31 October 2022

How the Ukraine War Gave Canada & Denmark a Border

The Whisky War is over! It ended in June.

Hans Island ("Hans Ø" in Danish) is an arctic Island located between Canada’s Nunavut territory and Greenland, which is under Danish sovereignty. For 50 years, the Island was disputed between Canada and Denmark, and for decades the Island was known best for the ‘Whiskey War’, one of the friendliest geopolitical “conflicts” ever. But in June 2022, something remarkable happened: Both sides agreed to finally resolve the territorial dispute once and for all by splitting it in approximately half through a new border treaty. The timing of this Canadian-Danish agreement was no coincidence: Only months prior, Russia had started its’ infamous invasion of Ukraine. As a symbolic response to the war in Ukraine, Canada and Denmark decided it was time to send a signal to the world and particularly Russia by resolving a territorial dispute peacefully and in accordance with international law. But what exactly is Hans Island? Is it worth anything? Why wasn’t it resolved earlier? And did this symbolic gesture really have the effect the Canadians and Danes hoped for? We’ll explore exactly that in this video!

Radical Synodalists Blame Archbishop for Pelosi Attack

If Satan were to appear bodily on earth to week havoc, the modernists would find some way to blame it on actual Catholics!

From Catholic Arena

Some of the arguments that are used to defend the universally unpopular Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes include the alleged contempt for authority in the church and online toxicity of Traditionalists online.

Yet, even if that were true, it would not explain why Radical Synodalists are allowed to create their own toxic online environment without reproach.

This week, one of their favourite targets for attacks, Archbishop Salvador Cordileone expressed his sympathies with the Pelosi family after an attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband.

Anglo Canadian Catholic commentator DW Lafferty has contributed to Ultra Montanist blog Where Peter Is for many years. He appeared to attempt to link the attack on Pelosi's husband to Archbishop Cordileone's implementation of church teaching on Communion.

He then made a half hearted effort to walk back his shocking comments, though some of his Synodalist followers were more forthcoming in their accusations against the Archbishop.

A number of other Synodalist accounts also attempted to link the Archbishop to the attack.

They bizarrely accuse the Archbishop of ‘radicalising’ the attacker and of being ‘complicit’.

Only this week, the official account for the Pontifical Academy for Life was accusing ordinary Catholics of ‘muckraking’ for daring to question the appointment of pro-abortion atheists.

It appears as though a small cohort of Anglo journalists, dubbed the ‘milquetoast mafia’, are being allowed undue influence over the Vatican, the Synod and its various social media accounts. They are inspiring division, nastiness and condescension more than any Trad outlet is doing and most importantly, they are alienating far more people than they are convincing.

Francis and Abortion

Francis talks a good game. E.g., he has likened abortionists to Mafia hitmen. The problem is that whilst he talks the talk, he doesn't walk the walk.

His recent appointments to the Pontifical Academy for Life of Roberto Dell’OroSheila Dinotshe Tlou, and Mariana Mazzucato, who are all abortion supporters, tell a different tale.

Possibly even more troubling is his appointment of Jeffrey Sachs to the Pontifical Council of Social Sciences. Sachs, an outspoken atheist, is one of the world's foremost proponents of abortion as 'population control'. He is also an apologist for the ChiCom slavemasters since they are the premier practitioners of his preferred method of population control.

If Francis actually believes in the infallible doctrine of the Church that abortion is the unjustifiable taking of innocent human life, or in other words, cold-blooded murder, why does he appoint pro-death 'experts', who support such murder, to Pontifical Academies and Councils?

Is the Synod Building a Big Tent — or a House on Sand?

Since it's part of Francis's plan to destroy the Church it's DESIGNED to be a house on sand and 'unmoor itself from Christ and his Church'!

From the National Catholic Register

By the Editors

EDITORIAL: By failing to ground the ‘diversity of opinions’ it presents in a foundation of sound doctrine, the process risks unmooring itself from Christ and his Church.

The Synod on Synodality has released a “working document” for the continental stage of the multiyear Church process. For the theme of the document, a synthesis of the texts produced at the regional stage, the synod organizers chose an image taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah: “Enlarge the space of your tent.”

The text goes on to interpret this verse as a guide for the Church “on its synodal journey.” Like the cloth of Isaiah’s tent, the Church is called “to stretch out … but also to move” as it journeys with the People of God. The pegs that ensure the tent’s hold, the fundamentals of faith, do not change, but “can be moved and planted in ever new ground, so that the tent can accompany the people as they walk through history.” Finally, like the ropes of a tent, the structures of the Church must be adjusted to prevent sagging, balancing “the different forces and tensions” within.

“Enlarging the tent requires welcoming others into it, making room for diversity,” reads the working document.

Interpreting Isaiah’s tent as an image of the Church is nothing new. After all, the passage is embedded in a larger prophetic text that speaks of God’s restoration and expansion of Israel to all the nations, which he does, of course, through Jesus Christ and the establishment of his Church, the New Israel.

But in many ways, what the Synod on Synodality is proposing for the Church seems less like Isaiah’s expanding tent and more like a different structural image taken from Scripture: the house built on sand.

Like that house, described in the Gospel according to Matthew, the synod’s ecclesiology continues to show signs of being built on a faulty foundation. Because although the synod’s working document references the “fundamentals of faith,” it exhibits little clear understanding of what those fundamentals are and how they should guide the ongoing discernment of how the Church can become more authentically synodal.

This is clear in the document’s presentation of the various “tensions” that have emerged in the diocesan and regional stages. For instance, the document speaks of a great “diversity of opinion” that “was expressed on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports call for, while others consider a closed issue.” No additional guidance — such as the fact that St. John Paul II taught definitively in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that the Church “has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women,” a teaching that Pope Francis has made clear is final — is provided.

It is as if settled Church teaching is irrelevant to or superseded by the synodal process and its bald-faced assertion of the sensus fidei (sense of the faith), wherever it might lead.

Of course, such a process of discerning and determining Church teaching and practice is absurd. It is disconnected from the Tradition of the Church, as interpreted and taught by the Church’s magisterium, the rock on which Christ has built his House. It trades in the “solid ground” spoken of by Jesus for the shifting sands of changing opinion and a worldly spirit.

It is no coincidence that the final image used by the document to convey its concept of “big tent” Catholicism pushes the bishop to the side. While the equal dignity of all the baptized is, of course, paramount to any proper understanding of the Church, when it comes to discerning and teaching what is consistent with Catholic doctrine, you simply cannot get around the fact that the successors of the apostles, in unity with the Pope, play an irreplaceable, central role. To marginalize the episcopacy’s teaching office is to be proposing something quite different than the Church of Jesus Christ.

The desire to expand the Church like Isaiah’s tent is laudable, but, of course, it has already been done. The Church is already for all people — because Christ lived, died and was raised to new life for all. The Church has failed and continues to fail to adequately invite those who are outside into this communion, but the solution is not to trade solid ground for shifting sand. It’s to recommit ourselves to the Church that Christ gave us, trusting that his grace and his life — not our own ideas and plans — will renew the face of the earth.

Queen Dials Edinburgh (1958)

The Queen makes the first dialled long-distance call in the UK.

Giorgia Meloni: ‘We Are the Heirs of St. Benedict’

The family, she says, represents the “core of our societies, ...” Italy has its first truly conservative Premier since becoming a Republic.

From The Catholic Thing

By Prof. Roberto de Mattei

As of October 21, Italy has a new government: the best possible government at the worst historical moment since the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946.

What does it mean, the best possible government? It means that since politics is the art of the possible, those who govern cannot constitute an ideal government, but only that which reality permits. Giorgia Meloni has had to take into account the international and European context, which leaves very little autonomy to our country, because nation-states, after Maastricht, have been stripped of much of their sovereignty.

The premier must also keep in mind the media firepower of the so-called strong powers and the driving forces within a center-right coalition made up of different political souls. Like any man of politics, she can do what is concretely possible, while not forsaking a few basic principles that guide her.

And this appears to be the best government among those possible, because it is the first right-wing and conservative government of the Italian Republic since its foundation.

Silvio Berlusconi, who deserves a great deal of credit for having stopped the rise of communism in Italy in 1994, was and is a liberal in the European sense of the term, but he has always defined himself as a man of the center, rather than a conservative.

Giorgia Meloni is a woman of the right, in 2020 she was made president of the European Conservatives, a group whose cornerstones are the defense of the sovereignty of nation-states, the control of illegal immigration, freedom from arbitrary and oppressive taxation, the rejection of ideologies such as that of gender.

This grouping includes the Law and Justice party (PiS) that governs Poland. And everything leads one to think that Giorgia Meloni will follow, in terms of international policy, the approach of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki rather than that of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “We will not give in to Putin’s blackmail,” she said amid applause in the October 25 speech with which she won the confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

In her first speech as premier, Giorgia Meloni condemned Nazism, fascism, and racial laws, and presented a vision of society founded on the values of the Western and European tradition: “We are the heirs of St. Benedict, an Italian, the principal patron of the whole of Europe.”

Businesses and families are at the center of Giorgia Meloni’s platform/manifesto. Businesses will get more help through tax cuts and support for investments aimed at the country’s economic development.

The family, she says, represents the “core of our societies, the cradle of the affections and the place where the identity of each one of us is formed. Therefore, we intend to support and protect it and, with this, to support childbearing, which in 2021 recorded the lowest birth rate from the unification of Italy until today, in order to emerge from the population freeze.”

On immigration, she stated that the government wants to stop illegal departures and break the chain of human trafficking in the Mediterranean.

On the environment, she maintained that “there is no more convinced ecologist than a conservative; but what distinguishes us from a certain ideological environmentalism is that we want to defend the nature that has man in it.”

Giorgia Meloni quoted a phrase of Roger Scruton’s, “one of the greatest masters of European conservative thought,” according to whom “ecology is the most vivid example of the alliance between those who are here, those who have been here, and those who will come after us.” “Protecting our natural heritage,” she added, “is no less a duty for us than is the safeguarding of our heritage of culture, traditions, and spirituality, which we have inherited from our fathers in order that we might pass it on to our children.

The new Italian premier concluded her speech with these words:

The day our government took its oath before the head of state was the liturgical memorial of John Paul II, a pontiff, a statesman, a saint whom I had the honor of knowing personally. He taught me something fundamental that I have always treasured. ‘Freedom,’ he used to say, “does not consist in doing what we please, but in having the right to do what must be done.” I have always been a free person, I will always be a free person, and for this reason I intend to do precisely what I must do.

This government, however, finds itself facing a dramatic situation. Italy and the West have been at war since February 24, 2022. A hybrid war, but a real one, which has not yet reached its peak, and which could have serious repercussions not only in the military theater but also within individual nations, threatening the social fabric that ensures their survival and setting off phenomena of protest, even violence.

But the political and economic catastrophe that is threatening Europe as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, even before the geopolitical reasons, has its ultimate roots in the abandonment of the natural and Christian order on the part the West. The conflagration of war appears to be only the latest outcome of a historical process with cultural and moral origins.

It must be said that without special help from God a change of course appears humanly impossible. This help is obtained with prayer, which allows us to obtain the grace to follow the natural law.

The mission of the Church and of the Vicar of Christ on earth is this and no other: to recall the saving truths that the world ignores or despises. Paraphrasing Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, who said “he who prays is saved, he who does not pray is damned,” it’s worth repeating that when a nation returns to the natural and Christian order, it rises again. When it moves away from this, it plunges into chaos.

This is the fundamental crossroads before which the new Italian government finds itself, to which we extend our best wishes, assuring it of our prayers.

Elon Musk Dissolves Twitter’s Board and Makes Himself ’Sole Director

He's not going to reinstate banned accounts until a 'moderation council' is instituted? Is it just me, or does 'moderation' sound like censorship?

From The Independent

By Andrew Griffin

Board had previously been made up of nine directors, including ousted chief executive Parag

Elon Musk has dissolved Twitter’s board and made himself the “sole director” of the company.

All previous members of the board have been removed from that role, leaving only Mr Musk as a director, according to a new filing.

The action was taken on Thursday as part of Mr Musk’s $44bn (£38bn) purchase of the company, according to that same SEC filing, which was made public on Monday.

The board had previously included its chairman, Bret Taylor, as well as recently ousted chief executive Parag Agrawal; in all, it included nine directors.

It is just one of a number of substantial changes that Mr Musk has already made, within days of buying and taking over the company.

Others include the suggestion that he will set up a council that will review content moderation decisions, that he will be firing significant number of employees, and that he could allow previously banned users back onto the platform.

According to multiple reports in the US, Twitter plans to raise the price of Twitter Blue from $5 (£4.30) to $20 a month (£17), with verified users given 90 days to sign up or lose their blue tick.

Twitter has not commented on the plans, but Mr Musk responded to questions from users on the platform about verification by saying that the “whole verification process is being revamped right now”.

The verification system is currently designed to help users identify authentic and influential users on the platform, including government figures, sports stars, entertainment figures, journalists and major brands and organisations.

It requires an account to be complete – meaning they have a name, image and confirmed email address or phone number, must have been active within the last six months, and have a record of adhering to Twitter’s rules.

Twitter Blue is only available in a select few countries around the world – not including the UK – and allows those who subscribe to access additional Twitter functions, including in some areas the ability to edit tweets after sending them.

There had been suggestions Mr Musk would look to subscription options as a way of growing Twitter’s revenue, which is currently heavily dependent on advertising.

After completing his $44bn takeover of the platform last week, Mr Musk’s first few days in charge of the company have been eventful.

Amid growing speculation that he would allow banned accounts back onto the platform, he said on Friday that a content moderation council would be created and no “major” content or reinstatement decisions would be made before it had convened.

But in an exchange with another user, Mr Musk hinted at one approach to content moderation, suggesting users could select a film-style age rating to filter content when using the site.

“Being able to select which version of Twitter you want is probably better, much as it would be for a movie maturity rating,” he said.

“The rating of the tweet itself could be self-selected, then modified by user feedback.

The Tesla and SpaceX owner was also widely criticised for tweeting, before later deleting, a link to a conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of senior Democratic politician Nancy Pelosi.

That incident has sparked further concern about the Mr Musk’s belief in absolute free speech and a possible subsequent loosening of content moderation now he has control of Twitter, which many campaigners have warned will see abuse, harassment and misinformation grow on the site.

Over the weekend, he also denied reports that he planned to dismiss Twitter workers before the start of next month to avoid making certain payouts.

A Hostile Takeover of the Pontifical Academy for Life

It seems that the Pontifical Academy for Life is rapidly becoming the Pontifical Academy for Death through abortion since Francis 'reorganised' it.

From Catholic Culture via the WayBackMachine

By Phil Lawler

Last week in this space, I expressed my dismay at the news that Pope Francis had appointed a pro-abortion scholar to the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL)— and Archbishop Vincenzio Paglia, the president of the PAL, had compounded the problem by adopting the rhetoric of the abortion lobby and insisting that his new colleague was not “pro-abortion” but merely “pro-choice.”

Then we learned that another newly appointed member of the PAL had indulged in pro-abortion sloganeering, saying that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, “undermines basic requirements of tolerance toward the pluralism of moral perspectives within society.”

So there were two avowed proponents of legal abortion among the 14 new members of the PAL. But there was more bad news to come.

This week brings the discovery that two more new PAL members have been heavily involved in promoting contraception. While neither has made explicit public statements in favor of abortion (as far as I know), one works for a group that furnishes “supplies for safe abortion and post-abortion care,” while the other came highly recommended by Planned Parenthood. So I feel quite safe in saying that neither would fit comfortably into the pro-life camp.

Defending the appointments, Archbishop Paglia said that all members of the PAL are “scientists and experts of absolute importance,” and in the vetting process that produced the latest appointments, “there were no problems.” Members of the PAL need not share the Catholic faith, he reminded us, because the purpose of the Academy is to engage in “a constant and fruitful interdisciplinary, intercultural, and interreligious dialogue.”

Even after he gave the Academy a new orientation in 2016, Pope Francis retained the requirement that members be chosen on the basis of not only their professional qualifications but also “their proven commitment to the promotion and protection of human life.” Back in 2016 it was (barely) possible to argue that the defense of human life required a broader perspective, including economic and social issues as well as the basic insistence on the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” But if proponents of abortion are now included in this “big tent,” it is utterly preposterous to claim that the PAL members are working for “the promotion and protection of human life.”

At this point it is abundantly clear that under the leadership of Archbishop Paglia, the PAL is no longer the institution that was established by Pope St. John Paul II to defend the dignity of human life. This is not an extension of the original mission envisioned by a saintly Pontiff. This is a hostile takeover.

A Disturbing Movement Picks Up Steam on Left

The Demoncrats have a plan. Open the borders and let 'em all vote. The Party of Death would never lose another Presidential election and they would control Congress forever.

From The Daily Signal

By Jason Snead

Voting has long been one of the privileges of American citizenship, but perhaps not for much longer. Left-wing activists are going all-in with their demands to let noncitizens vote, and Washington, D.C., just took up the charge.

The D.C. City Council advanced a bill to let anyone vote in local elections, regardless of citizenship and immigration status, as long as they live in the city for just 30 days.

The measure is so extreme, even the reliably liberal Washington Post editorial board called it “radical.”

If Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser signs the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022, an estimated 50,000 noncitizen residents—including those here illegally—would be free to cast ballots in local elections.

But that’s not all. As the Post pointed out, there is nothing in the measure “to prevent employees at embassies of governments that are openly hostile to the United States from casting ballots. Or foreign students who are studying abroad in Washington for a semester.” There you have it: Our nation’s capital is ready to hand ballots to people working against our nation’s interests.

Why is the district taking this reckless step? Pure politics.

The Left is looking for ways to shift the country’s politics by fundamentally changing who can vote. Even the Post concedes that “progressives hope that reshaping the electorate will allow them to reshape local politics, prodding [D.C.] further to the left on issues such as rent control and spending on social programs.”

D.C. is hardly the only place where the Left has realized the power that can be gained by changing the electorate. Under the euphemistic tag line of “expanding democracy,” left-wing activists across the country are working to hand the vote to imprisoned felons, children, and noncitizens—all groups they calculate are more likely to be liberal. After all, why let the people choose their government when you can have the government choose its people?

And there are plenty to choose from. Consider that over 5 million illegal immigrants have entered the United States in just the two years since President Joe Biden was elected. Enfranchising them in local races creates a powerful perverse incentivize for politicians to excuse, or even demand, an ongoing humanitarian crisis on the border so long as it feeds a steady stream of transient voters willing to back a far-left agenda.

When the Left is accused of backing open borders for the prospect of new voters, they of course retort that it is illegal for any noncitizen to vote in federal elections. True enough, but races for Congress or the White House are hardly the only ones that matter.

Americans have seen firsthand the great damage that can be done when the woke Left captures school boards and town councils. As the old saying goes, all politics is local.

At least 15 municipalities nationally have enfranchised noncitizens to vote in local races, including major cities like San Francisco and New York. The Big Apple’s law is virtually identical to Washington’s pending measure: Anyone in the city for 30 days can vote, including illegal aliens.

That measure was challenged in court, and earlier this year a New York Supreme Court judge struck it down for violating the state constitution. Had it gone into effect, 800,000 noncitizens would have been handed the vote in New York City.

Unlike those other cities, however, Washington is a federal district answerable directly to Congress. Under the Constitution and the D.C. Home Rule Act, Congress can block bills passed and cleared by the City Council and mayor.

The question is, will it?

Conservative lawmakers in the House have denounced the measure, while Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has already pledged a resolution to overturn it. “Allowing illegal immigrants to vote is an insult to every voter in America,” he said. “Every single Democrat should be on the record about whether they support this insane policy.”

Absolutely. The American people deserve to know where their leaders stand on an issue this important. For two years, Democrats in Congress preached about the need to “save democracy.”

Now, with the nation’s capital city preparing to hand the vote to illegal aliens and foreign operatives, will they stand up for fair and honest elections? Or will they look the other way while progressives erode the foundations of our republic?

As long as Democrats control Congress, expect the latter, even though polling shows that only 9% of Americans think noncitizens should be able to vote.

Perhaps there is a silver lining, though. Washington, D.C., is showing the modern Left’s true colors. The Left believes that democracy belongs to them. The rest of just live in it.

God’s Existence & Nature in Summa Contra Gentiles I: The Case for Classical Theism

Lecture Two in Is Belief in God Reasonable?, with Gaven Kerr, TOP, PhD, Lecturer in Philosophy, Pontifical University Saint Patrick, Maynooth.

The Illuminating History of the Jack-o-Lantern

Is yours on your front stoop?

Canada’s Parliament Rejects Cutting Ties with British Monarchy

Purely symbolic, anyway, but it only got 44 votes out of 310. Of course, it was the traitors of the Bloc, joined by a few Grits and Dippers. God save the King!

From News 360

By Daniel Stewart 

Canada's Parliament on Wednesday rejected a proposal by sovereigntists in the province of Quebec for the country to cut ties with the British monarchy, after the Bloc Québécois party called the institution "racist," "archaic," "almost archeological" and "humiliating."

With 266 votes against and only 44 votes in favor, the petition for the State of Canada to break its relationship with King Charles III has been denied, although the proposal has obtained support among several MPs of the social democratic New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberal Party, as reported by the Canadian House of Commons.

Among the reasons given by the MPs who rejected the measure was that the motion would serve to allow Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet to "gain prominence and headline attention", and to put the spotlight on issues more important to Canadians, as reported by CTV News.

They would also have added that the citizenry of Canada "is much more concerned about other issues, including the economy, the climate and health care," further questioning whether a separatist party should have a say in deciding who symbolically runs the country.

Blanchet, meanwhile, accused the new UK monarch of being a "foreigner who knows nothing about Canada" and who would have "difficulty passing the country's citizenship test," CBC reported.

"They tell us that we are a secular democratic country, but they protect a king who is the head of a Church (...). It's archaic. It's a thing of the past, it's almost archeological. It is humiliating. It is completely illogical to have this monarchy. We need to get out of this monarchy because it is important to do so," Blanchet maintained on Tuesday when he presented the motion before Parliament.

However, ending the monarchy in Canada would require an agreement of the Lower House, the Upper House, as well as the country's ten provinces, to carry out a "unanimous consent amendment" to the Constitution.

For this reason, the motion is symbolic since, according to Canada's Constitution, it would take more than a vote like that of the country's House of Commons to sever ties with the UK monarchy.

Hallowtide: Why You Should Pray For The Holy Souls In Purgatory

There are indulgences associated with praying for the holy souls in Purgatory at this time of year. Adrian Fonseca joins Dr Stine to talk about indulgences and Purgatory.

Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre - Vol. II - Concerning Confirmation and Penance

The transcript made at a conference in Florence on this subject must be incomplete, for I am accustomed to say that the new formula is the formula of an eastern rite and that it is certainly valid when it is correctly translated.

But it is frequently badly translated or shortened. Often it is reduced to “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Sometimes it is omitted altogether, because the Holy Spirit has already been invoked. As to the Holy Oils, the validity of their consecration is questionable. In some dioceses Confirmation is no longer administered: baptism is supposed to suffice.

It is because of that situation, disastrous for their children, that parents insist on my coming to give their children the sacrament of confirmation. I accept reluctantly: and I should prefer not to respond to those invitations if I learned that the sacrament was administered in the normal way.


Answer Concerning the Sacrament of Penance

I think the following document will provide a sufficient answer; if I have asserted that collective absolution is not sacramental, that is because the spirit in which it is given by most priests makes nonsense of the idea of judgment (which is what the sacrament of Penance is) and of the necessity of integrity of confession.

To make the exception into the rule is to risk changing the law in its essentials.

But I am sure that when the sacrament is given in the spirit of the exceptions formerly authorized it is valid.


The Sacrament of Penance


1. The new Ordo Poenitentiae (NOP).

-16 June 1972: From the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Pastoral norms for the administration of general sacramental absolution."

-2 December 1973: From the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, the Novus Ordo Poenitentiae, that is, the new ritual for Penance. This last document envisages three modes of sacramental absolution.

-Traditional mode: individual confession and absolution.

-Individual confession and absolution at the close of a penitential ceremony.

-For some special cases (pro certis casibus) general confession and absolution.

This last mode leads to grace abuses of the sacrament in what concerns the integrity of the confession.

The NOP gives the conditions for validity, in the third mode of absolution, to be fulfilled by the faithful:

-sorrow for sins committed,

-a firm purpose not to commit them again,

-a firm purpose to make up for scandal and injury which have resulted,

-finally (what is special to this mode) the intention of confessing each mortal sin in an individual confession which must be made within the year.

It is said, in addition, that there is no right (and it is therefore invalid?) to receive another general absolution without a previous auricular confession of grave sins not yet confessed.


2. The Church's former discipline (there is nothing on the subject in the Ritual or in Canon Law).

-Benedict XV: Sacred Penitentiary (6 February 1915): General absolution is authorized for soldiers when they are called to fight, when their numbers are such that they cannot be heard singly and when they have made an act of contrition.

-Pius XII: S.C. of the Consistory (1 December 1939): extension of the foregoing concession to all the faithful in danger of death during air raids.

-10 December 1940: in answer to a query: the permission applies not just when fighting is imminent but when it is thought necessary to use the permission.

-1940: Indult granted to Cardinal Bertram: general absolution is authorized for the faithful working in war factories and for prisoners unable to make their confession singly (so, not in proximate danger of death), and also for foreign workers and for prisoners in large bodies.

-25 March 1944: the Sacred Penitentiary summed up all the foregoing and made a clear statement of the doctrine and practice of general absolution. The indult granted to Cardinal Bertram seems to be extended to the whole Church:

Apart from cases where there is danger of death, it is permitted to give sacramental absolution to several of the faithful all at once. Moreover, merely because of the great number of penitents, as on a great feast or when an indulgence is to be gained, it is permitted to give sacramental absolution individually to penitents when they have made only part of their confession (Cf. Proposition 59 among those condemned by Innocent XI, 2 March 1679, Dz 1209); that would, however, be permitted in case of serious and urgent necessity proportionate to the gravity of the divine precept of the integrity of confession, for example, if the penitents, through no fault of theirs, were to be deprived for a long time of the grace of the sacrament and of Holy Communion.

The text of the Normae Pastorales of 1972 refers in a note to the Sacred Penitentiary text of 1944. This is what it says:

Apart from cases of danger of death, it is permitted to give sacramental absolution to the faithful who have confessed only in general if they have been suitably exhorted to repentance, if there is grave necessity, that is to say, if, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors available to hear each one's confession normally within convenient time-limits, so that the penitents would be forced to stay deprived for a long time, through no fault of their own, of the grace of the sacrament or of Holy Communion. Such a state of affairs could arise especially in mission countries, but also in other places, or for groups of people, when such a necessity appears. But, on the other hand, when confessors are available general absolution is not made licit simply by a great gathering of people, as can happen, for example, on a great feast or at a great pilgrimage.


3. Comparison of the two texts



Not permitted, except in very grave and urgent necessity
S. Pen. 1944.

=long and not blameworthy deprivation of sacramental absolution and of communion.


Permitted in grave necessity
S.C. Doc. F. 1972.

=not enough confessors to hear everybody's confession within a reasonable time, so that there will be long and not blameworthy deprivation of sacramental absolution and of Holy Communion.


It may be remarked:

a) the two texts approach the question each from its own point of view: the first speaks of prohibition, the second of permission.

b) In the first, “a very grave and urgent necessity" is required; in the second, "a grave necessity" is enough.

c) most important, what in the first text was grave necessity is in the second no more than a consequence ("so that"), the "necessity" becomes the insufficiency of confessors and the lack of time! If that is the fact of the matter, the spirit of the first text is contradicted, and the second text comes under the condemnation of Innocent XI!


4. Discussion

The shifting of stress between the two texts can be shown plainly in the following scheme:


S. Pen. 1944


S. C. Doc. F. 1972

1) General absolution is not permitted.  


1) General absolution is permitted.

2) It is not justified by the number of penitents. 


2) It is justified by the number of penitents.
3) Unless there will be too long a deprivation of the grace of the sacrament.  3) Because without it there would be too long a deprivation of the grace of the sacrament


That comparison of the texts is more expressive than the one which preceded it. It shows clearly

1)what was not permitted has now become permitted;

2)what did not justify the forbidden practice justifies it for the future;

3)the "very grave and urgent necessity" is not any more too long a deprivation of the grace of the sacrament, but simply the number of penitents measured against the availability of confessors and of time.

Those being the facts, we can show that the new practice is opposed in spirit and in reality to the former practice. There are three arguments, one speculative, one practical, and the third a reductio ad absurdum.


First Argument

The 1972 text also refers to the proposition condemned by Innocent XI which, with the word "only" added in 1944, runs as follows:

"It is permitted to give sacramental absolution to any of the faithful who, only because of the large number of penitents-as can happen on a great feast day or when there is an indulgence to be gained-have made only part of their confession."

The laxists, who upheld that proposition, would not have done so if, on a feast day, there had been as many confessors as penitents: so it is clear they thought it right to absolve those who had made only part of their confession on the ground that otherwise it would be impossible to hear all their confessions in reasonable time!

It is therefore stupid, and a relapse into the laxist error, to say that inability to hear all the confessions in a reasonable time is "grave necessity"!

But the 1972 text is drawn up in that sense: the number of penitents becomes the "grave necessity," and too long a deprivation of the grace of the sacrament, which is the only "grave and urgent necessity," is presented only as a regular consequence of the other. In that form the text prompts to neglect of the rest of the sentence: "so that the penitents are compelled..."

Thus, the only reason which could really justify the case is practically eliminated, either by neglect, coming as it does at the end of the sentence, or because it is thought of as a regular consequence of the reason newly and fraudulently introduced by a twisting if the text. And the new reason is none other than the one rejected by Innocent XI!


Second Argument

Some will object, no doubt, that the 1972 text is not formally heterodox, and that its very ambiguity allows it to be understood in the traditional sense. The "Pastoral Norms" of 1972 even try to restrict the broad interpretation of the text, in a paragraph which says:

Priests must teach the faithful that those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin are forbidden, if they have opportunity of recourse to a confessor, to refrain deliberately or by negligence from meeting their obligation of individual confession and to wait for an occasion when general absolution will be given.

It is also said that individual confession must continue to be the ordinary mode.

But that paragraph is not quoted in the Ordo Poenitentiae of 1973, and it is typical of the spirit of present reforms that, having opened a door, they then pretend to close it; or having closed a door for good and all, they then endeavor to open it again. Or, to put it less pointedly, seeing that they have opened a door, the authors of the reform protest that their directives are being abused and they try in vain to shut the door; or, having closed a door once and for all, they then feel obliged to open it just a little! The perpetual swing of the pendulum! Here is another text which tries vainly to close the door: it is in a letter dated 8 February 1977 sent by Mgr. Bernardin, President of the Episcopal Conference, to the Bishops of the United States, informing them of the precise explanations given by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the subject of general absolution (Documentation Catholique, n. 1716, 20 March 1977). The paragraph which concerns us is as follows:

The example mentioned explicitly in article 3 (of the Pastoral Norms) of pastoral situations which do not justify recourse to general absolution-a great concourse of penitents expected on the occasion of a great feast or a great pilgrimage, when it is possible to take measures to ensure confessions-should a fortiori implicitly exclude the calling together of large crowds with the primary purpose of giving general absolution.

That commentary by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on its Pastoral Norms was intended to repudiate the "broad" interpretation of those Norms which had recently led to two serious abuses of the sacrament in the United States. But is it not deceiving itself about the effectiveness of its restrictions on the interpretation of an ambiguous text? The Pastoral Norms of 1972 explicitly foresee the case of penitential ceremonies-which are the occasion of the abuses in question-in paragraph 10:

Collective penitential rites: The faithful must be carefully taught that liturgical celebrations and collective penitential rites are very useful for a more fruitful preparation for confession...If penitents make their individual confession during the course of such celebrations each one should receive absolution personally from the confessor to whom he goes. In cases where sacramental absolution has to be given collectively, it must always be administered according to the particular rite fixed by the Congregation for Divine Worship...

So the faithful are encouraged to flock to penitential ceremonies where, if, as is usual, there are few priests (for priests willing to hear confessions are rare), the conditions for permitting general absolution seem to be easily fulfilled! And that, though the "primary" purpose of the celebration was not to give general absolution; in practice, the organizers of penitential celebrations will be eager to affirm that the case is urgent, given the great gathering of the faithful, without inquiring if the faithful have really no other possibility of receiving the grace of the sacrament soon. Thus, relying on an ambiguous text which futile attempts have been made to limit, a mode of procedure is introduced in practice contrary to the traditional practice of the Church and a grave abuse of the sacrament of Penance.


Third Argument

If the 1972 text were interpreted strictly there would be no more general absolutions than there have been since 1944; but that is not the case. General absolution at the close of penitential ceremonies tend to be the rule. Three recent cases can be quoted where general absolution was given by abuse to a crowd of the faithful after a penitential ceremony: to 11,500 people at Memphis, in Advent, 1976, and to 2,000 at Jackson, with great publicity. It was to prevent the recurrence of such deplorable scenes that the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote the commentary on the Pastoral Norms which was published by Mgr. Bernardin (Cf. above, p. 172). But that document is powerless to obstruct similar aberrations: a few months later the "famous" general absolution took place in Lourdes, 12 September 1977 for the pilgrims from the diocese of Vannes under the presidency of their bishop.

The strict interpretation of the ambiguous text of 1972 remains a dead letter, and reminders are useless. The truth is that, when in these matters, a door has been opened it just cannot be shut.


5. The validity of irregular general absolutions

The 1944 text and that of 1972 both say that, apart from the cases indicated, general sacramental absolutions should be considered grave abuses "which all priests must be careful to avoid, conscious of their personal responsibility for the good of souls and the dignity of the sacrament of Penance" (Pastoral Norms, n. 8). Those abuses are therefore gravely illicit and detract from the dignity of the sacrament. Do they also affect its validity? The answer could be: ipso facto, no; but in certain cases, yes.

The commentary in Bonne Presse on the Instruction of 1944 said:

Apart from the cases provided for, general absolution is illicit and is a grave abuse on the part of the minister, but the absolution is valid if the dispositions of the penitent are what they ought to be.

What case of general absolution would not be valid? The case where the faithful, insufficiently instructed by the priests, lack the requisite intention to confess, the next time they go to confession, each one of their grave sins.

But further, in our opinion, it can be asked if irregular general absolutions do not ipso facto make the sacrament invalid because in fact the reason exempting from integrity of confession is bound to be missing. The fact is that the divine precept of integrity of confession concerns the validity of the sacrament of Penance. All theologians recognize the existence of grounds, physical and moral, which exempt from integrity,1 and the Magisterium has named a number of such grounds (in 1915, 1939, 1940, and 1944), thus recognizing in those cases the true sacramentality and validity of the general absolution; but they cannot escape the conclusion that the sacrament is sacrilegious abused, and is invalid, when general absolution is given in the absence of a reason exempting from integrity of confession.

Thus, in many cases the general absolutions which follow penitential ceremonies seem to be invalid, from lack of the requisite intention in the penitent supplying the integrity of his confession the next time he goes to Confession, or from lack of a physical cause for exemption.


6. Pastoral value of the practice authorized by the Pastoral Norms of 1972.

Proposition 59, condemned by Innocent XI, is: "at the least scandalous; in practice, pernicious." What is to be said of a document which favors, though later introducing restrictions, the practice thus reproved?

On 14 July 1972 L'Osservatore Romano made this comment on the discipline of general absolution:

It is a pastoral document and consequently makes no innovation in doctrine and leaves the present discipline substantially unchanged, though it makes provision for certain urgent cases.

It seems to us, on the contrary, that there is a shift of emphasis at the doctrinal  level: what was formerly forbidden except in a limited number of cases is now permitted. As to discipline: the earlier discipline would be unchanged if the 1972 norms were applied "strictly," but in fact it is the opposite which is happening, for all the futile reminders from the authorities in Rome. Finally, what in the earlier discipline was not "an urgent case" at all is given that name now in a text which is ambiguous but which is the basis of a clear practice.

We can therefore conclude by saying that the "Pastoral Norms," far from being "a pastoral document," are an anti-pastoral discipline by their introduction of general absolution at the conclusion o f penitential ceremonies as one of the possible rites of sacramental absolution. In fact it seems that here, as so often, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, trying to use its authority to limit the damage they do, has done nothing but ratify the novelties emanating from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship.


1All moral theologians number among such physical grounds "lack of time due to imminent danger of death," but they add that, outside that case, "lack of time never exempts from integrity" (Cf. Prummer, Man. Theol. Mar. Vol. III, no.379).

A Ghoul, a Ghost and a Grisly Murder: The Legend of Dr. Joseph McDowell

McDowell also put cannon on his building to fend off the Jesuits! I might do the same today.

In Antebellum St Louis, Dr Joseph Nash McDowell was, to put it mildly, an eccentric, whose legendary reputation included body snatching, artillery, demagoguery, ghosts, a live bear, and murder most foul. He is said to have inspired a character in one of America’s most famous works of fiction.

Hallowe'en: Threat or Opportunity?

'Samain was taken from real pagans to become All Saints and All Souls, ... Taking Hallowe'en back from neo-pagans should be less of a challenge.'

From The Brandsma Review

By Peadar Laighléis

Sancta ergo, et salubris est cogitatio pro defunctis exorare, ut a peccatis solvantur (2 Macchabees, 12:46)

WHEN I was ten, I had to write an essay on Hallowe'en. I went home from school, researched the customs and background of the festival and was commended for my work by the vice-principal. Which was ironic as he had imposed this on us as a punishment. Much later I graduated in Celtic Studies and with the passage of time observed the changing nature of Hallowe'en.

Hallowe'en is a phenomenon. In the United States, it is second in commercial value only to Christmas. It surpasses Easter, the distinctly American feasts of Thanksgiving and Independence Day and all the other holidays and commemoration days in the calendar. This explains how Hallowe'en is encroaching rapidly upon countries and cultures where it is not traditional. It is no exaggeration to say it has taken the German-speaking world by storm. From being almost unknown in Germany in the mid-1990s, it is now marked even in small towns and villages all over the country.

Powers of Darkness

It is also the case that Hallowe'en is changing. Traditionally, Hallowe'en was primarily focussed on children and, in Ireland at least, adults indulged in some innocent amusements. But in recent years, Hallowe'en has taken a distinctly adult character. This stems from the United States and is mainly an exploitation of the festival's market value. And this has become a very successful export, as the profitable new Hallowe'en becomes universal.

It is more than fair to say Hallowe'en presents a threat. Hallowe'en, as currently understood, gives us every reason for concern. This does not relate to Hallowe'en in itself or any of the folk customs I understood to be part of Hallowe'en when I wrote my fifth-class penalty essay. Hallowe'en is almost exclusively associated with the powers of darkness. The post-Christian West denies these powers' existence, but increasingly pays annual tribute to them on October 31. The witch movement keeps this date as its most important sabbath.

New Ageism in general appeals to the four principal Celtic festivals. These festivals, which the witch movement has more or less taken as "sabbaths", mark the turning of the seasons in the British Isles. Samain, on 1 November, was the most important of these; and all feature in so-called Celtic spirituality. For its part, the Satanist/Luciferian movement also keeps Hallowe'en as a feast. Though this is very much a fringe movement, this is the direction in which the ubiquitous shop window displays point.

How much do we know about the original Hallowe'en? The Celtic feast of Samain was kept around the beginning of November. This was a new year celebration, which also represented a harvest thanksgiving. This new year differed from ours. We are accustomed to go immediately from the old year to the new. Samain was a three-day feast between the end of one year and the beginning of the next. This "out of time" quality of Samain led the Celts to believe the dead were free to walk the earth again and that they would visit their old homes. For this reason, the Celts were particularly mindful of dead relatives and friends around this time.

.But there is really very little evidence in source material as to how Samain was celebrated. I have read many secondary accounts about some gruesome practices the Celts indulged in at Samain. While I have no trouble believing the Celts to have been thoroughly barbarous as heathens (despite what Celtic Spirituality devotees may believe), I have seen no evidence for most of the claims made by occultists about Samain. Much of this is the product of overactive imaginations.

The Celts dominated Europe before the Roman Empire took shape. It is impossible to reckon the extent to which Samain was observed in Europe, but it is certain it was still strong among the Gauls when they were evangelized. The Church recognised the significance of Samain. So two great feasts were initiated at the time - All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1 and All Souls on November 2.

Samain was providential

So was the Church culturally imperialistic or opportunistic? Did the Church attempt to suppress Samain or use it as an instrument for conversion? Let us say Samain, whatever it might have been in heathendom, was providential. It served two purposes; for the Celts in helping them assimilate Christianity and for the Church, in compelling her to clarify the doctrine of the Communion of Saints.

After the institution of the two feasts, Samain became Hallowe'en, taking the name Eve of All Hallows or Halloweven, later Hallowe'en. Thus the three day festival of Samain was maintained in the Celtic world, but with a distinctly Christian ethos. It may well be that many of the Hallowe'en practices have their origins in pagan times. Or it may not. Folk traditions only last as long as they are supported by the prevailing culture and they rarely survive indefinitely without alteration.

In the case of the Irish Hallowe'en, the public practice of All Saints and All Souls was suppressed in Penal Times, but Hallowe'en continued. Over time, the celebration apparently lost its intimate connection with the Church feasts. It is difficult to say. For a few generations, wake practices in Ireland were held to be in direct continuity with pagan practices. Then some scholar suggested some were invented in Penal Times to conceal the presence of a priest illegally performing the necessary ministrations.

If I apply Occam's Razor to Hallowe'en - unbroken continuity with pagan Samain or an attempt to keep a suppressed feast alive - which is the more probable? I am mindful of the coincidence of Hallowe'en/All Saints and Guy Fawkes' Night on November 5. That a distinctly anti-Catholic holiday should be instituted in England to commemorate the foiling of one of the many highly dubious Catholic conspiracies in Tudor and Stuart times is very interesting indeed. I don't believe Guy Fawkes' Night would have emerged had All Hallows not been strong in previously Catholic England.

Distorted notion of fun

So I believe that instead of reconstructing a lost heathen new year, one should compare Hallowe'en with the outlandish folk festivals associated with Catholic feasts in Mediterranean Europe. Such festivals are even more bizarre in the Orthodox world and anyone steeped in a Calvinist anthropology would shout “paganism”.

Hallowe'en was brought to the United States by Irish immigrants in the 1800s. This Hallowe'en had long lost its close ties with All Saints and All Souls. Any older significance was long forgotten. But it took many generations to take its present horrific form. It is easy to see how an apparently non-religious festival could be so attractive in a society in the process of advanced secularization. It is also easy to see how Hallowe'en could become a horror Fest once the Catholic understanding of the next world has been extracted. Following that, it is not too difficult to see how competing groups - New Ageists, Occultists, Luciferians - could impose their own meaning on Hallowe'en. And in the process, the commercial value increases. Especially in a world in which adults have a distorted notion of what constitutes fun. The terrifying new Hallowe'en is now a successful American export - even to countries in which Hallowe'en is traditional.

Television is to blame. When I was a child, we used to go from house to house asking for apples and nuts. More advanced children would ask for help for the Hallowe'en party. Now it is almost universal for children to say "trick or treat" in the American manner. One wonders about the educational value of allowing impressionable children to get what they want by threatening people with tricks.

It is a long established custom in Ireland to tell ghost stories around Hallowe'en. These stories are told as true stories and are of a local nature the audience will identify with. Though many may be scary, the purpose is not to frighten people. In fact, some reflect the Catholic belief that the souls in Purgatory need our prayers and the ghosts are there to alert our attention to this fact. Film and television does not present us with this type of ghost story. Instead, it transmits plain and simple horror, just for the sake of shocking the viewers. But this is all part of the Hallowe'en industry and it builds up the Hallowe'en various neo-pagan and satanist elements wish to impose upon the general public. They have made great strides in this direction.

The Mystical Body

So what do we do about Hallowe'en? There is very little we can do in the short term, as it is impossible to immunize oneself from the dominant culture. So Hallowe'en has to be put back in the context of All Saints/All Souls. If there are to be fruit and nut collections and fun and games, this should be done as a harvest thanksgiving and in preparation for the great feasts. In Ireland, a minor fast is kept in November to assist the souls in Purgatory. The celebration of Hallowe'en may point in this direction.

The first step toward a new understanding of Hallowe'en is a new understanding of the relationship between the Church Militant, the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering. The Church - in Heaven, on Earth and in Purgatory - is the Mystical Body of Christ. Hallowe'en should ultimately mark the launch of a festival to restate our belief in these realities and especially for charitable works towards the relief of the souls in Purgatory. And those who think Hallowe'en too flamboyant to precede a fast ought to recall Mardi Gras and Fasching are very colourful ways of marking the beginning of Lent.

Yes, Hallowe'en is a threat; it is a battleground upon which the forces of darkness appear invincible. Our Lord Himself reminds us the children of this world are wiser than the children of light. But Hallowe'en is also an opportunity - for the children of light to prepare for a reaffirmation of the Communion of Saints and to do something for the souls in Purgatory. In the early years of the Church, Samain was taken from real pagans to become All Saints and All Souls, upon which Hallowe'en depended. Taking Hallowe'en back from neo-pagans should be less of a challenge.

All Hallows' Eve

Fr Hunwicke with some thoughts on the abolition of the Vigil of All Saints, not by the VII 'reformers' but by Bugnini and Pius XII.

From Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment

A lovely day, the day before All Saints, in which the Roman Liturgy, with its beautiful Mass of the Eve, or Vigil, of All Saints, sets up a big marker against the heathen puerilities of "Hallow Een". And carries forward the themes of the Social Kingship of Christ. I am sure that both clergy and devout laity will enjoy the texts of this Mass.

Except that they won't. What a shame that Vatican II abolished it. Just another example of all that has been wrong since the 1960s.

Except that the Vigil of All Saints was not abolished by Vatican II.

Because, as everybody knows, it was abolished by the undoubted vandals who, in the decade after the Council, certainly did use "Vatican II" as a thoroughly dishonest excuse to ignore what the Council did actually mandate. Shockers, the lot of them.

Er ... No; wrong again. This lovely Vigil was abolished by Pius XII, hero-pope of a certain sort of Traddy!!

Pius XII it was who employed Hannibal Bugnini and began the deformation of the Roman Rite, years before Papa Roncalli had any notion whatsoever of summoning a Council. They began by interfering with the rites of Holy Week. And the Vigil of All Saints, they felt, had to go.

If, in a second-hand bookshop, you spot an old pre-1950 Missal going cheap, snaffle it up!

According to the pre-Pacelli Roman Rite, and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, in a year like this one, when November 1, All Saints, comes on a Monday, you are ordered to anticipate this Vigil on Saturday October 30.

If, following the complicated current usages of the modern English Catholic Church, you observe All Saints, this year, on Sunday, it will still be mighty suitable to celebrate the Vigil on Saturday ... wo'n't it?

The only people, I imagine, who really do carefully observe this and other such traditional Vigils are Anglicans who belong to "the Prayer Book Society" (led, I believe, by dear Prince Charles and the former Mrs Parker Bowles); and those American sedevacantists who (used to???) follow the S Lawrence Press Ordo


Have members of those two last-named highly-principled organisations inherited any megatraditional dietary customs about special 'vigil' observances? A modest Lobster Thermidor, perhaps, for breakfast? A penitential Bouillabaisse for lunch? [Native British home-shucked] Oysters for those in-between snacks? I don't wish to encroach upon Fr Zed's mouthwatering culinary posts, but perhaps this is a field in which my own readers who have appropriate Traddy contacts can make a modest contribution to edifying and recatholicising the Wider Church.

Deformtion Day

Today is the 505th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Deformation, so I think this is very apropos. Remember, all validly baptised people are members of Christ's Church until they embrace heresy after the age of reason.

-Saint Teresa of Avila (1582): “It was that vision (of Hell) which filled me with very great distress. I had the greatest sorrow for the so many lost souls that condemned themselves to Hell, especially those Lutherans. - for they were once members of the Church by Baptism - and also gave me the most vehement desires for the salvation of souls [...] I saw souls falling into hell like snowflakes.”

[Source: The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume 1, Chapter 32. Published by Institute of Carmelite Studies]

Joe Biden, Dylan Mulvaney and the Collapse of the West

'The burden of proof must be on those who wish to destroy, not on those who wish to maintain. ... "It's worked before, and it works still. I will not surrender it simply because you demand that I do so."'

From Townhall

By Ben Shapiro

This week, President Joe Biden held an interview with a TikTok influencer named Dylan Mulvaney. Mulvaney is a man -- a former Broadway star in "The Book of Mormon" -- who less than a year ago decided that he was a woman. Ever since, he has made daily videos titled "Day X as a Girl." These videos range from the stereotypical (on Day 1, Mulvaney announces, wearing drag, that he has cried three times) to the bizarrely cringe-inducing (on Day 120, Mulvaney analyzes his nipple size, which has increased from "cute little nipples" to "pepperoni nipples"). And they have earned Mulvaney in excess of 8.4 million followers along with makeup deals from CeraVe, MAC, Neutrogena and Kate Spade.

Mulvaney's cosplaying as a woman also earned him an interview with the most powerful person on the planet. In that interview, Mulvaney asked Biden, "Do you think states should have the right to ban gender-affirming health care?" For those who are unaware of the medical euphemisms currently in practice, "gender-affirming health care" amounts to a slate of "treatments" including socially transitioning minor children, calling them by new names and pretending that they are members of the opposite sex; pumping minors full of cross-sex hormones and/or puberty blockers, with unknown long-term effects; progressing toward surgeries ranging from phalloplasties (fake penises attached to females) and mastectomies (removal of breasts) to vaginoplasties (removal of the penis and testes and creation of a fake vagina for males) to facial reconstruction surgeries.

Biden answered, "I don't think any state or anybody should have the right (to restrict that). As a moral question and as a legal question, I just think it's wrong."

As a moral question, the president of the United States told a man dressed as a woman and engaging in the most idiotic stereotypical behavior that it would be a deep wrong to deny life-altering treatments to confused minors.

How did we arrive at this point in American life? How did our country decline to the point that a geriatric dotard, representing the global hegemon, can declare it immoral to prevent genital mutilation of young people in the name of anti-scientific "gender theory"?

The answer is obvious: traditional values are losing.

They are losing because the best defense of tradition is tradition itself. And that defense has now been obliterated by a society dedicated to the proposition that tabula rasa quasi-intellectualism is a better policymaker than tradition. To state that we ought to abide by effective and useful age-old traditions is no longer seen as enough; we must come up with some sort of argument that fulfills the demands of Left-wing secular humanists. The burden of proof has been shifted from radicals who wish to tear down durable institutions -- up to and including binary sex distinctions -- to those who advocate for those institutions. Radicals need not explain how tearing down these institutions will create a better world. They need only criticize the existing arrangements as "intolerant" and "noninclusive."

This is a recipe for societal collapse. Experience and wisdom are our teachers; destroying those teachers in the name of tabula rasa pseudo-rationalism is disastrously foolish. As FA Hayek observed, "Experience comes to man in many more forms than are commonly recognized by the professional experimenter or the seeker after explicit knowledge... The appropriateness of our conduct is not necessarily dependent on our knowing why it is so."

That's not to say that there are no secular humanistic arguments against the insanity of gender theory -- there are, and they are convincing, which is why even moderate liberals have turned against the most radical aspects of the Left-wing agenda. But the fact that social radicals have been able to push so far so fast is disturbing evidence that our entire traditional framework of thinking and acting has been undermined.

It must be restored. The burden of proof must be on those who wish to destroy, not on those who wish to maintain. This means that Americans must have confidence enough to say, "It's worked before, and it works still. I will not surrender it simply because you demand that I do so."