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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Letter from AM's Mailbag

This was emailed to me yesterday for the Fumare crowd. Father gave me permission to post it.

from "Thomas A. Greer, SJ" [email redacted]
to Advocatus Militaris [advocatusmilitarisATgmailDOTcom]
date Mar 23, 2007 10:53 PM
subject Fumare and Quotes

Dear Advocatus and Fumare,

I saw that I was quoted in your "AP" story of yesterday regarding Fessio. At my age, getting used to the technology of the internet is still a bit of a challenge. I suppose that I prefer newspapers to reading the news on the internet, however, I must say that Fumare remains both informative and refreshing. I appreciate the candor with which you gentlemen take on the issues of the day and I find much to agree with. It reminds me of the days in our Jesuit juniorate where my fellow scholastics and I would argue about anything and everything: in politics, it was the "New Dealers" versus the conservatives; in philosophy, the newer philosophies of the continent versus the pernennial philosophy; in sports, the Dodgers versus the Yanks; in drink, scotch versus bourbon. Some of us swore and were rather raucous (I probably fell into this crowd), while others were gentle and contemplative; not unlike what I read on Fumare.

It is heartening to know that there are some men left in the Church who think as you do. Don't be afraid of taking on the reigning powers-that-be. In my many years of priesthood, I find that the famous line of Burke is true, "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." To be successful in the battle that you wage for your school and for the health of our culture in general, you must take this to heart.

As Burke says, you must be "good men." What does this mean? First and foremost you must orient your entire life on the First Principle and Foundation that St. Ignatius speaks of: "I have been created to know, reverence and serve God in this world." If you live by this little phrase, the mysteries of the cosmos are opened to you! The mystery of God Himself is open to you and you will capture Eternal Life! What does this little phrase practically mean? First, we are "created." From eternity, God knew that we would be. he willed it! he brought together our parents as cooperators that we might be. How wonderful that he individually knows and loves each one of us. Second, we are created by God so that we might "know" Him. How? Through the Church he established, the saints He inspired and the obediential potency that he placed in each one of us at the moment we were conceived. Augustine rightly says, "our hearts are restless until they rest in You." Thirdly, we are created to "reverence" God. We reverence God through the worship due to Him as God, but also through the reverence for one another that we share. Human persons as made in the image of the Creator are to be loved and respected. Their lives and fortunes are to be considered. Finally, we are created to "serve" God. To serve God we must know and reverence Him. We must know that He exists, that He loves us that He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. With this knowledge we know that justice demands our service to Him, but so too does our love for Him. Justice towards God and Love of God are inseparable. Serving God consists in doing not what we want, but what He wants. This is how we are, in Burke's phrase, "good men."

I see that at Fumare and amongst the good people that comment there. There may be those who seem to be "dripping with holy water and smelling of incense" that don't appreciate the sometimes strident and biting commentary. Don't pay attention to them. "Caritas" is a supernatural virtue and is not bound by terrestrial notions of propriety; bear in mind that the virtue is in the heart and in the intellect--those must constantly be examined, lest one fall from that standard that is Christ Himself. I could go on and I apologize for the rather "stream of consciousness" that is this missive. But I will leave you with this thought: be good men.

Be assured of this old Jesuit's prayers. Pray for me.

T.A. Greer, sj