Rejecting the “low-bar Thomism” of revisionist moral theologians

There is nothing Christ-like, or courageous, or cruciform and sanctified about winning the praise of the world by parroting the nostrums of the current Zeitgeist and wielding them against the Church.

Detail from "Christ and the Rich Young Ruler" (1889) by Heinrich Hofmann (WikiCommons)

Having reviewed the republication of Henri de Lubac’s book The Church: Paradox and Mystery, I had to accept that space constraints prevented me from discussing at more length a part of the text that moved me greatly. And that was de Lubac’s insistence that the only real reform of the Church happens when God raises up saints appropriate to the age. De Lubac then noted that it is impossible to guess in advance what kinds of saints the Holy Spirit will raise up in our own time. Nevertheless, de Lubac said that there are some things we can definitively say about what a saint is and is not, which will be applicable in every age.

What follows is my attempt to do his insights justice, with an eye on our own situation today.

For starters, a saint is not a “religious genius” who is the center of a kind of Montanist “creativity” that seeks to “surpass the Gospel” through innovative new constructions that mirror the slogans of today and which denigrate all that came before as mere preparations for a new age of enlightenment. And, as de Lubac says, “If they accomplish great things, it will not be by dissertations on the courage to dare.” (174). It is not hard to see in these words a thinly veiled mockery of all the current claptrap that declares that “God is doing a new thing” when in reality what is being proposed is nothing new at all, but just garden variety debauchery dressed up as “enlightened living”.

Let us be blunt here: in both de Lubac’s day and our own, there is the pretentious spectacle of the progressive Catholic theologian or religious who dissents publicly from settled Church teachings on any number of hot-button issues, and who are held up as “heroes” who have the daring and “courage” to stand up to the “backward” Church. This is de Lubac making it clear that there is nothing Christ-like, or courageous, or cruciform and sanctified about winning the praise of the world by parroting the nostrums of the current Zeitgeist and wielding them against the Church. Cultural quislings are not saints and the Church has enough of these already, thank you very much.

Likewise, this kind of pseudo-courage is also to be found among certain kinds of traditionalists who, as de Lubac puts it, “yield to an infantile need for security by attaching themselves to the Church’s tradition” in ways that are not truly faithful to it but instead use it as an idolatrous construct of their own imaginings. The saint of today must never yield to the sectarian temptation to run off to some kind of tradition-compound with its own underground liturgies and “hero priests”, who are falsely portrayed as martyrs to the cause.

For example, I have been critical of Pope Francis for having re-empowered those in the Church who seek a revolution in the Church’s moral theology. I have also been critical of the pastoral approach of Traditionis Custodes. But we simply cannot allow a putatively bad pastoral decision by the pope on the matter of allowable liturgical rites to drive us into madness. Our faith is in Christ and His Church, and not in a particular form of the liturgy. And when a particular form of the liturgy is held up as being somehow above the magisterium of the Church, then we need to call it for what it is: a retrograde ecclesial ideology that borders on idolatry.

Traditionalism, therefore, is not indicative of any path to sanctity that I can identify beyond the fact that any good liturgy can produce saints when it is a liturgy enlivened by a deep communal faith life within a vibrant parish.

The true courage of an authentic sanctity walks in the way of the Cross. De Lubac borrows an analogy from some Church Fathers who likened the sanctity of the Church to the luminosity of the moon, whose brightness simply mirrors the glory of the Sun’s radiant light. But, at times, the moon’s brightness wanes and can even become totally eclipsed. So too with the Church, which goes through entire periods of darkness before the light of Christ once again returns via the reforming zeal of the saints. “At certain times,” he notes, “her witness may be much obscured … but we have the assurance that ‘saints will always spring up.’” (30) However, de Lubac laments, “… in this century the Church is a Church in the throes of death and that it is in this way that she is renewed, by drawing ever closer to Christ, her Spouse. She then becomes so identified with him that she disappears, as it were, in his brilliance. So close to her Sun, the crucified Lord, it is in the obscurity of the Passion that she begins to grow again.” (30-31)

In other words, the Church of today is undergoing a purgative via crucis of unprecedented dimensions and therefore the current crisis is not something we should shrink from in fear but rather something we should embrace as an opportunity for new saints to rise up. And this pursuit of sanctity, no matter how fitful and inconsistent and frustrating, is going to have to involve every one of us, or at least most of us. In a liberal, latitudinarian, democratic and—let’s face it—Church-wary culture, the laity must lead the way this time around. Now is the time of the laity, its critical moment, its “Ernstfall”, and therefore the kind of saints the Church most needs today are lay saints active in the world.

That sounds cliché, but it isn’t. It is the essence of the Gospel and if we tire of hearing that we are all called to holiness, and if at all just seems so “meh” and “whatever”, then it is time to acknowledge that acedia has captured the Church of today and rendered the Gospel itself boring, if not otiose.

Now is not the time to bless the latent nihilism at the heart of our agonistic culture of Dionysian emptiness and despair, but to challenge it by entering it as active players who do not succumb to it. Now is the time to “suffer through” the microcosmic hell of our contemporary anomic sadness with a vicarious and intercessory empathy. And in so doing, to conquer it and in the process give public witness to the presence of the supernatural and eschatological mystery that makes our resistance to cultural assimilation possible—and which alone can make us “interesting” as a fascinating and tremendous provocation.

Therefore, what we most especially do not need today is the “Low-Bar Thomism” of the current crop of revisionist moral theologians who reduce the call to holiness to the provenance of the few, which simply returns us to a more elitist past. Such theologians portray the path to holiness for “most ordinary people” as a profound struggle to even live up to the basic commands of the moral law, and for whom we must make all kinds of “pastoral allowances” as we “accompany” them in their “path of discernment.” This all sounds rather good and deeply caring, but in reality it is a word salad of meaningless buzzwords, all of which are designed to promote a simple idea: holiness is not for ordinary people. Which is to say, sanctity is not for ordinary people and the emphasis upon “becoming a saint” is more than likely a pietistical fantasy if not a kind of retrograde scrupulosity which is riddled with the Manichean overtones of a repressed sexuality.

I think of the story of the rich young “ruler” in the Gospels who asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Lk 18:18). And Jesus then intimates that for this man it is not enough to just follow the bare minimalism of living the moral commandments—he must go beyond this and, “give all you have to the poor and then follow me.” But the young man became very sad and refused the offer to follow Christ because he was too attached to his wealth. Jesus then said to the young man (and as Luke adds, while “looking at him”), that it is extremely hard for a wealthy person to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to find eternal life. It is a brutal scene that most American Christians overly spiritualize because it cuts too close to our affluent bones.

But notice what Jesus did not say or do. He did not say to the young man, “Hey dude, it is okay. Don’t worry. Chill. Just do the best you can in the complex circumstances of your life, give to God what you most generously can at the present moment within the confines of those circumstances, and God will accept it. And you can have a certain peaceful conscience about it all.” If Jesus had said such a thing, it would have been a condescending “low-bar” kindness with avuncular indulgences to the folly of youth, rather than a bracing expression of the Dominical goodness. And notice too that Jesus did not chase after the young man in order to remonstrate with him further. He allowed him to walk away after bluntly telling him to his face that his wealth was going to be his spiritual undoing.

This is also the only instance in the Gospels where Jesus specifically calls someone to follow him and they refuse. And what is interesting to me, since it is often ignored, is that the distinction between commandments and counsels—so important to the later Church of clericalized holiness—is virtually non-existent in this narrative. Jesus ties this man’s salvation very directly to the call to pursue a path to holiness that goes beyond the living out of the moral commandments. And that is because, if we read this narrative in the light of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is saying that if you properly understood what it is the commandments demand of us in a maximal and non-minimal way, then you would understand that their very inner logic demands, for their deepest fulfillment, the leap into the pursuit of a higher holiness.

Indeed, he is insisting that a minimalist living out of the commandments, devoid of an inner conversion of the heart, is actually not a true living out of the commandments at all.

There is a place, of course, for kindness, patience, discernment, and accompaniment. But those virtues are moments within the broader economy of moral and spiritual goodness and not a substitute for it. Truth and mercy cannot be at odds, and to portray them as such smacks of the discredited “Law-Gospel” dialectic that has not a little Marcionism within it. Christ set the bar high, but he then also commanded us to forgive seventy times seven and to extend mercy with a wild profligacy even to our enemies.

We cannot make Christ credible again and we cannot break the chains of the hegemony of the “immanent frame” that enslaves us if we turn every hard choice we face—choices demanded by the Gospel—into a “gray area” of “complex circumstances” crying out for a lowered bar of expectation. It is easy to be “inclusive” when you do not think anything at all is ever “exclusive.”

And we cannot make the supernatural glory of Christ present again if we offer a pinch of incense to the principalities and powers that have created all of those “complex circumstances” in the first place. The “inclusion” that Christ brings is an inclusion from above, not from below. It shatters the chains of our immanence by showing us that the only true worldliness is the world made new in Christ.

And so it is the joyful task of the modern quester after holiness to make clear and credible again the words of our Lord: “Behold, I make all things new.”


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Larry Chapp 26 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".

49 Comments

  1. .
    Francis has “full” “supreme” ‘unhindered” “power” “over the whole Church.” Catholics must obey your Catechism. Why?
    .
    .
    Pope Francis as the “Roman Pontiff has full, SUPREME and universal POWER over the WHOLE Church, a power which he can always exercise UNHINDERED.” Catechism # 882.
    .
    .
    Pope Francis as the “Roman Pontiff has full, SUPREME and universal POWER over the WHOLE Church, a power which he can always exercise UNHINDERED.” Catechism # 882.
    .
    .
    The College of Cardinals, all younger than 80, elects Popes and requires at least 66% votes. Francis shall have it on 2/3/23 when Calcagno is 80, and Francis has 83/124 appointees. He need not appoint more before then, given his 16 new ones, who shall replace retired and current Cardinals through Cardinal D’Rozario who turns 80 on 10/1/43. On that date, there shall be 38 Non-Francis Cardinals. If Francis were to appoint 15 new Cardinals on that date, only 15 months away, they would replace 15 Cardinals through Cardinal Ricard, who turns 80 on 9/26/44. On that day, about 2 years from now, there would be 29 Non-Francis Cardinals with Francis Cardinals at 75%.
    .
    .
    Benedict is 95. Francis shall be 95 on 12/17/31 if he is Pope: not probable but possible. Current College members, who are not “Francis Cardinals,” shall be only 5 then. 7 Cardinals were born before 1960; new Cardinal Marengo is 47. They shall elect 2 successor “Francis Popes”, and more shall follow: the same with Francis Cardinals and Francis Bishops, who shall appoint Francis Heads of Seminaries, who shall appoint Francis faculty, who shall teach seminarians to become Francis priests.
    .
    .
    The Francis Legacy also changed US Bishops. He appointed 131 of the 273 Bishops who are younger than 75, which is when he can retire them. That is 5 fewer than 50%. The 5 shall turn 75 by 11/19/22. Others turn 75 in the next 5 years from large dioceses (Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Orange County), and 2 are the President and V.P. of USCCB. Soon, Francis Bishops shall control USCCB (retired Bishops cannot vote) and its agenda.
    .
    .
    To those who have resentment toward Francis, remember that old saying: “you don’t have the numbers.” They know that they shall have fewer numbers and more resentment with each new day, and they know that there is nothing they can do about it, given Catechism # 882.
    .
    .
    Also remember that Pope Benedict is the cause of Cardinal Bergoglio being Pope Francis because Benedict would be Pope had he not retired, making Francis his Papal legacy. Remember it was the Cardinals appointed by Benedict and John Paul 2 who elected Bergoglio Pope Francis. THEIR Cardinals created Francis. Look to them and to Benedict, who gambled that his successor would be like him. He forgot an old saying: “the House always wins”. The “father” of that “House” is the Pope (from the Greek “pappas” for “father”) who is Francis.
    .
    .
    Benedict also is the cause of Francis not being able to retire before Benedict dies because having 3 living Popes is an ontological impossibility for the Church. Benedict being alive creates another Francis Bishop to appoint another Francis Seminary Head to appoint another Francis Seminary faculty to create another Francis priest.
    .
    .
    To those who have resentment of Francis, they can thank Benedict for their resentment. I also thank him for their resentment; and thank Benedict for retiring as God chose him to do. May Benedict live a long life. That Papal irony of more daily resentment of Francis being caused by Cardinal Ratzinger is a Papal gift that shall keep on giving.

    • Just curious. Why are you posting this again? You already posted this apology for Francis in a previous article. Sorry to inform you, but many of us aren’t buying what you are selling. You are defending the indefensible.

    • This comment has appeared under a different format using a different name in another place on the internet. I call this “trolling”, since it appears to be nothing more than some kind of gloating under the guise of quoting the Catechism and giving some commentary. Are you really Brian McDonough, or is he you? Or are you just two people parroting the same thing? And what does it have to do with this article?

    • Hello Anna,
      You stated, “Pope Francis as the “Roman Pontiff has full, SUPREME and universal POWER over the WHOLE Church, a power which he can always exercise UNHINDERED.” Catechism # 882.”. Oh dear! Whatever will our King, Savior, and Ruler over the Catholic Church, Jesus Christ, along with St. Michael the Archangel, do! Jesus’ response is titled the Battle of Armageddon in the bible.

      The reason Jesus calls our first Pope, St. Peter, ‘Satan’, is because Peter is talking and thinking like the secular world talks and thinks. Matthew 16:23, He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Pope Francis talks and thinks like the secular world.

      We have to all Pray the 1890 version of The Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. It gives a clearer picture of what was on Pope Leo XIII’s mind when he desperately wrote the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. After a millennium and a half of relative safety, Pope Leo XIII saw the Spiritual authority of the papacy in grave danger. Papal States had fallen in 1870, which destroyed the papacy’s temporal authority. In writing the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, Pope Leo XIII is sending out a, calling all angels, SOS, to protect Spiritual authority, ‘The Holy Place’ of the papacy, from falling under the control of, the secular world ‘Satan’, as well.

      A portion of, Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel 1890 edition
      These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions.

      In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.

      Arise then, O invincible prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and bring them the victory.
      Quoted from:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_to_Saint_Michael

      Jesus’ sign for His Second Coming is, “When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place”. This sign is the same sign we are praying for St. Michael the Archangel to protect us from. Through locutions to St. Faustina, Jesus and the Blessed Mother have confirmed that Jesus is, in fact, inbound to earth. In the third secret of Fatima, we see that the Blessed Mother has St. Michael the Archangel in a holding pattern, ready to light the earth on fire, upon her command. As of the year 2000, Jesus has opened a portal with His recent gifts of Divine Mercy Sunday, for us to now run to. Jesus swears to us that anyone who takes refuge in His Divine Mercy, will be spared the great tribulation which comes with Jesus, upon His Second Coming.

      Matthew 24:15 The Great Tribulation.
      “When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, a person on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house, a person in the field must not return to get his cloak. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days. Pray that your flight not be in winter or on the sabbath, for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be.

      Divine Mercy in My Soul, 635, The Blessed Virgin Mary :
      … you have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior, but as a just Judge. Oh, how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still the time for [granting] mercy. If you keep silent now, you will be answering for a great number of souls on that terrible day.

      So Anna, if you see a ‘Desolating Abomination’ ‘standing in the Holy Place’, your one goal should be, is, to ‘flee to the mountains’, which we now understand as receiving Jesus’ gifts of Divine Mercy Sunday, in which Jesus Promises to protect you and your family through the, “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be.”. Jesus initiated this safety net in the year 2000.I am thinking Jesus knew what is coming our way.

      Please visit, “Jesus is Getting Married”
      http://www.apocalypseangel.com/married.html

    • Ms. Anna,
      You say that Catholics must obey the Catechism and quote a section of it which states that the pope has ‘power’ over the Church. Recognizing that the successor of Peter has power does not require Catholics to respond positively to every word that Francis utters.

      As rational creatures gifted by God with intellect and free will, guided by gifts of the Holy Spirit, Catholics are free to disregard any/all papal utterances which do not further the purpose, goal, or end of every human faith-filled existence, which is, beatitude with GOD in heaven for eternity. It is not the goal of a faithful Catholic to worship all words of the Vicar of Christ as if he himself were The Word. His power is not God’s.

      In the same section of the Catechism from which you quote, #890 follows:

      “The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error.”

      If the Vicar of Christ fails at his task, the lay faithful have every right and yes, even the responsibility, to prayerfully and prudentially recognize, then to ignore, reject, or otherwise disregard or disobey errors against the Faith. This is common sense, the sensus fidelium, which the Catechism also explains.

  2. So funny that this prof uses the term ‘word salad’.
    I was an altar boy for 8 years … recited all the Latin prayers. I am not a fan of the Latin Mass but I am impressed by the reverence of the prayers which we all had side by side in our Missals. The priest mumbling Latin prayer to the Tabernacle was a weakness in the Liturgy that tended to let congregants drift away. That the priest shall not turn his back on the True Presence in the Tabernacle also makes sense to me. So instead of the Novus Ordo being protestantized by a Mason, we needed a rendering in the vernacular that was much more faithful to the holiness of the TLM prayers. A fidelity to ages and ages of worship could have been realized by keeping some notable prayers in Latin, e.g. Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Pater Noster. For the priest to face the people the Tabernacle should have been placed at elevation at either end of the altar, at the head of the table. It should not have been relegated to a closet or afar off to the side. All churches could easily have a little trot for the preserved Latin prayers or even a softly spoken vernacular expression at the same time. I do submit that the present Liturgy has severely undermined belief in the True Presence of Jesus Christ our Savior King in the Holy Eucharist. We have been attending a Maronite Catholic Church which is a very different liturgy but much more reverent than the Novus Ordo and it has much more verbal inclusion of those in the pews.

    • Shawn,
      I see the validity of some of what you write–particularly that belief in the True Presence has lessened since the introduction of the NO. OTOH, this sentence puzzled: “The priest mumbling Latin prayer to the Tabernacle was a weakness in the Liturgy that tended to let congregants drift away.”

      Do priests direct prayer to God or to places? If the priest is “mumbling” prayer, that is the perception of the Mass participant or of the priest? If congregants drifted away while the priest ‘mumbled prayers at the Tabernacle,’ how is that the weakness of the liturgy? Today at the NO, some people may use their cell phones to text, to read, or to FB friends–Is that due to a ‘weakness’ in the liturgy? Isn’t it more realistic to say that the weakness is within the person who chooses to drift away from the object of the liturgy. Isn’t God the reason we attend liturgy? Else why bother?

      • We are human…. “Can you not watch one hour with me? The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” I’m just recalling my experience from the 1960s that few people followed the Mass in their missals. Were the people in the pews given more prayers to say together aloud it would have greatly improved the Latin Mass imho… especially given the reverent nature of those prayers.

  3. Granted, I am getting old, and my five semesters of Thomistic philosophy are a good many years behind me, but I really have no idea what the heck this author means by “Low-Bar Thomism.”

    • I think plain language and plain meaning was made clear by the Beloved One …..Let Yes be your Yes and No be your No. Also recall St Thomas Aquinas dismissing all his fine theology as straw after he was apparently gifted with a revelation of True Truth or perhaps as much as his formidable mind could comprehend. I’m not so bright but I don’t have to be to believe in Him and to try and Love Him as I ought. Malachi Martin wrote that the best exorcists seemed to be men of simple, rock solid faith. Perhaps it is a conceit of intellectual theologians that they must honor themselves by developing newish doctrine.

    • Hi JoAnn and thanks for the comment. In the interest of brevity I was too brief and did not connect some dots for my readers. My apologies. I think you are right to be a bit confused!

      My comment about “low bar Thomism” was really directed at Amoris Laetitia, especially paragraph 303. When Amoris was first promulgated Cardinal Schonborn said that the moral theology it embraced was “thoroughly Thomistic”. Since then a number of its supporters have made similar claims. Namely, that all it is is a development of St. Thomas on the subject of conscience and the role played by mitigating circumstances in lessening moral guilt. And Amoris itself quotes St. Thomas on this topic and claims that Thomas supports the line of reasoning put forward in Amoris. In previous essays for CWR I criticized this view and, building on the research of Eduardo Echeverria and others, attempted to show that Amoris actually distorts the meaning of Aquinas on these matters, all the while claiming to be a faithful development of Thomas. In reality, I think Amoris leans towards a kind of situational ethics that we used to call “proportionalism”.

      Thus, my reference to “low bar Thomism” was my all too brief shorthand for this approach where the moral commands of the Gospel are turned into mere aspirational “ideals” that ordinary Christians cannot be expected in many difficult cases to reach. It is in other words, using St. Thomas to “lower the moral bar” and to blunt the force of the universal call to holiness.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers
      Larry

      • Excellent comment, Larry, on how the defense of Amoris Laetitia by many is completely disingenuous in their distorted application of Aquinas to provide cover for the immorality that Amoris Laetitia actually intends to accomplish that would never be approved by Thomas. Sadly, others also support efforts by those who claim that Amoris Laetitia can simply be interpreted in a traditional light (this is similar to claiming Thomistic support). They push things like the faux “defense” of Amoris by Dr. Pedro Gabriel, and they also claim that others like the good Cardinal Muller are merely engaging in “damage control,” all the while remaining blissfully ignorant to the reality that the damage unleashed by Amoris Laetitia is still spreading, and that wrongly claiming the document can be interpreted in an orthodox manner allows the dangerous teaching of the document to metastasize without anywhere near enough proper pushback.

      • Yes to your thesis, and now the intent of some synodalists is to con the herded (not heard) participants into ratifying an ersatz morality that has been in play for a long time. Amoris Laetitia is not the kitchen recipe, but the frosting. The corrective Veritatis Splendor has been on the books for over a quarter of a century.

        Would like your informed view on whether Cardinal Muller is among those “blissfully ignorant” of damage now being done, as some say. Or, is Pope Francis not the only one suffering from a knee-jerk affliction?

      • >Dear Dr. Chapp: Now what?
        >Now that the dishonesty in this case has been effectively and convincingly exposed, what are we to do, to think?
        >I have read many fine exposés of various instances of doctrinal dishonesty by ruling authorities in the Church since the 1960s.
        >But what I never seem to see is any explanation of what to do next, or what to think about all this madness, deception, and evil.
        >The fictional character Hamlet pracically went mad himself when he became aware of the rottenness in the kingdom of Denmark. Mostly Hamlet remained passive and did nothing; he just let others take the initiative to control the fate of the kingdom, justifying this passivity by declaring “There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.” But the play “Hamlet” is a tragedy, and all the main characters are dead by the end of the play.
        >Should we all sign a peition kindly asking the Catholic Church leaders to return to the teaching of the Catholic Faith? That seems like a quixoticism of an exceptionally preposterous nature.
        >Well, what then, Dr. Chapp?

  4. “There is a place, of course, for kindness, patience, discernment, and accompaniment. But those virtues are moments within the broader economy of moral and spiritual goodness and not a substitute for it.” Patience and kindness are, indeed, virtues. Discernment and accompaniment are not virtues, and they are not “moments” but the very life of the Christian. They are processes that take time. And their goal is to do the will of God. Larry Chapp seems to be allergic to discernment, given that Pope Francis was a Jesuit novice master, a Jesuit provincial, one skilled in the process of discerning the will of God in the concrete circumstances of the life of the Christian believer. In this, he looks more like the “low bar thomists” he right excoriates.

    • Why the personal attack?

      In case it’s escaped your notice, the Jesuit Order is not as solid as it once was and hasn’t been for decades, something even Pope Benedict XVI tried to deal with when he was in office—in a way that respected their autonomy, of course. To hold them up as a model to follow is iffy these days, especially when the number of solid ones can be counted on one’s hands.

      As for the terminology, discernment could be rightly called a virtue, as it can be learned through the practice of prudence or is a gift of the Holy Spirit, or even both. Christians have it in varying degrees from practically none to a great deal, from a limited part of their lives to all of it. As for accompaniment, that’s not even mentioned in the Catechism, as it’s a buzzword that has recently started being used. In most contexts, it’s used the way the author rightly excoriated.

      The very life of the Christian is the grace of God. Accept no substitutes.

  5. Another brilliant piece by Dr. Chapp. That said, it occurred to me while reading it that the current “Liturgy War” being conducted from within the Vatican and executed on the battlefield by the usual Generals among the hierarchy, has nothing at all to do with Liturgy. Nothing, as they could care less about the Liturgy since, if they did, they would have long ago addressed the abuse of he liturgy over the past 60 years.

    Rather, the Liturgy Wars are about the very thing suggested in this article: an intention to reformulate Catholic moral teaching by using Vatican II as the pretext for doing so. This is an attempt to introduce a “soft moral Catholicism” that allows room for all the usual aberrations that are current in the popular culture. This, and not liturgy, is what motivates the so-called power brokers in the Catholic Church. In my most cynical frame of mind, I think they are invested in dumbing-down the moral teachings of the Church to justify their own personal failings (sins) and personal deviance.

    Again, it’s not about Liturgy at all; it’s about creating a seismic shift in Catholic moral teaching. Does anyone believe for a minute that Bishop Whomever cares a twit about a handful of Catholic faithful in his diocese who prefer to worship according to the pre-Vatican II Missal? Hardly. What they do care about is widening the goalposts so that every field goal attempt garners 3 points.

    • I agree in part. The objections to the novus ordo that I have read, from the Ottaviani Intervention onwards, are all based primarily on the difference in eucharistic theology between the novus ordo and the traditional rite. There can be aesthetic objections to the novus ordo as well, but these are significant only to the extent that they encourage practices reflecting a different theology.

  6. Dear Larry, thanks for a great exposition.

    It all seemed very authentic to me until you closed with what seemed like ‘world renovation’ proselytism: “. . the only true worldliness is the world made new in Christ.”

    Please compare this with Apostle John’s: “There are many rooms in My father’s house . . I am going now to prepare a place for you . . I shall return to take you with Me; so that where I am you may be too.” (John 14:2-4).

    And with Apostle Paul’s: “If our hope in Christ has been for this life only we are the most unfortunate of all people.” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Then: “For we know that when the tent we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).

    As the author of Hebrews 11 exhorts us, we should be longing for a better homeland, our heavenly homeland and city designed & built by God.

    The Apostolic authors assert a ‘salvage’ eschatology, not ‘world renovation’.

    This not an abstruse point only of interest to biblical theologians, it’s the perspective that makes sense of all of life. As the first chapter of John’s Gospel tells us: “He was in the world that had its being through Him and the world did not know Him. . . to all who did accept Him He gave power to become children of God.”

    Is it not a common error today to think that because biblical Catholics long for their heavenly home, they are of no earthly use. Quite the contrary, those pursuing the values of heaven taught to us by Christ & His Apostles are often leaders in responsibly caring for the earth and all its peoples.

    Surely God is like that: passionately caring for the world and all its peoples BUT not because He plans to somehow make it a future home for the enormous throng of saints and martyrs! That is not the vision the Apostolic authors received from God’s Holy Spirit. It also seems to misunderstand the nature of space-time/energy-matter.

    My apologies in advance if I have mistaken your meaning, dear Larry.

    Keep well. Ever in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

  7. More passionate exhortation [Chapp’s essay] than scientific dissection of modernist error infecting Catholicism. At times that’s what evokes passionate response instinctive in nature. We know because it’s intuitive knowledge that’s inherent to our divinely ordained nature, the very basis for formation of conscience. Knowledge of truths that are prescient within.
    Our unmistakable indicator is the direction the Church is taking away from revelation. Faux rationale, pseudo Thomism [even bastardized fake Thomism as is Francis’ interpretation of ST 1a2ae 94, 4 in Amoris]. We know with certitude because we haven’t abandoned Christ for a new gospel and a new messiah.

  8. May I remind Dr. Chapp that it is precisely the people who gave us deformed moral teaching (Amoris laetitia)) and deceptive doctrinal teaching (e.g., the Abu Dhabi statement) who now tell us that the traditional Roman liturgy, substantially dating probably from Apostolic times, is suddenly and inexplicably not an expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite. Sacrosanctum concilium said that then-existing rites were to be preserved and treasured and Pope Benedict XVI called the traditional Roman Rite great, the patrimony of all Latin Rite Catholics, that cannot suddenly be called harmful. I am not looking to these people for any kind of “authentic magisterium,” as Amorous laetitia is called by its putative author. Traditiones custodes is based on error and lies. It is unjust, cruel, and defamatory. What that makes of it any honest person can judge. “By their fruits you will know them.” Please note I am not judging anyone’s moral state, but only their actions and words, as our Lord and Saint Paul said we must and the Church has always taught.

  9. Dr Chapp, this is a classic and a bit scary analysis of our situation. Thanks so much for it and for all the study and learning that made it possible. You have been drawing back the curtain on reality and I for one am very grateful to you.

  10. “[T]he Church of today is undergoing a purgative via crucis of unprecedented dimensions and therefore the current crisis is not something we should shrink from in fear but rather something we should embrace as an opportunity for new saints to rise up.” Agreed! A fine summary of the chaos besetting the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, culminating in rampant attacks on the timeless truths of our Catholic Faith occurring under the watchful eye of our current Pope.

    “Traditionalism . . . is not indicative of any path to sanctity that I can identify beyond the fact that any good liturgy can produce saints when it is a liturgy enlivened by a deep communal faith life within a vibrant parish.” Not agree! A return and adherence to the timeless truths of the Catholic Faith found in Catholic tradition (going back to basics, uncluttered with progressive novelties) IS the “path to sanctity” that we sorely need.

    Accepting all the progressive novelties jostling around in the Church today (regarding them as “purgative” of some past deficiencies in traditional Church teachings) and using them as a starting point to a “the path to sanctity”–and thereby moving forward from that point to some Brave New World of courageous sainthood, does not seem to me to be the best answer to our present Catholic dilemma.

  11. “And that was de Lubac’s insistence that the only real reform of the Church happens when God raises up saints appropriate to the age. De Lubac then noted that it is impossible to guess in advance what kinds of saints the Holy Spirit will raise up in our own time.”

    Just as the order of monasticism was the antidote to the chaos following the demise of the Roman Empire, and the poverty of the new mendicant orders was the antidote to the material excesses of the Middle Ages, authentic purity will be the antidote to the lies about human sexuality in this depraved time. Thus the saints “appropriate to the age” will withstand the vulgar brainwashing and allow the beauty of chastity (in all walks of life) to shine like a resplendent beacon, calling souls back to the truth about the Imago Dei each person is called to bear.

  12. Can solidarity exist in a Church within a Church ..V.. the answer is no, so this must be resolved, then once again the Church can commence to renew and grow.

    What sustains the power of evil within the Church today? Is it not the power of privilege? The reality of this power/evil today within the church is held by laity who colluded with the elite, in what could be described as a Church within a Church which appears to be held together by a ..V.. which I believe signifies ‘one’ of the five points of the Pentagram. This given ..V.. transforms itself into a Circle of Worldly Power. All circles of worldly power rely on secrecy, this gives an advantage based on deception and serves the Evil One. He cannot be beaten at his own game, the early Christians used signs and gestures, but these can be duplicated, then we have duplicity and confusion at play; for those on the outside, like me, friend or foe you no longer know.

    It was put to me many years ago, “it’s a bit like the game of tag, you pass the lurgy (British slang) to someone else” you then become part of Groupthink ..V.. (The privileged herd). While also being told jovially “the new holder of the lurgy always has the option to get rid of his load (Worldly troubles) by passing it on.

    While the V (Two finger sign often used covertly) is used widely within society which often promotes advantage or the expectation of advantage in commerce, education, healthcare, publishing, media, etc, and all organized community activities including those within the religious sphere which enables corruption to flourish.

    I personally have witnessed the use of this V by some of the laity within the church often in collusion with the hierarchy and this creates a hidden (occult) church within the church one which enables all types of injustice to flourish while mirroring the reality of the corruption in society at large in effect the present leadership of the church is entangled with the evil Prince of this world and those who will not speak out about this evil situation collude with it. Self-protection is what the Church leadership sort dereliction is what they bought.

    Quote direct at me on this site some time ago

    “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”

    Possibly not, rather it would be far better to live honestly with warts and all within a wide-open heart (Glass House) in humility where the light of God’s Mercy (Grace) can enter rather than a shuttered one bought and paid for by collusion with the prince of this world ..V.. with his two-fingered sign that protects the worldly image of many Christians from the reality of his all-seeing eye which has its mark on every man and if it hasn’t it soon can.

    “As I have said previously on many occasions, it is not your role or place to be denigrating and slandering the church on this site”

    Thankfully I do not live in a shuttered house so I am ‘free’ to take the contempt (Stones) of the world, while from within my own brokenness I can send out arrows of Truth rather than stones of vengeance/bitterness at a Church hierarchy which appears to be no more than an old boys club.

    The laity (Body of Christ) has been lulled/led by those who collude with evil ..V.. (For some possibly thinking they are doing good (avoidance of scandal, etc) into passivity by a Hierarchical church within a church rather than actively encourage the laity to be involved in critical thinking about the faith and their responsibility to serve the Truth in all situations.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Addendum to my post above

      Not dealing openly with the V (Two fingered sign) would result in any new endeavours eventually mirroring the present corruption and disorders in the church today; in effect, one would be building on sand (A lie) rather than the rock of Truth, Jesus Christ.

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

      • Thanks Brother Kevin for bravely raising an issue our Church leaders, even the genuine ones, avoid like the plague.

        You are correct that many who claim to be Catholics, both lay & clergy, are double-minded. They have dual allegiances. Mafioso, Marxists & other Materialists; Freemasons, Luciferians, Satanists, Witches, Wizards & other Occultists; Astrologers, Nature-worshippers, Gamblers, Necromancers & other Spiritists. You’ll find them all IN the Church, counterfeiting Catholic allegiance, often attaining positions of authority & leadership. Teaching our children; instructing our seminarians. May God have mercy on us.

        How few of them realize that Satan & his fallen angels are powerful proselytizers; & Catholic communities are one of their main ‘happy hunting grounds’!

        This is why all the Apostolic authors of The New Testament emphasize Jesus’ command that we give our COMPLETE & UNMIXED ALLEGIANCE to Him & to Him alone. Jesus Christ, alone, is able to protect us from the flesh, the world, & the devil, whether operating from inside or from outside the Church.

        At Hebrews 9:27 we are instructed that when we die, time stops for us, our souls face immediate judgement by the Glorified King Jesus Christ. His only question will be: “Have you loved Me & obeyed Me & depended on Me above all others, even above your own worldly life?” If He judges we have: what a glorious eternity is ours!

        What a terrible time it will be for those (far too many) ersatz Catholics who’ve served other gods, gambling both ways. What weeping; what gnashing of teeth . . .

        Kevin, you & I and every informed Catholic have a sacred duty to warn them. It may cost us much but if even one soul repents & is saved, it will be worthwhile.

        Thanks again, Kevin, for your highly relevant & passionate interpolations.

        Always in the grace & mercy of Jesus Christ; love & blessings from marty

        • Thank you, brother Martin, for your very courageous comment with knowledgeable insightfulness which prayerfully will give others the courage to speak openly (Bear Witness to The Truth) now in the present moment also.

          “even the genuine ones, avoid it like the plague

          Yes, true as fear rules. Some are part of the devil’s two-fingered herd, by design, others by gradual assimilation while some unfortunates through human frailty are terrorized into his web of corruption and denigration.

          Over the last thirty-five years, I have witnessed on several occasions many who are part of the herd attempt to protect Christians (Usually former Christians themselves) as now they comprehend the full reality of their situation, that is one of being ruled by fear as terror keeps all of the herd ..V.. in check.

          On one occasion I encountered a man in his mid-forties who was ‘accompanied’ by an overseer (of the herd) who had been given a simple implied task directed at me, as I looked into his eye tears began to roll down his cheeks while bowing his head under his breath, he whispered a heartfelt “Sorry”. I now weep again for him, as in fear he is about to enter into one of five points (Houses) of the Pentagram .V…

          ’Catholic communities are one of their main ‘happy hunting grounds’

          Yes, happy to be protected by the V (The two-fingered sign of the prince of this world) as the sheep/flock is ever so gradually assimilated into the herd aided and abated by knowledgeable *hirelings. Make no mistake this entrapment with evil will eventually be conveyed individually to them (Who use this sign V) in knowing that they now live in one of the five houses of the Pentagram which in effect is one of the body parts of the body of Frankenstein. See the link.

          https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/03/12/new-book-emphasizes-reality-of-spiritual-warfare-need-for-vigilance-and-forgiveness/#comment-250643

          While those unfortunates through human frailty are terrorized into his web of corruption and denigration. Many of whom are Cultural Catholics, seen by some as the spiritual undeserving poor. Many of whom I believe have deep regrets, nevertheless, a stirring of the heart often occurs in life’s confounding moments of significance, as in death/birth/loss etc. But sadly, this stirring (Hope) is stifled almost immediately, as they are often entangled within a sinful situation (Mortal Sin). I have personally witnessed at times some attempting to protect myself (And others) while later being aware that it has cost many of them dearly, (As they are ruled over by terror), even life itself. Their hearts are still moist as in

          “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water (Reciprocal love/Grace) because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

          Even though he is entangled in an evil situation (Mortal sin) he will by no means lose his reward. Demonstrating that God’s Mercy cannot be codified or solely confined to a box

          Please see the link
          https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/04/18/eucharistic-coherence/#comment-257531

          What I am proposing by the link gives the Church the means to call all of her Children no matter what their present state (Entangled in sinful situations). Many of whom never truly committed themselves to the faith. To embrace publicly in humility their brokenness, in the present moment, before God and the faithful. If this act of humility is sincere (I believe for many it would be so) spiritual growth (Virtue/Grace) will accrue, as

          “a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise”

          The Rock of Truth is Jesus Christ, and He can only be approached in humble witness and those that do so, no matter what their state of being ‘the gates of hell will not prevail, over them.

          Humility is the key as the Holy Spirit can only dwell in a humble heart because no matter how broken any child of God may be or how worldly a man’s heart may become, it could be said, that when true humility is found, in childlike wonder, we walk anew upon holy ground’

          Thank you, brother Martin, once again for such a courageous comment “By their works, you shall know them” Praise the Lord!

          kevin your brother
          In Christ

          • Thanks brother Kevin: you have a generous & evangelistic heart.

            “If anyone gives as much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones BECAUSE THEY ARE MY DISCIPLE, then I tell you solemnly, they will most certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:42)

            “If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink JUST BECAUSE YOU BELONG TO CHRIST, then I tell you solemnly, they will not lose their reward.” (Mark 9:41)

            You are right, Kevin: those who help Christ’s friends, FOR CHRIST’s SAKE, are welcoming The Gospel, showing in practical ways that they are inspired by God, & are thus approved of by God. A very good place to be!

            At Luke 11:23 Jesus explains: “Those who are not with Me are against Me; and they scatter who do not gather with Me.”

            How gloriously informative is The Word of God; yet, fiercely incisive, too. Whilst we rejoice in God’s Word; yet, we are all subject to it. Those who are continually disciplined by it are firmly built on eternal Rock.

            That so many of our Catholic brothers & sisters, including hierarchs, reject God’s loving discipline, causes us who believe to deeply fear for them.

            Beloved Apostle, John, reports that the children of God are recognizable by 2 characteristics: 1. Their obedience to God’s commandments; and, 2. Their witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 13:17b).

            God has made it that easy for us to inherit eternal life.

            Take care. Keep well. Ever in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

        • Dear Dr Marty:

          Difficult times draw out men and women of God. We cherish His word for it gives us comfort and purpose. You understand the importance of raising men up to godly standards. If we don’t know His word, we have an incomplete road map and perils may beset us. Putting your heart to work is blessing. Continue.

          2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

          1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.
          Titus 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

          Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

          1 Timothy 4:15-16 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

          Yours in Christ,

          Brian

      • Dear brother:

        Thank you for presenting truth on a difficult front. Joining our hearts to celebrate Christ’s victory over sin is what we need to do constantly.

        John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

        Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

        2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

        1 John 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

        1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

        Blessings,

        Brian

  13. Thank you, Brian, my brother for your continuing support with your constant enlightening spiritual blessing.

    Blessing to you also.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  14. The old political catch phrase of years ago, “It’s the economy stupid!” could be used here. “It’s the Liturgy…!” Not calling anyone stupid, just making a point. Another saying of important, something like this, how we worship is ultimately what we believe. So, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is not an idol, it’s a law of belief. Kill it, you kill belief. Look at the Novus Ordo Mass. Most places it mostly old people attending. The young are leaving or have already left.

    • *Basically, I agree.
      *When the traditional mass was replaced with the new mass shortly after the V2 Council, I think many or most Catholic experienced this, psychologically, as the disappearance of the Mass.
      *The silence, the reverence, the formality, the mystery, the unchangeableness, the sacredness of the old mass was replaced by the casualness, the noisiness, the blandness, and the constant novelty of the new mass.
      *Again, I think people experienced this, psychologically, as the disappearance of the mass, and also the disappearance of the local Catholic church sanctuary as a local holy place, and the disappearance of the Catholic priest as a local holy man.
      *To many Catholics, I think all this was experienced as the de facto disappearance of God Himself.
      *In the USA and Western Europe, TV became the new god, a Dionysian god.
      *I always thought there would be a restoration of sanity, sanctity, and good order in the Catholic Church.
      *But now, some 60 or so years on, I’m starting to wonder if the cavalry is coming to rescue Calvary.

  15. “Let us be blunt here: in both de Lubac’s day and our own, there is the pretentious spectacle of the progressive Catholic theologian or religious who dissents publicly from settled Church teachings on any number of hot-button issues, and who are held up as ‘heroes’ who have the daring and ‘courage’ to stand up to the ‘backward’ Church.”

    Yes, that is an apt description of Henri deLubac himself. He was one of the original progressive, dissenting members of the Nouvelle theologie that has ultimately brought us the errors criticized in this essay. He was one of “low-bar” Thomists of the mid-twentieth century; and he continues to be held up as a “hero.” How short are our memories!

  16. “Holiness is not for ordinary people” is the truth, and in fact a tautology — obviously there’s nothing ‘ordinary’ about holiness, holiness is by definition extraordinariness, outside of the ordinary, it means ‘set apart.’

  17. X – O God, who in creating man did most wonderfully exalt his nature, and yet more wondrously restored it anew, grant we pray, that by the mystery signified…

    Z – by the mingling of this water and wine, may we come to share in the Divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity….

    While I am sympathetic to and share Mr. Chapp’s reverence for “Ressourcement” theology, his simultaneous trivialization of the importance and form of the liturgy does not build a sense of unity of purpose. It is hard to take seriously the manifesto that Mr. Chapp and colleagues made about wanting/being in favor of a “new” (or authentic?) “traditionalism,” and subsequently read blithe assertions and dismissals of reverence for the ancient prayers of the Mass by labeling such reverence as “infantile.”

    I believe that among many others, Fr. Louis Bouyer (who Larry Chapp has referred to with great admiration on these pages) would take issue with such a caricature of Catholic people who revere the ancient prayers of The Mass, knowing as I do how strongly Fr. Bouyer condemned the behavior of the men running the “project” to “manufacture” the New Order of The Roman Rite.

    Knowing that Mr. Chapp attends an Ordinariate parish, a knowing the great emphasis and reverence that the Ordinariate has for the traditional prayers of the Mass, in the Sarum Rite, and most especially their reverence for Roman Canon, I find it somewhat inconsistent that Mr. Chapp enjoys the bastion of liturgical tradition gifted to him in his iwn tradition-revering parish, but thinks ill of those (like me?) yearn to experience the endowments he enjoys, which are generally denied to most parishioners in diocesan parishes.

    In the prayers of the Mass quoted at the opening, prayed st the mingling of the water and wine, the vast majority of faithful and readers born in the 1960s and thereafter will not know of the opening invocation of the ancient mingling prayer (which I have labelled X), because it was erased by Msgr. Bugnini and his committee, under the direction snd blessing of Pope Paul VI. And “to put it bluntly” (as Mr. Chapp did about what we might call fraudulent theologians subverting Catholic theology), it is fair to conclude that the reason that Msgr. Bugnini et al were happy to erase the opening invocation is that, as Msgr. Buginini declared in l’Osservatore Romano at the time of his “manufacturing of his “new” Mass, that Catholic content and theology must be removed from Catholic prayers and liturgy, because they are a barrier to Christian unity.

    I have been persuaded by “the non-witness” of Catholic Bishops (etc) that the reason Msgr. Bugnini erased the invocation at the mingling is because he didn’t believe in the Catholic theology of the atonement in the death of Jesus, and it’s restoration of the dignity of man in Christ. In other words, when Bishop Robert Zollitch, former head of the German Bishops Conference held his Holy Saturday 2009 TV interview broadcasting his disbelief in the Lord’s atonement for our sins by his passion and death, Zollitch was simply stating explicitly what Bugnini et al were silently apostasizing about in their “new” Mass.

    In the final analysis, for the same reason one might revere the theological traditions sought by the Ressourcement school of theology, I would expect people to have the same reverence for and resort to the traditional endowments of the liturgy of the Mass.

    • Thank you, Chris. Your final sentence contains the conundrum: Ressourcement theology does not exactly revere theological tradition.

      I’m grateful for your writing.

      • Meiron –

        Thank you for your appreciative teply.

        Just to be as clear as I can, I am saying that it is inconsistent for a man or woman to appeal for Ressourcement Theology, which grounds its appeal on a reverence for all endowments of the Church’s theological traditions, yet in the same essay, give the strong impression that such reverence for tradition is not extended to the Liturgy of The Mass.

        Theology is a minimum requirement for sustaining the integrity of the Church and its faithful, but it is only a minimum requirement, and it is very far from sufficient. While extremely few of us are degreed theologians, and only a minority if faithful, lacking formal study, can dig into and try to understand and weigh and discriminate for the truth in theological books and essays, 100% of the faithful are steeped in the Liturgy of the Mass at least once every Sunday.

        So to assign so much value to the recovery and preservation of theological tradition, and simultaneously discount it regarding the Liturgy of the Mass, I to be simply incoherent and “non-persuasive.”

        It almost seems to undermine the implied or expressed motives for Ressourcement theology itself…stepping on one’s own message.

        • Putting it succinctly: I would submit that there is no better way to communicate the Church’s traditional theology than to say the ancient Liturgy of The Mass…in the vernacular…allowing for an “authentic” translation of the original text, and as needed, reaching back to the Greek od the NT and the Greek of the Septuagent for the OT.

  18. While Theodore Roosevelt was neither a high bar nor a low bar Thomist, nor either a theologian nor a saint….Chapp’s contrast between heroic sainthood and the antics of those who would expand the “grey area” or moral theology reminds me of his (Roosevelt’s) famous quote:

    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

      • Haven’t read it, but recall that he looked forward to that outing in Brazil as “my last chance to be young again.”

        I have read much of his earlier expedition in “African Game Trails” (1910), and some of his six-volume “The Spread of the English Speaking Peoples” (1889, dedicated to Francis Parkman; and based entirely on unpublished primary sources). Picked it up at a junk store for $20 (later price-checked at $600 at Abe Books). We had a president who wrote some 40 very lively and interesting books, rather than stumbling over maybe four bullet points on teleprompter boards.

        And as for low-bar theologians (from where the printing press originated), one need not confine oneself to their pseudo-theological jargon to simply see that some very uninteresting lunatics are now in charge of the asylum.

  19. *Will the Church ever return to sanity, good order, and sanctity? The author of this fine article, Mr. Chapp, writes here:
    *”I have been critical of Pope Francis for having re-empowered those in the Church who seek a revolution in the Church’s moral theology.”
    *Given such a state of affairs, and given that this decadence has openly progressed and raged on in the Church, with much episcopal support, since the 1960s, what hope is there of the Catholic Church saving Western Civlization from Marxist Internationalist Socialism (Communism), Nationalist Socialism (Nazism), Ayn Rand-type radical Libertarianism, Nihilism, Nietzscheanism, & Transhumanism, Anti-Family-ism, etc.?
    *Can anyone give me any reason to hope?
    *This perverse madness and decadence has been going on for 60 years now. Is this just the forever new normal?

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Rejecting the “low-bar Thomism” of revisionist moral theologians – Via Nova Media
  2. Rejecting the “low-bar Thomism” of revisionist moral theologians | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers
  3. TVESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit
  4. Tough Love Jesus – Catholic Outlook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*