Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus (feb25ssc.htm)

February 25, 2007
vol 18, no. 56


    Truth is not relative, but rather built on the solid foundations of the principles of truth which always conquer for indeed, veritas vincit omnia - the truth always conquers. And yet, in today's muddled, murky world of values and mores, the mind rakers will twist, fabricate, exaggerate, and deny the truth in order to carry out their agenda which is in direct opposition to both the natural order and to God's holy Will. Father Wathen lays out the five principles for assuring truth has a solid foundation in our lives so that the wind may blow and the rains come, but the fortress which is our soul will not be moved by folly or popular opinion but by the infrangible truths that never change.
    Father James F. Wathen

        Editor's Note: Even though Father James Francis Wathen has left us, we still have his words of wisdom not only on these pages with his past sermons and reflections in the series The Sense of Sensus Catholicus and his irrefutable landmark work The Great Sacrilege, but also transcriptions of his inspirational radio programs. Thanks to Carla Downey's tireless transcribing of his words and Maria Hughes providing them, they are now available for all. As the introduction says, "In an age when Catholic truth is no longer conveyed to Catholics, let alone non-Catholics, the friends of Christ the King have determined to establish in this city, the Apostolic truth that faith comes by hearing, and to allow Catholics and fallen away Catholics, the opportunity to hear a truly, extra-ordinary Catholic priest. It is our hope that you will hear him, and return to your true religion, the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic faith. So beautiful, so captivating, and so arresting to the soul." Now these are not just for the small market of northern Indiana where they were first presented, but for the world to read. Those interested in hearing his words can acquire tapes of Fr. Wathen's programs by contacting Gerald Bonnell at 1-574-643-9296. Tapes are $2.50 each.
      "The first rule of spiritual health is truthfulness, in all things. The mind was created for the truth. The truth is its grist, its oxygen, its food and drink, its natural compliment. The mind was not created for falsehood, nor for self-deception, nor for deceit, nor exaggeration, nor ambiguities, nor for evasions, nor for unreasonableness, nor for the acceptance of error for reasons of convenience, or some selfish benefit. Resist the truth and be not surprised if YOU BECOME MIGHTILY CONFUSED...or suffer despair, or go mad. Violate the truth, flee the truth, deny it, conspire with others against it, protest that there is no such thing, do what you want. Veritas Vincit Omnia. Eventually the truth will win out, will pronounce your epitaph."

    The First Principle

        The first principle is the Latin maxim, which we learned in high school. Veritas Vincit Omnia. The truth conquers all. I am aware that in our present climate, the truth generally is unwanted. But if you do not want the truth, and are unwilling to pray for it, or do not think that there is such a thing, or cannot even formulate the concept of the truth, perhaps you are beyond my reach. Your attitude, however, does not alter the principle, as obviously nothing does. In our society there are those who scoff at the concept of truth, as Pilate did in the presence of Christ, who said that He was the truth. (John:18, 38). The truth will conquer you also. The notion is abroad that the truth is irrelevant, that it is relative, that it is unknowable, THAT THE TRUTH IS WHAT EVERYONE THINKS IT IS, OR WANTS IT TO BE. No, the truth is what was and what is. Or another definition, the truth is reality, as the mind knows it. Since we are speaking in terms of religious truth, that truth is what God has caused and revealed. Ultimately, as we shall see, the truth is what Christ our Lord said it is, His very self, as we can know Him. It is He Who is invincible. But we will come to that.

        The scriptural quotation for our first principle, was given by Christ. "The stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner. By the Lord this has been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes. Whoever shall fall on this truth, shall be broken. But on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder" (St. Matthew 21: 42-44).

    The Second Principle

        Our second principle is a corollary to this first principle. He who despises the truth, will pay the consequences, perhaps here, most certainly hereafter. I shall not attempt to prove this contention here, enough only to state it. The reason it must be stated is that many in our world persist in thinking that their disbelief, their atheism, their independence, their agnosticism, or their immorality will go unpunished. And they are clever, or sheik, or trendy, because they live their lives as they please. At some future time I shall argue this point, but not now. I must state it however, so that you the listener will know that I address you with sober seriousness. If I say that a man may not suffer the consequences of despising the truth while he is yet alive, I do not mean that he will not. Much of the misery in this world, is suffered by people who refuse to face up to the truth. They either deny it or try to run away from it. When we say this we have in mind, both the natural and supernatural order. The natural order is the order of our worldly, physical lives, our physical life on earth. The supernatural order is the unseen world, which is the order of sin and grace, of the Church and revelation, of the angels and the sacraments, of Heaven and hell. These radio talks will deal mainly with this world, which I shall try to prove is more real than the one we see.

        When I say that men will despise the natural order, or suffer the consequences, I mean that this is one of the problems that men refuse to deal with. They think they can violate the laws of nature and get away with it, but they cannot. Nowadays, there is a great rage over health and fitness, though some people are making a religion out of it, the basic idea is good. Those who go to the trouble of following the rules of good health and fitness, enjoy the benefits. Those who do not, not only do not enjoy the benefits of good health, but besides, they suffer the consequences of not doing so. Those who imagine they may violate the rules of good mental health, or better, of spiritual health, will also suffer the consequences.

        The first rule of spiritual health is truthfulness, in all things. The mind was created for the truth. The truth is its grist, its oxygen, its food and drink, its natural compliment. The mind was not created for falsehood, nor for self-deception, nor for deceit, nor exaggeration, nor ambiguities, nor for evasions, nor for unreasonableness, nor for the acceptance of error for reasons of convenience, or some selfish benefit. Resist the truth and be not surprised if YOU BECOME MIGHTILY CONFUSED...or suffer despair, or go mad. Violate the truth, flee the truth, deny it, conspire with others against it, protest that there is no such thing, do what you want. Veritas Vincit Omnia. Eventually the truth will win out, will pronounce your epitaph.

        The appointment registers of psychiatrists, the rooms of mental hospitals, indeed the whole world is full of people who refuse to accept the truth. Both natural and revealed. In many cases, it is their refusal to accept the simple truth about their ownselves, which is the cause of their unhappiness and their derangement. They are already paying the consequences of their dishonesty with themselves, to say nothing of the grief which they cause others. One day, either on this side of the grave or on the other, they will have to accept what they knew already, or easily could have ascertained. And they will have to pay the price of not committing themselves to the truth.

    The Third Principle

        The third principle is: we must be reasonable. Do you remember the first series of Star Trek? There was in the crew of the Enterprise, an alien called Spock. He was in the script, one of the hero's. The first officer of Captain Kirk, if I am not mistaken. Spock was unique, both because of his over-sized ears, and also because he was devoid of all emotion. His constant refrain was: that is not logical. In the script, Spock as I recall, had an advantage over earthlings, because he was able to judge every situation and every problem with complete objectivity. Sentimental considerations were completely lost on him. In the pursuit of truth, one must be logical, and give no place to sentiment, something that we shall attempt to do here, but will be classified not as superior for but as unfeeling and unsympathetic. Our response will always be that we must be logical. Perhaps a word about logic would be useful.

        We must accept it as a principle, that men can attain natural truth, that is, the truth about the seen world, through the use of one's natural resources. Particularly, the power of the mind. In a word, a man can arrive at new truths, through deduction or by reasoning. This is the mental process of drawing a new truth out of two known ones. We call the process deduction, and the form of it a syllogism. Men reason without thinking of it and without analyzing the process. Here is an example of a syllogism: Every man has a body and a soul. John is a man, therefore, John has a body and a soul. Although reasoning is the mind's natural and innate tendency and habit, about many things people are disinclined to be logical. They prefer to be unreasonable. They crave to be deceived by false logic. I give you an example: you surely know that politicians excepted, most conspicuous violators of logic are the advertisers. Generally, advertisers must resort to unreasonableness. Because they exist to create a need in the mind of people, for things which they do not need. How often have you seen an advertisement, which plays on the idea that the person who reads or watches, is special?

        Is he better than others, if he appreciates this product, and buys it. Clearly, the advertiser hopes the person is not special. Because he wants as many people as possible to buy the product. The more people that buy the product, the less special every one of them is. In the area of religion, which is our interest here, the common saying is, I do not believe it is important what a man believes, but how he lives. What the man is saying is that in his opinion, God does not care what His creatures believe, so long as they conduct themselves in a certain fashion. However, the nature of religion has little to do with the speaker's opinion. The fundamental notion of any religion that is worthy of the name, is that there is a God, who must be worshipped! WHO MUST BE PLEASED, PLACATED AND SERVED. That is your major premise. The minor premise is that one's conduct will be determined by what one believes about his God.

        Faith determines one's conduct in any case. The man who says he thinks that it is not one's faith that matters but his conduct, really means: I WILL DECIDE WHAT I WILL BELIEVE ABOUT GOD, SO THAT I CAN DECIDE HOW I WANT TO ACT WITH REGARD TO HIM. The correct conclusion, however is, FAITH MUST BE GIVEN PRIMACY OVER MORALITY. The dear Lord Jesus made this very clear when He said: "Therefore I say to you that you shall die in your sins, for if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins" (St. John: 8: 24).

    The Fourth Principle

        The fourth principle is: not only must one ignore one's own feelings, in the pursuit of the truth, but one must ignore those of everyone else. And he must ignore all other considerations. He must ignore the prevalent opinion, he must ignore his best friends, and perhaps listen to his worst enemy. He must pay no attention to what the majority says, nor the minority. For neither is infallibly right. HE MUST BE WILLING TO BE ISOLATED FROM HIS FAMILY, HIS FRIENDS, what is referred to as conventional wisdom, and all commonly accepted notions. You must expect no earthly advantage from the truth, except the inner quietude and confidence of having an orderly mind and an orderly life. Truth is not necessarily a marketable product. It has cost many men their lives. The most outstanding example being Jesus of Nazareth. Adherence to the truth MAY CAUSE A MAN TO BE CALUMNIATED, MISUNDERSTOOD, HATED, MISLABELED, AND TREATED AS IF HE WERE A MALEVOLENT CREATURE. I can practically guarantee, that to the extent that you pursue the truth, and attach yourself to it, such as these will be the consequences. But if you do not pursue the truth, you will have everything else the world has to offer, but you will have to suffer the consequences of being wrong. And as I have said, being wrong will finally demand its payment.

    The Fifth Principle

        The fifth principle is: pay no attention to the person who says a thing, but what it is he says. You must isolate the thing said from all people and things, as a biologist isolates a virus or a bacterium, in order to give it close study. For the same reason you must give no preference to the position, the reputation or the fearsomeness of the person who speaks. Furthermore still, you must give no consideration to the great number of people who say the same thing. It is easier to sway a mob than an individual. Surely everyone knows by now, THAT THE NEWS AND THE ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA, which include radio networks, television, the daily newspapers, the majority of popular magazines and periodicals, the movie industry, and a great portion of the publishing industry, should more properly be called the "Propaganda Conglomerate" of the GLOBAL GOVERNMENT. Or simply Newspeak, to use George Orwell's term. They have succeeded in convincing the vast majority of people, that what the medias say is the pure, unadulterated and unquestionable truth. The result is that the majority of people, are incapable of thinking for themselves about anything, even about things that they can look at with their own eyes. Of course, those who are being deceived, do not know it is happening. They are constantly being told how intelligent they are, and that they have a free press, and that it is a terrible crime of extremism, to allow thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, different from those which are issued to them daily. One of the major reasons for this program, is an effort to persuade you the listener, to do a little independent thinking. Something the media constantly insists you are doing when, but only when, you agree with them. The effort here is to persuade you to clear your mind of the pre-chewed and pre-digested ideas which have been prescribed for you and to try to entertain a few ideas which you have not had before.

        Bishop Fulton J. Sheen gave the advice that if ever you get a new idea, treat it kindly, it is in a strange place.

    Yours in Christ,

    Father James Wathen

      For past articles of Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus, see 2007ssc.htm Archives

      February 25, 2007
      vol 18, no. 56
      Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus