Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Collegial Consecration of Russia Has Clearly Never Been Done


Years ago, Cardinal Bertone announced to the world that in fact the collegial consecration of Russia was done as asked in 1984 -- by the Pope and all the world's bishops together -- and claimed that Sister Lucia, the last living Fatima seer, confirmed this.  

Really?  Yes, the Iron Curtain fell within a few years of John Paul II's consecration of the world (omitting to specifically name Russia), proving only that no prayers for Our Lady's intercession are fruitless.  But since she is the Exterminatrix of heresies, and the ideology of the Soviet Union obviously has yet to be exterminated, something has obviously been left undone by us.  Do we look like we're in a period of peace as Our Lady promised?  On the contrary, we are more at each other's throats than ever, even within our own nations, and even within the Church.  Our own governments and cultural institutions have made war on us and on our natural-law right to bodily integrity.  Our own shepherds have joined them by locking us out of our churches, threatening to make a caste of untouchables out of those who refuse the abortion-tainted covid vaccines, and seeking to exterminate the Mass of tradition.  Even traditional Catholicism is a circular firing squad.  When are we going to finally catch on to the bald-faced mendacity that is an entrenched habit of our ruling and cultural elites, both ecclesiastical and secular?  

The collegial consecration of Russia is the way out of all this.  It's very simple, but our hearts, and the hearts of our prelates, have been too hardened to do it.  We have to pray hard for the specific intention that it be done, and soon.  The Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima has been set up specifically to achieve this goal.  

I would love to see Pope Francis, probably the worst Pope in Church history, do the collegial consecration.  It would be, at least as far as I can see, perfect.  He is brutal and authoritarian enough to whip all the world's bishops in line to join him in it or suffer excommunication (or maybe the public exposure of their Grindr memberships and other hidden felonies).  He is the absolute last man on earth who is likely to do it, so God would get all the credit.  And it would decisively answer the question of whether he is the true Pope.  Is this a pipe dream?  Humanly speaking, yes.  But nothing is impossible to God.  If enough of us pray hard for it, God is entirely capable of moving even Pope Francis to do it, whether by touching and converting his heart, or by giving him no peace whatsoever until he complies.  

Prayer for the Holy Father to Consecrate Russia
By +Athanasius Schneider

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, you are the holy Mother of God and our tender Mother.

Look upon the distress in which the Church and the whole of humanity are living because of the spread of materialism and the persecution of the Church.

In Fatima, you warned against these errors, as you spoke about the errors of Russia.

You are the Mediatrix of all graces. Implore your Divine Son to grant this special grace for the Pope: that he might consecrate Russia to your Immaculate Heart, so that Russia will be converted, a period of peace will be granted to the world, and your Immaculate Heart will triumph, through an authentic renewal of the Church in the splendor of the purity of the Catholic Faith, of the sacredness of Divine worship and of the holiness of the Christian life.

O Queen of the Holy Rosary and our sweet Mother, turn your merciful eyes to us and graciously hear this our trusting prayer.

Amen.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

A Good Man and His Limitations

Paul VI was Pope when I was born.  I vaguely remember images of him lying in state after his death in 1978.  Then Pope John Paul I was elected.  I remember watching the white smoke come out of the chimney on the news.  After only a month on the throne of Peter, we were all surprised to find ourselves already awaiting the outcome of the next conclave.  That conclave brought us John Paul II, the first man to break the Italian lock on the papacy  in four and a half centuries.  For some reason, I could never bring myself to become a fan of JPII, whom the rest of the world looked upon as a rock star.  His visit to my town when I was in high school left me cold (as, frankly, did the Catholic faith itself at that time).  He deserved credit for helping to bring down the Iron Curtain, and for laying down the law on the impossibility of women's ordination; but he also tried to tinker with the Rosary; he pushed the revolutionary agenda of Vatican II; his Theology of the Body is all but impenetrable; he failed to carry out the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart; and, above all, he created a lot of really terrible bishops.  His hasty canonization is a classic example of why we were much wiser, in former times, to let enough time pass for emotions and partisan feeling to die down before opening a cause for sainthood on anyone.  Still, John Paul II was the Vicar of Christ on earth, beyond whose reign many adults were too young to remember; and when he was in the final stages of his terminal struggle, I too felt the desolation that seemed to lie over the whole Church, and indeed the whole world, as they awaited the inevitable news of impending fatherlessness.

Then came Benedict XVI, the first Pope to be elected during my adulthood.  I remember wanting to park in front of the TV during the conclave and watch for the white smoke and see the announcement of the new Pope, but my court schedule would not allow it. As I meditated later upon the above image of him showing himself to the crowds for the first time as Pope, I found myself being filled with a personal affection for the man that I never felt for his two predecessors under whom I had lived.  I actually hung this picture up in my house.  As an added bonus, all the right people were wailing and gnashing their teeth over the election of Ratzinger.  He on his part asked us to pray that he would not flee for fear of the wolves.  When he abdicated less than eight years later, my first thought was: I didn't pray for him enough.  Then we got...what we got.

I have never lost my personal affection for Benedict XVI.  He is a scholar and a gentleman, a father of such tenderness as his wayward children did not come close to deserving.  The Church and indeed the world owes him a great debt for having opened the road home for Anglicans by creating the Ordinariates, and especially for having brought back the Mass of Tradition and many of the things that go along with tradition.  But, as Pope, he should have been able to entirely correct the course of the Church and turn her off the path of self-destruction she has been on for at least a century, and certainly since Vatican II.  As we find ourselves almost entirely leaderless while the world launches a frontal assault on the Church and on her members in particular, it cannot be denied that he failed to do this.

Was this because of the wolves that Benedict saw around him everywhere he turned?  Partly.  But now, in the light of the post-conciliar hierarchy's massive and blatant failures over the last year and a half,  something seems clear to me that I never more than half-realized before now: how handicapped Benedict XVI was as Pope by the fact that to some extent, he still bought into the wolves' ideology.  Josef Ratzinger was a child during the Nazi era and the Second World War, during which life was held cheap, and then grew up under the harsh American occupation of his country, during which the immortal souls of his people were held cheap.  He spent his formative years and his young adulthood marinating in trauma and modernism.  Trauma has the power to make us doubt settled principles, seeing that they have appeared to fail us in our particular case.  As for modernism, it has been in the air we breathe, and the water we drink, for decades.  Without a special grace from God, it's impossible not to be touched by it.  Modernism trains us to set aside our common sense, doubt known realities, and hold entirely contradictory ideas simultaneously.

I can only speak to my own perceptions and conclusions on this.  Why didn't I see before now how greatly influenced Pope Benedict was by the poison in the Church's bloodstream?  Partly because I have not entirely escaped it, either.  Partly because, though I knew the young Fr. Ratzinger was a peritus at the Council, and that he had some rather eccentric ideas in his youth, I believed he had outgrown them.  He was, after all, orders of magnitude more orthodox and traditional than anybody else in the Church I had to deal with on the ground, in my own diocese.  The liberals thought so too, and so did not trouble to disguise their hatred and contempt of him.  But while Benedict clearly recognized many of the bad fruits of the Council and its aftermath, he still dreamed of being able to salvage the Council and its underlying ideologies, and reconcile them with the authentic doctrines and traditions of the Church.  Immersed in the "hermeneutic of continuity," Pope Benedict was apparently not troubled by the co-existence of contradictory things or ideas, and even thought this could somehow redound to the benefit of the Church.  Thus, from within this ideological and philosophical quicksand, he was unable use decisively his power as the Supreme Pontiff and Shepherd of the Church and put the wolves to flight.  Instead, he tried to co-exist with them and with their noxious notions.  Today, we live with the results.

Whether he intended to or not, Pope Francis has done a great service to the Church by at last nailing his colors to the mast and proving decisively that there is no middle course we can take in dealing with our opponents.  We can't "dialogue" with them, because they don't mean the same thing by words that we mean, and because to them "dialogue" is just a tactic to waste our time and exhaust our energy until we cave.  We can't compromise with them, because to them compromise means we give up everything and they give up nothing.  We need to be as committed to defeating them as they are to defeating us.  And we can't do that by remaining mired in the muddy, slippery slime of modernism.

I still love Benedict XVI (not the true Pope any longer, since Jesus Christ cannot be hindered or stymied by any man's loopy ideas, grammatical errors, semantics games or crooked intrigues in conferring or taking away papal jurisdiction).  I still believe he is a good man, that his intentions were good, and that he did his best as Pope, within his limitations.  But we cannot deny the limitations, and should not miss out on the lessons those limitations have for us and how we ought to carry ourselves in the continuing crisis.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

More on Why Francis Is the True Pope

Don Tranquillo, FSSPX, explains why Benedict XVI's abdication was valid, and why the irregularities alleged with the 2013 conclave were not enough to invalidate it.

 
I highly recommend the whole Crisis in the Church series on the SSPX Podcast.  Even if you don't like what the SSPX says or agree with it, the arguments and evidence adduced are abundant food for thought.  Their positions on various issues in the Church are far from trivial.  They deserve more than just a knee-jerk dismissal.

This series also gives the lie to the allegations that the SSPX are schismatic or sedevacantist.  They spend a lot of time refuting, not only Vatican II Fanboy arguments, but also the arguments of the sedevacantists, and defending the conciliar and post-conciliar Popes as true Popes.  It doesn't make a lot of sense that they would go to all this trouble if they were in schism.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

What Ever Happened to the Medicine of Mercy?

From the vestibule of the "schismatic" SSPX chapel in New Plymouth, Idaho.

I am seeing on social media the sentiment expressed that the latest motu proprio was a just, fitting and appropriate comeuppance for traditionalists.  Those mean, nasty, rotten, Vatican-II-hating trads, leading unsuspecting normal Catholics into schism and disobedience, and probably also kicking puppies and eating kindergarteners for breakfast!  I see even some traditionalists (or at least some professing to be traditionalists) saying, look, we had this coming.  We deserve to get smacked around because we are so mean and uncharitable.  Thank you, sir, may I please have another.

This is even assuming -- which I do not assume -- that the Pope has the authority to do what he has done.  Jesus Christ founded the Church as a monarchy, a family with a father at its head, not as a tyranny.  (The redoubtable Fr. Hunwicke explains brilliantly why Traditiones custodes is not binding, here and especially here.)  The question here is: whatever happened to the mercy and compassion that were supposed to be the hallmarks of the Church in the post-conciliar age toward those who are in, or who are supposed to be in, error?  Whatever happened to the mercy and compassion, pursuant to which canonical penalties have become a thing of the past in the quest to draw malefactors gently back into the fold?  Consider the words of John XXIII at the opening of the Council on October 11, 1962:

The Church has always opposed these errors.  Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity.  Nowadays, however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity.  She considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations....[T]he Catholic Church, raising the Torch of religious truth by means of this Ecumenical Council, desires to show herself to be the loving mother of all, benign, patient, full of mercy and goodness toward the brethren who are separated from her.

Now, the Vatican II fanboys consider traditionalists to be separated from the Church, or on the verge of being separated from the Church.  If that were true, it would seem to indicate that traditionalists are therefore in need of the Medicine of Mercy.  But it would appear rather that all that Medicine of Mercy stuff held true only as long as the revolutionaries within the Church were the ones being condemned.  It became a whole different ball game once they and their fellow travelers and tools took over the league.  When Archbishop Lefebvre, for example, ordained priests after the purported suppression of his Society of St. Pius X, and then later consecrated bishops against a papal mandate, surely those were occasions to deploy the Medicine of Mercy.  But no: it turns out that the Medicine of Mercy crowd are actually huge fans of canonical penalties, ruthlessly applied -- to their opponents.  Even the threat of canonical penalties turns out to be a very handy political weapon against those who do not want to sign on to the revolution within the Church.  Meanwhile, there is to be no Medicine of Mercy for those who are looted, pillaged and despoiled by even the open pervs, crooks and charlatans who are in lockstep with the revolution.

Traditionalists, being humans, have warts like anyone else.  We are sinners.  We are annoying.  We overindulge our passions and appetites.  We let our anger and hurt get the better of us.  We fight amongst ourselves.  There are even those among us who stray into error of various sorts -- making us indistinguishable from our fellow Catholics in the mainstream, which also includes those who reject all sorts of Church teachings, from the Real Presence to the evils of contraceptives.  

But it takes a real hard-heartedness to consider the Howitzer of Traditiones custodes as being in any way a proportionate response to the flea that is the excesses of traditionalists.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Attempted Coup

 

A priest of the SSPX leads the faithful in a
Rosary against satanists trying to take over Idaho's capitol.

Today, the feast of St. Ann, mother of Our Lady, a group of masked, robed and hooded satanists gathered at the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho, to conduct a "prayer" ceremony in an attempt to turn Idaho over to the will of the devil.  A group of Protestants gathered at the bottom of the steps to counter the satanists.  A group of Catholics, led by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X, climbed the steps past the satanists and gathered in the rotunda to pray the Rosary.  The satanists came in and stationed themselves at the four compass points within the rotunda (where there is currently construction underway) and shouted prayers to satan.  The Catholics prayed all the louder.  Before long, the satanists walked out and returned to the steps where they blew a horn or two and made some noise for about a minute.  After the Rosary, Father prayed a prayer of exorcism out of the Rituale Romanum while the Catholic group continued to pray silently, and then walked around the rotunda, sprinkling it with holy water.  He then blessed the group, which left the way it came.  By that time, the satanists were off the steps and in some unknown location.

This is not the only time or place where the devil's minions have launched a public offensive against a state or city or town.  Why are satanists bold enough to come out in the open (albeit hiding behind their masks) and conduct black rituals to try to capture a political entity for the powers of darkness?  It must be because, saturated with the ideology of "religious liberty," or a failure to take the devil seriously, or a disbelief in their own powers given to them in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or some combination of all three, the Catholic hierarchy turns a blind eye.  But this is not a battle that they can just leave to the laity, who are usually the ones keeping track of these things.  If the local priests and bishops are not aware that these ceremonies are going on, why aren't they aware?  How is that not their business?  And if they are aware, how can they bear to allow it to go on?  Why do they mostly leave these things to the laity to deal with by themselves?  It's like sending an eight-year-old out to deal with a wild animal.  One can only speculate what the repercussions might have been, if there had not been a priest on the scene today to beat back the assault.  If priests and bishops haven't got time to chase devil worshippers off their doorstep, they haven't got time for anything.

Excellencies and reverend fathers: you have got to go out in the forefront of this battle and drive back the powers of darkness.  We pew sitters are willing to come with you and back you up with our prayers, but you must lead us.  You are the ones who wield the power of Jesus Christ.  This is why it was given to you.  It is up to you to send the satanists away, tail between legs, and make them fear to ever dare to launch an offensive against our states and cities.  Nobody else has been given the power and authority to do it.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Ultra Vires

 "Ultra vires" is an old legal term that describes an act that exceeds the limits of the actor's authority.  Fr. Hunwicke explains why Traditionis custodes is ultra vires.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Ideological Litmus Tests as a Condition of Keeping the Traditional Mass


The letter from Bishop Sticka of the Diocese of Knoxville, released yesterday, expresses His Excellency's solicitude for the members of his flock who love the traditional Mass.  In essence, the bishop says he will allow the traditional Mass to continue status quo ante, at least for now, and even grants faculties to all priests ordained by the cutoff date to celebrate it.  However, the bishop also implements the litmus test of accepting all the teachings of Vatican II, as well as the validity and liceity of the implementation of the new Mass. 

One has to pause and hover over that litmus test.  First of all, is there no basis for questioning the liceity of the new Mass, especially in view of the extreme upheaval that resulted from the attempt to completely replace the old Mass?  Does there exist widespread agreement among high churchmen, reached after careful and deliberate consideration, about the liceity of imposing a new, manufactured rite of Mass, however valid, on the Church?  If not, why are the little people not allowed to question it?  

Secondly, why are we not allowed to question an ecumenical council that explicitly was "pastoral" and refrained from defining any dogmas?  Since there are priests and bishops who question parts of the Second Vatican Council, and whose objections are not trivial, why must the people in the pews take sides?

Thirdly, if we need litmus tests, why don’t we have an “acceptance of all the Ten Commandments and all the Precepts of the Church and all the Sins that Cry Out to Heaven for Vengeance” litmus test to let people in to any Mass whatsoever?  Why is there no litmus test to screen out those who reject those parts of Vatican II that were already defined and infallible doctrine before the Council?  And why are we doing this at a time when we have bishops and priests refusing to implement the canonical litmus test of not being a manifest public sinner in the case of pro-abortion and pro-same-sex-marriage politicians presenting themselves for Communion?

To ask some questions is to answer them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

One of the Sanest Things I Have Seen Yet...

 ...on the subject of the new motu proprio.  

Hillary White: The Purge.  A teaser:

Why am I not mad? Why am I not freaking out? Why am I not panicking? Why, in fact, am I something along the lines of ferociously joyful? Because a very grave evil, that has duped a great many people with quite a lot of comforting, sleep-inducing lies for quite a long time, is coming to an end. An entire regime of Un-Reality is collapsing before the inexorable demands of the Real. And the defeat of lies, the defeat of UnReality is always a triumph for Christ who is Truth incarnate.

Hillary White gives clear expression to a lot of my own inchoate thoughts on the crisis in the Church.  Follow the link and read the whole thing.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

YES, The Holy Father Will Try to Suppress the Traditional Mass. War Has Been Declared.

 

Well, now we have the answer to the question I asked last month.  Besides saying I stand by everything I said last month, I will add the following observations:

- The blow, once landed, does not hurt any less just because you saw it coming.  This is no surprise.  Still, it may be that the biggest shock is how utterly devoid of even a scintilla of human empathy the document is.  It doesn’t even have a grace period before taking effect.

- It’s unfortunate that some people think this move by the Pope was justified and proportionate to the alleged provocation.  For decades, and especially over the last year and a half, we have been inured to exercises of raw power and draconian overreactions by those in authority, so that we have lost our sense of how wrong it is to depart from legitimate authority and proportionality.  We have also lost our sense of what an evil thing it is to try to stamp out the time-honored and tested Mass that has nurtured generation upon generation of saints.  It was an evil the first time around, and it is no less evil this time.

- Power and authority are not ends in themselves, but means to ends.  An exercise of power and authority that is destructive of the ends for which they were instituted is an abuse.  The end for which the Catholic Church was founded is the salvation of souls.  There is no sense in which the salvation of souls has been served here.

- This Orwellianly-titled motu proprio couldn’t be further beyond the Pope’s authority.  I can’t think that anyone is really bound to obey it, even if it weren’t full of things that don’t make sense.  Bishops should recognize it as the usurpation that it is.

- Let’s be clear about who is responsible for divisions in the Church.  It’s not the people who want to stick to tradition.  It’s the revolutionaries in the Church who think she is their personal property to do with as they please, and who try to transform her into something unrecognizable from what she had previously been.  In fact, those who govern the Church do not own tradition, but only hold it in trust.  These prelates and priests who cannot leave well enough alone are violating their obligation to keep care of the patrimony that has been entrusted to them, so that the present generation may enjoy the benefits of peace and order, and so that it will be there for future generations.  They are also violating their obligation not to put their flocks in a position of having to choose between obedience to them and obedience to God.  

- The enemies of the Church, both within and without, hate not only the Mass, but the papacy.  In our time, this would seem to include the current holder of that office.  He demonstrated that early on with his disdain for the customs and trappings and small “t” traditions that come with it.  Then there was his belittlement of the papacy by his continued promotion of “collegiality,” and his use of its prestige to make common cause with globalist leftists against the flocks he was appointed to protect.  Now there is this frontal assault on the Church herself, using his power as Supreme Pontiff to destroy what his predecessor built and to eviscerate the patrimony he is bound to defend.  These are all attacks on the primacy of Peter.  If you really hate the papacy, and want to bring it into disrepute and ultimately destroy it, what better place to try to do it from than the throne itself?

- Still, no: this move by Pope Francis does not prove he is an antipope.  If God demonstrates his wrath against His people by allowing them to fall into the hands of bad priests, as St. John Eudes says, how much more wrathful must He be to allow us to fall into the hands of bad bishops, and, above all, a bad Pope?  There have certainly been plenty of candidates in recent decades.  Pope Francis is a typical cleric of his generation: mean, nasty, arrogant, brutal, and contemptuous of all things Catholic.  The hierarchy is still chock-a-block with guys like him.  It was only a question of time before one of them landed his kiester on the throne of Peter.

- From what I am seeing on social media, the lumpen cruelty of Friday’s bombshell shocks the conscience, not only of die-hard Latin Mass-goers, but also Catholics who only attend the Novus Ordo, and even some non-Catholics.  It’s impossible at this early stage to know how many people who don’t think they have a dog in the fight have been shocked by this, but it’s possible the Pope has jumped the shark.  (I say “don’t think they have a dog in the fight,” because really, there is no one who does not have a stake in the preservation of the Mass of tradition.)

- I expect that the Society of St. Pius X will keep on keeping on, as they have been doing since they were founded in the 1970s.  I also expect they will have a lot more souls on their hands after this, over and above the increase they got out of the covid shutdowns.  Their uncompromising stance in favor of tradition is looking less and less like “disobedience” and “schism” and “rebellion” as more and more “Spirit of Vatican II” chickens come home to roost.  Their canonically irregular situation — which they acknowledge as an abnormality, and hope one day to be able to rectify — is also, in the present moment, looking more and more providential, as it allows them to plant standards pretty much anywhere, and to marshal resources that no bishop can strip them of.

While we wear out our Rosary beads, stock up on our supply of sacramentals, and go to confession and receive Holy Communion as often as possible, we need to stay sane inside insanity and remember that this ain’t 1970 anymore.  The traditional Mass parishes are loaded with babies and toddlers and young adults too young to have boomer and Gen X baggage.  They are where the future is.  Also, in 1970, we hadn’t had 2020 yet.  People noticed which sector of the clergy defended their flocks in 2020, and which didn’t.  

Above all, this is God’s Church.  Sooner or later, He will intervene.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Will the Holy Father Try to Suppress the Traditional Mass?

 

What are we to make of the reports, from apparently reliable sources, that Pope Francis is in the process of repealing Summorum Pontificum?

Personally, I have been expecting a move like this almost since the beginning of his pontificate.  I figured he'd wait until his predecessor is out of the picture before making it, but Benedict XVI goes on living and living, God bless him, and his enemies are growing restive and impatient.  There are those who point out that it would be stupid and destructive of the good of the Church for Summorum Pontificum to be repealed or restricted, but the good of the Church hardly ever seems to factor into any decision made in her upper echelons these days.  I for one doubt it will have any influence on this issue.

The first attempt to suppress the Mass of Tradition half a century ago ultimately failed, thanks to men like Archbishop Lefebvre who clung tenaciously to the faith as they had had it handed down to them, and as they had always known it.  According to Benedict XVI, these men and their followers were right: the traditional Mass was never abrogated, and what was good and holy for previous generations cannot suddenly be condemned.  Can a second attempt by the same enemies of the faith, now mostly octogenarians, succeed?

A decade and a half after Pope Benedict brought it out of mothballs, the Mass of Tradition has captured the hearts and imaginations of the young.  Where the TLM flourishes, there also flourish young Catholic families with lots and lots of babies, and more on the way.  Very many, if not most, of the people flocking to the traditional Mass are too young to remember the salad days of the boomers who led the assault on tradition in the wake of Vatican II, and too young to have any baggage from that dark time.  Traditional priestly societies have large numbers of seminarians.  Above all, last year's alleged pandemic has exposed the utter bankruptcy of the post-conciliar modernist experiment within the Church.  While liberal bishops cut off their flocks from the Sacraments, traditional pastors doubled and trebled their exertions.  Also, the live-streaming of traditional Masses probably exposed a lot of people to that form of the liturgy, and also to solid Catholic preaching, who otherwise might not have been.  It would be a mistake to assume that nobody noticed the difference.  We saw clearly who in the Church takes the faith seriously and who does not.  Maybe the octogenarians have waited too long.

Or, maybe they haven't.  Whatever the case may be, in reading and listening to what people have to say on this subject, it appears that many on both sides act as if the modernists and liberals are invincible.  Every time they suffer a setback, there is always somebody on our side trying to throw cold water on any rejoicing: the setback, they argue, is just a part of the Big Plan, just another play in the Long Game.  There is no doubt that the liberals are more determined and -- unconstrained by moral considerations -- more ruthless and daring than those genuinely devoted to the Catholic faith; but they are still capable of miscalculating, of overreaching, of underestimating, and of being just plain stupid.  Indeed, since sin makes you stupid, they are more apt to err than we give them credit for.  Basic stupidity, as an inevitable consequence of vice, is one of the instruments God uses to set limits on His enemies.  He may allow them to wreak destruction, but while they destroy everything around them, they pull down their own houses too.  Look at any evil regime in history, and you find stupid people in positions of responsibility that ultimately contributed to its fall.  Look around anywhere in the world right now, and there is stupid as far as the eye can see.  There is no question that the stupidity creates untold suffering; but it also necessarily carries within it the seeds of its own fall.

Another thing people fail to factor in is prayer.  There are an awful lot of people who don't pray, but this is by no means true of everybody.  Have you stepped up your prayer game in response to what has been going on, and the realization that God has permitted all of it?  If so, what makes you think you're the only one?  How do you know the failures of our enemies, like the collapse of the coronapanic narrative and the collapse of antiseptic totalitarianism in certain parts of the world, weren't answers to specific prayers?  Even if it is too late to prevent a divine chastisement, that does not mean the chastisement cannot be mitigated by prayer and penance.  If there is something you particularly want to see happen, or not happen, are you praying and fasting for it?  

Which brings us to the third misconception: that God does not somehow factor into the equation.  Even the bad things that happen, happen because God allows them to.  I don't know about you, but the single most sobering thing to me about the world-wide cancellation last year of public Masses, especially during the holiest season of the year, was the realization that God permitted this wholly unprecedented event, and He must have permitted it because we are not as wonderful as we think we are, and we have provoked His wrath.  If the Pope and his allies in the hierarchy do succeed in once again quashing the traditional Mass, it will be because God has allowed it, and we will need to ask ourselves why.

As Bishop Athanasius Schneider has pointed out, God ultimately will intervene and put an end to this crisis.  He certainly will rescue His Church.  This may not happen as quickly as we want, or in the way we want, or without our having to suffer even more than we already have, but it certainly will happen.  That does not mean that we just get to sit back and not do our part to resist the evil that we see before us.  Indeed, we do not have any excuse not to resist, having as we do some great predecessors who showed us how it's done.  But it does mean that God's inevitable triumph is the real Big Picture we have to keep our eyes on, and not despair.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Happy Lenin’s Birthday!

 Earth Day is really Lenin’s birthday — an anti-feast if ever there was one.  Here is Lenin in a mugshot from 1895, looking every inch the punk kid brother of satan.


Let us also not forget that the founder of Earth Day was Ira Einhorn, a guy who murdered his girlfriend, Holly Maddox, in 1977 and then hid her body in a trunk in his closet.  He jumped bail, fled to Europe on the eve of his trial, and was extradited back to the United States in 2001.  Although he had previously been convicted in absentia, he received a new trial upon his return.  At his trial, he blamed the CIA for her murder, saying they framed him because he knew too much about their paranormal research.  The jury disagreed and convicted him.  Last year he died in prison, a real hero of our times.

Today I am happy to be able to burn some light bulbs and run an internal combustion engine several times in honor of Earth Day.


Monday, April 19, 2021

Outrage

 

Jonathan Brady/AFP/Getty Images

This is the image of a moral outrage, an elephant in the room that ought on no account to be ignored or glossed over amid praise for how moving was the funeral of Prince Philip.  It is a sign of how far the West has fallen, that the fear of a virus with an almost 100% survival rate has moved us to cast out kindness, charity and compassion.  This is the brave new world our owners and masters are preparing for us.  For over a year, bereaved families all over the world have been severely hindered if not completely prevented from paying their last respects to their beloved dead; now we see that not even the most venerable and highly-placed people — at least those who represent the last remaining shreds of authentic Christian civilization — are exempt from these appalling strictures.  Elizabeth II, Queen of England, age 94, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, sits all alone at the funeral of Prince Philip.  Newly widowed after 73 years of marriage, she is deprived of the consolation of her family and her subjects.  Miles away from any other human being, she is compelled to mask up.  That there is no way, seated all by herself, that she could possibly catch or communicate the coronavirus, is further proof that the face muzzle is really a yoke of submission and has nothing whatsoever to do with stopping the spread of disease.  Even in her grief, Elizabeth Regina is pressed into the service of furthering the agenda of the godless antiseptic dictatorship.

On a human level, the treatment Britian’s political class is meting out to their Sovereign is an outrage, even after two centuries of revolutions and regicides that have blunted and coarsened our sensibilities.  On a societal level, it should show us how complete is the triumph of totalitarianism, when even the Queen of England is a slave of the microbes who, disguised as servants of the people, rule us all with an iron rod.

One of the big takeaways of the coronapanic is the glaring proof that the result of toppling throne and altar in the West has not been the advent of freedom, but of godless, amoral oligarchies.  We are no longer ruled by Christians who take to heart their obligations to those under them, and fear eternal damnation for misruling them, but by ruthless moneyed interests who care only about human beings to the extent they find them useful, and do not even believe in hell, much less fear going there.  In Britain, the appalling treatment of their widowed Queen proves that the monarchy is effectively abolished in all but name.  This is the evil fruit of Henry VIII’s break from the Catholic Church: that the oligarchy he set up to help him crush Catholicism within his realms should make slaves even of his distant successors.      

God rest Prince Philip.  God save the Queen.  God rescue us from our apostasy and self-inflicted thralldom.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

We Really Need to Think Before We Run Our Mouths

 ...or whatever other orifice we're used to communicating out of.  

When you meet a stranger, you have no idea where that person started from, or how far he has come from where he started.  You really have no idea what he has had to overcome to get to where he is right now.  

What looks to you like a train wreck, to him might be a hard-fought victory.  As bad as that person's condition appears to you, it might be orders of magnitude of improvement from where he began.    

And, it may be that he does not see how much progress he's made.  The reality is that we are often not the best judges of where we are in relation to where we've been, and where we ought to be.

For these reasons, a tongue-lashing from you under the guise of "charity" or "fraternal correction" just might be the last thing that person needs.  You really cannot know how devastating and discouraging your words can be to someone who is already struggling, and already too ready to believe the worst.  And the more convinced you are of the righteousness of what you're doing, the less likely you will be to grasp the full horror of it, until you are standing before God in judgment and He confronts you with both your words and the fullness of the effects they have wrought.

Yes, we will be held accountable for every last word.  As somebody with very strong opinions and a very big mouth, it's sobering to think of how much I have failed over the years to take seriously this truth that comes straight from the mouth of Christ in the Gospels.  

For the sake of the common good as well as for our own welfare, we should probably all spend a lot more time with our mouths and other orifices closed.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Did Charles Coulombe Go Too Far?

UPDATE: Charles Coulombe responds to the requests of a priest who, unlike many of his critics, addressed him on this subject with charity.

I gather, from the latest episode of Off the Menu, that Charles Coulombe is once again being attacked as an occultist.  I’m not clear what prompted the hue and cry this time—unfortunately, Off the Menu tends to assume, erroneously, that everyone is plugged into the Twitterverse—but it is not the first time that Coulombe has been so accused.  Part of the basis for the accusation is that Coulombe knows how to read tarot cards and has publicly done so on a number of occasions.  He addressed this in this latest podcast, as he has on previous episodes.  Another part that was not addressed is Coulombe’s alleged association with certain esoteric/occult groups.

Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Charles Coulombe and Off the Menu.  I like to listen to Off the Menu during my long commutes to work and to Sunday Mass.  I enjoy it because the content is solidly Catholic; Coulombe’s knowledge of history is encyclopedic; he is blunt and plain-spoken; and, above all, while he doesn’t candy-coat the crisis in  Church and state, his overall attitude is one of joy and hope.  Instead of raging about the things that are wrong, to the exclusion of all else, he focuses a lot on the things he loves; and he finds much to love about the Church, the United States, the places he has traveled and the people who make them all work.  He is a monarchist, which causes many to dismiss him as a crank, despite the fact that his arguments in favor of monarchy are well-reasoned and backed by historical events, including recent U.S. history, and despite the fact that he readily acknowledges the extreme improbability of his hopes for a monarchy coming true in these United States.  It is true that Coulombe grew up in Hollywood and comes from a show-business background — both his parents were actors, and he himself was once a stand-up comedian — so there is a chance I could be completely wrong in thinking him a devout Catholic.  On the other hand, the possibility that a person is not in the least who I think he is is a chance I have to take in dealing with anybody.  I have listened to many hours of Coulombe’s talks, both on Off the Menu and elsewhere, and I have read several of his books, and have found no evidence that he is out to undermine the Church or even covertly promote the occult.  Even a really good actor has his limits and must at some point let the mask slip.  His critics will argue that the tarot card thing is the slipping of his mask; on the other hand, their snarky comments about him that focus on his appearance and his dress and his social contacts indicate the most superficial knowledge of his substance as expressed in the things he has actually said and how he says them.

Coulombe has reiterated what he has said before about being an occultist and using tarot cards: he denies the former, and says that the latter has been for purposes of evangelizing those who are interested in such things.  In light of the many talks of his that I have heard, and the many words he has written that I have read, I see no reason not to take Coulombe at his word on this.  So the question becomes one of whether his prudential judgment on these points has been sound,and whether his attackers are really in a position  to condemn him.

Frankly, the question of how far is too far in the pursuit of fulfilling our Lord’s Great Commission that is binding on all Catholics is one that I have long wrestled with myself.  Specifically, how far do I go, not merely in risking my physical well-being, but also my spiritual well-being?  What if, going too far, I sin?  Is it possible to worry too much about keeping my skirts clean and pressed and starched?  At what point does prudence become cowardice?  On the one hand, if you hang out with certain types of people, you could be dragged down; on the other hand, to bring them into the Church, it is necessary to go to where you will find them, and to associate with them.  If these are the people that, by dint of my background and circumstances, I may be well-suited to evangelize, would I be right to decline the risk?  In a real way, spreading the Gospel is a battle to the death, especially if the people in question are also determined to bring me around to their way of thinking.  When the rubber meets the road, it’s them or me, and I have to walk onto the field of battle open-eyed, knowing that.

I also have to come prepared.  I have to do this first by frequenting the Sacraments as often as possible, and having a solid prayer life.  Second, I have to know what motivates the people in question, what they are looking for, what their expectations are, and how to respond to their questions and objections.   If I’m really serious, that is going to involve making a study of the things that interest them.  Therein lies a big danger.  Coulombe says that he has studied tarot cards in order to be able to use them to reach a certain class of people and interest them in the Catholic faith.  Was that a wise idea?  I don’t know.  Certainly the Dominicans under St. Raymond of Penaforte took their chances studying the Talmud in order to convert the Jews; Bl. Raymond Llull took his chances studying Islamic philosophy in order to convert the Muslims; Bl. Bishop Clemens von Galen took his chances studying Nazi literature in order to combat their ideology.  I myself would not mess with tarot cards; but then, my background and upbringing are such as lead me to a different prudential judgment than Coulombe came to.  I grew up in the Los Angeles area, like Coulombe did, but I was not well-acquainted with the show business set or how they function.  I do not have the same type of personality that Coulombe has.  Above all, I do not have the same kind of background as a Catholic as he has.  Coulombe grew up in a solidly Catholic home, with solidly Catholic extended family, and a solidly Catholic ancestry stretching back generations and rooted in what was once a solidly Catholic society.  This, coupled with the frequent use of the Sacraments, probably gives Coulombe a lot of security of a sort that is frankly foreign to me, and probably to a lot of other traditional Catholics in an age when we have hirelings in place of shepherds.  

If we are honest with ourselves, one of the ways in which this lack of security manifests itself is in our hair-trigger readiness to condemn other Catholics.  Forgetting the scriptural admonition to put not our trust in princes, in the children of men in whom there is no salvation, we have been disappointed again and again by priests and bishops and Catholic authors and commentators who turn out to be no better than they should be, to the point where now we expect to be disappointed.  In fact, it is almost as if we are disappointed any time we are not disappointed.  When some Catholic public figure does something we don’t like, we pounce on him, shouting “AHA!  I always KNEW this guy was a crook!”  We are almost gleeful at revelations that one of our co-religionists is less than perfect.  Then, whenever anyone defends that person, or even merely refrains from joining the chorus against him, we pounce on that person too for “siding with the enemy.”  Is this really how Catholics ought to behave?  If Coulombe is really a public violator of the First Commandment, wouldn’t the proper Catholic response be to mourn over his fall and try to win back our brother, rather than gloat over how much better we are than he?

Has Charles Coulombe gone too far in reaching out to the tarot-card-esoterica-gnostic-occult set?  I don’t know: given his stated intentions, which I see no reason to either disregard or disbelieve, the prudence of his methods is between him and God.  But surely Coulombe deserves credit for caring enough about the tarot-card-esoterica-gnostic-occult set to think they deserve to hear the Gospel, and to try to bring it to them in such a manner as to make them more open to receiving it.  He has judged himself up to the task, given his personality, his circumstances and his background, and he has not shrunk from trying to accomplish it.  That I personally would not do what he has done does not mean that he is wrong; it only means that I am probably meant to try to bring the Gospel to a different set of people with different needs that I am better equipped to meet.  I hope I will not shrink from trying to accomplish it.

What Do the Modernists and the Trad Catastrophizers Have in Common?

 Both factions act as if God is not in charge or even factors into the equation.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Milo Yiannopoulos

Gay conservative bad boy Milo Yiannopoulos has announced that he has returned to the Catholic faith and abandoned the gay lifestyle, crediting the intercession of St. Joseph for what he calls his “U-turn.”  John Henry Weston’s interview of Yiannopoulos can be found on LifeSite News.

I have to admit to not knowing a lot about Milo Yiannopoulos.  I have long been aware of him, his homosexuality and his conservative politics, but I have never been a fangirl.  I have not read many of his writings nor listened to any of his talks except the LifeSite interview.  As Yiannopoulos is a fellow creature, made to God's image and likeness and whom Christ died to save, I do hope he is sincere in his conversion.  If so, he still has a long way to go.  This is clear from the LifeSite video, in which he portrays himself as a crusader, a knight in shining armor on a mission to rescue other young men trapped in the homosexual lifestyle and to take down those responsible for promoting that lifestyle.  Although his professed desire to help others and conquer evil is laudable, even the post-conversion Milo pretty evidently still has a monumental ego, and still attaches a vast deal of importance to his own powers and his own self.  These are typical wounds that a life of vice leaves behind.  There is also the fact that Yiannopoulos is still living with his male sex partner, a situation he compares with an invalidly married couple living as brother and sister for the sake of the children.  To be fair, he admits the comparison is awkward; but regardless, even if there is no longer anything sexual going on, the public persistence in these living arrangements is still an open scandal.

Of course, when our Lord delivers a man from a life of crime, He is perfectly capable of healing all the secondary effects of that life.  But very often, He does not.  Certainly, He does not do this in the ordinary course with Baptism, which cleanses us of original sin but still leaves us with the wounds left by original sin so that, with the help of His grace, we can battle through them and gain merit.  Life is tough enough with just the effects of original sin to deal with, but years and years of entrenched mortal sin on top of this seriously distort the intellect and leave major scars on the soul.  Just as there must be a period of physical recovery for a body that emerges from a life-threatening illness, so there must also be a period of spiritual recovery for a soul that emerges from a long state of habitual sin.  Even after a person has repudiated a long-standing vice, he still has a lot to learn, and, above all, to un-learn.  To a man who steps from a prolonged period of absolute darkness into the light of one candle, that one candle seems as bright as the sun.  Yet, however much of an improvement one candle is over total darkness, it is still not, and can never be, the sun.  You cannot see as far or as clearly by the light of one candle as you would by the light of the sun.

Milo is still in recovery and, whether he wants to acknowledge it or not, really should be treated as such.  We have to also step back and consider the quality of our own judgment in this matter.  We ourselves suffer terrible wounds, not only from our personal sins but also as the result of being governed by little men in both Church and State who care only about fattening their own purses and don't give a damn about our welfare.  So badly are things going, with one anvil after another being dropped on us by our rulers from on high, that we prize highly the paltry crumbs of comfort that in better times we would have ignored.  So bereft are we of real shepherds and true fathers, that we are apt to make heroes out of persons who, in better times, deserve to be nobodies, simply because they happen on some occasion to refrain from hurting us in some way.  As Proverbs 27:7 puts it: "A soul that is full shall tread upon the honeycomb: and a soul that is hungry shall take even bitter for sweet."

So at this stage, we still need to pray and do penance for Milo, as for all others similarly situated, and to refrain from making a hero out of him before he is ready to be a hero.  We would be doing both ourselves and him a great disservice by fawning over him, showering him with plaudits, hanging on his every word, and otherwise feeding his ego.  Before he can become a crusader and do good to others, Milo has to attend to his own wounds.  Otherwise, his crusade becomes just another distraction for him to avoid his real business of growing in holiness.  

And he and we both need to remember that our real Savior is not Milo Yiannopoulos, nor any other mere mortal, but Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Those That Are Going In, You Suffer Not to Enter

I have been thinking about the following verse from Scripture a lot over the last year, and it comes to my mind with every new anvil our shepherds in the hierarchy drop on us.  Matthew 23:13:

“But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter.”

Everything from the campaign to abolish the traditional Mass after Vatican II to locking our churches in our faces and cutting us off from the Sacraments during the coronapanic seems to come under the heading of this verse.

Why do so many of our shepherds shut the kingdom of heaven against men?  Because so many of them, not believing, do not enter in themselves.  They will not suffer us to enter in because they do not love us.  

Believers do not force belief on unbelievers; or at least, if they do, it is an excess not in conformity with the Catholic faith.  On the other hand, unbelievers cannot abide belief and do all they can to stamp it out.  If they are out of power, then their efforts are aimed at subverting and undermining believers; once they are in power, then their efforts are aimed at compelling unbelief by main force.  In our time, both Church and State are dominated by the godless, whose goal is to force everyone to be like themselves.  They use their power and authority to smash and destroy, and rob their subjects of everything that is good, true, beautiful, worthwhile and that makes life worth living.  Some of them are deluded enough to think they are rescuing us from backward superstition, and believe our reluctance to be so rescued makes their mission all the more urgent.

Obviously, our Lord foresaw all this, which is why He said what He said.  And He predicted woe upon these unbelievers, if they fail to straighten up.

Which brings us to another thing that keeps coming to my mind: Psalm 36:35-36.

I have seen the wicked highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Libanus.  And I passed by, and lo, he was not: and I sought him and his place was not found.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Debt We Owe to Cartoons

 

In an age when children of single-digit age can easily access porn and are groomed in school for early sex via "sex education" programs, we are suddenly worried about the "rape culture" "promoted" by Pepe le Pew, a cartoon character that generations of kids have watched without growing up to become rapists.

It makes sense that the New Puritans, out to scrub our culture of anything that is human and worthwhile and that keeps us in touch with our patrimony, should target cartoons.  It is in no small part owing to cartoons -- especially Looney Tunes cartoons -- that generations of kids have been kept in contact with touchstones of Western civilization: history, literature, classic cinema, classical music and even opera.

Back in the '70s and '80s, the days of my far-off youth, Looney Tunes cartoons from the '30s through the '60s were a staple.  Television stations broadcast them uncut and unexpurgated.  Even the cartoons where characters shot themselves in the head, took poison, or -- gasp! -- smoked and drank; even the old World War II propaganda cartoons; even the cartoons with racial caricatures and stereotypes; even Pepe le Pew and his romantic misadventures: all of these I watched regularly.  It never occurred to me, from watching these cartoons, that I should play with guns and explosives.  It never occurred to me that persons of other ethnicities were inferior to myself.  Somehow, to this day, I have never smoked; I seldom drink; and the "N" word has never become a part of my working vocabulary.  In my eyes, so little resemblance did the caricatures of black people in cartoons bear to real black people, that it was years before I finally realized that they were supposed to depict black people.  The last thing on earth I got out of Pepe le Pew was that rape is okay.  What I got out of Pepe le Pew's encounters with the ladies was that he was totally clueless and his methods were highly ineffective.

The real takeaway that I got from cartoons was my cultural heritage.  Cartoons, even more than school, gave me my first tastes of great books, great films, great music, and history.  In some cartoons, the characters from books on a shelf came alive at night and did zany things together.  There were books I read primarily because I had seen the titles on these cartoons.  Cartoons introduced me to classic movie stars like Bogey and Bacall, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet and Erroll Flynn.  There were bits of classical music that became familiar to me because I heard them in cartoons.  Who doesn't remember the Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny takeoff on Wagner?  A lot of themes and characters in cartoons didn't make sense unless you knew some history.  Cartoons had a lot to do with sparking my interest in World War II.  

In short, the cartoons from the salad days of Looney Tunes represented the interaction of Christendom and the playful part of the popular imagination.  They were the great things of Western civilization applied to daily life.  Not everything about them was good or perfect, by any stretch, and there is no question that they contained themes that were -- and should be -- over the heads of us average kids.  But they were not sterile or banal.  They dealt with difficult subjects, mostly in a lighthearted way, without being preachy.  They came from a world where there was room for fun and laughter and parody and satire, instead of the bestial seriousness sought to be cultivated by today's cultural commissars.  

These days, nobody is allowed to laugh at anything, especially our Elders and Betters who profess to be Servants of the People but who actually rule over us with an iron rod.  The campaign to re-shape our ethical system into one where pornography and the slaughter of the unborn are moral, but beloved cartoon characters are not, went too far the day it started.  If we hope to reverse the tide, or at least preserve anything worthwhile for our posterity, now is the time to push back.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

An Open Letter

Dear Idaho Lawmakers, Senators and Representatives:

You currently have in the House of Representatives a piece of proposed legislation, H195, that, if passed, will outlaw what it calls “targeted picketing” — protests staged in front of the home of a government official.  The text of the bill reads as follows:

AN ACT RELATING TO TARGETED PICKETING; AMENDING CHAPTER 64, TITLE 18, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 18-6411, IDAHO CODE, TO PROHIBIT TARGETED PICKETING, TO PROVIDE AN EXCEPTION, AND TO PROVIDE A PENALTY; AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:

SECTION 1. That Chapter 64, Title 18, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des- ignated as Section 18-6411, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:

18-6411. TARGETED PICKETING. (1) Any person who intentionally engages in picketing or otherwise demonstrates on the street or sidewalk in front of a person's residence or dwelling place, or the adjacent residence or dwelling place, with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person commits targeted picketing. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a residence or dwelling place used as the principal place of business of an individual.

(2) Any person who engages in targeted picketing shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

SECTION 2. An emergency existing therefor, which emergency is hereby declared to exist, this act shall be in full force and effect on and after its passage and approval.

One of the lawmakers who sponsors this bill declares that there has been an uptick in protests that cross lines and engage in intimidation tactics.  She asserts that this bill is meant not only to protect civil servants from intimidation tactics to but to protect regular citizens.  “Your voice,” she said in an email to me, “should not be drowned out by the loud but hollow voice of intimidators.”

To begin with, this is a statute that could impermissibly impinge on constitutionally protected activities, namely, speech and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  There are already laws on the books to deal with behavior that goes too far.  Disturbing the peace (section 18-6409, Idaho Code) and disorderly conduct (various municipal ordinances) are misdemeanors that carry maximum penalties of up to 180 days of jail and $1000 in fines.  Rioting (section 18-6402, Idaho Code) may, depending on the circumstances, be either a misdemeanor carrying up to a year of jail and a $5000 fine, or a felony carrying 5-20 years and a $25,000 fine.  There is no need for yet another crime on the books.

Secondly, I do not accept that this bill protects my constitutional right to petition my government for the redress of grievances.  Public servants know the difference between writing, emailing, carrying signs and testifying before committees on the one hand, and lighting fires on the other.  Public servants also know that they are not entitled to disregard my peaceful petitions just because others happen to be rioting.  It appears that lawmakers and other officials who support it are just trying to further insulate themselves from the pesky plebes.  Indeed, they try to assume privileges for their homes that even monarchs have not had.  Where would citizens in a monarchy go to air their grievances with their politicians?  To the king’s residence: the palace.

For the record, I have never protested at anyone’s home, nor do I plan to.  I don’t like breaches of the peace or anything that threatens the peace.  But I can understand people resorting to this tactic, even while I disagree with it.  I think it ought to give pause to remember that regular working stiffs (as distinguished from professional leftist storm troopers) really do not want to set aside their lives and their business to engage in protests; so, if they feel provoked into doing so, there must be something seriously wrong.  A bill like this does nothing to address the root causes of why these protests happen.

I would submit that, instead of trying to shut down protesters, our elected officials should devote their energies to considering why it is that citizens are protesting outside their homes.  The answer is that the citizenry perceive that their elected officials are not listening to them.  Year after year policies are imposed on us that we don’t want and that go against what we know to be right.  If there is one thing that the events of the last year in particular have made clear, it is that our elected officials view us, not as citizens whom it is their duty to serve, but as economic cows to be milked; yet they have not got the sense to give us even the minimum of cultivation that cows require.  Our officials are responsive, not to the voices of their constituents, but to the dollars of private, powerful, moneyed interests, to the inflow of federal “emergency” money and to the strident voices of leftist activists who often do not even live here.  All over the country over the last year, we have seen mayors and governors failing in their God-given duties of governance.  They have treated their own people like the enemy, depriving them of their livelihoods, excoriating them for trying to go about their legitimate business without jumping through hoops, and all while coddling leftist storm troopers who were bussed into their communities to burn, loot and destroy monuments.  They have walked all over their people, because they can.  In our own city of Boise, we have had the spectacle of Mayor McLean identifying with these same storm troopers while deploring her own citizens who want nothing more than to be left in peace to go on with their lives.  This sort of bad governance provokes decent people to take their grievances to their officials’ doorsteps, since they are not being listened to in any other forum.

The real solution to protesters outside the homes of government officials is for those government officials to stop provoking their citizenry by their arrogant disregard of their legitimate needs and interests, to stop abusing their powers, and to start engaging in good governance.  Right now, we are being treated as though the obligations only flow in one direction, from us to our masters.  They don’t.  Our masters also have obligations to us, and they will be held responsible before God for their failure to fulfill these just as much as we will be held responsible for our failure to fulfill ours.

For these reasons, this bill should be rejected.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Random Observations Near the Close of February

 

- February 25th is my mother's birthday.  She would have been 72 this year.  Her mother's birthday was February 12th.  She would have been 104.  Please say a prayer for the repose of their souls.

- “Put not your trust in princes,” says the Psalmist, “in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation.” This is an admonition we need to keep in mind during this time when all our props and stays, from Donald Trump to Rush Limbaugh to Cardinal Sarah, are, one by one, taken away from us, and fewer and fewer humans mediate between us and the tyrants who own us.

- I listened to Rush from the early ‘90s on and can say definitely that the portrait painted of him by what he called the drive-by media was pure caricature, had nothing to do with reality, and could only be taken seriously by persons who never listened to his program and didn’t care to find out the truth.  His enemies dismissed his success on the basis of his being an entertainer, the same way they dismissed the popularity of Ronald Reagan.  He was an entertainer, and a very good one; but he was also an acutely intelligent businessman and an astute analyst of current events and the people behind them.  Most of all, he gave voice to what millions of Americans were already thinking.  His show was the opposite of racism, bigotry and rage porn.  And those who rejoice in the death of this man who never did them any harm, hoping that he is now burning in hell, need to sit down and seriously ponder what their eternal destiny would be if they themselves were to die right now.

- Many Catholics, seeing the wanton destruction wrought by our bishops from the Pope on down, and seeing that the Orthodox have maintained the apostolic succession and seem not to be having a liturgical silly season, like we in the Roman Rite are, are tempted to jump over to the Orthodox camp (or camps: there is no one “Orthodoxy”).  However, for as long as the Orthodox remain outside of communion with Rome, it would be a mistake to think they have it all together.  As Charles Coulombe puts it, the West will tolerate any amount of heresy but no schism, while the East will tolerate any amount of schism but no heresy.  If you leave the Catholic Church for an Orthodox church, you will only be exchanging the heretical excesses of the West for the mind-bogglingly complicated schismatical excesses of the East.  Besides, if you are tired of the inanities of the West, and want to give the East a shot, there is no need to leave the Church to do it.  The Orthodox churches that are outside the Catholic Church have their counterparts that are within the Catholic Church.  Instead of leaving the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, stay within her and pray for the healing of this breach between East and West which has done so much to weaken Christianity down the centuries, but which we are so used to that we are insensible to just how tragic and grievous it really is.

- 2020 was a year of revelations; 2021 is shaping up to be a year of more revelations.  We are finding out, among other things, that popular sovereignty is a sham, and that our Elders and Betters recognize no limits at all to their powers.  Not even a tyrant like Henry VIII ever dreamed of getting away with the things our current rulers are doing to us right now; and yet, we pride ourselves on having overthrown George III, a king who didn’t come close to the excesses of Henry VIII.  And now we have fallen into the hands of a governing class that doesn’t come close to  approaching even the intellectual caliber of those who overthrew King George.  Our owners today are evil enough to view us as nothing more than economic cows to be milked for their own gain, but too stupid to give us even the minimum amount of cultivation that cows require.

- Another thing that is being shoved in our faces in this eye-opening era is the perniciousness of the Calvinism that lies at the heart of America’s founding.  Under Calvinism, persons are not considered to have value in themselves; rather, they are valuable only insofar as they can be “productive.”  How have we been treating the “unproductive” in the face of the coronapanic?  Is it possible that this whole utilitarian attitude toward our fellow man has made it that much easier to treat him as if he were a biohazard?

- On March 8th, after almost exactly one year of working mostly from home (to “flatten the curve” for “two weeks”), we are being called back to the office on a full-time basis.  About this I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, the work I do does not lend itself easily or ideally to not being in the same room as my clients (although virtual court will continue).  Also, it will be good to be with my friends and colleagues again.  I have long realized that, despite my introverted nature, it is not good for me to be alone all day, every day.  On the other hand, I have enjoyed the three-second commute to my home office; being surrounded by my creature comforts; not having to wear a damn face covering; not having to get up before the sun to make it to work on time; being able to crank up the heat as much as I want; and saving wear and tear and gas money on my car.  It really is time to go back to the office; still, while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.

- I hasten to add my acknowledgement that the foregoing qualifies as First World Concerns.  I am very thankful to have a means of supporting myself.  I realize that many have been deprived of theirs.

- Some people like society’s current state of affairs and approve of the coronapanic measures.  Some people think the coronapanic measures don’t go far enough.  Some people deplore the current state of affairs.  Many of the most vocal people in all these camps talk as if God does not somehow factor into the equation.

- Last month I read, for the first time, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet; Perelandra; That Hideous Strength).  The Space Trilogy should be required reading in our time.  Lewis’ theology was flawed, but here he launched into a fruitful exploration of Christian themes, like the implications of cooperating with grace, and not cooperating with grace; fallen sentient nature versus unfallen sentient nature; trust in God; self-sacrifice; the nature of God and those who are with Him in heaven; divine providence; and — a theme most fully developed in That Hideous Strength — the logical outcome of living as though there is no God.  One very striking point in That Hideous Strength that we should pay attention to in these times is the ultimate outcome of an inordinate desire to be free of pathogens.  In my opinion, one of the great lessons of these books is how, left to our own devices as fallen men, we cannot help making things very much harder than they need to be.

- In my experience, nothing kills Lenten resolutions quite as effectively as talking about them; therefore, I am not going to tell you what I am doing for Lent.  But I will make a couple of suggestions.  First, have recourse to the Sacraments as often as possible.  If your bishop still won’t let you have the Sacraments, or makes you jump through all sorts of humiliating hoops to get them, and you have have the SSPX in your area, put away any scruples you have and go to them.  Second, pray the Rosary every single day.  In our time, great graces and promises are attached to the Rosary, because we really need them.  If you already say the Rosary every day, say an extra one to pull the weight for those who never say it.  

- I’ll close out with an item of good news.  The tabernacle and baldacchino at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist have, since the Era of Wreckovation, sat in a corner in the Gospel side transept.  Bishop Peter Christensen of the Diocese of Boise has decided to undo some of the wreckovation and move the tabernacle and baldacchino back to the high altar, front and center where they belong.  (I am under the impression he is also replacing the ugly ‘70s tabernacle.)  This is not all the damage that needs to be undone at the Cathedral, but it is a huge and very important first step.  May it be an earnest of other things that will soon be given back to Our Lord and His people.

- And one other note about this last item.  A year ago, Bishop Christensen earned a great deal of opprobrium, within and without the diocese, for issuing a letter to the priests cracking down on traditional practices of devotion like kneeling for Holy Communion and celebrating the new Mass ad orientem.  Now, the same bishop who, at that time, ordered priests to stop setting up kneelers for parishioners who want to receive Communion on their knees, is restoring the Blessed Sacrament to Its traditional and rightful place at the heart of the Cathedral.  This should prove to us the critical importance of praying for our shepherds.  They may not listen to us, but God still does.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Epiphany

 

Is it a coincidence that disastrous events in our nation have fallen on this day?

Today the Church celebrates the Epiphany.  According to Dom Gueranger in The Liturgical Year, January 6th was a date for celebrating the Nativity of the Lord until the year 376, when the Holy See decreed that the Nativity was to be restored to December 25th.  Since January 6th was a pagan Roman celebration of a triple triumph of the Emperor Augustus, the Church replaced this celebration with the triple triumph of the immortal King whose divinity was manifested today: the adoration of the Magi, representing the Vocation of the Gentiles; the Baptism of the Lord, when the Voice from Heaven acknowledged Him as the beloved Son of God; and the miracle of the water and wine at the wedding of Cana.

The point about today is that it is about the divine Kingship of Jesus Christ.  This Kingship we as a nation have explicitly rejected.  Even the overwhelming majority of Catholic bishops seem to have rejected it.  Today’s events are the result of this rejection.  We wanted to have things all our own way, and God is honoring our desire.

But maybe we have been allowed to reach our tipping point today, of all days, so that we could be reminded of our duty, and of what could be if we would turn to God instead of rebelling against Him.

None of us has any control over what the Great and the Powerful do — it becomes increasingly clear that We the People never did.  But we do have control over what we ourselves do.

We ourselves can repent and convert.  And pray the Rosary every single day.  It has not been laden with extraordinary graces for nothing.