Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Imagining a Heretical Cardinal

Imagine if a cardinal of the Catholic Church were to publish an article in which he condemned “a theology of eucharistic coherence that multiplies barriers to the grace and gift of the eucharist” and stated that “unworthiness cannot be the prism of accompaniment for disciples of the God of grace and mercy.” Or what if a cardinal of the Catholic Church were to state publicly that homosexual acts are not sinful and same-sex unions should be blessed by the Church? 

Until recently, it would be hard to imagine any successor of the apostles making such heterodox statements. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon today to hear Catholic leaders affirm unorthodox views that, not too long ago, would have been espoused only by heretics. “Heretic” and “heresy” are strong words, which contemporary ecclesiastical politeness has softened to gentler expressions such as “our separated brethren” or “the Christian faithful who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.” But the reality is that those who are “separated” and “not in full communion” are separated and not in full communion because they reject essential truths of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Thus, it is deeply troubling to consider the possibility that prelates holding the office of diocesan bishop in the Catholic Church may be separated or not in full communion because of heresy. 

Yet both the cases mentioned above would in fact involve heresy, since heresy is defined as “the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (canon 751 of the Code of Canon Law). What, then, constitutes “some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith”? 

Read the rest here.
HT: Blog reader John L.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Latest Crypto-con (UK)

A cryptocurrency investment firm with links to two all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) appears to have disappeared, leaving some investors fearing they have lost tens of thousands of pounds and raising the prospect of further questions being asked about the role of APPGs in parliament.

Phoenix Community Capital established itself last year as a cryptocurrency project and investment scheme, which it said at one point was valued at $800m (£665m). It was a sponsor of one APPG, and its co-founder, Luke Sullivan, spoke at an event for a second APPG , as well as appearing as a panellist for events hosted by peers in parliament.

However, the company appears to have vanished in September last year, with its website going offline and the investment portfolios, known as “nests”, becoming inaccessible to an estimated 8,000 investors after that date.

Some investors, including a former Premier League footballer, claim to have lost tens of thousands of pounds each.

Some of the firm’s assets and its name appear to have been sold to a new company run by an individual called “Dan”, who has told investors it has no obligation towards them, but that it would still try to make them some returns.

Asked what had happened to the company and its investments, Sullivan said he would respond if the Guardian flew to the Philippines to discuss it further. He criticised the Guardian for making “a number of factual errors” and said he was not being allowed an opportunity to “clarify the real facts”, and then said he could not respond to a further request for comment.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Report: Pope Francis preparing further attack on Tridentine Mass

VATICAN CITY, February 18, 2023—The Remnant has learned that a Vatican document is currently under review by Pope Francis that would expand and reinforce his 2021 Motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, affirm that the only official liturgy of the Latin Rite is the Novus Ordo, and stringently regulate the ex-Ecclesia Dei communities.

Well-informed Vatican sources have confirmed to the Remnant, which accurately warned of Traditionis Custodes before it was published in 2021, that the draft document, in the form of an apostolic constitution, was presented to Pope Francis at the end of January by superiors of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments headed by Cardinal Arthur Roche.

The document is said to have been written by dicastery officials, under the guidance of its secretary, Archbishop Vittorio Francesco Viola, OFM, in collaboration with at least one consultor of the Vatican’s office for papal liturgical celebrations.

While Traditionis Custodes is aimed chiefly at thwarting the growth of the traditional Latin Mass and sacraments among diocesan clergy, this new document would deal a particularly heavy blow to ex-Ecclesia Dei communities, by banning diaconal and priestly ordinations in the Vetus Ordo, prohibiting the administration of the other sacraments to the faithful, and requiring concelebration of all priests, including members of these institutes.

A prohibition of Sunday Masses in the Vetus Ordo is also said to be on the table.

Read the rest here.

How can any Orthodox Christian even contemplate entering into communion with a church whose leader apparently claims the authority to suppress ancient liturgical rites at will? If he can outlaw his own church's liturgical patrimony, why would he not be able to do that to the churches of the East? 

Between this and the heretical drivel coming out of the crazier corners of the Roman Church (hello Germany) the farther the Orthodox Church remains from Rome, the better. Maybe things will improve after the next conclave. But I am not optimistic. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Prayers please

I am currently experiencing some potentially serious health issues. In your charity, any prayers are deeply appreciated.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Germany’s Synodal Way leaders push women’s ordination during European bishops’ synodal assembly

A leader of the controversial German Synodal Way said in a speech at Europe’s synod meeting Wednesday that the exclusion of women from ordination drives women from the Church.

Irme Stetter-Karp, the president of the lay Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), addressed delegates in the meeting in Prague on Feb. 8.

“The stubborn adherence to the dual anthropology and the confinement of women to the space outside of the ordained ministry tends to drive women, especially young women, out of the Church in the 21st century,” Stetter-Karp said.

Posing a question “to those who do not want to allow change” on the “the women’s question,” she asked: “How do you explain the multiple gifts and vocations of women in the Catholic Church worldwide if the Holy Spirit did not want it? I would like an honest answer to that.”

Stetter-Karp is one of three leaders of Germany’s Synodal Path who are playing an active role in the continental stage of the Church’s ongoing Synod on Synodality as official national delegates sent by Germany.

Thomas Söding, the German lay central committee’s vice president, also spoke to the assembly on Wednesday about why he believes there is a crisis of vocations in Europe.

Söding said: “We are experiencing a crisis of priestly vocations throughout Europe. What does it tell us?”

“I know there are different answers in the room. My conviction: We think too narrowly of the priestly vocation. We think too narrowly of God’s grace. We tie it to sex. We tie it to ‘state of life.’ If you want an opening, you don’t make the ministerial priesthood small, you make it large,” he added.

Bishop Georg Bätzing, who has served as the president of the Synodal Path since 2020, told Europe’s synod delegates on Feb. 6 that Germany’s Synodal Way has heard that “new forms are being sought to organize the priesthood” and that “the Church should be open to people whose way of life does not conform to the norms of the catechism, including queer people.”

Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 04, 2023


The State Where the GOP Would Rather Lose Than Change

If I were a conspiracy theorist; I'd say that a few years ago in the middle of the night, the Democrats secretly freed every inmate in Arizona's mental asylums on the condition that they all registered as Republicans on their way out the door. 

Charlie Munger's op-ed on the crypto-con

Charlie Munger is the 99-year old billionaire who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law and has been the close business partner of legendary investor, Warren Buffett, at Berkshire Hathaway for more than four decades.

For years now, both Munger and Buffett have been outspoken about the dangerous scam called cryptocurrencies. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal gave Munger space for a 393-word OpEd in which he urges the U.S. to ban crypto as China has done (and a lot of other countries). Unfortunately, those 393 words are competing with years of a nonstop barrage of hyped promises from right-wing Republicans in Congress who are happy to take big political donations from the crypto cabal; big public relations and marketing firms padding their bottom lines with what effectively amounts to money from defrauded crypto customers; K-Street lobbyists also on the dole to crypto firms; celebrities whoring on television for crypto; and, worst of all, Big Law firms attempting to legitimize myriad crypto frauds as “innovation” in order to compete for billable hours.

In one paragraph of the OpEd, Munger writes this:

“Such wretched excess has gone on because there is a gap in regulation. A cryptocurrency is not a currency, not a commodity, and not a security. Instead, it’s a gambling contract with a nearly 100% edge for the house, entered into in a country where gambling contracts are traditionally regulated only by states that compete in laxity. Obviously, the U.S. should now enact a new federal law that prevents this from happening.”

Gambling describes just what the customer is doing. That is, as Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said, cryptocurrencies are “100 percent based on some sort of Greater Fool theory,” where the gambler is betting that a Greater Fool will be willing to take the worthless crypto off his hands for more than he paid for it.

We have seen these kinds of Greater Fool financial frauds throughout history. At the peak of the Tulip Bubble in Holland in 1637, a single tulip bulb sold for many times the annual wage of a skilled laborer. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, as it’s called today, was at the heart of the Tulip Bubble. The South Sea bubble in the 1700s was built around the British South Sea Company which seduced investors with the vision of great wealth from trade with South America. When the company’s share price eventually collapsed, it seriously impacted the British economy. Subsequent investigations revealed bribes and trading manipulations to pump up the price in order to suck the public into buying shares.

While gambling describes what the customer is doing with crypto, it fails to capture this complex and deeply-layered fraud.

For reasons that the world’s smartest scientists cannot even explain, the ongoing frauds against crypto customers begin with crypto “mining.” This is how Senator Elizabeth Warren described this “mining” at a Senate hearing in June of 2021:

“Finally, there are the environmental costs of crypto. Many cryptocurrencies are created through ‘proof-of-work’ mining. It involves using computers to solve useless mathematical puzzles in exchange for newly minted cryptocurrency tokens. Such mining has devastating consequences for the climate. Some crypto mining is set up near coal plants, spewing out filth in return for a chance to harvest a few crypto coins. Total energy consumption is staggering, driving up demand for energy. If, for example, Bitcoin — just one of the cryptocurrencies — were a country, it would already be the 33rd largest energy user in the world — using more energy yearly than all of the Netherlands.

“And all those promised benefits – the currency that would be available at no cost to millions of unbanked families and that would provide a haven from the tricks and traps of big banks – well, those benefits haven’t materialized.”

If you have ever paid a bill using “pay by phone,” you understand why crypto is the horse and buggy compared to existing technology. There is no “mining” or crypto token created out of thin air needed to digitally pay a bill by phone. You simply call the “pay by phone” number, and within minutes, if not seconds, the invoice amount is deducted from your checking account.

Economist Nouriel Roubini also addressed the horse and buggy aspect of cryptocurrencies in an interview with Bloomberg TV in 2019, stating:

“Crypto currencies are not even currencies. They’re a joke…It is not a means of payment, nobody, not even this blockchain conference, accepts Bitcoin for paying for conference fees cause you can do only five transactions per second with Bitcoin. With the Visa system you can do 25,000 transactions per second…Crypto’s nonsense. It’s a failure. Nobody’s using it for any transactions. It’s trading one sh*tcoin for another sh*tcoin. That’s the entire trading or currency in the space where’s there’s price manipulation, spoofing, wash trading, pump and dumping, frontrunning. It’s just a big criminal scam and nothing else.”

What else is going on with these multi-layers of fraud involving crypto? Well, serious securities manipulation appears to be going on, which is undermining the integrity of U.S. markets in the eyes of the world. Just look at the chart below showing how 9 crypto mining stocks have performed over the past two years after going public in U.S. markets and being offered to a gullible public.

And what about the biggest publicly-traded crypto exchange in the U.S.? Coinbase went public on Nasdaq via a direct listing on April 14, 2021. On its first day of trading it closed at a share price of $328.28, giving it a market capitalization of $85.8 billion. At the close of trading yesterday, its market cap was $18.49 billion, a decline of 78 percent. But not all shareholders have shared an equal amount of pain.

In a traditional IPO, early investors and company executives are not allowed to sell their shares for several months due to a so-called lockup period. There’s no such prohibition in the kind of direct listing that Coinbase did. According to an SEC filing, Coinbase’s Chairman and CEO, Brian Armstrong, sold 750,000 shares on April 14, 2021 at an average share price of $389.10, raising approximately $291,825,000 for himself.

And as we have been reporting extensively at Wall Street On Parade, Big Law firms are taking the position that as long as the music is playing, they’re gonna dance to the crypto tune. The collapsed crypto exchange, FTX, and its indicted former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, employed 10 major law firms – none of which appears to have noticed that $8 billion of customers’ funds had been misappropriated by Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research.

Munger is correct that crypto needs to be banned in the U.S. But until we pull back the complex layers of this fraud, and understand the full picture of those who benefitted, we have not delivered justice to the millions of victims.

CF this

Friday, February 03, 2023

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Ukraine: Staggering casualties in a savage war of attrition

WASHINGTON — The number of Russian troops killed and wounded in Ukraine is approaching 200,000, a stark symbol of just how badly President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion has gone, according to American and other Western officials.

While the officials caution that casualties are notoriously difficult to estimate, particularly because Moscow is believed to routinely undercount its war dead and injured, they say the slaughter from fighting in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and the town of Soledar has ballooned what was already a heavy toll.

With Moscow desperate for a major battlefield victory and viewing Bakhmut as the key to seizing the entire eastern Donbas area, the Russian military has sent poorly trained recruits and former convicts to the front lines, straight into the path of Ukrainian shelling and machine guns. The result, American officials say, has been hundreds of troops killed or injured a day.

Russia analysts say that the loss of life is unlikely to be a deterrent to Mr. Putin’s war aims. He has no political opposition at home and has framed the war as the kind of struggle the country faced in World War II, when more than 8 million Soviet troops died. U.S. officials have said that they believe that Mr. Putin can sustain hundreds of thousands of casualties in Ukraine, although higher numbers could cut into his political support.

Ukraine’s casualty figures are also difficult to ascertain, given Kyiv’s reluctance to disclose its own wartime losses. But in Bakhmut, hundreds of Ukrainian troops have been wounded and killed daily at times as well, officials said. Better trained infantry formations are kept in reserve to safeguard them, while lesser prepared troops, such as those in the territorial defense units, are kept on the front line and bear the brunt of shelling.

The last public Biden administration estimate of casualties came last November, when Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that more than 100,000 troops on each side had been killed and wounded since the war began. At the time, officials said privately that the numbers were closer to 120,000.

“I would say it’s significantly well over 100,000 now,” General Milley said at a news conference last month in Germany, adding that the Russian toll included “regular military, and also their mercenaries in the Wagner Group.”

Read the rest here.

Memory eternal!

Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon has reposed. He was one of the great theologians of the modern world.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Trad Catholics and the Ruthenians

Are Francis and his modernist allies trying to play the role of John Ireland with Trad Catholics? Some are openly wondering. Of course, the Ruthenians used to be Orthodox and still retained a great deal of Orthodox praxis and spirituality. So, when Rome basically gave them the Bronx salute, they had options. Alas Trad Catholics, not so much. Yes, there's the SSPX which probably is not a good fit for many. But beyond that, where would they go if Rome tells them to put away their Latin missals and break out the bongo drums and tie dye vestments? I don't see a mass migration to Orthodoxy. First off, and unlike the Ruthenians who were basically Orthodox, Trad Catholics are not. And sadly, we don't exactly have a thriving Western Rite. How about one or another of the various Old Catholic communions? Most of those are now as far gone as the German Catholics. And for those who haven't been paying attention, that's pretty bad. 

So unfortunately, I'm not seeing a lot of light at the end of the tunnel for our Trad Catholic friends. I hope I am proven wrong. But it just does not look good right now. Still, God may yet intervene. Maybe Francis will retire, or be retired by the Boss, and next year we will be talking about Pope Clement XV's first two decrees, suppressing the Jesuits and condemning the German Synodal Way as heretical.

Of course, if things don't work out, for those of a mind to look East, we will leave the light on and the welcome mat out. 

The Fight Over Black History

To get an idea about what the problems are with the AP course on Black History being pushed in much of the country, read this.