It is important for Catholics today to hear this [sic] affirmation of the Second Vatican Council. It certainly was a great grace to the Church in the 1960′s considering, not only the many social and cultural shifts which had taken place globally since Vatican I (1869-70), but also the breaking of a long-standing mentality of authoritarianism within the Church itself. The result of the Council was a great paradigm shift in the Church’s relationship to the world and its peoples, emphasizing dialogue and communion. Today it may be worth asking why those documents, which are so revolutionary in nature and filled with the Spirit, have not been consistently and zealously implemented at every level of the Church over the past half century.
Whether it was a “great grace” is certainly open to question. Shucks, I don’t know – dizzying declines in church attendance, Jim and Tammy Faye Masses, anodyne homilies from the pulpit, scores of pro-abort/contracepting Catholics, polyester pantsuit nuns going on endlessly about the Enneagram and “saving the climate”, cornball catechesis for the kids, Star Wars inspired church architecture, the domination of Catholic MSM by liberals, heresy taught at universities, Catholic school policy succumbing to sodomite imperatives. From one perspective, I guess, all this lovely stuff can be deemed as “a great paradigm shift”. Certainly, a “revolutionary” aspect is involved. But it is my understanding that V2 was a pastoral council, not dogmatic. Unless you’ve been mesmerized by the kaleidoscopic outfits of this woman…
…(hello Joe), or if you think yourself too sexy for Milan, New York and Japan – like this tush-shaking male model…
Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she’s gone.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds….
How true, innocence and ignorance walk hand-in-hand. TH2, too, harkens back to his salad days, with a mixture of fondness and unhappiness, but mostly unhappiness. VI. ITEM THE THIRD / UNSCIENTIFICALLY SPEAKING. Let me put forward this scenario: Say you’re on the editorial board of Canada’s most prestigious Catholic newspaper. Moreover, let us say that the gang is sitting around a table in the boardroom, discussing which topic in the news warrants editorializing in this week’s issue. Say the subject of “when life begins” (moment of conception) is proposed, in reference to an MP who recently introduced a motion in Parliament, having the intention of starting a debate on this question. The Canadian Criminal Code states at a person is not human until after “complete birth”, thus the child in utero has no legal rights according to this code. Furthermore, let us say that this politician desires the issue to be debated exclusively within the domain of scientific research/data. Well, in fact, such is the case, the politician’s name is Stephen Woodworth, a Conservative MP, and the Catholic Register did publish an editorial for this story on February 7th. To supposedly give the column some historical context, a few sentences were devoted to the relationship between the Catholic Church and science. VII. Now one would reasonably assume that, to qualify as a member of the editorial board for an eminent Catholic newspaper, at least a modicum of knowledge of Church history would be one prerequisite for the appointment. We’re not talking a doctoral degree in medieval history, just the basics without the Whig spin. A fair assumption? Yes? Then please explain this:
There was a time, of course, when the Church believed some questions were better left unasked. But the days have long passed since the likes of Galileo or Darwin were considered threats. Today, the Church embraces science, particularly when it can advance the common good of mankind… like the Church in the Middle Ages, Parliament wants no part of a scientific and medical investigation that could raise questions about entrenched beliefs.
Listen, I realize Popular Mechanics is a fun magazine for finding facts and figures n’stuff, though I fail to understand how this farcical drivel can be formally presented in a Catholic periodical without embarrassment, assuming no malcontentedness. Firstly, the whole Galileo affair related more to matters theological rather than scientific. But just go ahead and feed the ravenous secular MSM more fodder to body slam the medieval Church. Secondly, the Church never had a problem with the Theory of Evolution within the framework of biological/material change and adaptation. Still, like any scientific theory (which it is, still), it’s open to modification, improvement, even refutation. In 1868 Cardinal Newman observed: “the theory of Darwin, true or not, is not necessarily atheistic; on the contrary, it may simply be suggesting a larger idea of divine providence and skill”. Any theological qualms with it belong to the Protestant Creationists, biblical literalists or whomever Concordist. Unfortunately, the falsifiable hypothesis called “Intelligent Design” – a kind of “scientific” form of Creationism – has muddied the waters of this debate, suckering in not a few conservative Christians, including Catholics, even the meddlesome Cardinal Schönborn of Vienna. Where the Church does draw the line is when Darwinistic materialism is used to explicate the immaterial mind or soul of man, as that interrelates to the whole Freewill versus Determinism argument. Rather, the Church regards man’s total material/immaterial being (essentially, ultimately) as elevated above a this-world materiality, as a “discontinuity, an ontological leap”, to use an interesting descriptor by Pope John Paul II. VIII. What is mind boggling in the quotation is the debonair use “of course” in relation to scientific questions the Church allegedly “left unasked”, and the nonchalant manner by which it is claimed the medieval Church wanted “no part of a scientific and medical investigation” – as if these are verified historical actualities. One expects to read such uninformed, slanted, Whiggish remarks in Maclean’s, or THIS Magazine for that matter. What a contrast that remark is to another speaking of “the extreme liberality of the Catholic church during the close of the Middle Ages towards the meditations of the philosopher and the experiments of the physicists”. That was written by Pierre Duhem (1861-1916), world renown mathematician, physicist, philosopher/historian of science. He was also a very devout Catholic. What Duhem demonstrated, to the consternation of the secular intelligentsia, was that only the monotheistic/orthodox Catholic worldview of the Medieval Schoolmen, who promoted a – yes! – rational, non-theological approach to the physical world, could foster the true genesis of science, allowing it to advance in succeeding centuries, to the modern day. In other words, science could only have originated and progressed within a traditional Catholic cultural matrix. Granted, most of Duhem’s works are in French, with few English translations. But then there was the internationally known Hungarian priest-theologian-physicist-polymath-polyglot Fr. Stanley Jaki (1924-2009). He spent a good part of his intellectual life corroborating, and expanding upon, Duhem’s findings. If one explores books and articles on the history of science prior to AD 1500 (i.e. before the Protestant Reformation), eventually, inevitably the names Duhem and Jaki are encountered. IX. Just a few examples of medieval science in action: Adelard of Bath (fl. 1130): his “insistence that natural causes could be studied without impinging on theology, and that it was essential to assemble and correlate facts as part of one’s reasoning process was new to many of his contemporaries… he was the key contributor to the conceptual revolution which initiated scientific methods”; Gerard of Brussels (ca. 10th/11th century): kinematics; Jordanus de Nemore (fl. 1170-1237): theory of motion, algebra, geometry; Friar Roger Bacon (ca. 1214-1294): commentaries on telescopes, flying machines, horseless carriages, suspension bridges, submarines, self-propelled boats; Dietrich of Frieberg (ca. 1250-1310): magnifying lenses to improve eyesight, colour spectrum, rainbows; Jean Buridan (ca. 1300-1358) theory of impetus, inertia; Blasius of Parma (ca. 1345-1416): hydrostatics (see my essay on the origins of science here for more information on this fascinating subject). X. But the king of medieval scientists was the Bishop of Lisieux, France, namely Nicole Oresme (ca. 1323-1382). That he was “one of the most significant authors of mathematical and physical works during the Middle Ages is now beyond dispute”. Oresme’s research anticipated three major scientific advancements: the Earth’s diurnal rotation (prefiguring Copernicus); a coordinate system to graphically represent mathematical functions (prefiguring Descartes); the law of freefalling bodies (prefiguring Galileo). Said Fr. Jaki: “if one is to trace the antecedent of Newton’s definitions of motion, momentum, and inertia, the line of investigation leads inevitably to Oresme’s inquiring mind, guided by a firm profession of faith”. So, not only did it “embrace science” during the Middle Ages, contrary to the CR editorial’s assertion otherwise, the Roman Catholic Church fostered its origination, thus allowing it to develop into a self-sustaining enterprise in later centuries. Accordingly, Jesus Christ is not only the Saviour of Humanity, He is also – as Fr. Jaki entitled a book – “The Saviour of Science”. Dear Catholic Register, is the abovementioned a big 10-4? Do I hear a Roger Dodger? Allllrighteeee, then… XI. ITEM THE FOURTH / SKY WORSHIPPING NUNS WITH BISHROPIC SUPPORT. In his never-ending quest to promote every fashionable left wing grievance spanning from the Transantarctic Mountains to the Bering Strait, CR associate editor Michael Swan gives voice to the poor habitless Sisters of St. Joseph, with an article entitled: “Bishops’ silence on climate change baffles nuns”. Here, meet a sister and be baffled. For more entertainment, learn about the enthralling goings-on at the “Office for Systematic Justice” and the “Ecology Committee“: “We have a vision that sees Jesus’ prayer ‘that all may be one’ accomplished in the fiber of all species, including humans and in Earth herself”. Good grief. Now, normally, one expects nuns to be mostly engaged with prayer and the care of souls. Not these latter day cupcakes. The Gaian gals, reportedly, are in a kerfuffle over the climate. They’re upset that the CCCB declined to sign the “Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change”. Ever heard of that? Neither has most everyone else north of the 49th parallel. Considering that the climate has perpetually changed for billions of years, that the anthropogenic-induced “global warming” theory is in its death throes (remember the University of East Anglia emails?), it’s difficult to understand why the sistas are in a tizzy. Firstly, temperatures for this winter season in North America have so far been anomalously warm, i.e. the climate has effectively changed, a kind of miniature “global warming” if you will. Yet I’ve neither heard or read any news reports of any pan-continental environmental calamity actuating shifts in the North American Continental Plate. Secondly, the bishops may have refused to sign the aforementioned declaration, but being the super troopers they are, les garçons du nord are preparing a “reflection paper”. According to Star Chamber spinmeister René Laprise, it’s going to examine the “theological and ethical principles to assist Catholics in responding to the questions and challenges of climate change”. See, girls, there’s really no need to be baffled because, in reality, the bishops, like you, are just as eager to bow down before, and submit to, the sky gods. All hail Aeris maximus! XII. One shepherd who appears to be quite excited about getting in on the climate action is Whitehorse’s Bishop Gary Gordon. It’s a “pastoral priority”, reportedly. “Let’s look at this in terms of what each individual person is doing in terms of their own conversion – lessening their consumption, sustainable living”. His Grace even arranged for the construction of a residence with a reduced energy “footprint”. What a laudable action! Glorious! Logically, one assumes that such a respectful gesture toward Mother Earth would even excite radical environmentalist David Suzuki. Like Suzuki, +Gary originates from the nature-worshipping West Coast (in Vancouver, BC), so his dream for a “carbon-neutral diocese” isn’t that much of a shock. However, you have to wonder if +Gordon’s assignment of climate change as a “pastoral priority” is indicative of a shepherd with convoluted priorities. It is my understanding that a bishop’s principal responsibility is to wield his authority to save souls, not “save the climate”. Salus animarum lex suprema est. Yes or no? Perhaps some exploratory data analysis will demonstrate what I am getting at…
The bishops of Ontario agree with a January 13, 2011 Globe and Mail editorial when it says, “It is not for the Church, by itself, to run Catholic education in Ontario”… There are numerous partners involved in the formation of our young people, all playing critical roles in the educational journey… In our publicly funded Catholic schools, however, as bishops it is our role to help to weave the thread of faith in our schools by offering guidance, as well as pastoral leadership and support, to our partners in Catholic education on a host of issues relating to the faith foundation of our schools.
Almost fell out my chair when I first read that flower talk. Agreeing with the Globe & Mail? An “educational journey”, “weave the thread of faith”? You’re kidding, right? Hey, it’s not just me thinking Ontario’s bishops collapsed like a house of cards. After the elevation to Cardinal: “Fr. de Valk suggests that this would be an opportunity for Cardinal Collins to take a strong stand against Premier McGuinty and his subversive sex-ed policies, and re-assert the moral high ground of Church and family”. If you read between the lines of that quote, it’s obvious that Fr. de Valk isn’t a happy camper – and rightly so. That’s because, notwithstanding the elevation to Cardinal, as archbishop (since 2006) Collins, along with his other non-confrontational ACBO buddies, was certainly within his authority to stop, or at least mitigate, the Gaystapo influence on Ontario Catholic schools. XX. Whether it be the homosexualist lobby, teachers unions (e.g. OECTA), or just the apostatic educrat class in general, the thing to be realized here is that you’re dealing with a significant number of individuals who have been, in the Marxist sense, thoroughly proletarianized. Oh yes, they dress nicely, they play golf on the weekends, they’re all smiles and sunshine at first appearance. But don’t be fooled. Once the debate gets going and matters come to a head, the cloak falls: obviousness in mannerism, incessant profanity casually expressed, over-the-top self-righteousness, petty fiefdoms to be protected, union due jackpots to be guarded, grantocracies and retirement benefits to be guaranteed, hedonistic or otherwise depraved lifestyles and fetishes to be accepted as “normal”, anti-Western sentiment, cultural relativism, and a multi-group-alliance advocating every other radical Left wing cause or idea at stark variance to the Magisterium. All meaning that you’d better have some street sense and a good measure of testicular fortitude because these punks have stone-cold agendas, and will stab you in the back faster than you can say Jack Robinson. Remember, people, we’re here talking about well-organized, clout-wielding enemies of the Roman Catholic Church, not Ward Cleaver and his band of merry men. Welcome to the jungle, baby!… and let TH2 assure you, it’s not fun and games. XXI. ITEM THE SEVENTH / D+P VULTURES CIRCLING OVERHEAD. Lent has just started so, regrettably, this means Development and Peace will soon be at a parish near you to pew-beg for donations via pretty little envelopes. Anyone who has followed Canadian Catholic news over the last three years already knows about the incontrovertible evidence demonstrating D+P’s support of pro-abortion groups in the so-called “Global South”. If not, check out the D+P page at LifeSite News here. You are also probably aware that the CCCB banned LSN at its plenary session last October (a despicable act that, astonishingly, caused no uproar in the Catholic blogosphere). This time around we get the usual empty promise from Star Chamber prez +Richard Smith: “Development and Peace is well aware it too must adapt and improve”. Blah blah blah… Thusly: give ZERO DOLLARS to D+P or, like me, consider inserting a discount coupon for a Che Guevara T-shirt in the envelope that comes your way. Remember: D+P is an enemy of the Roman Catholic Church, an enemy operating within. By funding pro-abortion groups, and by working ever so hard to deny and obfuscate this fact, it therefore has made a deal with the Devil. The cover provided by the CCCB shows the bishops are complicit in this deal. Sleep well, Mr. Big. Have a nice hot meal and a warm glass of milk before retiring tonight. And when you lay your head on the pillow, and as you enter the beta state, smile… and think happy thoughts. Evidently, your conscious is crystal clear. Thus concludes our exercise in carpet bombing.
With much love and affection…
I am ever your humble servant,
Sincerely yours, TH2
OOO XXX NOTES / REFERENCES 1. J.L. Allen, Jr., “Incivility hurts the pro-life cause”, National Catholic Reporter, September 11, 2009. 2. S. Gnomes, “What did the Church do with the talents bestowed at Vatican II?”, Salt+Light, January 16, 2012. 3. “Scientifically speaking”, Catholic Register, February 7, 2012. 4. C. Schönborn, “Finding Design in Nature”, New York Times, July 7, 2005. 5. From Pope John Paul II, “Theories of Evolution”, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996. Published in First Things, March 1997, no. 71, pp. 28-29. 6. P. Duhem, Medieval Cosmology, Theories of Infinity, Place, Time, Void, and the Plurality of Worlds, ed./trans. R. Ariew (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), p. 510. Selections from Duhem’s multi-volume Le Système du Monde. 7. L. Cochrane, Adelard of Bath, The First English Scientist (London: British Museum Press, 1994), p. viii. 8. M. Clagget, “Some general aspects of physics in the Middle Ages”, In: Studies in Medieval Physics and Mathematics (London: Variorum Reprints, 1979), Paper I, p. 38. 9. S.L. Jaki, Science and Creation, From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe (Scottish Academic Press, 1986), p. 240. 10. S.L. Jaki, The Savior of Science (Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1988). 11. M. Swan, “Bishops’ silence on climate change baffles nuns”, Catholic Register, January 15, 2012. 12. Quoted in ibid. 13. Ibid. 14. “Notes on International Mass Attendance”, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 15. C. El-chaar, “To Catholic bishops of Ontario”, Catholic Insight, February 2012, vol. XX, no. 2, p. 10. 16. Quoted in C. Lewis, “Archbishop of Toronto joins Vatican’s inner circle as cardinal”, National Post, January 6, 2012. 17. Congregation for Divine Worship, Redemptionis Sacramentum, On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, ch. IV, pt. 2, para. 92. 18. Quoted in P.B. Craine, “Evangelicals disappointed at lack of Catholic leadership on homosexuality push in Ontario schools”, LifeSite News, January 26, 2011. You would think ++Collins would at least refer to Rome before making such vacuous comments to the media. Quoting the following would be helpful: “The Church identifies this task [Catholic education] as its own… and claims it for its own competence, regardless of the nature of the school (State–run or non–State–run, Catholic or non–Catholic) in which such teaching is given… Catholic religious instruction and education which are imparted in any schools whatsoever are subject to the authority of the Church… It is for the conference of bishops to issue general norms about this field of action and for the diocesan bishop to regulate and watch over it”, Congregation for Catholic Education, Circular Letter to the Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences on Religious Education in Schools, sec. III, paras. 13-14. 19. “Archbishop Collins Elevated”, Catholic Insight, February 2012, vol. XX, no. 2, p. 23. 20. Quoted in D. Gyapong, “D&P’s Share Lent appeal launches”, Catholic Register, February 14, 2012.