Friday, August 06, 2004

Swift Boat Veterans For Truth on Kerry's Fitness To Be President of the United States

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My score on the John Kerry Loyalty Quiz

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As another email was received challenging my attribution of one of this weblog posts to GK Chesterton, I will be responding to this sometime (I hope) before the weekend is over. In the meantime though, a poem from the multitalented GK Chesterton. Enjoy!!!

Wine and Water

OLD Noah he had an ostrich farm and fowls on the largest scale,
He ate his egg with a ladle in a egg-cup big as a pail.
And the soup he took was Elephant Soup and the fish he took was Whale.
But they all were small to the cellar he took when he set out to sail,
And Noah he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine,
'I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine.'

The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell blinding off the brink
As if it would wash the stars away as suds go down a sink,
The seven heavens came roaring down for the throats of hell to drink,
And Noah he cocked his eye and said, 'It looks like rain, I think.
The water has drowned the Matterhorn as deep as a Mendip mine,
But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine.'

But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned; on tipsy feet we trod.
Till a great big black teetotaller was sent to us for a rod,
And you can't get wine at a P.S.A., or chapel, or Eisteddfod,
For the Curse of Water has come again because of the wrath of God,
And water is on the Bishop's board and the Higher Thinker's shrine,
But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine. [G. K. Chesterton]

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Miscellaneous Mutterings on the Mental Disorder of Liberalism, Political Propaganda, Etc.

this is an audio post - click to play

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

"One From the Vault" Dept.
(On Justification in Romans)

This post is one which was not in the proverbial "vault" for too long: twelve days to be exact. Nonetheless, We have not discussed justification subject matter in public forums for some time so have decided to do so at this time. The words of the questioner will be in black. Our words will be posted in dark hard magenta with any sources in the material posted in dark hard azure font. Without further ado, let us get to the material at hand...

Is this pertaining to personal sin or original sin?

It pertains more in my view to the Jew-Greek distinction that Paul makes so prevalently in the first four chapters of Romans. With Romans iii,23, it needs to be read in the context of "what advantage then remains of the Jew, or what then is the use of circumcision?" (cf. Romans iii,1). To follow the thread of thought of Romans, Paul starts off with a greeting and an ardent wish to see the Roman community. From there, he sketches out the theme of the entire epistle in chapter 1 verses 16 and 17 which read as follows:

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, to Jew first and then to Greek. For in it the justice of God is revealed from faith unto faith as it is written 'He who is just lives by faith'" (Romans i,16-17).

In a nutshell, that is the entire thrust of the epistle right there. If you follow the sequence, Paul goes on from there to explain that the existence of God is made manifest in creation itself and those who choose to ignore this do so at their own peril because God will leave them to their own lusts to consume them (cf. i,18ff).

Then, Paul explains in chapter 2 that all will be rewarded or punished based on whether or not they do good -whether they be Jew or Greek. (In this context, Jew and Greek can be seen as referring to "the people of the covenant" and "those not of the covenant.") He makes the note here that such judgments will be "without respect of persons" (cf. Romans ii,1-11). He clarifies this by making the distinction again -this time between Jew and Gentiles starting from verse 12 onward. (By doing this, Paul would seem to make it clear that "Greek" and "Gentile" are one and the same in his thinking.)

From that point (Rom. ii,12), Paul moves onto to state that Gentiles will be rewarded or punished by their fidelity or lack thereof to the law which is written in their hearts: their doing what the Law prescribes despite not having the Law being a witness for them. In short, "it is not the hearers of the Law who are just in God's eyes but the doers of the Law who will be justified" (cf. Rom. ii,13). Paul after noting these things about the Gentiles, makes it clear that the Jews who boast in the Law yet who transgress the same Law will be judged by the Law as transgressors (cf. Rom. ii,17-24).

Then, Paul reiterates the core theme of Romans for a second time in Romans ii,25ff and it is essentially summed up in verses 28-30. From there, Paul feels called to answer objections the Jews may have to any advantages of being Jewish since Gentiles can be saved as well. (Those familiar with ecclesiological struggles in the past half century or more with the Feeneyites see this same theme being played out in the case of certain Catholics.)

Paul in chapter three, seeks to answer objections to those who would assert that there is no advantage to being Jewish or to being circumcised (iii,1-8). From there, he moves on to point out that all -Jews and Greeks alike- are under sin: quoting one of the Psalms on this matter (iii,9-18). That brings us up to iii,18 which is the point I believe where we have to start to get the proper context of iii,23.

Paul starts at that point speaking of the Law and the works of the Law. He is still speaking on these themes when chapter 3 ends. It is therefore, a rather arbitrary notion that he deviates from that theme in the interim thirteen verses when the same subject matter is discussed in (i) verse 20 with "the works of the Law", (ii) verse 21 with "God's justice [being] made manifest independently of the Law and attested to by the Law and Prophets", (iii) verse 22 where Paul again asserts that justice is by faith without distinction.

Thus, to see verse 23's "all have sinned" apart from the clear injunction "Jews and Greeks are all under sin" (cf. v.9) and Paul quoting a healthy portion of a Psalm to substantiate this point (v. 10-18) is to not consider the context of the statement at all but to instead read into the text one's own theological preferences.

Finally, verses 24-26 in speaking of all being in need of God's grace and all being justified freely by His grace results in Paul again turning to the Jew and asking him essentially "where therefore can YOU boast???" (cf. v. 27). He makes it clear at that point that justification is by faith apart from the works of the Law (v. 28).

[T]he proof that this interpretation is correct is one that XXX has so often pointed out in his own work on justification: Paul's question in verse 29 where he asks "Is God the God of the Jews only, and not of the Gentiles also? Indeed of the Gentiles also." The final two verses again summarize the principle that all will be judged by faith -be they circumcised or not (v. 30) and that by this faith, the Law is not destroyed but instead is established (v. 31). [C]hapter four provides a case study in how this faith establishes the Law but I have noted enough here already. For more on the matter, I recommend reading my essay on justification by faith.

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"Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain Redux" Dept.

This post is a continuation of sorts from some material posted yesterday to this weblog on certain Democratic Senators who have engaged in blatant contradictions on WMD's, their assessment of the danger posted to America by Iraq prior to March 17, 2003, and the necessity of dealing with Saddam Hussein.

To add to the passages cited there, I supply this link where not only the stuff I posted yesterday is contained but there are also similar quotes from other Democratic Senators or leaders. The persons on the list include:

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) circa 2002
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) circa 2002
Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) circa 2002
Senator Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) circa 1998
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) circa 2002
Madeline Albright circa 1998 and 1999{1}
Sandy Berger circa 1998{2}
President Clinton circa 1998{3}

I thank Glen Beck not only for those quote but also for supplying links to the sources of the quotes to substantiate my previous usage of some of them. Finally, to those who complain about the time it is taking in Iraq, I supply the following courtesy of another email received earlier today:

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but...

It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51 day operation.

We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Teddy Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.

It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!

So those who complain about the time this war is taking can put those facts in your pipes and smoke them!!!


{1} Both quotes are from her in her capacity as Secretary of State for President Clinton.

{2} Mr. Berger's quote is from him in his capacity as National Security Advisor to President Clinton.

{3} I remind you, these quotes were prior to the election of President George W. Bush.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Miscellaneous Mutterings on Michael Moore and Modern Ways to be Anti-Utility Oriented

this is an audio post - click to play

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More on President Bush and Arguments For His Re-Election:

Though the case for re-electing President George W. Bush is a decent one, it is by no means an airtight one as has been noted on not a few occasions at this humble weblog.{1} Nonetheless, most of the arguments against him are so patently stupid and illogical that it is difficult to take those who utilize them seriously. There is, however, an occasional self-admitted liberal who is willing to wrestle with their reactionary nature against President Bush and focus (however uncomfortably for them) on the real core issue defining the Bush presidency.{2} A liberal of breathtaking honesty and concern for principles deserves to be noted when they are discovered and in Tom Junod, we have such a liberal.

Mr. Junod's August 1, 2004 column The Case for George W. Bush (i.e., what if he's right?) is worth your time to read -regardless of your personal feelings for the President. We at Rerum Novarum do not completely concur with the text of the above article but (i) there is concurrence with a fair amount of it and (ii) it is imperative for those who froth at the mouth about President Bush to see how to honestly interact with the complex elements that go into the Bush weltanschauung.

In summary, We recommend this article concurrent with the manner outlined in this weblog's disclaimer on essay approval all things to the contrary notwithstanding.


{1} For some of my previous comments on this subject, see this link, this link, and this link.

{2} This is arguably the strongest defense one can make for Bush in this election cycle.

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"Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain" Dept.
(On Democrat Lies and WMD's)

This is part of an email received this morning where the oft-attested assertion that the Democrats have flip flopped on the WMD subject has some supporting evidence presented to your humble servant. Far be it from Us at Rerum Novarum to fail to supply these quotes for you the reader who have Democratic sheep in your family who need rhetorical (among other kinds of) shearing:

"[We] urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." [Letter to President Clinton signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry (D-MA), and others Oct. 9, 1998]

Senators Carl Levin, Tom Dascle, and John Kerry are not telling us these things today; indeed they saying the exact opposite if We are not mistaken.

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." [Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sept. 27, 2002]

Senator Ted Kennedy today is not telling us these things now; indeed he is saying the exact opposite if We are not mistaken.

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." [Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA), Oct. 9, 2002]

Senator John Kerry today is not telling us these things now; indeed he is saying the exact opposite if We are not mistaken.

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." [Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Oct 10, 2002]

Senator Hillary Clinton today is not telling us these things now; indeed she is saying the exact opposite if We are not mistaken.

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime .... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ...And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction...So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real." [Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA), Jan. 23. 2003]

Senator John Kerry today is not telling us these things now; indeed he is saying the exact opposite if We are not mistaken. Let us recap briefly.

There is evidence to substantiate the assertion that the following Democratic Senate leaders believed prior to March 17, 2003 that Saddam Hussein had or was obtaining the capability for WMD's and posed a real thread to America:

---Senator John Kerry (1998, 2002, pre-March 2003)

---Senator Tom Daschle (199 8)

---Senator Carl Levin (1998)

---Senator Hillary Clinton (2002)

---Senator Ted Kennedy (2002)

But now, after no incontrovertible evidence of WMD's have been found (thus far), and as the 2004 election is upon us soon, the following Democratic Senators are now claiming that (i) President Bush lied about the presence of WMD's in Iraq (ii) there was never any WMD's, and (iii) President Bush took us to war unnecessarily:

---Senator John Kerry

---Senator Tom Daschle

---Senator Carl Levin

---Senator Hillary Clinton

---Senator Ted Kennedy

Your humble servant at Rerum Novarum -seeing a clear violation of the Law of Non-Contradiction in the above situation must ask you readers these questions:

1) Were the above "esteemed Senators" (falsely so-called) lying prior to March 17, 2003 or did they tell the truth then and start lying on these matters since March 17, 2003???

2) If the above "esteemed Senators" (falsely so-called) were lying prior to March 17, 2003, why should we trust them to tell us the truth now???

3) If the above "esteemed Senators" (falsely so-called) were telling the truth prior to March 17, 2003, then they are quite evidently lying now. Why therefore should we trust them now???

Oh what a tangled web they weave...

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"Michelle Malkin" Dept.
(A Rerum Novarum Triple Slam)

The lovely and intelligent Michelle Malkin has a history of being quite politically incorrect. Indeed, in her latest column she has put together a list of questions for asking journalists -particularly those of colour. The way to score it is to give oneself (or the journalist being asked the questions) five points for every "yes" answer they give. Here are the questions of the quiz:

1. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life.
2. I think my taxes are too high.
3. I supported Bill Clinton's impeachment.
4. I voted for President Bush in 2000.
5. I am a gun owner.
6. I support school voucher programs.
7. I oppose condom distribution in public schools.
8. I oppose bilingual education.
9. I oppose gay marriage.
10. I want Social Security privatized.
11. I believe racial profiling at airports is common sense.
12. I shop at Wal-Mart.
13. I enjoy talk radio.
14. I am annoyed when news editors substitute the phrase "undocumented person" for "illegal alien."
15. I do not believe the phrase "a chink in the armor" is offensive.
16. I eat meat.
17. I believe O.J. Simpson was guilty.
18. I cheered when I learned that Saddam Hussein had been captured.
19. I cry when I hear "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood.
20. I don't believe the New York Times.

Basically, I score a 90 on that quiz.{1}

My score: 100. Natch!

And as is usually the case with women such as this, they are married. Typical...

Also, Michelle will be in Seattle this week to promote her new book In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling"in World War II and the War on Terror. The launch of her book will officially will August 9th.

As one who has long supported the concept of internment during a time of war or other extraordinary circumstances,{2} I find this subject gutsy to discuss publicly. I certainly have never mentioned it publicly prior to now but then again, I have good reason for only discussing this matter privately prior to this time.{3} You see, my tan notwithstanding, I am (as my profile picture well illustrates) what is called a "white man." Fewer subjects could get someone of my skin hue crucified faster than coming out in support of internment measures in any circumstances.

The problem with too many people is that they either do not think or they suffer from mental disorders such as extreme liberalism or fundamentalism{4} which prevent them from being able to adequately utilize the tools of logic and reason. (Whereby to discuss subjects such as this intelligently and dispassionately.) And of course there is the tarbaby of racism{5} that a subject such as this inevitably creates in the minds of those who are emotionally overreactive mental midgets. I mean let us be honest here: if Michelle was a white man discussing this subject, she would be branded a racist.{6} Thankfully, she has two assets in her camp on this one being both female and non-white. Not that the media will go easy on her anyway of course but she has shown a trackrecord of being able to defend herself and do so admirably so she will be quite alright. And of course she will get plenty of support from likeminded readers of her work such as your humble servant. But I digress.

Interestingly enough, Michelle will be giving a talk on Friday, Aug. 6 at 7 pm. The location of the talk (Cedar Park Church in Bothell) is about fifteen-twenty minutes from where I am writing this message so I will try to make it there on Friday, business schedule and all permitting.

And finally, Michelle after a bad situation with the comments boxes at her weblog has vindicated (to some extent) some of the reasons why your humble servant -while he will utilize other means of allowing readers to express their opinions on this weblog- will nonetheless not have comments boxes at this weblog.


{1} I *have* voted for Democrats before -almost always they were running unopposed but there was once when that was not the case: something which was not to my credit. However, lest people misconstrue this as me voting for Republicans all the time, I have (and do) vote for Libertarians, Independents, and others on occasion as well. (Remember, I have not been a Republican for nearly eight years now.) On the second point where my score diverges from Michelle's I do not cry when I hear the Lee Greenwood song but it does nonetheless move me. Other than that, I have a perfect score on the quiz.

{2} I am actually willing to go beyond that point and to support the internment of those with AIDS who knowing that they are infected yet choose anyway to engage in behaviour that puts others at risk of catching the disease. (I emphasize the key clarifying phrase above because otherwise those with short attention spans and who are serial prooftexters and/or mental midgets will miss my carefully qualified statement and assert erroneously that I support internment to a much wider degree than I have actually said I do.) In my view, this position is only common sense and it falls under the rubrics of taking into concern the common good of society's and right public order over and above an individual assertion of "rights." But common sense not being so common anymore, it bears inculcating these points yet again in brief.

{3} But of course with Ms. Malkin in my corner, it is a safer subject for me to discuss because she does her homework. She is one of the few writers whose work I will recommend unread and with this book out now, I can readily point to it and tell those critical of my basic position to educate themselves on the matter before bothering me about it. (And of course I will be buying and reading this book.)

{4} The fundamentalist sorts would probably support this measure but in many cases it would not be for the right reasons.

{5} Those who are not familiar with this analogy need to read up on the Disney movie on Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby - a brief exposition of which can be read HERE.

{6} Though some of the elitist minorities who traffic in race pimping may well brand her with this label anyway. After all, the Animal Farm dictum "all creatures are equal but some are more equal than others" applies here in spades and do not forget it.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

The Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG has been updated.

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Sunday, August 01, 2004

this is an audio post - click to play

Miscellaneous Articles Worth a Read:
(With commentary from your host at Rerum Novarum)

The following are two articles that are in my humble opinion of a "must read" status. I will comment on them briefly after posting the links.

If the Dead Could Talk

Victor Davis Hanson writes an article you must read my friends. If the idiotic liberal propagandists have your goat as much as they do mine, the above piece explains in summary detail why they are so wrong and why their approach to the war on terror (and war in general) is an insult to previous generations whose sacrifices paved the way for our modern abundance. (And the political apathy that in many cases accompanies it.)

Michael Savage has noted in a memorable quip that "if these people were running things during WWII, we would all be speaking German today or be a lampshade." Hanson's article buttresses that assertion well -indeed his statement about preferring the wisdom of the noble dead to the ignorance of the shameful living is one that we all should take to heart: even those of us who have a healthy respect for those great people who made the ultimate sacrifice. (May they all rest in peace.)

In short, do as I have done and print that article out and keep it handy with the upcoming election being imminent my friends. I am not saying the article is perfect (it is not) but it is brief and it strikes so many targets cleanly and in a pithy manner that it is worth having in one's arsenal.

Has the counter-revolution begun?

This writer has often noted in the years since he was an avid Buchanan supporter{1} that Patrick J. Buchanan is a streaky kind of writer. I say this in the sense that when he is on, he is quite often not merely on target but indeed en fuego.{2} He opines in the above article that Congress may be about to begin reining in the Supreme Court using what he claims is an oft-neglected weapon from the US Constitution. Interestingly enough, your humble servant recently dialogued on this very weblog on the subject Buchanan raises as a subtext of a larger discussion theme.{3} I explained there why I am not sure this weapon is as sharp as some make it out to be;{4} however I am not a professional constitutional scholar so I may simply -out of a desire to avoid errors of an opposing extreme- be perhaps a bit overly cautious here.

In closing, though Buchanan is a streaky shooter, as I noted above, when he is on, he tends to get it on the bullseye. I for one hope that with the above article that his usual marksmenship when on target presents itself. (As that could be some of the best news to come out of Washington in a long time.)


{1} A subject I have gone over elsewhere on this weblog but at the moment do not have the time to track down the links. (If interested, peruse the archives for those posts.)

{2} Whereas when he is off, he tends to miss just as consistently.

{3} Dialogue With an Unidentified Self-Identified "Traditionalist": (On Marriage, the Supreme Court, Law in General, Etc.)

{4} It would seem to me that the legislature would have the authority as you note to declare a certain judgment by the Supreme Court that so obviously controverted the Constitution as understood by the Framers* a kind of decree akin to church tribunal declaration of nullity of a marriage. It would essentially be a declaration that the decision so outlined was null and void. And it bears noting that as the judiciary requires the executive branch to enforce its decrees, that a declaration of nullity as I outlined which passed both houses of the legislature and was signed by the President would effectively put a check on the Supreme Court. [Excerpt from the post in footnote three]

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On George Sims Johnston's Article "After the Council: Living Vatican II":
(Musings of your weblog host at Rerum Novarum)

There has been a predictable barrage of anger at a recent George Sims Johnston Crisis article. Having read the article, I find little of real criticism about it in its essential outlines. However, in the area of presentation --and some of Mr. Johnston's presuppositions-- there is no shortage of room to be critical. This post will endeavour to do this out of a conscious sense of fair play and the recognition that objections -even those of the most veneer kind- are seldom without some degree of validity to them.

To start with, the manner whereby Mr. Johnston seems to view some of his audience is in need of being mentioned. I do think the "training wheels" analogy of pre-Vatican II Catholics that Mr. Johnston used to explain some prevalent outlooks in the period prior to the Council was (to put it mildly) inappropriate. Mr. Johnston's intention seems was to point out that the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council called much more explicitly for lay involvement than was previously the case. There is a significant amount of truth in this assertion. Likewise, there is a significant degree of merit in pointing out that prior to Vatican II, the Tridentine model of the church had many cases where there was an ever-widening disconnect between the church at different levels -particularly the church and the laity.{1} The model of the Church commonly espoused was certainly more medieval essentially -and not in many respects in the best way. It is also undeniable that the over-focus on rules and disciplines after Trent was internally detrimental.{2} As I noted in an essay written earlier this year:

[I]n light of many unsavoury elements that had been prevalent in various sectors of Church for a long time--such as an acute anti-intellectualism, a profound suspicion of science and scholarship, a loss of the sense of the local church and local customs, and also an unhealthy and untraditional legalistic outlook-- the credibility of the faith to anyone whose head was not buried in the sand was clearly at stake. For these and other reasons, it was long overdue for the Church to once again interact with the world - to engage critically and credibly the philosophical trends that had for a couple of centuries been undermining society. This kind of critical engagement was something that --with few notable exceptions--had been neglected in the Church for some time. (Particularly since the so-called "enlightenment" period onward.) [I. Shawn McElhinney: excerpt from the essay The 'Tradition is Opposed to Novelty' Canard (c. 2004)]

It appears that Mr. Johnston was attempting to enunciate points parallelling the above ones in his article. I am however not pleased at all with his apparent view that prior generations did not "take their vocations as Christians seriously." One can point to problematical approaches and methodology without at the same time blaming those who in good faith utilized them.

Mr. Johnston appears to blame the people themselves and then writes about such people needing to "remove their training wheels." I find this condescending manner to be frankly apalling. Mr. Johnston was obviously trying to reach people of various dispositions with his article -the flow of the text and the divers subjects touched on makes this clear. But in utilizing this kind of mocking manner, he will only put off those who call themselves "traditionalists."

How does he expect people of good will such as Jeff Culbreath, Charles de Nunzio, Kevin Tierney, Mark Cameron or others who are inclined towards a presumed "traditionalist' weltanschauung to be persuaded by his arguments when he takes this kind of dismissive tactic with them??? Indeed I am aware of certain periodicals or publications that cater to that outlook which have already seized on this demeaning caricature and are using it to dismiss the article wholesale. Well done Mr. Johnston, you have alienated some of those you were trying to reach. There is one additional point to touch on at this time and then this post will be concluded: Mr. Johnston's reference to the aggiornamento of Vatican II as called for by Pope John XXIII of blessed memory.

Yes aggiornamento as a concept was part of the approach taken with Vatican II. Mr. Johnston refers to the term twice -once in quoting the philosophical titan Jacques Maritain. However, it was not aggiornamento for its own sake which was the goal of Vatican II. Instead, Vatican II was the culmination of a methodology of aggiornamento through a ressourcement approach: a point I have gone over at sundry times and in divers manners at this humble weblog.{3}

Referring to aggiornamento apart from ressourcement is to miss the forest for the trees.{4} That to me is a noticeable weakness of the article. Methodologically though, it is not the most significant problem. I would submit that the most significant problem with the article is with fostering an apparent contempt for those who repine in varying ways for the so-called "good old days."{5} Mr. Johnston by this approach detracts significantly from an otherwise pretty on target article and succeeds only in alienating a portion of whom he was trying to reach: honest Catholics of good-will who are inclined in various ways towards forms of what is often (legitimately or otherwise) called Traditionalism.

Though he attempts to cover his tracks later on in the piece, the damage has already been done by that point. Because by then, later admissions that there were some "good and holy Catholics in the old days—even some saints" sound pretty hollow when Mr. Johnston has essentially have consigned the beliefs and practices of these same people as childish earlier in the article.{6} Nor will on target admissions along the lines of "since the council we have lost much that is good" be picked up by the bulk of these people. No, they will instead focus on the condescending inferences to them as "immature children" and everything of worth in Mr. Johnston's article will be ignored.

Again, this is not the tone deaf Remnant/SSPX/SSPV/CAItanic crowd we are talking about here --those who are not going to listen except to find tidbits in your work to caricature in their building of strawmen.{7} No, this is those who are Indult-goers trying their best to sort out a lot of what has been thrust upon them as "truth." By alienating them, Mr. Johnston turn off a good portion of people who are our allies in this fight. It is the hope of this commentator that Mr. Johnston tries to mend these fences before he is written off as a quack propagandist by these people -something that they are not without some reason for doing as long as Mr. Johnston does not address these points in a subsequent article or public clarification.


{1} Or as has been noted elsewhere in work from the present writer:

The ghetto image of the Church is not wrong; it is incomplete. Wh at it lacks is a balanced understanding of the Church’s responsibility towards the world. The dynamic outward thrust of the apostolic Church, which remained strong for centuries, begin to die down noticeably after the Reformation. It could not have been otherwise. When a man’s house is on fire, he is in no position to host the neighbours. When the Protestant break occurred, the Church had to bend all of its energies to shore up crumbling foundations.

Inevitably, however, the Catholic Church yielded more and more to isolationism. It became a ghetto closed in on itself. The "barque of Peter" was captained single-handedly by the pope. The bishops were viewed as the officers of the ship and priests and religious as the crew. Where did the laity fit into the picture? Here is the rub. The laity were viewed as paying passengers. They had no active role in the Church. As one bishop put it at the Second Vatican Council, the laity were expected only to pay, pray, and obey. [Fr. Melvin L. Farrell's Theology for Parents and Teachers pgs. 18-19; 20 circa 1972 as quoted in the coauthored project Detection and Overthrow of the 'Traditionalist Catholics' Falsely So-Called from Part 3, Section 3 written by I. Shawn McElhinney (c. 2000, rev. 2003)]

{2} After a long period of uncritical acceptance of this kind of "one size fits all" thinking.

{3} Two examples of many which could be noted are this post on ecclesiological models -as an example of these principles applied to a particular subject- and this post where the main reforming forces behind the Council are discussed in brief along with other subjects.

{4} The late great Jacques Maritain was a philosopher who was quite influenced by ressourcement methodology lest anyone wonder.

{5} In many cases it is a kind of misplaced nostalgia but I do believe the integral human desire for a sense of order seeks the latter in those things where it either exists or is preceived to exist. This accounts in my view for part of the reason why many who are attracted to the so-called "traditionalist" weltanschauung are converts to Catholicism from Protestantism. (And why many Catholics who were "catechized" in the CCD wasteland of the 1970's and 1980's also gravitate towards this outlook.)

{6} That is what Mr. Johnston does with his "training wheels" analogy and references to the Council being a call to "spiritual maturity" phrased in a manner that appears to dichotomize between pre and post Vatican II as eras of "childish spiritually immature" and "grownup spiritually mature" respectively.

{7} This is something that I am not unfamiliar with seeing done woth my own work by these kinds of people I might add.

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