Notre dame

As a metaphor, it is almost too perfect. A noble and beautiful Church, renowned throughout the world. Restoration work is ordered, and by some imprudence or malice, or both, a fire is kindled. Quickly it becomes an uncontrollable blaze. Where are the firemen? The spire collapses, so the church no longer seems to the eyes of men to point heavenwards. Some faithful spontaneously gather, praying, helpless. The Mohammedan openly exults. A priest of tradition valiantly enters the blaze and saves three things: the Holy Eucharist; the sign of the Lord’s Passion; a memorial of Christendom (how galling for the ecclesiastical establishment in France that a spiritual heir of Marcel Lefebvre should be the hero of the hour!) The altar of Mass-towards-man fails; the altar of Mass-towards-God stands. The president of the Masonic republic, a former Catholic, vows: We will rebuild her.

But since you said that all religions by diverse roads and pathways aspire to that one dwelling-place, I fear lest, perchance, while supposing that the way in which you are now found tends there, you should be somewhat reluctant to embrace the way which alone leads men to heaven. Observing, however, more carefully the word which you used, I think that it is not presumptuous for me to expound its meaning somewhat differently; for you did not say that all religions by diverse roads and pathways reach heaven, or reveal, or find, or enter, or secure that blessed land, but by saying in a phrase deliberately weighed and chosen that all religions aspire to it, you have indicated, not the fruition, but the desire of heaven as common to all religions. You have in these words neither shut out the one religion which is true, nor admitted other religions which are false; for certainly the way which brings us to the goal aspires thitherward, but not every way which aspires thitherward brings us to the place wherein all who are brought there are unquestionably blessed. Now we all wish, that is, we aspire, to be blessed; but we cannot all achieve what we wish, that is, we do not all obtain what we aspire to. That man, therefore, obtains heaven who walks in the way which not only aspires thitherward, but actually brings him there, separating himself from others who keep to the ways which aspire heavenward without finally reaching heaven. For there would be no wandering if men were content to aspire to nothing, or if the truth which men aspire to were obtained. If, however, in using the expression diverse ways, you meant me not to understand contrary ways, but different ways, in the sense in which we speak of diverse precepts, which all tend to build up a holy life — one enjoining chastity, another patience or faith or mercy, and the like — in roads and pathways which are only in this sense diverse, that country is not only aspired unto but actually found. For in Holy Scripture we read both of ways and of a way — of ways, e.g. in the words, I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted unto You; of a way, e.g. in the prayer, Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth. Those ways and this way are not different; but in one way are comprehended all those of which in another place the Holy Scripture says, All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth. The careful study of these ways furnishes theme for a long discourse, and for most delightful meditation; but this I shall defer to another time if it be required  In the meantime, however — and this, I think, may suffice in the present reply to your Excellency — seeing that Christ has said, I am the way, John 14:6 it is in Him that mercy and truth are to be sought: if we seek these in any other way, we must go astray, following a path which aspires to the true goal, but does not lead men there.

Letter 104

 

Principles

  1. God owes no one a supernatural end or the beatific vision.
  2. As it happens God created man with a supernatural end and so for the beatific vision.
  3. All other things being equal therefore He will bring any given man to that end.
  4. All other things are not equal for the human race has dishonoured God by original sin and offended him by individual actual sins.
  5. God, on account of His justice, will bring a man who dies guiltless of any actual sin but participating in original sin (so an infant below the age of reason) to the proportionate natural end.
  6. God, on account of His justice, will allow to die in his sins and suffer perpetual torment a man who dies guilty of actual sin and participating in original sin.
  7. God antecedently wills the salvation of all men and has made satisfaction for their sins.

Possible States of the Unevangelized

(a) A man who dies unevangelized before the age of reason will be brought by God to his proportionate natural end but excluded from beatitutde on account of the dishonour done to God in original sin.

(b) A man who attains the age of reason unevangelized and at that moment orders himself to the due end seeking to worship God in the manner He has appointed will receive the infusion of the articles of faith in that moment, be cleansed of original sin and ordered to the supernatural end by sanctifying grace.

(c) A man who attains the age of reason unevangelized and at that moment fails to order himself  to the due end and fails to seek to worship God in the manner He has appointed sins mortally against the first commandment. God will allow him to die in his sins and suffer perpetual torment unless he falls into category (d).

(d) A man who attains the age of reason unevangelized and at that moment fails to order himself  to the due end and fails to seek to worship God in the manner He has appointed sins mortally against the first commandment but later in life acknowledges the existence of the one God as known through reason, repents of his violations of natural law and seeks to order himself to the due end and to worship God in the manner He has appointed. God will either:

i. not preserve such a man in this state until death such that he again sins mortally and is lost or

ii. ensure that he is evangelised by natural, preternatural or supernatural means before death.

[There seems a good case from Holy Writ (Romans 3) that (b) is an empty set.]

 

 

…a ten-foot statue of the Emperor Hadrian, just discovered.

The statue features Trajan in full military regalia, including decorated body armor, a short chiton (the Roman equivalent of a Scottish kilt), and a cloth falling from the left soldier*. A bound enemy soldier can be seen cowering behind the victorious Trajan, who strikes a domineering pose with his right arm in the air. The statue was completed in 113 AD, just four years before the emperor’s death.

(*I think that should be shoulder.)

 

If the gold head of the statue in Daniel 2 signifies Nebuchadnezzar/Babylon, then is the golden idol in Daniel 3 an idol of Nebuchadnezzar himself? An extension of the gold head from Daniel 2 as an act of refusal to accept that his kingdom will pass into the hands of another metal/empire?

…the auxiliary of Astana considers that, far from reflecting an exaggerated ultramontanism, the acceptance of the possibility of a heretical pope but the denial that he could be deposed reflects a reasoned and proportionate understanding of papal authority.

In an exclusive interview with LifeSite, Bishop Schneider expands on certain questions which arose in response to his essay: the authority of those theologians with whom he disagrees, the scope for debate in regard to this question, and the abuses which have arisen since the beginning of the last century from an exaggerated view of papal authority.

Read here

Bishop Athanasius Schneider has published a very interesting piece at Rorate about the impossibility of deposing an heretical pope. He may or may not be right in theory but that very fact of uncertainty probably demonstrates he is right in practice.