Wherein Fr. Rutler thrashes @AntonioSpadaro

Wherein Fr. Rutler thrashes @AntonioSpadaro

At Crisis, Fr. George Rutler has posted a potent counterpoint to Jesuit jibber-jabber (I know… that could be taken for a tautology).  He goes after Antonio Spadaro, SJ, who has issued all manner of nonsense with Olympian authority.

Spadaro is one of the chief cadres of the New catholic Red Guard, who target for persecution anyone who insists that 2 plus 2 still equals 4.

You simply have to read the whole of Rutler’s take down, perhaps with a refreshing drink near to hand.  I warn you, however, to sip judiciously, lest you spray your screen.   Rutler’s piece is a deadly hoot.

Here’s a sample, in medias res, with my usual:


Father Antonio Spadaro, a close associate of Pope Francis, raised eyebrows in July 2017 when he described religious life in the United States, with such confidence that can come only from a profound knowledge of a subject or a total lack of it. Father Spadaro advises the Holy Father, who had never visited the United States before becoming pope. In an essay in Civilta Cattolica called “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism,” Father Spadaro spoke with disdain of a cabal formed by Evangelicals and Catholics motivated by a “triumphalist, arrogant, and vindictive ethnicism” which is creating an “apocalyptic geopolitics.” Religious fundamentalists behind this plot have included Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Trump who is a Manichaean. The co-author of this imaginative literary exercise was a Protestant minister, Marcelo Figuero who is editor-in-chief of the new Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano to which office he brings the rich systematic theology of Argentinian Presbyterianism. The two authors were rhetorically florid in denouncing Yankee racism, obscurantism, and fascism, so unlike the temperate history of Spadaro’s own peninsula and Figuero’s Argentinian utopia. If they want to condescend to the USA, they need a loftier platform.


OUCH.   But the drubbing goes on.


Later, in a well publicized comment on “Twitter” which operates according to stable and constant principles of applied engineering, Father Spadaro typed: “In theology 2 + 2 can equal 5. Because it has to do with God and the real life of people…” To put a charitable gloss on that, he may have simply meant theology applied to pastoral situations where routine answers of manualists may be inadequate. But he has made his arithmetic a guide to dogma, as when he said in his Boston speech that couples living in “irregular” family situations “can be living in God’s grace, can love and also grow in a life of grace.” Yet, despite his concern for freedom of thought and expression, Father Spadaro has recently expressed sympathy for calls to censor Catholic television commentators who insist that 2+2 = 4[He seems to agree with a call that EWTN be “interdicted” unless Raymond Arroyo is fired.]

There are two things to consider here. First, some clergy of Father Spadaro’s vintage grew up in a theological atmosphere of “Transcendental Thomism.” Aquinas begins the Summa Theologica asserting in the very first Question, four times, that theology has a greater certitude than any other science. While it gives rise to rhymes and song, it is solid science, indeed the Queen of Sciences. Transcendental Thomism was Karl Rahner’s attempt to wed Thomistic realism with Kantian idealism. Father Stanley Jaki, theologian and physicist, called this stillborn hybrid “Aquikantianism.” But if stillborn, its ghosts roam corridors of ecclesiastical influenceThis really is not theology but theosophy, as romantic as Teilhard de Chardin, as esoteric as a Rosicrucian, and as soporific as the séances of Madame Blavatsky. The second point is that not all cultures have an instinct for pellucid expression. The Italian language is so beguiling that it can create an illusion that its rotundity is profundity, and that its neologisms are significant[ROFL!] When it is used to calling you a “Cattolico Integralista” or a “Restauratore” the cadences almost sound like a compliment. Even our Holy Father, who often finds relief from his unenviable burdens by using startling expressions, said on June 19, 2016: “We have a very creative vocabulary for insulting others.”


There’s a lot more.

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One comment on “Wherein Fr. Rutler thrashes @AntonioSpadaro

  1. Küng Fu: Modernism the Legend Continues

    Master Po: What is troubling you, Grasshopper?

    Kwai Chang: I am confused, Master.

    Master Po: What has confused you, Grasshopper? Are you wondering if the colorful South Philly insults and witticisms of Philadephia Eagles fans have left Tom Brady ready to launch another F-bomb tantrum of his own? Or have things settled down now?

    Hans Küng: I would like to comment on that…

    Kwai Chang: That is an interesting dilemma of NFL etiquette, but I am certain that Philadelphia Eagles fans did not wish to be disrespectful to Mister Tom Brady when he had his F-bomb tantrum, Master, but I am actually confused about something else.

    Master Po: Many things in this life are confusing, Grasshopper. If Einstein had not eaten a bagel one Tuesday morning, would Joe Biden ever learn Nancy Pelosi’s Enneagram number?

    Kwai Chang: I cannot be certain, Master.

    Master Po: Why can you not be certain, Grasshopper?

    Kwai Chang: Because David Hume has forbidden me from being certain on metaphysical matters.

    Master Po: Well, then, perhaps you are still wondering why American college students were triggered by Steve Martin’s “King Tut” song as a politically-incorrect microaggression of cultural appropriation, sending them in hysteria as crazed snowflakes searching for safe spaces?

    Steve Martin: Funky Tut! A wild and crazy guy!

    Kwai Chang: That is confusing and absurd, Master. I am certain that Mister Steve Martin did not mean any disrespect to Tutankhamun or the ancient Egyptians, but I am actually confused about something else.

    Master Po: Perhaps the curse of Tutankhamun has affected postmodern professors’ and students’ minds, Grasshopper. The realm of illusion presents many challenges and dangers through the deceptions of maya, as the wheel of karma turns around and around. But what is confusing you right now, Grasshopper?

    Kwai Chang: Forgive me, Master, but I am wondering if perhaps the claim that 2 + 2 equals 5 is something which only a combination of the rich systematic theology of Argentinian Presbyterianism and the situation ethics of modernist neo-Catholic Transcendental Thomism is able to grasp or whether some more esoteric explanation is at play.

    Master Po: Strange are the ways of the cycle of karma in the realm of illusion when searching for the flow of the Tao , are they not, Grasshopper? As the great philosopher Lao-Tzu has said in the Tao Te Ching. Long is our journey in search of the Tao. For who can know the way to San Jose in the arduous quest for satori?

    And long and deep are the caverns of modernism between the phenomenological Dasein of existence and the Teilhardian Omega Point when passing through the maze of Rahnerian Christology and the Marxist dialectic of Liberation theology.

    Many are the things in the search for the Tao that give rise to wonder, as Yin and Yang swing back and forth in the dialectic of the cycle of karma. If another woman claims that Al Franken has squeezed her behind, will Stuart Smalley return for more therapy and self-affirmation training on Saturday Night Live?

    Stuart Smalley: Well, now let’s all pause for a moment of Zen…

    Kwai Chang: Your words are wise, Master, but surely I cannot know for certain because I have not yet seen the behind of this woman that Al Franken will wish to grope next.

    Robin: Holy seat cushion, Batman!

    Batman: Indeed. Nevertheless, the a priori conditions of knowledge governing neo-Kantian epistemology which limit Grasshopper’s capacity for metaphysical predication leave much room for subjective improvisation and the phenomenological wandering of his transcendental ego.

    Immanuel Kant: As long as we keep that in mind, understood in the context of Idealist categories.

    Kierkegaard: But we need to address the Angst and existential self-estrangement in modernity.

    Jean Paul Sartre: I will agree to these terms.

    Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar: I will agree to these terms as well.

    Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar: To a point.
    And that point requires that we stay hovering between the neo-Kantian penumbra and the Teilhardian Omega Point.

    Alice: But that’s where it gets very confusing.

    Hegel: It’s all part of the dialectic.

    White Rabbit: Well, what do you know, it’s time for my walk again.

    Fearless Leader: Confusion is the essence of every Alinskyite operation. Release the fruitcake Cultural Marxists to begin the next phase of cultural hysteria!

    Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Angst of the neo-Hegelian dialectic of modernism…

    Immanuel Kant: Let’s review…

    The Professor: Have you seen Gilligan?

    Ginger: I think Gilligan is getting ready for the Transcendental Turn.

    Mary Ann: I just hope he remembers the directions to Louvain.

    The Professor: Of course, on the a priori level, the distinction between noumena and phenomena is fundamental.

    It’s actually very simple, Gilligan. If Immanuel Kant could be any character in Scooby Doo, which character would he most likely choose to be?

    Gilligan: Well, I’ve narrowed it down to Shaggy or Velma.

    Ginger: I thought we were going to discuss Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and the categorical imperative.

    Reverend Neuhaus: That’s my opening….Forgive me for interrupting again as aggressive and pushy professional Protestant converts sometimes do, but speaking as a semi-recovering former Lutheran familiar with the pitfalls of eliminating reason and logic from discussions of religion, this might be a good time to discuss the Naked Public Square in modernity, Max Weber’s concept of disenchantment in modern culture, and Professor Taylor’s secularization theories….

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