A NOTE TO READERS:
No page on this site has generated more discussion than this one. Recently it was referenced in Karl Keating's The New Geocentrists (Rasselas House, 2015) and rebutted on The Remnant's website by Christopher Ferrara. Both of these gentlemen refer to me as an Old Catholic, which, of course, I am not. After accusing Keating of making ad hominem attacks, Ferrara chides him for quoting "a priest of the schismatic Old Catholic Church," (as though Old Catholics are incapable of knowing physics) and being " in a hurry to get the thing done, so any cut-and-paste from the Web sufficed for his rhetorical purposes." Clearly, both men failed to read enough of this site to know that I profess the Catholic Faith. A pox on both of their houses.
Let me add another piece on the geocentrism foolishness.
Revised: 23 March A.D.2001
Question: A recent issue of The Remnant seemed to indicate that the theories of Newton and Einstein contradict the Catholic Faith. Are traditional Catholics really required to believe that the Sun rotates around the Earth?!
Answer: Of course not! The Remnant for November 15th, AD 2000, carries an article by Mrs. Solange Hertz, especially endorsed by its editor, that contains a number of foolish notions. Its regular readers know that The Remnant often contains articles about "what should have been," rather than about "what actually happened" or "what can now be done." Usually they restrict themselves to political commentary on how "every government should be a Catholic monarchy," or on how "everything will be okay if we can just have the 'indult' Mass." The article in question is a bit more obviously confused, and would be an embarrassment to Catholics who think that The Remnant consistently represents the Church's tradition -- which it often does not. We have addressed a more detailed letter to the editor of The Remnant, but will delay printing it until they have had time to answer. In the interim, we herewith reprint the pertinent sections of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on the interpretation of Sacred Scripture.
Letter to The Remnant
We never did get an answer -- there were a goodly number of letters published in The Remnant -- a frightening number in agreement with them. Here is the letter we sent:
16 January, A.D. 2001
When the Church condemned Modernism for its errors concerning the impermanence of truth, the Modernists attempted to deflect blame from themselves by portraying the orthodox Catholicism of those obedient to Pope Saint Pius X as antagonistic to truth, the scientific method, and to human progress in general. Liberals cast "Integral" Catholics in the guise of a secret society devoted to this chimerical heresy against truth. It was hard to believe that this chimera described many in Saint Pius' time, let alone our own, until The Remnant took up the vindication of the Modernists. I refer in specific to your November 15th, A.D. endorsement of, and to the article by, Solange Hertz, "The Three Plagues of the Great Apostasy."
It is not clear whether or not Mrs. Hertz uncritically accepts Venerable Mary of Agreda's private revelations -- but private revelation is an odd point of departure for one who proposes to tell us the mind of the Church more authentically even than Pope Leo XIII. But far more disturbing is Mrs. Hertz' denial of the physical realities around her in the name of traditional Catholicism. And, it is of no consolation that her claims demonstrate a severe lack of knowledge of her subject matter.
Galileo was, in fact, not the first to suggest that the Earth revolved around the Sun, any more than Einstein was the first to suggest that physical activities are best viewed in an appropriate frame of reference. Life makes more sense when football players move relative to football fields, when weather maps are drawn to include states or countries, when the solar system moves about its most massive body, when the galaxy moves about its center of mass -- all of these things can be converted to some other frame of reference, but often with a loss of comprehensibility. Not surprisingly, a great deal of modern astronomical information is reported with the earth at the center of the universe -- precisely because that frame is useful to people on earth. No serious scientist would today claim that any frame of reference is some how inherently superior to any other -- the Relativity theories clearly deny such a thing -- leaving us free to make use of the most useful frame.
Newton's explanation of gravity is incomplete, as was Aristotle's, and as Einstein's is likely to prove to be. But that doesn't make it any less real!! Don't do this at home, but even The Remnant must recognize that those who step confidently off the roof are destined to proceed in only one direction (relative to the earth), and with disastrous consequences if the building is at all large.
Mrs. Hertz' claims that Newton's and Einstein's theories were blindly accepted without proof suggest that she has not bothered to read anything about the theories and their history. Precisely, the key note of modern science, and the thing that made it so unsettling to seventeenth century society, was that it turned toward experimental verification and away from "authority." Instead of simply accepting what Aristotle had to say about the movement of bodies, people began to measure the movements for themselves. The Church did considerable harm to Her own legitimate authority in matters of faith and morals by claiming to extend that authority to matters of which It has no certain knowledge.
Mrs. Hertz to the contrary, relativity was born and developed and has been repeatedly challenged in the arena of experiment. From Michelson-Morley -- to the measurements of light deflected by the Sun, the precession of Mercury, the gravitational red shift, the masses of highly accelerated particles -- to the latest experiments conducted in space -- virtually every aspect of relativity theory has been subjected to experimental scrutiny. Perhaps the most dramatic and well known of Einstein's predictions is the equivalence of mass and energy -- and its practical outcome, nuclear ennergy, is at least as dangerous to doubt as gravity.
The Cardinal, St. Robert Bellarmine, was insistent in not overthrowing the teachings of the Fathers in Biblical matters concerning the natural sciences -- until there was compelling proof that the Fathers had been hampered in their interpretation by inaccurate information -- he had simply not been shown anything compelling. The idea of an infallible pronouncement on the motion of the planets is on par with the pronouncement on Haagen Dazs Pineapple Coconut ice cream in Jonathan Tuttle's excellent article on Infallibility in your December 15th issue. The cosmology of Aristotle is no more Catholic than that of Galileo or Einstein -- it was simply mankind's best effort to explain what it observed.
Miracles of the sun are precisely that -- miracles -- suspensions by God of the physical laws He has ordained. No frame of reference will describe the events of the Book of Joshua or Fatima as being normal, and no frame of reference can deny them, for they are, by definition, God's violations of the physical norm. Because the universe is governed by the laws of God's design, and not by Mrs. Hertz' "chance," miracles stand out in clear contrast to the everyday workings of His creation.
Normally, I would recommend that someone like Mrs. Hertz read Providentissimus Deus to gain a knowledge of how the Church interprets Scripture in the light of the realities of science -- but her low regard for Pope Leo XIII would probably make that a waste of time. Her failure to distinguish democracy from republican government, her identification of socialism and communism with the former, her claim that Leo XIII ordered the republicanization of Europe, and her contention that democracies and republics must separate Church and state, would likely make that Pope's writings meaningless to her. A pity, really, for Pope Leo's works are key to understanding the Church's teachings on Its relationship to the modern state.
The "religious oaths of office heretofore required of all public servants" were not abolished by the U.S. Constitution -- rather, "no religious test shall ever be required..." (art. VI, 3). Absolutely amazing! In wishing for the return of "the good ole days," The Remnant would have us return to the "test oath" required by the colonies in which one was required to subscribe to the locally accepted version of Protestantism as a condition of holding office! Catholics ought never forget that the church-state against which the Colonies set up their Republic had a reputation for disemboweling the living it hoped to "convert," and for drawing and quartering those whom it sought to punish -- such was the glory of "religious monarchy"!!
The Remnant is getting to be more and more of an embarrassment to traditional Catholicism as time goes on, and it becomes increasingly clear that it is a journal devoted to seventeenth century antiquarian thinking. Acceptance of the "indult" without orthodoxy, the purposeful isolation of Catholics from the Mass, the wistful desire for monarchy, and now the denial of physical reality!
/sig/ Rev. Fr. Charles T. Brusca