualizes and psychologizes political claims. For him everything is open to question with no claims justified. Where the Greeks esteemed the citizen’s public voice, Hobbes unmasks the individual’s private passion.

Everything allowed under Hobbes especially hatred of Catholicism

Once claims to power have been subjected to the greatest power men can imagine, the only legitimate power, the Sovereign, they undergo a remarkable mutation: they are all justified. Hobbes and his “perpetual motion machine” which powered his philosophical thought could be very comfortable, evidently, living under tyrants like Hitler, Stalin, and William Jefferson Clinton.  Hobbes held that the ravings of the individual conscience and the sinister authority of Rome were constantly blinding men to what their real interests were. His materialistic philosophy was geared solely to self-preservation under an absolute authority. The safety of the people was the supreme law. He offended all types of Christians because he maintained that all actions could be mechanically explained and that free will was an illusion. He considered appeal to either individual conscience or to Church authority as the most potent of all threats to peace, in particular, singling out the “monster” that was Romanism with particular contempt for inane metaphysical concepts like “transubstantiation.” Hobbes had a special dislike for the Roman Catholic Church, which is the unifying characteristic of those who must destroy or reinvent religion to accommodate hedonism. (The uncompromising witness of Catholicism for 2000 years makes them uncomfortable with their vices.) For Hobbes, religion was a system of law not a system of truth. Thus any concept of natural law truths would have been foreign to him. He maintained vehemently that we could know nothing of the attributes of God.

On good and evil Hobbes said that whatsoever is the object of any man’s appetite or desire, that is it which he for his part calls good; and the object of his hate and aversion evil. He was a moral relativist in this regard abandoning any concept of universal absolute truths saying that good and evil are ever used with relation to the person that uses them; there being nothing simply and absolutely true; nor any common rule of good and evil to be taken from the nature of the objects themselves; but from the person of the man.

He believed that out of civil states, there is always civil war. The actions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have no place in his Leviathan. Only common power counts, as without it, there is no law.

Every man has a right to every thing, his fundamental law of nature, even to one another’s body. Thus, there can be no security for any man - survival at all costs, of the fittest, the law of the jungle, seems to be what Hobbes espoused.

A rival position to Descartes dualism is Hobbes materialism where there is no interest in separate intellectual substance. All we are is material mechanisms, automata interacting with our environment in a type of perpetual motion machine. The main goal is to get what you want from the world by surviving at all costs including, it seems, submission to the tyranny of an absolute state that knows what is good for society as a whole. Certain fundamental passions set man in motion with fear of violence and death predominant. Our minds are highly wired bodily capacities with the ability to reduce whatever we are talking about to the body - an empiricist reduction to the chemical interactions of the brain.

Satisfaction of appetites paramount for Hobbes

For Aristotle and Aquinas, soul is to the body as form is to matter. Descartes sees no way that the soul is related to the body. Hobbes says there is no soul at all, just body. For Hobbes there is no ultimate end, no goal for human life just satisfaction of appetites. We strive for power ending only in death. This loss of soul as governor of the body has consequences born out in culture. Witness the culture-of-death prominent in the world today, a contraceptive mentality leading to any and all forms of hedonism from promotion of homosexuality as a civil right to abortion as birth control to euthanasia.

The problem with Descartes and Hobbes is that there is no natural good or telos to human nature, and the place of human beings as parts of the whole is rendered inscrutable.

One of the roles that Catholicism must play in combating the culture-of-death, the main tool of the new totalitarianism, is to expose the liberal media for the heinous Hobbesian lies that it continuously propagates. Only by taking an active part in this crusade for the authentic “New Jerusalem” of the Book of the Apocalypse, and not that of the Stalins, Hitlers, and Clintons, will mankind clearly show that it is with Christ and not against Him - a main consequence of which will be the illustrating of the relationship between faith and reason and of the necessity of a society rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

2.2.3 The influence of Machiavelli and Bacon

An examination of the ways that Machiavelli and Bacon found fault with ancient philosophy will be made in order to gain insight into their thought and influence on modern philosophy.

The breakdown of Aristotelianism

To understand the climate spawning Machiavellian thought, one has to first understand the breakdown of Aristotelianism as described by Gilson in A History of Philosophy.

 

Aristotle himself was a pagan, and the Moslem philosophers, through whom Aristotelian metaphysics had become known to the Western World, had introduced along with it a certain number of doctrines completely unacceptable for Christians.  Averroism began with the golden age of scholasticism.  {[19] pg 3}

 

It is to be noted that Averroism professed to teach philosophy such as could be found in Aristotle irrespective of whether what was taught should happen to agree with religion or not.   The idea was to show that philosophy is mutually exclusive of religion and theology, i.e., reason and faith are not related. 

 

In fact, Averroes, as the commentator par excellence, was one of the main influences at work in the rise of scholastic theology.  What is called Averroism is the uninterrupted line of masters in medieval universities who, from the middle of the thirteenth century until the sixteenth century and beyond, insisted that the authentic teaching of Aristotle had been betrayed by the theologians in their effort to adapt it to the needs of Christian apologetics.  The main consequence of this was the spreading of the conviction that philosophy is a discipline wholly separate from religion and theology.  Many exponents of the Christian tradition allowed themselves to be persuaded of this, with the inevitable result that scholasticism began to break down, disintegrating into its two component elements: a religious faith without philosophy on the one hand and a philosophy without religious faith on the other.  {[19] pg 3}

 

The end result was that Aristotelianism succumbed to an indifferentism being just one philosophy among the others, or worse, a syncretism ala Averroism whereby it was made to fit the agendas of those having no patience for metaphysical bridges to theology.

 

Once separated from theology, Aristotelianism found itself on its own.  It lost the privilege granted to it by theologians of being the preferred vehicle of Christian truth. As it became just one philosophy among the others, Aristotelianism was submitted to a stiff competition.  The men of the Renaissance created no new philosophy, but they discovered that antiquity offered them a choice of several other views of the world besides that of Aristotle.  As they became acquainted with them, they began trying a little of everything. {[19] pp 3-4}

 

Gilson points out that Platonism did not fare any better.

 

Platonism had always been familiar to theologians, at least under the Christianized form it had been given by St. Augustine and by Denys the Areopagite.  In fact, Platonist elements can be detected in all the great scholastic theologies, with the possible exception of Ockham.  At the end of the Middle Ages, Plato began to be translated into Latin, read and studied for himself.  Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) had thus created at Florence a sort of mainly Platonist scholasticism which heralded a new period in the history of Christian thought. 

 

Plato (and Plotinus) was soon put to a different use, becoming the starting point, not for a scholasticism, but for personal speculations largely independent of Christianity and even, on some points, opposed to it.  The reason for this opposition is typical of the times.  The men of the sixteenth century were extremely interested in what we now call occultism, hermetism, or magic.  All that is often considered typically medieval in the way of sorcery, superstitious practices, and credulity in magical arts came to the forefront at the time of the Renaissance.  Not that it was not there before, but it had been held in check by the strict criticism of the theologians; now, however, free to speak up, it became an open source of philosophical speculation which presently blended with Platonism, as it had in antiquity, thus adding to it one more source of impurity.  Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) is the best-known exponent of that syncretism built around a nucleus of Platonism which so well exemplifies the philosophical disorder of the century.  {[19] pg 4}

 

Unfortunately, the scientific problems with an Aristotelian universe exposed for all to see by Galileo ushered in a climate of questioning all propositions held by the ancients to include the metaphysical as well as the physical with the consequence that the “baby was thrown out with the bath water.”  With the development of mathematics, in particular, its promotion by the likes of the Jesuit, Christopher Clavius, as to its superiority of demonstrations over dialectical disputations, the battle lines were drawn against scholastic philosophy.  His criticism of Aristotelian philosophy leading scholars to their endless sterile arguments stood out in a world where startling discoveries in mathematics and science were occurring everywhere.  The “disputatious” world of Aristotle, in the mind of Clavius, was crumbling with the Christian world of the scholastics feeling the reverberations.

 

Mathematics, Clavius once said, … truly begets science in the mind of the hearer and completely removes all doubt.  This can hardly be said of the other sciences in which, as often as not, the mind remains hesitant and uncertain, unable to judge of the truth of the conclusions because of the multitude and diversity of the opinions.  This is proved by the number of the peripatetic sects (to say now nothing of the other philosophers) that were born of Aristotle, like the limbs of a tree.  They disagree between themselves, and even sometimes with Aristotle, who is their source, to such an extent that one feels completely in the dark as to what Aristotle is about.  Is it words, or rather perhaps things?  Hence it comes about that some of these sects follow the Greek interpreters, others the Latin ones, while still others choose the Arabian ones for their guides; some are nominalists, the rest are those they call realists, and nevertheless, at the same time, they all pride themselves on being peripatetics.  How little all this resembles mathematical demonstrations is evident.  {[19] pp 21-22}

Clavius was a bit premature to make a blanket statement that mathematics “removes all doubt” since any numerical analyst worth his salt can unequivocally make the statement that exact answers can never be realized in a number theoretic context with only interval analysis, which is capable of bracketing the approximation to the continuous limiting result within an acceptable error, being realizable.  Also physics is only as good as the mathematics supporting it in terms of the assumptions that, of necessity, have to be made.  Of late, many results from such assumptions in quantum mechanics cannot be verified experientially in terms of their cosmic implications, which has some mathematicians questioning whether or not the aforementioned “acceptable error approximation” has been replaced by a gross exaggeration which bears no resemblance to mathematics at all.  Reference any Nova show on PBS dealing with the cosmos for proof.  When the noise is filtered out the audience is invariably left with the conclusion that all of what they have watched for the preceding hour has told them nothing about truth, i.e., it has only increased the confusion about what man may not be capable of understanding – a humbling limitation never entertained by those whose “god” is in their mirrors. 

The net result of Clavius’s enthusiasm for the unadulterated truth of mathematics was that into the trash went not only perishable physics but also perennial metaphysics. There was now a need for a philosophy fitting the science of the times and not of a man who lived four centuries before Christ. Bacon in England and Descartes in France were to be the new evangelists for this philosophy, which with the trashing of Christianity, would soon show very dark sides in the political thought of Machiavelli.

 

The abandonment of ancient philosophy

Maritain in Man and the State gets to the core of the abandonment of ancient philosophy on the part of Machiavelli when he writes

At the dawn of modern science and history, Machiavelli, in his Prince, offered us a philosophy of the merely technical rationalization of politics: in other words, he made a rational system out of the manner in which men most often behave in fact, by submitting that behavior to a merely artistic form and merely artistic rules.  Thus good politics became by definition non-moral and successful politics: the art of conquering and keeping power by any means whatsoever - even good, should an opportunity offer, a rare opportunity -  on the sole condition that they be fit to ensure success.  … the great strength of Machiavellianism comes from the incessant victories gained by evil means in the political achievements of mankind, and from the idea that if a prince or a nation respects justice, he or it is doomed to enslavement by other princes or nations trusting only in power, violence, perfidy, and lawless greed. 

Machiavellianism does not succeed.  For the power of evil is only, in reality, the power of corruption – the squandering and dissipation of the substance and energy of Being and of Good.  Such a power destroys itself in destroying that good which is its subject.  So that the inner dialectic of the successes of evil condemn them not to be lasting.  Machiavellianism works through its own causality for ruin and bankruptcy, as poison in the sap works for the illness and death of the tree.

How long, then, can the power of a State endure which becomes more and more of a giant as regards the external or technical forces, and more and more of a dwarf as regards the internal, human, actually vital forces? 

Let us not be deceived, moreover, by the Machiavellian sophistry: they say that justice and respect for moral values spell weakness and doom, and that strength is strong only if raised to the supreme standard of political existence.  That is a lie.  {[33] pp 56-60}

Continuing, Maritain gives the answer to Machiavellenism.

As Henri Bergson put it, the democratic feeling and philosophy has its deepest root in the Gospel.  To try to reduce democracy to technocracy, and to expel from it the Gospel inspiration together with all faith in the supra-material, supra-mathematical, and supra-sensory realities, would be to try to deprive it of its very blood.  Democracy can only live on Gospel inspiration.  It is by virtue of the Gospel inspiration that democracy can overcome its direst trials and temptations.  It is by virtue of the Gospel inspiration that democracy can progressively carry out its momentous task of the moral rationalization of political life. 

For human life has two ultimate ends, the one subordinate to the other: an ultimate end in a given order, which is the terrestrial common good, or the bonum vitae civilis; and an absolute ultimate end, which is the transcendent, eternal common good.  And individual ethics takes into account the subordinate ultimate end, but directly aims at the absolute ultimate one. {[33] pp 61-62}

The problem with Maritain, which was previously discussed, is that he does not take into account the absolute necessity for the Catholic Church to be the primary official advisor to the world, i.e., the moral beacon to the world, per traditional Church teaching, where tending toward the common good is a requirement for man’s creation, leading to his final good being an eternity with his Creator.  This is in recognition of the marriage of faith and reason, unlike their divorce proclaimed by the likes of Kant.  However, Maritain missed the boat when he believed that man, out of some sense of instilled democratic goodness via a democratic creed, could achieve the goals of his creation without the Church prompting him, moreover coercing him when evil holds sway, as necessary.  This is almost a Kantian mentality in that man is trusted to form his own categorical imperative of universal applicability without bias, as seen in the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, in complete ignorance of man’s concupiscence to sin resulting from Original Sin.  Who is to remind man of the folly of such acts if not the Church? 

Hence, there is only one categorical imperative and it is this: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. … Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature.  {[15] pg 1080}

If then there is to be a supreme practical principle and, as far as the human will is concerned, a categorical imperative, then it must be such that from the conception of what is necessarily an end for everyone because this end is an end in itself it constitutes an objective principle of the will and can hence serve as a practical law.  The ground of such a principle is this: rational nature exists as an end in itself.  In this way man necessarily thinks of his own existence; thus far is it a subjective principle of human actions.  But in this way also does every other rational being think of his existence on the same rational ground that holds also for me; hence it is at the same time an objective principle, from which, as a supreme practical ground, all laws of the will must be able to be derived.  The practical imperative will therefore be the following: Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.   {[15] pg 1085}

Good luck to a world condemned to Kant’s universal categorical imperatives where “anything basically goes” without the Church’s influence for a natural good leading to a supernatural good.  The U.S. Supreme Court is proof positive of the anarchy that awaits such moral categorization with every man free to create his own moral universe via Planned Parenthood v. Casey with no thought to the consequences of colliding universes. Unlike Star Trek’s fantasy, “Scotty cannot ‘beam us up.’” We are left to sort out the mess made by Godless philosophers. 

A closer look at Machiavelli

Summum bonum, you say? Telos? Distinguishing between real and apparent goods? These, along with all questions involving the morality of human life, the good for man, ultimate end and moral principles, the structure of the human act, good and evil action, character and decision, prudence and conscience, and religion and morality, are either non-existent or bastardized in the radically pessimistic world of Machiavelli. This is a world where there is only one axiom, one law, one primal motivation, one reason for living, “the end justifies the means.” The end, of course, relates only to man’s quest for happiness in the “here-and-now” as opposed to the “here-after” which, along with the bulk of Aristotelian thought pertaining to ethics, virtues, and perfect and imperfect happiness must, of necessity, be discarded in favor of the politics of expediency.

Pre Machiavelli - right and wrong still ascertained

It is well to note that before Machiavelli, rulers did not hesitate to apply bad faith, perfidy, falsehood, cruelty, assassination, and every kind of crime of which man is capable to the attainment of power and success and to the satisfaction of their greed and ambition. But in doing so, they felt guilty having a bad conscience to the extent that they had a conscience. This monstrous reflection in their mirrors ensured a certain amount of self-restraint - a deeply human uneasiness caused by that nagging little voice, which tells us that we are doing what we know we should not do, what is forbidden by a law that we know to be true. 

Post Machiavelli - evil can be done for a greater good with right and wrong no longer applicable

Post Machiavelli, not only these rulers but the so-called great leaders and makers, the movers and shakers, of modern states, in employing injustice for establishing order, and every kind of “useful” evil for satisfying their will for power, will have a clear conscience and feel that their duties as political heads have been accomplished. Evil can be done for a greater good.

Machiavelli the immoral teacher

Machiavelli taught us that immorality is the very law of politics. Nowhere is this more evident than with the previous leadership of the “free” world. The Clinton Administration will go down in history as the embodiment of Machiavellianism where vice becomes virtue, and the killing of innocents in its most brutal form becomes a defended law of the land for the sake of catering to a bankrupt political lobby in order to stay in power at all costs. Machiavelli constantly slips from the idea of well-doing to the idea of what men admire as well-doing, from moral virtue to appearing and apparent moral virtue; his virtue is a virtue of opinion, self-satisfaction and glory. Thus, if the prevailing opinion is that the President of the United States can engage in the most filthy of sexual acts with a girl young enough to be his daughter in the While House, a house where he is the tenant and not the landlord (the landlords are the American people), lie about it under oath, and demonize all those who would call him to accountability, no problem exists. The President can stand tall with his jaw quavering, a tear in his eye, holding his wife’s hand with his while clutching a Bible in his other, look into the camera and tell the country with a straight face “I’m OK, you’re OK,” and “we must accept the sin with the sinner.” Thank you, Mr. President, for your wonderful example to the youth of America.

We are at a moral crossroads in the United States thanks to Machiavellianism, as a country that accepts abortion, infanticide and sodomy as “unrestricted civil rights” is a country going to hell! It is a country confronted with impetuous, irrational, revolutionary, wild, and demoniacal Machiavellianism, for which boundless injustice, boundless violence, boundless lying and immorality, are normal political means, and which draws from this very boundlessness of evil an abominable strength. Such was the legacy of William Jefferson Clinton at the dawn of the third millennium, a country increasingly devoid of the common good by knowing perfectly how not to be good, and whose hypocrisy is conscious, happy, ostentatious, and gloriously promoted to the rest of the world in the name of population control, radical feminism, and sex-ed from cradle to grave as promoted by Margaret Sanger and the criminally fraudulent research of Alfred Kinsey.  A country whose cruelty wants to destroy souls as well as bodies, and whose former leader deconstructs the language turning felony perjury into acceptability, is a country steeped in absolute Machiavellianism causing politics to be the art of bringing about the misfortune of men. 

The only remedy to Machiavellianism

Machiavellianism’s triumphs over mankind will only occur because all kinds of accepted iniquity, moral weakness and consent to evil, operating within a degenerating civilization, will previously have corrupted it, and prepared ready-made slaves for the lawless man. In other words, good men will have done nothing; their silence will be the death knell of civilization as we once knew it. If Machiavellianism is to be crushed, it will only be because of what remains of Christian civilization will have been able to oppose it on all fronts – a Christian civilization rooted in the Founder of Christianity upon the Rock that is Peter, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the visible leader of the One True Church in the singular being the consistent Scriptural reference.  This is the only Church, as the sole depository of Sacred infallible Truth on faith and morals protected by the Holy Ghost, for which the gates of hell are guaranteed not to prevail. 

Enter Bacon with no eggs

Gilson in A History of Philosophy describes the change that had overtaken philosophy since the Middle Ages. 

The fact that Bacon was neither a cleric nor even a professional philosophy teacher is in itself a measure of the change that had overtaken philosophy since the Middle Ages.  Previously, practically all philosophers were both clerics and professors.  Then in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries lay professors of philosophy started to appear … In the seventeenth century, no philosopher of great note, with the exception of Malebranche, will be a priest, and none at all a teacher!  As to Bacon – he was no less than Lord Chancellor of England, and so little the cloistered type that he managed to get himself fired for accepting bribes.  {[19] pg 25}

Bacon was the product of a slightly less troubled time where there was more room for confidence in search of the quest for the truth. This confidence is conditioned on using the “right method” which knows no class. Bacon was less concerned with the polity of his times compared to the radical revolution proposed by Machiavelli who made men comfortable with their vices. He was concerned with a quest for a new method of reasoning which would be capable of extending the benefits of the new science, freed from its Aristotelian shackles by Galileo and company, to the whole of philosophy. He along with Descartes wanted a new epistemology, a new view of the world in the light of the scientific results of the new methods, a new and scientific program mapped out for mankind.

Bacon dispensing with the impractical

What Bacon and his contemporaries saw the need for was an application oriented renaissance version of modern public education’s “school-to-work.” If something was deemed impractical, it was not worth the time of day.  These are referred to as “idols” in Bacon’s New Organon.

The idols and false notions which are now in possession of the human understanding, and have taken deep root in there, not only so beset men’s minds that truth can hardly find entrance, but even after entrance is obtained, they will again, in the very instauration of the sciences, meet and trouble us, unless men being forewarned of the danger fortify themselves as far as may be against their assaults.

There are four classes of idols that beset men’s minds.  To these for distinction’s sake I have assigned names, calling the first class idols of the tribe; the second, idols of the cave; the third, idols of the market place; the fourth, idols of the theater.  The formation of ideas and axioms by induction is without doubt the proper remedy to be applied for the keeping off and clearing away of idols.  To point them out, however, is of great use; for the doctrine of idols is to the interpretation of nature what the doctrine of the refutation of sophisms is to common logic. {[8] pg 6}

Bacon and the self-destruction of philosophy

Bacon habitually sees the world only in terms of it being the raw material of human activity. Pieper in Leisure, the Basis of Culture says

When the world is no longer looked upon as creation, there can no longer be theoria in the full sense. And with the fall of theoria, the freedom of philosophy falls as well, and what comes in its place is the functionalizing, the making it into something “practical” oriented toward a legitimation by its social function; what comes to the fore is the working character of philosophy, or of philosophy so-called. Meanwhile, our thesis maintains that it is of the nature of the philosophical act, to transcend the world of work.  {[39] pg 79}

For Pieper, true philosophy rests upon the belief that the real wealth of man lies neither in the satisfaction of his necessities nor in becoming lords and masters of nature but rather in being able to understand what is - the whole of what is. Ancient philosophy says that this is the utmost fulfillment to which we can attain - a conception which in the Christian tradition was taken up into the concept of the Beatific Vision.

Bacon’s new philosophical meanings with metaphysics trashed

By “metaphysics” Bacon does not mean the highest rung on the philosophical ladder of Aristotle, the “prime philosophy” which is the common source of all knowledge of which we know a little - the bridge from the natural to the supernatural. What is Bacon’s metaphysics concerned with? Whereas physics is concerned with that which is inherent in matter and thus transitory, metaphysics deals with that which is abstracted and fixed. The former handles the material and efficient causes; the latter handles the formal and final causes. However, some huge differences exist in the consideration of these causes.

What Bacon intended was something like the generalities of physics or the knowledge of the properties that are the common position of the essences of all actually existing things or beings. His metaphysics is a restricted level of abstraction as his notion of “formal cause” is more attuned to the general laws of physics than with Aristotelian essential “forms.”  Bacon relegates the metaphysics of Aristotle and his interpreter Aquinas to the intellectual trash bin as anything not related to the mastery of nature meets the same fate.  This is underscored in the New Organon by Bacon’s tossing out of a significant portion of the metaphysics vocabulary as being “ill defined.”

The syllogism consists of propositions, propositions consist of words, words are symbols of notions.  Therefore, if the notions themselves (which is the root of the matter) are confused and too hastily abstracted from the facts, there can be no firmness in the superstructure.  Our only hope therefore lies in a true induction.

There is no soundness in our notions, whether logical or physical. Substance, quality, passion, essence itself are not sound notions; much less are heavy, light, dense, rare, moist, dry, generation, corruption, attraction, repulsion, element, matter, form, and the like.  But all are fantastical and ill defined. {[8] pg 5}

Bacon excludes all finality beyond that necessary for the conduct of human affairs with this finality itself restricted to a purely materialistic and naturalistic scope. Hence, there is no need to consider proofs for the existence of a first mover such as Aquinas did in the Summa Contra Gentiles building on Aristotle. It is clear that, given Bacon’s self imposition of a very restricted definition of metaphysics making it practically indistinguishable from physics, his philosophy would not be inclined to “bring man back to religion.” You cannot  climb a ladder if one of the rungs is missing, and you most certainly cannot get to where you want to go if that rung is at the very top.

 

 

Induction replaces deduction

Bacon said in the New Organon that the method usually followed by philosophers should be inverted. Instead of coming down from axioms, e.g., first principles to particular conclusions, as in syllogistic deduction, a prime logical tool for the ancients, the scientist should go instead from particular experiments and observations up to axioms - induction, in other words, should replace deduction.

Thus, a central difficulty in Bacon’s positive conception of nature is the lack of a sound conception of causality. The scholastic conception is to be avoided at all costs, i.e., that of a formal principle so real in itself that it could exist independently of the realm of concrete things.

The undermining of religious belief

Philosophers like Bacon and Descartes seemed to imply that faith could not withstand rational scrutiny and was primarily a matter of subjective choice. Such was the effect of the fideism of Bacon who came to believe that the traditional process of deduction from supposedly self-evident principles had produced little new scientific knowledge; it either gave back what we already knew or else led us astray by giving an illusory support to our confusions. What was needed was a confrontation with obstacles to knowledge, false idols as Bacon called them in the New Organon. Also needed was the systematic understanding and control of nature based on an empirical method with less emphasis on the demonstrations of the ancients. The resulting axioms of Bacon’s philosophy would be statements of natural causes and laws derived by induction from scientific observation and experiments. While his positive contributions in regard to the new sciences, at least the natural sciences, as opposed to the mathematical sciences are not to be minimized (Bacon failed to appreciate the overriding value of mathematical exactness and projection built on a foundation axiomatic system), he suffered from an inability to admit to the fact that faith enables reason and reason substantiates faith. The metaphysics of Aristotle, in particular, the De Anima do not appear to be in Bacon’s vocabulary for the new logic, the new philosophy which the new science demanded.

2.2.4 Locke’s vagueness about the “common good” has consequences

Rice in The Winning Side, Questions on Living the Culture of Life and 50 Questions on the Natural Law, What It Is and Why We Need It presents the stark contrast between The Enlightenment view of the person and of the state with that of the Christian tradition which preceded it.

The Enlightenment view of the person and of the state differed radically from what had gone before in the Christian tradition and the common law. Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau postulated a mythical state of nature in which autonomous, isolated individuals were milling around and, for various reasons, agreed to form the state. Hobbes thought people were hostile and needed the state, or Leviathan, to keep them from killing each other. The individual surrendered total power to the state, reserving only his right to life and his right not to incriminate himself. Locke’s state of nature was more pleasant, but men needed a common judge to settle disputes. And so they formed the state to protect their rights, but in that state the majority would rule. Rousseau, on the other hand, thought men formed the state to carry out the general will which is the unlimited will, not of the majority, but of the man in charge, the sovereign. {[45] pg 89}

 

Traditional Christianity versus The Enlightenment

In the traditional Christian view, the state derives its authority from God (although the people may from time to time decide who exercises that authority) and the state is subject to the law of God including the natural law. In The Enlightenment view, the state derives its authority horizontally, from the people. It is the people, rather than the law of God, which defines in what way, if any, the power of the state will be limited. And, if the people give rights, the people can take them away. Nineteenth century utilitarianism added to this mix the idea, as seen in Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and others, that the purpose of the law and society is to achieve the greatest good of the greatest number. This good is the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. There is no knowable objective morality and no common good beyond the sum of individual goods. The family is an aggregation of individuals rather than a society in itself. The person comes to be regarded as merely “economic man.” The Enlightenment philosophy has dominated the twentieth century in different forms. It devalues the role of mediating institutions, such as the family and social groups, between the individual and the state. It tends to deteriorate into either and individualist capitalism or a totalitarian collectivism. Enlightenment law is wholly an exercise of will, while Aquinas affirmed that the essence of law is reason. Enlightenment jurisprudence will be utilitarian and positivist, with no inherent limits on what the state can do. The Enlightenment project, which dominates American culture, has three decisive characteristics, secularism, relativism, and individualism.  {[45] pp 89-90}

Enlightenment thinkers postulate a mythical state of nature

Whereas Aristotle, Aquinas, and others affirmed that man is social by nature, Enlightenment thinkers postulated a mythical “state of nature” populated by autonomous individuals who were not social but “sociable.” Those individuals formed the state according to the social contract. The purpose, according to Hobbes, was to achieve security; according to Locke, it was for the protection of rights; for Rousseau, it was to implement the “general will.” The origin of the state was therefore not in nature and the divine plan but in the social contract, with rights coming not from God but from man and ultimately the state. “The Declaration of the Rights of Man at the end of the eighteenth century,” wrote Hannah Arendt, “ was a turning point in history. It meant nothing more nor less than that from then on Man, and not God’s command or the customs of history, should be the source of Law.” {[44] pg 37}

Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responds.

“The theories of the social contract . . . were elaborated at the end of the 17th century (cf. Hobbes); that which would bring harmony among men was a law recognized by reason and commanding respect by an enlightened prince who incarnates the general will. Here, too, when the common reference to values and ultimately to God is lost, society will then appear merely as an ensemble of individuals placed side by side, and the contract which ties them together will necessarily be perceived as an accord among those who have the power to impose their will on others . . . By a dialectic within modernity, one passes from the affirmation of the rights of freedom, detached from any objective reference to a common truth, to the destruction of the very foundations of this freedom. The ‘enlightened despot’ of the social contract theorists became the tyrannical state, in fact totalitarian, which disposes of the life of its weakest members, from an unborn baby to an elderly person, in the name of a public usefulness which is really only the interest of a few.” [See Ratzinger, “The Problem of Threats to Human Life,” 36 The Pope Speaks, 334-35 (1991).]  {[44] pp37-38}

We will focus on Locke’s moderation of Hobbes’s view of man and society that advocates the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. Rice’s description of The Enlightenment has become synonymous with radical liberalism where a freedom too far is the demand of those wanting to be made comfortable with their vices under force of law.

According to Hobbes, men are naturally free, and all seek exclusively their own interests. Hence, men lived at first in a state of perpetual war. Then, as a practical expedient, they compacted to form society, to which, as represented by its rulers, unlimited power over the individual members was confided. This sovereign body Hobbes called the Leviathan, the monster of limitless strength and power. As a logical inference from his rejection of divine authority in the constitution and government of states, Hobbes rejected the distinction between the temporal and spiritual power and denied the independent rights of the Church; for “a man cannot obey two masters, and a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Thus, whatever worship or religion exists in a state must be completely subject to the civil power and no dogma can be appealed to against a law of the state.

In Locke’s theory the liberty which men had before the supposed original social contract remains with them and is inalienable, “for no one can ever by subjected to authority without his own consent.” But as this “universal” consent can scarcely ever be had, the only remedy against anarchy is that the majority must include the rest. The result is that it is a law both of nature and of reason that the act of the majority is the act of the whole.

Kant’s interpretation of the philosophy of Hobbes and Locke

Cahil in The Framework of a Christian State describes Kant’s interpretation of Hobbes and Locke.

The principles of Hobbes and Locke were more fully elaborated by the 18th century founders of the French liberal school and those of the German Aufklarung. Of the latter, Kant has had the widest influence. In Kant’s view, man, as a moral being, is “a law to himself and an end to himself, a cause but not an effect.” Hence, the civil union whose object is to secure liberty for all must presuppose an implied contract as a necessary foundation of its authority. {[14] pg 116}

Let us look at a more detailed comparison of the philosophies of Hobbes and Locke as described by the Catholic philosopher Hittinger in his “Three Philosophies of Human Rights,” which is contained in Ball’s In Search of a National Morality. Human freedom became the fundamental moral fact, not virtue or divine command. The development of this notion wound its way through late medieval nominalism and became a major theme in the work of Hobbes, especially his Leviathan, which is usually marked as the turning point from the ancient natural right or natural law to the modern account of natural rights.

Hobbes challenges Aquinas

Hobbes challenged the fundamental presuppositions of the Thomistic synthesis of biblical theology and Aristotelian philosophy – such as the sociability of man and the possibility of a common good, the existence of a highest good (summum bonum) in virtue and contemplation, and the natural law derived from such human teleology. (Telos, as such, did not exist for the modern philosophers.) Beginning with a state of nature as a state of war, Hobbes saw the futility of seeing a good higher than self-preservation. His philosophy is based upon a view of human nature as selfish and contentious; he denied that there exists any higher good other than survival. Consequently, he derived the natural law from a more fundamental right of self-preservation.

Hobbes defined the “right of nature” as “the liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own nature.” He clearly distinguished right from law. “Right consisteth in liberty to do, or forbeare; whereas Law, determineth, and bindeth to one of them; so the Law, and Right, differ as much, as Obligation, and Liberty.” For Hobbes, right, i.e., liberty, clearly takes precedent over law, i.e., obligation. The fundamental right or liberty of the self is unbounded or unlimited by anything; by the fundamental right of preservation, each man has a right to everything, and anything done in the pursuit of preservation is without blame. The intolerable conflicts between individuals, however, amount to a state of war. It is reasonable, therefore, to limit one’s claim to things for the sake of self-protection. Morality exists by way of the social contract, and is a rational deduction of moral rules from the right of self-preservation.

Hobbes’s defense of individual rights required the existence of an absolute power in society to keep all potential wrongdoers in such a state of awe that they would obey the law. Hobbes’s account was shocking in many ways, not the least of which was its implicit anti-theistic philosophy, that it was frequently decried and banned. The direct contrast between Hobbes and the biblical and philosophical accounts of moral and political order would be the easiest approach to take to the philosophical questions about rights. {[10] pg 258}

“Might makes right,” and “survival, i.e., self-preservation at all costs,” drives Hobbes’s philosophy with no room for God Who would only clutter up things with His outdated notions of “Love your neighbor as I have loved you.”

 

Locke’s transformation of Hobbes into something more acceptable to the masses

Locke transformed the Hobbesian philosophy into a more palatable and balanced philosophy of natural rights. It is in this Lockean form that many Americans came to know about rights. And Locke’s philosophy contains a fundamental ambiguity that pertains to the alternatives mentioned above.  That is, the very tension over the autonomy of the person and the workmanship of God is played out in the writing and interpretation of Locke. {[10] pg 249}

Homeschoolers see this constantly in the state telling them what “rights” they have in the education of their children to the total ignorance of the fact that these “rights” do not come from the state, but rather from God as was pointed out in Pontifical Council for the Family’s document entitled “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.”

Locke sought to find a solution to the problem of politics that would restore peace to a country divided by religious wars. The tolerance of religious belief required, in his mind, the lowering of the goal and mission of the temporal order, away from the inculcation of virtue, and the defense of the faith to the protection of the temporal welfare of its citizens – rights to life, liberty, and property. By removing the matter of religious contention from civil concerns Locke hoped to quell the disturbances inflicted upon Europe because of intolerance. Hobbes, however, removed contentious matters by making the sovereign absolute over the determination of the beliefs of citizens. It was Locke who overcame the inconsistencies in this account and sought to place structural and formal limits upon the sovereign political power and to bind the sovereign to the respect of rights to life, liberty, and property. The division of powers, taxation with representation, and limited prerogatives of the state power balanced by a “right to revolution” are all part of Locke’s system. For Hobbes, rights are fundamental moral claims against others; Locke adds to this the claim of the individual against the state, at least when a “long train of abuses” is perceived by a majority and rouses it to act.  Locke’s more moderate and reasonable account of human rights has appealed to generations of political statesmen and thinkers. However, the seed of radical autonomy as the basis for human rights blooms fully in subsequent philosophers in the natural rights tradition. {[10] pg 249}

In the late 20th century the fruits of this radical autonomy is seen in the insanity of Planned Parenthood v. Casey where the autonomous unencumbered rights of the individual are elevated to a supernatural plane governed by the “god in the mirror” as each man can define his own universe with its own unique laws and rights to the total exclusion of his fellow men. This begs the obvious question, just what do you do when these myriad universes collide as they invariably will? The obvious answer of “anarchy prevailing” evidently did not occur to the majority of our illustrious Supreme Court justices.

Like Hobbes, Locke derived the principles of limited government from a hypothetical state of nature. This original state of nature is said to be a state of “perfect freedom.” By freedom Locke meant no more than an absence of restraint. Locke mentioned the bounds of a natural law in the same passage with perfect freedom. This is to distinguish “liberty” from “license.” The natural law initially guides men in the state of nature to refrain from harm: “The State of Nature has a Law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one; and Reason, which is that Law, teaches all Mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions.” The restraint demanded by natural law derives from an additional characteristic of the state of nature: in the state of nature men are equal, in addition to being free. Locke made clear that equality means equal jurisdiction, or the absence of subordination and subjection. The basis for this mutual respect and recognition is the fundamental problem, since it is the basis for natural law.  {[10] pp 249-250}

The problems with Locke

The key difficulty in interpreting the philosophy of Locke pertains to the foundation of natural rights and the rationale for mutual restraint. Locke gives a twofold rationale and foundation. On the one hand, he spoke of man as God’s workmanship and from this axiom derived the right to life, liberty, and property as essential to the divine moral order; on other occasions he simply appeals to the primacy of self-preservation and unfolds from radical autonomy the list of rights and the self-interested basis for mutual respect. {[10] pp 250}

Thus, Locke’s recourse to self-preservation is nothing more than vintage Hobbes. 

In the first model, the basis for equal respect is divine workmanship and the order of creation. Locke argued that all creatures are equal under God and occupy the same rank or status as “creature.” Thus, no one can assume to take the position of God and rule over others. This argument from the order of creation reflects a pre-modern understanding of equality. Men are neither beasts nor gods but occupy equally a ground midway between.  It is neither appropriate to act as a god nor to treat others as beasts or inferior creatures. Locke explicitly used this pre-modern image. In light of this order of creation, man can make no claim to absolute dominion over his fellow creatures. Mutual respect depends upon the recognition of one’s status as a creature, along with others, before the Creator. That is, a human being cannot claim the type of superiority that would authorize the destruction or arbitrary use of another human being, and rights protect this status.  {[10] pg 250}

Locke’s concept of “natural law” was independent of God

Locke said that the grasp of “natural law” did not depend on divine revelation, nor did it depend on knowledge of God’s promulgated law and sanctions. This content can be appreciated independently of the workmanship model. For to deny the mutuality of equal right is to propel oneself into a state of war with others. And by such a declaration one has “exposed his Life to the others Power to be taken away by him.” To put oneself in such an insecure state is most unreasonable and dangerous. One is open to being treated like a noxious beast. It is more safe, more reasonable, to acknowledge the equality of rights. Thus, mere self-interest would counsel mutuality and restraint. Locke referred to the law of nature as simply the law of reason and common equity: the law of nature is the reasonable restraint of common equity that will establish mutual security. It is discovered through the person’s own desire for safety and security. The basis for restraint is fear of harm and self-interest. According to this model of rights, selfish interest, or comfortable preservation, is the basis for one’s claims. Enlightened self-interest leads one to recognize the equal right of others to their life, liberty, and property. {[10] pp 250-251}

The obvious difficulty with Locke’s mode of thinking here is “What happens when your neighbor’s moral compass becomes uncalibrated in the absence of a Divine Force point to the north of true truth?”  In particular, what can be appealed to in the absence of the Catholic Church’s infallible guarantee of the aforementioned calibration?  Certainly not the consequences of the Reformation where we are now staring at upwards of 20,000 denominations that agree on practically nothing – all claiming the Bible as their guide.   Certainly not the secularists whose atheism has resulted in holocausts with victims in the millions and still counting.

In fact, a religious doctrine logically influences the whole of morality.  Who can fail to see the innumerable consequences of this order of things?  Who will be able to determine the dividing-line between good and evil when the criterion of morals in accordance with Catholic truth revealed by Christ has been set aside?

The talk of liberty for all religious communities in human society cannot be made without at the same time granting moral liberty to these communities, many of which are indistinguishable from unbelief.  Witness the main stream Protestant Churches promoting the entirety of a “culture-of-ETERNAL-death” to include contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia.  Morals and religion are closely linked, e.g., polygamy and the religion of Islam.

It is a fact that everyone perceives the truth differently in the moral relativistic world in which we live to include myriad religious denominations.  Who will serve as the clearing-house for Truth spelled with a capital “T” if not the Catholic Church and her members, in particular, her orthodox philosophers and theologians whose responsibility  in this matter is very grave indeed considering the eternal consequences?

The legacy of Locke

The legacy of Locke is “ambivalent.”

The legacy of Locke is therefore ambivalent.  The advocate of limited government and an apparent friend of the theistic tradition, Locke nevertheless underwrote a model of radical human autonomy in which freedom dominates the moral order. {[10] pg 251}

Today, this radical freedom is confused with license on a daily basis with the most dreadful of consequences where hedonism rules all aspects of society having only the Church as the last bastion of truth in a world gone mad.  We are left with a lowest common denominator approach to a Godless civil law with the encouragement of self-interest in the tradition of Hobbes in direct ignorance of the need for the Church’s influence to morally separate the wheat from the chaff.

Locke’s philosophy of human rights was derived from a subjectivist account of the good; it lowers the goal of the state to a supposedly neutral position; it imposes a minimal obligation of nonharm; and ultimately it does encourage self-interest. This minimal obligations approach in civil law become the extent of morality; the wide sphere of private life must come to occupy the bulk of human energies. With Locke, such freedom was aimed at unlimited acquisition of property and the self found its affirmation in labor and the “work ethic.” But such terms as equal freedom and mutual respect came to be transformed under the inspiration of Rousseau and Kant to mean much more than civic liberty and protection of private property. In contemporary American jurisprudence they have come to promote the existence of what has been referred to as the “erotic self.”  {[10] pg 251}

A preview of Locke’s modern theory of rights

A law professor at New York State University, Richards, gives us a preview of Locke’s modern theory of rights. 

David A.J. Richards is Professor of Law at New York State University and Director of N.Y.U.’s Program for the Study of Law, Philosophy, and Social Theory.  His publications cover constitutional and criminal law, political philosophy, and ethics.  One of his works is entitled Sex, Drugs, Death and the Law.  It is a treatise that follows the logic of the right to privacy to the point of decriminalizing all consensual sex acts, including prostitution, as well as drug use and euthanasia. Richards stressed the radical departure in ethics and politics characteristic of the modern theory of rights elaborated by Locke. He sought to purge American thought and culture of its religious influence; this included what Richards called its Calvinistic public morality and also natural law principles derived from Catholic morality and tradition.

Indeed, the Bible or Thomistic natural law must be considered degrading because they attempt to guide or otherwise restrict the creative freedom of individual persons.  {[10] pp 251-252}

Presumably this “creative freedom” includes the ability to not only destroy themselves, but society in general.

Unlimited rights at all costs to civilization’s survival

Richards’s conscience is the primary right, no matter how radical, i.e., uninformed, regardless of the consequences. 

The right of conscience is the primary right and the paradigm for all others. Expanded to include any conscientious belief or actions derived therefrom, so too other rights are similarly expanded and developed in the light of the principle of autonomy and respect for persons.  {[10] pg 253}

“I’m OK, you’re OK, even though you are killing yourself physically and spiritually and, by your example, invite as many as possible to follow you to perdition.

Pornography is extolled as the higher option against the repressed Catholic and puritan public morality. Sexuality is the core value for Richards because through it, “we express and realize a wholeness of emotion, intellect and self image guided by the just play of the self-determining powers of a free person. As a good liberal he wished to demonstrate the constitutional legitimacy of the right to privacy, its rightful application in such cases involving contraceptive use in marriage, nonmarital contraceptive use, pornography in the home, and abortion services. In addition he criticized the Supreme Court for its failures to apply privacy rights to consensual homosexual acts. Homosexuals ought to be afforded the same rights to privacy, family, adoption and so on as heterosexuals.  Such would forward the “great work of collective democratic decency that is the Constitution of the United States.” {[10] pg 253}

No matter that the Constitution allows for no rights to aberrant self-destructive behavior, much less demands that society accept same.

The rotten fruit springing forth from the seeds of radical autonomy

In the work of David Richards, the seed of radical autonomy planted by Hobbes and Locke for the sake of acquisition of property and comfortable self-preservation has matured to become the fruit of a full moral subjectivism and the clear abandonment of and attack upon any shred of classical natural law and virtue. {[10] pg 253}

The verdict on Locke’s rights discourse

The assault on reason must be squarely faced via the natural law of Aquinas, not the dictates of Hobbes or Locke. 

There is an obvious need for the understanding of and the use of rights discourse today.  It is necessary for the very protection of the claims of religion and religious activity in a secular state. Rights language helps to explain the advocacy for the vulnerable members of society that Christian conscience demands. Thus, to influence public policy in a salutary way, rights discourse is inevitable. But the basis for and purpose of human rights discourse must be clearly understood if we are to avoid the confusion and equivocations of the present day. We must engage in a serious reading of modern philosophers such as Hobbes and Locke; in addition the contemporary developments of Rawls, Dworkin and Richards must be squarely faced. 

The use of rights discourse is fraught with difficulties, not the least of which is sheer equivocation when engaged in discourse with the dominant liberal culture. The philosophy of human rights underlying such accounts – the radical autonomy of the human person – must be challenged and redefined. A sound philosophy of rights must make it clear that freedom is not an absolute, that rights are imbedded in an objective moral order that is accessible by reason (natural law) and revelation (divine law), and finally that rights are correlated with duties to the community, to others, for the common good, and ultimately to God.  {[10] pg 257}

But who is going to use the natural law of Aquinas as a participation in the divine eternal law showing the marriage between faith and reason if not the Catholic Church and its philosophers?  Surely, the secular arena is eliminated from consideration here, as any college student could attest to after spending a hour in Basic Philosophy 101 where Aquinas’s natural law and its relationship to divine law is antithetical to the modernist creed.

For example consider the latest Continuing Education offerings from Penn State’s Fall 2004 Course Handbook in Philosophy, which is par for the course for major secular universities. 

http://www.PSU4YOU.org

PHIL 001 Basic Problems of Philosophy – Introduction to central philosophical themes, including the mind/body problem, the existence of God, ethical problems, the nature of reality.

PHIL 010 Critical Thinking – Discussion of the validity, soundness, and fallacies of everyday language use and reasoning; informal logic; and manipulative arguments and propaganda.

PHIL 100 The Meaning of Existence – Explores differing views of the significance of human life, the meaning of freedom, and the way to a meaningful life.

Could one expect the truth of the marriage between faith and reason to be presented in a secular arena that considers its primary job the erasure of an “inflexible God” from a public square that does not require Him?  We should caution against “betting the farm” that such an outcome would occur, given the results of a Godless secular philosophy as seen in the daily news.  For example, one would be shocked to see if Aquinas is given anything other than a passing reference as someone entrapped in a medieval close-minded jail not in tune with the times. The difficulty is not so much in fighting the secularists on this issue.  Their opposition is well known.  The real problem is finding contemporary Catholic philosophers who make the distinction between an ontological dignity and a moral dignity. The latter takes precedence over the former. It makes no sense to talk of the “dignity owed man” without this important clarification, i.e., without a clear exposition of the differences between an ontological dignity, to which all are entitled by virtue of being made in the image and likeness of God, and a moral dignity, which results from man being endowed with an intellect and will, and therefore capable of accepting good and rejecting evil.

Let us look at the example of homosexuality.  Moral dignity does not exist for sodomites, a distinction that the post-Conciliar Catholic philosophy and theology (reason and faith) rarely makes, instead adopting language that would have us erroneously believe that there exists something called the homosexual person, a concept which turns Christian anthropology on its head. In effect, it falsely makes God, Who is Perfect Goodness, out to be something less than good by creating man with a built-in, one-way ticket to hell in complete ignorance of the effect of concupiscence due to Original Sin.   Thus, we are left with a moral chasm with the language of "pseudo charity" replacing the language of "tough love" for the common good, and especially for salvation's sake. The result has been that the necessary feelings of revulsion toward those proudly trumpeting their sodomite tendencies are no longer there. The door was left ajar for a misplaced compassion that such individuals do not deserve.  The rest is history as those who know how to exploit a weakness when they see one have subsequently kicked this door wide open. 

Where the power is in Locke’s political vision

Political power in Locke’s commonwealth clearly resides in the will of the majority. Locke believes that reason will persuade most men to pursue a course of enlightened self-interest. The “common good,” a conception that remains extremely vague in Locke’s philosophy in his Two Treatises of Civil Government, will motivate them.

But though men, when they enter into society, give up the equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of nature, into the hands of society, to be so far disposed of by the legislative, as the good of the society shall require; yet it being only with an intention in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty and property; (for no rational creature can be supposed to change his condition with an intention to be worse) the power of the society, or legislative constituted by them, can never be supposed to extend farther, than the common good; but is obliged to secure every one’s property, by providing against the defects that made the state of nature so unsafe and uneasy.  … And all of this is to be directed to no other end, but the peace, safety, and public good of the people. {[35] pg 779}

To conclude, The power that every individual gave the society, when he entered into it, can never revert to the individuals gain, as long as the society lasts, but will always remain in the community; because without this there can be no community, no commonwealth, which is contrary to the original agreement: so also when the society hath placed the legislative in any assembly of men, to continue in them and their successors, with direction and authority for providing such successors, the legislative can never revert to the people whilst that government lasts:  Because, having provided a legislative with power to continue forever, they have given up their political power to the legislative, and cannot resume it.  But if they have set limits to the duration of their legislative, and made this supreme power in any person, or assembly, only temporary; or else, when by the miscarriages of those in authority, it is forfeited; upon the forfeiture, or at the determination of the time set, it reverts to the society, and the people have a right to act as supreme, and continue the legislative in themselves; or erect or new form, or under the old form place it in new hands, as they think good.                  {[35] pg 815}

The possibility that the majority of society might turn tyrannous is gingerly avoided. But of course no one has an answer for those cases where a whole people seem to have gone collectively insane such as typified by the United States of America since Roe v. Wade and, in particular, under “the Presidents Clinton” where the principle of “common good” is nonexistent. This comes as no surprise given Locke’s radical move to redefine virtue as nothing more than irrational fashions, not attuned to the customs of the times, the mere opinions of what man has about what is acceptable or not in society. Ethics is not ordered by duty or perfection but by self-advantage and self-interest, a breeding ground for moral relativism. The greatest praise in Locke’s increasingly materialistic world goes to the inventor, not those doing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Human power and property is elevated with God put in the background. No need to worry about the supernatural since technology will save man from the grave. Faith is superfluous leaving only a purely secular ethic with faith only retained to appeal to a broader audience.

One might ask a simple question. If avoidance of death is our highest end, the summum bonum of materialism, of secular humanism, why should anyone sacrifice; why be a soldier or policeman? Locke tries to answer this difficult question by wrapping his social contract in faith, but his arguments, as discussed in this paper, are shallow for Locke’s faith, as for so many of the modern philosophers, is a function of a “god made in their image” not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and certainly not the God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

2.2.5 Hume’s free floating impressions confuse the issue

Locke saw that reason alone could not be the starting point that Descartes had tried to make it in laying new foundations for philosophy. Descartes’s rationalism appealed to many as an alternative to Aristotle, but it gave rise to a simplification of a different and opposing type known as British empiricism.  The main champions of this new view were Locke and Hume.

Locke basically held that all knowledge must begin with sensation. Sensations, or “ideas” as Locke called them, are units that the mind perceives and aggregates into complexes. This process led to qualities that go together, which cannot subsist by themselves. Locke postulated an underlying substrate or substance in which they must inhere. He proposed that the real essence of substance consists in the configurations and motions of insensible particles that will always escape man’s observational powers. Thus, the mind cannot know substance in itself, but only the idea of substance as captured in Locke’s concept of nominal essence, i.e., with what it discerns as the observed properties and relations of bodies. Locke puts the Aristotelian idea of substance in the background to be replaced by a notion that material bodies are nothing more than a cluster of accidents, not far from Darwinism.

The exclusive source of human knowledge according to Hume

Hume raised Locke’s sensations to a higher status; they become the exclusive source of human knowledge. Sensations for Hume are lively perceptions and ideas are the fainter ones with the senses providing man’s unique power of knowing. The senses are incapable of discerning any necessary connectedness between the events they perceive. Hume, like Locke, was skeptical of the idea of substance, taking it to mean only “a collection of particular qualities.” However, Locke was willing to count powers among qualities while Hume dispensed with these also, arguing that we can have no impression of any force or power by which an object would be constrained to produce an effect on another. He extended his skepticism further to reject the traditional notion of causality, replacing it with a much weaker notion, that of causation. In his view, all that our senses can perceive are temporal sequences among events and constant conjunctions between them. Since we are unable to discern “necessary connections” in nature, on observing a repetition of similar instances we are led by habit or custom to expect its usual attendant.

Hume retained the terminology of cause and effect, but the best that “causal” knowledge could achieve for him was discerning present or past associations of classes of events. This discernment would be powerless to guarantee any human expectations about the future. Hence, in the study of nature, induction would be an untrustworthy guide, the ground for achieving demonstrative knowledge would be removed, and the Aristotelian idea of science would be unattainable.

A posteriori or nothing for Hume

In both his Treatise of Human Nature {[8] pp 558-572} and his Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding {[8 ] pp 491-557} Hume argued that, in the study of nature, there is no way one can either discover or demonstrate any necessary connection between cause and effect on the basis of a priori reasoning. He saw that such a connection would have to be founded on observable experience, and thus, by implication, on the basis of a posteriori reasoning.

Up to this point Hume was on solid ground, but from then on his theory of knowledge failed him. Hume could not see how ordinary sensory qualities could ever disclose any power or energy within the natures of things that could affect the appearances they present to us. Man’s natural state of ignorance was such, he thought, that natural powers have to remain “secret powers,” and, consequently, that the natures underlying them have to remain secret too.

Hume went beyond Locke by arguing that, even if we were to know basic “atomic” arrangements and interactions in a Newtonian mechanics sense, we still could not have certain knowledge of how they produce sensible effects in the bodies of which we have experience. The basic principle behind this contention is that all human knowledge of matters of fact is given in, and arises from, sense impressions. But rather than focusing on the source of such knowledge in the essences of bodies and their powers per Locke, Hume examined how necessity could be found in sequences of events. To establish a necessary connection between events, he argued, one would have to prove that the sequence in which the events occur could not be otherwise. But such a proof cannot be found in experience because we have no sense impression of any force or power by means of which one event will be constrained to produce another. Even though past experience shows that events of type A are invariably followed by events of type B, there is no way we can logically conclude from this experience that the next A will necessarily be followed by a B. We can always imagine the opposite sequence taking place.

Causal efficacy replaced by causation

Through this type of argument Hume brought into question the key notion of causal efficacy or causal influence, the necessary connection between cause and effect implied in the traditional concept of causality. But he still wished to retain causal terminology, and so he proposed to reformulate the causal relation in different terms – giving rise to his new concept of “causation.”

In causation two components, temporal priority of cause over effect and constant conjunction between the two, replace the classical idea of causal efficacy. And, where previously there was thought to be an ontological link between cause and effect, Hume now proposed to replace this by a psychological link. For him, a causal sequence is one in which, upon appearance of an event of type A, we are led to anticipate an event of type B. Solely on the basis of such anticipation are we able to label A-events “causes” and B-events “effects.” So, subjectively, the causal relation resides in our anticipation of what is going to occur when we see an event of the first type; objectively, nothing more than temporal priority and constant conjunction are required to characterize the relationship between the two types of events.

No difference between knowing and imagining

In Locke’s and Hume’s theory of knowledge, the knower is proposed as knowing sense impressions or ideas, not as knowing things. Epistemologically this reduces quickly to solipsism, for one can well have an impression and yet have no notion whatever of the reality to which the impression might correspond. For Hume, it seems that knowing becomes like imagining, and real concepts become like logical concepts. But we can always imagine sequences of events that are different from those in reality, and unfortunately what is regarded as logical necessity frequently is not related to necessities found in the real world.

In summary, Hume starts with the two great axioms of modern philosophy: 1) only perceptions are present to the mind leading to a radical idealism where we do not know things, we are not in communion with the world but rather only with what is in our own heads, and 2) whatever is distinct is separable. At the end of Hume’s analysis of experience we are left with nothing but “free floating impressions.” We do not know if there is a self, so we cannot have an impression of self. Rather we just have “impressions” per se, and we are not sure if there is anything attached to them, a rather strange view of the cosmos to say the least.

We might ask “From what impression is an idea derived?” which is problematic from the outset. Critics of Hume point to the fact that to presume that the meaning of a term must be reduced to sensation is a far cry from an adequate account of human experience and meaning. Phenomenologists would ask “How can we have sensations available to us without a public world of things and people?”

What intelligence reduces to for Hume

The breakpoint leading to Kant is that the truth of propositions depends upon the source of the proposition. Is it a priori, independent of experience, or a posteriori, depending on experience? We either have relations of ideas a priori reducing to mere logical truth, i.e., tautologies A = A (necessary truth but not telling us anything), or a posteriori, truth depending on experience or matters of fact based on associations of perceptions and experience. The truth is not necessary because the contrary is always possible (conceivable or imaginable). This is what intelligence reduces to for Hume, an association of ideas with Pavlov’s dogs being a prime example, i.e., ring the bell, food will be dispensed. Hume says that humans know that there is no necessary connection between ringing the bell and the bringing of food. All of our knowledge of nature becomes that arbitrary. There is no reason why a law holds; we only know that it is, and can imagine a contrary – so much for the natural law of God written on the hearts of man. Hume extends the notion of possibility to such a radical extreme that anything that we can conceive the possibility of shows there is no necessity at all.

Some problems arise

There are some problems. Human understanding is full of non-perceptual factors. If seeing is believing literally, there are many things that we have no strict certitude for. Let us look at three non-perceptual factors.

1) Being of things, i.e., their substance, as for Hume there exists no grounds whatsoever, rationally or empirically for substance. I close my eyes, and you may be gone. I have no sensation or impression of substance so it is not a legitimate term scientifically.

2) The power of a cause, or agency as Hume cannot see power. He cannot see the power of heat or flame. He has no real explanation of causal power and why, for example, a paper burns.

3) Uniformity of nature, cause and generality as why should the future resemble the past? There is a problem with induction.

Custom fills in the blanks

What is Hume’s solution? Custom fills in the blanks and impels us to believe in beings, causes, and nature. Without the influence of custom we should be entirely ignorant of matters of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. Custom is a psychological mechanism which spreads vivacity and immediacy from present perception to absent; it fills it all in.

The practical resolution for Hume is that one cannot be a pure skeptic but rather must be content to be a moderate skeptic living the mixed life with philosophy correcting common sense and vice-versa. In the end, practical life and instinct must rule over reason and theory with philosophy reduced to an amusement. Classical metaphysics was not in his vocabulary as he denied miracles, refuted proofs of God’s existence due to epistemological problems allowing for no claim of any transcendent order.

Exit God with Hume the terror for religion and metaphysics

Hume said

When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make?  If we take in our hand any volume – of divinity, or school metaphysics, for instance – let us ask: Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No.  Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence?  No.  Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. {[8] pg 557}. 

Hume’s morality has reason the slave of the passions

Hume developed a theory of morality with reason being the slave of the passions, a reduction to impression and the sensual. Although murder and various moral norms purport to refer to the objective state of affairs, they refer to our own sentiments of disapproval. Thus, Hume’s morality is an appeal to the sentiment of society whereby he assumes that there exists a universal disapproval of certain acts that violate the liberal code of liberty and property, a transition between a moral sense and utilitarianism. One can help but muse if Hume lived in Clintonian America, might he be shocked to see his moral sense marriage to utilitarianism carried to the extreme of partial birth infanticide with no guarantee that he might have ever seen the light of day due to his mother considering him a choice and not a human being? Such is the “sentiment” of society and the state in the absence of the recognition of a universal natural law that allows the killing of forty million babies and counting.

2.2.6 The Consequences of Kant’s no to metaphysics

In 1756, Kant read Hume in a German translation, and as soon as he began to realize the meaning of Hume’s skepticism, his own faith in the validity of metaphysical knowledge was badly shaken. Hume’s critical observations on the principle of causality, generalized and extended by Kant to the whole body of metaphysics, brought Kant to the conclusion that, as positive knowledge, metaphysics was dead. The preface to the Critique of Pure Reason takes it as an obvious and accomplished fact, which stands in no need of demonstration:

But although metaphysics is older than all the other sciences, and would endure even if all the others were to be engulfed utterly in the abyss of an all-annihilating barbarism, fate thus far has not favored it to the point of enabling it to enter upon the secure path of a science.  For in metaphysics reason continually falters, even when the laws into which it seeks to gain (as it pretends) a priori insight are those that are confirmed by the commonest experience.  Countless times, in metaphysics, we have to retrace our steps, because we find that our path does not lead us where we want to go.  As regards agreement in the assertions made by its devotees, metaphysics is very far indeed from such agreement.  It is, rather, a combat arena which seems to be destined quite specifically for practicing one’s powers in mock combat, and in which not one fighter has ever been able to gain even the smallest territory and to base upon his victory a lasting possession.  There can be no doubt, therefore, that the procedure of metaphysics has thus far been a mere groping about, and – worst of all – a groping about among mere concepts.  {[8] pg 637}

What defines science as a specific ideal of human knowledge is self-criticism. Perceiving as true what can be demonstrated, science dismisses all the rest as idle speculation, with the twofold result that it is always progressing, and always respected. This is not the case with metaphysics, ethics, or religion, which command our respect as a function of the importance of the subjects with which they deal as opposed to the evidence of their conclusions. Kant did not see it this way. The time had come when men could no longer feel interested in any discipline for the sublimity of its ambitions, for the pure joy of speculative contemplation, but only for the soundness of demonstrations ala mathematical empiricism ushered in by the likes of Newton.

Kant observed that though the application of mathematics be highly desirable wherever it is possible, the imitation of mathematics as a method of reasoning is very dangerous when tried in cases in which it is impossible to use it. Philosophy and especially metaphysics happen to fall into that category. The object of mathematics is simple being quantitative; the object of metaphysics is manifold and infinitely varied being qualitative.

By substituting empirical observation for abstract definitions as the first stage of philosophical knowledge, Kant was not shifting from mathematics to philosophy, but from mathematics to physics.

In doing this Kant proceeded to cross a line beyond which no metaphysics can survive. A new standard science had been appointed the supreme judge of philosophy. But metaphysics is no more capable of physical than of mathematical rigor or demonstration. Thus, in conscience, the verdict of its new judge was de facto condemnation.

The Newtonian conception of nature

The Critique of Pure Reason describes what the structure of the human mind should be in order to account for the existence of a Newtonian conception of nature, and assuming that conception to be true. Nothing can show more clearly the essential weakness of physicism as a philosophical method. The pure reason described by Kant could last no longer than the Newtonian physics, which it was its proper function to justify. Newton considered the existence of an absolute space and an absolute time as necessarily required by his physics. As a result, Kant decreed that man should be credited with two forms of sensible intuition; space and time, in which all the objects of knowledge are given to the understanding. So long as our mind applies itself to objects thus given, it can form a scientifically valid knowledge. If, on the other hand, it applies itself to mere mental presentations of possible objects in a contemplative sense, what an algebraic topologist might consider a “thought experiment,” it does not form concepts of things, but mere ideas. Since these ideas have no objects, they do not constitute a scientific knowledge but rather an illusory speculation that is called metaphysics.

Kant says that man has both sensibility and understanding with sensibility itself immediately perceiving given reality through two a priori forms – space and time. The forms are called a priori because we do not derive them from things, but impose them on things. The forms of our knowledge of reality make it an object of knowledge, and are thus also the forms of experience itself. Our understanding is also equipped with a priori principles like the notions of substance, or of causality, by which it connects the various objects given to us in space and time. These principles of understanding are not derived from things anymore than are space and time. As Kant says, they are transcendent with respect to things; they are not drawn from experience but rather they make it. Kant says we have to be careful here with this very property of the principles of understanding, being the condition of all sensible experience, giving rise to dangerous illusions. As they can deal with really perceived objects, so can they deal also with our concepts of things, as if those concepts were themselves real things, which they are not. The transcendental nature of the principles of understanding becomes the source of what Kant calls a transcendental illusion because, instead of connecting real objects together by means of concepts, we are doing so via abstract ideas while still believing that we are dealing with things. It is a transcendental illusion because its very possibility is due to the fact that the principles of human understanding are not borrowed from any particular objects, but transcendent with respect to all possible objects. When applied to sensible intuitions, these principles give birth to scientific knowledge, which is the proper work of understanding; when applied to scientific concepts, they give rise to abstract ideas, and metaphysics, which is the proper work of reason. Metaphysics, then, devoid of concrete objects is both necessary and empty. It is necessary because we cannot stop our understanding or prevent it from thinking in a vacuum; converted to reason, it will prove everything making it empty, i.e., there is no God, and there is a God; there is no soul, and there is a soul; the world has unity, and the world has no unity. All are possible, which shows the futility of metaphysics. As soon as the principles of understanding transcend all the limits of experience, and withdraw themselves from all empirical tests, reason becomes the battlefield of these endless controversies called metaphysics.

Kant’s shift from experience to the intellectual conditions of experience to rid the world of metaphysics

By generalizing on Hume’s observation concerning the principle of causality, Kant concluded that scientific knowledge would be absolutely impossible unless such principles were considered not as derived from experience, Hume’s mistake, but as originating in pure understanding. By shifting from experience to the intellectual conditions of experience, Kant hoped to achieve a threefold result: first, to rescue science from skepticism; secondly, to rid metaphysics of any pretense of objective knowledge; and thirdly, to make it clear metaphysics was an inevitable illusion.

Suffice to say that though Kant followed Locke and Hume in holding that all of our knowledge “arises from” experience, he departed from them in arguing that any universality and necessity found in such knowledge must be put there by our own knowing processes. This led him to make his famous distinction between phenomena and noumena – the latter the “intelligibles” hitherto regarded as the proper object of the intellect. Kant proposed that the phenomena, or the appearances of things, can be used to attain valid knowledge, whereas the noumena, or “things-in-themselves,” are forever inaccessible to human reason. Once his solution was accepted, natural philosophy as traditionally understood became impossible and science inherited the only task that was left, that, namely of collecting data and analyzing phenomena as these present themselves in human experience.

Modern mind’s debt to Descartes and Kant

The modern mind owes mainly to Descartes and Kant the present-day distinction between natural philosophy and science. From them it also received certain fundamental principles that underlie, either explicitly or implicitly, most present-day philosophies of science. The first is that the clear and distinct idea is the criterion of truth; acceptance of this view entails a view of science that is essentially mathematical. A second principle is that there can be no knowledge of things-in-themselves, i.e., of natures or essences. Consequently, most philosophers of science profess a basic agnosticism concerning man’s ability to know reality in anything but a superficial way. A third principle, most influential with positivists and empiricists, is that all human knowledge must begin in the senses and is ultimately incapable of transcending the sensible. Such being the case, metaphysics is a “transcendental illusion” and any consideration of God, immortality (the soul), and free will can lead only to ultimate contradictions. “Legitimate” knowledge of the real world is reached, moreover, restricted to the “secure path of science,” the path already charted by Newton’s mathematical physics (mechanics). What remains for philosophy is simply that of accounting for such systematizations as is presently found in mathematics and physics with classical metaphysics destined for the trash bin of history.

The modernist legacy of Kant

Rutler in Christ and Reason gives us a glimpse of the modernist legacy of Kant when he described Kant’s God.

But as Kant’s God is transcendent to the point of inaccessibility, the antinomy of realms could only be resolved in derivative Kantian thought, if not by a return to fideism, then by pantheism or the utter transmutation of God into the immanent force of history. In either naturalistic case, supernatural agency evaporates. This has already happened, though, once Kant himself had denuded his remnant pietism of what sacramental allusions it had inherited from scholasticism. The result was a stark “moral governor” and “Supreme Legislator” who was hardly the God of the Law and quite definitely a deification of the Law. {[46] pp 27-28}

Instead of saying “I will not serve,” Kantianism says, “I will serve” and then serves the self. And throughout all of this modernist philosophical tortured discourse akin to self-flagellation, we thought that we were getting further away from the selfishness of Hobbes. We better look again, especially at the “god” we primarily worship, the one in our mirrors.

2.2.7 Kant’s false basis for ethics – the preeminence of the autonomous self

Kant’s ethics can best be characterized as the preeminence of the autonomous self as the sole moral arbiter to the total exclusion of nature and nature’s God.

Kant wanted to defend a realm of freedom, which is implicitly experience in each individual’s deliberation and action. Kant maintains that human beings are free using two related arguments. 1) I must acknowledge or experience my freedom in every act of deliberation that I engage in. It is in my power to bring about A or B, and it is my freedom of choice that leads me to A or B. If  I am seriously deliberating, I am implicitly assuming my own freedom else my deliberations are a mockery. Thus, I must presuppose myself to be self-determining, the author of principles independent of the foreign influence of the absolute, universal laws of nature and nature’s God. 2) Per Newtonian mechanics my body is under the sway of physical mechanical causes. My passions, instincts are under the sway of this causal necessity. And yet, I find myself obliged by a moral law discovered within me to discern in situations involving moral dilemmas or conflicts that there is an opposition between my instincts and passions which would go the way of satisfying my pleasures and my happiness and what the moral law, the “categorical imperative,” demands of me.

For Kant this recognition that I find myself under a law calling me to act in situations of duty against whatever inclinations that I have running contrary to that duty, is an awakening to a free capacity within me that is properly human. This is proof that I possess a rational independence from external causes such as the absolute, universal laws of nature and nature’s God. Kant’s realm of freedom is separate and can come into conflict with the bodily realm of mechanical necessity. He does not argue that this moral law is given by God, nature, or society. I give it to myself according to Kant. I am autonomous, a self-ruler. Each individual as he understands himself to be free is also the originator of this law and subject to it simultaneously. The common humanity of persons is recognized through recognizing each individual’s autonomy. “I’m OK, you’re OK!” Kant thinks that if I were to construe or accept this law from some outside authority, God, nature, or society, I would no longer be autonomous. I would be operating heteronomously (ruled by another). This heteronomy is taken to be a fundamental evasion of my own responsibility and dignity as a person. Kant respects in other persons their dignity. For Kant this dignity consists in obeying a law we give ourselves. Kant’s views on the human person and human dignity are expressed in his Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals where he dismisses out of hand the concept of universal moral absolutes, and with it the natural law.

In fact there is absolutely no possibility by means of experience to make out with complete certainty a single case in which the maxim of an action that may in other respects conform to duty has rested solely on moral grounds and on the representations of one’s duty. {[15] pg 1071}

This is not enough for Kant, as he blasphemes putting God to his moral tests.

For every example of morality presented to me must itself first be judged according to principles of morality in order to see whether it is fit to serve as an original example, i.e., as a model.  But in no way can it authoritatively furnish the concept of morality.  Even the Holy One of the gospel must first be compared with our ideal of moral perfection before he is recognized as such.  {[15] pg 1072}

Kant divorces reason from faith, having no patience with any who would dare suggest otherwise.

If there is then no genuine supreme principle of morality which does not rest on pure reason alone, independent of all experience, I think it is unnecessary even to ask whether it is a good thing to exhibit these concepts generally (in abstracto), which, along with the principles that belong to them, hold a priori, so far as the knowledge involved is to be distinguished from ordinary knowledge and is to be called philosophical.  {[15] pg 1072}

Kant does not see the difference between freedom and license as autonomy rules

Kant recognizes that natural and moral laws deal with what does happen and what ought to happen respectively taken in a fundamental context. One might be quick to assume that he, by such recognition, sees the difference between authentic freedom, doing what we ought, versus license, doing what we want. But this is not the case because he misses the truth that natural and moral laws are intimately related for societal common good irrespective of any divine connotations. For example Kant would have no problem with the promotion of homosexuality as a civil right since such a concept is a function of an individual’s with homosexual attractions autonomy to define and legislate his own moral law.

For Kant the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of morality are self-contained within the individual who is causing no harm to his fellow man. Moreover, fellowman, is obliged to recognize this authority else the dignity of the moral legislator is being violated. The fact that the physical consequences of adhering to such a law are dire is of no concern to Kant as autonomy is all that matters.

Kant’s considerable influence in the public square

It was a Kantian Supreme Court Justice masquerading as a Catholic that wrote the majority opinion previously described in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which recognized the unlimited freedom for the totally autonomous unencumbered self. Each individual can now define his own moral universe with no thought given to the simple question of what happens when A’s moral universe collides with B’s in the absence of some universal, absolute truth? The inevitable result of such idiocy is anarchy!

The inconsistency in Kant’s philosophy is his categorical imperative maxim: Act only according that what you do is a function of that action becoming a universal law. How is this possible when a myriad of universal laws unique to individuals may conflict with a similar number of universal laws unique to other individuals, i.e., how is the dignity of the latter set upheld in the face of this conflict of “morally relative universal” laws which is oxymoronic? Kant leaves us in his treatise on the metaphysics of morals with these perplexing statements.

… reason cannot render conceivable the absolute necessity of an unconditioned practical law (such as the categorical imperative must be.)  Reason cannot be blamed for not being willing to explain this necessity by means of a condition, namely, by basing it on some underlying interest, because in that case the law would no longer be moral, i.e., a supreme law of freedom.  {[15] pg 1107}

Say what?  We are to believe in a philosophy that is unreasonable, a philosophy that cannot be understood where seeking “supreme” explanations are wasted.  Is this not “doublespeak?”  The Supreme Being gives way to the “supreme law of freedom” – the only definition of morality that Kant accepts. 

Here Kant seems to commit the ultimate sin of pride by refusing to look in the only logical direction to philosophy’s final questions - theology. This separates him from the brilliance of Aquinas, his inability to reconcile faith and reason.

 

 

Rightful autonomy, not radical autonomy

There is a principle or “rightful autonomy,” not radical autonomy, at the heart of the moral life concerning man as the personal subject of his actions. The moral law has its origin in God and always finds its source in Him: at the same time, by virtue of natural reason, which derives from Divine Wisdom, it is a properly human law. The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding infused in us by God, whereby we understand what must be done and what must be avoided - no Kantian ambiguities here where all choices are equal. This law is called natural not because it refers to the nature of irrational things but because the reason which promulgates it is proper to human nature. We are commanded to respect the natural order and forbidden to disturb it. This is why sins against nature cry out to heaven for vengeance as they are sins against the very Author of nature.

And the Lord said: The cry of Sodom and Gomorrha is multiplied, and their sin is become exceedingly grievous.  I will go down and see whether they have done according to the cry that is come to me; or whether it be not so, that I may know. (Genesis 18:20-21) {[22] pg 33}

But before they went to bed, the men of the city beset the house, both young and old, all the people together.  And they called to Lot, and said to him: Where are the men that came in to thee at night? bring them out hither, that we may know them:  Lot went out to them, and shut the door after him, and said: Do not so, I beseech you, my brethren, do not commit this evil.  (Genesis 19:4-7) {[22] pg 34}

For we will destroy this place, because their cry is grown loud before the Lord, who hath sent us to destroy them. (Genesis 19:13) {[22] pg 34}

And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.  And he destroyed these cities, and all the country about, all the inhabitants of the cities, and all things that spring from the earth. (Genesis 19:24-25) {[22] pg 34}

Where even the moral relativists draw the line

No one in his right mind stands for Kant’s relativistic view of human dignity when it comes to his or her own human dignity. Each of us - even the hardened secularist who preaches relativism - instinctively recognizes that our dignity as persons implies certain moral absolutes of behavior. These moral absolutes are a function of the natural law, without which anarchy exists.

The morally neutral state that stands for everything meaning it stands for nothing giving us Roe v. Wade

Anderson had this observation in his “Symbol of the Eternal Covenant,” which is contained in Ball’s In Search of a National Morality.

Unlike Marxist societies, where the state asserts itself as the embodiment of morality, Western democracies have tended toward a different extreme of Enlightenment philosophy – the morally neutral state. This view of the state is also rooted in The Enlightenment’s view of the human person, its rejection of the Christian recognition of the “createdness of nature,” and its replacement of the moral natural law with the abstract state of nature.  Having lost a sense of the moral natural law and thus of a highest good to which the human person is directed by nature, the morally neutral state deals with questions of justice in terms of social contract. George Parkin Grant observed that the influence of Kant upon legal philosophy was to lead to “a sharp division between morals and politics. As he explained, “Properly understood, morality is autonomous action, the making of our own moral laws. Indeed any action is not moral unless it is freely legislated by an individual. Therefore the state is transgressing its proper limits when it attempts to impose on us our moral duties. . . . The state is concerned with the preservation of the external freedom of all, and must leave moral freedom to the individual.”

From this perspective, it is easy to see how in Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court judged the interest of personal choice to be paramount.  While the Court discussed abortion in terms of privacy, in reality the Court established a zone of autonomous decision-making. The Court based its ruling in Roe that the child before birth was not a person and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law upon the assertion that government could not resolve the difficult question of when the life of a human being begins. However, in choosing to hear the appeal in Roe rather than the appeal of a case with a more developed trial record on the question of the biological humanity of the unborn child, the Supreme Court did much to foreshadow the outcome in Roe. {[10] pg 150}

Christianity separated from Christ

In short, Kant stands in the forefront of those who wished to interpret Christianity as essentially a moral teaching separable from the mythical, cosmological, and dogmatic baggage that encumbers it. The Christian message turns out to have no essential relationship to Christ – He just happened to recommend it, but, correctly understood, that doctrine is what any rational agent would come to see as his duty. Today that duty is manifested in demanding rights for aberrant self-destructive behavior, and the continued barbaric killing of babies in the womb – some resemblance to Christianity as a function of our “modern rational agents.”

The center of our problems is the rejection of an Aristotelian tradition that focuses on the virtues which enable man to attain his telos, or end. Man’s end for Aristotle was thought of as blessedness, happiness, or prosperity.

From about the middle of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th, diverse thinkers of The Enlightenment tried to find a non-Aristotelian basis for morality that would also be nontheological, owing to the decline in religion during that same period. It was hoped that these new philosophies would provide objective criteria for morality which would appeal to all rational men. But The Enlightenment project failed with Kant singled out as being one of the primary failures.

The liberation of morality from the shackles of dogmatic pronouncements

Modern philosophy being nonteleological presented some difficulties in forming a morality. The solution was the denial of metaphysics which provided an opening for a new defining principle of morality that was characterized by the abandonment of nature, liberating morality from the shackles of the dogmatic pronouncements of the scholastics. This principle for Kant was duty, totally devoid of any concept of happiness as a function of nature, happiness depending only on appetite or whim. For Kant there exists only one thing we know that is good without qualification, and that is good will, independent of any questions regarding happiness or virtue. Thus, morality is reduced to a strict self-rationalization of the human being. It is duty and free will that makes morality possible with freedom or autonomy the peak of Kant’s ethics, a law unto itself free from Divine command. The classic idea of virtue is nonexistent here as to have moral worth, an action must be done from duty, not from some passion or purpose to be attained but by the maxim by which it is determined – a maxim given solely by the lawgiver in the mirror.

 

 

The narcotic for the modern moral rational agent

The modern moral rational agent will believe in God, freedom, and immortality out of necessity for God as a regulator to mollify the masses. But why believe in God, and what God are we talking about? Why, a God Who has been redefined to fit within the confines of a religion built on pure reason - rational belief. There is no longer any need for the Bible. You do your duty in a moral sense assuming God will work it out, but you have left no room for God paradoxically with nature giving no support to morality. So what are you left with? The answer is sobering – a world in which hedonism is worshipped as a civil right in an affirmative action sense in myriad universes definable by each individual exercising his autonomy to the most ridiculous extremes imaginable, and the death and destruction of generations of children, all of which have dire eternal consequences. Sadly, many people today to include supposed believers, clergy and laity alike, do not give a damn about damning themselves for eternity!

2.2.8 The legacy of the moderns - Gramsci is alive and well

 

In Book V, chapter 11 of the Politics {[11] pp 243-250} Aristotle describes two ways of preserving tyrannies.  One way is the traditional tyrant’s policy of repression, which is analogous with the policy of extreme democracy.  Its three main goals are to break the spirit of subjects, to sow distrust among them, and to make them incapable of action.  The other way is assimilating tyranny to a monarchical form of government – a kingship, by a good administration and the exercise of personal restraint.  The wise tyrant must take care to “adorn his city, pay heed to public worship, honor the good, keep his own passions in check, and enlist in his favor as large a measure of social support as he possibly can.”  Aristotle says that by doing this, the clever tyrant may prolong his days, and attain a state of “half-goodness.”  We will take a closer look at the goals of tyrannical repression and the actions of contemporary “wise tyrants” by examining in detail the tools that they use to enslave those entrusted to their care in the name of specious reasons of freedom confused with license.

 

Looking at tyrannical repression, breaking the spirits of subjects is accomplished through fear and terror, humiliation, and the forced dependence of subjects on tyrannical authority to the point of complete submission.  Distrust is sowed among the subjects by destroying friendships first and foremost.  This is accomplished by isolating them, making them strangers, and ultimately enemies with associations undermined in the process.  Finally, the tyrant must make the subjects incapable of action, i.e., they must have no power to initiate action being nothing more than slaves.  The tyrant in this case is properly called a despot.  Inactivity results when the subjects are ignorant, passive, and lack the means, e.g., private property, to have any hope of influence politically.  These three goals are indicative of a policy that rules by silence, coercion, and violence. 

 

Tyrannical repression’s modern forms in the American gulags

 

What is the relationship among the three goals of tyrannical repression?  Simply put, sowing distrust among the subjects has as its natural consequences making the subjects incapable of action, which leads to the total breakdown of their spirit.  What better example to see this than Marxist socialism with the disciples of Gramsci today making it their top priority to isolate individuals via wonderfully sounding buzzwords such as multiculturalism where our national motto “out of many, one” is replaced with “out of one, many.”  America’s melting pot has become a witch’s brew with the forced isolation of individual ethnic cultures in the name of their supposed glorification.  Check out most colleges today and you will see some type of reference to this multicultural isolation as a part of official policy, a policy that by osmosis filters down into our secondary and elementary school systems.  Instead of making incoming students feel that they are a part of a unified consensus working toward the common good for society by seeking the truth in an uncompromising fashion, thereby learning in the process to become good citizens, they are marginalized via created multicultural factions that emphasize a disparity that would not exist otherwise via the “celebration of a diversity” that encompasses the most unnatural behavior imaginable.  What is happening is the extreme in Aristotle’s Politics that is to be avoided at all costs. Class warfare and chaos is the inevitable result in the name of “enlightened” Gramscian thinkers that populate the academy and the Fourth Estate with totalitarianism the panacea.  Not the Stalinist version to be sure, but rather a subtler Americanized version whose modern gulags are the public demonization of any who would dare criticize the “political correctness” that is necessary to subvert entire cultures for the greater socialist scheme – let us call it a “new world order.”  

 

What is the consequence of these American gulags?  The subjects are made incapable of action, i.e., they are left with no power to initiate action because they have been reduced to being nothing more than slaves as a direct result of the ridicule that they receive when they attempt to articulate an opposing point of view.  They are branded as ignorant and, as a direct result of intimidation, they become “sheeple,” afraid to do anything that might bring bad publicity to them or their families.  Their political influence as a result of conceding the field to the Gramscian intimidators is rendered null and void.

 

What we are left with is a total breakdown of spirit, the final phase of tyrannical repression where the subjects are paralyzed through a fear, terror, and humiliation induced apathy into complete submission to the will of tyrannical authority.

 

The cunning of the wise tyrants

 

We now concentrate on the survival of “wise” tyrants by their giving the impression that they are something very different than they really are.  Aristotle in his discussion of this second way of preserving tyrannies used tyranny tending to a kingship for his example with the tyrant giving the impression that he was a benevolent protector through the appearances of a good administration and the exercise of personal restraint.  Aristotle’s requirements for this public perception of a “good tyrant” was that the tyrant must, at least on occasion, go through the motions of honoring the good, keeping his passions in check, and gaining as much social support as possible for his agenda.

 

How is this portrayal of the “good tyrant” achieved today?  It is achieved through a unique class of individuals who are the products of indoctrination masking as education from kindergarten to post-doctoral fellowships – “the spin-doctors,” who have carried lying to extremes not thought possible. These individuals predominate in “politically correct,” pseudo-democratic Gramscian societies; moreover, they are an absolute requirement in order to mollify the masses into believing that by participating in their own destruction, they are gaining a political nirvana.  They are found not only in the secular establishment but more importantly in the clergy for it is religion that must be suppressed above everything else if the god of materialism is to be enthroned by the new world order.  What do these spin-doctors tell us regarding life and death issues?  They tell us that killing innocents in what should be their safest place of refuge, their mothers’ wombs, is justified because women have something called “reproductive rights,” rights that conveniently ignore the right of their babies to existence.  Which begs the question of where would the minions of Planned Parenthood be if their mothers felt that they were nothing but a “choice” to be discarded at will?  They tell us that being inclined to unnatural sexually perverse acts is a cause for affirmative action in a civil rights sense, celebrating homosexuality as a cause celebre with demanded special rights masked as civil rights that are already enjoyed by those suffering from developmental disorders.  They tell us that hate crime legislation is needed to give special punishment to the thought and not only the crime in total ignorance of a founding tenet of America, equal justice under the law.  They would have us believe that if our son or daughter was not in one of the approved protected hate crime categories, the perpetrators of their deaths somehow deserve lesser punishment than those committed against the protected group.  They perpetuate multiculturalism and diversity on a political level by ensuring that class conflicts will be given all the oxygen necessary to keep the anarchical flames burning with the totalitarian state being the only fire extinguisher available as a result of society’s fatigue with living in constant chaos.  And last but not least, in the religious realm to include mainstream Protestantism, liberal Judaism and Catholicism, the clerical spin-doctors sadly reinforce all of the above through inter-faith alliances that con the public into believing that they are adhering to the tenets of their faith while concurrently doing everything within their power to subvert the teachings of their faith through its progressive reinvention to be in tune with the times.

 

Gramsci students get an A+

 

In short, what we are seeing in America today is the democratized version of a totalitarian state where Gramsci promoters have learned their lessons well.  We no longer have to wait for the barbarians to knock down the gate; they have been in the city for a long time at our invitation because of our apathy to do anything to prevent the confusion of authentic freedom with license.  It is this apathy that tyrants depend on, more than anything else, for existence.  It is the final consequence of Aristotle’s three goals of tyrannical repression. 

 

Tyranny marks the real limit or destruction of the polis and a decent human life.  The irony is that modern tyrants give the impression that they abhor slavery in all its forms while concurrently making their subjects slaves to their own passions for specious reasons of unlimited free speech for the autonomous unencumbered self, which has never existed.  What we now see, however, is that that the modern tyrants have become so brazen that there is no longer the perceived need for recourse to attempt to give the impression that they are honorable men.  Their subjects have been dumbed down through generations of indoctrination masked as education that they can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality. Recall that ignorance is an important condition for the preservation of tyrants.  How else can one explain the popularity of demagogues like the Clintons who make no pretext about being honorable? 

 

2.3 Some contemporary examples of freedom confused with license

2.3.1 Is academic freedom a license to lie

There is no such thing as limitless “academic freedom” and “freedom of speech.” Consider what would happen to a mathematics professor who insists in class that “integral calculus requires no knowledge of derivatives.” He would be laughed out of the profession with his “academic freedom” curtailed in no uncertain terms by his department head. At least one would hope so, else “academic freedom” becomes a “license to lie” which has no place at an institution of higher learning. Likewise, making threats against the lives of individuals in either a public or private forum gets the attention of the local, state, or federal police quicker than you can say, “don’t worry about answering the door, they’ll kick it in.” Somewhere in the equation common sense has to prevail or anarchy will.


2.3.2 Confusing diversity with perversity

Sanitization of homosexual acts making them acceptable

Homosexual activists are able to exploit the fact that most people are ignorant of what homosexuals actually do to one another. As in the abortion debate, where emotionless scientific terminology is used to cover up the horrible things being done to a little human being, homosexual activists employ a sanitized and deliberately misleading language to describe their practices, using to their advantage the willingness of most people to keep public debates clean. Sodomy is a pretty messy business, requiring elaborate preparations and lubrications, and its long-term effects include not only AIDS but also other sexually transmitted diseases.

Monogamous relationships among homosexuals are rarities in the extreme as the vast majority of homosexuals admit to having many partners over the course of a lifetime. This statistic is conveniently ignored by a liberal media promoting “same-sex” marriages, a contradiction in terms, in their unabashed promoting of the homosexual agenda, which is that homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else. Interestingly, this same liberal media exercises censorship of any discussion of the possible limits of the homosexual agenda, including the rights of religious groups, for example, not to employ people openly in violation of their official moral teachings, or the likely results of officially defining homosexuals as a favored minority. Where does this liberating derivative of The Enlightenment stop? Do we promote pedophilia as the natural liberation of our children from the “outdated morals” of the religious persuasions of their parents such as advocated by the National Man/Boy Love Association.  Is bestiality OK for adolescents under some  “wacko” interpretation of the first amendment by the ACLU agreed to by a judiciary that has lost its moral compass? Maybe we could limit it to “smaller animals for smaller people.”

If organizations grant “domestic partner” benefits to unmarried heterosexuals living together in “long-term committed relationships,” how can such “long term relationships” be verified? If not, how can said organizations discriminate against this group in favor of giving similar benefits to gays in the name of inclusivity?

We have long since crossed lines that were never meant to be crossed recognizing the truth of an absolute, natural law written on the hearts of man by a loving God. To ignore that law by capitulating to the lie of a morally relativistic code of secular norms where “I’m OK, you’re OK” becomes the only commandment begs paying the piper at some future date. That is not the brave new world that we should want for our children because it denies that our freedom depends on the mind and will of God. It is no longer freedom but slavery to claim that we can use our reason and free will to decide what is right or wrong independent of God’s manifest will in human nature and divine revelation. It is the death knell of authentic human freedom becoming, ultimately, the harbinger of final eternal death.

Witness the consequences of freedom confused with license in disobedience to the natural law of God, as reported by Magnuson in Are Gay Rights Right?

While “gay rights” laws have been in effect for the last decade in San Francisco, the city has seen a sharp increase in the venereal disease rate to 22 times the national average; infections hepatitis A increased 100%, infectious hepatitis B 300%; amoebic colon infections increased 2,500%.  Venereal disease clinics in the city saw 75,000 patients every year, of whom close to 80% were homosexual males; 20% of them carried rectal gonorrhea.  New York Times Magazine quotes a doctor familiar with the community as saying that the “average homosexual” is a “tropical island of exotic diseases.”  That this is no overstatement is confirmed by a careful survey of the American Public Health Association, done using questionnaires sent to 1,800 organizations listed by the National Gay Task Force.  Among other things, the survey revealed that 78% of homosexuals had had at least one sexually transmitted disease. {[31] pg 20}

The American Psychiatric Association’s vote in 1973 to normalize homosexuality was driven by politics not science. Even sympathizers acknowledged this. Satinover in Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth {[48] pp 31-40} presents the details of the hijacking of the APA by homosexual activists who purchased the APA membership list after the National Gay Task Force (NGTF) sent out a fund-raising appeal to their membership.

Our society is dominated by experts, few more influential than psychiatrists. … In the early years of “gay liberation,” this reality was used for the fledgling gay activists’ advantage.  They anticipated that if the influential American Psychiatric Association (APA) could be convinced to redefine homosexuality, the other guilds would follow shortly thereafter and then so would the rest of society.  Their plan was implemented with swift and near-total success.  {[48] pg 31}

Activists then covertly lobbied the APA by sending out a letter to the entire thirty thousand membership calling for a change in homosexual classification without acknowledging the central role that the NGTF played in this effort which, per one signer’s admission privately, would have been the “kiss of death.” A majority of the APA members who responded voted to support the change in classification (by a vote of 6-4, hardly a ringing endorsement) of homosexuality as “not a psychiatric disorder.” But in fact only one-third of the membership did respond. (Four years later the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality reported on a survey it conducted. The survey showed that 69 percent of psychiatrists disagreed with the vote and still considered homosexuality a disorder.)

The result was not a conclusion based upon an approximation of the scientific truth as dictated by reason, but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times. {[48] pg 35}

Two years later the American Psychological Association followed the questionable lead of the American Psychiatric Association in normalizing homosexuality.  Twenty years later, militant homosexual activists were defeated in an attempt to make it a violation of professional conduct for a psychiatrist to help a homosexual patient become heterosexual even at the patient’s request. Had the change been approved, it would have opened the door to malpractice suits and ethics charges against psychiatrists who help homosexuals change - in accord with the patients own wishes, one of the association’s own professional standards. The chairman of the American Psychiatric Association’s Gay and Lesbian Task Force made it clear that the activists had in their sights not only psychiatrists who undertook reparative therapy, but eventually psychologists, social workers, and even pastoral counselors and ministers.

Behavior not race, skin color, or ethnicity

Homosexuality is not a diversity issue. It has been shown to be behavior which can be changed as opposed to skin color or ethnicity which cannot. Moreover, given the documented correlation of homosexuality with pedophilia, the premise of discussing homosexuality in a diversity context makes no sense other than to alert parents of a genuine concern for the welfare of their children exposed to known homosexuals who are proud of the lifestyle they are living as evidenced by their desire to proclaim same publicly.

The recognition of homosexuality as a diversity issue legitimizes it as such. Traditionally, it has never been recognized in this context. Those inclined to sexual perversion need the loving support of parents and  groups dedicated to getting homosexuals to leave, not live, the lifestyle. The reasons for this are independent of any religious connotations and knowable through natural law and reason. The fact that homosexuality, even if proven genetically based (highly problematic given current research), is an objective disorder involving grave moral concern remains invariant. Would alcoholics have the right to propagate the lie that alcoholism is good for you because some feel it is “genetically based?”

The statistical evidence from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, and an examination of the plumbing are proof positive of the consequences of the propagandizing of homosexual lifestyles as a civil right. The consistent statistics accumulated by the CDC HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports, since their inception, show that by well over 2-1, homosexuals are the prime reservoir for HIV/AIDS in the United States.

The use of the terms “gay” and “lesbian” give the public the impression that the homosexual condition is fixed and permanent. There is much scientific and empirical evidence to the contrary. Men and women who sincerely desire to develop their heterosexual potential should not be in ignorance of the opportunities for help to move toward their God-given masculinity or femininity.

People have a basic ethical intuition that certain behaviors are wrong because they are unnatural. We perceive intuitively that the natural sex partner of a human is another human, not a lower animal.

The same reasoning applies to the case of homosexual behavior. The natural sex partner for a man is a woman, not another man, and the natural sex partner for a woman is a man, not another woman. Thus people have the corresponding intuition concerning homosexuality that they do about bestiality - that it is wrong because it is unnatural.

Natural law reasoning is the basis for almost all standard moral intuitions. For example, it is the dignity and value that each human being naturally possesses which makes the needless destruction of human life or infliction of physical and emotional pain immoral. This gives rise to a host of specific moral principles, such as the unacceptability of murder, kidnapping, mutilation, physical and emotional abuse, and so forth.

To avoid the force of the natural law argument against homosexual behavior, some activists have tried a number of arguments. Many homosexuals argue that they have not chosen their condition, but that “they were born that way,” making homosexual behavior natural for them.

But merely because something was not chosen does not mean it was inborn. Some desires are acquired or strengthened by habituation and conditioning instead of conscious choice. For example, no one chooses to be an alcoholic, but one can become habituated to alcoholism. Just as one can acquire alcoholic desires (by repeatedly becoming intoxicated) without consciously choosing them, so one may acquire homosexual desires (by engaging in homosexual fantasies or behavior) without consciously choosing them.

Since sexual desire is subject to a high degree of cognitive conditioning in humans (there is no biological reason why we find certain scents, forms of dress, or forms of underwear sexually stimulating), it would be most unusual if homosexual desires were not subject to a similar degree of cognitive conditioning.

Furthermore, even if there is a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality (and studies on this point are very inconclusive), this does not make the behavior natural or acceptable. It does not make the behavior natural because homosexuality is still not part of the natural design of humanity. It does not make homosexual behavior acceptable because other behaviors are not rendered acceptable simply because there may be a genetic predisposition toward them.

Those opposed to homosexual behavior are often charged with “homophobia”- that they hold the position they do because they are “afraid” of homosexuals.

This argument is a logical fallacy. It is an attempt to psychologize another person’s beliefs and dismiss them rather than looking at the arguments for them. It is an attempt to stop rational discussion of an issue by shifting the focus to one of the participants in the discussion. A logician would point out that the mistake being committed is a form of the ad hominem fallacy (argument “to the man” rather than “to the issue”) which attempts to dismiss another person’s arguments based on some real or supposed circumstance the person is in. In this case, the supposed circumstance is a fear of homosexuals.

Like similar attempts to avoid the rational discussion of an issue, the homophobia argument completely misses the point. Even if it were true that a person was afraid of homosexuals, that would not diminish the evidence he might bring to bear against it. The fact a person is afraid of handguns would not nullify arguments brought to bear against handguns, nor would the fact a person might be afraid of handgun control diminish the arguments brought to bear against handgun control. A person’s private fears are irrelevant to an evaluation of the evidence he has publicly advanced.

Furthermore, the homophobia charge simply rings false. The vast majority of those who oppose homosexual behavior are in no way “afraid” of homosexuals. A disagreement is not the same as a fear. One can disagree with something without fearing it, and the attempt to shut down rational discussion by crying “homophobe!” falls flat. It is an attempt to divert attention from the lack of rational answers to the arguments against one’s position by focusing attention on the one who made the arguments, while trying to claim the moral high ground against him.

The modern arguments in favor of homosexuality have thus been insufficient to overcome the evidence for the historic understanding that homosexual behavior is against the natural law.

It is a fact that there is a direct correlation with pedophilia and homosexuality in that an inordinate amount of pedophilia cases involve homosexuals compared to the rest of the population. These statistics come from homosexual sources themselves. The National/Man/Boy/Love association considers pedophilia a liberating experience for our youth. Does NAMBLA represent a cause for “diversity?” Just where does it stop?

Homosexuals expect everything to be on their terms. No one is denying their presence in society. What is being denied is the propagandizing of the homosexual lifestyle as normal. To say that people are “created” gay is problematic at best given research to date. That is not the question. People are created with no limbs, blind, deaf, dumb. That does not detract from the capability of those people to overcome those handicaps anymore than it does for that of homosexuals to overcome the tendency to the lifestyle.

 

 

The lie that sexual orientation is a civil right

There is a lie being told that is so self-evident that there should be no requirement to expose it. However, in a world where wrong is right and vice-versa, moreover, where there is no concept of right and wrong, this lie is being propagated to such an extent that its frequency begins to give the aura of truth. Thus, it will be addressed. Simply put, “behavior is a civil right.”

If this is the case, if we cannot discriminate against aberrant behavior, then our system of positive law collapses let alone any moral connotations. Implicit in the definition of behavior is the presumption that behavior can be categorized as good or bad, right or wrong. Without this gauge, anarchy exists with the freedom for the autonomous unencumbered self being the only concern. Nondiscrimination in this sense has no hope of leading to a “nurturing environment” as has been erroneously claimed by pro-homosexual members of School Boards across the nation in regard to “sexual orientation” which is another lie telescoped with the first.

Orientation implies a “lasting direction of thought, inclination, or interest.” There are any number of references in the scientific literature which totally refute this definition in the context of a homosexual orientation. To say such a description is problematic is being kind given the wide disagreement in the literature with absolutely no definitive proof that anything resembling a “gay gene” exists.

“Verbal engineering” is used by homosexual activists’ to marginalize any who dare to disagree with homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. All in opposition are described as hateful, insensitive, and intolerant summed up by being classified as “homophobic” in order to get public sympathy.

What an irony that the self-proclaimed forces of tolerance and moderation seek to destroy anyone who contradicts their point of view! In this way, the stakes in the debate over homosexuality become clear. In public life, one point of view or the other will dominate. Social order seeks a “social good.” For homosexual activists and their allies, that “good” is not tolerance but the enforced public acceptance of homosexuality as a positive lifestyle.

Individual freedom confused with license must give way to societal common good else anarchy exists. We have gone far beyond name-calling; we are talking about protected zones of advocacy for aberrant behavior. The “name-calling,” like “stop the hate” slogans, is simply a tool used by homosexual advocates to get people to agree to stop hating the sin as well as the sinner. We are no longer talking about “leave us alone.” We are now talking about coercing the public into subsidizing policies via their taxes which are counter to the tenets of their faith.

Confusing respect for the individual due to his inherent dignity as a creation of the Almighty with respect for his self-destructive behavior is not required for the good of society, and it most certainly is not Christian.

The contraceptive mentality of the age having the daily moral ills reported in the news as derivatives

In order to understand the genesis of contemporary “perversity as diversity” arguments, we must look at the genesis of this insanity being the contraceptive mentality of the age, which says that “pleasure is god.” 

In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark Encyclical  Humanae Vitae that reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use artificial birth control or contraception for the purpose of preventing new life.

Artificial birth control is “any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act (sexual intercourse), or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (Humanae Vitae 14). This includes sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal), the Pill, and all other methods of artificial contraception.

The historic Christian teaching

Most people do not realize that up until 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Church’s teaching and officially condemned contraception as sinful. At its 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Church capitulated to growing social pressure and announced that henceforth contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. That small crack quickly widened until the Anglican Church completely caved in on this issue, allowing contraception across the board. Since that time, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit, abandoning the historic Christian teaching against contraception and giving in to the permissive mores of secular society.

Today the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception. Fortunately, though, an increasing number of Protestants are realizing that contraception is contrary to the gospel and totally opposed to constant Christian teaching, and they are embracing the Catholic position. Evidence that contraception is in conflict with God’s laws comes from a variety of sources of which the natural will be examined.

Why contraception is wrong

Contraception is wrong because it is a deliberate violation of the natural design God built into the human race, often referred to as “natural law.” The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. This does not mean that God intends that married couples should not enjoy sexual intercourse. From the very beginning, starting with the early Church Fathers, Christians have recognized that the pleasure of sexual intercourse is an added blessing from God - one which has an important purpose: not only does it sometimes bring new life into the world, which is its primary purpose, it strengthens the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. This strengthening of the spousal bond results in a stable and loving environment - the perfect setting in which children should be raised.

But sexual pleasure within marriage, as wonderful as this blessing is, becomes unnatural and even harmful to the spouses when it is used in a way that intentionally excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation, as consistently taught by the Catholic Church.   Militant homosexual advocates quickly reasoned, “If procreation is of no concern in marriage, what’s to keep us from getting married?” 

God wants married couples to enjoy sexual pleasure and intimacy (after all, that is why He designed the sexual act the way he did), but He does not want these blessings to be misused. It is serious abuse of God’s gift of sexual intercourse to frustrate deliberately its basic purpose of procreation.

When man becomes the arbiter of when life begins it soon follows that man will become the arbiter of when life ends - all in the name of a “limitless freedom” which does not exist except in the minds of the secularists. This is the inevitable legacy of a contraceptive society, which has embraced a “culture of death.” Authentic freedom is doing what you ought in the light of perfect, absolute truth, not doing what you want. The former was recognized when slavery was abolished. The latter is called “license,” something the Supreme Court overlooked in Planned Parenthood v. Casey which redefined liberty to mean only what is chosen by the autonomous, unencumbered self.

Just what do you appeal to when another individual’s liberty conflicts with your person or property? Casey raises the serious question as to whether any law can be enacted in pursuit of the common good as individual choice always takes precedence. In the matter of artificial birth control, we insignificant specks who would vanish from the scene if God forgot us for a nanosecond, have the unmitigated gall to tell God “we will not allow you the opportunity to create another human being with the chance to spend eternity with you in Heaven.”

2.3.3 Clearly, logic, common sense, and reason are not qualifications for the Supreme Court

 

In what can only be regarded as a “day of judicial infamy” of tyrannical proportions, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court once again, in overturning laws against sodomy, told the country in Lawrence v Texas that “privacy trumps all” regardless of what despicable acts are involved.  That a “Catholic” justice led the charge of this madness should come as no surprise since this is the same man who, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, held that the autonomous unencumbered rights of the individual extend to the extreme that every man can define his own universe of rights with no thought whatsoever about the consequences of what happens what his universe collides with his neighbor’s in the absence of universally recognized moral absolutes.  The answer is easily to see for anyone still capable of rational thought – “anarchy is inevitable.”

 

Now, in a decision that eclipses Roe v. Wade in its monstrous illogic, this same Justice tells the country that being inclined to aberrant unnatural changeable behavior, if performed in private, is perfectly OK with no consideration again for the consequences as a result of bastardizing the classical primary goal of the state understood from the time of Aristotle’s Politics, which is promoting the “common good” of society. 

 

The consequence of poor Catholic catechesis

 

What is next, a constitutional right to bestiality? After all, the pervert (bestialist) in question will ensure that his despicable acts are performed in private - which makes them OK, as privacy trumps all, right? No matter that the allowance of the private act wounds society severely.   Just where does this Justice’s judicial madness stop?  That he somehow purports to be “Catholic” boggles the mind!

 

What is happening in America is the excusing of aberrant self-destructive behavior, which has been recognized as such for millennia from both faith and reason standpoints, on the part of a radical fringe that is hell-bent on getting society to confirm them in their vices under force of law.  Such actions are not solitary in any sense.  They affect society as a whole.  Those responsible individuals who recognize that faith enables reason, and reason reinforces faith, i.e., faith and reason are eternally related, not divorced, are not obliged to forfeit their rights under the Constitution because a majority of the Supreme Court has lost its collective mind. 

2.3.4 Reinventing religion

Kant lays the foundation for the reinvention of religion in his Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals where homosexual acts can easily become a “categorical imperative.”

Thus the principle that every human will as a will that legislates universal law in all its maxims, provided it is otherwise correct, would be well suited to being a categorical imperative … if there is a categorical imperative (i.e., a law for the will of every rational being), then it can only command that everything be done from the maxim of such a will as could at the same time have as its object only itself regarded as legislating universal law. 

When we look back upon all previous attempts that have been made to discover the principle of morality, there is no reason now to wonder why they one and all had to fail.  Man was viewed as bound to laws by his duty; but it was not seen that man is subject only to his own, yet universal, legislation and that he is bound only to act in accordance with his own will, which is, however, a will purposed by nature to legislate universal laws.  For when man is thought as being merely subject to a law (whatever it might be), then the law had to carry with it some interest functioning as an attracting stimulus or as a constraining force for obedience, inasmuch as the law did not arise as a law from his own will.  Rather, in order that his will conform with law, it had to be necessitated by something else to act in a certain way.  By this absolutely necessary conclusion, however, all the labor spent in finding a supreme ground for duty was irretrievably lost; duty was never discovered, but only the necessity of acting from a certain interest.  This might be either one’s own interest or another’s, but either way the imperative had to be always conditional and could never possibly serve as a moral command.  I want, therefore, to call my principle the principle of the autonomy of the will, in contrast with every other principle, which I accordingly count under heteronomy. 

The concept of every rational being as one who must regard himself as legislating universal law by all his will’s maxims, so that he may judge himself and his actions from this point of view, leads to another very fruitful concept, which depends on the aforementioned one, viz., that of a kingdom of ends.

What then is it that entitles the morally good disposition, or virtue, to make such lofty claims?  It is nothing less than the share which such a disposition affords the rational being of legislating universal laws, so that he is fit to be a member in a possible kingdom of ends, for which his own nature has already determined him as an end in himself and therefore as a legislator in the kingdom of ends.  Thereby is he free as regards all laws of nature, and he obeys only those laws which he gives to himself.  Accordingly, his maxims can belong to a universal legislation to which he at the same time subjects himself.  For nothing can have any worth other than what the law determines.  But the legislation itself which determines all worth must for that very reason have dignity, i.e., unconditional and incomparable worth; and the word “respect” alone proves a suitable expression for the esteem which a rational being must have for it.  Hence autonomy is the ground of the dignity of human nature and of every rational nature. {[15] pp 1087-1089}

Where the procreative and unitive aspects of sexuality are violated is by the unnatural acts of homosexuality which is why the Church teaches that any orientation to this behavior is objectively disordered, i.e., it is an orientation to a misuse of human sexuality, an orientation to acts which are sins against nature and nature’s God. The unitive is violated because the plumbing does not work, i.e., man was not created physically for homosexual acts; the procreative is a consequence of this fact.

Heterosexual attraction is natural to man and woman (Catechism #2333), while homosexual tendencies are unnatural. Heterosexual attraction is God-given, and for the vast majority of the human race, leads to marriage, children, and family; same-sex attractions are an objective disorder, but not sinful in themselves (CDF Statement, 1986, sect. 3) if the temptations are fought. One often hears this objection to the term “objective disorder” being applied to homosexual tendencies: “If a man lusts for a woman or vice versa, this too is an objective disorder.” But this is not so, because, if the man or woman controls this natural attraction, and wills to express it in the natural state of marriage, it is a good thing, desired by the Creator. But if one has a sexual-genital attraction to another person of the same sex, it can never lead to a morally good act between the two individuals, but rather it will always lead to an immoral act. That is why it is called an objective disorder.

Kant is alive and well inside and outside of the Church

And yet we have priests who reinvent religion by telling us that there are “healthy” expressions of homosexual orientation.  Sadly, a tremendous wound has been inflicted to the Body of Christ by the actions of these priests who confuses genuine compassion for the sinner with a pseudo-compassion for the inclination to a lifestyle that the Church calls “objectively disordered.” By their public heresy, they give ammunition to homosexual advocates who demand civil rights in an affirmative action sense, rights that they already possess as opposed to “special rights” which they do not deserve. In short, they scandalize the faithful. To say that the “Church does not ask homosexuals to deny their homosexuality implies somehow that homosexuality is a gift from God - another obfuscation of Church teaching reinforced by the latest research in regard to homosexuality. The Church clearly is teaching those inclined to homosexual lifestyles out of unconditional love for them that they are embarking down a road leading elsewhere than to salvation per the Catechism.

The word “orientation” has serious theological implications. If you believe that some people are essentially homosexual, you turn Christian anthropology on its head. Christianity holds that we are all heterosexual in our God-given nature, though some heterosexuals have a problem with same-sex attractions. If you believe that homosexuality is part of a person’s nature, given by God, then homosexual acts become a fulfillment of a person’s God-given nature, and that has never been the Catholic teaching.

The editors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church recognized this distinction. The original draft of the Catechism (1994) was modified in 1998 to refer to homosexuality as an “inclination, which is objectively disordered.”

Is it possible to be Christian and to be gay? - the answer from Catholic perspective

The question needs to be reposed per 1) what being “gay” typically means in contemporary usage as defined in Webster’s, i.e., “homosexual, one who is inclined toward or practices homosexuality, the manifestation of sexual desire toward a member of one’s own sex, and erotic activity with a member of one’s own sex,” and 2) what being “Christian” typically means, i.e., “based on or conforming with Christianity, the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as Sacred Scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies.”

Is it possible to be Christian and be inclined to homosexual acts? The answer is yes as there is no guarantee that Christians are not tempted to sin. It is better to ask “Is it possible to remain a Christian and live a lifestyle that equates sexual perversion with normality? The answer is an unequivocal no. For to do so makes a mockery of Sacred Scripture which states emphatically that Jesus condemns the sin while loving the sinner. The same “good and gentle” Jesus who is readily quoted out of context by the contemporary disciples of “dignity” and “self esteem” also is the “just” Jesus who talked more about the consequences of grave sin than any other New Testament figure. He was especially discriminatory in this regard as while some ceremonial aspects of the old law were rescinded, the moral requirements were not.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For amen, I say unto you, till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.  For I say to you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and of the Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20) {[22] pg 1255}

But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Wo to the world because of scandals.  For it must needs be that scandals come: but, nevertheless wo to that man by whom the scandal cometh.  And if thy hand of thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.  It is better for thee to enter into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.  And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee.  It is better for thee with one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. (Matthew 18:6-9)                         {[22] pg 1285}

The necessary role of the Church

The Catholic Church, by the will of Christ her Founder, is the teacher of truth. Her charge is to announce and teach authentically that Truth which is Christ. She helps Christians in the formation of their consciences through the Magisterium. The Church, when she pronounces on moral questions, in no way undermines the freedom of conscience of Christians because that freedom is never freedom from the truth but always and only freedom in the truth. Also, the Magisterium does not bring to the Christian conscience truths that are extraneous to it but rather the light of truths that it ought to possess.

In this era of apologies we must never forget that the only apology that the world ultimately wants, moreover, demands of Holy Mother Church is that she apologize for her claim to be the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,” the True Church founded by Jesus Christ upon the Rock that is Peter.  She must apologize for, and renounce the Nicene Creed that she professes at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  With that apology the Catholic Church will have been removed as the last bastion of truth in a world with no concept of responsibility, accountability, i.e., sin, a world gone mad with a “green light” for everyone to be comfortable with their vices portrayed as virtues, a spiritually anarchistic world where civilization as we know it will cease to exist and history condemned to repeat itself.

2.3.5 Euthanasia is not just changing medicine; it is replacing medicine

Abortion, as pre-natal euthanasia, inevitably leads to euthanasia, as post-natal abortion.  What goes around comes around.  So if you advocate the killing of babies in the womb, as a function of man-made rights currently in vogue, in complete ignorance of universal moral absolutes, do not be surprised when someone advocates killing you, without caring for your opinion to the contrary one whit, using a similar set of “rights,” which are subject to change at a moment’s notice. 

 

Remember, it happened before.  It is the consequence of failing to protect life from conception to natural death, which is rooted in the contraceptive mentality of the age. For if man is the sole arbiter of when life begins, is it any wonder why man demands that he be the sole arbiter of when life ends?  It is a logical progression.

 

How can someone claim to be “pro-choice” when there is no choice allowed for those who must suffer the brutal consequences of man playing God?

 

2.3.6 Welcome to Philosophy 101 where the students leave defending the filth of The Vagina Monologues

 

The Sceptic School of philosophy can be traced to Pyrrho of Elis who was born about 365 B.C.   His School was founded in 330 B.C. when he was thirty-five.  He died in 275 B.C.  Pyrrho’s approach was to doubt everything, to withdraw from all assertions into apathy, suspending any judgment and commitment.    One could argue that the some of Pyrrho can be seen in Descartes, whose initial doubt was similar to Pyrrho’s in that Descartes’s philosophical starting point was a methodical hyperbolic doubt that led him to assert the “clear and distinct idea” alone as the criterion of truth. He could be certain of nothing other than the cogito.  Thus, Descartes irrationally imprisoned himself in his mind alone.  Pyrrho’s attitude had an ataraxic effect in that if you expect nothing, you will never be disappointed. 

 

It is said that Pyrrho posed three questions as fundamental: What are things in themselves?  How should we be disposed towards them? What is the result of these dispositions?  Pyrrho’s answers were less then edifying.  He basically held that one should trust neither sense nor reason, but strive to be without opinions, choosing neither one side nor the other of contradictories.  No matter what is at issue, we should neither affirm nor deny.   

 

In a Christian sense this is clearly anathema given the lack of regard with which the Church of Laodicea was held in the Book of the Apocalypse regarding the admonition not to be lukewarm.

 

And to the Angel of the church of Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of God. I know thy works: that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot: But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. (Apocalypse 3:14-16) {[22] pp 1631-1632}

 

In a philosophical context, it is nonsensical.  How can one search for the truth, i.e., knowledge, if one is never sure about what knowledge is to the point of not taking a definitive position on anything? Something cannot “be” and “not be” at the same time in the same respect, a fundamental philosophical principle that is trashed from the outset. 

 

Welcome to Philosophy 101 where there is no certain knowledge, no criterion of truth, with judgment to be summarily suspended as a direct function of this Kantian contrived uncertainty.  “I’m OK, you’re OK” rules with no thought whatsoever to even the seminal validity of what is considered “OK.”  Is it any wonder that our college students are confused to the point of actually defending the utter and abject filth of plays like the Vagina Monologues where crude talk of female genitalia with direct lesbian overtones replaces any reference to our bodies being gifts from God, temples of the Holy Ghost, in the name of the “dignity of women,” and this at colleges masquerading as Catholic? 

 

At least at our secular universities there is no pretense of being Catholic with the aforementioned Philosophy 101 being the new dogma.  At these schools you know that you have to defend your faith in order to keep it. 

 

Applied mathematicians soon learn that not only is the correct solution to a problem important, but also arriving at that solution as quickly as possible is equally important for one very simple reason – uncorrected error propagates just as quickly, in fact, exponentially in most cases.  In civil engineering applications, the disastrous effect of this propagating error leading to unstable systems is widely documented. This truth needs to be equally applied by the Academy, and the Church, as an example for the world, if knowledge, which is Truth, a Someone, not a something, is to be conveyed to mankind.  If it is not then we will have no one to blame but ourselves for succumbing to Pyrrho’s apathy, an apathy lending itself to nothing positive at all to communicate, an apathy characterized by a complete and utter withdrawal from objectivity, cultivating extreme indifference to life and death issues to include the spiritual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3.

 

THE REBUTTAL TO THE CONTEMPORARY SOPHISTS, THE MODERN SPIN-DOCTORS, ROOTED IN MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY

 

We give a rebuttal to the contemporary modernist sophists by primarily using the natural law as formulated by Aquinas. A look at the work of the “lone ranger” of Catholic philosophers in the 17th century is used as an example for pointing out the extremes of the Cartesian world.  We do this especially out of concern for the kind of message that we are sending to our children with confidence in the knowledge that the natural law gives the answers to the modernist confusion.  This necessitates an examination of the historical roots of the natural law to better understand its important role for the family in the modern world.

3.1 Pascal’s Way Back to God – An Answer To The Errors of Modern Philosophers

With the rise of Rationalism in the seventeenth century, the central mysteries of the Christian Faith came under attack. Pascal planned to counter the Rationalist threat with a systematic work of apologetics. However, he died before he could write the book, but the material he had collected for the project, a series of disconnected reflections, was published under the title of Pensees.

Before we get into Pascal’s apologies, we will consider the nature of apologetics in regard to the teaching of the First Vatican Council (1869-1870). What is described in this teaching is practically an emulation of Pascal’s Pensees. Then we will look at the climate of the times that required Pascal’s Pensees.

The wisdom of the First Vatican Council in regard to faith and reason.

Dugan in Beyond Reasonable Doubt reminds us of the wisdom of the First Vatican Council in regard to the relationship between faith and reason.

There are, the First Vatican Council declared, two God-given means by which men may learn the religious and moral truths so necessary for the right ordering of human life: reason and faith. Reason is that which distinguishes man from the lower animals. It is because he has this capacity for abstract thought that he has been able to create science, philosophy, literature, political systems, religion and moral codes – of which there is no sign in the lower animals. The teaching of the Council on the role of reason in the attainment of religious truth is opposed to Fideism on the one hand and Rationalism on the other. Fideism is the view, espoused by Luther and others, that human reason by its natural powers is incapable of attaining any certain knowledge of religious truth, since our only source of certain knowledge in this field is faith.

Rationalism is the view, held by Spinoza, Kant and others, that human reason is all-sufficient. All that we can know – all that we need to know – about God and the management of human life is to be provided by human reason, rightly used.

Rejecting Fideism, the Council taught that human reason is capable of attaining some genuine knowledge of religious truths such as the existence of a transcendent Creator. But it also taught, contradicting the Rationalists, that divine revelation was necessary, and this on two grounds: first, in order that men might arrive quickly, with certainty, and without any admixture of error, at the knowledge of truths that were in principle attainable by unaided reason, and second, because man has a supernatural destiny, which he can know about and fulfill only by assenting to divine revelation.

When we assent to some statement, accepting it as true, we do so on the basis of evidence, which may be intrinsic or extrinsic.

Intrinsic evidence is the witness that the statement bears to its own truth, so that the human mind when it grasps the meaning of the statement sees by its own powers that the statement is true. Thus we have intrinsic evidence of the truth of the first principles of reason and of what we know by direct sense experience, e.g., the existence of the visible universe

Extrinsic evidence is the testimony of reliable witnesses testifying to some truth of which they have intrinsic evidence, e.g., the testimony of eye-witnesses in a murder trial.

When we assent to supernatural mysteries, such as the Trinity of Persons in God, of which we have no direct experience, our assent is based on extrinsic evidence. We accept this as the truth, not because we have seen it for ourselves, but because it has been revealed by God, who sees the realities of which He speaks. “No one has ever seen God;  the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” (Jn 1:18)  {[18] pp 30-32}

Dugan gets to the crux of the issue by laying down the blueprint of the relationship between reason and faith in talking about first, how God’s testimony is made known to us.

It seems that God could have chosen to communicate His revelation to each man individually, but this would not have been in accord with man’s social nature and in fact His message comes to most men mediately, through the witness of other men.  Under the Old Law, men received divine revelation from Moses, and after him from priests and prophets.  Under the New Law, men receive it from Christ, not directly, but through the mediation of the Apostles and their successors, to whom Christ has assigned the task of transmitting faithfully the truths that He revealed.

How can man know that the revelation communicated to them by other men comes from God?  Primarily, by an interior illumination brought about by the action of God Himself.  This is the gift of faith, of which St. Paul speaks: “For by grace you are saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8; cf. Jn. 6:44; 2 Cor. 4:6).  This Teaching of the New Testament is summed up by the First Vatican Council when it declares that “the assent of faith is brought about by the grace of God, with which man freely cooperates.” {[18] pg 32}

This grace certainly was made available to the authors of Sacred Scripture as the “inspired Word of God.” And we will see that it was not lacking in the apologetics of Pascal.

Dugan continues with the formal relationship between reason and faith.

The Council goes on to point out that the assent of faith, while it is essentially supernatural, is in harmony with the demands of human reason, for there are rational grounds, called the motives of credibility, which justify, though they do not compel, the assent of faith. These motives of credibility, distinct from the revelation itself, bear witness to its divine origin.

Since God is the Author of both faith and reason, and He cannot contradict Himself, there cannot be any contradiction between the truths that He has revealed and truths established with certainty by human reason. If, therefore, someone maintains that there is such a contradiction, he has either misunderstood some articles of faith or mistaken what is merely a matter of opinion for a truth that has been established with certainty by reason. {[18] pg 33}

Finally, Dugan underscores the need for rational arguments leading to theological truths akin to the metaphysical bridge from the natural to the supernatural.  Far from stifling scientific study, Dugan reminds us that faith encouraged it because the faithful have nothing to fear from the application of right reason reinforcing a faith that enables it.

It is a matter of historical fact that the Christian Faith, by sustaining men’s confidence in the power of human reason, has been a bulwark against scepticism in philosophy and created the intellectual climate that favored the rise of modern science.  And on the other hand, the theologian, seeking to arrive at a deeper understanding of the mysteries of Faith, has to make use of reason throughout the enterprise.

To establish what are called the preambles of Faith, such as the existence of God and the immortality of the human soul, the theologian must employ rational argument.  He must also employ rational argument in establishing the motives of credibility, showing that Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies, worked miracles, and rose from the dead. In striving to explore the supernatural mysteries and perceive their inter-connection, he must make use of philosophical principles, which are known by reason.  Finally, he must employ rational arguments to show that the difficulties urged against particular doctrines fail to prove that these contradict truths established by reason.  {[18] pp 33-34}

The philosophical world of Pascal

The world of Pascal was under the influence of the philosophers who developed Descartes’s basic ideas in political and religious directions. It was the modern philosophical world of Hobbes and Baruch Spinoza where the three basic issues were idealism, rationalism, and dualism.

Idealism is the core notion that the mind does not know things that are not oriented to being; ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena with the essential nature of reality lying in consciousness or reason where only mental states or entities are knowable. Its opposite is realism, a doctrine that universals exist outside the mind; the conception that objects of sense perception or cognition exist independently of the mind.

Rationalism became mathematicism, the one method for all inquiry, a unitary method for mathematics and physics that must exclude faith and spirituality. It was extended to all realms of thought, in many instances to ridiculous extremes where Spinoza believed that the implied QED after every “proof” in his Ethics sufficed for showing the indisputable efficacy of the geometrical form of his thought, regardless of whether it made sense or not.  An example of Spinoza’s “wondrous” vision, where the prejudices of Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Church are to be summarily eradicated, follows.

Now all the prejudices which I intend to mention here turn on this one point, the widespread belief among men that all things in Nature are like themselves in acting with an end in view.  Indeed, they hold it as certain that God himself directs everything to a fixed end; for they say that God has made everything for man’s sake and has made man so that he should worship God.  So this is the first point I shall consider, seeking the reason why most people are victims of this prejudice and why all are so naturally disposed to accept it.  Secondly, I shall demonstrate its falsity; and lastly I shall show how it has been the source of misconceptions about good and bad, right and wrong, praise and blame, order and confusion, beauty and ugliness, and the like. {[15] pp 559-560}

The great diversity of Aristotle and Aquinas through their approaches to reality via natural philosophy and metaphysics is suppressed, as the rationalists want to fix hypotheses to explain every area of life. Maritain said that rationalism will go between pantheism, the identification of God with respect to one’s own idea of the universe per Spinoza, and agnosticism, the denial of or simply not caring about any possible knowledge of God, because the knowledge of God is a challenge to the human mind.

Cartesian dualism is the separation of the world into the mechanism of the body and the consciousness of the mind with the constant danger of the reduction of the human being to one or the other pole. For Hobbes, the reduction was to the mechanistic side that left man open to various pressures and manipulations. For Spinoza, the reduction was to the spiritualizing of man, an extreme stoicism where there was no room for effective life or love.

Hobbes was the example of the solitary self in opposition to the world. His was a great material vision when he said, “It seems to me that there exists a single true thing in the entire world, and that truth is matter.” He used a mathematical model like Descartes’s as everything in the past was marred by not having a scientific approach to ethics. His Leviathan is the blueprint for an artificial mechanized society. He held that it was wrong for Aristotle, on the fundamentals of politics, to say, “Man is a social and political being.” Hobbes says no. By nature we are selfish, isolated, and in fundamental antagonism with others. Aristotle recognized that all men by nature desire to know, and that knowing is great fulfillment for rational life. Hobbes says No. We just seek knowledge for power, sharing that notion with Bacon, or for vanity’s sake. He begins with a notion that human nature is a point of desire or appetite, a lowest common denominator approach whereby mankind is reduced to being animalistic in seeking satisfaction for appetites. He defines good as what is pleasant or satisfying as opposed to Aristotle’s pleasurable, useful and noble good, which commands respect. Noble good for Hobbes is nothing but a sense of honor; there is no highest good, no summum bonum. Taking his bearings solely by materialistic philosophy, there is no good on earth for Hobbes that will satisfy human beings as we are in perpetual motion always seeking fulfillment for our desires. Power is the key for understanding human life – the ability to control and ensure future access to goods that are satisfying. Religion is nothing more than an invented superstitious fear that humans have about not knowing their future state. The “real fear” for Hobbes is his natural condition for mankind where politics are artificial. We are equal because of the following: we are equally vulnerable, not equal in ontological dignity under God, given that we are made in His Image and Likeness, but how we may hurt others; we all think that we are equal in terms of our assessment of ourselves leading to a state of war necessary for self preservation. The Ancients knew that there was a competition for scarce resources but they had a more complex human being who had a soul and was capable of seeing the common good. Hobbes complete rejection of the Ancients left him with nothing in common so war was inevitable.

Let us now summarize Hobbes’s “Pensees.”

We need to preserve ourselves. We need glory to be better than others. A state of war means no security. We have a continual fear of violent death. Life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. The state of nature is very sorry as the body is in constant motion and conflict. Nothing can be unjust. There is no justice by nature. We do what we have to do. We have a right to everything for self-preservation. No one can blame us. We build on the fear of violence and the desire for the good life that leads us to become rational, to make social contracts, to agree to lay down our rights to all things with respect to the equal rights of others. We will not harm others; they will not harm us. Out of selfishness we will get morality. Liberty is the freedom to move. Those who are powerful do what they want and those who are weak make due with what they have.

A problem arises. What if one “can get away with it?” Hobbes has no answer. Upon closer inspection, however, he most certainly does. Push laws to the maximum in the name of self-interest where minimal morality becomes the defining nature for all morality.

Leviathan is an artificial society, created by human beings to have the order of the state that has near divine qualities for Hobbes in that it becomes a “mortal god.” The irony is that in the name of liberty, Leviathan demands the surrender of complete authority to the state watching out for our interest always in terms of self-preservation. This sovereign will have the following qualities: 1) it will have knowledge of good and evil, 2) it will decree what is right or wrong, 3) it will ensure majority rule, and 4) it can not be accused as it is the ultimate arbiter holding the keys to war and peace. It is no accident that the first quality bears a striking resemblance to the Fall in Genesis as a result of believing the lies of the devil.

Enter Spinoza to counter Hobbes’s brutality of the sovereign state

Onto the scene comes Baruch Spinoza whose significance is the working out of the mechanism of modern philosophy, especially monism, one reality understood by the human mind.

Why do we need the religious view Spinoza develops? There was something unsatisfying by Hobbes’s sovereign state, the brutality of it. The human mind and heart seeks a higher vision of the modern project. Spinoza writes The Ethics {[15] pp 537-597} using the Euclidean method of axioms, theorems, and demonstration of proofs. Everything is identified with God; God is nature – pantheism with the notion of eternity radically transformed due to a stoic like acquiescence into the fatalism of the mechanical model with consciousness serving as the parallel universe where one’s vector within the whole is made, at least for Spinoza, crystal clear. Spinoza inverts Aquinas by beginning with God, and substance, laying out definitions like Euclid leading to the geometry of pantheism. Aquinas started with reason to argue the existence and nature of God. Spinoza sounds good at first but problems quickly develop. He claims one substance, God, with everything else absorbed into God. God as cause is indwelling and not the transcendent cause of all things. God is not separate from the universe but is within the universe. In short, God is immanent and not the transcendent cause of the universe. Teleology is not acceptable in a mechanistic universe since telos is due to our ignorance. There is no contingency; everything happens by necessity. Thought is reduced to seeing your ideas parallel the mechanism of the universe that defines a world that includes just forces and appetites. As we become more understanding of scientific explanations of causes, we are more ready to accept the way things are in accord with the development of a full world view of science. Through the stoic notion of acquisition, one sees that he has his own share in the power and mechanism of the universe. Freedom is the knowledge of necessity giving a higher understanding of the universe. A wise man will not be disturbed in spirit but be conscious of God Himself and things due to a certain eternal necessity that never ceases to be, i.e., always possessing the true acquiescence of his spirit.

The end result is that unity becomes an obsession. It is looked for everywhere. The significance of the human spirit dwindles as it is only seen as part of the whole. In the name of liberty, the view of the pantheist baptizes and sanctifies anything that happens due to raw power. The dignity required of human beings is lost when the modern notion of rights is required.

For Spinoza nature and God were made identical which simply excluded the possibility of miracles. Much less noted was the most devastating consequence of the Spinozian position. It consisted in Spinoza’s thorough perplexity about the existence of concrete, specific, limited things making up nature and providing science with its subject matter. The genesis of Spinoza’s difficulties was Cartesian rationalism that aimed at complete certainty (equating it with mathematics which is a series of tautologies). A common sense approach admitting to the unconditional acknowledgment of external reality was never considered by these modern philosophies. Thus, insanity prevailed, which comes as no surprise given the following astute observation from Cahn’s preface to Spinoza’s Ethics.

The term “good” and “bad” are, according to Spinoza, merely words we use to express our own desires.  In order to achieve salvation, we need to free ourselves from the bondage of these emotions and strive through reason to achieve knowledge of and identification with the order of the universe, thus coming to possess “the intellectual love of God” which is “blessedness.”  By thus reinterpreting the concept of God and imparting spirituality to the study of nature, Spinoza fused his commitment to the scientific model of knowledge with the monotheistic vision of his religious heritage. {[15] pg 536}

Maritain in The Degrees of Knowledge gives us a warning that we would do well to heed.

May it never be forgotten what an error it would be to try to build a Philosophy of Nature, and a fortiori a metaphysics, on the theoretical conclusions of modern physics and its explanations of the world, taken as ontological foundations, as if those conclusions and explanations could be utilized as such by the philosopher and without a previous rigid critique. That was the error committed by Spinoza with the physics of his day. {[32] pg 201}

Translation: The Cartesians got just what they deserved – Spinoza!

The “Lone Ranger” of the 17th Century

There was a philosopher in the 17th Century who did not climb onto Descartes’s new methodological bandwagon, which the 18th Century misnamed The Enlightenment – namely, trying to do philosophy and life by the scientific method.  He was the Catholic Pascal. 

Pascal rose up to give a reality check by blowing the whistle on the extremes and madness of the modern philosophers. He exposed the “methodical doubt” of Descartes for what it was, a false presupposition. Pascal saw perfectly well that Descartes never really doubted whether he was awake or asleep, of sound mind or insane. The point that Pascal wants to make is not simply that the doubt of Descartes was feigned, but rather that, no matter how hard he tried, Descartes could not have doubted such truths. They come to us from nature; it is not in our power not to assent to them, which is precisely what is meant by their being evident. The mind does not see why they are true, but it sees that they are true. How does the mind see it? In trying to refuse them assent, since however hard one tries to do so, he fails, which is why axioms are the foundation of proofs and their corollaries.

Descartes is useless per Pascal since he goes to the trouble of demonstrating propositions whose truth is evident. He is uncertain, because his way of demonstrating them is so complicated that the mind feels rather shaken in its certitude after following them to the end. According to Descartes, I cannot be quite sure I am awake, or that there are other beings besides myself, until I have established my own existence in the Second Meditation, the existence of God in the Third and Fifth Meditations, His veracity in the Fourth Meditation, and the existence of the world of bodies (including my own) in the Sixth Meditation. Now I may not understand that long chain of reasons. That doesn’t matter because I haven’t ceased one moment knowing that I am awake and not insane; in short, I have not doubted one moment the truth of what nature teaches me in a most convincing way. Principles are not lacking demonstrations; their certitude is above demonstration.

Neither skepticism nor dogmatism is the truth. It is not true that all is uncertain and that nothing is known, since, in all domains, the principles are certain to the sight of those that have eyes to see them. But it is not correct, either, that every true proposition is rationally demonstrable, for the principles are not subject to demonstration and yet they are true. Pascal stands betwixt and between, a skeptic to the dogmatists and a dogmatists to the skeptics. But who knows but what this is not a faithful picture of the human condition?  {[19] pp 118-119}

Jaki in Scientist and Catholic: Pierre Duhem shows the effects of Cartesianism in the modern world with these observations.

We live in a secularist age which is not willing to learn from the colossal debacle of institutionalized Marxist slogans about religion as a mere opiate of the people. By and large, scientists in the western world fail to protest about those colleagues of theirs who, blessed with literary and performing talents, keep preaching a now two-hundred-year-old message of secularist Western culture. The message, first formulated by the gurus of The Enlightenment, consists in the claim that science is the only reliable savior of mankind and that for science to be born, Christianity, or the religion most explicitly steeped in belief in a most extraordinary Savior, first must be discredited.

That religion, including Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, can only be tolerated as a subjective option, is the implicit message of pontificating scientists, all to ready to perform before the batteries of television cameras. The option they allow to that religion is a lame license to operate as an opiate which, so they hope, proper exposure to science will sufficiently prevent from doing too much harm.

They (Catholics) are mistaken if they expect Catholic facts to prevail in secularist consciousness. Duhem or not, the academic milieu, to say nothing of its journalistic overspill, will continue in the merry belief that science had forever disposed of the possibility and fact of Revelation, especially as given in Jesus Christ, the only LORD. It is on that merry belief that rests the basic dogma of secularism, namely, that man is his own master, accountable to no one on this earth, let alone above it. {[24] pp 8-9}

Pascal was three centuries ahead of his time. His words in his Pensees ring out with the same clarity today as they did when he put them to print. Kreeft, in Christianity for Modern Pagans – Pascal’s Pensees, says

Pascal is the first postmedieval apologist. He is ‘for today’ because he speaks to modern pagans, not to medieval Christians. Most Christian apologetics today is still written from a medieval mind-set in one sense; as if we still lived in a Christian culture, a Christian civilization, and a society that reinforced the Gospel. No, the honeymoon is over. The Middle Ages are over. The news has not yet sunk in fully in many quarters.

It has sunk in to Pascal.  He is three centuries ahead of his time.  He addresses his apologetic to modern pagans, sophisticated skeptics, comfortable members of the new secular intelligentsia.  He is the first to realize the new dechristianized desacramentalized world and to address it.  He belongs to us.

I know no pre-twentieth-century book except the Bible that shoots Christian arrows father into modern pagan hearts than the Pensees. {[28] pp 12-13}

The modern applications of Pascal’s Pensees

We will now examine some specific Pensees for their modern applications.

Pensees 6 addresses two great primal truths.

These two great primal truths – that man is happy with God and wretched without God – is an unfolding into two truths of the single great Augustinian truism that  “Thou has made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee” (Confessions I, 1,2). {[28] pp 25-26}

All of the different forms of modernist, revisionist Christianity, which is indistinguishable from secularism, have in common the rejection of these truths, i.e., the de facto acceptance of sin in not believing that sin exists with the false promise of universal salvation for all.  Specific instances include radical feminism and homosexuality, pop psychology masking as religion, “creation spirituality,” wicca, the New Age Movement, and classical theological “demythologizing” ala the Jesus Seminar, which rears its ugly head publicly twice a year, Christmas and Easter.

One of the most powerful of all the Pensees is 136 on Diversion. Pascal asks

What else does it mean to be Superintendent, Chancellor, Chief Justice, but to enjoy a position in which a great number of people come every morning from all parts and do not leave them a single hour of the day to think about themselves? When they are in disgrace and sent off to their country houses, where they lack neither wealth nor servants to meet their needs, they infallibly become miserable and dejected because no one stops them thinking about themselves? {[28] pg 176}

We need constant diversions to keep ourselves from introspective thought on what our priorities in life should really be in the light of the supernatural end for which we were created, not the natural end of the modernist philosophers.  The former serves God while the latter “workaholic mentality” leaves no time for God in serving the devil with the “god of work” being one of the modern substitutes.

Pascal in Pensees 199 scolds the theoretical rashness of Descartes, who thought that he could deduce all the truths of nature from the principles of his philosophy, and the practical rashness of technologists like Bacon, who thought that his “knowledge for power” and “man’s conquest of nature” by the “new organon” of inductive logic and scientific method would create a Utopia of wisdom, goodness, happiness, prosperity and peace.

That is why nearly all philosophers confuse their ideas of things, and speak spiritually of corporeal things and corporeally of spiritual ones, for they boldly assert that bodies tend to fall, that they aspire towards their centre, that they flee from destruction, that they fear a void, that they have inclinations, sympathies, antipathies, all things pertaining only to things spiritual.  And when they speak of minds, they consider them as being in a place, and attribute to them movement from one place to another, which are things pertaining only to bodies. 

Instead of receiving ideas of these things in their purity, we colour them with our qualities and stamp our own composite being on all the simple things we contemplate.

Who would not think, to see us compounding everything of mind and matter, that such a mixture is perfectly intelligible to us?  Yet this is the thing we understand least; man is to himself the greatest prodigy in nature, for he cannot conceive what body is, and still less what mind is, and least of all how a body can be joined to a mind.  This is his supreme difficulty. And yet it is his very being.  The way in which minds are attached to bodies is beyond man’s understanding, and yet this is what man is. {[28] pp 125-126}

In Pensees 427 Pascal commits the unforgivable secularist sin of talking about the final things, in particular, hell.

One needs no great sublimity of soul to realize that in this life there is no true and solid satisfaction, that all our pleasures are mere vanity, that our afflictions are infinite, and finally that death which threatens us at every moment must in a few years infallibly face us with the inescapable and appalling alternative of being annihilated or wretched throughout eternity.  {[28] pg 191}

Pascal’s famous wager

Some brief examples have been presented of the thought of Pascal, Catholic Philosopher, Catholic Apologist, in short, Catholic to the core. His famous wager was his attempt not to be overly clever, but rather to present an undeniable truth to anyone capable of rational thought. Kreefts’s description of the wager will be given here.

We can be wrong in two ways: by ‘wagering’ on God when there is no God or by ‘wagering’ on there being no God when there is a God. The second mistake loses everything, in particular, eternity; the first loses nothing. The second is therefore the stupidest wager in the world. And the first is the wisest.  {[28] pg 292}

It is well to note that the wager is not just about there being some sort of God, but the God of Christianity, the God who promises salvation and threatens damnation. In other words, the wager is not just about God but about Christ, the man who was God and said that if and only if we believe in Him will we be saved. The humility of Pascal led him to the wager for the love of converting souls to Christ recognizing that, from an apologist’s standpoint, you have to walk before you can run.

After considering the pensees of Hobbes and Pascal respectively, we logically ask, “Which is more preferable, the misery of Leviathan, or the Way, the Truth, and the Life?

3.1.1 No right exists to aberrant behavior

Making sexual orientation a cause for nondiscrimination says that orientation to objectively disordered behavior is acceptable.  One could logically ask, if this is true, what prevents anarchy?

In 1990 J. of Homosexuality produced a double issue devoted to adult-child sex. One of the many disturbing quotes said, “parents should look upon the pedophile who loves their son ‘not as a rival or competitor, not as a thief of their property, but as a partner in the boy’s upbringing, someone to be welcomed into their home...’“ (pg 164). The American Psychological Association did not denounce this position. Why? Why are these views being publicized in “homosexual” journals? The answer is in J. Sex and Marital Therapy which shows a strong correlation between homosexual males and pedophilia in proportion to their numbers (about 1 out of 36 men).

The following evidence showing the correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia is current research from NARTH, The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, in an article entitled The Problem of Pedophilia.

http://www.narth.com/docs/pedophNEW.html

Gay advocates correctly state that most child molesters are heterosexual males. But this is a misleading statement. In proportion to their numbers (about 1 out of 36 men), homosexual males are more likely to engage in sex with minors: in fact, they appear to be three times more likely than straight men to engage in adult-child sexual relations (8). And this does not take into account the cases of homosexual child abuse which are unreported. NARTH's Executive Director Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, for example, says that about one-third of his 400 adult homosexual clients said they had experienced some form of homosexual abuse before the age of consent, but only two of those cases had been reported.

While no more than 2% of male adults are homosexual, some studies indicate that approximately 35% of pedophiles are homosexual (9). Further, since homosexual pedophiles victimize far more children than do heterosexual pedophiles (10), it is estimated that approximately 80% of pedophilic victims are boys who have been molested by adult males (11).

8. Freund, K. and R. I. Watson, The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children: An Exploratory Study, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 18 (Spring 1992): 3443.

9. K. Freund et al., Pedophilia and Heterosexuality v. Homosexuality, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 10 (Fall 1984): 197.

10. Freund, K. and R. I. Watson, The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children: An Exploratory Study, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 18 (Spring 1992): 3443.

11. Schmidt, Thomas (1995). Straight and Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate. Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, p. 114.

A Fringe Element Begins to Make Inroads into the Mainstream

NAMBLA--the North American Man-Boy Love Association--was once the lone voice lobbying for the normalization of pedophilia. NAMBLA representatives marched in gay-pride parades as a fringe element of the gay-rights movement.

Then in 1990, the Journal of Homosexuality produced a special double issue devoted to adult-child sex, which was entitled "Male Intergenerational Intimacy" (1). One article said many pedophiles believe they are "born that way and cannot change" (p. 133). Another writer said a man who counseled troubled teenage boys could achieve "miracles... not by preaching to them, but by sleeping with them." The loving pedophile can offer a "companionship, security and protection" which neither peers nor parents can provide (p. l62). Parents should look upon the pedophile who loves their son "not as a rival or competitor, not as a thief of their property, but as a partner in the boy's upbringing, someone to be welcomed into their home..." (p. 164).

A British university professor wrote: "Boys want sex with men, boys seduce adult men, the experience is very common and much enjoyed" (p. 323). A professor of social science at the State University of New York says he looks forward to the day when Americans will "get over their hysteria about child abuse" (p. 325) and child pornography.

A.P.A. Publishes a New Study: Not All Pedophile Relationships are Harmful

The American Psychological Association did not denounce the positions advanced within that journal. In fact, just recently, the A.P.A. published a new, major study (2) written by one of those same Journal of Homosexuality writers.

This latest article appears in the A.P.A.'s own prestigious Psychological Bulletin. It provides an overview of all the research studying the harm resulting from childhood sexual abuse.

The authors' conclusion? That childhood sexual abuse is on average, only slightly associated with psychological harm--and that the harm may not be due to the sexual experience, but to the negative family factors in the children's backgrounds. When the sexual contact is not coerced, especially when it is experienced by a boy and is remembered positively, it may not be harmful at all.

The authors of the article propose that psychologists stop using judgmental terms like "child abuse," "molestation," and "victims," using instead neutral, value-free terms like "adult-child sex." Similarly, they say we should not talk about the "the severity of the abuse," but instead refer to "the level of sexual intimacy."

The authors conclude that behavior which psychotherapists commonly term "abuse" may only constitute a violation of social norms. And science, they say, should separate itself from social-moral terminology. Religion and society, these writers argue, are free to judge behavior as they wish...but psychiatry should evaluate behavior by its own set of standards.

In fact, the authors of the Psychological Bulletin article propose what they consider may be a better way of understanding pedophilia: that it may only be "abuse" if the child feels bad about the relationship. They are in effect suggesting a repetition of the steps by which homosexuality was normalized. In its first step toward removing homosexuality from the Diagnostic Manual, the A.P.A. said the condition was normal as long as the person did not feel bad about it.

Few laymen are aware that the American Psychiatric Association recently redefined the criteria for pedophilia. According to the latest diagnostic manual (DSM--IV), a person no longer has a psychological disorder simply because he molests children. To be diagnosed as disordered, now he must also feel anxious about the molestation, or be impaired in his work or social relationships. Thus the A.P.A. has left room for the "psychologically normal" pedophile.

The questionable worth of our professional psychiatric and psychological associations

Thus, the American Psychological Association’s prestigious Psychological Bulletin concludes that childhood sexual abuse is on average, only slightly associated with psychological harm - and that the harm may not be due to the sexual experience, but to the negative family factors in the children’s backgrounds. Incredible!

It is good to remember that much has been made of the American Psychiatric Association no longer including homosexuality on their disorder list. This APA, the other being the American Psychological Association, also no longer includes sadism, masochism, and pedophilia on this list, depending on what tortured version of its Diagnostic and Statistics Manual is referenced. Does this mean that these “orientations” might eventually be embraced as causes for nondiscrimination?

Furthermore, the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of the American Psychiatric Association has said that there is no problem with pedophilia unless it bothers the pedophiliac - so much for the concern of the safety of children.

Are we as a society obliged to follow the dictates of so-called professional associations whose surreal positions defy reason?

3.1.2 Homosexuality Is Biologically And Metaphysically Against The Natural

Aquinas to the rescue

No thinker is as closely associated with natural law theory as Aquinas, which is why his thought is a point of departure for those who appeal to the natural law tradition in arguing against the validity of a homosexual lifestyle. Similarly, those who wish to undermine the natural law understanding of homosexuality, of necessity, must attack or attempt to reinterpret Aquinas. For if Aquinas’s understanding of homosexuality would turn out to be groundless or incoherent, the natural law approach to this question could be vitiated.

The natural law.

Since, however, good has the nature of an end, and evil, the nature of a contrary, hence it is that all those things to which man has a natural inclination, are naturally apprehended by reason as being good, and consequently as objects of pursuit, and their contraries as evil, and objects of avoidance.

Because in man there is first of all an inclination to good in accordance with the nature which he has in common with all substances; inasmuch as every substance seeks the preservation of its own being, according to its nature: and by reason of this inclination, whatever is a means of preserving human life, and of warding off its obstacles, BELONGS to the Natural law. Secondly, there is in man an inclination to things that pertain to him more specially, according to that nature which he has in common with other animals: and in virtue of this inclination, those things are said to belong to the natural law, WHICH NATURE HAS TAUGHT TO ALL ANIMALS, such as sexual intercourse, education of offspring and so forth.

Thus man has a natural inclination to know the truth about God, and to live in society: and in this respect, whatever pertains to this inclination belongs to the natural law. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 2) {[4] pp 1009-1010}

For it has been stated that to the natural law belongs everything to which a man is inclined according to his nature.

Wherefore, since the rational soul is the proper form of man, there is in every man a natural inclination to act according to reason: and this is to act according to virtue.

Temperance is about the natural concupiscences of food, drink, and sexual matters, which are indeed ordained to the natural common good, just as other matters of law are ordained to the moral common good.

By human nature we may mean either that which is proper to man - and in this sense all sins, as being against reason, are also against nature, as Damascene states (De Fide Orthod. ii. 30): or we may mean that nature which is common to man and other animals; and in this sense, certain special sins are said to be AGAINST nature; thus contrary to sexual intercourse, which is natural to all animals, is unisexual lust, which has received the special name of the UNNATURAL CRIME. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 3) {[4 ] pg 1010}

Consequently we must say that the natural law, as to general principles, is the same for all, both as to rectitude and as to knowledge.

As, in man, reason rules and commands the other powers, so all the natural inclinations belonging to the other powers must needs be directed according to reason. (Summa Theologica, Vol.  II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 4) {[4] pp 1010-1011}

The natural law dates from the creation of the rational creature. It does NOT vary according to time, but remains unchangeable.

The natural law was perverted in the hearts of some men, as to certain matters, so that they esteemed those things good which are naturally evil. (Summa Theologica, Vol.  II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 5) {[4] pp 1011-1012}

THY LAW IS WRITTEN ON THE HEARTS OF MEN, WHICH INIQUITY ITSELF EFFACES NOT. But the law which is written in men’s hearts is the natural law. Therefore the natural law CANNOT be blotted out.

There belong to the natural law, first, certain most general precepts, that are known to all; and secondly, certain secondary and more detailed precepts, which are, as it were, conclusions following closely from first principles. As to those general principles, the natural law, in the abstract, can NOwise be blotted out from men’s hearts. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 6) {[4] pp 1012-1013}

Homosexuality.

The unnatural vice IS a species of lust. It is reckoned together with other species of lust (2 Cor. xii. 21) where we read: ‘And have not done penance for the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness,’ where a gloss says: ‘Lasciviousness, i.e., unnatural lust.’

The venereal act is rendered unbecoming through being contrary to right reason, and because, in addition, it is contrary to the natural order of the venereal act as becoming to the human race: and this is called THE UNNATURAL VICE. This may happen by copulation with an undue sex, male with male, or female with female, as the Apostle states (Rom. i. 27): and this is called the VICE OF SODOMY. (Summa Theologica, Vol.  IV, Pt. II-II, Q. 154, Art. 11) {[6] pg 1819}

Augustine says (De adult. conjug.) that ‘of all these’, namely the sins belonging to lust, ‘THAT WHICH IS AGAINST NATURE IS THE WORST.’

I answer that, in every genus, worst of all is the corruption of the principle on which the rest depend. Now the principles of reason are those things that are according to nature, because reason presupposes things as determined by nature, before disposing of other things according as it is fitting. This may be observed both in speculative and in practical matters. Wherefore just as in speculative matters the most grievous and shameful error is that which is about things the knowledge of which is naturally bestowed on man, so in matters of action it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature. Therefore, since by the UNNATURAL VICES man TRANSGRESSES that which has been determined by nature with regard to the use of venereal actions, it follows that in this matter THIS SIN IS GRAVEST OF ALL. After it comes incest, which is contrary to the natural respect which we owe persons related to us.

Just as the ordering of right reason proceeds from man, so the order of nature is from God Himself: wherefore in sins contrary to nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an INJURY IS DONE TO GOD, THE AUTHOR OF NATURE. Hence, Augustine says (Conf. iii. 8): ‘Those foul offenses that are against nature should be everywhere and at all times DETESTED and PUNISHED, such as were those of the people of Sodom, which should all nations commit, they should all stand guilty of the same crime, by the law of God, which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another. For even that very intercourse which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature, of which He is the author, is POLLUTED BY THE PERVERSITY OF LUST.’

Vices against nature are also against God, and are so much more grievous than the depravity of sacrilege, as the order impressed on human nature is prior to and more firm than any subsequently established order.

The nature of the species is more intimately united to each individual, than any other individual is. Wherefore sins against the specific nature are more grievous.

Wherefore among sins against nature, the most grievous is the sin of bestiality, because use of the due species is not observed. After this comes the sin of Sodomy, because use of the right sex is not observed. (Summa Theologica, Vol. IV, Pt. II-II, Q. 154, Art. 12) {[6] pp 1819-1821}

Thus spoke Aquinas, Doctor of the Church!

3.2 What kind of message do we send to our children?

Noted Catholic moral theologian, Msgr. William Smith once commented on how “rights talk” and “tolerance” have reached intolerable proportions. He observed that G.K. Chesterton was right to say that tolerance is the only virtue common to those who do not believe in anything. What Msgr. Smith was referring to indirectly related to the situation in the public square where many believers are being coerced into supporting laws which their faith holds in anathema. Somehow, this clarion call for unconditional tolerance conveniently excludes those who, for reasons of faith, cannot welcome the sin with the sinner. Moreover, they are certainly not required to do so in any sane reading of Sacred Scripture and Church tradition that does not erase significant portions of the Bible or Church teaching to accommodate the current vices in vogue.

What kind of message do we send to children growing up? If we send an ambiguous or ambivalent message, a message that human sexuality whether it is normal or deviant is just like being right or left handed, we are sending a very dangerous message leading to physical as well as spiritual destruction.

Law functions as a teacher

Law functions as a teacher as to what we approve and disapprove of in society. Thus, to imply that “sexual orientation” is equated with immutable natural characteristics or constitutionally protected behavior says that being inclined to behavior which is an intrinsic moral evil is OK, and there is nothing wrong with inclinations that are objectively disordered (morally reprehensible).

What we must never lose sight of is that we are talking about a disordered form of behavior to which no one has any conceivable right. If there is no right, there can be no discrimination in regard to opposing this behavior.

Every parent with an IQ in double figures knows that growing up with extra burdens, extra pains is not good for children. Sending wrong signals in our society will only complicate their lives.

If we cannot affirm the normative position of stable, heterosexual marriage and family life of “mother, father, and children,” then our society will become a footnote in history like so many others which destroyed themselves from within.

We have to think of family all the time in the promulgation of our laws which are rooted in the natural law which is a participation in the eternal law of God. The Ten Commandments can be considered an early warning system. They are not the ten suggestions. If you obey them, you will flourish; if not, you will participate in your own destruction.  Civilizations that have played fast and loose with the Commandments, stable marriage, and family life no longer exist.

The proper interpretation of Aquinas’s natural law in a metaphysical context

What the reinventers of Aquinas, Sacred Scripture, and Church tradition do not understand is the proper interpretation of Aquinas’s natural law in a metaphysical context. They fail to understand Aquinas’s understanding of nature and its role in his evaluation of ethics.

There are several fundamental principles that one must keep in mind when interpreting Aquinas’s natural law teachings: 1) Aquinas understands God to be the author of nature and thus what is natural is good. 2) The primary meaning of the word “nature” for Aquinas is not physical or biological but ontological in that “nature” most precisely refers to the essence of a substance, in the case of man, to a substance that is a unity of spirit and body. 3) natural law ethics and virtue ethics are integrally related for virtues are a perfection of man’s nature. All sins are a violation of some virtue. 4) Since the Fall, man’s physical nature and intellectual nature are flawed and thus can mislead him in his actions. Aquinas is concerned about what is fitting for man’s telos. What is fitting in this sense is what is ordered to the good, not what is objectively disordered. His concern about this “good ordering” is centered around its leading to the perfection of one’s nature toward this final end, something totally rejected by modernists like Spinoza, which leads to the union of body and soul, the soul being the form of the body. So Aquinas has a very metaphysical purpose in defining nature in that the soul cannot be divorced from the body in an eternal sense.

Although Aquinas speaks of the good of sexuality as being “the propagation of the species,” the propagation of the human species should not be understood in the same way as the propagation of all other species, since humans have immortal souls, and are destined not just to contribute to the longevity of the species but also possess an intrinsic value in their own right. Humans in generating offspring are not just preserving the species; they are “multiplying individuals,” i.e., they are helping to populate Heaven, not just Earth. Thus, humans not only reproduce; more properly they procreate. They participate in the coming to be of a new human soul. God is the Creator of each and every human soul but He requires the provision of matter by human beings in order to affect the coming to be of a new human being (body and soul). Semen, then, (and the ova) is part of the matter into which God infuses the human soul. To deliberately misuse semen, or the ova, i.e., to use them in a way that prevents them from providing the matter for new human life, is to violate a great good in a metaphysical sense, which is against the natural law. Man is not allowing God to be God. Thus, the “natural” in the natural law for Aquinas not only applies to “natural” in a biological sense, i.e., a violation of the plumbing, but more properly to “natural” in a supernatural sense, where metaphysics is the path of reason to the Divine.

 

3.3 Historical roots of the natural law

What the natural law is and why it is necessary guide for human action

What is this “natural law?”  As Socrates reasoned, it is something above power or force that gives content to the notion of justice.  There is such a thing as a natural right.  This is a notion, which in turn, suggests that there is a higher law or a natural law by which the positive law of the city is to be measured and judged.  Aquinas gives us the formal definition of such a law in the Summa Theologica I-II.  He does this via a logical sequence starting with the definition of law in Question 90, presenting a formal definition for the natural law in Question 91, discussing its characteristics in Question 94, going on to present its relationship to human law in Question 95, and considering when such laws are binding in Question 96. 

 

Law is an ordinance of reason for the common good, decreed by authorities in charge of the community. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 90, Art. 4) {[4] pg 995}

 

Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to divine providence in a more excellent way, insofar as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others.  Wherefore it has a share of the eternal reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end, and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. Hence, the Psalmist, after saying “offer up the sacrifice of justice,” as though someone asked what the works of justice are, adds: “Many say, ‘Who shows us good things?’,” in answer to which question he says: “The light of Your countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us”; thus, implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which pertains to the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the divine light.  It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation of the eternal law. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt.  I-II, Q. 91, Art. 2) {[4] pp 996-997}

 

A law is a certain dictate of practical reason.  Now it is to be observed that the same procedure takes place in the practical and in the speculative reason, for each proceeds from principles to conclusions.  Accordingly, we conclude that just as, in the speculative reason, from naturally known indemonstrable principles we draw the conclusions of the various sciences, the knowledge of which is not imparted to us by nature but acquired by the efforts of reason, so too it is from the precepts of the natural law, as from general and indemonstrable principles, that the human reason needs to proceed to certain particular determinations of the laws.  These particular determinations, devised by human reason, are called human laws.  (SummaTheologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 91, Art. 3) {[4] pp 997-998}

 

The precepts of the natural law are to the practical reason what the first principles of demonstrations are to the speculative reason because both are self-evident principles.  Wherefore the first indemonstrable principle is that the same thing cannot be affirmed and denied at the same time, which is based on the nature of “being” and “not-being,” and on this principle all others are based, as it is stated in Metaphysics IV.  Now, as “being” is the first thing that falls under apprehension simply, so “good” is the first thing that falls under the apprehension of the practical reason, which is directed to action, since every agent acts for an end under the aspect of good.  Consequently, the first principle in the practical reason is one founded on the notion of good, viz., that good is that which all things seek after.  Hence this is the first precept of law, that good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.  All other precepts of the natural law are based upon this, so that whatever the practical naturally apprehends as man’s good (or evil) belongs to the precepts of the natural law as something to be done or avoided. 

 

Since, however, good has the nature of an end, and evil the nature of a contrary, hence it is that all those things to which man has a natural inclination are naturally apprehended by reason as being good, and consequently, as objects of pursuit, and their contraries as evil and objects of avoidance.  (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 2) {[4] pp 1009-1010}

 

As regards the general principles, whether of speculative or practical reason, truth or rectitude is the same for all and is equally known by all. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 4) {[4] pp 1010-1011}

 

The natural law dates from the creation of the rational creature.  It does not vary according to time but remains unchangeable.  (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 5) {[4] pp 1011-1012}

 

Augustine says, “Thy law is written in the hearts of men, which iniquity itself effaces not.”  But the law which is written in men’s hearts is the natural law.   Therefore, the natural law cannot be blotted out.  (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 94, Art. 6) {[4] pp 1012-1013}

 

As Augustine says, “that which is not just seems to be no law at all”; wherefore the force of a law depends on the extent of its justice.  Now, in human affairs a thing is said to be just from being right according to the rule of reason.  But the first rule of reason is the law of nature, as is clear from what has been stated above.  Consequently, every human law has just so much of the nature of law as it is derived from the law of nature.  But if, in any point, it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law.  (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt. I-II, Q. 95,  Art. 2) {[4] pp 1014-1015}

 

Laws framed by man are either just or unjust.  If they be just, they have the power of binding in conscience from the eternal law whence they are derived, according to Pr. 8:15: “By Me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things.”  Now laws are said to be just from the end, when, to wit, they are ordained to the common good, and from their author, that is to say, when the law that is made does not exceed the power of the lawgiver, and from their form, when, to with, burdens are laid on the subjects according to an equality of proportion and with a view to the common good.

 

Augustine says, “A law that is not just, seems to be no law at all.”  Where such laws do not bind in conscience.  Laws may be unjust through being opposed to the divine good; such are the laws of tyrants inducing to idolatry or to anything else contrary to the divine law, and laws of this kind must nowise be observed because, as stated in Acts 5:29, “we ought to obey God rather than men.”  (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Pt.  I-II, Q. 96, Art. 4) {[4] pp 1021-1022}

 

It is Aquinas’s doctrine of natural law that is recognized as the best formulation of the understanding of a higher law that guides, restrains, and influences the will of a government or a people. 

 

Aquinas in relation to human law

 

Aquinas’s doctrine in relation to human law can be summarized as follows.  Laws are the works of reason for the common good.  The natural law is the participation of a rational creature in the divine law in that it is a participation in the wisdom and goodness of God by the human person, formed in the image of the Creator.  The natural law expresses the dignity of the person and forms the basis of human rights and fundamental duties.  For Aquinas the eternal law, God’s will for His created universe, consists of the divine law, God’s eternal law as revealed in Sacred Scripture, and the natural law, our participation in the eternal law.  In turn, human law comes directly from the natural law as it is a particular demonstration of it, being the measure or norm of all human law.  The natural law is a key to the understanding the foundation of political authority.  Positive law ultimately derives its authority from the foundation of what is right by nature.  If the purpose of the polis is that of societal common good, i.e., human flourishing, the lawmaker must know what are the elements of human flourishing.  Aquinas identifies the fundamental goods of human flourishing from the various inclinations of the human being and the intelligible good which is achieved through such activity.  He does this by observing that the rational creature has a natural inclination to its proper act or end with the first principle in the practical reason founded on the nature of the good; hence, this becomes the first precept of law:  good is to be done and promoted and evil is to be avoided.   All other precepts of the natural law are predicated on this such that all things which practical reason naturally apprehends as man’s good belong to the precepts of the natural law under the form of things to be done or avoided.  This is an immutable law that is the same for all, known by all, and not erasable.  Any human law that deflects from the law of nature is no longer a law but a perversion of the law.  Human laws are just or unjust.  The former are binding in conscience because of their derivation from the eternal law via the natural law; the latter are not binding. 

 

Getting a better understanding of the natural law

 

To get a better understanding of the natural law we will examine how Aquinas structures the various inclinations of a human being into four levels.  The first, shared with all beings, is seeking to do good and avoid evil.  The good on this first level is to seek preservation of one’s being and kind.  This leads to an affirmation of the good of life, to seek what promotes life, and to avoid what destroys it or detracts from it.

 

The second level, shared with all animals, is an inclination to form families.  It is to acknowledge the good of families and children, and to seek what promotes this good, and to avoid what destroys it or detracts from it. 

 

The third level, which is Aristotelian, is distinctively human as a political being.  We form associations with others.  We must acknowledge the good of fairness of knowing how to get along with others, of ultimately justice.

 

And finally, at the highest or fourth level, we seek to know the truth about God, Who is perfect Truth. 

 

Thus, both the good of knowledge acquired by reason, and the Supreme Good, Which is God, are affirmed as a part of full human flourishing.  This gives us a backdrop against which to understand how the natural law can form a kind of guide or measure for human lawmakers.

 

The political relevance of the natural law

 

The political relevance of the teaching of the natural law as a higher law can be readily appreciated in the American experience.  Our founders appealed to “nature and nature’s God” as the foundation for the rights which government ought to secure.  See the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence below.

 

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

 

Orestes Brownson in “The Democratic Principle,” Quarterly Review 1873, voiced a concern that the rule of law as rooted in Nature and in Nature’s God might be forgotten.  Such a principle declares that the will of the people is the sole foundation for political authority, an extreme version of democracy-run-amok that is described as a regime to be avoided in Aristotle’s Politics.  What shapes or restrains the will of the people?  Brownson feared the philosophy of democratic government that would brook no restraint upon majority will.  There is no authority above the people, not God, not nature, not Nature’s God.  Utility and not justice becomes the final rule of government – a doctrine that is diametrically opposed to authentic freedom leading to true human flourishing.  Brownson recommended various political devices to protect freedom such as rule of law and constitutionalism but most of all he looked to the sentiments, convictions, manners, customs and habits of the people.  In particular, good habits or virtues, which man needs to reach his perfection, the acquisition of which is acquired through training. 

 

The species of virtues are distinguished by their objects, as explained above (54, 2; 60, 1; 62, 2). Now all the objects of virtues can be referred either to the private good of an individual, or to the common good of the multitude: thus matters of fortitude may be achieved either for the safety of the state, or for upholding the rights of a friend, and in like manner with the other virtues. But law, as stated above (90, 2) is ordained to the common good. Wherefore there is no virtue whose acts cannot be prescribed by the law. Nevertheless human law does not prescribe concerning all the acts of every virtue: but only in regard to those that are ordainable to the common good--either immediately, as when certain things are done directly for the common good--or mediately, as when a lawgiver prescribes certain things pertaining to good order, whereby the citizens are directed in the upholding of the common good of justice and peace. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Part I-II, Q. 96, Art. 3) {[4] pg 1019}

 

The people must acknowledge a moral law that guides and forms their conscience.  Without moral order, and divine sanction, Brownson thought that the teaching of the democratic principle would corrupt a free people.  Brownson was right.  Moreover, without the moral order, without some type of a realization that there are absolute immutable truths in accord with the natural law, corruption of a free people is guaranteed with anarchy the only possible result, and the eventual destruction of civilization as we know it. 

 

The importance of a higher law in regard to contemporary issues

 

We will now look at the importance of a higher law in regard to two contemporary issues, abortion and homosexuality.  We will do this by asking some rhetorical questions pertaining to Aquinas’s tenets of the natural law, specifically, the inclinations of human beings to their proper end.

 

Aquinas’s first level of human inclination, common to all beings, is to do good and to avoid evil with the primary good on this level being one’s preservation in affirming life, not destroying it.  How are killing innocents, in what should be their safest place of refuge – their mothers’ wombs, affirming life?  How is promoting sexual perversion, which leads to an inordinate amount of sickness and death in the homosexual community relative to the total population, affirming life?  The second level of inclination, common to all animals, was the preservation of family and children.  How is aborting children preserving them and perfecting the family?  What does the celebration of homosexuality have to do with any sane concept of the traditional family as opposed to a bastardization of it?  How can homosexuals have children when the very act of homosexuality carried to the limit guarantees their extinction?  The third level of inclination is distinctively human as a political being, the forming of associations, acknowledging the good and fairness of getting along with others with concomitant concepts of justice.  How is killing human beings for the sake of expediency for specious reasons of female “reproductive rights” going to provide for political associations when humans are eliminated?  Where is the justice for the unborn?  What about their rights to existence?  What associations can be formed among homosexuals that will lead to societal common good given that homosexuality has been proven to lead to physical and psychological ruin? In regard to the final level of inclination, how can the truth about God be known by violating His commandments, which is what abortion and living homosexual lifestyles do? 

 

It is interesting to see the extent that proponents of homosexuality will go to in order to give the impression that we are doing nothing more than talking about a benign common behavior as normal as apple pie.  In particular, it is an education to watch how Church teachings are obfuscated to this end using the teachings of Aquinas.  What follows is a case study in point, the refutation of the claims of a pro-homosexual clinical psychologist who was allowed to screen prospective seminarians for his diocese.  His comments are directed to the writings of this author and those of a local priest who would not stand for his repeated public skewing of the faith into something unrecognizable as Catholic.

 

First we see the psychologist’s obfuscation of Aquinas taken from his editorial in the November 18, 2000 Saturday Forum of the Centre Daily Times of State College, Pennsylvania.

The so-called "natural law" explication for the condemnation of homosexuality is a prominent weak link. Do they forget so quickly that so many events — including slavery and the treatment of women as inferior — were justified by natural law? And of course, while calling homosexuality "unnatural," (they) are evidently ignorant of the fact that the greatest articulator of natural law theory, St. Thomas Aquinas, wrote long ago that homosexuality was natural for particular individuals (Summa IaII, Q. 31, article 7, and Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 126).  (11/18/00 Centre DailyTimes, State College, Pennsylvania, Saturday Forum)

This clinical psychologist, who was never shy about his shameless promotion of “loving the sin as well as the sinner in the name of Catholicism,” left a remarkable public record in the form of a videotaped school board meeting trail, which can be found at

http://www.diocesereport.com/diocese_report/news/ajd_homo_part2.shtml

Excerpts from a response to the psychologist’s editorial, which was published on a Catholic website, follow.

 

http://www.diocesereport.com/morella_col/jan01_response_brown.shtml

 

A Catholic response to a dissident Diocesan employee by Gary L. Morella, November 20, 2000

The statements attributed to Aquinas in the 11/18/00 CDT Saturday Forum, show a complete distortion of his writings on nature and sexuality as the Summa Theologica, Vol II, Pt. I-II, Q.31 Art. 7, and the Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 126 do exactly the opposite of what (is) claimed. Nowhere in the former does Aquinas approve homosexuality as natural for particular individuals in the context of “I’m OK, you’re OK” as the entire point of this treatise is to underscore the evil of man taking pleasure in acts due to the “corruption of nature from evil temperament” using cannibalism or “the unnatural intercourse of man and beast, or other such things, which are not in accord with human nature” as examples. What (the psychologist did) is to take the objections that Aquinas is refuting and using them erroneously as what Aquinas is espousing. The latter gives the “plumbing argument” against homosexuality as Aquinas states, “Carnal union is the end of certain bodily organs.” Aquinas here is specifically addressing carnal acts which are natural for human beings, only within the confines of marriage, saying such acts are perfectly acceptable. The kindest thing that Aquinas has to say about homosexuality in his writings is that it is the “unnatural vice.” For proof see the following references from the Christian Classics 1948 Benzinger edition translation of the Summa Theologica. For references on the Natural Law see Summa Theologica, Vol II, Pt. I-II, Q.94 Art. 2-6. For references on Homosexuality see Summa Theologica, Vol IV, Pt. II-II, Q.154 Art. 11-12.

The Church, like all parents, must discriminate between right and wrong, else it ceases to be a Church in the same manner that parents would not be fulfilling their obligations to their children. This is called real love, not the vitriol which is evident toward those who disagree with the promotion of sexual perversion as a cause to be celebrated.

3.3.1 Natural law answers to modernist confusion

There are many rival theories of morality. Among these are relativism, utilitarianism, emotivism/hedonism, human rights, revealed religious commands, and autonomy.

Relativism says that there is no such thing as universal absolute morality, just human beings living together agreeing on a few things, trying to get along with each other. You could have polygamy in one culture and monogamy in another with no absolute standard to say which is best. Joseph Fletcher is associated with this theory.

The situationist enters into every decision-making situation fully armed and with the ethical maxims of his community and its heritage, and he treats them with respect as illuminators of his problems.  Just the same he is prepared in any situation to compromise them or set them aside in the situation if love seems better served by doing so.  … Anything and everything is right or wrong according to the situation. (Fletcher, J., Situation Ethics: The New Morality, Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966, pp 26, 124)

Utilitarianism tells us to act in such a way that we can maximize the greatest happiness for the greatest number, suggesting that there exists no absolute moral rights or wrongs. This was the gospel according to Mill in Utilitarianism.

The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals “utility” or the “greatest happiness principle” holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.  By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure.  To give a clear view of the moral standard set up by the theory, much more requires to be said; in particular, what things it includes in the ideas of pain and pleasure, and to what extent this is left an open question.  Bu these supplementary explanations do not affect the theory of life on which this theory of morality is grounded – namely, that pleasure and freedom from pain are the only things desirable as ends; and that all desirable things (which are as numerous in the utilitarian as in any other scheme) are desirable either for pleasure inherent in themselves or as means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain. {[15] pp 1132-1133}

Thus, premarital sex is OK in some cultures and not in others. Acts are judged by their consequences, i.e., what goods they bring about for certain people. Adultery is perfectly permissible if you are away from your spouse for a long time.

Nietzsche as modern teacher

Emotivism/hedonism says that emotions and passions are the most important factors in determining our actions as opposed to reason ruling our emotions and governing our lives. We live for the desire to be fully passionate, which is all that matters with reason put on the backburner. There is no cause for concern as “God is dead with everything permitted,” the guarantee of Nietzsche, as illustrated in From Twilight of the Idols: Or, How To Philosophize with the Hammer. Caution, what you are about to read is extremely depressing – all the more so because it is a steady diet straight from the bowels of hell for secular education.

Judgments, value judgments about life, for or against, can in the final analysis never be true; they have value only as symptoms, they come into consideration only as symptoms – in themselves, such judgments are stupidities.                        {[15] pg 1250}

…the whole morality of betterment, that of Christianity included, was a misunderstanding.  {[15] pg 1253}

The moral is: everything that is of the first rank must be causa sui [cause of itself].  Origination from something else counts as an objection that casts doubt on the value of what has so originated.  All the supreme values are of the first rank; all the highest concepts – that which is, the unconditional, the good, the true, the perfect – all this cannot have become, and must consequently be causa sui. But all this cannot be at odds with itself either, cannot contradict itself.  That’s where they get their stupendous concept “God.”  The last, the thinnest, the emptiest concept is posited as the first, as a cause in itself, as ens realissimum [the most real being].  To think that humanity has had to take seriously the mental distortions of sickly web-spinners! – And it has paid dearly for having done so! {[15] pg 1255}

All passions have a time when they are merely fatal, when they drag their victim down with the heaviness of their stupidity – and a later, much later time when they marry the spirit, they “spiritualize” themselves.  It used to be that on account of the stupidity in passion, one made war against passion itself; one conspired to destroy it.  All the old moral monsters are of one mind on this point: “il faut tuer les passions” [the passions must be killed].  The best-known formula for this is in the New Testament, in that Sermon on the Mount … To destroy the passions and desires, merely in order to protect oneself against their stupidity and the disagreeable consequences of their stupidity, seems to us today to be itself an acute form of stupidity.    The Church fights passion by cutting it out, in every sense; its practice, its “therapy” is castration.  It never asks, “how does one spiritualize, beautify, deify a desire?” – its discipline has always emphasized eradication – eradication of sensuality, pride, ambition to rule, covetousness, vengefulness.  But ripping out the passions by the root means ripping out life by the root; the practice of the Church is hostile to life. … The spiritualization of sensuality is known as love; it is a great triumph over Christianity.  Another triumph is our spiritualization of enmity. It consists in a deep grasp of the value of having enemies.  … almost every morality that has been taught, honored and preached up to now – turns, in contrast, precisely against the instincts of life; it is a sometimes stealthy, sometimes loud and bold condemnation of these instincts.  By saying, “God looks into the heart,” it says No to the lowest and highest desires of life, and takes God to be the enemy of life. The saint in whom God takes delight is the ideal eunuch.  Life ends where the “kingdom of God” begins. {[15] pp 1257-1259}

Morality, insofar as it condemns on its own grounds, and not from the point of view of life’s perspectives and objectives, is a specific error for which one should have no sympathy, an idiosyncrasy of degenerates which has done an unspeakable amount of harm!  {[15] pp 1260-1261}

Today, when we have initiated the reverse movement, when we immoralists seek with all our strength to get the concepts of guilt and punishment back out of the world, and to purge psychology, history, nature, social institutions, and sanctions of these concepts, there is in our eyes no opposition more radical that that of the theologians, who, with the concept of the “moral order of the world,” go on infecting the innocence of becoming by means of “punishment” and “guilt.”  Christianity is a metaphysics of the hangman. {[15] pg 1265}

What is the only doctrine that can be ours? – That nobody gives human beings their qualities, neither God, nor society, nor their parents and ancestors, nor they themselvesNobody is responsible for the fact that we are here at all, that we are constituted in such and such a way, that we are in these circumstances, in this environment. … We are not the consequence of a special intention, a will, a goal; we are not being used in an attempt to reach an “ideal of humanity,” or an “ideal of happiness,” or an “ideal of morality” – it is absurd to want to divert our essence towards some goal. We have invented the concept “goal”; in reality, goals are absent. {[15] pp 1265-1266}

One is necessary, one is a piece of fate, one belongs to the whole, one is in the whole.  There is nothing that could rule, measure, compare, judge our being, for that would mean ruling, measuring, comparing, and judging the whole – but there is nothing outside the whole! – That nobody is made responsible anymore, that no way of being may be traced back to a causa prima [first cause], that the world is not a unity either as sensorium or as “spirit,” this alone is the great liberation – thus the innocence of becoming is restored. – The concept “God” was up to now the greatest objection against existence.  We deny God, and in denying God we deny responsibility; only thus do we redeem the world. {[15] pg 1266}

My recreation, my prediliction, my cure for all Platonism has always been Thucydides. Thucydides and, perhaps, Machiavelli’s Prince are most closely related to me by their unconditional will to fabricate nothing and to see reason in reality not in “reason,” and still less in “morality.”  There is no cure more fundamental than Thucydides for the Greeks’ miserable prettification of things into the ideal, a prettification which the “classically educated” youth brings with him into life as the reward for his school training.  … In him (Thucydides) the culture of the sophists, which means the culture of the realists, reaches its perfect expression – this invaluable movement in the midst of the Socratic schools’ moralistic and idealistic swindle, which was then breaking out on every side.  … Plato is a coward in the face of reality – consequently he flees into the ideal; Thucydides has control over himselfconsequently he also has control over things.  {[15] pp 1267-1268}

For only in the Dionysian mysteries, in the psychology of the Dionysian condition, does the fundamental fact of the Hellenic instinct express itself – its “will to life.” I know no higher symbolism than this Greek symbolism, the symbolism of the Dionysian rites.  In them, the deepest instinct of life, the instinct for the future of life, for the eternity of life, is religiously experienced – the very way to life, procreation, as the holy way. It was Christianity, on the basis of its ressentiment against life, that first made something unclean out of sexuality; it threw filth on the beginning, on the precondition of life. … The psychology of the orgy as an overflowing feeling of life and energy, within which even pain works as a stimulant, gave me the key to the concept of the tragic feeling, which was misunderstood as much by Aristotle as, especially, by our pessimists. … Saying Yes to life even in its most strange and intractable problems, the will to life, celebrating its own inexhaustibility by sacrificing its highest types – that is what I called Dionysian, that is what I found as the bridge to the psychology of the tragic poet.  Not in order to be released from terror and discharge – thus Aristotle understood it – but rather, beyond terror and pity, to be oneself the eternal joy of becoming, that joy that also includes in itself the joy of destruction … And thus I tough again upon the sot from which I first set out – The Birth of Tragedy was my first revaluation of all values.  Thus, I take my stand again upon the ground from which grows my willing, my being able – I, the final follower of the philosopher Dionysus – I, the teacher of the eternal recurrence … {[15] pp 1269-1270}

The daily news is an exercise in Nietzsche’s warped view of life, where all forms of aberrant behavior are normalized as a function of Christianity being thrown in the trash.

The problem with autonomy based ethics

Autonomy based ethics, a primary principle in biomedical ethics gone mad, tells us to make our own laws, in particular, we make our own universal laws geared to ourselves, which is very similar to relativism – an individual relativism with the root being a kind of skepticism. Can we know anything for certain? Who is to say what is right or wrong? We should not be imposing our morality on another, the gospel according to Kant. People should make their own choices as much as possible. Many papal encyclicals have challenged this point of view of doing whatever we want.

The solution from Catholic ethics

The Catholic ethics challenges to the aforementioned skewed theories of morality are made by seeing the natural law’s basis in nature, on reason, and its relationship to the other forms of law identified by Aquinas in his Treatise on Law in the Summa Theologica, Questions 90-97. {[4] pp 993-1025}  

Catholic ethics can be approached from a philosophical perspective or a theological perspective. The truths of philosophy are those discovered by man as he observes and thinks about reality; truths, discovered in this way are said to be truths of reason. Those truths that are discovered and established by reason in the moral realm are called truths of the natural law. Most philosophers concede that we do not need revelation to know that some acts, such as murder, adultery, rape, and stealing are wrong.

Theological ethics have as their chief sources revelation and tradition with revelation often revealing to us what we can know through reason, e.g., the Ten Commandments, but also revealing to us truths that are beyond our ability to discover without the help of revelation. The Christian teaching, that we must love our enemies, for example, goes beyond reason.

If one considers sexual ethics, the Catholic Church teaches that human beings are capable of determining what is moral and immoral in the realm of sexuality without special revelation. Thus, Catholic sexual ethics are based on the natural law. Aquinas, greatly influenced in thinking about philosophical issues by Aristotle, was one of the great proponents of natural law ethics. It is important to note that neither revelation nor theology are irrelevant to natural law or sexual ethics, but the Church holds that the fundamentals of both are knowable without recourse to revelation, which makes it possible for all men to come to some agreement about morality.

Aristotle and Aquinas believed that human beings are made in such a way that we can discover truths about reality starting with the information given to us by our senses, an important truth for ethics exclusive of revelation connotations. In his great work the Summa Contra Gentiles, Aquinas showed the followers of Aristotle that the truths of revelation were compatible with truths that they had discovered through reason in this attempt to get them to be more open to revelation. One truth that our reason discovers is that things have essences or natures and purposes and that it is good to act in accord with them. This is a fundamentally important truth for ethics, since once we know the purpose of human life and sexuality we will be better able to live morally.

The natural law is an ethics that requires much observation of the world around us, and penetrating insight into the nature of things. This insight is gained through a process of induction that leads us to recognize that man is a rational animal. Through the experience of man we learn what his natural inclinations are and to what goods he is naturally inclined. Next we must discover and determine what are good means of achieving these goods.

The fundamental tenet of all human thought is the principle of non-contradiction, something cannot “be” and “not be” at the same time and in the same respect. To deny this is to verify it. Natural law theory works on the same premise. We should all act for the good at all times. “Do good and avoid evil.” This leads to the following initial natural law principles:

1.      All things have a nature, essence or purpose – a telos (an end or goal), a principle which is relatively uncontroversial.

  1. That nature in question is good; all things have an internal principle that makes them tend towards what is good.
  2. It is good for things to act in accord with their nature.

The natural law is based on man’s ability to make generalizations about things having natures, what they are, what is good for these natures and acting in accord with them. If a person did not believe in God he still would know how to treat a person in a certain way through a realization of the natural law.

Expanded to the supernatural level God is the author of all nature. As such the natural law becomes a law of God written on the hearts of men. In recognizing the truth of the natural law we will have more reverence for God’s creation and the Creator as He is behind the great ordered universe making it His will that we live in accord with the natural law.

How can we know what is in accord with the natural law? All non-rational created things participate in the natural law by inclination only, by instinct. All rational creatures participate by inclination and rational free will. In considering the natural inclination to things, experience telling which are good or bad, the rational reflection upon what to do, and the rational ordering of the doing, we see a natural algorithm that human beings follow in determining what is good or bad, an algorithm that is unique to human beings.

The natural law as a basis for moral laws

The natural law gives us a basis for formulating moral laws based on the observation of human nature. We must act rationally, i.e., in accord with what we have determined after reflective thought to be the best action we can do. We of necessity reject the false view of reason traced back to Descartes and Kant who looked at the human mind completely divorced from the body with the human person being simply a mind, and the body, a vehicle for holding the mind. We reject this negation of bodily or sensory influence with pure reason unencumbered by bodily considerations. We recognize that we are embodied spirits in an Aristotelian and Thomistic sense, a union of body and soul. The body is a part of our essence; we are not just minds in a body as our bodies are part of who we are. We recognize the importance of the human body as essential; everything that we know comes to us through our senses. There is no other way to know anything. The body is key to our whole response to reality. Emotions are important but they are not the rulers but the ruled. We have a full view of reason, not just a mind-like computer devoid of passion. Our reason is completely informed by the body, by emotions. Ratio means ordered. Minds are ordered or measured to reality or things that we need to live in accord with. We cannot build bridges out of tissue paper or run a car on molasses. Reason helps order data to get the right conclusions.

To act rationally is to act in accord with human nature, reason, reality, and a well-informed conscience. The first kind of reason, which informs all of our action, is judgment. “Do good and avoid evil,” the primary principle of the moral law, e.g., marriage is good and adultery is bad. How do we know what is good or bad?

We consider secondary precepts of the natural law ordered to the order of our natural inclinations. What is good? The answers might be: 1) continued existence – need to eat and sleep, 2) sexual intercourse – pleasurable, provides intimacy, allows for children, 3) education of offspring – take care of children, 4) advancement of knowledge – want to know about things, and 5) live in community – not good to live in a closet. Human beings need to be in accord with their higher nature as opposed to their lower natures or animal like tendencies. Our natural inclinations are filtered through our reason in order to determine how to act. From these natural inclinations we can start formulating rules that at most can reach a moral level, e.g., how to eat – like a human being or like an animal.

As an example of the natural inclination of the desire to live or continued existence we can make a general precept. Act in such a way as to respect life. This leads to particular or secondary precepts such as do not deliberately take an innocent life, do not commit suicide, eat nutritious food, and rescue drowning individuals. Note that these precepts are met by adhering to the Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Temperance, and Courage respectively given a relationship between doing good and acquiring good habits.

The natural law is not about laws or rules but rather about human excellence or virtues. A virtuous human being has qualities that make for a good or excellent human being. The most important part of the human body is the soul. There is a huge difference between a living human being and a dead one. The body is still there but something is gone, i.e., the soul, which is the form of the body. The soul is responsible for all activities of life and growth – the principle of life. The basic appetites, hunger, thirst, sexual desire, need for sleep, are gone after death. In Thomistic psychology we talk about the rational part of the soul, the intellect allowing us to think, the will allowing us to choose, and the emotive part of the soul, the concupiscible allowing us pleasurable desires, eat, have sex, the irascible allowing us the force to overcome anything difficult, i.e., the anger which motivates us toward doing something that is difficult. The order here is from higher to lower, rational over emotive. Western tradition says that the soul should be so ordered with the higher parts ruling over the lower parts. In a theological sense we see the necessity for “fallen nature” to be ordered. The intellect, the ability to think, tells you what you ought to do. The will, hopefully, chooses the right thing to do. Virtues are habits, which help the intellect, govern the passions, i.e., help the rational part of the soul govern the emotive part.

How the cardinal virtues help us

Let us consider how the Cardinal Virtues do this. The moral virtue temperance aids us in self control, self mastery, and self moderation, the moral virtue courage overcomes fears, the moral virtue justice, a virtue of the will, governs our relationship with other people and our desire for foods. The intellectual virtue prudence, which has a moral aspect to it, orders us to the good, sees the right thing to do, and causes us to do it. A supernatural aid in recognizing the truth of the natural law working in conjunction with the aforementioned virtues is Grace through prayer and the Sacraments, which helps us to be good and live moral lives. Virtue based ethics and natural law are intertwined. Virtue based ethics assert that all human beings because of the nature of their souls need certain dispositions to achieve the goods that they need. Acts such as drunkenness that violate moderation are against virtue and therefore the natural law while acts such as sobriety that nurture moderation are therefore in accord with the natural law.

The fact that natural law is based upon reason, upon thinking about one’s observations about reality, makes the ethics of natural law a universal ethics since all human beings by their nature are able to reason, are able to think and thus to arrive at some universal truths. Everyone acknowledges the universal truths of the mathematical sciences but many claim no such universality in the moral realm. One might consider how slavery is wrong and that any culture that allows slavery is a culture that fails to recognize a universal truth about human beings and that is that they should never be owned or treated as property.

Natural law morality is common sense

Natural law morality can be reduced to plain old common sense. The practice of reasoning in accord with natural law principles, according to the theory itself, is natural to ordinary people, i.e., natural to all mankind for natural law holds that many of the most fundamental precepts of moral reasoning are obvious.

God cares for man not from without through the laws of physical nature, but from within through reason, which, by its natural knowledge of God’s eternal law, is consequently able to show man the right direction to take in his free actions. This participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is the natural law which involves universality in that it is inscribed in the rational nature of the person, and makes itself felt to all beings endowed with reason.

Budziszewski in Written On The Heart, The Case For Natural law introduces the Grand Design of Law by emphasizing the need for understanding the architecture of law by first understanding what is meant by law.

Thomas defines law in general as “an ordinance of reason, for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and promulgated.”

By “reason” Thomas means practical rather than theoretical, a reason directed to choice rather than pure knowledge. “Promulgated” means “made known.” Finally, the phrase “him who has care of the community” should be understood as meaning “those who have care of the community,” because Thomas recognizes not only monarchies (in which authority to make laws belongs to one person) but also aristocracies (in which it belongs to a council) and “free” communities (in which it belongs to the whole people). Therefore, we can rephrase the definition of law as “an ordinance of practical reason, for the common good, made by those who have care of the community, and promulgated or made known.”

All four elements of the definition are essential as whatever does not have all four is not a law. Thomas therefore utterly repudiates the common definition of law as merely the command of the sovereign. The judges of the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal were reasoning like Aquinas when they rejected the defense of the Nazis that they were only following orders. {[13] pp 59-60}

Aquinas’s grand design of law

One can envision the following hierarchical diagram for the grand design of law as understood by Aquinas. At the top would be the eternal law with the natural law and the divine law following two separate but parallel paths. Within the natural law are found primary, immediate, and common precepts. Within the divine law is found the old and new laws. The parallel paths emanating from the natural and divine laws are then joined in the human law wherein is found the law of nations and civil law. A separate path from the divine law leads to the “law of sin.”

The eternal law is the principles by which God made and governs the universe. Without the eternal law, nothing would be knowable at all. Only God can know the eternal law as it is in itself, and we created rational beings can know it only in its “reflections.”Think of God as the sun and the eternal law as the sunlight. Without the sunlight, nothing is visible; yet we cannot look at the sun directly because it is too powerful for our created eyes. All law derives its authority from eternal law; whatever does not is not a law.

The natural law is the reflection of the eternal law in the very structure of the created rational mind, directing us to our natural good. Specifically, we are speaking of the law written on the heart – the deep structure of all moral knowledge. Thomas classifies its principles, or precepts, into primary and secondary, and then subdivides the secondary precepts giving us three groups in all.

You may think of the primary precepts, which are also called the “first principles of practical reason,” as moral principles that we can’t “not know” such as “Good should be pursued and evil avoided” and “Love your neighbor.” In one sense these general rules are like axioms in classical geometry, for, although they cannot be proven themselves, they are what every proof depends on. In another sense they are different from axioms, for, rather than beginning with them, we end with them.

The secondary precepts, which are more detailed, are like theorems.  They are derived from the primary precepts and express moral truth because the primary precepts do. Some are so obvious that everyone recognizes their truth in the wink of an eye: these are the immediate precepts, such as  “Do not murder.” But other precepts, still more detailed,  are not as obvious. These are the common precepts, such as “Always return to a person what belongs to him.”

To call a principle general is to say that it applies in all cases; there can be no excuse for violating it. But to call a principle common is to say that it applies only in most cases; there are exceptions.  For example, ordinarily you should give back an item that a friend has left in your safekeeping, but not if he is drunk and the item is his car key. Therefore,  having true and objective moral laws does not do away with the need for judgment.

The divine law is the reflection of the eternal law in God’s revealed Word, the Bible, directing us to faith in Christ as the only possible means of our reconciliation with God. Unlike natural law, which aims us only toward our natural good, divine law aims us toward that unimaginable ultimate joy which is far beyond our merely natural good and consists of the vision of God Himself in Heaven.

Thomas holds that God gave two different editions of the divine law: the old law, contained in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture), and the new law, contained in the New Testament. These two laws are not contradictory: the old law points ahead to the new law and is fulfilled (and therefore superceded) in the promised Savior, Who offers the way out of sin and guilt, Jesus of Nazareth.   Although some parts of the divine law are also contained in natural law and so are discoverable by unaided human reason,  other parts go beyond what we could have figured out by ourselves, and would not have been known unless God had revealed them.

Human law is detailed “determinations” or applications of natural law to the circumstances of particular human societies. Human law is derived from natural law in two different ways.

Some human laws (as explained later, these are the law of nations) are derived by conclusion from premises, or as we would say, deduction.  For instance, poisoning my neighbor would do him harm; since the natural law says that I should not do harm, I should not poison him. The role of human law is to make this particular act punishable.

Other human laws (as explained later, these are the civil law) are derived by determination of certain generalities, or, as we would say, filling in the blanks.  For instance, we might fulfill the natural-law precept of furthering the safety of the people  either by making everyone drive on the right or by making everyone drive on the left. The role of human law is to make and enforce the choice.  {[13] pp 59-63}

Our aforementioned diagram of the grand design of law has what can be thought of as a solid line connecting natural law with human Law, but a dotted line connecting divine law with human law. Why the need for a dotted line?

A solid line connects natural law with human law, but a dotted line connects divine law with human law. Why?  Is human law derived from divine law too?  No, because government is charged with directing the community to its natural rather than its supernatural good, so God does not intend the enforcement of divine law upon nonbelievers. {[13] pg 63}

Such an enforcement of divine law would make a mockery out of God’s gift of free will to mankind.

But even if human law should not enforce divine law, it should not violate it either – not any more than it may violate natural law. The reason is that any authority human law has comes ultimately from God. The bottom line, holds Thomas, is that if government commands something contrary to either natural or divine law, its command is not a law but an act of violence. {[13] pg 63}

Such acts of violence must be disobeyed, e.g., the holocaust of our time legitimized by Roe v. Wade, and the lunacy of Planned Parenthood v. Casey where the human agent is an isolated unencumbered individual whose task it is to define what he is and decide what will be fulfilling of him, the autonomous unencumbered self. The infamous Casey decision makes the absurd claim that we all have a right to define the universe and the nature of reality and what is good and bad. That such nonsense should be pronounced by a high court indicates how far we have come from an adequate understanding of the human person and Basic Logic 101 as what happens when these myriad of universes collide as they invariably will? Whose rights are primary in the absence of some universal truth? The ridiculous decision of the court left only anarchy for an answer with its incoherent view falling of its own weight. The single greatest obstacle to profiting from Aquinas’s treatise on law lies in the notion that each of us is autonomous, a law unto himself, and that it is possible to have a shared sense of the good or to form a society on that basis. It is ironic that we find a true sense of what a human being is in a medieval theological work. The same view can be found in the founders, as it is not a matter of recapturing a medieval vision, but of restoring the sense of the person operative in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution.

The “law of sin” is not a law in the strict sense but a penalty or consequence resulting from divine law for man’s turning his back on God. In Romans 7 the apostle Paul comments on the fact that without the help of Christ we often do what we do not want to do and fail to do what we want to do. He concludes from this that there is a “law of sin” in us which battles against the law of God in our minds. Some medieval thinkers found this passage puzzling and asked how sin could be a law. Thomas points out that the term law is used in two senses: first, as a command; second, as the penalty or consequence one suffers as a result of breaking a command.

The “law of sin” is a law in the second sense. The penalty or consequence of the mind’s rebellion against God is that the desires and feelings rebel against the mind; they no longer behave, as they ought to. >From this consequence others follow, and human life becomes completely disordered. {[13] pg 63}

Vice becomes virtue in this disordered state, e.g., homosexuality becomes an alternative lifestyle in an affirmative action civil rights sense – a manifestation of what happens when society in general becomes disordered.

The remedy for this disorder is found in the grand law design of Aquinas, in particular the relationship of natural law to eternal, divine, and human Law. Much in the same way that we, without musical training, can judge certain tones to be off pitch, we have moral “perceptions” that some actions are good and some bad, without having any explicit training about such kinds of actions. These perceptions are rational because they are cognitive acts that are in accord with reality. They had better be listened to. The alternative is whatever one feels comfortable with and whatever one agrees to is morally OK. This is basically what we are teaching to our young people and they are doing exactly what one would expect given that teaching. As long as it feels good, and they have consented to it, there is no reason for them not to do it.

Is this working? Is this principle, as an alternative to the natural law, leading to moral health or moral sickness? What can we say about the moral sexual health of our society? Are there any hints here that we are violating nature, acting irrationally, failing to live in accord with reality?  The daily news answers with a resounding yes!

3.3.2 The natural law in the role of the family in the modern world

Laux in Catholic Morality addresses the question of whether God change the natural law to accommodate vice, which is what the militant pro-homosexual community argues. 

The natural law is the foundation of all other laws. Every law that contradicts the natural law is unjust and not binding in conscience. Since the natural law flows from the eternal law, i.e., from the Divine Reason and Will, it is binding on all men independently of time or place or circumstances; it cannot be abrogated, not can any part of it be changed, nor can anyone be dispensed from it. There is no double standard of morality, one for he strong and another for the weak, one for the rich and another for the poor, one for the learned and another for the unlearned, one for the superior and another for the inferior. 

But may not God, the Author of the natural law, change it if He so desires?  May He not dispense anyone whom He may choose to dispense?  We answer: To say that God could change the natural law or dispense from it, would imply that God could contradict Himself, would imply that certain actions were good or bad simply because He commanded or forbade them, and not that He commanded or forbade them because they were intrinsically, that is, in themselves, of their very nature, good or bad. {[29] pg 12}

Humans, then, are multidimensional (body and soul) rational creatures ordering things to the good. They are made in the image and likeness of God and act out of thinking and choice, not just instinct. This choice is in accord with what is good. We can think of an analogy with the Triune God, having a relationship with three Divine Persons in One God. We are also relational since humans are not nourished by being sufficient only unto themselves, totally divorced from the world about them. We are not disembodied minds, ala Descartes, unable to know the universe via sensory perception. Our bodies show us that we are directed toward someone of the opposite sex, our natural tendencies verified by our physical plumbing albeit there are those who confuse rectal waste function with reproduction. According to the natural law, which is God’s plan, two become one – another trinity, male, female, and baby. This trinity becomes a community of love, which is what human sexuality is directed or ordered to.

One has to only look at the debris resulting from the violation of the aforementioned fundamental principle of the natural law regarding sexuality. The evidence is overwhelming that a nourishing environment for all involved can only be attained by parents through marriage. Premature and promiscuous sexuality prevent many from establishing good marriages and a good family life. Few would deny that a healthy sexuality and a strong family life are among the most necessary elements for human happiness and well-being. It is a fact that strong and secure families are more likely to produce strong and secure individuals who are less likely to have problems with alcohol, sex, and drugs; they produce individuals more likely to be free from crippling neuroses and psychoses. In turn these healthy individuals, not being preoccupied with their own problems, are better able to be strong leaders to tackle the problems of society instead of contributing to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4.

 

CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHY MAKES A FINAL STATEMENT REINFORCING AQUINAS’S PREAMBLES OF THE FAITH

 

We unapologetically examine the importance of Catholic philosophy’s contribution to the world in showing the relationship between faith and reason.  The consequences of ignoring this relationship are discussed.  We start by looking at a Catholic philosopher’s discussion of authority as an “essential function” of government.  We proceed to specific examples showing that faith and reason are married, not divorced, by emphasizing the absolute necessity for the Church’s influence in temporal affairs.  We use Augustine and Aquinas as models for resolving the tensions between faith and reason by showing that a true philosophy, which entails a search for truth, must culminate in theology, wherein is found Perfect Truth.

 

4.1 No apologies necessary for showing the relationship

between faith and reason

 

 4.1.1 An Evaluation Of Simon’s Argument That Authority Is An Essential Function Of Government

 

Simon in Philosophy of Democratic Government argues that authority has an essential function and that it is not simply the result of deficiency or paternal substitution. 

 

The deficiency theory originated in the belief that the greatest good of the greatest number is most safely brought about by the operation of individual initiatives.  {[50] pg 5}

 

Unless children, even big ones, are governed to some extent by persons possessed with more mature intellects, stronger wills, and wider experience, They cannot survive.  These words describe completely the paternal function of authority.  Let us formulate its characteristics.

 

First, in this function, authority aims at the proper good of the governed. A child needs direction because he is not able to take care of himself, i.e., to direct himself toward his own preservation and perfection.  Thus, apart from all consideration of social good or common good, authority is needed for the survival and development of the immature person. 

 

Secondly, authority here is made necessary by a deficiency.  Parents take care for the child, inasmuch and in so far as the child is unable to take care of himself.  The father substitutes his mature judgment and will for the judgment and will of the child, which are still immature.  The paternal function of authority is not essential but substitutional. 

 

At this point it seems necessary to elaborate briefly on the concept of “deficiency.”  This concept admits of degrees.  Deficiency always signifies the lack of a perfection that a subject should possess in order to satisfy fully the demands of its nature. {[50] pg 8}

 

Simon cautions that deficiency is not necessarily an evil because natures subject to growth go through a period of “not achieving” as a normal course of events.  Children cannot be expected to rise to the level of adults in this context because they are “incompletely developed persons.” There is nothing wrong with children acting like children, which is contrary to the gospel of Planned Parenthood who believes that children from K-12 are fully capable of understanding the intricacies of human sexual behavior.  This, of course, means only the mechanics of pleasure with no thought whatsoever to the physical and eternal consequences involved. However, there is something very wrong with an adult whose mental age is that of a child, a conjecture apropos to Planned Parenthood’s proponents.  Accordingly, Simon correctly concludes that

 

Among the deficiencies that make paternal authority necessary, some have the character of evil, and some do not. Some are normal, and some are not.  There would be no room for paternal authority in a society free from deficiencies, but there would be plenty of room for it in a human society free from evil, since the members of human societies are bound to be children before they are men.  {[50] pp 8-9}

 

Societies free from evil will not be observed in the natural plane as a result of the Fall and the concupiscence due to Original Sin.  So such considerations are moot. 

 

An important point that Simon makes is in regard to the teaching aspect of paternal authority.

 

Paternal authority is pedagogical, aiming at its own disappearance.  This follows from its substitutional character.  It is wholly good for a child to be guided by a mature person, but the main purpose of this guidance consists in the attainment of the ability to exercise self-government. {[50] pg 9}

 

However, to make the child reliant on parents indefinitely for no good reason is an abuse of paternal authority. 

 

If paternal authority remains necessary past the earliest possible date for its disappearance, it has failed to a degree; if it intends its own maintenance and manages things in such a way as not to have to disappear, it is guilty of abominable abuse. {[50] pg 9}

 

This can be generalized to a paternal authority concept of colonization.

 

Plainly, there is no ground for the paternal authority of one community over another, or one state over another, unless the latter is contained in the former as a child in his family.  The colonization of African tribes by European nations had an ethical title if, and only if, the colonizers acted as agents of the human community, then entirely unorganized.              {[50] pg 12}

 

Once the goal of civilization, as apposed to the brutality of anarchy, is achieved it is no longer ethical to make the colonized subject to the authority of the colonizers for the same reason that responsible parents must abrogate their substitutional authority toward their mature children if their children have any hope of survival as adults.  In a nation context Simon tells us that

 

It is impossible to posit the principle of paternal authority without positing simultaneously a principle of autonomy.  With regard to the proper good either of the individual or of the group, the possibility of self-government makes it obligatory for authority to disappear; and the possibility of progress toward self-government makes it obligatory for authority to follow the ways of such progress.  … The annihilation of paternal authority into autonomy, whenever possible, is an affair of justice, not an affair of democracy.  … In order to give the subject a chance to be autonomous, society has to accept a risk.  So far as the common man is concerned, democracy demands that such risks be accepted. {[50] pp 15, 17}

 

Parents feel this anxiety when their children leave home for the first time to go to college.  Hopefully, their religious grounding in their faith will be strong enough to distinguish the radical demands of unencumbered freedom for the autonomous self, unlimited freedom to do what we want (license), with genuine authentic freedom to do what we ought. 

 

Why authority at all

 

We will now turn to the question of why authority at all?  When united action is called for, united judgment is required.  But united judgment comes either from unanimity or from authority.  However, unanimity is usually difficult to achieve in practical affairs because practice involves contingent matters and particular circumstances that must be considered.  Simon uses the example of science being of the universal, commanding universal assent although not always.  For example, no one would argue with the law of gravity even though they may not be able to understand it fully.  Practical agreement is hard to come by since ethics and politics demand prudence with practical truth requiring both true reasoning and right desire.  Thus, practical judgment is determined by “obscure forces of appetite” and not sheer rational communication.  Such “practical judgments” were handed down by our Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey where the “obscure forces of appetite,” i.e., pleasure and convenience, have allowed the butchering of millions of innocents in what should be their safest haven, their mothers’ wombs.  Of course, for this darkest moment of our nation’s history, we are not talking about men and women of good will and right desire who made these judgments.  Simon observes that even if that was the case, i.e., the hypothesis that all are on the same page in regard to good will and right desire, there is still a problem for arriving at common judgment.  For example, if there are many possible means to a given end, each equally valid, that authority is quite essential or society suffers from a paralysis of analysis.  Nothing is done.  Freedom requires authority because of the need for common action and determination of the means of action in the midst of greater possibility.  Political authority will reach beyond the deficiencies found in a parent-child relationship, as rule is not reducible to the household necessities of life.  It is also a function of the fullness of human achievement and mastery.  The political forces us to look at many different conventions and opinions about what is just with authority essential to resolve these questions. 

 

The essential function for authority

 

Authority’s essential function is to secure unity of action.  Common action requires authority to make a determination for the common good in the same manner that such decisions are made in the household with the political being an extension of the pre-political.  There are natural processes that generate the polis and the polis must respect these things.   Yet the pre-political shows openness to being formed by the political with the polis being a work of reason persuading necessity, which serves an essential function for the survival of the pre-political.  In short we see the requirement for a political symbiotic relationship.  Generation and preservation begin something that cannot be perfected in the household. 

 

To sum up: when the means to the common good is uniquely determined, affective community supplies an essential foundation for unanimous assent; unanimity is, then, the only normal situation, and, if everything is normal, authority is not needed to bring about unified action.  Unity of action requires authority in so far as not everything is normal, in so far as wills are weak or perverse and intellects ignorant or blinded.  In this case the function of authority remains substitutional.

 

Considering, thus,  the function that authority plays as an indispensable principle of united action when there are several means to the common good, let the question be asked whether this function is essential or substitutional.  Since the need for authority here is properly caused by the plurality of the means, the real question is whether this plurality of means is itself caused by a deficiency or by the good nature of things.  In the latter case alone will the function under consideration prove to be an essential one.  {[50] pp 29-30}

 

The function of authority with which we are concerned, i.e., that of procuring united action when the means to the common good are several, does not disappear but grows, as deficiencies are made up; it originates not in the defects of men and societies but in the nature of society.  It is an essential function. {[50] pg 33}

                                        

Being endowed with intellect and free will, the members of a society must tend by several means toward a common end; they can choose between these means.  Since diverse and opposite means would abolish social unity and destroy the essence of society, it is necessary to have an intelligent principle regulate the minds and impress the same tendencies on all the wills.  The power that binds all members of a society is called authority, which is an essential element of society.  When we look at politics we are faced with many different conventions and opinions about what is just. Authority serving as an essential function resolves these questions.

 

Catholic philosophy’s contribution to discussions on authority as an “essential function” is the very important observation that one is called to be obedient to authority only insofar as that authority is just, i.e., deserving of obedience.  This is in accord with Church teaching that all authority comes from God, which is no better reinforced than in Christ’s words to Pilate prior to the Crucifixion. 

 

Pilate, therefore, saith to him; Speakest thou not to me?  Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee?  Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above.  (John 19: 10-11) {[22] pg 1428}

 

Simon recognizes this truth in a footnote to Philosophy of Democratic Government wherein he emphasizes the importance of the commonweal of society, which was the primary concern in Aristotle’s Politics in regard to the discussion of good and bad regimes.  First he references Aquinas, who in turn, references Aristotle. 

 

[Footnote 23]  The essential functions of authority, as distinct from the functions made necessary by deficiencies, are referred to in the following texts:

 

In Sum. theol. i. 96. 4. Thomas Aquinas states the question Whether in the state of innocence man would have been master over man? Following a distinction made by Aristotle (Pol. 3. 6. 1278b33), he answers that the dominion of servitude, in which a man is governed for the private welfare of another man, would have been unknown in the state of innocence, but even that happy state would have known government for the sake of the governed and for the sake of the common good.   {[50] pg 59}

 

Simon makes this cogent observation about the necessity for virtuous leaders, which is another fact underscored by Aristotle in his Politics.

 

[Footnote 23]  Assuming that a community is made of people fully capable of self-government in the pursuit of their personal good; assuming that their direction toward the common good and the unity of their common action are assured by proper authority, it is still expedient that those who are less gifted – less intelligent, less experienced, less strong-willed, less virtuous – be guided by those who possess a more excellent degree of reason, will power, and virtue. … In fact, the psychology of those who are intelligently submitted to intelligent leadership shows that the good leader is appreciated not only for his ability to direct common action but also for inspirations by which everyone is inclined toward nobler ways of life.  When the members of a community love their leader and are proud of him their predominant feeling is that under him everyone becomes better – occupationally, socially, morally, humanly.  {[50] pg 60}

 

Lest we lapse into a purely experiential “feel good” approach to our leaders that, regardless of what they do, because they are liked what they do must be good, Simon quickly sobers us up by addressing the true measure of authority, i.e., where it comes from, as Christ told Pilate.  Simon quotes Aquinas’s opening chapter of the treatise On the Governance of Rulers.

 

[Footnote 23]  On the Governance of Rulers, trans, Gerald B. Phelan (London and New York: Sheed & Ward, 1938), pp. 33 ff.: “But the light of reason is placed by nature in every man, to guide him in his acts towards his end.  Were man intended to live alone, as many animals do, he would require no other guide to his end.  Then would each man be a king unto himself, under God, the highest King, inasmuch as he would direct himself in his acts by the light of reason given him from on high.

 

“However, it is natural for man to be a social and political animal, to live in a group, even more so than all other animals, as the very needs of his nature indicate …

 

 

“If, therefore, it is natural for man to live in the society of many, it is necessary that there exist among men some means by which the group may be governed.  For where there are many men together, and each one is looking after his own interest, the group would be broken up and scattered unless there were also someone to take care of what appertains to the common weal … With this in mind Solomon says (Prov. XI, 14): ‘Where there is no governor, the people shall fall.’” (p. 35).

 

“Indeed is it is reasonable that this happen, for what is proper and what is common are not identical.  Things differ by what is proper to each:  they are united by what they have in common.  For diversity of effects is due to diversity of causes.  Consequently, there must exist something which impels towards the common good of the many, over and above that which impels towards the private good of each individual.”  {[50] pp 61-62}

 

Simon tells us finally what that “something” is, which never loses sight of the “common good,” and which is clearly found in Church teaching, in his continuation of the footnote.

It is a “Something” spelled with a capital “S”.

 

[Footnote 23] This very argumentation is used by Leo XIII in Immortale Dei (1885):  “Man’s natural instinct moves him to live in civil society, for he cannot, if dwelling apart, provide himself with the necessary requirements of life, nor procure the means of developing his mental and moral faculties.  Hence it is divinely ordained that he should lead his life – be it family, social or civil – with his fellow-men, amongst whom alone his several wants can be adequately supplied.  But as no society can hold together unless some one be over all, directing all to strive earnestly for the common good; every civilized community must have a ruling authority, and this authority, no less than society itself, has its source in nature, and has, consequently, God for its author.  For God alone is the true and supreme Lord of the world.”  {[50] pg 62}

 

4.1.2 The Obsession With Rights Talk Forgets That Rights Without Duties Are No Rights At All

 

The Declaration of Independence begins with the following creedal statement in regard to the concept of rights:

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

 

A warning to be heeded

 

Who could argue with the pronouncement of such a seminal truth on the individual rights possessed by man, in particular, the recognition that these rights come from the Almighty and, accordingly, are politically sacrosanct.  Certainly a country founded upon such a self-evident axiomatic principle has laid the foundation for the securing of these rights within the political sphere.  Which begs the question, “What happened to induce a foreigner, a man who experienced first hand the suppression of such rights in the concentration camps of his native country, a man who should have admired the “American Dream” secured by these rights, to issue a warning in the form of advice that the West is too concerned with “rights” and should be more concerned with “duties?”  The man referred to here is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who suffered political persecution in the Soviet gulags.  What prompted Solzhenitsyn to issue that warning will be subsequently addressed. 

 

The obsession with rights talk

 

The world today seems obsessed with “rights talk.”  Certainly, that is the case in the United States of America at the dawn of the new millennium where the “right to take one’s own life,” the “right to kill the unborn,” and the “right to be subsidized for living promiscuous lifestyles to include performing unnatural sex acts,” are all forced under the umbrella of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” with no one bothering to notice that the umbrella has been blown inside out by a tornadic wind of a natural fallacy regarding these claims.  Simply put, with the concept of rights comes a concomitant concept of duty if the common good of society is to be the goal of a political regime that is respected instead of despised.  You do not have rights to enjoy without a duty to those whom you have a responsibility toward in ensuring that the common good is never lost sight of as a final political goal. 

 

The most important virtue for the ancients

 

The most important virtue for the ancients was justice, which is the proper ordering of the self and the community in an objective sense to the common good.  It is objective insofar as it is a matter of the rational determination of the equality or adjustment made between two people or groups.   The term “right” did not designate a subjective claim to something for them as it does for the moderns, but rather an objective relationship between people. For Aquinas right is said to be the “object” of justice.  Justice seeks to attain what is right.

 

It is proper to justice, as compared with the other virtues, to direct man in his relations with others: because it denotes a kind of equality, as its very name implies; indeed we are wont to say that things are adjusted when they are made equal, for equality is in reference of one thing to some other.  On the other hand the other virtues perfect man in those matters only which befit him in relation to himself.  Accordingly that which is right in the works of the other virtues, and to which the intention of the virtue tends as to its proper object, depends on its relation to the agent only, whereas the right in a work of justice, besides its relation to the agent, is set up by its relation to others.  Because a man’s work is said to be just when it is related to some other by way of some kind of equality, for instance the payment of the wage due for a service rendered.  And so a thing is said to be just, as having the rectitude of justice, when it is the term of an act of justice, without taking into account the way in which it is done by the agent: whereas in the other virtues nothing is declared to be right unless it is done in a certain way by the agent.  For this reason justice has its own special proper object over and above the other virtues, and this object is called the just, which is the same as right.  Hence it is evident that right is the object of justice. (Summa Theologica, Vol. III, Part II-II, Q. 57, Art. 1) {[5] pg 1425}

 

 For Aristotle, Justice is the political good as we see in the Politics Book III, Chapter XII.

 

In all arts and sciences the end in view is some good.  In the most sovereign of all the arts and sciences – and this is the art and science of politics – the end in view is the greatest good and the good which is most pursued.  The good in the sphere of politics is justice; and justice consists in what tends to promote the common interest. {[11] pg 129}

 

Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues.  Thus, its importance is undeniable.   Sacred Scripture records, in particular, that certain sins against justice cry out to Heaven for vengeance.  These include willful murder, the sin of Sodom, oppression of the poor, and defrauding laborers of their just wages.  Because of their malice in that they are all sins against society, they seem to call for punishment by a special act of Divine Justice.   [See Gen. 4:10, Gen. 19:13, Ex. 22:22-23, and Deut. 24:15.]  It is interesting to note how moderns look at each of these “sins.” The latter contain far more weight for them than the former.  We rightfully see them making constant calls for concern in regard to oppression of the poor, and for just wages.  But somehow the former are totally ignored in that these same “compassionate” moderns have no trouble whatsoever with killing innocents in their mothers’ wombs, and promoting any and all forms of sexual hedonism to include the most unnatural of acts as alternative lifestyles in an affirmative action civil rights sense to the total disregard of any “common good” concepts.  The irony that without people there are no peace and social justice issues escapes them.  Unfortunately, it also escapes conferences of Catholic bishops who do exactly the same thing by subtly telling the faithful in documents purporting to give a “consistent moral ethic” that killing babies is on the same level as peace and social justice issues.  This is done using buzz phrases like “seamless garment” and “common ground” – the net effect of which is to make Catholics comfortable with voting for pro-abort politicians.  What a scandal this is to any definition of justice understood in the Catholic sense! 

A standard question posed to small groups of unsuspecting students to get them to have doubts about their faith is "What do you do when you are in a lifeboat that will only hold ten people, and there are more than ten people who need to get into it?"  The premise is to get these students to realize that their faith can be compromised by allowing for the killing of some so that others might live, i.e., the end justifies the means.  The correct answer is that you do everything in your power to save all by taking turns getting in and out of the boat.  The same correct answer applies when you make every attempt to save the life of the baby and the mother, if one or the other is in danger, since there is no moral way to chose which life is worth more.  This puts to rest the specious claims of “health of the mother,” having priority over that of the baby, which allow for murder of the baby.  How does someone answer otherwise who has bought into the lie of the "lesser of two evils?"  Once you start doing that, you compromise yourself for eternity.   We are losing sight of why we were created.  It is to know, love, and serve God, the latter primarily achieved by obeying His laws. 

Catholic moral theology has always clearly taught that you can never do an evil for a greater good. What could be a greater evil than voting for someone who officially promotes the killing of innocents in the womb regardless of whatever other positions are held by this individual? Without life there are no other issues, period, because natural life is the only means to eternal life for man in obedience to the Law of God.  This is in recognition that natural life begins at conception, which is another Catholic teaching reinforced by science.

And the word of the Lord came to me saying: Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremias 1:4-5)                 {[22] pg 963}

The U.S. Senate in 1981 considered Senate Bill #158, the "Human Life Bill." Extensive hearings (eight days, 57 witnesses) were conducted by Senator John East. National and international authorities testified. The following is a quote from the official Senate report, 97th Congress, S-158.


"Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being  a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings." (Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session 1981, p. 7)


On pages 7-9, the report lists a "limited sample" of 13 medical textbooks, all of which state categorically that the life of an individual human begins at conception. Then, on pages 9-10, the report quotes several outstanding authorities who testified personally:

 

Professor J. Lejeune, Paris, discoverer of the chromosome pattern of Down's Syndrome: "Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception."


Professor W. Bowes, University of Colorado: Regarding the beginning of human life?  "at conception."


Professor H. Gordon, Mayo Clinic: "It is an established fact that human life begins at conception."

 

Professor M. Matthews-Roth, Harvard University: "It is scientifically correct to say that individual human life begins at conception."

 

How arrogant then is it to not allow God to be God by not cooperating with Him in the creation of new life to populate Heaven in accord with His Divine Providential Plan! How many priests, prophets, and saints has the world not seen because of this arrogance?  And the secularists have the audacity to complain about over-population problems when the problem is under-population, i.e., the inability of nations to reproduce themselves for their survival.  Has it not occurred to the Chinese, for example, that when you have one hundred million more males then females, per the latest news reports, as a function of forced contraception and abortion, that reproduction for survival of the state is rendered moot?  That cultures die due to such insanity bothers not the modern multiculturalists who promote such heinous policies. 

If the other candidates are worse than this, i.e., holding to positions that are pro-abortion plus others contrary to the moral teachings of Holy Mother Church, that does not give Catholics an option to vote for someone who is only a pro-aborter, which is, de facto, what the common ground seamless garment protagonists within the Church would have us believe in equating peace and social justice issues with life. 

The Catholic position is to educate the faithful so that those running for office will see the truths of the Faith in a natural law context as a participation in the eternal law leading ultimately to a final salvific end intended by the Sacrifice of our Savior for man's redemption. In particular, this means that Catholic politicians do NOT check their Faith at the door and remain Catholic, unlike the lie of John Kennedy forced upon him to gain power at the risk of his immortal soul.

The "lesser of two evils" argument has never been Catholic. What is Catholic is to educate the world that "evil deserves no vote." And that can only happen when Catholics are taught that they are to uncompromisingly witness to the world for the sake of its conversion to the Faith, which is what Jesus taught in the Gospel of Matthew.

The "lesser of two evils" is still evil. Catholics are not called to promote evil via any proportional situational ethics argument, regardless of who is making them. Certainly, it is not recorded anywhere in Sacred Scripture nor in the Tradition of the Church where Jesus Christ, the Founder of the Church upon the Rock that is Peter, made such arguments.  Sed Contra, Christ’s message was that the gate to Heaven is narrow, while the gate to hell is very wide.  What is recorded is that carrying our crosses in following the example of our Savior opens the former, while wanting no part of crosses opens the latter.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it.  For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? (Matthew 16:24-26) {[22] pp 1282-1283}

Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who enter by it.  How narrow is the gate and strait is the way, which leadeth to life: and few there are who find it! (Matthew 7:13-14) {[22] pg 1259}

Invoking the “lesser of two evils” canard has permitted the dose of the so-called "lesser evil" to increase more and more with each election cycle. Professional politicians know this, which is why they know they can get away with giving pro-life voters only a few crumbs and some empty, if not contradictory, rhetoric to secure their votes. 

It is interesting to observe that those who are fighting for the culture-of-eternal-life are told that they must work “incrementally,” while the disciples of the culture-of-eternal-death do not suffer such restrictions. Rather, they want it all now, and they are getting it precisely because of that consistent focus.  Which begs the obvious question, “Why should those putting on the armor of God to fight the good fight be any less zealous?”  Witness the losses in the culture war to the militant pro-sodomites in a relatively short period of time.  Instead of working “incrementally,” Catholics should be the vanguard in telling groups like the pro-sodomite Human Rights Campaign, and their executive, legislative, and judicial facilitators, that “We do not recognize the legitimacy of your promotion of proven changeable, aberrant behavior in the name of ‘civil rights,’ which apply solely to innate, immutable characteristics such as ethnicity and skin color, and constitutionally protected religious freedoms. We do this to prevent anarchy, which is the inevitable result of your selfish demands for ‘special rights’ to accommodate vice. We do this for eternity’s sake in the light of the marriage, not divorce, of faith and reason, which is something that the Constitution guarantees that we can do. We especially do this in formal recognition that all man-made laws are subsidiary to God’s for man’s natural well-being leading ultimately to his final supernatural salvific end.”

In regard to many erroneously calling themselves Catholic while publicly giving no evidence to that fact, let us consider the example of one, John Kerry, the prospective candidate of the Democratic party for President of the United States.

How can it be blasphemously said that John Kerry is a “practicing Catholic” when he publicly enables a culture-of-eternal-death that is antithetical to Catholicism? Kerry shamelessly promotes contraception, abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia – all of which are condemned by the Church.  One does not have to be handling the forceps that crush the skulls of babies when one is the political instrument for making such barbaric acts "legal".

Kerry could not even bring himself to vote for a recent bill that would have made it illegal to kill an innocent in the womb if the mother wanted the baby.  Its promoters went to pains to tell the professional baby killing lobby that it would have no effect on the Roe v. Wade decision.  Kerry was so moved by this attempt at appeasement to the radical left that he made a special effort to vote against this bill so that his core support in NOW and NARAL would not be endangered. This support applauds every filthy non-Catholic vote Kerry makes to kill babies in what should be their safest place of refuge - their mothers' wombs.

So let us get one thing straight in reporting about John Kerry.  He is no Catholic, period!  “Something cannot be and not be at the same time in the same respect” – a fundamental principle of philosophy.    Catholics are not called to check their Faith at the door before entering public life.   On the contrary, Catholics are called to uncompromisingly witness to it, per the end of the Gospel of Matthew, for the common good of society in accord with the natural and divine law leading ultimately to a  “Kingdom not of this world.”

This has nothing to do with politics.  This has everything to do with what it means to be a Catholic in more than name only. 

In recognition of this truth, Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in his recently released memorandum entitled "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion — General Principles," said without ambiguity: The minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it when warning and counsel given to the manifest sinner "have not had their effect." 

http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,42196,00.html

6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2000], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

It is Catholic Church teaching that the faithful must follow their consciences, which are to be informed with the Teaching Magisterium of the Church on faith and morals - the information aspect dismissed out-of-hand by public dissenters like Kerry who fraudulently use Vatican II as an excuse for a "freedom of conscience" to do anything that one wants, which is a freedom confused with license.  The Catechism in accord with Sacred Scripture and the Great Tradition of the Church does not teach such a lie, given any objective reading of it on conscience.

Those playing politics with the Faith are the liars like Kerry who reinvent the Faith to suit their political ends. It would come as news to the Pope that freedom of conscience gives a Catholic permission not to have one.  Kerry has been recently quoted as saying "I believe life does begin at conception."  Kerry evidently assumes that making this sort of political show of his personal moral distaste for abortion will make his  "pro-choice" views more respectable. But it only makes them more disgraceful. Kerry cannot even claim lack of culpability on account of being clueless. He knows that abortion destroys a human life but promotes a right to it anyway.   Such people are not Catholic!   

Aquinas defines justice as “the perpetual and constant will to render to each one his right.”

 

Hence, the definition of justice mentions first the will, in order to show that the act of justice must be voluntary; and mention is made afterwards of its constancy and perpetuity in order to indicate the firmness of the act.

 

Accordingly, this is a complete definition of justice; save that the act is mentioned instead of the habit, which takes its species from that act, because habit implies relation to act.  And if anyone would reduce it to the proper form of a definition, he might say that justice is a habit whereby a man renders to each one his due by a constant and perpetual will: and this is about the same definition as that given by the Philosopher (Ethic. v. 5) who says that justice is a habit whereby a man is said to be capable of doing just actions in accordance with his choice. (Summa Theologica, Vol. III, Part II-II, Q. 58, Art. 1) {[5] pg 1429}

 

Justice is always toward another.  So we start to see why a Solzhenitsyn would criticize modern man for always taking his own rights as his primary consideration and neglecting to speak about his duty in regard to the effect of his rights claims toward his fellow man.  The modern first considers his own subjective claim or want, thereby neglecting what he owes to the community or another, which is his duty. 

 

Rights without duties dominates the scene

 

The moral and political landscape of America today is dominated by the discourse of rights.  What started as a careful delineation of political prerogatives and protections as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution has devolved into the chaos of a free-for-all of personal and collective claims and counter-claims.  Serious concerns regarding life and death issues have been grouped with frivolous matters involving the legitimization of any felt need, regardless of how insane, with no concern whatsoever for societal common good.  Frivolous rights claims are frequently used to justify any course of action that an individual has chosen; at least if accompanied with the proviso that it does not harm anyone.  What we see is a completely subjectivist situation ethic that has enveloped rights discourse causing confusion and disorder.  It is Kantian “I’m OK, you’re OK” with the moderns being able to define their own rights universes as they see fit with no concern to the inevitable collision with their neighbors’ in the absence of universal, absolute, moral norms that are immutable.  One can legitimately ask, at this point, “Am I really OK with societal acceptance of your vices?”  Or more to the point, “Are you really OK?”  Is killing babies in their mothers’ wombs, promoting the filth of homosexual behavior, and allowing people to kill themselves at their whim when they get tired of living, really conducive to a healthy, well-ordered society?  Is this type of activity tending toward societal common good?  The answer should be easy to anyone still capable of rational thought?  The fact that it is not in America speaks volumes to the extent that this country has been morally dumbed-down to such a level that wrong is indistinguishable from right.  When the president of a major university has difficulty defining “what wrong is” in relation to his university’s promotion of aberrant sexual behavior at taxpayer expense, as was the case with the President of Penn State during a recent House hearing in Harrisburg when he was asked if it was wrong for his university to sanction the most unimaginable sexual pornographic filth, then you know that you have major problems.   The problem, of course, is the absence of “duty” in relation to “rights” claims. 

 

It is to be recognized that there is a distinct difference between genuine rights claims rooted in a natural rights or natural law foundation, and those that are not.  The former is needed, for example, to protect the claims of religion from unwarranted state intrusion, to protect vulnerable members of society, and to influence public policy for the common good.  The latter is a function of rights discourse based on assumptions about human nature and the moral order that run contrary to the very things that are to be protected – assumptions involving unbounded freedom, unlimited free speech, or an individualist conception of the political order where each man possesses a universe of rights unto himself, defined solely for his convenience with no thought to the consequences for his neighbor or society as a whole.  This is the caution that Solzhenitsyn was alerting Americans to – specifically, the confusion of authentic freedom, doing what you ought with a duty to your fellow man, with license, doing what you want selfishly, and to heck with your fellow man.  Solzhenitsyn was onto something.  He saw that America was constructing its own politically correct gulags that allowed for no opposition.  He saw that America was making itself slaves to its own appetites in the skewed name of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with no thought at all to violations of nature’s law and an obedience owed to its Author for the sake of the common good.  He saw no difference with his gulags and those of a modern hypocritical America that had forgotten the real meaning of its founding documents, or what at least, should have been their real meaning, not in a Lockean sense where Locke tried to make Hobbes’s Leviathan palatable, but rather in a sense of a pressing need for a sound philosophy of human rights rooted in nature and nature’s Author. 

 

Such a sound philosophy of human rights has as its core the realization that rights possess a strict correlative duty, and are not dominions over things to use as one pleases.  It rejects completely any premise that human freedom is the fundamental moral fact, not virtue, or divine command.  It does not lower the goal and mission of the temporal order away from the inculcation of virtue and the defense of the Faith to the sole protection of the temporal welfare of its citizens.  It does not put a premium on natural self-preservation at the expense of the supernatural.  It allows for no confusion in this regard.  It is not ambivalent in that it gives the appearances of a theistic tradition while underwriting a model of radical human autonomy in which unlimited freedom dominates the moral order.  It does not lower the goal of the state to a merely neutral position, imposing a minimal obligation of non-harm, thereby ultimately encouraging self-interest – the legacy of Locke.   In short, per Maritain, it is theocentric as opposed to anthropocentric where rights are rooted in the natural law and its Author instead of man’s will and freedom – the latter allowing for escaping every objective measure, and denying every limitation imposed upon the claims of the ego, a concern of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. 

 

4.1.3 Humanae Vitae, a teaching of natural law for mankind

The conscience is (the voice of God within) and why Catholics, who have a well formed conscience and a healthy understanding of what the Church is (the Bride of Christ, guided by the Holy Ghost), should be very willing to embrace the teachings of Humanae Vitae. But was Humanae Vitae a divinely revealed truth intended just for Catholics? Humanae Vitae clearly answers this question in the negative.

Aquinas tells us that while a conscience always binds, it does not necessarily excuse. There is such a thing as an “informed conscience” since one’s conscience may be badly formed and one may be culpable for that. The binding nature of conscience comes from judging that something should be done or not done. By conscience we judge that something done is well done or ill done, and in this sense conscience is said to excuse, accuse, or torment.

 

For conscience is said to witness, to bind, or incite, and also to accuse, torment, or rebuke.  And all these follow the application of knowledge or science to what we do: which application is made in three ways. One way insofar as we recognize that we have done or not done something; Thy conscience knoweth that thou has often spoken evil of others (Eccles. vii, 23) and according to this, conscience is said to witness.  In another way, so far as through the conscience we judge that something should be done or not done; and in this sense, conscience is said to incite or to bind.  In the third way, so far as by conscience we judge that something done is well done or ill done, and in this sense conscience is said to excuse, accuse, or torment.  Now it is clear that all these things follow the actual application of knowledge to what we do.   (Summa Theologica, Vol. I, Part I, Q. 79, Art. 13) {[3] pg 408}

 

It should be said that an erroneous conscience erring about things which are intrinsically evil dictates what is contrary to the law of God, but says that what it dictates is the law of God; therefore one who transgresses this conscience is effectively a transgressor of the law of God, although in following this conscience and fulfilling it in deed he acts against the law of God and sins mortally, because in the very error there was sin since it came about through ignorance of that which he ought to know. (On Conscience. Disputed Question on Truth) {[2] pg 235}

One may be responsible for having an erroneous conscience, and that obviously affects whether we can say that the erroneous conscience both excuses and binds. We know it binds but does it excuse? That becomes the overriding question. Catholics are often told to follow their conscience in regard to obeying the Church laws against artificial contraception per Humanae Vitae. These Catholics may be brainwashed by those dissenting from Church teaching by buying into their specious arguments in place of the universal Catechism. They take the dissidents’ advice and contracept to their hearts content. In their minds they are simply doing what they have been told, i.e., following their conscience. Are they excused from the mortal sins that are committed? Hardly, since they are also aware of the Catechism which overrides any co-Magisteria formed by dissenting theologians since it speaks for the one and only Magisterium that counts - Holy Mother Church. If from the cradle to reason they are never exposed to the existence of a Catechism or the concept of one Church Magisterium and only are aware of dissenting opinions that they are duped into believing are true, i.e., they are living on a remote island with CWTN, the Curran Word Television Network (Charles Curran being the most well known of the dissenters from Humanae Vitae), with absolutely no exposure to the truth, then they might come under the category of involuntary ignorance which would hold them less culpable however unlikely this scenario may seem.

In this case, one would think that it would occur to even these types that mankind would die out if death rates exceed birth rates.  This totally ignores any real natural law principles since the most important natural law principles are metaphysical as opposed to biological; animals reproduce for the survival of the species; humans procreate for the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world.

The practical judgment of conscience imposes on the person the obligation to perform a given act making the link between freedom and truth clear. Conscience expresses itself in acts of judgment, which reflect the truth and the good, and not in arbitrary decisions of a situational ethics nature which makes truth relative. One needs to be guided by an insistent search for truth in regard to actions performed, not on an alleged autonomy in personal decisions where man is reduced to freedom with no soul.

The correct formation of conscience

The formation of a correct conscience begins with belief in God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived and belief in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Since the outpouring of dissent which began in earnest in 1968 with the publication of Humane Vitae, several arguments have been put forth to defend the denial of this teaching and other Catholic doctrines. These arguments include a view that trivializes the importance of Church doctrine, attempting to make it a suggestion rather than God’s law. There is considerable evidence in Scripture and Church tradition, however, that this view is very much in error. One’s salvation rests not only on fidelity to one’s own conscience, but also, and more fundamentally, on forming one’s conscience in accord with God’s law. Without the latter, the former can become trivial.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks to a moral conscience as follows.

1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment.... For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God.... His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”

1777 Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.

1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.” The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.

1798 A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. Everyone must avail himself of the means to form his conscience.

1799 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

1800 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.

1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.

1802 The Word of God is a light for our path. We must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. This is how moral conscience is formed.  {[53] pp 438-442}

Autonomy would seem to be at odds with Christianity, for humans are to do God’s will and obey God’s law rather than to be willful and to be their own sources of what is lawful. Kant was not a relativist; he wished to formulate all moral dictums in terms of universal absolutes. Relativism, however, grew out of Kant’s metaphysical skepticism, and his rejection of any heteronomous source of moral norms. So both the Kantian understanding of autonomy, which roots moral obligation in the rational nature of the human person, and a more modern notion of autonomy which is identical with relativism, makes the term an unlikely candidate for being a part of the Church’s moral vision.

Let us now turn to Humanae Vitae, On the Regulation of Birth, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI, July 25, 1968, and see what it says in regard to its universal applicability to mankind. We have to look no further than Pope Paul VI’s opening address.

Encyclical Letter on the Regulation of Birth July 25, 1968, To the venerable patriarchs, archbishops and bishops and other local ordinaries in peace and communion with the Apostolic See; to priests, the faithful and to all men of goodwill. {[38]}

Here it is clearly seen that Humanae Vitae was not just intended for Catholics but for all humanity.

In regard to the competency of the Church’s teaching Magisterium Humanae Vitae says the following in relation to the advent of new questions involving the regulation of birth.

Such questions required from the teaching authority of the Church a new and deeper reflection upon the principles of moral teaching on marriage: a teaching founded on the natural law, illuminated and enriched by divine revelation.               {[38] Para. 4}

From this statement Humanae Vitae is given its moral grounding in the natural law which is part of the eternal law given to us by a loving God, written on the hearts of men.

Humanae Vitae now turns to the competency of the Church as final authority for the natural moral law.

No believer will wish to deny that the teaching authority of the Church is competent to interpret even the natural moral law. It is, in fact, indisputable, as our predecessors have many times declared, that Jesus Christ, when communicating to Peter and to the Apostles His divine authority and sending them to teach all nations His commandments, constituted them as guardians and authentic interpreters of all the moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel, but also of the natural law, which is also an expression of the will of God, the faithful fulfillment of which is equally necessary for salvation.      {[38] Para. 4}

In a section entitled “Doctrinal Principles” a total vision of man is given in regard to his supernatural and eternal vocation regarding the aspects of conjugal love. Humanae Vitae is clear that this is not just for the baptized.

Conjugal love reveals its true nature and nobility when it is considered in its supreme origin, God, who is love, “the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” Marriage is not, then, the effect of chance or the product of evolution of unconscious natural forces; it is the wise institution of the Creator to realize in mankind His design of love. By means of the reciprocal personal gift of self, proper and exclusive to them, husband and wife tend towards the communication of their beings in view of mutual personal perfection, to collaborate with God in the generation and education of new lives.

For baptized persons, moreover, marriage invests the dignity of a sacramental sign of grace, inasmuch as it represents the union of Christ and of the Church. {[38] Para. 8}

Hence conjugal love requires in husband and wife an awareness of their mission of “responsible parenthood,” which today is rightly much insisted upon, and which also must be exactly understood. Consequently it is to be considered under different aspects which are legitimate and connect with one another. In relation to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means the knowledge and respect of their functions; human intellect discovers in the power of giving life biological laws which are part of the human person.

In relation to the tendencies of instinct and passion, responsible parenthood means that necessary dominion which reason and will must exercise over them.

In relation to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised, either by the deliberate and generous decision to raise a numerous family, or by the decision, made for grave motives and with due respect for the moral law, to avoid for the time being, or even for an indeterminate period, a new birth.

Responsible parenthood also and above all implies a more profound relationship to the objective moral order established by God, of which a right conscience is the faithful interpreter. The responsible exercise of parenthood implies, therefore, that husband and wife recognize fully their own duties towards God, towards themselves, towards the family and towards society, in a correct hierarchy of values. {[38] Para. 10}

God has wisely disposed natural laws and rhythms of fecundity which, of themselves, cause a separation in the succession of births. Nonetheless the Church, calling men back to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by their constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marriage act (quilibet matrimonii usus) must remain open to the transmission of life. {[38] Para. 11}

The following section of Humanae Vitae has been prophetic regarding the consequences of ignoring its teaching by mankind.

Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men -- especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point -- have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer his respected and beloved companion.

Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be more efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.

Consequently, if the mission of generating life is not to be exposed to the arbitrary will of men, one must necessarily recognize insurmountable limits to the possibility of man’s domination over his own body and its functions; limits which no man, whether a private individual or one invested with authority, may licitly surpass. And such limits cannot be determined otherwise than by the respect due to the integrity of the human organism and its functions, according to the principles recalled earlier, and also according to the correct understanding of the “principle of totality” illustrated by our predecessor Pope Pius XII. {[38] Para. 17}

A look at the world around us, out-of-control divorce and sexually transmitted disease rates, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, especially teen pregnancies, the abortion of entire generations, the inability of countries to reproduce themselves, promiscuity seen as totally acceptable by being encouraged via bankrupt sex-ed programs promoting the well documented lie of “safe sex,” the promotion of sexual perversion as alternative lifestyles resulting in the complete destruction of the family as the foundational unit of society is testimony to the ignorance of Humanae Vitae.

Nowhere is the intent of the universality of Humanae Vitae any clearer than in the following passage.

In defending conjugal morals in their integral wholeness, the Church knows that she contributes toward the establishment of a truly human civilization; she engages man not to abdicate from his own responsibility in order to rely on technical means; by that very fact she defends the dignity of man and wife. Faithful to both the teaching and the example of the Savior, she shows herself to be the sincere and disinterested friend of men, whom she wishes to help, even during their earthly sojourn, "to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all men." {[38] Para. 18}

The final appeal of Humanae Vitae, like its opening address, is to all mankind.

Venerable brothers, most beloved sons, and all men of good will, great indeed is the work of education, of progress and of love to which we call you, upon the foundation of the Church’s teaching, of which the successor of Peter is, together with his brothers in the episcopate, the depositary and interpreter. Truly a great work, as we are deeply convinced, both for the world and for the Church, since man cannot find true happiness - towards which he aspires with all his being - other than in respect of the laws written by God in his very nature, laws which he must observe with intelligence and love.                     {[38] Para. 31}

4.1.4 The forgotten teaching of Casti Connubii

 

The traditional Catholic Church teaching on the importance of Christian Marriage as a sacrament is no better given than in Casti Connubii, On Christian Marriage, Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, December 31, 1930, which also spoke to the world, not just the Church, for the sake of its eternal salvation.

How great is the dignity of chaste wedlock, Venerable Brethren, may be judged best from this that Christ Our Lord, Son of the Eternal   Father, having assumed the nature of fallen man, not only, with His loving desire of compassing the redemption of our race, ordained it in an especial manner as the principle and foundation of domestic society and therefore of all human intercourse, but also raised it to the rank of a truly and great sacrament of the New Law, restored it to the original purity of its divine institution, and accordingly entrusted all its discipline and care to His spouse the Church.         {[42] Para. 1}

In order, however, that amongst men of every nation and every age the desired fruits may be obtained from this renewal of matrimony, it is necessary, first of all, that men's minds be illuminated with the true doctrine of Christ regarding it; and secondly, that Christian spouses, the weakness of their wills strengthened by the internal grace of God, shape all their ways of thinking and of acting in conformity with that pure law of Christ so as to obtain true peace and happiness for themselves and for their families. {[42] Para. 2}

… let it be repeated as an immutable and inviolable fundamental doctrine that matrimony was not instituted or restored by man but by God; not by man were the laws made to strengthen and confirm and elevate it but by God, the Author of nature, and by Christ Our Lord by Whom nature was redeemed, and hence these laws cannot be subject to any human decrees or to any contrary pact even of the spouses themselves. This is the doctrine of Holy Scripture; this is the constant tradition of the Universal Church; this the solemn definition of the sacred Council of Trent, which declares and establishes from the words of Holy Writ itself that God is the Author of the perpetual stability of the marriage bond, its unity and its firmness.             {[42] Para. 5}

The following section from Casti Connubii speaks particularly to the sodomite bastardization of marriage in regard to the just punishment deserved by replacing sanctity in accord with the natural and divine laws of God with the hedonism of the devil!

By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God's decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises. Hence the nature of this contract, which is proper and peculiar to it alone, makes it entirely different both from the union of animals entered into by the blind instinct of nature alone in which neither reason nor free will plays a part, and also from the haphazard unions of men, which are far removed from all true and honorable unions of will and enjoy none of the rights of family life. {[42] Para. 7}

From this it is clear that legitimately constituted authority has the right and therefore the duty to restrict, to prevent, and to punish those base unions which are opposed to reason and to nature; but since it is a matter which flows from human nature itself, no less certain is the teaching of Our predecessor, Leo XIII of happy memory: "In choosing a state of life there is no doubt but that it is in the power and discretion of each one to prefer one or the other: either to embrace the counsel of virginity given by Jesus Christ, or to bind himself in the bonds of matrimony. To take away from man the natural and primeval right of marriage, to circumscribe in any way the principal ends of marriage laid down in the beginning by God Himself in the words 'Increase and multiply,' is beyond the power of any human law." {[42] Para. 8}

Casti Connubii makes it very clear that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children.  Man does not just reproduce for survival of the species, which is something that any animal is instinctively capable of doing.  Rather, man, made in the Image and Likeness of God, procreates to increase the population of Heaven, which was God’s intent for man at creation.

Since, however, We have spoken fully elsewhere on the Christian education of youth, let us sum it all up by quoting once more the words of St. Augustine: "As regards the offspring it is provided that they should be begotten lovingly and educated religiously," - and this is also expressed succinctly in the Code of Canon Law - "The primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children." {[42] Para. 17}

Nor must we  omit to remark, in fine, that since the duty entrusted to parents for the good of their children is of such high dignity and of such great importance, every use of the faculty given by God for the procreation of new life is the right and the privilege of the married state alone, by the law of God and of nature, and must be confined absolutely within the sacred limits of that state. {[42] Para. 18}

It does not get any clearer than the following sections from Casti Connubii as to what man’s priorities are given that the “first blessing of matrimony” is the procreation of children. 

The second blessing of matrimony which We said was mentioned by St. Augustine, is the blessing of conjugal honor which consists in the mutual fidelity of the spouses in fulfilling the marriage contract, so that what belongs to one of the parties by reason of this contract sanctioned by divine law, may not be denied to him or permitted to any third person; nor may there be conceded to one of the parties anything which, being contrary to the rights and laws of God and entirely opposed to matrimonial faith, can never be conceded. {[42] Para. 19}

Wherefore, conjugal faith, or honor, demands in the first place the complete unity of matrimony which the Creator Himself laid down in the beginning when He wished it to be not otherwise than between one man and one woman. And although afterwards this primeval law was relaxed to some extent by God, the Supreme Legislator, there is no doubt that the law of the Gospel fully restored that original and perfect unity, and abrogated all dispensations as the words of Christ and the constant teaching and action of the Church show plainly. With reason, therefore, does the Sacred Council of Trent solemnly declare: "Christ Our Lord very clearly taught that in this bond two persons only are to be united and joined together when He said: 'Therefore they are no longer two, but one flesh.’" {[42] Para. 20}

Nor did Christ Our Lord wish only to condemn any form of polygamy or polyandry, as they are called, whether successive or simultaneous, and every other external dishonorable act, but, in order that the sacred bonds of marriage may be guarded absolutely inviolate, He forbade also even willful thoughts and desires of such like things: "But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart." Which words of Christ Our Lord cannot be annulled even by the consent of one of the partners of marriage for they express a law of God and of nature which no will of man can break or bend. {[42] Para. 21}

Nay, that mutual familiar intercourse between the spouses themselves, if the blessing of conjugal faith is to shine with becoming splendor, must be distinguished by chastity so that husband and wife bear themselves in all things with the law of God and of nature, and endeavor always to follow the will of their most wise and holy Creator with the greatest reverence toward the work of God. {[42] Para. 22}

What the modern Church has forgotten

Now we see something in Casti Connubii that is missing in the modern Church, something that needs to be restored, i.e., the formal recognition that the Church alone must be the primary advisor to the nations of the world in order to preserve the moral order by countering the confusion of the “father-of-lies.”  Where but in the Catholic Church, where there is worship of the One Triune God, is there found a consistent moral ethic that is never compromised, and clearly delineated in accord with the teachings of her Founder Who is Perfect Truth?  For example, where in the non-Catholic world has there been complete consistent opposition to the contraceptive mentality of the age with all of its attendant derivatives to include sexual promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia to name but a few?  The worship of illusory false gods, in particular the Kantian “god in the mirror,” and/or the denial of the True Faith does not lend itself to such moral clarity and confidence, which Catholicism solely enjoys as being infallibly protected by the Holy Ghost in matters of faith and morals.  Nowhere is this infallible protection better evidenced than by observing that the Church has been prophetic in regard to the consequences of ignoring her moral teaching, e.g., Humanae Vitae and Casti Connubii. 

But not only in regard to temporal goods, Venerable Brethren, is it the concern of the public authority to make proper provision for matrimony and the family, but also in other things which concern the good of souls. just laws must be made for the protection of chastity, for reciprocal conjugal aid, and for similar purposes, and these must be faithfully enforced, because, as history testifies, the prosperity of the State and the temporal happiness of its citizens cannot remain safe and sound where the foundation on which they are established, which is the moral order, is weakened and where the very fountainhead from which the State draws its life, namely, wedlock and the family, is obstructed by the vices of its citizens. {[42] Para. 123}

For the preservation of the moral order neither the laws and sanctions of the temporal power are sufficient, nor is the beauty of virtue and the expounding of its necessity. Religious authority must enter in to enlighten the mind, to direct the will, and to strengthen human frailty by the assistance of divine grace. Such an authority is found nowhere save in the Church instituted by Christ the Lord. Hence We earnestly exhort in the Lord all those who hold the reins of power that they establish and maintain firmly harmony and friendship with this Church of Christ so that through the united activity and energy of both powers the tremendous evils, fruits of those wanton liberties which assail both marriage and the family and are a menace to both Church and State, may be effectively frustrated. {[42] Para. 124}

Governments can assist the Church greatly in the execution of its important office, if, in laying down their ordinances, they take account of what is prescribed by divine and ecclesiastical law, and if penalties are fixed for offenders. For as it is, there are those who think that whatever is permitted by the laws of the State, or at least is not punished by them, is allowed also in the moral order, and, because they neither fear God nor see any reason to fear the laws of man, they act even against their conscience, thus often bringing ruin upon themselves and upon many others. There will be no peril to or lessening of the rights and integrity of the State from its association with the Church. Such suspicion and fear is empty and groundless, as Leo Xlll has already so clearly set forth: "It is generally agreed," he says, "that the Founder of the Church, Jesus Christ, wished the spiritual power to be distinct from the civil, and each to be free and unhampered in doing its own work, not forgetting, however, that it is expedient to both, and in the interest of everybody, that there be a harmonious relationship. . . If the civil power combines in a friendly manner with the spiritual power of the Church, it necessarily follows that both parties will greatly benefit. The dignity of the State will be enhanced, and with religion as its guide, there will never be a rule that is not just; while for the Church there will be at hand a safeguard and defense which will operate to the public good of the faithful." {[42] Para. 125}

The message of Catholic teachings that many reject out-of-hand

 

A formed conscience in accord with the natural law is the message of the truth of Humanae Vitae and Casti Connubii. The natural law as an extension of the eternal law written on the hearts of mankind demands a clear interpreter with technology changing at a pace so rapid that moral concerns are subordinate to achieving anything theoretically possible in a scientific sense, e.g., the cloning of human beings. If this interpretation is left to each individual or group in society with a vested interested in the aforementioned scientific achievement, totally devoid of any moral concerns, then as a society, the common good will have given way to anarchy. Who or what will be a better moral interpreter of the natural law if not the Church founded by a God Who gave it to mankind, as we are told in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, On the Peace of Christ in His Kingdom, Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, December 23, 1922. 

We have already seen and come to the conclusion that the principal cause of the confusion, restlessness, and dangers which are so prominent a characteristic of false peace is the weakening of the binding force of law and lack of respect for authority, effects which logically follow upon denial of the truth that authority comes from God, the Creator and Universal Law-giver. {[43] Para. 39}

The only remedy for such state of affairs is the peace of Christ since the peace of Christ is the peace of God, which could not exist if it did not enjoin respect for law, order, and the rights of authority. In the Holy Scriptures We read: "My children, keep discipline in peace." (Ecclesiasticus xli, 17) "Much peace have they that love the law, O Lord." (Psalms cxviii, 165) "He that feareth the commandment, shall dwell in peace." (Proverbs xiii, 13) Jesus Christ very expressly states: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's." (Matt. xxii, 21) He even recognized that Pilate possessed authority from on High (John xiv, 11) as he acknowledged that the scribes and Pharisees who though unworthy sat in the chair of Moses (Matt. xxiii, 2) were not without a like authority. In Joseph and Mary, Jesus respected the natural authority of parents and was subject to them for the greater part of His life. (Luke ii, 51) He also taught, by the voice of His Apostle, the same important doctrine: "Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God." (Romans xiii, 1; cf. also 1 Peter ii, 13, 18) {[43] Para. 40}

If we stop to reflect for a moment that these ideals and doctrines of Jesus Christ, for example, his teachings on the necessity and value of the spiritual life, on the dignity and sanctity of human life, on the duty of obedience, on the divine basis of human government, on the sacramental character of matrimony and by consequence the sanctity of family life -- if we stop to reflect, let us repeat, that these ideals and doctrines of Christ (which are in fact but a portion of the treasury of truth which He left to mankind) were confided by Him to His Church and to her alone for safekeeping, and that He has promised that His aid will never fail her at any time for she is the infallible teacher of His doctrines in every century and before all nations, there is no one who cannot clearly see what a singularly important role the Catholic Church is able to play, and is even called upon to assume, in providing a remedy for the ills which afflict the world today and in leading mankind toward a universal peace. {[43] Para. 41}

Because the Church is by divine institution the sole depository and interpreter of the ideals and teachings of Christ, she alone possesses in any complete and true sense the power effectively to combat that materialistic philosophy which has already done and, still threatens, such tremendous harm to the home and to the state. The Church alone can introduce into society and maintain therein the prestige of a true, sound spiritualism, the spiritualism of Christianity which both from the point of view of truth and of its practical value is quite superior to any exclusively philosophical theory. The Church is the teacher and an example of world good-will, for she is able to inculcate and develop in mankind the "true spirit of brotherly love" (St. Augustine, De Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae, i, 30) and by raising the public estimation of the value and dignity of the individual's soul help thereby to lift us even unto God. {[43] Para. 42}

Finally, the Church is able to set both public and private life on the road to righteousness by demanding that everything and all men become obedient to God "Who beholdeth the heart," to His commands, to His laws, to His sanctions. If the teachings of the Church could only penetrate in some such manner as We have described the inner recesses of the consciences of mankind, be they rulers or be they subjects, all eventually would be so apprised of their personal and civic duties and their mutual responsibilities that in a short time "Christ would be all, and in all." (Colossians iii, 11)             {[43] Para. 43}

An answer to the confusion of those who seek a geopolitical utopia solely via natural means and institutions is given in the following sections of Ubi Arcano.  (Hint, it is not found in the UN, contrary to some prominent voices in the Vatican today).

Since the Church is the safe and sure guide to conscience, for to her safe-keeping alone there has been confided the doctrines and the promise of the assistance of Christ, she is able not only to bring about at the present hour a peace that is truly the peace of Christ, but can, better than any other agency which We know of, contribute greatly to the securing of the same peace for the future, to the making impossible of war in the future. For the Church teaches (she alone has been given by God the mandate and the right to teach with authority) that not only our acts as individuals but also as groups and as nations must conform to the eternal law of God. In fact, it is much more important that the acts of a nation follow God's law, since on the nation rests a much greater responsibility for the consequences of its acts than on the individual.        {[43] Para. 44}

When, therefore, governments and nations follow in all their activities, whether they be national or international, the dictates of conscience grounded in the teachings, precepts, and example of Jesus Christ, and which are binding on each and every individual, then only can we have faith in one another's word and trust in the peaceful solution of the difficulties and controversies which may grow out of differences in point of view or from clash of interests. An attempt in this direction has already and is now being made; its results, however, are almost negligible and, especially so, as far as they can be said to affect those major questions which divide seriously and serve to arouse nations one against the other. No merely human institution of today can be as successful in devising a set of international laws which will be in harmony with world conditions as the Middle Ages were in the possession of that true League of Nations, Christianity. It cannot be denied that in the Middle Ages this law was often violated; still it always existed as an ideal, according to which one might judge the acts of nations, and a beacon light calling those who had lost their way back to the safe road. {[43] Para. 45}

There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such an institution is the Church of Christ. She alone is adapted to do this great work, for she is not only divinely commissioned to lead mankind, but moreover, because of her very make-up and the constitution which she possesses, by reason of her age-old traditions and her great prestige, which has not been lessened but has been greatly increased since the close of the War, cannot but succeed in such a venture where others assuredly will fail.  {[43] Para. 46}

It is, therefore, a fact which cannot be questioned that the true peace of Christ can only exist in the Kingdom of Christ -- "the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." It is no less unquestionable that, in doing all we can to bring about the re-establishment of Christ's kingdom, we will be working most effectively toward a lasting world peace. Pius X in taking as his motto "To restore all things in Christ" was inspired from on High to lay the foundations of that "work of peace" which became the program and principal task of Benedict XV. These two programs of Our Predecessors We desire to unite in one -- the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Christ by peace in Christ -- "the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." With might and main We shall ever strive to bring about this peace, putting Our trust in God, Who when He called Us to the Chair of Peter, promised that the divine assistance would never fail Us. We ask that all assist and co-operate with Us in this Our mission. Particularly We ask you to aid us, Venerable Brothers, you, His sheep, whom Our leader and Lord, Jesus Christ, has called to feed and to watch over as the most precious portion of His flock, which comprises all mankind. For, it is you whom the "Holy Ghost hath placed to rule the Church of God" (Acts xx, 28), you to whom above all, and principally, God "hath given the ministry of reconciliation, and who for Christ therefore are ambassadors." (II Cor. v, 18, 20) You participate in His teaching power and are "the dispensers of the mysteries of God." (I Cor. iv, 1) You have been called by Him "the salt of the earth," "the light of the world" (Matt. v, 13, 14), fathers and teachers of Christian peoples, "a pattern of the flock from the heart" (I Peter v, 3), and "you shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. v, 19) In fine, you are the links of gold, as it were, by which "the whole body of Christ, which is the Church, is held compacted and fitly joined together" (Ephesians iv, 15, 16), built as it is on the solid rock of Peter. {[43] Para. 49}

The duty of Catholic philosophy is to present to the world arguments from reason that reinforce faith to underscore the truth of the traditional teaching of the Church in regard to the earthly reign of Christ the King leading ultimately to a Kingdom not of this world. 

4.1.5 Metaphysics is a Divine science

Wisdom is knowledge about principles and causes. In the first two chapters of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, wisdom, science and understanding pertain to the speculative part of the soul referred to as the scientific part of the soul. Understanding is the habit of the first principles of demonstration whereas science is a function of conclusions drawn from subordinate causes with wisdom similarly a function of first causes. In this sense wisdom is referred to as the “chief science.” The more a man attains to a knowledge of the cause, the wiser he is necessitating the concept of a hierarchy or degrees of knowledge, e.g., the speculative are more scientific than the practical with their higher dimension of contemplation for its own sake. Thus, science which is wisdom in an absolute sense is concerned with the causes of things, in particular, the most universal and primary or ultimate causes. This science must also consider the universal end of all things which is the greatest good in the whole of nature. Another name for the ultimate cause of things is God Who is also the Universal End of all things showing the relationship between reason and faith.

What philosophy seeks

Philosophy in its progression from logic (method of sciences) to mathematics to natural science to moral science and ultimately metaphysics seeks a wisdom which is the grasp of the highest or ultimate cause of things, a kind of knowledge possessed by God and, in that context, mimics as much as humanly possible, God’s knowledge or divine science. There is another aim, however, regarding knowledge which has God as its principal object - theology which was the aim of Greek philosophy, its completion. As such, we can speak of divine science as the defining aim of philosophy. Beyond the divine science of the philosophers is another based on Sacred Scripture. Theology is a wisdom beyond and superior to that of the philosophers which, in turn, finds itself looking up to a gift of the Holy Ghost - infused faith.  In short, philosophy is ultimately a search for the Truth, spelled with a capital “T,” Who is a Someone, not a something, per the Gospel of John. 

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us: and we saw his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) {[22]  pg 1394}

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32) {[22] pg 1410}

Jesus saith to him: I am the way and the truth and the life.  No man cometh to the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)                {[22] pg 1420}

Metaphysics addresses the most deep-seated questions we have. What is the point of everything, the purpose of life? We have an existential drive to answer these questions especially during hard times such as we now find ourselves. Accordingly, it is the culminating quest of philosophy as a set of disciplines necessary for or useful for the attainment of wisdom of theology or first philosophy per Aristotle. This desire to know is inherent in man’s nature. Metaphysics and theology form the two kinds of divine science in which divine things are not considered as the subject of the science but as principles of the subject in the case of metaphysics, which philosophers pursue, and the consideration of divine things themselves as subject of the science in the case of theology handed down in Sacred Scripture. A robust philosophy will culminate in wisdom, in theology. It is no accident that a pagan, Aristotle, came to the conclusion of the existence of God as reason is not divorced from faith, a concept so eloquently illustrated in Aquinas’s monumental sequel to the De Anima where he answered Aristotle’s final questions.

Since man’s perfection consists in union with God, man must direct everything in him as much as possible to divine things given an intellect free for contemplation and reason free for inquiry. Faith and reason are intertwined, not mutually exclusive which is the secular argument. The error is that in matters of faith, reason precedes faith, not faith reason such that one wants to believe only what reason can discover when it should be the reverse. This does not allow for faith at all. Every creature is so moved as to be more and more like God which is why the human mind should be always seeking to know God more according to its manner. In this way divine science does not make those things which are faith based to be seen, but rather from these makes other things to be seen in a way that reinforces faith which is supreme. The end of faith in this context is that we might come to understand what we believed similar to knowing a subordinate or inferior science in order to learn a higher, e.g., the relationship between arithmetic and geometry or calculus, or arithmetic and algebraic topology using a mathematical hierarchy analogy.

It is impossible that those things, which have been divinely taught us through faith, should be contrary to our naturally infused knowledge, as one of them would have to be false - an impossibility since both came from God, i.e., the natural law or natural reasoning, and divine revelation. The imitation of the Perfect is found in the imperfect as in things that are known by natural reason there are similarities to things taught by faith.

Sacred doctrine is to faith what philosophy is to natural reason. They do not contradict each other for to do so makes their Author capable of falsehoods which is an impossibility as He is Perfect Truth. Accordingly, if something contrary to the Faith should be found in philosophy, this is not philosophy but an abuse of same due to bad reasoning.

Metaphysics is the highest philosophical inquiry into the supernatural, the divine science of God. Its telos is a theology which through a Divine Light illuminates reason as man’s key to a supernatural door which the Angelic Doctor, Aquinas, fashioned via a work (Summa Theologica) later described by him as “nothing” compared to the Beatific Vision awaiting the faithful. In human terms, “some nothing!” We are dealing with a two-way street with philosophy leading to theology and theology making philosophy possible. The extremes of naturalism and fideism exist only in the minds of those who cannot see this truth.

4.1.6 The relationship between faith and reason

A way of seeing the relationship between philosophy and theology or reason and faith in Aquinas, which casts a tremendous light on this relationship, is Aquinas’s notion of the preambles of faith.  At the beginning of the Summa Contra Gentiles, Aquinas distinguishes between two kinds of truth about God.  First, there exist truths about God that can be known to be such on the basis of natural reason alone.  What are these?  That God exists is one since there are sound and cogent proofs for the existence of God.  Other truths include that we can know some of the divine attributes.  We can know that God is intelligent, that there cannot be more than one God, that God is powerful, and that He is the first cause.  How does Aquinas know these things?  Because they have been known by reason alone.  Aristotle came to the knowledge of all of these things on the basis of arguments which Aquinas accepts as sound.  It is a descriptive historical remark, a truism, for Aquinas, and not just some proposal as a possibility on his part, that knowledge of God can be known through reason. 

 

There is a twofold mode of truth in what we profess about God.  Some truths about God exceed all the ability of the human reason.  Such is the truth that God is triune.  But there are some truths which the natural reason also is able to reach.  Such are that God exists, that He is one, and the like.  In fact, such truths about God have been proved demonstratively by the philosophers, guided by the light of the natural reason.  (Summa Contra Gentiles, Book I, Ch. 3, Para. 2) {[7] pg 63}

 

There exist other truths about God which can only be known by accepting revelation, e.g., there are three persons in God, the forgiveness of sins, and Jesus is both human and divine.  We assent to these truths via the grace of faith even though we do not understand them.  What Aquinas calls natural truths about God, which are knowable by reason, are also parts of revelation.  Any believer holds, as an article of faith, that God exists, that He is One, Omniscient, and is the First Cause.

 

That there are certain truths about God that totally surpass man’s ability appears with the greatest evidence.  Since, indeed, the principle of all knowledge that the reason perceives about some thing is the understanding of the very substance of that being (for according to Aristotle “what a thing is” is the principle of demonstration), it is necessary that the way in which we understand the substance of a thing determines the way in which we know what belongs to it.  Hence, if the human intellect comprehends the substance of some thing, for example, that of a stone or of a triangle, no intelligible characteristic belonging to that thing surpasses the grasp of the human reason.  But this does not happen to us in the case of God.  For the human intellect is not able to reach a comprehension of the divine substance through its natural power.  For, according to its manner of knowing in the present life, the intellect depends on the sense for the origin of knowledge; and so those things that do not fall under the senses cannot be grasped by the human intellect except in so far as the knowledge of them is gathered from sensible things.  Now, sensible things cannot lead the human intellect to the point of seeing in them the nature of the divine substance; for sensible things are effects that fall short of the power of their cause.  Yet, beginning with sensible things, our intellect is led to the point of knowing about God that He exists, and other such characteristics that must be attributed to the First Principle.  There are, consequently, some intelligible truths about God that are open to human reason; but there are others that absolutely surpass its power. (Summa Contra Gentiles, Book I, Ch. 3, Para. 3)       {[7] pp 63-64}  

 

What Aquinas notices is this.  Some of the things that have been proposed for our acceptance on the basis of faith, some of the things that have been revealed by God, are identical with things that philosophers have come to know about God.  So he takes this little subset of truths out of revelation, and gives us the preambles of faith, which means that they were known prior to faith.  Thus, we can see what the range of natural reason is even in our sinful condition.  In talking about the pagan Romans, Saint Paul says that they are without excuse for doing these things because they can, through reason alone, come to the knowledge of God, i.e., through the things that are made, they can come to knowledge of the invisible things of God. 

 

Because that which is known of God is manifest in them.  For God hath manifested it to them.  For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made: his eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable. (Romans, 1:19:20) {[22] pg 1479}

 

Accordingly, the Church has taken this verse as a charter for claims that it is possible for human beings, independent of divine revelation, to come to some knowledge of God.  This, in turn, provides Aquinas with a powerful argument for the reasonableness of the Faith.  For if some of the things that have been revealed, the preambles of faith, can be known to be true, it is reasonable to accept the mysteries that we cannot understand in this life as true.  If we accept and live this argument, then our ultimate reward will be the Beatific Vision where faith and hope will pass away, no longer being necessary, leaving only charity.  Aquinas, in the Summa Contra Gentiles, lays the foundation for reason reinforcing faith with an important explanation regarding reason’s limitations in reference to the Majesty of God Almighty while showing the marriage, not divorce, of reason and faith.

 

Since, therefore, there exists a twofold truth concerning the Divine Being, one to which the inquiry of the reason can reach, the other which surpasses the whole ability of the human reason, it is fitting that both of these truths be proposed to man divinely for belief.  This point must first be shown concerning the truth that is open to the inquiry of the reason; otherwise, it might perhaps seem to someone that, since such a truth can be known by the reason, it was uselessly given to men through a supernatural inspiration as an object of belief.  (Summa Contra Gentiles, Book I, Ch. 4, Para. 1) {[7] pg 66}  

 

No one tends with desire and zeal towards something that is not already known to him.  But, as we shall examine later on in this work, men are ordained by the Divine Providence towards a higher good than human fragility can experience in the present life.  That is why it was necessary for the human mind to be called to something higher than the human reason here and now can reach, so that it would thus learn to desire something and with zeal tend towards something that surpasses the whole state of the present life.  This belongs especially to the Christian religion, which in a unique way promises spiritual and eternal goods.  (Ibid, Ch. 5, Para. 2) {[7] pg 69}

 

It is also necessary that such truth be proposed to men for belief so that they may have a truer knowledge of God.  For then only do we know God truly when we believe Him to be above everything that it is possible for man to think about Him: for, as we have shown, the divine substance surpasses the natural knowledge of which man is capable.  Hence, by the fact that some things about God are proposed to man that surpass his reason, there is strengthened in man the view that God is something above what he can think.  (Ibid, Ch. 5, Para. 3) {[7] pg 70}

 

For there are some who have such a presumptuous opinion of their own ability that they deem themselves able to measure the nature of everything:  I mean to say that, in their estimation, everything is true that seems to them so, and everything is false that does not.  So that the human mind, therefore, might be freed from this presumption and come to a humble inquiry after truth, it was necessary that some things should be proposed to man by God that would completely surpass his intellect.  (Ibid, Ch. 5, Para. 4) {[7] pg 70}

 

… it is clear that even the most imperfect knowledge about the most noble realities brings the greatest perfection to the soul.  Therefore, although the human reason cannot grasp fully the truths that are above it, yet, if it somehow holds these truths at least by faith, it acquires great perfection for itself.  (Ibid, Ch. 5, Para. 5)   {[7] pg 71}

 

In this faith there are truths preached that surpass every human intellect; the pleasures of the flesh are curbed; it is taught that the things of the world should be spurned.  Now, for the minds of mortal men to assent to these things is the greatest of miracles, just as it is a manifest work of divine inspiration that, spurning visible things, men should seek only what is invisible.  Now, that this has happened neither without preparation nor by chance, but as a result of the disposition of God, is clear from the fact that through many pronouncements of the ancient prophets God had foretold that He would do this.  The books of these prophets are held in veneration among us Christians, since they give witness to our faith. (Ibid, Ch. 6, Para. 1)  {[7] pg 72}

 

Now, although the truth of the Christian faith which we have discussed surpasses the capacity of the reason, nevertheless that truth that the human reason is naturally endowed to know cannot be opposed to the truth of the Christian faith.  For that with which the human reason is naturally endowed is clearly most true; so much so, that it is impossible for us to think of such truths as false.  Nor is it permissible to believe as false that which we hold by faith, since this is confirmed in a way that is so clearly divine.  Since, therefore, only the false is opposed to the true, as is clearly evident from an examination of their definitions, it is impossible that the truth of faith should be opposed to those principles that the human reason knows naturally. (Ibid, Ch. 7, Para. 1)   {[7] pg 74}

 

Again. In the presence of contrary arguments our intellect is chained, so that it cannot proceed to the knowledge of the truth.  If, therefore, contrary knowledges were implanted in us by God, our intellect would be hindered from knowing truth by this very fact.  Now, such an effect cannot come from God. (Ibid, Ch. 7, Para. 3)   {[7] pp 74-75}

 

No opinion or belief, therefore, is implanted in man by God which is contrary to man’s natural knowledge.  (Ibid, Ch. 7, Para. 4)   {[7] pg 75}

 

Whatever arguments are brought forward against the doctrines of the faith are conclusions incorrectly derived from the first and self-evident principles imbedded in nature.  Such conclusions do not have the force of demonstration; they are arguments that are either probable or sophistical.  And so, there exists the possibility to answer them.  (Ibid, Ch. 7, Para. 7)   {[7] pg 75}

 

Now, the human reason is related to the knowledge of the truth of faith (a truth which can be most evident only to those who see the Divine Substance) in such a way that it can gather certain likenesses of it, which are yet not sufficient so that the truth of faith may be comprehended as being understood demonstratively or through itself.  Yet it is useful for the human reason to exercise itself in such arguments, however weak they may be, provided only that there be present no presumption to comprehend or to demonstrate.  For to be able to see something of the loftiest realities, however thin and weak the sight may be, is, as our previous remarks indicate, a cause of the greatest joy.  (Ibid, Ch. 8, Para. 1)   {[7] pg 76}

 

Aquinas makes it reasonable to believe in the revealed truths

 

What Aquinas is underlining here is that God, Who is Omniscient Perfect Goodness, is incapable of error.  The God Who gave us revelation is the same God Who gave us reason, and, therefore, the two cannot contradict each other.  Thus, it is reasonable to believe in the revealed truths of the Faith that are not understandable. 

 

Theology is, chiefly, a reflection on the mysteries of faith.  By contrast, for Aquinas, philosophical arguments work because they appeal to principles that are ultimately in the public domain.  Per Aristotle, certain truths are inescapable; they are the starting points of reasoning, e.g., the principle of non-contradiction.  Thus, we are challenged, in witnessing for the conversion of nonbelievers, to represent articles of faith using principles that critics cannot disagree with.  Such principles cannot be dismissed out of hand by nonbelievers,  as would their theological counterparts.

 

With the continuation of the Middle Ages, we see a decline from the contentions of Aquinas regarding this robust sense of a range of reason with the rise of nominalism putting us directly on the road to modernity.

The study of Aquinas encouraged by the Church

In Aeterni Patris, On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, August 4, 1879, a return to the study of the Angelic Doctor was urged as a remedy for the social ills engulfing the culture of the time.  This revival was a continued success up to and through Vatican II, but not soon after, as the liberal periti of that council had done their work well. 

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." 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.     {[30] Para. 17}

 

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. {[30] Para. 18}

 

But, furthermore, Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have celebrated the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas by exceptional tributes of praise and the most ample testimonials. Clement VI in the bull "In Ordine;" Nicholas V in his brief to the friars of the Order of Preachers, 1451; Benedict XIII in the bull "Pretiosus," and others bear witness that the universal Church borrows luster from his admirable teaching; while St. Pius V declares in the bull "Mirabilis" that heresies, confounded and convicted by the same teaching, were dissipated, and the whole world daily freed from fatal errors; others, such as Clement XII in the bull "Verbo Dei," affirm that most fruitful blessings have spread abroad from his writings over the whole Church, and that he is worthy of the honor which is bestowed on the greatest Doctors of the Church, on Gregory and Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome; while others have not hesitated to propose St. Thomas for the exemplar and master of the universities and great centers of learning whom they may follow with unfaltering feet. On which point the words of Blessed Urban V to the University of Toulouse are worthy of recall: "It is our will, which We hereby enjoin upon you, that ye follow the teaching of Blessed Thomas as the true and Catholic doctrine and that ye labor with all your force to profit by the same." Innocent XII, followed the example of Urban in the case of the University of Louvain, in the letter in the form of a brief addressed to that university on February 6, 1694, and Benedict XIV in the letter in the form of a brief addressed on August 26, 1752, to the Dionysian College in Granada; while to these judgments of great Pontiffs on Thomas Aquinas comes the crowning testimony of Innocent VI: "His teaching above that of others, the canonical writings alone excepted, enjoys such a precision of language, an order of matters, a truth of conclusions, that those who hold to it are never found swerving from the path of truth, and he who dare assail it will always be suspected of error." {[30] Para. 21}

 

Therefore, venerable brethren, as often as We contemplate the good, the force, and the singular advantages to be derived from his philosophic discipline which Our Fathers so dearly loved. We think it hazardous that its special honor should not always and everywhere remain, especially when it is established that daily experience, and the judgment of the greatest men, and, to crown all, the voice of the Church, have favored the Scholastic philosophy. {[30] Para. 24}

 

With wise forethought, therefore, not a few of the advocates of philosophic studies, when turning their minds recently to the practical reform of philosophy, aimed and aim at restoring the renowned teaching of Thomas Aquinas and winning it back to its ancient beauty. {[30] Para. 25}

 

Domestic and civil society even, which, as all see, is exposed to great danger from this plague of perverse opinions, would certainly enjoy a far more peaceful and secure existence if a more wholesome doctrine were taught in the universities and high schools - one more in conformity with the teaching of the Church, such as is contained in the works of Thomas Aquinas. {[30] Para. 28}

 

For, the teachings of Thomas on the true meaning of liberty, which at this time is running into license, on the divine origin of all authority, on laws and their force, on the paternal and just rule of princes, on obedience to the higher powers, on mutual charity one toward another -- on all of these and kindred subjects -- have very great and invincible force to overturn those principles of the new order which are well known to be dangerous to the peaceful order of things and to public safety. {[30] Para. 29}

 

While, therefore, We hold that every word of wisdom, every useful thing by whomsoever discovered or planned, ought to be received with a willing and grateful mind, We exhort you, venerable brethren, in all earnestness to restore the golden wisdom of St. Thomas, and to spread it far and wide for the defense and beauty of the Catholic faith, for the good of society, and for the advantage of all the sciences. The wisdom of St. Thomas, We say; for if anything is taken up with too great subtlety by the Scholastic doctors, or too carelessly stated - if there be anything that ill agrees with the discoveries of a later age, or, in a word, improbable in whatever way - it does not enter Our mind to propose that for imitation to Our age. Let carefully selected teachers endeavor to implant the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas in the minds of students, and set forth clearly his solidity and excellence over others. Let the universities already founded or to be founded by you illustrate and defend this doctrine, and use it for the refutation of prevailing errors. But, lest the false for the true or the corrupt for the pure be drunk in, be ye watchful that the doctrine of Thomas be drawn from his own fountains, or at least from those rivulets which, derived from the very fount, have thus far flowed, according to the established agreement of learned men, pure and clear; be careful to guard the minds of youth from those which are said to flow thence, but in reality are gathered from strange and unwholesome streams.  {[30] Para. 31}

 

In Fides et Ratio, On Faith and Reason, Encyclical of Pope John Paul II, September 14, 1998, we are called, in the spirit of Leo XIII, to a reawakening, a rediscovery of the robust sense of the range of reason as understood by Aquinas, since philosophy has once again come upon similar bad times.

 

In an age when Christian thinkers were rediscovering the treasures of ancient philosophy, and more particularly of Aristotle, Thomas had the great merit of giving pride of place to the harmony which exists between faith and reason. Both the light of reason and the light of faith come from God, he argued; hence there can be no contradiction between them.    

 

More radically, Thomas recognized that nature, philosophy's proper concern, could contribute to the understanding of divine Revelation. Faith therefore has no fear of reason, but seeks it out and has trust in it. Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to fulfillment, so faith builds upon and perfects reason. Illumined by faith, reason is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God. Although he made much of the supernatural character of faith, the Angelic Doctor did not overlook the importance of its reasonableness; indeed he was able to plumb the depths and explain the meaning of this reasonableness. Faith is in a sense an “exercise of thought”; and human reason is neither annulled nor debased in assenting to the contents of faith, which are in any case attained by way of free and informed choice.

 

This is why the Church has been justified in consistently proposing Saint Thomas as a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology.  {[25] Para. 43}

 

From the first pages of his Summa Theologiae, Aquinas was keen to show the primacy of the wisdom which is the gift of the Holy Spirit and which opens the way to a knowledge of divine realities. His theology allows us to understand what is distinctive of wisdom in its close link with faith and knowledge of the divine. This wisdom comes to know by way of connaturality; it presupposes faith and eventually formulates its right judgment on the basis of the truth of faith itself: “The wisdom named among the gifts of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the wisdom found among the intellectual virtues. This second wisdom is acquired through study, but the first 'comes from on high', as Saint James puts it. This also distinguishes it from faith, since faith accepts divine truth as it is. But the gift of wisdom enables judgment according to divine truth.”   {[25] Para. 44}

 

The past is not to be repudiated, which is the prevalent condition in most of the academy today regarding the study of philosophy.  It is a well-known axiom that the lessons of history that are not learned condemn man to repeating history’s mistakes.  A very important part of that history, philosophically and theologically, is the relationship between reason and faith, as articulated by Aquinas. It is not only conducive but also mandatory for the physical, psychological, and spiritual health of civilization, i.e., for civilization’s very survival, to remember it. 

 

4.1.7 The end of Machiavellianism is conditioned on an authentic witness to the Gospel

 

Machiavelli is considered to be the founder of modern political philosophy.  In The Prince Machiavelli seeks to overturn the principles of ancient and medieval political philosophy via an accusation of foolish idealism.  His argument is that the backward ancients and medievalists studied man as he ought to be, and imagined regimes, as opposed to seeing man as he really was, and considering actual regimes.  This is one of the great Machiavellian lies.  His creed was that the man who is not willing to practice evil will be ruined by those who are willing.  Thus, man as governor must know how to do evil as the situation demands, and practice hypocrisy, appearing to be a man of honor, justice and faith to mollify the masses.

 

I have to warn you to be careful about being compassionate. … So a ruler ought not to mind the disgrace of being called cruel, if he keeps his subjects peaceful and law-abiding, for it is more compassionate to impose harsh punishments on a few than, out of excessive compassion, to allow disorder to spread, which leads to murders or looting. … he who is new to power cannot escape a reputation for cruelty, for he is surrounded by dangers.  … It is much safer to be feared than loved.  … Whenever you have to kill someone, make sure you have a suitable excuse and an obvious reason; but, above all else, keep you hands off other people’s property; for men are quicker to forget the death of their father than the loss of their inheritance.  {[35] pp 534-535}

Recall that before Machiavelli, world leaders had no qualms whatsoever about doing anything to stay in power, to include every kind of evil imaginable in order to satisfy their greed and ambition.  But they had pangs of conscience to the extent that they had a conscience, which shamed them into a certain amount of self-restraint from preventing the crimes that they committed as a result of their evil doings from becoming the rule.  In such a manner a distinction between good and evil was rendered for the governed to make their lives livable.

After Machiavelli, all bets are off in regard to distinguishing between good and evil because the aforementioned pangs of conscience in regard to evil doings are now absent.  All of a sudden world leaders have a green light to do anything that they want without fear of feeling guilty about it because Machiavelli told them that this was the new modus operandi for the modern state.  What was heretofore an evil in relation to accidental and contingent things became a full-fledged right in relation to necessary things.  Thus, a total disregard for good and evil is now the rule for human politics with no thought of human morality.  Immorality became the very law of politics under Machiavelli’s tutelage. 

Machiavelli’s world has only one axiom, one law, one primal motivation, one reason for living - the end justifies the means.  The end, of course, relates only to man’s quest for happiness in the “here-and-now” as opposed to the “here-after” which, along with the bulk of Aristotelian thought pertaining to ethics, virtues, and perfect and imperfect happiness must, of necessity, be discarded in favor of the politics of expediency.

Radical pessimism regarding human nature is the basis of Machiavelli’s thought.  He sees no redeeming qualities for man as a governor or governed.  The entire premise of his radical philosophy is that man is inherently bad and, as such, must be expected to act badly, especially in politics.  He reduces man to being nothing more than an animal with his politics becoming an animal farm.  His Prince gives consent to the evil that he sees everywhere, in particular in his own mirror.  This presents no problems for Machiavelli since vice is virtue in the covetous pursuit of power at all costs. 

Machiavelli’s big mistake was to see politics in a purely artistic or technical sense, totally devoid of any human concepts.  His politics was a mechanistic  politics of manipulation for utilitarian purposes.  He ushered in the advent of spin-doctoring in the extreme for political ends, regardless of how incredible the lies pawned off as truth become in the process. 

An example of Machiavelli’s disciples

Both Hitler and Stalin claimed to learn from Machiavelli, and were practitioners of his art.  This is the artistic or technical view of politics whereby mastery is simply developing an ability to manipulate men and materials to achieve one’s goals.  Rationality is nothing but a technical rationality that leads to a materialistic view of the world where the acquisition of goods is the highest goal of the state, an entity to be worshipped completely replacing God – the resulting atheism begging the following question.  What has atheism done for us lately? We only have look at recent history for an answer.   We saw the deaths of six million Jews and twenty million Ukrainians in the concentration camps and gulags of Hitler and Stalin respectively.  Today we see the killing of forty million innocents in what should be their safest place of refuge, their mothers’ wombs, sanctioned by the state because America ignored the truth of the natural law and its Author in the Roe v. Wade decision.  To those who would argue that the holocaust ongoing in America is not indicative of atheism, a simple question is in order.  Is killing babies indicative of a belief in God?  You cannot say you that believe in God, while currently condoning the murdering of innocents, the latter de facto makes you an atheist.  To argue otherwise is to be in denial of the fundamental first principle of philosophy, something cannot “be” and “not be” at the same time in the same respect. 

Contrast this warped view of politics presented by Machiavelli with the moral view where politics is a matter of virtue or character as espoused by Aristotle in his Politics. It requires prudence defined in the ancient sense – a thoughtful regard for what is possible in the light of principle as conditioned by the good character of the statesman. 

We must not be deceived by Machiavellian sophistry.  When the disciples of darkness tell us that justice and respect for moral values spell weakness and doom, and that strength is found only when raised to the supreme standard of political existence, our reply should be that “This is a lie!”  History has proven that evil cannot exceed in the long run with the destruction of Nazi Germany and the breakup of the former Soviet Union being prime recent examples.  Strength is found where virtue is sought; moreover it reigns supreme, as the power of nations struggling for freedom can be much greater than that of nations struggling for enslavement.  The Second World War was proof of that.  We must never lose sight of the fact that the effort needed to overcome the Machiavellian powers is rooted in the supreme effort of the body politic to adhere to moral values and standards. Strength is illusionary if it, and not justice, becomes the highest political standard. 

Good men who do nothing can no longer be considered good

The silence of good men who do nothing will be the death knell of civilization as we once knew it.  If Machiavellianism is to be crushed, it will only be because of what remains of Christian civilization will have been able to oppose it on all fronts.  Its modern tentacles have reached into the innermost sanctums of politically correct totalitarian dictatorships masquerading as democratic governments whose governors have no problem blatantly promoting the culture-of-death in all its evil manifestations from the killing of infants in the womb, to the promotion and celebration of unnatural lifestyles in a redefinition of the traditional family, to artificially generating life in a utilitarian fashion for purposes of death for the “betterment” of mankind,  to finally telling grandma and grandpa that they have a duty to die.  Make no mistake about it, Machiavelli is alive and well in the world at the turn of the new millennium.  His prime sponsor, the father-of-lies, has grand plans yet for one of his more famous apprentices.  Whether those plans are realized or dashed is a function of the Gospel witness of Christian civilization assuming, of course, that the Gospel witness to be given will be that of the Gospel, not some reinvention of it, such as we are currently observing on the part of many who would reinvent the Church and her teachings to make them comfortable with their vices - clergy and laity alike.  The modern Christian finds himself in the catacombs fighting a two-front spiritual war against the secularists who would erase God completely from the world scene, and the heretics and apostates who would betray him at the drop of a hat just as Judas did to Christ.  More often than not in today’s raging culture war for souls, he is left to hang out and dry by those whose sole charge it is to be his “good shepherd.”  His consolation is that he, as a member of the Church Militant, is in good company with the Church Triumphant, and the Church Suffering – the Mystical Body of Christ.  That knowledge in his Faith gives him the hope and strength to continue to fight the good fight for Christ and His Church.

4.1.8 The folly of modern attempts to base the life of civilization on mere reason totally separated from the Gospel

Maritain in Man and the State reminds us of the folly of modern attempts to base the life of civilization on the foundation of mere reason that is completely separated from religion and the Gospel. 

 

This attempt fostered immense hopes in the last two centuries, - and rapidly failed.  Pure reason showed itself more incapable than faith of ensuring the spiritual unity of mankind, and the dream of a “scientific” creed, uniting men in peace and in common convictions about the aims and basic principles of human life and society, vanished in our contemporary catastrophes.  {[33] pp 108-109}

 

Two world wars during the last century, innumerable global conflicts to include the most horrific terrorist activities, and an ongoing culture war for our very souls at the dawn of the new millennium, where there is no such thing as right and wrong due to a politically correct situational ethics societal mindset leading to moral relativism, de facto making amorality the state religion, stand in support of Maritain. 

 

Interestingly enough, those decrying theocracies have no problem whatsoever accepting a “state religion of amorality,” which is promoted by demagogues who will not stand for any opposition. 

 

The importance of virtue in regard to rule

 

Aquinas echoes Aristotle pointing to law as one factor in establishing the good character and virtue of the citizens, and describing virtue as one of the claims to rule and one of the purposes of political society, when he says in his treatise on law that a major effect of the law is “to make men good.” 

 

Consequently, it is evident that the proper effect of law is to lead its subjects to their proper virtue, and since virtue is that which makes its subjects good, it follows that the proper effect of law is to make those to whom it is given good, either simply or in some particular respect.  For if the intention of the lawgiver is fixed on true good, which is the common good regulated according to divine justice, it follows that the effect of the law is to make men good simply. 

 

And since law is given for purpose of directing human acts, as far as human acts conduce to virtue, so far does law make men good.  Wherefore the Philosopher says in the second book of the Politics that lawgivers make men good by habituating them to good works.  (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Part I-II, Q. 92, Art. 1) {[4] pg 1001}

 

For Aquinas laws that make men good can be called good or just laws; conversely, laws that do the opposite, make men bad, are bad or unjust laws.

 

4.1.9 Unlimited freedom as license must give way to societal common good; else, anarchy existsan axiom for civilization

 

Aquinas tells us that human law cannot suppress every vice.

 

Wherefore laws imposed on men should also be in keeping with their condition, for, as Isidore says (Etym. v. 21), law should be possible both according to nature, and according to the customs of the country.

 

Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue.  Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained: thus human law prohibits murder, theft and such-like. (Summa Theologica, Vol. II, Part I-II, Q. 96, Art. 2) {[4] pg 1018} 

 

Our hope lies in an educated populace realizing the necessity of adherence to the natural law for their physical survival, let alone any spiritual connotations, which will hopefully come later.  Implicit in this realization is the influence of the divine law on mankind since the natural law is the rational creatures participation in the eternal law, that part of the divine law readily knowable to him.  In short, the Decalogue was not a function of random evolution but a gift from an unconditionally loving God to man for his total well-being, in this life and the next.  As such, it should be of primary concern to the body politic in its formulation of laws, which serve as teachers – something recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States, at least superficially, considering the prominence of the Ten Commandments in its chambers, if not in its laws.

 

4.1.10 The Necessity of the Church’s influence in temporal affairs for the metaphysical perfection of man for eternity’s sake

 

What is the role of the Church in temporal affairs?  Does it have a role?  If it does, is there a mean between the extremes of a religious induced civil intolerance where unbelievers are second class citizens, and the complete isolation of the Church from the activities of society by those seeking to marginalize it into oblivion as nothing more than a narcotic for the masses – the former taking the form of maintaining clerical privilege at all costs, keeping up the façade of the Christian state, the latter tending to a religious indifferentism or syncretism as a function of the historicist claim that the principles of prior ages are irrelevant and religion has no place at all in the modern world?

 

These questions will be answered by looking at the historical relationship of the Church with the state in medieval as contrasted with modern times.

 

Historically, the ancients recognized the importance of religion in the polis as can be seen in Aristotle’s Politics, Book VII, where reference is made to the principal common tables of the magistrates associated with the buildings devoted to public worship on sites which should be on an eminence so that men can “look up and see goodness enthroned,” and priests serving in a governing capacity.

 

The principal common tables of the magistrates may be associated with the buildings devoted to public worship, on some convenient and common site – except for such temples as are required by law, or by a rule of the Delphic oracle, to be kept distinct and separate.  This site should be on an eminence, conspicuous enough for men to look up and see goodness enthroned, and strong enough to command the adjacent quarters of the city.

 

The directors of the state include priests as well as magistrates. [We have already settled where the magistrates should have their common tables]; and it is fitting that those of the priests should be associated, in the same way as theirs, with the temple buildings.  {[11] pp 309-310}

 

Here we see the ruling authority of the state freely associated with a religious activity of well repute to command respect.  There are also practical considerations.

 

To be under the eyes of the magistrates, a true feeling of modesty and the fear of shame which should animate free men would be the rule of the day. Gloss - Aristotle had in mind here the tendency to homosexual passion, which might be encouraged by unregulated games and recreations. {[11] pg 310}

 

Continuing, Aristotle says,

 

The country should be studded with temples, some of them dedicated to the gods and others to heroes. {[11] pg 311}

 

Striving for virtue important to attain the common good

 

This cooperation between the ancient state (polis) and religion is consistent with Aristotle’s perceived need of setting the example of striving for virtue on the part of all members of the polis in order to attain the common good.  What better way to do this than to provide the best examples possible from ancient mythology with the encouragement of the state to inculcate virtue in the masses comprising all aspects of society from the ruling elite to the common man in the recognition that virtue is the life of the polis, while vice is its death.  The question of when this cooperation becomes coercion is not important to Aristotle in the Politics.  For that we have to go to his most famous interpreter, Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, pertaining to questions which address Church/state relations.

 

Coercion to the faith is permissible with some qualifications

 

Aquinas asks,  “Ought unbelievers to be compelled to the Faith?”  He answers that unbelievers who have never received the Faith ought not to be compelled to the Faith because belief depends on free will, which is one of the supreme gifts from God at creation.  He makes the important distinction that the faithful have an important part to play in not allowing unbelievers to hinder the Faith by their blasphemies, evil persuasions, or open persecutions.  Aquinas is much more severe with those unbelievers who have accepted the Faith, professed it, but now, as heretics and apostates, attempt to destroy it.  Excommunication was not too severe a penalty for them.  In fact, to underscore the importance of spiritual death over physical death, Aquinas goes so far to say that heretics deserve not only excommunication but to be severed from the world by death.  Certainly, these are grave words but Aquinas understands that the threat of physical death may be the only thing that saves a soul from the most horrible death of all, eternal spiritual death.  Some food for thought for those who would blanket-like condemn capital punishment under all circumstances, the finality of such a penalty being a matter of last resort only,  per the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  We are reminded of the example of the good thief at Calvary, whose capital punishment directly led to his eternal salvation.

 

It is written (Luke xiv. 23): Go out into the highways and hedges; and compel them to come in. Now men enter into the house of God, i.e., into Holy Church, by faith.  Therefore some ought to be compelled to the faith.

 

Among unbelievers there are some who have never received the faith, such as the heathens and the Jews: and these are by no means to be compelled to the faith, in order that they may believe, because to believe depends on the will:  nevertheless they should be compelled by the faithful, if it be possible to do so, so that they do not hinder the faith, by their blasphemies, or by their evil persuasions, or even by their open persecutions.  It is for this reason that Christ’s faithful often wage war with unbelievers, not indeed for the purpose of forcing them to believe, because even if they were to conquer them, and take them prisoner, they should still leave them free to believe, if they will, but in order to prevent them from hindering the faith of Christ.  

 

On the other hand, there are unbelievers who at some time have accepted the faith, and professed it, such as heretics and all apostates: such should be submitted even to bodily compulsion, that they may fulfill what they have promised, and hold what they, at one time, received.

 

Wherefore heretics should be compelled to keep the faith.  Thus Augustine says to the Count Boniface (Ep. clxxxv): What do these people mean by crying out continually: “We may believe or not believe just as we choose.  Whom did Christ compel?” They should remember that Christ at first compelled Paul and afterwards taught Him. (Summa Theologica, Vol. III, Part II-II, Q. 10, Art. 8)  {[5] pg 1213}

 

Aquinas asks, “May unbelievers have authority or dominion over the faithful?”  He answers in the negative since it would provoke scandal and endanger the Faith since unbelievers hold the Faith in contempt.  However, he makes an important qualification, observing that dominion and authority are institutions of human law, while the distinction between the faithful and unbelievers arises from the divine law, which is a law of grace.  Aquinas is careful to point out that the divine law, as such, does not do away with human law, which is the law of natural reason.  Thus, the consideration between the faithful and unbelievers in itself does not do away with the dominion and authority of unbelievers over the faithful, implying that the authority in question is just, not unjust, which is key.   Aquinas, in effect, is saying that we are required to obey Caesar’s laws if they are just, rendering to him what is owed.  We are not required to obey unjust laws since we are under a higher command to render to God what is God’s. 

 

First, we may speak of dominion or authority of unbelievers over the faithful as a thing to be established for the first time.  This ought by no means to be allowed, since it would provoke scandal and endanger the faith, for subjects are easily influenced by their superiors to comply with their commands, unless the subjects are of great virtue: moreover unbelievers hold the faith in contempt, if they see the faithful fall away.  Hence the Apostle forbade the faithful to go to law before an unbelieving judge.  And so the Church altogether forbids unbelievers to acquire dominion over believers, or to have authority over them in any capacity whatever.

 

Secondly, we may speak of dominion or authority, as already in force: and here we must observe that dominion and authority are institutions of human law, while the distinction between faithful and unbelievers arises from the Divine law.  Now the Divine law which is the law of grace, does not do away with human law which is the law of natural reason.  Wherefore the distinction between faithful and unbelievers, considered in itself, does not do away with dominion and authority of unbelievers over the faithful.

 

Nevertheless this right of dominion or authority can be justly done away with by the sentence or ordination of the Church who has the authority of God: since unbelievers in virtue of the unbelief deserve to forfeit their power over the faithful who are converted into children of God. (Summa Theologica, Vol. III, Part II-II, Q. 10, Art. 10)  {[5] pg 1215}

 

Aquinas asks, “Ought the rites of unbelievers to be tolerated?”  He answers that God, being all-powerful and supremely good, permits certain evils so that good may come of them.  What is important to note here is that Aquinas is against the coercion of unbelievers to the Faith in conformity with the will of God at creation whereby God wants us, in our earthly journey to the supernatural, to freely choose Him, or the devil.  He reminds us that the Church historically has even tolerated the rites of pagans when they were numerous to avoid an evil, e.g., a scandal or disturbance that could hinder those who might otherwise have converted to the Faith.  It is to be emphasized that nowhere is Aquinas even hinting at an equality of belief with unbelief via a false sense of religious freedom where the true Faith is syncretistically indifferently reduced to being just another option for the masses, which the modernists in the Church have as their creed.

 

Human government is derived from the Divine government, and should imitate it.  Now although God is all-powerful and supremely good, nevertheless He allows certain evils to take place in the universe, which He might prevent, lest, without them, greater goods might be forfeited, or greater evils ensue. Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred.

 

On the other hand, the rites of other believers, which are neither truthful nor profitable are by no means to be tolerated, except perchance in order to avoid an evil, e.g., the scandal or disturbance that might ensue, or some hindrance to the salvation of those who if they were unmolested might gradually be converted to the faith.  For this reason the Church, at times, has tolerated the rites even of heretics and pagans, when unbelievers were very numerous. (Summa Theologica, Vol. III, Part II-II, Q. 10, Art. 11)  {[5] pg 1216}

 

Aquinas in asking, “Whether judgment is rendered perverse by being usurped?” makes it clear that the secular power is subject to the spiritual as the body is subject to the soul, i.e., the soul is the form of the body, as without the soul, the body dies.  Accordingly, judgment is not usurped if a spiritual prelate interposes himself concerning temporal matters insofar as the secular power is subject to them, being careful of the distinction between what is to be rendered to Caesar and what is to be rendered to God.  This superiority of the spiritual over the temporal is a hierarchical truth that is immutable.

 

The secular power is subject to the spiritual, even as the body is subject to the soul.  Consequently the judgment is not usurped if the spiritual authority interferes in those temporal matters that are subject to the spiritual authority or which have been committed to the spiritual by the temporal authority.  (Summa Theologica, Vol. III, Part II-II, Q. 60, Art. 6)                {[5] pg 1445}

 

Finally, Aquinas in the Commentary on the Sentences II gives his definitive position on the relationship between the Church and the state.

 

We should say that the spiritual and the secular power alike derive from divine power, and that, as a result, secular power is subject to spiritual power insofar as God so disposes, i.e., in those things pertaining to the salvation of souls.  In such matters, one should obey the spiritual rather than the secular power.  But in those things which pertain to civil welfare, one should obey the secular rather than the spiritual power: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Mt. 22:21).  Unless, per chance, the secular power is joined to the spiritual power, as in the case of the Pope, who holds the supremacy of both powers from the disposition of Him Who is both priest and king – priest forever according to the order of Melchisadech, King of kings and Lord of lords, Whose power is not taken away, and Whose kingdom is eternally indissoluble.  Amen.  (Commentary on the Sentences II, dist. 44, expositio textus ad 4)

 

The superiority of the spiritual is made clear in the very distinction that God is greater than Caesar.   The Christian knows that there exists a supernatural order, and that the absolute ultimate end of the human person is God causing His own personal life and eternal bliss to be participated in by man, which is what the natural law is.  If society attempts to ignore this subordination to the supernatural order, proclaiming itself the supreme good, it perverts its own nature and that of the political common good.  We have only to look at the continuing example of vice being promoted as virtue in our daily news media, with the resulting consequences, for proof.  More is being rendered to Caesar than what is owed him.

 

What happens when there are no supernatural concerns

 

For example, after reading, in the local paper, the account of a HIV-positive minister who buried hundreds as a result of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, I could not help but observe that his only regret seemed to be the mistake of contracting AIDS due to unprotected sex, as opposed to the mistake, which is the behavior leading to a high probability of contracting AIDS in total violation of the natural law of God.  The spiritual aspect was totally missing in his lamentation. Actions have consequences is an axiom never truer than when those actions pertain to aberrant unnatural behavior.  Until those who write such articles get that straight, their sorrow at the AIDS epidemic rings hollow. That includes all AIDS projects and all participants in World AIDS days.   There are priests, in particular, the late Cardinal O’Connor of New York, and those of the COURAGE ministries, who feel true compassion for those who are contracting AIDS by not only ministering to them physically, but more importantly spiritually in letting them know what the mistake really is, and why they are suffering the consequences for making it, with a genuine resolve for repentance and amending their way of life, conditions integral to any good act of contrition. These are the real ministers of God doing His work, not those such as the pitiful individual referred to in the aforementioned article who, above all, deserves our prayers so that his eyes might be opened to Perfect Truth, which is a Someone, not a something. 

 

Physical death pales in comparison to its eternal counterpart, spiritual death of the soul. True healing and compassion for AIDS victims recognizes that fact, and makes every attempt to get the victims to do so.  And it is only by the recognition of that fact, which reinforces the necessity for obedience to the natural law, that AIDS epidemics and any other epidemics of this type have any hope of being mitigated.  Real ministers of God point out to AIDS victims that faith enables reason, and reason reinforces faith, which cannot contradict each other since God is Perfect Truth.  They let AIDS victims know that it is not rational to continue living unnatural lifestyles for the sake of their well-being both physically and especially spiritually.  They genuinely care for AIDS victims by not confusing what the mistake is, always has been, and always will be until the end of time.

 

Why the Church is needed as a moral beacon for the world

 

We are primarily talking about a spiritual common good which lends itself to the political common good in that it is an absolute requirement for achieving the political because virtuous men do good things. Freedom of association also lends itself to claims for religious freedom as the Church is one of the primary intermediate groups to which the human person is a member and derives much benefit, which in turn, benefits society.  Finally, for the believer, the Church is understood to be a superior society by virtue of its supernatural order or character in that it has received a mandate to preach the Gospel from Jesus Christ, in particular, to convert the world to the one true Faith for eternity’s sake.

 

The Church benefits society by providing good moral influence.  It is unfortunate that this influence is dismissed out of hand by not only those who would benefit the most from receiving it, but also by those giving it, who transformed it into something unrecognizable as Catholic – an eventuality that Maritain did not foresee in what is proving to be his overly optimistic appraisal of modernity in Man in the State, in particular, the necessary Catholic contribution. Thus, immoral instead of moral influence is given to the state, which the moral relativists in power are only to ready to accept, no questions asked, since it confirms them in their vices.  Witness a litany of so-called Catholic politicians being comfortable with promoting the barbaric death of innocents in the womb for specious reasons of reproductive rights thanks to the relegation of life and death issues of the natural law to the level of peace and social justice issues due to bishops, who have long since lost the Faith, per the late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., using buzz phrases like “common ground” and “seamless garments” to equate baby killing with poverty.  One might do well to recall the words of Jesus from Sacred Scripture when He made reference to the poor always being here (on earth), while He would not in the form of man, but of course certainly as His Real Presence,  Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Blessed Sacrament.  This is not, in any way, to diminish the concerns of the poor but rather to put those concerns in the proper spiritual order dictating their material order.  Without people, there are no peace and social justice issues. 

 

Man needs the spiritual to achieve perfection leading to good natural goals that ultimately will lead to a final good supernatural end.  An analogy is the physical benefits of obeying the natural law leading to the more desired spiritual benefits.  It is no accident that civilizations survive when the truth of reason reinforcing faith is recognized. 

 

 

 

 

A lot to be learned from the medievals

 

The medieval era is characterized not only by a distinction between the two powers, temporal and spiritual, with the temporal subordinate to the spiritual, but also a unification of the two for the well-being of a body politic tending toward a common good. Formerly, it was considered a necessary requirement for the Church to be the primary advisor to the state in order to preserve the moral order in accord with clear Catholic teaching.   It still is.  Catholic teaching has not changed along these lines.   Today, however, due to the confusion caused by dissenting liberal periti, many clergy and laity no longer zealously proclaim this traditional Catholic truth, as was so readily done by the pre-Conciliar popes, in favor of a false sense of religious liberty whereby the Church is reduced to a “lowest common denominator” syncretistic indifferent shadow of its former self, one of many “equal” voices to be discarded at the whim of the modernists.  Formerly, a rupture in belief was seen as a rupture in the body politic itself.  The heretic became a threat not only to the religious order, which has always been the concern of the Church, but also to the political order.  That remains the case today with the eclipse of reason as evidenced by Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Lawrence v. Texas with “Catholics” figuring prominently in all of these pro-eternal-death decisions.  Read or watch any news report for proof. 

 

It is the Church’s role to ensure that consciences are informed with the truths of the divine law in all its forms to include, in particular, the natural law participation in the eternal law.  It has been held by some that the superiority of the spiritual order requires no such official recognition by the temporal order; else, it would cease to be superior, and we would be reinventing God to suit our particular whims.  However, current events prove that such thinking is in error.  It is not reinventing God to observe the necessity for witnessing to His eternal truths to a world that has summarily decided to excise Him from all aspects of society to particularly include the body politic.

 

If the state is the sole arbiter and dispenser of rights, it can take them away with catastrophic consequences.  The state has no power to give rights to the Church.  The state’s power comes from God Almighty for Whom His Church gives uncompromising witness for the good of the state with the cause of authentic freedom (doing what we ought), as opposed to license (doing what we want), and the cause of the Church, being one in the defense of man naturally, and especially supernaturally – the latter being man’s only reason for creation. 

The Church holds that it is the duty of its Teaching Magisterium to respond strongly and unambiguously when controversial philosophical opinions threaten right understanding of what has been revealed, and when false and partial theories, which sow the seed of serious error, confuse the faith, thereby rendering it moot as the moral advisor to the world. 

 

4.1.11 The warnings in Saint Augustine’s City of God

By common consent Saint Augustine is one of the giants of the Latin Church.  His life is an inspiration to all those in danger of succumbing to the grave sin of despair because his example is one of going from despair, the work of the devil, to ecstasy, the work of the God.  Nowhere is this transformation better manifested than in his monumental work, the City of God, wherein he contrasts the struggle for our souls being waged by the forces of Perfect Good, God Almighty, against the forces of consummate evil, in particular, the “evil one.”

 

Greek philosophy as it spread out influenced the early generations of Christians.  In fact, Plato was the dominant philosophical figure for much of the Middle Ages. Augustine was a Christian Platonist.  He was enamored with Plato to the extent that he recognized that Plato arrived at some Christian truths unaided by grace or revelation.  Aquinas had this to say about Augustine as a Platonist.

 

Whenever Augustine, who was imbued with the doctrines of the Platonists, found in their teaching anything consistent with faith, he adopted it; and those things which he found contrary to faith, he amended. Now Plato held, as we have said above (Art. 4), that the forms subsist of themselves apart from matter; and these he called ideas, by participation of which he said that our intellect knows all things: so that just as corporeal matter by participating the idea of a stone becomes a stone, so our intellect, by participating the same idea, has knowledge of a stone.  But since it seems contrary to faith that forms of things should subsist of themselves, outside the things themselves and apart from matter, as the Platonists held, asserting that per se life or per se wisdom are creative substances, as Dionysius relates (Div. Nom, xi); therefore Augustine (QQ. 83, loc. Cit.), for the ideas defended by Plato, substituted the types of all creatures existing in the Divine mind, according to which types all things are made in themselves, and are known to the human soul.   (Summa Theologica, Vol. I, Part I, Q. 84, Art. 5)  {[3] pg 427}

 

In the City of God Augustine confronts Roman claims that the difficulties, which the empire is experiencing, are traceable to the abandonment of pagan religions, i.e., the problem is a fledgling but flourishing Christianity.  He finds this pagan view to be wanting and completely refutes the contention that Christianity, not paganism, is the source of the empire’s misfortunes.  In Book VIII he gives a history of philosophy showing his Platonic roots.  His view was that the Ideas are the creative patterns according to which God produces creatures.  An analogy is the shipbuilder who finally realizes in matter, the materials of his shipbuilding, the form that he originally envisioned, the design of his ship. Augustine held that the concept of Ideas is absolutely essential, and that no believer can reject them, which causes astonishment.  Again, however, the Ideas that we are talking about are not the classic Ideas of Plato but rather Augustine’s understanding of the Ideas in accord with the aforementioned quote of Aquinas.  What Augustine is saying is that if you reject the Ideas, you are, in effect, saying that when God created the world, He did not know what He was doing.    We know that this is not the case per the introduction to the Gospel of John.  So the Ideas, for Augustine, become patterns for creation with their locus being the Word, the Logos, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Who was with God, and Who was God from the beginning.  Thus, the intelligibility of creation emanating from God via the Logos defines Augustine’s understanding of the Ideas, which for him are divine Ideas unlike what Plato took them to be.  Augustine alters the Platonic Ideas in this sense and, as such, they play a tremendous role in medieval theology. 

 

 

Augustine knew the difficulties with Platonism

 

Augustine’s Platonism defined the intellectual life of the Christian West for centuries.  However, it would be a mistake to infer that Augustine or other Christians were uncritical followers of Plato, e.g., the suggestion that the soul had pre-existed in the body had to be rejected by Christians, i.e., Plato’s contention that the soul had an antecedent existence is contrary to Christianity where the soul is the form of the body, integral to it, as the body is to the soul by allowing for sensory particulars to be later abstracted by universals via a required sensory interaction that is critical to intelligibility.  This criticism, which will be subsequently discussed, is very evident in the City of God.  It is the Christian view that soul and body were destined for each other eternally, i.e., married, not divorced where the soul seeks refuge from the prison of the body in a Platonic sense.  The former is reinforced by the best example possible, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, without which, there would be no Christianity.

 

What philosophy drove Augustine’s must drive Catholic philosophy today

 

Augustine’s philosophy was Christocentric in that he established that words alone could not generate knowledge, albeit they are the instruments of the teacher.  The learner does not  want to know what the teacher knows, but rather he wants to know it himself.  What is the cause of the activity of learning if not the teacher, the human teacher that is?  Augustine answers in the words of the Gospel of Matthew, “You have but one teacher, Christ.”  This verse becomes his motto.  Thus, for Augustine, sensible things cannot be the adequate causes of the Ideas, which are not sensible as words too are sensible things.  There must be a commensurate cause of thinking, of learning, and that cause is Christ alone, the Teacher teaching within the soul.  Augustine here is not dismissing the necessity for sensory interaction, but rather explicitly defining the Ultimate Cause for man’s intellective ability.  Augustine did not mean that Christ literally conveys knowledge to the soul, which would border closely on Plato’s classic formulation of the Ideas that he rejected, but rather that there is, in the human soul, a spark of divinity given that we are made in the image and likeness of God, which makes our intellectual knowledge possible.  The cognitive capacity that we have naturally is what is in us that is most divine.  We have the capacity to learn because we are most like God in this.  What this says is that sensible singulars are not sufficient to explain intellection, which is not a sensible or material process in itself.  Plato’s transcendent Ideas supplied the adequate object, and were the sole cause of human intellectual knowledge for him, residing exclusively in a pre-existent soul longing for freedom from the body.   Augustine, however, realized that these Ideas were intrinsic to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Who always existed and became Christ Incarnate, possessing both divine and human natures with the emphasis on the latter to reinforce the importance with which God held the body.  Augustine’s use of participation pertaining to the Ideas is his understanding of them as a light in the soul, which is a participation in the light that is the Word, caused by the Word.  This is a light that illumines not just the soul but also the body because the soul is the form of the body, without which the body ceases to exist – a soul destined to return to the body for eternity because that is God’s Divine plan.  That said, Augustine’s favorite way of arriving at God did not consist of looking at things around us, but retiring within the soul in a contemplative fashion.

Where do we want to end up; which city?

 

We return now to what was Augustine’s intent with the City of God with the unifying theme that there are only two cities possible for populating, the city of man and the city of God.  It is our choice as to which city wherein we will dwell, an “either-or” choice to be sure, since it will define our eternity.  Augustine tells us that the first ten books are the refutation of the attacks against the Christian religion.  They are followed by twelve books in which the focus is on the positive account of Christianity.  It is there that the origin of the two cities is discussed along with their respective histories and, ultimately, their final end.

 

The origin of the city of man is self-love in contempt of God, as opposed to the city of God whose origin is the love of God in contempt of oneself.  The former seeks the glory of man; the latter seeks the glory of God.  Living in one city or the other, given the clear aforementioned choice, is not etched in stone in this life.  Augustine’s Confessions are testimony to this fact as he changed his city of abode when he saw the Light of Christ.  It is the final accounting that will be made in an eschatological sense, the final judgment, which is important.  However, it must be recognized that our final end depends on our final place of abode in this life, which has only two cities.  And since we cannot be sure of the place, circumstances, or time of our final end, when death comes like a thief in the night, and we are facing our Maker, it would behoove us to make a prudent choice as to which city we want to be living in, given the eternal consequences staring at us. In short, we must practice living naturally in the here-and-now for our supernatural home in the here-after.  If our practice is characterized by self-love and contempt for God in this life, we should not be surprised when we discover that our landlord for eternity is the devil whose contempt for God knows no bounds.  Many souls who awoke to what for them was a normal natural day on September 11, 2001, before that day ended, had to give an account to their Creator as to which of Augustine’s cities they chose to live in.

 

It was Augustine’s intent not only to show the woeful inadequacies of the pagan religion in the City of God but also to emphasize the perfection of Christianity.  The City of God became, perhaps, his most influential work. 

 

As mentioned earlier, in Book VIII of the City of God, Augustine gives a history of ancient philosophy with his Platonic roots evident.  However, Augustine was not so enamored with Plato that he considered the philosopher above criticism.  Witness the following passage from Book XII regarding the opinion of the Platonists, that the angels were themselves indeed created by God, but that afterwards they created man’s body.

 

It is obvious, that in attributing the creation of the other animals to those inferior gods who were made by the Supreme, he meant it to be understood that the immortal part was taken from God Himself, and that these minor creators added the mortal part; that is to say, he meant them to be considered the creators of our bodies, but not of our souls.  But since Porphyry maintains that if the soul is to be purified, all entanglement with a body must be escaped from; and at the same time agrees with Plato and the Platonists in thinking that those who have not spent a temperate and honorable life return to mortal bodies as their punishment (to bodies of brutes in Plato’s opinion, to human bodies in Porphyry’s); it follows that those whom they would have us worship as our parents and authors, that they may plausibly call them gods, are, after all, but the forgers of our fetters and chains – not our creators, but our jailers and turnkeys, who lock us up in the most bitter and melancholy house of correction.  Let the Platonists, then, either cease menacing us with our bodies as the punishment of our souls, or preaching that we are to worship as gods those whose work upon us they exhort us by all means in our power to avoid and escape from.  But, indeed, both opinions are quite false.  It is false that souls return again to this life to be punished; and it is false that there is any other creator of anything in heaven or earth, than He Who made the heaven and the earth.  For if we live in a body only to expiate our sins, how says Plato in another place, that the world could not have been the most beautiful and good, had it not been filled with all kinds of creatures, mortal and immortal?  But if our creation even as mortals be a divine benefit, how is it a punishment to be restored to a body, that is, to a divine benefit?  And if God, as Plato continually maintains, embraced in His eternal intelligence the ideas both of the universe and of all the animals, how, then, should He not with His own hand make them all?  Could He be unwilling to be the constructor of works, the idea and plan of which called for His ineffable and ineffably to be praised intelligence? {[9] pp 409-410}

 

In Book X, Augustine makes this observation regarding what ultimately happens to the soul in a teleological sense after the death of the body.

 

How much more honorable, I say, is the belief that souls return once and for all to their own bodies, than that they return again and again to divers bodies? {[9] pg 338}

 

Augustine here alludes to the fact that the body does not imprison the soul as held by the Platonists, for if that were the case, the soul would have no need to return to the body. 

 

We next look at another passage from Book X of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, per Augustine, the Platonists in their impiety blush to acknowledge.

 

But the incarnation of the unchangeable Son of God, whereby we are saved, and are enabled to reach the things we believe, or in part understand, this is what you refuse to recognize.

 

In accord with the opinion of Plato, you make no doubt that in his life a man cannot by any means attain to perfect wisdom, but that whatever is lacking is in the future life made up to those who live intellectually, by God’s providence and grace.  Oh, had you but recognized the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord, and that very incarnation of His, wherein He assumed a human soul and body, you might have seemed the brightest example of grace. 

 

Moreover, our nature itself testifies that a man is incomplete unless a body be united with the soul.  This certainly would be more credible, were it not of all things the most common; for we should more easily believe in a union between spirit and spirit, or, to use your own terminology, between the incorporeal and the incorporeal, even though the one were human, the other divine, the one changeable and the other unchangeable, than in a union between the corporeal and the incorporeal.  But perhaps it is the unprecedented birth of a body from a virgin that staggers you?

 

Why is it then, that when the Christian faith if pressed upon you, you forget, or pretend to ignore, what you habitually discuss or teach?  Why is it that you refuse to be Christians, on the ground that you hold opinions which, in fact, you yourself demolish?  Is it not because Christ came in lowliness, and ye are proud? {[9] pp 335-337}

 

It would seem from this passage that the City of God should be required reading for most of the Academy since Augustine is addressing them directly with his last question. 

 

Catholics used to talk about the last things

 

The final three books of the City of God deal with eternal realities of judgment, hell, and Heaven, with the torments of the damned discussed in horrific detail; hell and Heaven are the respective terms for the earthly and heavenly cities. The earthly city consist of all those selfishly choosing themselves instead of God, the city of man, while the heavenly city consists of all who have their priorities in order, recognizing the purpose of their creation, and especially the consequences for willfully violating that purpose by disobeying the laws of God, laws that were given to them out of God’s unconditional love for His creation.  Simply put, one who has chosen the earthly city has chosen hell; one who has chosen to serve God rather than self has chosen Heaven.  We turn to Book XVI for proof.

 

Lot was delivered out of Sodom, and a fiery rain from heaven turned into ashes that whole region of the impious city, where custom had made sodomy as prevalent as laws have elsewhere made other kinds of wickedness.  But this punishment of theirs was a specimen of the divine judgment to come.  For what is meant by the angels forbidding those who were delivered to look back, but that we are not to look back in heart to the old life which, being regenerated through grace, we have put off, if we think to escape the last judgment?  {[9] pg 553}

 

In Book XIX, Augustine asks what is the worth of a mind that is incapable of discerning good from evil, i.e., a mind that has been anesthetized to the truth wherein there is no longer any concept of right or wrong – a modern propagandized politically-correct atheistic mind that is the goal of an academy which is more concerned with indoctrination than education.  This is an academy where social engineering experiments take precedence over societal common good given the celebration and promotion of the filth of self-destructive hedonistic lifestyles to especially include homosexuality as a civil right in an affirmative action civil rights sense – a nonsensical principle where any semblance of right reason prevails. 

 

For though the soul may seem to rule the body admirably, and the reason the vices, if the soul and reason do not themselves obey God, as God has commanded them to serve Him, they have no proper authority over the body and the vices.  For what kind of mistress of the body and the vices can that mind be which is ignorant of the true God, and which, instead of being subject to His authority, is prostituted to the corrupting influence of the most vicious demons?                  {[9] pp 706-707}

 

St. Augustine’s City of God deals especially with the final things, death, judgment, Heaven and hell.  It is as relevant to America today as it was to those living for whom Augustine wrote it.  It is a roadmap that has a very big fork in it.  One way leads to a city where eternal bliss is the promise for those faithful to their Creator.  The other leads to a city where eternal damnation awaits those whose selfishness in the extreme has caused them to worship the “god in their mirrors.” This selfishness goes by many names today in America, reproductive rights, gay rights, suicide rights, i.e., almost any form of hedonistic debauchery imaginable with the word “rights” appended to it – all of which are “wrongs,” in total ignorance of the fact that with “rights” talk comes responsibilities, which cannot be ignored.  Sadly, many in the Church need to rediscover Catholic giants such as Augustine and Aquinas because they have lost their Catholic compasses, making them indistinguishable from their pagan counterparts. 

 

I recently had the misfortune of having an e-mail exchange with the President and chief spokesman for a major American university claiming to be Catholic where these gentlemen defended the sanctioning of a sexually explicit, filthy play with clear lesbian overtones on their campus, which demeaned women in the crudest terms possible.  I was told by these “Catholics,” one of whom was a priest, that they are not in the business of censoring such filth on their campuses or they would have to censor Joyce’s Ulysses or Norman Mailer’s books and plays.  I replied that it is one thing to discuss controversial material; it is something else to go out of your way to de facto promote it on your campus.  One does not have to stick his head in a toilet to know the nature of the emanating odor.  It seems to me that along with Joyce and Mailer, the students on that “Catholic” campus ought to be exposed to the City of God so that they will at least have a fighting chance to see what city that they are currently living in with the consequences for doing so.  They might just want to move for the sake of their immortal souls.

 

 

 

 

4.1.12 The roots of the tension between faith and reason

 

The tension between faith and reason has its roots in the extremes of fideism and rationalism respectively, extremes which are to be avoided.  Fideism is an exclusive reliance on faith rather than reason for the establishment of religious truths.  Rationalism is an exclusive reliance on reason rather than faith for the same purpose.  Moreover, rationalism is a theory that reason is in itself a source of knowledge superior to and independent of sense perceptions.  It is a view that holds that reason and experience, rather than the nonrational (faith), are the fundamental criteria in the solution of problems.  These extremes lead to a tunnel vision that handicaps theologians and philosophers respectively in their attempts to communicate the truths of a faith that enables reason, and of a reason that reinforces faith.  We need to treat faith and reason as being married, not divorced, in this context.  Else, we are left with a vacuum that can be easily exploited by those who look for convenient excuses to dismiss faith and reason out-of-hand when it does not suit their particular politically correct modernist agendas.  The only thing that aggravates the current liberal-run-amok spinmeisters more than having their specious arguments exposed for a lack of logic is to publicly show that logic itself points to a reasoned reinforcement of a divine revelation that they abhor, and subsequently treat as irrelevant.  This is how the fruits of conversion are ripened. 

 

Aquinas as a model for the marriage of philosophy and theology

 

The Church has consistently looked to Aquinas as a model of seeing the proper marriage of philosophy and theology.  Thomas and St. Albert the Great are singled out as being the first to recognize the autonomy which philosophy and the sciences needed if they were to perform well in their respective fields of research, albeit they insisted on the organic link between theology and philosophy.  Here they recognized that philosophical arguments in the light of theology would appeal more to the unbeliever in the sense of the proofs of the existence of God in the Summa Contra Gentiles.  The order of study in relation to philosophy and theology is clearly illustrated by Aquinas, as he was keen to show the primacy of wisdom which is the gift of the Holy Ghost and which opens the way to knowledge of divine realities in a metaphysical sense.  Aquinas showed the harmony, which exists between faith and reason, by arguing that both the light of reason and of faith come from God; hence there can be no contradiction between them. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Almost any basic definition of philosophy, wisdom, and knowledge has philosophy as the “pursuit of wisdom,” wisdom as the “ability to discern inner qualities and relationships,” and knowledge as the fact of “knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association.” Note, in particular, that philosophy is more than just the accumulation of knowledge.  Wisdom has much higher connotations.  Wisdom is the essence of “understanding,” which is the power of comprehension in more than just a facile manner.  Inherent in all of these definitions is the search for truth. 

 

We have focused on a particular relationship pertaining to wisdom, i.e., the marriage, not the divorce, of faith and reason, which is traditional Catholic teaching.  We especially did this in light of the modern assault on faith and reason, which takes no prisoners in that any who dare to suggest that there is a relationship between faith and reason are summarily thrown into the politically correct secular trash bins – the fate of the previously discussed Ohio professor of moral theology who had the courage, his critics would say the “unmitigated gall,” to tell his class that he was Catholic, and that his Catholicism, perish the thought, influenced his thinking.  Why should it not?  Why should this professor, or any Catholic for that matter, be expected to apologize for being Catholic when it is Catholicism alone that has steadfastly answered the assault on faith and reason, as the last bastion of Truth, spelled with a capital “T”, a Someone, not a something, in a world where reason is being continuously eclipsed to suit the particular aberration of the day? 

 

Thomas saith to him: Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith to him; I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No man cometh to the Father, but by me. (John 14:5-6) {[22] pg 1420}

 

From the classical politics of Aristotle where man’s necessity for social interaction is recognized for survival via the state’s “good regime” to the present day, it is Catholicism, in particular, Catholic philosophers and theologians, who have articulated the Church’s clear teaching in a natural law context for the attainment of man’s natural good leading ultimately to a supernatural good by traversing the metaphysical bridge from philosophy to theology. 

 

However, the importance of Catholicism in this regard is of no consequence to a world under the influence of modernism as pointed out by a priest on a Catholic website who astutely observes that Descartes’s cogito ergo sum is the selfish anthem for modernity on a par with the devil’s non-serviam.

 

http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/04Jul/jul22mas.htm

 

The liberal neutralization of the Church

 

Fallacious assertions that the world should be free of Church interference, that states should be separated from sectarian and narrow points of view, that religion itself gains protection from this principle, are part of the liberal program to neutralize and marginalize the Church. It is easy to see and often commented on how states without a moral compass plunge into moral license.   the world has assigned religion the task of aiding in the procurement of what man is wanting for that dollars find too slippery to grasp. Be it peace, or human rights, or donations of food, or birth control, or woman's choice to slaughter babes in wombs, the church is to champion human wants. Human wants, however, are completely restricted to the world, this life, and the body. Souls no longer exist, and "spirit" is a nice metaphor for the high concepts of humanism. Modern religious "ideals" are immanent, not transcendent; subjective, not objective; abstractions, not realities; for a time, not for ever; in this world and of this world. Lost in all of this, besides a meaning to her work, is the Church's care for each soul. As the idea of the soul is lost, souls are lost. But then again, that is a lost idea, a lost cause in modernity.

Modernity’s anthem

Cogito ergo sum is perhaps the most self-centered statement since Non serviam! but Descartes' "I think, therefore, I am," is the anthem of modernity. It is thinking by the self, of the self, and for the self. Such a fixation on the self cannot but lead to not thinking much of others.

What the redefined modern Church teaches with state approval

A good "christian" will be identical to being a good "citizen". A good citizen will be not what the church teaches, but what  state preaches. What the state preaches will be the substance of what the church teaches. Thus will be accomplished the final separation of the state from the Church: the secular society will have severed all philosophical, historical, and legal ties to a received Faith ordered to and by the divine will. The separation of the state from the Church does not mean that each will have its own independent sphere; it means that the state will consume the role, the authority, and the practical identity of the Church, including assuming the power of the God whom the Church formerly served.

The modern nation-state does not need God

Modernity has mixed a potion consisting of subjective measures, physical comfort, materialistic philosophy, humanistic morality, and relativistic religion. The cauldron wherein the concoction bubbles and boils is the modern nation-state on the way to joining a global pan-sovereignty. Fueling the fire that keeps the broth simmering is an all-pervasive, ever faster, inescapable encroachment of technology. Man is not only making a world, he is creating a worldview, one not seen by nor looking for God. Easiest to identify as precipitates from this ongoing reaction are mankind's ubiquitous acceptance and even encouragement of divorce, sodomy, and abortion.

The modern measure of man’s activity

Beyond these heinous assaults on divine and natural law, there is the materialism found throughout the world. Whether capitalist, socialist, communist, or, as is actually the case in most countries, their admixture, nations claim absolute sovereignty, yielding never to God, but increasingly to the notion of world government. Human life, where it is not prevented, aborted, or abused, is now the measure of man's activity. The gauge is not an ideal revealed by God, but a consensus among men reached by science, negotiation, and compromise. Unlike an unchanging ideal, this consensus is subject to ceaseless adjustment given politics, economics, and fashion.

What was formerly condemned is now embraced

An important aside regarding materialism: communism sets the tone for capitalism and socialism. Although capitalists and socialists cling to certain mechanisms, they have adopted wholesale the programme of communism: atheistic states, universal child care, coercive public education, women working outside of the home, labor dependent on impersonal industry, the income tax, social security welfare, and state-owned monopolies. Each of these was seen by American citizens of the nineteenth century, when The Communist Manifesto proposed them as the basis of the workers' paradise, as blasphemous, unconstitutional, and/or un-American. They now are political entitlements, unnoticed quotidian affairs, or a human right. Speaking of human rights, a woman's "right to choose" was formally legalized in the United States before it was in Soviet Russia. This is a world in denial of papal authority. It is a world ignorant and contemptuous of the natural law. It is a world in open rebellion against God. This world exalts man to the exclusion of man's divine source and salvation. This world makes man its center, while making men increasingly subservient to machines, to economics, and to a faceless government.

What must be done

Modernity is to be rejected. It must be condemned. Modernism as a mode of thought and as a way of life must be abandoned.  There is a desperate need for the Magisterium to assert its authority to teach the truth in the world, and its power to oblige the members, particularly the clergy, of the Church to conform their consciences to revealed and defined Truth. (Smith, Fr. Lawrence, New Church of the New World Order, July 22-24, 2004, Vol. 15, No. 161, Mass Confusion)

This priest, confident in the traditional teachings of the Faith, knows that the Church has eternal, universal principles to offer man concerning the true nature of the state. She does not, however have, any specific models for men to adopt, leaving this matter to the reasoned judgment of men who find themselves living in specific circumstances at specific times in specific places.  The former is due to the Church being the prime depository of the Perfect Truth, Who is her Founder.  To see the need for the Church’s advice we initially turn to Cahill’s The Framework of the Christian State. 

Cahill defines the meaning of the term “state.”


We use the term State as meaning not merely the governing power, but the whole civic community organised with a view to the temporal good of its members.


The State is in practice made up of three elements–its members, a certain territory, and the mutual rights and duties which unite the members into one whole. It is distinguished from other societies belonging to the temporal order by its greater extent and higher aims. It comprises, and within certain limits its central authority governs families, municipalities and townships, and all kinds of lesser institutions within it, such as professional and educational organisations, industrial and trading societies, social unions, and the literary and artistic associations.


The object of the State is to secure and promote the temporal well-being or the common good of its members. We have already said that it is, like the Church, a perfect or supreme society in the sense that it is sovereign in its own sphere and does not depend in any way upon a superstate or any other higher power than God alone, although it has relations of inter-dependence with the Church and with other states. These relations are regulated by the divine law and the natural laws of Justice and Charity. {[14] pg 451}

 

Cahill goes on to explain the pagan, liberal and socialist states, which are the legacy of the modernists.

 

In the ancient Pagan State, the element of religion in public life, albeit the religion was a false one, and the dependence of the State upon the Deity were recognised. Indeed, the fundamental laws of the old Roman Republic were regarded as gifts or deposits from the gods. Hence they were divine, and no human authority could change them. Later on under the Roman Empire, while the same principle still remained in theory, it was in practice disregarded; for the Emperor’s authority was absolute and not limited even by the fundamental laws of the old Roman Constitution. Since it was clear, however, even to the ancient pagans that a human authority which recognises no limitations to its competence, not even those set by a natural or a divine law, cannot logically be reconciled with the recognition of a Supreme Being distinct from that authority, the ancient Romans met the difficulty by the crude expedient of deifying the Emperor who was regarded as the sole source of all law, and who, therefore, was honoured as a god. Another consequence of the supposed all-competence of the governing power was that the essential dignity and rights of human personality were totally disregarded. Again, in the Pagan State, the privileges and rights of citizenship were a monopoly of a small ruling caste, the rest of the people being regarded almost as chattels.

 

The Pagan State gradually disappeared under the influence of Christianity. Most of its objectionable characteristics, however, have reappeared in modern times under the influence of materialistic, pantheistic and rationalistic philosophy. Thus the teachings of Hegel, according to which man is identified with the Deity, and civil society, the highest and most perfect manifestation of the divinity, leads to the deification of the State and the denial of essential personal rights, as well as the rights and authority of a divinely constituted Church independent of the State. Again, the principle that the ‘King can do no wrong’ implying, as it does that the existing civil law is the norm of morality and is always essentially valid and binding, even when it clashes with divine law or essential personal rights is founded on the same pagan ideal of the deification of the ruler.  {[14] pp 452-453}

 

The Christian type of State prevailed over all Europe in medieval times, and down to the Protestant Revolt in the 16th century. As a result of the Revolt most of the governments of Europe gradually fell under the influence of Liberalism. Religion and everything supernatural were eliminated little by little from public life. The ‘Rights of Man’ were substituted for the rights of God. All social rights and duties were regarded as of purely human institution; and a materialistic individualism and egoism prevailed more and more in every section of the social organism.


In the theory of the Liberal State, personal human rights are acknowledged, and indeed exaggerated, for they are regarded as paramount, the rights of God and the limitations set by the divine law being disregarded. In actual practice, however, all individual rights are merged in or made subservient to the power of the majority, by which the actual government of the State is set up. Hence the governing authority again becomes omni-competent, although the omni-competence is upheld in virtue of a title different from the title of a deified emperor or a civil body identified with the deity.


Again, although in the Liberal theory of civil organisation, all the members of the social body have civic rights, these rights not being regarded as of divine institution may be over-ridden by a majority. Furthermore, seeing that the powerful frequently are able to secure in their own favour the decision of the majority, through the operation of finance and of the press, personal rights have in practice little more security in the Liberal State than under the old pagan regime.                   {[14] pp 453-454}

 

The liberal state identified by Cahill gives rise of its nature to the socialist state. The inevitable failure of Lockean liberalism to effect authentic social reform by the use of structures created by and with the consent of the majority led of its nature to socialism. Why fool around with piecemeal solutions when one can have secular salvation in one fell swoop?

 

The Socialist type of State, which has arisen in modern times, is akin to the Liberal State in its repudiation of Divine authority; and to the Pagan State in its claim to subordinate personal and family rights to the unlimited authority of the governing power. In this latter particular it goes further even than the Pagan States; for it denies to its members the natural right to acquire or hold the ownership or productive property, which lies at the root of real liberty and personal responsibility.


Hence, in the Socialist State the omni-competence of the civil power is recognised in its most complete and tyrannical form. For the governing authority holding all the productive property, as well as the executive machinery under its control, can exercise an absolute despotism over the members who depend upon the government for the very necessaries of life. Moreover, in the Socialist State neither personal nor family rights, nor the rights of the Church, are recognised. Even the children belong to the State, which also claims the power to arrange the education and to regulate the work of each member, and to control everything connected with his spiritual as well as his material well-being. {[14] pg 454}

 

A snapshot of contemporary society’s allowance of indoctrination masking as education at all levels verifies Cahill’s description of the liberal state’s evolution to the socialist state.  Radical activists in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government have been given carte blanche to redefine society in their warped image so that they can feel comfortable with their vices under force of law.  The “common good” of Aristotle leading to the “highest good” of Aquinas is summarily trashed in favor of Nietzsche’s hedonism, which quickly becomes one of Kant’s categorical imperatives via the modernist assault on faith and reason.  Selflessness for the good of the whole is replaced with selfishness for the good of the few. 

 

Cahill then goes on to describe the Christian concept of the state as a solution to the preceding confusion.

 

In marked contrast with non-Christian theories and avoiding the extremes of each, stands the Christian teaching on the origin, nature and purpose of civil society. Christians agree with Pagans, Liberals and Socialists in asserting that the immediate purpose of the State is to promote the temporal good and happiness of the people. But in Christian philosophy in contrast with most non-Christian schools man’s temporal good is taken to include his moral and intellectual interests as well as his material well-being; and is regarded as subordinate to the eternal happiness which is man’s ultimate end.


Again, according to the Christian concept of the State, the members come before the State itself, which can never override man’s inalienable rights, nor limit any of their natural rights, except for a sufficient cause connected with the public good. For the State as a corporate body comes into being solely with a view to the good of the members, and has no interests or rights of its own which are not founded upon the rights and interests of the families and individuals that compose it. Hence all the activities and laws of the ruling authority must be directed solely to promote the public good of the citizens. In so far as they clash with that, they are unlawful and invalid. . . .


Again, the State is not something apart from its members as the ancient pagans implied: nor is it a conventional society as the Liberals assert; neither is it the result of blind physical evolution, as the Socialists teach; but it is a union of families and individuals held together by reciprocal rights and duties. It is ordained by the natural law, which has determined its structures, its functions, and the extent and limitations of its powers. Its purpose is to supplement not to override, personal endeavor and the helps of family life.


The State includes the whole organised nation with all the living forces that compose it. The central authority is only one element in it (albeit the most important one), and must not absorb the activities of other lesser forces or organisations, but should foster private initiative whether individual or collective, while directing it along lines conducive to the public good.

Again, the State is subject to the same moral law as the individual person: and the government of the State in dealing with its own members as well as with other corporate bodies or individuals is bound by the laws of justice, charity and religion. The actual government or central authority in the State is usually also bound by positive laws–the fundamental laws of the constitution–which it cannot change without the clear consent of the people.