31 August 2022

“I” for Invalid Catholic Mass Nightmare at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Peckville, Pennsylvania ​

Mr Gray analyses a, unfortunately, all too common NO Mass.

From David L. Gray

SHOW NOTES: LIVE STREAM: With the Order of the Mass in one hand and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in the other, we need to look at yet another INVALID Catholic Mass Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in the Diocese of Scranton, PA. But the Invalid Mass is just a quarter of the story here . . . (Watch on YouTube) (Watch on Rumble)

00:00 – Start the Show
00:32 – The Preface
03:09 – The Anatomy of a Mass Nightmare
11:53 – “T” for Typical Versus Populum Novus Ordo
26:38 – “I” for Invalid Consecration
31:07 – “S” for Skittle

How to Save Your Community If the TLM Is Taken Away

This, obviously doesn't apply to those who attend SSPX or independent Masses, but for many Trads suffering under Traditionis Custodes, it's excellent advice.

From One Peter Five

By Eric Sammons

What Modernist Bishops Fear

While the kids are laughing and playing in the courtyard, the adults have gathered in various groups. A few homeschooling mothers are talking about what curriculum they’ll be using in the upcoming school year. Some men debate the latest political news. A small group surrounds a young family that recently lost their child, giving comfort and any practical assistance they can offer. A few altar servers gather around the new young priest, listening to him talk about his days in seminary. A group of twenty-something men and women laugh and talk about whatever it is that young people talk about these days.

It’s a scene that’s repeated each week at many TLM parishes around the world. And it’s a scene that the Vatican is working hard to eliminate. While traditional Catholics understand that the worst part of Traditionis Custodes will be the restricting of the traditional Latin Mass, the shuttering of these Masses will have far-reaching consequences, including the potential wiping out of strong Catholic communities. Yet it’s possible that these communities can remain intact, even if the TLM is stolen from them.

Anyone familiar with the traditional Latin Mass knows that vibrant communities often develop around it. These communities grow organically and provide countless benefits to their participants. They provide help in times of trial, share life’s joys and sorrows, supply the infrastructure for cooperative schooling ventures, generate religious vocations, and become the environment for matchmaking future Catholic marriages. Most importantly, these communities provide a strong sense of belonging in a world awash in loneliness. 

It is exactly these communities that are being obliterated by soulless bishops shutting down or moving traditional Latin Masses, for communities cannot be easily transferred to another location or recreated at another parish. The TLM communities developed as they did because their members have a shared view of the world and of the Church, one that is anchored in Catholic Tradition and eternal truths. In fact, this is why these communities have found themselves in the bishops’ crosshairs—while the TLM is the focus of the attack, enemies of the TLM also want to destroy the TLM communities, because the worldview of the average TLM-goer is radically opposed to the worldview of the Modernist bishop who looks the other way at mortal sin. Although the pope can’t keep a community from gathering, he can attempt to shut down the event they typically gather around.

And it’s unfortunately likely Traditionis Custodes will be the end of many TLM communities. If a strong community developed around a diocesan parish’s TLM, and that TLM is forcibly ended, where will the TLM attendees go? There are multiple options, none of them ideal. Some might decide to find another TLM farther away. Others might begin attending the Novus Ordo at the same parish or another nearby Novus Ordo parish. Some might find an Eastern Catholic or Ordinariate parish. These are prudential decisions, and TLM community members will take different paths. This will mean that every Sunday morning this formerly strong community will be spread to the four corners of the diocese, possibly never to gather together again.

An Opportunity for an Old Tradition?

Must these communities be dispersed? Can we not keep the community intact, even if its members don’t attend the same Mass every Sunday morning? This was the question posed to me by a friend, the Director of Sacred Music at a TLM parish, after I recorded a podcast about what TLM parishioners should do if their Mass is shut down. He had a unique idea to try to save our TLM communities even if the TLM is taken away.

Why not have a non-TLM liturgical service such as Vespers each week at the parish, in the late afternoon on either Saturday or Sunday? Everyone from the TLM community could attend this service, regardless of where they go to Mass each Sunday. Following Vespers the community could share a potluck dinner to nourish the bonds they share as well as build new ones.

In a way, this idea is actually a restoration of an old tradition. It was common in past centuries, particularly in England, to hold public Sunday evening Vespers, which was often as well attended—or even better attended—than Sunday morning Mass. In some places, in fact, the weekly homily was said at Vespers instead of Mass.

Needless to say, if an entire TLM parish has been shut down, even having weekly Vespers isn’t a possibility. But for those TLM communities that gathered at a NO parish, it might work. Of course, buy-in from the pastor is necessary, both for approval and to lead Vespers each week. But most pastors know the importance of their TLM community and I imagine many would want to try to keep it together. 

The countless benefits of the TLM community would be retained, even though the TLM itself is removed. Further, the community would remain in place waiting for the day, hopefully not far away, when the TLM is restored and openly celebrated in the Church. 

There would be challenges, of course. As I already noted, getting the support of the pastor is essential, and most pastors are already overextended. Further, people would need to commit to attending Vespers, something outside their regular habits. For most practicing Catholics, attending Mass on Sunday morning is second nature; it falls automatically onto our calendar of weekly events. Adding another time to drive to church is more difficult and would take some getting used to.

Another challenge would be the temptation to bicker over each other’s diverse choices for Sunday Mass. Can families that make different choices still co-exist in community? I pray that they can, and that they remember the benefits of being together in previous years. One way to avoid such conflicts would be to implement (via honor system, of course) a “no Mass choice” discussion rule. Simply don’t argue about where everyone’s going on Sunday morning but instead focus on everything members of the community hold in common.

Is this a perfect plan? Of course not. Is it a replacement for a community that’s centered on a parish’s TLM? No. But we live in times in which the TLM is being assailed—along with the communities built around it. As the laity we can raise our voices in protest, but we have no real power to stop the machinations of Vatican bureaucrats. They can (unjustly) command the cessation of the TLM, but they cannot prevent us from gathering together in community, supporting each other and waiting for their day to be over, when communities can one again flourish around the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass.

Did the Pope Really Say the Church Ceased To Exist?

This is from Francis's infamous 'Pilgrimage of Penitence' to Canada, but I missed it when it was first published. It's still timely, however.

From Catholic Culture via the WayBackMachine

By Phil Lawler 

Here, I believe, is the ultimate expression of the “hermeneutic of rupture.” In his July 29 conversation with Jesuits in Canada, Pope Francis seems to have said that the Roman Catholic Church ceased to exist!

Read his words and check my logic. The Pope said that “the Church is either synodal or it is not Church.” Then just a few moments later: “Certainly, we can say that the Church in the West had lost its synodal tradition.” So it follows that the “Church in the West” was not Church.

The Pope does concede that synodality— thus, the Church, by his definition— continued. “The Church of the East has preserved it.” But this astonishing statement from this astonishing Pontiff seems to dismiss the authenticity of the “Church in the West”— that is, the Roman Catholic Church, which he now leads. And notice that he does not make this claim as a hypothesis; he begins the crucial sentence with the word “Certainly.”

The Pope’s statement does not specify the historical point at which the Western Church lost its synodal character. But he does point to the time when it was recovered: after Vatican II:

Paul VI set up the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops because he intended to go ahead on this issue. Synod after synod has gone ahead, tentatively, improving, understanding better, maturing.

In his famous 2005 address to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict decried the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” which alleged “a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church.” But nowhere has that “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” taken such a radical form as this: the suggestion that the Church had ceased to be the Church prior to the Council.

In his remarks to the Jesuit community in Quebec, the Pope does not clearly explain what “synodality” means, apart from a statement that it is a movement of the Holy Spirit. The synod is not a parliament, he says. It is not a matter of debating and voting; “nor is it a dialectical confrontation between a majority and a minority.” But then what exactly is this crucial element, without which the Church cannot exist?

”If you want to read the best book of theology on the synod,” the Pope says, “then re-read the Acts of the Apostles.” That’s another very interesting remark. Because in the Acts, the most conspicuous exercise of synodality comes at the Council of Jerusalem, where the assembled bishops rejected the position held by St. Peter. If the next full meeting of the Synod of Bishops produces the same result— a correction of St. Peter’s successor— we can count it a great success.

The Presence of God in a Season of Solitude

Lecture Twenty-Six in the Quarantine Lectures, with Fr James Brent, OP, PhD, STL, Asst Professor of Philosophy, Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC.

How The Modernists Destroyed The Jesuits

In the waning days of the Second Vatican Council, the Society of Jesus reframed its mission in the modern world.

Liturgical Shipwreck 25 Years of the New Mass 1969-1994 - Part XII

By Michael Davies

It would also be dishonest to pretend that traditional Catholics do not have good reason to be disillusioned with the effectiveness of the Ecclesia Dei Commission established in 1988 to safeguard their interests. It would be euphemistic to state that the Commission has been reduced to the status of a lame duck. But nonetheless we must rejoice in the positive results derived from its establishment. The number of so-called indult Masses now authorized is pitifully small when compared to the total number of parishes in the U.S.A., but is nonetheless a tremendous improvement on the situation before 1988. The large congregations and the resurgence of faith generated in some of the indult parishes must be seen in order to be believed; among such parishes are those of St. Agnes in New York, St. John Cantius in Chicago, St. Joseph's in Richmond, Virginia and St. Mary's in Washington, D.C. We must also rejoice in the growth and effectiveness of the Society of St. Peter in the U.S.A., particularly in the fact that it now has an American seminary. In France we can rejoice in the spectacular, almost miraculous resurgence of traditional Benedictine monasticism in the Monasteries of Fontgombault and Le Barroux, which I visited this year, as well as that of Randol.

In 1994, the unhappy anniversary of a quarter of a century of catastrophic liturgical experimentation, I had the privilege of participating in an event which convinced me that the Tridentine Mass is indeed the Mass that will not die. You would also have been convinced of this-----and convinced too that the future of the Roman Rite lies in resurrecting its past-----if you could have been in the world's most beautiful cathedral, that of Chartres, France, on Pentecost Monday and seen it packed to the doors with young Catholics for a Solemn High Tridentine Mass, which they sang with one voice, cum una voce, and with tremendous enthusiasm, after having marched there in pilgrimage almost seventy miles from Paris in three days, camping out at night, and if you had seen the thousands who could not find a place inside the cathedral and who sang the Mass outside. There were at least fifteen thousand present in all, with an average age of twenty! This was not an illusion, but a reality. Let anyone who doubts this report simply join the pilgrimage next year, or in succeeding years. It has been held now since 1983.

The critique of the New Mass which I have presented to you here has been, I hope, a legitimate exercise of the right accorded to every Catholic by Canon 212 of the New Code of Canon Law [1983] to manifest to the sacred pastors his opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make his opinion known to the other Christian faithful. I am absolutely certain that I am manifesting my love for and loyalty to the Church by suggesting, with the utmost respect for the Holy Father, that-----to paraphrase Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci writing in 1969 [The Ottaviani Intervention]-----as the reform has proved harmful for the subjects for whom it was promulgated, we have the right and the duty to ask him to abrogate it. The New Mass is something which-----as Dietrich von Hildebrand expressed it-----the common Father of all Christians, the Holy Father, should regret and take back, so that, as Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci requested, we can be given "the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V," which is as certain to be the Mass of our children as it was the Mass of our fathers in the Faith.

Let me conclude by quoting the words of Msgr. Klaus Gamber, whose book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy contains written endorsements by three cardinals, and who was, it is worth repeating, considered by Cardinal Ratzinger to be "the one scholar who, among the army of pseudo-liturgists, truly represents the liturgical thinking of the center of the Church." With his unrivaled knowledge of the liturgy and with the pastoral concern of a true good shepherd, this was the message that he left for the Church that he had loved so well and served so faithfully:

In the final analysis, this means that in the future the traditional rite of Mass must be retained in the Roman Catholic Church. ..as the primary liturgical form for the celebration of Mass. It must become once more the norm of our faith and the symbol of Catholic unity throughout the world, a rock of stability in a period of upheaval and never-ending change. 41

Opinion: Woke Locke and the Origins of Anti-Catholic Discrimination

I am not at all surprised that anti-Catholic bigots are turning to Locke for inspiration. He is one of the gravediggers of Western Civilisation.

From Catholic World Report

By Jonathan Culbreath

The secret is out: the Catholic Church is now the number one enemy of American liberalism. This is confirmed both by the increasing volume of public opinion and by the growing track record of intolerance towards the Church that the U.S. ruling class is racking up, especially around the contentious issue of abortion.

Some authors have pegged the Church as one of the leading sources of funding for anti-abortion activism, with the insinuation that such activity runs counter to the liberal principle of “separation of church and state.” Others have tweeted angrily that the Catholic Church in the U.S. bears all the blame for the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson. In a column for the New York Times, Maureen Dowd laments that, after Dobbs, the Catholic Church now has more influence in the U.S. than it does in Ireland.

More tellingly, James Carroll writes in the New Yorker that the Dobbs decision aligns with the Catholic Church’s historical opposition to the liberal values of Americanism. The Biden Administration’s continued persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor for their refusal to provide coverage for contraceptives begs to be mentioned as another striking example, this time on the part of the government itself.

But perhaps the most telling case is the response which liberals directed toward San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, after his decision to block Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion. Back in May, Cordileone publicly declared that Pelosi’s position on abortion makes it immoral and scandalous for her to receive the Eucharist, according to Catholic discipline. Subsequently, liberals everywhere have reacted by calling out Cordileone’s un-Christian intolerance and obvious political motives. An editorial at the San Francisco Examiner, published before the final Dobbs ruling was released, stated that “Many women will die if the court goes through with this decision. That will apparently be just fine with Cordileone, who prefers to pick partisan fights rather than make the church a place that welcomes people of all political backgrounds and all faiths.”

The editorial also asserts:

It is Nancy Pelosi, not Archbishop Cordileone, who reflects the true spirit of Christian care in the City of St. Francis. For the Catholic Church to continue to thrive here, we need a leader who opens the church’s doors to all, not a small-minded man who locks out his political adversaries.

What are the origins of these and so many other examples of anti-Catholic discrimination, which seem to be reaching new heights of fervor in recent years? The common conservative narrative, that America is falling prey to a radical Marxist aberration from the founding principles of American classical liberalism, is an attractive explanation, to be sure. Yet today, on the 390th birthday of John Locke, I suggest we need only look as far as John Locke himself, one of the foremost defenders of the type of society that “welcomes people of all political backgrounds and all faiths.”

In A Letter Concerning TolerationLocke puts forward his picture of the ideal liberal society — nay, the ideal Church: “I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true Church.” He hues on to condemn all who lay claim to orthodoxy in their religious beliefs, since all such claims entail intolerance of the beliefs of others; and moreover, all such claims signify no more than an underlying desire for power:

For whatsoever some people boast of the antiquity of places and names, or of the pomp of their outward worship; others, of the reformation of their discipline; all, of the orthodoxy of their faith — for everyone is orthodox to himself — these things, and all others of this nature, are much rather marks of men striving for power and empire over one another than of the Church of Christ.

Locke’s stipulations about the chief characteristics of the true Christian Church contain many such not-so-subtle hints about which churches do not meet his requirements: i.e. the Catholic Church. With the same censorious tone that one recognizes in the pages of the San Francisco Examiner, Locke ruthlessly condemns those churches who teach “that faith is not to be kept with heretics,” or “that kings excommunicated forfeit their crowns and kingdoms”; or “who upon pretence of religion do challenge any manner of authority over such as are not associated with them in their ecclesiastical communion.”

Then comes the startling assertion, which might not have been expected from that much-lauded defender of religious freedom: “I say these have no right to be tolerated by the magistrate; as neither those that will not own and teach the duty of tolerating all men in matters of mere religion.” In other words, Locke sees no place for the toleration of the Catholic Church, or any church that claims for itself the right to censor and excommunicate those who do not adhere to its teachings; nor any church that claims the right to question or undermine the authority of public leaders who do not adhere to its teachings. In a tolerant liberal society, there can be no tolerance for such intolerance!

It’s as if those who have condemned Archbishop Cordileone for his intolerance of Nancy Pelosi’s position on abortion could be quoting Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration. In any case, they are operating straight out of his playbook. The anti-Catholicism of the current “woke” regime and its propagandists in the media is not some Marxist aberration from the original classical liberalism that is supposed to be embodied in the American founding.

On the contrary, it is the exact consequence of classical liberalism, as expressed clearly in the words of Woke John Locke. Happy birthday, Locke! You got what you wished for.

Feasts of Early September

Is Freemasonry Incompatible with the Catholic Faith?

 No, it is not. Indeed, according to many non-Catholic churches, of all sorts, it is not compatible with any form of Christianity.

From Catholic Culture via the WayBackMachine

By Wlodzimierz Redzioch

The Catholic Church's position has not changed. So said Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, close advisor of Pope Benedict XVI, during a conference on the topic Freemasonry and the Catholic Church at Rome's Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure on March 1, 2007.

The vision and philosophy of Freemasonry is incompatible with the Catholic faith and membership in the Catholic Church, Girotti said.

The meeting, presided over by Girotti, included Carlo Giovanardi, Professor Zbigniew Suchecki of the Friars Minor Conventual, Professor Domingo Andres, Professor Pietro Amata, and others.

Freemasonry of all types — regular or irregular, legitimate or "diverted" — has been condemned by many Popes in a total of about 600 documents. The question, however, is relevant today, as many Catholics have become Freemasons. I asked Professor Suchecki, a Freemasonry expert, to discuss the issue.

Briefly, what is Freemasonry?

PROF. ZBIGNIEW SUCHECKI: The word Freemasonry is derived from French maison maitre ("master of a home"). The Normans brought it to England, where it became freemason.

In various studies, the origins of the institution are traced back to ancient times, and this is supported by various legends.

The London Freemasons founded the Grand Lodge of England in the Church of St. John the Baptist on June 24, 1717.

The creation of the London Lodge, whose members were referred to as Moderns, marked a division in Freemasonry. The London Lodge opposed the older Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, whose members, according to the Old Institutions, were referred to as Ancients. The declaration of deism featured among the main differences between the London Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of France. The Grand Lodge of France was among the most violently anticlerical of the world . . .

Then anticlericalism, i.e., hostility to the Catholic Church, is a main feature of Freemasonry?

SUCHECKI: It is. Father Mariano Cordovani, in an article published on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano (M. Cordovani, La Chiesa e la Massoneria, March 19, 1950), wrote: "Freemasonry, with its growing hostility to the Catholic Church, is among those groups which are reviving and gaining force not only in Italy."

Could you give us some examples of the anticlerical attitudes of Freemasonry?

SUCHECKI: On September 10, 1952, L'Osservatore Romano published an article, The Great Lodge of France Against the Catholic Church, dealing with the resolutions taken by the Grand Lodge of France in that period. It cited the resolutions as follows: "The Convent of the Great Lodge of France, seeing that human freedom is in danger due to the clerical intrigues of the Vatican in France, in overseas countries of the French Union and all over the world, decides . . . to unmask by every means the subtle scheming of the Vatican State Secretariat, which aims at imposing the shameful guardianship of religious and political-economic dictatorship on the whole of mankind . . . and to accept, in the relentless struggle against clericalism, every alliance compatible with the Masonic ideal."

Nevertheless, some representatives of Freemasonry have met with Catholics . . .

SUCHECKI: Catholic-Masonic dialogue started with informal meetings between Catholic and Masonic representatives in Austria, Italy and Germany. Freemasonry representative Karl Baresch met Cardinal Franz Konig informally in Vienna on March 21, 1968. A mixed commission was later appointed, which drew up a document, the Lichtenau Declaration, of informative character, for the Roman authorities (the Holy Father and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Seper). The Lichtenau Declaration, which contained serious faults in philosophical-theological and, above all, historical terms, was never officially recognized by Cardinal Konig or the Church.

In the years 1974-1980, the German bishops appointed a commission officially entrusted with the task of examining the incompatibility between membership in the Catholic Church and Freemasonry. The commission took the Rituals of the three levels of Freemasonry, whose texts they had been allowed to have by the Freemasons, and subjected them to a long and close examination.

In the final declarations, the reasons for the incompatibility between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry were reported. Membership in the latter questions the foundations of the Christian life. A close examination of the Rituals of Freemasonry and the way of being a Freemason rules out the possibility of any dual membership. In Freemasonry's vision of the world, a humanitarian and ethical attitude prevails. This type of subjectivism cannot harmonize with faith in God's revealed word authentically interpreted by the Church.

Freemasonry denies the possibility of an objective knowledge of truth. The Freemason rejects all faith in dogmas; he does not admit any even in his own Lodge. He is required to be a free man without submission to dogma or passion. This concept is incompatible with the Catholic notion of truth in terms of both natural and revealed theology. The representation of a Universal Architect who dominates, remote from man, undermines the foundations of the Catholic idea of God who encounters man as a Father and Lord.

Freemasons often boast of their tolerance . . .

SUCHECKI: Freemasonry's idea of tolerance stems from its concept of truth. By tolerance, Catholics mean sympathy with and understanding of their neighbors. Freemasons regard tolerance as respect for other people's ideas, no matter how different they may be. This idea of tolerance undermines the Catholic's fidelity to his faith and his acceptance of the Church's teachings.

Could you please tell us something about the Freemasons' rituals?

SUCHECKI: The Rituals of the three grades of Apprentice, Fellow and Master, in their words and symbols, resemble the Christian sacraments. They give the impression of man being transformed by symbolic gestures. Masonic rituals are a symbolic initiation of man which is inherently in competition with the transformation brought about by the sacraments. According to these rituals, Freemasonry's ultimate objective is to improve man to the highest degree in both ethical and spiritual terms. This raises the doubt that man's moral improvement is separated from grace to such a degree as to leave no room for justification as interpreted by Christian doctrine. What transformation should the sacramental communication of man's salvation in baptism, confession and the Eucharist bring about if illumination and the defeat of death are achieved through the three Rituals? In addition, Freemasonry requires total and unconditional allegiance from its members, even as far as death. This totalitarian character makes Freemasonry incompatible with the Catholic Church. The study of even well-disposed lodges has detected insurmountable difficulties.

In the new Canon Law, Freemasonry is not explicitly mentioned, unlike the previous Code. Has the Church's position changed?

SUCHECKI: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was questioned on this subject several times. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, at the time prefect of the Congregation, explained that the non-mention of Freemasonry was traceable to an editorial criterion, also followed for other associations which had not been mentioned, as they had been included in larger categories. Clarifications are contained in the relevant document of the Congregation, Declaration on Freemasonry, November 26, 1983. (Quaesitum est)

The Declaration on Freemasonry of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was briefly illustrated by L' Osservatore Romano on February 23, 1985. The paper published an article on the front page: Reflections One Year After the Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Incompatibility Between Christian Faith and Freemasonry. The article reports the official reasons for the Congregation's position on Freemasonry: "Since the Church began to express her position about Freemasonry, her opinions have been inspired by several reasons, both practical and doctrinal. Not only has she held Freemasonry responsible for subversive activity against her, but, since the first papal documents on the subject, and in the encyclical Humanum genus by Leo XIII, she has denounced philosophical ideas and moral concepts in contrast with Catholic doctrine. According to Leo XIII, they could essentially be traced back to a rationalist naturalism, which inspired Freemasonry's plans and activities against the Church. In his letter to the Italian people, Custodi, he wrote: 'Let us remember that Christianity and Freemasonry are essentially incompatible, so that joining the former implies quitting the latter.'"

A Christian cannot therefore have a dual relationship with God: a humanitarian, extra-confessional relationship, and an inner Christian one; nor can he express his relationship through a twofold symbolism. Only Jesus Christ is in fact Master of Truth, and only in Him can Christians find the light and strength to carry out God's plan working for their neighbor's good.

Woke Ideology Is a Psychological Disorder

'[T]he tendency toward tyranny which Plato attributed to democracies was a consequence of their egalitarianism, moral relativism, and sexual license....'

From The American Mind

By Edward Feser, PhD

Plato shows us who the real tyrants are.

Since the 2016 election, the thesis that Plato’s critique of democracy in the Republic holds the key to understanding the rise of Donald Trump has become a cliché of middlebrow left-wing commentary. It is not entirely wrong. But usually ignored is the fact that the tendency toward tyranny which Plato attributed to democracies was a consequence of their egalitarianism, moral relativism, and sexual license—not exactly right-wing causes.

It is no great feat to cherry-pick lines from Plato which, torn from context, can be made to seem applicable to some politician you dislike. A serious treatment must begin with Plato’s psychology, which formed the basis of his political philosophy. It must consider Plato’s account of the four stages by which minds can become progressively disordered, and the ways in which four increasingly corrupt types of society parallel these degrees of psychological disorder.

When that is done, it is manifest that in fact the purest contemporary realization of the tyrannical personality type Plato warned us about is the Social Justice Warrior leftist. As the woke mob comes to realize this, Plato’s statues will doubtless be toppled next—and after statues, people.

Healthy and Sick Souls

Plato distinguishes three main parts of the psyche: reason, spirit, and appetite. Naturally, appetite encompasses desires for food, drink, sex, money, and, in general, whatever brings pleasure. Such desires are a natural concomitant of our being embodied, and as such are not bad in themselves. What is bad is indulging them in a way that is contrary to reason.

Now, rationality, as modern economists understand it, entails maximizing satisfaction of whatever desires we happen to have. That is decidedly not how Plato understands it. Indeed, he would regard this conception of reason as the mark of a corrupt mind. For Plato, reason is that faculty by which we understand the natures of things—what he famously calls their Forms.

For instance, when you understand that a triangle is a closed plane figure with three straight sides, you grasp its nature or Form, and the study of geometry deepens your understanding of that nature. You learn, for example, that the sum of the internal angles of a Euclidean triangle is equal to two right angles, that the length of one of its sides is always shorter than the sum of the other two, and so on.

These are objective facts rather than artifacts of human convention. The same is true, for Plato, of the natures of other things—rocks and trees, dogs and cats, justice and piety, and human beings too. There is in each case an objective fact of the matter about what it is to be a thing of each of these types. And that entails an objective standard about what counts as a good or bad instance of each of these types of thing.

Given what it is to be a triangle, a triangle drawn with crooked sides is, as a matter of fact, a bad or defective triangle; given what it is to be a tree, a tree with damaged roots is, as a matter of objective fact, a bad or defective tree; and so on.

By the same token, given what nature puts desires into us for, there is an objective matter of fact about whether particular desires are good or bad. For example, a desire to eat dirt, stones, feces, metal, or some other non-nutritive substance (a psychological condition known as pica) would be bad insofar as it is aimed at the wrong sort of object.

A desire might also be aimed at the right sort of object, but nevertheless be bad insofar as it is indulged in an excessive way, as in overeating and drunkenness. Hence for Plato, while reason does tell us how to satisfy a desire we happen to have, the more important thing it tells us is whether we should satisfy it—or instead ought to resist it as objectively disordered.

Plato is committed, then, to a kind of essentialism. That is to say, he holds that things have, as a matter of objective fact, essences or natures. He holds that reason is capable of knowing these natures, and that since the nature of a thing determines what is good or bad for it, reason is also capable of knowing what is objectively good or bad.

He thereby rejects the relativist view that what a thing is, and what is good for it, are matters of human convention rather than matters of objective fact. He refutes, too, the skeptical position that whether or not there are objective matters of fact about these things, we cannot know them.

So, a rational human being will in Plato’s view indulge the appetite only when reason, guided by its knowledge of human nature, judges such indulgence to be good. But desires can be powerful, and reason’s judgement can seem bloodless and abstract. So how can reason exercise control over appetite?

This is where the remaining part of the psyche, spirit, comes in. There is no adequate one-word equivalent in English for the Greek word translated “spirit” (thumos). What Plato has in mind is that aspect of our nature that manifests itself in righteous anger, in the impulse to correct injustice, and in the pursuit of what is honorable and avoidance of what is shameful.

Hence, suppose a man sees an old woman being mugged and, though fearful for his own safety, nevertheless rushes to her aid out of outrage at what is being done to her. Or suppose he is tempted to sleep with another man’s wife, but refrains from doing so because of the shame he feels at the thought of it. These would be instances of spirit in action.

Though reason tells the man to risk pain in the first case and ignore pleasure in the second, appetite might still overwhelm him if it weren’t for spirit’s counterbalancing it with the emotions associated with justice and honor. Spirit is the ally of reason in governing appetite.

A healthy psyche is one in which reason, spirit, and appetite are ordered in this hierarchical way and all properly functioning. In particular, it is evident in a human being who has a correct understanding of the natures of things, feels the right amount of approval for what reason tells it is good and the right amount of shame or disgust at what reason tells it is bad, and whose desires are natural, moderate, and indulged only in what reason judges to be the right time, place, and manner and in a way spirit feels to be honorable.

Such a human being exhibits the cardinal virtues or “excellences”: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. He is wise insofar as his intellect grasps objective reality, courageous insofar as he will not allow fear of pain or desire for pleasure to divert him from the right course of action, temperate insofar as his desires are appropriate and indulged only when fitting, and just insofar as reason, spirit, and appetite are all playing their proper role in the hierarchy.

An unhealthy psyche is one that deviates from this ordering of things, and the greater the deviation, the greater the depravity of the psyche. This brings us to Plato’s classification of types of society, which is equally a classification of types of soul, because what characterizes a society is the type of soul that dominates it.

Healthy and Sick Societies

Reason, spirit, and appetite are to be found in all human beings. But each is stronger in some human beings than in others, and which of them most characterizes a person determines which of the three social classes of Plato’s ideal society he will fall into.

The vast majority of people are appetitive. That does not mean that their appetites are ungoverned by reason and spirit, but that reason and spirit are in them primarily oriented, not toward the pursuit of wisdom and honor for their own sakes, but rather toward the pursuit of food and drink, property, marriage and family, and material goods in general. They make up the productive class in Plato’s city: farmers, merchants, laborers, and so on.

A much smaller group is primarily spirited, oriented by temperament to the pursuit of honor and justice. These make up the auxiliary class, which comprise the military and police in Plato’s ideal city.

The smallest and ruling class are the philosopher-kings, in whom reason dominates so thoroughly that pursuit of the true and the good for their own sakes is their basic orientation.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that Plato’s idea of a philosopher is as different from what most people today think of when they hear that word as his conception of reason is different from the modern economist’s conception. He is not talking about a society run by effete middle-class college professors. Nor does he have in mind thinkers adhering to just any old philosophical system.

He is talking about Platonist philosophers, specifically, which entails (among other things) those committed to essentialism and opposed to relativism, skepticism, and allied doctrines. And he is talking about an elite drawn from the auxiliary class and held to a regimen so physically, intellectually, and morally demanding that no one inclined toward a life of tenured ease would be capable of it, or even interested in it.

Famously, the guardians of Plato’s ideal society (which comprise the auxiliary class and the philosopher-kings together) live communally and are forbidden spouses, families, and private property of their own. This is not socialism, which in the real world imposes austerity on the majority while the rulers live like capitalists. On the contrary, the majority in Plato’s city—the productive class—are permitted the freedom, material benefits, and ordinary family life the elite are denied.

Rather, the egalitarianism of the guardian classes is that of the military barracks or the monastery, imposed only on the few because only the few are capable of it. Its point is to prevent the guardians, as far as possible, from having any personal or material stake in governmental policy, so that they will be guided only by disinterested reason.

For present purposes, what matters are not the details of Plato’s ideal society but rather its idealization of a certain conception of reason, both in the individual and in the sociopolitical order. As the mid-twentieth-century philosopher John Wild argued, Plato was essentially the founder of the natural law tradition in Western ethics.

Good human beings are in Plato’s view those in whom desire is subordinated to the objective natural order of things grasped by reason, and a good society is one governed by those who best know and practice this natural law. Just as a rightly ordered psyche is one in which reason rules the appetites through the agency of spirit, so too a rightly ordered society is one in which philosopher-kings rule the productive class through the auxiliaries.

The greater the deviation from this model, the more unjust and disordered a society becomes, and the degrees of deviation parallel the degrees of depravity that can exist in an individual psyche. Indeed, for Plato, types of unjust society are defined less by their governing procedures than by the disordered character types that dominate them and are admired within them.

There are four, each one worse than its predecessor: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny.

Timocracy is the rule of the spirited part of the psyche, in which honor displaces wisdom as the highest end. The timocratic character prizes the military virtues above all others, so that the ethos of the auxiliaries pushes aside that of the philosopher-kings as the ruling ideal. Spartan severity would be the paradigm.

The appetites are kept in check in the timocratic personality type, as they are in the philosopher-king, but out of honor rather than regard for reason as such. Timocracy also involves a move away from the disinterestedness of the philosopher-king’s rationality, for timocratic man’s excessive regard for honor makes him highly competitive. For this reason, Plato thinks the timocratic personality eventually becomes unduly interested in money as a surrogate for martial accomplishment. In this way, timocracies have a tendency to give way to oligarchies.

Oligarchy is the first of three degenerate regimes in which appetite comes progressively to dominate individuals and society, but it is the least bad of them. The oligarchic personality type is one in which money becomes the dominant end. The appetites thus take the upper hand over both reason and spirit.

However, because the acquisition of wealth requires time and discipline, even oligarchic man puts some restraints on his desires. The timocratic ideals of honor and courage give way, but they are replaced by bourgeois virtues like thrift, hard work, and concern for respectability.

But there is money to be made in catering to baser desires. As if he were describing the recent history of American business, Plato tells us that oligarchs inevitably cannot resist seeking profit in catering to the frivolous and immoral wants of the young, and in taking advantage of the foolishness of those willing to incur massive debt. Their own children also come to be spoiled, soft, idle, and profligate.

“Love of money and adequate self-discipline in its citizens are two things that can’t coexist in any society,” says Plato. The rich come to have “no greater concern for excellence than the poor.” (All quotes are from the Desmond Lee translation of the Republic.) Appealing to an insect metaphor, Plato says that a class of shiftless and unruly “drones” arises in this decadence, dominated by “unnecessary desires” such as an excessive interest in sex and a taste for “a more varied and luxurious diet.” (A mashup of hooligans, swingers, and “foodies,” as it were.) In this way oligarchy tends to give way to democracy.

The Dēmos and its Demons

The first thing to keep in mind in order to understand Plato’s analysis of democracy is that he is not primarily concerned with procedural matters, such as the way in which people are elected or policies decided upon. What he cares about, again, is the character type that predominates in a society.

By “democracy” what Plato has in mind is a libertarian and egalitarian society in which “every individual is free to do as he likes.” Bourgeois restraints on appetite disappear, so that desires are checked only by competing desires rather than by reason, spirit, or even the oligarch’s middle-class stolidity. Democracy as Plato describes it is basically what American society has become in the twenty-first century—so much so that reading Plato on democracy makes one wonder whether he had access to a time machine.

Democracy on Plato’s account is characterized by the “diversity of its characters” and “treats all men as equal, whether they are equal or not.” In particular, it treats all ways of life as equal, no matter how puerile, irrational, or immoral.

The young “throw off all inhibitions” and celebrate “insolence, license, extravagance, and shamelessness.” They flit faddishly from one activity to another. At one moment they will pursue “wine, women, and song,” and at the next “water to drink and a strict diet”; a keen interest in “hard physical training” might give way to “indolence and careless ease”; today they will devote themselves to philosophical study, tomorrow politics, and the day after that business. If anyone tries to tell them that some desires are bad and should be suppressed, they “won’t listen,” but insist that “all pleasures are equal and should have equal rights.”

This licentiousness and egalitarianism become ever more extreme. Citizens care nothing about the character of their leaders, so long as they flatter the people. This yields “rulers who behave like subjects and subjects who behave like rulers.” Authority disintegrates. Fathers and sons “change places” in social status, “the father standing in awe of his son, and the son neither respecting nor fearing his parents.”

In general, the young set themselves against their elders, while elders fear being thought “disagreeable or strict” and are reduced to pathetically “aping the young and mixing with them on terms of easy fellowship.” The teacher “fears and panders to his pupils” but the pupils despise him anyway. Democratic man insists on “complete equality and liberty in the relations between the sexes,” and on drawing “no distinction between alien and citizen and foreigner.” Plato tells us that license is extended even to domestic animals, who freely roam the streets of the democratic city.

The end result is that “the minds of the citizens become so sensitive that the least vestige of restraint is resented as intolerable.” In the end, “in their determination to have no master,” the citizens of a democracy “disregard all laws, written or unwritten.”

This democratic lawlessness, Plato tells us, is “the root from which tyranny springs.” It is crucial to understand that this is not merely because of the chaos that results when laws and mores are no longer respected, which leads people to opt for a strongman to restore order. It has to do with the deep irrationalism of egalitarian societies. They are dominated not by reason, not by spirit, not even by the more governable appetites of the oligarch, but by the lower and unruly appetites for sex, food, drink, and sensual pleasure in general, which are most prone to blinding reason. The very idea of a natural order of things that determines that some desires are disordered and forbidden by reason becomes hateful to democratic man.

This is the significance of Plato’s famous Allegory of the Cave. The cave dwellers are chained in such a way that they can see nothing but shadowy images on the wall cast by statues and flickering flames. The statues are representations of everyday objects outside the cave (dogs, cats, trees, and so on). When a cave dweller escapes and makes his way outside the cave, he finds that what he and his fellows had thought to be reality is really only faint and distorted images of copies of real things. He returns to the cave and tries to explain this to them, but they judge him to be crazy, and are so offended by his criticism of their false beliefs that they seek to kill him.

Now, the cave dwellers in this allegory stand for the citizens of a democracy like the Athens of Plato’s day, and the shadows on the wall represent the illusory belief system of democratic psyches, which are dominated by appetite and swayed by the rhetoric of the sophists and demagogues who flatter them and help rationalize their disordered desires. Plato characterizes their delusions as “dead weights” that are “fastened on them by sensual indulgences like gluttony, which twist their minds’ vision to lower things.”

The man who escapes is the Platonic philosopher, for whom Plato’s model is Socrates. The objects in the ordinary world outside the cave represent the Forms or natures of things, as understood in light of Plato’s essentialism. The sun that illuminates these objects corresponds to what Plato calls “the Form of the Good,” which is the divine source of the Forms. The hostility of the cave dwellers to the escapee represents the hostility of citizens of a democracy to the philosopher who exposes their egalitarian delusions—such as Socrates, who was murdered by democratic Athens.

Plato warns that art and music characterized by “ugliness of form and bad rhythm and disharmony,” and a popular culture that glorifies “bad character, ill-discipline, meanness, or ugliness,” do “cumulative psychological damage,” corrupting moral sensibilities and capacity for rational argument.

The same is true, he says, of a preoccupation with pleasure seeking, which inclines a soul toward “frenzy and excess” and “violence and indiscipline,” and he warns that this is especially true of sexual pleasure. The culture of a healthy society must accordingly celebrate reason, beauty, goodness, and restraint. The improper formation of character yields what Plato calls “misology” or hatred of rational discourse, generating citizens with “no use for reasoned discussion, and an animal addiction to settle everything by brute force.”

The applicability to modern American pop culture is obvious, and only the details need updating. The walls of Plato’s cave have been replaced with cell phones streaming Netflix and pornography, and misology now manifests itself in Twitter mobs and “cancel culture” rather than the executioner’s hemlock (for the moment, anyway).

Enter Tyranny, Stage Left

Plato proposes a mechanism by which democracy finally mutates into tyranny. He tells us that the parasitic “drone” class that builds up under late oligarchy and democracy can be divided into two subclasses, the drones with “stings” and those without. Those without are the passive hangers on, whereas the “stinging” drones are the nastier bunch, aggressive and inclined to stir the rest up to sedition. Think of the upper middle-class wokester, saddled in debt for a useless college degree in grievance studies, whose idea of finally doing something with his life is signing up with Antifa or the Bernie Bros.

A second group playing a role in the transition to tyranny, Plato tells us, are the rich, who are terrified of being accused of “plotting against the people and being reactionaries and oligarchs.” As a consequence, they pay off the drone class. Think of corporate groveling to political correctness and the writing of check after check to fund various left-wing causes. A third, last, and largest group are the masses, who don’t pay much attention to politics but are happy to take a share of whatever the drones extract from the rich.

This payoff arrangement is unstable, and awaits the rise of a stinging drone ruthless enough to go the whole hog and wage “class war against the owners of property.” This is the tyrant, and the tyrannical personality type is an extension of the democratic personality type, bringing its characteristic lawlessness to full fruition.

Plato describes him as a complete libertine who “combines the characteristics of drunkenness, lust, and madness” and is given over to criminality and “extravagant feasts and orgies and sex and so on.” He governs by “exiles, executions, hints of cancellation of debts and redistribution of land.” The key to his character is that the last weak restraints on democratic man’s appetites entirely disappear. The tyrant, says Plato, is “lost to all sense and shame” so that there is “nothing, no taboo, no murder, however terrible, from which he will shrink,” and he is prone to a “terribly bestial and immoral type of desire, which manifests itself particularly in dreams,” such as “attempting intercourse…with a mother or anyone else, man, beast, or god.”

His criminality will not be checked even by filial reverence, so that he is a “parricide” who will even loot and tyrannize over his own parents. Indeed, if the people will not submit to him, “he’ll punish his country, if he can, just as he punished his parents.” Plato describes him as the “unhappiest of all men,” who is “envious, untrustworthy, unjust, friendless, and godless.” He has no true companions but only alliances with similar criminal types.

For all Trump’s vulgarity and egotism, even if populism and eroding decorum obviously factored into his rise, it is ludicrous to see in him a Platonic tyrant. A tyrant would welcome the COVID-19 lockdown as a means of securing greater control over the people rather than resisting it; he would have reacted to riots by imposing martial law rather than taking to Twitter.

No, where we see the tyrannical personality type as Plato understands it—the bitter revolutionary given over to libertinism, contemptuous of reason, bent on class war and the expropriation of the rich, with no loyalty to the heritage of his parents or country—is, quite obviously, on the side of Trump’s most vociferous enemies, the woke mob.

While Trump confines his “tyranny” to trash talk, SJW leftists make war on the police, burn down businesses, topple monuments, take over city blocks, bully dissenters into silence where they can, and ruthlessly destroy the reputations and livelihoods of those they cannot, all in the name of an “intersectional” program of socialism and radical sexual liberation.

But having a tyrannical personality type is one thing, and actually imposing a tyranny is another. What remains to be seen is whether there is, among the woke hordes, anyone with the combination of talent and ruthlessness actually to take over the apparatus of government, and whether the mass of society has gone too far beyond the threshold of decadence to resist. Even now the prospect of an American tyrant in the Platonic mold appears far-fetched—but, like so many other things in these bizarre times, not quite as far-fetched as it seemed just a few years ago.

Plato’s classification of personality types and regimes is an idealization. He did not think all real-world societies exactly match any of his categories. Actual societies tend to be mixtures of the tendencies he describes, though one tendency or another often tends to predominate. Nor is the transition from one kind of society to a more degenerate kind inevitable. Perhaps we are not as close to the brink as it seems; perhaps, even if we are close to it, we can still retreat.

But doing so would require a revival of the embers of reason, and they are weak. Plato described the philosophers of his own day as mostly “useless” and “rogues,” corrupted by sophistry and the pressure of egalitarian public opinion.

Intimidated by the most aggressive elements of the mob, the intellectual in a democratic society is “swamped by the flood of popular praise and blame, and carried away with the stream till he finds himself agreeing with popular ideas of what is admirable or disgraceful, behaving like the crowd and becoming one of them.” As if in fulfillment of this Platonic prophecy, a radical and intolerant egalitarianism has swept the American intelligentsia—the academy, journalism, the arts, and popular culture—its leaders routinely bullied into submission by even the most groundless accusations of bigotry.

Plato says it would take a “miracle” or “divine providence” to keep philosophers from being corrupted under such circumstances, and that even then only a “very small remnant” will resist. As Socrates’ execution indicates, this resistance might even seem futile in the short run. But its long-term effects are what matter. Today, no one but a few scholars knows the names of Socrates’ persecutors. It is his greatest student, Plato himself, whom we remember.

Consort Profile: Duchess Eleanor of Toledo

Eleanor, spouse and consort of Cosimo de Medici, Duke of Florence and Grandi Duke of Tuscany, the model 'First Lady'.

From The Mad Monarchist (3 January 2013) 

It is probably a debatable point, but Eleanor of Toledo, Duchess consort of Florence, is usually pointed to as a woman who set the standard for “First Ladies” all the way up to the present day. Eleanor was born in 1522 in Alba de Tormes, Salamanca, the second daughter of Don Pedro Alvarez de Toledo, Marquis of Villafranca who was the Viceroy of Naples on behalf of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V aka King Carlos I of Spain. At the age of seventeen she was married to Cosimo I de’ Medici, Duke of Florence who, in 1569, would become the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. It was an arranged marriage with Eleanor’s father expecting his daughter to gain some of the Medici wealth (which was more apparent than real) and the Medici hoping to gain some status and security by marrying someone highly placed in the Spanish aristocracy and related to the Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor. With Spain dominating Florence and much of the surrounding area in Italy at that time, being on good terms with the House of Hapsburg was a necessity. Part of the agreement for the marriage was that it would be a show of loyalty to the Hapsburg Emperor sufficient enough to allow for the removal of the Spanish garrison.

However, arranged or not, the marriage was certainly a success as far as what was most required of royal couples; ensuring the survival of the Medici family by producing heirs. There was certainly no problem in securing the succession and Duchess Eleanor gave her husband eleven children between 1540 and 1554, two of whom would succeed their father as Grand Dukes of Tuscany in the future. Given the less than ideal birth status of the previous leaders of the House of Medici, Duke Cosimo was intent to present a new public image of respectability, stability and traditional values. His own large family would be the centerpiece of this new look and Duchess Eleanor was the most important part of it. As far as her public image went, there could not have been a better choice. Not only was Eleanor quite the fertile myrtle, she also had a lovely but reserved appearance which gave the impression of strength and stability to those who saw her. She was also quite religious and a patron of the Society of Jesus, still relatively new at that time. At first the people were inclined to dislike her because of her Spanish origins, and given what so many Italians had been through, that is hardly surprising, but her patronage of the Church, the arts and charitable causes soon won everyone over.

Duchess Eleanor was as conscious as anyone of putting her best face forward and took great care about her appearance, which included sitting for portraits as the prim and proper consort (and later mother of an heir to the throne) as well as wearing lavish gowns. This cannot be dismissed as mere vanity. It was an effort to inspire confidence among the people and visiting dignitaries as to the wealth, stability and power of the Medici monarchy. Nor was it merely an act. Duchess Eleanor was a serious and intelligent lady who ruled Tuscany as regent on behalf of her husband when he was absent. She was also sincerely pious and her devotion to the Church inspired her many acts of charity as well as her donations that allowed for building a number of new churches and her encouragement in bringing the Jesuits into Florence. There was more to her than her public face though and in private she was known for her great (if sometimes low-brow) sense of humor, great personal determination and love for games of chance. And, of course, she was always the perfect hostess, gracious, charming as well as being a close unofficial advisor to her husband in his rule of the duchy and later grand duchy.

Only relatively recently have researchers discovered what a tremendously tough woman Duchess Eleanor was. Studies done on her remains have shown that she suffered from a severe calcium deficiency that must have caused her immense pain. From the results we can surmise that her teeth must have given her a great deal of trouble and that her bones would have caused her incredible agony (she may have even shrank quite a bit over her life). Given all that she was going through, in addition to giving birth to eleven children and still always remaining the ideal consort, public figure, national hostess and even running the government when necessary, Duchess Eleanor emerges as an extremely remarkable woman. Sadly, her life was cut all too short when, at the age of only 40, she died on December 17, 1562 in Pisa during a malaria epidemic that also took the lives of two of her sons.

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - August 31st


Consider first, that in order to acquire this most necessary virtue of humility we must have a great esteem for it; we must greatly desire it, and seek after it; we must earnestly pray for it every day of our lives, and must neglect no opportunity of learning it or improving ourselves in it by the practice of it - that is, by daily exercising ourselves in the acts of it. Now, as the humiliations which come to us either from the hand of God or man give us the best opportunity of practising or exercising humility, we must learn to welcome these humiliations, and to embrace them in such manner as to take occasion from them to humble ourselves daily both to God and man. For as we never shall learn patience without sufferings and crosses so we shall never learn humility without humiliations. But as in the sufferings and crosses which come to us through the hands of wicked men we must ever distinguish that which is the work and will of God from that which is the malice of men, so that we embrace the one whilst we detest the other; so likewise in our humiliations, if they be attended with the evil of sin, either of our own or of others, we must in such manner humble ourselves under them as to embrace the abjection or humiliation, whilst we abhor the sin.

Consider 2ndly, that in learning humility by practice it will be proper to proceed gradually by setting ourselves certain lessons, beginning with those that are more easy, and when these are learnt proceeding to such as are more difficult. Thus, for instance, let us begin by learning - 1. Not to seek in anything that we do the praise, esteem, or applause of man; nor to say one word tending directly or indirectly to our own praise or honour; but rather to mortify that inclination we have to be ever speaking of ourselves and of our own performances. 2. Never to excuse or palliate our own faults or defects, nor to fling the blame upon others. 3. Not to take pleasure in hearing ourselves praised nor in our being honoured or applauded by men; nor to be displeased at others being extolled or preferred before us. 4. Carefully to shun all occasions of honour and praise as far as we can, without being wanting to the duties of our calling. See, my soul, how much work is here cut out for thee, and yet these are but the beginnings of the virtue of humility. 

Consider 3rdly, that to proceed in the practice of humility we must not content ourselves with the not seeking, nor affecting, nor taking any complacency in the praise, honour, and esteem of others, but rather shunning and flying from it; but, moreover, we must put off all self-esteem, and learn to despise ourselves from our hearts; and not to leave off till, according to the gospel lesson, we can, with all simplicity and sincerity, sit down in the lowest place, by giving the preference in our own esteem to all others before ourselves, and thinking ourselves the worst of all. Then as to the sentiments of others in our regard and their treatment of us, we are to proceed in the study and practice of humility by these three steps: 1. We are to learn to suffer with meekness and patience our being despised, reproached, or affronted by others. 2. We are to learn to receive this kind of treatment with a willingness and readiness of mind, and to be pleased with our being slighted and contemned. 3. We must even learn to embrace all these kinds of humiliations with joy, and not to stop till, with the apostle, we not only are dead to the world and to all it can say, either for us or against us; but we are even glad that we should be crucified to the world and the world to us.

Conclude to continue by a diligent application of both the study and practice of these great lessons till thou become perfect in them all, and go through the whole course of this heavenly science, the science of the saints.

31 August, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day


1. Patience may be external or internal. Both are necessary aspects of the same virtue. External patience consists in refraining from outbursts of anger and from sarcastic comments – in short, from all words and actions which might give offence to others. It is easy to be patient when our affairs are running smoothly and everybody is being nice to us. It is quite another matter when we come up against difficulties or find that we are being slighted or insulted. It is hard to remain silent when our pride has been wounded, and it requires the virtue of a saint to be able to smile at our tormentors. It took St. Francis de Sales years of spiritual conflict before he achieved this kind of perfection.
How far can we claim to have succeeded in acquiring this virtue? We should always remember that temperamental explosions are unworthy of a rational being. The only proper course when we have been offended is to state our case clearly and calmly, though generally speaking it is more heroic to remain silent. Impatience is futile because it cannot remedy the situation, and often harmful because it upsets us and only produces bitterness. Acts of impatience, moreover, are a source of bad example to others. “The quick-tempered man,” says Sacred Scripture, “makes a fool of himself.” (Prov. 14:17) “The patient man,” it adds, “shows much good sense, but the quick-tempered man displays folly at its height.” (Id. 14:19)
If we live in the presence of God, we shall learn to be calm and self-controlled in all circumstances.
2. An outward show of patience will hardly avail us much in God’s eyes unless it is accompanied by interior patience, which consists in the possession of complete mastery over all our faculties. We should be able to control our feelings as well as our actions. This is a difficult virtue, but it is the duty of every sincere Christian to try and acquire it. Only the grace of God and constant effort will enable us to succeed, but when we have at last mastered our unruly and selfish impulses we shall have arrived at a state of peace and perfection. “By your patience you will win your souls.” (Luke 21:19)
3. If we are patient from the motive of the love of God, we can gain merit in His sight. There are three grades of perfection in this virtue. (1) The first is the acceptance, with Christian resignation, of every kind of misfortune, offering it in expiation of our sins. (2) The second consists in a cheerful and willing acceptance of these misfortunes because they come from God. (3) The third stage is reached when we actually desire them out of our love for Jesus Christ.
Which grade have we attained? If we wish to please God, it is essential that we should have made the first grade at least. “A patient man is better than a warrior, and he who rules his temper, than he who takes a city.” (Prov. 16:32)