Aug 8, 2021Liked by Steve Skojec

I dream of the day when I can log off my computer for the last time and go live a normal life. But I dream.

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Yes, very interesting to contemplate what the history of the Catholic Church would have been like if 24 hour news and social media had been around 1000 years ago. I have to say that the dogma of papal infallibility is a joke- the Pope is infallible, and if he teaches heresy then he’s not the Pope? What good is that? Theologians can’t even agree about which teachings are infallible!

The Orthodox were smart to avoid this dogma.

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Aug 6, 2021Liked by Steve Skojec

Great analysis and insight, Steve, as always!

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We are all assuming here that things will go forward hence in more or less the same direction they have gone lately (which means, in our lifetimes so far). More and more media, more and more connectivity, more and more people.

This idea is almost certainly not correct. We are already running out of food. The weather is changing, and many of the changes are not friendly to human life. An over-crowded world is more vulnerable to plagues, as we have learned lately, and there are possible diseases, plenty of them, which will make Covid look tame, not to mention the ones which have not yet developed. We got lucky this time, but it would be foolish to assume that we will always be so lucky.

The advent of the Four Horses of the Apocalypse is looking more and more like a horse race: they're all coming, and which one reaches us first is uncertain, but these seem to be pretty fast horses. Papal misdeeds may very soon be the least of our worries.

Our only possible shelter is in the Triune God. That is where we should put our hope and our attention.

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Have you ever read the work of Neil Postman? He wrote about the information explosion years ago when it was really only television and video games and the internet was in its infancy. He died before thing go really crazy but his thesis holds true. “Amusing Ourselves To Death “ is one of his later titles but they are all excellent and deal with how we learn and how our minds work, the move from a pre literate to a literate civilization and what that entails, how we came to memorize less but synthesize more as reading involves more global mental skills than listening or looking at pictures. (this was always one of the strengths of the TLM, reading along in the missal was likely to make a greater impression than letting the same words in the vernacular wash over you each week, I’ve never understood all the arguments against Latin for this reason. I have two children with learning disabilities, one severe, and they could stay on the right page from the time they learned to read.)

Postman goes into detail about how the modern information glut shortens attention spans, makes it impossible for people to actually understand things on a rational level, turns everything into an emotional appeal which can be accomplished with pictures in seconds rather than the 20 minutes or more it would take to read and evaluate even a simple argument.

His most memorable point is that people have never before been exposed to so much information which is irrelevant to their lives. The printing press ushered in an information and literacy explosion but people still read those things which were important to them, local news, better farming techniques, textbooks for their field of study, etc.. Now everyone is subject to a barrage of opinions masquerading as facts, most of them from unqualified quarters, on subjects which shouldn’t really matter to most of us, about things we can neither use nor have an effect on. People seem to have largely lost the ability to understand anything that requires critical thinking skills.

We are all part of an unprecedented psychological experiment which can only end badly.

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Your story and reflections of Carlos Acutis reminds me of a hymn I learned and loved to sing when I was a child, especially the 3rd verse. The hymn was written in 1929 by the talented hymnodist Lesbia Scott, for her three children:

I sing a song of the saints of God,

patient and brave and true,

who toiled and fought and lived and died

for the Lord they loved and knew.

And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,

and one was a shepherdess on the green:

they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,

God helping, to be one too.

They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,

and God’s love made them strong;

and they followed the right, for Jesus’ sake,

the whole of their good lives long.

And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,

and one was slain by a fierce wild beast:

and there’s not any reason, no, not the least,

why I shouldn’t be one too.

They lived not only in ages past;

there are hundreds of thousands still;

the world is bright with the joyous saints

who love to do Jesus’ will.

You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,

in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;

for the saints of God are just folk like me,

and I mean to be one too.

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I like a lot of the points here, especially about the influence of media and constant availability of information.

You write:

"The Pian vision of the Church is essentially one trapped in amber, a fossil of praxis and belief that moves forward physically in time, but with total unblemished integrity and continuity. It not only never fundamentally changes — it is impossible for it to do so."

You say the trads are the one who carry forward the vision of the unblemished and pure Church. But I think this is not quite right, or not quite fair. It's the trads, generally, who are willing to admit that Church history wasn't all glorious. I once published a piece at OnePeterFive for which I got in trouble with various people: https://onepeterfive.com/lessons-church-history-papal-lapses/. It even includes the famous painting of the Cadaver Synod!

It's more likely to be the so-called "conservatives" who are desperately trying to keep up the facade. They want to deny that any pope has ever even brushed against heresy. The trads are too gritty and too engaged in the actual messiness of Church history (which they had to study in order to defend their own seemingly "dissenting" stance) to hold this facile view, and I believe our faith is stronger for being more rough-and-tumble. I get the sense with some conservative apologists that if they admitted the tiniest little crack in their platonic picture of the papacy, the whole dam of unbelief would break.

But I also think - as I said last weekend in Denver - that there is good historical evidence for even morally bad popes as having had the Catholic sense not to touch dogma or morals. Alexander VI Borgia was a wicked man, but he never changed a thing about how popes celebrated Mass or what doctrine was preached. In fact, his documents are spectacularly clean.

Just a thought... I might post this over at your Substack.

Warm regards,


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I think the Church has for the longest time been stuck in a Platonist or semi-Platonist view of the world, which views history as a mere accident because the "real world" is up there in the immovable forms with spirits uncontaminated by matter. The modern world is the birth of history as an idea, a kind of philosophical and religious vindication of history and by extension the world of history. What's so unacceptable to our contemporaries is the idea that this world is a mere testing ground for our spirits that will be thrown in to the garbage bin when God decides we've all been tested enough; that this world and its history has no intrinsic meaning of its own. People today want a real salvation of this world; a real transformation of humanity from WITHIN history, not just in some hoped for beyond. They don't just want to sit back resignedly and wait for the apocalypse to unfurl and for a warlike Christ to burn it all up and start over again, like it was all for nothing. I think Traditionalism's clinging to the old Platonic view of an ephemeral world without intrinsic meaning, one that we're just waiting to be discarded, is one of its greatest detractions. It's also incoherent as Traditionalists still wish to seize the reins of history and take back control of the world in medieval fashion, a world which they think is intrinsically worthless anyway, and only has the extrinsic purpose of testing our faith before it all gets chucked in the fire.


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Your majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, have done our best to destroy the church for the last 1,800 years. We have not succeeded, and neither will you. — Ercole Cardinal Consalvi to Napolean (who said, if he wanted, he could destroy the Catholic Church.)

Marshall McLuhan is an interesting philosopher of the media age, and I believe a Catholic.

St Therese is a great soul who lived a simple life. She’s like a close friend and very relatable.

The SSPX is the absolute repository of the Catholic faith, safeguarded in this modernist time with all its incidental madness. Every act of the Masons in the Vatican as of now will push Catholics over the edge of skepticism of the SSPX and into its well-preserved Catholicism.

When dealing with the culture or the corruption in the Church, don’t look too long into the abyss.

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