Today’s provocative reading

Provocative reading met my eyes this morning, fresh from Mass, office, coffee and two of those little biscuit things which I like, not to sweet, not too dull.

First, there is a great offering at Crisis by one Jason Morgan, once here in the Diocese of the Extraordinary Ordinary but now with ties in Japan.  Cool.  Anyway, he drills into the present – deeply stupid but oxygen consuming and yet symptomatic – controversy about standing or “taking a knee” in protest during the national anthem.  My personal view is that they who show decadence engendered disrespect to the flag and country for which men fought and died so that we could have a good life and liberties should be drafted… and not in the football way.  But I digress.  Morgan’s piece, which is about “virtue signalling” has a good paragraph:

Long before Tim Tebow was born, of course, the takeover of America’s institutions by cultural Marxists and dyed-in-the-wool atheistic communists was well underway. By now, no one should be surprised to hear that most mainline churches are in full, fawning thrall to homosexual “marriage,” for instance. Recently, to take just one example, Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit who has made a career out of bending his own knee to the idols of the age, published a book which surely charts a course toward the homosexualization of even the Catholic Church. But it isn’t just churches. Academia, print media, broadcast media, the armed forces, the courts, the intelligence services, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the medical profession, the public schools, charities, large corporations, and every last labor union in the country—all have been swamped by politics. And politics, for the cultural Marxists, is a way of freezing natural human interaction and paralyzing resistance to infiltration. The strategy has worked everywhere it has been tried.

Read the whole thing there.  That was well-written, wasn’t it?  That “freezing interaction” observation was dead on.  Who else describes that tool for the Left to neutralize opposition?  Yes, of course, that was too easy.  Saul Alinsky in his Satanically-dedicated Rules For Radicals [US HERE] recommends this technique:

  • RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

That’s what the Catholic Alt-Left is doing to, for example, me right now.  For example, the quacksalvers at RNS have this:

[M]artin was disinvited from speaking at Catholic University’s Theological College and a couple of other places, thanks to a campaign by what we might call the Catholic Alt-Right — specifically the websites Church Militant and Father Z.

One of the things that this shows is that I must be pretty powerful.  Right?  HAH!  This is pure Alinsky.



Marco Tossati touches on the point of “freezing” with a label. HERE in Italian.   I don’t often link to Rorate because of their seeming unwillingness to close ranks for the sake of unity but… over there you can find an adequate English rendering of Tosatti’s good remarks.  It’s time to stop fooling around, folks.  Divisions just keep us all weak.  Once again I apply the “Olive Branch” tag.


Another interesting piece comes, surprise, Jesuit-run Amerika Magazine.  While I don’t subscribe to everything that the writer offers, I do underwrite the general sense of the piece by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry entitled:

Do our fights over Pope Francis have to be this dumb?

Gobry sides with the libs… it’s Amerika after all… but he’s right, isn’t he.  I’ve read mind-annihilatingly dopey stuff lately on the interwebs on both sides.   

Please, people, do us all a favor and …


The old adage is “Sin makes you stupid.”  I am pushed to the conclusion that some otherwise bright people out there are in need of stepping back into their closed rooms, making an examination of conscience, and then seek to be shriven at the earliest possible opportunity, ideally before putting fingertips to keyboard again.

I know that I won’t miss my regular date with the confessor.

Back to Gobry.  Again, I am not signing off on everything he proposed.  However, he’s on to something when he says:

I am not being acidly sarcastic for its own sake. There is a serious theological point, which I will make despite my distinct lack of theological degrees, which is that nothing could be further from the spirit of the Christian faith than the idea that faith and morals are accessible only to the learned and or that the best way to divine them is to tally up the views of the powerful.

In the future we will hear more and more about the sensus fidei fidelium and about “reception” of doctrine.  The faithful have a sense of the Faith.  But remember that you have to be faithful to have that sense of the faithful.  Be wary of those who suggest that if you don’t have various degrees on your Ego Wall, you can’t have a clear-eyed view of faith and morals.

Having suggested these articles for your consideration, I’ll offer another point.

There is a fight going on, and the fight is worth the fighting.  The stakes involve the salvation or the damnation of souls.   Hence, the necessity of the fight.  But, please, can we smarten up?

ON is the moderation queue.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Yesterday, from a news source I can’t recall (far too much reading the past forty-eight hours), I read that Cardinal Cupich has provided the consolation of a speaking engagement in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
    Its a shoulder to cry on, anyway.

  2. THREEHEARTS says:

    mike writes if sin makes us stupid (scripturally obstinate) then sanctifying grace makes us bright and intelligent.

  3. THREEHEARTS says:

    mike says the second part did not take, but here it is
    How can anyone trust the senses of the faithful if the majority are bot in a state of the grace that sanctifies? Lucia was told feb 15th 1926, by Christ that His Promises were still valid if one had gone to confession within 8 days or even longer if we were still in a state of grace. The Church confirms this by announcing in the rubrics on indulgences that events like the seven first fridays are valid or any plenary indulgence for that matter if we go the CONFESSION and Ho;y Communion within the octave of the first friday.

  4. GregB says:

    This talk about needing to receive a teaching comes very close to the passage in the Bible about Cain killing Abel. God practiced encounter, discernment, and accompaniment with Cain concerning Cain’s need to master an inclination to sin. I think that Judaism calls it the evil inclination. It fell on deaf ears as Cain goes out and kills Abel. When God asks Cain about Abel’s whereabouts Cain lies to God about not knowing and asks whether he is his brother’s keeper. After being punished by God for his transgression the first words out of Cain’s mouth were how his punishment was greater than he could bear. Notice the absence of contrition, repentance, or remorse. Cain is totally self-obsessed and self-centered.

  5. Pingback: TVESDAY CATHOLICA EXTRA | Big Pulpit

  6. In principio erat Verbum… In mundo erat, et mundus per ipso factum est, et mundus eum non cognovit; in propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt; quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri…

  7. JonathanTX says:

    It’s ironic that liturgical leftists insist on standing for communion despite common practice having been for centuries to kneel, and now civil leftists refuse to stand for the national anthem despite common practice being to stand.

  8. Sam Schmitt says:

    So we’re supposed to believe that a couple of blog posts from some far-right nutjobs somehow forced a disinvite for Fr. Martin? Really?

  9. Gerhard says:

    Frozen – like our Lord was on the Cross. The most vulnerable and painful position to be in, but made the most powerful and glorious by Him. We are getting hands-on lessons about clinging to our cross these days….

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Jason Morgan of Crisis wrote: “Long before Tim Tebow was born, of course, the takeover of America’s institutions by cultural Marxists and dyed-in-the-wool atheistic communists was well underway.”


    An influence on Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) was the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937). Gramsci popularized (and may have invented) the Theory of Cultural Hegemony. This Theory says that governments and institutions maintain their power over the masses by controlling the culture. Therefore, the citizens of the West (mainly Christian/Jewish and patriotic and churchgoing) would have to be transformed over time into a society of agnostics/atheists and internationalists who not only accept, but rely upon, socialist government.

    Gramsci’s long-term cultural approach to destroying the West is also known as Gradualism. Gramsci, a Marxist calling for the long-term cultural destruction of the West and the Catholic Church, at this point came into conflict with Lenin, also a Marxist. Lenin, frustrated by the absence of the “Worker’s Revolution” predicted by Marx (1818-1883) developed the concept of the Vanguard. Vanguardism means basically that a group of “politically advanced” key players in the culture should form a group to lead the masses rapidly to revolution. Propaganda, funding, and knocking a few heads together would be the specific tactics employed. So, the long-term cultural-change Gramsci and the short-term political-violence Lenin were at odds with each other. But today there are people influenced by both Gramsci and Lenin.

    Fr. Z back on Sep. 20 had a post about Bishop McElroy (Berkeley educated and Jesuit). Bishop McElroy said the Catholic Church had a “cancer” within and required a “purge.” On Sep. 29 Fr. Z had a post about the National catholic Reporter calling for opposing voices to be “neutralized.” I have no idea what McElroy or the NcR people read in their spare time, but both Gramsci and Lenin would find talk of “cancer” and “neutralize” familiar.

    Furthermore, while both Gramsci and Lenin were anti-Catholic, it would be a reasonable assumption that those two would view Bishop McElroy and NcR as temporary allies (or “useful idiots” as the term goes).

    Fr. Z back in July had posts about Fr. Spadaro and the La Civilta Cattolica article which attacked traditional Catholics and conservative evangelicals. Gramsci and Lenin would also be pleased with Fr. Spadaro.

    While were at it, inside Fr. Z’s Sep. 20 post on Bishop McElroy, the commenter Masked Chicken helpfully wrote about the Frankfurt School and Critical Theory. The Frankfurt School, to sum up, was a group of intellectuals in Frankfurt Germany between WWI and WWII who sought radical social change but tended to stay away from violent Leninist Vanguardism. Advocates of both Gramsci’s Gradualism and the Frankfurt School tend to work together.

    One more item before we return to Alinsky. The following is a generalization, but lately some college professors appearing in news and police reports have been nurtured on the writings of Gradualism and the Frankfurt School, and even think of themselves as the “elite” of society. However, after an event that indicates their utopian dreams may be shattered (such as the 2000 election of George Bush or the 2016 election of Donald Trump) some of these nonviolent long-term Gradualists have transformed quite suddenly into impatient, outraged, even violent Vanguardists. (This same rapid transformation applies to some occultists, but I digress. Also, note that during 2017 certain elected Democrat politicians have issued alarming statements and even death threats. But I digress again.)

    Back to Alinsky (1909-1972). Alinsky, generally speaking, is somewhere in the middle between the long-term culture-change Gramsci and the violent-revolution Lenin. (By the way, all this is a vast and complex topic, feel free anyone to jump in with corrections or additions. Thanks.)

    Now, Alinsky was a criminologist, something akin to a sociologist. If I recall, back in the 1930s he became drinking buddies with Chicago mobsters and may have even married the daughter of one of them. Fr. Z in this post here correctly identifies the Catholic Left as employing Alinsky Rule #12. Let’s take a look also at Rule #9.

    Alinsky Rule #9: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

    At one point in his book “Rules for Radicals” Alinsky told the story of how (I think during the 1960s) he threatened the Chicago city government to get his way on some minor issue. Alinsky told the city managers that if he was denied he would then bus in “poor” people to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and have them occupy every bathroom stall. The city managers- thinking about the inconvenienced and harassed airline passengers, and the bad press in which “the city was oppressing the poor,” and possible overreaction by a couple of police officers- gave in to Alinsky’s demand. Thus, a criminologist used 1930s gangster tactics to intimidate the Chicago city government into submission.

    Speaking of “occupying,” copies of “Rules for Radicals” were observed at the 2011 Occupy Wall Street camps.

    And there was also an Alinskyite stench in the air at the protests against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker earlier in 2011: the state capitol was occupied, leftist doctors wrote falsified medical reports for leftist teachers so that they could leave the classroom and participate in protests, Democratic state legislators fled to Illinois so as not to vote on Walker’s legislation, and Republican state legislators received sexist/racist mail and even death threats.

    Saul Alinsky writes in Rules for Radicals that the “community organizer” is a political opportunist and a relativist- the organizer should have no fixed truth. Thus, Benedict XVI’s warning about the Dictatorship of Relativism: “We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”

    Whether or not they ever read Alinsky, “no fixed truth” and “ego and desires” seems to be the operating principle for numerous people today pursuing a socialist utopia in the Church, Government, Media, Academia, Protest Groups, and Entertainment.

    “We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man.” Pope Benedict XVI

    “Be not afraid!” St. John Paul II

    “But he who perseveres to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

    “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught…” 2 Thessalonians 2:15

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