The woebegone rector's May pesthouse newsletter is out. In addition to "a one-time appeal" for your hard-earned dollars to pay for outfitting the cult's new Melbourne satellite (more about this below), there's a lengthy section on the "Evolutiion of dogma" aimed at proving Bertgoglio "dead wrong in his examples." Embarrassingly, the Donster proves himself as hopelessly fact-challenged as Bergie. Look at p. 2 where he makes makes this astonishingly absurd — and unsupported —claim:
80% of the population of the Roman Empire was slave.
As you might imagine, historians lack reliable data on the scale of slavery in Rome (the city), Italy, or the empire. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1989) puts the estimate for the slave population in Italy at "about one in three of the adult free population." In our own past reading, PL has seen tenuous estimates for the slave population in the empire ranging from 8% - 20%.
The most detailed study we've read on the subject comes from the Stanford specialist in ancient social/economic history and pre-modern demography, Walter Scheidel. In his 2007 monograph "The Roman Slave Supply" (click here), Prof. Scheidel, who BTW edited the Cambridge Companion to the Roman Economy and wrote the chapter on slavery, produced a hypothetical model that "yields a share of slaves between 7 and 13% of the imperial population — i.e., somewhere close to one-tenth" (p. 5, emphasis ours).
N.B. That's one-tenth of the empire, NOT four-fifths as somber Sin-burn fallaciously writes. (We should add that Schediel's estimate for the slave population in Italy is 15-25% of the population, lower that one-third estimate we quoted above.) But forget about professional historians' educated guesses: the sub-amateur Donster's monstrously high figure is plain-and-simple hogwash. It betrays breathtaking economic illiteracy as well as an absence of critical-thinking skills.Although it would be sufficient for most people to attribute the bizarre statistic to malformation (clearly the zero wasn't a typo), PL tries to dig deeper. What could be the source, we asked, of that other-worldly percentage, which an average public-high-school senior would suspect if he read it? Tradzilla's an intellectual piker, that's for sure, but it's hard to imagine he'd be that dumb without outside inspiration. He must have come across something that either he or his ill-trained helpers misread.
From reading his critique of Bergoglio, it's plain he attempted some research to make his case. (The despondent Donster's trying to show Tradistan he's superior to the Novus-Ordo establishment.) We conjecture that in an online search for material, he might have come across Prof. Scheidel's paper. Hurriedly skimming the document in search of something to make him sound authoritative, the bilious "bishop" might have stumbled upon the following statement on p. 4 (emphasis ours):
The big question is whether the other provinces were, on average, closer to the ‘Italian’ or the ‘Egyptian’ end of the spectrum. On a rough estimate, these other regions accounted for about 80% of the population of the Empire.
Now, if Scheidel were his source, then we can see how the gloomy Grand High Panjandrum of Tradistan got his wild -and-crazy figure: an alien to the norms of mainstream academic discourse, too lazy or ill equipped to read the article carefully, he or one of his flunkies probably didn't understand the professor was saying that the geographical areas outside Italy and Egypt contained 80% of the entire imperial population.
Can you believe some people think this dud is some kind of oracle?
The point of today's post is not to shame the rector. We've already tried that on many occasions. It doesn't do any good: Cult kingpins are immune to shaming, and it won't induce them to admit their error or cure their defects. They just dig in deeper because cultlings are too witless themselves to care.
You, on the other hand, can learn something important: Bummed-out Big Don is NOT the scholar or deeply analytical thinker he wants you to think he is. He's not much better than a barroom braggart on a hot Saturday night at a noisy trailer-park honky tonk: All wind and no substance, hoping an air of empty authority will fool his fellow losers. No man of any sense would ever have claimed that "80% [our emphasis] of the population of the Roman Empire was slave." That's award-winning stupidity. It should warn Catholics not to reward such surrealistic ignorance by answering the call to furnish the Melbourne Mass center with
vestments in all the colors, copes in all the colors, High Mass candlesticks, a thurible, a processional canopy for Corpus Christi, Holy Week items, an extra chalice, two ciboria, a monstrance, and many other things. (Emphasis ours.)Remember that Tradzilla's morose retreat to Australia with his tail between his legs is the price he had to pay for getting himself kicked to the curb in Arizona. That was HIS fault. And it was his decision to pay back the CMRI for rolling all over him. Revenge may be well and good, but why should others bail him and the Ocker cultlings out? If the Melbourne coterie wants to sever ties with the CMRI to become a dependency of the Swampland, then they should buy their own vestments, instruments, and vessels — like every other new chapel.
It's no one else's charitable duty "to help Melbourne get a start," as doldrums Donald implies with a self-aggrandizing allusion to the apostle Paul's collecting from the Gentiles "a contribution for the poor of the saints that are in Jerusalem." For one thing, those Aussies are far from "poor," and for another, the Melbourne Mass center is not the mother-church of TradWorld. More importantly, victims in thrall to a non-Catholic Svengali are definitely not "saints."
If the Aussie culties cannot afford the whole kit and caboodle now, they can wait — like everyone else. Think about it: Why should the Melbourne coven need your money if it can afford to pay all doleful Don's travel expenses in December, then fly over Junior and Toady roundtrip, right after that fly in Junior and Beanpole roundtrip, and this July fly Beanpole back again?
They must be swimming in cash. (Click here for details of "clerical" travel and of the Donster's lavish, all-expense-paid trip to gorgeous Down Under). Melborune doesn't need your welfare. And if the pesthouse paid for a couple of the junkets, then it doesn't need your charity either. (Why did Junior have to tag along anyway for two trips? Chaperone?)
But there's another reason to deny Tradzilla's demand for you to pick up the tab for his Australian adventure: You'll most likely be overpaying. As Big Don mopishly passed the hat for Melbourne, he disclosed, "The seminary has had to pay for these items and it added up to quite a bit."
You can bet it must've added up, especially the "many other things."
Probably no expense was spared to purchase any new items, and anything that may have come from the pesthouse's stock* of liturgical goodies acquired in the rector's salad days would also have been super pricey. Many start-up trad chapels have found more economical alternatives, such as ordering vestments from India and shopping for great deals on ebay for the rest.
If the Melburnians want extravagance, then let them reimburse the pesthouse with their own money. We're certain Big Don can set up an easy-payment plan for those folks.
Emancipate yourself from the cult masters. Keep your money where it belongs, at home for you and yours, not with misguided strangers who obviously don't need it.
* Maybe we're completely off base, but PL can't help suspecting that Tradzilla might be using Melbourne as an occasion to hold a "garage sale" to raise some much needed cash. Old reports from Michigan insiders told us he had a stockpile of valuable stuff, which is now probably gathering mold and insect larvae in some musty storeroom in the fetid swamp.