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    • http://elblogdelpelon.wordpress.com AV

      Ah, an anonymous rant by a low-level cleric embittered by the follies of the higher ups! If only such droll rants could be made against other missteps where clerical meddling has no place, perhaps, for example, against John Paul the Wonderful, Great, and Magnificent’s attempt to create a Catholic Kama Sutra known more popularly as “theology of the body”. Though more risque and perhaps raunchy, such rants could no doubt elicit more laughs than the hysterical reactions of the Catholic right to this document in the past week.

      But like I said, the Vatican supposedly determines the fate of the entire cosmos with its declarations, so occasional forays into political economy are as effortless as an after-dinner stroll.

      • Cord Hamrick


        Could you use a little less art and a little more direct assertion? I can’t be sure, but it seems to me that you’re stating…

        1. “Nemesio Epiphron” is embittered (probably correct);

        2. The items he lists for complaint do, in fact, constitute folly (probably correct);

        3. John Paul II does not deserve the title “the Great” which some have given him (probably correct; his pontificate was excellent in some areas and execrable in others);

        4. John Paul II’s “theology of the body” constitutes an attempt by him to write a Catholic Kama Sutra (ridiculous, so probably an indulgence in grotesque caricature…but in that case I am uncertain exactly which portions of “theology of the body” call for sober criticism, and which parts are in your view innocent);

        5. The reactions of the Catholic right to the portions of the whitepaper from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace advocating a supernational secular financial bureaucracy were “hysterical”: (I’d have thought “groaning and contemptuous” was a better description, inasmuch as “hysterical” suggests a failure of right reason, whereas “groaning and contemptuous” leaves open the option that the dicastery was the party guilty of dunderheadedness);

        6. The Vatican “supposedly determines the fate of the entire cosmos with its declarations”: I’m not sure what to make of this; you preface it with “like I said,” suggesting you agree with it, but it is phrased as another grotesque overstatement, which suggests you think the notion risible;

        …and that’s about it.

        Your post here is like a shredder’s guitar solo; the melody is so entirely obscured by the decorative “fiddly bits” that, while I catch glimpses of how you feel about certain topics, it isn’t clear what, if anything, you think about them.

    • http://elblogdelpelon.wordpress.com AV

      I think Crisis Magazine needs to publish its own revised Bible. Note: in Psalm 109, the line, “confregit in die iræ suæ reges” should be omitted. God and his representatives have no right to depose kings, as that is not in their competence. (Though, note, you will have to do a Stalinist air-brushing of history of when popes did indeed depose kings in the day of their wrath: see that whole nasty Frederick Barbossa episode.) Perhaps this is a non-issue as only kings are mentioned, and not bankers. We all know that Jesus loved money changers, and invited them to kick it in God’s Temple: another proper revision in the Bible: Crisis Edition.

      • Cord Hamrick


        I see no reason why Psalm 109 (110) should be of any concern to folks who write for Crisis. Why do you think it poses any problem?

        As a historical note: You seem to be confusing a pope publicly declaring an excommunication for supporting antipopes, which is one thing, with the power to depose a terrestrial monarch, which is another. And in drawing a connection from this historical event to Psalm 109 (110), perhaps you are also mistaking the judgment (in whatever state of emotion) of a pope with the “wrath” of God, which is what is discussed in that psalm. If the laws of the state indicated that only a Catholic in good standing may be Holy Roman Emperor, then of course that excommunication created a legal problem and perhaps a succession problem for the Holy Roman Empire. One hopes and supposes that the laws of that empire were written in such a way as to provide for this eventuality. But as you correctly note, this is all wildly off-topic for this thread.

        I’m not sure what you mean by the term “kick it”; is that a colloquialism common to your culture and upbringing?

        I duly acknowledge your sarcasm about Jesus and the money changers, but I don’t know what point you’re making. Jesus chased dishonest money-changers out of the Temple, presumably with two objections: (1.) they were dishonest and thus thieves; and (2.) they were plying their trade inside the Temple.

        You seem to suggest that we would be correctly imitating Christ were we, in the modern world, to chase bankers out of…well, I suppose wherever they currently are, which means, out of banks. And I assume you only mean the dishonest bankers, not the honest ones. One assumes that if Jesus drove out any honest money-changers from the Temple, He was not thinking of them when quoting “den of robbers”; and that He’d have not objected to them plying their trade in a more appropriate venue.

        Now when it comes to bankers doing business in banks, I’ve no problem chasing out the dishonest ones, not to say jailing them, provided they’re justly convicted of a crime. But then, neither would any of the writers for Crisis. So it’s hard to see why you single them out for criticism.

    • pammie

      “He was not beneath calling Gaza “a big concentration camp.”

      Ummm… why do you suppose the Holy Father wasnt allowed to visit Gaza on his last trip to Israel? Contact the Latin Patriarchy for details.

    • Esteban

      Marvelous! Simply perfect! I hope we hear more from Rev. Epiphron.

    • http://irishpilgrim.blogspot.com Éamonn

      Is Fr Ephiphron related to Diogenes, late of Catholic World News/Catholic Culture?

    • Rick DeLano


      At last, a truthful diagnosis of the true disaster:

      “Thus he ignored his own Council’s source document, The Compendium of Social Doctrine, which “preferred” bloodless means of deterrence and punishment, while not turning a prudential opinion into a dogma making capital punishment an intrinsic evil. He also neglected these words of Pius XII:

      “‘Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather, public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he, through his crime, deprived himself of his own right to life.’

      “If that counsel about the authority of the state in the order of natural law can be contradicted, so can any other precept of the natural law, including the Church’s teaching on contraception.”


    • http://elblogdelpelon.wordpress.com AV

      Personally, I think clerics are far more capable of telling bankers how to do their jobs than telling married couples the deep and metaphysical meaning of marriage and the physical act of love (TOB). After all, many priests are very capable administrators who run parishes better than CEO’s run businesses. They have a staff, they have a strict schedule, they have to stick to the message, they are constantly being evaluated, etc. Such a cleric telling a banker how to do his business makes far more sense than telling a married couple that sex is a gift, and so on. What does a good priest know about sex? He probably knows far more about money, especially if he is so cut throat that he made it into a cushy job in an obscure office of the Curia. That takes some unique skill sets, if you ask me.

      As for the parsing of history, that is one way of looking at it. The “just because I excommunicated you doesn’t mean you’re deposed from the throne” line might work if one was completely ignorant of history, but sadly, that isn’t the case here. Pius V definitely DEPOSED Elizabeth II, and he was not the first to do this. Look it up:


      But one could still take the same attitude of “they didn’t know that condemning someone for being a heretic meant sending them to the stake” if it helps you sleep at night. The point is that in history the temporal and the sacred were far more in cahoots than the author of this article would admit, and damn right the Popes felt banking to be well within their expertise in the past, as papal decrees on usury document.

      As for the money changers, again, you are showing the poverty inherent in modern Catholic argument, since you are making a distinction that simply isn’t there. Jesus drove out ALL the money changers, not just the “bad” ones. Or maybe that is the edit that the Crisis editors would like to make to the Bible.

      As for my own attitude, I could not care less what the Church does or does not do. I will only reiterate that the pontificating on political economy is small potatoes compared to dictating the meaning of life or whether the Virgin Mary was assumed into Heaven. Also, I find it very ironic that a priest is telling us to trust not his fellow priests but the very “experts” who crashed the world economy in the first place. At this rate, the “experts” have done such a bad job of it, why not ask the priest, the butcher, the candlestick maker, and the ballerina how to fix the economy? They might do a better job of it.

      • Cord Hamrick


        I grant that Pius V “deposed” Elizabeth I from her throne, if he had the just authority to do so; and I grant that he claimed the just authority to do so.

        I am uncertain whether in developed Catholic doctrine it will ever be decided (it has not yet been decided) that he had just authority in fact to do so, and how future development of Catholic doctrine would apply such a just authority, if it were defined to have actually existed, to non-monarchical states of the “popular sovereignty” type.

        The exact mechanism of the “deposing power” proposed by Middle Ages theologians, as I understand it, was that the pontiff’s binding and loosing authority necessarily contained within it a just authority to free individuals from being bound by ill-considered or unjust oaths, including oaths of fealty to a monarch, and that the monarch’s ceasing to be Catholic could be, but was not always necessarily, justification for calling those oaths unjust and prompting the dissolution of them by the pontiff. But the modern democratic republic fits poorly with this notion; the people-to-government relationship there is one of employer-to-employees; and the oaths are all in the opposite direction. It is hard to see how the pontiff’s power, should it be defined to exist, could depose the government in such a case.

        But all that is far beyond the point I was making about Frederick Barbarossa: He was excommunicated; the excommunication was later lifted. So far as I know, he didn’t fight a fresh war to regain his throne from whomever succeeded him in the interim, because no one did. My opinion is that the interim was not in fact an interregnum, and thus it didn’t make sense for you to use it as an example of a deposition. Sorry if that’s historical nitpicking.

        The temporal and the sacred were of course deeply intertwined in the Middle Ages: But should they have been? Was this part of the Church’s mission, or a distraction from it? Did popes exercise temporal power as an exercise of just authority from God, or as an usurpation made possible by the terrestrial power which naturally accrued to the office after the Roman Empire dissolved?

        The Church hasn’t definitively said, but I don’t think that either I, or the author of the original article, need be ashamed to admit that the powers were intertwined in that period as a matter of fact. No argument of ours depends on saying that they weren’t.

        And in any case, you yourself admitted that the parallel between kings and bankers wasn’t a particularly good one. I suppose I shouldn’t have gotten sidetracked on an argument you yourself raised, then admitted wasn’t very applicable.

        Now, the one assertion you made without further qualification or retraction was this one: That Crisis Magazine, were they to revise the Bible to suit their own predilections, would have Jesus inviting money-changers to “kick it” (whatever that means, perhaps the same as “kick back and relax”) in the Temple.

        The correct response to this assertion is: No, they wouldn’t, and there’s nothing I can see about Crisis Magazine which explains why you should think they would.

        Thinking aloud, I tried to break down this bit of whimsy on your part: You saw Crisis Magazine as supporting money-changers doing whatever it is Jesus opposed in the famous story. Well, what was it He opposed?

        As I said before, it was two things:

        (1.) They were being dishonest (some of them? all of them?); and,

        (2.) They were plying their trade inside the Temple itself.

        I can say with perfect confidence that were bankers doing business from the pews of churches, the writers of Crisis Magazine would oppose it. But they aren’t: The teller window is not right below the tabernacle. Bankers as a rule, when they are not found cozying up to the White House (they don’t call it the Goldman Sachs administration for nothin’), are to be found in banks. So that can’t be why you brought up that gospel story; it isn’t applicable.

        So you must be objecting to dishonesty. Jesus didn’t complain that His Father’s House had been made a marketplace of money-changers, but a “den of robbers.” Some at least of the money-changers were using trick weights on their scales, perhaps.

        But there again, your example makes no sense: I can say with confidence that if a banker is justly convicted of fraud, you won’t find Crisis Magazine authors rallying to his defense. Crisis Magazine authors are every bit as opposed to dishonest bankers as to dishonest bouncers or dishonest bakers.

        So what I’m left with is an assertion from you which seems to come out of nowhere and to point at nothing. There’s some opinion you ascribe to Crisis Magazine authors you don’t like; but you don’t say what it is. And the only clue you give is a gospel story that doesn’t seem to apply inasmuch as, in that story, Jesus does and says nothing that a Crisis Magazine author wouldn’t typically applaud.

        Your objection to me misunderstands my original objection to you. Of course he kicked them all out. I never said otherwise; I was just trying to figure out which of the reasons for Him expelling them you thought Crisis authors might reject, so I naturally listed both of the reasons.

        Now in your final paragraph, you make your first relatively clearly stated arguments yet:

        1. You say that, since the Assumption of Mary has greater cosmic significance than banking regulations, if a pope or group of priests claim expertise in the former, it follows that they easily have sufficient expertise in the latter.

        2. You then say that it makes more sense to ask anyone but “experts” to write regulations or form governing bodies for the world economy, inasmuch as it was “experts” who “crashed” it in the first place.

        In response to argument #1, I reply: While it is true that the Assumption of Mary is of greater cosmic significance, what matters, when choosing an “expert” to make important decisions, is not so much the significance or insignificance of the subject-matter, but the topic-heading that subject matter falls within.

        The Assumption of Mary is the proper province of the Magisterium, who are bishops and popes. They thus have not only the usual human expertise of persons working within their own fields, but also the Magisterial charisms promised by Christ in Matthew 16 and 18, read in context of the first-century traditions of Rabbinical “binding and loosing” and the parallel “opening and shutting” authority of the stewards of the Davidic dynasty (see Isaiah 22).

        But the recommendation of efficient governing structures for economic policies is not within the charism or even the mission of the Magisterium, let alone of priests generally. That is a job for Christian economists.

        Which leads us to your second argument. In reply to it, I say: There are two categories of “experts” making two radically different kinds of recommendations about how to run economies smoothly. The Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace’s whitepaper, to which the article author objected, is firmly in accord with, and is even an exaggeration or inflation or caricature of, the approach taken by the experts whose recommendations caused and are currently prolonging the world’s economic problems. The whitepaper thus stands in opposition to the other group of experts, who point to our current plight and say, “You see where that kind of thing has gotten us already, and now you want to up the ante by doing the same thing super-nationally? Ever heard Einstein’s definition of insanity, fellows?”

        So I do not think that the repair of the economy ought to be left in the hands of priests or butchers or candlestick makers or ballerinas, unless they’re smart enough to steer clear of the kinds of recommendations made by the Pontifical Council. I am not saying simply that the Council “ought to leave things to experts”; they’re already doing so. But they’ve selected the exact wrong crowd of experts; which, whatever it says about either group of experts, demonstrates pretty clearly that the Council are outside their field of competence.

        And the problem when minor dicasteries within the Curia make such bungles is that the mainstream media always mistakes it for an infallible Magisterial pronouncement…with the consequence that they associate the Magisterium with bungling. This is not helpful to evangelization.

        So better for the Council to stick to topics upon which it can carefully avoid bungling…for P.R. reasons, if nothing else!

    • Rick DeLano

      AV: It seems you have rejected the claim of the Catholic Church to teach the authentic Revelation of God in Christ.

      So be it.

      I accept it.

      To the extent that clerics (or any other Catholics) supplant that Revelation for their own best thinking, you are perfectly right in your criticisms.

      To the extent that you reject the authentic Revelation of God in Christ infallibly taught by the Catholic Church, woe to you.

      As for the recent intervention by His Eminence Cardinal Turkelson, it is simply incredible that in eighteen pages of analysis of the ongoing collapse of the globalist usury scam, His Eminence employs the word “usury” exactly zero times.

      Profound disorientation.

      • http://elblogdelpelon.wordpress.com AV

        “To the extent that clerics (or any other Catholics) supplant that Revelation for their own best thinking, you are perfectly right in your criticisms.”

        Seeing that the clerics are supposedly those who bind and loose on Heaven and on Earth, some seem to be saying that we can forgive them all sorts of foibles (Inquisitions, executions, corruption, covering up for child rape, etc.) on the pretense that the Church is a divine institution. What is unforgivable is when they start interfering with the bottom line, since that interferes with our other master, Mammon. Then, it’s the nuclear option, even if clerics have to anonymously go on websites and break ranks. Since it says in the Gospel that we can easily serve two masters…

    • Rick DeLano

      The Church was never promised impeccability, AV.

      But the power of binding and loosing infallibly?

      Yes, that was promised.

      It has been fulfilled.

      If you mean to suggest that it hasn’t been, then Inquisitions, executions, corruption, covering up for child rape, etc. will not help you make your case.

      Neither will confusing the document in question with the Church’s magisterium.

      The magisterium teaches that usury is mortally sinful.

      I suggest our decision to ignore this teaching (inside and outside of the Church) is going to provide us an occasion to reflect at great and sorrowful length on how foolish we have been.

    • Rick DeLano

      The Church was never promised impeccable governance, AV.

      But that the Church is a divine institution?

      Yes, that was promised.

      It has been fulfilled.

      The power of binding and loosing infallibly?

      Yes, that was promised.

      It has also been fulfilled.

      If you mean to suggest that it hasn’t been, then Inquisitions, executions, corruption, covering up for child rape, etc. will not help you make your case.

      Neither will confusing the document in question with the Church’s magisterium.

      The magisterium teaches that usury is mortally sinful.

      I suggest our decision to ignore this teaching (inside and outside of the Church) is going to provide us an occasion to reflect at great and sorrowful length on how foolish we have been.

    • digdigby

      Av -
      The OLDEST jade’s trick in the world. Take all the bad Catholics in all of history and call them ‘Catholicism’. Take every mistake made by an immense human 2,000 year old institution as representative of ‘the Church’. Meanwhile, the entire world is living off the ‘capital’ of that Church and what it preserved, created and stood firmly for against chaos. Why did the Catholic Church’s vision of sexuality prevail against the immensely appealing Manichean and Gnostic orgies and cool secret cults? Because it is founded on our supernatural reality.