Sunday, August 5, 2018

When the "development of doctrine" fetish hits...

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"If capital punishment is wrong in principle, then the Church has for two millennia consistently taught grave moral error and badly misinterpreted scripture. And if the Church has been so wrong for so long about something so serious, then there is no teaching that might not be reversed, with the reversal justified by the stipulation that it be called a 'development' rather than a contradiction. A reversal on capital punishment is the thin end of a wedge that, if pushed through, could sunder Catholic doctrine from its past—and thus give the lie to the claim that the Church has preserved the Deposit of Faith whole and undefiled."

If you weren't interested in the counter-narrative, you wouldn't be reading this blog. So, for reference, the Vatican used to have its own public executioner, Giovanni Battista Bugatti, and yet it was somehow the seat of the Vicar of Christ. Funny how that works, innit? 

"Free Mumia Christ!"

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"And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: 'If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.' But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: 'Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.' 

"Whereupon the first robber answered him, saying: 'AKTCHUALLY, the death penalty is per se contrary to the message of this guy in the middle, and is inadmissible as an affront to the inviolability of human dignity, mmkay?'"

-- The Gospel of Loss 23:39-41

The Crucifixion of Jesus with Two Robbers | ClipArt ETC

Orestes Brownson? More like Neo-Restes Brownson!

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How fitting that I get a chance to return to an earlier post of mine, thanks to the latest gyration of Pope Francis's abysmal papacy!
"[As a Catholic,] I owe obedience to the Pope only insofar as the spiritual head of my Church. Nevertheless, I have maintained and maintain that this spiritual authority extends to the morality of temporal things, in so far and only in so far, as they are spiritually related or have a spiritual character; that is, so far as they have a right to pronounce for the Catholic conscience, whether they do or do not conform to the law of God; for the Pope as the head of the Church is the interpreter and judge for Catholics of the divine law, natural or revealed. ... [Oh, and by the way:] The Pope [prior to 2018] has recognized the [death penalty] as compatible with the law of God...."

-- Orestes Brownson, 8 October 1855

Pope Boxwine the Nth

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"Whosoever shall shed man's blood, his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God."

- The Lord (Genesis 9:2)

Happy Catholic*: Genesis Notes: Covenant Renewed
 "Dankgebet nach Verlassen der Arche Noah", D. Morelli, Öl auf Leinwand, 27,5 x 40 cm (za. 1901)


"It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity. It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator...."

- Papa Franzia

Name! That! Anglican!

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"It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity. It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator".

Friday, July 6, 2018

Slavery by way of libertarianism...

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At this point, the best thing I can say about lolbertarianism, is that its cringey, forced memes (e.g., obligatory military service is liderully slavery) are a helpful reductio of trying to establish a functioning social order upon an "EE" (Enlightenment-Egalitarian) basis; which is to say, far from bolstering political libertinism, lolbertarian reductio-memes point towards a return to hierarchy, patriarchy, political finitude, and robust solidarity (e.g., slavery is best understood as one form among many of the duties imposed by being born into a social order).

In other words: open borders --> open buttholes. 

Vatican Too: Big To Fail

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"[Conservative critics of the liturgical perestroika] ... note a certain confusion, and therefore a certain annoyance: first, these observers say, it was quiet, everyone could pray as he wanted, everything was known about the performance of the rite; now everything is new, surprise, change....

"We will not criticize these observations, because we should show how they reveal little penetration of the meaning of religious rites, and let us not glimpse a true devotion and a true sense of the meaning and value of Holy Mass, but rather a certain spiritual indolence, that does not want to spend some personal effort of intelligence and participation to better understand and better perform the most sacred of religious acts, to which we are invited, even obliged to associate ourselves. ... [I]t is in the nature of a practical, as well as spiritual, reform of inveterate and piously observed religious habits, to produce a bit of agitation, not always pleasant at all; but ... some explanation, some preparation, some thoughtful assistance soon remove the uncertainties and immediately give the sense and the taste of a new order. ...
"[W]e should not believe that after some time we will return to quiet and devoted or lazy, as before; no, the new order must be different, and must prevent and shake the passivity of the faithful present at Holy Mass; first it was enough to watch, now it is necessary to participate; before the presence was enough, now attention and action are needed; first someone could doze and maybe chat; now no, he must listen and pray. ... The assembly becomes alive and operative; intervening means letting the soul enter into activity, attention, conversation, song, action. The harmony of a community act, accomplished not only by the outward gesture, but by the inner movement of the feeling of faith and piety, gives the rite a particular strength and beauty: it becomes chorus, becomes concert, becomes rhythm of an immense flying wing to the heights of mystery and divine joy. ...

"[In contrast, we hear praise for the new rite from those who say,] finally you can understand and follow the complicated and mysterious ceremony; finally we get a taste; finally the Priest speaks to the faithful, and we see that he acts with them and for them. ...

"[I]t is to be believed that the warning of the religious intensity that the new form of the rite demands will not fail".

-- Pope Paul VI, 17 March 1965

"To explain myself..." - Orestes Brownson Edition

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"[As a Catholic,] I owe obedience to the Pope only insofar as the spiritual head of my Church. Nevertheless, I have maintained and maintain that this spiritual authority extends to the morality of temporal things, in so far and only in so far, as they are spiritually related or have a spiritual character; that is, so far as they have a right to pronounce for the Catholic conscience, whether they do or do not conform to the law of God; for the Pope as the head of the Church is the interpreter and judge for Catholics of the divine law, natural or revealed. To explain myself. The people of this country [viz., the USA] had on their gaining their independence the right to adopt such a form or constitution of government, not repugnant to natural justice or the law of God, as seemed to them good; this constitution, when adopted, is obligatory upon me as a Catholic citizen, and not being repugnant to the divine law, is obligatory on the Pope in his relations with us as upon us. Then every law made in conformity to it is obligatory on my conscience, and consequently on the conscience of the Pope; for what binds the conscience of the simple believer binds alike the conscience of bishop and Pope. The Pope has recognized the American constitution as compatible with the law of God. ... [As such,] I assert no civil or temporal jurisdiction for the Supreme Pontiff, for I extend his authority only to the decision of the spiritual question involved in the temporal...".

-- Orestes Brownson, 8 October 1855

Cf. pp. 557 ff.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

AFRICA FOR THE CHINESE (aka, "Wait, Why Are Political Eugenics Bad Again?")

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"My proposal is to make the encouragement of the Chinese settlements at one or more suitable places on the East Coast of Africa a part of our national policy, in the belief that the Chinese immigrants would not only maintain their position, but that they would multiply and their descendants supplant the inferior Negro race. I should expect the large part of the African seaboard, now sparsely occupied by lazy, palavering savages living under the nominal sovereignty of the Zanzibar, or Portugal, might in a few years be tenanted by industrious, order loving Chinese, living either as a semi-detached dependency of China, or else in perfect freedom under their own law. In the latter case their would be similar to that of the inhabitants of Liberia, in West Africa, the territory which was purchased 50 years ago and set apart as an independent State for the reception of freed negroes from America.

"The opinion of the public on the real worth of the Negro race has halted between the extreme views which have been long and loudly proclaimed. It refuses to follow those of the early abolitionists, that all the barbarities in Africa are to be traced to the effects of a foreign slave trade, because travelers continually speak of similar barbarities existing in regions to which the slave trade has not penetrated. ...

"On the other hand, the opinion of the present day repudiates the belief that the negro is an extremely inferior being, because there are notorious instances of negroes possessing high intelligence and culture, some of whom acquire large fortunes in commerce, and others become considerable men in other walks of life.

"The truth appears to be that individuals of the mental caliber I have just described are much more exceptional in the negro than in the Anglo-Saxon race, and that average negroes possess too little intellect, self-reliance, and self-control to make it possible for them to sustain the burden of any respectable form of civilization without a large measure of external guidance and support.

"The Chinaman is a being of another kind, who is endowed with a remarkable aptitude for a high material civilization. He is seen to the least advantage in his own country, where a temporary dark age still prevails, which has not sapped the genius of the race, though it has stunted the developed the of each member of it, by the rigid enforcement of an effete system of classical education which treats originality as a social crime. All the bad parts of his character, as his lying and servility, spring from timidity due to an education that has cowed him, and no treatment is better calculated to remedy that evil than location in a free settlement. The natural capacity of the Chinaman shows itself by the success with which, notwithstanding his timidity, he competes with strangers, wherever he may reside. The Chinese emigrants possess an extraordinary instinct for political and social organization; they contrive to establish for themselves a police and internal government, and they give no trouble to their rulers so long as they are left to manage those matters by themselves. They are good-tempered, frugal, industrious, saving, commercially inclined, and extraordinarily prolific. They thrive in all countries, the natives of the Southern provinces being perfectly able to labor and multiply in the hottest climates. Of all known varieties or mankind there is none so appropriate as the Chinaman to become the future occupant of the enormous regions which lie between the tropics.... The Hindoo cannot fulfil the required conditions nearly as well as the Chinaman, for he is inferior to him in strength, industry, aptitude for saving, business habits, and prolific power. The Arab is little more than an eater up of other men's produce; he is a destroyer rather than a creator, and he is unprolific.

"[T]he countries into which the Anglo-Saxon race can be transfused are restricted to those where the climate is temperate. The Tropics are not for us, to inhabit permanently; the greater part of Africa is the heritage of people differently constituted to ourselves. On that continent, as elsewhere, one population continually drives out another. ... It is into this free flight among all present that I wish to see a new competitor introduced-namely, the Chinaman. The gain would be immense to the whole civilized world if we were to out-breed and finally displace the negro, as completely as the latter has displaced the aborigines of the West Indies. The magnitude of the gain may be partly estimated by making the converse supposition, namely, the loss that would ensue if China were somehow to be depopulated and restocked by negroes. ...

"The Chinese have a land hunger, as well as a love for petty traffic, and they would find a field in which to gratify both of these tastes on the East African Coast. There are many Chinese capitalists resident in foreign parts who might speculate in such a system and warmly encourage it. If once successfully started, it ought to maintain itself. The colonist could not starve; and when they began to succeed they would send money to their relatives to enable them to follow, just as they now do from the many other parts of the world where they are located."

-- Francis Galton, letter to the Editor of The Times, June 5 1873.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Note to self:

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If you take a staple gun apart, expect it to stay that way forever and ever, amen.

"Am I being infringed upon?"

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[know thy titular meme]

The major premise of the following reflections is that, in a democracy,  conservatism is always a rearguard action for progressivism.

I think the angst that hardcore Second Amendment advocates are expressing is a reflection of a deeper reality, namely, that 2A conservatism is now in the same position that segregation was sixty years ago, that restrained immigration policy was in fifty years ago, that the anti-abortion consensus was in forty years ago, that anti-affirmative action pundits were in thirty years ago, that fiscal conservatives were in twenty years ago, that pro-marriage advocates were in ten years ago, etc.

The outrage that a Republican president would betray our gun rights is the sound of a dying canary in a collapsing mine. Americans have lived with rigorous infringements on their rights to own guns for at least a century, and this is a trend --a feature, not a bug. Like it or not, there will be tighter, more European-style regulations in the nearish future, America will survive these minute adjustments (the goldfish-like memory of zealots notwithstanding), and Trump will in all likelihood win a second term even more handily than he won his miraculous first term. The outrage some are feeling about Judas Trump, gun-grabber-in-chief, is the feeling cucks of every stripe (and now "bump cucks") felt during the primaries and Trump's first year: the feeling of being rhetorically/dialectically/diegetically irrelevant for a change.

Is it the end of America? That depends; ask the groups I cited from the past sixty years. The wailing we heard for one messy news cycle among countless others was really just the sound of team red's marching  band continuing its rearguard action towards, we hope, reactionary fascism.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A book idea...

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I want to use this post to initiate a research project. The label will be Aquinas On Metapolitics. I want to use posts in this category to compile my findings on what St.Thomas Aquinas, and other leading Scholastic philosophers, taught about 1) race and ethnicity, 2) gender and identity, and 3) teratology and problematic biology.

I don't believe St. Thomas proposed his arguments under such rubrics, not the least since they are (post)modern concepts, but I do believe that the perennial wisdom of his teaching, and of the Church's Scholastic patrimony in general, does "speak to" those contemporary categories and debates, precisely by being perennial teachings.

123 best images about St Thomas Aquinas on Pinterest ...

Saturday, February 17, 2018

I guess I'm back...

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For the past few years, I was using WordPress . com to blog, but then, between a general collapse in my blogging stamina, and some authentication headaches with Wordpress, I guess I'll be returning to this humble old address to pen my random musings.

You're ecstatic, I'm sure.

Here are two things I've been thinking about lately:

1) I've been reading about the European Renaissance for the past half year or so, and whilst reading about "wit" in Jacob Burkhardt's famous book on the topic, it dawned on me that TV/online journalists might fulfill the same role for our society that courtiers filled for Renaissance society. They are not Socratic gadflies so much as intellectual jesters. (Also, if the past two years have taught us anything, it's that Media Personalities are probably all sociopaths, to varying degrees.)

2) Upon the advice of a chat-friend, I am now aware that Alois Hudal is a rich subject for historical and ideological study. To wit:

"In his own 1937 book, [Die Grundlagen des Nationalsozialismus {$IC!},] Hudal proposed a reconciliation and a pragmatic compromise between Nazism and Christianity, leaving the education of youth to the Churches, while the latter would leave politics entirely to National Socialism. This had been the line followed by German Catholic politician and former Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen.

"In the autumn of 1934, Hudal had personally explained this strategy to Pius XI: the 'good' ought to be separated from the 'bad' in National Socialism. The bad -- Rosenberg, Bergmann, Himmler and others -- according to Hudal represented the 'left wing' [or dare we say the 'alt-right'?] of the Nazi party. The Nazi 'conservatives', headed, he believed, by Hitler, should be directed toward Rome, Christianized and used against the Communists and the Eastern danger. Hitler's book, Mein Kampf, was never put on the Index by Rome, as censors continually postponed and eventually terminated its examination, balking at taking on the chancellor of Germany."

As admirable as Hudal's intellectual contributions may be, I am severely nonplussed by his ongoing efforts until his death to sustain the "ratlines" for escaped Nazi leaders, since, by then, the formal opposition between the Thousand Year Reich and Holy Mother Church had long been established. With all due respect to Herr Hitler, if he had ever truly wanted to reconcile his political aims with the Church's, he could have amended his life to receive Holy Eucharist on the tongue instead of a hot bullet through the hard palate.


Having said all that, I cannot promise that  I will return to a consistent blogging pattern, though I certainly hope to produce what I can when I can in the next few months.