I went to the shops today for my fortnightly grocery shopping. Occasionally it strikes me that society has changed. Previously it would only have been in movies that people walked around in masks keeping away from each other. Now it’s reality. I don’t experience that feeling much. Life is normal for me, except for the quiet roads and longer and more tiring working hours in a COVID lab. But for most people, this must feel post-apocalyptic. They’re grasping for some level of control over their lives, and, sometimes, YouTube and conspiracy theories provide an outlet. However dangerous that may be.
Some people go from being normal people to being paranoid or not caring about killing granny. Logical people become paranoid. The lack of cigarettes doesn’t help. Intelligent people succumbing to group think. Religions, where one would hope to find some degree of moral compass and a drive to turn to God during this time, sometimes turn to themselves instead. Groups like the SSPX, who are non-conformists and isolationists at the best of times, become cults dangerous to the community.
As a result, conspiracy theories and plain old stupidity abound. YouTube is the new “research” tool of the masses. Watch 10 YouTube videos and you earn yourself an online PhD in stultitude. Watch 5 more and you’ve “researched” something – vaccines or COVID or the lion population of New Zealand. “I’m a real researcher” says the YouTuber.
That is no less true amongst religious groups, and no less true amongst Catholics. I’ve written about COVID Charles and about the SSPX before. Here I’ll look at two more examples of embarrassing Catholic opinions.
Before I go on, I must wonder about the moral culpability of people in cults, people experiencing a post-apocalyptic world. Are they like someone who has put their hand on a hot stove and has no control over their pulling their hand away in pain? Are they so desperate for normality that they’ll fall for any absurd idea? Or is there an underlying lack of compassion or lack of empathy that allows some people to act against society, or an underlying gullibility that will let them believe anything that makes them feel better? Are there societal or psychological fault lines that crack under this sort of pressure? I don’t know. That’s not my job. But they need to be exposed for the dangers they are.
Archbishop Vigano and his growing crowd of problematics
Now a bunch of Catholic bishops (and others) have signed a declaration that the whole lockdown thing is a plot by shady businesses and tyrannical governments to institute a one world government that answers to nobody. Just because they’re being told they can’t go to church and make people sick.
Instead of just complaining that the pope doesn’t do as they want him to, Vigano’s following are now becoming dangerous. Catholics are more divided today than I have ever experienced them in my life. A small but vocal minority are egging this on, a right wing that has become worse under Pope Francis. Vigano has become a hero to the growing right wing minority, essentially saying that Pope Francis is a heretic. He has been joined by previously respectable cardinals such as Raymond Burke and Gerhard Muller. Now he has been joined by Joseph Zen. And Bishop Joseph Strickland, whose Twitter posts have been suspect for some time. Athanasius Schneider, whom I once thought would be a good pope. God spare us! Cardinal Sarah seems to have been involved but wisely withdrew. I hope he stays out of it. I always thought he was a sensible one, but lately he’s been involved in two high profile scandals – a book with or without Pope Emeritus Benedict, and now this COVID conspiracy theory.
“Therefore this morning I explicitely [sic] asked the authors of the petition titled ‘For the Church and for the world’ not to mention my name.”
“From a personal point of view, I may share some questions or preoccupations raised regarding restrictions on fundamental freedom but I didn’t sign that petition,” Sarah added.– Catholic News Agency, Vigano accuses Cardinal Sarah of causing him ‘harm’ in row over coronavirus letter
No, Vigano, this is not a one world government conspiracy. This is not even a national Sunday law. This is a disease, a virus, a public health calamity.
Signatories here. All those who can move further down on the rank of respectability have just done so.
At least Pope Francis has remained a sane voice of reason. And the German bishops have spoken out against this conspiracy theory nonsense. I suspect that will only add fuel to the right wing’s fire. I wish more bishops would speak out against these idiots.
Canon Law Made Easy … and Unsafe
Mark 2:27 (KJV) – And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath
The sabbath (and thus all of the law) was made to give rest and assistance to mankind. The law was never an end unto itself. It a) pointed to Christ, and b) was there as a servant to humanity.
Lawyers are usually logical people. Give them a loophole, and they’ll fit a camel through it. But sometimes they find a rabbit hole, and down they go, and this canon lawyer seems to have done just that. Over at Canon Law Made Easy a blogger has ended up putting her interpretation of canon law, and her insistence on it, above the lives and safety of the community. She has placed man at the service of the sabbath.
Harping on and on and on, she complains about the canonical illegality of bishops closing churches to protect the lives of the community. In one post, she starts off complaining about interdicts that local bishops can’t apply to their own flock, then moves on to say it’s not an interdict but it’s still contrary to the law based on what an interdict is (???), with no support for that once she acknowledged there was no interdict. She says this is a punishment by the bishops.
Fact: these are not interdicts
Fact: we are in a very dangerous situation from something we cannot see
Fact: the bishops of the world are not punishing us
Fact: the bishops of the world are saving lives
Then she writes something that the pro-disease cult mentality has been writing in their gospel of “Go and infect all nations”.
“For a person of faith, does it make sense to fear that God will reward our trust in Him, by letting parishioners who confidently come to Mass catch the virus there?”– Do Bishops Have the Authority to Cancel Masses Completely?
The Church herself teaches that such an attitude is imprudent. For a person of faith, does it make sense to go to Mass and risk contributing to the deaths of those in the community, Catholic or non-Catholic? That is not martyrdom. That is disease cult mentality. That’s a seriously warped faith.
I understand that she may have nothing better to do during periods of isolation like this, but bitching and whining about her right to go to Mass when people are dying is just sickening. This is not going to make the world a better place; far from it. This just contributes to the subtle but creeping plague of moral insensitivity growing in the world right now. Likewise the creeping disobedience to the Church and their shepherds, under the guise of obeying the law and insisting on one’s narrow minded interpretation thereof. A law that never envisaged a situation such as this.
Imagine an invasion of killer robots. Anyone they saw on the streets was eaten. They also tried to get into houses to eat the people there, but this seldom worked. The bishops announced that churches would be closed, and people should stay at home. One group stays at home and prays and waits out the invasion. Another group goes out in the streets trying to get to Mass while insisting that their right to go the Mass has been illegally limited by their shepherds. They get eaten. It’s their own stupidity that got them eaten. After the invasion the Church comes out smarter. But not so with SARS-CoV-2. We can’t see it, so it’s easier to ignore. It’s easier to come up with conspiracy theories about oppressive “supranational bodies”. But the rabbit holers’ actions don’t get them eaten – they get other people killed.
Saving the lives of the community trumps every legal loophole that comes along. Those who go down rabbit holes thinking about nobody other than I, me, and my bloody shitty little self, are out there spreading disease (or trying to) while everyone else is social distancing and wearing masks to save the lives of those around them.
This stupidity and selfishness isn’t limited to Catholics. But this is my group, and they’re an embarrassment to the Catholic Church.
And there’s more – update Sept 2020. Quack alert
Canon Law Made Easy got a post in July about masks. She’s really drunk the kool-aid on this, and goes on and on and on and on … it’s bizarre. This is what people sound like when they’ve got secret knowledge off YouTube and want to share it with everyone. I pray she doesn’t kill anyone with the quack “advice” she blathers out.