Supplement your faith with Virtue

If you don’t know of or admire Father Rutler, please get to know him.  He is an smart and thoughful priest.  Below is his latest article.

———————————————————

February 28, 2016
by Fr. George W. Rutler

In normal usage, an idealist is someone with a lofty vision, possibly naïve but always noble in spirit. The term is more complicated in philosophy, but as a general category idealism means that mind takes precedence over matter, and reality cannot be separated from the mind’s consciousness of it. The various schools of Idealism are subtler than that, but idealism makes the material world dependent on the self’s perception of it. In the eighteenth century, a leading exponent of “subjective idealism” was the Anglo-Irish Protestant bishop George Berkeley, who lived for a while in the colony of Rhode Island. Dr. Samuel Johnson had no time for debating him, and refuted Berkeley by kicking a rock.

I doubt that many of the people absorbed in their “Smart Phones” through so much of the day, even while walking along the street or sitting in restaurants, engage much in philosophical discourse, but they are tottering on the brink of what philosophers would call Idealist epistemology. Put simply, the universe belongs to them, everything in it should be as they want it to be, with fact a form of feeling. Recently, when a conservative lecturer visiting a university told some harsh economic facts, undergraduates cried for psychotherapy. They had been emotionally bruised by kicking the rock of reality.

Adam and Eve were more than bruised when they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They lost Paradise. Eating of the Tree meant arrogating to themselves the definition of reality. Taken to an extreme, that original sin of selfish pride produces the sociopath. That is a disordered anti-social personality like a psychopath, but the latter tends to be more erratic and violent with a probably genetic source for the condition. A sociopathic personality is shaped more by environment and circumstance.

Sociopaths are said to be about four per cent of the population. They are not as easy to detect as psychopaths, and smoothly charm their way well into influential positions in virtually all walks of life, often by means of glib eloquence. Along with their high intelligence, they are incapable of shame or guilt. They never apologize—for they think they have never done wrong. They exaggerate their achievements, dominate conversation, manipulate people, and their narcissism makes them unable selflessly to love others, or to empathize even while claiming to do so. Above all, they are delusional, easily believing their own lies.

In his perfect humanity, Christ was the opposite of the anti-social disordered personality. By his grace, his faithful apostles overcame their weaknesses and communicated his perfection. On the way to his own cross, which was not an invention of his imagination, the Prince of the Apostles wrote: “…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

The Turkish Bell Needs to Ring Again!

Please read the powerful article below from Father George Rutler’s weekly column, the Pastor at the Church of St. Michael in NYC.  Thank God for brave Traditional priests like Father Rutler.  These are the men that change the world.

———————————————————————————————–

www.StMichaelNYC.com

FROM THE PASTOR
March 1, 2015

by Fr. George W. Rutler

The Transfiguration is celebrated on the sixth of August, but an account of it is also proclaimed as the liturgical Gospel in Lent, because it was a way that the Lord prepared Peter, James and John for the Crucifixion. These were the same apostles who would be with the Lord as he sweat blood the night before his death. Immediately after Christ’s transfiguration, he would cure an epileptic suffering a violent seizure at the foot of the mountain: glory and agony within a few hours.

The unearthly light that shone from Christ on the mountaintop strengthened the apostles for when they would watch the sky grow dark on Good Friday. Even so, the apostles still would not fully understand why Christ had to die: when our Lord told them that he must go to Jerusalem and “be lifted up,” Peter said he would not allow it. What the Fisherman meant as a brave act of love, Jesus said was the work of the Evil One using Peter: “Get behind me, Satan.”

Satan uses people in attempts to block God’s plan, fooling and flattering them to use their power and talent to obscure the radiance of God. Sometimes he does this through individuals, and other times through political movements and false religions. One vivid example was the Siege of Belgrade in 1456.

Following the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims and the desecration of the world’s largest church, Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”), the Ottoman Turks had worked their way into Europe, hoping to conquer Rome. Pope Callixtus III saw the Devil’s work here, and summoned the brilliant Franciscan, Saint John of Capistrano, seventy years old, to crusade against the foe. At a meeting in Frankfurt, the friar found the Germans and Austrians too indifferent to take up arms, so he enlisted the Hungarian general, John Hunyadi, and both of them, riding into battle against great odds, lifted the siege of Belgrade and delayed Muslim progress into Europe by about 60 years.

Hunyadi brandished a sword and Capistrano a more powerful crucifix. These great crusaders died shortly after from contagion. The Pope had ordered church bells to be rung at noon before the start of the conflict. News of victory reached Rome on the Feast of the Transfiguration, so the Holy Father made it a universal feast. Moreover, he ordered that church bells be rung at every noonday.

In 1956, Pope Pius XII invoked the “Turkish Bell” as a summons to a crusade of prayer for oppressed Christians in Communist East Europe and China. The terror that stalks our world now, and would seek to block Christ, is diabolic, and can only be attributed by the naïve or cynical to poor social conditions and economic deprivation. Christ knew his enemy when he said, “Get behind me, Satan.” Today there is great need for the bell to ring and move us to prayer and action.