Sunday, June 8, 2014

Save Saint Thomas, Save the Church

By Matthew Bellisario 2012

Pope John XXII in 1323, only 49 years after Aquinas’ earthly passing, proclaimed St. Thomas a Saint. He wrote, "We believe that Brother Thomas is glorious in heaven, because his life was holy, and his doctrine alone is a miracle." This Saturday , Jan 28th (in the new calendar, March 7th in the old. I celebrate them both!) is the feast day of the greatest theologian the Church has ever produced, Saint Thomas Aquinas. In 1567 Pope Pius V declared him a Doctor of the Church. He was however given an even higher title by the Church, that of the Angelic Doctor, or The Universal Doctor. These are titles that have yet to be given to anyone other than him. It is no secret that Saint Thomas’ works have been used by the Church to help explain and defend the truth of Christ to the world. In fact, his work was referred to in great depth during the great ecumenical council of Trent, and his line of thinking was used to formally further explain and define dogmatic truths of the faith which included the Eucharist, the Mass, the Sacraments and the unity of the Church. He was a sure safeguard against the errors of Protestantism, and men such a Luther despised him because his knack for getting at the truth of things, which often made a folly of Luther’s bloated ego and the heretical theological positions he held. The Church in fact survived the Protestant Revolt and came away all the stronger because of the Church’s use of St. Thomas’ thought. The method of St. Thomas became time tested as the Church made its way through history, refuting the errors of the world effectively. Looking to modern times, six popes in a row, from Pius IX to Pius XII all hailed him and his thought as an indispensable asset to aiding the human intellect in understanding the Catholic faith.

The Wake of Vatican II in Light of Pope John XXIII's Opening Address

The second Vatican Council and what has happened in its wake is a hotly controversial topic in and outside the Church. Since its close in 1965 few today understand Vatican II and what Pope John XIII really intended it to accomplish. As the old story goes, Pope John XXIII wanted to allow some fresh air into the Church. This fresh air consisted in some very controversial actions on his part. For example, it is no secret that he personally allowed non-Catholic observers into the Council. He also certainly had a radically different outlook on the Church and the world than his predecessors. The consequences of Vatican II must be understood according to actual history rather than by those in the Church today who wish for an outcome that has yet to take place.

The Second Vatican Council is more than just a collection of 26 documents. The Council fomented a unique attitude and ideology that has penetrated throughout the Church in its wake. An Ecumenical Council's effects are quite apparent in looking at prior Councils such as Trent. Not only do we have the documents of Trent, but we also have the attitude that the Council carried into the Church in her wake which can be verified historically. Trent for example among other things, generated a rich understanding of the Sacraments and further explained the Church's ecclesiology in the face of the horrific Protestant heresy. I think that it is fascinating to compare what actually happened after the Second Vatican Council to what Pope John XIII wished to happen, in light of his opening speech in 1962 when he began the Council.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And Never The Twain Should Meet- The Orthodox-Catholic Divide

And Never The Twain Should Meet

The Radical Divide Between Catholicism
and Eastern Orthodox Theology
By: James Larson


    As the reader is aware, there exist powerful demonic forces operating within the Church attempting to dissolve every truth of our faith of its substantial nature and concise doctrinal formulation. Such efforts are an attempt to destroy Christ Himself. As St. John writes:

"And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God: and this is Antichrist…." (1 John 4:2).

Jesus is the Truth and the Word. Doctrine is simply the putting into words the Truths of Christ. Therefore, the primary means used by Satan to "dissolve" Christ is the undermining of those substantial formulations of Catholic truths which we call Doctrine.

Few Catholics realize that Eastern Orthodoxy, especially as represented by Palamite theology, represents a systematic and comprehensive attack upon Catholic doctrine. Catholic and Orthodox theology are not only in opposition to one another in their understanding of God (theology), but also in the various disciplines of philosophy – in Cosmology, Psychology, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Theodicy, and Ethics. They posit radically different views of God, of man, and of the relationship between God and His creation. Finally, and very crucially, they embrace radically different views of the final destiny of man. In this respect they both employ the concept of "deification", but possess very different understandings of what this term signifies.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Divine Revelation, Sacra Doctrina

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Divine Revelation, Sacra Doctrina
By Matthew Bellisario Jan 28th, 2010.
(First published on Catholic Champion)

Saint Thomas' Historical Background

Saint Thomas Aquinas is one of the greatest Latin dogmatic theologians the Church has ever produced. There have been attempts by those outside the Church to brand him as some type of pre-Protestant theologian, subscribing him to a form of “Scripture Alone” theology. Although some passages taken in isolation may at first glance appear to put him in such a category, more extensive reading of his material will prove him to be much in line with current Catholic dogmatic theology, which subscribes to the Scriptures as being God’s written Word, being of the same substance of His Oral Word, as taught and proclaimed infallibly by Holy Mother Church in Rome. Although much can be said of the Catholic Church, it is Catholic teaching that the Church is not above God’s Word, but only serves it. As we will see, Saint Thomas thought the same. In fact, Saint Thomas did not view any of these elements as being separate entities, and they all fit together almost as the Holy Trinity fit together in one substance. Just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit cannot ever be separated apart, so the Eternal Word proclaimed in Scripture and Tradition, as taught infallibly by the Holy Spirit through the Christ’s only Church, cannot be separated. But, before we can even begin to examine Saint Thomas’ writings, we must first understand Saint Thomas’ educational and historical background.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


By James Larson (Originally published in the Christian Order)

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the beauty of the Lord…. (Psalm 26:4)
And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightlines, that we should be desirous of him. (Isaiah 53: 2)

Beauty is one of the most important concepts of Catholic theology and philosophy. It is in fact considered by most Thomists to be one of four transcendental properties of being (transcendentals are defined as notions or concepts which apply to all being simply as being). The other three transcendentals are unity, truth, and goodness. Every being, in other words, is in possession of its own unity; further, it is true, it is good, and it is beautiful (even spiders and cockroaches).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Restoration of the Supernatural

The Restoration of the Supernatural 
In accord with the Teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas
By James Larson

A great spiritual miasma has now descended upon the civilized world – a kind of poisonous ambience of culture and thought which has made it virtually impossible to perceive spiritual realities. Apart from an extraordinary grace from God, the only human weapon capable of dispersing this poisonous fog is the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. The great tragedy of our age is that for several decades this weapon has been largely placed under lock and key by those within the Catholic Church who have been assigned as its custodians and champions. 
Since Vatican Council II, it has been the overwhelmingly prevalent view, especially among the Catholic hierarchy, that the Church must seek a new philosophical and theological basis for its teaching – an approach which will somehow bypass what is alleged to be the “intellectualism” of St. Thomas Aquinas. It has been repeated ad nauseum that St. Thomas’ approach to the faith is static, rigid, rationalistic, and even Pelagian, and that a new approach (usually leading back to St. Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bonaventure, John Duns Scotus) is necessary in order to restore some sort of original, gospel-centered “heart” to Catholic thinking and spirituality. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Brief Intro to the Natural Law

By: Alexander Greco

Pope Innocent VI speaking of the extraordinary theological and philosophical insight of St. Thomas Aquinas, stated:

His teaching above that of others, the canons alone excepted, enjoys such an elegance of phraseology, a method of statement, a truth of proposition, that those who hold to it are never found swerving from the path of truth, and he who dare assail it will always be suspected of error.

Among the many teachings of St. Thomas which have been almost completely perverted in modern times is his understanding and defense of the natural law. It is the case today that not only is there a large variety of natural law theories, but there also appears to be many claimants who insist upon the label of Thomist when their particular expression of natural law theory is anything but Thomistic.