Saturday, February 21, 2015


Emergency Warning for your Wallet -- from the Editors: It's an arctic Lent in frost-strangled SW Ohio, and the cold-hearted cult masters are ravenously hungry for your money. Their latest scheme to separate you from your hard-earned cash is to sell you a crucifix along with St. Alphonsus Liguori's Way of the Cross for $20.00 (!!) so you can do the stations at home. Don't be a sucker. Just use a wooden crucifix you already have and print out St. Alphonsus's text from this site (click here); ask an undoubtedly valid priest to perform the blessing if you also wish to gain the indulgences. BTW, if you use the site we give, you can be sure of getting St. Alphonsus's prayers. The booklet shown on the SGG cult site is for the method of St. Francis of Assisi. (Maybe the cult kingpins will change the image as soon as they read this, so check it out asap here, right side, middle image. In any case, Pistrina's got a screen shot.)

Now for today's exciting post.....

Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes... 1st Baron Beveridge

We never tire of exposing how alienated from the authentic world of scholarship and the Latin language the malformed cult masters are. Together with dubiety of one-handed conferral of priestly orders, it's our favorite meme. Consequently, it's always a pleasure when others highlight the gruesome twosome's moronic errors.

To date, we've received five e-mails gleefully pointing out a Latin-spelling goof in the short letter "One-Hand Dan" addressed to seven of the priests who signed the September 1990 ad cautelam missive warning him of the fearful doubt stalking his priestly orders. Click here and go to page 5 of 5.  There you'll see the Latin term-of-art status questionis (sic!), lit. "state of the question or investigation," meaning the chief learned opinions concerning an area of inquiry. As our correspondents observed, the correct spelling -- the spelling of trained and true Catholic priests in the modern era (and of secular scholars from many different disciplines) -- is quaestionis, with ae (or the ligature æ), never e (as found in some medieval texts).

We can't imagine a first-year student's making such a blunder, let alone someone who intimates to Traddielandia that he was "canonically fit" for holy orders. It's rank amateurism at its worst: trying to impress with a Latin tag and then misspelling it! LOL

To complement the wry, critical comments we received about Dannie's orthographic boo-boo, we thought we'd share with everybody a much more serious lapse of academic good sense in the same set of documents. In his reply to the superior of the SSPV (page 1 of 5, 2nd paragraph, in the above link), Deacon Dan ruefully taunted, " and your clergy now trump up charges that I am doubtfully ordained and may not really be a priest. Suave conatum, sed havanum non datum. Nice try, but no cigar."

Despite a pronounced reek of what the French call latin de cuisine, we're not going to comment on the Latinity of the slavishly literal translation of Dannie's variation on the popular American expression "close, but no cigar" -- or is that Tony Baloney's smarmy voice we hear there? As a specimen of callow, adolescent snark, it's O.K., we suppose, especially with the jingling homoeoteleuton. (We must, however, vigorously protest suave.*) Nonetheless -- and this is crucial -- the effort does not rise to the level of mature academic wit, nor does it embody scholarly best practice.

A well-schooled, real scholar with a university-educated taste refined at an accredited graduate school would have first chosen a genuine and idiomatic Latin phrase -- preferably a notable one  -- that captured the sense of "nice try -- or 'close' --, but no cigar." He then could have offered the vivid, U.S.-pop-culture saying as the rendering for the Latin original. As a result, Wee Dan's rebuke would have sparkled with class, perhaps (dare we say?) even with professional élan.

As it stands, the riposte is merely crass and gauche, for literally translating 20th-century American, colloquial English into Latin results in a jarring anachronism, to say the least. There's no cross-cultural interplay and hence no wit. What we have before our offended eyes is a Midwestern-American vulgarian swaddled in a ragged beach towel, who insists that we believe he's wearing a toga. Not even close!

Let's show you what we mean.  First, for our many readers from abroad, "nice try (or 'close'), but no cigar" is a colorful way of saying almost, but not quite. It characterizes an attempt that comes near to succeeding but fails to attain the sought-after object. Right off the bat, without even recalling the texts of classical authors, we thought of the familiar Latin phrase proxime accessit, "he came very near [to winning the prize]."

The expression is found all over the Web and in popular reference books like Stone's Latin for the Illiterati , Ehrlich's The Harper Dictionary of Foreign Terms, and the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. In modern English, proxime accessit is a noun-phrase from the 19th century meaning a runner-up, i.e., someone who comes in second place for an award, a prize, or a scholarship, etc. It's perfectly classical Latin, for  the idiom proxime accedere is found in ancient authors.

If Dubious Dan (and his blundering wing-man) had been formally educated under credentialed professors, the Dirtbag could simply have changed the grammatical person of the verb to the second person singular (he was addressing his career-long nemesis, the louche and disapproving superior of the SSPV): "Proxime accessisti -- Nice try, but no cigar," with the American expression amplifying the Latin to drive home the truth that a failure remains a failure. A deliciously snide opportunity to tweak an intimidating adversary lost to an untutored nitwit!

Now, already from the deepest, dirtiest corners of Trad cyberspace we can hear snarling, bark-like, spittle-laced protests that Pistrina's sinfully beating up on the deliriously mediocre Ren and Stimpy of Tradistan, who can never recover from their severely deficient formation.

Cross our hearts! That's not what this is about.

We've already exposed the manifold and irremediable educational and cultural failings of Dannie and Checkie as well as those of that gas-bag Big Don. The issue is settled forever; even the cultlings (grudgingly) admit it. No, this is about something else. This isn't a futile exercise in dead-horse whipping:

It's a reminder to the innocent, traditional Catholic laity who aren't enslaved by the SW-Ohio and Swampland cult-cabal.

You see, the cash-starved cult kings have resumed trying to lure the faithful away from competing traditional chapels under the pretext that the priests and bishops of those chapels haven't the requisite training. That's why it's important for future innocent victims of their guile to know that Dannie, Tony Baloney, and Big Don don't possess the requisite knowledge and preparation either. 

So, then ... when the twisted, mammonite clergy dupe the next simple-minded, barely literate, low-life-trash-pot lay stooge into undermining a rival chapel by spreading the blundering "seminary professor's" misinformation about "invalidity" and "unfitness," the faithful can take it all addito salis grano ("with a pinch of salt"). 

More on the new, raging outbreak of "sheep stealing" next week.

* The word nice in the idiom nice try means "very good, well-executed, well-conducted, outstanding" (Webster's 3rd International unabridged) or "done with precision and skill, deft" (American Heritage Dictionary), as in "a nice bit of craftsmanship," "nice shot," "nice job," and, adverbially, "nicely done!" The sense of the word nice in those informal phrases is different from its sense in such utterances as "nice color," "nice perfume," "nice wine," "nice song," and "nice feeling" etc. because it's a different lexeme.

The underlying cognitive meaning of suavis, suave is agreeable or pleasant to the senses or to the mind and emotions. Suavis  is chiefly said of sensations -- touch, taste, sound, sight, smell and, by extension, the character of persons. An able writer educated at a real university knows you can't just look up the word nice in an English-Latin dictionary and pick the first gloss you see (or recognize):  you first have to know the sense in your own language before choosing the right Latin word to represent in translation the English meaning (assuming, that is, you also know what the Latin options denote).

That's all too much for the educationally challenged cult masters, who apparently have no notion of polysemy. No one should pay attention to what these ill-trained buffoons say about anything. They fell flat on their smirking faces 25 years ago, and they keep on stumbling over their ignorance today. The only difference is they've moved from blundering in Latin to bungling theology.


  1. Pretty sad state of affairs when laymen have to correct the clergy's (and a 'Bishop" no less!) Latin to make more sense of what he meant to say.

  2. You're very right. And it's a worse state of affairs when these ill-prepared clergy pretend to be something much, much more than they are or ever could be.

    That's why it's important to expose them for the know-nothings they happen to be, so that other Catholics don't fall for their line and abandon their chapels when these scumbags come a-knockin'..

    The key is to remember that nowadays NO CLERIC in the trad movement has the background and training required by the old rules. They're ALL "canonically unfit," so it's hypocrisy to pretend otherwise. And they have no right to talk about others' invalidity. Yet since they keep on pretending and spreading dissension, it's our job to set the record straight.

  3. So you think that the visit to Bismarck ND is just the beginning? That they are planning to set up a chapel there? Why don't they go to Powers Lake or any other city & leave the SSPX chapel in peace? Why sow discord & confusion when there's so much of it all around anyway? Did someone in Bismarck ask them to come?

    1. We think the answer lies in Dannie's newsletter remark that the ND town was awash in oil money. He wants to horn in on what he thinks is a new source of cash. Maybe he thinks these folks don't know about all the SGG scandals.

      The trouble is, the stories about McKenna's poor formation have traveled up north. The SSPX shouldn't have much trouble spreading the news.

    2. Ah, yes! The money! Hadn't thought of that but I'm sure he did. Going to Bismarck must have been the foot in the door as Bismarck is a bit farther east of the oil fields. Money or not he's not going to have an easy time getting people to come to his chapel as North Dakotans generally like to stick to what they already know & have. Also it's a very transient area now with all sorts of people from all over coming & leaving. The last thing they're thinking of is going to church.

    3. In addition to your reasons, we think he's going to have trouble worming in there owing to the absent formation of "Uneven Steven" McKenna. We've been told on good authority that the good people in MN and ND have already learned the truth about this character, and once the SSPX gets wind of the facts, they'll make sure everyone knows his deficiencies. The word is that there's already quite a bit of talk up there.

    4. I always thought that it was a real shame that McKenna had set up shop in Grand Forks & not the SPPX. Here's praying that the SPPX can soon take over McKenna's turf there.

    5. We concur. Catholics deserve so much more. One day, we'll tell the whole story.

  4. I had wondered if I were the only one upon whose ears that "suave" had fallen exceptionally sourly.

    The entire sentence has all the sound of a student in the middle of his first year of semi-serious Latin. To be fair, when such sentences are produced by such students, they do have a certain endearing quality to them. Atrocious however they may be, they can be thoroughly entertaining and a marvelous opportunity to suggest better alternatives.

    I do suspect that "havanum" was a direct lift from Bacci, though ignoring the "nicotianum bacillum" to which it refers. That's understandable. There's a bunch of commas and things and stuff in the book that are bound to confuse.

    If one insists on a slavish translation of the American saying, I would have thought that the inclusion of at least the word "bacillum" would have opened up a few possibilities for fun.

    One shouldn't expect too much, I suppose.

    1. Yes, we're sure they copped it from Bacci (under "sigarro", but they obviously didn't comprehend that in the sub-article they used, he was referring to specific *kinds* of cigars (differentiated by the epithets Tuscan, Neapolitan, Havana etc.).

      But the American idiom refers to the genus, cigar, not a species of regional manufacture, like a havana (lower case on purpose).

      To be sure, they were looking for a one-word translation; since Bacci's options, "nicotinianum bacillum," "tabaci fasciculus" etc. were too long, they looked for a one-word equivalent.

      However, idiots that they are, they didn't understand that Bacci's entry demanded that they use the full phrase "nicotianum bacillum havanum" to convey the notion of a havana cigar. By itself, "havanum" signifies nothing more than belonging to Havana, inasmuch as the antonomasia in "have a havana" does not compute in Latin (even though we might guess what it means).

      But this is typical of those stumble bums. They can't even read with understanding the entries in Bacci's "Lexicon."

      Not only is it too much to expect that these illiterates should try to get it right, it's also too much to expect that they should have known not to attempt a retroversion.

    2. True enough!

      Reading what I had written earlier I have also become aware of my own error. "Nicotianum," indeed.

      Rest assured that I'll be writing "nicotinianum bacillum" 100 times this evening in payment. Anonymous regrets the error!

    3. Anonymous 2/23 3:05 is a genuine intellectual willing even to correct an error made owing to haste in writing a comment.

      The Terrible Trio are incapable of admitting/correcting howling mistakes committed after several revisions and lavish self-congratulation. This trait, more than their frequent and elementary mistakes, proves them to be strangers to the Republic of Letters.

      No one except the brain dead can take these puffed-up ignoramuses seriously.

    4. If one would want to translate the first part of this idiomatic as well as antiphrasic expression more slavishly - a tough nut to crack - I'd offer something like ut lapide temptas!. Lapide might convey something of the same meaning when you take a look at the lepidissima coniunx in Catullus' Carmen 78, while temptas in the sense of "you are trying (me)!" can be found in Plautus' Amphitruo.

      But then, you two gentlemen are the scholars here!

    5. Well, this time I'll be writing something a hundred times, lepide of course!

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. There are, to be sure, many solutions, but Dannie's (and Cheesy's) isn't one of them. The trick, as you well know, is to come up with an equivalence not a calque. Of course, we all know that Wee Dan, like Gallus, "homo est stultus" and the irony and learning behind your effort are beyond the cult masters' reach.

      BTW, how arch you are, Tarquinius, with all the undertones of *lepidus*!

    8. It certainly is easy to compete with the Duo's Küchenlatein! But the solution you proposed is by far the most elegant one.

      I still fail to comprehend why they are keeping up this terrible charade of theirs. They don't really need to fool the poor people of SGG, I am sure all of them would be more than happy with a "simple parish priest" without pretensions and even the basic academic background of the Catholic educational system of ages past. They simply seem to be unable to stop their pretend play. I believe I told you before, but Dannie and Cheesy always remind me of Petronius' Trimalchio, their kindred spirit.

      Itaque hilaria mera sint,
      etsi timeo istos scholasticos,
      ne me derideant:
      Viderint; narrabo tamen.
      Quid enim mihi aufert, qui ridet?
      Satius est rideri quam derideri.

  5. Very apt quotation: they just don't care if the educated outside world scorns them because, first of all, they're confident that their core of emotionally dependent zombies will always cleave to them. Secondly, they've always relied on the laziness of others, who found it easy to accept at face value their self-promoting propaganda instead of testing that image against what they wrote. (Just think of the many priests out there who didn't spot the perverse mistranslation of Pius XII's teaching on priestly orders. It was easier to believe Cheesy's manufactured renown as a "great theologian and scholar" rather than critically evaluate what he wrote.)

    Since the 2009 SGG School Scandal, this second defense has crumbled, largely owing to our work. Their unearned reputation as "the best there is" lies in tatters. From all the e-mails we 've received, no rational person thinks of the Cheeseball or loud-mouth Big Don as a scholar any more. We honestly believe that Stephen Heiner himself, their biggest cheerleader, may be having some second thoughts.

    What we must acknowledge as the Trio's freakish strength is their insouciance: they really don't care that Trad World sees them as ridiculous poseurs. After every exposure of their stupidity, ignorance, and acquisitiveness, they find comfort in their mutual admiration society and in the fact that true Gerties haven't the mental equipment to register the discontinuities and, as a result, reconsider their perception of Tradistan's *nomenklatura*.

    Dannie, the Blunderer, and loud-mouth Big Don were very shrewd when they embarked upon their apostolate to the morons. When they failed to break into other areas and were eventually subject to public ridicule, they still found safe harbor among the witless.

    For someone as cultured and as morally centered as you, it's difficult to understand why they can't stop pretending. The only way we can explain the phenomenon is that ,with the lowlife Gerties behind them, they simply don't have to confront their shame.

  6. Are the Gerties mostly young and /or middle aged? If someone didn't grow up in tradition of bygone days, the tradition that they practice is somewhat like dressing. In years gone by, tradition was the very core of their being - their very personality. I notice that people like Heiner & those coming into tradition later in life, their knowledge of tradition is from books or what they've read or heard about. So tradition isn't who they ARE but a vestment or veneer or even a façade. I don't know if I'm explaining this correctly, but being a Catholic years ago was the very air you breathed. It wasn't the ceremonies necessarily. Most of us were Catholics without ever seeing elaborate ceremonies. Trads nowadays must think that tradition is the outward trappings. This may explain the cluelessness of the Gerties.

    1. Yours is a touchingly splendid observation, and one we share. You have captured the essence of the problem exactly.

      Poor souls like Heiner are, and will always be, strangers to tradition because, never having lived it, it is not part of their fiber. That takes years. For them, it's so much sexier(and quicker) to believe in Dannie's latter-day myth that tradition is dolly-dress-up, blinding theatricality, and cloying sentimentality: instantaneous traditionalism without the effort of re-working the way you think, feel, and breathe. They're victims of a crass marketing campaign, yet they believe they're enlightened.

      Were you to strip away all the eye candy and empty cant, these Johnny-come-lately thrill-seekers with their short attention spans would lose their ardor in a instant. They've come for meretricious glamour, and they don't want to do the hard, interior work of building a traditional outlook that doesn't depend on flashy spectacles to illuminate the soul.

      Heiner and the Gerties choose cluelessness, for to look reality in the face and admit that all they've learned to date is "a tale told by an idiot" would mean the comedy is ended. A pity they don't realize that only when the curtain comes down on the Traddie farce can they begin to construct an authentic traditional Catholic life free from the malformed cult masters' bourgeois fictions.

    2. In general, young people (and old alike?) have no idea what's going on and I'm not surprised younger people might cling here. I posted about the "Roman Catholic Womanpriests" somewhere else and some young guy who I'm presuming is novus ordo said Catholics aren't good about giving up tradition but need to learn to be more open to change. I'm young, grew up novus ordo, and I know plenty of novus ordo who would be sympathetic to this attitude. Unless one does a ton of research today it's easy to be deceived or to settle.