Friday, September 20, 2019

Seahawks' DK Metcalf is the big receiver Pete Carroll always wanted

For those who need an update on these things, the Democratic Presidential field is down to 19 candidates now. Here is a brief list of those who have dropped out so far:

Richard Ojeda (January 25, 2019)
Eric Swalwell (July 8, 2019)
Mike Gravel (August 6, 2019)
John Hinckenlooper (August 15, 2019)
Jay Inslee (August 21, 2019)
Seth Moulton (August 23, 2019)
Kirsten Gillibrand (August 28, 2019)
Bill de Blasio (September 20, 2019)
Pope Francis Addresses Criticism of His Pontificate and Discusses ‘Schism

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Points to Ponder:

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. [John Burrows]
Briefly on Sola Traditio and the Magisterium:

As I have seen variations of this problem over the years in various formats and contexts, I am posting here something written by yours truly as a recent response to certain misunderstandings and troubling methods of interpretation posted to the social media site of someone who dabbles in what some call traditionalism.

With all due respect, I do not see how in the above collection of quotes you are not engaging in a form of Sola Traditio whereby you purport to judge what is and is not Tradition or what is or is not properly speaking magisterial in the same way Protestants do with the Bible and Sola Scriptura.

We are supposed to believe the Bible is as St. Peter said "containing many things difficult to understand which the unlearned and unstable wrest to their own destruction" (cf. 2 Peter 1:20ff) but magisterial texts in isolation can be easily understood and do not have the same pitfalls for those who are themselves unlearned in such things as general norms of theological interpretation, understanding historical context, etc? And of course the self-proclaimed "conservatives", "traditionalists", etc are never admitting of their own unlearnedness and instability on these matters!

As for as the "novelty is our out" claim, you then have to explain how a purported "novelty" becomes sufficiently established to no longer be considered such as virtually everything you now consider Traditional or otherwise immutable was at one point in time a novelty. In short, you need a better standard than merely what is and is not a purported "novelty." You would also do well to remember the following words from Pope Leo XIII:

"[I]t is to give proof of a submission which is far from sincere to set up some kind of opposition between one Pontiff and another. Those who, faced with two differing directives, reject the present one to hold to the past, are not giving proof of obedience to the authority which has the right and duty to guide them."

You also focus far too much on what is infallible and non-infallible. Apart from the fact that most Catholics do not understand well the subject of infallibility, "non-infallible does not ipso facto mean "containing errors." If your criteria of what requires assent of any form is what is or is not "infallible", then you run afoul of magisterial teaching on what is and is not requiring of assent.

There are recognized ways to approach areas of difficulty but I see none of them emphasized in what you write above.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Points to Ponder:

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. [Albert Camus]
Seahawks defense the lone traditionalist in Week 1
On the Society of St. Pius X, Their Status, Diplomacy, Etc.:

My words will be in regular font. Without further ado...

So let me make sure I have this right:

1) You are critical of Pope Francis for supposedly saying he is not afraid of a schism in the Church.


2) You are often lionizing the schismatic Lefebvre on your page.

Sounds like you are trying to have it both ways.

supposedly saying? He said it. Its not even a question. Francis and benedict were clear that Lefebvre wasnt schismatic.

I noticed that you neglected to mention Pope St. John Paul II who explicitly declared in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre committed a schismatic act on June 30, 1988: a stance confirmed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in July of 1988 in an address to the bishops of Chile where he explicitly referred to "the schism of Lefebvre." Archbishop Lefebvre died in 1991 and Pope Benedict XVI never reversed the position he took as Cardinal Ratzinger. Pope Francis has not said anything about Lefebvre. was an objectively schematic act...sure...since 2000 rome has said the schismatic act did not equal a formal schism...successive heads of ED said that...people representing francis said it when visiting sspx...etc...its a 20 year long gone idea that there was a schism...there was a tense situation...distance distant from the germans...distance one knows where the chips have fallen until the dust settles...for 20 years rome has ceased to call it a schism...

Nice try but this does not fly. The idea that just because for diplomatic reasons Rome through the Ecclesia Dei has not referred to them as schismatic does not mean that they are not (and that Lefebvre was not). Case in point: the reconciliation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer. They were formed in 1987 and actually approached Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988 for his blessing (which he gave). When Lefebvre went off the rails in 1988, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer followed him. After nearly two decades in the ecclesial wilderness, in 2007, they took the occasion of the issuing of the Motu Proprio Summorem Pontificum to approach Pope Benedict XVI for reconciliation and after a process he accepted. Upon returning to full ecclesial communion, the very document regularizing them in the official text mentions the ending of their "schismatic state."

It is not unusual for diplomatic or tactical reasons to soft pedal the language in many respects but in circumstances like this, it is stated more bluntly. For example, when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller explained it as follows:

"The canonical excommunication of the bishops for their illegal ordinations was revoked, but a de facto sacramental excommunication remains for their schism; they put themselves out of communion with the Church. After that we are not closing the door and never will, but we are inviting them to be reconciled. But they too must change their attitude, accept the conditions of the Catholic Church, and the Supreme Pontiff as the definitive criterion for membership." [Cardinal Gerhard Mueller: Interview with Corriere della Sera (circa December 22, 2013)]

Or if that is not recent enough for you, consider this statement from the former head of the Vatican Apostolic Signatura as recently as 2017:

"[D]espite the various arguments surrounding the question, the fact of the matter is that the Priestly Society of St. Pius X is in schism since the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ordained four bishops without the mandate of the Roman Pontiff. 
And so it is not legitimate to attend Mass or to receive the sacraments in a church that’s under the direction of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.
Having said that, we, part of the kind of general confusion in the Church has also entered into this question because the Holy Father has given the priests of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X faculties to celebrate validly marriages, licitly and validly. But there is no canonical explanation for it, and it is simply an anomaly. 
And, also Pope Benedict XVI, before his abdication, he lifted the excommunication of the four bishops who were ordained without the papal mandate, but, he, they hadn’t, the requirement for having an excommunication lifted is that a person has withdrawn from his contumacy and now desires to be fully reconciled with the Church but in fact that hasn’t happened, and so that’s another bit of an anomalous situation 
They’re no longer excommunicated, but they’re also not in regular communion with the Catholic Church. 
And so the whole thing is very complicated, but I would say to you that, I don’t think it’s a good sign to receive sacraments in the Priestly Society of St. Pius X because that’s not helping them to, first of all, the sacraments are not celebrated licitly. They’re valid, there’s no question about it if the priests are validly ordained, but it’s not a, it’s a countersign to the communion of the Church. Instead we should be encouraging the members of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X to be reconciled with the Church." [Cardinal Raymond Burke: Sacred Liturgy Conference in Medford, Oregon Q&A Session (circa July 15, 2017)]

With all due respect, I would advise you not to not engage in cafeteria style picking and choosing in these areas based on your personal whims or inclinations. Otherwise you are doing nothing different than the Protestants.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Briefly on Pope Francis, Handling Difficulties, Principles of Dialogue, Etc:

My words will be in regular font. Without further ado...

no one ever knows what the Pope is saying

Actually, I have as a rule not found it difficult to figure out either what the Pope is saying or how it coheres within the broader Catholic tradition. The good priest would do well to remember these words from Donum Veritatis -though directed towards theologians, the words of this Instruction are no less important for regular layfolk as well (all emphasis is mine):

"...If, despite a loyal effort on the theologian's part, the difficulties persist, the theologian has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments. 
In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the "mass media", but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth..."

"Donum Veritatis" is referring to legitimate disagreement with official (but undogmatic) Church teaching, not to public correction of heretical or otherwise destructive hierarchs, particularly those with diarrhea of the mouth who have already, and on numerous occasions, obstinately refused to entertain private corrections, or private invitations to clarification and self-correction.

XXXXXX while speaking of their willingness to dialogue lol

You cannot publicly trash your perceived enemies -- particularly when the enemies in question are orthodox Catholics and objectively innocent of wrong-doing -- and then demand that any and all retort must be made privately

Donum Veritatis is a text outlining the ecclesial vocation of the theologian. The principles involved in the Instruction however apply across the board as there are not more restrictions on these matters applied to theologians whereas the much more ignorant (as a rule) laity are given carte blanche to kvetch and whine publicly about every little matter. There is an acceptable and unacceptable manner for dealing with teachings as well as prudential interventions. Unfortunately, not a few Catholics who loudly proclaim themselves "orthodox" and/or "traditional" far too often run afoul in these areas and are as stubborn about being corrected here as they are in certain unorthodox positions they espouse. If their attitude was more humble and sincere, it would be a different story but alas the latter are the exception in More Orthodox Than Thou circles, not the rule. (At least online anyway.)

As far as "publicly trash[ing] perceived enemies", so-called "traditionalists" do so online all the time. So much so that it is extremely difficult oftentimes to separate this attitude from any potential points of value they might on occasion make. And the orthodoxy of many (thankfully not all) of them can very easily be questioned, particularly when they ignore general principles of traditional Catholic spiritual instruction while simultaneously claiming to be Traditional. Actions after all speak louder than words.

As for "willingness to dialogue", the latter presupposes by its very nature "the good will of both parties to the dialogue" (cf. Ecclesiam Suam 81,3). Sadly, a lot of folks have shown publicly and objectively that they lack such good will; ergo, they by their actions and statements forfeit this general courtesy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Points to Ponder:

"[I]f we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power. And atheism leads to flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth." [Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (circa December 24, 2009)]

Friday, September 06, 2019

Ultrabriefly on Pope Francis and Amoris Laetitia:

This is a follow up to the thread located HERE. My words will be in regular font. Without further ado...

When Francis published Amoris Laetitia, which at best, at least floated several heretical positions,

There is nothing heretical in Amoris Laetitia.{1}

cardinals and bishops did not assault him, but respectfully asked for clarity of teaching in the Dubia.

The Dubia was a less than sincere inquiry for reasons I explained in detail a couple years ago.{2}

Not only has Francis never responded to the respectful questions, but he has published his own heretical interpretation of AL.

See my first point.


{1} See these links for details:

Thursday, September 05, 2019

I realized recently that the Beer/Wine/Spirits subtag on this site has on occasion been used to tag postings that mention cigars. As I am again on a weight loss regimen, I cannot partake of any beer, wine, or other spirits though I can partake of an occasional premium cigar. I have decided as a result of these factors among others to inaugurate a new subtag for this weblog:


I have tagged all threads previously subtagged Beer/Wine/Spirits with the new subtag, and the old tag has been obrogated in perpetuity.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
What Popes Did Saint Thomas More Die For?
Jadeveon Clowney's move to Seattle was sealed by a new position, and a former teammate

Friday, August 30, 2019

On the Status of This Year's Atomic August:

I do not know how else to say it but I failed this August to accomplish an objective I have long thought about pursuing.{1} I refer here to the composition and publication of a challenge for those who every August involve themselves in the same "masturbatory ritual of anachronistically virtue signalling their ignorance about certain long ago war events as a way of trying to appear More Virtuous Than Thou."{2}

While the idea crystallized firmly in my mind over a two year period, the problem was the motivation to actually frame the material correctly to publish the challenge publicly. This steadily grew until I finally realized August was upon me again and despite my previous thoughts about doing so, I had nonetheless made no prior attempt to do the work to make it feasible to do. So as a small bit of time availed itself and in an effort to motivate myself, I published a public notation of my intention on the matter and begin setting the table for the challenge to be completed and published this August around or slightly after the middle of the month. My reason for the time crunch is a principle I have due to past experience{3} followed for more than a decade now; namely, to limit this subject matter discussion if it is to take place at all to the month of August in a given year.{4} While it is true that I have touched on subjects that indirectly touch on the atomic bomb subject on occasion{5}, I have adhered to the stricture of discussing this subject directly in the month of August for over twelve years now.

And while I worked on the challenge, the factors of life including outside commitments and personal issues that required tending to made finishing it within the time frame intended improbable for reasons I noted a bit over a week ago. So the challenge thread being about 90% finished as of this writing will now be completed for publication before the start of next August. Considering that it will be summertime of a major election year{6} as well as the 75th anniversary of the matter to be discussed, perhaps in the end, it is prescient that things ended up as they did in this area.

So with that in mind, the challenge will now be issued in August of 2020 -most likely on the first of the month but certainly no later than August 6, 2020.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.


{1} While past published material points to a long implicit thought pertaining to such things, the first time I recall explicitly coming up with the real germs of this idea was when I wrote about returning to a metaphorical ground zero on the subject in a lengthy expository musing on the matter within a few months of this weblog being reactivated:

Commemorating A Controversial Anniversary (circa August 17, 2017)

From that process came the idea for the public challenge.

{2} Excerpt from a Rerum Novarum Post (circa July 31, 2018)

{3I would be more than happy to discuss the subject of atomic bombings at another time -say contemporary to the next anniversary which will be in August of this year. The reason for that is that I have already written a fair amount on this subject already and it has a way of getting under people's skin in a way few other subjects can. For that reason -and because I am tired of discussing the subject[...]- I would ask that if you want to talk about it with me to let me know around August or so when the subject of the anniversaries of those events come around again and the circumstances would be more appropriate. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 15, 2007)]

{4} Prior to 2008, it was not uncommon for this subject to bleed outside of August and become a kind of all consuming force brought about by outside forces and to which I at times unwittingly was drawn. I made a conscious decision in late 2006 to embargo this subject completely and in January of 2007, first opened the door for future discussions on this subject only during the month of August: a principle that with only two explicit exceptions to that rule I have followed ever since.

{5} To note onebsuch example:

On "Consequentialism", "Proportionalism", and a Lesson in General Norms of Interpretation, Theological or Otherwise (circa October 6, 2008)

{6} And is often the case, it will be in the midst of the Dog Days of Summer and thus requiring a change of pace for the sake of one's sanity.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Divorce, Annulment & Communion

This essay has its good and its bad points.

The good? It points out what I and others gave said about Amoris Laetitia{1} and also how absurdly ignorant traditionalists often are about actual church history.{2}

The bad? The author does not seem to grasp well the distinction between an annulment and a divorce: a distinction with a difference.


{2} In this case, the subject of marriage and the variegated ways the Church had dealt at times with the divorced and remarried.


"Its amazing how stupid Trump's supporters are, they will excuse and defend anything Trump says or does, etc etc etc." [#NeverTrump]

"Its amazing how stupid Trump's critics are, they will whine and complain about everything Trump says or does, etc etc etc." [#AlwaysTrump]

"Both of you are annoying as hell, shut the  fuck up!" [Me]

Saturday, August 24, 2019

I am with Mike Salk: Seahawks should trade for Jadeveon Clowney

I agree with this. Send the Texans a 2020 second rounder, a 2021 second rounder, and a surplus cornerback or offensive lineman and get Clowney. Get him nao!!!

David Moore injury: Seahawks WR hurts shoulder in practice, will be “out for a bit”

Friday, August 23, 2019

Points to Ponder:

"One's receptivity to logic and evidence diminishes drastically when one confronts 'enemies' as opposed to 'opponents'." [Ernie Lazar]

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation

(George Washington's Code of Conduct)

1. Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.

2. When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.

3. Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.

4. In the presence of others, sing not to yourself with a humming voice, or drum with your fingers or feet.

5. If you cough, sneeze, sigh or yawn, do it not loud but privately, and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.

6. Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not on when others stop.

7. Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half dressed.

8. At play and attire, it's good manners to give place to the last comer, and affect not to speak louder than ordinary.

9. Spit not into the fire, nor stoop low before it; neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat before it.

10. When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even, without putting one on the other or crossing them.

11. Shift not yourself in the sight of others, nor gnaw your nails.

12. Shake not the head, feet, or legs; roll not the eyes; lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no man's face with your spittle by approaching too near him when you speak.

13. Kill no vermin, or fleas, lice, ticks, etc. in the sight of others; if you see any filth or thick spittle put your foot dexterously upon it; if it be upon the clothes of your companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own clothes, return thanks to him who puts it off.

14. Turn not your back to others, especially in speaking; jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes; lean not upon anyone.

15. Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.

16. Do not puff up the cheeks, loll not out the tongue with the hands or beard, thrust out the lips or bite them, or keep the lips too open or too close.

17. Be no flatterer, neither play with any that delight not to be played withal.

18. Read no letter, books, or papers in company, but when there is a necessity for the doing of it, you must ask leave; come not near the books or writtings of another so as to read them unless desired, or give your opinion of them unasked. Also look not nigh when another is writing a letter.

19. Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave.

20. The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon.

21. Reproach none for the infirmities of nature, nor delight to put them that have in mind of thereof.

22. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.

23. When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased; but always show pity to the suffering offender.

24. Do not laugh too loud or too much at any public spectacle.

25. Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremonies are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be neglected.

26. In putting off your hat to persons of distinction, as noblemen, justices, churchmen, etc., make a reverence, bowing more or less according to the custom of the better bred, and quality of the persons. Among your equals expect not always that they should begin with you first, but to pull off the hat when there is no need is affectation. In the manner of saluting and resaluting in words, keep to the most usual custom.

27. 'Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered, as well as not to do it to whom it is due. Likewise he that makes too much haste to put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to put it on at the first, or at most the second time of being asked. Now what is herein spoken, of qualification in behavior in saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of place and sitting down, for ceremonies without bounds are troublesome.

28. If any one come to speak to you while you are are sitting stand up, though he be your inferior, and when you present seats, let it be to everyone according to his degree.

29. When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop and retire, especially if it be at a door or any straight place, to give way for him to pass.

30. In walking, the highest place in most countries seems to be on the right hand; therefore, place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to honor. But if three walk together the middest place is the most honorable; the wall is usally given to the most worthy if two walk together.

31. If anyone far surpasses others, either in age, estate, or merit, yet would give place to a meaner than himself in his own lodging or elsewhere, the one ought not to except it. So he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer it above once or twice.

32. To one that is your equal, or not much inferior, you are to give the chief place in your lodging, and he to whom it is offered ought at the first to refuse it, but at the second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.

33. They that are in dignity or in office have in all places precedency, but whilst they are young, they ought to respect those that are their equals in birth or other qualities, though they have no public charge.

34. It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves, especially if they be above us, with whom in no sort we ought to begin.

35. Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.

36. Artificers and persons of low degree ought not to use many ceremonies to lords or others of high degree, but respect and highly honor then, and those of high degree ought to treat them with affability and courtesy, without arrogance.

37. In speaking to men of quality do not lean nor look them full in the face, nor approach too near them at left. Keep a full pace from them.

38. In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein.

39. In writing or speaking, give to every person his due title according to his degree and the custom of the place.

40. Strive not with your superior in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.

41. Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself professes; it savors of arrogancy.

42. Let your ceremonies in courtesy be proper to the dignity of his place with whom you converse, for it is absurd to act the same with a clown and a prince.

43. Do not express joy before one sick in pain, for that contrary passion will aggravate his misery.

44. When a man does all he can, though it succeed not well, blame not him that did it.

45. Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in private, and presently or at some other time; in what terms to do it; and in reproving show no signs of cholor but do it with all sweetness and mildness.

46. Take all admonitions thankfully in what time or place soever given, but afterwards not being culpable take a time and place convenient to let him know it that gave them.

47. Mock not nor jest at any thing of importance. Break no jests that are sharp, biting, and if you deliver any thing witty and pleasant, abstain from laughing thereat yourself.

48. Wherein you reprove another be unblameable yourself, for example is more prevalent than precepts.

49. Use no reproachful language against any one; neither curse nor revile.

50. Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.

51. Wear not your clothes foul, or ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleaness.

52. In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration; keep to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and orderly with respect to time and places.

53. Run not in the streets, neither go too slowly, nor with mouth open; go not shaking of arms, nor upon the toes, kick not the earth with your feet, go not upon the toes, nor in a dancing fashion.

54. Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.

55. Eat not in the streets, nor in the house, out of season.

56. Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.

57. In walking up and down in a house, only with one in company if he be greater than yourself, at the first give him the right hand and stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him; if he be a man of great quality walk not with him cheek by jowl but somewhat behind him, but yet in such a manner that he may easily speak to you.

58. Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for 'tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature, and in all causes of passion permit reason to govern.

59. Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules moral before your inferiors.

60. Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.

61. Utter not base and frivolous things among grave and learned men, nor very difficult questions or subjects among the ignorant, or things hard to be believed; stuff not your discourse with sentences among your betters nor equals.

62. Speak not of doleful things in a time of mirth or at the table; speak not of melancholy things as death and wounds, and if others mention them, change if you can the discourse. Tell not your dreams, but to your intimate friend.

63. A man ought not to value himself of his achievements or rare qualities of wit; much less of his riches, virtue or kindred.

64. Break not a jest where none take pleasure in mirth; laugh not aloud, nor at all without occasion; deride no man's misfortune though there seem to be some cause.

65. Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest; scoff at none although they give occasion.

66. Be not froward but friendly and courteous, the first to salute, hear and answer; and be not pensive when it's a time to converse.

67. Detract not from others, neither be excessive in commanding.

68. Go not thither, where you know not whether you shall be welcome or not; give not advice without being asked, and when desired do it briefly.

69. If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your own opinion. In things indifferent be of the major side.

70. Reprehend not the imperfections of others, for that belongs to parents, masters and superiors.

71. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend, deliver not before others.

72. Speak not in an unknown tongue in company but in your own language and that as those of quality do and not as the vulgar. Sublime matters treat seriously.

73. Think before you speak, pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.

74. When another speaks, be attentive yourself and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not nor prompt him without desired. Interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech be ended.

75. In the midst of discourse ask not of what one treats, but if you perceive any stop because of your coming, you may well entreat him gently to proceed. If a person of quality comes in while you're conversing, it's handsome to repeat what was said before.

76. While you are talking, point not with your finger at him of whom you discourse, nor approach too near him to whom you talk, especially to his face.

77. Treat with men at fit times about business and whisper not in the company of others.

78. Make no comparisons and if any of the company be commended for any brave act of virtue, commend not another for the same.

79. Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things you have heard, name not your author. Always a secret discover not.

80. Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith.

81. Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach those that speak in private.

82. Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.

83. When you deliver a matter do it without passion and with discretion, however mean the person be you do it to.

84. When your superiors talk to anybody hearken not, neither speak nor laugh.

85. In company of those of higher quality than yourself, speak not 'til you are asked a question, then stand upright, put off your hat and answer in few words.

86. In disputes, be not so desirous to overcome as not to give liberty to each one to deliver his opinion and submit to the judgment of the major part, especially if they are judges of the dispute.

87. Let your carriage be such as becomes a man grave, settled and attentive to that which is spoken. Contradict not at every turn what others say.

88. Be not tedious in discourse, make not many digressions, nor repeat often the same manner of discourse.

89. Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.

90. Being set at meat scratch not, neither spit, cough or blow your nose except there's a necessity for it.

91. Make no show of taking great delight in your victuals. Feed not with greediness. Eat your bread with a knife. Lean not on the table, neither find fault with what you eat.

92. Take no salt or cut bread with your knife greasy.

93. Entertaining anyone at table it is decent to present him with meat. Undertake not to help others undesired by the master.

94. If you soak bread in the sauce, let it be no more than what you put in your mouth at a time, and blow not your broth at table but stay 'til it cools of itself.

95. Put not your meat to your mouth with your knife in your hand; neither spit forth the stones of any fruit pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.

96. It's unbecoming to heap much to one's mea. Keep your fingers clean and when foul wipe them on a corner of your table napkin.

97. Put not another bite into your mouth 'til the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big for the jowls.

98. Drink not nor talk with your mouth full; neither gaze about you while you are drinking.

99. Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after drinking wipe your lips. Breathe not then or ever with too great a noise, for it is uncivil.

100. Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork or knife, but if others do it, let it be done with a pick tooth.

101. Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.

102. It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat. Nor need you drink to others every time you drink.

103. In company of your betters be not longer in eating than they are. Lay not your arm but only your hand upon the table.

104. It belongs to the chiefest in company to unfold his napkin and fall to meat first. But he ought then to begin in time and to dispatch with dexterity that the slowest may have time allowed him.

105. Be not angry at table whatever happens and if you have reason to be so, show it not but on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish of meat a feast.

106. Set not yourself at the upper of the table but if it be your due, or that the master of the house will have it so. Contend not, lest you should trouble the company.

107. If others talk at table be attentive, but talk not with meat in your mouth.

108. When you speak of God or His attributes, let it be seriously and with reverence. Honor and obey your natural parents although they be poor.

109. Let your recreations be manful not sinful.

110. Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Though I have completed about 80% of it already as of this posting, it looks more likely than not that I will not finish the project I spoke of earlier this month within the timeframe I had hoped for.

If that unfortunate circumstance persists{1}, I will complete the piece as time and motivation allows for and publish the piece at the beginning of next August. (When the subject covered there will again be appropriate for discussion.)


{1} And sadly this late in the month, the window to both complete the planned challenge and also give those it is aimed at a reasonable time frame to respond to it before months end is rapidly narrowing.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

On Traditionalists, "Defending the Faith", and Pope Francis:

This is a brief interaction from social media which occurred earlier today except for the footnotes which were added just prior to publishing this thread. My words will be in regular font. Without further ado...

1) There is a deliberate assault on the Catholic Faith by the Vatican, headed by Francis.

Assault on the faith or the Vatican not rubber stamping certain theological proclivities of radicals on the ecclesial far right?{1} This is no different than what the ecclesial far left does when the Vatican refuses to give sanction to their pet issues. Clowns to the far left, jokers to the far right to paraphrase the old song.

2) The resistance to this assault on the Faith is not from conservatives, but from traditionalists

See my first point.

3) The only segment in the Church that has constantly upheld the Faith, in the face of assaults on it, from both liberals and conservatives, is the traditionalists

See my first point.

4) The traditionalists have suffered the most for their Faith, spiritually and financially, for the work they have done in defending the Faith. Neither Catholic liberals or conservatives can make that claim

More like traditionalists are usually a bunch of sniveling whining spiritually immature Pharisees who throw temper tantrums lest anyone tell them they have to actually give religious submission to anything they already do not want to. They are no different in principle than the Protestants who at least do not pay lip service to being obedient to the pope.

I use the word usually because like all general rules there are exceptions and there are those who identify as traditionalists who have legitimate struggles on some things. That is not irregular. However, it is one thing to have issues with certain points of church discipline or certain prudential approaches to issues by Pope Francis or other popes.{2} But most so-called "traditionalists" do not do this at all. They instead pick an arbitrary point in the past which is their point whereby they are obedient to what they think was said/did prior to that point but not since then. As Cardinal Ratzinger asked in The Ratzinger Report,{3} "Is perhaps obedience to the Holy See divisible according to years or according to the nearness of a teaching to one’s own already-established convictions?"

That is really what it boils down to if we really want to take this attitude down to nuts and bolts.


{1} For example (in order from oldest to newest):

On Certain Pharisee Parallels Amongst the "More Faithful Than Thou" Crowd -A Lenten Reflection (circa March 24, 2019)
To Address the So-Called "Fraternal Correction" and its Signatories (circa April 14, 2019)

On the Malta Dioceses Application of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (circa April 16, 2019)

On Correcting the So-Called "Correctio Filialis", Addressing Its Accusations, Etc. (circa April 18, 2019)

On Correcting the Pretentious "Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church", Addressing its Accusations, Etc. (circa May 14, 2019)

{2} Or to deal with areas of legitimate difficulty using the tools the Vatican themselves have given us such as what is written in the CDF Instruction Donum Veritatis. For example, I do this in the following recent thread:

On Veritatis Splendor, Gaudium et Spes, and Intrinsic Evil (circa July 27, 2019)

{3} Or if Cardinal Ratzinger's private opinion in a book is not enough, consider these words from Pope Leo XIII:

"[I]t is to give proof of a submission which is far from sincere to set up some kind of opposition between one Pontiff and another. Those who, faced with two differing directives, reject the present one to hold to the past, are not giving proof of obedience to the authority which has the right and duty to guide them...

On this point what must be remembered is that in the government of the Church, except for the essential duties imposed on all Pontiffs by their apostolic office, each of them can adopt the attitude which he judges best according to times and circumstances. Of this he alone is the judge." [Pope Leo XIII: Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua (circa June 17, 1885) as quoted in a Rerum Novarum Note (circa May 14, 2019)]

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Seahawks injury update: Ziggy Ansah, Mike Iupati suffer setbacks
A Must Read Thread on SpyGate, Russian Collusion, Etc.
While today is an anniversary I have noted in recent years, today I am only going to say that I am working on something pertaining to the themes surrounding that day which I hope to have finished before the end of August. This project was mentioned at the start of the month and I am bit by bit as I have time to do so working on it. My tentative goal is to have it done and published within the next seven days.

In the putting of the letters together, I notice that L precedes G. Is that akin to saying "ladies first" and if so, would that sort of obvious patriarchal chauvinism be something that the movement associated with "LGBT" want to really countenance?

Monday, August 12, 2019

"One From the Vault" Dept.

The following is a flashback to the archives of this weblog from 2005...

Geopolitics is a complex...labrinyth if you will and it is frequently misunderstood, mischaracterized by overly simplistic people....Now, one of your host's intellectual mentors Mike Mentzer used to be fond of saying that definitions are the tools of thought. Now, since definitions are the tools of thought -and we challenge anybody to argue otherwise- then the lack of definitions on the part of those critical of the so-called "neo cons" is basically all we need to know about the quality of their thought. However, your host wants to help these people out. He requests from anyone listening to send to your host...lets see...various points if you will, characteristics, identifying marks of what is a "neo-con." Can someone be a "neo-con" based on one issue??? Or must/is there a panorama of issues if you will that all kinda coalesce and create the/what one might call the "neo-con weltanschauung."...

What constitutes a "neo con"??? Are there certain issues of more weight than others??? Are there certain issues that are dispensible or in other words a "neo-con" may or may not think this??? And are there certain issues that are absolutely indispensible as in "a 'neo-con' definitely thinks this way and anybody who thinks this way has to be a 'neo-con"??? Something, some pointers, a list if you will of identifying marks so that we can at least know who these so-called "neo cons" really are. Your host would be very interested in that so anyone who can help out in that area, drop us a line. [Excerpt from a Rerum Novarum Audio Transcript (circa October 27, 2005)]

Sunday, August 11, 2019


I am not one to buy into conspiracy theories as a rule because they are far too often for the weak minded. But the Jeffrey Epstein situation just has too many "coincidences" to it to make me comfortable. We all know Epstein was going to testify and that he was nearly certain to name names of those who were involved with his shady escapades including (most likely) some big names we never would have suspected and would be stunned to have heard had a connection to him and his operations. (Folks so rich and so well connected that they would make the leftists claims it was Trump or the rightist claims it was the Clintons downright laughable!)

We were also told that Epstein attempted suicide in late July and he supposedly said someone tried to kill him. Now we have a prior proven suicide risk not on 24/7 suicide watch being watched apparently by Stevie Wonder, Jeff Healey, and Ray Charles as his guards while occasionally spelled by Sergeant Schultz. There is a camera in cells of those who are considered suicide risks and one source thus far says it was malfunctioning the night he was said to have killed himself. Meanwhile the guards who are supposed to check in every 30 minutes to the cell conveniently did not follow their regular routine the night he was found unresponsive.

Again, I usually laugh at those nutters whose every response to anything is squawking about some stupid conspiracy theory but even a broken clock is right a couple of times a day. On this one, I am tempted to think if everything is as I noted above that the broken clock is having one of its rare moments where its telling the right time.
New survey: Only one-third of Catholics believe in Real Presence

This headline is deceptive insofar as the poll was of those who identify as Catholic. Dig a bit deeper and the same poll says six in ten Catholics who attend mass weekly believe in transubstantiation. I am sure we could goose that number higher if we include those who believe in the real presence but do not subscribe to the specific belief of transubstantiation. Certainly the number should be higher but its not anywhere near as bad as the headline suggests.

So cultural Catholics do not believe in the real presence? Wow, big surprise! I suspect if they were polled on any other fundamental Catholic doctrine they would likely not believe it in majority numbers too.

The question should be less on doctrinal stuff with cultural Catholics than asking them why they are not practicing Catholics. If that was the focus, then perhaps things could be done to help more cultural Catholics to enter the door of a church more often. Then at that point, you can give them doctrinal specifics.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Points to Ponder:

Those who cry "peace, peace" often have unacknowledged blood on their hands because they failed to use adequate force when needed; "To the victors go the spoils" is an ancient principle of fact, not rightness. Cowardice has never been considered a virtue. Nor has "turning the other cheek" served as an acceptable excuse for allowing some evil — one we could have stopped except that our theories or fears prevented us from trying — to continue or conquer. Not a few worthy things have been eradicated forever because a war was lost. Eternal vigilance remains the price of liberty and much else that is worthy. [Fr. James V. Schall, SJ]
On the Recent Mass Shootings and Reasons For Their Greater Occurrences in Recent Decades:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

There are many reasons for increased mass shootings in recent decades. Just to list a few in no particular order that come to mind:

--A longstanding increased neglect in the handling of the mentally ill.

--The loss of a respect and teaching of basic logic and reasoning skills.

--A general loss of societal understanding of and/or promotion of basic moral and ethical principles.

--The multiplication of petty and stupid minor laws by both governments and faceless bureaucrats while larger laws are often arbitrarily enforced if at all: this combines to create a general loss of respect for the proper role of laws in society.

--The failure to teach people at a young age how to handle and respect firearms.

--The increase over time of often stifling economic regulations resulting in the loss of economic opportunity for many people particularly those without advanced educations.

--An increasing proliferation of aggressive nationalist type groups.

In short, there are plenty of problematical areas and these kinds of mass shootings are symptoms of much greater causes. It seems most folks want to seize on one issue and make it the explanation for this phenomenon rather than addressing all the pertinent problems which in a symbiotic fashion have helped cultivate the sorts of crises we have seen with greater frequency in recent years.

Raising the marginal cost of tyranny

The above link goes to an old argument for a well armed populace from the old days at Samizdata for those who are interested.

Sunday, August 04, 2019


The following is a review I wrote recently for a website called Cigars International for a cigar recently ordered from them which I have enjoyed in years past and was recently reacquainted with.

The Escudero is always worth the time to smoke!
Jul 27, 2019

I used to buy the Escuderos by the box years ago when on the west coast and thought they were a well kept secret because I never saw them in cigar stores in the New England area. I recently was reacquainted with it like an old friend courtesy of CI sample packs. All the 50+ ring Sanchos (Double Maduro, Triple Anejo, Extra Fuerte, and Glorioso) are good but the Double Maduro is my favourite -either in Escudero or Lancero which is the same blend, just a couple inches shorter. Its a very smooth tasting cigar that draws well and is better than many which cost a lot more
Cardinal Müller: No pope or council could permit female deacons, ‘it would be invalid’

Actually, contrary to what some friends have said on this, Cardinal Muller is not making good points here. The question of possible female ordination to the diaconite is an open theological matter. It has not been closed and Cardinal Muller lacks the authority to close it. Further, he comes dangerously close to schism and heresy by daring to presume that neither the pope nor an ecumenical council could define this matter contrary to his personal opinion.

One probable issue for him here is that he is from the old school which saw deacons as basically a transitional stage for someone eventually becoming a priest. Since women could not be priests, they could not be deacons since the diaconite is but a transitional order to the priesthood so went the rationale. That was a widely held view in the west for about 1500 years until the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent restoration of the permanent diaconite.{1} Now the deacon is no longer seen as an automatic path to the priesthood but is instead a distinct rank in the hierarchy itself so its a very different situation. This does not mean women can necessarily become deacons. But it does mean the old way of approaching this issue whereby they were automatically ruled out{2} is itself no longer valid.

In short, there is more to this than Lifeshyte and Cardinal Muller seem to realize. I am open to the possibility of a female diaconite but will give my assent to whatever the church ultimately decides on this matter should she decide to close the matter one way or the other.


{1} In the old days there were major and minor orders. The major orders were excluding bishop: priest, deacon, subdeacon. The minor orders included acolyte, exorcist, lector, and porter. Acolytes assisted major orders, exorcists did exorcisms, lectors could read at the lectern, and porters manned the doors of the church. As you can see, there was a hierarchy of sorts here stretching from porter to ultimately bishop. As a result, there was debate for centuries on where the delineation of sacrament and sacramental was with the orders with some eminent theologians thinking everything from subdeacon up was holy orders and everything else sacramental.

Vatican II in its Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium settled this matter delineating only three orders receiving of holy order: bishop, priest, and deacon. As a result of this delineation, the Council also suggested restoring the diaconite to a permanent rank: something Pope Paul VI achieved by establishing norms for the permanent diaconite with the Apostolic Letter Sacrum Diaconatis Ordinem in 1967. The process was finally completed with Pope Paul VI's suppressing of all minor orders except that of exorcist with the Apostolic Letter Ministeria Quadam in 1972. At that time, the minor orders were suppressed and their roles taken up at times by layfolk. Hence you have purely lay acolytes, lectors, and porters today: that did not happen before Vatican II when the minor orders were often part of the process of church vocations.

{2} Due in no small part to aforementioned prior assumptions.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

On a Possible Revisitation of Atomic August:

I noted the following last year:

Tomorrow starts August and the time of year where not a few Catholic sorts who live in a fantasyland rather than reality will publicly engage in a masturbatory ritual of anachronistically virtue signalling their ignorance about certain long ago war events as a way of trying to appear More Virtuous Than Thou. 

The subject in question is one I have rarely touched on to any degree in recent years for various and sundry reasons except for indirectlyin passing, and ultra briefly as a rule.{1} It was very tiring in years past dealing with theologically bereft, rationally inept, and charitably bankrupt so-called apologists who were really just tinkling cymbals seriously in over their heads but lacking the humility and grace to admit it.

One can only explain to such folks their deficiencies in argument as well as thoroughly vanquish their pathetic offering so many times before realizing that the time is better spent in more fruitful pursuits:{2} the reason in a nutshell why I have more or less ignored this subject for the past decade plus. Well that and to be blunt its just so fucking boring a subject to retread over and over again especially when those who instigate the matter are as a rule so damn dumb on key issues of the subject in general and just as evidently uninterested in authentic dialogue and broadening their simplistic apologetics mentality.{3} However, I did get the germ of an idea a couple of years ago that if I was ever to approach these matters again at some point in the future to do so differently than I previously had. It would basically involve issuing a challenge to those who frankly cannot shut the hell up on this matter.{4}

I will undertake time-willing before the month of August is over a setting forth of the planned challenge in a fairly brief format{5} but at the same time not ignore any significant matter pertaining to it.

But enough on that for now.


{1} The only exception to the rule thus far was this lengthy thread from a couple of years ago:

Commemorating a Controversial Anniversary (circa August 17, 2017)

{2} Such as dialoguing with people who are actually open to the discipline of the dialogue and not phonies who talk the talk but cannot walk the walk.

{3} This is one reason why religious apologetics in general has been at such a nadir in the past decade plus.

{4} Despite their manifested ignorance on it being downright Titanic in its overall scope.

{5} Based on past precedent, it is obvious that these folks are not intellectually capable of interacting with detailed expositions on rational and ethical matters.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Points to Ponder:

What happens is, you accumulate a great deal of acquaintances and friendships over the years and you just can't always spend as much time as you would like, not only with your friends and acquaintances, but with your relative. It's very difficult. Sometimes you get a call and, gee, an uncle passed away that you really liked, or a cousin or somebody else. So each day becomes a little more precious then the day that preceded it. [Jamie Farr]

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Mueller Fantasy Comes Crashing Down

This is a devastating take down on those #NeverTrump and #Resistance folks who have been engaging in a fantasy for the past three years.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

On Veritatis Splendor, Gaudium et Spes, and Intrinsic Evil:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Though I have written on this subject before at length, to avoid providing fodder for potential distractions, I am going to write this post as a stand alone piece. On the subject of intrinsic evils of certain sorts, I see frequent references to Veritatis Splendor §80 and its citation of Gaudium et Spes §27. Since the primary text involved here is from the former but cites the latter, let us look at the underlying context starting with some considerations about the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes from the Second Vatican Council.

Like all magisterial texts, Gaudium et Spes (GS) is supposed to be interpreted according to general norms of interpretation. The diverse elements contained within that particular document make this obligation even more important than is normally the case -so much so that Gaudium et Spes itself in its first footnote specifically says this. To wit:

The Pastoral Constitution "De Ecclesia in Mundo Huius Temporis" is made up of two parts; yet it constitutes an organic unity. By way of explanation: the constitution is called "pastoral" because, while resting on doctrinal principles, it seeks to express the relation of the Church to the world and modern mankind. The result is that, on the one hand, a pastoral slant is present in the first part, and, on the other hand, a doctrinal slant is present in the second part. In the first part, the Church develops her teaching on man, on the world which is the enveloping context of man's existence, and on man's relations to his fellow men. In part two, the Church gives closer consideration to various aspects of modern life and human society; special consideration is given to those questions and problems which, in this general area, seem to have a greater urgency in our day. As a result in part two the subject matter which is viewed in the light of doctrinal principles is made up of diverse elements. Some elements have a permanent value; others, only a transitory one. Consequently, the constitution must be interpreted according to the general norms of theological interpretation. Interpreters must bear in mind-especially in part two-the changeable circumstances which the subject matter, by its very nature, involves.{1}
If the Constitution in its prefatory footnote{2} says that the first part of the text is presenting a pastoral slant in the first part of the text, then it is what it is. No pundits, agenda provocateurs, or apologists can change that unless we seek to ascribe to words meanings they do not have. There is no small problem with those who approach magisterial texts with the same lack of discernment as fundamentalists do with the Bible. And with that in mind, let us consider now for a moment Veritatis Splendor §80 and its citation of Gaudium et Spes §27:
Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature "incapable of being ordered" to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church's moral tradition, have been termed "intrinsically evil" (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that "there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object". The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: "Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator".{3}
This quote from Veritatis Splendor (VS) certainly appears to support the reading of this text as certain pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists claim. But one of the general norms of proper theological interpretation is to consider the words in their original context and meaning. A reference to GS in VS cannot make the former statements more authoritative than they already were if there is no manifested intention in the text to actually do so. So that brings us to an important question not even considered by the aforementioned pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists; namely, what the intention of the Pope in issuing Veritatis Splendor §80 and what was the intention of the Pope in citing Gaudium et Spes §27 in the text. Let us turn to the encyclical itself for the requisite evidence to be had -all emphasis is mine and all footnotes not relevant to the question removed:

Today, however, it seems necessary to reflect on the whole of the Church's moral teaching, with the precise goal of recalling certain fundamental truths of Catholic doctrine which, in the present circumstances, risk being distorted or denied. In fact, a new situation has come about within the Christian community itself, which has experienced the spread of numerous doubts and objections of a human and psychological, social and cultural, religious and even properly theological nature, with regard to the Church's moral teachings. It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine, on the basis of certain anthropological and ethical presuppositions.


Given these circumstances, which still exist, I came to the decision — as I announced in my Apostolic Letter Spiritus Domini, issued on 1 August 1987 on the second centenary of the death of Saint Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori — to write an Encyclical with the aim of treating "more fully and more deeply the issues regarding the very foundations of moral theology", foundations which are being undermined by certain present day tendencies.{4}

Notice the pope making reference to the lack of harmony between the traditional response of the Church and certain theological positions"? This makes it clear that the intention of the encyclical is to be in continuity with the past and show proper harmony. There is no such harmony of Veritatis Splendor §80 with prior teaching when attempting to take such a theologically flawed interpretation of the text. Plus, such a fundamentalist reading of the text as not a few theologically challenged pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists do has its own share of problems. Let us consider one such example right now: the claim of slavery as being intrinsically evil according to a fundamentally flawed reading of Veritatis Splendor §80. This is a problem noted back in 2005 by the late Cardinal Avery Dulles in the following fashion:

In 1863 John Henry Newman penned some fascinating reflections on slavery. A fellow Catholic, William T. Allies, asked him to comment on a lecture he was planning to give, asserting that slavery was intrinsically evil. Newman replied that, although he would like to see slavery eliminated, he could not go so far as to condemn it as intrinsically evil. For if it were, St. Paul would have had to order Philemon, “liberate all your slaves at once.” Newman, as I see it, stood with the whole Catholic tradition. In 1866 the Holy Office, in response to an inquiry from Africa, ruled that although slavery (servitus) was undesirable, it was not per se opposed to natural or divine law.{5}

The reason I cite the above source will hopefully be evident when considering some of what I have written in years past on these and other related themes. To wit: 
The church's position on slavery is often misunderstood. The prohibition was on chattel slavery, not all forms of slavery indiscriminately. This is why the Holy Office in 1866 proclaimed the following: 
"Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons. It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given. The purchaser should carefully examine whether the slave who is put up for sale has been justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty, and that the vendor should do nothing which might endanger the life, virtue, or Catholic faith of the slave." [Holy Office: Instruction (circa June 20, 1866)] 
The condemnations of Vatican II of slavery do not contradict this at all but is nothing more than a reaffirmation of the papal condemnations of chattel slavery issued by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839, Pope Pius VII in 1815, Pope Benedict XIV in 1741, Pope Innocent XI in 1686, Pope Urban VIII in 1639, Pope Gregory XIV in 1591, Pope Paul III in 1537, and Pope Eugene IV in 1435. Vatican II did not proclaim any dogmas[...] or give any indication of condemning slavery except in passing so we cannot under general norms of theological interpretation take such a condemnation any further than was previously the case.{6}

By the very general norms of theological interpretation specifically invoked in Gaudium et Spes itself, it is not credible to read the reference in Gaudium et Spes §27 to slavery in the sort of all encompassing universal fashion that most pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists would attempt to do. In just the slavery example alone, it is easy to demonstrate that a fundamentalist reading of Gaudium et Spes §27 as cited in Veritatis Splendor §80 is highly problematical theologically. Why? Because slavery is hardly the only subject that at first glance would be given a blanket condemnation of "intrinsically evil" in VS §80. Furthermore, there is far more documented evidence on the subject of slavery than on virtually any other example cited in the paragraph and despite that factor, the text itself if not read carefully would appear to involve itself in a blatant contradiction of settled church teaching on that matter which would discredit the very veracity of the Church itself. This is why general norms of theological interpretation are so damn important and why the pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists who flatly ignore them in their reams of various and sundry online virtue signalling bloviations frankly do not deserve to be taken seriously.

This is also why rather than go off into the sort of games to which not a few pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists like to play, I want to at this time propose some questions for the aforementioned folks who would read the subjects touched on in Veritatis Splendor §80 in a fundamentalist fashion to buttress particular pet issues of theirs without concern for accuracy or honesty. Namely:

  • Do you believe substandard housing conditions are intrinsically evil?
  • Do you believe deportations are intrinsically evil?

Those pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists who would approach Veritatis Splendor §80 in a fundamentalist fashion without concern for general norms of theological interpretation are asked to give a simple "yes" or "no" answer to each question above. I am not interested in any commentary from them. I am not interested in qualifications of any kind from them. Why? Because something that is intrinsically evil does not admit of objective qualifications: that is what the word "intrinsic" means. Ergo, a simple yes or no answer to these questions is in itself sufficient to reply. And its important for the Veritatis Splendor §80 fundamentalists to answer these questions because VS §80 also says this (all emphasis is mine):
Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature "incapable of being ordered" to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church's moral tradition, have been termed "intrinsically evil" (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that "there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object". The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: "Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator".{7}
I trust those who pay particular attention to the bolded parts of the excised paragraph above from Veritatis Splendor §80 can see what problems their fundamentalist hermeneutic leads to interpretation-wise. So again, I ask:

  • Do you believe substandard housing conditions are intrinsically evil?
  • Do you believe deportations are intrinsically evil?

Please give a simple "yes" or "no" answer to each question above. For the record, my answer is no. It is very evident that Veritatis Splendor §80 enunciated a general principle and then sought to give some examples; however, rather than parse the source cited to be theologically exact, it cited the entire passage without qualification. This would appear to be a defect in the text itself as is not irregular where lengthy magisterial texts are concerned and the Vatican has itself admitted this can happen from time to time. Observe:
When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies. Bishops and their advisors have not always taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a question.{8}
From a straightforward reading of Veritatis Splendor §80, it is evident that in that paragraph there is a deficiency. Namely, the failure to parse the text of Gaudium et Spes §27 to delineate between intrinsic evils and more generally abhorrent or disgraceful actions. While making no attempt at completion, if I was to attempt such a separation myself, I would classify the following items from the lengthy Gaudium et Spes §27 citation in Veritatis Splendor §80 as intrinsic evils: homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, voluntary suicide. The rest while admitting of varying degrees of disgrace{9} do not meet the criteria for being considered intrinsically evil; ergo, a more precise delineation in Veritatis Splendor §80 would have been preferable from a more precise doctrinal or theological point of view. Of course Veritatis Splendor by its own admission{10} did not manifestly intend to do this. This is why it is a theologically flawed reading of the text to attempt to interpret it in this kind of fashion.

I realize this sort of claim will likely enrage certain pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists who seemingly spend much of their waking online lives doing this sort of thing but that is their problem, not those who are interested in what the Church actually teaches and who utilize tools the Church herself has put forward for correctly ascertaining these matters.

So having given my answer to the questions above, I will ask one final time of all pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists to answer these two questions with a simple yes or no answer with no commentary whatsoever:

  • Do you believe substandard housing conditions are intrinsically evil?
  • Do you believe deportations are intrinsically evil?

For until these questions are answered in the manner requested above, there is no reason to take any pundits, agenda provocateurs, or apologists seriously whenever they regularly virtue signal their presumptive all piousness by kvetching and generally act like a pompous blowhard on discussing these subjects. (Or any that pertain directly or indirectly to them.)


{1} Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes Preface Footnote (circa December 7, 1965)

{2} Which must be considered when seeking to interpret the proper sense of the council text.

{3} Pope John Paul II: Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor §80 (circa August 6, 1993)

{4} Pope John Paul II: Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor §4, §5 (circa August 6, 1993)

{5} Cardinal Avery Dulles: From the First Things Article Development or Reversal (circa October 2005)

{6} Excerpt from a Rerum Novarum Post (circa August 21, 2018)

{7} Pope John Paul II: Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendour §80 (circa August 6, 1993)

{8} Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Instruction Donum Veritatis on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, Sections 24 (circa May 24, 1990)

{9} I note this for those who will in the absence of an explicit statement from me on this matter rashly presume that I am somehow claiming that there is nothing ever problematical (actually or at least potentially) in the other areas so listed.

{10} See footnote four.