“Still we answer the Semipelagians, and say, that infidels who arrive at the use of reason, and are not converted to the Faith, cannot be excused, because though they do not receive sufficient proximate grace, still they are not deprived of remote grace, as a means of becoming converted. But what is this remote grace? St. Thomas explains it, when he says, that if anyone was brought up in the wilds, or even among brute beasts, and if he followed the law of natural reason, to desire what is good, and to avoid what is wicked, we should certainly believe either that God, by an internal inspiration, would reveal to him what he should believe, or would send someone to preach the Faith to him, as he sent Peter to Cornelius. Thus, then, according to the Angelic Doctor [St. Thomas], God, at least remotely, gives to infidels, who have the use of reason, sufficient grace to obtain salvation, and this grace consists in a certain instruction of the mind, and in a movement of the will, to observe the natural law; and if the infidel cooperates with this movement, observing the precepts of the law of nature, and abstaining from grievous sins, he will certainly receive, through the merits of Jesus Christ, the grace proximately sufficient to embrace the Faith, and save his soul.” (The History of Heresies, Refutation 6, #11)

lords_chamber

The reform of the House of Lords is urgently necessary. Her Majesty the Queen is in her ninetieth year. At the accession of the next monarch it is essential for the continuity and stability of the realm that the Coronation be carried out exactly as in 1953. There is some hope for this given the present political constellation and the seemingly remote prospect of a change of governing party in the foreseeable future. One serious obstacle will be the great prominence of the hereditary aristocracy in the Coronation Rite. This will be the crack through which secret and open republicans will seek to prise open the question of the Coronation Rite and subvert it and the monarchy with innumerable banalities.

If the House of Lords is reformed prior to the Coronation in a manner that preserves its essential character but which is unimpeachably democratic this danger can be eradicated and the sovereignty of the King in Parliament protected for future generations.This seems like a tall order but I believe it is possible. How?

  1. The old county boundaries should be restored. Larger urban areas should be exempted from their jurisdiction. Each resulting City and County must then be given, in addition to its County or City Council an elected Lord Mayor or Lord Sheriff. The people of each areas may choose by plebiscite whether the Lord Mayor/Lord Sheriff should be directly elected by the electorate or by the council. Anyone standing for election in this way must either already be a Peer or have served as a member of the House of Commons. These Lords Mayor and Lords Sheriff will then sit in the House of Lords as Lords of Parliament for as long as they retain office in their City or County and represent the interests of each.
  2. The Lord Mayor of London would be appointed in the same way as he is now.
  3. The existing Peers who today compose the House of Lords should be divided into groups according to their party with an additional cross bench group. The members of these groups should then be arranged in order of creation (life or new hereditary) or accession (ninety hereditaries).
  4. The number of Lords of Parliament should be set to 400 (roughly the capacity of the Lords Chamber).
  5. After each General Election for the House of Commons the Lords Sheriff and Mayor should be supplemented by Peers from the party and cross bench lists in order of seniority so that the final number of Lords of Parliament is in exact proportion to the percentage of votes cast for each party in the General Election (the party lists) and of electors who did not vote (the cross bench list).
  6. The Lords Spiritual, the Earl Marshal and the Lord Chamberlain would remain as now in addition to the 400.

In this way the Lords will remain an appointed chamber of broadly the same character as today but with a democratic mandate. Nevertheless, the connection of the majority of the Peers in the Chamber to the electorate will be less direct preserving the primacy of the House of Commons.

 

charlemagneparis

The Ecumenical Councils of Trent and Vatican I and the Creed of Pius IV all require us to:

…accept the Holy Scripture according to that sense which holy mother the Church hath held, and doth hold, and to whom it belongeth to judge the true sense and interpretations of the Scriptures [and] never take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

If is often said that the Church has, in fact, only very rarely defined the precise meaning of a biblical passage. Whether or not that is true one clear instance of such a definition is the Bull Unam Sanctam which has very precise teaching concerning Luke 22:35-38 and John 18:11. In ordering the disciples to buy a sword if they had not one already, and in telling them that two swords are enough, and in ordering Peter to sheath his sword Our Lord laid out the precise nature of the jurisdiction of the sacramental hierarchy and  the Supreme Pontiff over the temporal power.

Both the temporal and the spiritual power are intrinsic to the Church. The spiritual sword is to be exercised for the specific ends for which the Church was instituted and by the members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. In contrast, the temporal sword must be exercised by members of the Church but cannot be wielded by the members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy (although they may confiscate it if it is misused and assign it to another) because it is not a means by which the specific ends of the Church may be advanced.

What rarely seems to attract much notice is the reason Our Lord gave for this arrangement:

And he said to them: When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you want anything? But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end. But they said: Lord, behold here are two swords. And he said to them, It is enough.

The apostles are told to obtain a sword because Christ will be treated as a criminal. As Our Lord also said at the Last Supper “the servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.” The opposition between the Church and the world is such that the Apostles (and their successors) need to have the protection of force in order to function. Yet, a short time later when Peter uses his sword to try to defend the Lord he is rebuked. “Put up thy sword into thy scabbard”. The Apostles have two swords but they are permitted to wield only one. The word of God is in the power of the clergy the state is to be in the power of the laity.

How does this fit with the prohibition on coercive conversion? The temporal sword of Christendom is essentially defensive. It is not ‘for’ the Church as Boniface VIII insists, it is wielded ‘by’ the Church (the lay faithful). The essential purposes of the Church cannot be advanced by violence but the non-ordained members of the Church can use the temporal sword to defend the Church from external persecution. Once the state is no longer in the hands of the Church this is not possible. So long as the state is non-Christian the Church’s business lies in buying the sword (bringing the temporal order by consent into the possession of the Church). Once it is purchased the sword may be drawn – but only by the laity – to stave off temporal impediments to the operation of the spiritual sword. We do not live by the sword. The life of Christendom is established and maintained by the peaceful spreading of the Gospel. However, once that life has reached the highest temporal level of social organisation the temporal sword can and should be drawn in its defence.

As St Cyril of Alexandria teaches:

He says sell his cloak, and buy a sword: for henceforth the question with all those who continue in the land will not be whether they possess anything or not, but whether they can exist and preserve their lives. For war shall befall them with such unendurable impetuosity, that nothing shall be able to stand against it.

At the beginning of the Song of Roland Charlemagne (in deference to his council) seeks to negotiate a temporal peace with Islam. He seeks to keep his cloak instead of buying a sword. He forgets the truth that he remembers later in the midst of battle with the Emir of Babylon: “Never to Paynims may I show love or peace.” The Lord tells us “the things concerning me have an end” there is no new revelation to dispense us from the unremitting opposition of the world. As Leo XIII teaches “Christians are born for combat”. The faithful must sell their cloaks and buy a sword because the state cannot simply be left in the hands of the pagans if the Church is to survive. This is why the Song ends with a weary Emperor roused from his bed by St Gabriel to carry on the war. He sought not first the Kingdom of God and His justice and so earthly peace is taken from him until he learns his lesson.

Some nice snippets from Dom Prosper Gueranger on the gratuity of grace, as seen in the Holy Innocents. First, an excerpt from St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s sermon on today’s feast [emphasis mine]: “In St. Stephen, we have both the act and the desire of martyrdom; in St. John, we have but the desire; in the Holy Innocents, we have but the act…Will any one doubt whether a crown was given to these Innocents?…If you ask me what merit could they have, that God should crown them? Let me ask you, what was the fault, for which Herod slew them? What! is the mercy of Jesus less than the cruelty of Herod? And whilst Herod could put these babes to death, who had done him no injury, Jesus may not crown them for dying for Him? Stephen, therefore, is a martyr, by a martyrdom of which men can judge, for he gave this evident proof of his sufferings being felt and accepted, that, at the very moment of his death, his solicitude both for his own soul and for those of his persecutors increased; the pangs of his bodily passion were less intense than the affection of his soul’s compassion, which made him weep more for their sins than for his own wounds. John was a martyr, by a martyrdom which only Angels could see, for the proofs of his sacrifice being spiritual, only spiritual creatures could ken them. But, the Innocents were martyrs to none other eye save Thine, O God! Man could find no merit; Angel could find no merit: the extraordinary prerogative of Thy grace is the more boldly brought out. From the mouth of the Infants and the Sucklings Thou hast perfected praise. [Ps. viii. 3.] The praise the Angels give thee, is: Glory be to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will: [St. Luke, ii. 14.] it is a magnificent praise, but I make bold to say, that it is not perfect, till He cometh Who will say: ‘Suffer Little Children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven;’ [St Matth. xix. 14.] and in the mystery of My mercy, there shall be peace to men that cannot even use their will.”

Then a reference to a Preface in both the Ambrosian Missal and Leonian Sacramentary: “It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should exceedingly praise Thee, O Holy Almighty Father, in the precious death of the Infants, whom the unhappy Herod, with savage cruelty, slew because of the Infant Jesus, Thy Son, our Lord. Herein do we recognise how immeasurable are the gifts of Thy mercy, for the splendour of Thy free grace outshines the martyrs’ will; and they nobly confess Thy name, who are not yet able to speak. They suffer martyrdom before their bodies are ripe for martyrdom: they bear testimony to Christ, before they have even known Him. O the infinite goodness of the Omnipotent God! He suffers not the merit of everlasting glory to be lost by them that are slain for His sake, though they know not what they do: and being bathed in their own blood, He effects in them the salvation of regeneration, and gives them the crown of martyrdom.

And from Gueranger himself: “And we, too, Blessed Babes! we celebrate your triumph, and we congratulate you in your having been chosen as the companions of Jesus when in His crib. What a glad waking was yours, from the darkness of unconscious infancy to the Divine light of life eternal! How dear to you the sword that thus transformed you! What gratitude had you not for the God, Who thus chose you, out of millions of other children, to do honour to the birth of His Son, by this sacrifice of your blood and lives! Too young to fight the battle, yet did you win the crown. The martyr’s palm waved in those tiny hands, which had not strength to pluck it, God would give proof of His munificence — He would teach us that He is Master of His gifts. And, was it not fitting, that the birth of the Son of this great King should be commemorated by largess such as this? Sweet Infant Martyrs! We give praise to our God for His having thus favoured you, and, with the whole Church, we rejoice in the privileges you have received…Flowers of the Martyrs! We confide in your intercession, and beseech you, by the reward so gratuitously conferred on you, to be mindful of us your Brethren, who are struggling amidst the dangers of this sinful world. We, too, desire to receive those same palms and crowns, which you have won, but with such innocence and simplicity, that the Church says you played with them: whereas we have to fight hard and long for them, and are so often on the point of losing them for ever! The God that has glorified you, is our last end as truly as He is yours; in Him alone can our hearts find their rest; pray for us, that we may possess Him for all eternity.”

A rather haunting image that he gives as well, if seen from a purely natural perspective: “You gazed upon the murderers who broke your gentle sleep, and you found nothing to make you fear; the bright sword they held over your cradle, had but the look of a toy you asked to play with; death stared you in the face, and you smiled on him.”

“Behold I and my children, whom the Lord hath given me for a sign, and for a wonder in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Sion.” (Isaias 8:18)

immaculate-heart-of-mary

Could the great sign in the heavens of Revelation 12 be imminent? Certainly, the mood in the air seems to speak of great things (for good and ill) hitherto unknown to history. The centenary of the Miracle of the Sun approaches.

“The object of our life is ‘to seek God’; that is our destiny, our vocation. This vocation is incomparably high, because every creature, even the angelic creature, is of its nature infinitely far removed from God. God is the fulness of Being and of all perfection; and every creature, however perfect it may be, is only a being drawn out of nothing and possesses only a borrowed perfection. Moreover, as we have said, the end of a free creature is, in itself, proportioned to the nature of this creature; as every created being is ‘finite’, the beatitude to which it has a right by nature is necessarily limited. But God, in immense condescension, has willed to admit us to share His intimate Divine Beatitude. This Beatitude, placed infinitely beyond our nature, constitutes our last end and the foundation of the supernatural order.”

– Blessed Columba Marmion, Christ the Ideal of the Monk

Peters goes for Bellarmine’s view over that of Suarez and Cajetan: “Through heresy notoriously and openly expressed, the Roman Pontiff, should he fall into such, is, by that very fact, and before any declaratory sentence of the Church, deprived of his power of jurisdiction.” However, it seems to me, there is effectively no practical difference as to be heresy the error has to be obstinate and and so the admonition of the Pope’s proper counsellors has the same effect as the declaratory sentence by the same. Peters doesn’t reach this point because he eschews “detailed canonical examination of the mechanics for assessing possible papal heresy”.

https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/a-canonical-primer-on-popes-and-heresy/