Cardinal Schönborn’s Interview: How Credible is a “Hearsay Magisterium”?

Cardinal Schönborn’s Interview: How Credible is a “Hearsay Magisterium”?


Last week saw the release of an important interview (PDF link) given by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and one of Pope Francis’ most trusted theological advisers and spokesmen, to the Roman Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica. The topic was the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL):

This interview has already made waves round the world, mainly because of His Eminence’s insistence on three points: first, that an apostolic exhortation such as AL is indeed an authoritative magisterial document, containing teaching that Catholics must assent to; secondly, that all previous teachings on marriage and the family must now be interpreted in the light of AL; and finally, that AL is indeed to be understood as allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist in some cases, even without a commitment to live ‘as brother and sister’.

I actually have no quarrel in principle with Cardinal Schönborn’s first point, about the status of apostolic exhortations. Though relatively recent in origin, they are fairly high in the ‘pecking order’ of magisterial documents – probably just a tad beneath encyclicals. To a large extent they are indeed hortatory and pastoral in tone and content, rather than strictly doctrinal. But Schönborn is correct in pointing out that when certain passages are worded in such a way as to manifest the Pontiff’s intention to inculcate some doctrinal truth, that certainly counts as magisterial teaching. I also agree with the principle of theological method that underlies Cardinal Schönborn’s second controversial statement – that all previous magisterial statements on marriage and the family must now be interpreted in the light of AL. However, what His Eminence says is not the whole truth.

Let me explain. It has often happened in the historical development of Catholic doctrine that certain teachings which at an earlier stage were not fully explicated were subsequently clarified by new interventions of the magisterium. For instance, the ancient faith of the Church that the Blessed Virgin was without sin did not make entirely clear whether her perfect sinlessness began at the very moment of her conception. Hence, as is well known, some distinguished theologians over the centuries disputed her Immaculate Conception until Bl. Pius IX finally settled the question dogmatically in 1854. So when a later magisterial teaching adds precision or clarity to an earlier one, or draws out its logical implications, then of course we’re going to interpret the earlier statement(s) in the light of the later one.

But what happens when the reverse is the case – when a more recent magisterial statement is less clearly expressed than an earlier one? This has been a problem with certain documents of Vatican Council II. Since the sometimes deep theological cracks between ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Fathers had to be papered over so as to get a consensus vote, the final texts on some topics – e.g., religious freedom, biblical inerrancy, ecumenism, the definition of Christ’s Church, his social kingship, and whether those dying as non-believers can be saved – are less clear than earlier relevant statements of the magisterium. In this new situation, correct theological methodology requires us to interpret the new teaching in the light of the old one. Unfortunately, Cardinal Schönborn’s one-sided presentation says nothing about this complementary norm.

In both situations, the basic interpretative principle is the same: we should interpret less clear magisterial statements in the light of those that are expressed more clearly, regardless of which happened to come first. That common-sense norm derives from a still more basic principle, namely, the revealed promise of Jesus that his Holy Spirit will always be present in the Church to guide and keep her in the path of truth (cf. John 14: 16-17, 26). So when two apparently contrasting magisterial statements can reasonably be harmonized, they should be.

However, that raises another question: What if it seems impossible to reconcile two papal affirmations dealing with faith and morals? This brings us to the third and most contentious of the controversial positions now espoused by Cardinal Schönborn. Some have sought to reconcile with previous papal teaching Pope Francis’ statements in AL #305 and its notorious footnote 351, which says that “in certain cases” Catholics living “in an objective situation of sin” (notably the divorced and civilly remarried) can receive “the help of the sacraments” – sacraments which the same footnote identifies as Penance and Eucharist. According to would-be reconcilers, the Holy Father should here be understood as implicitly restricting this sacramental “help” to those who commit to live ‘as brother and sister’.

Given the context, this bland reading of note 351 never struck me as very plausible. In any case, it has now been rejected decisively – almost scornfully! – by the learned prelate whom Francis himself has repeatedly designated as the most trustworthy commentator on the new apostolic exhortation. Moreover, this occurs in an interview that the Pope would almost certainly have read beforehand. (Every issue of this top-drawer Jesuit journal is vetted by the Vatican Secretariat of State prior to publication.) When editor Spadaro asks Schönborn if he agrees that it’s “obvious” Pope Francis is not limiting this sacramental “help” to couples living as brother and sister, His Eminence immediately responds, “Yes, certainly!” He then spells it right out: the present Holy Father “does not stop short at the kinds of cases that are specified [by John Paul II]in no. 84 of Familiaris consortio.” (That is, those cases where the couple abstain from sexual intimacy.)

Hopefully Schönborn’s authority will at least settle the debate as to what Pope Francis means and intends on this point. But let’s look again at this key article of Pope St. John Paul II’s 1981 apostolic exhortation on the family. In the troubled wake of AL, most appeals to the authority of FC #84 have cited its exclusion of (sexually active) remarried divorcees from the Eucharist. But still more basic is what this article says about the sacrament of Penance. For if you can’t be absolved, you can’t go to Communion anywhere – not even in a church where this would cause no scandal. And John Paul affirms, “Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, . . . take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”

Now, this is where the rubber hits the road, folks. Pope John Paul, in continuity with all his predecessors from time immemorial, has reaffirmed that only those divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who commit to live in complete continence may be given sacramental absolution. But Pope Francis now says that those who make that commitment are not the only such Catholics who can be absolved.

“Only” vs. “Not only”. No ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ can mask that stark contradiction. But that hasn’t stopped some from trying. We have seen two principal attempts to square the circle.

First, some admit the incompatibility, but argue that the Church’s previous exclusion from the sacraments of all non-continent divorced-and-remarried couples was a matter of merely human discipline – ecclesiastical law. So Pope Francis, in giving greater recognition now to certain cases where confessors can discern diminished imputability for this objectively adulterous behavior, has, we are told, merely mitigated that discipline, and has not compromised any existing doctrine or divine law.

However, in Familiaris Consortio #84 itself, Pope John Paul presents a manifestly doctrinal consideration – one that by its very nature applies in all times and places – as the main reason why these folks are prohibited from receiving Communion (and, therefore, from the sacramental absolution that would lift that prohibition). He asserts, “They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist” (emphasis added). Since it’s that “objective” state of adulterous contradiction with the revealed sacramental meaning of Christian marriage that is the main barrier to their receiving Communion (John Paul adds causing scandal as a separate, secondary reason), and since that objective state remains constant under the Law of Christ regardless of how subjectively culpable or inculpable those concerned may be, the claim of mutable church discipline is unsustainable. The pre-Amoris Church has understood and taught this prohibition as a truly doctrinal matter – an immutable exigency of divine law under the New Covenant sealed with the Blood of Christ.

This is amply confirmed in subsequent magisterial documents from the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI: for instance, the 1984 Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, #34; the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1994 Letter to Bishops, in which the exclusion from the sacraments of those under discussion is called “doctrine” no less than three times (cf. articles 3, 4 and 6); and Pope Benedict’s 2007 Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, in which he affirms in art. 29 that this practice of the Church is “based on Sacred Scripture”, i.e., it has divine, not merely human, authority.

The second line of argument that tries to reconcile John Paul’s “only” with Francis’ “not only” is one being advanced by some noted prelates and theologians. Nevertheless, I find it so outlandish that it leaves me wondering whether to laugh or cry. It seriously claims that Popes John Paul and Benedict didn’t really mean it when they affirmed, in formal magisterial documents, that “only” those divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who live as brother and sister may receive the sacraments. We are asked to believe that the real, authentic Catholic position on this point has never been the clear-cut, exceptionless norm asserted in the pre-Amoris magisterial documents I’ve cited above, but rather, has all along been the fuzzy, mitigation-rich, “soiled-by-the-mud-of-the-street” approach that Pope Francis advocates in Chapter 8 of AL. According to this second view, Francis is now doing nothing more than going public with a norm which previous popes had already approved, but had kept under wraps – and even publicly and officially denied! It was supposedly a closely guarded clerical secret, long deemed fit for the ears of confessors only, and so passed on confidentially by word of mouth in seminary classrooms and rectories. In this scenario, the only laity under previous pontificates who would ever get to learn this secret would be some living in illicit sexual unions who managed to persuade a priest confessor that they are sincere in their dissent from the teaching of Christ and the Church about marriage and divorce, and/or sincere in feeling they can’t possibly comply with it. In such cases, we are told, the Church, long before the present pontificate, already quietly authorized the priest: (a) to consider the “sincerity” of such penitents as constituting lack of full knowledge or of full consent of the will; (b) to conclude on that basis that their continuing commission of objectively adulterous acts will not place them in mortal sin; and therefore (c) to grant them absolution on the condition that they avoid scandal by keeping this a secret and going to Communion only where they won’t be recognized.

This amounts to a kind of magisterial conspiracy theory, or perhaps, that of a hearsay magisterium which can trump the authority of public magisterial documents. Frankly, I find it preposterous. For a start, I have long been in the clerical club – a priest and theology professor for over 30 years – but had never until very recently heard so much as a whisper about this “approved confessional practice”. Neither had most of my priest friends, young and old alike, heard of such a theory until reading certain commentaries on Amoris Laetitia.

Now, I don’t doubt for a minute that in the permissive climate that has metastatized throughout Church institutions since Vatican II, steps (a), (b) and (c) above have often been recommended to future priests by certain moral theology professors. However, even on the dubious supposition that steps (a) and (b) might sometimes be justifiable (I say “dubious”, because dissent from what one knows to be Catholic doctrine is itself gravely sinful – an aggravating, not a mitigating, circumstance), I find quite incredible the claim that a priest would be in compliance with the “real” (though under-the-counter) magisterium of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI if he proceeded from (b) to (c). For step (c) flatly contradicts the public and official words of John Paul, cited above, which do not even hint at any exceptions: he affirms that only those civilly remarried divorcees who commit to practice continence may be absolved. And the 1994 CDF Letter to Bishops on this topic asserts that, without that commitment, such Catholics are in “an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion”. Since it’s their “objective situation” that “in itself” has this effect, it follows logically that the priest must deny them absolution even in those (presumably rare) cases where they seem to be subjectively free of mortal sin. He must tell them kindly but firmly that they can’t be absolved yet, because that would constitute permission to receive the Eucharist; and that the reason they can’t be given that permission is that their present life-style is in grave conflict with the teaching of Christ and the Church, whether they recognize that or not.

Fr. Thomas Michelet, O.P., is one of the theologians trying to reconcile Amoris Laetitia with Familiaris Consortio by this bizarre theory that John Paul’s real teaching was the same as that of Francis, and that his contrary, ‘no-exceptions’ teaching in public was just a façade to prevent confusion among the untutored laity.

Michelet writes, “The innovation of the document [AL] is above all here: in the fact of presenting in full light a practice that previously remained in the shadows, in the secrecy of the confessional.” In other words (although Michelet of course does not admit this), the recently canonized Pope John Paul teaching as Christ’s Vicar on earth, actually lied in a key teaching of a major magisterial document affecting the lives of millions of Catholics!

Moreover, Fr. Michelet seems quite oblivious to the deep irony of his position. In his account of the pre-Amoris Church, this “approved” confessional secret was kept “in the shadows” in order to avoid scandalizing the laity – i.e., leading them into sin, confusion, or even loss of faith. Well, that certainly makes sense. For if lay people were told that the Church actually makes exceptions to her own ‘no-sacraments’ rule for non-continent remarried divorcees, they might well “be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage” (to quote John Paul II in FC #84). And of course, such error would not remain at the theoretical level. The centuries-long history of our separated Christian brethren shows that it would soon be followed by ever-increasing divorce and remarriage (to say nothing of concubinage, fornication, same-sex partnerships, etc.) The irony is, of course, that since public knowledge of these (alleged) exceptions to the norm would have caused scandal before Pope Francis trumpeted them round the world on April 8, 2016, then – since our fallen human nature remains the same – it’s still going to cause scandal after that date. But instead of deploring the fact that this highly dangerous cat has now been let out of the bag, Fr. Michelet expects us to heave sighs of relief on learning that it really was inside the bag previously, i.e., that in AL the Holy Father is (supposedly) teaching in continuity with his predecessors.

In fact, Francis has not let any cat out of its bag; rather, he has pulled a rabbit out of his hat. There was no previous secret papal approval of the exceptions he grants in AL, note 351. He has ‘created’ them out of nothing, thereby creating a double scandal: a rupture with previous Catholic teaching and a further opening to marital instability, sexual license, and desecration of Christ’s Eucharistic Body.

Cardinal Schönborn, in his new interview with La Civiltà Cattolica, also hints at Michelet’s artificial ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ in his own attempt to smooth out the irreconcilable differences we have seen between the respective teachings of Popes John Paul and Francis. Assuring us that Amoris Laetitia represents “a homogeneous evolution in the understanding and in the expression of the doctrine”, His Eminence claims that both Pope John Paul, implicitly, and the future Pope Benedict, in private conversation, already taught in its essentials the same permissive doctrine of AL, Chapter 8, that has so deeply perturbed millions of faithful Catholics, from devout lay people to Princes of the Church. According to Schönborn,

Francis has taken an important step by obliging us to clarify something that had remained implicit in Familiaris consortio, about the link between the objectivity of a situation of sin and the life of grace in relation to God and to his Church, and — as a logical consequence — about the concrete imputability of sin. Cardinal Ratzinger had explained in the 1990s that we no longer speak automatically of a situation of mortal sin in the case of new marital unions. I remember asking Cardinal Ratzinger in 1994, when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had published its document about divorced and remarried persons: ‘Is it possible that the old praxis that was taken for granted, and that I knew before the Council, is still valid? This envisaged the possibility, in the internal forum with one’s confessor, of receiving the sacraments, provided that no scandal was given.’ His reply was very clear, just like what Pope Francis affirms: there is no general norm that can cover all the particular cases. The general norm is very clear; and it is equally clear that it cannot cover all the cases exhaustively.

With due respect to Cardinal Schönborn, an alleged “homogeneous evolution” of doctrine based on such flimsy argumentation and evidence simply won’t stand up to scrutiny. We must not let a spurious “hearsay magisterium” consisting of supposedly approved secret confessional practices, reports of off-the-record and off-the-cuff conversations, and alleged “implicit” teachings of popes who explicitly and officially said the exact opposite, turn our hearts and minds away from the true Catholic magisterium. The magisterium we have always known about. The magisterium consisting of official, public, and duly promulgated papal and conciliar pronouncements which can only mean what they plainly say.

And when a constant stream of previous documents of this true magisterium are united in teaching a certain clear doctrine about who can and cannot receive the sacraments, we must respectfully but firmly resist and reject any claim that the latest papal document can overturn and replace that doctrine by means of mere hints, insinuations, and footnotes.

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27 comments on “Cardinal Schönborn’s Interview: How Credible is a “Hearsay Magisterium”?

  1. Father pens 3124 words, but these, to me, are the highlight:

    I also agree with the principle of theological method that underlies Cardinal Schönborn’s second controversial statement – that all previous magisterial statements on marriage and the family must now be interpreted in the light of AL.

    No. Though Fr. attempts to explain in his subsequent 2855 words, he fails to mitigate the damage of his bombshell.

    Father’s unfortunate statement defines the essence of the NeoCatholic mind. I don’t know whether Fr is a fan of john Henry Newman, but I wouldn’t be surprised, as this is exactly the mind of Newman.

    The First Vatican Council defined de fide that the meaning and words of doctrinal definitions are never to be deviated from. The issue is Father’s use of “interpreted.” Vatican I says that previous statements need no interpretation. They are True, and are Divine Truths. What I hear Father saying is that newer teachings change the meaning of previous teachings, changed in the sense that the prior teachings can no longer be held in the understanding that prevailed prior to the new.

    This is the thinking of Newman who believed that today’s doctrines do not have the same understanding as that held by the Apostles. That doctrines are approximations converging on Truths that cannot ever be fully comprehended.

    At issue is the entire body of Doctrine, and, as we’ve seen since the rupture known as Vatican II, no doctrine is safe. How many times have we heard from the NeoCats that the 2000 years of Church doctrine can only be properly understood now in the light of Vatican II? This is clearly false, as we know from prior teachings, but also from the fruits of this novel method.

    So again, NO, Father, we do not shift the meaning of 2000 years of doctrine according to some new teaching. It has never happened, and will never happen.

  2. Quote: “With due respect to Cardinal Schönborn, an alleged “homogeneous evolution” of doctrine based on such flimsy argumentation and evidence simply won’t stand up to scrutiny. We must not let a spurious “hearsay magisterium” consisting of supposedly approved secret confessional practices, reports of off-the-record and off-the-cuff conversations, and alleged “implicit” teachings of popes who explicitly and officially said the exact opposite, turn our hearts and minds away from the true Catholic magisterium. ”

    Captain Kirk: Mister Spock! The evolving magisterium of Pope Francis…analyze using your usual superior Vulcan logic!

    Spock: Fascinating, Captain. It would not be the first time that the argumentum ad novitatem has appeared within the dialectic of progressive modernism. The appeal to novelty fallacy is quite interesting and evasive. It can be quite devious, as it is in this situation.

    Captain Kirk: Because the laity and faithful are not aware that the change in doctrine is based on a fallacy?

    Spock: That is one of the benefits of the prohibition of the teaching of traditional Aristotelian logic and Thomistic scholasticism in the wake of the Land O’Lakes conference agenda and the banning of orthodox Catholic faculty at Catholic colleges and universities.

    Father Mulcahy, S.J.: Father Gannon would have been confused by that new rule
    at Fordham back in our era. Of course, that was a different time…

    Father Sarducci: Progressive modernists and secular progressives could always complain that pointing our logical fallacies is mean-spirited and counter to the goals of tolerance, ecumenical dialogue, and multicultural diversity.

    Batman: That’s right! They would.

    Robin: Holy casuistry, Batman!

    Batman: Liberals and secular progressives are known to do that kind of thing.
    How’s your Latin homework coming, Robin?

    Robin: It’s coming, Batman…

    Batman: Then you will have no trouble declining rectitūdō for me using the proper third declension Latin case endings, will you…

    Reverend Neuhaus: That’s my opening. Of course, I wasn’t a Catholic yet when the Land O’Lakes conference agenda was adopted and when some of the more flamboyant progressive changes in Catholic culture occurred immediately after Vatican II. However, without seeming to interrupt again as pushy and aggressive professional Protestant converts sometimes do, I think this would be a good time to say something here about the Naked Public Square in modernity, Max Weber’s concept of disenchantment, and Professor Charles Taylor’s secularization theories….

  3. Robin: But why rectitūdō, Batman?

    Batman: Aside from the ethical variables and the advantages of catching up on third declension Latin case endings, it happens to be one of the Latin nouns in the Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate of St. Thomas Aquinas that we will be studying from now on.

    Robin: Well, when you put it that way….

    Batman: It all makes sense. I’m glad you agree.
    What time would you like to start on the Latin verbs?

    Robin: How do you actually spell Quaestiones disputatae, Batman?

    The Green Hornet: You know, we should try brushing up on Latin too, Kato.

    Kato: Will that leave enough time for the classical Greek etymologies of Aristotelian concepts relating to Natural Law and distinctions between right and wrong?

    The Green Hornet: We better pay Batman and Robin a visit, Kato.
    They keep up on that side of jurisprudence and criminology.

  4. Robin: Gosh, Batman, would the ‘No True Scotsman” fallacy of Professor Antony Flew apply to this debate?

    Batman: Possibly, Robin. Possibly. We should give that some consideration.


    No True Scotsman

    Posted by Oakes Spalding on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2015

    I love logical fallacies. Stop snickering. It’s not because I like to use them. Rather, I believe that categorizing all the ways that our thinking can go wrong and then attaching silly or Latin names to them, along with evocative examples is itself, well, entertaining and funny.

    Over at What’s Up With Francis-Church, Catholic journalist Hilary White wrote an apropos and humorous post about the phenomenon of taking the latest Muslim atrocity and saying, “that has nothing to do with Islam” or “no true Muslim would do that” or some such. It’s so pervasive in our culture right now that most of the time you don’t even notice it, like bad air in Beijing or whatever.

    Hilary White even references a video where various people claim that the fact that the Paris attacks were terrorist attacks proves that no true Muslim could have been responsible for them.

    She then reminds us of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    As fallacies go it’s fairly recent, or at least its explicit identification is. It was coined in 1975 by Anthony Flew, who everybody hates because he was a flaming right-wing atheist. That he became a sort of deist in his final book appeased few.

    From his Thinking about Thinking:

    Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton (England) Sex Maniac Strikes Again”. Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen (Scotland) man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion, but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says: “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”.

    The compilers at Wikipedia put it thus:

    No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim (“no Scotsman would do such a thing”), rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule (“no true Scotsman would do such a thing”).

    Philosophy professor Bradley Dowden explains the fallacy as an “ad hoc rescue” of a refuted generalization attempt. The following is an example of the fallacy:

    Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

    Person B: “But my uncle Angus likes sugar with his porridge.”

    Person A: “Ah yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

    In her piece, Hilary White substitutes “Muslim” for “Scotsman”. Apologies, Muslims.

    I should say, though, that as funny and appropriate as the point is, its not even strong enough. It’s not that Muslims are just like everyone else, occasionally committing terrorist acts, etc. It’s that this (committing terrorist acts) is one of the essential points of Islam. Muhammad was, among other things, a terrorist—who massacred Christians and Jews (and then raped their wives), ordered the assassination of opponents (including female poets), and all the rest. Or at least he was, according to the Koran and the Hadith (the “official” sayings and deeds of Muhammad).

    So I suppose we could coin a new fallacy:

    Islamilliteracy: Pontificating about Islam—including making definitive claims about what Islam really means and Muslims really are—without having actually read the Koran or having familiarity with the most well-known and well-taught or cited Hadith.

    We could add, “or without knowing anything about Islamic history beyond skimming Karen Armstrong, John Esposito or the most recent offering from the Paulist Press,” but that would be piling on.

    Fallacies are funny. They can also get you killed. Or rather, they can get other people killed.

    Everyone is prone to the occasional fallacy, I suppose. What bothers me is when they smirk while doing so.

    Especially when they smirk against the background of some twenty-something rock-and-roll fan, begging for the life of his girlfriend before seeing her throat slit. And then getting an answering spray of bullets in the chest.

    Batman: This will require a great deal of mental concentration and attention.
    Are you up to it, old chum?

    Robin: I think so, Batman

    Batman: We may need to use the Bat Computer.
    Do I have your permission to utitlize artificial intelligence for this, Robin?

    Robin: You can do whatever you want. You’re Batman.

    Batman: That’s right. Thank you, Robin. I almost forgot in the middle of all of this Aristotelian excitement.

    Have you been keeping up with the Σοφιστικοὶ Ἔλεγχοι, Robin?

    Robin: The what?

    Batman: The De Sophisticis Elenchis. It’s an Aristotelian logical treatise in the Organon. I thought, perhaps, that they might still be having you translate that at Fordham Prep.

    Robin: But I transferred to Fairfield Prep last semester. I thought Aunt Harriet told you.

    Gomez Addams: Ancient logical texts!

    Gomez Addams: Isn’t that wonderful??? My Dear, we can stay up all night reviewing logical fallacies in ancient Greek!

    Morticia: I thought we were going to that lecture at NYU on utopian rebellion in modernity as described in the existentialism of L’Homme révolté by Albert Camus.

    Gomez Addams: There’s no time for that now.

    Captain Kirk: Is that true, Spock?
    Would you drop a date with Morticia Addams at an NYU lecture on utopian rebellion in modernity as described in the existentialism of L’Homme révolté by Albert Camus,
    just to review Aristotle’s De Sophisticis Elenchis in the Organon?

    Spock: There is some urgency to have some clarification of the basic logical fallacies relating to this debate, Captain. The decline in the teaching of traditional Aristotelian logic in our colleges and universities makes such emergency measures necessary.

    Batman: I promise that we will get to a lecture on Camus and modern existentialism
    another night.

    Professor Derrida: Here Batman is subverting the discourse…

    Dr. Jacques Lacan: Perhaps it would help if we diagram the hermeneutics of this process as Batman’s decentered ego, immersed postmodern bourgeois subcultures in which commodity fetishism, alienation, and self-estrangement from Cartesian dualism are subverting patriarchal authority structures, searches for logical resolution.

    Batman: These ropes are symbols which represent are existential self-estrangement, repression, and bondage to commodity fetishism and Victorian patriarchal authority structures.

    Chrissy: I don’t think I’ve heard of that before.

    Jack: Well, Chrissy, Albert Camus is one of the most important writers in modern existentialism. They’re having a lecture on his style of existentialism over at UCLA tonight. We should go and check it out.

    Chrissy: What are we going to do after the lecture?

    Robin: This will get us back to Antony Flew and the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy, I hope.

    Batman: In due time, Robin. In due time.
    Your civilization rests on the principles of Aristotelian logic. we must make sure that proper care is applied to their transmission and rigorous exposition.

    Robin: Rigorous? Will we be accused of excessive ultra-conservative rigidity, Batman?

    Batman: Probably. That is one of the perils of the Strict Observance and all true crime fighters, Robin.

  5. Robin: I thought I heard that Professor Flew experienced some kind of conversion to belief in the existence of God later in his life.

    Batman: There was some report of that in The Times, Robin. Philosophical deism stalks even the most hardened skeptics and materialistic atheists sometimes.

    Captain Kirk: Does that happen, Mister Spock?

    Spock: It has been known to happen on occasion, Captain.

    Father Mulcahy, S.J.: Father Miceli wrote a book addressing this issue.

    Mike Brady: Well, now, Carol, Honey, let’s think this through. Suppose Jan and the boys have slipped through the neo-Kantian matrix of their school’s free condom distribution program and are heading down the modernist slippery slope of Situation Ethics. What’s the worse thing that could happen on our vacation to Hawaii?

    Carol Brady: What’s the worst thing that could happen???
    What have you been smoking? Are you stoned, Mike?

    Mike: What would make you say that?

    Opie: Paw! Paw! Did you hear? They’re givin’ away free rubbers at school for the Zika virus! I’m gonna run down and get me some rubbers!

    Deputy Barney Fife Rubbers???!!! Andy!!!

    Aunt Bee: Why, that’s wonderful, Opie! The reverend was just saying the other day how the Pope admitted that Catholics breed like rabbits.
    Maybe one day you can grow up to direct The Da Vinci Code.

  6. Robin: Boy, this debate sure is complicated, Batman.
    Do you think it’s just a coincidence that the same British analytic and evidentialist philosopher
    who discovered the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy also converted to philosophical deism? Is it part of a larger pattern, Batman?

    Batman: Hmmmm. Mhmmm. Well, Robin, it might be part of a larger pattern in the British analytic and evidentialist philosophical schools of thought. You might just be on to something there.

    Batman: Or…it could be a tendency of the Western mind in general and part of a larger pattern in post-Enlightenment thought…

    Robin: But if these ropes are symbols which represent our existential self-estrangement, repression, and bondage to commodity fetishism, Cartesian dualism, and Victorian patriarchal authority structures, what do our costumes symbolize?

    Batman: Obviously the phenomenological or existential masks of the postmodern bourgeois condition.

    Robin: Where are we off to now, Batman?

    Batman: The Fordham University Library, Robin. Jan Brady and the Brady brothers are struggling in the neo-Kantian matrix of public school free condom distribution. If someone doesn’t address the a priori conditions of neo-Kantian epistemology and postmodern subjectivity, these kids could be in real trouble.

    Carol Brady: Mike, we have to talk about this neo-Kantian matrix…..

    • 14 Reasons Why God Wants Nothing To Do With Deism



      Angelo Stagnaro (“Erasmus”) performs as a stage magician and mentalist and divides his time between Europe and North America. He is the editor of “Smoke & Mirrors,” the Net’s largest e-zine for professional magicians. He’s also the Guildmaster of the Catholic Magicians’ Guild and a professed member of the Secular Franciscans (Third Order Franciscans) Angelo has published articles in most of the major Catholic journals in the United States and Great Britain and had worked as a correspondent for the Catholic News Service having served as principle liaison for the wire service to the United Nations and to the Holy See’s Office to the United Nations. Angelo has authored six books on mentalism/cold reading including Conspiracy, Something from Nothing, The Other Side, Shibboleth and his upcoming Spur of the Moment. This series has been translated into four languages and is considered seminal in the art of mentalism. He is also one of the world’s experts in cold reading. In addition, he’s written an instructional book for catechists which uses stage magic as a teaching tool for children and young adults entitled The Catechist’s Magic Kit. (Crossroad) His other books include How to Pray the Dominican Way (Paraclete) and The Christian Book of the Dead. (Crossroad) His most recent book was released through Tau Publishing and is entitled A Lenten Cookbook for Catholics. All of his theology books have received imprimaturs and nihil obstat from Bishop Nicholas DeMazio of Brooklyn. Angelo has traveled extensively and has worked, studied, performed and/or traveled in 70 countries.


      The 14 Stations of the Cross depict 14 more good reasons to abandon the tired philosophy of deism.

      How do we know that God didn’t wind up the Cosmos and simply walk away, as Deism professes?

      Fourteen reasons come immediately to mind.

      First, there’s no evidence such a thing happened, and a great deal of evidence to contradict this presumption.

      Second, it’s odd in the extreme to think God would make an anthropic universe designed specifically for us only to simultaneously be apathetic about us. If He were apathetic towards us, why did He bother with the tiniest details on the subatomic level and make them consistent throughout space and time?

      Third, the universe has purpose and order. The Anthropic Principle clearly shows the Creator had foresight and omniscience (i.e., knowledge extending beyond space and time) thus He couldn’t have forgotten about us or the Cosmos in general.

      Fourth, the anthropic nature of our Cosmos belies the Creator’s love and perfection. Why make the universe so perfectly fine-tuned for us and then give up caring? A perfect and loving God simply wouldn’t walk away abandoning us to our own devices as if not caring if we were good and kind to each other. In other words, if God walked away from us, it would mean He was apathetic. If He were apathetic, then He wouldn’t be loving. If He weren’t loving, then why make our Cosmos so perfectly anthropic?

      Fifth, the existence of inspiration is a thorn in the atheist’s side. As we indubitably live in a deterministic universe, how can we account for the presence of inspiration (i.e., something that is new and not the cause of anything prior to it)? If something causes something else in turn, whence comes inspiration? Since inspiration falls outside of all known laws of the Cosmos, we are left only with God as its Author. Thus, being the case, He’s obviously at the ready, waiting for us to call upon Him.

      Sixth, the basic nature of the Cosmos is one of entropy—a thermodynamic quantity representing the amount of energy in a system that is no longer available for doing mechanical work. That is, everything breaks down. However, the exact opposite is happening to our universe as it expands. In fact, it’s moving faster and faster. This is impossible considering the immutable nature of the laws of the universe. As the expansion of the Cosmos isn’t isentropic (i.e., with unchanging entropy; at constant entropy), this suggests God is attentive to us and not at all apathetic otherwise the natural laws that He laid down at the Big Bang would hold true even for Cosmos’ expansion. It could be argued that the rapidly increasing nature of the Cosmos’ expansion is part of God’s wind-up-and-let-her-go strategy but this is stretching. The more care you put into a system, the less apathetic one is. The fact that things are so perfectly balanced in our universe and, seemingly contrary, to the established rules of the universe, the less likely one can say God is apathetic to us and to it in general.

      Seventh, free will exists. If God had intended the Cosmos to work like a wound-up clock, it’s odd He would have bothered with free will at all. Free will only mucks things up in a system that you don’t want to be bothered with.

      Eighth, the existence of morality not being caused by culture or dependent upon evolution is strong evidence that God isn’t apathetic. If He truly didn’t care about us and our spiritual development, why bother placing the laws of morality in us in the first place? It’s odd in the extreme to think that a Deity didn’t want us to be apathetic toward each other was, in turn, apathetic towards us.

      Ninth, though the anthropic nature of the Cosmos clearly shows it was made for us, it was done only to honor the Creator’s own majesty and glory. This is why we congratulate artists for their work and not laud the painting itself. It’s odd to think we would ignore the Creator of the Universe and still credit Him for His work.

      Tenth, as of the date of this book’s publication, astronomers have discovered approximately 7000 planets, none of which harbor life as we know it. Why would God make us, the only known intelligent life in the Cosmos, only to walk away ignoring us? Had He stopped with worms or dinosaurs, that might make more sense—but not with a species that was sufficiently introspective and curious to wonder about its own mortality and origins.

      Eleventh, apathy is a human quality which is the result of sinfulness, narcissism, greed and a lack of compassion. A loving Creator couldn’t, by His own nature, be apathetic about anything or anyone.

      Twelfth, the anthropic nature of the universe suggests perfection in our Creator. For atheists to suggest that God had somehow “become” complacently apathetic suggests a fundamental change in God’s outlook. A perfect Being couldn’t change. Further, change is the result of causation, which isn’t a part of God’s makeup as He isn’t a part of our physical Cosmos. If He were, then how did He manage the Big Bang?

      Thirteenth, there is no “walking away” from us as there is nowhere to be had outside of the universe. There’s neither space nor time outside of our realm by the very fact that scientists agree that spacetime was created at the Big Bang and not prior to it. God is both eternal and infinite because there is neither space nor time outside of the Cosmos. He is there because He never left.

      Fourteenth, suggesting God is apathetic is a pagan notion in which adherents ascribe human qualities to their imperfect false gods. God’s perfect nature presupposes perfect love.

      The nature of God is shown in the anthropic nature of the universe. Deism is merely the unproven, wishful thinking of atheists―it’s simply yet another form of atheism, which itself is a form of paganism, that conveniently explains why things are as they are (i.e., the anthropic nature of the universe) while still excusing the adherent’s personal moral turpitude, perfidy, selfishness and apathy (not God’s). It’s the most current permutation of the atheist “non serviam” first uttered by Lucifer at his fall.

  7. Robin: Gosh, Batman, there are a LOT of fallacies to keep track of.

    Batman Indeed, there are, old chum. Indeed, there are. Perhaps there is a ‘No True Modernist’ fallacy. You know, there was a time when modernists still studied logic.

    Robin: Boy, that must have been a long time ago, Batman. Would this have been when students still had to memorize how to decline third declension Latin nouns like rectitūdō in the Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate of St. Thomas Aquinas?

    Batman: There was some of that, Robin, yes. In time, the case endings will come to you as naturally as spelling your own name.

    Robin: Gosh, Batman, is it true that Scotsmen don’t wear underpants under their kilts?

    Batman: You do hear some suggestion of that from time to time, Robin.
    Now, regarding those Latin case endings, let’s take it from the top….

  8. Chrissy: I remember you talking about the Naked Public Square before. Maybe I missed something important about this debate thing, Jack, but what’s the “neo-Kantian matrix” behind free condom distribution?

    Jack: Well, Chrissy, that’s a tad technical, but Pope Francis said that it’s OK to use condoms to help prevent the spread of the Zika virus and the neo-Kantian matrix is a firm foundation underlying the progressive modernism of the pope’s post-conciliar transcendental theology. The epistemology surrounding modernism may be a little vague and fuzzy on the edges, but who’s asking…

    Chrissy: So does this mean we’re still going to that lecture at UCLA tonight on utopian rebellion in modernity and the existentialism of L’Homme révolté by Albert Camus?

    Captain Kirk: Are we going to that lecture on utopian rebellion in modernity and the existentialism of L’Homme révolté by Albert Camus , Mister Spock?

    Spock: It might provide a useful juxtaposition for the analytic hermeneutics of the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy.

    Scotty: I would like to say somethin’ about that, Captain, if you could give me a wee bit of yer time….

  9. Batman: It was quite astute of you to request consideration of Professor Antony Flew’s ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy in relation to this debate, Robin.

    Robin: Thanks, Batman. I was tipped off by someone surfing another thread.

    Batman: You must be keeping up with your reading The Cambridge Journal of Classical Philology, International Philosophical Quarterly, and Irish Theological Quarterly of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

    Robin: I guess so, Batman. I try to stay informed.

    Batman: While keeping up with all of that Latin homework. Quite impressive, indeed.
    How many lines of Cicero did you say they have you translating every night?

    Robin: Two hundred.

    Batman: Two hundred? And that leaves enough time for training in the weight room, isometrics, and your studies in Egyptology and Aristotelian philosophical treatises?

    Robin: Who are you calling, Batman?

    Batman: Your Latin teacher at Fordham Prep. Two hundred lines of Latin translation a night is not nearly enough.

    Robin: But I transferred to Fairfield Prep last semester….

    Batman: It won’t hurt to clear up this problem at Fordham Prep first.

  10. Ward Cleaver: Actually, this is the Cleaver household. What seems to be the problem with the Latin homework situation?

    Eddie Haskell: Did you hear they tried to ban the ’50s sock hop dance at Harvard?

    Ward Cleaver: You’ll never guess the reason…

    President Eisenhower: Exactly when are you planning to send this jug-eared Saul Alinsky follower to take over?

    Eddie Haskell: It’s part of the Fifth Columnist takeover by the International Communist Conspiracy just like Tail Gunner Joe said.

    Senator McCarthy: I have here a list of over 172 Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and Fats Domino fans in Harvard’s English Literature department alone!

    Eddie: Who knew that Lumpy doing the Twist would get him pegged as a Bircher!

    Ann: How long will it take us to get there?

    Elvis: We can make it to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in no time!
    Wherever there’s a sock hop dance in the school gym, I can make it right over!

  11. Kookie: All the hipsters, Beatniks, and Rock-n-Rollers are secret Birchers and Right-Wing extremists….

    Maynard: Like, who knew, daddy-o?

    Beaver Cleaver: It’s like something from Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone!

    Woody: So Chuck Berry is now a Bircher and 1950’s sock hops are a reactionary plot to bring back The Song of the South and the Divine Right of Kings…

    Professor Lyotard: There is some confusion and ambiguity, but if we return to the metanarrative the Romanticism may become clearer…

    • Beaver: Gee, Wally, Miss Landers says that nobody can know anything for sure, that someday I could find out that mom and dad aren’t married and aren’t really mom and dad. Will you still be my brother?

      Wally: Hey, squirt, I’m always your brother, even if a crazy pope from South America says different.

      • Wally: Miss Landers also told Beaver something that sounded pretty strange. She told Beaver that if I wanted to…that I could become Beaver’s sister and we could get married one day.

        Ward Cleaver: Well, there are a lot of strange ideas floating around at NEA conventions these days, Wally. She might even be one of those Fellow travellers or Fifth Column Communist sleeper agents that Tail Gunner Joe has been warning people about….

        Beaver: Yeah, Mom. But then Miss Landers did something that was pretty weird. She started passing around these bananas and balloon things and told us to….

    • Beaver: Gee, Dad, is it really true that you and mom aren’t married?

      : Boys, we have to accept whatever the pope says. It’s called “Magisterium.” When the pope says that most couples aren’t married, then that’s the way it is.

      Wally: But … Dad … do we get to stay in the house?

      Ward: Yes, if June and I pretend to be married. We can still go to Communion if I live in the basement. And stop calling me dad. I’m Ward, or just “sir.”

    • Kookie: All the hipsters, Beatniks, and Rock-n-Rollers are secret Birchers and Right-Wing extremists….

      The above character and his comments remind me of a few things from that era:

      His theme song:

      The theme song of TV show in which he starred:

      Seventy Seven Sunset Strip.
      Seventy Seven Sunset Strip.
      Seventy Seven Sunset Strip.

      The street that wears a fancy label
      That’s glorified in song and fable.
      The most exciting people pass you by
      Including a private eye.

      Seventy Seven Sunset Strip
      Seventy Seven Sunset Strip
      Seventy Seven Sunset Strip.

      You’ll meet the high brow and the hipster
      The starlet and the phony tripster
      You’ll see most every kind of gal and guy
      Including a private eye.

      Seventy Seven Sunset Strip
      Seventy Seven Sunset Strip.

    • June: Ward! you’re not serious about sleeping in the basement, are you?

      Ward: June, it’s the Magisterium.

      June: Ward, that’s all jive talk. And I know, because I speak jive. Besides, didn’t you read the footnote in Amoris Laetitia that God wants us to have relations anyhow?

      Ward: Are you sure? I must have missed that. But as long as it’s Magisterial, I’m upstairs!


        by Michael Pakaluk
        5 . 26 . 2016

        [The author is an Opus Dei supernumerary defending Frankenpope by postulating his non-involvement in (and thus ignorance of) the footnote and instead blaming it on an anonymous “Redactor”]

        Footnote 351 is already notorious for arguably authorizing pastors, between the lines, to admit divorced-and-remarried Catholics to communion. Less noticed so far, but equally troublesome, is footnote 329. This footnote evinces what looks suspiciously like the deliberately subversive work of an editor. In it, an unsound theology is made plausible by inaccurate translations of Church documents. The effect, presumably intended, is to provide pastors with a basis to recommend that divorced and civilly remarried couples need not refrain from sexual relations in order to be readmitted to communion.

        Footnote 329 appears during the presentation of a “hard case” example of a divorced and civilly remarried couple: Imagine “a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self-giving, [and] Christian commitment.” Put aside for now your questions as to the difference between a “Christian” commitment and a “Catholic” one; or how fidelity may be “proven” in any relationship, apart from the willingness to make and keep an irrevocable vow; or how anyone may make such a vow while consciously betraying a previous one. We are to envision a storybook second marriage.

        Must this storybook couple separate, or may they stay together? On this question, Amoris Laetitia invokes John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, article 84, which establishes that a couple in a second marriage may find, for serious reasons, “such as the children’s upbringing,” that they “cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.” A certain kind of reader may extrapolate a precedent: According to Familiaris Consortio, a consideration of strict morality (the rule that the couple must separate) can be overridden by a consideration of mercy (here, the children’s welfare).

        That precedent then gets applied in footnote 329, which extends Familiaris Consortio’s concern for the children’s welfare:

        In [second marriages], many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living “as brothers and sisters” which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy [i.e. sexual intercourse] are lacking, “it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers” (SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51).

        Thus, not only may a concern for “the good of the children” override a remarried couple’s obligation to separate, it may also override their obligation to abstain from sexual relations. For the latter exception, the authority of a Vatican II Constitution, Gaudium et Spes, is cited. A second authority was needed here because mercy cannot be extended this far on the basis of Familiaris Consortio alone: That document explicitly reaffirms that divorced and remarried couples must abstain from sex, whether they live together or apart. So footnote 329 attempts to trump John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation with the higher authority of a Council document. In this way it is able to argue, in effect, that Familiaris Consortio 84 is not consistent with its own merciful purposes, and that it should have imposed no general restriction on sexual relations.

        Footnote 329 fails in its purpose, however—because to use Gaudium et Spes in this way, it must distort and misquote that document’s teaching.

        Accurately construed, the quoted line from article 51 of Gaudium et Spes never mentions children’s welfare. The phrase at issue, in its authoritative Latin version, is bonum prolis, “the good of children”—that is, the good of marriage which is children, one of the traditional goods of the marriage bond. Here the Council Fathers are teaching that if a married couple (and they are concerned with married couples; they are not addressing the particular case of the divorced and remarried) abstain from intimacy for too long, they may lose their zest for having more children, and thus may fail to enjoy this particular good of the marriage bond as fully as they might.

        Not that the mistranslation was crafted specially for this footnote. It comes from Fr. Austin Flannery’s English translation of the conciliar documents. But the choice of the Flannery translation seems deliberate. A different option, conspicuously not chosen, was the Vatican website English translation, which runs: “[W]here the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.” This translation is more literally correct, and to that extent it is less useful to the argument of footnote 329.

        Interestingly, the German version of footnote 329 does not simply mistranslate the conciliar document. It deliberately, shockingly misquotes.

        The Vatican website’s German translation of Gaudium et Spes 51 states that, in marriages lacking intimacy, “fidelity as a good of marriage” (die Treue als Ehegut) may be endangered and “the child as a good of marriage” (das Kind als Ehegut) may be negatively affected. But footnote 329 in German leaves out “as a good of marriage” (als Ehegut) in both instances. In doing so, it changes the literal sense from “the bonum prolis can be negatively affected” to “the welfare of the child” can be negatively affected.

        Footnote 329, then, is based on a misconstrual of Gaudium et Spes 51, and simply as such should be negated or withdrawn as a mistake. One might add, however, that its view of sex seems disastrously wrong as well.

        The Council Fathers view abstention from sex as harmful in the manner of a hindrance to goods of marriage already possessed by the couple, and already flowing for them, in virtue of their being married. Footnote 329 presupposes the very different view that the goods come from sex itself, not from the bond. The notion that sex has some sort of magical power is at odds with the general teaching of Amoris Laetitia, which is noteworthy for its constant demythologizing of romantic love and its reluctance to follow some presentations of the Theology of the Body in attributing a quasi-sacramental role to sex.

        Fortunately, it seems likely that footnote 329 is the work of an editor—call him The Redactor—rather than the Holy Father. And by attending closely, we can get a sense of The Redactor’s mindset. Note, for instance, his striking supposition that couples who “know and accept” that they must live “as brothers and sisters,” in accordance with Familiaris Consortio, nonetheless are still thinking about their prospects for sexual intimacy. Not very much like brothers and sisters, after all: Clearly they have not transformed their sexual desire into familial friendliness. Indeed, the precise wording of the footnote allows that the couples know and accept only “the possibility of” living together as brothers and sisters. This is a turn of phrase that only a specialist would use, to indicate that he regards living chastely as admirable and heroic, but not as binding.

        Another striking feature of footnote 329 is how it articulates the thoughts of “many” divorced and remarried couples in the form of a quotation from a conciliar document. Obviously most people do not think in quotations from conciliar documents. Theologians, however, do—and not a few have been found to construe the thoughts of others in the same way. So we may speculate that The Redactor is a theologian, and more precisely, a theologian of the school of thought wherein the quoted portion of Gaudium et Spes 51 expresses the Council’s putative endorsement of what I have called the “magical” view of sex.

        We may even venture—though this is admittedly speculative—that The Redactor is German but has a familiarity with English: German, because he likely would not have bothered to distort the German text of Gaudium et Spes 51 if German had not been his “first language” in composing the footnote; and familiar with English, because he took pains to find an English translation of the Council documents that matched his intended argument.

      • Ward: June, I don’t think it’s considered politically correct for you to speak jive in public or even on a commercial airliner anymore. That would be considered a microaggression of bourgeois white privilege.

        June: Oh. Is this part of that ban on 1950s sock hop dances at Harvard? I can’t keep up with all of this social engineering, Ward.

        Beaver: It sure was a funny day at school with those bananas. Does this mean that Wally and I have to get married?

      • Ward: Seriously, June, cultural appropriation goes against the Franco-Magisterial gestalt of respect for all cultures, never proselytizing but dialoging, never disrupting their peace of mind. It’s sort of a non-interference directive, allowing them to come to God on their own terms.

        Spock: You see, Captain, the non-interference directive traces itself back to a 21st-Century pontiff, Francis the Merciful. His Magisterial concern for the environment continues to this day with the recent directive from Star Fleet. It seems that antimatter warp drive proliferation has created an imbalance in the hyperdimensional strings resulting in galactic contraction. Accordingly, we must curtail our use of warp drive. Unfortunately, that places our nearest star base exactly 64.32 years away. Nice knowing you, Jim.

  12. Hell I don’t know about Mike Brady but howlingly absurd has definitely been at the wacky backy.

  13. Father Fitzgibbon: Have you been smokin’ somethin’ funny in yer pipe lately, Father?
    Mrs. Muldoon said you’ve been quotin’ Teilhard de Chardinin yer sermons again.

    Father O’Malley: No. I’m still a Chesterfield’s man. The quote from The Phenomenon of Man was just for an anecdote of comparison with Maritain’s Integral Humanism.

    Father Fitzgibbon: If it’s not wacky tobacky, then you’ve been hittin’ the Jameson’s again, Father.
    Perhaps you might want to switch to another brand of whiskey.

    Spock: It’s true, Jim. Progressive modernism works on the brain in the same way as weed.

    Walker Percy: That probably is true. Jameson’s is probably out of your system by the next afternoon. On the other hand…in America we have all been hostages in a postmodern culture semi-immersed in weed for some time….or, at least, acting like it….

  14. Ward Cleaver: Liberal political correctness strikes again! I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Here it is, June.
    From The College Fix:
    “1950s dance theme shot down by Harvard student committee”

    June Cleaver: That’s funny, Ward. I always thought Ed Sullivan and most of his musical guests were culturally liberal hipsters.

    Ward: Now, what’s all this nonsense about shutting down the sock hop dance?

    Eddie Haskell: At least they’re not claiming Chuck Berry is a Fifth Columnist for the International Communist Conspiracy!

    James Dean: What, they’re sayin’ Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and Fats Domino are Far Right ultra-conservative Birchers now? That’s crazy, man!

    Fonzie: Hey, Rich, Ike’s cool, but I don’t go in for this Bircher stuff about Berry the eggheads are layin’ down, man. Very square.

  15. Fred Rutherford: That is strange. But, Ward, I’m concerned that all of this wild talk about Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and Fats Domino being ultra-conservative deep cover agents for the John Birch Society might get the boys too interested in Communism and Far Right intrigues.

    Perhaps if we could get a call through to persuade Ed Sullivan to make a special announcement on his show clarifying that these entertainers are hipsters familiar with after-hours Beatnik reefer bars in Greenwich Village, it might settle things down with the student committee at Harvard that wants to shut down the sock hop dance.

    Fonzie: Ed might like that idea.

  16. Carol Brady: There really is a lot of confusion out there from the pope’s “hearsay magisterium” and the progressive modernist spin from Amoris laetitia. But, Mike, I’m really concerned about Jan and the boys with this free condom distribution program at school.
    We really need to talk about this neo-Kantian matrix and how it’s affecting the kids.

    Mike Brady: I didn’t want to have to tell you, Carol, but I’m actually gay and support Pope Francis in his progressive modernist revolution. But the good news is that since I engaged in deception by not telling you I was gay before we exchanged marital vows, we can get an annulment and you’ll be free to marry someone else. Do you want to tell the kids or should I?

    Wally: Miss Landers also told Beaver that he and I could get married even if I didn’t get this operation to be turned into Beaver’s sister….

    Ward Cleaver: Well, I’ll have to have a talk with the head of the school board, Wally.

    Fred Rutherford: That is very concerning, Ward. I hope Clarence and Wally weren’t involved. I know they have been spending a lot of time together.

    But what did they do with the bananas after this…well…er….after this unusual teaching lesson in the ‘Health’ class?

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