Sunday 24th January 2021

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

A Book Review… A Very New Book About A Very Old Idea

July 3, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER

Integralism: A Manual of Political Philosophy by Thomas Crean and Alan Fimister. Editiones Scholasticae, 2020; paperback, 290 pages. Available at amazon.com.

One of Moliere’s characters — a certain M. Jourdain — is at once stunned and delighted to learn that he has spoken prose all his life. Practicing Catholics, similarly, should be stunned and delighted to learn that, by the grace of God, we have been integralists all our lives. In Christian Prayer, a volume used by many who pray the Liturgy of the Hours, there is a brief, but beautiful and meaningful, petition: “Form our lives in [Thy] truth, our hearts in [Thy] love” (p. 617).
Integralism, as the cover of this new volume tells us, “is the application to the temporal, political order of the full implications of the revelation of man’s supernatural end in Christ and of the divinely established means by which it is to be attained.” Isn’t that what our personal moral lives are all about as Catholics?
(Please read Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 1888, 2044, and 2105 as background to this review. It isn’t often that an article comes with “assigned reading”!)
The co-authors of Integralism: A Manual of Political Philosophy are Fr. Thomas Crean, who is a friar of the English Province of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), and Alan P. Fimister, who teaches at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. They are at pains both to explain what Integralism is, and what it is not. We Catholics are called to form ourselves in and through Christ the King, trying to make Him Lord of everything we think and say and do. There is no element or aspect of our lives, we hope, in which we seal off the call of Christ, relegating Him to second or third-class interest.
That includes, of course, business. And sex. And entertainment. And politics.
Integralism correctly teaches us that we must not segregate Christ and His Church into hermetically sealed domains, one marked “sacred,” and the other marked “secular.” Civil and canon law “should work in concord, while safeguarding the superior rights of the Church: since heavenly beatitude is a greater good than earthly happiness, the temporal power must cede to the spiritual where the latter judges that its goal would otherwise be impeded” (p. 218).
The separation of church and state is, in the common view, a fundamental constitutional principle. Or is it in the Declaration of Independence? Actually, that “principle” is explicitly in neither document, and as Crean and Fimister repeatedly remind us, that idea is condemned in and by traditional Church teaching.
The book offers a very substantial wellspring of references, citations, and corroborative material to expand and anchor their assertions. For example, they quote St. Thomas: “Since Pentecost,…all temporal rulers must be subject to the authority of the Catholic Church” (p. 78). To cordon off politics from Catholic moral philosophy is not only undesirable but evil.

An Empirical Observation

Briefly consider two matters:
First, if, and to the extent that, eternal truth is locked away from personal, political, and public life, debauchery will fill its place. They quote Pope Leo XIII: “When Christian institutions and morality decline, the main foundation of human society goes together with them” (p. 104n).
Is this not an altogether empirical observation, given, especially, the last fifty or sixty years? Pope Benedict XV taught in 1914: “Sad experience proves that human authority fails where religion is set aside” (p. 106n). The religion which the liberal order must “set aside” — that is, extirpate — is the Catholic faith, which teaches that we are made in the image and likeness of God, to whom we turn for meaning and destiny.
By contrast, liberalism’s “break with the past,” says Patrick Deneen in Why Liberalism Failed, “was founded on a false anthropology.” Our secularized society worships the image in the mirror and seeks to divinize our appetites and urges. That is why Crean and Fimister write that “secularisation [sic] is death” (pp. 217, 73). The civil order, once separated from the Church, will become an intransigent, and tyrannical, enemy of the Church (p. 270).
Second, the Church must fruitfully teach all her children, for “Education belongs pre-eminently to the Church, by reason of a double title in the supernatural order, conferred exclusively upon her by God Himself,” wrote Pope Pius XI (pp. 20n, 51). As our secular society redefines life and marriage and sex, and as nihilism is in the very air we breathe, who will transmit the culture liberals abhor, and who will imbue Catholics with the full truth and beauty and goodness which is the heart of the faith which comes to us from the apostles?
Where (and from whom?) are we to learn, at this time and in this place, that the Catholic Church is the true faith? that the family is the “necessary society” (p. 61); that “unashamed sodomy” marks the time of the antichrist (p. 141); that war can be just (p. 209); that the idea of rights can be dangerously distorted (p. 37); that respect for custom is critical and that easily changed laws are perilous (p. 135); that socialism is a “pernicious error” (p. 195); that a global political authority is “unnecessary and unwise” (p. 215); that capital punishment is permissible (252); that conflict will be with us until the Parousia (p. 259; Job 7:1)?
Where are we to learn these, and many other, concepts if and when the Church itself is invaded by “the smoke of Satan,” a worldly spirit which is the sworn enemy of the things and thoughts of Catholic life (cf. 1 John 2:15)? “The temporal polity,” they write, “must be continuously checked by the spiritual power lest it follow its fallen tendency to rejoin the [rapacious] city of man” (p. 263).
They write that “teachers of scandalous life [must] be removed,” (p. 52), but then came Bostock vs. Clayton County: As Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his dissent, this ruling has potential for extensive (and unforeseen) consequences — for sports and, much more importantly, for churches, and for schools. Will Catholic schools be able to determine their own faculties? Or will the Leviathan — the gargantuan government — dictate programs, policies, and personnel? We have exactly backwards:
We hope and pray and work for the civil order to be guarded and guided and governed by the truths of the Catholic faith (CCC, nn. 2244-2246). Crean and Fimister are clear, however, that they seek no theocracy. It’s virtue that we must cultivate (cf. Prov. 14:33, 29:18), returning us, by the way, to the need for moral clarity in our Catholic schools, colleges, and seminaries.
We need — so very much! — wise leaders (p. 160), and wisdom means, preeminently, a filial fear of God (Prov. 9:10; Psalm 111:10). They quote from Sirach: “What manner of man the ruler of a city is, such as are they that dwell therein” (10:2; pp. 248, 254). From which soi-disant Catholic college today are we to expect our wise leaders? The Church as mother and teacher (pace the one-time reservation of William F. Buckley, Jr.), yes; the Church as temporal ruler, no. Such political power is neither the proper goal nor the principal purpose of the Church.
Although the Pope may exercise the temporal sword, he may do so only in the case of “necessity,” where it is “morally certain that otherwise grave harm would be done to souls” (p. 230).
The authors do not quote Pope St. Pius X, in E Supremi (1903), but I take his adjuration — “You see, then, Venerable Brethren, the duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon you of bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society, now estranged from the wisdom of Christ; the Church will then subject it to Christ, and Christ to God [9]” — to be consistent with their chief thesis. There is, too, the plain good sense of the Psalm: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (118:9; 146:3).
Integralism should enjoy a warm reception by a large audience. It won’t. It will be generally regarded by Catholic readers, unfairly and incorrectly, as outdated (when, in fact, it is timely and timeless); as “triumphalist” (when, in fact, it is consonant with Vatican II, which tells us “The Catholic Church is by the will of Christ the teacher of truth” [Dignitatis Humanae, n. 14]); and as authoritarian (when, in fact, it accurately celebrates Christ’s Church as divinely authoritative).

Worth The Effort

This is not to suggest that there will not be difficulties with this text. Crean and Fimister robustly assert that in formally Catholic societies, idolaters and atheists — as well as all the unbaptized, heretics, and schismatics — must be barred from the legislature and from key executive and judicial posts (p. 117). What, though, of our current herd of self-professed Catholic political leaders (who might beneficially consult Isaiah 9:16 and James 4:4)?
It may be that those who superciliously define themselves as being among us may well be the worst apostates (Matt. 10:36). Yet who has the courage to expose them and to excommunicate them? How do our bishops understand “a Catholic in good standing”? How do we understand a bishop “in good standing”? By what he says? What he does? Whom he honors? How much he tolerates?
The adoption of this text in secular or “public” colleges is very doubtful — but one suspects that will be true, as well, of Catholic institutions where it should be intelligently read, discussed, debated, and written about in countless student papers.
I hope I can be forgiven for questioning whether there will be many such politics, philosophy, and theology academic departments eager to learn or to relearn, and then impart, traditional Catholic teaching — even at the time of Bostock.
That Integralism, as both principle and book, may be hard to understand — given our half-century of neo-pagan socialization; our catechetical and theological ignorance; and our widespread admiration of the gods of autonomy, hedonism, and nihilism — hardly means it isn’t very well worth the effort. Contemporary Catholic education must help to sanitize our society by disinfecting the moral and mental plagues of the day.
One must point out, too, that the book, in places, needs decoding. Consider: “Insufficient therefore is the opinion that no action should be forbidden which is not contrary to the will of some other citizen, a doctrine which would permit usury, sodomy, and necromancy” (p. 109). I do not quarrel with the point of the sentence — only with its obscure style. The ordinary college sophomore will struggle to “decode” that. The book requires an authoritative guide, which, however, is what good teachers are.
They close their admirable text by pointing out that Pope Paul VI, reading that Vatican II was leaving intact “the traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion,” judged, they write, “that the growth of secularism had become so great by his time that Catholic temporal rulers would not succeed in subjecting their power to Christ and the Church in the formal and explicit way that had formerly constituted Christendom, and he declined to ask them to do so” (p. 273).
Crean and Fimister do not ask this question, but St. Peter did, and so must we: If we do not go to Christ and to His Church for truth and meaning, “Lord, to whom would we go?” (John 6:68). May our lives by formed by His truth and our hearts by His love.

  • + + (Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, a former U.S. Army officer, and author of Morals Under the Gun, and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He has served as “Distinguished Visiting Chair of Character Development” at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
    (Deacon Toner has contributed numerous commentaries to The Wanderer. He serves in the Diocese of Charlotte, N.C.)
Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Hey, fellow Catholics -

Remember the McCarrick Report?

Remember McCarrick?

Remember the sex-abuse coverups?

Remember being locked out of Mass for months?

Remember how abortion was essential, but Mass was "unessential"?

Remember our silent bishops?

No?

Heckuva job, @USCCB!

We will be leaving this platform soon! Censoring the truth is a highway to hell. Join us at #Parler. Our handle is @thewanderernewspaper

What have we learned in the last couple of months? One thing for sure - the Swamp is alive and well and bigger than ever!

And just like that, we’ve forgotten that a voting machine was hacked into live in a Georgia senate hearing.

Load More...

Catholic bishop released five days after kidnapping in Nigeria

CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

VIDEO: BLM mob threatens, chases Rand Paul down streets of DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky found himself the target of left-wing violence yet again Thursday night as protesters swarmed him as he was leaving the White House, chasing him and his wife…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

CNA Staff, Jul 21, 2020 / 11:05 am MT (CNA).- The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support…Continue Reading

Statue of Virgin Mary beheaded at Tennessee parish

CNA Staff, Jul 15, 2020 / 10:40 am MT (CNA).- A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked this weekend at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the third reported incident against a statue of Mary occuring in the same…Continue Reading

21 doctors tell bishops Communion on tongue ‘safer’ than in hand

June 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-one Austrian doctors have authored a letter appealing their country’s Bishops’ Conference to lift the de facto ban on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, which has been enforced since Communion in the hand was…Continue Reading

Catholic priest among defenders of St Louis statue

CNA Staff, Jun 27, 2020 / 09:36 pm MT (CNA).- Fr. Stephen Schumacher, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was among the defenders of a prominent statue of the city’s namesake as protesters called for its removal Saturday.…Continue Reading

‘I cannot remain silent’: Madison Catholic bishop condemns destruction of religious statues

Denver Newsroom, Jun 24, 2020 / 04:08 pm MT (CNA).- As rioters across the United States target statues depicting historical figures, the Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday denounced that destruction, along with calls to destroy some depictions of Jesus…Continue Reading

John Roberts tries to suppress Reagan’s letter

After three and a half years of legal wrangling, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in August of 1985 ordered the 16,433 mangled babies’ bodies found in Woodland Hills in 1982 to be turned over to the Guerra-Gutirrez-Alexander Mortuary…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Our New “Catholic” President . . . Statement from President Biden and Vice President Harris on the 48th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today marks the 48th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.   In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack.  We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care – regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status.  The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade and appointing judges…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone’s Response to Speaker Pelosi’s Comments About Pro-Life Voters

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized prolife voters who voted for Donald Trump on the abortion issue, saying their votes cause her “great grief as a Catholic” and accusing them of “being willing to sell the whole democracy down the river for that one issue.” Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, issued the following statement in response: “To begin with the obvious: Nancy Pelosi does not speak for the Catholic Church.…Continue Reading

In one of his last acts as president, Trump again makes anniversary of Roe ‘Sanctity of Life Day’

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. President Donald J. Trump has once again declared January 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision imposing abortion on demand across the country, to be “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.” In the proclamation, published yesterday, Trump called on the U.S. Congress to join him “ in protecting and defending the dignity of every human life, including those not yet born” and promised himself “to continue speaking…Continue Reading

In-person March for Life canceled for all but ‘small group of pro-life leaders’

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Organizers of the annual March for Life in the nation’s capital have announced that the mass gathering against abortion is being effectively canceled this year in place of a virtual event, with only a “small group of pro-life leaders” invited to demonstrate in person.

Nuns arrested as Beijing turns up heat on Catholic Church in Hong Kong

HONG KONG – In a high-walled Art Deco villa in the Hong Kong suburbs of Kowloon, the Vatican operates an unofficial diplomatic mission, its only political outpost of any kind in China. The mission keeps such a low profile that it isn’t listed in the Roman Catholic Church’s formal directory of every priest and property in the city. The two monsignors who staff the outpost have no formal standing with Beijing or the Hong Kong government,…Continue Reading

The Bishop Strickland Hour – Week of September 29

Loose Thinking And Lost Logic

By DONALD DeMARCO Loose thinking occurs when more is attributed to a subject than what the subject contains. For example, the U.S. Constitution does not include any provision for justifying abortion or same-sex marriage. You cannot extract a liter of water from a bottle that contains only a pint.Barack Obama offered us an excellent example…Continue Reading

Now, The Left Owns It All

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN (Editor’s Note: This column by Patrick J. Buchanan was dated January 19.) + + That mob that split off from the Donald Trump rally of January 6 to invade the Capitol has proven a godsend to the left.The death of a Capitol cop has enabled the left — which spent the…Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court . . . Declines To Take Case Concerning Pittsburgh’s Censorship Zone Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday, January 11 to weigh in on a Pittsburgh, Pa., censorship-zone law similar to a Massachusetts law the High Court struck down in 2014. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, who represent five sidewalk counselors challenging the law, asked the court to take the case, and a diverse array…Continue Reading

In The U.S. Senate… Pro-Lifers Will Have To Fight Hidden Abortion Funding Battles

By MATT HADRO WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — With Democrats winning the U.S. Senate races in Georgia, the political landscape for pro-lifers is now clear — they will be defending on multiple fronts against an emboldened abortion lobby.With Democrats holding 50 Senate seats plus Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote, they have the slimmest of majorities…Continue Reading

Here’s A Start… Christians Need A Way Through The Coming Years

By DANIELLE ZUCCARO (LifeSiteNews) — What is the Christian response to the wasteland we find ourselves in? The situation in the U.S. right now is indeed a wasteland and a republic of chaos. With the compass not set on God, any government, company, family is bound to end up this way.Now we find ourselves in…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. In a recent article, you quoted the Handbook of Indulgences as saying that if a priest cannot be present to impart an Apostolic Pardon at the hour of death, “Holy Mother Church lovingly grants such persons who are rightly disposed a plenary indulgence to be obtained in articulo mortis, at the approach of death, provided they regularly prayed in…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… What Cannot Be Canceled

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK There is much talk, albeit in smaller circles now, of cancel culture.After Twitter banned Trump, and the big tech companies colluded to shut down Parler almost immediately, there was little left of truly free social media. In their apparent desire to leave no Internet avenue of escape for the new Public Enemy No. 1, a…Continue Reading

A World Of Expectation

By FR. ROBERET ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 101 Cor. 7:29-31Mark 1:14-20 In the Gospel reading today Jesus begins His preaching by proclaiming: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” Jesus’ words about the time of fulfillment were not something surprising to…Continue Reading

Who Really Does The Work Of The Evil One?

By FR. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, we have talked about how big Galilee is, how it comprised the northern quarter of Israel, about 2,000 square miles. And we talked about how Jesus’ reputation spread throughout all of Galilee because — when He was in the synagogue in Capernaum there was a man in there possessed by a demon and Jesus…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. How would we go about getting Joe Biden excommunicated because of his rejection of Church teachings on abortion, same-sex relationships, transgenderism, etc.? Could he be considered a heretic for promoting these evils? — J.D., via e-mail.A. Some bishops and priests have denied or have said they would deny Joe Biden Holy Communion because they recognize that he has obstinately…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Margaret Pole (Plantagenet)

By DEB PIROCH Margaret Pole (1473-1541) was born a princess into the royal Plantagenet family. Her mother died when she was only three. Her father, the Duke of Clarence, some will remember from Shakespeare’s play, Richard III. Margaret’s uncle, Richard III, allegedly murdered the Duke by drowning him in a vat of wine. (Actually, her father was executed for treason…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wenceslaus

By DEB PIROCH Good King Wenceslaus, originally a duke, was born in Bohemia, in today’s Czech Republic, during the tenth century. (The former Czechoslovakia was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia; Slovakia is now its own country.) His father was an honorable Christian, but died or was killed in battle when Wenceslaus was only about 13. His mother, Drahomira, was…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)