Last week, we read, with more than a little interest, a recent notice of underwriting opportunities at Angelus Press. One of the production projects for which the SSPX is soliciting support is A Short Critical Study of the New Order of the Mass, commonly known as "The Ottaviani Intervention." Our wish is that Santa, or at least some generous soul, will step forward with the $2,500 requested: Traditional Catholics who don't read Italian or French are in need of a reliable, definitive English translation of this "classic critique of the New Mass."
Five years ago we lamented that the only readily available English version appeared to be that of Erroneous Antonius Cekada. In our devastating review of his troubled effort (click here), we exposed many of the same linguistic and stylistic shortcomings we found in his appallingly incompetent Work of Human Hands. At the conclusion our analysis of his shoddy rendering, we concluded:
All in all, he’s an unlucky and ungifted dilettante, whose every effort to appear learned blows up in his face. His lot is to entertain pretensions that will forever outpace his limited ability to perform.Since that time, we've brought to light many, many more of the Checkmeister's deficiencies as a "scholar" (LOL). None, however, was more damning than our exposure of his perverse translation of an infallible teaching of Pope Pius XII. (See, for instance, our posts of May 11 and May 18, 2013, as well as our rebuttal/refutation of his flawed defense of one-handed orders, starting at article VI.) This catastrophic blunder is of a kind so far-reaching in its consequences that, once made, the perpetrator can never recover from it: The ensuing universal loss of confidence creates a permanent and irremediable disability.*
In our personal and professional lives, all of us have lost faith forever in someone who spectacularly bungled something. Perhaps it was the heedless neighbor who squandered the family nest-egg on a dumb investment notwithstanding his wife's tearful protests and sound advice to the contrary; or maybe the boss whose mismanagement resulted in the collapse of a department; or possibly the classmate whose wildly misinformed guesses landed you in the principal's office for an expulsion hearing.
The world at large, too, abounds with many more examples of royal botches. In governmental affairs, think of George Tenet, "Baby" Bush's hapless CIA chief, who insisted that the evidence of WMDs in Iraq was a "slam dunk case." History will remember him -- and his boss -- with deep contempt. More obscurely, in the area of university scholarship, we have the case of poor old Prof. Tom Burns Haber. He never really regained his reputation after the brilliant critic John Sparrow exposed his incompetence as a text editor and as a writer of plain English. Many years after the exposure appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, this genteel, soft-spoken academic's pupils, who loved him for his kindness and decency, would still whisper about "that problem he had."
And so it is with Checkie Cheeseball, the Blunderer par excellence. Had he corrected his perverse translation after he was cautioned in charity, all his other howling mistranslations would have been forgotten by now. He could have continued his painful masquerade as a "gifted scholar and theologian." The errors, egregious as they may be, could have been blamed on "editorial oversight" or put down to haste, the unfortunate byproduct of a busy life laboring in the Lord's vineyard. In other words, Tony Baloney could still be basking in the (misguided) admiration of his fellow clergy, both inside and outside Tradilandia.
Now, however, as a result of that fatally perverse translation, he can never again feel the radiant warmth of TradWorld's begrudging esteem, or the hot-air hype blowing hard from the bleak spiritual desert called Tradistan. To be sure, the debased, degenerate cultlings still believe all the bunkum put out in Dannie's grubby "Bishop's (?) Corner." But let's be frank. The Cheeseball himself discounts the high opinion of illiterate though fawning culties. They're only worth his scant attention if they obey Dannie and buy his worthless WHH. Without 'em, he'd have no sales.
Brassy as he is, Awkward Anthony secretly fears that his fellow "professors" and the pesthouse "seminarians" laugh up their sleeves at him. Their smirking reserve and behind-his-back giggles must sting more fiercely than the cat-o'- ninetails of a boatswain's mate. One of those "colleagues," Squirmin' Herman, a South American and hence the privileged beneficiary of good schooling who once studied classics at the university level, will understand better than the rector the enormity of Checkie's blunder. Hermie and the distempered, tightly-wrapped Scut the Prefect -- both ordained by Big Don, not by "One Hand" -- must roll their eyes every time the Blunderer shows up cracking wise and searching pathetically for their deference.
Other priests mock him, too, especially those from rival Traddie sects that once dreaded his smarmy pen. Today the former objects of Tony's hauteur snicker wickedly when anyone mentions the Cheeseburger's "scholarly credentials." You can get away with a lot in Sedelandia, but you can't save face after perversely mistranslating infallible papal teaching. Trad Nation won't let you forget.
It's a certain bet that the SSPX hasn't forgotten either. Although the severely challenged Blunderer has never once ruffled the society with his sub-adolescent name-calling, the SSPX remembers his ugly exit. It remembers what he wrote, too. It remembers the lawsuits. So now that Bonehead Tone's unforgettable and unforgivable blunder has been paraded before a sneeringly scornful traditional-Catholic community, the society is poised to issue a new, trustworthy version of "The Ottaviani Intervention." Their translation will drive his sorry effort off the bookshelves of everyone except the incurably depraved. Say what you will about the SSPX, but they've got the people with the training and education to make an accurate translation and render it into readable, edited English prose.
Today the Checkster's voice is but a fading memory in the minds of the properly educated, who'll simply recall a cautionary tale of trust misplaced in a rank amateur. You low-class Gertie rite trash, whose money underwrites Checkie's "scholarly" misadventures, can write him off, too. He's not the Sage of Southwest Ohio. Soon you, too, will have a dependable translation of the "Intervention." So go ahead, y'all: Give your cult-kicked backsides a break from those rough corn cobs: Consign Cheesey's pulp fiction to the outhouse, where it will, at last, be of some practical use.
If anyone out there in cyberspace has a few extra dollars, he can help erase all remembrance of Checkie's whole unreliable oeuvre by calling Mr. James Vogel at Angelus Press (785-321-3615) and offering to underwrite the new "Ottaviani Intervention." This time you'll know your money was well spent.
*For that reason alone, you can be certain the Angelus Press would never simply re-print Checkie Cheese's mess.