Editor's Note: Time is long overdue to share some email correspondence, the response to which deserves Trad Nation's attention.
Hey, PL. Long time follower, first time commenter. Your work is excellent but I have a bone to pick. Hope you don't take this the wrong way but all you do is tear down. You never build up, you never say how things can get better. Its all negative. Seems to me you need to talk SOLUTIONS or whats the use???? My Pop use to say everyone who complains has a responsability to fix a mess. What say YOU to fixing the mess caused by the "wandering bishops" you talk about!! God Bless.Not to be defensive, but we have offered concrete solutions, for example, the detailed curriculum we proposed for training simplex, non-clerical priests as well as our systematic procedures for exiting the cults or establishing lay boards to keep rapacious "clergy" in line. In addition, our exposés of the cult masters' greed, bad behavior, and malformation are actually uplifting in that they help the laity come to their senses about these rotters with their self-interested intentions.
That said, we're willing to grant there's some substance to our correspondent's charge, at least with regard to solving the intractable problem of the orders of Tradilandia's episcopi vagantes. The problem of the cult masters themselves is easy: Don't fund them. Drive them out as soon as possible so we can all start afresh, cured of this darkling plague of money-madness, self-interest, inadequate education, and malicious pretense.
As a result of the above email, our editorial board has decided to post periodically about issues and themes related to the irregular bishops inhabiting Trad Nation U.S.A., with the aim of generating as much or more discussion on the comments pages than in the posts themselves. Assisted by a deep-thinking, well-informed correspondent, we're currently working through links exploring the question of traddie apostolic succession and authority, which will later become the centerpiece of this recurring conversation. In the end, we expect earnest traditional Catholics will be more able to begin rebuilding as soon as the cult masters skip Trad-Town, and Tradistan disappears like the latter-day, dystopian Atlantis it is.
But for this post, we'll start with something much more basic: assuring the integrity of episcopal orders. Before we continue, allow us to stipulate that Pistrina has no objection to the current lineages, viz., Thục, Fefebvre, Méndez-González, etc. (Our concern with "One-Hand Dan" is the possible defect in his priestly ordination, not the lineage he claims.) Notwithstanding our own certitude, we acknowledge that other Catholics are not as sure, for none of the lines today is untouched by the tar brush of doubt. If these doubts are allowed to persist after the cult masters pack their carpet bags and leave Sedelandia for good, faithful Catholics will never cease their infighting. Tradition cannot afford continuing disunity: the stakes are too high.*
So, then, you ask, how would Pistrina fix this mess, and fix it soon, considering the cult kingpins are fast on their way out?
Multiple lineages. Wandering bishops must possess as many historic lines as possible to render it very difficult or impossible for the survivors of the several bishop-led sects to impugn validity strictly on the basis of an episcopal line.
Unfortunately, when the cult masters head out into the sunset, they won't carry their misrepresentations with them. The brainwashed laity who remain will still retain unfounded prejudices against other economically competing episcopal lines. Unless these prejudices can be overcome, the laity may again be victims of remnant ecclesiastical freebooters who step in to fill the unpolished shoes of the quondam Pooh-Bahs of Cultilandia.
Multiplying lineage claims, thereby removing any pretext for laity to abandon their chapels solely on the slander of invalidity of episcopal orders, will reduce the opportunities for the disgraced cult masters' trouble-making successors to continue stirring up dissension. With fewer incentives to engage in "sheep stealing," there will be a lot more peace and a lot less heartbreak for those traditionalists who choose to remain outside the visible Church. In fact, the creeps with only one line will be at a significant disadvantage. (We'll take up the problem of licitness in future posts.**)
Securing multiple lineages is easier than it sounds. As we observed before, there are almost as many wandering bishops in America as there are wriggling maggots feeding on rotting road kill. The three or four commonly mentioned grubs are not the only games in town. The Readers personally know of at least four other vagi who possess amply documented orders that include Thục, Duarte Costa, Greek, Russian, and many other historic lines. Moreover, we have received assurances from at least one of these men that he's willing to consecrate or conditionally consecrate worthy candidates.
Multiple lineages will also make it impossible for anyone to claim a spiritual monopoly by asserting the relative superiority of his one line to the disparagement of a rival's. (Witness all the insinuations about Thục, Liénart, and Méndez.) Such a leveling will break any superstitious hold over the laity: the faithful won't have to stick with an abusive manipulator out of fear of invalid sacraments elsewhere. All wandering bishops and sede "clergy" will have to tow the line or face the defection of those who feed, clothe, and house them.
But why wait for the cult masters to decide to leave on their own terms? If you're one of those trads who believes you must have a wandering bishop for confirmation or orders or holy oils, you can tell your one-lineage-wonder to take a hike today. There are multiple-lineage men who can provide what you want when you have the need. Just think of the savings in addition to the peace of mind knowing you'll be covered when it comes to validity!
Consider these benefits:
You won't have to pay for frequent, unnecessary, expensive vacations to sunny Mexico. — BREAKING NEWS: According to unconfirmed reports, Dannie's got another south-of-the-border adventure in the offing even as he's shaking down the Gerties for $11 K-$12 K! — You won't have to house and feed them. You won't have to do their daily household chores. You won't have to cart their savage pets to the veterinarian's. You won't have to listen to their wild demands that you to do your part in paying for their stupid mistakes. You won't be tormented by the nihilism of invented theology. Best of all, you won't have to put up with any more childish power plays.With these parasites gone, you'll reap the benefits that true economy of scale brings. One man under a consultant's contract for the few times you require "episcopal services" can serve all of what was once Tradistan. Think what your chapel will be able to do with the thousands upon tens-of-thousands of dollars you'll keep for yourselves! (Especially when you can get rid of the" principal" who started this mess.)
Now that you've seen the light, don't delay. Walk up to these bums tomorrow and tell 'em to hit the road. Only make sure they leave all the pontifical gear your chapel bought for them. You can put some of it in storage until the occasion arises and sell the rest on ebay.
* The traditional movement is as much characterized by squabbles over lineage as it is known for its opposition to Vatican II. There's Thục's handwritten admonitory note to Lefebvre about his orders from Liénart, who "n'avait jamais crû à notre Religion" (= never believed in our religion); we have Checkie's smarmy attacks against Thục until he flip flopped when Dannie wanted episcopal orders; then there's the cultists' attack against Kelley's orders from Méndez, and the tit-for-tat counter attack against the Thục line, not to mention the general mudslinging about the Duarte Costa lineage. All this would be the subject of comic opera if we didn't have such cases as a priest denying last rites to a some people because they would not condemn the validity of a disfavored line.
** It goes without saying that sede rustlers have no business citing canonical irregularity as an incentive for leaving a chapel. That's like the pot calling the kettle black: they're all irregular, illicitly consecrated/ordained, and absolutely without any jurisdiction.