Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What has caused the crisis?

At this thread over at NLM, Pontifical High Mass, Merton College, Oxford, "anonymous" has cited Geoffrey Hull's The Banished Heart in defense of his assertion that the Counter-Reformation was bad for the Church: "The direct chain of causation between the corrosive aspects of the counter-reformation and the current disaster are well-documented: The Banished Heart, G. Hull."

He goes on to write later:

the counter-reformation was merely the latest episode in the runnning battle those manichean/neo-platonist forces in the church (including, unfortunately, many of the church fathers - which does not mean that absolutely everything St Jerome wrote, for instance, was corrupted by these errors), usually but not exclusively comprising members of religious orders, have been waging against the secular clergy for centuries. It is important to note that the flashpoint is usually related to the fact that we are humans rather than angels (i.e., sex), and specifically the issue of clerical marriage amongst the diocesan clerics. The counter-reformation was merely by far, courtesy of the seminary system, the most successful attack by these forces.

Dr Hull notes in The Banished Heart how this radical change in spirituality in the latin church - which I would argue is essentially an attempt to monasticise the entire latin church to the extent possible - helped lead to the apostasy of complete nations - the latin countries of Europe. Then, we in the English-speaking world had to put up with Jansenism imported from Ireland. The net result of this was that by the 1950's, the church was ready to explode.

THe abuses in religious houses and seminaries that the corrupt spirituality of the c-r precipitated are well documented in many accounts of life in those institutions. In Australia, one can refer to "Cassocks in the Wilderness" and "The Priest Factory" by Christopher Geraghty, or with regard to England, "Seminary Boy" by John Cornwell. These two authors might well be lapsed catholics, but their accounts of pre-conciliar seminary life rang chillingly true when compared with my own (and others')largely appalling experiences in a post-concilliar traditionalist seminary, where I was refused medical treatment, and was rushed to hospital only at my insistence, when it was almost too late. I suppose, I was meant to "offer it up", and "exercise heroic virtue" or some similar nonsense.

The attempt to meld orthodoxy with heteropraxis which was the c-r was foredoomed to fail. Grace builds on nature, it doesn't destroy it. This is a reality that church of the c-r forgot, with the direst consequences.


Some forther reference works for those interested:

Married Priests and the Reforming Papacy: The Eleventh-Century Debates by Anne Llewellyn Barstow

(Good for the purposes of bibliography, and primary sources. Her attempts to seem to argue for a changing dogmatic theology in relation to the priesthood at the time of the Gregorian reforms are flawed. One thing that reading the primary sources should do is convince people that even saints - here St Gregory VII and St Peter Damian - are capable of making mistakes, and quite disastrous ones, too. But that's NOT in relation to the question of the emperor v. the pope).

Celibacy: Gift or Law? Heinz-Jurgen Vogels.

The theological and legal underpinning of the case for clerical marriage. The by-product is the undermining of the spirituality of the c-r. Very Thomistic in approach, without even citing St Thomas Aquinas.


A comprehensive study on this question, even exploring the connexion between the mediaeval heretics such as the Cathars, and the spirituality of the c-r is waiting to be writing by some student attempting a doctorate in theology.

The above is only the most rudimentary scratching of the surface. I haven't even dealt with the role of the Jesuits both for good and bad, and particularly with regard to the latter, the exaggerated and abusive notions of obedience propagated by them (also a significant cause of the current crisis).
A provocative narrative, but where is the evidence? How do we explain the Church's discipline on clerical celibacy, which goes back to the first millenium? And what is the "spirituality of the Counter-Reformation"? As for what happened to the Catholic countries of Europe--should we not focus instead on the conflict between the Church and the state and other forces opposed to the Church?

RORATE CÆLI: Authority and Recognition
Traditional Anglican Chaplaincy in France

Monday, August 04, 2008

International Society for MacIntyrean Philosophy

International Society for MacIntyrean Philosophy

Abstracts for the 2nd annual conference. I hope Michael Baur's paper will be published somewhere. Information on the third international conference. (Whoa! Dr. MacIntyre is turning 80!?! Wiki confirms it--he looks very good for his age!)

The special issue of Analyse & Kritik with the revised papers for this conference, Alasdair MacIntyre's Revolutionary Aristotelianism, has been published.

Google Books: Kelvin Knight, Aristotelian Philosophy: Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre (Polity)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Fr. Lev Gillet, “The Immaculate Conception and the Orthodox Church”--Parts 3 and 4