Rorate Caeli

The Council and the Eclipse of God by Don Pietro Leone – Chapter 9 Metaphysical Analysis (part 3)– ‘There is such a thing as Nature/Essence’


‘Nominalism denies natures/essences.’

i)    There is such a thing as a Nature / Essence


The Council is Nominalist, as we noted above, and accordingly denies natures / essences. In denying essences, it deprives itself of any possible logical foundation for giving definitions, and is obliged to have recourse either to mere descriptions of things or what we may term ‘incoherent amalgamations’.


We shall accordingly examine some examples of the Council’s:


i)     Denial of natures;

ii)    Descriptions;

     iii)   Incoherent Amalgamations.



i)    Denials of natures


The following examples may be given of the denial of natures:


-         The Council’s heterodox presentation of the Incarnation as the Union of the Divine Word not with human nature but with human individuals [1];

-     The Council’s suggestion that human nature can change, which presupposes the nominalist theory that human nature is nothing other than the sum total of human individuals. We refer to the following texts: ‘Modern men have been so profoundly changed that we can speak of a new age in human history [2]; and similarly: ‘Humanity appears to be entering into a new order of things…’ [3];

-     The rejection of an ontological view of Christianity in favor of a nominalist one [4];

-     The silencing of the priest’s ontological nature as alter Christus in favor of his ministerial function.



ii)    Descriptions


1.  Marriage is described as an ‘intimate partnership of life and love’ [5] rather than defined as a bond.

2.  Heretics and schismatics are described simply as being in ‘imperfect communion’ [6].


'Chimera'- An Incoherent Amalgamation 

iii)   Incoherent Amalgamations


   1.  The Mass is designated variously as ‘sacrifice’, ‘Paschal mystery’, ‘commemoration of the Paschal mystery’, ‘banquet’, thanksgiving [7], and ‘assembly’ [8];

   2.  The Church is understood as an amalgamation with the World [9];

   3.  The Catholic Christian is understood as an amalgamation with the non-Christian [10].




a)        There is such a thing as Causality


Like the principle of non-contradiction, causality is also one of the first principles of thought, without which, as we said above, it is impossible to think. Modern philosophy however holds this latter principle in disfavor, indeed David Hume goes so far as to deny it; and the Council, in its turn, neglects it. The Council, indeed is not interested in Truth, or in understanding Truth, which as we have noted above, is what the doctrine of the causes particularly facilitates. It is interested, rather, as we said in the last subsection, in action. We have earlier criticized the Council’s notion of the Catholic Christian in terms of its failure to distinguish between three types of cause, but what we shall examine here is the Council’s particular neglect of two of the types of cause, namely final and formal cause.



a)    Final Cause


The principle of final cause, or finality, is characteristically scorned by Modern Philosophy. We observe this scorn already in empiricism, a superficial and primitive vision of reality which effectively reduces philosophy to physical science, thereby excluding finality altogether. ‘The search for the final cause’, writes the empiricist Francis Bacon, ‘is sterile, like a consecrated virgin.’ To deny that finality is a feature of reality, or Being, is of course entirely to abolish not only the Natural Law, relying as it does on the finalities inscribed in human nature as guides for human conduct, but also the Proof by Finality, the strongest and clearest proof of the existence of God [11]; it has the effect of reducing finality to the will and to the desires of man, and ultimately to the dynamics of Fallen Nature, thereby demoting finality from the objective, to a purely subjective, status of being.   


'The search for the final cause', 

writes the empiricist Francis Bacon, 

'is sterile, like a consecrated virgin.'

The Council neglects finality by silencing it, and by substituting it with other, lesser, putative goods. We have seen the following examples above:


1.     The finality of the Church for this life, namely the salvation of souls, is silenced in favor of the interpersonal or political ideals of peaceful co-existence with other Christian confessions [12], religions [13], or fellow-citizens [14];

2.     The finality of the Church for this life is substituted with the finality of the World for this life [15], that is to say with societal hedonism [16];

3.     The finality of all men for the next life, which is Heaven, is silenced, as though the State should be concerned only for their temporal well-being, and the Church only for their eternal well-being [17];

4.     The finality of the World for the next life, by contrast, is substituted with that of the Church, namely Heaven [18]; 

5.     The finality of the priesthood, namely the salvation and sanctification of souls, is silenced;

6.     The finality of the religious life, that is to say the genuine love of God, is sacrificed to, or at least diluted with, humanitarianism [19];

7.     The finality of the Holy Mass, the glory of God, is sacrificed to the glory of man [20] as in the process of ‘inculturation’ [21];

8.     The finality of creation, namely the glory of God, is usurped by man [22];

9.     The finality of the state, namely God, is equally usurped by man [23];

10. The Council effectively denies that man’s ultimate dignity resides in his use of reason and free will according to their respective finalities [24];

11. It no longer uses the term ‘finality’ (finis) of marriage. The good that the Church has always regarded as such, namely the procreation and education of progeny, is subordinated by the Council to ‘marital love’, and thereby cast into the shade [25];

12.  It fails to rely on the finality of the marital act in order to demonstrate the evil of  contraception.

‘The New Testament is the formal cause of the Old Testament.’

b)    Formal Cause


‘The Princes of Judah have become like those who move a boundary; on them I will pour out My wrath like water’ [26];

‘Do not move the ancient boundary [landmark] which your fathers have set’ [27]

‘Some remove the landmarks; they seize and devour flocks.’ [28]


The formal cause, as we have explained above, is that which makes a thing what it is. In the course of this book we have seen how the Council erodes and dissolves Catholic teaching. This it does by avoiding definitions, or, more precisely, by silencing the formal principle, or formal cause, of things. For example:


1.     In claiming that there is a ‘hierarchy of truths’, the Council effectively denies that the formal cause of Faith is the authority of God Revealing. In other words, in claiming that one can still preserve the Faith while abandoning some of its articles, the Council denies that one acquires and preserves the Faith by accepting it in its entirety on the authority of God [29];

2.     In silencing the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Council silences the formal cause of the Church, which is Christ;

3.     The Council effectively denies that the Social Kingship of Christ is the formal principle of Catholic social teaching, or, put simply, that Christ the King is the formal cause of society; instead of which it replaces Him with man [30];

4.     It effectively denies that the formal cause of the Christian is baptism [31], Faith, and submission to the Pope, but situates it rather in the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord [32];

5.     It effectively denies that the formal cause of religious life, that which makes it what it is, is a Christocentric Rule, in diluting the Rule with anthropocentrism [33];

6.     It effectively denies that the formal cause of the priesthood is Christ the High Priest [34];

7.     It effectively denies that the formal cause of the Mass is Christ Crucified [35];

8.     It effectively denies that the formal cause of relations to other Christians, to other religions, and to the World is Christ the Savior [36];

9.     It effectively denies that the formal cause of marriage is Christ the Head and Spouse of the Church [37];

10.   It fails to define ‘separated Christians’ in terms of their formal causes as Orthodox or Protestant, schismatic or heretic, or in terms of material or formal heresy or schism;

11.   It does not accept that [38]:


a)     the New Testament is the formal cause [39] of the Old Testament;

b)    the Talmud is the formal cause of the modern Jewish Religion, just as the Old Testament was the formal cause of the ancient Jewish Religion.




[1] ch.8, A. 1

[2] DV 54

[3] Opening Speech of Pope John XXIII

[4] ch.2, B. 1

[5] ch.6

[6] ch.2, A

[7] ch.7 B, 1 for these terms

[8] ch.7 B, 2

[9] ch.5

[10] ch.8

[11] we may reply to Francis Bacon that final cause is fruitful, just as the state of a consecrated virgin is fruitful. The former enables one to know God, the latter to love Him; the former enables one to know His Will, the latter to follow it perfectly.

[12] ch.2

[13] ch.3

[14] ch.4, A.5 on Christ the King

[15] which thereby also becomes the finality of man in this world

[16] ch.5, A

[17] ch. 4, A. I

[18] ch.5, B

[19] ch.6, C (a)

[20] ch.7

[21] ch.7, B.4 (g)

[22] ch.8, C. (b)

[23] ch.8, C. (b)

[24] ch.4, A.3

[25] ch.6, A.2

[26] Hosea, 5.10

[27] Proverbs, 22.28

[28] Job, 24.2

[29] ch.1, C.1 (c)

[30] ch.4, A.5

[31] baptism is of course at the same time the efficient cause of the Christian

[32] ch.8, A

[33] ch.6, C (a) Aristotle teaches that the final cause is often identical to the formal cause, so that the end of a given thing is often that which determines its form. This is true of the religious life: here the end of the religious life is Christ the Spouse of the soul, and this end is also the form of religious life: it determines the nature of this life, or at least it did so, as we have learned, before ‘man attained his maturity’ with the Council. 

[34] ch.1, B.3 (a)

[35] ch.9, B below

[36] ch.9, B below

[37] ch.9, B below

[38] ch.3, B.5

[39] and at the same time the exemplary and final cause