Saturday, October 29, 2011


A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory. Miller

The October MHT Newletter blew in last week with all the other decaying débris of autumn. While silent about last spring's big $30-K plan and his highly anticipated take-over of Our Lady of the Sun, AZ, the rector does take us on a languid, somnolent trip down memory lane to the '50s, repeats the shopworn and recycled critique of Novus-Ordo impiety, speculates about the next SSPX-Rome démarche, and touches ever so lightly on the Restoration of the Church.

As we said, this is pretty much the same tired, old, dreamy fluff we've seen a thousand times. We would have ignored it all had the newsletter not arrived as we were beginning our series on the failed legacy of the Terrible Trio of the rector, the Blunderer, and "One-Hand Dan." Our thoughts about the Restoration are completely apropos of our new theme, and they make, we think, a nice introduction to the forthcoming series. After all, the rector is not the only one entitled to dream of what might be were the papacy and hierarchy to convert, renounce the heresies of the Vatican II establishment, and thereby effect the Catholic Restoration.

We'll keep it short and to the point.

If the Roman Catholic Church were restored, say, next week, one thing is for certain: Not a single wandering bishop of the Traddie movement would be called upon to serve in the restored episcopate. In fact, the restored Church would demand their resignations and suspend everyone of them a divinis. She would also demand the resignation of Traddie priests, too. After a lengthy investigation, perhaps some of the priests might be permitted to minister to the faithful after their orders had been regularized. However, not one of these episcopi vagantes would see a throne or a title or even the inside of a Church-sponsored retirement home.

Our reason for this bold assertion?

Well, although Vatican II certainly did away with the Catholic religion, it did not do away with the ethos and workings of the Curia Romana. The Church's bureaucracy is an ancient institution (the roots of which are found in classical antiquity). The Modernist revolution could not -- and did not wish to -- erase its habits of action, its subtle ways of handling difficult matters and even more difficult personalities. It has an institutional memory and rich documentary resources. Even a repentant and newly Catholic curia would realize that all these men have too much personal baggage. More critically, too much doubt surrounds their motives, their formation, their histories, and their orders to allow them to participate materially in the governance, instruction, and sanctification of the faithful.

That's why all that talk about preserving the faith, the liturgy, and Catholic culture is really just the stuff of disturbing pipe dreams. Even had they managed to preserve something (which they definitely have not done), the Restored Church would have no need for such meager accomplishments. She would have at her disposal the talents of genuinely educated men who are disciplinary experts in every field needed. Common sense, then, counsels, that there is simply no way on earth any of these characters would ever be given a role to play in a Restored Church.

For that reason, even if the signs were unmistakable that the Church had been restored, these wandering bishops would keep up their resistance until their last cult-follower stops making contributions.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Ruinous inheritance (damnosa heriditas). Gaius

The medical examiner's report is in: the long-ailing organizations under the shaking thumbs of the rector, "One-Hand," and the Blunderer are, for practical purposes, defunct. All that remains is a post-mortem assessment of these failed clergy's non-existent legacy.

In the coming weeks through a series of posts, Pistrina will sharpen its scalpel to peel from the rotting corpse, one by one, the tissue of failure and expose it to public scrutiny. You will see how the Terrible Trio has, in fact, achieved nothing beyond wretched self-complacency. In the areas of liturgy, theology, the defense of Catholic faith and morals, Catholic intellectual life, propagation of the faith, Catholic education, and priestly formation, all their expensive and unfocused efforts have yielded nothing worthy of remembrance or imitation.

Now that the traditional world has seen the Threesome for the Great Pretenders that they are, whatever influence they might have wielded is now finally at an end. Traditionally minded Novus Ordites have made more useful and permanent contributions to liturgical praxis in the short time since the Motu Proprio than the Three Stooges have after more than three decades of trouble-making.

Therefore, before they disappear from the scene and our attention, in the last weeks of this liturgical year, the Readers will conduct an autopsy to bring to light their dismal record of non-performance.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


"I'll be back! I ALWAYS come back!" Chucky in Bride of Chucky

The Reader is loath to compound two disparate films into one allusion. It seems almost a kind of mixed metaphor. But this time it can't be helped. Insofar as both A Christmas Story and the many avatars of Child's Play are cult classics, it's apropos, we think, in this case.

In the September MHT Newsletter, the rector announced he was expecting the return of Scut the Prefect to the pesthouse. Now it wasn't so long ago that he bid our un-merry martinet adieu as the latter was heading off for a two-man monastery in France. But it looks like he'll soon be baaaaaack.

What happened? Why no explanation? Was the place too outré even for the sorry likes of punishment-happy Scut?

Apparently the rector wants Scut a.k.a. "Chucky the Chip-Off-the old Rector's Block-Head" to play and get the new seminarians in line. Leaving those poor man-children alone in peace is simply not in order. They'll need some rough humiliation with loads of punishment if they're ever to be fit to serve as obedient orderlies on the mop brigade. When Scut-Chucky gets his visa, those newbies will wish they were back home with mama. Just imagine: the crumbling halls of MHT will once again echo with high-pitched insults, squealing degradation, and falsetto screaming accusations of mortal! mortal! sin.

We're certain that "Chucky the Chip" will get "Squirmin' Herman" up to speed in dishing out unjust discipline. Only the Chuckster can wipe that goofy smile off that grinning, empty face! Oh, the time for a reckoning is hard upon those little babes who thought they had a chance in the swampland!

How long before the little ones will wish it was only make-believe?

Saturday, October 8, 2011


The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. Wm. James

Pistrina is surprised at how much e-mail traffic a comment under one of our articles about “One-Hand” Dan’s ordination has generated. Remarking about the post “‘Slight’ of Hand”, an earnest commenter admonished the Reader:

…so what if Dolan's priestly ordination was invalid? He was thereafter consecrated a bishop, thereby receiving the fullness of the priesthood. Consecration as a bishop automatically confers all of the powers of the lesser office of priest.

Pistrina's Readers replied that, according to research undertaken a few years ago, a valid priestly ordination was required for the reception of the episcopacy. However, we invited our correspondent to provide written support for his/her assertion. We also promised to publish anything the commenter found.

We aren't sure if our commenter was among the correspondents who wrote, but the Reader received quite a few e-mails both pro and con. Here’s a summary of the best:

Somewhat in favor of the commenter, one writer cited Tanquerey (the Latin moral theology author frequently used in pre-Vatican II U.S. seminaries).

…orders received by a leap are valid, except perhaps the episcopacy…some [theologians] contend that the episcopacy is not an order distinct from the priesthood, but only its complement, and therefore is not validly received unless the priesthood were received beforehand; others, however, hold that the episcopacy is a distinct order, in which the priestly order is eminently contained, and from ancient documents it is well known that sometimes this order was conferred while other orders were skipped (Synopsis Theologiae Moralis et Pastoralis, I. 1149 [b]).

A learned correspondent from abroad sent us a Spanish-language text by the Dominican Royo Marín. The eminent friar considers both positions and offers the following conclusion: the opinion “that requires previous priestly ordination for the validity of Episcopal consecration is very much more probable…” (Teología Moral para Seglares, 2. 412).

A third writer sent this citation from the Dominican Prümmer:

Is the espicopate validly received by one whose priesthood was invalid? The negative opinion seems preferable and is the one to be followed in practice (Handbook of Moral Theology,806.3).

The Dominican B.H. Merkelbach, another correspondent pointed out, refuses to hedge his opinion like others. The great moralist categorically concludes:

The episcopacy or the power of ordaining other priests cannot be conceived without the priesthood, but necessarily supposes and includes it, since no one can communicate to others a power that he does not have. And therefore, a bishop cannot be validly ordained who is not, or at least is not ordained at the same time, a priest (Summa Theologiae Moralis, III. 731.3).

We’re not here to settle the question of the validity of "One-Hand" Dan's orders. As we’ve said, the decision whether to seek a sacrament sub conditione is best left to the individual’s conscience. Our point is simply that no one should use the Blunderer’s unscholarly monograph to decide the question.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


A tale told by an idiot. Shakespeare

Ed. Note: The September MHT newsletter arrived early last week. It's interesting how once the rector boasted about three new seminarians from France, but now he reports just one. And there's still no update on his "permanent arrangement" with Our Lady of the Sun. We warn the Michigan chapel to be on guard. Things are probably tough down in the swampland. You're looking like the last resort. Hold on to your wallets.

Speaking of the Michigan outpost, we can give our readers a juicy tidbit before they wade into the contents of this week's post (in which we must flog the rector for a grievous misspelling in his newsletter): Last week, the pastor -- you know... the simian-grinning Father "What Me Consecrate?" -- forgot (once again) to say the third Hail, Mary at the Leonine Prayers after Mass. (Isn't it time to give him a refresher course?)

The Readers know that pointing out the gross spelling errors of the Blunderer and the rector can be tedious for many people. Ordinarily, we would just chalk these embarrassments up to the inferior formation these men received and leave it at that. However, these clerics persist in representing themselves as the very best in Catholicism, and they are ever so quick to lambaste others as "country priests" -- or even worse -- for their mistakes. So turn about is always fair play here.

The rector, with his flair for belaboring the obvious, tells us:
We have have five seminarians left from last year, and have two new ones this year...All tolled, there will be seven...
Had he be given a real education, he would have written "all told." One of the meanings of 'to tell,' indeed the original Old English meaning, is to count, reckon up, mention numerically, calculate the total amount. That's why we call someone who counts votes or cash a "teller."

The howler is especially horrific for a Catholic, who should have had that meaning of "tell" in mind from the idiom "to tell one's beads," meaning to say the Rosary ( as in Paul Laurence Dunbar's line, "She told her beads with downcast eyes," or in the old Percy ballad, "It was a friar of orders gray/Walkt forth to tell his beads"). The ignorance is compounded in a priest, who should have known the sense from the Douay verson of Psalm 146.4: "Who telleth the number of the stars; and calleth them all by their names."

Educated folk know that 'to toll' means to exact as a toll (charge, tax) or to sound a (large) bell slowly at regular intervals or to attract, entice, allure (as in 'toll-bait' or 'toller'). But that's our point. It's the old story of the emperor's new clothes, isn't it? Apparently, the rector's been hanging around the Blunderer for too long: he's absorbed all those bad habits of language, which an inferior education did not remove.

As an aside, if you'd like a really humorous look at the boo-boo the rector shares with many others of the stubbornly careless classes, we suggest you read the Word Detective's fine note on this error. After you read the note, be sure to remember to