Friday, July 30, 2021

Goodwill, and How to Lose It.

Gaming corporations are obviously profit-making entities. 

But it happens a lot that those who come to control such corporations come to the mistaken notion that they are simply profit-making entities.

What they forget is that gaming, in all its various forms, is a big part of modern life. It can inspire passionate devotion and dedication, connected as it is with imagination and camaraderie. And when a significant financial investment is added in, it intensifies.

That devotion creates a great deal of goodwill. 

Which can be thrown away in a stupid fit of border policing.

Games Workshop, maker of the soaring Warhammer series of tabletop games, is giving its goodwill the Old Yeller treatment

Short version: With few exceptions, fan creations are IP violations.

That includes my favorite, the If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device parody series. The creator is putting it on the shelf--he does not feel like a legal battle.


I'm the furthest thing from an intellectual property expert, so I cannot speak to how enforceable the new policy is. Parody protects some things, but to what extent I can't say. Certainly, companies have to defend their IPs or risk losing them. But it's also true that fan creations are free advertising, bringing people to the brand. In the endlessly-memed Warhammer universe, this is particularly the case. 

GW right now reminds me of the end of the Lorraine Williams era at TSR (1985-1997). Williams came on board when Gary Gygax was dumped. It is true that Gygax was an uneven business mind and had too much on his plate. Unfortunately, he was given the heave-ho entirely, and Williams was brought on to impose disciplined business practices. 

Amongst these practices in the early internet era was a dogged policy of policing fan sites for any trademarked material and ordering their removal. This only ended with the rescue of the company from the brink of bankruptcy by Wizards of the Coast. A more relaxed, unite-the-fans approach followed, and worked. 

Hopefully, GW will wake to how counterproductive the hyper-strict policy is. But it will probably take years and priceless goodwill run through the shredder first. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Wisdom from the Carlist Communion.


Free press, all right.

Just depends on your emphasis.

No more Snyders, thanks.

No, I don't know anything about Kevin Rinke apart from the association of the surname with car dealerships.

But "self-funded businessman" will bring back memories of the last such gent to run for governor, Rick Snyder. Only this guy sold cars, which is right up there with "lawyer" in the public esteem department. The ads write themselves.



Saturday, July 24, 2021

Won't be checking in much for a couple days.

Have a good, peaceful and happy weekend.
Keep it light, but not lit.



The good, the bad and the clerical.

Father Joseph Krupp's response to the Burrill scandal is a great one because it points out the most important aspect, which the Pillar's critics do so grudgingly, if they bother at all.

Here's another great and necessary observation by Father Krupp

Followed by another great take on the harm done to good priests by the misconduct of the bad

Followed, alas and expectedly, in the comments section of the first, by a lot of garbage takes from laity and the clerical caste alike.

Not a one of whom here can muster up even a pro-forma "priests should not use hook-up apps."

No, the witness of priestly immorality is entirely irrelevant to them.

Lord in heaven. 

Anyway, on to the takes:

First, it's "the ends don't justify the means!!!!"

A very popular, very question-begging, and very incorrect take. 

The ends do not justify every means. Cleaning a cat box with a scoop is fine. Cleaning it with a 10 gauge in your front yard while kids ride by on bikes is not. But if ends never justified means, you'd be up to your waist in cat crap.

Or it would get to the point where it crawls into your ears and takes up residence.

As an aside, this particular bad take is from Henry Karlson, who (1) has spent decades letting everyone know how smart he thinks he is, and (2) is what happens when you get your pseudo-intellectuals from a thrift store.

Second: Burrill used his own money

Which is a fascinating angle. And guaranteed to be wrong, at least as far as his office travel to get his rocks off involved reimbursed expenses from the USCCB. Rental cars, hotels, etc--are not out of pocket expenses.

Third: did you have to point out he used gay apps

The apps he used facilitate abuse of underage boys. The objection should be to G----r and similar profit-raking techs. But it never is, because Eros is never so powerful as when he allies with Mammon. The blessings of liberty.


Leave it to a conservative to play the whataboutism card in such a cringeworthy fashion. And yet it reminds us how priestly misbehavior is readily excused when the cult of personality is at full power.

Five: this is dystopian and unethical and if you're silent when they come for the compulsive priestly users of unverified age gay sex apps they'll come for you, too!  

How it is dystopian and unethical is not spelled out, but ipse dixit is sufficient for the cult of Eros Mammon. Points for a new spin on Bonhoeffer, too, I guess?

The same twitterer also argues that McCarrick was simply a pedophile who did not prey on adults. Which is so factually wrong that I am forced to invoke the Star Fleet Regulation: he seems to be emotionally compromised by the mission.

Six: Teh jurrnlism iz suspect! Also, boinking like a meth-addled rabbit while on the clock is not morally black and white, it's gray

Quite probably 50 shades, in fact. 

Neither of these criticisms are spelled out, but he doesn't have to--he uses a Latin handle which reminds us that brains die, too.

Seven: it's a politically-motivated hit job on the USCCB and the pontiff and Burrill is just like the woman caught in adultery!

Wait: I thought the USCCB was in opposition to the Holy See. 

Oh, that was last month. As to the rest...yikes yikes yikes yikes.


Candor forces me to concede partial credit for this one.

Which brings me around to the real reason for the reactions to this story, which in some cases can only be described as worried panic:

The moral rot is coterminous with its institutional structures. And far too many in the institution know this to be the case, but choose omerta. Otherwise decent institutional people have moral certitude that corruption sloshes around them. Not simply that there is a lack of celibacy or misuse of the funds of the faithful or similar problems, but that such are endemic. 

But silence is the order of the day. And one justification for it seems to make sense from the inside: revelation that the Church is wormed with the foulest of hypocrites of all kinds would be faith-destroying.

Yet, in the end, all the silence does is demonstrate that the church that has made a separate peace with corruption, preferring that to the conflict which comes from genuine moral reform. The corruption will still come to light, either via stories like the Pillar's or less spectacularly via the bad witness of the corrupt to individuals here or there.

Big bombshells or distant reports in the night, there's only so long you can pay lip service to moral standards while endlessly excusing your supposedly God-ordained leadership's flouting of them. 

And so the parishes continue to empty, and the spiral reinforces itself.

Enjoy the exile in Babylon, Church. You richly deserve it.



Friday, July 23, 2021

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Did you get that memo? We're putting new coversheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now.

[Writer's Note: The following is bitter, not superbly-organized, and somewhat unfair. It focuses on the bad to the exclusion of the good. Then again, it is the nature of this particular organization that both are woven together, to the detriment of the latter. Never moreso than right now. Nevertheless, I need to get this out of my system, no matter incomplete and partially-blind my own view may be.]

Welcome to Worship Space.

Larry Chapp has an interesting blog post wherein he tries to diagnose the condition of the Church vis-a-vis modern society. It's long and liberally salted with theological terms--but know that Chapp is a theologian and can't help himself.

As a lawyer, I understand perfectly and am in no position to judge.

Chapp talks about the motu propriu in the context of the Church's ideological civil war. His argument is that Catholicism has failed to discern the signs of the times or to actually "return to the sources" in order to do so. In that context, he notes that the growth of the Latin Mass should be seen as one of many instinctive responses to our existential crisis.

 What all of this points to is that the debates and controversies that we see now all around us are not going to go away until we start taking seriously the deep spiritual crisis that is at the core of every single one of them.  And we are not going to get anywhere so long as we persist in seeking bureaucratic or “structural” solutions to what are at root deeply spiritual problems. 

You can legislate away the widespread use of the Tridentine liturgy, but you cannot legislate away the conditions of possibility that led to its rise in the first place.  You cannot legislate away the boring and banal mediocrity of so many suburban Catholic parishes. I am a cradle Catholic, a former seminarian and a trained theologian.  And I attend an Ordinariate parish rather than my territorial parish.  And no motu proprio can legislate away the reasons why I do.  

The Church can remove the Ordinariates tomorrow and ban every Latin Mass and every altar rail and every veil and every extruded tongue at communion time, and mandate that all Catholics must worship with the “Gather” hymnal in heart shaped churches, with bare concrete walls, holding sweaty hands, while watching maladroit octogenarians do liturgical dance in the sanctuary with streamers, sparklers, and sock puppets, and it will do nothing to ameliorate the spiritual dread that gnaws at us all.  All that such legislating will ever do is to deepen the abyss below us as it hollows out the heavens above us.

A lot to chew on in a long essay, found courtesy of Amy Welborn. Who, it has to be emphasized, has been blogging away all along, even as most of the rest of us giddily embraced Zuckerberg's panopticon self-gulag or Dorsey's digital bedlam.

As someone much more inclined to traditionalism, I have my disagreements with Chapp, but he's always been a thoughtful writer and (this is trickier) a decent soul on social media.

My points are cruder, less-theological, and to use the modern catchphrase, black-pilled.

(1) Maybe an arrogant, autocratic, insular and in too many ways corrupt institution is incapable of accurately diagnosing its own problems or (2) reforming from within? 

But how can you say that when the Church is protected by the Holy Spirit!? comes the reply.

My reply: in light of the fractured wasteland around us, reformulate the question to remove the question-begging.

Chapp lauds the jettisoning of the first set of schemas at V2. That's his right. But these were simply replaced by another set of intra-office memos put together by another small group empowered from on high. 

Ditto the reformed liturgy.

In short, the church used the autocratic mechanisms inherent in the papal office and its curial appendages to both set the agenda and blast out the "reforms." Which were sent off to men formed by and operating under the same institutional prerogatives and mindset. And that includes every pope who has ascended to the throne since, most definitely including the boundlessly-self-assured, parochial and inflexible Jesuit currently running the show.

Because, as church history teaches, there are few things more resistant to self-reform than the religious orders.

There were, as Chapp says, truly prophetic nuggets strewn by Holy Spirit into the documents of the most prolix council in history. Such is always likely, and to be looked for. Even clunker councils offer insights into the deposit of faith.

But that doesn't mean that the church, configured and staffed then and now, is capable of fully grasping them, much less putting them to use.

I'll go ahead and say it: right now, it is not capable of it.

There is nothing that Catholicism more resembles today than a struggling corporate brand. After last Friday, it certainly isn't a field hospital for the wounded. Unless the pontiff was thinking of one in Holland when he was jawing with his fellow jebbie back in 2013.

Instead, it acts like a closely-held corporation which assumes that ecclesial life is just the product of policy from the home and regional offices. 

Indeed, the liturgy itself is no more than a spiritual health benefit plan granted by and subject to modification from corporate without notice or consultation.

The Holy Spirit Guarantee: They're Called and in Charge. That's How You Know They Know Better. 

So don't think of Friday as the literal shuttering of masses--much less on a national scale.


No no no no.

Just think of it as your parish being "right-sized." Your liturgy is part of an outplacement. The church is going in a different direction. They're not picking up your sacramental option. Take your pick. We got more.

Sorry, but I'm having a tough time seeing an ecclesiam in action here. Much less the extra, nulla or salus

. . .

Upon further reflection, I will concede the extra and nulla.

But even if 2021 Catholicism too-eerily resembles your average cack-handed, bloated, unaccountable corporation, it is essential that you recognize how good a gig it can be for a certain subset of the clerical managers. 

I mean, in the world of non-ecclesiastical corporations, you won't find, say, a Ford executive describe a sexually-deranged colleague as "vulnerable" or fret about his privacy rights when he was getting it on using hook-up apps with no age verification while on the clock. Nor would you see Ford customers try to shame in God's name reporters who exposed the misconduct, or argue we're no better than compulsive sex freaks who who use hook-up apps without age verification to get our rocks off while punched in, so who are you to judge?

But at CathTech, you can count on all of the above.

Like I said: good gig.

Also: Almighty God save us.

But it's this last phenomenon that confirms the Catholic Church isn't capable of moving forward in its current form. Namely, even the laity--touted as the best educated ever!!!--have internalized the arrogant, dismissive dysfunction of the institution.

And how many people of goodwill on the outside looking in are going to want to be a part of that? Lord forbid they should associate Christ or the Gospel with such special pleading.

Maybe the collapse of the Church in the "First World" is God's way of purging the arrogant and corrupt insularity of it all? That's the best I can come up with. If so, it looks like it will be thorough, as the bottom of the curve is nowhere in sight.

Even if there's definitely a strong whiff of justice here, there are plenty of innocent souls sucked down in the aftermath. His ways are not ours, but it still rings too much to my mind like "punishing" the steerage passengers of the Titanic for the arrogance of the White Star Line.

But there is precedent.

How lonely sits the city
that was full of people!
How like a widow has she become,
    she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the cities
    has become a vassal.

She weeps bitterly in the night,
    tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers
    she has none to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
    they have become her enemies.

.  .  .

Her foes have become the head,
    her enemies prosper,
because the Lord has made her suffer
    for the multitude of her transgressions;
her children have gone away,
    captives before the foe.

From the daughter of Zion has departed
    all her majesty.
Her princes have become like harts
    that find no pasture;
they fled without strength
    before the pursuer.

"The Voyage of Life: Manhood."

Thomas Cole is one of my favorite American painters. And while his allegorical paintings are not subtle, they are beautifully-composed and always remind you of his mastery of landscapes.

Here is "Manhood," from "The Voyage of Life" cycle.



Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Weaponizing moral theology against accountability.

Whatever the pious intent, that's the effect of hot-take arguments like this.

On the one hand, technically I can see the argument. 

On the other hand, to paraphrase the late Rick James: "Clericalism is a helluva drug." 

Using moral theology to prevent clerical accountability--especially given the probability that the compulsive sex maniac monsignor got it on with underage boys--is a particularly gross flex.

In Italy, the United States, and Ireland, at least seven priests and deacons in recent years have been arrested or faced charges after using hookup apps to meet or solicit minors for sex, solicit child pornography selfies from minors, or blackmail and extort minors who provided child pornography. 

Grindr and similar apps have come under fire in recent years among child protection advocates, who say that because the apps prioritize anonymity and confidentiality without doing enough to screen users for age, they have become a frequent point of contact between minors and adults interested in soliciting pornographic photographs or meeting for sexual encounters. In some cases, minors are marketed for prostitution through hookup apps, sometimes by adult pimps, studies have found.

The age of consent varies among states. In 13 states the age of consent is 18, but in many others, including Nevada and Maryland, it is 16. In the Church’s penal law, a minor is classified as anyone under the age of 18, and sexual contact below that age is treated as a reserved delict, or major crime, in canon law. 

The Grindr app says it does not permit minors to use the platform, and it requires users to input a date of birth while creating a profile. But, beyond a user-supplied date of birth, the app does not require users to prove they are over 18.

In fact, most companies that own dating and hookup apps “are not doing anything for age verification,” Dani Pinter, senior legal counsel at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told The Pillar.

While technology exists to verify the ages of app users easily, most hookup apps “don't ask for ID for any of the dating apps. I mean, you just check a box or enter a birth date, which you can fake. They don't check,” Pinter said.

Failure to ensure that children aren’t permitted to use hookup apps and other online sites used by adults leads to the exploitation, extortion, and trafficking of minors, she added.

Even on apps and social media platforms “where it’s pretty clear that commercial sex acts are happening,” Pinter said, “they don’t verify age.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation lobbies and litigates to hold tech companies to a higher standard. 

But Pinter said it’s an uphill battle, and that, in her view, tech companies place profit ahead of stopping the potential victimization of children. 

“The tech industry writ large, including apps and social media platforms, operate on volume and definitely put profits over people,” she said.

Because of loose federal regulations, “they’re not even worried about the consequences.”

Among those consequences, Pinter said, is the widespread grooming of minors by adults on social media, dating, and location-based hookup apps, extortion schemes, and commercial sex trafficking of minors through location based hookup apps. 

The use of location-based hookup apps by minors is a growing phenomenon.

In a 2018 Northwestern University study of 14 to 17 year old males who identify as gay or bisexual, more than half of participants said they used hookup apps for the purposes of meeting partners. Nearly 70% of adolescent participants who said they used such apps did so in order to “meet men in person for sex,” the study concluded. Fifty-one percent of the adolescent participants endorsed using Grindr, and overall, more than a quarter of the study’s adolescent participants said they had had sex with a partner met through an app.

Corrupt businesses do the same thing, protecting their own to protect the brand, and I'm sick of it. 

It is vile to the nth degree coming from what's billed as the Church of Christ.

And again, allegedly full-spectrum Catholics: demanding the coverup of more-than-possible-to-likely-sex-with-underage-boys in the name of detraction....

.....Did you just wake from a forty-year coma?

If so, let me help you get up to speed:

The Diocese of Norwich [Connecticut] said Thursday it is the 31st and most recent Catholic religious organization in the U.S. to seek bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11.

When a conservative Harvard professor and America's most public Jesuit choose the institution instead of accountability, giving a pass to exploitative tech companies in the process, you know where you should be: 

Way over on the other side.

"Democratic Memory."

Spain's left passed its whitewashing of Republic atrocities and free speech suppression law yesterday. Spaniards who, like one of my high school's exchange students, were glad that their grandparents fought for their faith and nation are now in legal danger for expressing that.

Exaggeration? Not in the slightest, as Stanley Payne, America's foremost historian on Spain, carefully explains.

The proposed law is highly punitive. Symbols, meetings, or statements judged to approve of the Franco regime and the victors in the civil war are deemed infractions against “historical and democratic memory.” Proposed penalties include an elaborate schedule of fines ranging from two hundred to a hundred thousand euros, the closing for a period of six months to two years of any entity found in violation, and the confiscation of the means or goods involved in any such activities. That this law will dramatically restrict freedom of expression and thus violate the Spanish Constitution is apparently irrelevant to the Sánchez government.

The Law of Historical and Democratic Memory is the most dramatic, arbitrary, and punitive proposal concerning discussions of history anywhere in the Western world. Yet the attitude it reflects is fairly common on the left, which increasingly uses governmental or nongovernmental means to restrict and punish speech that defends rightwing views, movements, and figures past or present. Politicized interpretations of history are, of course, not new. But Spain’s proposed law is a stark sign of the way the contemporary left seeks to weaponize history to achieve its goals and silence all dissent.

 . . .

The very opposite characterized the Democratic Transition of the late 1970s, which had been grounded in a keen awareness of the failures and crimes of the past and a determination that they not be repeated. As Paloma Aguilar, the leading researcher on the role of collective memory in these years, has written, “Few processes of political change have drawn such inspiration from the memory of the past, and from the lessons associated with it, as the Spanish case.” It would be difficult to find another instance in which awareness was greater. What was agreed upon was not “silence,” but an understanding that historical conflicts should be left to historians, and that politicians should not revive old grievances in their jostling for power.

Far from being “silent,” during the Democratic Transition historians and journalists were active in the extreme in all media, flooding the country with studies and accounts of the civil war and the Franco years that did not disguise the most atrocious aspects. The formerly defeated Republican army veterans were granted full recognition and pensions, with attendant honors. The Spanish state-sponsored official ceremonies of homage to fallen Republicans and former revolutionary leaders who were responsible for many atrocities returned to Spain amid public applause. Later, detailed and objective scholarly studies appeared which, though incomplete, for the first time placed accounts of the repressions by both sides on a more precise footing. All this was the opposite of “forgetting,” and it was much more careful and exact than the current agitation about historical memory, which is allergic to fact or serious research.

Communism is to historical study what strokes are to neurological function. Spain's opposition party has promised to repeal the law when they return to power. 

May it be soon.

[Host's note: Comments which do not discuss the provisions of the new Spanish law will not be published.]

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Perils of Digital Pastoring.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a good-hearted man.

But he has a tic about verbally positioning himself in the middle between "extremes" in the Church that has worn out its welcome. "Here I stand, right here in the median. Mainstream as all get out, unlike the radicals at either end." 

And it's all right here in this piece about the motu propriu, with jabs at schismatic trads and..."Sister Sandals and Father Fabulous."

Houston, we have huge cringe here.

At least he is starting to admit that he doesn't understand traditionalists. He also has no interest in trying to do so in depth. 

Which--and I mean this with absolute sincerety--is fine. He's a parish pastor with a full plate and has to tend to his flock first. Theological disputations involving people you do not shepherd should not be a priority.

Yet, that hobbles attempts to communicate with them. Indeed, that surface-level understanding stands out in sharp relief in his commentary:

"Oh, well. The TLM's gone now. 

Naught for it. There's some folks 'tootling' off to the Eastern Rites, or others off to schism. Sad.

But did you know can celebrate the Novus Ordo in Latin? With chant and fancy chasubles, too?"

. . .

[Exhausted sigh.]

 To which I reply:

"A Novus Latin? There was one parish on my archdiocese of 1.5 million Catholics that offered such in my 22 years as a Catholic. 

More damning yet: the number of times I have heard the very ancient and very much very optional Roman Canon in the NO in that same time frame in Masses across the United States does not reach the mid-two figures.

And on what planet is a parish in a diocese that just snuffed the TLM because the pontiff said traditionalists are nasty rebellious division-mongers going to cater to said bad people by incorporating "outdated" worship elements congenial to them? 

No one wants to be on the bad side of a Merciful® bishop. Least of all his priests.

And that's assuming you don't trigger the spiritual allergies of older Catholics who hated everything before Vatican II and are also strengthened by the pontifical pronunciamentos. 

Said laity are one of the main reasons you do not see Latin NOs.

Or chant.

Or fiddlebacks.

Abstraction smashes into reality with predictable results."

Not all problems can be solved by claiming there's a compromise in the middle. Especially when one party has the whip hand and has just blooded the other's face with it.

The Forest Passage.


In 1953, a German army veteran of both World Wars sat down and wrote a short book (less than 100 pages in a small paperback format) to teach his fellow man how to live authentically in a society of totalitarian materialism. This author was a renowned memoirist, poet, philosopher and writer of fiction who was first popular with, and then saw his books banned by, the National Socialists. Nevertheless, he served in the Second World War, but was friends with certain of the July plotters and hurriedly destroyed personal papers after it failed. After the War, he refused to attend a de-nazification hearing. Throughout the rest of his long life, he wrote philosophy, speculative fiction and traveled extensively. And, as has been mentioned before, he was received into the Catholic Church at age 101. 

I give this background in order to help not only the reader, but also myself, understand Ernst Jünger's The Forest Passage.

I tell you now, I have to re-read it. I am left with the distinct impression that Jünger intended  multiple readings.

Passage is a manifesto of human dignity and authenticity in the face of materialist societies which have lost connection with anything apart from the wielding of power.

Said manifesto is salted with German Romanticism, Christianity, myth, poetry, the power of nature, observations about the brittleness of tyrannical regimes, suggestions for partisan tactics (really!)--all offered to prepare the reader for "the forest passage." The passage is a willed self-exile, in whatever form, from tyranny. This is delivered in a near stream-of-consciousness style via short chapters whose connections are not always obvious. And at the end, he puts together a summary of the chapters in a few brief paragraphs.

And I am happy to report that my sense that the book is an "anti-1984" is at least partially correct: near the end, Jünger explicitly makes reference to Orwell. Jünger praises Orwell's fiction for showing us how to avoid certain dead ends, but dismisses the premise entirely. For Jünger, such a regime can only exist in fiction, and resistance is always possible and successful. This last at least in the sense of preserving one's authenticity and soul. 

The mode of resistance--the passage--will be different for everyone who traverses it, from voting "no" when expected to assent (or "yes," to render the data false), to walking away from one's hearth, to even losing one's life in battle against the tyrant. 

But there are always sources of strength for each resister which are beyond the reach of tyrants, from faith, poetry, stories, myth and even connection to nature outside of the gray cityscapes. And there is strength woven into the human spirit itself, which, contra Orwell, cannot be pulled out.

The more I think of it, the book is almost Taoist in that the text is bursting to tell the reader something that is indescribable but one knows is real, just at the edge of the senses but not fully graspable by them or the intellect.

I strongly recommend the book. I found it to be something unique, prescient and oddly cheering, a reminder of our essential dignity, moral integrity and strength as men and women.



Monday, July 19, 2021

Surely this has happened to you...

You find yourself reading someone whose judgment you used to respect very highly and then it hits you:

"How dumb was I?"

It may even be happening to you right this second....

Lord knows I've worn out my welcome with some over time.

But it hit me reading someone from my neck of the woods just a few minutes ago. I was going to do a post responding to the piece. But I realized that the writer was making the kind of arguments--and in the same style--that I used to eat up with a shovel.

And the arguments were either deliberately disingenuous or were the product of the inability to do a thoughtful analysis. Frankly, the former is not only uncharitable, it is unlikely. 

The reality is, the writer is a bulldog spiritual partisan who operates from presuppositions that are impervious to contrary evidence. And that renders the analysis persuasive only to the already-persuaded from the get-go. The more I think it over, it has ever been thus. 

And my reactions to it, then and now, say more about me than it does about the writer. 

Then there's the possibility: maybe I was right then and wrong now? I truly don't think so, but time may tell.

And on that quasi-Montaigne-ish bit of pacing-about-the-room analysis, I will draw this post to a close.

Spiritual autocracy is not good for Catholics or other living things.

"The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely."
"By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power over the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power over all particular churches and groups of them."

"In fulfilling the office of supreme pastor of the Church, the Roman Pontiff is always joined in communion with the other bishops and with the universal Church. He nevertheless has the right, according to the needs of the Church, to determine the manner, whether personal or collegial, of exercising this office."

"No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff."

"The First See is judged by no one."

The reality is that the papal office as exercised since the early 20th Century has expanded far beyond any recognized historical limits. 
None of the Fathers would have imagined a pope who appointed every bishop in the world and wielded unaccountable authority over the liturgy itself. 
Catholicism laid the grounds for papal totalitarianism a long time ago. And all the tools in the autocratic kit have been there since Pius X. 
The only bar against it was the conscience of the gent who got the white hat. And here we are.

In fact, in a remarkable irony, the Roman church is experiencing what the Roman Republic did.
Namely, when wielders of power recognize what the office allows them to do as opposed to what custom has dictated they must do...the former eventually wins.
As a noted schismatic once said: "The word 'must' is not to be used to princes."
Especially when you want to do something you believe is so obviously right and good for others. Cue C.S. Lewis.
The blossoming of spiritual autocracy began in the early 20th Century. And it is in full flower now.
Adam DeVille suggests a path forward, but it requires genuine humility and self-emptying.
The current ecclesiastical supplies of which resemble the toilet paper shelves from April 2020, so good luck to us all.

Did Catholicism exist before the last council?

For all intents and purposes, the answer is a flat, resounding "NO."

For the man in the white hat, Vatican II was, at its heart, an act of spiritual supercession. And the worship that was offered by the Council Fathers as they met in session for three years cannot in any way be reconciled with what followed. 

From the cover letter of the death warrant he signed on Friday:

For four centuries this Missale Romanum, promulgated by St. Pius V was thus the principal expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite, and functioned to maintain the unity of the Church. Without denying the dignity and grandeur of this Rite, the Bishops gathered in ecumenical council asked that it be reformed; their intention was that “the faithful would not assist as strangers and silent spectators in the mystery of faith, but, with a full understanding of the rites and prayers, would participate in the sacred action consciously, piously, and actively”.[28] St. Paul VI, recalling that the work of adaptation of the Roman Missal had already been initiated by Pius XII, declared that the revision of the Roman Missal, carried out in the light of ancient liturgical sources, had the goal of permitting the Church to raise up, in the variety of languages, “a single and identical prayer,” that expressed her unity.[29] This unity I intend to re-establish throughout the Church of the Roman Rite.

Take note: the liturgy that was dropped on the Roman Rite in 1970 is the only possible expression of the Faith of the Church following the staggeringly-verbose 21st council. 

That which was celebrated in 1969 cannot, must not, will not be permitted to exist alongside it. It must be slowly strangled out of existence and seminarians kept away from it.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.

Gotta love the foaming condescension:

Your grandparents were passive drones who watched the Mass and didn't really pray.

We know this, even though we didn't ask them or give a rat's steaming piss for their opinions.

Then or now, just so we're clear. 

Your thoughts are equally irrelevant, you sad, easily-led-astray proto-schismatic. The bishops I deign to listen to told me all I need to know.

Love you and pray for me!

The motu propriu and its cover letter is a flat admission that Vatican II inaugurated a new Church. 

Which is fine if you're a giggly cultist who doesn't blink enough over at Where JimJones Is and many other places which share the belief that they are naught but the reigning pope's spiritual appendages.

For me...not so much.

Not so much.

A lot to consider over the next few weeks.


Sunday, July 18, 2021


Over the course of the last five months, I have taken up the study of Spanish. One of these days, I'd like to be able to read some of the giants of Spain in the original language.

How have I learned the little I have so far?

Yo estudio español en la Universidad de Duolingo.

Anyway, it's a bright sunny day here in Michigan after entirely too much rain. So I am going to share with you a popular Spanish toast:

¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa' dentro!

The explanation--including choreography--can be found here.

A happy July 18 to all. If it still is where you are. If not, then happy July 19.

Friday, July 16, 2021

The funniest part is the title.

Imagining the present pontiff as a guardian of any "tradition" save that which began with him getting the white hat is bleakly hilarious, in fact.

You can say trads misbehave and don't always conform well to the Roman church. And such is often accurate--I've seen it myself. 

But then many--gleefully or otherwise--leap from high-profile misbehavior to the conclusion that their demerits deprive them of the right to worship.

And that makes you a functional Jansenist, no matter however you kit yourself up as an open-hearted apostle of Christian mercy.

And an inconsistent one at that. After all, there is no shortage of those attending the "reformed" liturgy who quite publicly and consistently deny the validity and legitimacy of giant swaths of genuine tradition, along with spitting at the power of their bishops to do anything about said denials. 

Yet somehow the same folks never suggest such miscreants have their masses shuttered.

No matter that those deniers of legitimacy and validity include some wearing collars, holding public office or staffing local Catholic-for-tax-purposes-only institutions. But no gimlet-eyed clerical commissars are being dispatched by papal directive to uproot and suppress their spiritual lives.

Such as they are.

He's an abusive, bad father who likes other children more than his own. The faithful have a right to the liturgy of their grandparents and likewise have the right to protect themselves accordingly. One only has to look at the fate of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate to imagine the "lively pastoral charity and sense of ecclesial communion" heading their way.

And note Article 4 in particular: the long-term goal is clear. The powers that be intend to choke out the existence of the worship at the center of the Catholic faith which existed worldwide not quite sixty years ago.

And so much for collegiality and the power of bishops to manage their dioceses without being "franchisees of Rome," to quote a progressive from the dark days of JPII. Quite the micromanager when it suits him, our pontiff.

Unless you're having a national synod which repeatedly states its intention to replace the Faith with the Zeitgeist. Then, well, you's complicated and needs the soft touch.

I don't attend the Latin Mass much these days--the last time was late summer (?) 2020, and the trads infuriated me that day, but that's a story for another time. But I have had family figuratively slapped in the face by NO priests and attendees (e.g., "you need to take your baby out"), too. Yet these functional burial clubs which celebrate the Mass of '70 will be spared "lively pastoral charity" as they continue their long spiritual hospice.

The bottom line is that even given my gritted teeth anger at trads, the moment an Archbishop of Detroit suppresses any of the Latin Masses going in this diocese, that's the last time it sees a dime from me.

And bluntly, this action makes me question what Rome teaches about itself in the catechisms.  

Lex orandi, lex credendi, eh?

Whither the Catholicism of 2021?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

A bad wheat harvest, you say?

Sure, that might as well happen in 2021.

Ongoing drought in the northern Great Plains.

Worst in 35 years, says a farmer in Washington State.

Which, for those who are a bit short in their American geography knowledge, is not considered part of the Great Plains.

Inflation is not going to be the blip the Federal Reserve hopes it is.

Ernst Jünger.

Jünger (1895-1998) was a German soldier, poet, philosopher and author of several books. I am almost done with his The Forest Passage.

It is hard to categorize this short work, but I have hit upon "an anti-1984" as my best, if far too simplistic, shorthand.

It is a call to conscience-based resistance to all forms of totalitarian dehumanization, and it does so in an almost-stream-of-consciousness fashion. Junger managed to anticipate the dehumanizing power of advanced communication technology, and its effectiveness in the hands of those who would chain us, first of all to fear.

Drawing upon our wells of theology, poetry, myth and courage, it asserts that we can--and must--successfully resist. Even if the success is only in one's soul. My favorite quote, from near the end:

When all institutions have become equivocal or even disreputable, and when open prayers are heard even in churches not for the persecuted but for the persecutors, at this point moral responsibility passes into the hands of individuals, or, more accurately, into the hands of any still unbroken individuals.

Here is a quote from a different work, giving you a sense of the man.

My evil star, however, had fated me to be born in times when only the sharply demarcated and precisely calculable were in fashion.... "Of course, I am on the Right, on the Left, in the Centre; I descend from the monkey; I believe only what I see; the universe is going to explode at this or that speed" - we hear such remarks after the first words we exchange, from people whom we would not have expected to introduce themselves as idiots. If one is unfortunate enough to meet them again in five years, everything is different except their authoritative and mostly brutal assuredness. Now they wear a different badge in their buttonhole; and the universe now shrinks at such a speed that your hair stands on end.

A final note: Jünger was received into the Catholic Church two years before he age 103. 


Lather, rinse, repeat.

The Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal was a gruesome moral failure for Michigan State University and local law enforcement in Michigan.

And thanks to an Inspector General's report, now we know it was even worse at the FBI, with a head agent lying to cover his mismanagement and a money-grubbing conflict of interest.

[W. Jay] Abbott, the former chief of the Indianapolis field office, gave inaccurate information to the media to cover up his office's failures and made false statements to DOJ investigators during two interviews, according to the report. Abbott, who is now retired from the FBI, also exercised "extremely poor judgment" and violated the FBI's conflict-of-interest policies by discussing a possible job at the U.S. Olympic Committee with Penny while his office was investigating the Nassar allegations.

The consequences? When you're a Made Man in The House That J. Edgar Built, there are none.

The federal government declined to prosecute them last year, according to the report.

Equal* Justice Under Law.

The connected protect their own.

But, as Martha Stewart can tell you, don't you dare lie to them.

Can't have the gears of the criminal justice system deformed by falsehood! And prison is necessary to deter others from acting similarly, don't you know?

The GOP Garbage Squad.

Nine awful human beings whose views are unworthy of the slightest respect. Especially after caterwauling about spending money on Ukraine, no...