The unpreachable god

7 03 2011

I have a great affection for far-right wing Catholic traditionalist rhetoric. Somehow, I like hearing all the ways that I am going to Hell. Since I was affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X when I was still at a tender age for a young man, I think there is some sort of bizarre nostalgia at work. I remember my scowling and nice-but-crazy professors in the seminary in Argentina talking about how the Freemasons were taking over the Church, the Jews were taking over the world, the Catholic clergy was infested with communists, etc. Indeed, for someone who considered himself a Marxist only a couple of years earlier, this was a surreal situation to say the least. Perhaps that is why I took refuge in the study of Patristics and the Eastern Church; part of me realized I had made a huge mistake (a 3,000 miles away from home sized mistake). But the entire experience has given me an insatiable appetite for right-wing Catholic rhetoric, especially the “everyone’s going to Hell (except me)” variety. Call it Jansenism, clerical fascism, or most accurately, theological snuff porn.

I give you exhibit A. It’s a little dated, but it gives you a pretty good taste of what I mean here. For those who do not want to waste an hour and a half of their lives, Bishop Williamson talks about, among other things, how the Vatican is pretty much no longer Catholic (though he holds out hope that some parts of it are), that a woman’s place is indeed in the home and not the university, that 9-11 was an inside job, that the Freemasons are still dangerous, that the true anti-Semite is Pope Benedict for refusing to preach Jesus to the Jews, and so forth. In other words, these are things that I have already heard before from His Excellency. Just so you know, I left La Reja about six months before he was officially made rector there. He did come to visit when I was there and give a series of bizarre, apocalyptic conferences regarding the fate of the world, the Anti-Christ, and so on. Yawn.

Now, before I start the whole pointing of fingers and saying, “he be crazy…”, there is still a nagging doubt in the back of my mind. How are the Jews saved in the Catholic consciousness if we aren’t supposed to preach Jesus to them? What of all of those passages in St. Paul about wives subjugating themselves to their husbands? What of all of the Fathers of the Church who believed that the vast majority of people would be damned, and they believed that the Gospel had been preached to the ends of the earth? There is a distinct sensation that Bishop Williamson, for all his craziness, has absolutely nothing to hide or apologize for. Modern Catholicism, the nemesis he despises so much, seems to be an exercise in justifying why we don’t do/believe X anymore; about evolution, the hierarchy of the sexes, monarchical government, and so on. It is the modern Catholic who resorts most often to political and authoritarian thinking when it comes to belief since if he were to go to tradition, to what is “on the books” so to speak, he has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, his entire act of Faith becomes an act of explaining how the decisions of power can change how we think about or view a particular issue. Because something is no longer popular, or certain legislation was passed by the Curia, we can ditch all of those things we now see as “unpreachable”.

I think it’s a good thing, but not because God has anything to do with it. I still have a hard time believing that Christians got God so wrong for so long, and somehow we have Him right. I have a hard time believing that just because some document written fifty years ago says otherwise, that a doctrine preached for two thousand years no longer counts. If I find Williamson appalling (and I do), it is not from the point of view of “authentic, official Catholicism”, but from the point of view of a secular thinker. The only reason the Catholic Church preaches a fluffy, nice God now, one who accepts the Jews just as they are, one who will not excommunicate the war monger but rather the desperate pregnant woman, one who accepts usury up to a point and not homosexuality, is that our real Sacred, secular liberal democracy, is what truly influences the tone of ecclesiastical discourse. We are beholden to its sensibilities, even if we have to keep up a façade of opposition. In some places, such as sexual ethics, the Church is dragging behind. But no doubt the game is up, and the Church will have to find its place again absent any secular or moral authority whatsoever. Perhaps it is the SSPX that is already doing just that (unless you count out the French fascist Front National… oops, probably not).

So pardon me if a small part of me feels that Bishop Williamson’s Catholicism is real Christianity. Or at least, it is more authentic for him than ours is for us. For him, his ideas have consequences, even though he is crazy. Our ideas have consequences too, but they are not the ideas we openly profess, but the ideology that frames us even without our knowing. If Bishop Williamson’s god is unpreachable, it is because we have become skilled dialecticians in spite of ourselves.

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53 responses

7 03 2011
sortacatholic

Arturo, I have absolutely no idea how you survived a SSPX seminary with your sanity intact. It’s hard enough to have to deal with the SSPX or crypto-SSPX on an occasional basis. I can’t imagine living with them. I admire you for your ability to successfully cult-deprogram yourself.

our real Sacred, secular liberal democracy, is what truly influences the tone of ecclesiastical discourse. We are beholden to its sensibilities, even if we have to keep up a façade of opposition.

I have learned after fifteen years of failed experimentation that traditional/ist* Catholicism is never a pick ‘n’ mix affair. A person cannot simultaneously profess “ancient” (read: Renaissance) rituals and the post-Conciliar beliefs at the same time. You are completely right that the SSPX’s beliefs, though seriously incongruent with the ethical values of postmodern society, are nevertheless internally coherent. Perhaps the SSPX and fellow travelers are more ideologically coherent than their post-Conciliar Catholic brethren. While the postmodern Latin Church has had to create a synthetic liturgy simply to escape the violent, genocidal, and exclusivist policies of its past, traditional/ist Catholics realize that these implications must be at one with the older liturgy. Lefebrvist anti-Semitism and neo-fascism are prime examples: Dignitatis Humanae is anathema to the Lefebvrists simply because this apostolic constitution negates every action of religio-social warfare previously practiced in the name of the Universal Church.

I strongly suspect that many, if not most, Catholics realize the peril in the Church even holding talks with the SSPX. While I strongly doubt that the SSPX will corporately unite with the Church as a whole (Williamson and his club will probably go into the sedevacantist-vagante orbit), the SSPX will not compromise on their anti-Semitism or conspiracy theories. One has to wonder if Pope Benedict likes playing with ideological flamethrowers, or (scarily) he actually agrees with the SSPX gamebook. Either possibility is scary shit.

In some places, such as sexual ethics, the Church is dragging behind. But no doubt the game is up [...]

A few centuries after I turn to Miracle-Gro, the Church will work out some compromise over same-sex-marriage and cohabitation. I predict that the change will come about as a process of slow change rather than conciliar revolution. Perhaps the evolution of usury from forbidden to tacitly accepted to approved will provide a similar model for the Church’s eventual capitulation to “alternative lifestyles”.

* I use “traditional/ist” because the terms “traditional” and “traditionalist” can designate two separate but related ideologies. Some Catholics attempt to live a sort of multiple personality “liturgically traditional, doctrinally modern” worldview. I was, until very recently, convinced that this “traditional but modern” Catholicism could be a via media for compassionate people attached to older liturgical forms. Now I realize that full-impact SSPX-style “traditionalism”. with all its fascist, anti-semitic, and anti-modern polemic, is the only logically consistent partner to the practice of the “Extraordinary Form” and illicit Tridentine celebrations.

7 03 2011
M.Z.

The great feature of all forms of fundamentalism is their consistency. As long as one accepts consistency as some sort of trumping truth claim, it is a nice warm blanket. When you find consistency is just another system for excusing wrongs, the value goes. Of course the relativistic, find one’s own meaning to life is just as empty. Where the path between the two lies is a question I can’t answer.

7 03 2011
sortacatholic

“I strongly suspect that many, if not most, Catholics realize the peril in the Church even holding talks with the SSPX.”

Oops! Try this instead:

“I strongly doubt that many, if not most, Catholics realize the peril in the Church even holding talks with the SSPX.”

Actually, reading it the original way provides an equally interesting outcome. Perhaps the truth of the matter is somewhere between the two extremes.

7 03 2011
A Sinner

“A person cannot simultaneously profess ‘ancient’ (read: Renaissance) rituals and the post-Conciliar beliefs at the same time.”

No, likely not. (I reject the idea, however, that there are any binding “post-Conciliar beliefs.”)

Ultimately, we do have to choose. We can salvage what is good in any culture, but ultimately if our secular democratic values are trumping our religious orthodoxy, then we aren’t really Catholic any meaningful sense of the word.

I would deny that this means being “crazy” like many radical traditionalists. There are certain things which are clearly doctrinal issues and others which are clearly culturally contingent. And certainly, living in this Age, I am in no rush to go back to beheadings and Crusades that made sense only in a given historical context.

But when we find ourselves rejecting doctrine in favor of “more enlightened” secular values, we might as well have no religion at all.

Why should we care about the ethical values of “post-modern society”?? If THAT is at the center of our identity or conscience, then Christ is not.

[The essential immorality of usury has never changed, btw, even if the form it takes is somewhat contingent on type of economic system; in fact, it is at the root of all the evils of capitalism and the problems we are facing today economically. If one wants to invest and share the risk of a venture, that’s one thing, but expecting to be paid back, with interest, whether the venture succeeds or not, taking no real risk oneself in that sense (assuming interest covers defaults) is simply parasitic. And combine that with the fact that modern bankers don’t even really loan from deposits, but CREATE the money simply AS the debt…and the unnatural and unethical nature of this form of private credit is quite clear. The money supply should be increased debt-free as needed by a public agent, and people should find investors rather than lenders. The idea that there is a MARKET on MONEY, which is only ever, by nature, a MEANS of exchange (not a good or commodity in itself)…is extremely unnatural, and IS wrong, even if the Church has been cowed or bamboozled into silence on the matter, the deposit of faith can’t change.

7 03 2011
sortacatholic

A Sinner: Ultimately, we do have to choose. We can salvage what is good in any culture, but ultimately if our secular democratic values are trumping our religious orthodoxy, then we aren’t really Catholic any meaningful sense of the word.

To paraphrase a very famous procurator: “Quid est mos?”

What is ethical and moral “orthodoxy” now that Rome has turned the ethical/moral game board over and dumped the pieces all over the floor? Rome has (well, officially) dictated that the christifideles may only pick up the pieces according to the ethical dictates of “secular democracy”. Can we find some salvageable ethical beauty in the more ancient forms even though those forms quite possibly preach a hatred and violence antithetical to modern “western” notions of human rights? Can we respect human rights and combat bigotry while crossing ourselves at the Gospel for Passion Sunday?

We are told on Passion Sunday: Dixerunt ergo Judæi [οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι] ad eum: Quinquaginta annos nondum habes, et Abraham vidisti? Dixit eis Jesus: Amen, amen dico vobis, antequam Abraham fieret, ego sum (i.e. ἐγὼ εἰμί, YHWH). Tulerunt ergo lapides, ut jacerent in eum: Jesus autem abscondit se, et exivit de templo.(John 8:57-59, Clementine Vulgate/Nova Vulgata, Nestle-Aland 27). See also Cornelius a Lapide’s commentary on the entire Passion Sunday gospel reading for a typical early modern exegesis.

” ‘The Jews’/’The Judeans’] said to him: ‘You are not even forty years old, and you have seen Abraham? Jesus said, ‘Quite truly I say to you, before Abraham was to come, I AM. ['The Jews'/'The Judeans'] took up stones to throw at him: Jesus hid himself and left the temple.” [my trans.]

The Tridentine lectionary speaks of our very recent worship of the division of Christian from the Jewish other: The “Jews/Judeans” attempted to murder Jesus Christ in (what we Christians believe) to be the house of God the Father. At this point, the eternal rivalry is set. The clash of postmodern ethics and human rights with Christ’s “before Abraham, I AM” requires us to make a choice. Is our orthodoxy based on an eternal struggle between a righteous nation and a damned, superseded nation, or is our orthodox based in reconciliation? Whither the beauty of our liturgical patrimony?

7 03 2011
sortacatholic

A Sinner: Ultimately, we do have to choose. We can salvage what is good in any culture, but ultimately if our secular democratic values are trumping our religious orthodoxy, then we aren’t really Catholic any meaningful sense of the word.

To paraphrase a very famous procurator: “Quid est mos?”

What is ethical and moral “orthodoxy” now that Rome has turned the ethical/moral game board over and dumped the pieces all over the floor? Rome has (well, officially) dictated that the christifideles may only pick up the pieces according to the ethical dictates of “secular democracy”. Can we find some salvageable ethical beauty in the more ancient forms even though those forms quite possibly preach a hatred and violence antithetical to modern “western” notions of human rights? Can we respect human rights and combat bigotry while crossing ourselves at the Gospel for Passion Sunday?

We are told on Passion Sunday:” ‘The Jews’/’The Judeans’ [Judaei, hoi ioudaioi] said to him: ‘You have not lived forty years yet, and you have seen Abraham? Jesus said, ‘Quite truly I say to you, before Abraham was to come, I AM [ego sum, ego eimi, YHWH]. ['The Jews'/'The Judeans'] took up stones to throw at him: Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.” [my translation] (John 8:57-59, compare with Clementine Vulgate/Nova Vulgata, Nestle-Aland 27 for polytonic Greek). See also Cornelius a Lapide’s commentary on the entire Passion Sunday gospel reading for a typical early modern exegesis.

The Tridentine lectionary speaks of our very recent worship of the division of Christian from the Jewish other: The “Jews/Judeans” attempted to murder Jesus Christ in (what we Christians believe) to be the house of God the Father. At this point, the eternal rivalry is set. The clash of postmodern ethics and human rights with Christ’s “before Abraham, I AM” requires us to make a choice. Is our orthodoxy based on an eternal struggle between a righteous nation and a damned, superseded nation, or is our orthodox based in reconciliation? Whither the beauty of our liturgical patrimony?

7 03 2011
A Sinner

If “the Jews” of the New Testament are understood (as they’re supposed to be) as US, or at least as typifying (in opposition to the Church) an element IN each of us, then manifestly our orthodoxy is about resisting carnal identity in favor of spiritual identity where “there is no Jew nor Greek.”

However, that full transfiguration of flesh into spirit will not happen until the end of our lives or even the General Resurrection, and until then the flesh and the spirit are in tension or opposition (nor will the conversion of Jew into Christian, Synagoga into Ecclesia, be completed until the end of time).

8 03 2011
sortacatholic

You’re quite right that the gospel for Passion Sunday can be interpreted as the internal struggle against sin, with “The Jews” as typological stand-ins for the sins of all human beings and Christians in particular. Centuries of Catholics have heard this gospel (or heard their parish priest preach on the gospel), and had come to the conclusion that the city shtetl was the catalyst for Christ’s passion. I do not think for a moment that the majority of Catholics have “moved on” from anti-Semitism, or that this reading is no longer fraught with the very real possibility of violence.

I am not sure if even today priests should read the Passion Sunday gospel at Mass, as there is not enough time in a Sunday sermon to properly catechize parishioners on the exegetical nuances of this text. I pray that Pope Benedict or his successor would replace the propers for EF Passion Sunday with the Ordinary Form “Cycle A” propers (essentially, convert Passion Sunday into the 5th Sunday of Lent), or at the very least permit the substitution of the OF propers ad libitum. In any event, the parable of Lazarus better depicts the Pascal Mystery and the equation of the Son with the Father than Christ’s mere statement “I AM” at the end of the EF reading.

The doctrine that the Final Judgment will not arrive without the conversion of the nation Israel must be interpreted in a non-immanent manner. There is nothing that individual Christians and corporate Christianity can do to hasten the “conversion of Israel”. The arrival of the Final Judgment is not contingent on Christian behavior. Hence, no Christian is obliged to convert Jewish people to hasten the Second Coming. I understand that this latter interpretation informs Pope Benedict’s 2008 revision of the pro Iudaeis Good Friday petition, but Jewish people and non-Christians in general can be forgiven for thinking that a Christian can hasten the end of the world through aggressive proselytizing.

7 03 2011
synLeszkax

It all depends on the interpretation of the II Vatican Council.
Dom Basile Valuet, an indult Benedictine, produced a 500 page study proving that Vatican II allows for the confessional state, but does not view it as the sole model of church-state relations.
I do not think that homosexual marriages will be for long in the law books. In Hegel’s time the law was an ethical standard which should be the guiding light for morality. Today, throughout the Western world, the law is a one-way command of an unsure “divine and rational law-giver”. The rate at which laws change today makes everyone sure that the subjective value of law, as pertaining to the subject of the law, is null.

I do not believe that anyone views homosexualism as the next stage of emancipatory revolution besides Marcuse and his followers. The majority of homosexuals who aim for homo-marriages do want to revolutionise but to be accepted as normal in a family-centered society based on private property. The libertarians in Germany have a homosexual leader, the libertarians in the UK are the first ones to promote homo-marriages, they do not view themselves as the left but as the libertarian right.

Today the Church does not view that Jews need not convert. The conversion of the Jews is not the number one issue in Catholicism. Maritain, otherwise a liberal democrat, one of the fathers of the UN, had an apocalyptic dream of the massive conversion of the Jews, which would lead to the victory of Catholicism. Jacques Maritain was obviously under the influence of his Russian Jew wife, Raissa and Leon Bloy. Aside from Leon Bloy and his Jewish phantasies, the fact is that Jews almost never convert to Catholicism. Even the Jews who became priests, feel that they have committed treason to Judaism. It is one to talk about converting Jews and another to actually convert Jews. The fact is that the official Catholic Church does have Jewish Catholic congregations. On the other hand, if the SSPX found out that the Church allows Jewish Catholics to celebrate Jewish feast days, I could imagine all the heads rolling. Many traditionalists call the modern church the church of judaisers, judaizantes.

7 03 2011
synLeszkax

Correction paragraph 2, sentence 2 …. who aim for homo-marriages do NOT want to revolutionise …

7 03 2011
Leah

Let’s get real here. Regardless of how much people like Bishop Williamson, et. al want to rant about how the Jews need to convert, it’s not going to happen, at least not on the mass scale they want. The average Jew, whether religiously observant or not, isn’t going to convert to Christianity out of principle. Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have the baggage of the blood libels, oppressive confessional states, pogroms, which makes them even less attractive options than Protestantism. This isn’t to say that individual Jews won’t convert based on their own particular opinions and life experiences, but we’re not dealing with a tabula rasa when it comes to Jewish-Catholic relations, and it’s stupid to think otherwise.

7 03 2011
Sam Urfer

Actually, about 20-25% of people born Jewish in the US become Christian over the course of their lives. This has become a big issue, particularly with low birth rates in modern generations.

7 03 2011
Leah

Sam:

I’ve read a lot about the intermarriage issue in publications like the Jewish Forward. What would interest me is to know what is what is meant by “Christian” since we all know that can mean different things to different people. For example, does it mean celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah (as many inter-married couples with children do), but never going to a synagogue or church? Does it mean viewing oneself as a Christian of Jewish descent, with the two identities not clashing? If that 20-25 percent figure is true, then there’s a wealth of sociological and religious topics that need to be researched.

But if traditionalists are angry about the Church not trying to convert Jews, why don’t they do it themselves? Rather than make semi-coherent youtube videos, why doesn’t Bishop Williamson just do what Paul did and go lecture at a synagogue or a JCC? He’d probably get arrested for trespassing, but at least he’d be doing something rather than just complaining.

7 03 2011
A Sinner

I think what that camp is mainly angry about are not that there aren’t attempts to evangelize to Jews on the individual level (there are) or even the institutional level of outreach tailored to them as a demographic (there is; the Association of Hebrew Catholics, for example). But that “dual covenant” ideas are allowed to be promulgated or implied by many in the Church (though not officially, and not by Ratzinger himself, for example, who has been quite clear about the unicity of the Revealed means of salvation).

7 03 2011
Arturo Vasquez

Arturo, I have absolutely no idea how you survived a SSPX seminary with your sanity intact.

Who said I was sane? In all seriousness, I don’t see any real distinction between SSPX craziness and the “orthodox Catholic” craziness that you see in many places in the Church. I don’t think that that Opus Dei are less fundamentalist than the SSPX, or less cultish, because they suck up to the Pope. Being Catholic in the modern context often means playing dangerous games with your own sanity.

But when we find ourselves rejecting doctrine in favor of “more enlightened” secular values, we might as well have no religion at all.

There is a problematic idea in this comment, one that assumes that the Church is somehow a rival or separate polity from the society in which it inhabits. It has not been so for a long time, though it has had pretensions of being so. Even the pre-Constantinian church might as well be considered an amorphous glob of quasi-orthodox bodies, deeply persecuted, some in more political communion with others. One of the problems that the Ecclesia has had with the Saeculum (“dum veneris iudicare saeculum per ignem”) is eschatological: it is never clear how the early Christians perceived the duration of kerygma in relation to the Parousia: was Jesus coming back tomorrow, a year from now, ten years from now, etc.? I don’t know how many Christians from then would believe that we would still be here two thousand years later. In that light, the “indefectibility of the Church” is a sort of stop-gap measure against the vast and tumultuous flow of time. The idea, then, that the Ecclesia somehow forms a rival polity, one that is at the same time “moral compass” and eternal opposition to “the World” is profoundly problematic. Hence, the very real debates concerning the confessional state, religious freedom, and so forth.

Dig a little into Catholic history, and the line between Ecclesia and Imperium has not been all that well-drawn. We like to pretend it has, since we think that would accord with our very Enlightenment prejudice against authority. The State, or the State and civil society, or a particular historical class, etc. cannot possibly be the voice of God on earth since God would never taint Himself by being embodied in such a totalitarian, flawed organism. Instead, we create a totalitarian, flawed organism that we find more palatable: the “prisoner of the Vatican” dressed in white, the shining city on the hill, or a Byzantium that never was, almost like the Yeats’ poem:

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

Pretty fantasies, but they are just that. In the Shepherd of Hermas, one of those problematic, eschatological texts, the Church is pictured as an old woman, because she is the first-first born of all creatures. If the Church pre-exists and will survive the institutional Church, there is no use in vulgarly identifying it with the woman in the Shepherd’s vision, or the woman in the Apocalypse. Perhaps we must respect such an institution, but respect always entails a healthy bit of distance. The Church as a worldly polity is just another worldly polity: a treasure carried in a vessel of clay.

7 03 2011
A Sinner

“It all depends on the interpretation of the II Vatican Council.
Dom Basile Valuet, an indult Benedictine, produced a 500 page study proving that Vatican II allows for the confessional state, but does not view it as the sole model of church-state relations.”

Right. Anyone who thinks that Vatican II somehow FORBIDS the idea of a confessional state simply can’t be right. Accommodating ourselves to a world where a confessional state is no longer realistic is one thing. That doesn’t mean we’ve CONDEMNED the idea as a possibility (or even an ideal).

“Today the Church does not view that Jews need not convert.”

Again, right. Individual Jews are still said to be under as much a need to convert as anyone else for salvation, publicly speaking, and may be targeted by our individual evangelical efforts like any individuals.

Even Ratzinger himself has said as much. The USCCB may have adopted some sort of “dual covenant” theory in certain documents, the Vatican and the Church, however, have not.

The question of individual conversion (which hasn’t changed) is different than that of Jewish national conversion, which the Church always taught was an eschatological event, under Elijah and Enoch, and was thus never going to happen until the End of the World anyway.

“There is a problematic idea in this comment, one that assumes that the Church is somehow a rival or separate polity from the society in which it inhabits. It has not been so for a long time, though it has had pretensions of being so.”

In practice has the human institution truly been? No, not for a long time as you say. Maybe never. I like your description of the flawed human institutional aspect of the Church very much.

But if one holds anything beyond a purely naturalistic view of the Church, if one admits (as a real Catholic has to) that it is a mystical society that IS essentially separate on some level from The World, and not merely a natural sociological phenomenon, then dogma, at least, is on the side of the mystical reality, not the human institution. Is (with the Sacraments) that treasure held in the vessel of clay.

There is no doubt that the institutional church, as a human polity, has whored around with all the kings (and prime ministers and presidents) of the Earth. I think that’s different than the question of essential articles of faith which belong to the Church’s supernatural patrimony, not the corruption of mortal popes and bishops and human polities.

Now, the problem with some like in the SSPX may be the expectation that this supernatural reality will somehow be reflected in natural politics and practical social reality, which isn’t at all necessary. That somehow the human polity in a given “Golden Age” was really some sort of immanent manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth, which is of course ridiculous.

But having doubts about doctrine because it’s been 2000 years and Jesus isn’t back yet, or because technological progress seems to be creating a better world in THIS life, or because we “already had” our hay-day…seems like simply a capitulation or loss of total-conviction before the temptation of Secular Messianism that is, of course, antichrist.

If morals (and when it comes to Faith and Morals, it is usually Morals people are most eager to see “changed”) are dismissed or thought to change merely because the culture has, as if the moral principles have only ever been simply a reflection of the socio-economic structure, then this is a naturalization of Revelation that I just don’t think a Christian can accept.

7 03 2011
Henry Karlson

It also depends on which renaissance thinkers you approach. Seriously, I think Vatican II has more to do with Marsilio Ficino, Pico, Nicholas of Cusa, Reuchlin and their ideas than people realize.

7 03 2011
sortacatholic

Arturo: Being Catholic in the modern context often means playing dangerous games with your own sanity.

Ain’t that the truth! This is why I’m thinking of fasting from the Church for Lent.

In all seriousness, I don’t see any real distinction between SSPX craziness and the “orthodox Catholic” craziness that you see in many places in the Church. I don’t think that that Opus Dei are less fundamentalist than the SSPX, or less cultish, because they suck up to the Pope.

Even though both organizations indulge in cultic techniques, Opus Dei doesn’t have the SSPX notoriety for bigotry and conspiracy theories. I don’t think OD evades this latter type of notoriety simply because it “[sucks] up to the Pope”. Rather, OD knows better than to make loud and public outre anti-Semitic and illogical statements (i.e. Williamson’s rantings about the 9/11 truther movement). I don’t know if OD “behind the walls” is anti-Semitic or riddled with conspiracy theories, but that doesn’t matter in the postmodern media driven world. OD has, for the most part, successfully hid whatever skeletons are in its closet. The SSPX loves to air their dirty laundry, come what may. Regardless of its Escriva and Francoist past, OD has been able to cover its tracks well.

7 03 2011
Lasorda

I think people don’t really appreciate how boring and non-threatening Opus Dei actually is. In my experience, it acts as the “only game in town” for people seeking Catholic orthodoxy in more heterodox settings. They have no liturgical ax to grind, they don’t operate parishes, and they don’t come out publicly on an political issues, as far as I can see. Here in LA they host retreats, provide low-key spiritual direction, fill in at masses in understaffed parishes, and pick up a lot of parochial slack for people slogging through RCIA. Outside of that, they pray and sit in front of the blessed sacrament more than most people. For me, Opus Dei paranoia is an object lesson in how conspiracy theories operate.

7 03 2011
sortacatholic

Lasorda: Opus Dei paranoia is an object lesson in how conspiracy theories operate.

I agree that OD is nowhere near as ideologically anarchic or cultic as the SSPX. My experiences with OD have been less than positive, but that might have been due to specific circumstances. Their men’s dormitory at Univ. of Toronto is extremely secretive. OD Toronto chafed at student media inquiries about their on-campus residence. OD probably would have done better to be more open about its residences, as they have since built a women’s dormitory on campus. While The Da Vinci Code is potboiler nonsense, OD would do well to be a bit more candid about certain aspects of their apostolate. An forthright description of the numerary lifestyle might dispel public doubts about the organization.

I don’t know if OD has an ingrained culture of institutional bigotry such as in the SSPX. OD has successfully kept any delusional members from making damaging public statements. OD superiors can indulge in bigotries without public scrutiny because their apostolate has successfully hidden bigoted or mentally troubled senior members from the media spotlight.

A Sinner: Again, right. Individual Jews are still said to be under as much a need to convert as anyone else for salvation, publicly speaking, and may be targeted by our individual evangelical efforts like any individuals.

As Leah and Sam Urfer note, there’s no question that Jewish people who voluntarily convert to Christianity should have the freedom to do so despite objections from some in the Jewish community. A Christian, and especially a Catholic, must nevertheless ask: is proselytizing ethically advisable, especially in light of the events of the last century? Do ethical imperatives trump the ideological necessity to evangelize?

Perhaps the Great Commission could be reinterpreted as a hypothetical possibility conditioned by historical developments and ethical contingencies.

7 03 2011
Chris

“A Christian, and especially a Catholic, must nevertheless ask: is proselytizing ethically advisable, especially in light of the events of the last century?”

This strikes me as a non sequitur. Why do the events of the last century (I assume you mean the holocaust) render proselytizing unethical? The closest thing to an argument I’ve ever seen is Gregory Baum’s idiotic claim that to seek to convert the Jews is the same as seeking their annihilation.

For the record, I’m not in the least be interested in proselytizing anyone, but I don’t see anything morally wrong with it.

7 03 2011
Chris

Erratum: That last line should read “I’m not in the least bit …”.

7 03 2011
Leah

I think it depends on what is meant by proselytizing. Few would object to a setting in which several adults are talking about religious matters, which leads one participant to change his or her views. Many would consider leafletting tacky, but chances are few people are reading those pamphlets anyway. Likewise, few people will knowingly open the door for JWs, but most Americans accept that that’s how they roll and keep going. I think what offends people about the term proselytizing is that it conjures up images of “convert or die” and/or implies that the person being witnessed to has no choice in the matter.

7 03 2011
Chris

Of course, by ‘proselytizing’ I mean simply attempting to persuade someone of why they should convert. Forcible conversion is an entirely different animal.

8 03 2011
sortacatholic

As already mentioned, many in the Jewish community (and particularly American Jews) are rightfully concerned that assimilation, intermarriage, and secularity have adversely affected their numbers. Jewish people, just like any other citizens of a “secular postmodern democracy”, may choose to observe or not to observe their religion of birth, marry a Jew or a gentile, convert to another religion or practice no religion, &c. One might say that assimilation is a passive, non-violent, or non-coercive “annihilation” of the Jewish community.

However, there is the palpable Jewish fear of the word “conversion” and the specter of yet another violent annihilation. Perhaps a concern about annihilation through aggressive conversion better reflects Gregory Baum’s position. It is said that Abraham Herschel advised Paul VI against the inclusion of an explicit call for Jewish conversion in Nostra Aetate. Herschel remarked that he would rather go to the ovens of Auschwitz rather than face aggressive Catholic evangelization. As Leah has mentioned, Christians have utterly destroyed the possibility of non-violent or non-aggressive proselytizing through its history of manifest violence towards Jews.

I would argue that while Christians have a biblical, doctrinal, and theological mandate to evangelize Jews and all non-Christians, a aggressive public evangelism should not be exercised towards the Jewish community. I believe that an orthodox Christian can both decline proactive conversion of Jewish people and at the same time welcome any person who wishes to become a Christian. I interpret the 1970 Good Friday petition in this latter sense. The “fullness of redemption” referenced in the English translation refers to Catholicism’s openness to any person who wishes to become Catholic on his or her own volition.

7 03 2011
Donald

Would you consider writing a book or extended article about your time in the SSPX. I enjoy all of your posts, but the SSPX ones are especially compelling. I think they, the SSPX, are a bit of a mystery to most of us, and some sane reporting from inside would be fascinating.

7 03 2011
Francesca R

I second that.

7 03 2011
A Sinner

Right, there’s nothing wrong with trying to persuade someone that they should convert. And if they are persuadable, then we, frankly, SHOULD do that. Not coercively. But if our apologetics or witness might get them to convert, I see nothing wrong with trying as long as we’re civil about it. I see no connection to the holocaust here, and I doubt St. Edith Stein would either.

7 03 2011
FrGregACCA

Traditionalist Roman Catholicism has one redeeming quality. It raises the issue of what is the final authority in the Church, the Tradition, as the Orthodox hold, or the magisterium, as Rome holds, all protestations to the contrary not withstanding.

The problem with RC traditionalism is that it is not upholding the authentic Apostolic Tradition of the faith once delivered. It is advocating a distorted iteration of that, with the deviations going back as far as Augustine and continuing with Anselm, the consolidation of papal power over the last millenium, the Filioque, and the rest of it.

The authentic Apostolic Tradition fully acknowledges the hopelessness of the human condition apart from the saving action of God, but it understands this condition far differently than is customary, either in the RCC or confessional Protestantism. Humanity is sick, not evil. (We only become evil if we refuse to be healed.) We are patients, not criminals. Christ comes to heal us, not to satisfy the infinite wrath of the Father. We need to be healed, not pardoned.

Sadly, what we usually encounter in contemporary Roman Catholicism is either a a kinder, gentler version of the criminal model of human sinfulness or, in reaction, a denial that the human condition is what it is. Neither side of this coin is appropriate nor accurate.

8 03 2011
GK

Usury is still on the books although perhaps not preached much but traditionalists still talk about it as do lefty social justice Catholics do. Just look at Traditionalist literature or the Distributism stuff or look at the various social justice groups lobbying against Pay Day loans and trying to help people modify loans including getting lower interest rates. And no Arturo, you are not sane.

8 03 2011
A Sinner

Indeed, the last part of the Catholic Encyclopedia article on usury (different from its article on Interest, interestingly) is very enlightening, albeit it has a seeming bent towards justifying it:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15235c.htm

Taking enough interest to represent the risk and cover any defaults has been admitted for a long time. The real question is whether a PROFIT may be made on interest alone, rather than sharing in the risk as an investor. Catholic Encyclopedia seems to lean towards the view that, yes, it may be done because of opportunity cost, basically, that in our economy merely having money is itself more valuable than the money itself because of the possibility of investment. But it admits that the Church has made no doctrinal decree on the matter, and mentions Catholic writers who disagree. To me it would seem rather inadmissable given the very origin of the word “usury” as charging for both a thing and its “use.”

8 03 2011
GK

Sortacatholic, are you sortacatholic or notacatholic? I am seriously asking. Regarding Opus Dei, and I am not a member nor do I currently participate but have been by, is fairly normal albeit geeky and straight laced. I never heard anything anti-semetic or nutty and I still have a friend who is a numerary member. It was not my style but not problematic nor cultish nor fundamentalist. There were plenty of scientists and engineers and they believed in evolution, liked Jews, and stressed education and there was plenty of debate and discussion on a variety of political and social issues.

My very limited experience with SSPX and like minded groups is far more whacky. Some real nutjobs. I did not see any nutjob members of Opus Dei and very few nutjobs around Opus Dei but there were some.

8 03 2011
sortacatholic

No, i’m certainly not Catholic by Opus Dei or traddie standards. I’m baptized, confirmed, and read Latin “for a living” (does that get me a 1up in Christendom?) This is the name that I’ve been using on Reditus and elsewhere for a long while now, so it stays for now.

Neither OD or its individual members have incited notable instances of public bigotry, violence, or private violence with public ramifications (such as child sexual abuse). Until OD threatens the greater community with demonstrably violent acts, I have little to criticize. I do not care much for Escriva’s writings, and his posthumous role in OD resembles a character cult (though not to a Rev. Moon-esque level.) I’m also a bit unsettled about OD’s coming-of-age in Francoist Spain, but that’s my prejudice to nurse. How many Quebecois have unilaterally rejected all aspects of Catholicism simply because of the Duplessis legacy?

In a 2005 Newsweek interview, John Allen recalls an early struggle between the Spanish Jesuits and the early Opus Dei. OD today and the Jesuits of the early modern period share similar experiences. While I don’t expect supernumeraries to storm the steppes of Bohemia as Hapsburg counter-reformation mercenaries or expect priests of the Holy Cross order to hide in priest-holes at the pleasure of English petty noble recusants (what would Damian Thompson say ’bout that?), I do see the insularity of OD as a media-savvy, world-weary method of evangelization in a post-Christian world not unlike counter-Reformation undercover Jesuits in 18th century London. The 20th century Jesuits sold out to post-modernity and capitulated to secular higher education. While I got a great college education at a Jesuit university, one would be hard pressed to tell that the university is, indeed, Catholic. Like ‘em or loathe ‘em, no one will ever mistake OD for anything else than JPII style New Evangelization “orthodox” (not SSPX traddie) Catholicism.

8 03 2011
Arturo Vasquez

As to the Opus Dei, yeah, maybe not in this country, but elsewhere… The insinuation was more towards fundamentalism and cultishness. One can be both sans conspiracy theories.

At the risk of sounding incendiary, I really don’t get why Catholics have some sort of visceral reaction against anti-Semitism, as if it were a crime similar to child molestation or drowning puppies in buckets. It’s 2011, not 1911. Since the Holocaust, a lot of Jewish people have done a lot of bad things in Palestine, and they have exploited collective Western guilt to perpetuate their own atrocities. Bigotry on anyone’s part is unacceptable, but to single out anti-Semitism as some sort of moral crime par excellence is downright hypocritical to me. How about the far-right anti-immigrant rhetoric that mainstream white Catholics get away with day in and day out on the Internet and other places? How about consistent anti-Muslim rhetoric that has been deemed acceptable among American and European audiences? The only difference between a Muslim terrorist and the Israeli army is that we are giving the Israeli army the guns (whereas we used to give the Muslim terrorists the guns as well.)

And really, there is no reason to consider the Jews an eschatological people anymore than we consider the French an eschatological people. A lot has changed in 2000 years. Rabbinic Judaism in many respects is only as old as Christianity, and just as much a deviation from the temple cult. I admire Judaism, especially a lot of the cool folklore and so forth, but I am not going to pretend it is some sort of super-holy elder brother of Catholicism. That’s just nonsense. And it is equally nonsense to give Israel and its friends a moral pass just because of what happened in the past. Real equality would hold Israel to the moral standards of any other nation.

To be fair, I have never heard any of the bishops of the SSPX saying anything anti-Semitic out of some sort of racial hatred. If they are “anti-Semitic” , they are just following what the Fathers of the Church and certain accepted religious figures were saying back in the day. There aren’t any Nazis running around there. In the end, I oppose bigotry for the sake of opposing bigotry, but I found the SSPX no better or worse than those who pass laws to ban sharia without even knowing what it is.

8 03 2011
Leah

It would be one thing if a pogrom or a blood libel accusation happened a couple of times by accident. But these types of things kept happening on a regular basis for almost 2,000 years. I think we can all agree that there cam be no worst method of prosteylizing than a drunken mob armed with pitchforks and flaming torches. These events are still within living memory. I’m just saying that it’s foolish to act like there’s not a reason why people freak out by the SSPX’s rhetoric on Jews (ideas have consequences and all that). Personally speaking, I put anti-semitism on the same level as anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-black rhetoric, but I actually try to be consistent in that regard. I’m kind of crazy like that.

8 03 2011
A Sinner

“And really, there is no reason to consider the Jews an eschatological people anymore than we consider the French an eschatological people”

Well, except it’s Church doctrine that they are, at least inasmuch as they are still the Nation of the Saviour according-to-the-flesh and that their conversion AS a nation is taught to be an eschatological event.

Singling out anti-semitism, I agree, is silly. If we can’t try to get Jews to convert, then we can’t try to get ANYONE to convert.

If we can’t pray for their conversion explicitly on Good Friday, why can we pray for that of heretics, schismatics, pagans, or atheists?? It’s a huge double-standard.

“Elder brother” they may be, but, that doesn’t necessarily imply the adulation you see nowadays; as Paul says on the matter, the elder shall serve the younger, for “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

8 03 2011
Vincent

I hear no one talk about the Armenian Holocaust these days. That group of people suffered a genocide at the hands of the Turks. The Jews were not the only one who suffered atrocities in the 20th century.

8 03 2011
Leah

I have several theories for why this is the case. First, there was no big “reveal” for any of the other genocides of the 20th century. When the Nazis were defeated, they were completely destroyed, leaving no room for a “stab in the back” myth as in WWI. Consequently, the German populace really had their faces rubbed in as far as what the Nazi regime did. The locals were forced to go to concentration camps, dig mass graves, look at newsreels of Nazi experiments, etc. As a rule, however, this almost never happens. When a crime against humanity has occurred, the natural impulse seems to be to act like the whole thing never happened. After Stalin died, for example, most of the prisoners who were still stuck in the gulags just went home and tried to lead a normal life. Similar things occurred in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution and Cambodia’s Killing Fields. Why deal with the truth (especially on a national level) if you don’t have to?

The second reason why the Holocaust gets more press is because Germany is a Western nation. During the mid-19th century until WWII, there was a general consensus in the West that German culture was special in some metaphysical sense. It was the culture that gave us the research university, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Nietzche, Goethe, etc. The notion that the citizens of country that had produced so much high culture could also create factory extermination centers was deeply shocking. In comparison, I suspect that many Westerners don’t consider countries like Russia, China, Turkey or Cambodia to be very civilized to begin with, so they aren’t shocked when genocide occurs in those nations.

9 03 2011
synLeszkax

Germans are innocent until proven guilty. Poles are guilty irregardless of the circumstances. Germans send 15 million soldiers on all of Europe, why? For the Lebensraum. Poles ask for their own state, we become the mongrel of white Europe secundum verbaque verbera Francogalliaque Anglicanorum. Germans murder a couple million Jews, Poles rescue a couple million Jews. Everyone who had contact with the older generations in Poland, knows that thousands of Jews were hidden in potatoe cellars and attics by Roman Catholics, who were agitated by their priests to do so. The Ulm family with 9 children in Markowa,Poland, rescued and kept alive for a couple years 11 Jews. This was normal in Poland. For our glorious preservation of the Jewish race, we are called the agitators and apostles of Hitler and his German Rayh!

“Polish concentration camps” a NYT favourite… Then laugh at us, that we lost the war. How can nation-states who sign non-aggresion agreements with Poland, march with 30,000,000 soldiers through our country? Would the US hold if twenty million armed Mexicans and 10 million Canadians simultaneously cross their border. Not likely, Americans are even less ready for war than we were.

10 03 2011
sortacatholic

I don’t disagree that many throughout Europe, and especially Poland, hid Jewish people from detection. Many, if not most, of these people will never be recognized for their bravery. When we celebrate the lives of people such as Mies Giep (the Dutch woman who hid the Frank family), we also recognize all of those who protected others at the risk of their own lives.

We mustn’t deceive ourselves: many Europeans, including Poles, had (and perhaps still have) deep-seated prejudices against Jewish people. My own elderly Polish relatives, though born in the US, frequently traveled to and from Poland. Unfortunately, they did not leave their anti-Semitism in Poland. Most, if not all, of this anti-Semitism was bleached out of the family by my father’s generation (mostly because they, like my brothers and I, grew up around Jewish people). Nevertheless, I won’t repeat here some of the many jokes and statements they made about Jewish people. Most were relatively innocuous, some quite vicious.

Rod Dreher’s quotation of the 1941 massacre in Jewadbne, Poland (from Jan T. Gross’s book Neighbors) illustrates the way in which a number of Poles deliberately murdered Jews on their own volition while Poland was under Nazi occupation. The propensity for Christian violence against Jews, even when the Christian population was itself persecuted by the Nazi regime, speaks not only of the complexity of ingrained hatred but also the complexity of the Holocaust. Facile analyses of the Second World War genocides cannot exclude the possibility that some of the most henious crimes against humanity were not committed by the Nazis but rather those in their grip.

10 03 2011
sortacatholic

The brave Dutch woman’s name was Miep Gies. If I stop eating the tin foil, maybe I’ll avoid the Geritol. Mrs. Malaprop would be proud.

8 03 2011
Turmarion

In comparison, I suspect that many Westerners don’t consider countries like Russia, China, Turkey or Cambodia to be very civilized to begin with, so they aren’t shocked when genocide occurs in those nations.

Or as the late, great George Carlin used to put it, we dont’ care much about brown people unless someone else is oppressing them better than we are.

9 03 2011
C. Wingate

As a Protestant I’m more or less uninterested in Williamson’s revolt against his hierarchy. On 9/11, well, I’ve plowed through the material too many times, including reading the federal report. He’s wrong, and he pollutes his church every time he stands up in purple and repeats the conspiracist lunacy. And so on and so forth. There is apparently some check within the Church of Rome on crappy thinking, though it clearly only gets so far; pry a bishop loose and his infallibility is inevitably going to get the better of his brain.

The church doesn’t have to be infallible; it just has to right enough. But to be infallible, it has to be right all the time. And since Rome and by proxy Williamson has signed up for rational theology, the logic does actually have to be logical. There isn’t a distinction between the theological problems of the Catholic Church and the sexual scandals; the reason why Williamson has nothing to apologize for is the same reason that Law does: both are shameless.

9 03 2011
Tancred

Not sure how someone who matriculated from multicultural Valhalla has either the right or the ability to judge the mental stability of anyone; to say nothing of a man who’s accomplished more by the time he was thirty than most of the people publishing their comments here are likely to do with their entire lives.

You sound like school girls who’ve been justifiably admonished by your superiors who gather together to vent their various inconsequential grievances and justify yourselves.

9 03 2011
sortacatholic

Who are you talking about? (Bishop) Williamson?

What are his accomplishments? Like most people, the first time I ever heard of Williamson was after his Swedish TV interview. I knew of the illicit Econe consecrations, but never knew anything personal about the SSPX bishops until relatively recently.

Yes, perhaps that’s a failing of mine. Perhaps I shouldn’t speak so critically of a man that I had not heard of until a few years ago. Nevertheless, his comments about the Holocaust, conspiracy theories, and general erratic behavior both before and after his TV interview do not tell of a person with significant accomplishments but rather service in an organization that not only tolerates but abets his statements and actions.

Tancred, Williamson might have made some contributions that the general public does not know well. Nevertheless, the TV interview affair speaks volumes about the way in which the media informs most people’s perceptions of the world. Also, this incident has highlighted the Vatican’s public relations ineptitude. Williamson’s demonstration of the Vatican’s ignorance of the internet age is perhaps the greatest accomplishment of his career.

10 03 2011
C. Wingate

I don’t really care about his mental stability, and I don’t know who you are to question my ability to pass judgment on his 9/11 falsehoods. If you want to turn the church into an intellectual ghetto where it’s OK to repeat unfounded innuendo, well, anyone with a concern for their soul should opt out. If you want to defend his 9/11 statements, don’t bother. I’ve wasted too much of my life already on this to be dragged through the same nonsense again, besides which evidence suggests that nothing would change the mind of someone who would believe them.

9 03 2011
Tom

It’s revealing to see anti-Semitism is alive and well.

9 03 2011
Tancred

Eratic behavior, how?

This is what they did in the old Soviet Union to people who were politically undesirable as well.

It didn’t matter whether or not there was a real or valid case against a person’s mental health, but it did matter that their beliefs, ideas, writings were against the party line.

Somehow, the anti-Catholicism that’s well in evidence on this page and in the scribbling of some of the posters here doesn’t have the same emotional weight as the term anti-Semitism.

9 03 2011
Leah

Unless I missed something, Bishop Williamson isn’t breaking rocks in a gulag or being subjected to re-education. Sure, he had to pay a fine for Holocaust denial in Germany, but right now I imagine he’s doing exactly what he wants (whatever that may be). I don’t see any anti-Catholicism in these posts. All I see is that some people disagree with Bishop Williamson’s opinions. No one is suggesting that an angry mob storm his residence or making any speculations concerning the state of his soul. There are people in China, Iraq, and Nigeria who have to deal with real anti-Catholicism on a daily basis, so a little perspective is in order.

10 03 2011
sortacatholic

Tancred: Eratic behavior, how?

Good gravy, Tancred! This “bishop” (without jurisdiction, thank God) has a track record for not just disagreeing with established history but also picking strange arguments that do not benefit an ethical or moral argument.

Williamson’s behavior strikes me as erratic because his partial denial of the Shoah makes little rhetorical sense. In his TV interview, Williamson claimed that a significantly smaller number of Jews died rather than the number now generally accepted (approximately six million). Wouldn’t a “Holocaust denier” deny the Shoah outright rather than partially deny the genocide? Also, is the unjust murder of one person in genocide any less horrific than the Nazi murder of six million Jews and also the total number of people killed in their wartime campaigns? Williamson’s “partial denial” of Jewish murders in the Holocaust, if you wish to call it that, does not legitimize his later assertions that, for example, the concentration camp gas extermination chambers were for delousing and not murdering.

A person cannot honestly say “I think the Holocaust happened but …” by first claiming that only a small fraction of the total estimated deaths happened. That’s a deceptive and disingenuous way to minimize the horror of the genocide and introduce other aspects of the Holocaust denial trope, i.e. that concentration camps served functions other than the deliberate extermination of human beings.

12 03 2011
Andrew

Considering the Church is the True Faith and the real successor and inheritor of the OT true faith, why shouldn’t we seek to “annihilate” modern Judaism, which is simply another false religion? We should work to “annihilate” all false religions, whether that is PC-cool or not.

Regardless of the historical relationship between Catholicism and Judaism (real or imagined), the Church has a duty to work for the conversion of all who are not yet Catholic. Obviously, this does not mean we need to be obnoxious (as this doesn’t work anyway) but we definitely cannot give the Jews a “pass”.

25 06 2011
no hay pan para tanto chorizo

I owe the Society of St Pius 10000000 thanks. It is because of their presence online that I started to read Ratzinger many years before he became the Pope. They sounded so exceptionally sincere in their condemnations. So I knew they had actually and even widely read him.

It was the same with some priest in an old little church in Lucerne, Switzerland, who preached about Nietzsche in such a way that I went at once to see what that was.

13 03 2012
Unpreachable? « Opus Publicum

[...] year ago, on the defunct Reditus web-log, the author wrote an interesting piece on the so-called “Unpreachable God,” which is really less about how the Catholic Church perceives and confesses God, but more with [...]

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