Rorate Caeli

60 years of Vatican II - 'THE COUNCIL AND THE ECLIPSE OF GOD' by Don Pietro Leone - CHAPTER 10 - part 4 - 'THE CAUSES OF COUNCIL TEACHING: D. Psychology


(Mid 12th Century) Nave Mosaics from Palatine Chapel, Palermo, Sicily The Lord Confronts the Disobedience of Adam & Eve; The Expulsion from Paradise : ‘Wounds to the body : loss of immortality and impassibilty.



D.    Psychology [1]


In this subsection we consider the psychological source of antirealist subjectivism. This we locate in Fallen Nature, the ‘internal spiritual enemy of man’, which, as we shall now see, may simply be described as ‘egoism.’ 


The soul is created for God: to know Him as Absolute Truth and to love Him as the Infinite Good both in this world and then definitively, stably, and perfectly in the next. In metaphysical terms, God is Being, objective reality in the ultimate sense of the word. The soul is created to know Being under the aspect of the True and to love Being under the aspect of the Good.


To know Being as the True in this world is to orient our intellect to the True; to love Being as the Good in this world is to orient our will and actions to the Good: in order to promote Being in ourselves and in all around us. Any errors that we make and any evil that we commit here below can only be the consequence of the failure perfectly to orient our intellect to the True, and our will to the Good.



According to St. Thomas,  The Four Wounds to the Soul: ignorantia, militia, infirmitas, concupiscentia,  ‘weaken man’s attachment to the True and the Good and deprive him of his natural inclination to virtue.’



The source of this failure lies in our Fallen Nature, in the four wounds of the soul caused by Original Sin, as we shall proceed to expound. Now the effect of Original Sin for the whole of mankind (except, of course, for Our Blessed Lady and Our Blessed Lord) is, in the briefest possible synthesis, that man is deprived of Sanctifying Grace, and wounded in his nature both in body and in soul. The wounds of the body are two in number and consist in the loss of immortality and impassibility (the possibility neither to die nor to suffer); the wounds of the soul, by contrast, are four in number:


                 - ignorantia, the difficulty of knowing the true;

                 - malitia, the falling away of the will from the good;

                 - infirmitas, the recoiling before the struggle for the good; and

              - concupiscentia in the narrow sense: the desire for the satisfaction of the senses, of the lower faculties of the soul, against the judgment of reason.


These four wounds of the soul, according to St. Thomas, weaken man’s attachment to the True and the Good and deprive him of his natural inclination to virtue. We may view them as constituting together the internal spiritual enemy of man: man’s internal source of sin. Clearly the third wound incites him to sins of omission, and the others to sins of action.


This fourth wound, that of concupiscence, which we have described in terms of the desire to satisfy the senses and lower faculties of the soul in an irrational manner, may be understood as a certain independence from reason and a certain lack of control in the senses and in the lower faculties of the soul, which include the emotions, the imagination, and self-love.


Concupiscence is triple and is expressed by St. John as follows: ‘All that is of the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life’ [2]:


              * the concupiscence of the flesh is understood as the excessive desire to indulge the senses;

         the concupiscence of the eyes is understood as the excessive desire to possess:  to possess  objects (avarice) or knowledge (curiosity);

        * the pride of life, otherwise known as the ‘concupiscence of one’s own excellence’, or as ‘spiritual concupiscence’, is simply pride.


Reflecting on these eternal truths, we can see how the four wounds detach us from the True and from the Good:


         * ignorantia makes it hard for us to know the True;

         * malitia and infirmitas make it hard for us to realize the Good;

      concupiscentia draws us away from the Infinite Happiness, the Infinite Treasure, the Infinitely lovable Being Who is God:


        a)      the concupiscence of the flesh moves us to enjoy by the senses a finite pleasure;

        b)      the concupiscence of the eyes moves us to possess a finite treasure;

        c)      pride moves us to love a finite good which is ourself.


Fallen Nature draws us away from the True and the Good, then, it draws us away from Being, from objective reality, from the objective order, to the subjective order: from the infinite to the finite, from God to ourself. It is, then, the very source of antirealist subjectivism within us, the source that resides in very human nature itself.


The phenomenon of Fallen Nature also provides the explanation for two particular aspects of antirealist subjectivism.


The first aspect that Fallen Nature explains is its monism. In the previous section we have noted the monism of Gnosis and of the Council:


         - in the orders of Being (in the syncretism of the natural and supernatural orders);

        - in ontology (in the syncretism of God and Man in Pantheism);

        - in logic (in the syncretism of True and False); and

         - in morality (in the syncretism of Good and Evil).


This monism is clearly the effect of the egoism of Fallen Nature, for the egoist views the members of each of these pairs as ‘all the same to me.’ He is not interested in distinguishing God and man because he already views himself as God; he is not interested in distinguishing natural and supernatural because he already views himself as supernatural; he is not interested in distinguishing True and False, Good and Evil, because he views himself as superior to True and False, Good and Evil: what he says is True; what he does is Good. The subject has triumphed over the object, and the will over reality. His will is the formal cause of all things and the principle of their unity: what they are, are what they are for him; his will determines both their essence and their unity. For the saint, by contrast, in virtue of the gift of the Holy Spirit which is ‘Science’, God is the formal cause of all things and the principle of their unity: they issue from Him, they exist in Him, they return to Him, as all waters return to the sea.


The Council teaching ‘is emasculated’; ‘it is bland and anodyne ; ‘…it manifests no courage in the face of other Christian denominations, other religions, the State, the World, Communism and impurity…’


The second aspect of antirealist subjectivism that Fallen Nature explains is what we have described above in terms of ‘emasculation’: the Council teaching is emasculated, it neither professes, nor proclaims, nor lives objective Truth; it is bland and anodyne in its doctrine and liturgy; it manifests no courage in the face of the other Christian denominations or of the other religions, in face of the State and the World, in face of Communism and impurity; in its marital ethics it demotes the husband and father to the level of the woman, it advocates eroticism which is a mark not of virility but of effeminacy [3].



Before concluding this section we shall briefly suggest how modern man began more readily to yield to the tendencies of Fallen Nature.



Historical Sketch [4]


We may trace the rise in influence of Fallen Nature to the Middle Ages, as a reaction to the severe rigor and discipline of medioeval thought and conduct. This reaction was at the same time philosophical and moral: on the philosophical level it consisted in the essentially antirealist stance of Nominalism that we have examined above; on the moral level it consisted in the essentially subjectivist dynamic of sensuality and pride.


The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were characterized by an unbridling of the senses, whether the internal senses of the imagination and fantasy, or the external senses in a search for earthly pleasures. Dress, manners, language, literature and art reflected this process. ‘The whole trend was toward gaiety, affability, and festiveness. Hearts began to shy away from the love of sacrifice, from true devotion to the Cross, and from the aspiration to sanctity and eternal life. Chivalry, formerly one of highest expressions of Christian austerity, became amorous and sentimental.’ Pride, ostentation, and vanity entered into intellectual circles; absolutism into political circles.




Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, writer of the famous Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the "Manifesto of the Renaissance". The pride and sensuality of the  Renaissance period  ‘…found their model in the humanist Paganism of antiquity…’



Pride and sensuality found their model in the humanist Paganism of antiquity, which was to inspire the Renaissance, to relegate the Church and Her supernatural and moral values to a secondary plane, and in some countries to give birth to Protestantism. Pride begot the spirit of doubt, the free and naturalist interpretation of Sacred Scripture, the denial of the monarchical character of the Universal Church; sensuality begot the abolition of priestly celibacy and divorce.


‘The French Revolution was the heir of Renaissance, Neopaganism, and of Protestantism, with which it had a profound affinity... the revolt against the King corresponding to the revolt against the Pope; the revolt of the common people against the nobles to the revolt of... the faithful, against... the clergy; the affirmation of popular sovereignty to the government of certain sects by the faithful...’



The Holy Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne,  guillotined during the French Revolution - 

[…] ‘which was heir of the Renaissance and subsequently gave rise to Communism.’



The French Revolution gave rise to Communism. ‘The normal fruit of deism is atheism. Sensuality... tends of itself towards free love. Pride, enemy of all superiority, finally had to attack the last inequality, that of wealth. Drunk with dreams of a one-world republic, of the suppression of all ecclesiastical and civil authority... the revolutionary process now brings us to the twentieth-century neobarbarian, its most recent and extreme product.’ A hatred of monarchy and aristocracy engender  the ‘demagogic democracies which combat tradition, persecute the élites, degrade the general tone of life, and create an ambience of vulgarity that constitutes, as it were, the dominant note of the culture and civilization...’


This historical sketch shows how the Middle Ages provoked a reaction of antirealist subjectivism both on the philosophical and on the moral levels; how the reaction on the latter level, in the form of pride and sensuality (as well, we might add, the concupiscence of the eyes, that is to say avarice and curiosity), also gave rise to the atheist, Protestant, and socialist tendencies that we have identified in the Council documents. Of all the ills of Fallen Nature, however, pride may be considered as the principal motivation of the Council, for as St. Pius X states [5]: ‘Pride sits in Modernism as in its own house.’



Prides sits in Modernism as its own house.’  Pope St. Pius X



Conclusion to Section I


We have investigated the source of the false principle of antirealist subjectivism in Modern Philosophy; in Modern Theology; in that religion which we have termed Gnosis; and finally in its ontological foundation in the psychology of Fallen Nature.


Reflection on this false principle shows us that the philosophy, theology, the religion and the ethics that they inform - first Gnosis and then all the other false religions that it was to engender - are in fact all impostures.


-              * For a philosophy to be antirealist, for it to doubt or to deny Being, means that it is not a philosophy at all, but an anti-philosophy;

-          * For a theology to be antirealist, for it to doubt or to deny God, means that it is not a theology at all, but an anti-theology;

-          * For a religion to be antirealist, for it to repudiate God, means that it is not a religion at all, but an anti-religion; for it to advocate egoism as its ethics means that it is does not comprise a system of morality but a system of anti-morality.


A philosopher that can tell us nothing about reality, a theologian that can tell us nothing about God, is like a geographer that can tell us nothing about the world or a chemist that can tell us nothing about chemicals; the proponent of a religion that can tell us nothing about God, about how to relate to Him, and how to live, is like a doctor that can tell us nothing about illness or health.


But these systems of thought and action are not only impostures but also mortiferous, since a philosophy and a morality that are not about reality, a theology and a religion that are not about God can offer us no guidance about how to live, but only darkness or false light that will make us lose the way or lead us astray. The proponents of such systems are like undertakers disguised as doctors working at the service not of life but of death [6].


Modern Philosophy and Theology (and thus the Council)  ‘have grafted the principle of all falsehood and evil onto the Faith, like some abhorrent and monstrous black leech, to suck away the life-blood of the Church and to transform Her into itself.’


They are impostors and murderers, and behind them is the impostor and murderer who instigated Gnosis; who created, as it were, Fallen Nature and Death; who inspired and nurtured Modern Philosophy until it entered into the minds of the Modern Theologians, and from thence at last into the Council. What he has in fact done is to graft the principle of all falsehood and evil onto the Faith, like some abhorrent and monstrous black leech, to suck away the life-blood of the Church and to transform Her into itself.

[1] by ‘psychology’ we mean the science of the soul’s nature, here particularly its faculties as disordered by Original Sin

[2] I Jn. 2.16

[3] we recall Homer’s characterization of Helen’s seducer Paris, in the Iliad: not as virile but as effeminate

[4] this sketch relies on Revolution and Counter-Revolution, pp. 15-19 op.cit. That book inspired, and corresponds to, the votum sent to the Council by Archbishop Proença Sigaud RdM II 6 (b)

[5] Pascendi, 40

[6] the direction in which modern medicine is advancing once it has disposed of morality: its murder of the unborn and the elderly, its concern for symptoms rather than illnesses, its prescription of medicines without regard for their adverse effects, its unreflective accommodation to state-promoted vaccination.


Nuper erat medicus, nunc est vispillo Diaulus;

 quod facit vispillo, fecerat et medicus.

 Martial I. 47


‘Recently Diaulus was a doctor; now he is an undertaker. What he is doing as an undertaker he had also been doing as a doctor.’