John Hurt as the fictional Winston Smith in the movie adaptation of George Orwell's 1984.
I had a re-read this morning of Phil Lawler's article critiquing the irrational twitterings of Fr. Antonio Spadaro S.J.
With some insight, Lawler's final paragraph opines: ''If Spadaro is not promoting an irrational faith, there's another way to interpret his curious Tweet, and it's no more reassuring. He may be suggesting that you and I and millions of other ordinary Catholics cannot be expected to follow the intricate logic of theologians - in the same way that we are flummoxed by the abtruse calculations of quantum mechanics - so we should leave this important business to the professionals. In other words, our role is to accept what we're told. We're not expected to understand; we're only expected to fall in line. His approach to faith is not based on reason. It may, however, be based on power.''
I do think that Mr. Lawler is on to something here.
Isn't it also interesting to notice how, from week to week, patterns constantly emerge in the media outputs of those closest to Pope Francis?
Whether this be in the realms of giving Communion to adulterers, commemorations of heresiarchs like Martin Luther, or proposals for intercommunion with heretics, various speakers suddenly start to say similar things to numerous media outlets in different countries until a narrative gradually emerges. Although too few seem to notice it as it unfolds, this approach really has all the subtlety and finesse of an advancing drop of cluster-bombs.
And it can prove just as devastating.
As if to provide a direct example, this week saw both Fr. Antonio Spadaro and Archbishop Georg Ganswein advancing specious theories which attempt to supplant natural reason, and the Church's classical explanation of the relationship between faith and reason, with a kind of blindly obedient Fideism.
Of course, we have refuted both of these futile attempts by drawing on the simple, yet immensely deep and logical, teaching of the First Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution, Dei Filius.
A couple of months ago, drawing on that other great document Fides et Ratio, I stated that we must never let these relativists, much less their lousy dictatorship of relativism, clamp our Catholic hearts and consciences in their little post-modern cages.
As we noted yesterday, again quoting directly from Fides et Ratio, our hearts were made by God and for God, Who is Truth Himself. Nothing less will do for those who seek God with a sincere heart and determined will.
As orthodox writers throughout the history of the Catholic Church have so consistently demonstrated, there is a profound link between the honest pursuit of truth and authentic human freedom. Without truth, there can be no real freedom. In Memory and Identity, St. John Paul II again reflected on the fact that real freedom is not freedom from the good; but is freedom for the good.
Poor Fr. Antonio Spadaro's deluded twitterings put me in mind this morning of some things that George Orwell spoke about towards the middle of the 20th-Century.
In his 1943 essay, Looking Back on the Spanish War, Orwell reflected on the evil nature of Nazism, which denied that such a thing as objective truth existed. He wrote: ''The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ''It never happened'' - well, it never happened. If he says that 2 and 2 are 5 - well, 2 and 2 are 5. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs.''
It was a reflection on a potential dystopia which Orwell subsequently developed in his novel Nineteen Eighty Four. With prescient accuracy he wrote: ''In the end the Party would announce that 2 and 2 made 5, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.''
Of course, Orwell's fictional Winston Smith provides the drama of a man who recognizes that genuine freedom is that which is rooted in objective reality and truth. 2 + 2 really does = 4! If we remain secure in that, then all other things will fall into place.
This all reflects the classical Catholic philosophical tradition that is rooted so securely in the objectivity of Being.
Wherever and whenever the existence of objective divine and natural law has been rejected in human history, societies have soon deteriorated into a situation where only might makes right.
Herman Goering once ranted that if the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler said that 2+2=5, then so it would.
As Phil Lawler seems to allude, it is to be feared that Fr. Antonio Spadaro's descent into irrationalism may portend something similar for orthodox Catholics.
And yet, it is really easy to pull the rug out from under this little party: for 2+2 demonstrably does equal 4! In the spreading face of unreason, we must always insist on that which is reasonable and true. We recommend the reading of Dei Filius, Fides et Ratio and Veritatis Splendor as a good place to begin.
St. Thomas Aquinas - Pray for us!