“St. Lucy a virgin of Syracuse, noble by birth and by her Christian faith, went to the tomb of St. Agatha at Catheria and obtained the cure of her mother, Eutichia who was suffering from a hemorrhage. Soon after, she gained her mother’s permission to distribute to the poor all the possessions which were to have served as her dowry. As a result of this charitable action, she was accused of being a Christian and brought before Paschasius the Prefect. When neither promises nor threats could induce her to sacrifice the idols, Paschasius became enraged and commanded Lucy to be taken to a place where her virginity would be violated. But the power of God gave the virgin a strength that matched the firmness of her resolution, so that no force could move her where she stood. And so the prefect commanded a fire to be kindled all around here, but the flames did not harm her. After she had suffered many torments, therefore her throat was pierced through with a sword. So wounded she foretold that the Church would have peace after the deaths of Diocletian and Maximilian, and on December 13 she gave up her spirit to God. Her body was first buried at Syracuse, than taken to Constantinople, and finally transferred to Venice.” 1960 Roman Breviary
From the beginning, God gave Adam and Eve the great gift of life and the ability to give life by giving birth to their children. But when Eve obeyed the serpent, satan, death came to them and to us, their children. But God promised a women who would crush the head of the serpent, satan, and her son would bring us a new beginning.
“And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death.” Genesis 3:2-4
Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned. For until the law sin was in the world; but sin was not imputed, when the law was not. But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them also who have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come. But not as the offence, so also the gift. For if by the offence of one, many died; much more the grace of God, and the gift, by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Romans 5:12-15
But how did that new life of grace come to us? By Jesus being conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. God gave us this new life through Mary.
When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico, there were massive amounts of human sacrifices going on. She appeared to stop death and bring Life, Jesus.She actually appeared on the crumbling site dedicated to the serpent god Quetzalcoatl who asked for human blood. Again, Our Lady crushed the serpent who was demanding the blood of these human beings.
When Mary miraculously put her image on the tilma of Juan Diego, miracles of life began to happen. Juan Diego’s uncle Bernardino was dying. Mary saved him from death. An important royal Aztec was dying from a arrow injury and was miraculously healed. Many other people were receiving miracles in the presence of Mary’s holy image.
But the real miracle was the supernatural life given to the pagan nation of Mexico. As people heard about the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the began to come to receive her help. They then began to be baptized Catholic Christians and receive the supernatural gift of life in their souls.
All of the waring tribes of Mexico began to stop killing each other and to be united under the One true faith of Jesus Christ, (Catholic) and the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe.
500 years later, as the Mexican people give up their Catholic faith and become protestant, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Evangelicals, they reject Our Lady of Guadalupe. As a consequence, we see death returning to Mexico. Women are murdering their babies in the wombs, cartels are torturing and murdering anyone who stands in their way of drug and money dealing, and people are turning to adoring the “Santa Muerte“.
Get rid of the God of Life, Our Lady of Guadalupe and His Catholic religion, people return to killing, adoring death and human sacrifices to the devil of feminism and drug dealing.
God loves Mexicans so much that He sent Mary in 1531 to bring Jesus’ salvation to them through the Catholic faith. Let us help this blessed race rediscover this blessing and return to being traditional Catholics, and not just “Catholic” in name.
Que viva Cristo Rey!
Que viva la Virgin de Guadalupe!
There are many ways that the word HELL is thrown around today. For those trying to be holy, they see the word HELL as a bad word. Inside and outside of the Catholic Church, there is a strong drive to not believe in or to not talk about hell or the devil. In spite of this attempt to deny or forget the reality of hell, (the consequence of un-repented sin), the word hell is still a big part of our language. This shows that there still is a strong sub-conscious awareness of the devil and hell in society. Here are a few of the sayings about hell that are still used today in ordinary talk.
“I went through hell on the job.”
“He gave the student hell for cheating.”
“We did it for the sheer hell of it.”
“How the hell can I go?”
“You did one hell of a job.”
“I walked home by the old school for the hell of it”
“If we’re wrong, there’ll be hell to pay.”
“He ran like hell to catch the bus.”
He says he’s going along with us. — “Like hell he is!”
- extreme eternal suffering from being tortured by demons,
- eternal regret and remorse, knowing that you caused yourself to be damned,
- horrific smells, sights, sounds,
- total loss of freedom,
- only hate everywhere,
- extreme despair and depression,
- no hope,
- evil supernatural snakes, spiders, worms crawling around inside and outside of you,
- and no God or love.
I was lighting a Kerosene lamp and for just a second, I burned my hand with the hot match. It caused me a pain I did not like at all. Then I bit my tongue, it hurt a lot. I did not like that at all either. Instantly, it reminded of the eternal pains of hell.
I think because we are normally not in pain, or have low levels of pain like a headache, we cannot imagine the horrors and pains of hell. So every time there is some temporary pain in our lives, we need to remind ourselves and those around us to not go into the eternal pains of hell.
The pope, cardinals, bishops, religious, priests and catechism teachers in the Catholic Church today do not really love people if they fail to tell them about hell. By not telling them about the dangers and horrors of going to hell for one mortal sin, they are helping people to be damned forever. Is that true love?
That is why, no matter how much we traditional Catholics are persecuted by the powerbrokers in the Church, out of true love, we have to continue to tell the truth that Jesus told us, “hell is horrible and do everything possible to not go there for all eternity”.
Whereas the form of dignity just discussed is a natural dignity deriving from man’s natural aptitude to know and love God as Being under the aspect of the True and the Good, there is a further form of dignity accessible to man which is of a supernatural nature and which derives from man’s actual knowledge and love of God in conformity with supernatural Grace. Now the first way in which St. Thomas understands that man is in the image of God is, as we have seen, in his aptitude to know and love God; a second way is in his actual or habitual knowledge and love of God. (A third way which does not concern us here since it refers not to man in his life but to his nature in Heaven is in his perfect knowledge and love of God.)
St. Thomas describes the second way as follows:-secundum quod homo actu vel habitu Deum cognoscit et amat, sed tamen imperfecte: et haec est imago per conformitatem gratiae… Prima ergo imago invenitur in omnibus hominibus: secunda in iustis tantum, tertia vero solum in beatis: inasmuch as man actually or habitually knows and loves God, though imperfectly, and this image consists in the conformity of Grace… The first is found in all men, the second only in the just, the third only in the blessed (Summa I 93 a 4). Let us emphasize the fact that the dignity which derives from man’s actual knowledge and love of God in conformity with supernatural Grace is the property not of all men but only of the faithful who are just: it is the dignity possessed by a saint and not by a sinner, and possessed in a higher degree by a more holy than a less holy man. We may call this second form of dignity the supernatural dignity of man.7
Now, as we have seen, original sin brought about the loss of Sanctifying Grace and of the gifts of integrity, and has been inherited by all the sons of Adam. However it is possible to eradicate original sin, in its narrower sense as the lack of Sanctifying Grace, by Justification. Justification is translatio ab eo statu in quo homo nascitur filium primi Adae, in statum gratiae et adoptionis filiorum Dei per secundum Adam Jesum Christum Salvatorem nostrum: a translation from that condition in which man is born of the first Adam into the state of Grace and adoption among the children of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer (The Council of Trent session 6). Justification in the negative sense is the eradication of sin; in the positive sense it is a sanctification and renewal of the inner man: non est sola peccatorum remissio, sed et sanctificatio et renovatio interioris hominis. Justification is effected by the infusion of Sanctifying Grace into the soul of the faithful in the sacrament of baptism. The Council of Trent quotes St. John 3.5 to the effect that ‘No-one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven if he is not reborn of water and the Holy Spirit’. The faith that is required for Justification in the case of young children is the faith of the Church (Summa III 68 a. 9 ad 2), in the case of adults it is a firm acceptance of the Divine truths of Revelation on the authority of God Revealing and the good works that proceed from this faith, as well as the fear of God, hope, love of God, sorrow, and penance.
If a man loses sanctifying Grace by his actual sin, he is able to regain it through the Sacrament of penance: he regains Grace, is forgiven his sin, and reassumes the dignity of the sonship of God. (Summa III 89). It is this supernatural dignity of adoption by baptism which is referred to in the following words of St. Leo: ‘Recognise, O Christian, your dignity and become a participator in the Divine nature, do not return by depraved conduct, to your ancient misery’ (Serm. de Nativit.); and in the following words of St. John Chrysostom: ‘[The Apostle] affirms that if, being baptized, you do not let yourselves be guided by the Spirit, you lose the dignity with which you were honoured and the privilege of adoption’ (Hom. XIV in Rom.).
iii) The Dignity of Vocation
Let us now proceed to present two further forms of dignity taught by the contemporary Magisterium. The first may be termed the dignity of vocation, and is expressed in The New Catechism – or Catechism of the Catholic Church – (1700) as follows: “The dignity of the human person… is accomplished in his vocation to Divine beatitude”.
We shall first consider the type of vocation at issue here, then the type of dignity.
Now, to say that man has a vocation to a given end suggests that God has put man into a state such that he is oriented towards that end. This was true of our first parents, who God, by means of Grace, endowed with the state of Original Justice which oriented them towards Heaven; this is also true of the baptized, who God, again by means of Grace, puts into a state which orients them towards Heaven. This is not however the case with the vocation to Divine beatitude, for there is nothing in human nature which orients man towards Heaven: since Heaven is absolutely supernatural, man needs something supernatural (that is supernatural Grace) to orient him towards it.
The type of vocation at issue here does not derive from a state of human nature, then, but rather from the constant calls which God makes to man. As The New Catechism states (1): ‘… at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength … ‘ etc. Moreover these calls do not constitute an immediate orientation to Heaven, but only a mediate one, through the acquisition of Sanctifying Grace.
We see that this sense of vocation is diluted. It manifests a naturalizing and universalizing tendency on the part of the contemporary Magisterium which seems to aim at attributing to man in general a characteristic which otherwise belongs to the baptized alone.
We proceed to examine the dignity of this type of vocation. In order to do so, we shall contrast it with the dignity of vocation referred to above, which is treated by St. Paul at Ephesians 4,1: ‘I beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called’. We notice here that this dignity is characteristic of Christians, and refers to Christian faith and virtue (‘… supporting one another in Charity…one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ vv. 2-7) and consequently amounts to the supernatural dignity presented above; whereas the dignity at issue in this section is a feature of all men and purely natural in character. In a word, the vocation is of a universal and natural character, and the is so too.
What type of dignity is the dignity of vocation? It is not a moral dignity because Christ ‘came to call sinners’ (Mt. 9, 13) nor is it an ontological dignity: it does indeed derive from an ontological dignity namely the natural dignity of man described above, but is not identical to it, at least not in the contemporary theories of the dignity of man. Rather it is a merely relational dignity. In scholastic terms it is a predicamental relation: an accident the entire being of which consists in its reference to another.
This dignity does not reside in man’s intrinsic excellence, but derives from the excellence of his goal, inciting him to achieve it and shaming him if he fails. This is why the most fitting context for the dignity of vocation is that of exhortation (e.g. ‘Walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called’ Eph. 4,1, see above).
The dignity of vocation may be understood as a form of nobility. A nobleman possesses a form of excellence which consists solely in its reference to another, namely a noble forbear. This form of nobility is an incentive to ‘walk worthy’ of a heritage, to live a noble life, and is a source of shame for a nobleman if he fails to do so. We recall the admonishment of St. John the Baptist to the Jews: ‘Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.’ As St. Cyril comments in the Catena Aurea: ‘What profits the nobility we inherit through the flesh, unless it be supported by kindred feelings in us? It is folly then to boast of our worthy ancestors, and to fall away from their virtues.’
In conclusion, the dignity of vocation is a natural and relational dignity. It should serve as an incentive to the life of virtue. It is less perfect than that form of dignity which is supernatural, intrinsic, and moral. The New Catechism, by stressing the former at the expense of the latter, again manifests a naturalizing tendency.
So much can be written, and has been written, on the Apparition of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego in 1531 at Tepeyac, (just outside Mexico City). Ten years earlier, in Europe, (1521), Luther began his revolution against the Catholic faith from which millions would eventually leave the Catholic faith.
But at that same time, Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparition caused the great miracle of leaving her image on the Tilma of Juan Diego that eventually caused millions of Mexicans to believe in Jesus Christ and become Catholics.
Here is the Blessed Mother Mary’s message to Juan Diego then, and to all of us now.
“Know and understand well, you the most humble of my son, that I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows.
And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me; you will accurately relate all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted. Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort.”
“Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. be assured that he is now cured.”
You can read about everything that happened and every word Mary said here.
In 1921, the secularist planted a bomb in the flowers in front of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The crucifix was bent, but the image was not harmed.Mary is God’s gift to us. Just before Jesus died, He gave us His own mother to be ours at the foot of the Cross. Literally thousands of miracle have happened from the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe to God for the sick, poor, unemployed and lost. We are so blessed to have Mary as our mother who wants us to go to heaven with her Son Jesus.
Before the arriving of the Catholic Spaniards, the Aztecs made human sacrifices to their demonic “gods”. Modernist want to deny this and make the Aztec religion great. These are actual photos of recent archeological digs that give scientific evidence of human sacrifices.
There are four Ember day periods when we pray, fast and abstain for the good of the our souls and the reform and renewal of the whole Catholic Church. These 2014 winter Ember days fall on Wednesday Dec. 17, Friday Dec 19 and Saturday Dec. 20.
Wednesday and Saturday have fasting with 1 complete meal and two 1/2 meals. Partial abstinence with meat only allowed at the the main meal
Friday is fast of 1 complete meal and two 1/2 meals, and total abstinence from all meat.
Also Dec. 24, Christmas eve is a day of fast and complete abstinence.
Atheist, agnostics, Buddhist, Muslims, Hindus, Hedonist, Satanist, Protestants, Non-denominational christians, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Wiccans, Drug Cartels and all the rest of humanity believe we do not respect each other enough. What I mean, is that they feel they are not respected enough. But they will never be respected until they get the proper order of reality: God deserves respect and obedience over and above everyone and everything.
Traditional Catholics strongly believe in respecting people. But we also believe that it is of much more importance to respect God who created people. Until we understand the greater value God has in relationship to the lesser value of people, we will continue to use, hurt, abuse, exploit and manipulate each other. God created people, therefore He is greater.
Respecting God is learned from how we worship God in Church, in our homes and in public. The Holy Latin Mass shows perfect respect to God’s dignity in every action written down in enforced by the rubrics. When we kneel for a blessings or to say a prayer, we give the example to our children and the people around us how to respect God.
Before Vatican II, everyone; Catholics, police, military, and people in general, showed respect for God during public processions.https:
I have been demonized for complaining that the documents from the Vatican II council and the Vatican directives that were later issued, caused lack of respect for God, others and the other terrible problems we are confronted with today in the Catholic Church.
It was the Sacrosanctum Concilium document (read in wikipedia), that Pope Paul VI and the Concilium used to produce the New Mass and abrogate the Latin Mass. The other Vatican II documents were used to change the Catholic Church and were sent out from the Vatican to the Bishop’s conferences to implement the changes in churches and liturgies.
Here is part of the table of content of the document “Sacrosanctum Concilium”.
- “General Principles for the Restoration and Promotion of the Sacred Liturgy (5–46)
- The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church’s Life (5–13)
- The Promotion of Liturgical Instruction and Active Participation (14–20)
- The Reform of the Sacred Liturgy (21–46)
- General Norms (22–25)
- Norms Drawn from the Hierarchic and Communal Nature of the Liturgy (26–32)
- Norms Based Upon the Didactic and Pastoral Nature of the Liturgy (33–36)
- Norms for Adapting the Liturgy to the Culture and Traditions of Peoples (37–40)
- Promotion of Liturgical Life in Diocese and Parish (41–42)
- The Promotion of Pastoral-Liturgical Action (43–46)”
Right here you can learn about all the many drastic changes that the Vatican II Council brought about in the Catholic Church by just reading wikipedia “Vatican II”: Here is an excerpt:
“The most palpable changes which followed the council include the widespread use of vernacular language in Holy Mass instead of the Latin Language, the displacement of the Church tabernacle from the central aisle, the subtle disbandment of ornate clerical regalia, the revision of Eucharistic prayers, along with various indirect changes such as the celebration of the Mass with the officiant facing the congregation (Versus Populum), instead of facing east toward the apse or wall behind the altar (Ad Orientam); the abbreviation of the liturgical calendar; and for modern aesthetic changes encompassing contemporary liturgical music and artwork, many of which remain divisive and polemic among the Catholic faithful until the present day.”
Before these changes, when Jesus was brought to houses on sick calls, everyone knew that they had to prepare an altar for the coming of Jesus/God in Holy Communion. This picture says it all. It was published on the front of the secular and popular LIFE magazine. Have any of you seen this kind of respect for Jesus in the Holy Host since Vatican II? Have any of you seen pictures like this in secular magazines since Vatican II?
Look at the modest dress of the women and little girls. How many women or girls are dressing like this since Vatican II?
Now look at the new way of adoring God in the New Mass. They both cannot be right.
We traditional Catholics are just trying to recover respect for God and others through Adoring God in the Holy Latin Sacraments and by Obeying God’s Laws of love that are given to protect the dignity of every person and to give them the respect they deserve.
To read and study this book takes sacrifice and discipline. In it you will learn Catholic reasons why mankind has lost his dignity as sons of God and lowered himself to become an animal, enslaved in his hedonistic immoral life. We all suffer from the three enemies; the flesh, the devil and the world. So, in order to properly navigate through these dangerous waters, and not shipwreck down into hell, and to arrive at the safe haven of heaven, we desperately need to study the facts of our human nature in relation to God, His grace and our weaknesses.
Chapter 2 a) MORALITY
THE WORD MORAL COMES FROM THE LATIN WORD MOS which signifies custom, and seems to be connected with the word modus, measure, hence also containing the concept of just measure. Philosophy, as noted above, is the exercise of reason on the objects of human experience. Moral philosophy is synonymous with ethics. The word ethics comes from the Greek work ethos which signifies custom or attitude. Moral philosophy/ethics is a practical science concerning man’s free actions, it is a normative science concerning the ideal laws of such actions. In short it may be defined as the science of the ideal laws of free human actions as such. It is to be distinguished from moral theology which judges human actions according to Revelation and the tenets of faith. The term morality as used in this book is understood to encompass both moral philosophy and moral theology.
Ethics is divided into ‘general ethics’ which concerns the universal principles of ethics, and ‘special ethics’ which comprises personal ethics and social ethics. Personal ethics respects the duties and rights of persons in regard to the body, the soul, and to God; social ethics comprises in its turn interpersonal ethics respecting the relations between persons – justice, Charity, and property and employment rights; as well as family, civil, and international ethics. The present chapter is directed to certain principles of general ethics.
Now omnis agens agit propter finem: every agent acts in virtue of an end, and the end of a given action can either be the final end of all an agent’s actions or a means to a further end. If it is a means it must be motivated by the further end. If this further end is itself not the final end it must in its turn be motivated by a yet further end. But this series cannot be infinite, for if there were no final end there would be nothing to motivate any intermediate end. It follows that there must be a final end or supreme good which is desired by man as the absolute term of all his action (see St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica I, II q. 1 a.6 where this argument is compared to the argument for the First Cause). The existence of a final end permits a more explicit definition of moral philosophy or ethics in the following terms: the science of the ideal laws regulating man’s free actions in such a way that he attain his final end.
With regard to the concept of the final end, we can see the dependence of ethics on metaphysics (the philosophy of being). There are in fact three philosophical disciplines on which ethics particularly depends: metaphysics, providing an understanding of the nature of man, his last end, good and evil, justice, duty, rights, laws, virtues, wisdom, the principle of the sufficient reason, etc; psychology, which concerns the existence and nature of the soul; and theodicy, which concerns the existence and nature of God. This dependence is a consequence of the principle agere sequitur esse: the order of being determines the order of acting. In these four disciplines, as indeed in all disciplines of philosophy, it is taken as axiomatic in this book that the true philosophy is the ‘perennial’ philosophy of the Church: the Aristotelian-Scholastic philosophy, particularly that of St. Thomas Aquinas. That this axiom is true is the central contention of the book ‘An Introduction to Philosophy’ by Jacques Maritain.5 Moral philosophy depends essentially on other branches of philosophy, then. It also depends essentially on moral theology, first in so far as natural reason, the instrument of ethical (as indeed of all philosophical) knowledge, is illumined by the lights of faith, the healing power of Grace unblocking the impediments which the wounded, fallen, condition of the human mind puts in the way of the right exercise of reason, and second in so far as the philosophical understanding of man and his final end are completed by the theological understanding of man as the subject of a human nature fallen and redeemed, and as in via to a final end which is supernatural and which represents the consummation of human nature.
In order to provide a context for the treatment of the particular moral themes of this book, let us proceed to outline four central principles of morality: namely the final end of man, the moral law, the dignity of the person, and the nature of love.
1. The Final End of Man
There are two aspects to the final end: a subjective aspect which is beatitude, and an objective aspect which is the concrete good in the possession of which man attains his beatitude. Man has a natural desire for beatitude and perfection which determines his every action. Beatitude is defined by Boethius as statu(s) bonorum omnium congregatione perfectus: a state constituted by the union of all goods. It is defined by St. Thomas as bonum perfectum intellectualis naturae: the perfect good of the intellectual nature. What is the nature of this union of all goods, of this perfect good, or, as it is commonly known, the sovereign good? It must be absolute and not relative to a further good, it must be perfect, excluding all privation of that which is proper to it, it must be stable and accessible to all men. Now since there must be proportion between a nature and its final end and sovereign good, we may conclude that the sovereign good of man must perfectly fulfil the most essential and the most profound aspirations of human nature, namely the need to know and to love. Now the object of the intellect is the True and the object of love is the Good, and the True and the Good in their plenitude exist only in God (St. Thomas Summa I, II 2 a 8).The final end of man in its objective aspect is therefore God Himself.
Furthermore it is apparent from metaphysics and theodicy that God has a purpose in creation. This purpose cannot be His own perfection since He already possesses, and indeed is, the sum of all perfections, but rather is His glorification by His creatures through their likeness to Him. Irrational creatures bear a likeness to God in their mere existence, and in the perfections of their nature and of their activities by which they reveal His being, power, and wisdom. Rational creatures bear a likeness to God above all by their knowledge and love of Him and by their personal fulfilment and beatitude which this knowledge and love brings (St. Thomas Contra Gentiles 3, 25).
Man’s final end consists then in his beatitude in the possession of God to the glory of God. This glory of God is known as the primary final end of man and man’s beatitude is known as the secondary final end of man. Revelation completes the picture by teaching us that the possession of God consists in the vision of God. St. John 17.3: ‘Now this is eternal life that they may know Thee, the one true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent’; 17.24: ‘Father I want those whom Thou hast given me to be with me, where I am, so that they may see my glory which Thou hast given me because Thou hast loved me before the constitution of the world’. Epistle of St. John 1, 3.2: ‘We know that when He is revealed we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is’. The final end of man is the visio beatifica then, by which the soul will contemplate the very essence of God face to face and will thus participate in the life of the Divine Trinity. This fact is known to us not by reason but by Revelation alone. It is not a natural end but (absolutely) supernatural, its attainment transcending the intelligence and capacities of created nature, which therefore need to be strengthened by Divine Grace and by what has been defined in the Council of Vienne (1312) as the lumen gloriae.
Were the final end of man purely natural it would consist in the knowledge and love of God accessible to his natural reason: an analogical knowledge of God as the first cause and final end of creation. The Church holds it possible that such a purely natural paradise (Limbo) is reserved for children before receiving baptism and before attaining to the use of reason: they have not been cleansed from original sin so cannot attain a supernatural paradise, but at the same time have contracted no personal sin so have incurred no punishment. This possibility is of course of particular relevance to the issue of abortion (cf. later in this chapter).
An act is good or bad according as it is oriented or not oriented to the final end of man: to his beatitude, or in other words to his perfection in being, the perfection and fulfilment of his human nature. It is by Faith and the exercise of the virtues that man attains to these perfections.
The orientation of an action to the final end is determined partly by the nature of the act itself, e.g. almsgiving is good, the murder of the innocent is bad; and partly by the intention of the agent, which can make an act good in itself better or bad such as almsgiving to improve a recipient morally as against almsgiving to corrupt a recipient; which can never make an act bad in itself good; and which determines acts morally indifferent of themselves such as walking, as either good or bad, e.g. walking to gain strength for work as against walking to avoid performing a duty.
2. The Moral Law
Now that which leads each being to its end, final or proximate, is the law (St. Thomas Summa Theologica I, II, q.93 a. 1): Lex aeterna nihil aliud est quam ratio divinae sapientiae, secundum quod est directiva omnium actuum et motionum: the eternal law is nothing other than the disposition of divine wisdom, according as it directs the actions and movements of things. St. Augustine’s definition following Cicero’s, which is often quoted by St. Thomas, is as follows: Ratio vel voluntas Dei ordinem naturalem conservari jubens, perturbari vetans: the divine disposition or will of God that decrees the conservation, and forbids the disruption, of the natural order. This eternal law exists in God and is none other than God Himself. It is binding for all being: for irrational beings where it has a physical, irresistible nature, and for rational beings, where it has a moral nature and can be obeyed or disobeyed according to the use each agent makes of his free will. The eternal law is promulgated in creation, and the participation in this eternal law on the part of rational beings is known as the natural law: Lex naturalis nihil aliud est quam participatio legis aeternae in rationali creatura (St. Thomas Summa I, II. q.1 a. 2). Man is then able to read off, as it were, the requirements of this law inscribed in his nature and act accordingly. Because the purpose of this law is to guide man to his final end, it is possible to define the morality of an act not merely in terms of the final end but also in terms of the moral law: according as it does, or does not, conform to the moral law. Moreover this definition may be said to be the most specific because conformity to the moral law involves the application of a rule to each specific action.
The first precept of the natural law ordains in a universal manner the orientation of human action towards the final end of man. The principle states: Do good and avoid evil. It is constitutive of what is called moral sense: the immediate and absolute sense of the law regulating practical knowledge and action (St. Thomas De Veritate q. 16 a 1). This moral sense is also known as synderesis. The moral conscience is by contrast not a sense but a practical judgment (‘the last practical judgment’) as to the morality of our acts, by which we decide what concrete act we should perform and what we should avoid.
The further principles of the natural law relate to the fundamental inclinations of man: as a living being he must respect and conserve the being he has received from God; as a rational being he must act as a person, developing his reason by seeking the truth, his liberty by the mastering of his passions, his moral life by religion; as a member of a species he must work for the conservation of this species in marriage and the procreation and education of children; as a social being he must respect the order of society and contribute to the common good of the city and of humanity itself. These principles form the basis of duties, and these duties form the basis of natural rights, the right to life, to truth, to justice, to liberty etc. These principles of natural law entail certain immediate consequences amongst which are the Ten Commandments which together with the principles constitute the primary natural law. They also entail certain less immediate consequences relating to the application of such principles (e.g. to property rights). These constitute the secondary natural law.
3. The Dignity of the Person
It would in fact appear that the notion of ‘person’ even more than the notion of ‘human being’ or ‘man’, contains the notion of dignity or worth, as in the expression ‘He is a person, not a thing’. And in fact St. Thomas Aquinas enunciates this fact as follows: In nomine personae intelligitur personae dignitas (Summa II, II, 63 a. 1): by the name of person is understood the dignity of the person.
The danger in using the term ‘dignity of the person’ is that it has been often understood in a humanistic, atheistic sense or in an undefined sense, therefore open to the humanistic, atheistic sense. It shall accordingly be necessary to define the term precisely, before proceeding to apply it to concrete situations. The importance of the issues to be discussed for the understanding of man and his tendency towards sin shall merit a detailed explication.
‘Dignity signifies the goodness of someone for himself (propter seipsum), whereas utility for another’ (propter aliud) (St. Thomas III Sent q1 a4; q3 sol.1). In virtue of this fact and of the fact that in common parlance dignity demarcates a quality or perfection which distinguishes one person from another, let us consider what is the particular goodness or perfection which distinguishes the person. Let us ask this question first of the person in relation to other beings, then of individual persons in relation to other persons: This study shall enable us to specify two principal forms of dignity that the person possesses.
i) The Natural Dignity of Man
Let us first consider the natural perfection of man. Human nature surpasses other natures, namely inanimate natures and animate natures lacking a spiritual soul, in its intellectuality: in that part of its nature that consists of a rational, intellectual soul. It is this intellectuality which lends a person a dignity, it is indeed the reason why he is called a ‘person’: Persona non est nisi in natura intellectuali (ISent.dist.23.11). Now the particular excellence of intellectuality is its transcendental orientation: the intellect and the will are ordered towards God as Being under the aspect of the True and the Good respectively.
St. Thomas Aquinas takes this orientation as a basis for one of the three ways in which man is in the image of God. He writes (in Summa I q. 93 a. 4) that if it is true that man is in the image of God according to man’s intellectual nature, then the more his intellectual nature is able to imitate God, the more he will be in God’s image. His intellectual nature imitates God to the highest degree by imitating God’s knowledge and love of Himself. There are three ways that this is possible. The first is as follows: (the second and third shall be mentioned later) Secundum quod homo habet aptitudinem naturalem ad intelligendum et amandum Deum: et haec aptitudo consistit in ipsa natura mentis, quae est communis omnibus hominibus: according as man has a natural aptitude to know and love God, and this aptitude consists in the very nature of the mind, which is common to all men.
This first form of dignity is however affected by sin, both original and actual. The effect of original sin is that Homo per peccatum (Adae) spoliatus est gratuitis, vulneratus in naturalibus: by Adam’s sin man is deprived of the gratuitous (supernatural) gifts and wounded in his nature (Summa I II 85, 1; Sent.II d.29q.1a.2). This state is known as the state of fallen nature. The supernatural gifts consist of (the ‘absolutely supernatural’) Sanctifying Grace, which makes possible the Beatific Vision, and the (‘preternatural’) gifts of integrity. The wounding of nature according to St. Thomas and most of the theologians consists of the loss of the gifts of integrity. These gifts comprise infused knowledge, the possibility of neither suffering nor dying, and the domination of the reason over the lower faculties (or in other words of the soul over the body) as a result of the will’s subjection to God. Adam lost the first of these gifts for himself, since it was a personal gift to himself, and the rest of these gifts for the whole human race. The loss of the domination of the reason over the lower faculties is known as concupiscence: namely ignorantia – the difficulty of knowing the truth; malitia – the weakening of the power of the will; infirmitas – the recoiling before the struggle for the good; and concupiscentia in the narrow sense – the desire for the satisfaction of the senses against the judgment of reason.
The wounding of nature is the loss of integrity then, and comprises the loss of the domination of the reason over the lower faculties (integrity in its narrower sense) (Summa I II q.85 a.3). The loss of this domination may be expressed as the loss of man’s natural inclination to virtue (Summa loc.cit.) or a weakening of man’s attachment to the True and the Good. Consequently (as stated in chapter one), the truth of God’s existence and morality which are not inaccessible to reason need by moral necessity to be the subject of Revelation in order that they be known by all promptly, with certitude, and without admixture of error (Vatican Council I s.III chapter2, Humani Generis Pius XII). Moreover man is unable to love God as the author of nature more than himself, or to choose Him as his final end without the healing power of God’s Grace (Summa I II q.109 a.3).
In the Summa I II 85, St. Thomas enquires into the effects of original sin on the dignity of human nature. He concludes that this dignity is diminished by the loss of Sanctifying Grace and integrity, in particular by the diminution of man’s natural inclination to virtue, but at the same time, that dignity is retained which derives from the principles of human nature and its properties such as the powers of the soul. The Council of Trent reaffirms this point with regard to free will (Session VI, chapter 1). In general we may infer that despite the Fall man possesses a dignity in virtue of his intellectuality, particularly in its radical orientation, albeit weakened, towards the True and the Good, or in other words towards God as Being under the aspect of the True and the Good.
The natural dignity of the person is diminished not only by original sin but also by actual sin. All persons that have attained the age of reason (with the exception of course of the Blessed Virgin) have sinned, for ‘if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us’ (I. St. John 2.8). The effect of mortal sin is that it expels God and Sanctifying Grace from the soul, if they were present, and makes the agent a slave of sin for ‘whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.’(St. John 8.34). The effect of venial sin is that it deprives the soul of new graces. The effect of both kinds of sin is that it weakens the agent’s control of his passions inclining him to further and greater sins.
In summary, as Leo XIII states in the Encyclical Immortale Dei 1885: ‘If the intelligence adheres to false ideas, if the will chooses evil and attaches to it, neither the one nor the other attains its perfection, but both fall from their native dignity and corrupt.’ Indeed in a passage concerned with capital punishment in the Summa II II q 64 a. 2, St. Thomas states that a criminal through grievous sin ‘loses his dignity’ simpliciter, in other words despite his radical orientation to the Good and the True, for such is the malice of sin: Homo peccando ab ordine rationis recedit: et ideo decidit a dignitate humana, prout scilicet homo est naturaliter liber et propter seipsum existens, et incidit quodammodo in servitutem bestiarum, ut scilicet de ipso ordinetur secundum quod est utile alii… Et ideo quamvis hominem in sua dignitate manentem occidere sit secundum se malum, tamen hominem peccatorem occidere potest esse bonum…: By sinning, man departs from the order of reason and consequently falls away from his human dignity, in the sense that being naturally free and existing for himself, he falls in a certain manner into the slavish state of the animals, so that he may be disposed of according as is useful to others… Hence, although it be evil to kill a man who preserves his human dignity, yet it may be good to kill a sinner6.