Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This book review of the Maltese Falcon is the stuff dreams are made of, kid

If you've seen the film, read The Maltese Falcon anyway. Dashiell Hammett knew that movies were the entertainment medium of the future so he specifically wrote this book with a view toward its appearing on the big screen. The film follows the book almost word for word, scene for scene, save for a few bits of dialogue and description that wouldn't make it past the movie censors. So why read the book? It wasn't the first detective story by a long shot but it created a whole new genre of books and movies: noir. Besides being a watershed moment in fiction, it's a damn good read.

Hammett doesn't devote any space to explaining the characters' feelings and motivations through internal or narrative monologues. The reader has to figure everything out from their dialogue alone. In the book, Sam Spade is described as looking like a blonde Satan in contrast to the tall, dark, and handsome Humphrey Bogart. The film portrays Spade as being a bit clearer in his moral code compared to the book, but not by much. Book Spade is more hard hearted and aggressive. Film noir paints a picture of the world that is grim and cynical, almost nihilistic. The cops are incompetent jerks. Women are often hysterical and always untrustworthy. The crooks are venal thugs; seldom will you find the Moriarty style criminal mastermind. Spade himself is no virtuous white knight: he had an affair with his partner's wife who wanted to divorce her husband for Spade, though Spade remains noncommittal and dismissive.

The book and film are 70-80 years old so spoilers won't be behind a cut. The book opens with Miss Wonderly coming to Spade and his partner Miles Archer asking for help. She wants them to tail a Floyd Thursby. Archer is shot dead on the job. Miss Wonderly, who is actually Brigid O'Shaughnessy, pulled the trigger. She had hoped that Thursby would notice he was being tailed and try to take out Archer. If Thursby died, great. If Archer died, she'd hoped Thursby would be picked up for the killing. Thursby didn't take the bait and so she had to do it herself.

By the time Spade confronts O'Shaughnessy, we know that she manipulates men through sex, greed, and murder to accomplish her plans. She's slept with Spade by this point in the novel, and she expects that she can manipulate him like she has the others. Spade says that he won't play the sap for her. He didn't like his late partner, but when a detective's partner is murdered in cold blood something's gotta be done regardless of his personal feelings. O'Shaughnessy asks if Spade is really going to turn her over to the police after all they've shared together. Spade says that he'll wait the 20 years for her to get out of San Quentin, and if they execute her, he'll always have fond memories of her.

There's one scene in the book that's never been put on film. Spade tells O'Shaughnessy a story about a man he was hired to track down after he disappeared, leaving his wife and children behind. Spade eventually finds the man living in a different city, under an assumed name, working a new job, and married to another woman with children. Apparently the man had had a near fatal accident, and decided that life was too fleeting to always be doing the same thing day in and day out. But he doesn't really change. He's got a new life so to speak but it's almost identical to the one he left behind. Why does Spade tell this story? Hammett doesn't spell it out for us.

One of the morals of the story is that a man's gotta stick to his moral code, whatever it may be, regardless of the corruption and filth that may surround him, regardless of his personal feelings. Does Spade love O'Shaughnessy? It doesn't matter. She killed his partner, a partner he particularly like, and she has to answer for it. Throughout the story, Spade expertly plays each side against the other in order to reach the truth. He divides the antagonists by telling them he won't give them the Falcon unless they agree on someone to be the fall guy and go down for the murders of Thursby, Archer, and a Captain Jacobi. Wilmer Cook is the fall guy. Kasper Gutman delivers one of the coldest lines in all of fiction: "You were like a son to me. But if one loses a son, one can always have another. There is only one Maltese Falcon." Damn. Even to a guy like me that's pretty harsh. Not surprisingly, Cook shoots Gutman at the end of the story as the cops are hot on their trail.

5/5, would read again.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"Catholics are born for combat"

From Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Sapientiae Christianae:
14. But in this same matter, touching Christian faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance, necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: “Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.”(12) To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world.”(13) Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.
15. The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent. Now, faith, as a virtue, is a great boon of divine grace and goodness; nevertheless, the objects themselves to which faith is to be applied are scarcely known in any other way than through the hearing. “How shall they believe Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”(14) Since, then, faith is necessary for salvation, it follows that the word of Christ must tie preached. The office, indeed, of preaching, that is, of teaching, lies by divine right in the province of the pastors, namely, of the bishops whom “the Holy Spirit has placed to rule the Church of God.”(15) It belongs, above all, to the Roman Pontiff, vicar of Jesus Christ, established as head of the universal Church, teacher of all :hat pertains to morals and faith.
16. No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. “All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Saviour, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith.”(16) Let each one, therefore, bear in mind that he both can and should, so far as may be, preach the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes. In respect, consequently, to the duties that bind us to God and the Church, it should be borne earnestly in mind that in propagating Christian truth and warding off errors the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play.
Priests could do a lot worse in their homilies than simply reading selections from old papal encyclicals, the writings of the saints, or Fulton Sheen's broadcasts. I don't know about my five faithful readers, but just this short excerpt inspires me. Show courage, never recoil before an enemy, hold fast to true doctrine, teach the ignorant and the errant, and have confidence in the Lord.

Obviously you can read all of Pope Leo XIII's encyclicals online, for free. Nonetheless, I purchased them in book form way back when to support a good Catholic publisher. TAN has provided invaluable services to the Church. Imagine what it was like for the early Traditionalists before the internet made it possible for us to keep in contact and to easily disseminate the writings of the saints, doctors, and popes worldwide.

h/t: From Rome

Palm Sunday

This hymn has been continuously sung on Palm Sunday since the 9th century:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review: The Rough Riders, by Theodore Roosevelt

It's difficult to overstate the badassery of Theodore Roosevelt. TR grew up a weak and sickly child but he built himself up into a scholar, rancher, explorer, hunter, soldier, politician and president through sheer force of will. One of the high points of TR's life was his participation in the "splendid little war" that gave birth to the American empire. Once Spain and the United States declared war upon each other, TR resigned from his position in the Navy Department and helped found the First Volunteer United States Cavalry - "The Rough Riders."

Roosevelt was 39 when the war began, an age when most of us have settled into boring careers and begun developing spare tires. Alongside his friend Colonel Leonard Wood, a future Army Chief of Staff, he recruited volunteers from all around the country. The striking thing is how many Ivy League students and graduates joined. Some of them were old friends from TR's days at Harvard, but others came from Yale and Princeton in order to serve their country and test their manhood in the heat of battle. How many Ivy Leaguers do that now? The United States had been at peace since the end of the Civil War 33 years before. One interesting anecdote Roosevelt tells is that when his regiment was traveling through the South on their way to Florida and then Cuba, elderly former Confederates told him they never expected to see the Stars and Stripes so vigorously cheered in those parts ever again. The Rough Riders were part of a cavalry division led by former Confederate General Joseph Wheeler. Wheeler purportedly called out during a battle with the Spaniards, "Let's go boys! We've got the damnyankees on the run again!"

In addition to the scions of Eastern elites, the Rough Riders were made up of cowboys, lawmen, former outlaws, ranchers, full- and half-blooded Indians from the West. Roosevelt had served in the National Guard beforehand which provided him with invaluable experience in dealing with common troopers. Fortunately, the Rough Riders didn't need much training when it came to riding and shooting. Close order drill, long derided by the pros as Mickey Mouse bullshit, does have an important purpose. It helped these men, used to independent living, to live and work as a team. Roosevelt praises them to the skies throughout his memoir, both for their soldierly qualities and their bravery in battle.

The copy I checked out from the local library has notes written in the margins from a decidedly liberal reader. He or she wrote several comments disparaging Roosevelt's racism, imperialism, machismo, and other progressive boogeymen. One thing they pointed out was that there's almost no trace of the usual meditations on war's hellish nature. Roosevelt personally enjoyed his time in Cuba to no end. To hear him tell it, his men almost made a competition out of who could be more badass. Throughout, Roosevelt says that men who suffered the most grievous wounds or who suffered from tropical diseases made no grumbles or complaints. Men had to be ordered to go see the doctor, and even then it was 50/50 whether they'd actually obey.

The only complaints Roosevelt makes are about logistical issues, confirming the old cliche that amateurs talk about strategy and tactics while professionals talk about logistics. The soldiers never wanted for ammunition but food, water, medical supplies, and baggage were subject to constant bureaucratic roadblocks. The U.S. military was still using mostly black powder ammunition, while the Spanish had switched to smokeless powder. This made it comparatively difficult for the Americans to locate Spanish snipers in the dense Cuban jungle. Roosevelt praises Spanish valor at several points, but for the snipers hidden in the trees, he ordered his men to show no quarter as those snipers often targeted Red Cross and other medical personnel.

Cliches are cliches because they're generally true. For example, it's a staple in all military literature that "Officers must take care of their men." In TR's book, he shows what it's like in practice. The officers subjected themselves to the same hardships as the men. They ate the same hardtack and pork when it was available, they slept under the stars, they carried the equipment of men who fell out of marches from wounds or sickness, and they led from the front. Roosevelt said that the men appreciated all of this, and that it was to the credit of that principle that the men refrained from all complaint.

After the Battle of San Juan/Kettle Hill, the Rough Riders were told to hold their position outside of Santiago. For several weeks they waited while unbeknownst to them peace negotiations had begun between the US and Spain. Roosevelt said this was the most trying part of the campaign because the weather and widespread malaria and yellow fever made it difficult to find things to keep the men occupied. Men go to pieces if they don't have a mission to perform or duties to fulfill. The same held for the return trip to the United States when the transport ships were too crowded to make drill or exercise practicable.

Theodore Roosevelt is one of my favorite presidents. His short memoir of the Spanish-American War provides many excellent lessons in leadership and manhood: lead by example, take care of those under you, fulfill your duty no matter the cost, don't complain, keep yourself busy, and don't trust the bureaucrats. 5/5, would read again.

With apologies to Sean Connery

When pastoral language becomes political rhetoric:
Mark Bauerlein’s post on the rhetoric of anti-discrimination points clearly to the problem which traditionalists face: In a world where ethics is aesthetics, the language of victimhood has become a subjective concept which is a potent weapon in the hands of the powerful.
...This hope for common ground and co-existence is sadly misplaced. There is the fact noted above that the language of political correctness and the language of pastoral Christianity overlap only at the level of phonetics. Conceptually, they are built on different notions of virtue. It is also clear that this strategy underestimates the ambitions of the identity politicians. Common ground with an opponent is only of real interest to those who are on the losing side. The PC lobbyists are increasingly in control of the political and legal environment and will thus see the linguistic games of the Christian establishment for what they are: Signs of fatal weakness. Ultimately, they will present such institutions with a straightforward choice: Abandon the common language or adopt the common concepts. 
Common ground? Losers are always whining about dialogue and common ground. Winners go out and convert the heathens.

It's admittedly not as punchy as John Mason's line as delivered by Sir Sean Connery in "The Rock," but the sentiment is the same. Trueman makes a good point. Modern ecumenism and interreligious dialogue generally involves the Catholic Church approaching Protestants and non-Catholics, hat in hand, and asking if they could pretty please participate in a big confab where we'll all play nice, maybe sign a joint statement or two, and isn't it nice that we can put all of these petty disagreements about silly doctrines behind us to work together for the common good of mankind?

This is in stark contrast to how the Church used to play it before Vatican II. Strictly speaking, the Catholic Church needs absolutely nothing from non-Catholic religions. Nothing at all. They are the ones who need to reject their idols, heresies, and false doctrines in order to formally join the one true Church founded by Christ himself outside of which there is no salvation. People may rush to swim the Tiber, or they may angrily reject such stark terms, but they can't ignore such a strong message.

Seeking common ground is, almost by definition, what the weaker party wants when it is in danger of being conquered or already lies prostrate before a victorious opponent. Only God knows how many unnecessary acts of buffoonery and cowardice have been committed in the name of seeking common ground. I don't want to seek common ground with the things I deliberately turned my back on when I was received into the Catholic Church. I want the Church to be what she is supposed to be and to not give a damn what those outside of her think about it. The Church was far more influential and had far more converts, priests, and religious back when she took a more adversarial stance toward the world. All three measures have plummeted since she decided to play nice.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Enemies I can take, it's my damn friends I can't stand

A Catholic school removes teacher for defending the faith:
Two weeks ago, when Patricia Jannuzzi, a religion teacher at Immaculata High School in the Diocese of Metuchen, posted a statement supporting traditional marriage on her personal Facebook page, angry same-sex “marriage” advocates, some of them Immaculata alumni, demanded that she be removed from her teaching position, and that the school address the “homophobic undertones in the school.” Creating a change.org petition called “Stop the Public Hate Speech of Teachers” alumnus Tom Robinson (class of 2001) posted: “I know that many of you want to see Mrs. Jannuzzi fired, but addressing the systemic problem of homophobic undertones in the school and publicly posted on social media is much more important than one person keeping her job.” For Robinson, anyone—including a religion teaching at a Catholic high school—who refuses to support the goodness of homosexual acts is an enemy that must be destroyed.
Jannuzzi is indeed being destroyed. Much of the media—including the local newspapers—have described Jannuzzi’s Facebook posting as a “rant” when the reality is that she wrote: “We need healthy families with a mother and a father for the sake of the children and humanity!” Pointing to her statement that “(gay activists) want to reengineer western civilization into a slow extinction,” as evidence of her hatefulness, more than 1,000 individuals have signed the petition to have her removed. And, rather than defending Jannuzzi for her willingness to defend Catholic teachings, the principal and the pastor of her school have suspended her—sending a letter to alumni, parents and students apologizing for “any hurt this has  caused to any individuals and the negative light in which it has cast our school.”
And, to make matters worse, on March 20, Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski, the episcopal leader of the Diocese of Metuchen, appeared to concur with the high school administrators by saying that “the teacher’s comments were disturbing and do not reflect the Church’s teachings on acceptance…. Pope Francis reminds us that we are to accept all of our brethren. We must ensure that our educators steer away from harsh and judgmental statements that can alienate and divide us.”
There he goes again. I'm well aware Pope Francis is on record describing gay "marriage" in similar terms as Jannuzzi. Somehow, some way enemies of the Faith, including ones wearing Roman collars, draft him into their cause or use some of his other remarks as a fig leaf.

One almost can't help becoming cynical about working for the Church as a lay person, either as a paid employee or a volunteer. They ask us to pray for vocations, they encourage us to get involved... but if you're too Catholic or too bold about holding to orthodoxy, you'll get stabbed in the back by your brothers and sisters in Christ. Granted, Christ was betrayed by one of his handpicked Apostles, but this sort of behavior discourages otherwise good Catholics from working in the Lord's vineyard where their talents could be of real use.

Frankly, if you're not being cast in a negative light by the world, you're doing something wrong. The Gospel of St. John shows us that people said to Jesus Christ's very face that his teachings were too hard and that they walked with him no more. Do the clergy really think they're going to do Jesus one better? All Catholics have a responsibility to hold to the truth. The Holy Spirit is what moves people to repent and convert. If you speak the truth and people turn away from it, you've done your duty and they will be held accountable for it if they do not embrace the Gospel. If you do not speak the truth out of fear, then both you and your audience will be held accountable but you even more so.

Never never never give in

From Bonald comes this essay on the Church's perennial temptation:
Despite Leo XIII  and his Secretary of State Mariano Rampolla’s endeavor, this policy of dialogue was a sensational failure and unable to obtain the objectives it proposed. The Anti-Christian behavior  of the Third Republic increased in violence, until culminating in Loi concernant la S├ęparation des Eglises et de l’Etat on December 9th 1905, known as “the Combes law” which suppressed all financing and public recognition of the Church;  it considered religion merely in the private dimension and not in the social one;  it established that ecclesiastical goods be confiscated by the State, while buildings of worship were given over gratuitously to associations cultuelles” elected by the faithful, without Church approval.
...The spirit of ralliement with the modern world has been around for more than a century, and the great temptation to which the Church is exposed to, is still [with us]. In this regard, a Pope of great doctrine such as Leo XIII made a grave error in pastoral strategy. The prophetic strength of St. Pius X is the opposite, in the intimate coherence of his pontificate between evangelical Truth and the life  of the Church in the modern world, between theory and praxis, between doctrine and pastoral care, with no yielding to the lures of modernity.
I love Pope Leo XIII's encyclicals but he's a good example of how the Church can and frequently does err on the paaaaastoral level. That's why I regard Pope Francis with such trepidation every time he opens his mouth. We often speak of doctrine and being pastoral as if the two were competing in a zero sum game. The more you emphasize doctrine, the more of a merciless hardass you are portrayed to be. The priest with the reputation for being pastoral is often willing to toss doctrine onto the pyre in the name of mercy. Priests have to constantly walk on eggshells so as not to offend the congregation. In practice, this ends up resembling Gnosticism: the common folk get the comforting platitudes while the hard stuff is only for the inner circle.

My three favorite popes are all named Pius: V, X, and XII. They all united the pastoral and the doctrinal to heroic degrees. Pius XII is sometimes described as the Last Prince of the Church. All of his successors have been reformers to one degree or another, with the reforms often proving destructive. Pius XII had the Nouvelle Theologie's number in Humani Generis. If you don't know what Nouvelle Theologie means, you'll see what it means in practice at most suburban parishes.

Never, ever compromise with the Left. Compromise always means that they get their way.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Justus ut Palma Florebit

The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Ps. ibid. 2. It is good to give praise to the Lord: and sing to Thy Name, O most High. Glory be to the Father...

St. Joseph was "a just man". This praise bestowed by the Holy Ghost, and the privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster-father of Jesus and the spouse of the Virgin Mother, are the foundations of the honour paid to St. Joseph by the Church.

In Italy, St. Joseph is the man.

These novena prayers explain many of his virtues and titles.

My favorite title of his is "Terror of Demons."

St. Teresa of Avila and St. Alphonsus Liguori on Joseph.

This religious congregation has their seminary about 30 minutes from my home. The rector has given several talks to our youth and young adult group. Good men.

5 reasons Catholic men should cultivate a devotion to St. Joseph.

The feast of St. Joseph the Worker is celebrated on May 1, instituted by Pope Pius XII in the hopes of Christianizing the concept of labor and to counter the Communists.

Isidore of Isolanis, a pious Dominican of the 16th century, prophesied that "the sound of victory" will be heard in the Church Militant "when the faithful recognize the sanctity of St. Joseph."

A special 30 days prayer to the saint for any intention.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Beware what you wish for

Starbucks to encourage baristas to discuss race relations with customers:
Starbucks SBUX 0.36% CEO Howard Schultz has never shied away from involving his company in controversial debates, whether those debates are about same-sex marriage, or gun control, or U.S. government gridlock.
But the executive, who oversees a coffee empire with 4,700 U.S. stores, has now taken on arguably the most polarizing political debate in the United States: race relations.
Starbucks published a full page ad in the New York Times on Sunday — a stark, black, page with a tiny caption “Shall We Overcome?” in the middle, and the words “RaceTogether” with the company logo, on the bottom right. The ad, along with a similar one on Monday in USA Today, is part of an initiative launched this week by the coffee store chain to stimulate conversation and debate about the race in America by getting employees to engage with customers about the perennially hot button subject.
Conservatives make a mistake when they respond to things like this by complaining that they only want their damn coffee. I can understand why they do it though. "Conservatives" are right-liberals who agree with left-liberals about the goal, but like to impotently grumble about how the left-liberals are moving too quickly. Reactionaries, in contrast, can introduce some 100% pure, grade A crimethink into an unsuspecting barista's day.

"Did you know that African-Americans are disproportionately locked up by our prison-industrial complex?"

"That's because blacks commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime."

"Oh... uh... well, did you know that the enormous gap between African-Americans and whites in education is because African-American schools are so severely underfunded?"

"No they're not. The gap cannot and will not be closed because blacks have an average IQ one standard deviation below the average IQ of whites."

"Uhhhh... have a good day sir, bye!"

I bet I can reduce their entire staff to tears. I foresee many excellent opportunities for black knighting here.

Today is about more than green beer and drunken white girls

St. Patrick is my confirmation saint. I chose him (or perhaps he chose me) because he was one of the great missionaries. He was born a Roman-British citizen and kidnapped by Irish slave traders as a teenager. He spent several years living as the lowest of the low without grumbling against Divine Providence or abandoning his Christian faith. Eventually he managed to escape and went on to be ordained a priest and bishop. He returned to the people who robbed him of his childhood and introduced them to the One True Faith.

I thought that in honor of St. Patrick, I'd do a Free Northerner style Lightning Round:

St. Patrick "rooted up infidelity, and planted catholicity in this country."

Patrick spent his entire Lent summit of a desolate peak called Cruachan-Aighle near Loch Derg, weeping for the sins of men.

The venerable Catholic Encyclopedia has a lengthy hagiography of Patrick, along with the full text of his famous "breast plate."

A real Saint Patrick's Day

The slave that saved a nation

The field of St. Patrick's labors was the most remote part of the then known world.

King James II: the last Catholic king of Ireland

Recipes for today. To be accompanied by good Irish booze of course.

Some of the well known myths and legends about the saint.

The Ice Age, and not Saint Patrick may be responsible for Ireland's dearth of snakes.

It's a pity St. Patrick's Day has degenerated into an ethnic pep rally.
Related: There is a long, rich tradition among Irish-Americans of dissent and resisting the Church.

Oh, not now for songs of a nation's wrongs,
not the groans of starving labor;
Let the rifle ring and the bullet sing
to the clash of the flashing saber!

Listen all ye that hold communion
With Southern Confederates who are bold,
And I will tell you of some men for the Union
Who in northern ranks were enrolled;
They came to Missouri in their glory
And thought at their might we'd be dismayed;
But they soon had a different story
When they met Kelly's Irish Brigade.

This is a great song for a pit fight.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Portrait of a Gamma: Notes from Underground, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Vox Day describes the gamma male:
Gamma: The introspective, the unusual, the unattractive, and all too often the bitter. Gammas are often intelligent, usually unsuccessful with women, and not uncommonly all but invisible to them, the gamma alternates between placing women on pedestals and hating the entire sex. This mostly depends upon whether an attractive woman happened to notice his existence or not that day. Too introspective for their own good, gammas are the men who obsess over individual women for extended periods of time and supply the ranks of stalkers, psycho-jealous ex-boyfriends, and the authors of excruciatingly romantic rhyming doggerel. In the unlikely event they are at the party, they are probably in the corner muttering darkly about the behavior of everyone else there... sometimes to themselves. Gammas tend to have have a worship/hate relationship with women, the current direction of which is directly tied to their present situation. However, they are sexual rejects, not social rejects.
 Dostoyevsky's novella Notes from Underground opens with this:
I am a sick man... I am an angry man. I am an unattractive man. I think there is something wrong with my liver. But I don't understand the least thing about my illness, and I don't know for certain what part of me is affected. I am not having any treatment for it. and never had had, although I have a great respect for medicine and for doctors. I am besides extremely superstitious, if only in having such respect for medicine. (I am well educated enough not to be superstitious, but superstitious I am.) No, I refuse treatment out of spite. That is something you will probably not understand. Well, I understand it. I can't of course explain who my spite is directed against in this matter; I know perfectly well that I can't "score off" the doctors in any way by not consulting them; I know better than anybody that I am harming nobody but myself. All the same, if I don't have treatment, it is out of spite. Is my liver out of order? - let it get worse!

Multiculturalism for thee but not for me

Multiculturalism simply doesn't work:
Finkielkraut sees himself as an alienated man of the left. He says he loathes both radical Islamism and its most ferocious French critic, Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s extreme right-wing—and once openly anti-Semitic—National Front party. But he has lately come to find radical Islamism to be a more immediate, even existential, threat to France than the National Front. “I don’t trust Le Pen. I think there is real violence in her,” he told me. “But she is so successful because there actually is a problem of Islam in France, and until now she has been the only one to dare say it.”
Suddenly, there was news: a kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, in eastern Paris, had come under attack. “Of course,” Finkielkraut said. “The Jews.” Even before anti-Semitic riots broke out in France last summer, Finkielkraut had become preoccupied with the well-being of France’s Jews.
We knew nothing about this new attack—except that we already knew everything. “People don’t defend the Jews as we expected to be defended,” he said. “It would be easier for the left to defend the Jews if the attackers were white and rightists.”
I asked him a very old Jewish question: Do you have a bag packed?
“We should not leave,” he said, “but maybe for our children or grandchildren there will be no choice.”
Note the assumption that any and all violence will come from the Right. It's like screaming about hornets while neglecting to mention that you've been throwing rocks at their nest. Finkielkraut recognizes that the National Front was once the only political entity in France that was willing to speak about the Muslim problem, and that the Left won't come to the Jews' defense the way they "expected to be defended." Muslims have more "Other" cred than French-speaking Jews, so that shouldn't have been surprising.

Multiculturalism, diversity, and all of the other Social Justice buzzwords are manifest failures in practice. Only the mendacious or the willfully blind buy into them anymore. Either the minority is so thoroughly assimilated (either peacefully or through force) into the majority that it's barely recognizable, or the host nation breaks apart along ethnic or religious fault lines. I challenge any of my 4 loyal readers to provide a counterexample from recorded history.

Does France need Jews? No more than Japan needs Finns. The Jews won and they've preserved their homeland through force of arms. The Israelis know that multiculturalism doesn't work which is why their sizable Arab minority is made up of second class citizens. Even then, if present trends continue, the Jews will be a minority in their own country within this century.

Complaining about tribalism in human affairs is like complaining about our need to breathe oxygen: that's just the way we are, man. The whole world is going to relearn that truth about human nature through what should have been completely avoidable warfare for the rest of this century. The US will begin breaking apart in the 2030s. I expect the shooting to start in Europe even earlier.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Laetari Jerusalem

Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ur exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestris. Psalm. Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus. Gloria Patri...

Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. Ps. 121. 1. I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory be to the Father...

It's strange to me that today is still known as Laetare Sunday in the Novus Ordo since they don't chant the traditional Introit anymore. How many parishes open today's Mass with something like "Gather Us In" or "Rain Down" or "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot?"

I'm gonna make an oration they can't refuse

Uh oh! Guess what day it is! Guess what day it is, huh?! Anybody?

I had to memorize and recite this in my sophomore year of high school. It wasn't until my senior year that things began to go off the rails and into the SJW nightmare the teenagers of today know so well. Shakespeare for three years, and then Barbara Kingsolver.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The feeling is mutual Your Holiness

The LA Times picks up on the internal battles of the Church with, Pope Francis disappoints fans of Latin Mass:
The perception that Pope Francis is more “liberal” than Pope Benedict XVI has been shaped mostly by his seemingly softer approach to hot-button issues such as homosexuality -- “Who am I to judge?” -- and his humble personal style. But not much attention has been paid to an issue that is a sore subject for a subset of Catholic traditionalists: the pope’s views about public worship.
With that one off the cuff remark, Francis did incalculable damage to the Church's public witness. If I had a nickel for every time some Godless heathen has approvingly cited, "Who am I to judge?" as a rationalization for their favored sin, I could buy myself a fancy steak dinner. Eventually we'll reach a point where the greatest act of filial piety and love for the office of the papacy a Catholic can perform is to tell Pope Francis, "Holy Father, for the love of Christ, SHUT UP."
Take the comments attributed to him by Archbishop Jan Graubner of the Czech Republic. According to Graubner, Francis described affection for the old Latin Mass as a “fashion.”
I'd bet money that centuries from now, Catholics will think of the Novus Ordo as a passing fashion, a noble experiment that failed, whipped up from scratch by a generation of prelates who craved the approval of the world and of Protestants.
Last week, Francis seemed to double down on his dismissal of Latin Mass traditionalists. On March 7, he celebrated Mass at the Roman church where Pope Paul VI exactly 50 years before had celebrated Mass in Italian for the first time.
On leaving the church, according to the Catholic News Service, Francis said: "Let us give thanks to the Lord for what he has done in his church in these 50 years of liturgical reform. It was really a courageous move by the church to get closer to the people of God so that they could understand well what it does, and this is important for us: to follow Mass like this.”
It was inevitable that we'd get a pope like Francis one day. Saint JP II and BXVI were formed well before Vatican II. Francis is the first true post-conciliar pope. And like all bishops formed during and after the council, the pope was instilled with a fierce contempt for anything that smacks of pre-Vatican II Catholicism.

That attitude strains the credulity of the "simple humble Pope Francis" persona he and the media have worked so hard to cultivate. Isn't it wonderful, progressives implicitly say, that after nearly 2000 years of doing everything completely and horribly wrong, the Church finally got it right thanks to all the wonderful and courageous progressives of the 1960s? Isn't it wonderful that now progressives are calling the shots, the Church is finally able to get close to the People of God? Thanks be to God we got rid of all that boring old stuff, and only now the people understand what's going on at Mass!

This arrogance, not to say blasphemy, is one reason I regard liberal Catholicism with the same contempt they heap upon the Catholicism practiced by countless saints, martyrs, popes, and Doctors of the Church.
For many Catholic traditionalists -- not all of them elderly -- these were shocking words. It’s not just that they find the old Latin Mass more aesthetically edifying than vernacular versions. The old Mass is a proxy for a cluster of theological precepts that have been eroded since Vatican II, notably the ideas that the Mass is primarily a repetition of Christ’s death on the cross (rather than a communal meal) and that the Mass is primarily the action of the priest rather than of the congregation.
The correct term is representation, not repetition, but I'm surprised a mainstream media outlet understands that preference for the TLM isn't simply a question of personal taste.
Separate vocabularies also have grown up: Traditionalist Catholics will say that a priest “offers Mass”; liberal Catholics call the priest the “presider” at what they are more likely to call the "Eucharist." The implication of the latter terminology is that the priest is the chairman of an essentially corporate act of worship. (Traditionalist Catholics see this as creeping Protestantism.)
 Those separate vocabularies sometimes make me wonder if we're not talking about two different religions these days. Take the word "pastoral" for example. To me, it's essentially a euphemism for permissive, a weasel word that cowardly prelates use to rationalize why they choose not to do their duty of warning their sheep to avoid sin. In conversation I always pronounce it like Michael Savage would: paaaaaastoral. Liberals pronounce it pas-TOR-al. Heck, my diocese calls its chancery the "pastoral center," because, I suppose, chancery sounds too harsh these days.

Traditionalists are used to being regarded with suspicion, contempt, and hatred by the hierarchy. The old timers remember the first painful years under Pope Paul VI. For younger Trads who can't remember any pontiffs before John Paul II, this is a new experience. Being happy or unhappy is a choice we make, but we shouldn't delude ourselves about reality.

Book Review: Moriarty, by Anthony Horowitz

In the broadest sense, there are two kinds of heroes: the man of action and the man of thought. There's necessarily degrees of overlap in every main character - the man of pure action is a lunkhead, the man of pure thought a wimp - but if I name a popular fictional character, most people can accurately discern which quality is predominant. Batman, for example, is in peak physical condition and an expert martial artist, but he's a man of thought. It's why he's become a memetic badass over the last decade. Superman calls him the most dangerous man on earth because of the power of Batman's mind. Anyone can learn how to fight, but only a gifted mind could become the world's greatest detective. Batman's intellect is what puts him on equal footing with super powered villains.

Sherlock Holmes is the essential man of thought. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was bound by the strictures of 19th century fiction, not to mention the fact that he quickly dashed off the stories to make money and stave off boredom in the early days of his medical practice. That means the original Conan Doyle stories are seldom meticulous case studies. They contain more fisticuffs and gun fighting than you might expect if you've never read them. In the popular imagination, Holmes, wearing a deer stalker cap he never wore in the stories, peers at the ground with a magnifying glass for a few minutes before pronouncing that the killer is that man over there because the biscuit crumbs on his lapels and uneven tan lines on his hands prove that his alibi is entirely false. We're fascinated by Holmes's Aspergery nature.

Every great hero needs a great villain. Professor James Moriarty was invented by Conan Doyle as a way to kill off Holmes, with whom he'd grown tired of writing. Moriarty is the Bizarro Holmes, a man of supreme intellect who devotes himself to crime instead of justice. He only appears once in the Holmes canon, but he has become Holmes's arch nemesis. Moriarty, by Anthony Horowitz is a Holmes novel without Holmes and Watson. The story is narrated by Frederick Chase, a New York Pinkerton detective who is in pursuit of the American master criminal Clarence Devereaux. His investigation leads him to the Reichenbach Falls and a meeting with Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones. Devereaux was apparently trying to arrange a meeting with Moriarty for the purposes of joining forces into one gigantic trans-Atlantic criminal empire. Moriarty's demise at the hands of Sherlock Holmes prevented that meeting, but so far only the police know of his death. Devereaux and Moriarty have never seen each other before, so Chase and Jones concoct a plan to impersonate Moriarty and pursue Devereaux, to bring down his burgeoning criminal enterprises in London.

My personal test for a good detective story is how easily I can figure it out before the end. A good detective writer should always ensure that the necessary clues appear in the text so that, even if the reader can't remember them all upon the first reading, a second reading will confirm that they were there all along. This story pulls it off in spades. Indeed, I lol'ed at myself for not figuring it out sooner. The twist has been done before but it was a great pleasure to see it done so well with characters I know and love. 4/5, would read again.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The natural alpha

Last Sunday the subject at LifeTeen was women and womanhood. Last night the subject was men and manhood. My buddy the youth minister claims to be unfamiliar with the manosphere, Christian or otherwise, but the talk he gave was nearly identical to something you'd hear from Dalrock or Vox. "Guys," he said, "St. John Paul II said you are not who the world says you are. The world wants you to be tame little consumer slaves. The world wants you to grow up into beta male chumps who keep their mouths shut and work like mules. But first the world will encourage you to spend your time in college obsessed with sex, whether it be fornication or pornography. Don't listen to the world."

Couldn't have said it better myself. I enjoy working with the kids. I think all men enjoy being mentors and being mentored. In an ideal society, fathers would be mentors to their sons, and sons would have mentors in the workplace once they set off on their own. In the real world, many men come from a broken home. Corporations see you as an expensive liability they'd sooner do without. On the job training? If you don't already have five years experience for that entry level job, forget about it. It's a difficult balancing act: we want to be truthful with the kids but at the same time we don't want them to despair. Most of us are going to be worse off in our lives than our parents were. I expect the United States to begin breaking apart by the 2030s.

It's gots to be done though. Harsh truths are better than pretty lies. As Catholics, as men, we need to challenge each other and hold each other accountable. One thing I emphasize to the teenage guys is not to put women on pedestals unless they're canonized saints, which they cannot be if they're still breathing. Women are just as susceptible to the effects of Original Sin as men. Women need confession just like we do. One man cannot change all of womankind, but he can choose to keep company with a different kind of woman. Call them out on their bad behavior. If they refuse to knock it off, walk away.

Above all, I work to keep those kids from falling into cynicism and nihilism. It's a sore temptation when living through the decline of Western Civilization. That's why it's important to focus on the eternal things. I like to hope I'm making a difference for at least a few young people.

Book Review: The Ferguson Rifle, by Louis L'Amour

When Ronan Chantry was a boy during the American War for Independence, he met Major Patrick Ferguson who gifted him his eponymous rifle, the first breech loading rifle of its kind in the United States. Twenty five years later, Chantry sets off into the vast wilderness recently acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. He's worked as a professor and lecturer, but the death of his wife and son in a fire robbed him of his will to live. Chantry goes off wandering in search of he knows not what. Eventually he meets up with a group of trappers seeking to explore the frontier in search of furs. They welcome him into their group, particularly his unique rifle. As the story goes on, Chantry gets caught up in a murderous treasure hunt. Narrated in the first person, the novel is as much about Chantry's scholarly exterior being pared away by the harshness of the frontier. His internal monologues contrast his old life with his new. Back east, he was more of the retiring type, particularly in the immediate aftermath of his family's death. Early on in his western journey, he and his new friends have to fight off a band of Indian raiders. Chantry comments that he wishes he didn't have to kill. One of the trappers replied, "If you ain't gonna go hard out here, you best go home." The villain of the story is a vicious outlaw who taunts Chantry as being a soft city slicker whenever they meet face to face. Chantry is goaded into toughening up. He resents having his manhood and competency questioned, and he rises to the occasion.

Louis L'Amour is one of, if not the best selling authors of Western novels to ever live. During his life he wrote over 100 books, all of which are still in print, and 45 of which have been made into cinematic or television films. How much writing have we done lately? L'Amour said he wanted to write from the time he could talk, but before he set out to make a living at it, he worked in a variety of jobs that took him around the world. His professional boxing record stands at 51-8. His literary career took off in the 1950s and 60s.

Most of L'Amour's novels are short enough to read in one afternoon, and many of them can be found at the library. He got his start writing for the pulp magazines of the 1930s, and so many of his stories are strictly formula. There's nothing wrong with that. When we describe a story as "formula" it's usually because the formula is successful for us enough to recognize it when we see it: the tough, laconic hero, the dastardly outlaws, the incompetent authorities, the corrupt bankers, the crooked ranchers, the damsels in distress, etc. L'Amour was great at all of it. The Western (or frontier story as he called the genre) holds an honored place in the American imagination because they tap into part of our common cultural memory. Up until 1890 when the Census Bureau declared the frontier to be closed, Americans have always been pushing themselves to explore and break new ground. The world is smaller now but there's still more to see than can be done in one lifetime. The internet brings much of the world to us, but as L'Amour showed through his own life, there's no substitute for living a life of adventure yourself.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Oculi mei semper ad Dominum

Introit, Third Sunday of Lent: My eyes are ever towards the Lord: for he shall pluck my feet out of the snare: look thou upon me, and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor. To thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in thee, O my God, I put my trust: let me not be ashamed. (Fs. XXIV.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

The Novus Ordo actually has entrance antiphons taken from Scripture, but I can't think of a single parish I've ever visited that made use of them for Sunday Mass. Instead, they all choose from the same dozen or so songs written between the 1970s and 90s. Gregorian Chant is uniquely suited to the Christian religion. It has a timeless quality because Scripture is timeless. In contrast, the beloved Novus Ordo repertoire is aging badly.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Prepare to get scrutinized

This year of our Lord 2015 will mark ten years since my reception into the Catholic Church. Today at Mass they did the readings for the RCIA scrutinies. The parish I went to had about a dozen catechumens and candidates. Father allowed the RCIA catechist to give a brief speech about the purpose of the scrutinies, a meditation upon the reading and self-examination about whatever weaknesses, shortcomings, and sins the prospective Catholics must fight to overcome. I generally dislike it when lay people are allowed to speak from the pulpit during Mass, but this time wasn't so bad. It was better than my own experience at any rate.

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is about a six month process where people who wish to convert meet once a week for instruction in the faith, usually by lay volunteers, culminating in their reception into the Church on Easter Vigil. Those who have never been baptized receive the sacrament. Those who have already received a valid baptism make their first confession and are confirmed alongside the newly baptized. Like many aspects of Catholic life, the quality of the experience depends greatly on the character of the parish you happen to attend. In contrast, before Vatican II, anyone who wanted to become Catholic met with the priest for one-on-one instruction. When the priest judged the prospect was ready, he could baptize them any time he wanted. Usually this took place at a special Mass on a day chosen by the convert, often on the feast day of their chosen confirmation saint.

The size of contemporary parishes often prohibits the priest from dedicating that much time to one person, for any number of reasons. Personally, I think that a priest who doesn't have time to catechize someone who is thirsting for the living water which can be found inside the Catholic Church alone needs to reconsider his priorities. The one-size-fits-all nature of the modern RCIA program is much like public education: some kids need more attention and some kids need to skip a grade. I had already studied the faith for years before I made the plunge. I thought that was what we were supposed to do, but many of my classmates had never cracked a Bible or a catechism once before joining the program. I dutifully attended class every week and sat in silence for the lectures, which weren't bad. What irritated me was how much they concentrated on our feelings as we went along. The women were all eager to share. The men hemmed and hawed and mumbled about their reasons for joining.

The candidates and catechumens get kicked out of Mass after the homily to go talk about the readings. I remember one Sunday our minder said, "Beefy Levinson, what do you think about today's readings?" To which I replied, "What do I think? Why are you asking me that? I came here to learn what you people think!"

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It's dangerous to go alone! Take this

Vox explains why SF/F can be dangerous for gammas:
This is the danger posed by the Pugs, the Rand al'Thors, the Harry Potters and so forth. In many ways, they are the precise opposites of the Frodos, the Conans, and the Marcus Valeriuses. (In the middle would be the Aragorns, the Tarans, and the Luke Skywalkers.) They are Special, with a capital S, but not due to anything they have ever done. They have Special powers and are innately recognized as superior beings with a right to lead, initially by the astute, but eventually by everyone.

Most importantly, they don't have to do much more than show up in order to have leadership handed to them on a silver platter, nor do they have to do much beyond be a figurehead and occasionally make Difficult Decisions. If you think about it, they are essentially what the average millennial thinks a CEO is, and they are handed that quasi-CEO status for nothing more than being Special.
I've seen the Harry Potter movies but I never got through the books. I can understand their appeal to most people though: Harry appears to be a perfectly ordinary boy from a perfectly ordinary background when he discovers that he's Special and destined for great things. The wizarding world looks upon him with awe and wonder before he even sets foot in Hogwarts for the first time. Imagine your typical corporate drone who shuffles into the office every morning to spend eight hours sitting in a cubicle entering numbers into a computer. He or she feels vaguely discontent, wondering if that's all there is to life. Harry Potter and other stories that feature a Chosen One show us a universe where the hero is the hero due to forces beyond his control. He's been specially picked by the gods or fate or the circumstances of his birth, often before he's proven himself. The story focuses on his growing into the role with lots of awkward moments played for laughs. Sometimes we're treated to the hero delivering a lengthy soliloquy about how he's not a mindless puppet in the hands of fate and he tries to turn away from his destiny, only to inevitably return in time to defeat the villain. Us moderns who lead comparatively boring lives dream that maybe we too are chosen by God or fate or destiny to accomplish great things. Millennials raised by helicopter parents and who are products of the public education system are especially prone to thinking of themselves as Special. Even if we ourselves are not the Chosen One, then we can let ourselves off the hook because it's not our fault that we aren't destined for greatness or heroism.

In contrast, you have Frodo Baggins and Conan the Cimmerian. Who is the hero of the Lord of the Rings: Frodo or Aragorn? Frodo is just an ordinary Hobbit who gets drafted into the Fellowship. He pushes on to the end because it's the right thing to do, not because he's special or unique in any way. If Frodo had died at Cirith Ungol, Samwise would have continued on without him. Frodo is only recognized as special after he accomplishes something special. Aragorn is a legitimate warrior in his own right, but as the heir of Isildur, he's destined to wear the crown of Gondor and is recognized as special from the moment people learn his true identity.

Conan is described as a typical denizen of Cimmeria. The civilized folk he encounters usually dismiss him as just another bloodthirsty barbarian. The god of the Cimmerians, Crom, is described as aloof and uncaring toward human beings. The only thing he gives them is courage. Conan does what he does because he enjoys it. He becomes King of Aquilonia through combat, not birth. He seizes the opportunities that present themselves; he's not fated for anything. He'd undoubtedly laugh if someone told him he was a tool of the gods.

I can see where Vox is coming from when he describes Chosen Ones who are capital S special as poisonous to the gamma soul. It reinforces the gamma tendency to think too highly of yourself when you've never been tested. On the other hand, it's fantasy. A gamma male who thinks he's going to be whisked away into a magical world where he's acknowledged as being a unique snowflake has many more problems than which novels and movies he likes. All fantasy is escapism. What makes LOTR great escapism is it uses an imaginary world to point us toward the Good, True, and Beautiful.

I agree with him that all young men should be raised on a literary diet of Howard, London, L'amour, Hemingway, and other stories that feature heroes accomplishing great things.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Wise as serpents, gentle as doves

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

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