Saturday, June 30, 2012


The feral clergy who prey upon the laity in "One-Hand" Dan's squalid little parcel of Traddielandia are small-souled, lupine self-servers. For that reason, you were probably served a no-trespass notice after you showed up at Mass. More than likely, the priest's base instincts overcame him, so he caused an unforgivable scandal by ordering the police to remove you from your own chapel.

Assuredly, it was an unedifying experience, especially for the children who witnessed the incident. Nonetheless, it's one the steering committee should have welcomed, as it set the stage for the mass meeting we had advised. The faithful will have seen with their own eyes the priest's intolerably boorish, irreligious behavior.  They will be ready to follow the committee's lead.

The agenda for the meeting should be short. The committee will first explain its two-fold goal of converting the chapel to a membership corporation and having the priest ordained conditionally (if he received holy orders from "One-Hand" Dan). Explain that the central objective is to allow the faithful to have a strong voice in running the chapel that they support with their hard-earned money. Given that the institutional Church is no longer in operation during the Sede Vacante, it isn't safe to put all the chapel's cash and goods into the hands of one improperly formed man, whose orders may be doubtful. Absent a divine institution into which people can safely put their trust, transparency and accountability are the only means to guarantee the good stewardship of your property.

Some of your fellow parishioners may question why the priest must be conditionally ordained. Some (who could not critically read Tony the Blunderer's monograph* on one-handed ordination) may comment, like a night-school lawyer who wrote us recently, that "the Holy Office during the 1950's repeatedly declared ordination with one hand valid for ALL grades of Holy Orders."

Well, the quoted account of the Holy Office's decisions is merely a hearsay anecdote from an unnamed bishop. Certainly we don't assert that the esteemed Fr. Regatillo, the author of the quote, made up the tale out of whole cloth. We merely insist that, without written documentation from the Holy Office, a speculative doubt about the validity of "One-Hand" Dan's orders remains in light of Pius XII 1947 Apostolic Constitution on orders. (As we have pointed out, the rector once shared this doubt, too.)

There's no record that the missing ceremony was later supplied to cure the defect or that "One-Hand" ever received conditional ordination before his consecration. Therefore, the only way to remove any doubt about the orders of a priest ordained by "One-Hand" is through conditional ordination by a bishop who had been properly ordained a priest.

After explaining the two objectives, the next item of business will be the election of a board of directors with a president, treasurer, and secretary. This elected body will replace the steering committee and will function as a shadow governing agent until the priest comes to his senses. After the election, inform the faithful that the next step will be the drafting of  bylaws for the reformed corporation so that there will be democratic rules to inform the chapel's leadership.   Next week, in Step IX, Pistrina will provide a model document.

* As we have explained before in several palces, the Blunderer's article, "The Validity of Ordination Conferred with One Hand," suffers from a fatal mistranslation of the most important point under dispute. For those with the patience to work through the technical details, here is an analysis of the error that renders the piece unusable in definitively deciding the question of "One-Hand's" orders. (A knowledge of Latin is not necessary to follow the argument.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Now, you can be sure that a pesthouse completer won't have sense enough to acquiesce immediately to your committee's reasonable and just demands. Although they don't have much education, these slow-witted clergy have well learned from their Svengalis one lesson: keep control of the people's money and property. Our bet, then, is that the priest won't even take a hour to make his decision. He'll tell you no right then and there. More than likely, he'll kick you out of the chapel, adding that if you return to demand the sacraments, as is your right as a Catholic, he'll call the police.

When that happens, mobilize. First, email everyone in the chapel to tell them what he has done and invite everyone to a public meeting to discuss the crisis and to organize. (More about that next week). Your community probably has many venues that can accommodate your chapel, e.g., libraries or recreation centers. Next, everyone on the committee must get on the phone to give others a first-hand account of the priest's un-Christian and undemocratic behavior. Encourage everyone to withhold all offerings and to stop their pledges until the priest sees reason.

On the ensuing Sunday, all members of the steering committee are to show up at the chapel and take their seats in the pews. If the priest demands that you leave, quietly stay put. Make him call the police and wait until they arrive to escort you out. Be sure that you have people who will video the whole event and others standing by to call local TV and radio stations as well as the newspaper.  Let the rattled pesthouse priest lose his temper, not you. 

If the priest doesn't have you removed, at collection time, observe who is giving, so that you can counsel them in Christian candor. Use the time after Mass to dispel any misgivings some people may have. Distribute copies of the act of perfect contrition to allay any fears the priest may have maliciously stirred up in an effort to win support through lies and intimidation. Encourage everyone to stand united so that the chapel can remain in their hands. Let them know that with time, even the densest of priests can be made to do the right thing and work for the parish and for not himself or his puppet masters.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


This is the shortest step of our 12-Point Program. The steering committee simply sits down with the priest to tell him (1) that the chapel is to become a membership corporation run by an elected lay board, to which he will be subordinate, and (2) that he is to seek conditional ordination if he was ordained by "One-Hand Dan." Then let him know that, if he refuses to accede to this sensible petition, you will withhold financial support and cancel your pledges.

Make it clear that the steering committee will use all its influence and resources to mobilize the entire chapel in an effort to make the priest see reason or face insolvency. Be sure he understands that no threats, imprecations, or empty appeals to canon law will deter the committee from its just objective. Explain that everyone is prepared to live a Catholic life without a priest in the event of his refusal.

Then give him one hour to make his decision.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Ed. NotePistrina returns to its 12-part series after last week's special post.

The ill-formed clergy who swarm like flies around the rector and "One-Hand Dan" are a sorry lot. You can't expect them to have too long an attention span or to be able to digest complex demands. For that reason, your steering committee should establish only one objective:


Boiling down what you want to one statement of claim will prevent your priest's jumping willy-nilly from issue to issue in an effort to distract you and weaken your focus. More importantly, from this one demand, all lay governance flows.

By becoming a membership corporation, your chapel will not be controlled by the selfish whims of one (poorly trained) man. The people who pay the bills will govern themselves by electing a board, which they will be able to boot out if it fails to represent their interests. Gone, too, will be the priest's sleazy clerical cronies who serve as officers of his undemocratic, non-membership corporation. Furthermore, the chapel's accounts, now at long last subject to audit, will be out of the priest's hands, so if you get rid of him, you'll still have your money to start afresh. Best of all, there'll be no more "my-way-or-the-highway" threats.

Perhaps  then,  finally, the priest, now subordinate in justice to the superior wisdom of a popularly elected body of Catholic stake-holders, will be free to concentrate on the people's and his own sanctification, without the temptation to meddle in secular affairs.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Ed. Note: This week Pistrina got wind of the probable consecration of a brand-spankin'-new wandering bishop. Details are a bit unsettled (perhaps by design), but the rumor won't go away. We, therefore, interrupt our 12-part series to bring you at an earlier hour than customary this special post.

In the earnest hope that the news of his recent consecration is reliable, we hasten to congratulate the young Most Reverend Markus Ramolla, who was once, and perhaps secretly still is, an enthusiastic supporter of this blog, contributing along the way much invaluable material and encouragement.* If, then, we may adapt a line from W.S. Gilbert, we find His Excellency to be the very model of a post-modern prelate.

As you know, Pistrina holds that, in the Sede Vacante, every priest should receive the episcopacy. Insofar as wandering bishops cannot teach or rule, there is very, very little difference nowadays between them and a simple priest. Moreover, since possessing episcopal character is not really necessary to confirm or to consecrate/bless churches, ciboria, patens, chalices, altar stones etc., outside of his own chapel about the only practical uses for an episcopus vagans are (1) the conferral of holy orders and (2) the blessing of sacred oils.**

This fledgling bishop, accordingly, represents our ideal of the sedevacantist prelate. Unlike "One-Hand Dan" and the rector, His Excellency makes no pretense to being someone he definitely is not. He's doesn't resent his modest origins, and he's painfully aware of the substandard formation he received at the MHT pesthouse. (His painful memories of that place will also spare the bishop's seminarians from having to sign perpetual agreements of cultish indenture, of which he alone would be the "authentic interpreter.") Knowing perfectly well his own limitations, he'll never invent theological or liturgical barbarities. In His Excellency's Mass center, you won't be stretched on the "una-cum" rack or be told he enjoys universal jurisdiction as a "missionary bishop." Happily, you'll recite along with Bishop Ramolla the Leonine prayers after Mass, and he'll never ridiculously claim to be an expert in pontifical ceremony. The youthful prelate's chief virtues are those of a conscientious sacristan blessed with the taste of a trained horticulturist, who loves the liturgy but doesn't make his starring role in a big show the central focus of a patently diminished episcopate.

Never will you hear him brag about obscenely expensive, fine-dining jaunts to shi-shi restaurants or resorts. He'll never represent himself as an exquisite gourmet or aesthete, like a couple mitered mannerists we know. He just likes to eat -- except for Mexican fare, so you'll never find him making a "run for the border," as one well-known prelatic mediocrity often does).  Furthermore, he certainly won't ever strive to pass himself off as quietly refined or reservedly elegant. Having closely observed over time the rector and "One-Hand Dan," His Excellency understands that amaranthine piping and shimmering choir vesture can't conceal permanently rough edges. 

No, indeed. His is a boisterous Gemütlichkeit, and, well, if a few food stains decorate his untidy cassock or if the soles of his unshined shoes have worn through, so what! All that wandering has got to wear out shoe leather, right? By nature he's unprepossessing. Why, we'd wager he probably doesn't have -- and likely never will acquire -- a full kit of pontificals. There will be few, if any, mad spending sprees at Gammarelli's, the papal tailor in Rome. You can also be sure he won't waste his time vainly studying the niceties of long-gone-never-to-return Roman court etiquette and costume: Dolly-dress-up is frankly not his style. So, while you won't be dazzled by over-the-top sartorial finery, neither will you have to witness the gauche buffoonery of a wandering bishop pulling a train.

We nominate this jolly, unpolished clerical Everyman as the bishop for our timesprovided that he followed sound advice to seek conditional ordination prior to episcopal consecration. (Unfortunately, he was, as you may know, ordained to the priesthood by the dubious "One-Hand Dan.") Our fondest desire is that His Newly Minted Excellency ordain and consecrate often -- and soon, too -- without quibbling about imposing hands lightly. Almost from the moment the Thuc lineage was transplanted to the New World, we've experienced an application of Gresham's law: Bad Traddie clergy have driven out good, so there's no sense now in looking for quality candidates.*** What's really important is that an ever increasing tribe of wandering bishops break the stranglehold that a tiny cabal of brazen, self-promoting, episcopal pirates thinks it has on traditional Catholicism.

Once again, we fervently hope the report of a young, new bishop is authentic. (The sources are varied and very good.) As a token of our joy -- and in meaningful reference to another line in the same Gilbert ditty from which we borrowed above -- Pistrina commissioned, in the best humanistic and ecclesiastical tradition, an elegiac distich to commemorate what we pray was a valid consecration. Doubtless, the following lines are uncouth doggerel,**** but do the times merit anything better?

Pontifices --en!-- errabundi multiplicantur;
   vae tibi, «Mance Dan-y»: omnia haec opera. 

* He actually helped get Pistrina started by his generous gift of the Blunderer's sophomoric patchwork of errors, Work of Human Hands, which the young bishop acquired for us on the very day of its release in SW OhioHis Excellency also furnished sensational documents and assembled eye-witness reporters of the unedifying shenanigans at the Swampland clerical vocational program.

** We understand that people may prefer mitered clergyman at confirmation or, say, at the  consecration of a church; however, a bishop is not strictly necessary. As to the oils, they're not that crucial, for a priest can renew his supply with ease for quite a long time. Furthermore, additional research on the blessing of holy oils may prove very useful to clergy yearning for a bishop-free zone.

***In the Traddies' continuing race to the bottom, we advise all wandering bishops, when consecrating, to roundly ignore the qualities of legitimate birththirty years of age, and five years in the priesthood.  It's obvious from the record of the Thuc-Carmona lineage in the U.S. that the utter absence of the other requirements of c. 331 (viz., good moral character, piety, zeal for souls, prudence, leadership/management skills, valid credential in theology from an approved institution of higher learning, etc.) has certainly not stopped anyone from getting the miter in Traddielandia. A fortiori, as we have written, the demands of canon law do not obtain in the Sede Vacante.

**** We are certain our learned followers will appreciate the intentionally artless cæsura in line 1 (to register moral trauma); likewise we expect they will see the fun in the false quantity of the English diminutive suffix in line 2 (to reflect  the sing-song-jingle-jangle of the sobriquet "One-Hand Danny.").