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Fatima and the War on Being

by Christopher A. Ferrara
March 7, 2017

Today (March 6) the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued an order in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the case involving a girl who “identifies” as a boy and demands to use the boy’s bathroom, not merely a “gender neutral” bathroom that can be used one person at a time.  The order remands the case to the trial court for reconsideration based on the Trump administration’s rescission of the Obama administration’s absurd “guidance document” suggesting — without authority or binding effect — that Title IX, which forbids sexual discrimination, applies to “transgender” people who claim their sex is determined by what they “feel” it to be rather than by their biological status. The Trump administration’s letter rescinding the Obama directive leaves the question to the states to determine according to state law, not the federal Title IX statute or the Constitution.

This may well represent the end of efforts to have SCOTUS — now deadlocked 4-to-4 on culture war issues — create a protected class for “transgender” under Title IX or according to some notion of constitutional “liberty.” The probable confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as the ninth Justice, replacing the late Justice Scalia, almost certainly insures that such efforts will meet with a 5-to-4 defeat before the high court, and ultimately a 6-to-3 defeat should Trump succeed in seating another conservative Justice following what are probably imminent retirements among the liberal wing.

But this is only a reprieve in what is ultimately a war on being itself by the Adversary acting through his corrupt or deluded human agents all over what was once the Christian West.  What do I mean by a “war on being”?  I mean simply a war on the order of the universe God has established according to His eternal law. 

Where the human person in particular is concerned, this is a war on the very existence of man as a unity of body and soul or what Catholic philosophical language terms a “substance.” A substance “corresponds to the Greek ousia, which means ‘being’, transmitted via the Latin substantia,” which denotes “the foundational or fundamental entities of reality.”

The forces of evil in this world cannot tolerate the idea that God by His divine will has determined the natures and operations of substances as the “foundational or fundamental entities of reality” which man cannot alter but only disfigure or destroy in their individual instances — for example, the killing of one human being through abortion. But while abortion is murder most foul, the Adversary will not stop at killing individual human beings. The devil’s non serviam extends to the very idea of a human nature created and fixed by God for all eternity: “Male and female He created them” (Gen. 5:2). Thus the devil’s witting and unwitting servants now seek to impose by law a denial of the very existence of the two sexes.

This war against being reached a new stage some three hundred years ago with the rise of the so-called New Philosophy during the so-called Enlightenment. The New Philosophy was typified by John Locke, a supposed philosophical conservative who was actually a clever subversive whose Essay Concerning Human Understanding calls the concept of substance into question. It is Locke, writes the French political philosopher Pierre Manent, who seeks “to discredit the notion of substance, to put it out of commission…”  (Manent, City of Man, p. 116.)

As I note in my book Liberty, the God That Failed, “[a]ccording to Locke, ‘we know not what it is’ that underlies the qualities of objects perceived by our senses, and thus ‘we have no clear or distinct idea’… of any substances determining the fixed natures of things.”  Thus Locke, anticipating the arguments in favor of abortion centuries later, argued that it had “been more than once doubted, whether the foetus born of a woman were a man... which could not be, if the abstract idea or essence to which the name man belonged were of nature’s making…” (Essay Concerning Human Understanding,II.3.14.) 

But from the perspective of Fatima, which is to say the Catholic perspective, we know that something even more momentous preceded the philosophical revolution that provided the seedbed for the “age of democratic revolution” from which in turn arose the secular states of political modernity. I mean, of course, the religious revolution against the authority of the Catholic Church that began with Martin Luther — the very heresiarch Pope Francis now praises.

Pope Leo traces the entire trajectory of this civilizational disaster in one magnificent paragraph in his landmark encyclical on the Christian constitution of states, Immortale Dei (1885):

“But that harmful and deplorable passion for innovation which was aroused in the sixteenth century [i.e. Luther’s rebellion] threw first of all into confusion the Christian religion, and next, by natural sequence, invaded the precincts of philosophy [e.g. Locke, et al], whence it spread amongst all classes of society. From this source, as from a fountain-head, burst forth all those later tenets of unbridled license which, in the midst of the terrible upheavals of the last century [i.e. ‘the age of democratic revolution’], were wildly conceived and boldly proclaimed as the principles and foundation of that new conception of law which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even the natural law.”

That “new conception of law which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even the natural law” is the one that haunts the once Christian West today, and whose final assault is on being itself — including the very difference between man and woman — for as long as God permits it before His justice is meted out.

Only God can end the war on being that a world in rebellion against His order is now waging under diabolical influence.  And only obedience to the Message of Fatima can avert the divine chastisement by which God will otherwise bring that war to an end, as we see in the vision of the “Bishop dressed in White” who is executed outside a devastated city filled with the dead.