Category Archives: The Faith

On the D-Word

“The part of Christian teaching that is most obscure to contemporary Christians and pseudos is the frequent reference in the Gospels to Demons, and Demonic inhabitation. Christ is Himself the source of this curiously unmodern “point of view.” Then Paul carries it the further nine yards. If you haven’t noticed this, you weren’t reading carefully enough. (Or maybe you haven’t read it at all?)” — David Warren, commenting on Magnet’s “See no Evil” re: my earlier post)

Secularization of Christianity

“The conclusion to which I have found myself forced is twofold: first that what we are being offered [secularization, ed.] is not a reinterpretation of the Christian religion but a substitute for it, and secondly that the arguments offered, from whichever field of study they have been drawn, are quite unconvincing.” — E. L. Mascall

The Safety of Antiquity

“What, then, shall a Catholic Christian do, if some small part of the Church cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What else but prefer the health of the whole body before the pestiferous and corrupt member? What if some new infection goeth about to corrupt, not in this case only a little part, but the whole Church? Then, likewise, shall he regard, and be sure to cleave unto Antiquity; which can now no more be seduced by any crafty novelty.” — Vincentius of Lerin. The Doctrine of the Fathers

No New Thing

“To say that the present is a time of change and upheaval, social, political and religious, is to state a truism so obvious as to invite ironic contradiction. The cataclysm through which we are passing is at once so vast in its dimensions and so profound in its penetration of individual life, that we may well shrink from looking to history for guidance on circumstances to which history itself affords no parallel. Yet it is no new thing for the established manners, customs and beliefs of men to be upset. In all such times of violent transition the same great problem of the reconciliation between old and new forces itself upon the judgement of mankind, and it should not be impossible to find in the lesser crises of the past principles of thought and action which may help us to deal with the gigantic perplexities of today.” — Oliver Chase Quick, Essays in Orthodoxy 1916

Political Ideals

“Political ideals will vary according to men’s views on human destiny. Those who are persuaded that the purpose of life is pleasure, or power, or honour, will reckon that State best arranged in which they can live comfortably, or acquire great wealth, or achieve great power and lord it over many. Others who think that the crowning good of virtue is the purpose of our present life will want an arrangement under which men can live virtuously and peaceably together. In short, political judgment will be settled by the sort of life a man expects and proposes to lead by living in a community.” — St. Thomas Aquinas: Commentary on Aristotle’s ‘Politics,’ Book II, lect. 1.

The Pagan Ideal

“My objection to Mr. Lowes Dickinson and the reassertors of the pagan ideal is, then, this. I accuse them of ignoring definite human discoveries in the moral world, discoveries as definite, though not as material, as the discovery of the circulation of the blood. We cannot go back to an ideal of reason and sanity. For mankind has discovered that reason does not lead to sanity. We cannot go back to an ideal of pride and enjoyment. For mankind has discovered that pride does not lead to enjoyment. I do not know by what extraordinary mental accident modern writers so constantly connect the idea of progress with the idea of independent thinking. Progress is obviously the antithesis of independent thinking. For under independent or individualistic thinking, every man starts at the beginning, and goes, in all probability, just as far as his father before him. But if there really be anything of the nature of progress, it must mean, above all things, the careful study and assumption of the whole of the past. I accuse Mr. Lowes Dickinson and his school of reaction in the only real sense. If he likes, let him ignore these great historic mysteries — the mystery of charity, the mystery of chivalry, the mystery of faith. If he likes, let him ignore the plough or the printing-press. But if we do revive and pursue the pagan ideal of a simple and rational self-completion we shall end — where Paganism ended. I do not mean that we shall end in destruction. I mean that we shall end in Christianity.” — G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

Respect and Fidelity

“Today, certainly it is important for us to show that same respect and fidelity to the Word of God, so as not to manipulate it to fit historical, political, or ideological circumstances, for the purpose of pleasing men and acquiring a reputation as a scholar or avant-garde theologian. . . . As Saint Paul says, ‘We are not like so many [who] practice cunning or. . . tamper with God’s word’ (cf. 2 Cor 2:17; 4:2).” — Cardinal Robert Sarah, God or Nothing

Fantasies

“We say that it is in believing ages that you get men living in the open and dancing and telling tales by the fire. We say that it is in ages of unbelief, that you get emperors dressing up as women, and gladiators, or minor poets wearing green carnations and praising unnameable things. We say that, taking ages as a whole, the wildest fantasies of superstition are nothing to the fantasies of rationalism.” — G. K. Chesterton, God and my Neighbour

Contagion

“There is nothing so contagious as holiness, nothing more pervasive than Prayer. This is precisely what the traditional Church means by evangelism and what distinguishes it from recruitment.” — Fr. Martin Thornton, Pastoral Theology: A Reorientation