Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lenten Message from Archbishop Demetrios

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk at St. Mary Major

More on the Dominicans in Iraq

A Quick Canonization

The New Martyrs of Libya Added to the Coptic Synaxarium

An Examination of Conscience Based on Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict

NLM: A New Examination of Conscience for Lent

Not a Dominican, But a Fan of Latin Liturgical Diversity

Dominican Liturgy Blog: Dominican Chants of the Passion for Holy Week Available

Are Ad Liminia Visits by Non-Latin Bishops Necessary?

Magister Follows a Certain Line on Ukraine

Assaulted by Moscow and Abandoned by Rome
In Russian-occupied Ukraine, there is persecution of the Catholics once again. But for them Pope Francis has had words not of comfort, but of reproof. The Putin factor at the Vatican

Peter Hitchens: A (not so) Brief History of Crimea


Friday, February 20, 2015

Interview with Iconographer Federico José Xamist

His website.

5th Annual Climacus Conference

Check out the photo from the chapel, too!

Diakonia Center

South Carolina

Peter Hitchens: Putin's Bite is Worse than His Bark - should we have been surprised?

I fear that if the political situation in Ukraine is more complex than Ukrainian nationalists claim it is that the Ukrainian Catholic Church will suffer a loss in credibility if it is continuing to join its voice to theirs.

Next Monday: The Head of the UGCC is holding a press-conference in Vatican

Aquinas v. Suarez on Natural Law

J. Budsizewski: Is Natural Law Really Law?

Mondays are for letters from students. This one is a doctoral candidate in Dallas.


Since discovering your online writings and lectures I have read and listened to a fair bit of your work and talks. I’m writing to ask about the difference between St. Thomas Aquinas’s and Francisco Suarez’s views of natural law. St. Thomas has a clear understanding of natural law and much to contribute. But if Suarez is right about what law is, then it strikes me that the St. Thomas’s ethics and politics are not natural law theory simply, but something more like Aristotelian virtue ethics. In the De Legibus, Book 5 and Book 6 , Suarez argues that Natural Law isn’t divine law by virtue of its having been promulgated by a lawgiver; rather it comes from God as efficient cause. This seems a rather radical disagreement.

I gather from other writers that Suarez is more nearly the father of the early modern views of natural law. That implies that there must be two streams or traditions of natural law theory, one which views God as a lawgiver and one which does not. Could you point me in a direction that would explain your thinking on this?


Right: Though Suarez holds natural law in great esteem, he argues that it is not literally law, except insofar as God verbally commands it – something which does not happen except through revelation. One might then say that the natural law is produced by God -- since He is the First Cause of everything -- but not promulgated by God. Many of the Enlightenment thinkers took a view something like this too. For them the natural laws were not laws in the sense of commands; they were more like the empirical generalizations of the sciences. So, just as you suggest, there was a split in the natural law tradition in the early modern era. The classical tradition epitomized by St. Thomas continued to develop, and is experiencing a modest renaissance in our own times. But the revisionist tradition turned out to be a dead end – or so I would argue (long story).

St. Thomas agrees with Suarez that law must be promulgated to be law. Yet he disagrees with Suarez too, because he thinks natural law is promulgated. Natural law is the finite manner in which the eternal law, the Wisdom of God’s own mind, is reflected in the mind of the rational creature.

One might expect St. Thomas to say that natural law does not have to be promulgated verbally, because it is promulgated through the structure of creation. And he could have said that, for as he points out, sometimes we use the term "word" in a figurative sense, not for the word itself, but for that which the word means or brings about. For example, we say "The word of the king is that such and such be done." This way of speaking collapses the Suarezian distinction between what God produces and what He promulgates. So St. Thomas might have argued that just by being an effect of God as First Cause, the natural law is figuratively spoken to us.

But what he actually says is more intriguing. Natural law is promulgated verbally -- and not in a figurative sense, but literally. In saying this, St. Thomas is not referring to sounds made by the mouth (or for that matter characters formed of ink). He argued that the expression "word" has three proper senses. The most fundamental sense is "the interior concept of the mind," because a vocal sound is not a word unless it signifies this interior concept. In natural law, our minds receive an impression of the idea in the mind of God. We receive this impression through the natural disposition of the mind called synderesis, deep conscience, which is put to work by conscientiae, conscience in action.

So St. Paul’s remark in the letter to the Romans that the law is “written on our hearts” turns out to be precisely true. As St. Thomas points out in his commentary on the letter, “conscience does not dictate something to be done or avoided, unless it believes that it is against or in accordance with the law of God. For the law is applied to our actions only by means of our conscience.” In other words, when we enter the court of conscience and listen closely, the voice we are trying to hear is the voice of God – whether or not we fully realize that we are trying to do so.

If you want to follow up, take a look especially at Summa Theologiae, I-II, Q. 90; Q. 91, Art. 1, ad 2; Q. 94, Art. 1, ad 2 ; and Q. 94, Art. 6. I discuss all of these texts in detail in my Commentary on St. Thomas’s Treatise on Law. My quotation from the Commentary on the Letter to the Romans is from the Fabian Larcher translation, Chap. 4, Lect. 2, Sec. 1120, which I also take up there.

(Unfortunately his blog format does not allow for a direct link to this post, so I have copied and pasted instead.)

Pope Francis Meets with Roman Clergy

Rorate Caeli: IMPORTANT! Francis says "Reform of the Reform" is "mistaken".
"Traditionalist" seminarians criticized, Pope says their "imbalances" are manifested in their celebration of the liturgy


Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy?: “Born Again” Experience or Baptismal Regeneration? by Robert Arakaki

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk at the Liturgy in St. John Lateran

Interfaith Gestures?

Why would one ask Muslims to fast unless he thought it were an efficacious gesture to God? What would that imply about the status of Muslims with respect to their "standing" with God, as this invitation was made without qualification? That they are just like Christians, even if their faith is different?

Ecumenism That Matters

Dominican Friars: NPR: Piece By Piece, Monks Scramble To Preserve Iraq’s Christian History

Still waiting to see what comes of it all

St. Mark Orthodox Church, Irvine, CA


The style is too minimalist for me...

Entering Into the Spirit of Great Lent

A Response to Pope Francis

From CRC: KERYGMATIC THEOLOGY The mystery of Jesus

Budziszewski's Commentary on Summa theologiae, I-II, qq. 90-97 J. Budziszewski's book on the Treatise on Law

Cambridge University Press
His faculty page.

Fr. Romanus in America Magazine

Fr. Volpi Responds

Rorate Caeli: For the record: Letter of the Apostolic Commissioner of the Franciscan Friars

Dietrich von Hildebrand on the Promulgation of the New Missal

The Remnant Scrapbook History ~ In The Beginning (via Pertinacious Papist)

In a letter dated April 27, 1970, von Hildebrand wrote a letter to Walter Matt’s brother, the new editor of The Wanderer, summing up, in effect, the meat of the matter that had separated the two Matt brothers. Von Hildebrand wrote:

Dear Mr. Alphonse Matt:

I thank you very much for your kind letter. But I believe that there is some misunderstanding. You assume that the new ordo missae and especially the rubrics constitute for me merely a personally painful change by replacing something very beautiful and perfect with something less beautiful and less perfect. But unfortunately it is my conviction that the new ordo missae is the greatest pastoral mistake and that its consequences for the Church may be disastrous.

I agree however completely with you that it is a grave problem, whether one should criticize it publicly or only intra muros. Concerning this problem every one must follow his conscience. But I frankly cannot understand that you do not only abstain from a public criticism of the new ordo missae but make the “Wanderer” an instrument for propagating and praising the new ordo. You even suggest in your letter, dear Mr. Matt, that I should join this propaganda. As you say that you agreed with my article in “Triumph” in which I stress that obedience to practical decisions of the Pope does not imply approval of them – it is difficult for me to understand why you expect me to utter a univocal approval of something which seems to be, from the purely religious point of view, a “suicidal” practical decision. I do not believe that a mere loyalty to the present Pope who does not act against those who destroy the Catholic faith daily more and more – like Kueng, Schillebecks, Padovano, Greeley and many others – and who does not use the means by which the Church survived through 2000 years: anathema and excommunication – can preserve Catholic faith untarnished.

Dear Mr. Matt, it is painful for me to disagree with you because of my sincere admiration for the “Wanderer” throughout the past years and our warm personal union in Christ. This disagreement, however should in no way affect our friendly relations.

Faithfully yours in Christ
Dietrich von Hildebrand

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Cure for Sadness

Magister Looks to Benedict XVI for Good Homiletics

Chiesa: Lenten Homilies. A Single-Author Anthology

Exercises in liturgical preaching for Ash Wednesday and for the five Sundays in preparation for Easter. From the archive of Benedict XVI. In obedience to Pope Francis

by Sandro Magister

"The homilies for Lent of cycle B do not represent the summit of the homiletics of Benedict XVI, which is instead found in those of the Christmas and Easter season"

Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Temple

Celebrated on February 14.

Ultramontanist of Convenience?

Rorate Caeli: Cardinal Wuerl attacks "brother bishops" as "dissenters"

Fr. Moses Shares His Thoughts on Fasting

Every Home a Monastery

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Orthodox Art Journal Review of Cappella Romana's Latest Album

Learning Byzantine Chant

Some lucky people...


Something on the Pope Emeritus

Monday, February 16, 2015

St. Ephrem the Syrian

Halki Seminary

Aristotle Papanikolaou Bringing Virtue Theory and Deification Together

Toward a Godly Mode of Being: Virtue as Embodied Deification
Modes of Godly Being: Reflections on the Virtues from the Christian East

Sunday, February 15, 2015