Immanuel Kant

Modernism’s Malice – V

Modernism’s Malice – V posted in Eleison Comments on June 13, 2020

There is at least one more important consideration to be presented before we leave modernism alone (at least for the time being), and it is a prophecy of Fr Frederick Faber (1814–1863), concerning our own times, which has surely appeared already more than once in these “Comments.” He said words to the effect that the end of the world will be characterised by men doing evil while they think they are doing good.

It stands to reason. Even at world’s end men will still have their God-given nature, which as such is good, underlying their original and personal sins, however heavy these are in the last times – II Tim. III, 1–5. By this underlying nature which underlies even their inborn original sin, men have an underlying natural inclination to good. Yet the mass of men under the Antichrist and his predecessors will have gone along with his evil, actual or anticipated. How will this good and this evil have been compatible inside them?

The human will can want nothing that the human mind has not first presented to it. In front of every human desire must go a human thought. The desire of a non-object can only be a non-desire. Therefore the will depends on the mind to have grasped its object for it, and between every will and the object it wants must have come the mind, always assuming that the mind grasps its own object. But now comes Kant who says that the mind cannot grasp its own real object, it can only grasp what it itself fabricates. This means that the will and its real object are no longer properly connected. This means that a good will can will things in reality bad and a bad will can will something in reality good, but given men’s original sin the latter case will be less frequent. And so when Kant unhooks the mind from objective reality, he is making it that much easier for the will to want something bad while it appeared to be good. Thus in today’s whole world of minds unhooked from objective reality, it is that much easier for men still to be of good will even when they are wanting what is in reality not good, because the mind has been radically crippled.

Here is what Fr Faber is prophesying. He is saying that by the end of the world, the problem need not be so much bad hearts or ill-will as good hearts with crippled minds, in other words good hearts with bad principles. What does this mean in practice? It means that today there will be a large number of Catholics who can have the Faith and who mean well, but whose minds are malfunctioning because they follow, consciously but more often unconsciously, the teaching of Kant, so that their good will is correspondingly adrift. Then they can no longer see how the Newchurch is a gangrene upon the true Catholic Church, or how the Archbishop’s Society of St Pius X is being gangrened by his successors. But in many cases the blindness of such souls is not necessarily out of malice or a lack of good will.

It follows that in dealing with such souls in which the subjective has been split from the objective by a whole world crippled by Kant, a Catholic can easily make one of two opposed but connected errors. Either he can say that such souls are so innocent of heart that they cannot be mistaken in mind, so the Newchurch cannot be all that mistaken, and so he should rejoin it, Pachamama and all – thus behave today the Newsociety’s leaders and all those following them. Or he can say that the errors in the mind of the Newchurch and the Newsociety wishing to rejoin it are so grave that they cannot possibly be the true Church or the true Society, and both must be absolutely shunned – thus argue and behave those known as sedevacantists and those who may refuse the label of sedevacantism but take sedevacantist positions.

On the contrary, if I recognise how Kant began the split of subject from object, I will say neither that such souls are of good will and therefore their doctrine is good, nor that their doctrine is so false that they must be of bad will. Instead I will say that subjectively they may be of good will, but in any case they are objectively of such bad doctrine that for my eternal salvation I cannot follow them or keep them company. And with the Holy Rosary I will beg Our Lady to keep my heart and mind balanced in truth.

Kyrie eleison.

Modernism’s Malice – IV

Modernism’s Malice – IV posted in Eleison Comments on June 6, 2020

These “Comments” of March 21 last claimed to be bringing into view “the incredible perversity, pride and perfidy” of Kant. That may seem strong language coming from a Catholic concerning a famous and merely worldly philosopher, but he is not merely worldly. Who that really knows the Revolution in the Church of Vatican II (1962–1965) would not recognise perversity, pride and perfidy as being its hallmarks? Strong language again? Let us see firstly how each of these three hallmarks applies to the principle that the mind is incapable of knowing its own object, extra-mental reality, for which it was designed by God (but Kantism was designed by Kant as a fortress precisely to shut out God, said the great theologian, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange [1877–1964]). And secondly, how the three marks apply to 1960’s Conciliarism.

PERVERSITY of Kantism When in his Summa Theologiae (2a2ae, 154, art.12) St Thomas Aquinas wishes to prove the supreme malice of homosexuality amongst the sins of impurity, he does it by comparing it with the denial of the principles of thinking inborn in the nature of the mind. But Kant denies not just one or two natural principles of the mind, he denies the application of every single inborn principle of the mind to external reality. Kantism is supremely perverse, and is not that conclusion corroborated by how widespread is the sin against nature among students in our Kantian “universities”?

and of Conciliarism Among Council documents, Dei Verbum section 8 paragraph 2 gives an ambiguous definition of living Tradition, in the name of which John-Paul II condemned that unchanging Catholic Tradition in the name of which Archbishop Lefebvre had just consecrated four bishops in June of 1988. In other words, Catholic Truth so changes down the ages that the Archbishop’s version of objective and unchanging Tradition is no longer acceptable. This melting of Catholic Truth is totally perverse.

PRIDE of Kantism If the “Thing in itself” created by God is unknowable to me on the other side of the appearances, where my mind cannot reach, and if, as Kantism holds, I recompose the thing from the sense appearances in accordance with the prior laws of my own mind, then I become the creator of things, they are fabricated by me, and I take the place of God. For indeed God very rarely makes Himself perceptible to the human senses – even Incarnate and touched by St Thomas, the Apostle still needed an act of faith to believe in His godhead (Jn. XX, 28) – so God is behind the sense-appearances, so, for Kant, He is inaccessible to my mind. He depends on my will to believe in Him, thus: Not what I know but what I want is what is real. Now I want God. So God is real. If this is the basis of God’s existence, could it be more fragile? And if God depends on me to want Him for Him to exist, could pride be more insane?

and of Conciliarism As Fr Calderón makes abundantly clear in his study of Vatican II, Prometheus, the key to the modern man to whom it is the Council’s purpose to adapt the religion of God, is liberty. Modern man will accept no objective truth imprisoning his mind, no objective law commanding his will, no grace healing his nature for any other purpose than nature’s own freedom. In brief, modern man will have nothing and nobody superior to him. He is the supreme creature by his freedom. Also, he is more free than God because he is free to choose evil, which God is not. Again, could pride be more mad?

PERFIDY of Kantism To deny, as does Kantism, that the mind can know anything beyond the sense-appearances, is not to deny that things are what they are, it is merely to make the utterly absurd pretention that they depend on my mind to be what they are. Thus for purposes of living, even surviving, my great mind is bound to fabricate meals on the appearance of my kitchen-table, otherwise I will get rather hungry. And similarly I will fabricate all things necessary for daily existence. So I can behave in daily life just like a normal non-Kantian, and deceive people that I am not crazy at all. Only if I tell them that my mind fabricated the breakfast will they realise that they are dealing with a madman. Thus I can hide from view my radical inward betrayal of outward reality. This is potentially perfidious.

and of Conciliarism Vatican II is not just potentially but actually perfidious because, again as Fr Calderón makes abundantly clear, its very essence was to create a new man-centred humanism which would be able to pass itself of as being still God-centred Catholicism. Objective disguise and deceit were written into the Council’s charter from the very beginning.

Kyrie eleison.

Archbishop Commented – I

Archbishop Commented – I posted in Eleison Comments on January 3, 2015

For today’s Church authorities “there is no fixed truth, there is no dogma. Everything is evolving.” So said Archbishop Lefebvre (1905–1991) in 1991 (see last week’s “Eleison Comments”). For at the end of his life the Archbishop saw more clearly than ever what he had been up against in his heroic defence of the Faith. Since then the liberals (unknown to themselves as such?) who took over his Society of St Pius X as soon as he was gone, have still not understood the gravity of the problem as identified by the Archbishop. Therefore let these “Comments” open the New Year by attempting once more to lay open the mortal wound of today’s Church and world.

When Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) erected man’s refusal of God’s reality into a philosophical system, based on his utterly false proclamation that the human mind cannot know the object as it is in itself, then the philosophy department of universities all over the world began to spill craziness into the streets, because people wanted to make freedom their god and Kant offered them the supreme liberation, that of the mind from its object.

Now Catholics not yet contaminated by the Kantian fantasy know that God and his Heaven exist quite outside of, and independently of, their little minds, and so if they want to be happy for eternity their minds had better deal in objective reality and not in subjective fantasy. Therefore for a century and a half a God-given series of anti-liberal Popes stood up to the liberal world going constantly more crazy all around, and these protected the Church from the prestigious and popular subjectivism. But by the 1950’s the Church’s cardinals and bishops were not praying enough to maintain this protection of their minds and hearts from the madness, known within the Church as “modernism,” and so in the conclave of 1958 they elected one of their own, the supposedly “good” John XXIII, a liberal (unknown to himself as such? God knows), who duly launched in 1962 the disastrous Second Vatican Council.

Why disastrous? Because the madness of subjectivism (the refusal of objective reality), instead of being still utterly condemned by the Church’s highest authorities, was now adopted by them and made (consciously or unconsciously? – God knows) into the official basis of Church doctrine and action. The problem could not be graver. The officials of God’s true Church, appointed to proclaim and defend God’s objective truths of salvation, were henceforth filtering these through their subjectivist minds. Imagine having nothing other than filthy bottles in which to store the best of wine. It can only be ruined. Today’s Conciliar Church officials can only ruin God’s truth.

Here is why the Archbishop said in 1991, “We are dealing with people (at the top of the Church) who have a different philosophy from ours, a different way of seeing, who are influenced by all modern subjectivist philosophers. For them, there is no fixed truth, no fixed dogma. Everything is evolving. This is really the Masonic destruction of the Faith. Fortunately we (Traditionalists) have Tradition to lean on.”

But what has happened to Tradition without the Archbishop to guide it? Alas, the authorities at the top of his Society of St Pius X, which for some 40 years spearheaded the defence of the objective Faith, cannot have been praying seriously enough to protect their minds and hearts from being in turn infected by subjectivism. They too have lost the primacy of objective truth, and so they are being played by the Romans like a fish is played by a fisherman. Archbishop Lefebvre, pray for us!

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Thinking – IV

Benedict’s Thinking – IV posted in Eleison Comments on July 30, 2011

In the fourth and last part of this overview of Bishop Tissier’s Faith Imperilled by Reasonthe Bishop pronounces judgment upon Pope Benedict XVI’s system of re-interpreting the Catholic Faith in order to make it more accessible to modern man. Defenders of the Pope might accuse the Bishop of presenting only one side of the Pope’s thinking, but that side is there, and the Bishop is right to bring it out into the open, and to show its coherence as a system of error, because the more truth is mixed with it, the better disguised it will be, and the more damage it can do to the salvation of souls.

In Chapter IX of his tract, Bishop Tissier shows how the Pope changes what Catholics believe in, and why. True Catholics believe in the Articles of Faith as defined by the Church, which they accept because of the objective authority of God revealing them. But to Benedict this seems an abstract religion of cold definitions, so instead he will say, “Faith is a meeting with Jesus, a person, the presence of God, a presence of love.” Now belief changed in this way may feel more warm and personal, but it also risks being the vague fruit of personal experience, based on subjective feelings, which are unreliable. But who really wants a tottering bridge to Heaven, just because it feels good?

In Chapter X the Bishop goes on to show how the whole system of belief totters which emerges from this change, because Benedict’s recipe for a felt Catholicism is to purify dogmas of their non-essential past, and enrich them with a more understanding awareness drawn from the present. But the prime former of present-day awareness is the philosopher Kant, followed by Benedict, who holds that God cannot be proved, but only postulated or fabricated according to men’s needs, which take the place of objective realities. In any such world, how many people will postulate God at all? Small wonder if in 1996 Cardinal Ratzinger foresaw a dim future for the Church.

In his Afterword, Bishop Tissier concludes that the synthesis between modernity and Catholicism being subjectively sought for by Benedict’s imperative need for a reconciliation between his Catholic heart and his modern head, is impossible. For instance, the Pope wants to believe that the Rights of Man, idolized in every democracy of today, are merely the up-dating of Christianity, but they are in fact its death. Implicit in their logic is a declaration of independence from God, and of liberation from all constriction by any God-given human nature. They are in fact an atom bomb in modern man’s war on God, a keystone in the New World Order.

So the Pope, says the Bishop, must put no hopes for upholding the world in any such “mutual purification and regeneration” of religion and reason in view of their “mutual enrichment.” When it comes to religion, secularized reason has little or nothing of value to offer, and all attempts of Catholic theologians to come to terms with it will collapse like a house of cards, just like the New World Order that such theologians are hoping to serve. And the Bishop gives to St. Paul the last word – “For other foundations no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus” (I Cor.III, 11).

Bishop Tissier’s complete tract has been available in French, but it may for the moment be out of print. English and Italian translations are accessible on the Internet.

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Thinking – III

Benedict’s Thinking – III posted in Eleison Comments on July 23, 2011

After studying the roots of Pope Benedict’s thinking (EC 209), Bishop Tissier in his Faith Imperilled by Reason proceeds to study its fruits. If that thinking is rooted above all in the systematic subjectivism of Kant (1724–1804), those fruits cannot be good. How can the objective truths of the Faith be made in any way intrinsically dependent on the participation or reactions of the subjective believer? The Gospel, dogma, the Church, society, Christ the King and the Last Ends will be, one after another, mortally stricken.

Let us start with the Gospel. Its value lies no longer in telling the historical facts of the life and death of Our Lord, but rather in the power of its narrative to evoke existential problems of our own time. For instance whether Our Lord’s very own body sprang re-united with his human soul out of the tomb on Easter morning is not important. What matters is the modern meaning behind the narrative: love is stronger than death, Christ lives on by the force of love, and guarantees that we too will survive by love. Forget the reality or the facts. “All you need is love.”

Dogma needs likewise to be purified of the past and enriched by the present. Now the present-day philosopher Heidegger teaches that the person is a “self-surpassing.” Then Christ was the man so totally self-surpassing, so completely striving for the infinite beyond himself, that he fulfilled himself to the point of becoming divine. So the dogma of the Incarnation no longer means that God became man, but that man became God! Similarly the Redemption must mean no longer that Jesus paid to his Father by his terrible Passion the debt for all men’s sins, but that by his Cross he loved God in our stead as God should be loved, and he attracts us to do the same. Sin has ceased to be a mortal offence against God, it is merely a selfishness, a lack of love. So Mass no longer needs to be a sacrifice, and the priest becomes merely the animator of the communal celebration. No wonder Benedict believes in the Novus Ordo Mass.

As for the Church, since the existent person is the supreme value (cf. EC 209) and all persons are equally existent, then away with a Church of hierarchical inequalities, and away with the Catholic Church as the one and only Ark of Salvation, because the followers of every religion are existent persons. Let ecumenism replace all Catholic missionary efforts. Also, making the person into the supreme value will dissolve society by subordinating the common good to the individual’s rights, and it will undermine both marriage and society by putting the mutual company of the male and female persons in front of children. As for Christ the King, he will be dethroned by the bestowing upon every person such dignity that the State must protect that person’s right to choose his own religion.

Finally death, from a penalty, becomes a remedy for our ills. The particular judgment means only a reward. Hell is no more than an irrevocably selfish state of soul. Heaven will be “an ever new immersion in the infinity of being” – what being? – and so on. Here is a new religion, comments Bishop Tissier, rather more comfortable – at least vhere below – than the Catholic religion.

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Thinking – II

Benedict’s Thinking – II posted in Eleison Comments on July 16, 2011

If one divides into four parts Bishop Tissier’s study of the thinking of Benedict XVI, then the second part presents its philosophical and theological roots. By analyzing the philosophy first, the Bishop is following Pius X’s great Encyclical “Pascendi.” If a wine bottle is dirty inside, the very best of wine poured into it will be spoiled. If a man’s mind is disconnected from reality, as it is by modern philosophy, then even the Catholic Faith filtered through it will be disoriented, because it will no longer be oriented by reality. Here is Benedict’s problem.

Like Pius X before him, the Bishop attributes the prime responsibility for this disaster of modern minds to the German Enlightenment philosopher, Immanuel KANT (1724–1804), who finalized the system of anti-thought, prevailing now everywhere, which excludes God from rational discourse. For if, as Kant claimed, the mind can know nothing of the object except what appears to the senses, then the mind is free to reconstruct the reality behind the sense appearances however it may like, objective reality is dismissed as unknowable, and the subject reigns supreme. If the subject needs God and postulates his existence, well and good. Otherwise, so to speak, God is out of luck!

Bishop Tissier then presents five modern philosophers, all grappling with the consequences of Kant’s subjective folly of putting idea over reality and subject over object. The two most important of them for this Pope’s thinking might be Heidegger (1889–1976), a father of existentialism, and Buber (1878–1965), a leading exponent of personalism. If essences are unknowable (Kant), then there remains only existence. Now the most important existent is the person, constituted for Buber by intersubjectivity, or the “I-You” relationship between subjective persons, which for Buber opens the way to God. Therefore knowledge of the objective God is going to depend on the subjective involvement of the human person. What an insecure foundation for that knowledge!

Yet involvement of the human subject will be the key to Benedict’s theological thinking, influenced firstly, writes the Bishop, by the renowned School of Tuebingen. Founded by J.S. von Drey (1777–1853), this School held that history is moved by the spirit of the age in constant movement, and this spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Therefore God’s Revelation is no longer the Deposit of Faith closed at the death of the last Apostle, and merely made more explicit as time goes on. Instead, it has a constantly evolving content to which the receiving subject contributes. So the Church of each age plays an active and not just passive part in Revelation, and it gives to past Tradition its present meaning. Is this beginning to sound familiar? Like the hermeneutic of Dilthey? See EC 208.

Thus for Benedict XVI God is not an object apart nor merely objective, he is personal, an “I” exchanging with each human “You.” Scripture or Tradition do come objectively from the divine “I,” but on the other hand the living and moving “You” must constantly re-read that Scripture, and since Scripture is the basis of Tradition, then Tradition too must become dynamic by the subject’s involvement, and not just static, like Archbishop Lefebvre’s “fixated” Tradition. Similarly theology must be subjectivized, Faith must be a personal “experiencing” of God, and even the Magisterium must stop being merely static.

“Accursed is the man that puts his trust in man” says Jeremiah (XVII, 5).

Kyrie eleison.