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In our previous posts, we examined two independent examples in two different and very diverse disciplines, i.e. economics and theology, of what can be termed pathological (being to such a degree that is extreme, excessive, or markedly abnormal) behaviour. This pathological behavior was observed on an institutional level, the results of which were the disintegration of the institutions that
implemented succumbed to this pathology. Or to quote John Lamont in the case of the ecclesiastical structures that succumbed to this pathological behavior: (see here)
“As a result it (Ed. note: neo-modernist pathology) 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.”
In the previous post, we illustrated how the collapse of the western part of the Roman Empire was brought about in large part by faulty “monetary policies” (currency devaluation) implemented by a long line of Roman emperors. (see here) On the other hand, we explained how the collapse of the post-conciliar church was brought about primarily through the suppression of the (positivistic) rational philosophical basis that Thomism provided (see here), as per John Lamont essay.
The manner in which these two above described events from different and very diverse disciplines are related, is through what we can call our Visibisium Omnium, et Invisibilium Maxim, which could be defined as:
those institutions who comply with the et Invisibilium, will remain part of the Visibisium Omnium.
And naturally, those that do not, will wither away and become part of what Leon Trotsky termed the “trash heap of history”. In other words, “a figurative or imaginative place where forgotten things or people go”, as per the Collins Dictionary. Or if you dear reader prefer a “fuller” (see here -same goes for “partial communion” sports fans) definition: (see here)
The ash heap of history (or often garbage heap of history or dustbin of history) is a figurative place to where objects such as persons, events, artifacts, ideologies, etc. are relegated when they are forgotten or marginalized in history.
So today, we do a short history lesson to help tie all the above together and it is with definitions where we begin.
What I think is the proper starting place for this post is to define several key concepts. First is the concept of what is “philosophy”. Philosophy is nothing more than “the science of acquiring knowledge”. The second concept that needs to be defined is “theology”. Theology is defined as the “critical study of concepts of God and of the nature of religious ideas“.
The manner in which “philosophy” and “theology” interact, in a theological sense is through the part of our Faith that comes from: known through “natural light of human reason from the things that are made”. In other words, using a “philosophical method”, we acquire insights, through our God given ability to reason, as to the nature of man, and more importantly, to the nature of God. And once again, this conforms to the understanding that one of the reasons why God created man, was “for man to know Him” as per the Baltimore Catechism. (see here)
As to the “philosophical method” used to acquire this knowledge, this method is definitely part of the et Invisibilium. When looking through Catholic Church history, one can trace back to the early Patristic era and identify the source of this “philosophical method”. Here is how the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia describes this development: (see here)
In general, that (Patristic) era inclined to Platonism and underestimated the importance of Aristotle. The Fathers strove to construct on Platonic principles a system of Christian philosophy. They brought reason to the aid of Revelation.
And the reason why the Patristic fathers needed to bring “reason to the aid of Revelation” was:
Christian thinkers, from the beginning, were confronted with the question: How are we to reconcile reason with revelation, science with faith, philosophy with theology?
In other words, from the very beginning of Christianity, the earliest of Christians were cognizant of the fact that God does not “function” outside of His creation. In other words, they understood the false premise of “sola Scriptura”. And if they did not come to this understanding on their own, they were no doubt forced to come to this understanding. Here is why:
The first apologists possessed no philosophy of their own. They had to deal with a pagan world proud of its literature and its philosophy, ready at any moment to flaunt its inheritance of wisdom in the face of ignorant Christians.
Or to put it another way, they had a problem with their “new” evangelization efforts. Ring a bell? But I digress… However, they overcame this hurdle, with the help of the Holy Ghost no doubt, in the following manner:
The apologists met the situation by a theory that was as audacious as it must have been disconcerting to the pagans. They advanced the explanation that all the wisdom of Plato and the other Greeks was due to the inspiration of the Logos; that it was God’s truth, and, therefore, could not be in contradiction with the supernatural revelation contained in the Gospels. It was a hypothesis calculated not only to silence a pagan opponent, but also to work constructively.
And it was centuries of this “constructive work”, i.e. getting to “know God”, four centuries to be exact that gave rise to a comprehensive “philosophical methodology” of Scholasticism. Here is how Scholasticism developed from a Platonist methodology:
With the Carolingian revival of learning in the ninth century began a period of educational activity which resulted in a new phase of Christian thought known as Scholasticism.
The essence of the Scholastic movement are as follows:
Nevertheless they inaugurated the Scholastic movement because they endeavoured to bring the Patristic (principally the Augustinian) tradition into touch with the new life of European Christianity. They did not abandon Platonism. They knew little of Aristotle except as a logician. But by the emphasis they laid on dialectical reasoning, they gave a new direction to Christian tradition in philosophy. In the curriculum of the schools in which they taught, philosophy was represented by dialectic. On the textbooks of dialectic which they used they wrote commentaries and glosses, into which. Little by little, they admitted problems of psychology, metaphysics, cosmology, and ethics. So that the Scholastic movement as a whole may be said to have sprung from the discussions of the dialecticians.
And here, dialectic in used in the Platonist sense and means: “the debating process for reconciliation of contradiction in beliefs”.
Concluding, what we see from the above text is that through, no doubt the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church from its earliest days established a “philosophical methodology” in order to understand one of the sources of the Catholic Faith, i.e. that obtained from Revelation, through the second source of the Catholic Faith, i.e. through the “natural light of human reason from the things that are made”.
Furthermore, we can observe that the Catholic Faith allowed its adherents to acquire knowledge of God and His creation in a comprehensive and integral manner. Due to the comprehensiveness of our Catholic Faith, the methodology of the acquisition of knowledge that became known as Scholasticism spread into other academic disciplines and allowed for their individual development. Yet the integrationist characteristics allowed the Catholic Faith to develop in tandem with the general acquisition of knowledge. For it is this continuous reconciliation of reason with revelation, of science with faith and of philosophy with theology, SUBJECT TO that source of our Faith that comes from divine Revelation, that allowed the Catholic Faith, and the Church as an Institution to grow organically for the past 20 centuries.
And one final point. This “philosophical methodology” that underlies our Faith, forces His creation to work within the framework that He created. It is the products of this “philosophical methodology”, developed over 19 centuries that one “encounters” when reading a papal encyclical such as St. Pope Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis.
To be more specific, when one reads the following passage on Vital Immanence: (see here)
For the Modernist Believer, […] it is an established and certain fact that the Divine Reality does really exist in itself and quite independently of the person who believes in it. If you ask on what foundation this assertion of the Believer rests, they answer: in the experience of the individual. On this head the Modernists differ from the Rationalists only to fall into the opinion of the Protestants and pseudo-mystics. This is their manner of putting the question: In the religious sentiment one must recognize a kind of intuition of the heart which puts man in immediate contact with the very reality of God, and infuses such a persuasion of God’s existence and His action both within and without man as to excel greatly any scientific conviction. They assert, therefore, the existence of a real experience, and one of a kind that surpasses all rational experience. If this experience is denied by some, like the rationalists, it arises from the fact that such persons are unwilling to put themselves in the moral state which is necessary to produce it. It is this experience which, when a person acquires it, makes him properly and truly a believer. (Pascendi, §14)
… what one is reading is not only text per se, but rather text that represents 19 centuries of “constructive work” by the Institutional Church, work carried out with the aim to “know Him”.
And the proof of the probity of the Scholastic “philosophical methodology” and the Catholic Faith which through it developed organically, is the fact that the Catholic Church is the oldest institution on the face of this earth. In other words, it definitely adhered to the Visibisium Omnium, et Invisibilium Maxim:
those institutions who comply with the et Invisibilium, will remain part of the Visibisium Omnium.
Allow me to elevate the above maxim to the status of a “law” and term it the Lex Armaticus.
And the first principle of the Lex Armaticus is that those individuals and institutions that comply to the et Invisibilium, will remain a part of the Visibisium Omnium.
And those that do not, will be consigned to the trash heap of history.
Like the two pseudo-mystic holy men pictured above!