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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why Math Matters

I have done many things in my life, including teaching math at the college level.

The perennial question that math students ask is, "Why do I have to take this course? I will NEVER use this kind of math in real life."

Now, a lot of teachers will try to pretend that the student will actually use math. Heck, I tried to pretend that for a couple of years myself. But we all know it isn't true. Very few people outside of engineering use calculus. Calculus was required for my computer science degree, but I can honestly say I never used it for anything. At most, I've used a bit of algebra and a taste of geometry, and that's about it. Most people will never use the math they learn in school.

So why do so many college programs still require math?
Simple. Math is a marker for "meta skills." In order to do math well, you have to be:

  1. Organized, 
  2. Good at documentation,
  3. Good at detailed work,
  4. Good at following and trusting a procedure.

Those four skills are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to employers and to you.
You can't pass algebra unless you have those skills. In order to do any advanced math, you have to:

  1. Learn many different procedures, 
  2. Choose the right procedure from a multitude of different possibilities,
  3. Be able to determine why your chosen procedure is or isn't correct for the situation, 
  4. Be able to execute the chosen procedure correctly,  
  5. Write down everything you do, every step of the way in an organized fashion so in case you DO forget anything or HAVE chosen the wrong procedure, you can find the problem and fix it quickly.

When every phone is a calculator, and life really doesn't involve much math, nobody really cares if you know math. Learning math is most assuredly not the point of math class.

However EVERYBODY cares about whether or not you have the skill sets listed above. The easiest way to teach those skills and demonstrate you have those skills is to say "I got an 'A' in algebra/geometry/trig/calculus."

You will do many jobs during your lifetime. All of them will have specialized procedures. The more you train your brain to quickly learn (seemingly) arbitrary procedures, the more jobs you will qualify for, the easier it will be to earn a living. THAT is the point of taking all those math classes. People want to know you have those skills. Math is the fastest way to prove you do. It is also the most straightforward way to teach you the skills if you don't have them, because math is nothing BUT those skills.

That's why every decent college program requires math.
If you're in a program that doesn't require math, you aren't going to college, you're going to a very expensive and pretentious grade school for grown-ups.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Deniable Intimidation

After teaching an American Political Science class over the summer, I realized why nearly every corporation is interested in "embracing diversity":
It is impossible to understand the politics of the Left without grasping that it is all about deniable intimidation. The real problem European anarchism solves is how to send bombs without seemingly sending them, or how to trash the Tory party headquarters in London without really doing it.
As you will soon see, the politics of the Left is really just the politics of those in power. The powerful want "deniable intimidation": the ability to intimidate the weak without looking like a bully. "Deniable intimidation" - that's what "diversity in the workplace" and "homosexual rights" is all about. If you have ever wondered why most corporations cave so readily to homosexual rights, or work so hard to implement "diversity" policies, you need look no farther than how power is structured in the workplace. You see, we know from political science exactly what diversity accomplishes in a population:
“in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down.’ Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer.”
Studies make clear that workers are not comfortable in a "diverse" workplace. In fact, people don't like it at all.  People in "diverse" neighborhoods are less likely to be politically active than those in homogenous neighborhoods. In "diverse" settings, individuals aren't sure they can trust their neighbors so they tend to hunker down and say nothing.
…[E]verybody, well-educated and not well-educated, old-timers and newcomers alike, is affected negatively by increasing diversity. Holding constant socioeconomic resources, mobility, and many other things, as well, everybody is less likely to be engaged when they’re living in a more diverse town or city. That’s the research conclusion I found most startling: It’s not just that in the context of diversity people are less trusting of people who look different. It’s that in the context of diversity people are less trusting even of folks who look just like them.” (emphasis added)
So, why do politicians embrace diversity? Well, low turnout increases the likelihood an incumbent will win. High diversity means incumbent politicians get the low voter turnout they need.

How about the workplace? Why would businesses embrace diversity? In the workplace, low trust between workers means less likelihood of, say, union organizing activity. High diversity means low worker solidarity. Now, it is also true that having a diverse workplace means business problems tend to get solved faster, as many different experiences are brought to bear on a problem. Businesses talk endlessly about this advantage, but oddly enough, no one mentions the power structure advantages that a "diverse workplace" brings to management. "Diversity" is a win-win for corporate management, a lose-lose for the individual workers in that corporation. 

And that is why corporate America embraces diversity. That is why homosexual rights, Muslim tolerance and a rainbow workplace is considered the best environment for everyone: it is the best environment for everyone. Well, for everyone in power.

And now we can see why corporate America attacks and belittles Christianity. Christianity is a point of commonality, a rallying point for the 80% of Americans who still embrace a common set of values and a relatively common outlook on life. In America, Christianity is the opposite of diversity - it is unity and strength: the very opposite of what the powerful want from their little people. So, when businesses and media attack Christianity, realize that this isn't personal. It's just business.

Do you want to intimidate a group of men into being servile? Do you want to prevent their conspiring against or organizing against management, whether that management be corporate or political? Do you want to hang them separately to prevent them from hanging together? And do you want to do all this without being seen as a bully? Embrace diversity! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Problem of Porn

There's a new study out that blames male porn use for the drop in marriage. It's a fairly lousy study. Marriage depends on a lot of different factors. This study only looks at one, so it really doesn't tell us anything.

For instance, take the fact that high-income, college-educated people marry at a MUCH higher rate than high-school dropouts. Of course, when college-educated couples divorce, 90% of the divorces are initiated by the woman (overall, women initiate divorce 65% of the time). So, if porn is the problem, we are simultaneously saying that college-educated men don't look at porn as much as high school dropouts (thus the college grads marry more) AND college-educated men look at porn MUCH more than high school dropouts (thus the high divorce rate).

Clearly, both cannot be simultaneously true.

And furthermore, how do we find a significantly large control group of men who do not use porn? It turns out to be a lot tougher than you might think. Researchers typically can't find enough men who don't use porn to create a control group for comparison purposes.

Then we have the problem of marriage itself - when divorce happens, women get the man's income, the man's children, often his house and car, regardless of how much the woman might herself be earning. Female hypergamy means that women won't marry high school dropouts - they always try to step up to a "higher quality" man. Indeed, you can make a very strong argument that allowing women access to higher education is at least as pernicious in its effect on marriage as allowing men access to porn.

But the pool of "higher quality" men is contracting as men are getting fewer and fewer college degrees. Why are they dropping out of college? Because college is an increasingly hostile place for men. All a woman has to do is cry "rape" and the male student is instantly thrown out of school, blacklisted, with his future destroyed. Ironically, this is true even though the proliferation of internet porn happened at the same time that rape began a dramatic decline.



But, as a result of the hostile college climate, the majority of all college degrees now go to women. So fewer and fewer men are considered "eligible" marriage material by women. Female hypergamy means the men who don't put themselves through the abuse which we call college are not considered "marriageable." And of those men who are eligible, many refuse to marry precisely because they understand that if the woman decides to walk out of the relationship, it is the man who will lose his wallet. Many "eligible" men look at the cost-benefit ratio and decline the odds. But that is not addressed in this study.

Furthermore, this study only looks at MEN. What about women's porn? And women's porn isn't just 50 Shades of Grey. In women, both yoga and shopping stimulate the same brain centers as orgasm. That is, for a woman, finding a good sale is as pleasurable as having sex.

But do we find articles warning us that women imperil marriage by going shopping or practicing yoga? Do we find articles warning women to stop being hypergamous? Do we warn women not to attend college? Of course we don't. Only men imperil marriage. Women never do.

So, is porn use a consequence of non-marriage or a cause? Is it just a correlation? Given the many other factors involved (and I've only mentioned two: hypergamy and anti-male social bias), how much of the problem can be associated with porn use?

I'm not defending porn use. I'm just pointing out that there's a lot less here than meets the eye (pardon the pun). Both St. Augustine and the Angelic Doctor were willing to tolerate legal prostitution as a necessary concession to human brokenness. Does porn fall into that same category? I don't know. But I find it interesting that the porn stick is only wielded against men - never against women.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

No. Bloody. Good.

A well-known blogger who passes himself off as a Catholic priest has published a blog in which he asserts that some Catholic parishes are actually part of another religion.

I'm not going to link the blog here, because the post is simply vile, schismatic crap.

Does anyone remember why St. Ignatius Loyola founded an order?
Anyone?
Anyone?
Bueller?
Anyone?

Because the Spain he grew up in - which had been Catholic for a thousand years - was so badly catechized that many parents couldn't even recite the Our Father. Many Spanish Catholics believed sex was fine as long as neither participant was married. In other words, the catechesis in 1540's Spain was about as good as the catechesis in America is now.

The Jesuits were founded as a missionary order to evangelize Catholic Spain. St. Ignatius was never so monumentally STUPID, he was never so SCHISMATIC as to say "It's. Another. Religion."

Shockingly enough, St. Ignatius, instead, of writing a lot of blogs cadging for money to feed birds, actually founded an order and did something useful with his life. That's why he's a saint and other people are simply fomenters of schism.

FYI: for those of you who think Summorum Pontificum is the salvation of the Church, note that St. Ignatius and all of Spain had the pre-conciliar (even pre-Tridentine) Latin Mass for a thousand years and it did them No. Bloody. Good. 

Remember, if liturgy is the source of all of our problems today, then the source of the modern problem is ultimately the Latin Mass. If liturgy is the source of the problem, then Ignatian Spain's problem was also the Latin Mass. But if liturgy is not the source of the problem, then the TLM is not really part of the solution.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On Apparitions

These quotes are lifted directly from the linked website. Please go to that website and read the whole thing. It is well worth your time:

In his "Ascent of Mt. Camel", St. John says:
"I am appalled at what happens in these days-namely, when some soul with the very smallest experience of meditation, if it be conscious of certain locutions of this kind in some state of recollections, at once christens them all as coming from God, and assumes that this is the case, saying: 'God said to me . . . '; 'God answered me . . . ', whereas it is not so at all, but as we have said, it is for the most part they who are saying it to themselves."
And in Book 2, Chapter 11 of the same work, he warns of diabolical illusion, especially when the soul is gullible and doesn't even consider the possibility of such illusion:
"There is always ground for fear that they proceed from the devil rather than from God; for the devil has more influence in that which is exterior and corporeal . . . As they are so palpable and so material they excite the senses greatly and the soul is led to consider them the more important, the more they are felt. It runs after them and abandons the secure guidance of faith, thinking that the light they give is a guide and means to that which it desires, union with God. Thus the soul, the more it makes of such things, the more it strays from the perfect way and means, i.e., the faith. Besides, when the soul perceives itself subject to these extraordinary visitations, self-esteem very frequently enters in, and it thinks itself to be something in the eyes of God, which is contrary to humility. The devil also knows too well how to insinuate into the soul a secret, and sometimes open, self-satisfaction. For this end he frequently presents to the eyes the forms of saints, and most beautiful limits; he causes voices well-dissembled to strike the ear, and delicious odours the smell; he produces sweetness in the mouth, and thrills of pleasure in the sense of touch; and all to make us long for such things that he may lead us astray into much evil. For this reason, then, we must always reject and disregard these representations and sensations."
In Book 2, Chapter 16, he summarises his warnings; and it is interesting to note that the refusal to accept these apparitions is the proper attitude even in the case where they are truly from God, for as he explains, this is the way to test that they really are divine:
"I say, therefore, with respect to all these impressions and imaginary visions, and others of whatever kind they may be, which present themselves under forms or images, whether false as coming from the devil, or known to be true as coming from God, that the understanding is not to perplex itself about them, nor feed itself upon them; the soul must not willingly accept them, nor rest upon them, in order that it may be detached, naked, pure, and sincerely simple, which is the condition of the divine union."

Stop fixating on Fatima, Lourdes, Akita.
Start fixating on the Catechism, the writings of the saints and doctors of the Church.

Follow the advice of the doctors of the Church.
Learn doctrine, avoid apparitions, even those approved by the Church.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Peer Review Doesn't Work

I've seen people attempt to refute various scientific studies by saying, "They're not peer-reviewed, so they aren't any good."

I'm a little tired of that. Peer-review is not a gold standard (click hereherehereherehere, or here) In fact, it really isn't any kind of standard at all (click hereherehereherehere, here or here). Take, for instance, the experience of John Bohannon, a biologist at Harvard. He submitted a faked paper on the effects of a chemical derived from lichen on cancer cells to 304 self-described “peer-reviewed” journals. The paper was completely fabricated: totally flawed design, analysis and interpretation of results. The researcher and the university were fictitious. 157 of the journals accepted it for publication. That's a failure rate of more than half.

In a classic 1998 study Fiona Godlee, editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, sent an article containing eight deliberate mistakes in study design, analysis and interpretation to more than 200 of the BMJ’s regular reviewers. Not one picked out all the mistakes. On average, they reported fewer than two; some did not spot any. Peer reviewers also seem to get worse with experience.

Some people also claim that science is great because it depends on replication. If that's true, very little science is done anymore, because no one attempts to replicate studies anymore.

  • Replication is generally not publishable, so few people do it. 
  • Only people with an axe to grind pursue replications with vigour. 
  • More than half of 238 biomedical papers published in 84 journals failed to identify all the resources (such as chemical reagents) necessary to reproduce the results.
  • Five years ago about 60% of researchers said they would share their raw data if asked; now just 45% do.
  • Only 143 of 351 randomly selected papers published in the world’s 50 leading journals and covered by some data-sharing policy actually complied.
  • Some code used to analyse data or run models may be the result of years of work and thus precious intellectual property that gives its possessors an edge in future research.

So, the next time someone invokes "peer review", just shake your head.
They apparently don't read the journals.

Addendum:
From the comments in this link
Important scientific work has not uncommonly been initially rejected by peer-reviewed journals. As a 2001 article in Science observed, "Mention 'peer review' and almost every scientist will regale you with stories about referees submitting nasty comments, sitting on a manuscript forever, or rejecting a paper only to repeat the study and steal the glory."2 Indeed, an article in the journal Science Communication by Juan Miguel Campanario notes that top journals such as "Science and Nature have also sometimes rejected significant papers," and in fact "Nature has even rejected work that eventually earned the Nobel Prize."3 In an amusing letter titled "Not in our Nature," Campanario reminds the journal of four examples where it rejected significant papers: 
(1) In 1981, Nature rejected a paper by the British biochemist Robert H. Michell on signalling reaction by hormones. This paper has since been cited more than 1,800 times.
(2) In June 1937, Nature rejected Hans Krebs's letter describing the citric acid cycle. Krebs won the 953 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for this discovery.
(3) Nature initially rejected a paper on work for which Harmut Michel won the 1988 Nobel prize for chemistry; it has been identified by the Institute of Scientific Information as a core document and widely cited.
(4) A paper by Michael J. Berridge, rejected in 1983 by Nature, ranks at number 275 in a list of the most-cited papers of all time. It has been cited more than 1,900 times.4

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Black Parents, Did You Know? (unredacted version)

At this point, I've heard a lot about black parents who warn their children about how to act around police.

I've yet to hear about the black parents who warn their children that, statistically speaking, they are most likely to be killed by other black children. If black children want to be safe, they need to hang out with white, Asian or Hispanic children.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Evolution Is For Losers

While it is perfectly clear that young earth creationism is stupid, it is equally clear that evolution is equally stupid. But it only recently occurred to me that even the people who teach evolution are demonstrably unwilling to believe in evolution themselves.

Consider the number of highly intelligent people who have lots of children. It shouldn't take long because there aren't very many of them. In fact, the "scientists" (I use the term loosely) who claim that evolution is true tend not to have lots of children. But that violates the very evolutionary principle they pretend to espouse.

You've all heard of the "cafeteria Catholic". These people prove there is such a thing as a "cafeteria empiricist."

Many "smart" people without children extol the brilliance of the movie Idiocracy. But the movie makes literally no sense. If "smart" people really believed the biology they claim to espouse, then they would intellectually choose to get laid and have children, infusing their superior intellectual genes into coming generations. Meanwhile, they would take every opportunity to prevent stupid people from breeding.

But that's not what they do. True, they DO try to keep stupid people from breeding (and they are mostly unsuccessful at that - not too smart of them), but they almost never have even the replacement numbers of children themselves (for instance, Stephen Gould had only two children, Richard Dawkins, has but one, David Sloan Wilson, Richard Lewontin and WD Hamilton had none).

They don't invest in the future through their genes - the only way that really lasts. Instead, they play parlor games with technological gizmos, inventing machines whose usefulness often doesn't even outlive their own lifetimes, much less that of other people's children. If this is "smart," then their lived definition of themselves is quite different than the definition the "smart" people claim to espouse. It violates the very evolutionary theory they claim rules the universe.

Nerds want Idiocracy to be true, because then they can pretend that their inability to mate is really a virtue, not the Darwinian dead-end it actually is.

They insist that Darwinism is true, but they don't live it out by mating regardless of their "love" for one another. If they REALLY believed in evolution, they would recognize "love" as a biologically expensive fantasy that has no place in modern society. They would mate and raise children based entirely on genetic profiles.

But they don't argue love is a fantasy, do they? Instead, like the fox who insisted the grapes were sour anyway, they insist that having children is something only stupid people do.

So, when someone asks if you believe in evolution, ask them a few questions first:

  • "Do you think there is any genetic component to intelligence?"
  • "Do you think of yourself as intelligent?"
  • "How many children do you have?"

If the answer is "Yes, Yes, 2 (or less)", then reply, "I see you don't believe in evolution. So why should I?"

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Testing the Traditionalist Spirit

Once, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of fortune-telling and who had brought her owners a great deal of money by predicting the future. She would follow Paul and us and shout, “These men are servants of the Most High God and are proclaiming to you a way of salvation!”  (emphasis added)
She kept doing this for many days until Paul became annoyed, turned to her and told the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus the Messiah to come out of her!” And it came out that very moment. (Acts 16:16-18)
Now, how did Paul recognize that this young girl was possessed by a demon? Simple. She kept saying that these men proclaimed "a way of salvation". That was a lie straight from the pit of hell. These men were proclaiming THE way of salvation. Jesus is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life, not a way, a truth or a life. The lie was very close to the truth - only one word was different, but that word was enough to allow Paul to test the spirit within the girl and discern that the girl's spiritual influence was demonic, not heavenly.

Why do we consider this Scripture today?
Well, some people are upset with Pope Francis.
He recently had the audacity to point out that the Church permits Catholics to accept an idea that these deeply upset people find personally offensive. Pope Francs said:
"He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality, and so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things. 
God is not a divine being (emphasis added) or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve."
Notice any similarity between Pope Francis' words and the words of the demon-possessed girl? Why yes. Yes, indeed! There is one similarity! The girl said the apostles preached "a way of salvation". Pope Francis denied that God is "a divine being."

Now, Pope Francis merely spoke standard Catholic doctrine - God is not "a god", He is THE GOD. There is no other god. But many Catholics, especially those of "traditionalist" bent, would prefer to be like the people in the Scripture passage below:
When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities who met together in the public square. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are stirring up a lot of trouble in our city. They are Jews and are advocating customs that we’re not allowed to accept or practice as Romans.” 
Wow. Who is making money by bashing Pope Francis?
The crowd joined in the attack against them. Then the magistrates had Paul and Silas stripped of their clothes and ordered them beaten with rods. After giving them a severe beating, they threw them in jail and ordered the jailer to keep them under tight security. Having received these orders, he put them into the inner cell and fastened their feet in leg irons. 
Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (emphasis added) Suddenly, there was an earthquake so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken. All the doors immediately flew open, and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Don’t hurt yourself, because we are all here!” 
The jailer asked for torches and rushed inside. Trembling as he knelt in front of Paul and Silas, he took them outside and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 
They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and everyone in his home. 
At that hour of the night, he took them and washed their wounds. Then he and his entire family were baptized immediately. He brought Paul and Silas upstairs into his house and set food before them. He was thrilled, as was his household, to believe in God. (Acts 16:19-34)
Paul's work bore fruit in conversion, as Pope Francis' work also bears fruit in conversion. Those in prison, that is, those in sin, listened to Paul. Now, many people are upset that luminaries such as Elton John and Planned Parenthood like things this Pope says. So, why would anyone be upset when the Pope teaches what Catholics have always taught, yet manages to do it in a way that even the pagan sinners can begin to recognize?

Sure, some of the pagans twist his words to their own ends and for their own purposes. But are the pagans who twist his words any different than "traditionalist" Catholics, who also twist his words?  I honestly don't see how. Francis preaches the Unknown God in the Areopagus and some "Catholics" want to beat him with rods for having done so.

Are these "Catholics" influenced by the same demonic spirit that influenced the young girl in Acts 16? A strong argument can be made that this is precisely what is going on. The traditionalists who attack Pope Francis may well be channeling demonic influences, attempting to split the Church by ignoring the fact that Pope Francis teaches what the Church has always taught.

And that is a sobering thought.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pope Benedict's Outrageous Nonsense

For those who think Pope Francis stinks and Pope Benedict could do no wrong, does anyone remember when Pope Benedict endorsed the use of condoms? 

Anyone?
Anyone?
Bueller?
Anyone?

Benedict's remarks were indefensible, many liberals took advantage of them, but "orthodox" Catholics either remained silent or tried to square the circle and pretend Benedict's condom remarks were acceptable when they clearly were not.

If Pope Francis had made these remarks, imagine the outrage! But since it was Benedict, ho-hum, nothing to see here, or even remember...

Saturday, Nov. 20 2010
http://skellmeyer.blogspot.com/2010/11/pope-and-condoms.html


Monday Nov. 22, 2010
http://skellmeyer.blogspot.com/2010/11/stop-presses.html


Monday Nov. 22, 2010
http://skellmeyer.blogspot.com/2010/11/answering-questions.html


Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010
http://skellmeyer.blogspot.com/2010/11/anyone-can-use-condom.html


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Of Suckers and Synod

Well, now that the synod has safely receded into the past, we can take a look at how things went.

Point: The First
Just as predicted, the synod taught nothing that violated Catholic doctrine.

Michael Voris was the only Catholic media personality who had enough virtue to formally apologize for his part in creating the Catholic media firestorm. I applaud him for this and very much thank him.

The Catholic media trained the Catholics who read the synod's final document to use a "hermeneutic of suspicion." Doubt and discord now reign where we were supposed to have peace and joy. Catholic media won - Catholics lost.

Point: The Second
Everyone was upset that bishops were discussing scandalous issues in synod. Riddle me this: would you prefer the bishops ask each other, in synod, where they can discuss in relative silence and amongst themselves, the kind of questions that the secular world constantly asks? Or would you prefer that they don't touch on controversial issues among themselves, but simply be forced to react one at a time under the grilling of various news media personalities over the course of the coming years?

Synods are designed to bring up scandalous issues, to look at every issue with fresh eyes, because the world approaches Catholic issues with eyes of newborn ignorance. If the Church wants to talk to the people in the world, her bishops have to be ready to handle the world's questions. Where better to raise such questions and provide the necessary answers than inside a synod, where all the bishops can thresh out every concern, and every response?

(Update: For those who say Burke is a really humble guy who I have thoroughly mis-read, I submit this powerplay, revealed only after I wrote this piece. Burke is worse than Kaspar.)

Watching sausage being made rids the ignorant of their appetites, but butchers are happy to eat sausage because they understand the sausage-making process better than random passers-by, who are often startled to discover that actual animals are killed to create it. Same with doctrine/dogma. The ignorant are startled by the discussions, but the Catholic secure in Church doctrine is not perturbed by such discussions.

To be concise, I want people like Kasper and Burke in a synod, fighting over the words, bringing up absolutely scandalous ideas. That way, I'm sure the synod will not only get it right, but get it right in a way that the world is forced to regard with some importance.

Point: The Third
Everyone is happy to point out that Cardinal Kasper is a liar.  Nobody wants to point out that Cardinal Burke is ALSO a liar. Why the different treatment?

And before you complain, here is Burke advertising he's about to lie and disrespect the Pope to boot:
"Cardinal Burke: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that i’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it." 
And then he talks about his transfer, actually confirming what he himself says he is not free to talk about.  Sorry, but Burke is the worst of the two liars here. Kasper just skewered other cardinals, Burke actually used his interview to skewer the Pope's decision to replace him. Sure, he said nothing negative, but we are all meant to (a) be told about something he himself says he has no right to discuss and (b) be outraged by it.

Why else mention something that you know you aren't supposed to discuss? Buzzfeed even helped turn the knife with its next softball question:
BFN: You’re obviously a very well respected person. That must be disappointing.
CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service [editor's note: lovely humble-brag]. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it. On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…
Note the humble-brag. Note how Pope Francis has so sorely disappointed our illustrious cardinal! (how dare the Pope disappoint Burke?!?). And the outpouring of humility! Worthy of Padre Pio himself! He will accept whatever new work he is assigned (like he has a choice)! 

You can just imagine Padre Pio giving exactly the same kind of interview! Except, you can't, because Padre Pio would never have done such a thing. Burke should have simply refused to answer any of those questions about his employment and/or his move - that's between him and the Pope until such time as the Pope makes it public (as Burke himself witnesses). If he were truly humble, he need not have mentioned his humility. But he has to point it out, in case any of us missed it.

Worse, he backstabs the Pope during the synod, giving the interview when he knows full well how much discord has already been fomented by the Catholic media amongst "orthodox" Catholics. He starts the interview talking about the synod, but devotes fully one-third of it to how the Pope is mean and is going to move him from what he loves to do! Oh, the agony he is forced to endure!

The center third of the interview.
Not about the synod.
It's about his job prospects.
Seriously?

This isn't the act of an obedient cardinal, this is the act of a Kasper look-alike, a man with overweening ambition and a dagger that he needs to bury in somebody's back, and - look! - the Pope's back is right there! What a lovely target! And since I have pointed out how humble I am, no one will notice as I bury it to the hilt and have Buzzfeed help me twist the knife!

And it's so cleverly situated within the beginning and ending comments about the synod! Typical episcopal sandwich - start and end by complimenting a group, but the center takes huge, toothy bites out. Start and end by talking about the subject, but use the center to discuss what matters to you. The meat is in the middle. Nobody picks up on it. I've seen countless bishops and priest pull this rhetorical trick. Works all the time. 

Point: The Fourth
Some have complained Pope Francis raised questions during the synod, but then remained silent during the discussion, saying nothing for virtually the entire synod.

Yes, that's right, he did. 
So?

This is a common tactic amongst the ordained. How many of you know priests who will post something on Facebook that generates a huge discussion which the priests themselves then take no subsequent part in? I know several who do that. They do it in parish life as well, raising an issue, then walking away as the lay people wrangle over it.

It gives the ordained man a chance to see who lies on which side of the spectrum, where his powerbase lies, without committing himself one way or the other. It also emphasizes the priest's authority over the lay people, as they realize that they cannot resolve the problem until the priest makes a decision. The lay people are left yearning for priestly authority and direction, made to feel it's lack. 

I really don't know an ordained man who hasn't pulled that trick at one time or another as at least a way to pull rank on a lay person and make the lay person feel helpless.

Pope just did that to the bishops. Big deal. Insofar as any bishop complains about it, that bishop is a hypocrite. It's the Pope's advantage, he holds an authoritative position and he could afford to get away with it. It's a way of putting every bishop in the synod in his place. You can tell which bishops didn't like the reminder of papal authority by making a list of the ones who complained about the tactic. Same goes for lay people. Notice the complainers were mostly the "orthodox". Hmmm....

Summary conclusion
1) Synod did precisely what any Catholic expected it would do: reiterate Catholic doctrine.
2) Synod did this by discussing every aspect of the doctrine, even the unpalatable aspects.
3) Both the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are sinners, but "orthodox" Catholics don't like anyone to point that out about "their" guys.
4) What a shock to discover the buck stops with the Pope.

I feel like an orthodox Catholic after Vatican II - amazed and depressed that so many of my fellow "orthodox" Catholics are so easily taken in by a feckless media and equally feckless cardinals, both of whom are out to gain advantage at the expense of the laity. But, as the saying goes, they never give a sucker an even break.

The only way to avoid the result is to stop being a sucker and start putting a little faith in the Church.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Quote on Ferguson, MO

If we could eliminated black on black violence, America's murder rate would fall by 50%. Want proof? This is the best FBI table:


This is the FBI summary of the table: This is the best pull-quote from the sumary
"Concerning murder victims for whom race was known, 50.4 percent were black, 47.0 percent were white, and 2.6 percent were of other races. Race was unknown for 152 victims. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 2.)
Of the offenders for whom race was known, 53.1 percent were black, 44.6 percent were white, and 2.3 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 4,224 offenders. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3.) "

Here is a rabidly left-wing organization that admits it.


And Martin Luther King himself pointed out the same thing fifty years, ago, so it ain't new: 

"Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We've got to face that. And we've got to do something about our moral standards," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told a congregation in 1961. "We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can't keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves."

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Rise of (Cr)ISIS

Just shut up.

All the Catholic news organizations and bloggers who are flipping their wigs over the upcoming synod need to just shut the hell up.

Who honestly cares what the synod says?
What possible difference can it make?

Either it will affirm Catholic teaching, in which case there is no news, or it will not affirm Catholic teaching, in which case the Pope will politely reject it or die trying.

Either way, it makes absolutely no difference to the Faith.

This whole synod "controversy" is just clickbait for Catholic news organizations and apologists trying to turn a buck.

Look, I understand how it happened. The last guy I know who actually read a diocesan newspaper just died and got buried this summer. Literally. Nice guy, I liked him a lot, but that's the readership age of diocesan newspaper subscribers, which is why pretty much all of them have stopped printing paper editions. Diocesan newspapers - the only source of Catholic news for generations - were nothing but feel-good organs created by the bishop that never reported on anything the bishop didn't want made public.

As electronic media took over, the diocesan paper died. But Catholic electronic media, the legions of amateur bloggers and journalists fresh out from under the wings of the bishops, soon discovered what secular media knew all along - "if it bleeds, it leads." They had to report controversy to keep the clicks and the revenues coming in. If there wasn't controversy, they had to invent it.

EWTN bought National Catholic Register just as the latter was going bankrupt. EWTN's viewership is well over 60. 10-15% of it's audience dies each year. EWTN needs new viewers, so Raymond Arroyo and company have finally become full-blown secular media whores pretending to be Catholic news reporters.

It is in NO ONE's interest for you to be confident in the synod and unconcerned about it's outcome. Indeed, it is in NO ONE's interest for you to be confident of the Church. Nobody clicks to find out more about a story when they know the ending. They only click when they are AFRAID.

Crisis rules the day. And if crisis does not exist, it MUST be manufactured.

So, Catholic media makes you afraid. The heretics make their heretic readers worry that the Pope won't be heretical, the "orthodox" make their "orthodox" readers worry that the Pope will be a heretic.  And why do I put "orthodox" in quotes while I don't put "heretic" in quotes? Because the "orthodox" Catholics are stupid enough to actually buy this bilge.

Dude, this is a Church synod in a highly-communicative age. (1) Do you actually think a synod could or would try to fundamentally change Church doctrine?

Seriously?

And even if it did, (2) do you think an infallible Pope is going to sign off on the resulting assumptive heresies and try to make the changes legitimate?

SERIOUSLY?!?!???

Look, if you bought into EITHER of those propositions, you aren't orthodox, you're just stupid. I'm sorry to have to be blunt, but this doesn't even rise to the level of ignorance. Ignorance we can attribute to well-meaning pagans, but people who claim to be orthodox and still hold either of these positions? Yeah, that's stupid.

Despite what EWTN and other Catholic bloggers may be claiming, Christ didn't counsel us to "BE AFRAID! Be VERY Afraid!"

So just stop it.

Stop clicking on these stupid pundit whores who are writing click-bait controversies to generate ad revenue for their "irreplaceable" Catholic website and punditry.  For the love of Christ, have a little Faith and stop acting like superstitious old women. Most of the "crisis" of the modern Church are manufactured by Catholics trying to sell their wares. Tell Raymond Arroyo and company to get behind thee. You don't have time for this nonsense. No one does.

UPDATE:
LifeSiteNews now admits that the Catholic press essentially fabricated the entire synod controversy.
Color me shocked.
What emerges from the summaries is a clear picture that most of the Synod Fathers were alarmed and perturbed at the publication of the mid-term report, which most had not seen prior to its being released to the press.
As South Africa Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier told Vatican radio today, the mid-term report was “not to the liking of many Synod Fathers who were objecting that what was said by one or two people was largely presented (and was certainly being taken up by the media) as if it was the considered opinion of the whole synod.” (emphasis added)
The fix is in. Catholics are being talked into acting like Protestants towards the Church by the very Catholic media that is supposed to be supporting and restoring their Faith. The document the synod produced wasn't the problem - the secular news media has neither the interest nor the staff to pay attention to the synod. When it comes to this synod, secular media has simply been reporting on what the Catholic media has trumpeted. Secular news stories on this synod are always hours/days after Catholic media reports and those stories always mimic Catholic media story structures. They're using Catholic media as their stringers. So when the synod's orthodox Catholic bishops decry the distortions introduced by "the press", those bishops are talking about "the (Catholic) press".

The Catholic media is dividing the Church, just as I foresaw eight years ago.

A short list of crypto-Protestant blogs and news sites:

  • Rorate Caeli, 
  • Pewsitter, 
  • WDTPRS, 
  • EWTN, 
  • The Catholic Thing, 
  • A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics, 
  • Voice of the Family, 
  • Insight Scoop
  • Church Militant with Michael Voris
  • etc.

In short, every Catholic blog/website that traditionalists and their co-travellers consider "Scriptural" has turned out to be filled with whores and thieves, people willing to distort a synod of the Church just to get a few extra clicks in their pockets.

This isn't my opinion: this is what the orthodox bishops of the synod themselves tell us (see above). The Catholic press deliberately blew this teapot into a tempest to line their own pockets. Only Lifesitenews, to their credit, bothered to tell us the bishops' opinion on this, and you'll notice that they buried the lede.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Traditionalists Screw Up NFP

Some Catholics are upset with recent statements by Cardinal Kaspar concerning natural family planning. According to the UK Telegraph:
Cardinal Walter Kasper said it was “the responsibility of the parents” to decide how many children they should have.
Correct. The Church does not mandate that every married couple have a certain number of children or, that once they are parents, they must have a certain number of children in order to avoid being in sin. So how is this new? And why would Catholics object to any priest or cardinal pointing this out?
He also said that so-called natural family planning, which is promoted by the Church as an alternative to contraception, also has an “artificial” element.
Correct again. There is nothing natural about a thermometer (only invented in the 1600s) and there is nothing particularly natural about observing cervical mucus and using one's reason to discover why it looks the way it does. Human rationality is participation in the divine rationality of God - it is supernatural, not natural. The charting of days, the use of paper, pencil and mutually agreed meaningful signs (writing) on paper by the pencil in order to keep track of the signs of fertility - exactly how is this not artificial, that is, how it is NOT the result of artifice?

Do you see squirrels and moose engaged in such behaviour?
If so, why is the video not on Youtube?
Please.

Kaspar is giving standard Catholic teaching.
The newspaper is putting a secular spin on it.
This shocks someone?
Seriously?

Ladies and gentlemen, it's called "natural family planning" not because it is what the birds, bees, flowers and trees do, but because it is in accord with human nature.

Sadly, even Catholics no longer appear to understand this...

And since I see the traditionalists yelling about this the loudest, I must conclude that they are the most ignorant of these points of Faith.

Again.

Sigh.

Update
Look, here's a thought experiment:

Let's say we have two identical heterosexual couples, in both of which the woman is carrying a child who will be born prematurely. The first couple gives birth in the woods, amongst the birds, bees, flowers and trees. Seeing the child's precarious state, they immediately abandon the child on an anthill after giving birth. This allows the forest to benefit from the child's death as the various vegetation, insect and animals slowly consume the dying child and the nutrients from the resultant corpse.

The second couple, however, gives birth in a hospital. This child is immediately rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). While in NICU, the child is hooked up to literally dozens of beeping machines, is subjected to constant needle sticks and computer monitoring as dozens of technicians work to save the child's life.

Which is more natural?

According to natural law teaching, the second is natural, the first is not. In the first birth, the parents act against human nature by refusing to image the loving God who gives existence to all things. They refuse to assist their own child by trying to keep him alive. Instead, they act like animals and abandon their child to the elements.

Meanwhile, the second couple acts in the image and likeness of God by trying to help another image and likeness of God, their own child, live. Not only that, the entire community answers the call to image God, and everyone works to care for, love and save the child's life, offering up their work, tears, sacrifice and prayers so that the child might live.

The cross was made with human hands. The bread and wine at the altar are the work of human hands. The work of human hands is artifice - it is, technically, artificial. Artifice, also known as "art", is an act of creation that uses created things, forms them in new ways, and thereby attempts to image the original Divine creation of the universe out of nothing.  There is nothing wrong with creating or using something "artificial" - we are supposed to do that. It is, as Tolkien points out, one of the ways we image God, by being sub-creators.

The error comes when we use artifice, the artificial, to avoid imitating God. The natural law encourages, even requires, that we create and use artificial things. We must, if we are to imitate God, if we are to use our reason to its fullest extent. It is only when we use the artificial to shut God out instead of invite Him in, it is only then that we have violated the natural law.

The natural law isn't about Nature, red in tooth and claw. It is about the Natures that, in the person of God, were nailed to the Cross and sanctified by the red Blood and Body of Christ. The Cross is the result of artifice, it is artificial, but because it unites us with God, it sanctifies the artificial. Thus, it is actually a compliment to call NFP artificial, if we use it to draw closer to God.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mocking the Mass


This photo was posted by a priest who likes "Catholic traditionalism". Some of the responses from his Catholic friends and followers:
"hahahaha" 
"Excellent!"
"WOW..."
"that's cool"
"Took me a minute but I like the idea now that I got it. You don't want the driver facing you. You want him facing the direction you are all going."
"Hilarious! Well, whether or not one cares for the implications of the cartoon, the end result has proven to be accurate."
"WOW really Fr Jeff???"
"Though to be fair, facing the people isn't necessarily an aspect of the OF. My parish uses both forms, both facing the correct direction."
"the one with the driver looking where he's going"
"That is too funny" 
"Love it!"
Now think for a minute.
When I am sick, do I want the doctor facing away from me or towards me?

The priest is celebrating Mass, not driving a bus. Both facing towards and away from the people are reasonable positions - neither one is "better" than the other. It is just a question of whether or not you want to view the priest as primarily presenting the people to God (as the Jewish priests did) or presenting God to the people (as Jesus did).

The High Priest, standing alone in the Holy of Holies or at the altar of sacrifice, faced towards God on behalf of, and in spiritual union with, the people because he was man, but not God. Jesus, hanging on the Cross, faced towards the people, because He was fully God, and not just fully man. So, the "traditionalist" Catholic priest is acting as the Jewish High Priest acted, while the Novus Ordo Catholic priest is acting as Jesus on the Cross acted.

The Catholic priest is only a man, but while celebrating Mass he is in persona Christi, Who is both High Priest and Victim, thus either stance is fine.

But consider the responses. The cartoon mocks the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest who posted it has now mocked the Mass. Most of the Catholics who found it impressive or funny have participated in mocking the Mass. Mocking the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should really be reserved to dissenters, it should not be the habit of Catholics.

Now, to be fair, there IS a strong tradition of making mockery of the Mass, but this is mostly a tradition popular among non-Catholics. Unfortunately, this non-Catholic tradition appears to be a habit among "Catholic traditionalists". This makes me think "Catholics traditionalists" are definitely into tradition, they just are not into CATHOLIC tradition. 

"Catholic traditionalists" spend a lot of time on little "t" visions and mockery. They don't seem to register the fact that ALL liturgy is holy - an odd lacunae for both Catholics and those who claim to adhere to Tradition.

Now, a deacon responded to all of this by saying:
"What seems to go sadly unnoticed in these threads is that in these two priest-centric cartoons is that, in either 'form', the children aren't paying any attention to him...they are simply looking out of the windows.
What does that tell you?"
It tells me the Mass was created for adults, not for children. And it WAS created for adults, not for children. As I point out in my book, the Catholic school system actually encourages adults to leave the Faith, and this is one of the ways the schools do it: they put the smallest children at the front of a school Mass, the oldest at the back.

Over the course of years, this rotation teaches the oldest children an important lesson - as you get older and more mature, you should move closer to the door. Really mature adults stay as far away from the Mass as possible. 

You want to get the little kids? Don't let them see the Mass. Put them in the back. Tell them they aren't old enough, mature enough to really fully participate. Only adults get to sit near the front. Then watch the kids clamber over each other trying to prove they are big enough to do it.

Unfortunately, Catholic schools subtly teach a meta lesson.
Catholic traditionalists teach a complementary meta lesson.

Both lessons are designed to destroy the Catholic Faith.

Good job, Catholic traditionalists - you are driving home the very point made so subtly by the Catholic schools you so adore. Another home run for you both.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Praise of Welfare Queens

Are conservatives born hypocrites, or do they study to become so? Consider the frequent outrage visited upon those individuals who accept government welfare via the food stamp, WIC, or similar government programs. From whence comes this outrage? Are not the people who scream about welfare also the same people who burble with praise at the new highs the stock market has reached? And therein lies the hypocrisy.

What has the Bush-Obama "Quantitative Easing" (tm) nonsense accomplished? That money was not sent in checks to taxpayers. It was ladled out to banks and corporations, who promptly used it to inflate stocks and real estate prices. Given the economy, do you really think the endless rise of the stock market to repeated new highs since 2009 actually has anything to do with the underlying fundamentals? Seriously?



All that money had to go somewhere. It went into bidding up the price of existing assets - this is called asset inflation.  How is the rise in my stock portfolio NOT the result of government welfare? How is it NOT government money poured directly into my 501K in one of the most enormous contribution matching programs in the history of the country? Anyone who has a home loan at under 5% is receiving government welfare. The federal government does, after all, set the interest rates.

Same goes for Social Security. I will take out more than I ever put in, as my parents did before me. It was always and will always be a Ponzi scheme. It is accepting a government welfare check. But who turns it down?

Do you think Con Agra, Shell Oil, or any other large corporation got where they are by refusing to take government subsidies? How many colleges - many of whom employ professors preaching against welfare - have fattened their coffers and continuously raised the price of their tuition at rates far exceeding inflation? How do you think they managed that? That's right: it is due solely and only to the government welfare checks they receive in the form of government education grants and loans.

Everyone takes government welfare, but the high and mighty launder the money. They look down their noses at those who receive it via a direct government check. The rich much prefer that their welfare checks first be laundered through their stock market picks or corporate subsidies. That way, they can pretend they actually had something to do with the rise in the value of their chosen asset. It makes them feel important, smart. But it is government welfare, all the same.

How to Earn Your Welfare Check
200 years ago, if my only skill was knocking a small white ball into a hole in the ground, I would have starved. Today, I would be paid millions for my golf game. If it was a large orange ball that went through a hoop, it would be millions for basketball. There is no rhyme or reason to why these skills pay millions today apart from the fact that people perversely enjoy watching someone else do it.

But there are all kinds of skills that are worth money. Perhaps you're good at filling out paperwork. That might win you a lot of college scholarships. You might make a profession out of it as a grant writer. Or that skill might win you a lot of welfare checks. As long as you didn't lie when you filled out the forms, where's the moral problem here? It's a skill. It brings joy to thousands of mid-level government bureaucrats. Those lovely men and women feel like they are doing a very nice thing by getting you your welfare check after you successfully pass their vetting. In fact, without you they wouldn't have jobs. They need you in the same way that the people who run a scholarship trust need college applicants. The same way that grant-funding organizations need grant writers.

If Keanu Reeves can earn millions for acting (which I still don't understand how that's possible - Reeves must playing to a very niche audience), then why can't a welfare queen earn millions for pleasing a different niche audience, government officials?

I hate Keanu Reeves acting, you hate the welfare queen's paperwork skills, but somebody somewhere really likes both of them, which is how they earn their money. As long as no one is lying, there is nothing wrong with that. It's like winning a scholarship for left-handed red-heads. Luck of the genes, but you still get the money, right?

And why shouldn't you? You're red-headed and you're left-handed. The money was set aside for anyone like you who had the sense to fill out the form.

Whose Money?
But consider further. Once Keanu or I actually get that money for our respective skills, who are you to tell either one of us how to spend it? We earned it, him by acting, me by filling out the forms. It may have been your money once, but it was given to us and now it is ours. When you hand out Christmas presents, do you make the recipients urinate in a little cup first? They pass drug tests for you before they get birthday presents, do they? When you give Keanu Reeves your money at the theatre, do you tell him he's not allowed to buy mansions with it?  Do you follow your friends around to make sure you approve of the way they spend the money they got from you?

Because that's part of the job that comes with filling out the forms for government money. Government uses welfare as a form of control. Government is happy to get outraged at the idea that a small business might put restrictions on purchasing birth control through the business health plan, but government is quite happy to tell welfare recipients exactly where they can live (HUD), what they can eat (WIC), it puts a thousand restrictions on how welfare recipients can spend their money. When churches give money to the poor, they don't put restrictions on it - they just hand out the cash. But government uses it as a means of social control. It becomes a way for bureaucrats to manage every aspect of someone else's life.

And we conservatives get upset if the welfare queens figure out how to get around that level of micromanagement? Seriously?

The welfare queen deserves her check just as much as I deserve my stock portfolio. In fact, she probably worked harder to get her check than I did to get my stock increase.

I don't want to hear another word about the horror of welfare queens.
As long as they didn't lie, they earned their money and it is their money.
Quit telling them how to spend it.

If the reception of welfare really upsets you, then mind your own business so well that not even the smallest aspect is government subsidized. By the time you manage that, you'll be living in a cave somewhere in the Rockies, too busy growing your own food to be outraged at anything.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Inconceivable!

Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds

I think what the Huffington Post meant to say is that religious people have rich imaginations while atheists have none. Think Miracle on 34th Street, with Maureen O'Hara. That was a very sad child, who couldn't even imagine or embrace Santa Claus.

I especially like this quote:
"religious teaching, especially exposure to miracle stories, leads children to a more generic receptivity toward the impossible, that is, a more wide-ranging acceptance that the impossible can happen in defiance of ordinary causal relations.” 
Religious people went to the moon, because it was impossible. Now that we know it's possible, we don't go anywhere at all. As Humpty-Dumpty might say, "That's cause and effect for you.!"

Atheism has to be wrong if only because it's so boring.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stirring the Pot

Fr. John Zhulsdorf is a man with a mission. Unfortunately, his mission has very little to do with Catholic Faith. Like Father John Corapi before him, Fr. Z has discovered the secret to making money - get people angry. If they are angry, they will give you money and treats, they will beg you to keep feeding them things that will keep them angry.

When you are angry, you feel powerful, important. You feel like the world should shake at your company, because you shake. We like it when people make us angry, especially if we can be made to think we feel righteous anger. So, Fr. Zuhlsdorf highlights things like this. Then he questions what is happening, as if he has the right to question. And when you see a priest question this, you think you have the right to question it as well.

But you don't have that right. Neither does Rev. John Zuhlsdorf. The Church is not a democracy. As long as the parish boundaries aren't changed, bishop and priest have the right to do whatever they want in a parish. The Church is not a democracy.

There are certain areas where you simply have no rights. Liturgy is one of those areas. Your voice is not only not important, it can be positively scandalous (in the mortal sin sense of the word).

It. Does. Not. Matter. if you like communion on the tongue versus on the hand or if you prefer Raphael to Dali. Liturgy comes from Rome, not from lay people, not from priests, not even from bishops. If Rome approves something, then I have no further right to complain. Period. End of sentence.

This is why I can still kneel and receive in a church that has no altar railings. This is why, technically, a Catholic can demand communion in the hand at a Tridentine Mass. It is permitted. I don't care if you like it. I don't care if I personally hate it. You and I don't have a voice. It is not our business. The Church is not a democracy. The conversation is done.

Bishop does what bishop wants in his own diocese. As long as he is not infringing on anyone's canonical rights, he has complete authority to do whatever he wants. Parishioners do not have a right to decide what they think constitutes a beautiful church (as if you could ever get parishoiners to agree if you were so foolish as to allow them their opinion). That right belongs to the bishop and the bishop alone. He delegates some of this to his pastors, but even there pastors generally have to get all major church changes approved by the bishop's diocesan liturgical committee.

If pastors deign to listen to your opinion, count yourself unusually blessed. They are under no requirement to do so. This is bishop's church, not yours.

Now I am the person who designed every poster at BestCatholicPosters.com and www.zazzle.com/bestcatholicposters. I have very definite ideas about what kind of art I like. But my opinion is my opinion, and no bishop is under a canonical requirement to listen to me or even to allow me to speak publicly on the matter. I can make known (privately) my thoughts to the pastors, but he is not required to seriously entertain anything I have to say.

As long as no canonical rights are infringed, I have no business yelling about what a pastor is doing in his own church. Rev. Z has the habit of getting outraged about things that are really none of his business. That's why I stopped reading him years ago. All he does is foment dissension. Catholics need to recognize boundaries. Traditionalist Catholics don't like boundaries, they like anger. Rev. John Zuhlsdorf is in the business of stoking anger. Rev. John Zuhlsdorf keeps throwing his opinion around like somebody should care. No one should care. His opinion on church art and fifty cents won't buy you coffee at Starbucks.

But, speaking of coffee, coffee pretty much seems to be the purpose of his blog.

As far as I can tell, his blog exists solely in order to encourage lay people to pay for his bird feed, coffee, sweets, and favorite books. Because most of what he says is not really Catholic, it's just stirring the pot.

He is part of the reason that trads have a reputation of being angry and mean. Trads read him and like him. Trads get angry and yell at or about or around the bishop. Bishop decides he can be treated like this by the secular press - why encourage Catholics who do the same? And thus trads are ignored, relegated to the back burner and treated like red-headed stepchildren. Because all trads do is throw tantrums. They like standing around the pot as it is stirred. And then they cry when it is ladled out to them.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Suffer the Children

I don't understand why Americans are opposed to importing other countries' children. Caucasians aren't having babies anymore. They currently make up 70% of the population, but have less than 50% of the babies and we've been in this situation since 2011. It won't change. By 2050, this will be a majority "minority" country even if all immigration stopped today. And the only people who have children are first-generation immigrants. Second-generation has the same birth dearth that the native population has - by the second generation, the American Borg have assimilated them.

The situation is brutally simple: we aren't having enough babies to sustain economic growth. We *HAVE* TO steal other countries' children if we want to maintain the economy we are used to.

That's why no one is really going to stop immigration, ever. The only shocking thing is that we're actually going straight for the kids this time, instead of importing parents and waiting for them to have children, which is what we always used to do.

Screw the countries that are losing the kids. Human beings are the greatest resource any country can have, and we're stripping Central and South American countries of that resource just as quickly as we can. George Will recognizes this, which is why he's four-score FOR the immigration.

What is rather more shocking is that the USCCB hasn't addressed this issue at all. A strong argument can be made that we are actually violating Catholic teaching by importing other countries' children, directly stripping these other countries of their future. Sure, the argument FOR immigration, that we're re-uniting families, is undoubtedly more powerful, but the argument against is not exactly weak.

The more children we take from any country, the more completely destroyed it will be within a generation. Why do you think Russia has outlawed adoptions abroad? They already have a birth dearth that will essentially destroy them in a century. They don't need to hemorrhage any more children. China is in a similar situation. Inside of 50 years, every country in the world will be in this situation.

By stealing children, we are buying time. Sure, the country won't look the same as it did, won't have the same values as it did, but it doesn't look the same now as it did in the 1930s, nor did the 1930s look like the 1870s, and none of these decades looked like 1789. We've had one Constitution but several Americas over the course of the last 200 years. This immigration policy merely assures that we will have at least one America more before the Baby Bust destroys everything.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Creative Minority Fears

Creative Minority Reports has is apparently running scared. Patrick apparently fears the accuracy of what I have to say to him, he deeply fears public chastisement and correction. He told me as much in a private communication to me.

Why?

Well, because he's acting like a Protestant. Protestants proof-text Scripture. He proof-texts the Magisterium, choosing papal quotes without benefit of the context in which they were presented or the audiences to which they were addressed. 

Just as Freemasons try to subtly undermine Church authority, so he attempts the same by pretending that one Pope can be set against another. 

The sedevacantists (i.e., Protestants) LOVE what he is doing. Yes, there is a lesson in this. He is drifting away from the Church and taking a lot of ambivalent Catholics with him. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Seal of the Confessional

After reading this article concerning the Louisiana Supreme Court's attempt to jail a priest for refusing to break the seal of the confessional, it occurred to me that people only associate this seal with priests - they fail to associate with lay people. And that is a serious mistake.

Note two pieces of information:
Fr. Bayhi is not accused of any physical or sexual wrongdoing himself, but refuses to confirm whether the girl, who was 12 at the time of the alleged abuse, did confess to him, and what the contents of the alleged confessions were...
In an unusual move, Fr. Bayhi’s diocese — which typically has a policy against commenting on legal cases — released a statement in opposition to the ruling.
“A priest is compelled never to break that seal [of confession],” it says. “Neither is a priest allowed to admit that someone went to confession to him. If necessary, the priest would have to suffer a finding of contempt in a civil court and suffer imprisonment rather than violate his sacred duty…. A priest/confessor who violates the seal of confession incurs an automatic excommunication.”
Note the two elements of the seal of the confessional. A priest not only cannot indicate what sins were confessed, he is not even permitted to indicate that someone went to confession with him.

And lay people are under the same seal. Let us assume, for instance, that through some quirk of remarkably bad luck, I were to hear part or all of someone's confession. I would violate the seal if I were to reveal what I had heard. But I would also violate the seal if I were to indicate that I knew this person had gone to confession at all. And in both cases, I would be subject to the same penalty a priest would be subject to for having broken the seal - automatic excommunication.

Now, let us say I saw Joe Smith in the confessional line. Could I remark on that to someone else? Yes, because I don't necessarily know why he was in line.  Perhaps he only appeared to be in line, but was actually waiting for some event to start. Perhaps he was standing in line to hold a place for someone else. Even if I saw him enter the confessional, I would not necessarily know that he did so in order to confess and receive absolution. Perhaps he and Father had a pre-arranged agreement whereby he was able to receive five minutes of spiritual direction this way, without confession or absolution, because he had no other time in which to arrange it. I don't know.

But insofar as I do know that Joe Smith confessed his sins and received absolution, I am no more permitted to remark on it publicly than any priest would be.  And no priest is permitted to remark on it at all.

Indeed, even speaking in a way that implied I had such knowledge when, in fact, I did not would be a gross violation of Joe's rights as a Catholic. This is between him and Jesus. I am not part of his conversation with God, nor may I pretend that I was.

I cannot say that someone is in a state of grace or not, I cannot publicly imply knowledge of a penitent's reception of absolution. These things are not known by me and I violate the penitent's dignity and the very Truth to pretend that I know either one.

So, let us imagine a hypothetical situation in which a parish staff member was given to understand in some way that someone had gone to confession. Insofar as that parish staff member was given that understanding by a priest, the priest has violated the seal of the confessional. Insofar as that staff member made public his/her understanding, whether actual or implied, of the penitent's reception of absolution, that staff member may well also have violated the seal of the confessional. Insofar as that understanding was made public, both the staff member and the priest responsible for that staff member bear responsibility before the bishop and before God.

Now, we all condemn the sin of child rape. But a priest who commits such a sin is not excommunicated by the very act. True, he is in a state of mortal sin by having knowingly and willfully committed the act, but he is not automatically excommunicated. But breaking the seal of the confessional is a much more heinous sin than even the rape of a child.

Just as a parishioner would be duty-bound to report to the bishop the possibility of impropriety between an ordained man and a child, so much more is a parishioner duty-bound to report the possibility of impropriety concerning the confessional seal.

If I have in any way misunderstood the seal, I would be gladdened to be corrected in the comments. But this is the understanding I was given in my graduate theology training, and this is the understanding every priest I have ever met has communicated to me.

Pray for priests, especially the priests of Louisiana, but also the priests throughout the nation, that they may successfully avoid this most grievous sin. And insofar as any of us laity become aware of the possibility that this sin may have been committed, pray for the laity, that we have the courage to say what needs to be said to the bishop whose responsibility it is to guard the seal of the confessional. For if we stand silent while the confessional seal is being violated, it is worse than if we stood silent while a child was being violated.