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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

On the other hand...

...at least I seem to have pulled out of the spiritual power dive I was undergoing.

Once again, I'm receiving the sacraments of the Catholic Church and bumbling along as well as pontificating here and there.

The kids are good--Madeleine is going to Africa in two months for a mission trip to Tanzania, Dale is moving up a rank in Trail Life (though he's going to put it on hold for a while, at least), Rachel is enjoying theatre, Louis is a brown belt and Tae Kwon Do and Lizzie has her orange belt, and Tommy runs the world and we just pay him rent.

Heather remains what she always is--an astonishingly-great mother and a wife I do not remotely deserve. Oh, and the book collection continues to be catalogued.

I have discovered Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" and urge you to discover it, too. A brilliantly-detailed look at a nightmare world, albeit a very unlikely one. Still, the horror has enough notes of contact with ours to make it a gut punch with every viewing. The production values are amazing, with much less CGI than you'd imagine. And Rufus Sewell deserves all the Emmys for his work as Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith.

I hope my occasional readers are doing well.

Remember "Goodbye, Good Men"?

It was a 2002 book with a stupid subtitle which nevertheless illustrated the screening out of priestly candidates with orthodox tendencies at American seminaries back in the first generation of Vatican Too Renewal™. While a far-from-flawless book, it does illustrate that many men deemed "rigid" and "pious/overly-devotional" were subjected to Soviet-style psychology and booted or harassed out of American seminaries.

But that was the bad ol' days, right? Actually, maybe not. In fact, we appear to be at the beginning of a nostalgia trip back to the Days of Purge. I mean , when there's a prominent high up from the same era using similar rhetoric and screening terminology, brace for impact.

And it's not offhand rhetoric: the Congregation of Clergy is officially doing it's part, too, ensuring that "presumed theological and disciplinary certainty" and "veneers of virtuous habits" will be beaten out of the alleged vocation and instead be reformed into, among other things, a "man of dialogue." See pages 21 and 22 of the PDF for a glimpse at the future Officiant of your five-parish-cluster. Apparently, your local Catholic schools, colleges and universities are such hotbeds of theological rigidity careful supervision and correction is necessary. 

Whereas apparently there are no such concerns about theological dissent, confusion or much less progressive or modernist heresies to worry about these days. Thank Heaven?

Nope--"ecological conversion" is what we're looking for from our priests (pg. 70). That and giving mandatory imprimaturs to the civilly-remarried to come up for the wafer--or else.


So, interestingly enough, a new report just came out regarding the trajectory of seminary and religious life. And, mirabile dictu, the numbers are down and going down further.

Two things: first, the numbers were going down somewhat after 2012 and before the current pontiff. Second, the new Vocation-Killing Mechanism outlined by the Congregation hasn't been installed yet, so you can't blame that, at least not yet.

But what is clear is that the numbers world-wide are going down, and in the U.S. as well. 

I suspect what we're seeing is self-selection away from the seminaries, with those uninterested in being berated by progressives from the pontiff on down to his handpicked overseer deciding not to bother. But rest assured, once the official mechanism kicks in, the numbers will really plummet. 

After all, that's what happened to the seminary in Buenos Aires during the tenure of one Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, S.J.

My fellow Americans: You want a look at your future priest (it will be very brief looks, given that the guy will be shuttling between five parishes)? He'll probably sound a lot like this fellow.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

For those who are still keeping track at home.

My interest in Eastern Orthodoxy has cooled considerably as of late. I still think the pontifical "reform" of annulments and his wrecking ball of an exhortation (especially in his promotion of the Maltese and German defenestration of the three affected sacraments) have left minimal to no substantive difference between EO's divorce culture and the right-now practice endorsed by the Vatican.

HOWEVER, there is still some hope that Catholic marriage may survive in places where a bishop can pull the theological equivalent of Chopped and turn Tucho Fernandez's progressive processed school cafeteria turkey roll into something with Catholic spiritual nourishment.

Despite the pontiff's best and unceasing efforts to the contrary.

Ironically, it was the "Orthodox in Communion with Rome" wing of Eastern Catholicism which turned me away from Orthodoxy. I was left with the distinct impression that it was the Sacrament of Economia, not Marriage, and you know--shrug--shit happens. That, and the Romans are losers with their Tridentine insistence on indissolubility, and the East is always and everywhere right and...

It gets old, fast.

Now I recognize that such gents don't speak for Orthodoxy, but they do accurately reflect the laxism that besets some of Orthodoxy's jurisdictions. Not all of them--ROCOR seems fairly rigorous about the remarriage process, but others...well, let's just say there's some not-so approaches.

So when I saw an estimable and genuinely admirable Eastern Orthodox priest say that he really didn't think that the arguments for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary held up in the face of the Assured Results of Modern Biblical Scholarship, it wasn't so much the last straw as the recognition of something a wise Eastern Catholic friend told me when he learned of the beginning of my study:

"Eastern Orthodoxy will drive you nuts."

And so it seems. 

Not that there aren't treasures there, and something for Romans to learn--starting with the high Christology and emphasis on the Transfiguration, both of which are helpful correctives for the meek non-judgmental Palestinian life coach currently much in vogue. And that's just the beginning. I'm glad I've begun to take a look at Orthodoxy.

But I can't see it as the path for me. Never say never I guess, but I'm not seeing it.

Friday, December 16, 2016

So, you might have detected a somewhat negative vibe recently.

As in, regarding Catholicism.

Indeed, you would be correct. 

It is difficult to see the current era as anything less than a "progressive" demolition of what was left of the pre-VatToo church and its replacement with a flabbier, preachier version of liberal mainline Protestantism. 

The latest trial balloon from the pontificate's point-man theologian is a call for "intercommunion." Because, as with divorce and remarriage (and contrary to the claims this is a "pastor" focused on the wider church), this is a "pressing" issue in the de-Christianized West. Plus, as a bonus, the Church's Catholic distinctives can once again be immolated on the altars of that most jealous of gods, Ecumenism. 

In reality, intercommunion is at most a small problem. In mature mixed marriages, the parties understand the restrictions and don't presume entitlement to the prerogatives of full membership in their spouse's community. Or, if they want to, they choose to convert to get access to the Catholic sacrament. 

So, the real motivation is not some vanishingly small number of immature people who carp about some imagined entitlement. The real goal is the erosion of Catholic identity. 

Think about it:

A Catholic who advocates for "intercommunion" is arguing against the Catholic faith. He is saying that one need not ever profess Catholicism to receive the Body and Blood--to be in actual full communion with the Church. One need not believe in all that crap to receive the so-called source and summit of the Catholic faith. Indeed, one of the Lutheran ministers who met with the Bishop of Rome said as much in an interview:

In the Catholic Church, if you receive the Eucharist in the wrong state, without for example consenting to the main dogmas of the Church, then you’re in fact bringing condemnation upon yourself. Do you agree this is a danger?

No, because it’s Jesus Christ who invites us to participate, it’s not the Catholic or Lutheran Church, and it’s not a question of Lutheran dogmas or Catholic dogmas. Jesus Christ himself invites us and gives us His blood and His body. 


So that trumps doctrine in a sense?


Yes, there’s no danger I think of receiving the Eucharist in the wrong way when a Lutheran participates in a Catholic Eucharist because they’re receiving Jesus Christ and not the teachings of the Catholic Church.

You have to admire his candor, if nothing else. 

But he is 100 percent correct. And he neatly states the reality of so-called "intercommunion": it's not a real profession of shared belief, it's just a ceremony that makes participants feel good.

Except, of course, that it doesn't. Leaving aside Paul's injunctions, what does "intercommunion" say to Catholics who have followed the Church's teaching and discipline on the sacrament?


Yep. It flips the bird to every convert and, indeed, every parent and youth who jumps through the "sacramental prep" hoops.

All that sacrifice and hard work and some carping Lutherans jump to the front of the line without having to believe all that shit? Too bad.




If one doubts Catholic teaching, one should graciously refrain from the altar and respect the discipline and--especially--the Catholics who hold to all the Catholic church teaches. It's what Catholic teaching asks and it's what I do. I can't understand the entitlement mentality of non-Catholics who think otherwise.

But, I suppose, these are unserious times, and we in the west have become an unserious people. Everyone is a victim, and victims expect redress. Even--maybe especially--when they haven't really been hurt at all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Enabling Chaplain and Cloak-holder for the Bourgeois West.

One of the many falsehoods told about this pontificate is that it is supposedly one of the "Third World," and is not focused on the obsessions of the West. 

This is, of course, utter bullshit. 

For starters, it ignores the cultural reach of the apostate West and the determination of Western clerics and those educated in a Western milieu to accommodate themselves to that culture.

And really--look at the Bishop of Rome's inner circle: men of northern and western Europe to the core (with the exception of Maradiaga who nevertheless regurgitates the same slogans). Then, of course, there is the soft, therapeutic rhetoric of the man at the top, oh-so-sensitive to the decadents who respond with rapturous applause. 

And why not? This pontificate is wholly concerned with bourgeois rhetoric and therapy, right down to the admiration of Western-born Marxism and class consciousness. The tenured pseudo-revolutionaries at your local public university sure aren't living in slums nor are their kids rubbing elbows with children from déclassé zip codes.

With that in mind, R.R. Reno offers this eviscerating insight into the Atlantic Canadian bishops' pro-euthanasia declaration and the pontiff who midwifed it:

These bishops are convinced that they can bring people the gospel of life in some mysterious, inner way, even as their words and actions tell the world that the choice of death should occasion “dialogue,” not a clear statement of moral truth.

Shame on the bishops of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Shame on this pontificate. As I’ve written in the past, sidelining the objectivity of truth encourages the triumph of bourgeois religion, a generic do-good sentimentality characterized by only one stricture—which is that the conduct of the well-off, well-educated, and well-intentioned residents of the rich world of the West is not to be judged in any definitive way. People like us make mistakes, of course. But our issues are “highly complex” and “intensely emotional,” and we mean well. We can be complicit with “structures of injustice,” and even play roles in an “economy that kills.” 

But we never sin.

It’s ironic that this supposedly revolutionary pope should be such a reassuring champion of the therapeutic culture of the West. Though perhaps it’s not ironic. The rhetoric of revolution has long served wonderfully to transform sin, judgment, and redemption into injustice, consciousness-raising, and social change.

"For your penance, say two Hail Gaias and purchase a carbon credit."

Ecological formation of priestly candidates moves to the forefront, requiring a "conversion" on their part. 

Yep-per: paragraph 172.

The next generation of priests wouldn't dream of bringing up bedroom issues, but they'll be closely inspecting your recycling bin. 

 Progress.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Communion with Rome--it's magic!

From Catholicism's Multiple Personality Disorder Files:

Euthanasia is a sin in Alberta but probably not in New Brunswick.

Why? Because Pope, of course.

In announcing it, the bishops rejected the approach of Alberta's bishops, who, while also stressing "pastoral accompaniment," insisted that in justice and mercy priests ought to be clear with euthanasia seekers that they would be committing a gravely sinful act.

The Atlantic bishops' November 27 guidelines are closer to the Quebec bishops’ pastoral response to euthanasia than the response of the Alberta bishops, according to Bishop Claude Champagne of Edmunston, New Brunswick, president of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly.

The document, entitled A Pastoral Reflection on Medical Assistance in Dying and signed by 10 bishops, emphasizes pastoral care more than doctrine, Champagne told the Catholic Register.

“Our concern is pastoral accompaniment. Pope Francis is our model,” he said.

Champagne said the guidelines released by the Alberta and Northwest Territories bishops in September do not, in the words of the Catholic Register, “express the vision of all Canada’s bishops.”

Champagne also referred to the Holy Father’s Amoris Laetitia in explaining the Atlantic bishops’ vision of pastoral care for those contemplating or arranging for assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Amoris Laetitia
affirms Catholic teaching while recognizing “there are people who are not yet there,” Champagne said.

Thus when it comes to people who are suffering and contemplating, or are arranging for assisted suicide or euthanasia, “we will welcome them, try to understand and journey with them.”

Putting aside the problem with trying to journey with euthanasia, which is all about cutting the trip short, let us marvel at the insanity of pastoral accompaniment.

Namely, it never meets a sin it can't bless, accompanying you right to the doors of Hell, smiling indulgently all the way.

Note also how the New Magisterium of the current pontifical officeholder is employed for some rather interesting purposes. Conscience trumps all.

But the important thing is that these bishops are in communion with Rome, and that makes everything all right. 

You are most welcome to it.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

A little dose of Byzantium.





A Byzantine fresco of Joshua, the Hosias Loukas Monastery, Greece. Dated to the late 12th-early 13th Century. 

If you want an idea of what a contemporary Byzantine army officer looked like, right down to the lamellar armor and sword, there you go.

As always, give it a click for more detail.