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The Implicit Knowledge of Innocence

Plinio Corrêa de Oliviera
What is knowledge of oneself? What is knowledge?

Peduncle of a flower
Explicit knowledge necessarily comes from an implicit knowledge. Implicit knowledge is a fecund peduncle from which explicit knowledge continually grows. Each person has this implicit knowledge, which is both a treasure and an internal reservoir. The upper boundary of this reservoir is the knowledge that becomes explicit so that man can think explicitly about it. But this thinking should refer to that implicit reservoir and stimulate it.

There is, therefore, an implicit order that is rational when it becomes explicit; but so long as it is not explicit we cannot say it is rational, but reasonable. It can only become explicit when reason enters the picture.

The ensemble of human knowledge could be represented by a large block where the lower part is implicit and the upper part explicit. The lower part is continuously transferring implicit knowledge to the explicit zone. Also, in the most profound sector of the implicit zone – the urwald, German for primeval and deepest forest – other implicit understandings are continuously being acquired.

Now, in these profundities of the implicit knowledge, in this reservoir of implicit data, there is something else: the four cardinal virtues in general and the virtue of temperance in particular. With these virtues an individual orders the implicit zone with temperance and passes these implicit things to the explicit zone to fulfill the contingence of his own being.

This is how the implicit-explicit process of knowledge is ordered.

How does this first zone of the implicit present itself? It is composed of impulses, appeals and tendencies that are conditioned by what is good in the individual’s temperament and leads it in an ordered way to desire good, very good and excellent things, always better and more sublime; thus does he constantly ascend to reach ineffable aspirations.

It is in this most profound region of the soul that devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to the Catholic Church operate. It works in such a way that if the person corresponds here – which is innocence – the whole edifice of his soul will rise up in a magnificent way. If he does not correspond, everything starts to be crooked.

Innocence is a state of soul that corresponds to the rectitude of this implicit zone, the rectitude of that work of making the implicit explicit, and of the explicit then producing another explicit. It is innocence that makes the soul beautiful, candid, well-oriented, and so on.

Modern pedagogy does everything possible to destroy this in the child. The child is reduced to be a means to provide enjoyment for others. This kills innocence.

Renaissance & Humanism

If I were to write an encompassing history of the Revolution, you could be sure that I would start with the Renaissance and Humanism, and I would start by analyzing this point of innocence. It was in this point that the Renaissance and Humanism started to make extraordinary absurdities.

An interesting way to write this history would be to start not with an analysis of the social classes, but with the study of the different generations and their relationships inside the family. For example, to study how the treatment toward the elderly was modified. In the last period of the Middle Ages the elderly were admired and respected as paradigms by everyone.

Starting in the Renaissance the elderly became useless persons in the family. At a certain moment the elderly became the personification of error and of the past: He became the epitome of what modernity must destroy.

This would be followed by an analysis of how the adult man was considered; afterward, the youth and the various stages of childhood.

Error of Rationalism

In the child almost everything is implicit, not explicit. What every man has of the implicit is a treasure. While the child makes use of his small reserve of explicit knowledge, the man has an enormous stockpile of it. With time, when the man makes use of that colossal capital, because of an error of Rationalism, he begins to use his explicit knowledge detached from the implicit knowledge. With this something wrong enters.

Wrong role attributed to the Clergy

Regarding the clergy, we were formed with the idea that if the Church would have a good clergy, she would have absolutely everything necessary to accomplish her mission. The laity in a complementary way could give some help, but it would not be necessary. A good clergy would resolve everything.

Sacred Family

Neither St. Joseph nor Our Lady were part of the clergy; instead they belonged to the laity & played a vital role

This is an erroneous notion, which in a certain way enters into shock with organicity. A corollary of the principle of organicity is that all the bodies of society should be ordered and work together. In this ordering function which generates organicity, no place is left empty, no role is set aside; a collaboration among all is necessary to constitute the whole, which includes both the temporal and spiritual societies living together and constituting the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church.

The Catholic Church is also composed of the laity. If someone were to say that the Catholic Church is composed only of the clergy and not of the laity, he would say something that is not true. The Militant Church is composed of the clergy and the laity; the laity in the Church has a subordinate function, which is that of learning, but it is not a function of robots.

The members of the laity have a creative role, a nutritive role without which the learning Church (Ecclesia Docens) would be an organism that would not participate in the vitality of the Catholic Church. This is absurd.  

Posted June 26, 2024


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