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.