Saturday, May 10, 2003

Responsum ad Barrister:

I am not sure why but I am as of late incapable of accessing haloscan boxes. (Some "error of 400" thing pops up.) Therefore, I will use the weblog to respond to The Mighty One's dubitum. His words will be in black font.

An Interesting Development

I would be very interested in hearing I. Shawn McElhinney's take on this.

So let it be let it be done!!!

Zenit News is reporting that Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos will celebrate a Tridentine-rite Mass in a Roman basilica this month.

That is what has been reported.

The cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Clergy is also the president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which was established to promote reconciliation between Lefebvrists and Rome.

He will celebrate the Mass on May 24 in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

"It is an important gesture on the part of Rome," the superior of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, told the Parisian newspaper La Croix. At the same time, Archbishop Lefebvre's successor...

Brief Note: the Archbishop himself said that the Superior General of the SSPX should never be a bishop. This was admitted to by Rev. Fr. Ramon Angles of St. Mary's Academy in Kansas when he responded rather tersely to an article from a 1992 issue of the old Fidelity magazine. (An article which happens to comprise Appendix A of my treatise as it deals with my former pastor Fr. John Rizzo.)

[At the same time, Archbishop Lefebvre's successor] said that "he now hopes for even clearer signs from Rome in our direction." "The traditional Mass in a Roman basilica will be a strong gesture for all Catholics attached to the traditional Roman liturgy," Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan told La Croix.

Rome has made many gestures over the years that these individuals have paid lip service to. While I am on one hand pleased that His Excellency has noticed and commented favourably on this event - much as he apparently has commented favourably on the Holy Father's new encyclical letter on the Holy Eucharist - there are of course other problems that remain. If not for the obstinacy of the SSPX this schism would have been resolved some years back. Rome even offered the SSPX a prelature status which is remarkably generous but they SSPX again got cold feet. They are too happy being their own church still.

I'm certain we will see the usual eruptions on both sides of the neo-con debate as the more militant "followers of Lefebvre" see this as an opportunity to turn back the clock on Vatican II, while others will rend their garments at the mere mention of a possible reconciliation between SSPX and Rome.

It is unfortunate that the latter is probably true but it is probably in large part because of the arrogance that the SSPX has displayed over the years. Their brazen refusal to submit to the pope whom they pay lip service to obeying and their constant interpreting of everything in the worst possible light due to chronic suspicion syndrome does not endear them to many people as a result. But it would be wrong for people to not want to see reconciliation between SSPX and Rome. As long as SSPX like the prodigal child they are truly repents and has a change of heart, I for one would welcome they back with outstretched arms. And I know not a few former Lefebvrists who would likewise respond.

Both sides would be misinterpreting Cardinal Hoyos' action.

I find the traditional Latin Mass to be a thing of great and wondrous beauty, and its practice was certainly NOT outlawed by Vatican II.

The obrogation or abrogation of the previous Missal did not take place until Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum took legal effect. Once that happened - which was in 1970 - there was no juridical foundation for celebration of the older liturgy except by Indult. Pope Paul did grant such Indults to those who requested them in 1970 including Cardinal Heenan and Archbishop Lefebvre. There was also provisions made for elderly priests to celebrate the older liturgy in private.

As far as the beauty of the liturgy goes, I am afraid that like many others the Mighty One is under the presumption that the manner whereby that liturgy is celebrated commonly today is the manner whereby it was celebrated before Missale Romanum. This perception is gravely erroneous I am afraid.

As Fr. Rob Johanson noted in reference to the Latin Mass back in February, "The Tradition is the life-blood of the Church, for it contains the essence and genius of the faith. That is why it is ever living and ever new, and why each generation will continue to re-discover it, in spite of the best efforts of some to obfuscate or revise it."

I like Fr. Rob Johansen's work a lot but if he is confusing the older liturgy with Tradition, then he is making an error. Liturgical celebration does not comprise the Tradition of perennial stature. It instead is part of the more transient element of the faith and its regulation according to times and circumstances is not irregular. I have written on this subject more times than I care to recall actually. If The Mighty One scans the recently updated weblog for the post from February titled The Artificial Unity of the Counter-reformation some of this is detailed there. He could also scroll down and read my entry An Altered Eye Alters All from May 7th which discusses in part the legalities surrounding the older missal and why one cannot legitimately appeal to past custom over and against Missale Romanum.

Although the excommunication of Lefebvre for his schismatic actions was a particularly painful experience for all involved, one can only be hopeful, through the Mercy of God, that some good may come out of that episode.

May the Lord have mercy on Archbishop Lefebvre. (And may He especially on those like my late father and my old neighbour who were there for the mass and paid no attention whatsoever to the Society's politics.) I have much more confidence in the salvation of the latter two than I do the Archbishop but I will not underestimate the Lord's mercy. The Archbishop was elderly and I pray his faculties were severely diminished by age.

Perhaps another generation is ready to re-discover the beauty of the traditional Latin Mass.

Perhaps it is time to have a frank discussion on the manner whereby the liturgy was celebrated before Missale Romanum was promulgated. As Fr. Robert Taft has noted in one of his essays [T]he perceived need for liturgical change and renewal [from Vatican II], is obvious to anyone who was alive at that time. Present-day nostalgia for what is inaccurately referred to as the Tridentine rite is the luxury of those who, not having been around at that time, do not have their thought processes inconvenienced by such things as facts. The need for liturgical renewal was obvious to everyone at Vatican II except the foolish. Obviously we should be grateful for the preservation of the older missal. And many of us believe there is a vital role for it to play in the renewal of the Church. But it is important to not approach this from a position of nostalgia.

Those who were alive at the time who were aware of their surroundings and were honest about it (such as my late father) fully admit to the manifold and systematic problems that existed. Yet almost all of the promoters of the Latin Mass do not squarely face these issues. I refer with this statement not to casual promoters such as the Mighty One but those whose agenda is that of promoting the older liturgy and its celebration. Affiliates of some of the more mature groups have written some very balanced material on the liturgy. I have in mind posting some of it concurrent to the project I am working on intermittently with a friend about several subjects - one of which is the liturgy. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for details...

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Friday, May 09, 2003

The Updating of Rerum Novarum:

It has been many moons since Rerum Novarum has received an updating of this scale. Of course I have not updated the weblog since before the resumption of the war and none of the updates thus far in the year were very large ones anyway. (With the exception of the February update.) I had hoped without success to fix the offpage archives but that did not succeed. Therefore I have reposted the archives to the front page and grouped them by roughly their respective months. This will shorten the archive scroll a little as it is quite a long thread now in its own right.

No new blogs were added this time though that will be among the first things done next time there is an update. And though I have altered the colour of the background depending on the season (purple for penitent, blue otherwise) I have not changed the font colour on the main log since I originated this template as an altered version of the "Sandbox" template.

The colour on a gray background has been a constant dark dull red colour or #993333 in HTML code. In light of how it is impossible to use certain variations of font when posting, I have decided to try a few different shades of red. This part of the template may be in flux for a while until I find a shade that both complements the usage of a diverse shade of alternate fonts and at the same time is not too light on the gray background. Anyway, without further ado, let us get to the substance of the update...

Deletions Made By Subcategory and Category:

General Theological Subjects:

Ash Wednesday Homily

Rationale: It is no longer the Lenten season. I was unable to access my church archives for the Easter homily to replace it.

On the Second Vatican Council:

This category was expunged and each post was rerouted to the particular "traditionalist" (or "progressivist") subheading that was applicable.

Other Approved Links of Interest:

Matt's 'Ultra-Traditionalist' Page {Note: Some extracts from my treatise are available here in shorter form - ISM}

As all my writings have now been revised and/or reformatted - and the extracts themselves are merely links to the shorter parts of the treatise and other writings - this link is in a certain sense a redundant one to have up here. Matt's site is linked towards the top of the thread as are my revised and reformatted (read: shorter) writings threads so there is no reason for duplication here anymore.

Additions Made By Subcategory and Category:

On 'Traditionalism' (Falsely So-Called):

On the Artificial "Unity" of the Counter-reformation

Yes Virginia, Fr. Nicholas is Suspended (written by Pete Vere JCL and I. Shawn McElhinney)

The Fisking of a So-Called "Traditionalist"

On 'Traditionalism' (Properly So-Called):

The Levels of Council Authority With Mark Cameron

On Post-Pius XII Magisterial "Modernist Tendencies" (Rerum Novarum vs. El Camino Real)

On 'Progressivism' (Falsely So-Called):
(New Category)

On the Unthinking and "Dogmatic" Liberals

Refuting Progressivist Errors on Galileo, Usury, EENS, and Slavery (Parts I and II)

On Controverted Subjects:

Restoring A Landmark (For Those Who Bemoan Architectural Wreckovations)

Those who make a franchise out of bemoaning shoddy architectural restoration have an opportunity to help with the campaign to pay for the restoration of my church Blessed Sacrament Parish and Dominican Priory in Seattle's University District. If it helps any, this is also the church that {pause here for effect} Mark Shea attends. We are down with the OP's in essence and you lovers of beautiful architecture and reverent liturgies can be too. See the link for more details as well as a parish tour.

Commentary on Canon Law 747-755

On Biblical Study

Other Recommended* Web-Sites:

TCR News - Stephen Hand

TCR was removed from the links list back in early January about three weeks after Stephen took a sabbatical from writing and maintaining his website. Considering how much effort he put into it, this was a very well-deserved sabbatical and he is now back it seems for another round. And as his site is again active, we restore the link to the page of approved links. A small observation though: originally it was Traditional Catholic Reflections, then it was Today's Catholic Reflections. Now it is TCR News subtitled "Catholic Reflections." One that has not been tried yet is Timeless Catholic Reflections. It preserves the original moniker and combines "Traditional" with "Today." Catholicism of the most vibrant and enduring nature requires being both perennial and prevalent indeed ressourcement for lack of a better term. Stephen much as your humble weblog host is accurately termed ressourcement in his outlook and approach.

If a specialty is to be noted about Stephen it would be in the area of the Church's social teaching. Indeed, few people in Catholic evangelization are so explicitly promoting of the Church's social teachings as Stephen is. His is yet another colour for the rainbow of traditional Catholic unity-in-diversity and thus we are pleased to reintroduce his site to the list.

Shawn's Eastern Catholic Corner Approved* Links:

The Balamand Statement: Uniatism and the Present Search for Full Communion

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Letter to Bishops on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion

Two subjects very easily misunderstood so these links were added for study. I recommend reading the Balamand Statement concurrent with the article from Fr. Robert Taft on Anamnesis not Amnesia which covers the problems that Uniatism has caused in the reunion of east and west.

Other Approved* Sites or Links of Interest:

Ecclesia de Eucharistia Encyclical Letter on the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church (Pope John Paul II)

This is a beautifully written magisterial text that is equal parts doctrine, theology, and mysticism. It ties together a lot of the teachings of the pope in the previous twenty-five years on divers subjects and how they all have as their root and matrix the Eucharist.

By my authority as Sovereign Thane and Lord High Executioner of Rerum Novarum, I decree that all of these links are given motu proprio and promulgated in perpetuity all things to the contrary notwithstanding.


Thursday, May 08, 2003

Monitum on Upcoming Reconstruction of Rerum Novarum:

If it looks a little strange on the weblog within the next day, I am tinkering with the template and planning to update the margin links and hopefully fix the archives problem that has plagued the weblog for the past month. Though the weblog activity was volume-wise less in the Lenten months - particularly in April - I do believe there are a number of posts worth putting in the side margin not to mention other links. Stay tuned for details though...


"Apparently More Than Twenty People Have Watched Undercover Brother" Dept.

Bryan Preston's take on the movie can be read HERE. I concur with his assessment of the movie. The question is, has he seen Barbershop yet??? If he liked UB, he will like Barbershop too. Imagine the barbershop scenes from Coming to America (the best parts of that movie btw) made into an entire movie and you have the general idea.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Liturgical Custom or Liturgical Gimmick:
(Criteria for Separating the Wheat from the Chaff in Essence...)

My good friend Pete Vere JCL published a canonical opinion in 2002 about criteria for discerning between a legitimate liturgical custom and a transient liturgical gimmick. At my request (and apparently that of others as well), he has reiterated this criteria at the Envoy Encore weblog. Here is the link:

Custom or Gimmick

Responses from Deacon John, Tony, Pete Vere, and your humble blog host can be read HERE.

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"An Altered Eye Alters All" Dept.
("De-baiting Shawn" musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

I wish I had ten dollars for every email of this sort I have received over the years. Nonetheless, an email was sent to my email box about five weeks ago which prompted a quick response by me. A few days later, the emailer responded with a question which I decided to set aside for an indepth explanation when this was feasible to do. As it was, a response was written about two to three weeks ago in intervals while I was reformatting my Christian Unity essay and revising/reformatting my Justification essay. (It served as a "vacation" of sorts from those projects.)

In light of an email I received this morning about a "trad" who claimed that the Holy Father was a "neo-catholic", it seems appropriate to post this response as it deals in part with the innovator of the novel term "neo-catholic". The parts in blue font (as opposed to darkblue) were added today before posting the thread. The words of the person who contacted me will be in purple. The first part is from one email and the parts below the ### are my response to the second email sent.



Just "musing". Would you have the stomach to engage Chris Ferrara in a real debate?

Before I answer this question, I am curious to know where you got this email address. (If you do not mind.)



Yes, it's a fair question! I suppose my e-mail appeared to come out of left field (or perhaps right field).


I thankyou for your level-headed response here. The reason I asked the question is because I get a fair amount of emails for debate proposals. Usually people who approach me for debate do not like my guidelines for such ventures. I will outline them here so you can assess how I approach this subject. This is also for the benefit of those who might be inclined to send similar emails in the future.

I have been involved in many discussions on this subject over the years - both on message boards as well as private correspondence with individuals and also with apologists of various persuasions. One of those was if memory serves a series that occasioned the following observations from my friend Dave Armstrong:

Sophism: a clever and plausible but fallacious argument or form of reasoning, whether or not intended to deceive.

Sophistry: unsound or misleading or specious but clever, plausible, and subtle argument or reasoning.

Many (most?) anti-Catholics are sophists, pure and simple, and sophists ought not be granted the dignity of a public debate. Sure, we can always say that as a result, a few people will become convinced of the Catholic position (and that in itself is, of course, a good thing). But if many more anti-Catholics, after hearing anti-Catholic claptrap presented in debate, attain to a stronger - albeit illusory - self-confidence against the Catholic position and go out and mess up that many more ill-informed Catholics, isn't it a "net loss" in a sense?

The Catholic position is not well-presented at such "debates" (i.e., public, oratorical ones) because it is complex, highly-interrelated, and (in its complexity, spiritual profundity, and inner logic) much more a "thinking man's religion" than Protestantism is. Presenting such an outlook can't very easily be done in a time-limited debate where our opponent is playing the audience like a carnival barker or a dishonest politician...

Again, it has to do with the complexity and interrelatedness of the Catholic position, and the difficulty in promulgating it in sound-bytes, as is the case in so many brands of evangelicalism. Websites are uniquely designed to teach the faith, if this complexity is granted (with the technology of links). I think the only near-equivalent to this in live debate would be a series of debates, one after the other, so that the faith can be seen in its many dimensions and in its marvelous cohesiveness: what I would call a "cumulative apologetic argument." ...

Most public debate formats will not allow a fair exchange to occur, due to complexity of subject matter, and the stacked deck which requires us to defend complex truths, while the anti-Catholic escapes his responsibility of defending the generally unexamined absurdities and self-contradictions of his own position. Many anti-Catholics are never, ever willing to defend their own view beyond the usual trivial, sloganistic, sarcastic jibes. [Dave Armstrong: Excerpts from Interacting With Sophists: Reflections on "Debates" With Anti-Catholic Polemicists]

Though the piece quoted above was written about anti-Catholics, the same criticisms apply in spades to the self-styled "traditionalists." Most of what I have seen of debates --be they with anti-Catholics or so-called "traditionalists"-- are frankly little different (if at all) than verbal circuses. Two people are supposed to debate an issue and what ends up happening is they go all over the map. I tend as a rule to refuse to play that game because a dialogue or debate should focus only on the subject being discussed.

Obviously there are certain tangent themes that can relate to a primary topic and those are acceptable for that discussion as well. But there is a habit of people who get desperate in debate to throw out something they know their opponent cannot adequately handle within the time constraints of an oral debate or the space constraints of a written debate. This is something that the offender knows in advance which is precisely why they do it. In the circus they refer to this as "sending in the clowns".

This happens usually when the individual is on the ropes or approaching a subject they want to avoid having to discuss. To my way of thinking, it is a cheap way for the individual to avoid having to admit that they were potentially in error on a point. Making such an admission in a debate arena is viewed as a form of implicit surrender after all. Therefore, rather then do that it is viewed as more appropriate to distract with red herrings and try to get the listeners as well as the debate opponent to move onto another point.

Disingenuousness is thus viewed as a virtue in this environment - not to mention being a master of the soundbyte or the prooftext absent context. Catholicism however cannot be discussed in soundbytes and be done its full justice. Therefore, if I am involved in discussion or debate with an anti-Catholic athiest or agnostic, an anti-Catholic Prot, an anti-Catholic Orthodox, or a self-styled "traditionalist" who has their own animosities towards the Church, all of these have a tendency to throw out these kinds of herrings which get off the subject. I deal very briefly with such an example here with one of Mr. Ferrara's new amigos Mr. Robert Sungenis in the following Lidless Eye Inquisition thread:

On Stunted Ecclesiology and Other Examples of the Severely Arrested Development of CAItanic.

Let that example suffice as an "exhibit" of the kind of tactics that would be involved in any debate with Mr. Ferrara. To summarize briefly the sort of tactics I do not tolerate, if I am having a discussion or a debate on papal primacy with a non-Catholic then I do not want to see them resorting to tactics like throwing in indulgences, opining about the Crusades, or other red herrings. Or if the subject is justification I do not tolerate diversions into subjects like the sacrifice of the mass or devotion to the Blessed Virgin. With self-styled "traditionalists" they tend to use the same kinds of distractions when they are on the defensive. Therefore, if I debate someone I expect them to stay on the issue and I not only do not tolerate what in the media is referred to as "spin" but I tend to treat rather harshly those who show a habitual tendency towards acting in this manner.{1}

I came upon your site while net surfing doing some research on Veritatis Splendor and Gaudium et Spes. Just thought you are somewhat off base in your critique of traditionalism.

I have written on several interrelated threads and each piece tends to address only what I intend it to address. I guess I am not sure if you are referring to an entry to one of my weblogs or one of my papers. I have written almost eight hundred pages on various so-called "traditionalist" subjects excluding essays submitted to print publications on so-called "traditionalist" themes. (By contrast, my essays not directed towards so-called "traditionalist" matters - excluding upcoming print publication essays - have totalled about half of that in volume.) And compared to my output on message boards over the years, all of that is a drop in the bucket.

My understanding of so-called "traditionalism" is based on not only thorough research but nearly fifteen years of ecclesial involvement with self-styled "traditionalists". (If we count the on and off again involvement it adds up to about seventeen years.) I have many friends who are involved in that movement or were involved in it to varying degrees. I have family who is involved or was involved to varying degrees. So I have a personal interest in this subject as much as a theological one.

To outline some of my resources, I have so-called "traditionalist" publications going all the way back to 1976, a file cabinet of old Angelus and Verbum publications mostly spanning from about 1986 to about 1997, a stack of old Roman Catholic periodicals from the late 1970s through early 1990s, some copies of the very old "For Your and For Many magazine - including its last issue in 1980, some old Latin Mass issues from when that was actually a pretty decent magazine (meaning pre-1997), some copies of the old pre Michael Matt Remnant, books written by Archbishop Lefebvre, Rama P. Coomerswamy, W.F. Strojie, Fr. Anthony Cedaka, Charles Nemeth, Michael Davies, Michael A. Hoffman II, etc. And that does not exhaust my source library on these subjects.

I am in short one of the last people who can be said to "not understand" the self-styled "traditionalists". Therefore I will out of charity presume that you read some of my offhand blog comments on a subject and presumed that they were indicative of my complete view of so-called "traditionalists". This is okay and certainly not irregular. I hope the above brief summation is adequate to explain why I am not someone who approached this subject from the outside and why I cannot be as dismissed as you would appear to be doing above. However that may apply to others who write on it, the claim that there are "misunderstandings" is not applicable. However, another thought comes to mind that did not occur to me when I originally responded to you.

My guess would be that by your use of the term "musing" in the original email would imply that you came across my weblog Rerum Novarum as I use that term frequently there. Or perhaps you came across my other weblog The Lidless Eye Inquisition. But I have written a lot on many subjects so reference to a critique as if it is the critique is difficult to tell which one you refer to. I emphasize this because many subjects have been covered by me and people email me all the time about "that traditionalist essay" or similar statements. You may as well be saying "that writing you put out with words in it" because that is the sort of broadbrush that a statement such as that comes across to me as.

It is also possible that you are referring to my essay from the December 6, 2001 edition of The Wanderer titled What Makes Us Catholic Traditionalists which I wrote in November of 2001 and to which Pete Vere contributed. That essay with a few very minor adjustments by Pete was posted to the Envoy Encore site in December of 2002 and caused some degree of comments along the lines of what you are referring to above. I am not sure which piece you are referring to but it would seem that it was either a Rerum Novarum weblog entry or the Wanderer article from Envoy which is linked to my weblog. If I am incorrect on these presumptions please feel free to let me know.

Since I have never read anything that has come close to refuting or even countering any of Ferrara's arguments, I thought to ask the question.

I have admittedly not addressed any of Mr. Ferrara's arguments directly. This is not because I cannot do so but because my writings have sought (and by the overwhelming consensus of those who have read them, have succeeded at) dispatching with the root subjects and presuppositions from which people such as Mr. Ferrara construct their arguments. This is admittedly not direct but there are so many of his ilk out there that if I addressed them individually I would be making it a matter of personalities and not issues.

The moment it becomes a matter of personalities instead of issues, the subjects tend to bog down into a malaise. For this reason, I generally prefer to stick to the issues because if the presuppositions that the individuals build their arguments from are either detonated or severely undermined, then there is no need to deal with each individual's unique spin on the subject.

To my knowledge others who have written on these subjects have generally approached this in a similar way. (Stephen Hand is among the few who has directly addressed Mr. Ferrara personally.) However, I will make an exception to my usual protocol here and address some of Mr. Ferrara's comments. This is taken verbatim from one of his Remnant pieces. (The Justice of the Term Neo-Catholic.) I will put Mr. Ferrara's words in black and my comments will be in regular font. It would take pages to unpack this rather loaded piece properly for a complete confutation but I will at least handle some of its passages here to illustrate clearly why Mr. Ferrara's arguments are generally not taken too seriously in these kinds of discussions.

{George Sim} Johnston goes on to state that "neo-conservative Catholics… are not looking for a 'nostalgia-driven restoration in which modernity is rejected root and branch' [quoting neo-Catholic commentator George Weigel]. Rather, they would like to see the deepest dynamics of Vatican II finally come into play"—whatever that means.

This really is not that difficult to figure out. However, when one has no interest in the Second Vatican Council except to misrepresent it (as the Remnant crowd does), it is not surprising that they cannot figure out the simple factors such as what a proper implementation of Vatican II involves. But this is a loaded statement that would take a lot of type to flesh out properly and Mr. Ferrara probably knows it. He is an attorney after all and is almost certainly not unaware of ways to bury people in paperwork. In this case the "paperwork" is the kind of voluminous cogitations needed to properly respond adequately to his broadbrush simplifications. All that I will note here in brief is that the concept he refers to is not the mystery that he wants to make it appear to be.

Thus, Johnston invokes the very analogy Tom and I have drawn in our book. Those we call neo-Catholics Johnston describes approvingly with the American political term neo-conservative, not because they seek "to revive something which has fallen into disuse," as Michael suggests, but because they disdain the revival of something which has fallen into disuse.

I am unaware of any Catholics who are properly informed who do not want to see a wider application of the Ecclesia Dei Indult. I mention this here because the Tridentine Missal is undoubtedly what Mr. Ferrara is claiming that these Catholics have a disdain for. This is another error by Mr. Ferrara unless he is referring to the artificially enforced uniformity in theological, disciplinary, liturgical, and devotional practices of the Counter-reformation period. (Along with its frequently dialectic contrary outlook.) If he is asserting that then he is right but immediately incures the brand of "neo-Catholic" himself since the Counter-reformation outlooks he would be repining for were without historical precedent.

By contrast, those who supported the demolition of those artificially constructed and untraditional boundaries would be repining for a fifteen hundred plus year old traditional unity-in-diversity outlook that had fallen out of use for about four hundred years up to the Second Vatican Council. Liturgically, it would involve an outlook that for about eight hundred years was supplainted by a one-sided and incomplete emphasis of the mass and the respective roles of those involved. But it would take pages to draw this out and I do not want to involve myself in the same thing I am critical of Mr. Ferrara for so I will cut this off here. I have dealt with these points in detail in not a few writings.

As Johnston says, they don't "pine for the Tridentine liturgy" and "are not looking for a 'nostalgia-driven restoration'" of the Church. They consider themselves a more enlightened breed of Catholic—"sensibly center-right"—for the very reason that they embrace the obviously disastrous liberalizing trends of the postconciliar "renewal," including the "historically radical ecumenism of John Paul II" and "the deepest dynamics of Vatican II."

There is little that is really "historically radical" about ecumenism as understood by the Council and directed by the popes since the Council. But to explain this would be to spill a lot of type. How easy it must be for Mr. Ferrara to make such wide sweeping indictments which he knows his opponent would have to take some time and energy to unpack said statements in order to refute them properly. Briefly though, the average Catholic today is much more educated than the average Catholic historically. And while it is true that secondary education and degrees do not ipso facto constitute intelligence, the interest in Church issues is probably greater today than in most of the past.

We have luxuries today that past generations did not have and that gives us an advantage in this regard. For example, the average net user has access to mountains of information that the average Catholic historically has never had. Someone such as myself who is a pretty good researcher can utilize these sources and leverage them to great advantage. But it is ridiculously dichotomstic to presume that because I can do this that I immediately must think less of those Catholics who came before me. That would be akin to the sin of partiality which the Apostle James condemns in his epistle and which self-styled "traditionalists" continually fall prey to.

I have not seen in Mr. Ferrara's work - at least from what I have read in recent years - any shortage of partiality. But in light of my own previous problems with this, I am not in a position to be too critical of him on this point though I will briefly note this defect here.

On the other hand, Johnston disparages traditionalists as the Pharisaical paleoconservatives of the Catholic Right, those "extremely or stubbornly conservative" Catholics who (like Pat Buchanan in the political realm) have resisted change and want to "go back" to the way things were.

The "Pharisaical" charge is actually a very trenchant one.

The neo-Catholic phenomenon in the Church, therefore, parallels the political mobilism of secular society, in which the term "conservative" no longer means what it did forty years ago.

The term "conservative" was often not properly applied fifty years ago. (To say nothing about the way it is misapplied today.) To quote from the foreword of the late Senator Barry Morris Goldwater's very essential work The Conscience of a Conservative:

We are daily consigned by "enlightened" commentators to political oblivion: Conservatism, we are told, is out-of-date. The charge is preposterous and we ought boldly to say so. The laws of God, and of nature, have no dateline. The principles on which the Conservative political position is based have been established by a process that has nothing to do with the social, economic and political landscape that changes from decade to decade and from century to century. These principles are derived from the nature of man, and from the truths that God has revealed about His creation.

Circumstances do change. So do the problems that are shaped by circumstances. But the principles that govern the solution of the problems do not. To suggest that the Conservative philosophy is out of date is akin to saying that the Golden Rule, or the Ten Commandments or Aristotle's Politics are out of date. The Conservative approach is nothing more or less than an attempt to apply the wisdom and experience and the revealed truths of the past to the problems of today. The challenge is not to find new or different truths, but to learn how to apply established truths to the problems of the contemporary world. [The Conscience of a Conservative (c. 1960)]

This understanding of "conservative" is one that frankly went out of mainstream understanding over eighty years ago. Hence to base one's analogy on the way "conservatism" was understood fifty years ago is to found ones argument on faulty premises. Conservatism is fundamentally a philosophy of ressourcement. But of course Mr. Ferrara and his associates do not have a proper conception of conservative philosophy any more than they do authentic Catholic philosophy and theology.

A Democrat of the 1950s would view today’s "conservative" Republican as a liberal savage. In like manner, today’s "neo-conservative Catholics" (as Johnston himself admits) are progressives who embrace novelties that Saint Pius X could not have imagined in his worst nightmare.

There is no denying that there are people who march under the conservative Republican banner who are by past standards liberals. But the reason for this is the dichotomization of the conservative philosophy into compartments. The classic example of reductio ad absurdem in this realm is the Libertarian movement. But the Democrat of the 1950's was no conservative properly so-called as they were influenced by socialist thinking. The morals of the average Democrat may have been better than those of today's average Republican (and by far and above the average Democrat today) but these broadbrush caricatures by Mr. Ferrara are much more inaccurate than they are accurate. But let us touch on some of the examples of the popes prior to the Second Vatican Council engaging in or promoting what would have been seen as radical proposals by not a few in generations past.

St. Pius X's notion of lower age for communion and encouraging frequent communion would have shocked the hell out of prelates from centuries past. Leo XIII's notion of potential Christian democracy would have shocked and revulsed many in the pre-1815 period. Some of Pius XI's teaching on Christian marriage would have been received with revulsion by St. Jerome or St. Augustine {2} not to mention some of the clergy even as least as late as Bl. Innocent XI. Anyone who is informed on these matters knows that what I am saying here is not even debatable.

Do I even have to go into the teaching of Pope Leo XIII on social issues??? His encyclical letter Rerum Novarum - from which this very weblog is named - was a departure in many ways from precedent. (And no one can credibly argue otherwise.) Bl. Pius IX's teaching on invincible ignorance would have been savaged by the intelligent but unsophisticated apologists of his era such as Orestes Brownsen. (If they were at all as untraditional as modern so-called "traditionalists" often tend to be.) What about Gregory VII's assertion to the Muslim king of Mauritania that Christians and Muslims worshiped the same God??? Even today the "trads" cannot bring themselves to admit this much but the Church has long recognized this principle - albeit it was usually by implication and logical extension rather than explicitly so. But often truths before they are formulated explicitly are taught in this manner so there is no irregularity in this at all. At least not for someone reasonably deep in history.

Tertullian and St. Hippolytus found Pope St. Callistus I's regulations on the sacrament of penance to be an "abomination" and a "novelty" at the time yet we accept such principles today as normative. I could (and have) outlined numerous examples of this from history in my writings. Mr. Ferrara's claim has no credibility when stacked up against history which to be deep in it is to cease to be a "traditionalist".

For as the examples I noted above were examples of classic conservative ressourcement, so too were the approved directives of the Second Vatican Council, the pope who guided its promulgation (Paul VI), and the pope who has most overseen the proper implementation of the principles explicitly espoused and implicitly alluded to (John Paul II).

Both of these popes espouse true conservatism which is neither intolerance or a kind of narrow preservationist philosophy. The latter is the canard of the radical liberal to posit their willy-nilly transient mentality as being the converse of an attitude of mechanical conservationism - which is how they have long painted those labelled "conservative." And indeed the mechanical and unthinking conservationist canard happens to apply very deservingly towards many (if not most) of those whom Mr. Ferrara would likely label as "traditionalist" in their outlooks. But then self-styled "traditionalism" as he espouses it is not exactly an agenda lacking in inconsistency...

Not only do they embrace these novelties, they attack the paleoconservative traditionalists as "schismatics" for declining to follow suit.

This is ridiculous. The only people who are "attacked" are those who "resist to the face" the pope and thereby refuse to either (i) submit to the pope or (ii) hold communion with those that recognize the pope's supremacy (cf. Can. 751). In short, those that divide the seamless cloak of Christ by schism and those that endorse or defend such people.

There is no problem whatsoever with those who want to worship according to Tridentine liturgical formularies or adhere to Tridentine devotionals. The problem always stems from those who try to impose their preferences onto everyone else either by force or by demeaning other people's legitimate aspirations in support of a zenophobic outlook that is illegitimately canonized as "traditional." When that happens, such individuals and groups ruin it for others who have similar aspirations. And that alone is plenty of good reason for destroying such individuals and groups. So Mr. Ferrara can spare us the martyr routine since he is an accomplice of the very sort of goosestepping brigands who act in the deplorable manner noted above.

Not only do they embrace these novelties, In the political realm, neo-conservatives view Pat Buchanan as a vile extremist, a kind of schismatic Republican. As Tom Woods notes, the neo-conservative establishment denounces Buchanan with unrestrained viciousness, while observing the rules of polite discourse in its dealings with the most noxious of liberals.

Frankly Mr. Buchanan has brought a lot of his problems on himself. He is not very careful in his choice of words and his rhetoric is polarizing and makes him an easy target. And this is coming from someone who voted in primaries for him twice and who in 1996 was almost persuaded to be a caucus delegate for him. (Referring to myself.) Pat Buchanan is very good on a lot of subjects and is a masterful debater. But from what I have read of him on the subject of Catholicism, he frankly does not know very much about it.

As far as savaging Buchanan and being genteel to the liberals, this is only true to a point. The fact is, Buchanan in not a few issues is extreme or at least not well-tempered and the conservatives run the same risk of being painted with Buchanan's extremism as they did being painted with David Duke's racism. Liberals do not make the kinds of distinctions necessary in this realm and this is probably equal parts an inability to do so and their agenda against conservative principles. And as they tend to control the media apparatus, conservatives have to pick their spots carefully. And one way to prevent being tarred as an extremist is to take the initiative in reigning in the extremists of one's particular philosophy. Ideally this is done without a fight as Sun Tzu noted in his Art of War:

In general, the method for employing the military is this: Preserving the [enemy's] state capital is best, destroying their state capital second-best. Preserving their army is best, destroying their army second-best. Preserving their battalions is best, destroying their battlions is second-best. Preserving their companies is best, destroying their companies second best. Preserving their squads is best, destroying their squads second best. For this reason, attaining one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the pinnacle of excellence. Subjugating the enemy's army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence.

However, it is unfortunately the rule that such subjugation is hard to come by. I will not go into what is the proper approach to take in the frequent absence of the excellence described above except to say that failing to persuade an enemy means that at the very least they must be neutralized. While the liberals can at times be neutralized, oftentimes the extreme traddys cannot be. And if that cannot be done, they must be destroyed. That is the way of things.

Likewise, in the Catholic Church the neo-Catholics depict traditionalists as vile extremists, and even "schismatics," and the neo-Catholic establishment denounces them with a ferocity that has to be seen to be believed. Yet the same establishment is comparatively quite restrained in its approach to the Church’s true enemies, both within and without her.

The principles of warfare are noted above. And they apply in this case as much as they do any other. Those who are schismatics are enemies of the Church no matter where they try to position themselves on some mythical "spectrum" philosophically or otherwise.

Consider the recent case of Robert Sungenis, the renowned Catholic apologist and author of numerous books. Sungenis was a darling of the neo-Catholic establishment until he decided that he could no longer defend the ruinous postconciliar regime of novelty.

The entire second half of this sentence is sown with psychologically manipulating words. As far as being "the darling" of the Catholic establishment, in truth Mr. Sungenis was for some time drifting away from acceptability. Several apologists including myself were trying in private for a few years to correct certain areas of Mr. Sungenis' thinking where he was going askew of Catholic principles.

It became apparent to a lot of us as far back as a few years ago that it was only a matter of time before what eventually happened with Mr. Sungenis would quite likely happen. The ingredients were already there and a lot of patience was exhibited with him in trying the approach of neutralization. But when he refused to conform himself to acceptable Catholic standards, there was a necessary shift beyond mere neutralization. Thus that is what was done on many levels in a uniform effort.

When his website published articles protesting Assisi 2002 and critiquing the liturgical "reform" of Paul VI, Sungenis was immediately cast into outer darkness by his former neo-Catholic friends.

This is not true either. Mr. Sungenis' misunderstandings on Assisi were more a symptom of the deeper problems than a factor in his discrediting. That he has difficulties with the subject of interfaith is not in and of itself problematical. The problem if you will is the very unCatholic manner in which he approached the issue.

A Traditional Catholic when they struggle with understanding an issue pertaining to doctrine or an approved practice does not broadcast this to others in ways which cast derision on the ecclesial magisterium. Instead what is practiced is religious submission, praying about the matter and inquiring in a respectful manner about the issue with the manifested intention of submitting to the magisterium's judgment on matters of doctrine. With matters of discipline there is a bit more leeway in making one's views known but at the same time this is also to be done with due deference.

So that Mr. Sungenis struggled over Assisi was not in and of itself a problem. What was a problem was the manner whereby he sought to come to grips with the issue. But in truth, this issue in the absence of the antisemitism issues would have been a problem that was to a degree containable if Mr. Sungenis had even a shred of a truly Traditional Catholic mindset.

What happened over the span of the last two months leading up to September and October of 2002 was a group of people got involved in an intervention with Mr. Sungenis. This did not involve anything about the articles at his website on the liturgy - which were frankly laughable in their content. I did note to some people at the time that the presence of such articles probably indicated a definitive shift in the trend but there is nothing in the realm of Catholic teaching that binds one to have to prefer a particular liturgical rite. And everyone involved in the Intervention was in agreement on that and the liturgical articles were not a factor at all in what happened with Mr. Sungenis.

I cannot think offhand about the liturgy articles being mentioned once in any of the exchanges. The subjects that dominated the discussion were the Talmud essay and in particular the essay on the Reflections document along with some of the crackpot notions that Mr. Sungenis had espoused in that piece. John Betts and Bill Cork accurately summarize exactly what happened in those exchanges - John as one of those in the Intervention and Bill as one who read Sungenis' essay and pointed out the chunks of plagiarized material from various unsavoury sources. In short, this is yet another egregious error by the (as usual) very misinformed Mr. Ferrara.

EWTN, which had featured a television series by Sungenis, has expunged all references to him from its archives. The neo-Catholic establishment has literally declared Sungenis a non-person, just as it did with Gerry Matatics.

Again, Mr. Sungenis made a conscious decision to not accept correction from his peers as to the egregious errors he was espousing. This was coupled with the unwillingness he continually showed to practice traditional reverent silence on certain issues that he was not properly equipped enough to handle theologically or otherwise. EWTN was simply notified of what had transpired and made the wise decision as did the other giants of the Catholic apologetics industry to separate themselves from Mr. Sungenis' ministry.

Even worse, when Sungenis published a web article discussing the evils of the Talmud, the neo-Catholic establishment promptly denounced him as an anti-Semite—for quoting Popes, Church Fathers and eminent Catholic theologians to demonstrate that these Christophobic writings of the post-Crucifixion Pharisees stand condemned by the Church.

More errors by Mr. Ferrara. Briefly:

1) Mr. Sungenis' piece on the Talmud was an example of the unscholarly gutteral trash that is unfortunately not a rarity amongst radical self-styled "traditionalists". Not a single Talmudic scholar would take such ignorant babblings seriously. Further still, no Catholic who would oppose "the teachings of the Catholic Church according to Jack Chick" should act like a hypocrite and presume that someone as ignorant of the Talmud as Jack Chick is of Catholicism (referring to Mr. Sungenis) would be someone to speak with any degree of authority on the Talmud and what it says.

2) "Popes, Church Fathers and eminent Catholic theologians" is a standard broad bush tactic employed by Mr. Ferrara and others like him. What Mr. Sungenis did was quote a smattering of prooftexts in true Fundamentalist fashion which were on the surface anti-Judaic. Without access to the full texts of the statements, it is difficult to properly ascertain the wider context of the statements though undoubtedly there was animosity towards the Jews.

A true Traditionalist Catholic knows that even the Saints and Doctors were not immune from bouts of imprudent zeal. But leave it to the false "traditionalists" in true Neo-Ultramontaine fashion to canonize every syllable of the past Popes, Church Fathers, and certain Catholic theologians as infallible and irreformable without making the proper distinctions that theologians are required to be make. (I pointed out this flaw in my treatise when discussing the subject of Tradition and the Living Magisterium.)

Certain neo-Catholic enforcers of postconciliar correctness (including Mark Shea and James Scott) have even defended the Talmud against Sungenis, with the aid of a Talmud revisionist website operated by a liberal Jewish apologist.

Any work is entitled to being defended against being slandered. It is akin to every individual - even a heretic or schismatic - having the right to be accurately represented. This is not "post-conciliar correctness" but instead is a good old Traditional Catholic concept known as charity. I realize this virtue is rarer in extremist "trad" circles than Panda Bears are to Chinese Zoos but at the very least it is to be hoped that Mr. Ferrara can come to recognize the concept in the abstract.

Another neo-Catholic enforcer (one John Betts) is organizing an international boycott of Sungenis’ apostolate,

This is all part and parcel to the manner whereby pseudo-Catholics are dealt with when attempts to convert them to Catholic teaching have failed. Again the pattern is (i) convert them; however, if conversion fails, (ii) neutralize them. If neutralization fails, (iii) destroy them.

while yet another—Pete ("the griller") Vere of fame—has contacted Sungenis’ publisher to suggest that it cease publishing Sungenis' books because he is an "anti-Semite."

Pete was not the only one to have done this.

"I'm a canon lawyer!" declared Vere, in an effort to lend weight to his suggestion.

I am sure that some could conceivably not be an antisemite who plagiarizes Nazi war propaganda, reiterates the sort of charges against the Talmud which are prevalent in KKK and Christian Identity sorts and their allies.{3} This also includes groups such as the Institute of Historical Review whom Mr. Sungenis presumably believes is credible based on his verbatim borrowing without approbation of material from this discredited and disingenuous holocaust-denying organization.

John Betts has the articles available in full at his Boycott CAI site and Bill Cork has the side by side excerpts from the original article above. (See the link about plagiaizing Nazi war propaganda for details.) Mr. Sungenis after being caught with his proverbial pants down then proceeded to revise the article without admitting to any wrongdoing whatsoever. I realise that Mr. Ferrara probably has no problems with such sources being referenced - affiliated as he is with Remnant magazine and their pseudo-scholars. But to act as if there was no legitimate cause of concern on the part of Mr. Betts and others is frankly absurd - particularly since so many of us tried for OVER TWO YEARS to stop Mr. Sungenis from falling along this path to self-destruction. And following the mindset of Sun Tzu (which in this case is very similar to the Roman mindset Pete Vere speaks often about), we had to take the next logical step when neutralization failed.

[Addendum: It is hoped by myself and everyone else who has sparred with him on these matters that Mr. Sungenis can come to understand the depth of his errors and scandalous conduct. It is for these alone and not any personal animosity that his friends and associates have taken this approach. It is the responsibility of Catholics to admonish their own when they go astray. Ideally this is done privately while the public front is one of solidarity. Indeed for over two years this was the explicit approach taken. And the measures taken to avoid having to do what was done exhibited both patience and restraint on all of those involved. -ISM]

Incidentally, this is the same Peter Vere who introduced Father John M. Huels to readers of The Wanderer as a canonical "expert" in support of Vere’s (and The Wanderer's) laughable contention that the 1500-year-old traditional rite of Mass in the Roman Church was never an immemorial custom and therefore could be abrogated without specific mention by Paul VI.

Mr. Ferrara's ignorance of canon law and "immemorial custom" is glaringly apparent here. First of all, there was no "immemorial custom" to Quo Primum because it was an act of papal legislation. Upon its promulgation, any recourse to immemorial custom would be superceded by the papal law. Secondly, Mr. Ferrara and others like to forget that prior to Quo Primum there were a variety of usages in the Church which varied from the usages of the Roman Church. Some of these usages were slight variations and others were more significant variations. But upon promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum, these usages could no longer be used.

Subsequent revisions to the missal in short intervals through the mid seventeenth century effectively removed the possibility of inducing a contrary past custom. And the moves to narrow the parameters of what was considered "acceptable" in the areas of liturgical celebration, theological speculation, and devotionals which took root in this period worked to smother any appeals to past custom.

As far as Missale Romanum goes, Pope Paul VI makes it very clear in the text that he was promulgating a revision of the Roman Missal. And the final paragraph of the text is unambiguous:

The effective date for what we have prescribed in this Constitution shall be the First Sunday of Advent of this year, 30 November. We decree that these laws and prescriptions be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by our predecessors and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and amendment.

In short, Pope Paul promulgated this law in spite of the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by his predecessors. This language clearly points to at least an obrogation of the Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum and most likely an abrogation of that legislation. Either way, the legislation is revoked.

Whatever custom had accumulated for the Roman Missal in the form it possessed prior to 1570, the promulgation by St. Pius V of Quo Primum superceded all customs except those specifically enumerated and made the Roman Missal's celebration a law in the universal church. The old missal was not universal in its practice prior to Quo Primum. And as the prerogatives for the older missal prescribed by that Apostolic Constitution were grounded on papal authority and not "immemorial custom", this is why to posit that a liturgical form of celebration which had been imposed on the universal church equates somehow to an "immemorable custom" is the heighth of absurdity.

It is worth noting in brief that there is a lot of frivolous content in Mr. Ferrara's writing that frankly does not warrant a serious response to. (This is trait not uncommon to articles in The Remnant which is basically a very poor man's Wanderer.) Skipping a little down the page we find this from Mr. Ferrara:

Nevertheless, it needs to be said once again that Tom and I have never claimed that those who could be called neo-Catholic in their misguided approach to the crisis are not "real" Catholics. Unlike our accusers, we do not feel ourselves entitled to write fellow Catholics out of the Church. Rather, as the quotation from Johnston illustrates perfectly, we are dealing with liberalized Catholics who have been induced to accept newly emergent attitudes and practices that undermine the very faith they think they are defending. This is why it simply will not do to call these people conservatives.

Of course Mr. Ferrara likes to use his own private judgment to declare which "attitudes and practices" are involved in "undermining the faith". He seems to confuse the faith with its exterior trappings and as a result runs the risk of falling into the same trap with Tridentine trappings that the Pharisees fell into with the man-made traditions of their elders. He further (as was noted above) has no idea what a "conservative" really is.

Now as it was noted above, these so-called "neo-conservatives" that Mr. Ferrara speaks of have no interest in writing anyone out of the Church. That is a decision that the individuals themselves make. Mr. Ferrara has sought to defend as non-schismatic folks who have clearly taken schismatic positions. For to the extent that they "declare themselves in a state of resistance to the teachings of the Council, John Paul II and the conciliar Popes", they are schismatics.

For that is what schism is: refusal to submit to the pope in his capacity as Sovereign Pontiff. And no amount of spin can detract from this. Words after all mean things. To make a "declaration of resistance" to magisterial teachings as Ferrara's clients have meets the qualification for schism under the Church's law. Schism is either (i) the refusal to submit to the Sovereign Pontiff or (ii) refusal to hold communion with those subject to the Sovereign Pontiff. Let us consider these points for a moment and how they pertain to Mr. Ferrara's clients at Remnant.

Even granting that Remnant does not meet the qualification for schism according to the second criteria, they clearly do under the first. And that is all that is needed really as those who are obstinately and culpably resisting the teaching of the popes as well as that of an ecumenical council cannot possibly be in communion with the Catholic Church. But enough on that subject as this response is already overlong. Hopefully it is becoming clear why debating Mr. Ferrara is not beneficial to anyone who has value on their time.

For what, in fact, have they conserved beyond that which the postconciliar revolutionaries have allowed them to keep? And now, mark my words, they’re preparing to defend "obedience" to the insane dictate that it is illicit to kneel for Holy Communion (about which the Vatican will do absolutely nothing beyond a timid recommendation that "sensibilities" be respected).

Liceity is a moveable feast. If the Vatican declares that kneeling for communion is illicit, it is illicit.{4} But this has not to my knowledge happened.

Frankly recipients should receive in accordance with the particular custom of the church they are attending mass at: if it is standing then receive standing (with an appropriate gesture of reverence). If it is kneeling then receive kneeling. I realize there are people who kneel when everyone else is standing but this really does not promote any greater reverence. Instead, it is the individual drawing attention to themselves which is akin to the Pharisees "widening their phylacteries and enlarging their tassels" in order to be "seen by men" (cf. Matthew xxiii,5). I realize that they think they are being more reverent but instead they are falling for the secret sin of pride.{5}

To deliberately go against the manner whereby the particular church administers the sacrament viz standing or kneeling is a sign of hidden pride and manifested spiritual immaturity. But since when has spiritual immaturity been in short supply amongst these "traditionalists" (falsely so-called)??? Indeed as I note in my treatise refuting false "traditionalism", spiritual immaturity is at the root of so much of the problems with their faith weltanschauung. But this response is already long enough so the reader will have to consult my writings template at this weblog for additional information on that.

I know, grand examples; probably excessive rhetoric, but the point is that if indeed our anti-Catholic opponents are committing various sins in the very act of debating us, and if we are playing any part in causing or enabling that, we MUST refrain from this, no matter what the consequences. To not do so (assuming my conclusions, just stated) is to adopt pragmatism or utilitarianism or situation ethics, as opposed to absolute Catholic or biblical ethics.

If I am told that "one person being affected by a public debate is enough to justify it," I reply that we cannot sin or cause another to sin in order to bring this about. On the other hand, if we do the right thing, there will be numbers; that just isn't the ultimate criteria we use to judge evangelistic "success." We proclaim the truth - come whatever may. Sometimes we will get results (Elijah); sometimes we won't (Jeremiah). [Dave Armstrong: Ibid.]


{1} Once that starts, as far as I am concerned, the debate is over and the person loses. And of course the gloves can come off at that point in good conscience as far as I am concerned.

{2} If he had written them in the capacity of a private theologian. As they were penned by or approved in the name of the Pope of course, the Fathers and Doctors noted would have bitten their tongues and submitted with due reverence and docility. (Also known as Traditional obedience.)

{3} Such as Rev. Richard Butler of Hayden Lake, Idaho, Gordon "Jack" Mohr of the Anglo-Israel-Identity Movement, and David Duke.

{4} Much as the Vatican declared in the Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum of 1570 that the usage of any missal except the Roman Missal in dioceses where there was less than a two hundred year old continuous usage was illicit. I am sure there were not a few prelates who resisted Pope St. Pius V for this legislation and indeed who "resisted to the face" its implementation. Whatever their personal opinions were, they were as out of line opposing Pius V as the self-styled "traditionalists" are opposing the Second Vatican Council and the authority of the post Pius XII popes.

{5} Likewise this is the case for the one who in a church where they administer communion kneeling and on the tongue who stands by the rail and extends their hands to receive. In both cases the principle is the same.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2003

The Lidless Eye Inquisition weblog has been updated. I also added a message box format to that weblog a few days ago.


Sunday, May 04, 2003

I have been remiss in failing to note that I finished the reformatting and revision of my old essay on justification. It was finished last month and posted to the web back on May 2nd. I have been working a bit on my series on Church confessions of faith in the interim. Hopefully I will blog a little this week unlike last week.

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