Saturday, February 23, 2013


Pistrina Liturgica:

IMHO the Traditional Church has been in free fall since the 2009 SGG School Scandal. In the last year or so everything has gone to the dogs. We now have several new bishops and new priests appear every day. New seminaries are popping up everywhere. There is even a new wild rumor about a married man's ordination.

I know the old guard is bad. But don't you think it would have been better to put up with their shenanigans than suffer through this mess? At least there would be some kind of "quality control." I feel like the whole movement will be destroyed by this disaster.

We agree that Traddielandia has tumbled precipitously downhill in the last three years. However, Trad-World was a disaster before the shameful SGG episode exposed its diseased corpse: Greed. Waste. Incompetence. Nastiness and backbiting. Bishops behaving badly. Priests forgetting the consecration or unable to perform a graveside service. Crying deacons. New mortal sins. Distraught "seminarians" running away en masse late at night following a disgraceful scream-fest.

That was the norm, remember. Before 2009, we just couldn't see it owing to the foggy hype, sophomoric marketing ploys, and undeserved self-congratulation oozing like raw sewage from the cult centers. After 2009, the blinders came off. The knuckle-heads opened Pandora's box, and crushed hope as they hamfistedly tried to close it.

Actually, when you think about it, the current situation isn't too much different from the pre-November 2009 dog days. Ill-formed wandering bishops generally self-elected themselves to the episcopacy (either directly or through transparent campaigning). There was no committee of well-formed  churchmen to evaluate their fitness and recommend their candidacy.  All that was needed was ambition and a willing (or gullible?) consecrator. The same goes for the priests. Any warm body could gain admission to sede "seminaries." Capturing holy orders was (and still is) more a function of groveling brown-nosing than academic and spiritual merit. The only sacred rule was not to offend any member of the ruling confederacy of dunces.

Is it, then, any wonder why young mediocrities have pantingly aspired to a chance at grabbing the brass ring? In the aftermath of the 2009 débâcle (which average executive skills and a smattering of common sense could have prevented), every wannabe saw the field wide open. Truth to tell, there had never been much talent in the sede faction in the first place. And most certainly there was never, ever much thought given to genuine "quality control" (as some of Abp. Lefebvre's ordinations prove). Naked ambition alone, not ability or achievement, was the key to an upwardly mobile life on the laity's nickel. In the absence of the awe and mystery inspired by men of exceptional intellectual and spiritual gifts, any hungry, wet-behind-the-ears non-entity could figure out the recipe for getting ahead in Trad-World: (1) a generous handful of chutzpah, (2) a pinch of feral drive, and (3) a soupçon of reckless self-promotion.

Overall, however, we regard the current messy state of Traddielandia as beneficial. First of all, a few decent, well-educated, and able clergy have emerged. More important, the wretched, little, regional cult monopolies have been broken forever. More and more clergy will become available to offer chapels a choice, and these chapels will directly compete with the hobbled cults for donations and members. The increased choice and competition will put lay boards in the driver's seat, so if these newly minted clergy start to emulate the "old guard," they can be swiftly replaced. As long as this new breed of clergy learns to say Mass correctly and abide by the seal of confession, the laity should be able to look forward to a period of calm (and a few more dollars in their bank accounts -- much needed now in light of the recently restored federal payroll tax). Moreover, the new ex-SSPX Resistance movement with its superior clergy will continue to grow and introduce even greater competition -- and restraint.

But wait! There's an added bonus: Those poor, bewildered "Traddie Trash" who misguidedly stayed with their ol' sede cult masters can surely expect improved conditions at their compounds: the "old guard" will have to be on its best behavior if it wants to continue enjoying luxury vacations and lavish restaurant meals. (We may be witnessing this happy outcome already: last week, "One Hand" confessed in his bulletin that going out to lunch at a local, upscale chain-restaurant was "a rare treat anymore"; then he defensively added, in what read like an uneasy attempt to forestall simmering resentment, "we had a gift certificate." They never used to explain themselves like that before the self-inflicted 2009 crisis!)

So, we thank any prelate who, in the good, old-fashioned sede tradition stretching back to the archbishop, lays hands on lightly. (We hope they make sure to use both hands!) We welcome all the newbies and wish them happy hunting. May they increase and multiply. 

They can't be any worse than what we had before the 2009 calamity.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Hi Readers:

Last week I worked through your critique (see "Lost in Translation") of Cekada's defense of ordination with one hand. My neighbor who used to teach Latin at a private school helped me. We had to agree you demolished his argument.

My question is not very "scholarly," but I want to ask you anyway. If Abp. Lefebvre wasn't upset about using one hand to ordain a priest, why do you folks at Pistrina keep making a big fuss?

As they say, we're glad you asked that question.

Recently we contacted people acquainted with witnesses to the infamous '76 one-handed ordination. According to them, the archbishop was "in a state of panic" afterward. Apparently some of the clergy who noticed the defect were reluctant to bring it to his attention immediately while they were still in the sanctuary. (Ah, me! the horrors of the cult of the personality: it wreaks irreparable damage on organizations it infects.)  One report relates that Apb. Lefebvre only calmed down after "someone" supplied a justifying explanation.

What's interesting is that no one seems to remember just who provided the explanation and how soon after the defective ordination the explanation emerged.  Did they wait several days or weeks for a well-researched, impartial, and reasoned effort, or was it extemporized on the spot to soothe an unnerved Lefebvre? I guess we'll never really know. Apparently everyone then thought as our correspondent does: if it was O.K. with the archbishop, then everything was fine.

But we do know that everything was not fine at first. Why else would the archbishop have been in a "panic." He knew very well what Sacramentum ordinis demanded. He was right to be disturbed by his careless mistake. Accordingly, until a professional with a real academic background, a sound knowledge of Latin, and an advanced (and recognized) degree in Catholic theology addresses the topic afresh, continuing doubt about the validity of ordination with one hand cannot be so readily dismissed. (And some "folks" should seriously contemplate conditional ordination, just in case we all have to wait a while.)

Of course -- and this is pure, almost wild, wishful thinking -- if the next canonically elected pope were to abjure Vatican II and convert to the Catholic faith, the problem would be settled, since a restored Church would call upon all these fractious, wandering bishops to renounce their state of life and suspend themselves a divinis.

Wouldn't that be nice: restoration and good-riddance!

Bye-bye, beastie.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Ed. Note: It's time to catch up on some correspondence of general interest.


Really enjoy the blog but can't help but wonder why you don't get discouraged by Trads who support discredited priests. In the real world, normal people would never patronize a business run by men like them. I'm sure you know not everybody who forks over their money is a red neck. Some of their supporters have college degrees.

We get this question all the time, so we'll try to give a complete response. First of all, even death-row inmates have their fans. (Remember the report of marriage proposals sent to Scott Peterson?) No amount of evidence or appeals to decency will change the minds of folks so inclined.

The second, and more important, reason is that these losers are not the audience we have in mind. Sure, it'd be great if one or two could see the light, but we don't expect it. A university credential is no guarantee of moral clarity, a well-informed conscience, or the ability to invoke right reason. For instance, we personally know of a case where a highly educated professional returned to a cult-center in spite of his continuing well-founded misgivings. His excuse? **Sniffle. Whimper**He wanted to be with his family. (Good grief!)

No. Our target audience is not depraved groupies. We speak to those Catholics whose genuinely Catholic mothers taught them better. If they want to attend Mass at the cult center, we've no objection, although the question of a certain prelataster's priestly orders is by no means settled. (But, what the hey! Who knows what's what in the crisis, right?)

We just want to be sure that Catholics with a conscience don't support the untrustworthy ambitions of sub-standard clergy. We don't care about the odd sawbuck or double sawbuck thrown into the collection plate. Why, that's the price of admission to the "really big shew." We want to discourage the big donations that fund the world-travel junkets and wild-eyed building programs at the expense of the economic health of Catholic families.

And we're succeeding.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. Burke

Recent weeks have done much to explain this curious remark in the rector's November 2012 MHT Newsletter:
"What we do not want or need from Bishop Williamson is a rump SSPX."
Now that Bp. Williamson is leading the newly formed Resistance Movement and appears ready to consecrate three new bishops, we can see the above declaration is not the same-old-same-old gaseous, overheated air that blows up monthly from the swampland. It's the confused wail of the doomed. His Excellency's triumphant entry into non-SSPX Catholic traditionalism spells the end to all the false hopes the rector and "One-Hand" have self-deceivingly harbored.

Maybe the rector doesn't want or need the competition, but the faithful surely do.

Like most of the rector's analyses, this one suffers from incurable tunnel vision.* He seems to think that Bp. Williamson aims at getting "hard-line SSPX-ers to quit the comfort of the big Society for a breakaway group....which is meeting in Holiday Inns." The rector fails (or is afraid) to realize that there's plenty of low-hanging fruit ripe for the picking in traditional Catholic communities unaffiliated with the SSPX, including his own small cluster and "One-Hand's."

Many, perhaps even most, Traddies will abandon the malformed, Mammonite control-freaks who feed upon them when priests associated with Bp. Williamson come near their hometowns. (Traddies are very enthusiastic trekkers, you know.) Very soon after arrival, they won't need to meet in Holiday Inns because the laity will establish permanent chapels. (You might say, If they come, the laity will build it.) That's the real fear of sede honchos.

All this may explain the rumors floating around about some recent tête-à-tête between Bp. Williamson and the out-0f-luck rector. Pistrina asked a few very wise heads and long-time SSPX watchers for their analysis of the chances of Bp. Williamson's heeding the rector's yelp to "declare for sedevacantism." They all agreed His Excellency is just too smart to bite at that putrid bait. Remember: this is a man with a real education and solid credentials (he's a graduate of Cambridge University). He knows the safest position is one very close to our own aliquid-pravism: something's very wrong in the Church,  and we must fight it. To come out for sedevacantism now would place him in some very bad, undignified company. Besides, he'd lose support from the very well funded Resistance Movement organizing under his guidance, which is declaredly not sedevacantist.

No, Bishop Williamson will just sit back and prosper, supported by the luxury of the best of all possible traditional positions: defend the "pope" yet resist. His group will grow. Its new seminary will flourish as the pesthouse decays and falls prey to an unforgiving tropical climate.

The beast will starve in agony as it watches a no-longer submissive flock scramble to the shelter of the well-formed, well-led, and very well-bred Resistance.

*Were we given t0--and we're not!--a deconstructionist interpretation of discourse, viz. that accidental features of a text betray and subvert the text's essential message, we'd be inclined to conclude that so much attention and so much unsolicited, off-point advice suggest the rector tacitly acknowledges Bp. Williamson as the de facto spiritual and moral leader of all non-SSPX Traddies.