Tag Archives: modernism

Father Edward Tomlinson’s Perspective

from Fr. Ed’s Blog – happily found by Allan Gillis


And so it begins

Oh dear. The Synod on the family begins and the climate could not be more depressing. Cardinal Daneels publicly reveals he is part of a cabal of modernists, who not only manipulated the last conclave but engineered the removal of Pope Benedict. Rather chillingly the main protagonists and their ilk are the ones chosen to be present at the Synod. Yesterday a priest of the CDF outed himself, telling the world he has a boyfriend, the timing of this announcement being far from coincidental.

Dear me it is depressing. The church is in crisis. It breaks my heart to watch it unfold. And it worries me deeply that the synod might be sham, a carefully orchestrated fait accompli; the aim being not to change doctrine but practice. The driving of a wedge between what is officially taught and what happens on the ground. That ground may be conceded in favour of modernism.

To really understand what is going on, at a deeper level than newspaper headlines, we must comprehend that the real debate has nothing much to do with how we treat the divorced and remarried or those in same sex relationships. That would be easy enough, I never met an authentic Christian who wasn’t accepting and pastorally kind.

No; drill down beneath the emotive polemic and it becomes clear that what is really under debate is the role of grace and sin, the nature of revelation and the way authority and fidelity are to be understood in the present age. *The modernists want to overthrow traditional Catholic teaching and methodology to conform to the Spirit of the age. And with the Synod deck stacked in their favour, and with it now being a matter of public record that they have control of the Vatican and have been manipulating the process for years, we stand at a moment of genuine crisis for those whose desire is to be faithful to Christ.

As I kneel before the sacrament at present a different angle comes into focus. The spiritual dimension. For always in the church we deal not with political issues of left and right but an eternal battle between Christ and forces of darkness. We lose sight of Satan at our peril. And it strikes me that, on the spiritual level, we find those who no longer love the Jesus of history and wish to substitute him for a faux Christ made in their image. A fake Christ who can accommodate the teaching of the sexual revolution. Why? Because they have fallen in love with the ideals of the sexual revolution. For them scripture is out-dated… precisely because it doesn’t espouse those revolutionary views, traditional teaching no longer pertinent… precisely because it doesn’t chime with the sexual revolution. It is time for change-they say- the church must conform to the world.

And tragically these people are now so in thrall to the ideals of the sexual revolution, and the modernist faith, they ignore or downplay its devastating effect; widespread abortion, the breakdown of the family, etc.. “What is truth?”, they ask- for with their relativist creeds they are the Pontious Pilates of our day. Washing their hands of the real Jesus because, to them, he has become an embarrassment. A figure to be derided and pitied. A man of sorrows. So they beat him afresh, spit and twist thorns on his head. Oh how painful it is to see. And how more painful still is the fact that, backed by the media and leaders of the modern world, they are in the ascendency; ready to bring the church to its knees. Repent and worship at the altar of political correctness, embrace the ideals of the sexual revolution, or face the wrath of our displeasure.

Those who stand by Christ, and the historic teaching of the church regarding the family, are in the minority. A remnant. I am not a very good Christian, truth be told, but I do want to stand by this number. No matter the cost, I want to support those who uphold the faith of the ages, not a bastardised form designed to suit the present. My deepest prayer then, at the start of the Synod, is that the Holy Father will opt for this too. My deepest fear is that we are heading for schism. That those who want to uphold the institution at any price will concede to the world- and the sexual revolution. Whilst those who want to uphold the true church will be driven back into catacombs and considered anathema. I hope I am wrong.

You can probably tell I am feeling depressed by it all at present. Perhaps, as stated before, my Anglican experiences exacerbate this. Perhaps I have it all wrong – I certainly hope so. But we do need to pray. And, to cheer me up, I received this wonderful document from the Confraternity of Catholic priests. A document that robustly defends the faith as historically understood. Lord Jesus please keep your promise that the gates of hell may not prevail. We may be losing the battle but help us remember we cannot lose the war.

This Star Wars clip rather sums up my feelings today. Or at least how I fear I might feel when the dust settles in three weeks time.

  • (* emphasis by your publisher)
  • ( please visit Fr. Ed’s Blog    http://www.tunbridgewells-ordinariate.com/blog/ )

Aphorisms on The Church and the Individual I

  1. Only the church can create a true individual. The saint is the only true individual. The opposite of the true individual is the groupmind or herd.
  2. I do not know if I would be more disturbed by a world filled of atheists or a world full of unchurched “spiritual”/religious people. Who is more deranged? The dogmatic materialist who insists that he is a mere robot without a “Self” or consciousness and that is OK by him OR the man who denies the personal God and insists on a universe populated with invisible and powerful supernatural beings who powerfully influence our freedoms and who we do not fully understand?
  3. It is equally outrageous to claim that supernatural agents exist and that nothing exists except dead matter for as far as our instruments can see …i.e. as far as the last outpost in the vast reaches of the known universe.
  4. The known universe is very likely a tiny, tiny fraction of the whole universe and our universe is but a tiny fraction of the arbitrarily large number of other universes that very likely ‘exist’.
  5. What is my suffering compared to the vast size of the known universe-never mind the infinite reaches of the multiverse?
  6. To bear suffering with humility, dignity and patience is the mark of a great soul and individual. To over-medicate suffering, deny it, fetishize it, embrace it, etc are all typical responses of the herd. Only the true individual or the personal can overcome suffering and the personal is inimical to the herd. The individual, the subjective, the personal measures up to the universe as the personal contains a universe.
  7. The herd opposes the personal. If you flatter the herd, you will puff it up and it will eventually turn on you and trample you into dust. If you attempt to befriend the herd it will treat you as one of its own, i.e. with contempt and then ignore you and eventually destroy you and itself. If you drive the herd with whip and lash into verdant pastures, it will live, cease to be a danger to itself and others and you yourself may prosper from it.
  8. Religion is the whip that controls the herd but it is also the force that makes true individuality, dominant individuality possible. The essence of religiosity lies in rulership. Rulership of oneself and others. That is why the monarchies of the past almost universally allied themselves with religion but always feared it and tried to control it. Monarchies began to die off when the institution of the divine kinship began to lose its force in Europe due to the reformation and wars of religion.
  9. Religious and scientific awe is the only proper response to life. Religious awe without scientific awe is not properly religious and scientific awe without religious awe is not properly scientific.
  10. When a member of the herd gets separated from the pack she likely feels shock, fear and awe. She becomes aware of other minds, agents, predators of super-natural proportions out there that she must face alone. To banish her terrors she proclaims either that all the minds out there are beneficent gods or she proclaims loudly that there are no supernatural agents out there at all…and no minds out there with powers larger than her own prey-like mental capacities…. But she cannot convince even herself of this whistling in the dark gambit…so she desperately tries to run with the herd again in order to submerge her fears in the crowd and to elevate her denunciations via the law of numbers…but her efforts are futile as the herd is funneled by its predators into a headlong rush off the nearest cliff.
  11. Anti-religion atheists are incapable of sensing anything in religion but a crutch for frightened children but they fail to see that they fail to see, they do not know that they do not know. They are like frightened children themselves who are trying to self-soothe back to sleep after a momentary awakening from a bad dream they themselves induced.
  12. It is possible to be an atheist without being anti-religion. Look at Santayana or most of the great autocrats of the enlightenment. The modern brand of militant atheism which presumptuously claims the mantle of science is a pale and pathetic echo of the atheism of the enlightened autocrat.
  13. The ‘religious” person or worse yet the “spiritual but not religious” person is incapable of sensing anything in religion but a balm for their weaknesses and ‘failings”. In this they agree with the militant atheists as well as the reformation protestant reformers.
  14. The political ideology of the herd, inherited from the bloodbath that was the 20th century, is that the victim is holy. Members of a herd can only grasp the concept of victim or prey as that is the thing they are most familiar with. They cannot conceive of being anything like a predator. Like all prey they fear being separated from the herd and falling prey to a tiger or wolf or hunter etc The all-seeing eye of the predator is that which most frightens the herd animal. Their fears shape and constrain the bounds of thinkable thoughts. So falling prey to a predator is the thing most to be avoided and feared and thus it is the thing most hated and feared. Victims are therefore hated and feared by the herd. To either deify or denigrate the prey-not the predator, the victim-not the hunter-this is the herd’s answer to suffering.
  15. Being designated an official victim yields enormous benefits in the world of the herd so every group, no matter how wealthy and influential it might be, attempts to portray itself the victim.
  16. The fact that there really are victims of unspeakable crimes does not negate the fact that the criminals can hold their victims in thrall long after the criminal event itself when the victims embrace the ideology of victimhood.
  17. Nietsche, Kierkegard and Scheler all understood the ideology of resentment and victimhood. Resentiment is the condition which embraces the role of victimhood and then attacks anything of excellence that threatens its benumbed complacency. Fear and hatred of the excellent is the essence of the demonic. Nevertheless, although we see false victims all around us who seethe with resentment the fact remains that there are real victims of innumerable injustices and these deserve our sympathies. Nietzsche and Scheler should have read Dostoyevsky more carefully.
  18. The mark of the true individual is loving compassion for others. Love is not some wilting sigh, dripping with compassion. It is an aggressive assertion of the true, the good, the excellent and the valuable. It is the mark of the absolute individual. Love and aggression are intimately related creative states. Love requires aggression against the herd, the swine incapable of appreciating the pearls lying at their feet.
  19. The ultimate, the unconditioned or God places an obligation on, or within each individual and this obligation is identical with the unique destiny of that individual. It comes in the form of desire and love. Love is destiny. Aggression is love’s instrument for attaining to its destiny.
  20. The ‘personal’ or unique individuality is unconditioned and indeterminate in the sense that it is uncaused and undetermined. The personal cannot be a member of a series because it is utterly unique and un-repeatable. The personal is not reducible to a standard 4 dimensional spatio-temporal instantiation as it has no determinant boundaries-at least in the vertical dimension. Its depths cannot be sounded or measured. The interiority of the personal is essentially limitless and its depths unfathomable. Its outward-looking axis is also limitless as its desires and aims are boundless and infinite.
  21. Love/aggression is the source and the essence of the personal. Love is free, and when directed at another individual, its true aim, it is unbounded and indeterminant. If you ask the lover how much he loves his beloved he will answer that his love has no bounds. If you ask a parent how much he loves his child he will answer that his love knows no bounds. The personal’s mode of operation, love, dis-regards cause and effect and is directed to the utterly unique; i.e. another individual. The lover is passionately interested in and committed to this utterly unique, wonderful (in his eyes at least) and very likely fallible and flawed individual-no other individual will do. Once love strikes it can be fulfilled only with that other individual. That is why I always suspected that the final verses of the Book of Job, where his lost children and wife are replaced by new ones, were interpolations not intended by the original author. When you are in love with someone you cannot replace the beloved with another and find fulfillment—never mind justice. If I lose a child having another child will not heal the wound left in my heart at the loss of the original child. Love, therefore begins in the personal and unique and finds fulfillment in the personal and unique. It starts in freedom and ends in freedom.
  22. Proof that religious sacrifice was an attempt to grasp the power of the personal, lies in the fact that the victims who were sacrificed were universally the divine Kings. Awareness of the dignity inherent in personhood thankfully prevented spread of human sacrifice. Religion as awareness of the rulership inherent in the personal began to decline when animal sacrifice began to replace human sacrifice as the primary religious act. With animal sacrifice religion degenerated into attempts to propitiate the deities or attempts to see the future…i.e. magic.
  23. Christianity provided a solution to the problem of the degeneration of the religious consciousness in the antique world by bringing back sacrifice of the divine king.
  24. The theologies of the reformation began to polemicize against the idea that the central Christian ritual of the Eucharist was a sacrifice. Thus began the decline of Christianity in the West.
  25. It is unclear whether philosophy can replace the role of religion in revealing the essence of the personal as its conceptions of the personal are too puny.
  26. If sacrifice of the divine King can no longer give the individual access to the personal then religions will generate a new way to attain to the absolute individual, to the personal, but that new way has not yet been revealed.
  27. Apocalyptical ideologies within all the major world religions all point to visions of hybrid human/divine beings who partially model possibilities concerning the absolute individual but most of these visions border on jibberish so the only remaining alternative is some combination of religion and philosophy.
  28. This is as I see it a major task of the church in the current age: to develop a vision of the absolute individual by steering the culture through the Scylla of the seductive but dangerous excesses of the fevered religious imagination on the one hand, and the Charybdis of the dangerous excesses of the nihilistic mechanical materialist on the other hand which would suck the individual into an fathomless whirlpool of nothingness.