Papist Orthodoxy

June 16, 2010

UPDATING

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:03 pm

Currently under the process of updating some pages. Will publish more posts in the near future. Thank you visiting.

November 30, 2009

Analogy in St. Thomas’ Philosophy

Filed under: Philosophy, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 1:55 am

Philosophy, the love of wisdom, is a general title covering many particular disciplines which should lead its practitioners to the knowledge of the highest things from a human perspective. From the proper Christian perspective, it should culminate in and serve as a handmaid to theology for true knowledge and wisdom culminates in its highest, first, and final cause which is God. One difficulty man encounters is that he cannot know God as He knows Himself. Man must proceed from God’s effects, viz. the created material order. Even with divine revelation, that same revelation is put in the words of human language, the tongues of men. Thus it was also for the Incarnation of the Word and His redemption of mankind. Christ spoke by similitude, using analogy and parables to instruct man about God. But the infinite God is beyond the powers of the finite intellects of men. Therefore we can only get to God by a likening of Him to His effects. As all men are meant to know God in some way, to philosophize in a meaningful manner requires man to use analogy, likening the highest object of our inquiries, God, to His effects, the sensible order. Thus it was for the Common Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas. Thomas rooted his philosophy in the common, sensible, and named experiences of men rendering it accessible to everyone, and by use of analogy, unified his philosophy into an integrated whole which brought man from the his common, sensible experiences to the highest considerations of things divine.

Aristotle distinguishes between things named equivocally and univocally.1 Equivocal terms are terms which have more than one meaning, these meanings themselves having no apparent relation to each other. Univocal terms carry its meaning throughout its various uses. St. Thomas, in view of the end for which he wrote, refined Aristotle’s distinctions by employing analogous terms, terms which have more than one meaning, those meanings having some sort of relation to each other by way of comparison. D.Q. McInerny sums it up well when he says:

An analogous term might be described as a hybrid between a univocal term and an equivocal term. Analogous terminology, and behind that analogous thinking, is based upon the act of comparison, which is one of the most elemental movements in human reasoning.2

So it was that the Common Doctor, in seeking to keep an accessible consistency in his philosophy, employed analogous terms drawing comparisons between the sensible order, that order which is first known to man, and its cause – God. In order to illustrate this claim more clearly, let us look at St. Thomas’ considerations of “act” and “potency”.

In the De Potentia of the Disputed Questions, St. Thomas first asserts that one cannot consider act apart from potency for the terms are correlated. By way of a similitude, it would be difficult to consider “up” apart from “down”. Then, Thomas considers act as twofold: 1) as form, and 2) as operation. The first is first absolutely, but the second is first by our sensible experience:

I answer that to make the point at issue clear we must observe that we speak of power in relation to act. Now act is twofold; the first act which is a form, and the second act which is operation. Seemingly the word ‘act’ was first universally employed in the sense of operation, and then, secondly, transferred to indicate the form, inasmuch as the form is the principle and end of operation.3

So he begins with the sense experience wherein man sees ‘act’ as an operation – something doing something. The formal aspect of ‘act’ received its nomenclature from the operation even though the form as the principle of the operation is the cause of that operation. St. Thomas asserts that the term was literally “carried over” or “transferred” (translatum). Thus the first meaning or understanding of the term ‘act’, viz. its operation, was stretched, as it were, to encompass the cause of the operation, viz. the form, for the cause is related to the effect, the form is related to the operation. Now we have a term that has multiple but related meanings as we proceed “up”.

But before Thomas proceeds up, he proceeds “across”, for his next consideration is potency or power. He draw a similitude (similiter) with act and asserts that potentia is twofold as well drawing a direct relation with the respective twofold consideration of actus. Immediately following upon the above quotation, St. Thomas goes on to say:

Wherefore in like manner power is twofold: active power corresponding to that act which is operation—and seemingly it was in this sense that the word ‘power’ was first employed:— and passive power, corresponding to the first act or the form,—to which seemingly the name of power was subsequently given.4

Thus what was first attributed to actus by experience was similarly first attributed to potentia. If a thing acts, it follows that it has the power to act. This potency, to distinguish it, was give the appellation, “active potency” (potentia activa). Likewise, as the term, actus, was ‘transfered’ to encompass the cause which is the form, so the term, potentia, was transferred to encompass that sufferable or perfectible aspect of the form and was entitled, “passive potency” (potentia passiva). Whence it is that, by way of example, Orville the pianist can become the better pianist.5 Therefore, that which is prior absolutely received its name from its effect or operation.

This series of ‘stretching’ or ‘transferring’ from the action to the principle of action by way of analogy must find a termination; and so it does in the first act. However, as St. Thomas ascends he must begin a series of negations by which those things which cannot be attributed to God’s nature must be sloughed. As we see in Thomas’ arguments for the existence of God, that which is “able to be” must be brought into being by that which is (in act) already.6 And as God cannot suffer change and as He must be perfect, He cannot admit of a passive potency. We see how he argues this in the second part of his corpus of the same question we have been treating thus far:

Now, just as nothing suffers save by reason of a passive power, so nothing acts except by reason of the first act, namely the form. For it has been stated that this first act is so called from action. Now God is act both pure and primary, wherefore it is most befitting to him to act and communicate his likeness to other things: and consequently active power is most becoming to him: since power is called active forasmuch as it is a principle of action.7

An operation can only occur because of the form, i.e. an act can only be performed by something in act. But as we ascend up the material order to God, we must negate that passive power, for God cannot suffer or be perfected because He is perfect in Himself. Therefore, God has not passive potency but active potency, for though He cannot suffer, He is able to perform or not perform operations as He is the first principle of action.

Thomas explores this consideration of negation further to solidify and unify his argument, and he also takes the time to note the human need for analogous terminology:

We must also observe that our mind strives to describe God as a most perfect being. And seeing that it is unable to get at him save by likening him to his effects, while it fails to find any creature so supremely perfect as to be wholly devoid of imperfection, consequently it endeavours to describe him as possessing the various perfections it discovers in creatures, although each of those perfections is in some way at fault, yet so as to remove, from God whatever imperfection is connected with them.8

In short, we can only know God through his effects and name him analogously. As we believe and endeavor to describe Him as perfect, our attributions are imperfect, for no human term can adequately describe God; even our positive assertions ultimately fail. To illustrate this, the Common Doctor goes on the give the example of “being”, “substance”, and “subsistence”. “Being” describes something as complete but without the notion of “subsistence”. The term, “substance”, denotes subsistence but as also the subject of something else. Yet we still ascribe “being” and “substance” to God. We do this because our first experience with beings and substance are in the sensible order of creation. As we proceed up and as we carry over or transfer terms, we negate aspects that would be erroneous to attribute to God. Thus, though we see being as simple but inhering in something, when we speak of God, we keep the notion of simplicity as we slough the notion of inherence. Likewise, when we speak of substance as attributed to God, we keep the notion of that continuing or persisting existence while sloughing the notion of “standing under” as individual of a species or as species of a genus.9 With this illustration, St. Thomas goes on to conclude his arguments regarding act and potency in respects to God thusly:

In like manner we ascribe to God operation by reason of its being the ultimate perfection, not by reason of that into which operation passes. And we attribute power to God by reason of that which is permanent and is the principle of power, and not by reason of that which is made complete by operation.

To restate, after we have seen His effects in the created order, we ascribe operation and power, act and (active) potency, to God but not as they are exhibited in His effects, but by abstracting from the material order and negating any imperfections associated with the terms. Thus, by way of analogous naming, St. Thomas has taken us from our sensible experiences and our common usage of terms and, while preserving and expanding those terms, brought us to a better understanding of God, however indirect.

This is just one illustration of many of how the Common Doctor proceeds from effect to cause using fundamental knowledge of the material order to considerations of divine things. St. Thomas uses analogy throughout his whole philosophical system, and in so doing, unites it together into an integrated whole that proceeds from common experience and nomenclature. Truly, he could not do otherwise. Equivocal terminology would not advance knowledge as various definitions of one term are unrelated. Univocal terminology would be just as unsuccessful, for the one-to-one relation of definition to term could not apply in every circumstance, especially when treating of God. God and nature are not a computer programs which can be discerned by way of language bricks, those univocal terms which seem only to work as technical terminology in the mechanical arts. The relation cannot be one-to-one, lest we say that God is being without subsistence, or that He is a substance that is the subject of something else. Nonetheless, if philosophy is properly undertaken, it should lead us to God as from effect to cause. St. Thomas’ use of analogous terminology in his philosophy allows us to do this. The Common Doctor gives an example of the veracity of St. Paul’s declaration:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.10

ADDENDUM

The text in Latin of the De Potentia used for this essay.

From Question 1, article 1, corpus.

Respondeo. Ad huius quaestionis evidentiam sciendum, quod potentia dicitur ab actu: actus autem est duplex: scilicet primus, qui est forma; et secundus, qui est operatio: et sicut videtur ex communi hominum intellectu, nomen actus primo fuit attributum operationi: sic enim quasi omnes intelligunt actum; secundo autem exinde fuit translatum ad formam, in quantum forma est principium operationis et finis. Unde et similiter duplex est potentia: una activa cui respondet actus, qui est operatio; et huic primo nomen potentiae videtur fuisse attributum: alia est potentia passiva, cui respondet actus primus, qui est forma, ad quam similiter videtur secundario nomen potentiae devolutum. Sicut autem nihil patitur nisi ratione potentiae passivae, ita nihil agit nisi ratione actus primi, qui est forma. Dictum est enim, quod ad ipsum primo nomen actus ex actione devenit. Deo autem convenit esse actum purum et primum; unde ipsi convenit maxime agere, et suam similitudinem in alias diffundere, et ideo ei maxime convenit potentia activa; nam potentia activa dicitur secundum quod est principium actionis. Sed et sciendum, quod intellectus noster Deum exprimere nititur sicut aliquid perfectissimum. Et quia in ipsum devenire non potest nisi ex effectuum similitudine; neque in creaturis invenit aliquid summe perfectum quod omnino imperfectione careat: ideo ex diversis perfectionibus in creaturis repertis, ipsum nititur designare, quamvis cuilibet illarum perfectionum aliquid desit; ita tamen quod quidquid alicui istarum perfectionum imperfectionis adiungitur, totum a Deo amoveatur. Verbi gratia esse significat aliquid completum et simplex sed non subsistens; substantia autem aliquid subsistens significat sed alii subiectum. Ponimus ergo in Deo substantiam et esse, sed substantiam ratione subsistentiae non ratione substandi; esse vero ratione simplicitatis et complementi, non ratione inhaerentiae, qua alteri inhaeret. Et similiter attribuimus Deo operationem ratione ultimi complementi, non ratione eius in quod operatio transit. Potentiam vero attribuimus ratione eius quod permanet et quod est principium eius, non ratione eius quod per operationem completur.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aquinas, St. Thomas. Quaestiones disputatae de potentia dei. Corpus Thomisticum, Universidad de Navarra, Fundación Tomás de Aquino. 2006

http://www.corpusthomisticum.org/qdp1.html

_______. Quaestiones disputatae de potentia dei. translated by the English Dominican Fathers, Westminster, Maryland: The Newman Press, 1952, reprint of 1932, Html edition by Joseph Kenny, O.P.

http://www.op-stjoseph.org/Students/study/thomas/QDdePotentia.htm#1:1

Aristotle. Categories. H.P. Cooke (translator), Loeb Classical Library, Campbridge, Massachusetts; London, England: Harvard University Press, 1949 & 1996.

McInerny, D.Q. The Philosophy of Nature. Lincoln, Nebraska: Alquin Press, 2001.

McInerny, Ralph. “Analogy”. The third lecture for the course, “Introduction to Thomas Aquinas”, given by Dr. McInerny for the International Catholic University (Notre Dame, Indiana) working in conjunction with Holy Apostles College & Seminary (Cromwell, Connecticut), 2002.

1Aristotle. Categories, 1a, 1-10

2D.Q. McInerny. The Philosophy of Nature, chapter 3, p. 80.

3St. Thomas Aquinas. De Potentia, q.1, a.1, co.

4ibid.

5Dr. Ralph McInerny. “Analogy”. The third lecture for the course, “Introduction to Thomas Aquinas”, given by Dr. McInerny for the International Catholic University working in conjunction with Holy Apostles College & Seminary (2002).

6St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologiae, I, q.2, a.3, co.

7St. Thomas Aquinas. De Potentia, q.1, a.1, co.

8ibid.

9ibid.

10Romans. 1:19-20

November 3, 2009

A Transfigured Faith?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 12:22 am

In the late summer of this year, I made a retreat at the Melkite monastic foundation of Our Lady of Solitude Cloister & Retreat in Warren Center, PA. At the end of the retreat, Rev. Hieromonk Angelus, superior of the foundation, asked me to compose an article for the Melkite Eparchy of Newton’s journal, Sophia, touching upon my retreat and the feast with which it coincided: the Transfiguration of the Lord. I did as he requested and the results are here: the article was published this month and a copy of it can be read on-line. If you are so interested, you  can find the article HERE. The piece is entitled, “A Transfigured Faith?” and can be found on page 18. If you like it or are edified by it, then praise be to God. If not, all I can do is apologize.

IMG_1435

Festal Icon for the Transfiguration of the Lord

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Chapel and Festal Icon

The Retreatant's Chapel (Left) and the Festal Icon (Right)

IMG_1424

The Retreatant's Cabin

October 28, 2009

Historical Curiosity: The Sign of the Cross

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:52 pm

I’m not intending to make a big deal out of this or ruffle anyone’s feathers. Pure and mere curiosity. I came across this and thought other history geeks like me might find it interesting.

Pope Innocent III (b. 1160/1161, d. 1216; reign: 1198-1216) said in his work, De sacro altaris mysterio, written and promulgated to regularize and unify liturgical practice in the West:

The sign of the cross is made with three fingers, because it is done together with the invocation of the Trinity….It is done from above to below, and from the right to the left, because Christ descended from heaven to the earth, and from the Jews He passed to the Gentiles (De sacro altaris mysterio 2, 45).

Innocent III goes on to say:

Others, however, make the sign of the cross from the left to the right….[Some priests] do it this way so that they and the people will be signing themselves in the same manner. For example, imagine the priest facing the people for the blessing — when we make the sign of the cross over the people, it is from left to right…(Ibid.)

So, when did the exception become the rule? I wonder how it changed? A curiosity, however minor.

I first read about this here.

The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language — A Book Review by David Roemer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:17 pm

The following is an excerpt of a book review by David Roemer on the work, The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally. I haven’t read the book itself, but the subject is of some interest to me as I have been required to study related material in my studies of the liberal arts. The whole review can be found at the website, OrthodoxyToday.org.

Antiochian-Thomist

 

The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language
By Christine Kenneally
The Penguin Group, 357 pages, $26.95
ISBN 978-0-670-03490-1

Review by David Roemer

The study of the evolution of language began in earnest in the 1990s when Paul Bloom and Steven Pinker, linguists at MIT, took issue with Noam Chomsky’s views on the subject. In an interview, Bloom said:

And then, at the same time, Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, a colleague and friend of mine in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, published an article in Cognition on the evolution of cognition and language. His article presented in this very sharp, cogent fashion the Chomskyan view on evolution—basically he said that there was very little interesting to make of the connection between natural selection and cognition and that language has features that simply cannot be explained in terms of adaption. I strongly disagreed with it. (p. 52)

Christine Kenneally provides us with the following Chomskyan quotes:

Chomsky’s signature claim is that all humans share a “universal grammar,” otherwise known as UG, a set of rules that can generate the syntax of every human language. This means that apart from the difference in a few mental settings, English and Mohawk, for example, are essentially the same language. Traditionally researchers committed to Chomskyan linguistics believed that universal grammar exists in some part of our brain in a language organ that all humans possess but no other animals have. (p. 25)

As he wrote in 1975: “A human language is a system of remarkable complexity. To come to know a human language would be an extraordinary achievement for a creature not specifically designed to accomplish this task. A normal child acquires this knowledge on relatively slight exposure and without specific training. He can then quite effortlessly make use of an intricate structure of specific rules and guiding principles to convey his thoughts and feelings to others, arousing in them novel ideas and subtle perceptions and judgments.” (p. 36 )

In his book Language and Mind he wrote, “It is perfectly safe to attribute this development [of innate mental structure] to ‘natural selection,’ so long as we realize that there is no substance to this assertion, that it amounts to nothing more than a belief that there is some naturalistic explanation for these phenomena.” (p. 38)

Humans have the observable and definable property of being able to converse with one another. This property is closely related to the unobservable and indefinable properties of free will and conscious knowledge. We can comprehend the unobservable properties because we have the ability to transcend ourselves and make ourselves the subject of our own knowledge. Existentialism is a philosophy that arises from this self-knowledge and addresses our need to decide what to do with our lives. Kenneally acknowledges that the uniqueness of human beings is based on both existential and observable properties:

But asking what makes humans unique is almost always qualitatively different from asking what makes the antelope unique, or the sloth, or the dung beetle. These questions don’t have to be, but have historically been so, the former is never purely scientific, but is inevitably shaded by our self-regard and is always, to some degree, existential. (p. 85)



READ THE REST OF THE BOOK REVIEW HERE.

On Leo Tolstoy — Literature and Condemnation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 8:09 pm

From the official website of the Department of External Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church.

Archbishop Hilarion: It was not the Church who condemned Tolstoy but Tolstoy who condemned the Church

Speaking in the Church and World talk-show, Archbishop Hilarion, when asked about the excommunication of Tolstoy, replied, ‘It was not the Church who condemned Tolstoy but Tolstoy who condemned the Church. He condemned and discredited it, humiliated and insulted it in many of his works. For instance, in his Resurrection, he gave an utterly blasphemous description of the Divine Liturgy’. According to His Eminence, the writer’s works of this kind include the so-called ‘translation’ of the Gospel. ‘Having no knowledge of the Greek language, Tolstoy simply rendered the Gospel, distorting the text consciously by throwing out many importance passages and adding his own blasphemous comments’, he said.

Precisely for this reason, the Orthodox Church announced that this man, who had never belonged to it, placed himself outside of the church fold by his blasphemous and sacrilegious utterances. In response to that decision of the Holy Synod, Leo Tolstoy declared, ‘I have really repudiated the Church’.

‘Tolstoy excommunicated himself and announced it publicly. The Church only had to ascertain the accomplished fact. It is a different matter that before his death he must have felt agony and torments. He set off for the Optina Monastery possibly to make repentance but eventually he did not because his relatives did not let a priest to come to him. As Leo Tolstoy died without repentance, we can only commit his after-death fate to the hands of God and the Lord Himself will judge him’, the archbishop said.

October 23, 2009

SSPX: Personal Prelature?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 12:51 am

From the Catholic News Agency.

Vatican Could Convert Lefebvrists Into Personal Prelature, Says Fellay

Santiago, Chile, Oct 22, 2009 / 01:03 pm (CNA).- In an interview with the Chilean daily, “El Mercurio,” the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, Bernard Fellay, acknowledged that the Vatican is considering the possibility of converting the Lefebvrist group into a personal prelature as part of the discussions aimed at bringing about reconciliation. Fellay, who visited members of the SSPX movement in Chile, is one of four bishops whose excommunication was lifted by Pope Benedict XVI last January. Asked about the speculation that the Society of Pius X could be made into a personal prelature similar to Opus Dei, Fellay responded, “There is a lot of truth to that. I think the Vatican is moving towards that kind of canonical solution.”

He also noted that the controversy unleashed by Bishop Richard Williamson’s statements on the Nazi holocaust “was a well-planned attack, not against the Society, but directly against the person of Pope Benedict XVI, in order to tarnish his gesture.”

THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.

October 22, 2009

Christ, the Lover of Mankind

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 10:36 pm

Christ

October 21, 2009

The CATHOLIC HOLIDAY and HERITAGE of HALLOWEEN

Filed under: History, Liturgy, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 8:29 pm

Being a Catholic in America often ends up meaning that, due to the puritanical/Calvinistic influences of our protestant culture, you are a heretic that happens to goes to Mass/Divine Liturgy and Confession. In practice, this does not necessarily translate into openly espousing heterodox doctrine, rather it usually manifests itself in some sort of material heresy that is the product of overzealousness in one thing or another. The end result is usually some twisted version of Americanism or Jansenism.

Our Calvinist admixture usually displays itself around holidays of various assortments. For Americanists, the 4th of July and Thanksgiving are veritable Holy Days of Obligation. Many of this strain of contagion feel the need on these civic holidays to sing patriotic songs during the processionals and recessionals of liturgies ad nauseam. This, however, is not the focus of this post. The focus is the upcoming holiday of Halloween.

I hear it every year. Well-intentioned Catholics denouncing Halloween shouting, “It’s pagan! It’s Satanic! It’s demonic! It’s Druidic!” In reality all that they are displaying are their puritanical tendencies or how well they have been duped by duplicitous and calumniating myths fueled by Protestants and Occultists.

Sorry, but here’s a “burst your bubble” moment. Halloween is a CATHOLIC holiday.

What has happened is that there has been a long attempt to corrupt Halloween and take it over…by Satanists and Capitalists…oh, wait…uh…no, never-mind, that wasn’t necessarily redundant.

Nonetheless, instead of spending a lot of time having to argue this point again and again (it happens every year), I’ll let some others, clergyman and laymen alike, of greater reputation take the helm this time. A few articles follow with links.

If you are against Halloween, but have every desire and intention to rebuild Catholic culture, if you have any desire to actually know the TRUTH and not succumb to MYTH, then read the following articles.

SURPRISE: HALLOWEEN’S NOT A PAGAN FESTIVAL AFTER ALL

By FR. AUGUSTINE THOMPSON, O.P.

Excerpted from Catholic Parent magazine in 2000.

We’ve all heard the allegations: Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.

Nothing could be further from the truth [Preach it, Fr. Thompson!]. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope [Yikes! Bringing out the big guns early.], and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on October 31–as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Feast of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland.

The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, “All Hallows Even,” or “Hallowe’en.” In those days Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.

In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in southern France, added a celebration on November 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.

So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland at least, all the dead came to be remembered–even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the church calendar.

But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday center on dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague–the Black Death–and it lost about half its population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned about the afterlife.

More Masses were said on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality. We know these representations as the danse macabre, or “dance of death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people–popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc.–into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life. [You mean to tell me all those physical representations of the dead are Catholic?! Sorry to disappoint, but yes…IT SURE IS CATHOLIC…look at the Spanish Catholic world’s “day of the dead”.]

But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish, who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. The Irish focus on hell gave the French masquerades an even more macabre twist.

But as every young ghoul knows, dressing up isn’t the point; the point is getting as many goodies as possible. Where on earth did “trick or treat” come in?

CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE HERE.

SHOULD CATHOLICS CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN?

By SCOTT RICHERT

A Controversial Holiday:

Every year, a debate rages among Christians: Is Halloween a satanic holiday or merely a secular one? Should Christian children dress up like ghosts and goblins? Is it good for children to be scared? Lost in the debate is the history of Halloween, which, far from being a pagan religious event, is actually a Christian celebration that’s almost 1,300 years old. [emphasis added]

The Christian Origins of Halloween:

“Halloween” is a name that means nothing by itself. It is a contraction of “All Hallows Eve,” and it designates the vigil of All Hallows Day, more commonly known as All Saints Day. (“Hallow,” as a noun, is an old English word for saint. As a verb, it means to make something holy or to honor it as holy.) All Saints Day, November 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation, and both the feast and the vigil have been celebrated since the early eighth century, when they were instituted by Pope Gregory III in Rome. (A century later, they were extended to the Church at large by Pope Gregory IV.) [So, this so-called “pagan” holiday was Pontifically mandated.]

The Pagan Origins of Halloween:

Despite concerns among some Christians in recent years about the “pagan origins” of Halloween, there really are none. [emphasis added] The first attempts to show some connection between the vigil of All Saints and the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain came over a thousand years after All Saints Day became a universal feast, and there’s no evidence whatsoever that Gregory III or Gregory IV was even aware of Samhain.

In Celtic peasant culture, however, elements of the harvest festival survived, even among Christians, just as the Christmas tree owes its origins to pre-Christian Germanic traditions without being a pagan ritual.

Combining the Pagan and the Christian:

The Celtic elements included lighting bonfires, carving turnips (and, in America, pumpkins), and going from house to house, collecting treats, as carolers do at Christmas. But the “occult” aspects of Halloween–ghosts and demons–actually have their roots in Catholic belief. Christians believed that, at certain times of the year (Christmas is another), the veil separating earth from Purgatory, heaven, and even hell becomes more thin, and the souls in Purgatory (ghosts) and demons can be more readily seen. Thus the tradition of Halloween costumes owes as much, if not more, to Christian belief as to Celtic tradition.

The (First) Anti-Catholic Attack on Halloween:

The current attacks on Halloween aren’t the first. In post-Reformation England, All Saints Day and its vigil were suppressed, and the Celtic peasant customs associated with Halloween were outlawed. Christmas, and the traditions surrounding that feast, were similarly attacked, and the Puritan Parliament banned Christmas outright in 1647. In America, Puritans outlawed the celebration of both Christmas and Halloween, which were revived largely by German Catholic (in the case of Christmas) and Irish Catholic (in the case of Halloween) immigrants in the 19th century.[In short, attacks on Halloween are PURITANICAL in origin.]

The Commercialization of Halloween:

Continued opposition to Halloween was largely an expression of anti-Catholicism (as well as anti-Irish prejudice) [emphasis added]. But by the early 20th century, Halloween, like Christmas, was becoming highly commercialized [emphasis added]. Pre-made costumes, decorations, and special candy all became widely available, and the Christian origins of the holiday were downplayed.

The rise of horror films, and especially the slasher films of the late 70’s and 80’s, contributed to Halloween’s bad reputation, as did the claims of putative Satanists and Wiccans, who created a mythology in which Halloween was their festival, co-opted later by Christians. [emphasis added]

The (Second) Anti-Catholic Attack on Halloween:

A new backlash against Halloween by non-Catholic Christians began in the 1980’s, in part because of claims that Halloween was the devil’s night; in part because of urban legends about poisons and razor blades in Halloween candy; and in part because of an explicit opposition to Catholicism. Jack Chick, a rabidly anti-Catholic fundamentalist who distributes Bible tracts in the form of small comic books, helped lead the charge.

By the late 1990’s, many Catholic parents, unaware of the anti-Catholic origins of the attack on Halloween, had begun to question Halloween as well [Yes, ’tis typical…we Catholics drink the Protestant Kool-Aid…and often ask for seconds], and alternative celebrations became popular.

Alternatives to Halloween Activities:

Ironically, one of the most popular Christian alternatives to celebrating Halloween is a secular “Harvest Festival,” which has more in common with the Celtic Samhain than it does with the Catholic All Saints Day. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the harvest, but there’s no need to strip such a celebration of connections with the Christian liturgical calendar.[thank you.]

Another popular Catholic alternative is an All Saints Party, usually held on Halloween and featuring costumes (of saints rather than ghouls) and candy. At best, though, this is an attempt to Christianize an already Christian holiday.

Safety Concerns and the Fear Factor:

Parents are in the best position to decide whether their children can participate safely in Halloween activities, and, in today’s world, it’s understandable that many choose to err on the side of caution. One concern that’s often overblown, however, is the effect that fright might have on children. Some children, of course, are very sensitive, but most love scaring others and being scared themselves (within limits, of course). Any parent knows that the “Boo!” is usually followed by laughter, not only from the child doing the scaring, but from the one being scared. Halloween provides a structured environment for fear.

Making Your Decision:

In the end, the choice is yours to make as a parent. If you choose, as my wife and I do, to let your children participate in Halloween, simply stress the need for physical safety (including checking over their candy when they return home), and explain the Christian origins of Halloween to your children. Tie the vigil explicitly to the Feast of All Saints, and explain to your children why we celebrate it, so that they won’t view All Saints Day as “the boring day when we have to go to church before we can eat some more candy.”

Let’s reclaim Halloween for Christians, by returning to its roots in the Catholic Church! [Amen! Mr Richert! …and Thank You.]

THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.

October 4, 2009

Secularism and the Mind of Christ and the Church: Some Psycho-Spiritual Reflections

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 11:10 pm

By Fr. George Morelli

Article found at OrthodoxyToday.org.

Secularism and its offspring including radical individualism, moral relativism, and religious and political correctness are a pernicious threat to the correct comprehension of Christian teaching. Secularism borrows the vocabulary and categories of the Christian moral tradition but fills them with a different meaning thereby evoking the authority of the tradition while changing its teaching. This bastardization of Christian thought is often promoted as a higher expression of the common good when in fact it causes grave moral confusion and sometimes justifies evil in the name of good.

Secularism is not new. Intellectual history scholars locate the emergence of secular thought in the French Enlightenment, particularly in the writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau who rewrote the Genesis narrative by placing the locus of the Fall in Adam’s socialization rather than his private decision to disobey God. Rosseau effectively shifted responsibility for sin in the world – including the deleterious social effects some sins engender – from the individual to society.

This reinterpretation of Genesis unleashed an idea that would have huge cultural ramifications. Society, not the individual, was responsible for the ills that beset it. The idea captured the minds of the intelligentsia relatively quickly. If the ills in society were primarily the result of socialization the thinking went, then the best way to heal the ills in society was through social reorganization. The first experiment in social enlightenment was the French Revolution – a popular movement that overthrew the medieval order in the name of Fraternity, Liberty, and Equality but ended up implementing a nascent totalitarianism in the crowing of Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor.

The acceptance was not universal of course. England for example, was experiencing cataclysmic social changes of its own, but the ideas unleashed in Revolutionary France never jumped the Channel. Why? Historians contend the Great Awakening led by John Wesley effectively inoculated England against Rousseau’s virus.

Napoleon was effectively deposed when the French came back to their senses but Rosseau’s idea never died. They would reappear later especially in Marxism, which elevated the notion that the state was both the source and enforcer of the project to build a heaven on earth and set about to create the new utopia with ruthless efficiency. The count of the people who died under Communist brutality makes the French Revolution seem like child’s play and eludes the historians even today.

Secularism’s Goal: A Moral Consensus Without God as a Touchstone

Secularism rejects God as the touchstone of truth and meaning. Moreover, when God is rejected, the locus of truth — the place where truth emanates and where it is found — must necessarily rest in the created order. The locus shifts to man himself, and as pride and an inflated sense of self-sufficiency grows, ideas that find no court of accountability apart from the like-minded, are implemented in this quest for a new Jerusalem. When these ideas accept a-priori that improving the lot of man begins with social reorganization (the inevitable outgrowth of Rosseau’s initial assertion), the state becomes both the source and enforcer of morality — often with catastrophic results.

Communism fell but the dream of earthly utopia continues unabated. Susan Jacoby (2005), no friend of religion, recently asserted: “What the many types of freethinkers share, regardless of their views on the existence or non existence of a divinity, was a rationalist approach to the fundamentals of earthly existence — a conviction that the affairs of human beings should be governed not by faith in the supernatural but by a reliance on reason and evidence adduced from the natural world.”

She went on to say: “Biblical authority is cited by politicians and judges as a rationale for the death penalty. Vital public health programs — the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, family planning aid to Third World countries, sex education for American teenagers (unless it preaches “abstinence only”) — are held hostage by the religious doctrines of a determined conservative minority.” She postulates that in a democratic society, “there must be a moral consensus, extending beyond and in some instances contradicting particular religious beliefs, to maintain the social contract.”

Overlooking for the moment the self-congratulatory term “free-thinker” that Jacoby ascribes to herself and her compatriots, note how the justification for the negation of any religious dimension of the social problems she cites rests in her assertion that rationalism alone is sufficient for solving those problems. Conditioned as we are to this assertion, it strikes our ears — initially at least — as entirely plausible.

But is it really? Take a closer look at it. The assertion is universal in character. It posits that rationalism alone, that is, a self-contained and self-referencing system of ideas that broaches no recourse to a touchstone outside of the creative capacity of the individual, is sufficient for solving the catastrophic moral collapse that looms before us.

Moreover, because Jacoby’s statement is universal in character, it functions as a religious precept even while simultaneously denying the existence of the transcendent. In denying religious authority (in this case arguing that the influence of the Holy Scriptures in judgments about human behavior should be dismissed), the statement also denies God and substitutes in its place the sufficiency of the human mind to script the social reorganization necessary to solve the social problems she listed. Jacoby is clearly a daughter of Rousseau.

Critical Question Concerning Consensus

Jacoby is correct in her assertion that a shared morality is necessary for social cohesion, a dynamic we call the cultural consensus. She is also correct in her brief historical analysis that in times past the consensus was shaped by Christian morality. Finally, she is correct that the cultural consensus is shattering.

This shattering creates considerable moral confusion that results in grave social problems, some of which she cited. A question arises that Jacoby never asked (although she answered): Where will the new consensus be drawn from? What happens if different groups conflict about what is morally acceptable, as is the case today? What rule (and who will be the arbiters of that rule) determines which consensus is favored when conflicts occur?

Several critical questions are raised by Jacoby’s queries. Which group of people determines the consensus? What happens if different groups are in conflict in terms of what is morally acceptable? Can distinct groups of individuals come to a different consensus on morality and acceptability of behavior? What rule determines which consensus is the right consensus when consensus conflicts occur?

Read the rest of the article here.

September 27, 2009

Obama’s Self Portrait?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:21 pm

selfportobamsplash

September 26, 2009

How Do Eastern Catholic Clergy Mark the ‘Year for Priests’ Whose Patron is a ‘Latin’?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:52 pm

From Catholic News Service.

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Much of the focus of U.S. commemorations and celebrations for the Year for Priests has been on Latin-rite priests, but priests in the Eastern Catholic Church also are marking the year, many by renewing their priesthood with retreats or days of recollection and also promoting vocations.

[…]

Chorbishop Saad said the St. Louis-based Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon would use the observance to “emphasize the ordination of all the orders this year (including minor orders and the diaconate), making sure everybody knows about them and mentions it as a way of tying it in with the Year for Priests and work for vocations. … These are the most teachable times for me.”

For the full article, go here.

Religious Marathon?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:45 pm

From Catholic News Service.

By Joyce Duriga

CHICAGO (CNS) — When Alicia Torres laced up her running shoes and tackled the 13.1 miles of the Chicago Half Marathon Sept. 13, her goal was to become a nun.

Torres is not a runner and had never run a distance race. But she ran the race as part of an appeal to friends and strangers to help pay off more than $90,000 in student loans so she can enter religious life.

For the full article, go here.

September 23, 2009

When Western Culture Was Catholic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 4:32 pm

From InsideCatholic.com.

A Village Called Wakefield

by Antholy Esolen

Our family has finally called it quits. We’ve folded our tents and abandoned the strip mall and peep show known as American television. We still have the machine in the living room, whereon we can watch Going My Way, with Bing Crosby as the “progressive” Father O’Malley, back when progressive meant that he took the street boys to the ballgame and then made a choir out of them. He could do that, because all the boys’ families knew one another and knew the priests. And the Irish policeman could bring the runaway lass to the church, because he knew, though he’d not been to Mass in ten years, that a priest rather than a social worker or a jail cell or a shrug was what the young lady needed. The culture of that movie was Catholic, true enough. More remarkable than that: It was a culture. It was a way of life, cherished, inculcated in the young. People ate together, snooping neighbors patrolled the streets, and when the church needed to be rebuilt, the parishioners came out to hoist the planks. Boys played stickball and dodged traffic; old ladies gave presents, even unwanted ones, to the pastor; the people sinned, but knew they were sinning; they came together to praise God, to marry, to christen children, to bury the dead, and to beg for mercy. They tilled the fields of the soul.

Shut your doors upon the tele-god, and you may find yourself accused of retreating from “the world” and of despairing that our popular culture can be redeemed. But show me where there is a popular culture to reject. Mass entertainment we do have, aplenty. Mass entertainment grinds our land flat, leaving bandstands and ball fields and public squares empty while people watch in isolation the games they do not play and listen to the music they do not sing. Mass entertainment dampens the heart; it keeps us content and offhandedly contemptuous of our forebears, for it likes to serve us new vices because they are new–or if not new, then packaged as new. It is crowd control for prisons. It is music at the mall to relieve us of our money. It does not arise from the people; it is dosed out to them. It cultivates no land, sows no seed. One cannot predict what it will be like after a single generation. It is culture’s solvent.

In 1215, to celebrate the resolution of a controversy regarding Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist, Pope Innocent III declared a new holiday: Corpus Christi. What happened then should astonish us. People across Europe greeted the feast not just with joy but with an outburst of grateful creativity so powerful it revived the drama, a form of art that had lain dormant since the days of Terence 1,400 years before. From Portugal to Poland, from England to the Alps, arose the tradition of staging town-wide dramas to celebrate Corpus Christi. Not single plays, put on by a few literate people on the holiday itself and attended by the town. That would be a bolder work of culture than we now know. Yet it was more.

Imagine that for weeks in advance, all the trade guilds and altar societies–carpenters, tanners, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, clerks–build floats and props and fashion costumes and prepare a sweeping pageant of plays (57 at York!) to be performed before all the people, proceeding from one end of the town to the other, from the Thursday of Corpus Christi to the eve of Pentecost Sunday. Imagine that these plays form a cycle to lead the players and the audience in a pilgrimage over the whole terrain of the Christian life, from creation and Adam’s fall to the last judgment.

Such an expression of Catholic culture you would remember till the day you died. And people did remember: Roles were passed down like heirlooms, so that as late as Shakespeare’s day everybody knew that Herod was a roaring bully and that devils are fundamentally stupid. But could only the rich towns afford it, or cosmopolitan places like London and Paris? Not so. A village called Wakefield staged a cycle of 32 plays, a tradition its residents maintained for more than three centuries. In 1377 the adult population of Wakefield numbered 567. That is what ordinary people of faith can do.

How good were the plays? They are not for people who read the New York Times. Their theology is too profound for such. They evince a deep belief in Providence, an abiding awareness that everything in place and time plays its role in God’s salvific order. Let us look at the most famous of them, the so-called Second Shepherds’ Play of Wakefield.

Read the rest of it here.

Synod on the Church in the Middle East

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 4:25 pm

From ByzCath.org.

Pope Announces a Synod on the Church in the Middle East

Monday, 21 September 2009 18:46

VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) – This morning in Castelgandolfo Benedict XVI received Catholic patriarchs and major archbishops from the Oriental Churches, in response to a request the prelates had made on various occasions in the past.

Participating in the meeting were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, alongside the “Heads and Fathers” of all the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

They are: His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R., Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, Syria; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon; Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia of the Romanians, Romania; His Beatitude Baselios Moran Mor Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India, and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

According to a communique, the representatives of the Eastern Churches spoke to thank the Holy Father for his initiative and highlighted the two facets of the faithfulness that characterises them: “the bond with the Christian East and the bond with Peter’s Successor, the universal Pastor, with his charism of unity in truth and in love”. They also focused on “a number of more general themes, such as the phenomenon of migration … and the ecumenical and inter- religious context in which their Churches live”.

Find the rest of the article here.

September 22, 2009

Obama’s Top Muslim Fund-Raiser Defrauds U.S. Banks Out of $290 Millions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:43 pm

From Reuters.

By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hassan Nemazee, a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, has been indicted for defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup Inc out of more than $290 million in loan proceeds, U.S. prosecutors said on Monday.

The announcement follows last month’s indictment of Nemazee, head of a private equity firm and an Iranian American Political Action Committee board member, on one count of defrauding Citigroup’s Citibank.

The new indictment adds allegations that he defrauded two other banks, Bank of America and HSBC Bank USA, in a similar fashion by falsifying documents and signatures to purportedly show he had hundreds of millions worth of collateral.

The office of the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan and the FBI said he used the proceeds of his scheme to make donations to election campaigns of federal, state and local candidates, donations to political action committees and charities.

He bought property in Italy and paid for maintenance on two properties in New York.

His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

As of August 2009 Nemazee owed Bank of America about $142 million and owed Citibank about $74.9 million, the indictment said. He drew on a line of credit he fraudulently obtained from HSBC to pay the Citibank loan.

Nemazee, 59, typically donates more than $100,000 annually to Democratic political candidates. He is listed as one of the top “bundlers” of contributions to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website run by the Center for Responsive Politics research group.

“For more than 10 years, Hassan Nemazee projected the illusion of wealth, stealing more than $290 million so that he could lead a lavish lifestyle and play the part of heavyweight political fundraiser,” United States Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in a statement.

Nemazee was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on August 23 as he was checking in for a flight to Italy, according to court papers. He was released on bail.

If convicted on three counts of bank fraud, Nemazee faces up to 30 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. He is also charged with identity theft.

The case is: U.S. v. Nemazee, 09-mj-1927 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

(Reporting by Grant McCool, editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Matthew Lewis)

The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:25 pm

Infidel Guide Koran

Go here for the author’s (Robert Spencer) website.

Go here for the book.

Hamas-Linked CAIR Bullying a PA School District? Say it Ain’t So!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:17 pm

From JihadWatch.org.

Hamas-linked CAIR: Jump. Pennsylvania school district: How high?

Dhimmitude and ignorance from a Pennsylvania public school district. At the slightest hint of pressure, most individuals and groups who find themselves in this position cave in faster than you can say “Islamophobia” — and most of the time, as in this case, they don’t make the slightest effort to verify whether or not the pressure group’s claims are true. “CAIR: Penn. High School Drops Anti-Islam ‘Obsession’ Video,” a CAIR press release, September 22 (thanks to James):

Civil rights group calls film ‘vehicle for promoting anti-Muslim bigotry’

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) announced today that a high school in that state has dropped an anti-Islam video listed for use in one of its classes.

Earlier this month, CAIR-PA sent a letter to the superintendent of the Council Rock School District expressing concerns about a hate-filled video, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” listed in the syllabus of a course at Council Rock High School in Newtown, Penn.

In her letter, CAIR-PA Director of Civil Rights Marwa El-Turky wrote in part:

“‘Obsession’ is a vehicle for promoting anti-Muslim bigotry that seeks to blur the distinction between violent extremism and mainstream Islam. The use of such an inaccurate and inflammatory film in a world history class would inevitably result in both the promotion of stereotypes and the creation of a hostile learning environment for Muslim students.

“The hate-filled agenda promoted by the film has been repudiated by the Hate Hurts America Multifaith Community Coalition (HHA), a group of religious and civic organizations seeking to challenge hate speech in our society… Those interviewed in Obsession constitute a veritable who’s who of Muslim-bashers. SEE: http://www.obsessionwithhate.com/

“. . .this film is obviously not suitable teaching material for a captive audience of impressionable youth. We therefore respectfully ask that ‘Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West’ be dropped from the curriculum and that representatives of the local Muslim community be invited to offer balanced and accurate information about Islam and the American Muslim experience.”

These are all highly debatable claims. Did Superintendent of Schools Mark J. Klein seek to verify CAIR’s (false) claim that Obsession “seeks to blur the distinction between violent extremism and mainstream Islam”? In fact, the movie bends over backwards not to blur that distinction — so much so that some say it errs too much on the other side, giving viewers the impression that the Islamic jihad globally is just the property of a few nuts, and is condemned and actively opposed by the vast majority of Muslims. Did Klein receive this claim from CAIR and investigate it? Or did he receive it and immediately move to accommodate these thugs and bullies, without giving it a moment’s thought?

Find the rest of the article here.

September 21, 2009

Would the ACLU, Liberal Politicians, and Neo-Cons Call These Jews ‘Anti-Semitic’?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:26 pm

From IsraelVersusJudaism.org.

Israel versus Judaism

Orthodox Jews protesting Zionism.
Orthodox Jews protesting Zionism.

This website was created to expose the violence and oppression perpetrated by the Zionists and their State of “Israel” against the Jewish people who remain true to the Almighty, Judaism and the Torah.

Judaism does not condone violence. Judaism demands that Jews be good citizens of the countries in which they reside and that they live peacefully with respect for and subservience to the ruling powers.

Judaism teaches us, that the right for the Jewish people to have self rule in the Holy Land is not unconditional. Since the destruction of our Holy Temple over two thousand years ago, the Jewish people have been exiled from this land by Divine decree. The Talmud tells us that G-d obligated us not to rebel against the ruling bodies, and not to take the land of Israel by force (see Babylonian Talmud tractate Kesubos 111A).

The aggression that Zionism presents in originally taking the Holy Land from its indigenous inhabitants is the first flag that exposes this movement for what it is — a real deviation from Judaism. Judaism forbids us from taking the land away from those who currently have jurisdiction over it. That such things should be done not only in opposition to Judaism, but in the name of the very Judaism it defies is simply large-scale fraud. Zionism, once exposed, proves to be the greatest enemy, the worst nightmare, to the Jewish religion and it’s practitioners, that exists to date. Zionism, strikes out regularly at Jews who remain true to Torah and its precepts. There are many Jews who protest against the very existence of the State of Israel, and who are quite vocal, albeit peaceful, about their opposition. Whenever Zionist policies or activities run counter to the Torah stance, Torah-true Jews come forward to unmask the imposter. Unfortunately, they have many opportunities to voice their stand, because few countries in the world tramples on the religious rights of its inhabitants as regularly as does the State of Israel. Witness, the routine autopsies which are done against the stated, tearful wishes of the family. Witness, the ancient, sacred burial grounds ripped open with abandon for the construction of yet another mall, with bare bones, hundreds of years old treated to the absolute desecration of careless disposal, and the list goes on and on… Protesters suffer terribly at the hands of the Zionists, who try to quash all opposition and deal with their peaceful detractors in the most brutal fashion. This fact, too, is yet another proof that this movement cannot speak for Judaism — because Judaism opposes aggression and would never sanction the bloodshed of brothers who seek only to remain true to the Torah.

This is, unfortunately, a little-known fact – that Zionism is constantly criticized by the fervently Orthodox Jews – critics whose opposition is not predicated on the political correctness of our point in time, and that these detractors do so under pain of physical torture. The secular establishment, which by and large celebrates Zionism as a replacement for Judaism, a transformation that does not mandate any religious observance per se, hogs the traditional media venues and will not be party to letting the voice of the observant Jew, be known. The worldwide Jewish Federations, Jewish Agency and similar organizations claim to speak for all Jews but actually represent only the views of a misguided segment of the Jewish people. “Israel” today is equated with “Jew” – but what a travesty! The Israeli government is quite happy to have gotten away with this fraud, and certainly won’t allow news of any cracks in the mask to be recognized. The average reader today will not see this in the press, because the powers to be, don’t want you to know this.

Violence commited against peaceful Orthodox Jews by the Israeli Defence Force
Violence commited against peaceful Orthodox Jews by the Israeli Defence Force

But as the pictures and articles on this site demonstrate, opposition to Zionism from within Judaism is not a fringe movement but rather, an intrinsic characteristic and a mainstay of Judaism itself. This opposition has continually suffersd bloodshed and tremendous tragedy. Jews who are loyal to the Torah find it imperative to have the following points on the record:

  • Zionism is not Judaism.
  • The founding principles of Zionism run counter to Judaism.
  • The State of “Israel” does not represent the Jewish people.
  • Aggressive acts committed in the name of Zionism are crimes and not religious imperatives.
  • Zionists have no right to commit violent acts towards anyone — neither Palestinian nor Jew

    How the IDF treats Orthodox Jews and other religious denominations...with U.S. funding.

    How the IDF treats Orthodox Jews and other religious denominations...with U.S. funding.

September 20, 2009

A Good Opportunity for a Good Education

Filed under: Philosophy, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 11:35 pm

This is an unadulterated plug for an online program dedicated to the study of the traditional scholastic philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Common Doctor of the Church. Be aware that I receive no material compensation for this advertisement. The program is “Sapientis est Ordinare“.   I encourage everyone to have a look at this organization and the educational opportunity they are offering.  — Antiochian-Thomist

The Society of Scholastics (from their website):

We are an intellectual association committed to restoring the philosophic doctrines, didactic principles, and scientific synthesis of the great masters of the classical universities, the Scholastics. We hold Thomas of Aquin to be the paradigm of Scholastic scholars and we apply ourselves to renewing the great scientific tradition forged by his Commentators throughout the centuries.

With a strong emphasis on Logic, the division and subordination of the sciences, and strict methodology, we defend our attention to detail with the axiom:
‘A small error in principle is a large error in conclusion.’

Sapientis est Ordinare (from the website):

Sapientis is an online course of studies based entirely on the principles of Aristotelian Thomism. Its goal is to lead students to the complete grasp of the natural and artificial orders in the universe and of our moral duties resulting from this order.

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