Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Miscellany

(source: Wikimedia)
Today is the feast of Robert Bellarmine, one of the brightest lights of the Counter-Reformation. His writings are utilized by trads these days, usually to champion geocentrism or to compile practical methods of deposing an heretical pope. He also wrote such devotional works as The Mind's Ascent to God, The Art of Dying Well, and The Seven Words on the Cross. Cdl. Bellarmine was not canonized until 1930, and his feast was moved to the day of his death in the 1969 revisions. Mr. Ryan Grant of Mediatrix Press has been translating and publishing St. Robert's works in English over the last few years.

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Today is also the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin at Fatima in 1917. Mr. Grump is happy to encourage the study of the Second Eve's messages to the Portuguese children, but worries about the aspiration of certain priests and laymen to bottleneck every aspect of Catholic life and spirituality through the Fatima messages, miracles, and secrets. Her messages are timely, but were hardly meant to become a replacement for common sense and good cheer.

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(source: Wikimedia)
Recently Mr. Grump had the opportunity to dialogue, so to speak, with a devotee of the Brown Scapular. This particular young lady could hardly be described as a traditionalist, but was more defensive of the sacramental than most traddies. My attempts to argue that the Brown Scapular is a sign primarily of Carmelite devotion gained little purchase, as she also thought that every Catholic should love Carmelite spirituality. Further thoughts on the Scapular are still in development.

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The attacks on Catholic traditionalists by neo-conservative pundits are increasing in regularity and viciousness. Apologist Dave Armstrong in particular is responding in kind to Hilary White's mockery of neo-con doublethink; Fr. Longenecker has been threatened with a lawsuit by Chris Ferrara for the vile suggestions he's been making; and the Patheos bloggers have been writing full of wrath, as if they know their time is short. The level of this dialogue (so to speak) and others like it is unfortunately very low and lacking in the emotional detachment needed for certain kinds of intellectual work. It is a curious aspect of human nature that the people most willing to dish out emotionally charged abuse are also the people least willing to accept it in humility and good humor.

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Speaking of good humor, Mr. Grump is rather enjoying the recent blog launch of the Tumblar House Lounge, which features original pieces as well as excerpts from the books of their published authors. Not everyone will agree with the theological peculiarities of the authors, but it is curious that the spiritual descendants of Fr. Feeney are often less gloomy than the rest of the traddy world.


Speaking of a lack of good humor, one cannot help but notice that proof of the Archdiocese of New York's supposed hit piece against Michael Voris does not appear to be forthcoming. Surely this means that the Church Militant apostolate is opening itself up to charges of libel and defamation. Perhaps this is nothing new for Mr. Voris's organization, but presenting the evidence would be useful for defending themselves against their critics. (And while Voris is airing his dirty laundry, surely he can come out of the toupee closet as a bald man. We assure the CM intern crew that this would not reflect poorly on Mr. Voris STB's masculinity.)


  1. A friend who crossed paths with Voris in Rome said that it's actually a very bad haircut.

  2. Hey, thanks for the shout out for the Lounge, Rad Trad! Glad you've been enjoying it!

    1. I know that some of the pieces in The Lounge have appeared elsewhere (Mr. Coulombe's old blog, for instance), but even the old posts still feel timely. I am enjoying it.

  3. I don't believe anything Michael Voris says. I'm not a fan of Cardinal Dolan or the Archdiocese of NY, but if Voris can not present evidence they were going to out him, he has no credibility in this. For all we know someone from his past could have been trying to blackmail him for money and that is why he outed himself after all these years.


  4. St. Louis de Montfort often criticises "proud scholars" who discourage soul from devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, like the rosary, based on their own notions of true devotion.
    I say this because your dialogue with the woman devoted to the brown scapular reminded me of it. Do you also make snide remarks to people making the Stations of the Cross because of its origin with the Franciscans?

    1. I don't discourage anyone from developing a Mary-filled spiritual life. If Carmelite spirituality appeals to you and is helpful, by all means wear the Brown Scapular and identify with that order. If you don't wish to pray the psalter or the Little Office, by all means pray the Rosary as a substitute. (I have myself found great help in St. Louis' work on "Total Consecration" to Mary, but I don't expect every Catholic will. Nor do I make snide comments about proud scholarship to those who do not.)

      The various spiritualities of the Church are complementary, but none should be pushed as universal requirements. Surely no one would demand that a strict monastic order who already chants the longest version of the Breviary should also pray the Rosary daily, even if Our Lady of Fatima made that a general request. The young woman I was talking with desired to make a universal absolute out of the Scapular, which is clearly out of keeping with its original intent.

    2. You must be the tenth person to bring up that Montfort quote on this blog...

      Anyway, what I personally have found aggravating is the treatment of some devotions as either magic tickets to heaven or as the one thing that will bring about "world peace" (which, for this world, is a vain hope that betrays a materialistic view). Many devotions, many good and worthwhile devotions, have their advocates who act as if the faith should revolve entirely around said devotion. This is the error of extreme devotionalism.

      This is my advice to anyone: Pray the rosary, but don't expect a Catholic government to magically appear and fix everything. Wear the Carmelite scapular for penance and to improve your prayer life, but don't put stock in the Sabbatine promises (based on forgeries). Pray the Divine Mercy chaplet, go to Eucharistic Adoration, and pray to good old St. Joseph to help bring back some sense of family. Just don't try to act like your particular devotion is the "best" one that will truly "solve all the problems".