Friday, May 28, 2021

Do not abandon your Mother

In Catholic theology, the Church is not to be identified with a mere aggregate of her members, not even those members who happen to hold ecclesiastical office at any particular moment.  She is an institution which existed before any of her current membership did and will continue to exist when they are gone.  But more than that, she is a corporate person, who can be said to think and to will, and to have rights and duties and other personal characteristics.  Even more specifically, she is a person of a feminine nature, the Bride of Christ and the Holy Mother of the faithful, nourishing them through sacrament and doctrine in a way analogous to a human mother’s nourishing of her children.

For this reason, the character of the Church is not to be looked for in a snapshot of the members who exist in any particular generation, but rather in the attributes that persist through time.  In particular, her doctrine – the “mind of the Church” – is not to be found in the body of theological opinions that happen to prevail among laymen, theologians, priests, or bishops at some period of history.  Rather, it is to be found in the formal teaching of the Magisterium over time, both extraordinary (official definitive decrees of councils, popes, and the like) and ordinary (the consistent and constantly reiterated teaching of centuries which, simply by virtue of this consistency and reiteration, is authoritative even when not conveyed in conciliar decrees, ex cathedra statements, and the like).  Similarly, the holiness of the Church’s character is not necessarily to be found in the moral attributes that prevail among the membership or clergy of a particular generation.  Rather, it is to be found in her consistent tendency for two millennia to produce saints.

If a man suffers for weeks from a broken arm or a persistent flu, we don’t for that reason judge him to be generally of poor health.  Nor do we do so even if such conditions recur from time to time.  Someone of generally good health can suffer bouts of illness.  And in the same way, the Church’s indefectibility and holiness are not undermined by the fact that in some generations she is especially afflicted with members and leaders who are foolish, wicked, or otherwise fail their Mother and her divine Spouse.  The Church, as it is said, thinks in centuries.  And that is the scale at which she must be understood. 

Naturally, the skeptic will have all sorts of questions, but getting into the details about what sorts of errors are compatible with the Church’s claim to infallibility is not what this post is about.  I have addressed such matters elsewhere (see the links below). This post is primarily addressed to those who agree with, or at least sympathize with, the claims the Catholic Church makes about herself, but who are scandalized by the moral and theological crisis she is currently suffering through.  And it is occasioned by Rod Dreher’s recent comments on Catholic traditionalist writer Steve Skojec’s cri de coeur about the state of the Church.

Dreher famously left the Catholic Church for Eastern Orthodoxy some years ago, after covering the clergy sexual abuse scandal as a journalist, and having understandably been appalled both by the evil perpetrated by the abusers and by the failure of the hierarchy properly to respond to it.  Skojec is appalled by this abuse as well, and also by the heterodoxy that has in recent years not only gone unchecked by the highest authorities in the Church, but been positively aided and abetted by some of them.  But he also bemoans the insularity, self-righteousness, ineffectiveness, and susceptibility to crackpot political ideas that he sees among too many of his fellow traditionalists.  And his article was occasioned by outrage at some shabby treatment he says his family has been subjected to at his traditionalist parish.  Skojec stops short of saying that he is going to leave the Church, but Dreher suggests that Skojec should consider following his own lead and switching to Eastern Orthodoxy.

I know nothing about the people Skojec accuses of spiritual abuse, and thus have no comment on the fairness of his charges or on his personal situation, other than to say that he is obviously suffering and I feel bad for him and wish him well.  And while traditionalist Catholics are in general unfairly maligned, it is of course true that there are crackpots and insular and self-righteous people among them (as there are within any group) and that the political and ecclesiastical crises of recent years have exacerbated this.  I also do not question Dreher’s sincerity, and it is clear to anyone who has read his work over the years that he suffered greatly from what he uncovered while reporting on the sexual abuse scandal.

Dreher’s dramatics

I do, however, question Dreher’s judgment, which is manifestly bad, and not an example for Skojec or anyone else to follow.  By his own admission, Dreher’s decision to leave the Church was driven by emotion rather than reason.  From what I can tell, he does not even claim to have any response to the arguments that once convinced him of the truth of Catholicism.  He talks instead about how his heart was broken by the evil done by the abusers, the hypocrisy and corruption of the hierarchy, and the self-deception of well-meaning fellow Catholics.  He talks about coming to see that his own commitment to Catholicism had been marred by pride and self-righteousness.  He tells us that to be a good Christian it is not enough to have good arguments and to follow the letter of the law.  He tells us that in the days before he left the Church he had become so filled with anger that it “blinded [him] to the good and holy things in the Catholic Church,” and that leaving for Orthodoxy provided a kind of release that led to a healthier spirituality.

Well, that’s all fair enough.  The trouble is that it simply does not in any way entail that the claims the Catholic Church makes are false, and Dreher knows it.  Again, he offers no counter-arguments in response to the arguments he once took to be compelling.  He also admits that exactly the same maladies that he saw when he was still a Catholic can afflict, and have afflicted, every other movement, organization, and church, including Eastern Orthodoxy.  Hence he essentially acknowledges that he has no rational basis whatsoever for what he did, but was led by an emotional response to his own personal situation. 

Like all people who act contrary to reason, Dreher tries to rationalize his doing so, with clichés about how we are creatures of emotion and not just intellect, how following rules and producing tidy arguments is not enough, etc.  Of course, this is all muddleheaded.  Dreher himself would not be impressed by this sort of rhetoric if it were offered by someone who disagreed with him.  For example, Dreher is a Christian, and one who embraces the traditional theological and moral teachings of the faith.  If someone rejected all of that on the basis of some bad experience or emotional crisis, and went on about how we are creatures of emotion, how rules are not enough, etc., Dreher would not take this to be a good reason to doubt the truth of Christianity.  He would say that he feels for such a person and does not judge him, but that ultimately such a person is simply mistaken.  What he does not seem to realize is that the same thing can be said about him.  Like someone who understandably but wrongly rejects Christianity because of painful personal experiences, Dreher has understandably but wrongly rejected Catholicism because of his own painful personal experiences. 

No doubt Dreher thinks there is more to it than that, but he explicitly declines to offer any rational grounds for thinking that there is more to it than that.  And when you start out by eschewing reason, you have by definition lost the argument.  Dreher would regard such a judgment as too coldly logical, but of course, that is precisely to double down on the mistake rather than to show that it is not a mistake.  Human beings are by nature rational creatures.  Yes, we are more than that, but the point is that we are not less than that.  Accordingly, though a sound worldview ought to satisfy our emotions, if it cannot also pass the test of rational justification, then of necessity it floats free from objective reality.  Dreher knows this, and rightly condemns subjectivism when he sees it in Critical Race Theory, transgender extremism, and other malign ideologies and movements.  He just doesn’t see it in himself.  This cognitive dissonance is why, despite eschewing reason, Dreher has for years been going on at length trying to justify his eschewal of reason, and therefore succeeds only in tying himself in knots. 

I don’t say this to condemn Dreher, who seems to be a good guy and whose writing I have enjoyed and profited from over the years.  But it must be said when he is trying to lead others into making the same mistake he made.

Providence’s timetable

It is easy for writers whose focus is on politics and current events to be too easily scandalized and impatient.  This is probably especially so of us Americans.  Our “shining city on a hill” idealism demands perfection in our institutions, leaders, and fellow citizens.  When we don’t get it, our “can do” mentality wants a solution to the problem and wants it now.  When satisfaction isn’t forthcoming, our “don’t tread on me” mentality threatens to throw the bums out when we can, and to pick up our marbles and go elsewhere when we cannot. 

Well, this is simply not how divine providence works, as scripture and Church history make clear.  Christ repeatedly warns us that we will face suffering, persecution, martyrdom, false teachers, and a degree of wickedness that will threaten to make our charity wax cold, and that this is part of the deal when we take up our cross and follow him.  Why are we surprised when it happens?  Do we suppose that he didn’t really mean it?

Skojec is scandalized by the fact that the confusion and heterodoxy fostered by Pope Francis’s many doctrinally problematic statements have not yet been remedied despite his having been in office for eight years.  This is quite ridiculous.  Eight years is nothing in terms of Church history.  The utter chaos introduced into the governance of the Church by Pope Stephen VI’s lunatic Cadaver Synod lasted for decades.  So did the chaos of the Great Western Schism.  Pope Honorius’s errors were not condemned until forty years after his death.  Further examples could easily be given.  Few people remember these events now, because things eventually worked themselves out so completely that they now look like blips.  If the world is still here centuries from now, Pope Francis’s chaotic reign will look the same way to Catholics of the future. 

Then, of course, there is the martyrdom which the earliest Christians suffered for centuries, which Christians of recent decades have suffered under communism and Islamism, and which countless Christians have suffered in the centuries in between.  Needless to say, this is worse than being treated shabbily by self-righteous fellow Catholics or being disappointed by feckless bishops.

In no way do I mean to mock Skojec’s or Dreher’s evident pain.  On the contrary, I feel for them.  But pain can blind us to reason and to our duty.  And it can blind us to the fact that we do not suffer it alone, that Christ permits us to undergo it only because he suffered it himself.  We need to put suffering into perspective, to unite it to Christ’s suffering, and to accept it in a spirit of penance and solidarity with others who suffer, especially those who suffer worse.  We need to keep in mind that, in the Church at large, Christ will set things right in his own good time.  And we need to focus on the fact that in that part of the Church over which each of us does have control – namely, the state of our own souls – we need endure only for the four score and ten that is the most that most of us have.

It’s personal

Dreher, Skojec, and others scandalized by the state of the Church may still find this too bloodless and impersonal.  Fair enough.  I return, then, to the point with which I began, which is that the Church is a personal institution.  When a Catholic abandons her, it is not like quitting a political party, or cancelling a subscription, or deciding no longer to use a company’s products.  It is more like breaking off a relationship with another human being.

But in fact it is worse even than that.  When a Catholic leaves the Church because he is scandalized by heresy, sexual abuse, and the like, this is like fleeing the scene when one’s mother is being attacked, lest one suffer harm oneself.  It is to abandon Holy Mother Church, the Bride of Christ, to the heretics and perverts, rather than to aid her against them and to suffer with her while they assail her. 

The matter couldn’t be less academic.  What is in question is no mere intellectual error.  It is a matter of personal loyalty or betrayal.  Or don’t we believe what Christ said about the nature of the Church for which he himself suffered and died?

Related reading:

The Church permits criticism of popes under certain circumstances

Papal fallibility

Two popes and idolatry

The strange case of Pope Vigilius

Some comments on the open letter

Popes, heresy, and papal heresy

Why Archbishop Viganò is almost certainly telling the truth

Denial flows into the Tiber

230 comments:

  1. A good post, Prof. Our overheated culture (no doubt made worse by social media and the extreme factionalism it encourages and strengthens) usually wants everything to be done quickly, to be resolved and over. We are perpetually chasing the latest outrage or fashion, kept ever-fearful by the news looking for their next paycheck (and this happens mostly by our own volition, no less). But God works on an entirely different timescale, something that we Catholics could do with remembering more.

    "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

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  2. Addendum: It strikes me that our ancestors were in many ways fortunate to be ignorant of whatever disputes were raging within the Vatican of the day. Nowadays we have access to a great amount of pointless information that serves only to worry us, scandals and crises which we have no power to influence barring intercessory prayer. To obsess over such things is to invite anxiety and eventually nervous breakdown. That's one reason for disconnecting from the news (both traditional and social media), at least for a time.

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  3. I was born and raised (and happily still am) Antiochian Orthodox. I think the Orthodox in general tend to be suspcious of "enthusiastic" converts, particularly from the West which to me seems to be a strong and prudent virtue. Having read a little of Dreher, though admittidly not seriously engaged with his works, he seems to personify much trouble with SOME Western converts (almost always of the "intellectual" / "activist" class). He does not seem particularly Orthodox, nor does he seem particularly quick to acknowledge the fullness of the Truth of Orthodoxy over other Christain faiths. I think Feser is right that he doesn't really seem to argue one way or the other AGAINST his deconversion of Catholocism. It just seems like someone with there own preconcieved notions and sets of judgments, culture war / activistic fetishes, etc and going where the winds take him based off his commitment to that which seem to be his ultimate concern. I don't wish to speak for Dreher because as I said, I'm only superficially aquainted with him but These kind of conversions / deconversions can be a sign of pride and hubris. The odd thing is, based off of what I know and have seen from Dreher and others like him the Orthodox Church really looks at one's relationship to the Church in a similar way to the Catholic Church, which is even more confusing to be going from one to the other based off that for "intellectual" or "moral" reasons.

    Not only that, I'm not really sure why one would so quickly switch from one faith to the other as they honestly are pretty similar, something like that should be a long process if it isn't done through culture/marriage. If the respective desired convert (of a kind who converts isolated, from left field, and for intellectual/moral reasons) seems to be thinking conversion is too long one should be very sucpicious of what's going on, that's a giant yellow flag. I am grateful the Church tends to be hesitant on quick conversions, but perhaps She should be extra cautious with the conversion of a kind of isolated Western Intellectual. If they can't take 10 years to get to know a 2000 year old living body, they probably should quetion themselves and what they are doing a bit more, heck not not just in relgion but life in general, they are probably disorderd at a deeper level than where their drives of the moment take them.

    Unfortunatley I think Orthodoxy to those not familiar with the Faith and cultures in the West lends it self to a kind of abstract romantacism or exoticism when the fact remains, that while She is The Bride of Christ, it is still like belonging to any long lasting corporate body that many isolated Wetern intellectuals seem to have a hard time grasping (even if the bulk of humanity and her history does not) and they seem to focus on unusual monkish mysticisms, spiritual practices, intellectual abstractions, or their own activism which in the end is a form of pride and can cause a lot of damage

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    1. I agree with first paragraph. Dreher, while truly a brother in Christ, seems to me entrenched in a social class that is alien to my proclivities! Of course, he is probably a stellar guy, and the best representative of that social/intellectual class. I have a million other people before Dreher to critique-- after I get done with myself, and that won't be finished with the time I've got.

      The second paragraph, though, I strongly disagree with. It has been made clear to me in my formation that souls are at stake, and I welcome all conversions done in good faith. This is not an issue to waltz around with. If necessary, do your daydreaming on this side of the river, under the guidance of your Spiritual Father!

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  4. Some time ago I had an exchange with Skojec and like all self-styled “Rad Trads”, they become unpleasant if you don’t take emotional premises to support rational conclusions: “the new mass is defective because there are sinners in the Church”. Uh, no.

    And, I've never understood the argument that because Francis wants to permit divorce, one should become Orthodox . . . which already permits divorce.

    On the other side of the divide, you have folks like Dave Armstrong, Mark Shea, and Catholic Answers who will tie themselves in knots rather than admit that Francis says confusing things.

    After a hundred years of high caliber popes, we have developed a type of papal voluntarism and now can’t bring ourselves to admit that the Barque of Peter has normally suffered darker seas.

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    1. I must defend my buddy David Armstrong & fellow Scottish American since I read his work.

      He does admit Pope Francis says confusing things. Karl Keating the founder of Catholic Answers has been critical of Pope Francis (I know this because it is often a sore point between him and Armstrong).
      Full discloser I tend to write off Mark Shea but he is not here to defend himself....

      >After a hundred years of high caliber popes, we have developed a type of papal voluntarism and now can’t bring ourselves to admit that the Barque of Peter has normally suffered darker seas.

      Rather at worst we over react to other over reactions and many of Pope Francis' critics over react.

      For example even Prof Feser's Vigano post above is now a bit dated. I would actually agree with Skojec (did I say that? Wow!) that Vigano has devolved into a sort of Catholic Q-anon. He promised all this evidence of secret wrong doing and he stays in hiding posting messages and playing the later day prophet. Skojec is fed up with it.

      OTOH maybe Skojec is wrong here? But we can get into those weeds later.

      What is important is Skojec shouldn't leave the Faith and Dreher should get his arse back into the faith.

      We can argue later on wither Vigano is a hero or useless or what degree Pope Francis is a Scrub or is overly criticized.

      As Catholics we all agree (or should) Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is an infallible dogma and it is highly probable neither he nor Dreher can plead invincible ignorance before God.

      Now true I don't how God will ultimately judge them. I could go to Hell myself for my other sins and faults. But in the Navy I learned "Better to call a Security Alert and be wrong then not to call one and be wrong."

      Better to warn people about going Hell and be wrong etc etc then not too an be wrong etc etc.

      Cheers.

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    2. Hi Son of Yakov,

      I agree that some of Vigano's recent statements about political matters were unwise, but I don't see how that undermines what he said three years ago or what I wrote about it then.

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    3. Prof Feser,

      You might have a point. I could very well be overly simplistic here in response to the "tying in knots" remark?

      OTOH the gist of that post you wrote three years ago according to my impressions was that Vigano was a reliable person who would not rist his reputation for a lie and thus his testimony should be trusted. These days he looks a wee bit like a conspiracy nut which makes him look less trustworthy and give credence to those at the Vatican and in other Catholic Press who oppose him to dismiss him.

      I generally believed his initial charges(& still suspect they are likely true) but these days I lament of Him "You have one job old man! Now look at ye?".

      Ah well....anyway we can argue Vigano later.

      Skojec needs to stay and Dreher needs to return.

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    4. Son of Ya'kov,

      To say that Francis is "confusing" was being polite.

      Several years ago I had an exchange with Dave Armstrong over Francis and the death penalty. My impression was that he did not think about my points carefully (or didn't want to). He scolded me that he was busy arguing with Atheists and didn't have time for "Rad Trads" like me, then attributed to me arguments that I did not make (and would not make). Apparently, to his mind, one must either pretend there is nothing wrong with things Francis does and says, or one must be a Sedevacantist; no other option for Dave.

      He has done a lot good work, but I'm afraid I can't share your admiration.

      Funny how one side calls me a rad trad and the other side calls me a modernist.

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    5. TN

      Several years ago Dave posted here and I thought the locals treated him rather badly and I defended him. He also complains about it and did nor appreciate it. I cana say I am not sympathetic.

      I've disagreed with him as well on the Death Penalty but in the course of our discussions he admits the Death Penalty is permitted in principle. Which is the only sore point here in that whole discussion.

      Now did he call you specifically a "radtrad" or did he just dismiss you with a general quip about "radical reactionaries"?

      I am skeptical he literally said that to you because he once removed a post of mine from his blog and from his FB page because I used the term "Radtrad" which he at the time banned in favor of "Radical Reactionary".

      He thought and thinks "Radtrad" is a bad term because it attacks Traditional Catholics unfairly and fails to recognize extremists off the rails Catholics don't have to care about the Latin Mass or not to be extremists.

      Now I am not casting aspersions on yer subjective remembrance of this encounter you report but as they say on my favorate Scifi Drama Babylon 5 "Understanding is a three edged sword=yer side, my side and the truth).

      So let us agree to say both our subjective rememberances might be a little colored and off.

      >Apparently, to his mind, one must either pretend there is nothing wrong with things Francis does and says, or one must be a Sedevacantist; no other option for Dave.

      That is not my ongoing experience with him over the years. He is a wee bit more nuanced than that.

      >He has done a lot good work, but I'm afraid I can't share your admiration.

      We agree has done a lot of good work. You can admire who you want. I dina fash.

      >Funny how one side calls me a rad trad and the other side calls me a modernist.

      We all have that problem. Cheers.

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    6. "Francis wants to permit divorce"

      People say all kinds of things about Pope Francis, but oftentimes they don't give the reason why they think so.

      Where exactly does the Holy Father state that he is in favor of divorce and against the indissolubility of marriage?

      I'd love to know that, just for my own records. I've never seen it, and I have defended him about 189 times over eight years. Maybe I missed something.

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    7. TN aid: "Dave Armstrong, . . . will tie [himself] in knots rather than admit that Francis says confusing things."

      Really? Funny, then, that I wrote on 5-10-19:

      "As a matter of record, since it is a concern of all these people, that the pope clarify confusion and questions raised, I agree generally, that he should do so, and that (ideally and for the sake of peace and unity and clarity) he should have answered the dubia. I passionately argued this in National Catholic Register (9-30-17)."

      http://www.ncregister.com/blog/darmstrong/i-hope-the-pope-will-provide-some-much-needed-clarity

      The entire article keeps reiterating this point. I state, for example:

      "I think that the pope’s utter refusal to answer is troublesome. Many Catholics (including many bishops and priests) are clearly confused and virtually begging for guidance. Why would the shepherd of the sheep resolutely refuse to try to help them: even on a private basis, if he prefers that? It’s baffling to me.

      "Whether it is from irresponsible lack of knowledge, rebelliousness, or genuine sincere uncertainty, many are confused, so there is a need to correct the bishops who have been implementing the teaching wrongly, in contradiction to others who have correctly done so. I think there is confusion now just like there was chaos after Vatican II. People weren't sure what the documents taught -- even though the contents seem perfectly clear to me."

      I place the blame more on wrong interpretations than his own writing, but I still say he should clarify what people are confused about. He doesn't (I learned later) because he is following a sort of cos=de of silence, whereby he thinks defending himself is not the best course to take. It was sure the right course with regard to Abp. Vigano, who has since proven himself a raving madman & tin-foil conspiracist.

      ***

      I wrote on 9-20-13:

      "For all of you out there worried about the pope. Relax; chill. All is well. We have a pope who says the unexpected: a lot like Jesus. And, like Jesus, those who don’t get it and are outside looking in, will misunderstand, and those who are in the fold will grasp what is being said, in the context of historic Catholic teaching, if they look closely enough and don’t get hoodwinked by silly media wishful thinking."

      since then, most of "conservative" Catholicism have jumped on the pope-bashing bandwagon, but I have seen no reason to change my opinion. I study each issue and come to my own conclusions, just as I do in all of my apologetics, and I've never seen that he has adopted any heresy.

      I have massive disagreements with him on politics, but that's not magisterial stuff. We are fully permitted to do that.

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    8. Many thanks to Ya'kov for defending me. I am misrepresented regularly. Only rarely does anyone ever defend me, so it's nice to see, and a loyal friend is rarer than ever. Hats off to ye!

      TN wrote: "Apparently, to his mind, one must either pretend there is nothing wrong with things Francis does and says, or one must be a Sedevacantist; no other option for Dave."

      He seems to be laboring under any myths of what I supposedly believe and have stated. There's no one whose opinions are easier to find and document than myself. I have over 3,300 blog posts, and Patheos has a very good search engine (if not them, then Google).

      In an exchange with Karl Keating (4-13-18), I wrote:

      ***

      Note that I was referring to “non-reactionary folks” who oppose the pope to one degree or another. That means that Lawler and Douthat and Olson and yourself were all included in that appraisal, since I have classified none of you as “reactionary.” I have only classified the extremist Henry Sire that way (and I explained exactly why, documenting his own views at length), and folks like Steve Skojec and Chris Ferrara and Louie Verrecchio (who also appears to be sedevacantist or nearly so).

      In the same article, I precisely explained that I make distinctions among papal critics. I wrote: “Today we are blessed with both pope bashers (the usual suspect reactionaries and also non-reactionaries like Phil Lawler and Ross Douthat), and non-reactionary “papal nitpickers.” Carl [Olson] is in the latter category.”

      That is a distinction: the very one that you are calling for (I’d also say that you [Karl Keating] are in the nitpicker category). I went on in the article to distinguish the categories of nitpickers and bashers several times. No one could possibly miss my meaning or intent.

      If I am asked whether [objective, not necessarily subjective] sin is playing a prominent role in the papal criticism going on today, I say yes, absolutely. It does not follow that I think every papal critic is a bad man. That’s a completely different proposition. I’m saying that sin is bad and will manifest itself. The main sin going on now with regard to Pope Francis is evil-speaking: a thing very often condemned in no uncertain terms in Holy Scripture.

      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2018/04/are-pope-critics-evil-reply-to-karl-keating.html

      ***

      The truth is that I have several categories of Catholic criticism to Pope Francis: none of which is sedevacantist. I rarely deal with them: just a few times.

      So you have misrepresented me again. A retraction would seem to be called for, but I have found that when there is personal hostility, it rarely happens. It's your spiritual life. I have shown that you are wrong about me, with documentation.

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    9. As to Pope Francis' views on marriage and divorce, I massively documented that in a critique of Phil Lawler:

      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2018/01/lawler-vs-pope-francis-1-critique-of-introduction.html

      1) Right in The Catholic World Report (1-23-16) — of which Lawler was editor from 1993 to 2005 — we have the article, “Francis affirms indissolubility of marriage, objectivity of annulment conditions.” The pope stated: “The family, founded on indissoluble marriage, unitive and procreative, belongs to the ‘dream’ of God and of his Church for the salvation of humanity.”

      http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2016/01/23/francis-affirms-indissolubility-of-marriage-objectivity-of-annulment-conditions/

      2) Aleteia hosted an article (9-30-15), entitled, “Pope Francis Reaffirms that Catholic Marriage is Indissoluble.”

      https://aleteia.org/2015/09/30/pope-francis-reaffirms-that-catholic-marriage-is-indissoluble/

      Pope Francis stated, “Marriage is indissoluble when it is a sacrament. And this the Church cannot change. It’s doctrine. It’s an indissoluble sacrament.” And he also observed:

      "With the reform of the marriage annulment procedure, I closed the door to the administrative path, which was the path through which divorce could have made its way in. Those who think this is equivalent with “Catholic divorce” are mistaken because this last document has closed the door to divorce by which it could have entered. It would have been easier with the administrative path. . . . “Catholic divorce” does not exist. Nullity is granted if the union never existed. But if it did, it is indissoluble."

      3) In Amoris Laetitia Pope Francis refers to the indissolubility of marriage ten times. He quoted the words of St. Robert Bellarmine: “the fact that one man unites with one woman in an indissoluble bond, and that they remain inseparable despite every kind of difficulty, even when there is no longer hope for children, can only be the sign of a great mystery” (124).
      Again in this vastly misunderstood document he wrote: “The Christian community’s care of such persons is not to be considered a weakening of its faith and testimony to the indissolubility of marriage; rather, such care is a particular expression of its charity” (243).

      4) Catholic News Agency, 25 April 2014 (Pope emphasizes ‘indissolubility of Christian matrimony’):

      https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-emphasizes-indissolubility-of-christian-matrimony

      “The holiness and indissolubility of Christian matrimony, often disintegrating under tremendous pressure from the secular world, must be deepened by clear doctrine and supported by the witness of committed married couples,” Pope Francis said.

      [I concluded my article]

      Much more along these lines could easily be found. This is documentation of what the pope actually holds: not mere cynical speculation from an argument from silence (“the pope didn’t assert particular Catholic teaching x in papal homily y; therefore, he must deny it, and wants to change x and constant Church tradition in general”). That won’t do. And Phil Lawler will have to do much better in order to prove his extraordinary thesis.

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    10. TN (obviously my biggest fan on earth) wrote:

      "Several years ago I had an exchange with Dave Armstrong over Francis and the death penalty. My impression was that he did not think about my points carefully (or didn't want to). He scolded me that he was busy arguing with Atheists and didn't have time for "Rad Trads" like me, . . ."

      I'm quite sure that if we could actually see what took place, it would be vastly different from this report. There's always two sides to every story.

      I have no recollection about it. What I do know is that I was in favor of the death penalty (only in extreme cases: mass murderers and terrorists) and then I was convinced in Dec. 2017, that it should not be used, as a manifestation of being fully pro-life, after a night's discussion with my good friend, Dr. Robert Fastiggi.

      Of course, Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict argued almost in the same way as Pope Francis has. Francis has only developed what they taught. I have never held that it was intrinsically evil. That's why the policy of the Church can change without having to say that what was done in the past was evil. Dr. Fastiggi has explained this to Dr. Feser and other pro-death penalty folks, but to no avail. It's mostly emotionalism and reason never breaks through that.

      I only started writing articles specifically about Pope Francis and the death penalty in October 2020, I believe.

      TN says we talked about that and that I called him a "radtrad." I stopped using the term "radtrad" on 8-3-13, just a few months after Francis became pope, so it's highly unlikely that we talked about Pope Francis and capital punishment and that I called him a "radtrad" during this discussion.

      That could only have happened between 3-13-13 and 8-3-13 (a period ten days less than five months). After the latter date, I stopped using the term "radtrad" altogether, and explained why:

      ***

      "I started using the self-coined term, radical Catholic reactionary instead of radtrad. But my reasoning (for the most part) for my former use of radtrad was not invalid or unsound or intrinsically unethical. In my opinion, it was never shown to be so. I stopped using it mostly because it was causing confusion of category and offending mainstream “traditionalists.” "

      My own coined term has been vastly misunderstood. I have no reason why. I've written several articles precisely explaining my rationale for why I thought it was necessary; primarily, this one:

      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2012/12/definitions-radical-catholic.html

      Now, another way we can determine if TN's report is accurate is to see if I was "arguing" with atheists in 2013. My doing so is a highly cyclical occurrence. I've been in another long cycle with them lately. But what about 2013? It could only have been in this short period that year before I stopped using "radtrad."

      I took a look on my atheist page, which has hundreds of debates with atheists:

      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2006/11/atheism-agnosticism-secularism-index.html

      It lists exactly ONE paper that year, which wasn't even a debate, and dated from January, before Francis was pope.

      So things just don't add up in TN's account of this exchange. Either he has a lousy memory or he is misrepresenting. I don't make the latter charge without compelling evidence, so in charity I conclude that it is a lousy memory.

      In any event, it's not likely at all to have happened according to his description, for the reasons given.

      Delete
    11. Dave my brother and fellow Scotsmen. It is an honor to defend someone from an ancient allied Clan. Ye have a right to defend ye honor brother.

      But let us focus.

      We can all argue Pope Francis later(after all he has been done to death in defenses and polemics). Specifically and after we can be sure Skojec will safely stay in the Church and Dreher will return.

      Because we all believe in EENS(obviously not the the Feeneyite sense but the ordinary sense) and leaving is way bad.

      But we dina want to get off topic. But this wee criticism only applies to yer last post.

      Cheers mate.

      Alba Gu Brah!

      Delete
    12. Of course you and professor Feser are it seems saying much of the same thing.

      No amount of sin present in members of the Church. Even in the Church leadership. Even if hypothetically Pope Francis was the same as Alexander VI or Sergus III or John XI (Ayi he was a minger that one!) there is no excuse for leaving.

      The Church Fathers are all unanimous on this matter. There is no excuse for Schism.
      Reason must guide us as well and nor emotion.

      So draw yer Claymore man and let's get too it.

      Delete
    13. Dave Armstrong,

      “Where exactly does the Holy Father state that he is in favor of divorce”

      I wrote that as an aphoristic illustration about how “Rad Trads” (or whatever you want to call them) make the claim that since Francis wants to permit communion for the divorced and remarried they are considering becoming Orthodox. My point is how contradictory that line of thinking is as the Orthodox already do this. Given that fact, much of your book-length replay simply misses the mark. You could have saved yourself a lot of copy and paste if you would have just realized I was talking about their argument and not making that argument myself.

      This does illustrate that if Dave Armstrong feels slighted, he will rush off like Don Quixote and beat his opponent to death with book length replies.

      Look, I really do appreciate much of what you’ve done over the years, but I wonder if you’ve lost the big picture in exchange for battle for it’s own sake.

      Delete
    14. Dave Armstrong,

      “will tie [himself] in knots rather than admit that Francis says confusing things."

      I wrote that in reference to the contemporary apologetic apparatus (of which I consider you a part) that rushes in to clean up whatever confusing and seemingly contradictory thing Pope Francis says. You disagree that this is what happens. Fine. I think it does, and I think it’s plain to see.

      You provide citations where you express your desire that Francis should clarify confusion. Good, but that’s going to be a neat trick on many topics (especially the death penalty) if words mean what they mean. Somehow what Francis has contributed has “developed” what JPII and Benedict have said on the subject, you say. So apparently this is not one of those things that falls under the need for clarification. OK, if you say so.

      Delete
    15. Dave Armstrong,

      The “Rad Trad” issue:

      I don’t recall the exact term you used (and I frankly cannot believe the number of words typed in its regard). The point was that you put me in a category of the bad people and rushed off to fight the windmills.

      Delete
    16. TN

      Lots of anger and bitterness in your reply TN. You obviously greatly dislike Mr Armstrong, and even pass sarcy comment about the length of his posts. Get a grip man.

      Delete
    17. TN: you decided to bring up my name and tell several whoppers about me in a thread that had nothing whatsoever to do with me (with the "disgruntled banned commenter" mentality). It was about Steve Skojec, and I agreed with 99% of what Dr. Feser stated.

      I defend myself against slanders because in my experience no one else will do so (my friend in this thread dong that is a very rare exception), and these things have a way of snowballing and becoming much larger.

      I've been lied about so much through the years, as an apologist, that there are many people out there who have these false notions in their head: stuff like what you said: I supposedly think every slightest critic of Pope Francis is a sedevacantist. Do you really think I could let such an asinine, ridiculous claim pass unnoticed and un-replied to? That makes me look like a crazed fanatic with two brain cells.

      You don't like me defending myself against lies. Too bad. You can stuff it. I have my life to live and you have yours. If you don't care for me defending myself against lies, then don't bring up my name in a thread that had nothing to do with me.

      If you wanna argue that it's unbiblical and unCatholic for a person to defend their name and their honor, go read about St. Paul's trial and then read St. Cardinal Newman's Apologia pro vita sua.

      Delete


    18. No one is allowed to bring up Dave Armstrong on the internet. Got it.

      Delete
    19. TN

      Well dude you picked a fight with him and he fought back. Do ye know nothing about Scots?

      I only know about this discussion on Skojec from reading Dave's stuff then Prof Feser jumped in with a great post on the matter. So I sent it to Dave. He comes here to read it and sees you bad mouthing him. What do you expect?

      But whatever arguments you had years ago it doesn't matter. Steve Shouldn't be leaving the Church if only for the sake of his soul.

      That is what is important.

      Delete
    20. "bad mouthing" . . . hmmmm. If someone thinks your wrong, they are "bad mouthing" you.

      Oh, OK.

      Delete
    21. WCB writes:

      Dave Armstrong sometimes posts to Jonathan Pearce's "A Tippling Philosopher". One of the few atheists blogs that will tolerate him. Currently debating the issue of God hardening Pharaoh's heart.

      There are some things Armstrong will not discuss. Theological fatalism. If God creates all, and has foreknowldge of future events, God must choose a initial state of creation to create his Universe. Thus know all horrendous evil that will be in that Universe he decides to create. Free will and the existence of horrendous free will is a problem with claims God is good.

      There are numerous claims in the prophets et al that God can put his laws and statutes into the hearts of mankind. With the "Great Commission" why doesn't God do whatthe Bible claims he can do and wills to do?

      Dave has steadfastly refused to discuss such issues with me.

      Of course I am banned from his site. I would be happy to mention Armstrong on the internet, and I repeatedly have tried an "A Tippling Philosopher".

      Dave like simple apologists arguments but does not like to discuss the deeper issues of free will, moral evil, etc the Bible brings up.

      Romans 11. God hardens the hearts of the Jews not to believe Jesus is the messiah. Why not harden their hearts to believe? Why not all mankind?

      Playing with Dave at Professor Pearce's is a hoot.

      WCB

      Delete
    22. "Theological fatalism. If God creates all, and has foreknowldge of future events, God must choose a initial state of creation to create his Universe. Thus know all horrendous evil that will be in that Universe he decides to create. Free will and the existence of horrendous free will is a problem with claims God is good."

      Such a discovery. Nobody has thought of that before. It's not that entire libraries have been devoted to the topic. I become an atheist right now. Such a brilliance.

      Delete
    23. WCB writes:

      Augustine, God foreknows the future but does no determine man's free will. Augustine doesn't get it.

      Boethius. God, sees all, the future, the present, the past. But just because God sees things does not mean God causes these things. Boethius misses also. If God creates a world and is omniscient,having foreknowledge of future events, God must choose an initial starting state of creation. All will be caused by that choice, including all horrendous moral evil. Yes,many trees have died to write books trying to deal with theological fatalism. Augustine's way out, Boethius's way out, William of Okham's way out and most books don't get this any more than Augustine or Boethius.

      Most seem to concentrate on God's knowing the future, not the fact that God creates all and must chose an initial state of creation that entails determinism.

      So many trees died for nothing.

      WCB

      Delete
    24. TN

      So nobody is allowed to answer you back when they think yer wrong about them being wrong?
      K'ay

      Delete
    25. Sure they are. I didn't claim otherwise.

      If we're down to this level, I'd say we're done here.

      Delete
    26. Very well. Peace be with you.

      Delete
    27. Chent that response to the Sea Lion Gnu was epic!

      Cheers man.

      Delete
  5. Why does anyone have the expectation you can dwell on horrific injustices all day then have anything resembling a rational response to them?
    There is just a huge danger in being a journalist where you are just dwelling on everything horrible that happens, that makes it just incredibly difficult to actually evaluate a situation rationally. The same thing applies to anyone who follows it closely, spending time thinking about injustices you have no direct connection with is horrible for you. It just totally impairs your ability to evaluate the related situations/individuals rationally. The fact a journalists response when they encounter something and are emotionally disturbed is to try to spread those distraught emotions to as many people as possible is a good example.
    Being in a situation where you are financially dependent on dwelling on and spreading indignation about all the horrific injustices in the world is an extremely sad state to be in. All media, social and otherwise, seem pretty effective and just keeping people in that perpetual state of indignation which makes them easy to manipulate and totally unable to rationally deliberate about what they are doing. George Floyd is a great example, everyone got in an emotionally distraught state because they watched a the latest popular snuff film after being isolated (and worse) for months. There is no reason to expect someone who went through that will be able to process anything rationally. Being more emotional about something doesn't mean we have better judgement about it.

    ANGER resembles fire; hence, as fire is vehement in its action, and, by the smoke which it produces, obstructs the view, so anger makes men rush into a thousand excesses, and prevents them from seeing the sinfulness of their conduct, and thus exposes them to the danger of the judgment of eternal death. “Whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment.”
    from St. Alphonsus

    This applies for real injustices, the graver the injustice the more it applies. Spending time dwelling on these things makes you less able to evaluate them, not more.
    Honestly I just don't think being a journalist is a path anyone should take, it seems extremely psychological destructive so long as you are following anything that matters. Dreher's refusal to provide any rational grounds shouldn't really be surprising, that should be expected from being a journalist.

    Here are some useful writings on the subject people might find useful since this is so easy to fall into these days (and intentionally encouraged by many as well).
    https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/05/wrath-and-its-daughters.html
    http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/devout_life/dev52.php
    https://pastebin.com/khKTMYLz

    Also a relevant quote from Chesterton.
    It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, "Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe," or "Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet." They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complex picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is an awesome post. I have no words. This speaks for itself....

    Well done Prof Feser. Well done sir.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I do like the idea of countering an appeal to the emotional nature of humans with the appeal to the rational nature of humans, and claiming that both must be satisfied in a true theory. I'll have to remember that in the future.

    To play Devil's Advocate here: if the Church's doctrines define what is moral and what isn't, then how are we to tell if the Church is corrupt as a corrupt person? How does one go about arguing with a liberal who believes the Church is guilty of a great many crimes over the centuries (such as the various religious wars, support for political authoritarianism, censorship, slavery, and the like)?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hang in there. It won't last much longer. We are seeing the culmination of the Fatima prophesy. This is also the culmination of the 5th age (Sardis) in the apocalypse. The Fatima prophesy ends with the period of peace, the Marian age, the 6th age; Philadelphia.
    Unfortunately, things are not finished collapsing. For instance, Francis is about to restrict the Traditional Mass again. There are dozens of prophesies about WWIII and the "three days darkness" and other forms of chastisement that have not quite been fulfilled. Our Lady of Akita is an example. In Noah's day, Christ had not come yet, so the threshold for global chastisement was much lower. After Vatican II and the corruption of the clergy that made it possible, the Old Mass is about the only thing holding it off. Enter the Francis, the epitome of the age of Sardis (as in fake, hollow, hireling). A pope is going to die by bullets and arrows in the Third Secret.
    We have have to hold on and get ready. We are about to go through the 2nd worst period that the world has ever seen, and 2nd worst behind the rein of Antichrist. Spiritually, you could say we're already there, the rest of the world is about to catch up and hit the wall. Pray the Rosary, keep yourself in a state of Grace. Attend the Real Mass.
    Another thing, the 6th age, like the 2nd, and unlike the rest, is not criticized in the Apocalypse. This means it will have plenty to suffer(global aftermath) and likewise, plenty of Grace (age of Mary).
    This sinful age is almost over, start living the Age of Mary today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that the seven churches of Revelation are a prophecy of seven eras of the Church before the second coming. Great job!

      Delete
    2. So if Pope Francis dies (and not by bullets) and all this stuff didn't happen, or doesn't right after he dies, then you will admit you were dead-wrong about him?

      Lots of false prophecies will die an ignominious death if he dies in his bed without the tribulation going on all around him, etc.

      I tired of this prophetic stuff in the early 80s as an evangelical Protestant. I'm a firm believer in Fatima, but it doesn't follow that Pope Francis is the last pope. If he does in office, he obviously won't be (nor be the antichrist).

      All will be revealed in due course. It always is, just as Abp. Vigano has made a complete fool and @$$ of himself, with his insane ramblings. He shuild be excommunicated. But I think Pope Francis is simply letting him self-destruct, so his folly and madness will be manifest to one and all (even Dr. Janet Smith :-). She got very angry with me when I started calling out the good bishop for his crazed nonsense and descent into tin foil hat land.

      Delete
    3. Miguel CervantesMay 29, 2021 at 1:51 AM

      Very true. The end-times nonsense is straight out of the Protestant handbook and so-called traditional Catholics should be ashamed of regurgitating it. There is no Catholic prophetic tradition of any kind concerning a papal antichrist or "prophet" thereof (as Archelder Vigano terms it).

      Vigano, as you say, is a complete fool. People seem to have taken him seriously because of his sensationalism regarding the clerical immorality scandals, but this is more likely to be a case of sour grapes on his part, as a lifelong Vatican insider who lost out in factional games there.

      His espousal of quasi-heretical notions like considering members of all religions to be the "sons of light" (i.e. the Church) mentioned in the Apocalypse, should have amounted to his self destruction when he first penned it in his letter to Trump. Yet many conservative American Catholics didn't blink an eye.

      I am very concerned about the present Pope's actions as well as those of other recent ones, but none of them have renounced Christ and the faith. They continue the Papacy that will reform the Church. Some actions of Pope Francis on the political front are actually providential and this will be understood by US conservatives in good time.

      The disillusionment of certain conservative Catholics has come about because of their questioning of Church structure and even doctrine. Their "No Romanisation without Representation" is their "guarantee" of a humanly flawless Church. It looks more like a flawless way to leave the Church.

      Delete
    4. Miguel Cervantes,

      We know the seven churches are about the future because Jesus said right before his messages that they're about "what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this." (Rev. 1:19) Was Jesus wrong when he said that the seven churches are about "what is to take place after this"? Then you are, according to Aquinas, a heretic:

      "A thing is of faith, indirectly, if the denial of it involves as a consequence something against faith; as for instance if anyone said that Samuel was not the son of Elcana, for it follows that the divine Scripture would be false." (Summa Theologica I, q. 32, art. 4)

      Delete
    5. Miguel CervantesMay 29, 2021 at 6:09 AM

      They be fighting words. However, as you know from the discussion that has taken place on this blog, the Church alone gets to interpret her sacred scripture. Your interpretation of the Apocalypse is incompatible with the First Vatican Council decree that the See of peter would remain till the end of time as the faithful guide of the Church.

      Delete
    6. The tortured vacillations between hardened "rationalism" and hysterical mysticism... if it weren't everywhere already, this would be a case worth reporting on.

      Delete
    7. Fewer is something of an extremist and the guy in the article is clearly escaping people like him.

      Delete
  9. You left out some good bits of Rod’s piece:

    “ I think very few Christians of any confession are converted by apologetic argument. For most of us, apologetics help by explaining and enlarging on the primary experiences we have had of God — in personal prayer or a private experience of the numinous, or in the sense of the divine and the transcendent made manifest in beauty, or by the heroic goodness of people who serve Christ”

    Rod found the fruits of the Holy Spirit flourishing in his Orthodox community upon converting. No matter how airtight one’s reasoning may seem to be, no matter how internally coherent to Catholicism (and your entire piece hangs upon a particular understanding of Catholicism), one cannot deny the Holy Spirit where it is found. Clearly Christ cares about reconciling his own body (because, of course, the Church is not merely mother and bride, but naming it as his own body doesn’t make for the same appeal to emotion in your last paragraph).

    “ My point is simply this: that a number of things that are non-propositional prepare us to receive the faith” So much of the attraction to Orthodoxy comes from that tradition’s retention of the contemplative and the mystical in a way that so much Catholic theology has avoided. Arguments may help get someone in the door and they certainly help once inside, but they must necessarily end in silence. Jesus taught in parables, not syllogisms. His life was ministry and contemplation. Our discipleship is to follow that. Rod found that within the EO communion he could more easily and more faithfully live this out. Why do you seem so threatened by the idea that the Holy Spirit might very well have moved Rod away from Roman Catholicism to bring about a greater good?

    And here’s the paragraph that I’m certain set you off to write this very piece: “ And if I am expert at picking out all the faults in the Church, and diagnosing the ways it falls short of the glory of God, but I don’t have love, then I am a fraud, and I will sooner or later find myself shattered. If I am spiteful towards those who have lost their faith because of the sins and failings within the Church, I had better pray especially hard that I never be put to the test. If I treat the faith like a series of logical propositions, a social club, or a test of tribal loyalty, I am in more spiritual trouble than I realize”

    Why do you feel so betrayed Dr. Feser? What is it about Roman Catholicism as you understand it that you are so desperately clinging to? I’m searching for Jesus in this piece. I don’t find His compassion for those harmed by the abuse of religious authority and tribal legalism, I don’t find His indignation at those same authority figures. But above all I don’t find the crucified savior who says “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”

    There is so much Reason and so little Love here. You know Catholicism so well, but I’m beginning to wonder if you really know Christ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ?? So, unless I approve of someone leaving the Church, I lack love? Seriously?

      But I suppose that is the kind of inference one should expect from someone offended by the very suggestion that we should not let our emotions get the best of us.

      Delete
    2. Andyroo,

      It's very clear from this essay that Dr. Feser loves Christ's Church because he loves Christ. He also loves the truth, because he is a philosopher - hence his emphasis on reason. He is thus committed both to Jesus and to the Truth, which are the same thing ultimately.

      Delete
    3. I love the mysticism of the Eastern Church bar none. But having also read John of the Cross. Thomas Merton and the mysticism of Aquinas and Mister Echard or the Cloud of Unknowing. I cannot get behind the claim the west is deficient in Mystical theology.

      If I didn't read Aquinas well Merton wouldn't speak to me like he does and the Cloud of Unknowing wouldn't either.

      It is not either/or ladd it is both and....

      Delete
    4. Andyro

      I am not a Christian, just an interested observer from outside the tent, but I completely agree that Feser and his accolytes come across as intellectual cold fish, with hardly a hint of real love and human compassion to be seen. They are mostly Vulcans, but a good number are Romulans , having a barely concealed nasty streak too.

      If I was ripe for conversion this lot would not have a chance of recruiting me.

      Delete
    5. Andryo,

      The Thomist thing may sometimes appear to be cold and uncaring, but it's not. It just puts more emphasis on the mind, and heaven knows that is a needed emphasis today, as it always has been.

      Apologists (my group) get accused of the same thing. It's a bum rap; and so is this against Thomists.

      And I'm not a Thomist by the way, even though I did edit an abridged version of the Summa.

      Delete
    6. I certainly don’t have an issue with Thomism as such. As much as I revere the best in Thomas I never found Thomism to be my way “in” to the Church or even the best way for understanding it from within.

      This isn’t to disparage our intellectual tradition at all. I’ve been working for years to try and bring more philosophy and theology to our parish community. Lord knows one can only go so far with Sunday mass and an occasional pious practice. But I sense among a number of self-identified Thomists a tendency to overemphasize reason (the intellect, the head) to the point where is goes out of balance with practice and spirituality, for want of a better word. Contemplative prayer, discernment of spirits, a habit of Lectio Divina that draws one into scripture in the light of Christ). Healthy discipleship should have all of these components in balance, even if one’s personality and formation has a certain emphasis toward one aspect.

      My point is: getting pissy and writing a post like this over a fellow traditionalist flirting with abandoning the tribe is a misuse of emotion. Choosing not to see the existential circumstances of Rod Dreher’s conversion is a failure to engage with his humanity. Not showing sympathy to the effects of clerical legalism and abuse of spiritual authority in this matter reveals a lack in spiritual understanding.
      “The spirit blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” No philosophical system, however internally coherent, is spared from the movements of the Spirit. Any truly attentive disciple can see a expansion of understanding, not a diminution, in Rod and Steve’s respective pieces. It’s the breaking apart of certain pieces of fundamentalism. It goes beyond mere reason even as it includes it.

      I get what the Roman Catholic Church is *supposed* to be. I get that we are all meant to be one communion of faith under the pope. But this is not how things have played out in history, and it’s been made abundantly clear to me again and again how the Holy Spirit chooses to work and meet people within other denominations for the greater benefit of His coming kingdom. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and (as one commenter above rightly said).

      Delete
    7. Andryoo,

      That is all pure blather. There is nothing in what I wrote that was “pissy,” nor was it unsympathetic to what these guys are going through. I explicitly said that I feel for them and don’t condemn them. I simply argue that Dreher did not have a good reason for leaving the Church and that Skojec and others should not follow his example.

      If you disagree with that, fine, then you should explain what is wrong with my arguments. Instead you go on about how I lack love, don’t know Christ, blah blah blah. If you’d remove the pissiness from your own eye, you might see that you were projecting it. Try to practice the charity you preach.

      Delete
    8. Typically pissy reply from Feser there, not exactly replete with human warmth and compassion. No William Lane Craig is he?

      Delete
    9. @ Andyroo:

      Rod found the fruits of the Holy Spirit flourishing in his Orthodox community upon converting. No matter how airtight one’s reasoning may seem to be, no matter how internally coherent to Catholicism (and your entire piece hangs upon a particular understanding of Catholicism), one cannot deny the Holy Spirit where it is found. Clearly Christ cares about reconciling his own body (because, of course, the Church is not merely mother and bride, but naming it as his own body doesn’t make for the same appeal to emotion in your last paragraph).

      Rod found himself feeling happier after becoming Orthodox. That's not quite the same thing.

      @ Son of Ya'Kov:

      I love the mysticism of the Eastern Church bar none. But having also read John of the Cross. Thomas Merton and the mysticism of Aquinas and Mister Echard or the Cloud of Unknowing. I cannot get behind the claim the west is deficient in Mystical theology.

      Honestly, I think it's not so much that the Catholic tradition is lacking in mysticism compared to the Orthodox, so much as that the Orthodox tradition is lacking in rational theology compared to the Catholic. So Orthodoxy looks more mystical because that's pretty much all there is, whereas with Catholicism it's just one part of the religion.

      -- The original Mr. X

      Delete
    10. Anonymous, if you have an ounce of human warmth and compassion, you could detail what is wrong with Prof. Feser's aruments. Otherwise, and I say this with warmth and compassion, p-off.

      Delete
  10. I've read most everything Dreher has written over the last decade or so. IIRC, Dreher has said that after he started attending an Orthodox parish he did look into the arguments for papal claims and found them wanting. He also said to me once in private conversation (we are not friends, but we met up once in NOLA) that there were always some Catholic teachings he never thought made any sense, but just accepted because that's what a good Catholic does. Furthermore, aside from saying a bunch of positive things about Orthodoxy, Dreher tends not to engage in arguments either for Orthodoxy or against other forms of Christianity, such as Catholicism or Evangelical Protestantism. It's just not what he does. So, just because he doesn't offer up rational arguments for his move to Orthodoxy in his writing, it's not really fair to assume his move was based purely on emotional things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If that's the case, then why didn't he mention those reasons in the article?

      Let's suppose I was an Orthodox-turned-Catholic, and I came across a person writing a blog about how he was disillusioned by the Orthodox Church. I'd probably have tried to made an argument about why this person should leave the Church. If possible, I'd have tried to connect the rational arguments to the emotionally-distressing experience the other person received (for example, I could try arguing that the chaos within Orthodoxy that alienated him was systemic to Orthodox theology and caused by their lack of a papacy).

      I would NOT have said something like "All the syllogisms that kept me Orthodox might still be true, but I could no more perceive that possibility after a certain point than I could perceive the claims for the Mormon church, or Zen Buddhism, as true. More to the point, I could not perceive them as true for the same reason someone whose palms have been badly scarred and blistered from holding on the the red-hot handle of a cast-iron skillet over a flame can pick the skillet up again. This is why I tell people — Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants — to never, ever believe that your faith is unshakable, and to never, ever believe that an intellectual conversion is sufficient."

      Maybe an intellectual conversion is not sufficient, but it is necessary. At the very least, if I feel emotionally that my logical syllogisms keeping me Catholic are breaking under the weight of my emotions, I'd better calm myself before making a decision!

      Delete
    2. Dreher says in his article:

      "The important thing, the thing that I struggle to get Catholic conservatives to understand, is that this was not the result of logical deliberation" (emphasis his) He has said similar things before.

      What is surprising is that anyone fails to take him at his word, since it is obvious that logical deliberation had nothing to do with it.

      Delete
    3. I was there at Mark's Shea Blog (Where Rod often visited) when somebody outed him for leaving the Church. Which he kind of did in secret.

      Full disclose I didn't like him personally. His Pope John Paul II bashing put me off and he didn't much cared for me either and that was back when I went by my moniker BenYachov.

      Anyway he openly said at the time he didn't want to debate the issue over which Church was true or not. So he declined to examine the arguments. But Shea's blog at the time was thick with amateur Catholic Apologist spitfires.
      So I guess he didn't want to answer the onslaught?

      He was rejecting reason way back then. I always thought that was mad. Pure Madness.

      It is not a good thing.

      Austin Ruse once said on his Facebook page (without condoning Rod's schism) history has vindicated Dreher's criticism of the Church during the sex abuse crisis.

      That might be true but he left the Church and what good is he now too her?

      Skojec said he has a deep fear of leaving the Catholic Church and going to Hell fer it. I say good on him! That fear is yer friend mate. I have that fear too and I love it as much as I do any of me own children.

      Delete
    4. I dealt with the wholly inadequate reasons for Dreher's departure:

      "Shock! Former Catholic Rod Dreher Loves Lawler’s Pope-Bashing Book (Sin in the Church and Dreher’s Inadequately Explained Rejection of Catholic Doctrine) [2-22-18]

      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2018/02/shock-former-catholic-rod-dreher-loves-lawlers-pope-bashing-book.html

      Delete
    5. "What is surprising is that anyone fails to take him at his word"

      Uh, cause he's said different things at other times.

      Delete
    6. Rod Dreher:

      "I had to admit that I had never seriously considered the case for Orthodoxy. Now I had to do that. And it was difficult poring through the arguments about papal primacy.

      I’ll spare you the details, but I will say that I came to seriously doubt Rome’s claims. Reading the accounts of the First Vatican Council, and how they arrived at the dogma of papal infallibility, was a shock to me: I realized that I simply couldn’t believe the doctrine. And if that falls, it all falls."

      Delete
    7. This is true. Rod, for example, never understood the Catholic teachings against birth control and sterilization when he was a Catholic, but he dutifully followed them. Once he and his wife became Orthodox, they felt free to reject those teachings as Orthodoxy permits both with the approval of one’s priest.

      Delete
    8. In this citation:

      "I’ll spare you the details, but I will say that I came to seriously doubt Rome’s claims. Reading the accounts of the First Vatican Council, and how they arrived at the dogma of papal infallibility, was a shock to me: I realized that I simply couldn’t believe the doctrine. And if that falls, it all falls."

      one might easily substitute for "the First Vatican Council" several others, such as "the Council of Ephesus" or "the Council of Chalcedon" (or, indeed, almost all of the first seven ecumenical councils, and many subsequent ones) and for "how they arrived at the dogma of papal infallibility" phrases such as "how they arrived at the dogma of Our Lady as Theotokos" or "how they arrived at the dyophysite dogma of One Person and two natures in Christ," and be equally shocked. Those who study history in quest for Christian wisdom need to have strong shock absorbers. If one is so shockable, will one move on from Orthodoxy to Oriental Orthodoxy after studying Chalcedon, and then on to the Church of the East (Assyrian) after studying Ephesus?

      Actually, if (which God forbid) one were to come to the conclusion that "Rome is wrong," a far better ecclesiological case can be made for turning Oriental Orthodox than turning Chalcedonian Orthodox. Or, to put it briefly, "if Chalcedon, why not Florence?" and "if not-Florence, then why not not-Chalcedon?"

      Delete
    9. I remember him making that remark in the Combox over at Mark Shea's blog. Shea responded to it with something to the effect of "You then don't want to look at the politics behind the first Seven Councils the Orthodox accept." also he did remark on Ephesus like Mr. Tighe says above.

      He said straight up (geez its been years since I cited Mark favorably...those where good times)Rod hasn't found anything new. He hasn't made any great discovery that showed him he had to be orthodox. It was an emotion choice.

      Delete
    10. I'll note that this particular thread went from "Dreher converted for purely emotional reasons" to "Dreher's history based arguments for converting are wrong" real fast.

      Delete
    11. You guys beat me to it. I suppose because Mr. Dreher operates by reason (sound or otherwise) rather than pure emotion backed by mere pretension to reason, he'll at least be consistent and also deny the authority of the Chalcedonian decrees, since the papal legates practically bullied the rest of the Council into subscribing and incorporating Pope St. Leo the Great's Tome. Truly "shocking!"

      Or perhaps because he seems to say or imply in that same article from which Thursday quotes, that it is not objectively sinful to remain outside the pale of the True Church, he'll at least be consistent and reject Eastern Orthodoxy (which, if I'm not mistaken, teaches precisely the opposite; and if I am mistaken, then they've fallen further away from the Apostolic faith than I thought). And perhaps he'll likewise reject the principle of Tradition, since the Fathers and all other monuments and witnesses of Apostolic Tradition are morally unanimous on this point. Perhaps that's why, even though the Fathers insist upon the extremely scandalous nature of schism, and even though Mr. Dreher apparently takes scandal to be so grievous, he nevertheless does not recoil from breaking communion.

      But I wonder why the above quote was cut short? It continues: "Of course I immediately set upon myself, doubting my thinking because doubting my motives. You’re just trying to talk yourself into something, I thought. And truth to tell, there was a lot of that, I’m sure. But what I noticed during all this Sturm und Drang over doctrine was this: we were happy again as a family, and at peace. Julie said one day driving home from liturgy, 'Isn’t it great to look forward to going to church again?' And it was." Could it be that Mr. Dreher was not following reason after all, but a mere pretense to bolster his emotions? Could it be that the reasoning he follows, and the reasoning he has provided, is manifestly flimsy and unconvincing, even to himself? Could it be that he practically told us this, and that he meant it?

      Delete
    12. Thursday,

      That quote about Vatican I etc. is from an article from over a decade ago. Dreher doesn't say such things in the most recent article, and if memory serves, in recent years when he's addressed the topic, he has always emphasized the emotional nature of what led him out of Catholicism and de-emphasized any theological considerations.

      Moreover, even in the article you are quoting from, the remark about Vatican I is a vague and passing comment, and made only after he goes on at emotional length about the abuse crisis and how that is what shook his faith and led him to look to Orthodox Church as an alternative. He says he'd already been attending an Orthodox parish and started "falling in love" with Orthodoxy.

      Nor do theological issues about Vatican I or the like come up in his comments on Skojec. He doesn't say that Skojec should re-consider his theological opinions, but rather that Skojec should consider switching to Orthodoxy as a way to avoid the kind of clericalism that is bothering him, a way to give him a fresh start spiritually, etc.

      This is not only muddleheaded for the obvious reason that these considerations could not reasonably be decisive unless one has already determined that on the basic issues over which Catholicism and Orthodox disagree, the latter are in the right. It is also muddleheaded insofar as Dreher admits that the same sorts of problems that he saw in the Catholic Church exist in Orthodoxy too, but that he has no interest in looking into them in the Orthodox context because he doesn’t want to go through the same emotional mess he went through when he was a Catholic. Which is an implicit admission that the thing that really drove him to leave the Church doesn’t really amount to a justification. If he is happy to find an Orthodox parish he likes and deliberately to turn a blind eye to the problems that exist in the Orthodox Church more generally, he could have done the same in the Catholic Church. And he admits that there are Catholic communities that are healthy in the ways his Orthodox parish is. And he could urge Skojec to seek one of those out instead of following him into Orthodoxy.

      The whole thing is incoherent. It boils down to: “I left X for Y because X often has this bad feature A. To be sure, Y often has A too, and X sometimes doesn’t have it. But I don’t let myself think about that too much. Hey, maybe you should leave X for Y too!”

      Delete
    13. In short, the charge that Dreher's move was for purely emotional reasons still stands.

      Delete
    14. "[T]he charge that Dreher's move was for purely emotional reasons still stands."

      None of the above counteracts the fact that Dreher did investigate the claims for papal primacy and, by his own account, it played a significant part in his final decision to let go of Rome. Let's dispense with this "purely" stuff.

      Delete
    15. Dreher has no coherent arguments against the claims of the Papacy. He has never made any publicly and he has consistently rejected opportunities to argue these views in public.

      If he found a silver bullet against the claims of the Papacy that forced him to choose the Eastern Orthodox Church we would have heard it by now.

      It doesn't exist unless I can put my fingers in its wounds.....

      *My Confirmation name is Thomas after Thomas Aquinas. Thought it applies to the Apostle who is the patron Saint of Skeptics.

      Delete
    16. "Dreher has no coherent arguments against the claims of the Papacy."

      You don't know that.

      "He has never made any publicly"

      This is actually true, but your first claim true doesn't follow from it.

      Delete
  11. The Orthodox rejected the procession of the Holy Ghost from Christ as well as the Father.

    As a consequence, Constantinople was conquered by the Muslims and is still being held 1000 years later.

    We have all the Mystics and Wonder Workers that God has ever raised up, as well as Aquinas.

    Rod and Steve have been betrayed, as have we all, by Judas' in the hierarchy. The Church is going through it's own passion, so it is being betrayed.

    Just like the Orthodox, the entire Church is now about to reap the whirlwind after professing Modernism at the Council (not infallible by their own declaration) adulterating the Mass, and consorting with Heathens at Assisi.

    We all must cling to the True Faith, True Mass and Our Lady of Fatima, or we end up worse off than Constantinople.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with that, Tim the White. People are deserting the church in droves, recruitment to the clergy is in free fall and the young think you quite mad. It's all over bud.

      Delete
    2. As a consequence, Constantinople was conquered by the Muslims and is still being held 1000 years later.

      Given all the non-religious political maneuvers from the 600s to the 1500s, there is a very high plausibility that a Roman Catholic Constantinople would have fallen, too. After all, Vienna nearly fell. Most of Spain fell, and the Moors were in France before they were stopped. We had Jerusalem in RC hands for over 100 years (the King of Jerusalem was a western knight), but it fell to Muslims.

      It is true that we MIGHT have held off the Muslims more effectively if we were more unified religiously, but it's not obvious: the RC lands had lots of bickering between themselves and some were picked off bit by bit by Muslims. (The Muslim groups also bickered between themselves and were subject to being overcome by strong Christian (western) forces, too.)

      Delete
  12. A related piece I wrote

    https://erickybarra.org/2020/11/01/communion-with-the-pope-if-the-pope-is-a-heretic-how-does-a-traditional-catholic-cope-also-the-growing-appeal-of-eastern-orthodoxy/

    ReplyDelete
  13. Since the church is a corporate person, when will it admit corporate responsibility for anything at all and apologise for it on that basis instead of blaming individuals within its ranks? The international kiddie abuse scandel would be a good place to start as even Feser admits that the hierarchy did not properly intervene to speedily bring the perpetrators to justice ( this is an understatement! ).

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    Replies
    1. The formal cause of the Church's corporate personhood is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit didn't do anything to be apologized for.

      The people in the Church did many wrong things, the kiddie abuse being one large group. We can fortunately say that these acts were, universally and uniformly contrary to Church policy, doctrine, principles, and laws, and thus were not done on behalf of the Church, nor BY "the Church" rather than by people in the Church. These horrific wrong-doers should apologize to the kids, to the adults, to the Church, and to the world.

      Since there WERE places and cases where bishops did act speedily to bring perpetrators to justice, (a few), there were in fact laws and Church rules that allowed for such action. It was up to bishops and Vatican congregations to use them - which they (to our misfortune) declined to use far too often. Actually, somewhat the reverse, bishops often forestalled appropriate handling by willfully turning a blind eye to Church laws that should have been applied. To that extent, the bishops should apologize. PERSONALLY, not corporately, because the (corporate) rules were there to be used.

      To the extent that there was anything approaching a "corporate" sin, it was in the fact there was an internal culture of promoting bad apples and of turning a blind eye to bad behavior that COULD have been addressed properly. But since that internal culture was NEVER actually formal corporate policy (it always defied official doctrine and juridical norms), it is not formally a corporate failing of the Church herself (i.e. her whole being), only of members IN the Church, in their individual capacities.

      Delete
    2. The Force is strong with Tony....

      Delete
  14. Miguel CervantesMay 29, 2021 at 1:23 AM

    This is a very good post from Dr. Feser. It is indeed personal. Union with Christ requires union with the Bishop of Rome.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd". An outstanding analysis, prof.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Reading through the comments with great interest. There really is an implosion happening within the Church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaannnddd...if anyone was ambivalent about whether Papalinton was a troll, this pretty well clinches it.

      Delete
    2. Dr Yogami

      How so?

      I never thought of Papalinton as a troll, but rather as a long time bringer of enlightenment to these threads and a bullwark against them becoming an echo chamber for Sons of Yakov, Mr Geocons and the like.

      Why do you consider his perfectly fair comment here to be trolling?

      Delete
    3. Because he's only interested in Church politics to the degree that it might indicate a collapse of the institution. COME ON. Year after year his posts go something like this:

      1. All the religious superstitions are declining and the magnificent march of scientific progress is sweeping everything away.

      2. Metaphysics (and philosophy) are useless and the sciences will solve all the (worthwhile) questions.

      It's always some variation on that. After years of this, it becomes tiresome and BORING. What the HELL is the point of coming here over and over to vomit out this stuff?

      Delete
    4. DrYogami,

      Maybe he thinks that he's bringing something fresh and interesting?

      Delete
    5. Dr Yogami 6.44am

      Because much of what he says is correct and bears reiterrating. Very many people read these threads other than the tiny number who occasionally contribute ( and the handfull who dominate ), including no doubt many one time visitors. So there is an audience to be educated and edified out there, not just a bunch of goggle eyed believers who think all is well and rosey in RC land

      I personally look foreward to watching the informative videos he often posts and am a little disappointed that his contribution this time is so brief.

      Delete
    6. "Maybe he thinks that he's bringing something fresh and interesting?"

      Bwahahahahahaha.....

      Delete
    7. Anonymous

      I'm not Catholic or Christian. I simply think Papalinton's contribution to this blog is worthless. I don't think he 'educates' anyone, other than maybe people who already agree with his worldview...which isn't really 'educating' anyway.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous

      Also anyone who wants to see Papalinton's point of view can hop onto any atheist blog. They're a dime a dozen these days and not hard to find. There's Tippling Philosopher, Secular Web, Pharyngula, Jerry Coyne, blah blah blah.....

      Delete
    9. Dr Yogami

      As has been said before, contributions from Papalinton, WCB, One Brow and various Unknowns and Anomamoi prevent these threads from becoming an echo chamber dominated by Sons of Yakov, Mr Geocons and their ilk, which is a very good thing indeed.

      As regards the various atheist blogs, Jerry Coyne's 'Why Evolution is True' is amazing, and everyone should check it out. It deals with so much more than religion , and has a particilarly strong and fascinating biological/zoological/genetics content, as you might expect from someone of Jerry's academic background.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous

      This place was never an echo chamber, as you can see if you've read past posts over the years. There have been intelligent atheists and others who have been delightful at dialogue with others on this site and have made for fascinating conversation.

      As far as the atheist blogs, they're often less lenient than anything here. P.Z. Myers has said that he likes to keep the combox full of sharks and the waters "chummy". Jerry Coyne has a reputation for policing his comments, which past contributors (such as the atheist Eric MacDonald) have pointed out. Coyne and Feser have tussled in the past, with Feser linking to some article on Coyne's site to take issue with while Coyne has gone on record as refusing to link to anything on Feser's site.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous,

      I'm not sure how stale, 2008-era New Atheist talking points (talking points that Dr. Feser addressed in other parts of his blog) are relevant.

      Part of my problem with Papalinton and people like him is his obsession with "relevance." To him, a philosophy must be popular with those he considers "relevant" (meaning, people he likes). Since Thomism isn't popular with the people he likes, it doesn't have "relevance", so there must be something wrong with it. You see this line of reasoning in his arguments against Thomists, again and again, and he never seems to realize that this is a fallacy.

      Delete
    12. Paps so Skojec implying (at least on appearance) he is leaving the Church(in reality in a follow up Post he said he is afraid to leave the Church for fear of Hell) is an implosion for the Church then what about Leah Libresco former Atheist blogger becoming Catholic?

      It appears we get yer quality people and you might be left with our scrubs?

      BTW Is New Atheism imploding? Madalyn Murray was embezzling from her organization decades ago long before Richard Dawkins had to fire a guy from his Foundation (Josh Timonen) for doing the same. Then there are the Metoo scandals....

      In short people in glass houses and all that my Kangaroo friend. Don't go there.

      Cheers.

      Delete
  17. Speaking of Rod Dreher, whatever his other faults may be, his book "Live Not By Lies" is a good primer on how to understand and oppose the current authoritarian/Marxist/Leftist political forces now seeking to overthrow the West.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is true. Which is what made his schism all the more tragic.

      Delete
  18. I just (re-)read Skojec's article, or, as you say: cri de cœur. While I can sympathize with his account of human depravity which he has encountered among the clergy (I myself had had to come to terms with similar stories, or stories that go beyond the scope of what Skojec describes - this seems to be a burden people, who are "insiders" have to bear), it strikes me that Skojec himself absolutely LOVES to play the victim card. I don't want to excuse or justify whatever has been done to him. Pressuring someone into a non-existent vocation, and lying to someone's face, abusing one's power to influence others, is never an acceptable thing to do. However, I can remember, back when I regularly visited 1P5 and read the com boxes there, that Skojec himself left no opportunity to fight with people untouched. That, which he accuses "Trads" of, is something he has done himself more than once. Being uncharitable towards people who disagree with him. Calling them names, or ridiculing them. And that what he says about TraditionalISM, is not only completely untrue (if it weren't such a waste of time, I would bother to write a defense of the Traditionalist movement), but also highly unfair and uncharitable. His own words, that one can't trust and believe anyone, is telling.
    To me, Skojec seems to struggle with a lot of pain, anxiety, and mental illness. He needs compassion, but nevertheless I find it extremely dangerous when people listen to an individual who is so blinded and steered by his own emotions. If my knowledge in Psychology is worth anything, I would cautiously consider Skojec having some form of ADD/ADHD or a related disorder, where falling victim to very strong, and oftentimes unfounded emotions, while seeing oneself as a victim whom everyone else hates, is very common and part of the illness. This certainly is my experience with him (I don't know him personally, but this is how he presents himself online, by which standard he can be judged).
    TL;DR: Don't take Skojec's ramblings too seriously.
    - John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please forgive my grammar.
      - John

      Delete
    2. Anonymous 6.34AM

      Do you have any qualifications in clinical psychology, and any further data to base your diagnosis on other than Skojec's alleged behaviour in some blogs you have read?

      Delete
    3. Hi John,

      Clinical psychologist here. Your knowledge in psychology is not worth anything, if judged by the standards you enact.

      Best,
      AD

      Delete
  19. If Skojec goes Orthodox will he be able to get them to shell out the kind of money that his Catholic supporters do? I doubt it so he'll probably continue on as he as he is now.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ed, you reamrk; 'Skojec is scandalized by the fact that the confusion and heterodoxy fostered by Pope Francis’s many doctrinally problematic statements have not yet been remedied despite his having been in office for eight years. This is quite ridiculous. Eight years is nothing in terms of Church history.' 'Not yet been remedied' does not properly describe the situation. The problem is that no-one with the responsibility to do anything about these statements (i.e. no cardinal or bishop in charge of a diocese) has done anything at all to protest, contradict or warn the faithful about them. They have made general statements about doctrine that contradict the Pope's assertions, but no-one has said that what the Pope says is wrong and should not be accepted or acted on. Nor has any of these responsible individuals spoken out against the Pope's criminal protection and promotion of pedophiles. That has been left to a small number of scholars and ordinary priests, including myself (see here: https://aroucapress.com/defending-the-faith). This is a terrible scandal that (among other things) justifies Skojec's general picture of the Church, which is quite accurate. This picture does not justify leaving the Church, but Skojec (whose flaws I am aware of) has not said the he is going to leave or that other people should leave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The problem is that no-one with the responsibility to do anything about these statements (i.e. no cardinal or bishop in charge of a diocese) has done anything at all to protest, contradict or warn the faithful about them. They have made general statements about doctrine that contradict the Pope's assertions, but no-one has said that what the Pope says is wrong and should not be accepted or acted on. Nor has any of these responsible individuals spoken out against the Pope's criminal protection and promotion of pedophiles."

      I agree with this (and in fact have begun to read your book, beginning with the essay of my friend fr. John Hunwicke) but to play devil's advocate for a moment, might not the same have been the case, mutatis mutandis (and I acknowledge that there are a lot of mutanda) about Pope Honorius? Who criticized Pope Honorius's response to Patriarch Sergius of C'ple in 635, in which he seemed to endorse Monoenergism and even Monothelitism (before the creation of the latter heresy some years after his death in 638)?; indeed, Honorius's successor's successor, John IV, tried to exculpate Honorius along the lines of "he didn't really mean what he said (or how what he said was understood)" - and that may be true, but nevertheless Honorius was condemned as a heretic by the Third Copuncil of C'ple in 680 (forty-two years after his death), and Pope St. Leo II accepted and ratified that condemnation. "Leo's letter states that Honorius is anathematized because he "did not purify this apostolic Church by the doctrine of the apostolic tradition, but rather he allowed the immaculate [Church] to be stained by profane treason." It is always possible that Pope Honorius's posthumous fate might befall another pope.

      Delete
    2. I meant to write:

      Who criticized Pope Honorius's response to Patriarch Sergius of C'ple in 635, in which he seemed to endorse Monoenergism and even Monothelitism (before the creation of the latter heresy some years after his death in 638) in that pope's lifetime, or even for many years thereafter? (etc.)

      Delete
    3. Hello John,

      In no way am I minimizing the crisis in the Church, the pope's responsibility for it, or the irresponsibility of so many bishops and cardinals in failing to respond more courageously. I've commented on those matters myself many times, as you know. The tenor of my remarks was instead inspired precisely by Skojec's own reaction to the situation, which is more problematic than you are supposing. For example, in the comments section of the article of his that I linked to, he writes:

      "I'm not sure I'm leaving. I'm not sure I even could. I don't know how to root out decades of programming going back to before I can remember. The Church, and her threat of damnation if I go anywhere else, has claws so deep in me that the fear never truly rests.

      I *want* to leave. I *want* to be done. I am disgusted through and through.

      But the fear that I'm wrong, the fear that all the bad stuff that's happened to me has clouded my vision, the thought that maybe my friend is right and I was never really taught the right things after all (even though they've been confirmed over and over by priests and other Catholics over the years) all weigh on me."

      End quote. That certainly sounds like someone who could go in the Dreher direction, even if he hasn't yet and (hopefully) is merely expressing the passing emotions of the moment.

      Delete
    4. >but Skojec (whose flaws I am aware of) has not said the he is going to leave or that other people should leave.

      This is true and he also said in a post he is afraid to leave the Church for fear of going to Hell. Good on him! Well done!

      But he is coming to the edge and Dreher is suggesting he might want to become Orthodox and we can't have that. I would rather he stay in the Church and "bash Francis" then do it from without like every other bitter anti-Catholic ex-Catholic. We have enough of that.

      I've defended the Pope. I remember the extremist attack on Pope St John Paul II and many of the attacks brought against Francis resembled them & are IMHO unfair. OTOH some of Pope Francis' prudent decisions seem to be a bit wonky or very very wonky.

      So I have concluded he is not a great Pope. I resist lunatic claims he is worst than Alexander VI or similar perv Popes or criminals who where Pope. But he is a Scrup IMHO. I will be happy when he is no longer sitting in Peter's Chair but I wish him well and God's Saving Grace. Also who knows? Maybe God's spirit will move him to do something great?

      The Church will correct itself because the Holy Spirit will do His job.

      But EENS stands.

      Delete
    5. English CatholicMay 29, 2021 at 11:37 AM

      Many thanks for your essay 'A Jesuit Tragedy' on Rorate. It explained so much about where things have gone wrong.

      In general, I think the Scotist idea of 'liberty of indifference' of the will -- and the resulting sense that the will might be evil as such -- is implicitly present in an enormous number of post-Trent works. It's there in spirit, even if not in doctrine.

      Delete
    6. This Skojec guy is terrified of leaving the church against his better judgement , lest he makes a mistake and ends up going to hell for all eternity. Meanwhile, Yakov thinks this is a great thing, and earlier stated that he loved his own terror of hell as much as he does his own children!

      The RC belief system comes with a fuckin' BIG stick , and once embedded in it you will find it almost impossible to get out, such is the fear and guilt that even contemplating apostasy will bring. The obvious take home lesson from this is that if you still have your independance of mind and volition, DO NOT get involved with them, because once suckered in it is very likely to be for keeps, irrespective of the correctness or otherwise of their truth claims. Of course, the RC flock will all claim that their beliefs are based upon good reasons and evidence, but it should be obvious that the terror of hell will prevent a proper unbiased analysis, as conclusions antithetical to Catholicism are simply psychologically unthinkable.

      There are always irrational factors at work potentially biasing anyone's reasoning about anything, but it is difficult to imagine anything more effective than fear of damnation to ensure that the 'correct' answer is always reached. So once again, if anyone reading this is considering getting involved in RC or other terror monguering religions , don't, or you will end up like Ben Yakov, loving fear of hell as much as your kids. This is twisted and perverted.

      Delete

    7. To continue from 11.40am above, we learn from Feser's piece that to leave the church is like deserting a human being, fleeing the scene while your mother is being attacked, and abandoning her to heretics and perverts! It is a matter of personal loyalty or betrayal! Oh well, no pressure to conform then, but if all this guilt tripping does not work, there is always YAHWEH's eternal frying pan!

      Really, don't get involved - these notions are psychotic!

      Delete
    8. Of course, the RC flock will all claim that their beliefs are based upon good reasons and evidence, but it should be obvious that the terror of hell will prevent a proper unbiased analysis,

      a proper unbiased analysis. Hmmm...

      Let's ask this: if Hell exists and it is possible to be damned to hell for mortal sins, what is the RIGHT AMOUNT of fear of hell one should have? Or rather, if you prefer, the right amount of fear of committing mortal sins? What does an unbiased analysis say about that?

      More likely than not, your comments spring from a biased position that assumes there is no hell or that people cannot be damned to hell for the mortal sins that the Church claims are mortal sins. Strip away that assumption, and it will not be so easy or obvious how to tell how much fear of hell is the "right" amount.

      Delete
    9. Thank you, John Lamont for your excellent article "A Jesuit Tragedy". It was the piece of the puzzle I needed.

      And thank you, English Catholic to direct me to it.

      Delete
    10. English CatholicMay 29, 2021 at 2:33 PM

      No problem. I think all seminarians should be directed to read it.

      There's a more detailed version of (I think) the same thesis here. For me personally, the linking of tyranny to Scotist and nominalist ideas is fascinating, and raises all sorts of other important questions. But the whole thing is excellent:

      http://sthughofcluny.org/2014/05/the-catholic-church-and-the-rule-of-law-part-i.html

      http://sthughofcluny.org/2014/05/the-catholic-church-and-the-rule-of-law-part-ii.html

      Delete
    11. Tony nukes a Gnu troll from orbit. That is fun to watch.

      Delete
    12. John Lamont's book features a preface by Archbishop Vigano. This guy is seriously nutty, and doctrinally unsound. Lamont's credibility greatly diminished by this alone and I won't bother reading his book.

      Delete
    13. Tony 1.14pm

      It is manifestly obvious that if one is committed to a belief system in which eternal hell is the penalty for apostasy, and indeed for an endless list of other 'sins', the fear so engendered will seriously compromise ones critical faculties. That does not disprove any of the claims you make of course, but it should make you more than tentative about them because the rejection of your faith is simply near enough psychologically impossible for you. A rebuttal simply MUST be found for any possible attack, and if one cannot be found then you would continue to believe anyway, confident that a solution exists to the 'mystery'. Your terror and guilt hold you in bondage, as indeed they are designed to do. Utterly pathetic.

      Of course my comments stem from my position that your theology is a groundless fantasy, but part of the point of my post was to warn those not so lost to it as you are to proceed very carefully indeed, as once you have them and have gone to work making them terrified and guilt riddled , then they are essentially trapped. Of course, I would hope that anyone encountering fear monguering religions such as RC would be able to resist any attempts at recruitment and so maintain their psychological equanimity, but if one does become interested in one of them and begins to find it convincing, I think it only rational and prudent to defer commitment for a long time while thinking about the various issues extemely carefully , and to absolutely not get involved in any kind of human activities with practitioners which might serve to accellerate ones conversion for entirely non-rational reasons.

      As for what level of fear is appropriate if one is taken in by your guilt and fear monguering, it is of course total absorption in it, as the stakes could not be greater. There are threats at every turn, ranging from atheists, skeptics and adherents of other religions who might cause you to doubt, to sexual notions and images that might cause you to have lustfull thought, or - God forbid - to masturbate! Then there are loved ones to think about, especially ones kids who are likely to be more influenced by modernity, may in practice reject the church because they are sick of their authoritarian, bible-bashing parents - not to mention nosey priests
      - and who may one day go to university and encounter all manner of blasphemers and perverts. Taken seriously, your beliefs should lead to a constant state of high alert and paranoia, leaving one a fear and guilt riddled neurotic ( especially about sexual matters ). Of course they often do.

      Delete
    14. No need to cry about it Gnu. You have been nuked.

      Delete
    15. Yako

      Hit home a bit did it?

      Delete
    16. especially ones kids who are likely to be more influenced by modernity, may in practice reject the church because they are sick of their authoritarian, bible-bashing parents - not to mention nosey priests
      - and who may one day go to university and encounter all manner of blasphemers and perverts. Taken seriously, your beliefs should lead to a constant state of high alert and paranoia, leaving one a fear and guilt riddled neurotic ( especially about sexual matters ). Of course they often do.


      Interestingly, this is just the opposite of what I have found in actual practice. Five of my six kids have gone to college so far, and all of them remained staunch Catholics. The faithful Catholics I interact with daily and weekly are not fearful, but full of joy, laughter, and fun; they take seriously the danger of sin, and take even more seriously the admonition in the Bible to rejoice for Christ has defeated sin and death. I have been to a secularist's funeral, and to an Irish Catholic wake, and I have to say, the latter is the fun kind I want my family and friends to have when I pass away. "We've prayed for his soul, now pass the whiskey!" The neurotic stuff isn't there, but it is in people who have this neurotic fear of death even though they profess to believe that there's nothing there after death.

      Of course my comments stem from my position that your theology is a groundless fantasy, but part of the point of my post was to warn those not so lost to it as you are to proceed very carefully indeed, as once you have them and have gone to work making them terrified and guilt riddled , then they are essentially trapped.

      "Fantasy" stories of hell may hold children in thrall for a while, but adults will eventually come out from under the fantasy. Fear (especially of some far-off danger) is a passion, typically is not strong enough and permanent enough to hold a person year after year to something they otherwise do not hold. My own experience matches that of many, many Catholic friends: as a teen or young adult, we latch onto the validity of Catholicism not on account of fear-mongering stories of hell, but because of other, more positive events and forces. In my case, partly because I was seeing the truth of natural law independently of Catholic claims about it. In others, it is because they experience directly the uplifting power of grace to supercede merely human capacity, (for example, forgiving one's enemies, which is a behavior characteristic of divinity, not of humanity). And so on, for many other positive reasons.

      You have far too narrow and crabbed a perspective on actual Catholic behavior to have described it accurately. Sure, there are fearful Christians. But on the basis of the Bible itself, they are not very good Christians when they are like that.

      Delete
    17. Nuclear War against Gnus has never been so entertaining.

      Delete
    18. How would Anon characterization of the catholic mind describe a convertion to catholicism? As someone who:

      - was raised on something like moralistic therapeutic deism and still ended up a catholic;

      - whose after-convertion experience with catholics show they as very normal people;

      - who see the average saint as actually pretty joyful,

      - who see people raised in conditions close to what where described as becoming mostly Dawkins-like atheists

      I see Anon post and want to laugh. If all this belief system has going for it are threads of hellfire, them all you have to do is pick some dificulty with it and act like it destroys the worldview completely. Choose your dificulty, close your eyes to any responses, start to force yourself to see every believer as guiliable or a monster so you don't need to take they seriously and go on with your life. This is what i usually see happening with people that are raised on conditions close to what Anon describes.

      Delete
  21. John Lamont


    Do you think that the church should accept corporate responsibility for its child sex abuse scandal and apologise for it AS the church, instead of blaming individuals, especially in view of 'the Pope's criminal protection and promotion of pedophiles?

    ReplyDelete
  22. As an Orthodox Christian, I have to agree here. These are terrible reasons to switch communions, and they can produce manifest despair in relation to the whole of Christendom when the erstwhile refugee discovers that his new ecclesial home has scandals (perhaps- or perhaps not- less abundant in today's world) of equal gravity. Our confidence is in Christ, and the rock-solid guarantee He gave to the Church.

    ReplyDelete
  23. More lies about me from WCB. I am through with him because he's a fool and a sophist. I'm not gonna have a pi $$ ing match with him here. It doesn't follow that therefore I don't discuss deep issues like predestination.

    The fact of the matter is that I have dealt with it many times. On my Salvation & Justification page, I have a section entitled "PREDESTINATION / GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY / PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS"

    It contains 23 articles (a few on Facebook, the rest on my blog).

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2006/11/salvation-justification-faith-alone.html

    I just finished a lengthy reply / debate with a Calvinist about these sorts of issues, 12 days ago:

    "Perseverance of the Saints: Reply to a Calvinist"

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2021/05/perseverance-of-the-saints-reply-to-a-calvinist.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WCB writes:

      "More lies about me from WCB. I am through with him because he's a fool and a sophist. I'm not gonna have a pi $$ ing match with him here. It doesn't follow that therefore I don't discuss deep issues like predestination."

      Deep issues.

      If God decides to create man, God must decide what moral nature his design will have. God has three choices.

      1. Create man with a bad moral nature.
      2. Create man an indifferent moral nature.
      3. Create man with a good moral nature.

      Our free will is constrained by our God given moral nature. Why would God chooses anything but 3., a good moral nature.

      If God does not we will commit acts of moral evil. Thus God gets full credit for mankind's morally evil acts.

      These are the sorts of arguments I pose that Dave will not respond to. I am no foll and not a sophist.

      Dave Armstrong banned me rather than discuss issues I raise. He refuses to discuss these deeper issues with me at "A Tippling Philosopher". Armstrong's ad hominem attacks we see her in all their glory are not answers.

      These are theologically serious issues.

      WCB

      Delete
    2. Dave

      WCB now claims Animals can be morally good and Rats can reason like human beings.

      So yeh.....I think I broke him.

      https://strangenotions.com/st-anselms-god/#comment-5396638046

      Quote"Rats have the ability to reason and act on reason. Rats are more moral than the God who is not a moral agent according to theology."END

      Note he is not talking about higher primates or Chimps but rats. Why does this so called scientifically minded "atheist" believe rats can reason and should we nor get a butterfly net fer him?

      Time for the ladds in the wee white coats to haul him away to the funny farm.

      Delete
    3. WCB writes

      As usual, Son of Ya'kov lies. Rats do reason, not like humans but SoY denies that. Rats do treat other rats with consideration. A rat in a cage that knows it can pull a lever and get a treat, but will deliver a shock to it's cage mate will not pull the lever.

      Animals do have ability to reason. Bird fanciers have had much trouble with squirrels raiding bird feeders. Squirrels have proven to be very cleaver at defeating these efforts to keep furry bird feeder bandits out of bird feeders.

      Yakov lies and straw mans a lot. Reasoned debate is impossible with him.

      WCB

      Delete
    4. WCB 4.35PM

      Completely agree with you. Ya'kov does lie and straw man a lot, as well as abuse and insult his interlocutors, as he does with you at 4.10pm for example. He has stated previously that he is a better person than you morally, but reading through the posts the opposite is clearly the case. You would have thought that someone so terrified of eternal hell as to love that fear like his own kids would conduct himself in a more ethical manner.

      As regards your disagreement with him about animal reasoning and morality, I think it flows from him having a very particular conception of these things which flows from his Thomism.


      Delete
    5. Anonymous wrote

      “ 1. Create man with a bad moral nature.
      2. Create man an indifferent moral nature.
      3. Create man with a good moral nature.

      Our free will is constrained by our God given moral nature. Why would God chooses anything but 3., a good moral nature.”

      This is making some huge assumptions.

      1. You assume to know why god created anything at all (but don’t base any assumptions on revealed scripture).
      2. You assume that being of good will when you had no choice in that, is meaningful in the context of 1.

      These then expand into all kinds of areas including the existence of suffering etc. I tend to find people who assume god to be just like themselves - usually because they either don’t believe in god, or have a view of god as a kind of mechanic - are impossible to debate. The false assumptions mean that they are not debating about god, but about some fairytale they have invented.

      Of course none of us know the full truth on these questions, but debating a straw man is pointless.

      Delete
    6. Hey, Son of Ya'kov

      I find you mysterious and intriguing in many ways. Aa a working class guy who has been in tbe navy, do you have loads of tats of anchors and stuff like that, and as a Scott do you have a clan, clan chief and special tartan pattern on your kilt? And how did you maintain ethical behaviour and still be accepted on long voyages with rough and randy sailors? Seriously, I would have thought that port stop offs would be veritable shag fests, while during long periods cooped up with your mates Roger tbe cabin boy would be in constant danger.

      Serious questions. I am more than curious!

      Delete
    7. Sealioning

      Sealioning (also spelled sea-lioning and sea lioning) is a type of trolling or harassment that consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility and sincerity.[1][2][3][4] It may take the form of "incessant, bad-faith invitations to engage in debate".[5]END

      There is a lot of that around here?

      Delete
    8. WCB

      >As usual, Son of Ya'kov lies. Rats do reason, not like humans but SoY denies that.

      Yer use of the term "reason" is equivocal here. Reason is defined as "the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways." Which can in principle only apply to humans not animals as humans can only have access to their own subjective experiences and communicate them to their fellows.

      As Nagel pointed out that cannot be done with animals. So equating instinctive problem solving in higher animals with "reason" is just you equivocating.

      BTW you said ""Rats have the ability to reason and act on reason. Rats are more moral than the God who is not a moral agent according to theology."

      So you are making an univocal comparison between God's Transcendent Rationality and Morally with those of Rats. Since you argue God is a moral agent like us the only natural conclusion is you believe Rats are moral like us and are rational like us.

      So it is you who are lying.

      Son yer not gonna make a single convert here. Even among some of the local NeoTheist.

      Yer not.

      "Rats have the ability to reason and act on reason. Rats are more moral than the God who is not a moral agent according to theology."

      Yer words not mine.

      If only you would study atheist philosophy instead of trolling? You might make a formidable and respectful opponent. Instead of a big douche.

      Sad.

      Delete
    9. Yako 9.39am

      I've not noticed any sealioning at all! Are you paranoid or something, as well as neurotic and terror stricken - as you most assuredly should be - at the prospect of going to hell?

      Delete
    10. I am all for killing off the seals and the Sealions. Bugger those wee beasties.

      Delete
  24. I will say the Mother analogy was something on my mind when I joined the Catholic Church in 2005 a couple years after the first wave of big scandals broke. If you were an adopted child and found your mother but she had taken lodgers in her home who were vile and were taking advantage of her - would you refuse to go to your true Mother and help as best you could? Would you just walk away? For me the answer was no. And I also appreciate Ed's point that you have to take the long view looking both backwards and forward.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Although nothing justifies leaving Holy Mother Church, I feel sympathy for Skojec, who appears to have endured a lot during his whole life.

    I totally get his sentiments regarding the trad environment. I mean, I'm no friend of the Bugninian rite nor do I have patience for the low-quality theology and catechisation that have become near ubiquitous nowadays, plus the clerical corruption, moral laxity and cowardice, the false ecumenism and all that. But truth be told, trads really aren't immune from Sturgeon's law. Indeed, the majority are almost just as ignorant of the Faith as the liberals (think "passive remote mediate material cooperation with evil? Did you swallow a dictionary or what? I never heard of that, so you must be a modernist heretic in disguise" level of ignorance).

    My recommendation to everyone, and especially to someone in Skojec's difficult situation, is always to read more of Dr Feser's writings. One can never have enough of that.

    Thank God for Dr Feser. Always equipped with ironclad arguments for every topic, always faithful to the Magisterium, always wise, and always keeping his cool. Ite ad Feser!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What Greg S just said....Thumbs up!

      Delete
    2. Miguel CervantesMay 29, 2021 at 10:22 PM

      Yes. Good on George.

      Delete
    3. Just a lurker here, but had to agree with Greg about Dr. Feser: that last sentence about the good doctor is spot on!! Prayers for Sojek and Dreher (supplication), and Feser (thanksgiving).

      Delete
  26. It's imperative for every Catholic to adopt the sedevacantist position in this period of history. There is no room for personal choices.

    The Church is indefectible, yes, but for that reason we should stick with Her, not with the Vatican 2 impostor.

    For information about this crucial topic, the works of
    Bro. Peter and Bro. Michael Dimond, Dr. Carlos Disandro, Fr. Sáenz y Arriaga, are very important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, but no thanks. Waaaayyyy too many problems with the Sedevacantist positions.

      Delete
    2. f,

      The problem is that serious Catholics who take the time to read the critiques you list, generally also take the time to read the critiques of the critiques, and find that the sedevacantist position is entirely hollow. That is to say: Were it true, it would not falsify Vatican II, etc.; it would falsify Christianity. This is the difficulty when sedevacantists fail to carry through their logic to the natural conclusions. If the cardinalate is gone and the popes are gone and the laws of the Church are invalid, then the gates of hades have prevailed, full stop. And in that case Christ has failed to keep His promises, and is not God.

      But He is God. Therefore sedevacantism is false.

      And this is what we should expect, because there are so many kinds of sedevacantists. Different crowds of sedevacantists all agree that Vatican II and the current popes don't count, but other than that, they appeal to slightly different arguments to pinpoint different points at which the chair of Peter became vacant. This should remind us of something: It should remind us of how there are so many Protestant groups that can all agree that the Catholic church is a big old pagan cult led by the antichrist, but they can't agree on when that happened, or on what the correct doctrines must be.

      It also reminds me of how (as Alisdair MacIntyre showed), once the West abandoned teleology and virtue ethics, they needed something to replace it with. So many different thinkers tried to re-invent ethics, and the disciples of each were able to point out all the obvious flaws in the other thinkers' replacement systems, but denied the flaws in their own (even when the other thinkers' disciples helpfully pointed them out). They were all wrong; none were right.

      The problem here is that teleology is true; virtue-ethics is true. Once you eliminate the true answer, of course there will be problems with all the other answers: They're false! Varying crowds coalesce around the varying false answers which appeal most to them; and each crowd points at the flaws in the other crowds' positions, and they're correct. The other crowds point at the flaws in the first crowds' position, and they're also correct. All the flaws are real flaws, because all the alternative ethics are wrong.

      Likewise the Protestants: They can't mutually agree, because they're all wrong. By eliminating the most-Biblical ecclesiology from the outset, they get stuck inventing alternative ecclesiologies which aren't Biblical. Their competitors know it, and point out the deficiencies; and they point out the similar deficiencies in their competitors' ecclesiologies. But agreement is impossible because they excluded the true answer from the outset.

      And that's also what happened with the diffuse and fissile category of splinter sects called "sedevacant." The Church Jesus Founded, in its Militant state, consists of those persons in communion with those bishops in Apostolic Succession who're in communion with the Successor of Peter. This Church exists to evangelize the nations, to administer the sacraments, and most of all, to prevent the content of the Christian religion becoming unknowable, lost in the mists of time.

      Either that Church, with all her features, persists, in spite of our current Honorius (or our recent Honorii), or else, none of us can have any principled basis to claim to know what "Christianity" (whatever that was) requires us to believe and do.

      So, no, I don't plan to reread Bro. Peter and Bro. Michael Dimond, etc., again.

      Delete
    3. Sedevacantism is not false, for the simple reason that it is just the application of the very Catholic canons to the current situation.

      That is to say: sedevacantism is proven true just by the application of "Cum ex apostolatus officio" (Pope Paul IV). It is quite simple. A heretic cannot be the Pope.

      An another thing: there is another Catholic doctrine called "supplied jurisdiction". That answers your objection about the "lack of Cardinals".

      This is not a matter of intelligence. It is a matter of honesty. You shouldn't be scared of adopting the true position.

      Delete
    4. Miguel CervantesMay 29, 2021 at 10:20 PM

      And Vatican I declared that the See of Peter would guide the Church until the end of time. That does not translate into 70 years with no Pope and practically all Catholics following antipopes for the same period. Sedevacantist clown-bishops and their followers are not what's left of the Church thank goodness.

      The post-conciliar Popes are not heretics. I don't expect you to understand that. In fact, sedevacantists are now a curiosity produced by the post-Vatican II crisis, and one that mainly exists in non-Catholic countries. I won't debate you. Others might

      Delete
    5. Fine, Miguel. I don't want to debate. I know I'm right and I know you are wrong.

      I'm just hoping some reader will take the time to study this issue and save their soul in the process. That's why I left the references there.

      There is no point in debating people who are so mortally scared to face the truth.

      The Papacy becomes vacant everytime any Pope dies. In the history of the Church, there have been a lot of antipopes also (they are a lot! Look it up). There were periods of prolonged vacancy of the Papacy also (Great Schism). So, your "point" about Vatican 1 is just irrelevant. The Papacy as institution remains and will remain to the end of times. But think about it this way: "Peter is on vacation, and open invitation..." as said in a contemporary satanic pop song.

      Delete
    6. Miguel CervantesMay 30, 2021 at 1:02 AM

      My debate with you is on vacation too. May the holiday give you everlasting and stimulating guidance and interaction.

      Delete
    7. RC 7pm

      You moan that the main problem with Sedevacantism is that if it is true, the whole of Christianity goes out the window. And???,

      You need to go where the evidence leads RC, but clearly you are so guilt riddled and terrified of everlasting hell that this is impossible for you.

      By the way, the above was not a defence of sedevacantism. I had not heard of it until today!

      Delete
    8. The sedevacantist position is nonsense. It reminds me of Luther and the reformation in general. They had some genuine grievances, but took the fissile path, the path of the disintegrator (“for we are many”). The result was centuries of war and persecution, the birth of secularism and the delusion of individual satisfaction and justification over duty and sacrifice. By their fruits shall you know them.

      God said to St Francis, “rebuild my church”, not to break away from it and set up a new sect that’s at war with anyone who disagrees with you. The Scribes and the Pharisees understood the technicalities of the tradition handed down from the prophets very well. They valued that tradition so highly they ended up setting themselves against god in order to defend them.

      The patterns repeat themselves over and over again. This is why scripture is always alive and relevant.

      Delete
  27. WCB writes

    Anony Mouse:
    "
    As regards the various atheist blogs, Jerry Coyne's 'Why Evolution is True' is amazing, and everyone should check it out. It deals with so much more than religion , and has a particilarly strong and fascinating biological/zoological/genetics content, as you might expect from someone of Jerry's academic background."

    For biology, try Lawrence Moran's "Sandwalk blog". Sandwalk deals with some rather deep looks at biology and evolution. And various ongoing controversies in that field. Sometimes gets rather technical. Not that much about religion, but deals rather with what the biologists are arguing about and bad science rather than battling creationists. and there is a lot of bad science out there to deal with. A no nonsense science and biology blog. Not to everybody's taste and it sometimes gets technical. A good site to see how science gets done. If you like P.Z. Meyers when he dissects bad science, you will like Sandwalk.

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WCB

      Thanks for that - I had not come across the 'Sandwalk Blog' before. I have a very solid science background, and so should be ok with the content.

      The bad science stuff should be interesting. I was involved for many years in the skeptics movement, and did a lot of work myself around UFOs as part of the local astronomy group's public outreach.



      Delete
    2. WCB writes:

      Sandwalk is a good block for skeptics. Including critiqued bad science, bad science journals, occasional swipes at IDists, and general serious science curmudgeoness. A pace to see what nonsense is going on in biology. No evil cats and no ducks, but a lot of pseudoscience and pathological science dissected. As a seasoned skeptic, you will probably enjoy seeing these things analyzed. sadly, even one reputable scientists occasionally go over the edge. And the creationist types use them as fodder for their idiocy.

      WCB

      Delete
    3. WCB

      I have spent the last half hour or so reading through bits of Sandwalk, and yes it is very good and pitched at a decidedly non-superficial level. I will return to it frequently now.

      I do not have time to keep abreast of all the skeptical and philosophical blogs and publications anymore, but I do enjoy 'The Curious Wavefunction' , 'Not even Wrong' and 'edge.org conversations. Unfortunately my subscriotions to Free Inquiry, The Freethinker and Skeptic Magazine expired years ago, but I have been thinking of renewing.

      Delete
    4. WCB believes Rats can think like humans and can have rational moral principles and thus be moral agents like human beings.

      I am skeptical either Meyers or Coyne or Dawkins would hold such an lunatic position.

      Delete
    5. Yako

      WCB clearly does not have the beliefs you ascribe to him.

      Are not lies and malign misrepresentations of people sins, not to mention delighting in them? I thought that you harboured a terror of hell. Well, if you dropped dead of a heart attack in the next few minutes - not so improbable as I bet you are knocking on a bit, and being Scottish extraordinarily unhealthy -you would be going there. Poor Satan and his demonic hoards, having to put up with you!

      Delete
    6. In other words believe you not my own eyes.

      Gottcha.

      Delete
  28. As a non-Catholic, I read this post as saying, "no matter how much harm the organization, or the people in the organization, cause you should remain faithful to the relationship."

    Under no other context, and for no other organization, would humans say that is a wise decision.

    That logic implies that even if the Church were burning witches, performing Inquisitions, or supporting tyrants, DAILY, one should not abandon it. That is absurd, IMHO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Under no other context, and for no other organization, would humans say that is a wise decision."

      It's a good thing, then, that the church is not like any other human organization.

      Delete
    2. Says every religion...

      Delete
    3. @Anon : well, no, not every religion says it. It's mainly catholicism who'd say that "the church is not like any other human organization". That would be strange to have, say, Buddhists, or Jains, utter this sentence.

      LM

      Delete
    4. LM

      I was being hyperbolic. The claim is not unique.

      Delete
  29. "For this reason, the character of the Church is not to be looked for in a snapshot of the members who exist in any particular generation, but rather in the attributes that persist through time."

    The character of the church isn't all that great when you look at its history (see Crusades, Inquisition, etc.)

    "Rather, it is to be found in her consistent tendency for two millennia to produce saints."

    By its own criteria...

    "He also admits that exactly the same maladies that he saw when he was still a Catholic can afflict, and have afflicted, every other movement, organization, and church, including Eastern Orthodoxy."

    I wasn't aware every other movement, organization and church covers up pedophilia.

    ReplyDelete
  30. WCB writes:

    Son of Ya'Kov
    "I am skeptical either Meyers or Coyne or Dawkins would hold such an lunatic position."

    Why don't you wander over to their sites and ask them?

    1. Do animals with brains reason?
    2. Do many animals demonstrate a basic moral
    nature?

    Nobody is arguing animals do either like thoughtful and intelligent humans. That is your own rancid little straw man.

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WCB you pretty much tied yerself into a knott with this troll. Yer not getting out of it or living it down.


      >Why don't you wander over to their sites and ask them?

      Because I don't want the sharks swimming there to call me a fucking moron for asking an obviously stupid question....


      >Nobody is arguing animals do either like thoughtful and intelligent humans.

      You talk out of both sides yer mouth WCB.

      So being "intelligent like a human being" and being "rational" are not the same thing?

      You said human being are "thoughtful" which means they think. But animals clearly don't think they act on sensation and instinct.

      To think is to be rational and one cannot be rational without thinking.

      Yer not being coherent. Animals are not rational by definition. Yer equivocating and straw manning and being a moron on purpose.
      Or more likely yer just trolling.


      Even yer boi Ark over at Strange Notions is throwing you under the bus over this.

      Yer words son nor mine:
      "Quote"Rats have the ability to reason and act on reason. Rats are more moral than the God who is not a moral agent according to theology."END

      The only coherent interpretation we can have taking you at face value is you believe Rats can reason like humans and or have morals like humans. You compared Animal "morality" to God's morality (who BTW is moral but not like a human. I explained that and yer response was to claim God is moral like humans. Make up yer mind son.)

      To date the pattern is the same. You Sealion these people. You post the same shite over and over. Somebody nukes it from orbit and ignore their response and repeat yerself.

      Do you make many converts to Atheism that way?

      Because I am skeptical.

      Delete
    2. Yakov

      You are utterly obsessed with bullying and victimising WCB, and urgently require help, and I mean that quite sincerley.

      It is completely unethical for you to repeatedly misrepresent him as you do, but if WCB is a troll as you claim why do you return to him again and again and again and again and.....Ditto with Papalinton too.

      It is obvious to everyone that you are exhibiting gross psychopathology. Why don't some of you regulars intervene and at least attempt to reign this nutter in? Daniel once asked him to remain civil, though the plea was immediately ignored, while Talmud once gently berated him and got a gob full for his efforts. Meanwhile best buddy Grodrigues uncritically supports him and stirs the pot whenever he can.

      Disgraceful. Can't you even try to police your own fuckin' reprobates?

      Delete

    3. WCB wrote:
      "Rats have the ability to reason and act on reason. Rats are more moral than the God who is not a moral agent according to theology."

      The only natural conclusion here is WCB believes Rats can reason (something only humans can do) and rats are not only moral but more moral than God.

      Delete
    4. @Ya'Kov : you forgot how sexually centered Anon's insults are. He seems to be imagining some weird sexual fantasies about us being flaccid and impotent, and sexually distressed. To which I don't get : even if we were to grant him the point, how does it help the debate/rational discourse? Perhaps he's a fan of the ancient Greek statues, who were made using small genitalia in order to show that they had reflection over basic sexual impulses? If so, I would understand why he's complimenting us, but I fail to see how it is an insult. :/

      Alas.

      Delete
    5. Mitraine

      Who has said or implied that you are flaccid and impotent? Where did that come from? More like sex starved, repressed and frustrated. No wonder your sexually and romantically starved and deprived clerics couldn't keep their hands to themselves and prayed on the most vulnerable potential victims available.

      Delete
  31. Jesus established His Catholic Church for two primary reasons:

    Salvation
    Sanctification

    Our all loving God desires that all of the people He creates be saved and so al of us living were created to live in this time because it is the best chance any of us will have to attain unto the two goals of the Church Jesus established.

    Instead of expending so much time and effort on the putative faults and failings of others, strive for personal sanctification ( become Saints) and wait on The Lord.

    He has always been the head of His Catholic Church, He still is, and He will continue to be its head.

    Did God choose Francis as the Pope for us Catholics.?


    According to the 1945, The New Roman Missal of Father Lasance, the answer is, yes, God did chose Pope Francis to rule us Catholics.

    See page 482 of The Good Friday Liturgy

    The same order is observed in the supplications that follow.

Let us pray, also, for our most blessed Pope N., that our Lord and God, Who hath chosen him in the order of the episcopacy, may preserve him safe and unharmed to His holy Church, to rule God's holy people. .

    ReplyDelete
  32. WCB writes:

    Simon Adam:
    "This is making some huge assumptions.

    1. You assume to know why god created anything at all (but don’t base any assumptions on revealed scripture).
    2. You assume that being of good will when you had no choice in that, is meaningful in the context of 1."

    I make no assumptions at all about why God created the material Universe. That is a basic dogma of Christianity that God did so. And the Bible explicitly claims god is good, merciful, just, fair, righteous and compassionate.

    If God creates man, God must choose what moral nature man will have. It is simple logic that if God chooses an indifferent or bad moral nature is chosen,moral evil will follow. God then gets credit for moral evil.

    We can have no free will if we are given a moral nature, our free will is constrained by our moral nature.

    Aquinas -Summa Theologica
    Question 62 - The Theological Virtues
    Pars Prima Secunda Part 1

    And these principles are called theological virtues, not only because
    (a) they have God as their object, but also because
    (b) they are infused in us by God alone and because
    (c) these virtues are made known (tradunt ur) to us only through divine revelation, in Sacred Scripture.

    Why would God grant Jane great theological virtues, but few theological virtues to John? Why would God not grant all mankind maximum theological virtues?

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WCB: “ If God creates man, God must choose what moral nature man will have. It is simple logic that if God chooses an indifferent or bad moral nature is chosen,moral evil will follow. God then gets credit for moral evil.

      We can have no free will if we are given a moral nature, our free will is constrained by our moral nature.”

      Our moral nature is to know the difference between good and evil. Our free will is about what we choose. When we chose the bad, we feel guilt. Then we have another choice, to hide from the guilt (which sets up a path to a ‘hard heart’), to acknowledge it helplessly (which seems to lead to a search for a new identity/image/external fix), or to integrate around that which felt the guilt as a sign of us being less than we should be.

      Of course we don’t live in a world where everyone else is always making the right choices, and so there is an element stacked against us. Even those lucky enough to have parents who generally make the right decisions, will come across many situation where the natural response (choice) is the wrong one. Only by holding to forgiveness, love, humility etc can we overcome the cycles of hiding from our guilt.

      God made us free to chose, and aware of the right choices, but without us standing in him as the solid ground, it’s bloody difficult not to sink in the stormy waters. This is how he meant this life to be, not for things to go well for us when we make the right choices, but for us to be well when we do.

      People say that god’s virtues are innate, and I have no reason to doubt that. But spoilt people given all they need and set all the right examples often don’t turn into the type of people who reflect god in valuing love, humility, sacrifice, courage etc. So it seems that we need to learn how and why to make the right choices, and the corollary of that is that to learn we need the choice, and repeated bad choices make us increasingly less likely to make the right choices. For this reason god also chose to break the cycle, through his own pain and blood. But as they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

      Delete
    2. @Simon : don't lose your time arguing with that anon, he's been repeating his line over and over.

      Delete
    3. Having once been an atheist, I’m always happy to explain the natural misconceptions that led me there, especially as they are so common. If it turns to arguing then I agree, that’s usually a dead end.

      Delete
  33. Pooh, why there is so much bad smell here? ... Ah, it's the GNU shitlords patrolling... even advocating for Jerry Coyne's bogroll...

    Who let the garbage out?

    ReplyDelete
  34. WCB writes:

    You don't believe evolution is true? You hate ducks?

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,

      You can't hardly deny the fact that evolution happens. Now, to subscribe to a specific theory in which there are controversies in the current neodarwinian framework, well... Adaptionnist or neutralist? Neo lamarckism? Punctuated equilibrum? I'd be willing to learn on these controversies, but Coyne-tutus blog is on nothing of that. It's fiat rhetoric on why he dreamt of big religious peepees raping science's ass. And it's annoying. I mean, everybody once thought about slinging their poo on the walls to make weird signs and drawings, but unlike the usual GNU atheist or Coyne, we sane people didn't think of turning it into a daily hobby.

      LM

      PS : Oh, BTW. I'll call you something else but Anon the day you'll decide to stop on a moniker.

      PPS : What's with your tendency to ignore the "reply" button? Is it so hard to click?

      Delete
    2. WCB writes.

      Try Lawrence Moran's Sandwalk Blog if Coyne does not satisfy.

      https://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2007/03/evolution-is-fact.html

      WCB.

      Delete
    3. WCB

      Oh it's that wanker Mitraine again. He really isn't worth responding to. Spends an inordinate amount of time trying to make his posts sound clever and funny but failing miserably and making a tit of himself.

      Delete
    4. WCB

      I love ducks I do! I am an avid birder and ducks are my speciality, together with gulls.

      Delete
    5. @Anon :

      Imagine you're replying to someone who's asking you about the debates on the peculiar current theories in the neodarwinian paradigm. Imagine you're just an anonymous who justifies his posts by WCB. Now, imagine again you didn't read the post you replied to, and instead post Larry Moran's reply to a creationist.

      Well, stop imagining, and read again what you did, and realize it's the same.

      I, as many commenters here, are evolutionnists. I, unlike most gnu atheists, am asking about the intellectual debates over the current theories.

      Adaptionnist ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptationism ) or neutralist ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_theory_of_molecular_evolution )? Neo lamarckism (as espoused by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryuichi_Matsuda but to which the critic of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Medawar dealt) ? Punctuated equilibrum (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium )?

      Read the question again. I know you're probably as retarded as the other anonymous, who's using his ass like a trumpet, but try to respond on topic, *please*. Where do we see Coyne or similar-minded individuals debate on the fine details of their theories? That's what I'd expect by "smart" evolutionary biologist, alas, Coyne is short. He might have written a decent *Speciation* (spoiler : it WAS good), but he seems to masquerade most of his opinions on science as "weapons" (well, they're damp squibs) rather than giving us ACTUAL SCIENCE.

      I mean, you can be marveled by how Dawkins championed the Selfish Gene Theory ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene-centered_view_of_evolution ) then read Eldredge cricitism ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niles_Eldredge ) and find that Gould and his punctuated equilibrium are right.

      But where do we see this? Strangely, nowhere. These card-carrying atheist shitlords are more interested than being pompous about SCIENCE! than doing real scientific reach and vulgarization.

      And perhaps you can be guilty of the same. That's fine, atheists online are not known for their sane mind.

      Truthfully yours,
      La Mitraine

      Delete
    6. Mitraine

      No idea who your post is directed at, or why you are frothing about debates within current evolutionary theory. I'm certainly not going to read up on all the references you have provided, I mean why should I? What has this to do with me and what has motivated this outburst? As a general piece of advice though, if you are interested in the current state of evolutionary theory you should read the technical literature if possible, not popularisations, and that will often necessitate having a good command of mathematics, including advanced calculus. Perhaps you have this requisite background, perhaps not, but there it is. If you do not have it the field will remain opaque to you.

      By the way, your comment about 'that other retarded Anonymous using his arse as a trumpet ' was hilarious, even though it was probably directed at me. I retract what I said - you can be funny sometimes, but you are still a wanker.

      Delete
    7. WCB writes:

      Remember what I said about not trolling, anon? What you're doing is highly counterproductive. Stop.

      If La Mitraine took the time to read the entire blog, he'd have his questions answered.

      Don't lower the debate.

      WCB

      Delete

    8. WCB writes:

      The post at 2.01PM was not me. Stop impersonating me whoever you are. It is not cool.

      WCB

      Delete
    9. WCB

      I think that we can be pretty confident that the impersonator is Metraine. As I said, a right tosser!

      Delete
    10. @Anonymous the schizophreniac : I'm baffled. I mean, I must have a bunch of time to make a reply to myself in which I'm insulting myself. For... no reason?

      Boy. If you don't want to reply to my question, don't, @Anonymouses. Just don't go swapping monikers for the purpose of chaotic nonsense.

      My question still stands. And for long, it seems.

      Delete
  35. Ed Feser, thank you. It is what I wanted to say to each of them, but did not formulate.

    ReplyDelete
  36. What is missing from all this is a recognition that Dreher, Skojec, and many others have experienced severe psychological trauma at the hands of the Church, and the Church refuses to properly recognize this and put things right, something which it owes in justice. Instead the Church and its sycophants gaslight and tell Dreher and Skojec that they, and not it, are the problem.

    It's true that in itself this has nothing to do with whether this or that doctrine is correct, but it is therefore also true that bringing up doctrine is a red herring designed to deflect from the real problem, which is that "Holy Mother Church" is in fact acting like an abusive parent. Outside of me there is no salvation, so therefore you are going to submit to any and all humiliation and trauma and everything else I inflict upon you! BWAHAHAHA!! The human psyche can only tolerate so much of that before it snaps and says, as did Skojec, f*ck that. The issue with his childrens' Baptism and First Communion was simply the last straw for him.

    In this context, regurgitating platitudes about how there will always be sinners in the Church or how the evil comes from individuals and not the Church itself is a form of gaslighting. An institution is responsible for the actions of those empowered to act in its name. And when it empowers evil men to cause wanton destruction, it, and not just those men, is corrupt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is true that faithful Catholics have been dealing with psychological trauma at the hands of teachers in the Church, with priests in the Church, with bishops in the Church, and even (at this point) a few popes in the Church.

      This should never have happened. The Church was established to help us, not to hurt us.

      The question though, is not "what can we think is LIKELY to happen when a person is traumatized by these people in the Church." We know, the world over and not just limited to religious organizations, when a person is severely traumatized by someone in a position who is SUPPOSED to help, they often turn their backs on the not just the person, but the position, the institution. That's human history.

      But human history is a history of failures NOT ONLY of people in positions of power, but also of people responding to abuse: by responding poorly, by taking actions that will harm themselves further, rather than will help. Therefore, we must instead ask "what is the best thing for the abuse victim TO DO in response to being traumatized." There are many bad choices: the rape victim should not seek out to be raped some more. The kidnapped hostage should not anticipate stockholm syndrome by freely and willingly joining sides with the kidnappers right off the bat. The kid who gets beat by Dad should not go to drug dealers for sympathy.

      When Christ said something very hard, a bunch of his disciples got up and left him. But some did not. When he asked "are you too going to leave me", they responded "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." If the Church established by Christ "has the words of eternal life", and is the source of the sacraments of grace by which we can obtain eternal life, then the traumatized person should not leave her on account of the trauma. Even though we ought to have great sympathy for the traumatized person, we cannot urge them to act on their initial feelings to run from the Church, just as we cannot urge a beaten son to seek sympathy from drug dealers.

      In this context, regurgitating platitudes about how there will always be sinners in the Church or how the evil comes from individuals and not the Church itself is a form of gaslighting. An institution is responsible for the actions of those empowered to act in its name. And when it empowers evil men to cause wanton destruction, it, and not just those men, is corrupt.

      Pure hogwash. ALL institutions, every single one of them, put power into specific person's hands. And all such persons are capable of sin. And - at least on this earth - all people who rise to the top of an institution may use their power wrongly, and (in effect) make the institution off-kilter, causing destruction rather than good. Anon1 is effectively advocating that all institutions be done away with because human beings inhabit them. Well, we cannot actually live without institutions, and ones that have human beings in them (humans with all their failings), so we CANNOT get away from institutions that run to evil in some way or other. The solution is not to do away with institutions altogether, but to correct or repair them. Or (in extreme cases), to do away with one and put something else in its place, but that does not hold for divine institutions. For example, we cannot choose to do away with marriage, which is a divine institution. Likewise the Church.

      Delete
    2. What a load of victim-blaming and "Churchsplaining" crap. So an abused person should return to his or her abuser without any evidence the abuser has changed his or her ways, and without any real attempt at atonement or even simply an apology from the abuser. So people who were traumatized by the Church should continue to let themselves be traumatized even further because, after all, the Church has the Sacraments. Well, in the words of Skojec, f*ck that. Now, no one would say (well, except for some of the far-right Coronavirus deniers and anti-vaxxers which unfortunately Skojec became quite acquainted with) that you are obligated to go to Mass at severe risk to your physical health. And so, the principle extends to severe risk to mental health. It is THE CHURCH'S responsibility to change things so that there is not such a risk to mental health. If the Church refuses to take such responsibility, then people are right in telling it to f*ck off until it gets its act together.

      As for your second paragraph, all you are really saying is that it is possible for the Church to become corrupt and cause destruction rather than good. Which of course I agree with. Nowhere did I say do away with institutions altogether.



      Delete
    3. Tony

      I must agree with Anon 1 Tony, your attitude completely ignores the predicament those traumatized by the church are in, and staying to fight to make thingw better is demanding a frankly inhuman level of heroism from them. Perhaps a minority with sufficient fortitude could do so, but most need to get the hell out on mental health grounds. You sometimes come across as an unthinking mouthpiece for a sick institution frankly.

      Delete
    4. With regard to Skojec, I can sympathize. My wife was at a Legion school for two years. She is now part of a survivor group that talks about the abuse ... but also the good things. Not everyone there was an evil abuser. But there was a sick, cooercive spirit about it. Her parents sent her there because they were traditionalists, very similar to what Skojec is like right now. After marying my wife, we spent five years at an FFSP parish, and I left because of the ideological craziness I found there. They were all on a war footing. And they were always fighting about one thing or another. The last straw for me came after I sought to baptize my child and the priest decided to make a fuss over our God Father choise.

      We then got involved with another parish where we stayed for nine years until we had a major falling out with some folks there.

      We are now at a wonderful church run by the Companions of the Cross (the order the Father Mark Goring is part of) where I'm sure we will eventually discover things to get into conflict over.

      The bottom line is that living in society is difficult. Growing in individual virtue is hard. And instead of trying to save the church and being part of ideological factions, we have to focus on our own souls and love the people around us, and follow the spirit. It is Christ's church, not ours.

      With regard to the sexual abuse crisis, I see this as a byproduct of the sexual revolution plus an infantilization of the layity. We have to be responsible for our own actions, we need to protect our own kids, and we need to be watchful and vigilant. God will judge us, not regarding what blogs we have posted about the papacy or what liturgical rite we attend, but on how well we have loved Him and our neighbour.

      For that, I would recommend looking at Francis De Sale's Introduction to the Devout Life.

      We are indeed seemingly being stripped of all institutional supports. In this period of church history, we must trust in God alone. Trust that his grace will see us through these times without mandating to him how he should do so. In short, we have to live by faith and focus on our own works withouth letting the nonsense that suround us cause us to lose our peace. And I think this last part is really important. God wants us to live a life of peace, joy, and love. We need to seek after the things that give us peace, joy, and love in truth and justice. Leave all the rest behind. God will sort it out.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous: I must agree with Anon 1 Tony, your attitude completely ignores the predicament those traumatized by the church are in, and staying to fight to make thingw better is demanding a frankly inhuman level of heroism from them.

      If the Church were a human institution, dedicated to a this-world end, I would TOTALLY agree with you. I would be fighting hard for that position. But the Church is not a human institution, and its purpose is not something pertaining to success in terms of THIS life. It's object pertains to eternal happiness, and choosing to depart from it when you know that it is the one Church founded by Christ is choosing to depart from eternal happiness. That may, in some cases, demand a heroic level of human courage. OK. So, that's what it takes. The other option is eternal unhappiness. So, when for some modest portion of us) the choice comes down to just that, why are we bickering over whether it is hard or VERY hard? It's like the guy out hiking in the desert wilderness, who fell and got his arm stuck under a rock. After 4 days, he wasn't going to be rescued by someone else. His choice was whether to cut his own arm off, or die. Why argue about whether cutting his own arm off requires a heroic level of guts: sure, it does, but the other option is clearly and definitely worse.

      The only reason some even imagine that another besides staying in the Church is that they don't actually think the Church is the road to eternal happiness. Well, FOR THEM, I understand why they would not stay. Of course they wouldn't! It would be beyond reason to stay subjected to psychological torture for some low-value temporary benefit. But for the Christian who grasps that the Church is the unique path of eternal life, they AREN'T being asked to stay for some low-value temporary benefit.

      Delete
    6. To be fair, Anon 1 did have ONE good point: these guys are probably severely traumatized, so we can't judge they like we would do with a catholic that became orthodox because the priests have awesome beards or because Pope Francis is not ancap. These two guys are not acting on full rationality, they can't, so we don't have much certitude that they are risking their souls. Culpability decreases or goes away in these conditions, there is likely no mortal sin here.

      All that we can do is gently remind they of the importance of the Church, like Ed did, and them pray for they to have these wounds healed someday, like i'am sure Ed and a lot here also did, and hope that Our Lord continue with they on the best way that He can on the orthodox side. Doing our bests to not resist the Lord grace and so becoming saints is also very important.

      Delete
    7. Tony 3.28pm

      Of course, I do not accept the Christian world view, let alone a particular partisan view of it, so I do see asking abuse victims to remain in the clutch of their abusers regardless of whether circumstances have changed and apologies/reparations made to be frankly, further abuse. But even if I was part of your world I would see pragmatically that most people are not heroic, and in any case - as you people are always telling us - salvation is possible outside your church and not inevitable within it, so a traumatised abuse victim should damn well get out.

      In my oppinion, you effectively saying that these people should stay despite the trauma as the alternative is hell, is just to perpetuate the abuse. To exert such emotional blackmail on an abused and traumatised person is obcene and renders you an abuser too.

      Delete
    8. Yer an idiot Anon. So if students are abused in public school by teachers (Which is a plague in Public Schools and of course we all know you only care about kids molested by clergy not secular teachers) then that justifies children becoming drop outs who spurn education? I think not.

      No you get rid of the bad teachers and you continue to send kids to school. In a like manner arrest bad Priests and continue to go to Mass.

      Yer such a simple minded moron. We all know you dina care about sexually abused children.
      Ya never did because yer a wee sociopath.

      Now move yer arse and remember I own it.

      Delete
    9. Talmid,

      In the Navy I learned it is better to call a security alert and be wrong. Then not to call a security alert and be wrong. If I am wrong in the former case then we have a nice security drill. If I am wrong in the second case my ship can get sabotaged by terrorists and sailors will die.

      Well son. The Catholic Church teaches extra ecclesiam nulla salus as an infallible dogma.

      Now we don't understand that dogma according to the errors of heretics like Fr. Feeney. But it tells us leaving the visible church is always an act that is intrinsically evil.

      Only God knows the level of culpability that an ex Catholic has & only God can judge.

      But it is better to warn them they might be going to Hell and be wrong. Then not warn them and be wrong. See what I mean?

      Cheers.

      Delete
    10. Son of Yakov 12.51

      Well, the parallel you draw is clearly stretched, even though you cannot see it, cursed as you are with a complete lack of human empathy and a dogma sozzled mind. I tire of explaining human ABC to you, so I cannot be bothered to try here, suffice to point out that Tony ( who you seem to respect as your clear intellectual superior ) has this to say about my position at 3.28pm above - 'If the church were a humam institution I would TOTALLY agree with you. I would be fighting hard for that position myself'. That is because Tony is at heart a decent human being ( but with unfortunate distortions as he has a bad dose of religion ), whereas you are an obnoxious, uncaring and odious bit of rough.

      A particularly vile thing you just said ( even for you, and that's saying something! ) is' ya dinna care about sexually abused children. Ya never did because yer a wee sociopath.' Would you care to retract this vile statement and apologise for it, or otherwise provide evidence to justify it? As evidence will not be forthcoming I presume that this allegation constitutes yet another sin to add to your ever expanding list. Better not croak suddenly and unexpectedly before confession Yako.

      And now my apology please.

      Delete
    11. Let's not forget that Dreher and Skojec aren't just random pewsitters, they're prominent (within the Catholic subculture) journalists who spend most of their careers looking up and writing about corruption within the Church. If they're feeling traumatised by that, the obvious and less drastic solution would be to find something else to write about, rather than to leave the Church altogether.

      -- The original Mr. X

      Delete
    12. Good post Mr. X. Agreed.

      I don't think Catholics should bury their heads in the sand about the bad things that people are doing in the church, but if one becomes overly focused on those bad things, then you can lose your peace, your joy, and your happiness. I think we have to actively cultivate these, while remaining true to the Catholic faith and to the demands of justice.

      As Nietzche said:

      "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

      Delete
  37. The Awesome MuslimMay 31, 2021 at 12:45 PM

    Sigh, it's the death wail of the Boomer new atheists coming here.

    It's fun to see how Millennial Muslims are wiping the floor with these Boomers atheists all over the internet.

    Example: Richard Dawkins hilarious cancellation recently.

    ReplyDelete
  38. This reminds me of the actions of a JW or newly minted protestant who are far quicker to evangelize than perhaps we Catholics are known. As Aquinas says people do bad because they think it's a greater good. People always are looking for new'gang members', many are recruited by personality and pride is a factor. It's all taken care of in God's plan. We must give a reasoned defence but even St Paul knows when to shake the dust from your shoes and move on.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Speak about emotional arguments! You pitch one yourself: "When a Catholic leaves the Church because he is scandalized by heresy, sexual abuse, and the like, this is like fleeing the scene when one’s mother is being attacked, lest one suffer harm oneself. It is to abandon Holy Mother Church, the Bride of Christ, to the heretics and perverts, rather than to aid her against them and to suffer with her while they assail her." Skojec has repeatedly said that for him the face of the Church are its ministers with whom he interacts. It seems that for him, leaving the Church is like fleeing an abusive household where the mother devours her own children. So whose emotional image should Skojec follow, yours or his own? He should do with his own.

    ReplyDelete