“near-universal sociopathy”

DrBill writes

Generalized, near-universal sociopathy is the background condition of modernity. You can’t fuck 10 different people without breaking your ability to pair-bond. You can’t move from one neighborhood to another 10 times without breaking your ability to community-bond. The freakishness of modernity can’t be overstated. Everyone is a sociopath.

I myself am not making any effort to really integrate into my town while I don’t have tenure, which is rational, just like not getting attached to one’s one-night flings.  I’d say that I don’t enjoy community-hopping, that I’m just doing it for the money, but this would not make the analogy more flattering.

People talk a lot about the morality of receiving immigrants (that is, the duties of the hosts) but very little about the morality of immigration itself (the duties of would-be immigrants).  Is it ever immoral to break ties and go from one place to another–immoral, that is, simply because of the breaking of communal ties and not because of some accidental consequence?  It’s funny that patriotism is a duty, and yet there’s nothing wrong with switching one’s nationality.  National loyalty is a lot like modern marriage, which frowns on adultery but not divorce.  What about the city that raised us?  What duties do we have to it?

113 Responses

  1. His comment really struck me too. Particularly the first part about sex.

    I remembered this Auster post:

    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/021333.html

    Isn’t a sociopath a person who “doesn’t feel the pull of transcendent social norms” or lacks “willingness to affirm objective moral principles?”

    I read somewhere that sociopathy is believed to have more of an environmental cause whereas psychopathy is more of an innate characteristic.

  2. A sociopath stands out as a bad man only when there is a background of normal, well-socialized people living under the discipline of the nomos. When the nomos decays, the sociopath is absorbed into the general run of anomic individuals. One can’t ignore rules that don’t exist! A sociopath in our (anti)culture is like a deaf man in a vacuum.

    Breaking communal ties is only wrong when there are communal ties to break. Otherwise, we Catholics can call it an annulment of communal ties. There was never a valid community.

    As you say, social obligation is nowadays a one-way street. Hardly a day passes without someone telling me that I owe something to someone or other. I wonder how I fell so deeply into social debt, and why it is no one apparently owes a thing to me.

  3. Hey! Your house looks a lot nicer than mine. I’m going walk away from mine and move in with you. I’m sick of mowing the lawn and dealing with the mother-in-law.

  4. The desire for radical autonomy is the modern affliction. And there is only one particular antidote. But if the most intelligent white Christians will not take the leap then none will. Total self-annihilation is then inevitable.

  5. I think our public moralizers are wrong about our duty to immigrants. Simple charity, to them, requires that we block, beat, expel, imprison, and otherwise dissuade them from coming here. It’s not good for your soul to live here. Surely, it is better for your soul to live in a hut in Guatemala.

    The fact that we are addicted, lost does not magically absolve us of the duty to protect them from us. The fact that we are addicted, lost does not mean that we are incapable of protecting them—vulnerability to one sin is a different thing from vulnerability to a different sin.

    It *looks* nice here. It often *feels* nice here. Pretty, delicious-smelling pitcher plant.

    “Hypocrisy” is the homage vice pays to virtue, after all, and paying homage to virtue is mandatory, is it not?

    Bad, bad things happen to immigrants. And their children. Mostly their children.

    The very fact that they call us their worst names when we object to immigration should make us suspect the evil one is well-pleased by it.

  6. This is something to think deeply about. It appears that a caveat must be made regarding community hopping however. A lot of the time, for me personally, and it appears for you, community hopping is necessary economically and professionally. I don’t mean a preference, I mean the plant, office, etc. has closed down and you can’t find work. If your community can’t sustain you economically, you have no duty to starve there.

  7. I agree. There is this strong analogy between divorce and leaving one’s own neighborhood/city/country. I’m inclined to say it IS immoral without a good reason. You have a duty to stick with your own in general, a duty that can be overridden by stronger duties, say, to preserve one’s family. Loyalty to one’s own kind, whether at the level of race, or city, or whatever.

    Or maybe that duty is contingent on those natural communal bonds which one OUGHT to form, if he can. But to the extent that they can’t be formed, loyalty demands less. Though marriage does not operate this this way at all.

    This kind of thinking would be more obvious except that the normal social bonds at those levels, in between family and distant sovereign government, have been eroded so severely already by liberal pathology. So there’s pathology coming and going. Everyone is a sociopath, at every level of society.

  8. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

    Marriage is just as natural as the village, and the society, and any level in between. Each rises out of the other, depending on if you’re reading Aristotle or a Christian. Leo XIII pursued that line, saying that civil authority was established by God just as much as marriage. Somewhere in there is the foundation of this comparison.

  9. Nationality is defined by descent and birth, and it is neither revocable nor is it attainable at will – “We speak the same language, we bear about us the impress of consanguinity, we kneel beside the same tombs, we glory in the same tradition …”

    A man ma y change his citizenship but not his nationality. The term nationality does not refer to citizenship and legal status, but to ethnic characteristics that are transmitted through descent. Underlying this is the assumption that the nation is a a unit of common descent and blood and not of voluntary adherence and of association.

  10. community hopping is necessary economically and professionally.

    Of course. But it didn’t used to be that way. It’s been that way for less than a century. It was the other way for millions of years. It was the other way when we were just slightly smart apes. And the claim that the current situation “just happened,” as if by the operation of physical laws, isn’t something you have to just believe. You’re allowed to doubt its truth.

    To doubt its truth is to disbelieve its truth. The people who engineered the system we live under have never been especially shy about what they are doing. “Mobility,” “labor market flexibility,” and “integration” are preferred euphemisms for destroying communities. Nobody hides their love of these things.

    There was this guy, Tim, who used to hang out at various traditionalist Catholic boards. Fisheaters for example. He was probably my favorite poster in those online communities. He was not especially intellectual and probably was not especially bright. However, he was old enough that he had direct, adult experiences with actual, living Catholic communities, specifically one of the residual rust-belt urban neighborhoods still in existence in the 60s. His contributions to those online communities was mostly to talk about this and to provide an example of what a person socialized in this way is like. His recent death was pretty upsetting for me, though I never met the guy.

    For random, uninteresting reasons, I came recently across the existence of this mutual savings bank (remember those?) in Johnstown, PA. Think about a world in which you could open such an institution.

  11. Never is too strong. They haven’t been shy for a couple of centuries.

  12. Here’s another random fact from DrBill’s life. I have reason to know something about the student body at West Virginia’s pharmacy school. Many very high ability West Virginians want to be pharmacists (and also primary care doctors). They want this because these two professions afford them the opportunity to make use of their intellectual talents, make some money, and do it in the county of their birth. Much of West Virginia still has communities, and people don’t really want to leave them. Hollywood calls this “inbreeding,” naturally enough.

  13. “Simple charity, to them, requires that we block, beat, expel, imprison, and otherwise dissuade them from coming here. It’s not good for your soul to live here.”

    Dr. Bill seems to be describing the idea that what happens to the soul is more important than what happens to the body. Modern people don’t think this way because they don’t actually believe Christianity. It’s hard for us to understand things that Christians centuries ago did because they were actual believers.

  14. Yes. Make that perspective shift, and it is amazing how different the world looks.

  15. What’s the real definition of “home?” Do not Christians desire a free will that transcends the radical liberation of the masses? Does this mean maintain “home” or make new “home?” Shouldn’t Americans IN America be able to “community-hop” AND NOT be a facilitator in community destruction? The “system” desires radical autonomy and so do the enemies of Christians. One cannot beat this desire. He can only mercilessly reject it, submit it and subordinate it. He cannot beat “it.” And maybe, just maybe, he may transcend this desire?

  16. “What good is it for a man to gain the world but forfeit his soul?”

    America is that “good”. A nation of sociopaths.

  17. DrBill, I like your perspective on immigration. But the kind of people coming here are the kind of people that are rootless and want their share of shekels.

    In my darker moments I imagine God is allowing all the pure material mammon worshippers of the world to collect here, upon which He will nuke it from orbit.

  18. Bonald: Boris Mouravieff addresses this issue (the transition from the man of faith (the knight) to the technocrat (the man of ideas/manager) in his work on Gnosis, particularly Part I. It is part of the rotation of the worlds of philosophy (ancient), religion (medieval), science (modern), and art (the future), addressed in esoteric study. Each era has had a science of dominance. The new elite (the new men) who are coming will be as superior to the managerial class as the third estate was to the Knight (keep in mind that I use superior in the sense you are using it, not as an absolute term: the “Knight” is still relevant in this era, but has a very different role). The task of the knight in this era is still very specific and very real, and in many senses, easier and more important than “those who are first”.

  19. Note: my reply was meant for a different article on a related thread. Bonald has raised interesting points which are existential in origin: why is that the Leftists so consistently win, and why are they dominant in a manner of speaking (and also, so obviously repugnant)? Moldbug did some posts on this. I wrote an article about it here:
    http://www.gornahoor.net/?p=8208
    (I only contributed, in the past, to this site).
    It is clear that “knights” in our time were laughed away by Cervantes and blown away with gunpowder and all else included (Napalm abroad, orgasm at home, as George Parkin Grant once characterized it). However, a “knight” is still a knight, and can’t change his nature, or deny his calling. He still has a role to play. In a world gone mad, the knight has known all along, from the beginning, the depths of wickedness to which it is subjected, and that is a quality which may serve him well in the coming period, in which spiritual gifts will become pre-eminent. A knight more easily knows his own weaknesses, and in and of himself, has less imbalance (since Reason more properly belongs to the Knight’s heart than does Faith to the heart of the modern man).

  20. Dr. Bill, are you a professor?

  21. @Svar. Yes. I am an economist.

    You know how you get to be an economist? You fail the personality test to be an accountant. Buh, dum, bum. I’m funnier if I’m assigning your grade at the end of the semester. 🙂

  22. In my darker moments I imagine God is allowing all the pure material mammon worshippers of the world to collect here, upon which He will nuke it from orbit.

  23. “Yes. I am an economist.
    You know how you get to be an economist? You fail the personality test to be an accountant. Buh, dum, bum. I’m funnier if I’m assigning your grade at the end of the semester. :)”

    Ha. I wonder if I know you. I know that you are in the same area as me (you mentioned your parish being headed by Bishop Olsen).

  24. Anything is possible. Should I sometime come to the attention of the SJWs, I’m sure I’ll be doxxed. Until then, I’ll continue in my cowardly ways. Got children to feed and all that.

    Bishop Olson. Ugh. My current pastor, inspired by the Pope’s visit, is really loosening up these past couple of weeks. We’re getting full bore “the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that it is the One True Church any more” and “Marriage is permanent, but divorced and remarried Catholics are examples of heroic faith” type sermons one after another. Awesome.

  25. “Anything is possible. Should I sometime come to the attention of the SJWs, I’m sure I’ll be doxxed. Until then, I’ll continue in my cowardly ways. Got children to feed and all that.”

    Well, there is a reason why I am trying to be as vague as possible. I’m just basking in the fact that I am not alone, I have a fellow “hater” in my area if not my school.

    Oh, I’m just as “cowardly”. I’m just a kid, need to build a life without having it torn down via doxxing.

    “Bishop Olson. Ugh. My current pastor, inspired by the Pope’s visit, is really loosening up these past couple of weeks. We’re getting full bore “the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that it is the One True Church any more” and “Marriage is permanent, but divorced and remarried Catholics are examples of heroic faith” type sermons one after another. Awesome.”

    LOL, I can agree with the RCC not be the One True Church anymore, Pope Francis proved it to me in these last few years. SSPX, Eastern Rite Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy seem to be more on the mark, the former two especially so, since they are Catholic.

    Do you get aggravated by the effeminate fangirling for Pope Francis you see amongst allegedly “conservative” Catholics? I have never seen such a Cult of Personality before, it’s like “Oh he’s the Pope, he can never be wrong”.

    I might be a bit of a heretic myself, don’t believe in Papal Infallibility anymore.

  26. Yes, the effeminateness generally of the Churchmen and their more enthusiastic followers really grates on me. Bishop Olson, for example. What kind of a freak would feel inspired to follow that guy? I don’t think I’d want to follow him to lunch. Well, except the women. They’re not feminine at all.

    It’s maddening. It’s like they hired a PR firm back in the sixties to design a religion which would appeal exclusively to dimwitted, female lawyers and the beta orbiters who orbit them.

    Yes, son, you should stay a Catholic your whole life. You see, it’s the One True Church, the Church for which the martyrs died, the Church of your ancestors, the Church outside of which none at all are saved. But, Dad, Father says the exact opposite every week. Yeah, well, he’s full of it.

    Kind of sucks. Eventually, they will notice that they can either go on believing me or they can believe what literally almost everyone else in the world is telling them. It seems kind of unlikely that it’s me who is right, right? And nobody with functioning balls would want to be a member of the church Bp Olson envisions.

  27. Well wouldn’t Francis destroying marriage through pastoral practice (“mercy”) rather than changing dogma with the stroke of a pen make you more confident in papal infallibility?

  28. “Yes, the effeminateness generally of the Churchmen and their more enthusiastic followers really grates on me. Bishop Olson, for example. What kind of a freak would feel inspired to follow that guy? I don’t think I’d want to follow him to lunch. Well, except the women. They’re not feminine at all.”

    What kind of a freak? Ha! It’s unbearable. I feel like I’m the only guy at my local Catholic community who can see that the Emperor has no clothes. Even my youth pastor has a little bit of the poz going on, always posting HuffPost articles on his FB feed. But what can you say, these are Conservative Catholics, you guiyth…

    I’d say the young Catholic women I know are fairly feminine in that they want marriage and babies but some of the ridiculous stuff they say….. I feel like I am constantly being lectured by schoolmarms for being both unPC and falling to temptation (we all have our struggles, but I mean we can atleast be men about it).

    “It’s maddening. It’s like they hired a PR firm back in the sixties to design a religion which would appeal exclusively to dimwitted, female lawyers and the beta orbiters who orbit them.”

    Well, we know what Fr. Florian Abrahamowicz and the men of the SSPX think and maybe they are right.

    “Yes, son, you should stay a Catholic your whole life. You see, it’s the One True Church, the Church for which the martyrs died, the Church of your ancestors, the Church outside of which none at all are saved. But, Dad, Father says the exact opposite every week. Yeah, well, he’s full of it.”

    Yeah…. I wasn’t raised in the Church and I feel that is part of what allowed me to not become neutered within it. I’ve told Terry Morris that if I have sons, I would want to keep them away from Church until they grew up first so that they don’t turn into effete little gelds but I don’t know.

    Might just take them to an SSPX parish instead.

    “Kind of sucks. Eventually, they will notice that they can either go on believing me or they can believe what literally almost everyone else in the world is telling them. It seems kind of unlikely that it’s me who is right, right? And nobody with functioning balls would want to be a member of the church Bp Olson envisions.”

    I’ve met Olson a few times, didn’t really talk to him but I have an obsequious friend who fangirls for him as well. I mean, I realtalk Pope Francis and his connection with Daneels and Kasper to him but he is deadset on Pope Francis being the Best Thing Ever.

    What is wrong with Bishop Olson?. I ask this because I don’t know, not because I disagree. Never had an extended interaction with him. What is the Church that he envisions?

  29. “Well wouldn’t Francis destroying marriage through pastoral practice (“mercy”) rather than changing dogma with the stroke of a pen make you more confident in papal infallibility?”

    Hahaha!! Pope Francis is like what Lennon would have been if he decided to shave and become a Catholic. And not get shot.

    Bertoglio’s theological/social views makes me understand what the SSPX were going on and on about and his views on nation, immigration, and alleged refugees makes me understand what the Eastern Orthodox were going on about.

    I hate the situation we are in. Not even the Church is a refuge from the world and the world has become absolute hell.

    Btw, the SSPX were right about the clergy abuse scandals, it’s all of the queers in the seminary that led to such a horrible situation. I mean, let me put it this way: Fr. Coughlin, obviously not a boy toucher, real man’s man. Fr. Florian Abrahamowicz and Bishop Richard Williamson? Same thing.

    As for the priests we have now within the mainstream RCC? I can’t always help but wonder…

  30. The good news is that they’re not trying very hard to doxx people. It’s not really worth the effort. Ironically, your biggest danger of being exposed is if you piss off an unhinged fellow commenter on the Right. All the doxxing cases I know of have been the work of manosphere or white nationalist jackasses.

  31. “The good news is that they’re not trying very hard to doxx people. It’s not really worth the effort. Ironically, your biggest danger of being exposed is if you piss off an unhinged fellow commenter on the Right. All the doxxing cases I know of have been the work of manosphere or white nationalist jackasses.”

    Both yes and no. The SJWs actually dox normal frustrated folks who make “unfortunate” comments on facebook or youtube.

    But yeah, the Right is full of unsavory elements especially the WN movement and the Manosphere and I have seen doxxing going on in these situations.

  32. @DrBill

    Can’t you parish shop for a not-heretical parish?

    @Svar

    While your frustration at the rot filling much of the Church now is understandable, denying the Church’s dogmas is exactly what the devil wants you to do. While the SSPX may be free of the heresies going around much of the modern Church, they are in rebellion against the Church authorities, and the dangers of beckoning contemptful of authority are real, not to mention the lack of valid sacramental confession.

  33. […] strong article. Also, over on his own blog a brief note on “near-universal sociopathy”: “National loyalty is a lot like modern marriage, which frowns on adultery but not […]

  34. “not to mention the lack of valid sacramental confession.”
    Or valid marriage – Can 1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them…”

  35. ” not to mention the lack of valid sacramental confession”

    They have that now. They have validity for 6 of the 7. Just have an FSSP perform your marriage if you don’t buy the SSPX’s argument that they have a dispensation for performing marriages.

  36. “they are in rebellion against the Church authorities, and the dangers of beckoning contemptful of authority are real, not to mention the lack of valid sacramental confession.”

    Is not the Church hierarchy in stark rebellion against both God and Sacred Tradition? Why has Kasper or Daneels of the rest of the St. Gallen’s Mafia not been excommunicated while the SSPX has?

    Why was “Pope” Francis the first pick for this Cultural Marxist fifth column?:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/09/the-mystery-of-pope-francis-was-there-a-vatican-coup.php

    I mean, Bertoglio has allowed these men to come to the Synod on the Family: http://theweek.com/articles/581178/does-pope-francis-fear-god-synod-family-fracturing-catholic-church

    Blind adherence to authority is absolutely suicidal.

  37. @Bruce

    If you’re referring to the Pope’s special grant of faculties to them, that goes into effect this December, and lasts only for a year. They do not currently have faculties to hear confession, and they won’t next December.

    And of course, their baptisms, confirmations, and holy orders are illicit, albeit valid. One would endanger one’s soul by receiving them.

    And having one’s children catechized by the SSPX would lead them to be taught that rebellion against authority is ok.

  38. @AR

    Yes, I could. The nearest non-heretical parish is 50 min away. The one I go to is 10 min away (and is my geographical parish). Up until recently, the pastor was clearly a bad apple but tended to be very reserved about it. The parochial vicar is good, though. Also, my pastor could drop dead at any second. So, I’m not sure what I am going to do. Hopefully, he will either go back to being reserved or die soon.

    Perhaps unfortunately, we are pretty yuppified and have four children. This makes the 50 min trip very difficult to manage, what with ten different activities every weekend.

    My children are not enrolled in religious ed. This presents a problem, since the diocese won’t give them first Communion or Confirmation if they are not enrolled. This is maddening since religious ed is completely content-free at my geographical parish (I’m pretty sure) and mostly content-free at the non-heretical one. The non-heretical one has a home-study religious ed program which is excellent, though. Well, it’s excellent since my wife and I (mostly my wife) take going through the materials seriously. For the most recent child to go through this, we re-registered at the non-heretical parish, enrolled him in religious ed for the year, got him first Communion, and then went back to our geographical parish and took him back out of religious ed.

    Probably, we will keep muddling through this way.

    Hey, that was long and boring.

  39. Is your pastor appointed permanently or for six years? We recently lost the pastor at my parish (not heretical, but almost completely substance free, and with obvious liberal tendencies) due to the expiration of his term. The new one is much better.

    Is your bishop any good? If so, you might consider writing a letter if your pastor’s heresy is overt enough.

  40. Dr. Bill @ We navigated three children through First Communion by attending RE, but thereafter moved to home schooling on religion. Only one has passed through Confirmation, but for this participation in the Youth Group counted as well as RE. I expect Youth Group leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties of heresy, but ours happened to be pretty good.

  41. AR, is there any situation when rebellion against authority is okay within your eyes? Franco rebelled against the Spanish Republic, was that wrong?

  42. Svar:

    What is wrong with Bishop Olson?. I ask this because I don’t know, not because I disagree. Never had an extended interaction with him. What is the Church that he envisions?

    Uh. Here is a link. Be sure to watch the videos. You have to hunt in the text for the links since the windows in that post seem to be broken. It really is quite disturbing. Both his views and, well, him.

  43. @AR

    I don’t know what the rules are regarding pastoral terms in my diocese. I know there are a lot of pastors who have been where they are for longer than six years, so I assume there is not a term limit.

    His heresy is, I think, not overt enough to get him removed. He does not come out and say, explicitly, that the Catholic Church is not the One True Church. Rather, he makes a big production out of what priests did back in the bad old days. Why, “they” told people that the Catholic Church was the One True Church! “They” told people that the result of “remarriage” would be an eternity spent burning in Hell!! You see, no explicit denial of these truths. Just, not-quite-condemnation of “them,” the people who used to speak them out loud.

    Listening to him is like reading Chomsky. He does everything in his power to make you think that he is denying the Cambodian Genocide, indeed to make you think that every intelligent person denies the Cambodian Genocide, without ever quite stringing together the words “I deny the Cambodian Genocide.”

    Plus, he is a charming man whom everyone likes.

  44. A charming man in a position of power whom everyone likes and who is also incredibly evil? Why, he sounds like… a sociopath!

  45. @Svar

    There is an SSPX chapel near me which I do not attend. You can think the Pope is a buffoon without disobeying him. In fact, I would argue that obeying a buffoon who is giving you dumb orders is pretty much the test of obedience.

    You should read the pro and con arguments for the SSPX’s decision to disobey if you already haven’t. It’s hard not to sympathize with them, but I can’t go there.

  46. @Proph

    LOL

  47. “It’s hard not to sympathize with them, but I can’t go there”

    I’m not going to go there… yet. Let’s see the fruits of Pope Francis’s papacy. Hopefully he’ll be like the Obama of the RCC; the man who reveals to the rest of the world that the Emperor is naked.

  48. @ Dr Bill

    Just read the article, can’t see the videos for some reason. Just black squares where they should be.

    The fact that he was a Pope Francis appointee is all I need to know but more importantly, the Remnant actually verbalizes what I have observed but couldn’t really articulate: “conservative” Catholics have started taking up fruity, lefty quasi-Kasperite language.

    I have started to disparage conservatives, whether political or religious just as hard if not harder than liberals. These are the people who still think that we can reason with the Cultural Marxist Left and their constant compromising since the 50’s have lead us here.

    The conservative movement in the political front is nothing but a failed movement and religious conservatives are usually nothing but liberals minus abortion and same-sex marriage.

    Useless, the entire lot of them.

    ” In fact, I would argue that obeying a buffoon who is giving you dumb orders is pretty much the test of obedience.”

    I guess we disagree regarding whether our current Pope is a buffoon or a full fledged wrecker. Normally I would stick by the old Napoleonic saying and assume stupidity instead of malice but my gut says it is malice not stupidity.

    And even if it weren’t, are not the fruits of both the same?

    But I’ll stay within the Church. It’ll be interesting to see where this all goes. Sometimes the only thing you can be is nothing more than amused and detached.

  49. @Svar

    I think in a situation like that of a tyrannical regime directly attacking the fabric of society, yes a rebellion could be justified by Catholic political philosophy. But ecclesiastical authority is not subject to being overthrown in that way.

    @DrBill

    Ah, he’s one of those. I’ve been blessed never to have one of those types as a pastor, but I have heard homilies from them.

    Canon law provides that pastors are to be appointed permanently, but gives episcopal conferences the authority to permit bishops to appoint pastors for X years. In America, X=6, and so my diocese makes use of this and appoints them for six years. In principle I dislike the notion, because it makes the role of pastor less like that of Father, but it does have its benefits.

  50. AR, why not? I guess violence is not justified against the Church but I feel that it is well within reason to disregard the authority of a Kasper/Kasperite.

  51. Because in the case of overthrowing a political tyrant, there’s a clear test of who is the state at the end (who is in power). In the case of the Church, such an action would only lead to a bunch of antipopes.

  52. Ah, very, very true. I truly hate to say it, but I can be utilitarian at times, but the practical option is most definitely the one that really speaks to me.

  53. Cardinal Manning’s question is very much in point: “The first and final question to be asked of these controversialists is: Do you or do you not believe that there is a Divine Person teaching now, as in the beginning, with a divine, and therefore infallible voice ; and that the Church of this hour is the organ through which He speaks to the world?”

    When he was still an Anglican, Mgr Ronald Knox asked himself a simple question: “Why did those who anathematized Nestorius come to be regarded as “Catholics” rather than those who still accept his doctrines?” He realised that we do not have to concern ourselves with the theological arguments at all; the short answer is that the “Catholics” had the bishop of Rome in their party and the Nestorians did not.

    As he says, “if you ask a Catholic “What is the Catholic Faith? ” and are told it is that held by the Catholic Church; if you persevere, and ask what is the Catholic Church, you are no longer met with the irritatingly circular definition “the Church which holds the Catholic Faith“; you are told it is the Church which is in communion with the Bishop of Rome.”

    It is a real test, not a vicious circle and one that is is remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

  54. MSP,

    “and that the Church of this hour is the organ through which He speaks to the world?”

    A critic might answer that the Church speaks through its actions, not just through documents, “you will know them by their fruits”,etc. The Church now performs, I don’t know, hundreds of thousand, millions of divorces (that’s what they are) and calls it something else. It’s treated as something the Church does, a verb – “you gotta get your previous marriage annulled first.”

    A critic might answer Knox by saying “of course the bishop of the Empire’s capital was on the winning side.”

  55. @ Bruce

    So the condemned heresiarch himself – Nestorius, archbishop of Constantinople – was on the winning side at Ephesus I, the council that condemned him?..
    I must confess this reads somewhat odd.

  56. @Svar

    Yes, the embedded windows don’t work. You have to hunt through the text for the links. But, I’ll copy them here:

    http://www.americanreligious.org/2014/telecasts/arth-2267-ecclesiology-two-views

    http://www.americanreligious.org/2013/telecasts/arth-2239-is-there-a-hell-burning-forever

    http://www.americanreligious.org/2014/telecasts/arth-2261-salvation-and-the-church

    I agree regarding “conservatives,” both Catholic and political. They are more dangerous and more deserving of our bile than are “liberals.” They are worshipful servants of Mammon, determined, by fraud, to enlist the people who should be our soldiers in their army. It’s not even a close call who is more vile or who is the higher priority to defeat. (Not that we will be defeating anyone any time soon)

  57. @Svar

    Suppose that Bp Olson did what Card Mahony’s mini-me, Bp Brown, did. Suppose he told the faithful to ixnay with the eelingknay after the Agnus Dei. Now, Bp Brown is a real piece of work. However, if I were living in his diocese, I would obey this nasty order given by this awful man.

    Obedience means substituting somebody else’s judgement for yours. It means doing something you think is a bad idea just because some jerk says so. Obviously, it does not extend to orders to sin. But “don’t kneel after the Agnus Dei” isn’t an order to sin. It’s merely (in context) a very bad order.

  58. @ MSP

    The Church seems to be in the grasp of Satan now. The next few years will tell us whether or not it will be his to keep.

  59. > It’s treated as something the Church does, a verb – “you gotta get your previous marriage annulled first.”

    This is an important point. I see conservative Catholics writing like this all the time. The liberal says one should be able to remarry as soon as one divorces, and the conservative replies that one should “get an annulment first”, as if it were to be taken for granted that an unwanted marriage must be invalid or some pronouncement of the Church can make it so.

  60. Dr. Bill, taking a reasonable guess at your lat/long, I think you might have multiple Anglican Ordinariate parishes within driving distance. I don’t think the guy who’s your avatar would be offended since they submitted to Peter.

  61. I know I’m probably being naïve but I like to think conservatives (both types) mean well and are just ignorant whereas libs are thoroughly rotten. Stupid party vs. evil party.

  62. Georgy Mancz, good point and thank you for it.

    Bruce

  63. @ Dr Bill

    “I agree regarding “conservatives,” both Catholic and political. They are more dangerous and more deserving of our bile than are “liberals.” They are worshipful servants of Mammon, determined, by fraud, to enlist the people who should be our soldiers in their army. It’s not even a close call who is more vile or who is the higher priority to defeat. (Not that we will be defeating anyone any time soon)”

    Cuckservatives is the accurate term imo. But I absolutely agree. We could have annihilated the Left if it weren’t for these retards preventing us from doing so.

    Anyone who hasn’t realized by this point that the Left can not be reasoned (I used to think this was possible) and chooses to side with the Left while designating us as the Enemy, must be seen for what they are: quislings.

    @ Bruce

    “I know I’m probably being naïve but I like to think conservatives (both types) mean well and are just ignorant whereas libs are thoroughly rotten. Stupid party vs. evil party.”

    Well, Sam Francis was one hell of a thinker, but I believe both parties are trash and both political ideologies are trash. The Left wants to turn this country into a circus-style freak show will the Right wants to turn this country into a giant strip mall. To hell with both. The whole Stupid Party vs Evil Party doesn’t take into consideration that both parties actually form one party, with the Dem Party being the Inner Party and the Republican Party being the Outer Party. The purpose of both is to uphold the establishment which has done nothing but act against the Will of the Nation. Any Left-Wing Economic Populist movement will be subverted by the Dems and any Right Wing Social Populist movement will be subverted by the Republicans. In fact, Donald Trump gets my full support because I feel he will destroy the Republican Party and if you destroy one organ you’ll destroy the whole system.

    The conservative movement was compromised from the very begginning when it was born underneath the headship of that scoundrel Buckley. Buckley’s purge of the John Birch Society and subsequent purges of the Paleos and Sobran told me all I needed to know about that man and his alleged belief in “conservatism”.

    I wouldn’t so such contempt for the base itself if it weren’t for the fact that they are unthinking tools who would salivate at the chance to have us silenced.

    That being said, there is a large disaffected number of people who have decided enough is enough and alot of this makes up Trump’s base. And Trump is getting elements from the disaffected working class who normally would vote Dem (they were the cucks of the Dem party but they have decided no more) as well.

  64. Religious conservatives are the worst in my eyes. They are liberal through and through minus abortion and SSM (and barely, regarding SSM).

  65. @Svar,

    > We could have annihilated the Left if it weren’t for these retards preventing us from doing so.
    You may be a bit optimistic about “our” power relative to theirs.

    > The purpose of both is to uphold the establishment which has done nothing but act against the Will of the Nation.
    You may have a slightly optimistic impression of the Will of the Nation.

    I don’t understand this “conservatives are worse than liberals” line of thinking. Conservatives (meaning moderates) only exist because of liberalism, because they’re too scared to fight or don’t have sufficiently well understood principles to justify it to themselves. There’s no initiative in these people. It’s like the difference between Jews and Catholics. Jews push the culture to the Left; Catholics get swept along.

  66. I think conservatives are split between true-believers and too-scared-to-say-anything types with respect to any given issue.

  67. Bonald, Catholics were the greatest fighters against the Jew, the Church Fathers called out the “perfidious Jew” numerous times.

    This original element of the church has been forcibly removed by the Jews and their Leftist pets as well as by the conservatives who refused to take a stand. They are all in the same lot in my eyes.

    As for why I hate political conservatives, America had a great and interesting political situation in the Interwar Era with Long, Coughlin, Ford, Lindbergh and their ilk. Buckley and his cucks changed this by turning the GOP into the Outer Party.

    Ultimately you are right, it is the few that change the world, the masses just follow along. But the Conservativism Inc established will be just as damned as the Cultural Marxist, the Globalist, the Capitalist and the Jew if this country ever gets back into the right hands.

  68. DrBill,

    “You see, it’s the One True Church, the Church for which the martyrs died, the Church of your ancestors, the Church outside of which none at all are saved.”

    ” Why, “they” told people that the Catholic Church was the One True Church! “They” told people that the result of “remarriage” would be an eternity spent burning in Hell!! You see, no explicit denial of these truths. Just, not-quite-condemnation of “them,” the people who used to speak them out loud. ”

    Is this what genuine and doctrinally correct Catholics are supposed to believe? That none outside the Church will be saved and that remarried people will spend eternity in Hell?

    Do unbaptized babies also burn in Hell? I don´t mean to be snarky with those question, nor are they rethorical. I do want to know how well your statements reflect real Catholic doctrines.

    There is awfully little space for God´s mercy and love in those beliefs. The idea that God creates a world which have fallen to death and sin and despite, knowing that man have all the odds stacked against him, ruthlessly punishes him eternally (!) for failing in some way or other, is monstrous to me and I cannot see how it can breed anything but despair and nihilism.

  69. What’s so hard to believe about unrepentant adulterers burning in Hell? Did you think God created a third of the real estate of the afterlife just for Hitler?

  70. @AnteB

    I reckon you’re familiar with the now not-so-popular doctrine of limbo of the infants. Limbo is “damnation” in one sense, as its residents do not enjoy the beatific vision, but it is also a state of perfect natural happiness.
    Participation in the order of grace is not something God owes men, it’s not due to human nature (indicated by the fact that divine life is beyond the powers of mere human nature).
    It’s very important to grasp that God doesn’t -owe- any creature anything.
    Here the modern mind rises in rebellion.

    It can be said that, in a certain sense, He owes Himself, I guess, because God cannot contradict Himself (e.g. God wills that humans attain truth, and (at least because of that) cannot -lie- to them, though there’s no contradiction in allowing them to be deceived). Omniscience (that includes knowledge of a sinner’s guilt) and justice of God preclude the damnation of people who do not in fact deserve this punishment. God cannot punish unjustly. Unrepentant sinners
    -deserve- hell, and hell is exclusively populated by them.
    Your comment implies that God in fact errs in His judgements of the ‘guilty mind’ (including exculpating/mitigating circumstances): a proposition manifestly absurd given the truth of classical theism and Christianity. There’s no need to worry about unrealities.

    P.S.
    To Mr. Paterson-Seymour: yes, I’m a “two-ender”, and I respectfully implore you not to post your usual attack on the traditional Thomist view unless you want to enter a debate that I believe a combox would be unsuitable for.

  71. Bonald

    I know the sanctity of marriage is very important for you and I respect that and am not a liberal even though I might have come off as that in my last comment. We actually had a short e-mail exchange maybe a year ago where I asked you about the most important differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy since I believe the Protestantism of my upbringing to be spiritually and doctrinally deficient. So, this is not about pushing some kind of relativism.

    Nevertheless, the image of a harsh and unforgiving God that you and some others conjure is a stumbling block for me. I think you once wrote that you believe that a majority of mankind will probably go to Hell. Even if you really believe this, isn´t it terribly to ponder it? Is it possible to reconcile this belief with a good God and that the Gospels indeed are good news?

    The point of my questions is how much of this harshness, from my perspective, that is reflected in Catholic doctrines. And also just to vent my doubts.

  72. P.S.S.

    I only used the term “two-ender” because it was used by Mr. Paterson-Seymour, and I now regret my choice of words.
    What I adhere to, of course, is the traditional position on twofold happiness, the distinction between natural and supernatural desire to attain to God etc.

  73. Gregory Mancz
    I am sure we both accept the teaching of the Council of Orange:
    Canon 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, “The will is prepared by the Lord” (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
    Canon 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

  74. AnteB,

    Here’s how I understand it. God is perfect and pure. If we have sin, we simply cannot be with him. It’s intrinsically impossible based on God’s nature. I guess this is related to C.S. Lewis’ definition of Omnipotence: “God does not have the power to do anything – God has the power to do anything that is consistent with his nature.” God can’t unite sin with his purity and perfect goodness.

    In the specific case of divorce and remarriage, we know from the Lord’s own words that it is the sin of adultery – a sin against both one’s spouse and against God (1st and 2nd great commandments). This is a very tricky sin since turning from it can involve sacrifices and pain – severing or at least fundamentally altering relationships we have made. But if God exists, truth matters more than our personal interests or feelings. We aren’t told that we’ll be free of crosses to bear – we’re told the opposite. Easy for me to say since I haven’t had to bear this cross.

    The Gospels show marriage was very important to the Lord.

    This is the best I can do – hope it helps.

  75. RE: The SSPX. Is it better to be “obedient” and lose your children?

    There’s no guarantee the Novus Ordo children will be lost or the SSPX children won’t but it’s hard to retain children (even if you’re a devoted father like I’m sure Bonald and Dr. Bill are) when basic Catholic truths are, at best, deemphasized and more often outright denied at your parish and the pope in the media gives the same impression.

    Will I be comforted by telling myself “at least I was obedient” when I know my kids are in Hell? Or maybe God will allow me to forget them.

  76. AnteB,

    I don’t think the issue is that God is harsh or unforgiving. Repentance is the only limit on God’s forgiveness, and that only because he cannot in justice forgive that which hasn’t been repented of.

    No one winds up in Hell against their will (I’m not positive even the Church taught unbaptized babies go to Hell, at least in a fiery pain/damnation sense — the historical theological consensus favored the idea of Limbo, a place of perfect natural happiness, without the Beatific Vision). If the masses of men have been damned it is only because they didn’t want to be saved, didn’t repent, and didn’t reform their lives, or because they wouldn’t have had the Gospel been presented to them.

    Personally I’m favorable to the most-are-damned hypothesis, simply because I see how extraordinarily difficult it is to repent and how few people even so much as try (how hard, in fact, they will fight against even acknowledging the need for repentance). Also because this opinion was supported by nearly all the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. But it’s just that, an opinion, a hypothesis, for which there is no certain evidence. I think the contrary Origenist/Balthazarian hypothesis is laughable and that believing it conduces to the horrifying social and ecclesiological outcomes playing out before us today, but I guess can’t say it’s impossible to hold it in good faith.

    But personally, I’m also favorable to the approach of St. Leonard of Port Maurice (who also believed most are damned). He said that if, today, an angel came down and told everyone in your church that all would be damned except one, and if you henceforth lived a life of honesty, chastity, charity, and prayerfulness, then you would be the one who would be saved; and if, instead, that angel told everyone in your church that all would be saved except one, and if you went on to fornicate, steal, lie, mock, and spurn God, then you would be the one who is damned. We know exactly what conditions are required for salvation: innocence of mortal sin at the moment of your death. If few people live up to that standard, that doesn’t mean anything for you.

  77. Proph

    St Augustine makes the point that “the effectiveness of God’s mercy cannot be in the power of man to frustrate, if He will have none of it. If God wills to have mercy on a man, He can call him in a way that is suited to him, so that he will be moved to understand and to follow. It is true, therefore, that many are called but few chosen. Those are chosen who are effectually [congruenter] called. Those who are not effectually called and do not obey their calling are not chosen, for although they were called they did not follow… God has mercy on no man in vain. He calls the man on whom He has mercy in the way He knows will suit him, so that he will not refuse the call.”

    He asks, “Since, then, people are brought to faith in such different ways, and the same thing spoken in one way has power to move and has no such power when spoken in another way, or may move one man and not another, who would dare to affirm that God has no method of calling whereby even Esau might have applied his mind and yoked his will to the faith in which Jacob was justified?” and asks, “Who would dare to affirm that the Omnipotent lacked a method of persuading even Esau to believe?” (To Simplician, 13-14)

  78. Taking Augustine at face value here we are led either to Universalism or to an Islamic/Calvinist denial of free will and a belief in an arbitrary, and not all-loving God.

  79. “innocence of mortal sin at the moment of your death.”

    The will is fixed at death even though the will persists after bodily death, right? I assume this has something to do with us being both ensouled and incarnate beings that never existed any other way. Does the Church further elaborate on this?

  80. It’s very hard to avoid both Pelagianism and Calvinism, if you think things through. Most supposed alternatives really boil down to one or the other.

  81. Is this what genuine and doctrinally correct Catholics are supposed to believe? That none outside the Church will be saved and that remarried people will spend eternity in Hell?

    Yes, that’s what Catholics believe. And I’m perfectly happy to bite the No True Scotsman bullet in defense of this claim.

    Even the clowns who want out of the teaching that all who are outside the Church go to Hell don’t directly deny it. Rather, they claim that everybody is secretly a member of the Church, so no problem. Personally, I think the clowns are not-so-secretly outside the Church too, though they show up at Mass each week.

    Unbaptized babies go to Hell. Maybe they don’t burn, maybe they do. We don’t know. That they go is clear, de fide teaching. The clown show denies that there is any such thing as an unbaptized baby, of course.

  82. God gives everyone sufficient grace to be saved, but he does not give everyone efficacious grace to be saved. To the one who is given sufficient grace but not efficacious grace, he is guilty of mortal sin for failing in his duty to accept salvation, and therefore deserves to be damned.

    Remember, God does not owe anyone efficacious grace.

  83. God gives everyone sufficient grace to be saved,

    He does?

  84. Yes. Everyone is given sufficient grace, such that everyone has it in their capacity to seek the good, and consequently is at fault for failing to do so. But not everyone is given efficacious grace, so not everyone actually does seek the good.

    https://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/grace6.htm

  85. I’m always getting confused on this. Are some people who receive sufficient grace saved? If so, what was inefficacious about their grace? If not, wouldn’t it be better to call it “unsufficient grace”?

  86. Sufficient grace means that it is sufficient to enable the person to do good. Just because the person is enabled to do good, does not mean that they actually will.

  87. “Unbaptized babies go to Hell. Maybe they don’t burn, maybe they do. We don’t know. That they go is clear, de fide teaching.”

    You sound like an edgelord, the Church teaching is Limbo.

    That being said, I think unbaptized children born into Christian families have a good change of ascending to heaven after a stint in Purgatory.

  88. “Even the clowns who want out of the teaching that all who are outside the Church go to Hell don’t directly deny it. Rather, they claim that everybody is secretly a member of the Church, so no problem. Personally, I think the clowns are not-so-secretly outside the Church too, though they show up at Mass each week”

    The Church as in the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church alone?

  89. Kevin Nowell wrote, “Taking Augustine at face value here we are led either to Universalism or to an Islamic/Calvinist denial of free will and a belief in an arbitrary, and not all-loving God.”

    There is no denial of free will. In On the Merits and Remission of Sins 2, 17, 26, he writes “Men are not willing to do what is right either because the fact that it is right is hidden from them, or because it does not please them… It is from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes known, and that which did not please become sweet.”

    For St Augustine, the whole paradox of grace and free will is explained by this: free will consists in doing what we want to do. Grace does not, and has no need, to interfere with our power of choice; rather, it affects what we want to do by attraction.

    Thus, in Epistle to Galatians Section 49 “in acting we necessarily follow what gives us most pleasure” and in one of the most beautiful passages he ever wrote: “If it be allowable to the poet [Vergil, Eclogues 2.65] to say “his own pleasure draws each man,” not need, but pleasure, not obligation but delight, how much more ought we to say that a man is drawn to Christ, who delights in the truth, who delights in happiness who delights in justice, who delights in eternal life and all this is Christ?” (On John’s Gospel Section 26.4)

  90. ArkansasReactionary wrote “Just because the person is enabled to do good, does not mean that they actually will.”

    Indeed. God does not command the impossible, and grants even to those who do not actually observe His commandments the power of observing them.

    But those who observe His commandments are better than others and would not keep them in fact, had not God from eternity efficaciously decreed that they should observe these precepts. Thus, these good servants of God are more beloved and assisted by Him than others, although God does not command the impossible of the others.

    Furthermore, this very resistance to sufficient grace is an evil which would not occur, here and now, without the divine permission, and nonresistance itself is a good which would not come about here and now except for divine consequent will. Therefore, there is a real difference between sufficient grace, to which is attached the divine permission of sin and by reason of which the fulfillment of the commandments is really possible, and efficacious grace, on the other hand, which is a greater help whence follows not only the real possibility of observing the commandments, but their effective fulfillment.

    “What is there that I ought to do more to My vineyard, that I have not done to it?” (Isa 5:4) If God ought not to do anything more, then His help is truly sufficient. But it does not say: “What is there that I could do more,” and God can do more, but is not bound to do so.

  91. Confused. Other than different terms (sufficient and efficacious grace) how’s this different than the Reformed teaching? Is efficacious grace basically God commanding my will?

  92. Bruce asks, “Is efficacious grace basically God commanding my will?”

    No, that is the heresy of Calvin. Pascal explains the true doctrine very well: “This has been most admirably explained by St. Augustine, in such a way as to dissipate all those imaginary inconsistencies which the opponents of efficacious grace suppose to exist between the sovereign power of grace over the free-will and the power which the free-will has to resist grace. For, according to this great saint, whom the popes and the Church have held to be a standard authority on this subject, God transforms the heart of man, by shedding abroad in it a heavenly sweetness, which surmounting the delights of the flesh, and inducing him to feel, on the one hand, his own mortality and nothingness, and to discover, on the other hand, the majesty and eternity of God, makes him conceive a distaste for the pleasures of sin which interpose between him and incorruptible happiness. Finding his chiefest joy in the God who charms him, his soul is drawn towards Him infallibly, but of its own accord, by a motion perfectly free, spontaneous, love-impelled; so that it would be its torment and punishment to be separated from Him. Not but that the person has always the power of forsaking his God, and that he may not actually forsake Him, provided he choose to do it. But how could he choose such a course, seeing that the will always inclines to that which is most agreeable to it.”

  93. MPS,

    If grace changes our wants so that a person with efficacious grace wants to do good, there is no merit in his actions. He is not really doing good. He is only doing what he wants to do. If all we can do is what we want to do then there is no such thing as free will.

    Also, I don’t know if quoting a famous Jansenist is the best policy in a debate on free will and grace.

  94. Kevin,

    That a man wants to do good is meritorious.

  95. Kevin Nowell

    Every volition presupposes an end, and the notion of an end implies the notion of goodness. The goodness may be either virtuous, useful, or delectable good, but it must always be desirable. Of course, that still presents us with a vast range of finite goods from which to choose.The will wills evil only in so far as it finds it to be an apparent good.

    That is why the Doctor of Grace quotes with approval the words of Vergil, “Trahit sua quemque voluptas” [his own pleasure draws each man] (Ec 2.65) Vergil, I rather think got it from Lucretius, who says “per quam progredimur quo ducit quemque voluptas” [by which we proceed whither pleasure leads each] (Lucr 2.258)

  96. Svar

    You sound like an edgelord, the Church teaching is Limbo.

    That’s a cute pun. Limbo is from limbus meaning border/edge/hem. Borderland of what? Orlando? There are only three places in the afterlife: Purgatory, Hell, and Heaven. Which one do you imagine Limbo is the edge of?

  97. “Which one do you imagine Limbo is the edge of?”

    Purgatory and Heaven.

  98. Yes. Everyone is given sufficient grace,

    I don’t have time at the present to read that carefully. Reading anything written by Thomists is quite difficult for me since many, many words they use have definitions at wide variance with modern usage.

    Since the Church teaches that unbaptized babies go to Hell, for example, it seems, prima facie, implausible that they have sufficient grace. Here is the nearest the text comes to dealing with this (I think: I have searched for seemingly relevant words):

    Sufficient help [a subcategory of sufficient grace] is also either immediate and personal or mediate, for instance, conferred upon the parents for their children who are incapable of receiving personal sufficient help; thus the parents might receive from God the pious thought of the necessity of having their children baptized and not do so. Hence truly and merely sufficient help does not consist in some one, indivisible, definite thing, but in many helps, whether external or internal, permanent or transitory, whereby a man has the proximate power of doing good or at least of praying, and nevertheless resists it.

    So, a Hell-bound unbaptized baby has sufficient grace in the sense that their parents are granted the grace that they knew (or should have known) that baby should be baptized.

    I don’t have any problem with this, I think. But it is enormously far from what a contemporary American is going to think he read when he reads “Everyone is given sufficient grace.” If the world is set up in such a way that:

    1) if DrBill chooses to get AR baptized then AR goes to Heaven,
    2) if DrBill chooses to not get AR baptized then AR goes to Hell,
    3) DrBill knows he should baptize AR

    then Thomists say AR has sufficient grace. If you define sufficient grace in this amazingly broad way, then it is consistent with the damnation of unbaptized babies. And pretty much anything. So, the claim seems kind of empty to me. All it says is that God did not make a world in which any particular person was absolutely guaranteed to go to Hell mutatis mutandis all human choices.

    I wonder. Does the fact that it is conceivable that Adam would not fall suffice to give us all sufficient grace? Had he not fallen, then we would all be Heaven-bound, right? And he knew he was doing something God commanded him not to do, right? So he’s just like the parents of the unbaptized baby.

    Maybe we wouldn’t be Heaven-bound absent the Fall? Would we just hang out in the Garden forever?

  99. It’s Hell, sorry.

  100. The Catechism of Pius X, if I recall correctly, has an article that absent the Fall, God would have called humans directly to heaven at the end of their lives, similar to how Mary was assumed directly into heaven. So I think it’s an article of faith that humans would be Heaven-bound absent the Fall.

  101. “I think it’s an article of faith that humans would be Heaven-bound absent the Fall.”

    But that must be read subject to the teaching of the Council of Orange against the Semi-Pelagians: “That a man can be saved only when God shows mercy. Human nature, even though it remained in that sound state in which it was created, could be no means save itself, without the assistance of the Creator; hence since man cannot safeguard his salvation without the grace of God, which is a gift, how will he be able to restore what he has lost without the grace of God?”

  102. I think Aquinas said that we would not die, but have heavenly beatitude on Earth had Adam not sinned. I’ll try to find where that is in the Summa.

    Regardless, it’s only necessary to interpret sufficient grace broadly as applied to those who never have the use of free will. So for those who have the use of free will, God provides that it is within their power to do what they must to be saved. And for those who never have the use of free will, God provides that it is within the power of those who make decisions for them to do what they must to save them.

  103. Any speculation on babies that die before birth via miscarriage? There’s no way anyone could have baptized them. Perhaps in their case one can invoke baptism by desire of the parents who were planning to have them baptized (or would have–a woman often doesn’t even know she’s pregnant).

    With regard to unbaptized babies, I think we should admit that we don’t know. People who find this somehow cruel should remember that saying “unbaptized babies go to heaven” doesn’t actually send any baptized baby to heaven. Whatever the truth is, just telling ourselves that they’re in heaven won’t do them any good at all. (Universalism is arguably bad for non-Christians because it saps our resolve to evangelize, so many more of them end up in hell.)

  104. With unborn children who die, one can still say that Adam (our first parent), could have not sinned and therefore there would not be miscarriages, nor a need for baptism. I admit though, that I’m not sure if that reasoning is sound.

  105. Catechumens preparing to be baptized receive the fruits of baptism if they happen to die before they are baptized at Easter, according to the Council of Trent. (Which makes sense, otherwise we would baptize potential converts immediately rather then put their souls at peril of damnation for a year should they die inopportunely while catechumens.)

    Perhaps there’s an analogy between miscarried babies whose parents would have baptized them and a catechumen who dies before receiving the baptism he intended.

  106. Roepke

    Perhaps, we have a hint of this in Act 16:31, wqhen Paul and Silas tell the gaoler, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household” [Πίστευσον ἐπὶ τὸν Κύριον Ἰησοῦν, καὶ σωθήσῃ σὺ καὶ ὁ οἶκός σου]

    οἶκος, lit house, can mean family or descendants, as when we speak of the House of Bourbon, as well as household.

  107. With regard to unbaptized babies, I think we should admit that we don’t know.

    I prefer to admit that the Church teaches, de fide, that they go to Hell.

  108. God provides that it is within the power of those who make decisions for them to do what they must to save them.

    I still don’t see where the Church teaches any of this. That the Thomists have a worked-out system of which sufficient grace is a part I believe. But that’s not the same as saying the Church teaches it.

  109. Dr. Bill,

    “De fide” means infallibly?

    This teaching is defined infallibly somewhere or has the great weight of being the ubiquitous teaching since antiquity?

  110. Yes, de fide means infallibly.

    Florence and Lyon both declared, de fide, that those who die in original sin only go to Hell. This can’t mean anyone other than unbaptized people under the age of reason. If they have original sin still, then they are unbaptized. If they don’t have other sins, then they must be beneath the age of reason (or profoundly retarded, which amounts to the same thing).

    They don’t say the words “unbaptized babies.”

  111. @DrBill

    That it is the consensus of the Thomists lends it a very great credibility.

  112. Now I’m fixated on this unbaptized babies/original sin thing.

    Mary did not have original sin. What about others before Christ? Are Elizabeth and Zecharias in hell (assuming they died before the establishment of the Church and baptism?) Did they make an act of perfect contrition?
    Christ’s message seems to be that we are judged for our actual sins and Paul adds that all have sinned (though I concede this might mean “practically all” or that maybe a few have only venially sinned – Elizabeth and Zecharias?). Christ didn’t say (at least I think he did) that we will be judged based on our original sin. So would Christ condemn unbaptized babies that haven’t willfully sinned?
    Yes, I admit that I’m doing the Protestant thing here.

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