Sunday, April 22, 2018

Philly Earth Day, 1970: "A few older people, a few blacks, and some of the poor. But mainly white, middle-class young people, as much aroused by the music as by the damage done to the environment by pollution."


Not much has changed.

What we see in this fascinating 1970 CBS News segment was that the first Earth Day was a "happening" created by a group of leftist and anti-capitalist students and academics (one of whom would famously later murder his girlfriend and hide her decomposing body in his closet), but was to a large degree co-opted even then by the "establishment" - liberal politicians (note Edmund Muskie's blathery speech to the celebrants), the media, churches (note the "prayer for the earth" at one service) and, yes, even the very businesses allegedly responsible for creating all that carbon monoxide.

Hello?

And the narrator nailed it when he described the scene as "as much like a rock-music festival as a teach-in on the environment."

One surprising thing, at least for the modern viewer, was the skepticism and ultimate refusal of Philadelphia's "black groups" to participate. "You're part of a Nixon trick," said one leader to the organizers.

These days, members of the black liberal establishment have learned that's in their interests to hitch their particular causes (those of the black liberal establishment) to all the others of the day, from climate change to pussy hats.  

The interview within the segment with Earth Day director, Edward Furia, ends with a sort of earnestly-expressed threat:
We're trying to get public officials and politicians to think in terms of what is the social cost to society. And if they do nothing, and if this thing becomes a lie, then I think the Earth Week committee may be replaced by a different kind of committee. Instead of a revolution of values, then the other revolutionaries will take over.
Furia would later work within the system as a lawyer, EPA administrator and entrepreneur CEO of a company that makes electric vehicles.

Since then, anti-establishment/establishment "movements," usually featuring rock-music, have become a sort of permanent feature of post-Christian Western cultural life.

On the bright side, and in fairness, some things have changed. The United States, including its cities, is much cleaner than it was almost fifty years ago (though we might debate the reasons why). Notably, it is in the countries that were earlier taken over by "the other revolutionaries" that massive environmental catastrophes are still, to use Furia's words, a thing.

But I suppose one could make the argument that, say, China's Three Gorges Dam, was as much motivated by profit (from new Chinese "state capitalists" and Western banks) as ideology.

The crisis continues.



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

You Bastards


Under the Francis Junta, the leading representatives of the Catholic Church have gone from implacable upholders of the Culture of Life to cloying collaborators with the Culture of Death.

From Independent Catholic News:
Statement on case of Alfie Evans from Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales 
Our hearts go out to the parents of Alfie Evans and our prayers are for him and with them as they try to do all they can to care for their son. 
We affirm our conviction that all those who are and have been taking the agonising decisions regarding the care of Alfie Evans act with integrity and for Alfie's good as they see it. 
The professionalism and care for severely ill children shown at Alder Hey Hospital is to be recognised and affirmed. We know that recently reported public criticism of their work is unfounded as our chaplaincy care for the staff, and indeed offered to the family, has been consistently provided. 
We note the offer of the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome to care for Alfie Evans. It is for that Hospital to present to the British Courts, where crucial decisions in conflicts of opinion have to be taken, the medical reasons for an exception to be made in this tragic case. 
With the Holy Father, we pray that, with love and realism, everything will be done to accompany Alfie and his parents in their deep suffering.
Are these men Catholic? Perhaps we should ask whether they are human. 

As one saint is reputed to have said, possibly during the Arian Crisis:

"The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of rotten bishops."

It is soon to get a new supply.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Pope Francis Weighs in on the Death Camps*


Today, Pope Francis was asked about the pending murders of millions of additional people in the many extermination camps operated by the Nazis across Central and Eastern Europe:
I entrust to your prayer the members of those peoples and nations, living, sometimes for a long period, in situations of restricted movement, involuntary captivity or other potentially fatal circumstances due to the requirements of the war. By these I chiefly mean the Jews, but also Gypsies, homosexuals, Polish professionals and others, and of course Catholics. These are delicate and complex situations. We pray that every group and race is always respected in its dignity and treated in a way adapted to its condition, with the agreement of the relevant parties including local authorities and political and military professionals.
A week earlier, the Pope had "tweeted" his support for those being transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau and destined for its gas chambers:
It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying the Jews and others on their difficult journey made necessary by the current situation, and that the deep suffering of those affected by these measures may be heard. I am praying for the Jews, as well as for Germany and all others that may be involved.


*If you think this parody is unfair, tell that to Alfie Evans. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pope Francis Disappears from Ignatius Press Catalog


In the Spring of 2014, the Catholic publisher Ignatius Press featured nine books by or about Pope Francis in their catalog, from The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin & On Self-Accusation by Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) to Francis: Pope of a New World by Andrea Tornielli. Ignatius also advertised a "Pope Francis Portrait," the "Pope Francis Rosary" and the DVD, Who is Pope Francis: The Life and Message of Pope FrancisHere is the full list:
The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin & On Self-Accusation by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) 
Education for Choosing Life: Proposals for Difficult Times by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) 
Pope Francis: A short bio of the Holy Father 
Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend: Personal Recollections about the Man Who Became Pope, edited by Alejandro Bermudez 
The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei) by Pope Francis 
Francis: Pope of a New World by Andrea Tornielli 
Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio by Francesca Ambrogietti and Sergio Rubin 
On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio & Abraham Skorka 
In Him Alone Is Our Hope: The Church According to the Heart of Pope Francis by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) 
Pope Francis Portrait 
Pope Francis Rosary 
DVD: Who Is Pope Francis? The Life and Message of Pope Francis
As Francis was, of course, then, the Pope, this was par for the course for one of the major Catholic publishers. The first catalog to be created after Francis' election, Fall 2013, featured many items relating to the new pope. And similar large selections of works by or about Francis continued to be featured in successive catalogs up until recently.

Most of the 2014 items are still available on the Ignatius website, and, as might be expected, there are numerous additional books by or about Francis, published in the interim, also available on the site.

However, something else changed.

Pope Francis, and indeed all references to Pope Francis have almost entirely vanished from Ignatius' current (Spring 2018) sixty-four page catalog.

Now absent are all the titles listed above as are all other more recent items still available such as the Pope's four (at the time) encyclicals and exhortations, the book, Pope Francis on the Family, the DVD, Francis the Pope of Renewal, the CD Habemus Papam and so on.

Indeed, as far as I can tell from flipping through the first five pages of a website search, every single item by or about Pope Francis is now on "clearance," including the e-books and, yes, that rosary.

I wrote almost entirely, above, because the Spring 2018 catalog does still contain one book by Francis, Your First Communion, tucked away in the "Books for Children" section. Francis also apparently wrote the Preface to Teaching and Learning the Love of God by Pope Benedict XVI, as well as allegedly penning the Forwards to DoCat - a sort of sequel to the "youth catechism" YouCat - and the YouCat Bible. Francis is also mentioned in passing in the blurb for a book of essays by George Weigel, and in the blurb on Humanae Vitae, it is mentioned that Francis will later be canonizing Pope Paul VI.

These are the sum total of Catalog appearances by the Pope, even including mentions.

By contrast, the Catalog lists least fifteen books by Pope Benedict, over many pages.

There are also two books by Cardinal Sarah.

And there are numerous additional forwards, endorsements, mentions and the like by or about Benedict, Sarah, Cardinals Burke and Müller and various other prelates.

Ignatius has long been a booster of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, at least four of whose books are featured in the current Catalog.

And, of course, as always, the Catalog features hundreds of works by other Catholic laypersons and religious, ranging from G.K. Chesterton to Mother Angelica.

Thus, the Ignatius Catalog looks about like it always has. With one glaring exception:

The current Pope has gone missing.

Except from the Children's section.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Jeffrey Mirus is Unwell (Again)


WARNING: FOUL LANGUAGE.

SOHO — I’ve tried ignoring this Pope but the bastard won’t go away. He's not good for my income stream. Yes, I’m going to have a right old moan today — and this month we hit only 17% of our fundraising goal. Pope of Mercy? You must be joking. Tell that to my broker. But at least I had a booze blowout with a few fellow Neo-Caths to sanitize our sorrows. Last night I poured gin into my computer keyboard and it nearly blew up. There aren’t any prizes for shills but that's just what I am. If I don't play ball regarding Frankie, I get kicked in the balls. Which reminds me, I’m somewhat choked at not having been invited for a drink by the Patheos Women’s Guild. I have been invited to take a drink with Mark Shea though. Bollocks the thought. But [REDACTED], who betrayed his college for 30 silvers, went berserk in TGI Fridays yesterday and bought me two drinks. He asked me for a loan and I pretended he was joking. Could this be some sort of honey trap?

Anyway, I think I may have cracked it this year. The website spend account is sending me to Cuba where I shall be once again lying about Frankie. This could lead to suicide, I fear, if the self-pity and sentiment sets in and I really don’t want to be found dead wearing a "who am I to judge?" button. It looks quite silly enough as it is. Incidentally, do you think I can trot out my "Pope thinking outside the box" argument again? I've already used it fifty-nine fucking times. When they get wise to it, I'll try something different. What?

But by far the worst thing about the shilling, apart from the suicidal tendencies, is the business of acting the clown. This is what my doctorate was for? Snowing the donors. But who else will Help Keep Jeff Out of the Nick.

Now if Bergo could read, I’d sit right down and write him a letter. Dear Super Pope, it would start too. He likes a little sycophancy, as we all know, as do all idols, gods, features editors, publicans, bank managers and anybody else in the nursing business. For one thing I’d ask for a German Cardinal to drop in twice a week and pass me an envelope. Secondly I’d like a return ticket to Disney for the rest of the Papal Mystery Tour plus a one-way ticket out of Londonistan to anywhere. Then I’d like an introduction to one of those extraordinary Irish women who’ve been brought up to tolerate the most appalling five-thousand word blog posts on Vatican II and even come back for more.


So, over there, Simon Bolivar's birthday is coming up, which I hear is sort of like Christmas but for Masons. That puts me in the mood. If you should be Catholic enough — sorry rich enough — to think that it’s better to give than to receive, then I suppose we must consider the wonderful blog readers who’ve put up with a lot from me this past year. I’d very much like to take all the female staff on this web rag out to lunch. Not that I have any. But still. 
I’d like to buy Crabby Trad a colour telly and then make her watch it and I’d like to get Snotty Trad a dictionary of slang so as to enrich his abuse of me. I’d love to give Ignatius Press the book they commissioned me to write in 1897 and I’d like to give my landlord April's rent. As it is, I’m afraid that all I’ll be giving this year is a hard time to my barman. At least I can tell him my true feelings about Frankie. Not that he cares. He's a Low Anglican. I shall also bung my doorman who amazingly deludes himself that I’m a professor and a gentleman. The poor fool probably thinks I’m Cardinal Newman too.

***

Originally posted at Mahound's Paradise on July 11th, 2015.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

St. John Cantius Hosts Program on Church Architecture: "From the Sacrament to the Mysteries," Saturday, April 14th


The Catholic Art Guild and the Liturgical Institute are presenting a "Church Architecture Study Day" at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, this Saturday, April 14th.

It's called "From the Sacrament to the Mysteries" and will be hosted by Dr. Denis McNamara, Associate Director at the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake-Mundelein Seminary.

Dr. McNamara has published a number of books on church architecture including How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture and Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago.

The Catholic Art Guild, founded and headed by painter Kathleen Carr and based out of St. John Cantius, is a lay apostolate seeking the "restoration of the Sacred" in the visual arts.

These events at Cantius are always fascinating, and are a tribute to what Fr. Frank Phillips created in "restoring the Sacred" to one Polish-founded parish in Chicago. 

St. John Cantius is not "merely" a Church where the Traditional Latin Mass is beautifully celebrated (though that obviously would have been more than enough) but has also become a Chicago cultural landmark, recognized and respected by musicians and artists throughout the area.

Tickets for the event may be purchased online, and will probably not be available at the door.

EDIT: I've been told that ticket sales end at midnight, tonight (Wednesday, April 11th). I apologize for being so late on this. 

From Eventbrite:   
Join Dr. Denis McNamara for a one day immersion of church architecture from a Catholic perspective 
Schedule: 
9:30 Registration, Coffee, etc 
10:00 Session I: Biblical Foundations of Church Architecture: The Temple, the Synagogue and the Mystical Body 
11:00 Break 
11:15 Session II: Classical Architecture: The Sacramental Meaning of Ornament, Decoration and the Column 
12:15 Break and Questions 
12:45 Lunch (included in the cost of the program) 
1:45 Session III: The Objective View of Beauty: Learning from Thomas Aquinas 
2:45 Break 
3:00 Session IV: What the Church Intended: The Twentieth Century to Today 
4:00 Questions 
4:15 Adjourn 
The cost of the program includes a lunch buffet of sandwiches, salad, coffee and dessert. 
A full refund will be offered up until April 11, 2018 10 pm PST. Lunch orders will take place 48 hours prior to the event. 
Please email info@CatholicArtGuild.org with any questions.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How to Stop Being a Terror-Blogger


Yesterday, I excerpted some of Gaudete Et Exsultate - those passages that were the most blatant attacks against faithful Catholics now perceived by the Francis regime as enemies. Unfortunately, I left out one of the "best" ones - footnote 73, which equates the regime's critics to literal terrorists. I was reminded of this by Call Me Jorge (a hardened terrorist blog if there ever was one):
Detraction and calumny are acts of terrorism: a bomb is thrown, it explodes and the attacker walks away calm and contented. This is completely different from the nobility of those who speak to others face to face, serenely and frankly, out of genuine concern for their good (fn. 73).
Since the bizarrely named "Call to Holiness" is itself a cluster-bomb of detraction and calumny against so many, the "in your face" nature of this sort of projecting should win some kind of award. Perhaps Bergoglio's favorite non-mythical being (whose real existence was surprisingly affirmed in that exhortation) can give one out.

The word on the street is that this latest document by "Francis" is as much the work of Antonio "Vice-Pope" Spadaro as anyone else. That Spadaro was caught using a sock-puppet Twitter account to attack the dubia cardinals (though it is unknown whether or not he was calm and contented afterward) should entitle him to his own award.

As for the nobility of face to face meetings, one wonders how such serene and frank discussions are supposed to occur: 

"Holy Father, I was wondering if you had ever considered giving up your Peronist religion of power in favor of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Just a thought and no pressure. By the way, are we still on for lunch even though you just suppressed my order and put me under house arrest?"

"Tucho, my brother, I recommend full and sincere repentance before it's too late. Some say it beats kissing, but your mileage may vary."

Fr. Antonio, is there any chance you might ghostwrite a response to those questions my friends and I asked your boss a year-and-a-half ago? I don't mean to bug, but two of us are already dead."

According to one report, Bergoglio has now taken to eating his meals with his back turned to the rest of the room in order to prevent possible incidents of conversation with the other diners.

"I'm not your regular waiter. Actually I'm a cardinal. But this was the only way I could find to ask you whether there are still absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions. Also that will be 83 Euros, not including tip."

Monday, April 9, 2018

A Shortened Gaudete Et Exsultate (Against All My Enemies)

Bergoglio, yesterday
I've read the new Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete Et Exsultate so you don't have to.

You would be better off reading a comic book.

This latest piece of evil dreck, signed by "Francis," but probably written by Victor Manuel (Tucho) Fernández, the foul-mouthed "kissing priest," or one of the other new-Borgia Pope's corrupt and perverted coterie, is 22,087 words too long.

I've shortened it to less than 15% of that length, leaving in only the most important bits.

Unsurprisingly, as many news organizations and commenters - both pro-, neutral and anti-Francis have already noted, in some ways this "Call to Holiness" can be reduced to a series of attacks against Jorge Mario Bergoglio's perceived enemies, not the least of which simply are faithful Catholics.

One of them said today that the document was "sinister" in that, while it could (with some stretching) be read in an orthodox manner, the more obvious interpretation is a diatribe against the Enemies of the Revolution.

As well as a call to action to go after those enemies with what energy the Francis Junta still has left.

In other words, it's a set of truths, half-truths and lies worthy of the devil himself.

By the way, the devil himself gets a mention in the document. See, you can just see the idiot chorus proclaiming, the Pope does believe in hell.

Is it disrespectful of the papal office to mock Gaudete Et Exsultate? On the contrary, I think it's disrespectful of the office not to mock it.

As another friend remarked, yesterday: "I’ve never seen such broad, open hatred of Bergoglio. His stock has tanked harder than Facebook."

I suspect this latest emanation will hasten that. Anyone with half a Catholic brain can see exactly what he's doing.

These excerpts - most of them full paragraphs - are taken directly from Gaudete Et Exsultate in the order written. Where the sources are not obvious, I've noted them. Unsurprisingly, they are all references to Francis' own statements. 

APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION

GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE

OF THE HOLY FATHER

FRANCIS

ON THE CALL TO HOLINESS IN TODAY’S WORLD


Against the Contemplatives  
It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service (26).
Against Faithful Catholics (many of whom are heretics)   
Here I would like to mention two false forms of holiness that can lead us astray: gnosticism and pelagianism. They are two heresies from early Christian times, yet they continue to plague us. In our times too, many Christians, perhaps without realizing it, can be seduced by these deceptive ideas, which reflect an anthropocentric immanentism disguised as Catholic truth. Let us take a look at these two forms of doctrinal or disciplinary security that give rise “to narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyses and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others” Evangelii Gaudium24 November 2013, 94: AAS 105, 2013, 1060 (35). 
Thanks be to God, throughout the history of the Church it has always been clear that a person’s perfection is measured not by the information or knowledge they possess, but by the depth of their charity. “Gnostics” do not understand this, because they judge others based on their ability to understand the complexity of certain doctrines. They think of the intellect as separate from the flesh, and thus become incapable of touching Christ’s suffering flesh in others, locked up as they are in an encyclopaedia of abstractions. In the end, by disembodying the mystery, they prefer “a God without Christ, a Christ without the Church, a Church without her people” Homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, 11 November 2016 (37).
Certainly this is a superficial conceit: there is much movement on the surface, but the mind is neither deeply moved nor affected. Still, gnosticism exercises a deceptive attraction for some people, since the gnostic approach is strict and allegedly pure, and can appear to possess a certain harmony or order that encompasses everything (38). 
Gnostics think that their explanations can make the entirety of the faith and the Gospel perfectly comprehensible. They absolutize their own theories and force others to submit to their way of thinking. A healthy and humble use of reason in order to reflect on the theological and moral teaching of the Gospel is one thing. It is another to reduce Jesus’ teaching to a cold and harsh logic that seeks to dominate everything (39) 
Gnosticism is one of the most sinister ideologies because, while unduly exalting knowledge or a specific experience, it considers its own vision of reality to be perfect. Thus, perhaps without even realizing it, this ideology feeds on itself and becomes even more myopic. It can become all the more illusory when it masks itself as a disembodied spirituality. For gnosticism “by its very nature seeks to domesticate the mystery”, whether the mystery of God and his grace, or the mystery of others’ lives Letter to the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina for the Centenary of the Founding of the Faculty of Theology3 March 2015, (40). 
When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road. They may well be false prophets, who use religion for their own purposes, to promote their own psychological or intellectual theories. God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises. We are not the ones to determine when and how we will encounter him; the exact times and places of that encounter are not up to us. Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence (41). 
It is not easy to grasp the truth that we have received from the Lord. And it is even more difficult to express it. So we cannot claim that our way of understanding this truth authorizes us to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives. Here I would note that in the Church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life; in their variety, they “help to express more clearly the immense riches of God’s word”. It is true that “for those who long for a monolithic body of doctrine guarded by all and leaving no room for nuance, this might appear as undesirable and leading to confusion”. Indeed, some currents of gnosticism scorned the concrete simplicity of the Gospel and attempted to replace the trinitarian and incarnate God with a superior Unity, wherein the rich diversity of our history disappeared Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium24 November 2013, 40: AAS 105, 2013, 1037 (43). 
In effect, doctrine, or better, our understanding and expression of it, “is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries… The questions of our people, their suffering, their struggles, their dreams, their trials and their worries, all possess an interpretational value that we cannot ignore if we want to take the principle of the incarnation seriously. Their wondering helps us to wonder, their questions question us” Video Message to Participants in an International Theological Congress held at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, 1-3 September 2015: AAS 107, 2015, 980 (44). 
A dangerous confusion can arise. We can think that because we know something, or are able to explain it in certain terms, we are already saints, perfect and better than the “ignorant masses” (45). 
[Saint] Francis recognized the temptation to turn the Christian experience into a set of intellectual exercises that distance us from the freshness of the Gospel (46). 
Those who yield to this pelagian or semi-pelagian mindset, even though they speak warmly of God’s grace, “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style” Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium24 November 2013, 94: AAS 105, 2013, 1059 (49). 
Underneath our orthodoxy, our attitudes might not correspond to our talk about the need for grace, and in specific situations we can end up putting little trust in it (50). 
Still, some Christians insist on taking another path, that of justification by their own efforts, the worship of the human will and their own abilities. The result is a self-centred and elitist complacency, bereft of true love. This finds expression in a variety of apparently unconnected ways of thinking and acting: an obsession with the law, an absorption with social and political advantages, a punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige, a vanity about the ability to manage practical matters, and an excessive concern with programmes of self-help and personal fulfilment. Some Christians spend their time and energy on these things, rather than letting themselves be led by the Spirit in the way of love, rather than being passionate about communicating the beauty and the joy of the Gospel and seeking out the lost among the immense crowds that thirst for Christ (57). 
Not infrequently, contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few. This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savour. This may well be a subtle form of pelagianism, for it appears to subject the life of grace to certain human structures. It can affect groups, movements and communities, and it explains why so often they begin with an intense life in the Spirit, only to end up fossilized… or corrupt (58). 
Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channelled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace (59). 
May the Lord set the Church free from these new forms of gnosticism and pelagianism that weigh her down and block her progress along the path to holiness! These aberrations take various shapes, according to the temperament and character of each person. So I encourage everyone to reflect and discern before God whether they may be present in their lives (62).
Against the Pidgeonholers 
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” 
These are strong words in a world that from the beginning has been a place of conflict, disputes and enmity on all sides, where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis of their ideas, their customs and even their way of speaking or dressing. Ultimately, it is the reign of pride and vanity, where each person thinks he or she has the right to dominate others (71).
Against the Sour  
If we are constantly upset and impatient with others, we will end up drained and weary. But if we regard the faults and limitations of others with tenderness and meekness, without an air of superiority, we can actually help them and stop wasting our energy on useless complaining (72).
Against the Enemies of Justice and the Poor  
True justice comes about in people’s lives when they themselves are just in their decisions; it is expressed in their pursuit of justice for the poor and the weak. While it is true that the word “justice” can be a synonym for faithfulness to God’s will in every aspect of our life, if we give the word too general a meaning, we forget that it is shown especially in justice towards those who are most vulnerable: “Seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Is 1:17) (79).
Against Gossips  
This Beatitude makes us think of the many endless situations of war in our world. Yet we ourselves are often a cause of conflict or at least of misunderstanding. For example, I may hear something about someone and I go off and repeat it. I may even embellish it the second time around and keep spreading it… And the more harm it does, the more satisfaction I seem to derive from it. The world of gossip, inhabited by negative and destructive people, does not bring peace. Such people are really the enemies of peace; in no way are they “blessed” (87).
Against the Enemies of Change (with support from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops)  
Jesus himself warns us that the path he proposes goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live and, as a result, becoming a nuisance. He reminds us how many people have been, and still are, persecuted simply because they struggle for justice, because they take seriously their commitment to God and to others. Unless we wish to sink into an obscure mediocrity... (90). 
For Christians, this involves a constant and healthy unease. Even if helping one person alone could justify all our efforts, it would not be enough. The bishops of Canada made this clear when they noted, for example, that the biblical understanding of the jubilee year was about more than simply performing certain good works. It also meant seeking social change: “For later generations to also be released, clearly the goal had to be the restoration of just social and economic systems, so there could no longer be exclusion” SOCIAL AFFAIRS COMMISSION OF THE CANADIAN CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS, Open Letter to the Members of Parliament, The Common Good or Exclusion: A Choice for Canadians, 1 February 2001, 9 (99).
Against the Pro-Lifers  
The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty (101).
Against the Islamophobes 
We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him (cf. Mt 25:35)? Saint Benedict did so readily, and though it might have “complicated” the life of his monks, he ordered that all guests who knocked at the monastery door be welcomed “like Christ”, with a gesture of veneration; the poor and pilgrims were to be met with “the greatest care and solicitude” (102). 
A similar approach is found in the Old Testament: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you yourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex 22:21). “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Lev 19:33-34). This is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad (103).
Against the Bloggers  
Christians too can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned. The result is a dangerous dichotomy, since things can be said there that would be unacceptable in public discourse, and people look to compensate for their own discontent by lashing out at others. It is striking that at times, in claiming to uphold the other commandments, they completely ignore the eighth, which forbids bearing false witness or lying, and ruthlessly vilify others. Here we see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze (cf. Jas 3:6) (115). 
The saints do not waste energy complaining about the failings of others; they can hold their tongue before the faults of their brothers and sisters, and avoid the verbal violence that demeans and mistreats others. Saints hesitate to treat others harshly; they consider others better than themselves (cf. Phil 2:3) (116). 
It is not good when we look down on others like heartless judges, lording it over them and always trying to teach them lessons. That is itself a subtle form of violence. (117).
Against the Sour (again)  
Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, or putting on a dreary face, the saints are joyful and full of good humour. Though completely realistic, they radiate a positive and hopeful spirit (122).
Against the Enemies of Change (again - with support from Saint Lightyear)  
Like the prophet Jonah, we are constantly tempted to flee to a safe haven. It can have many names: individualism, spiritualism, living in a little world, addiction, intransigence, the rejection of new ideas and approaches, dogmatism, nostalgia, pessimism, hiding behind rules and regulations. We can resist leaving behind a familiar and easy way of doing things (134). 
God is eternal newness. He impels us constantly to set out anew, to pass beyond what is familiar, to the fringes and beyond (135). 
Complacency is seductive; it tells us that there is no point in trying to change things, that there is nothing we can do, because this is the way things have always been and yet we always manage to survive. By force of habit we no longer stand up to evil. We “let things be”, or as others have decided they ought to be. Yet let us allow the Lord to rouse us from our torpor, to free us from our inertia. Let us rethink our usual way of doing things; let us open our eyes and ears, and above all our hearts, so as not to be complacent about things as they are, but unsettled by the living and effective word of the risen Lord (137).  
In this way, the Church will not stand still, but constantly welcome the Lord’s surprises (139).
Against the Contemplatives (again)  
When we live apart from others, it is very difficult to fight against concupiscence, the snares and temptations of the devil and the selfishness of the world (140).
Against the Youthful Zappers  
All of us, but especially the young, are immersed in a culture of zapping (167).
Against the Enemies of Change (again)  
This is all the more important when some novelty presents itself in our lives. Then we have to decide whether it is new wine brought by God or an illusion created by the spirit of this world or the spirit of the devil. At other times, the opposite can happen, when the forces of evil induce us not to change, to leave things as they are, to opt for a rigid resistance to change (168). 
We must remember that prayerful discernment must be born of a readiness to listen: to the Lord and to others, and to reality itself, which always challenges us in new ways. Only if we are prepared to listen, do we have the freedom to set aside our own partial or insufficient ideas, our usual habits and ways of seeing things. In this way, we become truly open to accepting a call that can shatter our security, but lead us to a better life. It is not enough that everything be calm and peaceful. God may be offering us something more, but in our comfortable inadvertence, we do not recognize it (172) 
It is not a matter of applying rules or repeating what was done in the past, since the same solutions are not valid in all circumstances and what was useful in one context may not prove so in another. The discernment of spirits liberates us from rigidity, which has no place before the perennial “today” of the risen Lord. The Spirit alone can penetrate what is obscure and hidden in every situation, and grasp its every nuance, so that the newness of the Gospel can emerge in another light (173).
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 19 March, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, in the year 2018, the sixth of my Pontificate. 
Francis

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Pope as Arch-Troll


What does he get out of it?

Some have argued that Pope Francis is not an ideologue. That is, while he wants to be or be seen as a liberal "revolutionary," this isn't because he has any particular belief in liberal theology per se. Rather, it's about power. His power, of course. To "change" the Church is not only a means for Bergoglio to solidify a certain power base, but is a manifestation or sign of the exercise of power itself, and, thus, is worthwhile on its own terms.

Just as, say, a sculptor gets satisfaction out of transforming natural material into a shape that conforms to some inner intention or design of his own, the tyrant gets satisfaction out of transforming people, or transforming those things that are important to people in a way that lets them know they are under his control. How he transforms people or things, or to what apparent end, is secondary to the act itself.

In a sense this is similar to the motivation of the classic social-media "troll." People often speak of "liberal" trolls or "conservative" trolls who wish to fight ideological battles online by, say, spreading "fake news" or rudely insulting their enemies or whatever. Yet this is a misapplication of the original meaning of the term.

"Troll" (as used in social media) originally meant someone that wanted to provoke emotional reactions, not to advance any particular agenda, but for the sheer enjoyment of the provocation itself. Thus a troll might pretend to be liberal to stir up conservatives, or pretend to be conservative to stir up liberals. The object was simply to get people to react, preferably in a way that showed distress or confusion. Or to put it more plainly, the goal was to screw with people.

I used to think Jorge Mario Bergoglio was motivated largely by vanity. He wanted to be a different pope, a better pope, a pope loved by the world, and so on. By transforming the Church to conform more with the liberal zeitgeist he would be praised by the media (made up of liberal journalists) and go down in history (written by liberal historians). Power was a means to achieve worldly praise.

But I gradually came to have a different view, a view solidified by the events of recent days: During Holy Week, Catholics were "stunned" and "rocked" to hear that their apparent leader had denied (or so it seemed) one of the central tenets of their faith, a denial particularly stark on the eve of Good Friday.

Catholics regularly affirm that after Jesus died on the cross, He descended into hell to save the righteous who had perished without knowing Him, just as the righteous that came after would be saved through His Church. But if there were really no hell, what did that mean? What did Jesus die to save us from?

It was another gut-punch to all faithful Catholics, arguably one of the worst, but still simply another in a long-line against Catholic mothers (who breed like rabbits), Catholic priests (who are joyless Pharisees), Catholics in difficult marriages who have tried to conform to what they thought were the teachings of the church (what goody-goodies), and just Catholics in general who have made what many might see as sacrifices . . . for what?

The denial/non-denial from the Vatican of the Pope's hell comments was blackly comic. It scrupulously avoided explicitly contradicting the essence of what the headlines claimed, nor did in affirm that the Pope himself believed what all Catholics have always been told they had to believe.

Francis himself could have simply issued a short statement affirming that he subscribed to the orthodox view. He didn't. Why?

I actually don't think it has anything to do with what he believes or doesn't believe, if he in fact believes in anything. It's laughable to even consider the proposition that Bergoglio is a devout annihilationist (someone who subscribes to the theological claim that the souls of those who are not saved do not go to hell but simply cease to exist). I would be surprised if he has ever seriously considered the question for more than a few seconds in his adult life.

Why did he do it?

Because, to use the blunt language I used above, he enjoys screwing with us. He actually gets sadistic glee from knowing that he has, as it were, spit in our soup yet again. And he knows that we know he can do it anytime.

The Pope, trolling his own flock.

Should this make us angry? Of course. But I wonder how many Catholics are still angry at him. I have to confess that I'm not, or not really, in the same way that I assume I wouldn't necessarily be angry per se at, say, a political tyrant, at least after a certain point. Bergoglio is who he is. I can't change that. Presumably no one can.

But what of all the good bishops who continue to go along with it - this sadist, this troll, this monster, continuing to squat on the Throne of St. Peter?

Don't they have compassion for their flocks? How can they let this go on?