Sense Making


The media chatter has risen above the normal level of late.  In fact it is hard to pick out the key items that merit my attention as I am still extremely busy.

That said, here's a quick synopsis of signals that have popped up over the noise.

Signal 1

First is Cardinal Burke's relegation to a honorary position. Why does this event have a good signal-to-noise ratio?

Simply this: In an era where there are few heroes who defend the Faith in an explicit manner - Cardinal Burke is a pretty good example of a hero for Traditionalists.  Is he 'perfect' in the eyes of Trads ... nope ... but when you stand him beside Cardinal Kasper or even the Pope - well he exemplifies the Traditional Culture.  The fact that he said we (people who go to the SSPX for the Sacraments etc) are Catholic can only further endear him to us.

Now is there a deeper meaning to the 'demotion'?  Probably.  There will be lots of guess work as to the motivations, but stepping back a trend is apparent.  Anyone who opposes the 'Progressivists' is automatically associated with the 'Traditionalists' and therefore given the treatment.

Now there is a belief that the Pope cannot be criticized ... so the 'conservatives' will attempt to resolve the inconsistency of the action with their belief by altering the perception of the belief.  Ta da - cognitive dissonance strikes again.

However, for the 'middle' camp their time is running out and people will have to pick a side soon enough or risk being vomited from the mouth of Christ.  In other words the 'neutral' ground is rapidly dwindling.

Signal 2

The on going bickering between CMTV and the Veteran Traditionalists.  The Remnant has commented on it numerous times (here, here and here), and recently Terry Carrol replied to a query by someone who posts on Suscipedomine , as well as posted on the Blog for Dallas Area Catholics.

This behaviour interests me because ... well when Terry Carrol starts to lurk around various places in order to jump into conversations ... it leads me to believe that he is borderline irrational.  This irrationality is probably due to the transgression of a cultural assumption.  By the way, I'm not saying that the cultural assumption is 'thou shalt not criticize the Pope'.

That is a result of the assumption, we need to go somewhat deeper to understand the true assumption that motivates him.

A quick refresher is in order. Organizational culture is a very strong and omnipresent force in organizations. Kinda like gravity.  It appears weak as we walk around and jump and play. But when you fall from a great height, it becomes obvious that the effects of gravity are ... shall we say significant.

Likewise for culture.  Over time people make decisions that when the results are 'positive' they accept that the decision was correct.  When this happens enough, the decision and sense making starts to move from the conscious level to the sub-concious level - the level of assumptions.

When something happens that contradicts or contravenes an strongly held assumption strong emotions are evoked.  Rational thinking is difficult and as a result there is a tendency to just react.

That may be what is happening to Mr. Voris and definitely Mr. Terry Carrol (aka JTC).

Their assumption is some how centered on the Pope and it is is related to their concept of the Church and 'communion' with it.  I have encountered similar responses in my face-to-face discussion with conservative Catholics. Touch on the actions of the Pope and boom off goes the landmine.

Why is this?

My thought is that the Papacy is, literally, the only visible cultural artifact left that is uniquely Catholic.  As such it is their only way of knowing that they are indeed 'Catholic'.

That the Pope could be a 'bad Pope' and in need of truthful and charitable criticism from the Church learning as well as the Church teaching undermines their last connection to 'Catholicism'.

In their desire to support their belief, in the face of contradictory actions by the Pope, they have selected to alter their perception of the action and possibly Church doctrine.  I've noticed a number of elements of confirmation bias in the CMTV talking points over the years.

First, they ignore the root cause why the SSPX is in a canonically irregular situation.  Newsflash, it was because they were not going along with the new culture that CMTV rails against in everyone except for the guy in charge: The Pope.

Second, they ignore the fact that the only source they have to label the SSPX as schismatic is Ecclesia Dei Adflicta.  They will rightly point to the document signed by Pope Saint John Paul II, but will ignore first the reasoning and then the counter arguments.

Such as:
  • The canonical warning did not cite the canons relating to schism
  • There was no actual trial, the Pope just said that they have incurred the penalty as per the law.  This is not a juridical sentence.
  • The section dealing with consecration without Pontifical Mandate is not under the section dealing with unity of the Church, but abuse of episcopal power. 
Third, they appear to assume that people who are listening to them are stupid and easily lead into the errors of sedevacantism (sorry Michael Wilson). Based on this assumption they tell only part of the truth, assuming that this way they won't be culpable when Pope Francis issues his next doctrinally loose statement.

CMTV Quo Vadis?

Looking at Mr. Carroll's recent comments on "Blog for Dallas Area Catholics" and the response to "Older Salt"  we find that he has a false notion of communion and, in the absence of solid information from the authorities, is making up his own definitions of what constitutes 'communion', full, half, partial and otherwise.

 Mr. Carroll et al appear to be deathly afraid that the response of the SSPX to this crisis of the Church is the correct one - simply because it does not coincide with his thoughts on the constitution of the Church.

I think that CMTV et al need to go through some maturing and stop assuming that their response to the crisis is the right one.  They are ... well a little late to this battle and don't seem to have a broad enough perspective to appreciate the wisdom of the likes of CFN and the Remnant.

Next, CMTV needs to tell the whole truth and back up the reasons against sedevacantism if they think that this is a response when people are confronted with the truth. Frankly, any of their viewers who has a little concern for the Church needs to be exposed to a complete understanding of the Papacy, otherwise, they will risk being scandalized when the Pope does something dramatic.

If they continue to ignore the elephant in the room, then it is a sin of omission on the part of CMTV.

So my mini-conclusion is that CMTV (Michael Voris, Terry Carroll et al)  is operating from fear.  That's not a good point since they are therefore easily lead.  Heck, they're afraid to criticize the Pope becoming that which they have fought against: Professional Catholics.

Signal 3

There is a generalized third signal: Persecution of Catholics who are not aligned with the cultural assumptions that have been dominant since the Second Vatican Council.

The first thing is that Catholic organizational culture has, for obvious reasons, a strong relationship with Dogma, Doctrine, Discipline and Liturgy.

Roughly, these elements have parallels in the cultural model put forward by Edgar Schein.

In the Church, Dogma is the fulcrum upon which everything rests - and this rests on the authority of God.  Now all Dogma is Doctrine, but not all Doctrine is Dogma.  For example it is Doctrine (even today) that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces.  Finally, the Dogmas and Doctrines of the Church as expressed in its Discipline (laws, structures) and Liturgy.

Since the Council every single Discipline and Liturgy has been revamped.  Doctrine, while not 'officially' changed has been abused by the culture of silence on the 'hard sayings'.  If a doctrine or 'value' is not reinforced, it starts to leave the culture.  The same is said for the Dogma's - which also have not been reinforced since the Second Vatican Council.

So what do we have?  We have a dramatic shift in the Organizational Culture because its doctrines and dogmas have become 'espoused values'.  The real values put forth in the Church today are simply not Catholic.

The effect: Catholics may still be members of the Church, but they will not automatically recognize Catholic culture, values, assumptions, artifacts, discipline, liturgy, doctrine and dogma as Catholic.

In short Catholicism is a foreign entity for most Catholic pew sitters today. Of course this is a generalized statement.

That all changed with the election of Pope Francis, because he has done virtually nothing but challenge the vestigial Catholicism of Catholics throughout the world.   Now these people are being shaken down to their assumptions and frankly it is a very dangerous time because I believe that in general they are ill prepared for the apex of this crisis.

The Church is going to split into two camps ... the two camps that St. Ignatius discussed in the Exercises. The two camps are: the traditional Catholics and the federation of neo modernists, progressivism, liberals et al.

(Nota Bene: imo the conservatives are going to disappear in this shake down)

The area of the neutral zone is rapidly dwindling.

The more the bad Catholics persecute the good Catholics, the more the camps will divide, until finally the real assumptions become manifest and a split occurs.  What they (miberals, lodernists et al)  don't realize is that persecuting them (faithful Catholics) only results in a strengthening of their resolve and evoke a re-emergence of truly Catholic cultural assumptions, values, beliefs etc.

This is not rocket science, it is simply an understanding of human group behaviour and the history of the Church.

The Doctrines and Dogmas can't change so these anchor the Church.  With the restoration of the Liturgy (ie Tridentine Mass) the old culture is reasserting itself. Next is discipline.

So what is next?

 Assuming that the 'Progressivists' follow the model we can expect a few things.

The first is a more intense persecution of anyone who remotely holds (or even appears to hold) the same cultural assumptions of the SSPX. The FFI is a prime example, but anyone and everyone will (Fr. Rodriguez comes to mind) be targeted - irregardless of position within the hierarchy.

The second is a push to assert their cultural assumptions since there is a sense that the old culture has indeed survived the 50 years in the wilderness and now challenges their weak culture.  Cardinal Kasper is a good embodiment of the culture and look how he turned on the African bishops who stood up to him.

Thirdly, more conflict.  In fact, the harder the progressivists push their culture the harder those in the camp of Christ will push back.

Fouthly, the lines will be very clear and there is no dogmatic guarantee that the Pope will be on the right side.




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