Marriage is our sacrament

Once again we see the folly of giving the papacy absolute control over the right edge of the Overton window.  I refer of course to the idea that a layman necessarily makes himself ridiculous by “trying to be more Catholic than the pope“.  (Notice, though, the backhanded compliment to tradition–everybody knows what the “more Catholic” position is, even those who don’t share it and yet object to being called “heretics”.)  In fact, in my experience there is an unspoken rule that all laymen are supposed to be at least a bit to the Left of Rome, and those who fail to meet this expectation are presumed to be unable to “think for themselves”.  Indeed, as soon as post-Vatican II clerical antics made orthodoxy optional for the laity, orthodoxy came to be seen as an intolerable aggression against sodomites, divorcees, loose women, and Jews.  Neuhaus’ Law is vindicated again.

Now we are cursed with a Pontiff who seeks personal popularity with the enemies of Christ by sharing their scorn for those who defend Church teaching.  At first, we were told that he only wants us to de-emphasize our opposition to the popular sins of the day and focus on spreading the gospel.  Now, however, the Holy Father has condemned “proselytism” for the faith, so it seem that we are in fact being asked to shut up altogether.  Are Catholic writers for the Orthosphere then required to relinquish our “obsessions” and retire, leaving the fight entirely to our Protestant and Orthodox friends?  If not, how do we respond?

First, we remember that it is not the papacy, but the sacraments that are the heart of Catholicism.  The Church is structured around them.  This is obviously true for the clergy, whose essential function is the Eucharistic sacrifice.  Because this is the greatest sacrament and they are uniquely involved in its execution, the priests and bishops hold the highest dignity in the Church.  And what of the laity?  True, there are many sacraments that are for our benefit–baptism, Confession, the Eucharist, Last Rites (and, no, I’m not going to call it “Anointing of the Sick”–when I’m at death’s door, I at least want to be spared from euphemisms).  But has Christ given us nothing of our own, nothing that is our special charge to keep holy, a sacrament for which we are active maintainers?

In fact, we do have a sacrament, one that has been entrusted specifically to us, the laity, by Christ.  This is marriage.  It is our sacrament.  We, brides and grooms, are the ones who actually perform it, after all.  All its duties fall on us; indeed they include most of what we spend our time on–providing for a family and raising children.  We thus have reasons to be specially interested in personal sins and public ideologies that attack or demean our sacrament.  I for one would never criticize a priest for excessive zeal for the Eucharist; it is the Body and Blood of our Savior  Besides it is his special function, and I wouldn’t criticize him for focusing on his own work even if it wasn’t the most important, any more than I would criticize a dentist for being obsessed with teeth then there are so many other parts of the body.  It would indeed be proper to criticize a priest for lack of zeal for the Blessed Sacrament, and since the Accursed Council many of them deserve to be so rebuked.  Both the love I should feel for Jesus Christ and the dependence on his grace I cannot avoid entitle me to do so.  Similarly, the clergy may rightfully rebuke the laity for failing to keep holy the sacrament given to us–they should do it much, much more often!–but it is utterly inappropriate for them to criticize us for guarding too carefully something that Christ entrusted specifically to us.

I have said before that clericalism was in fact a consequence of Vatican II.  Before the Council, it was not nearly as bad a problem as it has since become.  I mentioned before Integralism as the perfectly reasonable expectation that priests not make personal playthings of their parishes, but teach the doctrines that have been entrusted to them without change.  Another example is how, since the Council, the Church has gravely devalued those things that are of spiritual significance distinctly to the laity.  The refusal to fight over sexual sins and abortion (the latter a sin of violence rather than unchastity), at least on the correct side, by those infected by the Council is an obvious case.  So to is the Church’s growing disdain for national and ethnic loyalties, things that secular clergy and religious are called to renounce along with family ties (of which they are largely an extension), but that the laity are called to sanctify.  Even the Church’s social doctrine seems to have jettisoned what used to be its core principle–the family wage, an economy built on the single provider family model–in order to placate feminists and open-borders fanatics.

So there is my answer to the Holy Father.  I shall not cease defending patriarchy, and defending it “obsessively”.  Marriage was entrusted to us by a higher authority than the papacy.  Marriage is our sacrament.

159 thoughts on “Marriage is our sacrament

  1. Pingback: Marriage is our sacrament | Throne and Altar

  2. Now we are cursed with a Pontiff who seeks personal popularity with the enemies of Christ by sharing their scorn for those who defend Church teaching. At first, we were told that he only wants us to de-emphasize our opposition to the popular sins of the day and focus on spreading the gospel. Now, however, the Holy Father has condemned “proselytism” for the faith, so it seem that we are in fact being asked to shut up altogether.

    Cursed! Bonald, you piss on your own (our) principles. Your words anger me, because this is our Holy Father.

    Piety is the reverence due to one’s mother and father, and it is every bit as essential to family life as chastity. Filial piety demands several things. Most basically, it demands that one care for the welfare of one’s parents, to defend them from criticism and care for them in old age. Still, piety demands more. One must obey one’s parents (unless this violates the natural law). Even as an adult, one should defer to them when possible. Still, piety demands more. One must honor one’s parents. One must never speak disparagingly or even lightly of them. Indeed, one must cast away even irreverent thoughts about them. In ordering one’s own life, one must consider how one’s actions reflect on one’s parents, and one must strive to be worthy of them. Only thusly can one repay the debt to those who gave one life.

  3. There is a concrete parallel here that had not occurred to me before I read this post.

    Both Marriage and the Eucharist have been denigrated and blasphemed for a long time. For example “eucharists” are blasphemously confected in high church Protestant denominations by “ministers” who are ontologically incapable of confecting the actual sacrament and who do not intend what the Church intends by the sacrament.

    Meanwhile, Protestant Christians “marry” while not intending what the Church intends by the sacrament, even though they are ontologically capable ministers. Adding sodomite “marriage” to the mix is just layering on a blasphemy of the sacrament of marriage which has been taking place w.r.t. the Eucharist for centuries– and I’ve never once, in my entire life, heard a priest or bishop mention out loud the invalidity of (say) a Lutheran “communion”.

    Sodomite “marriage” is just an insult to the sacrament of Us which parallels a longstanding insult to the sacrament of Christ. It parallels an Anglican or Lutheran “communion service”, inasmuch as the ministers of the sacrament attempt to coopt the real Sacrament’s dignity despite an ontological incapacity and a defective intention.

    In short, sodomite marriage is to real marriage as Protestant “communion” is to the Eucharist. That’s what the OP prompted me to discover.

    To the extent we have not been defending the Eucharist from Protestant blasphemy we surely deserve to have our own sacrament denigrated. And it has already been blasphemed to a far greater extent than we might care to admit, which we’ve mostly just gotten used to and ignored.

    In the words of the Prophet Garcia, “It’s even worse than it appears, but, it’s alright.”

    • With respect, Zip, this strikes me as an analogy too far; one of those parallels that burst upon the awareness in a flash, but that upon examination turn out to be problematic. “Lutheran communions are in the same category as homosexual buggery.” When it is put that plainly, it is rather obviously inept. Lutheran communions may indeed be defective, as homosexual buggery is (incomparably more) defective. That does not make them actively evil, as buggery is. After all, Roman Masses are all defective, too, somehow. Did the priest think about his lunch during the consecration? Did his attention, and ergo his intention, wander for even a split second? Oops. Did that render the Mass utterly invalid? No. Augustine settled this question a while ago, rather definitively. Not even the presbyter’s formal, public avowal of his repudiation of Christian faith can invalidate his subsequent sacramental offices.

      For, the Mass belongs to God, and not vice versa. In no way does it bind him – Christianity ain’t theurgy, simpliciter (what, are we sorcerers or something?) – and so in no way is he limited in his operations by those of any rite, however perfectly – or defectively – consummated. Let not Rome fall to the sin of Babel; she ought to be the first to insist that she cannot force God.

      Allow me to attempt an increase in the precision of the analogy: sodomite marriage is to real marriage as the Satanic Mass is to the Eucharist. I.e., sodomite marriage is the *exact opposite* of real marriage, as the Satanic Mass is the exact opposite of the Eucharist. Modern secular marriage between heterosexuals who make their vows fully intending monogamous fidelity unto death is not the exact opposite of sacramental marriage, but rather shares many of its properties, including its valence toward the Good – even if only the Natural Good – and so, implicitly (albeit generally unconsciously, to be sure) toward God. Ditto for defective Protestant rites.

      • Kristor:
        The parallel is that a priest with apostolic succession is ontologically capable of confecting the Eucharist, while one without is not; just as two men are ontologically incapable of marrying each other.

        The Eucharist is God; so the notion of a “defective Eucharist” proposes a “defective God”.

      • I know. But that doesn’t suffice for the analogy you are trying to draw. That Rover lacks the ontological capacity to bind his injured master’s wounds and so save him does not make his desperate licking of those wounds the same sort of act as that of a pack of hyenas who then descend on Rover and his master and tear them to pieces. Rover is trying to heal his master’s wounds, but cannot; the hyenas are trying to inflict them.

      • Kristor:
        I’m not going to argue over sincerity of intentions, and the dog/hyena analogy is just an appeal to sincere intentions.

        Objectively, both in the case of sodomite “marriage” and Protestant “communion”, the act itself misrepresents reality and is performed by “ministers” who neither properly understand the nature of what they are doing nor are ontologically capable of doing it. The primary difference is that the former is objectively an insult against the sacrament of marriage, while the latter is objectively an insult against the sacrament of Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity.

        So that raised the question, in my own mind, as to which is objectively more grave: an insult against marriage or an insult against the Eucharist. And it seems to me that an insult against us is objectively less grave than an insult against God.

        There are probably further implications from there.

        Other than by appealing to sincerity of intentions you haven’t given me reason to think otherwise; and sincerity of intentions has no bearing on the kind of objective determination I am attempting to make.

      • Again, I really would prefer this post not dissolve into Catholic-Protestant polemics, because that’s not the point.

        Zippy’s analogy of a mock Eucharist vs a mock marriage is an interesting implication of the connection I’ve drawn between the Eucharist and marriage. However, I think a better instance of this would be an invalid Catholic mass, say one presided by a “womanpriest”. The Protestant case is different, because most Protestants have altered their ritual to reflect their own understanding of what they’re doing. Remember, they (for the most part) don’t believe that the host becomes the body of Christ, and they don’t regard their act as sacrificial. They would say that their communion rituals are of the nature of symbols and remembrances of Christ’s passion. Thus, Catholics and (most) Protestants actually agree on what Protestant communion services do and don’t do.

        Suppose I had no access to the institutional Church, and I fashioned for myself a ritual vaguely reminiscent of the Eucharist for myself. Would that be blasphemous? If I were actually using the same words the priest uses for consecration, probably. But if it were just vaguely similar, trying to capture the remembrance part of the Sacrament and not the physical union part, I don’t see any blasphemy in that. I don’t think I would have any temptation to do this, but that’s a separate issue.

      • Yes, “womanpriest” “masses” are a solid parallel.

        I’ll respect the boundary you’d like to draw here Bonald. But I can’t help but point out that there seems to be more willingness to be ecumenical on the Eucharist than on marriage, and for better or worse I would think that the gravity of the matter would favor the inverse.

      • Don’t worry, Bonald. This isn’t Protestant versus Catholic. I’m not suggesting that Protestant eucharists are valid, I’m just arguing that they don’t stand in the same relation to Catholic Masses as homosexual “marriages” do to marriages.

      • … the dog/hyena analogy is just an appeal to sincere intentions.

        Well, but not so; absolutely not. The hyena is not insincerely salving Rover’s master. He is sincerely devouring Rover’s master. Sincerity doesn’t even enter into the analysis. The two sorts of acts – salving and devouring – are just categorically different, and in fact are flatly contradictory. Rover’s licking may not be adequate to prevent his master’s death, but it is indeed salutary in its effects.

        Take a different case. We humans are ontologically incapable of knowing everything about everything, and furthermore we can’t even know everything about anything. That ontological incapacity does not render human knowledge impossible per se, nor, a fortiori, does it make all our partial, errant but honest attempts to understand reality the moral equivalents of malicious lying. If in my honest attempt to tell the truth I instead misrepresent reality, I have not lied. I have merely erred. My case is then suboptimal, to be sure, but it is not therefore totally Hellish.

        Like Rover or the human sophomore, the Protestant minister who understands his rite as a confection of the Real Presence (as Bonald notes, there are perhaps not very many such) may be reaching for the completion of an act that he cannot, ontologically, complete. But that wouldn’t mean that he is reaching for the completion of a different and contradictory sort of act altogether. Nor would it mean that what he does has no salutary effects at all. It would mean only that, while it may be effective to salve, his ministerial act is not adequate to save.

        The priest is not in any case the agent who completes the Eucharistic confection. He does not perform the act himself – if he did, he would be engaging in mere theurgic sorcery on the same order as voodoo – but rather, provides an occasion for the completion of the act by the Holy Spirit. The vicar is not himself the principal in whose stead he performs his vicarious offices; and all the vicar’s power and authority to perform those offices derives with utter gratuity from the principal thereof.

        This all raises the question whether homosexuals who honestly intend to marry each other, according to their best understanding of what “marriage” means, are merely errant, or are guilty of intentional lies. I suppose I would say that it depends upon the individual case. Either way, the same amount of noise is introduced to history. But the culpability of the source of that noise could differ from one case to another.

        Compare Eve. She got us all into a terrible pickle, but it was an honest mistake.

        Compare a heterosexual who intentionally lies in saying his marriage vows, so as to gain access to the sexual favors of his “bride,” and with no intention of fulfilling his vows. The marriage has not then really taken place, and it may be annulled. This is *completely different* than the case of a heterosexual who says his wedding vows honestly, knowing full well what they mean and fully intending to keep them, who later finds that he is too weak to do so. In that case, the marriage has really taken place, and cannot be undone; and in his adultery, the husband has performed a sacrilege. His violation of his vow is an insult to him in whose Name it was taken; it is in this insult that the adulterer’s sacrilege subsists.

      • Let me rephrase that: the dog/hyena analogy only applies at all to the extent it is an appeal to subjective intentions. Otherwise it doesn’t even make sense as an analogy.

        As to what errors of vincible or invincible ignorance are made by the Protestant “priest” or the sodomite “spouse”, about that I make no contentions at all. I expect they run the gamut. What interests me here is the contrast in our response, as Catholics, to their objective acts.

      • Nope. Say that Rover sincerely supposed that he could satisfy his intention to heal his master by devouring him, and proceeded to do so. Rover’s sincere intention to heal his master would nowise alter the objective, concrete character of his eating, or of its effects. All it would alter is Rover’s culpability. The intention of the act, and the sincerity of the intention, do not make it into a different sort of act altogether.

        Now, the liturgical counterpart of that case would be given by a Protestant minister who believes in the Real Presence sincerely undertaking to confect it by performing a Black Mass. This is not what such ministers intend to do; but – and this is the key point – nor is it, indeed, what they actually do. They may not altogether succeed in performing the acts they do undertake to perform, but they are not undertaking to perform Black Masses, and do not in fact perform them.

        Say in the limit that the act, whether of salving or devouring, was performed by an inanimate procedure such as the weather (such as the materialists do foolishly proclaim is so with all our acts), which had no intentions in respect to Rover’s master. Say that clear skies allowed the sun to bathe and purify his wounds, and that the dry air enabled them to coagulate quickly. But then say on the other hand that even though Rover’s master might have pulled through without medical attention, cold, wet, overcast weather caused him to die of hypothermia. On the one hand, the weather salved him, on the other it destroyed him. In neither case was there any intention to do either, whether sincere or not. But the cases are not thereby rendered equivalent; they are, on the contrary, contravalent, for salving is the opposite of killing.

      • Kristor:
        Now you are just being stubborn, and eventually you are going to have to revisit it and admit that the actual point I am making, independent of your digressions, is true and valid: that in both the case of sodomite “marriage” and Protestant “Eucharist”, the putative “ministers” of the putative “sacrament” are in fact ontologically incapable of confecting it.

      • I must say that I am enjoying this, Zippy!

        I have never once, in this discussion, said that you are wrong about the invalidity of invalid Eucharists. That’s a separate and distinct question. You keep returning to it, but I haven’t been talking about it. My tenor line from beginning to end has been that the equivalence of the moral character of sodomitical marriage and invalid Eucharists is an, “analogy too far; one of those parallels that burst upon the awareness in a flash, but that upon examination turn out to be problematic. “Lutheran communions are in the same category as homosexual buggery.” When it is put that plainly, it is rather obviously inept. Lutheran communions may indeed be defective, as homosexual buggery is (incomparably more) defective. That does not make them actively evil, as buggery is.”

        I don’t mean to be stubborn – I don’t suppose you do, either – I just can’t honestly construe an invalid rite as being really comparable in moral terms to buggery. Their ontological differences, as having different moral “sign” – the one wholly negative and actively evil, the other definitely positive and only deficiently good – make them incommensurable. The Black Mass is commensurable with buggery, but a Methodist communion is as different from a Black Mass as a Methodist is from a Satanist.

      • Kristor:
        I do get it that you are more sympathetic to one than the other. But what makes sodomitical “marriage” evil ultimately just is its deontological misdirection. I am certainly not prepared to call invalid Eucharists good — woe to him and all that.

        So I’m inclined to chalk up the difference in sensibility to something arational, at least until I see an argument other than the kind of “intuition pump” analogies you are using. In my understanding a Lutheran “Eucharist” is no less objectively a distorted parody of an important good than a sodomitical “marriage”, whatever personal motivations may underly them. My own sensibilities may lean differently, but that’s just the kind of cobweb I’d like to clear away.

      • “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” tells me that any sincere Christian leading that congregation of two or three can perform a valid sacrament.

        And if you do not believe that, you are going to be in trouble, because the current pope calls himself the Bishop of Rome, disowning apostolic succession, and preaching progressivism, not Roman Catholicism.

        If the pope implies he is not the pope, you have no pope.

        If you can put up with pope Bishop of Rome Francis, will you also put up with it when the Papacy becomes yet another letterhead stationary on the desk of a minor Harvard bureaucrat?

        A firm belief in the vital role of the priesthood through apostolic succession protects against the church being split into teeny little fragments, but it also renders you vulnerable to entryism.

      • By insisting that (what Catholics understand to be) an ontological requirement for valid consecration is no requirement at all, our Protestant friends illustrate my point for me.

      • And the notion of a defective rite proposes only a defective rite. If a rite is ineffective at confecting God, that doesn’t mean it is effective at confecting God minus x. It means that it doesn’t confect God, period full stop.

      • Allow me to attempt an increase in the precision of the analogy: sodomite marriage is to real marriage as the Satanic Mass is to the Eucharist. I.e., sodomite marriage is the *exact opposite* of real marriage, as the Satanic Mass is the exact opposite of the Eucharist.

        That is very clever, but of course wholly untrue to the actuality. Whatever you think of “sodomite marriage”, the intent is not to defile or invert the idea of traditional marriage, but to expand it.

      • Even if a minister honestly intends to perform a eucharist by celebrating a Black Mass, the fact of the matter is that in doing so he is performing a Black Mass, and not a eucharist.

        Likewise with “sodomitical marriage.” Intention is important, but the objective character of the act is what it is. Performance of sodomitical marriage is objectively impossible, because – like “satanic eucharist” – it is a contradiction in terms.

      • The Formless One opines,

        Whatever you think of “sodomite marriage”, the intent is not to defile or invert the idea of traditional marriage, but to expand it.

        The concept of marriage is fixed; therefore, any attempt to “expand” it can result only in its deformation or destruction.

        The inevitable results of this “expansion” of marriage are starting to crawl out: in California, Jerry Brown has just signed into law a bill that legally recognizes more than two parents. Heather Has Two Mommies? Yeah, and three daddies. Heather spends Monday with Mommy 1 (who split up with Daddy 1 to be with Daddy 2), Tuesday with Daddy 2 (who married Mommy 1 before she divorced him to be with Daddy 3, then Mommy 2), Wednesday with Mommy 2 (now estranged from Mommy 1), Thursday with Mommy 1 again (in therapy and considering self-mutilation, a.k.a. a sex change operation), and Friday with Daddy 3 (who doesn’t really like Heather, as she is his ex-wife’s progeny, but Daddy 1 is out of the picture, and someone has to take care of the brat, but she is starting to look pretty hot as she enters puberty…).

        Of course, the justification for this sick law is that it’s “in the best interests of children”—and based on the aberrant experience of one child!

        Biological reality has no claim on the deranged bizarro world we continue to descend into.

      • a.morpheus:
        Whatever you think of “sodomite marriage”, the intent is not to defile or invert the idea of traditional marriage, but to expand it.

        The observation Bonald prompted me to make here is independent of intentions. Intentions can and do vary dramatically by individual, as do degrees and kinds of ignorance. I have no doubt that both you and Kristor are right for some subset of people.

        But what doesn’t vary is that objectively, and quite independent of multifarious motivations, in both a case of sodomite “marriage” and a Protestant or womenpriest (but I repeat myself) “eucharist”, the minister who attempts the sacrament is ontologically incapable of actually performing it.

        And yet we Catholics respond quite differently to them. I think it is worth pondering why at more depth, without allowing “but those guys have bad intentions and those have good” question-begging to interfere with the thought process.

      • Kristor:
        Performance of sodomitical marriage is objectively impossible, …

        So is a Eucharistic consecration by a “priest” who lacks Apostolic succession.

      • Performance of sodomitical marriage is objectively impossible, …

        So is a Eucharistic consecration by a “priest” who lacks Apostolic succession.

        But I was never arguing that a Eucharistic consecration can be effected by someone ontologically unable to do so. I was arguing that the analogy between sodomitical marriage and invalid communions does not hold up. A sodomitical marriage is to real marriage as the Black Mass is to the Eucharist. An imperfect act is not ipso facto either worthless or utterly wicked. Only worthless or utterly wicked acts are worthless or utterly wicked.

      • Kristor:
        I was arguing that the analogy between sodomitical marriage and invalid communions does not hold up.

        I wasn’t making an analogy. I was pointing out facts which are true of both kinds of cases, as well as the disparate treatment of and attitudes about the different cases despite the common facts.

        That said, I think your analogies are rather histrionic and I am not at all prepared to buy into them.

      • But you said:

        In short, sodomite marriage is to real marriage as Protestant “communion” is to the Eucharist.

        Sure looks like an analogy to me!

        Now if you had said only something like, “sodomite marriage and Protestant “communion” are alike in being both invalid,” that would have been a far less ambitious and sweeping statement, and far less controvertible. To say that x and y are alike in certain respects is very far from saying that they are just alike. Oranges and zebras are alike in some respects – material, organic, terrestrial, living, carbon-based, sexual, etc. – but are nevertheless incommensurable: it makes no sense to ask of an orange whether or not it is a good zebra. It has seemed to me from the start that you have been saying that x and y are just alike; whereas I have been saying, “Whoa, that’s going a little too far; they are alike in some respects, but they are so different as to be incommensurable.”

      • Kristor:
        OK, you are right, I apparently did use the language of analogy. In any case though what nobody has done is give objective facts that demonstrate them to be fundamentally different in the objective moral domain. They are both parodies of a real sacrament enacted by ministers who are ontologically incapable. Other than by invoking intuition pumps the purpose of which is to shift focus to the subjective[*], what can be said to distinguish them objectively? Is sodomitical “marriage” for example more scandalous, in the sense of leading more people into (or confirming them in) a more serious error? It doesn’t look that way to me.

        [*] I of course do not discount the subjective when it comes to moral culpability.

      • Well, this is getting a little too consequentialist for comfort, but I would say that, yes, sodomitical “marriage” is far more scandalous than invalid eucharists. The more seriously a man takes the notion of sodomitical marriage, the more he accepts it, the greater the trouble he is in. The more seriously he takes the notion of the eucharist, and the more he accepts it, the more he will want to be sure that the eucharist of which he partakes is valid. He will look first in this into whether or not his own prior repentance is valid, which is of course the main thing that can destroy any rite, or life (the Sin against the Holy Spirit being alone ontologically unforgivable). But he will look also to the form of the rite, and this cannot but lead him eventually to a consideration of the effects upon the Apostolic Succession of schism, or of heresy, and other such matters. And this testing is more likely than not to incline him toward greater union with that Succession.

        So, great good can come from exposure to Protestant communions. Better a failed or defective attempt to worship YHWH than a failure to worship him at all, or a successful attempt to worship anything else.

        As to the differences between sodomitical marriage and invalid rites in the objective moral domain, I’m not sure how I can be more specific than to reiterate that, while they are similar in many respects, their differences are so profound as to make them as incommensurable as zebras and oranges. Sodomitical marriage is an attempt to do what cannot be done, by definition, and in principle: consummate the marital sacrament via a homosexual congress. There is no way under heaven that two men can marry, no matter what they might do, and no matter what their other ontological properties. A Protestant communion, on the other hand, is an attempt to do what can be done: prepare by a human act of consecration and sacrifice for the consummation of the eucharistic sacrament. There is a way under heaven that any congregation can partake of the eucharist: provide for a valid rite by arranging for a priest, wheaten bread, wine, water, a proper performance of the basic rubric, and so forth. There is nothing in the essential natures of the humans involved in the latter sacrament, qua humans, that absolutely prevents the rite. Not so for the marriage of two men: their essential natures absolutely prevent the thing from happening.

        A sodomitical marriage, then, is an utter rejection of the essential order of being, while a Protestant communion is at the very least a gesture in honor of it.

      • The concept of marriage is fixed; therefore, any attempt to “expand” it can result only in its deformation or destruction.

        Quite obviously false, as demonstrated by the difference in marriage customs in ancient times (which included plural marriage, Levirate marriage, etc. The issue of whether a man could marry his deceased wife’s sister was a convulsive controversy in the 19th century Britain and only settled by law in 1907.

        Our notions of what a proper marriage has changed considerably over the years and there’s no particular reason to think that process stopped in 1952.

      • You do see that all the forms of marriage you notice, or that have ever been practiced anywhere, by any people, have involved sexual intercourse between at least one man and at least one woman, right? No one in history has ever before thought that it could be otherwise. If we expand “marriage” so as to include formalized sexual acts that leave out either men or women, we deform the term. That doesn’t mean we deform reality. It means we disagree with reality. That never ends well.

      • Kristor:
        The more seriously a man takes the notion of sodomitical marriage, the more he accepts it, the greater the trouble he is in. The more seriously he takes the notion of the eucharist, and the more he accepts it, the more he will want to be sure that the eucharist of which he partakes is valid.

        From my point of view you are just cherry picking your words. The more a man takes seriously the notion of a sacramental life outside of the Apostolic Church, the more trouble he is in.

        And here:
        Sodomitical marriage is an attempt to do what cannot be done, by definition, and in principle: consummate the marital sacrament via a homosexual congress. There is no way under heaven that two men can marry, no matter what they might do, and no matter what their other ontological properties. A Protestant communion, on the other hand, is an attempt to do what can be done: prepare by a human act of consecration and sacrifice for the consummation of the eucharistic sacrament. There is a way under heaven that any congregation can partake of the eucharist: provide for a valid rite by arranging for a priest, wheaten bread, wine, water, a proper performance of the basic rubric, and so forth.

        If one of the men was a woman there could also be a true marriage. “Protestant Eucharist” is every bit as much an ontological self-contradiction as “sodomitical marriage”.

      • From my point of view you are just cherry picking your words.

        Yeah, I get that a lot. From all sorts of interlocutors. I console myself that I’m in good company, in that respect. 😉

        The more a man takes seriously the notion of a sacramental life outside of the Apostolic Church, the more trouble he is in.

        You asked where the greater scandal lay; I just don’t see this sort of thing happening. My experience is that the more seriously a man takes the notion of sacramental life at all, of any sort, the greater his awareness of and interest in joining the Apostolic Church. Why, a man can start out with an innocent habit of enjoying a bit of sung Latin or a whiff of incense from time to time – the odor of sanctity and the echoes of the ages, all so very evocative and alluring – and before he knows it find himself a hard-core TLM addict, trembling like a leaf and almost retching with terror as he approaches the locus of his next fix; then, having scored, stumbling away suffused with relief and a happiness all too evanescent.

        If one of the men was a woman there could also be a true marriage.

        Ah, but in that case the ministers would not be attempting to consummate the rite with an act of homosexual congress, would they? If one of the men was a woman, then it wouldn’t be such a case as we have been discussing. It is as if you had just written, “if one of the congregation was a priest in the Apostolic Succession, there could also be a valid Eucharist.” Well, yeah, but that wasn’t what we’ve been talking about.

        “Protestant Eucharist” is every bit as much an ontological self-contradiction as “sodomitical marriage”.

        But this has never been at issue between us. The issue is whether one ontological contradiction in terms is *just like* another. You say they are, I say they are incommensurable. “Square circle” is an ontological contradiction in terms, but it is not at all the same sort of thing as “sodomitical marriage.” Nor, likewise, is “invalid Eucharist” just the same sort of thing as “square circle” or “sodomitical marriage.” These three contradictions in terms are not mutually commensurable.

      • Kristor:
        Ah, but in that case the ministers would not be attempting to consummate the rite with an act of homosexual congress, would they?

        Right. The point being that once we change the basic facts it isn’t the same act at all. Sodomy isn’t intercourse, and Protestant consecration isn’t consecration. In both cases the reality is mocked by a pretension, in an attempt to cherry pick the experience while rejecting its essential nature, because the full reality would require humbling ourselves and accepting the full consequences of the nature of what we are doing.

        I noticed that you didn’t even write “Protestant Eucharist” as the self contradiction.

        One key factual difference that I see is that in the one case, God is mocked; whereas in the other, human sexuality is mocked. The former is infinitely more serious than the latter.

      • Sodomy isn’t intercourse, and Protestant consecration isn’t consecration.

        I get this, honestly I do. It is not at issue in this discussion. It does not follow that:

        In both cases the reality is mocked by a pretension.

        Clearly, those few high-church Anglicans who truly believe they are indeed ontologically capable of confecting the Real Presence, on account of what they honestly take to be their membership in the Apostolic Succession, are not pretending to be priests, but consider themselves priests, period full stop. So far as they are concerned, what they are doing is the real thing. I know lots of Anglican priests – lots and lots – and they all take it as obvious, plain as the nose on your face, that they are members of the Apostolic Succession.

        So, they are not pretending to be priests, any more than Rover is pretending to salve his master’s wounds. They are not mocking God. On the contrary, they are worshipping him with all their might.

        I noticed that you didn’t even write “Protestant Eucharist” as the self contradiction.

        I wrote “invalid Eucharist” because there are many ways for a Eucharistic consecration to fail; a failure in the Apostolic Succession being but one. This is a point both instructive and salient to our discussion. One of the ways that a consecration can be ontologically inadequate, for example, is if the confection is attempted using rice crackers that have no wheat in them.

        Say that a Catholic priest of the Roman Rite tried to consecrate crackers – in a war zone, say, where the supply of communion wafers was curtailed – that he took to be made of a mixture of rice and wheat flour, but that in reality were made with nothing but rice flour. The consecration would fail, as invalid. But he would not be guilty of pretense, nor would his rite be blasphemy, or mockery of God. Indeed, I should think that the God who instituted and owns the Eucharist and is himself its substance (rather than vice versa) would look upon that earnest priest and his honest invalid consecration with favor, and even blessing (albeit not, perhaps, with the blessing of his Real Presence in the rice crackers (although that Presence would of course by no means be beyond his Power to effect, no matter what the priest, or anyone else, did or did not do or think in respect to the cracker or to anything else)(to think that God is somehow under the control of the priest, at his beck and call, really *is* to mock him)).

        This is, perhaps, why the Church says of honest Anglican priests and Lutheran pastors not that in their Holy Communions they have mocked God, but rather that “when they commemorate the Lord’s death and resurrection in the Holy Supper [they] profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.” (Unitatis Redintegratio 22 § 3)

      • Kristor:
        So far as they are concerned, what they are doing is the real thing.

        So far as a transsexual is concerned, he really is a she.

        I know lots of Anglican priests – lots and lots – and they all take it as obvious, plain as the nose on your face, that they are members of the Apostolic Succession.

        That may explain your intransigence, if not much else. “I have lots of friends who are gay, and their love for each other is sincere”.

      • So far as a transsexual is concerned, he really is a she

        Right. Whatever else is going on to mess up his mind, the honest transsexual is not pretending. Hard to imagine *pretending* to want to cut off your penis, and then on the basis of that pretense going through with the operation.

        That [you know lots of Anglican priests who construe themselves members of the Apostolic Succession] may explain your intransigence, if not much else.

        Hah! Good one. But the existence of such priests doesn’t explain anything at all, for it is, not an explanation, but a fact that falsifies the notion that they are engaged in an act of pretension when they celebrate what they honestly take to be the Eucharist.

        Zippy, I’m not being intransigent, it’s just that you’ve failed to convince me. You’ve noticed one sort of formal similarity between sodomitical “marriage” and Protestant communions, and leapt from that – and, so far as I can tell, only from that – to the conclusion that Protestant communions are tantamount to blasphemy. I’m sorry, but you haven’t connected the dots between the premise and the conclusion. It is as if you had said, “Whoa! Both inadvertent trespass and murder involve uncompensated economic taking; they must be equally wicked.” All I am saying is, as it were, “I can see that both acts involve such taking, and that’s an interesting insight, but I don’t see how it can be concluded on that basis alone that trespass and murder are equally wicked. Indeed, they are obviously so very different as to be incommensurable. Murder is incomparably worse than mere trespass.”

        It is clear that for you the fact that Protestant ministers are incapable of completing consecrations suffices by itself to ground the conclusion that their communions are blasphemous, falling in the same damnably wicked category as a Black Mass or a sacrifice to Moloch. For me, it does not; I require more to conclude that an act that is both subjectively and objectively the worship of YHWH – no matter how botched up it may be – is actually the opposite.

        The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation. (Unitatis Redintegratio 3 § 3)

        Can blasphemy possibly engender a life of grace? That seems rather like asking whether cutting off a man’s penis can possibly perfect his manhood.

      • Kristor:
        You’ve noticed one sort of formal similarity between sodomitical “marriage” and Protestant communions…

        You aren’t convinced; I get that. But it isn’t “one sort of formal similarity”. Sodomitical marriage is wrong precisely because of the ontological incapacity of its putative ministers. That’s the very thing that makes it “against nature” and thus morally wrong in the attempt.

      • No argument there.

        Where I remain unconvinced is in concluding from this formal similarity alone – serious as it is – that the ontological incapacity of the invalid priest to confect the Eucharist makes his attempt to do so damnable blasphemy per se, as is the case with the ontological incapacity of the ministers to sodomitical “marriage.”

        My basic argument is that it does not follow simply from an ontological incapacity of an agent y to perform act x that y’s attempts to perform x are unnatural or damnable per se, for every value of x and y. For some x and y, it certainly does. And this is what we see with sodomitical “marriage,” or, say, murder. But not so for all x and all y.

        This is why I adduced the ontological incapacity of Rover to heal his master’s mortal wounds, no matter how diligently he licked them, and the ontological incapacity of Kristor and Zippy to understand anything completely, no matter how hard we try. It does not follow from Rover’s ontological incapacity that his care of his master is damnable. Indeed, it is laudable, even if it does no good. And our attempts to understand are not unnatural, despite the fact that we are by nature ontologically incapable of completing our understanding. Indeed, it is our nature as rational intelligent beings to attempt to understand.

        Thanks to Original Sin, humans are by nature ontologically incapable of perfect goodness in act. Does this mean that all our attempts to be good are damnably wicked, blasphemous mockeries of God? Does it mean that we ought not even to try to be good?

        We cannot keep the whole of the Torah. Does that mean that we ought not to try? Does it mean that refraining from murder and theft is damnable? Ought we to steal and kill and screw around with abandon?

        Likewise also then with ontological incapacities to perfect worship. They do not suffice to transform attempted worship into perfected blasphemy. A validly ordained priest who unknowingly tries to consecrate a rice cracker has confected an invalid Eucharist. But he has not blasphemed. A priest (Roman, Coptic, Anglican, Orthodox, what have you) who celebrates the Eucharist believing in the validity of his orders, as deriving from an unbroken Apostolic Succession that, unbeknownst to him, has somewhere in the mists of time in fact been broken, has confected an invalid Eucharist. But he has not blasphemed.

        Ontological incapacity of the agent to perfect an act is not alone sufficient to constitute his attempt to do so as either contrary to nature or damnable. More is needed.

      • Kristor:
        Ontological incapacity of the agent to perfect an act is not alone sufficient to constitute his attempt to do so as either contrary to nature or damnable. More is needed.

        It isn’t just an attempt made in the context of ontological incapacity though. If it that were all that is is, the agent would concede failure after the failed attempt.

        Rather, both sodomitical ‘marriage’ and protestant ‘eucharists’ are pretenses that a disordered ‘completion’ is good. They are a form of lie; disorders in relation to the truth about the good.

        Furthermore, unlike the sodomitical ‘marriage’, a protestant eucharist is a form of lie specifically about God.

      • Well, but no. Not all falsehoods are lies. Lies are *intentional* falsehoods. Sodomitical “marriage” is an intentional falsehood. Protestant ministers don’t believe their communions are invalid, so they aren’t lying in performing them.

        There are two sorts of Protestant ministers: those who don’t believe in the Real Presence, and those few who do. The former are not pretending to confect the Real Presence, because, as considering such confections impossible, they don’t intend them in the first place, but rather a mere recollection, or something of the sort. The latter are not pretending to confect the Real Presence, because they honestly believe that they are competent to confect it, and that they are really confecting it. There is no lying going on, in either group; only error.

        It seems to me in fact that the really egregious blasphemy is being performed by validly ordained priests who represent themselves as believing in the Real Presence, and who perform the Eucharist, but do not in fact believe in it. Those guys are definitely lying, taking the Name in vain. Ditto for those who say the Credo without believing it.

        It does not in any case follow even from the fact that an agent attempted to perform an act that he knew he was ontologically incapable of performing that the act itself was either damnable or unnatural. That Rover knows in his poor doggy head that he can’t heal his master, does not make his licking damnable, or unnatural, or injurious.

        Finally, that an act is incomplete, or is performed disorderly, does not *necessarily* transform it altogether into an entirely vicious act, so that its moral ‘sign’ is negative, rather than positive. If I try to save you from drowning, and fail, that does not render my attempt altogether wicked. If I try to save you from drowning, and inadvertently kill you in the process, that does not render my attempt altogether wicked. If I try to save you from drowning, and in my foolish misguided efforts I prevent you from swimming to safety on your own, that does not render my attempt altogether wicked. If I try to save you from drowning even though I know for sure I can’t succeed (on account of the Killer Whale over there, say), that doesn’t render my attempt altogether wicked. If I try to save you from drowning even though I can’t swim, that doesn’t make my attempt altogether wicked. If I try to save you from drowning, not because I give a hoot about you, but only because I want to impress my girlfriend, that doesn’t make my attempt altogether wicked.

      • Kristor:
        You are once again appealing to the subjective to make the distinction. But on what basis do you think that “the minister doesn’t believe he is doing anything wrong, even though he is in fact doing something wrong” applies necessarily and always to the one pseudosacrament but not to the other? It seems to me that you are just engaging in special pleading: the one disordered action comes from good intentions, but the other cannot.

      • I wrote:

        Ontological incapacity of the agent to perfect an act is not alone sufficient to constitute his attempt to do so as either contrary to nature or damnable. More is needed.

        You replied:

        It isn’t just an attempt made in the context of ontological incapacity though. [It is] a form of lie.

        My ‘appeal to the subjective’ was to point out that, objectively, there is no lying involved in the Protestant minister’s act. If a man does not subjectively believe he is lying *then objectively he is not lying.* The subjective conviction of honesty is the *only* threshold that an act needs to pass in order for it to be objectively honest – not true, mind you, or accurate, just honest. So far is this from an appeal to the subjective, that it is a matter of sheer definition of terms. If a man believes he is truthful, then *by definition* he is not lying.

        Objectively, then, the Protestant minister’s act has not the form of a lie. It may have the form of falsehood or of error, sure, but not of a lie. The Protestant may be wrong about x, but he is not therefore necessarily a hypocrite about x.

        A hypocritical Eucharist could only be performed by a man who *acted* as if he believed in his ontological capacity to confect the Real Presence in the Eucharist, but *in fact* did not actually believe in that capacity – either because he didn’t believe in his priesthood, or in the efficacy of the rite, or in the Real Presence. A validly ordained priest who has lost his faith and performs the Eucharist anyway is engaging in damnable blasphemy, is taking the Name in vain. He puts his soul in mortal peril. But he does not frustrate the Eucharist. Nor does his blasphemy even make his act necessarily and altogether wicked in terms of his own personal moral accounts in the Book of Life. If the doubtful priest performs the Eucharist for a dying parishioner, to comfort and succor him in his last moments, then he puts his own soul in jeopardy of everlasting damnation for the sake of another. That’s a good.

        Notwithstanding all that I have said, let me say also that I agree with your basic point, that the Mass has been traduced, and that the traduction of this sacrament is similar to the traduction of marriage. Quite so.

        It’s just that some traductions of both sacraments are worse than others; not all of them constitute utter repudiations of these sacraments. E.g., a man and woman who marry in a civil ceremony don’t traduce the sacrament to the same degree as a man and woman who marry sacramentally and then commit adultery. Likewise, a Protestant minister who doesn’t believe in the Real Presence and performs his communion’s rite of Holy Supper as an act of commemoration doesn’t traduce the sacrament to the same degree as a Catholic priest who celebrates the Eucharist faithlessly.

      • Kristor:
        To the extent that “lie” doesn’t characterize a Protestant Eucharist always and necessarily, it also doesn’t characterize sodomitical marriage always and necessarily.

        That’s why I also used the language of Veritatis Splendour — “disorder in relation to the truth about the good”. I’m perfectly happy to use or not use the term “lie” as shorthand for the kind of disorder we are discussing. But either way it applies as much, or not, to the one pseudosacrament as to the other.

      • Fair enough. I’m happy to drop all talk about whether a celebrant is lying, or engaging in pretense, or hypocritical, and focus instead on the objective character of his act. And I agree that acts can be disordered in re the truth about the good – can, i.e., be false – even when they are honest (and, likewise, that they can be true even when dishonest). Indeed, I said just that a couple times in just my last comment: the faithless priest’s Eucharist is true despite his own blasphemy in confecting it.

        The question then boils down to this: are devout High Church Anglicans engaging in their Masses in the moral and spiritual equivalent of the Black Mass, blaspheming the Holy One and rejecting his salvation? Are they perpetrating the Abomination of Desolation?

        Is Rover devouring his master?

        No. Ontological incapacity of an agent to complete an act does not transform the objective moral character of the act he does in fact perform from good to evil. An act that is mistaken or defective is not ipso facto vicious through and through. Defect, error or disorder in the worship of YWHW does not constitute worship of Ba’al Moloch. An invalid Eucharist is not tantamount to a Black Mass.

        Sodomitical “marriage” is different from invalid Eucharists. They are alike in that they both fail as sacraments. They differ in that sodomitical “marriage” cannot by any accident of history be transformed into marriage. You can’t make a man into a woman, for his manhood is essential to him. So the order of being rules out the possibility of a marriage between two men.

        You can however make a man into a priest, in a trice, provided there is a validly ordained bishop on hand. So a man’s priesthood is not essential to his very being, as his manhood is. On the contrary, his priesthood is accidental to his very being; meanwhile, his manhood is essential to his priesthood.

        The validity of a Eucharist, then, depends upon quite a few accidents of history: wheat, wine, priesthood, rubric, and so forth. One couldn’t, for example, assemble a validly ordained priest, wheat bread and grape wine, and then confect a Eucharist using the rubric of a Black Mass. If those accidents are all properly coordinated, a valid Eucharist may then ensue. Even if they are not, and a valid Eucharist does not ensue, the objective character of what does ensue is not necessarily and throughout a contravention of the order of being, of the Logos, and of God.

        But no possible configuration of accidents can form sufficient foreconditions of a marriage of two men. Marriage between men is ruled out as incoherent and inactualizable, in just the same way that a square circle is incoherent and inactualizable. As you can’t even pretend to draw a square circle, you can’t even pretend to marry two men to each other. Oh, you can say the words, “these guys are married,” just as you can say the words, “this figure I have drawn is a square circle.” But you can’t actually draw the square circle, and you can’t actually marry the two guys. So, you can’t say that you have married the two guys without lying, and you can’t act as if the two guys are really married without *completely contravening the order of being.*

        Sorry to go on so long, but you’ve got me learning stuff here.

      • Kristor:
        No idea why you keep going on about Black Masses, other than for rhetorical effect.

        I’ll just note at this point that your argument clearly depends on trivializing Apostolic Succession and the Priesthood versus sex. But that seems to beg the question.

      • Suppose the apostolic succession becomes a letterhead on the desk of a Harvard bureaucrat, or one of the thousands of organizations that Acorn has taken over, all of which now operate out of the same postal address. Some nonentity in Acorn is president treasurer, and general secretary of a thousand organizations that Acorn has taken over. Likely he will be Pope as well.

        What are Roman Catholics going to do then?

      • James A. Donald:
        The barely-contained glee of some Protestants at the prospect of the destruction of Apostolic Succession is remarkably similar to the attitude of sexual libertines at the prospect of the destruction of traditional sexual morality. This is no accident.

      • The Black Mass entered the conversation and remains relevant because it is the true liturgical analogue to sodomitical “marriage,” as being like it a perfect contravention – and, ergo, repudiation – of the Logos expressed in the order of creation and the essential natures of things. If the essences of created beings are naturally ordered “upward” toward the Logos, as (if he exists at all) we must say that they are, then the Black Mass is ordered downward. When you say then that Anglican Masses are the moral and spiritual analogue of sodomitical “marriage,” you effectually say that they are the moral and spiritual analogue of the Black Mass: again, a perfect contravention and repudiation of the Logos. So I use the Black Mass, not for rhetorical effect, but as the absurd terminus of a reductio ad absurdam argument against the notion that Anglican Masses are the moral and spiritual analogue of sodomitical “marriage.”

        I am in no way trivializing the Apostolic Succession or the priesthood versus sex. To say that their sex is essential to men, while their membership in the priesthood is accidental, is only to state a fact. That sex is ineluctable, while priesthood can be conferred, doesn’t mean that priesthood is less important than sex.

        I know that you are not in fact doing so, but it could be said with equal or greater accuracy that your argument depends upon trivializing the *differences* between priesthood and sex, and the differences between failure to consummate a procedure and success at consummating quite a different procedure. The impotence of a man to consummate a Eucharist is more like the impotence of a man to consummate a sacramental marriage than it is like his success in the commission of homosexual buggery.

      • Kristor:
        The Black Mass entered the conversation and remains relevant because it is the true liturgical analogue to sodomitical “marriage,”

        That’s not a point of view I’ve expressed or agreed to. Nor am I particularly interested in unpacking all that is problematic in it, especially in an already long comment thread.

        I am in no way trivializing the Apostolic Succession or the priesthood versus sex.

        Yes you are. You are saying, quite precisely, that lack of apostolic succession is ontologically trivial compared to lack of sexual complementarity in the carrying out of a pseudo-sacrament. On your account that is precisely what makes “sodomitical marriage” so much worse than a “protestant eucharist.”

        Mind you, earlier on you were arguing that ontological incapacity in itself doesn’t make attempting an act evil (dog/hyena etc); which is true but irrelevant, because both “sodomitical marriage” and “protestant eucharist” are not merely attempts to do something of which one is incapable. They are pretenses to completion of a sacrament of which one is ontologically incapable, where “pretenses” doesn’t mean merely to self-consciously pretend but to insist upon the reality of a falsehood. They are the dog insisting that his dead master is really still alive, because of his licking.

      • Zip, I hesitate to get started with this again after the lapse of a few days, but did want to respond to your last. But this will I think be my last word on the subject (although naturally I reserve the right to change my mind about that!). You write:

        [That the Black Mass is the true liturgical analogue to sodomitical “marriage” is] not a point of view I’ve expressed or agreed to.

        I know. I introduced it. You have not responded to the argument at all. I’ve introduced several arguments you’ve likewise ignored!

        You are saying, quite precisely, that lack of apostolic succession is ontologically trivial compared to lack of sexual complementarity in the carrying out of a pseudo-sacrament.

        Sorry, no. From the fact that his sex is essential to a man while his priesthood is accidental it does not follow that his priesthood is trivial compared to his sex. Manhood is the base case, the most ignoble case. Everything added to it is an increase in nobility. A musician or philosopher is nobler than a man untrained in those disciplines, ceteris paribus.

        Likewise, that a man is made of atoms does not mean that his other features are trivial by comparison with his atomic composition.

        I was not in any case arguing that marriage is more or less important than the Eucharist, much less that it is more important *because* sex is more important than priesthood. I have not made either of those arguments. On the contrary, while sex and marriage are more basic than priesthood and the Eucharist, I would argue that they are *less* important, in that, like everything in creation, they are for, about, and ordered to the Eucharistic feast.

        One of my basic arguments is that, while the Eucharist and marriage are both sacraments, they are as fundamentally different as sex is from priesthood – this being why they are treated as two quite different sacraments, rather than one. That’s why I think it inapt to draw any very tight analogy between them.

        … both “sodomitical marriage” and “protestant eucharist” are not merely attempts to do something of which one is incapable. They are pretenses to completion of a sacrament of which one is ontologically incapable, where “pretenses” doesn’t mean merely to self-consciously pretend but to insist upon the reality of a falsehood. They are the dog insisting that his dead master is really still alive, because of his licking.

        Again you have ignored the difference I have repeatedly pointed out, between insisting dishonestly that a falsehood is true, and insisting honestly that a falsehood is true. Because his manhood is essential to him, it is ontologically impossible for a (sane) man to say honestly that his union with another man is a marriage. It is by contrast quite possible for a priest – whether Anglican, Coptic, Armenian Orthodox, or Catholic – to be honestly mistaken about his membership in the Apostolic Succession. Consider the case of a priest who celebrated the Eucharist, not yet knowing that the Pope had defrocked him the week before. Would his Eucharist be the equivalent of a sodomitical “marriage”?

        Knowledge that one is doing wrong is *essential* to moral culpability. To quote one of the most penetrating analysts of Catholic moral theology now writing:

        An intrinsically immoral act is one in which “that specific behaviour” – the object – is knowingly chosen by the acting subject and is an immoral behaviour.

      • Kristor:

        From the fact that his sex is essential to a man while his priesthood is accidental it does not follow that his priesthood is trivial compared to his sex.

        If being accidental (stipulated, not necessarily agreed) is precisely what makes priesthood morally trivial in the one case compared to sex in the other it is still the case that priesthood is asserted to be morally trivial compared to sex.

        Again you have ignored the difference I have repeatedly pointed out, between insisting dishonestly that a falsehood is true, and insisting honestly that a falsehood is true.

        I haven’t ignored it. I’ve addressed it several times. Again, I am sure that subjective states of vincible and invincible ignorance run the gamut for both Protestant ministers and sodomite spouses. Some are no doubt invincibly ignorant; some no doubt vincibly; and a few aren’t ignorant at all and are simply willful. But the distribution of subjective states in populations doesn’t enter into evaluation of objective actions.

        Knowledge that one is doing wrong is *essential* to moral culpability

        Yes of course. But ignorance cannot turn an objectively wicked behaviour into a good behavior:

        It is possible that the evil done as the result of invincible ignorance or a non-culpable error of judgment may not be imputable to the agent; but even in this case it does not cease to be an evil, a disorder in relation to the truth about the good. — Veritatis Splendour

      • If being accidental (stipulated, not necessarily agreed) is *precisely what makes* priesthood morally trivial in the one case compared to sex in the other it is still the case that priesthood is asserted to be morally trivial compared to sex.

        It isn’t. I don’t think priesthood is morally trivial as compared to sex. The only reason I pointed out that sex is essential and priesthood accidental to manhood was to explicate the difference between the sort of falsehood perpetrated by a minister to a sodomitical “marriage” and the sort of falsehood perpetrated by a minister to an invalid Eucharist. A sane man can honestly err in thinking his priestly orders valid, because it is open to question whether or not he is really a priest; and a priest can fail of his priesthood, repudiate it, and leave holy orders. Not so for a man. It is not open to any sane man to question honestly whether or not he is a man, because his manhood is essential to his being, obvious, ineluctable. The only way he can stop being a man is to stop being. He can’t fail to be a man except by failing to be. So, no sane man can honestly think he is capable of marrying another man, because he can’t honestly think that either he or his “spouse” are women.

        Yes of course[: Knowledge that one is doing wrong is *essential* to moral culpability]. But ignorance cannot turn an objectively wicked behaviour into a good behavior.

        You bet. But what is at issue between us is whether an honest attempt to consummate a Eucharist that fails on account of an unknown ontological incapacity is objectively wicked. If we say “yes; as wicked, or even more wicked, than sodomitical ‘marriage’,” then likewise we have to say of the validly ordained priest who ignorantly consecrates a rice wafer that he has done an evil as great as sodomy. Likewise also for the man who celebrates a Eucharist not yet knowing that he has been defrocked, or that his order has been excommunicated. Likewise also for the man who unwittingly consecrates pomegranate wine, or berry wine. Likewise for the man who, unbeknownst to everyone now alive, suffers from a defect in his Apostolic Succession somewhere in the mists of time – something to do with schismatic Popes or the like. We must then say that all these poor fellows would have been better off engaging in buggery and calling it marriage.

        The question is whether trying to do a good, and failing thereat, is morally equivalent to – or even worse than – trying to do an evil, and succeeding thereat. I just can’t see that it is. The failure to perform an objective good does not transform that objective good into an objective evil. I’m afraid that nothing you could say would convince me that Rover is devouring his master.

        Now, that really is all that I shall have to say on this question. Thanks for your engagement on the topic, Zippy. It’s been edifying.

      • Well, I can see how you’d feel that way. From my point of view, while you have certainly dealt with some of my arguments, you haven’t defeated any of them. But, it’s been fun!

      • Take two societies otherwise completely identical in every respect, except that one permits homosexual marriage and the other does not. Which will prevail? The question answers itself.

        Then why are you asking it?

        Surely you can do better than an appeal to a purported obviousness that is anything but obvious.

      • a.morphous, it’s a *rhetorical question.* I know you are familiar with the maneuver, because in asking why I asked the question, you yourself employed it. So please, don’t play cute.

        I can’t believe – I mean, I know you are a liberal, but still I can’t believe you are unable to do the demographic math implicit in the question. I mean, it’s just not credible. The question is so very simple; it is as difficult a question as, “which is greater, 1 or 2?” You’re very smart. It’s clear, from the way you write. So, come: what’s your answer to the question? Of two societies otherwise completely identical, which will outbreed and extinguish the other: the society that valorizes homosexuality, or the one that discourages it in favor of heterosexuality?

        What is your honest answer?

        What does your honest answer tell you about the relative preferences for homosexuality versus heterosexuality that are inherent in the structure of the cosmos?

        And what do those relative preferences of the structure of the cosmos tell us about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality, as compared with heterosexuality?

        No one here will blame or mock you for honest answers to these questions that contradict the principles you have here so far espoused. Indeed, we would all consider it an act of tremendous valor on your part, and would congratulate you. Almost nothing is so honorable and courageous, so excellent and admirable in a man. Your great courage and loyalty in promoting your convictions here, on what you cannot but apprehend as enemy territory, are evidence enough of your guts. There is no need to prove anything to us. You are our adversary, but we know your mettle.

        Come now, friend: what is your answer?

      • A rhetorical question only works if the answer is in fact obvious.

        Of two societies otherwise completely identical, which will outbreed and extinguish the other: the society that valorizes homosexuality, or the one that discourages it in favor of heterosexuality?

        We were talking about same-sex marriage; you are changing the subject.

        Your purportedly obvious point rests on a number of shaky (ie, wrong) assumptions:

        (1) that in the society that discourages homosexuality, the homosexuals will get about breeding like everybody else,
        (2) that in the society that “valorizes” homosexuality, the homosexuals won’t breed. Most gay couples that want to get married are (in my experience) also rasiing children (adopted or conceived with the help of third parties),
        (3) that the triumph of one society over another is mostly a matter of one outbreeding the other. Doesn’t culture and weaponry matter? Perhaps the society that produces more gay military engineers like Leonardo da Vinci and Alan Turing will win.

        What does your honest answer tell you about the relative preferences for homosexuality versus heterosexuality that are inherent in the structure of the cosmos?

        Not a damned thing, of course. The cosmos cares very little about what humans do with their genitalia.

        Natural selection does care, in some sense, about the ability of organisms, genes, and societies to reproduce themselves. The dropping birthrate in advanced industrial countries is something to worry about, perhaps, but legalizing gay marriage is a very minor factor in that.

        You are our adversary, but we know your mettle.

        Well, thanks. For my part, I respect that the people here seem to be intellectually serious, even if we are poles apart.

      • A rhetorical question only works if the answer is in fact obvious.

        It is in fact obvious.

        We were talking about same-sex marriage; you are changing the subject.

        Approval of homosexual marriage is the perfection of the valorization of homosexuality.

        Your purportedly obvious point rests on a number of shaky (i.e., wrong) assumptions:
        1. that in the society that discourages homosexuality, the homosexuals will get about breeding like everybody else,

        No; only that marginally more of them will do so. All these things operate at the margins.

        2. that in the society that “valorizes” homosexuality, the homosexuals won’t breed. Most gay couples that want to get married are (in my experience) also raising children (adopted or conceived with the help of third parties),

        No; only that marginally fewer of them will do so. Ibid.

        3. that the triumph of one society over another is mostly a matter of one outbreeding the other. Doesn’t culture and weaponry matter? Perhaps the society that produces more gay military engineers like Leonardo da Vinci and Alan Turing will win.

        It’s a controlled experiment. Both societies have *exactly the same number* of brilliant military engineers and brilliant fashion designers. The *only* difference between the two cultures is that one of them promotes barren homosexuality, thus increasing the opportunities for homosexual acts and reducing the costs thereof, while the other proscribes it, thus reducing the opportunities for homosexual acts and increasing the costs thereof.

        The dropping birthrate in advanced industrial countries is something to worry about, perhaps, but legalizing gay marriage is a very minor factor in that.

        That’s what they said about divorce, and the pill. NB also that birthrates are plummeting globally, not just in the developed world.

        Let me make this as simple as possible. Take two groups of four people – two men and two women in each – and otherwise exactly the same. In each group there is one man who feels sexual attraction to men. In group A, homosexual acts are punished by torture and death. In group B, homosexual acts are praised and revered, and rewarded with all the wealth that the group controls. I’m trying to make this as stark as possible, so that it is easy.

        Which group is most likely, all other things whatsoever held equal, to increase in size more than the other?

      • It’s a controlled experiment.

        I’d like to see this experiment get by an IRB. Let me know when you publish your results.

        I have to say I am surprised at the arguments you are floating. First, the (bogus) quasi-evolutionary argument that gay marriage is bad because it affects the reproduction rate. Are you suggesting that we base our morality on marginal increases in fitness?

        Now you are proposing that you could do a “controlled experiment” between two societies, changing only one law. When of course, any societies that differs on how they treat gay marriage are likely going to differ along many other dimensions as well. It’s pretty obvious to me that a tolerance for gays and gay marriage is correlated with cultural creativity, and so my guess is that the gay-friendly societies will do better, despite what seems obvious to you.

      • I’m not suggesting that valorization of homosex is bad because it has bad demographic effects, but that it has bad demographic effects because homosex is bad. Bad effects are not a reason, but an indication, a tell that allows us to see how the mathematical order of reality reacts to a strategy, and thus how well a strategy agrees with that order.

        Because it’s a thought experiment I’m proposing, it is easy to control it perfectly so as to isolate and test the specific policy we are considering, in a way that is impossible with real people. Assume then that both societies are equally creative and innovative. They both have equally clever musical theater and equally vibrant fashion scenes. And so on likewise for any other characteristic that comes to mind.

        What do you say?

    • Also manifestly untrue.

      As much as I hate to agree with our resident Orc, he’s got a point here. I’ve been reading Dr. Scott Lively’s The Pink Swastika, and it’s fascinating. Did you know that rabbinic tradition held homosexual unions to be a prime trigger for the Genesis flood?

      From Chapter 2:

      In his book Ancient Post-Flood History theologian Ken Johnson cites three prominent Rabbinical sources on this point:

      Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rabbi Joseph, “The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote marriage documents for the union of a man to a male or to an animal.” Genesis Rabbah 26:4-5; Leviticus Rabbah 23.9.

      And what did they do? A man got married to a man, and a woman to a woman, a man married a woman and her daughter, and a woman was married to two (men). Therefore it is said, “And you shall not walk in their statutes.”
      Sifra Acharei Mot, Parashaw 9:8 (commentary on Leviticus 18:3.

      That’s extra-biblical tradition, but still interesting. And why should we be surprised when there’s nothing new under the sun?

      • But these quotations show only that such “marriages” were understood as abominations so horrible as to trigger the near destruction of the world.

        I don’t doubt that there has always been a salient in human culture that wanted to valorize homosex. I doubt however that any society has ever so dignified homosexual unions as to treat them just like marriage. If they did, well, the practice didn’t prove out, did it?

        Why might that have been? Run a little gedanken policy test: take two societies otherwise completely identical in every respect, except that one permits homosexual marriage and the other does not. Which will prevail? The question answers itself.

      • But these quotations show only that such “marriages” were understood as abominations so horrible as to trigger the near destruction of the world.

        Yes, this is what I saw in the Wikipedia link a.morphous provided. Even granting the likelihood that the Wiki author(s) would “encourage” the facts to show that same-sex “marriage” is not an historical anomaly, still the article gives no evidence that a relationship between those of the same sex is ever in the same class as marriages that occur between the sexes. The strongest Greek examples provided are those of the mentor with the student, which were not permanent, but ended just as the youth reached adulthood. The one example that might be taken seriously from Roman civilization, that of Nero “marrying” both a male former slave and a young boy, were the farcical whims of a mad profligate, not the actions of one desiring to establish a stable and lawful custom.

      • Why might that have been? Run a little gedanken policy test: take two societies otherwise completely identical in every respect, except that one permits homosexual marriage and the other does not. Which will prevail? The question answers itself.

        Or: allowing fertile widows to remarry. Or: allowing cloning. &c.

  4. Your Holy Father actively and publicly sows discord among brethren. Meanwhile encouraging infidels to follow the good and fight evil as each of them conceive them – as each man, unaided by revelation, conceives good and evil! And you express anger towards Bonald’s rather mild treatment of this grave issue?!

    • It’s more complex than that, Terry, and I think Bonald knows that. Bonald (and you, it seems) has chosen to read Pope Francis’ words in the worst possible light. I could explain why, but If you’ve been following Pope Francis’ reign somewhat closely, then you should know why. For instance, it’s not even clear that the latest interview (which grieves many of us) is even remotely accurate.

      Bonald may make some distinction between biological and spiritual fathers, between the order of nature and the order of grace, and thus between the filial piety owed one’s biological father and the filial piety owed one’s spiritual father. It’s obvious that biological fathers are distinct from spiritual fathers, but it’s not obvious to me that filial piety is not owed to both, even if the filial piety given is different in kind.

      • Hello Andrew,

        I would say that I have given them their natural meaning, the meaning their intended audience could be expected to take and indeed seem to have taken. Even if the pope was secretly holding an orthodox interpretation, making statements that he must have known would strengthen dissenters and undercut the already precarious position of defenders of orthodoxy is almost certainly a great betrayal.

        Your anger does you credit; it is proper that you shouldn’t want to hear the Holy Father criticized. It seems to me that having the pope held up as an object of filial devotion is a great benefit of the Church’s monarchical organization. On the other hand, we traditionalists need to psychologically and theologically prepare ourselves for even clearer expressions of hostility directed at us by Pope Francis and probably many of his successors. We must be prepared to carry on not only without their support, but even in face of their disapproval. Given that professed Catholics are over 90% heretics, it was only a matter of time before it came to this.

      • I would say that I have given them their natural meaning, the meaning their intended audience could be expected to take and indeed seem to have taken.

        When Our Lord said that “there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” the natural meaning seems clear enough. Origen is even said to have castrated himself by following the natural meaning. And yet, we know that context is key to interpretation, and that Our Lord was not commending literal self-mutilation for the sake of the kingdom.

        In a similar manner, when Francis (supposedly; it turns out Scalfari didn’t tape the interview or take notes) said “proselytism is solemn nonsense” we know for contextual reasons that the Holy Father was not renouncing the church’s raison d’être. Again, it seems to me that you are reading the Holy Father’s words in the worst possible light.

        On the other hand, we traditionalists need to psychologically and theologically prepare ourselves for even clearer expressions of hostility directed at us by Pope Francis and probably many of his successors.

        When you and other traditionalists speak the way you do about the Holy Father (his pontificate is a curse!), it’s no wonder we are treated with a heavy hand. Any father would do the same with a son who disrespects him so. And you, in your defense of patriarchy, would say that such treatment is just.

        In short, traditionalists need to start acting like traditionalists.

  5. Bonald:First, we remember that it is not the papacy, but the sacraments that are the heart of Catholicism. The Church is structured around them.

    It seems to me that there we have encapsulated the schizophrenia of all Catholics who take Christ seriously. Which do you really worship, which do you really trust for your salvation – Christ or The One True Bureaucracy?

    Zippy:… In short, sodomite marriage is to real marriage as Protestant “communion” is to the Eucharist.

    It’s never far from the surface is it? Yet you’ll whine like a little girl were a Protestant to make even some true, in unflattering, statements about Catholicism or The One True Bureaucracy.

    Until you (plural) can consistently say “the church” and mean all people who love-and-obey Christ, whether or not they’re “in communion” with the Bishop of Rome, then you haven’t yet really made Christ the sole object of your hope-and-worship.

    • Ilion:
      Until you (plural) can consistently say “the church” and mean all people who love-and-obey Christ, whether or not they’re “in communion” with the Bishop of Rome, then you haven’t yet really made Christ the sole object of your hope-and-worship.

      Surely even you can see that you are begging the question here. I could retort that if you truly loved Christ as the center of your hope and worship you would set aside your groundless monumental ego and obey Him, even when that means proximate obedience of flawed men to whom He gave certain responsibility and authority.

      It isn’t like divine command to obey certain flawed men is inconsistent with what came before. Honor your father and mother, and all that.

      But I won’t say that, because I do recognize that there are reasons for lack of communion besides monumental ego. I’m just grateful that none of those reasons have impeded me personally.

    • Hello Ilion,

      We Catholics don’t think of the sacraments as something extrinsic to Christ; they are means of communing with Him. I don’t think I’ve ever told you this, but your “One True Bureaucracy” line is very clever; I chuckle each time I read it. I know you deserve a fuller answer to your point, but I intend this to be an intra-Catholic discussion. I appreciate that Zippy “threw the first punch” by bringing up Protestantism, but I want to keep the focus on how lay Catholics can navigate this situation.

    • mean all people who love-and-obey Christ, whether or not they’re “in communion” with the Bishop of Rome, then you haven’t yet really made Christ the sole object of your hope-and-worship.

      Why? Because you say so? I realize that “Mere Christianity” is the latest Protestant fad but even post Conciliar Catholicism has not become quite that reductionist.

      I have seen the poisoned fruits of your “priesthood of all believers.” No thanks. Robespierre clearly doesn’t fear your “Bible.”

  6. All this gnashing of teeth has convinced me all the more that once we rid ourselves of our leftist overlords, Catholics and Protestants will have to establish separate countries for themselves in what was once the USA. Perhaps the (non-democratic) Republic of North America (Protestant) and the Holy Kingdom of America (Catholic)? (I would prefer that the former retain the name and symbols of the USA, and that the leftists be shoved into the People’s Democratic Republic of Ameristan (national anthem: Kum Ba Yah, but with “Lord” replaced with “man”), but we don’t know how any of this will play out.)

    • Wm Lewis:
      I expect you are right, but I also expect that the point is moot. The notion that we can plan out what the civilization of the future looks like is part of the modernist error that will, in the long run, die along with the civilization which produced it.

      • Well, I did say “we don’t know how any of this will play out.”

        Also, as Eisenhower said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” The plans we make for “what comes after” will not be worth the pixels they’re displayed with, but the ideas that come from planning will help us—or, more likely, our descendants—deal with “what comes after.”

    • @Wm. Lewis

      Perhaps there will be room to carve out a new State of Deseret. See

      Seriously, and I mean very seriously, there is a present and growing threat to religious freedom in this country from an increasingly powerful state married to an aggressively secular worldview. We should, we must, stand together in facing this threat despite admittedly fundamental differences and not wait for some future collapse of society or the government to defuse that threat as we don’t know how any of this will play out.

      Catholics are in the forefront of defending conscience rights against the HSS mandate. (http://www.firstamericanfreedom.com/learn/threats-to-religiousfreedom/)
      Baptist Albert Mohler is rightly concerned about the threat to the Chaplaincy. (http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/09/17/can-evangelical-chaplains-serve-god-and-country-the-crisis-arrives/)
      Any morality-based youth program is vulnerable. http://blog.heritage.org/2013/09/06/california-bill-targeting-boy-scouts-illustrates-threats-to-religious-freedom/
      Biblical speech itself is vulnerable.
      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/354702/yes-threats-religious-liberty-happen-here-ryan-t-anderson

      Nor is this threat limited to the United States, though it may take different forms abroad. Christians, Baha’is, and others face horrific threats against their religious freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere, the Jews having been already ethnically cleansed from many of these lands. These are outrages the mainstream media often underreports or ignores.

      “As Anglicans and other Christians worldwide grieved the brutal attack in Pakistan, the media… did not. The worst attack on Pakistani Christians in history didn’t make the front page of the New York Times. The Washington Post buried the story on page A7 of Monday’s paper. On the front page of the BBC web site, a small headline “Pakistan church blast kills dozens” was below stories on Angela Merkel and the Emmys. By the next day, the story was nowhere to be found.” See http://thefederalist.com/2013/09/25/can-we-finally-start-talking-about-the-global-persecution-of-christians/

      • @Leo – Point well made.

        The situation for LDS is probably better than for any other denomination, due to the *concentration* in and around Utah

        http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/future-of-mormonism-recreating.html

        most of the other denominations to be taken seriously are thinly-spread and in small minorites (and lack a high-achieving elite such as mormons have). This suggests that in future Mormons outwith the heartland may need to migrate in order to practice their religion.

        I think concentration is likely to be much more important – once a certain numerical threshold is reached – than is percentage of the national population – thus a few hundred thousand Amish in Penn. may have much more real clout than millions of dispersed Catholics.

      • @Bruce

        Thank you.

        Any religious minority that falls below a certain concentration is vulnerable to assimilation or persecution. Contemporary examples include Anglicans in Pakistan, Baha’is in Iran, Copts in Egypt, and Jews most anywhere but Israel. A minority that is prosperous and well educated may be just as vulnerable as an impoverished one, though in different ways.

        Survivability is enhanced not only by concentration, but also by a rural rather than just an urban presence. Hence the Baptists in the South, Lutherans in the Upper Midwest, Amish in Pennsylvania, and Mormons in the West may be less vulnerable than urban Catholics and Jews. Influence, on the other hand, is enhanced by an urban presence.

      • That’s an interesting map, Leo. Thank you for sharing it.

        I believe that the concentration of Catholics is skewed by the tens of millions of illegal aliens in our midst, as well as the Mexicans here legally. I imagine that when America experiences hyperinflation, most of the Mexicans, legal and illegal, will go home to Mexico, as life will be well-nigh intolerable here. A similar poll conducted at that time will probably yield different results.

  7. The Puritan attack on marriage was that marriage was not a sacrament but a pagan accretion, and from the beginning (1600 or so), have sought to replace marriage before God with marriage before secular authority, and Christian marriage oaths with custom marriage oaths chosen by the couple.

    The Christian marriage ceremony is, more or less, the old Republican Roman marriage ceremony with the priest replacing the father of the groom. Presumably, in Paul’s time, the Christian marriage ceremony was the original Roman ceremony, conducted by patriarchs, not priests, hence there is a grain of truth in the “pagan accretion” argument.

    But if conducted by Christian patriarchs, those earthly fathers would have told the couple the duties of Christian marriage, and would have invoked the authority of God the father to add to their own authority as fathers in administering the oaths, hence a sacrament.

  8. “the Church’s growing disdain for national and ethnic loyalties,”
    As the 20C was the high fever of nationalism and racism, the Church is precisely right here to de-emphaize the national and ethnic loyalties.

    • The doctrine that some races are better murdered perhaps ten million or so during the twentieth century.

      The doctrine that all men are equal and deserve “social justice” murdered one hundred and fifty million during the twentieth century.

      Why then is Pope Francis preaching social justice?

      • “All men are equal” is true in certain senses. Philosophically, man is a rational animal and this essence is present in all men equally. Spiritually, Christ died for all. Politically, of course, a citizen is not equal to a non-citizen and as citizens of West, you enjoy great privileges. So what are you complaining of?

        “Social justice” is again preached by the Church in its proper sense.

      • Politically, of course, a citizen is not equal to a non-citizen and as citizens of West, you enjoy great privileges. So what are you complaining of?

        I don’t have privileges. The west is a better place to live not because sinister whites stole all the good stuff from coloreds, but because of me and people like me, and people like me are being ethnically cleansed, turning the west into Detroit and Gilroy.

        Blacks want to live near whites, then they drive the whites out, then they go to the places whites have moved to and start the process all over again. That is not white privilege.

        Superior people need to be free to associate with each other and not have to associate with inferior people. Freedom of association is not a privilege, but a right.

      • The doctrine “all men are equal” that flattened hierarchy and led to revolutions refers to political equality. It is false and results from confusion between natural and political rights.

        The political rights must be fought over and won.

      • Superior people do not complain about rights or wrongs but simply take what they want.

        I repeat, there are some things that are not matter of rights or wrong but a matter for conquest.
        If you can, you can establish a sovereign state with privileges for certain people. If you can’t
        you can’t and nothing is to be gained by complaining. It is illogical to say that you have been unjustly treated. It is not a matter of justice in the first place, but a matter of might.

      • “I repeat, there are some things that are not matter of rights or wrong but a matter for conquest.”

        True.

        “If you can, you can establish a sovereign state with privileges for certain people. If you can’t
        you can’t”

        True.

        “and nothing is to be gained by complaining.”

        Here I don’t agree. Victimizing oneself if a valid course of action in democracies and it can achieve some success, even if very limited.

        Anyway, waging war isn’t that great of a success either, it’s not like Jihad is going great for the islamists … they greatest success is instead through fecundity and immigration.

        The main problem is that our desire to live in a place without blacks is not supported by contemporary Christianity, instead contemporary Christianity is completely against it, and without religious support I don’t think it will be possible to obtain a large group dedicated to implementing the idea. Remember how even the right-winger Benedict 16 said that we should embrace those illegal africans going to Europe by boat? To me that’s disgusting, that he would throw his own people under the bus in name of welcoming blacks who would gladly rob him and islamists who would gladly hang him. I find it a pitty, since Christianity would certainly have agreed to self-defence before the 60’s.

      • “and nothing is to be gained by complaining.”

        Here I don’t agree. Victimizing oneself if a valid course of action in democracies and it can achieve some success, even if very limited.

        Not just in democracies. Collective memories of “we was wronged” and of “noble defeats” are an important part of identity building and maintenance. Armenians and Jews invest considerable effort in remembering, for example. Masons and Liberals remember their martyrs.

        There are no remembered white martyrs. There are no remembered Catholic martyrs. This is not for lack of martyrs. What is lacking is the institutional will to remember. Instead there is an institutional will to forget.

  9. Now we are cursed with a Pontiff who seeks personal popularity with the enemies of Christ by sharing their scorn for those who defend Church teaching.

    Sensing that there are few things in this neck of the woods more disdainful than an ultramontanist, I feel the need to qualify everything I say regarding the Vatican by making clear that I do not preclude the idea that popes can and have done very foolish things, or that they might even personally hold unorthodox beliefs. With that said, the conclusions Bonald has drawn of the current pontiff’s personal character as shown in the paragraph leading with the above statement are not at all obvious, and I wonder what gives him the impetus to land with the opinion that the Pope is very concerned about what anyone’s opinion of his person is.

    It seems just as likely, for example, that he is at least attempting to follow in the footsteps of St. Paul, whose aim it was to be all things to all people in order to save their souls. To the Jews he was as a Jew, to the pagans as a pagan. Why not rather conclude that to the modernists Pope Francis is as a modernist not for popularity’s sake, but for the sake of the souls of the modernists? (The same sort of leeway could be granted to the “accursed Council” as well, btw) This is not even to say that, if this is Pope Francis’ mode, he is pursuing it well. However, it is a more noble one than the one Bonald imposes upon him, and I see no reason to rule it out in favor of Bonald’s less flattering characterization of fishing for popularity rather than men.

    Ancillary to the very thought-provoking main point of the post, I know, and for that I apologize.

    • Why not rather conclude that to the modernists Pope Francis is as a modernist not for popularity’s sake, but for the sake of the souls of the modernists?

      Because of his position on the Gay Lobby (sexually active gays within the priesthood organized as a political force, sponsored by outside progressive forces): That there is no gay lobby, or if there is, it does not matter.

      That position is not taken for the sake of the souls of the Gay Lobby.

      • Pope Francis’ words:

        When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.

        I’m not the sharpest cookie in the sky (nyuk nyuk nyuk) but I’m pretty sure this is a far cry from ignoring the reality of “sexually active gays within the priesthood organized as a political force, sponsored by outside progressive forces” and is very nearly the opposite.

      • Pope Francis, soon to be Saint Francis, always has a bit each way. Here are his other words on the gay lobby:

        “There’s a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I’ve never seen it on the Vatican ID card.”

    • Sensing that there are few things in this neck of the woods more disdainful than an ultramontanist, I feel the need to qualify everything I say regarding the Vatican by making clear that I do not preclude the idea that popes can and have done very foolish things, or that they might even personally hold unorthodox beliefs.

      Heh, well, in a strict sense I am an ultramontanist too, in that I recognize the Pope has very broad authority. I disagree with the modern ultra-ultramontanist Catholic suck-up in that I don’t think any old exercise of that authority is necessarily good. So Paul VI’s imposition of a choose-your-own-adventure rent-a-Mass on the entire Roman rite of the Church was entirely valid and licit even if it was a gross offense against reason, piety, pastorality, etc.

      I was thinking about it recently. In the entire history of the Papacy there has maybe never been an act of ultramontane hubris quite as pronounced as that one, and so I wonder if maybe we’ve been hoisted with our own petards.

  10. In the entire history of the Papacy there has maybe never been an act of ultramontane hubris quite as pronounced as that one, and so I wonder if maybe we’ve been hoisted with our own petards.

    You think?

    Utramontanism only works if the Pope is Catholic.

    Roman Catholics, and ultramontanists in particular, are in the same situation as royalists under Tsar Nicholas II, or royalists under Louist XVI.

    In retrospect, it is clear that the only royalist solution would have been a revolutionary solution – to execute the anti royalist royals, and install a more martial, charismatic, and royalist king, that loyalty and legitimism was for losers.

    • And treason is for traitors. If one’s father is bad at being a father and even denies the legitimacy of filial piety, that would not mean that one could murder him and find a new father. That would lead to the very sort of democracy reactionaries are supposed to oppose, with each man choosing the authority he wants to have over him. Which is just to say the obliteration of authority. Whats more, if the authority is established by god then to go against is to go against god an thus one’s own existence, which would mean going against one’s going against it, which is quite irrational.

      • Loyalty has to work both ways. If the King is not royalist, he is being disloyal to royalists, so royalists should not be loyal to him.

        And if the Pope is not Catholic, he is being disloyal to Catholics.

      • Who would judge whether the King is being loyal enough? If it is the people, then power ultimately rests with them and they have a democracy. If the king gets to judge, then when we can all guess the verdict. Likewise even if a father is constantly absent, drunken, or overly submissive to his wife or the state that does not give a son the right to murder him and find a new more fatherly father. If god sets an authority over us, even if it becomes bad or cruel, we do not have the right to do away with it and pick our own.

      • Skeggy Thorson:
        Who would judge whether the King is being loyal enough?

        The aristocracy. Kings and other leaders are always accountable. Just because they have no equal it doesn’t follow that they have some sort of absolute right to rule no matter what they do.

        Of course opposing the King can be quite dangerous and is certainly presumptuous, so even from the point of view of self preservation it shouldn’t be done lightly and is obviously something extraordinary.

        But the idea of absolute rule no matter what is not part of the traditional natural law understanding of authority, nor does it make sense as a matter of reason.

      • To zippy:
        It is my understanding that the aristocrats of post-Roman western Europe achieved their status by being given it for service to the king by the king. So overthrowing the king or the order of succession his rule relies on would be to attack their own legitimacy as aristocrats and not being aristocrats they would have no right to judge a king. However I am not saying that under no conditions can a monarch be overthrown, just that the conditions for overthrowing a legitimate monarch would involve the monarch committing some outrageous atrocity and not just because he is being insufficiently aggressive in his own cause.

        and to James A. Donald,
        to paraphrase Socrates, it is better to suffer an injustice than commit one.

      • As far as England goes the only time the Witenagemot ever declared one king dethroned and another crowned was when the new king had already conquered England. As in the case of Sweyn Forkbeard who took it over from Aethelred the unready, who turn promptly took it back after the former’s death and lost it again to Sweyn’s son Cnute. Even, then Aethelred’s descendants eventually got the throne back. I know things happened differently in Sweden and Norway in that they were a bit more complex, but I am not sure that the moots had the de jure power to unseat the king. Though the might have.

    • Roman Catholics, and ultramontanists in particular, are in the same situation as royalists under Tsar Nicholas II, or royalists under Louist XVI.

      This is a bit curious comparison. I know I am deviating from the actual topic, but I am interrested in expanding my historic knowledge if you can contribute about them. Nicholas II and Louis XVI might have been incompetent, but where they really disloyal to royalists? I took a quick look in wikipedia and could find any evidence that they were…

      My point would be that abandoning the king because he is not apt enough, but is loyal, is something different than abandoning him because he is a traitor.

      Maybe you simply ment that abandoning them was the right choice because of our future knowledge that they failed? But this would not make sense as a comparison.

      • It is politically incorrect to notice how far left these guys were, since that discredits the ensuing revolutions.

        Also the ever leftwards movement results in demonization of past leftists, and even past left wing reforms, such as the enclosures. Since past left wing reforms failed to bring about utopia, they get rewritten as extreme right wing attacks upon the poor by the powerful.

        The Tsar dismantled feudalism, sawing off the branch on which he was seated.

        The Tsar had legal grounds to execute Lenin, for, among other things, organizing the murder of about fifty people, but instead sent him for a short break in a country club prison where he engaged in hunting, fishing and horseback riding – which I suppose puts the Tsar to the right of the US government since Bill Ayers received no jail time and numerous prestigious appointments for bombing various buildings.

        Stalin, unlike Lenin, was given hard time in a regular prison for common criminals – but he was not executed, whereas a common criminal who committed similar crimes certainly would have been. He was extremely proud of doing hard time, since few other Bolsheviks got that treatment, possibly none of them.

        King Louis XVI militarily supported the American Revolution, opposed British imperialism throughout the world, forbade French adventurers from engaging in imperialism. Under King Louis XVI arguing that that there major and important differences between the races had the same effect on your career as it does in twenty first century America, but calling for the overthrow of the monarchy got the banned in Boston treatment, the Lenin treatment, just enough repression to make you famous and ensure that everyone reads your books, but not enough to actually discourage anyone.

        During the revolution, King Louis XVI forbade his army and his brothers from taking any useful action. It was at that point the royalists should have dumped him for one of his brothers, using the rationale that he was a prisoner of, or had sold out to, the revolution.

      • Tsar Alexander II was the one who freed the serfs, not Nicholas II, and he had every right to do so. Most of Nicholas II leftward movements were caused by previous revolutions like the one in 1905. As for Louis of course he fought Britain they were France’s biggest enemy. If he really opposed imperialism that would have put him in such revolutionary company as the Jacobites, country gentlemen, and old Tory party. As for the race issue I’ll only say that error has no rights and if he took the position you say he did then he is both in agreement with traditional thought on the matter and he is correct.

      • > Most of Nicholas II leftward movements were caused by previous revolutions like the one in 1905.

        Looks to me it was the other way around:- that the previous revolutions like the one in 1905 were caused by leftwards movements of the Tsars.

        If you are worried about revolutions, then the appropriate response to violent criminal acts by Marxists is to hang them like ordinary criminals, not go soft on them.

        Seems to me that the appropriate response would be to execute Lenin, Stalin, anyone resembling them, and

      • Furthermore in 1908 alone over a thousand people were executed by Nicholas II for left wing agitation and he installed the rather reactionary Pyotir Stolypin as prime minster though he was unfortunately later assassinated by an anarchist. Nicholas was hardly a traitor to his own people.

      • Furthermore in 1908 alone over a thousand people were executed by Nicholas II for left wing agitation

        Really?

        If the Tsar executed a thousand people for left wing agitation, how come murderers and terrorists like Lenin and Stalin merely got their wrists slapped? It is not as if their activities were very secret.

        and he installed the rather reactionary Pyotir Stolypin as prime minster

        What makes Pyotr Stolypin reactionary? That he executed some terrorists? That it was shocking and controversial that he hung terrorists? He should have executed one hell of a lot more of them.

        He was a land reformer, subsidizing the poor to buy land. If you really want to “bet on the strong” you don’t give them subsidies and easy money loans.

      • Perhaps because Lenin was the son of a Noble, though only recently established as such and also the fact that he was arrested for distributing seditious material not terrorism. I had never heard he had engaged in terrorism at that point in his life, maybe you could reference the exact event. I know his brother was involved in the attempted assassination of Alexander III, but nothing involving Lenin himself. As for Stalin I don’t know why they did not execute him, maybe the could not pin the specific crimes on him, like how mob bosses have to be tried for tax evasion. Yet they did execute many thousands which is a historical fact. Regarding Stolypin:
        “Stolypin changed the nature of the Duma to attempt to make it more willing to pass legislation proposed by the government.[9][10] After dissolving the Second Duma in June 1907 (Coup of June 1907), he changed the weight of votes more in favor of the nobility and wealthy, reducing the value of lower class votes.[10] This affected the elections to the Third Duma, which returned much more conservative members, more willing to cooperate with the government.[2]”
        I apologize for quoting from Wikipedia, but it is easier than hunting down specific materials. And there were many leftist revolutions in Russia since the Napoleonic wars. I find hard to believe that Alexander I and Nicholas I were leftward moving enough to start that terrible ball rolling. Also I would like to apologize to Bonald for Jacking his thread, if that is in fact what it is called.

      • Perhaps because Lenin was the son of a Noble, though only recently established as such and also the fact that he was arrested for distributing seditious material not terrorism.

        In 1906 at Fourth Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, the party debated robbery and terror. Lenin and others were in favor. A majority voted against. Lenin made no secret that he intended to ignore the majority vote.

        If I had been the Tsar, I would have shot them all, those that voted in favor, and those that voted against. Those that voted against should not have been associating with those that voted for. They should have expelled them and arranged for the authorities to arrest them.

        In 1907 the Bolsheviks murdered six people and injured about forty others in the course of a bank robbery organized by Stalin.

        The mensheviks debated this, and repudiated it, but declined to expel Lenin and Stalin.

        If I had been the Tsar, I would have shot them all, for being in the same party as Lenin and Stalin. Any menshevik should have resigned when Stalin was not expelled.

        In due course, the government caught Stalin, and sentenced him to …

        to …

        to …

        Seven months hard time for the stealing an immense amount of money and murdering six people.

        Pretty much every bolshevik was arrested more times than you can shake a stick at. This was a party known to murder people, known to be funded by murder and robbery, Stalin and Lenin had openly and publicly advocated murder and robbery without suffering any consequences, Stalin was known to have carried out murder and robbery, Lenin was known to have received the funds, Bolsheviks were known to be funded by these funds.

        They got revolving door justice. They should have each been tortured into revealing their associates, then tortured some more just in case, and then publicly hung.

      • Firstly Vladimir Lenin fled Russia that year, not to return till 1917 which would explain why he was not punished and eyewitnesses to the robbery put Stalin in many different and contradictory roles, form watching from afar to being one of the main participants, with of course the other communists saying he was not involved at all. This might explain the lax sentencing. Secondly Nicholas II was not the judge at their trials and did not pass sentencing and even if he had that would not be excuse enough to execute and replace him. Thirdly, even Charles I forgave the revolutionaries about to execute him and had previously pardoned two men who had tried to assassinate him, so was there ever any traditional society that lived up to your standards of total political control? Fourthly, torture and guilt by association are intrinsically evil and their not being practiced is a credit to the Czar.

      • > Firstly Vladimir Lenin fled Russia that year, not to return till 1917 which would explain why he was not punished and eyewitnesses to the robbery put Stalin in many different and contradictory roles, form watching from afar to being one of the main participants, with of course the other communists saying he was not involved at all.

        Lenin, and Stalin, should have been executed for openly planning, advocating, and proposing such measures. Instead, the police ate donuts and waited for the Bolsheviks to do what they had announced that they were going to do. And then when the Bolsheviks got started on robbing banks and threatening people’s lives the police ate some more donuts and waited some more until the Bolsheviks murdered a bunch of innocents in the course of doing what they had announced they were going to do.

        And then, the police administered a very light slap on the wrist, revolving door justice for mass murder.

        If there was confusion about Stalin’s role, it hardly matters. Everyone involved in any way whatsoever was an accomplice to mass murder, an intent to commit mass murder that had been made public by Stalin and Lenin long in advance. Therefore, regardless of Stalin’s precise role, should have hung anyone involved in any role whatsoever – including those guilty of merely showing up at meetings where this plan was debated.

        Secondly, that Stalin was guilty was obvious at the time. Doubting the guilt of Stalin was like doubting the guilt the of Alger Hiss. Anyone who supposedly doubted that Alger Hiss was guilty, approved of the crimes that Alger Hiss committed, just as anyone who supposedly doubts the guilt of Trayvon Martin approves of the crimes that Trayvon Martin committed, and anyone that supposedly doubted that Stalin was guilty, approved of the crimes that Stalin committed.

        The Tsar should have hung everyone who purported to doubt that Stalin was guilty, and everyone who attended meetings where these crimes were discussed.

      • We are arguing in circles and are far afield from our initial disagreement. I agree that Stalin and Lenin should have been punished much more harshly. Once again, however, it was not Nicholas II who sentenced them and even if he had that would not be enough of a cause to assassinate and replace him as I have argued. As for the Trayvon Martin, a lot of people sided with him out of sheer ignorance. My mother thought it was a clear case of murder because all she had ever heard about the case was that a 14 year old boy was shot on his way home from buying skittles. If that would have been what had happened it would have been murder. But since that is not what happened it turned out to be justified self-defense on Zimmerman’s part. Such things happen often, many people choose to back the wrong side in a case because their information is limited and they are too busy to check into the matter further.

      • Once again, however, it was not Nicholas II who sentenced them and even if he had that would not be enough of a cause to assassinate and replace him

        The judges who gave communists a slap on the wrist and revolving door justice for murder and terror were acting in accord with policy set at the top.

        And if they were not, the Tsar should have executed them and appointed judges who would follow sentencing guidelines set from the top.

        The fact is, under the Tsar, it was as bad for your career to be Tsarist, as it was good for your career to be a leftist. No friends to the right, no enemies to the left, Moscow then being much like Washington today, where Bill Ayers suffers no consequences for bombing the pentagon, and Greenpeace no consequences for vandalism and piracy on the high seas.

        As for the Trayvon Martin, a lot of people sided with him out of sheer ignorance. My mother thought it was a clear case of murder because all she had ever heard about the case was that a 14 year old boy was shot on his way home from buying skittles.

        Everyone I saw that argued against Zimmerman, argued on the basis of black social privilege, presenting evidence not that Zimmerman attacked Trayvon, but Zimmerman provoked Trayvon, which is evidence that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman, which argument presupposes that Trayvon was justified and entitled to attack Zimmerman because blacks who are acting suspiciously may have their actions questioned by their social inferiors.

        Did your mother argue that Zimmerman shot Trayvon out of the blue – or that he was wicked, offensive, and aggressive to pay attention to Trayvon in the first place? That you are only allowed to pay attention to suspicious behavior by your social equals, which is to say, other white males, not your social superiors.

        For everyone I have seen arguing against Zimmerman, presupposes that paying attention to Trayvon was a wicked act, impudent and disrespectful, presupposes that blacks are socially privileged.

      • You say that it was bad for one’s career to be a Tsarist, I presume you are not referring to the vast majority of the officer corps, Konstantin Pobedonostsev, Pyotr Stolypin, or Lev Tikhomirov, who worked for the state owned monarchist newspaper. If it was really a policy decision to let off leftists with a slap on the wrist, then why were thousands executed? Should Nicholas II have stopped worrying about the crisis caused by the failed Russo-Japanese war and the revolution of 1905 to prosecute a single judge who gave Stalin a light sentence for a crime in which every witness disagreed what he did or if he was involved? And if merely claiming that the monarch can and should be overthrown with force deserves the death penalty then James II should have completely wiped out the English aristocracy and George III should have exterminated one third to one half of all of the American colonists. In addition the question still remains as to whether allowing Stalin to have a slap on the wrist is enough to violently overthrow one’s government. If so then we should be wanting the violent overthrow of all Anglo-Saxon governments and should then be executed for doing so. As for my Mother she was under the impression that Zimmerman was unprovoked and had not heard that Martin had attacked him. After she found that out, her opinion on the case changed.

      • Skeggy Thorson commented on Marriage is our sacrament.

        You say that it was bad for one’s career to be a Tsarist, I presume you are not referring to the vast majority of the officer corps, Konstantin Pobedonostsev, Pyotr Stolypin, or Lev Tikhomirov, who worked for the state owned monarchist newspaper

        If Pyotr Stolypin worked for the state owned monarchist newspaper then that newspaper was not very monarchist.

        If it was really a policy decision to let off leftist with a slap on the wrist, then why were thousands executed?

        Because thousands were not executed. When Pyotr Stolypin had a handful of terrorists executed for terrorism, this was controversial and got him into big trouble. Realistically, a terrorist could confidently expect the treatment that such terrorists and Stalin and Lenin received: Revolving door justice and a possible slap on the wrist.

        Executing terrorists for terror was the right hand edge of the Overton window, and rapidly came to be altogether outside the Overton window.

        And if merely claiming that the monarch can and should be overthrown with force deserves the death penalty

        Those who planned and organized the murder of innocents in order to attain the overthrow of the monarchy, and members of organizations that planned and organized the murder of innocents, deserved the death penalty, but instead their careers were advanced, while those who supported monarchism had their careers blighted.

        In addition the question still remains as to whether allowing Stalin to have a slap on the wrist is enough to violently overthrow one’s government

        Allowing Stalin to get off with a slap on the wrist means that one will wind up being ruled by Stalin – if one is lucky – and by Trotsky if unlucky.

      • Firstly it was Lev Tikhomirov who wrote for the Monarchist newspaper. Secondly Pyotir Stolypin is as Reactionary a Prime Minister as one is going to get and as he was assassinated by an anarchist his last action was to bless the Tsar. Whose career was hindered by their monarchism? I have already shown that there were many whose careers prospered because of their monarchism. Whose career was advanced by their communism? Thousands were executed and many such as Lenin fled the country. If your criteria for a loyal government is that they execute every single person who has voiced violent revolutionary sentiment, then I am afraid that all conservative/traditionalist/reactionary monarchies since the fall of the Roman empire have failed your test. Besides his supposed lack of gusto in going after the communists in what other way was Nicholas a leftist? and if there is no other way then why would he purposefully lose his country and let his entire family get murdered for something he did not believe in. Certainly he was not an egalitarian he defended his own privilege and those of the aristocrats as much as he was able. Nor was he an atheist, as he was well known to be quite devout to the Eastern Orthodox church. He did his duty as best as he could and when war came he went to the front and was in most of the tactical meetings. He tried to extend Russia’s influence in Europe and in Manchuria and Korea. None which are the actions of traitors or leftists.

      • Secondly Pyotir Stolypin is as Reactionary a Prime Minister as one is going to get

        If he was as reactionary as one is going to to get, then everyone active in politics and to the right of Lenin should have just slit their own throats themselves and avoided the aggravation. The man was a land reformer and supported universal suffrage.

        What made him supposedly reactionary?

        That he treated left wing political murderers almost as if they were non political murderers.

        if Pyotir Stolypin was as reactionary a Prime Minister as one was going to get, then drastic measures, such as killing the Tsar, were needed to get one that was one hell of a lot more reactionary than that.

        The most reactionary prime minister once could get was engaged in major redistribution of wealth to the poor, and power to the enemies of the old regime.

        To make a present day analogy: When EBT cards had a glitch, blacks, mestizos, and indios, disappeared from the shops, revealing that nearly all blacks mestizos and indios are living on welfare, supported by whites. The most reactionary you are likely to get is the tea party, which is fine with this deal and fine with importing a hundred million more indios to vote for more welfare.

        Well, that is just not reactionary enough. Peter Stolypin was the path to doom, and everyone to the left of him was on the path to doom even faster.

      • What makes Pyotir Stolypin a reactionary? Well just to go with what I have already said “Stolypin changed the nature of the Duma to attempt to make it more willing to pass legislation proposed by the government.[9][10] After dissolving the Second Duma in June 1907 (Coup of June 1907), he changed the weight of votes more in favor of the nobility and wealthy, reducing the value of lower class votes.[10] This affected the elections to the Third Duma, which returned much more conservative members, more willing to cooperate with the government.[2]”, as he was assassinated by an anarchist his last action was to bless the Tsar, and he executed thousands of leftist agitators. In addition to devolving certain powers to local authorities, which I understand is a big deal to certain Paleoconservatives. Furthermore his attempt to create a land owing class of peasants was an attempt to divide the lower class against each other while having some of them invested in the status quo, which is similar to Margret Thatcher’s attempt to increase home ownership and falls in line with the desires of distributions. Was the plan ill conceived? Perhaps, we will never know since he was assassinated before his plan could be fully implemented. Was the plan a sign of his deep seated leftism? Certainly not, as is shown above he was not a leftist generally and even this plan would not be abhorrent to many on the right. Finally, you have yet to explain how any of this could give anyone the right to overthrow a legitimate government. I assume it is some form of consequentialism, but being a rather rabid deontoligist myself, the logic escapes me.

      • Furthermore his attempt to create a land owing class of peasants was an attempt to divide the lower class against each other while having some of them invested in the status quo, which is similar to Margret Thatcher’s attempt to increase home ownership.

        It was also similar to Bush’s attempt to create a class of homeowning blacks and indios, which did not work out too well.

        Regardless of whether it was a good idea or a bad idea, if you are reduced to that sort of idea, then, like today’s tea party, you are merely proposing a slower rate of movement left.

        Why, in a country where the masses were as backward, ignorant, and easily manipulated as Russia, should they have any vote at all?

        I expect the typical tea partier opposes open borders, but he knows that is off the table, wants to repeal Obamacare, etc, but he knows that is off the table, so is merely campaigning to slow the implementation of Obamacare, in the hope that actually repealing it might someday become politically possible – despite the continually increasing flood of mestizo voters, indio voters, and fatherless voters, all of them on welfare.

        It is a program of despair. If the most reactionary position possible is slower movement left, then you are bound to wind up with a Cromwell or a Stalin if you are lucky, a Pol Pot if you are unlucky.

        If your program is slower movement left, you are going to wind up in a far left regime surprisingly swiftly.

        Tea Party/Bush/Stolypin strategy was and is:”Well, it is politically unthinkable to propose measures that might make the stupid, the ignorant, the wicked and those with short time preference worse off, so let us try and figure some way of advantaging the stupid and the wicked over the wise and the good that nonetheless might somehow work out with results that slow our movement leftwards.”

        I repeat: This is a program of despair, doomed to fail.

        If Stolypin’s program was the most reactionary program that was thinkable, Stalin was inevitable.

        If the masses are going to vote for evil and insane leaders, you don’t let them vote. If trouble ensues, you execute the trouble makers.

        Class warfare winds up with the red terror and the liquidation of the kulaks. Stolypin’s program was for kinder gentler class warfare, much as Bush’s program wound up in practice as section eight on steroids.

        State redistribution from the young to the old, or the old to the young, or men to women, or women to men, will not lead to too much trouble, because there is a lot of fraternization with the enemy. State redistribution from one tribe to another tribe, ethnic redistribution, frequently winds up with ethnic cleansing or genocide, and that is where we are headed now. Detroit is our future.

      • As the quotes above indicate, Stolypin actually took away votes from the poor. In addition, by giving some peasants land that they worked on he made them responsible for their own livelihoods, which is a vastly different thing than just handing them free money. Which is what I believe what the distributists want and they are a faction on the right. Furthermore even if his economics were to the left, and I am not conceding that they are, that would not be enough to show that he was a leftist. There is more to reaction than economics. As for your insults directed toward the Russian peasantry, All I will say is that it is rather funny to see a traditionalist call anyone backward. I also do not see the relevance of mentioning ethnic struggles as the peasants were of the same race, religion, and tongue. Though if one is looking for the best that can occur from one ethnicity taking over from another then one should look to Gunthamund, Theodoric, and Toussaint Louverture. But we have gone far afield of our initial debate and even farther from the thread topic

      • As the quotes above indicate, Stolypin actually took away votes from the poor.

        Stolypin’s program was “Please Calm, then Reform”. When he obtained momentary calm, he proceeded with “reforms” that destroyed that calm. The Act on the zemstvo took votes and power away from those that owned property, and gave votes and power to those that opposed the existence of property rights.

        A reactionary position would be “Reforms have gone too far, producing violence, economic collapse, and class warfare. To produce calm, we must permanently and irreversibly roll back these self destructive changes which damage the economy, disrupt order, and politicize property and authority.”

        His reactionary measures, such as the “coup of the third”, were advertised as temporary emergency expedients that would soon be reversed – guaranteeing violent efforts to soon reverse them

        Furthermore even if his economics were to the left, and I am not conceding that they are, that would not be enough to show that he was a leftist.

        He was a conservative, in the sense that he favored the society heading towards ruin at a slower rate than most others politicians did. I have repeatedly compared him to the tea party, which, abandoning or indefinitely postponing hope of rolling back Obamacare, proposes instead that Obamacare be implemented more slowly.

        The left position is to turn society over on its head and build a New Jerusalem, to Immanentize the Eschaton, to smash the universe so that we can build a new one closer to our heart’s desire.

        The conservative position is “let us go a little slower towards the New Jerusalem”

        The reactionary position is “Let us not go there at all”

        Stolypin was a conservative, favoring that the power of Lenin and Stalin should be postponed for a little while longer.

      • The Zemstvos were still made up with a majority of their members coming from the nobility, with only a small fraction coming from the peasant communes, and since the peasants collectively owned their Mir’s and the all voted for their representative it could still be seen as property owners representing their vested interest. Furthermore the Zemstvo only had a few local powers and turned out to be more efficient than governors sent from the Kremlin. Which is unsurprising since the people on the council had lived in the region they were governing their whole lives and so had a better idea on how to run it. Unfortunately a few that were near the major cities like Moscow and St. Petersberg did end up being quite liberal but they were the exception and the police were constantly intervening in their affairs. So I am still failing to see how this is leftest especially since the Mirs and Volosts that you do not think should have been represented existed long before the Romanovs and possibly even before any of the noble families had their aristocratic titles. The existence of the Zemstvo which aborbed most of the powers of the Mir and giving it to a noble controlled council actually meant the peasants had less power over themselves than what was traditionally the case.

      • Furthermore the Zemstvo only had a few local powers and turned out to be more efficient than governors sent from the Kremlin. Which is unsurprising since the people on the council had lived in the region they were governing their whole lives and so had a better idea on how to run it. Unfortunately a few that were near the major cities like Moscow and St. Petersberg did end up being quite liberal

        Or, to restate the same facts differently: In the course of six years, Stolypin’s reforms led to control of much land and wealth coming into the hands of leftists, and out of the hands of owners.

        Extrapolate such reform for another few decades, you get the liquidation of kulaks.

        Stolypin was not a reactionary. He was a conservative. A conservative wants to move society leftwards a slightly slower pace. That is what he said he was doing, that is what he in fact did.

        A reactionary would have said that reforms had been economically and socially distruptive, causing class warfare and economic disaster, and that therefore what was needed was not slower and more judicious reforms, but a reversal of recent reforms, and a credible commitment to prevent any further. That is not what Stolypin said. And if he had said that, the Czar would have penalized Stolypin in the way that the Tsar conspicuously failed to penalize those leftists who sought power and wealth by terror and murder.

      • I do not see how you could get that from what I said. You are either being ironic or think that efficiency equals leftest takeover. Anyway I thought reactionaries would generally favour taking power away from a centralized bureaucracy and giving it to local aristocrats. I also do not see how giving nobles power of local affairs is taking away from the propertied class and giving to the have-nots. And why are you opposed to liquidating the kulaks when you were opposed to Stolypin’s land reforms that created kulaks. You have been arguing since the beginning that peasants should not have been given land and to do so is to give in to leftism and yet destroying the kulaks is a leftist act? As for your other points I have already responded to them in full.

      • also do not see how giving nobles power of local affairs is taking away from the propertied class and giving to the have-nots.

        Depends on which nobles. Somehow, those elected sounded more like Lenin and less like Burke.

        Nobles do not get elected to power. They get born to power. If elected by the masses, no longer nobles, which is to say, that their power depends on a political and ideological apparatus, rather than family, on party, rather than nobility.

        And why are you opposed to liquidating the kulaks when you were opposed to Stolypin’s land reforms that created kulaks

        Attributing kulaks to Stolypin’s reforms is like attributing home ownership to Bush’s reforms. You don’t get kulaks by land reform.

        Stolypin’s reforms sought to turn former serfs (one third of the population) into kulaks, but former serfs were the portion of the population least suitable to become kulaks, same problem as Bush trying to turn Indios into middle class homeowners.

        The problem that Stolypin’s reforms sought to address was collective ownership of land by democratic entities. If we take democratic communes as given, then, yes, this was a reactionary reform and a good thing, but, hang on, wait a moment, how the hell did land ownership by collective democratic communes come to be a major economic institution?

        Stolypin’s reforms aimed at creating kulaks in place by de-collectivising the peasant commune, but in fact most kulaks arose by migration, buying land in distant places, not by decollectivization.

        Collective land should have been cashed out, with former serfs becoming agricultural laborers. There is no middle ground between people having masters and people being responsible for themselves. The emancipation edict freed the serf’s, while doubting their will and capability to make their own decisions for themselves, therefore avoided freeing the serfs, and the situation remained complicated, confused and self contradictory all the way to communist collectivization.

        Stolypin was not to blame for that mess, but he was to blame for trying to fix it with more democracy rather than more autocracy. If you are going to free the serfs, free the serfs. If you are not going to free the serfs, don’t put a democratic commune in charge of them, put a lord in charge them.

      • No one was elected a noble, nobles were just given a significant majority in the councils in he regions in which they already lived. Some were bad but that is unavoidable in any political system. There was not really a history of yeoman farmers in Russia, this is demonstrated by the fact that we have to use the word kulaks which means tightfisted and was an insult created by communists. There are no other words for them because they had only existed as a class for a decade. Stolypin’s reform was to loan money to peasants on these semi-collective farms so that the could by their own land and start farming with a fraction of the produce going to pay off the loan. A lot of peasants took advantage of this, and for Stolypin’s purposes were moderately successful, since they tended to side with Czarist forces as they knew the commies were not their friends. If the program had continued it might have been much more successful. If by collective democracy you are speaking of the Mir, then those had existed since writing was given to the Slavs. Stolypin took power away from them by creating the Zemstvos and tried to completely dismantle the collective system of farming by creating Kulacks, all the while colonizing Siberia, because as you mentioned many used the money to buy land there. Could it have been handled better? perhaps. Was it an act of center-right revolution to slowly bring about the downfall of the Tsar? No, All Stolypin’s actions seem to be completely loyal and ensuring the survival of the autocracy his highest priority.

      • No one was elected a noble, nobles were just given a significant majority in the councils in the regions in which they already lived.

        If a noble has power by being elected, he does not represent his own interests, nor the interests of the nobility, but the interests of the political block that got him elected, which was in practice usually a radical leftist block who aimed at the over throw of property rights, the nobility, and the monarchy

        The fact that most of those elected were nobles did not matter. That most of those elected aimed at the destruction of the Empire of All the Russias was what did matter.

        Further, this was a self fulfilling prophecy and self fulfilling process. Since everyone, including the Tsar and Stolypin, agreed that Russia had to move left, endlessly further left, the winning political move was always to be lefter than the next politician, lefter than thou. For a politician to succeed in such an environment, he should be the friend of all those to the left of him, and the enemy of all those to the right of him. And since his friends and his enemies are all pursing the same tactic, all his friends are his enemies, and all his enemies are his friends, thus, he is always betraying, and always betrayed.

        And thus, the Tsar is always betrayed, and anyone stupid enough to be loyal to the Tsar, for example Stolypin, is himself betrayed by the Tsar.

        If by collective democracy you are speaking of the Mir, then those had existed since writing was given to the Slavs.

        The Mir were not democratic until emancipation.

        The Mir was run by the lord. The serfs were his property. Further, over time, those Russians incapable of making decisions for themselves tended to wind up as serfs and those serfs competent to make decisions for themselves tended to wind up free. Thus making the Mir democratic was a disaster. The reason for this disaster was that the Tsars were embarrassed by the lord owning, and frequently mistreating, his serfs, but realized that if they just turned the serfs loose to make their own decisions for themselves, transforming them into agricultural wage laborers, that too would be a disaster, similar to the catastrophe that ensued when the slaves were abruptly freed in the American War Between the States, so the Tsars tried to do something half way between the two, with serfs bound to their “democratic” Mir, but that democracy heavily influenced by the noble lord. The Tsars fell between two stools. They should have left the serfs bound as serfs, or altogether turned them loose.

        Stolypin’s reforms slid a little towards actually turning the former serfs loose, a sound measure, but also slid towards making the Mir democracy actually democratic, a catastrophic measure.

      • In filling the Zemstvos, people were divided into classes based on how much property they owned, with each class selecting electors to represent them. So that the nobles that went were chosen by nobles to represent nobles and given over seventy percent of the seats. As for the mirs they had existed since before there were serfs and existed on noble’s land, state land and on otherwise independent land and so all were not subject to the nobility. Even the ones that were still had a considerable amount of control in their own day to day affairs with much of the big decisions being left to governors sent from St. Petersberg. And serfs belonged to the land and could not move either spatially or in rank since Ivan IV. Nobles in turn were allowed to collect revenue from said lands in return for service to the Tsar. Accusing Nicholas II and Stolypin of desiring to lurch leftward is sort of begging the question since that has been precisely what we have been debating. Also, by assassinating the monarch because you dislike some of his political decisions, you would completely undermine the basis of all traditional authority and thus defeat your purpose. Such a coup would therefore be both irrational and immoral.

      • “In filling the Zemstvos, people were divided into classes based on how much property they owned, with each class selecting electors to represent them. So that the nobles that went were chosen by nobles to represent nobles and given over seventy percent of …”

        Collective decision making is leftism, and empowers leftists, resulting in decision making by left wing parties and conspiracies.

        Each should make a decision for himself, and if one decision needs to be made for all, each lord should make the decision for himself and all his people.

        For any group larger than a rather small board of directors, collective decision making tends leftwards, and even for boards, it only works for boards if the directors have a vital interest in the success of the company, owning a substantial portion of the stock.

        Democracy in which large landowners have greater representation might be workable, but it will not be workable in an environment where everyone expects “reform”, has experienced continual movement leftwards in the past and expects continued movement leftwards in the future. In such an environment, each party, and each politician, will form alliances on the basis of “no enemies to the left, no friends to the right”, always betraying, and always betrayed.

        The Tsar should have treated the elections the way the communists did – as a way of identifying who most urgently needed to be shot.

        Accusing Nicholas II and Stolypin of desiring to lurch leftward is sort of begging the question since that has been precisely what we have been debating.

        Stolypin said “First calm, then reform” – in other worlds lurch leftwards real soon now. And that was not soon enough for the Tsar.

      • Collective decision making does not always lead leftward as is seen in the Germanic thing, the Buyar’s Duma,of the sixteenth century, or the ancient Roman senate. Neither does Reform necessarily mean leftwards movement. At the time Russia was a mess and in dire need of reform. The Communists had a chance to take over in 1905. It was Nicholas II and Stolypin that stopped it for as long as they did and if Stolypin had lived and his reforms continued Russia might not have fallen at all.

      • Collective decision making does not always lead leftward as is seen in the Germanic thing, the Buyar’s Duma,of the sixteenth century, or the ancient Roman senate.

        I do not know the history of the Germanic thing, but I know the history of the ancient Roman Senate, and Rome moved leftwards until leftism led to the collapse of the Roman Republic. The Populares were the original left wing party, and all modern day leftist parties are influenced by their example, including the final step where the party of the left allies with external enemies of their own people and their own state, and attempts to collaborate in the extermination of their own people, the destruction of their capital city, and the overthrow of their state.

        At the time Russia was a mess and in dire need of reform.

        Russia was mess and in dire need of reaction.

        The problem was that left wing reforms had created economic disaster, class warfare, and a bandwagon effect that since everyone, including Stolypin, agreed that further movement leftwards would take place, all parties and political activists allied leftwards, with no friends to the right, no enemies to the left.

        To stop the bandwagon, you have to announce that the bandwagon is going to halt, back up a bit, and then stay put. Announcing that it is going to keep on rolling is not going to stop it, or even slow it down.

      • I don’t really wish to get into the politics of the Roman senate right at the moment. Work, school, deaths in the family, and personal antipathy towards the people in question would prevent the sort of research the question demands. I do hope you’ll forgive me. As for the Russia issue we seem to be back were began having already presented the fullness of our respective cases. Since neither of us has been convinced maybe it is time to call it draw. It was a fine struggle, perhaps we will do it again sometime.

      • Thank you Kristor for your thought and kind words. These thing do tend to make life a bit more stressful than usual. I am sorry for your loss as well.

    • @Skeggy

      It is my understanding that the aristocrats of post-Roman western Europe achieved their status by being given it for service to the king by the king.

      No, they weren’t. First, because the the kingship of the Germanic peoples was elective. Second because, as the small number of conquerors spread out over the wide Western Roman Empire, and long-distance communication and literacy both collapsed, each local leader became a law unto himself, and the king’s reach did not go further than his arm. In the High Middle Ages, aka the Dark Ages, far from getting their power from the king, it was these nobles who decided who the king was, from among their number, every time a monarch died. Very obviously, they also felt they had the power to depose the king if they felt like it, and sometimes did it.

      Only after a long and windy process did automatic hereditary succession become the norm over Western Europe. And effective submission of the aristocracy to the king took even longer and can be said to have been fully established only after the Middle Ages proper.

      • The Amals had led the goths from the time they entered history to the fall of the Visigothic kingdom. Likewise the Vandals had a hereditary Monarchy with elections only coming when there was no direct heir. As far as the Anglo-Saxons go the House of Wessex claimed to come directly from King Cedric who had his Right to rule from heredity and all the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms had similar claims. Certainly by the time history gets more clear Kingship was seen as a hereditary affair except for a few cases which I deal with in a post above. The Danes also seemed to have passed kingship from father to son, with the occasional nephew assassinating the king and trying to take control, but the Importance of it to their ideology is clear by the fact that Horik II only claim to power was that he was the last child of the royal household left alive after a bloody civil war. Even the Swedes who technically had a small council to decide who would succeed the king, they almost always voted for a son when a son was available. Tacitus also mentions some hereditary monarchies amongst the Germans though I would have to go back and reread it to give specific examples. He also states that at least amongst some tribes the King had the right and actually on occasion did redistribute wealth however he chose, which suggests a view that all property and thus titles were only held by his consent. This is also similar to how Anglo-Saxon and Norse warriors would always give all the booty they had acquired to the king who then gave it back out to whoever he thought the most deserving of it. The franks also had a hereditary as far back as 370 which as far back as we have any records of Frankish government. War-leaders were elected by the aristocrats but war-leaders were not kings and many tribes had both at the same time.

      • I think both are partially right. The monarchy was hereditary but the king depended on the nobles to survive. Every noble controlled his own land and had warriors that he could lend to the king. The king’s reach depended on the nobles. When a king displeased the nobles, they found a relative of the king and they convinced him to start a civil war.

        After the Middle Ages, the king managed to gather all the nobles in the court (instead of having them in their estates) and subordinate them to the king.

      • To imnobody00:

        You are right of course. However, I was under the assumption that the argument was primarily about whether the Nobility had the right to overthrow their monarchs, rather than being merely able to do so. Although I often get confused.

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  12. @ Bonald, I hope you discuss this with your priest, and remember your comments about Pope Francis at your next confession.

    I am continually saddened to witness Bonald’s apostasy on this website, and I will try to remember to pray for him, as he has and continues to open my eyes to the glories of God.

    I am also amazed at the many who wrongly seem to believe that hatred and ostracism for our homosexually-inclined brothers and sisters is the way of Christ. I realize this may come as a shock to many readers but quite obviously Christ experienced same-sex attraction, that is the feeling of “eros” in reference to other men. Nothing else could be true because the Father created physical beauty and appreciation of it for us, and Christ certainly loves all men and women in all ways. It must then be the case that Christ was capable of appreciating the physical beauty of other men, created as they were by the Father. However, of course because of his perfect goodness and perfect love for all of us Christ never acted in a homosexual manner and never acceded to any temptation to thoughts of fornication. We must remember that “physical attraction” and “sexual lust” are two very different things, merged however they may be in our own sinful thoughts.

    It seems obvious to me that this is the essence of the Pope’s comments regarding homosexuality. To be “attracted” to someone of the same sex, that is to experience joy at beholding their physical beauty, cannot possibly be a sin. To lust after them is just as much a sin as is heterosexual lust (and no more so), and of course the practice of homosexual intercourse is sinful and cannot possibly be sanctified by marriage. The Pope has never said anything other than this, which has been Catholic doctrine for longer than the Church has existed in this world In no way does this ancient teaching and tradition of the Church threaten the sacrament of marriage, which is always and forever between a man and woman by definition.

    I am amazed at Bonald’s obtuseness regarding this matter and can only hope that prayer and reflection will open his eyes to the truth. We ought to remember that God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful: Christ died on the cross to absolve us all of all our sins, homosexuals included. I must say that I love and cherish all my homosexual brothers and sisters in the faith; though I do not share their proclivities I am often slave to my own temptations and I have no doubt that many of them are far more deserving of His grace than am I. I ask all of them, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

    • I am also amazed at the many who wrongly seem to believe that hatred and ostracism for our homosexually-inclined brothers and sisters is the way of Christ.

      If you let women speak in church, your church is not Christian, and if you let gays out of the closet in church, your church is not Christian.

      Male homosexuals and effeminate men are, Paul tells us, not going to enter the Kingdom of heaven. They are also not allowed to be visibly homosexual or effeminate when attending church. Males and females must outwardly conform to gender roles in when attending church. Female homosexuality is, surprisingly, OK, provided the woman does not let it get in the way of the her performing the duties of a wife and a mother.

    • Yes, yes, fine. But can we deal with reality. We are not talking about homosexuality per se, but about a coordinated attack on Goodness itself. The homosexual army is just being used as a tool. Most of us think Goodness itself is worth protecting. The Popes words give the impression that the army has a right to destroy the Church. Why defend this obvious imprudence?

    • “quite obviously Christ experienced same-sex attraction, that is the feeling of “eros” in reference to other men”

      This is such a wicked thing to say… i am lost for words

      • While you are correct, Mr. Citadel, I understand where Mr. de Johnstone’s confusion comes from. Through homosexual liberation, our society has lost traditional understandings of friendship among men.

        Once upon a time, homosexuality was simply not on anyone’s mental radar; for the majority of people, it simply did not exist. This is what made it possible, for example, for Lincoln to share a bed with his friend Joshua Speed*; it is what made it possible for men to write letters expressing deep love and affection for other men, using phrases that might even make us blush. This is why we should not read anything sexual into John calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

        This is more fully explored in Anthony Esolen’s outstanding article at Touchstone called A Requiem for Friendship.

        * The misunderstanding of this relationship—possible only in a wicked age such as ours—led to the term “Log Cabin Republicans.”

  13. Pingback: Condomistic sex isn’t sex | peppermintfrosted

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