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I have been a professor of theology at the undergraduate and graduate levels for 13 years and counting. I am married to Flory, and we have five children. I am committed to the communication and defense of the Catholic Tradition for the salvation of souls and the true nourishment of culture.

Dogmatic Theology 1.19: How the Son Comes from the Father

Today, we seek to understand what we believe. We believe the Son is co-equal with the Father, because he has the divine nature. We believe the Son is co-eternal with the Father, ever from the Father. But how to understand something so lofty?

We have patristic images or metaphors for this. These are beautiful and more easily accessible. We also have a great achievement of dogmatic or speculative theology. This is so beautiful, though difficult. Let us begin the journey of the mind to God by following Augustine and Aquinas on this great labor. Bonaventure and scores of other great saints also took this journey.

Reason for Joy

We delight when what we love (our good, our perfection) is with us.

When we love another, we delight when our beloved has his good.

Now, those who have charity love God.

But God is always Infinitely Good and Perfect, Resplendent in Communion, Truth, Beauty, etc.

Hence, if you love God, you always have reason for joy.

But being joyful is good for the soul and even the bodily health.

Hence, be good to yourself: Love God.

Where Has Justice Gone?

If we try using the word “just punishment” these days, people cringe. It sounds like an act of hatred. Almost across the board, people want to erase the word “punishment” and substitute the word “consequence” or “training.”

I have been puzzling over this for a while.

Some immediate thoughts.

The Bible abounds in the word “punishment.” Should we abandon the Bible?

Tradition abounds in the word “punishment.” Should we abandon Tradition?

Justice calls for retribution, that is, reward for good action and punishment for the evil action. Should we reject Justice?

The Redeemer took on our punishment, so as to pay for our sins. Should we reject his Redemption?

This rejection of “punishment” lurks in many places. It requires deep thought to try to counter this error. It is a heresy brewing. It is linked with a spirit of entitlement. Suddenly, we are all entitled to forgiveness and charity. We operate out of this entitlement mentality. That spells disaster for our view of God: He owes us! Also, if we have any faults, they are not our fault. They just need to be “trained” out of us. Thus, we reject free will and responsibility. Ultimately, why am I evil? Because my role models were evil. And they were evil because their models were evil. Trace this back to The Creator! Freud fingers God.

Thought needs to be given to this error. To call it out on the spot. If we keep glossing this over, by trying to highlight the beauty of redemption and mercy, we will be missing the very essence of redemption and mercy. Redemption and mercy are premised on just punishment. For they involve God’s taking this on. If we deny justice, we deny the redemption’s true essence.

We must stay focused and not be distracted. This is a great heresy, running rampant in the world. It is a great force behind all those who hate hell, not because they fear going there, but because they think it is an evil thing.

Oxford Comma Court Case? What about Faulty Parallel!

Earlier this year, there was a case concerning a law in Maine. The law exempted specific items from overtime regulations. The list is:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of: (1) Agricultural produce; (2) Meat and fish products; and (3) Perishable foods.

The question was this: Is the exempt item just “canning, …, packing, and distribution of 1, 2, 3″ or is it rather “canning, …, packing for shipment or distribution (underlined as one ‘action’) of 1, 2, 3.”

The court argument when somewhat as follows. WERE an Oxford comma applied after “shipment,” THEN “distribution” would also be exempt from overtime benefit requirements. The Result would be: Those involved solely in distribution of 1, 2, 3, would not be given overtime benefits.

The LACK of an Oxford comma, so the argument went, allowed sufficient ambiguity so that those involved solely in distribution should not be exempt; that is, those in distribution should be given overtime benefits.

Protocol for writing law in Maine forbids use of Oxford comma.

IN FACT, ANOTHER GRAMMATICAL ISSUE WAS OVERLOOKED. Faulty parallelism. WERE the Law interpreted as having an implicit Oxford comma after “shipment,” the statute would suffer from faulty parallelism. All the actions governed under the law are described by participles (canning, storing, packing, etc.). But “distribution” is not a participle.

The rule of parallelism seconds the final judgment of the court that indeed those involved only in distribution should not be exempt from the law securing them overtime benefits.

Soul Annihilation: Heresy

It is heresy to hold that the souls of those who die in the state of mortal sin are annihilated. No, they are not annihilated. They are living a death, damned forever.

To put this thesis forth — soul annihilation — as consolation is to beg for human respect and to condemn a soul forever. Whoever does this condemns presently living souls to hell forever. How? Because he deludes them into thinking that there is no eternal damnation. Fact is: There is. False consolations are wicked.

Luther Prohibits Christ’s Judgment

Luther won’t allow true Christians to think of Christ as a coming Judge. In the Catholic Liturgy, we celebrate the coming of Christ the Judge. We hope for this, as he will indeed liberate us from evils. But we also fear this, since if we are without sanctifying grace when he comes, if we are in the state of mortal sin when he comes, we have rejected him, we have loved another more than God, we have clung to sin, and we shall suffer eternal damnation as a result.

The coming of Christ as judge is also integral to Catholic Faith, indelibly part of the Tradition.

But Luther rejects the coming of Christ as judge. We may only think of Christ as Redeemer:

“For us it is not at all permissible to return to the Christ who is to come, except insofar as we expect Him on the Last Day as our Redeemer, who is to liberate us from all evils.” (LW 26:239).

Heretic Bishop Uses Pope’s Letter to Defend Heresy

A heretic bishop used the pope’s letters to defend heresy. Granted, the papal letter was highly ambiguous. One could even reasonably argue that the letter itself was heretical. It was obviously ambiguous. And in the context of the culture, this ambiguity gave obvious cover to heretics and heresy.

In short, it was failure to act as pope. Failure to defend the truth clearly. That failure, in the context of the doubts about the faith raised widely in many quarters, opened the door for the promulgation of heresy.

So, when it came time for investigation into the matter, an outright heretic bishop claimed that he had the support of the pope. He mentioned the papal letters to another bishop.

Whether or not his own reading of the pope was accurate, we may now pass over in silence.

Of whom do I speak?

The heretic: Macarius of Antioch.

The pope: Honorius of Rome.

The results: Honorius was condemned as a heretic by the bishops in council. Of course, by this time the council’s Acts would not be promulgated unless approved by Rome. Back in Rome, Pope St. Leo II approved key portions of this council, though perhaps not that portion that condemned Honorius as being a heretic. However, Leo did himself condemn Honorius for failure to condemn heresy so as to preserve the true faith in time of crisis, thus for opening the door to the promulgation of heresy by the neglect of his papal office.

The heresy was about Christ: Whether he had one will only or two wills (one divine and one human).

The aftermath? Many of the lands of those Christians who defended the heresy were being taken over by Muslim conquest. If the imperial hand was too hard on such heretics (when it was actually orthodox, which was certainly not always), nonetheless, the heretics suffered far worse under their new rulers. Many lost the faith altogether.

Let us pray for the conversion of heretics and non-Christians to the one true faith. Let us pray for those in office in Christ’s Church to preserve defend and promote the true faith, in season and out of season, with gentleness of charity and firmness of conviction.


From his marvelous encyclical, Praeclara gratulationis:

There is likewise a great danger threatening unity on the part of that association which goes by the name of Freemasons, whose fatal influence for a long time past oppresses Catholic nations in particular. Favored by the agitations of the times, and waxing insolent in its power and resources and success, it strains every nerve to consolidate its sway and enlarge its sphere. It has already sallied forth from its hiding-places, where it hatched its plots, into the throng of cities, and as if to defy the Almighty, has set up its throne in this very city of Rome, the Capital of the Catholic world. But what is most disastrous is, that wherever it has set its foot it penetrates into all ranks and departments of the commonwealth, in the hope of obtaining at last supreme control. This is, indeed, a great calamity: for its depraved principles and iniquitous designs are well known. Under the pretence of vindicating the rights of man and of reconstituting society, it attacks Christianity; it rejects revealed Doctrine, denounces practices of Piety, the Divine Sacraments, and every Sacred thing as superstition; it strives to eliminate the Christian Character from Marriage and the family and the education of youth, and from every form of instruction, whether public or private, and to root out from the minds of men all respect for Authority, whether human or Divine. On its own part, it preaches the worship of nature, and maintains that by the principles of nature are truth and probity and justice to be measured and regulated. In this way, as is quite evident, man is being driven to adopt customs and habits of life akin to those of the heathen, only more corrupt in proportion as the incentives to sin are more numerous.

My, how successful the Freemasons have been. It is a call for one to plead to the Lord: “How Long, O Lord? Will you ever relent with your anger? How long will you allow sowing of confusion and despair, the worship of man and nature, ignorance of the Gospel, a chokehold on preaching? You proved the divine appointment of your Church for 2000 years. Now, will you abandon her? Tear open the heavens and come down from your mighty throne. Rescue the poor and wandering fold, lost and without guidance.”

Gregory Nazianzus Petitions Prelate to End Confusion

Context: The Bishop of Constantinople was allowing heretics to meet and present their views. The heretics were led by Apollinaris, who denied the Trinitarian faith (though in words he held some of it), denied the full humanity (though in words he deceived Pope Damasus and others for a while).

Gregory writes to Nectarius, Bishop of Constantinople. Christology of the Later Fathers, p. 231

“Now, if they who hold such views have authority to meet, your Wisdom approved in Christ must see that, inasmuch as we do not approve their views, any permission of assembly granted to them is nothing less than a declaration that their view is thought more true than ours. For if they are permitted to teach their view as godly men, and with all confidence to preach their doctrine, it is manifest that the doctrine of the Church has been condemned, as though the truth were on their side. For nature does not admit of two contrary doctrines on the same subject being both true. How then could your noble and lofty mind submit to suspend your usual courage in regard to the correction of so great an evil? But even though there is no precedent for such a course, let your inimitable perfection in virtue stand up at a crisis like the present, and teach our most pious Emperor, that no gain will come from his zeal for the Church on other points if he allows such an evil to gain strength from freedom of speech for the subversion of sound faith.”

Nazianzus against Novelties; Pastoring in Truth

Another great text from Gregory of Nazianzus. This from his Second Letter to Cledonius, in Christology of the Later Fathers, pp. 228f:

O monstrous absurdity! They proclaim to us to-day a wisdom hidden ever since the time of Christ — a thing worthy of our tears. For if the faith began thirty years ago, when nearly four hundred years had passed since Christ was manifested, vain all that time will have been our Gospel, and vain our faith; in vain will the Martyrs have borne their witness, and in vain have so many and so great Prelates presided over the people; and Grace is a matter of metres and not of the faith…. Now, if anyone thinks that we write all this willingly and not upon compulsion, and that we are dissuading from unity, and not doing our utmost to promote it, let him know that he is very much mistaken, and has not made at all a good guess at our desires, for nothing is or ever has been more valuable in our eyes than peace, as the facts themselves prove; though their actions and brawlings against us altogether exclude unanimity.