Saturday, August 17, 2019

Saturday Morning Musings: Crazies, Blue Hole, Trad Men’s Group

What a week.  Dealt with an unusually high percentage for the week of crazies out there in the world.   Noticing an upward trend in the data the last several weeks too.   People on edge, stressed out, uncooperative, to the point of becoming completely unhinged.  It’s enough to make me yearn with intensity for the day to be over, retreat to the sauna at my gym to detoxify, and later take my own edge off with a fermented beverage.   And I’m 90% sure the Rise of the Crazies lately is largely due to purgatorial heat and humidity we here in Oklahoma at least are dealing with.   Just the other day a person I was interacting with became more cantankerous than usual.  Later they were venting about how hot it is outside.   And I’m sure my own angst dealing with a day of crazies has been affected by the weather. 

Blue Hole Spring.  Near Locust Grove, OK.  As regular readers as of late know, it’s become an Oasis get-away.  Much better stress reliever than one too many Busch Lite beers.  It’s Saturday morning 7:45 am, and in fact we’re getting ready to drive to ‘ol Blue Hole for a morning swim in therapeutically cold waters.  Which reminds me of a poem posted here at the blog written by “JH” about the ‘Ol Blue Hole;  he and I needing to sit down with his medieval instruments and bang out a tune.  One that might make a hit if posted here at The Okie Traditionalist.  

JH (who incidentally is now himself an “Okie Traditionalist” transplant to the Boomer Sooner state) wrote:

Let's relive those times beforeWhen innocence was at the door.  Knockin' lightly, "Hey, let's go"Down to the water at the Ol' Blue Hole  

Trad Men’s Group at the FSSP- Tulsa.  Tonight. Had heard the group fizzled out and is now being jump started again by an influx of new young men, and that the Fraternity parish is exponentially growing.  Perhaps Tradition-minded conservatives across the diocese responding to the Francis Effect.  There is at least one consolation under this purgatorial pontificate, the crisis is driving orthodox, practicing Catholics towards Catholic Tradition and the Traditional Latin Mass.  

Gotta look for the silver lining in life, whether it’s a sauna, beer, swim, or the healing graces that come from Christ on the Cross, as mystically represented in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Stay cool and have a good weekend fellow Okie Trads and Beyond. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

10 Things I’d Rather Be Doing than Watching another Cardinal Burke Video on the Current Papal Crisis

God bless him for his public witness to fundamental teachings being overturned on a weekly basis from the highest level in the Church, but Cardinal Burke himself in his latest interview with one Patrick Coffin is basically saying he can’t say if Francis was not validly elected. Basically he thinks his hands are tied on a direct intervention.  

There will be no real show down, so we’re just spinning our wheels obsessively fixated on a remedy for this Luciferian mess.  Which is why at most I glance at such headlines on the odd occasion. 

I give you:

10 Things I’d Rather Be Doing:

1.  Making my famous jalapeƱo poppers for the men’s group this Saturday at 4:30 at the Fraternity of St Peter enclave.  Come on out and meet The Okie Traditionslist.   Hint I look like Hoss from Bonanza. 

2.  Drinking Busch Lite.  I like a Jack Daniels once in a spell, but on any night I’m fine and dandy with my low carb go to Busch Lite.  Lot more flavor than Ultra Light Michelob. 

3.  Swimming down at the ol Blue Hole.  Planning another weekend day trip when temps subside. 

4.  Re-reading St. Thomas’ Treatise on Law as a primer for my next medical ethics article on abortion.  It won’t be like something published by the JP2 Institute or in a pamphlet by the American Life League on facts and figures.  More a philosophical reflection on core ethical principles and how to surgically apply them (pun not intended) to complex abortion cases.  Case in point the debate over ectopic pregnancies posing a high mortality risk. 

5.  Walking my dog Peanut. 

6.  A long sweat bath in a wet sauna down at my gym after a therapeutic swim.  Cathartic after a day dealing with crazies in the world.  Yes sir. 

7.  Ordering the addictive combo plate down at White River Fish Market.  Makes for a not very penitential meal with trusted Okie Trad friends. 

8.  Rubbing Peanut’s belly when I get home.   She assumes the position the moment I walk through the front door.   Dogs.  A man’s best friend.  

9.  Standing in line at the DMV writing a blog post on my phone.

10.  Battling extremely slow Tulsa traffic made so by a minority of mindless, moronic slow pokes who often reduce the flow of traffic by a large percentage (and indirectly by extension the local economy).  



On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy

Why this subject is ever an integral part not only of the life of the priestly hierarchy during modern times, but also that of us ordinary lay faithful.   All within due limits and scope of authority of course.  

A holy Pope recommends all Catholics (in general; I suppose those not yet properly catechized or who truly have no time or aptitude for reading would be the exception) make the study of Christian Philosophy, especially that of classical Thomism, part of their intellectual and thus spiritual life.  

Comments section open and moderated via blogger email.  Calvinists and Armchair Theologians welcome to debate the topic.  ;). 

I give you the Papal Encyclical Aeterni Patris by Pope Leo XIII.  I double dog dare all readers to read this Magisterial and enlightening teaching. 







Saturday, August 10, 2019

Article # 1: Catholic Medical Ethics. The Natural Law.

Preface:  I wrote this post several months ago, and am finding now the right life-work balance to draw attention again to this project, in particular since as of late I have been personally involved in a number of situations that involve issues covered by medical ethics.


Introduction:

Over the course of ten articles, I plan to give an introduction or primer if you will, in particular for Catholics like myself who work in a health care profession -- be they doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, etc. -- to the critical and timely subject called Catholic Medical Ethics.

Pope John Paul II once wrote that our contemporary Western Civilization has become overtaken by what he called a "Culture of Death."  In his sermons, exhortations, and various encyclicals, in particular Evangelium Vitae, Donum Vitae, and Veritatis Splendor, the pope explained how a wholesale culture, that violates the dignity and sanctity of human life, and therefore the supreme dignity of the Creator, has become accepted, legalized, institutionalized, inculturated, and coerced upon the public.  He identifies the enemy as being materialist, secular progressives in government, the apostates in the Church, and especially anti-life authorities in the health care industry.

This Culture of Death is seen in the following practices, which I plan to discuss in detail in each article, according to the natural law principles they violate, in light of the critical medical details necessary to understand these topics:

Outline:

Article #1:  The Natural Law 

Article #2:  Surgical Abortion

Article #3:  Abortifacient mechanism of the "Pill"

Article #4:  Artificial Birth Control

Article #5::  Natural Family Planning:  its legitimate uses, and abuses

Article #6:  Beginning of life care of child and mother

Article #7:  Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide

Article #8:  End of Life Care

Article #9:  Artificial Reproductive Technologies, Stem Cell Research, Genetic Engineering

Article #10:  The Catholic Philosophy of Health Care.  Resources.


My Background:

I myself work in a health profession.  Besides my health science professional degree, I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology, which I once used to teach high school biology, chemistry, and physics, including a self-designed course I called "Medical Studies."  

I also have a Masters degree in Catholic Philosophy from a seminary college, with an emphasis on the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, with courses including moral philosophy, sexual ethics, and medical ethics, from a period in which I had discerned the Catholic priesthood.  In addition, I have worked for one year after college for a Catholic pro-life organization in the area of education, giving conferences on college campuses. 

Therefore, this subject, Medical Ethics, is something I believe I am basically qualified to discuss and share with passion about, at least on an introductory level, that I think can help many of my fellow Catholic, health care workers.  I have been a practicing, believing Catholic all my life, continuously learning more about the Catholic Faith.

First, what is Catholic Medical Ethics?

Ethics is a subject in the larger subject called Philosophy, which the Church has embraced along side Theology, being what St. Thomas Aquinas calls "the handmaiden of theology."  Ethics deals with the moral act of a human being, the virtues, the kinds of moral law, different forms of moral activity (contemplative vs. active), and the meaning of human happiness.  

What distinguishes Catholic Medical Ethics as something "Catholic," that is the antidote the Church gives us to cure this "Culture of Death," and to replace it one day with a Christian "Culture of Life," as part of the Social Kingship of Christ, is that it takes as its inspiration and guide the Moral Revelations of the Catholic, Christian Faith.  This Revelation is found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, as interpreted by the Magisterium, but also taught by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, especially the "Universal Doctor of the Church," St. Thomas.  He is considered the greatest theologian in Church history, and the go-to authority for seminary training and theological consultation.  Catholic Medical ethics, then, is at its core Thomistic ethics.

What is particular to Medical Ethics is that it considers the moral purpose, spirit, and outlook of health care and medicine in general, from a Catholic, philosophical point of view, while developing general and specific moral principles (i.e. "natural law principles") as they pertain to addressing ethical controversies such as abortion, cosmetic plastic surgery, or human cloning.


The Natural Law:

I would like to encourage you to bookmark the following Catholic website, that many consider an invaluable resource:  


http://newadvent.org/

At New Advent.org,  there is the entire Summa Theologicae of St. Thomas, for free.  Click on "Primae Secundae Partis," scroll down, and consider reading the "Treatise on Law," especially the section about the natural law.

In a nutshell, the natural law is the moral law of God as written on the human heart, as Scripture describes it, meaning it is ingrained into our very human nature, something accessible to human reason itself, by the age of reasoning, using reflection and common sense.  Every human being possesses the natural law, and is able to know the central moral truths of life, even if they have no knowledge of Christ or His Church, even through no fault of their own.

For St. Thomas, there are four kinds of moral law:  the eternal law, which is actually in God's nature itself;  the divine law, which is the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament, and the Beatitudes of the New Testament;  the human law which is civil law and canon law;  and natural law, which is a reflection of all moral law at the most basic, natural, human level.

Therefore, when confronting a pro-death medical establishment that does not recognize the eternal or divine law, the natural law becomes a necessary starting point and foundation in discussing complex, medical ethics issues in the work place.


General Principles of the Natural Law:

Next, I would like to articulate the core natural law principles, and discuss how they relate to countering the culture of death with a Christian, ethical form of health care.

1.  The first, most over-arching principle of the natural law can be stated as:  

"We must always avoid evil, and seek the good."

That is because the moral good is the most supreme goal of all human activity, which includes health care.  But the term "the good" has different levels of meaning here.  It also means the psychological, physical, social, economic, and cultural good of the individual.  When any of those factors are seriously lacking, then illness will progress.

The health care professional then is obligated to ensure that all activities they perform, and which they involve the patient in, are absolutely and always in accord with moral truth, upholding virtue, goodness, and respect for moral law and moral authority.  And more immediately, per the direct purpose of the profession of course, the "good" we must seek is the overall, holistic, mind-body, person-centered health of the individual person, which includes longevity, energy, endurance, strength, mobility, mental clarity and focus, which would be necessary for an individual to fulfill their duties of state in life, and reach their God-given potential.

Therefore, the contemporary, Western, allopathic philsophy of medicine fails to treat the whole person and clinical picture, using nutrition and wellness, but instead focuses in a fractionated way, that ultimately sets back health progression in the patient, and often directly causes disease or even premature death, on symptoms, medications, surgery, and often unnecessarily invasive diagnostic procedures.

In this first principle, we must also "avoid evil."  That is evil that is intrinsically, and absolutely, always immoral, unethical, and professionally unacceptable at all times and places.  For example, almost all health professions will at least admit that one can never directly, intentionally murder another human being.

Arriving at common ground consensus then is critical, if you are going to achieve a team approach that delivers quality health care, which is based in fundamental natural law principles that all people of common sense should be able to agree upon.

To achieve this, we must promote a whole person approach to health care, drawing also from other medical philosophies, such as osteopathy, naturopathy, integrative medicine, or Chinese medicine.
The point being that to "seek the good" in health care must be about treating the whole health of the person.  

Health care workers are not priests, but we have serious, spiritual responsibilities to encourage the sick in their spiritual life.  We must pray with them, prayers like the Our Father, offer rosaries especially to Catholic patients, encourage them to promote their full health out of respect for the body God gave them, but also for their vocation and avocations in life, in doing God's Will.  

Ultimately, we should hope to at least influence our patients indirectly through our good example, and saying we are believing Catholics, so they will experience as well conversion.   This is the whole approach Catholic health care takes in "avoiding evil, and seeking the good."

2.  A second core natural law principle says that:

"We must always act in accord with nature."

The reason God dictates this to our human nature, is that He did not create us separate from physical creation, or the cosmos, but as having a central, integral place in it.  Just as the design of a car is based on engineering, which is based on the laws of physics in nature, so the design of a human being is based on the natural order of the cosmos, and Earth, which is the medium for human, moral action.  Therefore, all moral action must be in harmony with the natural, created order.

Modern medicine, in so far as it is rooted in modern, empirical science, tends also to be derived historically by extension from modern philosophy, which tends to place man in a position of "Man vs. Nature," as if we are spirits above or separate from the created, physical word, and that world is not something that God uses to govern us, but that we become self-determined gods, mastering and manipulating the forces of nature like a mad scientist.

The Catholic, Christian spirit instead directs man to act in accord with the Creator, and therefore according to our place inside the cosmos, to do so indirectly first by acting in accord with the order God designed in Creation.

The health care professional or worker then, has great respect for nature, as a gift from God.  They will seek to know the exact nature of individual things, in order to act more precisely in accord with specific natures, including in the design of the human body.

For example, prenatal human development by its nature is inside the reproductive tract of a female human.  It would be a violation of nature, and therefore the natural, moral law, to try and implant an artificial womb into the pelvic floor of a male, so that men can carry children to term instead of women.  It would also violate the nature of "maleness" and "femaleness."

The Catholic health care professional, when basing their clinical decisions necessarily on health science and human biology, must first development a Christian appreciation of natural science and natural philosophy, in light of the Christian faith.  Health science then always seeks to "act in accord with nature."

3.  A third natural law principle states:

"We must always act in accord with human nature."

If we must always "act in accord with nature," and if "human nature" is part of the larger category of "nature," then it this third precept logically follows.  God gave us a very specific design and created nature, not a mere material animal, and not an angelic spirit.  We are embodied souls, gifted ultimately with the powers of intellect and free will, which make us in the "imago Dei," or "image of God."  Whereas a dog or tree have no free will, or spiritual soul, it is only a human being within the physical realm, that is a rational soul instrinsically bound to a physical body.

Therefore, it is a moral imperative to treat the human body, and the person of the patient, exactly as God created it.  The patient is not just a body, so their spirit and mind must be treated as well, to likewise benefit the body.  Likewise, if a patient is in spiritual distress, as any person can fall into, by treating illness of the body, we indirectly alleviate pain, worries, and anxieties, and therefore we health care professionals, in support of the priests, indirectly help the spiritual life of the patient.

When we examine very complex new technological developments in treating illness, or even augmenting artificially human abilities, one example being new forms of leg prostheses that enable a patient to run at very high speeds, we have to ask "are we acting in accord with human nature."  Since God created us in a very specific way, with an awesome, beautiful nature that reflects God's own nature, we still must realize the boundaries and limits of that nature.  God did not design us to run 50 miles per hour, or have four arms, or computerized brains augmented by advanced AI software.  

By understanding this Thomistic, natural law principle, and using human psychology and biology to precisely understand the depths and limits of human nature, we can know how to treat sick human nature, but to also know how far is too far, morally.

4.  Another principle says:

"We must always act in accord with reason."

This is a really central, critical principle of the natural law.  Without reason, we cannot understand the natural law in the first place.  Consider that if we must "always act in accord with human nature," and that the highest part of our nature is not the body or even our emotions, but our spiritual intellect, then this fourth principle makes perfect sense.

It comes into play when health care professionals, hospital ethics committees, patients, and legislators make tough medical ethical decisions about policy.  Secular medical ethics today tends to be a based on "utilitarianism" and "situation ethics."  The former is the system of thought that the individual good of people must sometimes be sacrificed for the greater common good.  What this usually means is that some patients right to life, proper health care, or dignity of treatment, can or must be sacrificed, yielding to socioeconomic interests.   In situation ethics, the idea is that the moral good is determined not by absolute, instrinsical moral laws that apply to all situations, but that the concrete circumstances separately determine the moral correctness of action.

Both common approaches, often used simultaneously, are not based upon objective reality outside our mind, that is in a knowable, natural order outside of us we are able to conform to.  Human reason then is reduced to a subjective, relativistic state, where emotional content for difficult situations dictates the right ethical course. 


Specific Principles of the Natural Law:

Over the centuries, but especially during modern times, Thomistic moral philosophers, specializing in medical ethics, have developed more specific natural law principles, when considering more concrete realities in life, are necessary developments from the more general principles.

1.  "We must always respect the dignity and sanctity of human life."

Here, medical ethics starts to get even more specific about what the "culture of death" is undermining.   If we must act in accord with human nature (#3 above), and if we are made in the "image of God," then we must always act in accord with man in God's image, which makes our nature dignified and sacred.

This means that it is intrinsically evil to direct cause an innocent human life to die.  It also means we must take care of the patient's body with the utmost respect, because it is a "Temple of the Holy Spirit."  It also means that we must respect the nature of a human being as being a person with free will, such that we cannot force care without their consent, and they must always be afforded an "informed consent" (more on this to come in Article #8 to come).

2.  We must always provide "ordinary care," but are never morally required, under pain of sin, or breaking the moral law, to provide "extraordinary care."  In other words, "The Principle of Ordinary vs. Extraordinary Care."

This can get very complicated, depending on different illnesses and shifting criteria that are very challenging to apply to clinical cases, to decide if an intervention is ordinary vs. extraordinary.  Food, water, clothing, shelter, antibiotics, and the like, are generally considered ordinary care.   Artificial ventilation for a terminally-ill patient would fall under extraordinary care.

3.  The Principle of Totality -- in a specific moral act involving the human body, all natural aspects of that aspect must be preserved during each performance of that act.  The classic example of this is birth control separating the procreative aspect from the unitive aspect during conjugal intercourse.  There are several components in the sex act that comprise the total act, that determine its moral character:  a) intercourse, b) ejaculation inside the reproductive tract, c) between one man and one woman who are married, d) safeguarding modesty and privacy, e) that is open to conception, f) and that is an expression of love and support.  In fact whole books on Catholic sexual ethics have been written that dissect down all these parts, to examine the moral and social implications if even one part is ommitted or violated.

4.  The Principle of Double Effect -- because there are some very complex, urgent medical conditions, in which there is a tension between preserving life or health in one aspect, vs. preserving the same in other aspects, this principle can be used.  While we can never justify instrinically evil acts (as situation ethics and utiliarianism does), we are allowed by Providence to compare the competing goods to make a prudential decision about which goods or health care goals are a priority.   In some extreme cases then, we can perform a medical procedure that is not instrinsically evil, per se, that may or even will likely result indirectly in a serious, natural evil.

The classic example is a pregnant woman who has cancer of the uterus, who must choose whether or not to receive chemotherapy or a hysterectomy, when it may certainly, indirectly result in the death of an unborn child.  She has the right to weigh the options, and even preserve her life over that of the child, but it is more heroic if she would risk her life to first bring it to term.  Either case, she can morally receive the procedure, even if the child would indirectly die.


Conclusion:

Appreciating the value of Catholic Medical Ethics in our health care professions is critical in performing our duties with the utmost dignity and skill, while avoiding moral evils, and promoting the overall good of our patients.  This subject can be more easily studied and practiced by first mastering an understanding of the natural law and its principles, with the help of St. Thomas.

Once we have learned to understand, love, and apply these principles, then it becomes a less daunting task to examine specific medical ethics topics like surgical abortion.

When we think of abortion, we usually think of a woman going to an abortion clinic, for the terrible, medical procedure.  We have heard that since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, there have been more than 40 million abortions.  But that is just surgical abortions.  Far more, many millions more, God knows the number, of preborn human lives are terminated by chemical abortion, primarily birth control pills.  So the subject of abortion alone is an extraordinarily complex topic to consider.

That said, for now from this article, hopefully I have given a fair explanation of the core principles, with examples how they apply to health care.  In Article #2 then, I will be applying some of these principles to the subject of surgical abortion.




Monday, August 5, 2019

When Will Tulsa Diocese Release Full List of Priests Accused of Sexually Molesting Minors?

Dioceses all over the US have been releasing their own list, now coming full circle to be as transparent as is possible.   And just recently one accused Tulsa priest was discussed by Channel 6 news. 

Let’s face the facts, as Prelates like Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider have clarified.  The majority of priests who sexually abuse minors are sexual predators preying on teenage boys.  Grooming them over weeks and months to destroy what innocence they have at that age. 

And the common theme is that from diocese to diocese whole groups of these priests form private circles to enable them to break their vows of chastity, while molesting minors, and forming their own Lavendar Mafia taking power at the level of the Diocese itself.  

That is at the level of the “Diocesan Presbyteral Council,” which, unless the Bishop should somehow have the fortitude instilled in men by nature to govern with order and justice, is the real Power at the level of the Local Church.  

I shutter to think how many of our own priests, among those who are doubtlessly faithful priests, may have fallen into this Satanic sin against our children.  

Or RATHER, how many have been accused but whose names have been kept secret until now. 

But doing an exhaustive Google search, there is no sign the Diocese is planning to have full disclosure once and for all.   Why?   Because of the fear of major litigation and endless public scrutiniy?

I think it’s just a matter of time that the Tulsa Diocese itself finally comes full circle.  If you are reading this dear Bishop David Konderka, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ and all the innocent children, please follow the example of the rest of the US Episcopate. 

If you have any info to report, the Diocese has provided this hotline.  Let us not be afraid to voice our concerns to our own Bishop and local leadership!

918-307-4970

The Comment section is open and moderated.  Or email me any comments at JosephOstermeir@gmail.com. 



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

What is the Difference between Going to a Diocesan Latin Mass vs. Say an FSSP Latin Mass?

Say you’ve got two choices in your area, a Diocesan Latin Mass, offered under the auspices of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, or one offered under the auspices of a Priestly Society of Apostolic Life such as the FSSP, ICK, or SSPX.  

Questions: 

What differences can you expect, both when first attending one vs the other, and if making a more long term commitment?

What philosophical or theological differences would exist between those two approaches or sub-movements of the wider Latin Mass Movement?

Which is the more ideal choice?  Or more prudent one?

Such will be the examination in tonight’s latest installment of The Okie Traditionalist!  After all, here in Tulsa, OK we have two TLMs within city limits.  

(The TLM Movement began here in 1970 when the Bishop refused a group’s request for the Traditional Mass;  that group formed an Independent Chapel which eventually was served for 40 years by the SSPX). 

Introduction:

Factors to consider:  the Liturgy, the liturgical-devotional-catechetical environment, quality of community life, overall fidelity to Sacred Tradition, not compromising to the New Religion.  

Do you fit into the temperament or dynamic of the community?  Are the religious and communal needs of your family being met?   Is there a proper cry room, wheel chair ramp, sufficient temperature control?  Are you allergic to incense?  The list goes on.  Is the pastor actually pastoral?   Does the community have an open, welcoming, and public orientation, or does it tend towards the insular, elitist, or privatized?   

In my experience many or most Trads weigh all such factors, not just on one hand purity of religious doctrine and practice, but on the other hand how well said parish community meets their very real personal, concrete needs.   

In my own case, that once meant going to the FSSP for 7 years, then the SSPX for 10 years.  But I digress... 

Even the SSPX often will advise the traditional faithful to make a prudential decision as to which Mass to attend, with at least a half dozen cases coming to mind, just off the top of my head, of SSPX priests actually advising laity due to very particular circumstances to go to the FSSP.   

Yet, to illustrate the paradox of the question of which TLM to attend, the Society itself also officially advises as an ideal to only attend their Mass centers or chapels if in driving distance.  

Framing the Topic:

To frame the topic of this post, I think we need to consider the topographical layout of the contemporary Church, the Traditional Movement itself in its endeavor to help restore Tradition, the noble ideals revealed by that Tradition, and the practical way at present we can promote said restoration of Tradition. 

Novus Ordo Land is the 99.999% mainstream.  Traddom the 0.0001% Catholic Remnant.  Excluding the formally schismatic theory that rejects as an Anti-Church the Hierarchy that accepts the validity of Vatican II (aka sedevacantism, which if wrong [its is] according to classical logic means formal separation from Church), Traddom began largely with the vast works of Traditional Restoration put in place by the saintly bishop Archbishop Lefebvre, especially but not only the Society.  

The hard fact is that by and large out of the Society came the FSSP, the Ecclesia Dei Commission, other Ecclesia Dei Communities, the resurgence of the Latin Mass, the motu proprio, and overall the entire movement of restoring Tradition.

What the Society has proven by its own persecuted history is that in general we cannot trust the conciliar bishops or popes, that the diocesan structure and Vatican structure cannot be trusted.  To uphold Tradition, protect the rights of faithful Catholics, or protect the moral legitimacy of today’s clergy.  

But consider this.  The same SSPX is largely responsible for the motu proprio.  It was the main organization asking the Pope to make it clear the ancient Roman Mass is a public right of every Roman rite priest and lay faithful.   The FSSP never asked for that. The FSSP as an organization above the level of some of its individual members, has never made the preservation of Tradition abs and Traditional Mass a moral obligation, a moral imperative, challenging the Authorities to make it universal again throughout the entire structure of the Latin Church.   It was and is the Society that most supports the motu proprio movement, providing materials and liturgical training for diocesan clergy.   Praising individual priests and parishes for turning back once again to the timeless, perennial, and sacred.  

Supporting Both:

My point of view shared by some Trads is to support both the SSPX or FSSP, but also the Motu Proprio side of the movement, both on the level of theoretical ideals, but also on the level of practical circumstances both for the indivdual/family structure, but also for keeping alive this Catholic Remnant. 

Going deeper, the commitment to Tradition goes beyond various trad circles or ideologies. It involves the whole Church in all Her divinely instituted levels.  Not just the level of the domestic Church of the family, but also that of the parish Church, the Local Church under a singular Bishop, and the universal Catholic Church.   This commitment is to seeing Tradition spread and restored everywhere, including in the Eastern Catholic Churches which truth be told are somewhat affected by Modernism. 

Would we Tulsans for example not want a Traditional Mass to start at Holy Family cathedral, or at any of the parishes of the diocese? Would we not celebrate and support in some way all these young priests and seminarians who privately (or not so privately) are learning the 1962 missal and reconnecting to the entire spiritual heritage that goes along with the Traditonal Liturgy?

I have heard of many such examples recently just here in the Tulsa Diocese.  

The Case for the Motu Proprio Movement:

Consider this.  The Motu Proprio movement itself, of TLMs popping up exponentially from diocese to diocese, has made the Latin Mass much more widely known and available.  By Providence, God is not only preserving Tradition within trad enclaves served by Societies of Apostolic Life “outside the mainstream” but by heroic, good, and faithful priests and laity “in the mainstream.”   

On one hand, the exclusive, complete adherence to Tradition in the FSSP or SSPX is a guiding light for everyone else to turn towards Tradition.  On the other hand, with motu proprio Masses spreading throughout a diocese, or better put our “local Church,” over time there is created a kind of almost geographical flow of Tradition-minded Catholics across the diocese in the eventual direction for many of them of joining the FSSP parish or SSPX chapel. 

Philosophical Differences:

The philosophical difference then between both the noble ideal of the Diocesan Latin Mass, and a generally fully traditional parish, is in the approach to restoring Tradition.  And I don’t think that means the philosophies are in binary opposition to one another, unless they become ossified ideologies enforced by the groupthink of said trad community.  Philosophy means the “love of wisdom,” with wisdom being both about theoretical ideals and prudence. 

Unfortunately ideologies do often ossify and clash.  Fellow trads even in a singular parish can form imaginary lines of division over how hard-line traditionalist one should be, with the Remnant or SSPX supporters vs the Michael Voris type supporters, etc, etc. Throw in a JP2-We-Love-You Neoconservative gadfly at odds with the Trafitionslist frame of mind, and things get even more dicey.  

My Conclusion: 

Taking all this into account, in summation, my opinion is that overall we should support in theory and in practice both the noble ideal of the fully traditional, active, communal, vibrantly devotional and liturgical trad parish/chapel, and of the more mainstream Motu Proprio movement throughout our local Churches of restoring Tradition given legal and moral force by means of Pope Benedict XVI (responding to talks with the SSPX).  

At the same time we have to weigh the ideal with the practical needs of ourselves and families.  If said Trad parish in your own personal experience is too insular and toxic, at least for you, going to and supporting a Diocesan Latin Mass would be most helpful to your spiritual life while supporting that side of Traditional Restoration.  But if in your estimation the trad parish provides a healthy atmosphere, then it is, again in my opinion, the better choice, for the integrity of the doctrine of the Faith and the Liturgy.  
The bottom line is that, for all of us, it boils down to making a prudential choice for what is best.  The Pope unfortunately has not settled this Crisis, so the laity are forced to figure things out with the limited advise of a minority of faithful priests.  That decision comes down to balancing discernibly objective truths and facts with many different subjective, real-to-life variables.  

Either way, thank God for the wider availability of the Traditional Latin Mass.  And for all those faithful, orthodox priests, both in Priestly Societies and Dioceses (not to mention the Religious Orders), who are courageously stepping up to the plate.  Or rather the altar of the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Okay, time for bed. 

(Comments are open and moderated).  


Monday, July 29, 2019

Mini-Vacation to St. Louis.

It was an optimistic morning as we took off down Interstate 44 from Tulsa, heading east by northeast for St. Louis, MO.  

Plan:  five days of rest and leisure in St. Louis, the "Gateway to the West."  Possibly visit St. Mary's, KS on the way back.  Go to the top of the Arch, visit old Catholic churches, sample local European American food, and maybe even swim a bit in an indoor hotel pool.  Such was the dream!   

Five plus days later, back here in T-town sitting in my Okie Armchair, I can testify to the veracity of Murphy's Law.   "If anything can go wrong, it will."  Or rather the hallowed truth that this earthly adventure we call Life is a Valley of Tears.  But also a blessing.  Looking back on our adventure, we definitely experienced both sides of the same coin.

Hanging over I-44 in Northeast Oklahoma is an actual McDonald's which used to be considered the largest McDonald's in the world.  The cashier who served us our breakfast told me the largest is now in Russia.   Over eggs, sausage, and pancakes, we enjoyed the first signs of sunrise greeting us from the east.




The ride was uneventful, but we did see some nice scenery in what I think were parts of the Ozarks.  The thirty minutes you approach St. Louis is especially hilly and scenic.  And you know you are transitioning from a more Evangelical Protestant area to a more Catholic area when many towns are named after a saint, and a number of steeples decorate the sky.

Our first day went fairly well, though not exactly to plan, as can be 

expected on any major road trip.  Turns out Union Station was closed for renovations, a rail road station which also serves as a mall and location for hotels and restaurants.  So our lunch plan turned to finding some parking downtown, walking several blocks, and eating calzones at Sauce on the Side.  Not bad.




Next on our To-See List, the St. Louis Catholic Cathedral Basilica.
Probably the most beautiful church I've ever been in.  When you first walk inside, the size and height of the main vaulted ceiling, covered in Byzantine mosaics, highlighted with sparkling pieces of gold, really hits you, and you are instantly transported into a sacred building.  We sat in the back to pray, just mesmerized.  





As I had only slept six hours the night before, if that, after working over time days before leaving, by now I was ready to check into a hotel for a nap.  The plan was nap for an hour, then go to the St. Louis Busch Brewery for a tour and tasting before dinner.  No such luck.  We crashed until 6:30 then headed to a restaurant that sticks out fondly in my childhood memory when our family visited St. Louis.  The Old Sphaghetti Factory.   Historic restaurant in a historic district of the city, surrounded by cobble stone streets, blocks from the Arch, all underground with a kind of nineteenth century, candle-lit New Orleans-style atmosphere.




And that is where it all went down hill, in my later estimation.

I loved the atmosphere which drew me into the history of the area, the food was decent, and the service fair.   

But twelve hours later I was doubled over in bed in the fetal position with a stomach ache straight out of H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, and for the next 24 hours I literally had to jolt to the toilet 24 times (my wife counted).




The likely culprit?  Well, the kitchen had forgotten to add my chicken to my plate, and made it quickly after I told the server.  So that's at the top of my list.  (Mental note to self:  the next time a restaurant kitchen forgets your chicken and makes it quickly, carefully inspect before ingesting).

It's now Monday, and I'm still having GI symptoms and residual weakness.  Thursday was a blur spending the whole day in bed.

But Friday signs and symptoms subsided enough to check out of our motel and spend a slow, easy day at the free St. Louis Zoo, which was really nice.  The layout made for a continuous, curving walk past various animal exhibits, and even more food areas.  There must've been two dozen areas to sit and eat.   I didn't eat (very much), but often I would sit in the shade to rest sipping away on Gaterade.  I could really tell I was majorly dehydrated.




The Penguins:  Our Favorite Exhibit


Later we (I should say I) had enough energy to visit another Catholic church, this one listed as the 6th highest church in the US, once given by now Cardinal Burke to the Institute of Christ the King priestly society for the exclusive offering of the Traditional Latin Mass.  We arrived around 4:45, and the doors were locked.  Looking up at the French Gothic steeples, I was dizzy.




That night we decided to treat ourselves to a 3 star hotel, the Pear Tree Inn near Union Station, which looks directly down the street downtown to the St. Louis Arch.   I'm more a Motel 6 kind of guy, but this was a welcome reprieve.  

That is until about 7 am the next morning when a second wave of GI distress hit.  For about 3 hours I got treated to abdominal cramps hitting every thirty seconds, to the point I finally went to the toilet, got down on my knees, and stuck my fingers down my throat.   What a relief.  Oh and for fun, I also had a major rash break out all over my body.  I crawled back into bed for another 24 hour suck it up, this is life, until the next morning things finally subsided and I got some energy back.



Enough to go to the St. Louis Arch just before leaving town.  You have to again find a parking garage, and hike a few blocks.  Unfortunately it was a three hour wait to go to the top, so we just saw the museum and movie, and bought some souvenirs, before hitting the road for the six hours back to Tulsa.

Anyway, my energy levels are normalizing and I'm back to the daily rhythm.  I feel a bit like Chevy Chase's character in one of the National Lampoon Vacation movies.  Looking back on our little trip, it had its real rough spots, but I have a smile on my face.  We did get some rest, got to take a dip in the hotel pool, and saw some beautiful sites.  Deo gracias.  




Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Culture War against European American, Conservative Christian, Catholic, and Masculine Men. Part Two (of Two)

Introduction:

See Part One of "The Culture War Against European American, Conservative Christian, Catholic, and Masculine Men"  HERE.

In this second of two blog posts on the subject, I conclude by discussing the culture war against men, specifically those who are red-blooded, undoubtably masculine and heterosexual men, especially such religiously conservative men, in particular that of the orthodox, Catholic, Christian faith.





If you are reading this, odds are high you fall into several or most of those categories of reverse-bigotry as listed in the title.  You may be a conservative Catholic woman.  Or more a "traditionalist."

You may or may not be of European decent.   But you experience the assault of the Secularist Left against those who believe in traditional, biblical morality, and the religion of Jesus Christ.

But there is a special kind of warfare being waged specifically against men, and we know the source of this attack as Feminism.   As I will try and elucidate, Feminism's ultimate aim is the destruction of the Church and Christian society, by destroying traditional marriage and the family.

As a Preface, the Church traditionally upholds the sacred dignity of womanhood, femininity, the female gender, the place of women in the home, public society, and the Church.  The Church advocates for the rights and protection of women, to prevent their sexual exploitation, uphold their civic rights, their place in public leadership, their unique qualities imparted specifically to them by virtue of their gender. 





The only theoretically true kind of feminism is one rooted in God's Revelation about how men and women are created with differences to compliment each other, how women are spiritually equal to men, and how the integrity of the family as the basis of public society is just as guaranteed by the unique gifts of mothers and wives, as it is by the unique gifts of fathers and husbands.

True Masculinity:

I think it is a mistake of those on the Right to portray what masculinity really is or should be in the same way that those on the Left do in a pejorative way.   The Left portrays masculinity as barbarism.  The masculine man to them is authoritarian (vs authoritative), brutish, and overly physical.

A true man does not have to be large, tall, muscular, very physically fit, very confident with high self-esteem.   A true man to be as such does not have to make an American middle-class salary,
or have such ambitious habits that would secure him that level of material security.  None of those things are bad, but they do not make a man masculine, or a fully developed male, husband, or father.  




God designed a natural cosmos, with definite chemical and biological natures, with human beings being imparted a soul and two genders, with maleness and masculinity being divinely drafted by the laws of nature, by biological laws.

Real masculinity in a man acts in respect of his physical and psychological constitution.  Men are designed more for physical labor, guarding and protecting, leading and governing, for the daily mental strain of dealing with public conflicts and hardships, and for looking far into future to plan for the family and other social institutions. 

A real man simply then is one who brings home the main income to support his family, to protect the home from potential invaders and social threats, to oversee order and stability in daily home life, and ultimately to sacrifice himself like Christ the High Priest for the faith and morals, for the salvation, of his wife and children.

The Culture War on Christian Masculinity:

I think this specific attack is so complex, to try and unravel and categorize its sub-errors would be like opening the gates to hell, looking down into hell, and trying to rationally describe the chaos of absolute evil.  I don't even think God wastes time categorizing all the details of that eternal void.




There is something satanic, witch-like, and diabolically evil about feminism's attack on masculinity, because it is really an wholesale attack on that way of life that masculinity is designed by God to protect.  That is chastity, moral order, religion, marriage, family, and a Christian society.

The fact that feminism is so largely to blame for the slaughter of tens of millions of aborted babies in the US alone, since Roe vs. Wade, is an indication how evil this phenomenon is.

Feminist women today do not respect the kind of masculinity described above.  Either they expect the man to be a Type A extrovert, with six pack abs, making a six figure salary, before they would even begin to consider him worthy of marriage and a family, in which the woman is financially secure enough to stay at home raising children.  Or they expect him to be an effeminate subordinate to Type A, aggressive women.

Either kind is sort of acceptable, but not that of a simple, devout, ordinary kind of man, who is a conservative, devout Christian, making a working class sort of income.  The Average Joe Gentleman is seen as a Loser, an object of scorn.  Hence the phenomenon of men aligning (misguidedly in my opinion) with the so-called "Alt Right" or online "Manosphere."

If you are naturally fit, extraverted, Type A type of guy, the kind of guy who dominated high school sports and later in life business and profit, then God has given you certain gifts he did not give your average man, but those gifts do not spell masculinity. 

A quiet male school teacher, or truck driver, whose wife and kids live in a1000 square foot house and rarely go out to eat, who gets out of bed every day to put in an honest days work, to come home every night to spend quality time with his kids, to lead them in the nightly rosary, that is more a true man, with true masculinity, than an egotistical, self-centered, rich, successful businessman who treats his wife and kids like a burden or trophies to show off.

Solution?

Don't look to me, some anonymous guy with one among 40,000,000 blogs on the internet.  Look to Jesus Christ, to the Saints, to the guidance of the Catholic Church founded by Our Lord.  Let Our Lord and all those male saints, like St. Joseph, by our example!


In Summary:

Liberalism, modernism, Americanism, Protestantism, etc have resulted in this cultural crisis here in the West, especially in America.  The latest Culture War carrying out those false ideologies is from the disenfranchised classes against the common majority, a reverse bigotry on the national-cultural scale, made possible by the Left.

If you are a conservative, a Christian, specifically a Catholic, even more so if your ethnic heritage is that of the Founders of this country, that is European Christians, and even more so if you are the kind of man who is masculine and oriented to the serious responsibilities of marriage and family life...then you are Enemy Number One.  I am afraid.  In all my observation.

The solution is always the same.  To follow God, to follow his Divine Law, to find that spiritual peace that the world, especially this contemporary world, can never give.




 

The Culture War against European American, Conservative Christian, Catholic, Masculine Men. Part One.

Introduction:

I've been watching lately YouTube talks with Charles Coulombe by Tumbler House, which I recommend for their informative and comically down-to-earth style.  Coulombe relates a story from his youth how he merely, courteously offered his seat to a woman standing in a bus who subsequently exploded into a tirade accusing him of being a chauvinistic pig.  For offering her his seat.  He replied "Pardon me Sir."



True Story, Okie Trad!

I myself can recall dozens of similar acts of aggression by people in society merely for showing Christian civility, for trying to be a gentleman, for practicing in difficult social and public situations moral virtue, especially that of fortitude and justice as men in particular are called to defend.

I've also been listening as of late to someone I recently discovered whose social thought and commentary I think is a gold mine.  That is psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson, who lays out the post-modern social crisis in America so clearly and rationally, cutting through all the PC BS.   He is very Jungian in his approach to religion, but I think a Catholic in potentia.

 
 
Dr. Jordan Peterson
Professor, Clinical Psychologist


I found one observation made by Peterson to be very salient and illuminating.  He explained how socialism-communism has been transformed in the West.  Whereas before the class conflict for equality was the poor waging political warfare against those classes more predestined by God with wealth and natural constitution, now it is every previously disenfranchised class of people waging war against the common majority in America.   The result, he explains, is simple, absurdist disaster.

Our multiculturalist, liberalist, politically correct culture is not only threatening the dignity of every human person and citizen in this country, but the very pillars upon which the United States of America were founded:  Christianity,  Western Civilization, biblical and natural law morality, and especially traditional marriage and the family.

Let's be factual.  Those disenfranchised social classes, as our public school system and Hollywood teaches, are African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Women, Liberals, Agnostics, Atheists, Homosexuals, Bisexuals, and Transgender individuals.

For the sake of discussion, I won't dispute that.  It's not being politically incorrect (if that were even a social sin) to restate what our social and educational system is putting out there for us to consume en masse and believe.

And by logical extension, who then is Enemy Number One?   It is a simple deduction and observable fact that the categories inversely boil down to just a few.  And if fate should have put you in all of these categories at once, then God help you, you are now practically the new Oppressed Class.

European Americans - Conservatives - Christians - Catholics in particular - And Masculine, Heterosexual Men. 


 
 
A European American, Conservative,
Catholic Christian, and Heterosexual Man

 

This Culture War from the Left against Americans who fit into most or all of these categories needs to be discussed from a traditional Catholic perspective. 


The Culture War Against European Americans:

The obvious root is Americanism and Protestantism.  By the later part of the 20th Century, our European roots have become largely vilified, discarded, and forgotten.  Irish, German, Italian, and otherwise European American ethnic neighborhoods and communities have almost vanished.  Here in Tulsa, the Irish American and German American Society are mainly maintained by senior citizens, whereas the younger generations merely enjoy the beer and polka music one day a year.  

Unless by all appearance your ancestors come more from south of the equator--South America, Africa, Asia--it is assumed they originate north of the equator, i.e. Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Russia.  It is a historical fact against which the Culture War wages that traditional Christianity and Christian civilization was spread from the latter, whereas the former were on the receiving end.





If by any appearance you should look Irish or German or Italian, for example, your average politically correct liberal reflexively and instinctively has been brainwashed into looking and reacting to you with suspicion.  Especially should you exhibit anything remotely close to that level of culture, morality, civility, or etiquette exemplified in traditional, Christian, European culture.

I am thinking of my Bavarian, German, High Lutheran mother, who has lived in Oklahoma for over fifty years, who finds burping in public an offense to others.  

Solutions?   There are very good traditional Catholic responses to this particular attack.  Catholic ethnic associations.  Just as an example, every year the Society of St. Pius X encourages those who live in or near St. Mary's, Kansas, home to 2-3K traditional Catholics, to come together in ethnic groups to share their Catholic, national heritage at the October Christ the King Festival.  Dozens of tables offer traditional foods, music, displays, information, and discussion about the Catholic history of their ancestors' country, many from Europe, but also from those "south of the equator."

I think the solution is to research, be proud of, and immerse yourself in your Catholic, ethnic heritage, to befriend those like yourself, to join ethnic associations.  If for example you are an Irish American, don't be afraid to show your "Irish."  Whereas the northern European Prots have calumnized us Irish Americans as hot-tempered, depressed, and lazy, be passionate, poetic, of the heart, and hard-working.  As Irish Americans were in decades past.

 The Culture War Against Conservatives:

This is obviously felt by social conservatives on the West and East Coast, and in strongly Democratic, socialistic states.  But this culture war is everywhere, including those states that "bleed red."  In Oklahoma City, liberal Democrats (and some Republicans who are, truth be told, practical liberals) fight the social conservatism at least officially promoted by the Republican Party. 

But social liberalism is de facto the cultural norm even here in Tulsa, what I call the very "buckle" of the "bible belt."  I think most here are okay with premarital sex, use of porn, intoxication, divorce, unlimited divorce, staying home from church on Sunday, piercings and tattoos of any sort, and whatever rough-neck lifestyle suits your fancy.  The Bible is relative to interpretation.  The state association of educators is known for advocating for "abortion rights," transgenderism, multiculturalism, etc, etc.  The same association largely responsible for our public school system, ranked 48th in the nation!

Liberalism is the new social system everywhere, even in rural, central USA. 

Solution?   Promote the Republican party?  No.  Work to elect and support socially conservative politicians whose track record strongly suggests they will defend the sanctity of human life, the family, small business, local communities, and individual natural rights.

The temptation will be to set to the periphery traditional Catholic, magisterial, social teaching on these subjects, but to instead embrace as if it is a religion in itself the ideology of conservatism, or American conservatism. 

I strongly believe the key is the return to the study and implementation of the traditional Papal Magisterium which taught against liberalism and modernism.  And to consider the Popes' solutions.  Solutions like the Social Kingship of Christ, a specific doctrine that requires Christ and the Church to be directly at the center of government and public life.  The result would be the death of liberalism, but not the rise of another false Christ in a fascist, dictatorial kind of conservative ideology.  Which are a dime a dozen.


 
 

But in Catholic Christianity itself.   That is the religion instituted by Christ Himself.


The Culture War Against Christians:

Here I am thinking of those that truly believe Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.  Who without question profess the biblical morality commanded in the Old and New Testament.  That is, by and large, orthodox Catholics and Evangelical Protestants.

It is not hard to figure out that said coworker is, or likely is, a socially conservative Christian.  Or if you are one of those, for your co-workers to detect your faith and morals.  The subtle conflict is as diabolical as it is obtusely moronic.    By your very identity, you are a threat.  Even if you are as peaceful as a dove, as docile as St. Francis of Assisi, as compassionate as Mother Teresa.  Because you believe in objective moral truth, and the right to evaluate or judge with moral certitude the objective behavior of individuals or society itself, you are a mortal threat to the group dynamic.

I've thought about this.  The secularist liberal who despises the socially conservative Catholic or Protestant only pretends that the existence of the religiously conservative in their presence is a threat to their physical and psychological well-being.  They act as if your very existence itself proves that you will one day inflict upon them in your judgment psychological or even physical trauma.

It is a childish tactic.

Simply put, like Lucifer himself, the committed liberalist is desperately afraid of humility.  They are diabolically opposed to the spiritual order whereby they must submit to the commandments of God as written on the human heart.   The secularist is in a state of turmoil and rebellion.   In reality they are oppressed by demons, and under the trance of the dark side.  

Solution?   Follow the ten commandments and the beatitudes of Christ.  That is the Old Law fulfilled in the New Law.  If the teachings of Christ were hard for the Pharisees of the first century to hear, it is exponentially harder but more meritorious for us to listen to His infinite, divine words of wisdom.  Designed to set our hearts free and give us internal peace.

I myself am more and more coming to terms with the hard fact that this current environment can in no way give external, psychological peace.  I must accept that there will be daily mental agonies to endure at the hand of our persecutors.   That it is only after long practice of the science of prayer, penance, and almsgiving, in order to become detached, that I could even remotely achieve that interior, spiritual peace that sets yourself only on God.


SEE PART TWO (of two) IN THE NEXT POST TO COME.

HERE.

RE:  THE CULTURE WAR AGAINST MASCULINE MEN.