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:: The Lidless Eye Inquisition ::

A weblog dedicated to the exposure of the crackpots of the lunatic self-styled 'traditionalist' fringe who disingenuously pose as faithful Catholics.
Welcome to The Lidless Eye Inquisition | bloghome
"Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her...But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments..., then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)." [Pope St. Pius X: Allocution of May 10, 1909]

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[:::....Recent Posts....:::]

The revocation of indefinite suspension to this we...

Briefly on A Few Issues... Though the The Lidless...

As I am planning a return to blogging in other for...

Though this weblog has been suspended "in perpetui...

After pondering this in recent days, I cannot thin...

Points to Ponder: I now come to the positive reas...

"One From the Drafting Board" Dept. The material ...

Before this weblog is formally closed in perpetuit...

On Altar Girls and General Norms of Interpretation...

Final Reflections I would like to thank Shawn McE...

The Inquisitors
:: I. Shawn McElhinney
:: F. John Loughnan
:: Peter J. Vere JCL
:: Greg Mockeridge
:: Apolonio Latar
:: Gregory Rossi
:: Keith Kenney
:: The Curmudgeon
:: Mark Bonocore
:: Gregg the Obscure
Affiliated Weblogs/Websites
:: Rerum Novarum [>>>]
:: Sean O' Lachtnain's Home Page [>>>]
:: Envoy Encore Weblog (Peter Vere JCL, contributor) [>>>]
:: Cooperatores Veritatis [>>>]
:: Thoughts of Apolonio Latar III [>>>]
:: Sancta Liturgia [>>>]
:: Disturber of the Peace [>>>]
:: Vita Brevis [>>>]
Specialty Weblogs
:: The (New) Catholic Light BLOG (Peter Vere JCL, contributor) [>>>]
:: John Betts' Boycott BLOG [>>>]
Ecumenical Jihad*
:: Apolonio Latar and Kevin Tierney's Culture of Christ BLOG [>>>]
Specialty Weblinks
:: A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' [>>>]
:: On the Intricacies of Dialogue - A Commentary [>>>]
:: The 'Tradition is Opposed to Novelty' Canard [>>>]
:: On Assisi and Catholic Principles [>>>]
:: F. John Loughnan's "Classification of Some Integrist (Lidless Eye) Websites" [>>>]
:: A Syllabus of Various (Mostly Pseudo-"Progressivist") Dissenting Authors [>>>]
:: A Canonical History of the Lefevrist Schism - Peter J. Vere's License Thesis From Saint Paul University, Ontario, Canada [>>>]
:: What Makes Us Catholic Traditionalists - written for The Wanderer December 6, 2001 (I. Shawn McElhinney/Pete Vere JCL) [>>>]
:: Yes Virginia, Fr. Nicholas Has Been Suspended - written for The Wanderer March 6, 2003 (Pete Vere JCL/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Squelching Fr. Gruner's 'Squawking Squire' [>>>]
:: RadTrad Watch [>>>]
:: Antisemitism and the Catholic Right [>>>]
[:::....Site Intention, Disclaimer, Copyright, Etc....:::]
:: Intentions of this Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Weblog "War and Peace Length" Disclaimer (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Site Copyright (I. Shawn McElhinney/SecretAgentMan) [>>>]
:: Exhortation to Those Who Participate in the Message Boxes (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Linking to Tridentine Apostolates, Etc. --A Lidless Eye Inquisition Clarification Thread (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Heretical Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates....:::]
Mario Derksen's Catholic Insight
:: Responses to Mario Derksen--Parts I-III (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario on EENS (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario Derksen's Errors on Man (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario Derksen's Sedevacantism--Parts I-III (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Response to Mario --Parts I-II (Kevin Byrne) [>>>]
:: Mario's Sedevacantism and His Conscience (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder -I. Shawn McElhinney's Discussion List Comments on the "Karol Wojtyla is the Pope" Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
Gerry Matatics' Apostolate
:: Gerry Matatics Too Hard Line For The Remnant (Pete Vere)[>>>]
:: Concerning Gerry Matatics and His Alleged Sedevacantism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Schismatic and Theologically Specious Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates....:::]
Catholic Apologetics International (or CAItanic)
:: Bob Sungenis' "Reply" to Richard John Neuhaus --Parts I-II (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - Richard J. Neuhaus on CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On CAItanic and the "Petrification" of their Opponents (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: On Stunted Ecclesiology and Other Examples of the Arrested Development of CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Baghdad Bob Meets Bible Bob (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Commentary on CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Sungenis/Ferrara and Double Standards (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: On Sungenis’ “Novelty”--Parts I-II(Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: A Short Response to John Salza and Sungenis (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: A Brief Clarification by Your Weblog Host On "Mr. Ipse Dixit" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Matatics vs. Sungenis (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Sungenis and God's Contingent Knowledge--Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: On "The Big Bang Theory" and its Pertinance to Catholic Doctrine (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Novus Ordo Watch
:: On "Novus Ordo Watch" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: More on "Novus Ordo Watch" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Props to David Alexander (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Remnant
:: Beyond Lunacy (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: The Remnant Gets it Right (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Commending Christopher Ferrara (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX)
:: Points to Ponder - on the SSPX (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On the "Reconciliation" Rumours of the SSPX (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: SSPX Demotes Key Priest Hoping For Reconciliation (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Three Cheers for Sedevacantism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On Fr. Paul Aulagnier (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Schism For One Dollar (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Bishop Rifan the Prophet (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Is the SSPX Still Lefebvrist? (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Civil War Breaks Out in the SSPX's French District (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Controverted Apostolates...:::]
Kevin Tierney and His Apostolate
:: Responding to Kevin Tierney's Criticism (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Some Brief Comments on Kevin Tierney's Response to Gregg the Obscure (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Response to Kevin Tierney's Response to I. Shawn McElhinney (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: More Sophistry From Kevin Tierney --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Obedience and Kevin Tierney's Appeal to Canon Law 212 (I. Shawn McElhinney/Pete Vere JCL) [>>>]
:: Responsum ad Tiernam Dubiosum --Parts I-III, Addendum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Note About A Blog (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Radtrads Again (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On True and False 'Traditionalism' With Kevin Tierney --Parts I-VII (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, and Global Government --Parts I-III(Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: Clarification on Global Government (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Brief Response to Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Musings on Diversity (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: An Example of the Honesty That Must Accompany Dialogue (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Muttering On Many Subjects (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Detailed Response to Kevin on The Revised Missal, Corpus Christi, Church Attendance, Church Forms, Protocol 1411, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Musings (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: "Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Discussing the Liturgy and Various Contrastings With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Refuting the “He’s Not Disobedient. He's Just Stupid.” Defense (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: "Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Controverted Subjects and People in General....:::]
:: Response to a Self-styled "Traditionalist" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Term "Inquisition" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Addressing a Sedevacantist Heretic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: February's Quote of the Month (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: On TAN Books (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: On Defining Modernism (Chris Burgwald) [>>>]
:: Refuting the Late 'Trad' Michael Malone's Errors on Vatican II (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From His Beatitude Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh, Cardinal of the Roman Church (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: The Catechism and Radical Traditionalists (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Screwtape Parody on Radical Traditionalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With a Rad-Trad --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Hell and the Catechism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Sola Fide Trads (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Some Traddie Fallacies Examined (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With Adrian a Self-styled 'Traditionalist' --Parts I-VIII (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. Opatus of Milve (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Mr. Smith's Misunderstandings --Parts I-VI (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Conection --Parts I-V (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Discussion With Christopher Blosser on Reflections on Covenant and Mission (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Morality of Promoting Conspiracy Theories (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Question About the Magisterium (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: John Paul II and Islam (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Have 'Traditionalists' Been Too Hard on the Pope Viz Islam (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: A Conversation --Parts I-II (I. Shawn McElhinney/Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Fatal Flaws of False 'Traditionalism' With Albert Cipriani--Parts I-VII (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Conversation on Spiritual Maturity and the Traditional Catholic Approach to Difficulties --Parts I-III (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Is it Okay to Complain? (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Obedience: The Rise of True Catholics --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Radtradism and Mother Teresa (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Common 'Traditionalist' Errors in Dogmatic Theology and the Ordinary Magisterum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Notes on the Ordinary Magisterium (SecretAgentMan) [>>>]
:: Some Self-styled "Traditionalist" Mendacity (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Posting Rules for Radical 'Traditionalists' (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Thoughts on Radtradism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Why Garrigou-Lagrange? (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: The Syllabus (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Refutation of Some Common Radtrad Misuses of Citations (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: The Errors of Michael Malone Revisited (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Confuting an Attempted Justification for Schism --Parts I-II (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Another Assisi? Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder -Maximus the Abbott as quoted by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum §13 (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With a 'Traditionalist' (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: "To Be Deep in Catholic Theology is to Cease to Be a (Pseudo) 'Traditionalist'" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From Pope Benedict XV (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Charles de Nunzio (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: For Those Interested (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Refuting Mike's Errors (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: A Response to Mike Tucker (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Will it Merely Be More Uncatholic "Business As Usual"??? (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. John Bosco (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. Irenaeus of Lyons (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Dialogue/Debate on Pascendi (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From Cardinal Ratzinger on the Revised Roman Missal (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Responsum ad Hibernius (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Material (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Liturgical Dance (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Humanism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Humanism and Vatican II (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: John Paul II and Universalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Scruples (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Tony Blair and Receiving Communion (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part I (Mark Bonocore) [>>>]
:: Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part II (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: "Wast-ing A-way A-gain in Se-de-vac-ant-a-ville" Dept. (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the McElhinney Media Dictum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Tomorrow Christendom (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Correcting a Common Misperception of This Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Response to a Guimaraes Article (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: A Response to Fr. Nitoglia (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: More on "Tomorrow Christendom" (Dom Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Surprised by Canon Law (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Michael Davies' Passing (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Redemptionis Sacramentum and Canonical Implications for Ecclesia Dei (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Notification of Assisi Essay, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - Richard John Neuhaus on the Vatican and "Americanism"--Parts I-VI (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: 8 Things You Can Do to Stop the Judaizers (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On Circumspection in Speech and Public Writing (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: On the Revised Missal Ordination Rites and Other Tidbits (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
::Points to Ponder - John Laux on an Interesting Parallel from History on the Subject of "Preserving Tradition" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: In Fairness to Michael Forrest (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Michael Forrest and the Jews (Pete Vere) [>>>]
::Points to Ponder - Pope Gregory XVI on the Authority of the Popes (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: Michael Forrest and the Jews--Part II (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Miscellaneous Dialogual Subjects...:::]
:: Real Catholic Traditionalism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: An Open Challenge to Catholic Traditionalists (Dom Gerard Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Quo Primum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Traditionalist Debate of the Millenium: Pete Vere vs. Shawn McElhinney (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Dialogue on Ecclesia Dei With Mark Downey (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Sister Lucia of Fatima, Ora Pro Terri Schiavo (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Ecclesia Dei And Respect for Traditionalists (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: On "The Vile Spectacle of Traditionalists Rooting for Bad News" --Dialogue With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>> [>>>]
:: On Liturgical Nonsense, Recent Restore Rants, Church Music, Etc (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: Briefly Revisiting an Old Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Examining Kevin Tierney's "Catholic Contract" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Guest Editorials...:::]
:: The Problems Some Have With Interfaith Outreach (Guest Editorial by Gary Gubinski) [>>>]
:: On the Liturgical Movement (Guest Editorial by the Society of St. John; Prologue by I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Jacinta's Vision (Guest Editorial by Fr. Thomas Carleton) [>>>]
:: Guest Editorial on Private Revelation (Kevin M. Tierney) [>>>]
Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies (cf. Welborn Protocol)

*Ecumenical Jihad listing is for weblogs or websites which are either dedicated to or which to the webmaster (i) are worth reading and (ii) characteri ze in their general outlook the preservation of general Judeo-Christian morality and which are aimed at positively integrating these elements into society. (Such sites need not even be Catholic ones.)

As society has grown more estranged from its founding principles, I wish to note sites which share the same sentiments for the restoration of society even if the means advocated in this endeavour differ. The Lidless Eye Inquisition does not necessarily endorse particulars with sites under this heading.

:: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 ::

On "The Vile Spectacle of Traditionalists Rooting for Bad News":
(Dialogue With Kevin Tierney)

[Prefatory Note: This thread was originally posted on the same day as Greg Mockeridge's Iraq and Roll thread. For that reason, it was returned to draft status to allow for Greg's thread to be the primary source of interaction. As over a week has passed now, it seemed appropriate to create a new thread and repost to it the text of what you are about to read; ergo that is what has been done. -ISM]

This is a slightly revised and extended version of a previously circulated email text which duplicated a text that he had already posted HERE. Kevin's words in this thread will be in black font.

Those of you who read liberal political columnist Christopher Hitchens (and if you do not shame on you, as he might be one of the only intelligent voices on the left, even if he does go off the deep end, we can blame the disease that is liberalism for that)

I think Hitchens is either an an atheist or an agnostic. This would (in part) explain some of it. At the very least, his barbs seem to be "equal opportunity" if you will.

will realize that I took a play off of words in regards to a recent column of his before the 2004 election, where he explored the Left's rooting for failure in Iraq as the only way to beat Bush. When I re-read that column recently, it came to me a certain revelation one could say. This is exactly what we are witnessing in Traditionalism today.

Excellent observation I have long considered writing on this very subject
actually -alluding to it in the following weblog posts from 2003:{1}

"None Dare Call it a Volokh Conspiracy" Dept.

On Hillary and Politics in General

What Kevin notes in his email (and what I refer to in the above posts) is a serious problem and until it is faced squarely and dealt with, so much that comes forth from the camp of many who call themselves "traditionalists." Until it is forthrightly addressed, it will be seen as "so much sound and fury signifying nothing" by most of those they hope to influence. Viewpoints that are credible cannot exist in a merely negative state if they are to have enduring life in them: that is the problem that heresies and schisms have in them. Which brings up another point altogether.

There is also the strong probability that a lot of those who act as Kevin is describing are manifesting externally a formally schismatic interior if you will: for formal schismatics are bereft of charity by the very fact of being severed from the vine. I noted this situation in my treatise contra false "traditionalism" with reference to some of St. Thomas' comments on heresy and schism. Essentially, my theory that the logical end-result of false "traditionalism" is sedevacantism was hardly my own creation: St. Jerome's observations on heresy and schism (confirmed by St. Thomas) was its foundation. And of course observing this pattern repeat itself over and over (including recently by a friend of Kevin and Jacob's) has only served to reinforce its probability of being true.

Now lest this is misunderstood, I should note that I am not talking of the occasional over the top comment or other occasional lapses which can happen to anyone who is involved in this stuff to a regular degree. (Indeed, I cannot think of anyone to whom this has not happened to on occasion.) Instead, I refer to habitual tendencies manifested in the words and actions of certain parties who say and do precisely what Kevin is referring to and to whom not acting in this manner is an exception for them rather than the rule. These sorts are by their very actions and statements manifesting an internally schismatic constitution every bit as much as the stuffy nose, sore throat, and general physical aching that I have as I type this had when this material was written manifests manifested my catching (at the time) of the latest cold virus that is was going around.

It is good to see Kevin showing concern over this tendency by not a few who call themselves "traditionalists" because it will help in separating the wheat of legitimate Traditionalist manifestations from the tares of pseudo-"traditionalism." Incidentally, that is a large part of what I had in mind when forming The Lidless Eye Inquisition weblog but that is another story altogether.{2}

Somehow it is assumed that when something bad in the new mass happens, or a Vatican prelate makes some outrageous remark, that this is somehow a victory for Traditionalists. It is a sign of just how far things have deteriorated.

Unfortunately, this has been par for the course for many years though. I have so-called "traditionalist" articles and books from the 1970's where this is precisely the common pattern utilized. Now, it should be noted that I am by no means excusing this attitude at that or any other time. However, at the same time, it must be conceded that it was easier to appear credible in the 1970's doing this sort of thing for various reasons as it was in much of the 1980's. The main reason for that was because of the liturgical situations of that time.{3}

Most of the time today the problems are significantly tamer though. This is not to dismiss them of course but instead to point out that much of the common schtick about anemic conversion rates and liturgical tomfoolery had its greatest effect when conversions were a trickle at best and experimentation was quite common. Today in probably most places different communities have their own entrenched abuses and conversions the past fifteen years have been increasing steadily.{4} I have noted in recent years, perhaps the single reason for much if the fallout of mass attendence and other areas is because of a decision of the magisterium that the bulk of those who would call themselves "traditionalists" would support overwhelmingly.{5} But that is a subject for another time perhaps.

ignoring the problem does not make it go away,

Frankly, I do not think many who call themselves "traditionalists" would admit that this is a problem Kevin. Fortunately there are some who are willing to do just that: hopefully it will be the start of a general trend.

in order for Traditionalism to truly become a force worth noting
in the Church today, such crap has really got to stop.

It needed to stop a long time ago. One could say it should never have happened but (at the very least) it should have stopped with the issuing of the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei Adflica and the provisions made in that letter for the creation of Tridentine Catholic apostolates which could make positive contributions to the arena of ideas. Fortunately, there have been a number of very valuable contributions from those apostolates to some of the more controversial issues -from shorter works like an excellent Society of St. John series on the liturgical movement to longer expository works.{6}

But these kinds of projects would never have been possible if the parties involved did not actually stop lecturing others on what they did not know and (instead) started reading, reflecting, and listening in areas where previously they had expressed a kind of reflexive opposition. That does not mean that they will necessarily like what they come to realize in doing this of course. However, at the very least by giving the traditional religious submission in areas where they had problems,{7} eventually they were able to work through them. And many of those whom Kevin refers to would be able to do the same if they took that very-difficult-but-nonetheless-all-important first step.

Now granted, I'm a neophyte kid who most would dismiss.

This is a premise which would by logical extension consider a bad observation as a good one or a good one as a bad one by the addition of years to a person's life. (Kevin is not doing that of course but I want to note in brief that such a premise would be grounded on a fundamentally illogical foundation.)


{1} Though I had long thought about the connection -even mentioning it in passing on some old message board threads, the first explicit note of it in a thread at Rerum Novarum was made in one of the first Points to Ponder threads.

{2} I may note part of that in a later entry so that a greater understanding of my initial intentions for this weblog may be ascertained by the readers. (After two plus years of existence, I suppose this subject can be touched on a bit.)

{3} For those who were not there, trust me: it was beyond atrocious.

{4} Indeed the past ten years has seen a boon in this area which significantly undercuts the old "traditionalist" schtick about anemic conversion rates being "the problem." And from what we know about the situation with vocations, there are mitigating factors here which are not often taken into consideration which serve to blunt a bit the glaring discrepencies in these areas. (Some would actually argue -and persuasively at that -that the vocation shortage is fabricated but that is a subject for another time perhaps.)

{5} I will not repeat it here but instead point out that it would fall under the general heading of a "lessening of respect for authority and rules" in general. (A hint: I covered this point in my most recent longform essay project.)

{6} Particularly worth mentioning at this point is Dom Basile of Le Barroux whose doctoral thesis on religious liberty (in six volumes). For those not familiar with him from what Pete has noted on this weblog, Dom Basile was ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre. He split with the SSPX after Ecclesia Dei Adflicta for the papally approved Tridentine alternative. Though he originally viewed the teachings of Dignitatis Humanae as irreconciliable with Tradition (ala Lefebvre), in a spirit of open dialogue (as requested by the Vatican in the original Protocol of Agreement signed by Archbishop Lefebvre) he studied the manner in detail and without polemics. His subsequent six volume work on the subject is considered by Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Stickler to be the definitive exposition on the subject of Dignitatis Humanae and its perfect congruity with the Catholic Tradition.

{7} I recently explained this principle briefly to one of my old message board sparring partners Edwin Tait (an Anglican who has been having bouts of "Roman Fever" for at least seven years now) in the comments boxes of his new weblog. The general subject was about unity and authority as approaches to ecclesiology which affect conversion -and how different people place greater value on one over the other in their searching.

:: Shawn 11:35 AM [+] | ::

:: Monday, March 21, 2005 ::
Rad Trad Iraq and Roll

One does not have to read a lot of radtrad polemics to see that confusing and/or distorting the differences between doctrinal imperatives with prudential judgment is one of their hallmarks. I would go so far as to argue that it is their cardinal error. Ironically, this, among other things, often puts them in the same bed, albeit at different ends, as the left wing dissenting National Catholic Distorter …I mean Reporter crowd. Few events in recent history did more to draw these merchants of confusion out in the open than the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq. This time, with few exceptions {1}, radtrads were not only in the same bed with the left wing loony contingent in the Church, but wrapped in each other’s arms, so to speak, on the same side of that bed. A sterling example of such distortion of doctrine and prudential judgment was an article penned by someone over at the Fatima Center, Fr. Gruner’s organization, and posted on CAI’s website entitled “ Not So Loyal After All: neo-Catholics — are now openly dissenting from the Pope’s clear opposition to the war with Iraq.”

In the first paragraph, it states:

Certain "conservative" Catholics loudly proclaim their loyalty to Pope John Paul II whenever it comes to any criticism by "traditionalists" of the Church’s declining condition during the 25 years of this pontificate. But, oddly enough, these same "conservatives" — whom I prefer to call neo-Catholics — are now openly dissenting from the Pope’s clear opposition to the war with Iraq.

First of all, our criticisms of “traditionalists” are not aimed at whatever prudential criticisms they may have of the Pope and what responsibility he may bear along those lines for the problems in the Church today. In fact, writers such as Dr. James Hitchcock, who is well respected by what I’m sure the author would call the “Neo-Catholic Establishment” have made those kind of criticisms and has not been subject to the kind of criticism that “traditionalists” are from us inappropriately labeled “Neo-Catholics.” No, what draws fire from “Neo-Catholics” toward “traditionalists” is that their criticisms of the pope go far beyond prudential judgments by pitting the pre vs. post Vatican II Church against one another, going so far as to cast aspersions on the orthodoxy of some of the pope’s activities such as ecumenical and interfaith outreach (like Assisi) and implicating the Holy Father as being part of a Vatican orchestrated cover-up of the Third Secret of Fatima and the Consecration of Russia as requested by Our Lady of Fatima.

Secondly, those of Catholics who supported the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq are not “dissenting” from the Pope at all for two reasons:

Number one, deciding whether or not it is morally licit to wage war in a given situation is not within the competency of the Church, as #2309 of the Catechism of the Church makes clear:

“The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.[i.e. civil governments]”

This point was further amplified by Cardinal Ratzinger in his Note Bene to the USCCB that got leaked to the Italian press:

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia. (Emphasis Added)

Don’t expect Cardinal Ratzinger to grant the same legitimate diversity of opinion about things like “We Resist You To the Face.”

The Church’s competence as far as determining the moral legitimacy of war is restricted to outlining the parameters within which a just war must be conducted which are:

- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.
The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

Secondly, the pope made no public statement in opposition to the war. I challenged Stephen Hand, who has engaged in an equally irresponsible methodology in his opposition to the war, to provide such statements and has thus far been unable to do so. Now while the Holy Father may have personally opposed the war, his public statements regarding it stayed well within the bounds of neutrality.

Then agreeing with the National Catholic Distorter (err, Reporter) the article goes on to say:

The liberal journal National Catholic Reporter hit the nail on the head with a recent editorial entitled "Conservatives dissent, but with a spin." (January 31, 2003) The editorial observes that "conservative commentator George Weigel recently opined that the Roman Catholic just war tradition of moral analysis ‘lives more vigorously … at the higher levels of the Pentagon than … in certain offices at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.’"

One thing’s certain, “the Roman Catholic just war tradition of moral analysis ‘lives more vigorously … at the higher levels of the Pentagon” than it does in the mind of the author of this article.

Even the U.S. Catholic bishops acknowledged that Catholics could in good conscience support the war in Iraq:

“As pastors and teachers, we understand that there are no easy answers. People of good will may differ on how traditional norms apply in this situation. The gravity of the threat and whether force would be preemptive are matters of debate, as are the potential consequences of using or failing to use military force.” (Emphasis Added)

The “Not so Loyal After All…” article goes on to state:

“But NCR rightly notes that Wiegel is being less than honest in his targeting of criticism, for it is not the U.S. bishops, but the Pope who is leading Catholic opposition to the Iraqi war.”

How can the pope be “leading Catholic opposition to the Iraqi war” if he has not made any explicit statement morally objecting to the war?

Predictably, the article then trots out the usual “Regime of Novelty” canard:

Now, when traditionalists dissent from various novelties in the Church that have caused Her manifest harm over the past forty years, they at least have the honesty to state that they are doing so, based on the pronouncements of all the Popes and Councils before Vatican II, who would have viewed these novelties with utter horror. That is, when traditionalists demur from the prevailing novelties, they rely on the teaching of the Church Herself.

While we are on the subject of novelty, let’s discuss a few novelties, shall we? Knee jerk criticisms of the papal policies and activities, particularly his ecumenical and interfaith activities like Assisi, even going to the extent of casting aspersions on the orthodoxy of such events, disputing the schismatic status of groups like the SSPX, despite the pope authoritatively stating otherwise, and promoting a manifesto that calls for resistance to the teachings of an Ecumenical Council they consider “objectively opposed to the Magisterium” was unheard of in the immediate pre-Vatican II Church. The idea of any teachings of an Ecumenical Council being “objectively opposed to the Magisterium” is a novelty if there ever was one, but I digress. Furthermore, “traditionalists” who have made a cottage industry out of portraying the Church as a pre vs. post Vatican II dichotomy don’t interact with the fact that when previous Church documents forbid certain practices that are permitted today they neither say nor imply that it would be wrong for the Magisterium to permit them at a later date as they see fit.

“But the neo-Catholics who are beating the drums for war are dissenting from this Pope based on the teaching of…. George Bush!”

One would think that these self-appointed guardians of Catholic tradition would understand one of the most basic elements of that tradition: the difference between an imperative and a prudential judgment. But it seems to have escaped them. Support for the war in Iraq is well within the parameters of the “legitimate diversity of opinion” enjoyed by loyal Catholics. This is evident when you take into account both the just war theory enunciated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church and also CardinalRatzinger's statement as cited above.

In the final paragraph of the article makes a statement of support the Holy Father…well…sort of:

I am standing with the Holy Father on this one, for his opposition to the war in Iraq is rooted in the Church’s perennial teaching on the just war. But true loyalty to the Pope requires me to say also, with all due respect, that the Pope would not be pleading to avert the war with Iraq had he simply followed Our Lady’s prescription for peace at Fatima. May God move him to do so soon, before the annihilation of nations is upon us.

The Pope’s “opposition to the war in Iraq,” even though he has never made any public statement saying he believed that war in Iraq would be immoral, is certainly rooted in the Church’s perennial teaching on just war in that it allows a diversity of opinion. But so does “neo-Catholic” support for it.

In true radtrad fashion, his statement of support is more of a “the pope is not following Our Lady of Fatima’s instructions” swipe at the Holy Father. May God move the author and other radtrads like him to disabuse himself of such disobedience-inspired conspiracy theories and come to the light of Catholic common sense.


{1} The only radtrad supporters of the war that I know of are Atile Sinke Guimaires and Fr. Grommar De Pauw. But Guimaries, being true to form (radtrad form that is), uses the war in Iraq as another opportunity to pit the Holy Father against tradition.

:: Greg Mockeridge 11:30 PM [+] | ::

Briefly on a Weblog Post Reconfiguration:

In posting the response to Kevin's first Flirting With Disaster thread, at this point, I was unaware that Greg was going to post the Iraq and Roll thread on the same day. (I knew he was working on it and had completed it but we had not discussed when he would post it.) Therefore, in order to prevent the overlapping of major threads of discussion, I have reclassified the response originally posted here to draft status and will post it later in the week or next week (with a different post number) in order to allow the interim focus to be on Greg's most recent thread.

:: Shawn 12:45 PM [+] | ::

:: Friday, March 18, 2005 ::
Points to Ponder:
(On The Vatican vs. "Americanism" --Part V: Rome's Disposition Towards America)

This is a continuation of the musings located HERE. To start from the beginning of this thread, please go HERE.

As for America . . .

Allen raises a more provocative question with respect to the general disposition of Rome to the United States. He writes:

Both the Iraq war and the sex abuse crisis suggested to Vatican observers that the ghost of John Calvin is alive and well in American culture. These reservations are well documented, from Pope Leo XIII's 1899 apostolic letter Testem Benevolentiae, condemning the supposed heresy of "Americanism," to Pius XII's opposition to Italy's entrance into NATO based on fears that the alliance was a Trojan horse for Protestant domination of Catholic Europe. Key Vatican officials, especially Europeans from traditional Catholic cultures, have long worried about aspects of American society—its exaggerated individualism, its hyperconsumer spirit, its relegation of religion to the private sphere, its Calvinist ethos. A fortiori, they worry about a world in which America is in an unfettered position to impose this set of cultural values on everyone else.

These are interesting questions indeed, and John Allen believes they are receiving very definite answers:

At the deepest level of analysis, there is serious doubt in many quarters of the Vatican that American culture is an apt carrier for a Christian vision of the human person and therefore of the just society. . . . Though no pope and no Vatican diplomat will ever come out and say so, the bottom line is that despite great respect for the American people and their democratic traditions, the Holy See simply does not think the United States is fit to run the world. . . . Thus the Holy See's diplomatic energy in coming years will have as a central aim the construction of a multilateral, multipolar world, which will necessarily imply a limitation on the power and influence of the United States.

On all these scores, Allen may well be right. The result would be that on the world stage the Vatican will be increasingly perceived by Americans and others as anti-American, and it will be precisely that. As documented in George Weigel's authoritative biography of John Paul II, Witness to Hope, this has been the most pro-American pontificate in history. This Pope has made numerous and unprecedented statements on the genius of the American political and social order, and that appreciation is clearly reflected in the aforementioned Centesimus Annus on the just and free society. But Allen and others counter that this positive disposition toward America was but a phase, a momentary aberration created chiefly by the cooperation of Rome and the U.S. in bringing an end to "the evil empire." After the fall of Soviet communism, in this view, the Vatican has reverted to what might be called its default position, that of Leo XIII's robust suspicion of America and "Americanism."

Certainly, there are those who agree with and welcome Allen's prognosis. He cites David Schindler, editor of the English-language edition of Communio, who has written extensively on why—anthropologically, sociologically, and in its tacit theology—the American order is incompatible with Catholic Christianity. Moreover, there are American bishops with influence in Rome and Americans highly placed in the Curia who have been quite thoroughly Europeanized in their critique of their own country. Europeanized, that is, in the image of "old Europe." In Poland and other countries still newly liberated from Soviet communism, the view of America is quite different. Of course these countries may over time be subsumed into the worldview of the European Union, to which the Vatican may provide a kind of moral chaplaincy, even if the EU will not so much as acknowledge Christianity as part of its cultural heritage. [Richard J. Neuhaus]

To be Continued...

:: Shawn 1:59 PM [+] | ::

:: Thursday, March 17, 2005 ::
Please Pray for the Tomorrow Christendom Project

I heard from a mainstream Catholic publisher yesterday. They may be interested in picking up Tomorrow Christendom from Ray and I. This would involve professional editing, proof-reading, type-setting, publicity campaign, distribution, etc... Please keep this in prayer; we should know by after Easter.

PS Kevin...I know you don't think we at LEI do much to promote the traditionalist movement, but where's your review?

:: Pete Vere 5:02 AM [+] | ::

:: Tuesday, March 15, 2005 ::
Ecclesia Dei And Respect for Traditionalists

As readers of this humble weblog are aware, Pope John Paul II’s Moto Propio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta has been oft cited by members of the Inquisition for the purpose of proving the schismatic status of groups like SSPX. This has often been necessary, due to the fact that the schismatic status of the SSPX has often been disputed by pseudo-traditionalists.

But there is another part of the document that deserves attention and that is:

Moreover, respect must everywhere by shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962. (#6 c.)

To be sure, context makes clear that this is directed primarily at the bishops, but the respect that must be shown those attached to Mass being said according to the 1962 extends, as charity demands, to the faithful as a whole.

Concerning the former, there have been many criticisms leveled at bishops for not being generous in granting Latin Mass indults in their dioceses. Such criticisms are, of course, valid and even legitimate to a certain extent. Cardinal Ratzinger said it this way:

“I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted more generously to all who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that.” (Salt of the Earth pg. 76)

My gut feeling on the reasons as to why many bishops don’t grant indult masses more generously is that it is a mixed bag of unfair hostility and legitimate pastoral concerns about whether or not, given the divisive nature of the SSPX schism, would unleash the same within their Sees by granting an indult. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, suggests the possibility of the latter.

Bishop Bruskewitz, along with bishops James Timlin, former bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., and Archbishop John Donaghue, former Archbishop of Atlanta, GA, have served as role models for their brother bishops as to the right pastoral approach to this issue, which is no easy one by any means. I think there has been no greater friend to those who wish to worship according to the 1962 Missal among the episcopate than Cardinal Ratzinger. The skill and generosity displayed by His Eminence has displayed in this regard has been inspiring.

But the contributions of the faithful in general, whether as individuals or in groups, are equally indispensable. The pastoral efforts of the above-cited bishops could not have been successful without their efforts. There are also the efforts of individuals, which include LEI members I. Shawn McElhinney and Pete Vere, who have engaged in patient dialogue with bishops who, for whatever reason, have been reluctant to grant indults in their dioceses.

Not to be overlooked in this are the recent efforts of Kevin Tierney reminding “traditionalists” that authentic traditionalism is not pitting the pre and post Vatican II Church against one another nor does it exist in pitting the Tridentine Rite against the Missal of 1970.

I have always seen the legitimate Tridentine apostolates as a great good for the Church. Along those lines, I have encouraged Catholic friends of mine to attend at least a few indult Tridentine Masses to get a sense of how Mass was celebrated prior to Vatican II. And since the Tridentine period is a significant part of the Catholic heritage, such attendance will give Catholics a greater appreciation of the breadth and diversity of their faith. I can personally attest to this. Back about five or six years ago, I attended the Tridentine Mass regularly. Not only such an experience not give me a jaded view of the Mass celebrated according to the present Missal, it helped me appreciate it all the more. In this spirit, the respect called for by Ecclesia Dei is one of mutual respect.

Let us pray for the full fruition of such.

:: Greg Mockeridge 12:51 PM [+] | ::

:: Monday, March 14, 2005 ::
The Return of F. John Loughnan...

...to The Lidless Eye Inquisition will hopefully be soon. I made a few requests of him to post some of the stuff he has been working on for his website in recent months to LEI. He told me that he had lost the login information so I have resent him an invite to post here again. It will be nice to see the distinguished senior member of The Lidless Eye Inquisition contributing once again to this humble weblog.

:: Shawn 1:30 PM [+] | ::

:: Saturday, March 12, 2005 ::
A Lidless Eye Inquisition Clarification Thread:
(On Linking to Tridentine Apostolates, Etc...)

As the subject of approved Tridentine apostolates has been raised a number of times, it seems appropriate to deal briefly with it at the present time. In doing this, I have decided to exercise the Welborn Protocol to save time and have excerpted the below text from a recent email response, adapted it a bit in a couple of spots, and added additional material where it was deemed to be helpful. The words of the correspondent will be in black font.

I'm sure you are aware of an audio post Kevin made on his blog about a week and a half ago. In it he mentioned your response to his Flirting with Disaster Post

I will probably blog my full response to Kevin's Flirting with Disaster thread to this weblog with a minor adjustment or two in the coming days.{1} As an aside, it may shatter the perceptions of some of the readers of this humble weblog but I have enjoyed reading Kevin's reflection-style threads with greater regularity in the past half-year (approximately) since he started utilizing that format with a greater degree of regularity. It is a feature that I hope he continues utilizing because (i) we all need food for musing and (ii) I cannot provide all of the points for pondering in the blogosphere due to time constraints among other limitations.

With regards to the audio post referred to above, I have not listened to any audio posts from anyone yet except my Rerum Novarum weblog; something which is necessary when it comes time to update the threads to remember what I talked about in a given weblog audio post. The primary reason for that is that I tend to update my Rerum Novarum weblog from the library during lunchbreaks{2} and I use library headphones at that time{3} for listening to the audios. However, as this one is directly addressed to Us here at The Lidless Eye Inquisition, I will try in the coming week to find a way of listening to it.

As far as how to do the audio recordings, I have refused to disclose to inquirers how I do it to keep that medium fairly unique to what I do at Rerum Novarum. Hopefully Kevin will keep it a secret{4} too if you know what I mean :)

and why you haven't permalinked legitimate traditionalist or Tridentine apostolates on the side margin of the LEI blog like you do on the Rerum Novarum blog.

I have a list of illegitimate sites linked to The Lidless Eye Inquisition's side margin. That is easier and more in conformity with the intention of The Lidless Eye Inquisition which is exposing illegitimate apostolates first and foremost. I make frequent mention of the legitimate apostolates in my essays of the past, in weblog posts to Rerum Novarum and The Lidless Eye Inquisition, and in other ways. (My positions on this have hardly been a mystery lo these many years.)

Although I believe you are all for promoting these apostolates, I am curious as to why haven't done that yet.

As far as what is and is not in the margin at The Lidless Eye Inquisition, I have been asked this question from many people over the months (and as of January 2005, years) that The Lidless Eye Inquisition has been in existence. There are many reasons I could note for this including my general desire to let a weblog project take its own natural course in how it blooms if you will. I did (and do) this with Rerum Novarum and I see no reason to alter my approach for The Lidless Eye Inquisition except insofar as the purpose of that weblog differs to a marked degree from what is done at Rerum Novarum.

It further needs to be pointed out that part of the aforementioned process is not altering weblog properties or making adjustments simply because people inquire about it or say it should be done. I have a non-formulaic formula of sorts{5} for how I approach this medium.

And yet another reason worth mentioning is that The Lidless Eye Inquisition is something that I devote maybe 2% of my blogging energies towards as a rule. (And never more than 5% at any given time.){6} Part of this process is weblog updates and it is a strenuous part of weblog maintenance -not only because I have to read my stuff and the stuff of others to decide what to add and what to leave in the archives to be found if you will. Weblog updates tend to take a long time to do since I do them so infrequently. As a result, more effort is spent on keeping Rerum Novarum up to date -though I do keep the archives portion at LEI from going without regular updating. As far as The Lidless Eye Inquisition goes, I may update the weblog again in late April at the earliest{7} -more likely that time will be spent updating Rerum Novarum -as I am four weeks behind schedule on that and have not even started the process as of this writing.

In summary, one weblog is more defense oriented and the other is more offense oriented. One weblog is more of a complete entity in itself while the other is more limited and any offense-orientation it possesses is by implication more than explication. That is the easiest way to distinguish between the two -the significantly larger committment of time, energies, perminent commitment, and diversity of subject matter mused on at Rerum Novarum notwithstanding of course.


{1} With a link to that post when I add the thread to this weblog. (I read it via email circular and not from the weblog itself.) Included in those minor adjustments will be the completion of one thought that for some reason was cut short in the version I sent to Kevin and some others via email.

{2} Usually I do this bit by bit throughout the interim between officially posted updates so that the labourous process is easier to deal with.

{3} When I am not updating the weblog, I tend to not listen to audio stuff except for the occasional JibJab parodies -though when I update Rerum Novarum from standard blogspot format to Blogger Pro, it will make it a lot easier to follow the weblogs I already follow in a sketchy degree. (That will free up some time for other things including listening to a lot more audio stuff from the web while I surf -including Kevin's audio recordings.)

{4} To my knowledge, Kevin and I are the only ones utilizing the audioblog format at St. Blogs: not a bad niche for us to be having actually but I digress.

{5} I am not being critical of course - since I have had days where I blog up a storm of sometimes lengthy cogitations - but I think many people fall into the pattern of thinking that if they do not blog for a day or two that they are somehow "guilty" of "letting down the cause". In reality nothing is further from the truth - or at least *should* be further from the truth. I can only speak for myself here but I believe my attitude on this is one that people who blog or run websites should have...

...There is also the subject of frequency of blogging or website updating.

Speaking only for myself, I do not feel a sense of guilt if I go for a day or two (or three or whatever length) without blogging. Initially I did but then it dawned on me (and fortunately this happened *very* early in the life of this blog) that the moment I worry about that is the moment any edge I have (if I even have one) is blunted. It would then become a case of doing what is needed to "verify" visits and the like.

I do not know what subjects elicit the most readership and which do not and frankly, I have no interest in finding out. For the moment I do that is the moment my impulse to blog my mind becomes to some extent compromised. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 3, 2003)]

{6} [Update: For the sake of exactness on this figure, I took a couple of minutes and crunched the numbers on a calculator. The next post I will add to Rerum Novarum will be post number 1510 and there have been 275 posts to The Lidless Eye Inquisition since its inception. Keeping those numbers in mind, I have (i) factored out roughly 50-55% of the LEI posts which I did not write -I will go with the 50% figure and round up two to 140- and also (ii) factored out at one third of all my posts to LEI which are essentially duplicates of material or links to stuff from Rerum Novarum, that would put the exact figure at 6% if the figure was rounded up. And as I rounded up all the numbers and overestimated my contributions to LEI, accounting for that would put the actual figure darn close to the 5% I originally noted was "the exception to the rule."

In other words, the 5% figure I noted earlier as "the exception" is close to correct as a rule whereas the 2% figure noted "as a rule" was significantly underestimated. All of this may sound minor but as not a few people have tried to find anything that might remotely constitute an error in what I write -usually with less than laudable motives unfortunately- it seemed appropriate to take a few minutes to verify whether or not my off-the-cuff numbers on this point were or were not accurate. -ISM 3/14/05 1:30 pm]

{7} I may not even get to this until June. It will depend on (i) my time frame for tending to it and (ii) the volume of contributions to this weblog dictating when an update makes sense to do.

:: Shawn 3:30 PM [+] | ::

:: Monday, March 07, 2005 ::
On "The Big Bang Theory" and its Pertinance to Catholic Doctrine:
(Musings of your humble host at The Lidless Eye Inquisition)

It should be noted at the outset of this post that I do not generally pay much attention to the speculations of those who evince a profound difficulty in grasping elementary Catholic theological concepts. Nonetheless, I was perusing the Q and A portions of CAItanic -after an emailer directed me to some pretty decent comments by that site's webmaster on a couple of particular issues.{1} I found in doing this some interesting comments pertaining to matters of science which were revealing to say the least. Without further ado, let us discuss them and how they pertain to Catholic theology and Catholic doctrine in general.

Now We at The Lidless Eye Inquisition have made note of some scientific aberrations to certain groups of so-called "traditionalists" before.{2} But of the scientific oddities propounded by CAItanic to my knowledge these have not been touched on here at this weblog. (Or if they have it has been so infrequently that I cannot remember.) The reason for this omission on my part is that I do not want to appear to be associating the scientific paradigm of CAItanic with the bulk of those who call themselves "traditionalists." Whatever the reasons the other contributors have not written on this issue I cannot say -though (of course) if they should want to do so in the future, they have their freedom to do so at their discretion. I merely wanted to point out why I have not done so and as a rule will generally not do so if it can at all be reasonably avoided. However, as every rule admits of an exception, this post will deal with precisely that: an exception to normal weblog protocol by your humble servant. But enough ado and let us get to the meat of this post.

To start with, Mr. Robert Sungenis has claimed on his site that Pope Pius XII's speech to the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences in 1951 was not an "official" teaching of the Church, and never could be. The question title is Does Pius XII's 1951 Speech Support the Big Bang? and is Question LXXX from October of 2004. Here is the reference to comments from Professor Stephen Hawking Ph D which occasioned the response we are about to go over:

Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention. (The Catholic Church, on the other hand, seized on the big bang model and in 1951 officially pronounced it to be in accordance with the Bible. (pp. 46-7)

With regards to the above (very accurate) quotation from Professor Hawking's book A Brief History of Time, here are the exact words of Mr. Sungenis (no Ph D) in response:

...Hawking is reading into the document both that it wa sanctioning the Big Bang and that the document was official. Pius XII's address was
written by someone from the Pontifical Academy of Science, and then Pius XII read it to the PAS. The PAS writer made reference to the idea that the universe could be billions of years old, but did not mention the Big Bang specifically. Also, this PAS address has no authority in the Catholic Church, so it is not an "official" teaching of the Church, and never could be.

Now it is true that Pius XII's allocution itself does not specifically mention the big bang model by name but that concession hardly supports Mr. Sungenis' notions as much as he may wish it did. Indeed take a look at the allocution and see for yourself:

Pope Pius XII: Allocution to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (circa November 22, 1951)

Pope Pius XII makes it clear towards the beginning what his manifested intentions were in delivering the above allocution:

Wishing to give here only a rapid summary of the priceless services rendered by modern science to the demonstration of the existence of God, We shall limit Ourselves, first of all, to the fact of changes, pointing out principally their amplitude and vastness and, so to speak, their totality which modern physics meets in the inanimate cosmos.

We shall then dwell on the significance of their direction, which is likewise verified by science. Thus, in Our treatment of these points, we shall, so to speak, be lending an ear to a miniature concert of the immense universe, which nevertheless has a voice strong enough to sing "the glory of Him who moveth all that is." (Dante, Paradiso, 1, 1).

Obviously a "rapid summary" is not going to get into technical names for specific scientific modular theories. However, read the text and tell me that it was not quite clearly describing the very process that scientists were referring to as "the big bang." But that point aside, Mr. Sungenis earlier in his Q and A series recommends stuff from young earth creationists like Ken Hovind.{3}

In Question LI from September of 2004, Mr. Sungenis states that he is not endorsing Hovind's views of cosmology, only his work on a six-day creation. That obviously means that Mr. Sungenis supports (at least tacitly) young earth creationism. If we understand that at the outset, then we can see how the 1951 Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) allocution of Pius XII directly threatens his scientific/theological outlook. So Mr. Sungenis tries to cover his tracks by claiming that the allocution is not "authoritative" or "official." But is his assessment on this matter really accurate???

First of all, it is probably true that Pope Pius XII did not write the text himself which was delivered to the PAS in 1951. And for the sake of this subject, I will concede that point to Mr. Sungenis. However, a pope not writing a text that he promulgates authoritatively would hardly be a novelty in church history. Indeed if we just confine this point to the pontificate of Pope Pius XII of venerable memory, we can point out that the Holy Father did not personally write Humani Generis, Mystici Corporis Christi, or Divino Afflante Spiritu{4} -all of which as encyclical letters would have greater weight than the 1951 allocution -assuming for a moment that the latter was (and is) even authoritative. But in all the above cases, the Holy Father personally oversaw revisions to the original schemas of those encyclicals before he signed and promulgated them as part of his magisterium.

In other words, while the pope probably did not write the text of the 1951 allocution, it is virtually certain that he at least had a hand in reshaping its final product before making the text his own. But assuming for a moment that the latter assertion is not true, Mr. Sungenis is hopefully not claiming that Pope Pius XII would merely read the PAS text without personally reviewing it beforehand. At the very least, it would be a discredit to Pope Pius XII to presume that he would merely read what was put in front of him. But to discredit this allocution, Mr. Sungenis is forced to assert (at least indirectly) that Pope Pius XII was a dupe. I for one do not see this as a very charitable interpretation of the Holy Father but it suffices to note here that the pope does not have to write a text in order to promulgate it authoritatively. If Mr. Sungenis disagrees with this assessment, he opens up quite a historical can of worms{5} but that is another subject for another time perhaps.

In writing on the subject of creation in 1993, Msr. McCarthy of the Roman Theological Forum{6} noted the following quotations from that speech in his article -particularly the first quote where the big bang methodology could not be plainer unless the pope actually used the expression "big bang":

The examination of numerous spiral nebulae, especially as carried out by Edwin E. Hubble at the Mount Wilson Observatory, led to the significant conclusion, presented with considerable reservations, that these distant systems of galaxies tend to move away from one another with such velocity that in about 1300 million years the distance between two such spiral nebulae is doubled. If one looks backward over the time of this process of the "Expanding Universe," it turns out that from one to ten thousand million years ago the matter of all the spiral nebulae was compressed into a relatively restricted space, at the time when the cosmic processes had their beginning. [23]

The underlined part of the text above perfectly explains the mechanics of the big bang model of cosmology:

If these figures can cause astonishment, they, nevertheless, bring even to the simplest of believers no concept new or different from that learned from the first words of Genesis, In the beginning, that is to say, the beginning of things in time. These figures give concrete and quasi-mathematical expression to those words, while from them springs forth an additional consolation for those who share with the Apostle an esteem for that divinely inspired Scripture which is always profitable "to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice" (2 Tim 3:16)." [24]

The pope in the above paragraph refers to part of the above section which Msr. McCarthy omits to mention. Here is the context of the "mathematical expression" noted above:

The oscillations of gravitation between these systems, as also the attrition resulting from tides, again limit their stability within a period of from five to ten billion years. If these figures etc...

It hardly needs to be noted that the above text does not conform itself to young earth creationist theory but I will note it nonetheless before moving onto the next quote where Pope Pius XII notes some things that hopefully Mr. Sungenis will take to mind the next time he has pretentions about discussing these kinds of issues with credibility.

It is undeniable that a mind which is enlightened and enriched by modern scientific knowledge and which calmly considers this problem is led to break the circle of a matter totally independent and autochthonous - as being either uncreated or having created itself - and to rise up to a Creator Spirit. With the same clear and critical gaze with which it examines and judges facts, it discerns and recognizes there the work of creative omnipotence, whose strength, stirred by the powerful fiat uttered thousands of millions of years ago by the Creator Spirit, spread itself out into the universe, calling into existence, in a gesture of generous love, matter overflowing with energy. It really seems that modern science, leaping back over millions of centuries, has succeeded in witnessing that primordial Fiat lux, when out of nothing erupted together with matter a sea of light and radiation, while particles of chemical elements split and reunited into millions of galaxies. [25]

Again, this is a good pictoral explanation of the mechanics of a theory often referred to as "the big bang." And it bears noting there are Cambridge scientists who refer to the Big Bang theory as having "four pillars." Those "four pillars" are (i) expansion of the universe (ii) origin of the cosmic background radiation (iii) synthesis of the light elements and (iv) formation of galaxies and large-scale structure. It is impossible for me to see how anyone with a normal intact functioning brain can miss the rather obvious outline of all four of these elements in one paragraph of the 1951 allocution to the PAS by Pope Pius XII of venerable memory!!!

In the measure that one goes back, matter presents itself to be ever richer in free energy and the scene of great cosmic upheavals. Thus, everything seems to indicate that the material universe has had, from finite times, a powerful beginning, charged as it was with an unimaginably large abundance of energy reserves, by virtue of which, at first rapidly, then with growing slowness, it has evolved to the present state...[26]

The above four paragraphs of the allocution (particularly the third one) refer so obviously to the big bang theory that one can see why Professor Hawking said what he did: his description of the allocution as referring to the big bang model is perfectly accurate. All that is left now is to ascertain the authority (or lack thereof) of the 1951 allocution. In doing that, we can start by considering how Fr. McCarthy footnotes his essay in referencing them:

23. Pius XII, AAS 19 (1952), p. 39.

24. Pius XII, ibid., p. 40.

25. Pius XII, ibid.

26. Pius XII, ibid., pp. 37-38.

Of course, if all of these quotes are in the 1952 Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS), then the text would be in volume 44 not volume 19 -as the AAS volumes run eight prior to the applicable year.{7} Out of charity I will presume that Msr. McCarthy simply mismarked his references by mistake -since he does quality work and evinces no trackrecord for me to presume anything in this situation except an honest mistake made on his part.{8} Nonetheless, the presence of these passages in the 1952 Acta would qualify as official pronouncements of the Apostolic See.{9} And as this is the case, Mr. Sungenis is going to have to go back to the drawing board on his whole schtick against the Big Bang and reconcile his theories with the magisterium of Pope Pius XII which includes the above allocution.

Now it is true that the magisterium's pronouncements on science issues are not directly binding; however those who would dismiss official acts of the Holy See in their theological speculations pertaining to matters of science are in serious danger of making shipwreck of the faith. Mr. Sungenis at the very least needs to give those passages a religious submission of mind which means that (at a minimum) he must be very careful in anything he says that may be seen as contradicting them.

And further still, he must not present opposing positions as binding on others when in fact (if anything) it is the above texts which can properly be seen as requiring the assent of faithful Catholics. If the speech was not published as an official act of the Holy See, then Mr. Sungenis' assertions viz. the weight of the speech could be seen as potentially viable. But as they were published in the AAS the following year, he needs to do some rethinking of his selective acceptance of the magisterium of Pope Pius XII -to say nothing of his selective acceptance of the magisterium of Pope Pius XII's successors of course.


{1} Yes, some of what was noted in the Q and A at that site was decently written. (I do not have time to go into particulars now - maybe another time if I am inclined to discuss the matter further.)

{2} One example of which can be accessed HERE.

{3} I will not at this time go into how I became familiar with Ken Hovind many years ago except to say that I read over (and discussed) his stuff a lot in years past. To put it charitably, I was not impressed with what passes for "scholarship" in Hovind's work.

{4} Those encyclicals were ghostwritten by Fr. Augustine Bea SJ (Divino Afflante Spiritu), Fr. Sebastian Tromp SJ (Mystici Corporis Christi), and I believe the writer of Humani Generis was Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP. Nonetheless, Pope Pius XII had an active role in revising the draft texts prior to promulgation -including parts of Humani Generis that were directly critical of ressourcement theologians such as Fr. Henri de Lubac and company. Whatever problems Pope Pius XII had in the final couple of years of his pontificate, he was still in top physical and intellectual shape in 1951 and actively collaborated on the texts he promulgated for years after that time. For that reason, it is quite likely that he also affected the final draft of the 1951 allocution before he delivered it to the PAS.

{5} And of course by this criteria, Pope Pius XI did not authoritatively promulgate Mit Brenneder Sorge (ghostwritten by a couple of cardinals -one of whom was the future Pius XII) in 1937 and Pope Pius X did not authoritatively promulgate Pascendi Dominici Gregis (ghostwritten by Cardinal Billot) in 1907. And this kind of regressive argumentation can be utilized much further back than this (i.e. Unam Sanctum of Boniface VIII which was not written by Boniface himself).

{6} Though I have some problems with the RTF, they are nonetheless a far more reliable source than CAItanic if you are looking for quality scholarship and persuasive theological arguments.

{7} Hence, volume 19 would be for 1927 not 1951.

{8} Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for CAItanic and its wayward captain and crew.

{9} To say nothing about his failing to take note of Pope Pius XII's Encyclical Letter Divino Afflante Spiritu the 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission Decree on the first three chapters of Genesis, and Pope Leo XIII's Providentissimus Deus. These are all subjects which I have dealt with on many past occasions -most notably HERE for the aforementioned encyclicals and HERE for one of the aforementioned PBC decrees from 1909 (that is particularly applicable to the subject of Genesis and interpretation of its first three chapters).

:: Shawn 12:36 PM [+] | ::

:: Sunday, March 06, 2005 ::
Points to Ponder:
(On The Vatican vs. "Americanism" --Part IV: The Vatican and the Iraq War)

This is a continuation of the musings located HERE. To start from the beginning of this thread, please go HERE.

[Then we come to the Vatican and the Iraq war.] Allen offers his considered judgment: "The only possible reading of the record is that John Paul II was strongly opposed to the Iraq war." I suggest that this is not the only possible reading, but it is the most plausible reading. John Paul never explicitly condemned the war as immoral, but many curial officials did, and John Paul did not publicly distance himself from their remarks.

John Paul did say that all war, including this war, represents a failure for humanity, and supporters of the war could readily agree with that, acknowledging that only when other means of resolving conflict have failed is war necessary. Allen supplies page upon page of curial criticisms of U.S. policy from August 2002 through June 2003, some of them quite strident. Curiously, he does not include Renato Cardinal Martino's assertion that there can be no just war today, an assertion that, so far as I know, has not been retracted. Most of the criticisms focused on predictions of massive civilian casualties (which did not happen); the incompatibility of preemptive and unilateral military action with traditional just war doctrine; the expectation that the action would precipitate religious warfare between Islam and Christianity; and the moral illegitimacy of such actions undertaken without United Nations approval.

At least a couple of statements came close to suggesting that Catholics could not in good conscience support or participate in the intervention by the American-led coalition. Surprisingly—some thought scandalously—the Vatican was silent about Saddam Hussein's mass killings and violation of human rights, perhaps because that might lend some legitimacy to the coalition action. The Vatican had previously approved of humanitarian intervention in, for instance, the case of Kosovo.

Papal Leadership

Relative to the "most plausible reading" of John Paul's position, it is not known how many of these curial statements were brought to the Pope's attention or had his approval. This touches on the very delicate question of the Holy Father's physical debility and reduced energies. It is known that he did not publicly distance himself from the criticisms nor did he rein in the critics. Some curial officials exulted in the supposed demonstration of papal moral leadership when millions of antiwar demonstrators in Europe and elsewhere cheered John Paul as their champion. When assorted leftists, including pro-abortionists and declared enemies of the Church, take to the streets to cheer the pope, that is an instance not of papal leadership but of papal co-optation. But again, John Paul did not distance himself from, but appeared to welcome, these implausible supporters of papal moral leadership.

A great and necessary concern of the Vatican is Islamic-Christian conflict, and especially the treatment of Catholics and other Christians in predominantly Muslim countries. Vatican officials noted with satisfaction that there was no outbreak of anti-Christian hostility following regime change in Iraq, and they attributed that to the fact that the Pope, the preeminent representative of the Christian world, was perceived as being opposed to the coalition action. There is no doubt much truth to that.{1}

Beyond Islamic-Christian relations, which will be a preeminent concern for decades, very basic questions have been raised about the way the Vatican views the U.S. In a world of unipolar hegemony—or, if one prefers, empire—the Holy See may increasingly see itself as a necessary balance, if not antithesis, to the dangers of overweening American power—political, military, economic, and, above all, cultural. This is different from, say, Chirac's France nominating itself as the center of a new "multipolar" world. The Vatican city-state with its 108 acres and 1,500 residents has no illusions about being a big, little, or even very tiny power among the powers of the world. Yet it must be admitted that "how the Vatican really thinks" is not always that different from how France and other promoters of an anti-American line think. Although curial pronouncements on the Iraq war were usually prefaced by the claim that cardinals and archbishops were speaking as moral leaders and not as politicians, most of what they had to say was little more than an echo of the dominant views in the press and political chambers of what is now called "old Europe."

At the same time, John Allen is right in saying that the controversy over the Iraq war brought to the fore important issues that will have a long shelf life. Allen thinks one of those issues is the development of just war doctrine. Perhaps so, but the interventions of curial officials on just war in the run-up to the Iraq intervention were generally ad hoc, political, and matters of prudential judgment; they did not have the mark of theological and moral deliberation that one associates with a development of doctrine.

At most, there is a development similar to that of John Paul's well-known opposition to capital punishment. In both cases, the Church's doctrine is deeply entrenched in the tradition, and the moral and theological questions entailed have not been addressed in a way that rises to the level of magisterial teaching. A preferred position of the Vatican is not the same thing as a doctrine of the Church. This applies as well to Vatican attitudes toward the United Nations, the Kyoto environmental treaty, the International Criminal Court, and international law more generally. The differences between the U.S. and most of Europe on these issues is well known, and the Curia reflects the European position. That may be regrettable, but it is not surprising. The disagreements are political and not doctrinal. In fact, if one wished to press the matter of social doctrine, it would be highly interesting to explore how the curial position on, for instance, the International Criminal Court can be squared with the teaching of the 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus on the accountability of governments to their societies. [Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus]

To be Continued...


{1} I should be noted here that I made the prediction that this was the pope's strategy back on March 23, 2003 (in the days after the start of the Iraq war.) Also worth noting is that I was vindicated on that prediction in the weeks that followed by Zenit.

:: Shawn 7:01 PM [+] | ::

:: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 ::
Briefly on Pius XII and His "Silence"

As this subject will come up again at some point in the public discourse, I want to save for that occasion this ADL appraisal of Pius XII from 1963 as a potential source for addressing the historical revisionists.

:: Shawn 2:03 PM [+] | ::

20 Signs You're Dealing with a Rad-Trad (or Another Type of) Cult

Ever since I co-authored More Catholic Than the Pope with Patrick, people have asked me what to look for when evaluating a new religious movement. Here are twenty signs of trouble to look out for.

:: Pete Vere 5:05 AM [+] | ::


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