Saturday, December 29, 2012

I laffed

Breaking the chains, building the frames, winning the games

(title shamelessly stolen from Vox.)

An acquaintance of mine recently penned a blog post about the difficulty young Catholics have with finding guys or girls who are marriage material. Monica and I are regulars with the Veritas young adult group. They're a well formed group of people and I'm a better Catholic and a better man for having met them. Unfortunately, not even the most well formed Catholics can totally escape the influence of culture. Our current culture is, to use an understatement, a dystopia where the lapdogs of Satan are running wild in a way not seen since the zenith of Hulkamania. Identifying the ways in which the culture of death influences us is a long, hard slog. It's not for nothing that the so-called manosphere compares it to taking the Red Pill from The Matrix.

Men are still expected to fulfill their traditional roles, while women are expected, and even encouraged, to not fulfill theirs. It's not uncommon for modern women to spend the prime of their youth and fertility practicing serial monogamy with the top 10% of men in their social milieu and pursuing "career goals." Modern men, having no outlet for dating through either their ineptitude with women or lack of women in their range, spend their time getting drunk and playing video games. There are many reasons for this, and it is an area where the Catholic Church has really dropped the pastoral ball. Neither the modern culture of the West, nor most Catholic parishes, really understand how to teach men to be men. This is especially head scratching in the case of Christian churches since not a few saints, and Scripture itself, has a lot to say on the matter. We are become sheep without shepherds. Men are formed by the culture into being thugs or mincing, nurturing nice guys. Women are formed by the culture into being grrrrlpower careerists.

Think about the books, music, TV shows, and movies that have been created since feminism came into its own. The only acceptable way to portray women these days is the Warrior Princess: Xena, Buffy, Dark Angel, the chick from Underworld, etc. Strong Female Characters are taken to mean women who are basically men with different reproductive organs. And who are the acceptable mates for the Warrior Princess? Sparkly vampires, Amerindian werewolves, and secret millionaire hunky handy man.

Twilight and Eat, Pray, Love are pornography just as surely as anything published by Larry Flynt. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that one of the reasons why pornography is evil is because it immerses its consumers in an unrealistic fantasy world. Everyone understands that pornography directed at men is unhealthy fantasy. Pornography directed at women - including outright pornographic works like Fifty Shades of Gray - is prominently placed on bookshelves in full view of everyone at Barnes & Noble. People believe pornography directed at men is unhealthy for them because it gives them unrealistic expectations about women. This is true as far as it goes, but because men are so visually oriented its damages aren't as permanent or long term. Women's attraction triggers are more susceptible to being influenced by the culture.

It's always been the case that women are not attracted to most of the men they encounter in their day to day lives, while men are at least somewhat attracted to most of the women they see. These tendencies are exacerbated by the culture. Men born within the last forty years are virtually trained from birth to be the sort of men women do not find attractive, i.e. lacking in self-confidence, supplicating, and general doormats. Women recoil at all of the sissies and take refuge in femporn like Fifty Shades or in the arms of cads looking for fornication. Men, bewildered at their lack of success with women despite following the advice of their mothers and teachers, either become cads themselves or play Call of Duty.

What can we do about this? Well, for my fellow Catholic men I would say that being a faithful Catholic is necessary for marrying a good Catholic woman, but it's not sufficient. She will go out with the lukewarm or nominal Christian bad boy before she gives the time of day to the good Catholic boy who's a sissy. It's not because she likes bad boys but because the bad boy asked her out. Get confident man! Ask her out! She wants you to ask her out! She will be happy you asked her out even if she shoots you down right off the bat or if it later doesn't work out. You will be happy even if she shoots you down because you've taken the first step toward building your own confidence and deprogramming yourself from the evil influence of our Godless culture of death.

For good Catholic girls, I would say think carefully about how you've been influenced by the culture. Are you a consumer of the femporn I mentioned earlier? I know it's difficult, but once you're aware of what's going on, you are as fully capable of practicing custody of the eyes as Catholic men are expected to be. Have fun. Smile. Laugh at our jokes. Let your hair down. Wear a dress. If God wills that I be a layman, I want a good Catholic marriage and a family as much as you do.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tradition for thee but not for me

Excellent post by Dalrock on the feminine imperative:

Numerous commenters on her post noted that it is very natural for men to look after women, and this has always been the case.  Indeed, this natural protectiveness men have for women is part of the mechanism which leads to the feminine imperative.  However, it is only part of the mechanism.  The other side is vehement objection to reciprocity, and this very much does come from women.  To the casual observer the scene Sunshine Mary describes where men defer to women and the women don’t bother thanking them (or truly even appreciating the gesture) seems to “just happen”.
 ...any deviance from this will be met with emotional outbursts.  Whoever proposes either true equality or simple reciprocity will become the object of great irrational anger, and at this point the passivity turns to aggression.  While the girls (and their mothers) won’t know why they are so angry, they will know that whoever proposed such a thing is a terrible person.  Sunshine Mary described just this sort of thing regarding Joseph of Jackson in a separate post.
Well formed Catholic girls are plentiful in my social milieu. Whether through formation, education, or experience, many of them express gratitude or show appreciation when the guys do them a kindness. They know of traditional gender roles and are generally willing to embrace them once they meet the right guy.

Reciprocity used to be the norm and not the exception. Men deferred to women, and women took care not to abuse that deference. The wife played the first officer to the husband's captain: he trusted her judgment but major decisions rested with him and his word was final.

Today, men are in many ways still expected to fulfill their traditional roles but suggesting that women fulfill theirs is a sign of beastly misogyny. Modern American women expect the old deference, even demand it, but they and the ever dwindling ranks of white knights will loudly and profanely tell you where to go if you say they should be a little more feminine. On a somewhat related subject, I had a beautiful date for my birthday party. I told her that if she wanted to be my date, there were some rules that all prospects must follow: 1) Let your hair down; 2) Wear a dress; 3) Laugh at my jokes. She did all three. She might be a keeper.

One example of the feminine imperative I remember comes from the last presidential election. During the second debate, the moderator Candy Crowley interjected herself into the discussion by presuming to fact check Mitt Romney. Liberals cheered and a few of them wondered, "Why couldn't Jim Lehrer do that?" Romney was put in an impossible position. If he had forcefully stood up for himself - "Excuse me Ms. Crowley, are you keeping score? No? Then know your role and shut your mouth," - then the headlines would scream about how he was a sexist bully, a defective husband, and a bad man. Women are free to challenge men as rudely as they please, but men are not allowed to answer the challenge outside of the most obsequious bowing and scraping he can manage. He can answer her tit for tat but she reserves the right to play her "I'm a girl" card at any time. If it's happening on the internet, white knights will swoop in to speculate about your psychological profile and your dating life.

Men are expected to run the same race they've always been running, but this time for uncertain or nonexistent rewards. Women are expected, encouraged even, to spend the prime of their youth and fertility riding the alpha carousel and pursuing nebulous "career goals." We're already seeing how it's playing out in the short term: women delaying marriage and child birth right up until the wall first peeks over the horizon. Once she's married, she has the power to unilaterally end the marriage on a whim, and take her husband's house, his children, and his future income along with her. Alpha males in search of fornication have never had it so good. Men who rank as betas or below either learn game, wait until women are overweight grouchy thirty somethings ready to settle, or just turn their backs on civilization and play Call of Duty.

A wise man once said, "What can't last forever, won't." Men are made to be creators, builders, and leaders. If they think it's a sucker's game to invest in their society, they won't. We've seen it before. Just ask the ancient Romans.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I love this one

Stephanus plenus gratia et fortitudine

What one thing makes Catholicism different from other religions? Intimacy with the divine. Jesus Christ, consubstantial with God the Father, became physically incarnate. He walked the earth as surely as Tiberius Caesar. He spoke to men yet spoke unlike men. The New Testament tells us the people were amazed because he spoke as one having power and authority. He was put to death, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. But, he promised that he would be with us until the end of time. He promised that his Church would exist until he returned, not in the hiddenness and poverty of his first coming, but in the power and the glory of the second coming. He is still physically present among us inside every tabernacle inside every parish, monastery, convent, and chapel on earth.

He wants us to be intimate with him. He wants to hear of our troubles, our hopes, our dreams, our fears, our loves, and even our hatreds. He wants us to be totally his. To help us grow closer to him, he gave us sacraments which are among the ordinary channels of his grace. He raised up saints who continue to help us and pray for us from heaven. The Church Militant is intimately bound up with the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. All of us are united in the communion of his body and blood. We are his mystical body. The Church is his bride. He is priest, prophet, and king.

The great sickness and corruption of the Church over the last fifty years is a direct result of the loss of that intimacy. Instead of speaking to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we're told to say hello to our neighbor. Instead of offering up our sufferings in union with the sufferings of our Lord on the cross, we're told to do something nice for somebody. Instead of being told to say our rosary, or read the catechism, or study the lives of the saints, we are asked to do our part to fight global warming, or unjust economic systems, or say no to racism.

The Church does a lot of good social work but it's motivated not by the love of neighbor for the love of God, but out of humanitarian impulses. We no longer believe the Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament. If we really believed he was present, we would not carry on the way we do. If we believed that hell exists and its possible to go there, we would avail ourselves of confession more often than we do. If we believed that we must obey the law of God before the law of man, we would not indulge in so much impotent grumbling against unjust laws foisted upon us by those whom we ourselves elected, but rather saying "It is better to obey God than man," and dare them to arrest us.

If we lay people really believed, we would not be reduced to cowed silence when the Godless media assaults our faith with its books, music, and television; we would answer them with our own books, music, and television explaining the reasons behind our hope. If priests really believed, they would not allow the sacred liturgy to devolve into farcical hootenannies or allow themselves to be pushed around by grouchy ex-nuns in pantsuits. If bishops really believed, they would spend less time maintaining their rolodexes of the politically well-connected and more time preaching and teaching the truth, and ruthlessly silencing the priests and religious who didn't. If the theologians really believed, they would not spend their careers sneering at the simple piety of their grandfathers, or writing books explaining why contraception is not sinful if the believer's subjective conscience disagrees with the teaching of the Church.

All of it stems from that loss of intimacy with the divine. If one does not believe that Christ is truly present in the Sacrament, then one has lost the Catholic faith in its entirety. And one does not need the gift of reading souls to know that there are many, many cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, and lay people who may be Catholics in good standing on paper but are functional apostates. Don't hesitate to parish hop if your parish is not teaching the Catholic faith. If you don't take action to nurture it and protect it, if you go along to get along, you will lose your faith. You will.

There's a reason why we celebrate the first martyr the day after Christ was born. We celebrate one of the greatest events of salvation history, and the next day we commemorate what we must be willing to endure for its sake. Most of us are not so willing. Get that way. Or die trying.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A most happy anniversary

I celebrated my birthday over the weekend with the youth and young adults of Veritas. Well, technically it was the Christmas Soiree and Pro Life Toy Drive Extravaganza, but my invincible pride demands that I pretend it was all organized for me. I was rather impressed by my ability to party hard if I do say so myself. The festivities began at 7 pm and I did not drive home until 8 am.

Yesterday was the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and the seventh anniversary of Rorate Caeli, whom I must thank for forming me into the intransigent Traddie I am today. We are fortunate to live in a time when so much sound Catholic teaching is so readily available online. It's unfortunate that many of us have to go online to learn this stuff instead of our local parishes. From an essay on Modernism penned for RC's anniversary:

Modernism inside the Church is difficult to combat for various reasons:

-it is difficult to discern inasmuch as it is ubiquitous or omnipresent - Jacques Maritain speaks of ‘immanent apostasy’. This signifies that it has become part of the very fabric of the Church Herself, or, using another image, it has become too vast even to see;

-it is difficult to understand because it is obscurantist (as we shall show it in the next section);
-it is difficult to evaluate since in order to evaluate it, theological knowledge is required which is no longer taught in seminaries or in parishes, or at least not exclusively so taught;
-it is difficult to accept because it requires intellectual honesty and courage, which are necessary to face the doctrinal devastation in the Church today;
-it is difficult to criticize, above all for a priest, because he will be regarded not only as ‘hard’, but also as ‘lacking in piety’ or even ‘schismatic’ (or ‘crypto-schismatic’) towards the Church, the Pope, and the Magisterium (understood in the first sense of the term); and will have to steel himself for some mauvais quarts d’heure with his Superior or Bishop, and perhaps even the loss of his apostolate.

Now that I think about it, when I was a heathen learning about the ways of the Church, I could tell almost immediately that there were enormous stylistic differences in the way the Church explained herself when we compare pre-conciliar and post-conciliar writings. The pre-Vatican II Church presupposed a certain degree of spiritual and doctrinal formation in her people, so her decrees and papal encyclicals tended to be shorter since they were largely made up of affirmations or anathemas. The post-Vatican II Church goes to great lengths to explain why she teaches what she teaches. In practice, this means we get buried in an avalanche of theological and philosophical jargon.

Many doctrines are passed over in silence, i.e. those that are considered “negative”, such as the existence of Hell, Mortal Sin, and sacrilegious Holy Communion.

Let us look at sacrilegious Communion. This doctrine is almost never taught or preached any more. In fact, the passage from Saint Paul that condemns it, which appears in the Old Roman Rite on the Feast of Corpus Christi and on Maundy Thursday, was suppressed in the New Rite.2.

Clearly this silence, as indeed silence on any article of doctrine, is not merely something neutral: the failure to accomplish an act; but something positive: a veritable act, an act of denial. Because if someone is entrusted with a doctrine to preach as a moral principle and does not preach it, the only explanation possible is that he does not deem it necessary for moral conduct, and therefore, for all intents and purposes, he denies it.

I've visited many different parishes throughout northern California. I've heard homilies every Sunday and Holy Day for seven years, and a lot during the week. It's possible I've forgotten, but I can't recall ever hearing a non-FSSP Catholic priest mention the existence of hell in a homily, or that it's possible to go there. I'm certain that I've never heard a non-FSSP Catholic priest warn us about making a sacrilegious Communion. As Don Pietro writes, this is not simply an oversight. Priests know these things and they make a deliberate, willful decision to not teach or preach about them. Is it any wonder few Catholics go to Confession anymore?

If only it were as simple as it were in the old days. Even when the world groaned to find itself Arian, one could identify Arians because they unequivocally said no to a dogma of the faith. The Church could say that here be heretics who are saying, teaching, and doing heretical things. We cast them out, we declare them excommunicate and anathema, we pronounce them doomed to an eternity of hellfire with the devil and all of his fallen angels if they do not repent, confess, and do penance.

In many cases, the old style heretics left the Church of their own accord because they believed the Church was in error and they themselves had the truth. Modernists will never leave the Church of their own accord. Most of them furiously resent it if you question their orthodoxy, even as they spend lifetimes undermining orthodoxy from within, sneering at the simple piety of their grandfathers. They're embarrassed by their coreligionists who are so child-like as to believe that Jesus Christ miraculously multiplied the loaves and fishes ("It's magic!" I remember hearing one priest say about this miracle from the pulpit.)

Conservative Catholics often say that it's normal for ecumenical councils to be followed by about fifty years of chaos and confusion as the Church assimilates their teachings. This time, and Vatican II itself, are different though. Whatever chaos and confusion occurred after the Council of Trent took place largely between Catholics and non-Catholics, i.e. the Protestants. Previous ecumenical councils were called to address a specific heresy or define a particular dogma or doctrine. Vatican II condemned no heresies and proclaimed no new dogmas or doctrines. The confusion and chaos has taken place between Catholics in good standing (only on paper in some cases.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

O key of David

Dueling bozos

All three of my readers know that I can be sarcastic, vituperative, hyperbolic, ill-informed, and unpleasant. People who know me in real life could tell you stories. Everyone also knows that I'm a fan of Michael Voris and have posted some of his videos here. I believe he does a lot of good work, and that he brings some much needed real talk to the discussion about the state of the Church here in the United States and throughout the world. Does he bat 1000? No, but who does? Can he be sarcastic and occasionally put his foot in his mouth? Sure. Cast the first stone if you're never guilty of that. There's something about him though that makes some otherwise great Catholics go, to put it charitably, stark raving bonkers.

I confess that I am unfamiliar with the work of Catholic journalist Simcha Fisher. A few days ago she wrote a post which provided many links for charitable organizations worthy of our time and money: so far, so good. The immediate cause of her doing so was her distaste for an upcoming Caribbean cruise, organized and sponsored by Voris and his ChurchMilitantTV, which will host a Lenten retreat by Father Zuhlsdorf. Specifically, she doesn't like the idea of Catholics going on a luxurious cruise for Lent. Some of Voris's supporters flocked to her combox to defend him against what they felt were Ms. Fisher's unjust criticisms. Again, so far so good.

Catholic apologist Mark Shea leaped to Ms. Fisher's defense. I read all of the comments on the original thread of Ms. Fisher's article. There were a few acerbic exchanges (sharp tongues on the internet? Oh my stars and garters!) but mostly it just read like a bunch of Voris fans defending his work and answering the charges that a Lenten cruise is in bad taste. In Mr. Shea's eyes though they were rapacious bullies savaging the delicate flower of Ms. Fisher's womanhood. They're flying monkeys, pharisaical bullies, the brainwashed dupes of a sinister cult of personality, peddlers of poisonous fruit who wish to take the bread from poor children's mouths and lay it at the feet of their idol. Near the end of Shea's thread I called him out for making a mountain out of a molehill (I'm Kevin B.) and he replied with the cogent argument that I am a weenie. Wow. I know you are but what am I?

I've read Shea off and on ever since I came into the Church seven years ago. He's a good man and his writing has been a great help to me. But once in a while he gets a bug up his ass over some competing personality in the Catholic media and he will go out of his way to let everyone know how terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad they are, and if you're not with him you're against him. Relax dude. We're on the same team. I can't believe I'm the one saying that.

If it were up to me, Shea and Voris would spend their time in Purgatory chained to each other at the ankle.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The best laid plans of mice and men

Karl Rahner's baneful impact on theology:

What struck me immediately was Rahner's insistence on interacting with modern European philosophy, especially that of Immanuel Kant. Rahner was unwilling to carry out his theological task in the vacuum of a biblical positivism. He engaged modern philosophy in theological debate, forcing philosophy and theology to speak to each other.
This sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice it became something quite different. Modern philosophy has rejected the idea of Being. Traditional Catholic theology holds that God's essence is existence. He is pure Act, pure Being. When you have no common principles, what is there to talk about? We are commanded to preach the Gospel to every corner of the earth. It sounds reasonable that we have to adapt the message according to the capacity of the listener to receive it. But in many ways, philosophy since Descartes has taken a wrong turn. The philosophy of Kant and Catholicism cannot be reconciled without doing violence to either one or the other.

But does Rahner's criterion of mystery serve to validate our beliefs or merely relativize them? Can mystery validate thought? Can it serve as a measure of clarity against which we may compare our very unclear ideas? By its very nature Rahner's notion of mystery cannot possibly serve this function. Permanent mystery can neither validate nor clarify our thought, it can only reveal its finitude. Granted, Rahner's stance has given us a needed pastoral warning against conceptual arrogance, but he has not given us a usable criterion of theological truth. What we need in order to validate our thought and our theological statements is not mystery, but a criterion that is substantial and specific enough to serve as a practical guide for our groping intellects. We need a portrait of truth and reality that shares in both the contingencies of history and the absoluteness of divinity. This criterion, marked by both radical contingency and radical divinity, is what the Church calls revelation. Should the Church attempt to go "behind" revelation -- try to validate her message by an appeal to mystery? The very opaqueness of mystery makes it difficult to see how we could ever connect revelation, much less our paltry thoughts, with the infinite otherness of this "holy mystery."
Now to be sure, God cannot be confined to what we finite creatures can conceive. He is mystery, he is wholly Other, and we'll never understand everything about him this side of eternity. But that doesn't mean we can't know some things about him. That's what revelation is all about. I can prove the existence of God through human reason alone. I cannot prove some truths about God such as his trinitarian nature, but we can use reason to refute all objections to the trinity.

In fact, Rahner tells us that we cannot even conceive of this mystery; it must be experienced in its infinite silence. But if this is so, how can a nonconceptual (experiential) criterion serve to clarify, much less validate, our conceptual thought? It may be possible to find a home for our feelings in this "holy mystery," but what about our ideas? For all of Rahner's lip service to history and contingency, it seems that he has imprisoned truth in a heaven of mystery which can only be penetrated by the experiential and affective sides of human nature. But if we desire the clarification of our concepts or the validation of our theo-logy, we are left standing before the obscurity of this heaven, outside the gates.
 I think what offends post-modern sensibilities the most is not the Church's particular teachings on the usual 21st century cultural hangups such as homosexuality. What offends post-moderns is the notion that the Church teaches objective truth. If we said that the resurrection of Jesus Christ, or even his very existence, was just a fictional story that makes us feel good and do good things, there would be no problem. But what we actually teach is that the baby Jesus, the miracle at Cana, the crucifixion, and the resurrection, all of them were historical events that took place just as surely as the reign of Julius Caesar. These things happened. Christ was who he said he was, the Son of God incarnate.

One of the things I always found unappealing about modern evangelical Protestantism was its subjective character. Yes, they had the Scriptures but much of their appeal was based on the experience of the believer. Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Yes. Now what? How do I know that I've really accepted him? If I commit some grievous sin in the future does that mean my acceptance wasn't real? That it didn't take? What if I don't experience warm and fuzzy feelings when I think about God?

The experience of the individual believer has its place in the Catholic tradition, but it is always united with Tradition, not in opposition to it. The Church offers us the subjective and the objective together. Isolating them and elevating one too far over the other is the road to heresy and error.

Monday, December 17, 2012

This is gold, Jerry, gold

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge
He didn't speak very often, but when he did, he was worth listening to.


So you're a practicing Catholic, you go to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, you read spiritual books, you say your rosary, you want to be a nice guy because Jesus was a nice guy... PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN. We need to establish something from the start: Jesus was not a nice guy. You think I'm trolling you? I am not trolling you. Jesus was not a nice man. When our Blessed Lord walked the earth he was a kind man. A kind man forgives. A nice man submits. A kind man loves his enemies. A nice man thinks his enemies are right about him. A kind man has a mission. A nice man is a manipulator. A kind man does not intentionally set out to make people mad. A nice man intentionally sets out to make people like him. A kind man tells the truth because truth is worth knowing for its own sake; and in the case of Jesus Christ, he himself is the Truth. A nice man will tell gentle lies to protect the feelings of his listeners from hard truths.

You think Christ is calling you to be a nice guy? He's calling you to be a SAINT. He is calling you to holiness. You think Jesus was a nice guy? Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, a nice guy? Read his life again. He told his disciples that unless they eat his flesh and drink his blood they have no life in them. And many of them walked with him no more! He told his disciples to go forth into the world, and if any town not receive them, they were to shake the dust from their sandals as a testimony against them! The moneychangers turned his Father's house into a den of iniquity. What, you think Jesus wanted to engage in dialogue? You think he wanted to make a joint declaration of common principles with the Pharisees who did, in fact, worship Jesus Christ's Father as the one true God? He horsewhipped those sons of bitches and drove them out in a fit of righteous anger.

You're a nice Catholic so I bet you get mad. I bet you get angry. I bet you get angry toward guys like Michael Voris instead of the people whose heresies and errors he highlights in his videos. "Why can't he tone it down?" you ask. "Why does he have to be so harsh, so mean, so confrontational, uncharitable, and self-righteous?" You know why you think that? I'll give you a hint: it's not because you're such a great Catholic. VORIS IS DOING WHAT EVERY LAY CATHOLIC SHOULD BE DOING. Jesus Christ himself said there would be wolves in sheep's clothing who would prey on his flock. St. Paul and St. Peter spilled a lot of ink warning us about false teachers who claim the name of Christian but whose ears are itchy for strange doctrine. From the Resurrection, to the Reformation, to our own degenerate era, God's holy Church has been beset by enemies without and traitors within. IF YOU CAN'T TOLERATE VORIS'S STRONG LANGUAGE, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO TELL TRUTH FROM ERROR?

A Christian is supposed to be willing to lay down his life for the truth. All the early Christian martyrs had to do to save their own lives was offer a pinch of incense to the heathen gods. That's all! That's it! They could have gone on worshipping Christ in the privacy of their own homes and the inner recesses of their hearts. Why were they so extreme, so rigid, so unbending and inflexible? If you don't know the answer, then you need to rethink your life.

People don't walk into a Catholic parish unless they're ready for the truth. What, you think they come in to get out of the rain? They're walking in, begging you on their knees and in tears to show them Jesus, to teach them, to LEAD THEM. Are you going to lead them Father? Are you man enough to lead them? The old timers at the seminary or in the chancery don't like you to wear a cassock? Who gives a shit? You're going to get in trouble if you say that your people are in danger of burning in hell for all eternity if they do not repent, confess, and do penance? Then go have a good cry with the clip haired, mean faced old broads in pantsuits who have been pushing you around since you were in minor seminary.

You think I'm being uncharitable? YOU PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT WORD EVEN MEANS. The really uncharitable person is the one who doesn't work and pray for his neighbor to go to heaven and to avoid hell. If you think that I, a Catholic lay man who desires that priests be successful in their ministry of showing souls the way to heaven, am being too harsh then how are you going to take abuse from a world that always has and always will despise you because it despised our Blessed Lord first?

The spiritual life is combat gentlemen. Combat against your own flesh, against the world, and against the devil. You want to be popular and beloved? Then convert to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.. Our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, King of the Universe stands ready to give you everything you need if you just ask and freaking DO IT. You fell? Then get up! Take heaven by storm! I will stand with you and fight until the end. If you lay down your arms and walk away, I got no sympathy for you. Trust me, I know how feminized contemporary Christianity can be. It's not going to change if you leave. And however frustrating and politically correct the American Church can be, I guaran-damn-tee it's worse everywhere else. Because no one else has Christ.

Buy yourself a Roman Catechism, a Douay-Rheims Bible, a Rosary, and get involved in a parish, even if it's awash with liberalism and feminism. You're not alone pal. I'd wish you good luck but you don't need luck. You need more confidence and the grace of God. The latter is yours for the asking. The former is yours for the taking.

There is only one solution

To my knowledge, it's illegal in all fifty states to carry a loaded weapon onto a school campus. Therefore we need to make it SUPER ILLEGAL.

One of my Facebook friends decided to see how super illegal last week's massacre was. The shooter broke the law when he stole the guns, broke it again when he stepped outside (possession of a firearm by someone under 21), broke it again by not having a permit, broke it by carrying them onto school property, and broke it by discharging a firearm within the city limits.

Americans are probably the worst when it comes to do-somethingitis. The murder of children cries out to heaven for vengeance. We feel frustrated at not being able to do something, particularly since the shooter ended his own life. We try to one up each other in social media by writing long paeans about how our heart is breaking, we're wracked with sobs, and we want to hug our children tighter. To be fair, many people said that now is not the time to be discussing political solutions. That time will inevitably arrive though. And then we will listen as our credentialed superiors discuss ways to treat symptoms instead of the cause.

Kids like Lanza should be institutionalized - he clearly appears insane in all the pictures of him that have appeared in the media - but the mental institutions were shut down decades ago because we felt the mentally ill needed to breathe free. If this is accurate, it sounds like the mother was a little weird. An insane boy raised by a single mother... one doesn't need a PhD in the social sciences to know that the absence of a strong father played a strong role in this.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I suppose it's inevitable. Every time these monstrous crimes happen, we want to do something. We are united in empathy and grief, but within a week we will be arguing over what it all means. Many voices will call for tighter control on guns. Some will blame the culture. Everyone will propose solutions for treating symptoms but not the illness. More gun control laws are not going to stop those bent on murder and suicide. There's something more deeply and fundamentally wrong with us, and I'm not at all confident that there's anything we can do about it this side of eternity.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Flawless victory

Science fiction and fantasy author John C. Wright hits the nail on the head. I cannot improve upon it:

I read two posts recently that touched on the same topic, namely, the way writers handle female characters in historical fiction and heroic fantasy.
Both reinforced my opinion that Political Correctness is, at its root, undramatic and the enemy of the arts in the same way it is illogical and the enemy of science and reason, namely, because it is ahistorical and inhuman.
He's speaking my language already.

Modern schoolboys, for a variety of reasons, none of which bear too close an examination for anyone with a queasy stomach, are far more poorly educated than their fathers, and far more indoctrinated into a particularly parochial and past-hating view, which I hereby dub ‘retrophobia.’
The particular quality of retrophobia is that everything about the past is despised. This includes the  remote past, say, AD 50, as well as the near past, say AD 1950.  Some things are despised in  a condescending but admiring way, as one might look upon a child, as they are looked upon as the larval forms of enlightenment which will burgeon into the glorious present day, such as the career of Julian the Apostate, and others are despised in a hostile way, as one would look upon an enemy, or a disease which, after long bouts of fever, one has finally thrown aside, such as the witchhunts of the Reformation Era. The sole exception to the first category is that if the advance toward enlightenment was done by Christians for explicitly Christian reasons, it is either to be ignored, such as the abolition of slavery in the Middle Ages, or is to be used as an example of villainy or absurdity, as the Crusades, in which case its fate is to be not only ignored but misrepresented.
The Whig theory of history is the bane of my existence. It holds that human history is the story of evolution culminating in liberal democracy. Everything in the past is viewed through that lens, and historical epochs are praised or damned for how closely they match our own time. C.S. Lewis called it chronological snobbery.

If you don’t get that, if you don’t sympathize with this, then political correctness has rotted your brain, and you will miss the most important thing there is to know about men and women. We are complimentary and we belong together. We are not like each other. If we were like each other, we would be alone.
I ought to frame that quote and put it up in my office.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Those darn Traditionalists!

I enjoy reading the National Catholic Reporter. It's helpful to look at a completley alien religion with which I have nothing in common because confronting error is one way in which to refine our understanding of the truth. I found this article about a subject near and dear to my heart. The Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life, and the public expression of how we understand God and our relationship with God.

Lately, there seems to be an increasing interest in this "extraordinary form" in our diocesan paper and among some of our clergy. In the past my attitude has been "so what." If people are into antiquarianism, let them. Some people like to spend weekends reenacting the Civil War. They dress in period costume. They stage mock battles of Union and Confederate soldiers. It's a harmless hobby. I just figured that the people attached to this "extraordinary form" were the liturgical version of societies for anachronistic re-enactment.

However, I have come to change my opinion. Those attached to the extraordinary form are not like Civil War re-enactment societies. At least those people know they are play-acting about a time that can never return. The people attached to the extraordinary form are seriously trying to enact a particular worldview and understanding of church. And it is an understanding that we left behind at the Second Vatican Council. It is a worldview that is incompatible with the council.
Civil War reenactment means revisiting an event that took place in the past. That event happened and then it ended. Its result influenced how our country evolved since then, but the actual battles and the men who fought them are as dead as Julius Caesar. It's interesting to me that a Catholic priest would compare the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to Civil War reenacting because he is implying that the sacrifice of Calvary is just another historical event among many. It's influential to be sure, but the moment is as dead and gone as Pickett's Charge.

Father is correct that the Tridentine Mass is an expression of a certain kind of ecclesiology that has been abandoned by himself and many of his priestly and episcopal confreres. He obviously thinks that is a good thing. That worldview and understanding of the Church nourished the spiritual lives and holiness of countless saints, martyrs, Doctors, and pontiffs. Can it really be that bad then?

Pope Paul VI also understood this. The rejection of the Vatican II liturgy is a rejection of its ecclesiology and theology. In his newly published book True Reform: Liturgy and Ecclesiology in Sacrosanctum Concilium, Massimo Faggioli narrates Paul's response when his philosopher friend Jean Guitton asked why not concede the 1962 missal to breakaway Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his followers. Paul responded:
Never. This Mass ... becomes the symbol of the condemnation of the council. I will not accept, under any circumstances, the condemnation of the council through a symbol. Should this exception to the liturgy of Vatican II have its way, the entire council would be shaken. And, as a consequence, the apostolic authority of the council would be shaken.
Paul knew that permitting the old form would be not only divisive but would call the whole council into doubt, and that would be a sin against the Holy Spirit. Now we are experiencing the unfortunate fruit of the recent permission to celebrate the extraordinary form.
Well! It's not just bad, it's a sin against the Holy Spirit! I'm used to priests and religious telling me that I am psychologically imbalanced, immature, sexist, racist, bigoted, and homophobic for preferring the old liturgy, but now it seems I'm guilty of blasphemy too. Those darn Traditionalists!

The 1570 missal (the basis of the 1962 missal) was, and continues to be, a liturgy in which the baptized -- once subjects of the liturgy and co-celebrants of the eucharistic sacrifice -- were and are reduced to mere spectators. They are there to watch the priest say "his" Mass. The emphasis is hierarchical and legalistic (who has the power and how are they lawfully exercising that power). Rather than the risen Christ working through the whole people of God (lay and ordained), we have a powerful clergy ministering to a passive people. Instead of church as sacrament, we have church as a juridical hierarchy.

The attempt to resurrect and popularize the 1962 pre-Vatican II Mass has serious ramifications. Will we be a church that looks narrowly inward -- where God is found only in piety and private devotion, or will we be a church as Vatican II defined it -- a Spirit-filled people on fire with an urgent sense of mission? We are at a crossroads. The extraordinary form is incapable of activating us as the priestly people of God -- the vision of Vatican II. Which path will we follow?
 The 1950s are rightly considered the zenith of the Catholic Church's influence and prestige in American culture. The people were "mere spectators" at Mass and yet more people went to Mass, more people went to confession, there were more priestly and religious vocations, more intact Catholic marriages. In contrast, despite Vatican II's intention of making us a Spirit-filled people on fire with an urgent sense of mission, the Church went into free fall in the 1970s and there's no sign we've hit rock bottom yet.

I've written about this before, but it still disturbs me that so many of my ostensible coreligionists believe the Church got everything terribly wrong during the Middle Ages and Counter-Reformation. All of those saints and Doctors were leading the people astray, but fortunately, we men of the 20th century with our new fangled Biblical scholarship and the historical-critical method have determined that the Mass is actually just a commemoration of the Last Supper.

Take communion in the hand, for example. Let's grant, for the sake of argument, that people did receive the Blessed Sacrament in the hand in the early Church (I'm not convinced they did, certainly not the way we do it, but leave that aside for a moment.) It's well and good to say that that's what they did back then, but in the intervening 1500 years, the liturgy developed in a way that discouraged that practice. You can't just toss it all out overnight. You can say that it was a venerable ancient practice all you please, but the typical Catholic lay man simply got up off his knees, brushed himself off, and thought, "Oh. I guess the Blessed Sacrament isn't so special after all." Last time I checked the studies on this subject, less than half of American Catholics believe in the Real Presence.

It's also interesting that Father would denigrate those of us who prefer the old liturgy as Civil War reenactors considering he wants to reenact the supposed practices of second century Christians. It's a bit of a misnomer to call the Usus Antiquor the "Tridentine" Mass. Pope St. Pius V codified a liturgy that had existed more or less since the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great. A Christian from the second century would see a few new things if he were to attend a Mass of the seventh century, but he would still recognize it as the Mass. A Catholic from 1912 probably wouldn't believe a Mass in the year 2012 was the same Mass he attended every Sunday.

Old timers with an axe to grind often tell me that in the pre-Vatican II liturgy, people would often say the rosary, yawn, sleep, snore, pick their noses, fart, and generally ignore the Mass. Have they paid attention to what goes on during the Novus Ordo? I've seen all of that and more. Now we have iPhones to play with too. This suggests to me that the problem with the pre-Vatican II liturgy has more to do with us than the Mass itself. We should have concentrated on reforming ourselves instead of the Mass of the Ages.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I used to be in sales. It's a tough racket.

It's been twenty years since Glengarry Glen Ross debuted in theaters (or as the cast jokingly referred to it, "Death of a Fucking Salesman.") Al Pacino's Ricky Roma caused 1000 prank calls to bloom once some creative soul gave us internet sound boards. But it's probably most famous for this speech given by strapping young alpha male Alec Baldwin. The secret of this video is at the fifteen second mark. Baldwin's character (named "Blake" in the credits instead of "Fuck You") asks if everyone is there. The answer is no, and he says "Well, I'm going anyway." The whole speech is a work. It's a motivational speech from hell, negative reinforcement par excellence. Roma isn't there because he wouldn't sit still for that, plus he's responsible for most of that office's volume so he doesn't need the speech anyway.

Now that you've watched the whole thing, how did you react? Do you feel outraged or offended? Do you think Baldwin's character represents the worst excesses of American capitalism, where the only thing that matters in life is signing on the line which is dotted? Do you think Ed Harris was right to give Baldwin the "piss off, kid" finger wave? Then you needed that speech, whether you're in sales or not. Could you tell the speech was a work before I said so? Then you get it.

If you can't take that kind of abuse from someone who wants you to succeed, how are you going to take it from someone who doesn't? Stephen King has said that he has no patience for people who say they want to be writers but they don't have time to read or write, and neither do I. Am I a successful writer? No. Do I get paid to blog? No. But here I sit, clickety clacking away because writers write. "I want to be a poet." So write poetry. "But there's no money in it!" You have got to be shitting me Pyle. Then write it for free. Write it, submit it to magazines, and accept payments in free copies for your family and friends.

I sympathize with my generation because I was raised on the same stuff they were. You stay in school and go to college because if you don't, then you'll be flipping burgers the rest of your life. So then the economy tanks and the same people who told us that call us lazy for refusing to flip burgers. They taught us to play it safe. "Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur you know." I know that. If someone is offering you a job and you need a job then take it. But some people - more people than we think - are cut out to be entrepreneurs. The confidence and hustle to make it happen... that's what many of us lack. And it can be very hard indeed to overcome twenty five years worth of conditioning to be passive and wait for opportunities to come to you. Trust me, I know, I really do.

So best you get started on changing right now. As Holy Mother Church tells us, it's not too late to repent as long as you're still breathing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Quote of the day

From commenter Deti in this post:

You can debate till the cows come home about whether Game is or is not Christian.
What’s funny and tragic at the same time is that the Church — run by women for women, staffed by women — has no idea how to teach its men to be men. It has no idea what a man truly is. I am so damn pissed off about this — Christian men have grown up in the church, being faithful to the Word. They did it because their parents told them it was right and good and that if they did what they were told, they would be blessed with cars and jobs and houses and wives and safe, happy, prosperous lives. All they had to do was be nice to girls, give girls what they wanted, be good little gentlemen, and a nice girl he liked would select him and they would get married and live happily ever after.
And they heard this from who?
Teachers, most of whom were women.
Sunday school teachers and pastors, most of whom were women or thoroughly emasculated and pussified men.
Scout leaders, most of whom were barred by policy from talking about sex or relationships, and who were dealing with boys, half of whom don’t live with a man they are related to.
Guidance counselors, most of whom are women or thoroughly pussified men.
College professors, most of whom are politically liberal or radical, have spent their whole lives steeped in liberalism and feminism, and buy wholesale into feminist ideology, gender politics, class warfare, and open hostility to masculine assertion.
So they did that. They did everything they were told. they got educations. They got jobs. They held the doors, bought the gifts, bought the meals and movie tickets, used the pedestal. And now these Christian men either can’t find women, can’t attract or keep a woman, have deeply unsatisfying and miserable marriages, or have been frivorced.
The Church, which has stood for more than 2000 years and claims to be the greatest moral force for defending families (the head of whom is supposed to be the man/husband according to its founding document), is instead having circles run around it by
1. A former Christian turned atheist New Zealand expatriate to the US
2. An agnostic libertarian from Hawaii who fashions his nom de blog after an Ayn Rand character
3. A mid-level D.C. bureaucrat with a flair for slaying poon and floridly writing his musings on HBD, gender relations, the nature of women, and their synergistic effects on the body politic
4. An oracle from Dallas with a facility for statistics and keen insights into social and gender dynamics
I find it funny and tragic and enlightening that a ragtag group of men with nothing in common, not even their core beliefs, have more to teach men about being men than could be learned in 20 years in a church.

If the Church fails in its duty to lead, then men will seek leadership elsewhere. Leaving aside for a moment all of the lofty rhetoric about submission to Christ the King, to what the Mass objectively is and what we should be getting out of it, think about the average Catholic Joe's experience at his local Catholic parish. The adult education classes are largely run by women. The lay people who assist Father in distributing communion are mostly women. Father is seldom an example of robust hardihood exhorting the soldiers of Christ to make great sacrifices for their King, but more often a Dr. Phil like figure who offers soothing platitudes about the God who loves you too much to ever let you suffer eternal consequences for your actions. The music is syrupy sweet, sometimes sung in the first person voice of God: "And I will raaaaaise you up on eeeeeagle's wiiiiings..."

Now the Church doesn't have to be this way, and it ought not be this way, but that's the reality in many parishes. It shouldn't be surprising that men generally attend Mass at lower rates than women. Objectively speaking, none of those are good reasons to miss one's Sunday obligation which binds under pain of mortal sin, for which you can burn in hell for all eternity if you do not repent, confess, and do penance. But that goes back to our problem: a Church that is overly feminized tends not to speak in terms of objectives, obligations, and disciplines, but only in terms of comfort, security, and ease. I am not by any means calling for a Church that focuses exclusively on the hard things, but the hard things must be addressed if we're going to convince men to come back. Men need a challenge. Otherwise, why bother with it?

I'm of the mindset that Game is a set of amoral tools that can be used for good or ill. Game makes claims about the nature of women, specifically what they find attractive in men. At the end of the day, those claims are either objectively true or objectively false, no matter how crude or offensive we may find them. I'm not a PUA and I've only recently learned of the manosphere and Game. I'm aloof and laconic by nature, so a lot of it reads like turning my personality up to eleven. I can't and won't ever be a PUA since extramarital sex is a mortal sin. But I think it provides useful advice on how to quickly assess which women are marriage material and which are not, and how to keep them once you've caught them. It's certainly more useful than anything I'd ever learn at my local parish anyway.

The devil was the first blank slatist

"Sexism" is a literary necessity:

The problem with what Wohl advocates is that by putting modern views on sexual roles and intersexual relations into the minds, mouths, and worse, structures of an imaginary historical society, it destroys the very structural foundations that make the society historical and the dramatic storylines credible - in some cases, even possible.  It's problem similar to the one faced by secular writers, who wish to simultaneously eliminate religion from their fictional medieval societies, and yet retain the dramatic conflict created by the divine right of kings.  However, it is more severe because the sexual aspect touches upon the most concrete basis of every society: its ability to sustain itself through the propagation of its members.

The "sexism" of which Wohl and many of his commenters complain isn't cultural, it is simply the logical and inevitable consequences of biological and martial imperatives.  It can't possibly be cultural, because the division of male and female roles has been observed in nearly every historical culture; modern equalitarianism is not only a myth, it is a myth made barely credible only by the combination the illusion of societal wealth, technological advancement, and the imposition of relentless propaganda from an early age.  Even so, the imperatives of reality puncture that myth as soon as one stops to consider it.
 I don't have a lot of patience for historical fiction that hammers the square pegs of ancient/medieval/Victorian/whathaveyou people into the round holes of 21st century cultural hang ups. The Greeks would have laughed aloud at our romanticizing democracy. Medieval women would have looked at you like you had grown another eye in your forehead if you had exhorted them to be hard charging, ball breaking career chicks full of vinegar and grrrrlpower. I'm willing to give a pass to many young writers though. They've never known anything other than modern liberalism. Even for those of us who have taken the red pill, it's a long, hard, sometimes painful experience to unlearn all of the errors and lies with which we were formed as children. It's difficult for us moderns to really understand how central the Church was to the life of a medieval man, and how steeped he was in a supernatural world view even if he wasn't a good Catholic by the standards of the time (by the standards of our time though he'd be a religious fanatic.)

I'm willing to suspend my disbelief when reading tales of sword and sorcery that have elves, dwarves, orcs, magic, dragons, and undead. I am not willing to believe that equalitarian fantasies are feasible in a setting where the strength of a man's sword arm can mean the difference between life and death. I'm not willing to believe in a story where the human beings do not act like human beings. The dirty little secret about stereotypes is that they're true. Gender is not a social construct; it's just the way we are. You can give a little boy a tea set and a little girl some trucks, and I guaran-damn-tee the boy will be using the saucers as UFOs coming to engage earth's military and the girl will try to have a tea party with the trucks.