Friday, June 28, 2013

Skyrim assassin build

This is the bare bones cookie cutter model of an assassin. You really only need to go 1/5 on the Stealth perk. The initial perk makes you 20% harder to detect with each subsequent perk adding only another five percent, which makes it a case of diminishing returns. This is doubly so if you become a vampire.

Ideally, the assassin should never get hit but that doesn't always work out in actual gameplay. If this is your playstyle, you will come to loathe bears and saber cats. Personally, I think it's worth it to drop a few points into Light Armor. You don't need to max it out unless you want to make a more combat oriented assassin who can go toe to toe with the bad guys if he gets discovered. Most people will say that assassins are better off without a follower since followers are nigh incapable of stealth; as soon as one bad guy aggros, they charge in like Leeroy Jenkins, bellowing a mighty war cry. It can be useful to bring a follower when you're traveling outdoors to tank against bears and trolls. When you want to enter a dungeon, tell them to wait outside, look cool, and carry all the stuff you're going to bring back out.

Speaking of which, as an assassin your primary weapon should be the bow. I think every perk on the tree is worth taking but in my model those are the minimum that will get you by. A crossbow combined with the Quickshot and Ranger perks will turn Skyrim into an FPS. An assassin only uses one handed weapons for the sneak attacks which are his bread and butter. Join the Dark Brotherhood as soon as possible to get those sweet, sweet murder gloves that double backstab damage. Combine those with the Assassin's Blade perk and, if you're really good, you can successfully one shot a dragon.

You don't need any perks in Smithing unless you want to make your own weapons. If you have points to spare, it's a good idea to put perks into Steel Smithing and Arcane Smithing. Alchemy is your best crafting skill. A fully perked out potion of Fortify Smithing will easily get any weapon up to Legendary quality. Some of the poisons you can make are insane. Why yes, I'll take a poison that paralyzes them for 200 seconds.

Everything else is up to you. Personally, I like putting three perks into Pickpocket for the extra carry weight. You can spec into Illusion if you want, especially if you plan on becoming a Vampire Lord. I think adding Illusion makes the game even more ridiculously easy.


You do your thing and I'll do mine

Their hearts are in the right place if nothing else:

A reader comments:
AMEN. A lot of our brethren need to spend less time worrying about what the bishops are doing/saying and more time speaking up publicly (while it’s still legal to do so). Our opponents are far less concerned with winning the debate than they are with silencing us and prevening our view from even being heard.
This is partly why I have such a burning lack of interest in liturgy wars. I regard them as a form of clericalism. Laypeople wasting time minding the priest’s business about minutiae instead of doing what is properly lay. Our work is out in to the world bringing the gospel to the marketplace, not endlessly infighting about whether the priest’s stole was the correct shade of green in ordinary time.
There's a peculiar tendency among many Catholics of erecting a wall of separation between the liturgy and living the Gospel. On the contrary, the two are intimately linked - lex orandi, lex credendi. If the liturgy is weak, confused, and muddled then so too will the people be weak, confused, and muddled in their faith. Why must we choose between beautiful Masses and being good Catholics? Beauty is how we touch the hearts and stir the souls of those who aren't interested in high faluin' apologetics or theological niceties. Beauty within the Church affords everyone, most especially the poor, a glimpse of heaven. It's not a coincidence that Mass attendance is much greater at parishes where the liturgy is "tradded up" so to speak with all of the smells, bells, and chants that are our glorious patrimony. It's a bit ironic that Mark Shea dismisses the so-called liturgy wars as a form of clericalism and in the next sentence says that care of the liturgy is the exclusive province of the priest. He'll get no argument from me about the desperate need to get lay people out of the sanctuary, but then I'm a Trad and he isn't. If more priests took greater care to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a way befitting the traditional praxis of the Church, then we wouldn't have to take notice of it. Sloppy liturgy cripples the Church's witness and makes going to Mass a bitter trial for far too many Catholics still. We go to Mass to worship our Savior and we come home as theater critics.

I agree that lay people should fight for the Church in the public square regardless of what the bishops do or fail to do. But it's nonetheless a little discouraging when we're being undermined by the very people who are supposed to be our leaders. Why should we stick our necks out for men who aren't fully committed to the fight in the first place? Because we don't do it for them. We do it for Christ.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

They're all fricasseeing rabbits

L'affaire Vox has been immensely entertaining. The gamma rabbit imbroglio made me literally laugh out loud on several occasions, and that doesn't happen often when I'm online. There is a valuable lesson to be learned from all of this. Gammas are terrified of confrontation. Disagreements are most disagreeable. Dissent from the equalitarian line must be punished. Punishment takes the form of banishment from the warren. It's painful to watch sometimes. The kulak shrieks over and over again that he believes, he really really believes, in Zero Group Differences, in Gender is a Social Construct, in Structural Racism, in the Evilness of White Privilege, and how men like Vox are Not Okay.

Dear God that irritates me. I'm certain that everyone who is active in the blogosphere has encountered that phrase. Clucking schoolmarms of both sexes wag their fingers and tell us naughty children that something we said is "not okay." If I disagree with someone I say, "That's interesting. Could you explain your reasoning?" If I'm feeling particularly combative I might say, "Bullshit" instead. Telling someone that their words are "not okay" is a way of disagreeing without really disagreeing. It's a transparent attempt at shaming the offending party into silence.

Vox has taken the correct stance against attempted gamma shaming. You double down. You say "Bring it on." You never, ever, ever back down. I may be overly optimistic in the face of the decline and fall of Western Civilization but I still believe that truth will out. You can suppress it through social custom or through force for a while, but truth always wins in the long run. It's possible to be mistaken on the facts of course. It's possible that your reasoning might be faulty. In those cases you should accept correction. But if your opponents have no answer to your position, if their response to your arguments is to banish you into the outer darkness, then stand your ground until the bitter end. Advanced internet warriors can attempt to play and beat them at their own game. Call them out for having offended you. Demand that they apologize. Nine times out of ten they will drop the argument and back off. In the mind of the gamma rabbit, to apologize is to concede. It is to admit defeat.

Part of being an alpha, or a real man, or however you want to describe it is a willingness to stick to your principles in the face of adversity. If you're a Christian, then you know that Jesus Christ told us that he who perseveres to the end will be saved. So go ahead. Pull the trigger. Stand up for traditional principles. They're going to call you mean names anyway. What else can they do, banish you from the Cathedral, the Hive Mind, the Warren? Oh please don't throw me in that briar patch.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We will bury you

According to liberal principles, the closeting of homosexuality is wrong because it is just one perfectly normal form of sexual expression among many. When mean old reactionaries like me come along and remind people that sodomy is counted among the sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance, they assume that we are either stuck in the past or planning something really brutal and oppressive.

Force has nothing to do with it though. It's a matter of accepted public principle. According to traditional principles, right relations between men and women are one of the basic pillars of social order and civilization. For that reason, homosexual relations are radically contrary to the relations that ought to exist between people. It is treason against civilization, against nature, and against nature's God. It is as bad as liberals think discrimination is.

If liberalism and sexual libertinism are irrational and inhuman - and they are - then they won't last. It's a sure thing they won't last if only because societies which embrace those principles tend not to reproduce themselves. When traditional views of sexual morality once again come to the fore, then we will see a smooth transition to the recloseting of homosexuality.

The chief rejoinder to the traditional arguments against homosexual activity is, "What business is it of yours what two consenting adults do in private?" This objection is ridiculous on its face and the question is never asked in good faith. Consider: if what two consenting adults do in private is of no concern to anyone then why do we care about marital fidelity? Why do paternity tests, crimes of passion, child support payments, sex education classes, and AIDS prevention programs exist at all? Private acts seldom remain private, particularly when something as fundamental to human relations as sex is involved. Sex leads to, among other things, romantic love, lifelong commitments, children, STDs, divorce, and occasionally murder. All of these things are of concern to people not immediately involved.

We are social creatures, and when someone acts in a way radically contrary to social custom he should expect to be treated differently. Liberals are offended by the existence of racists even if the racist never physically harms anyone. If the racist claimed that his racism was the defining characteristic of who he was, the very core of his identity, and he demanded that society recognize and bless his racism, the liberal would cry a thousand times no.

Traditionalists feel about homosexual acts what liberals feel about homophobia. Who turns out to be right in the long run depends on who has the stronger grasp of human nature. We Christians have a divine guarantee on who's right. But as the history of the kingdom of Israel tells us, it's the human condition that we always have to learn the hard way. In the mean time, people are free to delude themselves into believing that same-sex "marriage" exists. I can't stop them any more than I can stop them from believing in the existence of round squares or colorless color. But like the masthead of this blog says, I don't live by lies. Nothing Caesar says or does will ever make me submit to this lie.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Supernature abhors a vacuum

If you're not reading Jim Kalb, you should be. Here he speculates about what a Catholic society would look like:
...The Gospel is the Gospel, and to mention it is implicitly to bring in whatever is necessarily connected to it—including the Church. With that in mind, the principled objections to a Catholic society don’t stand up to much thought. All men are unjust, except maybe a few saints, most actual Catholics put their main efforts into worldly goals, and harsh things could be said about the Church as a human institution. It is nonetheless right for believers to think of themselves and their communities and institutions as Catholic, even though there may be some less-than-saintly things about them.
Life must go on even though men are imperfect. Individuals and societies need some sort of guiding principle, and the guiding principle they accept helps define who they are. That remains true even when they abuse and fall short of their principles, as they quite generally do. A bad Catholic is a Catholic, he’s just a bad one, and if he calls himself Catholic and his commitment makes some difference to how he acts he’s doing as well as most of us. The same would be true of an imperfectly Catholic social order, which any social order calling itself Catholic would no doubt be. 
...A Catholic society could, for example, be liberal and democratic in many ways. Liberal goals and institutions are often good, but only up to a point and not as the highest standard. So the judiciary could be independent, accused persons could be tried by jury, high officials could be chosen by popular vote, and there could be extensive freedom of discussion and belief. The point is that pure choice would be limited by the public good, as it always is in one way or another, but the public good would be determined in a Catholic rather than techno-hedonistic sense. So actions and utterances at odds with Catholicism would likely be treated much as practices and utterances at odds with advanced liberalism are treated today. To pick an example, instead of worrying about hate speech the authorities might worry about gross impiety, and look for a sensible way to respond to it while respecting other concerns.  
To the average SWPL, "Catholic society" conjures up images of the Grand Inquisitor burning their manic pixie atheist girlfriends and their gay hairdressers at the stake while their congressmen solemnly read aloud from papal encyclicals on the floor of the capitol. Ah, if only, if only. In reality, a Catholic society would share some superficial similarities with a liberal polity. The big difference would be the principles upon which public discourse hinged.

In our liberal theocracy, discrimination is the most terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad thing in the universe, and tolerance is the source and summit of all that is good, true, and beautiful. Like Malcom McDowell in Clockwork Orange, we have to be strapped into chairs and our eye lids pulled open to watch propaganda films until we can dutifully recite the correct platitudes about how multiculturalism makes us so much better than our stupid racist grandparents.

If the purpose of government is to ensure equal freedom for all, then existentially there must always be an oppressor to overcome. You might have been under the mistaken impression that same-sex "marriage" is the greatest battle of good and evil of our time, but that only shows you're stuck in the past. No, the real struggle for the greatest good is now focused on the transgendered. Get with the times, bigot. You don't want to be on the wrong side of history do you?

In a Catholic society, the recloseting of gross impiety and immorality would seem as natural and necessary for the public good as the closeting of racism is today. Catholicism is not simply a series of laws that we must obey, although it does include that aspect of life. Catholicism, as Kalb says, is a way of looking at the world. My atheist friends are often confused by this notion when I put it that way. Catholicism is not something you just do on Sundays and spend the rest of the week living like a technocratic hedonist like everyone else. To be sure, many Catholics do just that. But bad Catholics are still Catholic. Catholicism just is how the world works. I believe in the existence of God the same way I believe the sun will come up tomorrow.

When we speak of Catholic novels, TV shows, movies, music, and art, we don't necessarily mean those things must explicitly speak of the Roman Catholic religion or take place in an ecclesial setting. The Lord of the Rings is a deeply Catholic work of literature. Making a Catholic culture will happen one soul at a time. I won't live long enough to see a Catholic society but I can do my part with the time I have.

Supernature abhors a vacuum. Christianity is retreating from the public square more every year. When it's gone, something will come to replace it. In Europe, that something will most likely be Islam. Here in the US it's looking like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Some might argue for secular liberalism to be ultimately triumphant, but it's too irrational and inhuman to survive for more than a few generations. Catholicism is the only rational alternative. Get to work men.

Stop me if you've heard this one

Fr. George Rutler on liturgical narcissism:
 The constant fidgeting for “theme liturgies” and experimentation is a sign of failure. Worse yet is the priest who solicits laughter like a ham actor in a dying vaudeville show. Such clerics should limit their repertoire to the jokes that St. John told the Blessed Mother as her Son bled on the Cross. One is struck by the way Pope Francis, in his personal simplicity and affability, is so enrapt in the solemnity of the Mass that he would not think of smiling through the Sacrifice of Calvary.
All men must submit to the rule of Christ the King. I have no problem with bending the knee to clerics who disappear into their vocation, because by listening to them I am listening to Christ. It is supremely difficult to grit my teeth and take instruction from effeminate priests who turn their parishes into a cult of personality and dash hither and thither like an old schoolmarm, hectoring us into singing stale 60s folk music and participating in their happy-clappy hippie BS.

H/T: Phil Blosser

Capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all the others

Barnes & Noble is not long for this world:

Barnes and Noble has not had an easy go of it. The brick-and-mortar stalwart has seen its revenues and profits steeply decline as we've entered the age of the e-book. In fact, profits haven't just shrunk; they've disappeared. During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013, the company suffered a net loss of $118.6 million, down significantly from the already poor showing it posted in 2012 when it lost $56.9 million in Q4. For the year, that put Barnes and Noble's losses at $154.8 million -- more than double what it lost in 2012. Revenues have dropped both at retail outlets and its Nook digital business by $105 million and $56 million, respectively year-over-year. For its e-reader and ebook arm, that represents a 34 percent drop from Q4 2012. The bad news there is that device sales have declined dramatically and, while content sales were up for the year, in the fourth quarter they fell by 8.9 percent. Barnes and Noble attributes the year-over-year fall in sales to be attributed to the lack of blockbuster titles. In Q4 2012 revenues were boosted by juggernauts like Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games.
I've resisted the ebook revolution so far. I don't even own a Nook or a Kindle. But eventually I too must bow to the inevitable. Big box bookstores are going the way of the dodo. There will always be mom and pop used bookstore operations out there, but the publishing industry has failed to adapt to the new market reality. Perhaps they can't adapt. On the one hand, the decline and fall of the mainstream gatekeepers makes it easier for scrubs like me to get our literary meanderings floating around out there in the electronic ether. But on the other, brick and mortar bookstores have much sentimental appeal to me. When I had my first summer job, it wasn't uncommon for me to spend most of my paychecks entirely on books. Wandering the stacks for a few hours is exactly my idea of a good time. All of the girls I've ever dated long term all had a similar love of books.

The death of Borders saddened me. There used to be one within a fifteen minute drive of home. Now it's a half hour drive to the nearest B&N. Their selection leaves something to be desired. I'll drop in if I'm in the area, but I haven't devoted an afternoon to browsing there in several years. When I do buy something now it's usually a history book or one of the classics. I don't purchase much SF or Fantasy anymore, except for Warhammer novels. Along with many others, I too have noticed the equalitarian drift of much contemporary SF/F work. If I wanted to be henpecked about how terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad racism, sexism, colonialism, and homophobia are, I'd listen to the scalzied manboobs on NPR or MSNBC.

That's my goal as a writer, to bring back a sense of heroism, adventure, and masculinity to storytelling. Men don't read as much as they used to so there's a great untapped market out there just waiting for an ambitious and talented person like myself to take advantage of it. I'm thinking about a novel about a big dumb viking who smashes heads for justice.

Monday Night Raw, 6/24/13: These are the days of the McMahon family's lives

Last night's Raw was decent but the McMahon family needs to disappear from television. The product was at its best when the bookers and writers were willing to tell Vince to go pound sand - think Jim Cornette and Vince Russo (lol.) Vince is all powerful now and it shows. In an example of art imitating life, Vince micromanaged Vickie Guerrero's managing of Raw by telling her that some people think Daniel Bryan is a puny psychopath who doesn't deserve to be a main event star. If it were up to Vince, everyone on the roster would be a 'roided up gorilla like Ryback and Batista before him. Paul Heyman acknowledged this later on in the program when he said he was barraged with emails back in the day asking him to fire CM Punk for not having the kind of physique that Vince liked.

I guess I'll give the WWE an A for effort in trying to spark interest in the Divas Division again. I just don't understand why Kaitlyn is taking out her rage on poor Aksana. AJ Lee came out dressed as Kaitlyn in the middle of her match and made fun of the deepness of her voice and physique. Last week Stephanie McMahon stuck her nose in this ongoing feud. Why? To what end?

Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio had a great match. The current WWE product deserves most of the criticism it gets whether it's from me or other fans and writers, but I'm the first to admit that the wrestlers don't have an easy job. It's not just a matter of weight lifting and learning wrestling techniques. It requires a lot of acting ability as well. Jericho and ADR had it all. One of the best matches of the night. Ziggler came out to attack ADR again, and then delivered his finisher on Jericho. So is Dolph a face or a heel now?

Ryback returned to WWE television in a match against Khali. This is another example of Vince doggedly hanging on to something way past its sell-by date. Khali should have retired years ago. The poor man can barely move anymore. He can't even manage five moves of doom: he's got an overhead slap and some kicks. Ryback shell shocked him which was impressive to be sure.

The Usos vs two comedy teams. Do I even have to tell you the winners? The Usos earned their slot to lose to the Shield at MITB.

CM Punk and Paul Heyman were awesome together. They have a long history together and the tension between them, both in what was said and unsaid, was palpable. Their relationship will inevitably come to a violent end in the future, and the pacing of this storyline is good so far. CM Punk vs Brrrrock Lllllllesnarrrr is going to be spectacular when it happens.

WWE managed to surprise me. I was certain that CM Punk vs. Darren Young would be a squash match but it turned out quite involved and entertaining. Young looked good out there and nearly scored an upset victory. He turned Punk's own finisher against him. Young lost by submission when his tag team partner Titus O'Neil jumped into the ring to wale on Punk for a bit. Curtis Axel came to Punk's rescue, much to Punk's annoyance. A good match followed by an interesting storyline development... why can't WWE do this more often?

Mark Henry deserves to be the next WWE champion. Two outstanding promos in a row. I bought his "retirement" speech last week, how about you? He's closer to his real retirement than not so this would be a great capstone to a good career. Henry is a great heel and deserves all of this exposure he's gotten recently.

Bryan vs. Orton: well done. Match of the night. Vince kayfabe derided Bryan as having "issues," and Bryan is running with it. He's been determined to prove that he's not the weak link. Normally I hate the cyclical nature of Raw - this is the third time Bryan and Orton have wrestled in a week. But they handled it well this time. Bryan was adamant about earning a clean win, and he got it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Skyrim pure mage build

For the record, this is my magic build. I named my High Elf Palpatine. Once he enchanted enough equipment to give him free Destruction magic he liked to madly cackle while blasting his foes with unlimited power.

There are enough perks left over to invest more heavily into one of the magic trees, or into a non-magic skill tree. Destruction is the priority. Obsessively level Destruction before all else. For crowd control pick either Illusion or Conjuration to dump a lot of perks. Personally, I prefer Illusion. Atronachs work best outdoors, and zombies don't start to shine until Conjuration is almost maxed out. With Illusion, mobs tear each other to pieces and the last man standing is weakened enough that you can probably one shot him.

I call this build a pure mage but you'll see I didn't put any perks into the mage armor talent. Mage armor is okay, but ideally you shouldn't be getting hit at all. You have enough perks to max out your mage armor or drop a few into light or heavy armor.

I am a true Nord barbarian because pure mage is probably my least favorite archetype. Pretty much all fantasy games that allow you play a mage scale in the same way: at the start of the game you're lovely and get one shot by everything, and by the end you're a physical god that no enemy can touch anymore. Destruction, unlike weapons, does not scale. This isn't a problem once you've enchanted your gear for free Destruction magic, but it makes dragon fights especially anticlimactic. The Impact perk in the Destruction tree staggers all enemies when you dual cast a spell. If your magic is free, then battles become long drawn out affairs of poking the bad guys to death. You keep them in a permanent stunlock until they fall over dead.

A lot of people think mages are underpowered in Skyrim. I'd disagree with that. Pure mages are absolutely the most difficult builds early in the game before you get your skills dialed in. In contrast, assassins are good to go about an hour in, and warriors can hold their own right out of the gate. I played as a pure mage to get the trophies, and haven't played another one since.

EDIT, 7/26: I see that my Skyrim builds tend to be my most popular posts. If you're new here, welcome. Come for the video games and stay for the crimethink.

EDIT, 8/20: And to be fair, a pure mage is your best bet for breaking the game into a thousand pieces.

Ecce, homo

The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass:

One might be tempted to crystallize what Cardinal Heenan experienced as the feminization of the Liturgy. But this term would be inadequate and ultimately misleading. For there is a real Marian aspect of the Liturgy that is therefore feminine. The Liturgy bears the Word of God, the Liturgy brings forth the Body of the Word to be worshipped and given as Food. A better terminology might be that in the Novus Ordo rite of Mass the Liturgy has been effeminized.
Father makes an important distinction here. Exalting masculinity does not imply a put down of the feminine. Male and female are complementary. Feminism, in contrast, is in the business of putting down the feminine. They want to be more like men, which ends up making both men and women lonely and miserable. A feminized Church drives the men away, which further reinforces the feminine stranglehold on the contemporary Church bureaucracy.
The description of the Roman liturgy using adjectives like “austere”, “concise”, “noble” and “simple,” is commonplace among many who have written about the liturgy in the modern liturgical movement of the twentieth century. Many of these writers, however, have romanticized this austerity of the Roman rite or have used it to further their own agenda of stripping the rite of the organic growth of the ages, labeling such organic growth with censorious terms like “Gallican accretions “or “useless repetitions”. Rather than denoting the Roman rite as austere, an adjective that arguably has puritan overtones, it is better to speak of the masculinity or virility of the traditional Roman rite.
Turning the priest around to face the people while celebrating Mass did more to wreck Roman Catholicism than the Protestant Reformation. Even people who are old enough to know better speak disparagingly of the bad old days when the priest turned his back on the people. Implicit in that assertion is the idea that the Mass is nothing but a communal meal, an exercise in community building. The priest turned his back on the people so they could all face God together. The priest is the father and shepherd of his parish. He is the intercessor, the intermediary between God and man.
First, masculinity is opposed to sentimentality—not to sentiment, but to sentimentality. There is an absence of any trace of sentimentality in the Traditional rite, also called the Extraordinary Form. This is seen in its collects and prayers that are succinct and to the point without sacrificing beauty of language, and in its rubrics that prevent the personality of the priest from inserting his own feelings and choices into the rite itself. If we take note of Cardinal Newman’s insight that sentimentality is the acid of religion, meaning that it destroys true religion, then the rubrics of the Traditional rite are the little purple pill that prevents the reflux of sentimentality into the liturgy.
One of my seminarian friends, who is now a priest, strongly recommended against ever studying the Novus Ordo Mass in any great detail. When I asked him why he replied, "Because it's depressing when you realize just how few priests do it according to the book." This isn't even a question of liturgical abuse, although there has been enough of that. The Novus Ordo Missal gives the priest enormous freedom in almost every aspect of the Mass. It takes a strong man indeed to resist the temptations to become Father Jimmy Fallon.
...very closely linked to the fourth aspect above, the Liturgy is something given, never made. It is there to be entered into. This aspect is seen more clearly in the Eastern rites where rationalism and sentimentality have never eroded this sense of the God-given-ness of the liturgy—hence it is known in the East as “the Divine Liturgy”. This given-ness does not imply a fossil nor does it deny organic development. Nay rather, this given-ness is like a great house that has been built by the inspiration of the Spirit through the ages and that is there to be entered. The genius and the truth of Roman Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy, which inspired the present Pope, Benedict XVI, so deeply in his own understanding of the Liturgy, assumes this absolute given-ness of the Liturgy, for one cannot “play in the house of the Lord” unless the house is already there to be played in. 
 That sense of given-ness has been totally lost. Everywhere the liturgy appears to be something cobbled together by the community. The average Catholic volunteer thinks of the Missal as a skeleton provided by the Church, with the community free to impose its own preferences in music, prayers, and overall praxis. This was the impetus behind Pope Benedict XVI's hermeneutic of continuity: go beyond the letter of the law and join yourself with the spirit of the Church's traditional orientation.
This role of the vir of faith is radically different from the priest who believes his job is not to lead the people to the altar of Sacrifice but rather to dialogue with them and to make them “understand what is going on”. Then the Eucharistic Prayer with its altogether brief dialogue between priest and people becomes another extension of the priest’s dialogue-banter. Here there is no walking up the mountain together; there is no turning to the Lord together; instead there is the terrible and stultifying stasis of the condescending and overbearing mother trying to connect with her child and in the process destroying the child’s freedom to walk up to the mountain of God.
It's ironic that, given the modern obsession with making sure the people "understand what is going on," there is probably much much less understanding of what goes on at Mass today then there was at the average suburban parish of sixty years ago.
I want to offer comments on two practical results of the devirilization of the liturgy and of the priest. The first is this: the music that the Novus Ordo has produced, both for Mass settings and songs to be sung at the liturgy, is at best functional, at worst sentimental junk that makes the old Protestant evangelical hymns sound like Bach chorales. When Mass is reduced to a self-referential assembly, then music becomes merely functional at best, at worst something to rouse the feelings of the people. This functionalism is a mark of the chilling, outdated and anti-liturgical stance of the liturgical establishment that still controls much of the liturgical life of the Church in the Roman dicasteries, in seminaries, in dioceses and therefore in parishes.
It's astonishing that the anti-liturgical barbarians managed such a clean sweep of the Church's institutions in so short a time. Nearly two thousand years of accumulated liturgical development was tossed out overnight as the Church reckons time. Even when I manage to find a Novus Ordo Mass that is celebrated half-way reverently, I can't unlearn everything that I've learned. When I entered the Church, I was looking forward to worshipping the way my ancestors had worshipped for over a thousand years. But most Catholics don't. We worship according to a Missal designed by a committee of Protestants led by a man who died in exile under suspicion of Freemasonry.
The dress of the priest when not performing a liturgical function has become in a sense, to borrow a secular adjective recently in vogue, metrosexual. That means that his masculinity has been blurred in his outward appearance. The abandonment of the cassock as the normal dress of the priest outside of the liturgy is part of the devirilization of the priest. The dropping of the distinctive dress that is the cassock and its replacement with a black business suit worn with a clerical collar, or, increasingly more common, with a shirt having a white tab collar that can be removed and stuck in a pocket, is part of the shedding of the liminality of the priest. He is no longer he who stands at the threshold, the limen, of earth and heaven when offering Mass. Religious dress modeled after secular dress tames him down to become a mere clergyman, with “-man” now meaning “person” and not “man”. 
Father, I could tell you stories. I was in the seminary from 2008 to 2010. Ten years before that a man who was seen wearing a cassock would have been expelled on the spot. Today it just gets you a stern talking to from the faculty who doesn't want any of their charges to have too "cultic" a view of the priesthood.
We finally come to what is the most serious effect of the devirilization of the Liturgy: the apparent and real discontinuity between the Novus Ordo and the traditional Roman rite.
My father was the captain of his high school basketball team in the 1950s. Every weekend when the team was in transit, the Catholics had to find a place to go to Mass. Dad accompanied them. He didn't understand what was going on at the TLM at first, but he grew to appreciate it. After he graduated, dad did not set foot in another Catholic parish again until I was baptized in 2005. After it was all over dad whispered to me, "This is the Catholic Church isn't it?"

It's discouraging to think that for hundreds of millions of living Catholics the Mass of the Ages is as alien and unwelcome an experience as a Lakota rain dance. Sacramentally and juridically, the OF and EF are indeed two forms of the one rite. But with all respect to Pope Benedict XVI, the OF and EF have Grand Canyon sized chasms marking their differences in theology, spirituality, philosophy, and culture. To be more precise, I'm speaking of the OF as it is typically celebrated in the average parish. People always tell me that the Novus Ordo can be celebrated with a sense of reverence and holy awe, which is an implicit admission that in most cases it is not so celebrated. Ultimately it's God's Church and all we can do is trust that he knows what he's doing in allowing all of the chaos of the last fifty years.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Amazing Catholic BS Generator Part II

(ACBSG coined by John Zmirak)

Dr. Jeff Mirus exercised his intellectual muscle by knocking down a strawman:

Whenever the USCCB dares to advocate policies which provide for easier immigration and naturalization (e.g., here), a few of our readers shout an argument which I devoutly hope never again to hear from anyone claiming to be Catholic: “We don’t owe illegals anything!”
That depends on what you mean by not owing them anything. Of course we owe them the decency and charity we would afford to any other human being. Of course they ought to be able to receive the sacraments. Of course they should not be subject to violence, theft, or other forms of abuse that law abiding citizens would not inflict upon one another. We are not the gods of our own backyard where we are free to do anything or nothing to those who are within it either invited or uninvited. It does not follow that we owe illegal aliens goods and services which, in justice, should be provided first to our fellow citizens and neighbors. If a father neglected the care and feeding of his own children in order to provide those resources to strangers, we would say that he is a bad father.
 There are two false assumptions here. First, there is the assumption that those who have come earlier rather than later to a particular region, and have established a government over the region, and have developed a kind of society in that region, somehow have an exclusive claim to that region as their own. This is typically applied self-servingly; it is rarely upheld for peoples who may have occupied a territory prior to “us”. But in any case, the idea that one group of people can morally set a broad region to be off limits to other groups of people is absurd. 
It's no more absurd than setting the region known as my home as off limits to strangers. If private property does not include the right to exclude uninvited strangers, then the notion of private property is meaningless. Illegal immigration is just as much a form of trespassing as the burglar who breaks into my home to make off with my property. The Church absolutely provide corporal works of mercy to those who are in need, but if the diverse youths of MS13 broke into the local parish food locker, I'd bet dollars to pesos that Dr. Mirus would call the police.

The reason why States exist in the first place is to provide for the common good. To be sure this breaks down in practice more often than not. Any law which the State promulgates which is contrary to either the law of God or the common good can and ought to be resisted.
Where would such a moral right come from? Our God-given understanding of the universal destination of goods is sufficient to demonstrate its falsity. To the contrary, the Catholic Church has consistently (and rightly) affirmed that people have a right to migrate for good and constructive purposes, including the effort to increase their prosperity and provide better for their families. Such a right cannot be restricted without very good reason. Such reasons would include demonstrated evil intentions on the part of immigrants, or some other particular, severe and direct danger to the common good.
We must recognize that states, boundaries, and governments are mere conventions. They do not arise from moral truths; rather, they are bound by them. The right of migration, for a moral purpose and in a moral manner, is prior to the State, and prior to citizenship, just like the right to life, the right to marry, the right to raise a family.

The Catholic Church has also affirmed the right of States and peoples to craft their own immigration policies. Dr. Mirus accuses immigration restrictionists of having a blind spot, but I wonder if he himself has an Ellis Island sized blind spot of his own. Japan allows almost no immigration, and those who few who take up permanent residence there find it damned near impossible to become citizens even if they marry and have children there. To my knowledge, the Japanese Conference of Catholic bishops does not regularly issue jeremiads against these policies.
 There is certainly room for both custom and convention in handling immigration; they may shape but not obliterate fundamental rights. Nearly all our readers can see at once that the State’s enactments to protect and facilitate abortion have not a shred of authority to make abortion moral, or to compel us to obey such laws on moral grounds. Given this perception, it continues to astonish me that so many cannot see what is equally obvious, that a State’s claim to have sole charge over comings and goings in a vast territory does not create a moral argument against migration, and cannot compel us to obey such laws on moral grounds, either for emigration or for immigration.
Dr. Mirus speaks frequently of the human right of migration but fails to address the corresponding obligation. If we have an inalienable right to migrate then that creates an obligation for someone else to accept us. If I choose to migrate to Dr. Mirus's home, does he have an obligation to accept my taking up residence with him? He may allow me to stay with him out of Christian charity, but he is in no way obligated to take me in. What if I bring my entire extended family with me? There comes a point where Dr. Mirus's resources would be stretched too thin to take care of all of us.
A related observation is that the financial benefits provided by government to citizens, and their possible extension to those who have not yet fulfilled the conventions of citizenship, create a separate question which must be settled prudently. I cannot address that pragmatic question here, so I will simply state the obvious: One of the idiocies of a nanny state is that it creates dependent citizens, and then this unnatural state of dependency is used as an excuse for being unable to “afford” immigrants. Sometimes, our own conventions tend to pile up and lock us within false dichotomies. When this happens, we take for granted errors which undermine morality.
 He'll get no argument from me on the idiocy of the nanny state, but I think it's a compelling argument. Unlimited immigration and the welfare state are incompatible, particularly when the unlimited immigration lopsidedly consists of Mexicans who lack even a high school education.

Dr. Mirus also speaks much of the State but doesn't make the distinction between the State and the Nation. Nations have unique characters, peoples, histories, and cultures. The peoples of the different nations have the right to preserve their national character and culture. Multiculturalism and diversity are, in practice, a sort of cultural genocide. In the United States we encourage ethnic and racial minorities to celebrate and retain their cultural characters. I would ask that they extend the same courtesy to white Americans, but everyone already knows that's unspeakable crimethought.

I don't mean to attribute bad faith to the US bishops, but it's indisputable that the Catholic Church in the US would be on the road to extinction if it weren't for illegal aliens. The constant influx of illegals props up our sagging numbers in baptisms, confirmations, and Mass attendance. Again, to be clear, illegals should be treated with the same charity we would treat other strangers in our midst. But that doesn't mean the USCCB or laymen like Dr. Mirus should get away with shaming us into accepting a divisive solution to what is ultimately a prudential question.

Asking questions to which we already know the answer

Did Obama diss Catholic education in Northern Ireland?

WASHINGTON — President Obama may have picked up a few scratches after he ventured into the political thicket that is Northern Ireland this week.
Some Catholics were offended by remarks Obama gave at a town hall meeting in Belfast Monday, in which he called on the regions often deeply divided Catholic and Protestant populations to integrate.
“Issues like segregated schools and housing, lack of jobs and opportunity — symbols of history that are a source of pride for some and pain for others — these are not tangential to peace; they’re essential to it,” Obama said. “If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs — if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.”
Division is a bad thing indeed but I have the solution. Pagans should reject their heathen superstitions and demonically inspired false religions, Protestants should renounce their errors and man made churches, and everyone should formally join the one true Church of Christ founded by our Blessed Lord Himself, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. That's what Obama meant right? Right? Oh...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Elite illiberality

A decent article from VDH:

The divide over immigration reform is not primarily a Left/Right or Democratic/Republican divide; instead, it cuts, and sharply so, across class lines. Elites blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration to ensure that the opponents of the latter appear to be against the former. They talk grandly of making legal immigration meritocratic, but fall silent when asked to what degree. They talk darkly of racist subtexts in the arguments of their opponents, but skip over the overt ethnic chauvinism of proponents of amnesty; they decry conservative paranoia over a new demography, but never liberal euphoria over just such a planned reset. They talk deprecatingly of rubes who do not understand the new global realties, but never of their own parochialism ensconced in New York or Washington or San Francisco. They talk of reactionaries who do not fathom the ins and outs of the debate; never of their own willful ignorance of the realities on the ground in East L.A. or southwest Fresno.
Contemporary American politics makes a lot more sense once you realize that everyone in Washington hates hates HATES working class whites.

h/t: Steve Sailer

Take up the liberal man's burden

The latest controversy ripping through the Gamma Rabbit warren is Vox Day's comments about some SF/F author I've never heard of. Can't you just feel the passion?

Moderns speak much of equality but seldom do they address the question "Equal with respect to what?" When we make a claim of equality, we claim that two distinct things are essentially identical. In mathematics, that essence is quantity: two plus two is equal to four. In what way can it be said that all human beings are equal? I am not equal to Kobe Bryant in terms of athletic talent. I am not equal to Albert Einstein in sheer intellectual power. I'm not equal to William Shakespeare in writing ability. I'm not equal to my own father in terms of physical height.

Obviously a claim of human equality will have to be within the realm of the abstract. All human beings are equal in the sense that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. All of us are equal in that we will all be judged according to the same standard: loving God and loving our neighbor.

Liberals don't like that kind of equality though so they prefer to speak of equality before the law. Even this doesn't make a lot of sense though. Laws against trespassing are not going to be equally enforced if Bob is a homeowner and Joe is not. Every human law requires an authoritative discrimination at the level of particulars. That's almost a definition of law all by itself: an authoritative discrimination. In a sense, the entire liberal project is contradictory: they want us to discriminate without discriminating.

Human biodiversity holds that there are intractable differences between the different races. On average, whites and Asians IQs are one standard deviation higher than blacks and Hispanics. The liberal instinctively finds this deeply offensive. They read it as an assertion of superiority, but that doesn't follow at all. Having rejected God, they calculate human equality in terms of our ability to achieve worldly goals. Therefore, the Gap is the greatest problem facing American education. The Gap is something they agonize over, endlessly debate, and work tirelessly to close. They will fudge standards and give extra credit, anything at all to narrow the Gap. Yet the Gap stubbornly persists. The Gap still exists despite legions of liberal do-gooders best efforts. The Gap will always be with us because it is in the nature of things.

Human life has intrinsic moral value. Superiority and inferiority has nothing to do with it when we assert that some people are better able to build and maintain advanced technological civilizations than others. If, however, we have already rejected the laws of nature and nature's God then it follows that we must believe in the myth of Zero Group Differences. Everyone implicitly understands that if there is no God and no afterlife, then the myth of ZGD is the only thing separating the liberal superman from the Nazi.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Skyrim Barbarian build

Skyrim has been out for about a year and a half now. Every conceivable build has been played into the ground. I still enjoy it once in a while. Looking back on it now I think it's overrated compared to, say, Fallout: New Vegas. FONV gave you a sense of real freedom. You felt like it was a living breathing world because your decisions had enormous influence on the other characters and on the game's ending. Skyrim is frustrating on that subject. You have the illusion of freedom but each factional questline railroads you to its inevitable conclusion. For example, in the Thieves Guild questline, the Guild is being undermined from within and your job is to identify the snitch and kill him. FONV would have given you the option of teaming up with the snitch and destroying the Guild all together, before stabbing your partner in the back to keep it all for yourself. The snitch even mocks you for pursuing him so far and your only dialogue option is to say "I still have honor." Writing has never been Bethesda's strong suit. They created a gorgeous world that is exhilarating to explore for the first time. After that, you need a lot of imagination to fill out the plot holes.

 For the record, my Traditional Nord Barbarian build: two-handed, light armor, block, archery, smithing. There are enough perks left over for you to branch out into one or two other skill trees before the soft level cap of fifty.

One major plot point in Skyrim is the civil war that is dividing the land. The Stormcloaks want Skyrim to secede from the Empire of Tamriel, while the Imperial Legion fights to put down the rebellion. The Empire is recovering from a devastating war with the elven Aldmeri Dominion. The price of peace was a treaty which banned the worship of Talos, the hero-god of mankind and the object of great love and devotion in Skyrim. Legion vs. Stormcloaks was once the most heated debate on the internet. Even a year and a half later feelings can still run strong. Whatever its other flaws, Bethesda did a good job of painting a grey vs. grey morality conflict. But I think people who argue over Legion vs. Stormcloaks are not actually arguing about a video game.

The Stormcloaks, and especially their leader Ulfric, are portrayed as racists both in universe and by players. "I can't join Ulfric, he's a racist," comes up so often in these online debates that one could make a drinking game of it. It's fascinating to me that these players have no moral qualms about joining the game's thieves guild or assassins league. Stealing and murdering your way across the land is morally acceptable but a few ethnic slurs puts you beyond the pale I guess.

I have to join the Stormcloaks because I'm a Nord in real life and I've got Nord privilege. If you've ever played Morrowind, I think you'd agree that those greyskins got what they had coming.

EDIT, 7/26: I see that my Skyrim builds tend to be my most popular posts. If you're new here, welcome. Come for the video games and stay for the crimethink.

With shepherds like these...

A Fathers Day call to repentance:

High profile Christian leaders now regularly explain that the explosion in women choosing unwed motherhood is not due to a mass feminist rebellion, but due to some inherent defect in the men the modern feminist woman finds herself surrounded by.  The Director of Family Formation Studies at Focus On The Family explained in his book on parenting that:
Women want to marry and have daddies for their babies.  But if they can’t find good men to commit themselves to, well…  Our most pressing social problem today is a man deficit.
It's not her fault that she is choosing to fornicate and have a bastard child. It's modern men's fault for not manning up and marrying those aging, grouchy, overweight career grrrrls.

Dalrock's audience is mostly Protestant but Catholics ought not feel tempted to pride here. American Catholics divorce and remarry at rates comparable to the general population. Unless they have the initials FSSP or SSPX after their names, priests are generally loathe to preach on those parts of Scripture that makes modern women uncomfortable such as "Wives submit to your husbands" or "What God has joined, man must not separate." Granted, the Church has no special competence in teaching young men how to make young, thin, fertile girls desperate to have their babies. Making distinctions between ALPHA and BETA behaviors does not fall within the Church's charism, so pastors should think twice before preaching their annual "Man up men!" homily.

At my own parish this last Sunday I don't recall the priest mentioning Fathers Day during his homily. After the Mass was ended he gave the special blessing for fathers. I suppose that should be considered a mercy. Most Christian pastors mean well, but when they bend over backwards to curry favor with their female congregants, men take the hint and disappear. I guaran-damn-tee that any parish which allows female altar servers will soon have mostly female altar servers.

Feminism falls under the umbrella of worldliness. The Church must repent of her worldliness if she is to continue her work in the Lord's vineyard: the salvation of souls. Much as I may joke about it, a "sitting poolside at the decline and fall of Western civilization" is unacceptable to me. The Church is one of the pillars of Western civilization, so the purging of heresy and worldliness and her complete restoration is one of my life's goals.

Monday Night Raw 6/17/13: That's my manager!

After a brief hiatus due to disgust with the product, Beefy Levinson's wrasslin' reviews are back. I'm sorry to see Dolph Ziggler return to full time jobber status, but making Alberto Del Rio heel again was smart. I never cared about him when he was a face. In truth, Ricardo Rodriguez is the one who got over with ADR simply along for the ride. A rich anti-American Mexican aristocrat seems like ADR's natural role and he does it well. I don't know how WWE will work the feud between Ziggler and ADR. Ziggler is still ostensibly a heel although he's become a fan favorite. It would be awkward for him to turn babyface while still in a kayfabe relationship with AJ Lee who is currently a heel. Wow... I haven't felt this way in some months. I'm actually interested in seeing where the storylines are going to go next.

Christian returned and squashed Wade Barrett, the poor bastard. The segment between AJ and Stephanie McMahon was inadvertently hilarious. Either AJ is a dwarf or Stephanie is an Amazon. Or both. They have, amazingly, made the Divas division somewhat interesting again.

I am most pleased indeed that Antonio Cesaro is now paired with Zeb Colter. I suppose this means Jack Swagger will not be returning. Cole called out Colter as a hypocrite. Now I personally think there ought to be a moratorium on all immigration period, but I don't think Colter's character ever went that far. He opened his segment with a reference to the current NSA scandals, about how the government is lying to us and spying on us. Colter said he's always stood against those who sneak across the border but that Cesaro did it the right way. Let's hope they get more airtime. Make it happen WWE.

Mark Henry was right: I can't ever forget his pink jacket.

The main event was good but the ending foretold great things to come. Brock Lesnar laid out CM Punk with an F5. All is not well with the Heyman guys.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dreaming of Calvin Coolidge

Good article for us literary scrubs. Calvin Coolidge was the 30th president of the United States. He was popularly known as Silent Cal because he talked low, talked slow, and didn't say too f***ing much. But he is the author of what is perhaps my favorite presidential wisdom of all time:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people 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 intellect directs the will. If your intellect does not have a clear goal front and center, then the will is unfocused and weak. Ray Bradbury was good about this. Fans approached him and said that they aspired toward being novelists. "How much do you write every day?" he asked them. Most of them sheepishly admitted that they did not write every day. "Well then," Bradbury chuckled, "you're not much of a writer are you?"

Persistence alone may not make you a great writer but I guaran-damn-tee it will make you a successful writer. It worked for renowned author Dan Brown. Bradbury also had a challenge he regularly issued to aspiring writers. His best work was his short stories and he recommended people try their hand at the short story before they work on a novel. He said to write one short story every week for a year. "I defy anyone in this room to write fifty two short stories and not be able to get one of them published."

It is impossible to fail if you never give up. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try different methods if our current ones aren't working, but once you've settled on a goal, persistence will get you there.




They're the gay caballeros

It's no big secret that the priesthood has a disproportionate share of homosexuals. The astonishing news that's swept the Catholic blogosphere over the last few days is that Pope Francis actually confirmed the existence of the lavender mafia. Dare we hope that he'll do something about it? As much as the Holy Father's liturgical formation makes me want to rend my garments in fury, so far I've enjoyed his preaching and teaching. I'm amazed that a man who speaks in clear declarative sentences ever got ordained a bishop, let alone became pope.

Predictably, this story has caused many non-Catholics and fallen away Catholics to comment on the Church's stance on priestly celibacy. It's a back handed compliment when you think about it. Heathens never spill this much ink on the Anglicans, Baptists, and Presbyterians, but everyone is always ready to comment on the internal workings of the Catholic Church. Everyone implicitly understands that when it comes to the institutional face of Christianity on earth, the Catholic Church is the only game in town. The argument goes that the Church's discipline of celibacy for the secular clergy attracts a disproportionate number of homosexuals to the priesthood. No one will ask them uncomfortable questions about why they've never had a girlfriend. Therefore, drop the requirement for celibacy and millions of married alpha males will replenish the ranks of the priesthood leading the Church into a glorious new golden age where we've all manned up and are kicking ass and taking names for Christ. Right?

Not really. When Pope Benedict XVI was still Cardinal Ratzinger, he said that times of crisis in the priesthood are always times of crisis in marriage as well. The Christian manosphere has ably demonstrated the modern crisis of marriage so we need not dwell on it too much here. Likewise, many of the arguments about why the priesthood is not an attractive option for healthy heterosexual men have always been with us. Today's crisis, however, is unique in the annals of Church history. It's the worst crisis she's endured since the Arian heresy, if not the worst of all time. It's true that there is no bloody persecution of the Church in the West - yet - but the blood of martyrs is the seed of the faith. Today's crisis is one of faith. Like Peter, many within the Church are denying Christ. We are doubting the Church's divine character.

The law of prayer is the law of faith, and the law of faith is the law of living. If your moral life is compromised, you will eventually lose your faith. The disproportionate share of active homosexuals in the priesthood is undermining the faith and prayer of the Church. Effeminate priests turn men off to the idea of the priesthood. Eventually men believe that Church is just a social club for old people, women and children. The Holy Father needs our prayers so that he can begin taking steps to root out the lavender mafia.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Famous guest blogger on politics in the 21st century


O]nce ascribed to human reason the only authority to decide what is true and what is good, the real distinction between good and evil is destroyed; honor and dishonor differ not in their nature, but in the opinion and judgment of each one; pleasure is the measure of what is lawful; and, given a code of morality which can have little or no power to restrain or quiet the unruly propensities of man, a way is naturally opened to universal corruption. With reference also to public affairs: authority is severed from the true and natural principle whence it derives all its efficacy for the common good; and the law determining what it is right to do and avoid doing is at the mercy of a majority. Now, this is simply a road leading straight to tyranny.
...
[W]hen anything is commanded which is plainly at variance with the will of God, there is a wide departure from this divinely constituted order, and at the same time a direct conflict with divine authority; therefore, it is right not to obey.

By the patrons of liberalism, however, who make the State absolute and omnipotent, and proclaim that man should live altogether independently of God, the liberty of which We speak, which goes hand in hand with virtue and religion, is not admitted; and whatever is done for its preservation is accounted an injury and an offense against the State. Indeed, if what they say were really true, there would be no tyranny, no matter how monstrous, which we should not be bound to endure and submit to.
Leo XIII
Libertas
June 20, 1888

We have but too much evidence of the value and result of a morality divorced from divine faith. How is it that, in spite of all the zeal for the welfare of the masses, nations are in such straits and even distress, and that the evil is daily on the increase? We are told that society is quite able to help itself; that it can flourish without the assistance of Christianity, and attain its end by its own unaided efforts. Public administrators prefer a purely secular system of government. All traces of the religion of our forefathers are daily disappearing from political life and administration. What blindness! Once the idea of the authority of God as the Judge of right and wrong is forgotten, law must necessarily lose its primary authority and justice must perish: and these are the two most powerful and most necessary bonds of society. Similarly, once the hope and expectation of eternal happiness is taken away, temporal goods will be greedily sought after. Every man will strive to secure the largest share for himself. Hence arise envy, jealousy, hatred. The consequences are conspiracy, anarchy, nihilism. There is neither peace abroad nor security at home. Public life is stained with crime.

So great is this struggle of the passions and so serious the dangers involved, that we must either anticipate ultimate ruin or seek for an efficient remedy. It is of course both right and necessary to punish malefactors, to educate the masses, and by legislation to prevent crime in every possible way: but all this is by no means sufficient. The salvation of the nations must be looked for higher.
Leo XIII
Tametsi futura prospicientibus
November 1, 1900