Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sedevacantism



I've been tidying up my blogroll, such as it is, and regretfully have had to delete my link to The Thinking Housewife. I used to very much enjoy her postings, but she appears to have completely flipped out over the past year.

The problem, it seems to me, started with her announcement that she had become a sedevacantist. Now, I have to explain that, being a convert, I don't share the visceral distaste for sedevacantism that many Catholic bloggers exhibit. Mundabor and Steve Skojec, for example, openly warn people that any comment tainted with sede tendencies will be immediately deleted. They're so adamantly opposed to the idea that it isn't even open for discussion.

To me, the idea seems more a sort of consoling fantasy than a deadly threat. I can see why people would fall back on it, in the face of the catastrophic tide of effluent surging out of the Vatican these days. It's a way of preserving the purity of the Church, and warding off the terror that there might be nothing solid there at all. Americans sometimes display this tendency too. I've read many protests that the "real" America is not this corrupt, debt-ridden shambles on its way to collapse that we see before us. No, the real America is still there, among the good people who still remember and value what it used to be. Eventually, though, the strength of this saving fable dwindles, as the ugly reality grow stronger and even actively seeks out and crushes the good that remains.

So I never felt that one must shun sedevacantists because they're traitors, or weaklings, as others seem to think. Orthodox Catholics don't actually explain clearly WHY sedevacantism is such a no-no; I have the feeling that everyone knows the reason so they don't talk about it. People like me, who missed the lesson that day, are left a bit mystified, but I recognize that the reaction is strong and genuine, and I don't argue about it, particularly as sedevacantism is wholly unconvincing to me.

But now I have to implement my own rule banning sedevacantism from this blog. And the reason is not that it's insulting to the Pope or the Holy Ghost. The reason is simply that by my observation, it leads to insanity. I can't explain what's happened over at TTH any other way. I only realized that things were going seriously wrong when she first posted a "just asking" farrago of 9/11 Truther talking points. After that, there was speculation that Sandy Hook never happened, and now she's claiming that Friday's massacre in Paris was also faked. This has also been accompanied by rising invective against Jews, and a monomaniacal tendency to write them into every single bad event that happens anywhere in the world.

I think this is an example of what Doctor Johnson meant when he told Boswell, "Never accustom your mind to mingle virtue and vice." It seems that in admitting one conspiracy theory, regarding the "true identity" of the Pope, she has opened the doors of her mind to every other conspiracy theory, no matter how wild. Maybe vanity has taken hold, by flattering the conspiracist that she can see through the web of deceit that fools everyone else, and she's become so intoxicated by her insight that she now can see nothing at all except her funhouse mirror of debunkery. She and those who support her are like the Dwarfs in C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle:
"You see," said Aslan. "they will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out."

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