Some good quotations from, well…

…from a book that was published almost twenty years ago, which I bought about twelve years ago, finally began reading a week ago, nearly lost a few days ago, and ultimately shelved about twenty-four hours ago.

Joyce Little, The Church and the Culture War (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995)

Joyce Little - The Church and the Culture War

p .17 – citing Romano Guardini, The End of the Modern World (1956), p. 124: “As unbelievers deny Revelation more decisively, as they put their denial into more consistent practice, it will become the more evident what it really means to be a Christian. At the same time, the unbeliever will emerge from the fogs of secularism. He will cease to reap benefit from the values and forces developed by the very Revelation he denies. He must learn to exist honestly without Christ and without the God revealed through Him; he will have to learn to experience what this honestly means. Nietzsche had already warned us that the non-Christian of the modern world had no realization of what it truly meant to be without Christ. The last decades [this was written in the 1950’s] have suggested what life without Christ really is. The last decades were only the beginning.”

p. 25 – citing Hannah Arendt, “What Was Authority?” (1958), p. 102: “As long as this [Roman] tradition was uninterrupted, authority was inviolate; and to act without authority and tradition, without accepted, time-honored standards and models, without the help of the wisdom of the founding fathers, was inconceivable.”

p. 32 – citing Hannah Arendt, “What Was Authority?” (1958), p. 105: “Since then [when the Catholic Church took over the triune amalgamation of Roman religion, tradition and authority] it has turned out … that wherever one of the elements of the Roman trinity religion or authority or tradition, was doubted or eliminated, the remaining two were no longer secure. Thud, it was Luther’s error to think that his challenge to the temporal authority of the Church and his appeal unguided individual judgment would leave tradition and religion intact. So it was the error of Hobbes and the political theorists of the seventeenth century to hope that authority and religion could be saved without tradition. So, too, was it finally the error of the humanists to think it would be possible to remain within an unbroken tradition of western civilization without religion and without authority.”

p. 38 – “When in 1968, Humanae Vitae produced such controversy the question was frequently raised as to whether we were facing a crisis of authority or a crisis of faith. Today it is obvious that it was and is both, and that both crises are rooted in a single cause–the dominance of power in the thinking of so many people today in both the Church and society. … [Critics of Humanae Vitae] could no longer recognize that those in authority , in the words of Ratzinger, ‘do not create anything but simply articulate what already exists in the Church of the Lord’ [Church, Ecumenism and Politics {New York: Crossroad, 1988}, p. 130].”

p. 42 – citing Jeremy Rifkin, Time Wars (New York: SImon & Schuster, A Touchstone Book, 1987), p. 185: “The devaluation of history is a prerequisite for the free exercise of pure power.”

p. 43 – citing Ratzinger, quoted in “A Man of Conscience” Inside the Vatican, zero issue (Spring 1993): “The true sense of the teaching authority of the Pope consts in his being the advocate of Christian memory. The Pope does not impose from without. Rather he elucidates Christian memory and defends it.”

p. 56 – “[The] modern detachment of man from his body is most apparent in the abstract language that today in matters of sex and death replaces the direct, concrete expressions of earlier ages. Lust is free love, adultery is open marriage, homosexuality is a lifestyle, masturbation is safe sex, pregannacy is disease, abortion is termination of that disesase, procreation is reproduction, birth prevention is birth control, natural mothers are surrogate mothers, unborn children are embryos, embryos are property, murder is mercy killing, mercy killing is assisted suicide and suicide is death with dignity.”

whammy champ kind (2)

p. 58 – “As Chesterton once observed: ‘The Church and the heresies always used to fight about words, because they are the only thing worth fighting about.” [The Bell and the Cross (New York: John Lane, 1910), p. 96] Battles about words are always battles about competing views of reality.”

p. 84 – citing George W. S. Trow, In the Context of No Context (Boston/Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1978, 1980, 1981), p. 5: “The work of television is to establish false contexts and to chronicle the unraveling of existing contexts;finally, to establish the context of no-context and to chronicle it.”

p. 102 – “[T]o reject hierarchy is not to reject inequality but to reject order. For the opposite of hierarchy is not equality, as so many people today seem to think. The opposite of hierarchy is anarchy, that is, no order at all. Anarchy is chaos, and if we doubt that this is what egalitarianism really leads to, all we need do is look at the violence in our streets, the disorder in our families, the lawlessness in our schools, the corruption in our politics, the immorality in our media and the dissent within our churches.”

p. 133 – “[The Blessed Virgin Mary] is the one human being in all of history who embodies both in her nature and in her personhood the concrete realization of a sinless human existence. If we ask what goodness, what value, it is that Christ sees when he looks at us, the answer surely must be the goodness, the value he sees when he looks at his own mother. As the first recipient of the full fruits of Christ’s redemptive grace, she realizes within her own life the good creation which God intended from the beginning and which can be found to one degree or another in every one of us. When we see Mary as Christ sees her, then we begin to see ourselves as Christ sees us. And when we begin to see ourselves that way, we begin to see why it is that God not only arranged for our redemption but came to attend to it in person. Contrary to what many theolgocains have suggested, Mary is not the expcetion to the rule; she is the first realizstion of the rule of God within the good creation. … She is model for all disciples, male and female alike.”

p. 135 – “The female side of creation reaches its highest expression in Mary not as the purely passive recipient of redemption but as the one who complements and completes the activity of Christ.”

p. 136 – citing Gertrude von le Fort, The Eternal Woman (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co., 1954), p. 14: “Surrender to God is the only absolute power that the creature possess.”

p. 140 – “Mary is most prominent in the Gospels at two points in the life of Christ: first, at his conception and birth where she assumes the responsibility of bearing a man into the world, and, second, at the inauguration [Cana] and culmination [Calvary] of Christ’s hour where she assumes the responsibility of bearing other men and women to Christ.”

p. 142 – citing Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude (Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria, 1974), p. 56: “‘I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work.’ … [Little, p. 143:] “When so much of [Christ’s] work consisted of attending to those who interrupted him, why should we suppose our own lives to be any different?”

p. 154 – “If Christ is the truth, Mary is the trust. And the truth, because personal and material, cannot be efficacious in our world unless we entrust ourselves to him. … We live in a world situated between the suspicion of Eve and the trust of Mary.”

p. 165 – “The watershed issue for Catholics is not abortion but contraception. For contraception places before us the central issue of our age–who has dominion over man? Man himself or God? … To divorce sex from procreation is to divorce man from his role as co-creator with God in order to set man up as the sole lord of even his own existence.”

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About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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14 Responses to Some good quotations from, well…

  1. “[T]o reject hierarchy is not to reject inequality but to reject order. For the opposite of hierarchy is not equality, as so many people today seem to think. The opposite of hierarchy is anarchy, that is, no order at all. Anarchy is chaos, and if we doubt that this is what egalitarianism really leads to, all we need do is look at the violence in our streets, the disorder in our families, the lawlessness in our schools, the corruption in our politics, the immorality in our media and the dissent within our churches.

    And what happens when the hierarchy rejects order and cultivates chaos?
    Here is our Pope and our Cross:

    Pope Francis told a gathering of some 30,000 youth from his homeland that they are to “make a mess,” shaking up the comfort, self-satisfaction and clericalism of a Church closed in on itself.

  2. Tony Jokin says:

    Hey Codg,

    I have started reading this book now after reading your excerpts above. I am only done the introduction and first chapter and I must say, it is certainly a delightful read so far. The author makes some interesting analysis on authority and power. I also liked the introduction, it had me hooked as soon as I started reading haha. It did have me wondering how she viewed St. John Paul II very positively given that some of things she mentions in the introduction about dialogue were championed by St. John Paul II.

    But one little quirk that caught my eye was that on page 27, the author quotes another author that explains how authority of the Church is not coercive and how members are free to leave or stay in the membership of the Church. I though they were not free to do so since leaving the Church is basically apostasy. It is my understanding that the Church also invoked penalties via the temporal powers in such situations too. I noticed that there were some subsequent mention of the Church hinted in a manner completely devoid of coercive power. So it didn’t seem like the author disagreed with that assessment. What were your thoughts on that?

    Apart from it, I am enjoying it very much. If you hadn’t made your post, I would probably never have come across the book 🙂

  3. Tony:

    I don’t see the problem. For those who wish to remain under her mantle, the Church has a right to coercion. However, she does not enjoy absolute coercive authority, since a believer could simply leave the Catholic fellowship, despite injunctions from the Church not to do so.

    Iota Unum is a masterpiece and a thesaurus of “trans-Conciliar” wisdom. I’m glad yet another person in my life is reading it!

  4. Dear B.C. There is a three fold power in the Government of the Church: Legislative, Judicial, and Coercitive (see The Church of Christ, an apologetic and dogmatic treatise E. Sylvester Berry, STD).

    Berry argues that the Catholic Church is a society even more perfect than the state and, thus, must have powers at least equal to hers and owing to the truth that Jesus never prohibited capital punishment (how could He?) then the Catholic Church retrains the ultimate coercitive power and it has always had and still has the authority and power to bump-off heretics her own self.

    Sure, in the past, there were many instances in which we handed off these corrosive creeps to the state to bump off but let’s us remember the Papal States and MaestroTitta.

    O, and because they once were members of the Catholic Church, we could still bump-off those schismatic and heretical bastids who attack us and sow errors.

    Where have you gone, Maestro Titta our Holy Nation turns its lonely eyes to you

    http://roma.andreapollett.com/S1/roma-c12.htm

  5. Tony Jokin says:

    Hi Codg,

    Iota Unum seems like a wonderful book from what I can gather from the free preview of the table of contents on amazon. But my nearest library doesn’t seem to have it. So I might have to wait a bit.

    On the problem with coercion, the issue I see is that the assertion of the author, if true, paints the Church before Vatican II as being in the wrong. The Church did request temporal penalties from the state on those were guilty of apostasy. Then there are those like St. Thomas Aquinas who argue that heretics could be put to death. All of these seem to qualify as coercion and that a Catholic once entering the Church is not simply free to leave or publicly hold any view they prefer.

    I guess one could understand the modern claim as one is free to defect privately without any manifestation of such a defection publicly. But I am not sure the way it is conveyed in the particular text hints at such a private defection.

  6. Tony Jokin says:

    Oooh, I just did an online search and the SSPX seem to have a large chunk of the text available for free on their site. I will give it a read there till I get it 🙂

  7. Yeah, I was going to tell you about that. I had assumed you owned a copy. The first several dozen chapters are really the most important, by my lights, and those are all available online.

  8. Tony: “on page 27, the author quotes another author that explains how authority of the Church is not coercive and how members are free to leave or stay in the membership of the Church.”

    Can you please give me an exact quotation or at least which section of the book this is in? I can’t find the location you’re discussing.

  9. Tony Jokin says:

    Hi Codg,

    My mistake about the exact page number. It is page 26, 2nd paragraph (which begins as “Given the nature of ecclesial authority…”) actually. The author seems to be discussing the views of Hannah Arendt in that section but she does not seem to disagree with her assessment.

  10. Ohhh!! Silly me! All this time I thought we were discussing Amerio’s Iota Unum! haha

    Now it makes sense. Little is a very good theologian, but she’s also THOROUGHLY post-Conciliar. To be honest, she probably does not embrace the Tradition about the Church’s coercive authority.

  11. Tony, I just finished up an essay for One Peter Five, and I ended up citing Little a great deal about authority vs. power. It got me thinking. I still think she’s correct to say that the Church’s authority does not entail absolute (and thus not truly coercive) power. For, even if the Church were to return to corporal punishments and executions, those actions would only be externally coercive. The Church–and perhaps not even God–has the authority to effect an internal change of the will. If a person chose to remove himself from Catholic communion, he could be coerced by marshal powers, but he would still enjoy the mysterious autonomy of his free will. I think that is what Joyce is getting at. As she says on page 29, “Power does not evoke the free obedience of those over whom it rules.” And so on.

  12. Dear MJY,

    I’m not sure if you would see it, since it is in a past thread, but I recently replied to Tony about the Church’s authority/power. I reproduce it here for you, just to be sure you get it:

    Tony, I just finished up an essay for One Peter Five, and I ended up citing Little a great deal about authority vs. power. It got me thinking. I still think she’s correct to say that the Church’s authority does not entail absolute (and thus not truly coercive) power. For, even if the Church were to return to corporal punishments and executions, those actions would only be externally coercive. The Church–and perhaps not even God–has the authority to effect an internal change of the will. If a person chose to remove himself from Catholic communion, he could be coerced by marshal powers, but he would still enjoy the mysterious autonomy of his free will. I think that is what Joyce is getting at. As she says on page 29, “Power does not evoke the free obedience of those over whom it rules.” And so on.

  13. Dear B.C. Completely agree re. not forcing faith on any man but, come, on, wouldn’t you like to see, say, Richard Rohr roasted?

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