Meditation and Reflection

“I always wonder where those who call themselves ‘Progressive’ are progressing to”

Goodness! Well here in Barchester we are preparing for ‘World Peas Day’ and it promises to be a splendid, inclusive event! Mrs. Giblets (our cook) and I have been preparing our pottage for the last three days and it is bubbling away nicely even as I scribble. It now has the consistency of concrete, just the job for providing wholesome nourishment and touching up crumbling masonry. Signora Neroni has promised to bring along some Faggioli (to Mr. Slope’s delight) and the well-known Electric Magic Lantern celebrity chef, Ainsley Haricot, is certain to be the toast of the town when he shows us what he can rustle up in the Market Square. Mr. Bunce and the old gentlemen at Hiram’s Hospital will be on duty to show visitors how skilfully they use their dibbers in the greenhouse. The Cathedral Choir will serenade us with Mr. Harding’s setting of ‘Pease Pudding Hot’ (to the tune of ‘Zadok the Priest’) and I understand, for a small consideration, Mrs. Quiverful’s dumplings may be sampled. The whole county will no doubt be there to see actor Sean Bean cut the ribbon and declare it, “A reet good do!”

Of course, with so many people milling around we will have to be security-conscious. Events in New York have raised awareness, so every litter bin will have to be checked for explosive devices. For this task we shall employ the children of Dr. Wortle’s School, offering a shilling for every bomb found. It will be rather like an Easter Egg hunt (albeit with a Kinder-Surprise). Rather unkindly, the Archdeacon suggested we ‘out-source’ this task to Belgium, where children are now deemed more expendable.

Mr. Slope was in a tizzy the other day having read in The Jupiter of our new Prime Minister’s determination not to allow any more refuge-invaders to come to these shores. It appears he has been spending a lot of his spare time helping convert an old Gentleman’s convenience (on the corner of Bobdown Lane and Noflies Alley) into a temporary hostel for the incomers, cottage-style of course, under the guidance of a Mr. Llewelyn Bowen, an avant-garde designer. He feels his efforts have been in vain. I managed to cheer him up by pointing out that, as more invaders flock to Italy, more Italians are leaving the country looking for a place to live. Perhaps some strapping gondoliers might be persuaded to find la dolce vita in Barchester canal, bringing their poles with them? This immediately brought colour to his cheeks, as one may imagine, and he went off to place advertisements in Corriere della Sera, The Jupiter and Tugboat Quarterly.

I always wonder where those who call themselves ‘Progressive’ are progressing to – what is their final destination, and once they reach it, do they stop being ‘Progressives’ and become ‘Regressives’? The present pope, I think, is one of these creatures. His latest wheeze, to allow divorcees to receive communion, is surely contra dogma, even if it wins plaudits from the liberally-inclined. None of my business of course, for Pope Francis dances to a different tune from the one bashed out on the Palace harmonium, but it does strike me as odd. Is this more St. Marx? Has he gone where Engels fears not to tread? Is he a mole, and if so, for whom? To be blunt, is he the Sixth Man?

At Plumstead on Wednesday evening, the Archdeacon sallied forth, as dessert was served, on the subject of Comrade Corbynov. He was positively chortling with glee:

“I see the Bolsheviks who now dominate the Labour Party have formed themselves into ‘COMICTERN’, dedicated to making themselves look foolish the world over. At least they subscribe to Our Lord’s words, ‘Suffer little children…’ for they have just launched a new youth wing – the Tiny Trots – to inculcate the joy of hair shirts and lentils for generations to come.”

“Hush, my dear,” interjected the saintly Mrs. Grantly, “for there are many who believe in Mr. C.”

“Hah!” snorted the Archdeacon, his face turning puce. “There are those who believe in the tooth fairy, too, and much good may it do them!”

I failed to see what Esther Rantzen had to do with it – though politics and fairy tales are not altogether unrelated. Perhaps I should have invited Esther to our forthcoming event – if I recall, she does a great line in naughty vegetables, but then her child-line activities might get in the way of our bomb-finding ones. As my Lord the Bishop would say, ‘May the Peas of our Lord be always with you.’ Adieu, dear things, until the Archangel of Mirth once again boards the post-chaise of Destiny and rides to the Coaching Inn of next Friday, adieu!

  • Bernard from Bucks

    ‘May the Peas of our Lord be always with you.’
    “Shirley Good and Ms. Murphy shall follow me, all the days, all the days of my life…”

    • Anton

      Together with the piece of cod that passeth all understanding… fish and mushy peas!

      • Maalaistollo

        ‘and let us join together in the words of the prairie tortoise….’

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          And lettuce with a gladsome mind…

          • Inspector General

            He who would valiant be
            ‘gainst all disaster,
            let him in constancy
            follow the Master.
            There’s no discouragement
            shall make him once relent
            his first avowed intent
            to be a penguin.

          • Dominic Stockford

            laughed, out loud.

          • Inspector General

            Who so beset him round
            with dismal stories
            do but themselves confound
            his strength the more is.
            No foes shall stay his might;
            though he with giants fight,
            he will make good his right
            to be that penguin.

          • Pubcrawler

            Gladly, my cross-eyed bear…

          • Inspector General

            Me a cowboy, me a cowboy, me a Mexican cowboy…

            From the Tridentine mass…

          • Gregory Morris

            And let our ordered lives confess, the beauty of thy peas.

          • Inspector General

            It’s a bit like trannyism, without the mental health sadness…

          • Dominic Stockford

            What with people deciding they are not as they are, and others marrying themselves, someone wanting to be a penguin is small beer.

        • Anton

          For those who don’t know, this is a fine example of a mondegreen:

          • Maalaistollo

            Thank you. That’s my new word for the week.

  • Ivan M

    Your best yet Mrs Proudie.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Thank you Ivan, most gratifying

      • Ivan M

        The Italians holding their poles. Corbynov and his Little Trots. Its a riot.

  • CliveM

    COMICTERN? Isn’t that a convention where people dress up as Doctor Who and Spock? A hang out for the emotionally and socially stunted?

    • Pubcrawler

      You seem familiar with thee things. Is there something you’re trying to tell us?

      • CliveM

        Live long and prosper. V

  • len

    The good ship’ Labour’ is on the rocks and being boarded by pirates. The Anglican Church is being hijacked and taken to places no one would have once believed possible.Muslims are destroying their own Countries and endeavouring to do the same to other countries worldwide.Psychopathic dictators are once again in positions of power.
    Bur Barchester is a little Island in a sea of trouble.
    A question that has caused me many sleepless nights,’ is the Pope a catholic?, Is the head of the Anglican Church a Christian?…who knows who really cares?

  • David

    Once again Mrs Proudie, many thanks for your most skilful and amusing look back at the week.
    Another gem from that haven of tranquility, Barchester.

    Len asks,
    Is the Pope Catholic ?
    Is the Archbishop of Canterbury a Christian ?
    Well that’s a difficult one, as they both seem to want to dilute the historic faiths. Surprising that isn’t it ?
    Their teaching seems to be about weighing up the Zeitgest carefully against the eternal truths that have been revealed to us, and then identifying and accepting some sort of compromise. His latest “advice” to the Mother’s Union, reported on Anglican Mainstream, exemplifies that approach.
    Is not Welby saying that Christians should listen to sermons from the culture ? Silly me I thought that the faith had been spread throughout the whole world these last 2000 years, through pointing to a better way than that served up by countless pagan local cultures.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Ah yes David, Barchester is a little bubble of sanity in the washing up bowl of modern life…

      • Cressida de Nova

        Correction…in the washing up bowl of Protestant modern life

  • Shadrach Fire

    “I always wonder where those who call themselves ‘Progressive’ are progressing to “.
    Wonderful commentary Mrs Proudie.
    If one progresses beyond God, one moves beyond God and therefore out of God. That is something one should never do, hence; “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever”.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Why thank you Shadrach dear…so kind.

  • Orwell Ian

    The final destination of the “Progressives” is World Government. However, their foolhardy experiments to re-engineer society will eventually unravel and in desperation they will hitch their wagon to the coat-tails of some messianic opportunist. He will promise to deliver everything the “progressive” mind is obsessed with. A false dawn that heralds progression into the nightmare of global dictatorship.

    • David

      “The final destination of the “Progressives” is World Government”
      I agree with you.
      Fortunately the brexit referendum result spiked their guns nicely in this part of the globe.

      • Inspector General

        Wherever the progressives are going, they will leave a devastation of HIV infection behind them (no pun intended).

      • CliveM
        • David

          Yes I did enjoy it. Thank you.
          A lifetime study of history has long fuelled my passion for regaining our liberty.

      • Orwell Ian

        I hope you are right but we shouldn’t underestimate them. These Open Borders & Free Movement fanatics will stop at nothing to turn Brexit into Hotel California.

        • David

          Agreed. Which is why Ukip and Vote Leave’s networks are being kept ready – for anything that opposes a clean Brexit.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    World Peas Day – now that should keep the Green happy

    A particularly witty offering today Mrs Proudie. I do hope you haven’t been at the cooking sherry before breakfast.

    Where are progressives progressing to? I think there may be some clues in history courtesy of the Greek and Roman Empires. Both are now economic basket cases. They were both invaded by the Germans and now by migrants. I’m sure both nations once considered themselves “progressive”

    • dannybhoy

      Progressives are members of an exclusive/elite club who always know what is best for the masses. Their role is to lead us, because they ‘know’ and we ‘don’t’.
      It doesn’t matter where they lead us to, only that we follow; and that affirms their ‘calling.’

      • Politically__Incorrect

        Good point danny

    • Pubcrawler

      Greeks and Romans ‘progressive’? Hardly. Superior to the barbarians, certainly, but as conservative as they come. more parentum was a strong force.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I find a wee nip with the porridge helps fortify me for matins and my Lord the Bishop’s inevitable homily…

  • If Linus were still with us, (cough … cough …) no doubt he’d want that to be World Pees Day. Squatting, not standing, and do mind the crinoline.

    • The Explorer

      Linus’ purpose in visiting this blog, according to himself (although those of us who understand his psychology know better), is to sow doubt. If he visited in his new manifestation, his dislike of Mrs Proudie would doubtless overcome discretion and sway even the uncertain. So, very sensibly, he has stayed away.

      • Inspector General

        Explorer, the word on the street is that Linus the Child Catcher has changed his name and is about. We must all be vigilant.

        • The Explorer

          He joined us again last thread. His new name is Agrigenti. He’s not yet admitting to being Linus, but experienced Linus spotters like Clive M and HJ got him immediately.

          • Inspector General

            One understands he is being shielded from the police. One or two Synod members (who cannot be named, but are rumoured to be in favour of Anglican SSM) are suspected of having provided him with a safe house in the borough of Barchester…

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Goodness me! Mr. Slope will sniff him out, never fear.

      • dannybhoy

        Indeed, but he doesn’t sow doubt rather his own need. When any person hangs around a blog with which he disagrees, there are only two reasons,
        Either he hates what it stands for or he has nothing better to do.
        In the case of Linus I believe he really is angry and bitter and confused. He mocks our faith but he desperately wants to be embraced by the Father he never had.
        That’s how I read it anyway, and that is why I will always welcome him back.

        • There is now evidence emerging of a correlation between child sexual abuse and also the absence in childhood of a mother or father and homosexuality.

          The APA Handbook confirms there is excellent research evidence for “associative or potentially causal links” between childhood sexual abuse and ever having same-sex partners, especially for some men. (Mustanski, Kuper, & Greene, 2014, pp. 609-610). It also confirms that there is possible evidence that psychopathology may be related to the development of transgender identity (Bockting, 2014, APA Handbook, v.1, p). If pathology leads to an individual’s sexual variation, treatment could lead to a significant and meaningful shift in that variation. It is harmful and ineffective to ban such treatment.

          Curiously, the APA has been silent on even stronger research finding that growing up without one or both biological parents, especially the parent who is the same sex as the child, is potentially causally related to having same-sex attraction, relationships, or identity (Frisch & Hviid, 2006; Francis, 2008; Udry & Chantala, 2005). If literal unavailability of parents could have such effects for some individuals, do we want to dismiss lightly the possibility that emotional unavailability of parents, and especially the parent of the same sex as the child, could have similar effects for some?

          In the most stunning of these studies, research on a population cohort of two million Danes (Frisch & Hviid 2006) found that, not only loss of a parent, but specifically loss of the same-sex parent in childhood (such as through death, divorce, end of parent cohabitation, not living with the same-sex parent, or unknown paternity), and especially parent loss during the first six years of life and, for girls, the mother’s death during adolescence, were associated with greater likelihood of entering same-sex marriage. The most important developmental ages for gender identity and sexual orientation are considered to be primarily the first six years of life and secondarily adolescence. The researchers concluded, “Our study provides population-based, prospective evidence that childhood family experiences are important determinants of heterosexual and homosexual marriage decisions in adulthood” (p. 533).

          In the United States, a large, nationally representative, prospective longitudinal study using most of the well respected Ad Health data set (Francis 2008) found that being raised with only one or neither parent was significantly correlated with same-sex sexuality. A female growing up with only a biological father, in other words growing up without her biological mother, increased the likelihood a female identified herself as not exclusively heterosexual by 9.5 percentage points (p. 376).

          Another large, nationally representative, prospective, longitudinal Ad Health study ((Udry & Chantala, 2005), unlike the previous study (Francis (2008), measured both level of same-sex attraction and level of opposite-sex attraction separately. The researchers found 90% of boys who had strong same-sex interest had absent fathers—a very strong relationship. Among boys, the greater the degree of same-sex attraction, the greater the likelihood of father absence, delinquency, and suicidal thoughts. As opposite sex interest also rose, that strong relationship completely disappeared (p. 487). In other words, with father’s presence, there likely was opposite-sex attraction, possibly with same-sex attraction also.

          There is little research on gender identity. The APA Handbook says, “Gender nonconformity is related to homosexuality” (Rosario & Schrimshaw, 2014, p 572). What relates to one may possibly relate to the other. Both change, may be caused by psychopathology, and, therefore, may change through therapy. Individuals who have sexual variations should have the right to know the above information and to seek therapy to address such issues.

          The days of the “Born this Way” myth are at an end.

          • Inspector General

            One can understand a strong attraction for the same sex, but ana

          • Ah, the truth will out.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t get too clever Jack. It’s just not you…

          • dannybhoy


          • Anton

            This interesting extended quote you give shows the tension between the ‘traditional’ gay community and the newly ascendant trans community. The latter have already taken aim at ‘traditional’ feminism, pillorying Germaine Greer for her comment that “Just because you lop off your penis.. it doesn’t make you a woman.”


          • Cressida de Nova

            Dr Greer Is correct !

          • Anton

            I agree. But it is interesting to watch those who would destroy society turn on each other.

          • Linus

            Quotes from the report of the APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation Change:

            “Same-sex sexual attractions, behavior and orientations per se are normal and positive variants of human sexuality — in other words, they do not indicate either mental or developmental disorders. Homosexuality and bisexuality are stigmatized, and this stigma can have a variety of negative consequences (e.g., minority stress) throughout the life span.”

            “The task force conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates.”

            Your attempts to characterize homosexuality as a disorder are utterly refuted by the very organization whose research you use to justify your opinion about what causes it.

            Nobody knows for sure what makes one person straight and another gay. But all serious mental health practitioners agree that orientation can’t be changed. It may in a small percentage of people, notably women, fluctuate of its own accord over a lifetime. Some gay people motivated by religious fanaticism may report change in order to satisfy the expectations of the bigots they’ve chosen to associate with. They’ll still be gay, but will become experts at pretending not to be. This is what Exodus admitted was the only realistic goal of their “ministry”.

            Attempts to change sexual orientation order to conform to social expectations are doomed to failure. All that can change is behaviour, and then only until the cognitive dissonance of being gay and pretending not to be explodes, often in a very public way, with “ex-gays” being caught with their pants down in very public same-sex clinches. Ask Ted Haggard what I mean.

            Happily the generation that believes in SOCE is in the process of dying off, so once old gits like Jack are in their graves, gay people should be significantly less troubled by malevolent attempts to torture us into being straight. Some benighted individuals will continue with this futile quest. Fanaticism dies hard in the minds of the mentally unbalanced. But fanaticism is a fringe phenomenon, and those who associate with fanatics do so at their own risk. Jacky’s crusade to degayify society will die with him. Let’s thank his imaginary god that this moment will probably not be too long coming.

  • dannybhoy

    Good day dear lady and World Peas Day to you too.
    Has John Major been invited in any capacity? I seem to remember he was rather fond of Peas.
    -or was it Curry?
    My memory is not what it once was, and neither I suspect,is she…

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I forgot all about him to be honest, but then he was and is totally forgettable.

      • dannybhoy

        :0) By the bye where is our Hebraic friend Avi ? Is he working on some artistic master piece elsewhere, a portrait perhaps? Have a good weekend my dear, but please keep your distance from the amorous Mr Slope. He intends to corrupt I fear….

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Ah yes, dear Avi…well that is a good question…but I am sure he will pop up sooner or later. As for Mr. Slope, he will be far too busy this weekend as I have instructed him to deliver some of my tracts to the outlying villages…should keep him out of mischief. I hope you have a good weekend too…

        • Pubcrawler

          Snow’s come early in that part of the world, i understand, so he’s probably digging himself out of some huge drift right now.

          • dannybhoy

            I suspect that Avi could dig himself out of most drifts. That he continues to comment here on a Christian blog shows he has a big heart,
            Shabbat Shalom Avi.

          • Pubcrawler

            BTW, there have been questions as to your whereabouts over at Hannah’s place.

          • dannybhoy

            Well as you probably remember there were a few changes over there, layout and sections etc. I’m an old bloke.. I find it increasingly difficult to welcome change, whether it be Windows 10 or Apple (which is driving me mad at the moment).
            Hannah seemed to start taking a more hard nosed approach to her sexuality, and I felt less comfortable with where the blog was going.

          • Pubcrawler

            Fair enough, I know what you mean. Just reporting that your absence has been noticed.

  • carl jacobs

    Rather unkindly, the Archdeacon suggested we ‘out-source’ this task to Belgium, where children are now deemed more expendable.


    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester


  • carl jacobs

    It’s not about the end point. It’s about the journey.

    “Progressivism” is in fact an anthropological assertion. Man, being a limited finite creature, has a problem. He lacks intrinsic authority. God is of course the obvioys solution to this problem, but what do you if you are a good progressive who has “evolved beyond” such primitive superstitions? You have become a moral being without moral frame of reference. You can travel in any direction, and arrive at any equally valid and equally arbitrary point. There is no way to evaluate the path taken because the origin and axes are unknowable.

    Ah, but the clever “Progressive” has an answer. The one reference he can observe is time. So he simply declares (by faith, I might add) that (essentially) men born on Tuesday are superior to men born on the preceding Monday. He thereby obtains a reference which is both tangible and by its very nature privileges his own judgments.

    Now, since not every individual progresses at the same rate, “Progressives” identify themselves by the enlightened views. How do they know their views are enlightened? Well, they are held by Progressives. The entire exercise is one big boot-strapped effort at declaring themselves an enlightened authority by virtue of their own authority. The “evolved ones” know those who have evolved. What’s more, they know those who havn’t.

    Progressive form a self-identity nobility that purport to rule by the Secular equivalent of divine right. And they have their own offices of Inquisition to enforce conformity with the enlightenment.

    • chefofsinners

      Carl, you are a man of erudition. You slice like a scalpel through the corpulence of Godless thinking, exposing the intellectual abyss at its heart.

    • James60498 .

      A wonderful, and exquisitely put description.

      Thanks carl.

      • carl jacobs

        Periodic scorn and ridicule directed towards Manchester United would be more than sufficient thanks. Together we can make the world a better place. 😀

        • James60498 .

          You will be delighted to know that my younger son is a Man City supporter. Picked it up from friends at school.

          Otherwise football is a very minor sport in our house.

          • Anton

            Yes. Woe is me, for the cricket season has ended.

    • Linus

      Progressives declare that the acquisition of knowledge over time helps them to interpret their imaginary God’s will more accurately. It would be a perfectly logical and reasonable theory if it were not for one small hitch: like conservatives, progressives can offer no convincing proof that such a thing as divine will exists, let alone that it bears any relation to the thing their holy book describes. So just like conservative Christianity, the progressive variety lacks all solid foundation. It floats on a collection of folk myths and ancient superstitions that are crumbling under the weight of the expectations piled upon them.

      Conservatives and progressives have built two very different superstructures on top of these flimsy footings. You can still tell they have their origins in the same school of fantasist architecture, but the progressive construct tries to copy the style of the secular buildings that surround it, while leaning on them in the hope they’ll take some of its weight and help it to stand a while longer. The conservative building is sinking under its own rigid and unyielding bulk, but those who inhabit it work like crazy trying to plug the fissures and reinforce the sagging floors in order to stave off the inevitable collapse.

      All it will take is one good earthquake to bring the whole lot crashing down. A scientific discovery like the creation of artificial life, or first contact with an extraterrestrial species, if such a thing exists. I suspect it won’t be a long time coming. And the collapse will be total. But once the dust clears, we’ll be free to start rebuilding on solid foundations of proven fact rather than myths and fantasies conjured up out of nothing. Let it come! It won’t be a day too soon.

      • carl jacobs

        Zombie Linus returns from his unmarked grave. Complete with resurrected (so to speak) account. Total coincidence of course.

        • CliveM

          Looks like a “two for the price of one” offer.

          Just wish it was a BOGOF instead.

        • Linus

          Resurrection is a medical impossibility. I know you’re an American and probably think “The Walking Dead” is a documentary rather than a fantasy fiction series. But I assure you, there’s no such thing as a zombie.

          I merely left this blog due to the futile nature of the conversations that routinely take place here. I’m back to see if things have improved.

          It’s not looking good…

          • carl jacobs

            You know, all you have done by resurrecting Linus is to tacitly admit to ghosting all these different personas. Are we supposed to think it a coincidence that Linus would show up at this very moment in time? You have lied from the beginning, and your entire presence here is a lie.

          • Linus

            The only lie here is the one you tell yourself about your ability to make things true merely by writing them.

            On what “authority” are you acting? It wouldn’t be your own, would it? Naughty Christian! Usurping your god’s right to dispense judgment is a sin according to that nonsensical religion you peddle.

            If your make-believe god does exist, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when he shows you where true authority lies. Given the tenor of your recent posts and this growing obsession with the “A” word, it wouldn’t surprise me if the ultimate display of divine authority provoked a massive and shuddering orgasm in you when you finally stand at the foot of the Throne. Enjoy it. It’ll be your last moment of pleasure before you and your dripping trousers are consigned to the Devil’s care for all eternity.

            BTW how’s that diet coming along? Have you managed to cut your intake of fried cheese sandwiches to fewer than a dozen per day yet?

            You do realise there’s no correlation between girth and authority, don’t you? I blame it all on George Lucas. Images of Jabba the Hutt wielding ultimate authority over height/weight proportionate Princess Leia clearly set up a correlation in your young mind between power and bulk. Subsequent exposure to fat police officers and drill sergeants would have reinforced the link in your head between obesity and authority. So you’ve been trying to eat your way to omnipotence, haven’t you?

            Is this why your pronouncements resound from on high as if God himself were making them? A Pavarotti-like reverberation can make the emptiest words sound impressive, but anyone who stops to examine the content of what you say and realises that it all hinges on an unhealthy obsession with authority, power and grovelling submission will understand how meaningless and futile your faith is.

            “Listen all ye faithful, to the catechism of a cog in a machine. Obey and turn! Turn and obey!”

            “But ‘old on a sec’ … aren’t you just a cog like the rest of us? What gives you the right to tell us what to do?”

            “I am the Master cog’s overseer! See how much bigger I am than you! So shut up or I’ll roll over you and crush your impudence with all the weight of my properly constituted authority!”

            “Authority? ‘Oo are you kidding? Yer just a fat git wiv a god complex, ain’tcha?”

            “Heretic! Blasphemer! The Master cog will crush you into little bits and hurl the pieces into the fiery furnace! I’d deal with you myself, but I can’t … quite … seem … to … get up … out of … my … chair…”

  • IanCad

    blunt – should be capitalized I would have thought.
    Wonderful stuff as usual Mrs. P.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I thought a capital B was a tad too obvious and preferred a slightly more subtle approach, but am thrilled you liked it, dear Ian.

  • Inspector General

    I say, Mrs Proudie, that’s rather good news about divorcees being allowed communion in the RCC.

    The Inspector knows a few of them. Having married godless heathens, they were still surprised when their beloved beast / tart went looking for affection between the arms (and let us not be squeamish here, the legs too) of others. Many others, in some cases. Not only did the innocent partner find themselves alone, in some cases literally holding the baby, but the church put in the holy boot when they were down and needed the Lord’s assistance. Shame on the Roman Catholic Church! The stand taken over divorcees, there being no concept of the wronged party therein, is consequently nothing less than institutional cruelty. An absolute bloody disgrace!!!

    And on that happy note, the Inspector bids you goodbye for now, before Father Hapless Jack and his iniquitous Inquisition arrives and once again darkens Cranmer’s otherwise magnificent site, and tries to take a bite out of the Inspector’s behind.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Ah dear Inspector, as ever you appear and bowl delicious googlies…

      • chefofsinners

        and wides.

        • chefofsinners

          and no balls.

    • dannybhoy

      You’re a decent bloke and a character, but you’re off base here. Danny is a reluctant divorcee, now remarried 25 years.
      Just as marriage is no to be entered into lightly, neither should divorce. Ideally marriage is the twining together of two people into one inseparable union.
      Sometimes it takes a lot of work and a lot of setbacks’ over a longish time. But with openness and communication and lots of forbearance, you achieve that state of love and interdependence that (I think) God intends.
      So please, don’t mock those of us who have been through the pain of divorce.
      I think you’re better than that.

      • Inspector General

        There was mocking, Danny, of a Catholic Church that shuns or at the very least disapproves of divorce. And why not. Should this man ever be relieved of his wallet in the street by a thief who runs off, and goes to the police about it, the last thing he would expect is to be collared himself for allowing the thing to be stolen in the first place.

        • Why not join the Anglicans, Inspector? You’re clearly not a Roman Catholic, being an apostate and heretic, and they could do with men like you … probably. They have what’s known as the via media, and so permit all sorts of beliefs. You don’t even have to believe in a God, let alone the Trinity.

          • dannybhoy

            ” and they could do with men like you … probably. They have what’s known as the via media, and so permit all sorts of beliefs. You don’t even have to believe in a God, let alone the Trinity.”
            That’s also an insult Jack. The true Church is made up of believers from all the denominations.

          • That’s the point though, isn’t it? The Inspector is not a Christian (he denies Christ is God) and so would fit in perfectly.

          • Inspector General

            Let’s see. God the creator of the universe takes a holiday with the rabble that is humanity knowing he’ll be nailed up on a cross. Probably not…

          • dannybhoy

            Does it matter?
            The Inspector is where he is in his journey through life. My prayer for him is the same as it is for Eustace/Linus; that they will find salvation and experience the transforming power of God the Holy Spirit.
            If we are going to scorn and ridicule those who don’t believe and accept the salvation our Lord brings, how are we working with Him?

          • Yes it matters. It matters when he claims to be a Catholic. It matters when he spreads his “back of a fag packet” theology and associated phobias and prejudices.

          • Inspector General

            You be sweating a bit then Jack….

          • Actually, given your earlier revelation, Jack is waiting with bated breath for you to come out of the closet. Another good reason for you joining the Anglicans.

          • Inspector General

            Revelation? You mean the post below, It’s true. Ask any fellow on the street to define disgusting. He probably can’t. It’s within. You either find it disgusting or you don’t. If you think the Inspector is a queer thing, and he can’t see how you came to that, just say it.

          • Nooo … Jack meant your revelation that you can “understand” same sex attraction.
            Did you know that scientists are now discovering that sexual interests are fluid and can change over time, including so called “orientation”? Don’t be afraid. Anal buggery, which you so detest, is not compulsory. Indeed, many homosexual men do not practice it all. Be sure to let any future friend know this.
            Any advice and Jack is at hand here to assist.

          • Inspector General

            Having educated oneself in the subject over many years, yes, one can understand it to a degree but of course never fully for obvious reasons. What one finds particularly disturbing is that in many cases, the partner of the man is an almost double of him. They could pass as brothers. The Narcissism element of the condition no doubt.

          • Linus

            If anyone doubts Jack’s visceral hatred of the LGBT community, now he’s wishing the Inspector on us.

            Few natural calamities can make entire populations flee like that nasty old bigot. He’s like the tramp who hasn’t washed or changed his clothes for 10 years who boards your tube car just as the doors slam shut. Even if you eject him at the station, his stench will linger and nauseate everyone for the remainder of the journey.

            I don’t wonder the Catholics want nothing to do with him. Even Saint Teresa the Pain Pill Withholder of Calcutta would have turfed him out with a crucifix in one hand and a bottle of Febreze in the other.

            And now Jack wants to foist him on us? No thanks. Quarantine the old fool. Put him in a capsule and shoot him into space if you like. Or deal with him as one of your own. That’s what he claims to be. So he’s your problem, not ours.

          • Inspector General

            It’s you alright, you wicked bugger. One was rather hoping for an impostor with a sense of humour (!)

          • He’s just fighting his true nature and projecting his self hatred on to his own. His homophobia, of which there can be no doubt, is self loathing. Once he accepts himself for who he is, he will be a transformed person. As we know, suppression of same sex desire and denial of one’s innate sexuality causes deep psychological problems. Once he embraces himself he will be better balanced and healthy.
            All he needs is some gentle assistance on this journey of discovery as he evolves and progresses. You should extend the hand of friendship.

          • Inspector General

            You arse…

          • Linus

            Some people are so damaged they’re beyond all hope and assistance. The Inspector is such a one. A lost cause. His homophobia infects his entire personality. Were it to be eradicated, he’d turn into a mindless husk.

            Granted, he’s not far off that now. But while he can still change his own incontinence pants, I encourage you to get Teresa’s Sisters of Prolonged Suffering on his case. Once he disappears into their clutches and all pain medication is withheld in order that his suffering might glorify the Lord, he may finally get his come-uppance. If that can happen in Calcutta where he’s surrounded by people he believes to be his racial inferiors and he has to rely on them for everything, so much the better.

            I’d say “pity the poor nuns”, but he may well serve them right. It’s a shame the leathery old Albanian won’t be there to have her faith tested, but then I wonder if anyone’s malevolence merits the Inspector as a punishment…

          • Inspector General

            Talking about leathery old things, is yours still suffering from being ‘married’ to that catamite you predated, or has he long since given you your last bloody good hiding at his hands…

          • Linus

            Now, now, Inspector. Stop projecting your corporal punishment fetish onto other people.

            Nobody wants to beat you up, but you will keep throwing yourself at our fists, won’t you?

            Shades of an Irish upbringing at the hands of the Christian Brothers, eh? They made real glutton for punishment out of you, didn’t they? I supposed when you’re being beaten up or otherwise manhandled, at least someone knows you exist.

            Poor wee man. What did they do to you to make you turn out like this? I shudder to think. But you do know you can put in a compensation claim now, don’t you? The Irish government has finally admitted to all the abuse that went on in the Church-run institutions it funded, and to salve its conscience, is making them compensate victims. Given the gravity of your case, you could be in line for a huge wodge of cash.

            A bit of dosh to spend on whiskey should calm you down a bit. You’re clearly a hopeless case, but if booze helps to dull the pain, who could blame you for overindulging? Go on … what have you got to lose? You know you want to…

          • dannybhoy

            His main rant seems to centre on the Pink News and homosexuality. I am not aware of many people berating him for this.
            I am also not aware that he claims to be a Catholic.

          • Inspector General

            No one likes homosexuality shoved down their throat, unless they are a homosexual of passive nature, and yes, one worships at a Catholic church. Any other questions, do say, Danny.

          • dannybhoy

            Didn’t realise you were a Catholic.
            Just slightly eccentric.

          • CliveM


          • Do note, he said: “one worships at a Catholic church.”

          • CliveM

            I didn’t say he was a good Catholic. Just surprised that Dannybhoy hadn’t picked it up!

          • dannybhoy

            I have always thought of IG as a man on a crusade against Pink News and gays, with occasional computer glitches and theological questions about the Trinity and assorted issues. I never thought about his denominational affiliation -wasn’t even sure he had one..

          • Inspector General

            One now stands aloof from the herd, Danny. Any herd.

          • CliveM

            It’s why it winds up Happy Jack so much!

          • dannybhoy

            So that would explain why HappyJack is currently SnappyJack as far as the IG is concerned. IG is a lapsed/confused/renegade Roman Catholic.
            Still I stand by what I said,
            “The Inspector is where he is in his journey through life. My prayer for him is the same as it is for Eustace/Linus; that they will find salvation and experience the transforming power of God the Holy Spirit.”
            We all have our questions, and no brand of theology has all the answers anyway. Christianity is essentially relational rather than doctrinal. I don’t see any evidence that Abraham, Moses or King David were much exercised by theology…

          • He’s best ignored on the subjects of homosexuality, women and race. One gives him the occasional prod but he enjoys the attention too much. As for claiming to be Catholic, he does this regularly.

          • dannybhoy

            I have nothing against the Inspector Jack, except I don’t agree with his -or any one’s- abuse of homosexuals.

          • Jack has “nothing against the Inspector” – just of many his opinions. We have been sparring for nigh on six years now.

          • Cressida de Nova

            So why is it OK to abuse women. Tacit acceptance is collaboration. Misogyny is a grave sin in Catholicism.

          • dannybhoy

            You mean IG’s misogyny?
            I don’t agree with that either. But then I don’t know him personally, only what he writes. I don’t know what his life experiences are, what motivates him, nothing.
            He writes some amusing stuff and some of it I take with a pinch of salt.
            It seems to me that we really can’t form a sufficiently accurate opinion of anyone in cyberspace. We may build up a picture, but to start forming prejudiced opinions isn’t wise. ;0)
            I am not Dannybhoy. I just have a real fondness for the name, the song and the Irish. You may be Cressida, but how would I know otherwise?

            As to your abuse of women comment, as a Christian I don’t believe anyone should be abused. I regard women at their best as indispensable civilisers, nurturers, helpmeets and equals to men – at their best…
            I love ’em!
            Especially my wife… ;0)

          • Cressida de Nova

            He does claim to be a Catholic educated by the Carmelites.

          • Cressida de Nova

            No it’s not. There is only one true Church. The original Christian Church of Christ. Protestantism was created by a promiscuous murderer.

          • dannybhoy

            Unfortunately nowhere in the Gospels can I find an endorsement of Roman Catholic exclusivity. Our Lord only recognised those who would be His disciples..

    • carl jacobs

      Now, now. You should be more understanding. The Avant Derriere Garde of Roman Orthodoxy is have to go through painful contortions over this circumstance. It’s not easy for them to suddenly justify disobedience to the Pope. They find themselves having to say things like “Here I stand!” and they don’t like it much. Have a heart, Inspector.

      • Inspector General

        One can understand how it was, Carl, but also that it need not be like that today.

        • carl jacobs

          But look at it from Jack’s perspective. The next time he cites Humanae vitae as an authority, I’m going to wrap Amoris laetitia around his neck. He really deserves your sympathy over this situation.

          • Inspector General

            Ah yes. Kapo Jack. Not an enviable position, his.

          • Amoris Laetitia, by its own terms, is not, repeat, not, an indefectible teaching of the Magisterium and, for that matter, is riddled with ambiguity and open to widely different interpretations.

            Humanae vitae, on the other hand, is consistent with 2000 years of established Church doctrine and is an indefectible and, therefore, infallible teaching.

            Does Amoris Laetitia contain novel and heretical teachings – or permit such interpretations? A different question and one you’ll find varying answers to among Catholics.

          • carl jacobs

            Humanae vitae is infallible now? Has anyone told the Magisterium?

          • Humanae vitae’s teachings always have been indefectible and therefore infallible. Doctrine was updated and developed to account for changes in society, advances in biology and understandings about the purposes of sex. It’s the same with the encyclical Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. This confirmed that women can never be ordained priests and was infallible by reason of being a constantly held doctrine of the Church, passed on from Christ and the Apostles.

            You really need to bone up on the authority of the Church and the infallibility of the Extraordinary Magisterium and the indefectibility of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.

          • bluedog

            Convoluted, arcane and incomprehensible, HJ. Do you offer a boxed DVD set with full instruction on what it all means? Is there an easier way to follow Christ than picking through the small print of Catholic dogma? You make a strong case for product recall, unintentionally.

          • dannybhoy

            “Is there an easier way to follow Christ than picking through the small print of Catholic dogma?”
            Of course. Our :Lord Jesus made it easy to understand, but costly to follow.
            Only the individual who has had that grace given revelation of their own sinfulness and failure can understand that surrender of our will to the Prince of Peace is the only alternative to death and despair.

          • If it’s all so easy to understand then why has the Christian Church been plagued with heresies throughout its history? And, why are there so many denominations and competing “truths”? Surely God would establish an authoritative teaching authority to counter all this confusion. That’s right. He did.

          • dannybhoy

            The Gospel is easy to understand Jack. Our Lord said “Ye must be born again!”
            Other issues such as predestination and free will, God’s sovereignty and human history are rather more contentious.. ;0)
            Right from the start of the Church there were divisions as you know, and if theology and orthodoxy is your main concern then of course you will seek ‘Authority’ and ‘Certainty.’
            But surely the essence of Christianity is relational rather than rote. It should not bother us that people calling themselves Christians differ in their understanding of various aspects of the faith. Jesus said, “By their fruits shall ye know them.”
            If people talk about Jesus, love Him, seek to glorify Him by their lives, want to come together for worship and fellowship, and recognise the authority abd centrality of the Bible; – then to my mind they’re Christians. We all differ in intelligence and understanding, and we’re all growing and maturing in the faith.
            Theology is important, but Christianity is more about our relationship to God.

          • There is. One need only acquire a Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church, is all simply explained in the latter.

            The Catholic Church is the largest Christian church, with more than 1.27 billion members worldwide. God’s Truth has to be handed on. It deserves careful preservation and guarding and, as society changes and new challenges arise, consistent interpretation and application. Imagine the variations there could and would be if individuals and local churches were left to their own devices. One can go into any Catholic Church worldwide, participate in the same sacraments and services, and hear the same Gospel.

          • Merchantman

            What would our Lord make of it all. It was so straight forward when he left it with us.

          • Sin and fighting the devil and the world, has never been straightforward. Understanding God’s revelation hasn’t been either. Look at all the competing theologies.

          • Alison Bailey Castellina

            Well said….

          • Cressida de Nova

            Simple. Mary is the Mother of Jesus. She is not worshipped .The Assumption does not make Mary a deity. The saints are not worshipped. There is only one God.Only God is worshipped.
            It is sinful to worship any other but God.

          • carl jacobs

            Where has the RCC declared Humanae Vitae to be infallible teaching? There hasn’t been an infallible teaching in the RCC since Vatican I. Unless of course you count Vatican II – which qualifies except many Catholics don’t want it to.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s not what I asked for, Jack. I want you to produce a declaration that says Humanae Vitae is infallible. It must be from a Magisterial authority capable of making such a declaration, and it must identify which parts of Humanae Vitae are considered infallible. You know, since Infallible declarations don’t have to be totally infallible. (Cough) Unam Sanctam (Cough) We both know there is not such declaration. So you have no authoritative basis to make such a claim about Humanae Vitae.

            Therefore my implicit question is still out there. Why Humanae Vitae but not Amoris Laetitia? Other than you agree with the former and reject the latter along with its specific authoritative Papal interpretation. It seems to me you are staying in submission to those whom you have decided still agree with you.

          • Read the article and if you still don’t understand infallibility and indefectibility, then research it some more.

            In 1994, Pope John Paul II declared in his letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, stating: “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance…I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

            In 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explained that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, though “itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church. … This doctrine belongs to the deposit of the faith of the Church. The definitive and infallible nature of this teaching of the Church did not arise with the publication of the Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” but was “founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium,” and for these reasons it “requires definitive assent.”

            It’s the same argument for Humanae Vitae. In this, Pope Paul explicitly invoked his apostolic authority. “After mature reflection and assiduous prayers”, he wrote, “We now intend, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to us by Christ, to give our reply to these grave questions.” He gave his reply directly and conclusively: all forms of abortion, sterilization and contraception are to be “wholly rejected” as “intrinsically wrong”, and whoever disagrees is “entirely mistaken”.

            Now compare this language with the ambiguous and tortuous presentation of Amoris Laetitia – and the two obscure footnotes, buried away in the longest Papal address in history, which people claim is changing doctrine.

          • Anton

            It is very obvious that you are ducking Carl’s question.

          • That’s not Jack’s position at all. Do not put words in his mouth. You cri

          • Anton

            I’m not putting words in your mouth; I’m stating what follows unambiguously from your position. You could always answer Carl, you know.

          • Carl has been answered.

          • Anton

            He has been responded to. For the sake of clarity, I meant his request to “produce a declaration that says Humanae Vitae is infallible. It must be from a Magisterial authority capable of making such a declaration, and it must identify which parts of Humanae Vitae are considered infallible.” Because without such, every Catholic is free to decide for himself, isn’t he?

          • Such ignorance just demonstrates an abject failure to grasp Catholic teaching on infallibility, indefectibility and the different degrees of consent a Catholic is required to give.

          • Anton

            You prefer to pontificate about how ignorant I supposedly am rather than provide the facts that would knock my comment down. Readers will see that and reach their own conclusion.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, I must admit you did answer. You implicitly admitted there is no such declaration because you had to resort to a process argument that you can only defend by accusing others of ignorance. As I said, this is not a good time for people in your position.

            Your current position is so Protestant, it must physically hurt. Here is the authority you constant throw in my face, and now you must defy it. And the best defense you can muster for your defiance is a 10,000 word article that is itself not authoritative.

            Where is the Magisterium? Where is the Pope? Where is the Bishop of Rome that he may speak and settle the matter? Oh, that’s right. He is currently overturning RC dogma.

          • It’s all laid out in The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), in paragraph 25, from Vatican II.

            25. Among the more important duties of bishops that of preaching the Gospel has pride of place.[39] For the bishops are heralds of the faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people assigned to them, the faith which is destined to inform their thinking and direct their conduct; and under the light of the Holy Spirit they make that faith shine forth, drawing from the storehouse of revelation new things and old (cf. Mt. 13:52); they make it bear fruit and with watchfulness they ward off whatever errors threaten their flock (cf. 2 Tim. 4-14).

            Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind. This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra in such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, and sincere assent be given to decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated.

            Although the bishops, taken individually, do not enjoy the privilege of infallibility, they do, however, proclaim infallibly the doctrine of Christ on the following conditions: namely, when, even though dispersed throughout the world but preserving for all that amongst themselves and with Peter’s successor the bond of communion, in their authoritative teaching concerning matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement that a particular teaching is to be held definitively and absolutely. [40] This is still more clearly the case when, assembled in an ecumenical council, they are, for the universal Church, teachers of and judges in matters of faith and morals, whose decisions must be adhered to with the loyal and obedient assent of faith.[41]

            This infallibility, however, with which the divine redeemer wished to endow his Church in defining doctrine pertaining to faith and morals, is co-extensive with the deposit of revelation, which must be religiously guarded and loyally and courageously expounded. The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful–who confirms his brethren in the faith (cf. Lk. 22:32)–he proclaims in an absolute decision a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.[42] For that reason his definitions are rightly said to be not reformable by their very nature and not by reason of the assent of the Church, is as much as they were made with the assistance of the Holy Spirit promised to him in the person of blessed Peter himself; and as a consequence they are in no way in need of the approval of others, and do not admit of appeal to any other tribunal. For in such a case the Roman Pontiff does not utter a pronouncement as a private person, but rather does he expound and defend the teaching of the Catholic faith as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the Church’s charism of infallibility is present in a singular way.[43] The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme teaching office. Now, the assent of the Church can never be lacking to such definitions on account of the same Holy Spirit’s influence, through which Christ’s whole flock is maintained in the unity of the faith and makes progress in it.[44]

            Furthermore, when the Roman Pontiff, or the body of bishops together with him, define a doctrine, they make the definition in conformity with revelation itself, to which all are bound to adhere and to which they are obliged to submit; and this revelation is transmitted integrally either in written form or in oral tradition through the legitimate succession of bishops and above all through the watchful concern of the Roman Pontiff himself- and through the light of the Spirit of truth it is scrupulously preserved in the Church and unerringly explained.[45] The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, by reason of their office and the seriousness of the matter, apply themselves with zeal to the work of inquiring by every suitable means into this revelation and of giving apt expression to its contents;[46] they do not, however, admit any new public revelation as pertaining to the divine deposit of faith.[47]

            Paul VI was not innovating in the encyclical Humanæ vitæ. He was restating consistent Catholic doctrine. The teaching of the Holy See has never varied in this. Pius XI propounded it in the Encyclical “Casti Connubii”; Pius XII, as well as John XXIII, taught it consistently. The Vatican Council affirmed its underlying principle: ” …sons of the Church may not undertake methods of regulating procreation which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law”. (Gaudium et Spes).

          • carl jacobs


            You can post stuff like that until the end of time. None of it addresses the central defect in you. The RCC claims the mantle of infallibility. It does not therefore follow that you have the ability to infallibly discern the infallible teachings of the RCC. You. Must. Be. Told. There is no getting around this fact. You can’t simply assert that you can know them without specific identification. That presumed ability to know infallible teaching without such identification is the logical implication that Anton declared, and for which effort you dismissed him as ignorant. But he isn’t ignorant. He is right.

            You declared Humanae vitae infallible on your own authority. You can post all this process stuff, but until you have an authoritative declaration from the Magisterium, it all amounts to nothing more than one private RC asserting his own private opinion about what constitutes an infallible teaching in the RCC.

            Now, I know why you are doing it. You want to parse out which Papal Letters you will accept and which you may reject. But you are trying to do it in such a way that you don’t overthrow the authority of the Magisterium. You want the Magisterium to be responsible for your rejection even as you reject the authority of the Magisterium. Contortions, Jack. More and more contortions.

          • Nonsense.

            Encyclicals can belong to the “authentic” ordinary Magisterium of the Catholic Church and be presented as “non-infallible” teaching. This means the Magisterium does not give us an absolute guarantee that the teaching is immutably true and therefore forever irreformable.

            According to the teaching of Vatican II (Lumen Gentium: 25) there are three modes in which infallible doctrinal teaching can be presented by the Magisterium: by the Pope alone, by the Pope and Bishops assembled together in an Ecumenical Council, or by the College of Bishops (including the Pope as its head) when they are dispersed throughout the world.

            The Church’s teaching against contraception is a classic example of this third mode of infallibility transmitting the doctrine of Christ. So, while Humanae Vitae is not in itself an ex cathedra, infallible definition, the teaching which it contains is infallible by virtue of having been taught constantly and definitively over a period of many centuries by a consensus of Popes and Bishops around the world. A consensus which was virtually unanimous until the early 1960s. Any single instance of affirming this doctrine might not in itself be authoritative enough to give us an absolute assurance of its truth; but the cumulative or combined weight of so many affirmations over an extensive period of time does give us that kind of assurance.

            This is an authoritative and definitive series of statements:

            14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

            Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

            Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it”(18) — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

            The essential subject of HV is restating existing moral rules concerning sex, marriage and contraception. The Pope reaffirms them to be true. It is binding by reason of the authority of the Vicar of Christ, because, as Jesus said: “He who hears you, hears Me!” The authority of the Magisterium of the Church resides in the Sovereign Pontiff. In addition, it is infallible and immutable, because it has been taught constantly and definitively over many centuries by a consensus of Popes and Bishops around the world.

          • Anton

            I believe that Pius XII’s 1950 declaration of Mary’s direct assumption to heaven is asserted to be infallible. But I am happy to be corrected by Jack if it is merely indefectible or even indefatigable.

            For a scholarly summary of the earliest traditions and manuscripts about Mary’s fate, see Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption by Stephen J. Shoemaker (2003). The Catholic scholar Eamon Duffy has stated that “there is, clearly, no historical evidence whatever for” Mary’s Assumption (What Catholics Believe About Mary, published by the Catholic Truth Society, 1989, p.17), and the Jesuit W.J. Burghardt wrote that “The account of pseudo-Melito, like the rest of the Transitus [Assumption] literature, is… valueless… as an historical report of Mary’s death and corporeal assumption” (Mariology, ed. Juniper Carol 1957, vol. 1 p.150). The texts discussed by Shoemaker are the start of the tradition behind the ‘infallible’ declaration of 1950.

          • The Protestant Truth Society? An oxymoron so far as their understanding and views of Roman Catholicism are concerned.

            Since the time of the promulgation of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary, there has been much new discovery. We now have written evidence of the Assumption of Mary as far back as the third century. Though it is not necessary for there to be written evidence all the way back to the second-century for us as Catholics because we have Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture as interpreted by the Magisterium of the Church first and foremost that has already given us the truth of the Matter, I believe it is really exciting that new historical discoveries continue to be made and once again… and again… and again, they confirm the Faith of our Fathers …..

            In summary, the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary began with an historical event that is alluded to in Scripture and has been believed in the Church for 2,000 years. It was passed down in the Oral Tradition of the Church and developed over the centuries, but it was always believed by the Catholic faithful.

            Let us examine the facts:


            2.On the historical front, Fr. Michael O’Carroll, in his book, Theotokos – A Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pg. 59, says:

            “We have known for some time that there were wide-spread “Transitus Stories” that date from the sixth century that teach Mary’s glorious Assumption. It was the promulgation of the dogma of the Assumption by Pope Pius XII that re-kindled interest in these stories of the end of Mary’s life. In 1955, Fr. A.A. Wenger published L’Assomption.

            Indeed, and Fr. Wenger found a Greek manuscript that verified what scholars had previously believed to be true. Because there were whole families of manuscripts from different areas of the world in the sixth century that told a similar story of Mary’s Assumption, there had to be previous manuscripts from which everyone received their data. Fr. Wenger discovered one of these earlier manuscripts, believed to be the source later used by John of Thessalonica in the sixth century in his teaching on the Assumption. Fr. O’Carroll continues:

            “Some years later, M. Haibach-Reinisch added to the dossier an early version of Pseudo-Melito, the most influential text in use in the Latin Church. This could now, it was clear, be dated earlier than the sixth century…V. Arras claimed to have found an Ethiopian version of it which he published in 1973; its similarity to the Irish text gave the latter new status. In the same year M. Van Esbroeck brought out a Gregorian version, which he had located in Tiflis, and another, a Pseudo-Basil, in the following year, found in Mount Athos.

            Much still remains to be explored. The Syriac fragments have increased importance, being put as far back as the third century by one commentator. The whole story will eventually be placed earlier, probably in the second century.

            This is significant. Recently discovered Syriac fragments of stories about the Assumption of Mary have been dated as early as the third century. And there are undoubtedly more manuscripts to be found. It must be remembered that when we are talking about these “Transitus stories,” we are not only talking about very ancient manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts, but we are talking about two different “families” of manuscripts written in nine languages. They all agree on Mary’s Assumption and they presuppose a story that was already widely known.

            Basically, the first appearance of the idea of the Bodily Assumption of Mary is found in a source that was condemned by the then-bishop of Rome, Gelasius I! The irony is striking: what was defined by the bishop of Rome as heresy at the end of the fifth century becomes dogma itself in the middle of the twentieth!

            According to Fr. O’Carroll (Theotokos, 388), we now have what some believe to be a fourth-century homily on the prophet Simeon and the Blessed Virgin Mary by Timothy, a priest of Jerusalem, which asserts Mary is “immortal to the present time through him who had his abode in her and who assumed and raised her above the higher regions.” Evidently, there was disagreement in the circulating stories of the Assumption of Mary as to whether she was taken up alive or after having died. But whether or not she was assumed was not in question. Indeed, the Church even to this day has not decided the matter of whether Mary died or not definitively, though she does teach Mary to have died at the level of the Ordinary Magisterium, for example, in Pope Pius XII’s Munificentissimus Deus, 17, 20, 21, 29, 35, 39, and 40.

            I believe St. Epiphanius’ work needs to be re-examined when it comes to the Assumption of Mary. This great bishop and defender of orthodoxy may give us key insights into the antiquity of the Assumption, writing in ca. AD 350. In his classic Panarion (“bread box”) or Refutation of All Heresies, he includes eighty-eight sections dealing with scores of the most dangerous heresies of his day. But in sections 78 and 79, he deals with one particular sect comprised mainly of women called the “Collyridians.” Evidently, this sect was “ordaining” women as “priestesses” and adoring Mary as a goddess by offering sacrifice to her. St. Epiphanius condemns this in the strongest of terms:

            “For I have heard in turn that others who are out of their minds on this subject of this holy Ever-virgin, have done their best and are doing their best, in the grip both of madness and of folly, to substitute her for God. For they say that certain Thracian women there in Arabia have introduced this nonsense, and that they bake a loaf in the name of the Ever-virgin, gather together, and attempt an excess and undertake a forbidden, blasphemous act in the holy Virgin’s name, and offer sacrifice in her name with women officiants.

            This is entirely impious, unlawful, and different from the Holy Spirit’s message, and is thus pure devil’s work . . .

            And nowhere was a woman a priest. But I shall go to the New Testament. If it were ordained by God that women should be priests or have any canonical function in the Church, Mary herself, if anyone, should have functioned as a priest in the New Testament. She was counted worthy to bear the king of all in her own womb, the heavenly God, the Son of God. Her womb became a temple, and by God’s kindness and an awesome mystery, was prepared to be a dwelling place of the Lord’s human nature. But it was not God’s pleasure that she be a priest.”

            These women who were adoring Mary as if she were a goddess would no doubt have been well acquainted with the “Transitus Stories” and would have been teaching Mary’s Assumption. In fact, it appears they were teaching Mary never died at all. This would be in keeping with John of Thessalonica, Timothy of Jerusalem, and others who taught this among Christians. However, these women were taking Mary and the Assumption to the extreme by worshipping her. What is interesting here is that in the midst of condemning the Collyridians, St. Epiphanius gives us, in section 79 of Panarion,a point-blank statement that is very-much overlooked today by many:

            “Like the bodies of the saints, however, she has been held in honor for her character and understanding. And if I should say anything more in her praise, she is like Elijah, who was virgin from his mother’s womb, always remained so, and was taken up, but has not seen death.”

            St. Epiphanius clearly indicates his personal agreement with the idea that Mary was assumed into heaven without ever having died. He will elsewhere clarify the fact that he is not certain, and no one is, at least not definitively so, about whether or not she died. But he never says the same about the Assumption itself. That did not seem to be in doubt. By comparing her to Elijah he indicates that she was taken up bodily just as the Church continues to teach 1,600 years later.

          • Anton

            Why did you mention the Protestant Truth Society? I wrote above (and have not altered above):

            The Catholic scholar Eamon Duffy has stated that “there is, clearly, no historical evidence whatever for” Mary’s Assumption (What Catholics Believe About Mary, published by the CATHOLIC Truth Society, 1989, p.17).

            Duffy has spent a lifetime lecturing on church history and is a committed Catholic. He should know.

          • CliveM

            Your posts are getting as long as Linus’s.

          • Anton

            Thank you for this challenge, Jack. I have ordered Shoemaker’s latest book (published two months ago) on the earliest traces of the cult of Mary. In the introduction that is readable at Amazon he excoriates all pseudoscholars Catholic and protestant who distort or are selective with the literary evidence. I intend to say no more until I have read it, except to add that Tim Staples who wrote what you posted is pretty clearly in the former category.

          • Yes, Anton. Now you be sure to be “objective”.

          • Anton

            And also with you!

          • Anton

            I’ve now read Shoemaker’s new book, “Mary in early Christian faith and devotion”. What the people you are quoting don’t tell you is shocking.

            It must be remembered that when we are talking about these “Transitus stories,” we are not only talking about very ancient manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts, but we are talking about two different “families” of manuscripts written in nine languages.

            That is true. The document behind the older of the two families exists in complete form, albeit in translation. Only fragments of it in Greek are known, but they suffice to show that the translation is faithful. That translation is into Geez, hence the Ethiopian reference above; fragments of it have indeed also been found in Old Irish, as mentioned. Shoemaker devoted chapter 3 to it and calls it the Book of Mary’s Repose. He argues, convincingly in my view, for a third century origin. I have no quibble with the early date that your source is asserting. But the content is heretical, and specifically gnostic. It begins with an aged Mary, in Jerusalem, seeing an ‘angel’ who declines to give his name, or else the word would destroy the city, but who says that she will die within three days and ALL of the apostles will prepare her body for burial. ([Unlikely – they dispersed to spread the gospel as apostolic tradition records.] Mary goes out to the Mt of Olives and recognises the angel as her Son [who regularly spoke his name in Jerusalem without destruction]. The angel then recounts to Mary a tale of her failure to understand his power and identity in an episode from the flight into Egypt. Jesus began to cry and Joseph got angry at the noise and launched into a tirade against Mary: “I have been afflicted form all sides because of you, because I have left my country. I only know that the child you have is not from me. Perhaps I had sex with you while I was drunk? But perhaps I am not negligent, because there were only 5 months when I received you into my custody, and this child is more than five months.” [Joseph is saying that either he got drunk and raped Mary or she had sex with someone before entering his care. Is this the man of faith but few words of whom we read in the gospels?] The Christ-angel then says that, as Mary is about to die, he has come to reveal to her certain secrets necessary for salvation [this is unalloyed heretical gnosticism!] which she is to transmit to the apostles. This knowledge takes the form of a prayer. Then there is a garbled section on the relation of matter to spirit when Adam was created [a repeated theme of gnosticism]. The angel gives his ‘great’ name: Adonai’el [an angelic name which frequently appears in gnostic texts]. Mary explains to her friends that when she dies a good angel and a bad angel will appear and one of them will lead her away. She confesses that she is frightened that the bad angel will take her, because she once sinned. The apostles arrive, borne miraculously to Jerusalem on clouds. Mary offers a prayer of thanks to her son “The great cherub of light who dwelt in my womb” [but Jesus is divine, not merely one of the cherubim ie angelic]. Mary says the secret prayer and then dies; the archangel Michael shows her soul to the apostles and it is pure white. The funeral procession begins and the Jewish priests seek to kill the apostles; one of them grabs the bier but his hands are severed at the wrists leaving them clutching the bier and him handless. He admits that he had always known who Christ was and touches the bier and his hands are restored. At Mary’s tomb the apostles wait during the several days Christ has promised that he will return after, to pick up Mary’s body and reunite it with her soul. Paul asks Peter for the salvific gnostic prayer, saying that he (Paul) never met Jesus in the flesh. Christ eventually returns and reunites Mary’s soul and body and takes the apostles on a tour of heaven and hell.

            And that, Jack, is the document which you are offering as evidence for Mary’s assumption. It is gnostic; it portrays Joseph as a drunkard of no faith; it refers to Jesus as an angel; it calls Mary a sinner. All but the last of those are antiscriptural and the last is contrary to Catholic belief. Anybody who extracts Mary’s assumption from that might reasonably be accused of selectivity, don’t you think?

          • The document behind the older of the two families exists in complete form, albeit in translation ….

            Shoemaker devoted chapter 3 to it and calls it the Book of Mary’s Repose.”

            So there was a heretical, gnostic manuscripts circulating. How does Shoemaker know this is the origin of the ancient oral tradition and not some gnostic distortion of orthodox accounts?

          • Anton

            Er, you are talking of the “ancient oral tradition” of the Catholic Marian doctrines as if they are fact. What we have to do is infer what are the facts from what we have, which is written documents, some of which would of course have been circulating earlier in oral form, in which they are acknowledged to be highly liable to alteration.

            You are of course shifting the goalposts. You quoted those documents to me as good evidence. Now when I have shown that they aren’t, you start casting doubt on them yourself. Might I suggest that you add Shifty Jack to your alter egos?

          • “Transitus stories” – plural. Jack never cited any one particular document.

            These ancient manuscripts were not all gnostic. As for oral tradition, isn’t that how Christianity first started?

            Have you actually read Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII?

          • Anton

            Jack never cited any one particular document.

            The material, which Jack copied from a website, quoted – not cited – from several particular documents. It seems Jack does not recognise what he’s quoting. There is the Book of Mary’s Repose, as Shoemaker calls it; it matters little what name others call it, for the point is that it is the document behind one of the two main families that your source refers to. I agree that there are two main families and that they are earlier than the main bulk of Transitus material. BUT (1) the other family, written in part against the Collyridians, is a century later (Shoemaker devotes chapter 4 to it), and is therefore derivative of the Book of Mary’s Repose; and (2) the Book of Mary’s Repose is deeply heretical (as you will agree from my summary above), so that any attempt to claim parts of it as authentic must depend on other criteria. What and whence are your criteria? You are of course free to reply Pius XII seventeen centuries later, but the point if you want to authenticate the Marian dogmas is to use material not later than the Repose literature. Pius XII in Munificentissimus Deus failed to cite any such, as I recall from my reading of it in English some time ago, but do correct me with any *specific* references he gave to early church documents.

            As for oral tradition, we do not have any audiocassette recordings from the early centuries so we have to examine what was written down, which would have existed in oral form prior to that. But that is a trivial point.

          • ” … the other family, written in part against the Collyridians (Shoemaker devotes chapter 4 to it), is a century later than, and therefore derivative of the Book of Mary’s Repose”

            Because it’s later does not mean it’s derivative. Besides, it’s hardly “derivative” if it counters the gross heresies. It’s apologetic and there may have been earlier versions. The former could have been a corruption of oral tradition and the later may have been committed to writing to argue this.

            “All such material would have existed in oral form prior to it being written down.”

            Well, yes, that’s how it was in ancient times. It is apparent that there was an early belief Mary was assumed into Heaven – the Christian uncertainty being whether she physically died and the gnostics claiming she was a Goddess.

          • Anton

            The earliest documents asserting her Assumption are packed with things that Catholics and protestants agree are gnostic heresies. If you can’t give any criterion why the heretical parts should be rejected yet the assumption sections should be accepted then it’s really just wishful thinking. Of course Shoemaker sets both the Repose of Mary and the later anti-Collyridian document in a single lineal Marian tradition; for a star they are from the same part of the world of late antiquity, and no cultural shock intervenes between them. Unless you read his book then you are arguing from ignorance. That suits me, but I’d welcome an informed Catholic challenge from someone who’s read it.

          • Jack isn’t about to waste his money on a settled matter of faith.

            “The earliest documents asserting her Assumption are packed with things that Catholics and protestants agree are gnostic heresies.”

            The earliest documents (how many are there?) we have, you mean. Jack thought many of these were mere fragments. If so, how can they be “packed” with anything? And why should Shoemaker set the two documents in a “single lineal Marian tradition”? He really doesn’t know which tradition came first.

          • Anton

            Fine by me Jack, do keep arguing from ignorance of what the earliest sources actually are. Shoemaker has brought together all extant references to Mary from the first few centuries; and, before providing his own view of what community (you’d say oral tradition) lay behind them, he lets them speak for themselves, so that it matters little if other scenarios are also consistent with the documents; we may make our own inferences. In chapter 2 he sets out plentiful fragments from the 2nd century; there is no Transitus tradition, but abundant gnosticism about Mary as repository of salvific knowledge imparted to her alone by her Son. This theme reappeared in the 3rd century Book of Mary’s Repose. The fact that early, Greek preserved portions of this book are from the same place as those earlier fragments saying the same thing obviously implies a lineal tradition. The 2nd century church in Syria wasn’t a particularly large organisation. But regardless of that, all you actually have in relation to Mary’s assumption are documents that are loaded in other parts with heresies. Of course there is also the early Protoevangelion of [ie, claiming to be written by] James, but all scholars – including Catholic – are agreed that it was written too late to have been written by the scriptural James it specifies, and what price a document that starts with a lie?

            I accept that for you it is a settled matter of faith. But, for the great truths about Christ, we have the four gospels written from eye-witness accounts (Luke) or by eye-witnesses (John), whereas for the Marian doctrines we have the first traces coming generations later in association with gnosticism. You may wish to believe in an oral tradition behind them that preserved them authentically but then later mingled them with gnosticism, as found in subsequent documents, but that is a matter of evidence-free faith, in contrast to evidence-based faith in Christ. You are free to believe in the tooth fairy on that basis too.

          • Translation: You need to disbelieve it.

          • Anton

            “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” – St Peter (1 Pe 3:!5). Can you do that for the Marian dogmas?

          • Absolutely.

          • Anton

            Then better luck than above.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Beware Amorous Letitia.. she keeps a House of ill repute down Fondlebaps Passage in a shady part of Barchester…tradesmen go in but never come out again…

      • Please point out what instructions are in Amoris Laetitia that one has to disobey. The infamous Chapter 8 contains considerations for pastors counselling and guiding divorcees and, in two rather obscure footnotes, suggests access to the sacraments might be available to them under certain limited circumstances.

        • Inspector General

          The sacraments. Property of the Roman Catholic Church. Sorry Jesus, we have our rules…

          • They also have open communion, Inspector, and no need for the sacrament of confession.

            “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”

          • Inspector General

            Yeah, fornicators, liars and cheats get up early on a Sunday to attend church…

          • You might be surprised. Ever go these days?

    • Royinsouthwest

      You have uncommon foresight Inspector because I thought nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Admittedly Monty Python may not be a totally reliable historical source. After all, Happy Jack has not threatened you with the soft cushions yet, has he?

      • Inspector General

        Bullshit, mainly Roy. He has little else…

  • Dominic Stockford

    Another City fan, on this blog. My life is complete… well, sort of.

  • bluedog

    As pants the hart for cooling streams when heated in the chase of the week, so Mrs P provides her own refreshing grace.

    But wait, what’s this? ‘Perhaps I should have invited Esther to our forthcoming event – if I recall, she does a great line in naughty vegetables…’

    How can vegetables be naughty? We’ve enjoyed a few clumsy double-entendres of the peace-peas-pee variety but is there more to come, the secondi, let us say? Failure to enlarge suggests Mrs Proudie may be a prudie, not unlike this communicant’s late step-father, who visibly quailed at the sight of a peeled banana, held erect. Troubling when one seeks certainty and reassurance.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      No hobnobs for you my lad…hah!

      • bluedog

        Crushed. One only asked a question in the honest pursuit of enlightenment.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          I usually relent…

          • chefofsinners

            You have broken his hart when he offered you his pants.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Goodness chef, I would check those morning mushrooms with much greater care!

          • chefofsinners

            Is this a shiitake?

          • bluedog

            Actually there’s no need for a Mrs P Cookbook. Having had the idea, unresearched of course, it seems there is something similar by Arabella Boxer ‘A Rediscovery of British Food’. One’s late step-mother appears in the Acknowledgements…

            Contains an excellent recipe for mushrooms on toast, just the thing for CoS.

          • bluedog

            Madam is too kind. The thought of food prompted an idea for a stocking filler, no offence meant and none taken one hopes. But is it not time for Mrs Proudie’s cook book? One imagines Slope has a recipe for Spotted whatever close to hand. However beyond that one feels Mesdames Beecham and Francillon could do with a little competition.

  • chefofsinners

    Thank you, Ma’am.
    Your fine words caused me to exclaim ‘Salve regina!’, and I instantly remembered where I had left the salt grinder.

    I can confirm that progressives are progressing towards Scotland, where they join ‘Nakala’ and mutate into ‘pragrassaves’, a more violent subspecies whose name is a combination of ‘prat’ and ‘aggressive’.
    They are closely related to the Yahoos, a nation first described by Dr Swift. Until recently these were a very private people but their personal information is now widely available on the ‘dark web’. Mr Slope will be able to tell you all about ‘boys on Tor’.

    Beware Mustafa Fatwah. He has plans for shelling your peas, all in the name of the prophet Mohammed (peas be upon him). Ask not legume the bell tolls…

    I feel a certain sympathy for the people of Brussels; even their cabbages are smaller than everyone else’s, although it’s not a great place to be a small child. That statue of a boy wetting himself has new significance. Perhaps he could become a symbol for your celebration: the Mannekin Peas.

    • Anton

      Are you auditioning to His Grace?

      • chefofsinners

        Nay, Anton. Any formal association would be devastating to His Grace’s reputation. Not least because I bear in my theology the marks of creationism – the modern day stigmata.

        • carl jacobs

          I bear in my theology the marks of creationism

          Medieval Reactionary. Pre-modern Troglodyte. Fundamentalist! Don’t you know what time it is? This is 2016. Hang your head in shame and turn in your Commenter’s Card.

          Ichabod Maximilian Moddurn
          Chief Analyst, First Church of the Normal Probability Density Function

  • Linus

    Chui enfin de retoooour, pauv’s têtes de nœud …

    Mais qu’est-ce qu’elle fabrique, cette vieille bique d’Orgueilleuse ? N’a-t-elle pas compris que la femme chrétienne parfaite n’est que le produit d’un os surnuméraire (Bossuet) ? Selon Augustin, l’homme est le maître et la femme son esclave. C’est le bon Dieu qui l’a voulu ainsi. En se montrant si insoumise, ne serait-elle pas un peu “progressive” sur les bords ?

    Au fourneau, “être chétif et défectueux” ! (Thomas d’Aquin) Selon Dard il y a trois catégories de femmes : les putains, les salopes et les emmerdeuses. On n’aura pas à chercher longtemps celle qui dépeint à la perfection madame Orgueil. Elle veut le beurre et l’argent du beurre : la tradition avec toute la liberté d’expression qui est l’apanage de la femme d’aujourd’hui. Sale progressiste ! Qu’elle s’agenouille devant la phallocratie ordonnée par son Dieu patriarche.

    “J’ai souvent envie de demander aux femmes par quoi elles remplacent l’intelligence”, dit Alain. Poser cette question à une femme moderne et libre s’apparenterait à une forme d’insulte. Pour les vieilles mégères réacs en revanche, qui en arrive à douter de sa pertinence ?

    • The Explorer

      Linus, how splendid to see you back in your most authentic form! Are you going to be running yourself as Agrigenti as well?

      • Linus

        There’s only one Linus, as I’m sure there’s only one of you. Or is The Explorer a communal effort? Does a whole team of bland, disapproving, conservative, creases-down-the-front-of-their-supermarket-jeans Christians take it in shifts to “craft” your responses?

        • You really should close down “Agrigenti”, especially after being so brazenly dishonest about your identity.

          • Linus

            So who’s this Agrigenti fellow? Or is she a woman?

            Are Dodo’s Jack’s claims another example of a Christian accusing someone of a crime he’s been caught committing himself and declaring him to be a terrible sinner? Really, you’d think that after all the ridicule Jack’s been subjected to here because of his transgressions, he’d avoid reminding everyone of his own dishonesty…

          • CliveM

            So you admit it, Linus and Agrigenti are one and the same.

            Btw go one about Happy Jacks past if you wish, every one knows, nobody cares.

          • Linus


            I admit no such thing. I merely commented on Jack’s record of fraud and deception. His example now makes you suspect that anyone who says roughly what I might say is in fact me. Who introduced original sin to this blog? It certainly wasn’t me.

          • CliveM


            Thing is, I know the truth, you know the truth, every one knows the truth. So go ahead play your games, just don’t kid yourself into believing anyone is deceived.

          • Linus

            You know what you want to believe. And you want to believe what comforts you in your religious fantasies.

            We call people like you “esprits crédules”. I can’t be bothered explaining it in English, mais il s’agit d’un dysfonctionnement du processus mental, qui fait retenir les informations en fonction de leur source au lieu de leur plausibilité.

            Ces gens-là ont tendance à avoir une confiance absolue envers les manipulateurs religieux comme Jack, ou toute personne portant l’habit de l’autorité.

            Quand une personne intelligente se pose des questions sensées sur toute nouvelle reçue de source quelconque, l’esprit crédule accepte inconditionnellement toute info provenant de sources ayant une fonction d’autorité apparente au sein de sa culte.

            Un prophète ne ment jamais …

            Mais, ça marche comment dans sa tête ? C’est un processus captivant. L’esprit crédule pense que son prophète peut bien mentir, mais il croit qu’il choisit de ne pas le faire, même si ça peut servir ses propres intérêts.

            Suivez attentivement, car c’est la partie fascinante. L’esprit crédule pense effectivement que, même si un prophète peut fabuler sur un truc, jamais il ne le fera vraiment. Et pourquoi ça ? Parce que, en fin de compte, l’esprit crédule estime que les prophètes opèrent à partir d’une sorte de code d’honneur. C’est pourquoi, même s’il est dans l’intérêt d’un prophète de nous tromper, cela n’arrivera jamais, puisque ça violerait le code d’honneur imaginaire.

            Où se trouve ce code d’honneur ? Où est-il écrit ? Nulle part, bien sûr. Il est donc imaginaire. Mais pour l’esprit crédule, il semble réel. Chose intéressante, bien que ce code d’honneur n’existe que dans l’imagination de l’esprit crédule, il le projette sur les instances de pouvoir réligieux, en imaginant qu’elles s’y conforment.

            Pauvre esprit crédule. Quel destin malheureux et méprisable !

          • chefofsinners

            I’m loving all this French. It’s just like having you blocked, only without the effort.
            What is the French for deja-vu? And ennui?

          • bluedog

            Or cretin de Samedi?

          • Inspector General

            French is a dying language. Arabic is the new boy on the block there….

          • CliveM

            It’s notable that whether in English or French, he can’t help but go on and on and on and on……………..

          • chefofsinners

   encore, et encore…

          • Pubcrawler

            As I’ve observed before, verbosity is a very French thing.

          • Linus

            You revel in your own ignorance, do you?

            Why am I not surprised?

          • chefofsinners

            Because you lack the imagination.

          • Allosexuel


            Mon héros …

          • Lienus

            Bonsoire mone cheriee. How mon coeur has cried for you, mon petit coquette! Je suis deshabille avec joy.

            Maintenant, nous avons Linus, Lienus et Allosexual. Le ménage a trois mousquetaires! Le trinite irrilegieuse! Cranmer will be pissoiring himself!

          • Cressida de Nova


          • The Explorer

            Marvellous to have Linus, Lienus and Allosexuel all back together to the same time!

          • The Explorer

            Is she a woman? Are you transgendering then, and teasing us?

        • The Explorer

          Just me, but I’ve kept the same identity as a blogger since I began in 2013. You started here as Linus, abandoned that, and gave yourself eight subsequent names. ‘Linus’ is probably not your real name but it sums up you and all your identities.

          • Linus

            And you’re proud of your bland, boring and unimaginative consistency, are you?

            Oh well, I suppose it takes all sorts. The herd must exist in order for some of us to stand apart from it.

            I come and go as I please, and go by whichever name suits me at that particular moment. Which does not form an admission that I’ve ever posted here under a name different to the one I’m using now, of course. That’s merely your unproven accusation.

            Think of me like Aslan. I’m not a tame lion. I have many names. I come and go as I please and when I’ve done what I came to do and start to get bored with you, I’ll wander off to find something more interesting to do. You may not see me again for a while, or I may be back again the very next day. My movements are not under your control.

            Now I know the idea of not being able to control and regulate the behaviour of others is deeply distressing to you, as it is to all herd animals. But that’s life for you. Even dreaming up an imaginary god to endow yourself with omnipotence by proxy can’t keep the real world at bay. You’re just going to have to deal with the fact that your petty little bourgeois rules and rituals are not universally obeyed.

            Does … Not … Compute, eh? Well, it wouldn’t, would it?

          • The Explorer

            “Think of me like Aslan.” Absolutely not, old boy. There’s a splendour about Aslan.

          • Jack could think of an alternative name ….

          • “I come and go as I please, and go by whichever name suits me at that particular moment.”

            Hmm …

            “Please allow me to introduce myself
            I’m a man of wealth and taste
            I’ve been around for a long, long year
            Stole many a man’s soul to waste

            Pleased to meet you
            Hope you guess my name
            But what’s puzzling you
            Is the nature of my game”

          • Pubcrawler

            Yet Eustace admitted that he was the same person as Linus re pissoire-gate. So one or other persona is lying. Of course those posts have been deleted so there is no evidence. Unless someone has a screen grab… And the internet never forgets.

          • Who cares? We know the truth and that’s what counts. Let him play his games of denial. Whatever name he uses, his comments are all essentially the same. He’s a troubled soul.

          • Pubcrawler

            Not me. But then I’m not one of those who will insist on teasing him.

          • Let’s call it “kicking against the pricks”.

          • Pubcrawler

            Apt, and if that floats your boat…

            He needs our prayers, for sure, but his animosity towards everyone here suggests that none of us will be the instrument by which those intercessions will be effected. And, I would suggest, feeding that animosity might be counterproductive.

          • Linus

            Nom de Zeus, now he’s quoting the Rolling Stones at me. I had to look it up on Google and when the page finally appeared in my browser, it was covered with dust and cobwebs. Unsurprising when you think it had just been disinterred from some ancient Internet tomb where bad 70s music went to die.

            So, exactly how old is this Jack character? And how much is keeping him on life support costing the NHS?

            Pull the plug. Or better yet, open the blackout blinds in his room and let direct sunlight take care of him.

    • bluedog

      Why the unremitting misogyny? What do you hope to achieve?

      • Pubcrawler

        A reaction, like he always does. Childish, really.

        • bluedog

          Reasonable. But one can’t help feeling there is something deeper. It’s not even funny, it’s vicious.

          • Inspector General

            He’s an angry militant. They’re all like that…

          • Pubcrawler

            I think the viciousness is escalating because, on the whole, no one’s rising to anything else anymore. We’ve got his number, and he’s getting more desperate. Poor man, if this is how he has to get his kicks.

          • Merchantman

            The deciphering of his name suggests ‘L(hell)-in-us’. He may not even realise it, so I would leave him alone.

      • Linus

        No misogyny from me. Just a reminder that women who say they’re traditionalists, and must therefore be in favour of their own subjection, need to follow their own rules and shut up while their husbands speak on their behalf.

        The bishop should be making Mrs Proudie’s speeches. She should be following biblical exhortations and keeping a sock in it.

        Mrs Proudie wants to have her cake and eat it too. She wants women to abide by traditional roles, but she also wants a man’s role as a preacher and moral guide.

        All I’m doing is pointing out the untenability of her position. That’s not misogyny. Far from it. The only misogynist here is Mrs Proudie herself, although she’s in two minds about it. Should she simper and defer to her husband as commanded by the bible? That would be real misogyny in action. Or should she stand forth and loudly state her opinion?

        The fact that she does the latter while claiming that progressives are deluded makes her a hypocrite. By speaking in public on matters that the bible tells her she must only discuss privately with her husband, and then only to take instruction from him, she reveals herself as just as much of a progressive as any gay-loving Anglican priestess.

        This is the nub of my objection to Mrs Proudie. She’s a hypocrite. And hypocrites need to be exposed. To do so is in no way misogynistic. If you think it is, you have no idea what the term means.

        • bluedog

          ‘Mrs Proudi e wants to have her cake and eat it too. She wants women to abide by traditional roles, but she also wants a man’s role as a preacher and moral guide.’

          Do you think? Is it not possible that Mrs Proudie was invited by His Grace to offer her thoughts and her humour to his communicants? If so, how can she be criticised for doing so? Following your argument to it’s logical conclusion is to deny women an education. After all, if women are not to speak but to remain silent there seems little point in sending them to school. Needlework, cooking, child bearing and minding, these activities would seem more than adequate in your vision of feminine dependency. Voting? How can they if they are uneducated? Driving one home after a good dinner? Can’t do that, can’t read the road signs. Seriously limiting stuff. One can create a series of arguments that entirely reverses the participation of women in modern life. If implemented, your proscriptions would ensure that every woman in the Western world would become a Lysistrata, causing dismay among the heterosexual majority of His Grace’s communicants.

          In the meantime you should direct your criticism to His Grace and get used to uppity British women. If we go further with your quote from Frederic Dard we read:

          ‘Il existe trois catégories de femmes : les putes, les salopes et les emmerdeuses.

          Les putes couchent avec tout le monde, les salopes couchent avec tout le monde sauf avec toi, les emmerdeuses ne couchent qu’avec toi.’

          If that isn’t misogynistic it’s hard to know what is.

          • Linus

            Absolutely, the quotes I used were indubitably misogynistic. But it doesn’t follow that I am.

            The bible exhorts women not to express themselves in public but to limit their comments on matters of morality and religion to questions asked of their husbands in private. Mrs Proudie claims to be a traditionalist, yet she won’t follow the traditional role of Christian wives to be subservient in all things to her husband and to eschew public involvement in religious debate.

            Now of course I think this is complete nonsense. Women have just as much right to express themselves as men. The biblical exhortation commanding them to shut up is pure misogyny. But it’s not me who’s claiming that we should live according to traditional Christian intepretations of the bible. It’s Mrs Proudie.

            Why then does she refuse to do what she exhorts others to do? Why the hypocrisy?

            Mrs Proudie is a progressive masquerading as a conservative. She likes all the flim flam associated with tradition, but she wants to pick and choose the bits of the tradition she follows and the bits she ignores. This makes her a progressive, so when she berates other progressives, she exposes herself to charges of hypocrisy.

            If I used misogynistic quotes to make my point, it was only to remind her that the tradition she says she supports treated women as inferior beings. If she wants to be treated as an equal, she needs to support equality.

          • bluedog

            ‘Mrs Proudie is a progressive masquerading as a conservative. She likes all the flim flam associated with tradition, but she wants to pick and choose the bits of the tradition she follows and the bits she ignores.’

            So what? Mrs Proudie’s commitment to a certain idea of Britain is commendable. She cleverly uses the device of being a Victorian matron as a cover for the promotion of her ideas. This is not to suggest that the end justifies the means, but it enables her to use historic characters as metaphors for various opinions and fictional activities, while inventing new personalities as the need arises. Instead of pedantic criticism of the superficiality of some imagined tension between the traditional and the progressive, you should learn to enjoy the game.

          • Linus

            So what?


            This really isn’t difficult. The problem with Mrs Proudie – with most traditionalists actually, but she’s as good an example as any other – is that she’s a traditionalist who only wants to keep the bits of tradition that suit her.

            It’s called cherrypicking. And she and those who share her particular subset of prejudices and feelings of self-entitlement are the only ones allowed to do it.

            Mrs Proudie ignores biblical exhortations that command women to be silent in public on matters of religion. But god help the gay who ignores biblical exhortations to live in celibate misery! Our disobedience must be condemned from the rooftops. But we must turn a blind eye to hers. Even better, we must all pretend that it isn’t disobedience at all and that the bible never says that women should shut up about religion. Why? Because Mrs Proudie must have everything she wants! And who cares about anyone else?

            What’s wrong with Mrs Proudie is her self-serving hypocrisy. Christianity must be reimagined to give her what she wants, but nobody else is allowed to change anything that she doesn’t want to see changed.

            In reality, anyone who deviates from the strict traditional interpretation of Christianity including the subjection of women and the anathematizing of gays is by definition a progressive. Mrs Proudie is therefore a progressive. So by attacking other progressives, she attacks herself. It would be amusing if it weren’t so self-centred and small-minded. If her hypocritical witterings are a game, it’s not much of one. Its crooked and unfair rules are designed with one goal in mind: to give her what she wants at the expense of others.

            Laugh all you like at her acid wit. It makes me wince in disgust.

          • bluedog

            ‘In reality, anyone who deviates from the strict traditional interpretation of Christianity…’

            Step one. Claim the right to criticise a Christian in the context of Christianity. But you’re an atheist so what’s it to you, and who are you to decide what is deviant behaviour by a Christian? Since when have Christians been obliged to accept atheistic criticism?

            ‘…and the anathematizing of gays is by definition a progressive. Mrs Proudie is therefore a progressive.’

            Step two. Redefine Christianity in the terms of the post-modern secular ascendancy.

            Step three. Re-position Mrs Proudie within that orthodoxy.

            ‘Its crooked and unfair rules are designed with one goal in mind: to give her what she wants at the expense of others.’

            Step four. Round off the attack by demonising Mrs Proudie in the standard rhetoric of the post-modern secular ascendancy.

            Step five. An impossibility. Recognition that your participation is optional and nobody cares what you think. It’s a cruel world.

          • Here’s the tell in his position:

            “Mrs Proudie ignores biblical exhortations that command women to be silent in public on matters of religion. But god help the gay who ignores biblical exhortations to live in celibate misery! Our disobedience must be condemned from the rooftops. But we must turn a blind eye to hers.”

            Jack feels his pain; he does. Bitterness infects his very soul. He dismisses religion as fantasy, yet is still clearly troubled in conscience about the moral teachings of the Church. He envies peace of mind and attacks it as its denied him.

          • bluedog


          • CliveM

            Nah, he’s simply a prat.

          • Linus

            “…yet is still clearly troubled in conscience about the moral teachings of the Church.”


            What troubles me is the hypocrisy of those who use Christian dogma to condemn me while ignoring their own transgressions.

            Hypocrisy is a horrible thing to witness. And the collusion of others with that hypocrisy is even worse. You all know that Mrs Proudie defies the divine order of things by speaking on matters the bible says she must not discuss in public. But you give her a free pass to do as she likes because she denigrates gays. As we’re the bête noire of conservative Christianity, anyone who attacks us must be a friend and must therefore be supported no matter what her ancillary sins. As long as she puts the boot in and gives the gays a good hiding, who cares what she gets up to in her free time?

            I wonder, how far would you go in your quest for homophobic allies? Would you make common cause with rapists and murderers against us? How about abortionists? Feminists like Germaine Greer have already been quoted here as allies in your campaign against the transgender community. So you’re clearly prepared to work with people you hate as long as your common is a group you hate even more.

            I wonder if there’s anyone you hate more than gays. Thinking about it, the best candidate would appear to be Muslims. Christians often solicit my support of their condemnation of Islam because radical Islamists throw gays off buildings. They want me to make common cause with them against a common threat. But the man who allies with a wolf to defeat a tiger has taken leave of his senses: all the wolf wants is help in eliminating a competitor. Once the tiger is dead, who’ll be the wolf’s next victim?

          • Linus

            If Christians are not obliged to accept atheist criticism, it follows that atheists are not obliged to accept Christian criticism.

            Or is it one rule for you, and another for everyone else?

            Christian double standards rear their ugly head yet again. They think they have the right to judge everyone – and this in spite of their imaginary god’s prohibition on judging – but if someone dares to judge them, their outrage knows no bounds.

            Mrs Proudie has been judged and found wanting whether you like the verdict or not. Deal with it. I’m sure that she, in typically self-absorbed and entirely hypocritical fashion, has done just that.

          • bluedog

            ‘If Christians are not obliged to accept atheist criticism, it follows that atheists are not obliged to accept Christian criticism.’

            Why should either party be required to accept the criticism of the other? Your own criticism of Christianity seems to take two forms. In the first instance you deny the existence of God. In the second, despite the former, you are content to point out perceived errors in application of the word of God as given in the Bible. Inconsistent? Hypocritical? French? Pick the adjective of your choice.

          • Linus

            I do not deny the existence of any god.

            I deny there is any evidence that proves the existence of a god, and in particular the existence of the Christian god. Nor is there any reason to think that the Christian bible is anything more than a work of fiction.

            Neither of those two positions preclude the possibility of a god existing, or of the bible being his word. All they do is make clear that I do not accept that existence as having been proven.

            Despite this, there’s nothing to prevent me from commenting on the internal logic and morality of Christianity. Indeed in order to explain why I find it so unconvincing, it is necessary to highlight the inconsistencies and downright contradictions that characterise it.

            Criticising Mrs Proudie’s hypocrisy is therefore entirely justifiable. If Christianity is the truth, then as an avowed Christian her posts contrevene many of its commandments and furthermore give lie to the Christian claim that belief in god has a purifying and calming effect on the believer.

            If there are any fruits of the Spirit in Mrs Proudie’s acidic missives, they’ve well and truly fermented into a bubbling mess of hatred of the other, a feeling diametrically opposed to what Christians say their faith stands for.

            Of course none of that proves that god doesn’t exist. But it does bear witness to the fact that Christianity doesn’t do what it says on the tin: i.e. it fails to transform its believers into living saints. This is valuable evidence in support of my contention that, even if there is a god, there’s no reason to think he (or she) has anything to do with the deity represented in the bible.

            Christianity is an evangelising faith and therefore seeks converts from among those who do not currently believe in its claims. In order to make those converts, it must persuade, and in order to persuade, it must convince.

            It has not convinced me. Furthermore, I remain firm in my belief of its hatred of and malevolent intent towards gay people. It campaigns to overturn our hard-won rights and freedoms. It is therefore a legitimate target for my criticism.

            If you don’t want me to attack your faith, stop it from attacking me. If you claim the right to attack me and deny my right to defend myself, you’re living in cloud cuckoo land.

          • bluedog

            Translation: I yearn for acceptance but on my own terms.

          • Linus

            Translation of your translation: “He really wants to be perfect like me, but as he knows he isn’t, he wants me to acknowledge that his imperfections aren’t really imperfections, but merely differences. This is something I will never do because if he isn’t like me, how can he be perfect? Only I and those just like me are perfect. Why won’t he acknowledge that fact?”

          • bluedog

            Absolutely not. No-one who attempts to lead life as a Christian would ever claim perfection. The whole point of Christianity is the humble recognition of human imperfection and the quest for redemption, through the teaching of Christ.

          • Linus

            The whole point of Christianity is to cover pride and sufficiency with a mask of modesty and humility.

            The idea is to pretend to be imperfect when you’re really convinced there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you and that you’re pretty damn wonderful really. Any minor sins you may be guilty of are so inconsequential that God finds them cute and fetching, and instantly forgives you, because how could he fail to appreciate your heterosexual wonderfulness? When he looks at you, he’s gazing into a looking glass, isn’t he? And he loves what he sees.

            The real sinner is not you, it’s your gay neighbour. When god looks at him, he sees nothing to love at all. Your gay neighbour needs to be more like you, because despite your trifling little trespasses that merely make god chuckle indulgently and love you even more, you’re essentially perfect. And those awful gays are just disgusting, aren’t they? How could god possibly love them when he has you to fawn over and treat as his favourite child?

            The proof of your superiority can be found in the gifts he showers you with. Love and marriage are yours by divine right, as well as uncontested control of a society designed to serve your needs while marginalising anyone who is not like you. Because of course we must be made to realise how broken and twisted we are in comparison to you, mustn’t we? I mean, what’s the point of being the favoured children if you can’t lord it over the rest of us?

            That’s Christianity in a nutshell. A faith for self-obsessed bullies to beat those they view as their inferiors over the head while piously exclaiming that we’re all sinners and we all fall short of perfection in god’s eyes. Only some fall a great deal shorter than others, don’t they?

          • “But god help the gay who ignores biblical exhortations to live in celibate misery!”

            God will help you and fill your life with joy. You just have to let Him. There’s such darkness in you. Leave the bitterness and hatred behind.

          • Linus

            In order for any god to fill my life with joy, he (or she) first has to exist.

            Prove to me that your god exists and then we’ll see about whether or not he’s capable of filling my life with joy.

            If you can’t prove that he exists, what you’re essentially asking me to do is to give you control over my life and let you direct how I should live it. This I am unwilling to do, for reasons that should be obvious enough to anyone who knows you. I’ve never known a more malevolent, domineering, controlling and manipulative character than you. What makes you think I could ever place any trust in you?

            You can lead a horse to a place where you say there is water for him to drink, but you can only do it once. If he can’t see, smell, hear, feel or taste any water, he’ll shrug his shoulders (or his withers in the case of a horse, I suppose) and move on. If you importune him again with stories about imaginary water, he’ll simply ignore you.

          • Bye, bye, Linus ….

          • Linus

            Tah-tee byes, Dodo. I’ll be expecting more of your crap whenever your “defender of the Faith” fantasy gets the better of you and you unblock me so you have someone to unleash your “righteous anger” on.

            Until then, fester away in Christian hatred and damn me to hell all you like. Whatever my fate may be, you’re certainly not in control of it.

    • Allosexuel

      Rentrer chez et de grignoter sur ma baguette …

      • Linus

        Quel pauvre con d’analphabète ! Please refrain from displaying your laughable inability to string together a coherent sentence in French. Relying on Google Translate to do something you don’t know how to do yourself reveals just how intellectually lazy you are. Are you fat and unwashed too? It seems likely. If you don’t care how ludicrous your written statements look, why would you take any care over your appearance and personal hygiene?

        I think in order to have done with you and that other idiot who systematically bawls out unintelligible jumbles of vaguely French-sounding words whenever I post, I’ll just block you.

        • dannybhoy

          No Eustace?
          Welcome back Linus.
          Coming out with all guns blazing…

        • The Explorer

          Ever read Miles Kington? He spoke fluent French. The caricature was the whole point.

  • carl jacobs

    Oh! BTW. G’bye Linus.