The Roman Catholic Love of God versus Indifferent Gods: Different Comprehensions of the Deity
By Joseph Andrew Settanni
“We have recognized for ourselves, and put our faith in, the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” – St. John the Evangelist, Gospel
“God’s love for us is not greater in Heaven than it is now.” – St. Thomas Aquinas, Quodlibets
It will be contended that Roman Catholicism has to the one and only logically and rationally correct comprehension of the Deity. Thousands of different religions, beliefs, faiths, cults, superstitions, etc. have, as is publicly known, widely different and many varying conceptions of the metaphysical order.
The right kind of acknowledgement of the Supreme Being, the Lord God Almighty, makes Catholicism totally unique as both a theology and cognate religion; it is a radically different religion that is staunchly antipagan to the core. For every theology develops, for better or worse, its own religious culture.1
However, before getting directly to the topic of this article, much speculative and definitional debris must be swept away, in a requisitely heuristic manner; this is for yielding a then heightened sense of substantive clarification, of right expiation, for gaining critical knowledge of what is precisely meant.
Since all polytheisms or pagan beliefs are to be axiomatically excluded because, e. g., Aristotle’s Natural Theology had dispensed with such considerations thousands of years ago, even centuries before Jesus Christ was born on earth. This pagan Aristotle had been able to clearly reason his way toward the so important knowledge that there must necessarily be, in fact, only one true God.
Therefore, refutations of polytheism given here would be just very ridiculously redundant; it would be a total waste of time, print, and effort to, in effect, “reinvent the wheel” for any cognizant or intelligent readers. The very significant lapse of Roman Catholic catechesis, in America and the western world in general, duly makes this exercise seemingly mandatory to explain the absolute inadequacy of all non-Catholic belief systems still existent today. What used to be thought quite simply obvious must now be painstakingly brought forth to new generations being fundamentally ignorant of classical Natural Law teachings, the main rudiments of Natural Theology and, of course, the high points of Catholic theology.
Why Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam are All False Religions
Critically speaking, there are only four possible contenders, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam as to an offered monotheism. Why stating four and not the supposedly traditional three faiths? Something sensible needs to be affirmed.
There is, actually, no such supposed religion as “Christianity” because such a general knowledge or sense of faith includes covering all of Catholicism, Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and variations, and, also, a seemingly endless variety and extensive number of what could be called “Protestantisms” all composing, regularly and irregularly, what gets just generally denominated as being a broadly applied Christianity. But, not all monotheisms are really ever the same thing in the end, for syncretism is ever a heresy, not an assumed greater wisdom of the world.
The next critical consideration as strict analysis of theological and doctrinal credibility concerns purity of the faith. Taking the last consideration first, Islam, under examination, is an amalgam or hodgepodge of ancient tribalistic beliefs and superstitions, Moon worship, selected parts of Judaism, clipped parts of Christianity, some superficial Hellenism, and other rather odd bits and pieces of beliefs covering, in addition, many magical and fantastic genies and jinni; all of which, if ever put on truly neutral display, should embarrass any really thinking and honest Muslim.
It is, when seen objectively, a primitive and heterogeneous belief system good only for primitive minds or for those merely seeking relatively simple attitudes toward a jumbled belief in some diverse type of or, perhaps, sort of a God. Many Natural Law teachings have been corrupted by Islam’s nominalism in its theology, for different comprehensions of the Deity necessarily produce different kinds of religions.
The religious culture created by such a wild fusion of ideas and impulses has directionally created an agitated religious orientation greatly adverse, at a minimum, to Western civilization itself, with most fundamentalists of the creed, if requisite truth be told, longing to return nostalgically to the 7th century. What is easily observed, especially with the ultraviolent Islamic State, is a retrograde religion tolerant of much savagery and barbarism galore in hot praise of its bloodthirsty Allah and Prophet Muhammad; such a “religious” genuineness is, nonetheless, truly exemplary of Islam and its quite demonic reality seen through the ages. And, there are real-world consequences.
It is the most inferior and questionable kind of inadequate monotheism yet imaginable. Hilaire Belloc, though a Catholic writer, did Islam the high “courtesy” of at least calling it a Christian heresy, though that assertion is still highly debatable. At a minimum, no rational and logical mind should accept the absurd religion of Muhammad, especially considering its rather strange militant origins and incredibly slapdash composition as to unfortunate beliefs.
In short, nevertheless, no serious intellect should bother taking Islam seriously or ever deserving of any respect as to the monotheistic test of validity merely because of its long history of brutal and brutalizing converting of peoples. It was and remains a “religion of the sword” that to this day practices slavery, concubinage, oppression, and much else still indicative of its strong affinity for barbarism, paganism, ruthlessness, and heathenism. Truly ignorant Westerners, such as Victor Davis Hanson, a Protestant (of course), think that Islam can be helped by its having an experience of Reformation, not knowing that Islam fully thinks of itself as being, in fact, the absolutely verified reform of all religion on earth.
At first glance, Judaism, of course, would easily seem more than just superficially to be a yet genuinely prime candidate among monotheistic beliefs. Not so. During the literally thousands of years that the Hebrews had spent both living among and near many pagan tribes and empires, they had an extremely hard time preserving the purity of their beliefs and that approximately 400 years of captivity in Egypt did not really help, (along with Aaron working on that Golden Calf, at the foot of Mt Sinai no less).
For instance, at one time Yahweh was thought of as only a regional Deity, as when David, finding himself outside the Holy Land, lamented that he was, thus, unable to worship the Lord because of this situation. Judaism is still, moreover, wrestling with its diluted paganism today and, in addition, certain Natural Law proscriptions have been intellectually ruined by Judaism.
If there be any doubt, one can go freely read Torah or what the Christians call the Old Testament for more than ample documentation and affirmation of this very confidently asseverated truth, which is more than just obvious. Among other many integral defects that forever detract severely from the purity of their religion concerns their rather settled incorporation of the eminently pagan quid pro quo attitude, as could be found, e. g., among the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Paganism posits a functionalistic and operational kind of religion or religious belief with its theology suitably inclined either formally or informally, directly or indirectly, toward the noted quid pro quo understanding held between the believers and their gods. Judaism has never repudiated this approach that keeps it oriented more toward paganism than its believers would ever care to admit. It is behind all the past and ongoing rejection of Jesus Christ to this very day.
Because the Messiah did not come as a glorious, fighting, tribalist war-god to utterly best the Romans at their own game of power on earth, the Son of Man was, of course, completely rejected as just being plainly inadequate; this rejection aligned perfectly with Hebraic sensibility as to its reductionistic pagan orientation, meaning that the natural order is reduced to being just an extension of metaphysical order.
For thousands of years, the Jewish people have refused to properly understand that the God of Israel, seen by Christians as God the Father, gives to them what they do need, not what they hubristically, so pridefully, think they do deserve as the Chosen People. The Jewish people, as if through some sort of religious-cultural osmosis, absorbed a definite kind of paganistic pride from the past tribal peoples that they had encountered in their many wanderings. Judaism, consequently, still retains these theological and religious impurities that prevent any progress toward ever acknowledging the truths of Christianity.
This has given the Jewish people a seriously defective theology and, thus, inherently flawed religion as a direct result, for the option of Christianity remains unthinkable and reprehensible because of that willful pride supported firmly by the unshakeable and aforementioned quid pro quo attitude. The nature of paganism involves itself in this bargaining aspect with its interactions with Deity; Abraham, who saw this practice among the heathen tribes surrounding his people, had actually tried it with Yahweh who, at last, just settled for ten morally righteous men in Sodom (who, alas, could not be found).
Protestantism, in its now various multiplicitous and miscellaneous varieties of sects, sub-sects, and cults, exists as a defective assortment of beliefs, as only inferior or mighty impure “Catholicisms” at best and a hopeless and endlessly variegated miscellany of sectarian-oriented opinions at worst. The Protestant Revolution, which is still an ongoing but tiny minor force today as easily compared to the initial revolt, has, also, tended to seek paganistic reductionisms within its own belief structures and attitudes.
This is easily seen whenever, e. g., Evangelicals, unable to correctly perceive the actual truth, denounce Catholicism for its supposed paganism, while also not recognizing how Natural Law considerations have been deformed by Protestantism. One can properly read about this is E. B. F. Midgley’s The Natural Law Tradition and the Theory of International Relations or Heinrich A. Rommen’s The Natural Law.
Protestant religious culture can, indicatively, be heard in its plaintive pietistic hymns; Catholicism is at home, in contradistinction, with lyrical baroque fugues or Gregorian chants; the two cultures are, thus, entirely incommensurate, disproportional, just organizationally uncomplementary, and not really ever compatible as such. A true Protestant world must, by definition, be inherently adverse to any actually Catholic one; and, it could not be, logically speaking, otherwise due to opposed theologies.
The theological and doctrinal purity standard, once again, meets a sustained failure and yet, moreover, embraces it quite steadily within the nominalist philosophical bounds of Protestantism. And, the ever tremendous philosophical problem of persistent nominalism in belief can be perceived as well in both Judaism and Islam, of course. And, forever set truthfully contrary to the heretic Pope Francis, Islam and Christianity definitely, and Catholicism in particular, do not ever worship the same God. This is the old heresy, by now, of syncretism that is encouraged openly by the evil Holy Pontiff himself. But, let the main discussion still go back to the unfortunately deformed or warped Christianity of the Protestants.
The Hebraicism to be found in Puritanism, moreover, splendidly illustrates the reality of how paganism has become engrafted, so weightily, within the basic Protestant creed, though Christianity itself, as is often said, need not be just dismissed as “merely the universalizing of Judaism.” The colonial Puritans of New England, which point can be researched independently, were so greatly fascinated by Judaism as to their expressing the public desire that Hebrew be so adopted as the new language of an independent America. In fact, a great deal of their Puritan theology, unsurprisingly, was Old Testament oriented.
Lutheranism, furthermore, willingly adopted the largely paganistic, fatalistic attitude overtly found in Martin Luther’s bold irrational denial of the rational existence of free will. It was an odd christening of a retrograde pagan fatalism, placed under a pseudo-Christian disguise by Luther, to give it an updated but yet false credibility. Thus, Catholics should pray for the Pope’s soul, concerning this co-celebration of Lutheranism, that he the avoid believing in such heretical beliefs as supposedly being merely variants of Catholicism, which is, of course, just absolutely untrue.
No doubt the so-called Reformation let loose upon the world various forms and types of paganism or, more properly, neopaganism, as was true, e. g., of the 16th century Millenarian Anabaptists who took over Münster, Germany, along with their encouragements of sexual license (rape).
Calvinism, as another example, exemplifies readily the quid pro quo mentality, again, by stressing how God’s favor gets empirically indicated by how wealthy a man becomes, thus, so surely “proving” God’s anointment of him. And, the world is still suffering from the evil consequences of the Reformation or Reformed Religion. One comes fairly to perceive manifestly, upon both doing an intelligent analysis and objective investigation, how much paganism has, indeed, gotten retained in all of Islam, Judaism, and Protestantism, without any rational or reasonable doubt whatsoever, as to the truth of this assertion.
What needs to be properly understood is that these religions represent different but still quite highly complementary sorts of comprehension of the Supreme Being, with Islam, Protestantism, and Judaism having really much more in common than is popularly realized; Catholicism and its form of spirituality, in contrast, has a much more distinct and dissimilar comprehension of the nature of God, especially when compared to those other monotheistic faiths oriented toward naturalism (materiality).
In contradistinction, Catholicism, the truly needed fight for the salvation of souls, possesses a radically different theology, as G. K. Chesterton came to realize. And, it takes much greater courage than ever to say this bold and liberating truth in a very heavily PC-dominated society and culture gone insane with, e. g., well over 300 genders – and still counting, though no doubt the combative Chesterton would have had a certainly glorious field day tearing to bits all or any multi-gender reams of absurd propaganda.
Spirituality as aimed toward religion with concern for proper theology ought to replace considerations favoring materiality, even, e. g., to the avoiding of having a hording mentality such as the sad need to accumulate objects, inclusive of such inconsequential things as books, as an example. Centuries ago, admittedly, they were relatively precious objects due alone, if for no other reason, to their simple scarcity. Today, for too many people, they have become “burdens” of materiality that do hinder the development and needed progress toward spirituality, which, for Catholics, so means the desire for attaining holiness to lead truly spiritual lives.
The things of this earth are to be, in effect, held in complete contempt, including such things as books, compared to the requisite desire for God and the eternal life in Heaven, meaning the salvation of one’s immortal soul, not, e. g., the amassment of a great library for ego satisfaction. There are, in fact, people wrongly obsessed with possessing texts, tomes, and volumes. Books, as with all such worldly objects, however, should only act as mere limited means, not ever ends in themselves, which, e. g., even such a dedicated bibliophile as Mortimer J. Adler would, in the end, have rationally agreed.
This passing world, moreover, when put into the blazing light of eternity is as nothing, for Christ is ever everything. In the end, whatever any Christians may have, do, or realize, in their entire lives, must then unquestionably be rightly oriented always toward Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. Catholics are to willingly seek the true light of Christ in their lives. Thus, any and all pagan or materialistic obsessions or excessive preoccupations, inclusive of any bibliomania, are to be always properly reviled and freely rejected for gaining better the needed love of God, spouses, family members, and neighbors.
What needs to be said? Various forms ad degrees of paganism and modernist neopaganism inclusive prefer, to whatever extent, an indifferent God for different but, ultimately, related reasons. People seek an easier way by blindly following age-old traditions as if symbolism and ritualism will magically yield the only path to salvation as with, e. g., Judaism, or linking their spiritual lives Hebraically to a book, as with Islam’s Koran or Protestantism’s Bible, notably or, perhaps, usually the King James’ version thereof.
But, that which needs to be rightly understood is that the true God is always an inconvenient Deity who really does not want human beings to “hide” themselves in any mere book, whether Torah, Koran, or Bible. This retreat or regression to a wrongful form of religious primitivism, though still unfortunately unrecognized as such, is unworthy of any of those who profess a truly monotheist faith. In contrast, practicing Catholics are to only live by, for and with Christ, not in the shadow of a mere text no matter how revered or old it may be. The result is making the worship done greater than the God, which is, of course, idolatry.
What is being critically noted is too often not correctly perceived as to the truth of genuine faith that involves spiritual risk, especially the invited risk of acknowledging an inconvenient God who is so owed everything. One sees this, dramatically, as when Abraham really thought that he had to sacrifice Isaac. Indicative of what is very significantly meant is how Jesus, after telling that His flesh and blood must be consumed, saw thousands literally walks away; but, He did not ever run after them to say that the hard doctrines could change to somehow or other suit their relative preferences. A loving God could not do so because the Lord is Truth itself.
An inconvenient, troublesome, Messiah stood in their very midst and courageously and publicly spoke the real Truth of Being to them, as to the necessary metaphysical ontology involved for being a devout and practicing Catholic. The choice is forever Christ or chaos. There is, in fact, no real middle way, no middle ground. One wonders how so many millions upon millions can remain perpetually blind to this realization, which has, unfortunately, been increasingly obscured by the horrid aftermath of the Second Vatican Council since about the late 1960s.
In firm reiteration, the strongly heathen elements properly noted and seen in Islam, Protestantism, and Judaism do not ever exist, however, within traditional (orthodox) Roman Catholicism, the needed fight for the salvation of souls. Of course, one sees that modernist Catholicism, admittedly, has been both increasingly and unfortunately paganized since the Second Vatican Council, which can be overtly seen, most recently, in Pope Francis’ supported, heretical, and so very morally perverse document: Amoris Laetitia.2
Uniqueness of Traditional Roman Catholicism
Any religion that features strong elements of paganism (aka materiality) exhibits what ought to be seen as the positing of an indifferent God or Gods, which, upon analysis, must ever be the case encountered. The God worshipped by Roman Catholics, in sharp contrast, is not at all indifferent to the reality of the Roman Catholic religion and the theology that developed that particular religion. Jesus as the Messiah is, also, a readily personal God who is both the friend and brother of all Christians, not an unconcerned or absolutely above-it-all Deity set away far off in a distant universe; it is not the depiction of an 18th century Deists’ version of a “Ghost of a God.”
All Christians, all Catholics, are to be immediately responsive to, loving of, and are, in fact, answerable instantaneously and eternally to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There are no exceptions. There are no qualifications to this straightforward belief, to this ever truthful faith. All of Protestantism, as to its basis in Sola Scriptura, is, by definition, heretical and, as such, constitutes a false theology and an allied and necessarily untrue religion. How is this to be better properly known as to the truthful and discoverable, the honest and verifiable, presentation and recognition of Divinity?
Though God the Father is recognized, the supposed “God” of Judaism and the God of the Catholic Faith are not, therefore, the same Deity; the Catholic doctrine of supersessionism states clearly that the New Testament is, indeed, the New Covenant because the Jews broke the Old Covenant by totally rejecting Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior. Judaic religious culture is, by its very own nature, exclusivist, inner-directed, and most substantially opposed to any attempts at universalizing its religious sentiments, as it inherently lacks, for instance, any missionary spirit. All this, thus, ought to be obvious as argumentation and historical facts, therefore, do exist forever in quite adamant support.
The High Priest Caiaphas had so publicly, deliberately, blasphemously, and sacrilegiously tore his sacred vestments consecrated to God from the bottom up; the veil of the Temple was ripped, by the power of God, from the top down to also publicly and plainly indicate that the Old Covenant was, indeed, then fully broken forever with the Jewish people. It could not be otherwise.
Caiaphas, in the name of the entire Jewish people, definitely knew the profound seriousness of what he had done, meaning by so openly and irrevocably breaking faith with God, by tearing his highly sacred and blessed vestments. He, both undeniably and absolutely, had then completely repudiated the Old Covenant by thought, word, deed, and the rather obvious symbolism empirically involved.
His displayed enormous anger and excessive vitriol, moreover, gave affirmative truth to the then open acknowledgement that, in fact, Jesus was the Messiah who had been, nonetheless, rejected utterly. The High Priest of Israel had, in effect, spat at the face of God by angrily and contemptuously rejecting the Son of Man who came to earth to gloriously liberate men from the evil of sin, not Israel from the rule of the Romans, as most had thought. The Jews, as to the majority of them, only wanted a violent warrior-prophet as the Messiah, not a personal God of love sent for the holy purpose of eternal salvation.
Although most believing Jews, usually the Reformed and Conservative Jews, do fully accept the Ten Commandments, the Orthodox Jews must believe in and accept 613 commandments as part of their faith; the Orthodox faithful, trying to stay true to the earliest origins of belief made impure by pagan elements, think that God can be fooled by human beings. How so?
To carry keys on the Sabbath, a long dangling key chain may actually be worn, meaning as if it were just a supposed unconscious “afterthought” that fits the (technical) prohibition of not doing or being ever involved with any work on the Sabbath. This is so that Yahweh is not to bother noticing how convenient it certainly was for those keys to, somehow or other, manage to get into a pocket that, thus, just had “merely happened” to be available by a coincidence. Such is the true religious primitivism of paganism.
Thus, it becomes evident, without question, through the above reviews of the other religions given in this article, that the Jews, Moslems, and Protestants all do worship only a false god, not the true Lord God Almighty. And, this greatly significant fact divides forever all such claimed monotheistic beliefs from the correct understanding of the demonstrated purity and righteousness of the overt standard of theology and religion so possessed by traditional (orthodox) Roman Catholicism. Q. E. D.
Among monotheistic beliefs, an indifferent kind of Deity can best be seen in Islam in that the real actual meaning of “Allah” is not God but submission, meaning enslavement of one’s mind, thought, spirit and will to the absolutism of such an unapproachable Being. The impression, directly or indirectly, is given that all of creation can be, at any time, an indifferent sort of concern or regard from this Absolute Being unconcerned about the doings of mere tangential creatures subordinate to the demanded enslavement of will and spirit, of the nature of Islam’s religious culture.
Judaism, connected to the God of the Old Covenant, has seen, in the past 20th century, the response of millions of Jews becoming atheists or, at the least, near atheists by witnessing, in their minds, the lack of God’s expected compassion by allowing the Holocaust to occur. They, meaning, thus, in their minds due to their religious culture, constituted viewing the horrid sight of an indifferent Deity who had (perhaps carelessly) so permitted such an enormous tragedy to be imposed upon some six million or so Jewish people.
What needs to be beheld here, though not often recognized as such, is also how Protestantism has wrongly constructed for itself the supposed nature of an uninterested or, apparently, dispassionate Supreme Being, which is the direct opposite of Catholicism, of course.
And, this forever very critical difference, relating to divergent religious cultures and their implications and even more significant ramifications, needs to be so appropriately understood. Luther, by willfully asserting there being the very lack of any free will, and Calvin, by then mandating in his mind absolute predestination, had raised up a rather disquieting kind of God who can, haphazardly or casually, make men into earthly playthings no more of concern as if they were, in effect, mere pin ball objects.
This all quite reasonably suggests that anyone, now consciously yet remaining a convinced Protestant, Moslem or Jew, should have his head examined, meaning as to if such a God is worth believing in with these quite terrible and imputed attributes. Why? Only an indifferent God could satisfy the debased epistemology and corrupted ontology, required by such a theology, mandating conclusions geared to nominalism in reasoning. It would be so highly funny, if it was not, in fact, so very irredeemably sad, especially regarding that German firebrand with his 95 Theses.3
It takes a rather profound comprehension, being further on as to requisite thought, to critically perceive the many terrible consequences of a decadent spirituality that results naturally from forms of idolatry sanctioned, by accepting an ingrained and hardened nominalism in cognition. How may this be clearly known and rightly recognized? Decadence, as C. E. M. Joad, had correctly defined it, is the loss of the object.
Decadent spirituality becomes the very definition of the loss of the proper object in terms of correctly recognizing what ought to be the truth about the Godhead being so worshiped, celebrated, honored, recognized, proclaimed, etc.
Christ publicly denounced the Pharisees and Scribes for making the worship greater than God, which is idolatry, which, in its own turn, then became Judaism itself inverted. Spiritual decadence has made the vast majority of Jewish people into basic secularists whose earthly god, as is seen easily in America, has become idolatrous Leftist politics; the minority of truly religious Jews do knowingly reject all forms of secular salvation.
The predominant majority chose the inverted Messianism of radical politics. Moslems, as yet another illustration, favoring iconoclasm produce their own version of idolatry, though in an inverted way, by scorning images while man himself has been, in fact, made in the image of God. ISIS, now, exists as a truly genuine expression of resurgent and authentic Islam as these evil terrorists do go about willfully destroying many ancient pagan temples and Christian churches, in widely observed open support of their iconoclastic viewpoint.
Protestants, manifesting their own sort of spiritual decadence, have made the ever pervasive idolatry of Sola Scriptura into their earthly god that must be obeyed, regardless of the high cost to theological and religious truth. Decadent spirituality, as ought to be obvious by now, necessarily then both corrupts and resultantly deforms any attempted creation of a theology that must, logically, come to harshly ruin any such cognate religion proclaimed and adhered to by the believers. How may this be made known?
For the three principles relating to Catholicism, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi are, axiomatically, so related logically to all theologies that produce religions. There is an inevitability to all this discussion and philosophizing, regarding theology and any resultant religion, as is particularly as pertaining to a religious culture. And, it is rather plain that the contemporary world aggressively challenges any such culture by often crudely pitting the entitlement mentality against spiritual gratitude.4
What is, therefore, the important consideration being now so vigorously proposed? This means that idolatry, whether inverted or otherwise, corrupts the religion that reflects back upon the failures of the theology in question to, then, offer a better appreciation and understanding of man’s need for God, the manner of worship, and theological and religious truth inclusive.
Thus, one can come to better see that Islam, Judaism, and Protestantism, meaning their being all false religions, do then logically share certain definitive nominalist affinities that are, in fact, always to be found completely lacking in (orthodox) Roman Catholicism. This is a most significant point to clearly remember, furthermore, and reflects back insightfully to many earlier thoughts and ideas mentioned both analytically and positively.
Affirmative knowledge concerning the attributes about God can be gained, though He Himself will forever remain inscrutable and ineffable, by definition, in terms of the infinity of the reality involved. From ancient times, Catholic thinkers knew fundamental truth as to the Supreme Being, as is noted by St. Augustine, in his De Natura Boni, when he confidently says, “”God alone is immutable; and whatever things He has made, being from nothing, are mutable.”
Regarding the reality confronted, St. John of Damascus, in his Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, related: “For He does not belong to the class of existing things: not that He has no existence, but that he is above all existing things, nay, even above existence itself.”
As St. Thomas Aquinas, in his surely impressive Summa Theologica, there clearly states, “God alone is completely immutable; for that reason true and proper eternity is His alone.” He, further, adds in his discussion of De Divinis Nominibus, that, “To realize that God is far beyond anything we think, that is the mind’s achievement.” However, none of this is ever meant, by Catholic thinkers, to be indicative of an indifferent Godhead presiding either forever within or beyond the mere universe experienced by mortal creatures. Moreover, Catholic Christology completely forbids this notion, as would be correctly affirmed by the Catechism of the Council of Trent.
Realization of this understanding of a personal God was well expressed by Msgr. Robert H. Benson, in his Christ in the Church, when he says that, “If God be Truth, and God be Love, is it not absolutely inevitable that the love of God should bring the truth of God down to the level of the very simplest.” One sees here factually that Catholicism is truly an exoteric, not esoteric, religion supported firmly by a suitable theology, oriented toward urging the salvation of human beings, by proving the means for this through the Church and its cognate sacraments. For it is, also, known that extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.
Benson further adds to the important thinking involved when, in his The Religion of the Plain Man, one notably there reads: “It was the man in the street who understood our Lord, and the doctor of the law who was perplexed and offended.” Catholicism, way before the rise of Protestantism as the so-called Reformed Religion, knew that God through Jesus had made Christ immediately accessible and a friend and brother of common men, not just an object, e. g., for religious elites alone.
In critical contrast, Islam, Judaism, and to the extent that the absurd overconcentration upon the Bible as if it were the Christian Torah that seeks to re-Judaize the Protestant religion, all three of these faiths do posit God as the absolute Other, as with, e. g., Martin Buber’s existentialist speculations grinding on toward abstractionization. And, resultantly, the more that false notion of “the wholly Other” that gets expressed, the more indifferent the Divinity is then made to seem or appear to those who may think of themselves as being religious people.
Thus, with traditional Catholicism, the Supreme Being gets not wrongly abstracted into just being the Other; He is, forever, truly and without any question Jesus the Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, who suffered and died on the Cross; it is fairly hard to think of a much more personal act, moreover, and to the extremely important point being made concretely here, than being willingly crucified, sacrificed, because of His great love for mankind. Such a compassionate and loving Deity is hardly indifferent.
Against the aforementioned “Jewishness” of Islam, Judaism, and Protestantism, the opposed knowledge of a personal God is defended explicitly by Roman Catholicism; and, among many others, one could then easily give St. Francis of Assisi as a reference for this discussion of Catholic truth. The Canticle of the Sun is not just a religious song once composed by Saint Francis, for it surely is an affirmation of his personal theology of intimacy in having a private or intimate relationship with God, which, thus, did not arise as a supposed Protestant idea, as in invoking, e. g., one’s personal Lord and Savior as Jesus.
This is actually because Jesus is not to be thought of as the abstract Other; He is ever the living Christ, the reality of the redeeming Lord and Savior, the Messiah of the universe, both immediately considered and, of course, always forever.
As Blaise Pascal had correctly well noted, in his Pensées, “The Christian’s God is not a God Who is simply author of mathematical truths and of the order of the elements; that is the lot of the heathen and of the Epicureans. He is not merely a God Who employs His providence upon the life and wellbeing of men, in order to bestow on His worshippers a long and prosperous life; that is the heritage of the Jews.” He adds these words, later in the same paragraph, concerning the true God in that the Lord “is a God of love and consolation …”
But, the highly thoughtful and religiously perceptive St. Francis de Sales, in his Spiritual Conferences, so interestingly enlarges upon the theme of Divine love in that, “If God had not created man He would still indeed have been perfect in goodness, but He would not have been actually merciful, since mercy can only be exercised toward the miserable.” Added to all this is the Mystery of Deity, besides the Mystery of Evil and the Mystery of Good. As to fallen mortal creatures in an also fallen world, how may this be made better known to a church humanly staffed by, of, and for miserable earthly sinners all standing before a righteous and Holy God?
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman gives the correct understanding and answer of how Catholicism works; this is not by the supposed modernist evolution of dogmas approach, but by describing the proper way Catholic teaching has become more thorough and unequivocal over the centuries, while the later enunciations of any fundamental Catholic doctrine, being orthodox, remain theologically then consistent with the earlier basic declarations; this represents, of course, the holy desire for maintaining a much wanted orthodoxy and truth for better informing Catholicism, the universal faith.
On the other hand, what often sadly exists as Catholic “ecumenism” acts as a deceitful means of hiding Catholic truth, both from believers and nonbeliever alike, in the unutterably vile and reprehensible effort to be, supposedly, more inclusive in today’s world. Such obnoxious “inclusivity” fully deserves unreserved condemnation, however, not praise; it is a true horror that should always be avoided, not sophistically advocated in any possible way, shape, or form whatsoever, contrary to the terrible desires of Pope Francis.
Thus, Pope Francis’ evil and heretical co-celebration of the harmful Lutheran Revolt, set against Holy Mother Church and (what had once been) Christendom itself, ought ever to be so absolutely rejected, spurned, and reviled without any doubt whatsoever. One ought to intelligently and theologically know that this incredible and despicable happening is, therefore, definitely not just a merely slight matter of no lasting importance or significant consequence. It so clearly violates the doctrinal understanding of Newman’s An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, and its vile irregularities could not be logically or reasonably sustained according to Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.
This is a most grave and heretical profanation of an excessive magnitude and scale that so demonically sanctions sacrilege that should not, ought not, to be ever tolerated. It is, so right manifestly, a truly enormous abomination and contemptuous blasphemy before God; it is blatant idolatry. The Pope and any and all Catholic prelates and laity involved, moreover, should be openly and thoroughly condemned in the strongest terms imaginable and possible.5
In any event, this article’s larger discourse about theological epistemology should have demonstrated why, given the proper logic of Catholicism as being the only true faith, then all other religions are, by definition, only forms of abhorrent idolatry, which ought to be then shunned or avoided totally. Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus.
Furthermore, totally unlike paganism, there is no bargaining, no quid pro quo conditions, found with a Christocentric Catholicism in interactions with the one true God who is to be worshipped and loved unconditionally, as a plain fact of metaphysical reality. Love and justice, endless honor and praise, are absolutely due to the Lord God Almighty, nothing is owed to humanity by the Supreme Being, meaning the cause of all being, of all existence in the entire universe and beyond that matter as well. One learns even from the ancient pagan Plato, without question, that, “God is the measure of all things.”
Moreover, even if human beings supposedly received totally nothing in return, including the possibility of salvation, the Divinity would still be quite axiomatically owed all love, justice, honor, praise, and glory forever and ever, as, also, St. Thomas Aquinas would have fully agreed. All of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium, also, confirms the truth of the primacy of God, not the assumed supremacy of Man.
In addition to all that has been said, Catholicism rightly rejects the fallacious “two truths theory” that alleges something can be true in religion but false in science or vice versa. This absurdly posits the totally erroneous notion of an antagonism that is often supposed to exist between science and religion, which is, in fact, always utter nonsense. As Christopher Dawson knew, this is a central understanding of all genuine Catholic culture. When each is correctly understood to have its own proper sphere of right expertise neither confronts nor contradicts, neither confutes nor confounds, the other.
One ought to know that any physical or natural science, e. g., that attempts to ever theologize is, by definition, simply illegitimate, not really the practice of true science. As St. Thomas Aquinas truthfully taught, moreover, there can be no conflict between faith and reason when each is properly understood.
While saying that Jesus is the Christ has intellectual consequences, equally, the statement asserting that there is only One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith represented by Catholicism must, therefore, also have its cognitive consequences, not just simply religious or theological. By ever rejecting strongly any decadent spirituality, furthermore, a supportive liturgy, doxology, soteriology, eschatology, Christology, etc. comes to support adamantly the honest truth of what gets asseverated theologically and religiously.
It could not rationally be otherwise. The same goes for the assertion that Allah is the one true God and Mohammad is his Prophet, for there have been, most certainly, many theological and religious results, of course. Nonetheless, mere declaration is not proof of anything nor is the relative strength or lack thereof of any believer’s faith, whether with or without any quid pro quo style paganism being present.6 In addition, modernity’s too often overlooked or denied significant contribution of myth, magic, and superstition has only greatly aggravated and disoriented the condition of the postmodern world, not improved it.7
The mere idolatrous faith of a Jew, Muslim, or Protestant is, however, set not in question as to, for instance, all possible axiological, epistemological, or ontological realities; the verifiable truth of the Catholic theology and allied religion is, though, not definitely and necessarily held seriously in question, until and if a (supposed) contrary veracity can be established beyond disproof. For what is proven is according to the Trinitarian dogma and, thus, to be done In nómine Pátris et Fílii et Spíritus Sáncti. Amen.
What can be surely known of the advanced theological epistemology developed by the Church Fathers, Patriarchs, Scholastics, Confessors, Doctors, and others, however, truly upholds the openly presented understanding and comprehension of God that has been articulated and defended as being consistently true. Furthermore, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman would, therefore, have completely agreed, for Catholicism concurs with right reason, common sense, and, as Midgely and Rommen would have fully assented, with Natural Law as well.
Among numerous other signs and indications, attendant proofs and clues, the saints and martyrs of Sancta Mater Ecclesia do freely attest to the truth of the Faith without any question, for all are true valid parts of the known, accessible, and authentic Catholic culture that has been here, in fact, confidently expatiated and intellectually secured as such.
Athanasius contra mundum!
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.
Catechism of the Council of Trent.
B. F. Midgley, The Natural Law Tradition and the Theory of International Relations
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.
Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.
Heinrich A. Rommen, The Natural Law
- This article, and others written by the same author, has been attempting to try, however feebly and desperately, to clearly articulate and reconstitute an authentic Roman Catholic religious culture; this is by reminding Catholics, as forcefully as is possible in mere print, of the main reality of what used to be basically understood and comprehended as to the theological and religious sensitivities and proclivities, sympathies and inclinations, of orthodox Catholicism, meaning especially since Vatican Council II. It would help the reader to read what the great Catholic historian (and convert) Christopher Dawson had prominently written about the great importance of authentic Catholic religious culture and the need to defend it.
- One can, relatedly, cite Thomas P. Neill’s Makers of the Modern Mind, especially his quite revealing chapter on Martin Luther.
- This article’s consideration of how one may objectively judge the different merits or failures of monotheistic belief systems has not meant to slight the reality of the affects, definite influences, of history upon religions. Catholicism is, of course, an assuredly historical religion; Christ was born, died, and resurrected all within historical time, not outside of it. Furthermore, one factor, among a number, that contributed to the development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam was, surely, the humanizing process of Hellenization.
Hellenization can be defined as the spread of the ideas and ideals of the ancient Greeks, especially after the conquests of Alexander the Great. Inferior and cruder societies and cultures, over time and through increased interaction as an osmosis, tended to yield more and more to these quite humanizing Greek attitudes and aspirations, sometimes for better or worse, depending upon a wide variety of historical situations and circumstances, of course.
In general, one could fairly say that the splendid humanization of thought brought culture into a more receptive civilization that, in intent, sought to thoughtfully, philosophically, encompass all of mankind within the greater koinos kosmos (a shared world, common humanity), a truly ecumenical, meaning universal, world for all peoples.
In St. John the Evangelist’s Gospel, the Logos, the Word, was freely adopted to mean Jesus Christ, which is a prominent example of how a definite part of Greek philosophy got itself transmuted into Catholic theology. Notably, the entire Septuagint, in the 3rd century BC, was a translation of the Old Testament that had, of course, been then written entirely in Greek. Because it was much too indicative of the true signs of the Messiah, the Jews, only after the rise of Christianity, then rejected it suspiciously as being a supposed poor translation from the Hebrew.
If it confirmed Christianity, ergo, it just then had to be wrong! The nasty “logic” of sheer bigotry, by definition, always thinks it’s so totally impeccable and should not be ever questioned.
The elders of the synagogues made sure that the Hebrew scribes, especially after the Diaspora, rewrote selected parts to help skillfully exclude any references to the Savior that could in any way be attributed directly to Jesus Christ. That is why only expurgated versions or editions of the Jewish Torah now exist today, which considerably help to obscure or deny that Jesus is the Christ; and, this obscurantist belief system is, proudly, called Judaism, for Hellenization, after all, had its limits.
To really say more about the impact of Hellenization would only be just redundant, beyond any real need. One can reasonably conclude, therefore, by saying that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam had all benefited substantially by the past process of Hellenization since few, if any, religions are truly freed of historical reality. The main flaw of such Hellenism is, of course, the anthropocentricism to be found hidden at the heart of all paganism, however disguised, since it could not be otherwise.