Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Good on him

We Trads are often dinged for being so harsh on the bishops, so it pleases me whenever I find a bishop who knows how to bishop.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has said Catholics opposed to same-sex marriage should limit themselves to even using the term "only sparingly," as the idea, according to him, is an impossibility.
Speaking to the London-based Catholic Herald, Cordileone compares the term to male lactation.
"Legislating for the right for people of the same sex to marry is like legalising male breastfeeding," states Cordileone in the interview.
The good archbishop might be interested to know that in certain, rare circumstances, males can, in fact, lactate. Those familiar with podcasts might be interested in this from the "Stuff You Should Know" folks. Fair warning: The podcast uses descriptions of male and female anatomy.
As my colleague Brian Roewe reported last year, Cordileone also prefers that Catholics do not use the terms "gay" and "lesbian," but instead "persons with a homosexual inclination."
 
The correct response to arguments in favor of same-sex "marriage" is to say that they already have the right to marry. Marriage means something and that meaning is not subject to the arbitrary will of the free and equal superman. The legislature can no more change the definition of marriage than it can decree that circles are now squares or that blue is now red. Homosexuals are free to form relationships with one another but society is not obligated to recognize them as the equivalent of real marriages. As Mark Shea likes to say, tolerance is not enough anymore. YOU. MUST. APPROVE.

They go together like a horse and carriage

Divided by abortion, united by feminism:

Those stereotypes link the anti-abortion cause to traditionalist ideas about gender roles — to the belief that a woman’s place is in the home, or at least that her primary identity should be maternal rather than professional. Writing in the Reagan era, the sociologist Kristin Luker argued that this dimension of the debate trumped the question of whether unborn human life has rights: “While on the surface it is the embryo’s fate that seems to be at stake, the abortion debate is actually about the meaning of women’s lives.” 
...But such an understanding was too simplistic when Nellie Gray founded the March for Life, and it’s grown steadily less compelling with time. As Jon Shields of Claremont McKenna College pointed out last year, pro-life sentiment has been steady over the last four decades even as opposition to women in the work force (or the military, or the White House) has largely collapsed. Most anti-abortion Americans today are also gender egalitarians: indeed, Shields notes, pro-life attitudes toward women’s professional advancement have converged so quickly with pro-choice attitudes that “the average moderately pro-life citizen is a stronger supporter of gender equality than even the typical strongly pro-choice citizen was in the early 1980s.” Among the younger generation, any “divide over women’s roles nearly disappears entirely.”
The pro-life cause has proved unexpectedly resilient, in other words, not because millions of Americans are nostalgists for a world of stricter gender norms, but because they have convinced themselves that the opportunities the feminist revolution won for women can be sustained without unrestricted access to abortion.
 
 Liberal revolutions differ in the details from time to time and place to place but the one thing they all have in common is the desire to throw off the shackles of unchosen restraints. Man should not be chained by the accidents of his place, his socio-economic status, his religion, or his nature as man. The liberal vision of society is that of the atomistic ubermensch, self-created through his own reason and will. The only restrictions the ubermensch has to deal with are those he imposes upon himself.

The recent debate over women in combat roles in the army remind me of the arguments over ordaining women within the Roman Catholic Church. These debates are symptoms of a deeper malady. It's not that there are legions of women clamoring to be the next George Patton or Fulton Sheen, because there aren't. They're another front on the liberal war against the nature of man and the order of reality. Feminists and their white knight allies can't abide the notion that there be certain male-only enclaves. The existence of such enclaves implies that men and women are intractably different and not fungible commodities. They might admit that men and women are different, but they will never, ever concede that manhood has elevating qualities that makes it special.

One myth that needs to be terminated with extreme prejudice is the myth that women can have it all. Sorry ladies, but you can't. Do you wish to have a successful full time career? Or do you wish to have a functional family with healthy, happy children? You may choose one but not both. Men's role is to provide for their families. Cads can have a dozen bastard children and not support any of them. The women who sleep with these cads are left with the responsibility of raising their bastards. Unfair? Yes, but that's the reality of things.

Men are able to focus on their careers because they do not have to carry unborn children and they may or may not have a wife who can focus on raising the children. A woman who has children has a choice: she can focus on her career which will require full time work and the occasional overtime, or she can raise her children full time. Or she can drop them off with a nanny. Or kill them. Contraception and abortion have become so prevalent in our culture partly because the logic of feminist careerism demands their availability. Liberalism and feminism tells women that they should not have to deal with the unchosen restrictions of womanhood such as carrying and raising children. If the little untermensch get in the way, kill them.

Liberalism is responsible for the extermination of more living souls than Nazism and Communism combined. We haven't transcended the evils of those ideologies. Transcendence requires repentance.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ask a silly question

Will women have to register with Selective Service? The answer, of course, is no. No woman will ever be denied employment or college admission if they fail to register with Selective Service. No woman will ever be drafted to serve in combat. Middle aged fat guys are not going to start handing out white feathers to young, single girls. No woman legislator will ever draft such a law, nor would it occur to any man to introduce it in Congress. This was never about equality.

On the microlevel, it's about a handful of masculinized, ball breaking General Grrrrlpower types who want to advance their military careers. Nothing looks better on a soldier's resume than combat experience. In the bigger picture, it's the latest manifestation of feminism's fear that somebody, somewhere takes pride in his manhood. In our feminized society, the military still retained some of its power as an institution that still had rites of passage. Those who went into basic training as boys came out as men, the flower of the nation's manhood. Feminists can't abide that. It's not that they want to be men themselves, they just don't want being a man to be special in any way.

In the long run this silly experiment won't last long. It might even speed up liberalism's inevitable demise. No girl from a reputable family will join the Army or Marines to serve in combat. The handful of GI Janes who manage to become as strong and fast as the average male soldier will quickly shack up with the most alpha of her platoon buddies, which will lead to rampant AMOGing among the rank and file and destroy unit cohesion. The broads will get blown to bits while we're puttering around in Egypt or Mali. It's a shame but this particular red pill might need to be washed down with blood.

What we have here is a failure to govern

The priest celebrity is something new in the life of the Catholic Church. One could argue the first big priest celebrity in America was Fr. Charles Coughlin, although he focused more on politics than religious commentary. He was eventually silenced by his superiors and he spent the rest of his life faithfully carrying out his ministry at the national Shrine of the Little Flower. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once had the number one television show in America, and he was devoted primarily to explaining and defending the Catholic faith. His cause for canonization is active and he is currently ranked as "Venerable."

There's something different about the modern priest or religious celebrity. Some of them had major public falls from grace such as Fr. John Corapi, Fr. Thomas Euteneur, and Fr. Francis Mary Stone. Others are the objects of near religious devotion such as Mother Angelica or Father Z. A few lay people like Michael Voris step into this role of Catholic celebrity; I've written that I'm a fan of Voris. I follow Voris for the same reason why many people follow other Catholic celebrities: because I don't trust the bishops.

That's not to say I doubt the validity of their ordinations or their sacraments. I don't question their authority or their teaching and governing position. They are the legitimate authorities placed over me by the pope in Rome and I offer them my obedience and support... when they deserve it. Frequently over the last fifty years they have not. Some have been perverts or heretics such as Rembert Weakland. Others are venal and corrupt like Roger Mahony. A few are good and holy men trying to do right by their sacred calling to serve God and the people. I've met more than a few bishops and I get the feeling many of them are less men of God than they are bureaucrats trying to climb the greasy pole. One does not rise to positions of leadership in Holy Mother Church these days through bold visionary leadership. You have to be adept at speaking Romanita, the fine art of being able to say nothing at great length. You don't advance by rocking the boat. Hence we see this seemingly bizarre refusal by our shepherds to acknowledge the depth and seriousness of the crisis in the Church.

Optimism per se is not objectionable, but optimism that takes no account of our actual circumstances is delusion. The passivity of our leaders often makes me want to bang my head on the wall in fury. A few of the younger and more orthodox priests and religious readily acknowledge that the Church has been crumbling with no end in sight. Even a few bishops are saying as much now. But then there is a peculiar reluctance to take the next step. I always say, "Very good Father, very good your Excellency. You acknowledge the existence of the problem. Now what are you going to do about it?"

The Church is the way she is today because of specific decisions made by specific bishops, priests, and religious. She will not recover until we revisit and if necessary reverse those decisions. This reluctance to do anything about it has led to the rise of the Catholic celebrity. The people turn to them because leadership is so lacking among those who have been especially trusted with leadership. They do not lead except to crack down on those who urge them to lead. And if, God forbid, the Catholic celebrity falls, then the people either stand with their fallen idol or go searching for another folk hero willing to give them real talk.

Gentlemen, you object to Traddies constantly lobbing bombs your way? Then train all of your priests to offer the TLM and they'll have no reason to complain. Do men like Voris make you angry? There's a reason why he's so popular you know, a reason you have it within your power to remedy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Be all the SWPL you can be

Obama's second term is moving fast. I expect that four years from now, all of the military's combat units will look like basic training platoons: a handful of teenage and twenty-something girls hobbling around on crutches. I'd hate to be in their boots when the Army starts assigning an HR commissar to every platoon. They will solemnly intone that the greatest threat to female soldiers is not the enemy, but their male platoon mates.
The fear of putting women in the trenches has been dispelled on two fronts. One, of course, is the change in the way the American public thinks about women. The other is the shortage of trenches in modern warfare, when an officer on the front lines is not necessarily in a more dangerous position than a support worker.
 
The female soldier-bloggers of the future will strike terror in the hearts of America's enemies from the safety and comfort of their own cubicles. They will ruthlessly cut down dictators with snarky comments about their uniforms and passive-aggressive asides about how they are probably unsuccessful with women.

“We only have one four-star general who’s a woman,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who cheered the recommendation from the Joint Chiefs. It was, she said, “a great step forward for our military,” and one that wasn’t really expected.
 
The correct response to observations about how "X has only Y number of women or minorities," is "So?" There's only one four star general who's a woman for the same reason there are so few women at the top of the corporate ladder: women are seldom as devoted to pursuing a career as men are. Women take more time off, take more sick days, switch jobs more often, and frequently leave the workforce all together when they become mothers.

Western men have failed yet another shit test from Western women. Feminism as a whole was one great civilizational shit test which we have failed. Does anyone expect Republicans or mainstream conservatives to raise their voices against this? How can they? At every campaign stop they speak of how they honor all of the men and women serving in our armed forces, all of the men and women who gave their lives for us, and so on.

In the long run this might turn out for the best. Women in combat, like gay "marriage," is another front in liberal man's war against reality. I suspect that if women got what they claim they want - to lug around fifty pounds worth of equipment and slug it out with Afghanistan's meanest - they would soon be clamoring the policy to be reversed. Requests for leave, profiles, and pregnancy will skyrocket before deployment to combat zones. The best way to combat feminism might be to simply stop protecting women from themselves.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sitting poolside at the fall of Western Civilization

Fred knocks it out of the park:
  I’ve been thinking about fault lines, and fractures, and diversity, and when it’s all going to implode. I hope I’m still around because it is going to be one gorgeous show. Few things are as entertaining as a truly good disaster.
What is going to kill us is diversity. It isn’t working well. By diversity I mean here the intermixing of large groups of people holding utterly differing and opposed values. There is too damned much diversity in America. It isn’t getting better.
The current donnybrook over guns is not a political question, like whether to raise or lower taxes. It is a clash of civilizations, a confrontation between two groups who seriously don’t like each other and hold irreconcilably different views of life. The two would be happier in separate countries, an idea that has occurred to them. It is that bad.
The Constitution no longer being in effect, the gun-controllers may be able to outlaw guns, chiefly because the federal government also wants to do this, though for different reasons. The gun-controllers think that they are going to stop murder, whereas the feds just want a supine and helpless population. Should they succeed in banning firearms, the result will be a very large element of the population actually hating the rest, and hating the government. Diversity.
 
Imagine that you are the supreme dictator of your own "-stan" country. Your country has a choice between freedom, security, and diversity. You can have two of them at most but never all three of them at once.

"How can such a man be alive?"

Liturgical orange would look good on him:

Fifteen years before the clergy sex abuse scandal came to light, Archbishop Roger M. Mahony and a top advisor plotted to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement, including keeping them out of California to avoid prosecution, according to internal Catholic church records released Monday.

The archdiocese's failure to purge pedophile clergy and reluctance to cooperate with law enforcement has previously been known. But the memos written in 1986 and 1987 by Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, then the archdiocese's chief advisor on sex abuse cases, offer the strongest evidence yet of a concerted effort by officials in the nation's largest Catholic diocese to shield abusers from police. The newly released records, which the archdiocese fought for years to keep secret, reveal in church leaders' own words a desire to keep authorities from discovering that children were being molested.

In the confidential letters, filed this month as evidence in a civil court case, Curry proposed strategies to prevent police from investigating three priests who had admitted to church officials that they abused young boys. Curry suggested to Mahony that they prevent them from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and that they give the priests out-of-state assignments to avoid criminal investigators.
 
Scripture tells us to not put our trust in princes. It's hard when Catholic lay people find out the hard way that sometimes we are not to put our trust even in princes of the Church. St. John Chrysostom famously quipped that the floors of hell are paved with the skulls of bishops. A good Catholic would say "He could say that because he was a saint!" Well, no, not while he was alive he wasn't. St. Catherine of Siena rebuked the pope himself and exhorted him to return to Rome after the long exile in Avignon. Again, we often hear "She could say that because she was a saint!" Again, not while she was alive, and even then both Chrysostom and Catherine would have vigorously denied it if anyone had told them they were saints while they lived.

Priests, religious, and bishops are human beings. They are called to an elevated office. We ought to respect the office always, but the human beings only when they deserve it. Some priests, religious, and bishops are good and holy men. More of them are like us in the sense that they're fair to middlin' in their spiritual lives. They have good intentions but they get distracted by the allures, worries, and temptations of this world. I know just how they feel. They're supposed to be examples to us grubby lay people, but if they fall, I won't let it shake my faith.

And then you have scumbags like Mahony. I wish he were a better man, but I can't deny reality. The late, great John Senior once quipped that if every American priest and bishop was put on trial for the faith, most of them would be acquitted. Our Blessed Lord did not say that those who scandalize the little ones should be given a few weeks in a cushy rehabilitation program and then reassigned to another unsuspecting parish; he said they should be given millstone neckties and tossed into the sea.

Scumbag bishops have been with us since the very beginning. Jesus Christ himself was stabbed in the back and sold out by one of his own handpicked Apostles. At one point almost every validly ordained bishop in the world was Arian. Before he was elected as Pope St. Pius V, Michele Ghislieri worked as an Inquisitor, and business was good.

Fraternal correction does not belong to prelates alone. Catholic lay people are in charge of things like the police, the courts, and the prisons. We have a positive moral duty to punish grievous wrongdoers like Mahony and his confreres. Mahony is retired now. And it's not certain that he actually committed any crime according to the laws that were on the books when these incidents took place. If civil authorities cannot intervene then Catholic lay people have the right to clamor for a bishop's removal.

Dulia to the death

In the diary of St. Faustina, to whom we owe the devotion to Divine Mercy, she describes a pious custom in her convent in which the Mother Superior would assign each sister a patron saint for the year. This has become a popular devotion in the Catholic blogosphere as well. Several bloggers have taken it upon themselves, after praying over it, to assign a yearly patron saint to those who ask for one. I went to a website with a "patron saint generator." Scoffers will say that the result is just a matter of the program's algorithms, but I think there's something to it. "There's no such thing as a coincidence or an accident" is a cliche, but it's still true. The saint I drew was St. Sigismund of Burgundy. Like you, my first thought was "Who the hell is that?" This is one of the instances where the the internet is your friend:

Sigismund succeeded his father Gundobad as king of the Burgundians in 516. At the time, Burgundy was perhaps the most powerful of all the kingdoms of Gaul – not least because of its strong links with the Byzantine court – and both the Franks and the Ostrogoths were keen to limit Burgundian power.
 Gundobad had been an Arian, though he seems to have contemplated conversion to Catholicism, and Sigismund converted by 515 – thanks in large part to his association with the Catholic bishop of Vienne, Avitus (a poet and man of letters who remained a beacon of classical civilization in a barbarian world), with whom he maintained a correspondence. Shortly after his conversion, Sigismund founded the monastery of St Maurice at Agaune, where he instituted the practice of the laus perennis, according to which (as happened in other royal monasteries in the Germanic world) groups of monks would chant the psalms in relays in an unceasing round of praise (the sixth century equivalent of perpetual adoration).
In spite of such positive beginnings, Sigismund’s relationship with his bishops deteriorated. Much more seriously, in 522 his second wife persuaded him that Sigistrix, his son by a previous marriage, was plotting against him with the intention of killing him and taking control not only of Burgundy but also of Italy.
In a fit of uncontrolled rage, Sigismund had Sigistrix strangled. Once his anger had subsided, he was appalled at the enormity of his crime, and retired to St Maurice to do penance, devoting himself to the poor in whose service he distributed part of his wealth.
...In fact, he is best remembered not primarily as a martyr (for all that he endured death in a spirit of faith and courage) but as one of the great penitents – as a man whose profound repentance, culiminating in a death which at some level he seems to have sought (at least in prayer) by way of atonement for his gravest of crimes, was rightly perceived not only by his contemporaries but also by subsequent generations as a paradigm of a particular kind of Christian sanctity.
 
 A convert with a fiery temper who still had strong ties to his non-Catholic roots... sounds like somebody I know. I hope that if I'm ever a parent I won't allow a woman to convince me to have my own son strangled though. God's grace is the only thing stopping me from being an even more terrible man than I already am though.

The idea of venerating the saints (dulia) is that the saints are in heaven, they hear our prayers, they are ready and eager to help us, and they exist as models for us in our own pursuit of sanctity within our station in life. Most canonized saints are religious. The reason for this is that religious take solemn vows to follow the evangelical counsels of our Blessed Lord: poverty, chastity, and obedience. We see the roots of the counsels in his encounter with the rich young man who went away discouraged because he had many possessions. It doesn't hurt that religious are members of orders, institutes, and communities, and thus have advocates who know them intimately and are best able to testify on their behalf.

Lay saints who were not martyrs are comparatively rare. St. Paul tells us that a man who is married has to worry about pleasing his wife in addition to worrying about pleasing God, whereas a man who is not married can devote himself wholly to the Lord. He says that it is better for a man not to marry, but if you burn with lust for a woman, it's better to marry than to burn. Jesus himself said that only those who can accept it should accept it.

Therefore, lay saints and blesseds are of particular interest to me. As an ex-girlfriend of mine put it, priests and religious get to think about God on company time. Strictly speaking, a saint is someone who is in heaven. Canonization (or Glorification as the Orthodox would put it) is a formal, infallible recognition by the Church that the person in question is in heaven and that they can be "raised to the altar" by having their own feast day on the Church calendar.

The reason why religious orders exist is because of the difficulty (but never the impossibility) of living a Christian life in the world. Men and women who live in common with the common goal of sanctity have a comparatively easier time of it as they are faced with fewer temptations than the man or woman of the world. Religious life has its own challenges to be sure since they are still human beings with all of the usual faults and failings, but each community has a special charism (gift of the Holy Spirit) which allows them to pursue holiness within a structured environment.

I think lay saints like St. Sigismund, St. Louis IX, St. Thomas More, and Blessed Karl I of Austria should be of especial interest to the "manosphere." Catholicism, like Western Christianity in general, has been influenced by the gradual feminization of society over the last hundred years. The founders of religious orders such as St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Ignatius of Loyola, etc., were pioneers, creators, men who had a vision and pursued it. St. Joseph is the model par excellence of being a Godly husband and father. Catholic men would do well to follow their example. Not everyone is called to be a religious or found a new order, but within our own spheres we could use their intercession to rebuild a functioning society after our Godless order collapses.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The first last thing

It was once a traditional Catholic practice to meditate on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. Everyone dies. Everyone will be judged. And everyone will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. The funeral Mass in the old rite emphasized God's judgment and our need to pray for the dearly departed. The priest wore black vestments. There was no incense. The Gloria and the kiss of peace were omitted. A Tract begging absolution for all the sins of the deceased was intoned. And then came one of the greatest sequences in the Church's repertoire, the Dies Irae:


In the West, the color black is associated with death, loss, mourning. We're not emphasizing mourning in general, but the particularly Christian form of mourning: we are sorrowful for the loss of our loved one, but we know that it is not the end. The Gospel reading for the Traditional Funeral Mass is the account of Lazarus's resurrection. The funeral Mass is not supposed to be for the living but for the dead, no matter what anyone, even a priest, may say.

The modern funeral Mass is definitely aimed at the living, in practice if not in theory. The priest almost always wears white, the color of feasting, rejoicing, celebration, and holiness. Incense is burned. The Alleluia is typically sung. Seldom is there any exhortation to pray for the dearly departed. Why would there be? Even if the priest explicitly says that we should pray for the dead, the funeral Mass itself appears to be a canonization. The white vestments and Alleluia imply our certainty that the deceased is in heaven. As for the music, well...


I'm not saying that particular rendition is bad; I rather like it in fact. It makes me feel good, which makes me less likely to believe the deceased is in need of prayers asking for God's mercy. I'm not supposed to feel good at a funeral. A funeral Mass is supposed to make us fearful of God's judgment, both for the departed and for ourselves. It's supposed to make us beg for God's mercy for we too are sinners. You are supposed to be sad at a funeral. It's okay. Really. Black needs to make a comeback in parish liturgical life. Unfortunately, it won't happen soon. Emphasizing God's judgment is not pastoral. Praying for the dead implies that they might not have gone straight to heaven, eulogies during the Mass notwithstanding (a practice that is thankfully dying out.) On top of everything else, most black chasubles are fiddlebacks which makes them doubly odious to priests of "that generation." Prayer and fasting, as it has ever been.

We like to paint the Victorians as being neurotic about sex. In the future, we will be painted as being neurotic about death. A culture that believes this life is all there is will necessarily be neurotic about death. There's a reason why zombies and vampires have become so popular, and it doesn't speak well for us.

I'm going to put it in my will that I want the traditional funeral Mass when I die. I'm staring down the barrel of another forty or fifty years of life, God willing. Maybe by then the Church will have recovered more of her unnecessarily lost traditions and devotions. Or more likley, it won't occur to anyone to make my funeral into a mini-canonization.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Freakish enemies of the normal

When reading the news means to immerse yourself in perversion, you quickly become desensitized to moral crimes. For example, when I read this story the first thing that came to my mind was "She's pretty tubby even for an Army officer."

Who better to carry American values to the benighted Mohammedans of Afghanistan?
 
 
The broad on the left is the "wife" of Lt. Colonel Heather Mack on the right. She was apparently blackballed from joining an Army wives association. The Marine Corps, in their eternal quest to one up the Army, has directed that all social groups for spouses must admit the same-sex partners of active duty homosexuals if they want to continue operating on Marine Corps bases.
 
Tolerance is not enough. YOU. MUST. APPROVE.
 

A primer for converts

RCIA horror stories are a cottage industry among Catholic converts. It's an acronym for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Before Vatican II, it was customary for converts to receive one on one instruction from the parish priest. One of my favorite examples comes from Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. In the original BBC production, we see the Protestant Rex Mottram being instructed in the old Jesuit priest's office. They're both chain smoking and Father asks Rex some questions to see how much he's retaining. On the subject of papal infallibility, Father said "Suppose the pope says it's going to rain tomorrow. Does that mean it's going to rain?"

"Oh yes Father," Rex replies.

"But supposing it didn't rain? What then?"

Rex bit his lower lip, looked down and to the left, and finally said, "Well... I guess it would be, uh, spiritually raining. Only we're too sinful to see it."

That's not a great exaggeration of how many Catholics see papal infallibility for that matter.

After Vatican II, the RCIA program was born. Catechumens, i.e. the unbaptized, would meet once a week for an hour long instruction from mostly lay volunteers, with Father dropping in to teach the occasional class and answer questions. Unfortunately this coincided with the complete breakdown of Church discipline and total anarchy in the moral, doctrinal, and liturgical spheres. Catechumens "graduated" at the Easter Vigil where they were baptized, confirmed, and received their First Communion but they may or may not have known any more about the Catholic faith than when they first started the RCIA program. My own experience left something to be desired. We spent less time learning about doctrine than we did sharing our feelings, drawing pictures, and coloring. At the time I didn't know any better. I had already spent years studying doctrine on my own so I took it in stride. I quickly realized I wasn't going to learn much so I just showed up, heard them out, and went home to read more of the Catechism.

If I were supreme dictator, this is the outline of how I would instruct converts:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's a bull market for cat food

A California Drought: Not Enough Children:

California's demographic shift mirrors that of many Northeast and Midwest states, including New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Michigan, where the percentage of children fell even more sharply from 2000 to 2010. But unlike those states, California has always relied on migrants from other states and abroad to fuel its economy, and the change represents a new reality for the Golden State.
 
What all of those states have in common is a lack of Affordable Family Formation. The stereotype is that marriage, a mortgage, and children tends to make one comparatively more conservative than when one is single with no dependents. Like all stereotypes, this is true. California is one of the worst states in the nation in which to form a family because of our high cost of living, terrible schools, and vibrant diversity. It's not coincidental that all three of those are present here.

In 1970, California averaged 21 seniors for every 100 working-age adults. By 2030, that ratio is expected to rise to 36 seniors per 100 working-age adults, according to the report. That retirement wave will place "massive pressure on institutions and programs for an aging population," the report said.
Today's children will be the workers who pay for those programs and who take jobs vacated by boomers in the state's high-technology hub in Silicon Valley, its entertainment industry in Los Angeles and its farm belt in the Central Valley.
"Unless the birthrate picks up, we are going to need more immigrants. If neither happens, we are going to have less growth," said Mr. Levy. The report wasn't optimistic, saying that "with migration greatly reduced…outsiders are much less likely to come to the rescue."
 
This is the Wall Street Journal so we have to remember that it doesn't matter what the question is, the answer is always more immigration. Is the economy booming and unemployment low? We need more immigrants to do the jobs Americans just won't do. Is the economy in a slump and growth nonexistent? We need more immigrants to take care of our burgeoning population of old people.

It's difficult to overstate how much I loathe Baby Boomers in general. My generation's lifetime will be defined by its cleaning up the mess we inherited from our parents. On the spiritual level, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that a culture which emphasizes contraception, abortion, and homosexual "marriage" is experiencing a shortage of children. Every day is a struggle between wanting to lead people to the truth about marriage and a culture of life, as opposed to shrugging and saying "I hate to say I told you so but... oh, who am I kidding? I TOLD YOU SO YOU FUCKING IDIOTS." In any case, the time to invest in cat food and kitty litter manufacturers is now. It didn't have to be this way. That's the heartbreaking part of it. We are where we are because of decisions made by conscious moral actors.

Monday, January 7, 2013

"He's not tame, but he is good"

It is the infallible teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Catholic Church that women cannot be ordained as priests. Nonetheless, about 80% of "Lay Ecclesial Ministers" are women. It's difficult to obtain hard numbers, but estimates of the number of homosexual priests range from 23% to 58%; even if we accept the most conservative number, homosexuals are disproportionately represented in the priesthood compared to their numbers in the general population. This remains so despite a Vatican directive that persons with "deep seated homosexual tendencies" or those who acted on them were not in any way, shape, or form to be admitted to the seminary or religious novitiates, let alone ordained or take final vows. Personally, I agree with others who have written that admitting even chaste homosexuals to the priesthood is deeply problematic for them and for the Church.

What all of this means is that men are generally less involved with the Catholic Church. They see the priesthood as a refuge for gays, and either volunteering or working for the Church to be for women. Christianity in general, and not just the Catholic Church, has been softening for the last century if not longer. The old disciplines have been crumbling away. Well meaning pastors and Christian women are themselves often guilty of lowering the boom on well meaning Christian men who want to do right. Smarter men than I have noticed and written about this before. We've gone a long way down from the days when Christianity inspired men like Charles Martel to beat back the Muslim invasion of France; who's repelling the Muslim invaders now? More importantly, why should they? To lament the death of Christendom is to mark oneself as a reactionary, a fanatic.

If you accept Catholicism as true, then you believe Jesus Christ's words that the gates of hell will not prevail against his Church. He never said anything about Western Civilization. The West as we know it is the product of Christianity. To be sure, there is much influence from ancient Greco-Roman civilization, but the Incarnation is the linch pin of the last 2000 years of Western history. Men are abandoning the faith of their fathers, the faith that inspired Charlemagne to build an empire and Michaelangelo to paint a ceiling.

I am a bad Catholic, but a Catholic I'll remain until I die, God willing. I've made my decision and I'm going to live with it. The new Mass, with it's horizontal worship, frequent abuses, hordes of altar girls and old women distributing communion, sappy music, and bad homilies is often a trial, but He is still truly present there. One reason why I stick with her is because to immerse oneself in history is to know that the Church wasn't always steeped in feminism and modernism. It won't be forever. Catholicism, properly understood, believed, and lived, is the ultimate red pill. One step she could take to reverse the decline is to stop forming its men, its religious brothers, and its priests to be nice and start forming them to be good once again. The culture castrates and bids the geldings be fruitful. If Holy Mother Church won't be countercultural, then who will?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Writing straight with crooked letters

I've said  elsewhere that the Catholic Church first came to my attention during the homosexual priest abuse scandals. If I had to credit one person or one incident with pushing me toward Traditionalism, I'd have to say it was a trip to the confessional shortly after I converted. I went to confess to a jolly old retired priest who was then in residence at my geographical home parish. I did it according to the manuals: "Forgive me Father, it has been X weeks since my last confession. During that time I committed A, B, and C. For these and for all of the other sins my life I am deeply sorry."

Father shook his head and said "Oh those aren't such a big deal." Fearing to contradict a man of the cloth to his face, I nonetheless replied, "Yes they are Father. A is a mortal sin." Father appeared shocked. "A MORTAL sin?! Wherever did you learn such a term?" I wanted to say "Certainly not in this parish," but I held my tongue, gathering my thoughts because he had caught me unawares, and finally said "Uh... it's right in the Catechism Father." He shook his head and told me, "Listen, I know what the Catechism says but let me tell you something: it is almost impossible to commit a mortal sin so long as you are committed to following Jesus. Now when you did those things, were you thinking 'I willfully reject God?'"

"No, of course not," I said.

"Well, there you go. You are not guilty of mortal sin. But I'll absolve you anyway." And he did.

Now even to my newly converted ears that struck me as being rank heresy. Priests don't take it well when you call them heretics, so I wanted to make sure I knew what I was talking about. I went home and did some googling. That was how I learned about the so-called fundamental option, and Pope Bl. John Paul II's refutation of it in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor. Essentially, the fundamental option states that our external behaviors and concrete acts have no bearing on our salvation, which depends on our fundamental interior orientation for or against God. It doesn't mean to say that we can sin with impunity, but that there is no such thing as an act which is intrinsically evil. A confessor who buys the fundamental option would say that adultery is not sinful in itself but it could be a symptom of an interior rejection of God.

We often encounter fundamental option type thinking in day to day conversation. For example, if you were to say "Sodomy is a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance," (and it still is) it's a sure bet that another Christian will say, "Oh but the gay people I know are just so nice. I can't believe God would send them to hell." Do you see how they reframed the conversation? Now you are expected to do penance by saying how good gay people are and how much you love them. The correct response is, "I'm sure your gay friends are perfectly nice but that doesn't change the fact that sodomy is a mortal sin." It's precisely because we have charity for our gay brothers and sisters - that is, we will for them to have the ultimate good, salvation - that we have to tell them that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil.

Mercy begins with the denunciation of sin. Most priests are loathe to be confrontational in their preaching, even if they are otherwise hard charging alpha males. A lot of bad theology and a lot of bad homilies are rooted in the separation of God's mercy from his justice. If God is reduced to a cosmic doormat and Jesus is reduced to the ultimate nice guy beta male, then people will begin to wonder why they need to bother with confession. Then they will wonder why they need to go to Mass. They will end by wondering why they need God. If God is all mercy and no justice, then why do I need him? If God is all justice and no mercy, then how could I love him? God is both mercy and justice, which is why I need him and why I love him.

Father Hans Kung has spent his career steeped in heresy. In charity, all Catholics should pray that he return to orthodoxy before the end. If he repents before he goes onto his eternal reward, then we should rejoice in God's mercy. If he dies without having repented his heresy, then we should tremble at God's justice which no man can escape.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

That'll be the day

This discussion got me thinking about music. Somebody in the thread took the words right out of my mouth: as far as I'm concerned, good music ended in 1989. I was born in 1980 so I grew up with 80's hair metal. Starting in the 1990's I paid less and less attention to contemporary music. As an example of how out of touch I was, I was in the seventh or eigth grade when I asked my peers "Who is this scuzzy looking Kurt Cobain guy you're all sobbing about?" Flash forward to today: I know of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry and Taylor Swift and Kanye, but I can honestly say I've never listened to one of their songs from start to finish. I've tried. Some are catchy but they don't really speak to me in the way they apparently speak to millions of my peers and my juniors. My knowledge of many modern songs comes through the filter of Weird Al Yankovic.

I think everyone is in agreement that Catholics have not produced any good music since Vatican II. Whose ouvre would you rather listen to for twenty four hours straight: Mozart or Haugen? One of the reasons why Catholics can't sing is because many modern hymns are inappropriate for a Catholic Mass at best, and insufferable dreck at worst. Some are of dubious doctrinal orthodoxy such as Haugen's "Gather Us In," where he tells us not to worry about some heaven that's light years away. I knew that my conversion was starting to sink in when I began, like all other practicing Catholic men, to rise for the entrance procession with my hymn book sitting in the pew and my mouth firmly shut.

I mean come on. Even if you don't share my love of silly 1980's cartoons, you have to admit this music is bangin!