Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Neo-modernist cleric?

The neo-modernist priesthood?

As I wrote in my previous post The Negative Theology of Francis (see here), reaction to the Messori article was swift and vicious. (see here) The Italian Aleteia blog among others, carried a story with several critical voices from the lunatic fringe of conciliar Rio de Janeiro Rome. (see here) The part that grabbed my attention was the criticism of Messori and the article he wrote, provided by Leonardo Boff. To get a feel for Boff, for the uninitiated reader, please see here and here. My observation of the Boff criticism of Messori is below.

Furthermore, the Boff criticism is a perfect example of the what occurred when the Catholic Church deposed Thomism as its underlying philosophy of Catholic formation in favor of neo-modernism during the Second Vatican Council. The John Lamont essay at Rorate Caeli provides the detail. I highly recommend a thorough reading of this text. (see here).

So let’s get to it, but a word of warning first, this post is a long one. To save some time, one can glance over the fallacy list section and return to it at a later time. It really is not mission critical to the storyline. But the conclusion is worth the effort. In my humble opinion, of course.

Introduction

What is most interesting about the Boff response to the Messori article is that it demonstrates the point quite aptly made by John Lamont in his essay titled Attacks on Thomism. Here is the relevant passage: (emphasis added)

Stated thus plainly, the neomodernist position is rightly seen as absurd by most people; but it was not stated plainly – for obvious reasons – in neomodernist polemics. Garrigou-Lagrange’s contribution was to see and to prove that this was what the neomodernists believed, and to disprove the philosophical basis for their position. He pointed out that their understanding of truth leads to the denial of the principle of non-contradiction, which means intellectual suicide.

The intellectual suicide is clearly visible through the destruction of the post-conciliar church, especially in South America. This destruction was brought about through:

Neomodernism, however, on a religious level is a purely negative thesis. As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world.

A good case in point is the situation in Ciudad del Este contrasted with the rest of the Church in Paraguay or the diocese of Frejus-Toulon contrasted with the rest of France. But I digress…

The causality between adopting the neo-modernist heresy and the dying ecclesiastical structures that adopted it is attributed to:

This propaganda is thus aimed not only at Thomism, but at philosophy itself, and the opponents of Thomism were only able to make use of it because they were not interested in philosophy. They would use philosophical claims to advance their agenda, but they proposed no general philosophical alternative to Thomism. They offered no account of central topics of philosophy – time, space, cause, universal and particular, body, soul, perception, and the like – to replace the Thomist accounts they had banished.

And it is this lack of universality, i.e. the continuous relevance of central philosophical concepts regardless of “time, space, cause, universal and particular, body , soul, perception” etc. which make neo-modernist heresy worthless as a transcendental philosophy and irrelevant to understanding anything beyond a particular occurrence at a particular point in time, if that. In other words, neo-modernism is nothing more than a “disposable form of emotionalism” disguised as “theology”. In this sense, it is no different than the “theology” that is practiced by the gentlemen in the picture above.

Here’s the proof.

Reaction from the peripheries

The above mentioned “intellectual suicide” of the post conciliar “theological” class can be easily witnessed reading Boff’s critique of Messari. Furthermore, if there ever was a better example of what can be termed as a Verrecchian “pseudosacral homopoetic” rhetoric, it would be very hard to find a better example than the one below. (see here)

But as to the task at hand, I will provide a translation of the Boff paragraphs from the Aleteia blog below. Since they are translations, I have provided a link above for cross reference.

Aleteia Blog provides us with the Leonardo Boff criticism of Messori:

ABSENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

On noisiamochiesa.org, the Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, has slapped Messori hard, noting “two theological shortcomings.” The first: “The near absence of the Holy Spirit. I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error, that is, Christ alone counts. There is not really a place for the Holy Spirit. Everything in the Church is resolved with only Christ which the Jesus of the Gospels did not exactly want. Why do I say this? Because what he regrets is the “unpredictability” of the pastoral action of this Pope. Well, this is the characteristic of the Spirit, its unpredictability, as St. John says: “The Spirit blows where it will, listen to his voice, however, do not know where it comes from or where it goes towards “(3.8). Its nature is the sudden irruption with his gifts and charisms. Francis of Rome in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi is led by the Spirit.

BLASPHEMOUS ANALYSIS

Messori, said Boff, “is held hostage by a linear vision, his own” beloved Joseph Ratzinger “and other earlier Popes. Unfortunately, it was this vision that has made the Church a citadel, unable to understand the complexity of the modern world, isolated in the midst of other Churches and their spiritual paths, without dialogue and learning from each other, they are also enlightened by the Spirit. It means to be blasphemous against the Holy Spirit to think that what others have thought that it is just wrong. For this is supremely important, as the Church wants to be opened by Francis of Rome. “

RELIGION OF THE THIRD WORLD

The second “failure”. “I do not have the size of the fact that today Christianity is a religion of the Third World as highlighted many times the German theologian Johan Baptist Metz. Europe is home to only 25% of Catholics; the 72.56% live in the Third World (in Latin America 48.75%). Why cannot one come to terms that from this one majority, the Spirit made him bishop of Rome and Pope universal? Why not accept the innovations that result from these churches, which are not in the image of the old European churches but new churches with their martyrs, confessors and theologians? “.

And this is what passes for “intellectual” theological criticism in today’s post conciliar church.

Furthermore, just a simple reading of the three above paragraphs, I have identified no less than 41 logical fallacies.

Forty one identified logical fallacies in just three paragraphs.

So now that we have read the above criticism of Mr. Boff, what should we make of it?

One thing that becomes apparent from the reading of the first couple of sentence is that Mr. Boff has a problem with logically constructing his thoughts. To be more precise, his criticism of Messori’s article is brimming with logical fallacies. And why is it important to not only identify but understand these errors of logic? Because the ability to identify logical fallacies in the arguments of others, and to avoid them in one’s own arguments, allows us to think critically. And critical thinking protects us from being manipulated. (Too many critically thinking bishops at the Secret Synod of 2014 and see what happened?) Furthermore, logical fallacies hinders us from identifying and understanding “objective truth”, since “objective truth” by definition is devoid of falsehood, and therefore by extension, devoid of logical fallacies.

Or to put it another way, argument containing logical fallacies are for the most part “non-sensical” and therefore fall into the category of “gibberish”.

So let’s get cracking.

By the way, the official reference guide of this blog is the Stephen’s Guide to Logical Fallacies whose link can be found in the right hand margin of the Deus Ex Machina blog.

Here is the identified logical fallacy list to wit: [with ed. notes]

Appeal to Pity: the reader is persuaded to agree by sympathy – “Why not accept the innovations that result from these [third world] churches, which are not in the image of the old European churches but new churches with their martyrs, confessors and theologians? “

Prejudicial Language: value or moral goodness is attached to believing the author– “Everything in the Church is resolved with only Christ [in Messori’s mind], which the Jesus of the Gospels did not exactly want”.

Popularity: a proposition is argued to be true because it is widely held to be true – “Europe is home to only 25% of Catholics; the 72.56% live in the Third World (in Latin America 48.75%). Why cannot one come to terms that from this one majority, the Spirit made him bishop of Rome and Pope universal?”

Attacking the Person -the person’s character is attacked – “Messori, said Boff, “is held hostage by a linear vision, his own” beloved Joseph Ratzinger “and other earlier Popes.” or “[Messori has] The near absence of the Holy Spirit.” or “[Messori has] shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error”.

Anonymous Authority: the authority in question is not named – “I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error that is, Christ alone counts”. Who defined this “error”?

Style Over Substance: the manner in which an argument (or arguer) is presented is felt to affect the truth of the conclusion. – “Unfortunately, it was this vision [Messori’s] that has made the Church a citadel, unable to understand the complexity of the modern world, isolated in the midst of other Churches and the spiritual, without dialogue and learn from each other, they are also enlightened by the Spirit.”

Hasty Generalization: the sample is too small to support an inductive generalization about a population – “Why not accept the innovations that result from these [evangelical Pentecostal] churches?” i.e. those churches which fall into the population between the Catholic population and the general population of Latin America, i.e. the 51.25% “[Catholics in Latin America are 48.75%]”. The fallacy is due to the situation where those non-Catholic churches could be losing faithful outside of Latin America at an equal or even faster rate. The proper population sample would be to see how the growth of the evangelical Pentecostal population is performing when compared to the growth of the general population globally.

Unrepresentative Sample: the sample is unrepresentative of the sample as a whole- Same as Hasty Generalization.

False Analogy: the two objects or events being compared are relevantly dissimilar– Same as Hasty Generalization. The events being compared are: introducing novelties v. population size of churches with those novelties.

Slothful Induction: the conclusion of a strong inductive argument is denied despite the evidence to the contrary – “Its [Holy Spirit’s] nature is the sudden irruption with his gifts and charisms.” Any gifts and charisms given to the Catholic Church post VII would provide a strong inductive argument to the contrary, case in point the FFI or the diocese of Ciudad del Este.

Fallacy of Exclusion: evidence which would change the outcome of an inductive argument is excluded from consideration. Same as Slothful Induction or the demographic data for evangelical Pentecostals globally relative to the general population that would be the correct metric, but provide different result.

Accident: a generalization is applied when circumstances suggest that there should be an exception – Same as Fallacy of Exclusion. The generalization is that the evangelical Pentecostals are prospering when there should be an exception made because the Catholic Church is in fact self destructing.

Converse Accident : an exception is applied in circumstances where a generalization should apply. – same as Accident since we are applying the exception of evangelical performance in South America when the generalization is that all religions are losing members collectively.

Post Hoc: because one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other– “Why not accept the innovations that result from these churches, which are not in the image of the old European churches but new churches with their martyrs, confessors and theologians? “. Because these innovations are not from European Churches does not necessarily mean that they are not being accepted.

Joint effect: one thing is held to cause another when in fact they are both the joint effects of an underlying cause – Same as Post Hoc. The rise of the evangelical Pentecostals is not caused by their innovations, but rather it is the destruction of the Catholic Church that is causing the increase in numbers in South America.

Insignificant: one thing is held to cause another, and it does, but it is insignificant compared to other causes of the effect – Same as Joint Effect. The innovations are an insignificant issue with respect to the increase in evangelical Pentecostalism.

Wrong Direction: the direction between cause and effect is reversed– Again same as Joint Effect and Insignificant. It is not the innovations that are causing the Catholics to go to the evangelical Protestants, but rather the Catholic innovations (i.e. liberation theology, breakdown is theological discipline, etc.) that is pushing the Catholics out of the Church.

Complex Cause: the cause identified is only a part of the entire cause of the effect – Same as last three. That the Catholics are leaving in droves is more complex than just the innovations of the Pentecostals.

Begging the Question: the truth of the conclusion is assumed by the premises – “Messori”, said Boff, “is held hostage by a linear vision, his own” beloved Joseph Ratzinger “and other earlier Popes.” is being begged by “Unfortunately, it was this vision that has made the Church a citadel, unable to understand the complexity of the modern world isolated in the midst of other Churches and the spiritual paths, without dialogue and learn from each other they are also enlightened by the Spirit.”

Irrelevant Conclusion: an argument in defense of one conclusion instead proves a different conclusion – “Its [Holy Spirit’s] nature is the sudden irruption with his gifts and charisms.” proves that the Holy Spirit abandoned the post-conciliar church.

Straw Man: the author attacks an argument different from (and weaker than) the opposition’s best argument – The first: “The near absence of the Holy Spirit. I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error, that is, Christ alone counts. There is not really a place for the Holy Spirit. [in Messori’s mind] Everything in the Church is resolved with only Christ, which the Jesus of the Gospels did not exactly want.” What’s there left to say about this gem?

Equivocation: the same term is used with two different meanings – This definition of the Holy Spirit:  “ It means to be blasphemous against the Holy Spirit to think that others have thought that are just wrong” is not the same as this Holy Spirit: “ Its [Holy Spirit’s] nature is the sudden irruption with his gifts and charisms. “

Composition: because the attributes of the parts of a whole have a certain property, it is argued that the whole has that property – Because the evangelical Protestants are increasing in numbers in South America, it does not follow that this is true globally and that their innovations should be copied.

Division: because the whole has a certain property, it is argued that the parts have that property – Same as Composition.

Affirming the Consequent: any argument of the form: If A then B, B, therefore A – IF “ Europe is home to only 25% of Catholics; the 72.56% live in the Third World (in Latin America 48.75%) THEN “Christianity is a religion of the Third World”, “Christianity being the religion of the Third World”, THEREFORE “Why not accept the innovations that result from these churches which are not in the image of the old European churches but new churches with their martyrs, confessors and theologians?”

Denying the Antecedent: any argument of the form: If A then B, Not A, thus Not B – IF “I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error , that is, Christ alone counts” THEN “There is not really a place for the Holy Spirit”, (NOT A) “Everything in the Church is resolved with only Christ [in Messori’s mind], which the Jesus of the Gospels did not exactly want”, THUS (NOT B) “Its [Holy Spirit’s] nature is the sudden irruption with his gifts and charisms”.

Inconsistency: asserting that contrary or contradictory statements are both true -“The near absence of the Holy Spirit. I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error, that is, Christ alone counts”. IF Christ alone counts, there cannot be a “near absence of anything else”. There has to be a total absence of anything else.

Undistributed Middle: two separate categories are said to be connected because they share a common property – “Why not accept the innovations that result from these churches”, The Catholic Church and the evangelical Pentecostals are the two separate categories.

Fallacy of Exclusive Premises: a syllogism has two negative premises –“The near absence of the Holy Spirit” (Minor Premise), “I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error, that is, Christ alone counts” (Major Premise) does not allow one to draw the conclusion of a disruption of ” Its [Holy Spirit’s] nature is the sudden irruption with his gifts and charisms”. Since important evidence which would undermine an inductive argument is excluded from consideration such as the FFI were enjoying gifts and charisms, but definitely would be considered in the “cristomonismo” camp.

Fallacy of Drawing an Affirmative Conclusion From a Negative Premise: as the name implies Messori… “is held hostage by a linear vision, it was this vision that has made the Church a citadel, unable to understand the complexity of the modern world, isolated in the midst of other Churches and the spiritual paths , without dialogue and learn from each other”, THEREFORE “For this is supremely important as the Church wants to be open by Francis of Rome”.

Existential Fallacy: a particular conclusion is drawn from universal premises– “The Catholic Church is a Church, “the Holy Spirit’s nature is the sudden irruption with his gifts and charisms” . THEREFORE The Holy Spirit provides a “sudden irruption of gifts and charisms” to all Churches. Besides “It means to be blasphemous against the Holy Spirit to think that others have thought that are just wrong”.

Subverted Support The phenomenon being explained doesn’t exist – “Unfortunately, it was this vision that has made the Church a citadel, unable to understand the complexity of the modern world, isolated in the midst of other Churches and their spiritual paths, without dialogue and learning from each other, they are also enlightened by the Spirit.” This situation hasn’t existed in the Catholic Church since 1963.

Non-support Evidence for the phenomenon being explained is biased – “Europe is home to only 25% of Catholics; the 72.56% live in the Third World (in Latin America 48.75%). Why cannot one come to terms that from this one majority, the Spirit made him bishop of Rome and Pope universal?” Because South America is not a majority without the third world.

Untestability The theory which explains cannot be tested– “There is not really a place for the Holy Spirit. Everything in the Church is resolved with only Christ which the Jesus of the Gospels did not exactly want.” How does one test what “ Jesus of the Gospel did not exactly want”?

Limited Depth The theory which explains does not appeal to underlying causes – “The near absence of the Holy Spirit. I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error, that is, Christ alone counts. There is not really a place for the Holy Spirit”. A theory presented as a fact with no explicit substantiation of the underlying cause of the alleged “absence of the Holy Spirit”.

Fallacies of Definition –  “I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error”. Error has a specific meaning in Catholic theology. Here Boff wittingly transforms a “shortcoming” into an “error”.

Too Broad The definition includes items which should not be included – “I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error”. “Cristomonismo” when defined as “error” is a false definition.

Too Narrow The definition does not include all the items which should be included – “Well, this is the characteristic of the Spirit, its unpredictability, as St. John says: “The Spirit blows where it will, listen to his voice, however, do not know where it comes from or where it goes towards “(3.8)”. The Holy Spirit has many more characteristics. Just because one of his characteristics is observed, does not prove that it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Failure to Elucidate The definition is more difficult to understand than the word or concept being defined- “ as St. John says: “The Spirit blows where it will, listen to his voice, however, do not know where it comes from or where it goes towards “(3.8). Its nature is the sudden irruption with his gifts and charisms. Francis of Rome in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi is led by the Spirit.” – Holy Spirit is more difficult to understand due to “blows where it will, listen to his voice, however, do not know where it comes from or where it goes towards”. So what Mr. Buff is implying is that we just have to take his word for it, that what he observes is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Circular Definition The definition includes the term being defined as a part of the definition– “The near absence of the Holy Spirit. I will say more, shortcomings which incur the cristomonismo theological error, that is, Christ alone counts. It would appear that the term “cristiomonismo” means “Christ alone counts”. Therefore, a restatement of this sentence would be as follows: “I will say more, shortcomings which incur the “Christ alone counts” theological error, that is, Christ alone counts”.

Conflicting Conditions The definition is self-contradictory – “The near absence of the Holy Spirit. I will say more, shortcomings which incurs the cristomonismo theological error, that is, Christ alone counts.” If Christ alone counts, then by definition there can be no “near absence”. There has to be total absence.

Forty One identified in total!

Leaves one to wonder what was being taught at those Franciscan seminaries in Brazil in the early 1960’s.

Summa Summarum

The reason that we went through this rather lengthy exercise is to demonstrate the “quality” of the arguments of the typical neo-modernist. The danger of using arguments littered with logical fallacies is that it consigns those arguments to the category of speech that is defined as gibberish. Once again, the definition of gibberish is:

Gibberish or gobbledygook refer to speech or other use of language that is nonsense, or that appears to be nonsense. It may include speech sounds that are not actual words, or forms such as language games or highly specialized jargon that seems non-sensical to outsiders. Gibberish should not be confused with literary nonsense such as that used in the poem “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll.

The word gibberish is more commonly applied to speech, while gobbledygook (sometimes gobbledegook, gobbledigook or gobbledegoo) is more often applied to writing. “Officialese”, “legalese”, or “bureaucratese” are forms of gobbledygook. The related word jibber-jabber refers to rapid talk that is difficult to understand.

And it is this non-sensical language that demonstrates the non-sensical underlying philosophy or the lack there of, that manifests itself in what the Vocogno Community observed in its newsletter (see here) :

The popular neo-modernism of today (of a very low level) has introduced this gap, and for this many say that it is important [just] to live well; it doesn’t matter how or what you believe and doctrine isn’t so important. In the life of the Church today, there is a disdain for Doctrine, which favors [personal] experience of faith: but how can you have a real experience of God, if, disdaining Doctrine it is reduced to living “religious things” unmoored from God’s Revelation?

You can “un-moor” God’s Revelation from Doctrine, but only if your religion is similar to that of the gentlemen pictured at the beginning of this post. But I digress…

And this above observation lies at the root of the underlying cause of what John Lamont described in his essay:

The key to the neomodernist capture of power is however also the reason for their failure to sustain a religious culture. Neomodernism is not like Protestantism, which contains ideas with a positive content as well as being a rejection of Catholicism. These ideas – justification by faith, and the like – are not correct, but they say something substantial, and have an appeal that can give rise to an important movement. Neomodernism, however, on a religious level is a purely negative thesis. As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world.

Which brings me to conclude the following. The fascination that Bergoglio and the neo-modernists have with evangelical Pentecostalism is likely grounded in the fact that since their neo-modernist theology is a purely negative thesis, with no attractive force of its own, and the adaptation of this negative theology is causing the death of their ecclesiastical structure, they are probably being attracted to the evangelical Pentecostalism due to its “positive” i.e. “attractivistic contents”. (There really is such a word.) These Pentecostal ideas are not correct, but at least they say something substantial. Or in the worst case scenario, Pentecostalism says something more substantial than neo-modernism.

From the Lamont essay, it would appear that some substance is better than no substance.

Especially if it helps you and your friends keep your day jobs.

Besides, being a neo- holy man beats flipping burgers at the local Mickey D’s!

Just ask Leonardo Boff.