Meanwhile, Back At S.C.H.I.S.M….



Moonlight streaks through moss-covered trees. In the middle of a clearing stands a black-domed structure – the secret hideout for the nefarious super-villain group SCHISM [Society of Catholycs Hellbent on Instituting Secular Modernism].


People seated around a large round table in a dimly lit room. One person is standing, a scowl on his face. It’s KING KÜNG (aka Hans Küng), leader of SCHISM. With him are REESE’S PIECES (Fr Tom Reese); THE BAD HABIT (Sr Simone Campbell); RAINBOWKID (GLBTQ androgynous-looking character); LIVE CURRANT (Fr Charles Curran); COSMIC GIRL (Sr Joan Chittister); and the SOUR PATCH KID (YouthGen member from Call-to-Action).


Good eveningk, fellow SCHISM members. I zhingk you all know vhy I have called zhis meetingk?


We’re gonna binge-watch Game of Thrones?


Vhat? Nein, you dumkopf! Vee did that last veek.


What, I missed it?!? You’re kidding me!


It was great, too! You won’t believe…


(puts hands over ears)

Auuugh! No spoilers!


Shut up, both of you! Vee have some new business to attend to. Eins, vee have a new member joiningk zee team. I introduce to you…ZEE BAD HABIT!

[Indiscriminate words of welcome from around the table.]


Thank you, KING KÜNG. Um, can we hurry this up? The bus is running outside, and it’s a real killer on gas.


So what kind of super powers do you have?


 I can manipulate people into thinking we’re victims of hierarchical misogyny, as well as use the power of media to advance my nefarious plans. Oh, and I can crush you…with my bus.


Plus, she ist a voman, und federal regulations state vee must be a diverse league of super villains.


What’s the other new business?


Ah, ja, zee other new business. As you know, zee results of my plan to disrupt zee papal conclave vere, to put it mildly, disappointingk. Zee cardinal vee vanted to become Pope vas passed over. But, zee Pope ist a Jesuit. So it vas a vash, ja?


(sniffs) I cried, I can tell you.


Too much sharingk, REESE’S PIECES, too much sharingk.


So what’s the new plan?


Vell, I vas zhinkingk last night, vhat ist zee vun zhingk orthodox Catholics have zat vee don’t?


Growing, vibrant orders of nuns and priests?


Vell, zat ist true, but…


A cohesive harmonic image of Godde’s overflowing font of Empyrean Mercy and retributive cauldron of Transcendent Justice?


I’m..not sure I understand vhat you just said zhere…


Ooh! Ooh! Their devotion to old stuff, like saints and rosaries and Latin?


You vould get no arguingk from me zhere, but…


Respect and deference to the Magesterium?


Zat’s for darn sure, but vhat I vas…


Solid, coherent arguments for traditional marriage and sexual ethics?


Ja, you have a point zhere, however…


A proper understanding of the Church’s vision of Social Justice?


Enough! Just stop und let me talk. Vhat I vas goingk to say vas zee vun zhingk zhey have vhich vee don’t, is a strong presence on television, radio, und zee Internet. Vhat do vee have besides zee National Catholic Reporter, Commonveal, und America?


Cable and network news? A mainstream media that wilfully treats religious doctrine like public policy?


Fair points. But zat isn’t enough. I vant somezhingk bigger.




Vhat? Vhat ist a “snapchat”? Never mind – don’t tell me. No, vee need somezhingk flashy, somezhingk zhat appeals to everyvun, zhat compels people to vatch, zhat changes zheir vay of zhingkingk.


You want to develop a web channel, and use subliminal messaging to control the viewers’ minds?


Ja, ja!! Listen, if some guy vith hair as bad as mine can tvirl a pencil around und around, und get zhousands of viewers, imagine vhat vee could do vith someone attractive, vith a subliminal message beingk broadcast simultaneously?


But where are we going to find someone attractive?


What subliminal message would we use?


Vell, vee could read NCR editorials, or play Marty Haugen songs. Or short messages like “Embrace zee spirit of Vatican 2″.


I don’t know…




REESE’S PIECES is right. No way we get an attractive person. Besides, starting from scratch takes time and resources.


Vhat are you suggestingk?


Hire some hackers on the cheap, and broadcast our messages on existing orthodox websites and programs. They already have the listeners and subscribers we want to subvert, right?




I’m pretty tight with Obama. I bet he’d give us NSA resources if I asked.




I will translate all my talks and presentations into VoidSpeech, and those can be included in the subliminal messages!




(to REESE’S PIECES) I thought they already were in VoidSpeech.


Zhis plan ist soundingk better und better. LIVE CURRANT, you handle zee details. Call meetingks, set up listeningk sessions, develop referendums, publish outlines, start zee dialogue…zee vorks! Spare nothingk!


We should get a blogger hired on at Patheos, too!


Vhat makes you zhingk zhat hasn’t been done already, hmmm? Mu-wah-hahahahaha!



[several moments of laughter]


K, I really gotta go. Anyone need a ride?

Looking For A Job? Call-to-Action Wants You!

Because we’re all about inclusion, diversity, openness, welcoming, freedom of expression, facilitation, dialogue, creativity, collaboration, anti-oppression, horizontal structurization, community, and snark here at AoftheA, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Call-to-Apostasy has a need for a Liturgical Wreckovator. Submit your resume NOW if you want to be considered. Here’s a link to their job opening announcement, which provides a link to a pdf that gives a fully detailed job description.

In case you don’t want their website to appear on your computer (I know the feeling, folks. I don’t blame you. That’s why I do these things for you, so you don’t have to), here are a few tidbits about the position:


  • Familiarity with Call To Action mission with intense commitment to antiracism, anti-oppression, and intergenerational equity
  • A sense of humor
  • Experience in liturgical settings/coordinating
  • Passion for consensus decision making, non-hierarchical approach to governance
  • Excellent facilitation skills with ability to consider all perspectives and synthesize points of view
  • Organized; able to work collaboratively with staff, volunteers and committee members; computer literate (Microsoft Office and Powerpoint), regular access to e-mail
  • Degree and/or experience in theology, liturgy, religious studies, spiritual expression

So if someone has “passion for consensus decision making”, would they have determined that for themselves, or would others have had to agree with them beforehand?

So what does the position entail? Glad you asked!


Responsibilities include the planning, training, recruiting and scheduling of ministers and liturgical artists (including environmental designer, musicians, liturgical dancers), coordinating and implementation of the Friday opening Liturgy, Sunday closing Eucharist, and a brief opening prayer at the Saturday plenary session. Also responsible for preparing, caring for, and ordering all liturgical articles and supplies, including bread and wine. The Liturgy Coordinator will also be responsible for working with the Conference Manager to ensure the overall flow of all plenary sessions. This includes providing times for mic checks for anyone speaking from the stage and providing outlines and scripts to the sound/light technicians & camera technicians. This will also include communicating all equipment needs to the technical crew and Conference Manager.

What the heck is an “environmental designer”? I don’t think I want to know.

This is all so overdone. I could have written the job description in one sentence:

“Liturgy Coordinator – must be good with puppets.”

Even with the bar being set so low, I have the greatest confidence that the CTA 2015 closing liturgy will manage to come beneath it.

The American Catholic Council And Their Malfunctioning Irony Detector

Over the years, I’ve posted on the American Catholic Council and their jolly ol’ plans to reform the Catholic Church in America. I’d give you a bunch of links, but you can find them using the “Search” feature in the upper right corner of this here blog, if you want.

So anyway, I was kinda bored this afternoon, when I thought “I wonder what have those meddling kids been up to?”

Turns out their Irony Detector is broke. Here’s how the home page of their website reads – the first 3 paragraphs, mind you:

The American Catholic Council (ACC) was formed to act, not talk, around issues of institutional change in the Church focused on governance.  We believe we have been called to be disciples fully participating in creating a just, inclusive and collegial community and  therefore will initiate and collaborate in all actions that provide a multi-dimensional focused approach to change in the institutional Church.

 Catholic Tipping Point Tour 2014  –  People of Conscience: Reforming the Church Today

Fr. Tony Flannery, a Catholic priest from Ireland,  will tour the U.S. this fall, from October 22 – November 18, 2014, visiting 18 cities and speaking with Catholic laity and leadership on topics of women in the Church, the future of ministry, the problem with infallibility, and the sexual teachings of the Catholic Church.

Although Fr.Tony has been ordered to remain silent and forbidden to minister as a priest because of his refusal to sign a document that violates his conscience, he and all people of conscience are ready to dialogue. (emphasis mine).

So the ACC was “formed to act, not talk”…but all the “people of conscience are ready to dialogue”?


It writes itself, I tell ya!

(Bear in mind, the ACC have been talking and dialoguing since Sept 2008. Six.Years. S.I.X.Y.E.A.R.S.)

Bashing Bishops: Enough Is Enough

I used to subscribe to “The Vortex”, and the daily commentary showed up in my mailbox every day. But not anymore – I just unsubscribed. And here’s why:

Today’s episode was titled “Wicked Bishops”, and the tagline read: Resign Cardinal Dolan. Resign now for the sake of your soul.”

Really? Hyperbole or not, enough is enough. The implication is, if he doesn’t resign, then he’s damned for eternity. Heck, it’s more than an implication – it’s a direct consequence should he not resign, because he is a “wicked bishop”.

Lest anyone think that I’m turning a blind eye to what’s going on in the Archdiocese of New York, or Dolan’s decision to remain Grand Marshal of the SPD Parade – stop thinking that right now. My choice to ignore the outrage is not the same as ignoring the problem. My choice to not participate in the outrage is not the same as sticking my head in my sand. My choice to not join the chorus of condemnation is not the same as not caring. I’m choosing to refrain from adding to the noise – and that’s all the hyperbole is, just noise – as well as ignoring the noise. So don’t confuse my choices with consent. I’m not jumping on the bash-a-bishop bandwagon because I don’t like the direction in which it’s heading.

My post isn’t a defense of Dolan. I consider the outrage to be BS. It solves nothing. In fact, it contributes to the problem. I think to myself “So these calls of condemnation are leading others to Christ how, exactly? Refresh my memory – is venting one’s spleen a corporal work of mercy, or a spiritual one? Is having a spittle-flecked nutty part of the New Evangelization, or the Old Evangelization? I forget.”

Yeah yeah, I know. There are bad bishops and bad priests, and rotten things are happening in our Church. As if that’s a new thing. I mean, who let all these sinners into the Catholic Church, anyway? What’s happening in NY is causing scandal and confusion – tragic things, yes. We are to call that which is good, good – and that which is evil, evil. The Catholic blogosphere is doing a bang up job on “calling that which is evil, evil” bit, by the way. It seems to be the most popular thing being done online nowadays. And yes, us Catholics have an obligation to charitably warn our brethren that sinful actions have both temporal and eternal consequences.

But I’m sorry – the expression “Wicked Bishops” is charitable?? In what way, exactly?

To me, that is scandalous as well, and I don’t need scandalous, toxic outrage – any toxic outrage – clogging my inbox.

A Tale Of Two Conferences

Gun to your head: if you were forced to choose, which conference do you attend?

This one?

CTH Single Sheet1-b

Or this one?

Catholic Identity Conference 2014 flyer

Two conference, held at the same time, two different approaches. One seems to exude hope, while the other seems to ooze fear. One has an openness to it, while the other seems to be closing ranks. I’m sure the Holy Spirit will be present at both conferences – provided He coughs up admission at the second.

My pick is the Call To Holiness, for several reasons. One, Archbishop Vigneron will be there, and as Terry Nelson at Abbey Roads said “Where the Bishop is, there is the Church”. I believe that. Two, the conference has the ‘imprimatur’, as it were, from the Archdiocese. Three, the CtH conferences were started years ago by Fr John Hardon in response to the pernicious Call to Action meetings (which started in Detroit, btw). An awesome and holy way to battle such evil. And four, the speakers at CtH are interested in helping the attendees to become better Catholics, and not to become Catholics who are better than other Catholics.

But to each their own. Some might find the other conference more to their liking, and that’s okay. The great thing about the Catholic Church is that conferences can be held on any aspect of the faith. Listening to allusions on how Pope Francis is a modernist charlatan bent on harming the Church and faith doesn’t interest me in the slightest, but hey, some folks somehow have their faith strengthened by that kinda stuff. There’s plenty of room for every stripe of crazy, and not merely the stripe I like. I hope they have fun, and come away from the conference on fire to bring Christ to others and to share the Gospel, without leading anybody down the dirty trail of schism.

I wonder if they invited Fr Gruner, or Bishop Fellay.

Anyhoo, even though the CtH is happening in my neck of the woods, I can’t attend. Wish I could. It has my full endorsement, and if you do live in southeast MI, consider going. Here’s a link to the Call to Holiness site for full and complete information.

ht Terry (who makes some serious, valid observations)


ISIS Can Make Me A Better Disciple

Whatever the West ultimately decides to do regarding ISIS, it won’t be enough. Or it will go too far. The West lacks godly leaders who are convicted in faith, who adhere to positive, natural law. They are fundamentalist secularists, and thus lack the will to battle the evil being perpetrated in Iraq and Syria, and they lack the language to name the barbarism for what it is. The United States is in the hands of those who advocate the wanton destruction of the unborn, and promote so-called gay marriage, undermining the family and society. With what moral authority, then, can they truly push back evil, even if they call it as such?

I have no confidence. I do not put my trust in princes.

Our era is the era of Lepanto, when the rosary defeated the invaders and pushed Islam off the European continent. Our era is the era of Constantine, when The Sign of the Cross led his soldiers to victory.

Our era is as of any other era – where evil exists and seeks to destroy, devour, and debase. Evil exists because man chooses to sin. Sin exists because all of mankind is fallen. Perhaps the evil is intensifying – I cannot say. In my short 49 years on Earth, I certainly haven’t witnessed anything as horrific as what’s happening in the Middle East. It is almost too much to bear. But I have nothing to compare it to. From the time Cain slew Abel to the present day, man has managed to inflict inhumanity on his neighbor with cruelty and maleficence.

Whatever the outcome of this current manifestation of battle against evil, whether through bombs or boots or bank freezes or other means – or ALL means – I believe it ultimately will be won or lost in the spiritual realm. It will be won or lost from our knees. If we as disciples fail to make reparation for sin on behalf of those caught in the grip of this intolerable evil, then we are as guilty, if not more so, than the world leaders who fail to do enough to save the victims. Whatever the outcome. If we fail to believe that God, in his infinite mastery and benevolence, will somehow, someday bring good out of these atrocities, as only He can – then I say the battle is already lost.

Christ exhorts us to not be afraid, to not despair. That with the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. St Paul tells us that all things work to the good for those who believe. He also pleads that we pray without ceasing.

The poor souls in the Middle East are being driven from their homes. Christianity is being erased from lands where the apostles evangelized. They are being martyred for their faith – a full and total expression of what they believe in and hope for. I ought to be living my faith just as fully and totally, then, with equal measures of hope and belief, for their sake and for the sake of the world. It’s a call to be a better, intentional disciple.

It comes down to this: what am I willing to sacrifice in the here and now, in order to make reparation for the sins and evils being done? Perhaps I’m being called to do small things with great love. Perhaps God may require more. Whatever my sacrifice ends up being, it won’t be at the price of my blood, but it sure as hell better cost me something.

Patheos, Redeemed

As many – or most – of you know, I take good-natured shots at the Blorg from time to time. Not in a weird Internet-stalky sort of way – just to keep things light and amusing.

Along with that, many – or most – of you also know that a couple years ago, I wrote a post titled “The Problem With Patheos”. It remains my highest viewed post. It ruffled some feathers, as I knew it would, because it pointed out a number of errors on the Catholic Library page, as well as highlighted some features of the platform I didn’t like. While the post also garnered some support, some respondents took the opportunity to air their problems with individual Blorg members, or the fact that they are getting paid. Personally, I think it’s great they’re getting paid for what they report on, as any journalist or columnist does. I think when someone defines themselves as a “blogger”, it’s presumed that it’s a write-for-free proposition, never receiving compensation. That goes double if a person is a Catholic blogger. In that case, any money earned from said blog MUST be returned to the Church or to charity or something. Which, of course, is utter hogwash. A worker deserves his just wage.

As to the individual Blorgers – truth be told, I don’t read the vast majority of them because they’re not my preference. It’s not a personal thing – I’ve never met any of them, and I’m sure they’re wonderful people (or try to be, like everyone of us ought to be trying), and are faithful followers of Christ. They have devoted readers, and why shouldn’t they? All quality writers in their own right. And I wish each of them the greatest success possible. I just don’t have an interest in reading their work. Most of them have probably never heard of me, which is fine – the Internet is a big place, and I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Kay syrah syrah.

But as of now, as of this moment, Patheos has utterly and completely redeemed itself. You read that correctly.

Does this mean the problems in the Library been corrected? Nope, not really – perhaps a few minor edits, but nothing major. (Ms Scalia, in her wondrous gracefulness, has been keeping me in the loop on the progress. Sounds like it’s been a horror story from day one, but she says it’s getting done. Which is cool.)

Oh, so then the ads gone, right? Uh, no. It’s how the platform works – the ads aren’t going to go away, so the best one can do is ignore them.

Well then, how has Patheos redeemed itself?

Simple. They just landed one of the best underappreciated Catholic bloggers on the block, that’s how. Not me, wise guy! No – they’ve assimilated Rebecca Frech, who blogs at Shoved To Them. She’s funny, intelligent, no-nonsense, a best-selling author, an incredible BFF, Texan, Catholic, a gun-totin’, child-raisin’, Crossfit-manic mom and devoted wife. She’s the unCola of the Mommy bloggers. Check her out…I mean, check her BLOG out, bookmark it, and become one of her million followers.


The Blorg also includes Jennifer Fitz now, another great Catholic blogger and Innerwebz friend (she does freelance editing for me). She’s kinda like the common sense barometer at the site – as others boomerang around with bombast and bluster, she’s the one sitting calmly at a table with a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies and a couple glasses of milk. So you go sit down, and the noise and tumult and rhetoric melt away with each bite of a cookie, and she plainly tells you which side of the bread is buttered.

Shit, that sounds corny – with a mixed metaphor to boot! – but I think you know where I’m coming from.

So go read her, too – at Sticking The Corners. Both are in the sidebar for easy peasy lemon squeezy access. Jen was subsumed into the Blorg awhile back, but I knew Rebecca was going to be sucked in too, so I wanted to wait and post about both at the same time.

There it is. Patheos is redeemed. Ms.Scalia, keep up the excellent work of landing quality bloggers. Although you may want to keep an eye on that Frech chick. She’s ambitious, and she says her new nickname is BQ


Rebecca Frech, future Blorg Queen?

Rebecca Frech, future Blorg Queen?

Her Hands Raise The Lance

It occurred to me during Mass today, during the consecration, of what happens whenever a womynpreest raises the host and chalice during one of her simulated masses. She is not confecting the Eucharist – of that we can be sure.

No, what she is doing, most likely, is raising the lance that pierced our Savior’s side, thrusting it into His Sacred Heart, again and again and again. And the blood and water flowing forth aren’t nourishing and cleansing the Church. Rather, the blood brings condemnation, and the water is the mercy of which they refuse to drink.

That’s the impression I received, which grieved me, so I prayed for them.

(I changed a word in the title, from “behold” to “raise”. It’s clearer.)