Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Why so many Catholic laypeople are thinking about some form of the Benedict Option"

Really? How many? Rod Dreher doesn't say, nor does he need to, because "so many" means exactly the same thing as "Benedict Option" - anything and nothing. However many "so many" may be, Rod desperately needs every last one of them he can make you believe exists if he is to give his Benedict Option book proposal marketing angle any sort of meaningful religious grounding.

What may help that "so many" become a few more, though, is Rod Dreher's sock puppet blog The Benedict Post, designed to woo Catholics to his Benedict Option by posing it as a weekly staple of Catholic thinking. Benny, as I like to call Rod's Catholic-fishing alter-ego, has had some publishing gaps over the last several weeks because Rod has been preoccupied with the death of his father. Our condolences on their loss. I'm confident Benny will be back up and chirping out Dreher-pitch-perfect Benedict Option Catholicisms any day now.


With Jake Meador on his team, dutifully referring to Rod's Benedict Option by its inventor's preferred trade mark, the shibboleth "BenOp" (because, for a Christian concerned with thickening his religious faith, those full five syllables can be a burden far too heavy and distracting; and, of course, because Twitter) and with Rod invited to retreat with Evangelicals to make his pitch directly, so far Benny doesn't have a little Protestant sock puppet blogging brother.

The rebrand that "everybody" is talking about.

But stay tuned. It's still early in the campaign season, and a Protestant Benny may still pop up. Or, less likely, I may be proved wrong about Benny, an option statistically as likely as Rod posting a picture of Francis that just once invokes the Vicar of Christ instead of a sixth Marx brother.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"The dream is collapsing."

Forget the Trump sideshow. The real train wreck to watch is on the left with Old White Guy beating Old White Girl to a pulp, and neither one looking like a deal closer. Jonah has the scoop, excerpt:

The Democratic party has always had internal conflicts. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s coalition contained socialist Jews and blacks and Southern segregationists. That coalition held for 20 years after his presidency. But the Obama coalition seems to be fraying while he’s still in office. The black Left is angrier at the end of his presidency than it was at the beginning. The egalitarians think the country is worse off, and the technocrats are left trying to explain why their plans are so great, despite the fact that the economy has never really recovered on their watch. Moreover, none of Obama’s presumptive heirs have the charisma or skills to repair or sustain the coalition.

Sanders has charm, but the Jewish socialist transplant from Brooklyn has spent his political life in a state that has only about 7,500 blacks. He lacks the vocabulary to appeal beyond the white Left. Meanwhile, the black Left, an indispensable voting bloc, has no standard-bearer in the primaries and is clearly cross about it.

Clinton’s most comfortable in the role of elitist technocrat, which is great for fundraising from Wall Street and wooing Beltway journalists, but it’s not so useful for wooing voters in a populist environment. Thanks to her husband, she still has goodwill among African Americans. But she lacks the charisma, passion, or personal story to excite either the black Left or the white Left. The woman who left the White House “dead broke” makes five times the average American’s annual income per speech.

Just like in Inception, the manufactured dream is collapsing. Welcome to the Democrats nightmare.

Hillary Clinton has demanded that this photo be removed from the internet, so what should we do? Make it go viral.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Can you dig it?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Here's how it's done

Speaking of not lying, Archbishop Fulton Sheen did not lie in this story, but neither did he give in to the temptation of "non-violence". Excerpt:

She said "I will only come back if you promise you will not ask me to go to confession."

"OK, I promise I will not ask you to go to confession."

"Say it again, you will not ask me to go to confession".

"OK, I promise again, I will not ask you to go to confession".

She came back that afternoon and he met her at the church door. He told her that there were paintings by Rembrandt and Van Dyke in that chapel and would she like to see them? She said yes.

"And as we walked up the side aisle to see the paintings, I pushed her into a confession box. (I did not ask her if she wanted to go to confession.) I was present three months later when she took her veil as a member of the perpetual adoration sisters where she is to this day."

Yeah, he knocked the devil out of her. Reminds me of Christ's assertion the the Kingdom of Heaven being taken by force by "men of violence." OK, it wasn't too rough I'm sure; it wasn't violence for violence sake. He was a man who wasn't afraid to push and who understood that a little goes a long way.

Abp. Sheen: "I pushed her into a confession box."

Also reminds me of St. Jude's remark about "snatching" people from the fire.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Church Teaching on Families and State

I mentioned several weeks ago that I'd signed up to get these emails everyday to help me study the catechism. I've been doing pretty good at it, just missed a few days. The service uses the popular YOUCAT version which is based on the official catechism. I thought I'd post the two for today, questions 369 and 370.

Why are families irreplaceable?
Every child is descended from one father and one mother and longs for the warmth and safety of a family so that he may grow up secure and happy. The family is the basic cell of human society. The values and principles that are lived out in the small circle of the family are what make solidarity in the life of larger society possible in the first place.

Why should the State protect and promote families?
The welfare and future of a State depend on the ability of the smallest unit within it, the family, to live and develop. No State has the right to intrude on the basic cell of society, the family, by its regulations or to question its right to exist. No State has the right to define the family differently, for the family's commission comes from the Creator. No State has the right to deprive the family of its fundamental functions, especially in the area of education. On the contrary, every State has the duty to support families with its assistance and to ensure that its material needs are met.

These point segue with something else I've been studying in Vatican II's DECREE ON THE APOSTOLATE OF THE LAITY, written by Blessed Paul VI. Excerpt:

17. There is a very urgent need for this individual apostolate in those regions where the freedom of the Church is seriously infringed. In these trying circumstances, the laity do what they can to take the place of priests, risking their freedom and sometimes their life to teach Christian doctrine to those around them, training them in a religious way of life and a Catholic way of thinking, leading them to receive the sacraments frequently and developing in them piety, especially Eucharistic devotion. While the sacred synod heartily thanks God for continuing also in our times to raise up lay persons of heroic fortitude in the midst of persecutions, it embrace them with fatherly affection and gratitude.

 Yes. Truly a prophet.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What your Rod Dreher Benedict Option community will be like

A kennel of distempered Chihuahuas barking at a cat.

Patriarch Rod, who in middle age is still whining about being "tortured" as a high schooler,

When I think about the bullying I endured in high school, the most indelible image on my mind is being pinned to the floor and tortured in a hotel room on a school trip, and the two adult women chaperones in the room literally stepping over me, lying there screaming for them to help me, as they left the hotel room. 

finds yet another pariah to group-deride in order to keep the cult bond strong. After all, what does the Prophet of the Benedict Option focus on for those excellent, tingling, culturally disengaging blog hits if not strippers?

The post itself is entirely uninteresting. What is useful are Rod's consistent testimonials to his self-valorizing Christianity:

[NFR: That’s not the point. The point is that she is lying down with dogs, and complaining about flea bites. — RD]

 [NFR: “Sex work,” as you call it, is inherently dehumanizing. The exploitation this writer complains about comes with the territory. What does she think “sex work” is? What sort of person does she think it serves? The kind of people who treat women like dirt. — RD]

Crunchy Mike brings it home:

It’s ironic (putting it kindly) that the greatest (only) source of my exposure to the trashiest aspects of our culture is this blog, home of the BenOp. It’s just so hard to square. Step away from the underbelly of the interwebs, Rod. Practice what you preach. You’re strategically withdrawing from the wrong things, and wallowing in what you claim is demoralizing and desensitizing us all.

[NFR: Are you not aware that this piece did not come from Gawker or some like site, but from The New York Times? It is leading the op-ed slot on the paper’s website. That is what makes it interesting to me — what it says about how our cultural elites regard stripping, sex, and human dignity. Your problem, ultimately, is not with me, but with the NYT, which is *not* the “underbelly of the interwebs,” but the flagship journal of the American cultural elite. If the Times thinks workplace justice for strippers is a vital concern, it tells us something about the culture. You think it’s trashy of me to notice this? Good grief. — RD]

Let me break it to you gently, Crunchy Mike, this isn't a bug in Rod Dreher's Benedict Option, it's its defining feature: the "Christian" version of the Mean Girls Table, where those who do measure up in their own eyes can sit apart and mock those who don't - strippers, the "wrong kind" of other Christians, the riff-raff of a world they've never managed to mature into.

And, as we've discussed before, of course they'll expect someone else to protect them.

It may not come as a surprise to some of you that I have known some strippers, even drunk with some strippers. Guess what? Except for what they do, they're just like you (particularly if you're a woman), same on the outside, same on the inside.

Yeah, there are crackheads and other desperate losers among them, but most of the ones I've known do it to support their kids, so they won't have to do the same kind of work. From what I've read so far of the sniveling, backbiting little Dreherhua - from his own lips - he's got miles and miles to go before he'd ever come close to being worthy of washing the feet of the women I've known.

Why would anyone be remotely surprised his closest family and community despises him in the same way?

So here's your Benedict Option, fools. Vaya con Rodos. And good riddance to all of you who vaya with him.

I have finally arrived

I love some of the stuff that lands in my inbox. It makes me feel so special, like this latest invitation:

Registry of Distinguished Women - Confirm your Free Membership
Sent:    Thursday, August 13, 2015 11:08 AM

Pauli Congratulations, You've qualified To Join the National Association of Professional Women!

Very Few are selected each year to be included into NAPW.

Please Confirm your Invitation.


It's Pauli, not Paula. "Learn your genders, man!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Holding up a mirror to Planned Parenthood

I'm very busy today, but I feel like this post is necessary to read and assimilate for everyone concerned with the fighting the moral war we've been fighting since Eve bit the apple. It's especially important for all Christians and other Pro-life people upon the release of the latest video from the Center for Medical Progress to agree that the undercover work they do is good and just and justified. Here's the meat of it:

Here are just a few of the implications of verbal pacifism. On that theory, the following activities would be intrinsically evil, just like using child suicide bombers against the Nazis — and it would be better to die, and let millions of others be tortured, raped or killed, rather than engage in them. In fact, doing any one of them would be a sin sufficient to damn one’s soul to hell:
  • Deceiving the Pharaoh who wished to kill all the newborn male Hebrews — as the midwives did in Exodus 1:15-21. (The Bible tells us that “God dealt well with the midwives.”)
  • Deceiving priest-hunters by using assumed names, as Jesuit missionaries did when they ministered in Reformation England, and St. Miguel Pro did in Mexico in the 1920s.
  • Deceiving the Nazis to rescue Jews from the gas chambers, as Oskar Schindler did.
  • Distributing false baptismal certificates so that Jews could pass as Gentiles and escape extermination, as John XXIII did during World War II.
  • Using false documents and false statements in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, like the conspirators working with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who were aided by Pope Pius XII (who passed their messages via Vatican couriers).
  • Deceiving the brutal dictators who hoped to hunt down and torture leftist priests, as Pope Francis did while serving as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
  • Posing as a child in online forums in order to catch child porn distributors and pedophiles, as police routinely do — having found it the only effective means of capturing such predators.
  • Pretending to be an Islamist, in order to infiltrate terrorist organizations like al-Qaida and ISIS, as CIA operatives do.
  • Misleading criminal suspects about the evidence you have, as police do to obtain truthful confessions without coercion.
  • Infiltrating an abortion business like Planned Parenthood to see if they are breaking laws about statutory rape and organ trafficking, as Live Action and the Center for Medical Progress did.
Any moral philosophy that claims that all these activities are intrinsically evil has got some explaining to do. By insisting on premises that yield such repugnant conclusions, and claiming that the only alternative is a crass and unprincipled pragmatism, verbal pacifists are cutting off their nose to spite their face.

I was so glad to see clarity provided on the morality of some types of trickery that I sent an email to the author. Here's an abbreviated form of the email:

Excellent work, John! I honestly don't know what Mark Shea's deal is. What is really going on here is that people are holding up a MIRROR to the face of Planned Parenthood, they're looking in, seeing the ugliness and saying "YEP. THAT'S ME. THAT'S US. WE *OWN* IT, WE'RE PROUD OF IT." Picasso said something like "art is a lie which helps us see the truth". Well, what CMP does is ARTWORK.

Here's a few other points I've thought of in the past to counter Shea's absurdity and obsession:

  • Acts 5:7-9: St. Peter dissimulates and sets up Sapphira for the Holy Spirit to whack her. So... St. Peter tempted her to sin?
  • I Kings 3:24-28: King Solomon tricks a hooker into revealing that she is not the mother, and that she's OK with murdering an innocent child.
These events are held up in sacred scripture as truly right and just. And of course there are many other examples from scripture and elsewhere in history.

The second example is particularly apropos to CMP — they are basically being Solomon in the modern day.

Keep up the good work.