BISHOP WILLIAMSON CONFERENCES – n°12
We come now to a very important part – these 16 monstrous errors. It says, “Therefore, as Pope, I again condemn them,” and then, “By Our Apostolic Authority we reprobate, denounce, condemn all the above doctrinal errors and mean all Catholics to condemn them.”
What you’ve got there is the four causes in scholasticism. It’s Aristotle. Aristotle says that everything has four causes. There are two inside and two outside. Inside you’ve got the formal and material cause. Outside you’ve got the final and efficient cause. That’s all Greek. Take a wooden chair. The chair is made out of wood. The wood is the material of the chair. The wood is then given a form so that it has a back and it has four legs and it has a seat. That’s the form of the chair. The form unites with the matter, just like the shape of the chair is completely united with the wood, and the form and the matter are united, and they are the two causes inside the thing. Then you’ve got two causes outside the thing. Firstly you’ve got the efficient cause, which means what effects the form, what puts the form into the matter, and that’s the carpenter. So you’ve got the carpenter, the wood, and the shape of the chair. Then the cause of causes is what the carpenter did it for. The carpenter is outside the chair. What he did it for is outside the chair. You have two causes outside, two causes inside, so the final cause is the finis or the end or the purpose. The final doesn’t mean last. It means the purpose cause. So you start with the purpose cause. What have you got? You’ve got a carpenter who’s thinking of something he wants to achieve, something he wants to do – “I want to make something to sit down on.” That’s the final cause of the chair – something to sit down on. This final cause drives the carpenter, who’s the efficient cause, to impose the formal cause upon the material cause. The lowest of the causes, so to speak, is the matter. The matter is the dumbest, in a sense. It’s just down there at the bottom. The final cause will drive the efficient cause to impose the formal cause upon the material cause - final, efficient, formal, material.
What we are looking at is the four causes that make up an infallible definition. The Church in 1870 defined an infallible definition. The Church defined her own infallibility. Pope Pius IX defined in 1870 the Church’s infallibility, and it’s quite strict, and that infallibility means that the Pope is starting with the efficient cause. The Pope as Pope, in other words not the Pope as Bishop of Rome or the Pope as the inhabitant of the Vatican or the Pope as the most intelligent man in Italy, the Pope has got to be acting and writing and thinking and speaking and defining as Pope. He’s got to be defining as Pope, the Pope as Pope, and he’s the only one that can do it.
He’s defining. The form of a definition is its definitive character – “This is it once and for all. I, as Pope as Pope, say this is it. This is the Truth. This is absolute truth. This is certain truth.” That’s the defining. The material cause, like the wood, the only kind that the Pope can use to make a definition is something on faith or morals. If the Pope says, “I think Manchester United deserve to win over Manchester City” - no way. If the Pope says, “I prefer mushrooms to cauliflower” then that’s not of interest. “I prefer bacon to eggs” – no, none of that. It’s got to be faith or morals. Then the final cause is that he’s going to bind Catholics. The purpose that the Pope has to define, to make an infallible definition, is to fasten Catholics in the Truth, to give Catholics a certainty of Truth. The Pope is not going to invent a truth that he’s going to define. He cannot invent a truth that he’s going to define. He can only take a part of the Church’s teaching and make it definite. He does not make the Truth. That’s a crucial thing. He does not make the Truth with a definition. He only makes the certainty of the Truth.
You’ve got firstly the reality, like, for instance, the Immaculate Conception, which is what he defined in 1854. He made a very solemn declaration that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived immaculate, that by a miracle God intervened and worked inside the womb of St Anne and the Lord God stopped the usual contamination of the soul, which God infuses in every human being for a human being to come into existence. God creates the soul and infuses it in the materials put together by the father and the mother. Usually from the father’s material passes the contamination of Original Sin into the soul that God is infusing. The soul and the material are very intimately united. They’re only going to be separated by death. At that moment, because of the fault of Adam and Eve, of Adam, in particular, then no human parents can normally put together a sperm and an egg without at that moment of the infusion of the soul, the soul being contaminated by Original Sin. That’s the fault of Adam. It’s not the fault of God. That’s the doctrine. Then the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is that at that moment when usually Original Sin passes to the soul and contaminates the soul, by a miracle of intervention God stopped that usual contamination passing, and therefore the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary was even conceived immaculate. You and I, all of us, were conceived maculate. She was conceived immaculate. She’s the only person that that’s ever happened to in that way. Our Lord was conceived immaculate because He had no human father. The contamination passes by the father, not by the mother. It’s Adam’s responsibility. Therefore, Our Lord, having the Holy Ghost as a father, so to speak, of His human nature, Our Lord never risked contamination. Our Lady risked it, but she was preserved from it.
You start with the reality. Then you have the Truth. Then you have the definition and then you have the certainty. One, reality, two, truth, three, definition, four, certainty. The reality produces the Truth. The definition produces the certainty. So what you’ve got is the reality of what happened inside the womb of St Anne when she conceived the Blessed Virgin Mary. That’s the reality. It’s a historical reality. The Church had often taught it all the way up to the definition of 1854. It was common teaching but it wasn’t yet absolutely certain. That was the reality that had taken place way back when the Blessed Virgin Mother was conceived, which will have been about 16AD, assuming that she became a mother at the age of about 16, probably not much more. That’s the historic event. At the time practically nobody knew about it. When she became the mother of Our Lord, practically nobody knew about it. When Our Lord was born, practically nobody knew. Nobody was yet really saying that she was conceived immaculate. From the shepherds onwards, all kinds of souls had an immense veneration for the Blessed Mother of God, but only with time did people say, “It’s not possible she had Original Sin.” Then others argued, “Oh, yes, she’s a normal human. She must have had Original Sin.” No, she wasn’t normal because it’s impossible that the tabernacle of her womb was contaminated or soiled with any kind of sin. That’s not possible. The argument got going. Generally the Church believed, and finally in 1854 what the Pope did was not to create the reality. He absolutely did not create the reality of what happened in St Anne’s womb nearly 1,850 years previously. The Pope obviously had nothing to do with that. Nor did he have anything to do with the truth of all of those doctors down the ages that had said, “She can’t have been conceived maculate. It’s not possible.”
We arrive at 1854, and the Pope then in order to give Catholics clarity and certainty in their minds, his purpose is the certainty of this great doctrine. Because it’s a doctrine that obviously involves Original Sin, it’s a document that supposes Original Sin, and the Modernists, the modern world, the liberals, don’t believe in Original Sin, so this was a great occasion to punch over to the wretched modern world that Original Sin is a reality. The Church has always believed it’s a reality, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from Original Sin, so obviously it’s a very doctrinal matter. It’s pure faith and morals. Against this wretched modern world, which is destroying women, which is destroying Original Sin, which is destroying human beings, which is destroying humanity, against this wretched modern world Pope Pius IX punches over with a solemn definition – “She was conceived immaculate.” Immaculate of what? Immaculate of Original Sin. So his purpose is to give Catholics certainty of this noble and pure doctrine, which is not yet certain. It’s widely taught in the Church but there are still some who deny. The Pope says, “This is it.” Purpose is the definition, and then the Pope speaks as Pope.
He gathered together the bishops in the Vatican. It was a very solemn occasion - silver trumpets, golden ornaments, you name it, but that’s not what makes a solemn definition - the silver trumpets. The silver trumpets to solemnise the occasion but they don’t create the definition. The definition is the Pope is Pope, speaking in order to define, in order to settle the matter for Catholics of goodwill, who are willing to submit their minds and accept what the Church teaches on faith and morals, as a matter very much of faith, whether anybody can be conceived without Original Sin, whether the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without Original Sin, faith and morals, and finally speaking in defining fashion. So the carpenter is the Pope, the defining-ness is the chair, the material is the faith and morals, the matter of faith such as the immaculate-ness of the Virgin Mary, and the purpose is to give Catholics certainty as an anchor in their minds against the poor wretched modern world destroying Original Sin and destroying womanhood, destroying family and destroying humanity. This is an anchor for poor Catholics to hold their minds clear.
What you’ve got in the text of Quanta Cura is – “By Our Apostolic Authority, we reprobate, denounce and condemn” – that’s the defining-ness – “all the above doctrinal errors” – that’s the material of faith and morals – “and we mean all Catholics to condemn them.” Our purpose is to bind Catholics. We’re not going to bind Catholics of bad will, but any Catholics willing to submit their minds to what the Church teaches, here it is, I’m making you a present of this definition. For the poor wretched modern world, every definition is a limitation of my liberty - “A definition! I have to think this! The Church is imposing this upon me! The Church is limiting my freedom and my freedom of research, my freedom of intellect, my freedom of mind! Oh, horror, horror, horror!” That’s the modern world.
There was a famous Catholic convert in England some time in the 19th century, and he said, “Oh, I would be quite happy if every morning on the breakfast table with a copy of The Times there arrived a new definition from Mother Church.” He had got it. He had understood that every definition was a help for his mind to grasp the Truth, to be certain of Truth, not a limitation of his liberty, but an increase of his power to think truly. It’s like the definition between liberty to and liberty from. What the modern world adores is liberty from, but what we need is liberty to.
I always give the example of a great jet, an Airbus 380, before it takes off from France for the Far East. There is this huge plane sitting on the tarmac, and the pilot has a checklist, and he has to go through this checklist, and he’s got to obey every little thing on that checklist, because if he doesn’t obey every little thing, if he makes one little mistake the plane’s going to crash, so before he takes off he goes through this checklist. Now this checklist limits his liberty from. He is tied down to it, but being tied down to all of those things, his liberty from is exceedingly diminished. Maybe there’s a checklist of 100 or 200 items, and you’ve seen a pilot sitting down in the cockpit going over the buttons, the dials, the charts, the little screens, everything, to make sure it’s all in shape, and then the engineers on the ground, and we’ve seen how just before a plane takes off, one or the other walks all round the plane, and they’re obviously looking at the flaps. It’s an outside check and then there’s the inside check. They need to check all of these things. They need to obey regulation 1, 2, 3, down to 300 to make sure that the plane can take off, but if they diminish their liberty from then they guarantee their liberty to. The liberty to is the liberty for the aeroplane to fly. If you don’t have a pile of regulations diminishing your liberty from, you’re not going to have the liberty to. The plane’s not going to be able to fly, so you have to check all of those things before the thing can fly.
So an extra definition of the Church is another cockpit regulation, but it’s another thing that guarantees the mind being able to fly to heaven with the Faith of the Church. Every definition is a diminution of liberty from for the mind, but, as the reader of The Times understood, every definition that might arrive with the copy of The Times on his breakfast table was an increase of his liberty to. This intelligent Englishman understood that - liberty to is much more important than liberty from, because liberty to is what liberty is for, whereas today liberty is just, in any case, liberty from, liberty from, liberty from. That’s all the modern world understands about liberty. So what you’ve got in this text are the four conditions fulfilled of a solemn and infallible definition.
Liberals try to argue that Quanta Cura is not a solemn definition, but here it is. I don't know how they try to argue it, but I know they try to argue because they’re squirming to get out of these 16 errors being condemned. Quanta Cura makes the liberals squirm, which is why the Archbishop anchors his mind, like the English gentleman, in these definitions which absolutely nail the wretched modern world.
The modern world is way off track. The Council, which wanted to go over to the modern world and all of these other errors, are way off track, and a Catholic must hold his mind on the straight line that’s been running for centuries and centuries, and which the popes were defending until Vatican II. Pope Pius XII was still absolutely defending the straight line with the great encyclical, for instance, of Humani Generis. Humani Generis of 1951 really closes the series of the great anti-liberal encyclicals, although Pius XII still wrote one or two more before he died in 1958. Nevertheless, Humani Generis is another tremendous piece. It’s like a Syllabus. It’s a compendium of the errors but it doesn’t make an infallible definition.
What you’ve got here are the four causes. The four causes that would be defined solemnly and infallibly in 1870 are here in reality present in 1854. Therefore this section 8 of Quanta Cura, there’s a very strong case - that’s the least that can be said - a very strong case for this being for the Church an infallible definition. When Cardinal Ratzinger says, “Oh, well, it’s just a substantial anchorage, a provisional fixing of Church doctrine but that anchor needed to be pulled up and the Church needed to move on to a different port, a different doctrine for the 20th and 21st centuries,” you can see why the Archbishop gets upset with Cardinal Ratzinger and calls him an “Artful Dodger” when Cardinal Ratzinger weasels his way round this definition. The definition is very serious. The four causes in the definition of 1870 are here present explicitly in the solemn paragraph of Quanta Cura.
Then finally a tie-up, the “urgency of solution” - “Bishops, you know that wicked publications are spreading, even denying Jesus Christ to be God.” Remember - encyclicals are always addressed to bishops, so don’t be surprised if you find them a little bit demanding. They’re not written strictly for laymen, although there’s absolutely no reason why a Catholic layman shouldn’t study, read, digest and understand the encyclicals, but they were written for bishops. “Teach men how, in order to be happy, they and their nations must submit to the Catholic Church.” That just makes no sense to 999 out of 1,000 modern people. It just makes no sense, but it’s the Truth. “Alas, the conspiracy against the Church is terrible.” So Pius IX was a conspiracy nut, so this very fruitful Catholic pope, judge him by his fruits. The fruits were a great consolidation and advance of Catholicism, or a great holding of Catholicism against a wicked, liberal and godless world. That’s the fruits, and therefore the fruits of this conspiracy nut were excellent. Therefore conspiracy nuts are not necessarily off the wall.
It’s interesting - there was a French writer who studied Freemasonry, worked it all out and wrote a book about it, and then he took it to Rome. I forget the whole story. Or he took it to his bishop, and the bishop said, “Oh, that’s junk. You’re a conspiracy nut,” or maybe some officials in Rome said, “You’re a conspiracy nut,” and so he threw away the book, destroyed it and lost it. Then I’m not sure whether it was Pius IX himself, but the Pope got the message that this book had been written and destroyed. He said, “I want that book.” So the good man wrote it all out again, and it’s one of the classics about conspiracy and the conspiracy of Freemasonry.
What is a conspiracy? It’s people literally conspiring, breathing together. It’s people getting together secretly to work out a plan of how to shift the world in a way that everybody else is not going to know. That’s conspiracy. Of course, conspirators are absolutely against anybody discovering what they’re up to, and therefore the liberal conspirators make total fun of conspiracy nuts. What they’re in fact in is a great conspiracy - the liberal conspiracy against the Church. Liberals cannot believe in conspiracy, because for liberals the modern world is wonderful, so if the modern world is wonderful, how can the people creating it not be wonderful? So whomever you attack as a conspirator, the liberals say, “These guys are wonderful. They’ve created our modern world. So you say Freemasonry is awful and horrible and wicked. If they’ve had an influence in creating the modern world they’re good guys.” So liberals cannot believe in conspiracy because they believe in the modern world created by conspirators. Therefore the liberals castigate conspiracy nuts. Therefore the vile media castigate and constantly ridicule and make fun of conspiracy nuts. Well, that’s par for the course, but it doesn’t prove that there are no conspiracies. Of course there are conspiracies. 9/11 was a conspiracy. The conspiracy of 19 camel drivers pulling off that stunt is a much bigger conspiracy, a much more unlikely conspiracy than 200 Secret Service agents pulling it off in one way and another. The people who castigate anybody that criticises 9/11 as the result of a conspiracy, those people are conspiracy nuts themselves without realising it. They believe in an even more incredible conspiracy of 19 Arabs, who don’t even know how to fly, pulling off that stunt, and so on.
So “the conspiracy against the Church is terrible”. Pius IX was in a position to know because he was informed. God ensured that he would be informed about Freemasonry. Undoubtedly Paul VI and Benedict XVI have been informed. Undoubtedly decent Catholics who know about the conspiracy, know all about Freemasonry, about Judeo-Masonry, they came to the Pope and said, “Holy Father, do you know this?” “Oh, yes, I heard. That’s nonsense.” What can you do except walk away? Undoubtedly Providence has provided for every single pope to be sufficiently informed in modern times about the conspiracy. Some of them have taken it seriously because they have two grey cells to rub together. They’ve taken it seriously and they’ve made use of the information they were given. The liberal popes say, “Ah, I’m smarter than to believe in a conspiracy. You’re just a silly conspiracy nut.” “OK, Holy Father, as you say, whatever you say.” You can’t ram it down his throat. You can’t ram these things down people’s throats. Either they’ve got the intelligence to realise that the modern world is not run by the people it seems to be run by, or they haven’t.
Disraeli - “the world is not run by the people by whom it seems to be run.” Disraeli flattered Queen Victoria. She much preferred Disraeli to Gladstone, because Gladstone was a prim and proper puritan who lectured her every time he met her, and Disraeli was a smooth Jew who flattered her every time he met her. So dear Queen Victoria rather preferred the smarmy Jew, but Disraeli was smart. Of course he was. So many of the Jews are smart.
“The conspiracy against the Church is terrible. I wish to stir up Catholics to pray. However, prayer comes best from a pure heart and so we are granted a special plenary indulgence to all to give force to our prayers. Let us go through the Mother of God, through SS Peter and Paul and all the saints. With Our Apostolic blessing, Rome, December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 1864.”
Now the Syllabus is an appendix to Quanta Cura. It was published at exactly the same time, and it’s not got the same weight as Quanta Cura. Quanta Cura is 16 propositions most solemnly condemned. The Syllabus is 80 propositions listed. The propositions of the Syllabus have the weight of the document from which they’re taken. Pius IX had already in 1864 written several encyclicals since he became Pope in 1846, and especially since he got back to Rome in 1851. If you look at the original Syllabus, I think you’ll find against each of the errors, the source, the writing, the document, the encyclical from which Pius IX has drawn this. Where you find the error explained at some length and condemned at length, you will find the explanation of this error.
You can see that from top to bottom, from number 1 to number 80, are errors. Don’t read any of the propositions and think that that’s what the Church is defining. It’s the opposite that it’s teaching. These are all errors. That’s a key point.
Firstly, 1 to 18, you’ve got errors of ideas - you could say doctrine or faith. Then 19 to 80 you’ve got morals. The centre of gravity is in the morals. There are many more propositions in morals, but the propositions of doctrine are always more important. Faith is always more important than morals because ideas always go in front of action. Morals concern action. Action always follows from some idea. Always some idea goes in front of any action. “I’m hungry. I need food. I will go for lunch” - always some idea goes in front of any action. “I want to get back to Burghclere this afternoon because there’s still some hog left for me by the time I get there” - I’ve got an idea that there’s hog, I’ve got an idea that I like hog, and therefore I’m going to drive fast. Action always follows ideas.
For the modern world, action is more important than ideas. For the modern world, ideas are trash. It doesn’t matter what ideas you have, and that’s rather an English idea. Aristotle said, “If you want to philosophise you’re going to have to philosophise. If you don’t want to philosophise you’re still going to have to philosophise” because in order to scorn philosophy you’re still going to need an idea that philosophy is useless and a waste of time. Even if it’s only the one idea that ideas are trash, it’s still ideas that are going out in front. Therefore the first 18 propositions are ideas, and 19 to 80 are action. Not to scorn the errors of action, of course not, but there’s a reason why the popes nearly always in the encyclicals have the error of ideas in front of the errors of action because the errors in action simply flow from the errors in the ideas. Mother Church is always disentangling ideas, disentangling truth from error, in order to disentangle right from wrong.
Ideas 1 to 7 - absolute rationalism. 8 to 14 - moderate rationalism. Rationalism comes from the Latin ratio. It means reason. Rationalism is the exaggeration of reason - the error that reason alone, natural reason alone, my thinking, my natural thinking process can arrive at all Truth and is supreme. If you went around underneath a motorway which is raised on pillars with a black can at night and you spray-painted “reason rules” - that’s rationalism - human reason is tops, human reason is Number One. Forget about God. My brain is it - that’s rationalism. So he’s got firstly absolute rationalism and then, more dangerous, moderate rationalism. Why more dangerous? It’s less blatant. It’s less crass. It’s more subtle. It’s closer to the Truth. It’s more dangerous. The crass error is way out in the open and I’ve got no problem in rejecting it. 2+2=5 - I know it’s nonsense immediately. That’s absolute nonsense. Moderate nonsense is more dangerous because it more easily infiltrates.
Absolute rationalism - firstly notice against God, and there right up front, number 1 - “There is no God” and that’s the basic of the basics of error. “God is nature evolving.” It follows - there is no spirit, there’s no freedom, there’s no truth, there’s no good and evil, and there’s no just and unjust. There’s no truth and falsehood in the mind. There’s no good and evil or just and unjust in the will, so to deny God is to undermine every ideal, all truth, all goodness, and all beauty. Everything is undermined. In our godless world, the artists are virtually incapable of producing anything beautiful because they’ve got disharmony in themselves. They can’t produce harmonious or beautiful works of art. “God is nature evolving. No spirit, nothing spiritual. Everything is just matter.” No freedom, because everything is matter and matter is not free. Freedom goes with the spirit, which is not tied down by matter, but the moment something is tied down by matter. Like a computer, there’s random chance but there’s not freedom in the true sense of the word. You might make a computer random, or seem random, but, of course, strictly not even the most random-working computer is in fact random because if you knew all of the material elements entering into it you would see why what appears random is not actually random. What the computer came up with was determined by the electron spinning around in this way, not in that way. There is no freedom in any computer, no genuine freedom. There is only randomness, which is simply unobservable determinedness, but it’s still determined.
2 – “God does not act upon men or upon the world.” Firstly, He does not exist. Secondly, He does not act. Perhaps you may think He does exist, but whether He exists or not, in any case He doesn’t act up on the world. He’s like the clockmaker that set up the clock, wound it up, lets it tick all by itself and then has nothing more to do with it. That was a conception of God. That is a rationalist conception of God. It’s an 18th century conception of God – completely false. God is acting all the time upon the world. I can’t raise my little finger without God giving me the strength to do so. I can’t hit God in the face with a mortal sin without God giving me the strength to do so. God does not give me the sinfulness of my sin but He gives me the ability and power to commit the act which is sinful. It’s my free will which chooses the sinfulness of the sinful act but it’s God who provides everything that’s positive and good in the act.
3 – “Human reason is its own truth and law and it can assure men’s happiness.” That’s rationalism – human reason is enough. There’s no truth or law that human reason can’t grasp or which human reason should not be sovereign, and human reason alone can ensure men’s happiness, and that’s obviously what huge numbers of people today believe – “We don’t need God. We don’t need Jesus Christ. We can make a human society without God, without Jesus Christ, and without the Church” - terrible error. Why? Because of Original Sin, and not only because of Original Sin but because nature alone is incapable of grace and faith, which is in the supernatural order, and without faith we cannot please God and we cannot get to heaven, so it cannot ensure men’s happiness. It cannot ensure men’s happiness in the next life because nature is incapable by itself of a supernatural act of faith, hope or charity. It cannot ensure men’s happiness in this life because of Original Sin. You cut out religion, and Original Sin is going to run away with the show.
4 – “All religious truths originate in reason which can guide man to all truth.” Human reason alone can guide man to God being one in three and three in one - nonsense. Human reason is incapable of grasping the Holy Eucharist, that God is substantially, truly and really present beneath the appearances of bread and wine - can’t grasp that. It’s ungraspable by purely human reason. Purely human reason says that it’s nonsense that God can be hiding beneath a piece of bread and a few drops of wine. It’s nonsense. Human reason is incapable of that. What the rationalists will say is – “If it’s a truth which my reason cannot grasp then it’s not a truth, so the Holy Eucharist is not true because my reason cannot grasp it. My reason is the measure of truth. Instead of truth being the measure of my reason, my reason being the measure of truth. Instead of God’s truth being the measure of my human reason, my human reason is the measure of God’s truth.” It’s man in the place of God. It’s the great apostasy of modern times - falling away from God.
5 – “Divine revelation is incomplete and progresses with human reason.” What does the Church teach? The Church teaches that divine revelation was complete with the death of the last Apostle. Why the death of the last Apostle? Because revelation certainly includes everything that’s in Scripture, everything that’s in the New Testament. Written revelation went on at least until the last book was written of the New Testament, and that would be until the Book of the Apocalypse, which was written, I don't know what the scholars say, probably in the 90s. I think John the Apostle was supposed to have died in the early 100s as an old man. He was a youth at the time of Our Lord. He lived a long time. But then there’s the handed-down revelation, the Tradition. Just as the Apostles were capable of revealing truths that Our Lord had entrusted to them, the Apostles revealed that in writing until they died, so also they revealed it in speaking until they died, but once all of those Apostles died then the direct revelation from Our Lord through his twelve Apostles came to an end. From them on revelation is complete. It will go on being explained. It will go on being deepened. The understanding will go on being deepened, but the Truth will not be changed and the Truth will not be expanded. So there will be a development of doctrine but not an extension of Truth - only an improvement of human beings’ understanding of the depths and discovery of that Truth.
6 - “Christian faith is opposed to reason and harmful to human perfection.” So here you’ve got this dreadful error of Faith being opposed to reason. Think of a huge F going like this, and that’s Faith, and then think of a little R at the bottom, like that. The left-hand stroke of the R is the bottom of the total left-hand stroke of Faith, so that reason and Faith are in perfect synch. The Faith way overtops reason because Faith can reach into the heart of the Godhead. By Faith I can grasp the supernatural mysteries which my reason cannot grasp, so Faith goes much further than reason but it does not contradict reason, and reason does not contradict Faith. It’s a typical horrible error of our times that Faith and reason are opposed to one another.
Finally, for now, number 7 - “Prophecies and miracles are a fiction.” The rationalists simply deny miracles. They deny the Catholic prophecies. So, for instance, in the Book of Daniel there’s an astonishing prophecy of events that would be 400 years later. Daniel lived in the 500s BC, and in the Book of Daniel, in the eleventh chapter, you’ve got a detailed history of events in the 100s BC, I think it is. So 400 years ahead Daniel is describing history. It’s there in Scripture. So the rationalists say Daniel was really written by somebody in the 100s BC. They have to get out of somehow, but it’s incontestable that what Daniel writes corresponds to the events so much later. Daniel also writes about the coming of the Messias and so on. But rationalists can’t handle that so they simply pretend it was written by somebody else. “Miracles are a fiction. Mysteries are merely human, and Christ is a myth” – horrible blasphemy. What you’ve got here is modern minds absolutely refusing the depths and the heights of divine mystery and divine revelation, cutting God right down to size to fit inside my little head. “My little head is Number One. I am King. My little head is the measure of God, and anything of God that pertains or supposes to overflow the limits of my little reason is just nonsense” - that’s absolute rationalism.
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