ELEISON COMMENTS DCCCXI (January 28, 2023) : PRIESTHOOD APPRECIATED – II
The conclusion of these “Comments” last week was somewhat provocatively expressed and may need some explaining. Those “Comments” introduced a young student of “psychology” to whom God gave real light to enter the Catholic Church while he was studying. But as he began practising, not without success, the profession of a “psychotherapist”, he realised that it should be a Catholic priest to be saying to his patients what he found himself saying to them. Those “Comments” concluded with a couplet grieving for modern men, who on the one hand take very seriously psychology and psychiatry and psychotherapy and so on, yet on the other hand have no belief in any spiritual soul, or “psyche” – Greek word for “soul”.
Now first of all, let no practitioner of “psychotherapy”, honestly striving to help his fellow-men, take offence at anything that follows here in this week’s “Comments”, which are merely intended to show to Catholics how, with the least grasp of their penny catechism, they have a better handle on reality than many supposed “experts” in all kinds of domains, coming from all kinds of so-called “universities”. Let us begin by framing man in the universe as Number Three of the six categories of beings that exist –
1 The Creator of all other beings, GOD, Infinite Spirit, with not a trace of matter or materiality in Him.
2 Created ANGELS, finite spirits, but also purely spiritual, with nothing material in their being.
3 Created MEN, finite spirits by their spiritual soul, but also material animals by their physical body.
4 Created ANIMALS, entirely material, with life and movement but nothing properly spiritual in them.
5 Created PLANTS, entirely material, with life but no movement nor anything spiritual within them.
6 Created MINERALS, most material of all, without life, movement or any quasi-spiritual element.
Notice on this six-part gradation of all beings how they climb from the purely material to the most purely non-material, or spiritual. Minerals have only existence. Plants have existence but also life which is not purely material insofar, for instance, as it baffles all attempts of our materialist scientists to reproduce it artificially. Then come the brute animals which have in addition sensation and self-movement, further steps out of materiality without attaining spirituality, which is reserved among material creatures to man, and which by its nature equips him with a spiritual soul in itself free of matter, but in man intimately and mysteriously united to his material body. This soul is what gives to him, but not to the brute animals, the faculty of reason, i.e. mind and will, and the capacity for supernatural life by which every man ever alive was, is or will be, like the angels, destined for Heaven, if they freely wish. All other material creatures are created by God to serve man to fulfil this spiritual destination. In the spiritual realm, finite angels retain what is like a last trace of materiality in that there are multitudes of them as there are multitudes of the material creatures, whereas the Supreme Being is infinite spiritual being Who can only be One.
But what if man turns his back on the Supreme Spiritual Being ? Then he will disregard every being that shares in spirit, which is the angels and men, he will discount even the faintly spiritual animals and plants, he will be most at home with minerals because their perfect predictability makes them the best subjects of his knowledge. Thus for modern man, the more material a science can be, the more truly “scientific” it is. On the contrary, the least admixture in any branch of knowledge of spiritual free-will, and the more it will be scorned as “unscientific”. Real Catholic theology would be a prime example.
Alas for our “scientific” modern man, people are interested in people and need people, and need them not as mineral machines, but as people, with all their spirituality and free-will. This is because the great drama and purpose of all people’s lives is how each of us with his free-will is preparing his eternity, and this has nothing to do with pure matter. Therefore the most “scientific” sciences are the most uninteresting, but materialists are bound to be interested in concerns human even while they will have to pretend that their human interests are nevertheless “scientific”. Hence “psychology”, “psychiatry”, and all the other “psy-s”, and “sociology”, etc, etc. –all scratching around for the remains of a disappeared God !
To get away from God, men adore machines.
To become inhuman beings, is what that means.