Consider the options

I

Here’s the headline version of the relevant story: a Catholic high school hires a vice-principal who is (whether known or not to the school) a practicing homosexual. As part of the terms of his employment, he signs a contract obligating him to publicly abide by the teachings of the Church. At some point later on, he “marries” his boyfriend, a public repudiation of those teachings that earn him the termination of his employment — whereupon the Catholic students at the school rebel.

Suppose you were the pastor, or even the bishop. What would this tell you about the state of affairs in the local church, or in the Church in America more broadly, or the Church in general?

II

Things are worse than they look. How does this happen? Let’s consider the options:

  • “We just need to reach out and explain the Church’s position to them. They’ve never heard the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage enunciated before.” Really? Despite, at a minimum, several years in a Catholic school and, presumably, for most of them at least, being brought up in the Church, with at least weekly Mass attendance and regular religious education? Despite all this, they’ve never once heard what the Church teaches about matrimony? If true, that’s not something that can be waved away. It’s a problem.
  • “They’ve heard the Church’s teachings before, they just don’t believe them because they’ve never been explained effectively.” So we are to believe this sort of thing isn’t a problem because it’s attributable to the Church’s own incompetence at passing on the faith to the next generation? Which is, somehow, magically, also not a problem?
  • “These kids were scandalized by terrible formation by unorthodox catechists.” Well, that’s certainly plausible. It’s also a problem.
  • “The Church has done everything it can to explain its teachings; there’s just no overpowering the conditioning of the modern world.” And that’s a problem.

My point here is not to criticize but to direct our attention to the fact that things are worse than they look, that there is no way to wave this away or spin it positively, that despite rivers of happy-talk flowing from the Vatican and from the Catholic Answers / EWTN echo chambers, souls are in danger of being lost, not just outside the Church but within it, too. Our children are being conscripted by the enemy, not at the peripheries but in the heart of our institutions, and the best we can do is plaster on a slightly wider phony grin. “Things are better than ever!” Lord, have mercy on us sinners.

III

Stories like this are what make me suspicious of all the talk about evangelization. Suppose that, today, we created the perfect succinct argument for Catholicism, or wrote the perfect, most convincing book, or found the perfect, most charismatic speaker to inspire the atheist hordes to conversion — and suppose furthermore that a million people showed up at the doors of their local parishes asking to enter RCIA. What then? Would we simply hand them over to the very same catechists by whom this generation of Catholics was formed? We can’t even get our own children to listen to us!

I increasingly suspect that we are beyond the point where arguments, blueprints, conversations and dialogues can work, because we are beyond the point at which a merely natural and human prudence can make things right. We are at the point now that nothing short of either a serious moment of metanoia or a dramatic encounter with divine justice can turn things around — a point where evil is so metastatic that its ultimate defeat is now reserved to God alone. Maybe Bishop Paprocki had the right idea: we need fewer arguments and more exorcisms.

About these ads

72 thoughts on “Consider the options

  1. “We just need to reach out and explain the Church’s position to them. They’ve never heard the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage enunciated before.”

    This I can believe. For far too long have Catholics gone along with the notion that marriage is about loooooooooooooooooove, while tacking on the indissolubility and openness to children as if as an afterthought; which makes Catholics sound fuddyduddy.

    Very few Catholics actually understand that divorce is unacceptable, remarriage is a contradiction in terms, and remarriage without having additional children is beyond absurd. Europeans have had indissoluble, one man one woman, with free consent, open to children, marriages, longer than we have had writing.

    Ask your Catholic friends who went to Catholic school if they have any actual understanding of Catholic doctrine. Including those who went to Catholic school 20 or 40 years ago.

    • I’m sort of sympathetic, though the SSPX thing is a problem. What is the solution other than Amish Catholicism? The problem with that is that the Church is unlikely to tolerate it at any noticeable scale at all—look at the enthusiasm with which it is currently jumping up and down on the necks of the FFI.

      The fear with the FSSP is that you would sell your house, become a plumber or whatever in your new locale, and then the Pope would decide to suppress the FSSP. Then, where would you be? So, I’m not sure I see a solution at all, really.

      • I’m sympathetic too – we have more than one instance of married friends who have done the FSSP thing as you describe, with the exception of being able to find a job in their field of study in their new location. I don’t begrudge them their move one bit, though I am not inclined to follow it myself for reasons not entirely dissimilar to what you give.

        I admit I don’t know enough about the situation of the FFI to say what has happened there, nor do I find myself able to convince myself one way or another from any reports I read. There is just so much stuff out there I don’t know what is to be trusted anymore.

      • I will say that I am more concerned at present of suppression from the secular government of the sort that leaves no options, than I am of ecclesial.

      • Josh, it’s hard to say. Several times, Cardinal Castrillon de Hoyos (when he was head of PCED) said publicly that SSPX Masses fulfill the Sunday obligation. The most recent such occasion was in 2009, I think. Also, several people have received private letters from the PCED saying that SSPX Masses fulfill the Sunday obligation. Again those letters are somewhat old now, all predating Francis’s Papacy as far as I know. You can verify all this pretty easily via google.

        More recently, here is a link to a post at the Rorate Caeli blog reporting on a letter in which PCED refused to answer the question in 2012 and seems to imply that the answer is probably “no.” As you probably know, Cardinal Mueller, currently prefect of the CDF, has said (sort of) that the SSPX are schismatic which would mean that their Masses do not fulfill the Sunday obligation.

        The SSPX itself obviously claims that the answer is yes and that the answer is yes even if the Pope himself denies it.

        I, personally, would not attend one even though, apart from their problematic canonical status, I find the SSPX quite appealing.

  2. I wonder how much of our perception comes from the efficacy of modern media? Are things really worse, or are we just more aware? Also: Just as Auster said that liberalism becomes more outraged by every transgression as it becomes more prolific, it seems that sin becomes more outrageous within the more sanctified venue.

    Evil is probably more organized than at any time before (thanks technology), and is also officialy taught as “good” by the higest powers on Earth. But within the Church of America and the Church more broadly, is it really much different than other times?

    • We now say that sodomy is good and that sodomites should be able to marry each other and disagreeing with this makes you a bad person. This is ubiquitous in secular society and very common in the church. It’s much worse now.

    • Yes, it most certainly is. Christ and His Church stand as a sign of contradiction. Modern churchmen have lost their saltiness.

  3. What fine Catholic mothers these girls will one day be.

    …But maybe some of them actually will.

    The school should state in its advertising, etc. that it abides by the Church’s teaching on sexuality, etc. and spell that out in brief. It could then invite prospective students who do not accept that teaching to attend elsewhere if they have decided against it.

  4. I don’t know if there is a parallel to what I’m about to bring up in Catholicism, but this story is relevant to a kind of pietism that comes up in evangelical Protestantism. The idea is that we should stop talking about “political” issues and instead should just “bring people to Jesus,” because that will solve the (moral) “political” issues automatically, since then, y’know, the people will be Christians and will want to do Jesus’ will on these issues. In other words, the claim is that evangelism is more efficient than political or cultural engagement, because pure kerygmatic evangelism kills all those birds with one stone.

    Now, it’s staring us in the face here, and also among some young evangelicals as well, that this is blatantly untrue. There are people who believe themselves to be committed Christians who are *totally messed up* about issues like homosexuality. So if we don’t fight the culture, the culture is just going to come in and grab our baby converts–who, consistently with the pietistic imperative, have not been taught anything about these “controversial” and “political” issues–and make them think they can be good Christians while affirming the homosexual agenda! This should be obvious. I don’t know why it isn’t. Well, actually, I kind of do know why it’s not obvious. Because the people saying it don’t really think in their hearts that the homosexual agenda is all that bad. So they think sticking their heads in the sand and not talking about these unpleasant topics is an option.

    • If the people I have in mind would be willing to talk more openly about the areas where they claim to hold to traditional morality already, I think we’d be a big step forward, regardless of whether they actually changed their minds about the issue of contraception.

  5. There’s good reason to believe that by the time the Chinese get to our shores (and they’re coming unless we fall to the barbarians first), they’ll be evangelizing us (although hopefully they’ve morphed Protestant ideologies into something more palatable than we in the West have).

    Additionally, these are some of the most unattractive Catholic school girls I’ve had the misfortune of witnessing. The local parish will either have to hawk some serious “Man Up” speeches or these women will live out their lives as spinsters (who probably took God’s view on intercourse as lightly [or ignorantly] as they did on homosexual behavior).

  6. What is needed, beyond “arguments, blueprints, conversations and dialogues,” is another General Franco. We moderns are squeamish about this, but the libertarians are just another shade of utopian idealists when they bleat about the “non-aggression principle.” Everyone wants to escape what they’ve been taught are “the horrors of the past,” as well as the realities of human nature, but the truth remains that the use of force is where it’s at. Ideologies are merely rationalizations and window dressing for force. The Muslims seem to be one of the few contemporary faiths that still recognize this.

    • Mr. Fallavollita, you said, “What is needed…is another General Franco.”

      Thank you for saying this– I am reading this at 6:30 a.m., and your comment will help me to get through another long day.

      The “non-aggression principle” is the sort of shiny bauble that latte sipping intellectuals can chat about at Starbucks. What is needed today is a man who is essentially apolitical, but who understands the deep tradition behind this country. This man needs to come in, tell everybody (left and right) to sit down and shut up, and then essentially declare martial law.

      Many people will be physically harmed. Good. The young progressive harpies in the photo above will soon be wearing skirts and chapel veils when they go to church.

      Flash mobs and knock out games will be dealt with the same way the Guardia Civil dealt with things in Franco’s Spain; sorted out by either the butt end or the muzzle end of a Mauser.

      Force is the only thing capable of getting a poisoned intellectual’s attention. And force has always been the only thing that the lawless hordes fear.

      I understand that the Holy Spirit is capable of changing hearts under any circumstance. But I also know that physical judgment is even more frequently used by God to change people at the cultural level–if He doesn’t change their hearts, he will at least get their bodies squared away.

      Thanks for your comment. I hope I’m not being presumptuous in my response to your post.

      • Thanks for the feedback! A lot of people seem to worry that an authoritarian government of the Right would somehow “trample on their rights” or otherwise make life difficult for them. They fail to consider, though, how they never actually use these “rights” that they worry about losing. For example, they don’t vote in elections (not that it would change anything). They don’t write letters to the editor. They don’t attend political rallies or run for office. The vast majority of people have never and will never do these things, so if the U.S. somehow transformed into Pinochet’s Chile tomorrow morning, life would go on just the same for 99% of the population. People would still be able to walk along the beach with ice cream cones and such. They just learn these fears from the Cathedral’s chattering classes. Once they see that no one comes to round them up, they’d settle down and continue on as normal. And they wouldn’t miss the tiny percentage of people who *did* get rounded up (communist activists and such). They’d probably come to like it and realize that they’re better off.

      • What is needed today is a man who is essentially apolitical, but who understands the deep tradition behind this country

        The “deep tradition” of America is liberty. Your hypothetical leader would be one massive political contradiction.

      • Yes, poor United States, a doomed European colony and a failed experiment that’s dragged on for 237 years. I’m sure the entire Western world, though, will face a rough adjustment period ahead once it sweats out the poison of the Enlightenment.

      • Once they see that no one comes to round them up, they’d settle down and continue on as normal. And they wouldn’t miss the tiny percentage of people who did get rounded up (communist activists and such). They’d probably come to like it and realize that they’re better off.

        Brother, if you were preaching this I’d stand up and shout “Amen!”. Outstanding.

      • I’m sure the entire Western world, though, will face a rough adjustment period ahead once it sweats out the poison of the Enlightenment.

        On that I agree. American cultural imperialism spreads liberalism across the globe.

  7. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2014/01/08 | Free Northerner

  8. Well, I don’t know much about the religious aspects of this, but the picture is interesting. Missing: masculine boys, “jocks”. I think most people are not actually motivated by religion or liberal political philosophy WRT their sentiments towards gays, but more like masculine boys/men dislike gay men _viscerally_, losers and outcasts of all sorts tend to identify with them, and women/girls kind of like to befriend them.

  9. I’m confused what the fear with SSPX is. The last Pope removed the excommunications, and the church has repeatedly stated that it fills Sunday obligations. Finally, the reason we obey the Church is in part because of the eternal truth it professes. It doesn’t create new doctrine, but simply explains what is eternally true. If the SSPX simply follows what has been eternally true for 1,500 years, and follows to-the-letter the teachings of all Popes except for a recent failed attempt to “modernize,” what is obeying?

    Venerable Pope Pius IX († 1878) recognised the danger that a future pope would be a heretic and “teach contrary to the Catholic Faith”, and he instructed, “do not follow him.”

    “If a future pope teaches anything contrary to the Catholic Faith, do not follow him.”

  10. “Everyone wants to escape what they’ve been taught are “the horrors of the past,” as well as the realities of human nature, but the truth remains that the use of force is where it’s at. Ideologies are merely rationalizations and window dressing for force. ”

    The use of force against whom? To bring justice to those that deserve it by defending the weak, yes by all means. But to bring tyranny to the United States? I don’t think so:

    http://www.aleteia.org/en/politics/article/illiberal-catholicism-6333360653729792

    • We already live under a tyranny, a soft version, to be sure, but a tyranny nonetheless. What matters is who the regime serves. The regime serves the interests of my enemies, currently. One day it will serve the interests of my own group, class, ethnos, or however you’d call it. People reflexively worry about being “under the jackboot” but never think of the possible benefits that might be derived if they *wore* the jackboot themselves.

  11. Gentlemen,

    For all the problems with our current liberal regime, and they are legion, words mean something and I’m just not prepared to lump America 2014 with the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Nazi Germany, North Korea, Revolutionary France, etc. In other words, there is a difference between a regime that confiscates your property if you are bourgeois, drags you to the Gulag for criticizing their leaders (unless they just shoot you first), destroys churches willy-nilly, etc.

    I think we want to think about ways in which we can work for the common good without jackboots being necessary at all and when force is used, it is used firmly, judiciously and against enemies of good order who are threatening life and property first and then when not threatening anyone, are convicted by a trusted legal system. We should be thankful for the English common law system!

    • I’m just not prepared to lump America 2014 with the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Nazi Germany, North Korea, Revolutionary France

      So you cite a man (Zmirak) who lumps Catholic-traditionalists in with Fascists and Marxists? Please.

    • Revolutionary France was guilty of fewer murders than is contemporary America. Same with N Korea. Same with Nazi Germany. USSR and Red China managed to pile up more bodies than we have, but we are definitely in their league.

      And look at your other criteria. Those big meanies punished people for their speech. Horrors! They violated people’s God-given property rights. St von Mises, pray for us!

      The idea that contemporary America is better than, say, Franco’s Spain is repellent in the extreme. Satanic, in fact.

      • Dr. Bill, I suggest you put down the hallucinogenic drugs and pick up a history book. Remember the Vendee!

        “Not one is to be left alive.” “Women are reproductive furrows who must be ploughed under.” “Only wolves must be left to roam that land.” “Fire, blood, death are needed to preserve liberty.” “Their instruments of fanaticism and superstition must be smashed.” These were some of the words the Convention used in speaking of Vendee. Their tame scientists dreamed up all kinds of new ideas—the poisoning of flour and alcohol and water supplies, the setting up of a tannery in Angers which would specialise in the treatment of human skins; the investigation of methods of burning large numbers of people in large ovens, so their fat could be rendered down efficiently. One of the Republican generals, Carrier, was scornful of such research: these ‘modern’ methods would take too long. Better to use more time-honoured methods of massacre: the mass drownings of naked men, women, and children, often tied together in what he called “republican marriages”, off specially constructed boats towed out to the middle of the Loire and then sunk; the mass bayoneting of men, women and children; the smashing of babies’ heads against walls; the slaughter of prisoners using cannons; the most grisly and disgusting tortures; the burning and pillaging of villages, towns and churches.

        The ci-devant aristocrat Turreau de la Linières took command of what are known in Vendée as the douze colonnes infernales (the twelve columns of hell), which had specific orders both from his superiors and from himself to kill everyone and everything they saw. “Even if there should be patriots [that is, Republicans] in Vendée,” Turreau himself said, “they must not spared. We can make no distinction. The entire province must be a cemetery.” And so it was. In the streets Cholet, emblematic Vendéen city, by the end of 1793, wolves were about the only living things left, roaming freely and feeding on the piles of decomposing corpses.

        People in Vendée still tell the stories of the colonnes infernales and the unspeakable things they did. There was not even any pretence of discriminating between fighters and civilians; documents of the time, still kept in army records in Vincennes, tell their hideous, chilling story, a story which has tolled repeatedly in our own terrible century. The generals speak coolly of objectives achieved, exterminations nicely done, ‘ethnic cleansing’ carefully carried out, of genocide systematically and rigorously conducted. There were those, too few, alas, who refused to take part; but they were summarily dealt with.

        Approximately 300,000 Frenchmen were killed during the Vendee campaign. Nothing the American state has ever done, comes close to this madness. I suppose you could argue the atomic bomb was just as bad, and I would certainly agree the bomb was immoral; but at least we were fighting a truly evil foe (even if we weren’t justified in committing an evil act to achieve good ends).

        And then to even start to compare us with the North Koreans and Nazi Germany is madness.

      • Fake Herzog, I’m confused by your argument, especially by your weird emphasis on the word “state.” Are you pro-abortion or are you saying that the Nazis would have been OK if they had just outsourced their more colorful activities?

      • DrBill, there is no doubt that the mass slaughter of innocent babies (or the “pre-born,” as some would have it) is a horrendous crime. Abortion is sanctioned and supported by the state. However, to the best of my knowledge, the state is not rounding up pregnant women and forcing abortions upon them. I think it is inappropriate to lump voluntary abortion in the same category as forcible extermination.

        Fake Herzog, the purpose of war is to destroy the enemy’s ability and will to fight. Japan’s ability to continue to fight with any hope of success was destroyed long before 1945, but their will to fight was as strong as ever. Old men and boys were told that once the home islands of Japan were invaded, they were to make spears out of bamboo shafts by cutting off the branches and making an angled cut at the end. That desire to fight had to be destroyed, and the A-Bomb did it (the same arguments apply, mutatis mutandis, for Sherman’s March).

        I have reservations regarding the timing of the dropping of the second bomb (on Nagasaki), but Truman made the right decision in dropping the first one on Hiroshima (remember that at the time, no one had any qualms about atomic weapons).

      • However, to the best of my knowledge, the state is not rounding up pregnant women and forcing abortions upon them. I think it is inappropriate to lump voluntary abortion in the same category as forcible extermination.

        Not sure myself how it is better to have the “freedom” to kill or not kill your baby compared to being forced to do the same. The latter has only one party culpable, the former has at least two.

      • Degrees of evil, I suppose. Having the option to abort but not exercising it is better than being forced to abort, wouldn’t you agree?

      • Degrees of evil, I suppose. Having the option to abort but not exercising it is better than being forced to abort, wouldn’t you agree?

        I would, but the reality is many millions of people having the option to abort, and exercising that option. The problem is not just the fact that the American government guarantees the option and doesn’t force women to abort, but that the American populace don’t require forcing because we willingly kill our children without being coerced.

  12. What does that hand gesture mean, by the way — the one with the index finger and little finger upright? I first encountered it in Marvel’s Dr. Strange comics in the 1960s where it was used when the hero was casting magic bolts.

  13. Jesus on Gay Marriage:

    Matthew 5: 17, 18 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”

    And then when you read up the law you see:

    Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.”

    Leviticus 20:13 “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

    The real question is: Why do they think that Jesus didn’t say anything on the topic, while the clearly says that he views the law very positively and the law says that homossexualism is an abomination comparable to bestialism???

    The liberal propaganda machine simply trumps reality: If you repeat a lie enough times, people believe it.

  14. Pingback: Links | The Orthosphere

  15. “I increasingly suspect that we are beyond the point where arguments, blueprints, conversations and dialogues can work, because we are beyond the point at which a merely natural and human prudence can make things right. We are at the point now that nothing short of either a serious moment of metanoia or a dramatic encounter with divine justice can turn things around — a point where evil is so metastatic that its ultimate defeat is now reserved to God alone. Maybe Bishop Paprocki had the right idea: we need fewer arguments and more exorcisms.”

    Yes, agree completely, but ….

    …. not only are things worse than they look, but also go back much further than “modernity”. I quote traditional Catholic thinker, Nicolàs Gomes Dàvila: “Scholasticism sinned by seeking to turn the Christian into a know-it-all.”

  16. Confucius rightly observed that the (heterosexual) nuclear family is a microcosm of The State.
    No prizes for guessing which sort of societies will outlast those that play fast and loose with;
    * No fault divorce.
    * Taxpayer funded contraception. (The birth control pill – cyanide for atheism)
    * Abortion on-demand.
    * No strings attached sexual hedonism. (Sex = Love = smiley face emoticon)
    * Same sex “marriage” on-demand. (No waiting period. Call now!)
    * Experimental gay adoption. Insta-family.
    * Taxpayer funded extended day care for the children of taxpayers.
    * Democratic marijuana. ‘gotta see that movie stoned’

  17. The blame lies partly with the school and party with secularized parents.

    I attended Catholic high school and lost my faith along with everybody else in my peer group. Firstly the school. We did not have weekly mass or enforced confession as we did in elementary school. They left it up to the parents. Well, most of the parents were Christmas and Easter Catholics who left spiritual education up to the school and who didn’t feel like arguing with their teenaged children about attending mass on Sunday.

    We did have weekly religion class, but it was not sufficient to combat the other 23 hours of the day of secular living. A student body is only as religious as the least religious students, and we had some very unreligious students. It didn’t take much convincing to get the rest of us off the church bandwagon. We all watched the same tv shows as public school students and all looked at the same porn sites. The coolest kids were the ones drinking and fooling around with girls.

    What to do? Well, Amish Catholicism is one great idea. One must look at which groups maintain their faith in a secular world: The Amish, the Mennonites, Evangelical Protestants (more or less), Ultra-traditional Catholics, and Muslims. What do they have in common? They all teach that outsiders are heathens (at best) and not to associate with them. For those who don’t feel like getting back to the land, how does one retain their faith in an urban environment? Look at the excellent example that muslims in the West set. They live apart. They take over whole neighbourhoods and are hostile towards outsiders. They own their own businesses and frequent each other’s businesses and only hire other muslims. They probably don’t let their children watch television. There is an aggression and chauvinism that is utterly lacking in contemporary Western Catholicism.

    What are some baby steps that one can take?

    1. Network with other traditionalist Catholics in your city.
    2. Find a halfway decent Catholic church, and devote your time to changing the music, agitating for the Latin mass, starting a Catholic scouts group, etc.
    3. Homeschool your children and don’t let them watch tv.
    4. If you are a business owner, put up a crucifix and start slowly hiring white Catholics. If you are a restauranteur, only serve fish on Fridays.

    The biggest problem is the baby boomers, nominal Catholics who still dominate the churches. At least their secularized children don’t bother attending. As millenials start having families, I think things will change.

  18. Pingback: Inescapable | The Right Stuff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s