10 November 2017

Lupi Rapaces

The first antiphon which we say or sing tomorrow at Lauds for S Martin of Tours shows his disciples asking him not to desert them because Rapacious Wolves will invade his flock. (I wonder why that antiphon went missing from the Liturgia Horarum.)

Rapacious Wolves are always around. Look at (via a Concordance) the New Testament. Look at (via its index) what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about Scandal and those who cause it. (A lady wolf was involved in the very Foundation of Rome, and the Romans sometimes referred to Professional Ladies as Wolfesses.)

Wolves were around at the very beginning of the Pontificate of our beloved Holy Father Benedict XVI. In the homily at his inauguration, he asked us to pray for him "that I may not flee for fear of the wolves".

I believe S Thomas talks somewhere about Wolves being demons; or tyrants; or heresiarchs. Is it true that the Patron of the Diocese of St Gallen is a St Lupus, or did my ungoverned sense of fantasy just make that up?

Englishmen will recollect a diverting frivolity in rebus lupinis. We once had a politician called Sir Geoffrey Howe; quiet and very unnasty. So much so that his despisers said that being attacked by him was "like being savaged by a dead sheep". Eventually, even he discovered that he could take no more of Mrs Thatcher, and decided to resign. People ... and not least Mrs T ... assumed that his resignation speech would be characteristically anodyne. Not so. The House of Commons became quiet enough for that proverbially cadent pin as he tore savagely into her personality and her politics ... but still in the same mildest tones.

Not long after, he was ennobled, and went, as one does, to Queen Victoria Street to consult the Heralds about a Coat of Arms. In consultation with them he settled upon his design, which was granted. The Crest (the Crest of a Coat of Arms is the bit on top of the helmet which itself rests above the shield) which he received was ... a Wolf courant imperfectly concealed within a rather tatty sheepskin. I bet you Americans wish you had a House of Commons, a House of Lords, and a College of Heralds.

Wolves are always around; they're nothing new in the life of the Church. Perhaps some keen young Catholic academic would like to write a doctoral dissertation De Lupitate. She could bring her narrative right down to the present day.

I hope her sleep will not be disturbed by the howls.

12 comments:

Joshua said...

Aquinas discusses whether a good life is necessary for a prophet:

Further, it is written (Matthew 7:15): "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Now all who are without grace are likened inwardly to a ravening wolf, and consequently all such are false prophets. Therefore no man is a true prophet except he be good by grace.

Not all wicked men are ravening wolves, but only those whose purpose is to injure others. For Chrysostom says [Opus Imperf. in Matth., Hom. xix, among the works of St. John Chrysostom, but falsely ascribed to him] that "Catholic teachers, though they be sinners, are called slaves of the flesh, but never ravening wolves, because they do not purpose the destruction of Christians." And since prophecy is directed to the good of others, it is manifest that such are false prophets, because they are not sent for this purpose by God. (S. T., II-II, 172, 4, obj. 3 & resp. ad obj. 3)

He earlier discusses whether it is lawful for clerics to fight against such, and says:

Prelates ought to withstand not only the wolf who brings spiritual death upon the flock, but also the pillager and the oppressor who work bodily harm; not, however, by having recourse themselves to material arms, but by means of spiritual weapons, according to the saying of the Apostle (2 Corinthians 10:4): "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God." Such are salutary warnings, devout prayers, and, for those who are obstinate, the sentence of excommunication. (S. T., II-II, 40, 2, resp. ad obj. 1)

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

ABS tries as hard as he can to be a faithful Catholic and to maintain the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority but there are certain ideas that he finds nettlesome and the Catechism entries on Scandal are one of those things.

ABS observes there is only one time that a Catholic Catechism has ever identified one person as having given scandal and that one time is in the new Universal Catechism and the person identified as having given scandal is The Divine Person, Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour.

The Universal Catholic Catechism on Scandal

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible." This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!"

And then read what it teaches about Jesus and Scandal:

587 If the Law and the Jerusalem Temple could be occasions of opposition to Jesus by Israel's religious authorities, his role in the redemption of sins, the divine work par excellence, was the true stumbling-block for them.

588 Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves. Against those among them "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others", Jesus affirmed: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.

589 Jesus gave scandal above all when he identified his merciful conduct toward sinners with God's own attitude toward them. He went so far as to hint that by sharing the table of sinners he was admitting them to the messianic banquet.But it was most especially by forgiving sins that Jesus placed the religious authorities of Israel on the horns of a dilemma. Were they not entitled to demand in consternation, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" By forgiving sins Jesus either is blaspheming as a man who made himself God's equal, or is speaking the truth and his person really does make present and reveal God's name.

+++++++++++ end of quotes +++++++++++++++

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...


It is quite clear that the Catholic Catechism teaches that scandal is a grave sin when it leads others to commit grave offenses; such as, Deicide.

It is quite clear that the Catholic Catechism teaches that scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of the one who gives scandal - can one think of one who has more authority than Jesus?

It is quite clear that the Catholic Catechism teaches that anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it causes others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged.

It is quite clear (#2287) that it is being taught that even he who causes indirect scandal is guilty of sin.

It is quite clear that the Catholic Catechism teaches that Jesus, gave scandal, two times.

It is quite clear these imprecisely written entries can cause such confusion that one could even conclude that, objectively, the Catechism is teaching that Jesus is guilty of grave sin.

Either the entries on scandal must be expanded to include an explication of the specific types of scandal – direct and indirect (as per Saint Thomas Aquinas)

Or – far better

Rewrite the entries about Jesus “giving scandal”: to make it crystal clear it was the Jews who took scandal.

Jesus was not about giving scandal. Mat 17:26 But that we may not scandalize them…

Matt 15:12 Then came his disciples, and said to him: Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized?

My Rheims Testament notes: "It must be observed here, that Christ was not the direct cause of scandal to the Jews, for such scandal would not be allowable; he only caused it indirectly, because it was his doctrine, at which, through their own perversity, they took scandal."

And yet, entry #2287 teaches that it is even sinful to indirectly cause scandal.

The Catechism entries on this subject must be rewritten. ABS has thought this way since 1997 when he first read these entries and ended-up throwing the Catechism down to the floor in great anger while erupting into scatological denunciations.

If the Magisterium is so cavalier when teaching about Jesus, what can it be trusted with?

Banshee said...

St. Beatus of Liebana has a ton about clerical wolves in his Commentary on the Apocalypse. When all the scandal stuff started coming up again, and when we had weasel words from some of our bishops, I thought it was comforting to have so much straight talk readily available from my medieval Spanish teacher!

But I'm annoyed to realize that I missed "lupi rapaces" in the St. Martin stuff. I swear I searched for that phrase quite a lot when I was doing that part of the Beatus translation, and I don't remember it coming up. Argh! Something for the next revision!

Banshee said...

BTW, I just ran across another part of the Anglican patrimony who crossed the Tiber -- one Fr. Augustus Henry Rawes. Really neat guy; after going from Anglican to Catholic priest, he spent his whole fortune on his parish.

A Daughter of Mary said...

Our FSSP priest, here in Canada, went to the herald-makers and with their help had a coat of arms designed for our parish, St. Aloysuis. Our Moto is: Never Give In. If parishes have guardian angels (which they do) they can have a standard under which to fight!

Thomas said...

@ ABS; perhaps some redrafting of the texts about the Jews being scandalised by Jesus and his teaching along the lines you suggest would not be a bad thing at some stage. But really and honestly, it is so manifestly obvious that the Catechism of The Catholic Church would not and does not attribute the crime of leading others into grave sin to Jesus, that I know of no one other than yourself who has drawn such a conclusion by taking one text and applying it with such a legalistic exegesis to a wholly different context. After all, St. Paul says that the cross itself is a "stumbling block" to the Jews. Are we conclude that he is teaching that redeeming death of Our Lord is objectively an act of sin!!! Surely we have problems enough without inventing ones that don't actually exist?

Pulex said...

To ABS: The Latin version of the Catechism uses transitive verb "scandalizare" in #2284-2286, but in #587-589 we have intransitive "scandalum esse", e.g. "Iesus scandalum fuit". I do not know whether this choice of words is enough to maintain the necessary distinction. For those who prepared vernacular translations it was apparently not enough.

Fr PJM said...

Dear Banshee, where can we get this commentary by Saint Beatus?

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Thomas. It is impossible to deny that the Universal Catechism objectively teaches that Jesus Christ is a serious sinner and the reality bespeaks a severe lack of love for Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Would you publicly accuse your spouse of serious sin even if she had sinned?

The Universal Catechism is a scandal, as is the man who drafted the entires on scandal, as is the Pope who approved it.

It has to be a lack of love for Jesus Christ that accounts for this execrable reality; now, maybe the author(s) of those entries were intent on minimising the culpability of the Messias-Deniers but whatever the motive(s) were for those entries, there can be no defense of them.

Why on earth did this happen - that the first time in history a Catechism identified a person as guilty of giving scandal was Jesus Christ; not Pope Alexander VI, or Pope John XII ,or Pope Benedict IX, but Jesus Christ, Our Creator, Redeemer, and Saviour.

ABS has sent his documented objections to his Bishop (He is jake with the entires) and to the CDF two times, once when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was Prefect and once when the Prefect was Cardinal Mueller and ABS did not receive even a notice the objections has been received to say nothing about them being addressed.

ABS is of the opinion that these indefensible entries - so sloppily and cavalierly done - account for, in some part, for part of the fullness of Grace Jesus has clearly withdrawn from His Church. One can not teach about Jesus Christ so wrongly with our there being consequences.

Now, the modern Church has habituated itself to apologising for the putative sins of its long dead members who had no chance to defend themselves but it will not ever apologise (Ok, Pope Saint John Paul II did vis a vis liturgical abuses) for its modern errors and this scandalous sin is monumental - intended or not, for, as the Catechism teaches, even indirect scandal is a sin.

Legalistic?

When ABS sees Jesus Christ being diminished in any way, he objects, whether He is diminished in the Li' Licit Liturgy, the "revised" Sacraments or this crummy catechism (eminently burnable owing to its entries on scandal) he fights tooth and nail against it.

In a few days, ABS will post his objections on his crummy blog and he will include teachings about scandal from such sources as The Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism of Pope Pius X.

Have you ever read what Spirago/Clarke's "The Catechism explained" teaches about scandal or what St Thomas Aquinas teaches about scandal?

The Universal Catechism in its teachings on Scandal is a complete rupture with the past and right reason and while that rupture is consistent with so many other examples of recent rupture, this can not be allowed to stand because this rupture is severe and scandalous in its indefensible errors about Jesus Christ.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Pulex. Well, the translators were not too keen on making sure there could be no confusion in its teachings on Jesus Christ.

The way the catechism treats of scandal it a complete and utter rupture with Catholic Tradition and it is sinful and a contemptible lack of love for Jesus Christ.

John R said...

I share ABS's frustration with the new CCC. It rambles. It doesn't get to the point. And even if you don't fall asleep trying to find the point, if and when gotten too, it is sometimes confused. And you scratch your head wondering, "what does that mean?" or "how many things could that be taken to mean?".

But the ellipses (sins of omission?) are most frustrating. Look up the seven spiritual works of mercy. It's missing two and a half..... and these are all required of us. If you wonder why Francis doesn't respond to the dubia, it's right there: or rather right not there. They are embarrassed to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, and afraid to correct the sinner (with true charity of course). Pius X's catechism is so much shorter, sweeter, and more edifying and teaches prayer life no less. It doesn't cover all, but it's real food to nourish mind and soul.