Fishwrap, La Crock team up with Beans to attack Archbp. Chaput’s new book

At Fishwrap there is a frantic tirade from Beans about a new book from Archbishop Charles Chaput, Emeritus of Philadelphia.  The title…

Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living

You can see why this offering might give them all a case of the collywobbles.  What a scary idea for them.  There are things worth dying for?

Massimo “Beans” Faggioli is spooked by this book.  He complains, in this piece regurgitated from ultra-liberal La Croix International, that there are conservative bishops and others who are engaged in a “culture war”, while on his side, the Vichy catholic, collaborator-with-the-world side (cf Rom 12:2),

“there are no bishops that publish books that offer a vision of the Church and of society that is different and alternative to the one offered by Archbishop Chaput, Cardinal Sarah and Mr. Weigel.”

The reasons for that are obvious.

Faggioli has a list of reasons for this problem on his side of things.   They oscillate between “Gosh! Our side, with our ‘Francis bishops’, is so intellectual and sensitive! Fighting a ‘culture war’ is … is… bad!” and “Gee! Their side has EWTN and think tanks and … and… ‘the ecclesiastical-industrial complex’!”

I’m not making up that last part, “the ecclesiastical-industrial complex”. He really did go there.   If there is a side in this ecclesial landscape that has had total dominance over Catholic media it is the progressivist left.   That said, just as in the secular sphere a conservative alternative finally emerged, which responded to the views of the majority, so too in the Church a more conservative and traditional alternative has evolved, and the libs don’t like it one little bit.  Just as in the secular sphere, liberals scream for “fairness” and then start repressing conservative views, so too in the Church.  That’s what this piece is from Beans and Fishwrap and La Crock: he names the writers whom he thinks ought to be silenced and shunned.

From Beans:

In this asymmetry, conservatives have a very clear playbook — the culture wars.

Progressives are trying to withdraw from those wars that have caused huge damage to the Church, both intellectually and spiritually.

Raimon Panikkar, a Catholic philosopher and theologian whose Spanish mother was a Catholic and Indian father was Hindu, famously said that “cultural disarmament” is an effective way to peace.

But cultural disarmament must be explained and articulated, otherwise it looks like unconditional surrender.

When we deconstruct what Beans wrote, we see him exposing his esteem for the figures he blasts, Weigel, Arch. Chaput, Card. George, etc.

Bean’s piece is an acknowledgement of effective opposition to exactly what he is trying to do: fight a culture war he claims he doesn’t want.

A concrete way to respond to the attack on Archbp. Chaput’s book is to buy Archbp. Chaput’s book.

Buy it in large quantities and spread them around.

If Fishwrap and La Crock are attacking it, it must be good.

I suggest buying two to start, one for yourself and one for your local priest.

Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living

US HERE – UK HERE (in UK available 19 April – pre-order)

It is available also on Kindle, of course, as well as Audible.   The publisher did not send me an advance copy of this one, so I’ll put a Kindle version on my wishlist.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I just bought my copy at Leaflet Missal. It was prominently displayed right at the checkout stand. All you in the Saint Paul area run over to the store and grab one. And buy a biretta for a seminarian while you are at it. John of Church Goods says there is still a list.

  2. Aliquis says:

    The attacks are good recommendations for the book; I’ll check it out. With respect to the Vichy reference, reading Charles Coulombe’s Puritan’s Empire would likely give you an entirely new perspective on the history of this country generally, but especially w/ respect to WWII.

  3. ajf1984 says:

    Aliquis beat me to the punch with the comment about the attacks being good recommendations! As they say, no such thing as bad press. Just added this to my wishlist, too.

  4. mlmc says:

    As with all of ArBp Chaput’s books, this one is well worth reading. I particularly like the section on hope and his frequent quoting of Pope B XVI- for example “we don’t possess the truth of Christ, we are first and foremost, possessed by it.” I listen to a podcast where ArBp Chaput said this is probably the last book he will write.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    This book looks interesting, thanks Fr. Z. Also a good read is Abp. (he should be a Cardinal) Chaput’s “Strangers in a Strange Land.”

    Ol’ Max Beans, as usual he bought one ticket to the circus too many: “Progressives are trying to withdraw from [the culture] wars.” Now that’s quality entertainment. Step right up folks, see the one and only Legume That Dwells In An Alternate Universe.

    “The ecclesiastical-industrial complex.” *chuckle* One can imagine what shift change in People’s Glorious Happy Happy Joy Joy Liturgy Factory in BeansLand would look like:

  6. xavier says:


    Panniker’s thought is much more subtle than Mongetes (beans in Catalan) makes it out to be. I read some very brief extracts in Catalan as well as some interviews of Pannikar. He always struck me as nuanced and more circumspect that Massimo insinuates.


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  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Aliquis: You have a point: “reading Charles Coulombe’s Puritan’s Empire would likely give you an entirely new perspective on the history of this country generally, but especially w/ respect to WWII.”

    Whether Coulombe’s perspective is accurate or helpful is another matter. For example, some might question his warm regards for Marshall Petain of Vichy France, a Nazi collaborator. Coulombe: “On January 28, 1943, a delegation of Catholics met with Petain in Vichy, and presented him with a flag depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Marshal expressed his happiness with it, and declared it to be “my flag.””

    Highlighting that anecdote is a surface reading of Petain, Vichy France and WW II. Coulombe writes more as a narrow monarchist than as a Catholic with a broad perspective on people and events. A helpful Catholic historian is Paul Johnson (e.g. “Modern Times: A History of the World from the 1920s to the 1990s”), and for a good essay on WW I see George Weigel’s “The Great War Revisited.”

    Coulombe would benefit from Abp. Chaput’s books. That said, I have a copy of Coulombe’s “Blessed Charles of Austria: A Holy Emperor and His Legacy”- one way or another that book should be interesting.

    This reminds me, John Zmirak, who often does the Lord’s work at The Stream, is if I recall a bit of a monarchist and once wrote that the U.S fought on the wrong side during WW I. In other words, the U.S. should have fought Britain and France to save the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Blessed Karl’s realm. And Coulombe has written a book titled: “Star-Spangled Crown: A Simple Guide to the American Monarchy.”

    One could opine reasonably here that these two gentlemen are getting a little carried away with monarcho-philia. They should have a look-see at Bradley Birzer’s biography of a Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence: “American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll.” And they could take a closer look at cautionary takes such as King George III- who was not well- and at Charlemagne’s Empire, which degenerated in less than a century after his death in large part due to problematic sons and grandsons.

    Helpful here is another Paul Johnson book: “A History of the American People” which is a friendly narrative (Johnson is British and a Fine Fellow) and avoids both monarchist zealotry and the Marxist ramblings of “historian” Howard Zinn.

    Even Wise King Solomon went off the rails with that Chemosh thing.

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    A bit more from Max Beans’ article:

    “There is a conservative “Party of God”…”

    Max Beans expects his Birkenstock-shod Fishwrap readers, lounging in their sustainable houses made of dehydrated cottage cheese drywall, to set down their triple-pressed chai lattes and take notice: “Party of God” (snicker) means of course (snort) “Hezbollah” and “Drumpf.”

    “…that invests in culture, while the progressive side invests in other kinds of endeavors that reflect the kind of Christianity they believe in (e.g. work for the poor and marginalized).”

    The “endeavor” of Joe Biden’s regime is “investing” in future one-party rule by telling the drug cartels to “work” more on human smuggling at the southern border, no matter how many sun-bleached bones of raped and murdered brown people litter the Sonora Desert or brown kids float face down in the Rio Grande. No worries Fishwrap readers, back to your pesto-drenched kale-infused Keto-Kommando Fajita Wrap, it’s all for the Greater Glory of Progressivism and Death Party Rule.

    “In this asymmetry, conservatives have a very clear playbook — the culture wars.”

    If that playbook is a thoroughly thumped Holy Bible then yes, and that’s a darn sight better than the “Progressive” playbook: CNN mandarins ululating passages from the Necronomicon around the clock.

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  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Aliquis: The time has arrived to decline Charles Coulombe’s “Blessed Charles of Austria.” Allow an explanation.

    Charles Coulombe writes at the Tumblar House blog. The Mission of the Tumblar House:

    “The greatest gift one can receive is the Catholic Faith. We all have a duty to learn more about our great and holy religion, so that we can defend it, and pass it on to our children…We can learn a great deal of wisdom from the Early Church Fathers and the Doctors of the Catholic Church.”

    So far, so good.

    However, in opposition to that Mission statement here is a sample of Coulombe writing favorably about Hermeticism (ancient Egypt and the occult), the occult group the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (founded by Freemasons in late 19th century London) and “Christian Hermeticism.” Charles Coulombe at the Tumblar House blog, 8 May 2018, titled “The Hermetic Imagination”:

    “Tolkien was a cultural Catholic, deeply read in both folk-lore and in pre-Reformation literature. These were themselves suffused, albeit more or less unconsciously, with the magical or Hermetic world-view, of which, after all, the Golden Dawn was only one exponent.”

    [Coulombe attempts to claim, at least partially, the faithful Catholic JRR Tolkien for Hermeticism.]

    “The activities of its best known non-primarily-literary member, Aleister Crowley, have served to bring upon the Order [Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn] enormous discredit, despite the fact of his early expulsion therefrom [This is false. At least one of the founders of HOGD personally taught Crowley “ceremonial magick” and remained a mentor. An internal power struggle akin to a schism eventually arose in London between the founders. Crowley, having aligned with the losing side, departed HOGD while maintaing a relationship with at least one founder. Crowley eventually founded “Thelema” and created the diabolical “Gnostic Mass.”] As has been observed the whole point of the Order was, in essence, to reveal experientially to its members the subtler realities of the cosmos.” [At a minimum, this is a massive understatement by Coulombe, who neglects to detail HOGD secret affairs such as “ceremonial magick.”]

    “In a real sense, the whole conundrum regarding an authentic understanding of the Golden Dawn’s teaching may be symbolised by the Ace of Cups in the Tarot Deck. Considered merely as a fortune telling device, it can mean plans or latent thoughts, ready to be put into action but whose meaning is still hidden. On a higher level it is said to mean psychic protection and knowledge. But its appearance suggests a world of meaning. For it shows a chalice held by a hand descending from a cloud. The Dove of the Holy Ghost [This particular tarot card lauded by Coulombe is a primary inspiration of Crowley to create the Thoth tarot deck, in which this card is “Card XI: Lust” and among other things depicts a stylized dove impregnating the Virgin Mary. The Thoth deck is favored by JK Rowling.] conveys directly into it a wafer bearing a cross, and out from the chalice pour into the sea streams of pure and living water. We have at once a representation of the Sacramental system (the Eucharist and Baptism), and of the Holy Grail. Two mysteries, one attainable only at the end of a long quest, and the other so near as to be taken for granted. Yet they are in fact one. This is deepest Christian Hermeticism indeed. It is to the honour of the Golden Dawn that the Order both developed an authentic strand of such Hermeticism, and attracted members of the calibre necessary to convey such to a world not without need of it.”

    Charles Coulombe is advocating for Catholics to practice occult rituals on an ostensibly Catholic website.

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    Aliquis: More background on Coulombe, this from the Gnostic Society, Ecclesia Gnostica and the Besant Lodge in Hollywood. “Besant” is Annie Besant (1847-1933), an occultist and Marxist who influenced Margaret Sanger. Note the “gnostic gem” depicting the serpent-legged demon Abraxas in the upper left corner of the webpage:

    “Friday, January 13: The Annual Tarot Forecast for the U.S.A. Conducted by Dr. Hoeller and Mr. Charles Coulombe. The Celtic Cross spread is utilized for the forecast for 2017.”

    Other events involving “Bishop” Hoeller of the Gnostic Church and Charles Coulombe are indicated.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Charles Coulombe in his Tumblar House essay “The Hermetic Imagination”:

    “The Golden Dawn also reflected in its rituals the Christian emphasis earlier referred to. While subsequent authorities (notably Regardie) have sought to minimise this in accordance with their own biases, it is still evident from an examination of the material.”

    What is evident from an “examination of the material” are Coulombe’s pro-occult biases when he writes on this topic.

    The Golden Dawn, which Coulombe is determined to present (along with “Christian Hermeticism”) in a positive light was founded by three Freemasons. Here is a photo of one of the founders:

    “Mathers, in Egyptian costume, performs a ritual of Isis in the rites of the Golden Dawn”

    The foundation text of the Golden Dawn was not the Holy Bible, it was an occult text of about 60 pages known as the “Cipher Manuscript”:

    The interests of the Golden Dawn include Tarot, Qabalah, alchemy, astrology and various occult rituals. The Golden Dawn eventually spawned Thelema and Wicca.

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