October 5, 2014: the demolition of Catholicism begins

From this morning’s first reading:

“Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.  What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?  When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?  Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard:  I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed;  I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.  I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there.  I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”

Today begins the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, the official beginning of what promises to be a two year campaign to destroy what little of the Catholic Church has managed to survive thus far the dark and terrible springtime of Vatican II.  Nothing that lay Catholics can do will influence the outcome of this process, even if that outcome hasn’t been rigged from the beginning (and the quite striking omissions in Instrumentum Laboris do nothing to allay my worries on this).  Nevertheless, I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling a strange urgency to say something.  I keep thinking that years from now I’m going to look back on this time, and that it will be some comfort to know that when the Gospel was under assault from the hierarchy itself, I didn’t fail to…I’m not sure what exactly.  So I’ll do what I always do:  remind people of the stakes.

The Kasperites themselves will tell you that they only want to change pastoral practice, not doctrine, but Kasper himself can’t maintain this facade for the length of a single interview.  In the same interviews where he disavows any intention of changing doctrine, he calls it “offensive” to equate remarriage with adultery (i.e. he rebukes Jesus Christ Himself), denies that all sexual acts in such adulterous relationships are sinful, and affirms that sodomitical unions have “their own value“.  In other words, he’s playing the standard liberal game of coupling an attack on Christian morality with a protestation of neutrality (in Kasper’s case, a “pastoral” sphere living in complete separation from dogma) intended only to exempt oneself from a duty to prove one’s counter-morality.

Protestants might wonder if perhaps a loosening of Catholic doctrine on marriage would only bring the Church into line with their own position, which allows divorce and remarriage in certain circumstances.  To imagine this would be a great mistake.  The Protestant exceptions to marital indissolubility represent a good-faith interpretation of Scripture (although one that I reject).  Kasperism negates the very idea of objective truth in religion.  According to the Kasperites, the teachings of the Church–doctrine, natural law, sacred scripture–belong to an abstract realm of “ideas”, distinct from which is another independent realm of individual subjective experience, which Pope Francis bluntly calls “reality“.  “Reality” has its own integrity which “ideas” must bend to accommodate.  A person who has objectively promised before God lifelong fidelity to one person may, on the “phenomenological” level, feel that this marriage is “dead” and that a new liaison is more meaningful and not at all sinful.  Now, most of us would say that such a person needs to confront these feelings with the reality of his or her vows, but the Kasperite heretics have redefined “reality” to refer to feelings.  It is instead the objective moral law which they say must defer to reality.  Kasperism is thus more akin to the modernist heresy than to Protestantism.  The modernists reinterpreted statements about God to be statements about man’s religious experience, and the Kasperites take this immanentist turn to an even further and more degrading extreme, reducing religion to a system of wish fulfillment, of the expression and manipulation of feelings.  It is the ultimate heresy.

Kasper says that this debate is on a level lower than doctrine, the level of pastoral policy.  In fact, it is on a level higher than doctrine, the level of deciding what type of “language game” doctrine is presumed to be.  To be blunt, is religion supposed to be serious?  Do we really mean what we say in the creed or the sacraments?  Or is it all just play-acting?  The stakes here are very high, especially for the laity.  Marriage is our sacrament, and the fact that we really have irrevocably committed ourselves in this sacrament–that we have done so in the face of the possibility of real sacrifices–gives no small part of the sense of meaning, of place and purpose, we have of our lives.  We certainly should object to its vandalism by the hierarchy, even apart from their debasement of the even holier sacrament of the Eucharist.  I find it offensive rather than encouraging that the Pope would put no better than even money on my children being legitimate.

Here, by the way, is a taste of reality as I see it, courtesy of Blaise Pascal:

Imagine a number of men in chains, all under sentence of death, some of whom are each day butchered in the sight of the others; those remaining see their own condition in that of their fellows, and looking at each other with grief and despair await their turn.  This is an image of the human condition.

There’s the simplest proof that my phenomenal bubble is not “reality”–someday I will be a rotting corpse.  And in this knowledge of my mortality is my liberation.  If I had an eternity of earthly life, these calls to be “reasonable” and tailor my religion to avoid suffering and loneliness might be irresistible.  But because I am a prisoner waiting to be butchered, they are exposed as foolishness.  I am driven out of myself, to recognize in God and His Law the true and enduring reality.  To a man under sentence of death, it matters more that one’s life mean something–that it have significance in the objective reality that outlives him, not just that it “feel meaningful”–than that the remaining time be maximally pleasant.  It is eminently rational to stand on principles, to live one’s few days as a man rather than an animal locked in its own immanence.  In the very fact of my life’s finitude is an opportunity, that of giving it a unitary meaning.  And here God blesses us with His sacraments, lending us the power and authority of His own voice with which to declare and bind ourselves.

To the Kasperites, on the other hand (as I reconstruct their implicit teaching),

For better or for worse” means the possibility of having to accept great suffering and loneliness, the very things that vow was supposed to prevent.  What shall we do?  Is not the play-acting of children healthy, perhaps even necessary?  And yet, when the rules of a game or a dare lead to actual danger, is that not the time to remember that the game is in fact a game, and that they would be better off playing a different one?  Again, what shall we do?  Shall we devise new marriage vows with explicit exception clauses, new rules that keep things from ever getting really out of hand?  Heavens no!  This would defeat the point of the game, which must be played as if it were serious to have its effect.  The point of marriage is to feel that you are indissolubly bound to another person, that she/he is totally yours, and you are totally hers/his, even though it’s not true.  People in love always promise “forever”; it would be as cruel to keep them from promising this as it would be to actually hold them to it.

No, the game must continue to be played, because outside of it is darkness and despair.  We must play with fire.  But it must be play. What is needed is a class of discreet and wise “grown-ups” to keep things from getting out of hand.  The point of marriage is the comfort of personal companionship.  The point of the Eucharist is the comfort of community affirmation.  We must see to it that these sacraments are really offering these things to everyone.  And yet, for them to work, they must maintain the illusion of transcendent purpose and absolute validity.  We must affirm the rules, and we must break them.

50 thoughts on “October 5, 2014: the demolition of Catholicism begins

  1. Pingback: October 5, 2014: the demolition of Catholicism begins | Reaction Times

  2. I suppose this means that Christ is now free to divorce his church. After all, the thrill is gone, she’s started to sag, and there’s a new, smoking hot chick working in the vineyard.

  3. I’m convinced that we’re approaching the end game of modern times. Firstly, it was the liberals who deserted the Church when it preached a doctrine they were not prepared to accept. Now it will be the traditionalists who will also reject the Church’s teaching. A small core of faithful will remain.

    From what I’ve read of Kaspar, he hasn’t sought to redefine our understanding of marriage, nor permit divorce, rather, Kasper is trying to deal with reality of divorce and co-habitation within the Catholic context. Current “institutional thinking” equates the rampant adulterer with the abandoned spouse who seeks an alternative mate. Clearly, both commit adultery but it is of a different kind.

    Whist I think that the Church will never allow divorce or remarriage, it may recognise the existence of non-mortal adultery. i.e. adultery which circumstances may mitigate some of the responsibility. Unlike the usual “suck it up/bear your cross” crowd, Kaspar, and the Pope it appears, want to find some form of humane solution to the problem.

    • ‘ non-mortal adultery?’ That must be the bi-millenial contradiction in terms! On a par with equalising bearing the cross with sucking it up. More and more I am becoming convinced that the geatest Satanic deception of our times is that of a humane, false anti-Christic mercy aping God’s mercy in order to subvert it. True, this is a time of great divine mercy towards an increasingly sinful humanity, but the real apostles of Christ’s mercy for our time were saints JohnPaul and Faustina, certainly not the Kasperites of this world. I pray and hope against hope that Pope Francis can see the difference and act on it.

      • @Carmel

        Versed as you are in morality, I think I should point out that the culpability for the act is not solely determined by the act, but rather with reference to the intention and circumstances of the respective party. Certain acts, while in-themselves mortally sinful, may not confirm upon the subject a mortal culpability due to these other factors. God understands both man’s nature and circumstances, something Aspergy types seem to forget.

        Now it is quite true that no one is allowed to receive communion whilst in a state of mortal sin but I do believe that the Church has within its power to make an objective determination with regard to certain circumstances which may mitigate the culpability. Cue Matthew 16:9 and Matthew 18:18.

        For example, the Church may be able to make a determination with regard to an abandoned spouse that;

        1) Since the spouse was not guilty for the separation and,
        2) “It is not good for man to be alone”, i.e the Creator intended most people to have a conjugal companion and thus implanted this natural desire in them,
        3) Provided certain criteria were met, a stable adulterous union, whilst morally wrong, may not confer a mortal sanction.

        Note, since subtlety seems to elude most, that I’m not saying such as union is a marriage, nor should the Church treat it as such, rather, it’s an exceptional circumstance where adultery is “tolerated” by God. The matter then resolves around determining what are objective mitigating circumstances.

        There is a historical precedent for this. Christ clearly explains that the Mosaic approval of Divorce was a “toleration” by God and in no way a Divine approval. Clearly, God spared many of the Divorced Israelites from Hell because of his understanding of the “hardness of the human heart.” Need I remind you that God’s nature is unchangeable and the Mercy and understanding he extended to the Israelites then, is in my opinion, still there.

      • slumlord writes:

        Certain acts, while in-themselves mortally sinful, may not confirm upon the subject a mortal culpability due to these other factors. God understands both man’s nature and circumstances, something Aspergy types seem to forget.

        Sure, someone who denies God under torture may not be mortally culpable — although he should still go to confession before receiving Communion, including the necessary resolution to not do it again even if the circumstances arise again.

        One problem with slumlord’s exculpatory-circumstance theory is that “not having sex” isn’t a circumstance anything remotely like “being tortured”.

        Another is that, even granting mitigated culpability for denying God (say) under a particular instance of torture, the Church can never grant a ‘venial pass’ for people to deny God repeatedly and for the rest of their lives simply because failing to do so will make their lives very difficult.

        For slumlord it is all about loosening sexual license, rescuing sex from the “Aspergy” natural law doctrine of the Church by finding some ‘middle ground’ between it and the modern free-for-all. In his view the modern sexual free-for-all is the Church’s fault: the Church is like rigid parents surprised by rebellious children, and if only the rigid parents tried to be understanding the kids wouldn’t be so rebellious.

      • Still another problem is that some sort of formal declaration that a particular adulterous union is only venially sinful because of circumstances requires that to be the case for both adulterers, not just one of them. Otherwise the ‘venial licensed’ party is still formally cooperating in the mortal sin of the other party.

        So what is the new practice: abandoned spouses now have a license to commit adultery under a veniality dispensation, but only with other abandoned spouses? Presumably this also applies to one-off hookups outside of ‘wedlock’, since there is no wedlock in any case.

      • For slumlord it is all about loosening sexual license, rescuing sex from the “Aspergy” natural law doctrine of the Church………..

        I love it when people tell me what my intentionality is. I suppose that was Moses’s view as well.

        God’s nature is diachronic and I reckon its quite legitimate to argue that the unchanging nature of God, which tolerated divorce then, whilst still hating it, is still in operation today.

      • slumlord/Social Pathologist:

        I am not characterizing your inner subjective states. I am characterizing your very public mission as a blogger and commenter, which anyone can discern by reading what you have been writing for many years.

    • @slumlord
      Your solution to the problem of the innocent abandoned spouse is one where the cure is more deadly than the disease. The more doctrinal and merciful way is to find good reasons for annulment of a marriage that might not have been valid in the first place.
      ‘a stable adulterous union, whilst morally wrong, may not confer a mortal sanction.’ – again the same contorted, sophistical, liberal, Kasperite argumentation, conveniently diluting Christ’s clear precept to the adulteress ‘Go and sin no more.’ And of course, Kasper and you are more tolerant than Christ.Between Christ’s severe but real mercy, and your nice, tolerant shilly shallying mercy, I have not the slightest doubt which to choose. Significantly, nowhere in your comment does the word cross appear, because it might seem like ‘sucking it up’ to you. There goes St Paul’s claim that his only preaching was Christ and Him crucified, not to mention certain words of Jesus about following Him by taking up one’s cross and denying one’self.

      Your historical precedent is sadly anachronistic and pathetically outdated. So we should retrogess to BC as if AD never happened and Christ’s perfection of Mosaic Law through His Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection is too heavy a load for our generation that has again become too ‘hard’ of heart to endure Christ’s hard won grace!
      Need I remind you that after Our Lord Jesus Christ, there is no more room for Mosaic, much less Kasperite, excuses?

  4. slumlord:

    I’m convinced that we’re approaching the end game of modern times. Firstly, it was the liberals who deserted the Church when it preached a doctrine they were not prepared to accept. Now it will be the traditionalists who will also reject the Church’s teaching. A small core of faithful will remain.

    I actually agree with that. Trads generally do not appreciate the extent to which Saint John Paul II played the role of Horatio on the Bridge when it comes to moral doctrine, and by their tepid embrace of his magisterium they disarm themselves. The apostasy of the trads is already underway, and I expect sedevacantism to grow.

    Whist I think that the Church will never allow divorce or remarriage, it may recognise the existence of non-mortal adultery. i.e. adultery which circumstances may mitigate some of the responsibility.

    What would be required to make that happen is to insure that everyone in such situations remain in ignorance. All adultery is grave matter, and once someone understands that then deliberately and freely choosing adulterous acts is mortal sin. So the only way to accomplish this ‘pastoral’ goal is to treat ignorance of the truth and embrace of lies as a kind of eighth sacrament, a sanctifying state to be encouraged and fostered for the ‘pastoral care of souls’ or what have you.

    In other words, accomplishing this goal requires us to make the Father of Lies sovereign.

    • > Trads generally do not appreciate the extent to which Saint John Paul II played the role of Horatio on the Bridge when it comes to moral doctrine…
      The hostility toward JPII surprises me too. What I care most about is which way a pope is pushing the Church. I don’t expect him to fight every battle all the time. It’s clear that John Paul and Francis push in opposite directions.

  5. That is, there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object. These acts, if carried out with sufficient awareness and freedom, are always gravely sinful.

    Likewise, care will have to be taken not to reduce mortal sin to an act of ” fundamental option”-as is commonly said today-against God, intending thereby an explicit and formal contempt for God or neighbor. For mortal sin exists also when a person knowingly and willingly, for whatever reason, chooses something gravely disordered. In fact, such a choice already includes contempt for the divine law, a rejection of God’s love for humanity and the whole of creation; the person turns away from God and loses charity. Thus the fundamental orientation can be radically changed by individual acts.

    However, it must be remembered that the church, guided by faith in this great sacrament, teaches that no Christian who is conscious of grave sin can receive the eucharist before having obtained God’s forgiveness. This we read in the instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium which, duly approved by Paul VI, fully confirms the teaching of the Council of Trent: “The eucharist is to be offered to the faithful also ‘as a remedy, which frees us from daily faults and preserves us from mortal sin’ and they are to be shown the fitting way of using the penitential parts of the liturgy of the Mass. The person who wishes to receive holy communion is to be reminded of the precept: Let a man examine himself” (1 Cor 11:28). And the church’s custom shows that such an examination is necessary, because no one who is conscious of being in mortal sin, however contrite he may believe himself to be, is to approach the holy eucharist without having first made a sacramental confession. If this person finds himself in need and has no means of going to confession, he should first make an act of perfect contrition.” – Reconciliatio et Paenitentia

  6. However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

    Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”(180)

    Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.

    By acting in this way, the Church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to His truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner.

    With firm confidence she believes that those who have rejected the Lord’s command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity. – Familias Consortio

  7. Great post by the way. I too was struck by the prophetic appropriateness of this Sunday’s readings, as though the lectionary itself were firing a shot across the bow of the Synod.

  8. “standard liberal game of coupling an attack on Christian morality with a protestation of neutrality”

    Now ain’t that a classic.

    A very well written assessment, and I fear its bleakness is not without warrant. Some of the rhetoric we can see is so heretical it defies explanation.

    With this said, the will of the Lord be done. As Orthodox, I am praying for my Catholic brothers and sisters and their beautiful church. If you yield to this flowing tide, you will be swept under to drown. Resist with the strength of the divine will and when the tide ebbs, you will chase it back into the watery depths with a sword raised high and it shall never return to poison this world again.

    May God be with the Catholic Church at this time.

    • Well no pray that we don’t follow what your church teaches. The post-Vatican II Church falls over itself to placate and emulate the East, this being the most recent case. I guess some schismatics are a-okay.

      • Not entirely sure where the Catholic Church has in recent times tried to emulate the Eastern tradition (outside of maybe some aesthetics). The Eastern Church has not seen any drive towards liberalism as it operates in countries that are typically profoundly illiberal and thus has not faced any such pressure to embrace modern social trends when compared with what western churches have had to endure (often at the legal level).

        With regards to divorce, the process (which has been around for some time) is not one I see the Catholic Church emulating. They are looking to the secular west and civil institutions when they consider these changes. The Orthodox perspective is somewhat unique, described by one Alexandr over at Byzcath.org in the following way,

        -:- There is in other words a close relationship in every dimension between divorce and the possibility of remarriage. It is important here to explain a fundamental element of the Orthodox Church’s doctrine, namely that the dissolving of a marriage relationship does not ipso facto grant the right to enter into another marriage. As we look back to the time of the primitive Church, the Church of the first centuries, then we will have to agree that the Church did not have any juridical authority with regard to marriage, and did not therefore, make any statement concerning their validity. The Holy Basil the Great, for example, referred not to a rule but to usage, as far as this problem was concerned. Speaking concerning the man who had been cheated by his wife, he declares that the man is “pardonable” (to be excused) should he remarry. It is good to remember that the Orthodox Church has in general always had a sense of reluctance regarding second marriages. It would subsequently be completely wrong to assert that orthodox Christians may marry two or three times!

        Orthodox canon law can permit a second and even a third marriage “in economia”, but strictly forbids a fourth. In theory divorce is only recognized in the case of adultery, but in practice is also recognized in light of other reasons. There is a list of causes of divorce acceptable to the Orthodox Church. In practice the bishops sometimes apply “economia” in a liberal way. By the way, divorce and remarriage are only permitted in the context of “economia”, that is, out of pastoral care, out of understanding for weakness. A second or third marriage will always be a deviation from the “ideal and unique marriage”, but often a fresh opportunity to correct a mistake” -:-

        And recognized the following reasons as potential justifications for a divorce

        – apostasy from Orthodoxy

        – adultery and unnatural vices

        – incapacity for marital cohabitation

        – affliction by leprosy or syphilis

        – unknown absence

        – jail sentence with deprivation of rights

        – infringement upon the life and health of spouse and children

        – incest or prostitution of spouse

        – entering into a new marriage

        – serious, incurable mental illness

        – intentional desertion

        Now, I don’t necessarily agree with the policy, but I very much doubt its the one that Catholic advocates for divorce are looking to when they present their case to the Pope. A lot of them are looking at congregations that feel strongly that divorce should be legitimized in the Church (blame secular influence at the cultural level for that), and there will always be a large number of priests who want to follow their congregation rather than lead them. I don’t want Catholics to change their doctrine. The reasons to do so are unsound, as Bonald has argued effectively.

        Best wishes Scripta

      • @Mark

        I think Ita Scripta Est is essentially right (though I don’t think we necessarily need to fo: Vaticanum II did try it to emulate it in things like vague something that came to be referred to as consiliarity, manifested by the dreadful conferences, (I’d say that this vagueness itself is reminiscent of the East, but again, there’s always liberal vagueness), not to mention the the motivations behind certain liturgical reforms like concelebration, Communion under both species in the Latin Rite, Eastern influence on the rite of episcopal consecration and so on.

        Of course, the ultimate folly of it all is revealed by the fact that the East largely fails to appreciate all that (small wonder).

        I live in a nominal-majority Orthodox country (the bastion of Orthodoxy, Russia) and I’d say it would be somewhat naive to characterise it as profoundly illiberal (the same goes for most ex-communist countries, but the current norms about remarriage were adopted well before that). Yes, Russians do not vote for liberal politicians (Russians tend not to vote, and we’re not alone in that). Yes, we don’t have anything close to Social Justice or the like. As a rule there’s no such thing as graphic “sex education”. Yes, the government banned homosexual propaganda when it comes to underage people and now prosecutes for “offending the sentiments of the faithful” (a blasphemy law is one thing, but this? Tell me how traditional of sentiments talk is). But when it comes to church attendance, divorce rate, number of children outside wedlock, single mothers, abortion etc. these countries are -very- liberal.

        People tend to idealise pre-revolutionary Russia, and obviously some Communist innovations – like organised feminism, legalised abortion, purposeful destruction of the family and promotion of promiscuity – were just that, innovations, but the list of suitable “economical situations” reached it’s number before the Communist ascendancy. To quote the indomitable count indomitable comte de Maistre:

        Let the Russian Government beware: its clergy do not even possess a voice in the State, they dare not speak and are only consulted whet it cannot be avoided; Such a thing has never been seen before. Priests and oracles have always presided over the infancy of nations; here we have the opposite. The germs of Russian civilisation were fermented and developed in the corruption of the Regency period in France. The dreadful literature of the eighteenth century arrived in Russia suddenly and without any preparation; the first French lessons which this people received constisted of blasphemies.

        Some Orthodox do acknowledge the influence the Enlightenment had (particularly when it comes to nations and ecclesiastical structures, like Greece). Not without reason.

        I suppose you can call this practice of “economy” with respect to remarriage traditional in the loose sense of “old”, it has been around for some thousand years now, after all. Unless Roman law is somehow part of the Magisterium.

        As St. John Chrysostom put it: “Do not cite the civil law made by outsiders, which command that a bill be issued and a divorce granted. For it is not according to these laws that the Lord will judge thee on the last Day, but according to those which He Himself has given”
        (De Lib. Rep.).
        __________________________________

        It would seem that the Kasperites are trying to do what the East had once done. For what is the difference? Ask a Kasperite and he’ll tell you that he understands the weakness of men (why else this constant talk of mercy and compassion) while conducting pastoral care (this “pastoral” word again). Moreover, the Kasperite will with the Orthodox acknowledge the “reality that marriages sometimes die” etc.It’s not as if the Kasper party wants us to solemnly rejoice in each divorce.

        P.S. What is “economy”, anyway?.. And how is it moral? It’s obviously not the principle of double effect, for it involves deliberately acting in a per se immoral way.

        Bonald nailed it with “penitential” adultery.

      • ‘Economy’ is an interesting outlook, but I’m not well versed in the subject, so can’t come down either way at this point. I do not like it just on reflex, but that doesn’t mean anything until the issue has been studied. And it is acceptable to want reform in a church if it acting in an unbiblical manner, as I’m sure many Catholics feels the same way about certain aspects of the Roman tradition.

        “But when it comes to church attendance, divorce rate, number of children outside wedlock, single mothers, abortion etc. these countries are-very- liberal”

        I see these phenomena in the east as more consequences of total societal breakdown (as occurred during the Soviet Union), rather than protracted liberalism. You might also point to the alcoholism or high poverty in certain areas. Liberalism as I see it is distinguishable from just general bad situations in countries, its more of a pervading ‘attitude’ and meme. You can say concretely that the acceptability of illiberal ideas in Russia is far higher than it is in somewhere like England or New York. You can openly criticize democracy in Russia for example, which is unacceptable in the West. And on abortion, I have been encouraged by some of the new laws passed in Russia restricting its advertisement. The pro-life movement is growing in the country.

        I’m not saying Russia is some kind of utopia. Its not. It’s fraught with awful problems and societal ills, but I would say the trajectory for Russia is somewhat positive for the most part in terms of the things you mentioned (coming from an abysmal low in the 90s under Yeltsin), and the trajectory for Western countries is practically terminal, as was exemplified just the other day by the US Supreme Court which has now validated sodomitical ‘marriages’ in 30 states.

        But the intention of my original post was just to say I hope for the best for my Catholic brothers and sisters, not begin a schismatic feud 🙂

      • Mark Citadel makes an important distinction between immorality from weak social controls and immorality from strong liberal social controls.

      • @Mark

        And it is acceptable to want reform in a church if it acting in an unbiblical manner, as I’m sure many Catholics feels the same way about certain aspects of the Roman tradition.

        Not only is it acceptable, but good and laudable. 🙂

        Catholics would respond, of course, that there’s nothing in Catholic tradition that is contra-biblical. Though any contradiction regarding doctrine (at least indirectly) with a continuous millenial history would be a huge pointer to a somewhat more radical defect (or perhaps I’m extrapolating Catholic logic here).

        What I was trying to say is that the maladies Russia suffers from are much older than the Russian communist experiment. It’s telling, I think, that when mandatory Communion in the Imperial Army was abolished, most soldiers refrained from ever going.

        A study of Russian intellectual currents before the revolution is an arduous (because of the content) but pertinent task for a Christian trying to understand the nature of that collapse.

        Concerning Russian dynamics: I’d say it much more complicated. I’m not saying that Russia’s liberal – it’s clearly not, though whatever Russia is accidentally agrees with quite a lot of what liberalism prescribes. Moreover, the properly Russian generations (born after the collapse of the Union) are increasingly liberal, though I can’t say much as to the preponderance. Then again, of course, there are explicitly pagan popular currents, Western-style nationalist groups (these two intertwine), “Nazi” groups, militant lefties…

        When it comes to the “life” issues, the underlying logic is fundamentally secular: abortions are said to wrong not because murder is evil, but because Russia’s going extinct (it is, incidentally). It’s something, but.. Not to mention the ethnophilist “Orthodox-because-Russian” theme being dominant (and not exactly successful). There was even a bill prepared prescribing forced abortions, though the Lord spared Russia of that.

        I suppose one can criticise democracy in Russia… though preferably not the Russian one. 🙂

        I’m not looking for feud.:) Originally I just elaborated on what I think Ita Scripta Est meant. Please do forgive me if my comments left a different impression.

      • Not at all Georgy. Your insight always compels me to further study and examination.

        Bonald:

        “important distinction between immorality from weak social controls and immorality from strong liberal social controls.”

        Yes, I think we can see this in various countries around the world, particularly the Third World, where immoral actions run rampant, but its largely due to the state not functioning effectively at all rather than functioning to actively subvert society. I’m sure at some stage, maybe Radish or someone, will look at it on a country by country basis and analyze the penetration of liberalism as an export from the west.

  9. Things aren’t entirely bleak, I think. Francis has made clear he wants a liberalization of the current praxis but has also made clear he doesn’t want to act without the support of the “great majority” of bishops. So far that hasn’t been forthcoming. Nearly all of the Cardinals (as in 85%+ at a minimum) are against it, including numerous liberals, like Re. And Francis has made the very stupid decision of preemptively stripping all the people most likely to oppose him in this of curial office, so they have nothing to lose by opposing him all the more vigorously.

    My great hope is that the brief and disastrous re-ascendancy of theological progressives under the present Pontificate will so annoy and alienate the faithful that the Cardinals’ next choice for Pope will be someone assured of not making similar mistakes, someone whose Pontifical name will ideally end in double digits

  10. @Zippy

    I’m what you’ll call a trad, I suppose, though not a sedevacantist. There’s a very tricky topic related to the issue, and perhaps I’m being too literal about this, but here’s Pastor Aeternus:

    Romanum Pontificem, cum ex cathedra loquitur, id est, cum omnium Christianorum pastoris et doctoris munere fungens pro suprema sua Apostolica auctoritate doctrinam de fide vel moribus ab universa Ecclesia tenendam definit, per assistentiam divinam ipsi in beato Petro promissam, ea infallibilitate pollere, qua divinus Redemptor Ecclesiam suam in definienda doctrina de fide vel moribus instructam esse voluit; ideoque eiusmodi Romani Pontificis definitiones ex sese, non autem ex consensu Ecclesiae, irreformabiles esse.

    _______________________________________________

    Followed by an anathema (ah, good times).

    How are we to understand this divinely revealed dogma? Literally it would seem that it means that it’s a practical impossibility that a Pope can pronounce as dogmatically binding some heretical teaching. If that reading is correct, then if Francis is indeed Pope (and I believe he is/find no reason to doubt that he is), then we have little to worry about doctrine-wise. The praxis can deviate (in fact, for example, I do believe that the very existence, usage and claims to legitimacy of Novus Ordo goes against canon XIII of the 7th session of the Council of Trent), but faithful Catholics would just have to persevere and not be scandalised by everything happening around them (basically the same thing we have to do nowadays).

    And it would seem that we can’t even let the thought of Pope Francis declaring a doctrinal change stay in our thoughts – for that is impossible, if he is Pope.

    If that happens (per impossibile), either Catholicism is false (and Christianity with it, for Catholicism is synonymous with it, and it is the only possible Christianity, at least in my opinion) or Francis is not in fact the Pope.

    But then we’d have to have a plausible account of how that situation came to be, or else we’d be irrational to hold the sedevacantism thesis, and we would have to conclude that the gates of hell did in fact prevail (the implications of that I don’t need to explore, I reckon).

    Under the mentioned hypothetical circumstances it would seem that sedevacantism would be the only viable Catholic option.

    Or is my understanding mistaken?..

    I actually find it providential that for all these years the only duly expressed binding teaching was made by John Paul II in his definition against the possibility of women priests (Deo gratias!).

    All this “ex cathedra” stuff seems less appealing to the pastoral and “humble”, “merciful” and “charitable”.

  11. Just to remind ourselves of the relevant anathema:

    Can. 7. Si quis dixerit, Ecclesiam errare, cum docuit et docet, iuxta evangelicam et apostolicam doctrinam (cf. Mc 10; 1 Cor 7), propter adulterium alterius coniugum matrimonii vinculum non posse dissolvi, et utrumque, vel etiam innocentem, qui causam adulterio non dedit, non posse, altero coniuge vivente, aliud matrimonium contrahere, moecharique eum, qui dimissa adultera aliam duxerit, et eam, quae dimisso adultero alii nupserit: an. s.

    Sessio XXIV, Concilium Tridentinum

  12. Georgy:

    Under the mentioned hypothetical circumstances it would seem that sedevacantism would be the only viable Catholic option.

    The beauty of hypotheticals is that in them, like in all fictional stories, anything can happen. “What if God really hated is and was just being sadistic and cruel” is another hypothetical. The only real answer to such hypotheticals is faith: trust in God and His goodness. Even if there was the appearance of such a hypothetical coming to pass, faith in God requires me to conclude that the problem is in me, my perceptions, my reasoning, etc.

    It makes no sense to construct a logical decision tree based on those sorts of hypotheticals. It isn’t as though I am going to be the one to sort it out if we have another round of anti-popes or what have you.

    That brings up another point, which is that folks seem to think we are special snowflakes in our particular place in salvation history. There have been plenty of confusing and disruptive times in the past; and to know history is to gain equanimity about the present.

    • @Zippy

      Though I surely agree with the spirit of your comment, I have to qualify my original statement.

      I realise these are hypotheticals. That is why I asked whether my understanding of the dogma is correct or not.

      God cannot be reasonably said to hate us, nor can He be described as sadistic and cruel – these are demonstable impossibilities. Whereas a period when the See of Peter is vacant is not clearly impossible, nor is thinking that one’s living in one such period contrary to the Faith, at least prima facie.

      It’s just that you’ve written about an apostasy of traditionalists and sedevacantists growing more numerous.

    • My experience with history has been the opposite. The current troubles seem to me unprecedented. They make me long for Arians and Lutherans.

      • At the risk of sounding smarmy (I’m really trying to help), maybe it should strike you as uncanny that the periods for which you long are always the ones that you are not a part of. How can one know that another period is preferable to your own when you haven’t lived in it? In the end it is the same for everyone in every age: death, judgment, heaven, hell. There is so much about the end that is hidden from us, that we are not fit to judge.

  13. Pingback: Dark Brightness | The whore and the theologian.

  14. This is freakinly scary.

    The Reformed, the Lutherans, and the Orthodox all have different interpretations about the issue of divorce from the Romans, this is true. But, as you note, these are good faith attempts to use plain reason and scripture to work out what is the correct thing to do during such times as when marriages fall apart.

    And they do. (As an aside, there is agreement on some forms of annulment such as incestuous marriage, with some variation as to where the line is, but generally looking to the Levitical restrictiosn. So annulment exists in all branches of Christendom).

    But this sloppiness is against the spirit of approaching the table of our LORD. This is a high and holy act, and we are told we must approach it in a worthy manner. If your theology is Eucharistic (I’m reformed, so mine is not) that is even more so.

    I have some respect to the poor Catholic woman who remarried and refrains because she beleives the chruch doctrine. She has a difficult road, but she knows she needs to seek forgiveness. Zippy Catholic is correct on this one. I have respect to those Romans who take their faith seriously and obey with all their effort the rules given to them.

    I have no respect for those who decide to remove such guidance, not based on careful and prayerful consideration of scripture and looking at how the Church in all times and places has dealt with these issues, but to be fashionable or feel they are being nice.

    For in the end, the Church belongs to Christ, and nice Christ is not.

  15. Honest question: does anyone around here believe in the Prophecy of the Popes? I have just re-discovered it lately on Wiki, and it is downright creepy to me that it says that after Glora Olivae, associated with Benedict XVI, the Catholic church will be persecuted, and then I come here and Bonald says the demolition of the Catholic church has began. Wow. Some synchronicity.

    • Hello Shenpen.
      A comment I made to another poster (below) might interest you (his comment was actually a response to yours anyway).
      (Manwe Oct 10th, 2014 at 11:15pm, that’s the one)

      I’m aware that you are a Buddhist, or at least lean that way, but perhaps you’d find the book I mentioned (in said comment) interesting. It’s all historic prophecy, and I what you mentioned here is a part of it.

      • Ugh…stupid mistake in that last sentence, sorry. I was editing tha last sentence from what it originally was. Guess I should have edited it a bit more! 😉

  16. There’s the simplest proof that my phenomenal bubble is not “reality”–someday I will be a rotting corpse. And in this knowledge of my mortality is my liberation. If I had an eternity of earthly life, these calls to be “reasonable” and tailor my religion to avoid suffering and loneliness might be irresistible.

    That checks out – reincarnation is a big reason why Buddhism focuses so strongly on suffering. After a few million lifetimes of it, suffering starts to be kind of important 🙂 I do agree that one life of suffering would not matter much – the human body is very good at not surviving the worst conditions, and also good at adapting to the not-worst ones, so the combination of a long but really, really painful life is rare.

    Worrying about suffering in one lifetime is indeed kind of short-sighted, why grab at pleasure with both hands when a bus could just hit you tomorrow…

    Wait, I think we are at something important here, this line of thought may worth pursuing. Why exactly do Materialists worry that much about suffering if they don’t believe in reincarnation?

    Hmmm… is it possible that not believing in reincarnation the single most important defining feature of the history of European thought from Socrates and Jesus to the Enlightenment? If you think about this way… as long as people were not liberals, it generally meant just about anything mattered more than suffering.

  17. As always, a great post, Bonald. But the game was lost longtime ago. What we have now are the inevitable consequences.

    Christianity needs a community to survive. A community that enforces its rules. In absence of a community enforcing its rules, individual acts of selfishness destroy the faith. If there is no punishment against the transgressions, there is no way to enforce the rules.

    It could be a closed community (such as the Amish one) or an open community (such as the entire society). From Constantine on, it was the entire society.

    The fight was lost the day secular society permitted non-fault divorce. If Catholic people can divorce and remarry, they will do that. Yes, this remarriage won’t mean anything under God, but most people will do it anyway. There will be a shrinking minority that will remain faithful … so what? After some time, you have an increasing crowd of divorcees and you have to decide what do you do with these people. Or you become an irrelevant minority.

    The day the Church was killed was the dead that non-fault divorce was allowed in the secular society.

    In a closed community, you could punish divorce with the expulsion of the community. In our secular community, there are no punishment against divorce and people divorce without consequences. As a result, marriage is dying.

    Some posts ago, somebody said “equality before the Law does not mesh with sexual dimorphism”. This is the blindness that the one that will not see. If you approve laws enforcing that men and women should follow the feminist dogma, they will end up behaving in a non-traditional way, because people are drawn by incentives.

    It was a mistake from the Christian intellectuals to think that we could build an oasis inside the secular culture. That, even if the secular society went to hell, we could live Christian lives in our private life. Some shrinking minority managed to do it while their family (sons, daughters, etc) desert more and more. The fight should have been in the entire society but we thought we could make it work.

    Now, the war is lost. The only hope of survival of Christianity is to form closed communities such as the Amish or the Hassidim. The secular culture is going to hell and the Constantinian church is going with it.

    • I agree with some things you wrote, but I’m curious: what exactly do you mean by the Constantinian church?

      It’s a duty of Christians to try to convert societies they live in. We are the salt of the Earth.

      I don’t quite agree with what seem to be the dichotomy you’re proposing. The Church in the past managed to be in the world yet not of it.

      I agree that the Christians must have effective means of policing themselves, shepherding the sheep, and these abound in closed communities. But I think there’s a middle-way between the extremes. I think what the Catholic Church used to be in the US or, say, something akin to Belgian pillarisation. Corporate autonomy, a kind of autarchy, within the increasingly secularising state. Schools, hospitals, universities etc. Not exactly what the Amish do.

      And I genuinely believe that all of this allows Christians to maintain a fighting stance within society.
      The trouble with the Catholic Church, of course, is that she has surrendered her defenses 50 years ago.

      I don’t think we’re in a significant disagreement, but I think I could’ve misunderstood what you were saying.

      • I don’t think we disagree but take into account that I am a foreigner and I have big trouble to express myself in English.

        When I say Constantinian Church, I mean an open Church, that is, the Church as we know it. We are Christian but our friends and family members may be or may not be Christian. All our life is regulated by secular organizations. Our work is in secular organizations with people who may or may not be Christian. We marry by the State. We live the same life as the one of an atheist EXCEPT that we go to a church, pray and try to behave like Christians. But we live in the world.

        The other possibility is a closed community, a closed Church, such as the Amish or Hassidim (I know, they are Jews but bear with me). You are Hassid. All your family members and friends are Hassidim. You only work with Hassidim. The only thing you have known all your life is Hassidim people. The Hassidim community arranges a marriage between you and a Hassid woman.

        The open Church worked well for more than a millennium and a half, while the society was Christian or the Christian values still lingered. But it is doomed in a society that favors anti-Christian values. I take divorce as an example.

        If a closed Church says “Thou shalt not divorce”, you can still divorce and leave the community. But this means leaving all your life. Your family, your friends, your wife, your work, your world. So the Church can enforce its rules because the alternative is very difficult and only a minority are willing to endure such a painful process.

        In an open community but a Christian society, the Church says “Thou shalt not divorce” and the government forbids divorce, the entire society strongly disapproves it or makes it very difficult. So Christian rules are enforced by the government and society and everything is OK. This was the situation before the XX century.

        In an open community and an anti-Christian society, the Church says “Thou shalt not divorce” while the society favors divorce and gives incentives to do it. As a consequence, many people divorce and stop going to the Church. This does not mean giving up their lives. Their lives change minimally: they can move to another Church or stop going to Church. But they don’t lose their family, friends, work, etc. So the Church is unable to enforce its rules and people desert more and more until a) the Church becomes a minority sect or b) the Church relaxes its standards and loses its soul. This is what Francis tries to do now.

      • But I think there’s a middle-way between the extremes. I think what the Catholic Church used to be in the US or, say, something akin to Belgian pillarisation. Corporate autonomy, a kind of autarchy, within the increasingly secularising state. Schools, hospitals, universities etc. Not exactly what the Amish do.

        I don’t think this would work today (although it would have worked some decades ago) while Catholic people associate freely with secular people or see secular media or their marriages are subjected to secular laws. The secular society has a lot of strength and you have to close Christianity completely so it won’t corrupt. The alternative: you see it with Francis.

  18. Honest question: does anyone around here believe in the Prophecy of the Popes? I have just re-discovered it lately on Wiki, and it is downright creepy to me that it says that after Glora Olivae, associated with Benedict XVI, the Catholic church will be persecuted, and then I come here and Bonald says the demolition of the Catholic church has began. Wow. Some synchronicity.

    I have thought about that. For me, Benedict XVI was the last true Pope. Francis and the ones that will come will only be PC comissars trying to turn the Church into a left-wing NGO with some old-fashioned touches.

    The problem with the prophecy is that Petrus Romanus, who should be the last Pope according to it and is associated with Francis, was going to protect the Church in times of persecution. I don’t think Francis being this kind of protector but a man that corrupts the Church. I don’t think the persecution is coming so fast. We are still some decades from it. But it will eventually come.

    So, for me, the prophecy is right in general terms but not in specific terms.

    • Catholic prophecy is something I only just recently got into, so I can only speak so much on it, but from what I’ve heard this particular prophecy may not hold much water, many seem to think it was a forgery.
      BUT people “think” a lot of things…so maybe their is truth to it after all.
      There is an excellent book of prophecy I’m reading now, published in the 70’s by a Frenchman named Yves Dupont. It’s really quite interesting (intensely so to me) and I do recommend it to anyone interested in prophecy.
      It’s a compilation of hundreds of historic Catholic prophecies concerning the end times, with commentary by Dupont (himself a scholar of Catholic prophecy). The early Church, the Medievals, the Moderns, heck even a few non-christians make it in there. It’s amazing to see so many different peoples, across distant lands and times, make essentially the same prophecy
      The book is no longer in print and has not been for a long time, so finding a copy of the book can be pricey. I had a hard time myself. However, I ended up finding a site where one can read/download the entire book completely for free.
      https://archive.org/details/CatholicProphecy

      Check it out, it’s not all doom and gloom, there IS hope, and not just when Christ returns, but before that, before even the rise of the Antichrist and the end of days.
      The Great Monarch is coming, and with the Angelic Pope, he will restore the Church and all of Christendom to it’s former glory, greater in fact, then they ever were before.

      God’s holy wrath on modern man. The Great Monarch. The Angelic Pope. The retaking of Europe. The expulsion of and later conversion of the muslim hoardes. Christendom restored. The only man in history who conquers the world, and none can resist him! The twelve kings who rule the world under the Divine Monarch. The Reign of Mary.
      Find any of this interesting?
      Read the book.

      As a side note, I’d like to point out that some of Dupont’s commentary, while excellent, is a little dated, as it was written amidst the height of the Cold war. That does not make Dupont’s essentials wrong, just that it won’t be communism as the main antagonist (as he thought), but rather the Liberal man in general.

  19. “October 5, 2014: the demolition of Catholicism begins”
    What an accurate title, Bonald.
    Thanks for writing this, too many NeoCatholics are sticking their head in the proverbial sand, pretending this all away, and urging others to do the same. God bless anyway who calls this synod out on it’s evil.
    An even better breakdown of these events was done by Chris Ferrara (of “The Remant” Newspaper) and is available on The Remnant website:
    http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/1125-the-secret-synod-freak-show-brought-to-you-by-pope-francis

    I just finished reading it, and I urge everyone to read it as well, as it really is an eye-opener. Ferrara really lays bare the horrible reality of the situation we now find ourselves in:
    “Traditionalists saw all this coming from a mile away: the Secret Synod would declare itself the quasi-gnostic Revelator of a new “spirit” that would dictate yet another round of revolution in the Church via a low-budget scale model of Vatican III that will finish what Vatican II started.”
    Please read the article.

      • No.
        To know the reality of the situation we face.
        Ignorance is ignorance, not bliss.
        *(After finding out you are foreign, I should note that there is a phrase in the english world “Ignorance is bliss”, hence my refutation of it above. Perhaps as an exception to the rule it can be true, but as the rule itself, never. Not that you were suggesting any of this…etc.)*

        I didn’t mean to offend you or anyone else when I left the above link, I just thought it was an excellent article that really put things in perspective.

        BTW, I agree with much of what you said in your above comments from the last few days, (which I read after seeing your reply to me).
        Now I feel a little bad about posting it, I didn’t mean to cause anyone more grief. God knows we get so much of it today. Trust me, I understand what you mean (very much so!!), as getting mad and depressed over the state of things today is something I do daily.
        Perhaps because I’m so used to it, I didn’t even think twice about posting the link.
        My apologies, sir.

  20. Apologies for the late reply, but I don’t read this blog very often because of the completely ridiculous garbage that is printed such as the above article. For those badly-catechized Christians who are depressed by Bonald’s false millennialism, I will simply point out that to state that, “Nothing that lay Catholics can do will influence the outcome of this process,” denies the power of prayer.

    Either you a higher power whom loves HIs creation and responds to the prayers of His faithful (frell, people, even heathens believe in the efficacy of prayer) or you can agree with Bonald. There is no alternative.

    I strongly urge Bonald to print a retraction to this piece of garbage. Not because it offends me, which it doesn’t, but because I feel embarrassed on Bonald’s behalf.

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