Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Ravages of Foregrounding Culpability

Part 1

Today I begin a series on “The Ravages of Foregrounding Culpability”. By “foregrounding” I mean putting before our thoughts front and center, for explicit consideration. So, “foregrounding culpability” is to put front and center before our thoughts, for explicit consideration, the “culpability” of the person.

This is my contention: To foreground culpability is unnatural and pastorally destructive.

When you lay out the rules of your household, the last thing you state is, “Oh, and if you happen not to be paying attention to me right now, then you will be less culpable if you happen to violate a rule.” To do so would be utterly silly.

But this is what we are doing today. This is exactly what has been done by Catholics for the past 52 years: We have foregrounded culpability. By doing this, we downplay the objectivity of law, its centrality, and our responsibility to know the law and follow it. And this law is nature’s and God’s.

Consecration of Russia

Our Lady revealed to Sr. Lucia her instruction to the Pope to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. This is public knowledge and witnessed to by several public attempts by various pontiffs so to fulfill this command.

Now, here are the results Mary prophesied to Sr. Lucia, should or should not the consecration take place:

If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

It has been claimed that the consecrations have adequately taken place. However, do the results that we witness match the prophecy Mary announced? Is there “peace”? Is Russia converted to the One True Church of Christ, the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church? Have the errors of Atheistic Marxism (the errors Russia spread at least upon a time) abated?

Or rather have these Marxist errors spread, morphed into new viral forms, and taken hold even in the west? Even in the south? Even in the Third World? Have wars and rumors of wars increased? Have there been persecutions? Have the good suffered? Has the Holy Father been pressed with trials?

Who has eyes to see and ears to hear?

Were Adam and Eve Given a “Commandment of Obedience”?

Yes, and this is Church teaching. Denzinger S # 3514.

By a commandment of “obedience” we mean a commandment that is not simply an iteration of natural law; rather, it is a commandment that regards an act in itself neutral. Such as, “The line forms here.” There is nothing in natural law that states the line should form here. But an authority figure can lay it down that this is indeed where the line starts. Or on what side of the road we should drive, etc.

Adam and Eve were given two basic commandments: one of nature (natural law) and one of obedience or discipline. The former is intrinsically necessary; the latter intrinsically indifferent, valid only because of God’s command. This latter commandment tested whether or not they would obey God because of His word.

Now, why would God command such a thing with no intrinsic necessity? Doesn’t that imply that God is arbitrary? That he is heavy-handed? No it does not. It indicates who he is and who we are.

Interestingly, obedient humility is something good for created beings. It is right in that sense. It is also just, for it is proper for us humbly to obey God because He is God.

Now, it is true that God is good and wills only our good. Thus, he does nothing arbitrarily just to provoke us. Still, obedience is something that properly belongs to the very attitude of God’s subject: He does not obey simply because he sees the intelligibility of the command but because he is rightfully subordinate to this ruler.

Granted, given the excessive casuistry of recent centuries, it is right now to emphasize the “meaning” of the 10 Commandments. And this is what we have done for over 50 years.

But would not something deeply Christian be lost if we thought that all commands must be intelligible to us from the beginning and that, short of such intelligibility, we should withhold our consent and obedience? For it is according to the proper nature of things that the subordinate should accept the dictates of the superior, unless they violate natural law. Note that it does not say “unless they don’t understand them”. It says, “unless they violate natural law”. But God’s positive law violates no necessary law.

This truth has important social implications. The husband exercises headship. That means he takes responsibility. He must provide. It also means that his decisions go, even if someone disagrees, unless they are in violation of the natural law (human dignity, etc.). For instance, if the trip will not work out, according to the counsel he has exercised and received (from all appropriate parties, especially his wife), then when he says the trip will not happen, right order requires that the rest of the family adhere to this decision. They may disagree, and respectfully communicate this; but the decision is authoritative.

How much rebellion have we stirred up in the last 50 years on account of our excessive desire to explain every last commandment? In Church, unless someone understands all the rubrics, one feels free to omit them. How childish (not child-like) we have become. How brutish. How irrationally rationalistic!

What is the Church of Christ?

The Church of Christ is the Catholic Church.

Some tend to present the idea that the Catholic Church plus the Orthodox churches add up to the Church of Christ. They tend to state that the Catholic Church is the “western” half of the Church and that the Orthodox churches are the “eastern” half. That is false.

The Catholic Church is eastern and western, geographically and liturgically. She has rites eastern and western. Yet her faith is one and her government one.

We are not waiting for the Church of Christ to emerge. She is here: She is the Catholic Church. And when the Orthodox churches return to full communion with her, they too will be Catholic; each of them will be a sister church to every other Catholic church. (Lowercase ‘church’ means, to be rough and ready, a local diocese; for instance, the Diocese of Dallas.) The Catholic Church is the mother of all these sister churches. The Catholic Church stands for the collection as one whole Church (not a federated collection) united with the one local church that is, since Peter took up his abode there, mother of all, Rome.