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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Playing Catholic Jeopardy

The Answer: The Bishop of Rome

What's the question?

Well, therein lies a tale.
And, yes, it does have something to do with the Second Vatican Council.

The Pope and the Council: Take I
In 857 AD, a layman living in Constantinople, named Photius, was well-known for his learning about the Catholic Faith. He was also related by marriage to the emperor. The emperor, sadly, was living in incest with his daughter-in-law. The patriarch of Constantinople, one Ignatius, judged that this constituted public scandal and mortal sin, and so refused the emperor reception of the Eucharist at the high feast of Epiphany in that same year.

The emperor did not much like being refused. He banished Ignatius, sent Photius through an intensive six-day course in the priesthood, and then had him ordained patriarch of Constantinople. To add insult to insult, the bishop who ordained Photius had been excommunicated by Ignatius long before Ignatius was banished. Photius' willing acceptance of this ordination by an excommunicate bishop to an already occupied see made Photius automatically excommunicate.

Obviously, Ignatius was unhappy with all this. He protested strenuously to the Pope. Just as obviously, both the emperor and Photius defended themselves. Each wrote separate letters to the Pope begging him to investigate the matter and justify the new consecration. 

The Pope called Fourth Constantinople, the eighth ecumenical council of the Church to resolve precisely this problem. The Council not only deposed Photius and declared his ordination invalid, it also declared that the man could never again be validly ordained nor ever hold the patriarchate of Constantinople. Remember, Fourth Constantinople was called precisely to deal with the problem of Photius, and this was their solution, ratified by the Pope. 

Of course, neither the emperor or Photius were willing to stand by the resulting decision of an ecumenical council, ratified by the Pope. Photius excommunicated the Pope. Sadly for him, his emperor was soon murdered, another seized the throne. Photius was sent to a monastery to live out penance and Ignatius was restored as Patriarch of Constantinople.

But Photius was smart and Photius was young while Ignatius was old. Photius not only did penance, he ingratiated himself with everyone, including the now-restored Ignatius. And he waited. When Ignatius died, Photius had become so popular that the whole city begged the Pope to place Photius on the patriarchate's throne. The Pope ignored his own personally ratified decrees, the decrees of the eighth ecumenical council, and did so. Photius was now Patriarch of Constantinople.

The Pope and the Council: Take II
Why do I tell this story?
Because every traditionalist who loves the Latin Mass is always on about the horror of Vatican II, how it was mis-interpreted, slapped around, how the liturgy was dressed as a prostitute and forced to do the walk of shame according to the rules of the liberal modernist Freemasons in the Church. 

"Oh, how terrible that the liberals distorted the true teachings of the Council!" they cry. "You see, if we follow the council's documents, the Mass should really look like X or Y or Z! The Council was suborned!"

Perhaps it was.
So?

After all, just as with the Eighth Ecumenical Council, we must not only ask whether Vatican II was suborned, but who, exactly, suborned it.

The answer is, of course, the answer which heads this essay: if the Council was suborned, the Pope did it.

Now, you can claim the Pope was fooled, the Pope didn't know, the Pope was in Mongolia while nefarious Freemasons twisted the Council all out of recognition. You can claim whatever you want. 

But we all seem to forget that the Pope who instituted the Novus Ordo was at the council. 
He participated in the discussions, he voted on the decrees in the first session.

He knew full blessed well what was in the Vatican II decrees. If he didn't know what was in the decrees, he was either stupid or a fool. You can say he was stupid, you can say he was a fool, but you can't claim that he was ignorant of what the Council wanted. You cannot claim that he was ignorant regarding how what he voted on matched up against what he eventually implemented.

If you are a traditionalist, you fully recognize that the Pope has the power to sweep away conciliar decrees.
That's exactly what the Pope did after Fourth Constantinople.
That's exactly what the Pope did after Vatican II.
So quit blaming the Council for the Novus Ordo.

If you don't like the Novus Ordo, lay the blame wherever you will, but you cannot ignore the facts: the Pope bears the sole praise/blame for the Novus Ordo liturgy. If you leave that out, you demonstrate willful blindness to the facts.

Prudentially Speaking
Now, there's nothing wrong with saying the Pope screwed up in his prudential decision to implement the new liturgy. The Pope's prudential judgement has been wrong in the past. Consider the sin of abortion:
Sixtus V excommunicated all who practised abortion (1588), irrespective of opinions about animation. Absolution from this excommunication was reserved to the Pope himself. 
Gregory XIV later decided that the action of Sixtus was not reducing the scale of the abuse and, while still condemning all abortion, allowed that others beside himself might absolve from the sin of abortion before the time of animation. Gradually Catholic thenlogical opinion came to discard the Aristotelian distinction between the animate and the inanimate foetus.
...[I]n 1869 ...Pius IX in revising the list of excommunications reserved to the Pope quietly suppressed all mention of different categories of abortion. Thus a distinction which had been used by canonists to reduce the penalty—though not the sin—of abortion was discarded for good.
Was Sixtus V right to do what he did? 
Probably not.
Gregory XIV certainly didn't think so.
Pius IX certainly agreed with Gregory XIV.

And Sixtus V's judgement was always a concern. His edition of the Vulgate, for instance, was rife with errors.

But, for at least several years, the Church had to labor under Sixtus V's prohibition on absolution for abortion.  

So, today we have had a Pope who, by at least two later Popes' judgements, made a bad call on the liturgy. Too bad, so sad. Life is like that sometimes. 

The point is this: if you really are a traditionalist, and you really believe the Pope has greater authority than an ecumenical council, then you cannot blame Vatican II or the modernists or the Freemasons or the small green leprechauns of the Emerald Isle for the Catholic liturgy available in most parishes today.

The Pope, for good or ill, is responsible for what we celebrate.
Stop blaming people who don't deserve it. 

UPDATE:
Told ya' so...

UPDATE II:
For those who think Fourth Constantinople was a one-off deal, it wasn't.


Pope did the same thing with Fifth Lateran - council decreed a lot of reforms, Pope signed off, nobody did squat about reform, Martin Luther hammers 95 Theses on the door seven months later.

Pope did the same thing with Council of Constance. Council decreed there must be an ecumenical council every five years, Pope signed off on it. Yeah. Whatever. That was the end of that.


Ecumenical councils are advisory. Popes do what they want.

Friday, July 27, 2012

How to Slander a Muslim

Many people are puzzled by the charge of slander laid against Mitt Romney.


All Romney did was directly quote what Barack Obama said.
Since when has quoting a man, providing the full context of his remarks, and then sitting back to watch the fireworks constitute slander?


Well, it doesn't - from a Western point of view.
But from an Eastern point of view, it's an entirely different matter.
From the Sunni Muslim Sharia law manual, Reliance of the Traveller:
SLANDER
r2.2 Slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, property, son, father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissoluteness, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else connected with him.
In Islam, it is slander to tell the truth about someone if that person doesn't like it. 
In the United States, we call this "political correctness".

If you ever wondered why the Left and Islam get along so well, this may help answer your question.



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Welcome To The Real


Catholics often argue over economic systems - which is best for Catholic life?

  • Should we live in community, sharing all things as described in Acts? That is, should we embrace a theistic communism?
  • Should we emphasize private property, as Peter did to Ananias and Sapphira and embrace Adam Smith's capitalism?
  • Should we live as we fantasize the medieval Europeans did, with small farms and guilds, and become Chestertonian distributists? 
  • Should we be Locke's democratic republic or Aquinas' gentle monarchy?

Everyone brings forward their favorite encyclicals to debate these questions.
What a waste of time!

The very conversation misses the whole point of what it means to be Catholic. Systems are human-made tools. Tools are not persons, tools are not moral agents. Tools are not Catholic or non-Catholic. They just are.


Persons are moral agents, so persons are Catholic or not Catholic. 
The difference between "tool" and "person" is infinite. 


There is no Catholic hammer, no papist nail. Saws do not make professions of faith. 
There is no difference between an economic system and a hammer - both are tools.
Thus, there is no Catholic monetary system, no Catholic system of governance.

Does my monetary system or my system of governance have to have a preferential option for the poor, does my system have to promote a sense of solidarity in order for me to endorse it as a Catholic?

No.

*I* have to have those things and do those things. So do you. But the system doesn't.
You and I are morally responsible for these things because you and I are persons.
The system is not morally responsible for these things because the system is a rock, a tool, a saw, a hammer. It is a thing. Things do not bear moral responsibility, only persons do.
The system is not a person.

Now, the Church has said that any system which does not recognize subsidiarity and private property, is doomed to failure. Subsidiarity is the source of personal responsibility, and private property is the source of charity - I can't give away something I don't own, I can't steward something that isn't in some sense my responsibility. Insofar as the system doesn't recognize persons and moral responsibility, it will fail. That pretty much sums up what the Church has to say about systems.

Ah, but systems are made up of communities of people, and does not the community bear moral  responsibility?

No.
No, it does not.


The grand economic system is not morally responsible or morally irresponsible, any more than a furnace is morally responsible or irresponsible when it makes steel or burns Jews. Both the economic system and the furnace are tools, nothing more. 


Now, personally, I have a lot of moral duties, but do systems have moral duties?
If they do, how do they manage that?
How would it go to confession?
What priest has the power to absolve capitalism or communism for its sins?
So, no, economic systems do not have to recognize moral duties because they cannot recognize moral duties. They are not capable.

It's like demanding that fire only burn wood and never Jews - wouldn't it be nice if we could make such demands? But we can't because fire is not a person. It is a tool. It does not take note of our moral demands.



Even human communities are tools, not moral agents.
Pope Pius XII specifically said there is no such thing as collective guilt in reference to German guilt for the Holocaust. The Second Vatican Council has said the same thing in reference to Jewish guilt for the crucifixion. There is no such thing as collective guilt.



That means the community cannot bear collective guilt when moral correct actions are ignored or even actively mocked. Only individuals can bear such responsibility. 


I may personally have a lot of moral obligations to various persons, but the system I advocate or attack cannot be advocated or attacked on the basis of the moral responsibilities it bears because systems do not bear moral responsibilities. Neither do communities. Only individuals bear these responsibilities.



I cannot hold a corporation morally responsible for it's actions any more than I can hold all Germans responsible for the Holocaust or all Jews responsible for the crucifixion - in every case, I would be assuming corporate guilt. In every case, I would be violating Catholic teaching.

According to Catholic teaching, the only corporate guilt that exists is original sin.
Nothing else qualifies.
So governments, corporations and the systems which run them, while run by people, cannot be held morally responsible for anything. Only the individual people running them can be.


How can this be?


The Only Catholic Economy
Only one truly Catholic economic system exists.

It is the economy of grace, the sacramental economy.

It is a Catholic economic system because it deals with grace, which is participation in eternity.

Every other economic system is not Catholic because it deals with mere time, that is, it deals with money. Contrary to popular belief, money is not a marker for land, goods or other property. Money is a marker for time. 



Time is the only thing everyone has access to, everyone owns. Everyone is equal in part because no one knows how much time anyone has. All we know is the amount of time each person has only decreases, never increases, so it becomes more and more valuable. That's why money works - we each trade time to gain things we would like but wouldn't otherwise be able to get because we don't have enough time.

When I spend my time learning a trade (and notice, it's called a "trade"), I can then trade the time I spent learning that skill for time I would rather not spend learning some other skill. Money allows me to trade my time for someone else's time. I might assist someone who has a talent for creating things by giving him some of my time (money) and asking for a portion of his time (money) as a return on my investment. Whether I'm a guild member or a shareholder, I've invested my time or time equivalents. Time eats away at money just as it eats away at me. Given inflation, money decomposes just like corpses. Jesus laughed at the man who stored up goods, because money is a marker for time, but it isn't time itself. Money can buy everything but time and grace.




Distributism claims land is the basis of wealth, which is just stupid. 
Capitalism claims capital is the basis of wealth, which is equally stupid.
Communism claims community is the basis of wealth, which is absurd.
Timeless grace is the basis of wealth.

That's why there can be no overlap between the Catholic economic system and other economic systems - Catholics deal in infinite, eternal grace, all other systems deal in finite, limited time. The sacramental economy is the only Catholic economy. There is no other. 


The Economy Gives Birth
The sacramental economy gives birth to the only morally responsible community: the Catholic Church.
It is a morally responsible community not because it is primarily a community, but because it is primarily a person - the Bride of Christ. Grace, the breath of the Holy Spirit, makes Her a Person.

The Church is a Person first and primarily, a community second and consequentially. Because the Church is a Person, the Church can apologize, the Church can be reformed, the Church can bear moral responsibility.

If the Church were merely a community, it could do none of those things. When a Catholic parish calls itself primarily a Catholic community, that parish is, whether it realizes it or not, trying to absolve itself of moral responsibility. It is attempting to distance itself from the Person of the Church and the social doctrines of the Church.

Good luck with that.

Individual people have a LOT of obligations, but if we keep confusing systems with people, how are we going to be any different than the communists or corporatists or whatever-ists that we don't like? 


Corporatists think business corporations are real people. They are not.
Corporations are artificial persons, not real persons.
Corporations cannot be baptized, confirmed, anointed, married or given Eucharist.
They cannot be absolved, saved or damned.
They are not persons.


Communists think the same thing of communities.

The Church's social doctrine is not meant for communities or for systems.
The Church's social doctrine is meant for individuals: me and you. 



If we think it is meant for systems, we attribute to communities and systems something the Church has always denied. We attribute to them personhood. Personhood is held only by God, angels and men. IBM, Apple, McDonalds, Walmart, Google, Facebook: these do not qualify. 

The line between good and evil runs not through the community, but through every individual human heart. Only individual persons are morally culpable for actions. Only individual persons can be absolved for their sins or glorified for their correct responses to grace.

A calculating machine can be made up of gears and wheels, 
A calculating machine can be made up of silicon wafers and electronic gates.
A calculating machine can be made up of a series of people who each perform a step in the calculation.

From a moral perspective, there is no difference between these three things because each is a system, and a system is not a person.

Sure, the third system is composed of persons and the first two aren't, but that doesn't change the operation of the system. Systems are not persons, they are not morally culpable.

Systems are not Catholic or non-Catholic - they just are.

A community is Catholic only insofar as the individuals in the community:
(a) participate in the life of grace so that they are
(b) joined to the body of Christ who is a person.

But the Church is the only community which is a person, the only community that can carry grace or guilt. No other community can do this because no other community is a person.

Many people would like you to be confused on this point. They would prefer you to think that many different kinds of communities and systems are persons. It makes the Church seem common. Don't be fooled.


If anyone would like to argue about the merits of individual economic systems, feel free.
Just don't call any of them Catholic, because none of them (except the sacraments) are.

Insofar as a distributist or communist or libertarian or capitalist or anything-ist tells you otherwise, they have a weak grasp of reality.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Islam's Youth vs. the West


Mark Steyn has a very good piece on the fact that Islamic youth do not appear to be integrating into Western society - they are not becoming Westernized.

While Mr. Steyn's comments are not to be ignored, there is a further aspect of Westernization that has to be considered - falling fertility rates.

As Mr. Steyn knows very, very well, in any state that gets rich, the fertility rate falls - this is the famous  demographic transition. Muslim countries are going through precisely this demographic transition right now. And this may explain part of what is going on.


The Great Awakening in the West, i.e., in the US and Europe, began in the mid-1700s and ran through about the mid-1800s. The demographic transition of the West also began to be felt in England in the mid-1700s, and had spread throughout the Western world by the mid-1800s. 


Prior to the mid-1800s, every country in the world was an agrarian, honor-based society. 80% of America's population lived in very small farm communities, where family reputation ruled every interaction. If you did not have an honorable name, you had a hard time staying alive. Thus, the signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, their fortunes and their "Sacred Honor", in that order.  Life was not as important as the fortune that was to be passed on to one's heirs. Fortune was not as important as preserving the sacred honor of the family name. In 1804, honor was so important to Americans that a former Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, was killed in a duel with sitting Vice President Aaron Burr over a point of honor. Preserving honor was so crucial that, even though dueling was illegal and Aaron Burr was charged with murder, he was not found guilty.


But, with industrialization and increased wealth, the agrarian life in the West slowly faded away, and with it, the honor-based society. The religious awakening was arguably an inchoate understanding that the age of honor was passing away. Recalling the honor of God in the religious awakening was a valiant but failed attempt to prevent the loss of an honor-based society. 


Ultimately, the West's religious awakening did not prevent the urbanization and Westernization (as it were) of the West. Today, America is 80% urban, and family reputation plays a very small role, if any, in most interactions. Today, it is impossible to imagine any politician who worries about his or her "sacred honor", much less is it possible to imagine a politician, or anyone else, willing to fight a duel to the death to preserve it. Duels of honor now happen only in micro-communities, cash-less societies the West regards as immature: the alleys behind local schools or the turf of street gangs. But, were we to look at the crowds gathered at the revivals of the early 1800s, would this result be obvious?


Because few people take note of religious history, few histories notice that that the demographic transition and the Great Awakening were nearly simultaneous. Now, of course, this might be a coincidence. But then again, it might not be.

One reason to think the two events may not be coincidence is found in today's headlines. Salafism started about the same time as the Western Great Awakening, but it didn't really take off until the 1970s - when the Arab states started making money hand over fist in oil. By wildest coincidence, the early 1970s was about the same time Arab fertility rates also began to fall and oil states began to urbanize. And, of course, Islam is a famously honor-based society, willing even to execute its own young women if they dare to darken family honor.

These correspondences raise interesting questions. Are religious awakenings and demographic transition really linked? Is Salafism a reaction to the inchoate perceived loss of the honor-based society?

If so, we have precedent through which we can look at the Salafist awakening. Specifically, if the Western Awakening is any guide, we can be fairly certain that there is no guarantee the Eastern Salafi movement will be any more effective than the Western Great Awakening in halting the demographic transition. And there is every reason to think the demographic transition will dramatically impact Salafism.


Certainly today's Arab youth want sharia, and sharia poses no small threat to the West. But the demographic transition guarantees there will be fewer and fewer Arab youth with each passing decade. When it comes to fertility, Muslim countries work just like Western countries. As Muslim countries become rich, they stop having children - this is already demonstrated by the falling fertility rates throughout the Arab world over the last 40 years.

As the proportion of old people rises, violence necessarily falls. The old tend not to be as violent as the young, if only because the old aren't as physically fit. Destroying a mausoleum with picks under the hot sun when you are 20 does not carry the same attraction when you are 50. People who use canes and walkers tend not to throw Molotov cocktails, if only because their throwing arm no longer guarantees avoidance of self-immolation.

Similarly, it is hard to stone an adulteress when you can barely throw the stone, and the aged will find it harder to locate an adulteress to stone if only because mature years are not subject to raging hormones, mature minds are better at assessing risk vs. reward. But in that very lack of action lies our hope, for, as one stops practicing the bits and pieces of one's own theological tradition, the enthusiasm for that tradition necessarily wanes.

So, today we have the very problematic "Arab Spring." But, we can should not forget that the Arab Spring is carried along under the hot sun by the banners of a dwindling Arab youth. Similarly, much of the energy for implementing sharia comes from the fact that the Muslim population is still substantially youthful. That won't last much longer. Indeed, one cannot help but notice that Melinda Gates is pushing her contraceptive mentality in areas of the world that currently riot in the streets. It is, if nothing else, another fascinating coincidence.

It will be interesting to see if the energy for Islam remains when the vigor of youth disappears.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

How To Start A Civil War


Homiletics and Pastoral Review has another naive article promoting adult formation.
The author is trying to promote it because his business depends on it, but he surely realizes that nobody really wants adult formation.

Look at it from the perspective of the priest and the bishop - who are the only people that really count in a parish. Nothing happens in a parish or diocese unless the priest and bishop permit it. If they don't want it to happen, it won't. If they do want it to happen, it will.

If the ordained men think something might be unpopular, they will structure it in such a way that other people take the blame for it, but those other people would never have been able to implement it if the bishop and priest didn't originally want it. The parish secretary/business manager/whatever is a witch because the pastor likes it that way. Lay employees in a parish are employed because the ordained men actively like, or at least are willing to tolerate, the way those lay people operate.

They system is designed to do EXACTLY what the system is doing.
That's why the system does what it does - it is designed to do what it does.

So, from a priest's perspective, all adult formation does is stir up trouble.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

If you do serious orthodox adult formation in the parish, there are only three possible outcomes, and all three happen simultaneously:

[Outcome 1]
A lot of adults will be upset and insulted to find out that anyone actually expects them to follow Church teaching. They will complain to the priest, to the bishop and stop throwing money in the basket.

How dare you expect them to give up their contraception, abortion and homosexuality?
How dare you expect them to make the Mass more important than their sports?
How dare you expect them to teach their own children about the sacraments?


Every parish program has one of two purposes: babysit children or comfort retirees as they approach death.


CCD is not about educational support for families, rather it is primarily meant to provide babysitting for parents who need to go shopping. 


Everyone agrees that passing on the Faith is the parish's job. How they will get it done given the family's busy recreational schedule is a mystery, but that's their problem, not ours. We're just parents. The parish staff just needs to get it done in time for the post-sacrament party we've scheduled. 

And to be fair, the lay employees don't WANT the parents involved. If the parents actually got involved, all the parish employees would lose their phoney-baloney jobs. It isn't very difficult to prepare your own children for the sacraments. If anyone realized that, the women who work at the parish would have to go find real jobs as secretaries or something.

From Father Pastor's  point of view, this would be a disaster. If the adults got educated, the lay parish staff would become superfluous, Father Pastor would lose his harem. Notice that nearly every parish in America is staffed entirely by women. The only men who survive in such an environment are ordained, metrosexual, homosexual or janitors. Sometimes even newly ordained men don't survive.

Father Pastor doesn't like men because men argue with him. Men call it discussion, but it is argument. Father Pastor knows. Father Pastor does not brook that kind of dissension. Father Pastor much prefers women, metrosexuals and homosexuals because these groups primarily complain about each other. This allows him to be the arbitrator, the impartial judge who is above their petty fights, the Father pastoring his children.

Men "discussing" things with him makes him feel small, ignorant, common.
Women and homosexuals bringing their cat-fights to him makes him feel adult, superior, special.

Father Pastor likes his harem.
The harem likes Father Pastor.

But if you teach adults, really teach them, all of this goes to hell. If the parish adults all really knew the Faith, they would teach their own children and each other. The parish staff would disappear, it would consist of Father Pastor and one secretary, maybe. Father Pastor won't feel important, won't look important to the bishop and to other priests. It would be demoralizing for everyone.

On the other hand, if you don't teach the adults, they throw money in the basket, the harem takes care of the kids, the parents can go shopping once a week, Father Pastor feels special - everybody wins. 

Why disturb this beautiful arrangement?

[Outcome 2]
Those who aren't insulted by the idea of living the Faith will actually attempt to learn something. Some will learn it badly. These people will complain to the priest and the bishop about things happening at the parish level which do not violate any tenet of Church teaching. Unfortunately, the complainers won't understand that because they don't understand the teaching. A lot of unnecessary noise follows.

Who needs that?

If you do NOT attempt to teach them, they won't get any crazy ideas. They will just pray, pay and pretend to obey, which is all that matters. A peaceful parish is a happy parish. Everybody knows that.

[Outcome 3]
Some parishioners will learn well and will correctly understand what they are taught. These adults will notice that there are things going on in the parish which violate their rights, canon law, liturgical rubrics and Catholic doctrine.

Like the other two groups, this group will also complain to the priest and the bishop.

But this group is different.

This group is dangerous.

The earlier two groups can be accommodated because they are in the wrong. If any higher-up questions what is going on with either of the first two groups, Father Pastor can say, "Well, *I* don't like doing this, of course, but the people insist on it. They are ignorant and stupid and don't realize their error. I am wise and merciful. I indulge this little nonsense in order to keep them happy. I will eventually correct it, but it will take me time to pastor them into the truth. This little accommodation will keep them happy until the proper time for education arrives."

Of course, the proper time for education never arrives.
But the point is that Father Pastor can use the first two groups of parishioners the same way he uses his parish staff - they are CYA which allows him to do whatever it is he wanted to do to begin with. He does what he wants, they are the 'scape goats. Father Pastor likes the first two groups a lot.

But this third group - this group is pure evil.
They are evil because they are right.

They can demonstrate from Church documents and Scripture that what Father Pastor is doing is a complete violation of what it means to be Catholic. They have the goods on him. They may take it to a higher level. They must be killed before they damage the status quo.

If they are not killed, generally by assassinating their reputations, the priest and the bishop will actually have to change the way they do things in order to avoid the heat this third group will generate.

The bishop doesn't want to change how he does things.
Neither does the priest.
Lay people don't have a right to tell ordained men what to do!

Who needs this kind of dissension?

So, we can see that it is better if this third group never learn what they need to know in order to complain about Father Pastor.

Adult formation does not take place at the parish level because ordained men fear that this third group will suborn the priest's authority. It is better that orthodox lay people be kicked out or destroyed than a priest be shown to be in the wrong. It would be terrible precedent. It cannot become established, lest Father Pastors everywhere be forced to change their lives. 


Conclusion

And this is the real problem with adult formation. 
Forcing parishioners to change their lives is acceptable. 
Forcing Father Pastor to change HIS life is NOT acceptable. 


Better that no one know the Faith then that Father Pastor be forced - by commoners, no less! - to change HIS life. It would almost be as if some lay people knew and lived the Faith better than the priest! Absurd!

So any reasonable person can see adult formation will NOT happen at the parish level.
It cannot.
There is absolutely no up-side to adult formation, only various degrees of BAD.

Remember, real adult formation causes all three of these groups to form simultaneously. They all complain at the same time to the same people.

So, obviously, if you attempt to really form and disciple adults in what the Catholic Faith actually teaches and in how Catholics really are supposed to live, it will cause absolute CHAOS in the parish - civil war!
From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Dissension is most certainly NOT what Christ intended!
Bishops and priests HATE dissension.

So no one is ever going to implement adult formation.

Instead, you will just get variations on Christ Renews His Protestants, because Protestants are easier to deal with than Catholics are.


UPDATE:
A reader asks a very relevant question: are FSSP parishes better than Novus Ordo parishes in this regard?

The answer?
No, there is no substantial difference between the two.
Now, there are cosmetic differences, and these are two-fold: (1) the "doctrines" the priests push and (2) who does the pushing.

Doctrinal error
For instance, the leftist heterodox priests overemphasize things like women's ordination and We Are Church nonsense.

The FSSP-types, on the other hand, overemphasize private revelation, or turn Limbo or creationism into dogma (both are really only theological hypothesis), or become semi-Feeneyite and imply that baptism of blood/faith is not really salvific.

Teaching Limbo as if it is doctrine is an excellent case in point in how FSSP priests often engage in teachings that are just as problematic as Novus Ordo priests. CCC article 1283 explicitly says, "With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God's mercy and pray for their salvation."

Now, it is a violation of the Faith to pray for those who are definitively in hell. So, if Limbo is the first circle of hell, if unbaptized infants definitively go to Limbo and if both the liturgy and the CCC "invites us to pray for the salvation of unbaptized infants," then both the liturgy and the CCC are inviting us to pray for the salvation of those in hell. That is, if Limbo is truly a dogma of the Church, then both the liturgy and the CCC are advocating apokatastasis. Apokatastasis is a formally condemned heresy of the Church. Given that both the liturgy and the CCC are promulgated by an apostolic constitution, the highest expression of the infallible ordinary Magisterium, that would not only make the Pope a heretic, it would also violate the teaching on papal infallibility.

Despite this fact, I have heard at least one FSSP priest teach from the ambo during Mass precisely the idea that Limbo is a dogma of the Church. When I privately questioned him on exactly these points, he insisted that he was correct and refused to retract his error.

How Best To Promote Error
Similarly, while the leftists have their parish surrogates push the falsehoods (thus "empowering the laity"), the FSSP has the priests push the falsehoods from the ambo (thereby promoting the heresy of clericalism - "the priest is always right"). It doesn't really matter - in both cases you have priests who are attached to doctrinal error, and in both cases any attempt to question or correct their errors is met with ostracism of the person who dares question such their teaching.

And both sets of priests, FSSP and Novus Ordo, traditionally maintain admiring harems.

But none of this should be a surprise.

FSSP priests aren't any more saints than anyone else, including me and you.

We all like to have sycophants, and we all have our pet theories that we like to dogmatize.


Priests certainly aren't any more infallible, no matter how good their theological training.
Martin Luther had a Ph.D. in theology.
John Hus was the rector of a Catholic university.

The greatest, most effective heretics have always been ordained men - priests and bishops. They are better heretics than lay people precisely because they have greater knowledge, and can promulgate their errors in a more bullet-proof way than those with lesser training.

So, entering an FSSP parish is no guarantee against heresy.
Indeed, one is arguably at more danger of heresy there, if only because one is less likely to be on guard against it with the FSSP than with the Novus Ordo.


Friday, July 06, 2012

The Paternal Mortality Rate and Other Riddles

Alright, so I'm a math nut. Al Kresta ran a piece by C-Fam yesterday that claimed the fertility in Muslim countries was "falling off a cliff." Which is true only if you ignore half the Muslim countries in the world and only concentrate on the ones with lots of money. Now, sure, all countries in the world have been seeing fertility declines over the last forty years, but that's because all countries in the world have gotten richer in the last forty years.

As I've pointed out in earlier posts, this is not a surprise.
Contrary to what Malthus actually taught, as countries get rich, they stop having children.
When Muslim countries get rich, they stop having kids just like non-Muslim countries do.

Meanwhile, Melinda Gates is nattering on about how contraception saves women's lives.
Except it doesn't.
UN, Worldbank and CIA figures demonstrate that she's simply wrong.

I added a couple of columns to the CIA chart I had been using earlier and got this.
And what it indicated kind of blew me away.

Watch.

Sort the table by "MMR per 100,000 births" with largest values at the top. That will give you the maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births - how many women die giving birth each year - and the countries will be sorted in descending order.

As we saw before, the Afghanistan and Central African Republic (CAR) numbers are ENORMOUS - around 1500 deaths per 100,000 births.

But, now that the table is sorted by MMR, take a look at the green column - the male:female sex ratios.

Any number BIGGER than one indicates that there are more males than females alive in that group. Any number LESS THAN one indicates more females alive then males.

I've highlighted the column for 15-64 in blue: those would be the fertile years for women.

Paternal Mortality Rates
Now notice that the Central African Republic has an enormous maternal mortality rate, a pretty high fertility rate (though not as high as the three Muslim countries right nearby), but it's male:female sex ratio is 0.98!

That means the Central African Republic has more women alive in their fertile years (15-64) then there are men alive. How can this possibly be true?

If so many women are dying in childbirth, shouldn't there be a lot more men alive in that age group than women?

Why yes!
Yes, there should be!
But there aren't more men then women - there are fewer men than women!
Why?

Well, because even MORE MEN are dying as they work to support their wives and children than there are women dying as they try to give birth. Keep in mind that historically, 80% of women reproduce, while only 40% of men do. There's a reason for that.

And it's not like the CAR is alone in this. Chad, Sierre Leone, Lesotho, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Swaziland, Mauritania... the list goes on for country after country.

Yes, women are dying by five or six hundred per 100,000 live births, but the men are dying even faster!

Is there such a thing as a paternal mortality rate?
If there isn't, shouldn't we start one?

Women aren't dying at a high rate because they lack contraception and abortion. They're dying at a high rate because EVERYONE in that country is dying at a high rate.

But that isn't the only thing this table can tell us.

Legal Abortion
Sort the table by the blue column - the male:female sex ratio in the fertile years for women. Now, look at the column indicating the legal status of abortion in each country. Notice how there is no correspondence between on-demand abortion and male:female sex ratios during the fertile years. We have roughly as many countries with legal abortion and a predominance of men (meaning the women disappeared) as there are countries with legal abortion and a predominance of women (meaning the men disappeared).


Now, sort by the green column - fertility rate. Notice that abortion on-demand doesn't really have a chance to get legalized until the fertility rate drops below about 2.85. The great majority of countries that have legalized abortion have fertility rates below 2.1. 

You may recall that a fertility rate of 2.1 is the minimum necessary for replacement fertility. That means nearly every country with legal abortion is slowly aging and dying as the adults stop allowing their children to live.


So, when America tries to force other countries to legalize abortion, we are really trying to force an even higher death rate on countries that already have astronomical death rates in all other categories.


Aren't we sweet?


But there's one more trick that can be pulled with these numbers.


Islam
Sort the table by total male:female sex ratios and you'll get another surprise - one that NO ONE talks about.


Double-click it so the column is in descending order, then look at the names of the countries. Any country name listed in red is majority Muslim. 


Nine of the fifteen most imbalanced sex-ratio countries in the world are Muslim - every single one of the top six are Muslim. 


The male:female sex ratios at birth in these countries are not tremendously out of whack, so how do they end up with so many more men then women in the total population column? It is over a 2:1 difference (a few years back, it was nearly a 2.5:1 difference - things have apparently gotten better). 


Well, the answer is in the column right next door - double-click the male:female sex ratios over 65. See what happens? There isn't any gender imbalance under the age of 15. But as soon as the women hit puberty, they start to disappear. 


And it doesn't matter what the abortion law is. The whole range is there, from prohibited to no restriction abortion on demand, but the gender imbalance remains. And the top six countries in which this happens are all Muslim countries on the Saudi Arabian peninsula.


How could this happen? There's only three ways: (1) thousands of men are migrating in so that they outnumber the women born in the country, (2) thousands of women are migrating out so that they men born in the country now outnumber the women, or (3) thousands of women are dying earlier in those countries than they do in other countries. 


It's a fascinating thing to see, and it is even more fascinating to notice how absolutely silent every "expert" is about these numbers. Women don't last long under the Islam practiced on the Saudi peninsula. 

But Melinda Gates is not campaigning against Islam. Instead, she is trying to give everyone condoms and free abortions. Why? Well, because condoms and free abortions don't keep women from dying, but they do kill countries. 


Of that much, we are certain.






Thursday, July 05, 2012

Why the HHS Mandate Will Stand


After John Roberts had to violate the Law of Non-Contradiction (ObamaCare is now both a tax and not a tax at the same time and in the same manner), I don't see any particular reason the HHS Mandate would be struck down.

ObamaCare stands because the government CANNOT use the commerce clause, but CAN use its taxing authority. So, ObamaCare is NOT a tax when we vote for it or pay it, but it IS a tax when it is considered as to its constitutionality.

The HHS Mandate can absolutely work the same way.

The Mandate would, in this scenario, just be part of Congressional taxing authority. When a church is using an insurance company, Congress can tax the insurance company. And when the church is acting as its own insurance company, it is, for purposes of the mandate, an insurance company first, not a church.

So, while Congress cannot tax a church, it CAN tax an insurance agency, even if it turns out that the insurance agency is a church (that is, the church is insuring itself). The HHS Mandate would be legal to enforce upon churches because the Congress is taxing an insurance company, not a church.

See how easy that was?

Now that Roberts has demonstrated that he's stark, raving mad, there is no "constitutional" reason to think the HHS Mandate will not stand.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Keep Safe!

Liberals are all about helping people stay safe.
In fact, modern liberalism simply assumes that the general public is far too stupid, far too child-like, to be entrusted with looking out for itself.

Thank heavens modern liberals are here to protect us from ourselves!

That is why liberals are so authoritarian - just like the authoritarian parents they never had, they find an inchoate need to introduce authority not only into their own lives, but into everyone else's life as well.

Action is outlawed
So, trans-fats must be outlawed, because trans-fats are likely to increase heart disease.
Smoking must be outlawed or heavily taxed, because it causes lung disease.
Big Gulps must be outlawed, because they make us obese.

Non-Action is outlawed
Refusing to wear seat belts is outlawed because that increases car accident injuries.
Refusing to pay a tax must be outlawed because that leads to insufficient income for our betters.
Refusing to have sex (chastity) must be outlawed because that encourages us to believe in God.

The liberals aren't authoritarian in everything EXCEPT sex.
They are authoritarian in everything INCLUDING sex.


Why do you think they are so down on marriage, insisting over and over again that most marriages end in divorce even though they know it is a lie?


Sex isn't the dangerous thing.
Sex is a positive thing.
The more deviant the sex, the better.
You can never be led astray by deviant behaviour.
But sex between committed married people... therein lies danger.
The lack of sex (celibacy, chastity, virginity) and what that might lead to... that is extremely dangerous.


None of us have the right to engage in behaviour that would directly damage ourselves.
Nor have we the right to accept the authority of anyone besides our leaders.
They are here. We need no one else.


Don't you understand?
The internal control of appetites is entirely dangerous.
We cannot be permitted to exercise such internal control, because it gives us the illusion that there is a power other than theirs. We are powerless without our leaders. There is no power besides our leaders. 


The liberals are here to save us from ourselves.
We should be thanking them. 

Killing Them Softly

I've written here, here and here on the connection between infant mortality, abortion and economics.
Today, I'm going to take a slightly different emphasis by adding in the problem of maternal mortality.

By clicking on this link to the UN Chart, and this one to the CIA chart, you can follow along with how maternal mortality fits into this discussion and verify what I'm saying. The headers on each table are sortable - just click on the header and it will sort by that column.

Before I begin the discussion, a few things should be mentioned.


1) Infant mortality
Infant mortality is usually defined as the number of children who die in their first year per 1000 live births. Numbers on infant mortality are not apples-to-apples - the United States counts any child born breathing as a living child, but most countries don't. If the child is below a certain weight, below a certain gestational age or dies within the first day or week of life, it is often not counted in infant mortality statistics. In Russia, if it dies in the twelfth month, the death is often transferred into child mortality statistics.

Many countries do not keep hard statistics - the numbers we have for them are guesswork based on various known models and factors, like the number of hospitals, midwives, doctors, obstetrics wards, general level of medical care, etc.

2) Maternal mortality and abortion
Maternal mortality is the number of women who die per 100,000 childbirths. Notice the difference. Infant mortality uses a scale 100 times smaller than maternal mortality uses.

But, like infant mortality, maternal mortality numbers are also not apples-to-apples, and for many of the same reasons. For instance, in the United States, women who die of a botched abortion are often classified as being a maternal death instead of an abortion death. We can assume maternal deaths in other countries are often wrongly classified or not kept up-to-date. For instance, abortion is a killer of both women and children, but the only numbers we have for Venezuala's "abortion rate as a percentage of pregnancy" date from 1968.

In short, countries often have a difficult time tracking this kind of information or don't track it at all. Again, maternal mortality is often generated by modeling, because it is simply not possible to accurately count maternal deaths in most circumstances.

3) Different countries are tracked differently
Finally, the UN and the CIA track different countries - the CIA tracks any self-governing body, but the UN only tracks member nations. So, for instance, Monaco shows up in the CIA list, but not in the UN list.

And different models give different results for the same country: Finland is ranked fifth in infant mortality on the UN list, but twelfth on the CIA Factbook list. Luxembourg is seventh on the UN list, but 32nd on the CIA list. And these disagreements are just in the top 30, where statistics are pretty solid. You can imagine how uncertain the rank is for countries farther down on the list.

In short, don't treat the decimal points and the rankings as hard and fast. Assume a general grouping is roughly accurate and that's the best anyone can do. Now, on to the discussion.


The Discussion
Scan through either table when it is sorted by infant mortality, and you instantly see what abortion supporters have all along claimed: generally speaking, countries with no restrictions on abortion have the lowest infant mortality.

Now, there are exceptions. On the CIA table, for instance, in the top 50 countries, six absolutely prohibit abortion. Likewise, on the same table, in the bottom 50 countries, seven have either no restrictions, or have relatively loose restrictions like "mental health" and "socio-economic" reasons. Still, the top 50 countries list 44 whose who have no restrictions on abortion, but who have low infant mortality rates.

How do they do it?
Easy.
They cheat.

Consider: prior to the advent of modern medicine, children with serious abnormalities or born into seriously dysfunctional families would die in their first year. Indeed, this is the rationale for legal abortion in many countries, including our own: we euthanize the child in the womb because the physical problems would kill the child soon after birth anyway, or the parents would be so disgusted with the child that neglect or active abuse would soon result in the child's death.

Let us accept such arguments on their face. If this is true, then when we take abortion out of the infant mortality calculation, we artificially lower the infant mortality rates. We actively kill children BEFORE birth who would not long have survived AFTER birth. Properly speaking, if we take abortion proponents at their word, abortion should be counted as part of infant mortality statistics.

Now, in order to do this, we have to know what percentage of pregnancies are being aborted. Not all countries track this number, but many attempt to. If you click on the "% of Pregnancies that end in abortion" column header twice,  you'll see them all there, listed in descending order.

Now, "percent" means "per one hundred". So, since infant mortality is counted in deaths per 1000, and number of aborted pregnancies is per 100, we would have to take the "% of Pregnancies that end in abortion" and multiply it by ten to get the number of abortions per thousand pregnancies.


I did that and added it to the infant mortality rate to get "Total Infant Death Rate per thousand".


Click on "Total Infant Death Rate per thousand" to see what happens.
Notice that infant mortality for all countries now sends the countries with no restrictions to the bottom of the heap. For instance, the United States moves from about 49 to around 199 out of 222 countries.

The Effect of Maternal Mortality

But this is unfair. Pro-lifers are always accused of ignoring the women who die due to pregnancy and childbirth, so we need to factor that in. We will. Keep in mind that any death due to a botched abortion is going to get counted as "maternal mortality", so we aren't missing any deaths when we do this calculation. 


Now, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is figured in deaths per 100,000 births. We need to get the number of maternal deaths per 1000 births. That is, we need to use the same scale we use for infant mortality. So, we have to divide the maternal mortality figure for each country by 100, then add the result to the number of infant deaths to get the true body bag count for both mother and child from pregnancy and birth.

That's what I did. I added the new "MMR per 1000" figure to the "Total Infant Death Rate per thousand" and generated the "Mother and infant deaths: Total per 1000 births" column.

So, sort the tables by the last column "Mother and infant deaths: Total per 1000 births" and you'll see the result. Notice it has changed virtually nothing.

Even though countries like Afghanistan and the Central African Republic see tremendous mortality - over 1500 women die per 100,000 births - the number of mothers who die per 1000 births is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of babies being aborted.  


According to the Lancet, a woman in the hell-hole of Afghanistan has about 1.5% chance of dying as a result of becoming pregnant or giving birth (15 per 1000). There are only five countries in the world where that chance is above one percent. 

Conclusion

So, once everything is added in, a remarkable view emerges. Afghanistan is about as sophisticated as Germany, Finland and Iceland when it comes to preventing pregnancy-related deaths. The Central African Republic is actually doing quite a bit better than any of the European luminaries that they are told to imitate. Indeed, there's only one significant difference between the Afghanis and Africans versus the Europeans: the Afghanis and Africans have a high death rate, but don't intend it. The Europeans? Well...

Two centuries ago, infant mortality ranged from 100 to 250 per 1000 live births. Today, nearly every "advanced" country with unrestricted abortion has an infant death rate above that level. Maternal death rates are high in countries which prohibit or severely restrict access to abortion. However, if we don't cheat on the infant mortality equations, the total pregnancy-related death rate is typically higher in "legal abortion" first world countries than it is in "abortion prohibited" third world countries.

The "civilized" world is actively killing it's own at a rate greater than or equal to the worst hell-hole on this planet. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes us civilized.




Sunday, July 01, 2012

Barack Shatters Law of Non-Contradiction

Barack reads Aquinas.
We know because he tells us he does.

Thus, the first self-evident
principle of reason is:
The same thing cannot be both
affirmed and denied
at the same time in the same way.
(the Law of Non-Contradiction)
Unless we are talking about ObamaCare, of course.
Tax, non-tax, contradiction, non-contradiction.
Doesn't matter, as long as it is upheld.