“Nonetheless, as a Christian, I am bound to evaluate every human activity and endeavor in the light of the Gospel of Christ, and in the light of the Faith. It is a matter a common knowledge among the educated minds of our generation, and even for many well-meaning Catholics, that the Catholic Church erred in her response and treatment of the heliocentric theory. Or rather, for many faithful Catholics, the Galileo affair showed that the Church has no competence whatever in the domain of natural science. The consequence of the Galileo affair, of course, is the continued separation between theology and philosophy, and in the end, between religion and science. Since that time, science has played a more influential role in society, while the Church has been not only receding in her influence in society, but also by making continuous concessions to the advances, discoveries and theories of natural science. Today, it cannot be denied that a very large portion of humanity has accepted natural science as the final authority on knowledge and on life.
And this, as I conceive, is the problem. I am convinced that the eclipse of the Church and her assault with heretical teachings did not begin at the time of the Enlightenment, nor did it begin at the time of the Reformation. Rather, the eclipse of the Church started with the Copernican Revolution and the Galileo affair. Since that time, the Church has lost her revered status as the supreme Teacher of the world, and at the same time, the Sacred Scriptures lost their eminent place as the source of all Truth, whether they be spiritual, moral, historical, and yes, even scientific.
The beginning of the modern heresy in truth, did not begin with the divorce between the State and the Church that was carried out during the French Revolution, which was the violent but unexpected consequence of the Enlightenment. Nor did the modern heresy begin with the Reformation which brought the overthrow of the divine authority of the Church and of its right to authoritatively set down the meaning of Sacred Scripture. No, the Revolution started when science began divesting itself from the accepted account of the origins of Creation. Galileo was not the first to propose the heliocentric theory. However, he is among the first decidedly modern minds. In his interpretation of Scripture, Galileo claimed that the Holy Writ used merely poetic language as pertains to natural phenomena, and that, therefore, it contained no real revelation on the natural world. But Galileo went even further. The heliocentric theory, which, till that time, had been used as a useful tool for astronomical calculation, was claimed by Galileo to constitute a real representation of reality.
St. Robert Bellarmine who was a Cardinal at the time, understood what was at stake, which was the innerrancy of Scripture and the authority of the Greek and Roman Fathers of the Faith. Indeed, the Catholic Faith was at stake. In a subtle manner, Galileo had put into doubt an account of creation – that of the central position and of the immobility of the earth – that had been accepted by both pagans and Christians for centuries. Most of all, Galileo put into question an interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures – that of the centrality of the earth in the cosmos – that had been the consensus of the Fathers for centuries. Galileo’s heliocentric proposition were examined by the Congregation of the Index in 1616. The proposition that the sun was the center of the world, and immovable was condemned as “formally heretical”, while the proposition that the earth is not the center of the world, is not immovable and with a diurnal motion, was condemned as “erroneous in the faith”. Faced with the condemnation, of his theories, Galileo, like a true modernist, publicly recanted them, – while still officiously holding them – instead of like Giordano Bruno, who held fast to his errors and was in the end, burned at the stake.
Judging from history, it is certain that the consequences of the Galileo affair have been very harmful for the Church. Since that time, the Scriptures have lost their place as a source of natural and physical truth. The result of this, of course, is seen in the modern efforts to offer an alternative to the Christian world view, as seen in the theory of evolution. In addition, if the inerrancy of Scripture has been put into question, at the same time, the divine authority of the Church has been attacked. This, of course, is one of the significant consequences of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution. From that period on, some voices have been raised doubting the supreme infallibity of the Pontiff and of the bishops in union with him. On the other hand, natural science has come to form more and more the intellects and consciences of human individuals. In current times, human science has become atheistic, not recognizing at all any authority above itself. Overall, if Christian culture is to be revived, the whole Catholic world view is to be recovered starting of course, with the restitution of the eminent place of Sacred Scripture as the source of truth in the moral, spiritual, natural and historical spheres.”
“I am aware that many people of faith, even Catholics themselves have contributed to our understanding of science. The problem however, resides in the fact that we have substituted the Magisterium, Tradition and the Sacred Scriptures for human science, which has now been considered as the final authority on knowledge. Now, instead of understanding science in relation to the light of faith, we are consistently adjusting our interpretation of Scripture passages in relation to the latest findings of science.
And yet, Scripture is inspired and inerrant as defended in many papal encyclicals such as Divino afflante Spiritu. Scripture is not only inerrant in supernatural and spiritual matters, but also in natural matters. Of course, this is not to say that the Sacred Scriptures contain all the truths about the natural world. However, there are central truths about man and the natural world that have been a part of the Catholic world view for centuries. One of these is geocentrism. The importance of this truth cannot be exaggerated, since it is on the earth, the central planet, that the Incarnation took place. Another also, is the age of humanity as traced in the biblical genealogy found in Luke Chapter 3, going from Adam to Jesus. Based on this genealogy, we find that the age of humanity can be measured in thousands of years, and not millions as hypothesized by current science.
Certainly, I do not pretend to know everything. At the same time, I am aware that humanity in reality finds itself in a supernatural battle – between Good and Evil – that will decide its ultimate fate. In fact, we must be willing to accept that since science has separated itself from religion, Faith has suffered. Skepticism has grown, and we have become accustomed to interpreting miracles and divine interventions according to naturalistic and rationalistic theories. In fact, there are many who have fallen prey to rationalism, no longer accepting the authority of Divine Reason and of its rights to set limits on human investigations. We must not forget that man is a fallen creature. And even when he is baptized, religious and pious is still contaminated with both sensual and mental concupiscence, which disturbs the passions of his flesh and obscures his mind. As such, scientists, even the most intelligent, err in one way or another. The only who does not err is God.
This is why the divorce between science and religion is the most serious issue at the present moment. We have forgotten that when man and his mind are not nourished by grace and illumined by Faith, he can err, and seriously err indeed. The temerity of Galileo was not only to take his theory as fact, but also at the same time to refute the authority of Scripture and Tradition as related to the truths of the Faith. In addition, if we were to examine history we would see that since the time of the Renaissance, mankind has been increasingly rejecting Catholic truths. First, the truths in the natural order such as geocentrism. Then, the historical truths such as the universal Flood, the separation of Babel. Finally, the truths in the supernatural order such as the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, the Divinity of Christ. The result today, is the fabrication of Catholicism as a human institution, and the recurrent perception of the Christ as a mere man, moved by human goodness and altruism.
Is it not said: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).”
“Scientific research has been a part of western civilization for centuries before the arrival of Galileo. Even Copernicus who refined heliocentrism did not present his theories as fact. The originality of Galileo however, was to pretend that the natural truths contained in Scriptures were merely poetic or metaphorical, and that the competence of Scripture only pertained to the spiritual and the supernatural. The temerity of Galileo was to pretend that it was the interpretation of Scripture – and not the theories of science – that had to adapt itself to the findings and conclusions of natural science. And so many passages such as the stopping of the sun in the sky by Joshua had to be interpreted differently as being merely the language of sense and of the appearances.
The Church resisted for some time, putting many books espousing heliocentric theories on the Index. It was not until 1757 that Pope Benedict XIV began allowing heliocentrism to be taught in schools as theory. Of course, the Church has never officially recanted geocentrism as it had been defined in 1616 by the Congregation of the Index and the 1664 Bull of Alexander VII. Nevertheless, since the 18th century, the Church has continuously tailored its understanding and interpretation of Scriptures according to the latest findings of science. And yet, the Church fails to realize that natural science does not recognize any authority beyond itself. In this regard, rationalism reigns supreme and since the Renaissance and the Reformation, science has been following its own path, and has not taken into account many of the indications contained both in Scripture and in Catholic Tradition.
All Scripture is free from error, both in its physical, historic, spiritual and supernatural indications. Instead of continuing to interpret our origins of the universe and of man in accordance with the Tradition and the Scriptures, mankind has continuously followed its own mind, forgetting that in order to arrive at the comprehension of all truth, the human mind must be illuminated by divine faith and divine grace. Before science declared its independence from religious wisdom during the Copernican and scientific revolutions, all science – understood at the time as natural philosophy – was subservient to theology which set the boundaries for human investigation and illumined many of the mysteries of creation. For example, as any good Catholic knows, each believer is bound to profess to the historical character of Original Sin and of the personal and historical existence of Adam and Eve, from whom all humanity descends. As Humani Generis stated authoritatively, polygenism is contrary to the Faith. This is just an example, of how when the truths of Scripture are taken seriously – and literally when it is required – they can actually protect all human investigation from error.”
“As such, this is what in lacking since the advent of modernity. In order to reconcile, science and religion and save the Church from the current crisis of faith, science must once again owe ultimate reference to the light and wisdom of Sacred Scripture and of Tradition. Otherwise, the current crisis in theology and exegesis will take its course. Although the Church has shown openness towards the findings of science, She has not sponsored as fact any scientific theories. And I think what is lacking is the recognition that all scientific theories are provisional. In the span of three to four centuries we have gone from Aristotelian physics as the reigning paradigm, to Newtonian physics and now we have come to the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Paradigms in science shift as scientific theories evolve. And the problem is that if we continuously keep interpreting Scripture according to the latest truths of science, we will end up in error.
Science has done a great deal of good for humanity. Thanks to the advances in medicine, chemistry, biology, physics, man has grown in his domination of his natural environment coupled with an improvement of his material and human conditions. But we must finally understand that no human activity is indifferent to man’s salvation. And above all, science has done its share in the current rebellion towards the Church, who is the Teacher of the nations, and towards God. Although we continue to hold that there is no conflict between science and religion, in reality there exists one.
Satan, who is the real architect of the modern rebellion, has used scientific apostates to generate an alternative world view to the Catholic world view. He started by displacing the foundations of Revelation both with the scientific Revolution and the Reformation. Then he substituted the hierarchical Christian order with the egalitarian order of Enlightened democracy. Through the miracles of science, he has generated an alternate way of life disconnected from the rhythmic pattern of nature and in fact characterized by the abuse of earth’s natural resources. By now, we have accepted this new creed, in which cosmology is relative and where man, the son of God, is a mere creature evolved from the apes.
In reality, the fruits of science divorced from religious wisdom are not only apostasy but also atheism. Is it any surprise that the discoveries and theories of natural science have in the end legitimated intellectual atheism?”
“Scripture is quite clear on the intellectual revolution and the false teachings:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but… they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Tim. 4:2-4″
“I didn’t notice you were a Buddhist. I have a great respect for Buddhism. I think that if I weren’t a Roman Catholic, I would become a Buddhist.
And yet, at the same time, there is a fundamental difference between Buddhism and Christianity. Essentially, Buddhism is pantheistic, in the sense that it does not recognize a First Cause, a Creator and Origin of all things. In fact, it reduces reality to the observable universe in which everything is interdependent.
But I think that we must make distinctions. All religions contain a part of the Truth. In fact, in his General Audience Address in 1998, Blessed Pope John Paul II stated that:
“I have wished to recall the ancient doctrine formulated by the Fathers of the Church, which says that we must recognize “the seeds of the Word” present and active in the various religions.”
This means that all the religions present in the world tend towards the True God as their goal and final end. In his address, Blessed Pope John Paul II states further:
“The “seeds of truth” present and active in the various religious traditions are a reflection of the unique Word of God, who “enlightens every man coming into world”
As such, although all religions tend towards God they lack the fullness of the Truth that can only be found in Christianity and in fact, Catholic Christianity. In reality, it can be said that all humanity awaits the revelation of Christ, who is God-Man, Savior of the world and Teacher of all nations.
For this reason, we must make important clarifications. There is a difference between natural religion which reflects man’s search for Truth and for the All, and revealed religion which is God’s search for man and the continued and historic revelation of Himself according to a plan laid out from all eternity. Not all religions are revealed. In my understanding, only Judaism and Christianity are revealed, that is, of a supernatural origin (One might add Islam also, but this is a point of contention for me).
Because the Torah (the Old Testament) and the Bible are the objects of supernatural revelation, they are of divine origin, that is, inspired, and free from error. This inspiration and inerrancy exclude error in the natural, physical, historical, moral, spiritual and supernatural domains. Why? Because God who is the Author of Revelation is the Truth and He cannot err. Buddhism and other religions, however, contain a part of the Truth and thus, are subject to error. For example, in Buddhism, one of the philosophical errors present is the denial of the existence of the human soul and consequently, of its immortality. In truth, this abolishes a whole realm of truths which are necessary for man’s salvation. This truth, of the existence and of the immortality of the human soul, can be proven by reason without the aid of supernatural revelation.
Although Buddhism is not a religion per se, (since in reality it is not organized around the worship of a deity, it is more of a philosophy of life – I might be wrong on this), it can be understood as a natural religion. In fact, it can be said to be a natural revelation which is of a metaphysical nature (as opposed to Christianity and Judaism which are of a historical nature). This does not mean that Buddhism is not a historical faith, but it reveals its orientation which is mostly philosophical.
As opposed to this, Christianity (and Judaism) is historical, that is, an interpretation of history in relation to a Divine Plan, in relation to eternity. It does not offer principally a metaphysical theory on reality, although it is concerned with cosmology. This is why geocentrism which is both a physical and cosmological truth, affects not only the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, but also the Faith itself. Nonetheless, Christian truth is essentially theological, that is, it is concerned with God, His Nature and His Designs.
It can be stated that the Buddhist scriptures are sacred, in the sense that they deal with religion and its truths. But not in the sense that the Buddhist scriptures are revealed, that is, of a supernatural origin.
In the end, however, the obedience of faith that is demanded as a response to the revelation of God, made through his Church, is an act not only of the self, but also of the will. For Christianity, the problem of existence is essentially volitional, and not intellectual as seen with Buddhism. Man’s salvation does not depend on the elimination of ignorance, although it demands it, no, it depends on the domestication of the will and of its total inclination towards the Good. Man will not be saved by the possession of perfect knowledge, rather, he will be saved by the obedience of faith, which not only demands intellectual knowledge but above all, an act of the will, of a good will.”
“You are right, “the good ol’ days” were not really so good after all. In fact, it must be stated that no historical age is perfect. Rather, humanity advances through history and each age brings with itself its own challenges.
The middle ages, which span a period of approximately between the 5th to the 15th centuries were not a perfect period of history. On a side note, one can make a distinction between the middle ages properly called (circa the 11th to 15th centuries – I may be wrong), and the dark ages (circa the 5th to the 11th centuries). But these are merely technicalities.
Medieval society was not perfect. Material life was often difficult, brutal, and short. Feudalism was far from a perfect institution. It involved a system of functions and duties that regulated European life all the way till the 18th or 19th centuries. But there was no real conception of the individual human as a person with actual rights. Serfs depended upon the good will of their lords, to which they were held in bondage. Society was essentially hierarchical and every one knew their place.
Despite its warring and disparate character, medieval life was held in check by the Christian religion. The emergence of Christendom, the international and supranational conception of the different political units overlayed by a spiritual and religious purpose that found its leadership in the papacy, took centuries to realize. And even still, this was a fragile or albeit delicate realization that was ultimately dependent on one’s identification as a Christian and of one’s appartenance to the whole, and thus, on an act of faith.
The real genius of medieval culture, in its highest realization, is found in the synthesis, or better yet, the fusion between faith and all aspects of life. Intellectual life, military life, social and political life all found their common end in Christian and religious purpose. Religion was not only the end but also the center, the soul and life blood of society. Men had a consciousness of belonging to the order of Christendom and also of their ultimate supernatural end.
The contribution of scholasticism and above all of St Thomas’ theological synthesis was found in the recognition of the autonomy but also of the mutual concordance between faith and reason, nature and grace. Faith presupposes reason and perfects it, while grace builds on nature and also perfects it. His political theory in fact rested on these basic principles in which were asserted the separate rights of Church and State, but also of their ultimate and mutual concordance towards the realization of the Christian order. As English cultural historian Christopher Dawson stated in his book Religion and the Rise of Western Culture:
Now as St. Thomas has shown, it is quite possible to incorporate the organic materialism of Aristotelian politics into the organic mysticism of the Christian view of society, but only on condition that the state itself is recognized as an organ of the spiritual community and not as the sovereign end of human life.That is to say, social theory and social practice must deal with the part in terms of the whole and not as a final end. (p.177-178)
And it must be said that the new synthesis of the Aristotelian and Christian philosophies involved the appreciation of the new rights of man and of the rational autonomy of nature. It contributed to the new conception of political society as an autonomous order subservient to itself. It also contributed to the birth of science as a distinct province of rational inquiry. And although society remained Christian, increasingly Christian life became one among many competing activities. Increasingly, national life asserted itself, until the unity of Christendom was finally put at risk.
Although the existence of Christendom as a spiritual and religious unity lasted only three to five centuries, it had a lasting impact on the formation of Western culture. It contributed on the last analysis, to the consummate consciousness of the European people as an international order with a common cultural heritage. Although this consciousness was threatened and put at risk by the religious, national and political forces that awakened during the Reformation it was nevertheless maintained by common intellectual and educational methods produced by the revival of classical culture generated by humanism.
But the Reformation definitively put an end to what could have been a distinctly Christian civilization. And whereas the Copernican revolution and the Galileo affair were laying the foundations of the modern intellectual revolt, the Reformation contributed immensely to the secularization of Western culture. It not only contributed to the assertion of the rights of national life, but also to the assertion of the rights of the State as the Church increasingly lost its place as the common spiritual and ecclesiastical authority of European culture.”
“However, the chief defect of modernity is its conception as an autonomous order constituting its own end which exists without any final reference to any spiritual or religious authority that would give it its ultimate justification. In fact, this is the greatest repudiation of the religious, social and intellectual patrimony of humanity as seen through human history. This has resulted in the current condition in which human life is directly divorced from any conception of man’s ultimate supernatural end. This error, is naturalism.
It is true, liberal democracy has greatly contributed to the conception of man as a creature with rights and a dignity. At the same time however, it has abolished the inegalatarian nature of the old order which centered on the conception of man as a functional part to the greater whole. The conception of the natural and political rights of man have been divorced from their religious foundation leading to the conception of the natural man as an entity unto himself, that answers to no law higher than his conscience and free to embrace any thought he wishes. As Catholic columnist Solange Strong Hertz puts it in her article What’s up?:
When Revolution overturns the political order, it also capsizes the moral order on which it rests. In the democratic framework, pride and ambition become exalted virtues to be cultivated by all, whereas they are in fact death-dealing luciferian vices fatal to social organization of any kind. Revolution’s citizenry carry their own social disintegration as a genetically transmitted disease. To paraphrase Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, no “nation so conceived or so dedicated can long endure,” for “government of the people, by the people, for the people” must inevitably “perish from the earth.”
In God’s economy, not only celestial bodies, but everybody has a divinely ordained place, not just a place, but its place, his place, from which to carry on relations with God and everything outside itself. It is integral to vocation. Our Lord told His Apostles before He suffered that His Father’s house contains many dwellings, and “I go to prepare a place for you. . . that where I am you also may be” (John 14:2-3). It is not a question of having a high place or a low place, but of having one’s own place. Judas fell from the apostleship “that he might go to his own place” (Acts1:25), the only place where he belonged. Predestination is a difficult mystery, but it is Catholic dogma.
As she so vehemently puts it, the absurdity of democracy as a political system comes from the fact that to say that society can be ruled from below is tantamount to saying that the universe can be controlled by animals or sticks and stones at the lower end of the cosmological scale. Now, it cannot be occulted that even some aspects of medieval political government, civic and ecclesiastical life were democratic in form but in truth, they were ultimately not separated from their religious and spiritual purpose. And this is what is lacking. In many respects, however, the dissociation of religious ends from civic, social, and political life, has led to the current conception of society as a political order strictly directed towards economic ends.
But at the origin, is the separation between faith and reason, found in an excessive reliance on human reason, an attitude better termed as rationalism. The intellectual element has had a considerable impact on the formation of modernity. The formation of the universities formed a turning point in the intellectual and cultural life of Western culture. Nevertheless, as long as the intellectual element was held in check by the religious and spiritual elements, Christian faith could survive untainted and uncontaminated. It was only when the intellectual element became strict rationalism that faith itself was put to the test.
As St. Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 8:1: Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
Now, we cannot understate the importance that science has played in the life not only of Western culture, but also of humanity. Knowledge is a good thing, for it contributes to the end of ignorance, which is an evil and a consequence of the Fall of the origins. In fact, when properly used, knowledge contributes to the widening of the human intelligence and of the organization of human life around common ends. Properly used, it helps to promote intolerance and promote intercultural bonds and friendships. But even more importantly, science has greatly contributed to our understanding of the universe, of its rational consistency and of its sublime order. Science, and in this, in fact, natural science, has greatly contributed to the human domination of his natural and physical environment. In this, it has led to the fulfillment of the divine mandate found in Scripture:
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
“The application of science and of its discoveries to culture have led to the Industrial Revolution that has immensely revolutionized a pattern of life more or less dependent on nature that had characterized Western culture for centuries, and in fact, humanity for millenia. In this, is reflected the immense power of a culture that had in the last analysis, been driven to the realization of material and economic ends. In this, is manifested the historical character of human life which throughout successive ages, finds expression in new forms of culture, social, institutional and political life. At the same time, it cannot be occulted that the foundation of this process was found in a historical process of human injustice and ruthless economic activity that found its expression in the historic re-emergence of slavery during the Renaissance expansion, and the exploitation of the poor, particular during the Industrial Revolution. But I digress.
The more insiduous and thus challenging cause to the existence and religious authority of the Church, is found in the separation of science from religion following the Galileo controversy. This separation has had a lasting impact on the relations between faith and science, and thus, faith and reason. Indeed, the growing independence of science, led to the prevalence of rationalism and to the demotion of the Church, and its most eminent realization, the Sacred Scriptures, as the appointed Teacher of the nations. But the most serious and damaging consequence of the separation of science from religious wisdom, was the ultimate conception of created reality not only as an autonomous order divested of supernatural and ultimately, divine causation, but also of its strictly mathematical understanding as a closed mechanism ruled by determinism and necessity. This, I believe, has had a very harmful impact on Catholic Christian worldview. As Scripture states in Psalm 19:1:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
And yet, the exclusive insistence of human science as a source of knowledge, led to the growing conviction of the educated elites of the incompatibility between religious knowledge and faith perceived as mere poetry on the one hand, and scientific knowledge. It contributed greatly to the rise of deism in the 17th century, which was in the beginning an attempt to create a rational religion which in reality was merely a scientific transposition of the metaphysical truths of Christianity. But in this, deism anticipates the uncompromising rationalism of the Enlightenment which ultimately led to the cult of the goddess Reason.
Thus, the consequence of the independence of scientific investigation from religious truth, led not only to the conception of the universe as a purely rational and deterministic order, thus increasingly creating a new world view, but it has also led to the emergence of man as a mere natural creature with mere natural rights, and of his restriction to mere natural and thus, temporal and secular ends. The transposition of an explanation of the universe according to natural and physical principles to the explanation of man and of his origins according to natural and materialist principles was only a matter of centuries. It was in the naturalist and materialist theories of Charles Darwin, that these found their consummate expression.
Hence, the investigations of science have had a lasting influence on the progressive loss of the Catholic Christian world view. The loss of the centrality of the earth in the physical and the cosmological order finally found resonance in the loss of his central place as a creature of divine origin, a likeness of the Triune Divinity, who contained in himself a unity of the material and spiritual orders and whose end was ultimately supernatural as found in the happy contemplation of the Beatific Vision.
Hitherto, Christian world view contained within itself a hierarchical cosmological order that had been reflected for centuries, in the hierarchical and functional constitution of human society. As Solange Strong Hertz further states in her article, What’s Up? speaking of the relation between the advent of heliocentrism and the emergence of political democracy:
The luminous orb which God had designed to function as the earth’s indispensable Figaro, had become the earth’s ringmaster. We might say democracy had invaded the heavens in anticipation of its triumph among nations. Its absurdity as a political system should have been apparent then and there when viewed in physical terms, for to say that society can be ruled from below is tantamount to saying that the universe can be controlled by animals or sticks and stones at the lower end of the cosmological scale.”
“But the medieval Catholic Christian world view had possessed a profound realism in which in the last analysis, the social and political constitution of the temporal order was seen to reflect not only its religious purpose, but also its cosmological conception of reality which ultimately linked it to the physical and eternal realm of Blessedness. In the medieval cosmological worldview, earth was at the center of the world and laid between the opposed and eternal realms of Heaven and Hell. And this reality was intensely cosmological, and thus, physical. There was a sense thus, of physical direction. Up, was the direction of Heaven, the realm of God, of the saints, and of the angels. And down, was the direction of earth, but above all, of Hell, which was the realm of the damned and of the evil angels, who were enclosed at the center of the earth. These realities were not only theological and metaphysical, but also cosmological, and thus, physical. Heaven and Hell, indeed, were understood thus, to be physical places, perhaps not in the sense humans could conceive it, but yet, in real a sense, places that sublimated for all eternity, – in blessedness or horror – the physical nature of created reality. These truths, both cosmological and theological, were entirely scriptural.
As such, the loss of this conception of the universe that occurred with its replacement by the new scientific and rationalistic world view and of the loss of the latter’s ultimate reference to any religious truths, has had the most harmful influence on the Catholic Christian faith. The new conception of man as a natural product of physical and deterministic laws involved the considerable loss not only of the seriousness of the Christian cosmological world view but also of its lyrical poetry. Indeed, how could man give real praise to God any longer, if he were now merely the evolved product of an impersonal natural and deterministic law of conflict and death that was in the end the cause and the agent of the rise of human rationality from indeterminate material chaos? In truth, this involved the loss of man’s innocence both spiritual and rational. This, I think, is one the most powerful causes of the skepticism, negativity and narcissism that characterizes contemporary culture.
And yet, not all is lost. As stated, earlier every historical age presents its own challenges, which, however, cannot be dissociated from the previous developments that occurred prior. This can be seen mostly in the multiform response of the Church to each successive historical problem it was confronted. For example, within centuries, it moved from the continued condemnation of heliocentrism to the allowance of its teaching as a theory, although it never officially and authoritatively sponsored it. Even further, it moved from the outright condemnation and struggle with political power after the advent of democracy to the positive considerations of its contributions to human life and political thought, as seen mostly in Vatican II.
At the same time, however, it must be understood that the above listed are in truth errors, which have been propagated at the expense of the Church and of its authority. Of course, error has been part of civilization and culture of centuries. It is principally the result of sin, and of course, of the Sin of the origins. In fact, as evidenced by the history of Israel, human monarchy and representative government themselves may be understood as errors. Indeed, it can be stated that in truth, the true and lawful monarch is God Himself, Ruler and Lawgiver of both creation and of the nations. As the history of Israel shows, the Chosen People themselves repudiated the direct social, legal and religious rule of God Himself for the national but still religious, rule of the king, in order to align themselves more to the pattern of the nations, from which they received the influence. As such, error exists at every age.
Nevertheless, the main purpose of my thread, is for us to see the signs of the end times. Modern civilization with its free press, its methods of communication, its liberties, its ideal of learning, its humaness, but also its popular culture as seen in the easy use of the cinema and its great affection for scientific and technological novelty; is not, in the last analysis, the culmination of a historical process of progress. In a sense, modern civilization is not the greatest manifestation of human progress, in the religious, moral, and spiritual sense, although it is an impressive expression of the human, material, legal, technical and political. No, the main point of my thread is to reassert the importance and the absolute nature of faith, of religion, and of spirituality.
Man, indeed, will not be saved by the accumulation of knowledge. And in this regard, the horrors of the two World wars, and the creation of the atom bomb are the consummate representation of the separation between man’s moral and ethical formation and of scientific investigation, and of the latter’s common subservience to practical, economic, and political considerations. Nor will man be saved by totalitarian political power, by political rights and the apparent realization of social and political unity, which in reality, are more akin to a kind of political uniformity. No. Man, will only be saved by Christ and by obedience to his Church which has received from its Head its mission as universal Teacher and Sacrament of Salvation.”
“The point of my thread as such, is to reaffirm the regality of faith and the need to recover the totality of its world view. As Blessed John Paul II stated in Faith and Reason, and I paraphrase, humanity is in need of a new metaphysical synthesis, the like of which was accomplished by St. Thomas. Not all human science is bad. It has always been the policy of the Church to safeguard what is good in profane culture and use it in its evangelizing mission. But, it must be stressed, all areas of human knowledge must in the end be interpreted in relation to, in reference to, and in light of the Faith, which is found not only in the interventions of the Magisterium, in the teachings of Sacred Tradition, but also in the inerrant inspiration of Sacred Scripture. Without this realization, Faith will continue to be extinguished by a science that excludes God, and of a political power that exists without its religious foundation.
But above all, the most important element to be noted is the personal fusion between faith and life. It must be stated that, in truth, the world cannot be saved, but it is possible to save souls. In order to redeem what can be redeemed of the world, it is necessary to recover once again the conception of the Catholic Christian as a pilgrim, one whose true destiny is the eternal Society of Heaven. It is necessary for us to substitute our conception as citizens of the nation-state, for our true and supernatural citizenship into the Eternal City which finds its expression in the Catholic Church, the earthly Jerusalem, and Kingdom of God. And it must be said, there is also lacking a true recognition of the social and political Kingship of Christ.
What is needed thus, is a whole programme of personal and collective sanctification the foundations of which are the following: obedience to the Church, and above all to the Pope, who is the Vicar of Christ; intense practice of the sacraments and above all, devotion to the Eucharist which in truth, is the true spiritual and physical center of the world; and finally, devotion to Mary, the Immaculate and Queen of Heaven and of the Church, to whom the destinies of the nations have been given, and who will finally crush the head of the infernal Serpent.
In the end, Love, which is the obedience of faith, will save the world, and redeem humanity.”