Friday, February 27, 2015

"he knew that God is just."

"the horror that fascinated [Poe] and gave such dreadful unity to his tales is often the inescapable confrontation of the self by a perfect justice, the exposure of a guilty act in a form that makes its revelation a recoil of the mind against itself."

     Marilynne Robinson, "On Edgar Allan Poe," New York review of books 62, no. 2 (February 5, 2015):  6 (4, 6).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The auctoritas of the simple country priest (Parish priest more than prelate)

"These pastorsoverwhelmed by work and yet [(pourtant)] wretched, remote from all ambition and satisfaction, deprived of the honors and pleasures of society, strong only in the sense of their dutyedify, console the most useful part of society, the inhabitants of the countryside.  They are lacking in brilliant acquirements [(connaissances)], but have the good sense to give what they have away [(à revendre, to resell)].  They have not the varnish of virtue but rather the substance and guilessness of it.  With them Socrates would not be ashamed to converse, and Solon would seat himself voluntarily at their table.  Observe how [(comme)] they speak in their rustic temples, how [(comme)] the people hear them with avidity, how [(combien)] they are consulted in the most scabrous affairs, how [(comment)] their decisions are followed with respect."

     Melchiorre Gioja, in his Sul dipartimento del Lario (Milan, 1804), as quoted in Frenchy by Yves-Marie Bercé, in "Le clergé et la diffusion de la vaccination," Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France 69, no. 182 (1983):  100 (87-106).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"the ancient and august alliance of the priesthood and of medicine"

"l'alliance antique et auguste du sacerdote et de la médicine".

     Le Ministre de l'interieur via Le Comité central de vaccine (L'École de médicine, Paris), to all bishops of the Empire (or at least France?), 4 April 1804.  Séance générale de la Société centrale de vaccine, 24 frimaire an XIII =15 December 1804, as quoted in Yves-Marie Bercé, "Le clergé et la diffusion de la vaccination, Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France 69, no. 182 (1983):  91 (87-106).

     Other notable quotes from this article:


"It was not unusual to see in the mornings of the public inoculation at the Hospital a procession of men, women, and children, conducted through the streets by a priest carrying a cross, come to be inoculated.  By these popular means it met not with opposition, and the common people expressed themselves certain that it was a blessing sent from Heaven, though discovered by one heretic and practiced by another."

     Dr. Joseph Marshall to Dr. Edward Jenner, on the former's 1801 vaccination work in Palermo, Sicily, Paris, 26 January 1802.  Bercé (1983), p. 89, as reproduced from a later printing of the English original (John Baron, The life of Edward Jenner, M.D., vol. 1 (London:  Henry Colburn, Publisher, 1838 [1827]), p. 403).


"in November of 1821, although the majority of the Italian states renewed and went into detail regarding their vaccinary regulations, the ecclesiastical state adopted especially constraining measures signed by Consalvi.  The preamble of the edict gave expression to 'the full adhesion of the Pontif to the vaccinary system'.  It attributed the hesitations of parents to a disgraceful ignorance of the poorest [members of Italian society] and described as impiety the possible refusal of educated persons.  'Ministers of evangelical charity:  the law imposes on us [the obligation] of educating the people about this gift from the Most High; make them acquainted with the will, the wishes, the prudent measures that the visible head of the Church, true interpreter of the divine commandment, has taken'" on the subject of vaccination.

     Bercé (1983), p. 80, citing Biblioteca vaccinica [6] (1822):  78-80.


     "Despite the accusations leveled here or there by health officials or doctors, cases of determined resistance [to vaccination] provoked by the clergy were in fact very rare.  The greatest enemy of the vaccinators was not (as they loved to put it in stereotypical terms) prejudice and superstition, but simply the inertia and indolence that, in periods of dormancy [(en dehors des retours épidémiques)], caused parents to lose sight of [(oublier)] the threats [posed] by the variolic peril.  For the [vaccination-]crazed [(enthousiaste)] generation of the first years of the 19th century, vaccination represented an opportunity [(enjeu) not to be missed].  It offered there and then the possibility of (thanks to the light of science) erasing from the world a plague whose appalling effects one could see in every family.  The[eir] dissatisfaction and irritation was exacerbated when, despite [their best] hopes and efforts, the popular embrace that [they] had expected was very slow in building.  [They therefore] attempted to incriminate an embodied opposition (of antivaccinary doctrinaires, of stooges [(suppôts)] of obscurantism) that [they] would be able to defy and to strike down.  It became necessary to invent an enemy; the clergy and religion could serve as the scapegoats most ready-to-hand.  Instead of th[e embrace they expected], the doctors found themselves facing [in certain cases] only silence and negligence, resignation and indifference.  In order to get beyond these obstacles [so] apparently insurmountable, the clergy presented [them (anticlerical as they tended to be)] with (given the state of society at that time) the best cultural impetus [(vecteur culturel)].  This is what the most clear-sighted of politicians and hygienists had understood.  From the top of its hierarchy to the bottom, the clergy manifested the same beliefs and attitudes in [the] face of the innovation [(which is to say as much enthusiasm)] as society at large.  It simply reflected the illusions or hopes of the epoch in which it lived."

     Bercé (1983), pp. 105-106.


     Much more to the point on Leo XII and the supposed 1829 bull against vaccination:
  • Yves-Marie Bercé and Jean-Claude Otteni, "Pratique de la vaccination antivarioloique dans les provinces de l'état pontifical au 19ème siècle:  remarques sur le supposé interdit vaccinal de Léon XII," Revue d'histoire écclesiastique 103, no. 2 (April 2008):  448-466.
  • Ulrich L. Lehner, "An anti-vaxx pope?", First things, 6 February 2015.



Monday, February 23, 2015

"the power of the will as it relates to opposites cannot be known through any sensible effect".

     Thomas Aquinas, De malo 6.ad 18, as trans. Ralph McInerny.  But doesn't the Latin say precisely the opposite?
potentia voluntatis ad opposita se habens non possit cognosci nisi per effectum sensibilem. . . .

"he who steals in order to commit adultery is, speaking formally, more an adulterer than a thief."

"ille qui furatur ut committat adulterium, est, per se loquendo, magis adulter quam fur."

     Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I-II.18.6.Resp., referencing Aristotle, Nichomachean ethics V.ii.4 (1130a):  "suppose two men to commit adultery, one for profit, and gaining by the act, the other from desire, and having to pay" (trans. Rackham, LCL (1934)).  Objectum:  the commission of theft; finis:  the commission of adultery.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Why does the Boston Globe's readership think that it's a scandal for the Church to show 'mercy' to priests who committed one serious sin of abuse forty years ago but that it's a sign of the wonderfulness of Pope Francis that he's reportedly considering showing 'mercy' to a man who dumped his wife and kids for a younger woman, also forty years ago?"

     Daniel Patrick Moloney, "What mercy is," a review of Mercy:  the essence of the gospel and the key to Christian life, by Walter Kasper, trans. William Madges (New York:  Paulist Press, 2014), First things no. 251 (March 2014):  62 (60-62).

"Fraternal correction is an act of charity and is numbered among the seven spiritual works of mercy, which are the effects of charity."

     New Catholic encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (2003), s.v. "Correction, Fraternal", by F. J. Connell.  See, for example, Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae II-II.32-33.

Onward Christian soldiers

Wikimedia Commons
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with
          holy fasting
this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against
          spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of
          self-restraint.

     Collect for Ash Wednesday, Roman missal, translation of 2010.

Concede nobis, Domine,
praesidia militiae christianae sanctis inchoare ieiuniis,
ut, contra spiritales nequitias pugnaturi,
continentiae muniamur auxiliis.

     Collect for Ash Wednesday, Missale Romanum.  =Corpus orationum no. 673 (vol. 1, pp. 326-327), which lists a few minor variants (most importantly salutaris for continentiae in Bergomensis (second half of the 9th century)) =Bruylants no. 117 (vol. 2, p. 39).  This one is present in the Veronese or "Leonine" sacramentary (Verona, Biblioteca capitolare LXXXV (80)), which was written in the 2nd half of the 6th century, but contains prayers that can be traced back into the 1st half of the 5th.  This collect is thought by some to be one of those.

Perisho (recognizing that it is impossible to get all of the harmonics of the Latin into a single, word-for-word translation; cf. e.g. nequitia in the Vulgate of Eph 6:12 & 1 Cor 5:8):


Grant to us, O Lord,
with holy fasts to found [(inchoare)] garrisons [(praesidia)]
          of Christian valor [(militiae, also warfare)],
that, contending in battle [(pugnaturi)] against spiritual laxities
          [(nequitias, also evils, wickedness)],
we may be reinforced [(muniamur)] by auxiliaries [(auxiliis)]
          of self-control [(continentiae)].

Grant us, O Lord, to commence the defenses of the Christian field campaign by means of holy fasts, so that, we who are about to do battle against spiritual negligences, may be fortified by the support of continence.

Father in Heaven,
Protect us in our struggle against evil.
As we begin the discipline of Lent,
make this season holy by our self-denial.