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Mirus – many theologians deserve excommunication August 30, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, sickness.
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Dr. Jeff Mirus is someone with whom I have disagreed from time to time, but lately he has been hitting on all cylinders.  Last week, the head of the USCCB’s theology committee lamented the “crisis” in Catholic theological circles – because many claiming to be Catholic theologians, aren’t.  Mirus notes that in days of yore, such folks would have had the intellectual honesty to place themselves outside the Church.  But, today’s modernists aren’t interested in that, they are more interested in trying to subvert from within.  And, both for their own good, and for the good of the Church, they merit separation from the Body of Christ:

The first and most important thing to say is that the crisis is of the bishops’ own making. I do not claim that the profound secularization of culture which has eroded Catholic theology on every side is primarily the fault of the bishops, but it is certainly their fault—including the fault of Rome herself—that a pitched battle was not waged in the 1960’s to keep Catholic universities and colleges from succumbing to this secular spirit. For the institutions of Catholic higher education are in fact the collective seat of theological studies, and what Fr. Weinandy rightly calls “a radical divide over the central tenets of the Catholic faith and the Church’s fundamental moral tradition” would far better have been nipped in the bud than allowed, for now nearly fifty years, to grow from strength to strength. [Indeed, rank heresy has been tolerated for decades from numerous self-identified Catholic theologians.  The scandal and damaage to souls is incalculable]

Given the long percolation of Modernism in Catholic theological circles from the late 19th century and the rapid secularization of Western culture in the 1960’s, this battle would have been long and hard. But it is difficult to imagine that it would not now be over, instead of just beginning on far less favorable terrain. The key to victory would have been to make sure that heretics were clearly and forcefully declared to be where they belonged—that is, outside rather than within the Church, so that they could attack Catholic faith and morals only from secular institutions. [More on this later] You may recall that this was finally done with one premier dissenter, Hans Küng, who is no longer permitted to teach theology at any Catholic institution, with the result that nobody any longer cares what he thinks……

…….I would very much prefer to convert those who betray the Faith by example and argument. But example and argument are never enough for those who do not wish to be converted. …….It is much better for the Church if those who despise the tenets of her Faith and her fundamental moral tradition are on the outside looking in, and not theologians in good standing…….

That is why it is necessary to exclude those who are no longer Catholic from theological positions within the Church. But exclusion requires more than teaching and sanctifying. Exclusion requires that bishops learn once again how to rule. [Far, far too many bishops have been terribly timid in using their authority.  Actually, let me refrain that.  Far, far too many bishops have been terribly timid in using their authority to squash dissenting, heretical theologians and others in their charge.  But some have had the unfortunate tendency to come down hard on those who complain about the heresy, the implications of which are most troubling] By their failure to rule, the bishops have participated in the creation of this radical divide. Only by ruling now can they once again close that yawning chasm—or rather put that chasm and its other side outside the borders of the Church of Christ.

Many Catholics of a traditional bent have argued for years that Vatican II, or a certain interpretation of it, has been a large part of this massive theological problem.  There are unfortunately many in the Church, including many priests and bishops, who believe that since Vatican II, the “primacy of the individual conscience” must reign supreme in all matters, meaning that effectively there is no heresy.  Or, the only heresy is to “judge” others, to claim that they are not in union with what the Church believes.  That this is a totally modernist viewpoint goes without saying, but it also points to the problematic nature of some of the documents of Vatican II, or at least their wide scale interpretation and implementation.  Why?  Because some of the documents, like Dignitatus Humanae, lend themselves to widespread interpretation in a ‘hermeneutic of rupture.’   Certainly, appeals to Vatican II to bolster some heretical viewpoint have been so common as to become chiched, especially in the two decades immediately following Vatican II. 

That is why I tend to agree with Bishop Athanasius Schnieder, Msgr. Gherardini, and others, that a re-examination of Vatican II in the light of Tradition would be most helpful – even a bare necessity.  I also think that the production of a syllabus of errors that have stemmed from VII is essential – to clarify those theological developments (and the theologians who have developed them) which are outside the bounds of the beliefs of the Church.  This would provide a clear grounds for doing the thankless, but exceedingly necessary, task of excommunicating those who refuse to recant their works attacking Catholic orthodoxy (and attack, they definitely do).  I’m afraid that without such clarifications, at the highest levels of the Church, implementing Pope Benedict’s desired ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ will be impossible  – or, perhaps it will be possible, but it will take decades, and place untold millions of additional souls in grave jeopardy.

The problem is that the still very prevalent ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ provides cover for those, unfortunately quite numerous, prelates who at least tacitly endorse many of the problematic theologies to do nothing.  Declaring these false theologies outside the bounds of the Church with a formal document would provide them much less room for maneuver.  I think it would be a very significant step in the right direction.  Comments?

Related, by my friend Colleen Hammond.

Did Jesus engage in spiritual warfare? August 30, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Liturgy, North Deanery, priests, silliness.
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A local priest at Mass today stated that Jesus did not engage in spiritual warfare – He simply commanded demons to depart and they were forced to instantaneously obey.  I guess the implication is that Jesus is so overwhelmingly powerful against the forces of darkness that it’s not even warfare – He simply dominates evil and crushes it.

I’m struggling with accepting this view.  While I understand that Jesus does command all things, good and evil, earthly and spiritual, with total dominance (as He was the Being through which all things were created), total dominance does not mean that warfare was not conducted.  Using a sordid earthly example, it was still warfare in 1940 when the Nazis rolled over France and the Low Countries with virtual impunity.  Similar examples abound from the sad history of human warfare.

At the same time, does Mark 9 imply that Jesus had to engage in some preparatory efforts in order to cast out an unclean spirit? 

And one of the multitude, answering, said: Master, I have brought my son to thee, having a dumb spirit. [17] Who, wheresoever he taketh him, dasheth him, and he foameth, and gnasheth with the teeth, and pineth away; and I spoke to thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not. [18] Who answering them, said: O incredulous generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. [19] And they brought him. And when he had seen him, immediately the spirit troubled him; and being thrown down upon the ground, he rolled about foaming. [20]And he asked his father: How long time is it since this hath happened unto him? But he said: From his infancy:

[21] And oftentimes hath he cast him into the fire and into waters to destroy him. But if thou canst do any thing, help us, having compassion on us. [22] And Jesus saith to him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. [23] And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears said: I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief. [24] And when Jesus saw the multitude running together, he threatened the unclean spirit, saying to him: Deaf and dumb spirit, I command thee, go out of him; and enter not any more into him. [25]And crying out, and greatly tearing him, he went out of him, and he became as dead, so that many said: He is dead.

[26] But Jesus taking him by the hand, lifted him up; and he arose. [27] And when he was come into the house, his disciples secretly asked him: Why could not we cast him out? [28]And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

I think the proper reading is that Jesus was advising the disciples that they needed to pray and fast in order to have the power to cast out demons.  Perhaps a Biblical exegete could disabuse me of my notion, but Jesus’ dominance over evil seems assured.

But my problem still remains.  Perhaps it’s that there seems to be a profound lack of interest in spiritual warfare across whole vast swaths of the Church today.  Many, especially those imbued with that ‘spirit of Vatican II,’ regard spiritual warfare as indicative of “negative theology” or “negative ecclesiology,” too focused on hell and damnation and the dangers posed by evil spirits and our own fallen natures.  Certainly, interest in the public ministry of most priests in such topics is scarce.  I think this is very unfortunate, because hell and damnation are realities we could all face, and ignoring them does not make them go away – in fact, ignoring them tends to encourage the sorts of behaviors that will make one more likely to wind up in those hideous circumstances eternally,  human nature being what it is.  So, I feel it is a mistake, at least prudentially, to claim that Jesus did not engage in spiritual warfare.  Many Catholics today have a very simplistic view of Jesus and the Truth He revealed – saying “Jesus did not engage in spiritual warfare” could be tantamount in many minds to saying “spiritual warfare is something you need not be concerned about.”  We do need to be concerned about it – we should not obsess about it, but we should be aware that satan and his minions are real, and pose a real threat.  And simply because Jesus totally dominated on a spiritual field of battle does not mean that he was not engaged in warfare.  He was, and is.

Way to go Joe K! August 30, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, episcopate, Eucharist, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Our Lady, Papa, priests, religious, Society.
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OK, so the music may not be terribly traditional or Catholic, but it does have a certain emotional pull.  Joseph K at Defend Us In Battle put together what I think is a great video showing our Faith, and check out the cameo of Dallas Diocese Deacon (and soon to be priest, God Willing) Ruben Chen @ 1:40:

h/t Larry D

Is wind power a costly sham? August 30, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, foolishness, scandals, Society.
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The National Review has an article describing the inefficacy of wind power in Texas.  Wind power is strongly favored by those claiming an attachment to the environment – ostensibly clean energy with no major environmental drawbacks (funny – the environmental movement started with a focus on preserving scenic locations, like Yellowstone.  Now, environmentalists don’t have any problem having huge wind farms disfiguring landscapes coast to coast).  But, unlike traditional forms of power generation, wind power, like solar, is often unavailable when you need it most.  In fact, despite a “nameplate rating” of over 10 gigawatts of installed wind power capacity in Texas, the effective capacity of the all the wind farms in Texas is actually only 880 megawatts – or only 8.7% of nameplate capacity.  That effective capacity has been true ever since the first wind farms were installed over 20 years ago:

Wednesday brought yet another unspeakably hot day to Texas and, alas, it was yet another day when wind energy failed the state’s consumers.

Indeed, as record heat and drought continue to hammer the Lone Star State, the inanity of the state’s multi-billion-dollar spending spree on wind energy becomes ever more apparent. On Wednesday afternoon, ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, declared a power emergency as some of the state’s generation units began to falter under the soaring demand for electricity. Electricity demand hit 66,552 megawatts, about 1,700 megawatts shy of the record set on August 3.

As I wrote in these pages earlier this month, Texas has 10,135 megawatts of installed wind-generation capacity, which is nearly three times as much as any other state. And yet, on Wednesday, all of the state’s wind turbines mustered just 880 megawatts of power when electricity was needed the most. Put another way, even though wind turbines account for about 10 percent of Texas’s 103,000 megawatts of summer electricity-generation capacity, wind energy was able to provide just 1.3 percent of the juice the state needed on Wednesday afternoon to keep the lights on and the air conditioners humming.

None of this should be surprising. For years, ERCOT has counted just 8.7 percent of the state’s installed wind-generation capacity as “dependable capacity at peak.” What happened on Wednesday? Just 880 megawatts out of 10,135 megawatts of wind capacity — 8.68 percent — was actually moving electrons when consumers needed those electrons the most.

Apologists for the wind industry point to a single day in February, when, during a record cold snap, the state’s wind turbines were able to produce electricity when the grid was being stressed. Fine. On one day, wind generators produced more than expected. But the wind industry’s lobbyists want consumers to ignore this sun-bleached truth: Texas has far more super-hot days than it does frigid ones. Indeed, here in Austin, where I live, we’ve already had 70 days this summer with temperatures over 100 degrees, and there’s still no relief in sight. And on nearly every one of those hot days, ERCOT’s wind capacity has been AWOL. Each afternoon, as the temperature — and electricity demand — soars, the wind dies down:

And yet — and yet — the state is spending billions on projects that focus on wind energy rather than on conventional generation capacity. As Kate Galbraith of the Texas Tribune reported recently, the Texas Public Utility Commission is preparing the state’s ratepayers for higher prices. Consumers will soon be paying for new transmission lines that are being built solely so that the subsidy-dependent wind-energy profiteers can move electricity from their distant wind projects to consumers in urban areas.

Galbraith reports that “the cost of building thousands of miles of transmission lines to carry wind power across Texas is now estimated at $6.79 billion, a 38 percent increase from the initial projection three years ago.” What will that mean for the state’s ratepayers? Higher electricity bills. Before the end of the year, the companies building the transmission lines are expected to begin applying for “rate recovery.” The result, writes Galbraith, will be charges that “could amount to $4 to $5 per month on Texas electric bills, for years.”

Imagine what the state’s grid might look like if Texas, which produces about 30 percent of America’s gas, had spent its money on natural-gas-fired electricity instead of wind. The latest data from the Energy Information Administration shows that wind-generated electricity costs about 50 percent more than that produced by natural-gas-fired generators. Thus, not only would Texas consumers be saving money on their electric bills, the state government would be earning more royalties from gas produced and consumed in the state.

Further, consider what might be happening had the state kept the $6.79 billion it’s now spending on wind-energy transmission lines and instead allocated it to new natural-gas-fired generators. The latest data from the Energy Information Administration show that building a megawatt of new wind capacity costs $2.43 million — that’s up by 21 percent over the year-earlier costs — while a new megawatt of gas-fired capacity costs a bit less than $1 million, a drop of 3 percent from year-earlier estimates.

Under that scenario, Texas could have built 6,900 megawatts of new gas-fired capacity for what the state is now spending on wind-related transmission lines alone. Even if we assume the new gas-fired units were operating at just 50 percent of their design capacity, those generators would still be capable of providing far more reliable juice to the grid than what is being derived from the state’s wind turbines during times of peak demand.

Another report showed that over $25 billion has been spent installing wind farms and transmission lines for them in toto over the last couple of decades.  That $25 billion has generated less than 1 gigawatt of reliable energy.  Whether that figure is accurate or not may be debatable, but less debatable is that a similar investment into nuclear would have yielded 5 gigawatts of virtually uninterruptable energy, or 25 gigawatts of rapid response (easy on, easy off) natural gas (which, by the way, this state possesses enormous quantities of, thanks to the Barnett and other shales and hydraulic fracture techniques).   On the downside of gas powerplants, while they are cheap to build, they do have to burn gas that, while at near record low prices, still adds up to quite a bit of expense over the operating life of the plant. 

Fundamentally, both wind and solar are not easily scalable, and are simply unreliable.  Both have high environmental costs of their own, from destroyed scenic vistas to thousands of bird deaths for wind, to the mining and production of huge amounts of toxic and hard to dispose of heavy metals for solar.  There is probably some merit for both in limited circumstances.  But I don’t feel that either merit large governmental support, or artificial “mandates” that require a certain percentage of a region’s power production to consist of “renewable” energy.  The latter is simply another exercise in invasive government, and plays to the global warming cooling climate change hysterics.

Are men with an attachment to the TLM still being denied entry to seminary? August 30, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, Eucharist, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, Papa, priests, sadness, scandals.
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According to anecdotal collected by a Fr. Michael Brown, the answer is in his opinion yes:

Reports reach the Forest now and again about bishops and vocations directors quizzing seminarians about their interest in the Extraordinary Form. This could be a good thing: they might be ensuring that seminarians are at one with the mind of the Church about the Extraordinary Form regarding which Universae Ecclesiae told us a few months ago:

6. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively as ordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honour.

Thus if bishops and vocations directors are expressing any concern regarding the Extraordinary Form and seminarians it would, one would think, be to ensure that all seminarians are at home in both forms of the Roman Rite and most importantly are taught how to celebrate and to love the EF.

Sadly this is not what one hears. Instead seminarians are quizzed about their interest in the Extraordinary Form in such a way as to make clear to them that any interest would be considered a problem and as they used to say in my time, `a formation issue`. This is outrageous given developments in recent years. Eventually this will change but until then it is sad that people who are only following the directives of the Holy See are made to suffer.

Does the practice outlined above exist in the Dallas Diocese?  Some anecdotal stories suggest that the answer is yes.  In spite of the recent addition of a Novus Ordo Latin Mass in the Diocese (a sadly problematic Mass), I have been told by certain individuals with definite roles in the Diocese that there is a kind of concern, or perhaps even antipathy, directed at those who have a strong attraction to Tradition and especially the Traditional Latin Mass.  Those who have this interest are aware that they must keep it carefully concealed, and in at least one case it appears that efforts have been made, subtly, quietly, to discourage that interest. 
It is of course wonderful that a Novus Ordo Latin Mass was added in the north deanery of the Diocese, a generous gesture on the part of both Bishop Farrell and the staff and clergy of St. Mark.  But there remains the issue of both Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae, which plainly state that the faithful have a right to request the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass at a particular parish, and that both the parish clergy and Diocese should do all in their power to meet that request.   I, and  many others, believe that is the Holy Father’s intent with both SP and UE  – to allow for the liberal celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass where it is requested.  It appears that in some locales there are still efforts to block that intent – not necessarily the Dallas Diocese, but certainly in some Diocese that is the case.