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So I take it all you dear readers seen this already.
Pretty stupid thing to say. Yes?
Here is one explanation for why this is stupid: (see here)
If “2+2” can equal “5” in the realm of theology, then it can also equal “9” and “catfish” and “π” and just about anything you want it to. More than a considered belief that there are exceptions to “the rules”, this is an irrational belief that “the rules” are essentially arbitrary and without objective, transcendent basis. And that is #arecipefordisaster.
Once more: is it stupid?
Of course it is. But Fr. Spadaro doesn’t appear to be stupid. Devious, underhanded, slippery, yes. Stupid? No.
So why did he write something this stupid?
Here is my take.
Two things to note. First is the overt, explicit reminder that the post-conciliar NUChurch is not like the old, hermeneutically continued, “medieval”, rational Church that Our Lord founded in Anno Domini 33. The signaling effect of this humble 20 alphabetic and 4 numeric character TWEET has a much deeper meaning. Drilling down into this meaning, one reaches the philosophical strata. If you dear reader recall, John Lamont in his seminal work Attacks on Thomism, appearing on the Rorate Caeli blog, explains this phenomenon: (emphasis added)
Another article of the postconciliar creed has to do with the character of the Thomism that was promoted by popes from Leo XIII to Pius XII. The substantive accusations made against this Thomism are that it unjustifiably limited theology to a particular philosophical system, that theology was forced to conform to it, and that it was not the true thought of St. Thomas
Hmmm…. That sounds familiar. (see here)
The reasons given for the neo-Modernist’s rejection of Thomism was because:
These claims play a subordinate role in the criticism of preconciliar Thomism, whose main thrust lies in accusations that Thomism was ‘abstract’, ‘rationalist’, ‘ahistorical’, ‘arid’, ‘frozen’, ‘immobile’, ‘obsessed’, ‘encouraging pure secularity’, ‘sclerotically hardened and furred theologically, spiritually and ecclesially’, ‘causing a rupture between theology and life’, a ‘wax mask’, a ‘straightjacket’ that ‘reduced theological speculation to sterility’.
Just like 2+2=4 is ‘abstract’, ‘rationalist’, ‘ahistorical’, ‘arid’, ‘frozen’, ….
Moving on, here is John Lamont’s take:
Thomism made an easy target for this propaganda, just because it is a highly developed philosophy. Any advanced field of study, such as philosophy, mathematics, or physics, can be convincingly portrayed as ‘arid’ and ‘rigid’. For most people’s tastes, this portrayal will often be true. Precise and rigorous subjects inevitably have arid components.
Because it deals with fundamental questions whose answers are true always and everywhere, philosophy will be ‘ahistorical’ and ‘immutable’. It will not meet the desires and expectations of individuals or societies, because these desires and expectations are never geared towards subtle and difficult concepts. It will meet their needs – if it is true. But a demonstration of philosophical truth is a feeble counter to propaganda.
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.
This is one thing that on the natural level permitted the survival of Thomism, despite the drastic measures taken to uproot it from the Church; unlike neomodernism, it has something positive and substantial to say. Moreover, what it has to say is actually true. This is in no way a guarantee of broad success, but it ensures the continued existence of Thomism in the small constituency of good scholars who are concerned with the truth and in a position to discover it.
And Mr. Lamont concludes this seminal essay with the following:
Whether it will expand much beyond this constituency in the future is unknown, but there is no doubt that its (Thomism) future shows more promise than that of neomodernism.
Well the good news is that Thomism is reasserting itself as the ONE TRUE PHILOSOPHICAL base for Catholicism once again. Its main promoters are the Society of St. Pius X (see here and here), its break away communities like the Fraternity of St. Peter, Institute of the Good Shepherd, etc., the
As for Fr. Spadaro’s tweet, what it signals is that the revolutionary soviet encamped on the 4th floor of the Domus Sanctae Marthae are not too happy with this development.
Now on to the second issue.
The second issue has to do with the numbers themselves. In Fr. Spadaro’s tweet, we observe a numerical example as opposed to a anecdotal example. Assuming that an anecdotal example would have been much easier to “get past the gullible” twitterati than a mathematical one, it needs to be inferred that it was the numeric characters themselves that were the main point of interest for Fr. Spadaro.
Furthermore, what we are no doubt observing here is an attempt at promoting the logical fallacy of the undistributed middle. For those who might have forgotten, the undistributed middle occurs when “two separate categories are said to be connected because they share a common property”. In Fr. Spadaro’s false construction, the undistributed middle is: Theology.
So how does this work, you may ask?
For the answer, we need to explain the undistributed middle fallacy in this instance. What is most likely at work is that Fr. Spadaro intended to imply that all of “theology” is outside of mathematical logic. Notice the phrasing:
IF: 2+2 in #Theology can make 5.
AND: Theology “has to do with God”
THEN: Everything having to do with “theology” is outside of the laws of mathematics.
In other words, “theology” is outside the natural order and the Natural Law itself, by inference.
This is what on this blog is known as the “theological ghetto”.
Back to Lamont. What we are in fact seeing is a restatement of the neo-Modernist rejection of Aristotelian Truth, namely:
… reviving the philosopher Maurice Blondel’s rejection of the traditional definition of truth as bringing the mind into conformity with reality (‘adaequatio rei et intellectus’) in favour of an account of truth as bringing thought into line with life (‘adaequatio realis mentis et vitae’).
And since we have come to the point of “into line with LIFE”, a sine qua non of any neo-Modernist ideology, here is the last part of Fr. Spadaro’s tweet:
“Because it has to do with God and the real life of people.”
What Fr. Spadaro is in fact doing is restating the neo-Modernist base ideology with his 125 character tweet, and it is as follows:
What they (neo-Modernists) did explicitly assert was that the truth of past dogmatic pronouncements does not consist in their being an accurate description of reality, and that a theology that was not relevant to the present day (‘actuel’) was untrue.
So now we can go on to the numbers and the undistributed middle fallacy.
The implication that Fr. Spadaro wants to leave in the public domain is that since Theology is about God and 2+2 can make 5 in Theology, therefore you cannot OBJECTIVELY MEASURE anything having to do with Theology since is comes from God. And only that “theology” that is “relevant to the present day”, that comes from God – who can make 2+2=5 “is true”.
Which leave one question to be asked and that is this:
what other area of “theology” presently is presently considered ripe for measurement?
Could it be something to do with the seminaries?
Why seminaries you ask dear reader?
Well it just so happens that it is the state of the seminaries that will be the key to the next conclave. According to our “signaling agent” Andrea Gagliarducci at the MondayVatican blog, this is the information that he has received. In a recent post, titled Seminaries: Key To The Next Conclave, we can read the following:
What will be the leading themes of the next Conclave? This question has been circulating for some time in Rome, …
And then we go on to read:
All of those involved in these conversations give a unanimous response: the next election will be about the seminaries.
So far so good.
The future of the Church is being played out in the field of priestly formation. Vocations, the way that local bishops will manage them, the education of priests and the way this education influences their work with the flock will all be crucial. But also crucial will be the number of seminarians in the future, as proof of how many vocations the new emphasis on pastoral care is able to produce.
Yet in the same article, we read the following:
Pope Francis employed this approach in Buenos Aires, and the figures of the seminary show that vocations did not benefit from it. (Here is a more detailed post about Bergoglio’s time in Buenos Aires.)
Concluding, the decision maker class behind the Sacred Vatican Walls are planning an agenda for the future pontificate. They need to do this since they sense that this one is in its twilight.
No matter how many qualifiers appear which attempt to defuse this observation, this is the objective reality behind the Sacred Vatican Walls.
If we assume that this information comes from Andre Gagliarducci’s sources, which we must, and that he put a passage into his post of this nature, a passage highly critical of a sitting pontiff, it would mean that this sources are not to worried about this information getting out into to public domain.
On the other hand, Francis and his revolutionary soviet are sensing that numbers do in fact count. Therefore, they are going to the tried and tested neo-Modernist well of logical fallacies and faulty syntax to try and remind everyone that there is no such thing as OBJECTIVE TRUTH. And even if there is, it doesn’t matter since the only thing that matters is “accompaniment”.
Which leaves the following question open: will the College of Cardinals and other prelates in positions of decision making authority buy it again.
But just in case, Fr. Spadaro want’s to let everyone know that 2+2 is still equal to 5 on the 4th Floor of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.