So, Catholic Church: Evil or Pure Evil?

I saw that and almost posted it here, but I can’t really wrap my head around it. The whole saint thing is so alien to me, and so bizarre, especially in the modern era. But hey, even the 2000 year old Church needs some newbies to attract Gen Z I guess.

I saw the image and thought, “That’s gotta be a Photoshop, right?”

No offense to that family, but the way that kid is posed in the photo with the blue halo background made me think it was some kind of joke.


The problem with a faith which has as a central tenet that miracles are real and relatively common is that you have to keep finding new ones.

What a weird God it must be to kill this kid at 15 after doing nothing but spreading the message while allowing all those mass shooters to live long enough to murder their fellow humans.

Blood for the blood god?

“Have to”…? Or GET to??

The hammer appears to be dropping on Archbishop Vigano.

Vigano was the nuncio (Vatican diplomat) to the US until 2016. When his service ended, he became increasingly engaged with US politics (despite being Italian), went Trumpy/Stop-the-Steal and later became a cheerleader for Vladimir Putin, calling Russia the “New Rome.” He criticized Pope Francis, first for supposedly ignoring warnings about prominent sex abuser, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and then for being an anti-orthodox liberal carrying on the doctrinal atrocities of <gasp!> Vatican II. Vigano went into hiding and started making increasingly unhinged claims on social media. He’s a hero of the “rad trad” Catholics online. Now he’s a criminal against the faith and likely to be excommunicated.

Unlike Henry VIII, though, he’s unlikely to found his own church with him at the head!

Seriously, though, guys like this are not what Catholics need, that’s for sure.

From what I’ve seen of online “Catholics” that wont matter.

Not the same thing, but Vigano has illicitly ordained a priest to lead some traditionalist community he supported, only to have the local bishop say, “Not in my diocese you don’t!” and declare any sacraments performed by that community to be invalid.

There are offshoots of the Catholic Church that have started from similar situations, so it’s not impossible Vigano goes that direction. As an example, there’s the Palmarian Church (which recently lured some nuns in Spain into schism) and at a different scale there was a guy in Kansas who had himself elected Pope Michael I. Both were motivated by the supposed modernist errors of Vatican II.

There’s all kinds, even in the more conservative circles. Some recognize Pope Francis as the pope, but think he has a dangerous modernist agenda. For them, excommunication would be a big deal, because Francis’ Church is still the One Church. Others may take Vigano’s stance and see any kind of censure, conviction, or penalty from the wayward post-Vatican II church as a “badge of honor.” Regardless, as with a lot of radical communities online, these folks are more loud than they are numerous.

They misspelled “jism.”

In an earlier conversation about excommunication up there somewhere, we talked about how the excommunication was more or less automatic as a function of the rules of the church and the actions of the excommunicatee (is that the word?). Why isn’t this guy already automatically excommunicated, as a function of the church rules and his actions? Isn’t basically running your own version of the church, against the wishes of the church, enough to get you automatically booted?

Fettuccine, frociaggine, same thing…

I imagine there are some arcane technicalities that allowed the Vatican to pretend the dude wasn’t actually in violation of whatever rule would have triggered excommunication. Politics I’m sure plays a huge role in these readings of the law.

Schism is a canonical crime. Archbishop Vigano has not been found guilty yet. However, the offending statements have been so glaringly clear and public that they have skipped the normal process of a full trial (the term is “extrajudicial”). Vigano has been asked to come to Rome to explain himself. It’s clear he’s not going to. An appointed advocate will make his best case, and then the judges will almost certainly find him guilty of schism. He will be declared excommunicated and probably eventually laicized.

Why didn’t his statements make him automatically excommunicated? Because you can criticize the Pope and not leave communion with the church. Bishop Strickland, who we’ve talked about here, who was removed from his bishopric but was not excommunicated, is an example. It takes a formal trial (even this truncated one) to say you have indeed committed the crime of schism, which is defined as refusal to submit to the Pope. The trial determines that the facts are true, you had the intent, there are no mitigating circumstances like you being under duress or insane, etc.

The deacon from the previous story did not commit a crime, he quit his job and joined a Protestant church. In doing so, he left communion with the Catholic Church. His bishop wrote him to inform him (remind him, really) of those consequences.

What both cases have in common is that excommunication is considered a “medicinal” penalty. It says “You cannot receive the saving sacraments of the Church until you renounce your past choices and return to communion.” The hope being that that loss is an incentive to make amends and come back. The deacon’s bishop could bring him back in quite easily, I would think, if he asked to return. Abp Vigano would probably have a lot to say to the Pope before his ban was lifted. But both of them (assuming Vigano is guilty) are given the declaration of excommunication to induce them to return.

As far as the illicit ordaining of priests goes, it does not (as I said when I brought it up) amount to starting your own church. It’s a valid act a bishop can perform, but there are rules that prevent priests being ordained and then going and operating in another bishop’s turf, basically. Vigano could presumably be tried by the Vatican for that; I don’t know what the penalties would be.

There are organizations started by schismatic bishops who claim to be the “real” Catholic Church and who ordain new priests in their community, and given the ideological anti-Vatican II bent of Vigano’s rhetoric, that act was reminiscent of that.

Remember when Vigano co-starred on Barney Miller?

There’s a rumor leaking out of the Vatican that another crackdown on the traditional Latin mass is coming. Where Pope Benedict made celebrating by the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (the mass as formulated at the Council of Trent during the Counterreformation) easier, Pope Francis has been steadily making it harder and harder for diocese and parishes to get permission to hold masses in that pre-Vatican II form. Now his Dicastery for Divine Worship is supposedly about to make it nigh impossible. Supposedly! No actual proof yet.

In the early 1970s, when Pope Paul VI was promulgating the new mass (Novus Ordo) after Vatican II, a group of artists and writers in Britain wrote a letter to him, asking that the traditional form of the mass not be wiped away. They argued that it had not only great religious meaning to many British Catholics, but also deep artistic, historical, and cultural significance. Reportedly when Pope Paul saw the name of Agatha Christie on the list of signatories he signed an indult giving permission to England and Wales to continue celebrating the Latin mass.

Now a new group of British artists, historians, musicians, and others is making a similar plea to Pope Francis (via The Times of London).

Sir, On July 6, 1971, The Times printed an appeal to Pope Paul VI in defence of the Latin Mass signed by Catholic and non-Catholic artists and writers, including Agatha Christie, Graham Greene and Yehudi Menuhin. This became known as the “Agatha Christie letter”, because it was reportedly her name that prompted the Pope to issue an indult, or permission, for celebration of the Latin Mass in England and Wales. The letter argued that “the rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired priceless achievements … by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture.”

Recently there have been worrying reports from Rome that the Latin Mass is to be banished from nearly every Catholic church. This is a painful and confusing prospect, especially for the growing number of young Catholics whose faith has been nurtured by it. The traditional liturgy is a “cathedral” of text and gesture, developing as those venerable buildings did over many centuries. Not everyone appreciates its value and that is fine; but to destroy it seems an unnecessary and insensitive act in a world where history can all too easily slip away forgotten. The old rite’s ability to encourage silence and contemplation is a treasure not easily replicated, and, when gone, impossible to reconstruct. This appeal, like its predecessor, is “entirely ecumenical and non-political”. The signatories include Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and non-believers. We implore the Holy See to reconsider any further restriction of access to this magnificent spiritual and cultural heritage.

So the question is, which of the names that signed the letter will be the Agatha Christie for Pope Francis? (Or maybe more realistically, for Cardinal Roche, the British cardinal in charge of the Dicastery for Divine Worship.)

Will it be Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey? Historian and presenter Tom Holland? Maybe fashion designer Paul Smith or activist Bianca Jagger? No, probably not, but what about Baron Andrew Lloyd Webber?? Maybe it’ll be one of the prestigious opera singers or classical musicians and composers who signed on.

One important aspect of the whole quiet battle over the Latin mass is that it has become a major instrument of outreach and appeal for young Millennial and Gen Z Catholics. It has also become an animating cause of the online traditionalist movement that opposes Pope Francis and often flirts with schism. It seems that Pope Francis’ motivation for restricting its practice in the past has been to push back against this supposedly schismatic effect, but it’s only made the gulfs between factions wider while throwing away a magnet for young people looking for religious expression that is a little more weird, exotic, and/or mystical.

It’s a problem when you have an institution based on tradition that is trying to shed a lot of the rather negative and harmful effects of some of those traditions.

I totally see that. Latin is hard core and when you put down some power chords and double bass drums while screaming the mass out, it sounds totally rad.

Also old churches are hard core. If America had churches like Europe, there would be way more Catholics.

Edit: Holy shit this is totally a thing! Check out the 4:30 mark. It does sound freaking rad!

Activist Bianca Jagger, lol

You know what they should do? They should switch to FAKE Latin — not pig Latin, though that’s also a good idea and gives the Mass the solemnity its content deserves — but the kind of fake Latin they use in Warhammer. The faithful won’t know the difference, and neither will the Trinity since they aren’t actually there. And they should negotiate a deal with Games Workshop where you have to be Catholic to play in GW stores.