Saturday, April 14, 2018

R.I.P.


You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,/Know when to walk away and know when to run. Don Schlitz

Almost weekly, PL receives a query concerning the whereabouts of Big Don's "Roman Catholic Institute."  Since its noisy rollout last spring, it seems as though TradWorld has noticed there's been virtual radio silence in Cultilandia. The Readers, you'll recall, opined the ill-fated enterprise was dead on arrival, memorialized solely by a hard-to-find link on the pesthouse's home page. Until the March 2018 MHT newsletter though, we'd had no solid confirmation of our guess. But there we found on p. 2 an unmistakable sign of the Lowly Worm's quiet resignation to the premature death of his brainchild (our emphasis):
The position of the clergy of Most Holy Trinity Seminary is that one cannot approach validly ordained Novus Ordo priests for confessions except in danger of death.
Our question was as immediate as it was obvious: Why didn't the Donster attribute the "position" to his "Roman Catholic Institute"? Aren't all the resident "clergy" nesting in the squalid bog members of the "Institute"? Of course, if commuter Tony Baloney is considered pesthouse "clergy" then, O.K., the "Institute" should not be referenced because the Cheeseball hasn't joined (and never will as long as he's Dannie's boy).

But if the "Roman Catholic Institute" were alive and kicking in Don's mind, conscious or otherwise, wouldn't it have been far more strategic to impute the "position" to the umbrella group with its three fancy directories — theological, liturgical, and pastoral? Checkie wouldn't have dared to protest: he likes playing "professor" (LOL) too much.

By the same token, the "position" would have greater persuasive weight coming from an official-sounding organization rather than from a troupe of clowns with dubious academic and religious qualifications. Additionally, by a public attribution, Don could've reminded his audience that he regards the "Roman Catholic Institute" as a vital force in Tradistan, notwithstanding the ice-cold shoulder it received from "clergy" outside the torrid swamp.

Yet our quondam Tradzilla can't even manage to pretend his "Roman Catholic Institute" is viable, not even in an article that parrots one of its principles. See for yourself. On p. 3 of the newsletter, we read:
A Novus Ordite...who wants to return to the Catholic faith must first repudiate Vatican II and its reforms before he can receive sacraments from us.
Compare that to practical application of principles #8 in the "Roman Catholic Institute's" Pastoral Directory:
Those who are returning from the Novus Ordo to the beliefs and practices of Roman Catholicism may not receive sacraments until...they manifest their resolve to utterly repudiate Vatican II and its reforms...    
Get a load of the symmetry of thought, the similarity of vocabulary! We concede it's not verbatim, but there's more than a faint echo. Plainly the newsletter text has its origin in Donnie's directory. Nevertheless, Big Don didn't see fit to credit the "Institute" of which he is the "Superior General."

Now, why is that?

Did the existence of the "Institute" simply slip his mind?

But how can that be? 

Indulge us while we remind you of what he wrote in May 2016 about his long-awaited answer to the SSPX (emphases ours):
Shortly I will found an organization of traditional Catholic priests. This is something which has been sorely lacking for decades, and accordingly is something which I have desired to do for a long time. 
The constitutions have been written. I have been working on them since 2004. We are now merely putting the finishing touches upon them. They comprise twenty-eight pages and over 11,000 words. 
I have tried to incorporate every precaution into these constitutions so as to prevent any deviation from doctrine or morals, any possible internal strife about theological positions or pastoral practice. My forty-one years of the priesthood and experience with the traditional movement have taught me quite a few lessons.
Essentially this organization will give a “body” to what already exists in spirit, i.e., a common mind and way of acting among our priests regarding the nature of the current apostasy from the Catholic Faith, and what to do about it. 
Also written is the Theological Declaration, which is a description of the heresies and errors of Vatican II, as well as a statement of the theological positions one must take against them. It is very detailed, in such a way that there is no room for future disagreement. What has plagued the Society of Saint Pius X is the vagueness of their theological positions in reaction to Vatican II, which permitted the constant flip-flopping regarding Vatican II and its changes. 
If we are to take Big Don at his word, the "Institute" was over twelve years in the making plus who-knows-how-many years of knocking around the screwball idea before actual work began! And to hear Don talk, there was a lot of toil and sweat invested: 28 pp. and a +11K word count. Why, he makes it sound like a veritable encyclopedia! The way we see it, the organization, what he misnamed the "Roman Catholic Institute" after finally getting around to announcing it in April 2017, was his life's dream. Therefore, the $64,000 question is:


How could the great ambition of his career as an ecclesiastical entrepreneur slip his mind in less than 12 months?

Perhaps, some may argue, his recent heart problems impaired (or enhanced) his (selective) memory. But, honestly, does that excuse really hold water?

How do you ignore the "body" of your life's dream — unless you know it's deader than a week-old corpse?

Before March's newsletter, we'd already recorded random signals that the rector was moving on. First, we'd been struck by the newsletter's deafening silence about the "Institute" as well as by the absence of post-nominal initials after the printed names of the members. Second, the "Institute's" blog contains only the three directories, with nothing added since July 2017. Third, in the membership roster, the new Boy "Bishop" remains "Fr.," and the new subdeacon appears as a "seminarian" (click here). It all added up to one thing: the Swampland Swami was reacting to the quietus of the "Roman Catholic Institute" just as a severely traumatized father might respond to the news of a coffin birth: He was trying to put the ghastly phenomenon permanently out of mind!

We've never made a secret of our contempt for the Donster. Nevertheless, realists that the Readers are, we admit he's not utterly clueless, that is, he does learn "quite a few lessons" on occasion. By that we mean, he's got sense enough to stop beating a dead horse.  Oh, for sure, he'll irrationally fight manifestly losing battles if he imagines he stands the minutest chance of prevailing, witness the moribund rear-guard action in Arizona or the doomed feints against the lovely — and debt-free, we hear — Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel in Tampa.

Regardless, after the last, weak flicker of hope has died out, for all his woofing and pawing the ground, Big Don can smell the time to close the casket and deep-six a stinking, rotting mess. He did it with the big $30K plan he proposed in April 2011 (click here, p. 7), and he's doing it again with the "Roman Catholic Institute." (Gee, did you notice how schemes Donnie introduces in April fizzle out? Eliot was dead right when he wrote in the "Burial of the Dead" part of The Waste Land, "April is the cruel[l]est month.")

According to our reading of the situation, it must've dawned on him by mid-summer 2017, after no new recruits signed on, that the "Institute" was stillborn. Nobody came forward to answer Sinburn's call: Not the mercurial My-Way Carlito, not the standoffish Zappster, not fanboy Lurch, not the tractable Wannabe, not the bag-boy Uneven Steven, not the Forlorn Finn, not the ever-anxious Jellyfish. Nope, not a single name was added to the roster of quavery yes-boys.

The Lowly Worm had thrown the proverbial party that no one attended! 

Outside swampy B'ville, it seems, there's no interest in embracing Don's "common mind and way of acting" or in preventing "any possible internal strife about theological positions or pastoral practice," particularly if the Donster's calling all the shots.

Numbers don't lie. The majority has spoken. Tradistan and its satellites have voted a big, fat thumbs-down on the rector's fevered dream of his own junior SSPX. With the practically admitted demise of the "Roman Catholic Institute," watch for Big Don to become preoccupied with a new initiative. Make sure you don't waste your money and end up with him in another dead end.

STARVE THE BEAST!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

SPRING MAILBAG 2018



Omne actum ab agentis intentione judicandum ("every act must be judged by the doer's intention"). Latin Legal Adage

It's been a while since we ran a seasonal "mailbag" feature. Lately there's been a lot to cover in Cultilandia, making it impossible to share with our readership the content of our voluminous and, let us say, sometimes spirited correspondence. PL's post of March 24 generated so much e-mail that the team decided to replace the article slated for today with the following communication about the Liénart liability:

PL,
Thuc's opinion about Archbishop Lefebvre's validity and a $ will get you a cup of coffee, nothing else. Father Cekada beautifully disproved the defective intention "canard" with a single perfect quotation:
“all [theologians, Ed.] agreed that the outward decorous performance of the rites [our edition reads riteEd.] sets up a presumption that the right intention exists.... The minister of a sacrament is presumed to intend what the rite means... This principle is affirmed as certain theological doctrine, taught by the Church, to deny which would be at least theologically rash.” (B. Leeming, Principles of Sacramental Theology [Westminster MD: Newman 1956], 476, 482.)
Maybe if you knuckleheads would read a real theologian like Father Cekada and stopped calling him nasty names you would not spew forth all of your evil garbage.

For the record, we do read "real," i.e., properly formed, authentically Catholic, theological authors, like Bernard Leeming, S.J. We also read, for laughs, the amateur and suspect scribblings of that sub-educated, wannabe, outsider Erroneous Antonius.  In fact, Fr. Leeming's volume (the 1957 second impression with minor corrections) sits on the ready-reference shelf in our editorial offices, alongside Parente, Roberti, "baby" Prümmer, Pohle-Preuss, Bouscaren, Attwater, etc. Furthermore, our correspondent's cite from the Cheeseball's fatuous "Sacramental Intention and Masonic Bishops" has been on our radar for quite some time.

Insofar as Checkie's quotation surfaced (coincidentally?) in several responses about the Liénart liability, today affords an opportune occasion to demonstrate once again why no Catholic should ever trust anything Tony Baloney says or writes.  In all honesty, that citation is one of the most egregiously misleading — we're being charitable here — proof-texts we've ever encountered from the Checkmeister's unreliable pen, almost equal to his perverse mistranslation of infallible papal teaching.  We're sure you'll agree by the time we're through. It won't take long.

If you read the quote as it stands in Phony Tony's monograph, you'd think the principle affirmed as "certain theological doctrine" runs something like this: whenever a competent minister performs a rite correctly, he establishes a presumption that he does so with the proper intention.  Now there's nothing wrong with that as it stands: students of Roman law will clearly recognize the ancient maxim acta exteriora indicant interiora secreta.  However, it is NOT in its entirety the principle Fr. Leeming said would be rash to deny.  Here's Leeming's principle as stated verbatim on p. 482 of our edition of Principles of Sacramental Theology:

Principle XV
THE MINISTER OF A SACRAMENT IS PRESUMED TO INTEND WHAT THE RITE MEANS: NEVERTHELESS, IF IN FACT HE RESOLVES NOT TO DO WHAT THE CHURCH DOES, HE HAS NOT SUFFICIENT INTENTION AND THE SACRAMENT IS INVALID.
That principle is much more complex than the Cheeseburger's, wouldn't you say? Observe (1) the colon, which here emphasizes the sequence of thought, and (2) the transitional adverb nevertheless, so termed because it effects a logical transition (in this instance, between sentences).  Furthermore, grammarians classify that conjunctive adverb as an adversative, because it not only connects the sentences but also contrasts them. Note also there are not two principles: It's one principle consisting of two interconnected elements. The first element is limited by the second.

Consequently, sure, it's true that a minister is presumed to intend what the rite means, BUT, as the second half of Principle XV tells us, the presumption may be overthrown under a specific condition. You aren't free to accept only the first part of the principle and reject the second without censure.  In a similar vein, you can't declare that half the principle constitutes the whole principle.

Did the Cheeseball only give part of the story because the other part threatened to upset his self-serving objective? A motive for suppressing the whole principle might become apparent when you read Leeming's summary (pp. 483-484, emphases ours):
Thus, the mind of the Church is clear that it is possible for a minister to have the intention of not doing what the Church does, and that if such is the case, the sacrament is invalid. This teaching is universally accepted by modern theologians, who agree that a sacrament is invalidated even by a secret intention of the minister contrary to the substantial nature of the sacrament. *
As we have argued before (12/23/17), it is not inconceivable that a well-motivated, thoroughly radicalized infiltrator could pronounce the words and conduct the rite of priestly ordination impeccably, yet interiorly have no intention to do what the Church does. Indeed, an indoctrinated, highly intelligent, supremely self-disciplined enemy of the Church who understood what was at stake might almost reflexively commit himself to the unrelenting effort of subverting the sacraments at every turn, especially the sacrament of orders. What better way to destroy the Church than to corrupt holy orders through the passive aggression of a secret resolve?

If Liénart were a Freemason, he assuredly was aware of the far-reaching damage one rogue bishop could inflict upon the Church; working with brother Masons in the Church, the effectiveness of his destructive efforts would be amplified.  The Church had trained him well. In addition to his seminary formation, he studied at the Institut Catholique de Paris, the Sorbonne, and the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He therefore knew where to strike in order to wreak the most havoc with the least risk of exposing himself.

Now, whether he was a Mason, PL can't say for certain, but as far back as 1978 an SSPX priest, writing in defense of Lefebvre's orders, seemed to acknowledge Liénart's Freemasonry as a matter of fact.** Likewise, whether Liénart resolved at Lefebvre's ordination not to do as the Church does, we don't know with certitude either, for in  Rama Coomaraswamy's words, "we cannot look back into his heart in 1929."***

PL's point, however, is that if Liénart were an inveterate enemy of the Church, as Archbishop Thbelieved him to be and as many others have affirmed, then it is possible, perhaps even plausible, considering the psychological profile of the fanatical true-believer, that Liénart's intention at Lefebvre's 1929 sacerdotal ordination may well have been contrary to the substantial nature of the sacrament of orders. The horrific result would be Lefebvre's invalid ordination to the priesthood.

In his comedy Curculio, Plautus wrote, "flamma fumo est proxuma," which freely translated runs, "Where there's smoke, there's fire!" Lefebvrist "clergy" cannot cavalierly dismiss the Liénart liability without risk of self-immolation.  Too much has surfaced, and the days of easy denial are over. Although we may never know Liénart's intention on Lefebvre's ordination day, barring, say, the discovery of a personal journal, we can (1) apply what we know in general about the mindset of the Church's most formidable adversaries, (2) remind ourselves of Leeming's entire Principle XV, and (3) choose the safer side. It's not too late. For some.

The Readers' advice to Big Don — and to the Checkmeister  — is:

STOP FUDGING THE FACTS AND GET YOURSELVES FIXED ASAP. ASK JOEY TO DO IT.


* For anyone who is interested in learning the facts about the rather involved and convoluted history of the presumption of intention, we recommend studying Leeming's chapter 15, pp. 462-496. This way you may bypass the untrustworthy cult masters completely.


** The article is found here. The writer may have been referring to the "outing" of Masonic prelates in a 1976 article published in the journal Il Borghese, which set off a series of investigations into moles who had penetrated the Church at high levels.

*** The  quote came from a 1982 article, Cracks in the Masonry, where Coomaraswamy concluded, "There is no credible evidence which shows that Cardinal Liénart was a Freemason (p. 8)." He seems to have changed his mind dramatically before his death, for in his revised and updated 2006 book, The Destruction of the Christian Tradition —click here, see p. 246 if you want to verify — we read, emphasis ours:
The Freemasons have long dreamed of infiltrating, and indeed, of taking over the Church. It was Cardinal Leinart [sic], another Freemason, who in 1950 petitioned Pius XII for permission to celebrate the Easter Vigil at night rather than in the morning—and this for “pastoral reasons.” 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

APPEARANCE VS. REALITY


Things are seldom what they seem./ Skim milk masquerades as cream. Gilbert

The beginning of Paschaltide is a fitting occasion to remind traditional Catholics still hoodwinked by the cult masters of Tradistan that deliverance is possible. All they need do is to break the emotional restraints that enslave them.

But that's easier said than done. Walking out of a Tradistani cult center over wasteful spending, "clerical" ignorance, managerial incompetence, or ill treatment of children doesn't last in all cases. Too often, outraged trads who ride out of the cult mounted on a moral high horse come back whimpering like whipped mutts, head hung low, more than willing to lick the hand that beat them.

If asked by astonished relatives and friends why they returned to the sham bishops' clutches, they answer with a not-too-convincing, high-pitched whine, "For the sacraments, the s-a-c-r-a-m-e-n-t-s!" But that doesn't explain their self-abasing behavior. There must be something deeper — and simpler behind it all. Rallying around the sacraments is one of those noble-sounding excuses weaklings offer to explain a repressed conscience. They pass themselves off as making a personal sacrifice for a greater good, as though abetting counterfeit "clergy" can be justified in the name of Catholic piety.

When we hear a prodigal son or daughter of the cult self-deceivingly protest, "I loathe Sinburn [or "One-Hand Dan"]. I only go only for the Mass," we smile inside, knowing it's an autogenic-training mantra meant to silence the inner voice, numb the sensus catholicus, and crush the superego. It's no different from the therapeutic formulas "my right arm is heavy" or "my solar plexus is warm." Passive concentration on the theme of "offering it up" makes it easy to avoid ditching a cult center for good.

Truth to tell, it's an addiction, not the sacraments, that brings leavers back to $GG or MHT, for the sacraments are available at many area chapels. (And the chances of their validity are much higher at some of the rival locations.) These ethical cowards are habituated to the Big Show, the dolly-dress-up, the staring blank faces, the slack jaws with bad teeth, and the carb-loaded, hillbilly chow blanketed with microwaved Cheez Whiz.

To break the dependency forever, cult victims must actively focus on verbal formulas designed to wake them up to the Tradistani imitation prelates' non-clerical state. Only when Catholics confess that these men are masquerading as Roman Catholic bishops will they be able to declare, "I must leave the cult to regain the true faith."

To get to that stage, however, cult addicts will have to repeat to themselves some precise affirmations, which, once thoroughly internalized, will make the sorry excuse "I only go there for the Mass" sound pitifully hollow. In our therapeutic work with cult-dependent Catholics, we have found four highly effective statements that recovering victims may recite in order to prepare to leave the bogus bishops and never return.

The trick is to master the statements one-by-one and then say all four in sequence until an overwhelming urge to encounter the real faith overtakes the will. Depending on how ingrained the bad habit of cult attendance is, the process takes anywhere from one to four weeks. However, there is a caveat: the subject must have an intact brain and an adult's sense of right and wrong, which is often not the case with life-long cultlings.

Fortunately, there are fewer and fewer of these spiritual two-headed calves, which means most folks stand a good chance of escape if they're willing to work at it. The beauty of the therapy is that you don't need much by way of equipment — just access to PL to remind you of the concrete arguments behind each statement.

Enough, then, with all this theorizing, and let's get the best of Tradistan's victims started on the road to a cult-free life.

STANDARD FORMULA # 1

As you sit in a squalid "bishop"-led cult center and see one or more of these pretenders decked out in pontificals, relax, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and say to yourself over and over for 30 seconds, "These dripping bags of pus have no right to dress like Roman Catholic bishops — they are wolfish laymen in a legitimate pastor's clothing." Practice this every time you lay eyes on one of these gussied-up religious impersonators. All the necessary background can be found in our post of Feb. 11, 2017 (here). After a little practice, soon you'll recoil at the sight of these fakes' sporting episcopal finery.

STANDARD FORMULA # 2

Now you're ready for the next step whenever you hear one of these puke buckets addressed as "Your Excellency" or see the most "The Most Reverend" prefixed to their infamous names. Again, calm down, breathe in slowly, and with eyes shut say, again and again for 30 seconds, "These gobs of spit have no right to official ecclesiastical titles of honor — they are malformed lay trash who don't deserve to be called 'Mister.'"  Our post of Oct. 1, 2016 (here), gives all the reasons behind this formula.

STANDARD FORMULA # 3

When you hear one of these charlatans preach about your obligation to support the clergy, then, using the same preparatory techniques and methodology above, repeat to yourself, "These disenfranchised cretins have no canonical rights — they are grasping lay wannabes dubiously ordained outside the Roman Catholic Church with no claim to clerical privilege."  For the detailed reasons supporting this formula, see our post of July 8, 2017 (here).

STANDARD FORMULA # 4

The next time you spy the coat of arms of one of the ersatz bishops, follow the usual procedure we've just outlined and recite, "These scofflaw, illicitly 'consecrated' toilet fish are not entitled to bear ecclesiastical arms of the Roman Catholic Church — they are lay usurpers of others' legislated privilege." Full details are available in our post of March 10, 2018 (here).

After a short time, you'll be ready to rattle off with ease all four statements in sequence. Do so for 60 seconds every time you set foot in a cult center or catch sight of one of the humbugs. We promise that once you're "woke" you'll be itching to pack up and get out of the world of make-believe Catholicism.

Some of you, however, may require a little more assurance about the inauthenticity of the mountebanks who've made a wreck of the lives of the faithful. Insofar as these churchly wooden nickels would not accept the judgment of the Vatican establishment, we looked elsewhere for something more neutral. We didn't consider U.S. civil society, because here anybody can self-declare to be a clergyman, buy clerical apparel, and be accepted by the gullible, no questions asked. We then thought of England where, under common law, Roman Catholic clergy who convert to Anglicanism are (or at least were) not obligated to be re-ordained.

Traditional Catholics may view Anglicans as heretics, but their ecclesiology teaches that they form a branch of the Catholic Church. Accordingly, for our purpose today, Church of England (CofE) practice tells us how a possibly sympathetic, organized religious body recognized by its nation's laws and governed by the monarch, often through Parliament and the Prime Minister, regards these wandering "clergy. " If the Tradistanis had any legitimacy at all, then certainly the "Big Tent" CofE, which boasts female bishops, would have no trouble with these lost boys, not only the "wandering bishops" but also the vagus "priests." Right? So we put the question to a source with deep expertise in these matters. Here's the (slightly edited) reply:
The answer is a big round ‘No’.  Old Catholics, in the vagantes sense, have never been received in their orders by the CofE.  Whilst the CofE, or parts of it to be precise, would say they believe these people have orders, they would argue they cannot exercise them legitimately.  In the CofE, licensing – which could broadly translate as faculties – is paramount.  However friendly clergy of the CofE will be to vagantes, they would not let them loose on a congregation without a license.  If the American lot ever approached the CofE for regularization, they would be regarded as irregular and subject to ordination.  The bottom line is the Thucites would never be considered other than laymen.
Need we say more? The cult masters are not the "real thing" by any sane person's yardstick.

START PRACTICING. YOU'RE A MONTH OR LESS AWAY FROM TEARING OFF THEIR MASKS AND GETTING CLEAN.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A GIFT HORSE LOOKED IN THE MOUTH

In a man's letters, his soul lies naked. Dr. Johnson

A CHICKEN COME HOME TO ROOST

Earlier this month, Radio Cristiandad posted a monograph by Fr. Basilio Méramo, a former member of the SSPX, in which he extensively quoted from "Two Bishops in Every Garage" and thereby revived the question of Thc's "cordura" (= sanity, good sense). Based on that exposition, Fr. Méramo judged the exiled archbishop's consecrations to be "really, objectively, and positively doubtful" (dudosas real, objetiva y positivamente). The whole sordid history from Palmar de Troya through des Lauriers and Carmona, he concluded with exasperation, must have been but a great lunacy or a tale told by madmen ("Qué es todo esto sino una gran locura, o un cuento de locos")

PL has no intention, today or any day, of weighing in on either side of the issue of Thc's mental competence. In our minds, we put that question to bed back on April 9, 2016, when we argued in favor of the sedes' securing multiple lineages as a way to eliminate doubts about their validity (click here). That approach is certainly a far better alternative than waiting for the other shoe to drop should alarming new facts come to light. Therefore, to put it bluntly, for all we care, Thc could've been crazier than an outhouse fly.*


A MEETING OF THE MINDS

With the exception of the SSPV and a few others, most sedes would agree, even if begrudgingly, that the uprooted archbishop was lucid when he performed the "consecrations" that established many of Sedelandia's sublineages. In which case, it would not be out of line for PL to assume these partisans would likewise assert that Thc's wits were never impaired.

For these sedes, it would be an exceedingly dangerous policy to allow that Thc drifted in and out of lucidity over the course of his exile from his native Vietnam. If they did, couldn't an adversary like PL allege the archbishop may have been suffering from one of his loony episodes when he conferred orders on Carmona and Zamora but not when he "consecrated" des Lauriers? Far more convenient is it to explain away — say, by citing "distractions" or "deception"** — what "Peregrinus" aptly termed "The Palmar Fiasco." If you took that escape route, you'd altogether avoid impugning Thc's mental stability, wouldn't you?

Hence we'll take a risk today and presume the sedes of the SW Ohio/B'ville cult would also uphold (1) Thc's judgments about whom to "consecrate" and (2) his motives for agreeing to perform a "consecration." In other words, we think they'd say the archbishop knew what he was doing. Furthermore, it's not unreasonable to suppose that the cultists might in addition argue his offer of consecration to any individual resulted from prudent deliberation, informed by his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from which he earned three doctorates (philosophy, theology, canon law).

All this speculation brings us to the problem of Big Don's Liénart liability, over which so many cult freaks wet their beds every time it appears on PL. To be entirely forthcoming, the Readers don't consider the disadvantage of Liénart-conferred orders to be as grave a threat to validity as is Dubious Dan's one-handed sacerdotal "ordination."  Nevertheless, we do believe the Lowly Worm should have gotten himself fixed before Junior's recent Sacrilege in the Swamp — for safety's sake. (The Kid should be forever grateful to Geert Stuyver for saving his bacon.)

A VOICE FROM THE PAST

For the present, though, we don't propose to revisit our moderate discomfort over the Liénart problem. Instead, we'd like to share Archbishop Thc's view of the matter. His Excellency "speaks" to us in a handwritten letter to Lefebvre, sent after he had heard of the SSPX founder's ill health. (The letter is available on the Today's Catholic World [TCW] blog here.)

Although we're not forensic analysts, nevertheless, summoning our paleography skills, we compared the handwriting of the letter to that of the 1981 consecration certificate Thc issued (available here). After a close inspection, we satisfied ourselves that the same person wrote both documents. A note (here) posted by the TCW blog affirms its authenticity, so you don't have to take PL's word for it.

On the web site, you'll find a not-altogether-satisfactory translation appended to the image of the letter. Consequently, for ease of reference, below we supply an almost slavishly literal version for the portions of the text that interest us today. (We don't want you to think we're loading the dice with too free a rendering.) Since the crabbed handwriting becomes at times difficult to decipher, we'll first provide a transcription of the French original (as we read it — we'll gladly consider other readings, since we've been contracted to prepare an annotated transcription of the entire letter):
❡2 Vous avez été consacré Evêque par le Cardinal Liénard [sic, as we read the written name]; or ce Cardinal n'avait jamais crû [sic] à notre Religion, — donc votre consécration par lui a été [our best guess] nulle.
❡3 Je suis prêt à vous consacré [sic] évêque ou bien trouver un évêque qui se charge de vous consacrer secrètement. 
(❡ 2) You were consecrated Bishop by Cardinal Liénart; but this Cardinal had never believed [reading cru for crû] in our Religion, — therefore your consecration by him was null. 
(❡ 3) I am ready to consecrate [reading consacrer for consacré] you bishop or else find a bishop who may take it upon himself [reading a non-assertive relative clause] to consecrate you secretly.
Two features strike us immediately about ❡2First, the unmistakable syllogistic frame, to wit, the telltale conjunctions or (but) linking a premise and donc (therefore) introducing a conclusion. Second, the assumptive tone (which continues in ❡3): Thc doesn't hedge his declaration in the slightest. Taken together, both features conclusively indicate the letter was written with the presumption (1) that Liénart's faithlessness was common knowledge among high-level churchmen and (2) that Lefebvre was as aware of his principal consecrator's radical defection as was Thc.

The purpose of Thc's missive, then, was not to inform Lefebvre of his troubled holy orders. Lefebvre already knew of the problem. Instead, Thc wrote in order to (1) counsel him in Christian candor to accept undoubtedly valid episcopal orders and (2) offer his own services to that end. It may be worth noting that later in the letter he suggests Lefebvre be ready to re-confer the priesthood on the clergy he had but lately ordained or find another bishop to do so.***  (Gee-whiz, sounds almost like what the Readers have been trying for years to get "One-Hand Dan" to do!****)

THE BOTTOM LINE

So, then, what does all this come down to? In our mind, it boils down to two mutually exclusive questions:

(a) Was Thc a malformed, crazy, old geezer sputtering nonsense (and hence unfit to consecrate anyone ever)?
OR
(b) Did the "saintly" — as Dannie once called him — archbishop think there was something to the Liénart liability, which would move a prudent man to obtain conditional orders?

It's really a no brainer.

* Those of you who read Spanish might be interested in Fr. Méramo's take (and his takedown of shape-shifting Checkie and Big Don). For his article, click here.

** As we heard the Cheeseball once say in a 2011 interview (min. 19:25 and 19:34).

*** The TCW blog's English version does not translate the clause to which we refer, so you will have to consult the handwritten letter to verify. To assist you, here's our transcription of the French, the missing text in bold❡ 4 Quant aux ecclésiastiques que vous aviez fait prêtres naguère, vous seriez prêt à leur conférer la prêtise, ou trouver un Evêque [uncertainly reading upper-case e], par exemple moi-mêm[e] à les consacrer.

**** It may be unfair to judge from such a brief, hastily composed note, but Thc was definitely wrong in only recommending Lefebvre's re-consecration as a bishop. Lefebvre's 1929 priestly orders, which Liénart also conferred, constitute the real stumbling block.  If Lefebvre had been ordained to the priesthood by someone other than Liénart, the 1947 suspect episcopal orders conferred by principal consecrator Liénart would have been saved by one or both of the co-consecrators, Bishop Alfred-Jean-Félix Ancel and Bishop Jean-Baptiste Victor Fauret.

However, if Lefebvre were not a valid priest at the time of his 1947 consecration, then the co-consecrators, their unchallenged validity notwithstanding, most likely did not confer orders.  As Noldin wrote in his Summa Theologiae Moralis, "It is more commonly affirmed, that when the priesthood has not yet been conferred, the episcopate cannot be validly conferred (communius affirmatur episcopatum, nondum collato sacerdotio, valide conferri non posse)."

To fully cure Lefebvre's Liénart liability, Thshould have offered to re-confer both sacerdotal and episcopal orders. But then perhaps the wise, old archbishop was just using a kind of shorthand and intended all along to fix his colleague completely.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DREAM


What happens to a dream deferred?/... Does it stink like rotten meat? Hughes

From time to time, developmentally delayed, religious deviants protest that $GG's continued survival on life support proves "One-Hand Dan" has weathered PL's criticisms and exposés. According to these purblind victims of ecclesiastical imposture, the Wee One is as optimistic as ever about the future of his cult.

We who see the truth recognize that the denial of looming collapse is groundless. If everything were peachy keen in SW Ohio, then Dannie wouldn't be obsessing about money, nor would he be aggressively begging for freebie meals and airport rides. Furthermore, $GG's weekly collection would show a steady increase over time, not the stubborn, below-subsistence flatline we've traced for several years. Volunteerism would be up, so His Impudency wouldn't have to impose upon the same, shrinking core of beleaguered, aging worker bees season after season. Most importantly, the number of bequests would be growing, not shrinking.

At this watershed moment after Junior's "consecration," an event that definitively marked the end of Dannie's rôle as the bench player of Sedelandia, it might be instructive to consider the phantom of defeat pursuing the Dirtbag throughout his lonely hours of tormented self-reflection. This May, he'll turn 67. Approaching one's 70th year on earth, a man naturally takes stock. For life's winners, the assessment is a joy; for life's losers, it's unrelieved agony. If the glittering dreams of youth and early middle age have turned out to be dross, a fortune's fool confronts a bleak future of zero triumphs, particularly as younger, ambitious, and more able men are scrambling to refine golden memories of their own to gild a happy old age.

To garner some insight into what must be Dannie's all-year-long winter of discontent, we must look at the controlling dream of his illicit "episcopacy." Wee Dan's April 27, 1983, expulsion from the SSPX dealt the thirty-something, pipe-dreaming idler a cruel reversal, but not for the reasons many might think. Having very early (and quite without justification) imagined himself a bishop someday, his ouster meant there would be no one to crown his overly wishful noggin with a coveted miter.

When finally, after a self-serving volte-face on thThục line's validity, he wrested the longed-for headgear from the hoodwinked Pivster, he was free to set his sights on a jet-setting career: One day, he would become the "bishop" of all the sede chapels and groups, traveling the world in style like that globetrotting Archbishop Lefebvre, who had unceremoniously  — and in-person — shown him the backdoor some ten-and-a-half years earlier.

As the days, weeks, months, and years following his unlawful "consecration" passed, that dreamed-of day never dawned. Everybody conspired to thwart the realization of his fantasy.  Pivareeno, whom he thought he could muscle out of the way both in sunny Mexico and at home, prospered, sweeping up chapels all over the map. (In fact, after the 2009 $GG $chool $candal, a well-motivated Pivmeister pitched camp in Li'l Daniel's back yard at the petition of a colony of ex-Gerties.) Within less than a decade of Dan's mitering, Big Don snared a miter for himself, much to Dannie's peevish dismay.  In the meantime, nobody of consequence signed up for the Wee One's "little" Salesian boys' club.

The Jellyfish was the next to elevate its slimy self. It then turned around and consecrated a South American with a large following in Mexico. Sensing a void, a few years later the Ham Sandwich mounted a coup, which almost emptied $GG, leaving only depraved culties. Not too long afterward, the triumphant Sammich — Lower East Tradistan's "Second-Hand Rose" — decorated his own swollen bean with a used miter ordered online (🎶 I'm wearing second-hand hats, second-hand clothes 🎶). One by one, the serious Mexican and French independent "clergy" cut themselves loose.

The upshot of it all is that the Mitered Maggot's fevered vision of VIP airport lounges, luxury hotel suites, smiling concierges too impressed to accept a gratuity, chauffeured limos, fawning maître d's at Michelin-starred eateries, comped lunches at Taco Bell, groveling "clergy," celebrity-struck laity, and painstakingly curated guided tours of Old-World venues never became entries in "The Bishop's (?) Corner." All those hallucinations lay forever out of reach.

Why, he never even got close! 

It was Diminished Don who was asked to England, Down Under, and the Continent (and he may yet fly off again soon if he gets medical clearance). But the Lowly Worm's travel victories over Dan are yesterday's news. Nowadays the title of Mr. Worldwide properly belongs to the hyper-ambitious, always scratching, ever conniving Ham Sandwich, who boasts a European apostolate reaching into Germany, Spain, and Italy, where he'll spend about a month and a half this spring. At best, "One-Hand Dan" has only managed to wrangle short-term invites from (1) a shunned group of Argentine malcontents notorious for their pants-wearing womenfolk and (2) some Trento breakaways in Mexico. (But even one of the latter groups soon grew disillusioned.)

As many a practicing therapist will testify, it's almost impossible to recover from a traumatic psychological setback occasioned by a dream that's toast, particularly if you had your heart set on it. It's worse still if you shared your wild hopes with a lot of people who have long memories. The verismo novelist Federico De Roberto once wrote that only castles in the air "avoid the dissolving hands of time." That's Dreamland Dan's cross to bear. That's what makes hellish the black hours of solitude spent in his room.

His vividly imagined persona as an American nouveau-Marcel trekking about the continents — an image refreshed and augmented over many nights in the delicious minutes before sleep overtakes — stubbornly persists. It cannot be erased, no matter how hard he tries. It reappears at the worst times to mock him. To remind him of the failure of his life, the defeat of his outrageous fancy. To bedevil him over the crumbling cult center and evaporating enthusiasm for his enterprise. To taunt him with the fine restaurants he can no longer afford. To heap abuse upon his useless, contemptible, self-mitered noodle.

Bitter is advancing age absent the sweet consolation of a personal chronicle of dreams fulfilled.  Add disappointment over disappearing resources while mixing in a growing awareness you never had what it takes to begin with, and you've got the makings of the misery of the damned. Although his self-destructive backing of Tony Baloney and the "Principal" triggered the mass exodus of 2009, thereby hurling his already moribund career into its current death spiral, Dannie actually never stood a chance to become a Lefebvre redivivus.

For one thing, he lacked the physical stature, the air of command. (A perpetual risus sardonicus, or rictus grin, inspires no awe.) For another, he didn't have the right formation or the necessary skills. But the greatest drawback to success was an incapacity to attract to his banner men of genuine ability. He had to settle for the third-rate Erroneous Antonius, whose abrasive personality, misplaced self-esteem, and penchant for windmill tilting only magnified the Wee One's defects in the eyes of both "clergy" and lay folk. Perhaps a gifted sidekick might have been able to mask His Deficiency's shortcomings, but then Li'l Daniel probably never could've attracted the allegiance of someone with unalloyed talent anyway. The ungifted needy seem to find each other, don't they?

Ambition is by no means wrong; it is often beneficial for organizations and individuals. But to achieve true success, both collective and personal, ambition must be underpinned by native ability and a desire to improve lives other than your own. To motivate competent people to follow, you need to offer them something besides a life of servitude to your person. The talented "bishop" who figures out that he must first become the servant of the "clergy" and laity, not their overlord, could become the "metropolitan" of Sedelandia, with whatever diminished perks it may now offer in its last days. However, since the sub-par sede impostors opt for adulation, not stewardship, nothing will change. They'll remain strutting, turf-warring, undistinguished daydreamers who cannot transmute airy whimsy into concrete reality.

WAKE 'EM UP: LEAVE THE CULT TODAY!