Online text: “The Judicial Penal Procedure for the Dismissal of a Diocesan Priest from the Clerical State”, by Fr. John Diraviam

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  • The Judicial Penal Procedure for the Dismissal of a Diocesan Priest from the Clerical State According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, by Fr. John Diraviam (©John Diraviam, Ottawa, Canada, 2008). Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Canon Law, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada. Available in PDF format (on this page) at the University of Ottawa Repository. [The text states: “The author has granted a nonexclusive license allowing Library and Archives Canada to… communicate to the public… The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author’s permission.”]

On the Memorial of St. Peter Damian in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite (calendars of Sri Lanka and India). For other legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject).

Online video: “Traditional Latin Mass on Feast of St. John of Matha, with Cardinal Burke”

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  • Traditional Latin Mass on Feast of St. John of Matha, with Cardinal Burke [on] 8 February 2016 HD (published on Feb 11, 2016). Available on this page of the Youtube channel Catholic Sat.
    • As described on the page: “Pontifical High Mass, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, on the Feast of St. John of Matha, from the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Krakow, Poland. Presided by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta”

In further commemoration of the Feast of John Matha in the Roman Rite. For other legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject).

O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen. (From Sancta Missa)

Online text: “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians Oppressed for their Faith 2013–15”

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On the Feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita (in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) and of Saint John Matha (in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). For other ebooks on the oppression of Christians, particularly Christians of the one true Church, see our page “Anti-Catholic Persecution“. For other legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject)

“Of the 23 countries that showed high levels of persecution… In 16 countries the persecution was linked to extremist Islam… In 6 of the remaining countries the persecution was attributed to authoritarian regimes… And in 1 country – India – the persecution was linked to Hindu extremists. In addition, faith groups in the West have experienced increasing hostility and pressure in a society where secularism and atheism have gained prominence. In this region of the world, there has been a growth in acts of hatred and institutional intolerance towards religious groups and the values they uphold.” (From the home page of Religious Freedom in the World Report – 2016)

Free ebook: “Mystical Contemplation; or, The Principles of Mystical Theology”, by Rev. Father E. Lamballe

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  • Mystical Contemplation; or, The Principles of Mystical Theology, by Rev. Father E. Lamballe, translated by W.H. Mitchell (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1913). With Imprimatur. May be read online and available in various formats (pdf, mobi/kindle, epub, etc.) at Internet Archive and Open Library.

On the Feast of St. Romuald in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. For other legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject).

“As soon as this was done, he prevailed upon his disciples to take ship and cross to the other side before him, leaving him to send the multitudes home. When he had finished sending them home, he went up by himself on to the hill-side, to pray there; twilight had come, and he remained there alone.” (St. Matthew xiv, 22-23)

Online text: “The Shortage of Roman Catholic Priests in the United States Navy Chaplain Corps”, by LCdr Christopher S. Fronk

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  • The Shortage of Roman Catholic Priests in the United States Navy Chaplain Corps: Addressing the Problem (Masteral Thesis), by LCdr Christopher S. Fronk, CHC, USNR (2009). Available in PDF format at the Defense Technical Information Center.

On the Feast of Saint Titus in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. For other legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject).

O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen. (From Sancta Missa)

Texte en ligne: “Foi et inculturation”, par la Commission Theologique Internationale

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  • Foi et inculturation, par la Commission Theologique Internationale (1988). “Approuvé in forma specifica lors de la session plénière d’octobre 1988 et rendu public avec le placet de S. Ém. le cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, président de la Commission”. Disponible sur le site du Saint-Siege.

En la Fête de Saint Jean de Britto (calendrier de Angola). Pour plus de livres gratuits, vous pouvez accéder à la liste des eBooks gratuits (par titres) et la liste des eBooks gratuits (regroupées par sujet).

« C’est pour cela que tout scribe devenu disciple du royaume des cieux ressemble à un maître de maison qui tire de son trésor du neuf et du vieux. » (Mt. xiii, 52)

(And if the grammar is wrong, please correct me. Merci!)

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Saint Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas of Aquino was born in the early 13th century to a high noble family that counted as its relatives two Holy Roman Emperors and the kings of Aragon, Castile, and France. Despite his heritage, St. Thomas chose the life of a teacher in the Dominican mendicant (begging) order instead of the high office planned by his family, whose members even detained him for more than a year to try to change his mind. (In later life he would also turn down an archbishopric to continue his teaching work.) Living in an age when political loyalties and cultural differences were transcended by a common Faith and language of scholarship, St. Thomas would work in France, Germany, and Italy until before his death around the age of 49.

The 13th century was, in many ways, the golden age of Scholasticism, the Christian intellectual movement that emerged with the Latin Renaissance of the 12th century and found its home in the universities of Western Christendom. It was characterized by its rigorous use of logic and dialectic to apply the Christian Faith, which led to the rise of many schools of theology, philosophy and law within the doctrinal framework of Catholic Christianity. In St. Thomas’ time, Latin thought had recently encountered the metaphysical and ethical writings of Aristotle, and in the ensuing debates with extreme Aristotelians and the anti-Aristotelians alike, St. Thomas would prove a formidable controversialist and speculative thinker. It is largely due to him that the Aristotelian corpus was purified of its errors and integrated into Catholic thought.

St. Thomas’ writings were marked by his openness to all the intellectual traditions known in his time. Thus his theological works contain, alongside copious reverent citations of Sacred Scripture, references to the Greek philosophical tradition (including its Roman, Jewish and Muslim interpreters); the theologies of the Church Fathers, especially St. Augustine (whose writings, like the Scriptures of St. Paul and St. John, were influenced to varying degrees by Greek philosophy); Roman law as revived by the Latin canonists; and the writings of earlier Scholastics, particularly St. Anselm and Peter Lombard. Using the dialectical method of Peter Abelard and the categories of Aristotelian logic, St. Thomas sifted these traditions for their valid insights, which he melded into a comprehensive Christian synthesis.

For St. Thomas was, above all, a Christian theologian, and so the integrating principles of his thought were founded on his devout Catholic Faith. He affirmed that God is the source of all truth[1], including what we know through philosophy (rational inquiry on God’s creation) and sacred doctrine (divine revelation, which reason receives through God-given faith)[2]. Of these two, sacred doctrine is nobler because it communicates the truths of salvation, which are beyond the reach of reason[3]; and because, being God’s utterance, it gives greater certainty even on truths within reason’s grasp[4]. In sum, St. Thomas was confident that philosophy rightly conducted cannot contradict sacred doctrine rightly understood[5], which completes and corrects it[6]; and he sought to demonstrate the harmony of faith and reason throughout his work.

But while we need to believe in truth for our beatitude[7]–since we cannot love God if we don’t know Him–it is charity (supernatural love of God) that unites us to Him[8]. Because our capacity for love is limited by our nature and weakened by sin[9], God gave us His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord[10]. By His Passion Christ redeemed us from sin, as His members in His mystical body the Church[11], and reconciled us with God[12]; and by the grace we receive in the sacraments of His Church–which derive their power from the Passion of Christ[13]–God elevates our nature that we might share His divine life and do His commandments[14]. Thus are we able to supernaturally love God and our neighbor, and to see Him face to face in eternal beatitude[15]. In short, as the synthesis of St. Thomas is founded on the unity of God’s truth, so it is consummated in the communion of His love.

The outline and method of St. Thomas’ thought can be clearly seen in his most famous work, called the Summa Theologica (Summation of Theology). Divided into parts, questions, and articles, its general structure begins with God and returns to Him (following the exitus-redditus schema of Christian Neoplatonism). As legions of students have seen from the much-anthologized article “Whether God exists?”, each article begins by stating the Objections to the correct conclusion. Then Aquinas cites an authority for his position (“On the contrary…”), followed by a reasoned argument for its correctness (“I answer that…). The article then concludes with Replies to the Objections. Each question and article builds on the conclusions of preceding questions, and article, making the Summa a theological edifice systematically built brick by brick from the best of Christian and non-Christian thought.

The impact of St. Thomas’ achievement in Catholic Christian thought cannot be over-stated. In the 16th century, his theology of grace (which united the moral emphasis of the Western Fathers and the mystical focus of the Eastern Fathers) was used by the Council of Trent to define the Catholic doctrine of salvation, and allowed the one true Church to steer clear of both Protestant dualism and Eastern Orthodox monism. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the Church used St. Thomas’ thought, especially his theory of knowledge, to resist the temptations to Fundamentalism and Modernism when confronted with modern philosophy. And amid the revival of Thomism in the Neoscholastic movement, it was on the basis of St. Thomas’ anthropology and ethics that the Church codified Christian Social Teaching, with which she responded to secular humanism and totalitarian ideology in the 20th century.

St. Thomas also exerted a pervasive influence on the secular world. In the Second Scholasticism of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, Catholics and Protestants alike debated and speculated in theology, philosophy, and law using the thought of St. Thomas; and they laid upon his foundations the beginnings of international law, natural rights discourse, modern economic theory, and (through Suarez and Descartes) modern Western philosophy. In the past decades many non-Catholics rediscovered Thomism even as Catholics increasingly adopted non-Thomist modes of inquiry. Various schools now claim his authority for their competing theories on economics, sexual ethics, and social organization; and Aquinas’ epistemology and anthropology were recently cited as a superior basis to explain cognition and other neurological phenomena.

In sum, St. Thomas Aquinas may well be one of the greatest systematic philosophers in history, alongside Aristotle, Shankara, and Immanuel Kant; and he is certainly, with St. Augustine and St. John Damascene, one of the greatest theologians in the Catholic tradition. Therefore, while the Church has ever valued and learned from a plurality of intellectual schools, various Popes beginning with Leo XIII have specifically encouraged the study of St. Thomas’ mind and method, as did the Second Vatican Council; and St. Thomas is honoured in the Church as her “Angelic Doctor” and “Common Doctor”. At the Council of Trent, his Summa was placed upon the altar beside the Sacred Scriptures and the decrees of the Popes; and the Constitution Dei Filius of the First Vatican Council is effectively a restatement of St. Thomas’ teaching on faith and reason, itself founded on the doctrine of Scripture and the tradition of the Fathers.

All this attention would likely have nonplussed St. Thomas himself: a man of deep faith and humility who, after a great mystical vision, declared that all he had written was straw. In the university, his soft-spoken manner and (apparently) bovine appearance reportedly caused his fellow students to call him the “dumb ox”. It was left to his teacher Saint Albert the Great–himself a renowned theologian and pioneer of natural science–to correct them with the eventual judgment of posterity: “You call him a dumb ox, but I tell you… his bellowings shall fill the world.” Thus it is as much for his holiness and humility as for his brilliance that St. Thomas is held up as an example to Christian thinkers. Thus Pope Leo XIII declared:

“let us follow the example of the Angelic Doctor, who never gave himself to reading or writing without first begging the blessing of God, who modestly confessed that whatever he knew he had acquired not so much by his own study and labor as by the divine gift”. (Aeterni Patris, 33)

See also our post “Free ebooks by and about St. Thomas Aquinas” (28 January 2013), Part I of which was re-published on this post; and our “List of eBooks in the Neoscholastic (“Manualist”) Tradition” (7 March 2013) listing links to texts influenced by Scholastic thought from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. For other legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject).


*The Introduction is drawn in part from the article “St. Thomas Aquinas” of the Catholic Encyclopedia. It is also based on various works I’ve read in the past, including Joseph De Torre, Introduction to Christian Philosophy; Etienne Gilson, Elements of Christian Philosophy and The Spirit of Thomism; Frederick Copleston, Medieval Philosophy; Thomas Gilby, Poetic Experience: An Introduction to Thomist Aesthetic; and Joseph Pohle, Grace, Actual and Habitual: A Dogmatic Treatise.

[1] Summa Theologica, 1a 2ae, q.109, a.4, r.1.
[2] Summa Theologica, 1a, q.1, a.1, r.1.
[3] Summa Theologica, 1a, q.1, a.1, q.1, a.5, 1a 2ae, q.109, a.4, r.1.
[4] Summa Theologica, 1a, q.1, a.1, q.1, a.5; Summa Contra Gentiles, I, iv, 6.
[5] Summa Contra Gentiles, I, vii, 7.
[6] Summa Theologica, 1a, q.1, a.6, r.2.
[7] Summa Theologica, 1a 2ae, q.113, a.4.
[8] Summa Theologica, 1a 2ae, q.28, a.1-2; 2a 2ae, q.27, a.4.
[9] Summa Theologica, 1a 2ae, q.109, a.4c.
[10] Summa Contra Gentiles, V, liv, 9.
[11] Summa Theologica, 3a, q.49, a.1c.
[12] Summa Theologica, 3a, q.49, a.2.
[13] Summa Theologica, 3a, q.62, a.5.
[14] Summa Theologica, 1a 2ae, q.109, a9c, q.114, a.3c.
[15] Summa Theologica, 1a 2ae, q.3, a.8; q.5, a.5; q.114, a.4.

Online text: “How to Become a Catholic: A Guide for the Interested”, by Rev. Peter J. Elliott

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On the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul in the Latin and Maronite churches. For other legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject).

O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen. (From Sancta Missa)

Texto en linea: Discursos del Santo Padre Benedicto XVI a la Rota Romana (2006-2013)

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En la Fiesta de San Raimundo de Peñafort en la forma extraordinaria del rito romano. Para más libros, por favor ingrese a la lista de los libros electrónicos gratis (Ordenados por título) y la lista de los libros gratis (Agrupados por tema).

“Recientemente, algunas corrientes de pensamiento han puesto en guardia contra el excesivo apego a las leyes de la Iglesia, comenzando por los Códigos, juzgándolos, en realidad, como una manifestación de legalismo…

“[E]ste planteamiento no supera el positivismo que denuncia… Falta encontrar el sentido de un derecho objetivo, ya que queda a merced de las consideraciones que pretendiendo ser teológicas o pastorales, al final están expuestas al riesgo de arbitrariedad. (Discurso de 21 de enero de 2012)

[And if the grammar is wrong, pray correct me. Gracias!]

Online text: “Purity”, by Rev. Bede Jarrett, O.P.

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On the Feast of Saint Agnes in the Roman rite. For other legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject)From the spirit of fornication, oh Lord, deliver us!