Monday, March 2, 2015

Wise as serpents, gentle as doves

Last night's topic at LifeTeen was the dignity of woman. My buddy the youth minister told me to be on my best behavior because one joke or one "offensive" comment would bring heat down on his head. He's been married for 9 months and already has an infant daughter, so I'll refrain for his sake. Again, if it were me I'd calmly inform the angry soccer moms and beta males, "It's not Beefy Levinson telling your daughters to be submissive to their husbands, it's St. Paul and St. Peter inspired by the Holy Spirit. Your problem isn't with me, it's with God. Take it up with him. Now piss off."

On some level, I can respect the Godless heathen or the born-and-raised Protestant. They're wrong, but they generally act in accordance with the principles that have been instilled in them since birth. In contrast, the Barque of St. Peter is rife with saboteurs and traitors among its own crew who are doing their utmost to sink it. It's not just this one parish where I volunteer. It's happening to my Metropolitan Archbishop:
Realizing that the best way to fight any war is to first wage a media campaign to convince others that the cause is noble and the enemy evil, opponents of Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, have brought in the infamous public-relations maven Sam Singer to escalate the war over the issue of whether San Francisco’s Catholic schools should actually be Catholic.
 Singer has launched a media blitz to defeat the archbishop’s policy, claiming to have been hired by “concerned parents” who oppose the archbishop’s instruction that teachers in the diocesan schools should teach in communion with the Church. On Ash Wednesday, LGBT protesters, dressed in black, held a vigil that the San Francisco Weekly described as bearing “the signature slickness of a Singer campaign, drawing news coverage across San Francisco, and all the way down to Santa Cruz.”
Catholics need to make up their minds about our expensive educational establishment. If a Catholic school is nothing but a refuge for wealthy secular liberals who don't want their children getting stabbed by black and Mexican gangbangers in the public schools, then frankly we don't need Catholic schools. If I ever have children, I most likely will not send them to a Catholic school. They can be formed into pagans much more cheaply in a public school. Naturally, the wealthy secular liberals are shocked, shocked that his Excellency expects Catholic schools to be Catholic. If you don't like it, leave.
In his war against the Church in San Francisco, Singer is using the media in the same way, feeding them stories of “concerned Catholic parents” and oppressive clergy. The stories seem to have had an impact. The editors at the San Francisco Chronicle recently asserted that while they would not “quarrel with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s determination to ensure that his rigid interpretation of Church doctrine is taught at four Catholic high schools,” he “could not be more out of touch with the community he has been assigned to serve.” 
Every marginally orthodox bishop and priest is charged with being out of touch with the community. On the contrary, the community should be told that they are out of touch with truth and reality.
This is what makes the battle with Singer so hard to fight: His side gets to play by a different set of rules. Archbishop Cordileone does not have the luxury of the multiplicity of truths that Singer can deploy. Singer’s arsenal includes a Twitter feed filled with statements proven to be false — for example, this from February 25: “San Francisco Archbishop Will Purge Gay, Lesbian and Pro-Choice Teachers.” Singer must know that is false, because Cordileone has stated several times that he has no intention of firing teachers simply because of their sexual orientation or beliefs. Rather, the archbishop is concerned that the teachers in Catholic schools simply teach the truth of the Catholic Church — through their actions and their words.
Bonald had an excellent insight the other day: at Vatican II, the Church locked herself into mid-20th century illusions about a pro-Christian form of liberalism. Cordileone is saying he won't fire any rank heretics or public sodomites. Does anyone think they're going to extend us the same tolerance? If anything, the bishops should be utterly ruthless in weeding out the non hackers who are entrusted with forming the next generation of Catholics. They've already lost two generations and are on track to lose a third. If you allow known heretics, atheists, or public sodomites to teach Catholic children, then how serious are you about forming them?
The San Francisco Weekly is predicting that the archdiocese will lose, that “Singer will steer the archbishop’s already unpopular anti-LGBT slam into a Singer-defined narrative. . . . Right or wrong, Cordileone probably doesn’t have a prayer.” That’s false. Archbishop Cordileone has an abundance of prayers — of countless Catholics across the country who are increasingly alarmed by the attacks on their Church. Faithful Catholics are beginning to mobilize under the leadership of their own courageous bishops and priests. Prayer is powerful. When combined with a willingness to fight back, it can be unstoppable. This war is not over. The fight has just begun.
 Pope Francis is in many ways the apotheosis of the Spirit of Vatican II. He and his court believe that the world isn't such a bad place after all and we can play nice with them in peace and brotherhood. This is, to put it lightly, delusional. The world has been and always shall be our enemy. And in this war against the world, you can always count on the so-called moderates to say of their allies what they're too yellow to say of their enemies. Lead, follow, or shut your goddamn coward mouth and stay out of the way.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Now would be an appropriate time for a colorful metaphor

Rest in peace Leonard Nimoy. I remember reading in one of his autobiographies that Nimoy received far more female fan mail than Shatner. My theory is women loved Spock because, as an unemotional Vulcan, he literally didn't care. Of course Spock was half human and did show emotions on some occasions, so all of the female fans fantasized that they were the unique snow flake that could pierce his cold exterior.

His last tweet reads, "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP." I can't think of a better epitaph. God rest you Mr. Nimoy. Your work on Star Trek brought joy and wonder to myself and millions of other fans around the world.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Just pull the trigger already

The always excellent Rorate Caeli relates that the German Church has essentially declared its independence:
The synod would have to find a text that would "further encourage" discussion and find a common position in fundamental questions. Doctrinally, one would remain within the community of the [Universal]Church, but in detailed questions of pastoral care "the synod cannot prescribe in detail what we must do in Germany”. Therefore, the bishops wanted to publish their own pastoral letter on marriage and family after the synod. It was not the duty of the bishops to wait for permissions.

"We are no subsidiaries of Rome. Each conference of bishops is responsible for pastoral care in its culture, and must, as its most proper task, preach the Gospel on our own. We cannot wait for a synod to tell us how we have to shape pastoral care for marriage and family here".
According to the German bishops' position, the reality of life constitutes an important factor for the doctrine of the Church.
"Pastoral" essentially means the application of doctrine. If doctrine doesn't matter, then what's the point of being pastoral? If reality of life constitutes an important factor in the doctrine of the Church, then can we repeal that "turn the other cheek" stuff? I mean if we're going to ignore the plain words of Christ concerning the indissolubility of marriage, then surely we can make some paaaastoral exceptions for the descendants of Norse and Germanic barbarians  like myself to bust some heads and flip some wigs up in this joint?

I don't want there to be a formal schism, but on the other hand it'd be an enormous relief if the weenies finally pulled the trigger. It's perfectly obvious that many of our shepherds don't believe the theological doctrines they swore to uphold. Whether they perjured themselves at their ordinations or gradually lost the faith over time, I leave to God. But please don't patronize me by scolding me for "judging" them. The German bishops simply would not be doing what they're doing if they loved the words of Christ more than they loved the tax money they receive from the German government. I'm not judging their souls, I'm judging their public words, their public actions, which anyone with a lick of sense ought to do in order to protect themselves and their neighbors from their poison.

Many of the bishops we have today - including Pope Francis - are the apotheosis of the Spirit of Vatican II. They personify Vatican II's fundamental principle that, hey, maybe the world isn't so bad after all. Maybe we can form an alliance with the world to do good works like taking care of the environment or making nice with the Godless heathens, heretics, and pagans throughout the world in endless dialogue. So help me, one of the bishops in the article spoke of the "dialogical" structure of reality. What the hell does that even mean? The Church somehow managed to survive and thrive for nearly 2000 years without this unending dialogue.

The more time goes by, the more glad I am to be a layperson. On the other hand, it's a sign of our evil times that it falls to lay people to kick bishops in the ass and remind them of who they are and what they're supposed to stand for.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The winner is you

I spent my Sunday night working with the LifeTeens. Better for them and for me than watching the Oscars. As Steve Sailer noted, the squabbling tribes of liberalism are pulling out the knives for each other without a Republican Emmanuel Goldstein hate figure to focus on. For once I'm actually confident the Republicans can win in 2016, no matter who they nominate. Barack Obama won the votes of young progressives who were eager to show off their social justice cred by voting for the cool young black guy. I doubt they'll turn out in such droves for a boring old cishet white lady like Hillary who, unlike her preternaturally skilled husband, is quite bad at politics. Here's hoping it's 1968 all over again for the Democrats.

The more I work with young people, the more convinced I am that the Church's current pastoral practices are ineffective at best, counterproductive at worst. Young people are crying out for challenges and discipline. If they can't find them within the Church, they stop taking it seriously. When I was a teenager, I found my public schooling to be too easy. I became one of those kids everyone knows: aces every test but thinks homework is a joke so his grades are only fair to middlin. So my buddy the youth minister had the bright idea for us core members to think of additional Lenten challenges for the kids to take on.

Before I go further, it's remarkable how much flak he catches in the course of parish politics. The funny thing is none of it comes from parents who actually have their own teens participating in the program. My attitude is to tell the complainers to go take a long walk off a short pier, but I'm a volunteer. He does this for a living so he has to walk on eggshells. The pastor, as per usual, has to maintain a careful balancing act between all of the feuding factions within the parish because if he pisses off one of the soccer moms, there go a bunch of his other volunteers who will probably complain to the bishop. I suppose one of the things I'm most grateful to Holy Mother Church for is confirming in my mind that I never want to work for someone else again. Never again do I want to entrust my livelihood and my future to the whims of SJWs or the nice beta guys who lack the spine to stand up to them. It's self-employment or starve to death trying.

Each core team member has a small group of teens they're working with. My group and I are meeting for daily Mass tomorrow at 6:30 in the AM. I've often thought that instead of sacrificing luxuries like chocolate or caffeine, us supposedly busy moderns should sacrifice our time by taking on additional time for prayer, such as praying 15 decades of the Rosary, or making a Holy Hour, or spending more time reading Scripture.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Breaking glad

Everyone knows of Christmas and Easter Catholics, but for some reason many of them turn out on Ash Wednesday as well. It's not a holy day of obligation but I've noticed that even many non-Christians observe Lent; not in the religious sense but in their desire to exercise self-discipline. Giving something up for Lent is not required of us - save for abstaining from flesh meat on Fridays - but almost everyone does so anyway whether it's caffeine, chocolate, cigarettes, or other treats.

It's a period of self-examination. Ideally we should be exerting greater effort in combating our sins, flaws, and defects compared to the rest of the year. The last year has been spiritually difficult for me. I struggle with the truths that 1) God loves me, and 2) He has a plan for me. It's easy to believe those things when everything is going great. When plans don't work out, when you wonder where your next paycheck is coming from, when you don't know where to turn or whom to trust, it's more difficult. As a rational matter, I know that suffering is inevitable. Intellectually, I know that God keeps his promises on his terms and his timeline. On an emotional level, I sometimes wonder if he's forgotten me or if I somehow don't have a part to play in his plans for the world, not even as an extra in the background.

All Catholic men who take the faith seriously discern the priesthood or religious life at one time or another. I was in the seminary for two years. You can probably figure out why I'm no longer there if you don't know already. Suffice it to say, I had no patience for walking on eggshells or holding my tongue in the face of manifest silliness or outright error. I did for a short time. Well do I remember all those times Father Z has told seminarians to keep their mouths shut at all costs because the elderly Modernists on many seminary faculties are looking for an excuse to dismiss orthodox young men who yearn to roll back the errors and follies of the last fifty or so years. There came a point where I finally said to myself, "Fuck that noise." It's that kind of thinking that has led to the Church's current fugue state. That unwillingness to speak the truth, that hesitancy to declare that the emperor has no clothes has led to decades of ecumania, of a crippling lack of confidence, of grown men having to sit in silence as clip-haired, mean faced old broads in pantsuits henpeck them in umpteen committee meetings because the seminary drills you hard on whether you have a "problem with women."

I love the priesthood in its Platonic ideal, but given the modern understanding of the priesthood and the way it is lived in most parishes in the 21st century I'm not at all surprised they struggle with recruitment. Men are willing to give their lives for a mystery, but not for a question mark. It's brought me more inner peace since I decided that it's not for me. One thing the diocesan vocations director said to me before we parted ways for the last time was, "You'd have been a good priest 60 years ago." I fail to see why that should make a difference. I was under the impression that the Church is the same today, yesterday, and forever but apparently I was wrong.

I'm personally embittered about it to some extent, but I'm angrier over the general pattern. I'm far from the only man to be dismissed for being too Catholic for the seminary's taste; it's happened to much better men than me. I'm angry because the priest shortage is a 100% manufactured problem the Church inflicts on herself because the bishops are too stubborn to see that the pastoral strategies and changes of the last few decades have been manifest failures.

I stick with the Catholic faith because the Catholic faith is true. If I depended on the examples set by bishops and priests, I'd have left a long time ago. Maybe God allowed it all to happen as a way of increasing my faith in him instead of the institution.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents Day, or the Secular Communion of Saints

Americans didn't always worship the Founding Fathers. The only one I hero worship is George Washington. It's difficult to overstate how much he influenced and shaped the country through his character alone. I've read many biographies of the man and the worst things people can say about him are his ambition, occasionally short temper, and reluctance to become overly familiar with anyone. He's the greatest American and probably one of the greatest men who was not a canonized saint to ever walk the earth.

As for the rest, the older I get the more convinced I am that the Anti-Federalists had their number all along.

The normative force of any law, including the Constitution, depends on the natural law. Any positive law that purports to contradict the natural law is unjust and we are under no obligation to obey; in fact, we have a moral obligation to disobey. Left-liberals dislike dogmas and clear distinctions, so they conceived the notion of a "living Constitution." The Constitution can change over time through the amendment process, but that's not quick enough. The meanings of the words can be changed to suit the needs of the present moment. There's only one thing that needs to be said about the concept of a living Constitution whose basic meaning changes over time. That term is a technical one from political science: bullshit.

Right-liberals - also known as conservatives - conceived the notion of Originalism or strict constructionism as a counter. Whatever you call it, it's essentially legal positivism. I'm more sympathetic to this idea but it's still an error. Positivism in religion is exemplified by the Protestant belief in Sola Scriptura. All meaning is confined to a closed text. In theory, the early Protestants thought this would lead Christianity back to the purity of the early Church. In practice, Sola Scriptura means the Bible means whatever the individual believer thinks it means which is why there are thousands of Protestant sects throughout the world.

Applied to the Constitution, far from confining all meaning to the text, it would mean the text means whatever judges and politicians want it to mean. Further, it provides cover for politicians and judges to willfully cooperate with evil or who are too cowardly to resist. It's possible, even likely, that the Supreme Court is going to discover a "right" to sodomite marriage in the Constitution this year, just as it discovered the "right" to abortion in Roe v. Wade. Chief Justice John Roberts, a Catholic, said in his confirmation hearings that Roe is the law of the land and that his personal beliefs would play no part in his legal decisions about abortion. In the future, I imagine all Supreme Court nominees will have to offer their pinch of incense to the legal reality of sodomite marriage (I say legal, but ontologically marriage cannot exist between two persons of the same sex.) Positivist legal theories are not exculpatory. You are formally cooperating with evil when you enforce evil laws. And don't even start with "I'm personally opposed, but…"

What conservatives seldom understand is that positivism is not the opposite of post-modernism. They're two sides of the same erroneous coin. Post-modernism was born from the realization that positivism is nonsense. The left-liberal, despairing of his project to turn man into God, declared that nothing had any stable meaning anymore. That road eventually leads to nihilism and madness. Both positivism and post-modernism are efforts to push the natural law outside the Overton Window and replace it with the Nietzschean superman's will to power. When the legal system is disconnected from the natural law, then all the little laws show up to fill in the gaps of day-to-day life. The Constitution and the Founding Fathers become our great Oracles, the answer to every possible question.

Americans are discouraged from thinking of themselves as a distinct people. The "blood and soil" theory of nationalism and ethnicity strikes American ears as weird and vaguely Nazi-ish. Instead, we base our identity on the ideas contained in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If you believe in those principles, then you're just as American as the man whose ancestors were at Jamestown. And for that reason, many Americans have great difficulty accepting the notion that the Constitution might contain fatal weaknesses. Whatever flaws exist in the American system of governance are preemptively blamed on moral failings of the population. We have this great fear that if the Constitution is someday amended or reinterpreted to become something monstrous - such as guaranteeing the rights to abortion and sodomite marriage - then somehow America itself will become an illegitimate nation. Our identities are closely bound to our specific system of governance, and if that system breaks down and fails, then who are we?

Nonsense. A sinner doesn't become non-human because he has sinned. He has an obligation to repent, confess, and amend his life. Likewise, if America exalts certain evil practices, she doesn't cease to become a nation. She gains an obligation to repent.