General Eclectic Podcast with Larry Chapp and Kale Zelden.

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Linked below is my latest podcast with Kale Zelden. This time it is on the podcast he does with Rod Dreher. Rod is out of town so I was asked to stand in. I was happy to do so! We discuss all kinds of things….


  1. Thanks for sharing – wonderful conversation. Is there a blog post you have that further teases out the reason why a return to the TLM and solid Scholastic catechesis would not fix a lot of the Church’s problems (especially the radical attrition we see among catechized non-verts)? I agree with your stance but have people in my life that really do insist that these things would right a lot of what is wrong with the Church today. Thanks in advance.


    1. I know you’re asking Dr Chapp, but I’ll put in my 10 cents worth. That solid scholastic catechesis is probably based on Aquinas’ (and Aristotle’s) hylemorphic metaphysics and philosophy. Today hardly anyone has that base, and it is a lot of work to acquire it. The Thomistic Institute has some online courses on this; a lot of it is free. Or you could consult Dr Edward Feser’s book “Scholastic Metaphysics”, or other texts. At some stage an intelligent modern person would ask questions about the scholastic catechesis, and without the base, he/she won’t get an answer.

      Here is part of Aquinas’ answer to the question of whether man can do any good without grace:
      ” I answer that, Man’s nature may be looked at in two ways: first, in its integrity, as it was in our first parent before sin; secondly, as it is corrupted in us after the sin of our first parent. Now in both states human nature needs the help of God as First Mover, to do or wish any good whatsoever, as stated above (Article [1]). But in the state of integrity, as regards the sufficiency of the operative power, man by his natural endowments could wish and do the good proportionate to his nature, such as the good of acquired virtue; but not surpassing good, as the good of infused virtue. But in the state of corrupt nature, man falls short of what he could do by his nature, so that he is unable to fulfil it by his own natural powers.”

      You could ask your friends who want to employ solid scholastic catechesis to explain what is meant by “sufficiency of the operative power”, “acquired virtue” and “infused virtue”. If you consult the whole article [Summa Theologiae IaIIae Q. 109, a. 2] you will come across several more terms that the scholastics used easily, but we struggle to define. Imagine a medieval scholar reading about electricity, power outages and energy efficiency – it’s a similar problem.


    2. I think it more than academic.

      We have a crisis of faith; more so, a crisis of love. More catechesis, more doctrine and a particular form of the liturgy will not fix that deficit. It is like trying to put out a fire with a building. It is a non sequitur. It is not suited to fix the root cause because the problem is not intellectual.

      When we sin, we KNOW it is a sin, by definition. Knowing what is sin will not keep us from sin. It is not knowledge that causes us to give up our mistress, or alcohol or pornography, etc. It is love of Jesus Christ. When we realize He loves us, we can then begin to truly love Him.

      Knowledge helps to a degree, but it is simply not up to the task of stripping away our sinfulness, our personal grove of idols.

      The TLM is heavy on the Eucharistic sacrifice. The Mass is sacrifice. Even more the Mass is the Wedding Feast and the Bridal Chamber. God became incarnate, suffered, died and rose that we may be His in the marital embrace of Holy Communion. The Cross points to Communion. It’s purpose is Communion. The sacrifice is not to be worshipped, but is itself a means to an end. That end is union, now in Holy Communion, later in Heaven.

      If we go back and think of the three stages of prayer: purgative, illuminative and unitive, we are called to unitive prayer. We have to go through stages to get there. Focusing on the Mass as sacrifice, or doctrine or a moral life or culture warrioring does not let us ascend.

      Practically speaking, I may step out on a limb and offer that part of our laser-like focus of the Mass as sacrifice has to do with the priesthood. Priests focus on sacrifice. It is why they are priests. It is built into their entire milieu. Rare is the priestly formation that focuses on Jesus as the spouse and the priest as the bride. It is hard for a man to get there. Yet get there they must, or they are left with “merely’ one dimension of the Mass, and that fails to satisfy and take us to intimate union, as that is not its purpose. A priest who is in the purgative way has a difficult time helping his flock get to the illuminative or unitive way.

      Lastly, if the pre-Vatican II Church (liturgy/formation/priests/bishops/catechesis/doctrine/etc) was unable, ill-prepared or incapable of converting the hearts and minds of individuals in the 50’s and 60’s that jumped headlong into the cultural revolution when the cultural revolution was nascent and all the cultural institutions were on its side, how would going back to those same elements cure a culture and individuals drunk on 60 years of it with all cultural institutions arrayed against it? It didn’t stop it then. It won’t cure us know.


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