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:: The Lidless Eye Inquisition ::

A weblog dedicated to the exposure of the crackpots of the lunatic self-styled 'traditionalist' fringe who disingenuously pose as faithful Catholics.
Welcome to The Lidless Eye Inquisition | bloghome
"Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her...But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments..., then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)." [Pope St. Pius X: Allocution of May 10, 1909]

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[:::....Recent Posts....:::]

The revocation of indefinite suspension to this we...

Briefly on A Few Issues... Though the The Lidless...

As I am planning a return to blogging in other for...

Though this weblog has been suspended "in perpetui...

After pondering this in recent days, I cannot thin...

Points to Ponder: I now come to the positive reas...

"One From the Drafting Board" Dept. The material ...

Before this weblog is formally closed in perpetuit...

On Altar Girls and General Norms of Interpretation...

Final Reflections I would like to thank Shawn McE...

The Inquisitors
:: I. Shawn McElhinney
:: F. John Loughnan
:: Peter J. Vere JCL
:: Greg Mockeridge
:: Apolonio Latar
:: Gregory Rossi
:: Keith Kenney
:: The Curmudgeon
:: Mark Bonocore
:: Gregg the Obscure
Affiliated Weblogs/Websites
:: Rerum Novarum [>>>]
:: Sean O' Lachtnain's Home Page [>>>]
:: Envoy Encore Weblog (Peter Vere JCL, contributor) [>>>]
:: Cooperatores Veritatis [>>>]
:: Thoughts of Apolonio Latar III [>>>]
:: Sancta Liturgia [>>>]
:: Disturber of the Peace [>>>]
:: Vita Brevis [>>>]
Specialty Weblogs
:: The (New) Catholic Light BLOG (Peter Vere JCL, contributor) [>>>]
:: John Betts' Boycott BLOG [>>>]
Ecumenical Jihad*
:: Apolonio Latar and Kevin Tierney's Culture of Christ BLOG [>>>]
Specialty Weblinks
:: A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' [>>>]
:: On the Intricacies of Dialogue - A Commentary [>>>]
:: The 'Tradition is Opposed to Novelty' Canard [>>>]
:: On Assisi and Catholic Principles [>>>]
:: F. John Loughnan's "Classification of Some Integrist (Lidless Eye) Websites" [>>>]
:: A Syllabus of Various (Mostly Pseudo-"Progressivist") Dissenting Authors [>>>]
:: A Canonical History of the Lefevrist Schism - Peter J. Vere's License Thesis From Saint Paul University, Ontario, Canada [>>>]
:: What Makes Us Catholic Traditionalists - written for The Wanderer December 6, 2001 (I. Shawn McElhinney/Pete Vere JCL) [>>>]
:: Yes Virginia, Fr. Nicholas Has Been Suspended - written for The Wanderer March 6, 2003 (Pete Vere JCL/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Squelching Fr. Gruner's 'Squawking Squire' [>>>]
:: RadTrad Watch [>>>]
:: Antisemitism and the Catholic Right [>>>]
[:::....Site Intention, Disclaimer, Copyright, Etc....:::]
:: Intentions of this Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Weblog "War and Peace Length" Disclaimer (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Site Copyright (I. Shawn McElhinney/SecretAgentMan) [>>>]
:: Exhortation to Those Who Participate in the Message Boxes (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Linking to Tridentine Apostolates, Etc. --A Lidless Eye Inquisition Clarification Thread (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Heretical Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates....:::]
Mario Derksen's Catholic Insight
:: Responses to Mario Derksen--Parts I-III (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario on EENS (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario Derksen's Errors on Man (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario Derksen's Sedevacantism--Parts I-III (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Response to Mario --Parts I-II (Kevin Byrne) [>>>]
:: Mario's Sedevacantism and His Conscience (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder -I. Shawn McElhinney's Discussion List Comments on the "Karol Wojtyla is the Pope" Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
Gerry Matatics' Apostolate
:: Gerry Matatics Too Hard Line For The Remnant (Pete Vere)[>>>]
:: Concerning Gerry Matatics and His Alleged Sedevacantism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Schismatic and Theologically Specious Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates....:::]
Catholic Apologetics International (or CAItanic)
:: Bob Sungenis' "Reply" to Richard John Neuhaus --Parts I-II (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - Richard J. Neuhaus on CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On CAItanic and the "Petrification" of their Opponents (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: On Stunted Ecclesiology and Other Examples of the Arrested Development of CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Baghdad Bob Meets Bible Bob (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Commentary on CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Sungenis/Ferrara and Double Standards (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: On Sungenis’ “Novelty”--Parts I-II(Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: A Short Response to John Salza and Sungenis (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: A Brief Clarification by Your Weblog Host On "Mr. Ipse Dixit" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Matatics vs. Sungenis (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Sungenis and God's Contingent Knowledge--Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: On "The Big Bang Theory" and its Pertinance to Catholic Doctrine (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Novus Ordo Watch
:: On "Novus Ordo Watch" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: More on "Novus Ordo Watch" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Props to David Alexander (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Remnant
:: Beyond Lunacy (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: The Remnant Gets it Right (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Commending Christopher Ferrara (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX)
:: Points to Ponder - on the SSPX (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On the "Reconciliation" Rumours of the SSPX (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: SSPX Demotes Key Priest Hoping For Reconciliation (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Three Cheers for Sedevacantism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On Fr. Paul Aulagnier (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Schism For One Dollar (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Bishop Rifan the Prophet (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Is the SSPX Still Lefebvrist? (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Civil War Breaks Out in the SSPX's French District (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Controverted Apostolates...:::]
Kevin Tierney and His Apostolate
:: Responding to Kevin Tierney's Criticism (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Some Brief Comments on Kevin Tierney's Response to Gregg the Obscure (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Response to Kevin Tierney's Response to I. Shawn McElhinney (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: More Sophistry From Kevin Tierney --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Obedience and Kevin Tierney's Appeal to Canon Law 212 (I. Shawn McElhinney/Pete Vere JCL) [>>>]
:: Responsum ad Tiernam Dubiosum --Parts I-III, Addendum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Note About A Blog (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Radtrads Again (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On True and False 'Traditionalism' With Kevin Tierney --Parts I-VII (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, and Global Government --Parts I-III(Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: Clarification on Global Government (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Brief Response to Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Musings on Diversity (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: An Example of the Honesty That Must Accompany Dialogue (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Muttering On Many Subjects (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Detailed Response to Kevin on The Revised Missal, Corpus Christi, Church Attendance, Church Forms, Protocol 1411, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Musings (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: "Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Discussing the Liturgy and Various Contrastings With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Refuting the “He’s Not Disobedient. He's Just Stupid.” Defense (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: "Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Controverted Subjects and People in General....:::]
:: Response to a Self-styled "Traditionalist" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Term "Inquisition" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Addressing a Sedevacantist Heretic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: February's Quote of the Month (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: On TAN Books (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: On Defining Modernism (Chris Burgwald) [>>>]
:: Refuting the Late 'Trad' Michael Malone's Errors on Vatican II (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From His Beatitude Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh, Cardinal of the Roman Church (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: The Catechism and Radical Traditionalists (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Screwtape Parody on Radical Traditionalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With a Rad-Trad --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Hell and the Catechism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Sola Fide Trads (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Some Traddie Fallacies Examined (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With Adrian a Self-styled 'Traditionalist' --Parts I-VIII (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. Opatus of Milve (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Mr. Smith's Misunderstandings --Parts I-VI (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Conection --Parts I-V (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Discussion With Christopher Blosser on Reflections on Covenant and Mission (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Morality of Promoting Conspiracy Theories (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Question About the Magisterium (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: John Paul II and Islam (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Have 'Traditionalists' Been Too Hard on the Pope Viz Islam (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: A Conversation --Parts I-II (I. Shawn McElhinney/Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Fatal Flaws of False 'Traditionalism' With Albert Cipriani--Parts I-VII (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Conversation on Spiritual Maturity and the Traditional Catholic Approach to Difficulties --Parts I-III (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Is it Okay to Complain? (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Obedience: The Rise of True Catholics --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Radtradism and Mother Teresa (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Common 'Traditionalist' Errors in Dogmatic Theology and the Ordinary Magisterum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Notes on the Ordinary Magisterium (SecretAgentMan) [>>>]
:: Some Self-styled "Traditionalist" Mendacity (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Posting Rules for Radical 'Traditionalists' (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Thoughts on Radtradism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Why Garrigou-Lagrange? (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: The Syllabus (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Refutation of Some Common Radtrad Misuses of Citations (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: The Errors of Michael Malone Revisited (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Confuting an Attempted Justification for Schism --Parts I-II (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Another Assisi? Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder -Maximus the Abbott as quoted by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum §13 (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With a 'Traditionalist' (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: "To Be Deep in Catholic Theology is to Cease to Be a (Pseudo) 'Traditionalist'" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From Pope Benedict XV (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Charles de Nunzio (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: For Those Interested (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Refuting Mike's Errors (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: A Response to Mike Tucker (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Will it Merely Be More Uncatholic "Business As Usual"??? (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. John Bosco (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. Irenaeus of Lyons (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Dialogue/Debate on Pascendi (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From Cardinal Ratzinger on the Revised Roman Missal (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Responsum ad Hibernius (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Material (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Liturgical Dance (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Humanism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Humanism and Vatican II (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: John Paul II and Universalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Scruples (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Tony Blair and Receiving Communion (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part I (Mark Bonocore) [>>>]
:: Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part II (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: "Wast-ing A-way A-gain in Se-de-vac-ant-a-ville" Dept. (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the McElhinney Media Dictum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Tomorrow Christendom (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Correcting a Common Misperception of This Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Response to a Guimaraes Article (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: A Response to Fr. Nitoglia (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: More on "Tomorrow Christendom" (Dom Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Surprised by Canon Law (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Michael Davies' Passing (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Redemptionis Sacramentum and Canonical Implications for Ecclesia Dei (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Notification of Assisi Essay, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - Richard John Neuhaus on the Vatican and "Americanism"--Parts I-VI (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: 8 Things You Can Do to Stop the Judaizers (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On Circumspection in Speech and Public Writing (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: On the Revised Missal Ordination Rites and Other Tidbits (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
::Points to Ponder - John Laux on an Interesting Parallel from History on the Subject of "Preserving Tradition" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: In Fairness to Michael Forrest (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Michael Forrest and the Jews (Pete Vere) [>>>]
::Points to Ponder - Pope Gregory XVI on the Authority of the Popes (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: Michael Forrest and the Jews--Part II (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Miscellaneous Dialogual Subjects...:::]
:: Real Catholic Traditionalism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: An Open Challenge to Catholic Traditionalists (Dom Gerard Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Quo Primum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Traditionalist Debate of the Millenium: Pete Vere vs. Shawn McElhinney (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Dialogue on Ecclesia Dei With Mark Downey (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Sister Lucia of Fatima, Ora Pro Terri Schiavo (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Ecclesia Dei And Respect for Traditionalists (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: On "The Vile Spectacle of Traditionalists Rooting for Bad News" --Dialogue With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>> [>>>]
:: On Liturgical Nonsense, Recent Restore Rants, Church Music, Etc (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: Briefly Revisiting an Old Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Examining Kevin Tierney's "Catholic Contract" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Guest Editorials...:::]
:: The Problems Some Have With Interfaith Outreach (Guest Editorial by Gary Gubinski) [>>>]
:: On the Liturgical Movement (Guest Editorial by the Society of St. John; Prologue by I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Jacinta's Vision (Guest Editorial by Fr. Thomas Carleton) [>>>]
:: Guest Editorial on Private Revelation (Kevin M. Tierney) [>>>]
Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies (cf. Welborn Protocol)

*Ecumenical Jihad listing is for weblogs or websites which are either dedicated to or which to the webmaster (i) are worth reading and (ii) characteri ze in their general outlook the preservation of general Judeo-Christian morality and which are aimed at positively integrating these elements into society. (Such sites need not even be Catholic ones.)

As society has grown more estranged from its founding principles, I wish to note sites which share the same sentiments for the restoration of society even if the means advocated in this endeavour differ. The Lidless Eye Inquisition does not necessarily endorse particulars with sites under this heading.

:: Saturday, January 29, 2005 ::




It appears that Mary Kochan of Catholic Exchange is under attack from the rad-trads. Let's sneak up on them and begin the inquisition!

'Cause NOBODY expects the Lidless-Eye Inquisition!

:: Pete Vere 6:12 PM [+] | ::

:: Thursday, January 27, 2005 ::
I found online a good primer on Catholic Modernism by James Hitchcock which can be read HERE.

:: Shawn 11:10 AM [+] | ::

:: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 ::
Traditionalist Debate of the Millenium!

Pete Vere vs. Shawn McElhinney

October 1st, 2005
Calgary, Alberta

"Resolved: Kevin Tierney has Cooties"
Pete will take the affirmative position, while Shawn will take the negative.

Guest Moderator: Torquemada the Dancing Water-Buffalo
Half-Time Entertainment: Dr. Art Sippo and the Heliocentric Quartet.

Special Pre-Debate Presentation: "The Tradasaurus Rex Archtype in the DragonLance system of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" by James Scott, IV

Advanced ticket: $7.50
At-the-door: $10.00

Canadian dollars accepted at par.
Tickets include the cost of light refreshments and complimentary tinfoil hats.

:: Pete Vere 6:46 AM [+] | ::

:: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 ::
PRINT EDITION -- Tomorrow Christendom

Just a note for those who prefer books to ebooks; the print edition of Tomorrow Christendom is now out. You can order it either from the publisher or from Amazon.

:: Pete Vere 10:19 PM [+] | ::

A Rerum Novarum Post of Possible Interest for Lidless Eye Readers:

For the "Anniversary" of Roe vs. Wade
(Miscellaneous Threads For Musing)

:: Shawn 8:10 PM [+] | ::

Sungenis and God's Contingent Knowledge Part 2

This is a continuation of the thread located HERE

Sungenis says:

"If the contingency is overwhelmed by God’s omniscience, then human actions are done out of necessity (e.g., it was a necessity that Adam sin). (And it may be right here that Thomas would agree that God knows some things contingently). So we have God’s omniscience and real contingency. I don’t have an explanation for how they fit together, and neither does Thomas nor Mr. Field. Mr. Field only pretends that he has an answer for it, since it is easy for him to subsume everything under “immutability” without dealing with the particulars. But if it was that easy, then the history of this issue would not have been a such a struggle, and one without resolution."

This is easy to respond to. "Necessity" and "contingency" depends on how you define it. If we refer to God's knowledge, then yes, Adam sinning is "necessary" (this does not mean that God forced him to sin since even when God allows things to happen, He necessarily knows about it). Since God knows it, then yes, it necessarily is. But if we take "sin" in relation to Adam's free-will, then sin is contingent. Again, it depends on how we view contingency. If we take contingent things in relation to God's knowledge, it is necessary. If we take it in relation to its proximate cause, then it is contingent. Hence, Aquinas says:

"So likewise things known by God are contingent on account of their proximate causes, while the knowledge of God, which is the first cause, is necessary." (ST I, q. 14 a. 13 reply to obj. 1)

:: Ap 6:49 PM [+] | ::


I decided to start a discussion thread for those who read, or are currently reading, Tomorrow Christendom so that we can discuss the book.

:: Pete Vere 6:33 PM [+] | ::

Sungenis and God's Contingent Knowledge


I was reading the exchange between Sungenis and Mr. Field. Sungenis said:

"What Mr. Field hasn’t understood is that we have both an immutable God and a God who, as Thomas says, knows some things contingently. If Mr. Field can put those two together, I wish him the best. "

How would you "put" those two together? What does Aquinas say?

I don't remember reading anything from Aquinas which says that God has contingent knowledge. I do remember reading that God has knowledge of contingent future events. There's a difference. For example, we read:

"But we may not conclude from this that all things happen of necessity. For effects are said to be necessary or contingent according to the condition of proximate causes. Evidently, if the first cause is necessary and the second cause if contingent, a contingent effect will follow." (Compendium of Theology)

This is quoted in Not By Bread Alone pg. 351. But this does not mean that God has "contingent knowledge" if by "contingent knowledge," Sungenis means that God's knowledge is contingent on things. The quote above simply means that God knows future contingent events. Now, what does this mean? A future contingent thing are things in the future that happens if and only if something else happens. For example, Y will happen if X happens. Since Y depends on X, it makes Y contingent. But remember, Y is contingent in reference to its promixate cause (actually, Aquinas uses the term "contingent proximate cause" in ST I, q. 14, a. 13 reply to obj. 1), which is X. That's simply what Aquinas means by contingent things. God certainly knows those things.

Notice how that's what Aquinas is talking about. Aquinas is not talking about God's knowledge being dependent or contingent on whether things happen. It simply means that God knows things that depend on something else. For Aquinas, God knows things necessarily. But this does not take away the contingencies of the effects.

Now, how does God know future contingent things? Because God is eternal. God does not really "foreknow" something. He just knows. That's Aquinas answer to why God knows contingent things (Summa Contra Gentiles 1.67, Rationes Fidei ch. 10, ST I, q. 14, a. 13).

To answer some of what Sungenis says in his book...

In pg. 351 of Not by Bread Alone, he speaks of God's unchangeability being compatible "with unaccomplished contingencies, namely, events contingent on man's free will decisions." But this is a misunderstanding of Aquinas.Things are "unaccomplished" only in relations to us who is in time, but not God who is in eternity. To God, everything is present (see the three references above). But to us, things are "unaccomplished" because we live in time. Sungenis cites Aquinas (I didn't check if it's the right citation, but I'll assume it anyway):

"...God carries out the order of HIs providence through the intermediary of lower causes. Therefore some of the effects of divine providence will be contingent, in keeping with the condition of the lower causes."

But here, Aquinas is simply saying that there are contingent things because they depend on the lower causes. Let me reiterate what Aquinas has in mind. There are those who object that since God knows things necessarily, this takes away the contingencies of things. But Aquinas defines what contingent means. By contingent, he does not mean things as it is or as it relates to God's mind, but as they relate to their proximate cause. Therefore God does not take away its contingency. That's all it means. I also suggest reading Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy book 5 since Aquinas uses the same argument.

In summary: "contingency" does not refer to the nature of God's knowledge, but to the nature of the effect.


:: Ap 5:45 PM [+] | ::

:: Monday, January 24, 2005 ::
Is Matatics a Sedevacantist?

This is a question that has repeatedly surfaced since the debate was announced. In my opinion, and while I personally have not heard the tapes in question, the fact Gerry Matatics appears to have attended a sedevacantist conference in order to present objections to the sedevacantist thesis would strongly suggest that he is not a sedevacantist.

This is not to deny that he has probably skirted the topic in the past a little more closely than what makes a number of traditionalists (not to mention NOM Catholics) comfortable, but I don't think most current indications are that Gerry is not a sedevacantist.

That being said, this is another reason why I see Bob cleaning up this debate; I have the position taken by Gerry in this debate well-defended by sedevacantists. Of course, the outcome assumes that Bob and Gerry proceed with the debate. Given the surprisingly negative reaction I'm hearing from traditionalists of all stripes, including that of some mutual traditionalist writers with whom I remain friends, I wouldn't be surprised if the debate was withdrawn.

:: Pete Vere 9:47 PM [+] | ::

:: Sunday, January 23, 2005 ::
Matatics vs. Sungenis

A number of discussions about the proposed Sungenis vs. Matatics debate have broken out. Thus I thought I would post this to share my own thoughts as well as gather these discussions into one thread.

Let me begin by stating that on a personal level I like Matatics a lot more than I
like Sungenis. If all things were equal, I would prefer to see Matatics take the
affirmative position. Whoever takes the negative can probably kiss off any apologetics gigs in conservative NOM or Ecclesia Dei indult communities for the next few years.

Secondly, I think they're gonna need a good moderator with some real power to intervene and keep the two on topic, and not just some local Joe Traditionalist off the street. My suggestions? Vin Lewis or Fr. Anthony Cekada.

All this being said and things being what they are, if Sungenis can keep himself focused and resist the urge to fire at the crowd (which will more likely be drawn from those who support Gerry's position), he will: 1) Crucify Gerry; 2) Out Gerry as a sedevacantist, sedeprivationist, or sede-agnostic; or 3) Both 1 and 2.

Here's my reasoning why:

I) Simply put, Bob is always well-prepared for a debate. With Gerry, it's hit-and-miss.

II) Bob is arguing from the position of truth, whereas I have never seen anyone (in either English or French) succesfully maintain Gerry's position under heavy cross-examination except a sedevacantist, sedeprivationist, sede-agnostic.

III) Stylistically, Bob's battering-ram approach to debate will overpower Gerry's attempt to distract and change the topic.

IV) Bob is willing to break with traddy political-correctness, whereas Gerry tries to please everyone in the traddy movement. This frees Bob to be more candid about his views, whereas Gerry must always calculate his comments to provide enough ambiguity to keep him out of hot water. If history is any indication, he often slips.

So I'm pretty certain Bob is gonna win this one.

:: Pete Vere 8:35 AM [+] | ::

:: Saturday, January 22, 2005 ::
Points to Ponder:
(On the "tradition" of certain prayer wordings)

In the Ave Maria, Catholics have always, till lately, been accustomed to say "Our Lord is with thee;" as it is in that version, and as it was always used in England, even before that translation was made. But, in conformity with the change of the text, we have observed of late a tendency to introduce into the prayer a similar variation, and to say "The Lord is with thee:" a change which we strongly depreciate, as stiff, cantish, destructive of the unction which the prayer breathes, and of that union which the pronoun inspires between its reciter and Her who is addressed. We have no hesitation in saying, that this difference, trifling as many will consider it, expresses strongly the different spirits of our, and other, religions. It never has been the custom of the Catholic Church to say, "the Redeemer, the Saviour, the Lord, The Virgin;" "Redemptor noster, Dominus noster," and so "Our Savior, our Lord, our Lady," are the terms sanctioned; and, therefore, consecrated by Catholic usage since the time of the Fathers. We own it grates our ears, and jars upon our feelings, to hear the former essentially un-Catholic forms used by preachers and writers; they want affection; they are insipid, formal; they remind us of Geneva caps, and smack of predestination.' (Essays on Various Subjects, I, 76) [Referenced by Rosemarie Scott (circa 1/12/03)]

:: Shawn 7:46 PM [+] | ::

:: Thursday, January 20, 2005 ::
Tomorrow Christendom 101 (on Amazon.ca)

Wow! I knew we would have some strong readership among traditional Catholics in Canada, and I'm sure it will change by tomorrow morning, but Tomorrow Christendom just hit 101st place on Amazon Canada's ranking of top selling books!

:: Pete Vere 8:33 PM [+] | ::

:: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 ::
"Tales From the Crypt Mailbag" Dept.

Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 12:08:49 +0800

You are NOT a true catholic. You are not even Christian. All articles that you wrote are ALL LIES, SLANDERS, CALUMNIES AND FALSE ACCUSATIONS against us TRUE( traditional ) catholics. Idiots like you defend a harlot antipope, who allowed God's most important commandment to be violated in all churches, chapels and cathedrals ( assisi abomination, fatima interfaith shrine, new mass etc) furthermore, morons like you blindly defend apostate harlot cardinals and bishops who deny defined catholic dogma ( Kasper, Leehman, Ratzinger, Sodano) You hurl all kinds of vicious calumnies against us tradional catholics who simply want all things restored in Christ. Why dont you attack pagans and moslems who kill Christians? Why dont you attack prots who continue to attack our church??? Why do you choose to attack TRUE catholics who would rather suffer persecution than betray Christ ( thats what demons like you do) You are a VERY WICKED AND EVIL HUMAN BEING. YOU ARE A BASTARD SON OF THE DEVIL.

For those who wonder what kind of mail I get (in light of the subjects that I have written on over the years) here is a sample which greeted my eyes this morning from the foaming-at-the-mouth sector of those who style themselves as "traditionalists."{1} I decided to post it as an example and omit the email address of the sender. All I will note in response to this person's wild swinging accusations is that they obviously do not know much about what I have written on different subjects. Indeed if they did then they would know that I have hardly been silent about denouncing the Islamofascist sorts who have killed Christians and others.{2} Other points could be noted where this person quite obviously does not know what they are talking about but in light of the universal nature of their denunciations, only one proof is needed to confute them so that is all I will supply.


{1} I should not have to say this but -in light of some of the responses I will get if I do not- this individual is hardly an average sampling from the wide spectrum of those who call themselves "traditionalists."

{2} Though all of my material covering this subject was blogged at Rerum Novarum in written or audio post format, I am hardly about to cut this individual any slack in light of their uncharitable comments and presumptions about not only myself but also of others. I doubt that this person is at all concerned about their bearing of false witness of course. Nonetheless, I will note it (and their crass ignorance of my work) briefly for the record.

:: Shawn 10:22 AM [+] | ::

:: Sunday, January 16, 2005 ::
Tomorrow Christendom vs. Jihad in New Jersey

:: Pete Vere 10:52 AM [+] | ::

:: Saturday, January 15, 2005 ::
Briefly on Quo Primum:
(In Response to an Inquiry)

I do not have the time to track down which weblog post this entry was attached to; therefore I will respond to it on the main page.

[Update: I found rather serendipitously the post to which the comments I am responding to now were attached. [ISM 1/15/05 4:45 pm]

Shawn, please forgive an off-topic post.

You are hardly the first person to do it so do not sweat it.

I seem to recall that you have a piece somewhere about "Quo Primum" (sp??) -- refuting the charge that it infallibly means the Tridentine Mass is enforced in perpetuity.

I have written on this subject on both of my weblogs and also in some of my essays.

Could you point me to this piece? I need to link to it as ammunition in a discussion with an EO guy who's sympathetic toward Rome--but only toward her most RadTrad representatives.

There is more than one piece I have done on this. But as time does not allow for me to search all archives and writings for things, I will note at this time two Rerum Novarum weblog entries from 2003:

More on True and False Traditionalism With Kevin Tierney --Part VII (circa. August 03, 2003)

I outlined the legal elements of this situation -based on my understanding of them from canonists and other sources- in the above installment of a seven part response to Kevin Tierney.{1}

A Significant Oversight By Yours Truly (circa. September 19, 2003)

The above link contains some material that I overlooked in the composition of my treatise back in 2000 - material that (i) I added to that work shortly after blogging it and (ii) material that further indicts the position of those who claim that Quo Primum was "an infallible judgment of the pope" because my ally is Cardinal Alphons M. Stickler JCD.


My pleasure. As We at Lidless Eye Inquisition also have a licensed canonist on staff, I want to take the opportunity to request that Our resident Sovereign Canonist weigh in on this subject -particularly if he believes that your humble servant has overstepped his bounds{2} in discussing this subject.


{1} The first link (part of a seven part thread) constituted the first appearance of any of my dialogues with Kevin at Rerum Novarum (for those who are interested in that little factoid).

{2} This request is made of Pete everytime I write on canon law issues. Thus far he has not smacked down any of my analyses (pertaining to various subjects) but there is always a first time I suppose.

:: Shawn 2:15 PM [+] | ::

:: Friday, January 14, 2005 ::
Some Weblog Post Adjustments:
(A Lidless Eye Inquisition Administrative Thread)

Because there were more posts to this weblog on January 11th than on all the rest of the days of this year combined, it led to a glut of postings which made following certain threads more difficult. Because of this, I have decided as this weblog's Sovereign Thane and Lord High Executioner to spread out those posts a bit. Therefore:

---Pete's first post on January 11th (about an English Tomorrow Christendom translation) will remain posted on that day.

---My second post on January 11th (the one in response to Charles and Kevin) has been moved up one day to January 12th.

---Pete's very long (but well worth reading) second entry from January 11th -the excerpt from Dom Calvert's Tomorrow Christendom - has been moved up from January 11th to January 13th.

---My first post on January 11th (the brief posting on "Mr. Ipse Dixit") has been moved up to January 14th from January 11th.

---All original posting times for these posts will remain the same.

Hopefully these adjustments will aid in the four threads (each on different subjects and with different intentions thereof) having a bit more separation than they would have if left on the same day.

These changes take effect immediately and are to be retained in perpetuity all things to the contrary notwithstanding.

:: Shawn 2:05 PM [+] | ::

A Brief Clarification by Your Weblog Host:
(On "Mr. Ipse Dixit")

Sometimes it is of assistance to clarify certain longstanding positions for the benefit of those who are newer readers of this humble weblog. That is what this entry (culled from one of the comments boxes circa December 22, 2004) is intended for: to reiterate the position of this weblog's host on a particular individual who styles himself as a "traditionalist" and my short appraisal of his value as a theologian and a scholar in general. (In light of some comments he made about me in recent months.) Apolonio's words in this exchange will be in black font.

The fact is this...[Sungenis] may be good in dealing with protestants when it comes to things like justification. But he is a terrible theologian (if he actually is one right as of now).

That my friend is an understatement.

One example (there are many) was when I told him that it is not theologically incorrect to say that God became man so that man might become a god. I quoted several fathers as well as Aquinas. He simply ignored it and he even said we should rather follow St. Basil when Basil was one of the fathers I quoted. He did not interact with the arguments. The "dialogue" is actually in his Q and A somewhere, but he cut off the parts where I quoted the fathers.

I am not surprised. He tends to ignore criticisms of his where the adversary quotes sources in context rather than either in small snippets absent context or merely make assertions without substantial evidence provided to sustain them. That is a key reason why we have never really gotten along -even before he took the last train to kooksville.

Unlike Sungenis, I take these things very seriously -some would say almost to a fault. However, I would rather overdocument a position than underdocument it. And besides (in all honesty) the last time I took even remotely serious anything he said on its own merits{1} was in the following Rerum Novarum threads from October of 2002:

"He's Blinded to [the Gospel]...And He Failed [in Church History]" Dept. --Part I (circa October 16, 2002)

"He's Blinded to [the Gospel]...And He Failed [in Church History]" Dept. --Part II (circa October 16, 2002)

"He's Blinded to [the Gospel]...And He Failed [in Church History]" Dept. --Part III (circa October 16, 2002)

The above examples well enshrine his reputation as essentially "Mr. Ipse Dixit." And it was at that point that I wrote him off as unworthy of anything except ridicule: as exposing his ignorance of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, the Council of Trent, and Pope Pius X of blessed memory on key subjects pertaining to the above thread did not even involve me breaking the slightest mental sweat. Indeed, you will see if you check the archives of any of my weblogs that the only times since then I have responded to any of his stuff was when he was attacking someone else.

I did contemplate a response when he sought to misrepresent me in print but (upon some reflection) decided to delegate reading the screed to a friend of mine and trust his judgment as to whether or not it merited a response. As he judged that it did not,{2} I noted this (among other things) in an LEI weblog post and essentially retained the stance I took after the three part series from October of 2002 noted above. And I have seen no reason to modify that stance personally; ergo, it remains intact, stable and valid as far as I am concerned in perpetuity.

Now obviously if Apolonio or anyone else here at LEI wants to interact with Sungenis' stuff, I have no objections. Sungenis' problem is as much spiritual as it is intellectual so I do not see how argumentation alone is going to be of assistance to him. But by all means guys, feel free to try if you want to or if you feel a particular response serves a greater purpose.

I have made this part of what I do such a footnote to what I do now overall that I prefer to focus on productive areas of theological inquiry and exposition of more complicated subject matters in dialogues with people whom I believe are of good will -even if I do not necessarily agree with them. (Ala my recent thread with Jason and my many with Kevin to name a couple examples.) I certainly do not agree with Sungenis but I also do not believe he is of good-will -certainly he has given us nothing in a few years now to allow a valid entertaining of that possibility. But that is all I am going to say on that subject (and that individual) at this time.


{1} Since that time, I have responded to his stuff only when he was attacking other people -such as Dr. Hahn, Fr. Neuhaus, or others. And those responses were more to defend them and to point out areas of Sungenis' ignorance and why he is not to be taken seriously -his pretentions to the contrary notwithstanding.

{2} I read over Sungenis' reply. I don't see any reason to reply to anything unless you're making CAI your personal cause. The more I read Sungenis, the more he appears to be James White or William Webster with a Rosary....A fully-functioning Catholic isn't someone who's discovered that the "whole counsel of God" in Scripture alidates Catholicism, nor is he someone who applies sola scriptura's license to insert his own personal theology as the plain meaning" of papal documents...

[Where to start? Oh, it's the same old bullshit -- that the Church has taught Hell is a place where men can go is proof positive that the Church teaches Hell is full of men, that the Church has taught it is a necessary means of salvation proves that the Church teaches that salvation is denied to all non-Catholics. When you use analogy or metaphor, you're to be read literally and the errors of your literal perspective corrected harshly. When Sungenis writes literally and is caught out, he's suddenly just using metaphor and analogy and you're trying to deceive when you critique him. Your jibes are unforgivable insults which are out of place in serious dialogue, while Sungenis' insults are just accurate descriptions penned without any malice. And so forth.

I see this behavior in lawyers all the time. When it's as extreme as Sungenis', I just tell them that the only way I'll discuss a case with them is either in front of the Judge or by letter. There's not much can be done with this one except prayer and fasting. [Ian A. T. McLean aka SecretAgentMan: Excerpts from His Critique of a Sungenis Screed Contra Yours Truly as quoted in my post Commentary on CAItanic (circa May 6, 2003)]

{3} As far as I'm concerned, Shawn McIhenny, Pete Vere, John Betts are and a few of the others in your group are working for the devil, not Catholicism…The above mentioned people are nothing but clanging cymbals." [Robert Sungenis to Apolonio Latar III as posted at The Lidless Eye Inquisition (circa November 23, 2004)]

:: Shawn 2:00 PM [+] | ::

:: Thursday, January 13, 2005 ::

by Dom Gerard Calvet

I prepare the future
By being faithful
To the past.
(Saint John Chrysostom)

In October of 1968, Lisandro Otero, Director of the National Council for Culture, of the People’s Republic of Cuba declared: “Young writers must do their part, so that art not remain an isolated phenomenon, but extend itself widely and become an integral part of the full education of the new man… it is not enough to express the revolution, one must also construct it.” On November 6, 1968 during a contest in literature and the plastic arts, the Bureau for Political Information of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba denounced those writers who “instead of dedicating their efforts to studying and working in favour of the people, falsify our history, mislead the masses, and mechanistically mimic European and American snobbery.”

The men who wrote these things are persecutors of Christians, fanatics steeped in the crudest ideology that ever existed. That’s understood. They are mistaken, and their work shall soon crumble, because, to repeat Claudel’s words, “evil does not compose, it decomposes.” That’s the truth. In the meantime, these men conjugate their efforts, follow a plan, a line of conduct, believe in a new man (as do we, but it is not the same one) and work towards that goal. Try this: in the first text, replace the word ‘revolution’ with that of ‘Christendom’. You will then have the most beautiful exhortation imaginable, in favour of that world which Pius XII, not so long ago, invited us to “rebuild from its foundation: from wild to human, from human to divine, that is according to the heart of God.” (Exhortation to the Faithful of Rome, February 10, 1952)

The idea of Christendom can be approached in two ways. The first, strongly colored by history, manifests itself by means of a look on the past, through monuments of art and literature, and the lives of heroes and saints; it is subject to the virtue of piety, a national as well as relitious virtues. It relies on memory, and as such, one can say that all culture, all civilization is, first of all, essentially memory. The second way stimulates an examination of the present and the future, such as that of a young man of twenty looking upon the fields lying fallow, that he has just inherited from his late father. He observes and takes note. He won’t, however, slavishly follow the exact order of his father’s plowing. He considers his resources and decides to save the inheritance. With typical, youthful temerity, he may hope to do even better.

In concluding these reflections, we, also, would wish to not only store up in our memory the treasures of the past, but to look to the future; and in the spirit of those who came before us, with more modest means, and kneely aware of our limitations, inscribe in the transitory something of the eternal. The spirit of Christendom, daring and adventurous, implies this forward march, in an atmosphere of fidelity, but without servile imitation. Paul Valéry says it beautifully: “True tradition in great things does not lie in redoing what others have done, but in rediscovering the spirit which did these things, and which would do completely different things in different times.” Resolutely turning away from certain archaising fashions, we are ready to do battle in order to rebuild a Christian society, convinced that, more than ever, this is a fruitful idea, a formula for the future, in tune with the nature of things. For the Gospel, also, which sows in the hearts of men the seed of an infinite promise, proposes for our imitation the model of the God-Man, Who grew up attached to a land, a religion, a race, an artisan’s work, a little corner of the world that He fondly looked upon, walked in, loved tenderly, and whose misfortunes caused Him to weep. Christendom prolongs a divine idea. Superficial spirits see in it but the outer shell of civilization; they forget that, in a tree for example, the outer shell is a conduit for life-giving sap. That which seems archaic to them is, in reality, nothing but the quest for a deeper identity, in terms of an essential design. Arnold J. Toynbee observed, as an historian of civilizations, that a burrowing into the past is not a step backwards, but a revitalization. “The inevitable outcome of a movement that professes to be archaic is, in fact, a new beginning (…) In this movement, the archaic element is simply the outer covering of that which will become the seed of the future.”

Because of their ignorance of the true spirit of the Gospel, some have criticized the Church as being the sluggish extension of the Gospel, weighed down by all the burdens of the social order. But the Church does not weigh down the Gospel any more than Christendom weighs down the Church. A body often becomes sluggish only because of a lack of form; and it is this lack of form which causes the death of civilizations. The distress of the times never fails to give out healthy warnings on the subject. The first great warning, the most dramatic and the most pressing, and which penetrates our soul as a stinging indictment, is that of having given in to mendacity and sloth. Our first duty is to refuse falsehood or rather, in its positive form, to develop to the highest degree, a profound taste, an incoercible thirst for truth. Our civilization was founded upon the testimony of confessors and martyrs who were tranquil heroes of the truth. André Charlier, writing to young people, said: “I should like to see you overwhelmed by the immense joy of being in the truth, and to have you pass on to those around you, that taste for truth (…) There is no greater sign of love than to lead a soul into the truth.” (‘Lettres aux capitaines’) (Letters to the Captains)

We exhort young people, born into this society of audio-visually conditioned robots, to rise up against the reign of untruth. Leave television to its willing slaves; read the masters of your religious and national culture, read your mystics, your thinkers, your poets. Seek after truth, obey it as you would a sovereign, don’t let yourself be closed in by worldly or ecclesiastical conformity. To bind oneself unconditionally to an ideology or a religion, beyond what is just and unjust, is a properly satanic aberration. Totalitarian states that alternate between lies and violence (lies to cover up the violence, and violence to silence those who discover the lies), owe the greater part of their success to having paralyzed the forces of reaction against imposture and lying. This, on the moral plane.

That there is the atrophy of intelligence, the surrender of the spirit, regarding the great speculative truths. I see that, in reading this the weak-minded garner what they have left of strength to tell me: “But who is to say that you see the truth clearly?” Or even, and this the glory of the completely devoid of intelligence: “Are you sure there is a truth?” I reply as did Bernanos: Fools!

Your civilization is founded upon the blood of martyrs who perished for the truth, and the Founder of our religion, Himself, told Pilate: “I have come to bear witness to the truth. All who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.” What else do you need? The taste for truth at every level: religious, intellectual, moral, political; that is what made Christendom. And, in the radiance of love, that is what shall be the principle of its renascence. The taste for truth! What an adventure! Think about it: the passion of living in the truth, of having our thoughts, our actions, our sentiments in harmony with recognized truth, sought after and experienced as a direct emanation of God. Never compromising with error. But what of human weakness? You ask. I respond with Pascal: “It is one thing to have corrupt morals, and quite another to corrupt the very law of morality.” The supreme law of morality is that of not lowering the standard; it’s a matter of knowing that one is doing evil, but continuing, perhaps painfully, to look to the excellence and supreme goodness of the standard.

But this strong taste for truth, which made the greatness of Christian societies, demands character, requires that fear be overcome, as well as sloth and apathy. It is wrong and misguided to await one’s help from others, be they pope or bishop. The second testimony offered us by the spirit of Christendom is that of energy, courage of spirit and heart. “Had I had a thousand mothers and fathers, I would have left, nevertheless”, said Joan of Arc to her judges. Madame de Maintenon, astonished by the moral depravity at court, was told: “Madam, this has been the custom here for quite some time.” To which she replied: “The torrent of custom will excuse no one.” Holy words.

This brings us to the famous liberal tendency which we hear repeated over and over again. But there are two kinds of liberals: those who have no principles, and those who have very good principles but never apply them. I have compassion for the first; I incriminate the second. One feels pity for certain liberals struggling with a kind of sickness of the spirit, incapable of settling on solid principles and eternal truths. But for those who know, and yet, because of fear or laziness, refuse to engage in combat, one is more exacting. According to them, it is never the right time. Liberalism then becomes synonymous with cowardice. They tell you, with an air of perfect conviction: “Of course we are for the Reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are against pornography, against fraud, lying, demagogy, etc. But to denounce error, wouldn’t that be introducing an even greater disorder? Do you really think it’s the right time to intervene?” And the awaited reaction is always for some later time. Prudential judgement aside, one can say that liberalism, at this stage, is no longer an error of the spirit, but a cowardice of character and a lack of generosity. I’m thinking of those bishops and priests who whisper in our ear: “You are right, but we have to follow…” I’m thinking of those cardinals who have received the red biretta, during a special ceremony, as a sign of blood poured out for the faith… and who betray the faith. I’m thinking of those officers who, during the Algerian war, dillydallied, not wanting to endanger their careers, betrayed the word given to the people, and abandoned some 100,000 Harkis and their families to the cruelty of the National Liberation Front (F.L.N.). We know, thanks to history, that the triumph of revolutions begins with the spiritual defeat of those who were the guardians of the people. It is Lenin himself who admitted: “Had there been one thousand determined men facing us at St. Petersburg, in October of 1917, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything.” Let us listen to what Father Jerzy Popieluszko had to say during a homily, as Maximilian Kolbe was being canonized in Rome: “The essential problem is how to overcome fear. For threats produce fear: fear of suffering, fear of losing some possession, fear of losing some possession, fear of losing our freedom, our health, our job. And so, we act against our conscience which pleads for truth. Fear can be overcome if we accept suffering, or the loss of something, in the name of a higher value. If the truth becomes for us a value for which we accept to suffer, and to take chances, then we shall overcome fear, which is the indirect cause of our enslavement…”

And here is what was found in Stephan Cardinal Wyszynski’s notes dated October 5, 1954: “Fear is the greatest shortcoming of the apostle… It grips the throat and causes the heart to faint. He who falls silent emboldens the enemies of the good cause… To force into silence by fear: this is the first task in the strategy of the ungodly… Silence has apostolic meaning only when I do not turn away my face from those who strike.”

We dedicate these thoughts of a Prince of the Church and confessor of the faith, who was our contemporary, to the ‘silent clergymen’. “Truth has no shame, said Tertullian, save that of being hidden.” (‘Adversus Valentinum’). Closer to us, the Curé of Ars would say: “If a pastor remains mute on seeing God insulted and souls misled, woe to him! If he does not wish to be damned, he must trample on the fear of what people may say, on the fear of being spurned or hated. And even if he were sure of being put to death upon descending from the pulpit, this must not stop him.”
The virtue of fortitude, which is the theological name for courage, and the veneration of truth are inseparable. And without this armature, a society cannot withstand the ferments of destruction which threaten it. But if a society remains taut in the affirmation of principles, does it not risk sinking into fanaticism and constant coercion?

Our contemporaries, conscious of this possible danger, flatter themselves at having invented ecumenism like some formula for reuniting and assembling, over and above oppositions and differences. One hears talk of a pluralistic society, a multiracial society, etc., and an order of love is sought which unifies superficially; but the projet fails because the requirement of truth at a deeper level has been brushed aside. “The problem of truth cannot be avoided, says Henri Massis. It precedes that of order, and order is founded on truth alone.” (‘De l`homme à Dieu’) (From Man to God)

We ourselves are very conscious of the noble concern of our contemporaries: to unite mankind is not foreign to our preoccupations. But Christendom can furnish a solution. It alone in the past was able to unite without confusing, to distinguish without excluding: the idea of an order which hierarchizes beings was accompanied by a benevolent charity that assigned to each creature its own measure of participation. Colonel de Blignières related to me a deed which illustrates perfectly what we’ve been saying. It took place on December 25, 1958 in the Aurès mountains of Algeria. Christmas in the Foreign Legion is a feast day where poor young men, once a year, recall that they are the sons of the same Father, inasmuch as someone comes forward and reawakens in them the inner child. Well, this particular Christmas of 1958 had been surrounded by such sadness and so many trials, that the colonel had decided to celebrate it with great pomp and circumstance. A helicopter was dispatched to fetch a chaplain for the evening festivities. Midnight Mass was to begin, right there in the mountains, amidst an elite regiment in full parade uniform. Suddenly, the colonel thought: what is to be done with the Harkis? Exclude them? Out of the question. Ask of them a liturgical service? Impossible. And so they were placed all around the assistants; they were given lighted torches, and were asked to hold them high and straight, statue-like in the night. And, that night, the torches of the Harkis lit up the entire world.

The spirit of Christendom, uniting hierarchy and love, makes possible that which egalitarianism cannot: integration, respectful of differences; and this could conceivably be the answer to the ecumenical anguish of modern man. In this great family everyone has a place. Soon, it may be the only way of mending a country divided by ideology, but a refined charity would be required: that of never being ashamed to hold out one’s hand. “He who does not hold out his hand is not a Christian… The sinner reaches out to the saint, holds out his hand to the saint, since the saint has held out his hand to the sinner. And all together, one by another, one pulling another, they reach up to Jesus; fingers interlocked, they form a chain that extends up to Jesus. He is not Christian, he has no knowledge of Christianity, nor of Christendom, nor of the matters of Christendom, who does not hold out his hand…” (A new theologian, Mr. Fernand Laudet)

What Péguy means to say in his own way, that of a poet, Father Berto says, as a theologian: “The sectarian spirit, the spirit of any sect is one of univocality and exclusion. The Catholic spirit is one of analogy and integration.” (‘Pour la Sainte Eglise Romaine’) (For the Holy Roman Church)

Modern man notes the failure of the following two tendencies: anarchic individualism and totalitarian socialism. The opposition between these two tendencies is merely apparent. They both lead to the same result: “a progressive erasing of differences and hierarchies, which transforms society into a desert, and man into a grain of sand.” (Gustave Thibon, ‘Notre regard qui manqué à la lumière’) (The Light Lacking Our Gaze) It would be productive to inquire of the ancients, about the principles of an art of living, where laws, while restraining anarchy, would prevent neither the respiration of the soul, nor the powerful élan of individual energies. A key word would then appear, with which the spirit of man would have to be reconciled: community.

How to characterize this spirit of community, which was the very soul of Christian civilization? Many evident components appear: the formation of an elite, which ultimately gave birth to the aristocracy. This elite must exist in every sphere: moral, artistic, military, religious, professional. A group of students visiting Mesnil-Saint-Loup asked Henri Charlier his opinion, as to what type of exceptional men belonged the builders of cathedrals and universities, and especially those of the Middle Ages who composed the hymns and melodies of Gregorian chant. He answered frankly that these men were like us, no better no worse; with the same inclination to facility, which is the bane of societies. “Look, he said, had they been given the choice between the antiphons of some Gregorian Office, and the songs of Tino Rossi, they would all have chosen Tino Rossi.” But there was an elite on the spot jealously watching over standards, and thus preventing or at least retarding any decadence. This natural elite, the recognized guardian of the human and religious expression of a city or a monastery, saw to the respect of law, rite, and custom.
Community spirit prohibited the breaking with custom, and custom maintained community spirit. So that a child born into the world of Christendom was surrounded by a forest of signs, rites, and sacramentals which spoke to him of his duties, before he learned to read, even before the catechism presented him with the precepts of the Decalogue. Without waiting to receive religion from the mouth of the priest, he ‘caught it’ from his surroundings, by way of contagion. From this point of view, Christendom can be considered the outer garment of the Ten Commandments. An outer garment of flesh and bone, an ornament of poetry, gestures, formulas, chants, not bereft of beauty. I still see those widows of my childhood, in a little village of the Béarn region, leaving their homes, alone, and making their way to the parish church, enveloped in a kind of black shroud which served as an overcoat; and this vestmental rite told us, with more eloquence than a sermon, that the figure of this world passes away (‘transit enim figura huius mundi’). They were images of Holy hope advancing toward the Homeland. There was in each house a place for the pauper; and in the rural districts, a little task for him to accomplish, so as not to be humiliated: he had earned his bread. So much for the second Commandment. At executions, an impressive detail: the law provided for parricides that they should go to the scaffold wearing a black head covering, in order to hide their shame. So much for the fourth Commandment. The near-religious modesty of feminine attire did not always prevent vanity, but was a reminder of the sixth Commandment, and so on. If modern man wishes to live as a Christian, in one way or another he will have to envelop his life in a supernatural atmosphere: that which he hopes for will have to be inscribed in exterior actions, because the body is the implantation of the soul in the visible world, and because actions laden with divine meaning end up, in turn, having an effect upon the soul. The disappearance of these customs and traditions is the death knell of civilizations. Gustave Thibon writes: “So, what do I care about the past as past? Don’t you see that when I weep over the break with a tradition, it is especially about the future that I am thinking? When I see a root decaying, I pity the flowers that will shrivel up tomorrow, for want of sap.” (‘Notre regard qui manqué à la lumière’) (The Light Lacking Our Gaze)

What saddens the philosopher is not that which has been stricken from the past, but that which has been confiscated from the future. It was with the future in mind that Father Calmel encouraged his faithful to form fraternal communities, where, in prayer and friendship, grace could flourish: “Under the aegis of the Virgin who crushes the Dragon, Christians who truly pray, and who love each other in Christ, will reach out to each other in Christ, will reach out to each other as brothers, over and above the turbulent waves of a world that has forsaken God, and is destroying man. United in prayer and friendship, even when countered by the pressure all around them, they will succeed in maintaining or reconstituting a kind of temporal milieu that is truly civilized, sufficient to prevent souls of good will from going astray and becoming lost forever, and to permit them to remain firm and vibrant, to continue their inner song, to celebrate unceasingly God’s love and beauty amidst the trials of exile.” (‘Itinéraires’, November, 1965)

We wouldn’t want to conclude our reflections without suggesting a few more guidelines to the defenders or builders of Christendom.

HUMILITY: a community virtue, a political virtue, a healing virtue. Humility casts aside the three scourges of our societies: the desire for power, jealousy, and individualism. When reading the accounts of the Crusades, one weeps at so many divisions and rivalries. Thus Count Robert of Artois, brother of Saint Louis, very nearly compromised everything, at the battle of Mansourah. It is the individualistic spirit which caused the downfall of chivalry, trying as it did to draw attention to itself, by isolated exploits “which would be spoken of in ladies’ chambers.” (Régine Pernoud: ‘Les Hommes de la croisade’) (The Men of the Crusade)

PATIENCE: full-blown, it is the heroic virtue. It is virtue in its purest form, fortitude of spirit, ‘virtus’, the constancy of martyrs, steadfastness in solitary combat. One hears tell of renewal, of a golden age when everyone will be charismatic. Patience, gentlemen! Saint Augustine ended his treatise ‘On the City of God’, in 426, at the time when the Roman Empire was crumbling. It is a work brimming with radiant hope, which foresaw the conversion of the barbarians and the advent of a Christian civilization. However, if one excludes the brief Carolingian renascence, it took seven hundred years and more to emerge from the dark ages and attain the 12th century, the century of Saint Bernard, and the 13th century, that of Saint Louis and Saint Thomas Aquinas. Now this is patience.

A MAGNANIMOUS SPIRIT: One cannot place himself at the service of a great enterprise or a grand design, without having before his eyes the image of something very noble which dilates the heart, and encourages it to accomplish great things. Strong nations have always been able to find in their historic patrimony, the inner strength to overcome trials and tribulations, and outlive the day. Thus were great political projects rooted in the living memory of the high exploits of a people, where free rein was given to poetic inspiration, source of heroism and holiness. It so happened that God gave to France the most beautiful image, the most radiant figure that ever illuminated the dark night of our battlefields: Joan of Domrémy. Who can say what she saw inwardly when she spoke, herself, of the reality, a mixture of Heaven and earth, to which she gave the sumptuous title: ‘Holy Kingdom of France’! Is it possible to fathom the inexhaustible wellspring that the power of incantation born of a country’s heroes and saints will always represent for the soul of that country? Georges Bernanos, whose hitherto unexplored prophetic writings extend beyond the scope of literature, astonished his friends by the lofty images to which his visionary style had recourse. He said: “Imagination has only ever deceived the weak and the cowardly, unable to bear the weight of a great dream.” It is said that the success of a man’s life is but the realization of a child’s dream; the same is true, as well, of nations, constantly carrying within themselves, either as a reproach or an encouragement, the image of that which they desired to accomplish in their infancy.

To those who have toiled for the salvation of the temporal order, it may happen that they experience in their souls a sadness or melancholy, at the sight of so many ephemeral successes so quickly engulfed by the river of time. One need only recall the great ages of prayer, the delicate sentiments that flourished amidst saintly families, the all too brief moments of peace and happiness, the friendship and virtues of the peasantry, the popular songs markes with a grace and nobility the secret of which we have forgotten. Has all of this truly been obliterated forever? “The Christian, said Jacques Maritain, remains disconsolate at the irreparable loss of the slightest, fugitive reality, whether it be a face, a gesture of the hand, an act of freedom or a musical tune, carrying a trace of love and beauty… He believes that none of this passes, since the memory of the angels conserves all these things, and that, having been chosen and uttered by and in spirits, they are better there than in themselves; he believes that the angels will unceasingly relate to each other, the story of this poor earth, and have it relive in them, in a thousand different ways.” (‘Science et sagesse’) (Knowledge and Wisdom)

It often happens that we become quite upset at the sight of all the waste our age will leave behind it. But I don’t like to hear moaning and groaning about the misfortune of the times. It is said that the world’s air is unbreathable. I agree. But the early Christians encountered at their door each morning, an atmosphere saturated with vices, idols, and incense offered to the gods. For more than two hundred years they were maligned and marginalized by the current of public opinion, which both carried them along and rejected them. Have we forgotten that the grace of Baptism kept them away from the greater part of urban life? They choose not to take part in great civic occasions such as the swearing in of a magistrate, or the triumph of a conquering general, because none of these ceremonies could begin without the offering of incense to the emperor, considered a divine personage. It is the grace of Baptism that had them avoid the thermal baths, one of the Romans’ favourite meeting places, because of the bodily nudity and indecent attitudes prevalent there. They also gave up the amusements of the circus, because of the scenes of cruelty which were its main attraction. Nevertheless, these first Christians formed a society; and this society, by the strength of its spirit, broke open the shell of ancient paganism. Their earthly hope they limited to this: to be still alive when Christ would return in glory, seated on the clouds. And they were the founders of Christian Europe.

Strangely, the misfortune of the times draws us closer to the life of the first Christians: the clash of two civilizations, a pagan State applying the pressure of its anti-Christian institutions, rumblings of persecution. But the formal prohibition ‘non licet esse christianos’ compelled one unceasingly to choose, and rendered mediocrity impossible. What a grace for the West, if it also found itself summoned to choose!

The Church will always like to immerse herself, as for a refreshing bath, in the memory of that emerging Christian society. She rediscovers there, the traits of her childhood, made up of gaiety, heroism, and uncompromising gentleness. What a contrast this young community presented to the pagan mores, and what glory for the Church, in the chastity of virgins, the piety of her liturgical assemblies gathered around the table of sacrifice, the tranquil courage of her bishops, all designated for a violent death, and the martyrdom of her first thirty popes! The little that we know of the Christians of Rome, we read on their epitaphs: ‘Cupiens videre Deum, vidit’ (Desiring to see God, he saw Him). And this very moving inscription: ‘Sofronia dulcis, simper vives Deo!’ (Sweet Sofronia, you shall live forever with God!). And there is the epigraph of a certain Abercius, whose sibylline style destined to thwart the suspicions of the police, captivates us: “I am the disciple of a holy shepherd. He sent me to Rome to see a queen clothed in golden roves, and wearing golden shoes (…) Faith led me everywhere. The food she served me was a fish taken from a very pure spring, and caught by a holy virgin.”

And the replies of the martyrs to their judges remain very timely: “If I have you flogged and beheaded, Rusticus the Prefect asks Saint Justin ironically, do you think you’ll go up to Heaven?” -- “I don’t think it, I know it.”

Every emerging Christian society links us to the history of the early Church, and carries with it the grace of new beginnings. So here we are, ready to begin working. For the time being, it is not yet sunrise; it is perhaps but the very early light of dawn slowly detaching itself from the night. But I perceive Felicity and Perpetua: the young patrician embracing the slave, and both walking together to the ordeal. And Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, writing to the persecuted Christians of Rome: “You have the kingship of love.” Is it possible to believe that these words are not also addressed to us?

[Excerpted from Tomorrow Christendom by Dom Basile Calvet, O.S.B.]

:: Pete Vere 11:21 PM [+] | ::

:: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 ::
Some Responses to Charles and Kevin:

This is posted in direct response to some of the comments made by Charles and Kevin on this thread which was a followup to this thread. In the post you are about to read, Charles' words will be in black font and Kevin's in darkgreen font.

My current postion is that the PM office probably changed significantly when the PM title was assumed by the Pope (if the title was tranferred before 380) and was definitely changed significantly in 380. My definition of "changed significantly" is that the office was changed at least to the extent that the duties directly associated with pagan worship were stripped from the

Are you referring to "being stripped" as being stripped from the Pontifex Maximus personally or being stripped in toto??? I ask because it is probable that Constantine began delegating the latter responsibilities to others to perform upon accepting Christianity. This pattern would in most cases be followed by his successors except (obviously) Julian the Apostate.

Even with Gratian conferring the position to Damasus I, there is no rational explanation for why this custom of delegation started by Constantine did not continue -unless it is because of attempts by certain persons to retroject anachronistically into this period the divisions of later (read "Medieval") time periods.

Furthermore, Mark has already noted in responding to Jacob that "[i]t is an oversimplification of history to say that Theodosius "outlawed" paganism or that public pagan worship ended in the year 380. Clearly, this is not what occurred. Most of the Senatorial families in Rome continued to practice the old classical religions, and the Senate itself continued to make public sacrifices to the Roman gods." Your responses appear to ignore these points and presume that Jacob's notions on these matters are historically accurate. Mark also noted the historical fact that the statue of victory (removed from the Senate at St. Ambrose's insisting) was later returned to the Senate in the early fifth century under the pontificate of Innocent I.

In short, it is not accurate to say that the Empire did anything with the pagan religions except cease promoting them as the religion of the empire. From the time of Damasus I on, the official religion of the empire from a numerical as well as a technical standpoint was Christianity. But your treatment of this subject presupposes a later Medieval notion of church and state relations which did not exist in the time of the popes accepting the position of Pontifex Maximus in the empire. That is the crux of the problems with your arguments Charles -the arguing
from silence notwithstanding.

Gratian gave up the office of PM because it directly participated in and oversaw pagan worship. If Gratian felt extremely uncomfortable with these duties, why would he want to impose them on the Pope? It just does not seem plausible.

Again Charles, you are ignoring that (i) Gratian was personally pious and (ii) he did not think that a position which implied priesthood should be held by a non-priest such as himself. Damasus I as the highest ranking priest in the Empire seemed to him to be the most appropriate holder of this office; ergo it was conferred on him by Gratian with Damasus' approval. You also appear to not recognize that it was a necessity in a pluralistic society like the old empire to have the Pontifex Maximus as a coordinating position. This does not mean that the PM has to be personally involved in the cults of others; however it would mean that he would have to provide for them to some extent -probably by approving clerics of the respective cults to perform the respective rites in situations where solidarity in the empire was necessary to promote.{1}

Again, the majority of the Roman Senate was not Christian even if numerically (at least nominally) the empire itself finally was. And whether you want to admit to it or not, the Roman Senate in times of crisis would have appealed to their notions of "God" with public forms of worship. Zosimus makes it clear that Innocent I approved of this and Mark notes in a thread of posts which can be read HERE. I am not about to repeat what he has noted so interested readers give it a perusal after reading this post if they are so inclined.

Like every other pagan concept that the Church has adapted, it
seems very likely that the Church modified the PM concept so that it conformed to a Christian sense of what that office should be.

You argue from silence Charles. And again, your arguments are anachronistic. You are basing your idea of "a Christian sense of what that office should be" on Medieval church-state conceptions which were foreign to Damasus' time period. It was only with Gelasius I (r. 492-496) that the first attempts to sketch out what was eventually developed into "two swords" theories of power and a distinction between church and state authorities in the empire was even attempted.

It is true of course that the groundwork for the latter was laid by previous popes of course (such as Leo the Great, Celestine I, Zosimus, Innocent I, Damasus I, and Julius I) but any notion of a conscious working understanding of later developments in the minds of the latter popes is pure fantasy on your part. Mark has attempted to explain this to you in greater detail than I can (because he knows more about this subject than I do) but apparently it is not sinking in. I will try to assist in this and appeal to Mark to fill in any details he thinks I am overlooking which are of importance on these matters.

To start with, there is a reason why (for example) the Orientals today view the pope's position of "pre-eminence" as being tied to secular developments, not being at all "juridical" in its conceptions, etc. and not to the theology of Peter the Apostle being the foundation for the pope's primacy in the Church. The reason for this is because they confuse his Petrine function with his role as Pontifex Maximus -the first a religious position, the second a civil one albeit with religious implications.{2} Likewise, there is a reason why the Hislops of the world make a stink about a supposed "Babylon Mystery Religion" imbibed with the cults of Nimrod and the like: the reason primarily is that the popes hold the ancient position of Pontifex Maximus and it had certain duties attached to the office. Two errors which have a foundation in the same inability to make certain key distinctions between dual offices held by the Popes.

Another piece of direct evidence that the PM office was significantly modified in the late fourth century is provided by Zosimus. In book 5 in the discussion concerning Serena, Zosimus writes the following:

["When the elder Theodosius, after defeating the rebel Eugenius, arrived at Rome, and occassioned in all persons a contempt and neglect of divine worship, by refusing to defray the charge of the holy rites from the public funds, the priests of BOTH SEXES were dismissed and banished, and the temples were deprived of sacrifices."]

I will defer to Mark on this as I do not have the source at my disposal to check the context of the quotes above. Nonetheless, the references to public funds is interestingly overlooked in your later comments. It hardly bears repeating that with Christianity being the religion of the empire, there would not be public funding for other religious expressions. As for the rest, since I do not have the source at my disposal to check for accurate citations, that is all I will say on the matter -though I invite Mark to weigh in either in the message boxes or by posting to this weblog at his discretion.{3}

The only female priests in the Roman pagan religion were the Vestal Virgins. It was the direct reponsibility of the Pontifex Maximus to watch over and support the Vestal Virgins. When the Vestal Virgins were "dismissed and banished", the PM office had a significant pagan duty removed from it in 380 if it had not been done earlier.

This is actually a pretty good observation Charles. However, you need to make the distinction between Siricus I's role as Pontifex Maximus in 391 and Theodosius' role as Emperor. The fire which the vestals maintained was in the Forum which was government property if you will. What the emperor did essentially was outlaw the maintenance of the fire remove the vestals from being subsidized by public funds. The Pontifex Maximus had no control over public monies. And with a predominently Christian population in the empire, you were not going to get much in the way of private donations to keep that institution going; ergo it went the way of all institutions that lack public funding and which cannot secure funds from private doners.

Zosimus also refers to "an aged woman, who was the only one
remaining of the vestal virgins", confronting Serena in 410. This is consistent with the end of state support for the Vestal Virgins in 380.

Sigh, I do not (and I do not recall Mark doing this either) make these arguments on the basis of state support for the pagan religions. You are confusing the role of the Pontifex Maximus with monetary state support for non-Christian religions: the two are not the same thing.

I will now turn to Mark's most recent comments about Sozomen,
Gibbon, and Zosimus.


Before quoting Sozomen, Mark says, "Here's what Sozomen, depending entirely on Zosimus, says". On what basis do you have for making this claim? You have several times spoken as if Zosimus was a contemporary historian of the period in question, but he was not. Zosimus wrote his "New History" at the turn of the sixth century.

Originally I had responded here with a degree of caution because my knowledge of Zosimus is not very extensive. I had essentially agreed with Charles on the dating but was willing to presume that Mark may have misspoke. This is hardly grounds for calling his historical acumen into question as Charles seemed to be doing and I was willing to let Mark clarify himself later on. In light of his overall historical knowledge, I have established a habitual tendency towards giving Mark the benefit of the doubt even when it appears that he may be mistaken. Fortunately, I did not have to wait long on this one -indeed when checking my gmail account (which has had problems with access lately), Mark had sent me a response to this point and I post with his concurrence the following clarification:

[O]ne thing you may wish to address if you do respond to [Charles] is his silly and outdated claim the Zosimus' New History was written in the 500's! :-) The truth is that we don't know when his New History was written. The name "New History" was given to the work by Photius (Patriarch of Constantinople) in the 800's. So, Charles' implication that the title makes it "late" is a silly one. All that we know comes from the internal evidence of the work itself, which takes us up to the year 410. And, while there are a couple of references in the work which date to the year 425, there is absolutely no reason to think that it was written any later than 425 --thus making Zosimus a contemporary of the sack of Rome, and a source for Sozomen, as I said. The other silly element of Charles' claim is that it undermines his argument that pagainism was done away with by 410. For, if Zosimus is a pagan writing later than A.D. 500 (and from a **Christian** city like Constantinople, yet!), then that alone depicts a continuity of paganism for at least another 100 years!! :-)

And, remember, Zosimus is writing for a ready audience of fellow pagans (otherwise, he'd never have been published). So, where were all these dudes after A.D. 500?! Even I don't believe that paganism was a thriving force in the Empire by then! :-) Also, in the introduction of the work, Zosimus identifies himself as "COUNT Zosimus," meaning that he was a Roman military commander. Needless to say, there were no **pagan** Roman military commanders after A.D. 500. and certainly not in the Eastern Empire :-) ...Which, again, shows that the New History was written in the early 400's. [Mark Bonocore: Email Letter to I. Shawn McElhinney circa January 10, 2005 03:28:57 EST]

That suffices to deal with the Zosimus objection raised by Charles methinks.

In contrast, Sozomen, who was born in the last quarter of the
fourth century and died in 447, did live during this period.

This is true.

Again, this is more evidence of Mark's making reckless claims to support his argument.

My guess is that he meant to refer to Socrates not Sozomen. But I will let Mark clarify this one way or the other for us. In light of the relative lack of evidence that your arguments have contained, I do not see where you can get off being too critical of what Mark has said. Nonetheless, it is possible that Mark misspoke here and meant to use other names and I will wait until he comments on what you have noted before I say anything else about it.

The reader can judge these comments by Charles and (by the contents of the striken paragraph) my initially hesitant followup to them with what is noted above on the Zosimus subject. My hesitancy was because I bought into the same presumption on the source that Charles had; however, I was much more willing to presume that there was a logical explanation for it that did Mark credit rather than discredit.{4} And in light of what was added above, it is safe to say that Charles' presumption of Mark's supposed "sloppiness" fails to sustain itself.

Having noted that, let us revisit one of Mark's earlier points on the problems that crop up with those who do not make proper distinctions between the Pope's prerogatives as Successor of Peter and his prerogatives as Pontifex Maximus:

The point in my earlier comments, which referred to Constantine the Great and his successors (i.e., Gratian) being P. Maximus, was that it was unseemly for Constantine (and his immediate successors) to hold the P. Maximus title BECAUSE **IT IMPLIED THAT CONSTANTINE WAS A PRIEST****. ...AND, ... Since the official state cult was now Catholic Christianity, the association was actually quite dangerous, since it meant that Constantine was the legal head of the Church --i.e., a Priest-King!

In the East, this of course would become the roots of Caesaro-Papism and Eastern Orthodoxy's unhealthy fixation on the Emperor as God's vicar on earth. However, in the West, this was avoided because Gratian admitted (legally and constitutionally) that he, as a Christian Emperor, was not a priest; and so he gave the priestly office of the Roman Empire to someone who WAS a priest --the Pope of Rome. This did not mean, however, that the imperial office itself was changed. Rather, the responsibilities remained the same, even though the priesthood of the one holding the office was distinct from it, and transended it. So, in Gratian's mind, the donation of the office did not make the P. Maximus a "Christian high priesthood." If it did, then the Byzantines (per the deleted Canon 28 of Chalcedon) are right, and the Pope's authority rests on his being legal P. Max. alone. Rather, all that Gratian's donation meant was that he himself, as emperor, was not a priest in any sense of the word; and so he rejected the civil office, giving it to the person who held the Christian Papacy instead.

With the Orthodox, this was the origin of their Caesaro-Papist view of church and state relations. With the latter Protestants, the problem was Erastianism which was essentially the same thing: the view that the secular rulers were ordained by God and did not have to answer in any way to their actions in the secular sphere. These are all issues that Mark and I have studied a fair amount -though in fairness I think he knows more of their intricacies than I do -at least as far as the Orthodox understandings of these things go. But I digress.

In the meantime, let us interact with some of Kevin Tierney's comments in the same thread.

"Actually, if you read carefully, you will see that far from using it as a "pillar of argumentation", [...] in actuality I did not feel that either of the last two parts of that thread should have been necessary. [...] From the section on double effect, I noted the following:"

If it really had no bearing Shawn you would not have posted it.

As my trackrecord over the years well illustrates, I tend to overdocument things and not by accident Kevin.{5} My point was that they should not have had to be noted because in light of their tendencies to be critical of everything that they cannot cleanly fit into a post-Trent/pre-Vatican II category, that the critics of Assisi and interfaith gatherings should already be reasonably familiar with these areas. But I have become accustomed to essentially doing equal parts discussing things with people of this persuasion and educating them in areas that they should be familiar with in light of how frequently critical they are.

Important or not, the fact that evidence is not there either way, and Charles can say just the same for Mark, is more an instance of "jumping the gun" (such as when you pick a news issue, then attack some random nameless traditionalsit and say all trads dropped the ball, when it turns out even the extreme trads didn't touch this issue, that's only happened 3 times in our correspondence.)

To touch on these briefly (i) Mark has noted many pieces of evidence of the popes exercising some of the duties that accompanied the position of Pontifex Maximus (ii) I have even thrown a couple of bits into the mix myself (iii) Charles has provided evidence for his presumptions one way or the other except in quoting a dubious translation of Zosimus. And of course your final example in parenthesis is a nice attempt to try and divert the subject; nonetheless, your assertions of "jumping the gun" of course are easily disproved by simple recourse to this weblog's archives.{6} But I digress.

"{1} Even if Charles was right in his disputations with Mark (which thus far does not appear probable), none of this touches on the material I covered in the first two parts of this thread. "

Nice try of spinning Shawn. Since the thread dealt with PM, for Charles to engage it, you then come back with "Well it's irrelevant even though I posted on it!" Now who is employing the scattershot method you so despise?

Kevin still does not seem to grasp what I am saying. My point was that the PM thread is a subsidiary thread which (even if Charles was right in what he is asserting) does nothing to impair whatsoever the primary threads of argumentation I have set down on this weblog in defense of the interfaith gatherings.

I am of course content to let Mark and Charles go at it but thus far the only one who has really been making cogent arguments with substance is Mark. Unfortunately, most of what Mark is doing in this thread is educating the person he is dialoguing with in finer points of early church geopolitics. Meanwhile, Charles argues from silence -though he has (finally) made a couple of points worthy of noting. I have deferred the bulk of any response on them to Mark because this is an area he knows much more about than I do. And that is where this thread is at the present time. The reader can see hopefully that Kevin's assertions of "spinning" are simply so much sound and fury signifying nothing.

"There is no "jumping the gun" in noting what the prerogatives of that position are and how the popes recognized their duties as administrator of the various religious cults in the empire and kingdoms subsequent to the mid fourth century. "

ANd I might be missing this, but what relevancy is that to today, in a completely different landscape? There is no Roman Empire, so speaking from a prudential standpoint, unless a connection may be drawn (and again, I might've missed it in the 12387129372189371289379 pages of writing in these comment boxes) if we're dealing with prudence here (and that is what my posts have been for example) then what good is this?

My point has always been that there is a lot more to this than merely the subject of prudence. But I have already explained this many times{7} and frankly am tired of repeating myself on it.

Just curious about the whole "bias" charge.

Even if true Mark, at one point I saw you bring up Gibbons. Therefore that makes your using of him only seem to "when he agrees with me he's right, when he doesn't he's biased." A claim that even when true it's impossible to prove most the time since it's so subjective. Most the time (and you should know better from your historical debates against Anti-Catholics who bring up the same bias charge) it's used as a cop out.

There is such a thing as a "hostile witness" Kevin. Gibbon is a lot like Schaff in that regard. But that is a subject for another time perhaps.


{1} As in times of invasion: hardly uncommom from the late fourth century onward in the western part of the empire.

{2} And of course the famous canons of Constantinople I -held after Damasus became P Maximus- attempted to apportion to Constantinople the second chair in the Church by recognizing that Rome held the first chair. However, if you read the wording of the canons of that synod (which I might add were not accepted by Rome though the doctrinal formulations such as expanded creed, etc. were) it is clear that there was a confusion of these papal prerogatives in the east as early as 381:

Canon 3. The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome. [Constantinople I: Canon III]

Chalcedon in 451 attempted to revisit the Constantinople I canon on the Bishop of Constantinople, with the infamous Canon XXVIII:

Following in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and acknowledging the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges (isa presbeia) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her...[Chalcedon: Canon XXVIII]

Of course the principle undergirding this canon and the previous one (that the Roman See held its primacy based on the secular grandeur of the former royal city rather than because of Petrine prerogatives) it was again rejected by Rome and quite famously by Leo the Great I might add. The confusion between these positions lay in a mixup of the prerogatives of the two different positions held by the pope: one a religious one (successor of Peter) and one a secular one (essentially a director of the empire's religious cults).

{3} And yes Mark, I sent an invite to you to post to this weblog previously -a point I noted HERE.

{4} This is a principle of a proper and traditionally charitable Catholic outlook: something I have discussed not a few times in recent years in (i) essay writings (ii) on this weblog and also (iii) at Rerum Novarum as well.

{5} This is of course the polar opposite of the approach common to most of those who style themselves as "traditionalist" who tend to either underdocument what they say or merely make assertions or arguments from silence.

{6} These are the threads that Kevin refers to:

On Tony Blair and Receiving Communion (circa May 15, 2004)

It is interesting how a simple offhand comment on my part strikes a nerve with certain parties who sought to respond in detail to what I noted offhand. The first was Jacob Michael to whom I responded at the following link:

On "Premature Demands" - A Belated Response to Jacob Michael (circa June 30, 2004)

Then of course there was a response from Kevin which was dealt with at this link:

Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (circa July 1, 2004)

I have dealt with my tendencies to overdocument sources many times in the past on not a few occasions and am not about to go into that subject again. Interested readers can check the archives of my weblogs and they will undoubtedly find some of them. But I digress.

{7} Here is a recaputulation of nine LEI weblog (or LEI comments box) posts just in the past two months where I have gone over this material already in order from oldest to newest:

To "Mr. T" on Primacy, Collegiality, Etc. (circa November 18, 2004)

To "Mr. T" on Authority, Newman, Development Premises, Etc. (circa November 18, 2004)

To "Mr. T" on Conscience, Idolatry, the Oriental Mind, Etc. (circa November 18, 2004)

Response to Jason in the Comments Box of the Second "Mr. T" Thread (circa December 2, 2004)

A Response to Jason on Religious Liberty and Assisi (circa December 9, 2004)

Response to Kevin in the Comments Box of the Response to Jason on Religious Liberty and Assisi (circa December 11, 2004)

Briefly on Numerous Miscellaneous Bits With Kevin Tierney (circa December 14, 2004)

Response to Kevin in the Comments Box of the Response to Jason on Religious Liberty and Assisi (circa December 14, 2004)

A Response to Jason on Dignitatis Humanae, the Double Effect Principle, Assisi, Etc. (circa December 15, 2004)

With Kevin either being addressed personally or being directly involved in all of the threads above (except for the last one) -and his manifested awareness of most of those threads in subsequent comments he has made to the message boxes- the reader can consider what this says about the kinds of the criticisms that Kevin has sought to make against statements put forth by yours truly.

:: Shawn 6:00 PM [+] | ::

:: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 ::
Real Catholic Traditionalism

Gary Potter, the well-known traditional Catholic historian, once said every young man interested in Catholic Tradition should be made to learn French and read Demain la Chretiente before calling himself a Catholic Traditionalist in the public forum. I agree. Nevertheless, some people find learning new languages difficult, while others have family obligations and other duties in life that prevent them. Anyway, Mr. Potter also mourned that nobody had ever translated this book in English.

Well stop mourning Mr. Potter, a copy of an English translation, while not perfect,
is on its way to your doorstep.

Tomorrow Christendom is now available in both hard copy and ebook format. To order, please visit Author House.

This is the traditionalist classic written by Dom Gerard Calvet, the retired abbot of St. Madeleine de Le Barroux Traditional Catholic Benedictine Monastery in France. The book is basically a blue-print for restoring Catholic tradition to our Catholic faith, our countries and our culture.

:: Pete Vere 7:55 AM [+] | ::

:: Monday, January 10, 2005 ::

...in what appears to be a Blue State snub of Red States. Church of the Masses offers a couple good ideas. Let's email EWTN and Pax TV and ask them to play the Passion during the evening of the Oscar ceremony.

:: Pete Vere 5:40 AM [+] | ::

:: Sunday, January 09, 2005 ::
An autographed copy of More Catholic Than the Pope...

....is being auctioned off as part of a fundraiser for Free Dominion.

:: Pete Vere 1:04 PM [+] | ::

:: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 ::
Tomorrow Christendom now available!

...for ebook download through Author House for a mere $3.95. This is the traditionalist classic written by Dom Gerard Calvet, the retired abbot of St. Madeleine de Le Barroux Traditional Catholic Benedictine Monastery in France. The book is basically a blue-print for restoring Catholic tradition to our Catholic faith, our countries and our culture. Print copies should also be available shortly...

:: Pete Vere 11:52 AM [+] | ::


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