Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

March AD 2007
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

Drinking the Kool-Aide (Revisited)
The Great American Sin
God is Unchanging
Legality of St. Paul's Hunt for Christians
Singing the Lord's Prayer (Pater noster)



    John F. Kennedy, paraphrasing Dante Alighieri:  “Dante once said that the hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”[1]

    Dante’s original remark:  “This wretched state of being is the fate of those sad souls who lived a life but lived it with no blame and with no praise. They are mixed with that repulsive choir of angels neither faithful to their God, but undecided in neutrality.”[2]


    What is the great American sin? Extravagance? Vice? Graft? No; it is a kind of half-humorous, good-natured indifference, a LACK OF "CONCENTRATED INDIGNATION" as my English friend calls it, which allows extravagance and vice to flourish. Trace most of our ills to their source, and it is found that they exist by virtue of an easy-going, fatalistic INDIFFERENCE which dislikes to have its comfort disturbed...The most shameless greed, the most sickening industrial atrocities, the most appalling public scandals are exposed, but a half-cynical and wholly indifferent public passes them by with hardly a shrug of the shoulders; and they are lost in the medley of events. This is the great American sin.

Joseph Fort Newman, Atlantic Monthly, October 1922
Submitted by GJ Defek


Question:  In reference to cultural Marxism, you said that truth doesn’t change because all reality is known in the mind of God who is unchanging.  How do we know that God is unchanging  Isn’t it possible that God changes, and men change their opinions and reach new consensus as to what is true in response to God’s changing?  How would one prove that God is unchanging?—especially to a non-Christian?

    Answer:  The unchangeable nature of God is something that Christians and Jews know through divine revelation.  It is possible to know this through natural reason, but God has chosen to reveal it, perhaps because many people reason very little or not at all about God.  The Holy Bible clearly speaks about God’s immutability:

    “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor is the son of man, that he should be changed.”  (Numbers 23: 19)

    “But thou, O Lord, endurest for ever: and thy memorial to all generations.  In the beginning, O Lord, thou foundedst the earth: and the heavens are the works of thy hands.  They shall perish but thou remainest: and all of them shall grow old like a garment: And as a vesture thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed.  But thou art always the selfsame, and thy years shall not fail.”  (Psalm 101: 13, 26-28: )

    “And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts.  I am the Lord, and I change not....”(Malachi 3: 5, 6)

    “Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there  is no change nor shadow of alteration.”  (James 1: 17: )

    Clearly, then, the idea of a changing God producing a changing reality is foreign to Judeo-Christianity, and not acceptable to orthodox believers.  Marxism and existentialism are incompatible with the infinite God who has revealed Himself through Jesus Christ.  No amount of human “dialogue” is going to change God, nor will it reflect a change in God.

    But, what about the pagan who does not have the benefit of divine revelation?  Saint Thomas Aquinas based his demonstration of God’s existence largely on the writings of the great pagan philosopher Aristotle.  One can read his proof in the Summa Contra Gentiles, which he wrote with the non-Christian population in mind.[3]  It is likewise found in Saint Thomas’ Summa Theologica, which is generally more available.[4]  The following is a summary of Saint Thomas’ demonstration:

There are five notable ways of reasoning out the truth that God exists.  The first way is by considering motion in the world.  Where there is motion there is a mover, and ultimately a first mover, itself unmoved.  This is God.

The second way is by considering the chains of effecting causes that exist in the world.  Things here are produced by their causes, these causes in turn were produced by their causes, and so on.  Ultimately, there must be a first cause which is itself uncaused.  This is God.

The third way is by considering the contingency of things in the world.  Contingent things do not have to exist;  they are non-necessary;  they come into existence, and undergo change, and pass away.  Now, contingent things demand as their ultimate explanation a non contingent being, a necessary being.  This is God.

The fourth way is by considering the scale of perfection manifest in the world.  Things are more or less good, more or less noble, and so on.  And where there is noble and nobler and still more noble, there must ultimately be a noblest which is the standard by which all lesser degrees of nobleness can be known and given their rating.  In a word, where there are degrees of perfection, there must ultimately be absolute perfection.  This is God.

The fifth way is by considering the order and government seen in this world.  Things act in a definite way and were manifestly designed to act so; through their nature (that is their active or operating essence) they are governed in their activities.  Thus there are design and government in the world.  Hence there are ultimately a first designer and first governor.  And since both design and government involve intelligence, there must be a governor and designer who is the first and absolute intelligence.  This is God.[5]

    With very little reflection is will be seen that God would not be demonstrated by these five proofs if he were changeable.  If He were a “moved mover” instead of being unmoved;  a “fluctuating cause”;  a contingent being subject to change or even non-existence;  a being which varied in His degree of perfection;  a designer and governor which fluctuated in His intelligence and control—He would not be God.

    God is infinite.  As we have seen, He is a self existent being—nothing that He possesses, no aspect of Him, comes from any other being than Himself.  He cannot be increased or diminished in any way; no boundaries can be placed around Him.

    God is pure actuality.  Things exist either in actuality or in potentiality.  A child is a potential man, a seed is a potential plant, and so forth.  But to go from being a potential man to an actual man implies an increase in perfection—an increase very likely requiring help from others.  Being already perfect, God cannot improve—in Him nothing is potential; everything is actual.

    Being infinite and actual, with no way to expand or contract, with no way to acquire or lose, God is clearly unchanging.  So, even for the pagans, it should be clear that the dialectic is impossible.  Reality is defined in the mind of God, and no amount of “dialogue” can change it.


    Question:  How could Saint Paul have put to death the Christians he hoped to capture in Damascus.  Wasn’t the death penalty the prerogative of the Roman authorities?  Wasn’t that why the Sanhedrin had to bring Jesus to Pontius Pilate in order to have Him put to death?  (A.H., New York)

    Answer:  The stoning of the deacon, Saint Stephen, to which (Saul) Paul gave his consent was clearly an illegal act.[6]  It was not authorized by the Roman governor, or even by the Sanhedrin.  But it appears that Paul’s mission of persecution to Damascus was to have been carried out under the color of law:

    And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest And asked of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.[7]

    He was not acting on his own initiative, but rather with the authority of the high priest.  The “threatenings and slaughter” may have been nothing more than expressions of zeal—the “big talk” of a man who finds himself deputized by the authorities.  If he had captured any Christians, he would presumably have brought them to Jerusalem for trial by the Sanhedrin, and not put them to death on his own.  In any event, we know that Paul was stopped by Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus—struck down and blinded by the power of God, it was a changed man who went on to become the most active of the Apostles.[8]


    Question:  Why don’t we sing the Pater noster [Lord’s prayer] at High Mass, even though we recite it a Low mass.

    Answer:  The publicly recited Low Mass is a relatively recent development, introduced in the early part of the twentieth century with the approval of Pope Pius XI.[9]  Prior to then the priest said or sung all but the last verse of the Pater noster, with the servers or the singers answering “sed líbera nos a malo—but deliver us from evil.”  While these is no difficulty in having the congregation recite the entire prayer, it would be a bit more difficult to have everyone sing the prayer for there are at least two different melodies from which the priest selects.

    You may also have noticed that the congregation does not recite the prayers at the foot of the altar during High Mass.  Centuries ago these were private prayers, recited in the sacristy or on the way to the altar if the distance was long.  At High Mass the singing of the Introit or Entrance Hymn takes place while the priest and server recite these prayers.


[1]   JKF, remark at the signing of a charter establishing the German Peace Corps (24 Jun 1963), quoted in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963 (p. 503)

[2]   Dante, in Divina Commedia "Inferno" (Canto III, lines 34-42).

[3]   Cf. Summa Contra Gentiles,  Book I, Chapters 1-25.


[5]   Msgr. Paul J. Glenn, A Tour of the Summa, (Rockford: TAN, 1978) Ia, Q2, a3.

[6]   Cf. Acts vii: 54-59.

[7]   Acts ix: 1-2.

[8]   Ibid., ix: 3-29.


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