I Just Want To Be Catholic

This is what all true Catholics want: just to be Catholic. But appears we are asking for the moon. Steve has put our common grievance into a fine article.

EX MAGNA SILENTIUM or EX MAGNO SILENTIO

I just want to be Catholic.  So what does that mean?  Of course, these days, that has to be defined.  It is difficult to imagine that what one means by the term “Catholic” has to be defined in this age.  Yet, it does because so many claim the mantle and then deny much of what the Church teaches and practices, many being part of religious orders, priests, bishops and cardinals.  Am I a “traditionalist”, a “progressive”, a “devout”, or a “catholyc”?  It is apparent that we are placed into categories to divide us, rather than being united in one body, the Body of Christ, one Catholic Church.  So, a Catholic is one who holds everything the Church proposes for our belief in matter of Faith and Morals, one who holds to traditions and Tradition, one who is devout in practice, one who is progressive only in aiding in building the Kingdom…

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66 Responses to I Just Want To Be Catholic

  1. Here in Germany, being the kind of Catholic described in this excellent article is a real challenge. There are very few of us left, here, in the Teutonic outpost of the Catholic Church, with its enormous wealth and (illusory) power.

  2. toadspittle says:

    “Am I a “traditionalist”, a “progressive”, a “devout”, or a “catholyc”? It is apparent that we are placed into categories to divide us, “

    It is also apparent (to Toad,) that quite a fair few of us are perfect happy to place ourselves into categories that divide us from others – for example the Vat ll, happy-crappy, riff-raff, crowd.
    For instance, we on CP&S count ourselves unashamedly proud and defiant “Trads,” and anyone who thinks different can go unfrock themselves, as the saying goes.

    “I have no other choice, and I want to be counted among the sheep when he separates the sheep from the goats.”
    As one who now has reasonable field experience of both beasts, I can only say goats are vastly superior – cleverer, better-looking – and far funnier, which is the main thing.
    You can easily fence sheep in – no so with goats, they’ll find a way.
    …Count me in with them.

  3. GC says:

    Alas, dear Toad, I don’t think the holy and life-giving Gospel was so concerned with the fenceability of the various species of the tribe of Caprini of the family of Bovidae in particular as with whether it was to be chevon or mouton à la carte tonight. A much more satisfactory focus, as I am sure you will agree.

    I also don’t think fences were a great preoccupation of Iron Age goatherd scientific ignorami Gospel-writers anyhow (well, not as much as they apparently are of 20th-21st century toads), as the polymath Stephen Fry would no doubt be able to tell us. But I’m not sure where that leaves us exactly; do you?

  4. toadspittle says:

    ..Still, I agree with GC. It’s a shame we’re not still living in the Iron Age. We knew where we were then. And who God was.
    Very few fences where Toad lives, either.
    Big “Trad” sheep country, La Meseta.
    Goats just tag along for the ride. ….And the laughs.

  5. toadspittle says:

    “My interpretation of Scripture depends on what the Church informs me the correct interpretation is, even if I fancy in my mind an interpretation could be something else. “

    …in other words, when I’m told by the Church to say, “Baaah,” I say, “Baaah.” And why not?
    I’m a sheep, aren’t I?

  6. GC says:

    Au contraire, Toad, there seem to have been scientifically observable Iron Age atheists and sceptics living right alongside Iron Age goatherd theists. For,

    Psalm 10:4
    In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”; all their thoughts are, “There is no God”,

    and furthermore

    Psalm 14:1
    Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.

    As for the godless, which is much the same thing, just have a look at all this.

    Nothing new under the sun, Toad, nothing new.

  7. kathleen says:

    Robert @ 14:49

    Actually I think it’s much the same in many parts of the West today. Faithful Catholics (who are those who abide by all the One True Church teaches) have been having a rocky time these last 50 years or so to just be Catholic and live out our Catholic Faith in all its richness… even quite often among our own fellow ‘Catholics’. We know that there is a pretty hostile world out there – that has always been so – but at least in our Holy Catholic Church one would hope to find a haven of like-minded believers. Not so anymore; it has been infiltrated by those who call themselves ‘catholic’ but behave like the worst kind of Protestant.

    My parents remembered that when going into an unknown Church for Holy Mass on a Sunday (for instance, when travelling or on holiday etc.) you knew you were going to be present at a reverent representation of the Holy Sacrifice, celebrated the world over in the same beautiful, dignified way as it always had been. Nowadays you might well find yourself present at a horrible parody of a Mass, a blasphemous clown Mass, or some sort of un-sacrificial Protestant-like service still shockingly calling itself a Mass.
    Another example: a friend of mine tried to start a prayer group under Our Lady of Fatima in her parish and was told by the ultra-liberal parish priest in no uncertain terms that “we don’t do things like that anymore”!
    Today when you meet a fellow Catholic you have to be careful and suss each other out first – he/she might be one of those who will get very annoyed if they discover you hold orthodox Catholic beliefs.

    There are hundreds of other examples; the Devil has successfully sown an enormous amount of confusion in our beloved Church in recent times, just as the many prophesies of Our Blessed Lady have told us he would.

    The one encouraging sign is that more and more Catholics are unhappy about this state of affairs and seeking out the treasures of true Catholicism once again. Traditional Catholic groups are thriving and growing, while the unorthodox ones, mostly void of young people, are slowly but surely gradually fading away.

  8. Hang on…. What happened 50 years ago????

  9. toadspittle says:

    Well, GC:
    1: “Nothing new under the sun Toad,”
    …When did he ever say there was?
    2: Depends entirely what you mean by “Godless.” Muslims would agree, I suspect, with each of the “quotes” the link provides, and Hindu’s – for all I know. Very unwise to be “Godless,” as His existence cannot be disproved.
    3: ” Hang on…What happened 50 years ago????”
    Big year for The Beatles, Geoff. George Harrison had his tonsils out, John Lennon got his driver’s licence and The Fab Four were awarded MBE’s.
    And, as a result, Catholics are now persecuted everywhere.

  10. What’s one got to do with the other????????

  11. kathleen says:

    Yes Geoff, that happening 50 years ago appears to be the catalyst for many of the difficulties, abuse and downright heresy prevalent in the Church today.
    Many will say there was nothing in the documents that came out of it to justify any of this, while others identify ambiguities within them (unwittingly? on purpose?) that were used by those with a sinister agenda to destroy the Faith from the very heart of the Church. I don’t know what to think, but the very idea that we undoubtedly have such enemies infiltrated in our midst is something that is of great concern to we who love our Holy Catholic Church.
    Who are these “wolves” who, from their exalted positions in the hierarchy have messed up the Church’s beautiful Liturgy, and warped the minds of so many by their twisted and spineless teachings? Pope Benedict XVI made some guarded references about them. How come they became so powerful? Who is their ‘master’?

    Lots of questions that have no satisfactory answers. But there is no doubt that we have in our midst those “shepherds” of souls who are attempting to lead the “sheep” to slaughter rather than the safety of the “sheepfold”. They tell them there are no dangers (i.e. Hell), that all are saved (an outright lie), and confuse the real meaning of the meaning of mercy (using it as a gateway for allowing mortal sin into the Church.)

    Thank God for all our loyal faithful “shepherds” who are battling to preach the undiluted Truth, whilst struggling under some heavy “crosses” and opposition. We, the laity, should rally round them and support them in every way open to us (and the many still in formation in seminaries, catechesis programmes, etc.) and fear neither insult nor ridicule from the false prophets and their minions.

  12. Kathleen, your latest comment for Geoff – terrific! We can only hope that there is a large enough number of bishops who possess the same intensity and goodness that you show in that message.

  13. toadspittle says:

    “But there is no doubt that we have in our midst those “shepherds” of souls who are attempting to lead the “sheep” to slaughter rather than the safety of the “sheepfold”

    Tell me of one shepherd in history that didn’t lead his herd to slaughter, Kathleen. They don’t keep them for “pets.”
    What do you think the “sheepfold” is for? It’s to keep the sheep “safe,” from other predators until it’s time to send them safely to market where their wool will be brutally shorn, and their throats will be cut and they will be dismembered in order to be devoured.
    Perfectly reasonable, of course – but a strange analogy for Paradise, or whatever it is.
    …If you just think about it a bit.

    What some people on here don’t seem to realise, is that there is more than one way to skin a cat
    (Or a sheep. Or even a goat.)

    Remember Forster, Geoff. Everything connects. Maybe I should also have mentioned it was 50 years ago that “I can’t get no satisfaction,” hit the streets.
    A ditty which has become the signature tune of every “Traditional” Catholic ever since.

  14. johnhenrycn says:

    It’s easier, spiritually, to be Catholic, or any sort of Christian, in a Third World country – such as one of those Iron Age places referred to above – than in an enormously wealthy one. Our materially advanced western societies, our consumer worshipping countries have no need of an other-worldly God. What with basic cradle-to-grave security being promised by our ruling classes (at least partly to ensure the continuation of their rule through our complacency), with social security, generous pensions, free health care, subsidized “child care”, housing, food banks, clothing exchanges…and novel social services being offered in every election cycle, we have been set free to use our money to satisfy a bottomless thirst/greed for labour saving devices, 24 hour entertainment, fashionable clothes, alcohol, drugs, beauty, sex and all of those other “goods” needed to distract us from the meaninglessness of our lives. What is the point of religion in a world such as ours, especially the point about being “our brother’s keeper”, when our rulers promise to take care of everything?

    In societies where the struggle for existence has been largely expunged from daily life, is it any wonder that some priests have fallen into the same trap as many in their congregations, that even well intentioned ones who want to preach the true meaning and purpose of life, who wish to adhere strictly to the Deposit of Faith have become tired of “talking to the hand”? Is it any wonder that some bishops, including our Holy Father face the same dangers, and that not just a few of them have decided the most important core doctrine is the doctrine of “nice”?

    The author of this superb article says: “I just want to be Catholic”. If one wants that – as most of us here do – and if we want the same for our countrymen, we might just want to pray for an upheaval, a major civilizational crisis, one that will lead them and us to “get religion”. I do pray for that, although as Our Lord cautions, I also pray it will not happen in winter (Mk. 13:18), and that God will see us through the wilderness, just as He did Israel.

  15. toadspittle says:

    “In societies where the struggle for existence has been largely expunged from daily life, “
    Yes. I can see that might be construed as a lousy idea.
    Reduces the opportunities for “enobling” suffering, and so on.
    But “the struggle for existence” can never be expunged from daily life – in any society.
    We can just try and make it a little less unpleasant and painful.
    …Unless we are Christians, of course.
    In which case, we can’t get enough of it.

  16. Tom Fisher says:

    It sounds Johnhenry, a wee bit like you’re saying that back when people were living in grinding poverty, with no security against starvation, very little education, and little leisure to question authority, it was a darn sight easier for priests to keep their flocks in line. Doubtless Toad would agree

  17. toadspittle says:

    Yes, Tom. JH is bemoaning the fact that many people in Western Europe and North America are so materially well-off, and physically healthy these days, that they no longer need the opium of religion to get them through their miserable day.
    And we’d have to agree, wouldn’t we? A shocking state of affairs.
    In Africa, for example where millions are backward and starving and ruthlessly exploited by their rulers, the situation is much more satisfactory – and religion is booming, with martyrs by the bus-load.

    Bring back the kindly old Habsburgs to Europe, and make us all forelock-tugging serfs again, eh?

  18. Tom Fisher says:

    Well Toad, I must admit this line of conversation has put me in an uneasy frame of mind. I am a Catholic believer, but I am not convinced that the West, which I care deeply about, is as decadent as Johnhenry thinks. And when he says this:

    we might just want to pray for an upheaval, a major civilizational crisis, one that will lead them and us to “get religion”. I do pray for that, although as Our Lord cautions, I also pray it will not happen in winter (Mk. 13:18)

    I feel very uncomfortable. Johnhenry is a civilized guy, and I like him, but the whole tenor of these remarks make me uneasy.

  19. toadspittle says:

    Well, Tom, what can I say? On some issues – you, I and JH, Kathleen, Raven and everyone – agree.
    On some we don’t.
    But we are all civilised and try to be decent – and are as literate and grammatical as is humanly possible, on a system like WordPress, about it. That’s surely something.

    What HJ’s prayers for “a major civilisational crash,” (like the 1930’s) might well entail is a revival of Nazism and Fascism. There are disturbing signs already as we can all see.
    Some folk on CP&S would clearly welcome this.

  20. Tom Fisher says:

    What is the point of religion in a world such as ours, especially the point about being “our brother’s keeper”, when our rulers promise to take care of everything?

    Everyone has their Cross to bear, and perhaps yours is a lack of convenient opportunities for charitable acts. I’m sure you’ll pull through.

  21. kathleen says:

    Tom and Toad,
    I think you are misunderstanding the underlying issue in JH’s comment. He is not calling for a return to a certain age or denying any of the obvious benefits enjoyed by western societies, but pointing out the clearly evident fact that we in the West have become complacent in our world of material abundance, and unwilling to be challenged by the Christian (Catholic) call to self-denial, sacrifice and humble obedience. He recognises that it is no wonder that many in the clergy here have also succumbed to all the ‘sweetmeats’ our societies offer up so invitingly… and that this is the main reason why they all too often prefer to ignore talk of the ‘unpleasant’ topics of the Cross, penance, sin, Eternal Damnation etc., and why Catholics yearning to truly live their Faith are not getting the fullness of Truth preached from the pulpit.

    The “upheaval” JH refers to may well be the necessary shock to our life-style to jerk us out of our materialistic stupour, complacency and lethargy and come to the realisation of the real meaning of life. Not ‘nice’, I know, but what else will do it?

  22. Tom Fisher says:

    Kathleen, I will re-read JH’s comment with an open mind in the light of what you have said. — that’s the best I can say at this juncture

  23. GC says:

    kathleen, good of you to bother with Toad’s obsessive straw men and red herrings, more or less abetted by a pakeha piscator these days.

    Any honest reader would see what JH was referring to, not what toads wished he had said and so would just ignore toads and antipodean anglers. But you’re really such a good kind soul, kathleen, bless you.

  24. Tom Fisher says:

    antipodean anglers

    Please be expand on your comment G.C. it’s just rude otherwise.

  25. Tom Fisher says:

    Any honest reader would see what JH was referring to, not what toads wished he had said and so would just ignore toads and antipodean anglers. But you’re really such a good kind soul, kathleen, bless you.

    It is perfectly possible to read JH’s comment and strongly disagree with it. And I have often agreed with him in the past. You should apologise for your pakeha piscator nonsense.

  26. Tom Fisher says:

    As always it will be interesting, and enlightening, to hear what JH. has to say. It has always been a worthwhile conversation. Conversation is generally better than random sneering G.C.

  27. GC says:

    I read once that when Montaigne was on his deathbed while Mass was being offered right there in front of him in his bedchamber, at the elevation the old richy managed to raise his upper half and stretch out his arms to the host; whereupon he died, no less.

  28. toadspittle says:

    What’s Montaigne’s death got to with anything? He never claimed to be anything but an obedient Catholic all his life. Why shouldn’t he die with the full blessing of the Church, GC? What’s the point of what you write? I’d like you to tell us.
    And you, GC, are more or less accusing me of being a liar. I don’t care in the least, but seeing and believing things differently from you doesn’t not make me one.
    I happen to think what JH said deserved comment.
    So I commented.
    “The “upheaval” JH refers to may well be the necessary shock to our life-style to jerk us out of our materialistic stupour, complacency and lethargy and come to the realisation of the real meaning of life. Not ‘nice’, I know, but what else will do it?
    Would you, Kathleen, or JH himself, (or GC, or anyone, come to that) like to speculate on what form this upheaval might take? Maybe the return of a new Hitler or Franco figure? That would be nice.
    (GC, are you having some sort of trouble at home, or somewhere? You’re getting very “spikey.” You have always been so nice and agreeable to talk with.)

  29. johnhenrycn says:

    All that Toad and TF have to do in order to see the merit in my last comment is to not take it to the ad absurdum extreme. No, I do not hope Earth will be hit by an asteroid or that a nascent virus will wipe out 50 per cent of humanity. I’m thinking along the lines of already existing crises, say the almost inevitable takeover of Europe by Islam or the precipice of financial doom on which we are poised, and proposing that we not go gentle into the dark night of either, but that we pray for and welcome a full realization that these developments – which we by our dissipated, easy and irreligious lives have created – are right now destroying civilization before they utterly do so. Why some people think history only runs in one direction (upwards), I do not know.

    “Mene, mene, tekel, and parsin.” The writing is on the wall and our days are numbered.

    If a modern day Daniel (not me, a real one) were to arise and prophecy our impending doom, I fear he would be met with hoots of laughter and howls of derision.

  30. toadspittle says:

    “…a major civilizational crisis, one that will lead them and us to “get religion”. I do pray for that,”
    “I’m thinking along the lines of already existing crises, say the almost inevitable takeover of Europe by Islam..”

    ..So you are actually praying for Europe to go Muslim, JH. How very odd. How about Canada?
    A bit of an unchristian prayer, I’d suggest. Personally I can think of few things nastier. No doubt I’m lying again.
    There’s always the chance of impending doom. Popper pointed out, re the Nazis, “Don’t ever think, ‘It can’t happen here.’ Because it can.”

    And a thought for honest GC: Have you ever read Montaigne? Any reasonable amount of him?

  31. johnhenrycn says:

    …and I might add that if the cultural and moral dangers we have created have to get even worse before we do what is necessary to confront them, the sooner they do so the sooner we will do so. QED.

  32. toadspittle says:

    Just how bad do the “cultural and moral dangers” have to get, before we have to confront them, JH? And who’s to say?
    You? The Church? Tony Blair?
    Suppose you wait until it’s too late, and Europe (not Canada, of course) goes, and stays, Muslim for the next 1000 years?
    Would that suit you? Why do you “pray” for Europe to become Muslim anyway?

  33. toadspittle says:

    “Why some people think history only runs in one direction (upwards), I do not know.”
    Nor I.
    Are we better, happier, more intelligent, more enlightened, than in in The Age of Pericles?
    Very likely not.

    Some people also think that evolution only “improves” things. It doesn’t, necessarily.

  34. johnhenrycn says:

    “Why do you “pray” for Europe to become Muslim anyway?”

    Look, Toad, let me try one last time to educate you: Many well-informed people have long been warning that elements destructive of our formerly Christian civilization have grown strong within us; but despite those warnings, many others prefer to stick their heads in the sand or to evince that “I’m All Right Jack” attitude you’re so famous for. My idea is that a manageable catastrophe, one that awakens us to the dangers we face, is to be hoped for if that’s what’s needed to prevent, for example, your 1000 year Muslim Reich. Too many people living out their final scene don’t care about the future, figuring they’d rather enjoy the present, come what may after they’re gone.

    So, is that better, Toad? I pray that the inevitable catastrophe we face will be bearable; but reading between the lines (cf: my reference to Jesus’ prayer that it not happen in winter) you could have seen that for yourself if you’d been so inclined, instead of making a cheap and false assumption.

  35. toadspittle says:

    “..but reading between the lines…”
    I have enough trouble reading the lines themselves, JH.

  36. toadspittle says:

    …Let alone getting the coding right.

  37. Brother Burrito says:

    What ISIS really wants:

    http://t.co/h2x2u4gAqv

    It is a very long article, but well worth the effort.

  38. Tom Fisher says:

    Yes it’s It’s an excellent article Brother Burrito, well worth reading. By coincidence someone else emailed it to me yesterday.

    I read once that when Montaigne was on his deathbed while Mass was being offered right there in front of him in his bedchamber, at the elevation the old richy managed to raise his upper half and stretch out his arms to the host; whereupon he died, no less.

    I Can’t fault your spelling or grammar, so well done there at least.

  39. toadspittle says:

    I’ve just read the article. Many thanks Burro. A very great deal to ponder and digest there. When religion starts to get serious.
    Fascinating that Jesus is considered the second most revered prophet in Islam. (Didn’t know that.) And if the piece is accurate, we can forget looking for purely political motives here.

    Well, Tom, doubtless the wheels are still turning re: Montaigne, “the old richy.”
    What on earth did you make of that little outburst?
    …What the heck could it mean?

  40. toadspittle says:

    I wonder if GC knows Montaigne was 59 when he died? (gall stones)
    Not all that old.

  41. Tom Fisher says:

    What on earth did you make of that little outburst?

    I rolled my eyes, then moved on to more interesting things.

  42. JabbaPapa says:

    Montaigne was a devout Catholic — more than was normal in his day and age.

    Someone here has caught the wrong end of the stick, and it ain’t Toad …

  43. GC says:

    . . . if the piece is accurate, we can forget looking for purely political motives here.

    I would have thought the aims of the “caliphate” were very “political”, like gaining political control of Iraq and Syria just for starters.

    Sunni governments, especially Saudi Arabia, have increasingly worried about their own grips on power, a concern that was exacerbated with the protest movement that began in Tunisia in late 2010. The Arab Awakening, as the uprisings are known, spread to Bahrain and Syria, countries at the fault lines of Islam’s sectarian divide. In each, political power is held by a sectarian minority—Alawis in Syria, where Sunnis are the majority, and a Sunni ruling family in Bahrain, where Shias are the majority. The civil war in Syria, which is a political conflict at its core, has exposed sectarian tensions and become the staging ground for a vicious proxy war between the region’s major Sunni and Shia powers. Some analysts view the Syrian conflict as the last chance for Sunnis to limit and reverse the spread of Iranian power and Shia influence in the Arab world.

    http://www.cfr.org/peace-conflict-and-human-rights/sunni-shia-divide/p33176#!/

  44. GC says:

    gall stones

    Quinsy? (tonsil troubles, real big time)

    the wrong end of the stick

    . . . it shall be of equal welcome and utility to me, myself beforehand condemning as absurd and impious, if anything shall be found, through ignorance or inadvertency, couched in this rhapsody, contrary to the holy resolutions and prescriptions of the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church, into which I was born and in which I will die.

    (Michel Eyquem Seigneur de Montaigne)

  45. GC says:

    A happy new lunar year, johnhenry, on this Ash Wednesday evening, for which again I present to you a quite touching video, this time in the superb Mandarin tongue and from one of the nation’s mobile phone service providers. Heavy rain accompanying the goat into his year, Feb 2015 – Feb 2016, a good sign betokening prosperity and abundance, probably. Enjoy if you can.

    I’m not sure what our Chinese brethren are doing about their traditional new year’s eve reunion dinner today, Ash Wednesday. Might have to leave out the customary chicken and concentrate on modest amounts of the fish and seafood.

    (Sorry I couldn’t supply a video for Christmas. For that season only videos with variations on “Jingle Bells” were supplied by the local big shot companies, most of whose very large pies government figures would have their thumbs in).

  46. kathleen says:

    @ Jabba

    “Montaigne was a devout Catholic…”

    Catholic he was… but “devout”? Not so sure there. He lived in troublesome times – that is true – but did he not pass through a long period of scepticism in Faith matters? So say many of his biographers, and there are some other dubious opinions he held on certain historical figures relating to the the Church too I believe.

    A friend who reads our blog said to me in an e-mail yesterday referring to the above conversation:
    “When GC accused Toad of employing straw men and red herrings though (two of his favourite tactics!), he reacted in a rather comical way (I thought) – firstly, raving about what Montaigne’s life and death has to do with anything, when he is one of the people Toad quotes most often in support of arguments against Catholic teaching, even to the point of suggesting he didn’t really believe; then, after claiming GC had called him a liar (presumably a reference to the straw men/red herrings) and getting quite het up about it, claimed that he ‘didn’t care in the least’! Add to that the accusation of her being ‘spikey’ despite Toad’s having been genuinely rude/abrasive to people on a number of occasions, and the usual denial of deliberately taking an contrary interpretation to the obvious one, and it was quite a comedic bit of outrage on old Toad’s part! Fulfilling his role of CP&S jester quite accidentally in this case I think”

    Perhaps some are of the opinion that it was not our GC who got “the wrong end of the stick” after all.🙂

  47. JabbaPapa says:

    kathleen : @ Jabba

    “Montaigne was a devout Catholic…”

    Catholic he was… but “devout”? Not so sure there. He lived in troublesome times – that is true – but did he not pass through a long period of scepticism in Faith matters? So say many of his biographers

    Many of Michel de Montaigne’s biographers love to portray him as some kind of crypto-Protestant, but to anyone who has spent any serious amount of time studying his biography in the absence of any such ideological parti pris, and particularly the testimony of not only those who knew him in his personal intimacy, but also that of his travel Journal, the notion that he was anything other than a devout and Faithful Catholic is utterly preposterous.

    and there are some other dubious opinions he held on certain historical figures relating to the the Church too I believe.

    I have no idea what this is even supposed to mean, sorry.

    firstly, raving about what Montaigne’s life and death has to do with anything, when he is one of the people Toad quotes most often in support of arguments against Catholic teaching, even to the point of suggesting he didn’t really believe

    Sorry, but that’s pure and simple untrue — this thread is the one and only time I’ve ever witnessed any straightforwardly false claims about Montaigne being offered up at CP&S — the Toad is not the source of those claims.

    Montaigne was NOT a “skeptic” — that particular mode of thought was invented by an Englishman, decades later in the 17th century of the so-called (hrm hrm) “enlightenment” ; not the 16th century of Montaigne’s own time.

    Perhaps you’ve never read Montaigne’s extremely scornful accounts of the beliefs and habits of the Protestants and Modernists of his own era ? Including his unequivocal condemnations of so-called “gay marriage”, heresy, and unbelief ?

    Perhaps some are of the opinion that it was not our GC who got “the wrong end of the stick” after all.

    I cannot recall having accused GC of doing so.

    He is not who I had in mind …

  48. JabbaPapa says:

    the wrong end of the stick

    . . . it shall be of equal welcome and utility to me, myself beforehand condemning as absurd and impious, if anything shall be found, through ignorance or inadvertency, couched in this rhapsody, contrary to the holy resolutions and prescriptions of the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church, into which I was born and in which I will die.

    (Michel Eyquem Seigneur de Montaigne)

    Learn how to read 16th century French before implicitly suggesting that some dodgy English translation somehow constitutes the exact opposite of the words it purports to render.

    Those words mean as follows :

    … that if anything written therein by Montaigne should wrongfully be interpreted as being “contrary to the holy resolutions and prescriptions of the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church”, then Montaigne himself condemns “beforehand” such interpretations as being “absurd and impious”, for reasons of his own “ignorance or inadvertency” in the writing.

    What you present as being in some bizarre manner as if contrary to the Catholicity is in fact a straightforward Confessio Fidei thereof.

  49. JabbaPapa says:

    for reasons of his own “ignorance or inadvertency” in the writing

    … or the ignorance or inadvertency of his readers.

  50. kathleen says:

    @ Jabba,

    Your comment at 22:29 was directed to GC… I wish you would say so when responding; not doing so makes it confusing for commenters or anyone trying to follow the conversation.
    (By the way, GC is a “she”, not a “he”.😉 )

    Anyway, the comment at 22:16 that you did direct to me, I shall respond to.

    I am quite prepared to believe that the unnamed English Protestant you mention unfairly tarred the reputation of such an eminent Catholic scholar, and that Montaigne was in reality a “devout Catholic” to his dying day. I know this certainly is your field, unlike the Habsburgs (that you admitted was not – about whom you were arguing with Tribunus the other day) and I trust your far superior knowledge about Montaigne’s work, and your well-balanced judgement. (Also please note that I did admit to not being “sure” when I questioned your use of the word “devout” to describe him.) I know you will have had access to reliable sources to prove Montaigne’s genuine Catholic convictions, and I am very happy to hear it. But you will also know that this is not generally well known, and the widely held belief of his supposed ‘free thinking’ is the very reason he is sometimes held up by moral relativists for their own ends!!

    “this thread is the one and only time I’ve ever witnessed any straightforwardly false claims about Montaigne being offered up at CP&S — the Toad is not the source of those claims.”

    Jabba, this is where you are mistaken. Toad has used the name of Montaigne at times as an example when spouting his (Toad’s) own moral relativism and scepticism! Not on this above thread of comments, correct, but on other threads over the years. You have spent long periods away from CP&S and have probably just not been around when he has done so – that’s all. That things said about Montaigne’s views are “false claims”, or were things he wrote that were twisted or quoted out of context, etc., yes perhaps – I do not know. But that Toad has used Montaigne’s name as an example for this purpose is true I’m afraid… and as the friend says to me in that passage I copied from the e-mail.

    Glad to hear Montaigne spoke out against such abominations as “gay marriage”!! (Oh, Toad will be disappointed to hear this.) I didn’t know that such issues as “gay marriage” were even topics for debate in Montaigne’s day. You live and learn!🙂

  51. JabbaPapa says:

    Toad has used the name of Montaigne at times as an example when spouting his (Toad’s) own moral relativism and scepticism!

    I’m well aware of that, kathleen — but I’ve still yet to see him try and twist Montaigne’s words into something they’re not.

    Admittedly the difference between Montaigne’s critical thinking and the outright scepticism of such as Bacon can often be undervalued by the recpients of a (broadly) British education, which tends to encourage that very scepticism.

    Montaigne’s own arguments pro et contra generally do not seek to impose one view against any other, whilst remaining very firmly based on the underlying Catholicity and the mainstream philosophy/theology of Christendom.

  52. toadspittle says:

    All this tripe about Toad and Montaigne.
    Montaigne can speak for himself.
    And he did.
    And I have NEVER EVER twisted anything he said,
    No kidding. Don’t need to.
    …Jabba is right. as usual. And all this is utterly dopey.

    But Kathleen, why does your “friend,” whom you quote at exhausting length about the “raving” (viz, the frothing Fry) Toad, talk to you, and not directly to us on, CP&S? Does he/she fear us? I doubt it. Not worth the trouble probably.
    I can understand that. It is pretty dismal, these days.
    He/she is too sensible to get involved in our folly, I suppose.
    Has GC ever honestly read Montaigne in any sensible fashion? We still have not been told.
    We still wait an answer on that, I think, (unless I’ve missed it – in which case I apologise) Has Kathleen?
    Jabba certainly seems to have. On the other hand, who gives a monkey’s fart about any of it?
    “Glad to hear Montaigne spoke out against such abominations as “gay marriage”!! (Oh, Toad will be disappointed to hear this.) “
    No he won’t .Toad doesn’t care a damn one way or the other what Gays do. It’s their business.
    Not his, and not Kathleen’s, GC’s, or anyone else’s.

    One abusive sentence deleted by Moderator

    (I’m in Malaga right now. Wonderful city, sunny and fascinating. Big fun!)

  53. Tom Fisher says:

    This argument doesn’t matter, and seems to be making people angry, I suggest you guys comment on other things. Lord knows, there’s a lot to talk about these days.

  54. toadspittle says:

    Only One sentence deleted.
    Toad’s going soft.
    Tom is right , of course.
    One last MM quote: “Man cannot make a worm – yet he manufactures gods by the dozen.”

  55. kathleen says:

    “But Kathleen, why does your “friend,” whom you quote at exhausting length about the “raving” (viz, the frothing Fry) Toad, talk to you, and not directly to us on, CP&S?”

    Because between the evils of the ‘toads’ in the West, and Islamic persecution in the rest of the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to just BE CATHOLIC and talk about, or spread and live one’s Faith.

  56. JabbaPapa says:

    One last MM quote: “Man cannot make a worm – yet he manufactures gods by the dozen.”

    That’s taken out of context from Les Essais, 2,12, “Apologie de Raimond Sebond

    … which is a translation/adaptation by Montaigne of a work of Apologetic by Sebond against atheism and paganism.

    The quote — in context — is part of a passage denouncing the follies of polytheistic paganism and atheistic scientific pretension alike.

    English translation : https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3600/3600-h/3600-h.htm#chap12

    Some quotes from elsewhere in the text :

    I have often thought to assist them to clear the book of two principal objections made to it. His design is bold and daring, for he undertakes, by human and natural reasons, to establish and make good, against the atheists, all the articles of the Christian religion: wherein, to speak the truth, he is so firm and so successful that I do not think it possible to do better upon that subject; nay, I believe he has been equalled by none.

    —–

    Here, Montaigne is quite à propos the present topic :

    This were a task more proper for a man well read in divinity than for me, who know nothing of it; nevertheless, I conceive that in a thing so divine, so high, and so far transcending all human intelligence, as is that truth, with which it has pleased the bounty of God to enlighten us, it is very necessary that he should moreover lend us his assistance, as a very extraordinary favour and privilege, to conceive and imprint it in our understanding. And I do not believe that means purely human are in any sort capable of doing it: for, if they were, so many rare and excellent souls, and so abundantly furnished with natural force, in former ages, could not have failed, by their reason, to arrive at this knowledge. ‘Tis faith alone that livelily mind certainly comprehends the deep mysteries of our religion; but, withal, I do not say that it is not a worthy and very laudable attempt to accommodate those natural and human utensils with which God has endowed us to the service of our faith: it is not to be doubted but that it is the most noble use we can put them to; and that there is not a design in a Christian man more noble than to make it the aim and end of all his studies to extend and amplify the truth of his belief. We do not satisfy ourselves with serving God with our souls and understandings only, we moreover owe and render him a corporal reverence, and apply our limbs and motions, and external things to do him honour; we must here do the same, and accompany our faith with all the reason we have, but always with this reservation, not to fancy that it is upon us that it depends, nor that our arguments and endeavours can arrive at so supernatural and divine a knowledge. If it enters not into us by an extraordinary infusion; if it enters not only by reason, but, moreover, by human ways, it is not in us in its true dignity and splendour: and yet, I am afraid, we only have it by this way.
    If we hold upon God by the mediation of a lively faith; if we hold upon God by him, and not by us; if we had a divine basis and foundation, human occasions would not have the power to shake us as they do; our fortress would not surrender to so weak a battery; the love of novelty, the constraint of princes, the success of one party, and the rash and fortuitous change of our opinions, would not have the power to stagger and alter our belief: we should not then leave it to the mercy of every new argument, nor abandon it to all the rhetoric in the world; we should withstand the fury of these waves with an immovable and unyielding constancy:

    As a great rock repels the rolling tides,

    That foam and bark about her marble sides,
    From its strong bulk

    —–

    Do but observe with what horrid impudence we toss divine arguments to and fro, and how irreligiously we have both rejected and retaken them, accord—as fortune has shifted our places in these intestine storms.

    —–

    Our zeal performs wonders, when it seconds our inclinations to hatred, cruelty, ambition, avarice, detraction, and rebellion: but when it moves, against the hair, towards bounty, benignity, and temperance, unless, by miracle, some rare and virtuous disposition prompts us to it, we stir neither hand nor toot. Our religion is intended to extirpate vices, whereas it screens, nourishes, and incites them. We must not mock God. If we believed in him, I do not say by faith, but with a simple belief, that is to say (and I speak it to our great shame) if we believed in him and recognised him as we do any other history, or as we would do one of our companions, we should love him above all other things for the infinite bounty and beauty that shines in him;—at least, he would go equal in our affection with riches, pleasure, glory, and our friends. The best of us is not so much afraid to outrage him as he is afraid to injure his neighbour, his kinsman, or his master. Is there any understanding so weak that, having on one side the object of one of our vicious pleasures, and on the other (in equal knowledge and persuasion) the state of an immortal glory, would change the first for the other? and yet we often renounce this out of mere contempt: for what lust tempts us to blaspheme, if not, perhaps, the very desire to offend.

    —-

    Now our prayers and human discourses are but as sterile and undigested matter. The grace of God is the form; ’tis that which gives fashion and value to it. As the virtuous actions of Socrates and Cato remain vain and fruitless, for not having had the love and obedience to the true creator of all things, so is it with our imaginations and discourses; they have a kind of body, but it is an inform mass, without fashion and without light, if faith and grace be not added thereto.

    —–

    These irregular desires, that the ignorance of good and a false opinion have infused into us, are so many that they almost exclude all the natural; just as if there were so great a number of strangers in the city as to thrust out the natural inhabitants, or, usurping upon their ancient rights and privileges, should extinguish their authority and introduce new laws and customs of their own.

    —–

    The first law that ever God gave to man was a law of pure obedience; it was a commandment naked and simple, wherein man had nothing to inquire after, nor to dispute; forasmuch as to obey is the proper office of a rational soul, acknowledging a heavenly superior and benefactor. From obedience and submission spring all other virtues, as all sin does from selfopinion. And, on the contrary, the first temptation that by the devil was offered to human nature, its first poison insinuated itself into us by the promise made us of knowledge and wisdom; Eritis sicut Dii, scientes bonum et malum. “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” And the sirens, in Homer, to allure Ulysses, and draw him within the danger of their snares, offered to give him knowledge. The plague of man is the opinion of wisdom; and for this reason it is that ignorance is so recommended to us, by our religion, as proper to faith and obedience; Cavete ne quis vos decipiat per philosophiam et inanes seductiones, secundum elementa mundi. “Take heed, lest any man deceive you by philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, and the rudiments of the world.” There is in this a general consent amongst all sorts of philosophers, that the sovereign good consists in the tranquillity of the soul and body; but where shall we find it?

    —–

    Christians have a particular knowledge, how natural and original an evil curiosity is in man; the thirst of knowledge, and the desire to become more wise, was the first ruin of man, and the way by which he precipitated himself into eternal damnation. Pride was his ruin and corruption. ‘Tis pride that diverts him from the common path, and makes him embrace novelties, and rather choose to be head of a troop, lost and wandering in the path of error; to be a master and a teacher of lies, than to be a disciple in the school of truth, suffering himself to be led and guided by the hand of another, in the right and beaten road.

    —–

    When we say that the infinity of ages, as well past as to come, are but one instant with God; that his goodness, wisdom, and power are the same with his essence; our mouths speak it, but our understandings apprehend it not; and yet, such is our vain opinion of ourselves, that we must make the Divinity to pass through our sieve; and thence proceed all the dreams and errors with which the world abounds, whilst we reduce and weigh in our balance a thing so far above our poise.

    —–

    “What a vile and abject thing,” says he, “is man, if he do not raise himself above humanity!” ‘Tis a good word and a profitable desire, but withal absurd; for to make the handle bigger than the hand, the cubic longer than the arm, and to hope to stride further than our legs can reach, is both impossible and monstrous; or that man should rise above himself and humanity; for he cannot see but with his eyes, nor seize but with his hold. He shall be exalted, if God will lend him an extraordinary hand; he shall exalt himself, by abandoning and renouncing his own proper means, and by suffering himself to be raised and elevated by means purely celestial. It belongs to our Christian faith, and not to the stoical virtue, to pretend to that divine and miraculous metamorphosis.

  57. kathleen says:

    Thank you very much Jabba for these marvellous, and yes, most pertinent quotes from Montaigne.

    With them you have proved well my point – re the incorrigible Toad’s frequent mis-quotes (or out-of-context quotes)… and your point – re the true Catholic sentiments of said figure.🙂

  58. GC says:

    Just so, kathleen, pretty words indeed. And the punctuation! Tom the Pescador would be very impressed.

    But I think the old (semi-old? H/T Toad) richy stole all our ideas those many centuries ago. A bit of a pitfall, I’m afraid, if one is sufficiently materially endowed to sequester oneself in a tower for a decade or so without one thought about who will pay the bills.

    Did you know that the Montaigne fortune was derived from wine and herrings? Sounds toadishly familiar, especially the ruddy herrings if not the ruby wine.

  59. JabbaPapa says:

    Well thank you, kathleen — but you see, I still do not think that Toad twists Montaigne’s words into their opposite, simply because Montaigne himself usually did that work all on his own with no need of assistance from Irish residents of the Camino de Santiago nor anyone else.

    I don’t think Toad has mis-represented Montaigne’s writing — but that he has mis-interpreted some of them ; and this is not something that he could be positively blamed for, given that we all of us provide our own mis-interpretations of the statements of others into our daily conversations and our internet typings ; which is BTW a frequent thematic in Montaigne’s own works, as Toad is just as BTW quite clearly aware of ; and given that Montaigne was a master of the deliberate, baroque, ambiguity such as was used, among others, by Shakespeare.

    Que Sais-Je ?

  60. JabbaPapa says:

    if one is sufficiently materially endowed to sequester oneself in a tower for a decade or so without one thought about who will pay the bills

    Just to remove any ambiguity here — the Toad Residence is a Peaceable Kingdom, not a tower ; and as for Montaigne, he was an extremely active horseback huntsman and horsey person all ’round, as well as being such a very hard-working and efficient and popular Mayor of Bordeaux that the residents of that city voted to make a personal exception for him contrary to the Law to allow his election for a second term of office.

    He became mostly house-bound (or “tower”-bound) after developing kidney stones ; which BTW prompted his travels to Italy — simultaneously for a stay at the thermal baths of Bagni di Lucca whose waters were reputed as a treatment for that condition, and as a religious pilgrimage to Rome and Loreto, I suspect partly to petition healing intervention from the Lord through our Lady of Loreto ; though it was also a pilgrimage of thanksgiving that had been promised after I can’t remember which boon received, something involving his wife or his daughter.

    Yes, Montaigne was a devout Catholic pilgrim of the Rome Way. Not a “skeptic” nor “protestant” proto-atheist …

  61. JabbaPapa says:

    Montaigne was a master of the deliberate, baroque, ambiguity such as was used, among others, by Shakespeare

    And by the Lord Himself.

  62. GC says:

    Thank you, Jabba. Most reassuring indeed.

  63. toadspittle says:

    Well, Montaigne deserves all this attention.
    Toad certainly doesn’t.
    But is somewhat flattered.

    (Isn’t Pope Francis a scream? And it’s all thanks to Benedict.)

  64. johnhenrycn says:

    GC (14:58 – 18 Feb): My Lenten observances were meant to include silence here, but it would be discourteous of me not to thank you for that video. Another tear jerker to send to someone in my family at an opportune time, when he/she is feeling down in the dumps or unappreciated.

    … and since I’m here…

    Toad: à propos the discussion concerning Montaigne’s Catholicity, I’ve not read more than a page or two of his Collected Works – stored away somewhere in the bowels of my basement – but I think I knew he was a fairly serious believer, which makes me wonder why you like him so much. Anyway, it just so happens that I’ve been reading an interesting article about another favourite thinker of yours that you might like to take a look at (TF – Dangling Preposition Alert ?!):

    “In perhaps his best-known book, Wittgenstein’s Vienna (1973), Toulmin and his co-author Allan Janik offer a fundamental reinterpretation of Wittgenstein’s enormously influential Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which had shaped the English analytic and positivist philosophical movements. A student of Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein was praised for developing a bloodless calculus of abstract propositions. To hold this view one had to disregard the concluding portion of the Tractatus, a series of aphorisms about ethics, the meaning of life, and the “mystical”. This conclusion, which seemed to come from nowhere, was dismissed as an irrelevant indulgence of Wittgenstein’s personal idiosyncrasies.

    “By contrast, Toulmin and Janik contend that the final section of Tractatus was for its author the very point of the book. Reconstructing the questions preoccupying Wittgenstein long before he met Russell, they situate his thought in the Viennese culture of Mahler, Schönberg, Loos, Hertz, Boltzman, and, above all, Karl Kraus. It was a culture that had rediscovered Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard, and was deeply fascinated with Tolstoy. It could not, in short, have been further from the Cambridge philosophers who banished questions about life’s meaning as vague and primitive.

    “Tolstoy in particular shaped Wittgenstein’s thought. As a soldier in the Austrian army, Wittgenstein carried copies of Tolstoy’s stories and Gospel in Brief everywhere. His friends jokingly referred to him as “the man with the Gospels”. The end of Tractatus makes sense the moment one recognizes it as a loose paraphrase of Levin’s meditations in Part VIII of Anna Karenina.

    “For Wittgenstein, logic and science are indeed powerless to address questions of life’s meaning.”We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all,”Wittgenstein explains. But that does not mean these problems do not matter. It means that they must be addressed otherwise…

    “Like Levin [in Anna Karenina], Wittgenstein reasons that “the sense of life” cannot be a fact in the world, but must lie outside it. It cannot belong to the chain of cause and effect, or anything connected with natural laws, because it must illumine life as a whole. Or as Levin comes to understand: “If goodness has causes, it is not goodness; if it has effects, a reward, it is not goodness either. So goodness lies outside the chain of cause and effect.”

    An extract from The Tyranny of Theory: On Toulmin, Tolstoy, and the Dawkinsization of the Humanities, which you can read here.

  65. toadspittle says:

    Nothing to stop me liking “serious believers,” JH – I’m a Toad of catholic tastes.
    stuff re Montaigne, and now from you, on Ludwig. This blog is getting classy.

    How about Pascal then?
    “Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would merely amount to another
    form of madness.” (sums us up on CP&S, all right, does it not?)
    or Unamuno..“Lord, why don’t you exist?”

    “For Wittgenstein, logic and science are indeed powerless to address questions of life’s meaning.”We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all,”
    Agreed, absolutely.
    In fact, I strongly suspect the problem of “life’s meaning” may never be solved.
    Perhaps it’s not supposed to be.
    Why should anyone imagine there’s an answer to everything?
    …Maybe there simply isn’t.

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