What the Pope should have done

In retrospect, it’s all perfectly clear.  Everything has conspired to produce the worst of all possible worlds.  Still, if the Vatican had anticipated the American attack ten years ago, appropriate measures might have been taken.

The key would be to convince the world at large that the United States is not a disinterested judge of the Church’s behavior.  Some big fight and diplomatic incident should have been created.  The papacy’s opposition to the Iraq invasion provided the perfect opportunity, if only they would have seized it.  Most of the world would have been on the Church’s side.  Of course, the pope’s opinion of the war was well known, but it was never exploited to produce an incident.  Far better if the Vatican had declared the USA a criminal regime, absolved American Catholics of their national allegiance, and excommunicated all American Catholics in the military.  (A delightful side benefit would be the “that’s right, bitches–Innocent III is baaack!” message sent to other nations.)

The key lesson to learn from the downfall of the Catholic Church is this:  never apologize; always attack first.  The ironic thing, of course, is that the record of the United States on sexual abuse is much worse than that of the Catholic Church.  Consider the epidemic of rape in our prisons and sexual abuse in our schools, both reflecting brazen negligence on the part of the government.  Add to that the horrifying revelations of the rape of Afghan boys being permitted by our troops.  These are not things that happend 40 years ago (like most of the accusations against the Church); these are things that are happening right now.  Of course, Vatican spokesmen can’t exploit these facts now, because it would just look like an attempt to shift attention away from the Church’s own wrongdoing.  That’s because the USA struck first.  If the Church had called out the USA on its own evils, before being herself attacked, then the State would be on the defensive.  Then it would be accusations of clerical sexual abuse that would look like a distraction move.  Let this be a lesson to all institutions:  the way you get a reputation for righteousness among the general public is by attacking other institutions.  The more institutions you attack, the more immunity you yourself will have from criticism.  Self-criticism, looking at the log in your own eye, that sort of thing just makes you look guilty.  Attack, attack, attack.  Always attack.  Attack first.  Attack hard.  Never let up.

What the Church actually did was the worst thing imaginable.  She went around apologizing and condemning the sins of her members.  This just made her look more guilty.  After all, if the Church is the only one apologizing for something, then she must be uniquely guilty, right?  Wrong, but that’s the way the world thinks.  The other defense mechanism was to tighten their child protection policies, which now treat all priests as presumed criminals from the day they enter seminary.  Already when I was a kid, no priest would dare be alone with a minor.  There were regulations against it.  Will any of this lower the incident of clerical sexual abuse?  Maybe, but that won’t help the Church any.  No policy implemented now can change things that happened thirty to forty years ago, and that’s where all the focus is.  Really, if you look at how paranoid things are now at the parish level, you’ll see that there isn’t any point in taking this any farther.  Regulationwise, the only thing more the Church could do to decrease the rate of clergy sexual abuse would be to abolish the priesthood.  This wouldn’t do anything to protect children from sexual abuse, but for journalists, it’s only the collar that matters.  They’re a very superstitious bunch, after all.

Always attack.  Never apologize.  It’s worked very well for the liberals, the communists, and the Muslims.  To my Protestant friends:  take note.  It’s probably too late for the Catholics, but the State will be coming after you too, and you may still have time to apply these lessons.

6 Responses

  1. Hi Mr. Bonald,

    As one of your regular readers since I was introduced to your weblog through Mr. Roebuck at the VFR site, I can’t help to notice that your tone regarding these judicial attacks on the RCC is quite mournful, dangerously close to some form of nihilism in a couple of phrases.
    I am not positively stating that such sentiment is unwarranted or completely illogical (the mournful part), but I submit to you that other scenarios might be at least as likely as this dark outcome. First of all, do you have any information on the Church’s position on these matters (not only the US lawsuits, but also the bizarre attempt to issue an arrest warrant for the Pope the UK)? Do they (i.e., the Pope, or at least this Pope or the Holy See) perceive it as a grave existential threat?

    Similarly to what happened during your discussion with Mr. Roebuck, I believe that you again wrongly attribute to the current liberal order more stability than it in fact has. You seem to speak of USA as a uniform entity, without any internal contradictions and growing tensions (yes, even taking in account the liberal hegemony). I submit to you that the conservative side of the country, or at least the ones who think of themselves as conservatives while being in fact right-liberals (e.g., the entirety of the Republican Party), would react vigorously and strongly against it. Couldn’t Mr. Lawrence Auster’s “unprincipled exception” to liberalism kicks in such extreme scenario? Couldn’t the same be said of the US Catholics, even if the large part of them repeatedly practices a couple of mortal sins? I also ask myself if would not be outside the realm of possibility having some Catholic USMC Colonel or Delta Force Major refusing to carry out such immoral orders, and sparking a crisis in the military/civilian relationships.

    Finally, I am interested to know why you haven’t considered, in your worst-case scenario (an assault against the Vatican City itself), the use of some country in Latin America, in particular Brazil as a safe haven for the conclave. Sure, Brazilian Catholics are maybe more inclined to heretical practices (but not in heretical speech) than US or European ones, but the unabashed, pathological and quite bizarre anti-Americanism that is prevalent in Brazil might make them inclined to hinder a US action whenever they can (I must point out that I am Brazilian Protestant and an admirer of the US – at least its pre-1960’s version :-). Its is important to understand that, while governed by a cadre of Communist, Socialists and regular Fascists (in the economic sense, through the association between Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor) inside and outside the Church, Brazil still keep some form of deference to the RCC that ought to be explored.

    Keep the good fight


  2. Hello Mr. Silva,

    Thank you for giving me your thoughts on the Papacy’s predicament. I would say that the sin that I’ve come close to is despair, rather than nihilism. I suspect that the pope himself doesn’t regard the situation as being as dire as I’ve presented it. Neither does Mr. Magister in the article I quote. He says, “It is unlikely that the pope will actually be brought to stand trial for the crimes of one of his employees”, but he doesn’t give any reason why it is unlikely. So far, the legal movement to lock up the pope has been proceeding without a hitch. I certainly hope that I’m missing something. One possibility is, as you said, that Republicans will put pressure on the pope’s behalf. After all, an actual attack on foreigners would require some cooperation from the executive, and President Obama has made it clear that this is not something he wants to do. Perhaps with enough Republican support, he would defy a judicial order. I can’t predict how these politicians will respond until after the public opinion polls start coming in. If the New York Times whips up enough rage against the Church, the attack will happen.

    Latin America is an interesting possibility. Brazil wouldn’t be my first choice, mostly because I cringe at the thought of having the Holy Father under the power of a committed sexual revolutionary like President Lula. Also, the Tridentine reforms never came to Portugal or its empire, so I assume that Brazilian Catholicism is pretty much worthless. There are probably other Latin American countries that are both anti-USA and less-than-violently anticlerical that would be good choices. What do you think about Chile? They used to have a strong Christian Democratic party.

  3. Hi again Mr. Bonald,

    I just finished my D.Eng. at the University of São Paulo and therefore I am no stranger to the corrosive effect that immersion on the acid of atheist/utilitarian/cosmopolitan/androgynist regime (as so aptly summarized by you) can have over one’s soul, spirit and mind. Believe me, being (or at least trying to be) a “proper” Christian conservative in a dysfunctional country like mine – where even the mildest form of right-wing liberalism is deemed bordering the unacceptable – can be quite taxing on one’s sanity. However, I must point out that your discussion on the possibility of terror attacks against government buildings and military was well… a tad shocking. I humbly hope that our discussion can have a therapeutic effect for both of us.

    Allow me to expand my speculations a bit more. I understand that the enforcement of such monstrous judicial decision would most certainly require extensive cooperation from the US executive branch. Such decision, lets be honest, is not judicial, it is political. Given that, its enforcement would not be performed by any law enforcement agency, but through the military. However, it would not happen on a vacuum. The world where such monstrous act would take place is a world (lets say circa 2020) with significant differences in comparison with the one that we have today. Imagine a sort of “30 years war” already in course in the Middle East, perhaps due the Iranian imperial project, perhaps due to the utter and complete Pakistani instability. Imagine also a Europe where the EU has somewhat melted away, perhaps due to the PIIGS financial collapse (or even due the British “PIIG on steroids”) or due to a 20%-25% Muslim population on Belgium or France (I understand that is hard to locate a “liberal democracy” with this kind of demographics). Finally, imagine a Latin America almost completely taken by Hugo Chavez’s “Bolivarianism”, having only Brazil and Colombia as counterpoints to such revolution (by very different reasons).

    Considering the above scenario, would you consider Colombia as a refuge? I know, I know, there is the FARC and all that is brought by these degenerate monsters, but we can’t be picky, can’t we? Would the US antagonize the Colombia in a subcontinent that is engulfed by a Cuban-Venezuelan revolution? Another possibility, again considering the previous scenario, could be Poland. With the collapse of the EU, and the need to prop up Poland as a counterpoint to Russian influence in Europe, the US might have no other option but drop this devilish enterprise or at least look the other way while Poland houses the whole Holy See. Maybe a future White House occupant might be forced to pull an “Andrew Jackson” on this judicial nonsense.

    I believe you are slightly wrong about President Lula. He is much closer to a “classical” latin american “caudilho” (a corrupt criminal narcissist populist) than to a “committed sexual revolutionary” (the man is not THAT committed to anything but his own personal power). In fact, the most committed Cuban-Venezuelan “Bolivarian revolutionaries” are starting to see him as an “apostate” (he is not “moving along with the revolutionary program” as they would like). Don’t get me wrong. His Worker’s Party (PT) is a train wreck with everything that is bad in the world, from “abortion rights” to “gay rights”, but it seems clear that Lula is far more popular than his party. He is also more susceptible to popular pressure over unpopular measures (like the ludicrous “anti-homophobia laws”) than his party (or any other party) congressmen. I believe, however, that you are sadly correct about the Brazilian Catholicism: it is indeed worthless, the culmination of every diabolical Gramscian dream of a Marxist soul possessing a Christian body that is dead on inside. By suggesting Latin America as the region of a possible haven to the RCC, I aim to a single objective: to find a damn country that decides to defy the US (or the UK, or the UN) on that matter with unbridled enthusiasm. We (I say we because I am obviously apprehensive about the survival of the “true” Catholicism too) cannot ask for a lot of non-anti-clericalism in Latin America, only for anti-americanism. Lets pray that such sentiment is enough to assure the granting of refuge to the Pope and/or the conclave, in the best tradition of the “the enemy of my enemy is my enemy” Arab tribalism.

    Finally, I try to answer directly to your question. You are right by pointing Chile as less anti-clerical than Brazil (I understand that Colombia could be classified as less anti-clerical too), but given its minuscule size and the fact that it is far less anti-american, I am skeptic. While US pressure on Brazil could have a reverse effect, strengthening its resolve to stick it to the “americanos” (look at the Brazilian participation on the Iranian imbroglio), I fear that Chile might break. Anyway, don’t let Latin America fool you. Every time that someone tells you that a Latin American politician is “conservative”, it means that he is somewhere on the right-liberal side. Don’t forget that the conservative Chilean president Sebastian Piñera, while against the abortion and euthanasia is, for instance, in favor of the distribution of the “next-day pill” (yes, yes, I notice how inconsistent it is). Remember also that his predecessor was the socialist Michelle Bachelet.

  4. Hello Mr. Silva,

    I’m fascinated by your speculations. It’s too bad this subject is so depressing, or else this excercise would actually be fun. I’m afraid I’m pretty busy now, but maybe I’ll have time to reply at length later. For now, a few points:

    1) I forgot to mention before that I think the pope is absolutely crazy to be even considering going to England.

    2) I admit that even weighing the advantages and disadvantages of terrorism is arguably a depraved activity, but in this case I was trying to make a point about the helplessness of the world’s Catholics. The point is that they couldn’t be much trouble even if they were willing to set aside all moral and legal scruples. I appreciate your understanding.

    3) If the EU were to implode, Poland would be a very good choice.

  5. Greetings Bonald:

    When I first saw your series of posts on America possibly attacking the Vatican, I feared that perhaps you were beginning, shall we say, to lose your marbles.

    Upon further reflection, though, I see that your scenario is not completely without plausibility. For one thing, the precedent of invading foreign countries for their own good has been set, and given that there are no theoretical limits on the depravity of liberalism, we cannot rule out the American invasion you hypothesize. I still think it’s highly unlikely, since whichever party is seen as responsible would lose a good number of Catholic votes. But since we must understand reality and plan for contingencies, your posts on this subject do have value.

    As a confessional Protestant, I seek to understand which dog I have in this fight. And this brings up an important issue: how can faithful Protestants and Catholics cooperate as much as possible without losing their integrity? After all, each sees the other as making serious theological mistakes.

    I believe there are two keys to producing maximal Protestant-Catholic cooperation here, one well known and the other not. The well-known point is that since sociopolitical conservatism is not directly concerned with the question of exactly how individuals are saved from the wrath of God, nor with the question of exactly how God wants us to worship, Catholics and Protestants can cooperate where they agree: on how society ought to be ordered.

    But there is a second point: I believe that for cooperation to be most fruitful, we need to give Protestants and Catholics permission to disagree publicly on theological issues that are secondary to sociopolitical conservatism. Otherwise, an individual may be suspected by his coreligionists of compromise with heresy, in which case his morale may suffer.

    Getting back to the issue of an American invasion of Vatican City: If the Pope were being opposed (non-physically) because of the Catholic Church’s doctrines of Papal infallibility, Purgatory, the Marian doctrines and so on, I would join the opposition. But the threat to the Pope has nothing to do with theology. He is being opposed for his support of what I support: authority, tradition, patriarchy and traditional religion. Therefore, in this fight, I support the Roman Catholic Church.

  6. Hello Prof. Roebuck,

    I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. I was out of town this weekend babysitting my niece. I may indeed have been a bit hysterical. The trouble is, everything liberals plan to do seems very improbable until they actually do it. Most people still regard the effort to bring the pope “to justice” as a long shot, but it’s passed enough legal barriers to get me very worried.

    I’ve been thinking myself a bit about what the proper Protestant response should be to the Catholic–anti-Catholic clashes that I expect to grow in intensity with time. I think you have the right long-term attitude: Protestants should give their sympathy to the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) when it’s attacked for standing on Christian principles, and they should give the attackers their sympathy when the attack is based on Protestant principles. Practically, things are less clear. For me, an attack on the papacy would be the end of the world. For conservative Protestants, while it’s something to deplore, it’s also probably not worth spending a lot of political capital on. As an ally, it pains me to say that the RCC is next to worthless. About 99% of its populace are liberals who would love to see the hierarchy humiliated and (perhaps) replaced. Since Vatican II, the clergy have had no discipline, and many of the laity have reverted to outright heathenry. It’s as if, in the name of ecumenical understanding, we decided to fulfill and exceed the Protestants’ worst stereotypes about us. From your point of view, the media/government are attacking a group that you’re not directly invested in, but you know that they’re after you too. The key is to study the enemy, learn from the RCC’s mistakes, and try to make sure no legal precedents get established that can later be turned on you. That’s my advice to my Protestant readers. Also, please pray for your Roman Catholic friends.

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