Sonntag, 5. Juni 2011

"Libertas" by Pope Leo XIII

But many there are who follow in the footsteps of Lucifer, and adopt as their own his rebellious cry, "I will not serve"; and consequently substitute for true liberty what is sheer and most foolish license. Such, for instance, are the men belonging to that widely spread and powerful organization, who, usurping the name of liberty, style themselves liberals.

The fundamental doctrine of rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and eternal reason, proclaims its own independence, and constitutes itself the supreme principle and source and judge of truth. Hence, these followers of liberalism deny the existence of any divine authority to which obedience is due, and proclaim that every man is the law to himself; from which arises that ethical system which they style independent morality, and which, under the guise of liberty, exonerates man from any obedience to the commands of God, and substitutes a boundless license. The end of all this it is not difficult to foresee, especially when society is in question. For, when once man is firmly persuaded that he is subject to no one, it follows that the efficient cause of the unity of civil society is not to be sought in any principle external to man, or superior to him, but simply in the free will of individuals; that the authority in the State comes from the people only; and that, just as every man's individual reason is his only rule of life, so the collective reason of the community should be the supreme guide in the management of all public affairs. Hence the doctrine of the supremacy of the greater number, and that all right and all duty reside in the majority.

Samstag, 28. Mai 2011

Monarchy - the best form of Government

After finding out the reasons as to why I am not a democrat, I have been asked a couple of questions regarding governance which I think may best be answered by simply outlining what I deem to be the best form of government.

In my view, the best form of government is a mixed one:
Democracy on the lowest level, aristocracy on the regional and finally: monarchy on the national level.

One may of course raise the question as to why I even include democracy after having published a treatise against such form of government.

It must be clear that I am not against any type of participation in government or a certain level of autonomy by the people. The problem with democracy is the underlying principle that law derives its legitimacy from the arbitrary will of the majority. It is that principle which I reject.

Further, the mixed form of government prevents democracy on the local level from being absolute and thus harmful:
Local democracy is limited by the supervision of an elected aristocracy.

The power of aristocrats on the other hand is limited by the Monarch who rules by divine right.

Such a monarch may not be an absolute ruler – because he too is a subject and his power thus limited.

But by whom or by what is the Monarch’s power limited and why can he not be an absolute ruler?

A Monarch may not be an absolute ruler, because regalism – or monarchical absolutism – is like democracy just another form of human absolutism which perverts the rule of law by factually rejecting the existence of immutable principles that serve as the basis for proper governance and the legitimacy of law.

After explaining why regalism is fundamentally wrong, it is time to discuss how the Monarch’s power is limited.

The first thing to consider is the fact that the Monarch rules by divine right.
The principle of rule by divine right already shows that the Monarch is not Sovereign in and of himself, but derives all his power and authority from another source:
namely from God.

The contingent nature of monarchical authority automatically puts certain limitations on it:

Monarchical authority is only legitimate when realized in accordance to Divine Law;
acts contrary to Divine Law are per principle illegitimate since they are not warranted by God.

And in Divine Law are anchored certain immutable principles upon which proper governance and legitimate law are based.

Since these principles are transcendental and immutable, the rights derived from them too cannot be altered by any man: not by any collective of persons, nor by any individual Monarch.

Therefore, rule by divine right protects all humans against arbitrary tyranny and thus guarantees the rule of law.

It must also be noted that Divine Law is not revealed explicitly through the State, but through the Church.

The preservation and definitive and infallible teaching of divinely revealed truth – regarding faith and morals – are missions delegated by divine command unto the Church and not the State.

Thus there is necessarily a relation of dependence of the Crown on the Church, due to which a strict separation of Church and State ought to be rejected.

Such dependence becomes clear when one considers that it is the Church alone that can speak infallibly on matters of faith and morals.

She is the infallible mouthpiece of natural or Divine Law and thus the guardian of the knowledge regarding those immutable principles from which the Monarch’s authority is derived.

Without this infallible Church, definitive knowledge of the aforementioned immutable principles would not be given and thus are opened the gates of relativism preparing the way for any type of human absolutism and thereby of arbitrary tyranny destroying the rule of law.

It therefore follows, that for the Monarch’s governance to be the expression of the rule of law, he himself must cooperate with and subject himself to the Church.

For the temporal order to meet its proper end, it must act in accordance to and subject itself to the spiritual.

Only if such relationship between the temporal and the spiritual order is maintained, can the rule of law and thereby true liberty be guaranteed.

For as God rules His Church as her Head preserving her from destruction, so too shall the Monarch – in analogy – govern as the temporal head of the nation.

The Monarch’s rule by divine right shows that the source and end of his authority is to be found in the spiritual sphere.
Therefore, it is the State’s duty to organize society in such a manner that would enable the populace to reach its spiritual end: namely life eternal.
This is done by supporting the Church in her mission wherever necessary and possible.

In conclusion, there are two spheres that are analogous to each other: the temporal and the spiritual.
And only in their cooperation can proper governance, that is the rule of law, be guaranteed.

*** Deus - Ecclesia ; Rex – Patria***

A treatise against Democracy

Watching a video on democracy some days ago, I stumbled across a statement made by a youtuber which really made me think.

It said: "Democracy is the unquestionable belief that the majority is ALWAYS right.”

Though the word itself – being a composite from the Greek words Demos and Kratos – actually means the “rule of the people”, the reality of democracy is the rule of the majority.

Thus, the underlying principle of democracy is that law receives its legitimacy from the will of the majority.

It is because of that principle that I am not a democrat.

I believe in the rule of law based on true and immutable principles – not in the arbitrary conventions of a certain portion of a country’s population.

In order to clarify what I mean, let me give an example.

Take for instance the constitution of a hypothetical country saying that man has an intrinsic dignity upon which certain inalienable rights are based –
for example the right to life.

It is well-known that many Western democracies have similar statements in their constitutions that are seen to guarantee these so-called inalienable rights.

One may now ask where the problem is?
After all, the existence of inalienable rights shows that all legislation must be made in accordance to these rights:
Thus we have the rule of law based on objective truth.

The problem arises when one goes beyond the façade of false immutability that constitutions put up.

In democracies, the legitimacy of any constitution ultimately rests upon human convention.
These constitutions may be modified or abolished and replaced.
Therefore, whatever claims they make regarding “rights” have to be seen in light of the underlying principle of democracy:
Namely, that it is the majority’s will which gives legitimacy to law.

That said, there is nothing objective about democratic legislation:
Law and rights are not based on objective truth transcending the arbitrary nature of mere human conventions.

What is claimed to be an inalienable right today, may be taken away by majority vote tomorrow.
Such an act would not be contrary to democracy.

Since law itself then is based on the will of the majority – and man’s will is not immutable -, then one can say that:
Democracy is the expression of the dictatorship of relativism.

Law is essentially normative: it does not merely describe the state of things, but tells us how things ought to be.

The idea that there is a way things ought to be suggests that there is a truth about the things subject to law and about their proper ends.
It is for this reason that we can claim certain acts to be unlawful.

Law – understood in the proper sense – thus is intrinsically tied to truth.
And it is the truth which ultimately grants any law its legitimacy.
If any law violates truth, then it is illegitimate and an abuse of the power of governance.

Democracy – which subjects the legitimacy of law to the will of the majority – destroys the essence of proper governance.

Instead of binding human society to what is true through the rule of law, the will of the majority is turned to the supreme and absolute principle by which human society must live.

Thus I conclude that Democracy – as any type of human absolutism – is a perversion of the rule of law – and as such ought to be rejected.

Sonntag, 23. Januar 2011

from God to man

Let me discuss an observation I have been making whilst contemplating on the decay of faith not only outside the boundaries of the Church, but moreso within her very own walls.
We all know that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church of Christ: the holy Catholic Church. And so, the enemies from outside the Church have all failed in all centuries past. But what happens when the enemy is no longer outside, but within? What if there is a group within the Church - akin to the Trojan Horse - that has opened the doors of the Church from within to allow the forces of darkness to enter into her - to allow the smoke of hell to enter the sanctuary?

The Church is the universal sacrament of salvation and as such has the mission to lead people to God. That is her purpose on this earth. What happens when the Church reverses this principle? What happens when the Church stops teaching man to adjust to God and instead allows for a thinking in which God factually has to adapt to man's whims?

The crisis of faith does not seem to *only* be a problem of disastrously false implementation, but also one of principle. The "nouvelle theologie" which has shifted the focus from primarily being on God to man.

Where can we see this happening?

1) Liturgy:
the Traditional Latin Mass (the Gregorian Mass of the Roman Rite) "had" to be "dumbed" down for the sake of man. The most common argument for the Liturgical Reform I have heard is that it was to make easier the entrance of protestants into the Catholic Church. To that I say: Protestants who had come to sanity returned to the Holy Mother Church even before the Liturgical Reform. And the Liturgical Reform made the return of Eastern Schismatics to the Church much more difficult. And what is to think of someone who would only convert when the Liturgy - which has organically developed over the centuries - is dumbed down in order not to be "all too Catholic"???
And some say that "people could not understand" the Latin. So factually abolishing the Latin is the answer? Why can the studying of Latin not be considered as yet another practice of humility and obedience? What is the attitude behind that? One of convenience! But the Christian is never about convenience: he knows he is fallen and that he must allow Himself to be formed by God through His Church unto eternal life.
If anyone has read the book "Why Jews Become Catholics", one will not be able to hold back one's tears reading the marvellous and touching conversion testimonies of Our Lord's own people! And there was one thing that seemed to magically attract converts to the holy religion: the splendour of the Gregorian Mass! Holiness, Beauty, Reverence: these are the ingredients to true conversion.

2) Architecture:
We also see a change in terms of architecture. In the past the church was easily recognizable as one: it was different from profane architecture. The way it was built was especially for the Holy Mass: it was indeed a house of worship. One would get the impression that every single stone was itself a prayer. The form was shaped by liturgical piety!
And what do we have now? UGLY bunker-like or market-hall-like buildings! "Abstracts". I've seen churches that are far uglier than the bunkers built during World War I. And why did this happen? Since the Liturgy has been adapted to man, the traditional church architecture especially made for the Gregorian Mass no longer made sense: so too, architecture has been adapted to the modern man: it became a field of experimentation and expression of one's "abilities in the abstract". Church architecture no longer is a visible testimony to faith, it has turned to something bunker-like; but even a bunker would look better than many modern churches. Instead of leading man to God, portraying the splendour of truth, modern churches are hideously ugly: cold, empty. Why? Because it is no longer focused on God.

3) Music:
In the past we had a very distinct type of music: chant along with the organ - both being set aside primarily for the worship of God according to the principle of holiness. Music was sung worship, sung prayer, sung communication with God: with God being the one to be pleased.
What now? Now we have new songs: profane in their sound, wishy washy in their lyrics. Profane instruments like guitars, tambourines, drums and the like somehow found their way into the churches. The effect is not the "sanctification" of what is profane, the effect is quite different: the sanctuary is becoming more and more profane. The aspect of holiness is being banished by a purely human and immanent element. Music is now there to "please the people of God" instead of God. How often do we hear people complain that "young people do not like chants. That's so out-dated!". But it is holy! And that's what liturgical music is supposed to be: clearly set apart from all profane music. But then again, this is the effect of another adjustment towards man instead of God.

4) Clothing:
Yes this too expresses the change in principle: in the past all priests and religious were meant to wear either a cassock or the respective religious habit: it was not only a symbol of mortification, but also a silent means of evangelization and giving testimony to the truth - akin to the church being a symbol of the faith despite the building not talking to anyone. Religious/clerical clothing directly points anyone confronted with it to God: everyone knows automatically that the person wearing it is a servant of God's - thus, such specific clothing leads man's mind straight up to God!
And what about today? Apart from some few exceptions, we see many clerics and religious no longer wearing the cassock or their religious habits. They have abandoned a means to evangelization and testimony-giving when in the world. And anyone seeing them would not be lead to think about God: no, they would simply see the person in his/her fancy modern clothing! Instead of being lead to God, you arrive at a dead-end with the person you behold with your eyes! Instead of the cleric or religious being "transparent" to man, he/she is now having man behold himself/herself. Is this the attitude of true humility? Is this the attitude of mortification? Is this not rather the attitude of pride and vanity?

These are just a couple of aspects that seem to show a certain connection with each other in terms of principles: the connecting dot between these various expressions of the decay of truly Catholic piety is the shift of focus from God to man. Man seems to have put himself up high on a pedestal which in reality is the place of God alone. Man cannot serve two masters at the same time, we cannot have two primary focuses at the same time. The more we focus on our sinfull selves, the more we move away from God.

The solution is to be found in a re-ordering of principles. God above all else: this must be the case not only in theory, but also in all fields of practice.

Dienstag, 21. September 2010

those inner demons

Having talked to a couple persons with faiths and worldviews incompatible with my own – namely the Catholic faith – , I have come to a rather sad realization. Now, before I continue, I would like to clarify that I am not speaking with any claim to dogmatic certainty. Everyone may read and disagree, but what I have experienced, I have experienced.

So what is this sad realization I speak of? It is the idea that many people seem to leave their traditional – i.e. that with which they were raised – faith not primarily for intellectual reasons, but for emotional ones: and in most cases, it seems that passions (/desires) are the primary motivation.

It is the same for the ex-Catholic who has become “spiritual but not religious” as it is for the ex-Catholic who has become an atheist. There is some problem with traditional doctrine that they have and are thus faced with a rather simple question: to follow the faith or to follow one's own will?

Once the decision is made that one will prefer his own will over one's traditional faith, the quest for arguments take place in order to bolster one's new position: to justify oneself against the traditional faith now being at odds with oneself, to justify oneself against others and thereby justify oneself to oneself: to silence the voice of conscience raising the question whether it is right to model the truth after one's desires instead of doing the exact opposite. But then again, what is even “truth”???

Before the fall through heresy or apostasy, one would consider those passions leading oneself to a course standing in contradiction to traditional doctrine as being one's “inner demons” that one has to fight – for the sake of truth. After the fall, it is one's conscience that becomes one's “inner demon”: the voice pushing for an honest investigation regarding one's motivations.

People seem to look for the answers everywhere. They want to examine the galaxy, the universe, theories about multiverses, etc.. They want to know everything, but not themselves. I would not be surprised if some or many people go to distant places in a futile attempt to actually run away from themselves.

It is my firm conviction that for any real “quest for truth” to take place, one has to be honest: first and foremost to oneself. This is why I think that self-reflection is vital for anyone who claims to be searching for “truth”. And this is true not only for those who are atheists, but also for those who are theists – of whatever theistic religion. Of what use is all knowledge about one's surrounding if one does not know oneself? It would not answer man's most basic questions like “who am I?”.

I also think that most people who change belief systems and ideologies do so primarily because they want to be happy in their lives. Why do many people leave Christianity? Not primarily because of intellectual reasons, but because they feel “tyrannized” or held back by the moral code and religious rules of the Christian faith. Why are so many Christians lukewarm heretics? Because they want to enjoy their lives: and Christianity demands that one ought to carry a cross, that one be ready for sacrifice for a greater good that one cannot even see on earth! Why should one even waste one's life away by following “bronze-age” rules? Just think! This life could be the only life we have! We therefore must “live life to the fullest”!

But what do such people mean when they speak of “living life to the fullest”? They simply mean they want to be happy. Is that bad? Absolutely not! It is natural for man to seek happiness.

But what is happiness? There lies the greatest problem: most people do not seek true happiness which can be demanding – as most things of value in life. Most people mistake fast pleasures with happiness. And if they do reflect upon themselves honestly, they will realize that they run from one temporary pleasure to the other: this is necessary for them to not allow the voice of conscience to be heard and to uphold the illusion that one is “happy”. It is common for man to choose the easiest way: that with the least effort necessary. So many prefer the easily attainable temporary pleasures (which fade away and do not give lasting happiness) over the strenuous life headed towards lasting happiness.

So what is happiness? Where does one find it? Why should one even seek it? Does man even have to be happy?

It seems to be a matter of honesty to oneself. Am I really happy when I realize that ever since I changed my views I have perhaps become more aggressive and easily angered? Do I feel a basic level of inner peace and satisfaction despite sufferings in life? Or am I bound to seek those temporary pleasures every now and then or else I would feel depressed?

In short:

Am I able to bear the silence in which I am confronted with my inner demons?

Donnerstag, 10. Juni 2010

de Christiano

on the Christian

Before we can go into depth about the Christian faith, we must first ask ourselves the question who or what a Christian even is. “A Christian is someone who strives to be Christ-like” is one of the most common answers to such a question. In light of the purpose of this essay, it is a pretty good answer. “Someone who strives to be Christ-like”! “Christ-like” in what sense though? I believe that Christ Jesus lived as the perfect example according to two norms that to my understanding sum up the Christian faith: humility and obedience. Why exactly these two? I chose to concentrate on these two qualities because they are the perfect expression of the greatest commandment (Matthew 22: 36-40): the latter being the only appropriate response to God the Father, the former realized perfectly in the Incarnation out of love for mankind. This way of seeing Christ's life is best clarified by the Holy Bible itself saying:
“But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2: 7-8)
These two qualities therefore must be seen at the very center of the Christian faith. In a way, one could say that the two beams of the Cross upon which Christ Jesus was crucified are the beams of humility and of obedience. Thus, without such divine humility and obedience, we would all be lost!
It is important to note that humility and obedience are the direct opposites of pride and disobedience; these two leading to the fall of Satan and also to the fall of Adam and Eve. One could say that pride is the beginning of one's fall, disobedience its actualization. Thus sin is born through which death has come into the world (Romans 5: 12). By Christ's perfect humility and obedience far surpassing the pride and disobedience of both Satan and Adam and Eve, death is overcome and mankind lead to life everlasting.

Now, what does this mean for “the Christian”? The Christian sees in Christ Jesus the “way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6). Therefore, he who wishes to call himself a Christian must of necessity emulate Christ. He is then bound to seeking - to the best of his abilities and with the grace of God – to live a life of humility and obedience. It is also a matter of humility and obedience that one realizes that one is unable to live such a life by one's own power. Once again, we look to Christ for the answer: He being the second person of the Holy Trinity is God and thereby cannot fail. We are certainly not God, and thus fail: we are imperfect, our nature is wounded. So how can we manage to emulate Christ in such a situation? It seems impossible! Indeed, it would be impossible without Christ. But through the first three sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion), we are “made partakers of the divine nature” (II Peter 1: 4). Thus, St. Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth: “Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own?”(I Corinthians 6: 19). And we know that we have been sent the Holy Ghost, “another Paraclete”, by Christ Jesus (John 14: 16). Through Christ then, God dwells within us so that it is He who worketh in us, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will (Philippians 2: 13). Were Christ not God, such a partaking of the divine nature on our part would be unimaginable and we would forever be lost.

The Christian therefore does not only look at what Christ taught by words, but also at those things He taught by action. Further, he looks at Christ Himself: His very nature. In Jesus, the divine person, the Christian sees the very ideal for his own life: he sees in Him the cause of his life, its purpose and the means by which he is enabled to fulfill this purpose (John 1: 3-4; Colossians 1: 19-20.)

A Christian is one whose life is Christ. And since it is unimaginable and even absurd to view Christ without His Cross, the Christian is thereby also necessarily tied to the Cross.
For this reason, Jesus said: “If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8: 34). Here we find yet another aspect crucial to the Christian faith which is also inherently linked to humility: self-denial. One may ask how denying oneself is connected to humility. To understand this, one must – again – look to Jesus for the solution to this mystery. Christ did not boast about being God, the Lord of lords and the King of kings (Revelation 17: 14), nay, He “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man” (Philippians 2: 7). Assuming man's nature, He did not insist upon the glory that is naturally and eternally His, but instead denied Himself in the world to live in the best possible exemplary manner for us. He denied Himself out of love for us, that we may be shown how one ought to live His life as a servant of the Almighty God.
Self-denial is most meaningful in times of tribulation. Christ facing death said the following:
“My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26: 39). These are the words of self-denial. One seeks not to fulfill one's own wishes, but the will of God. As Christ, the Christian too must say to God: “thy will be done” (Matthew 26: 42). With these very words, we realize that self-denial is not only linked to humility, but also to obedience. Is not self-denial then nothing other than the expression of humility and obedience? It is.

Ultimately, the Christian then is someone who puts his personal desires aside and focuses first and foremost on Christ. He takes up his cross and follows Christ. In Christ, he learns to be humble and obedient to God. In Christ, he finds the answer to the mystery of salvation. In Christ, he finds the way, and the truth, and the life.

The Christian is he who finds the purpose and meaning of life not in any theory or ideology, but rather in a person, Christ Jesus.

Freitag, 28. Mai 2010

St. Francis of Assisi was not a false ecumenist

Let us consider the following words of St. Francis of Assisi in light of the false ecumenism that is overshadowing the Church in these our days:

"Also those are doomed who see the
Sacrament of the Body of Christ, which is consecrated with the words of
the Lord on the altar and by the hand of the priest in the form of
bread and wine, but do not see in it the Spirit and Divinity and have
not believed that it really is Our Lord Jesus Christ’s most holy Body
and Blood” (Admonitio prima de Corpore Christi (Quaracchi edition, p. 4))