Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blogging vacation

If 2013 were a fish, I'd throw it back. Still, I'd like to thank the good people at Rorate Caeli for adding me to their blog list. Your doing so was the start of a significant increase in my own blog's traffic. I also want to thank all of the kids who googled for Skyrim builds and made it possible for me to eat out at a politically incorrect chicken joint twice a month.

That said, I have a busy night ahead of me so I'm going to take a break from blogging for the rest of the year. I'll see you in 2014. Good night and good luck.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The most offensive Scripture of all

Today is the feast of the Holy Family on the Novus Ordo calendar. It is notable for containing one of the selections from Scripture that are the most deeply offensive to modern ears:
Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another, 
if one has a grievance against another; 
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love, 
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, 
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, 
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, 
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs 
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, 
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, 
as is proper in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives, 
and avoid any bitterness toward them.
Children, obey your parents in everything, 
for this is pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, 
so they may not become discouraged.
The final paragraph is so controversial that lectors have the option to omit it all together. When they've chosen to include it, I've heard priests get quite creative in rationalizing it away. They hem and haw and twist themselves into soggy pretzels explaining that St. Paul couldn't possibly have meant his words to be interpreted as they are plainly written. "Well, you have to understand that Paul was writing to primitive backwards people who were racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, etc."

"Yes, but he meant that husbands and wives must submit to each other equally."

"Oh, well he only meant it to apply to husbands who are worth submitting to, which all of you men in the congregation probably aren't."

I've heard variations on those themes from the pulpit almost every time those readings come up. In one sense it's understandable that priests would be reluctant to take them head on. Women pretty much run the Church bureaucracy and Father is all too aware of what side his bread is buttered on. If he offends too many feminists, he'll get called down to the chancery to be scolded over how "divisive" and "unpastoral" he is. Eventually he'll be banished to wherever it is the diocese thinks he'll do the least damage such as hospital or prison ministry.

St. Joseph was married to God's greatest creation. He was the foster father of God's own Incarnate Son. Both the future Queen of Heaven and the future Crucified One submitted to his headship of the Holy Family. Headship does not mean dictatorship. It means that whatever decisions the wife makes, the husband has the final say. Think of it like the relationship between a captain and his first officer. Ideally, the captain can trust his first officer to make sound decisions in fulfilling her duties. The first officer always defers to the captain. Theirs is not a master/slave relationship, but one based on hierarchy.

We moderns don't like structure and hierarchy. I don't know who has the stranger life, the submitting husband or the commanding wife. I do know they're both unhappy with that arrangement, no matter what they may say for public consumption. If a husband cedes leadership of the household to his wife, she will quickly come to despise him with a seething contempt that not even rapists can inspire. It's not a coincidence that frivolous divorces have risen in direct proportion to the ascendancy of feminism as a public principle.

I expect godless heathens would have a problem with the word of God. It's more than a little disappointing to see feminism make such deep inroads among Christians who ought to know better.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Venite Adoremus

1 Land of Zabulon and Nephthali, its burden at first how lightly borne! but after-wards affliction weighed on it, Galilee, by the sea road where the Gentiles dwell west of Jordan.[1] 2 And now the people that went about in darkness has seen a great light; for men abiding in a land where death overshadowed them, light has dawned. 3 Their number thou didst increase, but gavest them no joy of it;[2] now, they shall rejoice in thy presence, as men rejoice when the harvest is in, as men triumph when victory is won, and booty taken, and they fall to dividing up the spoils. 4 Yoke that fixed the burden, shaft that galled the shoulder, rod of the tyrant, all lie broken now, as they did long ago, when Madian fell. 5 All the trophies of the old tumultuous forays,[3] all the panoply stained with blood, will be burnt up now, will go to feed the flames. 6 For our sakes a child is born, to our race a son is given, whose shoulder will bear the sceptre of princely power. What name shall be given him? Peerless among counsellors, the mighty God, Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace. 7 Ever wider shall his dominion spread, endlessly at peace; he will sit on David’s kingly throne, to give it lasting foundations of justice and right; so tenderly he loves us, the Lord of hosts.
Thank you to all of my friends, family, and regular readers for making my modest little blog the fun that it is. May you all enjoy a merry and blessed Christmas and Christmastide. May he who is the Alpha and the Omega bless and watch over you.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Never, ever back down

The thing you must understand about the life of a white person in the 21st century is that it is a never ending struggle to publicly demonstrate that they are cleverer and more tolerant than other white people; it's about distancing themselves from the wrong kind of white people. It's becoming clear that Duck Dynasty was originally intended to be Honey Booboo Part II: Electric Boogaloo. Our cultural overlords thought it would provide yet another opportunity for snarky urban white people to point, laugh, and say "Look at those poor stupid rednecks! We're so much smarter, freer, more open minded, and just plain better than they are."

But then a funny thing happened: the Robertsons turned out to be smart, successful, happy, and fundamentally decent people. The patriarch Phil, for example, is college educated and declined an opportunity to play for the NFL. I know many people are growing tired of this controversy, but I still find it interesting as a case study in the enormous cultural gap between our supposed betters on the coasts and the unwashed masses of flyover country. If nothing else, this episode has demonstrated the gross ignorance most Americans have of Scripture, even self-professed Christians. Robertson said nothing that wasn't believed by all Christians everywhere until about the 1960s. If you have a problem with what he said, then ultimately your problem is with St. Paul and with the God who inspired Paul to take quill to parchment. I expect that nonbelievers would have a problem, but Christians? If Roman-style bloody persecution of Christians ever makes a comeback in my lifetime, I'll wager dollars to pesos that many of the men with guns will be baptized Christians.

Phil, God bless him, is so far refusing to back down or retract his remarks. Good on him. A&E needs his family much more than his family needs them. Never, ever, ever back down when the Cathedral has you in its sights.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

LS/MFT

If you do not currently smoke, I'd recommend against starting. Once in a while, on special occasions, I'll head out to a social gathering with a pack of unfiltered Lucky Strikes. They're what our grandfathers smoked after a day filled with killing Nazis and Japanese. One Lucky Strike is pretty potent; I couldn't smoke more than a few per day if I wanted to.

I'll tell you about a largely overlooked method of getting that sweet, sweet tobacco: pipes. With cigarettes, the puritans are all "Eww, don't smoke cigarettes in my house, get out!" I've found that with pipes they change their tune: "Hey, that smells good. No it's okay, you can smoke in here."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Awake from your slumber, arise from your sleep

One of my fondest memories of the seminary was one crotchety old Scripture professor becoming furious every time the hymn "City of God" was performed at Mass. He denounced it as rank Pelagianism to assert that we ourselves build the city of God.

I think most Catholics recognize that the Church has been ineffective in resisting modernity. One of the problems, of course, is that many Catholics who remain within the pale of the Church have personally surrendered to the spirit of the age and spend much of their time, talent, and treasure trying to get the rest of us to follow suit. We all know the type: at best he thinks of dogmatic and moral orthodoxy as silly old superstitions the Church is much better off without - I mean, it gets really embarrassing when SWPLs keep asking you if contraception is really sinful - but he furiously resents having his own orthodoxy impeached.

Another problem is that our theologians seldom practice the ascetic life anymore. Asceticism has become something of a lost art. Friday, for example, is still officially a day of penance and Catholics are expected to mortify themselves in some way. It used to be the universal law that all Catholics had to abstain from meat every Friday, not just Fridays of Lent. The bishops, in their infinite wisdom, decided that God's people were mature enough to not need the force of law behind their Friday penances. It didn't quite work out that way in practice. Most lay Catholics took it as "Oh, I can eat meat on Fridays now," and now only right-wing Traditionalist cranks abstain from meat every Friday. We're willing to fast and subject our bodies to all sorts of discomfort to make ourselves look good without a shirt on, but priests seldom urge us to do violence to ourselves to improve our souls.

I think one of the problems we Catholic lay people face is an inability to draw conclusions from first principles. The Church deserves much criticism for her post-Vatican II buffoonery. But it's also not her charism to, say, teach men the most effective ways to pick up chicks. Christ founded the Church so that his flock could be sanctified through the sacraments and shown the way to heaven. Everything else the Church has done is a consequence of that first principle. Her charitable works can be traced to Christ's commandments about the poor: that what we do to the least of us, we do to him.

If you seriously study the Catholic faith, then you begin to see the world through its lens and not the Church through the lens of the world. The hierarchy of being, the essential differences between men and women, the objective existence of reality, objective rules for the moral life, the existence of both good and evil within every individual, the essences of things... all of this flow naturally from the Catholic worldview.

Due to an unfortunate series of events, most Catholics know virtually nothing about their faith, and what little they do know is likely to be mixed with error or all together wrong. I'll never forget the man who spluttered in sheer outrage and demanded to know who the hell I was to call him a bad Catholic as he always went to Mass every Christmas and Easter. There's a reason why "instructing the ignorant" is classified among the spiritual works of mercy.

There's some overlap between the manosphere and orthosphere, but by and large there's no love lost between the two. Manosphere writers criticize Traditionalists as hopelessly beta white knights who enable the excesses of feminism. Traditionalists criticize the manosphere as a collection of dishonest manipulative cads whose only purpose in life is fornicating as much as possible. There's some truth to both criticisms, but they're too narrow. Both are products of the modern world which makes madmen of us all.

Truth cannot contradict truth. Either the "red pill" provides an accurate picture of reality, or it doesn't. I think it does. The question is what are we going to do about it. The red pill worldview only sounds shocking if you've forgotten a dogma of the faith: Original Sin. Believe it or not gentlemen, women are sinners too (one wag friend of mine pointed out that God explicitly calls out Adam for listening to his wife.) Extramarital sex is not an option for the practicing Catholic, so not all the prescriptions of manosphere writers are equal, which is not to say they aren't spot on in their forensics. There's a lot of overlap between "Dark Enlightenment" ideas and principles that flow from a Catholic worldview (not necessarily Catholic dogma.) I'm standing on the shoulders of giants, but I hope that my own efforts, however meager they may be, can contribute to the restoration of both the Church and the culture.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jenny Erikson is the gift that keeps on giving

For the last few weeks Dalrock has been documenting the Eat, Pray, Love journey of one Jenny Erikson. Mrs. Erikson is an astonishing woman - she is publicly following the manosphere diagnosis of modern women almost to a tee. The narrative goes something like this:
  1. Getting her feminist merit badge while:
  2. Having sex with the most attractive men who are willing to have sex with her.  After a decade or so of this, she:
  3. Marries a nice reliable man who provides the financial support and social status of wife and perhaps mother.  Once she has gotten out of this what she wants, she:
  4. Discovers that she is unhaaapy, and was somehow “trapped in marriage!”  Many women prefer to savor this step for some period of time, perhaps even for many years.  There is power and drama here and the next step contains risk.
  5. Is forced to divorce the bad man who made her unhaaapy by doing everything she demanded he do.
  6. Basks in the drama of a newly divorced woman, wronged by her ex husband and the society which forced her to marry the wrong man.
  7. Has sex with the most attractive men who are (still) willing to have sex with her.  Since this misguided attempt at reliving the glory of her twenties is generally an immense disappointment, she then wants to quickly move on to:
  8. Finds her secret multimilionaire hunky handyman who insists that she marry him, thus returning her to the higher social status of wife.
Right now Mrs. Erikson is somewhere between stages five and six. The crucial point here is that nothing is ever the woman's fault. She was trapped in a bad marriage by a man she didn't love and a society that cares not for her spiritual and emotional welfare. So what men may see as a frivolous divorce is, in the eyes of the modern woman, actually a courageous act of self-affirmation. This narrative has been followed by millions of American women for the last thirty or forty years. What makes Mrs. Erikson such a fascinating case is that hers is an almost perfect acting out of the drama in public. Having divorced the father of her children for cash and prizes, Mrs. Erikson is now reduced to the lowest form of mommyblogging, the professional divorcee.

Now we learn that Mrs. Erikson was an alpha widow all along:
I was given lessons at church camp about how once I had sex, I’d be a “chewed up piece of gum.” In another youth group lesson, we were all given a piece of tape. Some of us would stick ours on the back of other people’s hands, and some wouldn’t. The more people we stuck, the less sticky the tape got. Only the “pure” tape people stuck together in the end -- the lesson being that if you had sex before marriage, surely your union would fall apart, as you had used up all your “glue” on other people.
That was crap.
All of it. And you know what? A lot of that thinking actually led to a hell of a lot of pressure to get married before I was ready. In case you’ve been paying attention, I’m now getting divorcedafter almost eleven years of trying to make it work.
Remember, nothing is ever her fault. It's the fault of those mean Christians who raised her to believe that extramarital sex is wrong. They're the ones who made her blow up her family.
Ok, let’s work back a few years to my first very serious boyfriend. I was 17. I was in head-over-heels, infatuated teenager love this dude. I wanted to marry him someday. I’d had boyfriends before, but this was the first one I had ever really loved.
After almost a year of dating, we did the deed. And just in case you’re wondering, yes, we used protection, because I was an idiot in love, not an idiot about pregnancy or STDs. 
...Fast-forward a few months after the terrible breakup, and I started spending some time with a guy acquaintance. I even tried to hook him up with some of my girl friends! He was a bit awkward, but confessed to me that he wanted a wife. At his request, I taught him how to talk to girls, took him shopping for new clothes, and before I knew it, he was my closest confidante.
Her beta orbiter eventually became her husband.
Everything could have turned out fine. It often does. But because this whole sex-shaming culture I’d been part of caused me to overlook an awful lot of red flags -- because a whole lot can be forgiven if you’re just so freaking grateful that you’ve found a man willing to forgive you of the grievous sin of not being a virgin.
It's all her husband's fault for not being as alpha as her earlier badboy lover, and it's "purity culture's" fault for making her overlook red flags. Based on her other descriptions of her ex-husband, amazingly named Leif Erikson, he sounded like a genuinely nice caring guy. I feel bad for him but I feel worst of all for their children who have to live with their selfish mother who blew up their family and deprived them of a father all because he didn't give her tingles anymore.

Christian believes what Christians believe, world outraged

Right thinking will be rewarded, wrong thinking will be punished:

The stars of "Duck Dynasty" might be America's most popular TV family, but that could change very soon — because Phil Robertson has made some seriously divisive anti-gay remarks that have sparked instant backlash.
Speaking with GQ, Robertson lamented that when "everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong ... sin becomes fine." So just what qualifies as sinful in his book?
"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there — bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he declared.
Phil probably should have cut himself off at this point (considering he's a national TV star), but instead he paraphrased Corinthians. "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God," he warned. "Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."
What's more, according to him, it's basically incomprehensible. "It seems to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man's anus," he explained. "That's just me. I'm just thinking, 'There's more there! She's got more to offer.' I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."
Within minutes of GQ revealing Robertson's quotes (which will appear in the January issue), GLAAD issued a fiery response — and the gay-rights organization is none too pleased.
Tolerance is not enough; YOU MUST APPROVE. The Junior Volunteer Thought Police feel pretty good about themselves for standing up to the bearded badman's doubleplusungood crimethink that hurt their feelings. Here's the thing though: Duck Dynasty wasn't the Robertson family's livelihood. I'm sure they appreciated getting paid to be themselves, but they were happy and successful doing their thing long before A&E came into the picture.

I seriously doubt the Robertsons' give a rat's hindquarters about being the object of the scalzied manboobs' and spinster warpigs' latest self-congratulatory crusade against what most normal people have always believed. That's a good response whenever the Cathedral has you in its crosshairs. An even better response is to laugh in their faces. For the record, I think sodomy is both disgusting and gravely sinful. What are you nancies going to do about it, cry?
Despite Phil's strong words, however, he insists he's a Christian who doesn't condemn others — even if they are "sinners" in his mind.
"We never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven, hell. That's the Almighty's job," he told the magazine. "We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus — whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"
I see what you're saying sir, but it won't ever be good enough for the Cathedral's house eunuchs. Never, ever, ever back down when they make you a target.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Guest blogger on Modernism and its influence on Christianity

With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.

These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the faithful's minds and corrupt the purity of their faith, His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.

Therefore, after a very diligent investigation and consultation with the Reverend Consultors, the Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, the General Inquisitors in matters of faith and morals have judged the following propositions to be condemned and proscribed. In fact, by this general decree, they are condemned and proscribed.

1. The ecclesiastical law which prescribes that books concerning the Divine Scriptures are subject to previous examination does not apply to critical scholars and students of scientific exegesis of the Old and New Testament.

2. The Church's interpretation of the Sacred Books is by no means to be rejected; nevertheless, it is subject to the more accurate judgment and correction of the exegetes.

3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more scientific exegesis, one can conclude that the Faith the Church proposes contradicts history and that Catholic teaching cannot really be reconciled with the true origins of the Christian religion.

4. Even by dogmatic definitions the Church's magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures.

5. Since the deposit of Faith contains only revealed truths, the Church has no right to pass judgment on the assertions of the human sciences.

6. The "Church learning" and the "Church teaching" collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the "Church teaching" to sanction the opinions of the "Church learning."

7. In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any internal assent from the faithful by which the judgments she issues are to be embraced.

8. They are free from all blame who treat lightly the condemnations passed by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by the Roman Congregations.

9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures. 

10. The inspiration of the books of the Old Testament consists in this: The Israelite writers handed down religious doctrines under a peculiar aspect which was either little or not at all known to the Gentiles.

11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.

12. If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete must first put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and interpret it the same as any other merely human document.

13. The Evangelists themselves, as well as the Christians of the second and third generation, artificially arranged the evangelical parables. In such a way they explained the scanty fruit of the preaching of Christ among the Jews.

14. In many narrations the Evangelists recorded, not so much things that are true, as things which, even though false, they judged to be more profitable for their readers.

15. Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace of the doctrine of Christ.

16. The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation.

17. The fourth Gospel exaggerated miracles not only in order that the extraordinary might stand out but also in order that it might become more suitable for showing forth the work and glory of the Word lncarnate.

18. John claims for himself the quality of witness concerning Christ. In reality, however, he is only a distinguished witness of the Christian life, or of the life of Christ in the Church at the close of the first century.

19. Heterodox exegetes have expressed the true sense of the Scriptures more faithfully than Catholic exegetes.

20. Revelation could be nothing else than the consciousness man acquired of his revelation to God.

21. Revelation, constituting the object of the Catholic faith, was not completed with the Apostles.

22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort.

23. Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred Scripture and the Church's dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as false facts the Church holds as most certain.

24. The exegete who constructs premises from which it follows that dogmas are historically false or doubtful is not to be reproved as long as he does not directly deny the dogmas themselves .

25. The assent of faith ultimately rests on a mass of probabilities .

26. The dogmas of the Faith are to be held only according to their practical sense; that is to say, as preceptive norms of conduct and not as norms of believing.

27. The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels. It is a dogma which the Christian conscience has derived from the notion of the Messias.

28. While He was exercising His ministry, Jesus did not speak with the object of teaching He was the Messias, nor did His miracles tend to prove it.

29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith.

30. In all the evangelical texts the name "Son of God'' is equivalent only to that of "Messias." It does not in the least way signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of God.

31. The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Councils of Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus.

32. It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ.

33. Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity.

34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity.

35. Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

36. The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.

37. In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.

38. The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ is Pauline and not evangelical.

39. The opinions concerning the origin of the Sacraments which the Fathers of Trent held and which certainly influenced their dogmatic canons are very different from those which now rightly exist among historians who examine Christianity .

40. The Sacraments have their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ.

41. The Sacraments are intended merely to recall to man's mind the ever-beneficent presence of the Creator.

42. The Christian community imposed the necessity of Baptism, adopted it as a necessary rite, and added to it the obligation of the Christian profession.

43. The practice of administering Baptism to infants was a disciplinary evolution, which became one of the causes why the Sacrament was divided into two, namely, Baptism and Penance.

44. There is nothing to prove that the rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation was employed by the Apostles. The formal distinction of the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation does not pertain to the history of primitive Christianity.

45. Not everything which Paul narrates concerning the institution of the Eucharist (I Cor. 11:23-25) is to be taken historically.

46. In the primitive Church the concept of the Christian sinner reconciled by the authority of the Church did not exist. Only very slowly did the Church accustom herself to this concept. As a matter of fact, even after Penance was recognized as an institution of the Church, it was not called a Sacrament since it would be held as a disgraceful Sacrament.

47. The words of the Lord, "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained'' (John 20:22-23), in no way refer to the Sacrament of Penance, in spite of what it pleased the Fathers of Trent to say.

48. In his Epistle (Ch. 5:14-15) James did not intend to promulgate a Sacrament of Christ but only commend a pious custom. If in this custom he happens to distinguish a means of grace, it is not in that rigorous manner in which it was taken by the theologians who laid down the notion and number of the Sacraments.

49. When the Christian supper gradually assumed the nature of a liturgical action those who customarily presided over the supper acquired the sacerdotal character.

50. The elders who fulfilled the office of watching over the gatherings of the faithful were instituted by the Apostles as priests or bishops to provide for the necessary ordering of the increasing communities and not properly for the perpetuation of the Apostolic mission and power.

51. It is impossible that Matrimony could have become a Sacrament of the new law until later in the Church since it was necessary that a full theological explication of the doctrine of grace and the Sacraments should first take place before Matrimony should be held as a Sacrament.

52. It was far from the mind of Christ to found a Church as a society which would continue on earth for a long course of centuries. On the contrary, in the mind of Christ the kingdom of heaven together with the end of the world was about to come immediately.

53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution.

54. Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.

55. Simon Peter never even suspected that Christ entrusted the primacy in the Church to him.

56. The Roman Church became the head of all the churches, not through the ordinance of Divine Providence, but merely through political conditions.

57. The Church has shown that she is hostile to the progress of the natural and theological sciences.

58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.

59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.

60. Christian Doctrine was originally Judaic. Through successive evolutions it became first Pauline, then Joannine, finally Hellenic and Catholic.

61. It may be said without paradox that there is no chapter of Scripture, from the first of Genesis to the last of the Apocalypse, which contains a doctrine absolutely identical with that which the Church teaches on the same matter. For the same reason, therefore, no chapter of Scripture has the same sense for the critic and the theologian.

62. The chief articles of the Apostles' Creed did not have the same sense for the Christians of the first ages as they have for the Christians of our time.

63. The Church shows that she is incapable of effectively maintaining evangelical ethics since she obstinately clings to immutable doctrines which cannot be reconciled with modern progress.

64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be re-adjusted.

65. Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.

The following Thursday, the fourth day of the same month and year, all these matters were accurately reported to our Most Holy Lord, Pope Pius X. His Holiness approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers and ordered that each and every one of the above-listed propositions be held by all as condemned and proscribed.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Skyrim Witch Hunter build: the most absurdly overpowered of all

It's been a while since I've done one of the Skyrim builds which really bring in the revenue. And I figure lots of you boys and girls are getting the Legendary Edition for Christmas. So allow me to present the most stupidly OP build it is possible to build: the Witch Hunter.

Drop perks into Archery and Conjuration. That's it. Everything else is up to you.

Let me explain for the nerds who like numbers. Inside Fort Amol prison, just inside the borders of Eastmarch, there is a Bound Bow spell tome hidden inside of a bucket on your left. The vanilla Bound Bow has the same base damage as an unsmithed Daedric Bow. If you take the Mystic Binding perk in the Conjuration tree, then the Bound Bow deals as much damage as a Daedric Bow smithed up to Flawless. You can jog over to Fort Amol as soon as you stumble out of Helgen. Pump your first few level up stats into magicka until you're able to cast the spell. Conjuration levels quickly; the old "soul trap a corpse" trick still works. Using a bound sword in combat will also level it up so you can take the perk that halves magicka for adept level spells if you want. Because the Bound Bow deals so much damage, Archery will also level up quickly.

Now pretty much every possible build will be overpowered if you take it up to level fifty. But the Witch Hunter build is notable for how early it becomes OP. Go and lay waste to everything you survey.

Every time RealTalk is smuggled into the MSM, an angel gets its wings

Via Dalrock, I see that James Taranto is cautiously suggesting that nothing's the matter with men. Rather, they are responding rationally to the incentives of the modern world:
Except perhaps in very conservative communities, men with sufficient social skills can find sex and companionship without need of a matrimonial commitment (and for those who lack social skills, a willingness to marry is unlikely to provide much compensation). The culture’s unrelenting message–repeated in Hymowitz’s article–is that women are doing fine on their own. If a woman doesn’t need a man, there’s little reason for him to devote his life to her service. Further, in the age of no-fault divorce, “reliable husbands and fathers” not infrequently find themselves impoverished by child support and restricted by court order from spending time with their children.
...Boys and young men are no less rational, or capable of adapting to incentives, than girls and young women are. They are, in fact, adapting very well to the incentives for female power and independence–which inevitably also serve as disincentives to male reliability and self-sacrifice.
Extramarital sex is not an option for Catholics so practicing Catholic men are faced with two choices: taking their chances with the modern marriage regime if they want sex (and it should be pointed out that Catholics divorce and remarry at almost the same rate as the general population) or embracing a life of chaste celibacy, usually as either a priest or religious. It's not a coincidence that the radical decline in numbers of priests and religious has paralleled the crisis of marriage. The family is a kind of domestic church. Priests and religious don't make vows of chaste celibacy because sex is bad, but because they are sacrificing something good for a greater good. If marriage and sex weren't good then it wouldn't be much of a sacrifice. The men who make the best priests are also the kind of men who'd have made great husbands and fathers.

If the domestic church is dysfunctional or nonexistent, then men are that much less likely to become either married fathers or priests or religious because they don't have a model to emulate. It's one thing to read the lives of the saints, it's quite another to see and experience the pursuit of holiness around us. This is why calls to ordain married men as priests as a means of solving the priest shortage are misguided at best. What happens when Father's wife frivorces him - will the parishioners pony up in the collection plate so he can cover the annulment stipend?

The Church needs strong marriages as much as she needs more priests and religious. She can never completely separate herself from the culture, which is why it's vital that she continually call out the world for its favorite sins. Liberalism and feminism have both made inroads into the Church; they're stronger in some places than in others. All Catholic men, be they single, married, priests, or religious, must live upright in the truth, and never submit to the enemies of God and man.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

That didn't take long

World War P is the next great civil rights crusade:
A federal judge has struck down parts of Utah’s anti-polygamy law as unconstitutional in a case brought by a polygamous star of a reality television series. Months after the Supreme Court bolstered rights of same-sex couples, the Utah case could open a new frontier in the nation’s recognition of once-prohibited relationships.
If the purpose of government is to ensure equal freedom for all, then existentially there must always be an oppressor to overcome. We were repeatedly assured during the homogamy crusade that only hateful bigots thought it was a slippery slope that would lead to the legalization of other perversions. Are we supposed to remember that? It's difficult to keep track of all these hatefacts. But really, slippery slopes, like stereotypes, are mostly true. If you think beta males complain about alpha harems now...

It's a feature, not a bug

By the standards of nice, respectable, mainstream Americans Catholics I'm an odd duck at best. Catholics of a certain generation are apt to describe the Traditional Latin Mass as crying out for reform. But those things they said were most in need of reforming, I find them to be some of the TLM's most attractive features. This thought came to me at Mass this morning. I've said elsewhere that when it comes to the current hierarchy and the liturgy, mystery and silence are out, pedantry and constant activity is in. Some priests provide commentary on the Mass as they go along to make sure everyone knows exactly what's happening at all times. As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up.

The opening procession has concluded and the priest is standing within the sanctuary, facing us. "Good morning everyone. I want to thank you for coming to Mass today. This is the Third Sunday of Advent which is why I'm wearing pink. Pink is supposed to represent our joyful anticipation for the birth of our Lord. And with that, let us begin now as we always do in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit... Now we express our contrition by saying 'I confess...' Now let us sit and listen to the readings which mention our need to be patient with our brothers and sisters... And now we profess our faith by saying 'I believe in God...' Now let us be seated for the offertory. As mentioned last week there will be a second collection for retired religious..."

In contrast, an FSSP priest friend of mine said that he often has no idea how many people are in the congregation until it's time for the sermon or until communion if it's a daily Mass with no sermon. That's one reason why I love the TLM so much: it doesn't even try to spoon feed us. It is what it is, an objective sacrifice to the Lord that doesn't depend on whoever happens to be there. You must conform yourself to it. You must put in effort to follow it or understand any of it.

The Novus Ordo can be celebrated this way to be sure. The problem here is largely one of priests assuming that their people are dunces. The current English translation of the Roman Missal used in the United States was the product of literally years and years of bitter internal struggle among the US bishops and between the US bishops and Rome. One of the chief arguments made by the opponents of the current translation was that Mr. and Mrs. America were too dumb to figure out the meaning of words like consubstantial or dewfall or gibbet. To be fair to the priest I wrote of earlier, he gave a good homily which touched on one of the big differences in the two translations: Christ dying for many vs. Christ dying for all. Many or all sounds like a petty thing to argue over, but trust me, there is an enormous Grand Canyon sized gap in the theology of the former versus the latter. It's no great trick to figure out which bishops stand on which side.

I'm no genius but I am smarter than the average bear. I wish bishops an priests could learn to trust us to follow the liturgy without the constant noise.