Wednesday, April 29, 2020

If You’re Afraid of Catching the Virus...

...then stay home.  No law requires you to go out and risk exposure.

Are we or are we not a God-fearing nation?  If we fear God, we extend charity to our neighbor.  If we are, then why are we depriving beauticians and interior decorators and craft store owners of their livelihoods in Idaho because people in New York are afraid of catching the virus?

A person who goes out and earns an honest living engaging in legitimate pursuits is not a “murderer.”  Life is about taking risks.

If you don’t want to take risks, then stay home.

Understand, though, that it takes an awful lot of other people out there working, making things, providing services, and generally mingling around, to enable you to stay at home without starving to death or being deprived of other things you need.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Observations on the Coronapanic

Some observations about the worldwide panic, in no particular order:

- It is a mark of tyrannical regimes that their citizens are atomized, isolated, trained to distrust one another and forbidden to gather in groups for the pursuit of common interests.  This is why the First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of the people peaceably to assemble.  For the last six weeks, we have been deprived of a constitutionally guaranteed right.  Not only that: many Americans have enthusiastically thrown away this right, and even busied themselves about shaming and reporting to the authorities their fellow citizens who think, along with the Founding Fathers, that this right is important.

- The right to work and to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor is a basic human right and a requirement of human dignity.  Yet Americans are being forbidden to work.  American businesses have been wiped out.  More than 20 million Americans have lost their jobs because of shutdowns.  Depriving people of the ability to earn a living and support their families also carries dire consequences, up to and including death — and not only for the unemployed.

- No one wants to die, and an aversion to death is hard-wired into us by our Creator.  But many people show, by their words and their conduct, that they believe physical death to be the absolute worst thing that can happen to a person, and that the continuation of earthly life — particularly their own — is the supreme good, to which all other goods come in a distant second.  This is a symptom of godlessness.

- Language shapes ideas, and sways emotions.  Have you noticed how largely the term “coronavirus” has fallen into disuse, in favor of the more sinister-sounding “COVID-19”?

- President Trump never recommended ingesting or injecting oneself with disinfectants like bleach or Drano.  The context in which he used the word “disinfectant” last week makes clear he was talking about the disinfectant properties of ultraviolet radiation.  Ultraviolet radiation is known to kill viruses.  There is actually such a thing as light therapy.  But facts like these make no difference to those whose hatred of Trump outweighs all other priorities.

- We have not seen nearly the death toll from coronavirus we have been told to expect.  The deaths have been so few that the Public Health Gurus have even admitted they are counting as coronavirus deaths persons who were positive for the virus but died of something else, just to bump up the numbers.  Hospital staff have so little to do that they are either being furloughed, traveling to other jurisdictions or making stupid dance videos, allegedly in a bid to “boost morale.” Meanwhile, people with conditions other than coronavirus are going untreated.

- When we consider the low numbers of cases and deaths from coronavirus, we do well also to consider that (a) not every jurisdiction has a lockdown order, and (b) not every jurisdiction that has a lockdown order stringently enforces it.  I happen to live in a place where (b) applies.  I have been through several drive-through restaurants where employees are not wearing gloves or masks, or are not changing gloves between orders.  I have been to stores where social distancing is not observed.  Yet, at this writing, Idaho has had 1,768 cases and 56 deaths statewide.  This can’t be owing to all the urged precautions.

- People do not become “murderers” merely by going about their daily lives and engaging in legitimate pursuits.  How many of the same people who think their neighbors are “murderers” for wanting to reopen their businesses or get a haircut or go to Mass, support abortion, contraceptives and euthanasia?  When did supporters of euthanasia suddenly start caring about the vulnerable elderly?

- If the virtue-signalers who denounce their neighbors for wanting to be productive are so afraid of catching the coronavirus, nobody is forcing them to go out.  Let them stay home while the rest of us get on with our lives.

- How many people in nursing homes are being put out of the way under the guise of coronavirus?

- Is it just possible that the coronavirus is the excuse for our Elders and Betters to slap the restrictions upon us that they have been wanting to slap on us all along?

- It has long been said that cleanliness is next to godliness.  But for many years, sellers of antibacterial soaps and sanitizers have been training us to cultivate more and more an effeminate horror of microbes to rival that of Howard Hughes.  Is it possible that our inordinate germophobia is part of what has left us open to being led, so tamely and so easily, to shut down our economy and abandon our freedom?

- If there is one thing this pandemic and the ensuing panic has done, it is to expose our true priorities, and the true priorities of our leaders, both secular and religious.  It has exposed the frightening number of little gauleiters and commissars among the citizenry, even in an allegedly free society.  It has exposed how illusory is the promise of religious liberty in a relentlessly secularist society.  It has exposed the futility of the centuries-old project of trying to replace the divinely-revealed Deposit of Faith with a man-made secularist ideology.  It has exposed the utter bankruptcy of the modernism that so many of our Catholic priests and bishops have enthusiastically embraced.  It has exposed the fact that nothing we cobble up on our own to try to replace what God has given us will ever work or give us what we need, especially in times of crisis.

- Not every decision our bishops make is right, just because they are bishops, and failing or refusing to come to terms with that fact is not a mark of virtue.  We cannot fix our bishops; we can only extend our charity and pray for them.  But we are not going to do that if we don’t acknowledge problems.  Even while we forgive bishops who have deprived us of Mass and the Sacraments and locked us out of our churches; even while we pray for them; even while we examine within ourselves the reasons why God evidently thought it right to permit us to suffer this; even so, we take note of the fact that these bishops did not even wait for the secular authorities to put the kibosh on religious observance before rushing to do it themselves.  Nor, as far as we can tell, did they lobby the secular authorities for an exception to lockdown orders for the Sacraments, religious services or care of souls. These actions and omissions are the best possible advertisement against the modernism that has been crammed down our throats for years and years and years, and ought to move every Catholic to finally reject it once and for all.

- Ann Barnhardt, with whom I have explicitly and by name taken issue in this space, came up with a term years ago that aptly describes the media coverage of this pandemic: agitporn.  It is designed precisely to whip us up into a perpetual state of fear and agitation, to which we become addicted, and which makes us eager to comply with even the most draconian measures.

It is time to turn off the agitporn, turn on the common sense and start to pick up the pieces of our shattered society before it is damaged beyond repair.

UPDATE: Memo from our Elders and Betters: why we need to sit down, shut up, take our castor oil, smile and say THANK YOU.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Fiddling While Rome Burns

Comes the news that Pope Francis is forming yet another commission to study the question of female deacons.

Millions of children are being destroyed in their mothers' wombs every year.  A post-Christian world is trying to redefine marriage and even obliterate the whole concept of male and female.  Atheistic secularism, hostile to Christianity, is the predominant world view.  A small minority of leftist elites is out to destroy Western culture and concentrate as much power as possible into their own hands.  The Catholic Church in China has been sold out to the communists.  Idols have been worshiped in the heart of Christendom on earth, in the presence and with the apparent approval of the Pope himself.  Sexual abusers have proliferated within the Catholic priesthood and episcopate.  And now, we're in the middle of a worldwide crisis where some people are getting sick and dying; many more are losing their livelihoods because of quarantines and the shutting down of "non-essential" services; and Catholics all over the world cannot receive the Sacraments or even pray in their churches.  Some bishops are going as far as to try to forbid priests to administer the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.  Hospitals are denying the dying access to priests.

And this is the time the hierarchy decides to fiddle with the impossible and futile project of ordaining women to the diaconate.

Decades of sissified liturgy, designed to make us comfortable and complacent and flabby rather than zealous for God and for souls, has produced Catholics -- and therefore priests and bishops -- who do not have a supernatural outlook.  The "spirit of Vatican II" church that for decades has pushed the need for the Church to be "relevant" to modern man has succeeded only in making itself irrelevant to real people with real trials and tribulations.

What an indictment of the modernist experiment within the Church.  

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Yes, Virginia, That Was an Earthquake (And No April Fool's)

From the Facebook page of St. John's Cathedral, Boise:
damage to cross over north transept from last night's earthquake.
I had to laugh at the headlines in the immediate aftermath reporting an "apparent earthquake."  Nothing "apparent" about it.  As a veteran of many major earthquakes, including the horrific Northridge Earthquake in 1994, I am here to tell you it was pretty unmistakable.  And it was unmistakable to people who felt it all over Idaho, and also in Montana, Washington and Canada.  My first thought, when I realized what was happening, and saw the window glass in my front room window rippling, is that my house might not have been either built with earthquakes in mind or seismically retrofitted.  My second thought was an impulse to call my mother, followed immediately by the recollection that both of my parents are dead.

Quite honestly, even in the midst of the dire events of this Lent, an earthquake was the last thing I was expecting.  It has been 25-plus years since I was last in an earthquake.  Yes, I have always known that there are occasionally earthquakes in Idaho; in fact, two children were hit and killed by falling masonry in Idaho's last big earthquake in 1983.  But nevertheless, I figured, naively, that I was getting away from earthquakes when I moved from California to Idaho in 1995.  Idaho, though volcanic in origin, is not one of your notoriously earthquake-infested states.  The ground in Idaho has always felt safe and solid -- at least as safe and solid as the ground can feel anywhere on earth.

Not anymore.  One more security blanket has been taken away.  Our confidence in one more earthly thing has been shaken -- literally.  

This earthquake coincides with the release to a wider public of the news that, several weeks ago, Idaho's bishop issued a decree forbidding priests to celebrate the Novus Ordo ad orientem, to provide kneelers or Communion rails to parishioners who want to kneel for Holy Communion at Novus Ordo Masses, or to introduce into the Novus Ordo any elements of the traditional Mass.  But that was actually the first of a series of Lenten blows to come out of the chancery.  The next was the initial response to the coronavirus, which was to forbid the faithful to receive Communion on the tongue at Novus Ordo Masses.  Then came the closing of Masses to the public.  Then, immediately following the governor's stay-at-home order, came the bishop's order to lock up all churches, effectively shutting down perpetual adoration, which had been taking place at no fewer than four parishes in the Boise metro area, and the expanded availability of the Sacrament of Penance that some parishes had instituted.  

Now, this concatenation of events has gotten me seriously thinking.  I strongly believe that we are in the midst of a great chastisement that has been coming for a long, long time, and that it consists not only in the pandemic and other natural disasters, but also in the almost entire deprivation of the Mass and the Sacraments in vast stretches of the globe.  For this men and their abuse of their powers are responsible, but God has obviously allowed it to happen, or it couldn't have happened.  I believe part of the reason He has permitted all this is to expose the utter impotence of trendy modernism in the face of catastrophe, and what a catastrophe modernism is in and of itself.

Yet I also feel the all-pervasiveness of this modernism that doesn't leave me untouched.  Modernism denies the supernatural.  When I look at all the signs, I am tempted to dissociate the supernatural from it all, and to think that only the banal and worldly is what is real.  I am tempted to think I am only seeing what I want to see, or only what fits in with my narrative.  I worry about reading things into events that aren't really there.  

On the other hand, it makes sense that we in Idaho should feel some divine wrath.  The rest of the country thinks of Idaho as a very conservative state; but this does not take account of the state of the Church in Idaho.  The hobnailed boot of liberalism has been on the neck of the Boise Diocese for a very long, long time.  The modernist Old Guard has been very complacent here, and thus very arrogant, for a very long time.  One of them, former Father William Thomas Faucher, the great liberal editorialist and wreckovator of parish churches, felt complacent enough to amass a gigantic stash of child porn of a character so vile and so violent that the detectives working the case characterized it as the worst and most sickening stuff they had ever seen.  Faucher felt complacent enough to take pictures of himself urinating on a copy of the Code of Canon Law, and to boast online to his pervert pals about urinating in a chalice.  In jail, he felt complacent enough to publish a newsletter to his supporters and give a newspaper interview in which he predicted that his legacy would not be as a child pornographer.  At his sentencing, he felt complacent enough to give an almost twenty-minute speech blaming his porn and drug addiction on being sidelined by the late former bishop, and asking the judge, with a straight face, for probation so that he could "help" others understand the evils of child porn.  And in the aftermath of his being sentenced to 25 years fixed, the remaining Old Guard still felt complacent enough to carry on business as usual, to include trying to put the kibosh on the small grass-roots steps toward regaining tradition that were inspired by horror over the Faucher affair.  

But business as usual has now been brought, forcibly, to an end.  Whether we try to go back to it is going to depend on whether or not we have learned anything from all this.

St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.
St. Rocco, patron against plagues, pray for us.
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, patron against earthquakes, pray for us.