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Cardinal Ratzinger's Subjectivism

Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.

In 1594, at the Conceptionist convent in Quito, Ecuador, Our Lady appeared to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres under the title of Our Lady of Good Success. In a narration of this event we find words which express a decisive principle. After describing Mother Mariana's joy at the "refulgent light" issuing from Our Lady that flooded the church in which she was praying, and the nun's "ecstasy of unlimited confidence," Fr. Jose Urrate S. J. stated the following:
"Thus is the soul invited to leave the mean earth and look to Heaven with the eyes of a lively and penetrating faith. Heaven opens a path for it to the light of divine clarity and inundates it with the splendors of divinity"(1).
Our Lady in Quito

Our Lady appears in a refulgent light in Quito
Translated into a concept that is vital to the faith, the principle expressed here is that Heaven, divine clarity, truth will open itself to us only if we put aside earth and self. To know, to close the gap between seeking and finding objectivity, our eyes and intelligence must suspect the earth and self. In the above quote this is accomplished by "a lively and penetrating faith."

However, since Providence has called us to deal in matters both spiritual and temporal, this principle must be extended and refined. Simply stated, our subjective notions should correspond to the object of our inquiry, that is, our convictions and our purposes should be in entire accordance with Catholic Faith and Morals.

Because this decisive principle is vital to our immortal soul, Satan constantly tries to introduce the opposite into both the micro and the macro world. That is, he seeks to influence us either by directly tempting us to disagree with the Catholic truth and morality, or by indirectly doing everything possible to make society collectively worse, inclined to error and bad customs. His goal is that we understand truth not from examining it objectively, but rather that we accept our subjective understanding or feeling as the end of the process. Then, we exchange objectivity with subjectivity, God’s truth with man’s truth.

It is natural (or preternatural if you will) that Lucifer should devise this strategy, because it began with himself, when he focused on self instead of God. In The City of God, Ven. Mary of Agreda describes that decisive action:
"Turning again and again in admiration toward himself, he took pleasure in his own beauty and grace, attributing them to himself and loving them as his own" (2).
Pro abortion Catholics in ireland

Pro-abortion Catholics in Ireland. Ratzinger says each have the right to decide according to his own conscience
This, then, became the first principle in Satan’s endeavor to remove man from God. He would spread his errors among mankind by this decisive principle, to teach men to focus on the self instead of on what is objective outside of him. If we do the latter, Our Lady always "opens a path to the light of divine clarity." If we focus on self, truth becomes entangled in minds fraught with imperfections, errors, self-deceits, and often, sin. The success of the Devil in his demonic instruction of mankind is here for all to see.

Luther, who wanted to eliminate the Church’s interpretation of Scripture, followed Satan's instructions to the letter by introducing individual interpretation of the Bible.

Then Descartes, followed by Kant, systematized subjectivism. In Descartes’ system based on the famous cogito ergo sum [I think therefore I exist] of Descartes, things themselves are unknowable. Rousseau takes this to its disturbing consequence: with the subject emancipated from its object, having lost any common sense, it has no defense before the group opinion: “The thought of the individual is going to be dissolved into the public opinion, that is to say into what everyone or the majority thinks; and this opinion will be created by the techniques of group dynamics organized by the media, which are in the hands of the financiers, the politicians, the Freemasons, etc."(3).

The joy that Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres experienced from the "refulgent light" was celestial, because it radiated from "the Queen of Victories and the Mother of Good Success" (4). "Divine clarity" was opened to Mother Mariana because there was no erroneous subjectivism in her thinking. Luther, Descartes, Kant, Rousseau, and all their scions are defeated when one takes such a position. Satan's teaching of centering everything in the self is conquered.

Alas, Lucifer continues to utilize this method in his battle against mankind, and even more than ever. Today we are faced with a personage much higher than Luther et al. A recent disclosure of a text by Pope Benedict XVI, written when he was a Cardinal, manifests that old egregious error:
"Conscience is the highest norm and ... one must follow it even against authority. When authority – in this case the Church's Magisterium – speaks on matters of morality, it supplies the material that helps the conscience form its own judgment, but ultimately it is only conscience that has the last word" (5).
Benedict XVI

"One does not have to obey the teachings of the Church if they don't agree with his conscience"
Again the error of subjectivism surfaces, this time from within the Church. Descartes sought to teach the "perfect moral science", yet in his pride he "treats first the human soul, then God"(6). Introducing subjectivism as a system of thought, he reversed the Scholastic order. It was rightly stated that "Subjectivism has been characteristic of modern philosophy since the time of Descartes ... [whose Cartesian method] inverted the order followed by the Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy" (7).

Cardinal Ratzinger's belief that the conscience can disobey the objective Moral teaching of the Church clearly admits, as did Descartes, that the soul comes first, and God only afterwards.

The error is now within the Church. It is supported even by the highest Catholic authorities. Their current of thought, Progressivism, is nothing more than the exaltation of the self. Its most malicious ingredient is Immanentism, the error that the soul contains a divine immanence:
"The principle of immanence essentially states that the first thing we know is ourselves and that all our knowledge of external reality is judged in light of it" (8).
Because self has been placed first as "the last word," at the highest level of the Church, this should be a clarion call to Catholics to pray to Our Lady of Good Success for all who have succumbed to Progressivism, and also for all who are trying to maintain their Catholic faith in the increasingly more dominant Progressivist heresy.
1. From Day Six of the powerful Novena to Our Lady of Good Success, Imprimatur 1941. View this novena here.
2. Vol. I, The Conception, p. 87.
3. They Have Uncrowned Him - From Liberalism to Apostasy: The Conciliar Tragedy, Marcel Lefebvre, The Angeles Press, 1988, p. 15.
4. Our Lady of Good Success: Prophecies for Our Times, Marian T. Horvat Los Angeles: TIA, p. 33.
5. Joseph Ratzinger, Values in a Time of Upheaval, Crossroads Pub/Ignatius Press, 2006, in Editorial, New Oxford Review, November 2007, p. 16; also Dale Vree, A Contradictory Definition of Relativism, posted on Tradition in Action
6. History of Political Philosophy, Chicago: Rand McNally & Co, 1969, p. 380.
7. Parente et al, Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, Milwaukee: The Bruce Pub. Co., 1951, p. 270.
8. Fr. Chad Ripperger, "Immanentism and the Ecclesiological Crisis," Latin Mass, Winter 2007, p. 20f.

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Posted March 28, 2008

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