Thursday, November 03, 2011

Larison on American Empire

Daniel Larison had a good passage in a recent post on the subject of American imperialism:

Almost everyone can agree that the U.S. is still the world’s hegemonic military and political power, and the main points of contention here in the U.S. concern how to use that power and whether the U.S. should try to maintain “undisputed leadership” of the world. Obviously, global hegemony is a much more ambitious goal in some ways than traditional territorial/colonial empire, and it is based in what may possibly be an even more arrogant vision of America’s proper role in the world, but it shares many features with imperial projects. The U.S. considers the internal affairs of other states to be the legitimate concern of our government, and it asserts the right to interfere in those affairs to influence them.

The U.S. treats several key regions of the world as privileged space where it is supposed to have military and political supremacy, and regional challengers to that supremacy are treated as potential threats to the U.S. because they infringe on what our government considers its sphere of influence. U.S. military commands divide up the world, because it is taken for granted that the U.S. has some proper military role in every part of the globe, and the U.S. has hundreds of bases scattered around the globe. The President has the ability to wage war largely on his own authority, and when he condescends to consult Congress it is now little more than a formality, so that the phrase “imperial Presidency” is as appropriate now as it has ever been. What the U.S. does not do is to establish direct political and administrative control over territories overseas. That sort of colonial empire became unfashionable and politically untenable in the decades after 1945, and the U.S. has not tried to bring it back. U.S. hegemony is a form of indirect empire, and an indirect empire is one most suited the idea of an empire dedicated to the liberal principle of self-determination.

Hand Signs

This is hilariously funny; it helps that the two Occupiers involved handled the interview almost perfectly, and therefore played a good feed to Colbert's comic. (Which is essentially what Colbert, following in Stewart's footsteps, does: he plays the funny man to guests, who are supposed to play the straight man. When it works it really works; but not everyone can play it straight.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Robin and the Sparrow

The Trees are Leafless
by John Appleby

Again the trees are leafless,
And the branches bare,
Their forms are almost lifeless,
Lately green and fair.

The hues and tints are dead,
Driven by the wind,
Amber verdant and the red,
No beauty left behind.

The robin and the sparrow
Chirp their winter lay-
On the branches high and low,
Heedless of decay.

But when the spring appears,
They again will don
Fresh life, new leaves that cheer
Where they grow on.

Of course, here the trees are still leaf-laden and green.

Aegidius Draft

I'll slowly be putting up rough draft chapters at While I'll be writing every day, I'll only be posting as chapters are finished.

Capitulum Primum: Wherein we meet the Wolf of Wolves

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

All Saints

Last year's All Saints post.

Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro

Born in nineteenth-centry Salamanca to a fairly poor family, Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro understood the value of work. Her father was a tailor, and Bonifacia began learning the trade early; when her father died during teenage years, she went to work making cord for various shops to help support her family. It was a thankless job, physically exhausting and with long hours, but she continued on, and slowly gathered together enough money to set up her own shop. Through it all she was intensely devoted to Mary and Joseph and dreamed of joining a religious order. She would imagine herself back in Jesus' day, helping out in her own way in the little Shop in Nazareth. Soon she and other Salamancan young women began to meet together to devote their precious spare time to more important matters than the entertainments of the day; these became regular meetings in Bonifacia's shop, and eventually led to the formation of lay society, which became known as the Josephine Association, after St. Joseph, whom the girls took as their patron. In October of 1870, when Bonifacia was 33 years old, she had a momentous meeting with the travelling Jesuit, Francisco Javier Butiña y Hospital; he was writing a book on faith among those who worked with their hands, and naturally fell in with Bonifacia. Interacting with her and the little society that had formed around her, he had the idea of a religious congregation devoted to helping women workers; he and Bonifacia formed the Congregación de las Siervas de San Jose.

The new congregation turned out to be quite controversial, since it was proposing a very different approach than was typical of religious groups at the time. The aim of the congregation was to create productive employment for poor women; it built shops, like Bonifacia's, which was the first, where these women could learn a trade, practice it, and profit from it. And when the Jesuits were temporarily thrown out of Spain, Bonifacia found herself running the whole controversial show alone. Interference from secular clergy, who thought that this mode of devotion was dubious or even dangerous, increased greatly; she continued, however, to resist any changes to the essential mission of the congregation. Eventually she was outmaneuvered; while out of town inspecting new branches of the congregation, and thus unable to respond, she was summarily removed from her supervision of the Salamancan community. Rather than complain, Bonifacia, practical to the end, proposed a solution to the bishop, namely, the creation of a daughter foundation in Zamora. There she kept to the original mission, while her own congregation began to morph into something entirely. It was this congregation that received approval from Leo XIII; the foundation in Zamora continued on, ignored. She was even denied the opportunity to speak with the sisters in the Salamanca house, although, since she never the complained, no one outside of Salamanca knew it until after she died. She was, as I said, practical: she focused on her work, and lived the devotion of the Shop of Nazareth. She died in 1905, and was canonized in 2011.

Celestine V

Pietro da Morrone mostly just wanted to pray and live in solitude. Alas, it was not to be. After the death of Pope Nicholas IV, the cardinals assembled at Perugia to elect his successor, and Morrone made the serious mistake of writing them a letter telling them that they must elect a Pope quickly. All the letter did was bring his own name to mind, and he was well respected for his piety. So the cardinals elected him Pope. Morrone was quite literally aghast, and tried, repeatedly, to refuse, purportedly even trying to run away. But there was nothing to be done about it. He reluctantly accepted and took the name Celesine V. The most significant action of his papacy was his decree ruling that Popes had the right to abdicate the papacy, and five months and eight days after having become Pope, that's precisely what Celestine V did. He attempted to go back to his solitude, but this, too, was not to be. The next pope, Boniface VIII (famous for being the Pope that Dante insists repeatedly throughout the Divine Comedy is destined for hell, despite being alive when Dante was writing), for reasons that seem always to be somewhat obscure, decided that Morrone needed to be in prison, and it was in the prison of Castle Fumone that the former Celestine V died in 1296 at the age of 81. He was canonized in 1313.

Olga of Kiev

Princess Olga the Beautiful was not a woman to be trifled with. Her early history is little known, but in the early 900's she married Prince Igor of Kiev, and, after Igor was murdered in 945, she became regent for her son, Svyatoslav, with role she performed with ruthless effectiveness, avenging her husband, building up the defenses of Kiev and Rus, and putting down any traces of rebellion. Late during her regency, however, she visited Constantinople, where she was baptized. The stories say that she caught Constantine VII's eye, but cleverly managed to circumvent his attempts to marry her; this is certainly apocryphal, for Olga was a fairly old woman at the time, despite having been extraordinarily beautiful in her youth, and the Emperor was married. She returned to Kiev and tried to convert her son, unsuccessfully. As the Byzantine empire played politics with Christianity, Olga began to look into the question of other possible alliances with Christian territories, visiting Otto of Saxony in an attempt to strengthen ties westward. These efforts, however, came to nothing; as Olga had begun to fear, anti-Christian reaction, both within and without Kiev and Rus, was mounting, and the support of Otto was too little and too late. Her presence and incessant church-building seems, however, to have strengthened the spread of Christianity in Kiev, and to have prepared the way for the Baptism of Rus completed by her grandson Vladimir. It was also fateful, in that it meant that the destiny of Christianity in Kiev was tied to Constantinople rather than Rome. She died in 969, having been a Christian for somewhere between twelve and fifteen very active years.

Cyril of Jerusalem

Cyril became bishop in 350 as one of the most notable members of what is usually called the Semi-Arian party. The Semi-Arians were very critical of the First Council of Nicaea, arguing that a more moderate stance was necessary; their distinguishing idea was that they rejected the use of the homoousios. In general, they tended to prefer more ambiguous formulations, in the name of peace. Cyril, however, did not have an irenic career; he was constantly in trouble with the powerful Metropolitan Acacius, who was an Arian. Acacius had Cyril deposed by council and exiled to Tarsus on charges of simony. That he was engaged in actual simony seems clearly made up, but he may well have sold church property in order to buy food for the poor during the famine; whatever the precise details, he was pushed out in disgrace. Then Acacius was deposed and Cyril restored by another council. Then Acacius, through his influence, was restored to power and Cyril was banished again. Then Julian came to the throne, and Acacius lost his influence; Cyril was restored again. Then in the reign of Valentian, who was an Arian, he was banished again. Then after the accession of Gratian to the throne he was restored again. This was, fortunately, the last move in the back and forth; the First Council of Constantinople reaffirmed Cyril's position, and it was there for the first time that he committed to the Nicene position, voting for the homoousios, possibly after having decided from experience that the Arians were really not going to keep the peace anyway. He has left the Church an extraordinary set of Catechetical and post-Baptismal lectures, which is the reason for his liturgical status as Doctor of the Church. He died in 386.

Joseph Mukasa and Charles Lwanga

Born in the kingdom of Buganda, in the south of present-day Uganda, Mukasa and Lwanga served in the court of King Mwanga II. Mwanga was increasingly concerned about the influence of Christian missionaries in his kingdom -- primarily Anglican and Catholic -- and began increasingly to insist that Christian converts give up their faith. This aggression reached critical levels in 1885, when Mwanga arrested and executed an incoming group of Anglican missionaries, led by James Hannington. The king's major-domo, Joseph Mukasa, who was also a lay catechist, sharply criticized the king for this action; as a result, Mwanga had Mukasa killed. Lwanga, who had been a catechumen, took his place, but, impressed by Mukasa's courage, was baptized the same day and became a lay catechist.

In 1886, Mwanga initiated a crackdown on Christians in his court; those found guilty, whether Catholic or Anglican, were mostly burned alive. Among these was Charles Lwanga. By 1887 at least 45 people, both Catholic and Anglican, had been killed. This and other brutalities stirred up Christians and Muslims against Mwanga, and the British, alarmed at what Mwanga's persecution signified for British influence in the area, backed the rebels. Mwanga was temporarily defeated and deposed, but managed to negotiate a return with the British; he gradually ceded power to the British but then tried to stop the process with a war, which he lost. Despite being a wily politician, he is most remembered for his brutality in the anti-Christian persecution. Charles Lwanga and his companions died on June 3, 1886.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lenore (Re-Post)

The original version of the poem is by Bürger, of course; it became a Romantic classic. The most famous English rewriting ('translation' is not a vigorous enough word for what it sparked, since they are typically adaptations, restylings, and reimaginings) is that by Dante Gabriel Rossetti; Sir Walter Scott tried his hand at a version, which had some influence as well. I also like Julia Goddard's version; it's much less literary and more folksy, so it's easily overlooked. If you just read it off the page you probably won't appreciate it, but it would easily be the most effective version for ghost stories around the campfire. Mine's still in draft, as usual, but it seemed fitting for Halloween.


The ghosts of the dead across land and sea
wildly dash as they seek to be free.

Lenore in her bed is deeply disturbed
by nightmare-madness that shakes and unnerves,
by the terror of dream that ennervates souls,
the last horror, wanhope, that Pandora stole.
"Ah, Wilhelm," she says, in a sigh like a moan,
"have you no faith, or no strength, to come home?
Have you no means, or no will, to return,
when Ilium falls and Jerusalem burns?"

And the armies come home, the men and the boys;
the throngs of the soldiers return to their joys.
But never is Wilhelm found laughing with bliss,
arriving at home to catch Lenore's kiss.
Swiftly and often the maiden's bright eye
searches among the men who go by,
gladsome and glorious, uncaring at all
for Lenore's worried search or the name that she calls.

Her mother would ease her, as mothers will do:
"God is in heaven, His grace ever new;
seek mercy from him, and comfort you'll see."

"Mother, this God has no mercy for me."

"Her words are the words of a child distraught;
she knows not the sense of this wickedest thought!
Heaven, forgive her, and daughter, know this:
God's wisdom is endless, and mercy is his."

"Mother, my mother, your God does not care.
He who has mercy relieves all despair;
but pitiless God, he brings only night,
takes away Wilhelm, and shuts away light!"

"Heaven forgive you! The wine and the bread
show us a God who saves us from death.
The cup and the paten are mercy indeed:
reflect on their power; my daughter, take heed!"

"Mother, the lies of the wine and the bread
have no power to save or to raise from the dead;
no pity I find there, only the loss
of a man all forsaken and dead on the cross."

"And what if it's Wilhelm, not God, who's untrue?
What if your man another pursues
on some rugged mountain, on some distant plain?
Watch who you blame in your anguish and pain!"

"Mother, my mother, it all matters not
if his heart be made still or by someone else caught:
nothing at all can raise this sad head,
my life is for nothing, my place with the dead."

"Cease, my dear girl, all this moan and complaint!
Set your sweet heart on the goal of the saint:
seek you the vision of He who makes whole,
He who alone is fit groom to the soul."

"What is bliss, my sweet mother? Indeed, what is hell?
With Wilhelm is bliss, and without him I fell
down into darkness, down to the tomb.
He is my light, all else is but gloom.
Everything else God may coldly remove;
neither heaven nor hell should such providence prove.
But Wilhelm alone is my heaven and light:
she requires no other who is by his side."

The clack and the clatter of the hoof of the steed,
the clank of the steel and the voice Lenore needs,
waft through the door to meet Lenore's ear,
to bring her rejoicing and turn her to cheer.

"Are you waking or sleeping, Lenore, O my bride?
Come with me, come with me, off let us ride!
Off must we go, ere the dawn slays the night,
fast journey and far, to our wedded delights!"

"Wilhelm, my Wilhelm, eleven's the bell
that tolls in the churchyard and says all is well;
rest you within till night turns retreat;
come inside, dearest, and whisper me sweet."

"No, my Lenore, before break of day
I have many a mile to mark on my way.
Swift, at dead gallop, through storm and through night,
through rain and through gusting, before morning's light."

Without pause and unwary she raced through the door
with kiss and caress no man could ignore;
but Wilhelm straightway did lift her beside,
and settled her down, and away they did ride.
The world like poured water in rush flurried by
as bridge blurred to bridge for the slow human eye
and trees of the forest became like a wall
that flickered and rose and behind them did fall.
And shimmers and shadows alone in the dark
rose to the eye like the fire and spark,
the shapes of grim warriors who died far away;
they rush to find solace before break of day.

"What ails you, my darling, my dearest, my bride?
Why do you shudder, your head turn aside?
Are they not lovely, the shades of the dead?"
Lenore answered not as she covered her head.

Soon to a gate born of iron and fire
they came; there Wilhelm, as if in ire
threw back his hand, and the iron bolts bent,
and gently inside the two lovers went.
But see how the moonlight plays tricks on the eye!
See Wilhelm, how thin, like bones long laid by!
See now his head, like a skull reft of skin,
and how like he looks to the bones of dead men!

Now lie before them the tombs of the dead,
but Wilhelm still sings of the sweet nuptial bed,
and Lenore, who now struggles, is drawn ere she wist
into a dark grave, cold hand on her wrist.


Bound to happen at some point, I suppose. And, of course, the real answer to the question of how sustainable it all is, is not how many of us there are but how many of us act with a modicum of reason, restraint, and good will.

The Committee on Doctrine's Response to Johnson

The Committee on Doctrine has reaffirmed (PDF) its criticism of Sr. Elizabeth Johson's Quest for the Living God, after considering her response to the previous one. This is a much better document than the one they originally released, which shows that Sr. Johnson was at least right that they probably should have tried to get her clarifications before releasing the original one. As one might expect, the usual suspects are up in arms over the audacity of the bishops in criticizing an academic theologian for the adequacy of her theology. In fact, though, the argument of the statement is quite good, and pinpoints what is in fact a genuine fault of Sr. Johnson's (and a common fault among contemporary academic theologians), her tendency to explain things rather loosely and without much precision. It is in fact true that Johnson repeatedly explains analogy in ways inconsistent with her express aim (the 'literally' point drove me crazy all the way through her discussion), that she strangely fails to do much serious discussion of the actual implications of the things she explores for the faith at large, and that she repeatedly attempts to argue by deployment of vague and historically dubious labels. An unprejudiced reader picking up the book and reading it with the bishops' statement right there will find much more in the book that displays the problems noted by the Committee than the Committee actually gives.

Academic theologians tend themselves to be a circle-the-wagons lot, so it's unsurprising that they are unhappy. Daniel Horan has a defense of Johnson that has most of the worst qualities one could expect from their response, managing as it does merely to confirm the reputation academic theologians have for being simultaneously glib and snide. Part of the problem, which has plagued Horan's criticisms of the Committee throughout, is that he cannot get away from his assumption -- never proven, indeed, repeatedly presented as if it did not in any way require proving -- that what academic theology generally offers is "sound, constructive, legitimate and necessary" for the Church. This is, however, arguably what the bishops themselves are putting to question: they are criticizing Sr. Johnson's book, which is far from the worst end of the spectrum of the products of academic theologian, and arguing that it is confusing, fails to address adequately the question of how its proposals are to be integrated into Church teaching at large, is indeed apparently inconsistent at points with key strands of Church teaching, and seems largely an impediment to episcopal teaching. Now, set aside any question of whether they are right in arguing this, and ask yourself, "What are the broader implications of making such an argument?" For that matter, why pick on Sr. Johnson? Any comparison of Johnson's book with much of the typical output of academic theologians will quickly show that (1) she's comparatively quite good; and (2) she's comparatively quite insistent on the specifically Catholic elements of her work. Both of these have been a repeated theme in defenses of Johnson by academic theologians, and correctly so, but academic theologians commenting on the matter have been so wounded in their dignity that they have failed to consider the further implication of it, which is that any assumption that even the best of Catholic academic theology is offering something "sound, constructive, legitimate and necessary," at least when used to start people off, is now begging the question. It's hardly surprising that academic theologians respond passionately to such a criticism; what is baffling is finding some who think that the appropriate response is self-satisfied but entirely vague insistence on their superiority over their critics.

OK, so perhaps the proof is in the pudding, and there is some resounding confirmation of this in the details. But for all the melodrama Horan plays up with phrases like "the atrophy of theology", his criticism ends up being pretty piecemeal and unimpressive, repeatedly dodging the serious issues in favor of dubious quibbles. For instance, the rhetorical questions,

Which necessarily causes the reader to ask: What is the singular and official Catholic “conception of analogy?” Is it the medieval understanding of Thomas Aquinas? or Henry of Ghent? Is it something developed later, like that of Francisco Suarez? Is it something developed more recently, like that of Karl Rahner or David Tracy?

might have been clever except that Horan can't possibly be ignorant of the fact that what is at issue is analogy as discussed in Sr. Johnson's book -- which does not, I assure you, get into any of the finer points about the differences between Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent. Anyone familiar with Johnson on the subject of analogy notes that she repeatedly locates her own discussion of the topic in a broadly Thomistic tradition; this was, for instance, the whole point of her famous dispute with Bracken back in the nineties, in which she argued that a 'retrieval' of the Thomistic doctrine of analogy was in order. Moreover, the broadly Thomistic outlines are clear enough from the book itself; and Horan can hardly be ignorant of this. Thus it's impossible to see this as anything other than an obfuscatory dust to hide the weakness of the larger argument, which is that the Committee is claiming that there is one and only one acceptable account of analogy. But this whole argument rests entirely on a single phrase of a single sentence, ripped out of context: the phrase "the Catholic understanding of analogy" in the sentence, "According to the Catholic understanding of analogy, we do in fact know what 'good' means and that 'good' applies to God." But nothing about this, either in itself or in context, implies what Horan claims it implies; given other things the bishops say throughout it is more reasonable to read it as the point that in the Catholic theological tradition (which they mention just two paragraphs later in summing up) analogy has typically been put forward as way to avoid the view of claiming that our names for God are purely equivocal, which would render much of the Catholic theological tradition void regardless of the particular strands one preferred. That this is true is neither controversial nor exceptionable.

Likewise, Horan's argument over the "Second Ground Rule," while excoriating the bishops for missing "the nuances of theological thought," has clearly missed the nuances of the bishops' thought. Indeed, 'nuance' is not the right word; they have repeatedly insisted that the reason, and the only reason, they are getting involved is that Johnson's book is so often used as a textbook, and again have repeatedly insisted that, whatever Johnson's intention, what it says is misleading and confusing in such a context. Talking about the 'nuances' simply reaffirms the bishops' point that Johnson's book is at best appropriate for people who have longstanding familiarity with the 'nuances' of current theological idiom, not undergraduates. And, again, it is hardly as if the concern of the bishops over the use of the book to teach the latter has been kept to subtle indications. Horan is seeing only what he wants to see; and every indication is that he wants to see any bishops critical of academic theology as stupid. The result is a pick-and-choose manner of defense that does no one any credit.

The rest of Horan's defense is in the same vein, alternating weak argument and bombastic rhetoric, culminating in the claim about the Conclusion, "Echoing what has been said publicly by Thomas Weinandy, OFM cap., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and others, this conclusion makes the case that all theology must 'repeat certain traditional formulas.'" Of course, anyone who actually reads the Conclusion will see at once that the Conclusion explicitly denies this -- indeed, the passage Horan goes on immediately to quote explicitly denies it -- so that perhaps says something about how closely Horan has read it. It's not my purpose to provide a defense of the Committee statement from Horan; it really needs no such defense, because Horan's argument throughout largely consists of minor issues and a posture of disdain at the alleged stupidity of the Committee in dealing with the nuance, brilliance, and sophistication of academic theology. Such 'defenses' are unconstructive and worse than the criticisms being raised; certainly for those of us who are academics, Catholic, and not in theology departments they run the danger of making academic theologians look childish.

It may be helpful, however, to point to an example of actually reasonable criticism of the statement, namely, a response that (1) focuses on essential issues rather than quibbling over single phrases,(2) shows that the statement has actually been read carefully, and (3) shows an actual appreciation for context. Megan's post at "WIT", I think, does quite well on all three points. I don't in the end agree with it; I find her reading of the document, as expressing one and only one 'model' of reception of tradition, unconvincing. The bishops clearly don't address the matter in much detail, and much of Megan's interpretation relies on arguments about what is supposedly implicit in what few claims they do make, and I don't see that she's made the case. It's instructive to compare how she does it with how Horan does it, though, since her approach is quite reasonable, looking at specific evidences and drawing out implications and possible inconsistencies while showing recognition of the fact that explicit claims must be taken into account. This is quite legitimate; and is, in any case, what the Committee itself is attempting to do. Likewise, I think the 'models' of reception used in the argument have the problems most theological 'models' do; if they really were the models in play, the only reasonable path would be to reject the positions of both the Committee and Sr. Johnson as absurd, because they would be making assumptions about teaching that obviously could not even handle the simplest features of a reasonably taught college class, much less the Holy Spirit's teaching of the entire Church. But these are things that can reasonably be argued for, points that open up to further discussion and can be refined, all delivered without attempt to short-circuit reasoning by melodramatic rhetoric.

Previous posts on the Johnson matter:

* Some Jottings on Analogy and Via Triplex in Philosophical and Theological Lights

* Magisterium

* Johnson's Response to the Committee on Doctrine

Sunday, October 30, 2011

On a Combinatory Logic of Modal Operators

We can start with a simple identity or constancy operator, T(_). We could do I(_) instead, but we'll write it T(_) here. And T(_) is a one-place or no-place operator, which simply returns whatever is in its scope, and which can be added to anything you're working with by taking whatever you're working with in its scope. So, for instance:

T(T) = T

And we add to this F(_), which is also a unary/nullary operator, with the following two properties when interacting with T(_):

F(T) = F
F(F) = T

It's our opposition or negation operator; it returns the opposite of whatever falls within its scope. We could write it N(_) instead, but we'll write it F(_) here. We can nest things, of course, so that, for instance, we have F(F(T)), which can easily be shown to be equivalent to T.

To this we can add binary operators. For instance, K(_)(_) is the operator that returns T if the two things in its scope are T, and F if otherwise:

K(T)(T) = T
K(x)(F) = K(F)(x) = F

In the same way, others can be defined. For instance, A(_)(_) returns T if either thing in its scope is T, and F otherwise. We could add others, like C(_)(_) and E(_)(_), but I won't go into that here.

Of course, all of this assumes that all operators of a kind are interchangeable. But suppose you want to index them to some particular kind of thing? Then we can mark off differently indexed operators with numerical subscripts, like so:


We could, if we wished, modify the rules for T and F slightly:

Tn(Tn) = Tn
F(Tn) = Fn
F(Fn) = Tn

And if we took the index numbers to represent different propositions, we could have standard propositional logic, as the astute reader no doubt has already recognized, for standard propositional logic is really just that fragmentary variant of a sort of combinatory logic of modal operators (or truth values, which are the same thing) in which at least some modal operators are indexed to propositions. A lot of what we do in standard propositional logic is just follow procedures for taking longer strings of combined operators and reducing them to the shortest string we can -- preferably, of course, T or F.

Needless to say, we could also add in other operators. For instance, we often have need for an ineliminability operator, or Box, and a consistency operator, or Diamond, which are, like T and F, nullary/unary, and are related to each other in this way:

F(□) = ◊(F)
□(F) = F(◊)

Which is nice. But, of course, what one really wants is to have Boxes and Diamonds indexed to certain behaviors, doesn't one? Of course one does. We could do subscripts again, but I think superscripts ends up being less confusing in the long run, because we might want to index an operator both to a kind of Box or Diamond and to a proposition, to get all the flavors of modal logic. Of course, there's no reason why Box and Diamond should have all the fun; you can index T and F, thus (for instance) yielding certain kinds of paraconsistent logic.

But there's no reason, either, to think that we can only index to propositions. We can do so just as easily with terms. And, as I have pointed out before, quantifiers are modal operators, so the universal quantifier and its dual are simply one kind of Box and Diamond, □ and ◊. And so on, and so forth, and so forth beyond that. It's all modal operators.