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Nihil Obstat?

Indeed. This site is a depository of various articles, essays and other such things that I may write over time. How can I speak of these if ...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Correction on the post about Fr. Hammel

I wrote there that it was done not out of a hate for the faith, but a personal desire for power and a satanic complex. In reality, the main issue is indeed a hate for the faith. On the other hand, there is almost always the satanic aspect as well, the desire to be "the one."

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"The God of the Gaps," Is That a Real concept?

Frequently people try to explain naturally explainable occurrences with the simple "x was an act of God" when they cannot understand the causes of said occurrence. Indeed, this has become the logical fallacy named "the God of the gaps." This is sloppy reasoning that we should strike from our hearts immediately. If we see an event that is surprising, this is not reason to believe it to be some direct intervention from God. Science is ever expanding in its ability to explain things.

On the other hand, certain events take place where God is a likely candidate for responsibility, and not only that, but the "God of the Gaps" is not worth mentioning. This is the realm of the miraculous. Magical instant cures to deadly incurable diseases, Hosts bleeding, stigmata appearing, these are known events for anybody who takes an interest in Christian religion. Are these also cases of the "God of the Gaps?" Will we someday understand how S. Pio got his miraculous stigmata. It seems rather uncommon for Hindus, Mohammedans, Jews or atheists to receive them. In fact, such an example would be welcome to me. The examples where they exist are for the very pious.

Here is an excellent article dealing with one who has his job investigating miracles:


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fr. Jaques Hamel, Secularism, and Persecution

After an event of this type, it is difficult to find words to describe the feeling. We see politicians posturing, and many mourners responding with heartfelt sadness. We know that ISIS is a criminal organization, and anybody with a grain of honesty, compassion, or intelligence can agree that Islamic Extremist terrorism is a rising problem. This attack and murder was but one of the recent instances.

It leaves a very glaring question though: is the Christian Faith seeing a new time of threat and persecution?

Of course, we always forget the awful violence done to Christians in the Middle East in discussing this question, we also forget the state-sponsored secularism in China and North Korea. With awful stories such as this from the Daily Mail, it is hard to deny that Christians in the world today are being persecuted. Now, countries like the US, the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, or any other developed nations, we think are exempt from this type of persecution. We know that being a Christian is a lot easier in the West, than in China. That said, will this ease continue? What is the future of worldwide Christianity, in particular in the West?

First, it's important to understand where persecution comes from. Usually, it does not come from an active dislike of a set of ideas, at least when sponsored by the State. The reason that the Roman Empire persecuted Christians was not because they were political revolutionaries, but because they did not submit to the Roman Emperor as though he was a god. (which was required of citizens) In the Islamic world, the same was the case. We have stories of martyrs killed because they refused to wear the hijab. In the twentieth century, the same reason holds out. In the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China, or any other example of state persecution of Christians, the reason was not a belief in the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, or some sort of dogma. Today even, in the Islamic world, the persecution of Christians is often not because they are Christians, but because they are not Muslims. So, what is the real underlying for state persecution of Christians? It seems that the best explanation is that Christianity is not pointed at the state. Stalin did not close churches because he hated the Trinity, but because they did not consider him to be a God, or to put communism above their faith. (though there has been a movement in the Orthodox church, albeit small, to canonize Stalin) The underlying reason that people persecute Christians is because they want to put their own ideas above the Christian religion. Whenever a government places a lot of emphasis on a State Ideology supplanting religious beliefs, persecution is not only the logical conclusion of the scenario, it will often result. Today, we do see a surprising amount of statist and secularist ideology that wishes to do just that - to supersede Christianity. When Joe Biden officiates at a gay wedding, he is at base doing the same thing. He is putting state ideology (or personal political opinion if you are less cynical) over his religion. When Barack Obama made law that public schools must not force people to use the bathroom of their biological sex, he was doing the same. When secularists remove nativity scenes, crosses and public prayer, are they not doing the same?

In the end, it is difficult to know the future. Of course though, we have what Cardinal Francis George said as a possibility: "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history."[14] 

Maybe a question that is more easily answered is this, if the base motive of persecution of Christians is not a dislike of the Christian ideology and it is more a desire to have the dominant view exalted, what does that say? 

Well, John Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost had his often quoted line: "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven." This perhaps is the root of all sin. In Genesis, Satan tempts Eve by saying "For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Indeed, Saint Augustine argued in City of God that the base of Sin is arrogance towards God, exalting ourselves over the divine. 

So, we may not know if or when the next major persecution of Christians in the West is. We do know this though: the persecution not only comes from Satan, but it has the same base motivation as Satan's move against God. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Pure Truth and Logic of the Catholic Faith

As said, there is the first main reason for validity of the Catholic faith, which is its thought out, systematic, and intellectual nature. From its first days in the Early Church, Catholic thinkers have used the great minds of Aristotle, Plato and Plotinus to understand their religion. The logic of Catholicism has two parts: first, the logic of the faith. Second, the application of logic to the faith.

One of the greatest thinkers of human history was born in an Italian castle in 1225 AD. He was to write significant works reconciling a logical approach with the Catholic religion. To do so, he wrote a massive collection of volumes known as the Summa Theologicae. The man of who I speak was Thomas Aquinas. Now, this book itself is a huge accomplishment, however, nothing within it can compare to the Five Ways. In short, the Five Ways are five proofs for the existence of God coming from an Aristotelian perspective. Reading two things, one will notice two things: first, they are not an easy read. (following the fine Thomistic style of writing in an esoteric manner) Second, they are extremely rational. Though one can disagree with them, they are respectable in their truth, and constructing an argument against them that lacks logical fallacy is not easy. (any argument that would correctly contradict the Five Ways would originate on some level from the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, which though it is the most commonly held understanding, it is not the only one, nor is there even near a consensus in the scientific community.) These Five Ways are excellent reasons to believe in God and especially for the time they were written, exemplify what human thought can be. Other great arguments for God have come from the Church, including Saint Anselm's Ontological argument. In short, the Catholic church has been the creator of the best arguments for a God.

Not only do the best and longest lasting proofs for God come from the Catholic Church, (although William Lane Craig has been a strong fan of arguments from Islam) thinkers like Aquinas and Augustine have built significant arguments for the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, and other basic Christian dogmas. Now, this has an underlying cause: Catholic theology leads to and requires a strong intellectual tradition focused on apologetics. Popes have often stated that God's existence is not only provable, but understandable through natural logic on its own. Of course revealed religion is needed for the Trinity and other mysteries, but to believe in God, it is stipulated that one just requires logic.
(On a side note, it is very ironic that in the film Contact, the protagonist uses Ockham's Razor as an argument against God, considering first that William of Ockham was a strong Catholic, but also that God is considered generally to be the most simple thing. (at least by Aquinas' deffiniton)

Needless to say, there is a lot more information on Christian Apologetics and the Catholic contribution than one can fit in one small piece of writing.

Not only is the faith itself logical, whenever problems or questions arise, logic is applied to the situation.

Transubstantiation is a prime example. Of the three main catholic-minded faiths, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism, (use of branch theory is not always very tasteful) only the Roman Catholic Church has actually found a proper systematic explanation of the Eucharist. While the Orthodox and Anglicans have ideas, they remain vague, stipulating that "at some point" there is a change. (if one needs an argument for the Real Presence, one can either just see that all Christian denominations that hold to Apostolic Succession (wether or not they have it is a different question) believe in the real presence. The only groups that do not believe in it are actually Low Church Protestant sects, which are tiny minorities of World Christianity.

Further, for things such as miracles, canonization, exorcism, and any other thing dealing with the super-natural aspects of the Faith, there are very specific rules for how they are dealt with. Many miracles, Marian Sightings and similar things are not accepted. It is not easy to confirm a miracle, and the church does not try to make every cool thing that happens into a miracle.

In conclusion, not only is the Catholic Faith logical, it is also capable and willing to apply logic to its own processes and situations. Unlike purely mystical religions, they do not see a man with a tail as a cause to think he is a god. When a miracle is confirmed by the Catholic Church, or a Saint is canonized, you can be pretty sure that they did their homework on the chap or on the situation. In fact, the term Devil's Advocate comes from a particular individual who has the job of arguing against the canonization of somebody.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

5 reasons for moving to the Mother Church

Perhaps, here it would be a good place to write a not-so brief explanation about why I am moving to the Roman Church.

Because there are so many reasons to go back to the Holy Mother Church, I will try to give this in 5 big-tent reasons:
1. Pure Logical Truth
2. Vincentian Canon
3. The Fruits of the Church
4. Pre-eminence of the Church
5. Continuity and Reality of the Church

These are 5 basic groupings of reasons that I think are important for moving over to the Catholic church. Now, there are myriad other reasons, but these are those that seem to be the most relevant. Each of these reasons will get an individual posting so as to make them more useful to read.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nihil Obstat?

Indeed. This site is a depository of various articles, essays and other such things that I may write over time. How can I speak of these if Aquinas died without wishing to finish his Summa? Indeed, to try to be humble about these articles would be a breaking of humility to such a great Doctor of the church. It is better not to even try to do that, though I guess I started. At the same time, if one has the time and the ability to write, what excuse is there not to do so?