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This is the meaning of the philosophical principle agere sequitur esse to which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò referred in answers to questions put to him on December 23rd last by Lifesitenews journalist, Maike Hickson concerning the ravaging effects on the Church and the faithful of Pope Francis’s departures from Catholic principle.[1]  It reflects the common sense of mankind that a thing acts in accordance with its nature.  Careful consideration exposes for what it is the stupidity of Descartes’ attempt to invert it with his cogito ergo sum.


   Infected with the Cartesian distortion, the modern world tries to reject natural principle wherever it can.  What is contraception, the systematic prevention of the consequences of sexual intercourse for the sake of its attendant pleasure, but a willed rejection of the natural order?  What is abortion but a further step down the same path of destruction of the social order?  (Just as revolting was the Romans’ practice of using a vomitorium to avoid the natural repleteness that followed eating so its exponents could re-experience the attendant pleasures.  The Nazis imitated them.)  What is homosexual activity but a rejection of the natural order of intercourse?  What are the attempts to invent new genders but a refusal to accept the two ordained by nature?


   If you kick nature, nature will kick you back.  This is the burden of Horace’s sentence naturam expelles furca, tamen usque recurret—“You may pitch nature out with a fork, she will always return”. [2]   Few are familiar with the rest of the quote: et mala perrumpet furtim fastidia victrix—“and surreptitiously she will overcome your malevolence and conquer”.  What is the modern epidemic of breast and ovarian cancer in women if not nature’s reaction to their systematic indulgence in chemical contraceptives?  What is HIV/Aids if not nature’s reaction, at the physical level, to homosexual conduct.[3]   And what is the Corona virus—no matter how it may have arisen—but nature’s response to modern man’s obsession with pleasures and possessions at the expense of his eternal destiny?


   Each of the mindsets involved is, of course, but a symptom of the atheism that blankets modern civilisation.  Each involves a condign rejection of nature’s Author, Almighty God.  One is reminded of Cardinal Manning’s maxim “all conflict is ultimately theological”. 


   And it is all so unnecessary.   Where do we think we have come from?  Where do we think we are going? 


Michael Baker

December 31, 2020

[1]  Cf.

[2]  Epistles bk. 1, n. 10, I. 24.

[3]  There are more serious moral and psychological sequelae as well.