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Ratio as Remedy

According to Eric Voegelin, the “spiritual disorder of our time” is driven by the prevalence of ideologies whose aim “is to destroy the order of being, which is experienced as defective and unjust, and through man’s creative power to replace it with a perfect and just order.” Since this last bit is an absurdity—as the…

Intellectual Swindlers

Eric Voegelin’s Science, Politics, and Gnosticism presents a diagnosis of the mental illnesses plaguing modern political societies, and a remedy to boot. With ingenious simplicity, Voegelin outlines the differences between the pursuit of genuine science (Greek: episteme) and its counterfeit (so-called gnosis). The first, exemplified in Socratic philosophy and Christian theology, “is concerned with the…

Praying With the Whole Soul

Jean-Baptiste Chautard’s The Soul of the Apostolate is justly regarded as a modern spiritual classic. It began with a 1907 pamphlet presenting a model for the reconstruction of the French Church after a period of persecution, and gradually expanded into an essential guide for anyone doing apostolic work in the modern world. The argument of…

Two Yawns for (the Spirit of) Vatican II

The documents of the Second Vatican Council, promulgated as they were by men entrusted with the governance of Christ’s Church, are worthy of a respectful hearing, and faithful submission where appropriate. Thus my (quasi-heroic) effort above to suppress a third yawn. Nonetheless, as Dom Alcuin Reid advises in his incisive essay (link below), the practical…

Asking God and Intellect to Rule

“One who asks law to rule,” Aristotle observes, “seems to be asking god and intellect alone to rule, while one who asks man adds the beast.” By god, Aristotle means the supreme intellect, whose superiority consists partly in not relying on a limited supply of brain cells, and partly in being free of the passions…

Good News About Evil

Evils are so thoroughly overcome by good, that though they are permitted to exist, yet good can exist without evil, but evil cannot exist without good, because the natures in which evil exists, in so far as they are natures, are good. And evil is removed, not by removing any nature, or part of a…

One Last Hurrah!

As Aristotle observes, the weakness of human nature renders even the most fulfilling of activities tiresome. If, as Josef Pieper reminds us, the greatest thing we can do is to celebrate the greatness and goodness of our Creator and Redeemer, it nonetheless remains a sad necessity that any particular celebration (or cycle thereof) come to…

A Perfect Hatred

The man who lives according to God, and not according to man, ought to be a lover of good, and therefore a hater of evil. And since no one is evil by nature, but whoever is evil is evil by vice, he who lives according to God ought to cherish towards evil men a perfect…

Sufficient Virtue for Self-Government?

In these days of increasing acrimony and mutual mistrust, how does one apply a prudent realism to politics without succumbing to a poisonous cynicism? Some have taken comfort in James Madison’s reassurance that, though “there is a degree of depravity in mankind, which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: so there are other…

A Name for Nothing

Divine providence admonishes us not foolishly to condemn things, but to investigate their utility with care; and, where our mental capacity or infirmity is at fault, to believe that there is a utility, though hidden, as we have experienced that there were other things which we all but failed to discover. For this concealment of…

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