Sunday, May 22, 2022

Fortnightly Book, May 22

 Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála Orczy de Orci was born in Tarnaörs, Hungary, in 1865, the daughter of Baron Félix Orczy de Orci and Countess Emma Wass de Szentegyed et Cege. Political troubles and the possibility of revolution led to the family leaving Hungary eventually and arriving in England, where Emma eventually studied at London art schools. It was in the course of her art training that she met her future husband, the illustrator, Henry George Montagu MacLean Barstow. They were quite poor, and both had to work to maintain their household. Baroness Orczy found that she had some talent at writing, although her early work had an uneven success, her detective-fiction short stories originally doing better than her historical-fiction novels.

One of the short stories she had written blended her writing interests, being a historical fiction story about the French Revolution that had detective fiction elements. She and her husband worked together to compose a play based on it and sold it; at the same time, Baroness Orczy worked on a novelization. The play had a weak start, but the producer to whom she had sold it was a fan, and so, with parts of it rewritten, he took it to another theater, where it lasted for four years, and by the end of that time had broken theater records and was one of the most popular plays in Britain. The novel was published just as the play was taking off, and as the play's popularity took off, so did the novel's. The play and the novel were, of course, titled, The Scarlet Pimpernel. The combination of the two made Baroness Orczy very wealthy.

But Orczy did not stop with that novel. She created what we would think of today as a literary universe -- she wrote a large number of related works (novels and short stories, mostly), both new Scarlet Pimpernel stories and spin-offs about various characters met by the hero, including the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, who worked with the hero to save people from murderous revolutionaries. In addition, by the time of Orczy's death in 1947, there had been movies and new adaptations into stage plays, and she only just missed by a few years the introduction of the Scarlet Pimpernel into television.

For the fortnightly book, I will be reading A Scarlet Pimpernel Collection, which contains four of the Scarlet Pimpernel books:

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905)
I Will Repay (1906)
The Elusive Pimpernel (1908)
The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1919)

The fourth of these is itself a short story collection with eleven short stories:

"Sir Percy Explains"
"A Question of Passports"
"Two Good Patriots"
"The Old Scarecrow"
"A Fine Bit of Work"
"How Jean-Pierre Met the Scarlet Pimpernel"
"Out of the Jaws of Death"
"The Traitor"
"The Cabaret de la Liberté"
"Needs Must--"
"A Battle of Wits"

So off we go in a game of espionage and secret identities, as the Scarlet Pimpernel saves aristocrats and their families from the murderous guillotine of the French Republic!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

William Goldman, The Princess Bride

 Introduction

Opening Passage: The book is deliberately structured so as not to have a definite beginning. We could start with the first part of the story that is called "The Princess Bride" in the table of contents:

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it. (p.1)

Or we could start with the beginning of the story that occurs within the frame story:

The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette. Annette worked in Paris for the Duke and Duchess de Guiche, and it did not escape the Duke's notice that someone extraordinary was polishing the pewter. The Duke's notice did not escape the notice of the Duchess either, who was not very beautiful and not very rich, but plenty smart. The Duchess set about studying Annette and shortly found her adversary's fatal flaw. (p. 39)

Or we could start with the 25th Anniversary Introduction or the 30th Anniversary Introduction, each of which is presented as part of the frame story, thus pushing back the frame story's beginning, although I won't quote them here.

Summary: 'William Goldman', i.e., the character in the book rather than the author, grew up enjoying, as his favorite story, a book by S. Morgenstern, called The Princess Bride. Morgenstern was an author from a place in Europe called Florin, and Goldman's father had been a Florinese immigrant, and read the book to him when he was boy. Naturally, at some point Goldman decides to give it to his son, Jason, with whom he does not have a particularly close relationship. (Again, this is the son of the character, not the author; the author William Goldman had only daughters.) It turns out to be extremely difficult to find a copy, and when he does find a copy, it falls flat as a gift; Jason can't get past the first chapter. Disappointed, he starts reading it himself -- and discovers that he can't get past the first chapter, either. He had never actually read it, himself; his father had always read it to him, and what he discovers is that his father skipped large sections of the book, which were satirical passages extending over many pages on various features of Florinese history and politics. Because of this, he decides to abridge it; it's clear that he wants to keep this connection with the story of "true love and high adventure" because he has none of either in his life.

You'll notice that so far, everything in the story is a (fictional) account of making the story. In fact, the fictional William Goldman is one of the main characters of the story, and keeps popping up in editorial notes and footnotes. The other main characters in the novel are the main characters in the story-within-the story. Thus it's only on page 39 in my edition that we get to Buttercup, and only on p. 42 that we get to Westley, and p. 45 when we reach the primary antagonists, Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen. The frame is not merely a frame; it is structured as the primary story, interacting with the subset secondary story, S. Morgenstern's The Princess Bride. And that book could perhaps be considered another main character. This is in part a story about our connection to stories.

Buttercup is a farm girl in Florin; she is even when young one of the most beautiful women in the world, and will eventually, for a while, become the most beautiful woman in the world. She spends her days riding her horse, named Horse (Buttercup is consistently presented as not having much imagination), and teasing the hired farm boy, whose name we eventually learn is Westley. They eventually fall in love, but Westley leaves for America. He never makes it; the ship is seized by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never takes prisoners. Meanwhile, Prince Humperdinck chooses her to be his bride -- he does not particularly want to marry, because he would much rather be hunting, but practically speaking needs to do so, and Buttercup by this point has reached the top position among the most beautiful women in the world. However, as we discover, he has more to his agenda than this suggests. Before her marriage, Buttercup is kidnapped by three criminals: a Sicilian, named Vezzini; a Spaniard, named Inigo Montoya; and a Turk, named Fezzik. However, as they are escaping with her, they find themselves pursued. Long story short (which after all the very conceit of this book), Westley will have to team up with Inigo and Fezzik, at least after he comes back from being mostly dead, to rescue Buttercup from a terrible fate.

The book, written in 1973, was adapted into a 1987 film, The Princess Bride, which is rightly considered one of the great classic movies of the 80's. It's interesting as an adaptation; allowing for occasionally slight modifications and abbreviations, it follows the subset story quite closely (except in one regard, which I will note in a moment), although it massively simplifies and modifies the frame. This means that the movie is both very like and very unlike the book. As I noted in introducing it, one difference is that the book is pitched to a narrower audience; it is not a children's book. A further difference is that the frame in the book puts a much greater distance between the reader and the "true love and high adventure" than the movie puts between the audience and the same. This difference culminates in the one significant change that I mentioned: the movie deliberately gives a fairytale ending, and the book deliberately denies that it can give one (although it doesn't give a definite unhappy ending, either). The movie tells us that true love and high adventure exist and triumph; the book tells us that we can at least tell stories about them, and maybe they even do exist and triumph sometimes.

Given that the book and the movie are doing different things, it perhaps doesn't make much sense to say which is better, but the book as a book is a good book; the movie as a movie is an excellent movie. The movie benefits from a much cleaner structure. Although the subset story is billed as an 'abridgement', the actual story we get is not abridged; William Goldman (the character, again) has just replaced S. Morgenstern's digressions with his own, although to be fair to him, he is apparently much less verbose. But the movie is also almost the Platonic Idea of a movie adaptation; all of the changes that are made make sense, the casting is practically perfect, and the screenplay written by Goldman (the author, not the character) strikes a near-perfect balance in what to show and what to imply offstage. I suspect that this is because of a convergence of a number of factors. Goldman (the author) was a professional screenwriter; the novel is clearly written to be adaptable to the screen; the screenplay was written by the author of the novel; the director, Rob Reiner, was very committed to bringing it to the screen, despite the legal obstacles that had developed due to the screenplay's languishing in 'production hell' for a number of years; and the casting was done well. The movie actually did only OK when it came out; but it was a perfect kind of movie for the VCR generation, and it did extremely well on home video, and it consistently makes Top 100 lists for movies. Rightly so, I think; I've watched it several times in my life, including the year it first came out on video, and re-watching it again for this fortnightly book, it was quite fresh.

The anniversary editions of the novel have additional frame material. We learn that Goldman, the character, divorces his wife and develops a better relationship with his son, and eventually has an even better relationship with his grandson, also named Willy. Goldman and Willy visit Florin, because Goldman is interested in abridging Morgenstern's sequel, Buttercup's Baby, but it's unclear whether the latter will ever happen, because Morgenstern's estate wants Stephen King (in the novel, he is of Florinese heritage) to do it instead. We get a peek of a 'first chapter' in which a number of things happen to the characters, but in such a way that it's clear that we don't actually know what will happen to them, and that is that. And I suppose that is the fate of all fictional characters; we follow them for a why, but outside the bounds of the story, anything could happen, and we can only guess.

Favorite Passage:

I'm not trying to make this a downer, understand. I mean, I really do think that love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all. (p. 358)

Recommendation: Recommended. The book is genuinely good. But also, in honesty, given a choice between the book and the movie, the movie is still the choice to make.

************

William Goldman, The Princess Bride, Harcourt (New York: 2007).

Friday, May 20, 2022

Dashed Off XI

 To know logical truths is not to know a list of propositions.

cause: (1) diversity of substance (2) dependence of one on another

conjoined instrumental causes
A. Entitative
-- (1) by contact (pen in hand)
-- (2) by real union (hand of man)
-- (3) by immediate presence (sense for intellect)
B. Causative
-- (4) by action (telephone wire by use)

forces as instrumentalities for eduction of material forms

effect in cause
-- (1) in that the effect is encompassed by the action of the cause
-- (2) in that the effect is like the cause
-- -- -- (a) according to natural being and in some specific nature: univocal
-- -- -- (b) according to natural being but not the same specific nature: equivocal
-- -- -- (c) according to spiritual or intentional being as in rest: idea
-- -- -- (d) according to spiritual or intentional being as in motion or deflux: instrument

"All Vedantic texts proclaim with one voice the majesty of the Supreme as a storehouse of numberless auspicious attributes and free from all imperfections. Of these, (1) some represent it as endowed with attributes as omniscience, lordship of creatures, control of beings from within, and other excellences; (2) others describe it negatively as free from such blemishes as sin and suffering and liability to material embodiment; (3) yet others speak of it as being beyond the reach of mind and words, in order to bring home to us its comparative inaccessibility; (4) many others depict it as the only one that exists so as to make it clear that man must seek it to exclusion of all else; and (5) a few more proclaim it as the Self of all, so that it may be realized as conferring on all else their existence, knowability, activity, etc." Jayatirtha (Nyaya Sudha)

Sacrifice cries out to be interpreted allegorically.

Communities cannot be constituted solely by consent.

God as the always-already-there

"I do really assert that thought is made for being as the eye is made for light." Marcel

In every part of Christ's life there is an aspect of deep mystery, and you err if you think you wholly understand it.

practice-work vs. evaluation-work in pedagogy
-- practice-work requires feedback; evaluation-work requires explanation
-- practice-work needs to be multistage; this is not true for evaluation
-- these are not exhaustive-- e.g., reflection-work (but reflection-work could more easily be integrated with practice-work and evaluation-work than they can with each other)
-- practice-work often tends toward, is instrumental for, evaluation-work

shoddy brilliance

Critical thinking is something more earned than taught.

Liberalism as a political philosophy works well for persons qua citizens, but it often errs by ignoring other aspects of persons, and the relationship of citizenship to them.

the nostalgia for paradise and the drive for symbolization (cf. Barfield)

the wish for paradisial reason

We are capable of mixing and remixing mathematical properties at will, but any given mix commits us to the consequences.

"Amongst the many benefits to be expected from it will be the great benefit of drawing the minds of men to liberty, fraternity, and equality of right; not such as the Freemasons absurdly imagine, but such as Jesus Christ obtained for the human race and St. Francis aspired to.' Leo XIII (Humanum genus 34)

universal destination : private property :: global scope of episcopal authority : diocesan jurisdiction

By reading and hearing Scripture, we take part imaginatively and figuratively with the salvific work of Christ; by the sacraments we take part in it really and symbolically.

Christ as the Torii, the Sandoo, and the Musubi

sacraments as media for exemplar causes; in being the exemplar for the sacraments, Christ is exemplar for us through the sacraments

Love purifies, illuminates, and perfects.

cooperation -> compromise -> persuasion -> manipulation -> coercion

'freedom and friendship applied with good judgment'

Christ's entrusting His mother to John as a symbol of the Church being entrusted to the priests

Liberty is, or should be, an accumulating inheritance, with each generation building new frameworks to make possible new, stable, fulfilling liberties.

A market only exists within a system of mutual communication.

good and bad approaches to tradition & the parable of talents

The Church is not a capitalistic institution; it does not exist to get its membership numbers up but to provide the grace that flows not from itself but Christ, by means it did not invent but received and maintains.

As Christ's physical body ascends in miracle and glory, so His mystical body ascends in sacrament and hope.

faith's commemoration, hope's anticipation, love's union

The sacraments must be in the form of signs because we are sensitive beings, and they must be rites because we are rational and therefore social beings.

propaganda-laundering through the press

"The family is natural preparation for communion with God; this is why the devil attacks it." Robert Cardinal Sarah

(1) If there are actual things, there is something actual that explains those actual things.
(2) Take the totality of actual things. Then, by (1), one of these actual things must explain the totality of actual things.

Claims that the PSR entails necessitarianism seem to confuse different kinds of Boxes. Think about this more.

sufficient reason for x requires Box-for-x, not necessarily a general Box

It is impossible to have a proposition that states the whole contingent truth about the actual world.

groups that are explained by one of their members

necessary randomizations

diffusion of ideas as like diffusion through a mass of cells or compartments

pursuits that are part of common good: art, science, religion, politics, education, medicine, law

out of divine silence / angel-song is born

Scripture as an instrument the Spirit uses to give us a usefulness to divine providence vs. Scripture as an instrument we use to progress toward God

There is no genuine progress except progress toward God.

Hierarchy is the infrastructure for progress; it allows you both to scaffold and to filter rather than just to wander. Human beings, however, can only implement and exemplify it in a limited way.

'Deplatforming' is just the modern version of running people out of town.

(thing -> object) -> value

mycelial networks as economies of survival resources

Scripture comes forth from God through the prophets and apostles, but it returns to God through us.

property rights as ritual connection rights

natural, stipulated, and customary rites

Means of production are always by their nature received.

vis cogitativa as sense of classification

Mutual interaction presupposes the agent/patient distinction; otherwise there is no way to identify mutuality.

causal powers partnering with causal powers in mutual/cooperative effect

The tendency to deny causal asymmetry is usually due to confusing causation and its measurement.

the dignity of the social medium

metaphysics as ancillary to sacred doctrine: (1) propaedeutic (2) supplementary (3) instrumental

strophe : dialectic :: antistrophe : rhetoric

A lottery is still designed. All attempts to understand chance through probability theory start from highly structured, rule-following closed systems, like urns with colored balls.

the church edifice as itself an icon

three conditions for an apta
(1) direct cognitive connection
(2) integrity
(3) adequate communication

"He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman." Mundaka Upanishad 3.2.9

Shankara recognizes two kinds of change with respect to the 'material cause': parinama (change of substance), like milk into cheese; vivarta, like silver into the shape of a ring. The world is said to be related to Brahman like the latter.

Vasubandhu's argument against the world having a single cause:
If things were produced by a single cause, they would arise all at once; but they arise successively.
-- If you appeal to distinct desires, these are not one cause.
-- If you appeal to cooperation with other causes, these are not one cause, and the other causes have infinite regress.
-- If you appeal to divine desire being all at once but its effect successive, there is no reason why a desire not efficacious now should be efficacious later.

Families are both civil and religious entities.

cause ( hierarchical act ( rite ( sign

The poet sometimes gets closer to philosophizing with the many than the philosopher does.

logos-, ethos-, and pathos-grounds for trust

Rhetoric is essential to the rational life because there are cooperative matters on which we must deliberate for which we have no technique or method for determining the choices we must make.

What analytic philosophers usually call induction is what Aristotle called argument from example.

justice/injustice, honor/shame, benefit/harm
-- because all of these are considered in rhetoric and persuasive speeches concerning behavior, they are liable to be confused
-- politicians often take advantage of this confusion by shifting from one to another as convenient

"Wealth as a whole consists in using things rather than owning them; it is really the activity -- that is, the use -- of property that constitutes wealth." Aristotle (Rhetoric 1361a)

gifts as tokens of honor

Thursday, May 19, 2022

On Howard-Snyder and McKaughan on Faith

 Daniel Howard-Snyder and Daniel J. McKaughan have a forthcoming paper, The Problem of Faith and Reason, in which they try to propose an account of faith. Unfortunately, the argument is a bit of mess, and I think falls very short of establishing what they hope to establish. Because it's a bit of a mess, it's hard to get a single grip on it, so I'll break up my comments into a few basic components.

(1) Before getting to the argument of the paper itself, I want to comment on the interpretation of Aquinas, who is used as a contrast case. There are several serious flaws in the depiction of the Thomistic account by Howard-Snyder and McKaughan, and this causes problems for their overall argument, which is in part an argument that their account of faith is superior to the Thomistic account. They say:

According to Aquinas, the object of faith is God, but since we have no immediate awareness of God, strictly speaking the object of faith is propositions about God, such as the proposition that God exists or the proposition that Jesus is God incarnate. Faith, then, is an act of intellectual assent to propositions about God. (p. 17)

This is not correct. Aquinas is very clear that, strictly speaking, the object of faith is God as first truth. Propositions are not the object of faith. What Aquinas says is that the object of faith is aliquid complexum per modum enuntiabilis. While God is simple in Himself, as an object of the human intellect, He is thought of in a manner appropriate to the human intellect, which naturally knows by composition and division (by judgment). We think even of simple things in complexifying ways. This 'complexification' is by way of enunciables. 'Proposition' is in many cases a perfectly fine translation, but an enunciable is an articulation of a more fundamental act, judgment, using concepts; it is not an abstract object but a possible expression of thought in an actual context. (This fact, incidentally, is one of the things that leads to medieval logic working somewhat differently from modern logic, as, for instance, when medieval logicians insist that enunciations can change truth value over time.) The point is that the object of faith is something complex by way of its intellectual expression in us. Aquinas flat-out denies (ST 2-2.1.1 ad 2) that the object of faith is enunciables, however; enunciables are means the intellect uses to think; they are not (setting aside purely reflexive cases as found in, say, the study of the logic of propositions) the object about which the intellect is thinking.  (We often find similar confusions when people discuss concepts; for Aquinas, concepts are not what we primarily know, they are the means created by the intellect for the purpose of knowing other things.) The 'per modum' is very important. Aquinas does not think that propositions about God are the object of faith; he thinks they are the tools of faith. (And he would point, as he explicitly does, to the Creed, which articulates the object of faith into propositions, not so that we can have faith in propositions, but so that we can by means of them have faith in God.)

The authors go on to note Aquinas contextualizes faith by comparing and contrasting it with other postures of the intellect, as we might call them, to things that are true and false. Like knowledge in the proper sense, faith is certain. However, knowledge is certain on the basis of proof, which excludes the opposite, while faith is not. Faith thus also has features in common with opinion, suspicion and doubt, which do not exclude the opposite. The reason is that, unlike knowledge in the strict sense, the postures of faith, opinion, suspicion, or doubt are all postures the mind takes in deliberating or investigating. I don't blame Howard-Snyder and McKaughan for missing this, because most people miss it, and it's not always particularly relevant to what people are looking at in Aquinas's account, but it is relevant to the argument in this paper. In the course of deliberating or inquiring, you can take different postures to the things that come up in inquiry, and one of these postures is faith, which is to incline firmly to accepting it because it is taken to be good to do so (which Aquinas calls assent). In the case of the faith that we are primarily talking about here (and this is important for the argument in the paper), this involve three kinds of goodness-to-believe, so to speak: God, the object of faith, is good to believe about; divine authority, which is that which makes it possible for us to have faith, is good authority on which to believe; and God, as the end of faith, is good to direct oneself towards. In Aquinas's account of faith, we believe God by means of God's authoritative revelation so that we may be united to God, at the conclusion of our inquiring, which conclusion is the Beatific Vision, in which we will not merely have faith in God but know God. Thus when the authors characterize Aquinas's account of faith as "believing a proposition about God with certainty, on inadequate evidence, by an act of will, due to an attraction to its being true" (p. 18), this is not correct. Aquinas does not hold that the evidence for faith is inadequate, simpliciter; he thinks it is inadequate for knowledge, because faith is a posture taken in the course of ongoing inquiry that has not reached the point of knowledge. It is not 'believing a proposition about God'; it is believing God about God for the sake of God, which we do (again in our course of inquiry) by using propositions as an instrument for believing, not as what we believe.

It's also worth pointing out, as relevant to what the authors will argue, that Aquinas says that faith is consistent with occasional doubt (ST 2-2.4.8 ad 1). This is inevitable, in fact, because, again, Aquinas takes faith to be a posture of inquiring, and in inquiring we haven't yet proven, and in the course of inquiring we will often shift around a bit, without necessarily changing the dominant posture in which we are inquiring. To take a very common experience of philosophers, you can have a stable opinion that something is true (e.g., that there is a world independent of your mind) and in the course of inquiry, a puzzle comes up that throws you into confusion (perhaps you read an apparently excellent skeptical argument against a key element of your opinion), so that you can be in doubt about your opinion without its ceasing to be your opinion (as people have often said, skeptical arguments don't necessarily change your view even if you find them unanswerable). This is one of the things you work out in inquiry, and working it out is one of the ways -- not the only way, by any means, but one of the ways -- that inquiry enriches our minds.

(2) The view put forward by Howard-Snyder and McKaughan is that faith is what they call 'resilient reliance':

For you to have faith in someone for something is for you to be disposed to rely on them to come through with respect to it, with resilience in the face of challenges to relying on them, because of your positive stance toward their coming through. (p. 4)

This is frankly a little baffling, and while the authors do provide some clarifications, I think they fall short of what would be required to understand what this is supposed to mean, much less how it differs from any other account of faith. But first, I'd like to note an oddity of the structure here. Faith according to the authors has three variable components: you having faith in someone for something. The 'for something' is peculiar, not because you couldn't have faith in someone for something, but because it's quite clearly not true that all faith in someone is for something. If a husband has faith in his wife, it's not for something, it's just faith in her. Now, in particular situations it might lead to faith in her for something, for instance, that she will be able to handle some particular problem well (can be relied on to come through with respect to the problem, as the authors put it), but this is different from having faith in one's wife. You can have faith in a friend without being disposed to rely on them to come through with respect to something particular, because a lot of our faith in our friends is not about them 'coming through' at all. Now perhaps the 'something' is not intended to imply 'something particular', but if we're allowing something general (e.g., having faith in them for reasonableness), it's unclear what 'relying on them to come through' is supposed to mean. It seems like you're just relying on them, not relying on them 'to come through', whatever that would mean here. Indeed, they seem to think that 'coming through' is an intuitive idea rather than (as it is) a somewhat vague metaphor that applies to very different things but also seems not to apply to a lot of situations. 'Coming through' seems to apply only to doings, not (e.g.) to being, or to being present, or to knowing what one is talking about, all of which are things that come up when people talk about religious faith.

It's also notable that Howard-Snyder and McKaughan think that faith is necessarily connected to challenges. That is, on their account, you can't have faith in someone unless it is in principle possible for it to be difficult to rely on them. Thus we can never determine whether someone actually has faith unless we can determine what kind of challenges would make it difficult for that person to rely on them. This is not, I think, intuitive. People of course commonly take faith in someone at its best to be resilient in the face of challenges that come up, but I don't think people generally take such resilience to be constitutive of faith rather than one effect of it.

Another way to consider the point is this. In my Ethics classes, I used to have students write a short essay on a particular virtue, in which they would have to analyze the virtue. One way to analyze virtues that we discussed was to relate it to a major virtue, and in practice we always looked primarily at moral virtues, because it was an Ethics class. A popular virtue to pick was faith, and one way that some students tried to analyze it was to place it in the fortitude family of virtues. The view given by the authors is the same kind of analysis, although strictly speaking they analyze it as a habitus and not as a virtue; their argument is that faith is related to fortitude, which is preeminently the virtue of resilience in the face of challenge. Now, one problem with this as an analysis of faith is that it means that you can't have faith about things that are easy to believe -- apparently at all -- and that you can never know that anything is faith unless you have established that it really is this fortitude-like virtue, which always will require first finding the difficulty it is resilient against. A further problem with it is that it threatens to split faith into a thousand different things. If you think about things that could lead someone in some way to question whether they should rely on someone, they are legion, and can be very different. Some of them are purely intellectual. Some of them are emotional. Some of them are social. It seems you would have to have different faiths for significantly different kinds of difficulties. Both patience and fortitude involve resilience in the face of difficulties, but particular difficulties, like death in the case of fortitude proper. The resilience that people associate with faith seems to handle pretty much any kind of difficulty, which is a sign that the resilience itself is not a single kind of thing, but very different things that are united by whatever it is that faith is.

(3) The previous point is an issue in the authors' analysis of some of their examples, because they regularly assume that there were challenges even when (as with the Canaanite woman) we don't actually have evidence that it was a challenge for the person's own reliance. Nonetheless, their argument is on much stronger ground when we do have a clear notion of the possible challenges -- as with Abraham or Mother Teresa. What they don't really address, though, is the deliberately paradoxicality of these kinds of cases. When Mother Teresa uses the phrase, "to live by faith and not to believe", she's not trying to characterize a constitutive feature of faith in general; she's using a deliberate paradoxical and unintuitive expression in an effort to capture a particular feature of her own struggle. That is, we again are left with the problem that the authors treat as constitutive what could be interpreted instead as an effect in certain kinds of situations.

It's also worth noting, perhaps, since this issue of faith-without-belief is a central pillar of their account, that in the strict sense Aquinas's account of faith does not rule out the possibility of having faith and not belief, because for Aquinas faith is a disposition and belief is an act. Dispositions do not always issue in acts; they can be impeded, or quiescent, or something similar.


None of this should be taken as suggesting that I disliked the paper; I think it's a nice first sketch of something interesting. It's just that, as I said, I think the argument as it stands is a bit of a mess.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Renaissance Popes XIV: Iulius III

 Birth Name: Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte

Lived: 1487-1555

Regnal Name: Julius III, in honor of Julius II, who had elevated his uncle to cardinal.

Regnal Life: 1550-1555


Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte was born in Monte San Severino in Tuscany and studied law in Perugia and Siena. He became Archbishop of Manfredonia when Julius II made his uncle, who previously occupied that post, a cardinal. An excellent canonist, he soon became extremely useful to the papal court and served in a number of administrative functions. When Rome was sacked, he was a treaty hostage given by Clement VII to the Imperial forces as part of the exchange of hostages to guarantee the treaty; since Clement ended up not being able to pay the required amount, he and the other hostages were twice literally led publicly by the Imperial army to the gallows as threats, and likely only avoided death because they managed to get their captors drunk and escape.

He continued to work for the Curia, and in 1536, Paul III made him a cardinal. He was recognized as quite competent, and reasonably pious, but he also developed the reputation for being unrefined and coarse. Part of this was perhaps his peasant-farmer appearance, but he was also not very tactful and not very polite, and had a reputation for telling jokes that were occasionally inappropriate. He was also somewhat nervous in disposition, leading to awkward social interactions, and prone to sudden bouts of anger. Nonetheless, he was also recognized as being quite genial, not inclined to hold a grudge, and occasionally jovial. Paul made him one of the three legates to the Council of Trent, along with Cardinal Pole and Cardinal Cervini. 

When Paul died in 1549, a crisis developed, as seen in the fact that the conclave began November 29 and did not end until February 8 of the following year. The fundamental problem was the ongoing dispute between France and the Holy Roman Empire, which seemed irresolvable and had everything at loggerheads. Charles firmly wanted a pope would reconvene the council on terms favorable to Germany. Henry II of France vehemently opposed any such council, which he thought would favor the Empire. And the Imperial and the French factions  in the College of Cardinals split the college almost exactly down the middle. Both Charles and Henry helped themselves to instructing their cardinal delegates, and continued to do so throughout the conclave. Pole was highly favored to begin with; he had the support of almost all of the Imperial faction and fell just short of the minimum required for election. The French faction, worried that the Imperial faction might dig up the extra votes, made up a story about some of the absent French cardinals being on their way, at Corsica, and dropping strong hints that the French king might not accept a vote if they were left out. So the conclave waited, but when the cardinals never arrived, they went ahead, although not without the French throwing up various procedural obstacles. In a new ballot, Pole fell one vote short of being elected. But by that point there seemed to be no way to dig up the extra vote. His being a foreigner made it difficult to sway an Italian vote; his being young made it difficult to sway some of the older cardinals; and some of the cardinals, like Cardinal Carafa, suspected him of having Protestant sympathies. The Imperialists tried to support Cardinal Toledo instead, but when it became clear that this would not get better results, they went back to supporting Pole. Henry and Charles, seeing the deadlock, began to be much more active, and increased their lists of cardinals who were to be excluded from the papacy at whatever cost, with the result that neither faction had much room to negotiated, because almost all of the major candidates were ruled out, and with the French faction and the Imperial faction being evenly balanced, there was nothing that could be done. Over sixty ballots were held, all of them to no avail. The college established a reform committee to deal with various abuses and violations of conclave rules that had sprung up, and one of the things they did was attempt to restrict communication with the outside world, which was clearly causing problems. At the same time, sickness began to go around. Thus finally, the candidature came around to Cardinal Del Monte. In a sense, he was not even a compromise candidate, which might suggest that he was just an agreed second-best. He was on nobody's preferred list, and strictly speaking, both Henry and Charles had excluded him. It's just that he was not a high priority compared to some of the other exclusions, nobody was absolutely against him, and someone had to be elected. Cardinal Guise and Cardinal Farnese, two of the leaders of the factions, hammered out a deal to elect him, and with some wheeling and dealing managed to get the votes. He took the name Julius III, and it is notable that Julius, under no illusions, as his first act as pope had an official record drawn up and recorded so that nobody would question his election. Henry and Charles were not at all pleased, and all of the cardinals involved had much apologizing to do. 

Julius is a somewhat unusual character. He was sincerely resolved on reform, promising several, starting a few commissions. But he is not at all what you would expect from a reform pope. He really enjoyed big public festivals and large banquets, and these became regular features of his papacy. He spent lavishly on them and was indulgent to any excesses involved in them. This was his most visible feature. It garnered sour looks from the strict reformists in the College of Cardinals, most notably Cardinal de Cupis and Cardinal Carafa, but he basically just ignored them. He enjoyed hunting. He enjoyed gambling, and in particular gambling with high stakes. He enjoyed attending the theater, which was widely regarded as not an appropriate entertainment for a pope. He held parties. He employed quite a few court jesters. He hosted bullfights. And he built a lavish house, the Villa Giulia, which became a social center in Rome. Yet he was undeniably sincere in working for reform.

As soon as he was elected, Julius began negotiations with France and the Empire to reopen the general council. Despite Charles's initial misgivings about the pope, he was soon favorably surprised that the pope was willing not only to open the council but also to do so on terms very favorable to Germany. Julius created a commission of cardinals to begin preparing for the council, which was planned to open in Trent and not, as the Emperor had feared, in Bologna or some other city in the Papal States. The French, however, continued to be opposed to the council, and at one point threatened to hold an opposing French council. Nonetheless, the council opened on May 1, 1551, with Marcello Crescenzio serving as Julius's papal legate. Very few bishops were in attendance, so after some discussion they set the next meeting of the council for September. They became working on decrees on the Eucharist, penance, and extreme unction, but work was very slow, and several of the bishops began to be frustrated with the council's failure to address the kinds of reform that they deemed particularly urgent. Nonetheless, work did continue. At these sessions the bishops began to consider Calvinist as well as Lutheran criticisms, and, significantly, in January 1552 the first Protestant delegation to the council arrived. To be sure, the Protestants did very little but make demands; in particular, they insisted that the council would not be a 'true council' unless Protestant theologians had equal voting power with the bishops and that everyone would agree that the pope would be subject to any decrees of the council. Julius had instructed Cardinal Crescenzio not to admit the Protestants unless they agreed to submit to the council, but Crescenzio, partly under pressure from Charles (represented by Cardinal Toledo), allowed them to have an informal hearing. The Conciliar Fathers were willing to give way on some things. They granted the Protestants full safe passage and delayed any further votes until more Protestants could arrive. They were given permission to address the council itself as long as they did not attack the Catholic faith. Thus far they were willing to go in trying to remedy the German schism, but that is as far as it went. The Protestants had no real leverage in these matters; they were making demands and offering nothing. Nonetheless, it's not that they were insincere; Melanchthon and a number of other German Protestant leaders had already prepared to attend the council, and were literally just waiting around in Nuremberg for permission to go. Charles was trying to enforce his own version of a settlement on the Protestants, and there were plenty of Protestants who honestly thought that they might get a more reasonable hearing at the council, as long as certain conditions were met. But politics here intervened.

Maurice of Saxony had been one of Charles's most important allies in the previous war against the Schmalkaldic League, and because of this he was made Elector of Saxony. But this did not mean that he was sympathetic with the Imperial cause, and while Trent was negotiating with the Protestants, Maurice was signing treaties with France and the Protestant princes. The combination was effective, in part since Charles was not expecting it, and because of it Maurice and Henry were able suddenly to achieve multiple significant victories against Charles in a short period. The Emperor himself was forced to flee. Maurice marched into Tirol, and suddenly Trent was no longer a safe place for a council. In April 1552, Julius therefore suspended the council for two years. Later, in August, Maurice switched sides again, and signed the Peace of Passau with King Ferdinand I, Charles's brother, which gave additional concessions to the Lutherans. Both the possibility and the pressure for Protestants and their opponents to negotiate at an actual council collapsed.

Julius was more successful elsewhere. In 1551, Ignatius of Loyola founded the Roman College (which eventually became the Pontifical Gregorian University). It was an immediate success, and so St. Ignatius, with the support of Cardinal Morone, conceived of a more ambitious educational project, the Collegium Germanicum. Julius liked the idea and chartered it in 1552, promising further support -- although this was something of an empty promise since multiple tolls on the papal purse meant there was not much support to give. It would have a very rocky career, but also would play a significant role in the post-Tridentine Catholic Reformation. Unsurprisingly, the party-inclined pope was more obviously and immediately effective in his patronage of art. For his own house, Julius built the Villa Giulio, which was designed by a team of architects led by Giorgio Vasari; Michelangelo was hired for some of the work. But most importantly, Julius, lover of music, saw immediately the talent and potential of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whom he made the magiser capella for St. Peter's. Julius could hardly have planned it, but his support for polyphony would add music to the repertoire of the highly effective but by now somewhat flagging Renaissance books-and-buildings approach to evangelism. It probably helped that music is usually much cheaper than architecture; this allowed a considerable expansion of the audience who could be reached.

Some good news happened in England; Mary Tudor came to the throne in 1553 after the death of her teenaged half-brother, Edward VI, and inaugurated the Marian Restoration of the Church in England. In response, Julius sent Cardinal Pole, who knew her (he was the son of Mary's governess). He arrived in 1554. He was eventually, in 1556, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, and became chancellor of the universities at both Oxford and Cambridge. Pole, seeing that Henry's Dissolution of the Monasteries had messed things up in a dangerous way, negotiated a papal dispensation in which those who now owned the property would be allowed to keep it; this further gave him the leverage to negotiate the repeal of some of the laws passed under Henry and Edward. In everything in which we find Pole directly involved, we find a fairly lenient approach taken to English Protestants; however, his health began to fail, and as Mary herself preferred a more rigorous approach, the Marian Restoration took a somewhat harsher turn. However, all of this happened later; by 1555, when Julius died, the Marian Restoration seemed clearly on its way to success in returning England to the fold, and Julius never knew anything different.

Julius tended not to give in to relatives demanding positions, only giving a few to those he thought were able to do the job, but one of the great mysteries of his career is his extraordinary favoritism to Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte. Innocenzo was a street urchin, born of a beggar-woman and an unknown father. He somehow eventually got a position in the Del Monte household. There is no consistent story about how that happened. The pope had hardly become pope when he made the teenaged Innocenzo cardinal. This got considerable pushback from the cardinals (especially strict reformers like Carafa), who noted that he was very young and uneducated for such an honor and, what is more, was barred due to his illegitimacy. So Julius had his brother Baldovini adopt him. And it wasn't just the red hat; Julius showered the boy with lucrative positions and made him Cardinal-Nephew so that he essentially functioned as the pope's chief of staff. The boy was completely incapable of performing the tasks; he was a minimally educated young man, perhaps even just only barely literate, serving as the primary secretary in one of the most sophisticated bureaucratic correspondence systems in the world. So Julius more or less invented a position for him that had a fancy title and no responsibilities by taking a minor position, secretarius intimus, and giving it all sorts of honors and precedences. What is more, Innocenzo was not discrete in his behavior; he did not regard common decencies and at one point had a notorious affair with the poetess Ersilia Crotese. In the gossipy atmosphere of the Renaissance, there was no way that any of this would not be remarked, and since Julius never explained himself at all about any of this, speculations floated freely. There were two very common guesses. The first, and minority speculation, was that Julius was Innocenzo's unknown father. It has the advantage of explaining a great deal, and has the disadvantage of having no direct evidence at all, and no unambiguous indirect evidence, either. The more popular supposition was that Innocenzo was Julius's lover. It's difficult to determine how seriously this should be taken; we have no direct evidence of it, and spreading rumors that someone was having a homosexual affair was practically a Renaissance sport, and such rumors often floated free of any evidence or even any practical possibility. Nonetheless, it was a widespread view, and a common one among ambassadors to the papal court, who would be most likely both to see things out of common view and to give when writing their reports to their sovereigns an at least honest, and not merely tale-telling, account of how things seemed to be. To say that Innocenzo is a blot on the record of Julius's papacy is an understatement. He would long outlast the pope who gave him the red hat. As just some examples of further problems he would cause: in 1559 he murdered a man; in the papal conclave of 1565, he was caught smuggling information in and out in violation of the rules; and in 1567, he was accused of raping two women. When he died in 1577, he was universally despised. He was in mess after mess. He seemed to have had a talent for stopping just short of what would give someone a clear case against him, which is why, despite repeatedly getting in trouble, he kept his red hat and was always eventually released from prison -- the evidence was always a little short of what was legally required (as with the rape accusation), or the situation suggested the possibility of extenuating circumstances (as with the murder conviction), and he was always very good at promising to be better. And it is all because Julius showered him with favors, for reasons we can only guess, and actively ignored any criticism of his doing so.

On March 23, 1555, Julius died. In his last few years he had suffered from gout -- almost certainly a byproduct of his enthusiasm for big banquets, but his end seems unrelated; he stopped eating and had difficulty swallowing. Some have suggested he had cancer of the esophagus, but nobody knows. 

Julius III has a reputation for being a failure, and is often accused of having done very little in the way of church reform. This is not fair. He reconvened the council, which had to be suspended due to no fault of his own; he tried to work out a way to negotiate with Protestants, which failed due to no fault of his own; he supported the Marian Restoration, which collapsed after his death due to no fault of his own; he created quite a few commissions on various matters of reform, some of which even managed to get usable drafts to him before he died. Some of what his contemporaries attribute to a lack of interest in reform was really a willingness to work indirectly by supporting the work of others, which was perhaps most successful in the case of his firm support of the Jesuits and the musical arts. But it is true that Julius's tenure seems something of a lackluster disappointment. It was excellent in very little, its genuine achievements were mostly small and uncertain, and even its flaws were mostly petty and unimpressive. Say what you will about Alexander VI or Julius II, their strengths and their failings tended toward the impressive; you can admire even when you cannot approve. There is nothing at all impressive about Julius III, and this does not seem to have been due only to bad fortune. The papacy was largely sidelined in European politics; most of the reforms were heavy on activity and light on achievement; many of his achievements were mostly just continuing what his predecessor did. And it is difficult, when he spent so much time hunting and gambling and hosting entertainments, to argue that he would not probably have achieved more if he had put more energy and focus into it. It is absurd to say that popes should never relax, and absurd to say that they should never step back and let others work, but it very much seems that there was a wide range of actions that he could have pursued but never did. When almost everything is a day late and a dollar short, it is hard to argue that the man in charge is not at fault, particularly if he's spending large portions of his time in entertainments.

Whatever the reason, by the end of Julius's papacy nothing much had changed; Europe was still deadlocked between France and the Empire. The cardinals would have a bit more luck in finding a candidate than they had for the 1549 conclave. Then again, perhaps they were not quite so lucky.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

How Beautiful, How Fair, How Amazing!

 Who is this blessed one? For his hope is in the Lord his God. But who is He? Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them. My brethren, we have a great God; let us bless His holy Name, that He has deigned to make us His possession. As yet you see not God; you can not fully love what as yet you see not. All that you see, He has made. You admire the world; why not the Maker of the world? You look up to the heavens, and are amazed: you consider the whole earth, and tremble; when can you contain in your thought the vastness of the sea? Look at the countless number of the stars, look at all the many kind of seeds, all the different sorts of animals, all that swims in the water, creeps on the earth, flies in the sky, hovers in the air; how great are all these, how beautiful, how fair, how amazing! Behold, He who made all these, is your God. Put your hope in Him, that you may be happy.

St. Augustine, Enarrationes in Ps. 146 (Ps. 145 in modern numbering).

Music on My Mind

 

BEHM, "Päästä Varpaisiin". The title means "From Head to Toe"; you can get a sense of the song from the last stanza and couplet, which one might translate as something like:

I am very tender, but still sometimes
everything slaps my face with open palm;
I will not let anyone close, and so
no one can know me from head to toe.

But mostly I would like 
for someone to know me head to toe.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Karahan Tepe

 About twelve years ago, I mentioned relatively recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe, in Turkey, and the strong suggesting arising from them that a common anthropological narrative -- that agriculture is the seed of civilization -- may be wrong. The evidence is that the people who built Gobekli Tepe were hunter-gatherers, and the site predates the known beginnings of agriculture, but the site also of course proves that they had stone buildings and monuments and fairly sophisticated carved art (mostly sculptures of animals), and there is no sign that the buildings were for habitation, which is usually pretty easy to establish, which means that they were ritual buildings of some kind, probably religious. The argument was also made that, given the orientation of the buildings, the builders were deliberately building with a view to the Winter Solstice.

Since then more excavations have been done in the area, known as Taş Tepeler, and the most important, which only really began to be publicized last year, is Karahan Tepe. Like Gobekli Tepe, it is from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A era, but the evidence indicates that it is  likely older than Gobekli Tepe. While there are a number of differences, Karahan Tepe has a number of features, including similar stone building and similar stone carving. The plethora of skull carving suggests association with a skull cult, of which we have much later attestation in the area; the considerable representation of phalluses and statues with their hands over their phalluses suggest some ritual association; and the orientation of the buildings may confirm the Winter Solstice hypothesis. All of those, of course, confirm that the use of the buildings was religious.

This leads to the suggestion that civilization and agriculture arose out of ritual and religion, and the buildings made for such purposes, rather than vice versa. We have to be careful about generalization; the reason the Taş Tepeler sites survived is that they were stone sites at some point deliberately buried, so they reach back to a point from which most other evidence has been destroyed by time. We don't know any details of the rituals that went on there (although there is some evidence of deliberate collection of rain water and of feasting, and speculation has been made, given all the skulls, that they practiced at least occasional human sacrifice), and we also don't know if these people were typical in practice for that time or weird and aberrant, even for the region, much less for humanity generally.

Sean Thomas reports on the site and its significance for The Spectator.

Here's a travel write-up that gives a better sense of how the area looks.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

And the World Is Awake with a Shout

 Night Coming Out of a Garden
by Alfred Douglas

Through the still air of night
Suddenly comes, alone and shrill,
Like the far-off voice of the distant light,
The single piping trill
Of a bird that has caught the scent of the dawn,
And knows that the night is over;
(She has poured her dews on the velvet lawn
And drenched the long grass and the clover),
And now with her naked white feet
She is silently passing away,
Out of the garden and into the street,
Over the long yellow fields of the wheat,
Till she melts in the arms of the day.
And from the great gates of the East,
With a clang and a brazen blare,
Forth from the rosy wine and the feast
Comes the god with flame-flaked hair;
The hoofs of his horses ring
On the golden stones, and the wheels
Of his chariot burn and sing,
And the earth beneath him reels;
And forth with a rush and a rout
His myriad angels run,
And the world is awake with a shout,
“He is coming! The sun! The sun!"

 Currently in the tedium of end-of-term grading. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Matthias (Re-Post)

 This is a revised post from 2020, for the Feast of St. Matthias tomorrow.

***********

Today is the feast of St. Matthias, Apostle. The story about him in Acts 1 is interesting in a number of ways. It occurs between the Ascension and Pentecost; Jesus has given his disciples their mission but they have not yet received the full measure of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, it often gets skipped over. But we learn a number of things from it. The disciples are meeting regularly in fairly large groups. The eleven Apostles left are explicitly mentioned, as are Mary the Mother of Jesus, the women, and the brothers of the Lord. (The women are mentioned not as if they were just a generic bunch of women but as if they were a well-defined and perhaps even formally defined group; they seem clearly to be part of the leadership. This fits with a number of things said in the Gospel of Luke, e.g., Luke 8:1-3, Luke 23:54-56; cp. Mark 15:40-41.) The gathering that chooses Matthias has about 120 disciples all told (which number may have only included the men, since Peter may have only addressed the men).

Peter is quite clearly the leader here; he tells them that Scripture says that Judas needs to be replaced (the word he uses is dei, i.e., 'It is required') and they do it. In fact, while it is never explicitly said, the whole thing is structured as if Peter had called the meeting specifically in order to do what they end up doing. Peter's reason is based on Scripture; he quotes Psalm 69 and Psalm 109. The latter is straightforward in its application ("May another take his place of leadership"), although the word for 'place of leadership' is actually 'supervision', episkopen. The other one reads a bit oddly in English: "May his place be deserted; let there be no one dwelling in it." It seems a little odd to quote that no one should dwell in his place in an argument that you should fill his place. But read in context, the verses both come from very similar passages: they are from the psalms that tend to embarrass people today, the ones in which the enemies of the psalmist are cursed. The verses in Acts 1:18-19, about what happened to Judas, are often read as parenthetical, but the thought of Peter's argument follows directly from them, not from Acts 1:17. The line of thought is: The Scripture had to be fulfilled which spoke of Judas (v. 16); Judas was one of their ministry (diakonias) (v. 17); with the payment for his injustice (adikias), he bought a field and died (v. 18); everybody in Jerusalem heard about it so called it the Field of Blood (v. 19); because Scripture says, "May his place be deserted...." and "May another take his place...." Thus Peter is reading the cursing passages of the Psalms as being about Judas. What it says about Judas in Psalm 69 is fulfilled by his death; so what it says about him in Psalm 109 must be fulfilled as well. 

I find it interesting that they don't replace him until he is dead; the word for 'dwell' here (katoikon) suggests permanent settlement, so the curse on Judas is for his apostleship not to be permanent. This at least suggests very strongly, I think, why the Twelve did not keep replacing themselves as they died; they seem to have regarded the position as something distinctly attaching to each, each permanently dwelling it. (And this would fit with Jesus' comments about the twelve thrones of judgment, for instance.) Thus Judas cannot be replaced except under divine authority. The quotations are not rhetorical decorations, in other words; they are divine warrant for an action that Peter thinks would normally not be allowable. Acts shows us other people with apostolic ministry; but none of them, not even Paul or Barnabas, ever becomes one of the Twelve.

In any case, what Peter says is necessary is to make "one of these", i.e., the Twelve, from the men who accompanied the Lord Jesus the whole time from his Baptism to his Ascension. (This is interesting for indicating what Peter thinks of the Twelve, namely, that one of their major functions is specifically to be familiar with Christ's ministry so as to witness properly to the Resurrection. It also indicates why Luke begins by retelling the Ascension; it establishes the link to what immediately follows.) This in fact ends up being the entire backstory we know about Matthias: he was with Jesus the whole time from the Baptism to the Ascension. We know nothing else about who he was. The men in the assembly pick two -- Joseph Barsabbas, also called Justus, and Matthias. Later in Acts there is a figure named Judas Barsabbas, who is probably Joseph's brother; later tradition suggests Joseph was one of the Seventy in Luke 10 and afterward became bishop of Eleutheropolis, but as with Matthias, all we certainly know is that he was with Jesus the whole time from the Baptism to the Ascension.

But two is not "one of these". So what they do then is pray to God, knower of the hearts of all, that He will point out which one of the these two that He has chosen to take the place for this service (diakonias) and apostleship (aposteles) from which Judas traveled (the word could also mean 'die') "to his own place" (which obviously is an allusion to the 'place' mentioned in the Psalms). Then they cast lots. Casting lots was, of course, common for making decisions, as it is even now. Perhaps more likely on general grounds, lots were the standard way in which Temple duties were assigned. It is also possible, given the comment about Judas going to his own place, that they had Leviticus 16:8 in the background. In the atonement offering, the high priest makes an atonement before the Lord with the sacrifice of a bull and two goats. The goats are split, one for the Lord and one "for azazel" (in the Hebrew; we don't know for sure what the word meant) or "sent away" (in the Septuagint), by lot, and the one "for azazel" is then sent into the wilderness.  Regardless, when the lots were cast, Matthias became one of the Twelve Apostles.

And that's the last we hear about him in Scripture. According to the most popular tradition, after preaching in Jerusalem a while he went down into "Ethiopia" (by which is likely not meant Ethiopia but Colchis in the Caucasus, in modern-day Georgia; Herodotus claimed that the Colchians were descended from the Ethiopians). For his death, the traditions are all over the place; he was martyred by crucifixion in Sebastopolis (in modern-day Turkey) or by stoning and beheading in Jerusalem or by stoning in Colchis, or he simply died of old age in Jerusalem. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

True Friends

 Arina Pismenny & Berit Brogaard have a paper, Vices of Friendship (PDF), in which they argue against what they call a "Neo-Aristotelian" account of "true friendship". I think that what they call the 'Neo-Aristotelian' account is actually a mish-mash of different accounts that don't fit together very well, but it's worth noting why a genuinely Aristotelian account of friendship would not have the problem that they identify.

One important issue from the beginning is this notion of "true friendship". This is an ambiguous phrase. It could mean, "real friendship" as contrasted with "false friendship". It sometimes seems that Pismenny and Brogaard assume this. But it can also mean, and usually does in colloquial contexts, "friendship of the highest sort" or "friendship which most completely involves what is appropriate to friendship". Pismenny and Brogaard identify one kind of 'true friendship'. But in the former sense, Aristotle thinks there are three kinds of friendship:

(1) friendship of pleasure

(2) friendship of use

(3) friendship of excellence (also known as friendship of virtue or, as Pismenny and Brogaard usually call it, friendship of character)

All of these are really and truly friendships, in which two people are in mutually friendly relationship to each other. All of them are important for Aristotle. In Aristotle's own account, societies are primarily constituted by these friendships. The reason for this is that the best of these (what counts as 'true friendship' in the second sense) is friendship of excellence, but this kind of friendship is necessarily rare. Thus most of the friendships that constitute society are friendships of pleasure and friendships of use. We can't do without them, and an account of friendship that ignores them completely is necessarily defective. Pismenny and Brogaard do in passing acknowledge that Aristotle recognizes these by takes their labels to be pejorative. This doesn't make any sense at all. Not only are most friendships either friendships of pleasure or friendships of use, Aristotle thinks we naturally tend to develop both. (He does hold that young people tend to favor friendships of pleasure, because they overemphasize the importance of pleasure and old people tend to favor friendships of use because they overemphasize the importance of security. But this is a matter of different balances; it is not a claim that having friendships of pleasure or friendships of use is any kind of failure.) In an Aristotelian account, it doesn't make sense to read these as pejorative labels. This is going to be important for assessing the argument put forward by Pismenny and Brogaard.

In the 'Neo-Aristotelian' account Brogaard and Pismenny are considering, friendships of character have the following features:

(a) They involve mutual admiration and respect for each other's character, i.e., excellences.

(b) They involve disinterested mutual love, involving love of the other for their own sake.

(c) They involve shared life, each taking the other's joys and sorrows as their own.

(d) They involve mutual encouragement to virtue.

(e) They are each able to be role models for each other in virtuous life.

(f) They involve mutual moral criticism, each holding a mirror to the other by which the other is able to better understand themselves.

Pismenny and Brogaard argue that (b) and (d) -- and perhaps, with the former, (c) as well, and with the latter, (e) and (f) as well -- are defects in this account. The Neo-Aristotelian friendship is too disinterested and too moralistic to be true friendship. 

First, they argue that, realistically, friendship love involves a desire for intimacy and reciprocity. This means that it cannot be disinterested and selfless. 

This is not a problem in a genuinely Aristotelian account, because the disinterestedness that one can attribute to friendship of excellence does not exclude desires like the desire for intimacy and reciprocity. As is well known, Aristotle doesn't think you should squash desires, but that you should instead find a proper balance in how they inform your decisions. In a friendship of excellence, the friendship wouldn't exclude desire for intimacy and reciprocity; it would involve mutual moderation, finding the right proportion of it in choices to have a flourishing friendship. The sense in which one can take friendship of excellence to be disinterested is precisely the sense in which it is not, as such, a friendship of pleasure or friendship of use. The friend is not loved merely for the enjoyment they bring, nor merely for their usefulness. This does not, of course, mean that people united by friendship of excellence do not enjoy each other's company or find each other useful; rather the fundamental parameters of the friendship itself are set by good character (nobility, honestum) and not by values like the pleasant and the useful.

Given this, the second objection is perhaps more significant. Pismenny and Brogaard argue that promoting virtuous character is not necessarily a feature of 'true friendship'. The first reason is that "it is clearly unrealistic to expect that true friendships must begin with mutual admiration of each other’s virtuous character"; friendship could arise in other ways. Second, the attempt of one friend to improve the other might be resented. Third, since no one is perfect, friends are nearly as likely to lead each other in the wrong direction as not.

Again, on a genuinely Aristotelian account of friendship, none of these are serious problems. Aristotle doesn't think that friendships of excellence are the only genuine friendships; he would think it blatantly obvious that most of our friendships arise on considerations other than virtue. It is even possible that a friendship of excellence might begin as a friendship of pleasure or friendship of use. It's just that it can't be a friendship of excellence if you don't recognize each other's excellences, and recognize them as excellences. Further, while it is entirely true that the attempt to improve someone else might be resented, a fundamental element of excellence in Aristotle is finding a proper balance, one that can be determined by the virtue of prudence. People united by friendship of excellence won't be constantly nagging each other about morality; they will instead do things like offer advice, exhortation, and caution, share their own experience, and attempt to be honest, compassionate, friendly, merciful (and in other ways be virtuous) with each other. Pismenny and Brogaard seem to have the notion that mutual improvement involves beating each other constantly with morality sticks; this is simply untrue. The most serious is the third one, and I think it is a case in which Aristotle would flatly deny the argument. While no one is perfect, and being virtuous is certainly not the same as being perfect in Aristotle's account, and even virtuous people can accidentally lead each other astray, this is all necessarily accidental with respect to virtue itself. The natural tendency of virtue is to model virtue and to encourage virtue, and therefore it will do both for the most part. Friendship of virtue will no more make you perfect than virtue will (although here, as often the case, two heads will often be better than one); but it's absurd to say that it would not tend to encourage and support virtue. By its very nature, it is part of virtue's ideal habitat.

Instead of the 'Neo-Aristotelian' account, Pismenny and Brogaard give an account of 'true friendship' that emphasizes the following characteristics.

(a) It involves mutual desire to promote each other's interests insofar as they spring from core values. (Pismenny and Brogaard call this 'closeness', as in 'close friends', but they don't actually have a good argument that this is what closeness of friendship actually involves.)

(b) They involve mutual self-disclosure of emotionally intimate information.

(c) They involve being "open to a friend's direction and interpretation" (p. 245), which they call trust.

(d) They involve partially shared identity, without loss of individual identities.

They then argue that such friendships, while they may be virtuous, can also be vicious.

The obvious problem with this account is that, if we are talking about 'true friendship' in the first sense, this is obviously far too narrow. We can have good friendships that are missing any and all of these. Yes, it's probably the case that all friendships involve some kind of mutuality, trust, and sharing, but very often these will be in forms that are not specified by the descriptions given by Pismenny and Brogaard. But, on the other side, if we are talking about 'true friendship' in the second sense, it is simply wrong that these are the fully constituent features of friendship at its truest; nothing about this description would characterize either person in the friendship as most truly a friend. In fact, there is something obvious that is missing here that absolutely guarantees that meeting these criteria would not suffice to make you most truly a friend. There is no mention of friendliness. One of Aristotle's major virtues is the virtue of friendliness, and obviously the person most truly a friend will have the excellence of friendliness, to a high degree of excellence. Aristotle's friendship of excellence necessarily involves this virtue; friends by virtue are friendly to each other, where friendliness is not merely a temperamental feeling but a cultivated excellence. The (genuine) Aristotelian has a diagnosis for the problem: Pismenny and Brogaard have given us a description that, taken simply as it stands, is a description of one kind of friendship of pleasure. It is indeed truly a friendship (although far from being the only kind); it is pleasant from the perspective of our desire for intimacy and reciprocity, as well as from the perspective of our desire for shared life and our related desire to be with those who share our values, and insofar as we get involved in a friendship like this because it satisfies those desires, it is a friendship of pleasure. And they are right that it is consistent with vice, indeed quite extensive vice. Where they go wrong, the Aristotelian would say, is in thinking that this friendship that is truly a friendship is friendship in its truest form. The truest form of friendship involves friends being excellent to and with and for each other.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Links of Note

* I haven't said anything about the hysteria du jour because nothing has actually changed. Roe v. Wade has not yet been overturned, and while it seems likely that it will be at least qualified, we don't know what the actual decision will be; all that anyone has is a leaked draft from months ago, and drafts are known to be subject sometimes to extremely heavy revision before actually being issued. But on the derivative issue of protesting at the homes of judges, I do have to note that, while you are free to protest any actual decision by any court by peaceable public assembly, to protest a judicial decision while it is still in the process of being deliberated is almost always illegal when done where it might influence the outcome.

* Cardinal Zen, the famously outspoken Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, was arrested under China's security laws for association with a (no longer existing) fund supporting protesters; he seems to be currently out on bail.

* Scheel, Tiokhin, Isager, et al., Why Hypothesis Testers Should Spend Less Time Testing Hypotheses 

* Ann Schneibel, Motherhood Matters, but Do Catholic Maternity Leave Policies Reflect That?

* Andrew Chignell, Kant's Panentheism: The Possibility Proof of 1763 and Its Fate in the Critical Period (PDF)

* Samuel Kimpton-Nye, Laws of Nature: Necessary and Contingent (PDF)

* Marlo Slayback, Nestled in Maternal Bliss

* Fiorella Tomassini, Three Models of Natural Right: Baumgarten, Achenwall, and Kant (PDF)

* Noah Greenstein, Wittgenstein's Wager: On [Absolute] Certainty (PDF)

* Richard Yetter-Chappell is on Substack: Good Thoughts

* One of the peculiarities of Substack, incidentally, is that it has created a modified return to an older form of 'social media' that was partly built on email. A good example is that one of the more recent fashions on Tumblr has been signing up for DraculaDaily, which sends a portion of the novel everyday from May 3 to November 7 (the timespan of the novel -- since everything in the novel is dated, you get part of the novel on the day it takes place) just like similar services did twenty years ago, and live-commenting the story, which, of course, many people are actually reading for the first time.

* Andreas Blank, Wolff on Duties of Esteem in the Law of Peoples (PDF)

* Robert E. Allinson, Plato's Forgotten Four Pages of the Seventh Epistle (PDF)

* Andreas Hutteman, Laws and Dispositions (PDF)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Apostle of Andalusia

 Today is the feast of St. Juan de Avila, Doctor of the Church. From a letter on charity:

The best way to possess true charity and understand what it is, is to consider how the Blessed in heaven practise it, because the more closely we imitate them, the more perfect shall we be in that virtue. The love which the saints bear towards God transforms their will, so that it becomes one with His : that is, they can wish, or not wish, only what He does ; because, as St. Denis says, one effect of love is to make the will of those that love one, and God's whole love and will are centred upon His own glory and essence, which is supremely perfect. It therefore follows that the love of the saints is that single-minded affection and will, with which they long, with all their strength, that God may be in Himself as good, and glorious, and adorable as He is. Seeing Him to possess all these perfections, they feel an ineffable joy, which is the fruit of the Holy Ghost. It will give us some idea of what this happiness is, if we consider how a good son rejoices in seeing his father rich, powerful, wise, beloved and respected by all, and honoured by the king. Indeed, some children are so dutiful, that no troubles or misfortunes of their own can destroy the pleasure they feel in their parents' prosperity, which they consider of the first importance. Now if this human joy for a parent be so great, what must be the jubilation of the saints, transformed as they are by heavenly love, at beholding that God is so holy, perfect, and rich in excellence. They see that, as Creator of the universe, He, by one single act of His will, gave all things their beauty and being, and upholds them in existence, so that not a single leaf can rustle in the wind but by His consent. Behold the joy “such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man.” (1. Cor. II. 9.) This, then, as far as it is possible for us to understand it, is the “charity” of the just in heaven. From this overflowing river which gladdens the city of God, comes, as a streamlet, their love for their neighbour.

[St. John of Avila, from Letters of Blessed Juan de Avila, pp. 126-127.]

Monday, May 09, 2022

Renaissance Popes XIII: Paulus III

 Birth Name: Alessandro Farnese

Lived: 1468-1549

Regnal Name: Paul III

Regnal Life: 1534-1549


Born in Latium, Alessandro Farnese was educated at the University of Pisa and in Florence, where he spent some time in the household of Lorenzo de'Medici. He became a close associate of Rodrigo Cardinal Borgia; in fact, his sister, Giulia Farnese, was Cardinal Borgia's mistress. When Borgia became Alexander VI, the pope made Farnese a cardinal. His sister introduced him to Silvia Ruffini, who became Farnese's mistress. They would eventually have four children: Costanza, Pier Luigi, Paolo and Ranuccio. When Alexander died and, shortly afterward, Pius III died as well, Giuliano della Rovere became Julius II. Julius hated Alexander, and he began almost immediately to make an extensive house-cleaning to remove supporters of Alexander. Farnese, however, somehow managed to maintain good relations with the new pope, despite being very obviously associated with Alexander. This is an important aspect of Farnese's talents and career; he was emollient, the sort of man who is difficult to treat as enemy. Under Julius he was made administrator of Parma. This marks a significant change in his life; in Parma he began associating with reform-minded priests and bishops. He ended the relationship with Silvia (although he will always support their children) and threw himself into the work of ecclesiastical reform. He was very active with the Fifth Lateran Council and began energetically implementing its reforms in Parma almost immediately. When Giovanni di Lorenzo de'Medici became Leo X, Cardinal Farnese's position improved even further, because, of course, Leo was an old friend, Farnese having spent time in the Medici household. He continued to do well under Adrian VI and, despite having been a potential rival in the papal election, even better under Clement VII (who was, of course, a Medici as well). 

However, they were troubled times for everyone, and one problem that Cardinal Farnese had -- and would always have -- was his son Pier Luigi. Pier Luigi was a wild young man. He supported Colonna and the Imperial faction, to the great irritation of Clement VII; Farnese, always smooth, managed to get an amnesty for Pier Luigi, but the ungrateful boy signed up for the Imperial army anyway, and perhaps also is the one who convinced his brother Ranuccio to join. So Pier Luigi Farnese fought against the Papal States. He in fact participated in the Sack of Rome while his father was fleeing with the pope to Castel Sant'Angelo. (Ranuccio, on the other hand, at some point joined a small group to serve as a guard protecting the pope.)  In any even, Cardinal Farnese became one of Clement's closest associates, a major support during Clement's imprisonment and Clement's foremost diplomat after.

When Clement died, the situation in which the conclave was very peculiar. Given the hostilities in Europe, the conclave needed a candidate who was neither pro-Imperial nor pro-French; this narrowed the field considerably, and of all the possibilities, Farnese had been Clement's own preference for a successor. So he was elected quite quickly and easily, and took the name Paul III. The Romans were enthusiastic about him, and the celebrations over his election were extensive. However, given his age, he was not expected to live long.

Almost immediately after his election, Paul began shoring up his family, and if there's any criticism of Paul's tenure as pope that approaches being universal among observers and historians, it is nepotism. He made Pier Luigi's son, who was also named Alessandro Farnese, a cardinal, and would make another son of Pier Luigi, also known as Ranuccio, first the prior of the Venetian property of the Knights of Malta (he was twelve years old), then cardinal at the age of fifteen. Paul attempted to negotiate titles over the city of Novara for Pier Luigi himself, this took considerable negotiation, because Charles V was not particularly enthused over it, but he was eventually successful. He also made Pier Luigi Captain General of the Church and created the Duchy of Castro within the Papal States for his son. Later, he would make him Duke of Parma and Piacenza. Perhaps Paul hoped that Pier Luigi would be stabilized by the added responsibilities, but the man always remained wild and cruel; in 1537, for instance, there was a big scandal when he was accused of raping a twenty-four-year-old bishop, who died shortly afterward. Pier Luigi himself was murdered in 1547 by conspiracy led by the governor of Milan, probably with Charles's support, as Charles wanted to add the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza to Milanese territory. But the problems that Pier Luigi caused for Paul are generally seen as the primary blot on his papacy.

When he became Pope, Paul had to engage in a very delicate balancing act over the relations between the States of the Church and both France and the Empire. He tried to resolve this problem by a policy of very strict neutrality on all matters involving both. It is a sign of the times that this was very difficult to do, and took all of his diplomatic ingenuity. Nonetheless he was successful for a while, and in this way contributed as best he could to one of the main planks of Renaissance reform: peace among the Christian princes. The most important plank of Renaissance reform, however, was the summoning of a general council, and Paul was absolutely resolved to achieve this. The situation with France and the Empire, however, would continually derail his attempts.  He began working toward a general council almost as soon as he was in office, but quickly found that the real issue was less the council itself and more where the council would be. The Emperor Charles was, after Pope Paul, the biggest supporter of council, but Charles wanted the council to take place in Germany, where he could keep an eye on it, and Paul did not want a council in Germany because there was so much disruption over Protestantism, and as events would unfold, this would clearly be seen to be a wise worry. Charles's brother Ferdinand was taking a bigger role in Imperial affairs, and he pushed for Trent. Trent was convenient as to location -- it was within the Empire but was also in a broad sense an Italian city. It was also a small place which at the time had no significant universities or libraries or housing, all things you would need for a general council. Charles was willing to compromise a bit more, and offered Mantua, a little farther south but still under Imperial control, and burgeoning under the governance of the Gonzaga family. Charles and Ferdinand were not the real obstacles, though. The Schmalkaldic League, France, and England actively opposed holding a general council. The League refused to recognize any council called by a pope, as well as any council that occurred outside of Germany. This was, despite what you might think, not representative of Protestants at the time, who by and large shared the general Renaissance that a general council was good thing for reform, but they were the major Protestant power on the continent, and their view was spreading. Francis I of France was afraid that a general council would give the advantage in the France-Empire power struggle to Charles, and was adamant that a council should not be called in Germany. And Henry VIII of England broke with Rome in 1534 with the Act of Supremacy and the Treasons Act, and did not want the problem of a general council perhaps unifying the continent against him. One might say, 'Well, why does it matter what the great powers wanted?' But a key problem with councils is that they are expensive. (This was always one of conciliarism's weak points, that implementing it thoroughly would be so expensive that no one had the revenue for it.) You have to pay for bishops to go; you have to pay for them be housed and fed; you have to pay for resources (like books); you have to pay for the communications between the council and the rest of the world. Eugene had gone nearly bankrupt maintaining the Council of Florence, which was only be completed because (due to some excellent persuasion by Eugene) Florence recognized that establishing Byzantine connnections and having the prestige of the council could be good for its bottom line and therefore was willing to foot the rest of the bill. Constance and Fifth Lateran basically worked by the great powers paying for their own bishops, thus dividing the costs. If France, or England, or the Empire did not like a location, they obviously wouldn't pay for bishops to go there, and would probably actively discourage most bishops from going. If their bishops were represented, though, the claim of the council to be a general council would become more contestable. It's all well and good to say, 'Let's have a council.' But then you have to organize and pay for it.

In any case, Paul issued a Bull of Convocation in 1536, summoning bishops to a council in Mantua, which was resource-wise a great city for it, and a very reasonable compromise between the emperor and the pope. He immediately created a Commission of Reform to prepare for it. However, they had not thought beforehand to sound out the Duke of Mantua, Federigo II Gonzaga. Gonzaga was willing to host the council -- but only if certain requirements were met, and the demands kept expanding. The result was the Paul had to prorogue the council before it had even opened. So where to go now? Paul's preferences were for Bologna or Piacenza, but Charles refused to accept a city within the Papal States, because, he argued, any attempt to get the German Protestants on board, even if only in principle, was dead if the council was seen to be too much in the control of the pope. So Paul went to Venice. After some persuasion, he got the Venetians to consent to holding the council in Vicenza. So he issue a new bull convoking the council in Vicenza, and turned to the next problem, which was creating some sort of reconciliation between France and the Empire that would at least be enough to get France to send its delegates. However, when his legates reached Vicenza, they discovered that, despite the opening day for the council being very close, nobody had arrived. And tensions between France and the Empire had suddenly surged (more of which below), so it was clear that neither would be sending delegates any time soon. So Paul postponed the council, indefinitely.

The difficulty of actual reform was quite pervasive. In 1534 he had created a commission for the moral reform of the clergy and another for auditing the offices of the Papal States, and in 1535, he began enforcing prior reform decrees, particularly those of the Fifth Lateran Council, more strictly. As perhaps was inevitable, the cardinals were not very pleased to have all of this meddling all at once, and he found that he was repeatedly resisted and undercut. So he did what popes had previously done to deal with this problem: he made more cardinals. These included his nephews, for which he was at the time and ever after sharply criticized, but he also gave the red hat to a number of exemplary people, like John Fisher. This made it easier to get stricter enforcement of reform policies already in place, although resistance was always there.

It was additionally very difficult to get anything done because the political situation was deteriorating badly. Suleiman the Magnificent had been building his fleet and in 1533 started a series of raids in the Mediterranean, culminating in seizing the important naval port of Tunis from the Spanish. Holding Tunis meant that the Ottoman Empire could raid and even invade any part of the southern coast of Europe, and any of the Mediterranean islands. Charles pulled together a large fleet, the Holy League of 1535, at great expense -- indeed, an expense so great that it could have caused him immense difficulties if it weren't for the fact that Spanish trade and conquest in the New World was beginning to bring in very large sums of money: Francisco Pizarro had ransomed the Incan king Atahualpa for a sum of gold sufficient to pay for it all. A number of other powers contributed, but France refused to do so, stating that it was under a temporary truce with the Ottomans due to an embassy by the Ottomans to France in 1533. That is true, and is what the French said, but what the French did not say was that they were at that very moment engaging in negotiations with the Ottoman Empire for joint military action against the Holy Roman Empire. But the fact that the French were still in negotiation over this meant that they were willing accept Paul's proposal of a truce among the European powers during the Holy League's campaign to retake Tunis. The Siege of Tunis was brutal and bloody but successful; indeed, resoundingly so. And Suleiman, no fool at all, took the lesson: the Holy Roman Empire was a potentially fatal threat when it could exert its full power. So the sultan agreed to a full and formal alliance with France. The Franco-Ottoman Alliance had begun. The French would be allowed to trade freely with Ottoman ports, they would not be harassed or bothered about their religion while in the Ottoman Empire, various religious sites were turned over to the French to oversee, coordinated military campaigns would be undertaken against Italy, the Ottoman Empire would help France finance its army, permanent embassies were established. Suleiman even sent a letter to the Schmalkaldic League, promising them support if they would ally with France. In 1536, the Italian War of 1536-1538 began as the French invaded Italy. It's not surprising that Pope Paul found himself with a Europe that suddenly had no interest in a general council. France's assault on Italy was ground to a halt by Genoa, partly because the French had moved somewhat too early -- the sultan was not yet ready to assault Naples and draw away Imperial forces. He landed forces in Otranto in 1537, but that the French were unable to seize Lombardy, so he withdrew them and attacked Venice instead, beginning the Third Ottoman-Venetian War. In the face of all this, Paul, using his diplomatic skills to the utmost, managed to negotiate a truce between Francis and Charles again, and then called for another Holy League. The Ottoman navy had grown immensely, however, and after intensive fighting, the Ottomans won resoundingly, seizing a significant portion of Venetian territory.

In the meantime, Denmark was engaged in a massive civil war of succession, which culminated in the victory of Christian III of Sweden, who imposed Lutheranism on the Danes, and then was able to use Denmark as a platform for invading Norway in 1537, imposing Lutheranism on the Norwegians, as well.

In all this flurry, it is not surprising that people were not paying attention to the proliferating numbers of Catholic religious orders and societies. In 1534, a Spanish nobleman and soldier named Ignatius of Loyola formed a small religious society with a number of his college friends: Francisco Xavier, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laynez, Nicolas Bobadilla, Pierre Favre, and Samao Rodrigues. They were from all over Europe, just having all ended up at the University of Paris for one reason or another around the same time. Ignatius had some unusual ideas for what the society should be. In 1537, the men traveled to Rome to get approval. After hearing them out, Pope Paul gave them his approval to be be ordained and become, as they wished to be, a society of priests. Their original intent was to travel to the Holy Land on missions, but all the wars prevented them. So they stayed in Europe, one domino in a chain of events that would change a great many other things. In 1540, Paul would give them full formal approval in the bull Regimini militantes ecclesiae to be a society of 'reformed priests' who were authorized to form schools and engage in missionary activities; since they were an experimental group, he limited their number to sixty (the limit was lifted in 1543). Thus began the Society of Jesus, a controversial group from the beginning; there were many people who thought that the Jesuits diverged too much from the standard models. But they were impressive from the beginning as well; they did extremely well in various preaching missions Paul set them. King John of Portugal would, not long after, request their assistance for Portuguese missions. Bobadilla and Rodrigues were the ones who were supposed to do that, but Bobadilla became ill at the last moment, and so St. Ignatius sent St. Francis Xavier instead, with Bobadilla going off to Germany when he grew better. St. Francis would go on to major missionary journeys in Mozambique, India, Sri Lanka, Malacca, and Japan. New things were moving, although the world hardly noticed.

In 1541, the Imperial Diet was held at Regensburg, also known as Ratisbon. Charles was very eagerto find a way to pacify the Protestant Germans so that they would stop negotiating with the French and the Ottomans. Martin Bucer had worked up a set of articles that attempted to outline the broadest ground that the Protestants were willing to concede to the Catholics, if the Catholics were also willing to concede ground to the Protestants. Unsurprisingly the Catholics had some objections, but with the exception of a small number of articles, the two parties were able to come to a mutually unhappy agreement. The Lutherans were not willing to give way on those points; the Catholics insisted that the Emperor had no authority to decide religious questions. But Charles went ahead anyway, and enforced the articles, in what is known as the Regensburg Interim. In fact, however, Charles was not in the position that he was pretending to be; with France on one side and the Ottoman Empire on the other, he very shortly neutered his own policy by giving the Lutherans extensive concessions, having accomplished nothing but convincing the Catholics that the emperor could not be trusted. St. Pierre Favre (also known as Peter Faber) had been sent to the Colloquy of Ratisbon, as it is often called, as a theologian. He was utterly astounded both at how far Protestantism had spread and at the reported corruption of the German hierarchy, and came away with the conviction that negotiations would never solve this problem at all. Instead, he began to work on recruiting, and he was very good at spotting exceptional promise; a number of truly extraordinary men, like St. Peter Canisius, would enter the Jesuits because of him.

The events at Regensburg and its aftermath convinced Paul that the general council had been too long delayed, so he published another bull in June 1542 convoking a council that November at Trent. Unfortunately, in July France declared war against the Holy Roman Empire. Nobody would be going to Trent in November. Paul repeatedly tried to get it started again, but finally gave up and officially suspended the never-having-met council in September of 1543. The possibility of any general council, it seemed, was dead. But in the next year, Charles scored a series of massive victories against France, forcing the Treaty of Crepy, and one of his conditions was that France would support a general council. So Paul again convoked a council at Trent in March of 1545, and he sent his legates, Pole, Cervini, and Del Monte to Trent, giving them discretion and authorization to move or dissolve the council if they saw fit. They arrived just before the council was supposed to open, and only one other bishop (Tommaso Sanfelice) had even arrived yet. Slowly bishops trickled in, but so slowly that the council didn't officially open until December 3, and even then with a paltry thirty-four delegates, with Cardinal Del Monte as the council president. Even then, once the council was started, everyone began realizing that they had no viable agenda or plan of procedure for the council, because they had had to change plans so many times. It didn't help that they didn't really have many resources to work with.  Paul, understandably impatient, sent a letter to the council, through his grandson Alessandro Cardinal Farnese, directing the council to begin with doctrinal issues (admonishing them, however, to stick to doctrine and not to condemnation of the Protestants themselves). The letter did not actually help, because there was an underlying argument already going on as to how independent the council should be. A heated debate began over whether they should begin with practical reform or doctrinal correction. Back and forth it went, until finally they came to a compromise. They would break things up into parts and do 'parallel decrees', one doctrinal decree paired with one reform decree. Nobody liked it, especially Paul, who was worried that the council was turning into a new Council of Basel, but the innovation is arguably one significant contributor to the Council of Trent's unusual effectiveness as a reform council -- every reform had to be tied specifically to doctrine, and the doctrinal affirmations had to be tied to specific reforms. The ties were often loose, but seem to have been enough to keep the council grounded on matters both of doctrine and reform. Things slowly began moving, and the pope and the emperor both sent theologians -- the pope's theologians being Laynez and Salmeron, from the new Society of Jesus.

Full discussion of Trent is impossible here, but it's worth looking at the first topic considered to get a sense of how Trent worked and also some peculiarities of the reform that would grow out of it. The first topic, of course, was Scripture. Delegates did not quite know what to do about this, but they eventually agreed on the simplest plan, which was just to reaffirm the canon that had been recognized by the Council of Florence. The problem was with the apocryphal or deuterocanonical books, which were rejected by the Protestants. And a lot of bishops were sympathetic with the Protestant criticisms, regarding them as extreme but also as making a genuine point. Therefore, the council decided to recognize the Florentine canon formally and officially, but to take no stand at all on the relative authority of the protocanonical and deuterocanonical books. This discussion was paired on the reform side with discussion of vernacular translations and publishing. The translation debate became very heated. One reason why is that in some places, like France, Spain, and England, vernacular translations were illegal because they were associated with seditious groups, whereas in others, like Germany, Poland, and Italy, they were allowed, and sometimes even encouraged, for reasons of scholarship and devotion. The result was that any specific decision would anger some of the major powers. Therefore the council decided to take no stand at all on the matter. They issued a decree recognizing the Vulgate as authoritative for teaching and preaching and authorizing an official edition for it. Anything about translations, like anything about relative authority in the canon, was deliberately avoided. But here's the thing. This silence over any matter on which the Council Fathers could not agree, which will be the recurring pattern in Trent, will be read as rejection. The Tridentine Fathers deliberately avoided saying that, say, the Book of Judith was equally authoritative with the Book of Esther; they could not agree on the question, so they just didn't talk about it. But it was afterward read by Protestants and Catholics alike as making them all on the same level. The Tridentine Fathers deliberately avoided saying that vernacular translations were forbidden; the only thing they could agree on was that the Vulgate was accepted by the Church for the purpose of teaching and preaching, so that's all they said on the subject. But afterward Protestants and Catholics alike would read the decree as restricting the Church to the Vulgate. So it would be for many other things; the texts would often be read with a different implicature than they were intended. This sort of problem is not uncommon, and is certainly not exclusive to Trent (it is yet another reason why conciliarism is immensely naive), but it would be a significant shaping force on reform in the centuries to come. One of the results is that people lost all sense of just how sympathetic to Protestant positions many of the Tridentine Fathers were. Not all to be sure, but many of the bishops thought that Lutheran criticisms were right if the Lutherans would just restrain themselves a bit; there's a reason why in the sessions on justification a fistfight broke out over whether Lutheran terminology admitted of a Catholic interpretation or not.

In 1546, the Schmalkaldic League attempted to take over the Catholic city of Fussen by force. Charles assaulted them and won a conclusive victory. As a result, Charles would feel enough certain of himself to promulgate the Augsburg Interim to begin reintegrating the Lutherans into the Church. Protestants were ordered to accept the sacraments, but the clergy were granted the right to marry and allowed communion in both kinds. The Lutherans, naturally, were vehemently opposed, but Bobadilla, who was still in Germany, also vehemently opposed it. Nonetheless, Charles was not to be deterred. Paul advised the Catholic bishops to honor the conditions of the Interim, but still insisted that Charles had no authority to decide religious questions. Some Lutherans, like Melanchthon, were willing to compromise, if only to hold out for the possiblity of negotiating a more favorable Interim, but others, like Bucer fled. In Germany itself, the Lutherans will split over Melanchthon's exhortations to patience. Charles's attempt to cut the Gordian knot will ultimately fail; indeed, it is one of the things responsible for the spread of Protestantism, as the fleeing Lutherans took their Protestantism with them wherever they went. 

In the meantime, problems were accumulating with the council. While the Schmalkaldic War was going on, Trent was hit by the plague. After heated debate, the council moved to Bologna, where it attempted to continue work. But some bishops refused to leave Trent, and the emperor and the pope got into a huge row over the move, because Bologna was in the Papal States, and the major thing that Charles had been insisting was that the council should not take place in the Papal States. The pope's son, Pier Luigi, was murdered about this time, and Paul suspected that Charles was behind it. Charles denied it, but Paul had been at the Sack of Rome, and Charles had denied responsibility for that, too, and he did not believe him. This derailed everything again, and finally in September 1549, Paul, attempting to do something that would end the argument, gave the bishops at Bologna permission to go home. Importantly, he did not declare the council at end or even adjourned; he was hoping to start it again at some point.

He never had a chance to do so. He died of heart attack in November 1549. Any pontificate after that of Clement VII necessarily would be one of transition, and as a pontificate of transition, Paul's tenure has a sometimes contradictory character, with older Renaissance approaches being overlaid, sometimes discordantly, with the first beginnings of something new. Paul was not as cunning as Alexander, not as much a forceful organizer as Julius, not as self-disciplined as Adrian, but he was a very good diplomat, and he was, despite his flaws, very serious about reform. Europe was breaking into fragments, and negotiating those fragments was not at all easy. But by combining his diplomatic skills with a focus on reform that at times approached singlemindedness, he accomplished a number of things that his predecessors had not been able to do. But he benefited as well from the fact that things were moving in new directions, and he was willing to move with them. Neither he nor anyone else could have imagined that the Jesuits would become the force that they eventually did; but Paul was willing to gamble on their rather radical ideas about how to approach reform. The Council of Trent began in the the most inauspicious way possible for a council, with endless false starts, an initial slow crawl due to the fact that everyone was caught off guard when it actually started, and then an apparent failure by the end of his papal administration. But Paul had never stopped trying, and this extremely unlucky council would take the Renaissance reform movement and change it in ways that neither he nor anyone else at the time could ever have imagined.

But at the end of Paul's reign, none of this was known yet. The council seemed in shambles and Europe seemed worse. The big question was now over how well his successor would handle the situation. The answer would be: Not particularly well.