Monday, May 08, 2023

The world continues to spin on its axis. Albeit with unwelcome sound effects...

Life goes on, and it occasionally surprises with good news. As in, 

"Hey, your student loans have been forgiven under the PSLF program!"

My Much Better Half and I are still processing that one, but a debt that was bidding fair to stretch into retirement is now gone. Thanks be to God.

Sometimes something in your life has cast a shadow for so long that becomes a perpetual drizzle: an inevitable part of existence that is taken for granted, but weighs on you at a subconscious level. But no more, wondrous to relate.

The confirmation letter is now a treasured document in our fire safe.

The children continue to grow in encouraging ways. The one grim note is that while I have convinced myself that most of what sound like gunshots in our neighborhood probably aren't, "most" is not a win. The last two I heard were certainly the signature "pops" of a 9mm handgun.

And to think I believed the worst neighborhood problem I would have to deal with this summer was the cloying skunk-stink of marijuana fumes floating upwind from two houses down or the next block over. At least the pops happened long after the children of the block had gone inside.

If you wonder why I doom-scroll and have prepper plans, some already carried out, wonder no longer.

On the spiritual front, I have hewn to the Church Fathers and find them a veritable Astronomican in the grim darkness of the Third Millennium. St. Gregory of Nazianzus is at the top of my bookshelf, and Andrew of Caesaria's commentary on Revelation is also in rotation. 

You can thank the latter gentleman for the Eastern part of the Church finally accepting Revelation as a canonical book, by the way. 

On a related note, a quote from the script of Amistad has been going through my head lately, and here it is, in full:

We've long resisted asking you for guidance. Perhaps we have feared in doing so, we might acknowledge that our individuality, which we so, so revere, is not entirely our own. Perhaps we've feared an appeal to you might be taken for weakness. But, we've come to understand, finally, that this is not so. We understand now, we've been made to understand, and to embrace the understanding that who we are *is* who we were. We desperately need your strength and wisdom to triumph over our fears, our prejudices, ourselves. Give us the courage to do what is right.

That is part of John Quincy Adams' argument to the Supreme Court in the film, and it is a riveting delivery by Anthony Hopkins.

To me, that looking back is the key to resolving our social crisis as Americans and our ecclesiastical crisis as Christians in the West. 

For the former, we need to put paid to the derision of them as part of the problem and the narcissistic reduction of the Founders to their worst behaviors. Any quest by men and women to reach for a great principle will inevitably be stained by the sins of those who so reach. But that says nothing about either the principle or the attempt. And to argue otherwise is the ignoble, ignorant slander of the morally-stunted.

All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights is worth every candle that will ever be made.

For the latter, reading the Fathers of the Church reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun. Certain sins and charging into rabbit holes will inevitably recur. Nor is there any value in cringing before nor making excuses for error simply because of the title of the one who is erroneous. Truth is always worthy of those who take up its fallen standard, no matter the hour or the age. And the Fathers can show you how to do it. Should you fail, even then you helped keep it alive.

In any event, I can tell I am near to maxing out the "Windbag Moralizer" gauge. May God bless you and yours.

Monday, February 06, 2023

The Synodage of Satan.

The Catholic Church announces that it is discontinuing support of its previous OS. 

I mean, TC and the Coddling of the Krauts makes that clear, but I will point to you a recent ballyhooed and vetted statement from one of Rome's most prominent pontifical ideologues, Robert McElroy, broadcast from the pontiff's most important American megaphone.

Note that the link is indirect because washing gas fumes off your gloves is an annoying process. (Fn 1)

If you are looking for a more objective examination of RM's carbon monoxide for the soul, go over to Amy Welborn's discussion here

I have no such interest. Mine is more targeted and less dialoguy--just like his.

When you wade through RM's explanation for what the Synodalite Church will offer, I ask that you pause a moment at his use of the term "demonic." It's how he describes what he believes to be the animus that "so many men and women" have towards the LGBT community.

And he places this spiritual indictment, which he regards as a self-evident fact, in the midst of a deeply, deeply fraudulent discussion about how the Synodalite Church really, really wants to embrace everyone.

Sure, Robert.

For starters, there is no shortage of men and women who think your life as an accessory to the predatory corruption of Cardinal McCarrick (Fn 2) makes you uniquely unqualified to call any non-sociopath "demonic." 

Not to mention that you, of all people, offer a truly hideous example of how to embrace "victims of clergy sexual abuse." 

But you know: senses of shame and Catholic hierarchs go together like arsenic and Thanksgiving.

I, on the other hand, am a bit ambivalent on the former point: after all, your career just might give you an up close and personal insight into the phenomenon of demonic activity. Be that as it may, that's ultimately going to be hashed out between you and God.

Further, and going back to the third person, I'm not really interested in the part of the Culture War which he highlights and the side he clearly wishes to take. I only note it because it comes as part of a paragraph with ends with the following Rome-approved message:

Rather, the dignity of every person as a child of God struggling in this world, and the loving outreach of God, must be the heart, soul, face and substance of the church’s stance and pastoral action.

If my nearly 24 years as a Catholic has taught me nothing else, it's that when clerics lie, they lie big. Hellishly so. As in, "have I got a Donation of Constantine for you!"

For the love of Pete, the paragraph starts with calling fellow Catholics demonic and then ends with a call to recognize the dignity of each soul.

Editing at America is evidently not a strenuous job.

Sure, why not?

The rest of the verbiage from his approved interoffice memo makes clear that that sentence is a titanic fraud, limited only to those he likes. And if you are attached to the old Catholic OS, too bad so sad.

We aren't supporting that any more. 

It's being sunsetted. 

Time to upgrade to Catholicism's Windows Vista. The one where Contemporary Conscience Trumps All.

Not only is your fidelity not enough, RM makes sure you know it is a huge part of the problem, what with your racism, hatred of the poor and your un-upgraded conscience with its sexual fixations [Oh, great: another projection meter just detonated]. 

Worse yet, you unenlightened kine also "perceive doctrinal infidelity in that [radical] inclusion." Hell, your perceived doctrinal fidelity probably clutters Our Common Home™ with people you care for first instead of being radically inclusive.

Get with the program. 

The Current Pope Has Spoken. 

Sacrifice is for losers, and worse yet, gives the people whose approval we really want the wrong idea.

Anyway, it's easier this way--jump right in, the water's lukewarm.

And note that Radically-Inclusive RM is showing us the way in his personal diktats, shutting down the old liturgy in his diocese that was just fine until the Current Roman Oracle got testy. Radical Inclusivity™ always has limits. Especially for those who stubbornly insist on believing that outdated shit.

Besides, you lay types have already shown them there's no end to what you will take. 

And if they have to, they'll just weaponize Jesus and ask you where are you going to go? 

For once, they'll solemnly say that it's Jesus' Church, and He has the words of eternal life.

As filtered through them and their Lord Vetinari-ish communing with the Spirit.

So you'll shake your head, sigh heavily and stay. Because that's what Catholics do. Obey.

And then next year you'll get the latest ad-hominem laden missive from the Spirit, reminding you what else needs to be downsized from your soul....


[Footnote 1: The link is to Abp. Aquila, by all reports a fine man and sound modern shepherd. But honestly, quoting the current pope as a rebuttal to McElroy reads like Grigory Zinoviev trying to quote the General Secretary to defend himself in his show trial. So I will leave to others to suss out the effectiveness of his essay. I will say this: at least he responded, knowing that RM had Rome's imprimatur.]

 [Footnote 2: Please note that the New, Inclusive, Caring and Transparent Synodal Church of Vos Estis and the Other Window-Dressing That Ought To Hold The Little Bastards has not seen fit to actually show us the documentation for Cardinal McCarrick's laicisation. Ditto the underlying survey material that supposedly drives all of its Just Listened to the Spirit With Our Sibs--Honest! door-slamming. 

So until then, I will continue to refer to that well-connected rapist, network-builder and fundraiser par excellence as "Cardinal."]

Thursday, February 02, 2023

And the Black Pill Truck came by.

  The laity are always Flounder.


1. "Truth to tell, this kind of  'leadership' is why I am drifting away from Catholicism. I have had to eat my share of s--t during my following of Christ, and with age I have become fine with that. Rejoice, as He said on the Mount.

But what I will not abide are zucchettoed and compromised mediocrities who only have my back so they can shove a crozier-shaped shiv into it. For the likes of McElroy, I am a piece to be curated to fit their latest buzzword-laden agenda instead of a soul to be cared for. 
I get plenty of that at work, thank you, and I can manage being a lukewarm compromiser on my own. The certainty of this gaining strength as I spend the rest of my life under darkening skies is not something I can endure, nor do I see any demand from Him to submit to false prophets and con men."
2. "[Good Guy Interlocutor], you're one of the electronic people I would really like to meet IRL one of these years before the actuarial windshield smashes into my buzzing self. 
But there's no fighting Rome from the inside after 1870. No one beats the house. The ultramontanes won in the end, with "religious submission of mind and will" being the ideal understudy for "I am Tradition!" 
Even Vatican II tells us to diligently attend to the oracle in Rome, with LG 25 telling us to note "His mind and will" which "may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking."
Amoris? He wins. The death penalty? He wins. Traditiones Custodes (points for trolling perfection there)? He wins again. Hell, he's probably already banned life sentences, given 'his frequent repetition of the same doctrine' on that deranged tangent.
Speaking of TC: so when my decent archbishop retires in July, the men who brought me back to the Faith (the ICRSS) are going to get the boot from his slogan-reciting successor, who will also get a red hat. It's already happened in Chicago: no public masses or confessions for the order there any more. And how do I fight their suppression, exactly?
Speaking of red hats: That's especially appropriate these days, as the Synodal Church resembles nothing so much as a Soviet Party Congress. 
I'm old and I've seen this movie before in other theatres. Something I or a friend revere gets killed by people who pretended to revere it and the killers wear its face with Lecter-like brio.
The good bishops (bound as they are by the same religious submission) are on the clock, and the seminaries will be straining out the good priests as the Party Line Bishops take over.
To crib from a much worthier man and stylist than I am:
The lamps are going out all over the Church, and we shall not see them lit again in our life-time. 
Lest God re-light them. And kairos is not chronos."

Monday, January 30, 2023

A worthwhile read.

 The Vatican Dogma, by Fr. Sergius Bulgakov. 

Published in 1946, it presents a detailed, albeit polemical, argument against Vatican I. It deserves consideration. It was not Catholicism's most edifying hour, to put it mildly:

To begin with, bishops, of whom a church council is normally composed, are present there as representing, or bearing witness for, their respective dioceses—there can only be a council when people give and take counsel. But in this case there could have been no such thing, since the very purpose of the Council had been kept secret. No one knew why it was being called, and its main object was revealed only after it had assembled, though the leading party—the Jesuits­—had a fairly clear notion of it. The papal allocution of 26.VI.1867 referred to convoking the Council, but during the two and a half years that passed not a single question of importance was put down for its de­liberation. The committee of theologians, which under the chairmanship of a cardinal was preparing the agenda, did not inform the episcopate of the result of its labours. Thus secrecy enveloped the Council's transactions from the first.

 When the delegates arrived, they received printed instructions from the pope who had already appointed all the officials of the Council. The instructions made provision for several committees, but the chief commit­tee of projects, apart from which no resolutions could be proposed, had already been appointed by the pope. The two other committees were elected by a simple ma­jority vote, but the majority clearly belonged to the papal party, because of the composition of the Council. The three committees included only about a hundred persons, i.e. one sixth or one seventh of the total num­ber of the members, which varied from 764 to 601. The rest remained in enforced inactivity, and were not even allowed to hold private consultations. They had to languish in the expectation of general meetings for which no definite times were fixed. While the Council was still sitting, the instructions were changed by the pope and made more stringent. General meetings were held in a hall with such bad acoustics that most of those present could not hear the speakers at all; the chairman had the right to determine the order in which the speakers were to address the audi­ence, and to stop the discussions. Members of the Council were presented with certain resolutions drawn up by the committees; they had no books at their dis­posal (the Vatican library was closed to them) and had only a few days to prepare themselves for discussion meetings. There was a general atmosphere of eaves­dropping and espionage, of which many delegates complained. In view of all this, the proceedings can hardly be described as a Council; letters and much other material that has been published make abundantly clear the dejection and even dismay that possessed its members[4].

But, it will be asked, how could all the bishops present give their consent to something that was repug­nant to the conscience of many of them? It is not as though they were threatened with the Bolshevist hor­rors, torture and death; at the worst, their career would have been spoiled. The explanation is, in the first place, that the composition of the Council had been pre-arranged, so as to secure a majority obedient to the pope. This was done by including, in addition to real bishops representing their diocese, a considerable number of titular bishops who represented no diocese whatever and were, at bottom, simply obedient officials of the pope’s consistory, and also of men who were not bishops at all—cardinals and generals of different orders[5].

 The overwhelming number of diocesan bishops were Italian (out of the total number of 541 European bishops, Italy had 276, Austria-Hungary—­48, France—84, Germany— 19). It is clear enough what this preponderance of Italian bishops meant: they were directly subordinate to the pope as their patriarch and entirely dominated by Rome. The non-diocesan members of the Council together with the disproportio­nate number of Italian bishops constituted a majority which could carry any resolution submitted to the meet­ing. This is precisely what happened.

The gruesome aftermath is also worth noting, as the Melkite patriarch was literally battered by Pius IX's guards during an ad limina visit following a statement of the patriarch's reservations.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A good Christmas.

Even if the family could not entirely assemble, for reasons of job and covid-eaten leave time. But through the miracle of the internet, we could watch our eldest open her presents, so there's that.

Spiritually...probably the less said the better, for the moment. I attended what was probably the last Midnight Mass celebrated by the ICKSP at the Shrine in Detroit. Archbishop Vigneron will be retiring this summer, and the Friend of Rupnik's doozy will be inbound. 

Interestingly enough, it was celebrated by the head of the Institute's U.S. mission, Canon Tallerico. Which makes sense, since Chicago is the "capital" of said mission, and is a short trip. 

Alas, he cannot publicly celebrate Mass in Chicago, thanks to another doozy from the Friend of Rupnik, which makes no sense at all. Except as an exercise in arbitrary, corrupt power. Which, given the Friend, has at least an internal logic.

Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. May we all have a good 2023.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

And it's November.

 I look forward to making some kind of effigy of 2022 and setting it on fire on December 31. 

Things have steadified, to coin a term. My son's truck was stolen last month and then recovered, largely intact.

So, crime is at the top of my ballot next Tuesday, and my redistricted neighborhood is surprisingly competitive for once. Though, truth to tell, I rather liked Andy Levin, who was an old-school labor Democrat, albeit one who had to mouth the identitarian pieties which have consumed his party.

Anyhoo, that's obscenely-wealthy Oakland County's loss now. As for the GOP, it has not missed the chance to miss the chance to select good candidates for the local ballot--one or maybe two exceptions aside.

I'll try to avoid making honking noises at the ballot station.

We are trying to stay ahead of inflation, which is 1B on my ballot. That's becoming tougher, though we soldier through. I hope and pray the Russo-Ukrainian War does not go global, though I have little confidence in the nuclear-armed leadership on either side of the fight. Putin is atrocious, but history teaches that the Russians can and will find someone worse in the aftermath of a military catastrophe.

Spiritually, I find myself (unofficially) in the Melkite camp. The late Bishop Elias Zoghby asserted that the papacy of the first millennium--and not an iota more--was something both Catholics and Orthodox could buy into. More Catholics than Orthodox did, but such are the times.

The Vatican I papacy, as codified in the 1917 and 1983 Codes of Canon Law, is the platonic ideal of overreach. "Hypertrophy," to borrow the exercise term. Or "single point of failure," to use an engineering phrase. In any event, magisterial statements like this are, flatly, bonkers:

It follows from this that the Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification.

How about no? As in "No, the Faith is not the wet clay of the reigning pontiff?"

But canon law and the popes themselves say otherwise, so here we are.

And it won't be fixed by a better guy as pope--not that such would be difficult, of course. 

By now it should be clear that the problem is larger than a manifestly-unfit CEO. Rather, it resides in an autocratic system that requires saintly self-abnegation to work--making it not a good system. In human terms, what your powers allow you to do will, in the absence of countervailing forces, inevitably trump what custom says you should do. Yes, it is making me take a hard look at Orthodoxy--or at least the less-caesaropapist versions.

Anyway, I hope you and yours have safe and blessed holiday seasons. Prayers, please, for dear friends who have a loved one who has been arrested for murder. I remember the young man as a boy, and this is beyond a nightmare.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

A rough stretch.


Forgive the vagueness and ambiguity, but I am going through a tough patch at the moment. July was full-stop awful, and August, while better, is well short of good.

I've never been a fan of publicly discussing personal difficulties, and will continue that here. I will simply say we have taken heavy body blows as a family in the past and gotten back up from them, and look to do so in this case, too.

It has sapped my urge to bloviate on major matters of public import. 

Everything's going straight to hell anyway, so further emphasis from me on that obvious point can wait.


But at least my bleak sense of humor is intact, so that's nice.

In the meantime, prayers are welcome and I can recommend the Stoics, starting with good ol' Epictetus.

And my son is an apprentice wizard with woodworking, helping me convert a snowmobile trailer into something more suited to hauling the cargo associated with a larger family. He calls it the "S.S. Father & Son," which is as flattering a name as I can imagine. We have since added some coats of "International Harvester Red" to help it last.


Anyway, the bottom line remains the same, as Dan Abnett repeatedly writes:


Friday, May 20, 2022

The GOP Garbage Squad.

Nine awful human beings whose views are unworthy of the slightest respect.

Especially after caterwauling about spending money on Ukraine, not baby formula.

Here's the thing--draft an alternative bill. 

Otherwise, you're just elected shitposters.



Thursday, May 12, 2022

I cannot imagine the fear parents are facing with the formula shortage.

We were blessed with the fact my wife was able to nurse all of our children up to about for roughly 13-15 months on average.

While we never had to worry about formula, it was always there. "Breast is best but formula is not abuse" is a proverb my wife routinely quotes to moms facing the nursing vs. formula question. And we know two children who would not be here today if formula had not been an option.

But in 2022, the formula is not there. Especially for babies with digestive issues.

Baby formula is essential for baby growth. Many babies or mothers are not able to breastfeed or have other nutritional needs. 

Emrie Colegrove's daughter, Wilhelmina, has a heart condition and uses soy formula. That has been something difficult for Colegrove to find. For the past two months, she has not been able to find the one her daughter tolerated well in stores. 

"With her heart condition, calories and weight gain are super important," said Colegrove, "Otherwise, her heart won't heal. So. when you think as a mom, those million thoughts just go through your mind. It's really scary to think that your baby is not going to get the nutrition that they need."

She was able to find a generic brand at one store, which she has been using.

However, she also wants people to understand that the correct formula can be pricey, if it is not covered by WIC. Plus, driving to multiple stores with climbing gas prices adds up. 

"I can't believe how much worse it's getting before it's getting better," said Colegrove.

 There are no words. 

The FDA just allowed the nation's largest baby formula plant to release specialty formula on a case by case basis

But while every little bit helps, a little bit isn't enough.

And the shutdown is especially grating given this fact:

Last month, however, the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told NBC News none of the bacterial strains taken at the Abbott plant matched those collected from the infants, and the agencies haven't offered an explanation for how the contamination occurred.

Top men. 



Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Joseph Cardinal Zen was arrested by the Chinese Reich.

It won't affect the Vatican's concordat with said state, though.

Why should it?

A man who insists on meeting with fascists before visiting their victims isn't going to be moved by different fascists arresting a colleague he pointedly ignored.

[Update: The Cardinal has been released on bail

The Vatican is "following with extreme attention." 

To be fair, "follower" is a apt description of Rome's attitude toward China and its depredations.]

Your personal doomsday clock update of the day.

Putin's Victory Day speech was described as low-key, but Paul Kengor disagrees. In his analysis, Russia's dictator upped the rhetorical ante, targeting the United States:

But my main point of concern here is Putin suddenly calling out the United States, and once again in the form of an old KGB-Kremlin talking point. This is yet another level in Putin’s rising escalation. And as the old KGB political dinosaur continues to stomp and lash out, he’s capable of more violence and destruction. In the past few months, Putin’s various lies against the Ukrainians have been a pretext for him to ramp up his rage by ever-increasing levels of military action. Let’s hope this one aimed at the United States and the West doesn’t result in Putin taking aim in literal ways at the U.S. and the West.

I remain very pessimistic.

By the way, the official Doomsday Clock is not worth consulting, as the invasion of Ukraine and the rattling of nuclear sabers by Russia is apparently less important than either political so-called disinformation or anti-covid policies in the developed world. In the old days, an event like a nuclear power invading its neighbor would have prompted an update. But the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has gone the mission creep route so you have to look elsewhere.

The world continues to spin on its axis. Albeit with unwelcome sound effects...

Life goes on, and it occasionally surprises with good news. As in,  "Hey, your student loans have been forgiven under the PSLF program!...