Sean Johnson posted this recently. I thought it was interesting --
Anyone who has followed the bizarre evolution of Fr. Pfeiffer and the Sect for any amount of time notes at once two rather striking defects of that camp:
1) The inability to reason well;
2) The inability to judge rightly.
One might not be surprised to learn that the second defect is a product or consequence of the first, but he might be surprised to learn that both arise from a deficiency of the virtue of prudence.
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, in his discussion of the speculative intellect, he assigns to the virtue of prudence two "annexed" or "secondary" aspects of this virtue: euboulia
is the virtue of deliberating well or right counseling (Summa Theologica, II-II, 51-1):
(deliberating well) signifies goodness of counsel, for it is derived from the eu
, good, and boule
, counsel, being "a good counsel" or rather "a disposition to take good counsel." Hence it is evident that euboulia
(deliberating well) is a human virtue."SUMMA THEOLOGIAE: The virtues which are connected with prudence (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 51)
Now, it is a universally observed hallmark of the Pfeifferites that you can't tell them anything. They are stuck with their own thoughts (or rather, those which are imparted to them from Boston). But when has it ever been observed that they have tested those thoughts before embracing or acting upon them by seeking counsel of others first?
When have they ever manifested a "disposition to take good counsel?"
It is the peculiar quality of partisanship to accept at face value, without the benefit of counsel, whatever direction or ideas one receives.
Nowhere was this defect (total absence, really) of eboulia
manifested more plainly than in the case of Mr. Moran, who was universally recognized as a fraud outside Boston, but whom the dupes -lacking good counsel, or the desire to seek any counsel at all- accepted his authenticity, and closed their eyes and ears to all the contrary evidence.
This lack of eboulia
, therefore, evinces a defect of the cult in their ability to reason properly: Not receiving good counsel, not seeking good counsel, and not passing along good counsel, are the fruits of this defect attached to the virtue of prudence.
None who lack this ability to reason (or those who by force of learned habit evict from their minds the ability to reason) can come to a good end, and this absence of eboulia
is one of two reasons for the present state and poor quality of mind in Boston, and its general discredit.
2) From defective reasoning and deliberation (i.e., the refusal to seek or accept good counsel) comes defective judging.
was the virtue of making the effort to gather the truth by seeking good counsel, in order to deliberate well, the virtue of gnome
is the judgment one puts upon such data, particularly in situations which are not foreseen by the common law/written law, and in which one has to act outside of these:
"Hence it is necessary to judge of such matters according to higher principles than the common laws, according to which synesis
(judging according to common law) judges: and corresponding to such higher principles it is necessary to have a higher virtue of judgment, which is called gnome
(judging according to general law), and which denotes a certain discrimination in judgment." (Summa Theologica II-II, 51-4)SUMMA THEOLOGIAE: The virtues which are connected with prudence (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 51)
What is more lacking in Boston that "a certain discrimination in judgment?"
It is plainly evident that, if one has not the eboulia
to seek and receive good counsel, to enable one to deliberate well, then gnome by which one makes good judgment in the matter at hand according to the higher principles of general law (and which comes subsequent to eboulia
in the order of the intellect, and therefore in the exercise of prudence) is pre-empted or crippled.
If we return to our example of the advent of Mr. Moran in Boston, KY, in which we pointed out the fact that very few of the dupes there sought good counsel (or deliberated well on the matter), we should not be surprised that an equally paltry number of them exercised good judgment, or gnome.
Having precluded sound deliberation and good counsel in the matter, their judgment
, not surprisingly, was to continue to support a movement which has no future, and which was dangerous to their faith and virtue.
Thus, if we consider the virtue of prudence in relation to the annexed virtues of eboulia
(good counsel and deliberation) and gnome
we can see that the three aspects of prudence (counsel/deliberation; judgment; action) are conspicuously absent in the Boston sect, and not just in the matter of Mr. Moran, but in countless other areas as well (e.g., the matter of Pablo comes to mind; the red light; communicatio in sacris to attend SSPX Masses; BXVI being a child murdering devil worshipper; no grace from valid communions; and more recently, asserting Bishop Williamson's episcopal consecrations to be schimatic, among countless other examples of defective prudence).
It is therefore perfectly true to say of this Sect that it is generally characterized by a lack of virtue, in both leadership and discipleship, and that this lack of virtue (particularly as regards the virtue of prudence, and its annexed virtues of eboulia
) is to blame for its present state.
PS: For additional information on eboulia and gnome, see also ST, II-II, Q. 57 (6).SUMMA THEOLOGIAE: The intellectual virtues (Prima Secundae Partis, Q. 57)