Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kills Vocations Dead

Anthony Esolen describes how to do it:
Cardinal Raymond Burke has recently laid some of the blame for the precipitous decline in priestly vocations upon the feminization of the liturgy. His assertion prompts two questions. What would qualify as “feminization”? Have we in fact done that to the liturgy? The question that the assertion should not prompt is, “Would a feminized liturgy actually cause young men to turn away from the idea of the priesthood, in indifference, perplexity, or bemused contempt?” For example, would a sight of two priests twirling a-tippytoe like big-bellied ballerinas at an Easter Vigil service, along with a troop of girls waving scarves and sashes, for six minutes and more, to Aaron Copland’s arrangement of The Lord of the Dance, have any natural appeal whatsoever to the overwhelming majority of boys and young men who know to what sex they belong?
Rather, that sight would pretty much guarantee that those fellows would be stifling laughter, or staring at their knees while waiting for it all to stop, or glancing toward the doors. And just imagine if one of the boys had made the dreadful mistake of inviting a non-Catholic friend to the service, or someone wondering why anybody should take religious faith seriously.
Wherever there is a priest shortage, it is a 100% manufactured problem that dioceses inflict upon themselves. No one held a gun to their heads. No one forced our bishops to transform the Catholic Church in America into the stripped down, watered down, Protestantized, secuarlized, rationalized, liberalized, and feminized machine that it is today. The bishops, by and large, chose to make the Church in America what it is. They chose to welcome effeminate and homosexual men into the ranks of the priesthood. They chose to concentrate more on saving the planet than saving souls. They chose to become CEOs more than shepherds. They chose to turn Catholic schools into public schools with crucifixes in the classroom, and sometimes not even that much. They chose to teach that pretty much everyone not named Adolf Hitler goes to heaven. They chose to make the faith something warm and cozy and above all easy, instead of the demanding matter of eternal life and death that it is. They chose to make "man" a dirty word and to hire women for every position that doesn't explicitly require Holy Orders, and even then it's not uncommon for lay women to deliver the homily at my parish.

The bishops did all of this, not some vague "secularization" that has afflicted the culture for which no one is ultimately responsible. They ask us to pray for vocations despite doing everything humanly possible to discourage young people from pursuing the priesthood or religious life. You really have to wonder if they're intentionally destroying a Church in whose truths they no longer believe, or if they're just that cowardly, arrogant, and incompetent.

If I sound angry, you're goddamn right I'm angry. If the Church were a secular corporation, you could at least laugh. Coca-Cola executives had the common sense to drop the New Coke experiment after its catastrophic failure. Whether out of professional pride, pure cussed stubbornness, or something worse, the bishops continue clinging to a strategy that everyone with a lick of sense can see has been a failure. And when the bishops pursue failed strategies, souls are lost. Men who are called to be priests don't end up as priests, and men who have no business anywhere near the priesthood end up getting ordained. I suppose God created all of us to live during these times to teach us the meaning of charity, because the bishops are going to need all the prayers they can get whenever they pass on to their eternal rewards.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

One of these things is not like the others

Reality versus "Marriage:"
It should be made clear first that no one is preventing homosexuals from living, simpliciter – no Western state is killing them solely on account of their homosexuality (it’s different in dar al Islam) – and, since they are people, they are ipso facto living like people. No one is making them live like dogs or pigs or raccoons.
So homosexuals are not agitating for the right to marry each other in order to escape some egregious oppression that prevents them from living human lives. The reason homosexuals want all of us to say that they can marry each other is that they want to be treated *as if* they were living like heterosexuals, without the irksome requirement of actually living like heterosexuals. No one is preventing them from going ahead and living like heterosexuals, of course. But they don’t want to do that. No; they just want everyone to say that homosexuals are really no different from heterosexuals, and ought therefore to be treated the same way that heterosexuals are treated, in every respect. This despite the fact that (as they are convinced) they really are different, and despite the fact that their difference is crucially important to them, in that (so they feel) it makes them what they are: homosexuals, rather than heterosexuals.
They want to be different and not different. This incoherence isn't restricted to the homosexual lobby but is intrinsic to liberalism itself. Liberalism demands equal rights for all, but a "right" is by definition discriminatory. If I own property, I get to discriminate against trespassers. If I'm married, I discriminate against all women who are not my wife, and wives discriminate against all men who are not their husbands (one hopes.) Liberalism demands that we discriminate without discriminating. This inevitably results in anarcho-tyranny.
But it’s no good. It can’t be done. Heterosexuals – especially heterosexual men – can forebear to express their disgust at homosexual sex, but they cannot stop feeling it. If they could, they would, for then they’d be indifferent about the sex of their lovers, and so able to venture forth in search of some homosexual sex, which is much easier to come by than the heterosexual sort. But this won’t happen, because heterosexuals don’t want homosexual sex. They find it revolting. That’s what makes them heterosexuals. This will prevent them from expressing any genuine, honest approval of homosexual sex. And this will ruin the approval that homosexuals hope will be conferred on their perversion by legalization of homosexual marriage. They won’t get approval; they’ll get “approval.”
 What's more, everyone will know that we are giving "approval." Therefore, they will demand ever more draconian penalties for those who withhold their approval. "Are you now or have you ever been opposed to marriage equality?"
Reality will win the war over homosexual marriage, too. The West may “valorize” it by making it legal, may even force people to “approve” of it. But this “approval” will be no more real than the “money” that the Soviet regime used to pay its employees, or the “work” they did. It will all be a pretense, a Potemkin village. And sooner or later it will blow away in a stiff wind, just like the USSR. In the meantime it will cost us plenty of misery and hassle and money, to be sure, and many lives will be ruined. It will be a disaster, as falsehood ever is. But then, that’s why it will eventually fall apart. Eventually the horse of “marriage” will be lying there, dead, and no amount of flogging will keep it going. At that point, there will be nothing to do, but bury it.
I'm not confident about the future of civilization within my lifetime. I expect the complete socio-economic collapse of the West to begin no later than the 2030s. I'm confident about civilization in the long run. Liberalism is as irrational and inhuman as its red headed step children fascism and communism. It's as doomed to failure as they were. It's unfortunate that it will take another ocean of blood before another failed ideology is discarded in history's dust bin.

Some helpful advice for the confused Christian

When people tell you to be more Christ-like, remember that your options include flipping tables and giving them a good horse-whipping. The other day someone said to me, "If you Christians were more like Jesus, people would love you!" To which I calmly replied, "Maybe... that is until they started crying for my blood and for the State to crucify me." Everyone seems to conveniently forget those parts, or the accounts of people saying to Jesus's face that his teachings were too hard or too weird. Frankly, if you haven't ever pissed anyone off in your life as a Christian, you're doing it wrong.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

We're not all children of God

Good piece from Rachel Lu:
This last Sunday, we were treated to the Gospel reading in which Christ is baptized by St. John the Baptist. It’s a compelling passage, especially because it focuses our attention on the purpose and meaning of baptism. The rambling, confused homily that we received on this topic (from an earnest-seeming seminarian whom I don’t know at all) sparked a later debate in the Lu household on a common error in the Church today. Why are Christians constantly stressing their solidarity with the rest of the world by claiming that “we are all children of God”?
I suppose some see this as a Christianized version of the sentiment that “all men are brothers.” Or maybe they just want to emphasize that God loves everyone, and that every life is precious. Which is true. All humans are made in God’s image, and Christ’s grace is available to all. Nevertheless, we aren’t all children of God. It’s actually quite important that people understand why this is.
...What is the process by which we become God’s adoptive children? According to Church doctrine and tradition, it is baptism. Baptism is the door to Christian life, and the means by which we are grafted into God’s family. When we are baptized, we are freed from the sentence (though not the residual effects) of original sin. No longer condemned under the law, we become cross-bearers, and heirs to Christ’s kingdom.
 Seen in this light, we understand the urgency of the Great Commission. Charity means in part desiring what is best for your neighbor. And what could be better than heaven? It's imperative that we evangelize in accordance with our gifts and station in life.

Christianity without conversion is one of the more destructive ideas that's ravaged the Church over the last few decades. If we're all children of God already, then why do we need to disturb the peace with our missionary efforts? Religion, like politics, is something you're not supposed to speak of in polite company. If everyone on earth is already one of Rahner's "anonymous Christians," then we may as well pack it in and tell people that Islam, Buddhism, paganism, or atheism is just as good as Christianity so long as you try to be a good person.

We're born in God's image and likeness but we're not born as his children. That only happens through baptism, period.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Short Story Review: A New Leaf, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you don't feel comfortable gaining Red Pill wisdom from the likes of Heartiste, Rollo Tomassi, or Return of Kings, then go back to the original sources. Each generation has its own myths which it does not share with others. In the 21st century, our cherished myths include those of human equality in general and the interchangeability of men and women in particular. Hopelessly blue pill white knights, manginas, feminist harpies, and SJW bullies claim that gender is purely a social construct. If we can just manage to find the right formula for social engineering, we can all become the shapeless androgynous blobs of their dreams. F. Scott Fitzgerald had a lot of baggage, but his short story "A New Leaf" shows he didn't harbor many illusions about the nature of women.

The story begins with 21 year old Julia Ross having lunch with her beta orbiter Phil Hoffman. Julia spies an incredibly handsome man coming out onto the terrace, and she demands that Phil introduce her to him. Phil, the dutiful white knight, proceeds to tell her that the man is his friend, Dick Ragland. Dick is a cad, an alcoholic, a social outcast, and all around lazy no-goodnik. Julia immediately declares all of it to be lies, calumny, and slander. Dick is an Adonis to her before they even say a word to each other. She proclaims herself to be the unique snow flake who can tame that wild stallion. Starting to sound familiar yet?

Dick wines and dines her, tells his sad story, teases her, plays it cool. She agrees to meet him for lunch the day after tomorrow, eagerly saying that she's free all week. In the meantime, she pines away for her new alpha bad boy. At the appointed time, he shows up in a drunken stupor. The difference is so striking she compares him to Jekyll and Hyde. Julia tells him she's too busy to see him the rest of the week.

She runs into Dick again and he's back to his old charming self. He sweeps her off her feet again. Phil again tries to tell her that he's no good, and again she says he's changed. You can figure out how the story ends if you haven't read it yet.

Dick is not an admirable character. He's weak willed, shifty, narcissistic, and possibly sociopathic. Nonetheless, he's portrayed as having enormous success with women. When left to their own devices, women will always choose the suitor which gives her the most tingles. There's something to be said for the old custom of requiring the father's permission before marrying his daughter. If men were required to impress him rather than their bride-to-be, they'd have a stronger incentive to make themselves marriage material rather than improving their pickup skills.

When a woman decides she likes a man, regardless of that man's track record or character, then she will make the relationship happen. She'll ignore his bad reputation, she'll quit her job, she'll move across the country, she'll abandon her husband to be with the object of her affection. If you don't believe this is true, just ask the new Mrs. Charles Manson.

It's vital to remember this distinction: women may find good character traits to be attractive but not necessarily arousing. They themselves seldom understand this distinction, hence their furious denials that women love assholes even as they date assholes. Pay less attention to what a woman says, and more to what she actually does.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Date for six months, flip a coin, whatever

Last week was a double header for Catholic young adults in Sacramento. Presentation parish has its own new young adult ministry in addition to the diocesan-wide Veritas group. The first Wednesday and the second Thursday fell during the same week so we had two good speakers back to back on a similar subject. The first talk was about marriage, the second was about discernment in general whether it be to married life, religious life, or priesthood.

The talk on marriage reminded me that Catholics are supposed to be in the world but not of it. It's easier said than done as we can't completely escape the pathologies of the culture unless we become Carthusians or hermits. We need to know enough about the faith and about the culture to know where the two inevitably differ, and how to counter the errors of contemporary culture, whatever they may be. I got the impression that the priest speaker was a believer in "The One." Generations raised on Disney films, Nicholas Sparks novels, and countless romcoms believe that out of 3.5 billion members of the opposite sex, there's just one God has created especially for us who is perfect for us in every way and will lead us to romantic and marital bliss. This is, to use a technical philosophical term, nonsense on stilts. Most men have neither the time, nor the money, nor the inclination to wander the earth in search of the unique snowflake God created solely for their sake. Women dream of being the unique snowflake who can get the alpha bad boy to settle down with them. They'll pine away for their imaginary boyfriend even as they're surrounded by nice church boys trying to work up the courage to say hi.

The most important decision a Catholic makes is whether to marry at all or to embrace a life of perpetual chastity in the priesthood or religious life. If you've decided on marriage, then the specific person you marry is a question of prudence such as which trade to pursue or which city to live or which new car to buy. We all have our standards or preferences in a potential mate. I could not and would not marry a non-Catholic woman (and it's unlikely a non-Catholic woman could long suffer my religious extremism, ha!). She should have long hair, a sweet personality, be committed to the Catholic faith including the bits about wifely submission, not be obese or overweight, and not be a feminist harpy. Is that unicorn hunting? I don't think so, but I can understand why some men have grown so cynical. They may be outstanding Catholics, but even the nicest Catholic girls are as subject to Original Sin and hypergamy as their secular sisters hanging out at the clubs.

Whatever your standards, within those guidelines there are surely dozens if not hundreds of women in your metropolitan area that meet them. Do not, under any circumstances, get oneitis before you put a ring on it. If some broad shoots you down, there are billions more where she came from. The woman or man you marry is The One because you're married. You don't marry The One; marriage makes them The One. Love is an act of the will. A lot of times happy and romantic feelings accompany that act of the will. The test of marriage is whether you can continue making that daily act of love toward your spouse when the feeeelings go away, as they inevitably do.

Given that, I'm of the opinion that we could have a computer randomly match up all of the single men and women of Veritas and those relationships would have an equal chance of leading to successful marriages as leaving us to our own devices.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mark Shea explodes with rage, part 9027345

When you've lost First Things...
It was a portentous image. Press toads hopped to their keyboards to correct the evidence of our lying eyes. Francis was neither for nor against fracking, you see. Nothing of the sort. He was simply using a photo-op to assert blameless solidarity with the victims of ecological injustice. (Both a decisive definition of such injustice and its particular victims went unspecified.)
If that restyling were true, then the more fool Francis. But Francis is not a fool. He is an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist. His clumsy intrusion into the Middle East and covert collusion with Obama over Cuba makes that clear. Megalomania sends him galloping into geopolitical—and now meteorological—thickets, sacralizing politics and bending theology to premature, intemperate policy endorsements.
 Mark Shea dons his armor and goes forth to charge that windmill:
First Things publishes this festival of crazy contempt for Francis in which we are instructed that “Francis is … an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist.” We see the teaching office of St. Peter described as a “sandwich board”. We learn that “Francis serves an environmentalist mindset that, unlike the traditional ethos of conservation, views man as a parasite” (how the aptly named Ms. Mullarkey divines knowledge of the Pope’s Human Extermination Agenda before Francis has even published a word of his encyclical is left unclear. 
 Shea seems congenitally incapable of giving a fair minded analysis of his opponents' positions. It's a rich bit of projection for Shea to accuse Mullarkey of divining the pope's intentions in the same paragraph that he divines her belief that the pope has a "Human Extermination Agenda." She said no such thing, but that doesn't gin up Establishment outrage as much.
Then it goes to Rev. Wright (culture war dog whistle!)…. and ends with… BUM BUM BUMMMMMM… Satan. And Francis. Next to each other. All it needs is this to really complete the vibe.
This is what Mallarkey wrote:
The world is what it has been and will remain. Satan is still the prince of it. And Francis is imprudent.
Thank goodness we have the valiant Mark Shea to make these connections for us. Here I thought Mullarkey was simply restating what has been the tradition of the Church since time immemorial, that Satan is the prince of this world, and saying, rightly, that the pope is deeply imprudent. It turns out those evil, evil reactionaries think Francis is the devil! I totally trust a man consumed with burning, seething hatred for "reactionaries" (read, Catholics who call out Shea on his buffoonery) to tell me what they think.

Shea goes on to give his usual nuanced analysis: "this revolting (in every sense) smear job," "The stinking, sweaty, panic-stricken hatred of the pope from the kind of 'faithful conservative' Catholicism represented by Maureen Mullarkey," "this was not written on a bathroom wall where it belongs.  It was not published on some blog published from Ignatius Reilly’s basement.  This was published by First Freakin’ Things." He ends by plaintively whining, "First Things: What happened to you guys?"

Mark, have you ever considered that maybe us "reactionaries" have a point about Pope Francis? That maybe when a mild mannered moderate forum like First Things is starting to say the same things Traditionalists have been saying for months, it might be a sign that Francis's papacy has been a disaster and you're making yourself look ever more the fool by defending the indefensible? Shea compares Mullarkey's article to "the dumbest hayseed tract from a Fundamentalist who makes Jack Chick look like a Ph.D." Shea reminds me of those old anti-Catholic canards that Catholics worship the pope. If Francis said in an interview that Mary was the Fourth Person of the Trinity, I've no doubt Shea would take to his blog and excoriate those of us who said the Holy Father was wrong as being more evil than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Palpatine, and the Dark Lord Sauron rolled into one.

Normally I'd leave comments on Shea's blog, but he deleted my comments and banned me long ago. From what I gather, I'm in excellent company and I consider it a badge of honor.