All sex all the time

It’s just a rumor now, but would anyone be surprised if Pope “I care too much about world poverty to get hung up on sexual rules” decides the next topic the world’s bishops must discuss is priestly celibacy?

In what feels like a long time ago, I would have been able to muster the energy to fight over this, but Pope Francis has already attacked something much closer to my heart, so all I I can do is shrug my shoulders and say “Who cares anymore?”

Just a few points:

  1. People complain about a priest shortage.  At least they did.  Lately things have gotten so bad that we look back longingly on the day when we liked our priests enough to actually wish we had more.  The truth is that what we have is not a priest shortage but a laity surplus.  If the Church is to survive, it must somehow eject that 90% or so who are actually on the other side.  There are more than enough priests to minister to the rest.
  2. Clerical celibacy and marital indissolubility spring from the same source in the Catholic imagination–the romance of life-disposing sacred vows.  One can consistently affirm one without the other, but it’s no coincidence that the two have the same enemies and that the only Christian body to maintain the doctrine of marital indissolubility without compromise is the one that has a celibate clergy.
  3. In contemporary Catholicism, there are only two subjects:  sex and not-sex.  And talking about not-sex is just a sly way of talking about sex.  Remember when the Pope addressed Congress and talked about not-sex for the whole speech?  And the take-away message is that conservatives should stop obsessing with sex and realize that abortion and homosexuality are awesome?  (That was the message taken by both liberal and conservative media.  And since it was entirely predictable to everyone, including the Pontiff, that this is the message that would be received from such an address, it follows that it was also the intended message, the real message.)  Not that I would claim to be any better than the media.  After all, I could have written a post about drinking water access in the third world, but I didn’t, because that would be boring.  This is a post about sex.  But I’ve got this on His Humbleness:  at least I don’t pretend that I’m not obsessed with sex.

54 Responses

  1. Integrism is far bigger problem in Catholicism than sex.

  2. @Bonald

    “all I can do is shrug my shoulders and say “Who cares anymore?”

    You have made a few comments like this recently – but I am not sure what the implications for your living faith are – if any.

    How do you function as a devout Catholic under these circumstances that you apparently believe the Pope is deliberately leading the church astray/ into apostasy? At the very least it must be different from how you functioned up until Francis I, when you felt could trust the Pope’s intentions.

    What I am asking is not for some kind of rationale, but an idea of what you *actually* do, on a day by day, week by week, basis to try and hold onto what you regard as the true path?

    (At a much lower level of significance, and by analogy – I have had to work out some kind of way of functioning inside the university system, in science and in psychiatry – under circumstances where I am *sure* that the leadership are fifth columnist saboteurs.)

  3. Bruce:

    What I am asking is not for some kind of rationale, but an idea of what you *actually* do, on a day by day, week by week, basis to try and hold onto what you regard as the true path?

    I know you asked Bonald but the answer is the same as it has always been, with perhaps one new addition: prayer, fasting, participation in valid sacraments, seeing to personal responsibilities within the scope and limitations of our personal situations and powers, recognizing that we are not particularly important nor do we sit at some nexus point ‘end of history’, recognizing that heresy has been rampant before and there have been bad popes before, and griping on the Internet.

  4. Any widening of the pool of men who could potentially be priests would be a disaster. At this point, the liberals have the problem that a significant majority of the men who are willing to make this sacrifice in order to become priests are more orthodox than they, the liberals, are. Right now they are up against it. Overly liberal bishops don’t have any vocations. The priest shortage is becoming acute. They have to do something. If nothing is done for them, the liberals will have to tolerate somewhat orthodox seminary instruction and will have to moderate their own behavior.

    Anything which widens the pool of potential priests gives the liberals more scope to shape the future priesthood to their liking. Think about the people who would suddenly qualify to be priests. Think about all those liberal married couples who infest essentially all the “ministries” at a typical parish. Think about all those permanent deacons. Think about the kind of person a life-long, hyper-safe but ill-paying job will attract. Take away the big sacrifice, and disaster will ensue.

    Taking a decision to permit more married men to become priests will lengthen the crisis, maybe by centuries. I agree with Bonald, though. Francis is likely to go for it. And what response is possible? Clearly, the policies around ordaining married men are just that, policies. Popes certainly can change mere policies at their whim. And being obedient pretty much means going along with your superior’s bad (mere) policy decisions.

  5. Taking a decision to permit more married men to become priests will lengthen the crisis, maybe by centuries.

    Yes and this is why this is a much more important issue than any issue pertaining to marriage. This will also not only bolster out and out modernists but it will open the floodgates to insufferable neo-Caths. Imagine Mark Shea or Scott Hahn with a collar.

    Francis is likely to go for it. And what response is possible? Clearly, the policies around ordaining married men are just that, policies. Popes certainly can change mere policies at their whim.

    Celibacy is not a mere discipline.

  6. I think it is a shame that Roman Catholicism has painted itself into a corner over the (historically) recent enforcement of a rule of celibacy for *all* priests (rather than specifically for monks (and other religious) and Bishops).

    The example of pre-medieval Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy shows unambiguously that married priests as a norm is a stable and viable possibility.

    (Recognizing that this question is a matter of church-order, not fundamental doctrine – I don’t think anybody disputes the validity of sacraments administered by a married priest – so long as he is a man.)

    However, if the RCC were to change to married priests as the norm *now* – then it *would* be happening at the wrong time and for the wrong (secularizing) reasons. And it would certainly weaken the church for that reason.

    So (as an outsider who wants a strong and enduring RCC) I agree that this should be resisted as the basic norm – and that married priests (of which there are indeed already quite a few – for instance in the recent Anglican Ordinariate) must continue to be a somewhat unusual and exceptional situation within the RCC.

  7. Clerical celibacy may be recent (relatively — I think Trent mandated its enforcement universally, though it had in some areas been observed already for some time), but the principle of clerical continence it was intended to protect is not new, and is of apostolic origin. Clerics were, until recently, always and everywhere expected to refrain from sexual intercourse even if they were married; Nicaea, for instance, forbade clerics from living with a woman against whom suspicion could lodge (a mother or sister is fine, not a wife). The whole reason celibacy was mandated was because priests were proving to be spectacularly bad at observing continence, and it had become a source of scandal and danger.

    Unfortunately the permanent diaconate is the thin edge of the knife against clerical continence, since they are commonly ordained today without anything but an official (and unobserved, unenforced, and unspoken-of) expectation that they will refrain from the marital embrace.

  8. Proph:

    Unfortunately the permanent diaconate is the thin edge of the knife against clerical continence, since they are commonly ordained today without anything but an official (and unobserved, unenforced, and unspoken-of) expectation that they will refrain from the marital embrace.

    Yep. The permanent diaconate is the tip of the spear. Background: http://www.canonlaw.info/a_deacons.htm

  9. Married priests and deacons are expected to never have sex with their wives? Sorry, not sure how to search this on the internet without finding sacrilegious pornography.

  10. Marissa:
    See the background link I posted in my previous comment.

  11. Yes. Per canon 277, all clerics of the Roman rite (not merely priests and bishops) are obliged to observe “perfect and perpetual continence.” The canon postdates the reestablishment of the permanent diaconate and JPII explicitly vetoed a subcanon that would have exempted married permanent deacons from observing it.

    Hence why deacons today are still expected to obtain their wives’ permission before ordination — because ordination still, officially, deprives the wife of any right to the conjugal embrace, which she is therefore required to freely relinquish.

  12. Back to the main topic: “we have a laity surplus, not a priest shortage” is a great line and one that sums up a thought I’ve had over the past year or so. History seems to offer us a great schism every 500 years or so, with lesser schisms in between. Which stands to reason: we say the Church is the Body of Christ, and what body doesn’t regularly shed dead weight that the whole might flourish? The effect of Vatican II and the liturgical reform in particular was to arrest this natural process, keeping us attached to and weighed down by a gangrenous limb that’s slowly poisoning the rest of the body. Prune the branch, dammit!

  13. Back to the main topic: “we have a laity surplus, not a priest shortage” is a great line and one that sums up a thought I’ve had over the past year or so.

    I’m stealing that line. B16 talked about a smaller and purer Church and the usual suspects threw a nutty. “He wants to kick people out of the Church!” No. What he was saying was that we need to act like this stuff is actually true and then when priests preach and act like it is true then the Truth will work as a winnowing fork like it was made to do.

  14. Joseph Shaw had a great post about that B16 quote suggesting a different interpretation: http://www.lmschairman.org/2015/12/a-smaller-weaker-impurer-church.html

    (A follow-up post here: http://www.lmschairman.org/2015/12/fr-ratzinger-von-balthasar-and.html)

  15. I dunno, Proph. That guy 1) has a beard and 2) subscribes to the theory that Ratzinger became more conservative over time. All he would have to do is call Bp Olson orthodox or mention Karl Keating favorably a few times and that would be his third strike.

    The article is very interesting. He is saying that when Ratzinger talks about a smaller, purer Church, he is endorsing the aggiornamento program of aggressive secularization set off by the Council. He is NOT endorsing a program of actually faithful Catholics sloughing off the merely tribal Catholics. I read it as somewhat esoterically anti-Ratzinger.

    He does not really work through what the other alternative to aggiornamento would have looked like, though. He seems to casually assume that the Church could have just kind of kept on as it was. I’m skeptical that the world would have let it do that.

    Imagine Roe v Wade in the absence of wishy-washy Catholicism, for example. Brent Bozell somewhat famously protested Roe v Wade by breaking into the surgical suite in a hospital where abortions were performed and smashing the equipment used. Would a non-aggiornamento-crippled Church have had a problem with that? Would Catholics embedded in a non-aggiornamento-crippled Church have followed Bozell’s example instead of yawning?

    I read on some generically Christian website some Catholics expressing distress that priests were physically restrained from going to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in order to offer them Extreme Unction and/or Confession. The Protties in the discussion reacted exactly as you would imagine. But, imagine this happening in front of a crowd of actual Catholics. It could easily happen that the cops doing it would be invited to back down or to be beaten into the ground.

    Those are two examples. The opportunities for conflict to break out between the self-confidently Satanic modern state and actual religious people would be endless.

    It does no good to blabber about whether Bozell or abortion clinic bombers or these guys or my hypothetical crowd are doing the right thing or not. People who actually believe, when in groups and confronted by unprotected acts of grotesque evil, are going to riot sometimes. If you don’t want the riot, you can’t have the awareness of the grotesque evil. Doesn’t Chesterton have a story about this? An atheist bookshop owner and the last real Christian in England?

    Generally, guys who complain along the lines Shaw is complaining never strike me as having really thought about what they are saying. You can’t have seriously religious people actively engaged in the civic life of Sodom without violence. What we know works is confessional state Catholicism, Amish Catholicism/the ghetto, fake Catholicism, persecuted Catholicism, and war. These analyses just casually assume there is something else. What is it?

  16. The bastions he’s regretting having been demolished are things like Friday penance, women covering heads in a church, traditional liturgy, enforcing doctrinal orthodoxy, etc, with analogies to various Communist and sexual revolutions. He his not accusing Ratzinger of favoring secularization so much as not realizing that nature abhors a vacuum and that abolishing so many bastions must result in secularization. And since when does saying “the Revolution was a bad idea that only made things worse” mean agreeing that everything was fine? No, he doesn’t provide a comprehensive alternative in that (very brief) pair of articles beyond indicating he thinks it would be a good idea to enforce discipline and revive many traditions. So what?

    Did we read the same articles? Because I’m not really seeing the connection between most of your comment after the first couple of paragraphs and the articles in question. You seem to be assuming that the author holds certain positions which are not addressed one way or the other. Does he address the morality of rioting in some other article?

  17. > How do you function as a devout Catholic under these circumstances that you apparently believe the Pope is deliberately leading the church astray/ into apostasy?

    Hi Bruce,

    I wouldn’t call myself a devout Catholic, but even an orthodox bad Catholic (https://bonald.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/the-end-of-the-orthodox-bad-catholic/) like me must change his focus. At the same time that I’ve become discouraged over the big fight, reconciling myself to the fact that we’ve got at least a decade more of uncontested rout in front of us, events in my life have confronted me more forcefully than before with the facts of my own weakness and sinfulness–my inability to avoid even serious sin without sacramental help, my ongoing failures as a father, a husband, and (less important but still important) an advisor and teacher. What’s more, it’s a struggle just to maintain a current state, to avoid sliding into greater sinfulness. Some people might be called to personal holiness or to improving the world, but my main goal is just to avoid getting much worse and not let the people around me suffer too much from my failures.

  18. […] Bonald has fondest wishes for the Orthosphere for the new year. And a good report of it’s not death. Also this was funny, and mostly true: All sex all the time. […]

  19. The problem of course is trying to estimate the progress of liberal modernity absent a Vatican II-type collapse in resistance to it. Without such a collapse, I have a hard time imagining we’d have today the same state we’d have had otherwise.

    As for Shaw, I suspect he would opt either for persecution (to the extent the Church could not effectively continue to resist modernity) or war (to the extent it could), which seems like the choice a person with an actually sincere faith would opt for, as you suggest. The bad choice, the choice of a bad shepherd, is throwing 99% of the flock to the wolves in a gamble to spare the 1%. Isn’t it possible that the hierarchy really is just stuffed with faithless perverts, cowards, and criminals?

  20. Dr. Charlton is… misinformed… about the historical antiquity, not only of the teaching, but of the practice, of clerical continence in the Catholic Church:

    “Historical studies demonstrate an unbroken tradition of clerical continence”:
    http://www.canonlaw.info/a_deacons.htm#Historical_

  21. @Hrodgar

    “He his not accusing Ratzinger of favoring secularization so much as not realizing that nature abhors a vacuum and that abolishing so many bastions must result in secularization.”

    OK. His theory is that Ratzinger is a complete moron. I’m not of the opinion that Ratzinger is super-bright, but even I would not impute the level of stupidity to him that your interpretation of Shaw would.

    Also, can you be more specific about what you are not following in the rest of my comment? Do you honestly not see how having large numbers of Catholics who were actually Catholics would be kind of a problem in places like the US and Western Europe?

    Just think about the bug-eyed rage that ensues among moderns when Muslims object to blasphemy. Do you think we would get a pass on that? Does the article I link indicate that we would get a pass on that?

    If the bastions had not been torn down, what do you think would have happened?

  22. @Proph

    The problem of course is trying to estimate the progress of liberal modernity absent a Vatican II-type collapse in resistance to it. Without such a collapse, I have a hard time imagining we’d have today the same state we’d have had otherwise.

    Yeah, Bonald’s theory is that without Vatican II there would have been no sixties. But it’s not like the bad guys would have just shrugged and given up. And it’s not like the bad guys were powerless. There would almost certainly have been real conflict.

    Isn’t it possible that the hierarchy really is just stuffed with faithless perverts, cowards, and criminals?

    Yes, I think that’s possible. Another thing I think is possible is that smashing the bastions was an intentional policy taken to provide a modernist camouflage for some remnant within the Church. For the camouflage to work, however, it has to be not camouflage, but real, if you see what I mean. Or maybe they thought they were lancing a boil.

    Using the lancing a boil analogy, the usual conservative complaints would amount to saying that needles do damage as they go in and then there is pain, pus, blood and much unpleasantness. Which is all true. But also completely false.

    The larger point is that I think it is important to try to see why the Church did such an apparently self-destructive thing as Vatican II. Without grasping what the Council was trying to do, how do you critique it? The plan of just believing that what the Council and its fans said it was trying to do is what the Council was trying to do leads to really, really boring conversations. Conversations in which one side argues that the sky is pink and the sun rises in the north.

  23. re: DrBill

    It IS possible to criticize particular thoughts or words without implying the author is a moron or being “anti-author.” For instance, I think you are making a mistake right now, but I’m confident that you’re not a moron and fairly certain I’m not “esoterically anti-DrBill.” Mr. Shaw may very well be wrong in his in interpretation of Ratzinger’s half-century old writings, but that doesn’t make him “anti-Ratzinger” or mean that he thinks Ratzinger stupid.

    As for the rest, I don’t know what Mr. Shaw’s opinion is on turmoil following Catholic’s acting zealously Catholic. I can’t seem to find anything referencing the subject at in the articles in question. He objects to the destruction of various “practises and customs, institutions and laws” and to being overly accommodating. He seems to think we should preserve and rebuild such of these traditions as we may. I don’t see anything at all on riots, persecutions, etc. in those articles, even on a third reading.

    But perhaps (it would not be the first time) I am simply being exceptionally dense. Could you point out for me what parts of or points raised by the articles you are trying to address?

  24. DrBill, are you saying that Vatican II’s purpose could have been to submit the Curch to the modern secular state so as not to be violently crushed by it? In other words, it might have been a strategic retreat orchestrated by sincere, anti-liberal Catholic prelates?

  25. @wiseguy

    Yes, I am offering that as a speculative possibility. I don’t like any of the usual explanations for Vatican II very much. The neoCath “No mistakes were made!” explanation is silly. The moderate Trad “Mistakes were made!” is OK but sort of strained. The rad Trad (and Proph’s) “No mistakes were made!” explanation is more plausible in some ways and less plausible in others—how did heretics, atheists, Masons, perverts, and Satanists end up taking over the episcopacy, for example. I’m offering a different “No mistakes were made!” explanation. Not as a firmly held belief, though. Just as a hypothesis to think about.

    @Hrodgar

    I don’t really know how to help you.

    It IS possible to criticize particular thoughts or words without implying the author is a moron or being “anti-author.”

    DudeBro: Ratzinger thinks the first digit of pi is 7
    DrBill: DudeBro thinks Ratzinger is an idiot.
    Hrogdar: It is possible to criticize someone’s mathematical ideas without implying the author is an idiot or being “anti-author.”
    DrBill: ?????

    Is there a name for this fallacy? It does seem to be pretty common. Take an instance which has property X. Locate it in a set, A, which contains both objects with X and without X. Then say “Just because the instance is in A does not mean it has X”

    Mr. Shaw may very well be wrong in his in interpretation of Ratzinger’s half-century old writings, but that doesn’t make him “anti-Ratzinger” or mean that he thinks Ratzinger stupid.

    I’ve been pretty much taking for granted that Shaw is right in his interpretation of Ratzinger’s half-century old writings throughout. His claims fit in nicely with my views, shifting and provisional though they may be.

    As for the rest, I don’t know what Mr. Shaw’s opinion is on turmoil following Catholic’s acting zealously Catholic. I can’t seem to find anything referencing the subject at in the articles in question.

    Again, I don’t really know how to approach a response to this. It’s not really material to my points what Shaw thinks about whether or not we should have riots when “artists” submerge crucifxes in urine or make pictures of Our Lady out of shit.

    My point, again, is that this facile “tearing down the bastions led to a bunch of bad stuff; therefore, let’s put them back” argument is not convincing. It’s important why the bastions were torn down, and it’s important what **all** of the effects of the tearing down were. Chesterton’s fence.

    Shaw’s view, perhaps, is that tearing them down was an oopsie and that the effects were pretty much just the bad ones (otherwise how do you get the conclusion that we should put them back?). This treats an Ecumenical Council pretty casually. And it makes the Council’s fathers idiots. To get out of that, you could retreat into the whole VII / Spirit of VII distinction, I suppose. But, if you resist that, then you are kind of stuck. Or at least I don’t see a clear way out.

    I’m thinking out loud about another way out and, at the same time, thinking about what it could look like to have a significant percentage of the US population, in the contemporary US, actually believe that, say, abortion is murder or that the Piss Christ is an act of blasphemy which ought not to be tolerated.

    I wasn’t and am not on an extended rant against Shaw. I don’t know him or his work, and I’m pretty indifferent to learning. If you tell me that he’s the bees knees, I believe you. Proph linked him, and I think highly of Proph. So, no problem. Let’s just agree that Shaw said some stuff that reminded me of one of my obsessions, which obsession you may or may not find interesting (seems like not).

  26. @josh

    You just cost me 59.99. Thanks a lot. Now I have to figure out how to distract my wife when the credit card bill comes. Which is hard since it comes via email these days.

    The author of the book you link seems to be an E Michael Jones associate. Here’s a book review he wrote which has interesting ideas in practically every para:

    http://www.culturewars.com/2011/Wemhoff.html

    I would definitely be up for a book club discussion of the book josh linked.

  27. Crap. I just lost sixty bucks too.

  28. DrBill:

    This treats an Ecumenical Council pretty casually.

    Well, by most accounts that is how the Ecumenical Council treated itself. “Merely pastoral” is basically a neologism for a Catholicism that doesn’t take itself seriously enough to talk about doctrine, and instead concerns itself with being nice to people.

    I’ve always been a fan of not taking a person, event, or institution more seriously than it takes itself. Pope Francis for example has told us many times that he is just a regular human being not a superman, that he is in no position to judge, etc. He’s also said that he isn’t planning on saying anything interesting that would impact doctrine in any way. So why shouldn’t we just take him at his word on all that?

  29. I fully submit to all of the Canons and Anathema’s of Vatican II, and I suggest you do too.

    Here is a complete list:

  30. @Zippy

    But all this stuff happened in the wake of and apparently because of the Council. But, yeah, you’re right.

  31. DrBill:

    If you think about the modern experiment, it was pretty well articulated by the Prophet Rodney King when he pronounced “Can’t we all just get along?”

    The idea seems to be that if we don’t take the important things in life (e.g. religion) very seriously, maybe there won’t be as much conflict and violence. Of course in practice this has just amplified the atrocities by orders of magnitude and driven them underground.

  32. That’s the Whig version of what the modern experiment is about. I kind of suspect it was about something a bit more sinister, like maybe enslaving people to Mammon.

  33. Well, yeah, sure, that’s true enough. But since the Whig version is what they are telling us explicitly, why shouldn’t we take Whig catholicism at its word and not take it seriously? If Pope Francis tells us explicitly that he isn’t in a position to judge, why shouldn’t I take that seriously and consider him not in a position to judge?

  34. Zippy,

    I sympathize with your position, but that seems kind of anti-realist. The Pope can’t just handwave the real and inherent gravity of his office away, even if he wants to; nor can he just stick his fingers in his ears and pretend his public remarks on various topics are actually private remarks. I don’t just mean this in the sense that he’s sawing off the branch that he’s sitting on by doing this (ie. nobody has to listen to his public remarks that he wants them to listen to if he’s said his public remarks aren’t to be listened to), either – his job is his job and no amount of verbiage on his part makes it otherwise.

    On another note, if anyone has a good reference text that explains what the different levels of assent I am supposed to give to different teachings are, and which sort of teachings get which level, I would appreciate hearing about it.

  35. Peasant:
    Touché, but it is indisputable that Popes are both private individuals and office holders. B16 explicitly said on a few occasions that he was speaking as a private theologian. If Francis tells us he in general isn’t exercising his Magisterium on matters of faith and morals, we should believe him.

  36. “The Council Fathers were idiots” theory shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly. It has much to commend it.

  37. Sorry about that. If only this discussion had come up before Christmas.

  38. “The Council Fathers were idiots” theory shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly. It has much to commend it.

    Yeah, it’s possible. The clumsiness with which they implemented their program, for example, certainly looks good for this theory. But it also looks good for mine—blinking torture and all that. The utter weirdness of it all just cries out for explanation.

  39. Dr. Bill, in this hypothesis, what role did Paul VI play? Grand manipulator or useful idiot?

    Conversely, what role did Lefebvre, Mayer, et al., play? Conscientious objectors or useful idiots?

  40. I don’t know. Manipulator, most likely, for Paul VI. You wouldn’t trust a useful idiot to do things properly. It’s really something the way they threw away practically everything they could throw away without actually defecting from the Faith. If Humanae Vitae had gone the other way, then the thing that was left would have, at least, dangerously flirted with not being the Catholic Church any more. Paul VI is the Pope of Vatican II. He set the pattern for the whole phenomenon. Don’t actually and clearly defect from any infallible teaching. Don’t actually make any clear change to the moral law. Just shred everything else and start teaching the truth in gibberish or not at all.

    And, every once in a great while, say something clear. When you say something clear, let it be orthodox. Abortion is murder. No birth control. Only men can be priests. What can explain that crazy pattern?

    As for Lefebvre & Mayer, it’s less clear they would be manipulators. Actually, it’s less clear that they would even have to be part of the plan. They could just be an unanticipated consequence. I don’t think of the SSPX as the remnant that the camouflage protects. They are too out. I don’t even think there would have to be an organized, secret society of “real Catholics” (though there might be).

    Rather, I think the way it would work is that the planners depend on Catholicism spontaneously re-generating when the threat abates. Sort of the way the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate stared acting all Catholic-like as Ratzinger took the Holy See’s foot off the neck of traditionalism. You can’t believe in Transubstantiation and think Mahoney’s Klingon Kathedral is OK. The Church wants to be what she is. Her telos calls. You may have to tell people, “go to the basement,” but you don’t have to tell them “and, at some point, come back out.”

  41. And, every once in a great while, say something clear. When you say something clear, let it be orthodox. Abortion is murder. No birth control. Only men can be priests. What can explain that crazy pattern?

    This is a great observation. Especially with HV, when the tone for the future in the Church was being crystallized, why so adamantly clear on the right side of moral teaching? Why not even so much as a nod of the head to the EO’s in the spirit of the new oriental unity-seeking by holding himself to something like “contraception is generally yucky, make sure you listen to your Ordinary”?

  42. Gosh this is an intriguing idea. So what do you think, Dr. Bill, is the state of the judgment of the Council Fathers, since its clear that liberal modernity will not, in fact, leave us alone, and that the room for equivocation and gibberish is only going to shrink? Did they make the wrong call? Would it have been better to fight then, rather than strategically retreat to a delayed slaughter?

  43. @buckyinky

    Yes, that’s a great example.

    @Proph

    I think it’s going well, actually. Since Catholics aren’t up for a fight, there is not going to be a fight. We are not a threat. We already don’t riot in all the situations I mentioned above. So, it doesn’t seem to me that the left is actively out to get us at the moment. As long as we grin idiotically while they burn down Christendom, they seem not all that interested in setting us on fire.

    There will probably be pushing at the margin. Going forward, I expect, for example, that Catholics will be ejected from some parts of medicine. Abortion will probably become a required part of training to be an obstetrician, and that will mean that no Catholic can be one. I’d expect a number of things like that. Maybe all Catholic hospitals will have to be sold to non-Catholics at some point Catholics won’t be able to serve as heads of Medicaid bureaucracies after they start funding abortion? Other things like this.

    What kind of big move against it could the present Church not accommodate? Maybe liberals will eventually try to apply anti-discrimination law to churches? So, the Church will get smashed when it refuses to ordain women? Or refuses to marry two men? It seems like it will take some kind of attempt to intervene within the Church to make her take an action which is intrinsically evil/impossible/etc.

    The big loss, however, is souls. If you have a narrow view of EENS as I do, then you have to think that the current version of the Church is losing souls hand over fist to the Devil owing to the abandonment of her teaching function and the abandonment of her commitment to creating communities which facilitate living in a state of grace. The trade-off, under the hypothesis, is that keeping the Church from being smashed is going to save more souls, on net, both because the non-smashed Church is able to keep delivering the sacraments in the here and now and because it will be able to recover faster when the storm passes.

    So, the hypothetical fathers would probably say that, though there are some surprises, things are going more or less to plan.

  44. It is kind of a fun story, but I think stupid is far more plausible.

  45. DrBill’s hypothesis might just be a variation on “they’re idiots”. After all, where would they get the idea that “the storm” is ever going to pass? Is that just supposed to happen on its own without anybody having to do anything?

    Another interesting thought experiment: if aggressive state-promoted secularism were to somehow abate, could the Church easily recover? It seems to me that even among orthodox Catholics, Vatican II has imposed a terrible burden, destroying our faith in the hierarchy and requiring great feats of rationalization, and the hierarchy has committed so strongly to it that there may be no graceful way to let it drop.

  46. To be concrete, Bonald is asking why anyone should expect a system which requires society to recognize that Bruce Jenner is a woman and that black Gausses will be emerging any second now will inevitably collapse. I guess I don’t find that expectation stupid. It could be wrong, of course.

    Somewhat tangentially, but not really, I’ve been wondering lately about “the jobs Americans won’t do.” Specifically, I wonder if American employers might just be telling the truth about that. If we believe that modernity is toxic and that it is toxic in a lower-classes-first kind of way (and I do believe that), then isn’t it kind of plausible that construction companies have a lot of trouble finding white drywall hangers? You know, because they’re too busy taking meth to hang drywall.

    What you are supposed to notice about Mexican peasants is that they will work for less. What is less talked about is that Mexican peasants tend to come from intact families living in small, homogenous, culturally patriarchal villages. Now, their US descendants are a disaster, but, they, themselves, actually make pretty good drywall hangers.

  47. DrBill, re: “the Church is losing souls hand over fist to the Devil,” since this all erupted right around the time the broad view of EENS caught fire, what’s the connection? Did the broad view enable the destruction by convincing its authors that the culture of Catholicism wasn’t THAT worth hanging on to? Or was it cooked up after the fact to psychologically rationalize the destruction?

  48. That the system can require society to recognize that Bruce Jenner is a woman etc. is a sign of its remarkable strength. If Leftism wasn’t pushing it but the Pope declared ex cathedra that Bruce Jenner is a woman, people would just laugh at him. A system that can force everyone to believe obvious nonsense is invincible.

  49. It’s not invincible, it’s just that we won’t beat it. It will beat itself. But it will probably destroy us before this.

  50. Dr. Bill is probably right about Mexicans vs. white dudes. Based on observation, white dudes are more likely to make dubious workman’s comp claims or sit around getting paid to do useless stuff like I’m doing now. But (and I guess he’ll agree) it’s still bad if meztizos race replace my children.

  51. @Bruce Yes, I agree.

    @Proph I think the latter. If a non-negotiable of the hypothetical fathers was no zeal (or at least no zeal for anything distinctively Catholic), then the rest of it starts to seem natural. If people think Hell is a real possibility for them, their children, and others, then that has got to push them to do things.

  52. The Wemhoff suggestion leads me to ask a somewhat OT question. What’s with E Michael Jones and co.? They seem like they have some interesting things to say but also seem kinda … weird. I’ve encountered Jones in person once and that was defiantly my impression of him.

  53. Bruce said-
    as an outsider who wants a strong and enduring RCC

    Does anyone here actually believe this BS?

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