Saturday, October 26, 2002

St. Gerard Majella: "Trad" or "Neo-Catholic"???

[This was an entry to my notebook that never got posted. Hence I do so now - ISM]

Courtesy of The Anchor Hold we have "St. Gerard Majella: the scarlet A is for accused, and he opened not his mouth [1727-1755]".

I wish to love God. I wish always to be with God, and to do everything for the love of God. The center of all love for God consists in giving ourselves entirely to God by being in all things conformable to the divine will, and remaining in this conformity for all eternity.

St. Gerard was a tailor, born to a family in that trade. He was still an apprentice when his father died; he became a servant in the household of a cantankerous bishop for a while, then he went back to his hometown and opened his own tailor shop.

In 1748 he entered the Redemptorist community as a lay-brother; the founder of the community, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, received his profession in 1752. Gerard served as tailor and infirmarian in the community, and became known for great holiness and charity, and for charisms of prophesy and infused knowledge; his advice and spiritual direction was sought after even though he was not a priest.

However, disaster was coming over the horizon.

In 1754, a woman whom Gerard had helped to enter the convent washed out of the convent, and to distract attention from her failure at religious life she accused Gerard of fornication and lechery, believably. When confronted with the charges, Gerard made no answer at all to them, and, the charges being credible, he was placed under every penalty short of expulsion from the community: close confinement and surveillance, no contact with the outside world, exclusion from communion..... and this went on for months and months. Finally, the accuser became gravely ill, and, believing herself to be dying, she admitted she had lied about Gerard.

When St. Alphonsus asked Gerard why he had remained silent before the accusations, Gerard replied that he believed that was what was required in the face of unjust accusations; after all, Jesus did not answer Pilate, and the rule of the Redemptorists said that one was not to defend oneself from the charges of one's superior.

Not long after he was cleared of the charges, he died, of TB, in 1755 at the age of 29.

Now certainly there are channels allowed for the faithful to make their views known but whose model does St. Gerard most closely follow. Here are your choices:

(i) The faithful Catholic who takes a "ready, aim, fire" approach to faith matters, is hesitant to criticize their superiors - particularly in matters where the latter governs with divine authority, and when critical does so with deference and a willingness to be corrected. (This person is tarred with the label "neo-Catholic" and accused of "papolatry" or of "blind obedience".)

(ii) The self-styled "traditionalist" who takes a "ready, fire, aim" approach to faith, is not hesitant to be critical at the slightest prevarication on faith matters, has little if any respect for the authortity of their superiors - flouting it at every turn when it pleases them to do so, and in criticism is bereft of deference or any trace of being willing to be corrected. (This person calls themselves a "Traditionalist" and chooses when and where they will be obedient to divinely vested authority.)

Where I ask you gentle reader would St. Gerard Majella more closely conform???

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Note to Bill Cork:

Remind those pestering you that homoousian prior to Nicaea was a heterodox term and much of the chaos after Nicaea was because of reluctance to explicitly accept as orthodox a term previously associated with a heresy. (In this case the Sabellian heretic Paul of Samostata.) The problems were only overcome when the episcopate realized that they could not improve upon homoousian and accepted it in a consensus as the badge of orthodoxy it had been utilized as. And as today's situation will not improve until the "trads" of today who act as the vacillating bishops of post-Nicaea do not step up and accept ecumenism and religious liberty in the manner whereby they were appropriated by Vatican II.

Like Nicaea the Second Vatican Council appropriated a term previously appropriated in a heterodox fashion (and condemned in this sense: as homoousian was in a synod at Antioch in 268). Likewise the term "faith alone" can be used in an orthodox sense. I quote:

"Word made flesh, by Word He maketh Very bread his flesh to be; Man in wine Christ's Blood partaketh, And if his senses fail to see, Faith alone the true heart waketh, To behold the mystery."

Use this quote and and try to get your antagonists to call you a heretic for it. (As you are referring to "faith alone".) Once they do this, you have them trapped and can offer them a "double or nothing" stake to put up or shut up. Then email me and I will supply you with the eminently orthodox person who used this expression.

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Some excellent observations from His Canonness Pete Vere on Canon 23 -- Introducing A Custom to the Liturgy. Pete's four canonical and three pastoral criteria for introducing customs is something that your host can give his concurrence to. We need to walk a fine line between liturgical mummification and liturgical free-styling. Pete's proposed guidelines would do just that.

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I was going to comment on the Luminous Mysteries - which I prayed for the second time Friday evening - and the myth about the "900 year unchanged rosary" but I found that Matt Abbot and my friends Dr. Art Sippo and Pete Vere have already done this and much more economically than I would have. So I direct your attention to their piece. I wonder if the Integrists will start praying the "5 Gloomy Mysteries" finding them more to their liking than the Luminous Mysteries which are Christ-centered and taken directly from the Gospels themselves...

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The Faith Legion Weblog has been updated. I replaced the original posting of links with the full text of the professio and then reposted all those who have subscribed. And I reiterate: we are not a closed club all faithful Catholics are invited to make the profession as prescribed by the Holy Father. Those who do so can email me at and send me a link so I can verify it. Upon verification by myself or someone on the list your site will be included.


Friday, October 25, 2002

Brief Note: I hope to respond to Jeff Culbreath, Pax, and Brent Arias tonight either by weblog or private email depending on the subject matter and the expressed or tacit wishes of the writers respectively.


A Digression on Steve Ray's Catholic Converts Board and Some of its Participants Past and Present:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

There was a while where I felt I had a responsibility to keep a presence at Steve's board. I did not feel this way in 1999 but with 2000 rolling around and my exodus from the "traditionalists" an inescapable conclusion, I felt a responsibility to be at the board. There was also the element of my discovering in early 1999 that the board was a fertile ground for actively "field testing" certain arguments and finding out quickly which ones were valid and which ones were rubbish. (I had in mind trying to convert a loved one at the time and thus this criteria was of vital importance.) But with my treatise project of the time taking up so much of my research time and my scanning of dialogues from 1999 saved to Word format - some ideas for essays began to take shape.

Much of 2000 was spent driving the nails in the coffin of "traditionalist" arguments, and basically codifying in essay format certain subjects I had dialogued with at various message boards about.{1} But there was the responsibility aspect of it - both to those who had become friends to help them in their evangelization and also to other friends who were on the wrong side of the fence objectively speaking at various points.

Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I did not note that as bad as the climate has gotten over there in 2002 overall, there are some very good people mixed into the gumbo if you will. One of them is of course "Matt1618" my good friend and essay patron if you will and also one of my early influences. There is also Edwin Tait my favourite Anglican - whom I had some excellent dialogues with over the years and just started another one on the Council of Florence. (An offshoot of another thread I started but good conversations often start off that way on message boards.)

Tim Enloe is not there anymore but he is at Gary's board and as he has been reading up on medieval mindsets and history the past year plus, I sense he and I can break some new ground in the coming year.{2} Gary Hoge is there at Steve's board at times and he launched a new board recently which I encourage my readers to go to if they want to discuss theological stuff. And of course Steve though he is seldom there anymore.

Dave Armstrong is a good friend and tireless evangelist still weighs in over there from time to time. David Smith one of those who identifies themselves as a traditionalist - one of the few who make that claim that I would say can legitimately do so. (Another is Zack who goes by "The Sane Trad" moniker.) Anawim and Mary H: more spiritual then philosophical which provides some balance over there. Bill Bannon also is one of my favourites at the board. Jimbo has been really coming along nicely the past six months too.

And numerous others who pop in and out from time to time including Art Sippo, Walt, John Betts, Lane Core Jr., GKC (my favourite Anglo-Catholic), and Bill Cork who recently made some stops there. Past players such as Tammy L, Albert Cipriani, Pax, Mark Shea, Jase, too many to recall offhand. (And one such as the mighty Curmudgeon who has recently returned.) But before this looks like an Academy Awards speech - if it does not already - there is the particular "good wheat" I intend to focus on in this post: SecretAgentMan.

For SAM is one reason I have not felt the "responsibility" I used to in spending time at that board. Like my old friend Pax who no longer posts at that board - though in a different way - SAM has really cultivated himself into a force of reckoning over there. And while I did not intend the inquiry below for him and those of a likemind to his, he nonetheless turned in some really good responses which deserve noting particularly in light of some recent unfortuate events which I am not in the mood to discuss at the moment. Anyway, here is the sequence of my posts and SAM's either in response to me or to others.

*NO* Christian Outlooks Influenced the Holocaust: My Query to a "Traditionalist" (properly so-called) and several "traditionalists" (falsely so-called) at Steve's Message Board

SAM's Response to my Query

Brief Response to SAM

SAM to Dragonfly on Christian Responsibility for Past Episodes of Imprudent Zeal

Seldom have I smiled when reading a message board post this year but some of SAM's stuff tends to find that reaction with me. Passion is good but it needs to be informed, prudent, patient, and balanced to IMHO have the most effect. SAM has cultivated these factors well and as I know he reads this weblog I better throw in an admonishment lest his head start to swell so here it is. SAM: a little less lawyerly in your responses please. Consider yourself rebuked {smile}...


{1} I plan to touch-up some of those earlier essays and divide them into smaller sections for easier readability. Whether I get to them before 2003 I am not sure yet.

{2} We have not dialogued since January of 2001 for a variety of reasons. But we had some good exchanges for about a year and a half previous to that time and remain on good terms and recently we talked about resuming dialogue.

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Time for preparing
For bed and a good night's rest
Thankyou and goodnight


Rerum Novarum Updates!!!

The following complete the update to the weblog which I started the other night:

My Musings on the War Subject (New Category):

War in Reality vs. the Abstract
War is Hell on the Homefront Too
Tying Together Some Strands Viz. "Just War" Theory, Etc...

Yeah I *do* have a position on the war even if it is a bit ambiguous. My reasons for this can be ascertained in the links above.

Frederic Bastiat's Magnum Opus "The Law" in Bite-Size Musings (New Category):

A Thesis of Vital Importance to the Health and Well Being of Human Freedom (Prologue by I. Shawn McElhinney; Introduction by Walter E. Williams)

No minor addition I spent over an hour linking to all the posts in this series both forward and backward for the benefit of the reader. (Basically the last sentence of each post is a link to the next section and at the top of each section is a link to the section that preceded it.) With elections coming up this series is *vital* because perversion of the law is so common-place in our society and most people uncritically support it without realizing it. This series is intended to expose unlawful plunder for what it is and educate the masses.


The Curmudgeon's "Disturber of the Peace Institute" BLOG
The "Catholic Light" BLOG
Chris Burgwald's "Veritas" BLOG
Greg the Obscure's BLOG

Shawn's Eastern Catholic Corner:

Orientale Lumen: Apostolic Letter to the Churches of the East (Pope John Paul II)

Other Recommended Web-Sites:

Catholic Outlook Discussion Board - Gary Hoge

As Sovereign Thane I give all of these sites my motu proprio as of this moment in accordance with Rerum Novarum's specificities for site approval in the sidemargin of the weblog all things to the contrary notwithstanding.


"Credit Where Credit Is Due" Dept.

Though it does not come up often, your generally very humble blog host is asked at times whom his "influences" are. They are many but a few in particular stick out both in stylistic similarity as well as a sense of personal debt if you will. For example, in the area of apologetics, your blog host owes a lot to Dr. Art Sippo for the fact that he (referring to me) is no longer a self-styled "traditionalist". Not that Art was the only influence on that element but his was the most pronounced. There is also the element of style.

Those who have detected similarities in our styles over the years and inquired about it - well I am as forthcoming about it as Stevie Ray Vaughan was about his tremendous debt to the bluesmaster Albert King. (Though in Stevie's case the debt was not a moderate one but I digress.) Though not as obvious perhaps as it was when I started posting more prominently to message boards, there is still enough traces in the gumbo that comprises my style that I get asked on occasion about it. (Sometimes it is perhaps more prevalent than other times.)

Since early 2000, Art and I have become friends and even authored stuff together - and not a few of my essays were either in whole or in part reviewed by Art with the occasional suggestions for improvement when needed. I mention all of this because (i) it is a good idea to remind oneself of those whom they owe some degree of gratitude to on occasion and (ii) I was going to address Reformed Protestantism today when I remembered Art's piece on The Problem With Calvinism and decided to post his piece instead. (And in the process I started thinking a bit about what I note above.) But that is not all.

After finding Art's piece above I was scanning Mark Bonocore's page at Frank Jerry's site and saw the following expansion of Art's thesis about the Calvinist God which is noted at the link above. (Art calls him "Goid".) Like your host, Mark Bonocore owes a good degree to Dr. Sippo both in the areas of approach and also directness - though Mark to his credit is more in the line of Art's penchant for supreme economy viz writing than I am ;-) He expands upon the "Goid" subject a bit and gets at the core of a lot of the problems HERE.

Note in particular Mark's opinion on the Germanic mentality which is one that I am in concurrence with. (His insights on Exodus and Job are also on target.) Very compelling thesis and worth a read but not the kind of thesis you want to throw out in a debate with a Reformed apologist IMHO. (Translation for the neophytes: keep this one in-house people.)

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Excellent observation on humility at the following link courtesy of Eve Tushnet.


"Bastiat's Corner" Dept.

The last installment can be read HERE. Without ado, here is the next one which will be meaty so chew on it slowly please:

Who Shall Judge?

The followers of Rousseau's school of thought -- who consider themselves far advanced, but whom I consider twenty centuries behind the times -- will not agree with me on this. But universal suffrage -- using the word in its strictest sense -- is not one of those sacred dogmas which it is a crime to examine or doubt. In fact, serious objections may be made to universal suffrage.

In the first place, the word universal conceals a gross fallacy. For example, there are 36 million people in France. Thus, to make the right of suffrage universal, there should be 36 million voters. But the most extended system permits only 9 million people to vote. Three persons out of four are excluded. And more than this, they are excluded by the fourth. This fourth person advances the principle of incapacity as his reason for excluding the others.

Universal suffrage means, then, universal suffrage for those who are capable. But there remains this question of fact: Who is capable? Are minors, females, insane persons, and persons who have committed certain major crimes the only ones to be determined incapable?

The Reason Why Voting Is Restricted

A closer examination of the subject shows us the motive which causes the right of suffrage to be based upon the supposition of incapacity. The motive is that the elector or voter does not exercise this right for himself alone, but for everybody.

The most extended elective system and the most restricted elective system are alike in this respect. They differ only in respect to what constitutes incapacity. It is not a difference of principle, but merely a difference of degree.

If, as the republicans of our present-day Greek and Roman schools of thought pretend, the right of suffrage arrives with one's birth, it would be an injustice for adults to prevent women and children from voting. Why are they prevented? Because they are presumed to be incapable. And why is incapacity a motive for exclusion? Because it is not the voter alone who suffers the consequences of his vote; because each vote touches and affects everyone in the entire community; because the people in the community have a right to demand some safeguards concerning the acts upon which their welfare and existence depend.

The Answer Is to Restrict the Law

I know what might be said in answer to this; what the objections might be. But this is not the place to exhaust a controversy of this nature. I wish merely to observe here that this controversy over universal suffrage (as well as most other political questions) which agitates, excites, and overthrows nations, would lose nearly all of its importance if the law had always been what it ought to be.

In fact, if law were restricted to protecting all persons, all liberties, and all properties; if law were nothing more than the organized combination of the individual's right to self defense; if law were the obstacle, the check, the punisher of all oppression and plunder -- is it likely that we citizens would then argue much about the extent of the franchise?

Under these circumstances, is it likely that the extent of the right to vote would endanger that supreme good, the public peace? Is it likely that the excluded classes would refuse to peaceably await the coming of their right to vote? Is it likely that those who had the right to vote would jealously defend their privilege?

If the law were confined to its proper functions, everyone's interest in the law would be the same. Is it not clear that, under these circumstances, those who voted could not inconvenience those who did not vote?

The Fatal Idea of Legal Plunder

But on the other hand, imagine that this fatal principle has been introduced: Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another; the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few -- whether farmers, manufacturers, shipowners, artists, or comedians. Under these circumstances, then certainly every class will aspire to grasp the law, and logically so.

The excluded classes will furiously demand their right to vote -- and will overthrow society rather than not to obtain it. Even beggars and vagabonds will then prove to you that they also have an incontestable title to vote. They will say to you:

"We cannot buy wine, tobacco, or salt without paying the tax. And a part of the tax that we pay is given by law -- in privileges and subsidies -- to men who are richer than we are. Others use the law to raise the prices of bread, meat, iron, or cloth. Thus, since everyone else uses the law for his own profit, we also would like to use the law for our own profit. We demand from the law the right to relief, which is the poor man's plunder. To obtain this right, we also should be voters and legislators in order that we may organize Beggary on a grand scale for our own class, as you have organized Protection on a grand scale for your class. Now don't tell us beggars that you will act for us, and then toss us, as Mr. Mimerel proposes, 600,000 francs to keep us quiet, like throwing us a bone to gnaw. We have other claims. And anyway, we wish to bargain for ourselves as other classes have bargained for themselves!"

And what can you say to answer that argument!

Perverted Law Causes Conflict

As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose -- that it may violate property instead of protecting it -- then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious. To know this, it is hardly necessary to examine what transpires in the French and English legislatures; merely to understand the issue is to know the answer.

Is there any need to offer proof that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord; that it tends to destroy society itself? If such proof is needed, look at the United States [in 1850]. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person's liberty and property. As a consequence of this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order rests on a firmer foundation. But even in the United States, there are two issues -- and only two -- that have always endangered the public peace.

Slavery and Tariffs Are Plunder

What are these two issues? They are slavery and tariffs. These are the only two issues where, contrary to the general spirit of the republic of the United States, law has assumed the character of plunder.

Slavery is a violation, by law, of liberty. The protective tariff is a violation, by law, of property.

Its is a most remarkable fact that this double legal crime - a sorrowful inheritance of the Old World - should be the only issue which can, and perhaps will, lead to the ruin of the Union. It is indeed impossible to imagine, at the very heart of a society, a more astounding fact than this: The law has come to be an instrument of injustice. And if this fact brings terrible consequences to the United States - where only in the instance of slavery and tariffs - what must be the consequences in Europe, where the perversion of law is a principle; a system?

Two Kinds of Plunder

Mr. de Montalembert [politician and writer] adopting the thought contained in a famous proclamation by Mr. Carlier, has said: "We must make war against socialism." According to the definition of socialism advanced by Mr. Charles Dupin, he meant: "We must make war against plunder."

But of what plunder was he speaking? For there are two kinds of plunder: legal and illegal.

I do not think that illegal plunder, such as theft or swindling -- which the penal code defines, anticipates, and punishes -- can be called socialism. It is not this kind of plunder that systematically threatens the foundations of society. Anyway, the war against this kind of plunder has not waited for the command of these gentlemen. The war against illegal plunder has been fought since the beginning of the world. Long before the Revolution of February 1848 -- long before the appearance even of socialism itself -- France had provided police, judges, gendarmes, prisons, dungeons, and scaffolds for the purpose of fighting illegal plunder. The law itself conducts this war, and it is my wish and opinion that the law should always maintain this attitude toward plunder.

The Law Defends Plunder

But it does not always do this. Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame, danger, and scruple which their acts would otherwise involve. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons, and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim -- when he defends himself -- as a criminal. In short, there is a legal plunder, and it is of this, no doubt, that Mr. de Montalembert speaks.

This legal plunder may be only an isolated stain among the legislative measures of the people. If so, it is best to wipe it out with a minimum of speeches and denunciations -- and in spite of the uproar of the vested interests.

How to Identify Legal Plunder

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law -- which may be an isolated case -- is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

[Truer words have seldom been spoken - ISM]

The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

Any woman reading this who dismisses this argument simply because women were not allowed to vote in 1850 in France or other countries (or because Bastiat did not argue for female capacity to vote) would only be reinforcing the stereotype of the overly emotional woman who cannot think logically. Please keep that in mind at all times.

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Thursday, October 24, 2002

"Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa" Dept.

Speaking of the Curmudgeon, for those who are shills for worldwide conspiracies, he has discovered the truth about that as well and those of us who have mocked you need to wear the Dunce cap of shame.

For the true Anti-Christ has been found and we all owe the "trads" a HUGE apology for not taking them seriously all these years with their apocalyptic shrieking!!! Let me be the first to eat crow on this one my friends...I humbly apologize to the "trads" I have mocked for years on end now. Here is the incontrovertible proof that the "trads", Christian Identity crowd, and the John Birchers were right all of these years:

The Curmudgeon's Expose on the Vatican's Secret Plot to Take Over the World!!!

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa: I knew not what I was doing...

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If the guys captured happen to be the sniper and his associates, would it be a mere coincidence that it happened about 24 hours after The Curmudgeon's Open Letter to the DC Sniper was put up at DPI's weblog and linked to the weblog of your humble blog host??? Maybe...maybe not...time will tell...

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Some of my stuff from Steve's message board can be found HERE. I have not posted there much in 2002 but occasionally I do. However, unlike most of the other posts I have mentioned at Rerum Novarum, this is some "new stuff" fresh off the presses.


Wednesday, October 23, 2002

"Cleaning Up My Notebook" Dept.

Basically this is a snippet from a board dialogue some time ago. (I think I posted it to the board but cannot recall offhand.) I lost track of the link and do not intend to do a search for it:

That is not the only theological qualification of the Councils teaching. There is ordinary and ordinary universal. The latter is definitive, the former is not necessarily so.

I am aware of this distinction; however, the teaching is only ordinary and universal where it reiterates previously held doctrine. Lumen Gentium §25 is one example of this, drawn from the teaching of Vatican I and that of Pope Pius XII.

Actually this assertion is not completely true. While it is true that there are *some* reiterations of teaching as you note where this applies, the infallibility of the Council is not solely material in nature - though admittedly a lot of it is.

With regards to formal teaching of doctrine, whenever you have a situation where (1) the bishops in communion with one another and with the pope (2) teach authoritatively and in consensus on a matter of faith or morals to be held then (3) that teaching is rendered infallibly.

In the case of Vatican II there are many of these teachings which are definitively made but do not rise to the level of a definition of faith. This is why Vatican II is here to stay and why the popes continually refer back to it time and again. (And also why the Universal Catechism quotes Vatican II more than all other sources combined - sans the over 4,000 Scripture references.)

There is no "time limit" required on the ordinary universal magisterium. And since the Church has never put such a limit people who do are asserting their own private interpretation instead of following the traditional understanding of the universal church enjoying infallibility in the promulgation of doctrine.

And while usually the ordinary and universal magisterium is diachronic (stretching back through time) in the case of a solemn gathering of the bishops in ecumenical council it can be synchronic particularly when previously controverted theological issues are settled and when doctrine is being developed. And both of these things happened at Vatican II.

A pastoral provision to accommodate communion. This is what is called "withholding assent" and it always presupposes that the person will render proper assent later on. See the link on secondary truths where I briefly touch on this aspect. (It is not one I like discussing for reasons I make known there.)

So why shouldn't the pastoral provision hold today as well as in 1988?

It does for those who need it. Rome is being *very* generous in making this allowance. Basically any teaching that is not a clear definition de fide (which includes all of the formal teachings of VC II) falls under this sector. The fact is, infallibility is far more prevalent at Vatican II than is commonly presumed. But since most people are not theologians (nor do they need to be) they do not know this. And further still, since it is not easy at first glance to reconcile some of the teachings, the traditional pastoral leeway given to theologians to help them in their assent is being extended in the Protocol. To my knowledge this is the governing Constitution if you will of Ecclesia Dei so it is still in effect.

But it helps to remember that Rome expects eventual assent to all teachings of Vatican II. That is the presupposition of suspending of assent. I am going over this subject on a private message list at the moment and will probably blog some of my comments about it next week or so. [Ed. Note: I never did get around to the blogging part - ISM] I am hesitant to talk about it because this is extraordinary and without reference to the ordinary at the same time people would make the exception the rule. (Kinda like discussing invincible ignorance. Without discussing it in the context of eens it is open to misapplication.)

Ok. I deal with enough people who treat these matters lightly that maybe I overreacted here. Deitrich von Hildebrand noted once that any apparent incongruities between Vatican II and prior teaching are simply illusory. And I have noticed this myself in studying the issues.

Some years later Dr. von Hildebrand would revise his opinion of Vatican II; Michael Davies covers this in Pope John's Council

Yes but it was easy to become cynical in the 1970's and even the early 1980's. I do not hold it against Dr. Hildebrand if that happened as he watched the Church coming apart at the seams. Heck I cannot hold it against him or anyone considering my nearly fifteen year affiliation with the Society of St. Pius X. (This was the period between 1986 and January of 2000, though I attended masses occasionally from 1984-1986 when I went to church at all in that time period.) It was easy to be disillusioned in the '70s and early-mid '80s. *Far* easier than it has been in recent years that is for sure.

As for Mr. Davies' work...well I have commented in detail elsewhere on it. And as I want to end this on a good note, I will observe silence on it here :)

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As making the profession of faith as prescribed by the Apostolic see or an approved equivalent is a requirement for admission and as Chris Burgwald of the weblog Veritas hath made said professio according to the prescribed form (a form whereby collegial consultation with others is not necessary to determine if the aforementioned's profession meets the criteria for inclusion forthwith) and as Chancellor of the Legion List by the power vested in me as Sovereign Thane and Lord High Executioner of Rerum Novarum, I decree that Veritas has been officially enrolled in The Faith Legion with all rights and privileges of said enrollment intact all things to the contrary notwithstanding.


Please pray for Sarah, the wife of my friend Bill Bannon. And also for Bill that he may continue to receive the Lord gentle hand of both chastening and caress and that both he and Sarah may be found worthy of Him through trial (cf. Wisdom iii,4-6).


An Open Letter to the DC Sniper:
(Guest Editorial by Disturber of the Peace Institute)

I am glad to see my old friend The Curmudgeon in the Blogosphere. As for the editorial itself, I tried to post it in its unedited totality and it would not publish. It cannot be the length as I have published much longer posts before. (Apparently blogger is being a bit temperamental today it seems.) Nonetheless if you click on the link above you will read what I intended to post here unedited as Rerum Novarum's fifth Guest Editorial. I try to balance these editorials out between secular and religious issues, anyone who wants to write on the latter subject will have priority with regards to the next Guest Editorial.


Rerum Novarum Update:

I will probably do more tomorrow evening or so but other then adding Veritas to the Faith Legion log (formal ceremony to be held later today), the following sites and weblogs were added to Rerum Novarum today as decreed by me:

Website Links:

Disturber of the Peace Institute - The Curmudgeon
The Anawim Community

Weblogs Added:

Donna Lewis' "Quenta Narwenion" BLOG
Kathryn Lively's "Come On, Get Lively" BLOG

Duh duh duh duh duhhh...Good night sweetheart, wellll its time to go...


"U Thant Touch This" Dept.

Courtesy of a soon-to-be formally enrolled member of The Faith Legion. Enjoy!!! LINK


Tuesday, October 22, 2002

For more on the Ossuary of James, the following from James Akin is hot off the presses: Burial Box of St. James Found? By James Akin

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"Flattery Will Get You Everywhere" Dept.

Dear Mr. McElhinney,

For what it's worth, I made the Profession of Faith the other day:

I'm not sure if the Legion is something "closed", but in the event that it's not, I thought I'd let you know; the more, the better right?

BTW, I'm glad to find that you've got a blog... I found your writings at Matt's page when he started putting it there, and have been impressed with your work.

Let me know what you think of my blog if you have the time and inclination.

Because it was my birthday yesterday, I am going to post one of my favourable emails (thankfully they outweigh the non-favourable by a healthy margin). Not that I am a fan of horn tooting but as a birthday present to myself I will take this small indulgence - changing the note colour to blue for contrast:

Dear Mr. McElhinney,

Unless you are under the age of majority, Mr. McElhinney is my father and he is with the angels my friend. My adult friends call me Shawn :)

For what it's worth, I made the Profession of Faith the other day:

It is worth plenty.

I'm not sure if the Legion is something "closed", but in the event that it's not, I thought I'd let you know; the more, the better right?

Indeed it is "closed" as we are trying to form our own "Truly Reformed" wing of Catholicism ;-) Seriously though, we are an "equal opportunity promoter" here. And though we are small in number thus far, we already boast two more women members than Augusta National.

BTW, I'm glad to find that you've got a blog... I found your writings at Matt's page when he started putting it there, and have been impressed with your work.

So you have been reading my stuff since June of 2000 then huh??? (Did you ever read any of the stuff I posted in three plus years at Steve Ray's website or any of the many other sites I have posted at over the years???) I am humbled that my ramblings have found favour in your eyes. I was hoping to add three more essays this year but it is looking unlikely as I have existing ones I want to revise and refine a bit. But 2003 will see at least three more essays from me - possibly more.

I burned out last November and my short term memory loss was at crisis levels. (Looking back I have no idea how I did those last five pieces between late August and mid November: the memory loss which started in mid 2000 was accelerating rapidly from June 12th on and did not bottom out until into winter of 2002.)

And while a few pieces were started in February of 2002, I struggled with the writing process and had little motivation to complete them. (They were subsequently lost in May when my harddrive crashed.) But I have stuff saved at various email accounts and along with some stuff at Steve's website archives and my weblog. I have felt my memory starting to return since about August but then I believe my ability to grieve now after 2001 has helped in that department.

Along with gradual memory restoration - though I am still rather absent minded - I am getting some more ideas for writing in 2003. But the torrid pace of October1999 through November of 2001 is not something I can resume for many reasons. I do intend to write essays again and perhaps publish some more stuff. (Pete Vere and I did 3 pieces in "Lennon/McCartney" fashion thus far for Catholic publications - one of which I wrote last year that has yet to be used - and hopefully we can do some more either later this year or in 2003.) But that is enough self-disclosure for a good while methinks :)

Let me know what you think of my blog if you have the time and inclination.

I will give it a look over. But the fact that you made the profession - and I upon a quick check verified it. I plan on updating my weblog today or tomorrow but your blog will be put in my "examination list" and possibly be included in the update after this one. But as you made the Professio this means that you will be placed in the Legion of Faith. Talk to Bill Cork as he and Lane are showing the "secret handshake" to John Betts as I write this ;-)

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More from your humble servant courtesy of the archives of Steve Ray's message board. This one is on Cardinal Newman and Vatican II and is from a book I have on Dialogues between Pope Paul VI and Jea Guitton.


In light of some stirrings at Steve's message board and a few other places, I remembered something I wrote back in January of 2000 shortly before disengaging myself from the Society of St. Pius X. It was a short "filler piece" if you will for my treatise contra "traditionalism" and was done to address the fringe weirdos involved in the "trad" movement - a subject I wanted to keep to a minimum in the piece but felt could not go without some mention. In light of these subjects being more prominent than normal in apologetics circles as of late, it seems appropriate to post it here as (i) it is a rare "brief" piece from that time period and (ii) it was written about five years after I had carried conspiracy theory to its logical conclusion and realized that it undermined Catholic teaching. (Thus either my faith in the Church had to be cast aside or my worldwide conspiracy theory mindset.)

On the basis of this weblog's contents - along with my writings - I think it is clear which side of that equation was the loser. Since then I have of course completed my reversion to the Catholic faith by dumping pseudo "traditionalism" - but back then such a move was five years away - two after I started seriously studying the issues - but lest I digress here is the aforementioned piece from "A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism'", second edition.{1}

"Protocols and Paranoia"

"Almost all the different sects of heretics admit that there is one God; but then, by their pernicious doctrines, they change [this truth into error], even as the Gentiles do through idolatry — thus proving themselves ungrateful to Him that created them. Moreover, they despise the workmanship of God, speaking against their own salvation, becoming their own bitterest accusers, and being false witnesses [against themselves]. Yet, reluctant as they may be, these men shall one day rise again in the flesh, to confess the power of Him who raises them from the dead; but they shall not be numbered among the righteous on account of their unbelief. Since, therefore, it is a complex and multiform task to detect and convict all the heretics, and since our design is to reply to them all according to their special characters, we have judged it necessary, first of all, to give an account of their source and root, in order that, by thus, thou mayest understand the nature of the tree which has produced such fruits." [St. Irenaeus of Lyons: Adversus Haereses Book I Chapter 22,2 (circa AD 180)]

It would not hurt to mention in brief before this treatise is summarized that the ‘traditionalist’ movement is home to every kooky fringe theory that you can possibly imagine. There is a whole cornucopia of them from Masons running the Vatican to Jews running the world to Holocaust denial and of course those "Modernists" seeking to hunt the ‘traditionalists’ down. Many examples could be given but in the interest of brevity just one will be the focus here: Bishop Richard N. Williamson. This excommunicated SSPX Bishop (whose "jurisdiction" is the North American continent) loves to quote the discredited Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion in his Winona Newsletters. For those who are unaware of what this document/book is, its promoter’s wave it around as proof of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. It is supposedly the ‘blueprints’ of a systematic totalitarian takeover of the world by an elite cabal of Jews. A few of the ‘predictions’ from this work have come to fruition in the past 100 years based in no small part to those who know history well can spot the parallels from the past common in any declining culture. This is of course not a good enough explanation for the paranoid ‘traditionalist’ who sees this as ‘proof’ that the document is genuine. It is another example of what those with a bit of information can do to hoodwink the masses who find bliss in their ignorance. In this light the metaphor of Our Lord as a Shepherd is dead-on accurate: the bulk of humanity are mindless sheep.

Now while this author admittedly subscribes more to the conspiracy side of history than the accidental side (because it is human nature to conspire and little if anything happens by accident in world affairs), the extent to which some people will go with this theme is quite frightening. In essence it is trying to do with politics and world events what Protestant Fundamentalism seeks to do with science and theology. The essence of Fundamentalism (and indeed some wings of Evangelicalism) is very much akin to that of the radical conspiracy theorist. In both cases it involves applying an Docetic/Arian* simplicity to events which are far more complex than can be set forth in the few simplistic words or phrases that people of this ilk desire. To people of this mode of thinking, any degree of mystery or the unexplained (or a realm of comprehension or information that they are unaware of or cannot explain) must be wrong if it does not fit into their narrowly-defined parameters of "correct" or "incorrect." Thus to the Atheist there is no God much as to the Muslims and Jews the Trinity is "wrong." Many Evangelicals consider the possibility of long creation days to be "anathema" because they read ancient biblical literary forms in nineteenth-twentieth century terms and not in the manner that those of the ancient cultures understood them in. The majority of Protestants deny the Real Presence speaking in an almost Gnostic-like disbelief about the very concept. To the economically undereducated, the concept of a complex capitalistic system simply must be the "Anti-Christ" or the "Beast" rather than a potentially good concept that is often perverted by evil men. Numerous other examples could be brought forward but the point being made here is evident. Simplistic thinking can be very dangerous and unfortunately most of its practitioners are unaware of the destructive range of this "weapon" if you will.

This is not an attempt to imply that there is not genuine secular humanism, Modernism, or indeed evil out there (there is plenty of evil in the world). The only point in bringing this up is that this same simplicity leads to often the most brash posturing about "facts" which are based on a generalized observation and often covered over with ignorance and bigotry. Until recently, this was frequently applied explicitly to people based on race, heredity, or even religion (and still is today albeit in less explicit ways). One of the groups often maligned historically in this manner is the Jewish people. In bringing up the Jewish people, we come once again full circle to the Protocols document mentioned earlier. It is very important to highlight how narrow-minded and implicit bigotry manifests itself in the extreme ‘traditionalists’ of which many in the Society can be properly classified (especially the aforementioned Bishop Richard N. Williamson).

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion document was shown to be a hoax over eighty years ago. It was a known forgery even in the early 1920’s. (The authorship has been established to have been someone or a group within the Tsar’s secret police.) It was written in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. Bishop Williamson would undoubtedly (since he quotes it authoritatively) claim that this is PROOF that it is authentic specifically because it is widely claimed to be a forgery. Of course this is the same "logic" that Adolph Hitler used in Mein Kampf (written in 1923) when he addressed the fact that the "Protocols" were known to be a forgery even in his day. To someone of the simplistic "Docetic/Arian" mindset, any refutation of evidence from an avowed "foe" (regardless of its merits) is ignored or demeaned because control is best fostered in an environment of despair. Frighten anyone enough and they will look for a solution – ANY solution and that is when the cultists provide one. This is why anyone who dares to tell Chicken Little that the sky is not falling MUST be discredited. This is the fundamental philosophy behind all forms of mind control and the essence of a cultic mindset. This is a mindset that is not at all uncommon in the ‘traditionalist’ movement.

* Docetism was a heresy that denied the humanity of Our Lord. Arianism was the exact opposite of Docetism in that it denied the divinity of Our Lord.


{1} I hope to have the third major revision completed and ready for the censor before 2003. Plans to have the version up now reviewed for Imprimatur in 2001 were scuttled after a host of family tragedies on my part and some family difficulties on the part of the reviewing theologian. In retrospect I could make the piece even tighter theologically so I will be doing that.

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"The Curmudgeon vs. Those Sympathetic to Nazis and Other Holocaust Deniers" Dept.

In light of the comments of Robert Sungenis a while back that the IHR was "very credible", it is nice to see The Curmudgeon rip this assertion to shreds when one of Bob's toadies tries to propagate their filth at the Steve Ray's message board. You can read about it here and here. As one who used to get IHR materials myself about eight to ten years ago, I can vouch for the fact that The Curmudgeon is dead on accurate here - except for the 1 million figure dying from spraying for typhus. (I remember a figure of 370,000 given back in 1993 by the IHR.)

And that Bradley Smith quote looks too familiar. (I found it interesting that Jews I knew at the time who were planning on becoming rabbis had no such self-righteous contempt - I suppose I was "buying into the great facade" right???)

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As John Betts and others have mentioned the discovery of the apparent ossuary of a James the "son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" which dates to about 63 AD, I was surprised to discover Bryan Preston at the JunkYard blog discussing it. (He usually does not do religious questions.) But he approaches it from the scientific standpoint and makes the astute observation that many scientists have their own dogmas too. Worth a read...

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On the War Subject:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Considering how much the war subject has been in the news, it may surprise my readers that I have made very little mention of it. Indeed most of my mentions have been in referring to/linking to posts from The JunkYard Blog one of my favourites for discussing the issues of the war effort and secular politics in general. This is not necessarily because I agree with Bryan Preston of the JunkYard Blog per se (though I quite often do) but because (i) my view on the issue is not so simplistic that it can be lumped in as pro-war or anti-war and (ii) unlike other subjects where my views are similarly complex there is a lacuna of knowledge on this one has made me reticent to say too much about it at the present time. What I have said thus far can be read at the following links:

War Other Than in the Abstract

War is Hell On the Homefront Too

Kevin Miller and others - such as John Betts, Lane Core Jr, Mark Shea, and Bill Cork - have discussed the issue of the just war. I am not sure based on what I know of the subject if *any* war can meet such stringent requirements. And in that light I am more of a pragmatist on the war subject then a theoretician.

Besides, if any nation has a solid claim to having a just cause to go to war with Al Queda and these other groups it seems to me that Israel would be that nation. (They have had at least eight catastrophes of the World Trade Center type if I recall correctly.) As for the rest of us, I think it would be a situation where the waging of the war was illicit but we would be in a position where at the very least external compliance would be required if the Commander in Chief made the decision to use military force. (Suspension of inner assent would seem viable to me in this situation for those who had legitimate struggles on the issue from a just war standpoint. But there would be no room for public dissent - indeed I would view such people as borderline traitors objectively speaking from a personal level.)

Having said that though, it would seem to me that a good argument can be made that most of the requirements for a just war can be met in this situation. Because of that I could support a war provided that it was properly conducted and none of the LBJ Vietnam kind of crap was employed.

When we look at the kinds of reactions that radicals in the name of the "religion of peace" have over the slightest trifles (such as comments from Jerry Falwell about how Islam is a "warlike" religion) it paints a slightly different coloured hue to me. As he so often does, Bryan Preston of the JunkYard blog has an interesting angle worth considering:

HERE'S AN ANGLE I LITERALLY NEVER CONSIDERED: Jerry Falwell may have been on to something. No, not necessarily when he said that Mohammed was a terrorist. Mohammed was a warrior-king, over that there's little debate, but he wasn't a terrorist as we think of terrorists. Mohammed forged an empire; terrorists just forge junkpiles out of useful things like buses and buildings.

But Falwell also said that Islam is a warlike religion, as opposed to a religion of peace. And as George Neumayr notes, something other than peace broke out as a result of the Rev's remarks. Riots in India resulted in a handful of deaths. Iranian cleric Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari called for Falwell's death. Other clerics across the Middle East reacted with similar decorum. And all because a slightly famous guy on the other side of the world said something irritating. If we Christians acted this way, Ted Turner alone would cause riots three or four times a day.

It was such a violent reaction, so utterly out of character for those peaceful folks who keep blowing up party-goers in Bali and issuing fatwahs against novelists. By their fruits ye shall know them, said someone who knows the human heart better than anyone else. The tree of Islam seems to bear a rather high-strung fruit these days, doesn't it.

It is because of these kind of extremists thrive on confusion that I am moved more towards a position of supporting a war effort - whether such an effort meets the criterion for a "just war" in all of its particulars or not. Anyway, that is where I currently am at on this subject: my general distaste for war in reality (compared to intellectual abstraction on the matter) being edged somewhat by an intuitive sense that a strong show of strength is required here.

Peace is forged through strength as the Gipper noted many times (as did Goldwater before him) and we have taken a lot of punches from terrorist types the past thirty years. If any lessening of these kinds of things is to ever take place we need to militarily show these chumps how "The Game of War" is really played. And that is the bottom line really...

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Spiritual Instruction on Prayer (Part I):

I know that my protocol has been to run these instructionals at the end of each day but I have a lot to do today both with blogging and a ton of errands to do so I am breaking with Rerum Novarum precedent here. Nonetheless here is part I of the instructional on prayer.

Who can perservere the whole day in the praise of God? I will suggest a help. Whatever thou doest do well, and thou hast praised God. (S. Aug., on Ps. xxxiv., Disc. 2.)

Oh! What do I suffer interiorly whilst my mind I consider heavenly things; and presently a crowd of carnal thoughts interrupt me as I pray. (Imit., B. III., c. XLVIII., v. 5.)

1. We ought to love meditation and should make it often on the Passion of our divine Lord, striving above all to derive therefrom fruits of humility, patience, and charity.

2. If you experience great dryness in your meditation or other prayers, do not feel distressed and feel that God has turned His Face away from you. Far from it. Prayer said with aridity is usually the most meritorious. It is quite a common error to confound the value of prayer with its sensible results, and the merit acquired with the satisfaction experienced. The facility and sweetness that you may have in prayer are favours from God and for which you will have to account to Him: hence the result is not merit but debt.

[The text says "Read the Imitation, B. II, c. IX" so I will insert it here in green text before continuing the reflection.]


IT IS not hard to spurn human consolation when we have the divine. It is, however, a very great thing indeed to be able to live without either divine or human comforting and for the honor of God willingly to endure this exile of heart, not to seek oneself in anything, and to think nothing of one's own merit.

Does it matter much, if at the coming of grace, you are cheerful and devout? This is an hour desired by all, for he whom the grace of God sustains travels easily enough. What wonder if he feel no burden when borne up by the Almighty and led on by the Supreme Guide! For we are always glad to have something to comfort us, and only with difficulty does a man divest himself of self.

The holy martyr, Lawrence, with his priest, conquered the world because he despised everything in it that seemed pleasing to him, and for love of Christ patiently suffered the great high priest of God, Sixtus, whom he loved dearly, to be taken from him. Thus, by his love for the Creator he overcame the love of man, and chose instead of human consolation the good pleasure of God. So you, too, must learn to part with an intimate and much-needed friend for the love of God. Do not take it to heart when you are deserted by a friend, knowing that in the end we must all be parted from one another.

A man must fight long and bravely against himself before he learns to master himself fully and to direct all his affections toward God. When he trusts in himself, he easily takes to human consolation. The true lover of Christ, however, who sincerely pursues virtue, does not fall back upon consolations nor seek such pleasures of sense, but prefers severe trials and hard labors for the sake of Christ.

When, therefore, spiritual consolation is given by God, receive it gratefully, but understand that it is His gift and not your meriting. Do not exult, do not be overjoyed, do not be presumptuous, but be the humbler for the gift, more careful and wary in all your actions, for this hour will pass and temptation will come in its wake.

When consolation is taken away, do not at once despair but wait humbly and patiently for the heavenly visit, since God can restore to you more abundant solace.

This is neither new nor strange to one who knows God's ways, for such change of fortune often visited the great saints and prophets of old. Thus there was one who, when grace was with him, declared: "In my prosperity I said: 'I shall never be moved.'" But when grace was taken away, he adds what he experienced in himself: "Thou didst hide Thy face, and I was troubled." Meanwhile he does not despair; rather he prays more earnestly to the Lord, saying: "To Thee, O Lord, will I cry; and I will make supplication to my God." At length, he receives the fruit of his prayer, and testifying that he was heard, says "The Lord hath heard, and hath had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper." And how was he helped? "Thou hast turned," he says, "my mourning into joy, and hast surrounded me with gladness." [Ps. 29:7-12.]

If this is the case with great saints, we who are weak and poor ought not to despair because we are fervent at times and at other times cold, for the spirit comes and goes according to His will. Of this the blessed Job declared: "Thou visitest him early in the morning, and Thou provest him suddenly." [Job 7:18.]

In what can I hope, then, or in whom ought I trust, save only in the great mercy of God and the hope of heavenly grace? For though I have with me good men, devout brethren, faithful friends, holy books, beautiful treatises, sweet songs and hymns, all these help and please but little when I am abandoned by grace and left to my poverty. At such times there is no better remedy than patience and resignation of self to the will of God.

I have never met a man so religious and devout that he has not experienced at some time a withdrawal of grace and felt a lessening of fervor. No saint was so sublimely rapt and enlightened as not to be tempted before and after. He, indeed, is not worthy of the sublime contemplation of God who has not been tried by some tribulation for the sake of God. For temptation is usually the sign preceding the consolation that is to follow, and heavenly consolation is promised to all those proved by temptation. "To him that overcometh," says Christ, "I will give to eat of the Tree of Life."[Apoc. 2:7] Divine consolation, then, is given in order to make a man braver in enduring adversity, and temptation follows in order that he may not pride himself on the good he has done.

The devil does not sleep, nor is the flesh yet dead; therefore, you must never cease your preparation for battle, because on the right and on the left are enemies who never rest. [Thomas à Kempis: Imitation of Christ, Book II, Ch. IX (c. 1418)]

The very fact that we derive less gratification from such prayer, makes it all the more pleasing to God, because we are thus suffering for love of Him. Let us call to mind at such times that Our Lord prayed without consolation throughout His bitter agony. [Fr. R. P. Quadrupini: excerpts from his spiritual instruction "Light and Peace - Instructions for Devout Souls" pgs. 19-20 (c. 1795)]

To be continued...


Monday, October 21, 2002

Got birthday stuff to tend to now so I will try to do the war gumbo stuff tonight. This will depend on how clearheaded I am upon returning though. I sign off with an old Irish toast...

"May you make it to heaven thirty minutes before the devil knows you are dead" :)

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The Vatican and the Dallas Norms Issue (Part II):

This second letter is posted courtesy of Gerard Serafin via Lane Core Jr. (I *still* cannot access your weblog Gerard...sigh):

His Eminence Giovanni Battista Re
Prefect Congregation for Bishops

Your Eminence,

Thank you very much for your letter of October 14, 2002, in which you communicate to me the response of the Apostolic See to the request for recognitio by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the Norms approved at our Plenary Assembly in Dallas, Texas, on June 14, 2002. The Bishops of the United States are profoundly grateful to the Holy See, both for the fraternal solicitude that has been shown to the Church in the United States at this difficult time and for the gracious consideration that has been given to our request.

In view of the issues that Your Eminence raises in your letter to me regarding the best way for us to pursue effectively the recognitio of our proposed Norms, I am happy to accept, on behalf of our Episcopal Conference, the suggestion of the Apostolic See that a Mixed Commission be established in order to reflect further on and consider revision of certain aspects of the Charter accepted by the Bishops in Dallas and the Norms proposed to the Holy See for recognitio. I look forward to communicating to you in the very near future the names of the four Members of our Conference who will join four representatives from those Dicasteries of the Holy See that have direct competence in the matter before us.

Grateful to you, personally, Your Eminence, for your many kindnesses to our Conference, and with renewed sentiments of esteem and prayerful best wishes, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Bishop of Belleville
October 15, 2002

The score on this issue as of this letter was: Vatican: 2 USCCB: 1/2. In light of the attempt to bury the proposal for a much needed US Plenary Council in bureaucratic paperwork, I am being very generous in giving any credit at all above. No more "studying" the plenary provision - we are arguably sixty years overdue for a US Plenary Council. No more legal crap, get the petition together and bring it to the floor of the USCCB for a vote. I want to find out which bishops have a backbone and which do not.

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The Vatican and the Dallas Norms Issue (Part I):

This first letter is posted courtesy of Pete Vere:

The Most Reverend Wilton D. GREGORY
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Your Excellency,

With your letter of June 26, 2002, you forwarded to the Holy See the document entitled "Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests, Deacons or Other Church Personnel" ("Norms"), approved at the Plenary Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which took place in Dallas (Texas) from June 13-15, and for which you requested the recognitio.

The Holy See, above all, would like to convey full solidarity with the Bishops of the United States in their firm condemnation of sexual misdeeds against minors and is deeply concerned about the distressing situation that has arisen in recent months in the Church in the United States. Likewise, the Holy See wishes to encourage the efforts of the Episcopal Conference in assisting the Bishops to address these difficult problems.

The sexual abuse of minors is particularly abhorrent. Deeply moved by the sufferings of the victims and their families, the Holy See supports the American Bishops in their endeavor to respond firmly to the sexual misdeeds of the very small number of those who minister or labor in the service of the Church. But such a very small number cannot overshadow "the immense spiritual, human and social good that the vast majority of priests and religious in the United States have done and are still doing" (Pope John Paul II, Address to the Cardinals and to the Presidency of the Episcopal Conference of the United States, April 23, 2002).

The Apostolic See likewise acknowledges the efforts which the Bishops of the United States have made through the "Norms" and the guidelines contained in the "Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" ("Charter") to protect minors and to avoid future recurrences of these abuses. Such efforts should also help to preserve or restore the trust of the faithful in their pastors.

Despite these efforts, the application of the policies adopted at the Plenary Assembly in Dallas can be the source of confusion and ambiguity, because the "Norms" and "Charter" contain provisions which in some aspects are difficult to reconcile with the universal law of the Church. Moreover, the experience of the last few months has shown that the terminology of these documents is at times vague or imprecise and therefore difficult to interpret. Questions also remain concerning the concrete manner in which the procedures outlined in the "Norms" and "Charter" are to be applied in conjunction with the requirements of the Code of Canon Law and the Motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (AAS 93, 2001, p. 787).

For these reasons, it has been judged appropriate that before the recognitio can be granted, a further reflection on and revision of the "Norms" and the "Charter" are necessary. In order to facilitate this work, the Holy See proposes that a Mixed Commission be established, composed of four bishops chosen from the Episcopal Conference of the United States, and four representatives from those Dicasteries of the Holy See which have direct competence in the matter: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Clergy , and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

On behalf also of the other Dicasteries involved, I look forward to your response. With the promise of prayers for your important work in serving the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Giovanni Battista Card. Re
Prefect Congregation for Bishops
October 14, 2002

This decision pleases me greatly because I do not like the idea of zero tolerance. It is too easily abused and in light of the scandal Cardinal Keeler caused in releasing a list of names of priests and laicized priests who were merely accused of impropriety the past fifty or so years - it illustrates in technicolour the danger of this kind of extremism. (The Cardinal did this to cover the tracks of his own irresponsibility of this I doubt for not an instant.) Strict guidelines: yes. Greater accountability to be held to the bishops for their past errors: yes. But the priests need protection from accusations of wrong-doing haphazardly. Tighter regulations are certainly in order but "zero tolerance" is a joke and a charade in light of the irresponsibility displayed in this regard in many dioceses the past thirty-fifty years. The score on this issue as of this letter was: Vatican: 2 USCCB: 0.

More to come in part II...


More on "Canonical Man"* and His Presence at Catholic Light:

The official press conference can be read here. What I found hilarious was John Schultz's comments in the comments box:

So I was wondering where I can store 1.7 million copies of an e-book. I guess I'll need to get an e-shed.

My e-sides are hurting from the e-chuckling :)

* The fully poseable Pete Vere action figure. Comes with red cape, a miniature copy of the 1983 and 1917 Codes, templates for making "canonical opinions" and filing "legal libellas", and Hans "Kung Fu" grip. Coming soon to a tribunal near you!!! ;-)

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"Operation Dispensationalist Blitzkreig" Dept.

"The Curmudgeon" takes on chapter 1 of David Hunt's screed "A Woman Rides the Beast" and throughly rips it to pieces. Enjoyable reading. I will only add here that the number 666 which is the focus of many Dispensationalists is rendered as 616 in the earliest Latin versions of Revelation. So the Beast who is mentioned by John would have to have their name spell out to 666 in Greek and 616 in Latin. And such a person was the Emperor Nero.

Now full preterists go beyond Historic Catholic Christianity in some areas but one can be a "predominant preterist" and be faithful to Catholic teaching. I link to it here in part because my view of Revelation as to its proper dating is akin to Reformed scholar Kenneth Gentry: I believe it was written shortly before the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. I also agree that apostate Jerusalem was the "harlot" in Revelation for the reasons that The Curmudgeon outlines in his post. (I did not think of the connection of the scarlet colour to "Edom" before: fascinating connection there and congruent with my current eschatological weltsanchauung.)

I do not discuss end times eschatology very often because I try to be a good amateur theologian. (And a good theologian knows to hold back on - or speak cautiously about - areas where he is not as well studied.) I mention it here in brief because it ties into The Curmudgeon's dismantling of Hunt's screed. (And follow-up debunking of an anti-Trinitarian Dispensationalist.) General Patton would be would "The General" (Sun Tzu) :)

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It seems that Pete Vere has been brought on board over at Catholic Light weblog. I will monitor them more closely now than I did previously {...insert ominous music and fade to black...}


"The Boys Are Back in Town" Dept.
(and other tidbits)

It is good to see fellow lover of the leaf "The Curmudgeon" back in the saddle and holding court again over at ezboard :)

For those not aware, The Curmudgeon - much as your humble blog host - is another former Royal from Steve Ray's message board. We also spent time at the Internet Infidels board together a few years ago.

I also saw that The Curmudgeon contributed to the auxillery blog of John Betts on certain "loons, goons, and buffoons". I want to take the opportunity of this situation to extend to the Curmudgeon a formal invitation to do a Guest Editorial on the sniper situation. (Or any other subject that he wants to talk about - particularly if it deals with "loons, goons, and buffoons".) See this link for details as well as some examples of what I am looking for.

In other news, I know I have promised some Rerum Novarum War Gumbo for two days now. I have been really lazy at getting to it by my own admission. As it is now Monday morning and your humble host's birthday, he will get to the gumbo most likely in the late evening or tomorrow.

I also want to do a double-shot of "Bastiat's Corner" later today - and will try to get to it when I wake up later today in six hours or so. (Must educate the readership after all.) There is also another installment in my dialogue with Professor Miller to get to, some political non-war stuff, the first installment of my response to Jeff Culbreath, old notes from a previous dialogue, and so much more. (Including the third installment at my development blog on the covenants issue which I also did not have time for today yesterday. Anyway, see you later today...same Bat time...same Bat blog...

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John Betts Subscribes!!!

Honestly I was talking with Lane and Bill about a form of "equivalent profession" - to which Lane concurred but Bill had not responded to me about - when I noticed the other day that John had used the prescribed form. I forgot about it until noticing an email at angelfire where John brought it to my attention. So yes John while "equivalent profession" was something I was favouring your subscription to the pope's formulary makes that a moot point now. Welcome to The Faith Legion John!!!


Sunday, October 20, 2002

Vatican II, did it change anything??? Click here for a very brief response for the benefit of you "syllabus" types :)


My favourite Anglican Edwin Tait weighs in on the issue of private judgment here. I chipped in some follow-up comments but this time am playing "rhythm guitar" in a manner of speaking to Edwin's "lead". Good job (as usual) Edwin :)

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When reflecting on my request yesterday my hope that my readers will pray for my father on All Souls Day, I thought about how I generally offer prayers for people and thought doing a weblog where people could email their departed for inclusion. Anyway, it is an idea I am kicking around so let me know what you think about it.


No war gumbo tonight as I am too tired and want the last post to climax todays postings. Tomorrow I will have among other things some stuff on Edwin Tait my favourite Anglican, the war gumbo, and possibly another installment of the death penalty dialogue with Professor Miller. The response to Jeff Culbreath will be for Monday along with another round of Bastiat's corner at that time. (I also hope to start the prayer instructional next week as well - probably on Wednesday.)

I intend tomorrow to finish a third installment on the development blog on the subjects of the relationship between the two covenants (Old and New) and Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism. Still not sure when it will be ready but I know where I want to take the thread now which helps. Oh, I prayed the Mysteries of Light today for the first time and want to talk about that too. See you then my friends...same Bat time...same Bat blog...

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