Lumen Scholasticum

Elucubrations, translations, and commentary from a Scholastic and Catholic integralist perspective

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Manualist Monday: Franzelin on the divisions of Tradition

Recently, our inquiries into ius liturgicum and its many pertinent corollaries and parallels in other theological disciplines impelled us to focus on the various senses of traditio in the Church’s theological tradition. The present brief piece, a translation of the first thesis of Cardinal Franzelin’s classic work De divina traditione et Scriptura, is made from the second edition of that treatise, published in 1875. The chapter referenced from Petavius and recommended for its treatment of this topic is in process of translation, and, we hope, will follow soon after this. It is our hope that having such texts readily available for reference will be of use.

Franzelin, Tractatus de divina traditione et Scriptura, sect. I, cap. 1, thes. i (ed. IIa 1875, p. 12-15).
A downloadable .pdf version of this translation can be found here.


THESIS I.

The manifold notion of Tradition is explicated.

“Tradition can be considered either in the objective sense, or the active sense, or the complex sense of both at once. Since sacred Tradition, taken more broadly in the objective sense, may be called a doctrine or institution pertaining to religion, which has been transmitted by the forefathers to the Church to be preserved, it is necessary that, by reason of origin, divine Tradition be distinguished from Tradition which is simply apostolic and ecclesiastical, each of which has its own, though different, authority and strength. Nor is there lacking a sure norm, according to which divine Tradition can be distinguished from another sort of a lower order.”

I. This thesis requires little except a declaration of concepts. In the objective sense, Tradition is that very thing which is passed on, a doctrine or institution transmitted from one’s forefathers: “the deposit which you have received, not what you have thought up, the thing given to you and not produced from you,” as St. Vincent of Lerins says, Commonit. n. 27. Now, since the mode in which doctrine is conserved and propagated to us can be varied, that mode is not defined per se by the name of Tradition in the objective sense; whence the Fathers sometimes, in declaring the mode, use epithets, and call it Tradition written (preserved for us in the sacred Scriptures) and unwritten. Thus Clement of Alexandria calls the interpretation or deeper understanding received from the forefathers, of the doctrine of the Scriptures, the unwritten Tradition of written Tradition (ή της ἐγγραφου ἀγραφος παραδοσις) Strom. VI. p. 679. ed. Paris 1641.

The act itself, or rather, the whole series and complex of acts and means, by which doctrine, whether theoretical or practical, is propagated and passed down to us, is called Tradition in the active sense. In this sense it is said by Tertullian (de coron. c. 4.) “Tradition originates, consuetude establishes, faith observes.”

It is readily clear, that active Tradition includes the object passed on, and in turn this object cannot be preserved unto us except with and through active Tradition. Thus, if Tradition be viewed more fully, it must always be considered in a complex way, namely, the object along with the mode of Tradition, just as matter with its form, because otherwise its conservation, integrity, force, and authority cannot duly be explained and understood, since all these things depend upon the mode of Tradition, or active Tradition, as shall become apparent as the disputation progresses. Thus the Fathers of Trent (sess. IV.) considered the Traditions, that is the object passed on, along with the origin and mode of the Traditions, that is, along with active Tradition; and their authority is very briefly but very effectively vindicated from the mode of Tradition, when the synod professes, that revealed doctrine and discipline is contained (and constituted) even in “in the unwritten Traditions, which have come down to us, received from the Apostles by the mouth of Christ himself, or given as it were by hand from the Apostles themselves, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit;” and “it receives and venerates, with equal pious affection and reverence (just as the sacred books), the Traditions pertaining as much to faith as to morals, as dictated either by word from Christ, or from the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the catholic Church by continuous succession.”

II. The distinctions indicated in the second part of the thesis thus must also be recalled, because, although there corresponds to the diverse origin of divine, simply apostolic, and ecclesiastical Tradition, a diverse grade of authority, yet Protestants are accustomed to ignore this quite self-evident doctrine of the catholic Church, and accuse Catholics of attributing to the word of men an authority equal with the word of God, not only because the Protestants hold truly divine Traditions as human, but also because they confound merely ecclesiastical Traditions with those that are divine, and thereon falsely accuse, that all are proposed to be believed promiscuously with equal faith. Read the rest of this entry »

Bouix on the consensus of Cardinals and whether popes may bind their successors

Since we first discovered the writings of Marie-Dominique Bouix, the French canonist who made a name for himself in the 19th century combating Gallicanism and defending strenuously the rights of the Apostolic See of Peter, we have been reading him continuously—especially once we had managed to procure printed copies of his works. Again and again we are delighted to discover remarkably topical chapters and articles in his canonical treatises which, in our humble opinion, are able to shed much light on questions agitated in the controversies of our day. In the present case, it is his discussion of the relationship between the Sacred College and the Roman Pontiff, in which he treats the question of whether popes may bind their successors, that engaged our attention. Anyone familiar with the traditionalist liturgical and canonical debates about Pius V’s Quo primum and Sixtus V’s Postquam verus will be aware of the relevance of such a discussion.

The present excerpt is from Bouix’s De Curia Romana (1859), Ia pars, cap. VI, §1, prop. IV-V. A .pdf of this translation may be found here.

N.B. In the places where Bouix has not supplied a source for an assertion or an authority adduced, we have done our best to provide them ourself from likely works.


Proposition IV. — The Pope does not need the consensus of the Cardinals in order to alienate [that is, transfer] goods of the Church. — This proposition would already be proved sufficiently from the general thesis, which has now been established, that the Pope does not need the consensus of the cardinals in dispatching business concerning the rule of the Church. Yet, since there occur some special difficulties regarding the present matter and some others, it seems good to discuss them individually at present, so that the doctrine given may be confirmed all the more, and all occasion of doubt removed.

As regards ecclesiastical goods, that the Pope does not need the consensus of the Cardinals in order to alienate them can be proved thus:

He would be bound to obtain consensus of this sort, either from the sacred canons and the decrees of his predecessors which proscribe this under penalty even of nullity: or from some right proper to the cardinalitial dignity: or from some divine law: or by force of consuetude: but none of these can be said, as is proved under the following numbers:

I. In order to alienate goods of the Church, the Pope is not bound to obtain the consensus of the Cardinals from any canons or Pontifical decrees, even those requiring such consensus under penalty of nullity. — Certain it is that there are decrees which prohibit the Roman Pontiff from alienating goods of the Church without the consensus of the Cardinals. Already under Pope Symmachus we find his power constrained regarding the Pontifical alienation of goods of this sort: « Let it be forbidden for the Pope to alienate an estate of the Church for some necessity, or to give lands for usufruct; except only houses which in any cities whatsoever are sustained at no small cost. Let all custodians be bound by this law; so that the donor, the surveyor, the seller be disgraced. And he who should subscribe, let him be anathema with him who hath given it, or who hath received it, except it be restored. Let it be permitted also to any and all ecclesiastical persons to refuse, and to demand back the things alienated with the profits of the same. Which is to be observed not only in the Apostolic Church, but is also declared to pertain to all the churches throughout the provinces. » (c. Non liceat, C. XII, q. 2, ex synodo III sub Symmacho Papa, anno 499). But Gregory IX in his Constitution Rex excelsus of 16 Jan 1234, making the aforesaid ordinance of Symmachus more determinate, judged to be void any alienations of the patrimonials of the Apostolic See, unless they be done with the prior counsel and assent of the Brethren, namely, the Cardinals. Since there nevertheless afterwards followed some alienations and infeudations, those which had been done without usefulness Pius IV annulled, in his Constitution Apostolicæ servitutis; in which, after he recalled, that hitherto there have been many alienations of the things of the Roman Church done and approved by the Roman Pontiffs our predecessors, and perchance (which we relate with sorrow) by us, with no reasonable cause urging it, unto the gravest harm of the Church herself, unto the offense of God, the scandal of the people, and the evident peril of souls, those he annulled and made void. There followed the Constitution Admonet nos of Pius V, in which there is prohibited only the alienation and infeudation of fortresses, fiefs, and jurisdictional places; but in the same place it is prescribed, that the Cardinals swear to the observance of this Constitution, both in their promotion or assumption of the hat, and in conclave when the See is vacant. Likewise, that the Supreme Pontiff newly ascended should make the same oath, which he ought to repeat afterwards in his confirmatory letters. For other Pontifical ordinances regarding this matter, see Cardinal Petra, Commentaria in constitutiones apostolicas, tom. II, in Const. VI Greg. IX. Therefore there are many decrees which make the consensus of the Cardinals necessary for alienating goods of the Church. Read the rest of this entry »

Bouix on the pope heretic

Dominique Bouix, Tractatus de papa, ubi et de concilio oecumenico, vol. II , pars IIIa, cap. iii, p. 653ff.

N.B. With the exception of one instance, marked [Auth.], all footnotes have been inserted by the translator.

A .pdf version of this may be found here.


CHAPTER III

CONCERNING THE CASE OF A POPE HERETIC. — NEITHER IN THIS CASE IS THE POPE SUBJECTED TO THE COUNCIL.

Preliminary notes. — 1° The case of heresy regarding the supreme Pontiffs is not understood to be that in which one of them, defining ex officio some dogma of faith, would define error. In this manner, no Roman Pontiff can ever be a heretic, on account of the infallibility conceded to him teaching ex cathedra, which we have proved as certain and absolutely to be held, in the second part of the present treatise. But we speak only of the case in which a Pope, as a private doctor, were to believe and pertinaciously to propound something contrary to any evident or defined article of faith, which is proper to heresy. — 2° This case is confidently invoked by the adversaries, that is, the followers of the Gallican system, in order that they might conclude that the council is superior to the Pope. Thus, for example, they argue: the Pope, even if he cannot teach heresy ex cathedra, at least as a private doctor can become a heretic: but it is necessary that a Pope heretic be able to be deposed by a general council, and hence that the council have right over the Pope: therefore in this case, at least, the Pope is subjected to the council. The major of this syllogism, that is, that there can be a case of a Pope heretic, is denied by many catholic authors, amongst whom is Albert Pighius (Hierarchiæ ecclesiasticæ assertio, lib. IV, c. viii); whose opinion is not at all dependent upon trifling reasons, such that it prevents by itself the argumentation of the adversaries from being destructive. Now, the minor, that is, that in the case of a Pope heretic there belongs to the council a right over the Pope who here and now is Pope, is rejected as certainly erroneous in the common opinion of catholic doctors. Certainly, in the times of the council of Constance, when this question began to be agitated, and even for some time after, one can find in some authors, otherwise catholic, not a few things less considerately said; as customarily happens whenever a question recently sprung up is subjected to disputations. But afterward, all approved authors have with common opinion taught that it is certain and absolutely to be held, that in the aforesaid case (supposing that it is possible), the Pope, unless he should already have fallen from the papacy through heresy, is not subjected to the council. They differ in this, whether the Pope is ipso facto through heresy deposed [depositus], or whether he is to be deposed [deponendus], or finally whether he is neither deposed nor to be deposed [nec depositus nec deponendus]. But in this threefold opinion it is equally denied that any act of jurisdiction can be exercised by the council over the Pope. Regarding the first and third, it is clear of itself; if according to the first, the Pope is no longer Pope, and hence the council, in judging him, judges not the Pope, but an ex-Pope; and according to the third, he cannot be judged by the council, nor deposed. And according to the second opinion, he indeed can and ought to be deposed, but through a mere declaration of his heresy; which declaration is not an act of jurisdiction over the Pope; but, when it has been laid down, the Pontiff is deposed by Christ himself; just as, when he has been legitimately elected, he is created by Christ himself. These things having first been noted down, we shall first explain the various opinions of the catholic doctors, who concord in denying to the council any authority over the Pope. Then we shall confute the erroneous opinion, which subjects the Pope to the council on account of the aforesaid case of heresy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Denis the Carthusian: Prooemium to the Saracens

Many things indeed have engaged our attentions over the past two months, not the least being a very debilitating fever which we contracted several weeks ago. Excepting that period of illness, we have been often engaged in the work of translating various projects, Suárez’s De bello and an early Thomist work on the common good being chief among them, though there is still much work to be done with either. (In addition to that, we have also been making our way through a very lengthy fiction series with great avidity—something we have given far too little time to in recent years.) But these of course are excuses for our inactivity here more than anything else. Recently, we were reminded of a much-neglected work by Denis the Carthusian against the Saracens, entitled Contra perfidiam Mahometi libri quatuor—that is, Against the Perfidy of Mohammed, comprising four books. We read his page-long opening address to the Muslims, to whom he primarily directed the work, and, finding it to contain noble and worthy sentiments, resolved on a whim to translate it for the pleasure of our friends on social media. We now present it for your reading, in the hope that it may be the harbinger of more material from us in the near future.

(Taken from vol. 36 of the Doctoris ecstatici D. Dionysii Cartusiani opera omnia, published in 1908.)


To the great king and powerful Ruler of the Saracens, and to all doctors and followers of the law of Mahomet, a Christian religious: to know the truth of things necessary for salvation, to read and hear with equanimity writings which are reasonable, and to arrive at true beatitude.

Because we Christians, according to the doctrine and command of our Savior Jesus Christ, ought not only to love friends, but enemies also, to do good to those who hate us, and likewise to pray for persecutors and calumniators, in order that we might be adoptive sons of the almighty Father, who makes his sun to rise over the good and the bad, and makes it to rain upon the just and the unjust; hence, in truth, Christians do in spirit love the Saracens—although the latter violently oppose themselves—and daily intercede for their illumination, conversion, and salvation. Nevertheless, this love and piety of the Christians is looked upon with scorn by the Saracens, who think themselves to be wiser and happier than the Christians; still, if they should attend patiently and diligently to those things which are written in this little work, perhaps they shall suppose or think otherwise. And so, I, the least of the servants of Christ, who have heard frequently and read a little concerning the law of Mahomet, and have always grieved for those who walk by that law—when, in the same year in which I began to write these things, I had read the Koran and the Doctrine of Mahomet and certain other things concerning it, and had reread them with very great diligence, I was touched with anguish in my heart, deploring the deception and eternal damnation of such innumerable thousands of men: in particular, because the Saracens concord with us in so many things, and because of this seem to be able to be converted with sufficient ease. Hence, for the laud and glory of God, sublime and blessed, who is worshiped profitably by Christians alone, I have set it before myself to write these things for the conversion of the Saracens, by showing to them in a clearer light their errors and the falsities of the doctrines of Mahomet, and by manifesting that the writings of the Koran are rife with errors, and implying contradiction, alas! frequently.

I furthermore desire, that as much as we Christians attentively read the writings concerning the law of the Saracens, they themselves read these things with diligence, and do not pertinaciously contradict what is most clearly true. For if (as Mahomet himself declares many times) Jesus, the son of Mary, is the Christ, absolutely no doubt is left for one who understands the scriptures of the new and old Testament, that all the Saracens, and likewise the other infidels, are in a state of eternal damnation, especially since Christ himself in the Gospel says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me.” Indeed, all the Prophets have foretold and taught this, that Christ is the savior of the whole world, nor can anyone be saved unless he believe in him, so that in the time of the evangelical law, no man can please God unless he be truly Christian. Nor does faith alone suffice, but (according to the doctrine of Christ) it is necessary to serve the superglorious and incircumscribable God with all humility, patience, charity, and the other virtues. Finally, Christ says in the Gospel: “Unless a man has been reborn of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Since therefore the Saracens were not regenerated from water and the Holy Ghost, that is, they are not baptized, it is certain that they are damned. And it suffices now to have touched upon these things, seeing that they shall be proved most clearly in what follows below.

Victor Cathrein SJ on society, social activity, and the partition of society

We present today a rather short text on society, taken from an influential manual, the Philosophia moralis of Victor Cathrein, SJ, which went through twenty-one editions. To our knowledge, this work is an abridged Latin recension of his larger two-volume work in German, Moralphilosophie, which may be found here and here. The present translation is taken from Philosophia moralis, IIa pars, lib. II, cap. 1, a. 1-3.


BOOK II.

SOCIAL ETHICS IN PARTICULAR

426. We have hitherto considered man according to individual relations; now we shall treat of the same as a member of society. And because natural society is principally twofold, domestic and civil, we shall consider both separately in chapter 2 and 3, the general notions about society having been set forth in chapter 1. In chapter 4, finally, we shall set down the question concerning the relations of diverse civil societies among themselves, that is, of international law.

CHAPTER I.

ON SOCIETY IN GENERAL.

ARTICLE I.

WHAT IT IS.

(Zallinger, Institut. nat. n. 166. Meyer, Institut. iuris nat. I, n. 347.)

427. 1. A society is a moral and stable union of many, working in harmony by their acts toward some common end.

It is called a) a moral union, i.e. of that sort which is effected by spiritual bonds, from which hence there is excluded not only the aggregation of irrational beings, as a crowd of apes, but also a multitude of men brought together into one place and not united except by an external bond, e.g. a multitude of men congregated for market day. For a true society it is required, that its members know the common end, and are secured by mutual duties and rights in an order for willing this end, and, with united powers, attaining it.

b) stable, because a transitory union which is for a momentary end, or which is to be dissolved, its singular endeavor having been completed, is not properly called a society.

428. 2. From these things, it is clear that the material element of society is the multitude, but the formal element is the moral union itself. This moral union is effected by a twofold principle:

a) a common end, which specifies the society and of itself is already capable of effecting, to a certain degree, unity of minds and wills. Nevertheless, for a constant and ordered union in cooperating, taking into account the liberty of men and the diversity of judgments and powers, of itself a common end alone does not suffice, but there is required in addition

b) some element in the real order, which primarily consists in a mutual obligation in respect of the same end. There is further required some principle, which constantly and efficaciously directs free will to the common end, namely authority, which is a necessary element of society and may be defined: the right of obliging members of society, so that they might cooperate by their acts for the common good.

In any society, authority, as the principle of social union, cannot but be one, and ought to inhere in some real subject, and indeed by exclusive right. This subject is called a superior. By reason of social union, society brings forth the similitude of a person, or it institutes a new person—not indeed physical, but moral—which has its own being and activity proper to itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Manualist Monday: Cardinal Billot on the baptism of children, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the baptized

Having returned from our holiday “break”, we present for this Manualist Monday another text on baptism, from the esteemed traditional Jesuit theologian Louis Cardinal Billot’s commentary on the Tertia Pars of St. Thomas. This excerpt, consisting of the two Theses concerning pædobaptism, deals directly with the topic of ecclesial jurisdiction over all the baptized, hence our interest in it. We think it good for the reader to pay special attention to the very important argument that the Cardinal makes in footnote 6, regarding the causal rôle played by human consent in the reception of baptism and the sacramental character thereof.


Card. Louis Billot, De Ecclesiae sacramentis vol. 1, In IIIam, Q. 68, Theses XXVII-XXVIII, pp. 267ff.

THESIS XVII.

(Art. 9).

The children of the faithful are to be baptized. But those baptized in infancy, when they shall have come to the age of discretion, do not have the right of ratifying by their own decision that which the patrons promised in their name, but, whether they wish it or not, they remain perpetually bound by all the obligations of Christians.

Concerning the baptism of infants, the Anabaptists have erred most of all, who, led by Müntzer (in 1522) began to teach that no one is rightly baptized unless of adult age, and thus not only did they abstain from baptizing children, but they even rebaptized those who had been baptized as children, whence they claimed the name of Anabaptists for themselves. These ones, amongst all the initiators of the Pseudo-Reformation, stand out for their truculent fierceness; undaunted, they have with implacable logic taken the principles of Protestantism to their ultimate conclusions; and in them, finally, as Bellarmine notes,[1] there appears the greatest rage of Satan against the human race, who, not being content that innumerable souls of adult men have perished through the Lutherans and the Sacramentarians, wished also that the souls of infants should perish through the Anabaptists. But Erasmus, the guide and teacher of all the liberals of our age, inasmuch as he was imbued with the principles of the Protestants wherever, introduced another error. For he taught, that men baptized in infancy, when they had reached manhood, should be asked whether they would ratify what had been promised in their name in baptism; and if they should refuse, they ought to be dismissed free, and not be subjected in any way to the coercion of the Church. Against all of these errors, there advance the Tridentine anathemas, sess. VII, can. 11-14 on baptism: «If anyone should say, that no one is to be baptized, save at that age at which Christ was baptized, or in the very article of death, let him be anathema. — If anyone should say, that little children, having received baptism, for that they have not the act of believing, are not to be accounted amongst the faithful, and furthermore, when they shall arrive at the years of discretion, are to be rebaptized, or that it is preferable that the baptism of such be omitted than that they, not believing by their own act, be baptized in the faith alone of the Church, let him be anathema.» Cf. also the Second Council of Malta, can. 2,[2] and the Fourth Lateran Council, cap. Firmiter.[3]

Moreover, if we speak at present of the children of believers, the reason is not that others are excluded, but that a special question will be considered concerning these others, as has been premised above. Read the rest of this entry »

An update

So far, as may have been noticed by those who have been paying any mind to us, we have posted little on the matter of Church and State, though we said in our inaugural post that this topic holds especial interest for us. We are pleased to say that this will be remedied in the next day or two: we shall be posting our translation of a text from the distinguished Dominican Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, on the duty of civil authority and society of accepting divine Revelation.

A blessed Feast of Christ the King

We unhappily did not have anything prepared especially for today’s feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (If we can wangle it, we might be able to present something for you later in the week.) Yet given our interest in the question of Church/State relations, and given the reason that Pius XI gave us this great feast, it is only right that we, at the very least, exhort our readers to read through his luculent 1925 encyclical Quas primas, and drink deeply of the wisdom contained therein regarding the place that Our Lord must by right hold within the hearts of individuals and within public society itself. The English text is here at the Vatican website, and the Latin (which version we always encourage if the reader is able) is here. (Or, if you, like us, prefer the relatively calming surety of a scanned book to the dangers which inevitably come with an OCR job, the Latin may also be found in this 1926 volume of La Civiltà Cattolica, p. 97ff.)

We also recommend giving a read to Professor Kwasniewski’s 2014 article at Rorate Cæli on the difference between the traditional feast of Christ the King and the new feast post-Consilium. It gives a good account of this variation, and hints at the causes behind the reform of this feast.

The Collect and Postcommunion for today’s Mass:

Almighty and eternal God, Who willed to restore all things in Your beloved Son, the King of the Universe, graciously grant that the peoples of the earth torn asunder by the wound of sin, may submit to His most gentle rule. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

We have received the food of eternal life, and we beseech You, O Lord, that we who are proud to serve under the flag of Christ the King may forever reign with Him in the Kingdom of heaven. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

The hymn at Vespers for today’s feast, according to the traditional Breviarium Romanum:

Te sæculórum Príncipem,
Te, Christe, Regem Géntium,
Te méntium, te córdium
Unum fatémur árbitrum.

Scelésta turba clámitat:
Regnáre Christum nólumus:
Te nos ovántes ómnium
Regem suprémum dícimus.

O Christe, Princeps Pácifer,
Mentes rebélles súbiice:
Tuóque amóre dévios,
Ovíle in unum cóngrega.

Ad hoc cruénta ab árbore
Pendes apértis bráchiis,
Diráque fossum cúspide
Cor igne flagrans éxhibes.

Ad hoc in aris ábderis
Vini dapísque imágine,
Fundens salútem fíliis
Transverberáto péctore.

Te natiónum Praesides
Honóre tollant público,
Colant magístri, iúdices,
Leges et artes éxprimant.

Submíssa regum fúlgeant
Tibi dicáta insígnia:
Mitíque sceptro pátriam
Domósque subde cívium.

Iesu tibi sit glória,
Qui sceptra mundi témperas,
Cum Patre, et almo Spíritu,
In sempitérna saecula.
Amen.

A note on our blog, and our purposes here

It has long been a cherished but unfulfilled dream of ours, to start a solo blog and post on the things which concern and interest us. There was a point far back in the past when we were involved in a short-lived blog with a dear friend of ours, but until now we have never actually made our own private site, which would be a venue wherein we might post our thoughts.

This blog, then, is our humble attempt at bringing this dream at last to fruition, after much procrastination and the urgings of several of our most esteemed and learned acquaintances and friends. It principally serves, to our mind, the valuable twofold function of a static repository for our amateur thoughts on matters we think to be of moment, so that we might have a public and accessible locus in which to organize and store our musings; and a record, more or less permanent, for our developing thoughts on said matters, so that we might in future be able to as it were track our progress and evolution, if such there be. It functions secondarily as a venue for commentary on and critique of our own thoughts, so that we might grow and mature through fruitful discussion with others more learned than we.

Our focus, at the time of this writing, is mainly Scholastic theology and integralist political philosophy. We have for quite some time now been enthusiastically engaged in exploring and delving deeper into Catholic social teaching and thought as it pertains to the civil order, and most of all concerning the relation to be had between Church and State. This we have set out to do by immersing ourselves in the very many bulls, encyclicals, constitutions, and apostolic letters of the popes concerning the question, and by obtaining and reading the even more numerous manuals and philosophico-canonico-theological treatises of the Church’s theologians, canonists, and Doctors.

Most, if not all, of these works are to be found only in Latin—with the exception of most of the papal encyclicals from Pius IX even to our present age, which generally have been translated and placed up for public reading. It is certainly the case, however, that nearly all of the manuals and tracts from which we have taken our readings are to this day untranslated, and hence are unavailable to the average Catholic (or non-Catholic) who is interested in this topic yet unschooled in Latin. Part of our project here at this blog is to provide translations of excerpts from these works—some more polished than others, admittedly, insofar as some we make with a mind for publication elsewhere, at e.g. The Josias, while others are simply pieces which we have translated in a rougher fashion for interested friends who are not quite so demanding in their standards.

In particular, we have a special predilection for the old Latin manuals of the pre-conciliar Church, which stretch back as far as the Council of Trent and which have most unfortunately been abandoned and forgotten—and often vilified—by most Catholic thinkers ever since the New Springtime of the Second Vatican Council. It is in part from a desire to remedy this grievous privation in modern Catholic theology and political philosophy that we conceived of the idea to host our translations in the first place, for the Scholastic manualists, much more than the typical neo-Catholic theologian of today, understood the importance of attending to the whole corpus of magisterial and canonical thought when writing on matters of Church doctrine, especially concerning a subject which is as fraught with misconceptions and error as is contemporary Catholic thought about the proper relation of Church to State.

Given our love and appreciation for the old manuals, we think it fitting that we should institute what we hope to be a weekly feature here, entitled Manualist Mondays. It will consist mainly in the proffering of a certain manualist text, coupled with a translation and perhaps a bit of commentary on it, as we see fit and depending on whether or not our natural sloth prevents us from being more industrious.

In that vein, the curious and non-Latinate reader may wonder at the fragment of text at the head of the blog. It is taken from one of our favorite tracts on the Church, De Ecclesia Christi vol. 2, by the great and learned French Jesuit Louis Cardinal Billot. It is his concise description of Liberalism, and reads:

Liberalism, according as it denotes an error in the matter of faith and religion, is a multiform doctrine which more or less emancipates man from God, and from His law, and from His revelation, and as a consequence unbinds civil society from any dependence upon religious society—that is, from the Church, which is the guardian, interpreter, and teacher of the divinely revealed law.

Thus we close this our inaugural post. Sit splendor Dómini, Dei nostri, super nos, et ópera mánuum nostrárum dirige super nos, et opus mánuum nostrárum dírige.

Gerardus, die 24 Octobris MMXVI.