Monday, May 12, 2014

Reply to the Ridiculous Bum Rap that I (and Many Apologists) are "Ultramontanists" Who are Special Pleading and Defending the Pope No Matter What (as if his favorite color or ice cream were infallible, binding decrees)

 Pope St. Pius X

By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong

[This was originally part of another paper that had to do with disputes about liturgy. I thought that it needed to be available separately (slightly edited), for clarifying purposes, in light of all the patent nonsense and sheer hogwash that has been spread about Pope Francis for now over a year, from theological liberals, secularists, and radical Catholic reactionaries alike, and given the silly charges levied against the Holy Father's defenders: of whom I am a proud member]

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Being classified as an ultramontanist is almost a boilerplate response to anyone who critiques these sorts of things. It's untrue, as I will show. But it's very common to reply to defenses of a pope or papal authority by making out that one supposedly agrees with absolutely everything he says or does, or that his color of socks or what side of bed he gets out are magisterial matters, etc.

This has never been my position, as I've explained many times. But if it is thought that it is, then I can be potentially (or actually) dismissed as a muddled, simplistic irrelevancy, without my arguments being fully engaged. Nice try, but no cigar.

As most know, who read anything of mine, I am a huge devotee of Cardinal Newman. I edited The Quotable Newman (Sophia Institute Press, 2012). His Essay on Development was the key that persuaded me to become a Catholic back in 1990. Now, since the 19th century was brought up in this regard, it was Newman who fought most valiantly against that mindset: opposing those such as Cardinal Manning and William G. Ward (also sometimes known as Neo-Ultramontanists). Cuthbert Butler, the historian of Vatican I, described Ward's view as follows:

He held that the infallible element of bulls, encyclicals, etc., should not be restricted to their formal definitions but ran through the entire doctrinal instructions; the decrees of the Roman Congregation, if adopted by the Pope and published with his authority, thereby were stamped with the mark of infallibility, in short “his every doctrinal pronouncement is infallibly rendered by the Holy Ghost”.

This has never remotely been my view. Before I converted, as a card-carrying evangelical, I opposed the notion of infallibility itself  tooth and nail; despised the view as hopelessly naive and false to history. It was my biggest objection: infinitely more so than Mary or things like tradition or infused justification. I read Dollinger, Kung, and George Salmon in order to try to disprove it. Thus, I was not at all predisposed as a young convert, to ultramontanism. That would be the very last thing likely to happen. In fact, if that were what Catholicism required, I highly doubt that I would have become a Catholic at all. I follow Cardinal Newman (as I invariably do). He wrote (and I totally agree):

To submit to the Church means this, first you will receive as de fide whatever she proposes de fide . . . You are not called on to believe de fide any thing but what has been promulgated as such -- You are not called on to exercise an internal belief of any doctrine which Sacred Congregations, Local Synods, or particular Bishops, or the Pope as a private Doctor, may enunciate. You are not called upon ever to believe or act against the moral law, at the command of any superior.
(The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman [LD], XX, 545 [in 1863], edited by Charles Stephen Dessain (London: 1961-1972), in Ian Ker, John Henry Newman: A Biography, Oxford University Press, 1988 [764 pages], 530-531)

I say with Cardinal Bellarmine whether the Pope be infallible or not in any pronouncement, anyhow he is to be obeyed. No good can come from disobedience. His facts and his warnings may be all wrong; his deliberations may have been biassed. He may have been misled. Imperiousness and craft, tyranny and cruelty, may be patent in the conduct of his advisers and instruments. But when he speaks formally and authoritatively he speaks as our Lord would have him speak, and all those imperfections and sins of individuals are overruled for that result which our Lord intends (just as the action of the wicked and of enemies to the Church are overruled) and therefore the Pope's word stands, and a blessing goes with obedience to it, and no blessing with disobedience. (Letter to Lady Simeon, 10 November 1867; my italics)

I wrote in a paper, dated 29 March 2004:

Vatican I wasn't even (technically) "ultramontane" in its conclusions -- truth be told. The ultramontanes (people like Cardinal Manning) wanted an even broader range of papal infallibility, to include virtually everything the pope said. What was passed was quite a moderate form of papal infallibility. The "moderates" won the day, not the radicals. And that was precisely because they took a realistic view of history: the Honorius and Vigilius and Liberius incidents, for example, made a broader definition impossible because it would not be true to the facts of history. . . .
Vatican I was a quite moderate position, given the true ultramontanism of the time. The more radical position lost, and it lost decisively, because once the ex cathedra definition is given, it is irreversible. So what some consider the triumph of this radical papalism was actually its profound defeat. The pope's infallibility was strictly limited.

Apparently some detractors of Pope Francis think I accept every jot and title of everything popes say. This is untrue. Five minutes spent at the search box on my blog (which contains over 2,500 papers, so that none of my views are exactly secrets) would have easily disproven this notion. But we're all busy. Or one could hit "Catholic Apologetics" at the top, select my Papacy page, and see the section there, entitled, "Disagreeing with Popes." Instead, because I accept Summorum Pontificum in what I think is its plain meaning and intent, and say that it is in line with the Mind of the Church, I'm told that I simplistically apply that concept and am an ultramontanist: even of an "extreme and undifferentiating" sort.

Now that one has arrived at this section of my blog, he can see the first paper posted, entitled, "Laymen Advising and Rebuking Popes." This was written in 1997 (the year my website went online). In it, I write things like the following:

Pope John XXII was soundly and successfully rebuked by the masses when he temporarily espoused belief in a false doctrine. St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and St. Francis of Assisi rebuked popes, and their advice was respected and heeded . . .

The pope does not act in isolation, as some sort of arbitrary dictator. That is a caricature of Catholic doctrine. He works closely with bishops, priests, nuns and monks, synods, Councils, and the laity. . . .

I posted another paper in November 2000, with some additions in 2001: originally in dialogue with Mario Derksen, whom I was trying to dissuade from a radical Catholic reactionary position. He subsequently became a sedevacantist. I tried. This was entitled, "Are All Catholic Laymen & Non-Theologians Qualified to Freely & Frequently Criticize the Pope's Opinions and Prudential Judgment?" I wrote there:

Yes, one can conceivably question the pope -- especially his actions (we are not ultramontanes), yet I think it must be done only with overwhelming evidence that he is doing something completely contrary to Catholic doctrine and prior practice. It is not something that a non-theologian or non-priest should do nonchalantly and as a matter of course . . .
In any event, if you want to take one particular view of what is prudent for a pope to do, that is your perfect right. . . . 

Even Protestants observe the ludicrous exercising of private judgment against a pope, since any moderately informed Protestant knows that a Catholic ought to be obedient to the pope in all but the most extraordinary circumstances (that is surely how I would have perceived your spirit in this, when I was still Protestant. I would have immediately determined that RadCathRs of this sort were liberal or radically inconsistent Catholics).  . . .

My point is not that a pope can never be rebuked, nor that they could never be "bad" (a ludicrous opinion), but that an instance of rebuking them ought to be quite rare, exercised with the greatest prudence, and preferably by one who has some significant credentials, which is why I mentioned saints. Many RadCathRs make their excoriating judgments of popes as if they had no more importance or gravity than reeling off a laundry or grocery list.
Even if they are right about some particulars, they ought to express their opinion with the utmost respect and with fear and trembling, grieved that they are "compelled" to severely reprimand the Vicar of Christ. St. Paul showed more deference even towards the Jewish high priest than such people do to popes (Acts 23:1-5) . . . we have both St. Paul and our Lord Jesus expressing the most vehement criticisms of appointed religious leaders, yet Paul showed quite considerable deference when he found out who he was criticizing, and Jesus commanded obedience to the very same people whose hypocrisy He excoriated [Matt 23:1-3].

I took up the topic again in 2008, this time providing two examples where I actually differed from popes, myself. The paper was called, "Is It Dissent Against the Pope and the Church, and Downright Disobedient For a Catholic to Favor the War in Iraq?" I stated:

To be in favor of this war is not at all a position in dissent against the pope, because in these areas of prudential judgment of nations he is only an advisor: albeit one who should be listened to with the utmost respect. The pope also doesn't have all the secret intelligence that nations have. Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote on 5-2-03 (exactly five years ago):
The Pope expressed his thought with great clarity, not only as his individual thought but as the thought of a man who is knowledgeable in the highest functions of the Catholic Church. Of course, he did not impose this position as doctrine of the Church but as the appeal of a conscience enlightened by faith.

(Interview with Zenit on the Catechism)
The present Holy Father again wrote in June 2004:
3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
("Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion - General Principles" -- L'espresso [link] )
. . . So a "real Catholic" has every right to disagree with even popes' opinions in matters of war, as long as the war is not manifestly opposed to Catholic principles of just war altogether. Pope Benedict XVI said so. . . .
As the pope noted above, Catholics in good standing can differ on the death penalty. I happen to think that it is a wise policy to oppose it, and agree with Pope John Paul II, but on the other hand, we mustn't get legalistic when it is not an absolute requirement to oppose the death penalty. I continue to favor it in instances of mass murderers and terrorists, in the face of overwhelming evidences of guilt.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Jesus' Parabolic and Analogical Reference to "Torturers" in Matthew 18:34, as a Relevant Consideration in Arguments Over the Ethics of Waterboarding and Coercive or Corporal Punishment in General

 Fr. Brian W. Harrison

By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong

There was a huge discussion pro and con about waterboarding on my Facebook page. I am myself agnostic at present on the issue, but I wish to examine arguments pro and con, time-permitting, in-between my breadwinning duties.

One of the things I ran across in perusing Fr. Brian Harrison's two articles (one / two) on corporal punishment in the Bible and Catholic history, was the following parable (in his Part I):

Matthew 18:32-35 (RSV) Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; [33] and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' [34] And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. [35] So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart." 

Fr. Harrison commented on it:
. . . the New Testament mention of "torturers" ["jailers" above]. . . may refer to torture in this will-coercing sense, but could also imply simple punishment. In any case, no moral disapproval of the kind of action being carried out by these "torturers" is suggested by Jesus in this parable. . . . It would be implausible to try reading any ethical censure into Jesus’ mention of temporal torture in the parable of the unforgiving debtor (Mt 18: 34), in view of his immediate comparison of this treatment with that to be meted out in eternity by "my heavenly Father" . . .

My initial comment on it was as follows:

The NT passage is interesting because it makes an analogy of the master's servant to God's. Since God's behavior can't be immoral, therefore, the master's -- by analogy -- cannot be, either. And that entailed "torture"; so I suppose the next thing there would be to look up the Greek word.

My Facebook friend Felix Lopez (also agnostic on waterboarding) wrote: 

The Gospel parable was just using as an analogy the Roman and Herod's prison conditions where the prison guards weren't very nice. It is not an endorsement of the practice.
I replied:

It's not nearly that simple, Felix. Jesus can't use a direct analogy to God's behavior and have the analogy be to an intrinsically immoral practice. For the very analogy to be valid, the two have to be morally parallel. And so they were in that passage. It's yet another argument (from Fr. Harrison) that the "antis" here have not dared to deal with at all.

In other words, Jesus could never, e.g., give a parable that included an evil act, such as saying, "If you don't do good works and have faith in God, He will judge you, just as the abortionist murders a child."

Regarding the gospel parable, that's a good point you made. I would be interested to consult a good Scripture commentary or scholar on that. But, as Fr. Harrison said the word for "torture" can be meant as a punishment and not to extract information (e.g. the whereabouts of hidden gold or assets to pay off debts). It can also be a case where the prisoner is punished for not doing their assigned labor if they are assigned mandatory labor to pay off the debts. It would then be a case of justifiable corporal punishment.

But, as I said, there is a difference between punishment and the process of forcefully extracting information (e.g. coercing the will). In fact, Justice Antonin Scalia in his arguments in defense of waterboarding was that it could not be argued on the basis of "cruel and unusual punishment" since in his view it isn't a punishment. They would have to argue on some other grounds like say if there is a federal statute against such a treatment in interrogation.
So, if torture is inflicting bodily or mental pain to coerce the will, then waterboarding is wrong.

 But isn't the parable to some extent about "extraction" of the debts owed? It was extraction of debt being sought, not merely punishment for not having paid the debt. It's fascinating that "torturers" is the word used [in some translations].  

The word in KJV at 18:34 is "tormentors". It's Strong's word #930: basanistes (used only here in the NT); defined by Strong as "torturer"; "tormentor". Cognates: #928 basanizo / #929 basanismos / #931 basanos: "torment". This is a fruitful avenue for argumentation as to coercion, sanctioned by Jesus Himself.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon describes basanistes in Matthew 18:34 as describing a jailer and noting that "the business of torturing was also assigned to him." Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
lists the word in this passage under "Tormentor" and defines it: "properly, 'a torturer' (akin to basanizo, see TORMENT, B), 'one who elicits information by torture,' is used of jailors, Mat 18:34."

Vincent's Word Studies comments on the passage: "Livy pictures an old centurion complaining that he was taken by his creditor, not into servitude, but to a workhouse and torture, and showing his back scarred with fresh wounds (ii., 23)." A. T. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament states (citing Vincent in entirety, which I've omitted):

The tormentors (toi basanistai). Not to prison simply, but to terrible punishment. The papyri give various instances of the verb basanizw, to torture, used of slaves and others. . . . Till he should pay all (ew [ou] apodwi pan). Just as in verse Leviticus 30 , his very words. But this is not purgatorial, but punitive, for he could never pay back that vast debt.

Kittel (one-volume edition, p. 97) observes: "basanistes is used in Mt. 18:34, not for 'tester,' but for 'tormentor.'"

If we consult (34) different translations for basanistes in Matthew 18:34, this is what we find:

Moffatt / Rheims / NASB / Rotherham Emphasized  / Jerusalem / NAB / Barclay / Beck / NKJV / Confraternity / RNAB / Wuest torturers
NEB condemned the man to torture
Living torture chamber
Amplified torturers (the jailers)
NRSV / REB / Knox / CEV to be tortured
Williams official torturers
KJV / RV / Wesley / ASV tormentors
Young's Literal inquisitors
Lamsa scourgers

RSV / Goodspeed / Weymouth / Phillips / NIV / Kleist & Lilly jailers
20th Century gaolers
TEV to be punished

20 of the 34 (59%) translate using some form of torture, while six more have tormentors or inquisitors or scourgers (all those notions together adding up to 76% of all the translations above). Only eight have the more mild or more "neutral" jailers / gaolers / to be punished.

This is what Jesus is sanctioning by analogy to the behavior of God in the parable.

Now it could still be (logically or linguistically) that what is here called "torture" is different (closely examined) from the "torture" that the Church and Pope Benedict XVI have condemned as intrinsically evil. In fact, it must be, because faithful Catholics dont think that the magisterium and Scripture could contradict, and no Christian thinks that Jesus could or would condone anything intrinsically evil.

Therefore, it comes back again to the necessity for highly specific, particular discussion as to what is right and wrong in this regard, and when and how it is one or the other. This is what the opponents of waterboarding seem determined not to do; dead-set against. So, for example, Mark Shea argues repeatedly that it is illegitimate and unsavory to argue about lines and "how much we can / 'get to' do" (by way of coercion). He decries that whole line of approach from the get-go, as utterly wrong and indefensible (not to mention despicable and contemptible).

But a person more neutral or in favor of some limited use of waterboarding as permissible, like Jimmy Akin, makes (contra Shea's disapproval) highly particularized arguments as to rightness and wrongness. For my money, it's always better to discuss in as great a depth as possible, any complicated issue, rather than to cut off various strains of analyses as somehow morally dubious from the outset. The moral judgments can wait till sufficient open-minded, seeking discussion has occurred.

[further discussion of this paper and the issue can be found under the cross-posting on my Facebook page]

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

How to Use and Navigate My Blog

By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong 

When you get to the home page, you'll see seven basic categories listed at the top, underneath the photos and title:

* Home
* My Books
* Catholic Apologetics
* Christian Worldview
* Non-Catholic -Isms
* About Me
* Resume

The home page can also be accessed by

"Home" brings you to the home / main page (that's an easy one). "My Books" takes you to my main book page, that lists every book (currently 44 total), with convenient links to purchase instantly in many different ways (including instant download for e-books). This is how I create most of my own income. I do this work full-time, and have since December 2001.

The next three categories are the "heart" or "meat and potatoes" of the blog: with almost all of my nearly 2,500 posts. "Catholic Apologetics" lists all the distinctively Catholic doctrines and people (e.g., Cardinal Newman and Chesterton pages). When you click on it, you get to the "card catalogue" type chart that is a method I have used all the way from the beginning of my original website (begun in 1997).

You'll find 24 categories (three boxes of eight each): arranged alphabetically. Once you go to a particular "topical" web page (I have more than 50 separate ones total), there are almost always further subcategories, to help you select what you need. For example, on my "Bible, Tradition, Canon, and Sola Scriptura" page (the most extensive under this broad classification), there are nine sub-topics, listed at the top:

I. Relationship of the Bible to the Church
II. Tradition (Apostolic)
III. Sola Scriptura (Scripture as the Only Infallible Authority)
IV. Private Judgment
V. Perspicuity (Clearness) of Scripture
VI. Material and Formal Sufficiency of Scripture
VII. The Canon of Scripture
VIII. Deuterocanonical Books (So-Called "Apocrypha")
IX. Alleged Biblical Contradictions and Difficulties

The next broad category is "Christian Worldview": short for "General Christian Worldview and Ethics." This is less "distinctively Catholic" and is devoted mostly to topics and issues where -- broadly speaking -- "traditional" trinitarian Christians pretty much agree. It has eight web pages: C. S. Lewis, Life Issues, "Philosophy, Science, and Christianity," Sexual and Gender Issues, Christmas, "Political, Ethical, and Moral Issues," "Romantic and Imaginative Theology" (think, Tolkien and George MacDonald), and "War and Peace".

"Non-Catholic -Isms" contains web pages that critique or describe many different worldviews besides Catholicism, including Anti-Catholicism, Atheism, John CalvinCalvinism, Martin Luther, Lutheranism, Heresies, Judaism, Liberal Theology, and Orthodoxy (12 web pages total).

"About Me" has lots of personal stuff from different angles: some of it not "theological" at all. If you want to get to know me as a person, and see what I am about, beyond my apologetics and theological arguments, this is the place to go. It lists 24 different web pages that you can select.

"Resume" goes to a single web page: "My Literary Resume," which is literally a listing of all the "official" apologetics work I have done (including much beyond the blog itself) including published magazine articles, books, radio appearances, and cartoon tracts. It gives further information about credentials and affiliations, and includes many personal recommendations and a summary "About Me" section at the end.

This is how one navigates my site. Anyone could learn it in a half-hour max. I get lots of letters asking me, "do you have a paper on so-and-so?" Frankly, I don't have time to reply to all the letters like that, that come in. I provide the "stuff"; folks need to learn how to find it on my site (this is the "training session" to do that), rather than always asking me to find it for them.

It's not difficult for anyone to learn to search and navigate and find what they need. I try to make the blog as user-friendly as I can. There are main categories and sub-categories; also a search bar at the very top of the sidebar. If you learn to type in important keywords for what you're looking for, you'll find something almost every time.

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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Books by Dave Armstrong: Quotable Catholic Mystics and Contemplatives

[book completed on 30 April 2014 and published at Lulu on 1 May 2014; 304 pages; 14 mystics or mystical works; from 22 books]

* * * * * for purchase information, go to the bottom  * * * * * 

Cover photographs:  Bottom: Evening Glow, c. 1884. Top: A Moonlit Evening, 1880. Both painted by John Atkinson Grimshaw (English, 1836-1893). In the public domain and available at Wikimedia Commons.



Dedication (p. 3):
To the two female Doctors of the Church included in this volume: St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Ávila. We love you and profusely thank our Lord for the immeasurably wonderful gifts of your holiness and wisdom and writings.

Introduction (Evelyn Underhill) (p. 5) [link: read online]

Brief Biographical Portraits (p. 25) [link: read online]

Bibliography (p. 43) [see below]

Quotations (p. 47)

Index of Topics (p. ?)


St. Bernard of Clairvaux [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] 

St. Bonaventure [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Bl. John of Ruysbroeck [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Bl. Henry Suso [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Johannes Tauler [1] [2] [3] [4]

Walter Hilton [1] [2]

Julian of Norwich [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

St. Catherine of Siena [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

The Cloud of Unknowing [1] [2]

Theologia Germanica [1] [2] [3]

Thomas à Kempis / The Imitation of Christ [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

St. Catherine of Genoa [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

St. Teresa of Ávila [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

St. John of the Cross [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]


[chronologically by author]

[all books are in the public domain and available online: St. Bernard at Google Books; Evelyn Underhill at Internet Archive, all others at Christian Classics Ethereal Library]

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

On the Love of God (translated by Marianne Caroline and Coventry Patmore; London: Burns and Oates, 2nd edition, 1884) [includes also, Fragments from a Fragment]

St. Bonaventure (c. 1217-1274)

The Mind's Road to God (translated by George Boas; Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Educational Publishing, 1953)

Blessed John of Ruysbroeck (c. 1293-1381)

The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage (translated by C. A. Wynschenk; edited by Evelyn Underhill; London: J. M. Dent, 1916)

The Sparkling Stone (translated by C. A. Wynschenk; edited by Evelyn Underhill; London: J. M. Dent, 1916)

The Book of Supreme Truth (translated by C. A. Wynschenk; edited by Evelyn Underhill; London: J. M. Dent, 1916)

Blessed Henry Suso [“Suso”] (1295-1366)

A Little Book of Eternal Wisdom (“translated and published for the Catholics of England years ago”; London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1910)

The Life of Blessed Henry Suso by Himself (translated by Thomas Francis Knox, London: Burns, Lambert, and Oates, 1865)

Johannes Tauler (c. 1300-1361)

The Inner Way (translated by Arthur Wollaston, London: Methuen & Co., 2nd edition, 1909)

Walter Hilton (c. 1340/45 -1396)

The Scale [or, Ladder] of Perfection (English updated by Dom Serenus Cressy, O.S.B., 1659; New York: Benziger Brothers, 1901)

Julian[a] of Norwich (c. 1342-c. 1416)

Revelations of Divine Love (translated by Grace Warrack; London: Methuen & Co., 1901)

St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)

The Dialogue (translated by Algar Thorold; London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., London, 1907; abridged edition)

The Cloud of Unknowing: late 14th century anonymous work

The Cloud of Unknowing (translated and edited by Evelyn Underhill; London: John M. Watkins, 2nd edition, 1922)

Theologia Germanica: late 14th century work by an anonymous priest

Theologia Germanica (translated by Susanna Winkworth; edited by Dr. Peiffer; London and Glasgow: Collins' Clear-Type Press: Golden Treasury Series, 2nd edition, 1893)

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471)

The Imitation of Christ (translated by Aloysius Croft and Harold Bolton; Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Company, 1940)

St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)

Spiritual Dialogue (translated by Charlotte Balfour; New York: Christian Press Association Publishing Co., 1907)

Treatise on Purgatory (unknown translator; New York: Christian Press Association Publishing Co., 1907)
St. Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582)

Autobiography (translated by David Lewis; London: Thomas Baker / New York: Benziger Bros., 3rd edition, 1904)

The Way of Perfection (translated and edited by E. Allison Peers from the critical edition of P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D., Garden City, New York: Doubleday Image Books, 1964)

The Interior Castle (translated by the Benedictines of Stanbrook; revised by Fr. Benedict Zimmerman, O.C.D., London: Thomas Baker, 3rd edition, 1921)

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Ascent of Mount Carmel (translated and edited by E. Allison Peers from the critical edition of P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D., Garden City, New York: Doubleday Image Books, 3rd revised edition, 1962)

Dark Night of the Soul (translated and edited by E. Allison Peers from the critical edition of P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D., Garden City, New York: Doubleday Image Books, 3rd revised edition, 1959)

A Spiritual Canticle (translated by David Lewis, with corrections by Fr. Benedict Zimmerman, O.C.D., London: Thomas Baker, 1909)


Absolution 47
Angels 47
Angels, Guardian, 49
Anger 49
Apostasy 50
Apostolic Succession 50
Aridity, Spiritual 51
Atonement, Universal 53
Baptism of Blood, Fire, or Desire 54
Baptismal Regeneration 54
Beatific Vision 55
Church and Doctrinal Truth 56
Church: Bride of God 57
Church: Obedience to 57
Company, Good 61
Concupiscence 61
Conscience 61
Contrition 61
Correction 63
Covenants; Testaments (Old and New) 63
Cross, The 64
Cross, Taking Up of 64
Crucifixes 68
“Dark Night of the Soul” 68
“Dark Night of the Spirit” 74
Death 78
Deification; Divinization; Theosis 80
Demons 93
Desires, Godly 95
Detraction 96
Devotion 97
Discipleship 98
Disposition, Interior 100
Dreams (as a Means for Visions) 101
Emotions 102
Envy 102
Eucharist 103
Eucharist and Grace 104
Eucharist and Irreverence 106
Eucharist and Salvation 106
Eucharist: Preparation for 107
Eucharistic Adoration 107
Evangelism 108
Faith 108
Faith and Works 110
Faults 110
Fear 111
Flesh, The 111
Forgiveness 111
Ghosts 112
Gifts, Spiritual 113
God, Devotion to 114
God: Goodness of 114
God: Immutability of (Unchangeability) 115
God: Impassibility of (No Changeable Emotions) 116
God: Incomprehensibility of 117
God: Love for Us 119
God: Man's Love of 121
God: Mercy of 123
God: Omnipotence of 125
God: Omnipresence of 125
God: Outside of Time 125
God: Praise of 126
God: Presence of; Personal Relationship with 127
God, Providence of 127
God: Seeking of; Yearning After 128
God: Self-Sufficiency of 130
God, Trust in 131
God, Will of 131
Grace 131
Grace Alone (for Salvation) 133
Grace and Sin 135
Grace: Necessity of, for All Good Works 135
Grace: Quantifiable 138
Grace vs. Self-Reliance 139
Gratitude 139
Happiness 140
Heart: Indwelling by God 140
Heart, Purity of 143
Heaven 144
Hell 145
Heretics 152
Holy Spirit, Illumination of 152
Holy Water 153
Honor 153
Humility 153
Images and Icons 156
Inebriation, Spiritual 159
Jesus, Crucified, Visions of 159
Jesus: Devotion to; Personal Relationship with 160
Jesus, Glorified 163
Jesus, Imitation of 164
Jesus, Passion of 164
Jesus, Second Coming of 166
Jesus, Vision of 167
Joy 168
Judgment Day 169
Legalism 169
Levitation 169
Light, Divine 170
Locutions, Divine 170
Locutions, Satanic 171
Love; Charity 173
Love and Knowledge 176
Love, Fire of 176
Lust 177
Mary and Joseph: Vision of 178
Mary: Assumption of 178
Mary: Imitation of 178
Mary: Immaculate Conception of 179
Mary: Knowledge of Jesus' Passion 179
Mary: Mediatrix 179
Mary, Meekness of 180
Mary: Queen of Heaven 180
Mary: Second Eve 181
Mary: Sinlessness of 181
Mary: Spiritual Mother and Intercessor 181
Mary, Veneration of 182
Mary, Vision of 183
Mass, Sacrifice of the 183
Meditation 183
Meekness 184
Merit 184
Mind, Carnal, and Seeing God 187
Miracles 188
Mortification 188
Mysticism / Mystical Theology 190
Opposition 193
Peace, Inner 194
Penance 197
Penance, Sacrament of (Reconciliation; Confession) 198
Perfection 199
Persecution and Forgiveness 201
Perseverance 201
Pilgrimages 202
Prayer 202
Prayer and Grace 206
Prayer and Salvation 207
Prayer, Answers to 207
Prayer, Contemplative 208
Prayer, Distraction in 215
Prayer, Informal or Spontaneous 217
Prayer: Listening to God 218
Preaching 219
Pride 220
Pride, Spiritual (“Pharisaism”) 221
Priests 222
Purgatory 224
Purity 230
Rapture; Spiritual Bliss; Ecstasy 231
Reason and Piety 233
Reason, Idolatry of 234
Redemption; Atonement 234
Relics 235
Repentance 235
Repentance, Deathbed 235
Reprobation; Damnation 236
Revelations 238
Riches, Excessive Desire for 238
Saints, Communion of 240
Saints, Invocation and Intercession of 242
Saints, Veneration of 243
Salvation 244
Salvation, Moral Assurance of 245
Sanctification 246
Satan 249
Satan and Hedonism 254
Satan and Prayer 255
Satan and Visions 255
Satan, Appearance of 256
Satisfaction 257
Scripture 257
Scripture and Spirituality 257
Scripture and Truth 258
Self-Examination 259
Self-Knowledge 260
Self-Love 260
Sensuality; Carnality 261
Servanthood 262
Sin 262
Sin: Fiery Purging of 264
Sin, Mortal 265
Sin, Original 267
Sin, Venial 268
Solitude 268
Soul, The 269
Spiritual Feelings 269
Spirituality 270
Submission 272
Suffering 272
Suffering and Joy 274
Suffering and Merit 275
Suffering and Reward 275
Suffering and Sanctity 276
Suffering and Trust in God 276
Suffering: Chastisement 279
Suffering and Redemption 280
Suffering with (and for) Christ 280
Temptation 284
Temptation and Holiness 286
Temptation and Prayer 286
Temptation and Satan 287
Thanksgiving 288
Tradition, Sacred 288
Trinity, Holy 288
Unbelief 289
Vices 289
Virtue(s) 290
Visions 292
Vocations; Callings 293
Will, Man's 293
Working Together with God (Co-Laborers) 294
Works, Good 296


Orion Nebula – Hubble 2006 Mosaic edit. Credits: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team. Cropped to achieve a 3 to 2 ratio. In the public domain and available at Wikimedia Commons

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Last updated on 17 July 2014.