Category Archives: Irony

“Team Francis” wrote “The Letter”? Oxford offers a clue to the mystery.

pope francis asperges

You have heard that it was said that the authors of the most recent diatribe against the papacy as such “clarify” that (1) they are not saying that the Supreme Pontiff has “denied truths of the faith in pronouncements that satisfy the conditions for an infallible papal teaching” [and that is correct] and that (2) “We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit” [and that is also correct].

But then the most exalted and enlightened group of “they” have it that a “heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.”

Wait a minute there… “Heretical papacy”? Did they just contradict themselves? Do they mean “personally heretical pope”? If they did they would say it. These are clever guys (et alii) after all. “Heretical papacy” is as ambiguous as the ambiguity they are attacking. To say “heretical papacy” jacks up the stakes, lighting the wood around any stake on fire.

Of course, any individual Bishop of Rome can personally be a heretic. Too bad, that. And if that were the case and if it were to be known it would surely adversely affect the salvation of souls. I do grieve should that ever be the case in the history of the Church (and it has been the case more than once).

But I should like to know by what act of self-appointment above the Supreme Pontiff is it which grants powers of judgment over the personal beliefs of the Successor of Peter such as to put him on trial so as to forcibly depose him, remove him, get rid of him. How is it that they can seriously think that they themselves will not be held accountable to the Divine Son of the Living God as they spit not only on the anointed of the Lord, but on the Face of Jesus, Mary’s dear Son? Are they going to storm the Vatican, kill the Swiss Guards with bombs, arrest the Holy Father and drag him out next to the Obelisk so as to put him on trial, and then hanging him on the Obelisk itself?

  • Peter, you denied me. Do you love me more than these? Feed my lambs…

And then:

  • Are any of us without sin? By our sin, original sin and whatever of our own rubbish, we have all crucified the Son of the Living God.

They speak of carrying out this coup with the cynicism said to be in accord “with the hallowed adage, Salus animarum prima lex — “the salvation of souls is the highest [first] law”. Pffft. I’m not judging them, but what they present outside of themselves, objectively, is nothing more than what amounts to glorifying themselves.

Cowards that they are, they hide behind the skirts of bishops who they call to be their henchmen, (1) by “admonishing Pope Francis to reject these heresies [forget the show trial], and (2) if he should persistently refuse [to listen to tantrums], by declaring that he has freely deprived himself of the papacy.”

Wow. I thought I heard a lot of stupid, stupid, stupid things about the papacy, but this takes the prize. You’ll remember the stupidity of some, saying that if Pope Francis infallibly spoke fallibly – or is that fallibly spoke infallibly? – then, after the fact, he should be deposed, meaning that he would be able to do that in the first place, you know, infallibly speak fallibly – or is that fallibly speak infallibly? – The lack of logic should be clear. But pretty much all of the Tradition-al-ism-ists grabbed on to this. And if anyone went against their illogic and, indeed, heresy, these outsiders were simply dismissed as “Team Francis.” But this present statement of these cowards on the deprivation of the papacy is worse for its insanity.

They say that it can be declared against the will of the Holy Father that the Holy Father is doing something freely. How stupid is that? Look, people. These guys may not realize it, but they are mocking you all as being incredibly stupid and unable to think for yourselves. They think you are their puppets. They want ever more puppets. Doesn’t that mean that it’s about power, Power, POWER! It’s mine! My Precious! Get it? Let me take nine seconds of your time that you’ll never get back:

They say that the Holy Father would have “freely deprived himself of the papacy” by not receiving such a declaration made by others, even just a small group of others.

Then, when they drag him away into exile and set up a puppet pope, an anti-pope, there will be no confusion among the faithful as to whether the “hallowed adage” of the salvation of souls being the first law has been served, you know, while smashing down all other laws in the church, right?

I mean, imagine the outcome of an anti-pope who cannot legitimately be elected as the Successor of Peter and therefore does NOT have the Power of Keys, and cannot delegate the Power of Keys.

One could go on with devastating consequences for the Church a thousand times more damaging that whatever these guys think is the damage going on under Pope Francis.

So, I ask, if these guys are saying that “Team Francis” is destroying the Church, and what want to be done would provide deep, deep wounds for the Church, whose “Team” are they actually on? Oh. I get it. Irony. Yep.

More than that, the last thing Pope Francis wants is that anyone be on “Team Francis.” This is about Jesus.

Anyway, if it’s not bad enough of me to cite John Ronald Reuel Tolkien by way of Gollum, then I may as well go on to cite Hilaire Beloc:

hilaire bellocTo the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power. […] The mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, Selected Essays (2/6), ed. J.B. Morton; Penguin Books (1325): Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958. See the essay “On Irony” on pages 124-127.]

So, what’s the upshot of all that?

  • Pray for Pope Francis. Hail Mary…
  • Pray for these others working as hard as they can for an anti-Pope. Hail Mary…

Maybe I’m really just a meany, you know, citing such as Belloc and Tolkien, both Oxford-ites. And maybe I should give some slack to some of the “top” names of “The Letter.” After all, their country has a long history of fake pope stuff going on. Not a big deal then, I guess. Nevertheless, the reality of the matter is that it does matter, regardless of Oxford-ites know it or not.

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Filed under Irony, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Homily 2018 09 14 – Cross’ Triumph… Cri-de-coeur for Irony Incarnate

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

This is my cri-de-coeur for an appreciation of irony, of Him who is Irony Incarnate.

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Filed under HOMILIES, Irony, Jesus

Ringwraith stabbing: my trip to Rome. Hilaire Belloc “On Irony” ;-)

Image result for ringwraith stabbing

Did you ever see the Lord of the Rings? Do you remember when Frodo Baggins was stabbed by the poisonous sword of the Ringwraith?

frodo ringwraith

It wasn’t those to whom I spoke. It wasn’t those about whom I was speaking. The “Ringwraith” in this case was the political atmosphere storming about Vatican hill. Get near that in any serious way as I did when I went up into the Apostolic Palace the other week to deliver some packages going to the heart of the current crisis and you’ll get stabbed by that Ringwraithness. Again, this doesn’t at all refer to those to whom I spoke or about the packages so delivered.

Getting stabbed doesn’t necessitate becoming a Ringwraith. It just means that you have to struggle a bit. I’m sure we all have an experience like that of Frodo. And we all have “Elvish medicine” by which to conquer.

I’d like to think of that medicine as giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception. After all, she saw her own Son get crushed by Satan and all the powers of hell and saw Him risen from the dead.

To put it another way: When Jesus lays down His life, it is in that very action that He also lays down our lives with His, we being members of the Body of Christ, we being children of Jesus’ good mom, you know, like the Master so the disciple. That’s for all of us.

But that is a burden to carry in this world. I don’t know how those on the straight and narrow in the Vatican can survive. It’s all God’s grace. They carry an enormous burden. They are getting stabbed by Ringwraithness on a continuous basis, 24/7/365. For them: Hail Mary…

But there is more. There is irony. It is so fierce that people can scream running away. Don’t run. Don’t be afraid. Perhaps a re-read of some irony will help:

hilaire bellocTo the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

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Filed under Abuse, Holy See, Irony, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Jesus goes to Confession

confessional jesus

A very sweet, nice image from, I think, the Baltimore Catechism. Fine. There is some correct theology there. Good. Jesus is making happen what He commanded His Apostles and their successors in Holy Orders to do. Great. But there is more.

Here’s another image, more recent, which emphasizes that the priest is acting in Persona Christiin the Person of Christ, for the absolution of sins:

confession jesus

That’s um… nice too. I like it. But, well, sheesh… there is so much more to what is happening in Confession that people really should realize, so that they have more of a sense of how deeply and completely they are forgiven even if their fallen human emotions still weigh them down with a guilt which isn’t there (which is a cross we sometimes carry, a cross which we are commanded to carry by Jesus, a cross which doesn’t hold us back spiritually, just the opposite).

I would like to see an image, a line-drawing say – even from someone thinking they have no talent for drawing faces, hands and such – of Jesus going to Confession to a priest, and perhaps in a more traditional Catholic setting, something like the photo below, but with an adult Jesus, with His wounds, going to Confession to the priest:

confession sacrament

Here’s the deal: Jesus walked among us so that He could stand in our place (or kneel in our place, or be crucified in our place), the Innocent for the guilty, so that He would have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Effectively, He was taking our place, not only for original sin but for all of our personal sins, however hidden, however embarrassing, however shameful, confessing them, as it were, as if those sins were His own sins: “I did this…. I said that… I thought the other thing… I omitted doing…” And, by the way, Jesus got a penance, a big one, being tortured to death, the Innocent for the guilty. And He did His penance. Why? Because He really does, in fact, indeed, love us.

To be Christian we have to have a sense of what to us in this world seems to be such biting irony,  mercy being founded on justice, mercy and justice being one in God. Otherwise, we are a train-wreck:

  • Mere mercy cut off from noticing the above mentioned justice brings us instantaneously to the darkest of existential states of cynicism and doubt.
  • Mere justice which doubts even the possibility of mercy is a crushing darkness throwing us into the most existential peripheries of dark bitterness.

We’re just not strong enough to bear such horror, as it is untruth, for mercy is founded on justice and Jesus does bear the wounds which give Him the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Does He love us? Does He forgive us? Yes.

Do we, in our weakness, want that our weakness goes away already in this world? Yes. And it doesn’t happen because, in justice, we have to suffer all the effects of original sin, even while carrying the grace of Christ within us, while we are in this world. To be free of the effects of original sin we have to be in heaven, where there will be no more weakness of mind, weakness of will, emotions all the hell over the place, no more sickness, no more death. Jesus isn’t going to throw away justice, for then He would also be throwing away mercy. Jesus instead lets all our weakness teach us how to be in humble thanksgiving to Jesus. Jesus doesn’t want that we beat ourselves up. He wants that we accept the forgiveness, but as mercy founded on justice. It is hurtful to have false expectations, as in “no more weakness in this world,” “no more cross,” “a method of salvation I came up with so that I can ditch that dumb Jesus with His dumb mercy founded on His dumb justice.” But, as said in the bulleted points above, that leads to an impossibly heavy, crushing darkness which throws us into the most impossible self-made peripheries, having us think we are outsiders. No. That’s not the way. Jesus is the Way. He’s the only Way. Jesus is the One. He’s the only one.

Let’s watch Him, let’s listen to Him confess all our sins. Let’s watch Him do His penance for us. We imposed our misery on ourselves. Jesus doesn’t like that. He came among us to take that misery away. We’ll see that especially in heaven. But we can already get a sense of His love for us here, even amidst all the chaos within and without. It’s like Saint Therese said, it’s not necessarily a jump up and down peace, but a peace bound by love which enables us to go on. We gotta be little children. Little. Children. Look at Jesus, in wonder, as He confesses our sins.

I would love to have a line drawing of this, even one with little talent.

And more, how about a little boy or girl watching Jesus go to Confession, with mouth agape in thankful wonder and surprise and joy.

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Filed under Confession, Irony, Jesus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Policing justice is mercy: We need cops. Ironies abound in this anti-cop era.

alexamenos crucified donkey

Alexamenos, surely an early Jewish-Christian martyr, bidding us to worship his God and ours (as mocked in this graffito by his Imperial Schoolboy classmates just above the Circus Maximus and Imperial Forum of the Caesars of the early centuries in Rome. His later namesake is the protagonist in a 750 page novel I wrote between chapters of the doctoral thesis on Genesis 2–3.

In God, Justice is Mercy. We can discuss our fine points and distinctions, whereby, as the Common Doctor says, mercy is a potential part of the virtue of justice. But, in God, they are the same. Just stare at Jesus crucified, on Him whom you have pierced. No, really, do it. He became a jackass criminal for us, standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty, redeeming us by becoming exactly what we were, who we are without His grace. How ironic. But there are many who don’t get that. There are many who may think that Jesus didn’t “become sin” for us (see St Paul) evil while remaining innocent. Irony just kills them instead of enlivening them. But that’s entirely their fault. That’s no reason not to provide the irony. And it is true that irony bears the very reflection of what it hates. And I think this bears memorization:

hilaire bellocTo the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

But let’s take a very practical example, shall we? We just lost our entire police force in Andrews except for one officer, the youngest, who started with us. Will he stay? The rest were instantly all snapped up to become Federal agents, that is Tribal Police, which is Federal. Now we need applications. Who will apply. The media has been giving the police around the country a bad rap, undeservedly so.

I’ve heard the shadowy opinion that it’s not nice to be a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer). ‘Tis better to be a missionary of mercy than to be a minister of justice, they say, as if the two were mutually exclusive. But let’s take a look at that. What do police do?

  • Police mostly do domestic calls. Surely this involves the administration of justice for the jerk who is beating his wife to death and is throwing kids through sheet-rock walls in drug/liquor induced temper tantrums. But it is also a great mercy to end that hell for the wife and kids, to get them medical treatment and then a way out of that living hell. And it’s also mercy for the perp, who needs to be tripped on his way to hell. Maybe he can go to heaven.
  • Police do a lot of traffic stops. Surely this involves the administration of justice for the jerk who is driving drunk or is on drugs or is a road-rager or is driving at out-of-control speeds, for he is an imminent danger to himself and the public. But this is also a great act of mercy for the driver and the general public. All will be safer.

Of course, it is said that the down side to all this is that the bread-winner is taken out of the house in the first instance or will lose his job in the second instance as the vehicle will be impounded, blah blah blah. Leave well enough alone they say. They were fine before the police interfered they say. Yet they are happy to watch women and children get smacked down and killed. They are happy not to have the woman and children get safe housing and be put on programs until she and kids can get on their feet again. They are happy to let the perp not get the tripping up he needs. Just the good ol’ boys, you know.

I’m hoping that youngsters who are not carrying the baggage of their elders will become indignant with the reasoning of the good ol’ boys and go ahead and provide a lot of mercy by way of being ministers of justice, LEOs and all that.

To do that well, they would have to be able to bear all the baggage, all the evil of this present generation as if they themselves were guilty of it, that is, to understand that they could be the very criminals they seek to arrest, or better, are the very criminals they seek to arrest, that is, except for the grace of God. Remember the old adage: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Then, after that realization, it’s all about loving others as you would want to be loved by them. If we need tripping up while we are on our way to hell at breakneck speeds, should we not be thankful for someone tripping us up? That’s mercy isn’t it?

With incredible racism and anti-Semitism, Saint John the Baptist is hailed by many as being all about justice and has nothing to do with mercy, because, you know, he’s all about the Old Testament and we’re children of the New Testament. I know of no more merciful prophet in the Hebrew Scriptures than John, who is praised by none other than Jesus, the very Son of God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder-Counselor, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, He who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

 

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Filed under Donkeys, Irony, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy