Saturday, January 28, 2012


The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either downfall, or at least an eclipse. Bacon

In a desperate attempt to appear relevant, the rector has tried to piggy back on the recent Vatican II critiques of monsignors Gherardini and Ocáriz Braña; he has even promised a forthcoming commentary on the latter (see the Jan. 2012 MHT Newsletter). It takes no insight to discern an anguished cry in the dark from a pathetic outsider who became irrelevant years ago.

As Pistrina has written, the Novus Ordo is undergoing its own counter-revolution of sorts. Real intellectuals within the Vatican Establishment -- men with authentic academic credentials and the insight that comes from a careful formation -- are now mounting the definitive analysis of the Council's failure and its radical departure from tradition. Sadly, it seems that they, not the carping lumpen pretenders of the traditional movement, have the intellectual tools to consign the Council and its evils to the trash heap of history.

The rector -- whose weak and borrowed light, though many orders of magnitude brighter than the dwarf-stars of "One-Hand Dan" and The Blunderer, is infinitely less luminescent than the brilliant scholars he envies -- has been eclipsed. Like F. Murray Abraham's Salieri, he endeavors without result to attach himself to real genius in the tragicomical hope of being (mistakenly) associated with genuine talent. Hence the embarrassingly patent effort to reflect a few stray rays cast off by two radiantly gifted scholars.

If the rector and his overstuffed clown-car of ill-trained clergy merited compassion, we would pity them as they struggle futilely in the face of insuperable limitations to claim a place in the most important theological discussion of this new century. As the Reader has noted elsewhere, the Novus Ordo is producing from within the rigorous analysis that will eventually defeat the heterodoxy of Vatican II. The reed-thin, shrill screeching of the half-educated traddie clergy is soon to be drowned out by the clear, steady, articulate voice of the growing conservative resistance of the post-Conciliar Vatican Institution. When the Restoration comes, it is this remnant who will have been the chief instruments of its triumph, not the feeble likes of the Terrible Trio and their ilk.

We wish it had been otherwise. We wish the traditional resistance had not been high-jacked by careerist entrepreneurs and clerical adventurers more interested in themselves than in the weal of Christ's Church. However, we now see that such was not God's will. Yet we still harbor hope for the Restoration: for as the traditional movement disintegrates, rent by suicidal, internecine controversies started by ambitiously acquisitive and terminally short-sighted clergy, Providence steps in to raise a well-schooled generation of men to take the holy fight to the brazen portals and into the hushed corridors of St. Peter's itself.

It is clear that the rector and his entourage can leave no legacy. Now, they won't even be a footnote in the history of the Restoration. At best, they offered some frightened folks a rickety lean-to in the storm of heresy. Sad to say, the leaky shelter was no match for the weather. As this series of posts has shown, the rebuilding of the fabric of the Church will belong to others outside the narrow and infernal circle of traditional cults and their poseur masters.

Friday, January 20, 2012


To paraphrase Nancy Mitford: The episcopacy in the Sede Vacante is like a gelding: it may prance and jump, but in fact it is impotent.

Cyberspace has been a-buzz of late with anxious rumors of yet another consecration in the offing. The general tenor of the hand-wringing lamentation seems to be that we don't need another bishop.

Rubbish! As far as we're concerned at Pistrina, we need quite a few more of these episcopi vagantes. Indeed, we argue that all priests should receive the episcopacy as soon as they can scrape together enough cash to buy the basic starter kit of miter, pectoral cross, ring, and, perhaps, a cassock with piping.

Shocked? O.K., we'll explain:

If every priest were made a bishop, then the Hermit-Kingdom monopolies controlled by these traddie mediocrities would soon come to an end. No more withholding holy oils, confirmations, ordinations; no more putting on airs and parvenu uppityness; no more deadly ecclesiastical adventurism and vain empire building. Soft-conscienced prelates would perforce have to concentrate on serving exclusively the people whose toil and sweat make it possible for them to live comfortably and play (often hilariously) the great man on their home turf.

As to objections about the great dignity of the episcopacy or the laying on of hands too wantonly, the Readers remind everyone that we're in the Sede Vacante. Let's remember that these see-less bishops possess only the bare-bones minimum: they can sanctify but not rule or teach. Moreover, they enjoy only material apostolic succession. In the utter absence of authority, there are no means to sift the chaff from the wheat to assure that only worthy men receive episcopal orders.

As the situation stands, any ambitious priest who covets a miter can get one, provided he find a willing consecrator. (And their number is legion.) In other words, self-selection constitutes "election," not the studied scrutiny of the institutional Church. Good character, piety, zeal for souls, solid learning in theology are no longer the real criteria -- they're just unsupported and sometimes tacked-on claims, which often are belied by our knowledge of these men's sorry record of accomplishment. How else, then, could we have gotten the likes of so many of the wandering bishops who now plague traditional Catholicism in the U.S.?

Traditional Catholic self-identity is best severed from the episcopacy so that the clergy can focus on the cure of souls. It's hard to focus on the faithful when self-aggrandizing petty prelates ration the sacraments in order to guarantee their corner on the market. What's funny is that these characters don't even have the span of control of a big-box discount store assistant manager. Let's face it: in the Sede Vacante, bishops really have a but very limited role to play, essentially to bless holy oils (and perhaps sacred vessels) and to ordain. They're not really needed for confirmation and the many other functions that a priest has the power to perform.

Therefore it's no big deal to multiply these orders. The cachet is gone. If everyone has the same standing, then traditional bishops may be less inclined to strive for self-promotion (particularly if the laity won't be impressed). Then we may see an end to some of these ecclesiastical kleptocracies and personal cheerleading societies. Maybe, just maybe, the salvation of souls may once again become the first law of the clergy. Maybe, just maybe, the traditional movement can be brought back to life.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


…that no flowers be planted on my grave & that no man remember me. Hardy

A disturbing yet sadly revealing eyewitness report from out West has come to the Readers’ attention: the gravesite of Fr. Leblanc appears to be in a sorry condition. Lying only a few footsteps away from the tenants’ residence and within walking distance of the church, the final resting place for the mortal remains of a holy priest is said to be overrun with weeds and disfigured by overgrown grass.

Burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy, and by extension so is the seemly care and solicitous upkeep of burial places. Catholic cemeteries have long had endowed funds for the continued and habitual Christian care of graves. Even the Novus Ordo recognizes that burial grounds should be hallowed places of comfort, reverence, and prayerful devotion to the remembrance of the faithful departed. Moreover, as the Novus Ordo ever affirms, the care for beauty of sacred grounds is an affirmation of the Church’s hope in the Resurrection.

Why must simple pietas, “the attitude of dutiful respect towards those to whom one is bound by ties of religion “ (Glare), be absent in a traditional Catholic community? Why, if the report be accurate, don’t any traditional religious or clergy perform this small corporal work of mercy for a deceased priest? Surely Fr. Leblanc’s efforts to build and endow the lovely chapel must have warranted some small perpetual care burse. Surely the current property tenants could spare, in their charity, a half hour (or even less) weekly to assure that Father’s grave is a place of serenity, beauty, decency, and loving, respectful attention.

Perhaps it wasn't in the contract.

Fortunately, by this writing, we trust that a pious Catholic lay person will have stepped in to remedy the scandal.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


[T]he same thing seems different and conflicting to different people: it is "transposed" by a small additional ingredient, and appears utterly other by the "transposition" of a single constituent. For Tragedy and Comedy are both composed of the same letters. Aristotle (Joachim's translation)

The letter we posted last week from a follower certainly created a buzz around here (and generated an avalanche of e-mail). For our correspondents, his suggestion that the Thuc line is defective through Carmona seems to explain why there are so many problems with those bishops and the priests ordained through that secondary lineage.

Is it possible that all the evils traditionalists have experienced in the chapels served by Carmonite clergy might just be attributable to the absence of the charism of orders?

We don't like to say it, but the Blunderer (appearing under the nom emprunté "Peregrinus" in 1983) may have for once been right when he wrote of the Thuc line:

Can we really take all this seriously and suppose that the “bishops” involved in such goings-on are the future of the Church? Impossible. Even to refer to them as “traditional bishops” lends too much respectability to the whole business, which is, in this writer’s opinion, very disrespectable indeed.

One theme which dominates the affair from beginning to end is a gross and dangerous lack of prudence regarding the transmission of Apostolic Succession – a matter in which the slightest lack of imprudence is inadmissible. St. Paul reminds us: “Lay not hands lightly on any man” – he does not say: “Lay hands quickly on anyone.”

From our understanding of that now-embarrassing monograph, Two Bishops in Every Garage, the judgment seems to have been principally directed to the Carmona sub-lineage. If there's even the minutest probability of success in the infinite monkey theorem, then surely this erring pseudo-scholar could have made one correct assertion in some 40 or so years of banging randomly (and erroneously) away at a keyboard.

We Readers are not well versed in the Thuc controversy, but we invite anyone out there who is to contact us with any information they might have about the interesting thesis that only the Carmona line my be vitiated. That would go a long way to explain how one of these Carmonite priests failed to consecrate, why so many others can behave as badly as they do, and why the Carmonite "bishops" are the laughing stock of the traditional world.