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Today being Friday, I have decided to compile some of the subject matter covered in posts from the last few days, into one comprehensive whole. And provide you with some weekend reading to boot. I will also frame it in terms of the LEX ARMATICUS. This will provide for my new readers not only an explanation of what is the LEX ARMATICUS, but also provide some insights into its functionality, its uses and its implications. Therefore, one can consider the below as an instruction manual for both INSTITUTIONAL (hint: to my clerical readers) and personal use.
So let’s get cracking.
The genesis of this post is a comment that appeared under my post titled Raging, Raging Against The Coming Of The Light (see here) from a reader, one Dan Krischke. This is what Dan wrote:
I am sometimes totally distressed by the condition of the Church in these days. Then, I read an article like this and it makes things better. It has been a disaster the last 50 years and I embrace the thought of Traditional worship coming back into practice. Peace and God bless.
First of all, thanks Dan.
And if it’s any comfort, your not alone!
Next, the reason that I am bringing this comment to your attention is that, no doubt, many of you are thinking the same thing. Or to frame this thought in a slightly different manner, some, if not most of you are asking yourselves, why do this Armaticus guy’s posts come across so gosh darned optimistic?
Is it REALITY based, or just wishful thinking on his part?
To obtain a proper answer to the above two questions, it is critical to understand the LEX ARMATICUS. What the LEX ARMATICUS is, is a tool that your humble blogger has devised in order to provide PROPER CONTEXT to any given information or situation. And as we all are no doubt aware, CONTEXT is key to understanding most everything.
If one wanted to drill down into its origin, the LEX ARMATICUS is nothing more than a pithy and clever, if I may say so myself, restatement of Natural Law. Therefore, the implication of using the LEX ARMATICUS as a FILTER for information that one comes into contact with, is that the user will always view that information as it relates to the Natural Law. And by being able to define this PROPER CONTEXT for any piece of information, the user not only gains an understanding of the PROPER meaning of that information, but also gains the ability to draw the PROPER inferences and provide a PROPER response if need be.
So that’s the theory. Now let’s do a practical application exercise.
The first principle of the LEX ARMATICUS states the following:
Those individuals and institutions that comply to the et Invisibilium, will remain a part of the Visibisium Omnium. Those that do not, will be consigned to the trash heap of history.
And just to define the two main components of the 1st Principle:
Visibisium Omnium – all the material “things” that we can identify with our senses (touch, sight, feel, smell, taste)
et Invisibilium – all the non-material processes that regulate the visibilium omnium (e.g. the laws of physics – classical mechanics and quantum mechanics, laws of mathematics, rules of logic, etc.)
NB: With respect to the above, what we are in fact doing is merely making a secular or non-religious statement that explains a state that is “existing or TRUE at all times or in all places”, regardless of whether one acknowledges the existence of God or not. (Notice the potential of the OLD EVANGELIZATION?)
An example of just this was provided by your humble blogger in an earlier post titled Trump: On The Right Side Of History. (see here) In that post, we provided the following example:
When saving money for a childs college education, the physical money at the end of the process is the visibilium omnium, while the savings rate and the law of compound interest constitute the et invisibilium.
Please notice that what is important to understand is this: since the LEX ARMATICUS is UNIVERSAL (“existing or true at all times or in all places”,) it applies to all areas of human activities, not just those governed by the laws of mathematics or the physical sciences, but likewise to the observational (social) sciences as well. Therefore, it also applies to ALL areas of ecclesiastical law such as the area of moral theology. In other words, what we have in the LEX ARMATICUS is a comprehensive and exhaustive, not to mention interdisciplinary understanding of the mechanics of God’s creation.
Now that we have set out our “methodology”, let’s do a test case. Over at The Denzinger-Bergoglio website, a website operated by anonymous Spanish priests, the following post appeared yesterday titled: ‘The Church has never been better’: Is this madness or megalomania? (see here) (BTW, it is a must read)
In this post, the following OBJECTIVE observations appeared: (emphasis added)
The sufferings Holy Mother Church is currently enduring are shared by many Catholics. Many are concerned about the lack of religious and priestly vocations, the decline in the number of practicing Catholics around the world, and the generalized neglect of the Sacraments. The faithful see popular piety suppressed and the family recitation of the rosary considered a thing of the past, and they are shocked at the conduct of so many even Church authorities. They are aware that Catholics are being persecuted and slain in Muslim countries, and that the use of religious symbols and images and the very name of Jesus is being banned even in former Catholic nations.
Yet, Francis, the bishop of Rome sees things slightly different:
The Church is not falling to pieces. It has never been better. This is a wonderful moment for the Church, you just need to look at its history. There are saints that are recognized by non-Catholics as well as Catholics – I’m thinking of Mother Theresa – but many men and women perform acts of holiness every day and this gives us hope. Sanctity is stronger than scandal. (Meeting with the priests of the Diocese of Rome in Saint John Lateran, September 16, 2013)
Right off the bat, we see the anonymous Spanish priests use RATIONAL arguments to support their case. They point out 1) lack of vocations, 2) decline in the number of practicing Catholics worldwide, 3) general neglect of the Sacraments, as the three arguments that they use to support their case for the “sufferings Holy Mother Church is currently enduring” .
In turn, Francis, the bishop of Rome’s position is that ‘the Church has never been better’. He provides the following arguments: 1) you just need to look at its history, 2) saints that are recognized by non-Catholics as well as Catholics, and 3) many men and women perform acts of holiness every day. Off the top of my head, the term NON SEQUITUR comes to mind.
Now that we have identified our arguments of the respective parties, let us run it through the LEX ARMATICUS. The second principle of the LEX ARMATICUS is:
Even Neo-modernists need to eat.
What the second principle, in a rather pithy manner as mentioned earlier, drives at is that the that part of the et Invisibilium that is comprised of the laws of economics in general and the laws of accounting (mathematics) specifically, must be conformed to by ALL individuals and institutions, and that includes ecclesiastical institutions. This is due in turn to the fact that all humans have physiological needs, those that Abraham Maslow identified as the most basic of all needs in his hierarchy. (see here) Therefore, the statement above is nothing more than a TRUISM, but it is one that is often forgotten or worse, intentionally mischaracterized. Here I have in mind the “love of money” sophisms. (see here and here and here)
Therefore, let’s test the respective arguments as to whether they conform to the 2nd Principle. The table below sets out the case:
From the above, it is clear that Francis’ supporting arguments for his position that “the Church has never been better” do not address this fundamental prerequisite for any “individual or institution” that the 2nd Principle defines.
More to the point, regardless of whether one “looks at history”, acknowledges that “saints are recognized by non-Catholic”s, or acknowledges that “people perform individual acts of holiness”, one must admit that these three arguments do not bring in new nor bring back fallen-away Catholics into the pews. If those new or fallen away Catholics do not return to the pews, then the Church cannot operate under a “funding model” that the Church has historically operated under. In other words, no pew sitters, no collection plate income, no food on the clerics table, AND no contributions made pursuant to Canon 1271 of the Code of Canon Law (see here) for FRANCIS.
In other words, the PREMISES on which Francis, the bishop of Rome bases his ARGUMENTS do not support his CONCLUSION.
As to the ARGUMENTS of the anonymous Spanish priests writing for the Denzinger-Bergoglio, the opposite is the case. The “decline of vocations” has a direct impact on the number pew sitters to whom the Sacraments can be provided, the “decline in the number of practicing Catholics worldwide” has a direct impact on the amount of funds (alms) collected by the institution and the “general neglect of the Sacraments” also has a direct impact on the number of the Faithful that attend Church, not to mention the impact it has on the MISSION of the Catholic Church which is the salvation of souls. (see here)
Therefore, the PREMISES on which the Denzinger-Bergoglio priests base their ARGUMENTS do support their CONCLUSION.
Which brings us to the 3rd Principle or what we call the Fr. Schmidberger Principle, namely:
Every abnormal situation inherently tends toward normalization. This is due to the nature of the matter.
It is here that the CAUSALITY between the PREMISES and the CONCLUSION play themselves out. In our case, if the Church as an INSTITUTION is not in a position to attract or repopulate it’s Church pews with the Faithful, who in turn provide the direct funding to the INSTITUTION itself, that INSTITUTION will become insolvent and cease to exist.
With respect to the INSTITUTIONAL Church itself, it can be characterized as an organization with multiple… let’s call them “funding centers”. Among these are the dioceses and the religious orders. It is these “operational units” that are the “funding source” of the wider INSTITUTIONAL Church. And some of these “operational units” are financial basket cases while others are highly profitable. The highly profitable ones are expanding, while the unprofitable ones ones are burning through their cash reserves, trust funds, the proceeds from disposal of tangible assets and quickly becoming consigned to the trash-heap of history. And the profitable INSTITUTIONS are replacing the unprofitable or new INSTITUTIONS will arise to take their place.
Yes Virginia, NATURE abhors a vacuum.
It is this above described PROCESS, that is known as the Schmidberger Principle since it defines what constitutes normalcy (in our case: PROFITABILITY = NORMALCY) or THE NORMAL and it does so in an OBJECTIVE manner.
Concluding, what we see presented in the above text is a systematic methodology for assessing (discerning) the PROCESS through which the Catholic Church as an INSTITUTION is undergoing at present. What is also important to note is that the Catholic Church, as the oldest INSTITUTION in the history of man, and just like any other institution that has existed, is in existence, or will exist in the future, is continuously subjected to this PROCESS. The manner in which the INSTITUTION performs is subject to (dependent on) the competence of the individuals who are entrusted with that INSTITUTION care.
Therefore, what we can OBJECTIVELY observe, and INFER from the LEX ARMATICUS is this: the PERFORMANCE of any given INSTITUTION under the NORMALIZATION PROCESS™ that it is subject to at any given point in time is a DIRECT REFLECTION of the individuals entrusted with its care. The INSTITUTIONS that are managed by more competent individuals will prosper and continue to remain a part of the Visibilium Omnium, while those INSTITUTION that are managed by less competent individuals will eventually meet their fate and be consigned to that figurative or imaginative place where forgotten things or people go, i.e. the trash heap of history.
This NORMALIZATION PROCESS™ described above is usually presented as being driven by “market forces” in the secular world. Remember the “invisible hand”? But I digress… Yet as we have explained above, what it is in fact driven by is something much, much more profound. And that something is the NATURAL LAW’S INSISTENCE on NORMALCY.
So you see dear reader, it is our side that represents NORMALCY, with everything else that that entails.
So what’s there not to be optimist about?
PS If you got this far, have a nice weekend!