Thursday, May 28, 2015

Noam Chomsky and John Searle on deconstructionists: Empty "Posturing"

"Noam Chomsky Slams Žižek and Lacan: Empty ‘Posturing’" (Open Culture, June 28, 2013):

Noam Chomsky’s well-known political views have tended to overshadow his groundbreaking work as a linguist and analytic philosopher. As a result, people sometimes assume that because Chomsky is a leftist, he would find common intellectual ground with the postmodernist philosophers of the European Left.

Big mistake.

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Postmodern "terrorism of obscurantism"

"Reality Principles: An Interview with John R. Searle" (

"With Derrida, you can hardly misread him, because he's so obscure. Every time you say, "He says so and so," he always says, "You misunderstood me." But if you try to figure out the correct interpretation, then that's not so easy. I once said this to Michel Foucault, who was more hostile to Derrida even than I am, and Foucault said that Derrida practiced the method of obscurantisme terroriste (terrorism of obscurantism). We were speaking French. And I said, "What the hell do you mean by that?" And he said, "He writes so obscurely you can't tell what he's saying, that's the obscurantism part, and then when you criticize him, he can always say, 'You didn't understand me; you're an idiot.' That's the terrorism part."
[Hat tip to C.B.]

The coming great apostasy

Apostasy? Some will think that sounds a bit alarmist.

Others will think it a bit tardy: don't we already see a great apostasy about us?

Either way, it's time to steel our souls through devoted spiritual preparation. Here's something to think on:
"Only heroic Catholics will survive.

In short, in the times that are just ahead for Catholics, only the truly dedicated will not become apostates and thereby lose Heaven. This was the opinion of Fr. John Hardon, a very holy priest who died 15 years ago in Detroit — a man who was remarkable owing to his holiness. What he said has come even sharper into focus in light of the wholesale rejection of the Faith by an overwhelming majority of the Irish last week.

"If you are not preparing yourself now, and your family now, bracing yourselves spiritually for the darkness into which civilization is descending, you will not survive. You will inherit Satan for your father. People do not suddenly decide to suffer for the Faith. They prepare themselves to suffer great hardships for the Faith, by undergoing little hardships and sacrifices in advance...."
Read more and watch the video here >>

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Latin Mass prejudices"

Kevin Tierney has a guest post over at Unam Sanctam Catholicam (May 15, 2015), which is quite good. Blog host, Boniface, introduces the piece with the words: "We are grateful for this lovely post on the question of the Traditional Latin Mass and why calls for a 'better tone' among online defenders of the TLM are meaningless."

Tierney gets into the meat of his discussion by raising the question:
But is the Latin Mass at least equal to the Novus Ordo? I think that's where the interesting question is. According to Vatican II, Ecclesia Dei and Summorum Pontificum (amongst many others) the answer is an unqualified yes. It is an approved form of worship within the Church, and like all of the liturgical life of the Church, it is worth cherishing and celebrating.

Does that sound like the way the Latin Mass is treated? The answer is an unqualified no. According to Robert Cardinal Sarah, Summorum Pontificum is not a reality within the dioceses of the world because a spirit of exclusion exists within Catholics who celebrate both forms. They weaponize the liturgy with hate and malice. Those are interesting words, but they don't convey the reality of why those words in Summorum Pontificum are often pious aspirations.

In several dioceses here in America, there is a de facto ban on advertising the availability of Latin Masses on websites, parish bulletins, etc. Other times there are countless hurdles being placed for celebrating the Latin Mass, including the bishop determining for himself whether or not someone is "competent" to celebrate it, something Ecclesia Dei has made clear is wrong. Saying the priest should tell the bishop to go screw while he appeals to Rome is nice in theory, but is probably going to make life quite difficult for the priest, and his congregation. In any such case, when priests have their visas revoked for saying that both the faithful trads and bishops need to be more accommodating towards each other, that is not faithful to the spirit of the Magesterium.

"Gates, Gays, and the Boy Scouts"

Kevin D. Williamson, "The Soul of a Bureaucrat" (NRO, May 24, 2015) concludes with the paragraph:
With the Marine Corps or the Boy Scouts of America, the question of what is good is not necessarily the same as the question of what is good for the organization. But you’d need a different sort of man than Robert Gates to discern that distinction, and a better sort of man to act on it.

[Hat tip to JM]

Stop saying "transgendered"

The mysterious blogger who now refers to himself in the third person as "Raider Fan" has the reputation for being a bit of a ham. He can be most amusing. But those of you who know his posts and comments are also aware that he's also always very serious.

In one of his most recent posts, "Do you say 'Transgender?' You do? STOP IT!" (The Nesciencent Nepenthene, May 27, 2015), he addresses a serious issue once addressed by George Orwell in an essay entitled "Politics and the English Language." Orwell writes (emphasis from R.F.):
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.
Beneath this quote he posts a clip from a Bob Newhart sketch, which explains the "Stop It!!" in his title; and, beneath that, he posts a graph (see his post) showing the rise in the use of the word "transgender" in the general population, beginning with zero in 1980 and rising to 90% of the population by 2008.

The point may seem trivial, but it's not. It's not that the words we use change reality itself. That's impossible. No matter how many people call Bruce Jenner a "woman," they don't thereby turn a man into a woman, any more than the Flat Earth Society, by calling the earth "flat" can succeed in flattening it. The problem is, rather, that the words we use change our understanding of reality, so that just as members of the Flat Earth Society begin to actually believe the earth is flat, so the general population may begin to actually believe, with Bruce Jenner, that he is a "woman."

I've addressed this issue before by quoting Abraham Lincoln's question: "If we call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" The answer, of course, is: no more than it had to begin with, because a tail is not a leg. Some of my readers will also remember my gripe with the allergy we've all developed, due to the pervasive influence of the feminist movement and such, which has us avoiding the use masculine third-person singular pronouns ("he," "his," "him," "himself"), so that we get philistine barbarisms that induce a gag reflex, such as: "A human being is not an end in themselves." What we have to consider here is not only the butchery this makes of language, but the reason why we're contorting ourselves into pretzels in order to avoid the general population's allergies against the traditional inclusive use of male nouns (like "man" and "mankind") and pronouns. If there was a sign on a cage that said "Danger! Man Eating Tiger!" do you think any woman would be foolish enough to think it didn't apply to her because she isn't a "man"? Of course not! So here we play this little game and we're all part of this little collective ruse even though none of us really believes it.

Here's Peter Kreeft's thought:
"Man means "manking," not "males." It is traditional inclusive language. "Humanity" does not go with "God" ("God and humanity") because "God" and "man" are concrete nouns, like "dog" and "cat," while "divinity" and "humanity" are abstract nouns, like "canininity" and "felinity" or "dogginess" and "cattiness." Whatever the political or psychological uses or misuses of these words, that is what they mean. We do not undo old injustices against women by doing new injustices against language." (Philosophy 101 by Socrates [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002], p. 9, n. 1)
Let the revisionist idiots take over the language, and you'll start talking and thinking like them.

A sex ban to save the planet?

One thing that can be said for Catholics in dire straits is that many of them keep their sense of humor.  We live in deplorable if not dire times, and here's a bit of Swiftian mischief from one of my colleagues, Mark S. Latkovic: "A Not So Modest Proposal: On Prohibiting Procreation/Sexual Intercourse... To Save the Planet" (Truth & Charity Forum): "... the use of modern technology -- e.g., drugs, drones, and other surveillance techniques -- will be invaluable ...."   I'm sure.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The snakes are back in Ireland

Guy Noir's telegram simply read: "The End."  I wondered what he meant, until I received a carrier pigeon message with a print-out of a comment made to a Carl E. Olson article in The Catholic World Report entitled "In Ireland, the old is out and the out are in."

Here's the combox comment:
"Many years ago, the great spiritual writer Dom Hubert von Zeller published a novel about the end of the world under the pen name "Hugh Venning." THE END is a witty book that treats apocalyptic events almost as a comedy of manners, but its plausibility just took another hit. In the novel, only three nations refuse to bow to Anti-Christ: Poland, Quebec, and Ireland. I wonder how much longer Poland will last?"

Come and visit Italy with Raider Fan

Yes!  "Raider Fan on Real Basil Pesto" and other visual and culinary delights over at The Nesciencent Nepenthene.  And during your journey, if you have any injuries to the head, or even a minor headache, it's always a comfort knowing you'll be in the skilled hands of your host, also famously known as the Amateur Brain Surgeon.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Irish referendum rejects the Faith

Michael Voris, "The Murdering of Catholicism" (Church Militant, May 23, 2015): 
Dublin, May 23, 2015 ( - This weekend's 2–1 vote by Ireland to lovingly embrace sodomy as a form of marriage proves two points.

The first is the abject, epic failure on the part of the Catholic clergy over the course of decades to transmit the Faith. Bishops refused to discipline various priests who were active homosexuals or sympathetic to the militant homosexual agenda. These traitorous priests slowly but certainly converted the Catholic populace, in cooperation with a high-voltage secular culture, to accept evil step by step.

The repeated refusal of bishops to discipline these clergy contributed greatly to this wicked turn of events. The status quo allowed the culture of death to flourish. Catholic leadership offered absolutely no defense, and in many cases supported the trashing of the Faith.

Homosexual priests abused boys in a Catholic school system that turned the Irish population decidedly against the Church when all was revealed a few years ago.

And that is the second point to consider: This was not only a vote in favor of sodomy, disguised as a human right, but also a referendum on the Catholic Church — and quite frankly, the Church got exactly what it deserved. The leadership betrayed the Son of God, and they are getting their due punishment.

Without a public admission of their sins, a call for forgiveness and resignation of their offices, they will more than likely be punished for eternity in the fires of Hell as well.

They will have chosen their eternal fate every time they looked the other way, allowed an abuse against the truth, covered up a homosexual abusive priest, diminished the Faith by allowing errant catechesis in the parish, permitted an active homosexual to run the nation's major seminary for over a decade (a man who has since converted to the heresy of Protestantism, and is civilly married to his gay lover in California.)

The step-by-step degrading of the Faith is how this happened. But it didn't come out of the blue. Four years ago when we were in Ireland, we interviewed random people on the street and asked them if they still attended Mass. We asked 19 people; 18 did not.

The total collapse of the Faith did not happen overnight.
 The video at the bottom of the page on the original site is very telling.  It was recorded earlier, maybe even a year ago, but it shows the "state of the faith" on the street, so to speak.  And it's about as dismal as the political understanding of the general American electorate, if you know what I mean.

Orson Scott Card on homosexual "marriage" and civilization

The Ornery American had this post from last February that's really not bad, Orson Scott Card on "Homosexual 'Marriage" and Civilization." The opening lines are great ... and timely:
A little dialogue from Lewis Carroll:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."
It's a long and substantial piece, but this alone is "right on the money" in that the tidal wave of pro-gay opinion is increasingly showing us that gay party members are really no longer interested in mere "tolerance," or "dialogue" or "rational argument," but only "to be master -- that's all." In other words, they are rapidly becoming homofascists bent on imposing their will come hell or high water. We've seen these sorts of social experiments before, and they've never turned out well.

Assumption Grotto family in need as mother AND father deal with cancer

A GoFund Me account has been set up by a relative of Caroline DeLoca to help with expenses related to her recent diagnosis of cancer. This comes just a few years after her husband, Peter, battled a cancerous tumor in his leg. As Caroline faces her own battle now, with stage 3 breast cancer, there are concerns that Peter's cancer may have returned.

This beautiful pro-life family with five children and, baby number six getting close to third trimester, belongs to Assumption Grotto and is known to many of us. They have a loving, supportive family network. But, as you can imagine, financial needs are many.

You can use the GoFund Me account set up by Caroline's aunt OR you can give money to the family directly if you know them. Others who do not know them, please check back tonight or tomorrow and I will update this post with an alternate place to send checks so the family gets the money directly if that pans through.

Most of all, pray for this family.

Fr. Perrone on Pentecost, the interior work of the Spirit, and Archbishop Vigneron's prayer request

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, May 24, 2015): 
The ‘fiftieth day’ is the meaning of Pentecost, the countdown for which began at Easter. This feast bears a relation to the day of Christ’s resurrection somewhat in the way that Epiphany bears to Christmas. The light that shone from the risen Savior’s body on Easter falls today upon Christ’s mystical body, that is, upon His Church. Easter was the day for catechumens to receive the sacrament of Baptism; today is the day that marked the coming of the Holy Spirit given in Confirmation. 

It is commonly said that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. Our Lord promised that we would not be orphaned after His ascension because He would send the Holy Spirit to carry on His work in the Church. He would be the ‘soul’ of that body in the sense that He would give it life, both in its corporate totality as well as in the individuality of each member of the Church. Without the coming of the Holy Spirit sanctity cannot be possible, nor would the actions of the Church have any effectiveness. This means that sins would not be forgiven in confession and absolution without the Holy Spirit since our Lord breathed Him upon the apostles that they might have the power to forgive men’s sins. It means that the grace of preaching God’s word would not have its penetrating power to touch men’s souls for their conversion (an actual grace) unless the Holy Spirit would speak through the words of those preaching the truth of Christ. It also means that the Mass would be a powerless ceremony unless the Spirit would effect the change from bread and wine into the Lord’s body and blood in the sacrificial act of the Mass. 

The prayer of the Church on this day is that the Holy Spirit fill the hearts of the faithful. The idea here is a plenitude of grace, a perfecting of divine life. The Holy Ghost stirs up grace and activates His gifts in us to move us on towards the fullness of sanctity. (Note that His gifts are given to every Christian and are not the exclusive reserve of certain frantic enthusiasts who claim to have received specialized powers from Him.) 

I also call your attention to the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Pentecost day since it was not by chance that She was in the company of the apostles. The first descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Virgin Mary resulted in the incarnation of Christ, that is, in the Son of God taking on human flesh through Her. In this second descent of Pentecost She is there again, this time as the Mother of the Church, Her Son’s mystical body. It is a new fertility of the Holy Spirit which gives this birth to the Church; notice how it, like the incarnation, also involves Holy Mary. 

We need to be discerning of the interior manner of the Holy Spirit’s working in our souls, and not be caught up, let alone confused, by the hype that’s often attributed to the Holy Spirit whose very name–Spirit, Ghost–indicates His invisibility. The outward signs of His coming on Pentecost–the wind, the tongues of flame, the gift of languages–are only indicators of His invisible presence. His operation in us, though divinely potent, is aptly expressed in peacefulness and quiet, mildness, humility, chastity and in charity. This, again, is quite other than the hoopla often attributed to Him nowadays. The infused gifts of the Holy Spirit received at baptism and confirmation will lead us to the height of sanctity unless we should impede their operation (which, alas, we may do all too often on account of our sins). 

Archbishop Vigneron has asked us to pray with him for the work of evangelization in the archdiocese. We need to pray that there will be souls converted to the faith of Christ in all its fullness. This is not the mere work of men’s talking, but of God. It’s not really a “new Pentecost” that is needed but the original one extended in our day. Let us ask Holy Mary to join us in prayer for this work of growth to the body of Christ’s Church of which She is the Mother.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Community News -

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (May 24, 2015):
Extraordinary Faith Episode 4: Chicago Part 1 of 2

Episode 4 of Extraordinary Faith – Chicago Part 1 of 2 – will be televised on EWTN on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 3:00 AM and 6:30 PM Eastern time. Filmed during the December, 2013 Christmas bus tour of historic churches in Chicago, this episode features not only Chicago’s well-known beautiful architecture, but also some familiar faces from our metro Detroit and Windsor Latin Mass scene:

Prayer Pilgrimages organizer and St. Joseph Church Music Director Michael Semaan opens the episode with a discussion of the goals of his bus tour operation. Windsor Latin Mass stalwarts and Prayer Pilgrimages frequent travelers Ted & Teresa Jankowski testify to the value of integrating the Church’s historic liturgy with visits to these lovely historic churches.

Archdiocese of Detroit roving Tridentine Mass celebrant Fr. Charles White gives newcomers to the Extraordinary Form tips on how to get acclimated to the classic liturgy.

With hundreds of thousands of sales to her credit, Mary Kraychy, the Chicago-based publisher of the ubiquitous Red Latin/English Missals, explains the history of the project.

Fr. Hilary Mahaney, Pastor Emeritus of Chicago’s St. Mary of the Angels Church, explains how this once-closed edifice has been restored to immaculate, stunning condition. We have many times written about this breathtaking building that should be on everyone’s list of churches to visit; now you can take a look inside and see snippets of the Tridentine Mass that Fr. White celebrated there during the bus tour [pictured].

Archdiocese of Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry, one of the world’s most energetic episcopal advocates of the Extraordinary Form, shares his reasons for supporting the classic Roman Rite.

Can’t wait to see what’s in store? A preview of Episode 4 will be posted to by June 1.

St. Albertus Mass Rescheduled for June 14

The long-awaited next Tridentine Mass at St. Albertus Church has been rescheduled for Sunday, June 14 at 12:00 Noon. The celebrant will be Fr. Mark Borkowski. We are grateful for your patience and understanding as St. Albertus has battled a failed boiler during the cold months and more recently faced a priest scheduling challenge. All should be well going forward, as St. Albertus leaders and our celebrants have agreed to let priest availability determine dates of future Masses. Please make an effort to show your support for the continuation of Tridentine Masses at St. Albertus by attending this upcoming Holy Mass.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 05/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Pentecost Monday)
  • Tue. 05/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Pentecost Tuesday)
  • Fri. 05/29 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Anthony, Temperance, Michigan (Ember Friday of Pentecost) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for May 24, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Moving photos of Chinese underground church

Maureen Mullarkey is probably best know for her acerbic brilliance, her insights and cutting remarks about Church politics. A great example would be her most recent analysis of two of the Pope's historical associates, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodríquez Maradiaga and Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández of Argentina, by means of one of Aesop's Fables, "Birds of a feather flock together," and alternately, "You are known by the company you keep."

But as a son of Protestant missionaries in China during the Marxist Revolution, what caught my eye was her recent piece on Lu Nan, China’s foremost documentary photographer. According to Lu Nan, publicity is meaningless for an artist: "If the pictures are good, it doesn’t matter who took them, and if the pictures are not good, it also doesn’t matter who took them." Fair enough.

But these pictures are not only taken in by the eye, but by the viscera. They are, some of them, gut wrenching. They are pictures of inmates in mental hospitals, prisoners, and -- most significantly -- Chinese Christians in the underground church. These are pictures you don't generally see in the news or public media. They are moving beyond words, although I cannot say to what extent this is so for me because of the black-and-white photographs I still have from my parents' days in China back before most of you were born. Anyway, here are a couple:

Lu Nan. Yunnan Province (1993). The funeral of a Tibetan Catholic girl, 4 years old, who had died of a sudden illness. This village is located in the heart of the mountains, and it takes two and a half days to reach the nearest hospital. Children with an illness cannot often get cured, and on average, one or two die very young each year.

Lu Nan. Shaanxi Province (1995). Mass is offered in a Catholic's home in a village with no local church. Mass in a family house is officially prohibited by the government. But “unofficial churches” take the risk.

It's a bit surprising to learn that there are entire villages in remote parts of China's interior and Tibet that are Catholic. Pray for these good folk. We shouldn't think that their lot in life could never be our own.

In the meantime, have a closer look at the photos for yourself HERE.

[Hat tip to JM]