Burnout

The battle over Kasperism has made the entire subject of Catholicism unpleasant to me.  It all feels so futile.  Once again I realize that the battles that really matter were all lost before I was born.  During the JPII years, it felt like, after conceding so much ground, we were finally going to turn around and fight the world.  A fight for truth and virtue, even if from a fatally compromised position, would have had something splendid about it.  Now the Church has directed her energies to figuring out ways of surrendering to the world by ways of vague and sentimental speaking, and it’s painful to watch.  It’s not even intellectually fun.  Liberalism and Marxism are at least wrong in interesting ways; one really learns something unpacking what’s wrong about them.  I had a lot of fun attacking feminists and communists, and maybe they should take it as a compliment.  But with Kasperism, there’s no “there” there.  It’s just a bunch of soundbites about “mercy” and whatnot that nobody even attempts to apply consistently (e.g. no mercy for “racists”).  They’re not even ideas; they’re just slogans meant to signal piety and throw skeptics momentarily off guard.  And this is where the Church has chosen to direct her collective mind.  Not only is it stupid and boring, even its refutation is an uninteresting intellectual chore, patiently pointing out the equivocations and inconsistencies while the world ignores and Francis moves on to his next harangue.

Maybe this is good for me spiritually.  I once read that an interest in theology is often a bad sign in a seminarian, and an interest in ecclesiastic politics is probably bad for anyone.  Faith shouldn’t be an intellectual or political game, although when intellectual or political challenges arise, they must be met.  (Even so, was it not arrogant of me to think that I should be a part of it?)  For a while I’ll be limiting myself religion-wise to thinking about those things it’s actually my job to think about:  dealing with my own sins, teaching my children about God, and stuff like that.

30 Responses

  1. […] By Bonald […]

  2. Check out this graph. I find it very helpful. When I ask myself “why do biologists seem so dumb?” it turns out the answer is because biologists are dumb, as a group. Theologians are double plus dumb.

    Pope Benedict, whom everyone seems to agree is smart for a theologian, strikes me as a pedestrian thinker. Talking about how Church teaching is *really* the same even though it seems to contradict itself because it is taught by the same subject Church is just embarrassing. You pointed out in a post how sad the recourse to prophetic this and that is as a way of getting out of making any damn sense.

    Or think about how depressing it is to talk to an M Div.

    This battle seems to have been lost in the aftermath of the Condemnations of 1277. When theology lost its pride of place at the apex of Western thought, the smart guys stopped studying it. If St Thomas Aquinas were alive today, he’d probably be working as a quant on Wall St.

  3. Isn’t unpacking the errors of Bergoglio part of teaching your children, lest they fall into them?

  4. Don’t forget Fatima. The prophecies were pretty explicit about Marxist errors spreading to the whole world and the church hierarchy suffering for it.

  5. Isn’t unpacking the errors of Bergoglio part of teaching your children, lest they fall into them?

    Like Bonald says, though, they are not interesting enough to be pedagogically useful. OK, junior, when HH says that the miracle of the loaves and fishes was a “miracle of sharing,” is that right? Good job! Next, HH says that trying to convert people to the One True Faith is “solemn nonsense.” What do you think of that? Excellent! Maybe with a little less spitting rage next time, but that’s just a detail. HH is of the opinion that Our Lady believed that God is a liar. What do you think of that? Hey! Junior! We don’t burn sitting Popes in effigy *inside* the house!

  6. Or how about this one: “True or False: the Pope is one to judge.”

  7. Right. If we take the Pope’s own words seriously, we shouldn’t take the Pope’s words too seriously. If nothing else Francis may represent the end of ultramontanism — and good riddance.

  8. I don’t think it will be possible for run-of-the-mill conservative Catholics to ever trust the Papacy again. Even if we get “our guy” on the throne, our loyalty will be contingent. Conservative Catholics, except for the traditionalists, used to think of the pope as the leader of our team, even though we often didn’t like his concessions to the Left. I would always tell myself that he’s under huge pressure and has to pick his battles. This seemed pretty plausible to me, growing up in the JPII years. Now we need some separate organization, a party within the Church dedicated exclusively to the pre-Vatican II vision of orthodoxy, and that will be the leader of “our side”. Like with the distinction between a party and the nation, the nation/Church is the ultimate locus of loyalty, but the party is what we trust to promote what we think is good for the nation/Church. This will ultimately be for the best, but it’s quite depressing, realizing how marginal we are in the Church in whose cause we thought we were fighting.

  9. To all:

    If your natural father were publicly* spouting absurdities and questionable statements, what would be a proper response?

    *Publicly being with reference to your family, not society at large.

  10. Harmless absurdities or harmful absurdities?

  11. Have him committed? Urgently see that he holds no position of authority? Lots and lots of tranquilizers?

  12. ArkansasReactionary:

    How to respond when your father (or the King or the Pope or what have you) becomes senile or whatever is a prudential judgment. There is no universal rule, although of course there are all sorts of rules which apply to consideration of the particulars.

    One general consideration is that your actions should, as much as possible, refrain from undermining fatherhood per se. But if Father is dancing in the street naked and drunk, and at the same time assuring us that his authority qua father is minimal, that consideration is mitigated to some extent by the fact that letting the spectacle pass without comment or action may itself be a tremendous detriment to fatherhood per se.

  13. “I don’t think it will be possible for run-of-the-mill conservative Catholics to ever trust the Papacy again.”

    Certainly not for page-a-day calendar quotes anymore.

  14. I’m not talking about senility, I’m talking about ingestion of bad ideas.

  15. Zippy:

    Is saying we can’t look to the Pope as our leader an undermining of the papacy?

  16. A little droll English encouragement from Bonald’s blogroll.

    We must still be in communion with the Pope Francis. Not sure exactly what that means, but whatever it is, I’m fer it.

  17. AR:
    Does saying that we can’t look to a wayward father – who himself explicitly disclaims the fatherly authority to judge, and says that people should just decide for themselves what to do – as a leader, undermine fatherhood per se?

    What is the proper response of subjects when the king explicitly opposes monarchical authority?

  18. What is the proper response of subjects when the king explicitly opposes monarchical authority?

    That’s easy.

  19. No, but saying “Conservative Catholics, except for the traditionalists, used to think of the pope as the leader of our team . . .we need some separate organization . . . and that will be the leader of ‘our side’” might.

    The proper response is to wait. Nature has a way of removing bad leaders automatically.

  20. The Spanish Republic was actively persecuting the Church. That is in no way comparable to anything the Pope has done, even if it were possible to depose ecclesiastical authority.

  21. And Franco did not depose the king. Or do anything particularly unkind to him. The king was a putz interested in his reputation among the scum. This reputation required that he not rule. Franco deposed the Marxists and then did his best to rule wisely as regent-but-not-in-name. He more or less ignored the king.

  22. There was no king, the monarchy was abolished in 1931. Franco reinstated the monarchy without installing a specific king, until he designated Prince Juan Carlos I to become king upon his death.

    He did overthrow the regime in power, the Second Republic, and rightfully so given how utterly tyrannical they were.

    But Pope Francis is

    a. not anywhere near that bad, and
    b. has his authority by receiving it (indirectly) from God, as opposed to it being part of the natural constitution of society.

  23. So, we agree?

  24. I don’t know about you, but my thoughts are much clearer than they were when I started this blog, and that’s a worthwhile thing.

  25. You’re coming around Bonald… No personal solution to a collective descent.

  26. @DrBill

    I’m not sure, what exactly is the point of contention.

    @Bonald

    Was this meant as a reply to the other comment thread?

    Us getting our own thoughts clear is good, but it’s not going to have a lasting impact in and of itself.

  27. Oh yeah. Oops.

  28. I suggested Franco as an example of how you behave when the king does not want to be a king but does not have the decency to abdicate. (Specifically, you fight the king’s fights for him and keep the throne warm in case he regains his sanity or whatever). I think you took me to mean that we should rebel against the Pope and depose him, the way Franco rebelled against the Spanish Republic and deposed it. Naturally, you found this idea objectionable.

    I tried to point out that the analogy I was trying to make was Franco:Alfonso::us:Francis instead of the position you seemed to be assigning to me Franco:Republic::us:Francis. I don’t think I was successful, since you then decided to take up the question of whether Alfonso was still king after 1931. Given that he did not abdicate and that Franco thought he was king, I’m kind of baffled as to how his objective status is relevant. So, I thought I’d try to provoke you to explain where you thought we disagreed.

    I misremembered one thing. Franco did call himself regent, so he was regent in name.

  29. Ok, I see now that I completely missed the point. I basically agree with your assessment then.

  30. […] Refuting actual heresy is fun, but refuting vague gestures is boring. Bonald calls Burnout: […]

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