mercredi 30 novembre 2011

More on obedience - and its limits (debate)

Between myself and one FSSPX faithful. His screen name is anonymous. It is about the matter already alluded to in comments section of previous post.And he is one of the two faithful I answered in it. His attitude was such that I found it indicated to ask him about a French connexion of his, named as on FB in our correspondence, but here referred to as NN:

If NN is in St Nicolas du Chardonnet (I seem to recognise the face), you may ask her for confirmation about what the priests there say about me and about my blogs.

Taken from the Catechism of St. Pius X:
1 Q: What does the Fourth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother, command?
A: The Fourth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother, commands us to respect our parents, obey them in all that is not sinful, and assist them in their temporal and spiritual needs.
2 Q: What does the Fourth Commandment forbid?
A: The Fourth Commandment forbids us to offend our parents by word or by deed or in any other way.
3 Q: What other persons does this Commandment include under the names of father and mother?
A: Under the names of father and mother this Commandment also includes all our superiors, both ecclesiastical and lay, whom we must consequently obey and respect. Pax Christi Regis.

"obey them in all that is not sinful" - should be taken as:
  • all that is neither
    sinful for oneself to do
  • nor
    sinful for them to ask

see thereon Summa Theologica, II-II, whatever the Question is that is about Obedience [I found it and added:]*
(a parallel is adduced for illustration in beginning of corpus, read it if you like):
On like manner there are two reasons, for which a subject may not be bound to obey his superior in all things. First on account of the command of a higher power. For as a gloss says on Romans 13:2, "They that resist [Vulgate: 'He that resisteth'] the power, resist the ordinance of God" (cf. St. Augustine, De Verb. Dom. viii). "If a commissioner issue an order, are you to comply, if it is contrary to the bidding of the proconsul? Again if the proconsul command one thing, and the emperor another, will you hesitate, to disregard the former and serve the latter? Therefore if the emperor commands one thing and God another, you must disregard the former and obey God." Secondly, a subject is not bound to obey his superior if the latter command him to do something wherein he is not subject to him. For Seneca says (De Beneficiis iii): "It is wrong to suppose that slavery falls upon the whole man: for the better part of him is excepted." His body is subjected and assigned to his master but his soul is his own. Consequently in matters touching the internal movement of the will man is not bound to obey his fellow-man, but God alone.

Nevertheless man is bound to obey his fellow-man in things that have to be done externally by means of the body: and yet, since by nature all men are equal, he is not bound to obey another man in matters touching the nature of the body, for instance in those relating to the support of his body or the begetting of his children. Wherefore servants are not bound to obey their masters, nor children their parents, in the question of contracting marriage or of remaining in the state of virginity or the like. But in matters concerning the disposal of actions and human affairs, a subject is bound to obey his superior within the sphere of his authority; for instance a soldier must obey his general in matters relating to war, a servant his master in matters touching the execution of the duties of his service, a son his father in matters relating to the conduct of his life and the care of the household; and so forth.


Now, will or won't you ask her? I am not ordering it as your superior, for if so, I would have nothing to back that up with, I am just asking it, as a personal favour from you to someone who feels wronged and may be so. Not that all charity is absent in every respect - indeed I was given a larger sum of money today - but that does not make the kind of backbiting I suspect any less wrong if it occurs. And if not, I find it a bit funny no one has been printing my blogs and paying me a voluntary sum for it.

I do not want to hear any slanderous talk against holy priests.

I do want to hear, from other parishioners, via you, if these priests have been holy or if they have been slandering me and my blogs.

So, do ask her.

Pride is a denial of God, an invention of the devil, contempt for men. It is the mother of condemnation, the offspring of praise, a sign of barrenness. It is a flight from God's help, the precursor of madness, the cause of downfall. It is the cause of satanic possession, the source of anger, the gateway of hypocrisy. It is the fortress of demons, the guardian of sins, the source of hardheartedness. It is the denial of compassion, a bitter Pharisee, a cruel judge. It is the foe of God. It is the root of blasphemy. Pax Christi Regis.

Thank you very much. Then it is up to God who is proud in St Nicolas du Chardonnet, if anyone is ... I still want to know if your friend is a parishioner there and what has been being said about me, if that is the case. That I am proud, perhaps?

Demons once heaped praise on one of the most discerning of the brothers. They even appeared to him in visible form. But this very wise man spoke to them as follows, "If you cease to praise me by way of the thoughts of my heart, I shall consider myself to be great and outstanding because of the fact that you have left me. But if you continue to praise me, I must deduce from such praise that I am very impure indeed, since every proudhearted man is unclean before the Lord (cf. Prov. 16:5). So leave me, and I shall become great, or else praise me, and with your help I shall earn more humility." Struck by this dilemma, they vanished. Pax Christi Regis.

Wonderful. A beautiful story. But what I ask of St Nicolas du Chardonnet is not praise, it is cooperation with my project for my life and - in case of my blogs - livelihood. When young Marcel Lefèbvre met a watchmaker out of work, he did not tell the watchmaker "you are proud if you want to remain a watchmaker, why don't you offer your services to Swatch, they might have a cleaning job and if you do it well they might even let you advance to something related to watchmaking" - instead, he made sure that people of Tourcoing who needed watches repaired got his adress so he got his livelihood made through mending and maybe amking watches on his own again. Now, when it comes to this writer - yes WRITER - up to yesterday I have not been very much encouraged to find readers. And for this composer I have not had my pieces played. And for this prospective family man, girls who might have been in love with me and whom I was in love with have been turned away from meeting me, one after another. That is not warning a man against pride, it is ruining a man by pride.

Oh, one more thing: my writing IS not an apostolate. It INCLUDES Apologetics. As did CSL's, as did Chesterton's. It includes phlilogy, as did CSL's, it includes citizenship in face of tyrannous abuses of public power, as did Chesterton's. I am more than fed up with being measured in this respect by standards of pure spirituality, as if I had renounced all earthly things and had no earthly or rational motive for what I am doing.

And if they happen to think my Apologetics bad, I can see why they would not want to help me get that printed, but hardly why they would also want to stop me from getting my guitar sonatas (really guitar sonatinas, but "sonatina" is not Latin) played for money!

Or my string Quartet. Or my poems printed. Or ... do you get the point?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
St Andrew's Day of
the Y o o L 2011

*SUMMA THEOLOGICA: Obedience (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 104) is being quoted, not my correspondent, between the lines of = signs.

samedi 26 novembre 2011

On obedience having limits. Answering two faithful from the flocks of the FSSPX.

a child born to wicked parents owes them every bit of respect due to parents...including a broad modicum of obedience...excepting commands that ...contradict divine positive law"

- or the law of the land (human positive law) or the law of human nature. Or commands that exceed the natural authority of parents. For instance, if I were to marry a fourty year old maid (to take an instance which is not the case), I might be obeying my father, who might have a kind of modern hysteria about pedophilia, but I would be doing so against my inclinations to marry in a way that gives hope for children, and in ordering me to do so, he would exceed his rights according to divine, natural or positive, or human positive law.

[Main subject of the discussion, but digressive here:]So, Abe Lincoln had no right to impose on anyone to celebrate the arrival of the Mayflower (and as Chesterton said, English would have the right to celebrate its departure), but Catholic Bishops having with Leo XIII (condemner of Americanism) ruled that Thanksgiving is not equivalent to "Mayflower Day" - a day to be shunned if ever it were so named - it is quiet licit to celebrate Thanksgiving, and I think one should. It is also a reminder to Prots that if even the state can institute a day of public Thanksgiving, year after year, the Christian Church can do so which preceded the US of A.

‎"the child born in a Roman province was born under roman law"

- not quite, he was certainly born under Roman Administration, but not automatically under Roman Law. Or rather a mere provincial was born under the administration but not the law, a citizen under the law but not the administration. Our Lord was thus under Roman Administration, as his fosterfather showed when registering for taxes in Bethlehem, but St Paul was under Roman law and could not be crucified, only beheaded.

"The base of your studies should be the encyclicals of the Popes and also the books of Archbishop Lefebvre, which are very precise summaries and explanations of the Popes' teaching. Be careful of all theories which may distract you or lead you away from this teaching, and look to the priests for guidance and help in understanding; formation is their direct responsibility."

- No, formation of intellect is the intellectual's direct responsibility. The one formation which is the direct responsibility of priests is formation of conscience, in admonitions in confession, and formation of faith and conscience in sermons and catechism. But asking your priest to direct your studies is up to you, no priest has any right to class you as an heretic or to refuse you the sacraments because you study on your own and do your own formation.

Also, the priest could be, and the priests in St Nicolas du Chardonnet are in ascertained fact deficient in parts of social morality. There is a field where they have done great deeds, reminding of Mirari Vos, but when it comes to the rights of the poor, they are sometimes simply led by their noses by modernist administrators. And, quite obviously, they are impoverishing this here writer by treating my blogs as forming part of those "all theories which may distract you or lead you away from this teaching". Their attitude seems to be: if Hans-Georg agrees with us, he is superfluous, and we have expressed it better, if he does not, he is not Catholic and should not be read. As a result my blogs are not read by the one public that might appreciate them.

Because Modernist Catholics are against them due to my Creationism and Geocentrism, Jews have again and again been given access and obviously "forgotten" - because I am a Christian and on top of that a Catholic, claiming there is a visible Church succeeding the older Israel and they are not its visible successors, Muslims are put off by the fact that I compare Mahomet to Joseph Smith, Mormons are not quite thrilled by my comparing Joseph Smith to Mahomet, Orthodox dislike my defense of filioque and my defense of St Robert Bellarmine against the calumnies of a Paul Ballaster - ex-Franciscan, defrocked, died stabbed by a Catholic as Greek Orthodox archbishop of Mexico city and both Americas - nor are they too fond of my defending Cardinal Stepinac, besides they are cosntantly asking themselves whether it is proper "for a monk" - I am not a monk - or "a prophet" - I am not a prophet - to ask for money.

So, St Nicolas du Chardonnet and similar advising formation only under a priest's advice and priests disadvising from my blogs, that is a bad stab in the back to my livelihood as a writer and essayist. If they condemned part of its contents, they would have to do so publically, and therefore publically acknowledge, if not my doctrine, at least the fact that I expressed it. They do not want that. They prefer, up to now, backstabbing. And if they told you what you say, they are erecting a principle which is not true. Of course, priests may have indirect responsibility for formation, like Cardinal Newman said in his "Idea of a Catholic University". That is another thing.

A typical example of their attitude to me, in St Nicolas du Chardonnet is the way they pray for me. Now, a few months ago, I was writing to Mgr. Williamson saying "I am a writer, I want to be paid for my writing, do not block me, do not pray for God's providence to block me" and he obviously took it as meaning "I want to be a writer in the future" since next hour, day or week I found on the internet a course of writing. Or on how to improve writing.

Now, the past weeks I had the pleasure to read the Chardonnet. One thing that Fr. Chautard said was that jobs are getting more and more tied up to large companies, so getting a real meaningful job is less and less possible and therefore less important as a consideration for finding your work. He also stated that being an internet technician - "informaticien" - is a not very noble calling. I wrote him a letter in which I stated, again, that I am writing on the internet, and reminded him of fact that as much as a text can go from paid format on paper to free format on internet (like Bibles online), likewise can they go the other way, from the free form on internet to the payable form on paper. He must have taken that as an obstination in wnating to be an internet technician, for if not, and if he did not pray for that, how do you explain I found right today this video:
Lecture 1A | MIT 6.001 Structure and Interpretation, 1986

That was, however, not a complete waste of my time. The thing about black box abstraction is that there is no such thing as an algorithm for turning electronic or chemic processes into understanding or for that matter any other kind of experience. There is an algorithm for turning simple understandings into chains of complex understaning so that the result is as sure as the simple understandings themselves, and that algorithm is called logic. But there is no such thing as an algorithm for turning non-experience into experience or non-understanding into understanding, non-cognitive into cognitive. A good thing to know. A good thing to write about.
Of course, "computer logic" is making an algorithm for signs to echo the algorithms of logic. It is in no wise any thing that makes computers understand anything whatsoever.

And that includes language. That is the profound reason why computer translations suck.

But sometimes having people pray for you according to their misunderstandings can be painful. I guess that week when I was thinking time after time of sodomitic acts that disgusted me was Fr Beauvais praying that I might get duly disgusted at sodomy. As if I were a homosexual. Which I am not. I am neither homosexual, nor homoliberal. But in St Nicolas I can be passed off as either, or could till recently, due to priests refusing to take direct note of what I write them or same priests insisting on reinterpreting it, as if I were unable to express my real needs and intentions correctly in a text not needing reinterpretation.

I suppose such praying for me instead of talking to me is a result of taking Mgr Williamsons advice "some people you can not discuss with, only love and pray for". For a man who was habitually naked and dirty and throwing imself in fire and water, I would agree. But for a man trying to have his blog articles reprinted as essay collections or his music scores played before paying audience, I think that is not an applicable advice. Any more than for 12 guys not washing their hands before every meal or picking wheat ears on saturdays.

Not that I compare myself to the Apostles in holiness of vocation, of course.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Georges Pompidou library
of Beaubourg*/Paris

*It is in the gay district, but I go to the library to write on computers, not to make trysts with gay men. Actually the library would probably not be the best place in all Beaubourg to do so. It is much more a studentish, even to some extent a young Muslim and Immigrant studentish thing.

jeudi 24 novembre 2011

When CSL was wrong, Charles Gore was wrong before him, I think. Pt 1

by Hans-Georg Lundahl on Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 5:10pm
            C. S. Lewis died, one hour later John F Kennedy was shot, Aldous died even later
When CSL was wrong, Charles Gore was wrong before him, I think. Pt 1

In Georges Pompidou library of Paris, I found exactly one work by Charles Gore. It is in its present edition from 1963 - the year that CSL died. So going down to look for it, I was afraid it might be only a namesake. I was wrong in that fear. Everyman's Library No. 924 is indeed from 1963, but as other Everyman's Library, it is a re-edition of an older work. The Philosophy of the Good Life is a series of 12 Gifford Lectures held by Bishop Charles Gore - as Anglicans style him - in 1929-1930, and modified before print by his personal contact with the lecture hearers, which was one part of the conditions prescribed for lecturers.

A Bibliography reveals that he 1889 wrote Roman Catholic Claims - presumably a rebuttal of them - and 1930 a small tract, Lambeth on Contraceptives - I fear it was an acceptance of the Lambeth Conference of that year, a first of Christian Confessions accepting contraceptives. Neohimerite Orthodox took another forty years before accepting them, and Roman Catholics fortunately have not accepted them. Not Trads, nor Vatican loyalists at any rate.

Now, equally from 1889, there is, in Lux Mundi, The Holy Spirit and Inspiration. I fear it was less traditional even than Divino Afflante Spiritu by Pius XII from 1943, passages of which shocked me as modernist at the time I rejected that pope.
I do not have that work, but I do have his words on Zarathustra (not an inspired author) and on Moses (an inspired author) in this work. And he is not right.

With Zarathustra, he claims that Zoroastrian priesthood under Sassanides drew their prophet closer in time, ch II p. 32:

"The gulf which separates the religious thought and social outlook of these hymns from the rest of the Avesta, or from Persian religion as wehear of it in the sixth century B.C. and later, must represent a great interval of time."

Why? What if Zarathustra was simply before as other parts after conquest of Babylon? He seems to accept the kind of topsy turvy arguments that his disciple CSL so clearly refuted in Fernseeds and Elephants. A gulf in content or outlook not perceived by the adherents of a tradition but clear to a XIXth C professor? Using that as an argument in dating? Uh uh!

One of our authorities, Dr. J. H. Moulton, is content to postulate a date not later than the eighth century B.C. But Ed. Meyer and others--with reason as it seems to me--require us to go back to some date not earlier than 1000 B.C. Let us be content to leave the date in uncertainty.

So professors are not certain of the real date, but they can still be certain that the ancients were wrong about it? As if ancients were no authorities and XIXth C. critics were! For, here we come to the footnote on bottom of this same page:

The later Parsi priesthood, perhaps infuenced by their desire to bring the now mythical and divinized Zarathustra nearer to their own time, put him in the seventh century B.C. ...

Thus one century later than the latest date Gore is willing to accept. The century before Cyrus and all that. Now, it is quite plain that the Zoroastrian religion as accepted later under Sassanides is more at variance with the Hebrew religion than Cyrus needs have been. The book of Esther too is explicable as relating an early conflict between Jewish and Zoroastrian religion, ending in a temporary setback for the Zoroastrian one. And influencing later Zoroastrianism, so that it appears allied to later Judaism (also against Christianity, as we find when Chosroes III invades Palestine). But neither this consideration, nor the fact that Zoroastrians claim 700-600 B.C. as the dates stands up to the XIXth C. "authorities" of Gore. Neither do they respect the alternative tradition very much (continuing footnote):

But the Greeks, relying on earlier tradition, assigned to him a very remote antiquity--6000 years before Alexander or 5000 years before the Trojan War (Plutarch).

What if Plutarch found Zoroastrians worthier of respect than Isis worship and set an early date to rival Egyptian remote dates? The Chronological Snobbery back then was all for Remote Antiquity (this chronological snobbery still exists, but only if dates are pre-Biblical, older than Creation according to the Bible). I even checked wikipedia, which in its present shape indicates that Plutarch compared Zarathustra to Osiris and Isis mythology. It seems that the Avestas about his life assign to him duels with demons - part Gandalf in Khazad Dûm, part Jesus refusing Satans temptation (like Luther, Zarathustra seems to have regarded second thoughts about his personal illumination as temptations from the evil one). But nothing supernatural about his death, Avesta does not mention it, Shahnahme says he died murdered at the altar. And recent research is more prone to accept the traditional dates, half a century to a century before Cyrus. My sources are Qui était Zarathoustra?, also (following link from previous): Fr-Wiki-Zoroastre and its English counterpart (click "English" button in left margin).

Now, here come we to Moses, a thoroughly bad piece of XIXth C. philology if ever there was one (p. 128):

I will confess myself to be a conservative critic. I mean, for instance, that, while recognising to the full that in the Pentateuch a great deal is attributed to Moses, the great founder of Jewish nationality, which was in fact elaborated in a gradual historic process, the stages of which we can trace more or less clearly in the literature, yet I find it difficult to doubt that the fundamentally ethical character of Israel's worship of Jehovah must be traced back to its Founder ...

Sorry, Gore. That is not Christian. That is applying to the Pentateuch the same method which your disciple CSL so rightly rejected in Fernseeds and Elephants. Pope Pius IX was so right to say - by implication condemning the opposite thesis in the syllabus - that Protestantism is not quite just another form of the same Christian faith, in which it is equally possible to please God. If Pusey might have proven him wrong, you as succeeding Pusey proved him right.* Intellectually speaking, this is not Christianity. It is academolatria. And as we get to Church Fathers, let us quote them rightly. Here is Gore (next page):

Again, we cannot doubt that St. Chrysostom was right when he described the material of Jewish religious rites--'the sacrifices, the cleansings, the new-moons, the ark, and the temple itself,' as derived from their pagan background.

The footnote goes to Hom. in Matt. vi. 3 (P. G. lvii, col. 66) - do please note that the words "derived from their pagan background" are not in Gore's quote. I have read St. John Chrysostom's against the Jews, on internet, and I know that his thought is not that they were simply pagan customs without divine correction, but rather they were divine concessions to their pagan attitude, which they had when coming out of Egypt.

Indeed, if we accept that thought, and accept that God brought Israel out of Egypt, as Christians are bound to, we must accord that the ritual descriptions are from Moses' own time. How so? We know that the Israelites, coming out of Egypt, were not quite content with a merely ethical core of religion, without any ritual. St. Chrysostom describes them as addicts to ritual of a pagan type. So too did they show themselves before Moses, when adoring the Golden Calf.

Therefore it was not quite safe for God to leave their ritual sense empty for later accretions, he had to give them a very detailed ritual of the right sort - in a sense - in order to preserve them from what was a detailed ritual of the wrong sort - in every sense. And, as the fulness of revelation had not yet come, the detailed ritual could not yet be that of the New Law, nor of the Holy Mass, it had to be a shadow and a makeshift. But it had to come at the beginning of Aaronite priesthood because Aaron himself had bowed down to that Golden Calf.

Actually, I did post a link to St John Chrysostom's Adversus Iudaeos on the MSN Group Antimodernism which was closed down in February 2009.** Maybe that was construed as "unacceptable antisemitism" and part of the reason the group was closed down (if my group was the real target, since all groups were closed down, in a fashion that did in actual fact not admit saving all messages from one group to the new kind of groups that MSN lanced - I tried on a much smaller side issue group).

BBL/Hans-Georg Lundahl

*The Gorham case had done so even in a worse way: The case of the Rev. M. Gorham against the Bishop, of Exeter, considered. - Adress to the Clergy of the Diocese of Vermont, by John H. Hopkings, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese. (1849) J. H. Hopkins said therein:

The second opinion, held by some, extends the benefits of infant regeneration, in all cases where the Sacrament is rightly administered, to a complete spiritual renovation of nature: the child being made, in the very act, a living temple of the Holy Ghost, and becoming a new creature in so excellent a sense, that the future aim of the Christian life is chiefly to be directed to the maintenance or recovery of baptismal purity. This notion, to my mind, seems quite untenable.

**Confer history at What was MSN Group Antimodernism? and history of close down at Help for safeguarding messages and Handicapped by a freemason.