During my time away I will still post links here. I wouldn’t want any body to get bored. And thank you to everyone for your prayers and support; they’ve been appreciated.
Addendum: Nothing below should be construed as a declaration that I am leaving the Holy Catholic Church. I am sorry for the confusion some remarks in the post created.
Matthew Shadle, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Marymount University, has posted a surrebuttal at Political Theology Today to my earlier critical remarks concerning his piece, “The Paradoxes of Postmodern Integralism.” One of my original contentions was that Shadle had misunderstood the intents and purposes of the new Catholic integralism, reducing integralism to the level of a preference. Shadle denies this, though he aims to reiterate his belief “that contemporary integralism does, and indeed must, present itself as a choice has a direct bearing on whether it is the right one or not” (emphasis his). Shadle then goes on to present an arguably muddled account of the history of integralism, starting with counterrevolutionary Catholic thinkers such as Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald, and Juan Donoso Cortes before stopping in the 1930s with integralist support for fascist or quasi-fascist political movements (though he doesn’t explain which ones or why they tended to draw integralist (Catholic) support). What this mini-history does is give a decidedly false impression that integralists of recent vintage are simply the uncritical heirs of Catholic thinkers and movements which have their own complicated histories. Shadle also operates under the incorrect belief that integralism is all about power and authority for the sake of raw power and authority. This could not be further from the truth, as I explained in an essay for The Josias, “Catholic Integralism and the Social Kingship of Christ”:
Two back-to-back pieces of Catholic news are on my mind this morning. The first is Pope Francis’s new bull, Misericordiae Vultus, which opens the Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The second, mentioned over at Rorate Caeli, is that the Argentine government now officially recognizes the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) as part of the Catholic Church. There were rumblings a year ago that Pope Francis himself would intervene on behalf of the Society to ensure they acquired proper legal standing in the Holy Father’s homeland, and so it stands to reason that this is what happened. Civil legal recognition is not the same as canonical recognition of course, though it’s not nothing either—especially if the Pope is involved. If this modest but important act is a demonstration of the sort of mercy Francis has in mind for the upcoming jubilee year, then let us be glad and rejoice in it. That is to say, let even Catholics who are at times understandably confused, perturbed, and/or upset with some of the Pope’s words and deeds recognize that mercy is at the heart of the Church’s divine mission.
I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic readers celebrating according to the Julian Calendar a blessed Holy Friday. May this time of sorrow prepare you for the unspeakable joys of Pascha and the new life we all seek to find through our Lord’s Glorious Resurrection from the dead.
Just to clarify, Wednesday’s post on the “Age of Francis” was in no way, shape, or form intended to disparage the good work conducted over at Solidarity Hall or to discourage anyone from picking up a copy of their new anthology, Radically Catholic in the Age of Francis. Having now had the chance to get through about half of the book, I can say, without reservation, that it is a very thoughtful collection expressing views which are both interconnected and diverse. A full review of the work is no doubt in order and if time permits I will attempt one. In the meantime, I want to offer some very provisional and rather general thoughts on what the contents appear to be saying about what has come to be known as radical Catholicism and where their thinking converges, and in other points departs, from the new wellspring of Catholic integralism. At this point I am not going to name individual authors and their essays, and I want to stress that radical Catholicism is not monochromatic and there are certainly individual writers who are more or less integralists in their thinking, even if they wouldn’t necessarily define themselves as such.
The good folks at Solidarity Hall have issued their first book, Radically Catholic in the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future. Without meaning to disrespect anybody by leaving their name out, contributors include C.C. Pecknold, Patrick Deneen, Andrew Haines, Thomas Storck, John Medaille, and a fine fellow I happen to know personally, Jack Quirk. Various constraints have prevented me from getting ahold of and reading the volume, though a brief perusal of the Table of Contents reveals a number of interesting entries that no doubt warrant careful attention. With that noted, it does strike me as perplexing to say that we are currently living in “the Age of Francis.” The Holy Father has only been on the throne for two years, that is, just over a quarter of Benedict XVI’s reign and only a fraction of John Paul II’s. If there truly is to be an “Age of Francis” then it has only started to take shape and based on the Pope’s own words concerning abdication, it doesn’t seem like his tenure will be longer than his predecessor’s. On what basis can any Catholic claim that Francis, as opposed to the modern popes who came before, is ushering in a new period in the Church’s life, one that will still be felt a century, even a decade, from now?
Life has turned busy again during the opening of the Paschal season and so posts may be a tad scarce around Opus Publicum for a few days. Even so, some recent “discussions” on Facebook brought to mind that while certain Catholics who are by and large orthodox on everything except the Church’s social magisterium are routinely excoriated as hypocrites, the opposite is rarely true. That is to say, certain Catholics who have made it their business to publicly defend, promote, and interpret Catholic social teaching are rarely if ever called to the carpet for holding opinions which are contrary to the Faith. Is that not, too, hypocrisy? What virtue is there in someone claiming to believe in just wages, solidarity, and subsidiarity if they simultaneously reject the physical Resurrection of Christ or the Church’s teaching on contraception? The cafeteria is closed. Nay, it was never open in the first place.
When Thou didst descend, O Life Immortal / Thou didst slay hell with the splendor of Thy Godhead / And when Thou didst raise the dead from the nethermost depths / All the powers of Heaven cried out / O Giver of Life, Christ our God, Glory to Thee
He who is shut in the depths is beheld dead / Wrapped in fine linen and spices / The Immortal One is laid in the tomb as a mortal man / The women have come to anoint Him with myrrh, / Weeping bitterly and crying: / This is the most blessed Sabbath / On which Christ has fallen asleep to rise on the third day!
– Troparion and Kontakion of the Holy Saturday Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
It Was Fitting For Christ to Descend into Hell:
1) Because man by sin had incurred not only death of the body, but also descent into hell. Therefore it was fitting for Christ to die and descend into hell, so that He might deliver us from the necessity of permanent death (because we shall rise again) and from descent into hell. In this sense Christ is said to have power over death and in dying to have conquered it, according to the prophet, who says: “O death, I will be thy death.”
2) It was fitting for the devil to be overthrown by Christ’s passion, so that He should deliver the captives detained in hell.
3) As He showed forth His power on earth by living and dying, so also it was fitting for Him to manifest it in hell, by visiting it and enlightening it; and so at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, not only of them that are in heaven, but likewise of them that are in hell.
– Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Commentary on the Third Part of St. Thomas’ Theological Summa, ch. XXXVII