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Friday, 6 June 2014

For The Critics

Over the past six months on this blog, and in comments, I have highlighted Fr. Chad Ripperger and his work. Here is a short bio from here.

Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD is a Theologian, Thomistic Psychologist, Philosopher, and Author. Fr. Ripperger has served as professor of Dogmatic and Moral Theology and Philosophy at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska. Father Ripperger was ordained in 1997. He currently works in the Diocese of Tulsa. His published works include “Introduction to the Science of Mental Health”, “The Binding Force of Holy Tradition”, “The Metaphysics of Evolution”, “The Morality of the Exterior Act: In the Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas”, and “Topics on Tradition.”

As a trained psychologist as well as a Thomist, Fr. Ripperger brings a genius to the entire study of the psychological unmatched in the United States.

Many of his talks are online and found at

Now, what I find odd are those lay people, either with or without training, (mostly without) who do not take this amazing priest seriously. I think it is because Fr. Ripperger has had (oh dear) the audacity to criticize both the right and the left "wings" of the Church: that is, he has pointed out difficulties among the trads as well as the liberals.

I have found more defensiveness coming from trads quoting Fr Ripperger than I have concerning any other source.

This type of defensiveness is a sign of the very things which Father notes in his excellent talks, all of which I recommend.

Defensiveness usually occurs when people are being criticized for something true. If a critique is false, one can ignore it or let it go. 

The truth causes discomfort.

Several points cause people to dismiss a priest who is an expert in several fields. 

Outside of pride, some dismiss him because he is experienced. Hmmm, Catholic trads do not like FSSP priests who are experienced, as well as trained?

I suggest that those who have trouble with some of Fr. Ripperger's statements concerning the occult, Catholic spirituality, sin, the gnostic tendencies of traditionals and other fascinating topics, pray and listen to his talks.

One will be changed and for the better.

(By the way, another great but secular psychiatrist on line, who is no longer writing, is Dr. Sanity, who I have also recommended on this blog many times. Here comments may be found here.  She was the forerunner and first critic of the present administration, as well as a great critic of the culture. God bless her wherever she is working.

Sadly, most of the psychology taught today, as Fr. Ripperger notes, is taught without consideration of the soul. The brain and the body have been separated from the eternal in humans. How can psychology work without consideration of the soul?

Fr. Ripperger has encouraged his listeners to find a Thomistic psychologist for counseling only.

I agree wholeheartedly, but good luck finding one.

Some of my favorite photos

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One of my brothers....

Readers, use the tags and labels and a novena reminder

Those are there to help you find older series and articles. Just a reminder. By the way, a friend recommended the 54 day rosary novena. Hers will end on the feast of SS. Joachim and Anne.

One can find that novena here...

The Matter of Sin, Five

Continuing with an brief examination of St. Thomas on how the angels help humans, one sees in his section on angels that they can affect the senses, as well.

This section is long, but worth reading. Note that all these quotations are found in the same section, found here.  All the bold on these last few posts are my highlights.

As to angels changing the senses, I know for a fact that my guardian angels have helped me to fast and to keep fasting at certain times. This is a subtle movement of the senses regarding food, feeling hungry, or not feeling hungry.

If we really want our angels to help us become holy, they are more than willing. But, they may have to help us overcome the matter of sin, through our cooperation with discipline and prayer. Anything, such a art or a design, a song, or a view, can lead us to holiness or sin. The senses become more sensitive the more we pray, and for the good.

Article 4. Whether an angel can change the human senses?

Objection 1. It seems that an angel cannot change the human senses. For the sensitive operation is a vital operation. But such an operation does not come from an extrinsic principle. Therefore the sensitive operation cannot be caused by an angel.
Objection 2. Further, the sensitive operation is nobler than the nutritive. But the angel cannot change the nutritive power, nor other natural forms. Therefore neither can he change the sensitive power.
Objection 3. Further, the senses are naturally moved by the sensible objects. But an angel cannot change the order of nature (110, 4). Therefore an angel cannot change the senses; but these are changed always by the sensible object.

On the contrary, The angels who overturned Sodom, "struck the people of Sodom with blindness oraorasia, so that they could not find the door" (Genesis 19:11). [It is worth noting that these are the only two passages in the Greek version where the word aorasia appears. It expresses, in fact, the effect produced on the people of Sodom--namely, dazzling (French version, "eblouissement"), which the Latin "caecitas" (blindness) does not necessarily imply.] The same is recorded of the Syrians whomEliseus led into Samaria (2 Kings 6:18).

I answer that, The senses may be changed in a twofold manner; from without, as when affected by the sensible object: and from within, for we see that the senses are changed when the spirits and humors are disturbed; as for example, a sick man's tongue, charged with choleric humor, tastes everything as bitter, and the like with the other senses. Now an angel, by his natural power, can work a change in the senses both ways. For an angel can offer the senses a sensible object from without, formed by nature or by the angel himself, as when he assumes a body, as we have said above (Question 51, Article 2). Likewise he can move the spirits and humors from within, as above remarked, whereby the senses are changed in various ways.

Reply to Objection 1. The principle of the sensitive operation cannot be without the interior principle which is the sensitive power; but this interior principle can be moved in many ways by the exterior principle, as above explained.

Reply to Objection 2. By the interior movement of the spirits and humors an angel can do something towards changing the act of the nutritive power, and also of the appetitive and sensitive power, and of any other power using a corporeal organ.

Reply to Objection 3. An angel can do nothing outside the entire order of creatures; but he can outside some particular order of nature, since he is not subject to that order; thus in some special way an angel can work a change in the senses outside the common mode of nature.

The Matter of Sin, Four

Our guardian angels can help us with the Matter of Sin. Because sin affects our intellects and imaginations, we can ask our guardian angels to enlighten us.

Here is what St. Thomas says. See here.

Natural reason, which is immediately from God, can be strengthened by an angel so that he may obtain from creatures a more perfect knowledge of God.

Intellectual operation and enlightenment can be understood in two ways.
First, on the part of the object understood; thus whoever understands or is enlightened, knows that he understands or is enlightened, because he knows that the object is made known to him.

Secondly, on the part of the principle; and thus it does not follow that whoever understands a truth, knows what the intellect is, which is the principle of the intellectual operation. In like manner not everyone who is enlightened by an angel, knows that he is enlightened by him.

If we ask our angels to help illuminate our minds, they will do so.

Here is St. Thomas again on this subject:

The demon cannot put thoughts in our minds by causing them from within, since the act of the cogitative faculty is subject to the will; nevertheless the devil is called the kindler of thoughts, inasmuch as he incites to thought, by the desire of the things thought of, by way of persuasion, or by rousing the passions. Damascene calls this because such a work is accomplished within. But good thoughts are attributed to a higher principle, namely, God, though they may be procured by the ministry of the kindling "a putting in" angels.

The will is moved only by God, but angels aid us in our intellect, our imagination and our senses.

Again, Thomas, and this is a long section on the influence of the imagination by both demons and the good angels:

Both a good and a bad angel by their own natural power can move the human imagination. This may be explained as follows. For it was said above (Question 110, Article 3), that corporeal nature obeys the angel as regards local movement, so that whatever can be caused by the local movement of bodies is subject to the natural power of the angels. Now it is manifest that imaginative apparitions are sometimes caused in us by the local movement of animal spirits and humors. Hence Aristotle says (De Somn. et Vigil.) [De Insomniis iii.], when assigning the cause ofvisions in dreams, that "when an animal sleeps, the blood descends in abundance to the sensitive principle, and movements descend with it," that is, the impressions left from the movements are preserved in the animal spirits, "and move the sensitive principle"; so that a certain appearance ensues, as if the sensitive principle were being then changed by the external objects themselves. Indeed, the commotion of the spirits and humors may be so great that such appearances may even occur to those who are awake, as is seen in mad people, and the like. So, as this happens by a natural disturbance of the humors, and sometimes also by the will of man who voluntarily imagines what he previously experienced, so also the same may be done by the power of a good or a bad angel, sometimes with alienation from the bodily senses, sometimes without such alienation.

Reply to Objection 1. The first principle of the imagination is from the sense in act. For we cannot imagine what we have never perceived by the senses, either wholly or partly; as a man born blind cannot imagine color. Sometimes, however, the imagination is informed in such a way that the act of the imaginative movement arises from the impressions preserved within.

Reply to Objection 2. An angel changes the imagination, not indeed by the impression of an imaginative form in no way previously received from the senses (for he cannot make a man born blind imagine color), but by local movement of the spirits and humors, as above explained.

Reply to Objection 3. The commingling of the angelic spirit with the human imagination is not a mingling of essences, but by reason of an effect which he produces in the imagination in the way above stated; so that he shows man what he [the angel] knows, but not in the way he knows.

Reply to Objection 4. An angel causing an imaginative vision, sometimes enlightens the intellect at the same time, so that it knows what these images signify; and then there is not deception. But sometimes by the angelic operation the similitudes of things only appear in the imagination; but neither then is deception caused by the angel, but by the defect in the intellect to whom such things appear. Thus neither was Christ a cause of deception when He spoke many things to the people inparables, which He did not explain to them.

Each one of us must cooperate with the guardian angels and not ignore each one's own duty to create a disciplined mind.

One can see how important it is for one to control one's eyes, ears, indeed all the senses, and discipline the imagination.

That the angels want to help us is fantastic, but one cannot assume help if one refuses to discipline one's own mind.

Such is the danger and down-side of the matter of sin.

to be continued...

The Matter of Sin, Three

Early this year, I had two posts which referred to the "matter of sin". Few priests talk about this and today, I want to refer to one aspect of the left-over weaknesses we have from falling into sin.

First of all, once a person sins mortally, that is chooses a serious sin, even after the sacrament of confession, there is a weakness in the will, imagination and the senses.

This "matter of sin" may cause us to stray when we would not have been tempted in an area if we had never committed mortal sin at all.

Some people did not like the scene in the last Narnia movie when the White Witch tempts Edmund when the crew of the Dawn Treader is fighting the sea serpent. I found that scene most believable and connected to this conversation on the matter of sin.

If Edmund has never betrayed his brother and sisters, he would not have been tempted either in his imagination or in his senses by the White Witch. But, like anyone who falls, his person became vulnerable to suggestions.

This is why we must have control over our emotions regarding past sins. And, we must have custody over our imaginations.

Everything we see, watch, read, hear and so on goes into our imaginations.  A person who has watched porn, for example, will be tempted in the imagination in a much more severe manner than the person who has never looked at porn.

One absolutely must guard the imagination from anything sinful.

Or stupid, or silly, or merely a waster of time....our brains feed our souls and what is in the mind is in the soul.

The matter of sin affects the senses, which is why some people cannot go into certain places, like pubs or bars if they are alcoholics.

Once we have fallen, we nurse a weakness, perhaps for years and years.

God does strengthen ones spiritual life and will, but it is so much better never to have sinned in the first place.

Teach your children about the matter of sin. Innocence cannot be tempted in the same way as the weakness of will and senses, imagination and memory.

Some priest teach that the healing of memories should include forgetfulness. This is a good, as one must forget past sins and the matter of sin, so as not to be constantly tempted in that area.

to be continued...

Taking Time Off

Which means three or four posts, not seventeen.. However, I shall write this weekend on angels and the matter of sin.

I have not taken a break from blogging since I was in Tyburn. I need a few days to listen to God as much as possible, as I have had some sad news, which I am not free to share.

I need to digest this news and also pray for wisdom and clarity regarding God's Will in my life.

Please pray for me Friday, Saturday and Sunday especially. This is a time of acute suffering.

Christ showed us how to suffer in trust and in silence.  I promised to get back to Cardinal Manning's wonderful book and I shall, but I am needing to recover from packing and unpacking yet again.