15 February 2018

PARADIGM SHIFTS and Fr H's Conscience

Cardinal Cupich is not the only person to suggest that a "Paradigm Shift" has occurred in this pontificate.

I am not sure what a Paradigm Shift, precisely, is. Words are malleable things, and it is quite possible that some eirenic person could elaborate a henotikon defining the phrase in a way that could be conformable with my Conscience, acceptable, as we now have to say, to the "aboriginal Vicar of Christ" within me.

[For example: Benedict XVI condemned the notion which, as he said, grew up after Vatican II, that "A pope can do anything". Was this his most laudable condemnation a Paradigm Shift? Surely not. I would strongly prefer to discern it as merely a return to sound Tradition which had been ignored by wickedly ambitious men; and the condemnation of a corrupt tyranny which ought never to have been allowed to seize power in the first place.]

But at this present moment and in this particular context, I understand the words 'Paradigm shift' as indicating a radical restructuring contra Scripturam et Traditionem of the basic grammar of Christian belief or practice so that, by a touch of this Circean wand, X is transformed to become non-X. So I find the formula unacceptable in Conscience. I would be willing formally to repudiate it. Vatican I did not say  "The Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of Peter so that by His revelation they might publish new doctrines, but so that by His help they might shift the paradigms". What Vatican I did say, I hope the readers of this blog know rather better than some eminent individuals appear to.

So, if Cardinal Cupich were able to assure me categorically and convincingly that PF really has shifted a paradigm, my Conscience, ineluctably potent within me, would compel me to retort "So you too are now accusing the Holy Father of propagating and promoting heresy. Excellent! Welcome to the fold! Have a drink! I'm sure you would like to subscribe to the Filial Correction. Let me lend you my pen!"


William Arthurs said...

The following is all from memory.

Stephen Toulmin, in his introduction to R G Collingwood's An Autobiography, (OUP), contrasts Collingwood's subtle account of historical changes in composite structures of metaphysical propositions, with Thomas Kuhn's cruder notions of "paradigms" and "paradigm shifts" in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. What Toulmin is driving at, is that a historian of ideas ought to be a philosopher. "Paradigm shift" has now devolved into a management buzzword, as used for example in the C of E.

Bonus points:

1. The chapter "Quicunque Vult" in Collingwood's Essay on Metaphysics (OUP, 1940), is all about how empirical science is grounded upon belief in the Holy Trinity.

2. Collingwood's solicitor was Wllliam Heelis ---- husband of Beatrix Potter.

Gregory said...

During a stint in graduate school I studied Thomas Kuhn’s book on scientific revolutions which uses the concept of the paradigm shift. However Kuhn meant for the term to be used, it now almost always means a change from some hide-bound, troglodytic method to a new, improved and oh-so-enlightened approach. The French Revolutionaries, had they read Kuhn and his interpreters, would surely have assented to their being shifters of the paradigm. Conservatives see that the world is damaged and say, “thank goodness we have the traditional bonds of family, marriage, and culture to keep us on track.” The paradigm shifters see a broken world and say, “these horrible traditions have oppressed the people and we must do something about that.”

Nicolas Bellord said...

My understanding of a 'paradigm shift' is that it is an idea from science where our view of the world is gradually developed and refined by certain important discoveries. For instance for most of us the world is flat with a few bumps and for every day purposes that is quite sufficient. It is only when we travel long distances does the realisation (a paradigm shift) that the world is round become important. Likewise Newtonian physics are perfectly adequate and Einstein's modifications (another paradigm shift) only become important in extreme circumstances such as space travel. The earlier understandings remain valid but are merely refined. There is no point in worrying about the curvature of the earth if we are just going to do some local shopping. We do not dump Newton's physics because of Einstein! Likewise we do not dump the teachings of the Church just because on some finer points we get a better understanding of what those teachings are.

mark wauck said...

I think it's important to understand the origin of the term "paradigm shift." Once you do--and when you bear in mind that the men proposing this concept, like Cupich, have a philosophical background--you'll also understand that it means more, often far more, than merely taking another look at Apostolic Tradition, examining it, perhaps from a fresh point of view.

As I pointed out in my second comment to the "Grisez obituary" post, the concept of "paradigm shifts" originates in the "philosophy of science" with Thomas Kuhn. However, the concept as used in this context is basically Kantian in origin. Kant's idea was that we don't actually know reality--we only know what we know, and what we know is given intelligibility by our minds, by "categories" that are inherent in our minds. This is the type of thinking that is behind most modern philosophy--and theology, including Catholic theology of the Nouvelle variety, and it should be clear that it is radically subjective, not to say skeptical.

But, skipping over that sad history, what this means for the New Church of AL is this: the deposit of faith is no longer a firm foundation that can be objectively known. Rather, it is a malleable whatever that achieves its shape by having intelligibility imposed upon it by theologians, the faithful, the Church--the explanations and rationalizations vary, but the basic idea holds. When human understanding of such matters changes we experience a "paradigm shift," or, as some might say, a "development of doctrine." This, according to the Cupich's and his ilk, is a very normal and natural event, one to be embraced, especially when it comes from one in whose ear the Spirit speaks. At least this seems to be Cupich's view--which, in fairness, is probably more tactical than dogmatic. Tactical both for his career and for the purpose of getting the new paradigm accepted. The bottom line is clear: doctrine is man made, and man can change it.

If this sounds like Modernism, well, that's not coincidental.

Andreas Meszaros said...

Oh Conscientia variabilis.
Oh conscientia pura.
Oh conscientiae bonae
fiducia apud Deum.
Oh conscientia comprobata.
Oh conscientiae bonae judicium.
Oh conscientiae bonae securitas.
Oh conscientia virtutum qua fruor.

Oh conscientia infirma,
sordida, vulnerata, infelix,
repugnans, mordax, et pungens.
Oh conscientiae malae aculeus.
Oh conscientiae vulnus.
Oh conscientia sceleris.
Oh conscientia peccatorum.
Oh ignis conscientiae quo torquor.

Liam Ronan said...

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master-that's all."

Dumpty has become pope and we are all getting the hump.

Elisabeth F. said...

Having seen a video of a pope publicly rebuking a priest in the Americas, I cannot begin to imagine what that pope would have said to Cardinale Cupich and other promoters of the paradigm shift, nor can I imagine his reaction to the plans for the Church in China of Argentinian bishops Sorondo and Bergoglio.

Fortunately, we do have Cardinals such as Chaput and Zen. It will be difficult sometime in the future for PF to deny that he received Cdl. Zen's letter - a letter brought to Rome by an old man who undertook a very long journey.

"I will never forget my amazement at reading a report in the Osservatore Romano a few years ago on a speech that he had given where he describes the heroes of the faith in the central European countries under the communist regime (Card. Wyszynsky, Card. Mindszenty and Card. Beran, without mentioning them) ) as "gladiators", "people systematically opposed to the government and eager to appear on the political stage".

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Even though George Weigh has said, We (The Church) do not do paradigm shifts, that is not the case.

Hear Avery Cardinal Dulles on the consequences of the paradigm shift from The Catholic Church being A Perfect Society to it defined as The Mystical Body of Christ:

The abrupt transition from Perfect Society to Mystical Body turned out to be only the beginning. It was not long before this first paradigm shift, to use the ecclesiologists’ jargon, gave way to another. Very soon, noted Fr. Dulles “ecclesiologists were asking themselves ‘is the Mystical Body a pure communion of grace or is it visible? Would not perhaps People of God be more appropriate?”


Dulles goes on to explain that no sooner had People of God been accepted (it was the favorite at Vatican II) than the influential French Dominican, Yves Congar,pointed out its weakness, “Does it not sound egotistical, monopolistic? How about calling the Church a Mystery?” Then it was that Jesuit Fr. (later Cardinal) De Lubac of the Gregorian University opted for designating the Church as a Sacrament. His reasoning? “If Christ is the Sacrament of God, then the Church is the Sacrament of Christ.” Never mind that Catholics had been taught since time immemorial that there are just seven sacraments and that neither the Church nor Christ is one of them.

Avery Dulles admits, “The contemporary Church is racked by paradigm shifts, so that we find the phenomena of
polarization, mutual incomprehension, inability to communicate,frustration and discouragement. When the paradigm shifts, people suddenly find the ground cut out from under their feet. They cannot begin to speak the new language without already committing themselves to a whole et of values that may not be to their taste. They then find themselves gravely threatened in their spiritual serenity.”

Mary Bal Martinez

"The Undermining of the Catholic Church"

Arthur L. Gallagher said...

Paradigm, shmaradime!

Francis is an intellectual lightweight, who will be remembered only for his scandals.

B flat said...

A belated offering. Perhaps card. Bertone was misunderstood, or misheard.

Did he not mean the garment which is now used to cover the Emperor's shame when his new outfit is exposed as a fraud by an honest child? Maybe the words have been parsed and they are in fact adjective followed by noun substantive.

Sadie Vacantist said...

There is a risk that the narratives developed by self-styled Catholic conservatives or “traddies” degenerate into a religious pastiche of the ridiculous Jordan Peterson. This Solzhenitsyn quoting latter was recently outed in New York (where all ambitious Canadians ultimately disembark) by a local member of the Jewish community. Said local simply quoted Solzhenitsyn back at him from “that” Solzhenitsyn book which nobody admits to having read. Peterson stood on stage looking like Hamlet and refused to answer. He was as silent as that Channel 4 journalist whom he himself had humiliated weeks before.

Given the above reference critiquing Germans and their North American handlers is futile. Of course they are ridiculous (a point the Jewish questioner above effectively made in respect of Peterson) and our expectations of South Americans should be no higher especially of Argentinians. Bergoglio was elected Pope precisely because he managed the collapse of the church in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aries as per the North American, German and Western European models. Sad, I know, but there you have it and little wonder that Solzhenitsyn for one had such a low opinion of western Christianity.

Now, an increasing consciousness is starting to emerge. People are starting to ask the right questions as per our Jewish friend in New York. A few more questions need to be asked then I believe the empire, under whose yoke we’ve been living since the war, will start to collapse.

Unknown said...

Tip of the hat to Liam Ronan. Quite the right quote.

Oh, the paradigmatic shift, I'll deign to leave it be. It's the syntagmatic switch that ever worries me.
They're sapping Great God's law with subtle derogations. Orthodoxy's view sees their sinful Innovations.