In and Of

More than a few people I know have been less than thrilled with Bishop Blase Cupich’s official statement on the forced legalization of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court of the United States. Perhaps he should have kept quiet. As the head of the fourth largest Catholic diocese in the U.S., his words carry a great deal of weight — much more than they deserve. They also carry the capacity to confuse the faithful. Still, to the bishop’s credit, his words are honest. There’s no good reason to doubt that he believes what he writes. Depressing though that may be for some, it’s not nearly as depressing as those who┬áintentionally obfuscate their message, seeming to remain orthodox all the while holding tight to the Zeitgeist. Unimpressive academics-turned-bloggers, bloggers who think they are academics, and other charlatans of good cheer have begun circling around this ostensibly singular “cultural moment” in the hopes of generating some cheap hits. Let us be in the world and of it. That way our lives can continue as most people do: As if Christ never came at all.



  1. Bernard Brandt
    July 1, 2015

    I do hope that, now that you are no longer a cheerleader of the RC Church (though I believe that you are still one who loves Her), that you will consider the possibility that many of the present problems of that Church are borne of two causes: 1) Her clergy are poorly educated in philosophy and theology; and 2) approximately 50% of that clergy (at least in North and South America and Western Europe) are queer (which is to say, sexually active homosexuals).

    While I will not venture to guess which of those two factors, or both, have affected the good bishop Cupich, I will point out that it is hard for our pastors to teach the doctrine of the Church, when they do not know what it is. I will also point out that it is difficult to trust a clergy when at least half of them are fundamentally unfaithful to their vows, and the rest seem to be covering for their brother priests.

    1. Gabriel Sanchez
      July 1, 2015

      You have written extensively before on the inadequate education of the North American clergy — a point I agree on.

      However, what would you say about the fact Orthodox clergy are by and large even less educated then their estranged Catholic clerical brethren? For the most part Orthodox priests appear better at “keeping the Faith” so to speak even if their knowledge of it is sometimes simplified to the point of being superficial.

      1. Bernard Brandt
        July 1, 2015

        Gabriel, I would tend to agree with you that Orthodox clergy do tend to be less educated than RC clergy. I figure, however, that this is not so much a bug as a feature. If you will permit me a rather ugly abbreviation, ‘dox clergy tend to be remarkably free of pseudo-scientific studies such as psychology, sociology, and ‘political science’ (as opposed to political theory). They also tend to be far more knowledgable in Scripture and Patristics than their erring RC brethren.

        So as to forstall yet another logomachy, I know that that latter knowledge tends to be more on the level of rote memory than of understanding or of wisdom, but your average Orthodox priest would be far more capable of contending with a Prot fundamentalist or a Jehovah’s Witness than your average RC priest.

        One important difference between RC and ‘dox clergy, though, is that the higher education which the RCs are lacking was mandated both by Vatican II and current canon law. They were charged with a higher standard which they are manifestly failing to meet, or even to approach.

  2. Ochlophobist
    July 1, 2015

    What is your 3-10 point description of what the living-as-if-Christ-did-come Christian approach to the current situation would/should/could/ought look like?

  3. Bernard Brandt
    July 1, 2015

    Dear Ochlophobist,

    If that question is being directed to me, I’d really rather answer your ’10 questions’ that you have posted on your website. They look far more satisfying to me.

    That said, though, in answering your question, I have spent more than a little time reading Scripture, the Saints, and the Fathers, and attempting to connect the dots. It’s not a matter of what I wanna believe. I’ve seen too many pious morons attempting the same, and indulging in wishful thinking rather than prayerful reflection on what the Books of Daniel or Revelations have to say on the subject. So, rather than saying what I want to happen, I’ll ramble on about what I fear will happen. Here goes:

    1. Instead of Hal Lindsey and his Late Great Planet Earth, try reading instead Sir Isaac Newton’s Observations on Daniel and the Apocalypse. This neglected book contains more than I have seen in many. In the first chapter, N. manages to recapitulate the later findings of Biblical Criticism for the next one hundred and fifty years: that in Torah, there are first the original traditions of the tribes of Judah and Israel; next the weaving together of those traditions by Moses; then the completion of those traditions by Joshua; and finally, the codification of the whole of Torah, the Writings, and the Prophets by Esra. Basically, Newton has spied the ‘Four authors’ theory that underlies most modern biblical scholarship, a century and a half before everyone else has caught up. In the second chapter, Newton delineates the visual symbolic language of Biblical prophesy and does the same capable job that he did in the first chapter. Then he uses the remainder of the book in using the analyses of the first two chapters to the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelations.

    2. Sorry folks, but the End is no time soon. From what Newton suggests, the earliest he expects it to happen is 2060, and it could take as long as 2320. Deal with it.

    3. Don’t expect a ‘Great Rapture’ to save ‘true Bible believing Christians’ from the eevil boogie woogie man. Proof texting is one thing. The integration of the whole of Sacred Scripture with the Fathers is quite another. St. John of the Revelation has taught us that there will be a series of seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven woes before the fat lady sings. The Holy Apostle Paul has said, “Behold, I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be raised in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. If the two scriptures are at all integrated, then two thirds of the really nasty stuff will have happened before the Apostle Paul’s “mystery” will have occurred. Evangelical prots are such cowardly pussies to believe otherwise.

    4. The ‘really nasty stuff’ will include, among other things, a poisoning of the land, the seas, and the skies. One of the most frightening things for me is the realization that Revelations 8:11 (‘And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter”.) makes horrible sense when one considers that the word Chernobyl is slavic for ‘Wormwood’. Again, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

    5. The really nasty stuff will also include the ‘Beast’, and the ‘Whore of Babylon’. In the symbolic language which Newton delineates, the beast arises out of the Earth, which is symbolic of the idea that it arises out of the intelligence of many people. The Whore sits and is carried upon the Beast, which indicates that she is a spiritual teacher. Babylon is a representation of a great and soulless land which destroys the People of God, and is great for buying and selling. All that I can say is that I look upon the development of artificial intelligence, the present entertainment/pornography industry, and the present market economy, where human flesh is beginning to be on sale, either figuratively or literally, and I tremble at what is going to happen.

    6. It ain’t gonna go well for the saints, such as still exist. What part of ‘The great apostasy’ and ‘The great tribulation’ do you not understand.

    7. All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well. For further details, read the end of the book of Revelations. While you are doing so, listen to Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sancta Civitas. A copy can be found here:

    That’s all for me now. Toodles.


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