Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Help Me Out With This

Eugenio Scalfari makes scandalous comments about how Pope Francis doesn't believe in sin and admits that the interviews he recounts aren't all that representative of the truth, causing confusion for Catholics all over the world.

He is subsequently rewarded with further interviews and access to the Pope.

Sandro Magister "violates" some vaguely worded "embargo" on an encyclical's publication, and his press credentials with the Vatican are revoked altogether.

How does that makes sense from a perspective of justice or mercy?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

RIP Christopher Lee

He lived a truly extraordinary life. And, as far as I can tell, kept the Faith until he died. I offer the following because I've already seen it referenced in at least one other place.

Christopher Lee was most definitely not an occultist and offered sober words for those who would dabble in such things.

Rest in peace, Sir Christopher.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

An Exercise In Neo-Nominalism

I offer the following items ripped from today's headlines.

Examine the following image/caption pairings? Consider if said pairing conforms with reality.


If you take the position that either actually makes for anything other than nonsense, then you have successfully reduced the essences of things to mere labels.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Random Thought

Is there really any reason to believe anything that Cardinal Kasper says about anything?

Other than that he wishes that Africans and Asians would stop doing what God wants, I mean.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Top News Stories

A few things that seem to be more important than the ongoing annihilation of Christians in the Middle East:

1. Gay people's access to baked goods.
2. Fake monarchs having kids.
3. Reality tv stars' criminal pasts (whether adults or kids)
4. The normalcy of a former athlete mutilating himself.
5. Presidential ambitions of people you've never heard of more than a year before the election.

It's an odd world when these things stir up so many passions, while genocide is treated as a fait accompli.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Super-Hero Movies, Cultural Genocide, And Fr. Zuhlsdorf's Mistake

Given the latest media backlash, I guess you can have too much of a good thing. Super-hero movies are coming under an odd assortment of criticisms lately. Well, odd until you consider the sources, I suppose. As a Catholic, amateur film critic, and promoter of comic book literature, I feel I have to respond to some of these.

First, there's the outrage over Black Widow's treatment in Age of Ultron.


I had trouble finding articles that were somewhat family friendly about this topic. This one is the best I could do. Has anyone noticed that so many of these secularist hipster darlings can't write about anything without f-bombs and such? Anyways, people are mad at Joss Whedon (the same guy who gave us Buffy, Faith, and Firefly) mainly because of two things:

1. He portrays Natasha Romanov as being willing to fall in love.
2. He portrays Natasha Romanov as sad over the fact that she can't have children.

These set her up as a natural contrast to her friend Hawkeye who has done both of these things. But yes, this is why so many people now hate Joss Whedon and the Avengers. They dared to show a woman who wanted to have a family.

This is what our reality has come to. A woman who wants these things is considered boring, weak, and worthless.


Second, you have guys like Simon Pegg, a fan of the genre and one of my favorite actors, accusing super-hero movies, sci-fi, and the like of "infantilizing" and "dumbing down" the population. In his mind, these things are distracting us from "real world issues," and he specifically desires more "amoral" movies to help with that.

Worse than that, you have Alejandro Inarritu, who just won the Oscar as director of Birdman (which won a whole bunch of other Oscars too), saying stuff like this:

They have been poison, this cultural genocide, because the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn't mean nothing about the experience of being human.

He also makes the claim that such movies are about "killing people because they do not believe in what you believe, or they are not being who you want them to be." Let's just ignore the fact that most super-heroes are bitterly opposed to killing anyone. It's also quite plain from his language here that Alejandro is extremely tolerant of opposing views.

Finally, you've got Fr. Zuhlsdorf, who has discovered that Daredevil is Catholic in the Netflix show, just as he is in the comic books. Fr. Z comments thusly:

As with any “comic book”, for that’s what this is, don’t expect depth.

I've got bad news for Fr. Z. If you go to the local Benedict Option Cinema, it's pretty much super-hero movies making up about 1/2 of the releases of the last decade. Look at what the secularist mavens are worried about with these films. They teach a concrete and traditional moral message, and a lot of people are going to see them.

What do the secularists want? Movies that lack this and show no moral compass at all. I daresay that super-hero movies are the only consistent productions nowadays that have any true depth at all. What currently passes for such is usually a banal relativism or simple nihilism. Which is deeper, the struggle for virtue against all odds or the white flag of surrender wherein the feature concludes, "Eh, who cares about that crap? We all die in the end anyway."

On a side note, I'm sure if someone made a movie about any of the exponentially proliferating homosexual super-heroes (Really DC/Marvel? Alan Scott? Iceman? Really?) that the above critics would be raving about how fantastic it was.

Wake up, Father. The war is being fought in this very arena, and our best weapons are coming under attack.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Abortion And Political Morality

I saw a report on the news this weekend about how Nebraska's legislature has voted to abolish the death penalty in that state. There were clips of some speeches and an interview with one guy about why he was pushing this issue.

It was mentioned several times that capital punishment is of questionable morality and that this was a reason for many a vote to get rid of it. 

We hear this all the time from death penalty opponents, and I have no problems with their making such an argument. Likewise, I don't have a problem with individuals saying that deficit reduction, specific tax policies, minimum wage increases, and so forth are items that should be pursued/not pursued because "it's the right thing to do" (as the President is often saying). I might not agree with these arguments, but I don't think they are invalid simply because they invoke morality. I daresay most other people do the same.

Unless it's abortion. When abortion is the subject, all of a sudden, we have to check morality at the door. How many times have we heard a politician justify child murder by saying "I can't impose my morals on other people"?

Yet this same politician will be more than willing to defend a certain perspective on entitlement spending or military action based entirely on what they themselves perceive as moral. There is no concern whatsoever on imposing one's view of what the moral wage rate, tax rate, or drone strike etc happens to be on the rest of the population.

Why is abortion different? Not only is it different, it is sacrosanct among the American left. 

I guess the morality of child murder just isn't all that important.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Movie Review- Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Boniface has it posted over at the main Unam Sanctam site. Check it out by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Happy St. Catherine Of Siena Day

Remember this marvelous woman's life when you feel the creeping inclination of ultramontanism try to convince you that everything a pope says or does must be (a) true, (b) wise, (c) practical, or (d) beneficial to the Church.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Servant Of God Pius VII

Pope Pius VII has long been one of my favorite popes (a list I need to finish up for this blog, along with about 50 other items I started here but never completed).

It turns out that he's had a cause for canonization going since 2007, thanks to Pope Emeritus Benedict. I had no idea.

I'm going to suggest that everyone needs to invoke the name of this holy and venerable pontiff and pray for his intervention, specifically against the shadow of secularism and the ever-increasing and blatant malice of governments all over the world, including the US, against the Church. If you don't know why he's the perfect guy to address this sort of petition, I strongly recommend you do some research about Pope Pius's treatment at the hands of Napoleon, as well as his perseverance in defense of the faith and his mercy when Bonaparte was defeated.

Pope Pius VII, please pray for us!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Those Who Can't Wait To Help Us

One thing I've noticed in all this religious liberty talk is the number of people who announce their utter disdain for Catholicism, who insist that the faithful be compelled to provide service for morally repugnant activities, but who simultaneously announce that they would be will to "go to the barricades" if the government ever tried to compel the Church to conduct homosexual weddings, ordain female clergy, and so forth.

Perhaps I'm just cynical, but does anyone actually believe these people? Do you think that a move by the United States government to, say, revoke the Church's tax exempt status or enforce some other method of compulsion will result in a spirited opposition by all these activists and their supporters in our defense? That they will vote against candidates who support such measures, hold demonstrations, etc.? 

Do you think they'd even take time to retweet an item on Twitter or like the Church's status on Facebook? Or just check off to send an internet form letter demanding the Church be free to be the Church?

I don't, but again, perhaps I'm just too cynical. Would someone like to convince me that I'm wrong?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hypocrisy much?

When Indiana passes a law that is basically a reiteration of a federal law and based on a right explicitly discussed in the Constitution, all kinds of corporations and groups call for boycotts.

When China (or any of a dozen other countries) murder/imprison priests, bishops, and laity, we are happy to engage in commerce with them and look at these very real crimes as just the cost of doing business.

Good thing all these folks have their priorities in line.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Few Obscure Things From Tonight's 60 Minutes

I hope you watched it. There was a report on the genocide of Christians in the Middle East. The story largely speaks for itself, but a couple of things struck me that weren't really part of the discussion.

1. These poor people are living as refugees. They basically have nothing. However, their liturgies are still beautiful and spare nothing. Incense, elegant vestments, precious metals for sacred vessels, it's all there. I wonder what those who think we should dispense of such things would say. Well, not really, as I'm pretty certain they would lament how callous our brethren there are towards the poor or how primitive and stupid they are.

2. There was some commentary on the silence among Muslims but not a whole lot of discussion about the rest of the world. As I've said before, there's all sorts of retroactive grief over how nobody acknowledged the Holocaust until it was too late. We're watching a genocide in real time and nobody cares. I get that people in Israel say "Never again" and are worried about existential threats. They should be. The existential threat to Christianity isn't even a threat. It's reality. And it's treated as a fait accompli. The world has accepted the extermination of Christians in the Middle East (and probably Africa too if we're honest). At least Israel has a military to defend itself. When was the last time Christians did?

3. If you left the Faith because your daughter couldn't be an altar girl or because you wanted a place with better music or you just didn't like waking up early on Sunday/praying/whatever, then you should be embarrassed when you hear about the countless martyrs being created all over the world.

It goes without saying: note of these stories while you can. Remember them. They'll go away soon enough. And we'll listen to the hypocrites that lead our nations shed crocodile tears and comment on how tragic it all was. 


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Divine Madness

It occurred to me during the recent St. Patrick's Day how many great stories we have surrounding the Apostle of Ireland. Which made me think about all the other great stories we have about saints in general.

After that, I tried to imagine what the reaction would be like to these sorts of personalities if they were with us today. For example, consider the impressions people get when they hear about folks in Opus Dei who wear a cilice or use the discipline. Typically, they are horrified. If not horrified, they at least take the view that such people are weirdos and possibly even mentally ill.

Now compare that to this guy:

This is St. Symeon the Stylite. St. Symeon lived on top of a pillar for 37 years. The space at the top was about 1 meter square. This was how he did penance for the world.

This is Catherine of Siena.

Once, St. Catherine was having difficulty taking care of lepers she was trying to help out. Their sores and such were just too gross for her. She solved this problem by draining pus from one of the sores and drinking it. That got her over her disgust. 

The list goes on and on. Saints who jumped into thorn bushes and rolled around in them to strike back temptations. Saints who beat themselves with iron chains. Saints who wore nothing but rags, spent their lives begging, or spent all of their spare time in adoration. Saints who worked out the spiritual combat in bodily suffering and abuse from demons. And yes, saints who went to war for the honor of God.

Oh, and let's not even get into the saints who would be stoned for hate speech. Daring to call our Faith the True Faith, pursuing the conversion of Protestants/Jews/Muslims, condemning the sins of homosexuality and adultery? How quick would they be thrown out on their ears?

All of these people would now be regarded as insane fanatics who should be committed to institutions. When you hear about people advocating for a "radical" Catholicism, remember the examples we already have. Then ask yourself if this kind of personal mortification and/or commitment to orthodoxy is what they are talking about. 

Or when people lambaste these kinds of activities, recall who they are actually referencing when doing so. 

We know what saints look like. Chances are, it's nothing like us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Death Of Essence

A couple of things I've been told in the last few days:

ISIS isn't really Islam.

Pope Francis is our first really Catholic Pope since (heh) John XXIII/Popes Benedict and John Paul II weren't really Catholic.

Restricting the Eucharist to those in a state of grace isn't really charity.

Marriage isn't really a hard and fast concept.

When pressed as to the meaning of these statements, the last one is what comes the closest to honesty. What is actually being said in every one of these items is that none of the subjects being discussed are "hard and fast concepts." It's the embrace of what we have previously called the New Nominalism.

The whole notion of a thing actually being what it is has been shelved in favor of a wild merry-go-round of labels being applied and discarded like name tags at a mixer.

Don't like marriage? Well, let's just find some other stuff that isn't marriage and call it that. Feel better? Having difficulty with a religion? Let's ignore the professed beliefs of said system and just write the name in on a list that we pulled from a random orifice. Good deal?

I used to think that people who made up their own reality were subject to a diagnosis of insanity. If that's the case, then the inmates took over the asylum of the world a long time ago and show no signs of giving up control any time soon.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Any Reason To Celebrate, I Guess

I am amazed at how so many people will take any and every opportunity to express their disdain and even hatred for our popes of recent history. It doesn't matter which one: Benedict XVI, JPII, Paul VI, and so forth. Yes, even John XXIII from some. 

The latest excuse for scorn is the death of Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, former president of ND. It is astounding how many comments I have gotten eulogizing Fr. Hesburgh yet spending significant amounts of time degrading ex-popes of the last half-century plus.

Naturally, this is because, with Pope Francis, we finally have a "real" pope. 

One can never underestimate society enough, I suppose.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Again: Why We Love Cardinal Sarah

Sure, sure, I can always just boldly declare that he freaking rules. While true, that doesn't exactly explain things. In addition to his willingness to accurately label our current issues as apostasy, he has re-affirmed the Church in Africa's devotion to God, rather than the gold-plated filth passed off by the modern world as virtue.

Thanks to Phil Blosser for circulating this latest quote from His Eminence:

"The idea that would consist in placing the Magisterium in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice -- which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions -- is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology. I affirm solemnly that the Church of Africa will firmly oppose every rebellion against the teaching of Christ and the Magisterium."

May God grant him many blessed years!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What Hath Feminism Wrought?

From the looks of things, it's given us a widespread perspective that stories where a guy and gal in a fornicative relationship wherein he beats her with a belt can be regarded as "romantic" and "empowering."

Remember the days when the patriarchy really had a lockdown on stuff? Like, say, the 1950s? 

Do you think women then would have embraced and been so fascinated with such tales then? I'm going to say not. But thank goodness the modern feminist movement was able to liberate women so that they could be free to enjoy relationships where they are physically abused and understand that they should enjoy said abuse.

Huzzah for the feminist!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Per Boniface's Suggestion

As an appendix to the post below re: St. John XXIII, we invite you to head over to Unam Sanctam and check out this entry that lays out some specifics on what we're talking about when we contrast the real John XXIII with the fabrication that is so often invoked these days.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Re: Fathers

The Pope has been on a big run lately in talking about the importance of fathers. Take these comments today from Zenit, for example.

In his address, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the role of the father saying that he wanted to reflect on its positive aspects. Every family, he said, needs a father in order to transmit "what truly counts in life, namely a wise heart."

"A father knows wells how much it costs to transmit this heritage: how much closeness, how much sweetness and how much firmness," he said. "But, what a consolation and what a reward you receive, when children honor this heritage! It is a joy that redeems all labor, which surpasses all misunderstanding and heals every wound."

As I read these comments, I couldn't help but think of those whom we call "fathers" all through our lives. Not just the biological ones or even our priests, but the Church Fathers and a connection made in our prior post regarding St. John XXIII.

Do we have any comprehension of how revolting these Fathers are to the sensibilities of the modern Catholic? Take "inter-religious dialogue" for example. The Fathers, to a man, would happily tell you that non-Christian religions are essentially the worship of devils who have deceived people into thinking them gods. Consider how fast a priest would be reported to his bishop these days for making an observation that is bedrock Catholicism, transmitted to us at great cost, to use the Holy Father's words.

Heresy and schism within the definition of Christianity? Would the Fathers have held endless big money "conferences" and "seminars" with the Pelagians, iconoclasts, Donatists, and so forth? Would their have been an infinite number of self-congratulatory statements about non-existent "progress" and "mutual enrichment"?

Of course not.

Yet these perspectives are anathema to our modern minds. How sad that, as we have a pope emphasizing the role of fathers and the respect due to them, we, their spiritual children, have chosen to forsake their wisdom in exchange for banal platitudes.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Why Do You Hate St. John XXIII?"

I've decided that the above caption is going to serve as my response to the standard "progressive" outrage over anything that passes for Catholicism these days.

Whether it's the latest insane tooth-gnashing over a priest opting out of using altar girls, the vicious calumny directed at guys like Cardinal Burke, or just a repitition of standard "traditionalist" lines of thinking (Latin in the liturgy, ad orient am worship, EENS, the role of the Roman Pontiff, eg).

The popular view, being largely ignorant of Pope John's views, will ignore stuff like his absolute prohibition on women even entering the sanctuary or his liturgical views or his views on the necessity for communion with the Pope. 

So why do people hate all of these views when they have been held by so many good and saintly popes, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church, including and especially Good Pope John? And how many of these folks who have been sipping the Haterade would identify themselves as "John XXIII Catholics"?

One side note as it pertains to the altar girls thing. Have you ever noticed how so many prelates ignore the Eastern perspectives on things unless they think they can use the matter as a gateway for modernism?

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I've been seeing this a lot what with Ferguson and all. 

If only those same people cared enough to assert that #UnbornBlackLivesMatter, Planned Parenthood would be shut down and Sanger's Dream would be a distant, though horrific, memory.

Alas, I don't see such a campaign anytime soon. Maybe Fr. Jenkins could start a dialogue with someone about it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Modest Proposal Re: Contraception

Can we just ditch the standard line about the Church's beliefs on the subject as "the Roman Catholic position on contraception"? Would it be possible simply to acknowledge it as "the Christian position on contraception"?

As terrifying as it might be to Protestants and Orthodox alike, they're embrace/creeping embrace of artificial methods of birth control are an aberration that was unheard of in all the annals of basic Christianity from the Fathers to the Reformers to everyone else until the early third of the 20th century. Unless you want to count complete whackjobs (like the Albigenisans, for example) who thought that all procreation was just evil anyway, this type of thinking simply did not exist.

For any Protestant interested in the question, I must recommend Dr. Allan Carlson's book Godly Seed, which traces the Protestant view on contraception back to the Reformation and all the way up to where Margaret Sanger used anti-Catholic propaganda to pretty much dupe your doctrinal forefathers into thinking this was all ok.

For the Orthodox, you know it's wrong. You can't just wave oikonomia in front of an immoral act and make it ok.

For Catholics, understand that, until the 20th century, there were probably fewer questions about prohibiting contraception than about the Divinity of Our Lord. That's how readily accepted this teaching was.

In other words, rejecting the use of contraception is a hallmark of Christianity in general. That so many have abandoned it in the last century will not and cannot change this. Allowing the exception to swallow up the rule as it pertains to labeling something like this strikes me as absurd and not something we should succumb to.

And yeah, I ended that sentence with a preposition.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Help With Some Math

Thousands of Christians have been murdered, raped, sold into slavery, tortured, and so forth by Islamist forces in the Middle East. 

The world greeted this genocide largely with silence, but occasionally some offered platitudes or utterly worthless gestures. 

A dozen or so secularists at a magazine are tragically killed in a sneak attack by these same individuals. 

The world reacts with vehement outrage. Protests are held. Memes go viral. World leaders convene at Paris. The US catches flak for not sending a bigger name. Vengeance is sworn. Laws are proposed specifically permitting blasphemy. And the ripples from this event are still rolling out.

Question: What is the ratio of the value of secular cartoonist lives to the value of Christian lives?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

When Did Islam Stop Being Islam?

Recent events have prompted a discussion about what makes a Muslim a Muslim. Take, for example, Howard Dean's recent comments that the murderers in Paris are not Muslim terrorists. This line of thought usually is backed by the argument that Islam is a religion of peace, ergo engaging in violence is not authentic Islam.

In examining this argument, I want to start with a couple of background items. First, the ongoing annihilation of Christianity in the Middle East didn't just start yesterday. Second, violence has been tied to Islam since it's inception. Mohammed destroyed the pagan religions of the Arabian peninsula and his followers continued the practice of conversion by sword after that.

My main question is when did this element of Islam which was present from its initial founding stop being a part of Islam? Was the Islam that offered consistent aggression and/or invasion against the West from the 8th to the 17th centuries somehow unauthentic? Was that violence somehow just politically motivated without any reflection on converting the Christian masses to Islam or reducing them to dhimmi status?

The most common response to this will be to avoid the question altogether and assert something like "Well, violence has always been a part of Christianity as well, especially among you papists." Of course, this isn't true. Anybody want to compare the first couple of centuries of Christianity to the first couple of centuries of Islam?

Moreover, there is a weird sentiment among the masses that is willing to brand anything negative associated with the Catholic Church as a product of Catholicism, whilst anything negative associated with Islam is either "not Islam," some sort of "misunderstanding," or basically something that Christianity/The West had coming to them all along. When was the last time you heard a media source give that kind of moral leeway to Catholicism? Hell, popular opinion would have you believe that only the most tolerant of pro-abortion Catholics are remotely faithful to Christ, whereas everyone else is just a Pharisaical dogmatist. Anyways, the point is that, even when you hear accurate reports (which are rare enough) about the bad stuff in Church history, it's always directly attributed to the Church, rather than bad people carrying the Catholic label.

Yeah, I know. Islam doesn't have a single authority figure. The Church does. Under the prevailing logic, that means if the Pope was doing bad things, it was automatically Catholic. Muslims who do bad things are just misinterpreting the Koran (more on that shortly). The thing about this is that it presumes the same sort of ultramontane thinking that the Church has rejected. Nobody, even his contemporaries, thought Benedict IX was being Catholic with all his evil hijinks as pope. Nobody defends the Cadaver Synod. And so forth. Yet all such evils are considered distinctly Catholic, rather than their perpetrators being regarded as rogues committing decidedly non-Catholic actions.

Back to Islam and the actual question at hand. First, I am consistently amazed at the hubris of those who demand that the peaceful interpretation of the Koran is the correct. How do they know? Who died and made them Mohammed II?

Second, if we consider violence as opposed to Islam, we have to be able to reconcile this with Islam's historical roots. I'm open to any arguments on this point. When did this sort of stuff become unacceptable in Islam? The fall of the Ottoman Empire perhaps? Before then? I don't know. I'm not asking this as a rhetorical question. I really do want some theories about it. Again, preferably those that don't dodge the question by talking about violent Christians, Hindus, etc.

I'm also open to hearing arguments that its the Middle Eastern cultural milieu that is the source of Islam's violent DNA, rather than anything intrinsic to the religion itself. I have to credit WilfordBrimley of NDNation for first introducing me to this concept.

Or we can just assume that there is no longer any such thing as actual Islam. The word no longer has any meaning and there are now just a bunch of folks running around with the label. The problem with this line of thought is that we'd have to stop asserting that there is a "true Islam" that is peaceful. There would just be the Islam that allows for co-existence and the kind that doesn't. That doesn't mean we can consider one to be the "real" version without sacrificing our intellectual honesty.