Animi caussa: Some spittle-flecked nutty lib reactions to Benedict XVI’s latest

How are the papalotrous reacting to Benedict XVI’s reflections?

Let’s look at Twitter.



This fellow seems to be reading a different letter…

Nut jobs…

Here’s Beans!

Other loons.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The attempted partial abdication is strong with this one.

    It’s as if a supernatural power is willing his pen and he is resisting.

  2. dbf223 says:

    Good old Faggioli: “Can we have Mueller looking into Benedict XVI’s essay? Robert Mueller, not cardinal Mueller.”

    What in the world does that even mean? Is it supposed to sound snippy or witty? It’s just nonsense.

  3. JustaSinner says:

    The one man that can bring Francis down…strikes with his pen.

  4. David Willis says:

    at first, i am happy to read something so clear and direct on the issue of the “Spirit of Vatican II” and its relationship to the abuse crisis. reminds me why i have such a love for BXVI.

    but then, i remember the abdication, and wonder: why not say this in the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s?

    i hope that the answer is something like: his abdication and Francis’ election were required for the wolves to voluntarily lose their sheep’s clothing and come out and publicly state what they believe.

    anyway, it was really nice to read what he wrote (and to see Faggioli, McElwee, Mickens, Gibson, etc., lose it).

  5. majuscule says:

    I lived through the ‘60s but did not take part. I got married right out of high school when girls still did that. I lived in a fairly remote area and chose not to have TV in the house (perhaps an easy choice in those days because of the difficulty of putting up an antenna in my fringe area).

    When I left school (a public school), girls were not allowed to wear pants and boys had to wear trousers—not jeans. Contraception could not be taught but the Home Ec teacher could point to magazine articles which she left on her desk and we were welcome to read on our own time. Before I left the world of TV viewing one never saw broadcast nudity or heard swearing.

    All this changed within a few years. I watched hippies flock to my area, eschewing the commitment of marriage. On shopping trips to town we passed newly built apartment complexes dedicated to singles who were encouraged to mingle. Unisex styles were in vogue. Women dared to wear see-through shirts, with patterned bras at least. “Swinging” and “swapping were supposed to be “a thing” for married couples. My kids once remarked that Santa at the school Christmas party (they still had those) reeked of pot…

    Today I have neighbors my age who have settled down and married and now have grandchildren but they look back at those times with fondness. The “good old days”. No wonder we are where we are today.

  6. ex seaxe says:

    Both Mickens and Ivereigh were just babies in 1968, which in Europe was a year of Revolutions. I was 30 that year and in England, and I agree with Pope Benedict’s analysis. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, the old corrupt order was mortally wounded, and replaced by a new corrupt order.

  7. EmilB says:

    You only take flak when you’re over the target.

  8. Ms. M-S says:

    The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.

  9. haydn seeker says:

    Benedict writes: “The phrase ‘the little ones’ in the language of Jesus means the common believers who can be confounded in their faith by the intellectual arrogance of those who think they are clever.” Whereupon those who think they are clever erupt with indignation.

    I think Benedict has a point.

  10. wmeyer says:

    Sigh. Haters gonna hate.
    In 1968, being twenty and reveling in the foolishness of youth, I did many stupid things. But having been taken to a “folk mass”, I recognized it bore no relation the the Church as I had known it. Shook the dust from my sandals, and began my forty years in the desert. Staying away was foolish, but departing that hootenanny — with an unfinished plywood altar, at that — was not.
    Thanks be to God, I came back, and am now privileged to attend the TLM.
    As has always been the case, Benedict’s observations are apt. He is, as EmilB says, over the target.

  11. LeeGilbert says:

    Pope Benedict is on track, but he doesn’t go back far enough.

    In the mid-fifties television came into the Catholic home and the Rosary went out. Now, of course, with the Rosary gone, the family and the individuals within it were spiritually weaker, and for lack of prayer support so were our priests.

    But that was not the worst of it, for the TV was an endless source of materialism and sensuality. It was demonic preaching on steroids, with audiovisual aids. Many in the Catholic blogshere are wroth with Pope Paul VI, but I will never understand the Catholic preachers then and now who do not believe in the power of preaching. They had and have twenty minutes max every Sunday to instruct, reprove, inspire their faithful, but think nothing of handing their people over to the preaching of demons three or four hours a DAY in the typical home. About this no one says ANYTHING.

    Catholics and their children are being swamped by demonic propaganda of every sort, and our leadership is careful to frame arguments against that propaganda, against abortion, homosexuality, atheism, pornography. Great! But they never take on the main vector of that propaganda. Now, incredibly, we find ourselves arguing against gay marriage and transgenderism, but we will not throw their proponents out of our homes. In listening to them and arguing with them we are digging ourselves out deeper, cooperating in our own destruction. This is the Body of Christ arguing with Belial, an impossible conversation.

    In the life of our country, and of Western Civilization 1968 was a very big year. It is no coincidence that the first generation raised on TV came to maturity in that period. I was 13 in 1956 when TV came into our home and 25 in 1968. It was the cohort just behind me who were the hippie generation. They had been blotto in front of the TV from their childhood, and by now knew all the plots, knew what was going to happen in the sit-com two minutes into the program and were bored to death with it. Soon there appeared on the scene something that was just as passive and undemanding as TV, marijuana. I think it was Life magazine who did a story about marijuana use in Chicago’s rich norther suburbs in 1964, and soon it was everywhere.

    Another huge psychological blow that rocked the whole country, but especially Catholic young, was the assassination of President Kennedy in November of 1963. Scripture speaks of those who give themselves up to sensuality out of despair and I think that pretty well describes the mood of young people of that time. His death had everything to do with the descent into a culture of sex, drugs, rock and roll. Whatever he was in reality, he seemed a prince and was the hero for a lot of people, myself included. His death knocked the stuffings out of us. “Put not your trust in princes” says the Lord, but we had. All was going to be wonderful and then . . . .

    It was that generation that threw off all the restraints and was in a mood to rebel against all that is good and holy and true. They had been demonized. Into the face of this generation Pope Paul threw Humane Vitae and all hell broke loose.

    Often in the traditional blogshere, our present crisisis attributed to Vatican II and Paul VI. Frankly I think this misses the boat and falls into the category of being a post hoc, proper hoc logical fallacy. And even if there is some merit to it, it doesn’t begin to address the problem of what happened pre-Vatican II and is happening now, the ongoing propagandizing of the Catholic people in their own homes and rectories and episcopal residences. There is nothing that comes close to this influence, unless it is other secular media, not the French Revolution, not Marx, not Bugnini, not Saul Alinsky.

    If our men, including clergy, are not addicted to televised sports, and so to television, then why does the new bishop in town have to don the baseball cap of the local team to show that he is one of the guys? He wants to fit in, just as they do, just we all do. Mission accomplished! We fit in very well, but Vatican II and Pope Paul VI had comparatively little to do with that unhappy result. One could say we fit in, too, even in our sexual deviancy, for we are not more deviant than any other demographic, but it is utterly shameful for us to point to public school teachers, or other denominations and say, “Tu quoque!” We are the people of God, after all, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people set apart” . . .or we should be. Yet, so long as television maintains its ambo in our family rooms we shall continue to be de-evangelized and corrupted, a process ongoing since the fifties. Pope Benedict does not go back far enough.

  12. iamlucky13 says:

    EmilB’s metaphor is apt. There is a reason this group rushed so quickly to comment on Pope Emeritus’ letter.

    Their commentary is amusing. It affirms those who want to be affirmed in prejudice against Pope Emeritus Benedict, but has little other effect.

    Unfortunately, the secular media reporting is what concerns me. That is what will be read by the masses (mainly the headlines, not the details), and therefore titles like “Ex-Pope Benedict contradicts Pope Francis” (Washington Post) are potentially scandalous exaggerations of the nature of Pope Emertius Benedict’s letter as it relates to the authority and legitimacy of Pope Francis.

    The media’s goal, as ever, is what generates paper sales and ad views. One of those is conflict, so it is quite natural for many journalists to cherry pick statements that they can present in isolation as divisive or simply absurd. Given the current variety in what can be accepted as absurd, they can get away with construing things very inaccurately without being questioned by many readers.

  13. veritas vincit says:

    The Pope Emeritus is exactly right in citing the so-called “sexual revolution” as one cause leading up the the current abuse crisis. For commentators who pose as serious Catholics, to pretend otherwise, is incredible. And I am just old enough to remember the chaos, the riots, the antiwar protests, the hippies, in 1968.

  14. mo7 says:

    Interesting how many are so starved for clarity so much so that they are reading the words from the abdicated pope as if it’s a 1968 Beatle album cover that is embued with messages and meanings.
    Where did you go Joe, our faith turns its lonely eyes towards you.

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    LeeGilbert wrote:

    “Pope Benedict is on track, but he doesn’t go back far enough.”

    That is true, but the 1950’s is part of a larger structure and television in 1950 has a counterpart in radio in 1920 (the same arguments were made against both) . I have been developing a mathematical model of the abuse crisis and I wish I could show how well the model matches the data, to date, at least. Alas, I can’t post pictures in the comment box. The period from 1960-1990 is an anomalous period. The male/female abuse ratio is close to 50:50 in the decade before and after this period. The uptick and drop-off of male abuse during this period is an interesting topic for theorizing. The average age for abusers is 35, while the average age of ordination is 25 during this period. Given this, the discontinuity at 1960 indicates the ordinations of these priests were in the early 1950’s, right after WWII. That last part is crucial to seeing the larger structure. These priests were trained by seminary professors who were ordained in the late 1920’s to 1940. These professors form a contamination reservoir that was passed onto the 1950’s priests and, then, to the abused males. Whether by infiltration (a la Bella Dodd) or a contaminating new theology, the abuse crisis follows the mathematics of a type of infection, like Lyme disease, which has a reservoir, a vector, and a target. I know this comment is long, but I would like to quote a portion of the paper I am working on:

    “What does this model suggest?  The middle period of data from the John Jay Report, from 1960-2000, seems to be capable of being modeled successfully as an epidemic, but two important questions are obvious: what caused the epidemic to start and what caused it to end? 

    The second question is easier to answer than the first.  According to the John Jay Study, during the middle period, 1960-1990, slightly more than 80% of the abuse was abuse of minor boys, mainly those who were altar boys.  Two things changed beginning in the early 1990’s: 1) adult-on-adult homosexual behavior started to become more socially acceptable, especially when anti-retrovirus compounds like Saquinavir became available in 1995, followed soon, thereafter, by protease inhibitors, thus, ending the fear of AIDS among the homosexual population and 2) altar girls began to be used in large numbers starting in the early 1990’s, being approved by the Vatican in 1994.  With the availability of altar boys being poisoned by altar girls (which, also, drastically reduced the number of altar boys) as well as the easier access to adult males, the effect was to, essentially, shift the Susceptible population away from young boys to young men (altar boys to adult seminarians) – in other words, the abuse crisis did not end, but, rather, jumped from one population to another.  Thus, whatever agent fostered the abuse of young boys from 1960-2000, is likely to have jumped to a slightly different population at that time.  This type of, “abuse jumping” (I am tempted to call it, “abuse zoonosis”) has not been tracked, except by a few conservative media outlets.8 The removal of the agent that fostered the attack of young male minors from that population allowed the abuse statistics of minors to return to the, essentially, pre-1960’s boy/girl abuse ratio, since the stress on young boys was removed.?

       It is fair to say that the abuse crisis seems to have shifted away from minor boys to the next handy target, namely, male seminarians. It is, thus, likely that the abuse epidemic from 1960-2000 was a crime of opportunity and that when minor boys became a less opportune target and seminarians a more opportune target, the jump was made.  That abuse data for these seminarian cases have been virtually ignored by the media and not well documented, seriously hampers any realistic analysis of the current state of clergy abuse, but, also, does not allow one to even know if a state of epidemic still exists and whether or not it is similar to the 1960-2000 epidemic. Such reporting must be done.?

    The other question, the initial cause of the epidemic of abuse of minor boys, is harder to determine and must be addressed more speculatively.  Theories have ranged from the relaxation of sexual restraint due to the Sexual Revolution, to Communist infiltration of seminaries, to clericalism.  None of these explanations are entirely satisfactory.  It is true that, because of the introduction of the Pill, heterosexual sex among the unmarried exploded in the late 1960’s, but the Pill does not affect homosexual sex. The sexual liberalization of the period would, primarily, affect heterosexual sex, at least until the middle 1970’s, when the American Psychiatric Association re-classified homosexuality as a life choice and not a mental disorder – yet, the evidence is clear – the male/female ratio was skewed as early as 1960.

    Likewise, if Communist agents wished to destabilize the Church, going after children seemed to be a very ineffective way to do so, except as a means of attacking the moral stance of the Church – and given that most abuses were hushed-up during this period, this method seems very ineffective. Such a Communist attack would also, probably, not show the clearly environmentally-mediated quenching of abuse of minor boys after 2000, as well.  Indeed, to really destabilize the Church, such agents, if they had chosen abuse as their means of attack, would have exposed the abusers through back-channels, allowing the clued-in media to pick up the ball and run with it. This is not, however, what happened. Cover and hide was the universal behavior among abusers and most other clergy.

    Clericalism has existed as long as the clergy has existed. If anything, clericalism – the inordinate deference to clergy – has been much worse at other points in history and while there have been sexual peccadillos between the clergy and the laity in all historical periods, these have, likely, followed the pre-1960’s ratio, with a much larger female involvement than in the 1960-2000 period.

    The causes of the 1960-2000 abuse crisis, it seems, are more reasonably to be found in the period before 1960 than at the start of the crisis.  It is speculative to suggest, but the fact that most of the abusive priests of the middle period studied in this epidemic model were born from 1930-1960 (which I shall call Period B), with the highest concentration after WW II and were trained by priests who were born from 1880-1920 (which I shall call Period A), with the highest concentration after WW I, suggests a two-stage infectious scenario: abusers from Period A transmitted the active agent to Period B.  It may be that homosexual predation of minors from 1960-2000 was not the primary epidemic, but, rather, an opportunistic secondary infection, that took advantage of the primary agent of infection of the post-WW II era.

    Without going too far into pure speculation, a plausible scenario might be: the Catholic Church, by virtue of its long conflict with Protestantism from the time of the Council of Trent, was inoculated against appeals to the Principle of Private Judgment (PPJ), which is at the heart of Protestantism, clinging, instead, to a system of morality derived from the Magisterium of the Church.9 In France and Germany during the Nineteenth-century, science and the idea of progress came to the fore and mixed with the PPJ to form the movement known as Modernism, which stressed both progressivism and social determination of truth. During this century, the Catholic Church was, relatively, immune from its influence, having suffered through the French Revolution and German Idealism. The Church was, essentially vaccinated against the effects of Modernism through World War I.

    WW I had the effect of both disaffecting and destabilizing the youth who returned from the War. Most youth had never been far from home; now, they were forced to fight in a cosmopolitan atmosphere, side-by-side with foreigner, at the Front. This exposed each population group to many new and foreign social situations and ideas. The newer rapid pace of the War, due to fledgling aerial and chemical weapons added both an urgency and aggressiveness unseen in prior wars. The ultimate effect was to create a weakened, at-risk youth population after the War, who took up extremely progressive causes in some cases and isolationist causes (such as the Red Scare), in other cases.8 In either case, it was a period of extremes. With Modernism being so heavily blocked by the Church Hierarchy of the early Twentieth-century, the PPJ found a new ally, not with a forward-looking progressivism, but at the other extreme (for, this was a period of extremes), with a backward-looking restorationist mentality, leading to the development of, La Nouvelle Theologie (The New theology), which sought to resource the Faith (resourcement) by appeals to its earlier days and documents. Both Modernism and La Nouvelle Theologie, however, are, essentially, personalist movements (with their attachment to the PPJ), with what constituting either progress or resourcement based largely on the ideas of the persons leading the movements, rather than on any objective standards.

    In any case, during the Depression Era, extremism retreated, to be replaced by social conservatism, as usually occurs during periods of societal poverty. After WW II, another group of disaffected and destabilized morally weakened youth returned home from the new War with the same predilection for extremes as after WW I. War on such a scale as the two World Wars had been unprecedented in human history and the social effects on the populations, especially the youth, were similar in both post-War periods. From the Lost Generation to the Red Scare of the 1920’s to their exact counterparts of the Beat Generation and MaCarthyism in the 1950’s, the 1920’s and the 1950s shared the tendency towards extremes so much so that if they are not identical twins, they are certainly fraternal twins of each other.

    Even as the youth, hungry for both stability and novelty, returned from WW II, this time, the Catholic Church, weakened by yet another World War in such close proximity to the first one and continually subjected to an undercurrent of stress for change from 1920-1950, was unable to stem the involvement of its members in the rapid social extremes of progressivism and self-focus that erupted in society, especially in the young, during the post-WW II period. It was this group of seminarians that would go on to form the 1930-1960 ordination classes of priests that would become the abusers during the middle period of the John Jay Study, affected by this reservoir of extremism and change.

    There was no retreat to social conservatism after WW II because there was no comparable Great Depression as after WW I which caused society to band together to fight the encroaching poverty of the period. The 1950’s was a period of unparalleled prosperity, especially, in the West. This prosperity fueled social experimentation. Among social causes, recognition of homosexuality made advancements during both post-War periods (1920’s and 1950’s), but unlike in the 1920’s, no Depression followed in the 1960’s to suppress the movement. If not for the Depression, what happened in the 1950’s, might have happened in the 1920’s – except that during the 1920’s the strength of the Catholic Church’s historical inoculation against progressive forces still strong. No such restraint existed during the late 1950’s and the stage was set for the infection of the Church with the mores of the period. Homosexual perdation of young males seems to have possibly been a secondary infection resulting from the spread of extremism to and through at-risk youth following WW II.

    This historical explanation is highly speculative and a simplification of multiple historical trends (including such social movements as the Counter-cultural Movement) during the Twentieth-century, but it may serve as a working hypothesis. Progressivism or liberalism, by itself, does not seem to be the causative agent of the 1960-2000 abuse crisis (indeed, conservative clergymen were known to have been abusers), but personalism does seem to be heavily involved. The 1960’s was a period when the sense of sin was eroding (indeed, the psychiatrist, Karl Menninger would write a book entitled, Whatever Became of Sin?, as early as 1973), to be replaced with a different, more societal/psychologically-based definition of wholeness. In previous generations, the fear of Hell may have kept evil impulses more closely in check, but during this period, private judgment, the appeal to conscience and emotions, and a sense of permission for social experimentation, resulted in a more personalistic interpretation of morality and a loss of the fear of Hell or even evil consequences to evil actions.”

    The Chicken

  16. Benedict Joseph says:

    I’m compelled to express my appreciation for the thoughtful comments offered by Mr. Gilbert and “The Chicken.” Bravo, gentlemen, bravo. Constructive and illuminating.

  17. Semper Gumby says:

    LeeGilbert: Good point about television addiction.

    Masked Chicken: Good point about the lemming-like rush away from Avoiding Sin towards the cliff of Wonderful Meeeeee…

    Two more reasons why the “Church is [dying] in people’s souls.”

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