Category Archives: Philosophy

Philosophy

Philosophy is the love of wisdom. In application, it is the study of the first principles and the ultimate causes of all knowable reality. In the classical world, it was the highest science. Later, the scholastics made this natural wisdom subservient to the supernatural wisdom of revelation, calling itt “the handmaid of theology” (ancilla theologiae). So many of the dogmas of our Faith are defined more clearly with the help of philosophical terms that have been perennially upheld by the greatest thinkers of the West: substance, accident, nature, essence, existence, hypostasis, matter, form, genus, species, cause, principle, and relation, to name the more commonly used.

Traditionally, philosophy is divided into seven disciplines: logic, cosmology, history of philosophy, psychology, ethics, epistemology, and ontology.

Logic is the science and art of correct reasoning. Cosmology is the study of matter in motion and material change. Psychology is the study of life and the principle of life, the soul. (Today it is relegated to the study of abnormal mental behavior, a far cry from its traditional subject of inquiry.) Ethics is the study of human acts as to their moral rectitude or lack thereof. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. How is it that something outside the mind is abstracted into the mind?  Ontology, the highest of the philosophic sciences, is the study of being as being. What is the difference between essence and existence? Ontology is also called metaphysics.

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The Troubles in the Church Began with _____.

Robert Hickson told me about a friend of his, a Greek, who appeared to be gloomy one day. Robert noted this in an effort to show sympathy, and his friend replied that yes, this is true; he had been demoralized “ever since the Battle of Manzikert.” The Battle of Manzikert, when the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines, occurred in 1071. It marked the beginning of … More →


Posted in Current Issues in the Church, Philosophy, Polemics, Theology, «Ad Rem» A Weekly Email Message from the Prior | 5 Comments
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The Illiberality of Religious Liberalism

When speaking of liberalism, it is important to define our terms, for if we do not, certain assumptions will be made, with reference to the popular lexicon of American partisan politics. This would be a grave mistake, for much of what I shall say is liberal passes for conservative in that lexicon. And contrariwise, some ideas considered “liberal” in the popular lexicon are indeed traditional … More →


Posted in Philosophy, Polemics, Politics and Society, Theology, «Ad Rem» A Weekly Email Message from the Prior | 10 Comments
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Simian Antinomianism

The heresy of antinomianism received its name from Martin Luther, who, wrote against the more “extreme” doctrines of Johannes Agricola, the enfant terrible of Luther’s own novel doctrine of Justification by faith only. In brief, antinomianism — coming from anti + nomos (Gk: “law”) — is the contention that Christians are absolved from adherence to the moral law. That Luther would object to Agricola was … More →


Posted in Book Reviews, Faith and Reason, Morals, Philosophy, «Ad Rem» A Weekly Email Message from the Prior | 2 Comments

Bishop Conley’s Reflections on the Educator John Senior

“Wonder is the beginning of knowledge,” said Professor John Senior, “the reverent fear that beauty strikes within us.” Professor Senior built his life around wonder – he reveled in the mysteries of this universe, and in the Mystery – that of God himself – to which our world points. Professor Senior believed that if each of us took the opportunity to really look at the … More →

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Modern Noise and Man’s Ingrained Inattentiveness

This brief essay proposes to consider how two eloquent Catholic authors, Hilaire Belloc and Evelyn Waugh, describe and deal with the phenomenon of noise, an unmistakable mark of the intrusive modern world even in times of putative peace. The first account is from 1925 and deals with a famous city upon the water in northeastern Italy, Venice; and the second account is from 1938, some … More →

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Seeking Perfect Justice in an Imperfect World

Thirty-two States currently support the death penalty as a punishment for heinous crimes. Although this is cited as a deterrent to such behavior, even the threat of death would not prevent many morally corrupted sociopaths from engaging in criminal activity. The truth of the matter is that these social misfits are not only fearless, but their conscience is maliciously lax. They lack the ability to … More →


Posted in Articles, Morals, Philosophy, Politics and Society | 7 Comments

Sophists Running the Academy

You’ve no doubt heard the expressing “lunatics running the asylum.” Well, The Telegraph reports that a new article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born. … More →


Posted in Columns, Culture Wars, Faith and Reason, Morals, Philosophy, Polemics | 1 Comment
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Savoring Reality

This paper was written for a Festschrift in honor of Dr. Robert Hickson. It was intended to be a loving tribute to my superior, teacher, mentor, and friend, Brother Francis Maluf, M.I.C.M. Savoring Reality: An Introduction to the Childlike Catholic Mind of Brother Francis


Posted in Articles, Biography, Literature and Poetry, Philosophy | 6 Comments
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Mandeville, the Frankfurt School, and Yves Simon on Authority and Liberty

A Counterpoint to Bernard Mandeville’s Deceitful Doctrine of Man and to the Frankfurt School’s Irrational Dialectical Anthropology: The Frigid Equivocations, Psycho-Cultural Subversion, Seductive Despair. A Commentary on Two Revolutionary and Neo-Sophist Texts of the Frankfurt School and the British Tavistock Institute, Respectively: Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944, 1947); and The Dialectics of Liberation (1967, 1968, 1969) – Considered in the Longer Light of Bernard Mandeville’s “Fable … More →


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The Dangers of Scientism (December, 1946)

If a man were to say to me, “I refuse to use my eyesight except through a microscope,” I might think that the man is queer or crazy, and I would certainly try to avoid his company. Imagine taking a walk with a man who keeps one eye closed, and the other, permanently fixed to a microscope! Such a man is worse than blind, for … More →


Posted in Articles, Heresies and Errors, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Reflections on Knowledge, Beauty, and Wisdom

[Taken randomly from Brother Francis' lectures, with a minor amount of editing.] Some things have to become part of our knowledge through acquaintance, so to speak. Knowledge becomes impossible if everything needs a definition. If someone were to ask you a question and say, “What does this mean?” And you say, “It means this or that.” And he asks, “And what does this or that … More →

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Posted in Articles, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Natural Law and the Church’s Necessity

When you see an article with a title like, Do You Renounce Kennedy and All His Works?, you can have a moral certitude that it was written by John Zmirak, the eccentric, Croatian-Irish, working-class Yalie turned standup apologist. (I was an undergrad at LSU when John was getting his Ph.D. there, and I owe him a lot for exposing me to, among other things, the … More →

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Posted in Articles, Morals, Philosophy, Politics and Society | 7 Comments

Immortality of Soul, Creation Ex Nihilo: Qs and As on the Power of Reason Alone

Q: Is it really possible to explain, using reason alone, the immortal nature of the human soul, versus the animal soul? I understand that the ability to reason is particular to humans, but I don’t see how this proves our immortality. I believe it because the Church teaches it, but I can’t get it across to people who reject the Church. I realize that the … More →

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Posted in Apologetics, Articles, Philosophy | 1 Comment

The Church vs. Economic Liberalism: Ferrara Nails It!

[Christopher A. Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian (Minnesota: The Remnant Press, 2010), $25, 383 pp., soft cover.] Since hearing, a few years ago that Chris Ferrara was preparing this book, I have eagerly looked forward to reading it. I have not been disappointed. This is a tremendous and necessary defense against a dangerous ,widespread ideology that is all too often defended by Catholics — … More →

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Posted in Articles, Book Reviews, Philosophy, Politics and Society | 4 Comments

Liberalism: An Evil Defined

The following excellent explanation of liberalism is taken from: Parente, Pietro; Piolanti, Antonio; and Garofalo, Salvatore, Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, translated by Emmanuel Doronzo, O.M.I., S.T.D., Ph.D. (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1951) p. 163 and 164. I have provided only the linked references and one small note in brackets. Liberalism. A doctrinal current, quite complex and changeable, which has had various interpretations and practical … More →


Posted in Articles, Current Issues in the Church, Heresies and Errors, Philosophy, Theology | 8 Comments