Category Archives: Philosophical Theology

Pope Francis’ Nominalistic Defense of Reception of the Eucharist by Catholics Not in a State of Grace

How can Pope Francis’ suggest that some divorced Catholics who have remarried outside the Church might receive the Eucharist? Interpreting Pope Francis as a nominalist explains how he can offer his suggestion. For the interested reader, a brief discussion of the problem of universals is at the end of the post

Cardinals Burke et al. have challenged Pope Francis’ position in his recent Amoris laetita. The controversy focuses on reception of the Eucharist by Catholics legally divorced from a spouse in a valid Catholic marriage, legally married to a spouse in a subsequent marriage without a Catholic annulment of the former marriage. A footnote 351 in §305 suggests that under certain conditions in consultation with a priest a person in such a marriage may find it helpful for his or her spiritual life and salvation to receive the Eucharist.
Pope Francis has claimed that his stance in Amoris laetita proposes no change in Catholic moral theology. The cardinals challenge Pope Francis to explain how his suggestion about reception of the Eucharist can be consistent with Catholic moral theology because such a couple are living in a habitual grave sin according to Catholic moral theology and cannot receive sacramental absolution. The challenge confronts Pope Francis with a dilemma: Change Catholic moral theology or teach that on occasion reception of the Eucharist by people in a situation of grave habitual may work for the salvation of their souls. Pope Francis grasps the dilemma by the horn to admit that reception of the Eucharist by people not in a state of grace can work for their salvation.
How can Pope Francis consistently make such a suggestion? If he offers guidelines for the conditions under which it would be spiritually profitable to receive the Eucharist, these guidelines would be new rules in conflict with present Church rules. Francis has claimed that no rule changes are proposed. The resolution is to give no rules or guidelines. Take a nominalistic stance Rules or guidelines use general terms and combine several individuals into a group as if they formed a class. However, general terms mislead us about reality. In reality there are only separate individuals and there are no similarities combining them into groups. The best language for talking of reality is to use only names; utter no sentence and give no rules. So, when prompted by the Spirit a person just recognizes that the Eucharist is to be received but the recognition cannot be put into words since words always distort reality. Just receive the Eucharist. Talking about it will only distort what is being done.

My book on sexual morality takes a conceptualist position to defend a traditional sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Here is my naïve synopsis of the problem of universals. Universals are whatever it is we are talking about when we use common terms. Common terms can be applied to different locations in space and time. They are as simple as the color term “yellow” and as complex as the sophisticated term “justice.” The problem of universals is what if anything outside the mind corresponds to these universal terms? Realists hold that our universal terms when well defined correspond to a universal feature of extramental reality.
For instance, a realist hold that a proper definition of “justice “ presents to us what justice is in and by itself. Realist hold a correspondence theory of truth for definitions of universal terms. Conceptualists hold that we use universal terms as a result of our capacity to think as if something exactly the same is located in different regions of space and time. There is no need to believe that there is anything corresponding to our best definitions of terms which makes them the true definitions. All that is needed is to assume that reality is such that it allows our use of terms to have successful science and daily life. For instance, a conceptualist holds that a “true” definition of “justice” is one which helps construct flourishing communities. Conceptualist hold a pragmatic theory of truth for definitions of universal terms. Nominalists hold that our use of universal terms is fundamentally misleading about the way reality is in itself. In reality, there are only individuals. There are no features which they share with other individuals as realists hold. There are no vague similarities which make it useful to think as if there were shared features as conceptualists hold. Mere names are all that can be said without distorting what is. For nominalists there are no true sentences about extra mental reality – not even a statement of nominalism.

God cannot destroy Satan

This is an exercise is philosophical theology. Using concepts from logic including the logical concepts of moral language arguments are constructed to show, at a very abstract level, that there must be some kind of being of religious interest that some being of religious interest must have certain features. The most well-know, or notorious, is the so-called ontological argument of St. Anselm. This is apriori conceptual play. However, if the order thought is the order of reality, this conceptual play uncovers fundamental features of religiously reality apart from thought.

I present the argument in a brief syllogism and then argue in support of only the second premise since I think apriori considerations about God’s goodness would easily support premise (1)
1. God cannot do what God ought not do.
2.God ought not destroy Satan
So
(3) God cannot destroy Satan

Why accept premise (2)?
Suppose God created an intelligence with a will free to choose as God wills it to act and to be or choose not to act and to be as God wills. Suppose this being is almost equal to God in intelligence and creative power. Suppose further that this being chooses not to act and be as God wills. Such a being could plausibly be described as Satan.

Even if Satan is not as he ought to be there is still a way he ought to be out there to be realized if Satan so chooses. If God were to destroy Satan, God would bring it about that Satan ceases to be. However, if Satan ceases to be, he cannot be as he ought to be. No being ought to stop the possibility of what ought to be from coming about. So, not even God ought to stop the possibility of Satan becoming as he ought to be.
Some corollaries which I think can be established are as follows.
A. God cannot bring it about that there is no time. For Satan is a moral being and a moral being needs a temporal framework to choose. Destruction of time would bring it about that Satan does not exist.
B. God cannot allow Satan to bring it about that he, Satan, does not exist. (Satanic suicide ). If Satan were to choose not to be, without revoking his choice contrary to God’s will, he would be irrevocably ruling out the possibility of being as he ought to be. An all good being cannot allow a being to irrevocably block the possibility of being as it ought to be.

I have written a book in which defending traditional sexual morality using as a crucial premise that we have a moral obligation to be morally correct people. Of course, the case for traditional sexual morality cannot be at the highly abstract level of the above conceptual play. However, I find that there is a phase of any serious philosophical argument where we confront the challenge starkly facing these apriori arguments. The challenge is what justifies us in assuming that the order of our thinking uncovers the order of reality apart from our thinking. I confront that high level challenge in my ” down to earth” book on sexual morality.

My book arguing that sexual neutrality leads to nihilism is Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Male Sexuality and the Problem of Evil

In my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism, it is necessary to recognize the enormous amount of evil connected with sexuality; especially male sexuality. I do not use religious beliefs to support my arguments for the fundamental moral principle restricting male sexuality. However, I want my stance on sexual morality to be able to be enhanced by a Catholic Christian outlook. Hence, I would face the question of how there could be evil in the creation of an all-good, all-powerful and all-knowing God. I do not stop to consider the problem in the book because it would be a distraction from my secular argument and of most importance people who want to maintain a religious outlook should not try to solve the problem of evil.

Consider my argument for the above thesis

1.If you think and feel religiously, then you recognize the enormous evil and disorder in the world, cannot understand why it occurs and feel seriously disturbed by its occurrence.

2. If you develop an adequate theodicy, then you can understand why the enormous evil and disorder occurs.
(Theodicy is a name for a theory on why there is evil in God’s creation.)

So (3) If you solve the problem of evil, then you cease to think and feel religiously.

The mysterious of evil is a necessary condition for religious thinking and feeling. Trying to remove the mysteriousness of evil is try to secularize oneself.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Truth Conditions for Christianity

Trying to make sense of encountering Christ seems an appropriate topic for Christmas Day

How is this topic relevant to my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism? In my book, I concede that the best reasoning cannot show us that reasoning presents us reality apart from our reasoning. Why? I cannot avoid using a Cartesian/Kantian method in which philosophizing is reason reflecting on reasoning. We cannot stand back from our reasoning and compare our reasoning with reality apart from reasoning. We need to stop reasoning and let ourselves be open to reality or being, with the hope that reality supports us in believing that our best reasoning presents to us reality as it is. In particular, the best reasoning for my fundamental moral principle – the Paternal Principle -does not show us that reality commands the Paternal Principle. Through living we have to discover that reality obligates us to obey the Paternal Principle. Through living we discover that the conceptual moral scheme we invented is correct.

Note that there is no assumption that reality contains only facts. Reality may issue commands as truth conditions for moral imperatives we justify by reasoning.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has said that the truth of Christianity is an encounter with Christ. Why would I say that?

Consider the Apostle’s Creed. Justification for the creed can be given. But all that is said is simply more reasons. Giving reasons suports what we hold but reasons by themselves are not the truth conditions for what we give reasons. We have to encounter that which shows ultimately that our reasons are correct. It is not implausible to hold that the truth condition for Christianity would be Christ Himself.