Welcome to Sodom

A priest friend shared this, taken from the Pastor’s Page of Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda, MA:

Pastor’s Letter
Welcome to Sodom. Yes, that is what Maryland has now become. Sodom with its neighbor Gomorrah was a city of antiquity whose disregard for the natural law of human love led to its destruction. That same disregard is now written into state law. The distinctive physical and life-cultivating compli- mentarity of woman and man has been dismissed as a basis for marriage. Additionally, those who cannot honor this dilut- ed definition in their personal and business activities will be held legally liable for discrimination and punished accordingly.
Already, the owner of a trolley service in Annapolis seeing this coming announced he will no longer offer wedding ser- vices. By doing so he will lose much of his business, but he cannot in good faith go along with treating as normal what is not, neither can we.
It is a great sadness that many of Satan’s helpers in usher- ing in this demonic distortion of marriage were Catholics, such as our governor. In promoting this desecration they have not only brought dishonor to our holy faith and shame to all Cath- olics, but invite the real possibility of damnation on them- selves. We must pray that they recognize this error, repent and make reparation.
Some may interpret my words as an unfair disregard for individuals who bear same-gender attraction. It is not. Such brothers and sister must be loved and embraced. Indeed, we must make greater efforts of proper inclusion and support. At the same time true love is not allowance for any activity. It has no authority to overlook what is written in nature. Love cannot comply with a lie. It first honors what God has de- signed, and then encourages all to live in authentic love that leads to true fulfillment.
Nothing changes for us, because God defines marriage. This has not changed. The purposeful union of man and woman was the crown of God creation. Anything else by that name mocks what God has created, and therefore mocks God.
Maryland is our home. It is where we are placed, and it is where we will continue to live. But especially now we must live upholding in word and honor the truth of marriage with clarity. We cannot betray what God has created without be- traying God. This means never placating or playing along with a false notion, no matter how “well intention” some may be. Itwillnotbeeasy. Wedosoattheriskoftheireand even legal sanctions this will invoke.
Our beloved state is now a modern-day Sodom. We should not be surprised at the coming of confusion, conflict, and even catastrophe. We reap what we sow.
May God have mercy on us.

Msgr. Edward J. Filardi

Rem acu tetigit!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pastor Bonus says:

    Outstanding Mons. Filardi!

  2. acardnal says:

    God bless Msgr. Filardi! His honesty and courage should be replicated by other pastors and not worry about their offertory collections. I believe his closing remarks are most appropriate:

    “Our beloved state is now a modern-day Sodom. We should not be surprised at the coming of confusion, conflict, and even catastrophe. We reap what we sow.
    May God have mercy on us.”

  3. Laura98 says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Fr. Z. Yes indeed, May God have mercy on us.

    I am left to wonder what the Supreme Court will soon decide. How will that affect the rest of the nation? Again, May God have mercy on us.

  4. TNCath says:

    Maryland was named after Queen Henrietta Maria, a devout Catholic. It was one of the very few places in the British colonies where a high concentration of Catholics lived. Oh, the irony.

  5. wmeyer says:

    The condition of our society is obvious; that so few have spoken about it in such clear terms is a scandal. God bless the good Msgr!

  6. Matt R says:

    Good on him for speaking up.
    (I hate to be ‘that guy’ but…) One minor quibble: He used the phrase ‘same-gender attraction;’ that gives credence to the people who support this legislation, since in their view gender is the social construct that creates roles for males and females. Sex is the biological reality, from which our natural and complementary differences arise.

  7. Deo volente says:


    Your hyperlink reads “Bethesda, MA” which would place Bethesda in Massachusetts. The good Monsignor is actually pastor of a Parish in Bethesda, MARYLAND (abbreviated, MD). Maryland is a contraction of “Mary’s Land” (Terra Mariae) which is on the original charter of the then nascent State. The Parish is in the Archdiocese of Washington, and the good Monsignor went to Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary.

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I applaud the man.

    May I offer one question: at what point DOES a state “become a modern Sodom”? Yes, maybe when it legalizes ‘same-sex marriage’. But maybe before that, or maybe after that. The line is not clear to me. If it was before, did we miss it? If it comes later, should we be pronouncing it spiritually dead now? And if it’s now, how? Sweeping assertions have their place, but if they are premature, the point gets weakened. Example: look through some Catholic articles from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, on liberalizing divorce laws. One would think, to judge from their tone, that Western society had crashed and burned, right then, write the obit. Well, that kind of language helped, I think, discourage people from trying to save things. So, sure, we are much, much deeper in trouble today, but is it really over? If so, it seems the only remedy for Maryland-qua-Sodom is an Old Testament cleansing. I don’t think we are there yet.

  9. Cathy says:

    Unconditional tolerance of evil creates a land of strangers, a land divorced from love and reality. While this has been made “legal” in a few states in our country, those who stand against the tidal wave of this being national law are called “haters”. This is not only the accusation of secular society, but, often, the accusation and division of those within our parishes and our families.
    The illusion that one can tolerate publicly, evil, with a right to personally object to that evil is a delusion. Don’t like abortion, don’t have one but lose your job, business or your institution for failure to participate in providing for them. Don’t like so-called same-sex “marriage”, same thing. Christ is on trial in every land, and the crowd prefers Barabbas.

  10. Joseph-Mary says:

    My ancestors were Catholics who settled in Maryland to flee persecution in England…

    Colorado has been ‘celebrating’ the first gay speaker of the house. Front page news. Someone who identifies themselves by the practice of unnatural sex and it is held up as desireable and wonderful.

    We may all be living in ‘sodom; before long. But let us be among the faithful, no matter what.

  11. Long-Skirts says:

    Msgr. Edward J. Filardi said:

    “It is a great sadness that many of Satan’s helpers in usher- ing in this demonic distortion of marriage were Catholics, such as our governor.”

    …and did this Msgr. excommunicate these Catholics? The Catholic governor? If not – then he only talks the talk, he doesn’t walk the walk and I really hope and pray that he did his duty and excommunicated these Catholics for the sake of their souls but if he hasn’t then “weep not for Me but for your children”!


    Our leaders don’t lead anymore
    Our heroes aren’t valiant anymore
    Our fathers aren’t home anymore
    Our mothers won’t birth anymore

    Our churches don’t awe anymore
    Our futures aren’t safe anymore
    Our past no roots anymore
    Our present not ours anymore

    The truth glossed o’er anymore
    But hang a cross anymore
    They’ll all appear anymore
    Outraged at faith anymore

    They share their lusts and explore
    They’re seasoned whores to the core
    They’re salt of the earth they implore
    These Sodomed-souls at Hell’s door

  12. Ray says:

    Thanks to the priest from Maryland for being willing to speak the truth as our Church defines it. Seems like the Bishop of the Archdiocese should be taking the lead on this one. After all, the Governor is an ad nominem Catholic. Why doesn’t our Church come out more forcefully when prominent political members publicly refute our beliefs. The bishop’s main job is to teach, seems like the perfect teaching opportunity is being missed. I try and be a humble sheep and a good member of the flock, but I am always being confronted by shepherds who give preferential treatment to high profile sheep(misguided, close to being heretical sheep).

  13. acardnal says:

    Dr. Peters, I think it isn’t just the liberalization of same-sex marriage that connotes the reference to Sodom but the cumulative effect of all the serious sin that is so widespread now and is considered “normal” . . . yes, that includes divorce and remarriage . But also the pervasiveness of mortal sin: drug use, contraception, abortion, IVF, adoption of children by homosexual couples , sterilization, same-sex “marriage” and so on. And let’s not overlook pornography – available to anyone in “living color” at any moment, any where, with a simple keystroke on one’s computer or cell phone. Even the over-the-air “free” television is near pornography; at a minimum, it is temptation and a near occasion of sin that normalizes pre-marital sex and homosexual behavior.

    I remember a noted pastor stating publicly that hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment. He got quite a lot of criticism but I’m not sure he was wrong.

  14. disco says:

    How long until this good priest is suspended by Card. Wuerl?

  15. I assume that the reproduced letter has not introduced any typographic errors, and I apologize in advance if anyone finds this pedantic, but the phrase [emphasis added]

    compli- mentarity of woman and man

    is simply incorrect. Man and woman are not inherently complimentary, although each may be upon occasion. The are complementary, which is to say that the two combine together in such a way as to result in something more complete.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  16. APX says:

    Does this Monsignor even have the jurisdiction to excommunicate the Govenor?

  17. Ray says:

    This comment has no malicious intent. I’ve noted a comment by Dr. Edward Peters on this subject. While I do read his articles/stories on other blogs, I’ve noticed he never has comments on for his ideations. Seems strange to me and sort of like he is a one way kind of guy. Just wonderin!!!

  18. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Ray, my no-comments policy is explained in detail on my blog. Folks are free not read it, of course.

  19. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    acardnal. maybe so, yes.

  20. Ray says:

    When I really want to know what Canon Law mean I go to Cardinal Burke. Read your musings at times for amusement.

  21. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Longskirts, who wrote, “did this Msgr. excommunicate these Catholics? The Catholic governor? If not – then he only talks the talk, he doesn’t walk the walk”, is quick to condemn people for not doing what they have zero authority to do.

    sorry for multiple posts, Pater, i’ll go sit down and be quiet now.

  22. LisaP. says:

    Dr. Peters,

    I think yours is a good point. But I would suggest two things. First, the obvious, that those arguing decades ago that our culture had passed a tipping point may very well have been entirely correct. But more importantly, I read your fear as being that if we think our society is beyond repair we will no longer try to repair it, and if we’re wrong in our assessment we’ve tragically lost opportunity. But I think what we need to do when we find that one road to virtue (a public policy road, or a political road, or a communal road, etc.) is hopelessly blocked is find another road to virtue (private action, small communities, even virtue without any hope for earthly reward or success). It seems very possible to me that if good people of sincere intent had fifty years ago (or longer, I might identify WWI as a good marker) put their efforts into small communities and personal action rather than public efforts we might be in a better place as a nation now. I think about the massive mobility that Americans experienced in the 50s followed by the group activism in the 60s. We put our hopes into political, national action rather than into tending our own gardens, and in the end the forces in opposition have won the field because (nod to subsidiarity) virtue works weakly at a distance.

  23. NBW says:

    I also applaud Msgr. Edward J. Filardi for standing up and telling it like it is.

  24. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Good points, LisaP. btw, I call WW2 the tipping point. It was the trauma that the West did not recover from.

  25. originalsolitude says:

    No matter how bad the modern Sodom is, I think God is always open to intercession. We need to continually (continuously?) ask God for mercy and save Sodom. Remember Abraham. He stopped bargaining with God even though God showed no impatience.

  26. Andrew says:

    There is a post on the Vatican Website that has much to do with this matter. You have to click on “testo in lingua inglese” for English. The piece has to do with the Church’s institutional autonomy and the freedom of conscience and religion and the role of the political community.

    There is one sentence there that I think could be taken as the basis of all discussion related to sexual morality. The statement reads as follows: “It is also the Church’s role to remind people that every person, no matter what his beliefs, has, by means of his conscience, the natural capacity to distinguish good from evil and that he should act accordingly.” We have to trust that people are capable of making rational and objective distinctions.

  27. Long-Skirts says:

    Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “Longskirts, who wrote, “did this Msgr. excommunicate these Catholics? The Catholic governor? If not – then he only talks the talk, he doesn’t walk the walk”, is quick to condemn people for not doing what they have zero authority to do.”

    Perhaps he doesn’t have that authority but as an Alter Christus could he not publicly point out that whomever DOES have that authority SHOULD excommunicate these people for the sake of their souls?

  28. Bill Foley says:

    from Bill Foley

    There is a natural argument against so-called “marriage” between two persons of the same sex.
    The basis is THE PARTS DO NOT FIT.
    This applies to the psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects—three areas in which a man and a woman do fit.
    The other facet is the physical dimension. The sexual-generative parts of the male and female bodies do fit, THEY ARE MEANT FOR EACH OTHER LIKE A LOCK AND A KEY, and this fit is IN ACCORD WITH NATURE. This natural fit also follows a natural purpose, namely, the generation of a human life. The sexual-generative parts of two males or of two females DO NOT FIT and do not fulfill the natural purpose of generating human life.

  29. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “Perhaps he doesn’t have that authority but…” There’s no “perhaps” about it. He does not have that authority, period, end of discussion, and your next post should first acknowledge that you were wrong to publicly criticize this brave priest as you did.

    Now, you go on to ask a very different question. I have answered that question many times in many places. The answer is No, but I can’t repeat my explanation of that answer every time someone new shows up with the question. I suggest some googling.

  30. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Good points, LisaP. btw, I call WW2 the tipping point. It was the trauma that the West did not recover from.”

    Actually, this is like a two-stage nerve gas: WWI was the first stage and if we had listened, there would never have been WWII and we would have survived. The root causes of WWI and WWII are similar in being not just the rise of German nationalism, but the real isolationism of the rest of the West, both economically and spiritually – it was the combination of Modernism and Rationalism that were at the root of the loss of the spiritual in the late 1890’s (except in the U. S., where Modernism really never got hold until the next generation) – a weaseling of reason between the mushiness of Modernism and the hard shell of Rationalism. One only has to look at the large-scale anti-clerical movement in France in the 1840’s to see the legacy of Enlightenment Rationalism and the Higher Criticism in Germany to see the legacy of Modernism. The French Revolution, the true pre-cursor in spirit of WWI and WWII, was a conflict about how man is to relate to God. Essentially, it began as a conflict between external emotionalism, the pre-cursor of Modernism, and a sort of internalism represented by the Quietist Movement. Combined, these heresies bankrupted almost any way the common man could think of as ways to know God. Faith, as a supernatural virtue, was left untried. It was all about man knowing God in some way that man could appreciate. Since man can really only know God by Faith, to a large degree (from whence springs a proper charity), these anthropomorphic-centered ways of Knowing were doomed to fail.

    In swooped the Rationalists to fill the void with their anti-religious rhetoric and we are one step away from the Tennis Court Rebellion that started the French Revolution. A hundred years later, if the German theologians had not developed the Higher Criticism in the 1880’s, and likewise robbed Germany of a true appreciation if the Faith, Germany would not have become a spiritually bankrupt nation, easily swayed by appeals to power, and WWI would never have occurred.

    The real tipping point is a tipping point of Faith. Every evil of today is a renunciation of the idea that man is accountable to truths outside of himself. Once Charity becomes unanchored to Faith, it become accessible to the greatest of arbitrary perversions. No wonder people with same-sex attraction think they are doing something loving. No wonder people who contracept think they can do so and still express their love for their spouse or fornication partner.

    It was America, whose stubborn belief in a Faith to die for that had fashioned the early days of the Country, that came to the rescue in WWI and WWII. Was it not demonically logical, then, that America would become the hardest attacked in its Faith even as it becomes the last to fall? America can no longer be the protector of even a Protestantized version of the Faith and so, down falls the world.

    Make no mistake and I say this sadly, very sadly, it is the love of the oh-so-fashionable European sentiments among the rich in the United States – including some on the Supreme Court, that has contaminated the simple Faith held by the people of the U. S. and made it into a complicated multi-headed, arbitrary monster. We saw the beginnings of this after WWI and a larger development of this internationalism after WWII. These sentiments are now professed in classrooms, boardroom, bedrooms, and bordellos.

    Historians have known about this for at least a few decades – at least those who have seen the eerie similarities in what happened after WWI and WWII which I have written about a few weeks ago in a comment.

    We have more than enough men and women of simple Faith to stop the rise of Sodom, but the nerve gas has already been launched. Already, it is relaxing the muscles of resistance by providing distraction after distraction to turn off the mind and turn on the body. 2 + 2 now equals 4 only if you feel it does. We can plumb the depths of quantum theory, but we can’t master the Calculus of saying yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no. We have all become like the cat in Schrodinger’s box, both alive and dead. We carry our carcasses with us and are so frightened by the realization that we just might be dead inside that we seek any jab from a needle to provoke a response so that we can pretend that that man standing as a shadow next to us can’t really be our own Ghost haunting us.

    We are so much more sophisticated than Sodom that even they would have repented if they could see us. We are so far from Sodom that that part of the map doesn’t even have a name.

    We have a Cross that stands a as beacon whenever we lose our way. Sodom had no such help. They could only go as far a simple human ingenuity for evil could carry them. We have gone so much farther, because we have the ingenuity for the inhuman staring at us from the computer, the laboratory, the mind of man.

    Sodom? The time will come when we wish we had their punishment.

    The truly sad thing is that while Sodom had an Abraham, we have the Christ. The greater the Faith, the greater the potential for perversion. Sodom’s flaw was that they were not humbled before Nature’s Law – they refused to understand how to be true to each other as men in their strength. Our potential for evil is far greater because we refuse to be humbled before a suffering God – we refuse to understand how to be true to each other in our weaknesses. One must be weak to make love. It is the strong who contracept.

    This situation will not change until there comes the Revolt of the Weak. It is the strong who kill us, day by day. The weak will revolt. The meek shall inherit the Earth, but they will do it largely through suffering. The meek shall inherit the Earth, but the Will and the Deed to the estate are signed in the Blood of the Lamb.

    What there to say?

    Luk 12:49 – 56 “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!
    I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!

    Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division;
    for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

    He also said to the multitudes, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it happens.
    And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.
    You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

    You will never change the evil of the present age by an application of strength. That time is past. It could have been, might have been, if men weren’t so concerned about getting ahead instead of getting to Heaven two generations ago. Now, we must use the tactics of the weak. We Weak must be strong in hope, for the Strong need no hope. We Weak must be strong in a Faith beyond ourselves, for the Strong trust only in themselves. Most of all, we who would be weak must be strong in a humble love, because the Devil cannot understand humility. Humility is the most misunderstood virtue. It is not bowing under pressure. Humility is standing tall for the Truth and here is the simple truth that Maryland’s governor and any modern tyrant cannot understand. Fr. Cavanaugh made it battle cry for the Revolt of the Weak in the movie, Rudy:

    Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I’m not Him.

    If only they would listen.

    The Chicken

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  31. fvhale says:

    I would say that that we all have been living in Sodom since, oh, Adam and Eve got expelled from Eden, and Cain killed Abel, lust and violence spread over the globe. Or at least since Noah and his sons left the ark, and drunken orgies got going. Maybe since Babel. Sexual immorality, murder, blood sacrifice of children, has been going on as long as….as long as we can remember. Sometimes we do a better job of ignoring the evil that has always been part of the world, trying to keep it in the dark corners of the world and our hearts. Other times it is in our faces (ask St. Peter Damien). Either way, it is there, and has been for a very long time, and continues.

    So we need to be salt and light, children of light, casting off our own works of darkness, and walking in love, truth, light. Same call of God’s people as always.

  32. Long-Skirts says:

    Dr. Edward Peters says:

    ““Perhaps he doesn’t have that authority but…” There’s no “perhaps” about it. He does not have that authority, period, end of discussion, and your next post should first acknowledge that you were wrong to publicly criticize this brave priest as you did.”

    Yes, Dr. Peters, now that I know he didn’t have the authority to excommunicate I am so very sorry to have publicly criticized this brave priest for speaking the Catholic truth. Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa!! Mea Maxima Culpa!!! I pray for all Catholic priests, daily, to have the courage and fear of the Lord to publicly defend the True Faith – but – since I am a Baptized Roman Catholic I can publicly say that it is a great sin of omission by the Cardinals & Bishops who HAVE the jurisdiction/authority over all these Catholic politicians who support abortion, homosexual acts, etc. and never publicly excommunicate them. Where is the compassion by the hierarchy in America for the souls of these Catholic public servants who speak heresy and are proud of it? Who is going to tell Our Lord on Judgement Day that they didn’t “feel” they should say anything? God have mercy.

  33. Long-Skirts says:

    The Masked Chicken quoted:

    “”He also said to the multitudes, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it happens.
    And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.
    You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?””

    God knows everything…everything.

  34. JKnott says:

    @Cathy and Chicken:
    I enjoyed both of your excellent comments! Well said.

  35. John Nolan says:

    Chicken, that was a fascinating overview of history, but it doesn’t stand up. Both the American and French Revolutions were the products of Enlightenment rationalism which wasn’t against religion as such, but saw the Catholic Church as the enemy of Reason and Progress. She is personified as the Queen of the Night in ‘The Magic Flute’, Mozart’s masonic opera.

    The fact that the American Revolution was in the main beneficial and the French one a disaster (although you’ll never get them to admit it) is mainly down to differences in national temperament.

  36. albizzi says:

    I took the time to translate that letter in french and forwarded it to 3 parish priests I know.
    Got no reaction from them until now.

  37. Ray says:

    Long Skirts say:

    I agree with you completely. Take heart, Our Savior did not take any of the hierarchy of the Jewish religion as His apostles. Our hearts tell us that something should be said to the heretics by our Church elders. The so called canonical professionals are sometimes akin to the Sadducees and Pharisees, Jesus tried to teach them but they did not listen. He did not call one of them to be one of the original twelve.

  38. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Masked Chicken, one of your best posts ever, among so many good ones.
    Long-skirts, well said this time. Your complaints are legit, but they are, frankly, to be directed at the law (and who writes it) and not, as some do, at lawyers who, like me, tell folks quite accurately what the law says when they usually have very little idea on their own. Good lawyers live in fear for their souls, so, follow Jesus direction about the scribes & P.s,, “Do what they tell you, but don’t imitate them.” Best, edp.

  39. Norah says:

    Here’s hoping that Msgr Filardi’s bishop doesn’t force him to apologise for what he has said.

  40. Marie Veronica says:

    Masked Chicken – that was masterful and I intend to share it with others.

  41. Pingback: WEDNESDAY EVENING EXTRA | Big Pulpit

  42. Bravo, Long-Skirts @ 3:19 pm. You may not be an expert on canon law (nor am I) but there is rarely if ever seen here a more devoted and faithful Catholic and mother than your posts (and poetry) so wonderfully show you to be.

  43. Happily I have not had to intervene much here. Elevated conversation. Keep it up!

  44. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “Ray”, for the benefit of others, I will reply, though you do not care to own your opinions with your name and I tend to avoid such debates. You opened this line by bringing my blog policy into question, without telling people that I expressly answer your point on my blog. You took umbrage at my observation. Why, I have no idea. Next thing I knew, I was Pharisee, etc etc etc. Your anonymous posts are a good example of why I do not allow postings, and I think you are abusing Fr. Z’s policy by picking a gratuitous fight with me which, it seems, you wish you could do on my site. I’ll just say once last time, no one has to read people of my ‘ilk”, as you rudely put it, and those who “weasel in” at their “whim”, etc. etc. Feel free to do what everyone else is free to do: ignore me and my opinions.

  45. netokor says:

    Romans 1:26-28:” For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.”

    Our Lord, Our Lady and Saint Joseph will protect us and see us through any suffering. We will be a beacon for souls regardless of consequences. We are privileged to be allowed to witness to the Truth and to help Jesus save souls til the very end. We will rely on Graces yet to be discovered.

  46. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear John Nolan,


    You wrote:

    “Chicken, that was a fascinating overview of history, but it doesn’t stand up. Both the American and French Revolutions were the products of Enlightenment rationalism which wasn’t against religion as such, but saw the Catholic Church as the enemy of Reason and Progress. She is personified as the Queen of the Night in ‘The Magic Flute’, Mozart’s masonic opera.

    The fact that the American Revolution was in the main beneficial and the French one a disaster (although you’ll never get them to admit it) is mainly down to differences in national temperament.”

    Well, I studied Die Zauberflöte (the Magic Flute) in graduate school with one of the modern translators of the libretto. We studied the Masonic imagery in quite some detail. We could spend all night discussing that!

    While it is true that Enlightenment thinking was a direct cause of the French Revolution, it was British Imperialism that was the direct cause of the American Revolution. Enlightenment thinking, especially Locke’s, shows up as a justification, in part, for certain parts of the Declaration of Independence (and, of course, later documents), but it is a gross overstatement to see the American Revolution as a conflict between rationalism and religion. Unlike in France, where the Revolution wiped out all vestiges of religion (both Catholic and Protestant, note – the enmity was not just with the Church, but with Protestants, as well (those that could be found in France) – but they were harder to identify because their religious practices were, for the most part private), religious freedom was what was in part responsible for the settlements in the Colonies and that memory was still fresh. In both England and the Colonies, the Enlightenment had very little effect on the practice of religion. Even Humean pessimism could not overcome the Faith of the masses.

    One can easily prove this simply by quoting a Frenchman who visited America in the early Nineteenth-century – Alexis de Tocqueville. He, writing in the mid-1800’s wrote:

    “Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments. Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind.”

    In his masterwork on America, Democracy in America (1835, 1840), he wrote:

    “As I see it, only God can be all-powerful without danger, because his wisdom and justice are always equal to his power. Thus there is no authority on earth so inherently worthy of respect, or invested with a right so sacred, that I would want to let it act without oversight or rule without impediment (p. 290).”

    Indeed, Chapter XVII of Democracy is a long look at Protestant and Catholic influences on government in America. His comments are so telling and put the lie to the French Enlightenment being funneled into America, wholesale, that, with Fr. Z’s permission (please!), I quote a section:

    “The greatest part of British America was peopled by men who, after having shaken off the authority of the Pope, acknowledged no other religious supremacy: they brought with them into the New World a form of Christianity which I cannot better describe than by styling it a democratic and republican religion. This contributed powerfully to the establishment of a republic and a democracy in public affairs; and from the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved.

    About fifty years ago Ireland began to pour a Catholic population into the United States; and on their part, the Catholics of America made proselytes, so that, at the present moment more than a million Christians professing the truths of the Church of Rome are to be found in the Union. These Catholics are faithful to the observances of their religion; they are fervent and zealous in the belief of their doctrines. Yet they constitute the most republican and the most democratic class in the United States. This fact may surprise the observer at first, but the causes of it may easily be discovered upon reflection.

    I think that the Catholic religion has erroneously been regarded as the natural enemy of democracy. Among the various sects of Christians, Catholicism seems to me, on the contrary, to be one of the most favorable to equality of condition among men. In the Catholic Church the religious community is composed of only two elements: the priest and the people. The priest alone rises above the rank of his flock, and all below him are equal.

    On doctrinal points the Catholic faith places all human capacities upon the same level; it subjects the wise and ignorant, the man of genius and the vulgar crowd, to the details of the same creed; it imposes the same observances upon the rich and the needy, it inflicts the same austerities upon the strong and the weak; it listens to no compromise with mortal man, but, reducing all the human race to the same standard, it confounds all the distinctions of society at the foot of the same altar, even as they are confounded in the sight of God. If Catholicism predisposes the faithful to obedience, it certainly does not prepare them for inequality; but the contrary may be said of Protestantism, which generally tends to make men independent more than to render them equal. Catholicism is like an absolute monarchy; if the sovereign be removed, all the other classes of society are more equal than in republics.

    It has not infrequently occurred that the Catholic priest has left the service of the altar to mix with the governing powers of society and to take his place among the civil ranks of men. This religious influence has sometimes been used to secure the duration of that political state of things to which he belonged. Thus we have seen Catholics taking the side of aristocracy from a religious motive. But no sooner is the priesthood entirely separated from the government, as is the case in the United States, than it is found that no class of men is more naturally disposed than the Catholics to transfer the doctrine of the equality of condition into the political world.

    If, then, the Catholic citizens of the United States are not forcibly led by the nature of their tenets to adopt democratic and republican principles, at least they are not necessarily opposed to them; and their social position, as well as their limited number, obliges them to adopt these opinions. Most of the Catholics are poor, and they have no chance of taking a part in the government unless it is open to all the citizens. They constitute a minority, and all rights must be respected in order to ensure to them the free exercise of their own privileges. These two causes induce them, even unconsciously, to adopt political doctrines which they would perhaps support with less zeal if they were rich and preponderant.

    The Catholic clergy of the United States have never attempted to oppose this political tendency; but they seek rather to justify it. The Catholic priests in America have divided the intellectual world into two parts: in the one they place the doctrines of revealed religion, which they assent to without discussion, in the other they leave those political truths which they believe the Deity has left open to free inquiry. Thus the Catholics of the United States are at the same time the most submissive believers and the most independent citizens.

    It may be asserted, then, that in the United States no religious doctrine displays the slightest hostility to democratic and republican institutions. The clergy of all the different sects there hold the same language; their opinions are in agreement with the laws, and the human mind flows onwards, so to speak, in one undivided current.”

    Die Zauberflote was not only a Masonic opera, it was also a thoroughly German opera. During the period in which it was written, Pietism was being exported from Germany to England, through Count Zinzendorf. As I mentioned, his insistence on an emotional experience of the Divine was one of the two modes of trying to relate to God that sparked the French Revolution, as both Pietism and Quietism were found wanting and Rationalism replaced them both. It was the rise of Rationalism in France that led to the suppression of the Church (and Protestantism), not because of temperament, but because France was the center of the Enlightenment. The English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean were essential buffers that allowed the Rationalism of Locke, Hume, et al, to penetrate only certain aspects of English (and eventually American) society, but they had much less invested in the movement on a personal level, not having to tolerate the like of Voltaire, Diderot, etc. in the flesh.

    Hope that helps.

    The Chicken

  47. The Masked Chicken says:

    By the way,

    Would that we had a thousand, Msgr. Edward J. Filardis proclaiming this message from the pulpits. Were is the Sleeping Giant America once was. It seems to have become a drowsy kitten.

    The Chicken

  48. The Masked Chicken says:

    Rats. I was trying to get to bed, early. Oh, well. Take it away, night crew…

    The Chicken

  49. acardnal says:

    Chicken, please consider using an editor. ;- )

  50. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Masked Chicken,

    Don’t sweat the typos and small stuff. Your essays are excellent. When you publish them in a hardbound, leatherbound book, you can make sure the typesetter sets no mistakes.

    I believe you are correct to see the origins of many of the current crises in the Enlightenment and to consider the French Revolution a disaster based, in essence, in the lack of Charity (which, – i.e. Charity – btw, was the major impetus behind the American Revolution, even if it was direcetd by Deists). There are, however, always previous causes. The fact that France could ignore the most important Theological virtue while agitating for what we would call human rights, is ultimately founded in the earlier denial by the 16th century Protestants of the importance of all three theological virtues. After all, if you insist that faith alone can save you, then the Hope and Charity become the poor cousins.

  51. Scott W. says:

    “Feel free to do what everyone else is free to do: ignore me and my opinions.”

    I for one am grateful for all the heavy lifting you do on difficult subjects.

    P.S. I finally got to see “The Quiet Man”

    “Write his name on the list. Draw a line through it.

  52. Johnno says:

    Some bright folks at the ever intelligent University of Toronto are throwing an open invitation to new students to an orgy party.

    Swingers are very welcome.

    Sex allowed everywhere except the sauna.

    Probably tax-payer funded… the radio guy was all upset about that… not about the immorality, being a liberal talk show host he waved it off as ‘not his business,’ he just didn’t want tax money to fund it. Oddly enough, I bet with the amount of Obama gushing from these liberal radio shows, they’d probably be all for tax-payer funded contraceptives. But this one is just too far man. Too far!

    The next topic was about allowing for Euthanasia in Quebec. He called it “brave” of them to open this up. He doesn’t believe there is any slippery slope for death panels deciding who lives and who dies… oh, alright then!

    These are the oblivious people that we have to face. They are living ina completely different universe!

    The Church was warned about WWI and WWII. At Fatima! The wars were punishments for men’s sins. Are we gearing up for round 3? The Church has yet to implement the directives given by Heaven to consecrate Russia explicitly and alone to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope with the worlds bishops in obedience to him. God no doubt wants to give this world a demonstration that He eixsts, and that the Catholic faith is the true religion. Something spectacular to wake them up from their delusion. Sadly, the turmoil in the world is just as much a reflection of the spiritual decay of the members in the Church at all levels.

  53. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear Chicken,

    thank you! We read everything you write anyway :-)

    The Night Crew

  54. Cecily says:

    Chicken and Dr. Peters, I appreciate your posts.

    The Night Crew

  55. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Chicken, please consider using an editor. ;- )”

    While I occasionally mispell things and omit things, do you realize how long it takes to hunt and peck those long sentences? If I tried to make everything perfect, I would have to have disposible beak guards and a CAT scans for a concussion after every long comment. I”m not a bad editor, I just don’t have time to clean things up to perfection.

    Besides, I work for chicken feed.

    The Chicken

  56. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear Chickie,

    please, do not get a CAT scan, it will end very badly for a bird, at least if you encountered my domesticised feline friend…

    ????? – was that greek or a tweet?
    Kalimera from the Night Crew

  57. Matt R says:

    I think by editor, he meant someone who would force you to use 10 words for 15, 5 words for every 10.

  58. The Masked Chicken says:

    Don’t know many academics, eh?

    I Can Be Blunt. I can be succinct.

    I do math, you know. I’m armed with Calculus.

    Symbolic, it is…

    The Chicken

  59. Causus Omnium Danorum says:

    I find your essays succinct and full of important points…ignore those who would spartanize your style.

  60. PostCatholic says:

    Interesting to see people I went through the process with are now monsignori. I know that church well; it has a stained glass window in memory of a murdered former pastor I know.

    I’m attending a wedding in March of a couple that has been together for 35 years, made possible by Maryland’s marriage equality law that so many people worked so very hard to pass. If Ed Filardi infers a comparison to the culture of a nearly prehistoric city, this does not trouble me.

  61. GregH says:

    Long Skirts,

    What is your daily prayer routine for priests? Do you use the Angelus Press booklet “Prayer Crusade for Priests”?

  62. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear Chicken,

    some people seem to be slightly jealous of your Golden Stars, please ignore them, like COD said!

  63. Scott W. says:

    I’m attending a wedding in March

    What you are attending is a barren mutual-masturbation arrangement given a legal rubberstamp by a government that has taken leave of its senses.

  64. John Nolan says:

    Dear Chicken,

    Thank you for replying. To attempt a synthesis of theology, philosophy, politics and history is certainly ambitious. The problem is that while the first three lend themselves to grandiose theories, the last one doesn’t. It has for theoreticians the annoying tendency to throw spanners (in the form of facts) into the works. Very few historical generalizations hold up to close scrutiny, yours and mine included.

  65. Imrahil says:

    If the couple has been 35 years together, then – morality of this togetherness set aside – couldn’t they just as well stay together such as they are? Without any ceremony that is called wedding and obviously is not?

    Cum par habetur honos summis et infimis, ipsa aequitas iniquissima est. Cicero, De rep. I 51

  66. Anne 2 says:

    There is much confusion amongst many Faithful in the Church due to many US Bishops refusing to excommunicate “ab homine” – formally and publically those politicians and other public figures who advertize themselves as ‘Catholic’, yet obstinately violate teachings of the Church.
    For a good explanation of formal/public excommunication on the net go to: http://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=4487

    The other problem we face in the USA is that many Diocese Bishops do not actively promote the reading of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” by everyone in their Diocese over age 16.
    For additional info on the CCC on the net go to: “What Catholics REALLY Believe SOURCE” http://whatcatholicsreallybelieve.com .
    “….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life.” – Pope John Paul II (CCC pg xiv)

  67. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear John Nolan,

    You wrote:

    “Thank you for replying. To attempt a synthesis of theology, philosophy, politics and history is certainly ambitious. The problem is that while the first three lend themselves to grandiose theories, the last one doesn’t. It has for theoreticians the annoying tendency to throw spanners (in the form of facts) into the works. Very few historical generalizations hold up to close scrutiny, yours and mine included.”

    Theoreticians love empirical data. It is their bread and butter almost as much as the empiricists, because data helps shape and refine theories.

    That being said, history is not merely the recording of facts. If it were, we would be getting progressively wiser, since never have historical facts been so preserved as in the present day. The job of an historian is to begin with what data he has (sometimes getting data is next to impossible) and to construct a reasonable explanation for how events unfolded, including not only the times and dates, but the interactions of facts, the experiencing of these facts by the people involved, and the influence of “random” events. A good historian is very much like a theoretician or even better, a detective. In fact, one of the best books on historical methodology I can recommend is, The Historian as Detective: essays on evidence, by Robin W. Winks:


    When I was researching the origins of the modern Pentecostal movement, some of the essential data (an important letter from John Fletcher to John Wesley) was just missing. Some of the data was misinterpreted by people at the time (1830’s). There are questions of priority (who discovered what, when). It took a mixture of clues and hunches to track things down and several different historians had bits and pieces of the puzzle.

    As for the origins of the French Revolution, there are the textbook reasons – the rise of the middle class combined with new philosophical movements, but there are a number of historians who see the French Revolution as the result of the impact of the Pietist and Quietist movements. Certainly, the sheer ferocity of the Reign of Terror makes the French Revolution something other than a simple political revolution. When the Martyrs of Compiegne were beatified by Pope St. Pius X. he commented on this fact.

    The facts can keep one on the straight and narrow, but history is more than just facts. Just as physical theories must be tested against empirical measurements, historical narrative must be tested against historical events, but the existence of empirical measurements doesn’t stop physicists from theorizing any more than historical facts should stop historians from placing the events within a context.

    The Chicken

  68. Stephen D says:

    Post Catholic – please consider giving the ‘happy couple’ a copy of Saint Peter Damian’s ‘Book of Gomorrah’ (A treatise on Sodomy). It will, I am certain be unique among the toasters etc. Here’s an extract:
    “Without fail, it brings death to the body and destruction to the soul. It pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the mind, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart, and gives entrance to the devil, the stimulator of lust. It leads to error, totally removes truth from the deluded mind … It opens up hell and closes the gates of paradise … It is this vice that violates temperance, slays modesty, strangles chastity, and slaughters virginity … It defiles all things, sullies all things, pollutes all things … ” No wonder he is a Doctor of the Church.

  69. Long-Skirts says:

    GregH says:

    “Long Skirts,
    What is your daily prayer routine for priests? Do you use the Angelus Press booklet “Prayer Crusade for Priests”?”

    Lot’s of Rosaries!


    The sweetness of my prose for you
    Is but a taste of Heaven’s dew.

    The sweetness of my prose I give
    To you as long as I shall live.

    The sweetness of my prose I owe
    To you who helped me in my woe.

    The sweetness of my prose desired?
    Shrive my soul you have inspired.

    The sweetness of my prose your feast
    O, man above the angels least.

    The sweetness of my prose a flower
    Perfumed to sweeten your spiritual power.

    ‘Fore virile men sheep shake in fear
    Sweet scented strength will bring them near.

    To shepherd’s side marked man of God
    O, lead us all to Heaven’s Sod!

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