Enter your email address to receive updates by email:

subscribe in a reader like my facebook page follow me on twitter Image Map
Podcast Message Line: 512-222-3389
Logos Catholic Bible Software

« Sounds Like The Folks At Rockwell Have Everything Under Control | Main | Help With The Dark Side »

February 05, 2007

Comments

Mark Scott Abeln

Ayn Rand is listed as one of the "Architects of the Culture of Death" in the book of that name. Apparently, her philosophy is based on Aristotle, but stripped of its spiritual elements. The author of that book doesn't like her at all.

Randolph Carter

I am told that Ayn Rand was not only an individualist (which I find appalling enough) but that she was so radical in her beliefs as to declare that altruism was one of the greatest evils to ever beset mankind.

Say what you want about her, but she sure sounds like a fun person to be around [/SARCASM].

Jeff

There are many perfectly reasonable complaints to make against Ayn Rand if you are a Catholic.

But Ayn Rand did something for me. She prepared my mind to accept Catholicism. That thought would have horrified her! :p But I'll bet I'm not the only one.

Yes, Ayn Rand thought altruism was a moral evil. Absurd, of course.

But what Ayn Rand knew and insisted on that most moderns have forgotten is that Reality is Real. Things are what they are.

The world is something actual that is out there and the things that are out there cannot be molded and manipulated by mental processing. People today have or easily fall into various kinds of subjectivism. "For me", they will say, "this is true. But maybe not for you."

Ayn Rand would have none of that. She says that Reality exists and Reality is Knowable. The great hero of Atlas Shrugged, John Galt, makes the centerpiece of his Speech to the Nation the proclamation that "A is A." This is directly from Aristotle. And it's where moderns go wrong with philosophy...right at the root.

Ayn Rand even more remarkably grasped that ethics are also objective things. Right is right and wrong is wrong and right and wrong are knowable and determinable by the human mind. This is even more unfashionable today. She insisted too that standards of beauty are objective. Some painting, writing, music, architecture is Great. Some is not. And it's not just all a matter of taste.

Ayn Rand said that Aristotle was the greatest philosopher bar none. And the second greatest philosopher--the only one worthy of mentioning in the same breath--was...wait for it...St. Thomas Aquinas.

Easy to find things wrong with Ayn Rand. She is in many ways indeed a "dangerous influence". And in many other ways, she's downright silly. But she can teach people vital philosophical basics that the modern world sneers at and make them proud to acknowledge them and sneer right back.

Al Stakhanov

Nathaniel Branden and his first wife were friends and followers of Rand. His work Judgement Day (1989) gives an account of his love affair with Rand and its consequences.

If I recall correctly he referred to her as "the witch of reason."

Jordan Potter

As I understand it, Rand kind of became the matriarch of a twisted, destructive personality cult. But exalting selfishness as a virtue is bound to create nasty, selfish people, so the nature of the Randist cult is only the logical outcome of her goofy philosophy.

Scott W

But what Ayn Rand knew and insisted on that most moderns have forgotten is that Reality is Real. Things are what they are.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. :)

Mary Kay

Jeff, I'm glad she prepared your way for Catholicism. Funny how God can make anything work for good.

SteveG

My gut reaction to Ayn Rand's work is one of siren horns blaring warning against anyone who's thinking of reading her work. That's because as a young person, it was Atlas Shrugged that was the final nail in the coffin of my faith.

It says all the right things to appeal to self-absorbed, immature people whose highest goal is to pretend that they are master of their own fate. Her philosophy, though only an inch deep, is dangerously seductive to a person in the right state of mind.

On reflection though, like Jeff, I must admit that ultimately her work had a part in my eventually becoming Catholic but for far different reasons. That's because embracing her philosophy of selfishness 'freed' me from archaic notions of religion and allowed me to begin working my way towards total self-absorption.

Fortunately reality is that 'that way leads destruction', and after years of living such a philosophy, a person is more often than not rudely reminded of how very little control we really have over the wide world, and one is left humbled and humiliated by real life.

A person who’s been so humbled is finally in the right place where they can begin to hear the voice of Jesus. Fortunately for us, the nails in the coffin can be removed by God’s grace, and we can experience our own spiritual resurrection in this life.

Jim Whall

When I first read Rand, I was in college, and my faith was there but very misguided (I loved the Church, but was firmly convinced I could 'define my own reality'. Belly up to the cafeteria bar...)

That said, she did have a bad influence on me (her self absorbtion is absurd) but her insistence on reality was like a cold glass of water in College. I went to the U of Mich, which is about as relativistic as possible. Shortly after I read her, I started listening to C. Answers, so I think that helped save me from going to far down her path.


For my own kid, I think I would skip her and go right to C.S. Lewis and Aquinas. The only thing I would borrow from her is the cold, slap you in the face way she insists on reality.

I hope now that she has found real Truth and is basking in it.

Jimbo

Fr Martin Fox

Others have made the point about Rand's flaws already, so no need to plow that ground again. Let me offer some more positives.

Rand is at her best, I think, as a critic. Her novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are very enjoyable as mockeries and exposes of statism, collectivism, socialism, and a lot of moral ugliness that animate them, such as envy and grasping for power over others. All her flaws being stipulated, she did have something to say about the virtue of freedom and the marketplace. Unfortunately, she made the error St. Augustine warned against, when he wrote somewhere about the grandeur of the heavens and the earth, but had the sun and stars say, "yes, we are beautiful -- worship our Creator, not us!"

I would agree that someone, say 15-20, and somewhat immature, shouldn't read her, because one can get swept away with a stirring idea that nonetheless lacks true substance. But read with a little more maturity and grounding, her books are a hoot, especially when they are painfully cloddish in their propagandizing for her viewpoints. The scene from Atlas Shrugged, in which the rich, Latin American playboy launches into a monologue at a cocktail party, all on the glories of money, would be funny enough; but that it goes on for something like 20 pages!!! (Or was it 30? 50?) Too, too funny.

Seamus

If we want to talk about the literary value of her novels, I'd say that "We, the Living" didn't suck. (I'm still waiting to see the movie version, made in 1943 in fascist Italy and starring the beautiful Alida Valli, who played Harry Lime's girlfriend in "The Third Man.")

Annalucia

You folks amaze me - some of you actually managed to read all the way through an Ayn Rand novel. I took a stab at ``Fountainhead'' and had to bail out even faster than I did on ``Finnegans Wake.''

Gene Branaman

I'm another one for whom the reading of Atlas Shrugged was a partial cause in my return to practicing my Catholic faith. I read AS at the behest of a girl (yeah, I know) & really pretty much hated it. I'd totally agree with Fr Fox that, for those who are paying attention, Rand really proves the opposite of what she espouses. I couldn't get through John Galt's 100 page speech at the end without breaks every 10 minutes (for gulps of air) & just powered through it to the lackluster, & frankly silly, ending. (Strong Dagny becomes a servile follower to the manly power & majesty that is John Galt? Say what? And isn't it Hank that ends up stranded in the middle of nowhere on the front of a train, forgotten after having been so loyal to Dagny & her strength? Whatever.) And she wrote at an 8th grade reading level.

But . . . I always thought, devoid of its Randian philosophy, AS would make a great pseudo-science fiction/alternate history miniseries along the lines of those cheesy 1970s miniseries that were advertised with the actor's pictures in little boxes - overwritten, over acted & everything played As If It Really Mattered(TM). (If only David Janssen could have played John Galt, with Jaclyn Smith as Dagny & Richard Chamberlain as Hank. A dream cast!) Rumor has it that Angelina Jolie is a huge fan of Rand & AS & is working to turn it into a film. So I guess I could get my wish after all!

Julia

A good friend of mine whois a chemical dependancy counseler out of chicago once explained to me that Rand's philosophy of how the eliet walk off the job and the rest of society falls apart? From a psychological and sociological perspective, it never would work. The rest of the society would fill in the empty space. The elietism that Rand dreamed of is merely an illusion.

Chris

A few positives about Ayn Rand.

I was raised as an agnostic, somewhat leftist, social democrat by my father, who frowned on my mother's Catholic faith, which she put up on a shelf. As I grew up I turned away from that immaturity, realizing that responsibility and morals are what make a successful life and family, not being a perpetual adolescent and asking the government to fix all your problems. I was baptized Catholic, but that was it. I'm now in RCIA and "returning" to the faith with enthusiasm. I have to say Ayn Rand did play a part in my turning away from moral relativism and leftist beliefs.

In truth I could never finish one of her novels, and her own adulterous life I found appalling. Her views on abortion were disgusting, and come from not being a mother and perhaps linger from the lack of respect for human life that was a part of her native Russia. Okay wait, these are negatives :-). But her main positive:

Morals and reality are objective, not relative.

These ideas are strong Christian ideas. And for the record, she did consider homosexuality to be disordered and disgusting.

And I do caution Jimmy to avoid appealing to the authority of "real, academic philosophers" to discredit her. It’s easy enough to discredit some of her ideas as they stand. And those same "philosophers" are responsible for so much that is wrong with our society, just look at college campuses.

Esau

The most hilarious thing I've ever seen was a group asking for donations under the name of Ayn Rand. If one was truly acquainted with Ayn Rand's philosophy, they would know how much she looked down on charity with such a negative view.

Although, one's got to admit; Nietzsche and Ayn Rand's works were often a part of a true realist's diet.

Jeff

Annalucia:

I love Finnegans Wake! I've read it from cover to cover and read around in it many times since, brought back by a commodius vicus of recirculation.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the famous quondam abortionist and then pro-life crusader, is another convert to Catholicism and lover of Joyce. So I'm not entirely by myself anyway... ;-)

Jeff

Chris gets it! And some others, too.

It's more than a stopped clock being right twice a day. Subjectivism is poison and simply everyone believes it. It ruins people's minds and keeps them away from God and Christianity and Catholicism.

"Well, those things may be true for you," they say. "But they aren't MY truth." How do you argue with mental molasses like that?

Ayn Rand is bracing to young minds precisely because she tells them that it's all nonsense and that people can't just invent their own realities. Reality is objective; morality is real; beauty is genuine...and if you think otherwise, no you DON'T have a right to your opinion! Rather, you have a responsibility to conform your opinions to the Truth.

People who can see those things can often be brought by simply by following the Truth they have learned to love to God, the Good News of Salvation, the Barque of Peter and all the rest. But the Fluff-Meisters are often unreachable in their little solipsistic diver's bells.

So: Do not consider what she truly deserves, O Lord, but grant her Your Mercy and Salvation. May the Angels lead her into Paradise; at her coming may the Martyrs receive her and guide her through into the Holy City, Jerusalem. Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord; and may the Light Perpetual enlighten her. In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

Michael Sullivan

I first read both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead when I was 15 or 16. My thoughts then were exactly the same as they are now: she's an extremely entertaining (notgood) novelist who uses the medium very skillfully to advance her philosophical views; but these views are stupid and weak. The combination therefore is extremely dangerous to certain types of impressionable minds and an amusing ride for the rest of us.

As a "real, academic philosopher" myself, I think (of course!) that the appeal to them is justified in this case. It doesn't matter what school of philosophy you espouse, good or bad, traditional or modernist: Rand's arguments are bad to such an extent that it would embarrass anyone with advanced schooling in philosophy. I don't personally know anyoneof any persuasion or school at the graduate level or higher that would take her seriously.

"The most hilarious thing I've ever seen was a group asking for donations under the name of Ayn Rand." When I was a freshman in college I came across a magazine ad by these people. They gave a synopsis of Rand's anti-altruistic views, why giving to charity and so forth was irrational and wrong. In the next paragraph they asked for donations to help spread her work and message.

I didn't think it was hilarious. It made me as angry as I've ever been at something I've read. I fumed and raged at my girlfriend and disturbed fellow library patrons. I hate this kind of stupidity with a passion.

Matt

Rand was an important combatant in the war of ideas taking place in her time, and indeed still has some important things to teach today. It is a special and unique irony that the woman who most forcefully articulated the power of individual self-determination ended up as pseudo-godhead of a cult that spoke her words but practiced relationships with the world that those who truly believed them would have found detestable.

Yes, she was wrong about a lot of things. Who among us hasn't been? And her later work especially suffered from excessive devotion to preaching, as opposed to telling good stories.

But in a time when the very concept of universal and objective Truth remains under siege, it seems as foolhardy to discard her work and ideas wholesale as it would be to adopt them wholesale.

Joseph D'Hippolito

You know, I find Rand's celebration of individual talent and the courage to live life on one's own terms in The Fountainhead a refreshing change from the syrupy, sentimental drivel about "community" coming from Catholic pulpits these days...drivel that's nothing but a pleasant-sounding facade covering the Church's traditional contempt for individual liberty.

Don't believe me? Then tell me when Rome publicly disavowed the Syllabus of Errors?

My opinion certainly doesn't mean that I support abortion, adultery, unwavering greed or absolute selfishness. But I certainly won't crucify Rand on the cross of faux-communalism, the way Catholics crucify individual initiative and achievement on that cross ... and blaspheme God by saying that they do so in His holy and righteous name!

Jim Whall

"The scene from Atlas Shrugged, in which the rich, Latin American playboy launches into a monologue at a cocktail party, all on the glories of money, would be funny enough; but that it goes on for something like 20 pages!!! (Or was it 30? 50?) Too, too funny."

Everyone I know who has read 'AS' usually asks me 'Oh, you read it? Did you skip the monologue too?'

Nate Dogg

Rand's Objectivism is quite popular among the self-styled neoconservative groups on my campus. While they superficially embrace religious persons who support their main concern (Israel), underneath it all they are some of the most anti-religious people I have ever met. Aggressive secularism is their Savior of the World.

Curious

I devoured Atlas Shrugged , The Fountainhead , Anthem , and We the Living in college and am a fan of her writing, even if it is contrary to Christianity. A few reflections:


1. What really appealed to me was her absolute rejection of relativism, even as an atheist. I realize now that my lack of grounding in Aquinas was being satisfied by her grounding in Aristotle. I'm with Jeff; it was refreshing after all the liberal pap I'd grown up with (in and out of the Church).


2. There is NO way to reconcile her philosophy with Christianity. Atheism is at the heart of her work.


3. One of the greatest weaknesses of her philosophy is the refusal to recognize that man is part of a community and reaches his fullest potential in interacting with others. This is particularly seen in Atlas Shrugged when Dagney talks about marriage with an anonymous character in Galt's Gulch. Rand can't square the circle and make a convincing case for marriage as just an exchange of goods. I would use this attack in debating a true objectivist. It attacks Rand's rejection of altruism and leads to the truth of Christianity, Christ's sacrifice, etc.


4. As far as sloppy, or trashy writing styles go, Rand isn't any worse than Bud Macfarlane. Although Rand is obviously more objectionable in terms of content and sexual content. I enjoy reading both as "guilty pleasures".


5. I am a student of philosophy and I really do think that Rand has not been treated fairly by the academy. I think this is because she so strongly (and effectively) rejected collectivism. Her thought is surely less pernicious than that of Jacques Derrida or Michel Foucault.


6. As a college student I got a big kick out of the "love" scenes: 2 near rapes, and once on a perpetual motion machine. Hard to beat the chuckle level on these!

Gene Branaman

Joe : No

One could create a Syllabus Errorum for Rand's work, too. One would include aspects of her philosophy that are directly opposed to Christianity, such as her approval of abortion, her aversion to altruism, her belief in "free love", etc. Many, if not most, of Rand's beliefs are directly opposed to Catholic teachings as put forth in the Bible & Sacred Tradition. The Church would agree with her in her point against relativism but, as has been pointed out numerous times above, even a stopped clock (Rand) is correct twice a day when measured against Reality (the Church).

The Syllabus or Errors was created from points made in previous encyclicals & other Church documents & describes errors made in other philosophical disciplines, etc, as a way of asserting the opposite position (ie, that of the Church). It has been a vastly misunderstood on so many levels since Pope Pius IX promulgated it in 1864. Those who have actually read it would be able to see why as it describes many errors commonly held by those opposed to Church teaching.

John

Why does it take a book to prove A = A? I don't understand the appeal.

Jim Whall

"Why does it take a book to prove A = A? I don't understand the appeal."

Because, at least in my college experience, A = whatever your cultural norm says it is, and that's okay. Unless you are a Christian, in which case your reading of A is undoubtedly small minded and bigoted.

I had this posted on a profs door:

"If men could have abortion, it would be a sacrament"

Trubador

If I remember correctly, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is a full tilt Objectivist.

Esau

HIPPO:

a refreshing change from the syrupy, sentimental drivel about "community" coming from Catholic pulpits these days...drivel that's nothing but a pleasant-sounding facade covering the Church's traditional contempt for individual liberty.

Have you even ever read Church documents or encyclicals embracing human individuality???

Or are you merely speaking with such gloss that you can't help spout things from your arse???

Kevin Jones

I want to voice a warning about small-o objectivism. First, objectivism and subjectivism only make sense after Descartes. They are concepts concerned primarily with weeding out epistemological error in the individual. Moral and religious error is, when not ignored, definitely downplayed and secondary.

Objectivity has the unfortunate tendency to prefer limited certainty even if that means bracketing off the uncertain from one's consideration. It trades humility before a mystery for diffidence towards straying beyond the bounds of mathematical certainty. Thus objectivist approaches can have major problems with morality, aesthetics and religion, reducing all to the lowest common denominator. This leads to mere self-interest in ethics, philistine simplification in art, and deism in religion.

Finally, though truth is not relative, it is definitely *relational.* God is Truth. God is a Trinity of Persons. Excessive objectivism reduces God to one person, and likewise reduces the human person into the atomized individual. It lacks the sense of living and reasoning as a communal activity carried out in communion with God and man. So let's not get too enthusiastic about pretensions to objectivity.

Kevin Jones

"If I remember correctly, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is a full tilt Objectivist."

Though Greenspan traveled in Rand's circles, he wasn't an Orthodox Objectivist. Rand normally exiled all heretics, but she enjoyed the cachet of having an up-and-coming elite in her circle. I forget exactly how Greenspan diverged from Rand. Though he was an admirer he wasn't part of her little personality cult.

Esau

Extracts:

Wojtyla’s anthropology adds to the classical Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition of the person as a rational subject a further phenomenological analysis of conscious life by exploring the foundations of the human person’s free agency and self-realization. Throughout the Scriptures, the person is seen to be both conscious and self-conscious. God is reflected in the glory of his creation (Gen. 1; Ps. 19; Wis 13; Sir 12; 42:15-25; 43:1-35; Rom. 1:19-20) and decides to call into being a creative which truly images what and who He is.

The human person is the very image and likeness of God and as such has consciousness. This allows it to experience all knowledge in both an objective and a subjective manner. That is, one can not only know what he/she is and does, but explore the free acts themselves through which the subject-person continually constitutes itself through what he/she does.

Wojtyla distinguishes these two levels of knowing: cognition and self-awareness.9 On the level of cognition, the subject receives into his/her awareness as in a mirror that which has been objectively grasped in cognition. This stands outside, or over against, the knower and hence is called object (ob-ject). This form of cognition Wojtyla calls reflective consciousness.

The other kind of consciousness or self-awareness is termed reflexive consciousness. Here the individual returns upon oneself not only to know oneself as an object, but to know that one is knowing and to shape its content. Through this the person constitutes him or herself and understands oneself as subject-person, ego or "I": the person is a "self-conscious self" acting as a "self-conscious being". This can be called a "creative intelligence" because persons thereby freely create what and who they are by their active lives. Throughout their lives they become more and more of the divine image or refuse to do so. This is the real foundation and implication of the ethical/moral order.

The person then apprehends the truth objectively and understands it subjectively, objectivity and subjectivity being necessary epistemological compliments of one another. Thus, objectivity is protected from the danger of objectivism wherein fact alone is accepted and value is given no more meaning. Such a truncated objectivity results in the denial of value, tending solipsistically to negate the interior personal reality. At the same time, its complimentarity with subjectivity prevents the latter from degenerating into a subjectivism whereby fact and value take on a radically individualistic sense and devolve into solipsism. Ultimately, both objectivism and subjectivism trap the person in epistemological isolation. This deprives the individual of the full sense of his/her subjectivity and personhood and breaks the community bonds of shared value and meaning which arise from the spirit of the constituent persons.

Both objective and subjective reality are perfectly and eternally communicated by God because the uncreated Being is both knowing and communicative. As self-consciousness which is pure existence, the perfect act knows itself absolutely and communicates goodness, truth and love. Hence, it does not grow in self-knowledge which is already perfect; it does not become more from creation, because it is the fullness of being; existence is not indifference or randomness. Rather, from its source all being is purposeful, creative and intelligent; this is the key to subjectivity and personhood, and the foundation of its being relational and loving.

The genius of Wojtyla’s anthropology is to evolve the sense of the human spirit while maintaining the objectivity of value and meaning; in this he bridges tradition to modernity and points the way to a new global awareness which is sensitive to the range of cultures and unfolds new levels of human meaning.

Esau

The Preceding were extracts from:

THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON AS
THE BASIS FOR COMMUNITY:

Pope John Paul II’s Contemporary Catholic Anthropology
by JAMES A. LOIACONO

Joseph D'Hippolito

Esau, it's nice to know that you're so familiar with Church teaching that you can't express it in your own words!

Then again, perhaps that takes away from your snarky name calling, which is what you're best at, anyway.

Mr. Branaman, since when does my support for the kind of individual initiative and courage described in The Fountainhead make me a full-fledged Randian who supports abortion and unrestrained sex? That is absurd.

Besides, Mr. Branaman, history is filled with examples of Church leaders opposing, if not suppressing, legitimate individual enterprise. To wit:

-- Galileo and his discoveries

-- The Americanist controversy, which was nothing but a power and money grab by Rome

-- The refusal to support republican democracy as opposed to secular monarchies and authoritarian governments.

-- Actively discouraging the laity for centuries the perogative to read Scripture in their own languages.

-- The wholesale jump of many Catholic intellectuals to "liberation theology," which, like its Marxist cousin, stifles legitimate individual intiative.

-- The late pope's opposition to the 1990-91 Gulf War to free Kuwait from Iraqi invasion, repression and possible annexation.

The individual only counts in the Church, gentlemen, as long as the individual doesn't threaten the Church's bureaucratic power and various agendas. If that's Catholic teaching, then I'll take 500 metric tons of Rand in place of that blasphemous hypocracy.

Randolph Carter

Yes, Catholicism works tirelessly to quash individual achievement and initiative, which is why the Catholic world has spawned such underachievers as Michelangelo, Bach, Mozart, Dvorak, Blaise Pascal, Charlemagne, Richard the Lionhearted, J. R. R. Tolkien, G. K. Chesterton, Flannery O'Connor, Gene Wolfe, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Joan of Arc, St. Augustine of Hippo, and a whole slew of other such losers. It's a good thing we have the Randian Objectivists, and the long list of historically important Randian personages, to pick up the slack we stupid Catholics have left behind over the centuries. It seems that we were too busy proclaiming the gospel, and preserving and rebuilding western civilization, and feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, and bringing hope to the hopeless, and producing great works of art, literature, and music, to have any individual initiative left at the end of the day.

Bill Q

Like a lot others here, I disagree strongly with many of Ayn Rand's ideas, but strongly agree with others, and feel she, in an indirect way, cleared the path for me to return to the Church. Her point in "Atlas Shrugged" that "A equals A" (that if a thing is true, it is true regardless of whether we acknowledge it as such) helped me to realize the problem with moral relativism, even though I don't believe Rand ever carried her argument far enough. The Gospel, if it is true at all, is true whether or not we acknowledge it as such, and sin is sin, no matter what color we paint it. For that matter, a baby is a baby, whether or not the expectant mother acknowledges it as such, and people either are or are not married, regardless of what society or the government might say about it.

She also got me thinking a lot more about economics than I ever thought I would, and to think about just how severe the unexpected consequences of people trying to manipulate the marketplace through regulation can be. Unfortunately, I don't think enough people think about that, and thus we get minimum wage rising with no thought about how it will impact demand for unskilled workers or the price of the goods and services such workers sell, Jerry Brown pursuing charges against oil companies for supposedly causing global warming with no thought about how it will affect transportation costs, attempts to regulate drug manufacturers without considering whether it will impact the development of new drugs, and so on.

I think there is much to be gained from reading Rand's fiction, but she should also be taken with a grain of salt. It's also worth noting that she wasn't a fan of those who called themselves libertarians -- she called them the "hippies of the right."

Bill Q

"The most hilarious thing I've ever seen was a group asking for donations under the name of Ayn Rand." When I was a freshman in college I came across a magazine ad by these people. They gave a synopsis of Rand's anti-altruistic views, why giving to charity and so forth was irrational and wrong. In the next paragraph they asked for donations to help spread her work and message.

Actually, I think there is some misunderstanding of Rand here. She wouldn't necessarily oppose giving one's money to an organization that spreads one's beliefs; she would just attribute such an action to self-interest as opposed to charity.

Inocencio

Joseph D'Hippolito,

Galileo, like you, tried to take an authority he did not have.

He tried to authoritatively interpret Sacred Scripture, again like you.

Mostly he was abrasive, like you, and so made certain people want to see him in trouble.

At least present some documentation for your claims.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Esau

HIPPO:

Esau, it's nice to know that you're so familiar with Church teaching that you can't express it in your own words!

I use direct quotes for the very fact that, based on our past conversations, if I were to put things in my own words, you are the type to jump to the conclusion that I was placing something there that was not to be found in the original. Therefore, I make it a point when dealing with such miscreants that I cite verbatim direct quotes. And why would I consider such a one like you a miscreant? Because of the fact that you approach folks here with mere accusations in a rather hostile tone (as evidenced by how you accused Rome of such actions) than objectively submitting your contentions!

Joseph D'Hippolito

Randolph, I noticed that you didn't mention Erasmus and Thomas More in your list.

I wonder why?

Could it be that they tried to challenge the corruption around them and were rebuffed by the corrupt?

How about Alphonsus Ligouri, Randolph? Or Malachi Martin?

Of course, it's easy to mention luminaries who either worked at the behest of the Church (such as great artists or composers) or never bothered to challenge corruption when they saw it.

Why don't you ask about the Church's response to Stephen Brady, the founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, Randolph? He might not be as luminous as your examples, but he did something worthy of Christ -- try to protect the innocent from sexual abuse -- and gets ignored both by Rome and his fellow Catholics.

Joseph D'Hippolito

May I also remind you, dear Randolph, that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by Church authorities who threw in their lot with the English for purely politically expedient reasons?

Inocencio

Joseph D'Hippolito,

Did Christ establish the Church with His authority or not?

A simple question I look forward to your answer.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Esau

Randolph, I noticed that you didn't mention Erasmus and Thomas More in your list.

I wonder why?

Could it be that they tried to challenge the corruption around them and were rebuffed by the corrupt?

HIPPO:

Oh, that's right!

No wonder Thomas More gave up his very life (the lost of all his wealth, his property; his family essentially reduced to poverty; him being locked up in the Tower of London and, ultimately, loosing his life in the end) because he believe in the Catholic Church as being established by Christ Himself!

Mind you, Thomas More didn't have to suffer or die in that manner. After all, he was the prestigious Lord Chancellor of England and friend to Henry VIII.


Shortly hereupon Mr. Rich (afterwards Lord Rich) then newly the King's Solicitor, Sir Richard Southwell, and Mr. Palmer, servant to the Secretary, were sent to Sir Thomas More into the Tower, to fetch away his books from him.

And while Sir Richard Southwell and Mr. Palmer were busy in trussing up of his books...


Mr. Rich pretending friendly talk with him, among other things of a set course, as it seemed, said thus unto him: "Forasmuch as it is well known (Mr. More) that you are a man both wise and well learned, as well in the laws of the Realm, as otherwise, I pray you therefore, Sir, let me be so bold as of good will to put unto you this case. Admit there were, Sir," quoth he, "an Act of Parliament, that all the Realm should take me for the King, would not you (Mr. More) take me for the King?"

"Yes, Sir," quoth Sir Thomas More, "that would I."

"I put the case further" (quoth Mr. Rich) "that there were an Act of Parliament that all the Realm should take me for the Pope; would then not you, Mr. More, take me for the Pope?"

"For answer," quoth Sir Thomas More, "to your first case, the Parliament may well (Mr. Rich) meddle with the state of temporal princes; but to make answer to your second case, I will put you this case. Suppose the Parliament would make a law, that God should not be God, would you then, Mr. Rich, say God were not God?"

"No, Sir," quoth he, "that would I not, since no Parliament may make any such law."

"No more" (said Sir Thomas More, as Mr. Rich reported of him) "could the Parliament make the King supreme head of the Church."

Curious

I guess the discussion is over. The trolls have arrived...

Nobody jumped at my slap at Bud Macfarlane...

Tim J.

Joe -

For someone who hates the Church you sure hang out at Catholic blogs a lot.

Esau

I guess the discussion is over. The trolls have arrived...

Curious has a point.

Could we get back to the discussion at hand and just ignore the big HIPPO???

I liked some of the things that were recently said so far regarding the topic -- especially the comments coming from Kevin Jones.

Esau

I guess the discussion is over. The trolls have arrived...


Nobody jumped at my slap at Bud Macfarlane...


By the way, Curious, not sure what you meant by "trolls", but if you saw my Feb 6, 2007 10:47:35 AM post; I was addressing objectivism.

Besides, if somebody were to hurl lies on your family or even your country, for that matter; wouldn't you stand up to them and combat them in an effort to see that they do not continue or, at the very least, are not further perpetuated by an unsuspecting audience?

Randolph Carter

Mr. D'Hippolito,

First of all, I am glad to see that we are on sufficiently intimate terms that you feel comfortable addressing me by my first name. We must be the verriest, merriest, bestest of all friends.

Still, despite our newfound kinship, I fear that I find little point in attempting to try and carrying anything resembling a half-intelligent conversation with a man of your dubious mental calibre. You come here onto a Catholic blog and begin to rattle off a list of the problems you have with Catholicism, and make lots of points in favour of your position; when people respond to your points, however, you fail to acknowledge that they have responded; you then proceed to make new points, all the while failing to address any of the points that others have made against you.

Furthermore, you ignore the massive amount of good that Catholics and the Catholic Church have done throughout history, while putting undue emphasis on the wicked actions of a few of the Church's wayward members in the hopes of justifying your claims against the Catholic Church. One bad Catholic, in your mind, is enough to condemn the entire Catholic religion; let us then shoot all the dogs, for the one has fleas.

You are not, I think, looking for any sort of rational discussion of ideas; you are merely looking to prove yourself right. There is a difference between honestly arguing a position and merely using that position as a club to beat others over the head with. Until you are ready to do more of the former, and less of the latter, I am afraid that I will have to ignore you, my most bosom of all buddies.

Yours truly,

- Randy

Now, back to the subject at hand: I do not doubt that there might be something of value in Rand's philosophy. Certainly the idea that reality is objective is a good and true one. So is caring for the poor, but just because Marx talked about helping the impoverished out of poverty doesn't mean that his philosophy as a whole was deserving of any merit. All false religions seem to have some element of truth in them; yet they are, at their hearts, still false.

Esau

Randolph Carter, u dah man!!!


Especially the part:

You are not, I think, looking for any sort of rational discussion of ideas; you are merely looking to prove yourself right. There is a difference between honestly arguing a position and merely using that position as a club to beat others over the head with. Until you are ready to do more of the former, and less of the latter, I am afraid that I will have to ignore you, my most bosom of all buddies.


We can try and discuss things with folks who disagree with us so long as there is a dialogue that actually exists and no ulterior agendas on the part of either parties.

You cannot claim that you are here for the purpose of an objective discussion on such matters when your intro happens to say (with such hostile tone, I might add):

"... from the syrupy, sentimental drivel about "community" coming from Catholic pulpits these days...drivel that's nothing but a pleasant-sounding facade covering the Church's traditional contempt for individual liberty.

Don't believe me? Then tell me when Rome publicly disavowed the Syllabus of Errors?"

Esau

The latter above was directed to Hippo, not Mr. Carter, a 'brother' in Faith.

---------------- NOW, GOING BACK TO THE TOPIC ----------------


Mr. Randolph Carter pointed out:

Now, back to the subject at hand: I do not doubt that there might be something of value in Rand's philosophy. Certainly the idea that reality is objective is a good and true one. So is caring for the poor, but just because Marx talked about helping the impoverished out of poverty doesn't mean that his philosophy as a whole was deserving of any merit. All false religions seem to have some element of truth in them; yet they are, at their hearts, still false.

Gene Branaman

"Mr. Branaman, since when does my support for the kind of individual initiative and courage described in The Fountainhead make me a full-fledged Randian who supports abortion and unrestrained sex? That is absurd."

You're right, Joe - it is! And I never did what you accuse me of, you read what you wanted to. As is typical, sir; you do the same thing with history. In part, such misuse of fact must be why the Syllabus of Errors was written in the first place! You also make the mistake of judging the Catholic Church by certain of her members. IOW . . . What Randolph Carter said.

And my response to Mr D'Hippolito above was OT (not that anyone was saying it wasn't). It could be said that each of Rand's books could be considered a "syllabus of error" for the overall philosophy she espouses. What she gets right is very, very small & outweighed by she gets wrong - which is mostly everything.

Chris

i've not read "Atlas Shrugged." i slogged through "The Fountainhead" in college, when someone i knew started espousing "objectivism" because a family tragedy had shaken her faith in God. My evaluation: bad philosophy, and not much better writing.

When i mentioned to my dad that i was reading Rand, he chuckled and said "America has given the world two philosophers, and Ayn Rand is not either of them." (i never did ask him who he thought were the two philosophers America has given the world).

He also mentioned that as a historian, he thought Rand's choice of the railways as the industry in which a bunch of individuals could suddenly stop working and bring about societal paralysis was so utterly unrealistic as to be truly humorous.

He also offered me two humorous reductio ad absurdam refutations of objectivism:

1. I have an inanswerable proof that objectivism is false, but i refuse to put it into a medium so tainted by collectivism as human language.

2. i can prove objectivism is false, but i won't tell anyone why unless they give me three trillion dollars. (Adjust the amount upward for inflation, as necessary...)

Joseph D'Hippolito

Inocencio, you claim that Galileo tried to invoke an authority that he did not have. Read the following from Wikipedia about the controversy between him and the Church:

Psalms 93:1; 96:10; 104:5, 1Chronicles 16:30 and Ecclesiastes 1:4,5 speak of the (in some sense) "firm" and "established" position of the earth. Galileo defended heliocentrism, and claimed it was not contrary to those Scripture passages. He took Augustine's position on Scripture: not to take every passage literally, particularly when the scripture in question is a book of poetry and songs, not a book of instructions or history. The writers of the Scripture wrote from the perspective of the terrestrial world, and from that vantage point the sun does rise and set. In fact, it is the earth's rotation which gives the impression of the sun in motion across the sky.

By 1616 the attacks on Galileo had reached a head, and he went to Rome to try to persuade the Church authorities not to ban his ideas. In the end, Cardinal Bellarmine, acting on directives from the Inquisition, delivered him an order not to "hold or defend" the idea that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still at the centre. The decree did not prevent Galileo from discussing heliocentrism hypothetically. For the next several years Galileo stayed well away from the controversy.

He revived his project of writing a book on the subject, encouraged by the election of Cardinal Barberini as Pope Urban VIII in 1623. Barberini was a friend and admirer of Galileo, and had opposed the condemnation of Galileo in 1616. The book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was published in 1632, with formal authorization from the Inquisition and papal permission.

Pope Urban VIII personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book, and to be careful not to advocate heliocentrism. He made another request, that his own views on the matter be included in Galileo's book. Only the latter of those requests was fulfilled by Galileo. Whether unknowingly or deliberate, Simplicius, the defender of the Aristotelian Geocentric view in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was often caught in his own errors and sometimes came across as a fool. This fact made Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems appear as an advocacy book; an attack on Aristotelian geocentrism and defense of the Copernican theory. To add insult to injury, Galileo put the words of Pope Urban VIII into the mouth of Simplicius. Most historians agree Galileo did not act out of malice and felt blindsided by the reaction to his book. However, the Pope did not take the public ridicule lightly, nor the blatant bias. Galileo had alienated one of his biggest and most powerful supporters, the Pope, and was called to Rome to explain himself.

With the loss of many of his defenders in Rome because of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Galileo was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633. The sentence of the Inquisition was in three essential parts:

Galileo was required to recant his heliocentric ideas; the idea that the Sun is stationary was condemned as "formally heretical." However, while there is no doubt that Pope Urban VIII and the vast majority of Church officials did not believe in heliocentrism, Catholic doctrine is defined by the pope when he speaks ex cathedra (from the Chair of Saint Peter) in matters of faith and morals. While Church officials did condemn Galileo, heliocentrism was never formally or officially condemned by the Catholic Church.
He was ordered imprisoned; the sentence was later commuted to house arrest.
His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial and not enforced, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.
After a period with the friendly Ascanio Piccolomini (the Archbishop of Siena), Galileo was allowed to return to his villa at Arcetri near Florence, where he spent the remainder of his life under house arrest, dying from natural causes on January 8, 1642. It was while Galileo was under house arrest when he dedicated his time to one of his finest works, Two New Sciences. This book has received high praise from both Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. As a result of this work, Galileo is often called, the "father of modern physics".

It appears that the Vatican bishops and bureaucrats tried to "take an authority that (they) did not have" when it came to physics and astronomy. The successors of those bishops and bureaucrats do the same thing today concerning economics and geopolitics.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Now to more of your points...

Inocencio: Did Christ establish the Church with His authority or not?

Well, if He did, then the Church's opposition to individual liberty (as represented by its historic support for authoritarian regimes and secular monarchies) is a direct contravention of Christ's will, because Christ, as God's agent of creation, created humanity in His free image!

Besides, Inocencio, the fact that Christ established a Church to act as His authority on Earth does not make Church leadership immune from the secular lust for power, political influence and prestige.

2. Mr. Branaman, I apologize for my remarks concerning abortion, promiscuous sex, etc. But the fact that Rand is wrong on those issues doesn't make her wrong on at least some aspects of human liberty.

As far as the Syllabus of Errors is concerned, let's look at some of its points:

55. The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.

Describing this as "error" is an insult to history. Whenever an established church works in concert with government, either legitimate individual rights to worship are repressed (as in Catholic Spain, Elizabeth I's England, "Bloody Mary's" England, Cromwell's England, Calvin's Geneva or Orthodox Russia) or the faith itself withers (as in England, Scotland and Sweden today).

The reason that the United States has been free of religious strife is the fact that no single denomination can be Constitutionally established as a state church.

38. The Roman pontiffs have, by their too arbitrary conduct, contributed to the division of the Church into Eastern and Western.

The Orthodox, obviously, would disagree. So would Protestants. Again, this "error" denies history.

12. The decrees of the Apostolic See and of the Roman congregations impede the true progress of science.

See Galileo. Again, another "error" that denies history.

47. The best theory of civil society requires that popular schools open to children of every class of the people, and, generally, all public institutes intended for instruction in letters and philosophical sciences and for carrying on the education of youth, should be freed from all ecclesiastical authority, control and interference, and should be fully subjected to the civil and political power at the pleasure of the rulers, and according to the standard of the prevalent opinions of the age.

This is a direct attack against the American public school system. Granted, the public school system is a cesspool of ignorance and indulgence these days. But for many decades, it was the backbone of society and created Americans who understood their heritage.

50. Lay authority possesses of itself the right of presenting bishops, and may require of them to undertake the administration of the diocese before they receive canonical institution, and the Letters Apostolic from the Holy See.

Of course, this has been used to prevent laity from demanding legitimate accountability from episcopal authorities and to keep the laity "in their place" underneath bishops who act more like medieval potentates than servants of Christ.

Let's face it: Much of the Syllabus of Errors is nothing but sophisticated whining at the fact that many oppose Rome's desire for secular power and influence (of course, much of it has value, especially when it talks about pantheism and naturalism).

Gene Branaman

Yes . . . & we all know that every article on Wikipedia is totally without bias & trustworthy!

What's fascinating about Joe's arguement, & those of others who use it, is that he convenienlty leaves out the many, many Catholic priests who are commonly considered to be among the founders of or major contributors to many different fields of scientific study. Galileo, they say, is proof positive that the Catholic Church is against science &, hence, against free thought.

Yeah. Right.

For example: Nicolaus Copernicus, Jesuit, espoused heliocentrism before Galileo. Archbishop of Capua Nikolaus Cardinal von Schönberg strongly encouraged Copernicus to publish so his work would be available to all men of science.

And it was Father Georges-Henri Lemaître who proposed what has become known as the "Big Bang Theory" of the origin of the universe. See:

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/science/sc0022.html

Those are but 2 examples. There are more. Many more. All of them were faithful to the Pope & the teachings of the Catholic Chruch.

So what did Galileo do that these priest/scientists didn't? In a nutshell: question that God was behind the creation of the Universe. Yes, that's an oversimplification but, at its core, it's true.

Yet, again, Joe, you misread history to prove your point & see only what you want to see.

To bring this back OT . . . Rand saw only what she wanted to see & wrote that. And her philosophy is full of error even though its basic point, A is A, is correct.

Joseph D'Hippolito

A final thing to Esau and Randolph Carter:

When you respond to me with sarcasm, you will get sarcasm in return -- especially you, Esau. As I've made clear to you in earlier posts, calling me "Hippo" is unacceptable. My name is Joseph, Joe or Mr. D'Hippolito. Remember that.

One more point before I go:

I never denied the tremendous good accomplished by multitudes of Catholics (some of whom Mr. Carter cited) in history. But I don't deny the evil that many Church bureaucrats have done (and continue to do today). Unfortunately, many people on this thread wish to engage in just such denial.

If my tone seems too blunt for your tastes, one reason is because I'm sick and tired of the self-righteous self-congratulation merely for being Catholic on many Catholic blogs, especially when other philosophies are discussed. Some of you need a quick dose of reality (otherwise known as a swift kick in the hind parts).

I've always appreciated the fact that Rand adores individual initiative, talent and courage, especially in the face of self-serving bureaucracies that seek to amalgamate everyone into some mediocre mass in their mediocre likeness. That, unfortunately and all too often, has been the Catholic Establishment's response to legitimate, moral individuality -- whether you like it or not.

Gene Branaman

Joe, your post of 7:59:07 PM belies your inability to view historical documents in the light of their day. Rather, you view them from a modern perspective.

If you believe that Christ founded 1 Church & that the Catholic Church is that Chruch, then your objections to 38 & 55 are moot.

Your point about 12 was answered in my previous post.

As for #47, it is most definitely NOT a "direct attack against the American public school system." In 1837, Horace Mann became secretary of education in Massachusetts & called for what we would call public schools. But it took until 1852 for a compulsory attendance law to be passed in Massachusetts and it took until 1910 for 31 states to have such schools. Prior to this, it was parochial schools that educated the youth of the United States. (And cared for orphans, & built hospitals, etc.) In fact, there had to be a Supreme Court ruling in 1925 (Pierce v. Society of Sisters) to allow kids to continue to be educated at Catholic schools rather than be forced to attend public schools! Yet another example of anti-Catholicism from the US government. Again, your point is moot.

And re: #50 . . . Do you want your church to be a democracy, Joe? See, I don't. Nor did Christ. Again, this is an example of where you view the past from the lens of the present rather than try to see the events of the past in the light of the time those events occurred. Also, please remember that all those so-called "bad popes" (& I do not dispute there were bad popes - I've checked the historical record) will be held accountable to a much Higher Authority than any court of man. That's enought for me!

Now . . . can we finally get back OT? PLEASE?

Gene Branaman

"When you respond to me with sarcasm, you will get sarcasm in return -- especially you, Esau. As I've made clear to you in earlier posts, calling me "Hippo" is unacceptable. My name is Joseph, Joe or Mr. D'Hippolito. Remember that."

Joe, please re-read Matthew 7: 3-5. Your condesension toward those of us in this thread may possibly be a log greater than the splinter of sarcasm others have shown towards you.

Kindly remember that, sir.

And no one here is being self-righteous self-congratulatory. We simply recognize that not all philosophical practices are equal. To believe so is a heresy. And the only quick dose of reality I need is Christ in the Eucharist. I think that's a reality we all could use more often. In the state of sanctfying grace, of course!

Inocencio

Joseph D'Hippolito,

Wikipedia is your documentation? Really? I expected a little more from such a tremendous self-proclaimed intellectal.

May I recommend the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Galileo Galilei for your reading enjoyment.

I asked you if Christ established His Church with His authority and you answered "if He did"?

Do you not know? I definitely expected a better answer from such a self-acknowledged scripture "scholar". I would suggest you study a lot more because if you get this question wrong you are in hot water, so to speak.

Also since you mentioned St. Joan of Arc. Why don't we let her speak for herself regarding this matter.

"About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter." - Saint Joan of Arc, as recorded at her trial

As I said on the other thread; someday you will understand that you have to reconcile your self-acknowledged superior intellgence with the meek and humble heart that gave the sermon on the mount.

I pray that day comes soon.

To that end I would suggest you meditate on the advice of St. Paul.

Randolph Carter and Gene Branaman my hat is off to you both! As always I enjoyed reading all of your comments.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

les

"I really do think that Rand has not been treated fairly by the academy. I think this is because she so strongly (and effectively) rejected collectivism." -Curious

Absolutely. Her caricature of the collectivists and those who refuse to think and those who wield guilt over the heads of others to coerce their servitude is priceless. And it is true that in real life you can have a social circumstance where there are many more riding in the cart than pulling it, and this on many levels. The mention of such things normally does produce howls of fear and anger from those whose lives are vested in the productivity of others and the transfer of wealth by government.

As Catholics we must remember what Vatican II taught us in Dignitatis Humanae. The freedom of the individual as the first unit that makes up the community. Charity and sacrifice come from a choice by the one who makes that sacrifice in willing submission to Christ, not from any kind of government coercion.

We may, by mutual agreement, or majority decision, establish a system of taxation through which we can direct funds to the needy based on established criterion, but let us realize that it is in the first instance a voluntary act of a society, and that society can modify or rescind that social contract at the descretion of the majority for whatever reason.

The collectivist, not the Catholic, is the one who desires a society that will directly harness the productivity of the people, heedless of the individual free will, using whatever coercion that is necessary, all to produce a social order that conforms to the ideal of and serves the interest of an elite, under the guise of the "people."

Rand's clear understanding of humanity stops there. Her ideal social order would fall apart because of original sin, which of course she doesn't recognize, as we see in her twist of the Fall of Adam and Eve story into some kind of conspiracy against knowledge in and of itself. Her ideal world only makes sense without the recognition of the need for the redemption of mankind, a world in which God becomes truly unnecessary. That, of course, is not the real world.

Esau

It's truly amazing that such folks like Hippo are so proud of their accumulated knowledge (what great knowledge is that, who knows) and vain intellect; such folks act as if they were the ones who were responsible for their own existence and intelligence -- not even taking into consideration that all they have actually comes from God.

In terms of Hippo's view of the Church in terms of self-serving bureaucracies that seek to amalgamate everyone into some mediocre mass in their mediocre likeness. That, unfortunately and all too often, has been the Catholic Establishment's response to legitimate, moral individuality -- whether you like it or not.

It's quite a wonder why the Catholic Church has produced such great intellects and artists over the centuries and actually prevented the decay of Western Civilization by establishing universities (the Catholic Church, by the way, was responsible for the creation of the Univerisity) throughout Europe at a time when such a decline was evident. So much for the claim that the Church cares little for the thinking individual!

les

We are slaves to Christ but not to the State.

Esau

We are slaves to Christ but not to the State.

Christianity is not the master/servant relationship that's inherent in Islam. Instead, Christianity revolves around the family covenant. We are members of the family of Christ, with God as our Father.

Fernando

Ayn Rand had nothing to do with Libertarianism. Libertarians stole her ideas and didn't give her proper credit.

And obviously, wikipedia isn't the best source

les

Esau,

Absolutely. However St. Paul uses both images in his writing, the master/slave and the Father/Son, as did Jesus in his teaching.

How are we to reconcile these? What we sometimes forget is that the doorway into the House of God whereby we are given the "gift" of sonship, is that prior complete capitulation of ourselves. "He who loses his life for my sake shall find it."
That is the act of cooperation on our part with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we must first give ourselves up totally, just as the slave no longer owns himelf. Then God gives us back our life, our freedom, as Sons of God. The hard part is recognizing that this is a continual process all of our lives. Wasn't that the issue for the young man who came to Jesus having kept the law all of his life. Jesus said he lacked one thing, to give up everything and follow Jesus.
That's a message that the Ayn Rands of this world scoff at, as well as the secular humanists of any stripe.

Esau

Les:

How are we to reconcile these? What we sometimes forget is that the doorway into the House of God whereby we are given the "gift" of sonship, is that prior complete capitulation of ourselves. "He who loses his life for my sake shall find it."

That is the act of cooperation on our part with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we must first give ourselves up totally, just as the slave no longer owns himelf. Then God gives us back our life, our freedom, as Sons of God. The hard part is recognizing that this is a continual process all of our lives. Wasn't that the issue for the young man who came to Jesus having kept the law all of his life. Jesus said he lacked one thing, to give up everything and follow Jesus.


Brother, that was well-put!

God bless ya!

Joseph D'Hippolito

(Rand's) caricature of the collectivists and those who refuse to think and those who wield guilt over the heads of others to coerce their servitude is priceless.

It's a pity that she didn't turn her attention to the Church, for that's exactly how its episcopal and clerical elites behave when confronted. They generally redirect legitimate challenges back to the interrogator with a heavy dose of guilt for not being as "Christlike" as he should be. Recall the clerical sex-abuse crisis; many Catholics refused to criticize their bishops because they felt the exact same way.

The collectivist, not the Catholic, is the one who desires a society that will directly harness the productivity of the people, heedless of the individual free will, using whatever coercion that is necessary, all to produce a social order that conforms to the ideal of and serves the interest of an elite, under the guise of the "people."

Collectivism, Les, isn't necessarily limited to economic issues. When the Syllabus of Errors argues against the disestablishment of churches (especially the Catholic Church), it advocates a type of collectivism in which the rights of those who aren't Catholic to worship as they see fit are narrowly circumscribed. Moreover, the Syllabus of Errors says nothing about the Church using the police power of the State (as in Spain under the Inquisition) to coerce "right" belief.

Besides, Catholicism also has an "elite" that claims to speak "for the people." It's called the hierarchy. Check out the statements made by *any* American Catholic bishop about immigration. These same bishops who speak out for the "rights" of the "poor" and the "oppresed," in some cases, are the exact same ones (Grahmann in Dallas and Mahony in L.A.) who denied those oppressed by clerical sex-abuse their rights (until forced to comply by court order, and I'm not talking about large monetary settlements, here).

Moreover, such self-beknighted elites don't take to openness and accountability from below very kindly. Such was true of the Soviet nomenklatura. Such is true of the Catholic episcopocracy.

Esau

Again, the derisory GENERALIZATIONS of the SUPREME INTELLECT of the ever wise and astonishing HIPPO.

Inocencio

Joseph D'Hippolito,

It's called the hierarchy.

Etym. Latin hiearchia, holy authority

It would be honest of you to admit that you attack the authority of the hierarchy because you desire that same authority for yourself.

Our Blessed Lord esbalished His Church with His authority whether you accept that or not. We are all fallen creatures and have to pick up our crosses daily.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito

Inocencio, how does the doctrine of apostolic succession relieve the laity of the responsibility of criticizing bishops and priests for bad prudential decisions or misfeasant, if not immoral, behavior?

As I told Esau earlier, you're argument isn't with me. It's with Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Alphonsus Liguori, Erasums and Thomas More.

More and more, Inocencio, you appear to confuse worshipping the hierarchy with worshipping God.

Esau

HIPPO:

To press on the point from Innocencio; heirarchy, by the way, is derived from ἱερός-(hieros meaning sacred) and ἄρχω-arkho (rule).

Fitting, don't you think???

Since it is Christ who established the Church!

Curious

Esau,
Sorry, I guess I should have said "troll" instead of "trolls". No offense was meant toward you. I was aiming at the hippo and missed, I guess.


Les,
I agree 100% about the Church's teaching in regard to human dignity. That's one thing that makes Rand interesting: she gets some things right, but misses some key premises and this drives her off the rails (to use an Atlas Shrugged metaphor) to some crazy conclusions. Hard to work out natural law by ourselves, mired as we are in original sin and its effects.

A.Williams

...his comments remind me of St. Augustine of HIPPO, who obviously wasn't as wise, knowledgeable, nor as astonishing, as our HIPPO, in any way!

Esau

As I told Esau earlier, you're argument isn't with me. It's with Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Alphonsus Liguori, Erasums and Thomas More.

Again, it appears you've not even read anything regarding the lives of such folks -- you didn't even read what I had to say about Thomas More!

In fact, I've read several biographies of both Thomas More and Francis of Assisi.

Contrary to your tremendous ignorance, these folks did not live in times that were devoid of the same sort of corrupt individuals in the Church that existed then!

Yet, what do we, in fact, see???

They, nevertheless, remained in the Catholic Church, even in spite of several of the miscreants in it, and spoke for the authority of the Church and how it must be respected regardless, to the point they gave their very lives to it!

The bowing to the authority of the Church is much evident in Francis having submitted to the authority of the Pope; although there were many who were against it, since they saw the Pope and several clergy at the time in very dim light due to the scoundrels that also existed then. Yet, Francis acknowledged the authority that Christ had established in the Church (since it was He who established it) and, therefore, humbly submitted to the authority of Christ! The same was also the case with Thomas More when he took issue with Henry VIII and chose to rather suffer and die for the sake of the Catholic Church than to be an opponent to it as it was Christ that is it's head!

Esau

Esau,
Sorry, I guess I should have said "troll" instead of "trolls". No offense was meant toward you. I was aiming at the hippo and missed, I guess.

No prob, Curious.

I can certainly understand your point though.

I also would like to have this discussion continue on-topic; especially this particular one.

God bless!

Inocencio

Joseph D'Hippolito,

"More and more, Inocencio, you appear to confuse worshipping the hierarchy with worshipping God."

We are made in the image and likeness of God. No matter how smart you think you are you cannot make God into an image you like.

You give more authority to the unholy trinity of yourself (me, myself and I) than you do to the Blessed Trinity. As I have said to before question all you want but do not think that the holy authority/sacred order of the hierarchy comes from you. Or that you can dispense with it when it suits your agenda. If you were honest you would admit that it is you agenda which motivates you and not your faith.

Please do not pretend that the saints you mentioned had your false understanding of the Church.

To all who have suffered through these off-topic comments I apologize.

And now back to our previously scheduled post...

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Curious

Greetings Esau,

I also would like to have this discussion continue on-topic; especially this particular one.


I'm tempted to start a thread on Rand at the Catholic Answers Forum, but I'm afraid it would be too much of a tempatation away from the work I'm supposed to be doing while online. It's that darned original sin and concupiscence popping up again... I guess I just don't have the self-control of Hank Reardon, Dagney Taggart, or John Galt.

don't go sellin' your birthright...

Esau

Curious,

I think you've lost me with your latter comments.

By the way, what's meant by:
don't go sellin' your birthright...

What exactly does that mean???

Sorry -- late in the afternoon; brain slowin'.

Esau

Just in case you didn't guess -- I'm only kiddin'.

God bless, Curious!

A. Williams

Joseph D'Hippolito,

Pardon me for this idiodic and uncharitable comment:

"...his comments remind me of St. Augustine of HIPPO, who obviously wasn't as wise, knowledgeable, nor as astonishing, as our HIPPO, in any way!"

Using your name in this way was just as idiotic as if you started calling me 'willie' iin my posts. And moreover, I haven't yet read enough of your posts to make any sort of generalizations, much less, uncharitable ones. And I just now came across this former post of yours:

"When you respond to me with sarcasm, you will get sarcasm in return -- especially you, Esau. As I've made clear to you in earlier posts, calling me "Hippo" is unacceptable. My name is Joseph, Joe or Mr. D'Hippolito. Remember that."

So what you say here is fair enough!

In the future I will pay attention only to the content of your comments, to agree or disagree, but never to take part in name calling or insensitive jokes! Again, I have a big foot in my mouth!

Also, on some of your statements regarding obedience to the hierarchy I can generally agree, and we must pay close attention to our consciences in many of these regards. We must always follow the truth where we find it! So too, when correction is needed, even for Bishops, we should find the right channels and responsible ways to help effect those corrections. This is even a duty, and recommended in various church documents and 'norms'.

St. Paul was a good example of this when he corrected St. Peter over the food and eating customs practiced by the Jewish Christans and the Gentiles that he was evangelizing.

However, I think we need to be very prudent and respectful even as Jesus teaches when we correct others. ie..."First talk privately, then in the misdst of 2 or 3 witnesses, and then bring them before the Church..etc.."

So even the Saints, such as those you (And Esau) mentioned, St.Francis etc..showed respect for the authority of the Church in their times, and if there was correction that needed to be made, they followed accepted customs and proceedures of their time. Anyway, this is what I got from my readings on the life of St. Francis, of which various lives,(Bonaventure, Thomas of Celano, Little Flowers, Mirror of Perfection, etc.., I have read multiple times....and also the Life of St. Alphonses Liguori,(One of my favorite authors!) who I know had very severe problems with the leadership of the Redemptorist Order that he founded.

Anyway, my opinion is that an apologetics site is meant for..'apologetics' and 'debate'.. and different points of view should be both welcome and desired, as, at the very least, it provides subject matter to stimulate both the learning and the intellectual conversation. So I hope you accept my sincere apology for the insensitive and inaccurate former remarks.

For the love of Christ,
A.Williams (willie) ;)

Gene Branaman

Joe, you're back! And I see you didn't respond to any of the points made that refute your positions.

Hmmm . . . let's see, a guy who appears on a blog well into an ongoing discussion & hijacks the topic of the thread. According to Wikipedia, that would be a troll. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

That would be you, Joe.

Folks, ignore him. He knows he's wrong. He knows that all his so-called points have been refuted (some repeatedly) & all he can do is change the subject to draw attention away from the point that he has no point.

Don't allow him to goad you. Ignore him. He's being rude & inconsiderate. Pray for him, as we should, but ignore him in forums like this one until such a time he decides to respond to valid & supported points. But until then, pray for him!

Esau -

By the way, what's meant by:
don't go sellin' your birthright...

What exactly does that mean???

Re-read Genesis. It's pretty punny, actually. ;)

Esau

Gene Branaman:

Thanks but I think you missed my Feb 7, 2007 3:41:12 PM post.

Although, I've got to say, I do appreciate your posts, brother!

God bless!

Gene Branaman

I did indeed, Esau! Thanks.

Same back atcha, BTW.

Has anyone else seen the short play "Mozart was a Red"? It heavily satirizes the "cult of personality" that surrounded Rand.

Ultimately, I think that was what really sustained "Objectivism". Rand's writings are philosophically incoherent, but she, like many false philosophers (Rousseau especially), overcame this by using moving rhetoric and having a magnetic personality.

Mary

Ayn Rand said that Aristotle was the greatest philosopher bar none. And the second greatest philosopher--the only one worthy of mentioning in the same breath--was...wait for it...St. Thomas Aquinas.

I've read some of her work. The irony is that for all her praise of Aristotle, she is very fond of quoting -- herself. Only once in a blue moon did she ever quote someone else in her non-fiction.

Indeed, even when large schools of thought agree with her, as for instance on the evil of envy, she keeps herself in a little self-generated circle. Even when she's right, she's rather cramped.

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31