Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Best thing I have read: Joe Shaw on Liberalism

Our faith is entirely rational, indeed it may be arrived at by reason but we cannot replace it with reason.

Some Russian General said or should have said, 'If you want to be victorious don't let you adversary choose the battlefield'. Joseph Shaw, in one of the best things I have read on the net, argues in a four part post that as Catholics we can't really engage liberals on the level of pure logic or pure reason and win, in part because we fundamentally disagree on the opening premise of what is 'good' and what is the 'end' of mankind.

He argues, as we have seen that liberalism grows and grows, ultimately it consumes itself in totalitarianism. What he seems to be writing about is the dethroning of God and the setting up of the State in God's place; an idol that all are forced to worship and obey. He blames social conservatives (but we could also add religious conservatives) who bit by bit concede to the liberal agenda.

Increasingly we will find that 'the liberals' want to destroy the Church and her teaching if they cannot remake her in their own image, we see this in nuns teaching the Catholic faith clearly in the US being met with howls of protest in the US, or others like a friend's wife here being spat upon for upholding on the television a view about the nature of marriage, which only a year or two ago would have been considered perfectly normal.

We can continue to compromise, admitting pro-abortion, pro-same sex politicians to Holy Communion, we can continue to allow the government to dictate how we teach Catholic morality in our schools but the time is no too far away when even the most eirenical of the senior clergy must realise that allowing Stonewall and other such groups, who in their fundamental understanding of the very nature of the human person, into our schools is simply not possible and is contradiction of all we hold dear. We are getting to stage where good bishops who seek to protect their sheep from persecution must concede that it is impossible to serve liberalism and God. Liberalism itself will not allow it, its nature is too prescriptive.

Dr Shaw indicates that the liberal agenda starts by talking of freedom but ultimately enslaves, as big government grows and 'for the good' of society tries to control every aspect of human existence the 'lie' of liberalism will emerge. I am left by his piece thinking that the 'useful idiots' the conservatives, will merely supply a more moderate face to something very unpleasant until the disguise eventually slips.

Catholic Tradition is always radical, it is not about museum curating, it about contradiction of liberal values. Conservatives will never change hearts and minds, never evangelise, never offer an alternative to 'the world' and never be able to offer an alternative to the destructive stranglehold that today embraces popular society.

What was it Pope Benedict said to our Bishops:
"Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others – on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth."
"[S]ocial milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free."
I am glad Pope Francis continues the radical call, not to embrace 'Gospel values' but to embrace the person of Jesus Christ.


Thomas Wood said...

This - "Our faith is entirely rational, indeed it may be arrived at by reason but we cannot replace it with reason." savours of heresy.

"If anyone says that in divine revelation there are contained no true mysteries properly so-called, but that all the dogmas of the faith can be understood and demonstrated by properly trained reason from natural principles: let him be anathema." - Vatican I, canon 4, On Faith and Reason.

Fr Ray Blake said...


There is no denial of "mysteries" here, as I say the problem is substitution of reason for faith. We begin and end in Christ. I am certainly not saying anywhere 'reason alone' substitutes for faith and revelation, which is what VI rightly denounces.

Increasingly we will find the truth of your quote from the Vatican Council, as we find, in fact are finding, our reasoning and rationalism questioned.

Independent said...

We require not to be conservatives but reactionaries. Clocks are for putting back when they tell the wrong time.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I can see a curious irony with the probable 'liberalisation' of the annulment process later this year. Effectively all marriages will be annulled and the Church is going to start again from scratch. Those who want to stay married can do so and those who require annulment will be granted one with minimal fuss if any at all.

What of the future? If we can annul marriages en masse in 2014, could not the Church in 2064 annul us? More significantly, could not the Church annul anything from the past? Where does this leave the Second Vatican Council for example? Could it too be annulled at some point in the future?

Fr Ray Blake said...


That is the problem but it also illustrates the self destructive nature of liberalism and why it will ultimately fail in both Church and State and as a philosphical model.

It expands until it implodes.

Pablo the Mexican said...

An Old Mexican Proverb:

" Never argue with an Idiot.

He will bring you down to his level and beat you through experience."

Our Lady once said those that are perpetrating evil and are the enemies of Our Lady will be dropped dead on the day He says "No more"

There is hope.


James said...

What SV says terrifies me. What havoc are the bishops going to wreak at the Synod? Will they get rid of the sanctity or indissolubility of marriage (or at any rate undermine it)? Will the undermine or airbrush or contradict Humanae Vitae? With very few exceptions I have absolutely no confidence or trust in the Catholicity, orthodoxy or strength of character of the hierarchy, most of whom are hirelings, careerists, worldly yes-men and milquetoasts. There are honourable exceptions and their weakness varies in degrees. I pray that God protects His Church. If doctrine is undermined at the Synod, so will my faith in the Church. Then I'd rather be an Anglican. They have no doctrine, but at least have taste and good manners.