Riot Your Way to Progress

Seeing these riots, and the behaviour of the Left generally, I always think of C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra. For those who haven’t read it/ need a refresher: Satan possesses an atheistic scientist from the UK (named Weston), and has gone to Venus (called Perelandra by Venusians) to tempt the newly-created Eve of that world. An angel has come to take Ransom (the protagonist) to Venus, to help prevent the temptation.

After trying to win the battle on grounds of reason, wisdom and beauty for a long time, he realizes that he is losing. He realizes that Satan need not sleep. He realizes that Satan can seize upon any pretext, and is a more clever deceiver who, arguing in bad faith and with reprehensible (but effective) rhetoric, will win any “fair” contest, if Ransom continues to comport himself as a civil, modern gentleman.

In the end, Ransom realizes that, in his own pride, he thought he was “above” the crude, yet obvious, solution; also, he continued to feel pity and compassion for Weston, even though Weston (possessed by Satan) had tried to kill him. His compassion and misguided sense of “fair play” and reasoned discourse was leading him to cede all the ground, right and advantage to absolute evil. He sees that Weston has consented to his possession and is now entirely lost to it. So, in the end he realizes that the truly just, compassionate and wise solution, is to break things down to the biological nitty-gritty, and to deprive Satan of the use of Weston’s body – i.e., to kill him.

I view this as a perfect allegory of Modernity. Modernists/Leftists do not argue in good faith. They are bent on our destruction; who doubts that these rioters and SJWs would imprison, kill and even torture us, if they thought they could get away with it? And we have already seen the videos of Trump supporters being beaten, attacked and harassed by minority groups, so we don’t need to guess at what they’d do. Who doubts that all of these people have used our laws against us, now producing a rigged system and radically altered electorate, which is specifically designed to break our strength, disenfranchise us, shake us down and utterly ruin us, if we fail to submit (and probably even if we do submit)?

While we simply want to lead our lives in peace under Natural Law, they do not sleep in their tireless complots against us and against the very concepts of justice, goodness, equity, nature and law. We’ve tried talking with them for five centuries; it’s always some rhetorical feint, some argument in bad faith, some passive-aggressive dodge. They will not listen to us, nor concede a lost argument; they dialogue with us only to provide cover while they systematically arrange for our dispossession and death. We let them get away with this because we are gentlemanly and “above” it all. We delude ourselves if we think that, because we happy few can see reason, the masses in general and the hordes of foreign-born peasants who now occupy our country, are going to see it or be impressed by it.

It is time we realized, like Ransom in the story, that it is neither reasonable, nor wise, nor even good, for us to keep taking the “high ground” with them. We have lost the strength and clarity of our convictions. Once upon a time, orthodox Catholics and lovers of justice knew that the high ground is often supported by the point of a sword, when the enemy is contemptible or wicked enough to deserve it. The Vatican had an executioner; the popes raised armies; St. Dunstan refused to say Mass one day, until he had personally seen to the execution of some criminals, since this was his solemn duty to God and the nation. How have we fallen so far, that we will lay on our backs and satisfy our vanity, flattering ourselves that at least we have the “high ground,” while we allow the Left to usher in a new dark age?

Sometimes the hangman’s noose is the high ground. If not now, when? What greater evil has ever had free action in the world? What group of people would do more harm to more people, than the Modernist, Liberal revolutionaries? I’m weary of allowing them to flatter themselves as serious, smart people, indulging them by giving ear to their vacuous, mendacious “dialogue.” I will take pleasure in hearing their perfidious protestations exactly one, last time – while we fit the nooses snugly around their throats and they have to croak a little to enunciate their unctuous lectures. Then, it’s time for some peace and quiet around here.

It’s time to let our kids play in the park again, without wondering if they’ll catch some disease (formerly eradicated in the USA) from the pestiferous, obese, barely literate spawn of Squatemalexican invaders, or stumble upon sodomites committing unnatural acts in the bathroom right next to the kid’s playground, during daylight hours (as happened in a neighborhood park near me). If only bloodthirsty, theocratic monsters are willing to defend the kingly rights of Jesus Christ and His Church, and to uphold the Natural Law, and to deport, exile or execute these hordes of lawless parasites and their infantilized, idiot enablers (mostly college-edumabrainwashed bimbos and effeminates), in order to make that future possible, well… then I suppose bloodthirsty, theocratic monsters are the only decent people left. We should have ended this at Westphalia; instead, we’ve let it come to this. The sooner we start, the sooner we can finish.

But we ourselves must be contrite, and full of holy fear.  For if the hour of God’s judgment upon the apostate West is drawing nigh, we must remember that His judgment always begins in His own house.  Let us acknowledge our faults and lend our hands to justice in the knowledge that we ourselves have a reckoning to make for our sins, and are not worthy to do God’s justice upon others.  But, when the hour and the power (and the obligation) to do so has come, we are even less worthy to refrain from it.  We should prefer peaceful solutions whenever possible – but we must cease allowing the preference for peace to effect a certainty of war.  An ounce of prevention vs. a pound of cure, and all that. Humility, contrition and penance should motivate us.  Vindication of Law, not vengeance for insults… but, vindication indeed, and without apology.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Inquirer says:

    Aurelius – thank you for this; I agree. The two part I have concerns about:

    1. We do not exercise legitimate authority. What is the Catholic teaching on counter-revolution? Do we not need to have the blessing of the Church? How do you see the power and obligation legitimately falling to us?

    2. Although I advocate for the rights of Christ the King, is it right to characterize the invaders as “Squatemalexican”? Most (nearly all) of them are Catholics. What is your solution to that? They are subjects of Christ the King.

    I agree with you that White Catholic civilization needs a homeland (as do Catholic Africans, Filipinos, Koreans, and so on).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. aureliusmoner says:

      Thanks for the reply.

      As to 1: Almost nobody exercises legitimate authority at present, including in the Church. Western Civilization has been in a confusion for five centuries, but the delusion has been particularly acute for the past 60 years. The Scriptures speak of a “great delusion which will deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Our Lady told sister Lucia of a “diabolical disorientation.” We are waking up to find that, while we were sleeping, our countries have been invaded, our institutions infiltrated and our property stolen and our progeny forestalled and abducted. A similar catastrophe has occurred in the Church, but, in keeping with the Baby Boomers’ tendency to bury heir heads in the sand and ignore crises and kick them down the road, rather than solve them, they invented all kinds of ways to explain away the clear teaching of the Church on what happens when people, including clergy, abandon the Faith and its traditions (in brief: they automatically lose office and jurisdiction in the Church, whether any official proceeding is initiated against them or not). People who were raised and “educated” under the Catholic name in the past 60 years, have been trained to think that this doctrine, and its implications, are unthinkable. But in fact, the current situation is what is truly unthinkable, which is why the Church made this fact clear.

      So, from the 50s until the present, both governmental and ecclesiastical institutions have all turned against their stated purpose. As Western governments have become hostile not only to Divine Law, but also to merely Natural Law, they have lost all legitimacy and authority. As ecclesiastical officials and institutions apostatize from the faith, embrace heresy and even attack Catholic doctrine, they similarly lose membership and jurisdiction in the Church. I don’t want to overwhelm you or write a novelette, so I’ll simply say that we find ourselves in a situation, both civilly and ecclesiastically, where the rulers have deserted their posts. The situation is a bit better in the Eastern Church, but in the Latin Church, there is essentially no legitimate authority to whom you could have recourse. The same is true of governments; very few Western nations have maintained valid governments with just laws worthy of obedience. I am praying that Catholics will wake up to both at the same time, and will realize that the time has finally come to cease recognizing manifest heretics and apostates as though they could be members of the Catholic hierarchy. We need to drain the swamp in DC, and in the Vatican.

      St. Thomas Aquinas, and Catholic social teaching generally, do assert that people have a right to rebel or to attempt to normalize a chaotic situation; the only real brake upon this, is the need to ensure that one does not make a situation worse in the attempt. Suffering under an objectively wicked situation where many mean us harm, we have every justification under the Natural Law to defend ourselves and to establish a better system, even if it remains fundamentally unworthy of our wholehearted allegiance.

      As to 2: most of the people put to death by the Vatican’s executioners, were Catholics. Other Catholics are obviously our brothers and sister in the Faith – which means we owe them a charitable and pious love above and beyond what we owe to others. But when it comes to the commonwealth, if they come here as lawbreakers, to rob and disenfranchise the people, while putting the native population at risk by their criminality, disease, impiety, treason, etc., then we cannot excuse their lawlessness and immorality simply because they are fellow Catholics. We owe our fellow citizens the basic decency of obeying and enforcing the requirements of Natural Law. I wondered whether I should use such a term – but in the end, I think offensive actions and situations merit at least some term of opprobrium (which isn’t to say one should be as vulgar as possible). Moreover, I know from personal experience that many (most?) of the Mexicans that come here, are quickly siphoned off to Protestant groups – mostly the types that pander to irrationality and emotion (Pentecostal, etc.). Those that are Catholic, do not hold onto the Faith very well, especially considering that the “Catholic” Churches they attend in the USA, are no better in their doctrine and practice than many Methodist LGBTQWTF congregations. So, we want to discourage them from coming, if only so that they might save their souls in the poverty of Guatemala, rather than lose their souls in the air-conditioned halls of the Iglesia Apostolica or in the rock-n-roll liturgy of the “Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Community.”

      The Church has always taught the doctrine of subsidiarity, of the value of local customs, ethnic and regional differences in the Church, etc., and has stressed that immigrants never have a right to alter the character of a nation, threaten its well-being, etc. Every Catholic is on very good grounds, when he says that we are under no obligation to be invaded by millions of folks from other countries, be they Catholics or whatever. Those who contradict this, are disobeying the teaching of the Church, be they popes or janitors. We also have a very skewed view of poverty these days, because we lead lives of such abundance. I was in daily contact with immigrants in their homes for the past three years. They receive so much assistance, monetarily and in other programs, that they live better lives than I do. They have new trucks, new smartphones, health care, etc. I have none of these. I am not moved by pity for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Inquirer says:

    Thank you for your considered response.

    I agree with you on 2 up to a certain point, but would the argument really change if the immigrants were virtuous? I think the points are separate. Although you are correct that many Hispanic immigrants flee to the Evangelical Protestant groups, many White Catholics have done so as well (and worse). I have met many pious and virtuous Hispanics that have put me and most other White Europeans Catholics I know to shame. It should shame us as we are leading and exporting degeneracy to the rest of the world.

    Similarly in my travels the most reverent group of Catholics that I have met as a whole have been the South Koreans, despite being Novus Ordo; it is my understanding that they are growing rapidly in their country. None of this is to say that White Europeans don’t deserve a homeland; on the contrary. We are endowed with gifts given to no other people on Earth.

    Apologies for rambling. I would just venture that although we may have many gifts that allow us to dominate here on Earth should we not place our hopes in Christ the King above all instead of our own prowess? Other peoples may not match us in military skill or organizational ability (save maybe the East Asians and even then not really) but they may yet exceed us in virtue and piety.

    On point 1: What is your view on the recent dubia submitted to Pope Francis by the 4 cardinals? Are we to turn to the FSSP or SSPX?


    1. aureliusmoner says:

      No, I wouldn’t say the argument against immigration would change if they were virtuous; we have a right to our country, whether the people who want to come are virtuous or not. I was simply explaining why I thought we could point out the perfidy of our immigration policy, and of the immigrants it attracts. People who come here and immediately go onto programs which I, a citizen, qualify for but refuse to accept, deserve to be rebuked for their injustice.

      All mankind, are subjects of Christ the King. That is the point of the Feast and social doctrine of Christ’s Kingship: that ALL states (Catholic or otherwise) are bound to recognize His Kingship and His laws, over their own. The fact that the institutions which formerly professed the Catholic Faith have now abandoned this doctrine, is proof of their apostasy and exclusion from the Church.

      I hate to bring it up in a setting like this, because the topic is vast and is much misunderstood in modern, Catholic circles, with a great deal of polemic and vitriol… but, since you asked me directly, I will say: I think it is obvious that Francis is acting in bad faith, and is not even a member of the Catholic Church, let alone Her pope. I am not dogmatic about this, though I do believe that any Catholic who adequately studies Catholic Ecclesiology will determine that this is the more probable opinion to hold. Now, the Church Herself has affirmed that only those who manifestly intend NOT to adhere to the Magisterium, or to the legitimate authority in the Church, can rightly be known to be heretics or schismatics (and I think we can know this of Francis, for anyone with even a basic intent to submit himself to the Magisterium could not speak as he does about the liturgy, moral issues, syncretism, etc.). Those who simply make a mistake by believing something contrary to the Magisterium while intending to be faithful to it, or who err in making a judgment about the legitimacy of a claimant to ecclesiastical authority with every intent of obeying the genuine shepherds of the Church, are still to be reckoned as Catholics. These points have been reaffirmed in Canon Law and in the most eminent theological studies and even papal encyclicals. So, let us say, for the sake of argument, that Francis is in fact not the pope, and that Vatican II, being convoked under two antipopes and conducted via ambiguous proceedings, actually promulgated heretical doctrines. Because of the serious situation of common error which now prevails in the Church, a man who recognizes the post-Vatican II popes and doctrines could actually be a Catholic despite being materially mistaken. And the same situation could be true in reverse (i.e., a man could honestly conclude that the post-Vatican II Church had lost the Faith, even if objectively she had not, while still remaining a Catholic). So long as each man is striving to inform and conform his conscience as regards the Magisterium, with the proactive intent of believing and obeying it, God reckons him a member of the Church.. If he manifests this intent outwardly, the Church also recognizes him as her own. This is why theologians and ecclesiastical authors have often made a point of stating in their writings, that they wish to submit everything and themselves to the Church; if by chance they err in their writings, they want it to be known that their intent is to remain a Catholic, not to stubbornly advance an heresy or schism.

      Thus, it is my opinion that the present crisis in the Church is so profound and complex, that I am ready to recognize persons in the Novus Ordo, the SSPX, the Sedevacantist groups and even in the Orthodox Churches, as members of the Church, since I believe there are persons in all these groups who intend to obey the Magisterial doctrine and jurisdiction in the Church, but who are simply in error of fact one way or the other on some point related thereto.

      For me, the main issue at present – assuming that we are amongst a group of people who intend to cleave to the Magisterium, whatever innocent mistakes they may make – is paying careful attention to validity of the Sacraments. It is a well-established principle of moral theology that, when it comes to validity of the Sacraments, it is strictly forbidden to abandon a certain opinion in favor of a merely probable one. There are serious doubts – DOUBTS, I say, not certainties – that the new rite of episcopal consecration is valid, and that the Novus Ordo mass is valid if the priest does not make a special intention to offer the Eucharistic gifts as a sacrifice (since the Novus Ordo abolished the Offertory of the Mass, which Holy Tradition and Pontifical Decrees have long since declared to be necessary for validity in the Sacrament of the Eucharist). These concerns were raised by many illustrious clergymen in the wake of the new rites, including Cardinal Ottaviani, then head of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Their concerns were casually dismissed with the assertion (in the case of episcopal orders) that the sacramental rite was lifted from a Coptic source. But, as Fr. Cekada pointed out years later, this was not entirely true: the phrase was lifted from a Coptic service, but not one for consecrating a bishop; it was lifted from a service for promoting a man who is already a bishop, to the rank of archbishop. In other words, the sacramental form promulgated by Paul VI, which many holy and learned clergy in the wake of Vatican II said did NOT contain an adequate expression of the nature of the order conferred, is also taken from a prayer which has nothing to do with consecrating a bishop! I think one can be certain that the rite is invalid – but, even if we don’t want to go far, it is certain that the rite is at least questionable. And in the case of the validity of Sacraments, as mentioned above, we cannot abandon the certain position (continuing to use the traditional rites which adequately express the character of the order conferred) for the mere possibility that new rites which do not express the quality of episcopal orders at all, may by some miracle be valid. Such things are the disastrous consequences of our complacency in the face of revolutionary iconoclasts who have devastated the Latin Rite of the Church, destroying her patrimony and reducing her to a desolate house bereft of sacramental grace, jurisdiction and leadership. The fruits of this devastation are plain to see.

      For this reason, I do not believe it is morally permissible for an informed Catholic to have recourse to bishops consecrated in the Latin Rite’s Novus Ordo, or to any of the men “ordained” to the episcopacy or priesthood by them. So, for now, I believe that the only legitimate options for Catholics are: 1) the Eastern Rites (if the priests/bishops were ordained in the Eastern Rites); 2) the SSPX (but, beware of priests being received from the NO without conditional re-ordinations; 3) the few, older priests of the FSSP, who were ordained by the SSPX; 4) resistance bishops and clergy (Williamson, Faure, Aquino, etc.); 5) Sedevacantists (avoid clergy derived from the Thuc consecrations, like the CMRI, Sanborn, etc., and prefer the SSPV instead); To be clear, I am not making a positive, moral endorsement of any or all of these groups. I’m just saying that this is where indubitably valid sacraments can be had. And Catholics have a moral obligation to seek out Sacraments, of whose validity there is no positive doubt.

      Again, I say this not to offend; I am not the type to accuse everyone of being an heretic; I recognize that there are true Catholics in both the Novus Ordo and the Sedevacantist groups, and everything in between; I am weary of the groups fighting and anathematizing each other, when we should all have charity in this confusing period of Church history, and recognize all who strive to obey the Church in good faith, regardless of their personal mistakes, to be Catholics. That is what Catholic Ecclesiology commands us to do.

      So, all that said: I would stick with the SSPX for now. My opinion on the dubia is as follows: Catholics need to wake up and smell the coffee. These Novus Ordo hierarchs are not even arguing over a principle of Catholic theology, like whether the Blessed Virgin Mary could be said to be Co-Redemptrix by condign or congruous merit. Those days are gone for them! They are arguing over a point of mere, Natural Law, which even the Dalai Lama and the Ayatollah and the Chief Rabbis of Rome know and confess. When your hierarchs are debating truths which even the Pagans and infidels confess without difficulty, you can be sure that you are dealing with heretics and apostates. Francis is a member of that infiltrating cabal, of which the Supreme Pontiffs before WWII warned us: he is doing his job, which is to undermine the Church and neutralize her voice by appearing to occupy the position of authority over Her, while the agents of world evil seek to bring the Liberal revolution to its conclusion in a globalist system of perversity. They put their men into the institutions which (formerly) governed the Church first, so that their work in the rest of the world could proceed with the Church cast into a period of confusion and hesitation. We truly are living in historic times, and the centennial of Fatima approaches even as the globalist plan is being threatened by new and populist (but as of yet non-Catholic) rumblings. Now more than ever, Catholic souls must watch and pray.

      I am sorry if this reply was too long, or dealt prematurely or too superficially with difficult topics.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “the globalist plan is being threatened by new and populist (but as of yet non-Catholic) rumblings.”

        Aurelius, looks like you missed the enthronement of Christ as King of Poland by president Duda and the bishops on November 19th 2016 in Krakow 🙂 So the Catholic side of the populist movement is there, but I agree that it is not very visible yet, especially in the West.

        Poland is under the protection of the Virgin Mary, who was officially enthroned as Queen by the rule of law in 1656 by the king and the bishops of that time. She will not allow for the destruction of Her Kingdom, which was chosen to show the light to the world. The kingship of Christ is the last act of mercy of God towards the world. The countries that will not recognize Christ as their King will not survive. I pray that with the election of the Donald and the re-awaking of American patriotism, the USA will also find the right path.


        1. aureliusmoner says:

          Oh, I saw it and thanked God for it! The battle lines are indeed being drawn up; each soul must consecrate itself to Christ the King, and acknowledge His rights, even if the state will not; but God grant us the grace to repent, and to lead our states to such a salutary act. And in the meantime, Regina polorum, ora pro nobis!

          (I always like that one: “polorum” means “of the heavenly vaults” – i.e., of the heavens – but it can also be translated “of the Poles!”)


  3. Ryan says:

    “Kindness is for fools. They want them to be treated with oil, soap and caresses, but they should be beaten with fists! In a duel, you don’t count or measure the blows, you strike as you can! War is not made with charity, it is a struggle, a duel. If our Lord were not terrible, he would not have given an example in this too. See how he treated the Philistines, the sowers of error, the wolves in sheeps clothing, the traitors in the temple. He scourged them with whips”- St. Pius X

    Those in the streets will soon be in the guard towers if we do not heed this Saint’s words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Polish church obtained the permission to add the call ”Regína Regni Poloniæ” to the Loretan litany in 1908. There story behind this title and the coronation as queen of Poland is fascinating. It starts with an apparition of the Virgin to the Franciscan Julius Mancinelli in 1608 in Naples, requesting to be called Queen of Poland. Julius then decides to visit this far away country with these news and is received with great enthusiasm by the people and the king.

      If you want to dig deeper, the only English site I found telling this story is:
      It is a poor translation but the general idea gets through. This information is very hard to find. I would have never been aware of this fact if we did not have a brilliant priest historian guiding us through. God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark Citadel says:

    Thoughtful as always, Aurelius! You may reap benefit from one of my recent articles concerning left wing violence:

    I would love to get your opinion on the situation with the Knights of Malta. I am hearing a lot of conflicting reports, but you know your stuff when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church.

    I have moved my blog to WordPress by the way. My work can now be found at:


    1. aureliusmoner says:

      Thanks very much, Mark. I’ve been very distracted of late, though I did see that your blog had moved. I checked in on it a couple times, but I hadn’t seen this article, yet. I’ll read it with interest!

      As to the Knights of Malta, the situation is complicated. Of course, if they recognize Francis as the pope, then they should acknowledge that he has the power to regulate anything related to the religious life of the order, as well as a certain kind of supremacy even over the temporal power of Malta. Tradition maintains that there are two powers established by God – the temporal and the spiritual – and that each of them has a proper sphere of activity. Reason itself teaches us, that the Church, as the keeper of truth on all matters, including morality, is the guide and teacher of the State in its temporal affairs and laws, though the temporal power has full freedom, within the bounds of Divine and Natural Law, to use proper, prudential judgment to determine and execute such laws as seem fitting to it. Yet the supreme pontiff has an immediate jurisdiction over every baptized Christian as regards spiritual matters. The Church’s mind settled the notion that the pope does have the power to depose a king as a form of canonical penance for sin; this is doubly true when the King has begun to administer the state unjustly, contrary to Divine and/or Natural Law, for then men are automatically abolved from fealty to such a King, and the pope can often ratify this fact or publicize such a state of affairs.

      So, assuming Francis were the pope, he would have the authority absolutely to depose the civil authority of the Knights of Malta, and to regulate anything about its internal, religious life (as always, subject to Divine and Natural Law – papal authority is not arbitrary, but must be employed in an orthodox and legitimate way). But it seems unclear that he would have the power to rearrange its system of government or to appoint new rulers as he pleases. As pope, he could directly appeal to the faithful to submit to his will out of Christian humility on a matter, but it is not clear that he would have the power to oblige their consciences on pain of sin to form such a government, or to select exactly such persons, as he chooses. There are plenty of times in history where even technically licit ecclesiastical commands of the pontiffs have been resisted (successfully) by persons on account of their injustice. Resistance to unjust papal intrusion is all the more justified, if he is micro-managing the State rather than the Church. In this case, one week before opening the investigation into Von Boeselager’s removal, Francis appointed his brother to the Board of Trustees of the Vatican Bank. So the injustice of his actions seem all the more plain.

      And of course, that is where it gets more complex. What is also playing out, is a confrontation between a last bastion of conservative (I won’t say orthodox) opinion, and the long-since co-opted headship of the Vatican City-State (I won’t say the papacy). Burke is the Patron of the Order of Malta, and has become a galvanizing figure in a growing willingness of persons in the Conciliar Church, to consider the question of papal heresy. “Conciliar Church” is a term often used by (more or less) orthodox Catholics to refer to the post-Vatican-II institutions, in recognition of the fact that a serious and substantive rupture in the Catholic continuity of Holy Tradition has occurred.

      So, nearing an agreement to re-integrate the SSPX, wholly controlling the FSSP and Institute of Christ the King, having broken the ship of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and scattered its evicted priests like so much flotsam, having demoted Cardinal Burke and threatened his red hat, the autocratic Francis is now moving to seize one of the last bastions of Catholic tradition and old world culture, along with its financial assets for the traditional cause, in a move that will essentially complete the absolute dominance of the anti-Christian apostasy in the Institutions, over the authentic Body of the Church.

      The real solution remains what it has been: Catholics must overcome the tepidity that Modernism has effected in Western culture, reject the temptation to desire to be “respectable” more than to be orthodox, reject the notion that the Faith and Ecclesiastical authority are arbitrary, and acknowledge that Francis is not now, nor has he ever been, a pope of Rome. As an Orthodox Christian with a familiarity with the Fathers, you can probably understand this. As a former Orthodox Christian myself, one of my greatest objections, was the seemingly arbitrary authority of the papacy. The Fathers of the Church are clear – people who do not hold the Apostolic Faith, are not members of the Church and don’t legitimately hold office in the Church. Even more clear, is that even legitimate hierarchs have no authority to establish impious customs or false teachings by fiat. I assumed Catholics found some way around this.

      It turns out, they affirm the same things. I’ve spoken to you before, about how I came to view the Latin Tradition as maintaining a greater fidelity to the substance of Patristic Tradition (despite the fact that the hey-day of Latin theological development came after the hey-day of Byzantine theological development, and in another language, making it seem superficially less primitive and pure). So, I won’t re-iterate all of that. Suffice it to say, they also maintain the absolute affirmation that those who publicly manifest their lack of intent to conform to Holy Tradition and the Church’s authoritative pronouncements on it, whether they do so maliciously or innocently, cease to be members of the Church immediately, without any canonical sentence or process against them. All through history, this caused the laity to break with heretical prelates, or sometimes even to break rashly with orthodox prelates. While no pontiff had been a genuine heretic over the centuries, and hence a pious belief that no legitimate pope would fall into heresy has arisen, there continued to be an absolute theological recognition that it was possible, alongside a recognition of the fact that many false claimants to the Holy See already had come, and would come in the future, especially surrounding the apostasy and reign of Anti-Christ. The apparition of the Virgin at La Salette received papal approbation, for example, despite stating clearly that Rome would one day lose the Faith and become the seat of Antichrist.

      Not only is there nothing in Catholic doctrine which would prohibit the faithful from immediately abandoning a publicly heretical claimant to the Holy See, everything in Catholic doctrine requires this. But, this is the Great Apostasy: already by the 1960s, faith was weak and people valued respectability more than orthodoxy. Nobody wanted to seem “extreme.” The old days of being willing to die over an iota seemed absurd, Medieval and backwards to Modernist Westerners. Papal authority had been greatly consolidated by the need to batten down the hatches against a tidal wave of Modernism infiltrating religious orders, diocesan chanceries, etc. Few people understood what was happening, even when it was in front of their eyes, until it was too late. And then, it was too terrible and sounded too kooky and “extremist,” to imagine that the whole edifice of the Church had collapsed and apostatized around you. “It’s a new age – new technology, new problems, new solutions; whom am I to judge? Maybe the Church needs some renovations, too.” It was a perfect storm of confusion. And, of course, it is all in God’s providence – this Passion of the Church, and these final years of the world.

      But for any who care to investigate the matter, the Tradition is clear, and the precise doctrine of the Church was all perfectly settled just in time for the crisis. The pontiffs even gave explicit warning about apostasy, about infiltrators seeking to destroy the Church’s institutions from within, of dangerous zealots who wanted to alter the liturgy and vital elements of the Church’s Sacramental life. But it was confusing, it was unprecedented, and many people’s good motives of loyalty, obedience, humility, etc., were abused to cause them to betray the tiny, reactionary, shameful, deplorable, Medieval, backwards whisper in their consciences about the necessity of orthodoxy. That still perdures, but Francis has done for many Catholics what Obama did for many Americans, and the EU and its crises have done for Europeans – force a realization that the problems and threats are bitingly real and profound. Patience and optimism that “cooler heads will prevail” is now seen to be folly. Troy is burning, and we few now have to make like Aeneas to save the Lares and Penates, and wait for God’s meteor to point the way.

      Liked by 1 person

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