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Patrick Archbold

Imagine you are buried alive. Do I have your attention? Good. Imagine you are six feet under in a coffin and you are running out of air. You don’t know how much longer you can hang on. But then, suddenly, you hear scratching on the outside of your coffin, and then miraculously see a drill hole appear above your head. Then through the drill hole a tube emerges, with an air tube to the surface and you can suddenly breathe again. I am quite certain you would be very grateful to the person who dropped the air tube down to you, granting you a much-needed and welcome reprieve.

That is what the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” felt like in 2007. It seemed like a lifeline for Tradition and the traditional Mass. Suddenly we could breathe again and it seemed like Tradition was saved from certain death. We, understandably, felt relieved and grateful.
There is something about the modern mindset that corrupts language and thought. Take, for instance, the simple word ‘rediscover.’ There is a lot of discussion in NuChurch at the moment about rediscovery. There is a Catholic pop-author giving away lots of books at parishes across the land asking us to ‘rediscover’ Catholicism.

There is currently a fair bit of discussion going on in Catholic social media circles about the nature of this type of outreach.

I don’t intend any critique here of Matthew Kelly or his works, but rather a critique of the mindset that is hardly exclusive to Mr. Kelly.

Recently, I had to attend the One Eight Lifeteen confirmation preparation program for one of my sons. I had to sit through the mandatory several-hour session with my son. It was painful beyond belief. We had to sit through games and discussions and activities, none of which had anything to do with the sacrament of confirmation, let alone Catholicism. We played Family Feud.

We had to form groups to talk about family traditions. After several hours of this, they played a little video which talked about confirmation in very general ways as a sacrament. That was our allotment of Catholicism for the day. 

I am friendly with the pastor, a very good man, and I needled him about the uselessness of the program. He responded back to me: “Honestly one eight is not for your family – it is for pre-catechetical families (most of which are the families in this and every parish). We start off silly to get their attention but eventually move them to solid material. It really does work – the teens eventually get it. 
There is nothing natural about it.

You come into the wall, you turn yourself upside down, blindly reach for the wall with your feet, push off, and hope you are headed in the right direction.

Flip Turns. I have dreaded flip turns for as long as I have been swimming, which is going over a dozen years now.

For most of those years, even though I swam 5 times a week at points, I never learned how to do flip turns. You know those cool turns that Olympic swimmers do and we watch on underwater cameras? They look so easy.  They’re not.
I don’t care for the term neo-Catholic, for it is too often used as pejorative.  For this reason, you will not often find the term in my writing, not least for the reason that I was frequently accused of being one. 

The term neo-Catholicism actually has a meaning, even if that precise meaning is frequently ignored.  Generally, the term refers to Catholics that take their faith seriously, but generally don’t have a problem with the Church of the last 50 years, even embracing changes that have proven themselves disastrous.
Many social commentators have noticed the rise and staying power of zombie lore in our current storytelling. Zombies became all the rage, pardon the pun, many years ago and their popularity shows no sign of waning. We may be getting sick of superheroes, but zombies are ever fresh.

Those social commentators suspect that there is something about zombie lore that speaks to us in the modern era, that somehow amidst our comfort and prosperity, we have never been more fragile. They posit that somehow our golden lives, compared to every generation that came before, are more fragile, that something isn’t right and we know it. That the life we lead, like the zombies, gives the appearance of life, but is truly dead.

I think there might be something to this analysis (although not in the way they likely mean it.) Of all the zombie storytelling that has occurred these past decades, there is one zombie movie that stands out in my mind as social commentary, directly tapping into the vein. That one story that stands out above all the others, which should almost go without saying, is the slacker cinema classic “Shaun of the Dead.”

On September 23, 2017, we will see the constellation Virgo with the sun rise directly behind it (the woman clothed with the sun). These events transpire during the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of “the woman clothed in the sun,” Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. What does it mean?

[Editorial Note: In the following article, I intend to present a series of facts and observations from which I draw no definitive conclusion. Yet, these facts and observations are of such a nature, for no other reason than their observation and reporting, that lend themselves to misinterpretation. So let me be clear, in the following article, I predict nothing. I am offering my observations on some upcoming phenomena, both heavenly and man-made, potentially of great import, that people might find interesting and of which people should be aware.]

After the experience of the First World War, French military geniuses (who’d long since abandoned their good Catholic sense), stuffed full of wine, cheese, and hubris, built a famous line of fortifications in the east intended to prevent Germany from invading again. They built a line of fixed fortifications, strong and sturdy.  

When completed in the 1930’s, these French military geniuses congratulated themselves on their foresight and sagacity, convinced that they had prevented another invasion from Germany from the east.


The Germans simply invaded France from the north. They simply went around the Maginot line. It seems the French military geniuses never thought of that.

A few weeks back, I happened upon an article from Catholic Answer’s own Karl Keating in which he speculated upon the possibility that Pope Francis might resign in a year or so in acceptance of his own limitations and suitability to the role. While that is certainly an interesting topic, it was not that part of the article that greatly interested me.

After making fair and respectful critique of Pope Francis’ communication style and general suitability to the role of Vicar of Christ, Mr. Keating makes the following remarks:

christians in iraqCatholics in Iraq have lost everything--their lives, their children, homes, businesses, personal effects, everything! Who's next?

Following the disastrous “gay marriage” decision of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, all informed faithful Catholics understand that the time of persecution has begun. We now fully expect the merciless hands of runaway secularism, both governmental and societal, to treat Christians with every cruelty possible. What they may not realize is that there are other forms of persecution and persecutors that may well come for faithful Catholics, one of which is a persecution by the Church itself.

By now, those of us paying attention know that, using the gay marriage decision as the tip of the spear, militant secularists, atheists, and statists will do everything they can to force Christians to capitulate to the depraved zeitgeist or be driven from public life. We know that government cannot invent rights without taking away other real rights; in this case, the right to the free exercise of our religion.

Editor’s Note: Over the years since 1988, The Remnant has featured countless debates on the question of the SSPX “schism” and/or irregular canonical status. We have friends and allies on both sides of that divide, and, let’s face it, the complexities of the question are not easily unraveled even by canon lawyers, which is why there are many canon lawyers on both sides of the aisle. Where we’ve drawn the line in terms of publishing this debate is at those who seem disposed to willfully defend predetermined conclusions while consciously ignoring the facts that don’t fit their nice and neat little narrative. So, for example, those who insist on castigating the SSPX as formally “schismatic” even after heads of the CDF in Rome have clearly stated otherwise are, in our opinion, ideologically driven to grind the axe of their own pet peeve, and thus contribute nothing to the debate. Similarly, those in the SSPX who obstinately adhere to 1988 talking points about the FSSP, for example, poised to begin offering the New Mass and give enthusiastic across-the-board approval to the whole warp and disastrous woof of the Second Vatican Council, while ignoring the mountains of real-world evidence to the contrary are, in our opinion, counterproductive to serious debate as well. Mr. Achbold’s approach, on the other hand, is that of serious Catholics on both sides who are trying to uncover and then defend the truth. He may not  agree with important elements of the SSPX’s argument where jurisdiction is concerned, and yet the following article is an example of the fair, balanced and thus constructive discussion we at The Remnant have sought to promote and encourage for 25 years, even if and when it may depart in one way or another from our own editorial policy and opinion. Our thanks to Mr. Archbold for a fine example of the noble effort to cut through the inflammatory rhetoric on both sides and thus be part of the solution rather than the problem where the complex question of the SSPX is concerned. MJM

If my social media is indicative of trends among friends, two themes pop up in my feed over and over again. The first is videos of rogue police violating the constitutional rights of citizens caught on camera as a consequence of the emergence of the video age.   The other is hyperbolic criticisms of the SSPX, with the word schism thrown around like beers at a frat party.
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