Scruton: The Law on “homophobia”? — It’s like the show trials under Mao Tse Tung

Roger Scruton, one of the leading Philosophers in the United Kingdom, spoke today to Giulio Meotti of Il Foglio, on of the leading Italian Dailys.  What follows is an unofficial English translation of that article.

They’re creating a whole new language, like the Communists did during the time of the Cold War.  A wooden language.”

Roger Scruton, renowned English philosopher« George Orwell already spoke of this in his famous ‘two minutes of hatred’ in the novel, 1984, said Roger Scruton, the English Philosopher and Commentator, during his interview with Il Foglio.  « The problem of homosexuality is a complicated and difficult one, but we cannot imprison thought itself with laws against the so-called “homophobia”, like that being contemplated by the Italian Parliament, which is nothing other than the criminalization of the right to free intellectual discourse on the question of “gay-marriage”.  They are creating a new intellectual crime, a crime against their own ideology, like the Communists did during the Cold War.

The seventy-year old professor of Philosophy at St. Andrew’s University, Scotland, author of thirty books which have made him the most famous conservative English philosopher (or as the Sunday Times: put  it: “the brightest intellect of our time”), Scruton was commenting on the proposed law before the Italian Parliament which would criminalize “homophobia”.  Even Amnesty International is in favor of the law.  « To me, this law on “homophobia” brings back memories of the farcical trials held at Moscow, or those of Maoist China, in which the victims were forced to confess with enthusiasm their own crimes, before being condemned.  In all those show trials, the enthusiastic prosecutors accused the victims of “hatred” and “hate speech”, you see what the philosopher Michale Polanyi, in 1963, defined as a “moral inversion”:  if you deplored the welfare system ,you were lacking in compassion; if you are opposed to the normalization of homosexuality, you are a “homophobe”; if you believe in western culture, you are an “elitist”.  The accusation of “homophobia” means the end of your career, especially for those who work at a University.

Scruton sustains that the manipulation of truth is being conducted under the cover of the distortions of language, just like in Orwell’s novel, under the name of “the New Language”.  « The New Language intervenes every time the principal proposition of a language, which is descriptive of reality, is replaced by the intended opposite:  and this is nothing other than the raw affirmation of political power over language itself.  Here, the fundamental linguistic act coincides only superficially with the assertive grammar.  The phrases in the New Language sound like affirmations in which the only logic underlying them is that of a magic formula:  they are designed to show the triumph of words over things, the futility of rational argumentation against the politically correct ideology and the danger of resisting the intended enchantment.  As a consequence, the New Language has developed its own special syntax which, though strictly connect to that which is normally used in ordinary descriptions, evades it precisely so as to deflower reality or to oppose rational argumentation itself.  This is what François Thom tried to illustrate in his essay, “La Langue de bois” (The wooden language).  Some of the syntactical peculiarities were pointed out by Thom:  the use of the noun in place of a transitive verb; the preference of passive forms and impersonal constructions; the use of comparatives in place of predicates, the omnipresence of the imperative mood ».

With the law on “homophobia”, says Scruton, “they are trying to instill in the mind of the public the same malign idea which is pervading all of Europe, taking up residence in the hearts and heads of the masses which are ignorant of their machinations, diverting, in this way, along the path of sin even the most innocent affairs of men.  The New Language freezes and hardens the mind.  Common parlance itself generates, with its own native resources, the concepts which the New Language prohibits:  correct / incorrect; just / unjust; honest / dishonest; your / mine.

A Form of Re-education

Scruton says that the fear of heresy is a foot in the country of Europe.  « A considerable system of semiofficial etiquette is emerging for the prohibition of free speech on points of reality which are seen as “dangerous”.  The threats are spreading so rapidly in society that there is no way to avoid them in daily life.  When words become crimes, and thoughts are judged as advocacy, a sort of malign prudence invades intellectual life.  They are controlling language, sacrificing style for a more “inclusive” syntax, they avoid speaking of sex, race, and religion.  Every phrase or idiom which contains a judgement on any category or class of persons can become, from one day to another, the object of reproach.  This political correctness is a soft form of condemnation with the same violence of a Salem witch trial ».  Like they did in Massachusetts in colonials times, as narrated in the Scarlet Letter.  « Whoevery is worried about all of those and wants to make some protest, has to battle against powerful forms of censure.  Whoever dissents from what is becoming the Neo-Orthodoxy of “gay-rights” is regularly accused of “homophobia”.  In the United States of America there are political action committees which examine the candidacy of politicians to determined whether they are “homophobes”, so to liquidate their candidacies from the get go, by means of the mere accusation.  Even in the selection of juries, one hears, “We will never accept the possibility that such a person can be part of the jury:  she is a Christian and a homophobe!”

According to Scruton, all this is reminiscent of the ideological warfare which prevailed at the time of the Cold War:  « In those years it was considered necessary by some to create definitions to stigmatize the opposition with a visceral hatred so as to justify his expulsion from society:  there was “revisionist”, “deviazionist”, “teenage lefty”, “utopian socialist”, “social fascist”.  The success of these labels to marginalize and condemn the opposition reinforced the error spread by the Communists that by means of language you could change reality:  for example, you could invent the culture of a proletariat by using the word “prolekult”; you could unchain yourself from the failure of a free economy simply by shouting “the crisis of capitalism” every time the topic came up; you could combine the absolute power of the Communist Party with the free consent of the people by calling the Communist Government, a “centralized democracy”.  How easy it became to murder millions of innocents, considering that nothing bad was resulting, no, it was only the “liquidation of prisoners”!  How simple it was to shut people up for years in work camps until they got sick or died, when one only had to redefine them as “re-education camps”.  Now, there is a new secular bigotry which wants to criminalize the liberty of expression when it regards the topic of “homosexuality”.

Finally, Scruton says, it’s a battle between the “pragmatist” and the “rationalist”.  For the former, « there is no utility in the old ideologies of objectivity and universal truth, the only thing which matters is that “we” are in agreement.  Who is this “we”?  And upon what do we find ourselves in agreement?  “We” are for feminism, “we” are liberals, supporters of the movement for the “liberation of gays” and for an “open curriculum”; “we” do not believe in God or in any handed-down religion, and the old ideas of authority, order and self-discipline are for “us” immaterial.  “We” are the ones to decide the meaning of texts, by creating with our own words the consent which with they are weighed.  “We” have no bonds, except for those of the community to which we have chosen to belong, and since there is no objective truth, but only a self-generated consent, “our “position is unattackable from any point of view outside of “our” own.  The pragmatist can not only decide what to think, he can also protect against anyone thinking in a different way ».

Why Stability in the One True Faith is important

“The whole principle of our doctrines has taken root from the Lord of the Heavens above” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1, “On Isaias”).

On the occasion of receiving the Doctorate in Sacred Theology, at the University of Paris, in 1252, St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, one of the two primary Doctors of the Church, gave a historical sermon on the Magisterial Authority of Jesus Christ, which remains, to this day, one of the most eloquent and theologically complete exposition of the Catholic Faith on the topic.  In what is now commonly referred to as n. 15, of that Sermon, the Seraphic Doctor has this to say:

From the aforesaid, therefore, there appears, the order by which and the author by whom one arrives at Wisdom. — For the order is, to begin from the stability of the Faith and proceeds through the serenity of reason, to arrive at the savoriness of contemplation; which Christ hinted at, when He said: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And in this manner is fulfilled that verse of Proverbs 4:6: The path of the just as a splendid light goes forth and grows even unto the perfect day. To this order did the Saints hold, attentive as they were to that verse of Isaiah, according to the other translation: Unless you will have believed, you will not understand. This order the philosophers ignore, who neglecting the Faith and totally founding themselves on reason, could in no manner arrive at contemplation; because, as St. Augustine says in the first book On the Trinity, « the sickly keenness of the human mind is not fixed in such an excellent light, unless it be cleansed through the justice of the Faith ».

From time immemorial, it has been an intrinsic and infallible truth of the Catholic Faith, that by faith is a man-made pleasing to God,* a faith founded upon the assent of the mind to revealed truth, accompanied by an act of repentance from all wickedness.  It is St. Paul, himself, who taught us that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6).  And in this dogmatic teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles, one can easily discern a profound commentary on the words of Our Lord and Master:  God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

Worshiping God in truth, requires, obviously, first of all, that man knows the truth regarding God; and this truth is the truth God has revealed about Himself, partially in the writings and teachings of the Prophets of the Old Testament, fully in the self-revelation of Himself when He became Man, known to faith and history as Christ Jesus, faithfully and clearly in the teachings of the Apostles, of whom we have the letters of St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, St. Jude, and St. John, and the Gospels of the Evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and, again, St. John.

Down through the ages, in the fulfillment of the words of Christ, Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her. (Matthew 16:18), and, again, I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may never fail, and so that when you are converted, you may strengthen your brethren. (Luke 22:31), the Roman Pontiffs have at times used their divinely conferred authority, to strengthen the whole Church in the Faith of Christ, that is, the faith which Christ taught.  They did this in letters, at councils, and in promulgating decrees and other documents, wherein they specified with precise terminology, what is to believed, and what is not to be believed, so that the faith of all Christians might find stability and unity in the profession of the same authentic doctrine which Christ taught and which He handed down and willed to be kept, through the Apostles, in the Catholic Church, until the tend of time.

Stability in the faith, therefore, is nothing to be ashamed about; rather it is something of which every faithful Catholic should glory, knowing as he does that this is a necessary blessing, without which a man founders in a sea of error, especially in those times of life or in those ages in which the fallen spirits wage more openly their war against the righteous.

Stability in the One True Faith, without which it is impossible to be saved, requires, consequently a loyalty to the One True Faith, which was given by Christ and passed from the Apostles in the Church, through the Magisterium, faithfully, unchanged, for tewnty centuries.  Hence, fidelity to Christ requires that every Catholic hold fast to this historic deposit, and that thus, if in any aspect of the life of the Church, there has been a falling away from this Holy Faith, that he dedicate himself to restoring what was lost in practice.

Lost in practice, because in truth, the Church has never lost Her Faith, regardless of how many clergy, religious, or even Bishops, might abandon it or its practice. Lost in pratice, not in the whole Church, but in many members of Her, because the Holy Spirit is always at work inspiring some members to keep what He Himself wishes restored in the Church, even if the vast majority have forgotten or abandoned His inspirations and handiwork.

Hence it is a good and holy thing to be a restorationist, in this sense; and those who say otherwise, have been deceived by the world, the flesh, or the Devil.

But faithfulness, does not mean legalism.  A legalist sees only laws, and not the truths upon which they are founded, or the end for which they were instituted.  A legalist, for example, who is faithful to Vatican II, might forget that it was merely a pastoral council, that it intended above all the salvation of souls and the conversion of the world to Christ.  A legalist who remains loyal to the Council but forgets these greater truths, might insist upon the Council even to the destruction of the faith, of the salvation of souls, or to driving away souls from the Church; or worse, to confirming the enemies of Christ in their hatred for the Faith.

A VICE DIRECTLY CONTRARY TO STABILITY IN THE FAITH

Directly contrary to the stability with which the Catholic believer is blessed, is the vice and curse of impulsiveness.

Impulsiveness is that vice of consenting to violent movements of passion, emotion, feeling or sentiment, which assail a man from within his own soul.  A man poorly trained in the use of his reason, easily falls to such movements, confusing the movement for a free act which comes from himself; and giving himself up to it, such that he considers it an inspiration in the general sense of a worthwhile thought; or worse, an inspiration in the specific sense, as something from God.

In truth, many such violent movements come from the effects of original sin in the soul and body; still others come from the fallen spirits which are ever afoot to harm souls. Such movements are more frequent in souls beholden to some sinful and vicious preoccupation with things, with some sort of idolatrous devotion to wordly values or goals. They are most frequent in souls which glory in their own impulsiveness, or who think that such impulsiveness comes from God, which last stage of this vice is the worst of all, since no one in good conscience can escape noticing, that the God of Truth is a God of order, not disorder, peace non violence.

Impulsiveness occurs when a man does not submit his reason and judgement to faith; fails to examine his conscience, omits humility which would cover his mind with a suspicion about such instantaneous outbursts.  Since a humble man knows that of himself he is nothing but dung and capable of evil; he knows well that instantaneous violent movements within him, DO NOT COME FROM GOD.  He eschews impulsiveness, as a vice which leads to imprudent destructive action.

If a man, however, is stable in the One True Faith, he has a stable norm for mortifying his inner self; and from this comes the strength of will and reason to recognize impulsiveness for what it is, a vice, and to combat it with humility, self-reflection, and self-criticism.

In this way, as St. Augustine says, Faith leads to the purification of the mind and heart; and in this way the light which has come to us in Baptism, the light of faith, grows from the faintest dawn to the full day of holiness (Proverbs 4:6).

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*  When we say, that a man is made pleasing to God by faith, we speak of “faith” as a theological virtue and in regard to the order of instrumental causality, since, obviously, it is God who by giving us faith as a free gift, justifies us; that is God works faith in those whom He calls to salvation, and by faith conforms the mind of the believer to His own mind.  Justification, however, is thus not by faith alone, as Luther taught, because there is necessary for justification, that (1) a man be disposed to accept God’s teaching and the movements of the Holy Spirit in his soul, (2) that hear the word of God preached to him, (3) that he believe the Gospel message contained therein and all that Christ and the Apostles and Prophets taught, (4) that He love the God who has thus revealed Himself, (5) that he hope in fulfillment of what God has promised in Christ Jesus’ Resurrection and teaching, (5) that he purposefully and firmly resolve to accept Baptism in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, and in particular (6) do so in penance of all his sins and vices, because a man who believes without repentance, has believed in vain. After Baptism, if a man sins, he has the blessing of the help of Christ Jesus offered in the Sacrament of Confession, which Christ taught and instructed the Apostles to give to repentant sinners, when He said: Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, whose sins you hold bound, are held bound! He who hears you, hears Me; and he who rejects you, rejects Me! The 12 Apostles in ordaining Bishops and priests established the Catholic Hierarchy, which extends down through time to our day, and which forms that 1 true Church which is known to men as the Catholic Church.

How to eSquander your Civilization

In the Last 60 years, there has been a profusion of writers lamenting the collapse of Western Civilization. Whether measured by the statistics of increased crime, increased family problems, loss of virtues, political or economic or ecclesiastical instability, most Catholic and Christian thinkers are in agreement. Western Civilization is in decline.

A google search for “the Decline of Western Civilization” seems to bolster this observation: 147,000 search results for this exact phrase, and this, in English only.

Butler Shaffer expressed a common, popular conception of this decline when. in 2009, he observed

It is interesting — albeit not pleasant — to witness the collapse of Western civilization. A vibrant system that once was productive of the material and intangible values supportive of human well-being, has reached a terminal state. Civilizing principles and practices that found sufficient — albeit inconstant — expression in Western societies, have deteriorated into an acceptance of corruption — provided it is carried out in high places — and the celebration of violence — provided it is directed against plausible categories of wrongdoers. In such ways has the multi-trillion dollar looting of taxpayers on behalf of an entrenched corporate-state plutocracy combined with the ongoing conduct of endless wars against endless enemies to send a morally, intellectually, and economically bankrupt culture to an awaiting black hole.

The editor of the Rogue Government Blog, wrote in 2010, that the collapse of Western Civilization was a complex consequence of non-rational political and social actors. He founds his analysis upon the observation that civilization is based upon, what he calls, “rational self-interest”, and that when the general population fails to cultivate this, internal order in the society fails, and the civilization collapses:

If reasonable men can agree to these rules, then society can become prosperous and enjoyable. If they reject them, then man is locked into a constant political war for resources. These ideas and ideals can be categorized as “rational self-interest” and extended to imply not only political but also economic principles. Rational self-interest entails mutual cooperation and trade of the fruits of one’s freely chosen labor so that people in a just societal order can pursue happiness of their own accord and allow others to do likewise. The proper and dignified life for man is one of personal challenge and triumph over obstacles, and the laissez-faire economic order provides all but the most helpless, clueless, and lazy the opportunity to eventually succeed.

When the clueless, the lazy and indolent are rewarded for such behavior, entropy takes over, and the end of civilization is inevitable, especially when these disgregational forces are impelled by political networks, such as socialists, progressives, and communists.

However, the Evangelical writer, James B. Jordan, writing in 2007, went deeper into the problem regarding the whole notion of “Western Civilization”. In the first installment of seven part essay, he drew attention to the fundament relationship between religion, history, and founders of culture:

Once that tradition is gone, the culture cannot be put back together. Cultures are not like stones in a wall, which if it crumbles can be rebuilt. Rather, cultures are like Humpty Dumpty. When an egg and its yoke are broken, then all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put it back together again. When a culture is gone — and ours is — the only valid possibility for the future is to lay the foundations for a new culture. Within the history of a culture, a Josiah can rebuild it; but when a culture is gone, new Abrahams are needed. When things fall apart, and the center can no longer hold, we must be Abrahams. Otherwise the rough beast will take over Bethlehem.

All these views of society collapse are cogent and not to be discounted. A recent Russian author, Dmitry Orlov, writing about the collapse of the Soviet Union, has studied the phenomena of society collapse in this new book, The Five Stages of Collapse; recently reviewed by Carolyn Baker, in April of this year. Orlov has proposed 5 solutions to each of the 5 aspects of society collapse, though he limits himself to a merely material analysis.

My own views as a Cultural Anthropologist

The entire concept of “civilization” is a very complex one, which cannot be summarily explained by simply one methodology or analysis. We can look at aspects of culture or society organization and seek to discern the causes and forces which are molding and changing them. But hard and fast empirical rules/laws are not to be found in the human sciences, simply because man is a free agent, not a necessary agent. Moreso, when you admit, as Christians do, that man is God’s creation, called by Him to eternal life, and ever the subject and object of His merciful interventions into History.

One aspect, therefore, I’d like to remark upon, is what I call the eSquandering of Civilization. The proliferation of electronic devices and means of communication, their fascination for the weak minded and those inclined more to sentimentalism and experientialism that rational cognitive reflection or meditation, is leading the vast mass of mankind to reduce his societal relationships to artificial means.

This is only a trend, not an absolute factor, as obviously, we still have predominately human personal interactions. But the trend, however so small, is having a remarkable impact on several particular aspects of society, which I enumerate here:

  1. The first of which is the neglect of reading serious literature.
  2. The second of which is the neglect of writing about serious matters.
  3. The third of which is the neglect of listening to what others are in fact saying.
  4. The fourth of which is the neglect of refraining from making an immediate reaction or comment.
  5. The fifth is the neglect of reflection or reasoned meditation.

Each is having an impact on a different aspect of what it means to be a civilized human being.

Take for example the constant use of the Internet and TV-services. The annual cost alone per family is squandering financial resources which could be used to purchase books for a family library, and thus create a permanent heritage of useful and worthwhile information accessible to themselves and their descendents. Instead, they pay monthly fees for monthly services, the utility of which is momentary, the value of which is temporary, and the effect of which is merely utilitarian, based on pleasing the emotions or serving practical affairs of daily life. The resulting loss to the book industry, means that thinkers who are worth being read, cannot get published; and thus society as a whole loses the precious gift of their contribution to civilization, which is thus squandered by neglect.

The lack of writing about serious matters, is causing the loss of the ability to think in a reasoned manner, because you cannot express yourself in writing about a serious topic, in a manner worthy to be listened to, without using the tools of reason. This means the loss of the acquisition of skills for writing, and thus the loss of future writers who would have influence the betterment of civilization by their contributions. The squandering of talent.

The neglect of listening is the most serious problem. Because without listening there is no communication or social relations based on reasoned discourse. And that means the utter collapse of society organization. The squandering of human relationships.

The neglect to refrain from immediate reaction, is reducing individuals’ ability to act on a rational basis rather that on gut-feelings or suspicions. This is leading to the formation of a culture based on irrational impulses, and thus to the creation of a new barbarism for societal order. The squandering of humanity.

The neglect to take time out and think seriously about a problem before speaking or writing or acting about is, is the final blow to civilization. It is leading the next generation into a culture where decision making skills are woefully lacking or impaired, when the decisions regard long term planning, prudential discernment, and the selection between what is lasting and what is ephemeral. And that means the next generation will not be able to sustain the civilized order when it is put at risk by calamitous events or urgent or severe problems. The squandering of intelligence.

A Christian solution to eSquandering

We are seeing the collapse of Western Civilization for all of the above reasons. We need to return to Our Lord and Maker, Jesus Christ, and learn again from Him, what it means to be human, civilized and rational. This we can do only with faith, prayer, and repentance from a culture of sinful preoccupation with the ephemeral, which is merely the result of an age which is so forgetful of God, that it is becoming oblivious to being itself.

Dogma’s Terrible or Radiant Tomorrow

A Book Review of Enrico Maria Radaelli’s book, Il Domani Terribile o Radioso? del Dogma. 261 pp., Edizione Pro Manuscripto, Aurea Domus, 2013. Italian. 35€ (to acquire seen End of Article)

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Introduction

To those in the English-speaking world, the name Enrico Maria Radaelli is not a familiar one.  Therefore, some introduction is necessary.

One of the most famous Italian philosophers of the last century was Romano Amerio.  Born in Lugano, Italy on January 17, 1905, he graduated with a degree in Philosophy from the Università Cattolica di Milano in 1927, and again in Classical Philology in 1934.  He taught Latin and Greek and Philosophy from 1928 to 1970 in the Cantonal High-school of Lugano.

AmerioHis intellectual acumen and loyalty to the faith was such, that he was a consultor for Msgr. Angelo Giuseppe Jelmini, Apostolic Administrator of Lugano, Switzerland, from 1935-1968 A.D..*

Amerio, was a Catholic intellectual with a mind ennobled by the faith.  His criticism of the events of the Council was founded, not upon his personal sentiments, but upon his adhesion to the Magisterium of Bl. Pope Pius IX (Quanta Cura) who condemned masonic-liberalism, of Pope St. Pius X (Lamentabile Sane Exitu), who condemned modernism, and of Venerable Pope Pius XII (Human Generis), who condemned neo-modernism.

Cast aside by the progressivist movement in Italian ecclesiastical circles during the pontificates of Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, he was “rehabilitated” as a thinker of note, during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, by no less than the widely influential but very liberal, Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Cattolica, in 2007.

His most famous book, is easily recognized by many in the English-speaking world was  Iota unum (1985), the subtitle of which in Italian translates, A Study in the variations in the Catholic Church in the 20th Century.  In it, by means of a philosophical analysis of the relations between Truth and Life, Amerio strongly criticized the destabilizing changes introduced into ecclesial life by the means adopted to implement the reforms advocated by the documents of the Vatican Council.

When, at the close of his life, Amerio, by then half-blind, sought someone to help him publish the sequal to Iota unum, Stat Veritas (which was published only postumously in 1996), he sought the assitance of Enrico Radaelli.

Enrico Maria Radaelli, the author

Dr. Enrico M. RadaelliLike Amerio, Radaelli is a philosopher in the tradition of St. Thomas, though the latter has devoted his studies in particular to the relations between Truth and Beauty.  Professor of Aestetic Philosophy, and Director of the Dept. of Æstetic Philosophy at the Associazione Internazionale “Sensus communis” (Rome), he collaborated in the chair dedicated to the Philosophy of the Conscience:  Antonio Livi, at the Pontifical Lateran University.  He is the editor of the Opera Omnia of Romano Amerio, and has published several articles in L’Osservatore Romano on the relations of Beauty and Sacred Art. (for a complete list of his publications, see his website).

Il Domani Terribile o Radioso? di Dogma, the Book

Radaelli’s book is prefaced by the English Philosopher Roger Scruton, and by commendatory letters from the Most. Rev. Mario Oliveri, Bishop of Albenga, Italy, Alessandro Gnocchi, Mario Palmaro, and Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, one of the most prestigious Roman theologians of the last 40 years.

You can read Gherardini’s introduction to Radaelli’s book, in an unofficial English translation at http://centreleonardboyle.com/Radaelli.html

Having myself labored for the last decade on an English translation of Bonaventure’s Commentaries on the Sentences of Lombard, I found Radaelli’s book to be a delightful and yet, extremely profound meditation on the nature of Holy Mother Church.

Though a philosopher, Radaelli has recaptured, in my opinion, the ethos of the theology of the High Middle Ages, by his philosophical analysis of what the Church is and must be.

For Radaelli it is not insignificant, but absolutely essential, to Her Nature, to be a spouse, and Her relationship with Her Creator and Redeemer, Christ Jesus, characterizes every aspect of Her being, whether that of the primum esse (the first act, in which essence and existence conjoin) or that of secundum esse (the second act, in which all that is implicit in the first act, is manifested).

As the immaculate Spouse of Him who is the one Master of All, Radaelli argues throughout that it is the inherent and perennial quality of Holy Mother Church to speak in dogmatic language, and that this constitutes the fundament of the beauty of that form of language which is proper to Her.

The scope of the book is to seek an approach to the problem of the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council which would go to the roots of its novelty and explain in principle the necessary consequences of the effects its implementation.

He calls his approach a metaphysical one, or more exactly an estetical one, in the metaphysical sense.  In this analysis, he begins and returns, in a cyclical movement from the transcendentals of being, the good, the true and the beautiful; remarking that the modern habit among intellectuals of glossing over the third transcendental of being, has had a profoundly negative effect on their ability to appreciate the first two.

For Radaelli, as for any philosopher or theologian in the Scholastic tradition, there is no divorcing of the consideration of the transcendentals of being, without dire consequences in the development of human thought, action, or societal organization.

It is for this reason, that the beauty of the Church’s own proper and obligatory manner of speaking, must be a dogmatic one.  Form for Radaelli is the both the language of substance and the substance of language; and hence the form of language both reflects and molds the substance of those who employ it.

From this profound metaphysical principle, Radaelli draws out the deleterious effects which necessarily must follow, if the Church would abandon Her unique, perennial and exclusive devotion to dogmatic language.  And having expounded upon this, he applies his considerations to the documents of the Second Vatican Council, considering them in the light of the effect of the implementation of the reforms as that implementation was enacted and conceived by those who formed their minds and judgements upon an a-critical reading of the documents.

Finally, Radaelli closes his book with an impassioned admonition to the Sacred Hierarchy: if the Church does not return to speaking dogmatically, She will in short time cease to exist in the hearts and minds of men. The “wooden” language of the Council, as Radaelli characterizes it, is one deprived of beauty, and hence of vivifying, truth. A dead thing, which when implemented, must necessarily include some destructive effect in the Church, founded by and wed to Life Himself.

In my opinion, with Il Domani Terribile o Radioso? del Dogma, Radaelli has made the most significant contribution to Ecclesiology in the 21st century, and has mapped out intellectually, the road to resolve all the conflict which the implementation of the Second Vatican Council has been the occasion for engendering in the Church universal.  Radaelli has made an eloquent argument which can serve well both theologians and members of the Hierarchy and Roman Curia in their work of reconciling faith and reason, and ecclesiastical discipline with faith.

The book is a delightful read; uniquely coherent to its own principles, in that it is printed in a form equated to the golden dimension of proportions, famously employed by artists and architects of the ancient world, and rediscovered in the Renaissance. While reading its pages you will taste and hear intellectually the conviviality of faith and reason and how beautiful indeed is their marriage in the mind of one of Italy’s pre-eminent Thomistic philosophers.

Finally, The book is served by a very useful index of persons and places, and a list of Radaelli’s other published works.

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To acquire a copy of this book: Goto Hoepli Bookstore, Coletti Bookstore, or Ebay Italy

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* Many thanks to Enrico Raedelli, for his help in correcting the historical error, found in the online biography, regarding Amerio’s participation at the Council. He was not a peritus, but was a consultor to Msgr. Jelmini. Also, he was never officially condemned, and so “rehabilitated” is only used above, in the sense of being un-blacklisted by the liberal, ecclesiastical press.

Finally, I am honored, that Raedelli, on his own initiative, posted an Italian translation of this review at his own website. You may click here to read it. Thank you, Doctor!