The 'Pascal wager.'
1. "He could be right."
We have been posting on two important topics; first, on Faith and, secondly, on the visible signs of the Catholic Church. The proper disposition for both is the humility to say: 'I could be wrong.' And our reward for our humility is the gift of knowledge that will make us say; 'he could be right.' If we are fortunate we can go higher to the supernatural level and say; ''Everything Christ said could be right; like divorce is evil. That is Faith.
2. To have the proper disposition for Faith is identical to having the proper disposition to acquire the visible signs of the true Church. To have Faith and have the visible signs of the true Church occur at the same time. We begin with natural Faith wherein we say; 'he could be right.' And rise up to supernatural Faith wherein we say 'God is right because He said it.'
3. The Book of Esdras reminds us of the need for humility to acquire knowledge and wisdom. Humility comes first. Then it is followed by the gift of knowledge where we believe our neighbors, then the gift of wisdom where the vast panorama of Divine Revelation unfolds before us making us admit with certainty that 'God is always right in all.' So we do not modify or change what God had commanded about marriage.
4. Believing what our neighbor said is an act of the reasoning made by the intellect. Because we are often wrong, what 'we have just heard' could be true because by the same reasoning we had minimized it from being false. The humble disposition is based on the fact that due to original sin we are more often wrong than right and that our neighbor could be right. The humility of knowing our state and the knowledge of knowing that our neighbor could be right go together as preparations for an Act of Faith. I could be wrong and God's preacher could be right is the right preparation for the Act of Faith. Then the listener rises up to the reasoning that the God of the preacher could be right all along; Faith becomes supernatural.
5. Today, the crisis of Faith and the absence of the Nicene visible signs of the true Church is due to Catholics not having these two disposition. Not in that there is no Catholic Church; there will always be. The reason why many so-called Catholics have no Faith and why most parishes and dioceses have no visible signs of the true Church is because we are not using our reason.
6. St. Thomas of Aquinas and reason.
St. Augustine and St. Thomas of Aquinas did much in focusing the need for right reasoning to help man acquire the proper disposition for Faith by using Plato and Aristotle's philosophy at the service of theology.
These days they can still be used. But if we would like to use a more modern thinker Blaise Pascal comes to mind. He is the echo of St. Thomas.
7. Blaise Pascal.
We hear of Pascal during high school days as the author of the law on liquids and pressure that ushered in the age of hydraulics. Most, however, do not know he, also, invented the first computer. Even less known fact is that he was a 'gentleman hermit.' These were professional laymen who lived like the first hermits of the Catholic Church. Living that life they acquired the knowledge and wisdom of hermits.
As a gentleman hermit, he fought the heresies of his times, especially the laxism of the Jesuits who, unable to answer his arguments used foul tactics, like political power, to silence him.
Though a mere layman, he surpassed the men of the Church in defending the Faith.
We recall his popular 'Pascal wager.' He was arguing with an atheist who did not believe in God and the after life. Pascal argued in favor of the existence of God and the judgment after death. And we can imagine how the arguing was going when Pascal said a short phrase that shut up the atheist. 'What if I am right? What if I am right that there is a God and He will judge you after death. You can believe whatever you like. But what if I was right. What would be the consequences to your soul? If the Atheist reasoned well and saw that Pascal could be more right then he, he should agree that Pascall could be right and act accordingly by living a holy life. If he reaches this point we say he is a wise man.
That is a question that can shut up all arguments. The possibility that I am right; especially if the possibility is greater because of sound facts and greater reasoning. This is a question that does not have to be answered. It is treasured in one's heart where it is further answered. It is a question that triggers contemplation and knowledge of the unknown. It is the proper disposition for the Act of Faith and the acquisition of the visible signs of true Catholicity.
Today, people do not have the humility to admit that they could be wrong; thus do not have the wisdom to admit that the other could be right. Even babes could be right. Pride prevents us from saying; 'he could be right,' thus preventing us from believing and from entering the Catholic Church. That is why we do not see the visible signs of the true Church in churches.
8. We must always check if what we hear is right or wrong. Most of what we hear are within our capability to check. It is when what we hear is hard to believe that we should be cautious and say; 'he could be wrong but he, also, could be right.' What would be the consequences if 'he was right.'
9. What did he say? "We could have an anti-pope." Nooooo!
This statement had been receiving flak from all sides. As if it was impossible. How could it be if we have had more than 40 in the history of the Catholic Church. How could it be when Christ, Himself, prophesied about it; when Good Friday was filled with priests who were anti-Christ; when St. Paul and St. John mentioned it in their Epistle; when saints like St. Hildegard and St. Francis warned us of him,...etc. Isn't it probable that 'he could be right?'
Our inability to be humble and say 'he could be right' is the same reason that is preventing us from having Faith and having the visible signs of the true Church. St. Bellarmine 'could be right,' No Faith, no visible signs; no signs, no bishop nor Pope.
See the consequence if Pascal's atheist was wrong and Pascal was right. That could mean his eternal damnation. And that is what we all are facing unless we humble ourselves and say; 'he could be right,' whoever said we could have an anti-pope. The issue is not whether the statement 'we have an anti-pope' is right or wrong. The issue is; do you believe you can be wrong and that the statement the other fellow said, that 'we have an anti-pope' is right.
To follow an anti-pope means everything we believe in are heresies, everything we do is immoral, and consequently we will end up in hell. An anti-pope is never an instrument of God. He is an instrument of somebody else.
10. Here, we are not making a categorical statement because 'we could be wrong.' What we are just saying is the wiser thing.....that 'the opposite statement could be right.' If we are wrong, good for us all. If we are right.......