Why is Thomist Feser pushing Voegelin who promoted a type of Modernist "Existential Experience" Gnosticism?
"Modernism, however, being the synthesis of
all heresies, necessarily requires the violation of this principle of
non-contradiction. And it is Henri de Lubac who 'formalized' a
particular philosophy to enshrine and justify the principle
of self-contradiction into theology. The fundamental means
which he employs to disguise and 'sanctify' such an
aberration is the concept of 'paradox.'" - James Larson
Recently, Catholic philosopher Edward Feser decided to promote the problematic "existential experience" Modernist thinker Eric Voegelin:
"Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) was among the most important thinkers to analyze modernity under the category of heresy, and the specific heresy he regarded as the key to the analysis was Gnosticism. The Gnostic heresy is one that has recurred many times in the long history of the Church, under various guises – Marcionism, Manicheanism, Paulicianism, Albigensianism, Catharism, and so on. Like Hilaire Belloc, Voegelin regarded Puritanism as a more recent riff on the same basic mindset. And he argued that modern ideologies like communism, National Socialism, progressivism, and scientism are all essentially secularized versions of Gnosticism. Voegelin’s best-known statement of this thesis appears in The New Science of Politics, though he revisited and expanded upon it in later work."
"Now, what Voegelin saw in these ideologies is manifestly present in Critical Race Theory and the rest of the “woke” insanity now spreading like a cancer through the body politic. But it is also to be found in certain tendencies coming from the opposite political direction, such as the lunatic QAnon theory. Voegelin’s analysis is thus as relevant to understanding the present moment as it was to understanding the mid-twentieth-century totalitarianisms that originally inspired it. It reveals to us the true nature of the insurgency that is working to take over the Left, and will do so if more sober liberals do not act decisively to check its influence.[https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/01/31/the-gnostic-heresys-political-successors/]
The problem with using Voegelin to try to attack modern Gnosticism is that he himself was promoting a type of Modernist "existential experience" Gnosticism. Catholic philosopher Frederick D. Wilhelmsen revealed the deep problem with Voegelin:
"Frederick D. Wilhelmsen was critical of Voegelin's treatment of Christianity in The Ecumenic Age. In writing about the volume, Wilhelmsen states that the "historical figure of Jesus is totally bypassed by Voegelin and the only Christ to emerge in Voegelin's pages is the resurrected Christ of Paul's experience, the Christ who appeared to Paul and who transfigured his life and the life of all mankind as well."4 For Wilhelmsen there is a crucial distinction between historical fact and personal experience that Voegelin ignores. The historical figure of Jesus nothing, only the spiritual experience of Paul mattered. Friendly critics like Gerhart Niemeyer still generally agreed that Voegelin did not emphasize the figure of Jesus and his direct relationship to Christianity... "
"... As stated above, Frederick D. Wilhelmsen was critical of Voegelin's treatment of Christianity in The Ecumenic Age. In writing about the volume, Wilhelmsen states that the "historical figure of Jesus is totally bypassed by Voegelin and the only Christ to emerge in Voegelin's pages is the resurrected Christ of Paul's experience, the Christ who appeared to Paul and who transfigured his life and the life of all mankind as well."4 For Wilhelmsen there is a crucial distinction between historical fact and personal experience that Voegelin ignores."
"The historical figure of Jesus cannot be ignored and replaced with the experiences of his followers. Wilhelmsen concludes that for Voegelin personal experience is more important than historical facts. Like Gerhart Niemeyer, Wilhelmsen claims that Voegelin has given insufficient attention to the existence of Jesus. For Wilhelmsen, Jesus as a particular figure at a particular time in history is more important than Paul's experience of the Resurrected Jesus. The meaning of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection cannot be divided from the historicity of those events, where Wilhelmsen sees Voegelin as only concerned with their meaning and not their history. Wilhelmsen is outraged at Voegelin's apparent disinterest 4 Frederick D. Wilhelmsen, Christianity and Political Philosgphy (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1978), p. 197. in the historical facts about Jesus. In a rhetorical flourish, he states that 'the historicity of Christ and of his resurrection, of the Easter we Christians celebrate as the central feast of our faith, annoys Voegelin: he finds it vulgar ... Whether Christ arose in deed or arose from the dead only in Paul's experience of a deed that occurred only in Paul is an irrelevant distinction for the German professor.'5"
"The fact that historical reality for Voegelin cannot be divided from the experience of reality makes Willielmsen compare him to George Santa Ana who held that there was no historical Jesus to be discovered by scholarship behind the Christ of faith as known throughout history. However, Santa Ana held that the Christ of faith was just a myth, so history and faith were both devoid of truth. Wilhelmsen writes that Voegelin, because of his conception of reality, is not even concerned about whether Christ is a false myth. It appears to him that Voegelin has ignored that historical existence precedes any meaning or interpretation. For Wilhelmsen what is important is that the events of the New Testament happened historically prior to any interpretation of them." [file:///C:/Users/Fred/AppData/Local/Temp/Hoffmann.pdf]
It is almost amusing to see the Thomist Feser whose greatest writings shows the importance of Neo-scholasticism apparently promoting the Modernist heretic Voegelin who together with Henri de Lubac totally reject Neo-scholasticism for the Modernist Gnosticism of "existential experience" which rejects real Thomism because it"
take us away from the existential experience of longing described by a
de Lubac and a Voegelin":
Feingold agrees with de Lubac that “Contemporary man has lost the sense of the supernatural character of the Christian promise and vocation; this is the great pastoral problem that faces us today,” and that de Lubac sought to address.[xi] “Nevertheless,” Feingold continues, the Neoscholasticism against which de Lubac wrote:
“One can imagine that de Lubac would reply that Feingold’s ‘solution,’ which is the Neoscholastic solution, is the problem. In TMS, de Lubac said: “In my concrete nature . . . the ‘desire to see God’ cannot be permanently frustrated without an essential suffering. . . . And consequently – at least in appearance – a good and just God could hardly frustrate me, unless I, through my own fault, turn away from him by choice.”[xiii]
John Milbank defends de Lubac and opposes Feingold in a long footnote in The Suspended Middle. Leaving aside the question of whether Feingold is right, Milbank’s criticism of him is unfortunately, in my view, overly strident, given the very thoughtful treatment that Feingold gives the subject in The Natural Desire to See God. Milbank calls Feingold’s book “arch-reactionary . . . written to reinstate a Garrigou-Lagrange type position . . . Frankly this selectivity [in citing Aquinas] gives the lie to the appearance of scholarly bulk and solidity which the weight of his tome seems to promise. Its exegetical method is much like that of the proof-texting of a Protestant fundamentalist. This gets even more ludicrous . . .”[xiv] And so on.
I would say, however, that the Neoscholastic position, as Feingold describes it, entails the splitting of very fine theological hairs, and take us away from the existential experience of longing described by a de Lubac and a Voegelin. Query: If the Neoscholastics’ reading of Aquinas, and not de Lubac’s, is the correct one, is it possible that it was Aquinas who got things wrong?
Feingold reminds us of what Voegelin criticized in Catholic theology – its wish to “monopolize” revelation. The interesting thing for the student of Voegelin in this context is how his approach, because it is not wedded to the idea that revelation only occurs through the Church, cuts through these tangled intellectual problems and supports the “paradox” of a natural creature with a supernatural longing and end. While Voegelin thus supports de Lubac on the nature of the human person, Voegelin and de Lubac have very different approaches to the question of the relationship between theology and philosophy, with Voegelin taking what from the perspective of the Church is a very heterodox position. despite his Surnaturel thesis, repeated in AMT and TMS, upholding the “traditional,” “orthodox position.”
De Lubac’s own reply to Feingold would be that the sharp distinction Feingold draws between the natural and the supernatural orders certainly makes sense – but it does not apply to the case of man, who alone of God’s creatures has a paradoxical nature, living in time, yet somehow participating in and longing for the timeless.[xv] And, de Lubac would continue, we know this “paradox” because it is us. [xxii][https://voegelinview.com/eric-voegelin-henri-de-lubac-metaxy-suspended-middle-part-2/]
Did the Modernist Gnosticism of "existential experience" or "existential context" of de Lubac and Voegelin bring us the the Francis Catholic's apparent supreme doctrines which seem to be taught in Amoris Laetitia and the Amazon Synod?
The Francis Catholics "new Gnostic paradigm" is shown by theologian Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.:
"People are encouraged to discern, on their own, the best course of action, given the moral dilemma they face in their own existential context – what they are capable of doing at this moment in time. In this way, the individual’s own conscience, his or her personal communion with the divine, determines what the moral requirements are in the individual’s personal circumstances. What Scripture teaches, what Jesus stated, what the Church conveys through her living magisterial tradition are superseded by a higher 'knowledge,' an advanced 'illumination.'”
"If there is any new Gnostic paradigm in the Church today, it would seem to be found here. To propose this new paradigm is to claim to be truly “in-the-know,” to have special access to what God is saying to us as individuals here and now even if it goes beyond and may even contradict what He has revealed to everyone else in Scripture and tradition." [https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2018/06/07/gnosticism-today/]
Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi on the Mystical
Body of Christ condemned the ideas of Pantheism which are apparently
infused in the Amazon Synod.
These ideas were embodied in the Vatican indigenous rituals that appear to claim that man, nature and God are one and don't need Jesus Christ's saving grace because grace and nature are already intrinsic to each other.
Here is Pius XII's condemnation of the "false mysticism" of Pantheism which some says was a condemnation of Henri de Lubac:
"[T]here is a on the other hand a false mysticism creeping [into the Church], which, in its attempt to eliminate the immovable frontier that separate creatures from the Creator, falsifies the Sacred Scriptures... a distorted idea, a false teaching, impious, and sacrilegious"
(Crisis, "Art & Liturgy: The Splendor of Faith, January 13, 2012)
Francis said that the Amazon Synod is a "child" of his document Laudato si which in my opinion and the opinion of the Washington Post teachings a sub-set of Pantheism called Panentheism.
(Washington Post, "Pope Francis' environmental encyclical is even more radical than it appears," June 19, 2019, Quote from the article: "[P]anentheism in a papal encyclical!")
Many of the ideas in that document seem to have originated in the error of Henri de Lubac that nature and grace are not separate entities, but that grace is intrinsic to nature and human nature. Some say this passage of Pope Puis XII's encyclical was directed at de Lubac's teachings on grace.
Most well informed Catholics don't realize that the French "theologians" such as De Lubac and his French collaborators are linked to the French Revolution Jansenist heretics who engineered the Modernist tactic of pretending to be Catholic with ambitious Catholic sounding language which was ultimately semi-Calvinist and almost always in their countries gets transformed into secular Calvinistic Socialism/Marxism which eventually seems to lead to paganistic idolatry.
(Moreover, from France came Jean-Jacques Rousseau which is the basis for Immanuel Kant's philosophical complex anti-Thomist nonsense which brought us Hegel and others who begot Marxism and Nietzschean reaction that fathered the present day postmodernism with its LBGT offspring who hate to be reminded that German Nationalist Socialism called Nazism which brought us "deep ecology" is basically today's leftist globalist's Socialist climate change ideology of Francis.)
Below is scholar James Larson's overview of de Lubac's heresies:
Heresies of Henri de Lubac SJ
"The God of ‘classical ontology’ is dead, you say? It may be so; but it does not worry me overmuch."
- Fr. Henri de Lubac, The Discovery of God
of the Church St. Francis de Sales totally confirmed beyond any doubt
the possibility of a heretical pope and what must be done by the Church
in such a situation:
"[T]he Pope... WHEN he is EXPLICITLY a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church MUST either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See."
(The Catholic Controversy, by St. Francis de Sales, Pages 305-306)
Saint Robert Bellarmine, also, said "the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church."
- "If Francis is a Heretic, What should Canonically happen to him?": http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2020/12/if-francis-is-heretic-what-should.html
- "Could Francis be a Antipope even though the Majority of Cardinals claim he is Pope?": http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2019/03/could-francis-be-antipope-even-though.html
- LifeSiteNews, "Confusion explodes as Pope Francis throws magisterial
weight behind communion for adulterers," December 4, 2017:
The AAS guidelines explicitly allows "sexually active adulterous couples facing 'complex circumstances' to 'access the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.'"
- On February 2018, in Rorate Caeli, Catholic theologian Dr. John Lamont:
"The AAS statement... establishes that Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia has affirmed propositions that are heretical in the strict sense."
- On December 2, 2017, Bishop Rene Gracida:
"Francis' heterodoxy is now official. He has published his letter to the Argentina bishops in Acta Apostlica Series making those letters magisterial documents."
Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church by the bishops by the grace of God.
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- Will US be Venezuela?: Ex-CIA Official told Epoch Times "Chávez started to Focus on [Smartmatic] Voting Machines to Ensure Victory as early as 2003": http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2020/12/will-us-be-venezuela-ex-cia-official.html