Monday, April 30, 2018
Pistrina Liturgica will be on hiatus for two more weeks as staff reorganizes for an additional consultancy apostolate, which only just became available.
Although all details will be under study during our three-week out-of-town retreat, PL will be alternating weeks with our colleague blog The Lay Pulpit to make time for this transformative project.
We apologize for the late notice, but we were unable to secure an internet connection until today.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Γραμμῆς δὲ πέρατα σημεῖα ("the ends of a line are points"). Euclid
If you follow PL on a regular basis, you know how often the lineage of Tradistani "bishops" pops up, both in posts and in comments. That's understandable because THE central issue of traditional Catholicism is — and has been for several decades — validity of holy orders. On it hangs everything. Without validity, any claim to offer the true sacraments —no matter how earnest — is empty. Safer to stay home alone than sacrilegiously adore bread or trust your confession to a malformed layman.
HOOK, LINE, AND SINKER
Better than most, the Tradistanis have grasped the P.R. value of pretending to have cornered the market on valid "clergy." Throughout their decades-long misinformation campaigns, they've impugned not only the validity of Novus-Ordo clergy but also that of their rivals in tradition. We got a fresh example of the tactic last week in the comments section: A pesthouse timeserver was reported to have alleged the orders of a priest at a competing Florida chapel were "'hugely' doubtful" (see first comment at 4/14, 8:14 PM here).
Often, when the tables are turned, in defense against a counter charge of invalidity, one of the "clerical" cult apologists will trot out the kingpin's episcopal lineage to silence the skeptical. When that ploy fails, in a move either to get even or get control, sectarian "clergy" front ill-educated lay partisans to stir up "validity trouble" among their competitors (e.g., 2015 in Tampa). The whole point is to cast doubt upon others so as to keep their own cultlings from jumping ship.
Unfortunately, the institutional memory passed down from saner times has wrapped today's trads in a false security blanket. They believe a valid bishop at the head of a line alone is enough to underwrite validity throughout. But the misled creatures are very mistaken, for in barren Tradistan the old safety nets are either missing or perilously compromised. Take, for example, the question of being a valid priest before reception of episcopal orders. While consecration per saltum ("by a leap") may be, as Pohle-Preuss says, "a point in dispute," we must still bear in mind what J. Tixeront wrote in his 1925 L' Ordre et Les Ordinations ("Holy Orders and Ordination"):
Theologians and canonists hold ex communi sententia that episcopal consecration is not valid if it has not been preceded by priestly ordination. This is notably the opinion of St. Thomas. [Our literal translation.]*
WHAT'S MY LINE?
Assuming Thục was in possession of all his mental faculties and performed the rite decorously with the intention to do as the Church does, then both Carmona and des Lauriers were valid. We may with due caution then state that Pivvy and McKenna were validly "consecrated" by Carmona and des Lauriers respectively. However, sublineage breakdown occurs (1) doubly with Dannie, whom Liénart-tainted Lefebvre ordained with one hand and (2) singly with Big Don, whose priestly orders are hugely doubtful by reason of his Liénart liability.
Observe that in the Thục ➤ Carmona ➤ Pivarunas ➤ Dávila sub-line in Mexico there is no such break because Dávila was "ordained a priest" by Carmona and "consecrated" by the Pivmeister. Note, too, that Junior's recent "consecration" was saved from invalidity because (1) McKenna had "ordained" him a "priest" and (2) Geert Stuyver, one of his "co-consecrators," had been "ordained a priest" and "consecrated a bishop" by McKenna.PL cannot emphasize enough that there is no straight line of descent from Thục. To speak of "the Thục line," as many trads do, is deceptive. Each man Thục directly "consecrated" established a sub-line, e.g., Thục ➤ des Lauriers or Thục ➤ Carmona. Thereafter each succeeding individual also founds a separate sub-line, e.g., Thục ➤ Carmona ➤ Pivarunas ➤ Dolan (the end point of the sub-line, resulting in hugely doubtful "priests" and "deacons" ) and Thục ➤ Carmona ➤ Pivarunas ➤ Dávila (continuing sub-line, resulting in putatively valid "priests" and "deacons"). It's therefore easy to conclude that an avouchment of Thục ancestry must be carefully evaluated on its own internal merits before Catholics may tentatively accept a claimant as valid.
That process can get frighteningly complex as more and more "consecrations" occur down a sub-line, virtually guaranteeing the likelihood of lineage corruption. For instance, let's look at two successors of the Thục ➤ des Lauriers ➤ McKenna lineage. The Jellyfish, who years ago got rid of his Liénart liability, is OK, but Sinburn is not. Thus laypeople piously adhering to the pars tutior rule would be advised to reject as hugely doubtful any "priest" ordained from the deeply suspect Thục ➤ des Lauriers ➤ McKenna ➤ Sanborn sub-line.
Now the Thục ➤ des Lauriers ➤ McKenna ➤ Sanborn ➤ Selway sub-line, by contrast, ought to be rejected at face value; however, since co-consecrator Stuyver is a presumably valid "bishop" (supposing Thục's sanity, that is), then effectively Junior belongs to an ostensibly valid Thục ➤ des Lauriers ➤ McKenna ➤ Stuyver sub-line. Fortunately or unfortunately, that fact may never be made known to laity in the future, since the custom is to cite the principal consecrator in a sub-line, not a co-consecrator. (N.B. Most Tradistani "consecrations" have only one consecrator. The Kid lucked out ... big time. Well, maybe it wasn't sheer happenstance: Papa's in charge down in the swamp. Let's see if Junior leverages his advantage in the future.)
THE FIRING LINE
Add to this chaotic mix of crossed lines the horror stories of "bishops" who can't understand Latin, suffer from eyesight or other health problems, don't use an official edition of the Pontificale Romanum, lack able assistants, have no adequate formation, and/or struggle with educational deficits: You've then got the current powder-keg validity crisis upon which TradWorld uneasily sits. It doesn't matter how elaborate a succession tree is, or how nice-'n'-neat it may appear on paper: without punctilious due diligence, you can never really trust a sede line once you go beyond the last bishop who officially belonged to the institutional Catholic Church.
In our consultancy practice, we've evaluated a number of lineages, many with attached certificates of consecration. Some of the packages look impressive if you only leaf through them, specifically when someone has bought snazzy software to generate his line of succession. But when you drill down deep and discover amateur documentation with bad Latin and/or questionable formation, you begin to doubt whether the parties involved in the "consecration" knew enough to assure validity.
For instance, take the cases of des Lauriers and Carmona. We may assume with some certainty that the Dominican's' solid knowledge of theology and Latin ensured no serious defects occurred during his consecration. But can we say the same for Carmona? ** And if such a question can surface about Carmona, what do we say about the dozens of others who had no formal training in a Church-approved institution of higher learning?
The well-informed trad is all too aware that the current state of affairs is an unholy mess, the author of which is the Prince of this World. Wherever the beleaguered Catholic turns in today's endlessly proliferating alphabet-soup religious wasteland — NO, ICRSS, SSPX, SSPV, FSSP, $GG, MHT (= †R¢I), even CMRI, if we heed Thục's critics old and new — the threat of invalidity casts its dark, sinister shadow.
LINE OF LEAST RESISTANCE
Behind the chaos lie questions that are either political or supernatural in their dimensions: Why doesn't the Masonic Vatican Establishment do more to suppress all organizations not attached directly to the Novus Ordo? Why did they allow their own FSSP to celebrate the old rite of Holy Week this year? Aren't all these groups sheep stealing? Don't those outside the FSSP or ICRSS rob the Establishment of money and numbers? Aren't the insurgents responsible for a lot of the bad press worldwide and the turmoil in Rome?
An active, aggressive campaign to drive them out, to discredit them all, would seem to be the smart, Realpolitik move. Plenty of ammunition is available; the Vatican insiders have their well-thumbed dossiers like any other high-stakes power players. What's more, they have solid connections in government and the media.
So, yes, suppression would be the expected move, if it were exclusively a matter of hardball politics. But PL doesn't think it is, at least not at the higher echelons of power. If Rome is truly in the grips of committed Freemasons, and if their goal is the destruction of the Church through the obliteration of the sacraments, as many trads say, then those calling the shots don't care how much cash these splinter groups siphon off or how many souls they attract.
Look at it this way: If the sacraments administered by the rebels are invalid, then the overarching Masonic aim will still be achieved. Consequently, why waste time and legal fees hounding the dissidents, when they're already cooperating in the fulfillment of international Freemasonry's larger objective? Permitting the sede recusants to agitate with impunity is the equivalent of locating a theater's single fire exit at the edge of a cliff. Besides, apart from the SSPX, the many trad groups outside the Vatican Establishment, like $GG, are small fry not worth bothering about.
LAYING IT ON THE LINE
The angelic intellect masterminding this diabolical scheme counts on — and perhaps inflames — the pride and stubbornness of the sede "clergy" so they reject the only way out of the mess — re-ordination and re-consecration. If Lefebvre could ignore Thục's plea (click here), why should anyone expect the lesser vessels that sail in his wake to behave differently?
The doubts about sede successions have cut a deep, distinct line in the sand of the Tradistani desert. On one side are hugely dubious sacraments. On the other, the bright promise of valid sacraments, provided the "clergy" humble themselves by accepting conditional orders from undoubtedly valid bishops of the Eastern rites or from "bishops" with multiple lineages. (Preferably the latters' lines should be validated by an Eastern-rite bishop).
For those prudent enough to seek conditional orders, they need to act quickly. A strong gust of wind can quickly erase a line in the desert sand.
*Les théologiens et canonistes tiennent ex communi sententia que la consécration épiscopale n'est pas valide si elle n'a été précédée de l'ordination presbytérale. C'est notamment l'opinion de saint Thomas (p. 233).
** From "Two Bishops in Every Garage" by You-Know-Who, we offer the following two exhibits in support of our contention:
(1) Father Carmona writes that [his "consecration"] was performed "without witnesses, but two illustrious doctors." He does not say whether these two "illustrious doctors" know the ins and outs of the fearfully complex Rite of Episcopal Consecration found in the Roman Pontifical, and whether they can attest that Mgr. Ngo did not substantially alter the rite. The question is a disturbing one — further research would be needed to ascertain what theologians and canonists consider sufficient evidence for validity in such a case. Under such rather extraordinary circumstances, however, it seems that the burden of proof for the validity of the consecrations must be placed upon those directly involved (p. 299 in Kelly's Sacred and the Profane).
(2) On April 1, 1982, Father Carmona signed an 85-word Latin document attesting that he performed the Rite of Episcopal Consecration for Father George Musey. A friend of ours who holds a doctorate in classical languages claims it contains at least a dozen grammatical errors (p. 301 in Kelly's Sacred and the Profane).
Saturday, April 14, 2018
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
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:
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 rite, Ed.] 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:
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 Thục believed 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
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 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 Thục'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 Thục'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, Thục 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 Thục's wits were never impaired.
For these sedes, it would be an exceedingly dangerous policy to allow that Thục 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 Thục'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) Thục'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 Thục'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 Thục 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 ❡2. First, 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): Thục 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 Thục.
The purpose of Thục's missive, then, was not to inform Lefebvre of his troubled holy orders. Lefebvre already knew of the problem. Instead, Thục 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 Thục 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 Thục 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, Thục should 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.